Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Lean Mean Streets of Ord Mantell

As you can see, the concrete and steel streets of Ord Mantell are much kinder on the eye. I only got the grassy landscape streaks when I went out of the town.

My original choice of classes when I played this game was going to be Smuggler. As only one of two non-Jedi classes, it sounded appealing.

I really like my little shooting smuggler. She drops and rolls behind cover when it is available. She's a quick shot. She's a bit of a smarty without even trying.

They don't let you lean out and shoot from doorways, you just have to plough on in. You're never fighting less than three bad guys at a time, but they go down pretty fast (unless you thought you were leaning out from that door way but you were just getting popped).

I think you can get a better feel for a game if you try each class and go five levels, so onward next to Bounty Hunter or Jedi Consular. Best get the Jedi over with.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Star Wars Knights of the Graphically Glitchy Republic

After several hours of installation and the most annoying long account sign up package imaginable, I finally tried Star Wars The Old Republic.

I feared I'd never get out of the numerous cutscenes and to actual gameplay, but as you can see I finally made it. Whoa, you say. Yes, I turned all the graphics down to low but eek it is really hard to play with this disturbance in the pictorial force.

From my short time in game, I will say that it reminds me of Jedi Academy and Knights of the Old Republic as far as how the game plays out.

Also, the first mission has me out looking for some silly padawans who have gotten lost amidst the Flesh Raider Attack but nobody in the station seems the least concerned about these attackers right outside the walls, they're all standing around jabbering as if there is no attack. Sort of immersion spoiling.

I played through to level six last night. Very slow progression. The graphical glitching was horrible in outdoor areas but went away indoors. More caves, please!

Some poor fool invited me to a group (one of those without-a-word in advance ninja invites). Number one, I hadn't run into anything I couldn't handle, number two, it would be unfair to group with someone when the shredded landscape made it impossible at times to seem where I was going or what I was fighting.

Galaxies thoughts: when I entered the Jedi temple and The music that always played on Naboo came up, it brought tears to my eyes, unexpectedly. This game really isn't worthy to be playing that music. I have seen nothing in this game so far that makes me see any reason that they needed to take Galaxies down. Completely different games. No need.

What this game does seem like is a Mass Effect variation in a Star Wars skin.

Something that surprises me is that story has been the buzzword for SWTOR but I am not feeling that there is any sort of a storyline in particular, and as I, look at the world and the npcs, the entire thing seems curiously cold and empty and lifeless. Very much "on a rail".

Interesting to see how it plays out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Time's 25 Best Blogs of 2011

While you wait for scintillating D.O.A. posts, you might wish to try out some new blogs as well. I have a great set of varied blogs on my sidebar bloglist, but for even more blogs, check out:

Time Magazine's 25 Best Blogs of 2011.

I liked three of them myself:


A bit of a travel blog and rambling commentary

By Ken Levine

Television writer and sports announcer Ken Levine writes on a wide variety of popular topics, not just on sports. I think his insights into television shows are what I find appealing. This is not a blog by the uber cool Ken Levine who writes the Bioshock games, by the way :)

Smitten Kitchen

An artfully photographed cooking blog. Recipes and charming cooking and baking talk.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rory's Story Cubes

I love games of all types, especially games that stimulate the imagination. Perusing the ever intriguing games section at Barnes & Noble I found Rory's Story Cubes.

They come in a sweet little box that opens like a treasure chest. Each dice-like cube has eight little drawings of objects. You roll the cubes and set the nine cubes in any sequence you'd like to create a story.

Sooo cute!

I see from their website that they have "expansions" one for "actions" and one for "voyages".

This can be played alone or with others. I love the box quote:

9 cubes
54 images
10,000,000+ combinations
Infinite stories!

Monday, January 2, 2012

DOA's Reference Services Thoughts via Wayback Machine (2005)

I wrote this waaay back in 2005 in response to a call for what we needed to improve in the interest of the "future of reference services". I edited out a few specific references to my library, but dang, I still feel we need to address everything I wrote:

Before we move forward, we should take a look at where we are now.

Promotion of existing services, databases, materials, equipment.

We need to promote what we have. The general public still has a vague idea of what libraries have to offer. We need to target our strengths and promote them tirelessly in as many venues as possible. We need to study our current users and what they use most and promote those things to the larger populace. We need to study what the most typical information needs are of those who come in after “not having been in a library for years” and promote those things. We need to find out what we offer that our customers don’t find anywhere else, promote that and offer more of it.

Interpreting the library catalog for current and new users

We need to do a much better job of interpreting our online catalog. It is not friendly to new users. Customers have ongoing problems seeing that an item is in at the branch, deciphering which branch does have the item, and telling which collection or shelf the item might be filed in.

Partially because we do not use the same interface to the catalog as our users, we are often not familiar with it and are not able to help them effectively. When changes are made to the customer user interface we are often unaware of it until the customer asks for help.

How responsive are we to these difficulties? Do we provide tipsheets to the catalog? Do we try to address in a timely manner problems the public encounters? Why are many of the search mechanisms in the public catalog not useful? How can these things be improved?

On the Web

Everything we do needs to be on our web page in an accessible and attractive format. We need to offer tutorials and tip sheets on our pages for using the library catalog, the electronic resources, and frequently asked questions from the public using our Internets and Word Processors. We need to offer Mouse Practice or links to Mouse Practice sites.

We need forums for public feedback, or places on the page for discussion and/or reviews of books,movies and CD’s by staff and the public. It needs to be alive and interactive.

The library web pages should reflect the communities in our area. You should be able to get a good snapshot of the county and what it has to offer from the library page. Perhaps each community library needs a page to help break it down into smaller segments. Education, entertainment, local government should all be reflected.

We need far more Reader’s Advisory on the web. If you like…. Lists need to be added.

Community Libraries

The people behind the public service desks are the library to most people. Our past ratings show appreciation for our service efforts. One of the things we offer that is getting increasingly hard to find anywhere is good service. We need to make sure we are there to answer questions of all types, and to make people of all ages feel welcome. We need to be there to interpret our catalog, act as a guide to our large collections, give advice on Internet searching, help with basic Microsoft office and the various information storage devices.

What we offer gets more complex every year, and we are in a unique position to make sure the public gets the most out of what we can give. We need to find ways to work with other organizations in the community such as schools, businesses, citizen organizations, literacy groups, social groups. We need to know our community well and be able to refer our customers to other groups who might provide services we don’t offer.