Okay today was catch up day. Too tired to write much. Too much planning of the trip, and getting the front yard done. More stuff tomorrow, promise. Maybe.

At least I finished editing the Style Guide for the justCheckers project. Also played a bit of World of Padman and S.T.A.L.K.E.R., both are quite fun and impressive in their own right. But I will not write a review of World of Padman, until I have the time to play around with it more. Whenever that will happen.


Too Much Trip Planning

Its late, but I feel obligated to post at least a short blog post. I wanted to write the article today, but time did not permit. Hopefully, I will have more time tomorrow.

Anyways, I started the day with the hope of completing a good chunk of the “landscaping” project. But I started late in the day. And then we got a call from Ewa from Poland. The rest of the day shaped out into a long day of buying airline tickets. So its official, I leave for Poland and Italy, late June. No going back now.

Tomorrow, I will try to accomplish all the work I was supposed to today. Too sleepy to think or continue now. Night.

New Feature: Feature Articles

Starting with hopefully tomorrow, I want to introduce a new feature to this blog. I would like present a few articles about the game development, the open source/free culture world, and computing in general. Hopefully, I can share with you some ideas I notice as a person who lives and breathes in these three, often quite different universes. The plan is to present an article a week. How well this will go we will see.

Also I plan on releasing posts on a regular, daily basis. Again since I am subject to the laws of space, time and entropy, I will admit that I might be too busy or unable to post. However, I will try to conform to both the universe and offer a consistent interesting reading material for my readers.

Finally, as a favour I again ask anyone who reads this blog, and is brave to post a comment. I tried using Technorati, and other tools… but I find it impossible to track my audience. Are you guys silently lurking in the shadows or are you?

When Things Fall (Part 2)

I wanted to write and post the second part yesterday. But having scraped my fingers whilst gardening, any finger intensive activity like blogging or gaming had to be postponed. Now my fingers seem better, so I will continue where I left off…

(Monday) …having arrived late into the night from Niagara Falls, I was not too keen on waking up in the morning. When I did, I realized I missed out on a full day of work. Actually, I pondered whether or not yesterday’s trip was not a waste of time. Not that I did not enjoy the company. But I think everyone going hiking would of been more fun. Then again I am not sure Rob, Tangay or Echo would of enjoyed hiking. But I could of done so much work… As you can tell, I am a bit of a workaholic, and think about doing something productive even on a national holiday. Its sad, I know.

After some progress in landscaping our frontyard, I hoped to catch up on some old work for a client. However, my client told me that the project I was supposed to work on finished already. And so thanks to my inconsistency and overambition, I did not uphold my end of the bargain. And I got rightfully burned. I was overambitious while still in university, and took up a job I could not finish. Now I am no longer certain of my abilities. I hoped that at least that I could get ahead in my professional life. But I failed. The rest of the day, I devoted on chores to ignore this haunting thought.

(Tuesday-Thursday) Everyday started like many others. Chores, gardening, a lot of ego-surfing and more gardening. Oh and I kept on busting my fingers. Not because I do self-masochism. I am just clumsy, and too unhappy to be more cautious. I read some more of McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory. On the subject of games, I should be resurrecting the justCheckers project. This means I should invite the developers back into active coding again. But considering what happened recently, I worry if I can truly lead the project still. Tomorrow I will see if I can work up the courage to continue to the next step. Much like the lyrics in Rachel Loy‘s Big Sky song: My life’s not over, just twisted out of place.

When Things Fall (Part 1)

Consistency, journals and me are three words that I think will never join in perfect harmony. The weakest link being between me and consistency. However, I do have an excuse… I was err… busy… (what follows is a list of busy excuses).

(Sunday) …going on a road trip to Niagara Falls. Now I am not the type to become excited about going to a popular tourist attraction. Its not that I am anti-social. I am introverted not anti-social. Its not that I am anti-tourist. I like seeing tourist attractions, and sometime in June become one myself. Its just I don’t subscribe to the Hollywoodish-glitz-idol-worship type of tourism that Niagara Falls seems to radiate. But Rob invited me to come so I did.

So Rob, Tanguy, Echo and I left Mississauga for Niagara around noon. Had a unexpected stopover in Hamilton. Everyone ate and enjoyed ribs at Tony Roma’s. Arrived in Niagara around 5:30. We all were kinda overdressed for the trip. Echo stated the need for fancy attire to get into the Casino. She probably watched too much Casino Royale, as we later found out. The weather turned out chilly, and Tanguy and Echo ended up hugging each other for warmth for most of the trip’s duration. Noone wanted to take the Maid of the Mist trip. I can report that Niagara Falls are still there. And still are falling. Lots of tourists. Lots of glitsy wax figure museums and “haunted” houses lined the streets in the downtown.

After a quick coffee, we proceeded to Casino Niagara. Got carded. Twice. Because having a single piece of photo ID is not enough. As my first time at a casino, I was cautioned not too overspend. I took one look around… and saw the most boring “gamespace” games invented by mankind. How could anyone sit, and toss coins into a slot machine beats me. As a game developer, I could code a slot machine in a matter of minutes, play and not loose any money in the process. If I were bored.

Instead I followed Rob around for a bit, observing entranced people. After starting to read McKenzie Warks’ Gamer Theory, I believe that casino games are the worst games. They work and reward players in a gamerspace manner, will giving the illusion of a game with the perfect rules and equality of other games. Needless to say, I became bored. And started to think about ways to play in the casino… which would of led to my person being banned from casinos. Instead Rob and I went off to buy cards played by the casino. Those turned out cheap both in terms of expense and quality. We decided to extract Tangay and Echo out the casino.
We ended off the day by walking back to the Falls, and watched the well done pre-Victoria Day fireworks.

I must leave off here. I will continue what happened Monday and yesterday a little bit later.

The Insanity Returns

If one looks for trouble, one usually finds it. I guess the same applies to work. After a few months, huddled in the sanctity of university studies, I emerge to realize how much work needs my attention. A computer glitch almost killed my graduation. Weeds sprouted on the front yard, where the planned stone and stepping stones will be. My name needed to appear on the convocation list. And I need to get back to a bunch of people’s emails. I could on and on listing things, but that would sound like whining. And I try not to torture my readers with that. Fortunately, I seem to be making progress, in tying up all these loose ends.

As I mentioned in my last post, I resumed working on the justCheckers project. More accurately I resumed planning the future of the justCheckers project. With my disappearance for months at a time, most of the other developers seem to have lost interest. I sometimes wonder if I did not loose interest myself. However I challenged myself to build an open source game.

The challenge now revolves around putting momentum back into the project. justCheckers never had a community clammering for its release. And my designs did not pan out, with the development team being able to work on the project independently of me. For this reason I am working on fleshing out the details of running the project. This means reviewing the style guide, and core component design. My knowledge of Java now spans the entire project, so I should be able to come up with a simpler, cleaner and more efficient design. The most crucial point of the design is get the development team back on-board, and pumping out more releases.

Attack of the Lettuce Monster, and the Return of Work

After disappearing for a few months, I went back to the justCheckers website again. Much to my horror I discovered a group of spammers decided to “borrow” my forums. Now I have to engage in anti-spamming. The forums are cleaned of NSFW content, and I began the process of deleting and banning users. Joy. I think that sailors feel the same way, when cleaning barnacles off their ships. Spammers are just as pesky, and I don’t have the online equivalent of a high-pressure water hose.

Even my brother is not as pesky. Even when he turns into the dreaded Lettuce Monster, and begins eating all the lettuce leaves before I can finish the salad, my brother is not as pesky. Nor obnoxious as a earn-a-quick-buck spammer. Bad comparison, but my brother wanted to be mentioned as the Lettuce Monster in my blog.

In other news, I need to tie up a bunch of loose ends before I leave for Europe. After a few summers of work or school, I decided that I need a vacation. But I need to finish off my work and plan for the trip. I am still figuring out the itinerary. I wonder when should I start looking for a job too. So many decisions.

My friend and fellow justCheckers admin, Chris Bellini recently switched over to Ubuntu from Windows. And he nuked his Windows too. Wow. Even I am not quite prepared to leave my Windows yoke complete due to some of the PC games I bought. But 2007 really seems like the mythical year of the Linux desktop, with all the talk of switching away from Windows. But I think we still need more commercial game studios to start making Linux clients, before we see a more dramatic exodus.

My First (Ubuntu) Linux Convert

On Monday, I converted my friend Robert into a Linux fan.Without getting into details, Robert needed to access the Internet and Windows XP just would not cut it. So he proposed, that I should install Ubuntu Linux on his desktop. I agreed to help him out, since I had considerable installing and configuring different Linux distros.

The main challenge we faced was the dual booting. His computer contained a single NTFS partition and I did not want to nuke his Windows. First I used the partition manager, inside Ubiquity, to resize and move back his NTFS partition. I was afraid that GRUB needed a small /boot partition on the front, to work properly. Later on, I realized that GRUB only needed the first few sectors on the harddisk to move.

The next three hours consisted of attempting to move the NTFS partition. First with qtparted, and then a commercial product, but the partition refused to move. Qtparted actually could resize the partiton, while the closed source program coughed, choked and spluttered. Robert decided to backup some of his stuff, just in case we need to nuke Windows XP from “high orbit”. After the backups finished, we decided to install Ubuntu.

I opted for the default install. In half an hour and one reboot, Robert had a fresh working install of Kubuntu 7.04 and an intact Windows XP. After a few minutes, Robert said, “Screw Windows. I will be using Ubuntu from now on.”

Two days later, Robert is still using Ubuntu. I guided him in the task of mounting his Windows XP partition and installing the MP3 codecs for Amarok (My thanks go out to the Medibuntu team). And my first Linux convert enjoyed Ubuntu so much, he rebooted into Windows once. Just to see if it still worked.

The Compressed Life

I can finally confirm, that there is a life after university. And a compressed one at that too. I could go through the details, but I feel too tired to remember all the details. And too lazy to write them all down today.

Last weekend, I went to Montreal for the Taizé event. Got to experience life in a predominately francophone city. Experienced a desire to get closer to God and people. Sang my vocal chords to extreme soreness. Meet a few folks from the Polish youth group. And a few Filipanas from St. Kevins. And now I found an excuse to learn French.

The rest of the week consisted of hosting my Polish godfather and his wife. Became an impromptu tour guide of Downtown Toronto. (Now if only I could find the entertainment district. 🙁 ) And when I did not have to travel, or work at home, I attempted reinstalling Windows XP for a client. The gremlins came out to play, and turned a simple recovery and reinstall into a few days exercise in futility. Now, I remember why I enjoyed Linux and Ubuntu Linux especially.

Yesterday I met up with Robert and his roommate. We hoped to tour Toronto, but Rob’s car broke instead. So we caught up on old times. And “invented” a new cocktail, the LimJim, since thats what guys do when bored. Also looks like I might end up installing kUbuntu on his system too.

And I discovered Facebook and I am hooked. Now if I can find time to write.