2 private links
If you've visited before, you probably notice that the site looks a little different. Dreamcloud Academy was using MediaWiki to display its front page for the last couple of years. Adventures in self-hosting have taken my MediaWiki instance offline for the time being, so I thought I should have at least something on the front page of the site directing my usual users to the resources the site provides:
- The Dreamcloud Library: Probably what most of my friends are looking for.
- Game Night: Rich's collection of data about our game nights, who runs, what we play, and all of that.
- Dreamcloud Forums: I've created a ProBoard for my friends and I to chat on, if anyone decides they are interested. This is not hosted on my personal server, but is a 3rd party service. The forum is only visible to signed in members, and you can choose to create an account to be granted access.
- Hidden Features: There are other bits of HTML scattered about the server, but probably nothing anyone cares about. If you have old links to them, they should still work fine.
I do hope to get the server all tidied up again in the near future. Sorry for the mess.
Your local webmaster, Benjamin R. Terry
The internet is full of cool stuff, and here you can see some of the things I've stumbled across and maybe find them interesting yourself. I'll be using this as something between "My bookmarks, but documented" and something more ephemeral in the "Oh, this struck me as interesting today" sort of way. You'll see that I try to tag each of my entries and you can click on those tags to see only entries tagged to that category. You'll also see an RSS icon in the upper right corner where you can subscribe to my blog via RSS. You can even click on a tag, then click on the RSS icon to get a feed of only my entries tagged with the tag you are interested in. This is all being done with a software package called Shaarli, originally inspired to be an open source alternative to the old social bookmark sharing site del.icio.us, but now being quite a bit more than that.
Who am I?
I'm just a Gen X guy from mid-Michigan. I work in IT for a local health system. For fun I like to play role-playing games and guitar. I'm also generally into tech, open source, and DIY in general. If you want to see more about me, feel free to visit my Home Page
Physical fitness! There are a lot of fads and trends in this area. Both calisthenics and power lifting with some conditioning strike me as solid fitness routes to take. Personally I lean towards calisthenics because there is less equipment required, and I have a slight fear of injury from doing something wrong with the power lifting. Anyways, Hybrid Calisthenics is a site by Hampton, a friendly fitness YouTuber. His YouTube channel is great and to the point. His site here is also useful. The general idea behind this fitness program is to perform Pull-ups, Push-ups, Squats, Bridges, Twists and now Leg Raises. Each of these movements comes with a bunch of easier and more difficult variations. So, you choose a variation for each of these categories of movements and perform the listed number of repetitions. If you can't perform the repetitions, you choose an easier variation of the same movement until you can. The plan, then, is that you do these exercises, increase repetitions until you can handle the next more difficult variation of any particular movement, and you just keep trying to progress. The basic idea here I believe is taken from the book Convict Conditioning, but Hampton is a much friendlier guy who keeps all of the progressions realistic.
Mr. Money Mustache is all about the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement and how to arrange your finances to get the most out of them. Like health, people can end up in all kinds of financial situations for reasons both inside and outside their control, but regardless of the reasons there are steps you can take to improve where you are at. I found his general philosophy to be refreshing and hopeful. I see people who make over twice what I make still in precarious financial positions. I see Mr. Money Mustache's habits and see a lot of ways I am still more wasteful with my money than I'd like to be. Basically, this blog contains the kind of financial education it'd be great for every adult to have before we all start messing it up. Good stuff.
PortableApps.com is a cool site that was originally designed as an app to load up a bunch of useful Windows programs on a USB drive. The "Portable" bit is that these apps are fully self contained and can run right off a USB stick (or anything else, really) without needing to install them. This means you can use them with someone else's computer, or a work computer, or just wherever without needing install permissions. There are over 400 applications available, and PortableApps makes it easy to check the ones you want and also to keep them updated, and the app even has its own little "Start Menu" for accessing the programs. Everything from LibreOffice to Thunderbird, to network utilities, password stores, games... too much to list. Perfect if you ever find yourself needing a particular app, but you have to use someone else's computer, or if you are providing tech support you may find a USB drive with some helpful utilities a great thing to have on hand.
Chronocrash is the home community for the OpenBOR engine and downloading OpenBOR games. They also have forums relating to MUGEN. OpenBOR is an engine for creating 2d side-scrolling games, with most games created for it being in the Beat'em-up genre. Many of the games created by the community have made their way into various game collections due to their quality. The engine is open and free to use, and is a solid option for anyone interested in making their own 2d game that falls in the beat'em-up, fight game, or general side-scroller area of genres.
Adventure Game Studio is a free game engine that can be used to create your own point-n-click style adventure games, ala Myst, King's Quest, Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max, etc. While the AGS program itself is only for Windows, it is capable of creating games that can also run on other platforms. It has been used to create retail games, such as Gemini Rue, Resonance and the Blackwell games. It was also used to re-master some classic adventure games such as King's Quest 1 & 2. It has its own community that creates a number of interesting indie games that are released for free. A solid engine option for someone looking to create their own adventure games. Also just interesting for the games community members make.
This is an excellent series of 3 articles about constructing a "Sandbox" style campaign in the Supers genre. Traditionally sandbox games are done in a "Hex Crawl" style in Dungeons & Dragons or old school fantasy games more broadly, and sometimes they are done in Sci-Fi as well, such as in Traveller across sub-sector maps and so on. This series takes a look at how you can seed a city in sandbox style. I could see it being applicable to any campaigns centered on a particular urban location, super hero or not.
- Part 1: Mapping a city and determining the local trouble-makers.
- Part 2: What's going on in each neighborhood tonight?
- Part 3: Big events going on city-wide.
The articles seem to take some inspiration from "Night in Gotham", a supplement for 1st edition DC Heroes, and possibly a bit from "New York, New York", a supplement for TSR's Marvel Super Heroes Basic Set as well.
"Here’s a question: if your players asked for a campaign of politics, deception, and intrigue, what rules system would you use?" - This excellent article delves into RPG rules and how they influence the feel of a campaign at the table. In this case, the use of early Boot Hill, a game that is little more than some rules for gun fights, used as the rules underpinning a wide-ranging campaign about the politics and intrigue surrounding a small western town. While sometimes the fun in an RPG is using the rules, what if sometimes the winning move is to avoid activating the rules so characters can more reliably achieve their aims by other means? Good stuff!