Procrastination

Procrastination is a wonderful thing. I had a lot of plans for this summer, but I must admit not much has been done out of those plans.

However, as much as I’m aware of the time I’ve wasted, I am happy at some of the things I’ve done. One note before you continue reading: this post is just about stuff I’ve done and not done in the past month. If you’re not interested in my personal life, there’s no need for you to read on. I’ll be updating my blog about other matters shortly. If you’re interested, click on “Continue reading” or the post title.

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Advertisements

As some of you may have noticed, I just finished adding some Google Ads on my blog. If you’re like me, you won’t even notice the difference because AdBlock hides all ads… but if you don’t have ad blocking tools, I hope I was able to place them in such a way that they will stay out of the way.

My hope for these ads is that I will be able to make a tiny bit of money (heck, even cents is more money than my site is making now) to be able to put towards more years of hosting this website.

Now, some of you may have just heard of AdBlock for the first time, so I’ll explain. It’s a tool that you can add to your browser (hopefully you’re using Chrome or Firefox and NOT Internet Explorer!) that hides all the ads on a page. It’s very handy! I’ll post some links to where you can download them at the end of this post.

You may be thinking, “but how will I be able to support you if the links are hidden from me?” I know, I know, some of you are just thoughtful like that. AdBlock has another nice feature that lets you put websites onto a whitelist. That is, ads on this website will show up to you without leaving you exposed to ads on other websites.

Too bad I’m not allowed to click on my own ads because some of these actually look interesting… Guess I’ll have to Google the things I find enjoyable.

As promised, here are the links for AdBlock for their respective browsers (and the links to the browsers in case you’re still using the dreadful Internet Explorer).

[Adblock for Chrome]
[Adblock for Firefox]

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Everybody Edits

Everybody Edits is one of those simple flash games that look like it won’t be addicting. But it is. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too addicting so I’ve cut back a lot to be able to still do all my assignments, study, and the other usual college-related stuff. But that doesn’t mean I don’t suggest you to play it!

In fact, I suggest you give it a try. This game allows its players to create worlds or enter other people’s worlds. The character you control is a smiley face, which is changeable with more smiley faces to unlock as you keep playing. The default method of movement is left and right and space to jump, like a side-scroller. Before I continue, I need to make it clear that there are two different types of worlds, and game-play changes considerably between the two.

The first type of world is the “open world”. In this world, anybody who joins can place any blocks they own anywhere they want (except a few that are saved-world only, but I’ll get to that later). These blocks can be different colours, textures, etc. There are also blocks that aren’t really blocks, such as gravity-related ones, like an empty block (downwards gravity, like normal), arrows that point up, left, and right that send your character in those locations, an anti-gravity one that lets you move around without jumping, etc. There are gold coins and blue “bonus” coins, and crowns which only one player can have on in a world.

The other type of world is the “protected world”. The owner can change the name, clear the level, save the level, and load from a previously saved state. The owner can also set up a private code that allows users who enter it to also edit the world. The major difference, though, is that whoever can edit the world (that is, the owner and the people with the code) can enter something called “God mode”. This allows players to move across the world without gravity or being affected by any blocks. They can move through anything except the edges of the world, and they can click and drag to create blocks instead of placing them one at a time. For this reason, a lot of protected  worlds make side-scroller games in which players can join and play but not mess up.

Anyway, I think I’ve talked enough about it. If you really want to know what it’s like, I highly suggest you check it out. It’s free, after all.

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Extra Time and Japan

Spiral Clock

As for college assignments, in my opinion and from my understanding of the assignments coming ahead, I’ll be having a bit more free time. This means more time for blog posts, so I’ll try to keep this updated a bit more than the rare posts in the past month.

If you hadn’t heard (and I assume you have unless you live under a rock), Japan has been the unfortunate recipient of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami that caused landslides, things to be swept away in massive amounts of water, and a nuclear power plant malfunction that resulted in nearby cities to be evacuated. All the while, snow has been falling and they have been finding bodies and people have gone missing.

That’s a lot for any country to handle. If you want to help, you may text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 for relief efforts. I highly suggest you do if you are able to.

My thoughts are with Japan and their people during these tough times.

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Google’s Social Search

Google has released yet another social network “plugin”, this time in their search engine.

Of course, this isn’t the first time. In 2009, they introduced a feature to see what people are saying about what you’re searching for in real-time at the bottom of the page. They’ve added more searchability and integrated social networks increasingly over the year, and now they’ve added even more.

Searching will now produce results with extra information from your friends and connections who have talked about the links produced by your search. This is designed to make it easier to find what your friends like while you’re searching for anything. Looking for a selection of cameras? Mr. X talked about how this one is great. Looking to book a trip? Ms. Y certainly loved going to Yosemite! These examples are taken from Google’s own video.

As an increasing number of companies merge together, it seems like the Internet is morphing into one giant social network. Is this a good thing?

I do believe that social networking is handy. It allows friends and family to stay connected, even if they’re on opposite sides of the planet. But as more people flock towards social networking, the more privacy deteriorates. People post about what they eat, when they go to bed, sometimes even when they go to the bathroom! People aren’t just losing their privacy. They’re giving it up willingly.

So where is the line between useful social networking and complete lack of privacy? That’s the problem. There is no clear line. It’s up to people like you and me to make that choice for ourselves. Even though major corporations like Google add social networking features, in the end, we’re the ones who give out the information in the first place.

What are your thoughts on what boundaries should be? Is everything okay the way it is? Feel free to reply in comments.

[Source]

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Welcome to my new blog!

Is it too late for an introductory post? I think not!

I thought I’d kick start my blog with a post of actual value instead of an intro. Perhaps it will serve as good luck? Who knows.

I’m Nicolas Lavallee. I go by Zalgryth and have gone by Megaryuu, so chances are very high that if you’ve seen either of those names around it was me. I’m currently enrolled at Conestoga College for Software Engineering, so my posts just might be influenced by things that I learn.

This blog will be about whatever I feel like writing, so it could cover games, technology, issues that I feel like bringing up, or just about anything else. My goal is to increase my writing skill and write about things I care about.

I don’t want to make this longer than it needs to be, so I’ll wrap it up here. If you’re reading this blog, you’re awesome.

Cheers!

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New MMO: RIFT

For those who haven’t heard, RIFT is a new MMO being released March 1, 2011. The RIFT open beta started yesterday and will last for about a week. If you’d like to try it out, you can get more details at the official RIFT website.

Unfortunately, I have not had the time to try it out yet because of college assignments (even though I was invited to closed beta a few weeks back). So I’ll be keeping up with reviews and maybe trying it out this weekend since it’s the start of our study/reading week (a.k.a. spring break without the break).

For those who may be wondering why RIFT has been gaining attention, I’ll give a brief overview. There are two factions: Guardians and Defiants. Like a lot of MMOs, these aren’t clearly defined as “good” or “evil”, though they can still be guessed at.

Each faction has three races, with male or female as options. Some MMOs gender-lock certain races and, fortunately, RIFT isn’t one of them. Character customization, design-wise, is quite detailed. It’s not as detailed as in AION where you could make disastrous characters, but more detailed than the majority of MMOs today.

But this sounds like a generic MMO, doesn’t it? Well, it has some key features that do set it apart from the rest.

First is that the classes are treated a little differently. When you create a character, you choose one of four classes: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, and Mage. Each class has seven subclasses (though I think they’re planning for eight). Soon after you start, you choose a specific subclass to use. Then you can choose talents as you level up, and the more talents you invest in the tree, the more base skills you gain (as opposed to going to class trainers). But the catch here is that you can obtain “souls” of other subclasses as well! You can mix and match up to three souls at a time and choose talents in each, specializing in certain ones if you feel like it. You can swap them any time you’re not in combat and I believe you can have up to 2 different “templates” saved.

So character customization is a huge feature not present in many other MMOs (who have talent trees who are clearly better than others and result in cookie-cutter classes). There’s one other cool feature that I haven’t mentioned yet.

Now, although players report that quests are very linear, RIFT has another special feature up its sleeve: Rifts. These are randomly generated anywhere in the world (very often) and what happens is that when a rift appears, mobs appear and start pwning villagers, nearby players, even QUEST NPCs! That means if you want to hand in a quest, you better man up and kick their asses so you can finish your quests. The creators also made it so that the more people take part in kicking their asses, the better loot you get. So unlike MMOs where players tend to want loot to themselves, the more the merrier!

That’s all the details I’m currently aware of as I write this. I certainly hope to try it soon, though it doesn’t look like I’ll be preodering it. I’m a collector and tend to like collector’s editions, but this one doesn’t have anything that would make me want to spend approximately $90.

That’s all I have to say about RIFT for now. I’ll post more as more information gets revealed and if I get to try it myself.

P.S. There’s something special in my blog for all the competitive people out there: If you find any mistake, whether grammatical, factual, or a typo, comment with the mistake and the correction. I will award points to users who find mistakes and set up a ranking system. Am I mean for pitting you guys against each other?

P.P.S. Since the blog was just quickly set up, the points won’t be applied to your accounts yet, but if you post corrections and you include your email address (which I believe will be hidden from public), when a better system comes out and you sign up, I’ll add the points that were received previously.

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