Brain Waste

Friday November 17, 2006

Miscellany Apology

I have resolved to try not to apologize too much for lack of updates on this blog, but I do feel as though I should say something here, since there has been a long silence and this isn't much of a climactic return.  So, to my faithful readers, sorry that this has been an intermittent hash of technical and personal topics.  Still, if my little brother knows how to deal with writer's block, I figure I can learn.  Rather than harrass all your RSS readers, here are a bunch of tiny updates all at once.

Bleary Blah

This has been a really crappy week for me.  Until a few hours ago, I had terrible eye-strain which resulted in blurryness, headaches, nausea and dizzyness when attempting to read text on my monitor.  This is not a particularly good time for me to be unable to write code, but I've had to try to relax.

As a result I made an interesting discovery.  A word to the wise: if you have to use a computer for 18 hours a day for some reason, blink every once in a while.  I don't mean in a metaphorical sense - I mean, close your eyes and open them again.  I discovered that, although I seem to have no problem blinking while watching television, walking around outside or even playing an intense video game, while I am reading online or writing code, I stare so intently at the screen that I don't blink at all.

I've had problems with eye strain in the past, and eye doctors kept telling me I had dry eyes.  I didn't notice the connection because I don't normally have dry eyes - apparently only when I'm thinking hard about something that involves reading text from a screen.

Null Pointer of Might and Magic

Puttering around, trying to avoid reading text either on a screen or off, I played a few hours of some video games I got recently.  Having recently received some very strong motivation beyond simple eye strain to avoid putting any more time into a game that puts text on the screen, I puttered around for a few hours with "Dark Messiah of Might and Magic", which is, I have to say, the most entertaining stuttering segfault I've seen in years.

As far as I can tell, it's a fun game, but by way of a review I have very little to say except "don't buy it until at least five more patches come out".  It is absolutely emblematic of the worst excesses in PC gaming.  They released the game when it very clearly isn't done.  I had fun for the first few minutes of playing it, but that's all I got: it crashes within ten minutes of starting the game now, pretty much regardless of what I do.

I guess on balance it's a good thing the game basically didn't work; I ended up catching up on a lot of sleep instead.

Deck Keyboard Post-Non-Mortem

Several months ago, I purchased a pair of keyboards which I expected to be considerably more durable than previous purchases.  I figure that since I tend to mention when my keyboards fail, I should mention when they don't: this pair has held up incredibly well.

While, out of deference to the fact that Ying doesn't like loud, banging noises all the time, I haven't been using the EnduraPro as much (it's still holding up quite well in the server room), but I have gotten to smash the hell out of the Deck Legend, and I am not disappointed.

After months of use, the only complaint I have is that, due to the absence of any force-feedback mechanism when the key is actually struck, there is an occasional tendency to double-strike a key if it is not fully depressed.  This is very occasional, however.  For example, I managed to write and edit this entire blog post without seeing it once, and the problem is exactly the same now as the day I got it.  The keyboard still feels like it's new, there is no degredation in the key action, travel, or fading / flaking on the keycaps.  I did notice a key sticking once, but I fixed that by cleaning.  I used the handy included "key removal" tool to rip off all the keys, vacuum out the dust, then put them back.  I still have no idea how all that gross stuff gets under the keys in the first place, but it is quite handy to have a tool to help with cleaning it out.

That's it for now.  I hope to have something more substantial to post soon.