Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Begging for Scraps

Part of the reason for launching this personal blog was so that I wasn't begging for handouts on my tech blog. However, here are the first of perhaps many things I'm looking for help finding:

- A cheap WinXP Pro license for the new Ultra 20 machine. I'd rather not use it, but for many apps and games it is simply unavoidable. I'm not excited about installing it, but I do need to have it and I'm not interested in illegal copies.
- A 2.6.14/15/.. Linux kernel .config file optimized for the Ultra 20 (and including all appropriate settings for video, audio, net, etc). If anybody knows of one, please let me know.

Either of these would be a big help for my home office (and by extension, a help for JRuby development).

Takodori's Excellent Shogi News Site

Takodori's Entrance to Shogi World

Takodori has an excellent English language Shogi site, for what might be the greatest game in the world (but then again tic-tac-toe might be the greatest game, so that's a fairly non-committal statement). Shogi is one of my personal favorite games, and according to Tako it ranks 3rd in chess-variant popularity worldwide (presumably xiang qi and chess would be 1 and 2 in some order).

Strategy board gaming: filling in the gaps

About a year ago, I took an interest in the ancient strategy game Go. Since that time, I've purchased many books on Go and read most of them, purchased and gathered together bits and pieces for a nice little Go set, and also learned a number of chess variants including Shogi and XiangQi. Of these, Go and the Shogi family are currently my favorites.

I've found that strategy gaming helps fill in any dead time I have between other brainy activities. I spend most of the day leading new development and maintenance of a large (400kloc+ and growing) J2EE application, on which project I'm also support lead and in charge of build and release engineering (though the team constitutes about 20 people). When I get home I spend most of my time on JRuby. But there are always little 5-minute gaps in both worlds. I've found that the best cure for depression is to always be thinking and challenging myself, and so strategy board games help fill up the inbetweens.

I would love to play more with people I know (or people I'd like to know, like you dear Reader). Head over to BrainKing or Richard's PBeM and toss me a challenge. I'm named 'headius' there as usual.

Preferred games:

BrainKing: chess, shogi, xiangqi, chess variants (and really anything else on BrainKing, since the UI is so nice)
Richard's PBeM: go, shogi, chu shogi, tenjiku shogi (all graphical...I don't play by email if I can help it)

For anyone who has not played Shogi, XiangQi, or the Shogi variants, I'd recommend looking them up on Wikipedia. There are some very nice articles there with moves and occasionally strategy for all such games.

I'd also be willing to schedule live games after-hours on the Kiseido Go Server. I'm probably around 15k-10k, but I don't play nearly as much as I'd like.

A Personal Blog

I've noticed some other tech bloggers out there separate their tech blogging from their personal blogging, so I've decided to do the same. I hope to update this one a bit more office with little cool tidbits and musings that I run across.