Origins: Days 2 and 3

Sorry for the combined update.

COMPLETE ass-end of Day 1, went and saw the Die Hard flick. Was okay, not great. Shoulda caught some shut-eye though.

As such, because of the screwy sleep schedule, I woke up with a blinding headache the next morning and spent a couple hours medicating myself back to abnormalcy.

Got to the booth at noon. A MUCH better day for me, MUCH less pain in my legs (or maybe all the pain receptors had died overnight), and I got a chance to see the con a bit during lulls in the dealer area. Lots of cool stuff, but seeing as I’m on “The Budget Of The Last Minute”, I bought nothing but extortionately priced food (having brought my own drink).

It was a lot busier at the con on Friday, we actually sold a bunch of stuff (YAY!).

After the dealer area closed, caught some food in the food court and headed up to Dave Stansel-Garner’s room so that he could get his Shadowrun cherry popped. Ran a quickie adventure, then headed back down to the Shadowrun area for the final minutes of that night’s games.

Then we stuck around for another two-ish hours and talked shop.

Nope. Sorry, can’t discuss it.

Anyhoo, again with the goofy hours, but this time I just woke up late, no pain.

Made it down to the hall with time to spare for the “What’s up with FanPro Catalyst” seminar.

You can read about it here.

Actually had nothing going on tonight. Think I may turn in early and thus, hopefully, be a wee be more spritely on the following morn…

Origins 2007 Update: Day 1

Okay guys. Long day. But surprisingly active. The CBT events today were just HUGE. They actually had to split one of their events in two (and each was still ridiculously large).

The Catalyst Game Labs (CGL) booth was fairly active all day too. Lots of interest in who the heck we are, and lots of interest in the upcoming CBT and Shadowrun items coming out within the next month.

Almost nothing but kudos over the boxed set (the “almost” is only because of one guy who owns every book in existence already NOT understanding that the “INTRODUCTORY” boxed set is NOT aimed at him). Anyhow, the Boxed Set is a $40 item and the way it’s produced, it’s worth every damn penny of that $40. And for those of you concerned with the minis, they’re SWEET!

As I’ve noted before now, Origins isn’t really a big “sell stuff” event for exhibitors. It’s big on games. And the lull periods in the exhibition hall give various companies and individuals time to move about and make lots of great contacts. The kind of stuff that GenCon is just too darn huge and hectic for most of the time.

Oh yes, and I have a few pictures up as well. Sorry if some of them are a bit blurry or washed out. In the rush to get packed, pick up product, and attend a convention I’d planned not to attend, I forgot my regular camera.

Luckily for me, my roomate had one he could loan me (pics forthcoming when I can get the appropriate media adapter), and a camera attachment for my laptop. The only problem with the PC cam is it doesn’t do high-light pics very well. But I do my best. And you’ll forgive me…won’t you?


Oh crap!

Anyhow, I’ve gotta lay down for a bit. I’ve been standing all day on thinly carpeted concrete. And my legs below the knees have reached the general consistency of pudding…

Day 0 at Origins.

Okay, I know I never announce this. But I’m going to Origins…or more to the point, I’m already here. CGL needed some stuff brought up and getting my fat butt to a con is orders of magnitude cheaper than trying an overnight trans-ship ending on a holiday.

It was insanely last minute, and I my employers MEGA favors for not only letting me come, but PAYING me while I’m away.

Yep. I have one of the coolest bosses ever…

Anyhoo, the Catalyst Game Labs booth is 99% together. The other percent will come together in the morning. My pictures are going to be spotty. I left my hand-held at home (c’mon, 50 gajillion things I gotta get done in 24 hours and all I left at home was my lousy camera?), but I DO have my PC cam. And it takes OK pics.

Kudos to RedRoof Inn for the $20 7-day pass for their T-Mobile hotspot. Boos and hisses to T-Mobile for not setting up the hotspot to allow hotel guests to just sign up for it without having the special cards (like a gift card) that the hotel happens to be out of (day 0 of a con, and it’s INEXPENSIVE wireless, unlike the butt-rape prices at GenCon?)

But, in the end, kudos to T-Mobile for putting up with me bitching about it then giving me two free days to tide me over until the hotel gets more cards.

Well, I need to shower. The humidity is outrageous right now. Then I’m taking my big butt to bed.

More tomorrow!

Yup. It’s all the fault of games.

I knew it was going to happen. The “experts” simply couldn’t help themselves.

Sooner or later some overqualified idiot was going to lay the blame at the feet of “violent video games”.

Last time I checked, a video game doesn’t force you to go around blowing people away. Just like the gun doesn’t point and fire itself. Just like people don’t automatically put themselves in the line of fire.

But no. Nowadays nobody’s really at fault for their own actions. It’s their terrible upbringing. It’s the media. It’s games. It’s that they were abused by someone. It’s that they didn’t get enough sex from their girlfriend.


Nobody forced them into this. They made the damn decision to go postal on their own. Their own sad way of drawing attention to themselves. Because they were too stupid to find another, productive way to draw attention to the fact that “hey, their life sucked!”

However, it’s always easier to affix blame to something else. Especially now that this jackass is worm-food, by his own hand. So the option for revenge (not justice) has been severed. That and there’s a lot more MONEY available from the game companies than there is from this guy’s parents.

I’m not inured to the tragedy these people suffered. It’s horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on more than one or two people.

HOWEVER, we sometimes have to accept the fact that people go nuts for no discernable reason and pull fucked up things like this. Trying to place blame is natural of course. But ultimately pointless.

Kalamazoo or Bust

Okay. Why in the name of Bob would four guys overnight into Kalamazoo, Michigan? For those of you who’ve been around reading EvilNET for a while, you know the answer. BATTLETECH.

Kzoo is the site of Nick Smith’s Virtual World center. A not-so-short drive from Chicago, Peter Smith, Loren Coleman, Randall Bills, and myself are beating the snot out of each other (in a friendly way).

Pictures in the Gallery.

Apple vs Microsoft: The greatest fight that never was.

Yet again, we’re hearing about why Microsoft should fear Apple. I wish some of these “journalists” would find some REAL news to report.

“I, a journalist, in the publishing business, tried a Mac and prefer it to a Wintel PC.”

Big freaking whoop!

“Microsoft should be scared. Now I can run their stuff on MacOS through Parallels!”

Excuse me? What? Did you have a valid point there somewhere? No? So sorry!

Microsoft doesn’t give a shit about the Mac. Seriously! Sure, they steal interface cues from them (and have some things stolen back in return). This entire myth about Microsoft and Apple being in a knock-down, drag-out fight is utter crap!

Why? Let’s walk through this.

You bought a Mac! You’re rebellious and unique! Just like a few million other people.

It runs MacOS! Woo!

You can run Parallels on there and load Windows. Then you can run Windows apps!


THINK about this for a second.

You bought a Mac. Then went out and bought a full-blown copy of WINDOWS to load on there as well. Plus all the Windows apps!

How EXACTLY has Apple now, via you, bitten into Microsoft’s market? Guess what. They HAVEN’T.

The only one whose market gets bitten into are the OEMs, HP, Dell, IBM, etc.

Apple got their money. Microsoft got THEIR money. And more, the situation is probably even MORE profitable for Microsoft, as most of the people looking to buy a Mac are likely buying full RETAIL copies of Windows and assorted software to chuck into Parallels! This means higher margins for Microsoft versus the margins they get from the OEM licenses they provide.

Here’s the math. It probably costs Microsoft a grand total of $2 PER PACKAGE to put out a retail copy of Vista Ultimate. Which retails for between $250 and $360. That’s a 12,500-18,000 percent profit margin based on materials costs alone (ammortizing development costs into it brings it down to a more far reasonable margin, I’m sure). They receive FAR less in the way of margins from their OEM licensing.

So for all the children out there who want to see a face-off between Cupertino and Redmond, then stand back and chant “fight fight fight”, grow up already. The current arrangement is beneficial to BOTH companies. So it’s highly doubtful they’re going to start poking each other in the nose now.

Oh for the love of…

Have you EVER had one of those days where someone just did something to you that’s well and truly death-worthy?

I walked out of work today to find my hood dented and my front grill pushed in.

A co-worker who’d been trying to get out of the driveway had been trying to back out around me. And, instead of just coming to get me, or at least get my keys, he decided to mickey-mouse his way out. In the process hitting me.

THEN, instead of coming in to tell me he hit me, he leaves! So I walk out of work half an hour or so later and find my car fucked up!

I get his ass on the phone and he tells me “well I knew I bumped you, but I didn’t see anything wrong”.

Gigantic WHAT THE FUCK here people! If you hit someone, ESPECIALLY if they’re less than fifty feet away COME AND TELL THEM!


My little blather about Linux.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, I’ve been a Linux user for well over a decade now. I like it, I love it, I want more of it!

Currently my favorite is Ubuntu. If you have even a single synapse firing between your ears, you can install and use Ubuntu. If you don’t, you can still use it. It just takes longer.

What’s REALLY impressed me is that each release is getting better and better. 4.10 was my first impression. And it was a HELL of an impression. 5.04 was even better, with better hardware support. 6.06 was DAMN impressive, and guaranteed supported for 3 years?

Even so, my little Dell craptop had a few quirks in it. Switching between wireless networks was entirely manual. Edit the config file, kick the networking service and go.

6.10 was 6.06 plus a little more hardware support. A little unstable (it WAS a development branch..) but on the whole, not bad.

Now with 7.04 getting ready to push out in April, I’m stunned yet again. Hardware support is better still, and wireless. FLAWLESS. It’s every bit as easy as flipping back and forth between networks in Windows. Hell, even Beryl (SWEET 3D desktop manager) works right without major tweakage. And these are the PRE-FINAL “Herd” RELEASES I’m working on! If this keeps up, my PARENTS (who fear and hate computers) will be able to install Linux without worrying about configuration!

Okay, enough yapping and backing of “my horse”. Apparently our boys at Dell are finally pulling their heads out of…the sand…and finally taking notice of Mother Torvalds’ other child. And ABOUT *CENSORED* TIME TOO!

The long and the short. A while back, Dell put up their IdeaStorm site. Ostensibly to solicit feedback from the user community. Needless to say, they got inundated with requests for Linux like you wouldn’t believe. Initially, they tried just ignoring and removing anything Linux-related. But that just garnered MORE attention.

A short time ago, they put up a survey to gather information on what potential customers are looking for in terms of Linux offerings.

Now the possibilities here are worth noting. Imagine being able to buy a system from Dell. Even if it didn’t come pre-installed with Linux, you could grab an install disk from a supported distro, install, and be up and running IMMEDIATELY. No tweaking stuff till it likes your hardware. It just…works.

Now, even if it IS “just a Dell”, that’s worth a HELL of a lot to some people. And Dell themselves don’t even need to lead the development here. They simply need to release hardware specs to the Linux vendor of choice (and maybe a little cash that otherwise would have gone towards Windows development). Dell and a company like RedHat, Novell, or Canonical could do a brisk business in Linux (either pre-installed or after the fact) at that point.

So go ahead. If you’re considering Dell, and would welcome Linux offerings, go on over. Then stay and read some of the feedback.

Busy busy busy!

Pardon the rambling. Just blowing off steam here.

We’re going on a full week since the rehost here. And things are starting to settle into normalcy again.

The IRC servers are reachable, we have a working frontpage that I can post to easily, and teh forums are back online.

Now I start running across weird stuff I didn’t have to deal with before. Like phpBB abusers. We didn’t have them before, because, frankly, we were on an ancient version of UBB. But, since we were (forcibly) starting fresh, and the host provides access to phpBB, I figured why not. Now we get weirdos coming into the forums just to get themselves linked or spaming for…well, you’ve probably received spam before. So you know what these idiots are advertising.

I mean, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Sometimes I wonder about people.

Luckily, we had someone involved in the forums who was more with it (with regards to securing phpBB) than I was. He made a few good suggestions for preventative measures to keep the forums from being overrun by bots or idiot link-seekers. And I’ve begun putting this advice into effect.

But GOD I wish I didn’t need to.

Oh well…

Chas’ social calendar!

Okay, in my copious free time, I’m going to be attending a couple of conventions this year.

And that’s about it. CODCon and Acen, I’ll be just wandering around as an attendee.

DefCon, I’m supposed to be goonsquad (security).

GenCon, I’ll either be working the pods again this year, or doing booth and gopher duty.

So, if you’re attending any one of these cons, I hope to see you there.

My unvarnished two bits.