Stone of Remembrance

April 26, 2006

The pervasive Mr. Raymond

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 17:01

Well, he’s made it into the mainstream print media. In an opinion piece in the Economist for April 22-28, 2006 about the ‘new media’ on the tube and online, the author concludes with the following words: “To regret the glorious fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the cathedral over the din of the bazaar.” (Note that you might or might not be able to view this article online, but it appears on Page 14 of the current print issue.)

He’s everywhere you look, folks . . . It really is all about Eric Raymond. :-)

Evil Overlords

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 08:35

My buddy and Masonic brother Slet sent me a number of links, a few of which will probably make it to the blogroll; but this one is certainly worth your time. All evil overlords in training should study this carefully. Those of us who are already evil overlords have been well versed in these principles, of course :-)

Walter.

April 25, 2006

Alliance Seminars

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 09:48

While I’m unable to go this year, I have recently been a speaker at a career day at Laurel High School in Maryland. I received an e-mail from Mr. Darrell Williams on behalf of Alliance Seminars, a group that provides speakers for such activities. If your group works through this organization and you’d like to have me in to speak, please contact me.

April 23, 2006

Shotgun

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 23:42

Everybody wants to ride shotgun. Apparently there are rules for this, found here. Some of it is just plain silly, but the whole idea is infused with a sort of uniquely American silliness, so I suppose it’s just been taken to its logical conclusion. Thanks to a reader for this link.

Walter.

April 22, 2006

SonicWall Fun

Filed under: Commentary, Writing — admin @ 21:00

I noticed this some time ago when I was trying to check my e-mail on the free wireless at Panera and found that my website, walterhunt.com, was rated as Cult/Occult. Can’t help but smile at that. If I had achieved cult status, you’d think that my sales would be better.

In any case, my webmaster has recently submitted a request for review and re-rating and we have been changed to the category Arts/Entertainment. 1-3 business days, and then folks trying to view my site at Panera (and most other publically-accessible internet sites) – millions of them across the world, I’m sure – will be able to do so without restriction.

I did a little poking around at the Sonicwall site and discovered that they have a content filtering product used by Panera and other such commercial providers. My primary concern here is that we got tagged as occult – likely because of my Masonic connection, mentioned on the site – and would have remained that way without the request for review and evaluation. What’s more, it seems to me that anyone can make a similar request and I can be messed around with.

I’m a little concerned about this situation, as I know very little about how SonicWall does its thing. Does anyone have any input on this practice? I can’t be the only one affected.

April 21, 2006

Gathering of Friends 2006 – in Brief

Filed under: Games, Travel — admin @ 10:21

I’m going to make comments on specific games I played that I liked, but here’s a brief listing. The authoritative source on all things Eurogaming is of course BoardgameGeek, so take a look there for more info.

Played and liked: Antike (Eggert-Spiele), Augsburg 1520 (Alea), Commands and Colors: Ancients (GMT), Fiji (2F-Spiele), Hart an der Grenze (Kosmos), John Silver (Eggert-Spiele), Ostia (Phalanx), Thurn und Taxis (Hans im Glück), Ticket to Ride: Märklin (Days of Wonder).

Played and could take or leave: Aquädukt (Schmidt), Aton (Queen), California (Abacus), Cash & Guns (Z-Man), Cleopatra and the Society of Architects (Days of Wonder), Euphrates & Tigris card game (Hans im Glück), Jericho (Abacus), Mission Planete Rouge (Asmodée).

Played and didn’t like much: Diabolo (Amigo), Dolmengötter (Eggert-Spiele), Mauerbauer (Hans im Glück), Um Krone und Kragen (Amigo).

Special category: Caylus (Ystari) – I went from intense dislike to merely dislike. This is the trendy “gamer’s game” pick of Eurogamer cognoscenti. Enjoy it; I played it once and despised it as too many things going on with no sense of what to do. The second play was better but clearly the same sort of problem for me. I think I’ve had about all of the Caylus I’m going to play; like Knizia’s Samurai and the completely baffling Paris, Paris it’s a game I’m not interested in wasting time on again.

Favorite games of the Gathering:

  • Thurn and Taxis for lightweight strategy; it’s about the level of Web of Power, and worth having on the shelf. There’s some strategy, but there’s also some luck in what cards come up.
  • Hart an der Grenze for the components: your “suitcase” is a little metal box – it would be a far less cute game without it, but it’s the sort of game you want to pick up when Adam Spielt has a closeout sale, since those boxes make the game expensive.
  • Augsburg 1520 for involved strategy. It’s fairly short and there is some luck (what bidding cards you get, what favors get put on the table), but it’ll be a good game to play with the Puerto Rico and Taj Mahal crowd.
  • John Silver for pure fun. There’s so little to it: a deck of cards and a layout with little stand-up characters. There are three things you can acquire: coins, black scrolls, and apples. Coins go to you; black scrolls go to you but are a penalty; and coins pass to the person on your left. So the idea is to acquire coins, drop black marks on others, and place apples with the person on your right. It’s not complex, but there’s some depth – and if you play it you’ll want to play it again.
  • More as I have time.

    Walter.

April 19, 2006

Walter Hunt Newsletter 3.3

Filed under: Commentary, Writing — admin @ 22:08

I’ve just posted the 3.3 edition of my newsletter. It can always be found at the main newsletter page of my site.

Walter.

This into that

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:01

A reader pointed me at a site called This Into That, a gallery of a furniture designer whose work consists of books stuck together to form furniture. “I wish he was affordable,” the reader told me.

I found it repulsive. I know, it’s a way of making use of old books, but as I told the reader in IM, this poked directly at my upbringing. I am (on one side) first-generation American – my mom emigrated from Italy in 1930 – and on the other, poor working-class. Books were sacred in the house I grew up in. My Aunt Val objected to books being placed on the floor; she was an elementary school teacher and used to say, “Books are our friends.” Sappy, I know.

It reminded me of wealthy folks who select fine books for their color or binding, so they can have them glued into place on shelves for the visual effect. They’ve stopped being books then, which kind of flies in the face of their whole purpose. When I visited the Adams house in Quincy, Massachusetts, part of the tour my daughter and I took was to see the library – a separate, fireproof building filled with the books that the Adams family prized. The only problem was that most of them are fragile now and can’t be touched or looked at. What a shame. I would have liked to look at them – not as objects, but as windows into the knowledge that John Quincy Adams and his family loved to acquire.

I love books. Always have. It’s part of my upbringing – both parents were readers. Reading leads to writing; that leads to more reading. Making books into inanimate objects such as chairs and shelves bothers me. I bear no ill will to Mr. Jim Rosenau and wish him the best of luck, but none of his work will come to my house even if I can afford it.

April 18, 2006

Gaming with esr

Filed under: Games, Travel — admin @ 21:10

I’ve spent the last few days (since leaving the Gathering of Friends in Ohio) with Eric Raymond, the guy whose picture would appear in the dictionary next to the word “hacker”. We’ve tried out Richard Borg’s excellent Commands and Colors: Ancients and the new Alan Moon Ticket To Ride game (themed around Märklin HO trains). Today we sat down to play one of my all-time favorites, Avalon Hill’s Merchant of Venus, a late 1980s gem about trading commodities on a randomly set up board.

So. I beat him. A couple of turns more and he would have won (first time with a complex game that most Eurogamers would sniff at as too fiddly) but I won, damn it.

I believe I get the credit for introducing Eric to Puerto Rico among other games; so as long as he plays things that I’m good at that he never tries, I should be all right.

This evening we’re working to put together some notes for a tactical space combat simulation based on my own novels, about which I expect to say more when I have more to say.

Welcome Aboard

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:08

After some effort and help from an übergeek friend, I’m online with a blog. I intend to share information about my writing, render opinions on matters of import, and respond to slings and arrows when necessary.

Hope you enjoy.

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