Tag: PC Gaming

Moving

As previously noted, my New Year's resolutions were: get a real job, get a car, and move out of my grandparents' house. Well, I have a car and an apartment now, and my job seems realer every day (although if you want to help me get a job writing games in Canada, by all means, be my guest).

It was a fun weekend, and many thanks to Brad and Ben for helping haul and build furniture. The place is still a warren of cardboard boxes and plastic tubs, and this afternoon is looking like it will be another spent between building shelves and putting things on them, but the place is looking more and more like home every day. After a few calls to Cox I've finally got cable TV and Internet working, though I'm still trying to figure out how to get wireless running under Linux. In the meantime, it's a good thing I brought a long ethernet cable.

Apartment is nice, though the previous occupants had a cat who, as cats tend to do, made a mess of it. Got new carpeting, though, and I think everything's in pretty good shape, though you can still smell cat pee in the bathroom closet. This is one of the many reasons I'm a dog person.

(As I have recently been informed that I shouldn't be using my blog as a forum for presumably silly and useless "rants", I should probably note that cats have a right to pee all over everything if they want to and I have no right to complain unless I'm willing to breed a competing cat which does not stink up an apartment. ...Now, on the subject of that thread, I hate to be my own cheerleader, but honestly I think it's turned into a classic example of me helping a bad arguer make himself look stupid. What're the odds that when I poke my head back in Eric makes some potshot at me for not posting for a few days, and then immediately turns around and defends his refusal to respond to all my points by claiming to have better things to do? ...I really should finish my How to Argue Like a Complete Fuckwit guide, as this guy is a textbook example of the people I'm making fun of in it, but that's a presumably silly and useless "rant" for another day.)

Good to be on this side of town now, though; a 30-minute bike ride to work beats the hell out of a 45-minute drive. (One of the many nice things about riding my bike to work is it eliminates the need for a morning cup of coffee; I can get all the way to lunch before I need my caffeine fix. ...For those who didn't know, I gave up my precious Mountain Dew in favor of black coffee last summer. I miss the Dew, but I'm sure coffee's not nearly as bad for me.) Costco's right up the road for all my bulk-buying needs, and there's a Fry's Electronics not too far off in case I get hit in the head and decide I want to pay $100 for a DVI-to-HDMI cable. (Fucking Monster.) Also, as previously noted, this particular Fry's has an ass-ugly Aztec motif, complete with fake palm trees which seem to serve no other purpose but being in your fucking way when you're trying to walk past people.

I have also finally caved and gotten a cell phone, which has made me about as happy as I expected. Nothing like losing your signal twice while trying to talk to the cable guy. Also, I can't access my voice mail; I get a "number is unavailable" error every single time I try.

But aside from these minor annoyances, the new place is great. It's roomy, it has new carpet, and I can wander around without pants if I damn-well feel like it.

So busy the only thing I have time to do is update my blog...

It's been an odd month.

January 16th I woke up with an absolutely awful cough and took four days off from work over it. (It's gotten much better but still hasn't gone away entirely.) Had terrifying NyQuil dreams, and found myself much too lightheaded and muddled to make any significant progress for...

My NWN mod. That's what I spent almost all my free time on the following week.

Then on the 30th, I started a new job. It's 45 minutes away from my grandparents' house, and the commute has been absolutely awful. Fortunately, I've found an apartment; unfortunately, it won't be open until sometime next week.

Meantime, I've been shopping for amenities like a new, more lightweight and higher-def TV and a stand to put it on. Amid questions like "how can a TV be 1024x768 and 16x9?" (answer: plasma TV's have rectangular pixels. Weird.), I've taken trips to exciting new places like Ikea and that Fry's off of Thunderbird where there's that big giant "Fry's Electronics" sign right on the freeway, and if you pull off you find that the sign is actually adjacent to a Best Buy and Fry's itself is a quarter-mile away. This actually corresponds rather nicely to the experience of attempting to find anything at Fry's, although the people we stopped to ask for directions were much more useful than the average Fry's employee.

Also, this particular Fry's has an ass-ugly Aztec motif for some reason.

Moving back to that part about the apartment opening sometime next week, I'd really hoped it'd be ready by Friday so I'd have the weekend to move in. Under the circumstances, I think I'll grab a mattress, a toothbrush, my bike, my DS, a few days' worth of clothes, the remote control, these matches, and this paddle-ball game, move those in, and worry about the rest of my shit the following weekend.

Also I can probably bring in my recordings of the last few weeks' worth of The Daily Show, which I've missed because I've been so damn busy, and watch them on the bigscreen TV in the lobby.


Reading: The Lays of Beleriand, by JRR Tolkien. Because I just can't read enough different versions of the story of Turin, or Beren and Luthien!

Vote for My Mod

The contest is closed, and my mod, A Hero's Death, is now available for download and voting in the NWN vault.

If you have NWN and the expansions, please download it and give it a play. With any luck, you'll love it and give it a glowing evaluation.

But play fair -- don't vote until and unless you've played it.

Please feel free to leave feedback on either of the following threads:

(I'm going to copy this entry to the top of the page and leave it there until the contest ends, but at the moment I'm at lunch and for some reason b2evo thinks I don't have write privileges for my PHP files. I'd complain about the amount of irritation involved in switching to blogging software, but of course if I were still doing this by hand it would be 3.5 cubic bitches for me to update away from home in the first place.)

The Mod Squad

The Mod Squad

I've finished my entry for the BioWare writing contest. If you have a copy of Neverwinter Nights, I'd appreciate it if you'd download my mod, A Hero's Death (might need to a do a right-click, Save As, as neither Firefox nor Konqueror seems to recognize it as a binary file), and give some feedback in the appropriate Pyoko thread (warning: spoilers). The contest deadline isn't until tomorrow, so if you notice any bugs I could squash at the last minute, please let me know.

(Corresponding update to Features page.)

Mactel

To: David Lazarus, The San Francisco Chronicle

I am curious as to the motivation behind your "Intel inside -- so what?" article: are you really as ignorant and intellectually lazy as you come across in it, or did you just want the attention of being the only guy in the press with a headline saying it's not a big deal?

The point of the article seems to be "Most people don't care how something works, just that it works." Well stop the presses, what a scoop!

But David, SOMEBODY has to worry about the "how" or nothing's going to get done.

So what "what" does this "how" lead to?

There is an ABUNDANCE of information online that can tell you exactly why the Intel switch is important, and what its long-term effects may be, and a competent reporter would probably have done some research rather than consult computer industry experts like the administrator of a San Francisco law firm, a flight attendant from England, or Officer Gary Constantine of the San Francisco Police Department.

But, failing that, I will do my best to explain why the Intel switch is relevant.

I'm going to start out with some extraordinarily basic background on the computer industry here, as your article makes you seem blissfully unaware of it.

Apple makes computers. Macintosh computers.

But most people don't use Macs.

Most people use Microsoft Windows, which runs on Intel (and compatible) hardware.

(Now, you may have already made a connection here: "Oh hey, Apple's going to be running on the same hardware as Windows!")

The MacOS is almost universally regarded as superior to Windows in terms of ease-of-use and security.

So why do people still use Windows?

Well, in-between talking to flight attendants, you might consider walking into a computer store where someone is buying a Windows machine and ask that person why he isn't buying a Mac. I can guarantee you that at some point in the conversation, he will tell you he is worried his programs won't run on a Mac.

This stereotype has dogged Apple for twenty years, and is largely unfair: anything the average user needs, be it Web, E-Mail, or Microsoft Office, will run on a Mac.

However, there ARE some power users whose programs DON'T have Mac versions: engineers who need AutoCAD, for example, or gamers. (And before you pooh-pooh gamers as a niche market, consider that they're the people who buy the most expensive computers -- with the possible exception of movie editors, who are already firmly in the Apple court.)

Now, why isn't there a Mac version of AutoCAD? Why aren't there Mac versions of many popular games? Well, it's largely because of the hassle of porting them to a new architecture.

You get that?

The hassle of porting them to a new architecture.

But with Macs switching to Intel, the MacOS is now running on the SAME architecture as Windows does.

Making it much, much easier for these developers to release their software on the Mac.

And even if they don't release their software for Mac, this makes it far easier for third-party developers to make software which will allow Windows programs to run on a Mac. Take Microsoft's VirtualPC, for example, which has heretofore run programs very slowly and lacked advanced hardware support because it's had to emulate Intel hardware -- that hurdle is now gone. Or take Cedega, a program for making Windows games run under Linux -- a Mac version was impossible on the PowerPC architecture, but many cite it as inevitable now that the MacOS runs on Intel architecture.

And then there are people who may want to dual-boot: to use the MacOS primarily but reboot to Windows when they need to use a program which is not available for Mac. While there are some technical hurdles to jump, it seems obvious that someone will find a way to run Windows and the MacOS on the same computer within a matter of months, if not weeks.

It is even probable that people will figure out how to run the MacOS on non-Apple computers, and, while Apple has said it will not provide support for such an installation, this is still a significant draw to many users.

So, given all this "how", David, we can answer your question of the "what": the Intel chips will almost certainly mean better compatibility between the MacOS and Windows. Which, if you recall, is the primary concern keeping people from buying Macs. Programs which previously ran only on Windows will run on Macs.

But what does this mean for the Apple faithful, the people who have been buying Apples for years and would buy them no matter whose chip was in the box?

You dismiss the idea that end-users won't be able to tell the difference between a PowerPC Mac and an Intel Mac as if it means the difference isn't important -- as if being able to transfer an entire platform to a completely different architecture with such a seamless transition that the average user can't tell the difference is something that doesn't even bear thinking about. That's simply absurd. That Apple has made this dramatic change but managed to make it in such a way that the average end-user won't even notice any change at all is nothing short of amazing.

So, in a way, your vapid, superficial article answers its own question: that Apple has made a fundamental change and you can't, for the life of you, tell that anything has changed at all IS the story here.