jcfiala: (Default)
2017-04-19 08:40 am

She's Eight

That time when an off-hand comment on dreamwidth sends you off searching to find out how old Sophia the First is.
jcfiala: (Default)
2017-04-15 09:53 am

Current Kickstarters - 4/15/2017

I like crowdfunding. Especially Kickstarter.

I love the idea of it. It's hard to make something interesting and cool these days - it costs serious money to make something, even something that's not meant to be pernament, so why not come up with a way to let a lot of folks who are interested put in a little money to help make it happen? If you can't find 1000 fans to put in $10, then maybe you should try something else, and if you can find those thousand people - or two thousand, or five, then something really cool can happen.

I back creators on Patreon, and I've backed projects on Kickstarter since July of 2010, when I backed my first project - The One Page Dungeon Codex, Print Version. One page dungeons are interesting ideas - an entire adventure written up on one 8.5 x 11 page, map, encounters, background, a mix of art and presentation that ranges from the basic map and monsters to works of art depicting flying ships or characters in a mystery. (I've also backed occasional projects on IndieGoGo, but only a few.)

That was kickstarter #1, and I haven't slowed down since. Sure, there's been projects that haven't come through - sadly, these things happen - but I've apparently got enough of a feel for these things that I've not lost much on any project, and I think there's only 10 or so projects that I don't expect to deliver, out of more than 300 backed.

But enough on that - what I thought I'd do is list through some of the kickstarters I'm backing now and why. Maybe they'll be interesting to you!

Amsterdam Coffeeshops - a coffee table book by Andrew Looney - This isn't a book I'm backing, as I'm not really interested in Amsterdam coffeeshops, but Andrew Looney is also the game designer and head of Looney Labs, a game company that puts out some really interesting games, such as Pyramid Arcade, a set that was kickstarted last year. I put a dollar in to keep an eye on the project, which has happily funded. If you're interested in a qwirky book showing off the marijuana coffeeshops of Amsterdam, you could do worse than drop $40 on this, and since Andy Looney's already fulfilled one kickstarter, this one would be a safe one to back.

DCC Lankhmar - DCC is short of Dungeon Crawl Classics, a fantasty roleplaying game with an old-school feel. This project supplies rules and background for playing in Fritz Leiber's class world he used for his stories of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser... it's something I've been looking forward to. Goodman Games was a bit slow on the last kickstarter by them that I backed, for the core rules and a bunch of free adventures, but what they produced was magnificent, and I'm curious to see what they're going to do next with this kickstarter. I've enjoyed Fritz Leiber's stories, too.

Every once in a while I back something not because I expect to get something from it, but because I think it's something that would be good to have done. The Mana Boardgame Tavern is one of those - I used to live in Pittsburgh, and I think the idea of a boardgame tavern there would be great. Sadly it's not doing very well - they don't seem to be promoting it much, and I don't think my five dollars will be collected. But who knows?

The Solar Grid is a graphic novel about space, and I found out about it from Warren Ellis' newsfeed, which was enough of a recommendation for me to back it. You can read the first three chapters of it online, so take a look! Sadly, this one's underfunded now as well, but there's still 18 days to go to pick up more support. Ganzeer, the creator of the book, is moving to Denver later this year, and I've been slipping him news about various indie comics events happening here.

Gloomhaven is a boardgame kickstarter success story already - the first kickstarter for this game raised $360,104 to print the game, which went on to great reviews (currently #7 on Board Game Geek) and there weren't a lot of copies to go around - 200% markup at least. So this second campaign for the dungeon game has now raised more than two million dollars for a game that's already been produced once. This game combines dungeon crawling action with euro mechanics, using legacy mechanics to show how characters advance through the game. Personally, I'm really excited to see it.

Monkey Minion Press' first kickstarter was for a children's book about scientists who changed the world, which I backed to get for my daughter. She's a little young for it so far, but it's a great book, with interesting art and summaries of the life of 20 different scientsts. Now they're back for Beyond: An Art Book of Mechanical Space Exploration, and I'm happy to back them a second time. This book concentrates on the machines used to explore space (manned and un-manned) such as Curiosity, Voyager, Mercury, Sputnik, and more, along with desriptions of what they did.

I have a weakness for interesting Tarot decks, and Kickstarter has not been helpful with controlling that weakeness. Kayti Welsh is creating her fourth deck through kickstarter, and 78 Tarot Astral is the third one she's created that I've backed. The really interesting thing about her decks isn't that she does a whole deck - instead, she gathers 78 different artists and has each of them do a different tarot card that matches the theme. You'ld think this could come out with a mess of different pictures, but she's really got a good handle on this - I was really fond of her 78 Tarot Carnival deck.

Bill Mantlo's best known creation is probably Rocket Racoon, but another of his creations is Swords of the Swashbucklers, a Marvel graphic novel and 12 issue follow-up series that features teenager Domino Blackthorne Drake who gains a strange power and then she joins an interstallar pirate crew. This reprint not only brings an interesting story back, but it will also help support Bill Mantlo, who was the victim of a tragic hit and run that's left him needing constant care. So, you both get a cracking good story and help support someone who needs it.

And finally there's MST3K - it's not being kickstartered right now, but it's something I supported at the tail end of 2015. Not only has it released the 14 episodes I backed to me, but they've been picked up by Netflix, and (depending on your country) the new episodes are available to subscribers to watch. Go take a look - Joel's said that the more folks who watch it through Netflix, the more likely that Netflix will decide to buy another season.

That's everything I'm backing right now. Take a look - there's a lot of good things here, I think. Later on I'm planning on going into some of my successes and failures when backing kickstarters, as well as a rundown of some of the cool Tarot decks I've collected.
jcfiala: (Default)
2017-04-11 11:31 am

Hello Dreamwidth!

Well, now that I'm formally over here, maybe it's time to start posting again. It's been a while.

Hello, Dreamwidth! I'm John Fiala. I'm 47 now as I post this. I have a wife, Tammy, and a daughter, Rose, who is 5 and a delight. (for one, she goes to sleep when put to bed.)

So, last year my wife almost died from Pneumonia in the spring, and then in the fall we discovered that she has leukemia. Wow.

Happily, she's doing well. She just had a bone marrow transplant, and is doing just about perfectly - considering what's been done to her. She's even home from the hospital, where her parents (on loan from North Carolina) and myself are taking care of her. While this is going on, our daughter is staying with her aunt and uncle in North Carolina, as unfortunately five year olds are not the best thing to have around during immune system problems.

I miss her. But at least I have my wife back!

Beyond that, life is fine. Work is good - I got laid off in January but found a job very quickly - and I'm enjoying it. Went and saw a great movie over the weekend - 'Your Name.'. Lovely. It's got a limited american release this week, so try and see it if you can.
jcfiala: (Default)
2017-04-08 09:55 am

And away we go...

This is official notice that I'm winding down my livejournal account now. The new terms of service are alarming, for one, and for another I am no longer allowed to access livejournal from work due to the russian servers.

I am jcfiala across the internet, and similarly I'm jcfiala on dreamwidth. I hope I see you there!
jcfiala: (Default)
2017-01-11 10:09 am
Entry tags:

Using the Haversine Formula in Drupal 7

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2017/01/11/using-haversine-formula-drupal-7.

Here's a link to the article: https://www.newmediadenver.com/blog/using-haversine-formula-drupal7

jcfiala: (Default)
2015-01-02 09:24 am
Entry tags:

Book Read: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2015/01/02/book-read-last-policeman-ben-h-winters.

I'm lucky enough to have started come across a recommendation of this book in another blog, and was up until about 12:30 last night finishing the damn thing, because I just had to stay on and see how it ended. So, I think it's pretty damn good. Plus, I'll warn you that this book won an Edgar award in 2013 for "Best Original Paperback", so apparently a bunch of other folks also liked it.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2015-01-01 12:34 pm

Happy New Year / Year in Review 2014

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2015/01/01/happy-new-year-year-review-2014.

So, that's 2014.

Not a great year for the US in general, or for the world, but personally it went pretty well. My daughter started Preschool and daycare, which she's doing well at, which allowed my wife to look for a job which - as expected - mostly helps pay for the preschool. (Although preschool will get a little cheaper once we're done with toilet training.)

Also, Rose is continuing to grow and become more of a person, which is fantastic. She's now partially toilet trained, which is a great relief, and is really getting her alphabet and counting down. And she recognizes her name.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2014-12-25 08:38 pm
Entry tags:

A Merry Christmas in Denver

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2014/12/25/merry-christmas-denver.

Well, it's been a very nice Christmas, although it looked a little touch-and-go for a bit.

Two weeks ago Rose started getting sick with a cold, a cold that then attacked Tammy and me with a vengeance. Where Rose was sick for a day or so, both I and my wife were stuck at home for two days, with me only returning to work at the tail end of the week by working from home.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2014-08-29 02:54 pm
Entry tags:

Using Doctrine Migrations Part 2: Adding Data to a Migration

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2014/08/29/using-doctrine-migrations-part-2-adding-data-migration.

(If you missed it, my previous post on this topic was Using Doctrine Migrations Without the ORM.)

So my previous blog post laid down a good start on how to use Doctrine to move changes to the database, but soon I ran into a new problem - what about when you have data to change in addition to changing the structure of the database? For instance, my first try at this was putting a default row of data into a new table, or maybe putting initial data into a new column?

My first try was simple, but unfortunately not quite right, I used the addSql() command:

<?php
class Version20140828145153 extends AbstractMigration
{
    public function
up(Schema $schema) {
    <
code that creates a new table>
   
$this->addSql("INSERT INTO <table> (this, that, theother) VALUES (...)");
    }
...
?>

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2014-08-21 11:28 am
Entry tags:

Using Doctrine Migrations without the ORM

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2014/08/21/using-doctrine-migrations-without-orm.

Recently I was handed a PHP project at work which already existed but the owner wanted a variety of tweaks and improvements added to it. The project wasn't built with any framework I could name, and although it has a sort of MVC feel to it, is not strictly an MVC project.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2014-05-18 03:35 pm

A fun weekend with my family

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2014/05/18/fun-weekend-my-family.

It's been a while since I've remembered to blog... oh, well. Parenting is distracting.

This weekend's been fun. Yesterday we went out to see things - first we went by the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market, where we picked up some interesting pie and ravioli, and also found a really cute dress for Rose. We also got some neat snacks, nibbling on some Pirogi and Chinese dumplings.

Once we were done with that, we wandered off to the Valverde Bazaar, which was near enough to where we lived. Lots of interesting antiques, scrap, and various bits of art - my wife got a garden decoration made from sticking together various sunny plates and glass dishes, and I picked up four dark red scrabble tiles that spell out R-O-S-E... as well as looked over some really nifty typewriters. For some reason, I really like the idea of getting a nice looking typewriter.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2013-09-01 09:35 am
Entry tags:

Gaming weekend with Tacticon!

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2013/09/01/gaming-weekend-tacticon.

An interesting weekend for gaming. This weekend is Tacticon/Railcon, the big train gaming event, so my wife went off to play and left me with Rose for two days. Which has been fun, but I'm already worn out. (The first day was Friday, so today she's spending time at home.)

With Rose both tired and a handful, I wasn't really able to visit the dealer's room at the convention when we dropped by yesterday, but I did pause momentarily at the table that Black & Read had to pick up the latest expansion for Netrunner. (I've been picking up the expansions, but haven't really had a chance to play. I probably should try playing online, but haven't been motivated to yet.)

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2013-04-20 04:02 pm
Entry tags:

Several Gallons of Duplo

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2013/04/20/several-gallons-duplo.

My mother's in from out of town visiting, and we've been having a lot of fun. One of the most satisfactory things we've done together is what we did on Thursday, going to the first full day of the "Just Between Friends" consignment sale here in Denver. (If you're a parent, these things are magic - cheap used items (or cheap unused items) all in one place.)

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2013-03-25 10:43 am

Photo of Orwell's house with Camera in Front is a Fake!

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2013/03/25/photo-orwells-house-camera-front-fake.

Yeah, this is amusing.

Several folks in my livejournal feed post the same picture of the front of Orwell's house with a security camera mounted outside. Naturally, I immediately search online for the string "orwell camera hoax" and get many hits - as I expected. Here's a good one: http://reason.com/blog/2012/02/07/orwellian-irony-in-the-extreme

It's a fake, ha ha. Of course, I can't comment on this without either having my comment marked as spam or having to sign up to yet another blogging service, so I'll just slip it into my friends feed and hope folks aren't so open minded they miss it. :)

Why do people believe photos on the internet?

jcfiala: (Default)
2013-03-13 11:03 am
Entry tags:

MySQL Fun: Converting ISBN10 codes to ISBN13

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2013/03/13/mysql-fun-converting-isbn10-codes-isbn13.

So, I'm currently working on a book-related project where I'm processing a bunch of book data, and for some reason the isbn13 values are missing, where the isbn10 values are still there.

So, I went out and found this useful mysql function for converting the values:

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2012-12-17 12:29 pm

So I can find this later: Six Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/12/17/so-i-can-find-later-six-harsh-truths-will-make-you-better-person.

I just read this, and I wish I could go back in time and shove it in my younger face: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-per.... I just read through it and really enjoyed it.

You don't have to like it, I just wanted to save the link.

jcfiala: (Default)
2012-12-06 11:01 am
Entry tags:

A Google Maps v3 Control Gotcha

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/12/06/google-maps-v3-control-gotcha.

Here's something that just bit me:

When you're using google maps api, you may find that the map controls don't show up, or worse, show up only partially. This is what happened to me. Happily, this seems to be a side-effect of using reset.css of some sort - it sets up images to display in a way that google maps doesn't like. Assuming that the div you're writing the map to is #map_canvas, then what you want to add to your css is:

#map_canvas img {
max-width: inherit;
}

And then the controls appear!

jcfiala: (Default)
2012-12-02 01:12 pm
Entry tags:

Beginning Magento

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/12/02/beginning-magento.

A month and a half ago I switched to a new job at SpireMedia as the 'Director of PHP Development', which so far has largely meant 'Drupal Guru', a position that I'm quite enjoying.

However, an interesting addition to Drupal is that we're starting up on Magento projects, starting with a website for a company that sells items with legal restrictions on how items are sold and shipped, and which already has a computer system for fulfillment of orders. This means that we need to not only set up a Magento site, but we need to add new rules for these legal restrictions and we're going to need to be able to talk to the existing system to pass data back and forth.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
2012-10-25 12:39 pm

O Maryland!

So, I'm originally from Maryland, so when I started reading a thread on Christmas and came across someone talking about the Maryland state song, I was amused to find out that it uses the tune from 'Oh Christmas Tree' but has lyrics about resisting the Northern Oppressor.

Apparently a few decades ago some thought was put to change this, and naturally the folks at All Things Considered decided to 'help' with their own lyrics:

1.

We've got some hills, we've got some trees,
We sing in four-part harmonies.
There's shopping malls and city halls
And cats and dogs and ponds with frogs.

But none of us has ever meant
To overthrow the government.
From Baltimore to Hagerstown,
Just take your car and drive around.

2.

We touch four states and several bays,
The highways mostly run two ways,
We hope you come and say hello
And maybe stop and spend some dough.

We're near the nation's capital
But we are not stuck up at all.
So take a stand and shake the hand
Of every crab in Maryland.

3.

I have a dog whose name was Jack.
I threw a stick, he brought it back.
My sister had a cat, I think.
My mother had a kitchen sink.

My father was a decent man
And we all lived in Maryland.
O Maryland! O Maryland!
O Maryland! O Maryland!

4.

Our nights are dark, our days are fair,
We're right next door to Delaware.
Our song before was full of gore,
But then the Union won the war.

We're sorry if we made you mad.
It was the only song we had.
O Maryland! O Maryland!
O Maryland! O Maryland!

These were apparently written by Larry Massett, and are copied from "Every Night at Five. Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book". Enjoy!
jcfiala: (Default)
2012-10-25 11:29 am
Entry tags:

O Maryland!

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/10/25/o-maryland.

So, I'm originally from Maryland, so when I started reading a thread on Christmas and came across someone talking about the Maryland state song, I was amused to find out that it uses the tune from 'Oh Christmas Tree' but has lyrics about resisting the Northern Oppressor.

Apparently a few decades ago some thought was put to change this, and naturally the folks at All Things Considered decided to 'help' with their own lyrics:

1.

We've got some hills, we've got some trees,
We sing in four-part harmonies.
There's shopping malls and city halls
And cats and dogs and ponds with frogs.

But none of us has ever meant
To overthrow the government.
From Baltimore to Hagerstown,
Just take your car and drive around.

2.

We touch four states and several bays,
The highways mostly run two ways,
We hope you come and say hello
And maybe stop and spend some dough.

Read more... )