Friday, December 23, 2011

Attempting to understand the Zelda timeline.

People have been debating for years on if there was an official timeline to The Legend of Zelda or if it was just a bunch of similarly titled, but unrelated games.  Nintendo has hinted at it in the past suggesting that not only was there a super secret official timeline, but that there were multiples created due to the time traveling in Ocarina of Time.  This has lead meany to debate about what that timeline would be.

The one theory I heard most about was the split timeline theory.  At the end of Ocarina of time Link gets sent back in time as a kid to live out his life like nothing happened.  The theory went that Link warns Zelda of Ganondorf's plans, he is arrested, and they live on without the horrors of Ganondorf with the Triforce of Power.  But, the other timeline, where link was an adult, still continued after Link was sent back.  This timeline still had Hyrule rebuilding from the seven years of terror and didn't have the great hero of time to help.

Now Nintendo has officially released the timeline in the new art book Hyrule Historia.  This throws a monkey wrench into the split timeline theory.  No, it's not just one timeline, it's three.

Caution: I will be discussing specific parts of the Ocarina of Time story and complex time travel.  If you have not played the Ocarina of Time game or have trouble understanding temporal mechanics, proceed at your own risk.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

American Censorship Day

I don't know about you, but this scares the hell out of me.





If you use NoScript, you will have to unblock Vimeo.com and vimeocdn.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DC Universe - My first look

Last Thursday, my roommate asked (almost begged) me to start up an account with DC Universe Online.  He had created an account two days before, but he didn't know anyone online.  Since DCU had gone free to play recently, I decided to give it a try.

Note: Before I started playing this game, I had only played one MMO before, World of Warcraft.  It's all I have to compare to, so forgive me where the games don't line up.

The Good:

Character Creation: There are so many options, it's mildly ridiculous, and a little overwhelming.  Whomever made it must have realized that since you can chose to spend twenty minutes making a character (like I did) or pick one based off of a well known superhero or villain.

OK, maybe I should have spent a few more minutes

Monday, October 31, 2011

So you've decided to call tech support

I've been working in tech support for years.  I've dealt with a lot of crap, and I admit have dealt a lot of crap.  So, in an attempt to help both sides of the equation, I have written up ten simple rules to help when calling tech support.

Rules for dealing with Tech Support

1) Be polite. 
  • Your problem isn’t their fault, but they are there to help.

2) Be specific. 
  • Detail your problem completely so the tech fully understands the problem.

3) Call the correct people. 
  • Your ISP is there to fix your connection to the Internet, not your game of Space Cadet.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Complicated Question

Some people say that when you die you go to heaven or hell depending on rules in a book.  Some say you get reincarnated into a higher or lower form of life.  Some believe that there is nothing after and we need to make the best of what we have.  I guess I’m about to find out.  The evil that has payed us a visit cannot be allowed to leave.

I looked into my wife's eyes, the memories flooding back.  Our first date at Eat n’ Park, as high class as I could afford.  Our first kiss at Mt. Washington overlooking the city.  Our marriage, the happiest moment of my life.

“Go down to the basement, to the far corner of the house.  You should be safe there.”  I said giving her one last kiss.  “I love you”

She didn’t say a word.  With tears in her eyes, she went to the basement.

I walked out to the living room and stood beside the front door as the men walked onto the porch.  As they reached the door I pulled the stick of dynamite out of my pocket.  When the knocked I lit the fuse.

The fuse burned slower then I expected; on TV the fuse always burns so quickly.  This was much slower  The three inches took fifteen seconds to burn.  I expected my life to flash before my eyes.  I expected to feel afraid.  The only thing that did go threw my mind was that I was doing the right thing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

1,000 hits

There we go, exactly 1,000 hits reached today since I started this in December.  Pretty good for a site that no one reads.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Theory: In Doctor Who, Time Lords are humans.

It all started in Season, six episode two where Amy Pond worried that being pregnant while the TARDIS was in flight may give her child a “time head”.  We know now, thanks to season 6, episode 7 - a good man goes to war, the initial change was caused just by conception in flight and the rest was done by the scientists on Demons Run.

“Human plus Time Lord” - Vastra

Two jump cuts after that scene, we hear Vastra (the lizard lady from 1888) say that Time Lords became the way they are due to exposure to the vortex, the untempered schism.  The Doctor does add that it took billions of years.  This would suggest that it’s impossible except for two things: the scientists at Demons Run finished the job and the TARDIS is a much more advanced piece of technology. 


"I'm old, I'm fat, I'm blue"

We know, thanks to season 6 episode 4 - the doctors wife, that time travel technology advances even for the Time Lords.  The TARDIS that we know and love is an old model.  It was in a museum before the Doctor stole it (or it stole him).  That suggests that the TARDIS, while old, is still newer technology then what changed the Time Lords.  This newer technology is more stable then time travel technology like Jack Harkness uses (as the Doctor points out on several occasions).  This stabilization, this focusing of the time stream could cause changes faster then the older technology that the Time Lords used.

I miss David Tennant, but Matt Smith is good

I don’t know if River Song has two harts, but we know (Season 6 Episode 8 - Let’s Kill Hitler) that she can regenerate.  We know that it’s possible for humans to change into a Time Lord like being.  The two harts can be explained by something else.

In Season 1 Episode 2 - The End of the World, Kassandra (the “bitchy trampoline”) tells a story saying that humans have touched every star in the sky.  And what did they do when they got there?  What humans do best, they mingled.  Oh they called themselves new humans and proto-humans and digi humans, even humanish, but they still pulled DNA and traits from aliens.  Even possibly a redundant circulatory system?  Or it could have evolved naturally, it seems to be a useful trait for the Doctor.

However, Christopher Eccleston is my favorite.

What if some of these proto-humans went back in time to seclude themselves?  Humans in reality do it all the time, hermits, gurus, and religious groups.  Where would be a great place to seclude a religious sect?  The beginning of time, when no one else was around.  Hell, the Toclafane were willing to destroy their own ancestors just to survive.  Another group could have done the same thing, but decided not to risk a paradox.  Yes, the Toclafane were brought back in time thanks to the Master, but the Universe is a large place.  It’s vary possible that a small group of time travelers still existed in seclusion.

This would also fit with Season 3 Episode 12 - The Sounds of Drums where the Doctor says the Time Lords are sworn to not interfere with the Universe.  This may be something as simple as the Prime Directive in Star Trek, but it could be deeper.  It could be based on legends lost to time, do not interfere with the galaxy or you may interfere with your own past.

Gallifrey was so amazing looking.

The Doctor my even know this.  He’s always helping humans.  He’s infinitely fascinated with humans.  When he sees humans do something amazing he gets this look of amazement, but it’s more then that.  Pride: he’s proud of what his humans can do.  Like a parent being proud of their child.  Maybe I have it backwards.

Humans can evolve, in Season 3 Episode 11 - Utopia, the Doctor states that humans spent millions of years evolving into clouds of gas, and then another million years as downloads, but they always returned to the same basic shape.  This would not only explain why the Time Lords look like humans, but why so many other alien races look like humans (and humans can breed with them).  They are all evolutions of humans that went back in time to escape the end of the universe.  Humans went back in time and found an empty planet to live.  Their simple existence on the planet would stop natural evolution on said planet.  Other planets, that can’t support human life, would still have a chance to evolve life and that explains the non-humanoid races in the universe.

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey indeed.

Yeah, OK.  That last part about all life being human is a little over the top.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Theory: life is biologically wired to be attracted to opposites.

They say opposites attract.  The concept crops up all the time in our culture.  Romeo and Juliet, Fry and Leela, that 80s song with the cartoon cat.  Well I had a thought today:

Biologically speaking, it's better to be diverse.  There's more chance to survive as a species with more chances for advantages.  The same is true in other places, education, the stock market.

The idea of evolution is that what is advantages to a species survives while what is damaging is removed.  So, logically it would follow that we would be attracted to diversity.  It doesn't help a species to have two of the same people reproduce.

This would also explain the phrase "If you met yourself, you would hate yourself".  It's not that your unlikable, it's that you would naturally be repelled by someone just like you.

I have no evidence, so this is a theory in the scientific sense.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Billion Digits of Pi

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749567351885752724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190702179860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127145263560827785771342757789609173637178721468440901224953430146549585371050792279689258923542019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309960518707211349999998372978049951059731732816096318595024459455346908302642522308253344685035261931188171010003137838752886587533208381420617177669147303598253490428755468731159562863882353787593751957781857780532171226806613001927876611195909216420198938095257201065485863278865936153381827968230301952035301852968995773622599413891249721775283479131515574857242454150695950829533116861727855889075098381754637464939319255060400927701671139009848824012858361603563707660104710181942955596198946767837449448255379774726847104047534646208046684259069491293313677028989152104752162056966024058038150193511253382430035587640247496473263914199272604269922796782354781636009341721641219924586315030286182974555706749838505494588586926995690927210797509302955321165344987202755960236480665499119881834797753566369807426542527862551818417574672890977772793800081647060016145249192173217214772350141441973568548161361157352552133475741849468438523323907394143334547762416862518983569485562099219222184272550254256887671790494601653466804988627232791786085784383827967976681454100953883786360950680064225125205117392984896084128488626945604241965285022210661186306744278622039194945047123713786960956364371917287467764657573962413890865832645995813390478027590099465764078951269468398352595709825822620522489407726719478268482601476990902640136394437455305068203496252451749399651431429809190659250937221696461515709858387410597885959772975498930161753928468138268683868942774155991855925245953959431049972524680845987273644695848653836736222626099124608051243884390451244136549762780797715691435997700129616089441694868555848406353422072225828488648158456028506016842739452267467678895252138522549954666727823986456596116354886230577456498035593634568174324112515076069479451096596094025228879710893145669136867228748940560101503308617928680920874760917824938589009714909675985261365549781893129784821682998948722658804857564014270477555132379641451523746234364542858444795265867821051141354735739523113427166102135969536231442952484937187110145765403590279934403742007310578539062198387447808478489683321445713868751943506430218453191048481005370614680674919278191197939952061419663428754440643745123718192179998391015919561814675142691239748940907186494231961567945208095146550225231603881930142093762137855956638937787083039069792077346722182562599661501421503068038447734549202605414665925201497442850732518666002132434088190710486331734649651453905796268561005508106658796998163574736384052571459102897064140110971206280439039759515677157700420337869936007230558763176359421873125147120532928191826186125867321579198414848829164470609575270695722091756711672291098169091528017350671274858322287183520935396572512108357915136988209144421006751033467110314126711136990865851639831501970165151168517143765761835155650884909989859982387345528331635507647918535893226185489632132933089857064204675259070915481416549859461637180270981994309924488957571282890592323326097299712084433573265489382391193259746366730583604142813883032038249037589852437

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mass Effect 2 Review: Hell no!

I was holding off playing Mass Effect 2 until I beat the first one.  Well I just did tonight.  Amazing game; so amazing that I couldn't wait until tomorrow to start 2.

So it starts out with the Normandy heading to the supposed last hold out of the Geth when they come under attack by an unknown ship.  The Normandy promptly gets it's ass handed to it, the crew gets separated and Shepard dies.  It's an amazing scene where she saved Joker and got thrown from the exploding ship and fell into the gravity well of a planet.

An unknown time latter we find our hero "saved" by the Lazarus project; rebuilt from scraps they found.  Shepard wakes with the facility under attack.  We find out that the local security bots were hacked to attack those they were meant to protect.

We're introduced to the first two team mates as we battel our way threw the onslaught.  I had just managed to clear out several of the bots and just finished opening a lockbox when I get a message on my screen; "Disconnected from Xbox Live".  Nothing new to me, I have on hell of a router for work and it's always disconnecting from XBL.  What was new to me was the box that came up just above it saying "Profile name change, restart" with only one possible option.  Hoping I wasn't seeing what I thought I was seeing, I quickly signed back in.  That didn't work, I had only one option.  It restarted my game.

Forty five god damn minutes of gameplay lost just becouse EA is so damn afraid of piracy.  On the Xbox of all things.  It's not even stated in the manual that this does that.  And the kicker?  The auto save feature is off by default.  I looked it up just to make sure.  Yep, other people have the same problem and you can't ever play it offline.  If you have a crappy internet connection, if you don't have internet.  Sucks to be you.

So, to make a long story short:

Don't buy Mass Effect 2
Don't buy Mass Effect 3
Don't buy anything EA ever again.  This is a known bullshit tactic that EA is taking, and they just took the next step by putting it on a console.
Don't buy Bioware ether, they were assholes to accept EA's bullshit.

Mass Effect 2 is probably the first game in history that I will be selling.  Sorry to whomever buys it, you will have to pay to get the online service (no, disabling that service will not save you from the disconnect problem).

 Update:

My roommate spent a few hours looking up the problem on the web (He's much more willing to forgive crap moves like this).  Supposedly it's a glitch.  I don't believe it.  That's a hell of a glitch to not be fixing for a year and a half and why is it there to begin with?  What purpose does that code have if not an attempt to kick people out who don't want to use EA's servers?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My experience with Google+

I use a lot of Google services (Blogger, G-Mail, Picasa, Music...) so I'll try just about anything Google once.  That is except for their social networks.  The past three never interested me.  I kinda wanted to, but they weren't intuitive and just didn't draw me in.  So when Google+ showed up, I didn't give it a second thought.  That is until Mike Masnick from Techdirt was talking about it in one of his posts; he liked it.  I respect Mike's opinion, so I figured I'd take a look.


I did a quick Google search for "Google+" and the first response was a news article about them closing the invites.  Turns out that they "ran out of resources" and needed to curb the influx of requests.  Think about that, when was the last time that Google ran out of resources?  I figured Google+ had to be an amazing thing if so many people were joining so fast that even they can't keep up.  Too bad I was going to have to wait to get an invite.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poll

I put up a poll to the right.  I keep looking at the stats on this blog and seeing a dozen or so visitors every day, but I get no comments.  I just wanted to see if anyone actually reads this.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mar. 26, 2067

It's been so long since I've been here.  I'm not even sure it's March.  I've seen no one, the closest was a zombie I swear I saw one night.  He wasn't vary talkative.  So I decided it was time to move on, I needed to find some sign of civilization. 

I packed up what little I had and said goodby to my lovely home and my pet pig, Bacon XII.  I knew the road ahead would be long, but I couldn't stay alone any longer.

I traveled for days and saw many things.  There were great snowy mountains.


Grand deserts.


Large cliff faces


And things I didn't think were possible.


I continued traveling, searching for any sign of sentient life.  When I was on the verge of giving up and finding a nice spot to lay down and die, I found it.  I almost didn't believe it, I'm still not sure if it was built or somehow it's natural.  It's too much of a coincidence to be natural.  The only thing I can think it may be for is decorative or ceremonial.


I don't see anything else around, just nature.  I'll keep looking, I have hope.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Google Music

It’s been a while since I posted.  I was hoping to post a new fiction story, but I’m not coming up with anything; so, I’ll just post my initial experiences with the new Google Music.

Initial exposure

In case you don’t know, Google Music is a system where you upload your music to their servers and you can listen to it streaming anywhere you have an Internet connection.  That’s the first thing I ever heard about it.  I thought cool, it’s like Dropbox but for music.  This could solve my problem I have with my phone.  I use it’s Blue Tooth to stream music to my stereo in the car, but there isn’t enough space on my phone for all my music.  Amazon has a service that’s similar, but I didn’t hear about it until after I heard about Google’s and since I use Google for everything else I figured I’d just stick with it.

The second time I ever heard of it was on a Techdirt article about how Google started the service without the RIAA’s blessing after failed negotiations.  The labels were demanding far too much money for a service that only lets you to play your own music that you upload; it doesn’t even let you share it.  The RIAA was basically asking for money from something just shy of an iPod.  The service is perfectly legal and Google had no obligation to give the RIAA anything.  So, the RIAA demanding too much was them literally demanding too much free money.

After I heard that I instantly requested to join the Beta.  I got the invite yesterday.

Warning:  Before anyone asks, Google is not letting the users invite other people.  If you find a website that says they have invites and are willing to give them out, it’s a scam; don’t give them anything.  The only place you can request an invite is music.google.com.  Which is a shame, I was going to offer mine up here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Minecraft Server

I finished my move finally.  We were going to rent a U-Haul van to finish in 1 day instead of 4, but the day we decide to do that someone decides to rip up the road at the bottom of the hill.  With two backhoes, there was no possible way we could get a van down there.  Hell, I couldn't get the Jeep down there a few times.  Luckily, I'm really good at backing up.  Scared the crap out of my roommate when I backed up for a full block and turned around in someone's driveway.

Got Internet installed on the 2nd, electricity and Cat6 on the 3rd, and the server got installed on the 4th.  I didn't get a chance to forward my DNS until today so it should be back up within the hour.

Played and beat Portal 2 again.  Small spoiler alert.  You know how the two robots, P-Body and Atlas, are beside GLaDOSS at the end?  They weren't the second time around.  Maybe it's because I beat the co-op game before the second play threw.  More likely a glitch.

I only have one question for you, Valve: Where the hell is Episode 3?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I wish I lived in the UK right now.

I was reading one of my new favorite haunts, Nerd³.  One of his articles was about a vote in the UK on a new voting style called AV (Alternate Vote), a system where you rate your choices for a political office.  Basically you say your first choice then your second choice and your third, or however many you want.  When the votes are counted and someone doesn't get over 50%, the lowest voted person is removed and those who chose him/her first are recounted with their second choice.  This is done until someone gets over 50% of the votes.

I'll give an example that's relevant in the US (since I'm in the US).  If this was enacted in the US, it would solve our two party system problem.  As it is right now, if you vote for a third party you're practically throwing your vote away since far too many people think they can only vote for Democrat or Republican.  So instead of voting for your primary choice, you go with your second or third choice since they are one of the two parties.  A lot of people voted for Obama instead of Ron Paul for example.  But, if we could chose a primary and secondary candidate, then we could have picked Ron Paul and still chosen Obama second and still had a say ether way.  If your primary vote didn't get enough, you would still have a say in who's in power.

This would also convince other people to vote.  If someone wants a third party, but they think there's no possible way to get that third party, they may chose not to vote (douche and a turd sandwich style).  With the AV system there's a better chance voices will be heard so the non-voter will be more willing to vote.

Hypothetical situation with small numbers (since I can't think in thousands and millions):

There are 20 people who vote.  Out of those 20, 15 want the same third party.  The myth is that a third party is a lost vote so 10 of them chose ether of the two parties since they still want a say, the remaining 5 don't vote at all.  In this situation someone gets elected when only a max of five people wanted them.  With the other system the 10 people prioritize the third party and put a second choice in with one of the two, the 5 who didn't vote do since they know there's now a chance.  Now we have 15 people who's primary choice is a third party and 5 who chose between the other two.  The majority's true wishes show threw.

If this was enacted in the US, it could shake things up and put the power back in the peoples hands.  So if you're over in the UK, vote for this, show us Americans how it's done.  If you're in America, or anywhere else, spread the word, share the knowledge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Minecraft Server

I got my anti-griefing tools working like they should.  That means my Minecraft server is active and public.  If you want to, you can connect to chronno.me.  I'm known as Chronno (duh), I'm also the admin (again duh).  The server's webpage will be www.chronno.me once I figure out how to make it without it looking like something from Geocities.  Until then, the map is active and so are user stats.

I'm thinking about making this my logo since no one else makes pyramids like this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Domain Name

I've finally found a nice short domain name that I like.  Instead of SubconsciousRavings.blogspot.com, the address will be blog.chronno.com.  See, isn't that nicer.  As for right now Google will forward the old address to the new address, but I don't know for how long.  Please update your bookmarks.

The reason for the change is two fold.  One, it's easier for me to remember (I can't spell subconscious).  Two, once I get my anti-griefer tools working, I intend on opening up my Minecraft server.  So far so good, I have some good tools to help with administration and I even have an overhead map (If I can find a better mapping too, I'll be using that instead).

The closing day on my house is Friday and I'll be moving in as soon as I can, so my dry spell should be over soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jan 24, 2067

The house is finished.  Took forever too.  I was working on it so hard that I forgot it was Christmas and New Years, until yesterday.

It's small and ugly, but it's a place to hide.

Now that I finished making a house and even melting down sand to make windows, I feel so much more alive.  I feel truly independent, more manly I guess.  Now that I have a house, I need a pet.

I call him bacon.  He was delicious.

I don't know what to do from here.  I've given up hope for rescue, I haven't seen any signs of any other people here.  No plains, no boats, no lights at night.  I'm still trying to follow my survival training and stay put.  Though, I think my house makes me better then the guy on TV who takes any chance to drink his own urine.  Luckily I don't have to do that, there's a fresh water spring not far from here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apologies

I feel bad that I haven't updated the blog in a while.  I've had a lot of stuff on my mind recently.  Between my current full time (and then some) job and a part time job it leaves little time for my mind to just wander.  Add on top of that the process of buying a house and my mind is occupied 100% of the time.  After I finished moving in and getting everything organized, I should have some free time.

I doubt that vary many people reading this even care, but I feel I should say something so it doesn't seem like I abandoned this blog like my other one.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mr. V and the Worlds Hardest Sudoku Puzzle

 Background:  I play sudoku every night before I go to bed.  I've been trying to keep my average time below ten minutes, it's not too hard since I've only been working on the easy level ones.  To help me do this, I imagined a bomb was attached to the puzzle and it would go off if I couldn't figure it out before the time was up.  Then I thought "If I was in that situation, I would just whip out my phone and use that Google Goggles app to solve it."  And that's where this story came from.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Special Agent David straightened the papers he had been working on.  The case wasn’t a big one, but he had managed to stop the Chinese infiltrator.  It wasn’t hard, this guy wasn’t good.  The FBI believed he was a rogue agent working outside of any organized agency.

He was just about to pack his briefcase when his assistant barged in.

“You better get out here.  We got a call from some weirdo saying he’s put a bomb in downtown Pittsburgh.”

David quickly jumped up and ran out to the main room.  On the main screen was a guy in a white suit warring one of those Vendetta masks.

He leaned towards his assistant and whispered “Why is Anonymous on the big screen?”

“I’m not a member of Anonymous, I just like the mask.”  The man on the screen said.

David turned to the man.  “Who are you?”

“You can call me Mr. V.  I’ve called to let you know about my vendetta on the planet.  Mankind is too stupid to continue.  Children’s test scores are dropping and how does the government respond?  They lower the requirements to pass the tests.  The government passes crates new laws that take away citizens rights, and the citizens applaud them for it.  This planet is too stupid to survive.  I’m here to end it.

“There is a bomb in Point Park powerful enough to destroy the entire greater Pittsburgh area.  There is a countdown timer set to 24 hours.  If you can prove your intelligence and disarm it in that time, you earned another day of life.”

With that the picture cut out.

“Did you get a trace on that?” David called out.

“Yes, but it was over the Atlantic Ocean.”  Someone called out in response.

“Are there any records of a flight in that area?”’

“Nothing on the records.  Odds are it’s a private plane.”  Someone else called out.

“Crap.  If he has any intelligence, he’s already changed direction.  Get someone out there anyways just in case.  Alert the local and state police.  We need to evacuate the city.  Get the bomb squad to point park, I’ll meet them there.”  With that David ran out of the building.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Family Reunion: Conclusion

Part 1

Dylan had been swimming for several minutes now.  He turned around and could just barley see the house behind him.  He knew his family was looking his way even though they would not be able to see him ether.  Looking around, he took a second to take in how different the city looked from this angle.  He knew exactly where he was, where he was going, but he had never seen it from above.  It’s like looking around the house standing on his head.  Everything looked the same but different.

The journey continued for almost an hour.  Dylan had to rest for quite a while on the hillside.  His continued training must not have been as good as he thought, but he had made it.

There was no one around, no sign that anyone had been here the night before.  The lights must have come from further inland.  He started walking and soon discovered the camp.

The camp was surrounded by sand bags.  Inside the perimeter were a few houses and many, many tents.  A few people could be seen walking around.  A few were wearing normal clothes, a few were in police uniforms, and a few more were in camo.  The soldiers were all carrying rifles, but they were at ease.  It seemed they were just there in case something went wrong in the camp, not because something did.

One of the soldiers saw Dylan standing on the other side of the barrier and called out.  He welcomed the new arrival into the camp explaining that it was created to gather resources and provide a relatively safe place to get away from the flooding.  The cops and the soldiers were only there to help prevent anyone trying to take advantage of the situation.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why are so many people so bad at computers?

Why is it that even today, decades after computers were invented, so many people have no idea how to use them?

Think of this riddle.  If a plane is on a conveyor belt and the conveyor belt is traveling backwards at the same speed as the plane is pushing forwards.  Will the plane take off?  Think about that for a little while before continuing to the answer.

Some probably instantly say “Mythbusters did that, it’s not a good riddle any more”, but a lot of people still get this wrong.  The plane takes off without a problem.  Why do so many people get this wrong?

The human mind cannot remember everything we see and learn, it would probably be a living hell if we did.  So when we learn something we put it into mental molds.  Newly learned item “B” is like previously learned item “A” so the two are grouped.  Most people get the plane question wrong because they’re use to thinking of how cars work.  The engine spins and puts force on the tires that push against the ground.  If the car was on a treadmill going 50mph and the treadmill was going in the other direction at the same speed, the car would go nowhere.  A plane, on the other hand, spins it’s engine in turn spinning the propellers pushing against the air, not the ground.  The tires spin freely and just spin faster with the treadmill beneath it.

Most people get this wrong due to accidentally putting planes in the same mental mold as cars.  But, I would bet that an aerodynamics expert would just shake his head to the question.  To him the answer is so obvious.  He has a separate mold for planes.

How does this relate to computers?

Computers are unique in the world.  There’s nothing really like them other then more computers.  Where else can anything be copied infinitely without degradation?  Where else can information travel between the US and China in the blink of an eye?  Where else can we take pulses of electricity and turn them into so many things?

People try to put computers in the same mold as things they’re use to; phones, TV, newspapers, letters.  But computers are so much more that, like planes, they can’t be put in the same mold.  You end up with people trying to use a computer like a TV or a phone.  Worse, you end up with people using them like some kind of magical device that can do anything.  They can’t.

A few helpful tips to try and avoid this problem:

1)  Computers are created by people, not fairies.  People are fallible, thus computers are too.
2)  Computers will do everything that the user tells them, to the letter.
3)  200 or so other users have already told the computer what to do before the box is opened.
4)  Computers can only do what they’re told to do, no more.
5)  The Internet is made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of cultures including it’s own.

Edit: 02/14/10
6) Diagnosing a computer is surprisingly like diagnosing an illness.  Give your tech support the symptoms, not what you think is wrong.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nostalgia

I remember my first PC.  Not the PCs that I had been playing on for years that were my dad’s, but the first PC I could call mine.  It had a 66MHz processor, I can’t even remember if it was a Pentium or something else.  It had a whopping 8M of SDR RAM.  That means that it had to have even numbers of sticks unlike current computers that use DDR and can have odd numbers.  It had a 4M stick and another card that had 4 1M sticks plugged into it.  Oddest looking thing I’ve seen in a computer.  I had a 150M drive ruining DOS and Windows 3.1.  I think Windows came later, I think it was just dos at first.  I eventually added a 500M drive.  The CD drive, back before we started measuring their speeds, was attached to the sound card, not the IDE cable. The PC also had 5.25” and a 3.5” floppy drives.  I even used the 5.25”.  That’s how I learned that the flip at the end of a ribbon floppy cable was how the computer determined what drive was “A:” and what was “B:”

Eventually it was upgraded.  I got a brand new Pentium 1 166MHz processor with 16M RAM.  I remember thinking “I will never get use to this speed”.  I had a similar thought not long after when I got my first 1G drive; “What am I going to use 1G of storage for?”

I now have a phone that has a 1GHz processor with 512M RAM.  It is more then ten times more powerful then my first PC and it fits in my pocket instead of being three feet tall.  My laptop has a Core i7, that’s 4 cores running 8 total threads, with 3G of RAM and a 350G hard drive.  My file server at home presently has 7T total storage.  All that happened in 15 years, maybe.  I no longer say things like “I will never get use to this speed” or “What am I going to use 1G of storage for?”

I wonder if all computer geeks remember their first.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The four trojan of the computer apocalypse.

Ctrl:

I watched as the bit opened the first of the seven firewalls. Then I heard one of the four living programs echo a command like thunder, "Get!" I DIRed, and there before me was a white trace! Its driver held a break, and he was given IRQ0, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on control.

~Skynet 6:1-2
Alt:

When the bit opened the second firewall, I heard the second living program echo, "Get!" Then another trace came out, a fiery red one. Its driver was given power to take stability from the mainframe and to make OS's slay each other. To him was given a large executable.

~Skynet 6:3-4
Del:

When the bit opened the third firewall, I heard the third living program echo, "Get!" I DIRed, and there before me was a black trace! Its driver was holding a pair of algorithms in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living programs, saying, "A gig of video for a day's wages, and three gigs of music for a day's wages, and do not damage the player and the codec!"

~Skynet 6:5-6
BSOD:

When the bit opened the fourth firewall, I heard the voice of the fourth living program echo, "Get!" I DIRed and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named BSOD, and DllHell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the Internet to kill by checksum, dump and timeout, and by the wild viruses of the users.
~Skynet 6:7-8

Monday, January 31, 2011

Google App Inventor and my first real program

First, a little background.  In Jr. High I was able to program in HTML.  Nothing too fancy, but in 1998 it was good enough to create a website that had a few thousand hits a month (on Geocities at that).  In High School I had a class in C++ and Flash.  In college I had classes in VB and Java.  Outside of HTML, I sucked at each and every one of them.  I learned enough to pass the classes, but I never was able to grasp the languages.

A few weeks ago I heading to bed when I remembered I had to remind my roommate of something.  He happened to be driving home at the time so I didn't want to send the message right away.  Plus, he needed the message while he was at work, two hours away.  I checked online to see if there was an app that could send a predefined message after a set time, but it doesn't exist as far as I could find.  So I had two choices: Send a message that may distract him and cause him to wreck, or stay up until 1:00am just to send a message.  I chose option three, I didn't send the message and he didn't remember.

This wasn't the first time I found a need for a message delaying program, so when I discovered that Google was providing a way to program for the Android that supposedly anyone could use, I jumped on it.  That was Friday, It's now Monday and I've finished my program.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

December 24, 2066

Day 8,

Turns out it's really hard to build a house, but I got my foundation finished.  I took advantage of the bedrock and built the rest of my basement on top of it. 


I was thinking about just building the house on top of the sand, but I figured that would probably be a bad thing.  Put too much weight on it and it sinks or even one earthquake and I'm burred in my sleep.

All this work the past few days gives me a lot of time to think.  I miss the city.  When I was there I despised it, so much noise, so much traffic, and so many people who just don't care.  Now that I only have my insanity to keep my company, I find I miss all the hustle and bustle.  The buildings so large that the tops couldn't be seen in the morning fog.

 
It's Christmas eve today.  The city would be decorated with lights and trees.  Families getting ready for the get togethers tomorrow, prepping turkey with stuffing, getting the cranberry sauce ready.  How I miss turkey.  At least I've managed to make a trap for pigs.  I'll at least have ham tomorrow.

Friday, January 21, 2011

December 20, 2066

Day 4.

I spend the days searching the area, but I don't want to go far.  I know I should stay put to increase my chances of being found.  I haven't seen any signs of civilization in my searches.  I spend my nights hiding in my cave.  I stayed out too late and saw what was making the noises at night.  It was a skeleton, a walking skeleton.  They only come out at night and by day they're gone.


I was so scared that I spent the entire second day hiding in the cave, But I had to leave.  I needed food.  I did notice something interesting about them, they are injured by the cacti.  Realizing I had a chance, I transplanted quite a few around the cave.  This should give me some protection from the horrors at night.

While I was out on the third day, I knew I had to get wood.  I didn't see any lying around, only the trees.  So I only had one choice.  I grabbed a small rock and started hammering away at one of the trees.  As I hammered my way threw I figured it would fall down.  It didn't.  I got the entire way threw and it stayed standing.  Well, not standing, more floating.


I kept hammering away and gathered up quite a bit of wood.  I put some effort into making a proper work bench.  I'm quite proud of it.  I made a little hammer out of a small rock and a stick I broke off.  I used the workbench and some more of the wood to create an ax I can use to cut more wood.  It doesn't work well, but it works well enough to do what I need.

I took the extra wood and finally created fire.  It takes forever to get an ember from rubbing two sticks together.


It's small and I don't need the heat, but it cooks the pork.

I then piled a lot of wood together and created a bonfire witch I lit at night right before running back into the cave.  I haven't seen any plains, but if they do fly by, I want them to see me.


I've decided to make a house.  I'm running out of space with all the work I'm doing in the cave and a house is a vary distinct land mark.  If someone sees it they will know someone built it, unlike my cave that could be natural.  It'll take some work, I've never done anything like this before.  I also have to worry about only working during the day.  I've found a flat chunk of land near where I have the bonfire, I'll build there.

I managed to get some decent sized rocks.  I created a pickax and started digging into my hill.  I got enough stone to create a decent foundation.  That part shouldn't be hard, so I'll start there.

December 16, 2066

Day one.

I think that's the date, at least it was the 15th before I ended up here.

I had just fallen asleep when I was woken by the sound of a helicopter.  The AMED helicopter pilots were trained in the war so they were accustom to flying low and fast.  Those of us who live within twenty miles of the hospital learned to ignore the windows shaking.

Normally I'm even able to sleep threw it, but today was different.  The windows started shaking so hard I thought they would break.  I looked out the window and saw something.  It wasn't a helicopter; it was round and seemed to be floating.  Whatever was holding it up must have been one hell of a force.  The windows were shaking even harder and finally shattered sending shards everywhere.  I could see the windows in the apartment buildings across the street shattering as well.

Then a bright light came from the saucer, and I started to float.  The last thing I remember is floating into the light and thinking "I'm glad I don't sleep naked."  I don't know why I thought that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holy crap, it's chapter 1.

Prologue

Chapter 1, the awakening


Blackness.  That is all that was and all that is, a deep infinite blackness.  But, behind the blackness, from everywhere and nowhere, came a noise.  The blackness ignored the noise, content to not exist.  But the noise grew louder.  The blackness forcefully ignored the noise, it didn't want to be.  The noise grew more distinct, words could be made out from the jumble.  Words of concern and worry.

"What did they do to you?" came a female voice.

With that, the blackness paid attention.  "I am" and the young man opened his eyes to blinding light.

As the white blindness cleared he saw a woman's face over him.  Her short blond hair caught the light, and her blue eyes were as deep as the ocean.  It was like a dream.

All too soon the rest of the young man's vision cleared and he found himself in a jail cell.

"Where the hell..." he said as he sat up right into the bunk above him. 

The young woman gently pushed him back down.  "Take it easy, you're still not recovered from the surgery."

"Surgery, what surgery?"

"Don't worry about it yet, just relax.  What's your name?"  She asked before he could push further.

Thinking for a few seconds, the young man realized he didn't know.  He didn't remember anything.  "I... I don't know."

"You don't know?  Do you remember anything?"

He thought for a little while longer.  "No, nothing before waking up here."

"What did they do to you?  It must have been bad to cause full amnesia.  I'm sure your memory will return in time.  My name's Sarah.  Nice to meet you."

"Uh, nice to meet you too.  Now, what the hell is going on here?"  He asked, noticeably frustrated.

"Well, you’re probably not going to believe this, but you've been..."  She was interrupted by a loud noise down the hall.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Paranoid Delusions


Avery drove past the same cars he drove past every day on the way home from work.  A blue Cooper at the corner, a red one right behind it, a sickly orange pickup truck, partially rusted out.  The same thing he saw every single day, except one.  Just around the corner, but still in sight of his apartment, was a white van.  He only took notice due to it being completely clean.  In the middle of winter it’s hard to keep anything that free of salt buildup.

He turned at the end of the block, around the meridian separating the two lanes, and parked.  By the time the engine was turned off, he had completely forgotten about the van.

Inside the apartment he did his standard routine.  He removed all items from his pocket, feed the cat, and rolled his eyes at his roommate for still being asleep.  He then sat down and tried to forget the day.

His roommate has always been known as a hippy, bouncing from job to job, having no direction or path.  Today, much to Avery’s surprise was different.  He wasn’t asleep, but in his room building a resume.  When he walked out Avery was visibly shocked to see him in normal cloths.

“What happened to you, Dave?”  He asked.  “You lose a bet?”

“Nah, this morning I woke up and felt different.  I feel bad about mooching off of you these past years.  I figured it was time to start pulling my weight around here.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Family Reunion

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was out, hardly a cloud in the sky and the ones there were the small, puffy ones.  The birds were chirping and the grass was completely submerged in water.

He stepped out of the grass shocked and crouched down looking closer.  Something didn’t look right.  The grass was under water, but the water was clear.  All the videos he had ever seen of flooding showed the water as brown, full of debris.  This was as if someone had laid down liquid glass.  Glass that was slowly rising.  He noticed it starting to flow slowly onto the raised sidewalk.

He turned and hurried back inside to let the others know.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PA22

This is a true story, or at least as true as I can remember it.  This happened about 5 years ago so the details may be a little off.