February 19, 2008: Finally Playing D&D

I was worn out this morning but was still able to pull myself from bed at five thirty. I started up the shower as it takes some time for the water to warm up that early in the morning and went to the living room to the office to check on the status of some overnight malware detection scans that I had run. The network was down, of course, and had to be restarted. That will be a project for tonight.

I forgot to charge my iPod Nano over the weekend and so did not have that to take with me this morning. So instead I grabbed Ken Schwaber’s “Agile Project Management with Scrum” from Microsoft Press to read on the train.

I expected it to be very cold out today but it was actually quite nice. Perfect weather for walking to the office. Windy but not too cold. Bright and sunny for a change.

My project for this week it to write my term paper for Project Management. My class ends on February 26th so I am on the home stretch now. But that paper is going to be a lot of work and I still have to do my usual homework yet this week.

I did some cleaning up in my Amazon address book today and couldn’t believe some of the old addresses that were in there like: 4 Bayard Rd. Apt. 43 in Pittsburgh and 138 Greenleaf Meadows in Rochester. It really shows how long I have been using Amazon. Pretty much for an entire decade now. Maybe more. One of my addresses was even associated with an ancient 716 area code phone number. Rochester switched to 585 a very long time ago.

I noticed today on Amazon that prices on HD-DVD players have plummeted and they are barely more expensive than regular DVD players and are about the same price as DVD players with upconversion to the same level as the HD-DVD output. It didn’t take long after the Toshiba announcement for the market to completely vanish for those.

While I was on Amazon doing some maintenance I decided to put in a small order with two DVDs, one set of “News from Lake Wobegon” CDs and a book. I also ran through and did a careful update to the Amazon Recommends thing that they do to make it work better for me. With a little careful maintenance you can make that work pretty well. It discovers all kinds of things that I might find interesting.

Ars Technica posts an article highlighting the defeat of HD-DVD and BluRay’s newest challenger – Internet HD Downloads. Hmm, I wonder whose blog they have been reading. Speculation continues today as to the role saboteurs may have played in the crippling of the Middle East’s Internet access two weeks ago. Rocketboom commented at the time on the likelyhood of the US government being involved given the fact that Middle Eastern communications would be heavily routed through US backhauls allowing for the US government to snoop packets bound for countries to whom they are not very friendly. That all major Internet undersea backhauls were simultaneously cut is a bit more than “somewhat suspicious.”

I needed to do a virtual install of Fedora 8 today to do some self-education with Veritas Volume Manager (aka VxVM) so I decided, while I was at it, to experiment with innotek‘s Virtual Box. Virtual Box has managed to remain below my radar for some time now but with Sun’s pending acquisition it seemed like a good time to look into this technology a bit more closely. Virtual Box is much like other desktop virtualization products except that it is open source and available completely for free. Several other virtualization products are also free such as Microsoft’s VirtualPC and Virtual Server and EMC’s VMWare Server, all of which I have used in the past. I have used both MS Virtual Server and VMWare Server for production virtualization as well. One aspect of Virtual Box that I find intriguing is that its “client” and “server” modes are both handled by the same core components and are just two different interfaces to the same system. I find this more convenient than the Microsoft and EMC models.

I got a chance to listen to Ubi Manber of Google discuss challenges in search today on IT Conversations from the current Super Nova Conference. And I listened to Dr. Joel Selanikio speak about the Invisible Computer Revolution dealing with SMS delivered medical data in the developing world. And I wrapped up listening to Ed Rowe from Adobe speaking about Adobe AIR (formerly Apollo) technology which is very interesting.

I got home and we had about an hour before everyone was ready for the evening’s Dungeons and Dragons session.  I am very excited to have a chance to actually play.  It has been so long.  It was about seven when we started and we played until ten.  We are playing in the “Known World” setting, also known as Mystara, for D&D.  I am playing an Oltec Cleric from Hollow World.  It is an interesting character and I think that I am going to get to have a bit of fun with him.

We had a good session.  Not too much happened as it was the very first time that we have played in this setting and the first time that Feder has run a game for us and the first time that I have played in sixteen years.  So there was a lot of prep work still to be done and a lot of “getting used to” the process.

Dominica and I ordered dinner a little  after nine from Nino’s but it didn’t arrive until a quarter after ten.  We ate and watched one twenty-two minute “episode” of Doctor Who (the Tom Baker years in the 1970s) and headed off to bed.  Dominica gave Oreo a huge roasted bone with meat still on it tonight and he has been going crazy chewing on that.  He was so excited.

I am working in Warren, New Jersey tomorrow so I will be commuting out on NJ Transit.

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