February 2008 - Posts

Florida sounds nice in June

Regular readers will know that I put some speculative XNA talks in for Tech*Ed - I biased the titles and content towards a more business audience which means I can still show off all the cool XNA stuff but hopefully the attendees won't feel bad about missing that SQL server session.

Well I was quite gobsmacked to get accetped for 2 of the talks.. High Performance Graphics for Microsoft .NET Applications and Introduction to XNA Game Studio for Serious Games and simulations.

I suppose I should start writing them eh?

See you at Tech*Ed...

OH NO - Chocolate the ZMan won't eat!!!

I'm a chocaholic - I'm proud of it. I think I'm at least the 3rd generation in my family. I think nothing of eating entire blocks of chocolate* in one sitting until I feel sick and then finishing it anyway. That's just how it is with an addiction. I can't even be trusted with my stash of English chocolate - it is hidden at my girlfriends place and she provides rations. Yes I am weak and I know it.

So this weekend while in San Francisco she arranged a trip to Scharffen Berger chocolate factory and other than the rainy walk there it was a wonderful time. Of course I bought some supplies home with me including the quite intriguing 99% bar (no I only bought a smaller bar). Sure it says its for cooking only but it wouldn't be the first time I ate cooking chocolate when there was nothing else in the house and ITS 99% so it must be good right?

WRONG... its hard to describe what is wrong with it. It smells right, it looks right but there is only a vague and unpleasant chocolate taste. I liken it to drinking a really really dry wine and wondering how a liquid can make your mouth pucker up like that.

Since I had grated quite a bit off and it was expensive I insisted on eating it all even though I scrunched my face up through out. In the end I decided the lack of sugar was the issue and added some confectioners sugar (icing sugar for you in the UK) and sure enough that was a big improvement. So I'm thinking I need to make brownies and hot chocolate with this and see how it turns out.

So the ZMan has a limit - its somewhere between 82% and 99%...

* when I say chocolate I am NOT referring to anything made by the Hershey company.

Airline Logic

I just returned from a trip to GDC in San Francisco where United Airlines moved themselves very low down my list of airlines to choose if all other things are equal. I never actually say "I wont fly them again" because airlines are all much the same bunch of idiots and one year United may be bad and the next its someone else. Plus I am a total cheapskate and book on price and number of connections!

My favourite anecdote comes from the flashy information screens they have in SFO that tell you everything about the flight like who is on standby, what meals will be served (really yeah they have a screen for that - it says NONE) and in my case 'Reason for delay'.

Now you would think that would contain something useful such as snowstorm (maybe you have to stay the night), wing fell off (maybe you find another airline), or crew showed up drunk again (join them in the bar). But not United.. oh no this is what it said:

Reason for delay: Plane delayed

If only I had realised years ago that this kind of logic was acceptable - I could have got through life with so much less time wasted:

Why is your home work not done?  Because I didn't do my homework
Why are you in bed with that other women? Because I am in bed with her
What is the square root of 100? The square root of 100

In lesser airline stories some crazy power hungry united employees got mad at J for having 2 carry ons even though her backpack is half the size of the stupid 'I can fit 2 weeks of my life in hand luggage so I don't have to wait 10 minutes at the airport' wheely cases and her purse is smaller than a laptop bag. And people if you must take a wheely hand luggage the size of a small mountain then listen to the announcements that tell you to put it in wheels out. It just makes you look retarded when you put it in the other way and people like me will just move it anyway.

 

 

 

Tax refunds are for fools...

Yes its that time of year when the TVs are full of people promising you big refunds and mates bragging about their $2500 checks and how they are going to live the American dream by spending the refund on something they don't need. When I tell them that I owe $100 and I'm happy about it they seem very shocked.

So let me put it this way for you....

If you are the sort of person who would like a check for $2400 next April just send me a check for $200 every month. Then next April I will give you a check for $2400.

Yes people a refund is nothing but an interest free loan you gave the government. In a perfect world I would pay no tax all year and save what I owe. But Uncle Sam doesn't let you do that. If you owe them too much they add in fines which is a bit hypocritical since they don't pay any interest but they charge it!

So unless you had some big life changes which means your w-4 wasn't correct, then you should fix your with-holdings to put the money back in your pocket.

Remember its YOUR MONEY!!!

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