Archive for September, 2009
My girlfriend is a web designer / developer as well as myself, and I find myself helping her with her company site on occasion, and every time I do I am reminded of why I hate Joomla so much – it is completely non robust. It has no ability to handle exceptions or to think for itself. In the most recent issue, turning on SEO friendly URLs broke several pages, because the top links defined for those pages weren’t manually updated.
It seems every tiny change in anything in Joomla has the potential to break a thousand other things because of the big spiderweb of innerconnectivity. I am so glad I don’t touch Joomla on a daily basis. If it weren’t such a massive undertaking, I would help her move her site to a more reliable CMS… although I’ve never found any CMS to be that reliable. WordPress on the other hand… that is reliable software. Too bad it can’t cover the full scope of what she needs to do.
- As a developer, the chaos around the WoW 3.2.2 patch makes me feel better. Even strong teams like Blizzard can't do an upgrade smoothly. #
- my car insurance just dropped 31%. that makes me happy. #
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- i once thought the dress code in jr high was to protect old sensibilities. now i know adults are freaked out by a 12 year old in a miniskirt #
- Facebook is creeping me out. The people it keeps showing in the suggested friends list are people that it should not know that I know. #
- I messed up my right ring finger on a V3 yesterday. As I slipped off, that finger held on a fraction of a second longer and hyperextended. #
- No DS Lite, but I did get the games. I decided paying $129.99 because I can't find my DS charging cable is stupid. I found the cable, too. #
- Tonight is the night; DS Lite, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Scribblenauts will be mine. #
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As I’ve spoken about before, I’m doing homebrewing with a few friends of mine, and yesterday was quite a fun day with our homebrew stuff.
Our first pale ale is complete and ready to drink. I have two six-packs here at home and drank one last night. The aroma is great, but we need to work on the finishing and bittering hops. This is our second batch of beer (the first being a porter) and I am very pleased with our progress. It is the last kit beer that we are going to make. We no longer need to pick up a kit, and instead we will just be picking up ingredients and making our own recipes. The ABV of this beer is estimated to be around 4.5%, but our future beers are generally going to be stronger than that.
We transferred Dan’s irish red from primary fermenter to secondary fermenter, as well. This Irish red was our first non kit recipe, and was based off of a recipe we found at Vegas Homebrew, our local homebrew store. We spiked this recipe to increase the alcohol to an estimated 5.5%. We also tasted a bit as we did the transfer and it tastes great. It has the smoothest finish of any of our beers thus far. It is also the only beer that we didn’t dry hop, so the aroma is very mild, which is befitting of an Irish red. It is also the first beer that we used Irish moss to clear up the haze. The Irish moss definitely reduced the sediment floating in the primary fermenter (but that could be due to it sitting for three weeks in the primary), and hopefully it will continue to do it’s job and give us a clear beer.
The most interesting part of the day was brewing Will’s insane imperial India pale ale. This IPA is our first attempt at a true high gravity beer, and it is using fresh hops harvest just last week from Northern California. Will got the recipe set up and we got the ingredients together and this thing will be a beast. 9 lbs of malt and 10 oz of hops went into this batch, and the estimated ABV is over 8%. The idea behind this beer was to make something similar to Stone’s Ruination IPA – crazy bitter and crazy strong. I have high hopes that we did this batch properly and it will come out great.
The next batch is going to be my cherry stout. I want to create something like Sierra Nevada’s stout, only with a ton of cherry flavor. We will be brewing that in three weeks, and I will try to remember to take some pictures of this process to post for everyone.
Last night, I picked up both Scribblenauts and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for the DS. I only spent about 45 minutes with each game, but both of them impressed me quite a bit in those 45 minutes. Scribblenauts is an all new experience for me, whereas I was a fan of the Mario & Luigi series of RPGs before picking up Bowser’s Inside Story.
The first game I played was Scribblenauts. This side scrolling game has you playing Maxwell, and you use a notepad to write words, which turn into objects on screen for Maxwell to use. The goal of each level is to get a Starite, either through solving a puzzle or through directly reaching the Starite. The objects that you create are the draw of the game, however, since Scribblenauts’ library is believed to be over 22,000 words. With my experience last night, only two words were rejected. One is a proper noun (Obama) and the other is a copyrighted word (Tazer). All other words that I put in created an object (key, sandwich, time machine, mech, tank, flame, pistol, shotgun, rock, superhero, hippie, smoker, smoke, wind, flame, dragon, dragoon, ninja, and a lot more). The only one that gave me an unexpected result was smoke. I was intending to write smoke, and at the last minute decided to give smoker a shot instead just to see what would happen, and I got a bird, rather than a person with a cigarette.
Each of the puzzles are quite different from one another, and within each one you are trying to use as few objects as possible. If you ignore the ‘few objects as possible’, I doubt any of the puzzles are hard at all, but staying within that rule requires some thought. I also found some odd solutions to puzzles that amused me. In one puzzle, I was to rescue a kitten from a tree and give the cat back to the girl. Instead, I summoned a superhero who did the work for me. It worked exactly as planned. Sometimes, I would just screw around for no real goal. On a puzzle that had me catching a butterfly, instead I made a time machine, went back to medieval Europe, summoned a mech and killed all of the knights.
The only annoyance I’ve had thus far was the overly long and text heavy tutorial. I felt they could’ve trimmed that down by 80% and still given me all I needed. I hear complaints about controls, dealing with mis taps on the DS screen causing unfortunate movements, but I only briefly experienced this before taking an extra second on each tap to make sure I am precise. All in all, the game is very fun and very amusing. It is a great pick up and play game that will work well on my lunch breaks.
The other game of the night was Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Like Scribblenauts, it had an annoying intro/tutorial, but it was mitigated by rock solid dialog and very clean artwork. This game series has constantly impressed me and BIS is no exception. It follows up Partners in Time and Superstar Saga, which is an offshoot of Super Mairo RPG in a way. It doesn’t seem to change much from PIT, but this is a good thing. The controls, moves and menus are all very well done.
One of the things about this game that always impresses me is the localization team’s efforts. The dialog is witty and culturally applicable. It isn’t just any old RPG storyline, it is a story that is delivered in an always amusing fashion.
The only questionable decision (thus far, this could change) seems to be the side scrolling portions. I was really hoping for some sections of the game to be very reminiscient of old Mario games, but this feels more like regular BIS with a different background set and limited range of movement. I hope that as I progress, the levels evolve to give me nostalgia of the old days.
Both games are fantastic, however, and I will be discussing them on tonight’s recording of Jarate Sandvich, which will broadcast live at 7pm PDT on either ustream or stickam, depending on what kind of technical difficulties we have.
Today is the start of the holiday gaming season, for me at least. Every year, we gamers can look forward to a massive dump of games in a brief period, and the first of the games that I am looking forward to comes out today – Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
For me, the holiday lineup is fairly decent, although some of these games I will have to wait for reviews before committing any money.
September has Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for the DS on Sep 14, Scribblenauts for the DS on Sep 15 and Halo: ODST for Xbox 360 on Sep 22. Halo: ODST is the only one of those that is not an absolute must-buy for me. I will wait on reviews and hopefully snag a demo. The DS games will be my first DS games since Pokemon: Diamond a few years back. Also in September is the Forza 3 demo on September 24 for the Xbox 360.
October is the month that really kicks this season into full gear. Alpha Protocol comes out on October 6, Uncharted 2 follows it a week later on Oct 13, the following week brings Borderlands on Oct 20 and the final week of the month has two great titles – Forza 3 and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, both on Oct 27. Alpha Protocol and Borderlands are the two that I will wait for reviews on. This month has PS3 edging out 360 – PS3 has Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted 2, while 360 only has Forza 3. The rest are cross platform.
November, the final month of the great games, rounds things out nicely with Bioshock 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, both on Nov 3.
I will have to start scaling back my World of Warcraft time so I can play all of this. Luckily, the first must have that will take up my home time isn’t until Uncharted 2 on Oct 13, so I still have a month of World of Warcraft left. The DS games I will probably be playing at lunch.
- Running Gnomeregan tonight with a group. I think we're too powerful for it. 31 Shaman (me), 30 Rogue, 25 Warrior (tank), 27 Priest, 28 Druid #
- Blizzard really likes making it tough to find out the rules on external hardware/software macros. I'm trying to set up my G11 for WoW. #
- Note – when setting up a backdoor in some code as a prank, remove it once done. I just came across an old joke and got scared for a bit. #
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- For the first time in years, I am experiencing heavy rain. Where I am. Not at my house while I'm at work or vice versa. Here. Now. Amazing. #
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It’s now been over a week since I updated this site, and about as long on any tweets, and the reason is simple – World of Warcraft. After Will got the game recently, my group has been more focused than ever on having some fun in that game. We are mostly currently in our early-mid 20s, hunting through Redridge Mountains and frequently running dungeons. This character (Eromar, my Draenei Shaman), is my first character to really spend a lot of time in the instances. We’ve already run Deadmines and Wailing Caverns, and plan to run Deadmines again tomorrow and Blackfathom Deeps on Monday.
Playing a Shaman is a bit of a new experience for me. The only previous characters that I got above 15 were a Warlock, Warrior and my current main, a Paladin. The Shaman plays like none of those, instead focusing on totems and buffs to enhance the group. It is a lot of fun and I’m thoroughly enjoying this group. At the moment, we have a feral Druid, protection Warrior, combat Rogue, holy Priest, enhancement Shaman and retribution Paladin. We also have a few other characters in this range, but that seems to be our main group. However, I think the retribution Paladin will be making a Warlock soon to provide crowd control and debuffs. There is also another Rogue in our group of friends, but he is in his late 30s, so we don’t group with him yet.
These dungeon runs gave the game a whole new life for me. I’ve run dungeons before on my Paladin, but not many, and not with a reliable group of people. Knowing everyone in the group and running dungeons is a lot of fun, and it is an experience I wish I would’ve done years ago. The game is easy to solo, and fun that way, but running dungeons is much more interesting. I can’t wait until this group gets higher and more dungeons open up. The end game dungeons are a hell of a lot of fun.