Monday, August 29, 2005

Phoenix Rising - my new EQ2 guild

Phoenix Rising
My main, Potlox, recently of Rage of Fury on Oggok, is now a proud newbie member of Phoenix Rising. Suiting in a way, as they originated on my old EQ1 server, Xegony. If I understand correctly anyway.

To go from leader of one guild to lowbie in the next will be interesting. The biggest upside is the access to a wealth of members my level, the downside is being just one of many folks my level.

Both them and I will have to see just how I fit in.

More later,
Tojosan

Missed Church? Download It to Your IPod. - New York Times

Wow! Talk about coincidence. See my previous blog entries on some Christian radio shows..this NY Times article is about chruches podcasting.
Tojosan

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Friendly web sites..

http://sean-janus.optionpc.com/
http://www.mikejorgensen.com/

These sites both use CSS features. Beware of going there without a more modern browser!

Gaming offline...

I'm getting ready to start a new venture, offline gaming!

Short rant...too many kids today are shut ins! End rant.

My family knows several children that are basically in this category. The major contributing factors at first glance appear two-fold:
1) too little money
2) too much money

Those with too little claim they can't affor the things the rich kids have - gaming consoles, computers, movie tickets

Those with an excess claim they can't find any interesting good toys to own.

The real problem is singe fold: lack of education (note to readers: single facet perspective, other view points may exist)

By lack of education, I don't mean a lack of schooling. This isn't one I'll be blaming on our school system, our govenment, or the local city council. This one I lay on the parents.

Parents today have failed to educate their children how to have fun, inside and out.

When I was growing up, ohhhh sooo very long ago, we weren't in possession of video games, VCRs, DVDs, and personal computers. So our parents taught us to play the old fashioned way, by hand. :)

In my child hood, my friends and I played long extinct games like tag, old maid and checkers. I purpose to bring a little of that old fashioned goodness to some children, assuming their parents can drag them away from their bored depressions.

We plan to teach any willing children how to play some simple card games, as well as introducing them to some good old board games. To mention just a few, I believe good ones to teach them would include old maid, rummy, spades, and even soliataire.

For simple board games, we were thinking checkers, yacht, and some simple branded games.

The idea is to provide an introduction to playing games that don't have expensive components, are easy to pick up, and are almost universal.

As an incentive or reward, I'm considering giving away playing cards, or some of the games they learn to play.

One thing I've always found is that you can alway spare room for a deck of cards, no matter how light your travel. Also you can't alway bring the ......... (put your console here), nor can you always afford a ..........(put your hand held here), but I've never been any place I couldn't take playing cards.

If anyone out there has any suggestions or comments, please toss me a line!

Be swell,
Tojosan

Christian Soldiers...

I read a scary article today. Apparently a religious group, labeling themselves as Christians, has visited the funerals of two soldiers being buried in Tennessee. They showed signs and spoke out saying the following, paraphrasing..

"God hates f*gs", "God is taking out vengence on American soldiers for defending a country that supports g*ys"

Talk about scary. Being a Christian, I can tell you, as far as I've been instructed, that neither of these could be true about God. I was taught that because God is holy; He can't abide sin. But, God loves us all, inspite of the fact we all sin. The Bible makes clear that since we all sin, none of us is holy by ourselves, no matter what our sins, whether we believe them small or large. But God provided a way to impute holiness to us by way of Jesus. (See John 3:16) (The point being, if they believe this is biblical, then their own sin would require the same vengence.)

Anyway, my point being...folks should take with a grain of salt anyone claiming to be a Christian or Muslim, or whatever religion, and using that as a reason for hate. Everyone should step back and compare what that group says to what the core beliefs of that religion are before taking at face value that the actions of such a group represents the beliefs of the group they claim to be part of.

Anyone can claim to be Jewish or Muslim or any religion, but listening to what they say and how they live their lives should give you a clue whether they are walking the walk of that religion or if they are somewhere out in left field.

The world has enough people hating, and not enough sin hating.
Hopefully the actions of these individuals will cause us each to reevaluate where we are at in our own religious walk.

Tojosan

Friday, August 26, 2005

Nintendogs for Nintendo DS

Well, if you haven't rushed out and purchased this game for your DS, you should seriously think about it.


The game is highly interactive but presents a whole different concept for rewarding the player.

At the start, cash in hand, you visit your local kennel and select from the various starting breeds a puppy to purchase. Each breed selected will present both male and female of that breed as well as some small color variations.

From there you take your puppy home and begin to train and play with him or her.

The fun is in the training! Your new pet can learn old standbys of a real life pet, such as sit, roll over and play dead, as well as ones my dog won't do, like spin, and jump.

A buddy of mine has also been exploring another neat feature, the ability to enter your pet into contests. Three types of contests are available: agility, obedience, and disc.

Basically they equate to an obstacle course, a freesbie catch, and , um, well , obedience.

There are a few other nifty things to do in the game, but check it out for yourself if you are a DS owner.

Tojosan

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Christian Research Institute ~ Home of the Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff

Christian Research Institute ~ Home of the Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff
Totally a call in show!
Rarely does he have an interview, and even more rare an in person one.
The format is one call after another with Hank going to the Bible for the answers.

Note: lots of feedback to callers straight out of the Bible but Hank is often asked to interpret or give his opinion. As always, listen to discernment as you would anyone else.

Parent Talk OnCall

Parent Talk OnCall
This is not your typical Christian radio show.
Randy Carlson takes calls from anyone. His viewpoint is psuedoChristian based.

For me, not always top on my listen to list. If you like to hear some straight shooting advice to callers, this is a good show. A lot of his advice is not sugar coated. The key to most of his messages is taking personal responsibility and personal involvement.

This program also pushes books, tapes, and even cruises. Follow those links at your discretion.

Grace to You

Grace to You
This is a not a radio show for folks that don't to hear the Bible preached with a lot of deep thought on it.

A strong sense of history in his apoproach characterizes this program.

Warning: this ministry pushes products such as books and CDs. I'm not endorsing anyone to purchase those or not purchase those.

No podcast available yet. Sermon transcripts online for free.

This guy is a great listen though and pretty much approaches the lessons as going straight through the text he is covering.

For Faith & Family - Home

For Faith & Family - Home
Another enjoyable radio show. Mostly interviews and recordings of presentations.
Don't visit this site if you aren't ready to hear some controversial things discussed.

Welcome to Thru the Bible Radio--The Bible Study Program Taught by Dr. J. Vernon McGee! - Thru the Bible

Welcome to Thru the Bible Radio--The Bible Study Program Taught by Dr. J. Vernon McGee! - Thru the Bible
That URL has got to go, but this is one of the better programs on radio for a straight spoken approach to presenting the Bible.

And...they support podcasting!

Bott Radio Network - Quality Bible Teaching / Christian News and Information

Bott Radio Network - Quality Bible Teaching / Christian News and Information
Got Christian focused radio in your car?
My favorite nonmusic station in St. Louis.

Nintendogs for Nintendo DS

Nintendogs for Nintendo DS
Got dog?!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

More on the movies..upcoming list

The Brother's Grimm
A Sound of Thunder
The Transporter 2
Corpse Bride
MirrorMask
Serenity
Doom
The Legend of Zorro

Again, that's the theatre go see list. The rental list is actually adding up, with Zatoichi on the top of that list for me.
More later,
T

Movies, movies!

Seen any good flicks this year?
My wonderful wife and I started our relationship going to a movie and after 21 years, we are still at it.

The funny thing is I'm writing this knowing we'll likely be skipping our 2nd weekend in a row without hitting the theatre. :(

But in the redux, that ain't all that bad. We've seen our share this year....
Batman Begins - wife and I
Mr and Mrs Smith - family
Fantastic Four - wife and I
KungFu Hustle - son and I
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - wife and I
War of the Worlds - wife and I
The Island - wife and I
The Longest Yard - son and I
Herbie: Fully Loaded - wife and I
Revenge of the Sith - family
Sin City - wife and I
Sky High - family
Unleashed - family
Hide and Seek - wife and I
Constantine - wife and I
Robots - wife and I
The Pacifier - family
Guess Who - wife and I
Coach Carter - wife and son
Hitchhiker's Guide - wife and I
Beauty Shop - wife and I
Hitch - son only
Boogeyman - wife and I

Okay...so we see a few movies. The above list is just movies watched in the theatre. Renting movies isn't something we do often around here but there have been a few...
The Machinist
White Noise
Miss Congeniality 2
The House of Flying Daggers
The Prince and Me
The Princess Diary 2
Thirteen going on 30

So anyway...how about you? Do you get popcorn? Watch at home? DVD or VHS? Pay per view or regular cable? Candy?

We are regular as pie on our choice - buttered popcorn and drinks, usually diet pepsi or water
Our theatre chain of choice here are Wehrenbergs - www.wehrenberg.com.

Pet peeves about theatre going...well, that will have to wait on another post.

Be safe, go see a flick,
Tojosan

Friday, August 19, 2005

The quest for take out pizza..worth taking out..

Our family has almost a tradition that Friday nights are pizza night. Over time that's come to mean pizza and wings. Recently we've broken the routine of always ordering from the same place.
Branching out has been a mixed bag.
Here are the places we've tried so far, with comparisons of options
Pizza Hut - will deliver, has wings, other sides
Domino's - will deliver, has wings, one other side
Big Guys Pizza and Video - will deliver, no wings, several other sides
Bino's Pizzeria - will deliver, wings, several other sides

As you can see, they mostly offer what we're after, ha. But just how do they compare in other categories? What about timeliness?

PH is literaly a few blocks away and inspite of themselves always beat their estimate on time.
Domino's again is a few blocks away and they also delivered within half an hour, after claiming 45 mins.
Big Guys - we didn't get a chance to order yet
Bino's - delivery was estimated at 45 and was here about 10 mins shorter.

So far even up!

Ok, so delivery and food options are pretty much even, what's left? Taste!

We've been big PH fans for years, back from when getting a single pizza with one topping and no extras, and felt happy to scrape out the money to afford that. hehe. But to be fair to our taste buds we've branched out recently.

PH - pizza is consistent but on the greasy side, lots of conventional toppings, but few unusual ones. typically the pizza is hot and fresh. cheese is liberaly applied, with the crust pretty consistent also. Overall good taste and quality.

Dom - pizza is consistent but decidedly a different taste than PH. Less greasy, and less sauce, regardless of how ordered. Only place we've gotten no sauce before. You basically get one type of crust, but Dom's formulaic type process is dang consistent. They also have all the standard meat toppings, but also a few pepper choices, pineapple, and sometimes the local place might have another odd one out. Overall good taste and quality.

Big Guys - only tried once! pizza crust only came in thin style, but was not the typical St. Louis style pizza (cracker like) but soft. They had all the standard toppings available, and we chose the meat cravers. They also had fire roasted veges, pickles and jalapenos for toppings. The pizza was fairly decent but the no wings option is a big negative for us. However, they offer toasted ravoili and off all things, little smokie sides. As an added bonus, the combo is a 2liter, large pizza, and a movie. Their movies selection include many recent DVD releases, and there was a significant number of copies on the shelf.

Binos - our first try tonight. The pizza choices were generous and so were the side dish choices. In addition, they offer sandwhiches, salads, and more. We chose the two orders of the special, medium pizza and wings. For wings choices though, they offer only hot hot wings, and bbq wings. We opted for the bbq. The pizza was average overall at best. It was greasy, and yet the crust was very crisp and very thin. Toppings were generous enough but not overly tasty. The wings were sadly not even as good as the ones at my work's cafeteria.

Overall, the branching out thing has indicated to me that there is a reason that PH and Doms dominate the biz in our area. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be probably trying a few more local places. If you live in the greater St. Charles, MO area, please leave me a suggestion or three.

Later,
Tojosan

Saturday, August 13, 2005

What are you reading?

Read anything heavy lately? And I do mean heavy in the weight sense...
It seems the books I'm reading these days just aren't light anymore. Not only are they not for the casual reader, they are more for the reader who has some significant time to devote.

Here are a few I've got in my stack now:

The Road to Reality : A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, Book 5)

The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 2)




If these don't keep you busy, you have too much time. :)

I'm still learning the best way to link to these correctly at a certain online retailer, so please forgive the lack of direct links.

I've got about half a dozen books in the queue, not including my tech reading list. Books in that queue cover java, xml, general technology, and some religiously oriented nonfiction.

Any suggestions of recently published works? Heck, my to buy list is already filling up with missing Stephen King, Neal Stephenson, and others. Why not add some more?

Tojosan

EverQuest II

EverQuest II

If you aren't playing this game yet.....well join the crowd. Lots of folks out there have opted to join some other grind besides Sony's.

Worlds of Warcraft has been drawing people in like flies.

And if you'd think with a couple million players between them, that only RPGs would be done.....NOT.

A more recent game to the fold is Guild Wars. These folks offer something the other two big guys don't . . . free online play. That's right, free, after you buy the game at retail.

All three involve the staples, quests, upgrades, and multiplayer. All offer a somewhat different take. But all three have a couple of big things in common:
1) big graphics requirements
2) big bandwidth requirements

So what's a guy to do with an old p4 or below with a 64meg graphics card, and a dialup connection?

Why of course, play game like the ones that started it all, a text based mud or much or mush...pick your poison.

Long before graphics based RPGs were around, text based RPGs abounded.
Want quests? they have them in spades, some have thousands
Want progress? all but a few chat type only muds have level advancement to spare
Tired of being paladin x? most muds not only support adventure professions, but also combat specialization, cross adventure type skills, and things that you though S*E invented, like crafting.

And what about those of us who might just want to chat more than slay some nasty creature of myth or fantasy?

There are always the classic furry and nonfurry online worlds. Search on furry and muck to find my favorite classic muck.

If this just sparks your interest, check out one of my favorite sites and search on muds, mucks, and mush. You are bound to find something you find interesting.

Rant off,
Tojosan

What do you think about project management?

What do you use for project management tracking, planning and design?

Has Sarbanes-Oxely impacted your work life?

Lots of folks are up in arms over what lots of folks affectionately refere to as sox. People from all walks of business and in all job types are feeling put upon by a call to standards and visibility. The need for compliance and the companion need, honestly much more stressful, is understanding just what compliance requires.

The requirements are thick, and vague. The thickness is probably to make sure they didn't leave out even auditing the guy pumping gas at the filling station, and the vagueness...well their are two perspectives on that. Some feel it is vague to allow each business the freedom to implement what makes the most sense. A lot of others feel the vagueness is to allow the government to come back and put the squeeze on suspect companies. A more paranoid group might see the vagueness as a way for businesses somehow distantly tied to some unknown person or persons in government to profit. Amazingly in the wake of sox being required, there have sprung up auditing firms. Firms anxious to tell you what you aren't compliant on based on their interpretation of the sox documentation.

Motives and standards aside, it comes down to the actual worker bees of the company to deal with. For a lot of these folks, even the most basic paperwork is alien to them in getting a job done. In my experience, a phone call was often enough effort get a job from request to completion. So requesters, in my opinion, are probably experiencing as much stress as what a developer might. Imagine the contrast between a 5 minute phone call versus a form or forms requiring not only several minutes to complete but perhaps twice that to hash out with the team doing the work.

I'm sure each of you can see how this extends to managers, programmers, and general support folks. The biggest complaint I hear is how it slows down the work, the paper work completion that is. The second biggest complaint is understanding how and what paperwork to fill out.

The people I find most often not complaining either don't know what sox is yet, or have woken up and realized that maybe total visibility is a good thing, and no longer will they have to wonder if that stray phone call will come back to haunt them after some programmer goes off and spends 20 hours developing some random thing.

You tell me. Is this going to grind business to a halt or will workers of all stripes across the country embrace, challenge and mold this into success?

Tojo

General Protection Fault--The Comic Strip

General Protection Fault--The Comic Strip

GPF Comic is a web comic hosted along with other web comics at keenspot. (search for it)

GPF in summary is about the folks at a technology company set in our present day and age. The auther, J. Darlington, publishes daily, including color strips on the weekend.

The strip is free but there are membership options. Of course there is the standard fair of items to buy, and links to other comics.

Check it out!
Tojo

Google Blog

Google Blog

I'm a huge Google fan but somehow never bothered to check their blog. Recent articles I was seeing second hand on other sites were pointing me here. So I figured, why not get it from the source.

One of the great things about this blog are the links! The link not only to blogs of folks that work at Google but blogs run by the competition.
This was a great site to read up about recruitment for their company, including the recent chef search.

Check it out!,
Tojo

Friday, August 12, 2005

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters
Check this tech blog out only if you really like opinionated people!
One of my daily dose web sites. The articles are often linked to other online articles with some commentary.

There is a lot of anti-M$ attitude, and a lot of pro-Apple and pro-linux.

Pick your poison I guess....
Tojo

Wehrenberg Home
Check out my local theatre chains semi-recently revised web site.

Much easier to navigate, loads quick, and contains not just movie listings, but directions, theatre descriptions, and phone numbers.

Tojo

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I've been working on Java code lately at work.

It is a big departure from my normal flow and RPG coding. However it is definitely more interesting.

Z-ADD1 MYTOT is how you add 1 to a value in RPG

MYTOT++; in java.
You tell me...

of course in RPG, you open a file at the beginning of your code...

FMYFILE I F - opens MYFILE for input

in java, something like Inputstream myfilestream = new Inputstream(myfilelocation);

RPG wins on that count.

The current version of RPG in use where I work does not support an object oriented model internally. The newer RPG version supports functions and exposing them externally.

My big fun has been working with X509Certificates and CRLs etc. Oh the joy...

More later,
Tojo

I've decided to start blogging again...and start of with some fun family pictures from a recent visit to the greater Seattle, WA area.
Expect more stuff soon.
Have you been to Seattle or live there?
Tojo


Wife and loving grandmother perhaps wondering if our newest addition will be making the trip back to St. Louis with us. :)


Peace out and nap time for a girlie girl and her papa.


My favorite daughter in law! We call her our daughter. Stephanie is here hanging out with two of our granchillin.


My oldest and the twins! Big army guy! His troops is probably headed off to Iraq soon. I"m very proud but of course I'll be concerned.


My wonderful wife again, on that same visit, with the twins! Charmers everyone.


One of my greatest pride and joys in life, my grandkids! The twins are three and change, the youngest is just about a month in this photo. Our visit to Washington State in June 2005


The unbelievable piece of art, consisting of many different instruments, mostly stringed, in the Music Experience museum in Seattle, WA.


Younger son and my awesome wife.