Adventures on the Silicon Prairie

User-Driven Chaos and Anarchy

I was bored the other night, and I ended up playing Star Trek Online. The last time I tried to play, it was on my Mac, and I couldn’t get the graphics to work, so I gave up. Now it’s on the PlayStation 4, and the graphics are working just fine. Nothing to write home about, but playable, and it definitely looks and feels like Star Trek, which is fun in the way that Battlefront looks and feels like Star Wars; it’s fun to finally get to set foot into these worlds that we’ve looked into for so long.

Scratch That Itch

I’ve started working on teaching myself Ruby again. After I got my associates in Computer Science, I had a goal of getting a job in IT, a very vague goal. Basically, I wanted to sit at a desk and work on a computer. I didn’t really care what I did. I just wanted to work with computers.

I assumed that I would need to know how to code, that whatever job I ended up doing would be something in development. So, I started teaching myself different programming languages. I worked on Objective-C for a while, thinking that iOS development would be the way to go, then started looking at web development. Web development led me to Ruby, through Rails.

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.