The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker


| October 31, 2005

Toby is going to be fine.

According to the vet, he somehow acquired an injury to his neck which became infected, developing an abcess. The infection caused him to become sick, and the smell was the infected pus. We need to keep it clean and give him antibiotics and it will heal on it's own.

Other than that, he's back to his normal self.


| October 30, 2005

So, Toby, our youngest, has been battling something like “cat flu” for the past week – sleepiness, sneezing, runny nose, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc. He seemed to be coming out of it recently, however. On Thursday he ate some tuna. By Friday he was eating wet food again (we bought some especially for him since he liked the tuna), and tonight he ate some of his dry food. So, he seems to be better.

Then, he jumped up on my chair and I noticed that he had something yeechy on his chest. I figured it was some vomit or something, so I took him to clean him up. As I'm doing so, I notice a 1/4 laceration on his throat.

The assumtion is that he was feeling better and wrestling with one of the other cats (we found something that might have been blood on one of the claws of Arthur's back paws, and he's been avoiding Toby, like he feels bad or something) caught him and opened him up.

I cleaned and dressed it as best as I could, and Liz will take him to the vet tomorrow. For an extremity, I wouldn't bother, but throat wounds always give me cause for concern. He's breathing fine, there's hardly any loss of blood, and he's eating and otherwise behaving normally, so my guess is that nothing vital was hit. Still, we'll have the vet check it, and she'll probably clean it, put some antibacterial in it, and stitch it closed.

I'll let you all know how it turns out.


List of tables in SR4

| October 24, 2005

I'm working towards a GM screen, so the first step is to get a list of all the tables in SR4. Here it is (let me know if I missed anything):

Title Page
Buying Hits 56
Difficulty 56
Extended Test Difficulties 58
Human Attribute Ratings 62
Metahuman Characteristics Table 65
Metatype Attribute Table 73
Knowledge Skills By Class 76
Allergy Table 81
Lifestyle Cost Table 85
Condition Monitor Boxes 86
Build Point Cost Summary Table 88
Skill Ratings Table 108 – 109
Skill Groups 110
Skills and Linked Attributes 111
Climbing Table 115
Escape Artist Table 115
Jumping Table 117
Perception Test Thresholds / Perception Test Modifiers / Visibility Modifiers 117
Survival Test Table 118
Swimming Rates 118
Treading Water Modifications Table 119
Charisma-Linked Opposed Tests 121
Social Modifiers Table 122
Build/Repair Table 125
Academic Knowledge Skills 127
Street Knowledge Skills 127
Professional Knowledge Skills / Interests Knowledge Skills 128
Knowledge Skill Table 129
Language Skill Table 129
Combat Actions 137
Movement Rate 138
Weapon Range Table 139
Ranged Combat Modifiers Table / Visibility Table 140
Ranged Combat Summary 141
Projectile Weapons Table / Scatter Diagram / Scatter Table 145
Grenade Damage Table 146
Rocket / Missile Table 146
Melee Combat Summary 147
Melee Modifiers Table 148
Melee Weapons Table 149
Defense Modifiers Table 151
Falling Damage Table 154
Barrier Rating Table 157
Damaging Barriers Table 158
Handling Rating Table 159
Vehicle Test Threshold Table 159
Terrain Table 160
Ramming Damage Table 160
Signature Table 162
Magic Actions 169
Spell Formulae Costs 172
Object Resistance Table 174
Spellcasting By The Numbers 175
Spirit Services 179
Assensing Table 183
Astral Combat / Astral Tracking Modifier / Astral Attributes 184
Improved Reflexes Cost 188
Focus Bonding Table 191
Spell Codes 197
Detection Spell Results 198
Mind Probe Results 199
Signal Rating Table 212
Sample Devices 214
Stock Operating Systems 215
Matrix Actions 219
Track Modifiers Table 220
Search Table 220
Random Alert Response 223
Program Costs and Availablility 228
Matrix Combat Summary 232
Living Persona Table 233
Rigger Actions 239
Hardware Upgrade Costs / Build Hardware Tale / Coding Software Table 240
Healing Modifiers 244
Toxin Protection 245
Addiction Threshold 248
Fencing Table 252
Chemical Detection Modifiers 254
Cyberware Scanner Table 254
Pheromone Scanner Table 254
Certified Credstick Table 260
Karma Awards 263
Character Improvement 264
NPC and Critter Stats 272
Prime Runner Creation and Advancement Table 277
Connection Rating Table 278
Loyalty Rating Table 279
Favor Rating Table 281
Search Modifiers Table 290
Concealability Table 302
Availability Interval 303
Street Costs / Implant Grades 303
Common Costs 304 – 305
Reloading Firearms 312

NPC Char sheets

| October 20, 2005

Lizzy was out with her college roommate tonight, which gave me time to catch up on my TiVo-ed history channel programs and bang these out.

Major NPC Char Sheet This is designed for major NPC's, Lieutenants and stuff. I figure that for truly PC level chars (kingpins, contracted NPC's on the players side, etc.), we use the real char sheets. However, this puts the two page char sheet onto one condensed page.

Minor NPC Char Sheet This is designed for minor NPC's, groups of grunts and such. As such, there are no technomancer, hacker, or magical stuff; just guns, cyberware, and some skills. Oh, and 5 damage tracks. 🙂

How about this weather….

| October 15, 2005

Parts of Cooper Hill road were flooded and cordoned off with cones and barricades, blocking the way out to 44. So, we had to go around and up 7, then over on 116 (or 104 or 5, or whatever that road is that comes out by Dave's Market).

We went to Barnes and Noble and got coffee. There weren't any copies of SR4 there, so I can't comment on the quality of the book.

Then we went to Old Navy and grabbed a bunch of clothes on sale. I love Old Navy. Nice enough clothes that you can wear them around, yet they're cheap enough to not put too much of a dent in one's wallet. Hell, I spent as much on coffee when I placed another order on Friday as I just did out at Old Navy…

Upgrading to Breezy now. We'll see if they fixed the stupid “print to PDF thing”…

SR4, Running the shadows

| October 11, 2005

– WOW! Healing god way better. Basically, every day make a Body*2 test. Each hit = 1 box of physical damage healed. With a rule like this, we’re going to use the stock heal spell (under the old rules, it ended up taking weeks to heal). – First aid is actually pretty useful too. – Biofiber is cool. Basically, it’s an awakened plant that grows in sheets and presents an astral barrier. So, you have it grow inside walls to keep people out. Better than lining them with dirt! – I like the Street Cred/Notoriety/Public Awareness ideas. Basically, they govern how you interact with society and your environment. – They say that players can only buy one lifestyle, and that safehouses are done separately, but they don’t say how they’re done separately. There are some things (hotel rooms, etc.) in the gar list, but nothing like what I’m looking for (the set up and mantenance of a completely different life and building. So, I think I’ll continue to let people buy multiple lifestyles. Of course, if you can come up with a “this is my *real* lifestyle, and I’m Shadowrunning on the side” (like Bruce Wayne), then I might let you have the rich Bruce Wayne lifestyle for free, and just buy the Shadowrun lifestyle. Of course, you still need to keep up appearances as Bruce Wayne, and the money can’t be tied together, so your Shadowrun lifestyle can’t be financed with the Bruce Wayne money.

First day

| October 11, 2005

So, my first day was today.

I should have asked when it started. Turns out this is a 9-5 shop.

I was there at quarter of 8, because I'm used to 8-5 shops. I didn't know there were 9-5 shops anymore.

So, I can sleep until 7:30, which is how late I was sleeping when working from home in the 8-5 shop.

Aside from that, it's QUIET. No one being paged, no yelling, nothing. You can think. concentrate. It's peaceful, serene even.

Even when there was an important thing going on, it wasn't out of control or anything.

Anyway, I feel like I'm in over my head, but I always do with a new job.

Life, SINs, etc.

| October 10, 2005

So, everyone should go have a look at AnnualCreditReport. Basically, the new federal legislation finally went into effect that says that people are entitled to one free copy of their credit report each year, from each agency. So, I went and checked mine out. There's literally everything in there. Every loan, credit card, what the limits are, what the balances are, etc.

It's kind of surreal, to see my life summed up in such a fashion. On the other hand, since all the information was accurate, and it was, in a word, excellent (all accounts in good standing, no late payements, ever), it gives me a warm fuzzy.

Now, if I can only keep a lid on my spending to pay off the last little bit of a balance I'm carrying on a credit card, I'll be good. I'll still have car payments, but that's at something like 10% – 15% lower interest than my credit card.

Anyway, folks should go have a look to make sure that your information is accurate. Note that none of them give you the credit score for free – that costs extra. However, since the report is there, as long as the report is good, then the credit score should be good as well, and that's all free.

CT Eminent domain decision

| October 8, 2005

It occurs to me that the supreme court decision allowing government to sieze private property for “the greater good”, even if that means to sell it to private developers easily lays the groundwork for socialized utilities. Think about it: if you can make a strong enough case that the State can do the job better than the free market, then the State could sieze the company, it's assets, etc., pay “fair value” for them (which isn't) and then take over all the operations of said industry.

If course, you'd have to make that case, first.

In other news, I'm getting much better at this shooting thing. I can actually hit stuff at 50' with reasonable consistency.

Now I just need a quality rifle. I had a conversation with an old, grizzled marine at the range today. He was trying to sell me an Italian Reproduction Single Action Army (a Mitchell). Quality gun, that he was letting go quite reasonably. The gun, a western holster, 500 rds of ammo, and a second cylinder so that it can fire .45LC or .45ACP. $600 asking, and I could have probably talked him down a bit. It had nice wood grips (which would have been okay by both Liz and I), but was nickel plated (which neither of us like; she likes case-hardened, I like blued or some other type of dark treatment). So, I passed on it, but it would have been a nice addition.

Anyway, the conversation went like this: Me: Yeah, but I can't buy it because I'm saving up for an AK. Him: Yeah, but this Michell is better than the AK. M: Not at 100 Yds. H: Well, if you're going down that road, why don't you want something to hit things out to 1,000 Yds? M: Because M-1's and M-14's are expensive, and I can't even SEE that far. H: (turning to one of the other guys) See, he knows.

Then we started talking about why M16's suck (the Marine agreed with me, but there were some strong M16 proponents). Basically, it came down to:

  • John Browning and John Garand would beat the crap out of Eugene Stoner. They knew operating rods / gas pistons were the way to go, and even Stoner used them in later designs.
  • Yeah, but gas impingement works, it just gets dirtier faster.
  • Yeah, but that's what's wrong with it!

Seriously, an M14 like this would be great. Problem is that they're like $1500. That's a quality AK ($750, for a VEPR K in 7.62×39, with a muzzle break and a folding stock (link) or $600 with the standard stock (link), which is probably what I'd do, considering that $150 is a lot to pay for a stock) and a pile of ammo for it (over 7,000 rounds, actually). Sure, the 7.62×39 doesn't have the “reach out and touch someone” aspect of the .308, but it also doesn't have the recoil, and it should be good out to about 200Yds. Even with a scope, I have a hard time with shots that are that long. I'm just not that good, quite frankly.

Copy protection bites MS in the ass

| October 7, 2005


Nutshell version:

  • Sony caves to Fox and adds strong copy protection to Blu-Ray format. This protection is supposed to “stop piracy”, but basically the concern is that it will only play movies in an approved DVD player, and not in PC's.
  • Since MS's XBox 360 plans center around a standard DVD drive and streaming movies from a PC to the XBox, this potentially throws a huge monkey wrench in their plans.
  • Meanwhile, the PS3 will have a Blu-Ray drive, so it can work like a normal DVD player.

See little children, copy protection is BAD. You could do way more cool things if there wasn't any copy protection.

Oh, in a related story, Sony was telling people how to circumvent their own copy protection in order to be able to put the CD's on iPods. Link