August 4

DayZ – Standalone

A couple of months ago I found myself discussing MMORPG’s with co-workers and lamenting the fact that most of the very popular games of this genre lack a complexity level capable of maintaining my interest for more than just a few weeks.  One of my co-workers (Romano), suggested I look into a new game under development by Bohemia Interactive called, “DayZ (Standalone)”.

I found the game in the Steam Store in early release Alpha stage, and even though it was $30 for an Alpha I decided to give it a try based only on his recommendation and a few YouTube videos.

For newcomers with zero experience in this game the learning curve is steep, partly due to the fact that it’s almost ridiculously easy for your avatar to perish.

Some highlights of game play include:

You are spawned into a map nearly the size of an entire State.  A Russian State.
With nothing more than a useless flashlight and battery.
All signs and words are in Russian.
Your character is very near starving and dehydrated immediately upon spawning.
There are no maps on your person unless you find one in a building.
Even if you find a map, there is no easy way to find out where you ARE on the map.
The only weapons/means of self defense are the ones you find by looting buildings and cars.
All of the AI (zombies), and most of the other players are hostile and dangerous.

The only object of the game at this point is to survive as long as possible, however, when you die, you die.  There is zero carry-over from a previous incarnation into the next.  Regardless of *why* you died, your next spawn in will be as “fresh meat” with nothing but your flashlight.  I’ve died in excess of 20 times.

You might think a game like this would be so frustrating and complicated that you’d have no interest in playing, but for me, this game represents a challenge unlike any other RP game on the market.  I’ve even learned the ropes of Standalone well enough to not die unless by sheer stupidity, or a hostile encounter with another player.  And, don’t shoot zombies in front of fuel pumps.  Fuel pumps can explode.  Spectacularly. :)

Indeed I have logged more than 500 hours in this game since I started playing and have since learned quite a lot about the game and it’s “parent” games, Arma, Arma II, Arma III, and many of the fan-base mods available for those titles.  I’ll write another post about them a bit later today or tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, if you’re looking for a very hardcore survivalist/apocalyptic themed MMORPG, you owe it to yourself to check out DayZ Standalone.  Look for Frankie’s videos on YouTube.

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August 1


The boss asked me to document some server automation processes related to lockdown/hardening for a response to a recent audit inquiry.  He was very pleasantly surprised when I told him, “Already done.  In fact, more than 2 years ago….but it’s twenty-five pages long.”   :)

A quick OneNote search turned up the document and all 25 pages were printed in under 10 minutes.

Of course, since the data in the document is 2 years old I’ll have to brush it up a bit and include some of the changes we’ve made recently, but I’m very happy with my ability to anticipate audit requirements so far in advance of their request.  :)

Category: GeekStuff, Happy Things, Work | Comments Off on Anticipation
August 1

I support an open border policy.

That’s right.  I support an open border policy.  Because I firmly believe that our current rate of illegal immigration is ruining the lives of natural born citizens, and this is due to having a closed-border policy.

From the web:

Consider two families: “John Legal” and “Juan Illegal”. Both families have two parents, two children, and live in Arizona …

John Legal works in construction, has a Social Security Number and makes $25.00 per hour with taxes deducted.

Juan Illegal also works in construction, has NO Social Security Number, and gets paid $15.00 in cash “under the table”.

Now the math:

John Legal: $25.00 per hour x 40 hours = $1000.00 per week, or $52,000.00 per year. Now take 30% away for state and federal tax; John Legal now has $31,231.00.

Juan Illegal: $15.00 per hour x 40 hours = $600.00 per week, or $31,200 per year.Juan Illegal pays no taxes. Juan Illegal now has $31,200.00.

John Legal pays medical and dental insurance with limited coverage for his family at $600.00 per month, or $7,200.00 per year. John Legal now has $24,031.00.

Juan Illegal has full medical and dental coverage through the state and local clinics and emergency hospitals at a cost of $0.00 per year. Juan Illegal still has $31,200.00.

John Legal makes too much money and is not eligible for food stamps or welfare. John Legal pays $500.00 per month for food, or $6,000..00 per year. John Legal now has $18,031.00.

Juan Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for food stamps, WIC and welfare. Juan Illegal still has $31,200.00.

John Legal pays rent of $1,200.00 per month, or $14,400.00 per year. John Legal now has 9,631.00.

Juan Illegal receives a $500.00 per month Federal Rent Subsidy. Juan Illegal pays out that $500.00 per month, or $6,000.00 per year. Juan Illegal still has $ 31,200.00.

John Legal pays $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 for car insurance. Some of that is uninsured motorist insurance. John Legal now has $7,231.00.

Juan Illegal says, “We don’t need no stinkin’ insurance!” and still has $31,200.00.

John Legal has to make his $7,231.00 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, etc..

Juan Illegal has to make his $31,200.00 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, and what he sends out of the country every month..

John Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after work.

Juan Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.

John Legal’s and Juan Illegal’s children both attend the same elementary school. John Legal pays for his children’s lunches, while Juan Illegal’s children get a government sponsored lunch.

Now, when they reach college age, John Legal’s kids may not get into a State School and may not qualify for scholarships, grants or other tuition help, even though John has been paying for state schools through his taxes, while Juan Illegal’s kids “go to the head of the class” because they are a minority. Although John Legal’s children have better grades, it is Juan Illegal’s children who get into a law school on the basis of the “hardships and life-experiences” they have overcome.

John Legal and Juan Illegal both enjoy the same police and fire services, but John paid for them and Juan did not pay.

If you support politicians who support illegal immigration – you’re part of the problem.


If we open the borders to all comers, it will be much easier for them to come in through the gates and then they can be counted, given identification, and PAY THEIR TAXES.

Category: Political | Comments Off on I support an open border policy.
August 1

What’s your function?

The last few months I’ve been wanting to expand my data and skill set by learning something new.  I’ve long been a fan of content creators and have frankly been somewhat in awe of their abilities.  Content creators take an idea, be it their own idea or a concept from someone else, and turn it into something interactive and make it seem almost tangible.  To me the act of creating or producing something from your own mind is a very powerful skill.

Programming or coding as it is commonly called, is a skill which I’ve never had a really good handle on.  Sure I can do ksh/csh/bash scripting on the UNIX/Linux platform but shell scripting is very limited in scope and abilities, used primarily for automating administrative tasks on a specific server or set of servers.  I want to go beyond that and be able to build something almost universally accessible and appropriately interactive.

I asked my present employer if they might subsidize my training in this new skill but was turned down with the logic of “we aren’t programmers.”, regardless of how valuable that skill would be to my team.

Never one to take “no” for an answer, I started looking into other alternatives and found Code Academy.

For the last two weeks I’ve been going through training at Code Academy in HTML/CSS and JavaScript completely free and entirely at my own pace.  I have found the lessons to be challenging at times but very well laid out, very logical, and very well written.  I’ve already started working on building an interactive webpage at the office for my team to use as a starting point for accessing our frequently used applications.

functionThe latest lesson that I struggled with for a couple of hours was Javascript functions.  This particular code to the left confused me for a while, but I did eventually get it to work.  I’m so proud of my little accomplishment that it deserves this long-winded post.  :)

In the code at line 3, I declare a variable called sleepCheck which is a function expecting 1 parameter called numHours.  At line 4 I write the value of the parameter to the console so I can verify it’s the right number.  Line 5 starts an if/then comparison which checks the parameter to see if it is greater than or equal to 8.  If the comparison is true, line 6 returns the statement.  If the comparison is false, line 7 returns the other statement.  Finally on line 11, I call the function sleepCheck and give it a parameter of 10.  When the script runs, it will return the statement at line 6.

This has made me very happy today.  :)  I really do love to learn new things, and I want to say “Thank you!” so very much to the folks at Code Academy for making this available, easy, and free.



Category: GeekStuff, Happy Things | Comments Off on What’s your function?
July 31

It’s not about the weather.

where i'd rather be today
ready to go


I think it’s more a matter of planning that stops me from heading to Flagstaff this weekend rather than any sort of issue about the weather.  If we left early in the morning I’m sure we could be out of the high temperature zones within 50 minutes – and when the altitude goes up the temperature goes down.

The problem for me is that I don’t want to have to deal with the planning or execution of making a journey out of town at this time.  Each of the last four excursions out of Arizona have been at my pleasure, and have been entirely my responsibility.  My stress level has been hovering around 9.4 for the last couple of weeks and, I just don’t think I can do it again so soon regardless of how much I really want to get a break from the heat of the summer.

I really would go along as long as I didn’t have to manage the entire process.  Perhaps Hal will have enough energy left to take care of the details, but I’m doubting it.  Even if by some stroke of luck we ended up going anyway, it would probably be a good idea for us to take a car instead of the bikes.



Category: Travels | Comments Off on It’s not about the weather.
July 31

The reboot

On July 30th 2014 I attempted to contact my hosting provider for assistance with an outbound email problem.  The problem was that for nearly the entire week previous (July 20th), no email from Loux.ORG had been delivered to any recipient.  Inbound mail was working as expected, but outbound was not.  When I attempted to contact the hosting provider, I started with a phone call and waiting about 10 minutes before resorting to web-chat.  The web-chat was also full but said someone would be with me in 20 minutes and started a count-down.

The count-down ran for the entire 20 minutes, then sat at 1minute remaining for approximately 60 more minutes.  I abandoned that effort and went back to the phone.  After another 10 minutes on the phone, I pointed my browser to a new (and local) hosting provider to begin the process of transferring Loux.ORG to their services.  Before another 20 minutes went by, this new provider had helped me choose which services I wanted, got them paid for with many discounts, threw in an additional domain, and had the service transfer IN progress.  The DNS switch-over took a few hours, but here we are.

This is the reboot of ‘This child’s life” with the new hosting provider, GoDaddy Inc.


Thanks Bob!



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