Posted July 16, 2010 @ 12:27 pm | Filed under: Geekery

When I was in 3rd grade or so, my parents let me use the family computer: a Commodore 64. This little brown box was probably the coolest thing I ever received (though I wouldn’t say it was mine until everyone else in the family got bored with it).

Anyway, more on that background story later (probably)… for now, I want to briefly geek out over an old magazine that my neighbor introduced me to: COMPUTE! Magazine. He subscribed to the magazine at the time, and he would make copies of all the Commodore 64 programs for me to type in. This is basically how I started learning how to program. This was 20 years ago.

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Crawling in the Dungeon

Posted June 25, 2010 @ 11:03 am | Filed under: Geekery

[Note: this was edited from an e-mail I sent to my brother-in-law, which I thought deserved some space on the blog since I haven’t talked about games much on here yet.]

I’ve been poking around on the internet for the last couple days, looking into a genre of game called Roguelike, a.k.a. dungeon crawlers.  These games seem to be sort of the precursor to modern RPGs and are largely inspired by Dungeons & Dragons (a role-playing board game).  They have a few defining characteristics:  Randomly created dungeons for maximum replayability value, permanent death (i.e., you can save your game as often as you want but once your character is dead, that’s it), and turn-based play.  I’m not really qualified to do a full-on review of them because I’m just messing around (and I’m not very experienced in terms of RPGs), but I thought I’d throw out some links if anyone wanted to try any of them out. We’re talking super old-school here… the simpler ones (graphically) require some imagination but seem like they could be pretty cool once you’re used to them– and the purists say the DOS-style graphics are the only way to go.  Most of them are keyboard-controlled so if there’s a built-in tutorial or instructions I recommend going through them to learn the shortcuts.

First, some links for general info and history:

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Posted June 18, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Filed under: Floor It To The Next Stop Light

“Social justice” is a misnomer, for what is “just” about giving the poor more than they have earned? What we really mean is “social mercy”: in this world, all men are not created equal, and they are certainly not given equal means– rather, they are made equal by the application of mercy. “Social justice” would mean letting nature run its course; letting humanity evolve by the survival of the fittest, giving people exactly what they deserve: nothing. But we don’t do that: we heal the sick, build homes for the poor, and help those who can’t help themselves, because we believe all human lives have equal value. But how do we justify our longing for social mercy when we do not trust in the God who first showed mercy to us? For if we believe in an impotent or nonexistent god, we are forced by the rules of logic (i.e., you cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”, short of appealing to divine mandate) to conclude that our convictions for uplifting the downtrodden are merely vestiges of our meandering, directionless evolutionary past, and thus the value we give life is nothing but an illusion or a by-product: a tumor on humanity’s side. But we all live as though dignity is real; indeed it is not possible to deny its reality without either lying to one’s self or becoming a sociopath. So from there we are only a “modus ponens” away from concluding one of two things: that either our quest for equality is wholly invalid, such a quest only holds back the evolution of our species, and the only correct option is to let the cold hand of “social justice” run its course — leaving the poor with nothing, and the greedy with whatever they can envelop — or, that a merciful God exists, and that He mandates our quest for equality by creating us all in His image; and that He gives us greater dignity through the valuation of our souls than we are capable of arbitrarily giving each other.

Or, as C.S. Lewis put it, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?”

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Suitcase computer build

Posted June 14, 2010 @ 3:28 pm | Filed under: The Workbench

A few months ago, I built a computer into an old suitcase from a thrift store. My documentation of the process is a bit sketchy, but here is what I could piece together for a description of the project:

  1. First, I ordered some nice components from NewEgg.  Here’s what I got:
    • Intel DG45ID multimedia motherboard.  I wasn’t interested in building a super-duper powerful workstation, and I didn’t want to get a separate video card.  So I went with this mobo because it has a decent on-board Intel video chipset; Even though Intel has had some spotty Linux driver support in the past, the drivers are open-source so they’ll tend to improve with time and with community contributions.  Plus it has an HDMI output, which could have cool potential.  Giant video iPod -slash- portable console emulator anyone?
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Some classical guitar tunes

Posted June 11, 2010 @ 8:21 pm | Filed under: Soundblogs

Here are some songs I recorded for Beth’s birthday a few years ago. (This is pretty much the only remaining evidence that I ever studied classical guitar…)

  • Bouree
    (J.S Bach)
    Audio MP3
  • Valse Venezolano No. 4
    (Antonio Lauro)
    Audio MP3
  • Legend Of Zelda Theme
    (Koji Kondo)
    Audio MP3
  • Prelude 1
    (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
    Audio MP3
  • Storybook Love
    (Willy DeVille)
    Audio MP3
  • Download all songs