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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Ken Newquist's blog

Red Ring Redux

by Ken Newquist / October 31, 2008

For the second time in two years, I have a dead Xbox 360. The machine gave me the Red Ring of Death on Sunday after crashing while running DeadSpace. The machine simply froze, and when I powered it down and powered it back again, I was greated with the ominous glowing red rings.

Normally, this would be inconvenient by manageable: Microsoft extended the manufacturer's warranty on the 360 to three years, and my Xbox is still covered. Unfortunately, this month isn't anything resembling normal. I've got three game reviews looming between late October and late November, and don't have time to wait for Microsoft to fix my box.

The first thing I tried was stopping by Best Buy; I got the extended warranty for my first Xbox 360, and when it died I was able to walk into their store and get a replacement. Unfortunately, the warranty was from the original date of purchase and wasn't extended when I got the replacement.

The GM Has Had It

by Ken Newquist / October 26, 2008

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This is brilliant. And yes, I have occasionally felt this way. I have no idea who came up with this poster (and unfortunately can't remember the blog where I first saw it) but I think it's a sentiment that just about every GM has felt at one point or another, especially when a particularly bad intra-party fight breaks out.

Haunted Walking Tour of Easton

by Ken Newquist / October 14, 2008

There's going to be a "Haunted Walking Tour of Easton" on October 24 and 25, 2008 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tours leave from Centre Square, Easton, Pa. The cost is $7 in advance, $10 on the tour date. Tickets are available at Pearly Baker's Ale House, Porter's Pub, the Csmic Cup, Partyology, Connexions Art Gallery, Easton Yoga and the Easton Farmer's Market.Learn more by visiting the Scarecrow Festival page on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/eastonscarecrowfestival

The Return of the RADIATIONS Newsletter?

by Ken Newquist / October 12, 2008

In case you missed it, I'm running a poll asking whether or not I should bring back the RADIATIONS email newsletter. RADIATIONS ran for a good number of years, but I gave it up when I moved to Drupal and had an easy way of producing an RSS feed for the site. I'm considering it bringing it back because personally, I find newsletters to be a handy way of remembering to visit the sites I enjoy. And if I like it, well, I figure others will as well.  

Tim O'Reilly on Science Fiction

by Ken Newquist / October 5, 2008

In this old article (as in 1998) Tim O'Reilly provides a rundown of his favorite science fiction novels, including Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, Snowcrash, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Stars are Ours.

He prefaces this list by discussing the book The Meaning of Culture by John Cowper Powys and draws the conclusion "a truly cultured person appreciates what has really shaped his world view, and uses literature and the arts as a tool to get more out of life." He then provides the list as examples of science fiction literature that shaped his world view.

What's missing from this article is the critical other half that explains how these books informed his world view. It's all well and good to say that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but how did a novel about libertarian lunar revolution inform his world view? Was it an appreciation for the merits of a free market economy? The insidious effectiveness of revolutionary cells working in isolation from one another? Group marriages? We don't know because he doesn't say.

NASA, U.S. Chess Federation Begin Earth vs. Space Match

by Ken Newquist / October 3, 2008

This is just so damn cool (and by cool, I mean insanely geeky). NASA and the U.S. Chess are sponsoring a match between, well, the world and the International Space Station. And the really cool part? The moves are being chosen in part by elementary school kids. Here's the deal. The chess team at Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. is facing off against the crew of the ISS.

Google Calendar integration with iCal, Outlook

by Ken Newquist / October 2, 2008

One of my goals this fall has been to get my calendars under control, and to do a better job of keeping track of what I'm doing (and where I'm supposed to be doing it). Somedays that works better than others (Monday, in which I forgot my wife had yoga, would be one of the bad days) but all in all I'm making progress. A big reason for this is that I'm syncing my home and work calenders in iCal via Google Calendar. My calendars "live" on Google, but I'm able to add and edit events via iCal thanks to Google CalDAV support. This article explains how to get it working:

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