Gadgets Sci/Tech

Friday Finds – Coronal Mass Ejection!

First, here are my posts from this week:

And a few new things you might find interesting:

Wired’s GeekDad column tells parents what they need to know about Cars 2.  Sounds better than what I’m expecting to be honest, and I’m from a place that worships at the altar of NASCAR.

Also at Wired, the Sun has sent a Coronal Mass Ejection towards Earth.  The phrase ‘Coronal Mass Ejection’ just sounds awesome to me.

Netflix is now on a few select Android devices, with more to come.

Lifehacker has a whole series of Night School posts – they take a subject and give a layman the basics to improve themselves at it.  The current series is about photography, including how best to use the automated and manual settings on a camera, helping to understand ISO and aperture settings, and the like.  They’ve also covered video editing.

New trend in movie posters – Diagonal!

Finally, looking back on old posts here I found this:  the Ultra-fast, Ultra-intense Laser.  The applications they are looking at for this tech are awesome, whether it’s bonding replacement joints to bone, killing cancer cells, or, you know, creating Wolverine.

Featured PC Games

Old Game Tuesday – SimCity 2000

Man, how many hours did I spend on SimCity 2000?  More than my parents would probably like to hear about, that’s for sure. ;)  I enjoyed the original SimCity quite a bit, but was only dimly aware of other Sim games (I did rent SimEarth on SNES once, that was fun), but as woon as I saw SimCity 2000 (SC2k) in stores I HAD to have it.

Do I really have to tell you what SC2k is all about?  It’s a city building game.  It’s as simple and as complex as that, and SC2k really did have some complexity.  You could zone individual blocks now, instead of 9 at a time, you had more power plants, more infrastructure (schools, hospitals, police, fire), more detailed tax structure, dense or light zoning (if you want to keep nasty heavy industry out of your city center, for instance), highways, subways, and more even beyond that.  If you like, you can even modify the land directly as you can change elevation, add rivers and lakes, and plant trees.  I’m not the only one that created long ridges covered with waterfalls so I could make use of hydro power and wind power.  Your cities require planning – more than once when I was younger I would start a city, and just when I got it moving I ran into traffic problems.  So how do you fix it?  Do you bulldoze a few buildings for bus stations?  Might not be enough.  You can use a one tile space to put in a subway station, but the train tunnels are expensive.  You can build highways, but that takes up a lot of room.  That’s just one example of the balancing act of building a working city.

One strange thing that happened to me with these kinds of games when I was younger – my first city was ALWAYS my best.  I don’t know if maybe due to the learning curve, my first was built slower/more carefully or what, but future cities always seemed to fail.  Doesn’t seem to happen to me now, though.  I seemed to start out better when I wasn’t all worried about leaving space for mass transit, and planning for water power and all that.

SimCity 2000 remains an all-time favorite for me, and I come back to it again and again despite all the newer versions and competing games.