†Stuff may or may not actually be cool, but since cool is subjective, I’ll let you decide.
Years ago, I found a couple websites for buying unique iPhone cases with art from artists all over the Internet. Love Ninja Turtles but hate that you can’t find a good iPhone case with them on it? Don’t worry, it’s out there.
For the last several years, I’ve used Society6 and Redbubble to also sell some of my own photos that I find to be just the right level of kitschy. Recently, a friend of mine mentioned her store which made me realize I hadn’t added anything new in a few years. So, I dusted off my photo library and got to work adding some of my favorite shots to it.
So now, if you have always wanted a duvet cover with the Kansas City skyline on it, I’ve got you covered. Wish you had a bath mat featuring a blurry photo of some trees in the mist? Here you go. Love computers so much you’ve always wanted a coaster set with close up photos of a circuit board on it? Neither have I, but I made some for you anyway!
Okay, but enough of the ridiculous stuff. You can buy almost anything for your home on this site and find tons of great photographs and artworks on them. Maybe your walls are looking exceptionally bare now that you’re trapped in your home with nowhere to go. What better way to liven it up than to put art on your walls that reminds you of all the places you love and can never go visit again?!
If this sounds exciting to you, check out my portfolios at Society6 and Redbubble to see what they’ve got.
And if you just want to see some of my favorite photos, you can check those out here. If you see something you’d love to buy on a mug or a shower curtain (because why not?), let me know and I’ll be happy to throw it up there, just for you.
Saving this here, because the site where I used to personally access this data (technocreativo.com) when needed appears to have gone online. Fortunately, I found a copy on the Internet Archive and was able to extract all the necessary info from it.
While Apple has eliminated a number of features from their macOS Server software over the years, there are still a number of instances where using a Mac as a file server in a Windows-friendly environment is necessary. Unfortunately, those using a Windows computer to connect to the Mac file server often face connection issues due to some out-of-the-box security and communication incompatibilities between the two systems.
If you need to get a Windows computer connected to a Mac file server quickly, these tweaks below will solve the problem.
Press the Windows key and “R” together on the keyboard and enter secpol.msc in the run dialogue.
Navigate to Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options.
Find Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication Level, and set it to Send NTLMv2 response only.
Finally, ensure that Network Security: Minimum session security for NTLM SSP Based (including secure RPC) Clients is set to Require 128-bit encryption.
You may need to restart your computer for these changes to take effect, but once they do, you should have no trouble connecting to your Mac server from Windows 10.
When future generations read this post, they’ll need some context about what we’re facing, so this paragraph here isn’t for any of you reading it today. It’s for time travelers and historians. I write this during a time of uncertainty on planet Earth: the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m not writing about the pandemic. There will be plenty of far smarter individuals that will have much more to say about it than I. Instead, I want to talk about my hero during this moment. You see, I’m not one of the people who suddenly found themselves holed up at home with copious amounts of free time (a curse, more than a blessing, for most). If anything, I find myself busier than ever trying to assist others with setting up contingency plans for working from home. As a result, my wife has been pulling extra duty as caretaker around here.
If you’ll permit me a moment, I want to brag on her for a bit. Before the toilet paper began disappearing from shelves, she quietly made note of what supplies we needed at home to disinfect and self-quarantine, if necessary. She picked up the essentials and a few extra items to make sure we were covered, but not hoarding. She organized our food stores, took the kids for walks, encouraged them to play outside, read them books, and basically took care of everything while I spent most of the last 3 days in the basement trying to help people figure out how to work in a place never meant for their work.
And through everything, she’s been cheerful, though concerned and occasionally overwhelmed by it all. But today, she ran back out to the store—not for us but for others unable to do the same. She picked up some staples for a pregnant friend and some toilet paper for an elderly man in a nursing home whose granddaughter is in Texas and knew he just needed something to ease his mind. She checked on everyone to ask if they needed anything and has been reaching out to others that might need a friendly voice to feel safe.
So, I just want to say how impressed I am by this incredible hero of mine. She does so much more than she needs to do and does so with joy in her heart. I wish we were all just a bit more like her.
A topic of conversation that regularly comes up in the various D&D communities in which I’m involved is that of attacking an adversary that is sleeping. The argument breaks down into two camps: those that believe the sleeper can only be immediately killed if the attacker can deliver enough damage to the sleeping target to reduce its hit points to zero and those that believe a sleeping target can’t defend itself, therefore guaranteeing the player can deliver a killing blow.
As always, I recommend leaving the decision up to the Dungeon Master, but I feel that the underlying argument comes down to one of a misunderstanding as to what hit points are meant to represent. Here’s my attempt to quickly summarize my interpretation of hit points in D&D (and specifically, how I try to utilize them in the games that I run).
Hit points aren’t really a measure of a character’s blood loss or anything so specific as how much damage you’ve taken physically. Instead, they are the numerical component of a mechanic used to negotiate contested combat. Did you, Cordric the Magnificent, hack-and-slash your way through a dungeon full of baddies to arrive at the inner sanctum of the vile Rippah the Malevolent with only 5 HP left? You’re not physically holding your entrails in your body through sheer force of will. You’re just worn out and beat up and could make a mistake that allows someone to slip past your guard and deal a fatal blow at any time.
Sure, you’ve probably been cut here or there, particularly that time Ashford the Axe rolled a nat 20 two rooms back and hit you for 33 damage. But Ash didn’t bury a hatchet in your back and leave you clinging to life. He just landed a blow that cut deep enough to distract you. Sure, if you don’t tend to it soon, it will be a problem, but you’re not in danger of bleeding out in seconds. Instead, you’re distracted, in pain, and struggling to maintain the upper hand.
So what does that have to do with attacking a sleeping adversary?
Let’s presume for the moment that you’re the DM. In the most common scenario, a sleeping NPC isn’t in combat. You haven’t rolled initiative, and your player is likely sneaking into their adversary’s camp. At this point, if you want to allow Francis the Forgiving to die in his sleep, you can. If you don’t, then you should come up with a reason why they don’t. Only ask for a roll if you want their death to be contested. It doesn’t even have to be a combat roll. In this particular case, rolling the player’s Stealth vs. the NPC’s Passive Perception would be my recommended option. You can even give the NPC disadvantage what with the visit to Nodsville and all. Not all deaths in D&D have to be the result of rolled damage. Mix it up a bit. Do what works best for the story you’re trying to tell.
And remember, the rules exist to help everyone have a good time, but the beauty of being a Dungeon Master is that—sometimes—you get to rewrite the rules to make sure everyone has a good time.
Besides, it’s really important to remind the players that if they can do it, so can the monsters. 😈
I wrote this back in October (I think it was actually a response on someone’s Facebook post) and copied it here to post later. But, of course, I never did. However, I came across it today and, it’s still relevant. I know the idea that the fighting and name-calling and unceasing selfishness may never end, but I have to believe that we are better than this. Remember: there are more of US than there are of THEM. And the only THEM we should ever acknowledge as OTHER are those in power forcing us to fight each other so that they can get rich and do whatever they want.
For a poll to be effective, it has to use a large enough sample size, randomly selected. It’s the same methodology that stores use when they ask you for your zip code or address. They’re trying to determine where their shoppers are coming from to determine if they need to open another store closer to their base.
It’s also how drug testing works. Test on a large enough sample and you can get an idea as to the effectiveness and severity of side effects.
Just because you’ve never been polled doesn’t mean anything. Most people don’t answer surveys by phone or mail because they don’t want to be bothered.
That said, polls can be manipulated just like any statistic. On the flip side, just because a poll disagrees with your (the royal “your”, not any specific “your”) viewpoint and you don’t know anyone else that was polled (again, royal “you”), doesn’t mean the poll is incorrect. It’s natural to be in the minority on a particular subject and still feel like the majority because we tend to surround ourselves with people that think like we do.
It’s why herd mentality and groupthink are so effectively dangerous. We’re too busy fighting against “the other team” to figure out what we have in common and work toward that. It’s how our political system has divided us for decades to allow corporate interests to supersede personal interests. Our country has always been a democracy fighting against its own innate nature to transition to an oligarchy. But most people are too stupid or too easily distracted to fight those pulling the strings. They’d rather righteously declare themselves “correct” than admit that the side they’ve chosen doesn’t care about them at all.
UPDATE: After nearly 3 hours on hold, I got through to a very helpful customer service representative that helped me cancel the bundle subscription that was created on a new account, request a refund, and explain-like-I’m-five how to make sure this didn’t happen again. The server is having sign-in issues now, so I will have to follow-up with signing up tomorrow, but at least I have made some progress.
Before I begin this diatribe, let me be up front by saying that I realize that I could have prevented all of this disaster by simply not signing up for Disney+ on day one, waiting until I could find detailed answers to all my questions. But, I didn’t, because I was excited to watch The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars property since Rebels to make me feel like I’m watching stories set in the same universe as the original trilogy.
That said, the cascading failure of my Disney online services experience is worth noting for anyone else out there in a similar situation.
On August 23rd, I received an email from Marvel telling me that my Marvel account would soon (as in, 4 days, soon) be merged with my Disney account. Unfortunately, the Disney account that they were going to merge was not my active Disney account, but some account that had likely been created by accident years ago when trying to sign up for some service or another. Instead, I wanted to merge my Marvel account with the Disney account I had been using with the Disney Movie Rewards program for years.
I emailed Marvel support to ask how to merge the accounts correctly, but got back crickets. With the pending merge date looming, I tried to trick the system by changing the email addresses for the accounts so that the account I didn’t want to use had an unused email and the account I wanted to keep had the email address for my Marvel account. Turns out, that was a colossal mistake.
The merge date comes and my Marvel account merges into the Disney account with an unused email address (we’ll just call it Email U from here on out) and my other Disney account containing my Disney Movie Rewards goes right on living.
No big deal, I decide. I’ll just change the email addresses back and lose the Disney Movie Rewards. There’s not much there, and the Marvel digital comics library is worth more anyway.
Except that I can’t. Now, for some reason, the account that I changed to Email U won’t let me go back to the email address it had been because it says that email address is already in use. And when I log in to the merged account, it still uses my primary email for the login, instead of Email U.
Fast forward to today: Disney+ launch day. During the sign-up process, I tried to sign in to my existing account using my primary email, but instead it created a third account, completely separate from the other two. Worse, since the email address I used to create a new account didn’t match my Hulu+ account, I’m now getting billed full price instead of receiving my discount on the Disney+, Hulu+, ESPN+ bundle.
Strap in, because this is the part where I make things worse.
In an attempt to fix the issue myself, since support had egregious wait times, I tried deleting the account that I had inadvertently created this morning. At first, this didn’t seem to do anything. I could still log into disneyplus.com and see my account. I could still try to contact support to submit a ticket about my issue. Then, once I got home from work, excited to finally dig into the Disney+ catalog, I saw that I had received an email. My billing process had been completed. Turns out that, since my Hulu+ account had a different email than my Disney+ account, it had been determined that I didn’t have one and I was not getting the discount.
Again, I wasn’t too worried. I figured I could just watch The Mandalorian tonight and deal with this tomorrow or the next day, when support wait times came down a bit. At the very least, I’ll see if I can start a chat session on my computer while watching a show. So, I signed in to disneyplus.com and… this:👇🏻
So now, even though I’ve PAID for Disney+, Hulu+, and ESPN+, I can’t actually sign into my account and use it while trying to get this whole mess sorted out, because logging in tells me I have to contact customer service by phone (which I’m currently trying to do, but have been on hold for nearly 90 minutes and counting). So, yeah… happy Disney+ Day, everybody. I’m gonna go watch Netflix like a plebe, I guess…
I just blinked my eyes and my baby was all grown up.
I can’t believe that 18 years ago today my cousin and I ran around a campground with toy guns and made our very first movie together. A lot has happened since then (most notably, the lack of becoming famous). But I still look back fondly on those days. Though filmmaking never became a part of my daily routine, it’s responsible for a large portion of how I view things creatively. I still write with a cinematic mindset and I even develop scenes as a dungeon master as though my players are experiencing them both onscreen and as the audience.
So, as a tribute to the impact that the first Ripcord had on me as an adult, I present it to you all without shame or fear of judgment.
Okay, maybe just a little fear of judgment. Be nice to me. I was a child.
July 8, 2019 / Jared Cash / Comments Off on The Tower of Terror, or How To Almost Party Wipe Your PCs for Fun & Profit
Last year, I started playing D&D with my cousin and a few friends. Two of them had never played D&D before and some had only played a handful of times. A session or two later and my teenage son joined in the fun. As we neared the end of Lost Mine of Phandelver (yes, it took us a year; we are still figuring out ways to improve our combat efficiency so that they don’t take as long), two more players joined us, bringing our party total to 7 (I do say, that’s an auspicious number).
Spoilers for Lost Mine of Phandelver after the break…