May 27, 2003

Well, everyone should be happy that updates are flowing again. No LOTM the last couple of months, but updates is the first step. Plus that really cool Llama page that I added yesterday.

Last night, Min and I watched “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, the famous Studio Gibli film from Japan and recently distributed by Disney here in the states. It is really good. I really enjoy that film style and can’t wait to get some of the other films from that studio (they made “Princess Mononoke”, which I love, “Castle in the Sky” and “Spirited Away” – to mention a few that are popular here in the states. The guys watched “Drop Dead Gorgeous” in the living room while we watched that. The guys are still here today, they were supposed to be in the Big Apple for a Yankees game but the impending rain made them decide to just stay home and not risk wasting the long trip. Susan still drove down and Zach has been there for days already.

I played some more Empire Earth yesterday and made an amazing discovery: the computer cheats! No, I am not just being paranoid. We always accused the computer of doing that in Age of Empires 2 until we really learned how to play and were able to out perform the computer. But with EE, I was sure that the computer was able to do things faster than I was able to but couldn’t figure out how to prove it… until (and I know for those of you who aren’t into RTS game this will get confusing and oh so boring) I realized that the computer was building more troops than his resource gathering should have allowed. In EE, it takes 30 Iron to build a club man. The computer gathered 807 Iron. The computer built 29 club men. In addition to building all of those club men, it also trained them using hundreds more Iron. Do the math and you will see that the computer was playing outside of the bounds of the game that we all play. I looked at the time line and am pretty sure that it is doing the same thing with wood but will have a harder time proving it. I can’t believe that it is so blatant that I could see in the stats screen that it had cheated me. After that, I went online and found a site where someone else had been convinced that Empire Earth had been cheating all along and he managed to make a test to see what it was doing and proved that the computer was able to gather resources with a population of zero. And not only gather resources, but do it faster that a fully maxed out population at max gathering capacity. Apparently, building in the logic (the AI) to beat human players proved to be too much effort and so the makers of EE decided to just up the computers resource use capability to make it easier on them. That, combined with the dumb “prophets” in the game, make EE only a so-so RTS game at best. Age of Mythology may be too easy and Age of Empires 2 may be showing its age but I think, in the long run, I will stick with these two, more balanced games. Thanks, Microsoft, for at least making the best RTS games around. Rise of Nations has been announced and is coming soon. I think I will hold out for that. EE is still pretty good in multiplayer mode without the computer getting involved, but that severly limits the usefullness of the game.

This morning turned out to be pretty busy. I spent the first couple hours of the day working down at Lifestyle Properties trying to get their computer set up that I was working on over the weekend. And then, while I was there, I had to get a bunch of printers set up for them. And of course, they weren’t ready with their wiring when I got there so that took some time too. After working down there, Min and I went out to Collegetown for some lunch. We went to Sangam and got some Indian buffet. When I got back, there was a big spider crawling on my keyboard (he must have thought that he had found Andy’s room!)

Most of my work today will be attempting to install a Visual Basic application onto that horrible laptop. As soon as this is installed, I get to ship this thing out and hopefully not have to deal with it again for a while (I am the king of wishful thinking.)

I had meant to bid, the other day, on 512MB of memory for a server that I have. But I accidentally forgot to bid – and no one else bid either. So I emailed the guy and told him that if he relisted, I would definitely bid at least the lowest amount. He emailed me back and said he was tired of listing the item and offered to sell me 1GB of memory for just a little more and he would eat the shipping. So, that was a good deal. So I have a full GB of memory coming for one of my servers (of course, I haven’t gotten it in hand yet so I won’t count any chickens, But…) So I am hoping that this turns out to be a really good deal. It seldom does, though. But I needed a full 1 GB so this will be a really good deal if it works out, saving me at least $100.

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