Blabberbox:Random blog-like posts from pftq.Share on Twitter

Back and Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2007 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Woot! Made it home in one piece! :D

Happy New Year all!

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Planet Bob

January 1st, 2007 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
   “Sorry,” I said quickly.  “We’re lost and don’t mean to intrude on your property.”

   “No problems at all!” the man exclaimed cheerfully.  “We’re always glad to take in guests and newcomers.  Please, come in!”

   Once inside, he took off his hat and bowed rather lowly at us.  It took me a while, but I suddenly realized he was touching his toes.  I was about to ask what he was doing when he quickly stood and put out his hand.

   “My name...[More]
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Coffee

December 28th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
         Just bored here while the rest of the family is napping after the long drive.   My sister next to me was trying to drink a cup of coffee but spat it back out after the first sip.   Then she goes again to try and drink it, only to spit it back out not much later.

         I don't know why she bothers.   Coffee is  so disgusting.   It's this brown, murky substance that, had it been anywhere else besides a cup that said "Drink", no one would consider drinking.   It doesn't taste or smell good, and it certainly doesn't look appealing.   People try to deny this, but notice that people who drink it often have it mixed heavily with sugar or cream -  to hide the fact that it's so nasty.

         Some people claim that they need the coffee to wake up; they need the caffeine.   So wait, let me get this straight.   They drink the coffee for the caffeine - which makes them high and wide awake.   Wouldn't that be the same as taking drugs? So drinking coffee is like taking drugs - makes you high and lets you "wake up" (although after it wears off, you feel dead-tired).   Why not just take a couple of caffeine pills every morning...   much cheaper too.

         Bleh - you won't ever find me drinking coffee! :p
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Off for the Winter...

December 27th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Winter break now obviously - can’t stay home the whole two weeks. :-/   I’m going to be off again - will probably be back Tuesday or Wednesday next week.   I have no clue where I’m going - just another random road trip.   Hopefully not as boring as the last.

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Fort Wars Ladder

December 24th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        It turns out Elpea’s old ladder for Fort Wars has ALWAYS worked.   We were working on an XML version for NOTHING. :( All we needed was to add &sFlags=0 to the address we were using. Argh!

        Now splitting it so that we have an expansion and non-expansion version… Would be perfect to release on Christmas XD

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House with Christmas Lights

December 22nd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Hello all - merry christmas!

Here’s just something you have to have seen at least once, if you haven’t already.   I found it about a year ago - still very cool.

House Lights Synced with Music

Someone synced a ton of christmas lights on there house with “Wizards in Winter” music in the background.   I believe his name was Carson Williams and he does it every year.   Course the music is on radio station, not speakers (or he’d be hated by his neighbors lol ).

Yes it’s real - not video-editted or anything.   Heck it was on the news - here’s a snopes article  (they look into “urban legends”) if you need all the proof.

If you haven’t seen this yet - shame on you! Enjoy!

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Web Design Resources

December 9th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #

Learning to web design from the ground up...

  This site was my first real attempt ever at coding a website from scratch. I started this with absolutely no clue as to what I was doing, and to be honest, I still don't really know what I'm doing.
  For those wondering, I use nothing but a simple text editor to type all my code - type the code, yes. You really can't "program" your site if you're using a click-and-drag interface. At most, I'd use Notepad2, which is the same as Notepad on Windows except with highlighting. Anything extra is cumbersome.
  The following are tutorial and resource sites in the order I found them. This site wouldn't be here if I didn't manage to find these. If you're just starting web design, you might want to bookmark a few of these.  Once you're done with those and want to learn actual programming...[More]
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Jelly Pickle

December 8th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Something random I found.   Props if you can figure this out. :o

Jelly Pickle

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Three Drives

December 6th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Three Drives by Man With No Name
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Figured Out XML Parsing!

December 5th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Woot! Finally figured out how to parse XML with PHP.   Hopefully the Fort Wars ranking system (power rating/cuetech/whatever) will be up pretty soon! Big thanks to Elpea for helping me out here - and letting me bug him to death and figure this out. :p

        For starters, I’ve set up an easier to read version of Ensemble Studios played games feeds: Game List

        Dynamic too! Just change the number in the URL.

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Interview

December 3rd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
        Got an interview a while ago by Riot at AOE3Files. Was a lot longer than I thought it would be.   Basically they were interviewing me for designing for Age of Empires III.

Here it is for those interested: AOE3Files Interviews pftq

        Never had an interview before...
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Complaints on Fort Wars

November 26th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        I’ve read and received various complaints on the recently released Fort Wars map.   Some complaints are valid but many of them really hold no weight at all.   These are some that I have seen or received.

In this version, computer players don’t select their spawn and get units.

        First off, Fort Wars is a multiplayer map.     Fort Wars has never been meant for playing against computer players.   Even if they could spawn units, they would not be upgrading, buying, or using awards.   Play online please.   Is it not much more fun with human players in any case?

The store island needs more testing and does not work.   I move units to the tower and nothing happens.

        I was watching this guy play when he said it.   (We were allies).   He was trying to buy Super Speed (costs 40 coin) and he had less than 25 (he could only spawn pikes, grenadiers etc).   It works.   You just cannot afford it.   Please learn to play.

        In another case, some other person claimed he could not buy units that he could afford.   His base had masses of units and when asked what population he had, he replied “105/100“.   Hmm….

A lot of things that worked before  do not work.

        Nothing has changed from the previous versions except the additions of the new content from the expansion pack.   You cannot say that things that used to work do not work - it is the same code.

This version sucks.   Aztecs are too weak.

        The whole version sucks because one civilization is too weak.   I mean there’s only 11 other civilizations you can play…

Aztecs are OP (Overpowered).

        They are  a blind civilization  - a weakness suggested by some random player I now regret.   I’m not even going to explain why they aren’t OP.

Previous versions were better.   Now all the civilizations are too plain and  have no bonuses.

        The civilization bonuses from previous versions are exactly the same.   French is actually better now with all cavalry receiving HP bonuses instead of just one.   Sioux get speed upgrades for all units every 50 kills.   Perhaps you mean Iroquois and/or Aztec, but then that is not all civilizations now is it?

 

Maybe  I should add these to the FAQ, but seriously this is just common sense…

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New Avatar-Image

November 13th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Just created this a few minutes ago.   Not sure just what it’s supposed to be.   I meant to make it for the guestbook background but it doesn’t really fit at the moment.   Still it looks pretty cool.

What you guys think?

Random Avatar-Image

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More Space For Site!

November 2nd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        I just found out today that my host has upgraded the service from a previous 20 GB webspace with 300 GB bandwidth… to 200 GB webspace and 2 TB (2000 GB) bandwidth! :O Best part is I don’t have to upgrade my plan or anything - it’s already done.   I’m definitely not hitting that limit any time soon. :p I’m still only using one GB of webspace.

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AOE3: Tech IDs Collected

October 30th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Elpea has finished finding all the tech ids.   I’ve also found some pretty interesting new techs as well.   Maps are coming! :D

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AOE3: The Warchiefs

October 21st, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Okay I’ve just gotten the game today, and it looks somewhat promising.   A few noticable problems come up pretty quick though.   Quicksearch at the moment doesn’t work well - every game goes out of sync.   Another problem is somehow most custom maps have gone crazy so that’s going to take some looking into.   I’ll have to try playing again later.

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Internet Explorer 7

October 20th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Got a message/button on my Yahoo Toolbar that now says “Get IE7 now!” So I went and got it.   The install took nearly half an hour to complete on my 3.2 GHz P4 and 2GB RAM PC :-/.   Well it must be worth it if it took that long to install.

        I opened it up, and it went pretty smooth.   The whole layout has changed and my Home page set to Yahoo and News. <_< Next thing I notice is that it still says “Get IE7 now!” Well I got it now go away! >_< Also it looks like the designers went for too high a resolution.   The text appears very faded and stretched on 1024×768 but looks nice and sharp on higher resolutions - BUT THEN IT’S TOO SMALL! :(

        Another thing is the Zoom.   It’s somewhat pointless in my opinion.   Ctrl+Scroll now changes the zoom instead of text size.   What it does is basically collapse the entire page and force it into a smaller/large box.   This ruins the page’s layout and doesn’t necessarily scale right at all.   It also doesn’t center on the page and you end up looking toward the corner of the browser.

        I think I’ve mentioned this above but the layout really changed.   The Home button is now a tiny little icon in the corner and the Favorites are under another button on the other corner.   The Home icon I can get used to I guess, but the Favorites is kind of slow and annoying - you can’t just click, point point and click.   It goes click, wait, click, wait, click.

        The old Menu Toolbar is gone (File - Edit - View - Favorites - Tools - Help).   However, it looks the Alt command got left in.   Just hit Alt on your keyboard and it should show up under the address bar - pretty ugly now but it works.   You can set it to stay permanent by going to View > Toolbars and selecting Menu Toolbar.

        Finally FTP no longer works for IE.   I guess they  forgot about it or something.   However, this isn’t too bad as you can simply open  up Windows Explorer (open up a folder on your computer) and type the ftp address directly into the addressbar there.  

        The good thing is though - it’ll be alot easier to design the site :P It supports alot more codes now and isn’t as buggy (at least website-wise).

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1. Signs - Wooden Signs

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   I gazed out the window into the stillness of the cool, summer night.  Not a single star stood in the sky, but there hung a beautiful aurora, with hues of green and purple, lighting the sky up and leaving a colorful glow on all the neighborhood.
~
   The last time I had seen such an aurora since when I was really little; in fact, I believe the last time I saw one was the night my parents disappeared.  I had been sitting at this exact same window that night.  There had been an aurora similar to this, just as magnificent and just as beautiful.  I was the only one awake.  Everyone else had been asleep.  I ached to wake somebody to show them the aurora, which there had never been one before in our town, but the aurora put me into a deep trance.  I felt as if I had not a worry in the world, as if I had reached a form of enlightenment, as if I were in a dream.
   I must have fallen asleep while watching it that night, for I recall my younger sister shaking me and waking me up.  Somehow I was on the floor and I felt rather awkward, but that didn’t matter at the time.  My sister whispered to me that she heard someone slam the front door.
   At first I thought it was a joke.  I asked if she told Mom and Dad about it.  She said she didn’t find them in their room, and came upstairs to my room to wake me.  I told her that it must have been our parents leaving the house then, but she replied that she thinks they had been kidnapped.  I laughed; usually it’s the kids who get kidnapped, not the parents.  We woke my little brother, who was about the same age as my sister, and went to search the house.  I realized then that she was right about Mom and Dad being gone, but I didn’t think they were kidnapped.
   “Maybe they went outside to watch the aurora,” I suggested.
   “What aurora?” my brother asked.
   I went up to my room and pointed out the window, but the aurora had disappeared.  The sky was hideously dark; the stars were still gone.  A few dogs barked in the distance.  From that night on, we never saw our parents again.  They were proclaimed missing, and my sister, my younger brother (who was asleep at the time), and I were sent to an orphanage until we reached legal age to own the house.
~
   I was twenty-one now.  My sister had gone to live on the other side of the town, partly because of her job as a veterinarian, but also due to her belief that the house was now haunted.  She wanted to stay as far away from it as possible.  I thought she was crazy; she had always been superstitious like that.
   My younger brother, on the other hand, wanted to see more of the world, and so he left the city.  It wasn’t very easy either.  The roads to the city had been under construction for as long as I could remember.  There was no airport here, but the town was near the ocean where one could travel by sea.  He used up about half the savings from our parents to travel on a ship.  To where, he would not tell us.
   For me, I stayed in the old house, and it was fine.  I had been living in it for a few months already; I haven’t noticed anything strange or out of the ordinary.  There were a few things that needed fixing or replacing in the ten or so years that had passed, but otherwise it was great.
   I continued watching the aurora, slowly drifting in the sky.  The night was incredibly silent.  I tapped the windowsill and pinched myself to ensure I was awake.
   Something caught my eye right that moment.  A bright white speck of light was drifting downward within the aurora.  Had I not been looking at that very spot right that moment, I doubt I would have seen it, hidden among the aurora.  I gripped the wood of the window so tight that a small splinter of wood went up my right thumb.  I watched as the tiny ball of light slowly sank behind the hills in the distance and vanished, as if it never existed.
   There was a sudden flash.  My vision went white for a second, but I must have imagined it.  The whole time, there was not a single sound to be heard.  The air was still without even the slightest breeze.  No dogs barked.  No cats meowed.  No cars screeched in the distance.  I don’t recall seeing anyone driving any cars, or anyone at all.
   Slowly but surely, the aurora started to dim.  The shine left the houses, leaving them gray and dull.  The sky went pitch black.  A few dogs barked from somewhere in the neighborhood.  Just like that, the aurora vanished.
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2. Ketchup

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   The next day, I forgot all about the aurora.  I drove down to the nearby store to buy more food.  I had run out of milk, juice, eggs, bread, meat, and ketchup five days ago, but all this time I had been procrastinating, thinking I could last just a little bit longer, until the ketchup ran out.  That I cannot live without.  Let the milk run out.  I don’t care.  Let the juice run out.  I don’t care.  Let there be drought and the water run out.  I do care, but not that much.  Let the ketchup run out.  No.  One must have a good diet of fruits and vegetables everyday in order to live a healthy life!
   There I was gathering things into my cart at the store.  I was a tad furious for having my breakfast ruined like so.  I passed by the dairy aisle and looked for a carton of eggs.  There were numerous three packs for the price of a dozen, but no dozens.  I asked a nearby employee what had happened.
   “Oh we don’t sell eggs at a dozen anymore,” he declared proudly.  “We do not see a reason to.  Do you realize how valuable one egg can actually be? It is only now that you shall all learn to take eggs more seriously.  Besides, all the stores are doing it.”
   I didn’t feel like arguing, so I just grabbed a few three-packs and went on.  My day had gone off to a rather horrible start.  It just might be that this would be one of the most memorable days in my memory for years to come.  First the ketchup, then breakfast can’t be had, then eggs are sold four times more expensive…
   I sank so deep into my thoughts, I didn’t see in front of me, the guy in a green suit walking toward me, wearing three caps on his head, each one pointing in a different direction, each one a different color of red, blue, and yellow.  I did not see him suddenly act sly and suspicious and sneak behind me.  It took me a several minutes to realize the man was behind me shouting random words for all he was worth.
   “HEY!”
   “BOO!”
   “HAH!”
   “JELLY PICKLE!”
   “Goddamn it, can’t you hear me . . . BLAH!”
   It was Sam Pete, a friend of mine I had known for only about a year and he was already starting to freak me out.  I figure in this world, there are a number of ways people can be weird.  Some people are mildly and acceptably weird – the kind of weird that makes everyone unique.  Some people are so weird, they aren’t even human anymore.  Others purposely do weird things to make the world more interesting, a good kind of weird.  Sam was none of these.
   I turned around and stared at him for a second.  “You sound like an idiot.  What do you want?”
   “I wouldn’t be sounding like one if you would turn around! What are you deaf?” he muttered.  “I had been yelling right into your ear for two minutes!”
   “You look like an idiot as well,” I grumbled.
   I wasn’t kidding either.  How often did you see a man in a bright green suit, wearing three caps of red, blue, and yellow? His shoes were pink with orange shoelaces.  Over one hand, he had on a purple glove; the other wore a disposable pale-yellow glove.  To top it off, he wore a pair of shiny white sunglasses . . . in the store.  Even for Sam Pete, this was pretty bizarre.
   “Really? That’s very good!” he exclaimed, as if he had been worrying whether or not he looked retarded enough.  “Listen, meet me at the library at one o’ clock.  This is very serious!”
   “What’s so important?”
   “I can’t tell you right now,” he murmured.  “Just make sure you come!”
   “Okay sure,” I replied, grabbing my cart to continue my search for ketchup.
   Sensing I wasn’t taking him seriously, Sam grabbed a nearby beer bottle and shattered it on the back of his head.  “Come tonight or someone is going to die! And you don’t want that on your conscience for the rest of your life!”
   He held the broken bottle threateningly across his bleeding forehead.  He was shaking rather too nervously.
   “Fine! I’ll come! Just fix yourself up a bit,” I said.  I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but I seriously did not want to be the reason for someone’s suicide.
   A feeble smile forced itself upon Sam’s face.  He grabbed my hand and stuffed something hard, cold, and round into it.
   “Keep this with you at all times,” he stammered, the smile still forcibly latched onto his face. “Trust me you’ll need it.”
   With that, he spun around and hurried away.  I glanced down to see what he had given me.  It was a slightly faded-green, egg-shaped object with the most peculiar, shiny teal latch stuck sloppily atop of it.  Sam had given me a home-made grenade.
   Not wanting to be caught in a store, hand outstretched with a possibly dangerous explosive device, right in the middle of a busy aisle, I quickly stuffed it into my coat pocket.  Several people gazed suspiciously at me.  An old woman took off as fast as she could toward the front of the store when I glanced at her.
   I should probably get moving, I thought to myself and hurried toward the front of the store as well, keeping my gaze down to avoid eye contact with anyone.  I must have looked like I was pursuing the old woman or something, for she let out a horrifying scream.  I stopped immediately to see what was going on, and the next thing I knew, someone threw a giant potato at me.  It knocked me square in the face, and before I could regain myself, one of the employees ran me over with a shopping cart.  Are they trying to get the grenade to explode?
   I was sure how I was going to get out of that situation.  They grabbed my hair, my ear, and someone pulled at my nose and yanked me down to the floor.  A man helped tear off my jacket and reached into the pocket I had stuffed Sam’s grenade in.
   “Oh my god! It’s a bomb!” he cried out, as if he wasn’t expecting anything dangerous, after I had been hit in the head by a potato, run over by a shopping cart, and yanked down by the nose.  He literally tossed it to one of the employees, who eyed it carefully for a moment.
   “False alarm people!” he exclaimed.  “It’s just a toy!”
   There were various sighs and curses (Were they hoping for a bomb?) throughout the store.  The employee helped me up and handed me the grenade back.  I finally noticed the exterior was one of the plastic toy grenades with the brand name still attached to it.
   “Don’t bring these next time,” the employee warned.
   I looked about for the man who had taken my coat, but he had gone.  All I had was the stupid, toy grenade Sam had given me and my groceries which lay scattered about the floor.  I stuffed the grenade into my pocket and headed for the cashier.  They offered to give me my groceries free of charge, which was not bad I suppose, had I not received a flattened nose, a stolen coat, and a fractured ribcage.
   When I got home later that afternoon, I was starving.  I immediately took out of my bag 2 cartons of milk, a loaf of bread, a pack of eggs, and a slice of ham.  I stared at it for a few moments.  Something didn’t look quite right.
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3. One O’ Clock – One Really O’ Clock

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   I went to the library at one that afternoon as I had promised Sam.  It wasn’t that I actually took him seriously.  I really didn’t.  More or less, I was just rather curious what he was up to, and I didn’t have anything else to do that day.
   The drive took a few hours longer than I would have liked.  As mentioned before, there were no freeways or highways in the town, due to what appeared to be a never-ending construction project.  Traffic lights in this part of town were incredibly slow.  I remember I used to time it with my watch when I was little, and my parents were taking me somewhere.  From the moment the light went red, to the second it flickered green, my watch had counted a total of eight minutes and thirty three seconds.  The car barely reached the other side before the light flickered yellow.  I don’t quite understand it myself; you often saw cars from all four sides, just sitting there for minutes on end, all on a red light.  It didn’t help that there were about nine traffic lights to drive through, in order to get to the library.
   When I got there, I noticed that the parking lot was rather empty.  There were one or two cars there, and the owners only parked there to have an easy walk to the Wal-Mart right next door.  It didn’t strike me strange right that moment.  I’m not sure why; it just never occurred to me something was odd.
   I only realized my mistake when I reached the entrance, and on the door would not slide open.  A post-it note was stuck on the wall next to it, reading “Closed today! Sunday!”
   Perhaps he meant for me to meet him outside the library, I thought hopefully.  The cost of gas was going up quite a bit, and I did not like to think that I drove all the way here for nothing.
   I stood there for a while, searching the lot for any sign of him.  It didn’t help that the town was under a fairly intense heatwave.  Strange I didn’t recall it being so hot the night before.  If it were anyone else besides Sam Pete, I wouldn’t hesitate calling their cellphone.  However, this was Sam. After a few minutes, I gave up and started my drive home.
   It wasn’t all that unusual for someone to not have a cellphone.  There were plenty of people who had their reasons as to why not to have a cellphone.  One story that goes around is that cellphones can cause cancer due to radio waves transmitted from it.  I don’t think that it is all false, but it isn’t as if you plan to superglue the phone to your face all day.  Another story that went around was quite a few ways weirder.  Recently, there had been a small group of people claiming the phones were capable of implanting small devices into your head as you used it more and more.  With these small devices, some secret organization who made them will at eventually take over the minds of people.  Amazingly enough, this group gained a large number of followers, nearly a quarter of the town.  These are some of the reasons that go around against having a cellphone.
   Then there’s Sam.  His story was as outlandish you could possibly get.  Sam had this thing against all things electronic.  For cameras, he honest-to-god believed the myth about having your soul sucked away when you get your picture taken.  For televisions, he insisted people were being taken from this world and trapped in the screen.  Finally, Sam claimed that cellphones were strange alien devices used to by extraterrestrial beings to spy and study our bad habits.  With enough knowledge, they would be able to start an anti-human philosophy, in order to live an enlightened life and avoid all our mistakes on Earth.  However, Sam argued that watching us live would only pollute and ruin the minds of these great beings.  With that, he insisted on protecting the aliens from our horrifying ways of life, by disposing of our cellphones.  Sam had no followers.
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