28 February 2005

This the end...

From that song by the Doors, the one that played at the beginning of Apocalypse Now.
I know what you're thinking. For the record, no, it's not the end for the Widowmaker's Lair. But it s the end of my february break, and that means it's time for an update.

Matrix Online-- The beta is progressing smoothly. More bugs get ironed out every time I play, even though some of the MOST annoying haven't been fixed. The world is starting to look pretty and damm realistic, and now that my character is vaguely high level I'm getting into the hardcore fighting styles, Karate and Kung Fu specifically. Combat is fun and engaging, but I have to say that hand-to-hand is where it's at, freefire is just plain boring. Who wants to shoot a gun from far away when you can go dual-pistols IN THE FACE? No-one, that's who. Mission system is still not perfect, lots of building still have entry detection problems and some missions themselves are just broken. Contacts don't work well yet, so we're reduced to doing missions from our faction contacts (Alyndra or whatever her name is, Agent Gray, and Flood). Mission map is broken, making it impossible to find your teammates, and did I mention that coders have been neutered? It's now near-impossible to code essentials like health pills and buff clothing in any kind of volume, and the level requirements have been raised A LOT for crafted items. Haha, I'm glad I rely on stabbing people in the face with my fists.

Networking and techie news-- Linksys can blow me for designing a shitty router around the 802.11b protocol. Curse the bloody wireless router that doesn't have any bloody RANGE for all its size! I'm goiong down to crapUSA tomorrow to buy an antenna and if my parents don't want to reimburse me, I could care less. I want a GOOD connection and I'll be dammed if I'm going to let this bloody house stop me with its steel air ducts.

School-- A certain class I take in the morning is becoming a large annoyance and I'm pissed that I decided to take it. Not that I care what grade I get in it, but I seem to be doing obscenely well... more's the pity.

Life-- Going well. 18th birthday coming up in about a month (yay April 3rd) and I have knowledge that I am getting some VERY good presents, at least from one person ^_^

Reading-- King Rat by China Meiville, just finished Masters of Doom by John Kushner. Both are great. Still reading some Hammer's Slammers, too. I love David Drake, just can't help it.

"Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedieant to their laws we lie."
--Inscription at Thermopylae.

14 February 2005

The Matrix Has Me.

Well, I did it. I pre-ordered the Matrix Online. This means I'm going to be in the beta, AND get in SUPAH-EARLY to the regular game.... boy, am I gonna be power-leveling.
Is this going to impact the way I spend time? Yes. I may not have time to lead a CS:Source team all the way through to CAL. But it's not going to affect my schoolwork or my personal life. Game-time is seperate from real-time and nothing will come between me and the people I care about. I've worked too hard and loved too much to let my relationship degenerate.
Paper update--
Note to self, Starbucks is a TERRIBLE place to spend time. Awful music. Makes me homicidal.

09 February 2005

A Very Large But Finite Number Of Monkeys

It's been quite a while since my last post, so I'm going to try and fit in as much as I can before I lose interest in typing it all.

Google Blogger canned

First of all, I'm not surprised. Every company has to protect their investment, especially when that's an employee, and even though a blog is technically free speech, I don't see the EFF screaming and kicking over incidents like this. No EFF involvement, no change.

I've been busy with school, but it's a good kind of busy. I'm going to avoid commenting on my classes, teachers, et. Al, mostly because there are more interesting and less self-centered things I can talk about here. Also because I do have a fear of getting shit-canned if I say the wrong thing. My blog IS readable by all of UHS, and I frankly don't want to be on anyone's bad side; god knows I gave the administration enough reason to watch me in the first two years.

But, at the same time, I am going to have to post SOMETHING about the school, because in light of the recent expulsion of one of my friends, I need to speak. I think that a school's disciplinary actions are a private matter. That is to say that they are not open to outside discussion or enforcement. School is school, and home is home. When people outside the school get involved in school disciplinary matters, ESPECIALLY when these people are parents, it's bad for all concerned.

Having a child at the school you work for is a conflict of interest. It's not as great a conflict of interest as teaching your child at the school, but it is still larger than some specific people have grasped. I'm not going to advocate that parents be denied employment, it's just not smart to exclude their potentially valuable talents. But what is important is that the school administration be aware of the conflict of interest, even when the parent chooses to ignore it. It's a failure of this that caused the expulsion, and it sickens me. I don't want to be a part of an organization that bows to the selfish, ignorant wishes of one of its members, especially when those wishes directly conflict with the impartiality and fairness of a punishment.

The expulsion of Daniel Stifler was evilly motivated and not fair. There will be no further discussion.

Now on to other, happier things.
I got into the Matrix Online Beta Stress Test! I'm very excited about the game, and I am playing it, but I actually can't divulge any information that's not publicly available due to the NDA I digitally "signed." Boy, is that kind of stuff an up-and-coming issue of the internet. Suffice it to say that I'm playing it every spare moment that I get, and it has a good approach to the storyline. The combat system is fresh, despite its apparent simplicity, and incorporates all of the cinematic elements that we found so delightful in the theaters. The graphics are good if not the best I've ever seen, and may seem a little dated to those of us who play HL2, Doom 3, CS: Source and the like regularly. For an MMORPG, though, they are visually solid, conveying the feeling of the Matrix well. It has its bugs like any other game in beta, but so far I have only run into one show-stopper. But then again, I haven't done much. I wish I could give specific details on how cool it is to run around and.. well, I've got to stop there, because I don't want to attract any legal attention. The octopus-arms of the Warner Brothers legal department reach far and wide, I'm sure.
If you want more information, you can head to Data Node One, the official fansite. It's really the only place with substantial info at this point, and if you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO PLAY NOW DAMMIT, you can pre-order and get in on the action!

On the "my PC" front, I'm now as close to Microsoft-free as a PC can be while still running Windows. For a shell, I use Blackbox, a port of the famous fluxbox window manager for Linux. It's minimalist, good-looking, highly configurable and free. There actually isn't too much more someone could want in a shell. I'm slightly tweaked that I have to use windows explorer for actual file browsing, but that's just a single instance of the satanic engine and doesn't use nearly as much memory as the whole shebang, desktop and all.

Argh, I promised I would talk about school anymore, but I feel the need to say that I'm writing a paper on what Marin is for my Art of Nonfiction class. I think I'll just go downtown and sit in the Starbucks and listen to people, maybe even interview someone. That should provide me a lot of material. If there are any other suggestions, lemme know. Comments are there for a reason.