GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons under fire for Zimbabwe elephant-hunting video. Xeni Jardin, over at http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/31/godaddy-ceo-draws-fi.html calls him an ‘asshole,’ but the reason he cites for the hunt is no different than the sort of herd control we exercise here in the US to maintain deer (and other) populations. It doesn’t hurt that the dead elephant is put to good use. I just have a problem with the bleeding hearts who value and animal’s life over that of human lives. There has always been a struggle between man and nature; it’s just that those struggles look a little different in Africa than they do here.
This week, I played — and won — my very first game of Chess960. As I mentioned on Twitter a couple of days ago, it’s a fascinating and bizarre way to play the game.
For the uninitiated, Chess960 is also known as Fischer Random Chess and is a variant of the game created by World Champion Bobby Fischer. What’s different about it is that each player’s starting back row is randomized, playing a higher emphasis on creativity and talent than on the memorization of opening moves. Applied with a couple of additional rules, this results in 960 possible opening positions — hence the name. I’ve always struggled to play a strong opening — the middle and endgames are my strong suit — so from a beginning game perspective, Chess960 is a refreshing way to play.
I’ve included my first game below, for the curious, which involved plenty of creativity in the endgame to both avoid checkmate and to win the game. If there are any other chess players who’d like to play, head over to chess.com (or add the chess.com app on Facebook) and look me up. I always welcome new challengers.
One of my favorite things about upgrading to the iPhone 4 from the 3G is the 5-megapixel camera. Granted, it’s no competition for a professional DSLR camera, but the pictures the iPhone 4 produces are still pretty dang snazzy. Pair it up with the Camera+ app I wrote about the other day and you have a winning formula for some really neat pictures. I took the picture below just before turning in last night. Aside from the angled self-portrait I posted in the Camera+ post, this may be one of my favorite pictures taken on my iPhone to date.
I’ve been playing around with a new camera app for my iPhone over the last few days called Camera+. It’s a pretty sweet little utility that allows you to snap pictures and apply some ready-to-use filters. My favorite, by far, is the Grunge filter as it creates some pretty gnarly-looking images. Here’s a sampling:
If you enjoy photography on your iPhone, I recommend this app. It’s less than a buck in the App store.
I finally retired my first domain name this past weekend. It was part of a necessary server change, and since open-dialogue.com hasn’t seen use in three or four years, I decided it was time to mothball it. I’m actually not too sorry to see it go. The focus of my web presence has changed significantly over the past decade.
When I set up my (dv) server with MediaTemple a couple of years ago, I had hoped that I had found my final home for web hosting. I’ve loved having my own server to run and to set up exactly the way I wanted. Unfortunately, the monthly hosting fees ($100/mo.) just got to be too much, especially in this economy, so I’ve ended up having to move everything to shared hosting again. This has made me understandably nervous since the reason why I moved to MediaTemple’s (dv) server in the first place was because my previous host, Bluehost, was unable to handle the periodic traffic spikes my Reclaimer site gets. So a little research and experimentation was warranted.
I started by setting up one of MediaTemple’s (ve) servers which, at the outset, seemed like it would be a highly enjoyable way to go. Everything, including installing the actual web server, has to be set up by the user, so you can customize all the settings to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, it also requires a rather advanced skillset to make everything work smoothly, and there were just one or two little things I couldn’t figure out. (It doesn’t help that nearly every tutorial I could find also requires an advanced degree to translate.) Ultimately, I gave it up as a failed experiment. I played around with Dreamhost’s free trial for a day, but service there was spotty just in that brief time, so I finally decided to give MediaTemple’s own grid-service a try. All my domains were pointed there anyway, and MediaTemple has always been very good to me.
So far, everything has run exceptionally smoothly. As always, the actual transfer was a major headache — backing up databases and files, reuploading databases and files, adjusting zone files, etc. I also took the time to clean up my databases by removing tables no longer in use, getting rid of the default prefix (wp_), and otherwise hardening all of my WordPress installs. The whole process from start to finish took me about a week, but now that the dust is settled, I’m pretty happy with the way things are sitting. I think MediaTemple will continue to be an excellent host.
Smoke drifted lazily from the barrel of the Ladysmith.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Kathryn’s gaze fixed on mine.
I glanced at the body sprawled out beside her and chuckled. “I know. It’s just kind of fun.”
The waitress sidled up to me. “More coffee, sir?”
“Sure, sure,” I replied. “And another serving of those wonderful hashbrowns, if you please, with my compliments to the cook.”
Kathryn smirked. “She didn’t even look at the body. I think they’re a little too accustomed to your routine.”
“Of course they are. If Marj wouldn’t keep sending those damned messengers at breakfast…” I replied.
“Still, you really don’t need to keep shooting them.”
I shrugged. “I don’t like the messages they deliver. The day Marj sends one I like is the day I get out of this business.”
“The business of shooting the messenger.” Kathryn’s delivery was deadpan.
“You know what I mean.” I sounded petulant. I didn’t care.
“Alright,” she said. “I’ll ease off. For now.”
Helluva way to start the day.
There was murder in her eyes. He saw it clear as day.
He rubbed the tender spot where she’d hit him with the blunt — and his heart skipped a beat when she pointed the barbaric weapon at him.
“You’re not actually going to use that thing, are you?” he stammered.
“Oh, I should,” she seethed. “I should use it to take you apart piece by piece.”
He licked his lips nervously and cast about for an escape, but she clearly had the advantage.
“C’mon,” he pleaded. “Can’t we be civilized about this?”
“Ha!” she laughed mirthlessly. “We’re way beyond civilized here, Robert.” She paced around him, where she had coldcocked him.
“Bastard!” she hissed. “All this time I was looking for my boy, I came to you for comfort! All this time…” She gasped, trying to catch her breath. “I looked everywhere for my boy — and all this time you were feeding him to me, a piece at a time!
“I should kill you!”
He smiled, then, a psychotic glint to his eyes.
“Yeah,” he smirked, “but didn’t he taste wonderful?”
We broke the world, cracked it open from pole to pole. Lit the planet up and burned it with fire from within. We had to. It was the only way to get rid of them.
It was a doomsday weapon, of course. A last recourse. God knows we’d tried everything else. Nothing had worked. And so we did what we always swore we would never do, despite the fact that we had built the weapon anyway. We knew that, push come to shove, we’d use it, even while we were telling ourselves we wouldn’t.
It sure as hell was better than the alternative.
And so now we walk the surface, just the four of us, protected by our armored suits. So far as we know, we are the last of our people, the last of our kind, and the last living things anywhere on the planet. Our world is dead now; it will never recover. But at least they can no longer have their way with us.
It is a fair trade.