Tuesday, October 04, 2016

JP for 4th VP of the MGEU

Running in an election of any size is hard.

Now, if you're here because you're all "internet savvy" you're probably going to be disappointed. Most of the stuff here is about board games, video games, scifi and what not.

If you dig around enough you may find some political stuff, but it's going to be pretty tame (but don't let me stop you, I could use the page hits!).

Here's the only place you're getting the real low down.

1) Yes, I vote NDP, except that one time for strategy reasons. I'll regret it the rest of my life (the one strategic vote, not the NDP). I'm participating in a labour union. I'm not sure why you would expect anything else. Except politics in Canada can be crazy sometimes.

2) No, I don't think much of right wing politics, trickle down economics, or people who think civil rights aren't worth fighting for.

3) Climate change is a real thing. Science is a real thing.

4) I play mostly Space Marines and Necrons, but I've been known to paint tyranids and orks.

5) I have 4 great kids and a really great, tolerant wife.

6) I've lived in Manitoba my whole life. I've traveled a bit, sometimes far, but never for more than a week or two. Not a fan.

7) Beer, not whiskey.

I'm probably not going to do any more here during this campaign. Honestly, the inter tubes have moved on from blogs for the most part. Check out and follow me on facebook or twitter for the most current stuff.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Corel Draw 12 - Last Great Version

I had been upgraded all the way to X7. I have to say there are a lot of small things about X7 that I like. I never really got attached to the idea of software as a service.

I think it's too much to charge exactly the same amount for renting the software for a year as I would have paid by buying and paying two years worth of rent. Have just looked again. I see the rent is about the same, but full price is over 600. So I can pay 3 years rent, for a product that traditionally has a 2 year life cycle. I expect X9 will release in about 18 Months based on past experience.

But that's not what's really interesting*. I found my 12 install and key. Now one of the reasons I stopped using X5 was because after 5 re-installs, I wasn't able to use my key. So I could pay to unlock the software I "owned" or just upgrade. X7 had just come out, I could get a one year subscription rate for just less than half. Seemed like a good idea at the time. For one thing, now that X8 is out, I can just get that instead. Except now I have to buy another year. And then the one after that. And so on.

12, on the other hand, just installed. In between I've tried to explore "free" options. This is software I use for hobby work, so the less I pay the better. Free (or open source, in this case) isn't even close. I find this disappointing because I use Open Office for office work all the time. And although the Open Office word processor is not as refined as Word, it is very competent. Their vector drawing is rudimentary.

Now back to 12. I know this will come as a surprise, but other than how it interacts with the desktop environment, the main tool box of Corel Draw hasn't really changed that much from 3. Yes there are more tools, and some specific versions come bundled with things you'll never use. 7 or 9 came with a 3d modeling suite. Blender is open source, free and much more complete. For vector drawing, any version that works with your version of OS is probably not that much different than 3. 3 was released around Windows 3.1, so there's a very good chance it won't like Windows 10.

12, on the other hand, was released in the era of Windows XP. The only real drawback with 12 over X3 on is that there was no 64 bit version. I also remember it being unstable on Windows 7 and 8, which I believe may have been my primary motivation for moving to X3.

The real downside is all of my most recent work is now only X7 compatible. It's locked away from me. I suppose, logically this isn't different than paying for my electric bill. I pay that every month and the power keeps flowing. I stop paying and my house descends into the dark ages. On the other hand I don't see software like electricity or water. I don't consume it. It's a tool. Like a hammer, I expect it will be in my toolbox later today, tomorrow or next week. I don't like the idea of having to pay for my hammer every few months so I can keep using it.

On the other hand, if the price was more palatable, you might convince me. Netflix has.

*Of course, if you're not into the nuances of software marketing or how expensive productivity software is, it's really not very interesting at all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rewired for USB

I didn't do an actual project log, honestly because it was that fast, but I have rewired my ION iCade Core with a USB controller. This replaces the Bluetooth controller that never worked well, and then stopped working once my Android devices went past Android 5.

The iCade Core is not a high end device to begin with. I think the retailed at around $80 - 90 CDN. I nabbed mine on sale for $45 about 3 or 4 years ago. The advantage of doing a build this way, assuming you can find one, is I get to avoid my dread full wood working skills. I have dropped everything back into the case, no problem. I think I'm so happy with the result I will actually repaint. I do have that airbrush an booth looking for projects.

The iCade is really easy to open up, six small head phillips screws, none buried under rubber feet or labels.  Although the buttons and stick are on the cheap side, the are standard arcade style micro-switches. They look like Happ Microswitches, but they're way cheaper. You could easily, however, swap all the buttons out for better ones. And the stick as well, as it's a standard 4 switch.One of the nice to builds I'm now considering is adding an adjustable restrictor plate, so I can switch this to 4 way. The builtin in stick has no plate, so it's possible to hit up and left at the same time. Some games require this, some games freak with the extra inputs.

For the controller I found this guy. At about $14 CDN direct from China (includes shipping!) it doesn't get much less expensive. This board is a tab bigger than the Bluetooth one I removed, but not much. It came with pre-crimped wires and the USB had a nice stress reliever on it. Once I sorted which parts of the micro switches to connect to it was just a matter of swapping 1 for 1. Further, the Bluetooth board had a 5V barrel plug that left a hole just about the perfect size for the bottom of the boot.

I still have 4 buttons open on the controller, so I may order a couple of small push buttons to add for additional controls, like coin slot and 1-Up.

A fun little project that only took about an hour.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Boy, this house needs a cleaning. I'm not sure what happened but everything in the form or style sheet (or some mumbo-techno-jumbo) has been broken. My link lists are really out of date. I haven't bothered with Penny Arcade or Wil Wheaton for years.

Fixes and changes coming.

Seeing as I've run out of funding for games, I'm strongly considering going back to complaining about other peoples work. It's almost the least I could do.

I'm also on a quest to stop self censorship. I've turned into my harshest critic. I think it's time to turn around on that road.

I don't want to post a schedule (because I hate them - that the artiste in me trying to be in charge) but I'm committing myself to a new effort. While it appears I may not be the best at making games, I really enjoy talking about games. I recognize that much of what I say is probably poo. Hopefully I can at least make it entertaining.

Let's get back on that horse, shall we?

EDIT: I just noticed that I complained about the format being messed up in my last post from over a year ago. Slacker.