Petri Wessman's weblog

Minireview: The Keep 1.0

Do you run tabletop rpgs and have constant problems with how to organize your notes and other info (before, during and/or after a game session)? Do you have a laptop and wish there was a handy GM tool to have at the gaming table? The Keep to the rescue.

I’ve been using a wiki for that sort of stuff up to now and don’t have a laptop/netbook (yet) to use at the table, but I’ve been looking for alternatives for a while now. While wikis are fantastic tools for collaboration, they are not totally ideal for single-person work – a lot of that is due to the web interface, of course. Many things are more cumbersome than they need to be… and then there is the fact that you can’t always access your notes on your laptop at the game table, unless there’s a network connection handy. Recently NBOS Software, makers of quality rpg tools like Fractal Mapper, announced a 1.0 version of a new “Personal Information Manager for Gamers”, The Keep. I’ve liked NBOS products a lot in the past so I decided to test the thing out.

There is a time-limited (30 days) demo version available, so I went for that first. Long story short: I liked it so much I pretty much straight away bought the full version (a bit over $30, very reasonable).

Even though this is “just” a 1.0 version, it already has a pretty nice feature list. At the core, it’s a notes organizer. You can add text notes in a tree hierarchy, and you can also add other media to the same tree (PDFs, images, etc… even web page URLs). The program itself doesn’t impose any hierarchy, that’s up to you. There’s a one-button “game log” functionality which adds a timestamped game log note to a predefined spot, handy for making notes at the gaming table during a session. The text editor is pretty nice, it has a nice balance of simplicity and utility. Besides the normal text editing stuff, it also supports tables. You can also do wiki-style hyperlinks to other notes, which is fast and easy. There’s an on-the-fly spell checker.

Organizing and reordering notes (or other info nodes) is a matter of drag & drop. There are also some tools to organize nodes in alphabetical order etc, should you wish that.

The program also automatically integrates with other NBOS products, both the for-pay ones like Fractal Mapper and the free ones like Inspiration Pad and Character Sheet Designer. Very nice. You can embed FM maps in your hierarchy alongside pixelmap image maps, you can add PDFs next to Character Sheet Designer sheets… it’s really versatile. There’s a dice roller, though it doesn’t support dice pool systems (yet). Full-text search is available for all your info nodes, naturally enough. If you happen to have a second monitor, there’s a nifty “GM Screen” function where you can show an image there, with a cursor to point stuff out to players. So you can show the “player map” of a given place on a second monitor, while examining the GM version (or game notes) on the main screen, all without leaving the program. Cool stuff.

I tested the thing out while planning for my latest Exalted session and really liked it. Liked it so much, in fact, that I migrated my wiki content over and intend to use this thing for game session planning and notes from this point on; it’s just that nice and convenient. Everything worked in a nice and logical fashion, I didn’t find any bugs, and the fact that the program doesn’t impose any strict hierarchy on you (but helps you keep one, if needed) was extremely welcome.

Honestly, the only downside I can think of is that it’s a Windows-only program. It may well run under Wine/VMWare/etc in Linux or Mac OS X, but haven’t tested those.

If you’re like me and constantly fighting against chaos in keeping your game notes (and maps and PDFs and…) organized, this just might be what you need. It’s mostly geared for GM use, but naturally enough it could work for player notes too. Or whatever, it’s a fairly general-use info organizer that just happens to be optimized for rpg use.

Very much recommended.

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Winter hibernation

Still alive, though the recurring flu of this winter is (was) back for a short while. Feeling much better now, but we spent the weekend in Jyväskylä at a wedding and Sunday morning had me feeling like something the cat dragged in… and I didn’t drink that much. Decided to stay home and vegetate yesterday, was feeling pretty crappy – and it was worth it, now back at work and more or less ok. Managed to watch some small bit of my tv show backlog when I wasn’t horizontal in bed, so at least something good….

Otherwise it’s life as normal; nothing spectacular has happened but I manage to keep busy and entertained. I bought the board game Arkham Horror and most of the expansion packs, and we’ve been trying that out. Fun game, and even though it is complicated we’ve mostly managed to figure it out. FFG really does publish some brilliant board games; the newer Battlestar Galactica board game is also very, very good and a huge amount of fun.

Been playing a bit of EVE now and then, but it comes and goes. The new expansion does sound very interesting, I have to admit; I’m busy brushing up on my exploration/scanning skills so I can go try out the new “wormhole” stuff once it goes live. At the moment nobody knows how the new Tech3 stuff will work out. I suspect the devs are clueless there, too, and the “let’s tweak it as we go along” model is in play. I’m ok with that, as long as they do balance things eventually.

Oh, and I do have to mention my new (work) phone, the Nokia 6210 Navigator. Now, it’s not often that I praise anything done by Nokia, I’ve usually found their hardware to be ok but the software abysmal. Well, this thing is actually pretty sweet. Nice, compact form-factor, a navigation suite that actually works quite well, and software (on both phone and PC side) that doesn’t utterly suck. Even the PC Suite thingy was usable now, instead of the mind-eating horror it used to be. Go figure. It’s not a total home run.. the GPS reception is patchy at times, and in true Nokia fashion the menu choices and “which button does which logical thing” seem to be randomly assigned at times. But I don’t want to bitch too much – this is a very nice phone. I’m especially loving the combined A-GPS navigation plus compass… having a GPS map on a phone which rotates according to your own orientation is cool. As is the walking (or driving) routing guidance it can do. I’ve already used it as a car navigator a bit, and it works. Pretty well, in fact.

Life wins, slowly

Spent Sunday at the salle, Ilkka held a seminar on Bolognese sidesword and dagger techniques. Was a lot of fun, once again, and it’s really nice to be back to normal health (if not good shape, yet). I had a really long-term flu / throat infection thingy, and since that carries a small but non-zero danger of heart injury it you exert yourself too much, that meant a month+ of no exercise for me. Which was doubly nasty because the flu wore me down and the lack of exercise did the same. Finally felt well enough to come to the salle last Monday, but a month’s pause in training shows. Oh well. It’ll come back, it always does.

The training, I mean. The flu can stay away, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m also slowly waking up to the fact that Christmas will soon be here. I’ve only begun to think about presents, and only have a few taken care of so far. So… some shopping this week.

Work has been really interesting (if very busy) during the last month or so, since I’ve managed to convince my bos(ses) that doing a certain new app with Rails, with a REST datasource in our Java/JBoss main server end, is a good idea (and I honestly do think it is a good idea). This means that I’ve been coding Ruby/Rails a lot, and also tinkering with some lesser-known aspects of it like ActiveResource. It took a while to puzzle out the HTTP/XML format Rails expects and to duplicate that on the Java side, but once it’s in place it’s pretty impressive: the Rails app can now get a data feed from our server with just a few lines of code, and that feed behaves in many respects like a normal ActiveRecord database object. Cool stuff. I’ve also dived into testing with rSpec, with heavy use of mock objects and dynamic fixtures (since I want to keep the tests independent of server data). Figuring out HttpMock took a while, but now that also works.

Rails rocks, it’s by far my favorite wep app framework nowadays. Nothing else comes even close.

Added later: …though I do have to say that some of the lesser-used facets of Rails (like ActiveResource, especially with nested resources) can be pretty poorly documented, or not at all. I’ve quite often had to resort to hacking the Rails core code to figure out what the hell is going on. Today has mostly been spent in figuring out how the hell I can actually create nested REST resources. Finally figured it out, but it wasn’t exactly documented anywhere I could find. Today’s headaches also include puzzling out the exact XML format for server-side validation errors (no, it’s not what the docs claim it is) and in working around the fact that the XML formatter wants to turn all underscores into dashes in element names. Sigh.

Rails still rocks. But prepare to enter “Here There By Tygers” territory if you use some of the more bleeding-edge facets of it.

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Computer kablooey, flee to Prague!

Fortunately I’ve done PC upgrades often enough to expect trouble automatically, so when I upgraded my home computer with a new motherboard, new memory and a new graphics card I wasn’t expecting a smooth ride. The cause for the upgrade was my desire for more gaming graphics power, and since my old mobo had AGP/DDR connections this seemed like a good time to also upgrade to a modern PCIe/DDR2 motherboard. So I did.

Installation went fine mechanically, though my microATX case is a bit cramped. Still, everything fit after some tweaking. When I booted up to Win XP I got what I was halfway expecting: a boot failure, due to the changed chipset etc (boot gets going, then stops and the thing reboots). So I’ll need to try and repair the rig with a Windows XP install disk in repair mode, fair enough – and if all else fails I have backups of the important stuff and can always do a clean reinstall.

Next up, boot to Linux. That failed too, complaining about failure to detect (SATA) disk. After some cursing (I was sure I had remembered to compile in the needed drivers), I discovered that the BIOS defaults to non-native SATA mode for backwards compatibility reasons. Duh. After fixing that, Linux booted fine to text mode. Hooray! X11 didn’t start up, but that was to be expected.

The next day I tried to get X to work, and finally had to revert to the base “vesa” driver – the current incarnation of the Gentoo “ati” and/or “radeonhd” drivers don’t support the 4850HD yet, and the ATI binary drivers aren’t compatible with the recently-released xorg 1.5.0 I’m running. Oh well, at least I get X/KDE via the vesa driver, it’s not like I need accelerated graphics in Linux much anyway right now.

Whle I was doing this the machine froze up a few times, which started to worry me. So I did the first thing I always do when random freezes happen: I fired up memtest86+. Lo and behold, it started showing red “memory fail” results almost at once. I tried with the memory in different slots, and with different memory timings. No go. In the end I had to concude that the memory was just plain bad. That, or there’s some wierd incompatibility with my new motherboard which should support DDR2 800 dual channel according to specs.

…so today it was back to Verkkokauppa. After explaining the situation I got a refund on the memory and grabbed a replacement 2GB from the store – this time “plain basic” DD2 667, in case it’s some motherboard bug with the 800’s or something. Tonight, if I have time, I’ll try things out again.

“If I have time” because my flight to Prague for the VTES EC tournament leaves pretty early tomorrow morning and I still have a ton of prep plus packing to do for that. Looking forward to the trip; I have three more or less tournament-ready decks with me and intend to quickly put together a few more decks for casual play. Never been to Prague before, I’m told it’s a great city though I hear varying opinions about how expensive it is nowadays. I guess it can’t be too bad since I’m coming from Helsinki, one of the most expensive cities in the world at the moment. Hell, even Paris didn’t seem bad in comparison.

Web photo galleries

I’m not really happy with Gallery. The built-in themes either look crappy or are full of bugs (or both), the permission system is confusing and seems to work in a wonky fashion, and it has way more functionality than I really need or want.

Anyone know of any alternate software for running a web photo gallery? I’m reluctant to try Flickr, for a variety of reasons, I’d rather host photos on my own server. I don’t need much special functionality, just something that looks at least decent and is usable – both of which are quite subjective things, of course.

Maybe I’ll just have to roll my own, if nothing else surfaces. Or play around some more with Gallery, to see if I can get it to act more to my liking.

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Bits go into Espoo, static comes out

Ever since we moved to the new house, we’ve had intermittent problems with our ADSL connection. The connection is a “ServerLink” 8/1M connection from Netsonic (includes static IP, the critical component), with the actual connection being provided by Elisa. In the beginning what happened was that every now and then, the line would drop and stay down until the ADSL box was rebooted – really nasty if you’re running a server. We switched the old ADSL box for a Telewell one, and that one is able to recover from the drops; now all that happens is that the line drops every now and then, and then recovers some 30 sec - 1 min later. For a lot of uses this is quite ok, but since it usually kills ssh connections and (most critically :) kills Eve connections, it’s still a headache.

I’ve tried looking over the ADSL connection settings, and while I don’t understand all the switches there everything seems ok. The logs just say “carrier dropped” or something like that. Hmph.

I finally emailed the other people who life at our house company (“taloyhtiö”, whatever that is in English). As a reply I was told that another guy had also had problems a year ago, he had contacted Elisa and had been told that since our switching center is in Hämeenkylä (quite a distance away), they cannot guarantee an error-free 8M transfer rate. They had reduced the max bandwidth for that guy to 3.5M and the problems had gone away. I’ll have to ask Elisa about this, and if the above is still true then do the same for us. We don’t need the max download rate all that often anyway, and we’d much rather have a steady, slower link than a slightly flaky faster one. A bit annoying, in any case – why do they sell an 8M connection to an area they apparently know can’t handle it?

Serves us right, of course, for living in the middle of the forest…

In other news: spent Sunday playing VTES at a friend’s place along with lots of other people, was fun. My Lasombra combat deck sucked on all too many levels, it’s going back into the redesign pile. The Samedi deck is doing ok-ish, but is having flow problems – have some ideas about that. Daughters of Cacophony anarch voter is starting to work nicely, but is suffering from master jam (understandable, since it had a ton of them). Will have to figure out what to cut.

Oh, and I have to note that even though the recent Superbowl left me cold (I’m not much into watching organized sports, and have no idea how football rules even work), I’m finding another sports event very entertaining: the US presidential race. He’s running for the finish line! But no, she has him tackled, there’s only a pile of flailing hands and feet visible! Who’s that mystery man, sprinting past the defense line? And now for a word from our sponsors!

I’m personally rooting for Barack Obama. He’s smart, has lots of views I can agree with (not all, of course), and is an excellent public speaker. For example, check out this speech about religion and atheism (40min video stream). Besides the fact that it takes balls to talk about religion’s role in politics at all in the current climate, the fact that he talks about atheists and evangelists both in a non-confrontational manner (barring some pointed and deserved digs) is a big plus. Something about his measured call for discourse, reason and moderation on all sides strikes a chord with me. As an atheist, this is a sensibly religious person I feel I could have a real talk with. Which is something.

This is all from the sidelines, of course, since I can’t vote in the U.S. elections. To be honest, all three of the current main candidates (Obama, Clinton and McCain) seem to have something to recommend them, none of them feels like an idiot. So for the first time in 8 years, there’s a real chance the U.S. might get a reasonably good president. Whoever that ends up being.

In any case, most of the world is watching.

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Good programmers and other mythical beasts

Haven’t written here for a while… had a nice Christmas & New Years, there was an interesting VTES tournament, lots of stuff to write about.

… but as it happens, I’ll get to that later, due to a weird coincidence. During lunch at work yesterday I was thinking about good programmers, and why they seem to be so rare. Then last night I ran into an article (via Slashdot) on how to recognize a good programmer – and it was spot on, and pretty much mirrored my own thoughts on the subject.

Thing is, most IT companies want to recruit good programmers. Many of them think they have them. In actual fact, what they tend to have is what Daniel in the article calls “career programmers”: the people who do it just as a job. They don’t have any real interest in programming, it’s just something they know well enough to get hired (but often no better than that). These people will never spontaneously teach themselves new tech, most of the time they are blithely unaware of what the “new tech” even is at any given moment. They code with the “least effort required” style; if they can cut+paste existing code that’s always the preferred solution, regardless of suitability. If they are forced to write something from scratch, they will take forever to do it, and produce something that only works with some very loose definition of “works”. They never produce elegant code, in fact they are somewhat confused by the very concept.

There’s nothing wrong, as such, with doing programming as “just another job”, without any real interest in it. It pays the bills, and there’s enough demand for programmers that even mediocre ones tend to find jobs. Problem is, it’s also a trap of sorts: the actually competent people in the company will come to realize that a given person isn’t all that hot, and the management will also probably realize it at some point, just by looking at how much the person actually gets done. This usually results in the person being given the simple, repetitive jobs (routine maintenance, implementing a new slightly different version of something that already exists, that sort of thing). This is natural, since you simply can’t give anything actually complicated to these people; it will either never get done or will be implemented in a way that will need a total rewrite in order to work. So people like this end up painting themselves into a corner, where all they will ever get to do is boring, routine stuff. For some people this is fine, for some it isn’t (and they eventually move to something more suited for them).

Don’t take this as complaining about newbie programmers, it’s not. The critical difference is what’s #1 in the article, too: “passion”. Good programmers are fascinated by the tech they use, and constantly look for new and better ways of doing things. They teach themselves stuff constantly. A good beginning programmer is not a problem, since he’ll be constantly improving himself; you just need to point him in the right direction sometimes. These people ask questions, and ask the right kinds of questions. Career programmers can’t be bothered; if they don’t know something, they expect their employer to get them on a training course (which of course won’t do much to help).

Naturally, things aren’t this black and white. There are good programmers who as totally stuck in a rut, and see everything through a lens of a single technology. There are mediocre programmers who are slowly crawling towards being competent; they might not have the real drive, but they don’t feel like sitting still either. In addition, technical skill is just part of the equation – some good programmers are insufferable prima donnas, some have way too much of a “my way or the highway” attitude, some have a total lack of all social skills… nothing is ever totally cut and dry. I consider myself to be a good programmer, but I’ve been known to have some of those faults at times. I’ve gotten better. Mostly.

Anyway, the truth of the matter is that good programmers are very hard to recruit. They are rare, they tend to already have jobs they are happy with, and they tend to be picky about recruitment terms. They also tend to be somewhat tricky to keep, since they usually want to work on cool stuff. And let’s be honest here, 95% of all IT business is anything but. Every single company pretends they have revolutionary new ideas and highly valuable proprietary information, but in reality their “valuable IP” can usually be written on the back on a napkin, with large font. Sure, some companies actually are creating interesting new stuff, but most aren’t. So, it’s a challenge to find something that’s interesting enough to keep your good people… interested.

The classic “Mythical Man Month” remarked that good programmers can be multiple times more productive than mediocre ones. That’s still true… but it’s not quite that simple. Good programmers (and, I suppose, all real professionals) are very productive when they are doing something they find interesting and/or challenging. Give them routine work, and chances are they they won’t be all they productive – they’ll be bored out of their minds, and thinking about other stuff.

So… I guess it boils down to “good people are hard to find”. Nothing new there. It was just funny reading that article, having thought about the subject just previously. Another facet was reading Zed’s infamous rant some days ago; though it’s a bit of a stupid and misguided rant, the part which struck true was the complaint that some consulting companies provide people who are… not very good in reality, and charge a silly price for it. At worst, I’ve seen and heard of cases where the management refuses to provide decent workstations or software for their own people, and is stupidly tight with money in all respects… but then some crisis or another crops up, and suddenly it’s ok to hire a consulting company for huge amounts of cash. The saddest thing here is that more often than not, the consultants will totally fuck everything up. Mediocre people working for a project they have no real interest in, for a limited time – it would be a surprise to see anything actually good come out of that. At best, you get a pile of “more or less works” code that’s a nightmare to maintain. And who does the maintenance? That’s right, the in-house folks.

I could comment more here on Zed’s Rails rant, but I’ll mostly pass – this has turned out long enough as is. What I will say is that I agree with Daniel’s reaction. Rails is a smart framework, and lots of smart people like it. Lots of smart people also hate it, and lots of dim people also seem to like it, perhaps thinking it’s the Visual Basic of the web world and that it will let them design web apps without understanding the technology. It isn’t and it won’t.

In case you are wondering, this post isn’t aimed at any particular company or person. It’s just a commentary of what I’ve seen, over decades in the business.

I love programming and IT, still. I’m glad to be doing it, and getting paid to do it. But oh boy, the idiocy I’ve seen at times…

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Pushing Ice (and mobile phone crimes against humanity)

I haven’t read all that much fiction lately; I’m a fairly slow reader compared to some, and I’ve also read a lot of roleplaying sourcebooks which further cut down on fiction. Anyway, the Akateeminen bookstore had (and maybe still has?) a 20% sale on all paperbacks, prompting me to pay them a visit and grab few – well, 8 or so – books that had been on my “should buy” list.

Last night I finished the first of those, Alastair Reynold’s Pushing Ice. Quite a ride. As one SF Site review says:

Alastair Reynolds’s novels are reliably fascinating at the “big idea” level. He’s got a truly first rate hard-SF imagination, and the chops to take cool ideas and reveal them via action plots, often hiding the really neat ideas convincingly until the end. He is a “light speed limit” author, and fascinated with Deep Time. And all this describes Pushing Ice quite excellently.

Quite. It starts off fairly low-key and low-tech, for a Reynolds book: in the year 2057, Janus – one of Saturn’s moons – suddenly starts behaving in a decidedly un-moonlike manner and accelerates towards Spica. The ice miner ship Rockhopper is the only ship in position to rendezvous, and despite some crew misgivings is diverted to investigate. Needless to say, things get dangerous and weird at a very fast pace, and without spoiling things I’ll just note that there are quite a few surprising plot turns along the way.

Central to the story is also the relation between captain Bella Lind and her friend, engineer Svetlana Borghesian. It’s perhaps not totally believable all the time and gets a little too long-term bitchy, but it still grounds all the ultra-tech in a human foundation. As always, Reynolds’ characters are not quite 3d enough, but it’s not bad – he’s a lot better at characterization than many other hard-sf writers are.

While I’ve always liked Reynolds (his debut Revelation Space kicked serious ass), this is maybe the most intresting thing I’ve read from him in a while; Century Rain, which I’ve also heard good things about, is still in the reading list pile. Sense of wonder, twists you don’t see coming, and enough action to keep things moving: what else can you ask of a summer book?

On to something else: I’ve always said that Nokia’s mobile phone UIs suck. I still hold by that claim, they suck mightily. Anyone who works at Nokia and has anything to do with UI design: game over, you’ve failed, sorry no bonus. Try sheepherding, it’s much more relaxing and people will hate you less.

The newer Symbian phones are actually more difficult to use than my ancient 7110 – and that’s no mean feat. My current theory is that the Nokia UI R&D department is actually manned by aliens who have no idea how actual humans think or work, but are trying to figure it out with fiendish experiments in UI design. That, or it’s drunk gerbils. Not sure.

Anyway… my “personal work phone”, a Nokia 6630, suffered a hardware breakdown during the weekend; the screen just started blinking and became unreadable. Luckily there’s still warranty left, so I took it to a shop and they sent it off for repairs, “it’ll take 2-3 weeks” I’m told. So we scrounged around at work for some phone I could use in the interim, and found an older Siemens phone. Mistake.

Now, as I’ve said, Nokia sucks in the UI department. But compared to the Siemens, it’s like sweet nectar from heaven. That thing is totally fucking awful, there is no logic to any part of it. Buttons change semantic meaning totally at random, the menus are confusing (if you can even find them), and to top it off, the damn thing just froze when someone tried to call it earlier, total software crash. It’s so bad that at the moment I’m charging the batteries on my ancient 7110 (yes, the “Matrix phone”, and yes, mine still works). I’d much rather use that stone-age piece of tech than suffer one more day with the craptastic Siemens.

Sigh. Why can’t we get a nice mobile phone that has both a good UI and reasonable technical specs? Don’t mention the iPhone, please, since in order for the iPhone to be even worth mentioning here in Finland it would need:

  • 3G
  • MMS
  • lack of lock-in to a single provider
  • reasonable price (300-400e max)

At the moment it looks like the iPhone will be a fancy dud, at least here in Europe where expectations of what a mobile phone needs to do are considerably higher than in the U.S. Pay 600-700e for a provider-locked phone without reasonable modern network support? What sort of idiot, other than the random Apple fanboy, would do that?

So the wait continues.

Almost out of Iirislahti

Phew, we spent a staggering 11 or so hours cleaning up the old place. It’s amazing how much work there is in really cleaning a (fairly) big house, especially since removing all the furniture exposes all those places where our normal not-that-great cleaning has never reached. I’m sure that civilizations have risen and died in those piles of dust…

Anyway, that job is done, and a big thank you to the people who were over to help. The house now contains just this server, which will move sometime Thursday.

So note: this site, along with swordschool.com (on the same server) will go offline sometime this Thursday, probably in the evening. The Elisa guys have said that they will activate the new connection at the new place on Friday, but it’s anyone’s guess whether or not that will happen on schedule – in addition to which, Janka & I are heading off to the wild North for some snowboarding on Friday, so it will probably be up to our housemates to set up the network. That, also, may or may not work.

So be prepared for this server to be offline from this Thursday until next Tuesday/Wednesday. The break might be (much) shorter, but I can’t guarantee anything on that count. It might also be longer, if the bits refuse to move along the tubes that the Internet is made of.

In other words: until next Wednesday or so, text messages etc of “hey, orava.org/swordschool.com is down!” will be met with a resounding silence – partly because the answer would just be “no shit, Sherlock” and partly because we hope to be gliding/bouncing down sunny slopes on snowboards and other implements of destruction, ignoring stuff like that.

While cleaning, we moved the server downstairs, and it’s now been having network problems on and off. Today I replaces the ADSL cable and the network cable into new store-bought ones, it might have “just” been a cable problem. No idea what the real cause is/was, to tell the truth, could be anything.

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The Great Traditional Chocolate Egg War

Easter is approaching and so is the traditional Easter Egg VTES Tournament. It’s not really a tournament, but there are easter eggs involved. Here’s how it works: we gather in a suitable place (pub, usually), and everyone brings VTES decks and lots of chocolate easter eggs. We play normally, except that the old Jyhad ante rules are in effect; chocolate eggs are used as ante. Yes, you can use the ante-increasing votes to push the amount of eggs up :). When you oust someone, you get their chocolate. Wheee!

The year we’ll again be congregating at Punavuoren Ahven, sometime around 12:00 - 14:00. The place opens at noon, and I have the cabinet reserved from 14:00 onwards (though it will no doubt be empty before that). I’ll be there by 14:00 latest, probably a bit earlier. Everyone welcome, just grab a deck or two and a pile of easter eggs.

In other news, moving frenzy has taken over our house, there are boxes scattered around the ground floor hallway and we’ve already moved a pile of books (and a wooden giraffe!) to the new home. The moving day “proper” is Sunday the 15th, by then we’ll have everything packed up ready to move and rent a big van. Tons of stuff on the todo list, trying to work through them one at a time.

I’m trying to move a few boxes of stuff every day now, every little helps in reducing the amount of work needed on the 15th.

Seems our network will move almost 2 weeks after we do, on the 27th. That means almost 2 weeks without home Internet access – looks like an emergency. We’ll have to (gasp) read, watch DVDs, play single-player games, talk, and do all those things people did in the Dark Ages (sans the witch-burning). Much chaos and hand-waving predicted.

As a result of the server move, this site (and swordschool.com) will be offline for at least a day (26th-27th), possibly quite a bit longer; Janka and I are going to Ruka for Vappu and if the server hookup isn’t done quite early on the 27th, it will have to wait until we get back on the 2nd of May. It may be that one of the housemates can hook things up, but I would not bank money on that.

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