Computers, Games, Linux, Personal, Software



Just finished reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. The book follows the story of a group of friends that went to Princeton together in the late 30’s, and later split up as the world became at war. The United States invested in technology, and turned Bletchley Field into a cryptographic powerhouse, resulting in the invention of the world’s first digital computer. This computer aided in the cracking of Enigma, Azure/Pufferfish, and Arethusa codes from World War II.

The book also parallels this main story with the more current events of a team developing a new cryptographic system in Manila. The stumble upon some of the same problems that existed in World War II, and end up uncovering a huge secret hidden by Japan towards the end of the war.

Unfortunately, the World War II story is infinitely more exciting than the present day story. The only interest in the modern day story was the author’s detailed and accurate descriptions of Randy’s UNIX and Finnux machine commands. All of the classic utilities get a shoutout, including, “grep”, “cat”, “ssh”, “telnet”, etc. The author interpolated these chapters resulting in mixed the emotions of adrenaline and boredom.

I finally finished though, and I do recommend the book to anyone intersted in computing, cryptography, or WWII.

Grand Theft Auto IV:

In other news, I think that my love for Grand Theft Auto IV is coming to an end. Its not that I beat the game, as much as I am done with the game. I got my fill in other words – the plot isn’t compelling at all (I am not sure if there is a plot), and failing missions is too punitive. I don’t want to have to drive for twenty minutes to get back to the spot to replay the mission…

I am also postponing my GameFly account at the end of the month, so that I can get a chance to play Resistance 2, and Dead Space without feeling like I am burning money buy not playing my rented game.


And finally, we have decided to setup a secondary queue in Netflix so that my movie selections don’t wait two years for their turn to be shipped. Within a few months, hopefully I will be caught up with the most significant releases of late, and I will be able to actively participate in conversations about movies!

Computers, Games, Software, Thoughts

For all the Gamers out There…

With my brother moved into his new place, I took the opportunity this weekend to salvage what I could of my PC game collection. After Kristin and I sorted out cases, discs, and instruction booklets I stuffed everything I enjoyed into my car and took it home with me. I am still irked about a few things – some games missing, a few discs broken, my Max Payne 2 manual used as a coaster?!… but all in all I think I got most of it back in good condition.

For all you gamers out there, the following games in my collection brought back some sweet memories I wanted to share with you folks. Here are my favorites:

Age of Empires II

Age of Empires (II and III) – probably one of the best RTS games out there. I am a closet history fan, and being able to ascend into power as Joan of Arc (AoE: II), or fight Indians in General Custer’s last stand (AoE: III Warchiefs) is a wet dream. If you enjoy RTS games, check this out.


Call of Duty

Call of Duty – a breath of fresh air into a stale genre of WWII FPS games. I remember hearing Wendy play this and thinking “how many damn bullets have to be fired before she wins…”. The answer is a LOT. By the way, Call of Duty is Infinity Ward’s craft, so I don’t acknowledge CoD: III, or the new release: CoD: World at War.


Max Payne

May Payne – a “game noir” (and now a major motion picture). A compelling story, and excellent gameplay makes Max Payne (I and II) stand out among other FPS’. I still have the mousepad from preordering the first game when it came out back in 2001.


Command and Conquer

Command and Conquer – the jewel case reads “Windows 95” as in compatible – since Windows 3.1 was still king when it came out. I have them all, and love them all (except Tiberium Sun, and Renegade).


No One Lives Forever

No One Lives Forever – Think “Get Smart” in video game form. This game follows the stories of two organizations – Harm and Unity. You play as Agent Cate Archer and experience some of the most ridiculous moments in any video game. The highlight has to be the trailing a ninja to a trailer park and fighting in a double-wide inside of a tornado.


Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

Prince of Persia – I think “The Sands of Time” is one of the best platform games ever made. I never really gave PoP a chance (it has been around since SNES) until this game. Getting to play it on PC meant a resolution 2-3 times that of consoles, and the precision of a mouse.



Homeworld- A beautifully laid out game in which you play as the last remaining people of a planet that was destroyed because you violated an ancient Hyperspace treaty. You amass forces and strike back in a beautifully set space RTS. My brother picked this up from a CompUSA (yeah – that old) and I was instantly hooked.


Dawn of War

Dawn of War – My introduction into the Warhammer universe. I had always heard of the tabletop version, but THQ did such an amazing job of bringing this into a story driven RTS that I was digitally hooked. Space Marines are just f*$%&@! awesome!