WordPress 2.0

So I just saw that Word Press 2.0 just came out. I’ve been using WordPress for Cinder Inc. since it started and have been impressed with it all along. Even with the few hiccups that happened with the 1.2->1.5 upgrade, they were minor and I ended up with a much nicer and easier to maintain site (though that implies I was actually updating!)

Some of the newer features sound good, and I’ll probably get a chance to do an upgrade here in the next few weeks. Not sure what the front page differences will be for you, but on the backend I’ll be able to manage comment spam much better (it’s down to about 10-20 a week that I have to go through, which is better than the 20-30 a day I was having for a while), among other things. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Best Webgames of 2005

In the interest of saving you the lameness of collecting all the other top X of 2005 lists, I thought I’d just do one that I noticed today, even though it’s not the best, and I don’t always agree with the choices, I liked enough of the games on the list, and many of them are very easily played for fun, it should be mentioned here. So here we go – The top 20 webgames of 2005. Go interweb.

Projects

Getting time while commuting over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of time to think, and contemplate things. A common occurrence is to continue to think of my “projects” that I have mulled over for years, but still have never had the time to really sit down and do. Well not all of it is time, some of it is pure getting distracted by a new (or old) game or just lacking the knowledge to complete them. I thought I’d share a few things I hope to at least try, or at least enjoy planning in my head.

– A homemade arcade controller – Since seeing the home built MAME arcade cabinets people have made over the years, I’ve always wanted to do something, but on a smaller scale, like a nice two player set-up where I could play Street Fighter 2 against my wife and friends, and have something nice to actually play these arcade classics correctly. I’m sorry but the keyboard, or a game pad is not the way to play a fighter.

– An EEPROM Burner – This ties into many different ideas and projects, but basically it would be a great way to get back to electronics, and allow me to move into some NES Development and hacking. I’ve always wanted to create my own cartridge of some of the hacks and translations of old NES games, and be able to play them on my TV. All this leading eventually to getting the NES hooked up to the Internet. Possible? Don’t know, but it would be fun to try.

– A Podcast of my very own – So in thinking of ideas for doing a podcast, I thought of covering my rentals from Netflix, as Jess and I have tended to get classics and foreign films, it might be fun to discuss them and talk about them in a podcast format. Though I wonder if I could actually talk long enough to make it interesting.

– A nice working house media server – I think I’d have a hard time convincing the wife that this was necessary (since it isn’t) but it would be a lot of fun and with technology going crazy it’d be great to be able to play movies on my TV from a computer that is down in the basement, or something along those lines. Neat? Yes, but I’m going to be realistic on this one and say it’s not going to happen.

There are a few more, but I’ll save them for later.

Excuses

Seems I’m always good at coming up with excuses as to why I’m not writing much here these days. Mostly it’s a real good reason now. My son, Ash, keeps my wife and I busy and I really don’t have much time to sit and relaxingly write much or do much on-line anymore these days. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I’d rather spend time watching my son coo and smile. Sure I won’t forget Cinder Inc., in fact I’ve got a writing bug in me right now anyways so you’ll see somethings being posted up here for sure.

A Challenge and social networking?

My wife challenged me to something and I’m going to take her up on it. Write here on Cinder Inc. for a week straight. At least once a day. “It’s your blog, you can be self indulgent and get away with it really easily. Just write though.” So why not.

Social networks. I’ve always liked the idea. Friendster and Live Journal have been around a while. I’ve tried them out in the past. Hell, I’ve got pages on both. I think I may even have one on Classmates.com, though if I do it was done ages ago. So I’ve tried out some in the past, but never really gotten into it. So why am I starting a MySpace profile? Good question.

So far after just signing up last night, I now have MySpace. Uh. Yay? Dunno yet, but it seems to combine a bit of the above networks into one. I’ve found some family and friends from school days already. Kinda fun in a way, but I really need to finish filling out the page and getting it put together. May be a way to keep track of people I suppose. It might even get more than two people to visit here from time to time. We’ll see.

Tacoma Coffee – The Mandolin Cafe

The first entry into my quest to find good coffee here in Tacoma, WA, and generally anywhere else I go. I’ll keep a running page of all the shops I go to here with links back to these stories.

First up is The Mandolin Cafe, located on 12th Ave. just up the street from Union here in Tacoma.

It’s a good atmospheric place, lot’s of tables, plenty of room to spread out if you are studying or working. A nice fireplace with a few comfy couches around it. Even a conference room type setting that can be reserved for meetings and the like. Art for sale surrounds you on the walls, available for purchase. All in all a good place for atmosphere. In fact that’s what initially drew me in.

The coffee is roasted in-house by the owner, AJ Anderson, under the label Vahalla Coffee. Seems a good guy, always in the store when I’ve dropped by, working on roasting and picking up small things around the store like owners tend to do.

Let’s get down to the coffee though. The store’s baristas make up the coffee on a 3 group La San Marco machine. I’ve never been a fan of the machine, working on one at The Kickstand Cafe, but it does have the ability to make decent coffee. Does it here? Short answer: no.

The americanos I’ve recieved have tended to be either overextracted, or way under. Shot times are kept short it seems usually, and they seem to miss out on pulling just the right shot. I’d like to play around and really taste what their espresso roast is like. With their light colored and thin crema, it just leaves me wanting in their preperation. The barista’s have been trained, but seemingly only a bit.

As for their milk based drinks, my wife gives their foam two thumbs down. We’ve given it a few go’s, as we plan to do for others, just to see if it was a particular barista. Nope. Foam tends to be bubbly and thin, and not much up there when a drink is poured. I will say though from the few sips I have had though, the espresso is strong, and is not overpowered by the milk.

It all comes down to this: I continue to go there because of the large table seating area in which I can spread out whatever I am working on at the moment, certianly not for their coffee. I’ve even started to not get coffee and get tea (of which they have a very nice selection, and with the ability to get pot’s of it as well, so more bonus points). In the end, it’s a place to study, work, and bring a larger group of friends or family to because of the room. Stay for the space, and enjoy your coffee, but I know there has to be something better out here in Tacoma. I just have to find it!

I’m Not Dead

Really. I’m not. But lots of activity in the life has kept me away. Good news and all though:

– It’s going to be a boy. Due November 4th, little Ash William Anderson will make his way out into the world. It’s amazing!

– We just got our first home. It’s fun, stressful, and a lot of work.

Both those and just regular work keep me busy, but I’ll be back. Honest.

Writers Block

I’ve been wanting to write a lot recently, the only problem is I’m not sure what I want to write about. Do I do lists of things I’ve been reading, or playing or listening to. I’ve done that a lot recently. I’ve been meaning to write a bit about a few thoughts I’ve had about globalization, but ultimatly I lost the fire to write it.

So where does that leave me? I’ve got the idea of taking a little notebook along with me wherever I go to write down ideas and thoughts. Sounds good in practice, but in reality, I never would remember to write it down. I’ve been contimplating for months to do my top 5 games that have influenced me the most. I’d like to write a bit about coffee. I just seem to be stuck at the moment. Maybe it’s that I have a lot going on, taking up time and energy. I’m not sure.

Stay tuned.

Upgrade to Cinder Inc

Since it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, I decided to upgrade my Word Press installation to the newer version 1.5. So far I like it.

A few new features may help me prevent comment spamming, and easier to deal with themes (yes, I have a new theme now, and we’ll see how it goes), easier content creation, and plugin management seems to be better as well. We’ll see. So far so good. If you notice a problem toss in a comment and I’ll see if I can’t get it fixed.

Edit – Comments are broken, along with RSS and a few other things. I’ll figure them out eventually.

Edit 2 – Looks like things are fixed. Let me know if anything else seems broken to you.