Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
I worked on the BoardGameGeek Gift Guide recently. As I'm always saying... BoardGameGeek.com is like the www.imdb.com of board games. Anyway, the BGG web site is awesome, but daunting for any normal person. They're getting lots of hits from people trying to find good board game gifts for the holidays. So someone smart suggested that us board game geeks should work together to make a gift guide to help those people out.
This was right up my alley. I love board games. And I hate when people have a hard time using things. In this instance I could imagine some kid's mom coming to the BGG site while trying to search for board game advice. And then I could just see her freaking out at the sites crazy complexity and then that kid would end up with another copy of Monopoly.
So I helped out! I really enjoyed working on it. I rallied support from other BGG users for some games that I wanted on the list. I suggested adding price ranges for the games and then looked 'em up up and put 'em in. And I edited the intro paragraphs to be much more concise. The coolest for me was that I learned about Wikis. I had heard about them and I use Wikipedia all the time. I call Wikipedia the new Google. It's the place to go when I want to look up something specific.
Oh, so Wiki's are really cool. I was able to suggest ideas and then implement them right away. On BGG there were no special rules about who could do what. So if you had an idea you could run it by everyone or you could just implement it and see what they thought. Anyway, here's the board game gift guide. It's got great games on it and almost every one is very approachable, even for non-geeks. :-) I own around half of the games on the list and they're all really good. I hear you saying "But Eric, don't you own like 150 games? Mathematically you'd have to own half these games." Well... yeah. But I swear, these are good games!
Anyway, Wikis are cool. And board games are fun. Check out the gift guide!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I started my job at PlayFirst! on Monday. So far it's been awesome. From what I can tell already I have a lot in common with the people in this company. They're a start up in San Francisco that's doing well, and this may seem like a minor thing, but they have free snacks, and drinks, and medicine and Kleenex. I had to bring my own Tylenol and Kleenex to work when I was at Apple...
But this story isn't about that. It's about my walk to the CalTrain station on my way home from San Francisco. I walked out of the office and intended to catch a bus to the train station. After a few blocks I turned down a side street. I passed two policemen who were walking slowly talking to each other. Halfway down the block I saw two women talking and walking towards me. One had white headphones on.
Then I saw a really heavy woman running from behind these ladies. Her, um, heft, was shaking all over. I thought "Where's this lady running in such a hurry? That looks really uncomfortable." She didn't veer around the two talking ladies. Instead she burst right between them, turned quickly and grabbed the one lady's iPod or whatever she was listening to. She kept running, fast. The woman who had just been robbed yelled and then gave chase. ("Gave chase?: Ha, I've never used that phrase in my life.)
At this point everyone nearby stopped. It didn't look like the victim would catch the, uh, robber. But if she did, then what? That's about when someone yelled for help. And on cue the two policemen I had passed earlier ran across the street to intercept the robber lady. One ran behind her and one ran ahead of her. They caught her in less than a minute from when the whole thing started. I decided there were enough witnesses already that I should still try to make my train...
So in the scheme of things it worked out pretty well. I mean, how many times do you see someone robbed and the police catch the perpetrator within a minute. Nice.
Still... I'm holding onto my cell phone a little more tightly.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Wow, I downloaded and installed Google Maps for the Palm Treo. It's awesome. It's easy to install and it's a native Palm application rather than a Java application. I know people love Java... but native applications can always be better because they can take advantage of specific system features.
Anyway, Google Maps for the Treo is really nice. I knew finding directions on my phone would be helpful, but the existing web sites were always slow and difficult to use with my Palm's web browser. Google Maps for the Treo is a lot easier and nicer to use than the competition. It includes normal street maps and satellite views. You can find a location, zoom in and out, and even look for businesses nearby. I've used it to get directions and it's worked great. If only my phone had a built in GPS so Google Maps would already know where I am.
Slashdot is a cool technology/geek news web site. You can check it out at http://www.slashdot.org/ They cover the geeky stuff I like. Sometimes they're even too geeky for me (like when they cover crazy Linux stuff) and I don't know what they're talking about. But mostly they're cool.
I'm always reading news on my cell phone (a Palm Treo 650). I've been doing it a while and realized that one can read some cell-phone-formatted pages in a normal web browser on your computer. So now I'm a big fan of reading Slashdot's Palm formatted page in my regular web browser. It loads instantly and only shows the headlines of the stories. It's crazy fast and easy to use. I don't have to navigate anything extra or see any ads etc. Now you try:
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I'm on the plane from dallas to san jose on my way. I had a great time and met some really nice people at the convention. Since I didn't know anyone I had to introduce myself and talk to people.
I arrived at the Dallas airport and couldn't find the shuttle. I finally found one. Waited. Wondered how they make money at $17/person with only 4 passengers. Ah. I see. They pack every seat in the van and we all wait until that happens. So it's me and 9 other passengers before we leave. I am the only person wearing a seatbelt. Unless you count the driver who has his draped across him, but not connected.
45 minutes later we arrive at the adam's mark hotel. I check in. Room is fine. I walked across the street to the Westin. Ask clerk how to get to convention etc. The elevator line is super long. I smartly go through the restaurant to the stairs to the 2nd floor THEN get on the elevator. I am a genius. I wander the 5th floor and see no signs of a board game convention. I'm lost? The hotel guy lied to me? I run into a man and a woman (Eric and Amanda) who are doing the same wandering and looking for the convention.
We realize we're in the wrong place and band together to find the convention. 10 minutes of walking and three elevator rides later we've found the right place through trial and error.
A nice woman helps check me into the convention. And amanda and eric are there to help. The woman is super nice. I win a game right away. I get to pick from lots of old looking flea market stuff. I pick Razzia! A german game still in the shrink wrap. A guy tells me it's like Ra, a very popular game.
Woman shows me around. I explain I'm hungry and don't know anyone. I wait.
She brings Randy and makes him my friend. :) Randy goes looking for others and comes back with Mark.
We go to the light rail. A mod-looking guy and a homeless-looking black guy both try to help us buy tickets. The weird hard-sell helping prompts me to look for another machine. I bought a one-way for $1.25 and we're off.
The popular Irish place we head for is busy with no one to seat people, and no open seats after we wander the restaurant looking. I'm glad we don't stay. We move on to a sushi place. I think to myself "This looks like a nice place. But how good is sushi goong to be in Texas?"
It turns out that the sushi place has great service and the food is really good. We head back to bgg.con in time for the poker game. Everyone at the table I'm at is nice. I play okay, but I'm out early. At least I wasn't the first one out of the tournament.
I buy a disheveled copy of shocking roulette. The seller says to test it and bring it back if it doesn't work. I think "Great. I have to play until I shock myself or go find someone to help." I opt to put one finger in and play 2 player. I wonder "if I get shocked am I gonna fall to the floor or what?" It's like a roulette wheel. That shocks the winner. A lot. It turns out mine works on the first try.
I play Hameln, a new game. The theme is about the pied piper of hameln which is cool. Points are gotten indirectly but the game is pretty fun. There's a lot of marrying and baby making in it which offers lots of joke opportunities. everyone is nice. Played with mischa. Fun but not worth $100.
Sat sleepy. Don't want to miss the flea market! vow to go, get food on way back and sleep. Buy family business and villa palletti mcdonalds sucks after leaving ziggy's line. bought 13 cookies to share. entire plaza is horrible. I wonder is it just here or is all of dallas this way?
Sweet sweet sleep. Drank diet coke, took advil, slept for 2 hours. later feeling way better.
found randy teaching people to play shadows over camelot fun game. The woman who turned out to be the traitor in the game literally played the card that meant we all won and she lost. That wasn't very satisfying. She never did anything traitorous. At all.
Saturday Before prize drawing - played a few games of pitchcar mini until the crowd for the prize drawing was too big
game show Looking for game and people to play with. Finally play Can't Stop and I win.
See carabande. Holy crap. It's HUGE. It looks cool but I find people in the library and play starfarers of catan...
A few people I played with... There are way more, but I happened to get these into my phone notes on the plane. geosmores - david namasky and david turner taught how to play dturnerfish
Fun. great bits. But breakable. But maybe not enough player interaction? The exploring and building is really good though. Should have played to more points. Bob, dave, david, big blonde guy and dave's wife?
Get pizza from roaming delivery guy.
find randy and brien and charles after game show and we play taj mahal Brienc - played taj mahal + randy + charles singer Thesongoftheday.com - Randy's upcoming web site. Skokie is where randy's game convention is in feb Brien (Charles?) 'splains caylus. We play one practice turn which clears up lots of questions. I worry I will be crushed and not get it enough. I pull out a turn where I build 3 castle walls(or something) and get a lot of points. I took 3rd place, but x played 30+ times before and takes first.
Go to bed 4am. Bleah. Get up at 9. Mcd not open 'til 10 and only lunch. Thanks mcdonalds. Other restaurants closed but sked says should be open. return another unplayed game. Wander con areas looking for people going to airport. Ask two guys on escalator. Yeah - going NOW! buy mcd breakfast for all. And have way better experience than a cab or shuttle. Forget water but otherwise awesome. joebelanger and tomfisher
I'll clean this up more and add some pictures. But that's it for now. I had a great time and am hoping I'll be able to go next year.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Kelly and I wanted to convince Jonah to stop using his pacifier (a.k.a. "Binky") at night. We managed to reduce the time he had it to just night time. So we went into negotiations with him. We hammered out the details and agreed that we would get him a remote control fire truck in return for him throwing the binkies out. And we went into specific detail about how they would be gone gone gone. He went over the story many times. How the garbage truck would come and take them away. And they would be gone.
He got a little carried away with the garbage truck thing and started talking about also throwing away Vaca (his ratty, yet loveable, stuffed cow that plays Mary Had A Little Lamb). That was just crazy talk. Although he hasn't been as interested in Vaca since then.
So I found a remote control fire truck online for ~$30 and ordered it. When it arrived I was excited to see the poorly translated marketing descriptions on the box...
The high distance it can shoot out about 6 meters when the shooter turns by 60 degrees.
Press three funtions buttons of the control most at the same time,or the car can't work.
Anyway, it all worked out and Jonah doesn't use a pacifier any more and he likes driving the fire truck around and spraying water on everything.
I'm a little sad he's not as attached to Vaca any more.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
When I was in college my friends and I liked Andrew "Dice" Clay's nursery rhymes a lot. He took nursery rhymes and basically made 'em offensive, surprising and funny. A genius combination for us college-age kids.
Here's the least offensive one I could find:
Little Miss Muffet
sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And said, "Hey, what's in the bowl, bitch?"
I took a calligraphy class my sophomore year. One of our assignments was to write a nursery rhyme in calligraphy on a big poster-sized piece of paper. So I did that, but wanted to do more. You can see where this is going, right?
I carefully wrote out all the letters and words of the above-mentioned Miss Muffet variation. It's slow work doing calligraphy, especially when you're a beginner. It's all one letter at a time. I got distracted when I was just finishing the 2nd to last word, "Bowl." I was one word away from finishing my masterpiece. I thought it wold get some laughs from my friends. So I looked away, got back to work, and realized I had made a mistake:
Who sat down beside her
And said, "Hey, what's in the bowl,
I had started writing the word "bowl" again. Ugh.
I figured I might as well finish it, even if it was ruined. I don't remember who walked in next and saw the finished product. But as it turned out, the phrase "Bo bitch" became pretty popular in my group of friends. Like "Hey, what's up bo bitch!?"
I'm sure I could still get a laugh out of them today.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Jonah is almost three. Ari will be five months old in a few days. Jonah is like a grown-up now. We come home from work and he asks "So.... How was your day?" It's wild. Ari still barfs on everyone and everything. Well, that's not totally fair. If you're under one year old I think we call it "spitting up."
Kelly talked me into getting central air conditioning in our house. Or as we call it "AirCon*." It seemed like a waste of money even though I'm always the first to complain about how hot it is.
So the installers came and everything went smoothly. Until the next hot day when we closed all the windows and fired it up and the air that came out of the vents was luke warm. And stinky. Although the air conditioner was working beautifully, so was the furnace. It only took us two weeks and three more visits from the AirCon company to fix things so the furnace and AirCon could operate independently.
I'm still not sure the AirCon was a good investment. But it was pretty gratifying to use it in the past week or two where the high temperatures were ~105 degrees in San Jose. I was very glad we got it.
Oh yeah. The stinky smell turned out to be a dead rat in the filter. Good times. I'll post a picture of Kelly showing it off later.
* All the hotels in Mexico advertised Air Conditioning as "AirCon." Is that a European thing? A Mexico thing?
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I gave up on the Slingbox package arriving. I took a shower and after I got dressed and opened the curtains to our bedroom I saw a white pickup truck out front. Weird. Nobody parks in front of our house. I could see our porch out the window and saw a package... from Amazon!
Maybe the driver put my package somewhere weird yesterday? At someone else's house? And then returned in his pickup truck today to find it?
Either way I'm busy hookin' up my Slingbox and playing the software update game. Yay1
I ordered a Slingbox from Amazon.com and FedEx says they delivered it today. I don't have any way to know if that's true, because when I got home there was no package.
I'm hoping that tomorrow the driver suddenly remembers how he hid it under our house or something. But I have a feeling that's not gonna happen. The best guess I've got is that some hooligan kids in the neighborhood stole the package. They probably saw Kelly leave and then the FedEx truck arrive a little while later. (Note: FedEx says they delivered it at 12:21pm. Kelly says she left at 12:30pm or later. So theoretically she was here. Maybe the driver took my box? Reported the wrong delivery time?)
Anyway, from what I've read the Slingbox is really cool. You hook it up to your cable box/TiVo/DVR/whatever and to the internet via an ethernet cable. It also has an IR (Infra-red) blaster so that it can send remote control commands to whatever it's hooked up to.
Once you have the box hooked up you can use the software to watch the video comin' out of whatever sources it's hooked up to. That means you can watch on your computer somewhere else in your house... or from anywhere that you have an internet connection. Say you're on vacation (and of course you brought your computer) and realize you need to watch the local news in your home town. Or need some Teletubbies shows to play for your 2 1/2 year-old. Or if you need to set up some new recordings on your DVR... Just fire up the Sling software and watch your TV shows, program your DVR etc
Now if you never leave your house this might not be the product for you. But I'm hoping, if I ever get it, that it's going to be pretty dang cool for me. :-)
I'm going to call the local FedEx tomorrow morning. I have a feeling they're going to tell me I'm out $220. The extra crappy thing is that FedEx lost a package of mine a week ago. I guess the good news there is that it was "lost" before it arrived at my house. So I was able to get a replacement from the place I ordered from.
OK. I'm sleepy. It's Kelly's birthday tomorrow. Kelly, Dan and Jonah are visiting Joe & Mary (& Mira & Lyra). I'm hoping they're bring back a chicken (live). Also. Ants.