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we have moved to http://randomviking.justinspicer.com/

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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Barnes and Noble Go board review

You have have noticed that Go Equipment is hard to come by in the US. You may have also noticed that Barnes and Noble has started selling a go set, But is it any good?

I bought one of these sets as a Christmas present for my brother and it short. It works, but it isn’t good.

 

Can you play a game on it? Yes

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Compared to the first go set I owned which I parents bought me as a Christmas present many years ago, this is a pretty decent set. The two worst aspects of the set are that its build quality is complete shit (its made of very flimsy laminate wood and the stones are usable, but very cheap) and that the board is made of two pieces of wood with the exact same pastern printed on them with a border all the way around. This causes a gap in the middle and the middle line to be doubled (so this board has is kind of 19X20)

The board is not full sized, but it is pretty close. A full sized board is aproximatly 16inX17in. I’m not sure the measurements of this board, but I believe it is 15inx15in. Surprisingly the size really doesn’t make play much harder (many cheap boards are 12inx12in and are almost unusable). Here is a comparison to my full sized board (purchased from samarkand back when they still sold boards). board on the bottom is mine. you can clearly see the weirdness with the middle.

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The stones are the chinese yunzi (single convex) style and they are also smaller than most stones, but they are a good size for the board. Here is a comparison to mine (I believe mine are 22mm which is pretty standard). left are mine

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Overall, the build quality sucks, but the board is very usable. If you are in a pinch, this board will work, but It seems pricey ($25 on their website, but I believe I paid $35 in the store) for what it is. I would recommend either spending the money on a nicer set (Though these can be hard to find, here is the AGA’s page on places to look for good stuff ) or trying to get your hands on a vinyl roll up board and some cheap stones

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Scientific Archaeology: The Philosophy of Science applied to Archaeology

Here is a paper that I wrote for my senior seminar class (Archaeological theory class at the University of Evansville, IN). If you care about science and/or archaeology you might find it interesting, if not you probably won’t. The goals and content of this paper were constrained by the requirements of the course, so I may put more work into it and make it more like I want it to be in the future. If I do I will also post that here (probably). Here is the link the pdf (via google docs), and bellow is the opening paragraph.

Making archaeology scientific has been a goal of the field for over 100 years, but it was not until Processual archaeology that a systematic and conscious effort was made to reach this goal. This attempt has widely been seen as a failure and the discipline has largely lost hope in the attainability of a scientific archaeology. However, Archaeology needs to take up this goal again and become scientific in order to be considered a legitimate field of study and must adapt the scientific method, particularly hypothesis testing, to fit archaeology if this goal is to be achieved, and thus Processualism failed because it tried to make archaeology fit the perceived ritual of the hard sciences and put too much emphasis on results and not enough on the process and spirit of Science. In order to discuss how a scientific archaeology can be achieved, the definition of scientific must first be determined, and the important and difficulty of making archaeology scientific must be explored. if archaeology is to understand what the next step is to be, the history of past attempts must also be taken into consideration as well as the modern work which has attempted to develop solutions to the lack of scientific hypothesis testing in archaeology.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Ubuntu 10.04

Edit May 17: I have encountered a few bugs. The indicated applet often shows the same item multiple times and does not show other items. (see the picture)

Ubuntu often turns off networking at boot for some reason. It also has some problems with recovering from sleep mode (on my computer anyway)

Another thing that has been annoying me is that it seems that ubuntu turns the audio on at boot by default (and won’t let you mute it during boot). This is annoying because sometimes I am in public places where I don’t want my computer screaming annoying noises. I haven’t really looked into this much. So, take this with whatever size grain of salt you want.

Unfortunately Fedora 13 was delayed again so it will be a few more days before I can give that a shot.

Edit May 5: I just realized I forgot to mention the new social crap thing. All I have to say about it is that I found it completely pointless and useless. Maybe if I used twitter I would care.

As some of you may know I have no great love for Ubuntu. I don’t really hate Ubuntu itself I just like to poke fun at many of its users Some of you may also be aware that I have done a few reviews of a couple of different distros in the past. However, I’m sure all of you know that Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was released on April 29th, 2010.

I have been using Fedora for the past few years(since september, 2007) and have been very happy with it, until the release of Fedora 12. I stuck with Fedora 11 because 12 was unstable. Fedora 13 is on its way and I hope it is an improvement, but in case it isn’t I decided to give Ubuntu another try since I haven’t used it since 2007. I have to say I am impressed so far. Here is a synopsis of what I thought of it in the first 3 days of using it. Keep in mind that I have been using a year old version of linux and may be unfamiliar with changes to software (gnome) that have occurred in the past year (so I might complain about something that isn’t Ubuntu’s fault)

Day 0: (April 30th)
Install:
This is about as I expected. It has changed a bit. I think it might be a little bit more userfriendly than before because you get just the installer and it is certainly more professional looking. The install was pretty quick but that is what you would expect from an minimalist installer like ubuntu’s. I would have prefered the user stuff to be set up after the first reboot rather than before.

Ubuntu Software center:
This is really nice. This is what/wanted I expected apple to do years ago. it is really well polished and easy to use. Not everything a geek will want is in this list (no big deal apt-get is still there), but 90% of things are. Ubuntu has much larger repositories than fedora so a lot of things that I use (chrome/flash) were already in the list, but not installed of course)

first impression: Ubuntu 10.04 looks very nice and is much more professional looking than the past versions. Canonical seems to have put a lot of work into this (which is what one might expect from an Long Term Support release). I like the new dark theme (much better than the shit colored them). The window buttons being on the left is a bit odd and pointless but that is a pretty minor detail. I really think Ubuntu is trying to compete with mac os and not just windows.

Day 1: (may 1st)
I didn’t use the system a whole lot today. What time I did spend using it was mostly used to fix the problem from moving stuff and installing programs that I need. It would have been nice if the installer had offered to install programs during the instillation. I don’t remember there even being network support (or updates of course) during the install.

I know Canonical wants ubuntu to fit on a cd to make it more accessible I would rather have had it on a dvd and had more stuff installed by default. This isn’t in anyway important since there are repositories and it is only for the first few days that I will need to install stuff every 5 minutes.

Though I like dark themes they have 1 major flaw in my opinion. They contrast way to much with the bright white all programs use. Also it is hard to get the contrasts you sometimes need with a dark them for instance a dark gray on light gray progress bar can be annoying.

I don’t like apt that much. yum is much nicer. apt annoys me because apt-get only installs stuff (or is only really useful to install stuff but you still have to tell it to install (apt-get install). apt-cache only is useful to find package but you still have to tell it to search (apt-cache search). this is a lot of typing. I would rather just be able to type apt search or apt install (like yum). I’m sure this is somethingt I could get used to I would just rather not have to. yum is one of the reason I switched to fedora.

Day 2:
I got most of my major thoughts on 10.04 in the first two days, but I do have a few complains and observations for today. First is that the location of the power controls in the right corner of the top panel really annoys me. There is nothing bad or wrong about this, and in fact it could be a good thing, but I’m not used to it being there so I tend to look for it under the system menu. Also the power controls dialog box seems to be less extensive than Fedora’s.

Ubuntu’s pre-configuredness (sudo and what not) is nice for the average user who doesn’t know anything about computer but annoying for geeks. As a geek I want to have root access to my computer and to know how and what it is doing. I like being able to set and change things myself without the system fighting me.

When a program is not responding it fades to indicate that it is not responding. This is a nice touch and is more than I have seen in other distros, but I would really like to see a lot more. I think this is probably enough for a program that has frozen, but it would be nice if a full crash is reported to the users. I don’t remember ever having a program fully crash while using Ubuntu 10.04 (maybe if I had used Firefox more) so I can’t say for sure that they are not reported. Reporting is of course often annoying to users, but I would rather have a dialog box that tells me that the program died (and ask if I want to report it to the developers) then just have the program disappear (sometimes without me noticing). For a freeze (not responding) reporting to the user may not be such a good idea because programs which freeze often will start working again in a few minutes. However, if the program continues frozen for a long enough time the user should probably be told about it and asked what to do. Ubuntu does warn the user by fading the window (which as I said I like), but it doesn’t go the extra step to report crashes or extended freezes (as far as I know). Programs should crash gracefully (of course this is really something the programmer should take care of and the os should only have to deal with in an extreme condition). Good start Ubuntu, but I want to see more in the future.

and lastly a note to all the programmers out there. Ubuntu comes with python 2.6 only by default. if you wish to use python 3 you will have to install it yourself. Also perhaps of more interest g++ is not installed by default (though gcc and make are). To be fair I don’t think Fedora comes with any developer tools installed by default.

(back to today)
Overall I have to say Canonical has done a very good job and I do like Ubuntu 10.04 and I will probably continue to use it if Fedora 13 is as bad as 12, but if Fedora 13 turns out well I will probably use that. Fedora 13 will be out in 14 days (May 18th) so I will see what happens then and I’ll be sure to write about it.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2010 in review, ubuntu, Uncategorized

 

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The Free Market

The free market philosophy relies assumes that people are capable of making good decisions. People are ignorant, impulsive, short sighted, knowingly self destructive morons (present company included). The idea that anyone really knows what is best for themselves is pretty dumb. It is even more ludicrous to think that a small number of people could make decisions for everyone better than they can make them themselves.

Perhaps one could argue that though people make bad decisions there tends to be an overall trend toward ok or even good decisions. I think that would be a fairly difficult argument to make, but maybe not impossible.

I kind of lost track of my point, but I think it was when people tell you that the free market will solve all problems just remember that People are ignorant, impulsive, short sighted, knowingly self destructive morons who either often wouldn’t or couldn’t tell a good decision if it hit them in the face.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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How do you prefer your coffee?

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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a question answered: how to get flash to work in linux

EDIT: It has come to my attention the the adobe site linked to below does not have the 64 bit version of flash listed. This is because the 64 bit version of flash 10 is still in development. However a development release can be found here (it is all the way at the bottom of the page)

MIstergarrett asks:

I’m totaly new to linux. I used a little dos back in the day, but been on windows since 3.11. I got tired of bill gates throwing updates that just comprimise the security of my system. So I try Unbuntu. And I cant get it to do jack squat. No google vids no flash players no nothin, Half the crap they post on forums dont work. I feel like you have to been the one who wrote the program to get it to do anything, or at least be a software programmer. I’m sorry to say I’m starting to regret installing Ubuntu. Any suggestions on a distro for 100% complete newbies would be greatly greatly apprcieated.

Dos and linux are very very different so, sorry to tell you but, knowledge of dos will probably not be much use to you. A lot of people associate linux with a text interface (which is ok because a lot of geeks use it and we like text interfaces and in all honesty if you really want to get a lot of control of your computer you have to use it), but there is a gui too and the average user will probably not need the terminal too much :).

I understand your pain. Forums are often a really bad place to get good information. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask a person face to face (doesn’t have to be literally face to face…). I find IRC good for this.

as to recommending a distro I’m not real sure I can help you out. most distros will have the problems you mentioned because they are free and things like flash are not.

However, it is pretty simple to get flash to work on your linux machine. Just go to the flash website. Now on the bottom it has a drop down menu and asks what kind of file you want to download. you can choose a package that will do all the dirty work for you and this is a great option when it works (which is almost never it seems). if you are using Ubuntu (or any debian based system) you will want to .deb (YUM for suse and .rpm for red hat/fedora).

This never seems to work for me so I just do it manually (which isn’t that bad). You will want to download the .tar.gz and uncompress it. this will give you 2 files: and installer and a libflashplayer.so. you should be able to run the installer and have everything go nicely and have flash installed, but that never works for me so I do it by hand (which is so stupidly simple that you really don’t even need the installer). just move the libflashplayer.so file to ~/.mozilla/plugins and restart firefox (you may have to log out) and you should have flash in firefox now!

please not that it has been a few weeks since I last did this and I am using Fedora so if it is not correct it is because my memory is fogy or just something odd with your system.

so back to your question about distros. I have heard that Opensuse is a good distro do beginners, but I haven’t used it in a long time so don’t quote me on that. You might also look into Xandros (formally lindows and linspire) I have not used it but I think it may be more what you are looking for.

Edit Oct 4, 2009: you may also be interested in Mint

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in Uncategorized