archive for April, 2005

HCR029

If you’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite, go read House of Concurrent Resolution No. 29. It’s freakin’ awesome.

Hitchhiker’s Movie

I’ve been waiting to see Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy since I heard it was going to be made into a movie. I’ve read all the books in the series more than once, and really love them. I’m not really familiar with the other versions (radio and BBC TV), but I know Douglas Adams isn’t afraid to make new versions different from each other. I was prepared for there to be changes.

If you haven’t read the book:
This is a fun little adventure story. It probably won’t make a lot of sense, but then again… it’s not supposed to. The effects are cool and overall it’s a good movie and worth seeing. Then, go read the books.

If you have read the book:
There are a lot of changes. The plot changes I can handle, although, some changes are easier than others. It’s the changes to the humor that are hard to take. Go ahead and see the movie. You may or may not like it, but at least it’ll remind you how great the book is.

Ground School: Week 10

I’m going to keep this short because I just want to make a log of it, but it’s not very interesting. This weeks class was on weight and balance calculations. This is where you figure out if the center of gravity (the net down force) is where it needs to be in relation to the center of lift (the net up force) to keep the airplane balanced. It’s pretty important because the center of gravity changes every time you fly (luckily the center of lift doesn’t), and if you get too far out of balance you won’t be able to control the airplane.

Ground School: Week 9

Last night’s ground school started with a video on how to read weather reports. We’ve gone over it a few times now, and I think it’s starting to stick. I’m sure I’ll have to do some studying before the written exam, but I don’t think it’ll be too tough. The main part of class was spent going over the chapter on airplane performance, and weight and balance – all of which seem pretty straight forward.

After class we went to the Typhoon restaurant to meet people from Air-Spacers. The Typhoon’s website might be truly horrible (one of the worst I’ve seen), but the restaurant itself is pretty nice. A little on the fancy side for my tastes. They had a very… interesting menu, including insects (yes, really) and huge whole deep fried catfish. I just ordered a Coke.

The Air-Spacers is “Santa Monica’s oldest flying club.” I’m thinking about joining because it sounds like it can work out be be a little less expensive to get my training there. The board is going to be voting in new members next Wed. If they get my application soon enough, there’s a chance that I’ll be invited. I’m still not sure that I want to join, or can even afford to get my private pilot right now. I’d also like to go to at least one meeting before I decide and meet some more people. As of today, if they do call, I think I’m going to have to tell them that I’m not quite ready. Hopefully I’ll be able to delay for a month or two and decide later.

About Me

As you can see, I’ve added an About Me link to the navigation menu at the right. This is really just a first draft so hopefully I haven’t put anything too embarrassing there. I’ll really try to keep it up to date, but please let me know if I’ve gone too long without updating it.

Flickr's Price Drops

Flickr just dropped their price for the pro account. It’s down to about $25/yr. They’ve also increased the monthly upload limit to 2GB. The only way I could even get close to that is if I uploaded all of my pictures at full resolution all at once, and even then I don’t think I’d go over. As far as I can tell, this is all a great deal.

Link Roundup: Apr. 17, 2005

LA Times: 10 essential hikes
If you live in the Los Angeles area and you’re into hiking, go ahead and check it out. The funny thing about LA is that it’s big enough that it could be a three hour drive just to get to the hike. Luckily, there are plenty of trails right in my own back yard so I don’t actually have to drive that far.

Colorblind Web Page Filter
Curious what it’s like to be color blind? Try this side out. If you’re a web designer you should make sure that all of your pages are at least usable to the colorblind (don’t expect them to look “pretty” though).

Google helps you search faster
Google has added code to some search results pages to tell your cool new browser to start loading the page(s) that you’re likely to click in the background. This is great if you’re still on dial-up because that time while you’re reading through the results before you click the first one isn’t being wasted anymore. And in unrelated Google news….

Google Video Uploader
Is this going to be a video version of Flickr? Google may be onto something with their video distribution plans, but only time will tell. It does make me think that Flickr should make an easy way for people to order prints and high-res versions of pictures that they like.

Atlas of the Human Journey
For about $100 National Geographic will test your DNA and tell you where your ancestors lived, and the path they took out of Africa. This is a really cool way to fund research.

Darwinia: Game Over?

I finished Darwinia today. It was shorter than I expected. Not a lot shorter, but still… I expected more. Overall it was fun. I wish there was an easy way to generate random maps, or to play pre-built levels over and over. Maybe there is, and I just haven’t found it yet. The gameplay reminds me a lot of StarCraft, one of my all time favorite games.

Darwinia on the other hand isn’t nearly as good as StarCraft. The biggest difference is that Darwinia doesn’t have any multiplayer. There are rumors that it’s being worked on, but that’s all. Darwinia also lacks the complexity in number of buildings and units that StarCraft had. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing. Go only has one type of unit after all, and it’s still fun.

What I’d like to see in a future version of Darwinia, should one exist, is a higher level of strategy. The levels in Darwinia are groups of island’s called locations. These locations are linked together with portals for moving energy, troops, materials, etc… As the plot advances, you need to take over more and more locations to build up your army. It would be great if you could play in multiple locations at once. You could start some mining or something in one location, pop over to another to build up troops, and then return to the mines to fight off invaders. This type of a strategy game mixed with a multi-player mode would make a seriously great game.

Whatever the guys at Introversion come up with next, I’m sure it’ll be good. I’m sure that with each game they are gaining the experience to make the next better. I look forward to seeing what the come up with next.

Darwinia Arrives

Ok, so I’m sure I’m not the first person to get Darwinia, but I finally got it and that’s what counts, right? I still haven’t installed it, so I’m not sure what to say about it at this point other than I really enjoyed the demo and I’m looking forward to wasting some time this weekend.

Ground School: Week 8

This week was technically spring break, so instead of going to class, we toured the Hawthorne Flight Service Station. It was about what I expected: a very dated building with consoles for people to sit at and answer the phone/radio. They had a mix of very old looking computer terminals (they must have been at least 20 years old!), and modern PCs. They showed us how they give standard weather briefings, and what happens when you call up on the radio. We also covered the process for what happens if you forget to close your flight plan (from them making some phone calls to search and rescue). The best part is that it put the whole process into perspective. Sometimes a book just doesn’t cut it.

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