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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm)
This was a little disappointing, possibly because it was a very dull day, also because I realise now that I'd left the camera set on 400 ASA, but I didn't feel that the results were much better than my big zoom, which I wouldn't have expected from a prime lens. I ditched about a third of the pictures, what I'm left with is a lot of the same subjects as last time, plus more of the Albert Memorial and a bit more on that black sculpture of the horse, including a plaque with info on the sculptor etc.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/sets/72157686865515384

My feeling now is that I'll keep the big zoom, really don't use the wider end of the 18-55 enough to justify keeping it, and will probably replace the 18-55 and the 35mm with a good 50mm lens, it's more the sort of focal length I like to work with, and my experiments with the Yonguo lens on the Canon showed that I was getting some reasonable results. Needless to say the Nikon-fit 50mm lenses are hugely more expensive than the Canon-fit Yonguo. There is no urgency about any of this, of course, so the master plan is to get a good 50mm first (or possibly a 60mm Micro-Nikkor if one comes my way) and worry about the rest of it later.
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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm)
This is a follow-up to last years offer of material for the "old-school" RPG Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which I discussed here: https://ffutures.livejournal.com/1213281.html

As with the previous offer, the set-up is a world where adventuring is horrible and dangerous, and the most likely thing to happen is your disgusting and painful death or accidental triggering of an apocalypse or something. It's definitely not a fun setting, and I have to be honest and admit I still haven't tried it. This seems to be all-new material, adventures and settings, but does contain the game rules etc. for those who missed the previous offer.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Lamentations2

"This is our second offer (a follow-up to the July 2016 Bundle of Lamentations, our top-grossing offer last year) featuring Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, a sinister and horrific twist on traditional fantasy gaming. Though the rules are a tight retro-clone of B/X D&D, LotFP's attitude comes out of heavy metal and Dario Argento horror films. You could call it "horror fantasy," but this isn't about werewolves or serial killers. LotFP is largely about forces from beyond our awareness causing great distress. Some might describe it as "sick." One review of Towers Two (in this offer's Bonus Collection) struck the right note: "This adventure has torn open a slime-laden murder-blunt-trauma hole in reality's sky and poured down the awesome."

Designer James Raggi explains: "The inspiration for LotFP is the basic belief that the life of an adventurer is a hellish thing nobody sane would want -- full of danger and violence, with no real home, no real family, no certainty, ever. Think of the classic RPG adventure form: You're going into some dark hole with a sinister history, fully expecting to encounter deathtraps and supernatural monsters and all sorts of things that want to kill you and probably eat you, and you're doing it for some money. Or 'glory.' In real life we get pissed and dream of quitting our jobs when our bosses want us to sit at a desk for an extra hour, and our 'glorious heroes' are the people that are victims of the most and worst gossip, and bloody hell this is all terrible. So let's drop the pretense of being noble heroes doing things for noble reasons and just spotlight the fact that 'adventures' are terrible, life-ruining traumatic experiences. And my love of heavy metal and horror movies provides wonderful inspiration for making them so. That's LotFP."

Lamentations has become notorious in the Old School Revival community for this unforgiving ethos. Many fantasy RPGs establish dungeons that are supposedly dangerous ("no one has ever returned"), and then the player characters waltz in and kill everything. But LotFP dungeons are seriously dangerous -- as in, "You're Definitely Going To Die Down Here, No Really." Touch something the wrong way and you're hosed, or sometimes you trigger an apocalypse.

In a metagame sense these doomed journeys teach players caution. They're "nega-dungeons"; they exist for the purpose of you not going there, and if you do, you've already lost. A place like this can help your campaign. As Evan Jeshka wrote in a November 2014 entry on the Bundle of Holding blog, "Welcome to Death Frost Doom, Now Turn Around and Go Away": "It adds grit and verisimilitude, and reminds you you're in a world that exists for its own purposes, not to feed you experience and treasure."

Lamentations made a big showing at this year's ENnie Awards, and this new offer presents the books that took Gold and Silver honors: Blood in the Chocolate, Broodmother Skyfortress, and Veins in the Earth. Along with several older titles not previously in Bundle offers, this collection also brings back three characteristic Lamentations titles from our past Old School Revival offers -- Death Frost Doom, The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time, and Qelong -- as well as the complete rulebook presented in the first Lamentations offer.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity designated by Lamentations publisher James Raggi, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$117.50. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all eight titles in our Weird Starter Collection (retail value $62.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Blood in the Chocolate (retail price $8): A magically horrific candy factory and its enigmatic, bloodthirsty proprietor. 2017 ENnie Gold Award for Best Adventure.
  • Carcosa (retail $15): A weird-fantasy setting of dark and loathsome sorcery.
  • Isle of the Unknown and Dungeon of the Unknown (retail $11): An island hexcrawl that fits easily in any campaign, and a dungeon that explores some of its many mysteries.
  • The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time (retail $8): A reality-warping (and character-warping) entity drives an experience of cosmic horror. [Previously presented in the November 2013 Old School Revival offer.]
  • Death Frost Doom Second Edition (retail $7.50): The anniversary edition, fully revised with all-new artwork, of the controversial adventure that launched Lamentations of the Flame Princess. [Previously in the November 2014 Old School Revival +2.]
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules & Magic Full Version (retail price $5): The complete core rulebook by James Raggi of weird-cosmic-metal fantasy. Includes the introductory adventure Tower of the Stargazer (retail $6). [Also in the original July 2016 Bundle of Lamentations.]

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Appalling Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $55:

  • Veins of the Earth (retail $20): The massive treatise on the underworld environment by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess (Fire on the Velvet Horizon, Deep Carbon Observatory). 2017 ENnie Silver Awards, Best Writing and Best Monster.
  • Broodmother Skyfortress (retail $10): The super-awesome adventure/campaign design kit by Jeff Rients, Arch-Mage of Old School.
  • Towers Two (retail $10): An unspeakably raunchy sandbox campaign co-designed by heavy metal musician Dave Brockie, AKA Oderus Urungus of Gwar. Truly not-safe-for-work (and maybe -life).
  • No Salvation for Witches (retail $10): A gleefully gory adventure in 1620 England by Rafael Chandler (Pandemonio). Did we mention all these books are adults-only?
  • Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess (retail $5): A village of gumdrops and candy canes run by fairies and teddy bears. Absolutely not for children.
At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early"

Additionally "One random purchaser of this entire offer (Starter and Bonus Collections) will receive a full set of all physical LotFP books currently available from the LotFP webstore -- a value of over US$400! Lamentations publisher James Raggi will notify the winner within 48 hours of this offer's end; the lucky customer will have 48 hours to confirm a shipping address to receive this great big pile of books.

I'll be honest, I'm not particularly interested - I prefer a less visceral approach to gaming, and Call of Cthulhu pretty much monstered me out. But if you still go in for this sort of thing it looks like a reasonable offer, and the price seems OK.

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([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 18th, 2017 12:45 am)
Anyone got any idea why Firefox has suddenly stopped allowing me to open images (as opposed to web pages containing them) in the browser? e.g., if I right click on an image and want to open it it will only do that in my paint program, which is a pain.

Any suggestions?
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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 16th, 2017 07:29 pm)
Apparently Denver's Better Business Bureau has just dropped Photobucket's rating to F, the lowest they do, citing fifteen complaints since they changed their terms and no response from the company.

https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2017/09/13/photobucket.html?ana=twt
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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm)
purplerabbits: me at the computer, taken at work (Default)
([personal profile] purplerabbits Sep. 16th, 2017 11:20 am)
 In a previous post I said that I had a lot of things I was worried about and couldn't focus on. That was 20 days ago, so how am I doing?

Thing One
I volunteered to do a really big thing at BiCon and then realised that I didn't actually want to do it

I'm well on my way to getting out of that one, having sent a couple of hard emails. I also have an idea for possibly rescuing the thing, but am going to wait and think on that before I decide...

Thing Two
The camera on my phone stopped working and refuses to focus 

I still haven't done anything about that. I need to find out how to ask Oneplus to do a repair and/or get a quote from a reguar phone repair place

Thing Three
I had a chipped tooth and was avoiding the dentist

I went to the dentist! And it was way less trouble than expected! BUT then the filling they did partially came out and it ISN'T FAIR and I have to go back. BOO!

Thing Four
I have to write a five minute speech about disabled access for Berlin. 

I did succeed on focussing on that and on my workshop session and ran them and it was fine. ALSO, I am going to use the mental health one again at Bitastic in the Highlands and I feel reasonable confident about that even though it adds some things to the to do list.

Thing Five
Knitting: drove myself to tears trying to set up the cardigan for mum's Xmas

It is set up. And I am knitting it and it will look OK. Whether it will be ready for Xmas is a whole other question as it's on 3mm needles...

Thing Six
I have to pack for Berlin. 

Well I clearly did that one OK and didn't over or underpack noticeably

Thing Seven
I had to get up at 6.30am for a flight

Which I clearly did, showing that I can do mornings, just not all the time

Thing Eight
I didn't book myself into any craft classes at all for autumn and it is too late. 

I'm still sad about that. I still haven't been back to the pottery because stuff has been crazy busy, but I can do that now most of that stuff is out of the way

Things that didn't get numbers
Finding another volunteer job - done, more or less
Being a witness - done, hurrah that's over!
Birthday and Xmas plans - have started a birthday plan but no idea about Xmas - I should get on that so it doesn't make me sad.


andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 15th, 2017 01:13 pm)
When I rule the world the mechanism for cancelling a subscription will have to be at least as easy as the mechanism for setting one up.

So, for example*, if you can take out a subscription to the Financial Times online in about 30 seconds online, by clicking on a few options, then you should be able to cancel your subscription by clicking on something on your subscription details on their site. And they should not require you to email their support desk, reply with a second email explaining why you don't want it any more, and then answer a phone call wherein they offer it to you cheaper and then have to insist that, no, really, you don't want it any more.

The rule shall, instead, be that if ten random people take longer to unsubscribe than they did to subscribe that your home page will be replaced by a big flashing sign reading "We will treat you badly in the hope of holding on to your money."

Secondary rule: No introductory offers. Free trials are allowed (but must be easily cancellable, as above), but you can't offer new people a better deal than your existing customers. Introductory offers are a way of tricking people into signing up, and then hanging onto them when inertia stops them from cancelling/moving. Instead you must offer a good deal in the first place, which is sustainable, and which is easily compared to your competitors. I know this makes life harder for companies who are trying to hide long-term costs from their customers. I really, really, don't care.


*Or, possibly, exactly what happened to me at lunchtime.
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([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 15th, 2017 12:18 pm)
According to George R R Martin's blog the TV series of Who Fears Death will have a... gasp... black director. That's got to be a first for a fantasy novel by a black author, I think

https://grrm.livejournal.com/548883.html
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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 14th, 2017 08:35 pm)
Yesterday evening I was testing a very simple Photax 300mm manual lens on my Eos 300D and it started raining as I took the last picture. I was rather pleased with the result:

big picture )
andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 14th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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([personal profile] andrewducker Sep. 13th, 2017 12:00 pm)
ffutures: (Default)
([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 13th, 2017 01:25 am)
A bit disappointing - if anything not as good as the Tamron 28-300, it felt a little unsharp. I've posted the best photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/sets/72157685127937342

Next time the 35mm f2 - that ought to be interesting, since I've made very little use of it.
These are two offers of material for GURPS Traveller, one of the better implementations of the huge Traveller setting, the first SF RPG; one is a repeat of the core material, the other an all-new military bundle.

GURPS Traveller Essentials

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTrav1-2017

"Revived from July 2016, this is one of two offers, running in parallel, that present many titles from the licensed GURPS Traveller line originally published by Steve Jackson Games based on the classic SFRPG Traveller. This revival, GURPS Traveller Essentials, presents the core GURPS Traveller rulebook and all the major supplements you need for a complete campaign in this alternate Third Imperium. If you're new to Traveller, start here.

In 1998 Traveller designer Marc Miller licensed the Traveller setting to SJG for use with its Generic Universal RolePlaying System. GURPS Traveller (1998-2015) uses the Third Edition GURPS system. The game takes place in Year 1120 of an alternate Third Imperium timeline (20 years after Classic Traveller) in which no Rebellion occurred (as in MegaTraveller) and the Virus was never released (as in Traveller: The New Era). The late Loren Wiseman, who worked with Game Designers' Workshop on the design and development of the original Traveller, was the GURPS Traveller line manager and editor of the online magazine Journal of the Travellers Aid Society. SJG produced over 30 supplements for the line, covering all the major alien races, many minor races, interstellar trade, expanded world generation, the military forces of the Third Imperium, and starships.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to these two Traveller offers' designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$105. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • GURPS Traveller 2E (retail price $12): The complete 179-page Second Edition corebook (2002). Includes the free GURPS LITE rules and the free introductory adventure "Flare Star."
  • Starships (retail $8): Three dozen complete spacecraft designs plus rules for creating your own.
  • First In (retail $8): The Imperium Interstellar Scout Service and a complete system for building the worlds its Scouts discover.
  • Deck Plan 5: Sulieman-Class Scout/Courier (retail $10): Are you a scout in a First In campaign? This is your ship.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $67:

  • Behind the Claw (retail $8): The GURPS guide to the canonical Traveller space sector, the Spinward Marches -- one of the most detailed treatments of the Marches in the setting's history.
  • Humaniti (retail $10): The societies and cultures of 16 different human races -- Darrians, Azhanti, Syleans, Kargol, and many more.
  • Starports (retail $8): The anchors of the Imperium. Written by novelist John M. Ford.
  • Modular Cutter (retail $8): A sourcebook for the workhorse Ship of a Thousand Uses, a favorite of Traveller groups for decades.
  • Deck Plan 2: Modular Cutter and Deck Plan 1: Beowulf-Class Trader (retail $10 each): Ship layouts printed with both hexes (for GURPS) and squares (Classic Traveller).
  • Best of JTAS, Volume 1 (retail $13): Collecting the top articles from SJG's version of the venerable Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society magazine.

At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased this offer -- including the customers for the original July 2016 run -- automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early -- even waaay early."

GURPS Traveller Wars

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTravWars

"This all-new collection... ...presents the military-oriented supplements like Star Mercs and Ground Forces.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$83. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Star Mercs and Ground Forces campaign sourcebooks, the Rim of Fire location guide to the wartorn Solomani Rim space sector, and complete deck plans for the Assault Cutter, the starship that drops you into battle.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with three more titles worth an additional $45:

  • Interstellar Wars (retail $25): High adventure in the Traveller universe's earliest history, when the Terran Confederation fought the First Imperium. (This is the only Traveller book for GURPS Fourth Edition, rather than for 3E; we include the free GURPS Lite quick-start rules for 4E.)
  • Sword Worlds (retail $10): One of the most distinctive civilizations in the Third Imperium -- not that they want to stay there.
  • Deck Plan 6: Dragon System Defense Boat (retail $10): Every star system's first line of defense.
At least one more title will be added after launch, as above

GURPS Traveller resources



I think I already have all the basic material, but I'll definitely be downloading the military stuff, even if I never get around to using it - Traveller is an all-time classic, and I'm interested in seeing how this implementation handles things. I think that both offers are pretty good value - but as always, especially when I'm enthusiastic about one of these offers, I need to point out that I get them free if I want them - if you don't you may feel differently - and that this is the oldest SF setting around, there are others that may appeal more to a modern audience.
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([personal profile] ffutures Sep. 11th, 2017 11:59 am)
One of the mystery additions to the Werewolf offer I mentioned has now been revealed. It's the Werewolf 20A Cookbook, which is aimed at gaming groups that like to eat together:

Every werewolf tribe has its traditions, legends, and customs. From the lordly Silver Fangs to the debased Black Spiral Dancers, the isolated Siberakh to the long-dead White Howlers, each tribe has a characteristic approach to food. And they all -- even the Red Talons -- can enjoy a well cooked meal.

The Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition Cookbook, a first for the World of Darkness, provides extra background details on each tribe of Garou and a tasty recipe representative of the tribe. Recipes range from entrees to desserts to snacks to eat on the run. Many recipes include variants for Kinfolk who hold to vegetarian or vegan diets or are gluten-intolerant.


My underlining - the idea of vegetarian and/or vegan werewolves just seems a little odd somehow. And don't werewolves like to eat meat raw? Yes, I know they're talking about the players, not the characters, but even so...

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