Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tales of Woe, Part 2

Well after my post I got a number of offers to fix my hard drive.
I looks like for 60-75$ I can get the data pulled off of it.  Which is, to me, great.

Meanwhile I have 2 dead computers and a dead laptop.  So through some careful configuring I have assembled one Frankencomputer!  Currently it has an 80gig drive running Ubuntu 10.04.  I'd like to upgrade to Ubuntu 12 or Fedora, but I'll need a new video card and memory.

Of course I need to decided whether or not to stick with a Linux OS.

The open software scene is a bit like the OSR.  I feel that the ethos are mostly the same, but I could be wrong.

Course the thing I am missing the most on a Linux-box is I can't play my Doctor Who DVDs and frankly I don't have the desire to go out there and dig up codecs and use crazy Linus-speak to install them.

My wife says I should just forget it all and just buy a new computer.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tales of Woe

It is a sad day here at The Other Side.

My hard drive died a couple weeks ago.  Normally this is a cause for panic, but I didn't because having been doing this for a while I thought I had everything backed up.  Well.  I didn't.

I didn't lose any of my PDFs save for maybe the most recent ones I bought since May, but I can always go back to DriveThruRPG and re-download those.  My current OSR/Old-School books were in the hands of editors, so they were saved.

I did though loose all my documents for my Ghosts of Albion adventures Blight, Obsession, Wilderness and Synchronicity.  I have printout of Blight and Obsession, so that isn't too bad.  And I lost all my personal emails from 2011-2012.

Figuring it was the circuit board (given the errors I was getting) I worked with a company that specialized in this brand of hard drive (Seagate Barracuda) called PCB Solution.

I worked with Kevin to find a new board for this drive and in truth my hopes were high, even if he felt (and he did tell all this upfront) that my drive might be further gone that I thought it was.  Undaunted I picked up their repair kit and got it in a couple of days.  It easy easy to do as long as you have no fear of cranking open your computer or drives.  I got it in installed and slapped it into a new external drive enclosure and ... nothing.

I worked on a few other tricks I have picked over the years.  Back in the day I ran the official usenet alt.sys.pc-clone.gatewat2000 FAQ, so I consider myself a bit smarter than the average bear in this respect.  But if there is one thing I have learned, there is always someone smarter.  And it will take someone smarter than me to fix this one.

Here is what I have learned (and should known already):

1. It doesn't matter how much you back up.  Back up more.
2. Stop buying Seagate drives.  Every single one has died on me and took much valued data with it.

So that is what I know.

I do want to publicly thank Kevin at PCB Solution.  He really went above and beyond the call of duty to help me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can't Sleep...Gotta Make characters...

So. I should be sleeping, or working, or working on something academic related.
But I am not.

No. I am playing around with the new D&D4 character builder.

It is everything the old character builder had and more.  The interface is clunky in places and sometimes slow, but all in all it is a great tool for anyone playing any type of D&D4.

My biggest complaint so far? I can't use my own images for characters.
There are some bugs, but nothing that I can't work around really.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pathfinder + Hero Lab

I have been playing in two separate Pathfinder games recently and I really like the system.  But the one thing that I didn't have that 4e gave me was a kick-ass character builder program.

I love character builder programs,   I think I have tried them all over the years.  I had the Core Rules CD-Rom, I had the character builder from Wizards for 3.0 and back in the day my DM and I built one for our Tandy Color Computers.  And I love DDi.  I know some people complain about it and others even claim that Wizard's or Hasbro are looking for more ways to make money.  To that I say how dare they give me an awesome product that does exactly what I want it to do for a fair and reasonable price! ;)  Seriously what is up with people.  Don't like the DDI, then don't pay for it.  I happen to love it.  I can play around with it and try out different characters, multi-classes and hybrids.  Yes I can do that with paper and pencil and books, but I don't alway have my books with me, say at work on my lunch break or relaxing in front the TV on the couch, or at the airport waiting for a plane.  The DDi is fantastic.

It's just too bad that I can't use it with Pathfinder.
I can't use it with Unisystem either, but that is not the point.

So I went out and I tried Hero Lab, from Lone Wolf development.  I remember getting a free CD from them one Gen Con and I couldn't find it anywhere, so I just downloaded it and tried it out.

Here is what I liked:
- I like that there are multiple games for this product.  Currently I use DDi, Uniforge, Simpson's M&M sheet, and Metacreator installed on my computer.  I like flexible systems.
- The interface is nice.  Not fantastic, but nice.
- Using it is rather easy after a few times.

Here is what I didn't like:
- Not 100% sold on the pricing structure here.  I think the d20 SRD derived content should be cheaper.
- I would like more systems, Unisystem is the top of my list.
- The interface, while nice, is old looking.

Comparing this to DDi though is not really fair.  They are designed to do similar, but different things.  Comparing it to Metacreator though is a better choice.

The pricing structure is about the same.  Metacreator though only charged 15.00 per module download, Hero Lab charges 20.00.  The core product is also priced similar with Hero Lab at about 30.00 (with a module) and Metacreator at the same with one module.
Both have the d20 SRD, Savage Worlds, and Call of Cthulhu.   Metacreator has Unisystem as well some others.  Hero Lab has WoD and Cortex.
Despite my nit-picking on the interface, Hero Lab is slightly better than Metacreator.  Both though look like "older" technology.  Metacreator in fact looks like something for Windows 95.
Both produce very function character sheets for printing or PDF.  Metacreator gets a not here since it produces sheets that look like the ones from the game itself.
Hero Lab is easier to navigate and the tabs are very nice.

In the end it depends I guess on what game you want to play.  If you play World of Darkness, Cortex, Ars Magica, Unisystem or Fudge then your choices are made for you.

Same with D&D4.  Yes, Hero Lab can do D&D4, but you need a DDi account to get the updates and if you are  going to do then just the D&D Character Builder.

Both have sizable fan-related content and forums.

So I broke down I bought Hero Lab because I wanted Pathfinder support.
I have to admit that some of the concerns I first had about Hero Lab changed after I bought it.  Now that could be because I had been playing around with more and knew the program better.

Side by side Hero Builder does actually compare nicely to the DDi Character Builder.
Here is a screen shot of my new Pathfinder Paladin and his D&D 4 alter-ego.  (big screenshot).


Having access to the new Pathfinder classes is nice too.
What would totally sell me on this of course is Unisystem support.  I would love to be able to put my Ghosts of Albion characters into something like this.
Chance are good I'll be getting the Cortex and maybe the SavageWorlds one in the future.  If/When I do I'll review them here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPad for gaming. Not yet for me.

I have blogged about my love for tech in the past. I raved about my HP laptop till it died on me recently. So today I get to try something new. An iPad.

It it about the size of the old TRS-80 palm top. Which is kind of cool really. The screen is really nice and typing is not too bad. typing got faster towards the end. Logging in to blogger was easy.

But...well the rich-text/HTML editor is flaky, same as my phone. Logging into DrivethruRPG was a pain and I could not download any books. Oh and I had to completely mess with my router to even do this little.

Without network it is little more than a big iPod with no music.

I was really excited about this thing too, but right now I can't recommend it at all. At least not right now. There are not a lot of reasons to bring this to game table.

I guess I'll need to wait for the Google tablet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gen Con Schedule tool.

Thanks to Joethelawyer I have this cool Gen Con webpage/app.

http://gencon.highprogrammer.com/gencon-indy-2010.cgi

Let's you see what is happening and allows me to check on my Ghosts of Albion games.
What I thought was really cool was the ability to send it right to my Google Calendar, which I have connected to my Pre and my work account.  So with a click I now have it all stored and ready to go.

Now to find some games to play.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Future of D&D?

Could this be the future of D&D?

Surfacescapes



http://vimeo.com/7132858
http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/article4080.php

http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/surfacescapes/

Surfacescapes uses Microsoft Surface (an input device and software) to emulate an hybrid table-top / CPRG environment for playing D&D 4th ed.

Granted I don't have 10 grand to dump into gaming right now (but I bet if I added up all the money I have spent in the last 30+ years...) and I am not sure how this would advance, but the ideas are limitless really.  Pre-configured adventures and monsters.  DDI already has some of this now.

I am going to keep an eye on this one.

This could be D&D 5th edition folks.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Google Wave

I am now on Google Wave!  Not yet sure what I will do with it but there are plenty of things I can do with my day job for it and I have heard of plenty of RPG applications.

I'll keep you all posted.  Maybe I'll run some Ghosts of Albion games on it.
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