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Huyderman's Rants'n'Stuff

Random tought's from the mind of an Geek and Discordian

This Blog is dead, long live my blog!

I'm officially stopping updating this blog now. I've had some problems with the auto-updates, and I've been consolidating my blogs into just the ones I actively use. I won't be deleting my livejournal for archive purposes, but I'll probably won't be posting new content.

My main blog is over at huyderman.com. If you want to read more of my ramblings, this is where you should head over. Also check out my twitter feed for a live stream of my ramblings.</a>


Todays little piece of "WTF" code

I came over this little gem in our (C#) code today (formatted for clarity). It converts a date from a log to a DateTime object.

var s="04/03 06:06:00" //< Example input  var d = DateTime.Now; d = new DateTime(2010, //year Convert.ToInt32(s.Substring(3, 2)),     //month Convert.ToInt32(s.Substring(0, 2)),     //day Convert.ToInt32(s.Substring(6, 2)),     //hour Convert.ToInt32(s.Substring(9, 2)),     //minute Convert.ToInt32(s.Substring(12, 2)));   //second if (d > DateTime.Now) { d = d.AddYears(-1); }

Can you spot the WTF(s)?

Framework adoption process

I've identified what seems to be a fairly typical process for me when it comes to adopting various technologies and frameworks.

  • Need to start working with a platform or technology and find a framework that is easy to use or does what I need well.
  • Get frustrated with the limitations of said framework, and start hacking it.
  • After further hacking and frustration with limitations, scrap the framwork and start working with the given technology at a low-level.
  • Get tired of reinventing the wheel, and adopt a lightweight or modular framework that provides what I want and let me do the rest.

This was pretty much how I've learned PHP, and strikingly similar to how I've adopted to many other technologies as well. Do anyone else have similar patterns?

Getting back to rocking out

I've been complaining a lot lately that I need to start practicing on my guitar again. Since moving and starting a new job and everything, I haven't really gotten myself to sit down with it.

But I've gotten a boost again now, thanks to Elaine. For our 10-month anniversary/early-valentine she got me a new guitar manual and tab-book. But she didn't just stop there, for she also got me a Wonder Woman lunchbox filled with small presents, one for each time I practice, and a larger present for when I've practiced 20 times. Do I have the best girl a geeky wannabe guitarist could have or what?


Sony has just released the 3.56 system update patch for the PlayStation 3. The changelog states "A security patch has been added", in truth it's a patch to prevent jail-braking. It's just over a month since the 3.55 patch was released, with a similar sparse changelog. I'm getting really annoyed at Sony. I'm not currently using any homebrew or jailbreak on my PS3, although I'm not alien to the idea, but rolling out a required1 patch with no benefit for the consumer at all, is really bad form. At least companies like Apple and Nintendo bundle their anti-homebrew patches with token features, which gives the update an ostensible benefit for the end-user. And I'm still annoyed about them for removing the "OtherOS" functionality...

Luckily I'm not alone in this opinion. Here in Norway, an complaint has been filed against Sony by the Norwegian Consumer Council concerning the removal of the OtherOS function.

[1] Yeah, sure you don't have to update. But if you don't you loose access to PSN, which blocks a lot of features, especially if you've shelled out for PlayStation Plus like I have.


Having fun with SingStar Dance

I'm showing off my dancing skills while Elaine bravely tries to sing a song she's never sung before.

Happy New Year!

Download now or watch on posterous
p1489.mov (39972 KB)

Me and Elaine watching the New Year fireworks. I got a New Year kiss! ;)

Christmas Lunch

Enjoying a nice Christmas lunch together with Elaine

Arcon RPG tags

For many years Arcon has used å system where games are marked with  Easy,  Medium and  Hard difficulty. Easy is described as requiring no knowledge of the rules, Medium as former knowledge of the rules is recommended, and Hard requires knowledge with the rules. Previously, they have also included a mention that people new to the could win at Easy, but shouldn't expect it in a Medium game. In addition, some games are marked with a symbol to indicate there will be a rules explanation at the beginning of the game for new players.

I've never been too fond of this system. In my opinion, it's not really all that useful for RPGs. They originate from Arcons board game roots, especially evident with the mention of winning prospects. Most RPGs are fairly simple to play, at least with pre-generated characters. The usual assumption for most gamers when sitting down with an RPG they've never played, is that the GM will tell them what and when to roll something and they can just get on with the role-playing. For RPGs, overall role-playing experience is generally more important than familiarity with a specific rules-set.

In addition, these markings don't really tell anything about what kind of game it is. Is it an atmospheric game focused on deep role-playing, or a humorous dungeon-stomp? This is something which would be extremely useful information when browsing the program deciding what to play.

With this in mind, I'm proposing a new set of tags to be applied to RPGs on the program pages. I'm envisioning these both on the details page of the game, but also besides the names of the game in the overview. I'm formally going to present my suggestion on the next Programming Work-Group meeting in a week or so time, but I wanted to air my proposal and hopefully get some feedback before then. I proposing the following new tags, any comments and suggestions are welcomed.

  • Entry Level – This game is especially suited for players with little or no previous roleplaying experience. Suggested icon: A baby-rattle, a d6, etc.
  • Familiarity Required – This game has difficult rules and/or a requires good familiarity with the setting. Not recommended for players unfamiliar with the game/setting. Suggested icon: A stack of books, a d20, etc.

These two icons replace the Easy/Medium/Hard icons. They're mostly redefined meanings of the earlier markers, but to me these feels more right. They assume that in general, general role-playing experience is more important than familiarity with a specific rules-set. The "Entry Level" tag signals that a game is a good pick for someone with little RPG experience. The "Experience Required" marker signals an exception from the normal assumption, and the player should be familiar with the game.

Note that these two tags shouldn't be mutually exclusive. A game might use a rules light system accessible to new players, but base the setting on a popular TV-show and assume the players are familiar with it.

In addition to the two above,  I suggest the tags should be expanded to include the following:

  • Action – This game focuses on Action; Combat, Chases, Jumping from roof to roof, etc. Problems are generally solved by characters doing stuff and putting themselves in harms way. Suggested icon: Crossed sword, An explosion, etc.
  • Social – This game focuses on Social Interaction. Problems are generally solved by role-playing and interacting with NPCs on a social level. Intrigue and relationships are likely to be important. Suggested icon: A speech-bubble, etc.
  • Problem solving – The game focuses on solving problems, riddles, investigating clues, etc. Problems are generally solved by the players finding the solution to a problem. Suggested icon: Magnifying glass, puzzle piece, etc.
  • Atmosphere – The game has a focus on immersion and atmosphere. Players are expected to stay in-character, and meta gaming is discouraged. Suggested icon: Tragedy Theater Mask, Hamlet skull, etc.
  • Humor – This game has a focus on humor and comedy. The Rule of Funny applies, and other aspects of the game is less important if it interferes with a good joke. Suggested icon: Comedy Theater Mask, etc.
  • 16+ – This game handles mature subjects, and is only open for players at least 16 years of age. Suggested icon: A stylized 16+ icon. I'm very uncertain about this one. I'm unsure about it's effect, and necessity, but some organizers have been clamoring for something like this for years, so I'm including it for completeness.

 So that's my suggestion. I'd love any feedback, suggestions to other tags, etc. Lots of credit goes to the Regncon program-book, which has been an inspiration for this proposal.

Cleaning out the old

Today I cleaned out the old apartment, making it ready to hand over the keys on Monday. It was a weird feeling. It's been a monkey on my back since the break-up with my ex. Neither of us could afford it alone, and the market was shit, so selling it would mean large losses for us both. Not that I would want to live there anyway, it was too remote so I'd feel cut off from everybody in a place with way too many difficult memories and emotions attached.

So we rented it out, which seemed like the reasonable thing to do at the time. It worked out okay, but become more and more of a hassle. So after keeping the apartment for a couple of years past the break-up, it was time to get rid of it.

I'd be lying if I said it has been easy. In a period where I've felt stressed over not finding a job, it has been a lot of work, decisions to be made, deals to be done and gruelling waiting. Luckily I've had Elaine, I'm not sure how I would have managed without her. ♥

And the forthcoming Monday, I'm finally handing over the keys. A nice guy excited over owning his first apartment is moving in. I've got a nice place with my girl, which really feels like home in a way I haven't felt in a long while. But still, while dusting over the shelves today, I had a little pang of "I will miss this place"...