Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm still here!


Alright. So it has been awhile since I last post here. In truth, there's no really reason for it. I've been doing a lot of research in the past few months, and I think I finally got it. There's a tremendous amount of backlog of materials that I want to post, but in truth, I have to cut down on the topics I want to post.

I pretty much give up doing some semblance of topical posts. I'll just do it the natural way my brain works: Rambling all over the town! As far as topics are concerned? Well, there's the search button. :)

Computer programming is always part of me and I will be posting that on my other blog, Simpleton Geek blogspot. Book/movie reviews will go there as well. Things that are of interest of geeks will go there.

This Ramstrong blog will feature Arts and Crafts. You know, the complete opposite of tech. Dean Kamen is a nerd, and so he has STEM, instead of STEAM. As I'm a geek, I think Art is an important element to the equation. So, I will be featuring those kind of things here.

I just recorded a video of me making markers with Crayola Marker Maker. I did it using just the refill, not the whole package. It works great. I'll upload it sometime, and feature it here.

There's also a comic project, although that is still in initial progress, so I don't know how that will work yet.

Oh, well. Nanowrimo is up and I have yet another blog for it. That one is private, though, so only friends will be able to access it.

In the meantime, AH'M BACK!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IKUSA Board Game

So, today is TableTop Game Day. One of the sponsor is Wizard's Chest in Denver. I swung by there today. The second floor is full of Halloween costume. Hmmm. I wonder why they keep those year round? The first floor is a collection of anything that is of interest to "gamers". They actually have a magic trick demonstration table in the corner.

The demonstrator there is pretty friendly, and he showed me a clever trick with "turn over card" where he flipped cards with just a gentle shake of his hands. Pretty impressive stuff. We chat for a bit, where I confessed that I used to do magic tricks. I showed him a couple trick bits. Then he asked me why I stopped doing it. "No audience," I replied. Yup. The hanging curtain of magicians everywhere.

So, they have set up a lot of tables where people were playing games everywhere. Nothing that stirred up my interest, though. So, I wandered over the the board game section. Now, this is the section where premium board games are sold. One caught my eye in particular: "IKUSA".

The name is unfamiliar to me. It certainly is Japanese warfare. I flipped the box over and I saw a familiar map of "Samurai Swords". This board game was formerly known as "Shogun" until James Clavell novel came out and they ended up changing the name. Or was it the other way around? Anyway, it piqued my interest so much that I looked at the price. Then my eyes bugged out. I couldn't believe it! The price, as clearly stated on the upper right corner was the incredible amount of: $4.95!

Yup. You read that right. Just a shade under 5 dollars. Are you kidding me? The build was definitely of high quality. Normally, these kind of builds would cost north of $80. So, I flagged a staff member. After having him read the price, I offered $20 for it. Ha ha.

Of course, he doesn't have the authority to sell the box at the price, so the owner, or a person of authority that I assume was the owner, confirmed that although the game is on sale, it certainly isn't at $4.95! Normally, the game sells for $90 range. I asked him whether on sale means half-off. The final price was $67.98. Not cheap, but I think that's a fair price for the game and its excellent build quality.

He asked me whether I'm familiar with GameMaster series. I replied that I did not, but I am familiar with the Samurai Sword game. He then proceeded to point out all the difference between this Ikusa game and Samurai Sword game. It turns out that it's the exact same game, except much updated for the modern times. So, I think that's great service that he provides.

In any case, I have been thinking of the old game a lot lately. I was impressed with the great gameplay system. I'm kind of curious why the new game only have one ninja, but otherwise, I do have fond memory of the old game. Since I'm a sucker for sale, out comes the credit card, and I bring home this Ikusa game.

I noticed that this is Avalon Hill Games + Wizardry + Hasbron. Made in China.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Leisurely Bike Ride

I went for a bike ride today. Strolling around the neighborhood took one hour. According to my computer: 59 minutes, 254 calories, 3.9 fat, 7.2 miles, 14.7 max speed, 7.3 avg speed. I wonder if that computation is based on flat road, or hilly?

I think I need a new saddle. The one currently on the bike is hard as a board and the path is rather uneven. I used the bike path on the road today, detouring when such path is filled with ice. Considering it's a small road, it's fine.

I really don't see me doing more than 15 mph at this time. Maybe if I can find a better bike path, I can do faster than that. In the meantime, I'll continue to look elsewhere. Too bad there's not a good bike path from home that I can see. Ideally, it'll be uphill going out, and downhill going home. That way, if I pushed it too hard, it'll be a simple coast to home.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Speed Bumps are Facts of Life

So, I haven't been too active in the last 2 weeks. There have been some progress, but not much. I bought a bicycle. For some reason, I got hooked with electric bikes, but the one I bought was not an electric model. It's a cheap Schwinn Frontier I got from a thrift store for $50. Another $65 for tune-up, and it's as good as new. I'm pulling out my old helmet and gloves. A good backpack, and it'll be good to go.

For some reason, there is a path between here and Confluence Park. It'll be about 25 miles. I'll have to check that out. It's possible that I'll have to cross some streets. There is bike path from here to Community College of Aurora, at least.

I was having fun, then the bad news hit. First, my car broke down on New Year. It took me a week to fix. Then I found out my tooth has hole on it. I went to a dentist, and have him x-ray and examine my teeth. Cost: $200. Verdict: Cavities, 3 minors and 2 majors. Will need deep cleaning as well since I've gone more than 5 years without it. I was quoted another $1000 for 4 quadrant, which I found out later was average. Apparently, inflation is alive and well. I think if it's major operation, I may want 3-5 days rest period in between. That's about 20 days. Well, there goes my vacation plan. I'll have to adjust it later, but January vacation plan is definitely off the book.

May as well. I guess I'll be entering Game Jam later this January 26 weekend. I'll be doing it PTC style. We'll see how well I do, and see what good will come out of it. I'm not even sure if I'll be doing vacation in February. It may be just 2 weeks, instead of a month as planned.

Well, bad things happen. That's a given. What matters is how do I handle things. At this point in time, I don't know. The dentist didn't want to commit on the price. So, it's still in exploratory phase. I don't blame him. I did make it clear that I will be financing everything myself.

So, there is this advertising on CraigList:
Dental Patients needed (University of Colorado Dental School). Call 970-480-7177. One would think that people's teeth are healthy and that they don't need patient to practice on, but I guess not. Oh, well. I did have that x-ray and pictures, and that should help them decide whether or not they can work on my dental.

As a plus, I find that real professionals will guarantee the standard of treatment if they know their work will be checked by another professional, especially of the educational institution!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Question of Priorities

Where will I spent most of my time on?

I am always perpetually short on time. As much as I want to, I did not pick up the latest Pokemon game out there. I still haven't touched Pokemon Black/White even though I have it. There's plenty of games out there that I want to play, but do not have time for. So the question is, what do I do with my time?

"Be fruitful and multiply"

That has been the guiding words ever since the beginning. There are currently 3 different activities that I do that occupies most of my time:

1. Nintendo Life's Petit Computer forum
2. Simpleton Geek's blog
3. Nanowrimo

In the past, I have spent the majority of my time growing Petit Computer community in Nintendo Life's forum, and it shows. It went from so-so gathering to getting a lot of people from other groups. Of course, I spent a lot of time in nurturing the community, and for the most part, it works. That is, until recently.

A couple jerks came into the board, and it's like every time they post something, it's either spam, false claim, or general whinings. There's no substance to the post. The moderator was asked, "Don't you get tired dealings with petty people?" The answer was, "Yes, but what can you do?"

I can think of a few things to do with them, but as I am not moderator, that's not my problem, is it? My problem is that I'm seeing the community that I've worked so hard for being turned into irrelevancy by some whiny kids. Ouch, in a big way.

A lot of good people has curtailed their activities there, and so will I. The truth is, I just don't see any future there at all. When sinful people go to Heaven, they'll just turn it into Hell.

So, I have been very active in my blog. The newly designed Simpleton Geek blog is very nice. It still has too wide of a subject. I still can't believe I actually put cooking in there. It should've been making/crafting. Oh, well. We'll see how this will turn out. There's quite a bit of Raspberry Pi posting, and in truth, I'm just barely scratching the surface. I think a whole blog dedicated to just Raspberry Pi would have been justified. It's just that I think Petit Computer needs a good place and there's no other place like it on the Internet.

Finally, my Nanowrimo project. It has been no secret that I dream of being a writer. In fact, my goal is to be a published writer this year. Thank God for technology. Self-published is a viable goal at this time. Like any Nanowrimo, I will put it into priority, ahead of everything else. It's too bad I started out late.

I got started on Nanowrimo on Friday. I went into a meeting on Panera Bread. After a few Write Wars, I managed to scrape by 2700 words or so. That's not bad for a couple hours. Still, I'm hoping to get 5000-10000 words per day, so I have a long way to go.

The subject of Nanowrimo? Petit Computer. I'm imagining how it would be like if students are being taught computer programming using Petit Computer. With Nintendo being perceived as "gaming" device, and Basic being perceived as "brain damage inducing", there's no way current educational system will pick it up. I think that Petit Computer is the perfect way to introduce students, especially young students, to the joys of computer programming.

Yes, computer programming can be fun. Not that people want to read stories on how everything is just peachy, so I'll be putting in some pain into the situations. Purely intellectual sense, since I don't believe in physical torture in my stories.

So, Nanowrimo first. Blog second, and maybe forum.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Community Breakdown

A managers get A workers. B managers get C workers.

There is a prevalent idea that good community is one that is peaceful and members helps each others. On the most part, this is true. However, there are certain people whose personality is bad and will destroy the community. This is why I say that "if a sinful person goes into heaven, he will turn it into hell." A bad person can certainly destroy a community if goes unchecked.

There are helpful people, and there are unhelpful people. However, there are people whose action is to totally destroy other people. There is a book about it, whose title I will not name here because it contains a bad word, but I will tell you the ISBN: 978-0-446-52656-2 by Robert Sutton, PhD.

The point is that such toxic people undermine the productivity and community of everybody. Tremendous amount of profit is lost due to people not wanting to do their best, or perhaps spending time defending themselves from unfair attacks. There are signs of such toxic behavior outlined in the book, but here's my simplified guidelines:

1. Attack: "You are bad."
2. Complain: "You are bad because you did this."
3. Advice: "You are bad because you did this instead of that."

When somebody ridicule, belittle, or otherwise blame another person, but no reason is given, then it is obvious that the person isn't really interested in giving advice, but of attacking a person. You need to understand the difference between the two. A good person will always go toward giving advice. A bad person will always go toward attacking the person.

Imagine a scenario where two people are in disagreement. Person A spends 30 minutes explaining the whole concept, citing numerous researchs, and spent a lot of time going through the problem and various solutions. Person B says in entirety: "That's absolutely wrong. You have no idea what you're talking about."

It is obvious that Person B is not only stupid, and lazy, for doing no research and therefore no understanding of the issues involved. But he also attacks Person A ad hominem. If you are a manager and you do nothing about Person B, then Person A will no longer respect you and will go away. A good worker will not tolerate stupidity. As a manager, you are responsible to discipline Person B, if not, then the whole workplace will suffer greatly.

Good talent will leave. Bad talent will be fired. Either way, if you have large turnover rate, then you are doing it wrong.

Another thing that will hurt community is that of being selfish. Ignorance or lack of empathy. This manifest most visibly in "Posers". An idiot pretending to be somebody great. Can you imagine a Karateka white belt donning a black belt claiming to be a Grandmaster? Impossible, isn't it? And yet, these posers would actually do things like that.

This happens in all circles. Some Internet kids espouses legal advice, saying you can do this or that questionable actions, claiming all sort of "qualifications" except actually passing the BAR exam and being licensed to practice law. In some cases, the advice will actually get somebody into trouble.

Another case where some salesman would push a product without regards of safety. When challenged on grounds of safety, these salesman would attack the person who actually cares about the safety of the users. Posers pose very grave threat to the community indeed.

If you are a manager, or moderator of a community, you are responsible to weed out the posers. Failure to do so will destroy the community at best, causing people to sue you for condoning the spread of false information at worst. Failing to actively discipline the bad person will result in destruction of community.

If you're interested, you can research "Levitron", which is a trademark owned by Bill Hones. It describes a process where a spinning top levitates above a magnetic base, and is patented. And yet, everybody knows that Bill Hones isn't the inventor. Roy Harrigan is the true inventor. This is a clear example of blatant rip-off where the true patent was circumvented by dirty tricks. Yes, the patent office has re-examined the issue, but that doesn't change the fact that the second patent should not have been issued in the first place.

Furthermore, the fact that the patent has been circumvented actually caused damage to the product. The original patent specifies a spinning top above a round magnet. The revised one specifies square magnet. It doesn't take a rocket scientist that spinning top works better with round magnet. Thus, there's a perception that the product is extremely difficult to use, when in fact it isn't so!

What this means, is that patent office has no respect at all. The consensus is that patent office is a joke, and that anybody can get a patent if they try hard enough, and they did. Tremendous amount of patents have been filed that amounts to nothing more of obvious improvements of existing patent. Billions of dollars are spent in filing, and contesting patents. Is that the world you want to live in? Certainly that's the world the patent office wants to live in since more patents means more money. But really, is that the world you want to live in? Well, like it or not, that is the world we all live in.

There is a community that I was active, and in the beginning, we all pitched in to the greater for the community and it flourished. Then a couple disruptors came in. The moderator simply swept any disagreements under the rug, regardless of the correctness of the position. When I see people blatanly attack other people, and the moderator let it slide, the moderator lost all respect from me. I decided to curtail my activities there significantly.

It has been less than a week now, and there is no significant activity there at all. Just a bunch of kids throwing stuff out. Why would people want to go there? No reason. So, any chance of greatness has been snuffed, not for evil reason, but simply by ignorance.

A managers will get A worker. B managers will get C worker. When good people leave and bad people stay, it's time to get a new manager.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Laws of Ignoramus Doofus

The 3 Laws of Ignoramus Doofus

1. After this, therefore because of this

An expansion of this is something that happens together, will always happen together. Fire together, wire together. These principles are scientifically proven by Markov's chain and Bayesian theorem.

2. I do it, because everybody does

When asked for justification, only come up with a single reason, regardless whether or not there are other reasons not to do it, or whether or not it is even relevant to the cause.

In any case, better to fail together with a lot of other people since doing so will give plenty of targets to point finger at.

3. I want it, therefore everybody wants it

Everybody is the same. If I am thirsty, you are too. If I am hungry you are too. If I like blue, so do you. If I find it funny that I dropped a bucket of dirty paint on your brand new car, you'd laugh too.