MineCraft… well, MineTest

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Well, the kids have discovered Minecraft.  In lieu of forking out $27 x 4 for licenses or downloading illegal version of Minecraft, I did some research and found an opensource alternative:  MineTEST

After downloading it and installing it on all the laptops and desktops in the house, Scott and I put together an old linux machine and fired up a MineTest server on it.

I’ll be honest, I had my doubts about how well the kids would like such a low-graphic game (They’ve balked at previous attempts to introduce them to awesome DOS games).  Those doubts evaporated very quickly.

They love it.

And I’ll admit, I find the massive worlds fascinating from both a game play and code development standpoint.  Truly genius tech behind these Mine* world generation algorithms.  It’s provided weeks worth of research, poking at code, etc.  All for free.  (It’s amazing all the information and skills available to you for free).

Anyways, it’s a hoot.  As a family, we’ve accidentally started a flood in Sandy’s house, built a 5km long ‘road’, hollowed out a floating island to build a secret base, built a 1km tall diamond tower, lost control of a lava flow and started a very large forest fire, built a 100 meter tall green zombie-creeper thing, as well as started work on deep sea research facility located 2km below the surface of ‘the ocean’.

And that’s just in ONE of an infinite number of worlds.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some cheap fun.

 

 

 

8 Paragraph Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Not so shamelessly paraphrased from [this excellent original article], here’s the 8 major bullets.  For details, grace the original authors with a web hit at the link above 🙂


1. Dialogue: Failing to Divide Speakers
2. Dialogue: Failing to Separate Speech From Action
3. Action:  Failing to Divide Actors
4. Action: Failing to Observe Motivation-Reaction Units
5. Description: Failing to Separate New Entities
6. Description: Failing to Indicate a Change in Setting
7. Narrative: Failing to Delinate New Subject/Thought/Topic
8. Narrative: Failing to Employ Dramatic Effect

Quitters Never Win

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Hey all. I was just listening to a podcast and heard a very interesting assertion.

“One of the greatest lies ever told: Quitters Never Win.”

I found that really interesting as I have heard that statement used as encouragement throughout my entire life. The more I think about it, the more I realize he’s spot on. The example used to drive home his point was:

“Think about the fly that doesn’t understand the window glass and continues to fly into it, again and again and again. If he takes to heart the saying ‘Quitters never win’, then what is that fly’s future?”


The base intent, I believe, of the saying is to encourage people to have a good work ethic. To persevere. But what this man is saying also makes a lot of sense. If you are in a job that you’re no good at or unhappy with, then the saying ‘Quitters never win’ will only perpetuate your misery. If a child tries as hard as they can, but just isn’t very good, or very interested, at playing baseball, continuing to try will not do the child any good.

So there’s an interesting observation here. We have to teach our children when it’s appropriate to quit and try something else, and when it’s appropriate to suck it up and stick it out. And that’s something I think a lot of Adults don’t really know very well themselves.

Just an interesting thought I figured I would share.

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Life Is Good!

LIGLogoLife here at casa de Loman is pretty good. Awesome wife, great kids, a house (albeit a bit small now), and a great job… more than many have and I am grateful. Nothing is perfect though. Our walk on the path of being debt free is a long one, but a trip that is doable and one that is well underway. Lots of long hours and hard work ahead. But since nothing good ever happened by sitting on your butt, I’m okay with that.

We’re looking to move in the near future to a place that has a bit more land, and a bit less HOA 🙂 We could easily finish out our years here in this house, if we had to, but I’ve been feeling the need to get our kids some land where they can run. Thankfully my job allows for Telework, so that increases the range at which we can look. On the other hand, both mine and my wife’s skillsets make it possible to completely uproot and move just about anywhere.

So yeah, lots of awesome in our future, no matter how you slice it. Can’t wait!

The Writing Bug Strikes

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Well it’s back. The Bug. This time, however, I’m not going to take this laying down. I plan on grabbing this bug, looking it straight in the eye and saying,

 

“Hey McFly, you bojo, those boards don’t work on water!”

 

Now, I know, to most people, that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Unless you’re a fan of the Back to the Future movies, specifically the second one. For me and my odd sense of humor, it’s completely logical. Funny even! I mean, a deranged writer holding a large insect of some undetermined species, quoting one of the most famous Michael J Fox movie series to date… what’s not to love?

 

In all seriousness, however, the writing bug is in the house. Both Sandy and I have always had heads chocked full of original stories to tell, but lacked confidence in our abilities to tell these stories in any medium. Photography, art, music, writing. Notice how I said confidence, not ability. Sandy is wonderfully talented, but just doesn’t admit it. This time, though, I am personally going to take Nike’s advice: Just do it. And I think Sandy is going to also, but that’s not for me to reveal. Shhh! Spoilers!

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At the time of this post, I am 17,500 words into a story. A somewhat poorly worded and gramatically incorrect story, but a story nonetheless. I’ve decided to take the angle of NaNoWriMo, and just push the story out, quality be damned, in a fixed period of time.

 

So far, it has worked out pretty well. I’ll admit that I have partially betrayed the spirit of NaNoWriMo and have done a few Editorial passes over my writing thus far. But I was looking for blatant misspellings and grammatical errors as well as obvious plot holes! E.g. Character A was killed in chapter 5 but reappears in chapter 7. My OCD would not allow such atrocities to wait until the story reaches completion. My OCD demanded their execution immediately.

 

Things are going well, and with the help of the editorial passes, I think I’ve got a solid basis and direction for where the story will go. 17.5K words and 10 editorial passes in one week’s worth of time gives me a fair amount of encouragement that I’ve the inertia to see this attempt through. I will finish!

 

The fate of Carter Johnson, however, remains to be determined.

 

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Samantha Crashes Her Ferrari

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At approximately 5:10 pm, Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, Samanatha Loman, eldest daughter of Sandra and David Loman, was involved in major vehicular accident. The car involved in the accident was severely damaged when it struck a house at high speed. Ms Loman walked away from the scene uninjured.

 

In reality, she was carrying her newly completed 1:24 red Ferrari over to her ‘model road’ to stage a scene when she dropped it. It literally shattered into its original parts. She was really upset, but I pointed out that none of the pieces themselves had broken, but rather, the pieces had simply come apart. Superglue, it seems, provides quick bonding but lacks the sheer strength that model cement provides. Good to know.

 

Making the best of the situation, and trying to get her to smile again, we staged a scene anyways. Always look on the bright side of life!

 

Sammie Wrecked Her Ferrari from claymore1977 on Vimeo.

 

Epilog: The model has been rebuilt with less superglue and more cement. Order is restored to the universe.

 

Exit Stage Left



Well, some friends just showed their true colors. It really is saddening, as their walk with God was turning them into some very pleasant people to be around. But it seems that they have been internalizing all the issues they had with us as friends.

So I suppose the question is: How do YOU deal with a friend who is holding things against you, rarely considers themselves in the wrong, and doesn’t talk to you about these issues they have until they build up and boil over? I’m a firm believer that communication is key to a successful relationship, be it working acquaintance, friends, or marriage. So is a friend really being a friend when they hold things against you without giving you a chance to discuss it?

Personally, I think the answer is no.Forgive_Not_Forget No they are not being good a friend. I believe that in order for a friendship to work, understanding and forgiveness are musts.

The bible says to Forgive and treat them like you have forgotten, but not to actually forget. Remembering past transgressions is otherwise known as wisdom. Forgetting your lesson God gave you would be folly! Now, remembering all the wrongs that have been done to you, and at the same time acting as if they never happened takes a LOT of will power and is really what makes true forgiveness hard.

Which then leads to the logical assertion that maintaining a good friendship, complete with understanding each other’s flaws and forgiveness…. is very very hard to do.

Well, coming full circle, my question still is: How do YOU deal with a friend who is holding things against you, rarely considers themselves in the wrong, and doesn’t talk to you about these issues they have until they build up and boil over?

Without going into details, I decided to cut to the chase, and call them on their behavior. The response was simply amazing. The shear amount of bile, hate and venom I received was nearly overwhelming. Personally, I’m not going to subject myself, or my family, to that kind of abuse anymore. So, these ‘friends’ have exited our lives, stage left.

Null Checking in Java

Learnt something new today!

 

In order to prevent the accidental setting of a variable to null like so:

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	private void testMethod(Boolean b) {
		if (b = null) {  //Ack! This works but is not what you want.
			//do something
		}
		if (b == null) {  //This works, and is correct
			//do something
		}
	}

 

… put the null first

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	private void testMethod(Boolean b) {
		if (null = b) {  //Throws compiler error
			//do something
		}
		if (null == b) {  //This works
			//do something
		}
	}

 

javac picks up on all other datatypes except java.lang.Boolean and will throw a compiler error, so this tip is of very limited utility. Still, it’s interesting!