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Mithrandir

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  1. Mithrandir

    Untitled

    I concur.
  2. It's time for... THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!! ...
  3. Mithrandir

    Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader

    Quote:Original post by johnhattan Quote:Original post by Mithrandir Quote:Original post by johnhattan Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui." I'm not sure how you got 'elitist' out of that. My only point was that schools don't teach realistic things that prepare people for the real world, particularly finances. I was pretty damn dumb when it came to finances up until about 2 years ago, when I decided to learn on my own so I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. So it's not like I'm saying I'm brilliant and better than everyone else. My actual point is that I wish someone (schools!) would have taught me about things like financial planning when I was a kid, instead of letting us out into a world thinking about the stages of a butterfly's life, not realising how badly you can get messed up dealing with school loans, credit cards, etc. When I went to college, there were literally dozens of people on campus hawking their plastic cards, all in return for free clothing. They hid the terms of the agreements behind free gifts and promises of "oh don't worry, you only have to pay $20 a month!". Nothing in high school prepared us for that. Also, the career choice thing... I'm a corporate desk jockey. I probably always will be. I'm not making fun of the profession, I'm just pointing out the difference between realism and idealism. When we were kids, we were all encouraged to think up of the most lofty careers possible, but no one ever prepared us for reality. There have only been 460 astronauts on this planet of 7 billion people. What are the chances that anyone growing up will become one? Well, the post has those odds listed already. I don't see what's so elitist about pointing out reality. You still haven't read A Confederacy of Dunces, have you? It's on my list.
  4. Mithrandir

    Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader

    Quote:Original post by johnhattan Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui." I'm not sure how you got 'elitist' out of that. My only point was that schools don't teach realistic things that prepare people for the real world, particularly finances. I was pretty damn dumb when it came to finances up until about 2 years ago, when I decided to learn on my own so I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. So it's not like I'm saying I'm brilliant and better than everyone else. My actual point is that I wish someone (schools!) would have taught me about things like financial planning when I was a kid, instead of letting us out into a world thinking about the stages of a butterfly's life, not realising how badly you can get messed up dealing with school loans, credit cards, etc. When I went to college, there were literally dozens of people on campus hawking their plastic cards, all in return for free clothing. They hid the terms of the agreements behind free gifts and promises of "oh don't worry, you only have to pay $20 a month!". Nothing in high school prepared us for that. Also, the career choice thing... I'm a corporate desk jockey. I probably always will be. I'm not making fun of the profession, I'm just pointing out the difference between realism and idealism. When we were kids, we were all encouraged to think up of the most lofty careers possible, but no one ever prepared us for reality. There have only been 460 astronauts on this planet of 7 billion people. What are the chances that anyone growing up will become one? Well, the post has those odds listed already. I don't see what's so elitist about pointing out reality.
  5. Mithrandir

    Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader

    So I visited with my parents tonight, and they put on a new television gameshow called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". The premise is that they find some guy/gal, and put them up against 10 questions that a 5th grader is expected to know. Sounds easy enough, right? I can safely say that yes, I am smarter than a 5th grader. Most of the questions are laughably simple, but there are undoubtedly the 'wtf' questions. For example, tonights episode had a question: "What stage is a butterfly in right before it becomes a butterfly (it was worded better, I promise): A) pupa B) larva C) egg" Immediately, my mind said "PUPA!". I of course knew the answer was right, but that worried me a bit. I got to thinking... "wait, why did I know that so quickly?". The answer, of course, is that extensive time in US elementary school is spent on learning things like this. I then started thinking "When the hell has this knowledge ever been useful to me?". Answer: never. Next question: "When the hell will this knowledge ever be useful to me?" Probable answer: never. Next question: "What kind of careers are there where this kind of knowledge is needed?" Answer: I guess entomology. I can't really think of any more than that. How many entomologists are there in this world? Perhaps less than 100,000, would be my guess. I obviously can't say for sure, but there's got to be less than a million or so. Regardless, this is some pretty specialized information that is really only useful to a limited subset of the population as a whole, so it's really confusing as to why it's even remotely important for an elementary school to teach. That got me thinking though, why aren't the more important details of life taught in school. I'd love to see school exam questions like this: Quote: Bob got married at 21 and has 3 kids. He has $30k in school loans, and he just bought a brand new Escalade at 7% interest for 5 years. He has an adjustable-rate 50-year mortgage on a $300k house, and last month he spent $10k on a new 50" plasma tv, Blu-ray player, PS3, and surround sound system. He put it all on a 21% APR credit card, which he pays off the minimum of each month. How fucked is Bob? Quote: What do you want to be when you grow up? A) Astronaut (0.00000657142857% chance) B) Pro Football Player (0.00002857142857% chance) C) Rock Star (0.00007142857143% chance) D) Corporate Desk Jockey (40% chance) E) Wal*Mart Clerk (59% chance)
  6. Mithrandir

    New look, same great taste!

    My GDNet+ should be running out within the next month or so, so you won't have much longer to appreciate my nonsensical ramblings. That's alright though, I've almost run out of things to say. So I'm eating chicken and barbecue sauce. It's Kraft Honey Hickory Barbecue sauce. It tastes ok, maybe a bit too salty though, but then again, what isn't these days? One thing that struck me though is the big letters on the label. It said "NEW LOOK, SAME GREAT TASTE!". I started thinking about who came up with that. Is it someone job to sit around all day and come up with slogans for BBQ sauce bottles? My company outsources stuff like that to a marketing firm, who came up with the brilliant slogan "Moving At The Speed Of Business" for us. It was pretty embarrassing when we found out that it had been trademarked by UPS for around a decade. But not to worry, they came up with something equally ridiculous. Now, I imagine Kraft, with revenues in excess of $30,000,000,000, probably has its own marketing department that comes up with this stuff. So it's probably someone's full-time job to continuously come up with these little slogans for anything that Kraft decides to put on a label. Perhaps there's even a committee for these things. Who knows. All I know is that someone, somewhere, got paid to come up with it. Now this got me thinking about the circumstances that gave rise to this slogan. They might be sitting in a conference room one day, with a conversation that resembles this: Quote: Guy 1: You know, sales of our Barbecue Sauce division are down 2% this quarter. Hunt's BBQ bottles just received a major branding upgrade last quarter, we think this is the reason why. Guy 2: Why don't we give our bottles a new look as well, then? We could use some new tri-color schemes that are all the rage with sports jerseys these days. Guy 1: That's a great idea, Johnson! Let's get on it! Woman 1: But wait a minute. If we change the colors of our bottles, will our customers get confused? I can just imagine Sally Sixpack strolling down the Kraft aisle at the grocery store, and seeing the new labels... she might wonder if we've changed the recipe at all. Guy 1: You make an excellent point, Sandra. We should come up with some phrase or slogan in friendly language that comforts the customer and lets them know that they're buying the same great Kraft product that they've always bought in the past. Make it something like "New look, same great taste!", but not quite as stupid. Guy 2: Excellent! Woman 1: Marvelous! ... Does anyone seriously remember what the labels of their barbecue sauce bottles look like, and could possibly be confused if they change? I'm scared.
  7. Mithrandir

    ...

    I recently found out that Windows 98 still has a higher market penetration than all forms of Linux. I guess that really puts things into perspective.
  8. Mithrandir

    Return of the Graphics

    I never understood the whole deal about "bloom". I have always thought it was annoying, but kept my mouth shut because the game community hive mind always ranted and raved about how awesome it was, and just assumed I was weird. Then, last month I was talking to an old college buddy of mine, who was a film major, and now makes independent films. We got to talking about graphics, and I mentioned bloom. He told me that in photography and filming, bloom is viewed as a nasty camera artifact that should be eliminated at all costs. He said he can't understand why anyone would possibly want to waste graphics power to emulate a camera artifact. I agree, and likened this stupid bloom obsession with the "lens flare" obsession of 7 years ago. It will eventually go away, and our games will become less annoying again. Also, that commercial was hopelessly unfunny.
  9. Mithrandir

    Software Engineering

    I've come to a conclusion today. Software Engineering is the art of showing your boss how to do something the right way, without making his idea seem stupid. Ego's are very real. Step on one, and even if you're right, you're probably not going to get anywhere with that person. Most of my proposals now consist of: Quote: While we could do it that way, this way would give us these additional benefits: * nicely enumerated list of benefits, * most important ones at the top, * since people tend to ignore bullet points near the middle and bottom But some things, no matter how compelling an argument you make, will always go ignored. Such as recommending against using an AJAX-enabled web application to do the work of a heavy-duty forms application. *sigh*
  10. Mithrandir

    Debt

    I just paid off my car loan, 3 years early. Check hasn't cleared yet, but I'm hoping there won't be any problems there. Capital One's "payoff quote" is good for 10 days, but they said the check would take 20 days to clear for some dumb reason (out of state), I'm hoping that doesn't cause a problem. Honestly I'm not sure why I even had to send in a check, since they have no problem electronically debiting my checking account every month for my payments. I guess it's their subtle way of discouraging people from paying off loans early. I even had to call them for the address to send it to, they won't give that information out online. In retrospect, a 5-year auto loan was a bit overkill, but I'm still glad I got it, because there were a few times in 2005 that I was really strapped for cash and wouldn't have been able to make the monthly payment if I had gotten a shorter-term loan. I'm deciding whether or not I should pay off my school loan now. It's a low interest rate, but I can afford to pay it off now, and I kind of like the idea of being able to say "Hey, I'm debt free!". One of my near-term goals (less than 2 years) is to buy a house. Before I paid off my car, I had enough to put down about 25% of a mortgage, but the prospect of making two major payments per month (house+car) wasn't a good idea in my mind. My goal before going into home ownership is to be debt-free though. Got my credit report done, first time in 2 years. Credit rating went up 170 points, but it's still got room to grow. The only disappointing part is that even with my new and improved(TM) credit rating, it looks like the interest rates for car/home loans are still going to be higher than what I would have gotten 2 years ago. Since the subprime market is currently in the process of imploding, interest rates are rising as the banks try to compensate for the fact that no one is buying all of those homes they foreclosed on. It's pretty annoying. I briefly played with the thought of avoiding a mortgage altogether and simply saving up enough to buy a whole house, but at this point, this seems a bit unrealistic. It would take me at least 5 years (okay, if I get my raise next month for the promotion I just got, I can cut it down to 3.5 years, but hey, let's not count on money that I don't have yet, mmmkay?). Of course, this is all assuming nothing unforeseen happens. I would have to start investing if I were to do that... and I'm not sure that's my boat. I hate risk. Everything I do is calculated and as riskless as I can manage. I mean, I took out a 5-year car loan when I could have payed it off in 2 years, just in case something bad happened. I guess I could find a low risk investment somewhere, but at that point, why not just get a mortgage? The inflation rate will assure that the value of the mortgage will steadily go down over time, and I doubt a low-risk investment will provide enough of a payoff to be that much more beneficial over a mortgage. I guess I've got time to figure out my plan though.
  11. Mithrandir

    Journal closure

    I thought I cancelled it last year, but I guess I didn't. Stupid paypal and its automatically-renewing subscriptions.
  12. Mithrandir

    Wow, that was a surprise.

    240 games to win Vista Ultimate. only 230 games to go...
  13. Mithrandir

    Zelda: Twilight Princess

    I got another promotion at work yesterday. My third promotion since last August now, and I am now officially a Software Architect. I've been putting in 90 hour weeks lately, trying to get some R&D projects in presentable form so we can present them to our customers tomorrow. It's damned stressful, and unfortunately, my Wii isn't helping much. You see, it's just so damn fun to play. Back when I was a kid, I could play games like Kings Quest 4 for hours at a time. A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Wolfenstein, Doom, Heretic, Hexen, TIE Fighter, Dark Forces, Dungeons of Kroz, Warcraft, Warcraft 2, Starcraft, Zork and it's many sequels, etc. They all took up countless hours of my life. Then, slowly, over time, I just began to lose interest in video games. I think Half Life was the last game I played completely through without getting bored and resorting to FAQs or trainers just to finish the storyline. Civ 4? Boring after an hour or so. Used cheats to create a massive army of tanks to conquer the whole world. Half Life 2? Played an hour of it, got bored, never bothered to go back yet. Medieval 2: Total War? Played 2 hours, got bored, used cheats to get unlimited money, conquered 50% of Europe and got even more bored, and quit. GTA3: I think I lasted a week before I gave into using cheats, and then just rocketed the police in one gigantic orgy of destruction. I don't know what happened, but games have gotten so insanely large and complex that it's just not fun playing them anymore. I bought a Wii because everyone at work highly recommended it. I work with people who don't really play games, so if they were recommending it, that really said something to me. So I grabbed it and Zelda, and have been playing it on-and-off for the past few weeks. So far I've only had to look up one thing in a FAQ (where to find the 4th monkey in the first dungeon), and I've been able to do everything else without needing any help whatsoever. In fact the game is so absorbing that it's becoming a problem. See last night I got home from work around 9pm, and I was exhausted, so I just popped Zelda in and started playing. 3 hours later, I realised it was midnight and I had to get to work in a few hours, and I really needed to go to sleep. Oops. I think a large part of it is the controller design. Previously, you had to hold your hands in front of you for long periods of time, and this had a tendency to make your hands cramp up after a while. But with the Wii, you don't get that. You have the wiimote in your right hand, and you can hold the nunchuck over in your left, and it's far more comfortable than a regular game controller. I think without the "your hand is cramping, maybe you should stop playing" impulse being sent, it greatly increases the amount of immersion you have in the world. Anyway, I highly recommend Zelda. I haven't been this into a game in 10 years. As for the people who say it looks bad: I'd like to have some of the crack you're on, please. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
  14. Mithrandir

    What in the world are they smoking?

    Clearly.
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