.the ramblings of a radman.

Category: Random (Page 1 of 5)

Blast from the LucasArts past

I was looking for a specific YouTube video for a friend of mine today and wound up recommending several to him. All of the videos are from the computer game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II, a rather entertaining computer game from the ’90s: one of the early-generation CD-ROM games.

In the game there was a cheat that enabled “theater mode”, a thinly-veiled Mystery Science Theater version of the game’s cinematics. Thanks to the magicks of YouTube, they have been preserved for your viewing pleasure. Here is the other easter egg I found while looking for the rest of the videos.

Born, raised, and trapped! Who are we? We're military brats!

I used to absolutely love this movie as a child. I’m not even joking. I would watch this once or twice a week for a month and then take a break and do it again a few months later. I wanted, more than anything, to be Leonard (Sean Astin). When I first saw Rudy years later, I immediately recognized Sean. I’ve looked and looked for a DVD or VHS release of this, but there has never been one that I can find. If anyone out there has a decent copy, please let me know. Or, if you have the ear of any Disney execs, please beg them for a release.

Anyway, the entire thing is on YouTube, so if you’re interested, check it out here.

Validation – A short film starring TJ Thyne

My gorgeous and talented friend Alex posted this video on her Facebook profile recently and I was lucky enough to stumble across it last week. It stars TJ Thyne, whom you may recognize from the TV show Bones (or if you’re really hardcore, from season 5 of Angel) as a parking attendant that just wants to see you smile. It’s a brilliant film and very entertaining. If you want to see it larger without going fullscreen, click the direct link below.

Direct link here.

Speaking of Swindlr…

I haven’t mentioned these guys yet, because I’ve been kind of waiting for them to get into a private beta of their service before I gave them a shoutout. However, they’ve been doing an awful lot of updating over at their site since they went to SXSWi this past week, and I felt it was necessary to give them some press.

I can’t reveal any details yet about what Swindlr is working on, but they have announced the name of their new service: Zappn.com. When they’re ready to reveal what Zappn does, you’ll be able to find out at the site, or at the team’s blog.

D&D, JoCo, & more

I’ve got a variety of things to share with you today, so try to keep up. No, seriously, I intend to move along quickly.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

This past summer, the gang at Penny Arcade and PvP got a chance to play the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons before it went to print. Being the incredibly intelligent guys that they are, they recorded the entire session and broke it up into chunks for the official D&D podcast. I bring this up because they just recorded another session, only this time they added an additional member to their party: Wil Wheaton.

Yes that Wil Wheaton.

Anyway, I’ve gathered the links here for your perusal. Check them out:

Series 1: Episode 1 / Episode 2 / Episode 3 / Episode 4 / Episode 5 / Episode 6 / Episode 7 / Episode 8

Series 2: Episode 1 / Episode 2 / Episode 3 / Episode 4 / Episode 5 / Episode 6

Subscribe to the podcast.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

This is one of the more entertaining music videos I’ve ever seen. It’s called Hardrock Hallelujah by Lordi. If you enjoy metal, you’ll probably have a good time with this.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Jonathan Coulton released his greatest hits for free in very high-quality MP3s. He even went one step further and released each audio track, as well. So anyone dying to remix a JoCo song, start here.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Finally, if you use Mac OS X Leopard and are interested in some new stationery themes for Mail, then I suggest NovCon.net’s stationery archives. While not as extensive as some stationery packs, they are free and some of them are pretty nice.


There’s something very calming about driving to karate classes with my son and a warm breeze rippling through the car’s open windows while “Topeka” by Ludo blasts over the car speakers.

Get DropBox!

DropBox is this crazy-awesome service that lets you synchronize your files between several different computers. Even cooler, it also stores any files that you sync on the server even after you delete them from your computer (or move them out of the DropBox folder). This means that you can go back and pull it down when you realize you still need it. Plus, it saves revisions to your files, so if you share your folder with your friends so you can collaborate on a project, and one of those friends either sabotages you or just plain sucks at whatever you’re doing, you can revert to a previous version that they didn’t frak up.

I’ve been a fan of this service for a while, but today I want you to check them out just a little bit more than usual. You see, if you don’t already have an account with this incredible service, you can get some bonus space just by signing up through my referral link. I’ve used lots of services that give perks for referrals, but rarely do those perks extend to the referred. So check it out and see the future of file-syncing!

Fires must be Kindled

Amazon’s Kindle 2 has arrived. It looks great, and if you want a device for just eBook reading, you probably won’t find better in the current generation. It seems Amazon is serious about this market. And, it seems there may be a possibility that Amazon will make KindleBooks available to iPhone owners in the future.

While the Kindle itself sold less than Microsoft’s Zune by a 2-1 margin, that doesn’t seem to make it a failure in Amazon’s eyes. To be fair, eBook readers are still an emerging market. Either that, or there’s no market at all and no one has told Amazon, Sony, or a handful of other companies yet, either. Personally, I still love to read, and a dedicated eBook reader would go a long way toward making reading fiction something I do daily again.

However, since I still can’t justify spending this kind of money on a device just for reading eBooks and then pay the hardcover price for a DRM’ed digital copy, I’ll stick with Stanza on the iPhone for now. Or, if I’m looking for a good price on a large selection of classics with a gorgeous interface, I’ll go with Classics, instead. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Beer, buddies, & board games

Got a chance for a Guy’s Gaming Day this weekend, because my wife is awesome and loves me. Starting shortly after noon, my cousin Andrew, friend Jeff, and I all sat down to play Shadows Over Camelot.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing this game before, I highly recommend it. There have been a number of great board games that pit players not against each other, but against the game itself: Warhammer Quest, Lord of the Rings, and The Omega Virus. However, what makes Shadows Over Camelot unique is the potential that one of the players may be a traitor, secretly trying to undermine the various quests that the knights set out to achieve. Worse, once accused, the traitor loses some abilities and gains others, making the timing of his accusation a delicate proposition. Worse, since there may be no traitor at all, mere mistrust of one another can make some quests more difficult to defeat.

The game was exciting. Andrew turned out to be a traitor and Jeff and I barely won the game from him. It was an incredible first-time play. Jeff told me that the gameplay ideas in Shadows Over Camelot had been taken to the next level in the Battlestar Galactica board game. I’m looking forward to picking it up soon.

The second game that we played was Pandemic, a game about a global outbreak of four different diseases and the research team fighting to stop them. The game is brilliant in its design, due to the fact that the Epidemic card can cause all cities that have already been infected get placed back on the top of the deck to become infected again. This can lead to outbreaks that spread diseases quickly. Worse, the 9th outbreak ends the game, as does the depletion of the deck. This keeps the game a desperate race to keep the diseases under control long enough to find the cures. It gets hectic as the number of outbreaks climb and the cards in the deck dwindle.

My brother-in-law, David, joined us for this game. We played two rounds. The first one was a Beginner-level game (which places four Epidemic cards in the deck) and we were slaughtered. Absolutely devestated. All four Epidemic cards came up in the first half of the deck. Gonoherpesyphillaids wiped out all of Asia and North America in minutes. It was an excellent learning experience and made the second round much easier.

In the second round, we got extremely lucky. We raised the difficulty by adding a fifth Epidemic card, but they were so well spaced that we were able to prevent outbreaks. With only two cards left in the deck, Jeff cured the final disease and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Later that evening, we played several rounds of Munchkin: Impossible (one of the 7 billion variations of the card game Munchkin, this one with a spy theme) sans Jeff. We were up until 3 am playing and had a blast.

Jeff and Andrew have been known to play lots of board games, so I knew they’d have a good time. But David is generally uneasy to try the various games we like to play. The fact that he enjoyed them as much as he did made me feel optimistic that he might play with us again in the future.

If you have any interest in checking out these games for yourself, I’ve linked to them on Amazon above (where available), but you can find much more info at BoardGameGeek, as well.

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