The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

So, I’ve been dark for awhile…

| June 2, 2016

I’ve been away for a bit because I’ve been working on other things; specifically:

Now that I’m finished with those projects, I’ll likely be posting more. Still have a lot of hobby stuff to talk about, pictures to post, and some website maintenance to do. I’ve enabled a markdown plugin, so I can use markdown for my formatting, but that required disabling another plugin I was using, so most of my past 3 years of entries need to be edited to use markdown. Since markdown is a standard, hopefully this is the last time I’ll have to do this.

Once that is all sorted, I’ll likely go through and start converting pages from my old site into WordPress.. This has been outstanding for years, and I really should get around to it at some point.

Anyway, that’s it for now.


| December 2, 2007

Recently, I've been working in a very focused way on microarmor stuff. While fun, I've not been doing much else which, as it turns out, is almost as bad as not doing anything. So, I'm going to be doing a bit of juggling of my hobbies – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, whatever strikes me.

To that end, I've been catching up on my reading – chewing through some back essays that L. Neil Smith has written and are hosted by JPFO. Good reading. I've also been finishing up the last bit of the final book in the Dark Tower series.

Concurrent with this, I have been organizing my huge pile of links and TODO list by sections, and will soon get back to hacking on computers and such. High points are playing with some fancy encryption stuff, poking at some fancy new filesystems, and so forth. Of course, if I find anything interesting, I'll blog about it.

This weekend was reasonably productive. We got our Christmas tree, cleaned up the house a bit, started to decorate, and got ready for the winter. It has turned cold here, and the snow is starting to come – just a little for now, but I suspect this winter will not be as mild as last winter.

The tractor is now all serviced, fluid changed, lubed, and has the snowblower mounted, see?

Note the rear wheels – that's what we call “bling”, out here in the country.


Red Dawn

| September 19, 2007

So, it has come to my attention that Venezuela is undergoing a military buildup. Now, this doesn't really concern me per se, but I have to wonder what their ambitions are. Given that, I can't help but wonder if Red Dawn was 25 years early.

It makes you think, doesn't it?

Now, if I can only find out what hardware they are buying and what their military organization is like, I can build an interesting modern microarmor scenario around it…

random bits

| January 29, 2007

  • I've heard of promiscuous mode, but this is ridiculous

  • Toby is chasing a ball.

  • Our new house has mice. The HVAC guy was checking on fixing the ducting and there were little mousies looking at him. Hopefully, Toby will chase mice as well as he chases his balls.

  • I think I've gotten 6 of the 7 herbs and spices: Salt Black Pepper Cayenne Pepper Garlic Powder Onion Powder Parsley

Season the chicken with this and let sit for at least half an hour. The salt will draw out some moisture, so that you can add flour and toss to coat. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.

  • I am not a big fan of the Amanda backup system. It's overkill for small installations, ones where you want more control, or ones without enough temporary storage space.

  • Sendmail is even worse than Amanda. Pain in my rear.

  • I'm making progress on my modern microarmor rules, but I'm kind of off on a tangent with this: Modern Flames of War. I have the core FoW rulebook and it seems decent.

Happy new year!

| January 1, 2007

Liz and I spent the last two days cleaning the house from top to bottom, and aside from the pile of stuff which needs to go into the attic, it's nearly done (need to finish my office). It's vastly improved, and doesn't make me groan when I walk through it. We also tackled the bathroom closet – 4 grocery bags of old products later, we now have room for linens in the closet. Who knew?

So, I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I think this year, I just might: (1) Relax. (2) Buy a house this year. (3) Set up a shooting course in the basement and/or backyard and practice using airsoft guns (quiet, cheap, doesn't bother the neighbors). (4) Play more video games* (5) Finish my microarmor rules (first revision done, the code for handling the units is almost done).

  • = This might seem strange, but it kind of goes with #1. To this end, I have: (A) Re-established the “Wintendo”, a PIII-550 running an actual licensed copy of Win 98SE suitable for playing such favorites as Baldur's Gate II, Starcraft, Diablo, Diablo II, Half-Life, etc. (B) Cleared out my laptop's install of WinXP of various bits of cruft which have accumulated. (C) Established the following rules: (I) If a game has a native port for Linux, I will run that as opposed to the Windows version (eventually, once I have bought a house, moved, and gotten another job, I will probably build myself a new Linux desktop machine.). (II) If it does not have a native port, I will attempt to run it on the Wintendo. (III) Failing that, it does on the laptop. (IV) I will not use Wine (too unreliable)

Of course, I'll be playing console games as well. Liz and I have decided we like the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance game. It's a lot like Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, except Lizzy gets to be Spider Man, and I get to be Wolverine! Sweet!

Anyway, back to cleaning my office.

It's been a busy couple of weeks

| November 25, 2006

Hey folks! I'm not dead, just busy.

So, two weekends ago (11/11 – 11/12), I was in Vermont at Carnage Con. I played some Axis and Allies Miniatures (quick to learn, fast and fun play, good for kids), Modern Spearhead (very complex and order oriented, but was a fun game), Munchkin (always a crowd pleaser) and I entered a Warhammer 40K tournament (I didn't place, but was fun).

Last weekend (11/18-11/19) I was in upstate NY. Liz got a deer opening day, and then Sunday we went to look at a house. The house was interesting – it was on Lepper Road (not the most attractive name), and was a little.. special. It was on 15 wonderful acres (once one carts out the 3 dumpsters full of debris), but the house as an unfinished Chalet style A-Frame. The floorplan was just inefficient and horrible, so even once we fixed it up, it would still have a bad floorplan.

Anyway, I spent part of last week butchering the deer, and pretty much the rest of it researching house stuff. We're leaning towards bulding, and are partial to this Victorian plan. Yes, it's modular, which in theory should save us money. We're also looking at a geothermal heating system, with the idea being that it would pay for itself over the life of the house. (For the curious, geothermal heat uses coils buried far enough into the ground that they stay warmer than the air in winter and cooler in summer. Then it just pumps the heat in for the winter and out in the summer. Think an air conditioner or refrigerator, except that it does heat exchange into the ground into the air, it runs backwards in winter. The idea is that you can heat and cool your house for less than the cost of your central air would be in the summer. It's the same technology, but the ground heat exchange is more efficient). This house also features fireplaces (which will be natural gas) and a large kitchen.

I should note that we're not certain that we'll build – if we can find a house that's built and we like, we'd just buy that instead.

In other news:

  • We got the christmas tree today, and it's already been decorated. We're putting up the rest of the decorations.

  • I've come up with a pretty decent rich chocolate orange ice cream recipe.

  • In an interesting synergy, Liz came up with the idea of a frozen Tiramisu, which we are currently attempting. The idea is that I'm freezing the cake (I use pound cake) and churning a rich coffee-based ice cream with marscapone substituted for heavy cream. Once the ice cream is churned (but still soft), I will assemble the layers of pound cake. Then, back in the freezer overnight to firm up, We'll see how it goes.

  • I'm on this “modern warfare” kick. Originally, I was looking at 20mm (1:72 scale), but the guys who were making them wend out of business. So, now I'm thinking about doing 6mm (1:285 scale, aka Micro Armor). Friends of mine have several sets of rules, and I've got some ideas in my head about how to make a simple, fast-playing armor game if the rules don't work out. Ideally, I'll find some rules that I like which just need some more unit stats (which suits my organizational streak). Even more perfect would be if these rules were some unpublished set written by my friends, which they allow me to publish free to the net as long as I give them credit. Anyway, these are the miniatures in question, and they also make boxed sets. To give you an idea, most of the tanks are less than an inch long.

Anyway, I think that's it for tonight. Night folks.