Yes, I'm a nerd. What of it?
- First, the part that has the most to do with "stuff": computer stuff. I've long been wanting to upgrade my PC. (That stands for "Personal Computer", folks, not "Politically Correct", nor "Potato Chips".) My current PC has been working since I bought it in 2005, but the RAM has been long since maxed out, I had to add a second hard drive which I couldn't successfully add internally without problems, I've also had to add an external DVD-R drive and external USB hub, etc. And although I'm not a hard core PC gamer,
So sometime last year I bought a second PC from a computer show, thinking I could make the jump over to it. Unfortunately that second computer has some new problems, like the video card blocking the SATA ports, and I stupidly didn't notice before I bought the computer that it was DDR2 RAM when I really wanted to make the jump to DDR3.
The bottom line? I needed a better motherboard. The clerk at the computer store wouldn't take my motherboard as a trade-in ("We're not looking for parts. Maybe whole systems, but uh..."), and seemed more interested in tapping loudly on the counter along to a song by Helmet (man I hate those post-1980s metal bands with short hair and no guitar solos). But I bought a new $99 motherboard from them yesterday from the shop, along with some RAM from Best Buy on a whim, and...the processor doesn't work with it. So I'm returning the new motherboard and RAM. The fact that I've since seen the same board on Amazon for cheaper is another reason.
- I've been a life-long fan of Doctor Who. I started watching it as a kid in the late 1970s. For those who don't know, there have officially been 11 actors who've played the alien humanoid time-traveling main character, "The Doctor": 7 in the original series, 1 in a Doctor Who movie, and 3 so far in the new series. The way they explain away this change in cast members in the series, is that The Doctor is a Time Lord who can "regenerate" into a new body at the brink of death. The actors also all purposely bring something a little different to the personality each time.
Well the one Doctor I never particularly liked was the 5th Doctor, Peter Davidson. He just didn't do anything for me. I did have a few DVDs with him, including a couple I had never watched (my wife got them for me as gifts, when she found them for cheap). So yesterday, I decided to do a marathon watch of the last 2 stories from the 4th Doctor, and the first story of the 5th Doctor. This actually made for a nice trilogy, all starring one of the Doctor's most famous foes, The Master.
- Some time it hit me: I'd really like to make some computer games. I used to make games all the time as a kid, with my Apple IIc and the B.A.S.I.C. programming language. These days, I've been professionally coding with the Python programming language. So I figured I'd learn how to do some game writing in Python. One guide that I've found for free on-line and has been really helpful is Making Games with Python & PyGame by Al Sweigart. So far I've been having fun just with the basic drawing commands, and did a little trigonometry to make a few functions that draw star polygons.
Some lessons learned:
- Shops that specialize in equipment, such as computer stores and guitar stores, suck in several ways. They can be a great place to see new products and in some cases maybe try them too, but in this age of the internet, you can usually find what you want for cheaper elsewhere. And if you want to trade something in, you're much better off trying to go through Craigslist or eBay. Yes I understand that the stores themselves have to make a profit, and it saddens me whenever a local guitar store closes, but they still often suck for the consumer.
- I can't say I completely fell in love with the 5th Doctor, but I certainly like him a little more now than I used to. I may just watch some more with him.
- Once you have the basics of some kind of programming down, you can get a few basic pieces going to serve as building blocks for whatever you want to do next. Which gets to the difficult question: what do I want to create, exactly? We'll see where the game-making goes.