I make apps for other people

Posts from September, 2005

18 October 2005

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 30th, 2005 at 14:38

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Posted in Tech

I’m looking for an Apple announcement around 18 October 2005 regarding the PowerBooks. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but from what I’ve been reading:

  • Amazon and MacMall’s rebates for select PowerMacs and laptops run out around then (to be fair, they had rebates that expired 6 September, and 27 September as well),
  • Apple has supposedly put a lot more laptops than normal on the refurbished section of their store (especially the UK store),
  • a person posted that when looking for open box Apple deals at a computer store, the manager told him to wait until mid-October,
  • some Apple refurbs are being replaced with new product (or product numbers),
  • specials and discount programs are slated to end around 8 October 2005,
  • and the buyer’s guide bar indicates that we’re due for a PowerBook upgrade.

Tell me I’m making a big deal over nothing that will happen and that I should just go ahead and get the refurbished PowerBook 17″ 1.67 with Superdrive today.

Rationalizing a Powerbook

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 28th, 2005 at 13:22

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Posted in Tech

I’m very close to picking up a new LCD panel and Mac Mini for my wife–I just want to make sure that the 1.42 GHz ones are out of the channel before I commit to purchasing one. Along with this, of course, is the desire to upgrade from or replace my Dell Inspirion 8100. It’ll be four years old this November, the battery is truly shot, it’s got a potentially defective power supply, and I can’t even really use it to bot in DAOC (plus, I’m either playing Guild Wars or WoW these days anyway). While it’s potentially good for programming, web browsing, etc., especially if I invest in a new battery, I want more.

Life in a post-Palm world

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 28th, 2005 at 09:14

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Posted in Tech

I fear that when I need to replace or upgrade my inexpensive, constant companion, a Palm Zire 21, I’ll be forced to either use WinCE (sorry, Windows Mobile), or I’ll have to find a Linux handheld. I had great hopes for the Treo 650 (or successor) when my mobile contract expired next year, even with the problems people have had with the device and service, but given the news about the Microsoft port, I’m not sure I can countenance using it–the Treo 670 700w may have been on the market for nearly a year when I’m ready to change mobile providers.

Greg Costikyan lives his dream

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 28th, 2005 at 08:02

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Posted in Games

Greg’s risky venture, hopefully fulfilling his indie game publishing dream, is the most interesting thing I’ve read this week.

I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this. (Ow. The page . . . it hurts.)

Simulation of skill trending

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 23rd, 2005 at 15:35

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Posted in Design Journal, Python

In June, I created mechanics for permitting skill trending through use. Babylona’s recent post about uncapped skills reminded me about this, and since it takes a lot longer to write an MMO to test this than a simple test class, I wrote a quick proof of concept in Python.

Thinking about buying items

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 22nd, 2005 at 10:45

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Posted in Design Journal

I’ve been thinking about buying items in-game, in part as a way to get around the IGE RMT brouhaha, but also as a way to fund the game–as several MMOs and Chinese games are doing. See also, 1-ups for Sale: Korea’s Item-based Game Model.

Imagine that the game has lets anyone with a valid email address create an account (tied to the email address) with a single character slot. Additional character slots can be purchased for a nominal fee (say, $5 each) and will be permanently associated with that account. To encourage players to purchase additional character slots, my earlier idea about dynamic classing based on play style should not be used.

Justification: A player typically pays $40-50 for an MMO that has four to ten character slots per account or per server–and most players only play heavily on one or two servers. A player would need to purchase 10 slots before equalling the cost of a boxed MMO, minus subscription fees.


In the real world, we call them psychopaths

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 22nd, 2005 at 07:38

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Posted in Games

I was struck by how strongly people act like psychopaths in on-line PvP games.

Of course, I hear the “roar” of him dismount and obviously I expect the worse. He’s a warrior, so I wait for him to charge and stun me so I can blink out of it. He does, just like any warrior would do . . .

A few seconds later he tries again. The same exact thing happens. I continue skipping down the path some more until he then tries another time . . .

Of course, this may actually be a healthy release for some people.

In either case, this story explains why I don’t like playing on PvP servers: there’s too much chance for random gankage, the same reason I don’t walk through Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood, or visit the barrios of East L.A., or visited New Orleans before the scouring. In games, my fun doesn’t include being assaulted by other players and losing at the least time, and more often hard-earned resources or XP.

Little survivors of Katrina

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 21st, 2005 at 09:47

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Posted in General

I received this email today, written by my sister and forwarded by my father. It’s been slightly cleaned up.

Hey Guys ,

My friend Rachel lost everything. Her apartment was by the levee that broke. She has a little boy named Alex who is 3 1/2. I am putting a package together to send to her for Alex. If anyone would be interested, Alex lost all of his movies, toys and books. I am going to get together as much as I can. If anyone would like to help, I promise I will pass around a card. Anything would be great. Please let me know. Attached is a picture of Alex. His Dad is in Iraq.

Erika Robison
8790 Governors Hill Drive
Suite 300
Cincinnati, OH 45249

Toll free: 1-866-513-4074 Ext: 4972
Right Fax: 1-800-356-7490

—– Forwarded by Erika Robison on 09/20/2005 04:53 PM —–

To: rachelv@cox.net
From: Erika_Robison@Countrywide.Com
Date: 2005/09/20 02:38:09
Subject: How are you?

Please let me know. I would like to put something together for Alex. Just a little box of some cars and toys. If thats ok? Just let me know where I can send it. Talk to you soon!

To: Erika_Robison@Countrywide.Com
From: rachelv@cox.net
Date: 2005/09/20 04:25 PM
Subject: Re: How are you?

That’s so sweet. If you really want to know the truth, his whole collection of VHS videos and all his books were on the bottom shelves at home and I’m sure are ruined….just a thought. We will appreciate anything. You can mail them to me at:

Alex & Rachel
311 W. Beach Pkwy
Mandeville, LA 70448

thank you Erika….I will talk to you soon, when I get “home” tomorrow.

I’ve asked my sister what would be good to get for him and his mom. I hope other people hear about this family’s loss and do what they can for them, and for other survivors from New Orleans.

Alex, survivor of Katrina

Alex likes Batman, Spiderman, Monsters Incorporated, SharkTales, Nemo, Spot the dog books, and loves Peter Pan, Disney, and Dr. Suess. He wears size 3 pants, and size 10 shoes.

They’ve lost everything, and insurance won’t cover anything that has mold on it–only water damage is covered.

Linux training

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 20th, 2005 at 10:17

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Posted in Work

A couple years ago, I pitched the idea of a Linux/UNIX training course to a few people at work. I thought that this was a growth area for training, especially considering how many companies and clients in the area were migrating to or evaluating the use of Linux for servers. Unfortunately, before I could put together a good syllabus and advance the proposal, I was sent to Fifth-Third’s basement as a novice ClearCase administrator.

Recently, an email from a training placement company landed in my dead spam-filled old mailbox, and I noticed it contained a reasonable UNIX training syllabus, reminding me of my old plans. Below is a revised edition of the Linux/UNIX training course that I once wanted to create and teach.

Hip, young, and a computer programmer or game developer? The New NOLA wants you!

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 15th, 2005 at 09:54

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Posted in General

As heard on NPR this morning . . .

Steven Perry runs the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau . . . Civic leaders were already discussing a new economic plan before Katrina . . . most of the growth will be built around the concept called Hollywood South. . . .

“This is what’s starting to happen here, now. What I think you’re going to see is the economy being rebuilt around those kinds of industries. You’re going to see a lot of cool, young people who are computer programmers and game developers starting to locate in New Orleans.”

I suppose this has something to do with Louisiana’s tax incentives for game (digital media) developers.

If you’re a game developer, producer, or manager, are you planning to locate a facility in New Orleans to get the graduated tax incentives Louisiana is offering (20% for the first two years, 15% for the next two, 10% for the following two, for projects started prior to 2010)? Are the risks of hurricanes, flooding, civil unrest, and tourists too great? Do other states offer similar or better incentive packages?

Even with the risks, I’d move to N’Awlywood to work as a developer on an MMO, assuming they gave me some kind of relocation assistance. Of course, I’d need to cut back on the family pets just in case we did have to evacuate a tout de suite.