Write more, draw more

jon

So it turns out that I rarely update this blog – no different to most people’s blogs then. It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity though, so I’m going to strive to put some life into this website*. I mean, I enjoy writing and yet, outside of sending people emails, I rarely do any writing. Crazy.

Another thing I also don’t do a lot of is drawing – something I could easily spend an hour or two doing when I was younger (mostly of Sonic the Hedgehog, but that’s beside the point).

So this afternoon I decided to dust off my pen and paper and have a crack at drawing a cartoon version of myself – and the avatar you see for this post is the result. Not too bad I think, given that its been a while since I’ve done any drawing – I usually open Photoshop to do no more than, say, crop and resize images. Doing something genuinely a little arty feels like quite the novelty.

Yes, there’s some artistic licence perhaps… my beard isn’t quite as complete as that, for one thing.

You know what though? There’s something satisfying about colouring stuff in. I suppose flood-filling with Photoshop’s paintbucket isn’t quite the same, but there’s satisfaction to be had nevertheless. Incidentally I forgot to turn on the “Proof Colours” option in Photoshop (why isn’t it on by default?), so the colours have a bit more pop than I expected – I like it though and there’s nothing wrong with a bit more zing.

* Usually blog posts about intending to update more are a precursor to quite the opposite, but I’m feeling optimistic so let’s see what happens.

Therac-25

I find reading about real-life incidents involving software bugs to be very interesting; albeit often very sad and tragic for the innocent people involved or affected by the bugs. Today I was reading Reddit and came across a story relating to Therac-25 radiation therapy, in which a rare race condition could lead to an interlock failing, the consequences of which were very serious:

“The high-powered electron beam struck the patients with approximately 100 times the intended dose of radiation, delivering a potentially lethal dose of beta radiation”

In my line of work a race condition typically means part of a user-interface won’t work correctly; inadvertently over-radiating someone by an order of magnitude is shocking. You can read more about Therac-25 on Wikipedia, along with the root causes of the software bug.

Granted this happened in the mid-1980s but it’s stories like these that still make me a little wary about some aspects of technology.

Tsuro of the Seas

So my previous post was on the board game Tsuro and it just so happens that this week’s episode of Table Top features the sequel, Tsuro of the Seas. The thing is… I’m not convinced it looks that fun to play. I’m don’t see why a perfectly good game needed to have a bunch of randomness added to it… the fact that the tiles you get dealt is down to chance is more than enough randomness for this game.

Tsuro

My brother gave me Tsuro for Christmas, a beautiful tile based board game in which you play flying dragons. The aim is to navigate yourself using the paths on the tiles, such that you don’t leave the board’s confines or collide with anyone else; the last person still in play wins.

Tsuro

Tsuro is a game that’s both quick to learn and play, which I think would make it a good addition to most board game collections. After all, not everyone has the time or patience to get to grips with more involved games. For instance another game that I own, “Small World”, might be considered a light-weight strategy game but I find the initial setup to be boring due to all the little pieces (and so many of them). With Tsuro you can be up and running within minutes and even a slow game won’t stretch beyond twenty minutes.

I’ve only played a few games of Tsuro so far, but the best strategy to me seems to be to try and keep out of everyone else’s way, in the hope that they’ll sort each other out. The games are always very tight though, with it typically coming down to the last few tiles – by the end of the game your options for laying paths are limited, with most routes leading you off the board.

If you want to see the game in action check out these episodes of TableTop and Watch It Played: