Latest Posts

Another new Plutor.org

April 26, 2012 6:47 am Published by 1 Comment

This morning you may notice some changes to plutor.org (unless you’re reading this in an RSS reader, in which case I invite you to check out what I’m talking about). For the past few years, my Twitter posts, photos, links I’ve found interesting, and occasionally music that I’m listening to have all been intermingled here as a life stream. I will no longer be featuring those things so prominently on this blog. Oh, they still exist, on Pinboard and Twitter and Flickr and elsewhere (you can find links to all of them on the bottom of the homepage).

But I’ve decided that this website should be more focused on my nerdly projects. You know, the visit all MLB parks and expected value of a Powerball ticket things. I’ve heard that people like those posts, and I like those posts, and I’d like to encourage myself to make more of them. And rearranging my online life is the best way I know to do that.

Reactions from PAX East 2012

April 9, 2012 7:50 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Along with the pictures I took at PAX East — mostly of the predictably solid tabletop and arcade sections — here are some brief thoughts and reactions:

  • Played a couple hours of D&D with some pre-rolled characters. That was more fun than I expected.
  • The expo floor and PC freeplay were both a lot bigger this year, which meant that the storefront and tabletop areas got shrunk. In fact, the tabletop area was packed for most of both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Tried to get into the Diablo III line, but it was super long every time we showed up, even first thing on Easter Sunday.
  • In fact, the PC freeplay sessions were limited to a mere 30 minutes this year, which was really not long enough to get a good session in. We heard rumors of a lot of political turmoil around the PC
  • Driver: San Francisco has a really cool premise, and I enjoyed the driving physics a lot.
  • We played a whole lot of tabletop. Power Grid is interesting, but it’s lonngggg, and I can understand the criticism of calling it “Excel: The Game”.
  • Small World is fantastic; I would have bought it immediately if it wasn’t $60.
  • Magical Athlete is way more fun than it deserves to be.
  • Saboteur was a wonderful game for a group of 8 people who all only sorta knew each other.
  • The Omeganaut finale of Crokinole was inspired.
  • Boy am I glad PAX East will be in Boston for ten more years. I was worried that after this year, it’d move elsewhere on the east coast. Nice to know it’s staying.

2011 in books

March 9, 2012 8:38 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It is now March, and I have somehow never posted my reading log for 2011. Last year was a light one for my reading, and I’m not entirely sure why. The books below represent a thousand pages less than in 2010 (4794, or an average of ~13 pages a day).

See also 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

I’m an image meme

February 9, 2012 8:17 am Published by 2 Comments

Three winters ago, I took this picture while I was working from home, waiting for the icy roads to warm up. Since then, it’s become a fairly common photo to accompany blog posts about working from home. (Thanks, in part, to my very friendly Attribution-only Creative Commons licensing.) Here are a couple examples.

But now it’s come back to bite me. I’m now an image meme called “Freelancer Fred”. It’s on quickmeme, and BoingBoing covered it yesterday.

Watching every MLB team play a game

December 22, 2011 10:16 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Last April, to no one in particular, I asked the following question:

“What’s the shortest possible trip (in miles) to see every MLB team play at least one game this season?”

It became clear, after a brief discussion with some friends, that the shortest possible trip is somewhere on the order of a hundred miles. Citi Field in the Bronx and Yankee Stadium in Queens are only 6 miles apart. Since the Mets and the Yankees are in different leagues and each team plays one series at home against every other team in its own league, you could just spend the whole season going back and forth between the two stadiums. (In fact, I’d be surprised if at least one New Yorker baseball fan with time and money to burn hadn’t done exactly this.)

In order to avoid this “trivial” solution, a modification to the puzzle would have to be introduced. After throwing around a bunch of attempts, I hit upon the perfect goal: 15 games, 15 stadiums, 30 teams. You’d see no team play more than once, you’d be in no stadium more than once.

(more…)