Thursday, April 27, 2006

Geek Culture

Geek Culture: An Annotated Interdisciplinary Bibliography is a comprehensive overview of books, articles and other publications relating to geek culture. I'm thinking of writing an essay on the topic of geek culture for Nuketown, and this looks to be a gold mine.

Creature Sighted in Bethlehem

Lance has his new monster PC up and running. And it glows.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jersey and You

One more reason I'm glad I'm not living in New Jersey anymore: misplaced plague mice.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Radio Active 29

Hey -- what do you know, this podcast's actually on time! Exactly two weeks after #28, Radio Active #29 goes live. This time around I talk about Battlestar Galatica, give a brief review of the film version of V for Vendetta, review the open source Civ2 variant FreeCiv and offter thoughts on the Misfit Brew and Does My Geek Look Big In This? pocasts. I round it out with a review of the Spell Compendium source book for D&D by Wizards of the Coast.

The Myth of Price Gouging

It's not price gouging, it's the market. When demand goes up, supply goes down, and prices increase. It's simple economics, but apparently some people just can't understand that. Including some who should know better (and this little politically opportunitist probe, btw, is one of the many, many reasons I won't be voting Republican in the fall).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hail Comrade!

A woman's been arrested for the crime of "harassing a foreign official" after heckling the Chinese president at a press conference. Anyone else remember when standing up to Communists was a good thing?

Typo Confounds Kryptos Sleuths

Wired has an article about the encrypted scultpure Kryptos that sits in the CIA's courtyard. I've read about this before, and it got me to thinking about using such a thing in a role-playing campaign as a plot lynchpin -- the PCs need to decipher the riddles the sculpture contains to understand some secret prophesy or perhaps find the keys necessary to unlock some ancient treasure horde.

Now that I think about it some more, this would be a cool relic for my RISUS Gamma World protocampaign: the Sentinal of Kronos stands in the ruins of deserted Forerunner citadel, promising riches beyond imagining to anyone who can solve its riddles ... and survive the challenges they reveal...

Computer Envy

I don't often drool over Windows PCs, but this Lance at Ditlog is putting together a pretty damn cool box. Read about it (and view pictures) in Dr. Stein and the Forbidden Lure of Oblivion".

Terrorism vs. Pornography

Iraq is a mess, Al Qaeda is still out there, but fortunately the Bush Administration is willing to take time from their busy schedules to protect us from the greatest threat of all: pornography. Porn, like spam, is omni-present on the Web and porn, like spam, isn't going to go away because a bunch of overzealous religous prudes in Washington pass a bunch of new overly complex laws. It didn't work in the 1980s, it's not going to works in the 00s.

What I'm waiting for is the inevitably pornographers-are-terrorists line, which when combined with the drug war, will bring a nicely horrific synergy to the White House's efforts.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Inbox Relief

It took 15 minutes a day for two week, but my work inbox is finally tamed and prioritized. And there was much rejoicing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Genre Fonts

Uncle Bear's restored his excellent free archive of genre fonts. Here you'll find TrueType fonts -- which work on Windows or Mac OS X -- for LOST, Illuminati, The Incredibles, 24, Sin City, Battlestar Galactica and much more.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Environmentalism and the Apocalypse

I've been kicking around the idea of a RISUS-based, Gamma World-inspired play-by-post campaign. If I do, these sorts of crazies will have a prominent role.

In Nukeland, all but 12 percent of the world's population has been wiped out by war, nukes, and viruses. The Last Church of the Green, whose founder foresaw the apocalypse laying waste to all but 10% of the population, is dedicated to reducing the Earth's population into aggreement with said prophesy (and getting rid of the excessing 2 percent).

Break on Through to the Other Side

I'm on the other side of my allergy attack now -- the nauseating post-nasal drip kept me up until 4 a.m. watching Nowhere Man and Scrubs DVDs, but its now fleeing in favor of a simple stuffy nose (which I'll take over The Drip anyday). I've still got a ways to go until I'm firing on all thursters, but at least emergency power and some basic subsystems are back online.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Code Monkey

Jonathan Coulton's got a new Thing a Week up for all you programmers out there: Code Monkey. Thankfully I've never had to code in this sort of environment, but its still damn funny. My favorite lines:

Manager say code monkey very diligent but his output stink.
His code not functional or elegant think. What do code monkey think?
Code monkey think maybe manager want to write godamn login page himself.
Code monkey not say it out loud.
Code monkey not crazy, just proud

Die Spring, Die

All of College Hill is abloom with flowers and the fresh greenery of new growth, all of which makes for some beautiful misery. Because spring is here ... and so are our allergies. Sue and I have the sore throats; Jordan has a runny nose (that we know of -- she could have a sore throat too, but at three her self-diagnoses aren't all that specific). I've started taking Claritan, and hopefully Sue can find something she can take while she's pregnant.

It's going to be a long week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


You've got to love this quote from the Apache mod_rewrite doc:
"Despite the tons of examples and docs, mod_rewrite is voodoo. Damned cool voodoo, but still voodoo. ''
-- Brian Moore

And it's totally true. mod_rewrite is damned cool, but it can make your head hurt. A lot.

Dead But Dreaming

I accidentally deleted The Atomic Age the other night while I was prepping for a Web 2.0 presentation at work. I contacted Blogger's Help Department and today they restored the blog without nary a mark on it. All I had to do was republish the site. Many thanks to Blogger for saving what had been dead but dreaming.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The "Delve Format" for Adventures

Jesse Decker and David Noonan discuss ways to improve the standard adventure module with its statblocks and endless lists of references. Their changes are inspired by the GenCon Dungeon Delve, which allows players to spend an hour crawling through a dungeon, and which requires quick-and-easy maps and references for the DMs who run it. Among the changes are larger-sized maps with important elements clearly labeled, statblocks that include important monster abilities directly in the text (such as the confusion table for an umber hulk's gaze attack) and two-page map spreads. It's an interesting approach, and one I'm thinking of adapting for my own game prep.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reaper's Fantasy Figure Finder

I'm doing my KODT column this month on minis, and in my searching I came across Reaper's Fantasy Figure Finder, which allows you to search their mini database on an impressive array of critera, right down to what object is being held in which hand.

Very cool. Now I just need to earn some more freelance cash so I can go buy some new minis...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Having iTunes Calculate Album Length in Minutes

When I write an album review, I need to know how long it is. iTunes will tell me this, but if it's longer than an hour, it displays the results like "1.1 hour", which is useless. There must be a way to get iTunes to display the total number of minutes in a playlist ... and I will find it!


A reader found this post and sent in the all-to-easy solution:
I was getting really frustrated trying to find the same thing and Google brought me to your post.
I did find the solution. You'll probably feel as silly when I did when I figured it out.
Click the results "1.1 hour" and it will switch to HH/MM/SS.

Thanks Matt!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Mets Won!

The Mets won their first game of the season, beating the Nationals 3-2. Unfortunately I didn't see the game, but MetsBlog has commentary.

Home Page Experiments

I'm playing around with some variant home pages for Nuketown, and I've come up with one I really like: it uses a large photo/image/graphic on the home page, and places the content beneath it. It feels more webzine-ish, and less bloggish, while retaining interactivity (or rather adding it, since there isn't much there now).

Here's the variant home page, with three different sets of cover art. Feedback is welcome and appreciated!