Wikipedia has activated "unified login" for all of its users. What this means is that you only need one username & password for all the Wikimedia projects (Commons, WikiNews, other language Wikipedias, etc.). If you already have accounts on multiple projects, you can go into your preferences on any project and manage your login. If the password is different on some of those projects, you'll be prompted to put it in before the accounts will merge.
I really don't want to be awake at 4 am... but that's what happens when you get a midnight shift at work. :P
Anyway, today we started playing the new Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition adventure, Keep on the Shadowfell. The adventure is designed to show off 4e's new combat systems and player character abilities, as well as some of the new setting fluff for the game.
Overall, I'm impressed. Combat is a lot more fun, compared to the 3.5e Greyhawk campaign we've been playing. There's a lot more maneuvering, a lot less "spend a turn healing and do nothing else" for the druid/cleric, and everyone just has a lot more options. The Paladin was actually very useful, and kept everyone alive through the first half of the night. Later, we added a 5th player who picked up the cleric (which saved our butts later on). Even my wizard was useful the whole time, usually dropping lots of fire on the enemies.
Unfortunately, our dice hated us. Lots of poor rolls all around, but even then we only came close to having characters die on the last big encounter we ran. The game is much more survivable, but still takes a lot of tactical consideration.
As to the role-playing, we didn't get much chance to run that, but what we did was fun. Mostly, we just focused on learning the new rules and just having fun.
If you're trying to decide whether or not to buy 4e, this adventure's a good way to test the waters.
Back in the 1970's, Star Trek started to draw in fans again. The series was in syndication, so a new generation was discovering the show while old fans were renewed. In the midst of this the show's creator, Gene Rodenberry, proposed a new series: Star Trek: Phase II. The series would be a new five-year mission, and several sets were even built.
However, the folks at Paramount had a different idea: scrap months of work and instead launch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Some of the characters and story concepts were revised into the new film. However, the film was rushed out the door. Many of the special effects (SFX) were incomplete, and the editing was choppy. Still, it was the first new Trek anyone had seen in years, and still drew in quite the crowd. It also launched the film franchise, and eventually Star Trek: The Next Generation (which wound up re-using many of Phase II's scripts when the writer's strike hit).
In 2001, a remastered version of the film was put out on DVD. It has a 5.1 soundtrack, lots of modern SFX, and some editing changes to take out the worst of the slow parts. Amazon has it for $6.99, so if you're a Star Trek fan, there's no reason not to pick it up.
Not all of the FX were redone. Some of the external shots still use the old FX, which still have specks of dust and such on the film, which is disappointing. The new FX are extremely impressive though, still keeping with the original film but looking 100% better. Some new shots were added, too, which makes for smoother transitions of some scenes.
Suffice to say, any geek should pick this one up without hesitation.
In addition, Ars Technica is running a contest: caption a PA comic they've got, and the winners will receive a custom USB flash drive (featuring PA artwork on the drive itself) with a copy of the game on it. These are only available to reviewers, so they're going to be collectibles for any PA fans out there.
Napster has opened their DRM-free MP3 store. Quick glance, it looks pretty cool. The store has an iTunes-esque interface, but it's all run in your browser with AJAX-y goodness. The selection looks good, too, so this might compete well with Amazon. I've already found a couple songs Amazon didn't have (Monster Magnet FTW!).
Sorry for the lack of updates. After coming down with bronchitis, Kentucky decided to do its patented "Springtime = ALLERGIES!" trick. So, now that most of that crap is out of my lungs, it moved into my sinuses.
Still trying to find a good video editor to work on these Hillbilly Days videos I snagged. Unfortunately my laptop didn't come with iMovie and I've been too cheap to buy iLife, so I've been struggling with shareware apps that, frankly, suck.
I know I've been going on and on about the new Nine Inch Nails album. It's not just because I really like the music. Trent Reznor has always been a big technology buff, and his recent experiments have shown he's on the ball when it comes to modern social networking. Case in point: Nine Inch Nails Ghosts Film Festival. Since the Ghosts album is released under the Creative Commons license, you can reuse it for non-commercial purposes. Reznor is running a context on YouTube where people can submit their films/videos that include music from Ghosts. There's no actual prize, but the ones that NIN likes best will get highlighted, which is likely to look very good on a resumé.
To go with that, all the tools to remix The Slip album are now available on remix.nin.com. Since it's also under the CC license, you can reuse it too.
Currently Warcraft 3 and Starcraft (plus their expansions) are available, with Diablo 2 coming soon. I've plugged in my WC3 and D2 codes, and may snag them again if the mood hits. Unfortunately, I seem to have thrown away my Starcraft box, and lost my text file with the relevant serial numbers, so I'll just wait on Starcraft 2 for my zerg fix.
I absolutely adore Nine Inch Nails. The band has been one of my favorites since I first heard them back in the early 90's. Trent Reznor, the creative force behind the group, has done a lot of very interesting projects. Last month, he released a brand-new set of albums online: Ghosts I-IV. The first album is free, and the rest can be purchased in a variety of formats for either online download, or physical CD. The entire set is licensed under the Creative Commons Share-alike, which means you can freely distribute it and re-use it for non-commercial purposes.
Now, he's released a new NIN album online entirely free: The Slip. It's also under the same license, and can be downloaded in many different formats.
Wow, busy week! Things got a little crazy for me, so very few updates. The short-short version is that work has become a very uncomfortable place for me. Our director is really being aggressive, and I don't appreciate it. So, looking for another job.
I bought a new phone. My old one was pretty sad (MIDI ringtones, no java, etc.) so I decided it was time to upgrade. However, I'm not bringing in enough cash to justify an iPhone. This one runs $100 retail, but I got it for $40 refurb from AT&T GoPhone. Yes, I use a prepaid phone. I don't talk enough to justify spending $30+ a month for a cell phone. This way, I pay $25 every 3 months, and I've still got more talk time than I really need. Though I may eat up the balance with Twittering now…
Blogger will now do "future dated" posts. So, you can set a post for some future date/time and it will show up then; or, you can post immediately, then set a future date for the post, and it will permanently sort to the top (or until that date comes).