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alChandler's Halls

Serving dozens since 1999


My Dad gave me one of those things in the 60s. It was called Geniac and was billed as a computer but according to Wikipedia it was really:

Basically a rotary switch construction set, the Geniac contained six perforated masonite disks, into the back of which brass jumpers could be inserted. The jumpers made electrical connections between slotted brass bolt heads sitting out from the similarly perforated masonite back panel. To the bolts were attached wires behind the panel. The circuit comprised a battery, such wires from it to, and between, switch positions, wires from the switches to indicator flashlight bulbs set along the panel's middle, and return wires to the battery to complete the circuit.

With this basic setup Geniac could use combinational logic only, its outputs depending entirely on inputs manually set. It had no active elements at all – no relays, tubes, or transistors – to allow a machine state to automatically influence subsequent states. Thus, Geniac didn't have memory and couldn't solve problems using sequential logic. All sequencing was performed manually by the operator, sometimes following fairly complicated printed directions (turn this wheel in this direction if this light lights, etc.)

Never the less I was fascinated by the thing. Unfortunately I couldn't strip the wires and my interest in computers languished for about 15 years. Still, I've got to give Dad props for trying to cater to my interests.

January 28, 2022

Lunar New Year

By the way, Steam, Epic, Gog, Blizzard and Uplay all have sales for Lunar New Year so if you're looking to pick up something at a discount, now would be a good time. I'm assuming that Origin also has a sale but I was too lazy to look up my user name and password.

January 28, 2022

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn is a post apocalyptic game where you hunt robot dinosaurs. Rolf played it and liked it and it was $24 on the Steam sale so I went for it. It's chief attraction is that it's set in a different environment with different mechanics from Deathloop. I bought Hitman at the beginning of the month but that game was so much like Deathloop that I was sort of dreading playing it. Besides, who doesn't love the idea of robot dinosaurs?

I got through the first tutorial section and logged off at the beginning of the hunting and gathering section, we'll see how it goes. While I've been playing World of Warcraft with Marie, I haven't done any solo gaming in two months and I'm getting rusty, so I'm really hoping the robot dinosaurs click with me.

January 28, 2022

End of an Era

Kind of pompous but there it is.

The first comic book shop I went to was The Fantasy Factory in Mays Landing, that was in the 80s. That closed and in the 90s I got my books from Beachcomber at the Shore Mall. When the Shore Mall kicked most of their tenants out, including Beachcomber, I went to Level Up, I've been going there for about 20 years now.

I had an accident in December and my car has been in the shop since then so I told Level Up to stop pulling my books until I got my car back. Since then I've been getting my books via the Comixology app and after using it for about six weeks now I realized that I prefer digital comics to physical copies. If I want to check out a hot new book that's sold out I don't have to wait for it to be reordered for me, I can get it instantly. And the app makes it much easier to follow long, involved story lines. If I want to check out something that happened three issues before I don't have to hunt through the big pile of comics in my closet, I just pull the issue via the menu. Like I said, I just like digital comics more then physical comic books.

This has been on my mind recently because I'll be getting my car back in a couple of weeks (hopefully). I was kind of dreading getting Level Up to start pulling my books again. Then I realized I don't have to reactivate my account. I've been picking up my comics from a comic book store for about 35 years now, that's going to stop. But as Mrs. Silverman is fond of saying, "Oh well."

January 26, 2022

Amazon Music

I've been using Amazon Music for a couple of years now and I've only just realized that I can listen to complete albums.

January 24, 2022

Quetion Time

Bob Huff and I didn't have a lot in common but we were both fans of watching Question Time on C-Span. Once a week the British prime minister answers questions from MPs in the House of Commons. It's always raucous but yesterday's session was particularly noisy as the head of the Labour Party roasted the prime minister over the parties he attended during the Covid lockdown. Bob would have loved it.

January 20, 2022

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

I really want to talk about Sauron, the Second Age and the Rings of Power. But those things aren't really in the public's consciousness and any observation I might make would constitute a spoiler. So I'm going to hold my tongue and bide my time.

But I'll be here if you need me.

January 19, 2022

NFTs in Gaming

Just so we're on the same page, I've nothing against buying stuff in games. That's my flying ship the Dreadwake, I bought it in World of Warcraft for $10. It's a flying mount, just like the mounts you can acquire in game. It doesn't change the mechanics of the game, mostly what is does is tell the world that I'm one of the few people who actually liked Hook. The Dreadwake is not customizable, my ship looks the same as everybody else's Dreadwake. In fact, none of the mounts or other things for sale in the store are customizable.

But suppose they were? Suppose I could pay $50 for my own, customizable Dreadwake with my proof of ownership verified? Would I be willing to pay for that? Damned if I know. Would I object to the idea in principle? No. Would I object to Blizzard selling unique items that would give someone a leg up in the game, say selling a bad ass weapon for $75? Yes, very much so. In fact I might consider cancelling my account. I'm not sure how I'd react to that sort of thing in a solo game. If you could pay for a weapon that would allow you to skip 75% of the content in a solo game, does that affect my gameplay? I like to think that it wouldn't.

Gaming companies want to generate a revenue stream above and beyond the $60 purchase price and we've all become used to cosmetic items in games. But gaming companies want NFTs in games because they view it as a cash cow, Yoksuke Matsuda the CEO of Square Enix put it this way:

“I realize that some people who ‘play to have fun’ and who currently form the majority of players have voiced their reservations toward these new trends, and understandably so. However, I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to ‘play to contribute,’ by which I mean to help make the game more exciting.”

Mostly those players will be contributing to Square Enix, gaming companies will take a percentage of NFT sales. The whole idea is that players will buy unique high level items and resell them with the company getting their cut off the top. Fine, the idea doesn't appeal to me but a lot of things leave me cold. I'm sure they'll be a bunch of games coming out next year that will have NFTs shoehorned into them. Most I'll ignore them but who knows, there might be one or two that will interest me. And hell, I have a lot of digital property already. I'm already picky about the games I play, NFTs will add one more thing to the mix for me, that's all.

One more thing, gaming companies are talking about moving items from one game to another. I could take my custom Dreadwake from World of Warcraft to Elder Scolls VI. Not going to happen.

January 16, 2022


I started off with bacon as a lark so it wasn't a huge jump to banal, but to tell the truth I'm better at Wordle then I thought I'd be.

January 6, 2022