A Small Orange

First, a quick note: I am, in fact, alive.

I discovered at 11:30pm last Friday that the website I’d been building all week for a school project had to be hosted. By midnight. Unfortunately, I didn’t own any domain names that would be appropriate, and frankly, a tumblr blog would not portray the image I maintain.

After about 5 minutes of frantic searching—and you haven’t seen frantic until you’ve seen me in crunch time—I ran across A Small Orange, which had pretty decent reviews and was cheap. $35 later, I had a domain name and hosting for the year, and 10 minutes after that, I had my files uploaded to the proper directories.

After another 10 seconds, I had a huge “OH SHIT” moment—I had forgotten about DNS propagation. I got on their live tech support to see whether I could get a direct IP link or similar, and while they typically don’t do that for their base plan, the customer service agent understood my, shall we say, rather intense desire for something that works right then and there, and enabled a workaround.

In short, a civilized customer service rep quite possibly saved my grade, and given that this was a group project, my life. While one example isn’t really enough to say that a company is amazing, I know that this experience has ensured that I’ll stay a customer, possibly for quite some time.

Impressions on the Guild Wars 2 Beta

I’ve been playing the Guild Wars 2 Beta over the weekend, just like seemingly everyone I know.  As I haven’t done a blog post in a while, I decided that I might as well list some of my thoughts.

Read More

Longboarding with Vibram FiveFingers

Longboard and FiveFingers

Due to some difficulties involving repeated bike theft, I’ve been using a longboard to get around campus for the last couple years.

Read More

Logitech G35 Review

A couple nights ago, my previous headset (a Plantronics thing that sounded god-awful) finally died, and I took the opportunity the next day to head to Best Buy.

I had of course been planning what I was going to buy for quite some time—either a Razer Carcharias or a Razer Megalodon—but I had missed the news that both were on sale, and in limited quantity to begin with, for the Christmas holiday.  In fact, the only headset left in stock was a Logitech G35.

At twice the price of the Carcharias, it was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but Best Buy does have a decent return policy, so I decided to go ahead and test it out.

According to my fellow guildies at <Storm>, the change is unbelievable.  Inbound and outbound sounds are both crystal clear in Mumble—there’s no whine or helicoptering, which I’ve been dealing with for months—and I can actually listen to WoW, Mumble, and iTunes at the same time without it all turning into an indistinct mess.  I can even hear nearby stealthed rogues!

I’ll definitely be sticking with these for the forseeable future.

jephjacques:

The subject of this debate is whether AIs are “people-” whether they possess the same degree of personhood as humans, and whether that entitles them to the same rights.

You have heard all the arguments for and against the consciousness, intelligence, free will, and cognition of artificial…

Quick thoughts on T13

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post.  Between schoolwork and illness, things just got kinda crazy.

Anyway, here are some quick thoughts on the new content and tier bonuses.

The Raid

Normal modes are pretty easy to get the hang of, and really easy once you’ve got the hang of them, particularly if you’re in any Heroic Firelands gear (note that I was not, at the time the tier opened).

The first 4 are cakewalks on normal (Morchok is a cakewalk on heroic, too).  Ultraxion is cake if people can see their buttons (which we had a lot of difficulty with the first couple days).  Warmaster is easy if there isn’t client/server disagreement on things like the boundaries of the Cone of Shame (it’s utter hell otherwise; just bite the bullet and restart the client).

Both Deathwing fights are actually pretty interesting.  You’re actually healing in Spine, even though there’s so little damage going out, because you need to remove the debuff.  It’s very odd as a disc priest to not often be shielding your primary heal target.

Madness is, simply put, brilliant.  The light→moderate→insane→moderate→insane cycle is a ton of fun, and it’s so consistent that you know exactly when you should use which cooldowns.  And phase 2 is a ton of fun.  Who doesn’t like smacking dragons in the face?

The hardest part for us was keeping our tanks alive through phase 2—those terrors are brutal when they’re not dying fast enough—but we managed to squeak out a kill last week after disconnect issues the week before, and last night we just breezed through it.

The Gear

So far, I’m only really qualified to discuss Rogue and Priest gear, aside from mentioning that the Tank 4pc bonuses are 100% awesome.

Rogue

The 2pc is amazing, particularly when you time it to always start right before Shadow Dance.  I haven’t played around with the 4pc yet (silly LFR drops), but it should be a pretty nice buff.  Who doesn’t like another couple seconds of dancing?

Also, DAGGAZ.  That is all.

Priest

Sadly, as I got the helm, shoulders, chest, and legs last night, I haven’t yet had the chance to try them out in raids.  From what I’ve seen in the Newroics, though, the 2pc is mostly useless (I’m never going below 95% mana), and the 4pc is completely useless: if it procs, my shield will not break before it times out, and I won’t end up getting a rapture proc.  Rather aggravating, tbh.

Somehow, I get the feeling that my opinions will change drastically when I finally get to test the bonuses out in a raid.

Other

Berlin Calling is a fantastic movie.  I highly recommend it to anyone who liked Requiem for a Dream or similar films.

On Human Augmentation

Earlier today, I saw a twitter post from Matticus, the guy behind World of Matticus.  He said:

Would you get augmented?  If so, with what?

In my case, that’s a really, really easy answer: YES.  ABSOLUTELY YES.

Read More

Things that the New Apple Needs to Do

Nobody is denying that Steve Jobs has done a lot of incredible things for Apple Computers.  Hell, he pretty much single-handedly kept it afloat once he rejoined the company in the late ’90s.

Of course, nobody is perfect.  Here are some things that Apple should definitely change, now that he really isn’t in a position to stop them (note that none of these will lead to any degrading of the Apple Experience):

  1. Make the iOS SDK free for all students (but limit them to free apps only).  In order to keep things going, you’re going to continually need new developers, particularly in this day and age, and today’s college students really don’t like spending money.

    Not that you should let them make a profit on this, of course.

  2. On a similar note, just release the damn SDK on Windows.  People don’t always have a choice about what platform their company uses for anything, and making people spend $1000+ on a new computer system just so they can dabble with apps in their spare time isn’t exactly a good way to convince them to spend *any* of their spare time with your product.  Also, a lot of internal business networks are not Apple-compatible at all.

  3. Flash on the iPhone.  Seriously, this is still a problem?  Flash is terrible, yes, but a lot more people are outright pissed that they can’t visit their favorite webpage of funny cat videos than would be annoyed if Apple reversed their stance on this.

    If it’s commonly used by everyday people on the internet, you can’t decide to not let your browser support it without providing a reasonable alternative.

  4. iPhone skins.  At a very minimum, I know a lot of people that would like to change the color scheme (hell, I’m one of them).  That’d be really easy to implement, provided that the main UI team did at least a half-assed job of the core programming, and it’d make a lot of people happy.

On Raiding as Subtlety

Last night our guild was a bit low on people, and it was decided that I’d be the best option of the healers for switching to an alt to DPS.  Basically, I wasn’t going to be getting any gear drops on my priest, and it didn’t make sense to make anyone else switch over:

  • Leafie or Bren using an offspec would put us with 2 discipline priests, which is a terribad idea in 10s.  When we tried that earlier, we were constantly stepping on each other’s toes.
  • Sloe doesn’t have a DPS spec or a geared DPS alt, and because she’s our main priest healer in raids these days, it’s important that she actually be in the raids on her main for gear etc.  She actually ended up getting her sexy, sexy Ragnaros staff last night.

I volunteered to switch over to my very under-geared and slightly-under-performing Rogue alt, Neenja.  During this experiment, I ended up learning two things first and foremost:

  1. Raiding as subtlety is hard as fuck.  We’re seriously screwed over whenever we need to switch targets, move, stand in front of the boss, or do any AoE damage—in other words, participating in modern raids.
  2. Most of the other people who raid as subtlety seriously suck ass, and probably should never raid, ever, on any toon.

My proof of the latter?  I ranked.  Twice.

Neenja has an average ilevel of 355.  That’s 4 below what you can get by raiding basic T11, and about 6-7 below what you get from killing the easy T11 Heroics.  I also have only stepped into 1 raid on this toon: Baradin Hold.

I barely managed to beat our Warrior tank on a few of the attempts.

And somehow, I ranked 85th on Majordomo, while I was out at range dancing with orbs for the last phase, and 68th on Ragnaros, with a terrible 11.7k DPS.

There’s just something not right with that picture.

On a New ASCII Character

Currently, there’s a huge problem in the typing world:

  • "using a period after a quotation looks and often is wrong".
  • "Unfortunately, using a period before the quotation is almost always wrong in context."

Therefore, I propose that typists and whoever else standardizes this crap pull their heads out of their collective buttocks and just create a character that is a period directly beneath a quotation.  It would look vaguely like this ‘.’ squished together.

Hell, it’s what we all do anyway when writing by hand.