All Geek to Me

June 30, 2008


Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 9:25 pm

I came across an interesting piece of free software recently. It is called TVersity. It is a media server, allowing other devices on the network to use video, audio, and pictures from your main PC. It is of interest to me as it is compatible with my DVR and so I can create a library of Doctor Who episodes on my PC and then watch them on the large screen TV attached to the DVR. I also see potential in showing people pictures we have taken without having them crowd round the PC. The image quality of the directly streamed video is not as good as burning the same video to DVD and allowing our upscaling player to play it, but the ease of having a whole season of Who to hand from the DVR menu is enticing. I am also experimenting with the settings to see if I can get can better quality.

Less useful is that it will stream video to my iPhone; I am not sure why I should want to watch Doctor Who on a phone sized screen instead of the 17” PC monitor or the 65” TV. It may be useful to show someone a photo from our collection and if we had a PC in our network DMZ, I could stream photos and videos to my phone wherever I was located.


June 22, 2008

Virtual Lego

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 11:01 am

I seem to have had several posts on my blogs in recent weeks with a Lego theme. Maybe that is why this program caught my eye. It allows you to use virtual Lego bricks to build a model. The software will then price the parts that you used and you can order the necessary bricks online, which from the manufacturer’s point of view is how they intend to make money from the program. I find the idea of ordering just enough bricks to make a specific model somewhat odd. The appeal of Lego to me has always been to have a lot of bricks so that you can build whatever you desire. Since my childhood Lego seems to have been more frequently sold like an Airfix kit, with a single model in mind, as with this $500 Lego  box.

Here is a screenshot of my first virtual Lego model.

June 15, 2008

Cheaper in Gold?

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 7:14 pm

Cables always seem rather over priced and I have long been aware of the fact that cables bought for high end audio equipment can be very expensive. Monster Cable have a range of overpriced cables, but I have seen nothing that compares to this one from Denon.

June 9, 2008

56 Geeks

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 7:00 am

According to this image on Flickr, there are 56 types of Geek. I fit into several of the Geek types, plus the unlisted Doctor Who Geek.

June 8, 2008

Not Ultimate At All

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 10:11 am

It is a general principle that better things cost more than an inferior product; a Mercedes car costs more than a Pontiac. This also applies in the world of computing. If you spec a computer from Alienware the default operating system is Windows Vista Home Premium, a further $100 gets you Windows Vista Ultimate, and for $116 you can get the best choice in Microsoft Operating Systems, Windows XP. There you have it, commercial proof that XP is better than Vista.

June 7, 2008

The Greatest Invention in Computer Science

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 11:08 pm

I saw the above title in my RSS feeds and wondered what the author had in mind. I could have had a hundred guesses without arriving at the answer; however as I read the post, I found myself nodding in agreement. I think he may be right; I wish that a few of the people who coded the programs I worked with held the same opinion, or had even heard of the innervation that he puts forward. So here it is.

June 3, 2008

Everquest Groups

Filed under: Geek Stuff — Tags: — britinla @ 7:00 am

In Everquest 2 there are some quests and encounters that a character can tackle solo and there is some content that require one or more groups of players. A single group in EQ2 consists of up to six players. If an encounter is designed for more than one group it is described as Epic and tackling it as described as raiding. Most raids in EQ2 require four groups, although there are two and three group Epic targets.

I spend nearly all of my non solo play time in single groups, although I have done some raiding. To be at its most effective a group should consist of characters that fulfill different roles. There should be a fighter, a tank in MMO parlance, whose job is to make sure that the monsters focus their attention on him and her and not the other, more vulnerable, members of the group. There needs to be a healer whose primary focus is to keep the fighter’s wounds cured. Then there are characters that do the heavy damage, such as spell casters. If the area being explored is especially tough, a second healer may be brought along.

I usually group with a specific set of in game friends; fortunately the five of us include a tank, a healer (me), and a damage dealer. One of the other two characters plays an enchanter; this is not generally considered a mandatory group role, but once you are used to what they bring you don’t want to leave home without one. The enchanter brings crowd control abilities to the group mix. One of the most common reasons for a group to be killed in a fight is if you find yourself in combat with more than a single group of creatures. When this happens the tank takes damage more quickly than the healers can heal, or the tank cannot keep the attention of the extra monsters and they start attacking one of the more vulnerable party members. The Enchanter has the ability to prevent these extra creatures from taking action, leaving them frozen until the tank is ready to attack them.

There are times when it is not possible to group with the regulars; although now that I am on a US timezone this happens less frequently than before. If I still wish to group, I am left with the option of pickup groups. These can go well, or they can turn into a set of unfortunate events that might be amusing in retrospect, but tends to be less so at the time as you and your group take a beating. Sometimes pickup groups fail to work simply because players are unfamiliar with each other play styles and things that you expect to be done require communication that does not happen. Sometimes they fail because some of the members just do not know how to play their class. Then there are those times when everything goes swimmingly and a great time is had by all. Pickup groups are a lottery, albeit one with a far higher chance of a favourable outcome than those run by the state.

It is the pleasure of working with friends in a group to achieve a particular in game goal that is the greatest attraction of playing EQ2. The presence of these friends is also the reason that I have not tried playing any of the half dozen or so major MMO games that have launched since I started; the biggest draw is not the game, but the players inside it.

June 2, 2008

Wikipedia Edits

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 9:13 pm

I made my first ever edit on Wikipedia last week. I admit it did not add much to the sum of human knowledge; I noticed that there was a formatting error that had messed up the numbering of an article on The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.

The article now manages to number the situations from one to thrity six rather than one to four and then from one to thirty-two.

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