Friday, August 31, 2012

Walking Dead: Episode 3

Spoilers below. Do not click if you don't want to be spoiled.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mittdentity Crisis

As always with politics posts, you can skip this if you'd rather ignore politics.

RNC, Pins and Differences in GW2/TSW

I suffer through the conventions whenever they come around. I'm listening to the RNC's last night now. Then, I have the whole weekend to recover to prepare for the DNC. People, I do this out of love for my country and hatred of myself.

But, I did learn something from this convention. Connie Mack? Not a woman. I'm sure there are other lessons to take away and build on from the RNC, but I think that's the only one I'll talk about.

One of the biggest differences between The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 is this. GW2 built a world you can play a game in. Every aspect of its character is built toward you playing the game. TSW is very gamey, but they spent much more of their budget on making a world you can live in. So, if you're trying to decide which to play, that's one major way to decide between them. If you want a tight PvP game, go with GW2 though. TSW's PvP is... sad. GW2's PvP is so good that even I, as a non-PvP'er, have killed multiple nights on it already.

Oh well. Back to the RNC.

----

P.S.,

Why do men's shirts come with more pins than a hedgehog?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do Something Someone!

You often here that someone should do something. I have some very important insight on that front. Just because someone should do something doesn't mean X should do Y. For example, you should not jump out a window. That is a thing. You are a someone. You should not do that thing. Sometimes, someone doing something is counter productive to a thing getting done.

In fact, sometimes, something is worse than nothing. Just food for thought. In gaming, sometimes the right thing to do is not burn a cooldown or to pass the turn. That's tactical play. In politics, you need to also remember to not do something for the sake of doing something. Keep your powder dry, so to speak. Inaction is sometimes the right choice.

With that in mind, go do something.

----

P.S.,

Today someone got to my blog by Googling my name. Now for the eternal question: Stalker or fan? Please be fan.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Internet, We Need to Have a Talk

Hi Internet, can you sit down for a second? We need to have a talk. We seem to have cross purposes. See, when I make a claim, I provide proof or links. When you make a claim, you provide cat pictures, if that.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guild Wars 2: I Am Playing It

Not right this exact second, but in the grand scheme of seconds, it is an activity that takes up many of them. You could say, GW2 is now in my rotation of games to play. I am a Sylvari Elementalist as my main. This is a new departure from my normal play style, as I am playing a sticky melee-ish burst DPS. My world, it is being rocked.

One thing I like about GW2 is that it is simple, yet complex. It is a lot like the Secret World (and Guild Wars 1) in that regard. Expect to get some more specifics about team building and character tweaking as I get more familiar with the game. For now, all you need to know is that I'm on Sea of Sorrow and that you can ask for my account name if you want to play with me.

From what little I played over the weekend's pre-release, here are a few things I really like:

1. Weapons give you an identity. They mean something to your character and define what you do.

2. Traits and utility skills shape that identity.

3. Each class can be competently played in many ways with a variety of tweaks, without each class just feeling like a hodge podge of abilities. Class hit their theme well and feel like they flow in combat.

4. Events are fun, quick to join and dynamic.

5. Playing with your friends is painless.

6. You can fiddle around in PvP with your character then return to your PvE progression without falling behind in PvP.

7. The game world is laid out well and logically (you know where you should be going next.)

Those are the big things; go play.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Moon and the Man Who Walked On It

Yesterday, Neil Armstrong died.

"One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," indeed. There are a lot of rumors about that trip, and Snopes as usual is reliable in rebutting and explaining them. There are plenty of tributes out to him that are better than I can do.

I wasn't even born when he walked on the moon. But, the fact that a man had walked on the moon changed history. Between his death and Sally Ride's, we can see history starting to fade. Luckily, we have much better record keeping than we've had in the past, so we won't be losing nearly as much as we used to lose when great people passed on.

The moon seems so far away, yet it has a huge impact on the planet. Not just in the literal, tide altering ways. Eclipses, full moons, whatever you can think of, the moon has been a part of mythology since we've got records of it. Walking on the moon, however, has done very little to demystify it. It is still a powerful symbol, even if we've planted American flags there.

Lucky for us, I think, we've had an amazing space program that's done more for humanity than simply beat the Soviets. America's astronauts will inspire our country probably for as long as we're a country. I tried to find a way to explain that more succinctly, but I was beaten to it: "As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind's first small step on a world beyond our own," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Entirely true.

----

P.S.,

Curiosity, the nifty Mars rover, has some pretty big shoes to fill. Some day, when we get people to Mars, we'll need to try and recover Curiosity and the other Mars rovers to put them into the proper museum.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Drake Calculator, Guild Wars 2 and a Joke

This is why you don't do stress tests on weekday afternoons then release on weekend nights and think everything'll be hunky dory. This, of course, being that Guild Wars 2 is suffering through the normal MMO launch pains of the servers having died. The next problem is that I have been sorely misunderstanding the Hall of Monument rewards; they are not starter weapons/armor. They are skins. On the one hand, this means they literally are purely vanity awards, which makes me happy. On the other hand, this means I was wrong, which makes me unhappy.

So, while you wait for the servers to come back up, play with this. It's just... SPACE! If you recall, I actually wrote about a lecture I attended that covers NASA's attempts to find these habitable planets. The short end being, this is so totally awesome I needed to share it.

----

P.S.,

Oh yeah. My joke.I am sure other people have thought of it. But, ahem.

Dairy Queen to increase its offering: Now offering Cool Treats, Hot Eats and Phat Beats.

... I'm not a funny person.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Things Matt Links: August 24

So. I've got some things to link! First, some high-tech paint. I can't even explain how cool this is because I don't fully get it either. Just... accept that it is cool. Please?

So, I've been following the Smithsonian blog telling us about how the world will end with robots and/or the sun exploding, but I'm also being reassured the world won't end. It's a delicate balance between my all-consuming fear and science. All-consuming fear tends to win though.

Dear God, I hope not.

The answer to this is simple: Never. That is why we are teaching them to speak People.

Look at this. It is a thing from the Quest for Glory people. Doesn't that make you feel nostalgic and happy? Now, look at this. Doesn't that make you feel nostalgic and old?

Last link is one that's made the rounds, I'm sure you've seen it. In other news, newsreader also confused to learn that knocking boots is not a term used to describe the process of removing mud caked onto them. Also, local newsreader totally confused as to why "making out like a bandit" doesn't get him the same strange looks. Newsreader completely perplexed as to why "Get me off" also caused laughter; does not understand nervous laughter when 69 is one of the pick four. He remains confused why when he shouts to his co-anchor: "Let's get busy," she only responds with nervous laughter.

People, this newsreader? This guy? He's quite possibly less skilled at sexual innuendo than I am.

Final note: Guild Wars 2 releases soon. The head start? Sooner.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Get It Fast, But Get It Right 2

Where "it" is the story. Journalism has been kind of going down hill lately. Because journalists are not taking my advice to not be suckers. Which means that sometimes a news organization needs to admit that they rushed to a bad faith assumption and accidentally slandered someone. Yes, calling someone a liar is slander, which is why the correction is so prominent. And the WaPo even tweeted an apology, so, kudos to them.

I think we should replace "Correction" with "Groveling for forgiveness" in this case. The WaPo shot its load early, was wrong, and then had to retreat under the withering fire of the Twitter-verse. Is it really that much effort to verify that the person your news organization wants to call a liar really is one before you jump on it? Though, it is unlikely a candidate for the highest office in our country would spell something wrong.

Wait, typos are common and happen routinely? The deuce you say?! Well, I guess that makes sense why the WaPo took the extra step to verify... wait, they didn't? Well then.

----

P.S.,

A few of those links are not like the others. Also, I did not realize I already had a post with this exact name, hence the 2.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bad Ideas: On Music, The Public Display Of

Someone needs to take this and this, as they are similar in theme, and do some sort of song and dance mash up in a public setting like this or this or this or this. Look, it's titled and labeled as a bad idea, OK? They can't all be winners. I'll try to have a good idea to balance it out later this week.

----

P.S.,

I now have a Bad Ideas tag. Because I have a lot of them. Hey, at least you got some Improv Everywhere links out of this. Because, I care.

Last Words on Zakaria Plagiarism

The whole cycle of the plagiarism story is coming to an end. While it was clear from the start what happened, and that it was unacceptable at most institutions, some held on and ignored it. CNN and Time didn't see enough of an issue with the plagiarism, and some at the Daily Beast insist it wasn't plagiarism at all, or in fact, racially motivated jealousy. It seemed that it should have been clear that plagiarism is unacceptable. Maybe the world of news aggregation has blurred the line between journalism and copy/paste. But, for now, at least, even Zakaria acknowledges what I went through pains to point out in my first post on this: academic institutions have clear policies on what counts as plagiarism and his actions fit the bill. Kudos to him for accepting responsibility with more than just saying "I'm sorry."

CNN and Time though? They've got some learning to do.

----

P.S.,

Good morning! I know I say I want to try and only have a post a day. But, if I do a quick hit like this in the morning, I might push out something else in the evening. How will you know if I do? Follow me on Twitter @mjs69002!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Random People, Random Places: Child at Mall

I was out at Fair Oaks yesterday (no geese sighting this time.) While I was there, I overheard the following conversation. I need to do a few more constructive things with my evening, so I figured I would add a new installment to random people, random places.

"Dad," said what looked to me to be a 13- or 14-year-old girl, "Mom says I can't wear this!"

The clear intent of her statement, of course, was to convince dad that this was an unfair decision by mom.

"Well," the dad said perfectly reasonably, "I think she knows more about women's clothes than me, so you should listen to her."

I thought this was funny. I doubt the girl in question did

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why Republicans Pay Little Mind to Politifact

Are you not interested in politics? Ok then, skip over this post entirely.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Panels on Preserving Playing Pong

The lecture I attended today was called "Playing Pong in 2100: How to Preserve Old Video Games." There was a live stream, but I've been unable to find it anywhere online. If I do find it, I'll put the link here. Before you read below the fold, you may want to get up to date on The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Smithsonian. Luckily, I have some insights on that front already. Once you've read that and seen this wonderful squirrel a nice young woman was feeding, you can click below to get actual coverage of the lecture.
So adorable!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Things Matt Links: August 17

Compare, contrast. One is an upbeat, positive message that everyone can get behind. It also is well put together, fun and great all-around. The other one? They talk about incivility and then... well. Just... one is good. I think you can tell which is which. Hint: The good one? Not the one that says they want a Jedi not a Sith. Though, I guess, since they say it is a parody, they are making fun of the people who would say things like that? It's just... Yeah.

Unacceptable CNN and Time

Zakaria keeps his job. Unacceptable. Plagiarism is a firing offense. It is not a journalistic lapse; it's plagiarism. I'm glad to see ethics are important to CNN and Time; it was plagiarism, even per Yale's standards.

Unacceptable CNN and Time. This is really disappointing; you're supposed to be journalists, act like it. So, now you know. Nothing wrong with stealing ideas. If you're famous enough.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From the Smithsonian Blog

Dear Smithsonian,

When one of the most comforting counter measures is: "We could just set a nuclear warhead off in our atmosphere and effectively destroy all technology, sending us back to the pre-electrical age at the minimum," you're... doing reassuring wrong. This is the sort of hubris that leads to our downfall.

This link was too fun to wait to share till tomorrow night's link round up.

Go have fun now.

Bakery, Caterers and Politics

A bakery refused to serve Joe Biden. A caterer wore a Romney shirt while serving Obama's food. Now, look, I think the Riverside Grill has it right: They don't care about their guests politics. "Just bring your money."

Now, I'm more OK with what the bakery did. From their explanation, it is clear that Biden wasn't asking for someone just to serve cupcakes. The way they explain it, it seems they thought that the campaign wanted to use it as a campaigning stop. So, maybe that was just some miscommunication between the two? I don't know. Maybe since I don't own and operate a small business, I just don't get it, but I think I wouldn't care whose money I was taking to operate legitimately. Heck, shouldn't I feel a smug satisfaction being so damn good at what I do, people I don't like are giving me money?

But, it is just tacky to wear the opposing team's colors when you're being paid to be there to serve. Man up, shut up, and do your job. Believe it or not, it is possible to do a job without letting politics color the occasion. It isn't like you were being sandbagged into serving the KKK. He isn't just the President of the United States, he's your customer. Even if you don't agree with him, I feel like it is rude to go out of your way to embarrass him.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Concept of End Game

Part of the problem with MMOs, I think, is that there needs to be a new concept of "end game." Everyone (including me!) wants "end game" gear, this is reasonable. Not everyone (including me!) wants to do end game raiding. The main catch, I think, is that we need to define end game the same way we do in a single player game.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

F-Bomb: In the Dictionary

No, literally. I guess it matters how you view the dictionary whether this is a good or a bad thing. If you view it as the sort of official lexicon of a language, that which is accepted and recognized, then this was an inevitable result. If you view it as something else, a sort of gatekeeper of language, guarding it from the barbarians at the gates, then this is a bad thing. I am undecided as to my thoughts on the matter. So, convince me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Plagiarism Is a Firing Offense

There seems to be some extremely slow feet dragging at CNN and Time. Fareed Zakaria seems to have been suspended for a month for plagiarism. Now, the interesting thing with this is this is right on the heels of Jonah Lehrer resigning in disgrace for fabricating some quotes (which I learned about at Ann Althouse's blog.) The New Yorker, apparently, holds its writers to a higher ethical standard than Time and CNN.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Entering Hero Academy

Hero Academy is a game I didn't think much about, but after playing, I approve of. The strategy and luck combine into a nice bit of tension. The game hinges on economy of action, making good trades and avoiding making equal or bad trades. Board development is important. All in all, it is a perfectly solid strategy game, especially for mobile devices. Through Steam, it goes a bit slow, but you can leave it minimized in the background except for when the little pop up appears telling you to take a turn. Like it just did.

Aren't they adorable?