A DIY Disc Golf Basket

22.55.50 - Mark

A few years ago I really go into disc golf, it's fun and relaxing, but unless I want to bang the discs against trees it makes sense to go to an established course. The baskets are better targets than the trees, and usually you get some decent obstacles. Similar targets can be purchased, however as a being a frugal shopper and as someone who likes making things, I was always a bit drawn to building one myself. There are some people who sell plans online, blogs that post various kludges , as well as Instructables on baskets and youtube videos on how to make disc golf baskets. The two I linked to probably gave me the most information, and to quell my occasional urge to build something I started looking for low cost parts for my - as close to PDGA target standards as possible.

However I've learned some tricks well. The main pipe was to-be scrap when I took down an old fence, and thanks to the make your own basket video, parts of The Iron Giant, and a MAKE post on "Scrap-Fu" a few years ago, and I decided getting a couple of former fan guards from a scrapyard would be cheap and effective (it was). Walking though Lowes Hardware and I collected the 1/4" steel rods and some electrical conduit to act as a collet. The only remaining part, the chains, were the slowest to acquire, because metal chain is expensive. While I was hoping for 2/0 Single link chain, when I found 100 feet of 4/0 single link chain for $30 I ran with it.

Over time other tools need to be collected, a suitable hole saw and time with an angle grinder and a welder. While I know people and places where I can access that equipment, a mild bit of tool-mongering added to a bit of craigslist shopping. Bits and pieces started being assembled, but over Thanksgiving Weekend, I had enough time to put everything together.

All in all, it was a fun project (and with the left over parts may build a second) and while it may not have the quality of say Innova DISCatcher Pro, with its various hacks, a number of poor welds, and a few little flaws, my basket is fine at catching discs and at about $50 for materials I'm quite happy with my work.

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Reincarnated Retro Games

19.25.37 - Mark

Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, Minesweeper and Solitaire. Games like have reached a cultural status that's just shy of godliness. Play them or not they are referenced, rebuilt, or outright cloned to the point where if you're using a digital device with a keypad, there's probably some way of installing some version of those classic games. Those also aren't the games I'm writing about.

Rather I'm talking about the obscure off the map video games. Ones I played as a 7 year old kid on an Macintosh IIsi / Quadra 610 and the internet was AOL or CompuServe, not the World Wide Web and HTML. I spent hours playing games so it's no surprise I remember them after nearly 20 years. Many of the ones I downloaded from AOL's Mac Game Section were buried when AOL shut down it's closed community to cater to the need for national ISPs. Even games where the parent company still exists, like Freeverse's Enigma, have drifted off into the ethers be it Apple's move to OS X or the later move to Intel processors (which from the 90's would have been an unimaginable treachery).

Then there are the ones that while not buried, live only from fan support. I've spent weeks of my life playing Ambrosia Software's Escape Velocity (whose registration postcard I still have floating around) and it's later sequels. While the originals are still sold, there's little hope to see them running on a modern mac, but thanks to the fans there's a plug in to at least replay the it's arcs.

As you dig deeper in the history of Mac games, there are a few, from the smaller firms to the larger, where those classic games still exist, and some that are still being developed. One of my all time favorites was Spectre, who could only afford the demo version, as on release it cost something like $60. I know the price dropped over time, but like all games so did my intrest in it. However a few months ago I learned that it had being ported to the iOS, and at $1.99 I instantly paid for it.

Spectre isn't the only one either. Today I learned an old Mac classic, Glider is not only available as freeware for OS X but is being ported to the iOS by it's original author. [via toucharcade]

While I don't play video games as much as I did at a child, I love the fact that not only can I still download and play some of my favorite games on my laptop, but that I can enjoy them on my iPod when I have a spare minute. Plus, if nothing else, I can send a few dollars to the people who's demos, shareware and freeware helped keep me entertained as a child.

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10 years of waiting

04.39.19 - Mark

Starcraft is probably my all time favorite game - ever. If it isn't it's a close second. Unfortunately it's never gone as far as the warcraft series, but hopefully that's changing - if only a little. Today Blizzard publicly announced Starcraft II and it looks amazing. The graphics may be a bit cartoonish compared to the original, but it seems to keep with the same game style. SC2 isn't going to be a MMORPG, just a Real Time Strategy game like the original (I wouldn't like it any other way) but the initial reports suggest a lot more options in play. If it's half as good as the original I'll be quite happy.

The downside to all this is that between Starcraft II and Spore I may have to put together a real gaming box...

SC2 cinematic on youtube
SC2 game play on youtube

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Frets on Fire

18.35.03 - Mark

I'm not very musical. For a few years I played the cello - badly - but when I moved to NC and a high school where Orchestra got translated as marching band, and I more or less gave it up lacking both instrument and people to tell me what the hell I was doing wrong. Conversely my brothers are both very musical. One brother refurbished a baby grand piano (seen here) then a couple years ago bought a guitar that he doesn't play, but the other brother loves and plays almost daily.

A while back the guitarist (he's also the other gamer in the family) and I were talking about which video game system we'd love to have the most, and while we didn't come to an agreement, he made it clear he wanted Guitar Hero (personally I want to try out Katamari Damari) This has been floating around in my head for a while, but a couple nights ago I stumbled across Frets on Fire which is a cross platform, open source knockoff of Guitar Hero.

I like it, so does he. We've got it on my linux box, and after a little hunting on various torrent sites we've got it loaded up with a pile of songs. While we both suck, we both see the appeal in the game. That and we want guitar controllers (it's like DDR, if you're going to play, don't use a *&^%ing keyboard).

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Shall we play a game?

01.53.46 - Mark

If you've never seen WarGames, and you regularly read this blog - what the hell are you thinking? Stop reading and go watch WarGames, it's a lot more worth while than reading my ramblings.

For everyone left, don't feel bad I'll be sending you away in a minute too. Almost perfectly timed with my relapse into Ambrosia Software titles, they've gone and release another game - DEFCON. Like Uplink (which started the relapse a few weeks ago), the new offender is a Mac port of an Introversion game (read: there's a windows version). The basic premise of DEFCON (if you haven't guessed from the post title, the command to watch WarGames, and/or the name of the game) is the same as Global Thermonuclear War. Nuke the hell out of your enemy, while keeping your enemy from nuking the hell out of you, and like Joshua you want to play the game until you "win". Which of course you can't do (it is nuclear war after all...) but you can try - and it lends itself to my favorite gaming philosophy (Easy to learn, hard to master).

Aside from its various cinematic inspirations (WarGames, Dr. Strangelove, Failsafe) it reminds me of Desktop Tower Defense or Missle Command on steroids, with a bit of StarCraft like Realtime Strategy for good measure.

I really wish there were different difficulty levels for the single player mode (I'm not big on network games), although I may register so I can add extra AIs and add a pause feature (a single round only takes 30 minutes or so) Single player against single AI really can't invoke the same paranoia the developer's aim for. Anyways. Go forth and download.(Mac | Windows)

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Digital Crack.

23.24.23 - Mark

I know a couple people who suffer from a world of warcrack addiction, or at least did. I completly understand the addiction, Blizzard makes kick ass video games. I've been known to play Starcraft for insanly long periods of time, and the only reason I'm not nursing a WoW addiction is because I'm not a huge fan of MMORPGs.

I'm being reminded of what that addiction feels like tho'. I installed EV Nova on one of my Macs earlier this week, and I've sunk at least 24 hours of time into it (probably more, it doesn't have a game play clock and I've more or less lost track of what day it is). I've finished two of the six major plots, but because they're slightly evil, I need to start a new character for each plot, then get them a nice bank account and a decent ship while trying to navigate into the right story line (and I've covered the easiesst two.)

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Old games

23.04.23 - Mark

Rather than hunting out all the April Fool's jokes out there I've wasted most of today playing old video games (and moving a pile of 1970's reject carpet from the basement to the curb).

I don't know of anyone around my age who doesn't have fond memories of playing Oregon Trail. I almost forgot how long it takes to play, but after a couple hours I finished the trail with a score just shy of 12,000 (which on my copy was 3rd place.)

After that I had intended on playing the hyperaddictive Escape Velocity (my first shareware purchase, when they sent out registrations via postcard. Think I still have that one too) but didn't want to mess with getting it onto a working computer, so went off to download the sequel Escape Velocity: Nova and in the process got site tracked by Uplink and played that for several hours. If you couldn't tell, I'm addicted to Ambrosia Software products, and have been for over 10 years. Not that that's a bad thing

The nostalgia is almost enought to make me forget about moving carpet. Almost

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Magnetic Attraction

20.35.06 - Mark

Earlier this week I got a shipment from think geek which contained a renewed supply of Bawls and the game of Polarity.

I love it, nearly as much as Fluxx which I have a known addiction to. (In the end Fluxx wins out because a deck of cards is more portable than 52 magnets and a heavy table)

The basic idea of Polarity is to influence magnetic fields on the playing field so that you can "float" magnets against each other's magnetic forces, while making it extremely hard for your opponent to do the same. Winning depends on making your opponent screw up by making two or more magnets touch in significant and often humorous ways.

It requires a seriously steady hand, a sharp mind and a perfectly flat, rock stable surface (stable surface not required if you don't care about keeping it overly-sensitive adult friendly)

Better add a good sene of humor to the requirements, you will loose when you're not supposed to. You're trying to control forces of nature here...

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Second Life

02.41.19 - Mark

As if I didn't have enough stuff to do in my real life, I've set up a Second Life Account. Second Life is one of those things that I keep hearing about, and in tonight's little fit on insomnia, I bit the bullet and signed up. I'm not sure I'll be posting my user info anytime soon. I'm usually not big on online gaming. A bit part of that is the laughable excuse of an internet connection the FCC allows Sprint to call "broadband" I use, another part is that I'm not the most social of creatures.

But there are always exceptions, and recently I have been a bit more social that I usually consider myself to be. As I understand it, and one of the reasons people seem to love it, Second Life is very user centric, with a wide variety of tools for users to make things with. When I was playing the Sims, not that I played that much, one of the big things for me was building the house. So I might take to second life. However its late, and I just finished the orientation. I'll have to wait and see if Second Life passes the Second Launch test. Most of the online games I've tried have never passed that test.

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