Saturday, November 25, 2006

 

Google maps for the Palm Treo

Wow, I downloaded and installed Google Maps for the Palm Treo. It's awesome. It's easy to install and it's a native Palm application rather than a Java application. I know people love Java... but native applications can always be better because they can take advantage of specific system features.

Anyway, Google Maps for the Treo is really nice. I knew finding directions on my phone would be helpful, but the existing web sites were always slow and difficult to use with my Palm's web browser. Google Maps for the Treo is a lot easier and nicer to use than the competition. It includes normal street maps and satellite views. You can find a location, zoom in and out, and even look for businesses nearby. I've used it to get directions and it's worked great. If only my phone had a built in GPS so Google Maps would already know where I am.

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Slashdot

Slashdot is a cool technology/geek news web site. You can check it out at http://www.slashdot.org/ They cover the geeky stuff I like. Sometimes they're even too geeky for me (like when they cover crazy Linux stuff) and I don't know what they're talking about. But mostly they're cool.

I'm always reading news on my cell phone (a Palm Treo 650). I've been doing it a while and realized that one can read some cell-phone-formatted pages in a normal web browser on your computer. So now I'm a big fan of reading Slashdot's Palm formatted page in my regular web browser. It loads instantly and only shows the headlines of the stories. It's crazy fast and easy to use. I don't have to navigate anything extra or see any ads etc. Now you try:

www.slashdot.org/palm


Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

BGG.Con 2006 (BoardGameGeek convention in Dallas, Texas)

(I fixed up some of the shorthand and added a few details, but I originally wrote this on my phone when I was flying home from Bgg.con 2006 in Dallas, Texas.)

I'm on the plane from dallas to san jose on my way. I had a great time and met some really nice people at the convention. Since I didn't know anyone I had to introduce myself and talk to people.

I arrived at the Dallas airport and couldn't find the shuttle. I finally found one. Waited. Wondered how they make money at $17/person with only 4 passengers. Ah. I see. They pack every seat in the van and we all wait until that happens. So it's me and 9 other passengers before we leave. I am the only person wearing a seatbelt. Unless you count the driver who has his draped across him, but not connected.

45 minutes later we arrive at the adam's mark hotel. I check in. Room is fine. I walked across the street to the Westin. Ask clerk how to get to convention etc. The elevator line is super long. I smartly go through the restaurant to the stairs to the 2nd floor THEN get on the elevator. I am a genius. I wander the 5th floor and see no signs of a board game convention. I'm lost? The hotel guy lied to me? I run into a man and a woman (Eric and Amanda) who are doing the same wandering and looking for the convention.

We realize we're in the wrong place and band together to find the convention. 10 minutes of walking and three elevator rides later we've found the right place through trial and error.

A nice woman helps check me into the convention. And amanda and eric are there to help. The woman is super nice. I win a game right away. I get to pick from lots of old looking flea market stuff. I pick Razzia! A german game still in the shrink wrap. A guy tells me it's like Ra, a very popular game.

Woman shows me around. I explain I'm hungry and don't know anyone. I wait.

She brings Randy and makes him my friend. :) Randy goes looking for others and comes back with Mark.

We go to the light rail. A mod-looking guy and a homeless-looking black guy both try to help us buy tickets. The weird hard-sell helping prompts me to look for another machine. I bought a one-way for $1.25 and we're off.

The popular Irish place we head for is busy with no one to seat people, and no open seats after we wander the restaurant looking. I'm glad we don't stay. We move on to a sushi place. I think to myself "This looks like a nice place. But how good is sushi goong to be in Texas?"

It turns out that the sushi place has great service and the food is really good. We head back to bgg.con in time for the poker game. Everyone at the table I'm at is nice. I play okay, but I'm out early. At least I wasn't the first one out of the tournament.

I buy a disheveled copy of shocking roulette. The seller says to test it and bring it back if it doesn't work. I think "Great. I have to play until I shock myself or go find someone to help." I opt to put one finger in and play 2 player. I wonder "if I get shocked am I gonna fall to the floor or what?" It's like a roulette wheel. That shocks the winner. A lot. It turns out mine works on the first try.

I play Hameln, a new game. The theme is about the pied piper of hameln which is cool. Points are gotten indirectly but the game is pretty fun. There's a lot of marrying and baby making in it which offers lots of joke opportunities. everyone is nice. Played with mischa. Fun but not worth $100.

Sat sleepy. Don't want to miss the flea market! vow to go, get food on way back and sleep. Buy family business and villa palletti mcdonalds sucks after leaving ziggy's line. bought 13 cookies to share. entire plaza is horrible. I wonder is it just here or is all of dallas this way?

Sweet sweet sleep. Drank diet coke, took advil, slept for 2 hours. later feeling way better.

found randy teaching people to play shadows over camelot fun game. The woman who turned out to be the traitor in the game literally played the card that meant we all won and she lost. That wasn't very satisfying. She never did anything traitorous. At all.

Saturday Before prize drawing - played a few games of pitchcar mini until the crowd for the prize drawing was too big

game show Looking for game and people to play with. Finally play Can't Stop and I win.

See carabande. Holy crap. It's HUGE. It looks cool but I find people in the library and play starfarers of catan...

A few people I played with... There are way more, but I happened to get these into my phone notes on the plane. geosmores - david namasky and david turner taught how to play dturnerfish

Fun. great bits. But breakable. But maybe not enough player interaction? The exploring and building is really good though. Should have played to more points. Bob, dave, david, big blonde guy and dave's wife?

Get pizza from roaming delivery guy.

find randy and brien and charles after game show and we play taj mahal Brienc - played taj mahal + randy + charles singer Thesongoftheday.com - Randy's upcoming web site. Skokie is where randy's game convention is in feb Brien (Charles?) 'splains caylus. We play one practice turn which clears up lots of questions. I worry I will be crushed and not get it enough. I pull out a turn where I build 3 castle walls(or something) and get a lot of points. I took 3rd place, but x played 30+ times before and takes first.

Go to bed 4am. Bleah. Get up at 9. Mcd not open 'til 10 and only lunch. Thanks mcdonalds. Other restaurants closed but sked says should be open. return another unplayed game. Wander con areas looking for people going to airport. Ask two guys on escalator. Yeah - going NOW! buy mcd breakfast for all. And have way better experience than a cab or shuttle. Forget water but otherwise awesome. joebelanger and tomfisher

I'll clean this up more and add some pictures. But that's it for now. I had a great time and am hoping I'll be able to go next year.


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