Leetaur's Blog

The Impossible Astronaut

Below is one of my favorite scenes from Dr. Who (at least the Matt Smith version), from The Impossible Astronaut.  In this scene, Dr. Who has dropped into the middle of the Oval Office in 1969, and encounters President Nixon.  The scene is pretty cool :)

Everquest Next is canceled

Hot off the presses, Daybreak Games has canceled Everquest Next.

From Russell Shanks, president of Daybreak Games:

For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. 

I have pondered the fate of Everquest Next ever since Sony Online Entertainment was sold to Daybreak Games.  SOE was being very open, and very LOUD, about their development of Everquest Next, but finding any real news in the past year or so has been very hard to come by.

For those wanderers of Norrath, never fear.  Everquest and Everquest 2 are still going strong.


The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

A post from 2011 at First Things was very interesting.  It was called "The Truth About Greenhouse Gases".  It talks about the historic levels of carbon dioxide, how CO2 was much greater in the past, and that plants prefer CO2 levels much greater than our own.

Below is a short excerpt from the article:

Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days. 

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years”and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings. 

Yet there are strident calls for immediately stopping further increases in CO2 levels and reducing the current level. As we have discussed, animals would not even notice a doubling of CO2 and plants would love it. The supposed reason for limiting it is to stop global warming”or, since the predicted warming has failed to be nearly as large as computer models forecast, to stop climate change. Climate change itself has been embarrassingly uneventful, so another rationale for reducing CO2 is now promoted: to stop the hypothetical increase of extreme climate events like hurricanes or tornados. But this does not necessarily follow. The frequency of extreme events has either not changed or has decreased in the 150 years that CO2 levels have increased from 270 to 390 ppm.

There is more in the article as well.  It is worth reading :)



New Year

It is yet another new year, 2016. So what are my plans for 2016, and the plans of my family?

One of the things I would love to do is travel more. The last few years we haven't gone all that many places. It would be fun to travel as a family, all eleven of us, to Michigan. We could visit Crystal's father, sister, and brothers, similar to a couple of years ago, and then swing up to the Upper Peninsula to see my folks. 

It has also been a long time since we have been to Minnesota, all the way back to 2007. It is a beautiful state!  In the summer at least!!  Minnesota's winters might be a little too rough for me. 

There are other things on the list. There are always house improvements and repairs. Living in a 105 year old house has charm, but also takes a lot of money to fix up. 

Well, that is it for now. Hello to my relatives that read this blog. I hope to see you this summer 😀 

Saint Nicholas Day

Right now our children are unpacking their stockings.  My 6-year old and 8-year old were quite anxious to wake up everyone once they found that their stockings were full! 


First post in a while

This is the first post that I have done on my Leetaur.com blog in a while. This is pretty much my technology blog, so I will go ahead and talk about my new phone 😀 

A little over a week ago I got my iPhone 6s in the mail, straight from Apple on launch day. My trip over onto the Android platform is over. Though, as I am told my the Android team at work, the Fire phone does not really count as Android! 

The iPhone 6s is a really nice phone. It feels really fast. The 3D Touch interface is cool too, and has already sped up the use of the native Apple apps (Twitter also uses it). As more apps adopt 3D Touch I think the new navigation introduced by Apple will come into its own. It is a different, cool way of doing things. 

I also find myself using Siri a lot. We already have Apple's virtual assistant on my wife's iPad. But that is her machine, and as portable as an iPad is, I like either working I need device that fits in my pocket, or else using a full-blown laptop. The iPad is great for reading or watching movies in bed, but for programming or writing I like to use my MacBook Air... Though admittedly my MacBook Air is getting a little old. It will probably be time to update soon. 

That is my short update for today. Going forward I will try to write more about what I am doing with this tech - the phone and laptop. I like to write, and program (cannot program on a phone of course). I do like how closely the iPhone and MacBook Air work with each other - syncing Pages documents over iCloud, being able to access the children's reports, cross-device password management, etc It is convenient. 

So what did I do with the Fire phone?  It is now a backup phone for my family. It works perfectly well as a phone, does email and messaging and web browsing well. But it is now for the rest of the family, as I do not need it now. 

That is enough for this post. I will try to blog on Leetaur.com more often. We'll see how well I do at that.  

(Typed on my new phone, please excuse typos!) 

Kindle Paperwhite 3 Released


Amazon has released another updated Kindle Paperwhite.  Amazon is referring to it as the "all new Kindle Paperwhtie", while according to Good E-Reader, others are referring to it as the Kindle Paperwhite 3.

The update looks pretty cool.  My family has two Kindles- my wife has a Paperwhite 2, and I have just a plain $79 Kindle (if I read in the dark - not very often - I borrow my wife's).

I am glad to see that Amazon is continuing to invest in their E-Reader lineup.  I hope they continue to invest both in the Kindle Fire HD, and the HDX lineups, especially the 6-inch Fire, as I consider that one better for reading.


Played Dungeons & Dragons @ Gryfalia's Aerie

Leetaur has been resurrected!  My Leetaur the Lion Dungeons & Dragons character dates from the early 1990's, back when I played with a group in Saint Louis, MI.  Leetaur the Lion was a fighter in the group, and had some interesting adventures with Shakari & company.

Well, this past Wednesday, August 27 I rolled up Leetaur anew in order to play at Gryfalia's Aerie.  Gryfalia's is recognized as an official Dungeons & Dragons organized play group, using the DCI numbers and everything.

Well, my daughter Crysta and I played at Gryfalia's Aerie this past Saturday, and played the Secrets of Sokol Keep adventure.  It was a big group.  I was among the oldest, and the youngest playing were more like Joseph & Martin's age.  It was cool :)

There are a couple of adventure played at Gryfalia's Aerie every week, so I hope to make it often :)

-Leetaur the Lion

The Hunt for Gollum

I watched this this morning with my daughter Crysta.  The Hunt for Gollum was filmed in England, and put together by Tolkien fans.  It is a non-profit film, and I am happy to say it is very well done.  If you also love JRR Tolkien and Middle Earth, you should watch it :)  It is about 40 minutes long.

Amazon Press Conference - Fire Phone Announcement

This past Wednesday, June 18, Amazon announced their newest hardware - the Fire phone.  A YouTube video of the Fire phone is below.  If you are a heavy Amazon customer (and use Amazon Prime), the Fire phone makes a lot of sense.  

The three major features of the phone are "Firefly", which is a search service (it recognizes objects, images, songs, tv shows), Dynamic Perspective, which looks like cool 3D technology (it uses four-front facing infrared cameras), and the camera, a 13 megapixel camera with a motor that counteracts the natural shakiness of a person's hand, allowing the shutter to stay open longer for better exposure.

What kind of phone would I buy?  iPhone 6 (coming this fall), Fire phone... another Android-based phone, a Tizen phone?  Or even an Ubuntu phone?  

I hope to talk about that in my next podcast :)

A Moment of Peace

Through iTunes Radio, I ran across a song called "Moment of Peace".  I like it :)  It is by a group called Gregorian.  A YouTube video of Moment of Peace is below.

WWDC 2014

Below is the video of the World Wide Developers Conference, 2014.  I watched this at a coworker's house (most of my team was there).  One of our team was actually out at WWDC, as well.

WWDC was packed with great announcements about iOS, OS X Yosemite, and developer tools, including the new computer language, Swift.