Twitter Irritates the Crap Out of Me

Twitter Carps 000A little venting is about to begin.

Twitter was, at one point, a nice service.  Not the best to communicate with, what with the 140 character limit, but outside that it worked fine.  It broadcasts updates to this site and informs me about updates on key sites across the web.  Very useful.

Until they started with this “In case you missed it” crap.

I don’t know how other people use Twitter, but when I go there, I start at the top, then scroll down until a familiar looking Tweet pops up.  When there’s an article worth looking at, a quick right-click with the mouse calls up a handy-dandy window that has a command to open up a tab for latter.  All of this gets repeated until a familiar Tweet pops up.  Then its a’time to stop and go a’reading.

Doing things this way makes an “In case you missed it” feature unnecessary.  It’s thorough.  Not often is anything important miss.  Assuming anything does miss.

I sure as hell don’t need one that pops up the instant I log on to the service.  How the hell could I have “missed” anything when I haven’t even started reading yet?

These days, the whole I don’t even bother looking at the damn thing.  Doing so might put it in the “familiar” category of my brain and actually make me miss something.  The moment “In case you missed it” pops up, the “Refresh” gets hit on the browser to get rid of it.  Sometimes it takes two, maybe three tries to get rid of the damn thing and actually get Twitter to a usable state.

It’s a petty thing, yet those are moments that could be better spent doing anything else.

Best of all, there’s no refresh feature on my Twitter phone and tablet apps, making them both useless to me.

There should be a way to turn the damn thing off.  There isn’t.  Why be helpful when annoying is far easier.

Really, really irritating.

All the Different Forms of Work

Low content today, I’m afraid.  Earlier in the week I was going through my CD back up files and found one of the oldest ones looking, shall we say, sad?  As in might someday soon be unreadable sad.

How old is this file?  The date listed on it (in a hand I no longer recognize as my own) was July 14, 2002.

Positively ancient, in other words.

I’ve already transferred most of the data over to this oh so modern Devil Box.  All of the text files made it over, but a few images didn’t make the cut.  As that’s my art work, it’s kind of a bummer.

However, most of the art came through fine, and I hope to find another back up disk somewhere in my mountainous.

What I plan to do today is transfer the old texts files over to a word processing program of a slightly more modern bent.  I can’t begin to tell you how tired I am of being asked if I want to buy Microsoft Office every time I click on a file.  And it’s only happened twice…

Goblinstomper! Development Diary (IX) : Not Every Day is a High Content Day

Ugh.  Not only did I spend hours on something I later found I could do in game, I had RPGMaker crash on me, taking with it some unsaved work.

Marvy.

Right now I’m fiddling with the opening cut-scene.  Nothing major, just giving it a bit more life as well as prepping more content.  I’m setting a note here so in Future Days I can go back and check what I’ve done.

And I like the idea of the title count matching the day of the month.  I’m weird that way.

Hopefully better content tomorrow.

WordPress is Working My Last Good Nerve

In fairness, some of this might not be WordPress’ fault.

It could be Microsoft Edge.

However.

On several occasions I’ve tried to click something or highlight something and ended up back at the top of the editor.  With long posts, this means a lot of scrolling down to get back the where I was.  All to click wrong AGAIN and have to do the whole process over again.

On several occasions I’ve left the tab I’m working on to do research (or read something else while contemplating what to say next.)   When I return THE ENTIRE FECKING POST IS GONE.  Oh, it’s sometimes saved in draft, BUT THAT’S BESIDES THE GOD DAMN POINT, NOW ISN’T IT?  Leave my post be, damn it.

Today, though, I’m trying to add a new category to my review blog site.  First I’m told I don’t have FECKING PERMISSION TO DO THAT.  Which begs the question, IF I DON’T HAVE PERMISSION TO CHANGE MY OWN GOD DAMN SITE, WHO FECKING DOES?

But it gets better!  I try altering a subcategory, and I’m told, get this, I’m told I can’t alter it because I already have a subcategory by that name.

Well and good.  Except I’ve just spent a half month ADDING DUPLICATE SUBCATEGORIES!

It’s getting to the point people know I’m working with WordPress, BY THE TYPE OF SHOUTS I’M USING!

Hey WordPress!  You want me back at Blogger, crapping over you company’s name from here to the end of time, you don’t have to go through all this trouble.  just say the word and I’m all over that.

Still Screaming at My Monitor

To continue on from the other post, here’s a sample of what I’m talking about.

Sample For Screamer Post 000

It works fine on tablet and phone, apparently, but on my computer screen it looks like this.  While 2 out of 3 might not seem bad, that one is still God awful.  It makes my site look bad.

Don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t necessarily a WordPress problem; it could be something the designer did.  But I’m sorry, this is inexcusable.  You tell me the right size, I do everything right, and the God damn thing does this?  Poor form.

I think I’m done with the Lovecraft theme.

The Screamer at the Other Side of the Screen

So I’ve come up with a GREAT header for the site.  Simple awesome.  And basic.  You don’t get much more basic than this.  But whatever.

I head into the WordPress customizer and it recommended for the Lovecraft theme I was currently using,  I need a 1280×444 image.  Peachy.  I format my header and it cuts off my header.  No matter what I do, I lose part of my header.

Fine.  I figure I’ll run a test header, see what’s what.  Black background, 5 pixel red boarder around the edge.  I load it up and do you know what I found?

The damn theme cuts off the top and bottom of the image by at least, AT LEAST 10 PIXELS.

So their recommended size of 1280X444 really should be 1280X434.  ASSUMING THAT’S ALL THE FECKING THEME CUTS.

The left eye, it twitches so.

Imma thinking of switching themes.  Or free webhosting of the blog.

Or maybe burning the world away WITH MY AWESOME WRATH!

Stop laughing.  I totally could do that.

Totally.

The Asterisk Affair (III) – Wait, Why am I Building the Two Towers Again?

Mining in Minecraft comes in two distinct methods.

The first is actually carving out a mine.  Walls, staircases, the works.  You can even build support structures to hold up the roof if you want, though that’s an aesthetical choice and not a necessity.

Back at my home town of Owlcraft, making a mine make sense.  Owlcraft, in theory, should look and feel like a large town/small city.  Which is why I want more people and explains in a degree why I’d traipse over half a planet to get potatoes to encourage the citizens to breed.

No, wait, false alarm.  Nothing explains that.

Here at Asterisk Island, there’s no need.  Once I find my red stone to make my compass (and from compass to map, a process that still frizzles my brain) I’m leaving the place.  Probably for good and all.  Even ignoring support beams and the like, red stone lies deep, deep, deep underground.  Real deep.  It’ll take forever getting there, and frankly isn’t the sort of adventure I’m wanting at this juncture.

Thus the second method, namely plain old-fashioned spelunking, is the order of the day.  This involves heading into a cave and pressing through down and down until you either find what you want or you can go no further.  In the latter case, that means heading out and finding another cave to try again with.

Of course, it’s not really that simple.  Running around in the dark isn’t conducive to getting what you want.  While you’ll not likely be eaten by a Grue (oh look, a Zork reference) there are plenty of monsters roaming around that will ever so kindly kill you if given a chance.  For instance, my nemesis, the hated and fearful Creeper, just loves to sneak up on you from the shadows in its suicidal effort to blow you up real good.

Then there’s the more common danger of falling through a hole twenty to thirty meters deep to your death.  If you’re lucky all that happens then is that your little Avatar slams into the rocks and has the contents of your back pack–or however you hold your stuff, the game’s a little silent on that matter–goes flying every which way.  If you’re unlucky, it means Avatar lands in lava, which, aside from being entirely too hot, means that everything you worked so hard to collect goes up in a ball of smoke.  Forever lost.

Unless you’re not on autosave, like me.  Then it’s just a pain in the ass to recollect and redo everything you just lost.

So yeah, finding light is a good idea.

Fortunately it’s also an easy task.  A stick and some coal makes torches, and torches can be placed damn near anywhere.  Though the wise Minecraft spelunker always puts them on the left wall.  That way when you want to head back out, all you do is keep the light to the right and you’ll be alright.

Trust me.  It’s no fun wandering caves trying to figure out just where you came in at.  Besides, I’ve been lost entirely too much on this venture as is.

In life, too, come to that.

To return to an earlier danger, let’s discuss lava.  Lava can be found in two distinct varieties: Gushing from a wall and in a nice pool.  The former you avoid, but when you’re looking for red stone, you’re looking for the stuff.  Any light in the distance might mean you’re nearing your goal.

It could mean other things too (such as having found your own trail), but leave us put a side the exposition and lean more towards the narrative for today.  I entered the cave I found near Asterisk Island and started exploring.  Torches on the left, the occasional dust-up with a monster, and so on and so forth, looking for lights in the distance and I make my way down to the center of the world.

Playing it the way I intended would entail just that.  No more, no less.  But on the way down, I started seeing things in the walls I wanted.  Coal.  Iron.  Gold.  Once I left the area, I wasn’t coming back.  Be a shame to leave all this good and useful stuff behind.  Let’s collect.

Not unreasonable.  Good idea, even.  While I have some magical armor on, I use the iron I find to build new equipment to protect myself.  A new sword, and such like.  Doing so means having a furnace, but that’s okay.  I needed it to cook to cook potatoes to get the most out of them.

And no, I didn’t eat all the potatoes and thus render the quest pointless.  A little credit for some brains, if you please.

It’s in the process of exploring and collecting that I suddenly get the urge to remodel Asterisk.

Yes.

Remodel the base I have ever intention of leaving and never seeing again.

But look at it:

The Asterisk Affair 001

That’s so bland and boring.  Now compare it with this:

The Asterisk Affair 002

And a night shot for good measure:

The Asterisk Affair 003

Isn’t that great?

Of course it’s great.  And I needed stone steps up to the cave (for convenience’s sake, of course) and maybe a mine cart to ride up and down into the caves, supports for the cave roofs (it’ll look so much better that way), some trees around the island (for supplies, don’t you know) and…

It’s creator syndrome.  It’s what pulls me back to this game time and time again.  The urge to build, to see a world spring up all around me.  A town populated by villagers I saved, I protect, I keep going.  A little spire with an asterisk on top.

It’s hard to resist.

Fortunately, before I started plotting out a village (which would by necessity be dinky, as Asterisk wasn’t much of a much in the first place) I discovered a hole in the cave.  Not horribly deep; maybe twenty meters by the way the game judges things.  Most importantly of all, though, there’s light down there in the darkness.

Lava.

Red stone.

At this point I was a little low on tools.  My pick broke and I needed to go back to Asterisk to fix up another one.  However, I was a little nervous about losing this place.  Torches surrounded the thing and while they’d help me get out, they wouldn’t help me find.

Not that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal hunting it up again.  I just wanted to save a little time.  So in front of the hole I make a large arrow out of torches pointing straight towards it.  No mistakes that way.

The arrow made, I stepped back to look at it, feeling rather pleased with myself.  With this discovery the adventure moved towards its conclusion, and all without a major screw up on my part.  I done good.

That’s when the hissing started.  Behind my Avatar stood a Creeper, very pleased with itself, about to take me with it to kingdom come.

When did I save last, exactly?

Oh, setting when first set foot on Asterisk.

Hours ago.  Before I’d even made the base…

Tomorrow: I commit what has to be one of the dumbest acts in my Gaming History.  Which is saying a lot.

The Asterisk Affair (II) – The Fellowship of a Solitary Player on an Island Far From Civilization

Whenever you start a Survival Mode game on Minecraft, the first thing you need to worry about is the basics.  Namely shelter.  A roof over the head, a bed to sleep on, and a means of feeding your little Avatar should Avatar get hungry.  This also holds true if you intend to stay in a locale for a length of time, whether you’re out exploring or if you happen to get yourself lost through means entirely too stupid to repeat here (but detailed in full yesterday.)

When lost at sea, choosing a small island to park the old carcass is your best bet.  Easier to reach the shelter at night, less likely to find full of the monsters Minecraft will through at you, and conveniently close to water, where you can lure the dreaded Creeper out and into.  For reasons known only to the game makers, water contains their explosive habits, doing no damage to Avatar or environment.

This isn’t a complaint, mind you.  I can’t tell you how many times that little factoid saved my hiney.

Knowing all this information, I picked out a small bit of land not far from a larger region and built my shelter there.  I brought no weapons, I brought no map, I brought no food to save myself (and what food I now had was the point of the mission), but I did have everything I needed to build a shelter.

Including glass for windows.  Because glass is a vital travel need.  What with the way you can only plant it once and it breaks if you try to remove it again.

Seriously?  This whole excursion wasn’t well thought out at all.

With shelter and bed built, you need tools to proceed.  At the start of the game, this means making things like a pick, an axe, and a sword.  This current situation, however, didn’t seem to call for much more than something for self-defense.   And even that could be skipped if lost equaled being within walking distance of a familiar place.

Thus I’m on walkabout.  As mentioned yesterday, little spires of dirt (or whatever) help in keeping track of where you are, where you have been, and where you need to go next.  That in mind, I build a spire on top of my little block of a shelter.  To make it distinctive from any other spire I’ve made, I place a large asterisk on top.  Thus the island gets christened Asterisk Island, or just Asterisk for short.

Bet you were wondering just when the explanation for the title would come in.

Anyway, the net result looks like this:

The Asterisk Affair 001

And yes, I had plenty of wood on hand for me to make door and chest with.  This isn’t as dumb as it sounds; the boats in Minecraft are notoriously frail.  They’ve been known to break apart on mere contact with a chicken, and the resulting debris isn’t always enough to rebuild much of anything with.  Thus you carry wood with you when you head out.  Or an axe to get wood.  Your call.

Before setting out on walkabout, though, I do one more smart thing (which is totally out of character, I know.)  I build myself a hoe and make a little garden by the water to plant potatoes in.  I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I do know the odds of Avatar getting hungry are pretty good.  Finding food isn’t always an easy task, and as I’ve gone through all of this for these potatoes, I don’t want to eat my way through them and make the whole affair pointless.

Prep time done, and after a night of sleep, I set out on walkabout.  Nearest hill is the best bet.  Get the lay of the land, for one thing.  For another, it makes whatever spire I build that much more visible from a distance.

First hill climbed, nothing familiar, up goes the spire.  There’s another hill near by, so that’s the next point of interest.  So I just walk over there and repeat the process.  Right?

Wrong.

For one thing this process is BORING.  At the start of the game, when you’re looking for interesting new stuff, it’s one thing.  When you marking a route to a point you plan to go back to, it’s another.  But the plan is once Asterisk is left, it’s left for good.  No return.  Thus not only is time being wasted this way, it’s also cluttering the environment with spires that lead NOWHERE.

What to do now.  Well, there’s always making a map…

The Minecraft novices no doubt has smacked their foreheads over the obviousness of this line of thought.  You could make an in-game map?  Why wasn’t this the first things you did, you nimrod?

It’s not that simple.  Making a map requires eight pieces of paper (made from twenty-four sugar cane, which I’ll have to look for as the plant doesn’t exist on or near Asterisk) and a compass.  Don’t ask why you need the compass; call it magic, because the map fills itself in when you look at it in newly explored areas.

The compass itself needs built from eight bars of iron (which must be refined in a furnace) and a single red stone.  Not a stone that is red, mind you, but a particular item that can only be found in remote locations.  Jungle temples, say, and deep, deep within the ground.

Very deep.  Near the magma deep.

Jungles aren’t plentiful near Asterisk.  However, in climbing that first hill I did spy a cave.  Which, if I was lucky, would lead down to red stone level.

Now THERE was an idea.  This whole getting lost thing improves immensely if there’s an Adventure involved.  And while exploring the world is an adventure in and of itself, it doesn’t compare with roaming through the dark, fighting skeletons, zombies, and giant spiders.  Oh, and the Creepers.  Mustn’t forget them.

Plus, I can always use more red stone.  Then there’s mapping out new territory…

This is a great idea!  I couldn’t wait to start!

Tomorrow:  Why this wasn’t a great idea.

The Asterisk Affair (I) – There and Back Again, Only Without the Back Again

Minecraft 000

So I was having a wee bit of a problem in Minecraft.  I have this large town built (Owlcraft) and it’s all but empty.  Villagers vanish without rhyme or reason, and for some reason I can’t encourage them to breed replacements.  We haven’t dwindled down to zero yet, might not even do so, but it’s something I want to avoid.

My thought was that it was a crops problem.  At one point the villagers hung out at a different section of Owlcraft, a sort of farming district.  One of them came through, harvested and planted potatoes, and then elsewhere a little creepy baby villager comes into existence.  I figure if I build a garden near where they are now, problem solved.

Building the garden isn’t a problem.  Building the tools, gathering the supplies, and setting things up is about the easiest job out there.  Done in a few minutes, no sweat, no tears, no screams of frustration.  Problem comes when it comes to planting.  Not a carrot or potato exists within the town boundaries to plant, and these are what  the villagers want to muck around with.

I used to have potatoes, but when the villagers left the farm area and it was clear they weren’t coming back, I changed crops to wheat, which was and is in my estimation far more practical.  What potatoes I had harvested before that went to the villagers in a previous failed attempt at breeding.

Only solution to this (outside hoping to find a potato or carrot during day-to-day play) is to head off to a village and secure another one.  Nearest village is a long, long boat trip away, but so what?  It’s an adventure, and building up Owlcraft has gotten a little dull lately.

So I set off to the nameless village to steal some potatoes.  I’m not proud.

Now to mark my way after finding Nameless the first time, I set up several tall spires made of various substances (for instance, for reasons lost to my sad memory I built one spire out of wool blocks.)  Due to their size they stick out quite well from a goodly distance away.  On this, there’s a temple situated on an island along the way.  Enough landmarks to find my way, in other words.

Well, as it turns out several spires was in reality at most three, and all on the coast of Owlcraft’s continent, the island with the temple, and the coast of Nameless’s own continent.  Still, the last spire pointed the general direction out.  Finding Nameless wouldn’t be much of a much.  I hopped out of my boat and sprinted towards my destination.

The coast has long vanished into the horizon when I happen to glance at my HUD (Heads Up Display).  What I see there starts up the first of what was would become a long series of me cursing my own stupidity.

Quick word on how I play Minecraft. First off, I play survival hard mode.  Always, always, always.  I love the risk involved.  Roaming dark caves, wondering whether I was going to run into an animated skeleton, a zombie, or an explosive Creeper (the only monster that truly scares me), all adds to the experience.  Plus my little Minecraft Avatar (from here just Avatar) got hungry this way.  Periodically I had to have him fed.

Which was what the HUD told me.  Avatar was on the verge of starving.  And Brainiac here didn’t think of packing such niceties as food, or a sword to hunt with, or even a map (remember that point for later). So Death was coming.

Second thing about how I play Minecraft: I don’t do autosave.  The game has a nasty habit of autosaving as I exit out of it, and I like being able to go back to an earlier save and correcting whatever dumb mistake I just made.  Because I make a lot of dumb mistakes.  As this story proves.

Thing is, the last time I saved was… I dunno?  An hour ago?  How much did I do in that time?  How much would I lose if I go back and correct this mistake?

Oh screw it.  I went off and saved it then and there.  Nameless couldn’t be that far off.  Might as well own the mistake.  Besides, that made this more of an adventure.  Am I right or am I right?  Of course I am.

Without further complications, I make it to Nameless.  A quick check shows no carrots, my crop of choice (seriously, potatoes suck in Minecraft) so I grab a goodly amount of potatoes, eating a few as I do to easy Avatar’s hunger pains.  A quick look around for anything else I could steal borrow without ever returning and I head back to the coast and my boat.  Mission accomplished, adventure over.

Here’s where things get very stupid.  Not as stupid as they’re going to get, I’m going to spoil that for you right here and now, but close.  So close.

I started sailing back, but instead of watching what I’m doing, I went off and surfed the web.

There’s a huge chunk of ocean between Nameless and Owlcraft, one that’s already been seen before.  As if one bit of ocean looks any different from another.  Paying attention didn’t seem necessary, what with the spires and the temple and all that to show the way back.  Just the occasional looking from one screen to another would do.  Am I right or am I right?

Of course I’m not right.  On one of the occasional glances up, I spied scenery that I was pretty certain I hadn’t seen before.  Back tracking, instead of leading back to familiar environments led to more confusion.  Every little thing I tried failed.

I was lost.

Finding my bearings involved going ashore and wandering about.  Only night was coming, and with it the aforementioned zombies, skeletons, and Creepers.  Equally important, though, was that Avatar would get hungry and all I had was the potatoes I just acquired.  Losing those potatoes would mean the enterprise would be a failure and I’d have to go through the whole process again.

Oh, I could have restarted (I had that save near hitting Nameless, remember), but this didn’t seem like that bad of a mistake.  In fact, it looked like a far better adventure than just hunting up potatoes.  So I owned my mistake and saved just before hitting land.

Tomorrow, how not to find your way home when lost in Minecraft.