David Gilmour

I admit it, as much as I love heavy metal (all sorts of sub-genres) I am still in awe of David Gilmour.  Mainly because of this:

I love Richard Wright’s vocals on this one. It really captures the sense of desperation contrasting off of Gilmour’s bloody amazing guitar work. Did I say amazing? I means REALLY REALLY REALLY amazing. I realize that Roger Waters sang the original on The Wall, but this version is as good, if not better than the album version. There have been tons of variations on the song from Gilmour and Waters (and others) but Gilmour’s arrangements make me all tingly. :)

He’s a genius on the guitar. I don’t know much about him (and that’s fine, considering most musicians are idiots), but as a player, he is my Jimi Hendrix… my Eddie Van Halen…

I wasn’t old enough to be a fan during the height of Pink Floyd, but I have been a fan since 1992’s “The Division Bell”. It changed my musical tastes forever. The melancholy and massiveness of the sound is something you don’t hear today, mainly because most players aren’t trained properly in the fundamentals. Anyhow, David Gilmour is awesome.

 

Final Fantasy

I played the handheld translations of the old NES/SNES versions of the games (I think I skipped 2 and 4), and I tried my hand at the Playstation versions (7 and 9), but for the life of me, I don’t get the appeal. I played the first Final Fantasy on the PSOne from the “Origins” collection. It had better graphics (such that it could be) and a more balanced game (from the reviews I read on it.) It reminded me quite a bit of the old CRPGs I loved on the C64/Atari. Ultima, Pool of Radiance, etc. were some phenomenal RPGs for their time, and they were some of the few games I felt the need to finish the quest. For my money, nothing beats Ultima III:Exodus. It was the pinnacle of 8-bit CRPG perfection.

 

The problem arises when Final Fantasy went 3-D. Maybe I’m old fashioned, and maybe I’m not quite in touch with JRPG mechanics, but I never found the 3-D Final Fantasies to be very fun. To be sure, I’ve not played FF8, and I really should play FF7 longer, but I tried FF9 and got lost trying to figure out what to do. Some people reading this will no doubt quip I must be mentally challenged for missing the plot points of FF9, but all I can say is, I must be, because I sure missed them.

 

I do have one pet peeve with JRPGs that I need to get off my chest. I am TIRED OF BEING A TEENAGER or a KID. I despise the adult/child interaction conversations in the games. After you get past the exposition and into the story, it doesn’t come up much, but dang if every Japanese gamer wants to be 12 perpetually. I don’t see the appeal and don’t care for it at all. Call me an old fart, but I like playing the game through the eyes of the protagonist (Fallout 4 gave me a voice that I did NOT like).  I guess that’s why I’m going back to my Baldur’s Gate and Planescape games. I figure I need to finish all of those before attempting another JRPG.

 

And incidentally, turn-based combat is supposed to be TURN-BASED.  Just a nitpick, JRPG makers.

Atari ST reviewed by an Amiga User

This is a great video. And his ST that he got off eBay is in very good condition.

 

Update on my code

I’m still working on it. Most of Christmas was set aside to work on that, but I got distracted by Fallout 4. Now that I’m thoroughly frustrated with it, I think I’ll get back to my code.

I just need to go through some of my books and brush up on my C and C++. It’s a bit rusty after years of Python/LabVIEW. I do love Python for quick stuff. I’m going to start using Python for some rudimentary tasks I hate doing (like scheduling backups and such.) I truly need to slap whoever thought spaces in filenames was a GOOD idea. :)

 

But I know at some point I’ll get back to pygame and my other card battle game. I just need to keep juggling. :)

Climate Science isn’t cultish but its followers are

I can assume that some (at least) climate scientists are actually scientists who are looking into an absurdly complex ecosystem (the Earth’s climate) and checking on what makes it tick, and what, if anything, we can do to keep it from becoming like it was during the last Ice Age (or while it was cooling).

The problem isn’t science here. The problem is the radical belief system that turns progress, individualism, free markets, and freedom into causes for the “Death of Gaia”.  Why is that a great idea? I know that socialism and totalitarianism is always looking for a way to crap on the free market, but using climate change? That seems pretty low even for them.

So, stop it. Stop trying to ruin progress because you’re a failed (insert job here). Life’s good when you’re free. Learn to love it and stop trying to kill it for the rest of us. Freedom and Liberty was a long, hard, and costly fight to achieve. Don’t you know we’ll fight even harder to keep it? The climate is changing. The climate has changed. It has been hotter on Earth. It has been colder on Earth. What’s pure speculation is what role Man has played in it. Judging from what we know about the origins of Earth and its long history, Man pretty much is a blip in the cosmic ecosystem. The fact that we can kill a planet simply because we had an Industrial Revolution is absurd.

Life’s short. Enjoy it.

Consensus…

Science is about consensus. It’s about dissent. If it were about consensus, we’d still believe in sea monsters, ether, and spontaneous generation. I just wanted to point that out, since when it comes to AGW, everyone goes fanatic and claims “IT’S SETTLED!” when anyone questions the models and the conclusions of the models.

Folks, climate is complex. It’s LUDICROUSLY complex. Don’t be fooled by the Green fanatics and their adherence to the cult of climate.

 

It’s always Monday somewhere…

I hated Mondays for many years. I really didn’t like to have anything to _do_ with Mondays. But I’m beginning to believe Mondays are a gift like any other day I’m alive. So I am going to make the most of them (as many as I can) so that I won’t sit back in my retirement home (in a wheelchair probably) wondering why I dreaded Mondays.

It’s good advice. You should try it too. Nothing more expensive than regret, as the old saying goes. :)

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Okay, either I’m getting REALLY bad at games, or there is a distinct lack of QC at major development houses. I admit that I’m only a little way into the main story of DA:Inquisition, but for goodness’ sake. I keep getting killed not by demons or fades, but by Templar army regulars (not actually the Knights themselves!) I ask you, when the game says “expand territory, defeat mages/templars, gather resources” and you DO that only to get hacked to death right after closing a rift, how is that “progress” in the game? The fighting isn’t challenging, it’s random and flailing (even with the “tactical” camera). Your NPC folks are blithering idiots who wander aimlessly attacking then moving onward, even when you tell them to “strike this enemy”.  It just seems the combat isn’t fleshed out. It seems tacked on as a last-minute addition to the game. The tactical portion is atrociously set up so you have to struggle to get things through to the team. Goodness knows what a travesty it will be if you have more than 4 in your party.

The story hasn’t wowed me just yet either. I did the intro, closed the main rift (or “stabilized” it) and died SEVERAL times trying to use my power to block the demon’s rift recharge. My reward is to spread the Inquisition and kill all the enemies. Or something like that. Like any good RPG (or mediocre one in this case) you don’t get the answers you seek right off the bat. You have to travel to cryptic person after cryptic person and getting one or two clues that tell you where to go next. It seems like an endless set of FedEx quests. There’s abundant resources just laying about in the “Hinterlands” but no one is really gathering them, so you have to do it. Your mage spends most of his time freezing people (which works for a few rounds, but generally doesn’t faze certain troops from the Templars.) And to top it off, you’re a giant Kunari (sp?) that is prone to getting swatted by tiny enemies. They’re like kryptonite. :)

I only paid $18.99 for the game (not going to give EA any money or reward their stupidity), but so far, I’ve gotten about $.75 worth of fun out of it. Will I go back to it? Maybe. The only RPG I’ve not stopped playing (and given up) is Wasteland 2. I love that game, and yes it’s hard as heck, but it’s a good hard. It’s not this “we’ll randomly adjust difficulty” hard that is just a programming shortcut to good gameplay.  I will get back to that one now, after I have some fun playing my old 2600 games on a 42″ TV. :)

 

Bottom line: Dragon Age-Inquisition is not that great. It was better than Dragon Age 2, but that’s like saying boils on your butt are better than malaria. It certainly is a true statement, but who wants boils on their butt?

The slow death of the audio CD

I went to Hastings today to look at the used CD selection, which is larger than the new CD selection now. Weirdly enough, they had lots of Stevie Ray Vaughan CD’s in the racks, something I’ve not seen in a good while. I may have some dupes, but I got the record he did with his brother Jimmy.  It is not Stevie’s greatest work, but I enjoy it. The 2-CD set of Styx doing “Pieces of Eight” and “Grand Illusion” in their entirety (with their new singer) was a surprising $7.

I am not one to be such a Luddite when it comes to CD audio, but I do like the older bands and their CD’s (vinyl also if it isn’t too expensive). I do not enjoy the over-produced “loud” CD’s that come out today. Sometimes the clipping is audible even on the MP3 versions of the songs. I prefer to control loudness on my own cheap equipment. I don’t need a producer to do it for me.

I confess that new music (unless it is from a band I am already a fan of) for me comes in the form of MP3’s. I do not bother with quality concerns, because I don’t have the hearing that would allow me to discern the subtleties of a composition. Most people can’t, but more power to them if they want to spend thousands on a receiver/speaker/headphone setup. I just don’t find a use for it. My phone streams google play albums, and my PC is my stereo (with actual stereo speakers!) with Logitech’s finest sub-$50 2.1 speaker set. It sounds great to me. On my Windows PC (that holds nothing but games) uses a $17 amp I picked up on eBay plugged into an old set of Sony bookshelf speakers (from one of their cheaper bookshelf sound systems.) Maybe I’m just wasting my time with these particular setups, but I figure I’ve got enough hobbies. (Audio equipment isn’t cheap.)

I picked up a Uriah Heep “Greatest Hits” CD for $4 used. It’s got all the good songs on that I love from Uriah Heep. And for $4, why not? It’s hard to find Uriah Heep CD’s these days. I really love the song “Lady in Black” for some reason. It’s one of those songs I stumbled upon thanks to a google play radio. :) I found that I believe Ensiferum did a cover of the song (very good).  I remembered Uriah Heep’s music from a Blind Guardian cover of “The Wizard”. I have been into them ever since.

Another band I really like that I didn’t discover until 1992 or so is Nazareth. Sure I remember “Hair of the Dog” on the radio, but I never explored their music very much until I got that album. There’s a song I love on there called “Please don’t Judas Me”.  It’s epic.

Great song, huh? Anyway, I heard that song completely by accident, having thought the cassette was over (the intro is very faint for a bit longer on the audio cassette version for some reason.) But once it got going, the song was (and is) amazing. I guess I was born in the wrong era for music. (Not really, I love heavy metal.)

Anyway, honorable mention in my CD haul are a couple of classical CD’s for $0.99 a piece, and a 1987 synth jazz CD called Tranquility. It’s not bad, and it was $2. All in all I got a good bunch of music to add to my overflowing collection.

Onto the title of the post: The slow death of the audio CD. I am not terribly concerned about its death, though I do wish the music industry had made the pricing competitive (they got caught colluding to keep prices high).  I will miss them, though not as much as I missed vinyl. I didn’t miss vinyl’s fragility or it’s finite lifespan, but I did miss the artwork. Sure hipsters are bringing back vinyl, but for the most part it’s a niche product. And it’s more expensive than 99% of the vinyl I bought in my entire life. That’s the sad part.

 

I think I’ll go listen to some more Uriah Heep. :)

Mondays

I noticed that after the Christmas break I did nothing that I set out to do in December. For that matter, I didn’t do anything I set out to do since July. No matter, since I’m pacing myself. I have plans  so that I know what to shoot for. I don’t have plans to look at what I haven’t done yet.

After 33 years of using computers, I finally have to switch hands with the mouse. I guess years of pushing that little bastard around the desk caught up with my right shoulder blade. Ah well, I’m left-handed anyway. I am trying not to slouch while using a computer as well, but like at work, uncomfortable chairs seem to be the norm. I suppose if I spent $1000 on a super-ergo-fashion chair it’d help. I doubt it would last, though. None of my chairs have ever lasted more than a few years. Of course back when I got chairs for $5 when a bank remodeled and changed color schemes, they lasted a bit longer. I recall with great fondness the command chairs of old. These days you’re lucky to get half the use out of one.

I need to finish fiddling with my Banana Pi so I can get ready to NAS it. :) I’m not sure what to do first, since I really need to buy a decent eSATA box, preferably with 3 or more bays. It’s neat that this Banana Pi has an eSATA port. :)

Ah well. I think I’m going to hit the hay before I pass out.

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