Archive for December 2005

Best Video Ever

December 24, 2005

Feeling a bit depressed this holiday season? Then cruise over to Jonathan Coulton’s web site and click the link to view his incredible original song ‘Flickr’. The video is nothing but a bunch of photos from Flickr, and the song is just a little ditty describing them all. But nothing I’ve seen has made me feel happier to be a human being. All of the photos are licensed under Creative Commons, which means anyone can use them for free to create a new creative work. This song – this video – is one of the very best examples I’ve seen of just what that means.

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Cheap Game Parts

December 21, 2005

The folks over at Hasbro are nice. They really want you to be able to enjoy the games you buy from them. As a customer service gesture, they’ve put up a web page where you can order replacement parts. For cheap. Real cheap. Shipping included. They sell their parts so cheap that I am sorely tempted to take advantage of them and just buy some parts for making up my own games. For example, you can get 16 Markers and 2 Dice from their Parchisi game for just $2.00. Two bucks will also get you a complete set of tokens from Monopoly. $4.00 will buy 32 Houses, 12 Hotels, and a pair of dice. Need more dice? Just buy a full set of five from Yahtzee for $3.00 and they’ll throw in 10 Yahtzee chips as a bonus. Remember, this is with free shipping. And they take credit cards. The only downside is that they’d don’t have a web form for ordering – you have to print out and mail or fax the order form to them. They say ‘Hasbro reserves right to limit quantities’, but there’s a space for ‘quantity’ on the form, so they’re probably okay if you order a couple of some item. While you might buy some items cheaper elsewhere, the free shipping makes this a steal. Plus you can buy cool items like a Hippo Body from ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippos’ ($3.00 each, and $4.00 for a bag of all 4 Hippo Heads with marbles). Now where else are you going to find an item like that? Let’s see… how many Trivial Pursuit Pie Wedges ($2.50 for a bag of 36, die included) and Pie Wagons ($2.00 for a bag of 6) do I really need? Hasbro Game Parts

Free Space on the Web

December 14, 2005

I wonder just how much free space somebody could glom onto if they really tried? I get a few megs with my Mediacom broadband account, and while that’s not exactly ‘free’, it is ‘included’ so I don’t pay extra for it. Better yet, I signed up for all of my extra email accounts there, and each comes with more free web space. WordPress is giving me this space for free, and I just signed up for a free account on Yahoo’s Geocities. I’m already challenged to fill what I’ve got, but I suppose I could start archiving stuff online. And I haven’t even tried out GMail yet. 🙂

Rummy Murders v1.1

December 13, 2005

SherlockI’ve updated the rules to The Rummy Murders, ironing out some of the rough edges of the scorekeeping and gameplay. I think this is one of my best games for family play, and all it takes is a deck of cards. Check it out and see what you think.

Japanese Battle Pencils

December 9, 2005

Battle PencilsI love games, especially simple ones, so I think this game is really cool. Via bOING bOING comes word of a game played by Japanese school children with specially marked pencils called ‘enpitsu’, or Battle Pencils. These are normal six-sided pencils with special instructions printed on each side. Each also defines a character with its own number of hit points and special abilities. 2-4 players can play, rolling the pencils like dice. A game typically lasts only a few minutes, so it can be fit into recess. Some pencils even have special caps or erasers that aid a character in battle. According to a commenter’s post on the Japanese site, apparently these have been around for several years. Why haven’t we seen something like this on our side of the Big Pond?

Shelter in a Cart

December 8, 2005

CartI found out via bOING bOING (one of my favorite sites) about Shelter in a Cart, an interesting new project to design a shelter for the homeless which can double as a shopping cart. Their aim is to get corporate sponsors to pay to build and distribute these to the homeless. Great idea. Rather than trying to drag the homeless kicking and screaming into some bureaucracy they don’t want to deal with, this program is simply trying to help them survive in the environment they already know. I’ve donated $10.00 to the cause. Click the link so you can, too.

Altoids USB Charger Kit

December 8, 2005

USB ChargerI just heard from Aaron Dunlap that he has shipped me my USB Charger Kit. This $7.50 kit will let me build a charger that works with my USB-powered Sony Clie, so I can play even more Solitaire and read even more eBooks while waiting in the doctor’s office. Anyway, the whole works will fit into an Altoids tin.

I love stuff that fits into Altoids tins. There’s my own Pocket Games Chest, of course, but others have created survival kits, a pinhole camera, and an iPod dock, among others. All of the listed projects are chronicled over on the MAKE magazine web site, but you can find lots more by Googling for Altoids project