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About those lack of updates…

The family and I recently bought a house and completed our move all in the span of about 45 days.

Needless to say I was too busy to do anything much besides packing boxes, driving boxes to new location and unpacking said boxes.

Anyway, things are starting to slowly get back to normal and I hope to resume posting regularly again here shortly.

The Games That Shaped Me (The Early Years)

Every gamer has a history. This is mine. 1

California GamesCalifornia Games

My first computer was an Apple ][e. I was only four or five at the time so I don't remember too much about it other than that surfing was really fucking hard.

Super Mario BrothersSuper Mario Brothers

This is probably my first true video game experience. My parents had told me that if I got straight A's for an entire school year they would buy me a Nintendo. Because I love being bribed I totally rocked out third grade. I spent so many countless hours playing this game and never managed to beat it.  To rub salt in the wound not only could my mom beat it, but she could beat it without dying. Wtf.

Kings Quest 5King's Quest V

Thanks to the millions I was making at my job as a paper boy I was able to save up one summer and purchase my first PC. Luckily I even had enough left over to buy a game for it. That game was King's Quest V. Holy shit did I love this game, even if I didn't understand how to properly install it in DOS. Because of that every time I wanted to play I would reinstall the game and start from the beginning because that was the only way I knew how to launch it. This could possibly explain why I hate PCs.

Anyway, King's Quest V was my introduction to the wonderful world of Sierra adventure games. I spent more money on Sierra games than on anything else up until high school.

Doom 2Doom 2

My first shooter game. I got to maybe level two in campaign mode, but I played  the crap out of the multiplayer. My friend Tim and I would rush home, boot up, and use our fancy-schmancy 14.4k modems to connect and then spend hours killing each other.

Good times.

Armageddon MUDArmageddon

Armageddon is a (still running!) MUD that I discovered via ISCABBS. Armageddon was unique (at the time) because it strictly enforced role-playing and death was permanent. The people who ran this game took the game secrets so seriously that if they found you even talking about the game elsewhere you more than likely were going to have your character killed. Getting a new character approved sometimes took over a week so you never, ever wanted this to happen.

I've sadly lost touch with a lot of folks I met through this game, but I still remember it fondly and would still be playing if I wasn't a grown-up with a job and stuff.

Barren Realms EliteBarren Realms Elite

The town I grew up in was pretty behind the times. Around the same time we finally got a local ISP we also got a local BBS. For a young nerd like myself these were halcyon days. Our local BBS ran on  WWIV, had two phone lines and -- best of all -- door games. Of the several offerings my friends and I were mostly fans of L.O.R.D. 2 and Barren Realms Elite. To us L.O.R.D. was fun, but BRE took some skill, yo. The difficulty was ramped up because not only were we playing against local nerds but also against several other BBSes. Once a day our board would contact the other boards and we’d see how we fared. You don’t know frustration until you’re spam-dialing your local bulletin board at 12:01 AM and getting constant busy-signals.

I’m yet to find a game that mixes trade, combat and exploration into a package as fun to play as BRE. Goddamn, I miss BBSes.

Anyway, those are the games that got me through high school. Next time we’ll take a look at the games that have made being a grown up a bit more bearable.

 

 


  1. I shamelessly stole this idea from my friend Kadomi.

  2. I was the first one of my friends to talk Violet upstairs in it. Still one of my proudest moments.

My iPhone Setup

I’m not cool enough to be featured on The Sweet Setup, but I thought it would be fun to do a write up on the apps that help make my iPhone an indispensable part of my day.

See how easy it is?

See how easy it is?

My most used app is easily Drafts. It’s beautiful, opens up to the input field for a new note automatically and allows me to quickly get the text to where I want. Most often this is to Evernote, but I often use it to send to OmniFocus and Fantastical as well.

Check out those sexy actions!

Check out those sexy actions!

Next up on my list is Dispatch. I’ve never been a fan of the inbox zero movement where you use your mail client as a to-do app. The majority of iOS mail clients that do this don’t offer a desktop version as well which makes their to-do functions worthless to me. Thankfully Dispatch solves this by being the Drafts app for email. With it I can quickly archive an email, send it to OmniFocus or Evernote, add a date to Fantastical and a helluva lot more. It even gives you an option to view the email source, including full headers.

Some people may bemoan the lack of push notifications, but I call hogwash on that. Dispatch supports background app refresh and, honestly, I get far too much email to want to be notified instantly about every message that comes in. Plus, since they don’t do push, they don’t store your email or account information anywhere but within the app. Hurray, privacy!

I'm 35 and I keep a diary.

I’m 35 and I keep a diary.

Day One is an app that I’ve only recently started using. It’s a gorgeous journal app that works on iPhone, iPad and OS X. I use it mostly for keeping personal thoughts, birthday photos and other things that I don’t necessarily want the world at large to see.

 

Tweet, tweet.

Tweet, tweet.

Tweetbot. What could I possibly say about this app that hasn’t already been said by others? This is the app the official Twitter client wishes it could be.

Tapbots has focused on all the little things to make this app a complete joy to use. Features like swiping to dismiss pictures, mute functions, multiple accounts and iCloud timeline sync between devices all make this app an absolute must-have for me.

 

Foo never pays for lunch. :(

Foo never pays for lunch. :(

Fantastical. I like the new Calendar.app in iOS 7, but once I got used to being able to use natural language to add events in Fantastical I just couldn’t go back. I also love the endless scrolling through my calendar. Makes it supremely easy to quickly glance at a day and see what I’ve got scheduled.

As a bonus they also have iPad and OS X versions so I can quickly add events using the app or Drafts on all my devices.

Look how organized I pretend to be.

Look how organized I pretend to be.

Last up for my must-have apps is OmniFocus. OmniFocus is easily the most expensive app I have on my phone, but it’s worth every penny as I use it to schedule all sorts of projects for work, home and everything else.

There are a lot of task management apps out there and some of them do some of the things that OmniFocus can do, but none of them can match OmniFocus feature for feature. From the Forecast view, to the mail drop, to sync, to perspectives, OmniFocus has a way to help you get shit done. I’m not saying there won’t be a learning curve — because there is one — but once you get a handle on it there isn’t much you couldn’t manage using it.

 

The Ten Best Sentences →

Some good choices here by American Scholar. My favorite:

It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow. —Toni Morrison, Sula

Here’s why these sentences were chosen.

WordPress, UpdraftPlus and Ubuntu 14.04

I’m pretty paranoid about my backups. I back up my MacBook Pro once a week using SuperDuper to one external drive, have Time Machine backing up to a separate drive and then I do remote backups using Backblaze. If I’m that anal about my personal machine, you know I’m going to be just as bad with my website. Thankfully UpdraftPlus makes backing up a WordPress site a breeze. Well, usually.

On Ubuntu 13.10 there was a bug in the php5-mcrypt package. It was installing to /etc/php5/conf.d/ rather than /etc/php5/mods-available/. No biggie. A quick symlink fixed the issue and on Ubuntu 14.04 it installs to the correct place; except now the install scripts appear to not actually load the mcrypt module. Oops. You can quickly fix this by running sudo php5enmod mcrypt and then sudo service php5-fpm restart.

Why do you need mcrypt anyway? Because it’s required to link UpdraftPlus with Dropbox. Digital Ocean 1 offers on-site backups of my entire VPS, but what happens if something catastrophic happens in their data center? It’s paranoid, but backups are for the worst-case scenario. Hence why I also do off-site backups to Dropbox via UpdraftPlus.

Backing up to Dropbox also adds another benefit; because I sync my Dropbox to my MacBook I also get those backups of this site included in all the backups I do of my personal machine. Redundancy for the win, folks.


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