So, since I had received a gift card to Best Buy from my in-laws for Christmas, I decided to go with the new video card. I got an ATI 9550, which should hopefully let my computer serve my needs for another couple years.
While we were there, we decided to look at computer chairs, since Jessi could really use a new one. Since we seem to have quite a knack for picking chairs that fall apart, the warranty on the chair is an important piece of information we want to look at when comparison shopping. Luckily, all the price tags at Best Buy say “Full warranty text available on request.” So, we requested it. One poor sales clerk and two managers had no idea what that line was supposed to mean and didn’t seem to realize that it ever existed there. They scoured their company intranet looking for any sort of information. They were not successful. This did not increase my confidence in buying a chair from Best Buy (not that it was high to begin with), and so we left.
New video card or new computer?
This Second Life virtual world is very interesting… The game has its own economy, with people willing to buy and sell “Linden dollars” (L$) for U.S. dollars (US$), with a fluctuating exchange rate based on demand. There’s also real estate speculation and trading. People are making a full-time living off of the game, mainly through real estate and by creating and selling custom clothing, objects, and bodies.
Also, there’s an embedded journalist who makes his living off of reporting what’s going on in the world, as well as the controversies that exist in it. People are forming governments, and deciding what kind of zoning regulations, if any, they want people in their neighborhood to abide by when constructing objects. I was given paraphernalia by someone running the Socialist Party of Second Life.
People who create in-game objects keep the rights to their intellectual property.
It’s a very interesting place…
I’ve been trying to try out a new game called Second Life. I finally managed to run it today after taking one of ‘s somewhat-older video cards to use instead of my wonderful-for-CAD-but-doesn’t-work-on-games FireGL E1. The game is basically like an old-fashioned MUX, but a 3D MMORPG world. The basic account is free. You interact with others in this virtual community, in a world made up primarily of what its participants created. Participants create objects and script them to do things. It seems pretty neat. My name there is Peter Newchurch if anyone else wants to jump on as well. (And apparently I may get some bonus if you sign on using my referrer link.)
While “Southern Hospitality” is a stereotypical expression, we found it to be quite true on our venture to Virginia. Basically, the quality of the service at a restaurant was directly proportional to how far South we were. The service at the Olive Garden in Richmond (which we went to Friday night since we were too late for the GPT) was the best service I have ever had in a restaurant. It was just, very, very, impressive. Have others who’ve traveled found the same to be true, or were we just lucky and happened to find a great server?
So, I think I’ve learned that I’m much more likely to succeed as a professional judge than as a professional Magic player. Jessi and I went to Grand Prix Richmond, and lost a lot, but had a good amount of fun. We headed down Friday, but it took a bit longer to get there than I (or AAA) had expected, and so we missed the Grand Prix Trial that evening. On Saturday, we played in the main event, and lost horribly. On Sunday, we played in the side-event Pro Tour Qualifier, where Jessi lost quite a bit. I had a very nice deck and was very much thinking I could do well, but in some very close matches I ended up losing 2 and drawing 1 in the first 4 rounds. So, we dropped, and went back to our hotel room where we played some more casually before going to bed and driving home on Monday.
Tomorrow, we leave for Grand Prix Richmond. The plan is to have a lot of fun. I tend to doubt we’ll win anything, but you never know. You should be able to see our ranking in the main event at the MagicTheGathering.com tournament center if you’re so inclined. However, if we don’t do well in the main event, we’ll likely drop and play in some of the numerous side events.
(This is from memory, so I’m paraphrasing, but this is pretty close.)
“You must make the following declaration: You swear under penalty of perjury that the information you’ve provided here is correct. To make this declaration, press 1.” — The Massachusetts Telefile system
I have to wonder just how legally enforceable that is.
Also, for federal taxes, I’d like to recommend TaxAct, because they’re free (without the income limits the other online providers have for free services). They just really, really, really try to upsell you to their “deluxe” and state tax products. I had a pretty good experience with them. And, I just can’t bring myself to pay any money, to anybody, just to get back what’s already mine, and been mine all along.