Good morning you happy people. I know it’s a bit of an odd greeting, but it feels like my brain is struggling to boot this morning. Here is hoping that the coffee in my cup with help along the process. I may have to wiggle the power cord or something, but I can’t seem to find it… Last night I finally successfully completed a server move, so that is a huge weight off my shoulders. Maybe this grogginess is just the afterglow of that success.
Adventures in Locksmithing
So far this morning is going a bit better than yesterday. After writing up my blog I went downstairs to get ready, and attempted to leave the house. The door would not lock, neither by the pushbutton on the back of the door or by the key. I texted my boss to let him know I would be late, and that I would likely have to call a locksmith. I just did not feel comfortable leaving my house without a lock on the door.
Then I remembered… once upon a time… when we first moved into our house back in 1999… the real estate agent had given us a new set of locks as a house warming present. Lazy happened… and we never actually installed them, but they should be around the house somewhere. After rifling through the laundry room cabinets… that tend to be the catch all for that sort of thing… I found the package. Inside were in fact two nice bronze colored keyed doorknobs.
I scurried around to gather up the necessary tools, and changed the front door lock as quickly as I could. Unfortunately in the process I got grease all over my shirt… so I had to go change that. But all in all I rapidly changed out the front door lock and was on my way in not much time at all. I purposefully left the back door the old lock, just in case for whatever reason my wife needed to get in before I had a chance to get her keys. I managed to make it into work only thirty minutes behind my normal schedule.
Robots Made Me Keys
At lunch I decided that I should probably go make some keys, since both myself and my wife need one, and our neighbor down the street as we care for each others animals when either goes out of town. Normally I tend to just go to Wal-mart to get keys made, but I needed to run a few more errands and Lowes was in the shopping center I was going to. I thought I had remembered in the back of my head seeing one of those little grinder stations, so I charged ahead assuming surely I could get keys made there.
Upon entering Lowes, I was pointed towards a little automated Kiosk. The system prompted me to put my key in the slot, in a specific orientation. I could hear servos whirring as it clamped down on my key and evaluated the shape. On the touch screen I was able to place an order for what kind of key blanks I wanted, and the quantity. I started off only planning to make 2 keys, but the third was free… and the fourth was half off… so I ended up putting in an order for 4 keys for $7.
The machine sprang to life, going through a process of grinding the key, polishing it… and then spitting it out into a little receiver tray with a very satisfying ka-thunk. All the while there was a little progress bar telling me what key I was on, and how long an individual key was likely to take. The whole process was pretty amazing, but I may or may not be old… and just not used to this concept. I collected my keys and went on my way, overly amused by the entire process.
Always in the past I had made way more keys than I ever needed, because when you got them made at Wal-mart… at least half of them didn’t actually work. I am guessing robots trump some random kid with some random machine in some random store… that maybe had a 5 minute talk on how to use the thing… because all four keys work perfectly, no scraping or anything of the sort. I hail our new robot overlords… the future will be amazing.
Gorilla in the Room
So the big news of yesterday was that Rift would be going “completely free” in their words, and involve “no trials, no tricks, no traps”. I am of mixed emotions myself about the news, but overall the community seems to be taking it very badly. Personally I like the subscription model, it feels just and equitable and provides support for the company. Whereas the free to play model tends to involve “going whaling”, and looking for some mega consumer to subsidize the gameplay for a bunch of folks who will likely never actually spend money on the game.
My opinion is that if you are not actively supporting a game, you are actively harming it. Additionally my brain makes a sort of calculus of… if a game is not worth paying for… is it really worth your time? But that ultimately gets into the equation of why these games work. For me personally, my time is worth more than my money to me. As a result I am willing to spend extra to avoid having to spend time doing boring things. This is what the free to play model counts on, is that someone will buy extra stuff to make up for the fact that a large number of players are spending nothing.
My big hope is that it will make it more likely for players to try the game. Right now it is extremely hard to get anyone to try Rift, because a good chunk of my friends have WoW inertia. Hell during the Raptr promotion, I got a free copy of the game, free expansion, and 30 days of free playtime… gave it to a friend of mine who is interested in Rift… and after a couple of weeks he has yet to even create an account. If knowing that it won’t cost them anything ever, helps players try the game… I am all for whatever actions cause that.
On top of that, I continue to still subscribe, which means I will begin to get premium “Patron” access to the game. Usually games paywall off features, but Rift in their infinite wisdom seems to be giving Patrons some huge and very tangible benefits to keeping their subscription active. The two big ones for me are that all of my mounts will travel a base 10% faster, and that all money drops will increase by 15%. Those alone would be enough to get me to keep subscribed. However they are also adding in all sorts of xp bonuses, and token bonuses that just sweeten the deal. The whole thing begins June 12th, so in less than a months time we will just have to see what it ends up being like.
Another Shitty Morning
So this morning has turned out to be far worse than yesterday, but it a totally different way. Roughly halfway through writing about Rift, my wife yelled up and told me to “get outside now”. I of course am freaking out, wondering what has happened… turns out that once again we forgot and left our cars unlocked, and once again someone had rifled through them. We live in a pretty decent part of town, in a super quiet neighborhood, but this has happened to us 3 times since 1999. This is why I did not want to leave the house yesterday with the door unlocked.
Essentially we have nothing of any value in our vehicles, we have stock radios and keep no electronics in them. There is nothing of value that can be gained by them rifling through our stuff, but it feels so damned violating. This time they look to have taken one thing… my prescription sunglasses. You have to be pretty damned dumb to steal prescription sunglasses. They didn’t even get the current set of sunglasses out of my jeep, they got my old set out of my wife’s vehicle. I mean my eyes are complete shit, so they are thick as the bottom of a pop bottle… so it is completely obvious even looking at them that they are not normal sunglasses.
I am not really sure what they were looking for, but they obviously didn’t find much. But the frustrating part is having to stuff everything back in their cubbies that were tore out. In my jeep this means gathering up a bunch of wow tcg cards from my habit of picking them up every now and then, and stuffing the paperwork back in my glove box. If I had to guess they were likely looking for prescription drugs, money or electronics. They didn’t grab anything from the back of either vehicle, and in my wifes there were a few items neatly boxed up.
Anyways. this makes another shitty start of the day. I sincerely hope yours goes much better. Hard for me to muster my attempt at a cheery greeting right now. Need to be finishing this up and getting on to work.