September 25, 2006
Time to buy a gun?
I love this article on taking advantage of the extra security on firearms in checked luggage on planes (even semi-firearms like starter pistols that fire only blanks) to get your luggage extra protection and not have it opened in transit and stuff possibly stolen from it.
Erik and Randie's Wedding
Went to Erik & Randie's wedding on Saturday which was wonderful and I really had a great time. The ceremony was to be held outside and Saturday was overcast and a bunch of rain at times but it stopped in time for the wedding (and stayed stopped) and we all walked down from the reception site to the immense lawn of a friend 5 minutes away and right on the Rhode Island coast. I absolutely loved the wild, really windy weather there, even more I am sure than if it had been sunny. The ceremony was pretty casually done but really nice and the reception had the same kind of casual but wonderful feel. Five of us from work came down for it and it was really nice to see everyone in such a different context and setting (and dress ;) ) and to meet Robert and Glenn's significant others. Ray entertained the incredibly cute daughters of the Greek couple sharing our table with various magic tricks which was fun. The younger daughter's name was Artemis which I think a really beautiful name.
Congratulations and best of everything going forward, Erik and Randie!
September 15, 2006
International Gamers Awards announced
The International Gamers Awards were announced today and went to Caylus (multi-player) and Twilight Struggle (2-player), the latter of which I need to play. What was exciting, however, was that Caylus (the 3rd ranked game overall on BoardGameGeek) barely won in a tiebreaker over the very small release Jenseits von Theben, which some of the IGA committee had not even had a chance to play or it might have won. I'm not a fan of either game, honestly, thinking Caylus feels long and procedural and analyzable in a bad way and Jenseits has too much luck and not interesting enough choices to make up for it, but think it would have been really cool if Jenseits/David had beated Caylus/Goliath. I personally was of course rooting for Indonesia which did get 2 of the 18 first place votes but went no further.
Oh, I also have played a bunch of new games in the last couple of weeks. The best of them were Blokus Trigon (triangular version of Blokus which makes it much harder to figure spatially), Aton (neat and quick 2 player), and Canal Mania (which is a very well done game but probably too much control of what other player in the game to help when you have to help someone else to help yourself). Only Blokus merits the 8+ rating which is my normal buy threshold although the others are close.
More on Comcast and new Home Phone number.
Well, my cable internet again went out on Saturday and when I called Comcast and discovered they weren't going to be able to come out to fix it until Thursday, I got incredibly pissed and was thinking about dumping them. However, it actually started working again by Saturday night. I meant to cancel the service call but forgot and it turned out to be good I did. The tech called me yesterday afternoon and said that his diagnostics showed poor enough performance on my line that he should come out anyway despite it having come back on and he was accomodating to my schedule and willing to meet me at 6:15 rather than the 5-7 crap. He came and we tried to figure out the problem for a long time without much success and he was about to give up but then decided to try to switch out the modem he had given me a couple of weeks ago despite having never seen a bad modem cause the problem that was occurring. Well, this turned out to be a first and that fixed the problem so hopefully my service will be more reliable but we'll see. The visit did take a full hour but I felt it was worth it and the tech, Will, was very good and nice.
I also have decided that I am not comfortable with just my cell and to try out Vonage, which also comes with the free router that I needed to support my computer and TiVo's ethernet connections simultaneously. After Will left, I tried installing Vonage and it took like 5 minutes with no hassles at all. Straight plug and play. Tried out the 'leave a voicemail message on home phone and immediately gets emailed to me' feature today too and that is really a cool feature! So, so far, so good with Vonage. Didn't make any real calls to get a sense of voice quality/latency but I hope it will not be an issue. My new number is (617) 395-8831.
September 08, 2006
Movies: United 93
This is just an amazingly good film and I hugely recommend it. Only one of the actors did I recognize at all and most of the people in the movie you barely even get first names for, and for none do you get a backstory. Despite this, the film is riveting and fascinating. The film is also completely apolitical, for the most part just showing normal people reacting to an extraordinary situation. I was a bit surprised at the ineffectual military response shown. Not only are they not able to get authorization to engage the civilian planes (which is of course massively politically tricky AND involves communicating up to the highest level and so not surprisingly difficult) but they can't get planes in position fast enough to act, even if they had had the authority they needed. I'm sure this has now massively changed but am surprised how bad it was then, even in such a unexpected situation. ****1/2
Well, got my cable working yesterday after being out for nearly 3 days and being the second day I had to go home earlier to wait for them. The problem turned out to be that I had kept using my Wireless Gateway after they shut down my prior account based on the old address. When I first called to say I was moving, they wanted to charge me $150 to install this again and I said absolutely not so they said I could lose the wireless and install would be free. However, after I moved the Wireless Gateway kept working absolutely fine with no problems and the new modem they gave me was having trouble installing so I went back to the Gateway. Well, when they finally cancelled my old account on Tuesday, apparently the Gateway stopped working. When the technician came yesterday, he found this and called in. Again they said that despite the fact that the Gateway immediately worked with no effort in the new place, they would charge me $150 to get it working again after they turned it off. This just seems INSANE to me and I of course again refused. The tech got the modem working pretty easily and I really don't need the wireless but the other annoying problem with the new setup is that it can only support one device at a time so I will need to manually switch to my TiVo every once in a while and connect to the TiVo update service which is a real pain. Why they couldn't just transfer the old account to the new address when it obviously worked just fine doing this I have no idea - is this purely them wanting to gouge me as it seems like?
Actually, I guess I should be able to just buy a router to put between the cable modem and my computer and TiVo to solve that issue.
September 05, 2006
At trivia last week, they had one really great question which our team missed but hit ourselves over the head afterwards as in retrospect it was sort of obvious (but hard to think of). Maybe my favorite pub trivia question ever asked. Here it is (modified slightly after some research to be more correct).
Sweden won its first Olympic Gold medal in 1900. What sport was it in? This sport was only in the Olympics up until 1920 and to win, Sweden had to go backwards.