FanimeCon 2014

Last year, I mentioned a long (4 hour) wait for badges. This year’s line, I am ecstatic to report, was much improved. I spent less than 10 minutes getting my badge. Take note: this was not 10 minutes of waiting. This was from the time I walked up to the sign that pointed pre-reg to the left, walked through the queue, strode up to the counter, handed over my QR Tag, watched badges being printed, picked up my swag bags, and walked out of the registration area.

The Fanime staff did wonderful work in getting this process fixed from the horrors of the last few years. According to the information in the program, one of the reasons this was much improved was due to the purchase of more printers. Regardless, this was the shortest line experience at the con, ever.

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Fanime This Weekend

Fanime 2014 started recently, and Jon and I are planning on attending.

As previously reported, Jon went in 2009, convinced me to join him for 2010 (to which we did a five part followup), abandoned me for 2011, all of team snowulf went in 2012 (as covered by Jon, Lauren, and John), then I was abandoned again in 2013, though Jon stopped in to visit for a bit outside the convention.

If you recall (either from personal experience at the convention or from reading this blog), registration lines have been… horrible the last few years. Thankfully, many assurances have been given by Fanime staff that the registration problems of the last few years have been dealt with, or at the very least partially ameliorated. Time (and a follow-up blog post) shall tell. Additionally, some (all?) of the work on the Convention Center has been complete and there is now a Grand Ballroom, which is where Artist Alley will be located (rather than South Hall – aka down the street – like last year).

If you are interested in attending and have not yet acquired a ticket, you can still register at the con. Ticket prices have risen $10 from last year, i.e. a single day pass is between $40 and $50 depending on the day.
If you are still waffling about attending, take a peak at the schedule.

The “Smart” watch: The first few weeks

timexmessWhen I was a wee whippersnapper, I loved watches. Even at that age I was a technophile, so not only did I have a bunch of them, they were all the highest tech watches I could find. By today’s standards the watches are crude, but I had one that could tell the temperature (very handy in stuffy BART cars during class field trips), calculate (duh), and I even had one that functioned as a pager. Of course as technology progressed I started to spend my spare cash on computer related goodies instead of watches. Later the cellphone supplanted watches in terms of my interests. Now the “smart watch” revolution is in full swing and I’m taking a stab at it again.

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Stamina Products Can Blow Me

I had a Stamina InTone Folding Recumbent Bike. I say had because a belt broke inside it about a month ago. I disassembled it to find the busted part and contacted the manufacturer for a replacement part. “Sure,” they said. “$13.99 covers the part, shipping, and handling and it will be to you in 7-13 days.”

Being the fool that I am, I took them at their word. However, after 13 days had gone by without a new part, I began to worry. I tried to call, but they were out of the office, so I emailed. No response 4 days later, so I call.

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Myke Cole’s Breach Zone is out now!

The final book in Myke Cole‘s Shadow Ops trilogy, Breach Zone is out as of today.
If you liked Control Point or Fortress Frontier, this book will be right up your alley.
If you haven’t read the other 2, then go get all three right now and start reading Control Point. They’re wonderful reads.

Plus, if you buy now, then he’ll be even more influenced to write more stories in that universe.

Happy Birthday Snowulf!

keep-calm-and-eat-more-cake-2Recently, I was looking back into the Snowulf blog history books and noticed a date of importance was coming up. The title of this blog post should give it away but Snowulf’s introductory post, titled “Nift New Toys & New Domains“, was posted on this day… NINE years ago. Just this Christmas holiday I was talking to someone about how I’d been blogging for “6 or so years”. When I did the math and realized that six years was actually nine, damn how time flies.

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Taking the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 for a spin

samsung-galaxy-note-10-2014Before I even talk about this device, I have to say something about its name. I know many journalists were bitching about model names being reduced to something like “GT-I9500″ or “SM-P600″ as being very confusing. That might be true, but “Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition” does not exactly roll off the tongue either. While I might have some issue with the name, I generally can’t find any issues with the device itself – except for the battery. As far as tablets I’ve used recently (including the new barrage of iPads), it’s probably my favorite large tablet.

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Ride Friday: Pt Reyes

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted any of the ride routes I’ve been on. Not all of them are easy to remember the exact routes, so I won’t share misinformation with you. However this route was fairly easy to map out (and I had made notes!). This particular ride I originally took back on a sunny October morning with Panda in the slot.

General Area: Point Reyes and Mt Tamalpais
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Ride Length: ~3 hours

Leg 1 is from San Francisco up 101 North. This isn’t anything to write home about, it’s just the freeway. However you’ll exit onto Lucas Valley Rd and this is where the fun begins. LVR is a nice road to get started on for the day, it’s got some decent turns, but most of it is rolling/wandering country road. The major downside to LVR is that there seems to be a fair amount of sluggish cage traffic. Once you turn onto Point Reyes Petaluma Rd, the speeds go up quite a bit. This means a speedy entrance into Pt Reyes Station for lunch!

After lunch is Leg 2, down Highway 1. Hwy 1 is nice, everyone knows this. It has some lovely views along with being windy enough to be interesting. You could stay on Hwy 1 all the way down to 101, however the Stinson Beach area almost ALWAYS sucks traffic-wise. I generally try to avoid Stinson Beach on any nice day because it just turns Hwy 1 into a parking lot. On this route, we opted to turn left off of Hwy 1 onto a little side road named “Fairfax – Bolinas Rd”. This is a tiny little side shoot that is really easy to miss, so easy to miss that Panda slowed & turned where as I kept going. Sometimes I think she’s purposefully trying to lose me.

This section is why I marked the difficulty as “Moderate”. The rest of the ride is easy, however this is a bunch of very twisty, kinda-not-really-two-lane road. It is a lot of fun, but if you happen to be riding a big R1100RTP, it tends to be slow going. Oh, and watching for oncoming traffic. However, once you get to the top (Ridgecrest), it’s an AMAZING view. You are literally on the very top of the ridge line that divides the coastals from the inland hills. Unfortunately, I was in such a rush chasing Panda that I didn’t get a chance to stop and take pictures – next time.

After this, you’re just wandering down the Mt Tam Park and back towards San Francisco. If you wanted to, one could easily stop in the Marin Headlands and take some pictures, but that’d be terribly touristy… and we’re motorcyclists damn it.

Happy New Year, Now with 50% less slacking off

badsignLets be honest, 2013 was a fairly bad year as far as the blog here is concerned. I was doing an “OK” job posting through June. In late July I was on vacation (for the first time in several years) which lead to a flurry of posts for July and August. The September came… and things took a turn for the worst. On September 3rd you can read my review of “The Node Beginner Book“, which was something I read while on vacation (and mentioned in the article), however you won’t find another post for the rest of 2013 on the blog. Not good.

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Digital Holiday Sales

Just in time for winter breaks, holiday travels, and last minute gifts, it’s Steam and sales!

The Steam holiday sale started today, but I’ve been much more enamored with lately. They are on Day 8 of their sale, offering “Turn-based 4X Classics”: Alpha Centauri (with Alien Crossfire), Master of Orion 1-2, Colonization, Fragile Allegiance, Galactic Civilizations, and Space Empires IV for $10.99.
Plus, unlike some other etailers, if you own part of the deal already, they give you a discount on purchasing the rest of it.’s Winter Sale allows you to vote on the following day’s deal. At time of writing, it looks likely that it will be Sci-Fi Combat Sims. They also provide you with a choice of 3 options for an additional discount. Choose either Timeless Classics, Brave New Worlds, and Random Magic and you will get a special discount for whatever item happens to be inside there.

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