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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 Return of the Commodore 64

by Ken Newquist / May 12, 2011

The Commodore 64 was the second computer I owned. The first was a Timex Sinclair (an ancient bit of technology that used a tape recorder for storing programs, and had a too-small, inflexible chicklet keyboard. Of course, it's big advantage was that it was mine -- while my mom taught me to program on an Apple II+, the Timex was the computer that I wrote my first original programs on.

The Commodore was a huge leap leap forward. For one, I got to hook it up to the spiffy new color TV I got for Confirmation. For another, it had an external floppy drive! No more having to carefully advance through the tape recorder, looking for exactly the right number to execute my program at. And the Commodore 64 had an amazing 64 kilobytes of memory, which made it ideal as a gaming platform for one of my all time favorite computer rpgs: Ultima II.

Radio Active #85: War of the Pod People

by Ken Newquist / March 20, 2011

Spring is looming larger, but just incase it gets waylaid by a late-winter storm, I decided to have a spring-themed surprise party for my wife. In geekier news, I started up a "Gamer Working Group" at my dayjob and re-launched my gaming group's web site. There are no netheads in this show, but don't worry -- you'll still be able to feed that net addiction with a round up of the podcasts I'm listening to.

Picture of the Day: Castle Ravenloft

by Ken Newquist / March 8, 2011

 Castle RavenloftMy Picture of the Day project is continuing -- progress has been somewhat haphazard, but I have been taking and posting pictures.

This one's from Game Day on March 4, 2011. It was a board game week, so we decided to give the Castle Ravenloft boardgame another try. A separate set of Blackrazors had tried it a few weeks earlier and had been underwhelmed. This week's didn't fair much better.

The game is essentially a stripped-down version of D&D 4E. That's not a bad thing (at least for the half of the group that likes 4E) and tt runs well enough. The problem we found was there wasn't enough immergent story in the game -- meaning unlike Arkham Horror's expansions, there wasn't much story meat holding the game's adventure skeleton together.

Printer shopping: Brother vs. HP

by Ken Newquist / February 6, 2011

My old HP LaserJet 1020 has finally stopped working with my Mac. Never meant to work with OS X, I could trick the 1020 into working by using the 1022 drivers. It meant jumping through a few hoops, but it worked fine ... until Snow Leopard. Now the old drivers aren't working, and the hacks to get it up and running again aren't worth the time.

Launching Picture of the Day

by Ken Newquist / December 27, 2010

 Picture of the Day Kickoff"Picture of the Day" has been one of the most popular memes among my photography geek friends for the last year or so. The idea is that you take a picture a day, and then post it for the world to see, usually on Flickr or Facebook. Different people approach the project in different ways -- some take a picture and post it on the same day, some take a series of shots, and then post one a day.

I'm shooting for the former approach. I think it's more creative and challenging, and more likely to get me back into that "camera's eye" mindset. That said, I'm not going to be a slave to the format; if I have a couple of good shots I may run them over successive days.

My goals for this project are twofold. I want to learn more about my camera, the Nikon D60. It's a digital SLR that we bought a few years back, and it can do far, far more than I've done with it. The same goes for my new iPhone 4, which has a decent camera built in, and the advantage of being with me where ever I go.

Tron: Cupcakes

by Ken Newquist / December 23, 2010

 Tron CupcakesLast week my wife surprised me with a Tron-inspired birthday party (my birthday's December 17, the same day that Tron: Legacy was released). As part of that, she asked the good folks at Cupcake Ladies to create Tron cup cakes.

Which they did. The photo at left was taken by my friend Jason Alley (view the full-size photo on Flickr) and yes, the cupcakes did taste as good as they look.

The cupcakes made my day, and were the perfect prelude to heading to King of Prussia to watch Tron: Legacy in IMAX 3D with my friends. It was a good movie -- I describe it as pure, distilled 1980s wrapped in glass. My 12-year-old self loved the film. My 39-year-old self was happily distracted by the beer sampler I drank at Rock Bottom Brewery before the movie.

Indiana and the Temple of Zzzzs

by Ken Newquist / November 29, 2010

 Indiana comes home.Indiana, our new puppy, came home the day before Thanksgiving. He's a yellow Labrador Retriever, and after a few days home I can safely say he tends toward the marshmallow end of the Labrador spectrum (the other end, of course, is hyper spaz).

Of course, it's not all thoughtful looks and puppy naps -- he can be a holy terror, particularly in the mornings when he's chasing kids, chewing on shoes and doing all the things puppies do. He's far more laid back in the afternoon, lounging around the house, napping frequently, and more or less doing the perfect impression of a yellow marshmallow.