Saturday, November 5, 2011

#1 learned after my first 10 games of Warmachine

An all shooty list won't work.  It will put out some serious damage and can cripple and kill a lot of models but it won't win you any games.  Part of the fault is that the game of Warmachine/Hordes is heavily geared towards close combat.  The clearest example I can cite for that statement is that a Warjack/Warbeast can get extra attacks in close combat by using extra focus/fury but cannot do the same with ranged attacks.
There are precious few exceptions to this rule, I can only think of 1 in the Cygnar faction book that can get a single extra attack with an extra point of focus.

This statement of mine doesn't suggest that shooting is worthless.  Hardly so, I've won games with a couple of well placed shots at an exposed warcaster.  I am suggesting is that an all shooty list isn't going to work.  What will work is a well balanced list with a more or less equal amount of shooting and close combat ability.  Let the shooters do what they do best, pick off the weak supporting ground troops and exposed warcasters.  The close combat should be left to the specialized infantry and warjacks who can be given extra focus.

That should work.  If it doesn't then expect me to post my frustrations again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A bump in the road for TEW

Word has got out that TEW may be calling it quits.  That's only half true.  The full truth is that Dave, Chris and I announced to the other members of the Hobby Talk Network on a private forum that we were pulling ourselves off the show.  An incident happened and I will not go into detail.  It was enough that the three of us felt that killing the show was the better option.  We asked that everyone in the network respect our wishes and not repeat this news for a week and a half time just in case the issue between the three of us and Rich could be resolved.  The next day Rich posts to the world that he is quitting the show thereby ending any chance for a resolution.  Later that day we came back to reclaim the abandoned show.

As to the future of TEW; I'm not sure.  The three remaining hosts are severely hurt by the way things went down.  Chris and I are especially crushed because we lost a decade long friendship with Rich.  We do not give up on friendships like that lightly.  With all my heart I wish things were different but the deterioration between us had been going on for years.  More recent incidents have proven to me that the former friendship is now dead and buried.  For the life of me I cannot understand why someone would choose to give up all of his friends so he can win an argument over an indefensible act.

This leaves TEW in an awkward position.  The entire concept of the show is a friendship between 4 gamers.  It's pretty damn hard for us to keep on going after one of our closest friends for a decade has abandoned us.  Can we continue?  Should we continue?

Our ability to put a show together is not the issue.  Any idiot can hit record, convert the file and upload it to the web.  The simple truth is making a podcast is easy, making a good podcast is what's difficult.  The real problem with us is our energy.  This entire experience has sucked the life right out of us.

As for myself;  I enjoy being a podcaster.  Getting in front of a microphone and speaking my mind is a very liberating experience.  I love generating new content, I love the research that goes into an episode, I love the feedback from listeners and most especially I love meeting the listeners.   Being a podcaster has become a part of who I am.  Yes I want to continue.

I have a ton of good ideas that I'm excited about but they won't go anywhere if Dave or Chris don't have the energy to go on.  I understand where they're coming from, it will be good to go back and just be a normal gamer again.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Diet Coke and Mentos never gets old video of the week

video
I present to you my Diet Coke and Mentos video of the week compliments of Break.com.
This never gets old to the juvenile delinquent in me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple and it's rumored TV set

     As a die hard Apple fan I'm always interested in the next thing from Uncle Steve.  Even though he's gone from us now his legacy will live on for at least a few more years.  Most products have a 2+ year development cycle and Apple's tends to be a bit longer.  Rest assured that we will continue to see Steve Jobs designed Apple products for the next few years.  The rumor I'm interested in is a LCD TV set by Apple.  I found that rumor on the huffington post and theapple.tv.

It makes sense.  The product Apple sells now that's called Apple TV is somewhat unimpressive from what it could be.  It's great for Netflix and youtube but not being able to use Hulu is a deal breaker for me.  When you look at the cost and features the roku is a much better product.  That being said it's still not perfect.  Both missing the ability to be a DVR and record what you watch, tune into broadcast TV, and be fully integrated to the display screen.  That's where I figure Apple could swoop in and do their magic.  Fully integrating the screen into the interface is something Apple can do better than any other company.  I for one, would buy it.
     The lack of Hulu won't be a major sticking point for long.  The rumored Apple buyout of Hulu seems to have been nothing more than rumors but what it did was expose Apple's desire to duplicate the same type of service on iTunes and iCloud.  If the predicted time frame is correct (late 2012-early 2013) the iCloud will be out there with an established customer base and ready to accept a product that was custom designed for it.  The Apple TV and iCloud will be what the iPod was for iTunes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To an Elf, people are just like dogs.

     I've been gaming for a very long time.  Long before I rolled a ton of d6's on a table top for a wargame I was rolling d20's on a D&D night to keep my character alive.  Like any good pinball wizard I've played them all.  My first character was a Paladin named Max.  I named him after my new puppy that I was crazy about.  As you can imagine, naming things after that dog became a habit of mine.  His stats were pretty memorable; 18-95 strength (after all nobody ever believed an 18-00), 17 dex, 18 con, 9 intelligence, 12 wisdom and 17 charisma.  They were bullshit stats but I didn't care and neither did the rest of the party.  We needed a tank and I was it.  Although that character is still alive I don't play him anymore.  He's stuck in some dungeon trying to keep his Vampirism under control.
     Since then I've had plenty of more memorable characters.  A few of my favorites were a Hobbit thief named Ross that the party decided to entrust with the loot after every adventure (big mistake), a Human fighter named Vinnie that never used a weapon (he just punched and body slammed his way through 2nd edition AD&D rules), a drunken Dwarf named Ghaston with a life long ambition to found a brewery, an evil Necromancer named Cranius who forged a friendship with a Knight of Solamnia.  One of my absolute favorite was a Swashbuckling Grey Elf named Tom Juan Demarco.
     Tom was an interesting Elf.  He had a very long back story that took 2 DM's to fully form but it largely revolved around being raised in a Human world.  He was forever out of place.  It wasn't until I reached 15th level that the a DM finally understood what I wanted in the character.
     When I first created this character I was faced with the following numbers to use for stats; 16, 18, 12, 16, 10, 14.  We were still pretty generous for stats but not as bad as the noobs we once were.  The first DM looked at those stats and assumed that I would make an Elvish wizard.  Grey Elves make great wizards due to the bonus to their intelligence.  That thought didn't appeal to me, I wanted to run a different kind of Elf.  I had a desire to break the mold of typecasting and make an Elvish fighter who fought like a Human.  So Tom was born with 14 strength, 18 dexterity, 12 constitution, 16 intelligence, 10 wisdom and 16 charisma.  I was making a character to role play with.  The DM was looking for characters to roll play so I made a few changes and Tom swapped his strength and charisma score.  To fight with I gave him a Rapier, a whip and a set of throwing daggers.  Armor?  Tom didn't need any armor.
     He was a very challenging character to take on a dungeon crawl.  He was miserable at monster killing which unfortunately made up the vast majority of my early encounters. I admit that my old Dwarf would have been much better in those adventures.  But what Tom lacked in killyness was flair.  His whip was for snapping in his opponents eyes to blind them or take their weapon away and the rapier was for for the kill.  I developed a signature move that revolved around carving a "T" in my opponents forehead during the heat of battle.  You have no idea how many times I got pounded for doing that.  Small weak Elves should not piss off big angry Orks.
     But I survived.  Only one encounter ended badly as I usually played it safe.  The whip was also for keeping distance from my opponent.  I was role playing a life story of an Elf who knew a lot about mortality.  A Grey Elf in a Human world knows a lot about death.  According to the Player's Handbook Elves become adults around age 125 and live up to 500 years.  Grey Elves live even longer.  What my second DM finally understood is that because Tom lived in a Human world by the time he became a mature young adult he had already seen at least 6 generations of Humans born, grow up, live their lives, get old and die.
     Think of it, how would your perspective on life be if the friends you had today were the great great great grandchildren of friends you used to spend time with.  In time he would know their great great great grandchildren as friends.  How tight of a bond would he have with humans when their entire lives would flash before him?  The answer is very clear to me, to understand one only has to own and love a dog.  Their lives flash before our lives and do we love them any less?
     The picture on the left is my dogs.  Max is on the left and Kaylee is on the right.  Max passed away 2 years ago and Kaylee passed away a four days ago.  Despite knowing them only a fraction of my life I'm stricken with grief over their loss.  From newborns who looked like a hairy sausage to elderly canines with bad gas I loved them with all my heart.  I have a new dog named Jack who looks just like them and he's a brat.  I love him and in 12 years I'm going to mourn his loss too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The innovative side of Apple; What we can thank Uncle Steve for.

    Some technical innovations have been out for so long and have been so widely adopted that people forget a time when they weren't standard.  I'm old enough o remember so let me highlight a few things that we can directly credit Steve Jobs and Apple for.  He and Apple may not have been the original inventor and they may not have been the first to bring it to market.  But you will see that he and Apple were the ones to make them a standard in the industry.

#1 Steve Jobs was instrumental into turning computers from this;
into this;

    This was Steve Jobs innovation #1.  Despite the meager start Steve was the leader in taking the computer into the home.  Before the Apple 1 the vast majority of computers were in cooperate and university environments or scratch built from kits by geeky techy types.  Even if you have never used an Apple computer you have Steve Jobs to thank if you're using your PC and do not have an engineering degree in computer science.

#2 Keyboards on all computers
     Apple 1 was the first to come with a keyboard but the Apple 2 was the first to mass market and force the rest of the industry to adopt keyboards as standard on all personal computers.

#3 Computers in Schools
     It's also safe to say that the Apple 2 was probably the first computer you ever used.  Steve invented the entire concept of marketing the computer to schools below the university level.  This idea created an entire generation of computer savy kids.

#4 The Computer Mouse
     IBM invented the mouse but it remained as a curious lab experiment for years before Steve and the Apple Lisa.  The Macintosh made it an industry standard.


#5 The Graphical User Interface
     How many of us know what that phrase even means?  It's so ubiquitous on every computer has it we forget what an innovation it was to click on an icon and not type in lines of computer code to get the computer to do something.

#6 Color monitors
     Before the Steve advanced the Apple 2 this was what almost all personal computer screens looked like;

then they became this;
#7 Web Browsers
     The first web browser was wrote on one of these;
     The web existed before then but to use it you practically had to be a computer expert.  


#8 The complete computer

     The first to market the "all in one" computer was Apple with the Macintosh.  It was the first computer designed to eliminate the birds nest of cables that dominated the vast majority of computers.  

#9 the USB and Firewire ports
   The first USB and firewire ports I ever saw was on a Macintosh.  Before the USB port the back of most computers was a vast array of various ports.  The USB made life simpler with standardization.  

Firewire mad it faster;

#10  Portable Music
     Portable music existed before the iPod but the iPod is what turned this;

Into this;

#11 Paying for Digital Music
     Despite all the populist and libertarian rage the fact remains that downloading music from a file sharing site is still theft.  Someone created that music with the expectation of being paid and just because you can doesn't mean you should download it without payment.  All credit must be given to Steve Jobs for making that a possibility.  Without him and iTunes the music would still be stuck in an 80's industry mindset and fighting (suing) the public. 

#12 Tablet computers

     Forget the iPad, that's the machine that made it successful.  The first real tablet computer was the Apple Newton.  That one didn't take off but it set the early stage for what did.

#13 Smart Phones
     The iPhone is the basic design that all smart phones are based upon today.   Before it phones were for calling people.  Now they do almost everything.  

#14  Apps

     Micro-programs (apps) didn't first appear in the iPhone.  They've been a feature of computers for years.  The iPhone is what brought them to the phone.

#15 Podcasting

     It's a simple fact that Podcasts are named after the iPod.  The 2 are forever linked.  Without iTunes or the iPod the podcast would have remained a wonky internet thing for geeks and nerds.

    The simple fact remains that without the influence of Steve Jobs and Apple the computer industry would probably still be stuck in the 80's.  Almost everyone of these innovations I listed existed before Steve brought them to the public but it was Steve who forced the industry to advance.  It doesn't matter if you like Apple, Steve Jobs or the products he brought into the world or not but if you're reading this Steve has changed your life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Noooooooo! Not Uncle Steve.

And so an era in computing comes to an end.  Steve Jobs has passed away.
If you want to know how the company feels about it then download the pic they used to announce his death.

The people who worked with him everyday and knew him best named the filet_hero.png  
That alone should say enough.  
I'm a bit crushed.  I've been a loyal Mac user since 1986 and have never owned a PC.  


Uncle Steve understood computers and their users better than anyone.  The machines he created are more than just a beige box with a keyboard.  They are an extension of a person's personality and creativity.  
He was a true innovator who could take a half understood idea and reform it into pure brilliance.  His passing leaves this world a lot more bland.  
Let's not remember him for the wonderful computers he created.  Let's remember him for what we did with the wonderful computers he created.