Planning Your PC Build

Building a PC is simple. Figuring out what you want to build is harder. I’ve written dozens of articles about building PCs. In many, I’ve included comforting aphorisms such as “set a budget and stick to it”. The most common one, though, is “understand your needs”. What does “understand your needs” really mean, though? Consider…

Book Review: The Hanged Man

Imagine a fictional world combining elements of Jane Austen in an alternate history where Queen Victoria gives England female emancipation in the 1850s with a few steampunk tropes, a little Holmesian detective work, a touch of urban fantasy, and over-the-top pulp novel action. Author P.N. Elrod imagined just that in her novel The Hanged Man. Combining…

Headphones And Me

The madness started in college, as it often does. I’d gotten into my head that I wanted to learn a bit more about classical music. I’d pretty much ignored the genre until the start of my third decade, so figured it was time to learn a little more. The music library at Western Washington University…

Podcast: Games, Abstractions, and Players

As Game Developer Conference approaches, I began thinking about how games are made, and how players approach games differently. For example, I came across this description of a game being played: Imagine exploring space, colonizing planets, setting up trade routes. This game is so immersive, you feel like you really are setting up your own…

These Are My People, Not Characters

How attached do you get to your game characters? I’m speaking specifically about games which allow you to customize your characters, not about characters with predetermined names and histories (sorry, Lara Croft). That most often means RPGs, though I’ve recently become pretty attached to my XCOM2 team. I often don’t see game characters as somehow…

Can AMD Stay In The Game?

You have to give AMD credit for persistence. The company’s stock price is in the tank, at under $2 per share. Total revenue for calendar year 2015 came in at under $4 billion, a pretty big drop over 2014. Yet AMD continues to motor along, recently announcing its next generation Polaris GPU architecture and working…

The Bicycles In My Life: Felt Z5

The Giant OCR1 that got me back into serious cycling eventually became a chore to ride. The aluminum frame transmitted a lot of road chatter, which translated to sore muscles and stiff bones after long rides. I’m not, after all, getting younger. So I began looking for bicycles with more forgiving rides. Initially, I believed…

The Nerd in the Balloon Jacket

Long before Microsoft existed, the fields and woods around Redmond, Washington consisted of dark forests, creeks, and the occasional swamp. I know because I spent a number of weekends during high school with my then best friend, Ward Durham, trekking through those woods and swamps in an attempt to find tiny wooden markers using only…