X-Wing

X-Wing Miniatures Game

I finally bought my own copy of the X-Wing miniatures game yesterday.

Laurie was kind enough to play with me last night. It turns out she really enjoyed the game so I’ll probably get to play more of it in the future.

There’s an active community of X-Wing players here in Savannah and an even bigger group in Statesboro, GA (about an hour away) near Georgia Southern college.

There are a few tournaments each year as well if I ever get good enough for competitive play. I’m still learning the full rules but so far I really enjoy the game.

Day at the Guild Hall

There’s a new gathering place in Savannah called the Guild Hall. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. They have some great ideas for the future. Laurie and I spent a few hours there yesterday playing a story game with one of the regulars. There were a lot of people there playing other games and doing other projects. It was a happening place. I got a membership so that I can come back and play again. The memberships are monthly and they have different levels. Check out their website for more details. The website is incredible. Don’t forget to scroll down though.

http://www.theguildhall.com/

I guess I’m part of the gamer’s guild and the coder’s guild.

I’m offering to teach some C# classes there as the Unity 3D game engine uses C# as one of its languages and there are a lot of people interested in creating games. I’ve never done any game development, but hopefully I can contribute something to the community with my years of experience programming C#.

 

No more self-hosting

I was self-hosting my website for a few weeks. I had purchased a static ip address from Comcast and was running a server OS. Well, I had no idea the level of hacking that would take place on my server. Someone got through and made a mess of my server. So, I decided to host my blog elsewhere.

Because of this, I lost a few years of blog entries. I guess that’s the price I pay for self-hosting.

At some point, I’m going to upgrade my blog so I can use a better theme, but for now, I’m using one of the free themes.

Automotive Technician Experiment

I recently enrolled in the Automotive Technician program at the local Tech school (www.okefenokeetech.edu). At the time, I thought that I might try something other than IT for a change.

Being an automotive tech is a difficult and challenging career. There’s a lot going on in the modern automobile. Add to that the fact that most new cars were engineered to run efficiently and fit in smaller and smaller spaces, and you can start to see where maintenance and repair were either low on the list of priorities or missing completely.

Getting your hands positioned correctly to work on much of the automobile can require a lot of patience and about $40,000 (I’m not exaggerating) worth of tools.

To be an auto mechanic, you need to buy your own tools, as most shops do not provide the basic and intermediate tools you need. When the tool salesman came for a visit, he told us that buying tools is a lifelong endeavor that would never end. Then he showed us the most basic set of tools, which costs about $1500 for a student (with a 50% discount).

I enrolled in Introduction to Automotive and Automotive Electrical Systems in my first semester.

The way the program works is interesting. You spend your first few weeks in the classroom studying the textbook in order to take a series of tests about the material. Once you have finished the chapter tests, you then take a safety quiz. Once you pass the safety quiz with a 100% score, you are then allowed to enter the shop.

The shop has 4 internal bays and 4 external bays with 5 lifts and an aligment machine (which has a built in lift). On the back wall is a smattering of machines used to balance tires, machine brake rotors and drums, and recharge the A/C system. In the middle, just behind the lifts, is a set of metal work tables.

You are given a document containing a long list of tasks that you are expected to do within the span of a single semester. It is up to you to get those tasks done before the semester ends. At odds with my expectations, there isn’t any instructional lecturing taking place. All instruction takes place on a as-needed basis to get you through a particular task.

Accomplishing your tasks can be a challenge because there are only a few cars in the shop at any given moment, and not all of them need that kind of work done to them.  When there is a car that needs work that’s on your task list, you must compete with the other students in the class in order to perform the work.  Many times, you team up and everyone on the team gets the credit.

However, most of the time, the work you do will not be on your task list. It’s just experience for your future career.

The school has a fleet of “state vehicles” that they use to transport employees to conferences, training, and recruitment as well as a forestry bus that is used for the forestry program. These vehicles are on a regular maintenance schedule such that we work on one vehicle a day. During maintenance of the vehicle, basic checks are done to the electrical system, lights, tires, brakes, engine, and transmission. If something is broken or needs maintenance, we do the work ourselves. We also change the oil and filter every 2,000 miles.

I learned early on in the semester that this is not the type of work I was meant for, but I am learning all that I can. It’s very interesting to see the application of all the tools. I also like the people in the program. Everyone is friendly and well-mannered (well, everyone except one person, who is constantly cursing and being negative). The instructors are extremely knowledgeable.

I’ve decided to stay with IT. I’m just wired for it. I’m a computer nerd at heart and not a car nerd, but everything I’ve learned will definitely help me in the future.

Windows 8

Windows 8I installed Windows 8 the other day. Wow! I really like it. I had installed it back when they did the developer preview, but I didn’t like it then. I was hung up on the fact that they removed the “Start” button. I don’t have any issue with that now as I understand the differences between Windows 8 apps and the standard desktop apps.

Everything is smooth and fast in this new version. It’s a refreshing OS to use and it looks very professional.

Is “Cloud Computing” just hype?

Cloud ComputingI’m reading up on “cloud computing” and I can’t help but wonder if it’s just marketing hype. Microsoft has devoted a considerable amount of effort in selling their Windows “Azure” platform and Amazon has been offering AWS for quite some time.

However, I don’t see how this is any different than creating a web application and hosting it on a web host like Godaddy or Discount ASP.NET. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t see paying per transaction when all I have to do is create and host my web app on my web host.

I guess I have some more learning to do.

random musings

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