I will be patient, I will be patient, I will be patient... 
2011.04.29 22:12 - Guns, Whining
I am not very patient.

Ordered a semi-custom gun a while back (one of a small run of Sterling carbines built by a small company out west). Been waiting a while now. When I contacted the guy building it a week ago, I was told I'd get a tracking number when it shipped. So, I've promised myself I won't bug him about for at least a little while.

And, even if I got to pick it up tomorrow, it'd be at least a week before I could take it out and shoot it.

But! So impatient.
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I guess I'm keeping my car for a bit longer 
2011.04.08 09:55 - Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics, Whining
This got me thinking about how long it would take for me to break even on replacing my current car. Assuming I replaced my $25000 car getting about 20mpg (hopefully, a bit low, but most of my driving is stoplight-to-stoplight) with a $15000 car getting 58mpg and assuming $5/gallon gas, it would take about 13 years (and some change) to break-even. I would have to be averaging less than 17 miles to the gallon just to reach break-even before the expected life of the new vehicle (about 10 years) is up. This doesn't take maintenance into account, of course.

But, that's an intentionally ridiculous estimate. I don't drive very much, but, on the other hand, the gas mileage estimate on my car is low and the one on the hypothetical nücar is fairly absurd for a car costing $15000--we'll leave motorcycles out of the equation, but that's where you'd have to go for those numbers. So, if we assume an annual distance of 15000 miles (almost double my annual mileage), but a more reasonable average mpg of, say, 38mpg and the current average gas price of $3.70 a gallon, it would only take ... a bit over 14 years. For a Ford Fiesta.

I guess I'll keep driving my inefficient little riceburner, then.

Incidentally, while the link at the beginning is a bit inflammatory, I'm not trying to score partisan points, here. I just thought it was interesting (and a little depressing) how much cars have to improve to make replacing mine worthwhile.
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Quick Review: Homefront (PC) 
2011.03.20 21:32 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Entertainment, Microcode, Whining
I finished the single-player campaign of Homefront on the PC. I'm not real enthused.

As John Walker opines over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the single player campaign is scripted in a way antagonistic to human interaction. Walking is slow, and your access to an area is almost always gated by one or more of your companion NPCs.

What I found most obnoxious was the way the game handled weapons. There are two things I found specifically obnoxious:
  • Guns that almost certainly share ammunition and magazines in the real world do not in the game. Which is why I found myself hauling around an empty ACR early in the game, despite being surrounded by M4s and M16s. I'm too lazy to go back in to find out if this problem affected everything in the game that would have taken STANAG mags (i. e. the M4, M16, ACR, SCAR-L, and PWS Diablo), or just some of them. Maybe the M4 and M16 actually work right, and the other guns are understood to take different ammo. Dunno. At the moment, not in the mood to find out.
  • The gun or guns I have at the end of chapter A almost never carry over to chapter B. Which is how the aforementioned ACR disappeared at the end of the first chapter and was replaced by an M4 at the beginning of the second. "What's the matter," one of the NPCs quipped, "don't you like guns?" Actually, I love guns; I was trying to figure out where mine had gone.

And I can't say much good or bad about the graphics. The reviewers claim it's fantastic, graphically, all I can tell you is I needed to turn all the levers down to "Very Low" and it still ran poorly. Also, it's very brown (that's a TV Tropes link; click at your own discretion).

I'm not really interested in the multiplayer. The reviews say it's fine, but I'm not really in need of a multiplayer FPS right this second.
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They Changed It! Now It Sucks! 
2011.03.14 08:51 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity, Whining
Been playing Dragon Age 2 for the better part of the last week. After some ridiculous number of hours, I've finally cleared the first act. ... I'm a little slow, here. I also gave up and turned the difficulty down to 'Casual'. Haven't quite got the hang of managing a whole party in this game, and the big fights seem to require it.

As noted, I'm a little slow, so while I've been getting out of tutorial land and into the meat of the game, the über-nerds seem to have already cleared the game. Good for them. I'm seeing complaints (have been seeing for weeks/months, actually) that Dragon Age 2 is a poor sequel on the basis that changes a bunch of things, retroactively: the appearance of the Qunari being the most obviously visible change. BioWare was said (paraphrasing) to be selling out, EA was blamed, assertions were made about the long-term impact of this strategy on BioWare, and generally much hay was made by the nerds in the audience about the downfall of BioWare.

All I can say is this: the PC version of Mass Effect? Super crashy on my machine. Dragon Age? Also very unstable; so much so that I abandoned it before finishing the Battle of Ostagar. Dragon Age 2 has not crashed yet, and I've only run into a bugged quest (very annoying, but not the end of the world). If this is the result of EA's influence on BioWare, I think I'll take it.
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head.pound(desk) 
2011.02.09 08:46 - Whining, Work-related
I was informed yesterday the interface to a library introduced in our current release is changing in our next-current0 release, to support a change in our data model: function A is being replaced with function B, which has the same parameters and return type with a different name.

Although function B is named more accurately than function A with respect to current understandings, this could have been avoided by giving A a more generic name in the first place, and the description is not so wrong as to confuse anybody currently working on the project. I suggested that function A could, instead, be rewritten to perform the new behavior, thereby reducing impact on other code. I was told that perhaps I would like to write the library, next time.

Not that it was ever an option, because $other_developer would rather pull an 80 hour week than delegate work he finds interesting. Frustratingly, I like $other_developer, but I'd just as soon not have our next-current release be a bigger screw up than it's already going to be1.

Footnotes
0. This is another point of consternation.
1. So much consternation.

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