Archive for 2006

Lost DOS Games

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Downloading games from this site is probably not actually legal (its in the fuzzy zone of: if nobody cares, who would accuse you), but none the less this brings back great memories.

Thanks to Tenner’s list for bringing this site to my attention.

Some college classics like Crescent Hawks Revenge (they probably have a copy of that manual with the actual codes to play the game that was lost to us!), X-Wing (odd that this would be conisdered an abandoned game with LucasFilm alive and well), Wing Commander, Star Control (1,2 and 3!)… and that game Aaron Williams played continuously, Fury of the Furries. Earlier favorites like Seven Cities of Gold, Qix, Rampage, Gauntlet (1 and 2) and Archon are also there. What about UFO and UFO 2000 and X-Com: Terror from the Deep? How about Civ 1 (or 2) or the Colonization spin-off? Oh I so have to stop now.
I am somewhat disturbed by just how many of these games I actually recognize… not to mention how many I’ve actually played at one time or another.

Corning Museum of Glass a Must See.

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

We just returned from an overnight trip to Corning, NY, to visit the Corning Museum Of Glass. As a technical person I found the displays of how glass is formed, and the innovations made from glass to be very interesting. As someone who enjoys art I was fascinated by the sculpture and various pieces of art glass which fill the museum. There is an entire historical section which shows examples of the development of the glass working art throughout history (starting in 2000 BC or so).

The highlight of the visit was certainly the opportunity to go into the glass studio and make our own glass pieces. K and the in-laws made Christmas ornaments while I made a paperweight. We were each able to select the colorings to add to our pieces, and the ornament folks got to blow the end of the pipe to inflate the pieces. The paperweight was considerably more hands on. With no air required, the blob of glass had to be colored and smoothed (by them), but I held the tools to twist it and round the covering gather of clear glass on top. It was fascinating to feel the hot glass flow under the pressure of the block.

K made this ornament:

K's Ornament

and I made this paperweight:

My paperweight

Glass making fact: A water soaked wooden form called a block is used to form shapes in the glass. Although we’re used to water causing hot glass to crack, the glass is so hot that the water flashes to steam, and the glass is actually formed by the layer of steam.

See our pictures from the museum.

Civ 4 is Crack.

Friday, December 29th, 2006

In response to my friend’s Blogging is Crack posting, I have decided a series of ‘what I’m really addicted to’ articles is due.

To get us started, addiction is defined by Dictionary.com as:

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practicPluginse or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Anyhow, a recent video card purchase came bundled with Civ 4, a continuation of Sid’s world conquest series. I played the original one until my eyes bled, but eventually gave up because the computer cheated. Recently K acquired Civ 3 (we skipped Civ 2) and I played it briefly, but it was just too much like the original with even more micromanagement. Finally they nuked some of the annoying bits, and I think the game plays pretty well. Enough like the original to re-trigger the addiction, but different enough that I find it fun again (so far I have little evidence for obvious AI cheating… but I’m watching.)

With the holiday vacation I did in fact play the game all night long and well into the next day for a 16 hour single sitting. And I’m already mid way through another game…

Fully recyclable page-a-day calendar

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

K found this and sent me the link to this What’s Up – 365 Days of Skywatching calendar. For those of you (like me) who like the idea of the one page per day calendar, but hate the thought of all of those disposable pages it’s downloadable fully electronically (100% recycled electrons).

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

With the holiday season upon us, I am once again pondering the political correctness of my traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting. On one hand, if the party I am greeting does not celebrate the secular or religious Christmas holiday, am I being insensitive by failing to acknowledge that they may not wish to celebrate Christmas? On the other hand, I have chosen to celebrate Christmas, and part of my observance is the wish for peace, love and joy to all. So is the greeting the extension of my holiday wish to them? Or the denial of any holiday practice but my own?

I’m often left to turn this around? Would I be offended if someone wishes me happy Channukah or Ramadan? To be honest, I suppose I would be be slightly surprised, but why? Is it so uncommon to wish someone good will on these holidays (certainly not)? Or is this lack of exposure simply a product of my WASP upbringing and surroundings?

“Happy Holidays” and related phrases always seem so hollow to me for their sort-of generic compliance. Although I would consider myself religious, I am also a pragmatist and engineer. Certainly “Happy Holidays” is the practical, safe thing to say, but why do I rebel? Is it my religious tendencies, or my independent streak?

I suppose I must be satisfied to realize that the fact that I have this mental discussion every time I greet (or am greeted) during this season at least means I am sensitive to the holiday needs of others. At the same time, I just find that I’m far more likely to wish…

To you and yours a
Merry Christmas
(and a Happy New Year)

His Touch is Everywhere.

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Shocking as it may seem to some, I am not a coffee drinker. Coffee is inherently part of the engineering world, so there are industrial coffee machines which set next to the microwave at work. As I wait for my lunch to be irradiated -excited technically, but who would want to eat excited food- I find myself reading the warnings on the industrial coffee makers.

Bunn Coffee Maker Warning Label.

At first I was laughing at the typical overemphasized way the hot liquid had burned into the flesh off of the hapless soul who had opted to actually make more coffee. But then… in a flash of inspiration… I interpeted the image as a manifestation of the FSM reaching out with His Noodly Appendage to bless the maker of the coffee. Several Noodly Appendages are visible, along with lines which must indicate His aura. After a while I had managed to determine some alternate way to explain all of the icon’s features as extensions of this theory.

On the other hand, I might just have been hungry.

Paper Art

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

While I was browsing yesterday, I ran across this site, which has some very impressive art made out of a single sheet of size A4 paper. I think my favorite is The Lost Sheep.

Link rot requires providing these two new links. Choice A Choice B

Much construction…

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

If you happen to visit this site and notice red stripes, or boxes, or odd formatting, it probably means that I’m dorking with the template.

Don’t be concerned, it will not harm you.
It’s only me chasing something I’m not sure of.

Welcome…

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Well K already put in her “Welcome to our new site post” so I suppose I should get on the bandwagon also. I’m not sure if this will become a regular appearance, or just a once in a great while thing.

We shall see. The Gallery gallery is coming along nicely so perhaps once I’ve caught up with that I could get in the habit of writing here also. I often have thoughts which I think would amuse others – especially those which would amuse a certain private group of people who would be in on the joke – but I usually lose them the first time a shiny bauble or blade of grass catches my mind’s eye.

Welcome to my new Blog

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Hi. If you’re reading this, then you have successfully found my new blog. Why the change? Well, Chris and I have decided to set up our own webspace for a number of reasons. Now that we have it set up, I figured I could move the blog over here and have better control over it. I just got it set up this morning, so there isn’t a whole lot of customization to it at the moment. That should change in the next couple of weeks once we get all the apps installed and customize them to have a common theme.

In the mean time, check out the new site:

www.theschierers.net is the main website. Right now it’s just a copy of everything that was up at earthlink.

We have a new gallery set up for pictures. eventually all the pictures on the current site will be there instead of having a separate page for each group.

And of course there is the blog which you have already found. At the moment I think Chris and I will probably share this blog, but that may change once he gets his hands on it.

Since I have taken the time to set this all up, I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly about whatever I feel like talking about.