Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Sounds! – a local radio show available as a podcast featuring new and indie music. It makes me want to buy CDs after not having bought much in years. I don’t want to give money to the idiots that will send lawyers after their own customers!✎
So what should I do if I want to get an album I like? The easiest solution is to get it from a friend. Here in Switzerland we have an exception to copyright law that says that copyright does not apply amongst the people you are close with such as family and friends. (“Verwendung zum Eigengebrauch”)✎
But other than that, I guess I should write an email to the band or publisher whenever I want to buy an album and ask whether they support the efforts of collecting societies, industry associations, and publishers to go after file sharers. If they are, I shouldn’t be buying from them. That’d be supporting the hand that hits you!✎
My old iBook is still being used! I installed Ubuntu on it a while ago. Today I thought that it was kind-of sluggish and I decided to switch from the default window manager and desktop environment to something leaner. I remember a long time ago I had been using SlackWare✎ and had switched from KDE to Xfce. Time to try it again!
Right now I sort-of miss the Exposé functionality. I think I just need to find a different solution or I might go back to Gnome because of the resources this will need.
My menu-bar background is black. Yuck, that’s ugly. Must find a better theme. I think I’m running into two things conflicting, here. By using Xfce 4 Settings Manager → Appearance I was able to switch from Albatross to Clearlooks, I fixed the menu-bar. Previously, I had only used the Window Manager setting to switch from Default style to Agua style. Solved, I think.
I find that my dead keys are only working partially. The obvious stuff like the circumflex (^ + e = ê) and the umlaut (¨ + o = ö) work, but I’ve grown used to Alt+2 resulting in “ and Alt+Shift+2 resulting in ” – something about my keymap is broken! It turns out that I want my Option key to be used as Alt, with Emacs treating Alt as Meta. The Alt key, however, should be used as whatever it’s called to access the extra stuff on a key (again, I’ll have to look up the names). Gah! Keyboard Layouts Settings is not helping.
Half the problem is solved by the following – now the Option key acts as alt/meta.
! Option key is alt/meta remove mod4 = Super_L add mod1 = Super_L
Using “keycode 64 = Mode_switch” doesn’t change the Alt key to give me access to the third and fourth keysym. What’s wrong? Time to reread my old blog posts… 2009-11-30 Keyboard Remapping✎. Truly, I feel like I’m giving advice to my future self. Ah, there it is!
! Alt key switches levels remove mod1 = Alt_L keycode 64 = ISO_Level3_Shift
And it works! Now to make this permanent… save the lines in a file called /.Xmodmap and they’ll get run when you log in. Problem solved!
Update: I’m currently using the following:
keycode 133 = Meta_L keycode 64 = ISO_Level3_Shift remove mod1 = ISO_Level3_Shift keycode 65 = space space
I ended up typing a lot of Shift+Space = non-breaking space.
I like the series. He thinks that people use the word “fun” because they want “quick-fix, feel good entertainment exactly as they like it with as little effort as possible.” And he argues against it. Also old news, but – dare I say it? – a fun read! :-P
Inspired by a Fear the Boot✎ episode on PC and NPC relationships I decided to make a small change to my Alder King✎ campaign. We’re using new level 1 characters or low-level henchmen from the PCs respective entourages (Entourage Approach✎ for the win!) to explore the Caves of Thracia. I decided that the careful archeologist who has sent them to the site also sponsored a camp team: A guard, a cook, an assistant, a scout, and a priest.
These guys will stay topside, their camp will need defending, they will bake fresh bread, they will offer the possibility for relationships, and if the players aren’t interested, they’ll have relations amongst themselves. If PCs interact with the NPCs, there will be more information to be learnt. It won’t necessarily be useful info, but it’ll be entertaining and help to provide emotional attachment and immersion.
I’m also trying to provide a little point of light, since almost all other NPCs in the campaign have been selfish and untrustworthy.
Already one PC who decided to help the cook discovered that the cook was mediocre but knew how to cast Prestidigitation to improve the taste of his cooking.
Spring is here. I was lucky. Weeks passed after the last hayfever attack. Today a bit of that came back. Luckily it seems to disappear when I’m busy at work or when I’m loosing myself in Aikido training.
The bumblebee queens are out and looking for a nest. I’m still hoping they’ll finally nest in my awesome bumblebee home on the balcony. Patience! Or bumblebee-napping.
I’m really looking forward to my summer break. Should I play more, orspend more time hiking on the Alps? There are at least two weekly organized boardgame nights in Zürich. And I’m still dreaming of a weekly B/X D&D or Labyrinth Lord night. It seems that all my campaigns are now biweekly or monthly events.
I think Traveller is not quite working out. Recently one of my players started running sessions and that improved things a lot. Perhaps it was some sort of GM burnout I hadn’t noticed? Perhaps I need to sit down and digest all the advice floating around on the web and write a GM guide for myself. To help me focus.
I’m also not too happy with A Song of Ice and Fire. We’ve only played three times, so I’m willing to give it more time. When I ran one of the sessions I basically split the party to the max since since all characters are so diverse. There is no D&D like party and that also requires me to rethink my adventure design.
And finally the Legends of Middle Earth game is ok because I like the new, light rules better than Rolemaster. But now I feel we’re too safe. I like danger and excitement. Perhaps the rules don’t afford that kind of play. Or I need to rethink how danger and excitement are generated at the table.
More rethinking!! Perhaps these games aren’t less good than the others. Maybe I’m just a bloody conservative player.
When I look at the list of blogs on that Planet’s sidebar, I can’t help myself but think “OMG, it’s full of blogs!” – 112 of them to be exact, at the moment.
The list of blogs has a very cool feature: At the end of the list you’ll find a link to the OPML file. You can use this file to mass-subscribe to all blogs at once if you “import” it into your feed reader (Google Reader, Bloglines, or any other site or application).
112 blogs and counting is a bit much for one person. It’s a cool place to start, but eventually readers will have to tune out of some of these blogs. It’s a lot to read. But it’s still a nice page to click every now and then and look for inspiration.
In the very beginning, as I was looking for blogs to read, I carefully studied all the blogrolls in our little corner of the blogosphere. I can’t keep up anymore. Help me by adding them to the list of feeds. At the bottom of that page you’ll find a link saying Edit this page. Click it and follow the examples.
The format is really simple – the feed URL in square brackets, and the blog name on the next line:
[http://grognardia.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default] name = Grognardia
Make sure you don’t supply the blog address!
Our last days have been quiet. Judges had read all the entries, nominated their favorites, picked the ones they really wanted to win, reviewed the categories, approved their short bios, I wrote a paragraph or two for the introduction, asked three people known for their wilderness and megadungeon adventures for a little essay, asked the sponsors for logos, and sent it all over to geek of the week Harald Wagner.
I think I’m done.
It’s a bit weird. We’re ahead of schedule.
The PDF might not be done by the end of the week because Harald is going to the biggest roleplaying convention (RPC) and might need a few days more. RPC had 40’000 visitors in 2009, Gencon had 28’000 visitors in 2009, Ropecon had 4’000 visitors – all according to the respective websites I just looked at. Whoa, I didn’t know that! Too bad pen and paper gaming is but a small part of the convention, if I understand it correctly.
Oh, and there was one last thing: prizes!
I’ll contact all winners after the official announcement on Sunday and ask them for preferences. If possible, and taking the number of votes received in the process I’ll try and distribute the loot fairly.
The results are in! Get the PDF collecting the winners and take a look.
|Adam Thornton – Central New Jersey After the “Big Whoops”||Best Post Apocalyptic Goodness|
|Antti Hulkkonen – Den of Villainy||Best Pirates|
|Chris Gonzales – The Tunnels of Turrack the Terrible||Best Sound Effects|
|Clarabelle Chong – Time for Tea||Best Victorian Sci-Fi|
|Corwin Riddle – City of Traitors||Best Lost City|
|Craig Brasco – The Vault of Zerduzan||Best Evil Cultist Hangout|
|Heron Prior – Trolls will be Trolls||Best Lair|
|Herwin Wielink – The Crypt of Luân Phiên||Best Architectural Design|
|Jimm Johnson and Jeff Lynk – The Contemptible Cube of Quazar||Craziest Map Award|
|Lord Kilgore – Heart of Darkness||Best Mini Campaign|
|Paul Siegel – Four Corners||Best Fitness Center|
|Peter A. Mullen – Laboratory of the Asmodean Techno-Mage||Snazziest Way to Push the Envelope|
|Rob Antonishen – Mine! Not Yours?||Best Mine Crawl|
|Shane Mangus – Raid on Black Goat Wood||Best Cthulhu|
|Simon Bull – The Ruination Of Tenamen||Best Monsters|
|Stuart Robertson – Dungeon From A Distant Star||Best Mixing of Genres|
|Tim Shorts – Where is Margesh Blackblood||Most Hideouts for the Head Bad Guy|
|Tom Holmes – The Bone Harvest Horror||Best Cartography|
I’ll be contacting the winners in the days to come.
Yesterday✎ I announced the One Page Dungeon Contest 2010✎ winners. We didn’t list “best overall” because we find that hard to measure. But when we look at nominations, we immediately had a clear favorite: There was exactly one submission that was nominated by every single judge!
Most popular: Antti Hulkkonen – Den of Villainy with seven votes!
There were three entries with six votes:
Second place in the popularity contest amongst the judges:
Thus, if you absolutely must know what the best of t h e BEST entries are, these four come with a lot of votes.
Update: Tales of the Frog God is where you will be able to sign up.
Apparently Xubuntu is not available for the macppc architecture. And I don’t dare using the Synaptic package manager to deinstall all Gnome dependencies. And how much would I gain?
At the moment Wikipedia says that Oddmuse✎ can be used as a Bliki. That’s what this site is: A wiki, used like a blog. If you look at my SiteMap✎, you’ll see a lot of pages that are of no use anymore. Slowly, this site has lost the wiki nature and turned into a blog.
I think I’m still happy with things as they are.
I asked the winners✎ of the One Page Dungeon Contest 2010✎ which of the prizes they preferred: “I feared that just sending out loot at random would lead to duplicates and a lot of eBay commissions. I therefore propose you send me three items you'd like to get, and three things you wouldn’t like to get.”
Some preliminary results are in…
And that doesn’t count the people who already own some of the products, don’t use miniatures, etc.
Anyway, if you’re one of the winners and wished for one of the above, now you know what your chances are. I’ll have to take number of nominations by judges into account and all that. Sorry!
Too bad I didn’t enter myself. There are enough other prizes I’d love to get!
No, really. This one goes out to Stargazer who argued this point with me on the #rpmn channel (irc.sorcery.net server).
What do you think?
As for myself, I think the only thing that’s obvious is that one person can write a blog. The difference between multi-user blogs and aggregators is just a question of implementation details.
Usually, multi-user blogs and aggregators offer subsets of their pages grouped by author. Those are, if I take my own definition, real blogs.
In other words, if a multi-user blog allows me to see the contributions of a single author, then that page is a blog of said author. And if there’s a contest for “best blog”, then only that subset should be allowed to enter. Or each author gets to enter on an individual basis.
I guess one could argue that editors make all the difference. But really, how much traditional editing happens on a group blog like Boing Boing? Author write as they please. The really important decision for this group blog was the mix of authors to feature.
The same is true for an aggregator. The really important decision is the mix of blogs to aggregate.
One could say “original content” is the difference between an aggregator and a blog. Does Boing Boing have original content? I could look at it as an aggregation of Xeni Jardin's posts and comments, Cory Doctorow's posts and comments, etc.
Perhaps I need to consider that a blog usually corresponds to a website. All the Boing Boing authors are writing their posts on the same Boing Boing site, right? But how do I know? Perhaps they might just as well be writing their posts in another system (private or public) that gets aggregated.
I guess I’m just refusing the definition of “site” based on all the relevant pages (front page, article pages, comments, user profiles, user interface for authors) residing on the same machine. What about cloud computing? I don’t think that the details of the Internet’s architecture should define the difference between a group blog and an aggregator.
In fact, I think there’s no property to distinguish a group blog from an aggregator that doesn use words like “hostname” or “software”. Maybe that’s the reason why my brain just locks down. I think the line between group blogs and aggregators is blurred enough to be useless.
Only a blog written by a single author is a well defined blog.
The One Page Dungeon Contest 2010✎ sponsors and winners✎ are (slowly) being notified of their prizes. Yesterday I managed to send 14 emails. If you’re a winner, you should hear from me in the next two or three days.
It’s a very nice warm fuzzy feeling to read people’s replies:
And so on. I must confess when I started it, I wasn’t too keen on having prizes. It involved contacting all the sponsors, writing up yet another list of people and things, logos to keep track of, and looking at the One Page Dungeon Contest 2009✎ I felt that it wasn’t easy to pick just a very small number of prize winning entries. In the end I decided to try and organize some prizes because I felt like the thing to do, but my heart was not in it.
How wrong I was! All sponsors were extremely nice people, writing back friendly emails, generous in their offerings. And those who won seemed genuinely excited as well, enthusiastically answering my questions regarding their preferences✎. Seeing how happy people are when they got notice of their prize somehow makes it all worth my while.
Wanted to try installing new Ubuntu, was wary because I need macppc (Power PC), got error message, changed sources list manually, ran the upgrader, things seemed to work with more than a thousand packages changed, but some time into the download I lost connectivity. My ISP is making me type this into my phone as the computers are all dead. Unconnected computers are so incredibly useless it keeps surprising me that we actually had those way back when I was tiny.
My hosting provider seems to have load issues. For the moment the One Page Dungeon Contest 2010 has been mirrored on this site:
Ok, so yesterday my ISP’s downtime caused some extra trouble.
Here’s what I did:
sudo apt-get dist-upgradewhich installed a new linux and asked for a reboot. But then nothing else happened. Yeah, wrong idea!
sudo do-release-upgradewhich aborted with the same error.
/etc/apt/sources.listand replaced all occurrences of
lucidand commented out the two lines from partners.
sudo do-release-upgradeagain. “Do you want to start the upgrade?” Yes!! “24 packages are going to be removed. 175 new packages are going to be installed. 1390 packages are going to be upgraded.“ Sounds about right! “You have to download a total of 790M. This download will take about 1 hour 40 minutes with a 1Mbit DSL connection and about 1 day 6 hours with a 56k modem.“ Just do it!
sudo apt-get autoremoveand removed 25 packages.
I think I’m done?
alex@orientalibombus:~$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Release: 10.04 Codename: lucid
And I can already report a definite improvement. When the iBook awakens from sleep, I can reconnect to my wireless network.
I uncommented the partner lines again, ran
apt-get update and
apt-get upgrade – there was nothing to install, and no error messages. Good!
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