Adventures on the Silicon Prairie

The Faces Never Change

I think I’m done with No Man’s Sky, which is a shame. I was hoping that it would replace Destiny as the game I spent all of my time in. As soon as I read about it last spring, I pre-ordered it. It felt like the perfect game for me—a procedurally generated universe based on exploration, where you can walk around and then jump into your cockpit and take off and explore an entire galaxy.

The Steering Flips

I wish I could describe better the change in my approach to video games. I guess the first place to start would be to describe what was happening before. Before, I would play a game until I got either frustrated with the interface, or stuck on a story element, or just too overwhelmed. The last part I described as a feeling of “not wanting go there,” a particular memory of playing the original Doom, and feeling like the remaining levels would be too scary, too intense to go on. Which is a little ridiculous, now that I write it, but it was true. There was also a sense that when I restarted a video game, I’d have to do all this stuff to first relearn the interface and then relearn the story, which seemed like too much work to do something that I’d already done before.

The Ugly Joy of It All

“Here, watch this.” His ever-present grin faded for a moment as he concentrated. On the screen, his avatar, a black leather jacket wearing hoodlum, was racing a motorcycle along busy city streets. He raced up onto the sidewalk and then jumped off the bike, sending it careening into a crowd of screaming pedestrians. His avatar, swinging a baseball bat, took out another person as he hit the ground running. “Took me a week to master that.”

Wait for It

I just did something in OmniFocus that is tiny, but is making a huge difference. I’ve had a context for a long time called Waiting For, which essentially acts as a stop for a project. It indicates when I can’t move forward, but I have to wait for something, like a reply from someone, or for a state to change, like for the washer to complete. Now, for the longest time, I’ve had this context set to Hold, which means that waiting for actions wouldn’t show in my list of active actions, which makes sense, because it’s not an action that I can take. But the problem is that my core perspective only shows active actions, so actions on hold don’t appear. I actually created a separate perspective called Waiting For so I could look at all the things I was waiting on, and flip them on or off.

One Person’s Broken Is Another Person’s Perfect

“Are we ever going to play The Division again?” OtherMark asked.

“I dunno,” OtherOtherMark replied, “Is The Division going to not suck anymore?”

I winced, partly at the reply, and partly because I was repeatedly falling to my death in the Vault of Glass jumping puzzle. Four months ago, OtherOtherMark was really excited about The Division. Destiny was looking long in the tooth. Our raid group completed King’s Fall. This was the end game content that we’d been working on together for a couple of months, since early December. And with the end game content mostly completed, the group started to drift apart as players started playing other games. Destiny was no longer holding their interest.

Sometimes You Have to Let Go

I have a problem in that I have more ideas then I know what to do with them. It would be easier if I could just keep working and thinking about the same project at one time, but it doesn’t work like that. I’ll have ideas that I don’t have time to work on at the moment, but I’ll know that I’ll want to work on them sometime in the future. So I’ve been struggling to come up with a reliable method to collect these ideas.

Tidbits Reviews the iPhone SE

Tidbits reviews the iPhone SE:

If scoring a smaller and lighter smartphone is of paramount concern, the iPhone SE might be the right way to go, despite its omissions. While not the equal of its siblings in every way, it’s a darn good iPhone.

I’ve been watching the reviews for the SE pretty closely—I’m eligible for an upgrade in July, and for the longest time I thought I’d be going with a 6-sized phone. But I really like my 5s’s size and shape. So, I’m pleased to hear the positive notes about the SE.

But people who spend a lot of time on an iPhone, whether for work or pleasure, may want to think about whether the iPhone SE’s smaller screen would be too limiting. For those who regard their handsets as productivity or entertainment hubs, a larger screen may be necessary to avoid eyestrain or digital claustrophobia.

I used to spend most of my time on the phone, but now I’m mostly on the tablet. The Mini is my hub, for work and entertainment. The phone has become a pocket-sized extension for the Mini, a way to quickly check email or play music. Almost all of the work that I don’t do on the computer, I do on the iPad Mini.

An Empty Basket

To her credit, my mother did try. One day, laundry was this inexplicable process whereby dirty clothes went from the floor of my room to being folded in my dresser; the next day, my brother and I were responsible for our own. We don’t know how, we protested. I’ll teach you, she countered, and reality of laundry set in, that the process is relative simple, but there was an amount of manual labor, of toil and drudgery that could not be escaped. Except by telling your teenage sons it was time to learn to fend for themselves.

We reacted differently. I became inured to wearing dirty clothes, a practice I continue to this day; my brother broke the washing machine, cramming two weeks worth of jeans and t-shirts into the machine. The drum could not actually spin, and he burnt something out. Smoke pouring out of her washing machine was not one of the results my mother had envisioned, and she retreated and relented and started doing our laundry again. But she did try.

To Wordpress and Back Again

“Oh god,” my brother-in-law exclaimed, “Choose anything but Wordpress.”

He does Internet security for a major insurance company here in town, and truth was, I knew why he wrinkled his nose when I said Wordpress it was. The last time I had used Wordpress for a site, I spent more time pulling spam out of the comments than actually posting to the site, more time weeding than gardening.