All Geek to Me

May 18, 2009

Fifty and Beyond

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 4:52 am

It has been several weeks since I posted about my adventures in Lord of the Rings Online. I have still been playing and progressing, just not been writing about it. This is a catchup post for the last month or so.

My dwarf is now level 53. He has acquired a pony which allows him to ride across Middle Earth more rapidly. He has seen The Fellowship of the Ring depart from Rivendell. He has then followed their path clearing up signs of their passage; it is not all heroic activities. He helped a group of dwarves who had launched an expedition to enter Moria; driving the lurker in the water away so that Durin’s gate is now safe to approach. He was told the story of Moria’s fall, which involved me playing the part of a dwarf present when the Balrog was woken. Fortunately, I was not expected to fight this monster, just escape.

ScreenShot00061

I have also found Bill the Pony, left outside Moria by the Fellowship. I helped the pony by fending off wolf attacks until it was safely on the road back to Bree.

My dwarf has yet to really explore Moria, as he has been finishing up quests elsewhere in the vast land of Middle Earth. However, I did peek inside the great halls

ScreenShot00063

May 13, 2009

To Boldly Go

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:31 am

Forty years after the original show finished, thirty years after it first appeared in the cinemas, and four years after the last TV show ended – Star Trek is back. The new movie tells the story of how Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew met.  We saw the film in Imax at the local cinema. It was a thoroughly enjoyable film in its own right, and with enough references to satisfy a Trek fan. It does break the odd numbered rule of Trek films; it is the eleventh and so should be terrible, but I can forgive it that transgression of Star Trek tradition.

The cast convinced as younger versions of those well known characters. Simon Pegg even seems to be doing a Scottish accent almost as terrible as the original Scotty. Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, has his recreation of the role held up for especially close examination as Leonard Nimoy appears in the movie as Spock returned from the future. 

I hope George Lucas watches this film and  sees how to make a prequel without ruining the franchise. I look forward to further movies in this newly restarted series.

May 11, 2009

Size Matters

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:23 am

My wife was down in Southern California over the last weekend, to attend a funeral and to take her mother out for Brunch on Mother’s Day.  She rang to say that she had seen a great HP PC monitor in Best Buy and that I should go to our local store and see if they had the same deal. I drove the ten minutes to our nearest Best Buy. I did find the screen at first, but on asking in store I was shown that the HP screens were not in the same place as those by other manufacturers. The screen was indeed a great combination of quality display, size, and price. I took the last unit and for some odd reason the price rung up at the till was $30 less than the already good price on the sticker, so under $300 for a 24 inch Widescreen monitor with a 1920×1200 resolution . The screen will also rotate to portrait mode.

The only problem was that when I arrived home I realised that the only cable that came with the unit was a VGA cable. The graphics card on my PC has two DVI outputs. There were no DVI inputs on the new screen, so I could not use the cable from my old screen. I had to drive back to the store and buy a DVI to HDMI cable. The staff were actually helpful, suggesting that option over a VGA to DVI cable and showing me the near hidden cables that were half the price of their prominently displayed premium brands. Once that issue was resolved, I was able to connect it, reset my default resolution for Windows and I now have a lot more screen real estate.

May 4, 2009

Star Wars Day

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 9:07 am

Today is Star Wars day.
May the Fourth be with you.

April 27, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 7:45 am

I found this in a comment on the excellent The Old New Thing blog.

73.94539590% of all statistics are unrealistically exact.

120% of all statistics exaggerate greatly.

36% of all statistics are consistent, while 81% aren’t.

April 13, 2009

Against the Nazgul

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:13 am

My dwarf reached level 46 this weekend, just four away from the game’s original level cap.This weekend marked three months since he had started. He took his first steps into the Misty Mountains, but the weekend’s main achievements lay in the ongoing storyline in which we are helping the Fellowship of the Ring.

We assisted Legolas in exploring a dark, corrupted area near the Ford of Bruinen and realised that the one Dark Rider who had not been forced to return to Moria by the flood was at work. It was essential that we drive this Nazgul away, for with him about it would be too dangerous for the Fellowship to set forth from Rivendell. With Gimli’s help, we defeated an undead dwarf who was a servant of the Enemy and whose path I had crossed since starting, but the Nazgul escaped. Finally, in an abandoned dwarven citadel in the Misty Mountains we battled the Nazgul and at terrible cost we drove him back to Mordor; opening the way for the Fellowship to set off on their journey. Unfortunately, before we could get to him he raised a dragon from the dead; so now there is a massive undead dragon wandering the Misty Mountains. 

Away from these epic adventures, I investigated an odd fish loving creature that was skulking around the Ford or Bruinen. My attempt to capture him failed, but I drove him off; he kept muttering about his precious – very odd.

(My spell check offered Nigel as an alternative to Nazgul)

April 1, 2009

Lost in the Maze

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:27 am

The Spring Festival in LOTRO includes a maze built on the rolling hills outside Bree. There are various quest givers standing outside. An Elf wants you to find half a dozen elves that are wandering lost inside; though when you meet them they all deny that they are lost. A dwarf wants to add to the confusion by hanging misleading signs at various points. A hobbit wants you to rescue chickens that are meandering inside; though given the hobbit proclivity for food, they may be safer in the maze than rescued. A man offers the far more prosaic run through the maze against the clock, with ever shorter times.

Each quest gave a token as a reward. These tokens could then be bartered for a house item. My elf decided to get a garden dwarf for my dwarves home. I am not sure that the dwarf will be terribly amused. ScreenShot00054

There is an excellent post giving some plausible lore behind the creation of the maze at the West Karana blog.

March 29, 2009

Elendil’s Sword and a Pub Crawl

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 9:52 pm

It has been a busy week for my dwarf in Middle Earth. The Spring Festival arrived and among the activities on offer he was invited to join the Shire Inn League. No dwarf is going to turn down a free beer, or in this case forty two free beers as he raced around the Shire to seven taverns and knocked back six at each location. By the end, the screen was blurry and he was swaying back and forth. Despite the challenges, he completed the quest and is now a member of the Inn League. Having obtained that honour, he acquired the title of “Inn League Sage of Fine Spirits”  by sampling twenty-three brews from as far afield as Michael Delving and Rivendell.

The Spring Festival also brought gifts in the mail which included a rather dashing corsair’s hat which you can see in the pictures below. Whilst in the Shire, he also helped a local baker collect pies from a tainted lot without having them nabbed by passing hungry hobbits.

On a more significant level a group of us went to the long lost tomb of Elendil to retrieve a gem that was needed to reforge the blade that was broken. This was the last step in a long series of quests that we have been following since Aragon requested our aid. This final step was a great challenge, but finally we triumphed and brought the gem back to Rivendell. We were present as the sword once called Nasril and now known as Anduril was made anew at Elrond’s forges. Without our aid this mighty blade could not have been forged.

ScreenShot00051 I am Anduril who was Narsil, the sword of Elendil. Let the thralls of Mordor flee me

March 24, 2009

Entering the Housing Market

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:29 am

My dwarf reached level 42. The large jump largely due to a changed in mid week to reduce the experience needed for each level, causing all of my characters to gain 2-3 levels. My dwarf also bought himself a small house in the caves that run through the mountains of Eruid Luin. Here you can see him stood outside the front door – note that he has a new burgundy coloured outfit.

ScreenShot00045

March 19, 2009

Estimating

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 6:26 am

A piece of estimating advice from Good Math, Bad Math blog

When a programmer gives you an estimate of how long something should take, multiply it by two and increase the unit. So if they say it’ll take a day, assume two weeks. If they say a week, assume two months.

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