So, I finally decided what to do with my Ralphbucks!
Yes, that’s right, I bought a PDA. It’s a Palm TX. It has a nice, large, bright screen (320x480… compared to your average Pocket PC which is at 240x320), a 312 Mhz XScale processor (about half the speed of the top-of-the-line models, but still no slouch), built in WiFi and Bluetooth support, and I’m sure many other bells and whistles.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What the heck does he need a PDA, for?”. Well, among other things, I can:
- Read eBooks with PalmFiction
- Review Go games with PilotGOne.
- View skycharts with Pilot Planets.
- Work on Sudoku puzzles with Palm Sudoku
- Play interactive fiction with CliFrotz (HHGTTG, anyone?)
- Control computers remotely with pssh and PalmVNC.
- Use it as a Wacom tablet with PalmWac.
- Play various old-school emulated games with Little John PalmOS.
Not to mention all the things you can do with the stock software, such as:
- Access email or browse the web.
- Listen to my music collection (it natively supports OGGs!) or watch video.
- View/edit various document formats, spreadsheets, etc.
- Do organizey, day-plannery type things.
- Use it as a glorified calculator.
Basically, it’s gonna be totally sweet. :) Plus, if I get really bored, there’s plenty of free SDKs for this thing, meaning I can hack up my own software if I like!
So, look forward to reviews of the device after it finally arrives (though, as of this writing, Futureshop claims to have not even shipped the damn thing yet… bastards!)
So our benevolent provincial Conservative goverment (I live in Alberta, aka, Texas of the North) has decided to take 1.4 billion dollars of the provincial budget surplus (generated by a healthy dose of oil and gas tax revenue) and hand it out to the average Albertan, to the tune of $400 for every man, woman, and child, in the form of a Prosperity_Bonus (yes, even Wikipedia has an article on this topic). Translation: I get 400 big ones!
Now, forget the fact that this is, in my estimation, the stupidest thing I can imagine to do with the money (see the Futurama episode “300 Big Ones” for a great satire on this whole situation). Forget the fact that the money could probably be better invested in health care, education, or heck, even squirreled away for when our resources finally do run out. Forget all that. The real issue, now, is: how do I blow this money most effectively?
Some, like these folks, might attempt to get me to donate my money to so-called “charities”. Pfft. Yeah right! I live in Alberta! I’m here to help one charity and one charity only: The Support Brett Kosinski foundation! Others might say, use it to pay bills! But that seems, to say the least, overly practical. Not to mention mature, responsible, and a whole host of other adjectives that I really try to distance myself from.
Frankly, I think the obvious thing would be to blow the money on some useless trinket that would provide me with somewhere between 20 minutes and a half hour of enjoyment before I got bored and lock onto the next bright, shiny object to catch my eye. And who knows, I might do this anyway! But, in theory, I should try to get something with a little longevity. Then again, I could just spend a day drinking 100 cups of coffee. Damn, I hate these kinds of hard decisions.
On another note, the money from these bonus cheques is exempt from taxation. Now, according to Prosperity_Bonus, the government is managing this by labelling the money as a refund due to an overpayment of taxes. At this point, I asked myself, if that’s the case, why not just give everyone in the province a tax cut that would amount to the same thing? And then it dawned on me. A tax cut, once performed, is coded into law, and is difficult to change. However, with the ‘prosperity cheque’ scheme, the government can adjust the size of the bonus from year to year based on the size of the budgetary surplus. Consequently, should the province have, say, a bad year, they don’t have to pass an ugly, nasty tax hike. Instead, they just reduce the size of the bonus. Clever, eh? :)
Additionally, this bonus cheque scheme is fairly progressive, in that it benefits families and those with lower incomes. Of course, one could achieve the same with a progressive tax cut (ie, focus the cut on the lower tax brackets), but, of course, there are political ramifications from this (and it wouldn’t be very Conservative, now would it? :), which is not the case with the bonus cheques.
Man, I really have Go on the mind lately. This time, I’m releasing a very early version of a new Firefox extension I’m working on called FoxGo. It’s a very basic SGF viewer that integrates directly into Firefox, which is pretty darn handy if, like me, you tend to browse games on GoBase or play games on the Dragon Go Server. Of course, one can’t release a GUI program without providing a requisite screenshot, so…
As you can see, it does all the basic SGF-viewer-type-things, allowing one to move up and down the game tree, move back and forth between variations, and so forth. ‘course, it’s missing some very notable things: A game tree. Icons for the variation switching buttons. Editing features. Etc. Etc. Ad nauseum. But it certainly accomplishes the basics, and is my primary tool for exploring SGFs, walking through variations, etc.
It’s amazing what a little boredom can do. After exploring Sensei’s Library, I thought to myself, you know what Oddmuse is missing? A module for displaying Go boards! Well, here it is!
Edit: Okay, I lied, this worked when I was using Oddmuse, but now that I’m on Jekyll it doesn’t anymore… so we’ll just have to use our imaginations.
Now, it doesn’t quite support all the features of the formatter at SL, and it uses a different board definition format (it’s more flexible… although, in truth, it was mainly designed to be as easy to parse as possible :), but as you can see, it certainly does the job. I even worked a little magic so that text in the captions is formatted just like any other wiki text! Snazzy, eh?
Anyway, if anyone is interested in this thing, just write a comment and I’ll put it up.
You can also see that I’ve been fiddling around with the formatting so that text flows around the goban. I’m not sure how I feel about it, just yet (if there were multiple boards one wished to discuss, it could get annoying), but it does look kinda cool.