Friday, February 29, 2008

"Lock Them Up And Throw Away The Key"

Did you know that more than one percent of U.S. adults are in prison? We're the highest in the world. What's wrong with us?

I think it's conceivable that a lot of it us our culture. American culture places a lot of emphasis on defying authority and doing what you believe in. It's popular to be distrustful of the government and to view police officers as bad guys. I'm not saying that this is "wrong" but some people simply take this idea too far and don't recognize the harm they do to society when they defy authority for their own purposes.

Police officers in general are not bad guys. There are those who overstep their bounds or don't obey the letter of the law either, but for the most part they are there to keep things peaceful. Thinking all police officers are bad is like thinking all people are bad because some people are criminals.

Laws are not there to deny people freedom. They are there to protect one person's freedom from encroaching on another person's freedom. If it were legal to steal, then nobody would be able to keep their own possessions. If it were legal to kill, then nobody would be able to stay alive. It's pretty simple, really.

Grow up, people.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WOW: The Easy Way Out

After trying many times to get 1850 to get a spellblade for my warlock with my paladin friend, she finally convinced me to give up on the notion and just do it the easy way. It was making us fight a lot and just get frustrated with the situation more and more. I fully admit I should have given up on the notion earlier, but I am a person who likes to believe that the game is balanced enough that we should be able to overcome the class composition disadvantages.

In any case, in two short sessions, I managed to achieve 1850 for a spellblade with a restoration druid only losing 3 games total, one of which was me disconnecting when we were close to victory. It's totally ridiculous that we could have so little experience running a comp and consistently win so much more easily. To top it off, our druid friend's gear is not nearly as good as my paladin friend's gear. We didn't even do anything outstandingly well. We just simply overpowered every team we faced with the exception of the two who legitimately beat us. Gogo Blizzard game balance.

Oh well, it's done now. Both my priest and warlock have their final gear for the season pretty much done because I'm not on any teams making a serious push for 2000 right now. Ah well. Now there's even less reason for me to think about World Of Warcraft. =)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WOW: Battlegroups Are A Bad Concept

There is always a lot of discussion about the different battlegroups (i.e. groups of servers that can PVP with each other) and various claims about the different strengths of the various battlegroups. The hype about Battlegroup 9, a.k.a Bloodlust, has made it significantly more difficult to acquire our rating requirements. All of the glory seekers who transfer to Bloodlust really have made it significantly harder to acquire high ratings this season than the last. My 5v5 teams are around 250 rating lower than they were in the previous season with the same players playing.

I know people like to mention that the top players in other battlegroups have come here and have made it to the top. However, I think it's clear that the very best players that were originally in each battlegroup were pretty competitive with each other. The fact that so many have since congregated in Bloodlust have made it so that the top ratings are saturated with exceptionally good players. In turn, these top players push down the decent players' ratings (like mine).

A couple of my friends transferred to another battlegroup very recently and have been trying to get me to transfer there as well with stories about how much easier it is there. It is honestly tempting to transfer there.

I'm guessing it's technically infeasible, but Blizzard could make all battlegroups completely even if they merged all battlegroups together within the U.S. Then those of us suffering from the hype over my battlegroup will be able to achieve the same gear that people of our skill level in other battlegroups can. It would even help the problem a little if servers rotated among the various battlegroups a little bit so that the rating point pools intermingled. Perhaps have the servers shuffle battlegroups once a week?

Battlegroups are hurting the whole arena system badly unless something is done to make them even with one another.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Joy Of Programming

Yesterday, I started fiddling around with making a Java Applet and it was a good reminder that programming is especially fun when it's done for fun. This is something I had forgotten for a long time because I have been paid to program all day long. When I got home, I genuinely didn't feel motivated to program for my own sake anymore. Implementing what other people want is not nearly as satisfying as implementing what I want.

I have resolved to implement at least one or two personal programming projects that I've wanted to tackle while I have time. I haven't written in Java in a long time, and I really enjoy how much cleaner the language feels than C++. Maybe I shouldn't go back to C++ development at all? Who knows.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Sister's Birthday

Today is my sister's birthday. I always feel like her birthday should be a nice day, but today has been kind of gloomy. Not like there's any rhyme or reason to how weather works.

In any case, birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions, and I am happy that I got 20 years with her. It will never be possible to replace her in my life, but wounds do heal, even if they leave scars. I need to try harder to heal myself. It's been a long time already, and I can't allow myself to remain crippled. I am sure that she would want me to live on and have a good life.

If she hadn't been killed, right now she'd be practicing medicine and making people's lives better. We even had a clever plan where I would help her pay off her medical school debts since my chosen profession pays much better in the short term. Then, eventually she'd have plenty of money and she'd invest money in projects I wanted to work on. Sadly, I'm pretty sure she'd still be in the paying off debt phase of her career at this point.

At some point, I want to develop some piece of software in her honor, but I don't know what it will be yet. I will, though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chipotle Is Not Owned By McDonald's!

Woo! I just found out a great bit of news. People had told me that the Chipotle chain of restaurants was owned by McDonald's and I had never really verified. Apparently, at the end of 2006, McDonald's let Chipotle split off. So my continued patronage of Chipotle is not putting more money in the hands of McDonald's! Yay. No more guilt about it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Roommate's Kitty's New Napping Spot

Apparently, since I don't sit way back in my chair, my roommate's kitty has decided that the gap between my butt and the back of the chair is a comfy, warm place to nap. It's kind of cute. I just have to be aware so I don't squash her somehow. In return, she does keep my butt warmer too. ;)

cute kitty picture!

Friday, February 15, 2008

WOW: Finally 1850 For My Priest

After a long and frustrating few weeks of trying to achieve 1850 on either my warlock on my priest, I managed to do it! I didn't have to compromise my goal of doing it with my paladin friend either! My paladin friend was starting to hate the game because of how much trouble paladins have in the small arena brackets but we busted out paladin/priest/warrior and managed to achieve 1850 and earn her paladin and my priest our season 3 weapons!


Paladin/priest/warrior is remarkably strong vs a lot of popular compositions, which led to our success. Like we beat the popular rogue/mage/priest lineup very consistently and fair decently well vs druid teams.

Now I need to see if I can manage 1850 on my warlock with my paladin friend because we're inseparable. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Silly Math Joke

Whoever first noticed this was pretty observant....

Q: Why do mathematicians often confuse Christmas and Halloween?
A: Because Oct 31 = Dec 25.

In case you don't get it, "Oct" refers to octal numbers and "Dec" refers to decimal numbers. Octal numbers are base 8, which means that as you count up, you carry to the next digit on 8, whereas decimal numbers are the ones that we're all used to where you carry to the next digit on 10. The first 10 positive octal numbers run: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12. This is just a neat coincidence that 31 in octal works out to be 25 in decimal.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Go Vote!

If you're a fellow Californian (or in one of the states having primaries today), go vote!

Voter apathy is killing America. If you don't vote when you have the opportunity to directly influence the government, then you have no right to complain about anything the government does. When the government does something bad, you are also at fault for not preventing it.

So get off your lazy butt and go vote!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Interesting Idea - Playing WOW As A Pacifist....

World of Warcraft doesn't have to be about killing monsters....

I actually thought about doing something like this at some point but it just sounds like way too much work. I'm impressed the guy has gone so far with it, honestly. =)