Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King – Death Knight Class

OK, I said I'd blog about my new Death Knight (and to save typing, DK from here on out), so here we go.


As I said earlier, I started my DK last Friday (before Thanksgiving). Uknowuwanna is an undead DK. And I've gotten her up to level 60 already, and I've made the run to Shattrath already, so that's where my hearthstone is set. Now I can pop out to Ebon Hold when I need to train, and just hearth back to Outland. Not a bad deal. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.


I'm trying to understand the thought processes behind the DK. So, Arthas supposedly re-animated the dead body of some "Hero of Azeroth" to make this level 55 DK that I am. Does that mean that DK's don't have a soul? Why can I rez, then? Ok, not that I really care, just let me go out and kill stuff! And a DK can kill LOTS of stuff. When Uknowuwanna was level 58, she was wandering through Silithus to get her World Explorer achievement (merit badge, as my daughter calls it) and got attacked by 3 Orcs; one level 58, one level 59 and a level 60 elite. Had it been any other level 58, it would have been bad news. However, since she had some of Noth's Special Brew, and all those wonderful DK abilities, she proceeded to whack them about the head and shoulders until they all died, with about 50% health left over. (No, DKs aren't over powered!). Garden would have gotten his butt handed to him at level 58 in the same situation.


DK is definitely a hero class. You can do much more with a solo DK than with any other race / class combination. Is this a bad thing? Does this make DKs over powered and dangerous? Yes and no. Stay with me here. Yes, they are somewhat over powered, but that's the intention of the class. I think they should limit folks to 1 DK per server per account, on top of the "must have a level 55 on that server" limitation. Keep the population down, but don't restrict people who are altaholics like me from playing, too. Also, I don't think a DK could solo an instance that would give any experience or reputation, so I don't think that will be a problem, either. People will still have to LFG (sorry Ariel, I couldn't resist) as a DK tank.


One thing I did with Uknowuwanna was make her a scribe. I know, real original. Make the new class use the new profession. Don't you try to tell me you didn't make a Draenei Shaman jewelcrafter; and don't you lie to me! Inscription is an interesting profession. It allows the user to create new items called Glyphs that add to your class abilities. You can add major or minor glyphs based on what level you have reached. Nice idea and it adds to the customization of the character. Also, you can make scrolls, cards, books, etc. Lots of cool things that add to the game (or have been in the game and you always wondered where they came from). The obvious parallel profession for scribe is herbalist (since you make your pigments from herbs).


Now, here's where I start to have a problem with the DK. When I'm level 55, I know all the flight paths, I have learned First Aid up to 275, I have all these wonderful abilities, but I don't have any knowledge of a profession, and I don't know how to fish? How can I not know how to fish? I'm level 55, for goodness sake (I know, bad choice of words)! Did I not go fishing as a kid? Wait, I know. When Arthas reanimated me from the dead hero of Azeroth I was, I was dead long enough to have TOTAL AMNESIA of my previous life. OK, it's a little inconvenient, but not completely a game killer. However, lots of lower level characters are plenty ticked off when they see these level 58 DKs out there mining copper. Both my wife and I have heard more than a few "@&* *$%+ Death Knights!" comments while going around trying to get our profession skills up to where they should be. I've compared being a DK with being a doctor from South America somewhere. When you move to the US, you either have to start as an intern somewhere and go through all that crap again, or start a new career. Either way it stinks. So, if you're out there playing your little level 8 gnome warlock and see this level 58 human DK wandering around picking your flowers, don't cuss at him. Just understand he had to start at the bottom in his new profession, so he's more like you than you thought!


DK play is fast and furious. The first three levels (and I'll try not to spoil anything if you haven't played one yet) are full of interesting quests that expand the story line, teach you how to use your new skills, show you some of new in-game abilities (like siege engines, etc), and get you really beat up in the process. Some of the quests are more like raids or PvP – very fast, just hit what's around you and hope you do enough damage to make a dent. Some of the quests, like the ones that introduce the siege engine abilities, can be really fun and I wanted to do them over again, but unfortunately you can't (or at least I haven't found a way to do that).


As I said before, I really like the way the DK class expands the story line. My son said "That's not what DKs are supposed to be like." Well, sorry, but I guess they had to take some liberties, and what do you care anyway, you've given up Warcraft for playing Warhammer Online anyway! The Story line flows nicely and has some nice foreshadowing, leaving you knowing how it has to end, but not really sure how you're going to get there. There are no real surprises, but some nice little twists to how I thought I understood the lore of World of Warcraft. Not so much that I can't deal with the differences, and not so much that it doesn't make any sense from the past games.


Also, Blizzard added achievements into the game (like I alluded to earlier). Some of them are funny, some of them are simply annoying, and some of them are real challenges (especially for opposing factions!). Cool feature to add into the game, too bad Warhammer Online already has it and now it looks like you are desperately copying them to keep subscribers.


On a side note, my ENT visit went very well on Monday. They diagnosed me with BPPV, and treated me for it the next day. Aside from the fact I had to sleep in an easy chair for Tuesday and Wednesday nights and not move my head much for 48 hours, the treatment wasn't too bad and seems to have worked. I'm only having vertigo for a few seconds first thing in the morning. Also, I think having to go off my medicines for last weekend made me realize I didn't need the Flexaril and only needed the Motrin when the pain got bad. I feel much better, and my neurosurgeon has released me to go back to work full time starting tomorrow. That may mean there'll be less of these little notes (ok, huge tomes of drivel), but at least I'm recovered!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A New Search Begins

Before I get into this, I want to tease you a little bit with my experiences last night in Wrath of the Lich King. I started a Death Knight last night and got her (yes, her) up to level 58 (not a great feat considering you start at 55). The story line is well done, and although I knew how the starting area had to end up, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to get there. All in all (without any spoilers) it was well written, scripted, designed and animated. I was actually paying attention to the dialog and reading the text of the quests, if that tells you anything (I usually just accept and run and try to figure it out later. Not a good idea in this area!). Two thumbs WAY up.


OK, so my wife has been having issues lately with the dreaded BSOD, and sometimes while playing WoW, which is really bad in a battle, trust me. The system logs say it's the SATA driver. It's a little early for the hard drive to be failing, so I'm guessing the SATA drivers that shipped caused bad writes to the disk and now that the drivers are fixed, it's not reading those bad writes correctly. I figured what we needed to do is roll back to the factory install (easy to do with a Dell, just boot from the restore partition) and then restore from a backup. So that's what I did.


Well, it's not quite as easy as it sounds. I did a full backup using the Microsoft backup tool built into Vista to a network hard drive. Once that was done, I reformatted and put the factory image on the primary partition. Then I ran the restore from the network. After a reboot, voila! None of the applications were installed and nothing worked the way it did before the re-image. Well, I guess I can chalk that one up to my own stupidity, but I don't want to have that happen again. I need to find a backup and restore tool that will do the registry information as well as all the applications. I need it to be able to work to restore to a different drive geometry just in case I need to move someone's applications from one computer to another (which I will because my tablet is being recycled down the line). I am willing to accept any suggestions, I-told-you-so's and any other pokes you want to give me. Oh, and it needs to be cheap (which should go without saying in this economy).


Let the search begin!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King, Graphics and More

OK. We installed Wrath of the Lich King on Wednesday night. But even before that, the questions started rolling around in my head.

Why are you trying to get to level 80 so quickly? What's the deal? Have you even LOOKED at the graphics and new models in the game?

I'll be honest; I just took my 2 70s to Northrend. And they're STILL 70. The graphics in this expansion are amazing, even just looking at the Howling Fjord. The trees remind me of the trees around Seattle. On the ship, as it slips up the fjord toward Valgarde, you're treated to the amazing views of the cliffs of the fjord, and burning ship / bridge as you quietly slip by beneath it. The fire and water effects are nothing short of spectacular. Just a subjective observation, but I believe the graphics are more crisp and clear in Northrend than in the other areas.


I'm glad we waited a week to install Wrath. I was chatting with a former guildie who said she and her husband installed the day it was released, took their main 70s to Northrend, and couldn't move because of the lag. There were so many people in Northrend on that server that it crashed several times that night. Like I said, I'm glad I waited.


I'm not going to run to 80. It's not even going to be a brisk walk. I'm going to enjoy the trip, "smell the roses" so to speak. I'm going to enjoy the diversity of Northrend and the amazing graphics that these artists released from their minds to the benefit of all 10 million of us WoW players. Slow down, folks. Enjoy the journey.


On a side note, on Monday I'm going to an Otolaryngologist for an Electronystagmogram for my vertigo. To take the test, I need to go off some of my meds, primarily the anti-vertigo med I've been taking for 2 weeks. I'm a little concerned about it, since it has had only a lessening effect on my vertigo, not totally removing it. Hopefully by Monday afternoon I'll have an idea as to what is causing my vertigo and will have a course charted toward a resolution.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MBTI? Is that the subway system?

I've been trying to think of how to do an article on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, specifically my MBTI and the specific challenges and advantages it affords me. I'm still not fully sure I've got the right thoughts here, but I'll give it a shot.


First, a quick review of the MBTI. MBTI consists of 4 dichotomies: Attitudes which are Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) (how the individual focuses attention or gets energy); Functions which are Sensing (S) or iNtuition (N) (how the individual perceives or takes in information) and Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) (how the individual prefers to make decisions); and lifestyle which is Judgment (J) or Perception (P) (how the individual orients themselves to the external world). Most people cannot simply look at these definitions and come up with their type indicator. Also, the type indicator identifies a preference toward that indicator, not an inability to perform in the opposite of that dichotomy. My MBTI is INTP.


Let's take a quick look at my MBTI.

I – Introversion.

I prefer to be by myself. Let me clear this up right now; I CAN act extroverted. In fact, I enjoy teaching, which involves standing in front of groups of various sizes and interacting with people. Being an I is not a liability, it's a preference. At least for me. There are times when being an I can lead to it being a liability. Those times would be when the person cannot control their "I-ness" and withdraw from the public.

I find being an "I" advantageous. I can interact with people for a short time (sometimes up to eight to ten hours a day when teaching) and then go back to my "cave" to recharge myself. I've been asked a few times "How can you teach or talk to large groups if you're an introvert?" My answer is simple. When you teach a large group or speak to a large group, you are not interacting with individuals, for the most part. I find that Introversion leads to introspection, where the (NT) can feed on itself for decision making.

N – iNtuition

To me, intuition is having a realization or getting information without the benefit of the senses. Don't ask me how I know, I just do. And I'm usually right. Ask my kids about the argyle socks they got me for Christmas one year.

T – Thinking

This is how decisions are made. When I come to a decision, it is an internal thing, not an external thing. I gather all the information on the situation, then intuitively come to the decision after thinking about it. Does that make sense?

P – Perception

To me, this is my interaction with the world. For instance, I love to go to the mall; not because I like shopping. I HATE shopping. But I do enjoy watching the world go by me; watching people. Not "girl watching", but looking at how people interact with each other, what other people like, and look like. I like looking at the world, but sometimes I wonder if the world likes me watching all the time!


Let me quote Wikipedia because they do a better job of explaining than I do:

INTP types are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who don't mind spending long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. They are very curious about systems and how things work, and are frequently found in careers such as science, architecture and law. INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations and the "caring professions," although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals.[8]

INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of "simple" ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they are. This to the INTP, however, is incomprehensible: They are merely presenting all of the information.[8]

INTPs' extraverted intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language, and they can defuse the tension in gatherings by comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.[8]

When INTPs feel insulted, however, they may respond with sudden and crushing criticism. After such an incident, INTPs are likely to be as bewildered as the recipient. They have broken the rules of debate and exposed their raw emotions. This to an INTP is the crux of the problem: their emotions are to be dealt with in a logical manner. If improperly handled, they can only harm.[9]


The first time I took the Myers-Briggs test, I was amazed at how well it described me. That was in 1992. I've taken it 3 other times since that time, and still came up with the same type indicator, so I'm quite sure it's correct. I'm told you can change your MBTI, but it can take a "significant emotional event" to make that change. So far, I'm still an INTP.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unboxing pix

I will admit, this is a little odd, but here's my unboxing pix for the new notebook.

Nice box. One of the things I noticed was the nice carry handle. Ooo. Also, there's the 15% restocking fee sticker. Hmmm. Is that really a deterrent?

Yes, it's the HP Pavilion dv3510nr.

Hmm, there doesn't seem to be much in that box, there. Is it all there?

Well, it looks like it's all there. Lots of instruction manuals (that I won't read), a replacement insert for the DVD drive (why would you take out the DVD drive?), and a cute little remote (lower right). Come to find out, the remote will work with PowerPoint, but it's IR, not RF, so it has limitations. The zipper bag center bottom is holding a piece of cloth to clean the metallic exterior of the notebook. The battery is wrapped in bubble wrap (second from the left.

Here's everything unwrapped. There is a mimimum amount of trash, and most of it is "green".

To be honest, I don't get the "unboxing" thing. Unless it's Christmas or something.

New Notebook review and more on Wrath

Well, I've been using my new notebook a lot lately. I've gotten rather attached to it. I'm enjoying it very much. Here's some info:

  1. I like the screen. I read a few reviews of the notebook, and I agree with one of them about the screen. You can back the screen backlight down significantly and the screen is still bright enough to use. And the good news is, that uses less power.
  2. The keyboard is smooth, "clicky" and responsive.
  3. The 64-bit version of Vista provided me with some interesting issues; I needed to find the 64-bit drivers for all my printers. Just a minor inconvenience, really.
  4. My remote connection to work is different than before, but works very well; more smoothly and faster than on my older convertible tablet.

    I have to admit, I have been an early adopter. The notebook or actually convertible tablet I replaced with this notebook is three years old. When I got it, I really thought the tablet functionality would be indispensible. The truth is, I rarely used it. It was a cool toy, but it was more functional as a notebook than a tablet.

  5. This notebook is very light compared to most of the notebooks / laptops I have had. I really liked my Sony Vaio from five or six years ago, but like my brother said, it was a battle pig. A heavy desktop replacement system with a full-fledged P4 chip in it, heat and all! Boy did that sucker blow out some hot air; reminded me of a session of congress!
  6. Battery life is good. I haven't run it dead yet, but I've been getting about 2 hours on a charge, draining down to about 35%. That's about 2 hours of normal use, not watching a DVD. I haven't tried that yet, but maybe later this week.
  7. Sound is good. Great for the size of the speakers, I guess.

Bottom line, it's a nice notebook, and worth the $1100 it cost. Next thing to try would be adding memory to it (upgradeable to 8GB).


Now a WoW update. We have our copies of Wrath of the Lich King, but we haven't installed them yet. I know, I know, DO IT ALREADY! Well, I've been playing my level 58 warlock to get him up and around in Outland. But do you know what the problem is? Too many Death Knights! Oh my, they're EVERYWHERE! How about letting people finish some quests UNMOLESTED, please! No we don't need your help. Just go away and be overpowered somewhere else, while Warlocks are getting nerfed. I think we'll install WotLK tonight.


Along those same lines, some of my old guildies split off during one of our slack times in the game and started their own guild. No problem. One of the wanted to be a guild master, and I completely understand. Here's the issue. We want to develop an alliance (no pun intended) between our guilds. The problem is, I can't find an addon for WoW that does this well. Some of these addons do bits and pieces, but most of them aren't working lately or haven't been updated in months. Can I develop one? Well, I'm looking into that; trying to get the toolbox together before I jump in head first. If you know of an addon for WoW that builds a combination of 2 or more guilds, please let me know!

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Notebook First Look, and More

While I've been getting my new notebook correctly configured, I've been busy with other things, too. One thing I've been playing with is IE7Pro. IE7Pro is an Internet Explorer add-on. It has lots of cool functions / abilities, and can be configured by the user. The main reason I got IE7Pro is because I can't spell and I always rely on my spell checker. But if you're putting something into IE7, there's no easy way to spell check. I would usually type in what I wanted to say, copy it all, paste it into Word, spell check it, then paste it back into IE7. That gets old REALLY fast. IE7Pro has a built-in spell checker that checks spelling in real-time, underlining the misspelled words in red (like MS Word does). Very nice, and worth the download even if that's the only feature you need. But it has other features. LOTS of other features. There's so many features that I haven't had time to even test most of them (except the spell checker, which I've tested EXTENSIVELY!). Check it out. It's worth the download. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE?


New laptop report: I have the unboxing pix, but I haven't published them yet. It's getting bad when you have to borrow your daughter's camera to take your unboxing pix. I have to say it's a great camera. Way too many features for the average digital photographer, but for someone who wants to make money at taking digital pix, a great starter camera. Interchangeable lenses, single lens reflex (SLR), 10 Megapixel camera. But that isn't really about the new laptop is it?


Well, it seems like it's going to take me forever to get this new laptop configured the way I like it. I need to move my copy of Office Pro 2007, install Microsoft Treats and Strips (Spoonerism), as my wife calls it, and still need to make sure that all the other stuff moved. But here's a quick look. The wireless works great. I haven't even tried to hard-wire it to the house network. It just works great. The Bluetooth also works well. I have connected it to my Blackberry and did a full backup in about the same amount of time it would have taken using USB. The 13.3" screen is very nice. It's a little shiny if you have direct lighting, but if you dim the backlight, it works great. I really don't know about the bronze color, though. It shows fingerprints VERY easily, but they wipe off really well with the provided cleaning cloth (yes, I said provided). The DVD writer works well, too. I just finished my system recovery disks (need to copy them and send a copy off-site for COOP purposes). The keyboard is a little slick, too. I'm used to the plastic-looking keys from my Toshiba R15 convertible tablet. I think I'll get used to the new keys, though. What I think is cool is the fact that it's running Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, with SP1. 64-bit is nice because it will let me actually USE the 4GB of RAM expandable to 8GB. But the cool thing is the little remote control that came with it. It must be RF based, I have no idea how it works, but it does and it's cool.


More next week. This weekend I won't be doing much geek stuff. We have a guest speaker coming to our church, Mr. Edward Fudge. He'll be speaking about leadership in the first century church. It should be interesting. I may have some time on Saturday afternoon, but that may be taken up by going to Best Buy and getting the copy of WotLK I have pre-ordered. Yes, I'll have it before Christmas. Well, maybe. I haven't actually discussed it with my wife yet, so it may end up under the tree sometime next month. Hmmmm. I wonder what it would take to keep that from happening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Update

I just wanted to give you a quick update. I now am the proud owner of an HP dv3510nr notebook. I hope to do an unboxing tonight if I can handle it, so I'll snap some pix and post them up for you all. I also may do a quick look at our new Sony BDP S350 Blu-Ray player and DVD up convert. Man, I hope I have an HDMI cable laying around somewhere. Now where was that . . .?

The Geeky Way to Pick a Notebook

As promised, I said I would share some of my geekiness tricks with you. Well, that's not exactly what I said, but anyway, here we go.


I'm shopping for a new laptop/notebook/netbook. I decided there are a few criteria that need to be met by this new mobile computing station.

  1. It needs to be light
  2. It needs to be small enough to carry around in my "manbag". (no link on the manbag because Wilsons Leather doesn't carry it any more)
  3. It needs to be powerful enough to do normal daily tasks quickly (as opposed to my current tablet, which I NEVER should have put Vista on).
  4. It needs to be able to use the DoD Common Access Card (CAC) because I'm working from home more often than not lately. Plus I plan to use it when I go on business trips.
  5. It should be good enough to play a few games in the off chance that I get to do that (a little WoW on the road never hurt anyone, right?)
  6. It needs to be inexpensive.

So, with those things in mind I began searching.


I began by looking at Eee PCs and other netbooks. A little quick research showed me that they are either underpowered XP boxes, or are running some form of Linux. While this of itself is not a problem, it makes #4 a bit of a problem. I got a copy of the CAC software for Linux from the Air Force Private Key Infrastructure (PKI) System Program Office (SPO) in San Antonio Texas. Unfortunately, the software is for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3 or 4. This shouldn't have been a problem, but I lose interest in a problem when I bang my head against it for over 16 hours and don't come up with a solution. Not that I'm completely giving up on this, because I would love to have one of those sweet little netbooks with the 40GB Solid State Drives (SSD). But it's just too much work for the little reward.


Ok, so drooling aside, the Eee PCs are basically out of the running because of the CAC issue, or being underpowered as an XP box. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Vista zealot, but now that I've moved forward, I don't want to take a step back to XP land if I can avoid it.


So, what's next? Well, I noticed that Best Buy is doing 18 months same as cash, which is how we've bought most of our major purchases from Best Buy (or Circuit City, actually). So, that limited me to what Best Buy has in stock, either on-line or in the store. I recently decided not to go with Circuit City due to the Chapter 11 business they announced Monday; if they go out of business, it may be hard to get something serviced under the extended warrantee. Just a minor detail, really.


So, I put my geek hat on (as if it ever comes off) and went to work on an analysis tool. I got a lot of experience with using Microsoft Excel as an analysis tool while I was in the Air Force. It's very useful for what-if and quick-turn analyses. I decided I would list all the notebook / laptop systems listed on the Best Buy web site in my spreadsheet; then I associated all the detailed information about those systems, like how much RAM, what processor (CPU), what graphics processor (GPU), size of screen, size of disk, type of disk, optical disk type, weight, etc. Then came the tricky part; how do you convert that raw data into an objective number? Well, I played with a few formulae, then settled on one for each of the components I was looking at. After about 7 hours of work, I had all the information in the spreadsheet and a number associated with each notebook, identifying its relative score. But how do I put my personal bias on that number? How do I tell the sheet what's important to me?


I came up with a weighting scheme to influence the outcome based on my desires. Don't get me wrong, I didn't reverse engineer the outcome. I simply made sure the scoring system for each attribute was a value between 0 and 1, then multiplied that value by a relative weighting based on my desires. I even used data from another web site that lists benchmarks for CPUs and GPUs to generate the values for those attributes, so it completely removed my bias until I put my weights on the scores.


So, what laptop came up on top? The HP DV3510nr was the winner. It has a 13.3 inch screen, weighs less than 5 pounds, has a decent battery life, a good GPU, and has 4GB of RAM, expandable to 8GB with the 64 bit version of Vista. I expect to make my purchase soon, so I'll give you a first look review, and maybe an set of unboxing pix, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Don’t Screw This Up

I've been rolling this around in my head since Wednesday morning, and I need to write it down, but I don't want it to sound bad, so that's why I'm just posting this now.


As long as Barack Obama is the first African American president of the United States, we as a nation will have achieved nothing. WAIT, KEEP READING!


George Washington was the first president of the United States. That's all you have to say. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president. Some presidents are not well known, like John Tyler or Franklin Pierce. Some are well known for what they did before or after they were president, like Theodore Roosevelt. Some are known for what they had done to them while they were in office, like James Carter (I just can't call a president Jimmy. It sounds like something you put on ice cream) or William Clinton.


So what's my point? As long as we refer to a person by their genetic heritage, we cheapen that person's accomplishments by putting them into a box with everyone else who has the same genetic heritage. Let me give you an example from my life (please don't think I'm comparing my experiences with anyone else, this is just my experience.)


I am from a large family; five brothers and two sisters, to be precise. Our dad is very well known in the small town and surrounding small towns where I grew up. Having worked in the paper mill, the main source of income for most people in that area, my dad had the opportunity to meet many people (plus the paper mill was in the town he grew up in, and people had much more stable living and working arrangements back then). Because of the strong genetic traits my dad passed on, we all pretty much look like him to a great extent. Because of that, my brothers and I were easily recognizable by everyone in town. I would often hear "that's one of Ralphie's boys", or "You're one of Raplhie's boys, aren't you?" I don't mind being referred to as being one of Ralphie's boys, because it's true. However, I have accomplishments of my own that exceed that of the "random chance" of one in a few million sperm meeting up with an egg one night when my dad's jeans were hanging over the end of the bed (there's a story behind that, but it's longer than this). I am more than the sum of my genetic makeup.


I'm quite sure that Barack Obama is more than the sum of his genetic makeup as well.


I'm also sure that by now most of the people who know me well as the conservative republican evangelical Christian that I am are scratching their head wondering why I'm not upset that Obama won the election. After spending more than 20 years in the military, I'm used to experiencing leadership changes that I was not particularly keen on. I've had many bad examples for bosses, and bosses' bosses, etc. But just because changes didn't go the way you (or I) wanted, doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't be given every opportunity to fail or succeed on their own.


I saw a front page of the Chicago Reader on the Fox News today. It had a drawing of Barack Obama on it with a banner underneath that said "Don't screw this up". I think that's the best one yet. If Barack Obama screws this up, he'll be relegated to the position of being the first African American president, and nothing will have changed. However, if he does amazing things (and he'll have many opportunities to do just that) everything will have changed. And he will be the 44th president of the United States. His being an African American will be a footnote in history.



Whining, Storm and WotLK (prep)

I haven't written anything in a while. Mostly because I haven't felt well lately. So let me whine for a while. If you don't want to deal with my whining, come back later and I'll post something technical.


I'm still recovering from my Microdiscectomy back in August. Lately I've been felling more pain at the incision, but not the incision, if that makes any sense. I've also been feeling some of the "lighter" aspects of the sciatica again in my left leg. Tingling, sort of like when your leg fell asleep and you're getting the blood flow back in there, but not as intense. I'm thinking some of the feelings in my leg may have something to do with the physical therapy, since the workout for my left leg is harder (although the same) than my right leg.


OK, tech stuff. Looks like the Blackberry Storm will be coming out on Verizon Wireless sometime this month, but no word as to when. Boy Genius Report is saying the Storm will start pre-selling at Best Buy. And the Verizon Wireless site has changed for the Storm, but no official date for release. And BGR is saying $200 to $300 for the Storm. Not bad, but a little high. (and that's with a 2 year contract). I'm really enjoying my crackberry Curve, but sure would like one of those shiny new Storm thingies on my belt (geek glee squeal).


World of Warcraft news: Wrath of the Lich King comes out on the 13th (1 week!). Not sure if I'll get it on release, or later on (maybe for Christmas?). But the changes to WoW in general have been interesting. After patch 3.0.2 we all got a free re-spec, but I just stayed with what I had for spec. I'm not sure, but it seems like my two level 70s are getting better DPS rates. And when I have my hunter in Aspect of the Cobra, my mana never drops below 98%. But I only do 60% base damage (that drops my DPS down to about 295 or so), but in Aspect of the Hawk, I can go through 3 or 4 level 70 / 71 mobs before my mana is down to 25%, at which point I switch back to Aspect of the Cobra for 1 mob, and I'm back up to 100% again. I do have some mana generating armor and trinkets, but I don't think that has much of an effect on it. So my 70 hunter (beastmaster spec, of course) is getting around 305 DPS with my battle pig (Spiderpig) is getting around 113 DPS and I rarely break agro on Spiderpig. Now, my Fury Warrior (Garden, the Gnome) is getting around 340DPS! Not bad considering I haven't done an instance with Garden since hitting around 50 something (I got my Carrot on a Stick on my last instance, if that tells you anything). I've also been working on my Warlock FransisII (the second, but I can't put a space in the name, so he looks like a sisii). He's up to level 56, almost 57, and using my Imp as a mana battery (thanks, Steven) I can go from mob to mob quite easily as long as I don't get 2 or 3 at a time. And I officially HATE undead because I can't fear them. L My goal is to get FransisII to Outland this week. I'll drag him through Outland and on to Northrend later. I know I've said this before, but I'm an altaholic. And I've been foolishly ignoring all my horde toons, mostly because Garden is my main, darn it, and he should get the most of my time. Oh, and I need 4500 gold to learn to ride my epic mount. Speaking of epic mounts, engineering is not getting a lot of love lately. I have no real useful patterns any more. But I may just start making stuff to sell (since I need the gold, I only have 3k).


So, if I (we) get WotLK on release or early for Christmas, I'll write up a quick review for you. And if you get it before me, let me know.


Tomorrow I'll write up my analysis tool I came up with to review laptops based on user requirements. And hopefully the world will stop spinning around my head long enough for me to get a glass of water.