Favicons and new features

I made a favicon for the site (up in the address bar — the little blue leaf, like the site logo).  However, for some godforsaken reason, it isn’t working properly for the RSS feed.  I’ll figure it out eventually.  Apologies, to the two of you who have subscribed via RSS.

I’m looking at integrating Gallery2 into this site, given that there are plugins to attach WordPress to Gallery2, and I have a ton of pictures to upload.  Hope I don’t hit my bandwidth limitations, which is likely once my family gets a hold of this page and starts browsing all the pictures all at once.

Fun with Bash, and converting file formats under Linux

As you may or may not already know, I’ve been biking to and from work whenever I can (and when my body permits) as of late.  With gas at 138 cents a litre, who can blame me?  I did the first few trips without music, but I have to say, having something to set the rhythm of my pedalling to makes things so much easier.

Only problem was, my music collection was in .ogg file format.
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Helping you help us help you help us all

Portal LogoI can’t think of a better topic for my first video game post, than to tell you about the awesomeness that is Portal.  Incredibly, Portal was just an add-on game to Valve‘s popular Half-Life 2, the future dystopian First Person Shooter, released sort of as an “extra” in Valve’s Orange Box package, and yet it has managed to outstrip HL2 in praise, popularity, reviews, and cult following.  All this despite its length (Jodi played through the bulk of it in about 4 hours, and she doesn’t much like FPSs), and the fact that instead of being a first-person shooter, built off the Half-Life engine or not, it’s actually a first person puzzle game.

So here’s how the game goes.  You wake up in what appears to be a cryogenic stasis tube in a small glass-panelled room.  There are no visible exits to the room.  An AI computer voice hopes that your “brief detention in the relaxation vault” has been pleasant, and informs you that the testing is about to begin.  And then a portal opens up on one of the walls of your cell.

This portal doesn’t work like other video games or sci-fi, though.  If you look through the portal, you can see everything on the other side of it, seamlessly.  If you look through the portal from a sheer angle, you see through it at that same angle as though it was actually a window.  If you step through it, there’s no indication to you that you’d done so save for a little *fwoomp* noise.

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Of shells and memories triggered by strange mp3s

I did a lot of thinking, as is my particular modus operandi, while driving to and from one of my company’s sites yesterday, and committed to writing a nice big blog post about it once I got home.  I didn’t do so immediately, but at least I’m doing it now.  But first, some background is necessary as to what triggered all this.

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A grand old rant to blow off some steam

I honestly don’t know what your political affiliations or leanings might be.  I can with reasonable safety assume, since I have not yet made this blog terribly public but for a few close friends, you’re here, and I tend to lean more toward socially liberal and foreign-policy realist positions, positions based on research and fact and logic and a fundamental respect for other human beings’ rights to exist, to self-realize, to “pursue happiness”, that you are likely of a similar mind.  I do confess to a certain bewilderment at how anyone, when presented with all the facts of our world’s current state, anyone who’s been paying the least bit of attention to the world stage and all its players, could possibly support the horrible, hobgoblinish policies of the current President of the United States.

Join me below the fold…

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My first blog post.

So, here I am, joining the great unwashed and adding my voice to the choir of basement-dwelling bloggers who still live with their parents.  I might not technically live with my parents, but I guess I’m living with my girlfriend’s mother, even if the arrangement is more like “she’s living with us”.  I do dwell in the basement quite a bit though — that’s where we’ve set up our entertainment centre, excercise room and office area.  My part of the office area is where I play computer games.  My actual office work gets done on my work laptop, which is usually wherever I happen to be, oftentimes in the living room which is not actually in the basement.

All that aside, I haven’t really given much thought to what I want to blog about.  I guess this site will start to come into focus the more I write.  Obviously, I’m going to end up touching on my interests, which include computers and networking (where I make my living), video games (my biggest source of entertainment), and life in general (where the balance of my time ends up between work, gaming and unconsciousness).  I might talk about my relationship with Jodi, though I’ll try to keep it from getting too saccharine or personal.  I might put up recipes, because I enjoy cooking, even if I don’t practice as much as I used to.  I might post pictures for my friends and family to peruse.  I might talk politics, though honestly I know more about the state of US politics moreso than I know about Canadian politics — remember, I’m a particularly lousy Canadian, as the site title implies.  Anyway, it’ll all come in time, I guess.

This is my third or fourth attempt at a blog, in all honesty.  The other ones were self-hosted, with dynamic name servers, so this is my first one where I have my own domain name and an actual hosting company providing the web hosting.  This hosting company, webserve.ca, has a referrer program, which I might join to try to defray the costs of hosting, and if it comes to it, I might even put up some Google ads if it becomes too expensive (read: popular).  At the moment, though, this is just a vanity project, and I’m hoping it’ll allow me to blow off a bit of steam between all of my other obligations.

In the meantime, enjoy your stay.  Feel free to sign up for an account so you can comment on my posts.  Bear in mind, though, that I have to approve any subscribers’ authorization requests.  If I don’t get to your authorization in a timely fashion, feel free to contact me by e-mail — the link should be in the righthand bar.