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minor milestones

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maybe related... I'm waging my first successful campaign against fat through diet and exercise, and I've been writing some really effective code that's more smart than clever both at home and at work. The former started about two-and-a-half weeks ago and I've lost eleven pounds so far, going from 236 down to 225. I'm pretty sure I won't sustain that rate of loss—my goal is to lose at least two pounds per week and get under 200 by mid October. I've been diligent about working out every weekday, but most of the weight loss can probably be attributed to the great, free iPhone app Lose It!, which tracks every calorie I consume.

One neat side effect of all this dieting business is that I actually enjoy food more, which in turn gets me to appreciate formerly unpalatable "health foods" and makes the "bad foods" that much more awesome and memorable. Example: Maudie's had always struck me as barely passable purveyor of Mexican food. It's always busy, but I assume that's because most Austinites haven't experienced an abundance of really good, authentic Mexican cuisine. Well, I've been to Maudie's exactly once since I started dieting... let me tell you... every morsel I consumed that night is captured in high-def slow-motion in my mind and has a memorable story all its own.

An even better side effect of the diet and exercise has been an overall boost in energy. I've gone from "needing" one or two espresso beverages per day down to (maybe) one cup of coffee per day. That equates to a significant drop in calories, caffeine, and expense. My blood circulation is improving, getting more oxygen to my brain, which makes it work better. Like I said earlier, I've been writing better, stronger, smarter code... and enjoying doing so more. Probably every other night, just for fun I'll drop into my Apple II's built-in mini assembler (a really basic line-by-line assembler... no symbols, labels, equates, or anything) and scratch out some fairly complex logic that does fun stuff, like make sound effects or do fun things with the hi-res graphics pages. In the mini-assembler, most small mistakes usually mean retyping lots of code. Somehow, this is fun to me.

The moral of the story is: It's really late and I hadn't blogged in forever, so I figured... what the hey. (Plus, I was getting sick of looking at that sewing machine in my previous post. [That's right, I just got all meta on your ass.])

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ye olde data

Monday, April 27, 2009

I found a stack of poorly labeled CD's in my office tonight which contain all sorts of stuff from around eight to ten years ago, including some archived web content that I decided to republish. Don't get too excited... unless old Apple II box art excites you, that is.

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a third submission

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yeah. I think I need to stop obsessing over Little Big Planet. I can't sleep, I can't stop checking my e-mail and I'm jonesing for comments on flickr like a crack addict. I wonder how it's going to be when the game actually ships! I should go ahead and request that month off.

Anyway, I present to you submission number three:

LittleBigChallenge 001 - three

While I was pretty happy with the previous compositions, they still had that synthesized Photoshop smell to them. You know the one. It smells vaguely of filters... (This is what happens when a developer pretends he knows how to design) So I left Photoshop completely out of the equation and instead used a nifty old Apple II paint program called Blazing Paddles and took a photograph of the screen connected to my Apple //c.

This one is "me" for sure.

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elite: pretty much the best game ever

Friday, January 12, 2007

The classic game Elite has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance in my home lately. I’ve been giving the PS3 a break since (quickly) beating (the average) first person shooter, Resistance: Fall of Man, to enjoy some good retro-gaming (plus, I’m not about to fork over sixty bucks on another game that’s just ‘meh’… get on the stick with those true next gen titles, Sony).

Anyway, I’m fortunate enough to have a full copy of Elite for the 8-bit Apple //c — box, docs, and all. Having only superficially explored this game as a teenager, I never really appreciated the size of its virtual universe or the depth of its gameplay. It is truly Grand Theft Auto: Space in shear size and open-endedness.

Elite spans 8 galaxies, has 250 planets per galaxy (that’s 2000 planets!), and fits on one side of a 5.25-inch disk. That just blows my mind. Plus, the gameplay is astonishingly well-balanced. I’ve found myself consistently challenged and have graduated from one goal or strategy to the next in a very organic way.

At any point in the game, I may pursue the path of a trader, smuggler, bounty hunter, or pirate, or some combination thereof, and must deal with the challenges that each path presents. While these aren’t new roles in the space-faring genre, Elite implements them with incredible fluidity, particularly for an 8-bit game. You’ll find yourself shifting gears based on a number of factors like ship capability, storage capacity, money, and desire to achieve the ultimate space pilot status of ‘elite,’ naturally.

So, basically, this old game still holds its own and I highly recommend you dust off an old copy and give it another go for old time’s sake… back when games made up for hardware limitations by actually being fun and unique.

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