Pictures, Invites, and Question

Pictures!

This is my entry in the ColorWars reverse-caption contest:

It was warm and sunny this afternoon. Everyone was enjoying it.

It’s amazing what a little work and less than $20 worth of supplies from the hardware store can do to get you more organized. This is my “network closet” (you can’t really see the LAN patch panel, off frame to the right) that also holds all my tools. Previously, all of these hanging things were rattling around in the bottom of a toolbox. If I wanted a particular tool, I would have to dig for it in the box and hope I didn’t catch myself on a saw blade.

Brightkite

I am now on Brightkite. I have officially stopped using Dodgeball. I’ve turned off my Dodgeball notifications and will no longer post there. Brightkite is similar to Dodgeball, but different. A few things that might be of interest to Dodgeball-to-Brightkite refugees:

* The “@placename” style checkin only works if you’ve already set up your own personal place names. Otherwise you have to do “?business” to get a listing, then select 1, 2, 3, etc. to choose the specific one. It’s an extra step, but it does ensure that you’re checking in to the correct place. But you really do want to set up “@placenames” for the places you visit most frequently.
* By default, you only get notifications from people very close to you (within about a block), whether or not they’re friends. If you want more of the Dodgeball feel of what your friends are doing around the city, you need to go to “Account Settings: Notifications” and change the radius to “Area (4000 meters)” and the who to “Friends”.
* I’m temporarily sharing my checkins to my Twitter stream, but may not continue to do this long-term.

I have one extra Brightkite invite if you’d like one. I expect to be getting three more soon. (They keep giving me three invites every so often.)

The Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG)

The Passively Multiplayer Online Game or PMOG is a very interesting diversion and I especially like the steampunk theme it uses. The game itself is played through a toolbar in your web browser as you surf the web. As you visit unique sites (or, at least, unique top level domains), you get datapoints (the form of cash used in the game.) You can then spend that cash on items and equipment. In its simplest form, you can deposit items on pages for other people to pick up or set off. For instance, you can leave a bunch of mines on digg.com and the next person who comes along (that is playing the game) trips those mines and had better have some armor. You can leave a crate of cash and armor. You can also take missions and even create them. In this context, a mission is a path across several web pages with a little bit of narrative text to pull them together. For instance, I made a Sudoku mission last week that took you around to places with rules, strategy, and higher quality daily puzzles. You can think of it as a sort of “user generated content” variant of the good ol’ webring (remember those?), but dynamic and voted upon, so you’ll know which ones are good and which are lame. The missions (and portals, which are like one-website missions) can be sought out and taken–but even nicer is the way you can stumble across a mission. If you visit a web page that is a component of a larger mission, your toolbar will notify you of the mission. I’ve found the mines and armor to be great for shallow surface entertainment, but the serendipitous linkages you get from stumbling across missions is a much more satisfying level of fun. For instance, if I were some player that went to the New York Times daily sudoku puzzle, I’d be informed of a related mission. If I took that mission, I might learn that USA Today also has a decent daily puzzle page, or I might learn about a cool online step-solver (that shows you HOW to arrive at a difficult answer without blatantly jumping you to the final the answer.)

Overall, it’s a fun little diversion. Right now, I’m not actively trying to level-up and earn points and badges. As the game’s name implies, I’m passively playing, and having fun doing so.

If you’re interested, I have several invites.

Veganism?

I know that a number of people reading this are vegetarians. I believe a few are also vegan. My question to you is: why? Why did you go the extra mile from being vegetarian to vegan? As I understand it, for most people, it’s a moral choice–for instance, cows in “factory farms” hooked up to milking machines is arguably not the most humane way to treat them. If this is your reason, though, would you eat milk and cheese from a local farm that you know treats their animals well? Are eggs right out, because they’re going to become baby chickens, or would it be different if they were free-range or if they were from hens you kept yourself?

Posted in: Dear Diary Questions

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