Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Dungeons & Dragons Co-founder Dies

The co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson, dies at the age of 61.

As it is that I am a computer nerd, I suppose it won’t shock you to learn, Dear Reader, that many life times ago I got into D&D in a big way, and spent countless hours “fantasy role-playing”. I was a durned-good Dungeon Master, if I do say so myself. It was the game of my generation.


Of course, back in those days.. World of Warcraft wasn’t even dreamed of, as there was no such thing as a “personal computer” yet. Much less the Internet. So we rolled funny shaped dice and painted little lead figurines.. and used a LOT of imagination…

To read more about David Arneson, and the evolution of gaming, click here.

Just 13 months ago, I had to write about Gary Gygax’s passing. To read that article, click here.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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April 9, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mondays: love ’em or leave ’em

One of the advantages you will gain when you elect me Exalted Supreme Dictator is that one of my first acts will be to abolish DST (daylight savings time), because I don’t like it.. and we don’t need it anymore. The primary purpose of DST is to to get the highest possible output from our factories in times of war. But we don’t have factories any more. All of our manufacturing factories are in China. All we do is sell (and buy) things.. and (rarely) service things.. which we do around the clock already.
There ain’t one good reason to keep messing with the clocks and I would end the practice (I would also abolish “erectile dysfunction” and “feminine hygiene” advertising on television) so remember folks, vote early and vote often.

Complete change of subject: High Tech changes everything. I was chewing the fat with a friend who is thinking about buying a new camera for an upcoming trip he’s taking (he’s one of those fellows who researches the heck out of any ‘major’ purchase and reads every review). This is the first time he’s thinking about buying a digital camera “good enough” that he can leave his film cameras at home.
He told me of something I had predicted, but had missed in the news– Kodak no longer processes Kodachrome. (In fact, I could only locate two places that still do, and one of them is in Switzerland.)

I have not shared this fact with you before, Dear Reader, but in one of my former lives I was a photography student. I have spent countless hours in darkrooms, and I know a thing or two about film. For instance, I can tell you that Kodachrome was Kodak’s flagship product, and the film by which other films were compared. Apparently, Kodachrome is not dead.. but it’s on life support.. and the Chaplain’s standing by.

Is it safe to say that film, in general, is on the way out? Just for giggles, I looked to see what my old camera gear is selling for on eBay. Now, my stuff isn’t shabby, mind you, and I have all the extras an aspiring photographer would want.. but it is all 35mm film gear and it is not worth squat. Cheaper to keep it than to try to unload it, practically-speaking.
I look back with semi-fond memories of my time spent in darkrooms (a nostalgia for my lost youth) but let’s be practical and realistic: processing film requires odoriferous and bio-unfriendly chemicals (which get rinsed down the drain) and it’s expensive. Even “fast” processing takes one hour, and slides (remember Family Slide-shows?) take days. Going digital does away with all that. Digital photography (with very few exceptions) is better in every way than film.. and you don’t have to pretend to be a photographer to be antisocial and hide yourself away any more.. being a shut-in is ‘normal’ now-a-days.

Complete change of subject: Speaking of nostalgia for my lost youth.. I read in the paper that Gary Gygax had passed away. You may not have heard of Gary, but you probably have heard of his invention — a little game called Dungeons & Dragons.

Over the years “D and D” had become synonymous with “geeky dork”, and people who got really involved with the game were considered to be.. well, um, er.. rejects. In our social consciousness, when we think of computer nerds (aka “geeks”) it is fairly common also think of D&D, and Star Trek. (There are, in fact, valid reasons for this.)
As it is that I am a computer nerd, I suppose it won’t shock you to learn, Dear Reader, that many life times ago I got into D&D in a big way, and spent countless hours “fantasy role-playing”. I was a durned-good Dungeon Master, if I do say so myself. It was the game of my generation.

Gary (and his friends) invented the first game that you didn’t play on a board (aka “boardgame”), but played with a pencil and paper, 20-sided dice, and your imagination. Dungeons & Dragons became a phenomenon, and changed the way we play games forever. Its legacies are still with us today in a whole genre of games and video games.. most notably in the enormously popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.. which has several million players, located all over the world.

So, if you pass your company’s IT dork in the hallways today, and he seems a little down, it may be that he’s in mourning. I know I am. (Yes. I know. Not all IT dorks are male. I’m just tired of typing “he or she”.)

Tip of the day: It has been a month since I have reminded you, Dear Reader, to defrag your machine. Eliminating your file system’s fragmentation will give you a peppier machine. For my How To on defragmentation, click here.

Today’s free link: Every now and then it can be handy to be able to draw 3D versions of your home.. and maybe move the furniture around to see what a redo of your decor will look like. There are many 3D architect programs available, but an excellent free one is Sweet Home 3D available from the good folks at SourceForge.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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March 10, 2008 Posted by | Gaming, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment