Go towards the light

Sometimes the 9-to-5 starts feeling stale. The project turns from a bright, scenic, exciting adventure into a dark narrow crawlspace with a small flash of light in the distance. You hit the vacation button, two weeks go by and the dank crawlspace now seems more like a poorly lit tunnel. Not great, but it seems much better than before – and you had two weeks of bliss.

No daily reports, no clients, no teleconferences, no worries.

That is, if your vacation gets approved. Or in my case, not only do I get to do my work, but also the work of my colleagues that booked their vacations way in advance – before the delivery schedule got changed.

I also get told that “everyone should get to take their vacation when they want”, except me in this case. I get to slog through the catacombs for couple of months and “postpone” my vacation until beginning of September by which time this deliverable will be done.

So where am I headed? I’m heading out to see dinosaur bones; rhinos, giraffes, monkeys; hot springs, mountain vistas; to spend quite a few evenings sitting around a campfire with a beer in hand. I get to eat freshly picked fruit, take fun pictures and lose myself in a book.

I get to relax. Swim. Hike. Ride a mountain bike. Maybe even write some code for fun.

Three weeks and I’m free. I can see cracks in the ceiling and the fresh air is getting closer.

Oh, and the deliverable that I mentioned before? The schedule slipped again – to end of October.

Payin’ to "Win"

I'm going to talk specifically about video games in this post but the thoughts could easily be extended to other types of games as well.

In my last post I mentioned how Blizzard will be providing an avenue for players to buy & sell gold, items, and even characters via the in-game auction house in Diablo III. Now all the real gaming blogs have covered this announcement weeks ago and most of the nerd-rage has already been spent but I'm particularly interested in why something like this causes such a large stir in the first place.

Without going into much detail about role-playing games, all you really need to know is that success (some could even say "winning") in an RPG is tied directly to your possessions. Kinda like real life, amirite? "The better (more powerful) your stuff, the better you are as a player", is a common sentiment that I honestly disagree with. As do many others, in fact there is a very large debate that revolves around the idea of "casual" players vs. "hardcore" ones.

But the sanctioning of buying and selling items by the developer seems to rouse the ire if gamers even though the exact same practice has been going on for over a decade via 3rd-party web sites that would provide the same services under the radar (and against the Terms of Service for these games). So why does this happen? If people are willing to spend their hard-earned money buying a virtual sword that will make their gaming experience "more enjoyable", why shouldn't they be able to do that?

Some people argue that buying one's way into power is "cheating". But is it really any different than me giving a friend an item or running them through a dungeon? I don't think it is. Ultimately the point of playing any game is to have fun and if, somehow, skipping to the "end" and becoming all-powerful with no effort is fun for you then go for it.

For me, a big part of playing any game is for the challenge and experiencing the game as it was meant to be played (from the developer's perspective). That's not to say that I've never used the Konami Code in my life, not without trying to do it myself first, anyway. I have no desire to spend any more money on Diablo III beyond the cost of purchasing the game. Playing the auction house and trying to make money by becoming a virtual item broker is not on my list of to-do's when it comes to my personal entertainment time.

My advice to the people that have issues with the Diablo III auction house is simple: don't use it. Odds are it will be horribly broken at first, and it may become better over time, but really... is spending $5 on a staff with 5 more intellect really worth it? Really?

Payin’ to "Win"

I'm going to talk specifically about video games in this post but the thoughts could easily be extended to other types of games as well.

In my last post I mentioned how Blizzard will be providing an avenue for players to buy & sell gold, items, and even characters via the in-game auction house in Diablo III. Now all the real gaming blogs have covered this announcement weeks ago and most of the nerd-rage has already been spent but I'm particularly interested in why something like this causes such a large stir in the first place.

Without going into much detail about role-playing games, all you really need to know is that success (some could even say "winning") in an RPG is tied directly to your possessions. Kinda like real life, amirite? "The better (more powerful) your stuff, the better you are as a player", is a common sentiment that I honestly disagree with. As do many others, in fact there is a very large debate that revolves around the idea of "casual" players vs. "hardcore" ones.

But the sanctioning of buying and selling items by the developer seems to rouse the ire if gamers even though the exact same practice has been going on for over a decade via 3rd-party web sites that would provide the same services under the radar (and against the Terms of Service for these games). So why does this happen? If people are willing to spend their hard-earned money buying a virtual sword that will make their gaming experience "more enjoyable", why shouldn't they be able to do that?

Some people argue that buying one's way into power is "cheating". But is it really any different than me giving a friend an item or running them through a dungeon? I don't think it is. Ultimately the point of playing any game is to have fun and if, somehow, skipping to the "end" and becoming all-powerful with no effort is fun for you then go for it.

For me, a big part of playing any game is for the challenge and experiencing the game as it was meant to be played (from the developer's perspective). That's not to say that I've never used the Konami Code in my life, not without trying to do it myself first, anyway. I have no desire to spend any more money on Diablo III beyond the cost of purchasing the game. Playing the auction house and trying to make money by becoming a virtual item broker is not on my list of to-do's when it comes to my personal entertainment time.

My advice to the people that have issues with the Diablo III auction house is simple: don't use it. Odds are it will be horribly broken at first, and it may become better over time, but really... is spending $5 on a staff with 5 more intellect really worth it? Really?

Mamminals

I have always been an animal lover.  Or mamminals as Chad says to tease me.  Once again the Edmonton Humane Society is overloaded with cats.  453 in their care and 100 up for adoption.  All of these cats/kittens have to be spayed/neutered before they will be put up for adoption all at a cost to EHS and it's contributors.  I have been a contributor for years and have always directed a large portion of my United Way contribution to the Edmonton Human Society.  This way I can give a lot more with payroll deductions.

This past cold winter we had two cats in our neighborhood that we had to take in as they were homeless in the -35 degree temps we were getting!  It breaks my heart that in a fairly well to do province like Alberta we have so much of this.  If you don't want a cat, then don't get one..but if you do, then look after it.  They are not something you just discard when you are sick of them.  Actually I guess they are since there are so many constantly needing homes : (    I really get tired of hearing how people "cant't afford to fix their animals.  I had a cousin tell me this about their outdoor cat on their acreage.  Really?  The $60k vehicle you just pulled up in and the regular manicures you can afford do, but a few hundred for a surgery is too much?  BS!  It's just ignorance and irresponsibility!

If for some reason you can no longer have your animal, then please find it a good home, but don't just move away and leave it on the street.  The Humane society is averaging about 50 cat surrenders a day...sheesh!  I am really glad they have such a wonderful facility now, but it too has limits. For now I will just end this post with a video of a ridiculously adorable kitten.  This one not at the EHS, but they have plenty if you get the urge : )

<a href='http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/most-innocent-kitten-alive/1glqx8ier?from=imbot_en-ca_f3549&cpkey=852b4195-4da3-4672-9856-37b3b9b45e7d%7C%7C%7C%7C&src=v5:embed::' title='Most Innocent Kitten Alive'>Video: Most Innocent Kitten Alive</a>






Mamminals

I have always been an animal lover.  Or mamminals as Chad says to tease me.  Once again the Edmonton Humane Society is overloaded with cats.  453 in their care and 100 up for adoption.  All of these cats/kittens have to be spayed/neutered before they will be put up for adoption all at a cost to EHS and it's contributors.  I have been a contributor for years and have always directed a large portion of my United Way contribution to the Edmonton Human Society.  This way I can give a lot more with payroll deductions.

This past cold winter we had two cats in our neighborhood that we had to take in as they were homeless in the -35 degree temps we were getting!  It breaks my heart that in a fairly well to do province like Alberta we have so much of this.  If you don't want a cat, then don't get one..but if you do, then look after it.  They are not something you just discard when you are sick of them.  Actually I guess they are since there are so many constantly needing homes : (    I really get tired of hearing how people "cant't afford to fix their animals.  I had a cousin tell me this about their outdoor cat on their acreage.  Really?  The $60k vehicle you just pulled up in and the regular manicures you can afford do, but a few hundred for a surgery is too much?  BS!  It's just ignorance and irresponsibility!

If for some reason you can no longer have your animal, then please find it a good home, but don't just move away and leave it on the street.  The Humane society is averaging about 50 cat surrenders a day...sheesh!  I am really glad they have such a wonderful facility now, but it too has limits. For now I will just end this post with a video of a ridiculously adorable kitten.  This one not at the EHS, but they have plenty if you get the urge : )

<a href='http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/most-innocent-kitten-alive/1glqx8ier?from=imbot_en-ca_f3549&cpkey=852b4195-4da3-4672-9856-37b3b9b45e7d%7C%7C%7C%7C&src=v5:embed::' title='Most Innocent Kitten Alive'>Video: Most Innocent Kitten Alive</a>