flwyd: (spencer hot springs feet)
The Conference on World Affairs is April 6th through 10th. It's my favorite week in Boulder, so it's quite convenient that I'm quitting my job right before it. I think I'll buy a ticket to Guatemala for April 13th or 15th. (There's a Denver to Guatemala via Mexico City flight the next week that's only $415 total, but an extra week possibly beating the rainy season is worth $100 to me.)

This Sunday: Cuddle Party in north Denver. Sign up and show up if cuddling with a bunch of people who love cuddling and some who are a little more timid appeals to you. I went to one last month and had a great time; there were some great people in attendance. I think they're planning another one on March 15th.

Next week (starting this Saturday): U.S. Olympic Curling finals at the Broomfield Events Center. Each round is four hours and tickets for a round start at $10 (available at the door). Curling has many features which appeal to me: It doesn't require constant exertion, but does need bursts of intensity. It's got subtle strategy, but you can totally ignore it if you're a beginner. It's got funny terminology. But best of all, you change the playing surface during play.

I'd like to get to Valley View before I leave the country, but I haven't made any motions in a "make it happen" direction. Anyone up for some chilly air/warm water yin yang balance?

My two 4th Edition D&D games have been fun. On Tuesday I rolled three 1s on three 6-sided dice with a flame burst but remembered I had a magic item to reroll up to three fire damage dice, resulting in a 17. Next time, I'll yell ambsace! In my Saturday game I'm playing a Barbarian from playtest. The amount of damage he does is obscene and this isn't even the most broken possible build.

I've been trying to run a weekly Feng Shui game on Wednesdays. Knowing that not everyone would be able to make it every week, I planned to run one whole scenario each session. So far I've had: 5 players at the first session where folks finished characters, got clarifications, and learned the combat system in the scenario's first fight; 2 players at the second session -- we played 1,000 Blank White Cards instead; 3 players at the third session -- two weren't at the first session, so we finished their characters and did the first fight again; 2 players at the fourth session -- we played the Three Stooges card game instead, it's kind of like a crappy Lunch Money. Maybe by the time I leave the country, we'll have finished two scenarios.

Four folks learned how to play Twilight Imperium last weekend. In many ways, it's the inverse of Titan: it takes a long time to set up, but battles are short and simple. It's got some structural similarities to Puerto Rico, Cosmic Encounters, and some other good games. By the time one player had to leave, the goal of the game had been "Try to stop Trevor from winning," but now that we have a better idea what moves are good the next game should be a lot of fun.

After TI, we played a game of Xxxenophile CCG. When I first heard about the mechanics, it sounded awesome, but I was unfortunately under 18 and couldn't buy any cards. I recently acquired about 4 starters worth and assembled four random (but evenly distributed) decks. The game is a lot of fun; you can play without a lot of strategy, but it looks like you could develop skillz through a lot of play. Girl Genius: The Works has the same mechanics, but isn't collectible, so I'll keep an eye out for that.

Friday was card game night at Witches Brew (near Lakeside Park). I played Carcasone with two different groups of people. I like the mechanics and strategy options; the rules are fairly simple but the games are very open. I won the first game and tied the second, so apparently I've been on a game streak.

In preparation for putting all my stuff in storage I've been consolidating boxes of CCGs. I found a bunch of in-tact On the Edge and Shadowfist decks plus a couple for Netrunner and L5R. In the trunk of stuff I got from Keith, I found four Rage decks and some interesting-looking Jyhad theme decks with titles like "Dead Poets Society." When I'm home-enabled after I return I definitely need to have card gamers over on a regular basis.

We've been playing ultimate frisbee at work on Thursdays for the last several months. I've definitely gotten better at throwing the disc and regular aerobic exercise is good (though I need more).

I got a handheld GPS unit last week. There's a lot about the interface I'm not keen on (or perhaps haven't warmed to); I probably would've gotten an iPod Touch if it had GPS and could run on AA batteries. The first thing I figured out how to do is export a tracklog and automatically geotag my photos. There's all sorts of other things to learn, so maybe that will be incentive for taking more hikes and walks.

Work's been pretty fun lately too (and not just the 1234567890 party on Friday). I spent a few days writing an interesting fuzzy matching language resource that upped my accuracy around 4%. I'm happy about the progress we're making on our project.

Edit: This post is a good example of why I'm not on Twitter and Facebook: I am one verbose mofo.

The Face of Search

Sunday, May 18th, 2008 07:39 pm
flwyd: (charbonneau ghost car)
Google advanced image search has an option to search just for faces. This means they have a program to inspect an image file and guess if it contains a face. This is something that humans are really good at, but computers take a lot of teaching to get right and Google seems to do a pretty good job.

Straightforward uses of this include searching for a country name to see natives and visitors, checking out the hair styles of "software engineers," searching for "bush" and seeing what portion are satirical versus serious, and turning "safe search" off and finding people sucking on your search terms (like "big"). But amusement can also be found by searching for terms which (without the "faces" option) are less likely to contain faces. Sometimes the results include nonhuman images which nevertheless have a similar structure to a face. Sometimes they include a statue or drawing. And sometimes the results have really awesome human faces. Try it yourself!

Orange Butterfly
897 x 987 - 172k - jpg
Oops! by JAM
500 x 619 - 52k - jpg
December 01, 2007 in WTF?
479 x 400 - 26k - jpg
... Click map for Marysville
700 x 600 - 39k - jpg
Pie vs. Cake - oneforthetable.com
516 x 511 - 41k - jpg
Trevor is a lively young Spaniel mix ...
1632 x 1224 - 848k - jpg

Edit: A search for "geek" brings up several copies of this one:

flwyd: (requiem for a dream eye)
Anyone doing anything fun tonight (NYE) or tomorrow (NYD)? I thought I was going to be elsewhere, but now I'm in Denver without any particular plans. If there's interest, I'd be willing to host card/board games in my now-austere living room. If nobody's up for drinking wine and playing games I'll probably go to [livejournal.com profile] cowitchesbrew to drink tea and play games.

Have fun. Be safe. Be silly. Hang your new calendar.

Office Tip

Friday, August 3rd, 2007 06:47 pm
flwyd: (Vigelandsparken circle man)
Friday morning standup meetings will be more entertaining if you bring a small jar of soap and blow bubbles in the general direction of the speaker phone.
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