Monthly Archives: January, 2016

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.

Tautology and idiots with moral relativism

You know some of the things that make me laugh are people who try to match their baseless and pointless ideas (that they think are original) against thousands of years of scholarship and study, and it underscores a specific problem with people: People are stupid and they don’t know it. Let me give you an example.

Someone decided the 6th commandment (for those who didn’t go to Sunday School: “Thou shalt not kill” -KJV) doesn’t mean “thou shalt do no murder” from the original Hebrew. Translations have been putting this underscored prohibited taking of life for thousands of years as murder. Otherwise there would be punishment for self-defense (something even Jesus talked about) and accidental death. But no, people don’t buy that. Here is the Hebrew:

commandment_06

The Jewish sages note that the word “ratsakh” applies only to illegal killing (e.g., premeditated murder or manslaughter) — and is never used in the administration of justice or for killing in war. Hence the KJV translation as “thou shalt not kill” is too broad.
Since man is made in the image of God, his life is infinitely precious — only God Himself has the right to give and take life. In the Mishnah it is written, “Why was only one man (i.e., Adam) created by God? — to teach that whoever takes a single life destroys thereby a whole world.”
But murder can be figurative as well as literal. The Talmud notes that shaming another publicly is like murder, since the shame causes the blood to leave the face. Moreover, gossip or slander are considered murderous to the dignity of man. ThePirkei Avot(Ethics of the Fathers) states, “The evil tongue slays three persons: the utterer of the evil, the listener, and the one spoken about…” The Lord Jesus also linked the ideas of our words and attitudes with murder (see Matt. 15:19).

http://www.levitt.com/hebrew/commandments.html

This is just one example of where this is defined. And if you add the rest of the Torah’s teachings on the subject (and Jesus if you’re a Christian) and you see specifically, without vague wriggle room, what God thinks of the 6th commandment.

People think “do no murder” is too vague and too obvious for it to be a commandment. Because they cannot accept absolutes. If they don’t want to accept them, fine. That doesn’t make you right, or smarter than many generations of Jewish/Hebrew scholars who actually speak Hebrew and know far more than you or I about historical context, subtleties of the language (Hebrew is a very specific language. Perhaps that’s why God chose it for his Old Testament.)

So before you decide you’ve got some amazing insight into what the 6th commandment is or is not, be sure you’ve studied as much as the Hebrews did. Until you do, it’s just a guess.

Addendum (1/4/16): In terms of scholarly input, there can be differences of opinion about what Hebrew scholars may say (and they may disagree on certain points, as well as nuances in their language), but you can, with context, realize what the 6th commandment means. If you can’t, you haven’t read the Old Testament.

The Hobbit movies

I know some people hated them (particularly the last one, though I thought it was a good bookend for the series. And it showed the Battle of the 5 Armies…) but I enjoyed them.

This is a great adaptation of the song “Misty Mountains Cold”. Makes the movie even better, IMHO.  I thought Smaug was treated great in this adaptation. And Lake Town wasn’t just a footnote, because we got to see Smaug attack it. Sure the barrel ride was a bit long, and the albino orc was a bit much (there had to be a powerful antagonist for the 3rd movie to work), but overall, it was as good, if not better, than Jackson’s LOTR.

 

There I said it.