Author Archives: Luke Maciak

Using BTSync Behind a Corporate Firewall

BitTorrent Sync is pretty neat. I have been using it ever since Scott recommended it in the quintesential backup thread of 2013. It even made it onto my big list of essential tools. It provides a nice alternative to cloud … Continue reading

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Risk averse Workflows, or Why CEO’s Keep Losing Files

Let’s talk about workflows. If you are a white collar worker, chances are that you spend most of your day creating or editing digital files. Whether you are a programmer, sysadmin, accountant, salesman or a CEO, you will be spending … Continue reading

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Pretty Deadly

Back in my review of Ocean at the end of the Lane I mentioned that works of Neil Gaiman have a unique, recognizable style and mood. Gaimain is the undisputed master of mixing modern sensibilities with folk myth and magical … Continue reading

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Integral Trees by Larry Niven

Don’t you hate when you find a book built around a set of very intriguing ideas only to be disappointed by its underwhelming plot and bland characters? Disappointment was exactly what I felt after reading Lary Niven’s Integral Trees and … Continue reading

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Unit Testing Sinatra Apps

Testing is the safety harness for your code. They are not magical, and they will not prevent you from missing bugs you did not anticipate. They do however automate the boring chore of making sure various edge cases and special … Continue reading

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Zero Effort Link Minification with WordPress

If you have ever linked to my blog, you might have noticed that my URL’s are absolutely monstrous in size. Not only is my long domain name rather long, but I also happen to use the “pretty” style of permalinks … Continue reading

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This War of Mine

There were four of them in the house. Anton, was the oldest. In his previous life before the war he was a respected mathematician and a professor. When he joined the group, he was so sick could barely stand up. … Continue reading

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Life is Strange: Save Scumming as a Game Mechanic

“Save scumming” has been a video game concept ever since we have invented save states. In the past, abusing the save system was often the only way to win or avoid losing progress. For example, Sierra adventure games liked to … Continue reading

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Utility Spells in Video Games

I like utility spells in my video games. By that I mean spells that allow me to do things other than DPS. There is nothing about magic users as a RPG class that dictates that they should be pure damage … Continue reading

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Rat Queens

When you play D&D (or any kind of classic fantasy Role Playing Game) the game universe crafted by your GM is typically laden with certain game specific tropes. Because it is a collaborative medium, and because it is a game … Continue reading

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Space Hulk

The original Space Hulk board game was released back in 1989. It would not be fair to say it was a direct cash-in, but the game design and theme were clearly influenced by the enduring popularity of James Cameron’s Aliens … Continue reading

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Alien Isolation

Alien: Isolation is a fascinating game because of the circumstances that lead to it’s creation. It came on the heels of Sega’s infamous Alien: Colonial Marines title which was a spectacular disaster. A game that was not only the worst … Continue reading

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Spectacular Computer Failures: The Next Generation

If you have been wondering why blog post have been scarce lately, it is partly because my computer blew up again. Yes, the new one that I bought in September. If you have been following along, you might remember that … Continue reading

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Her

Spoiler Warning! This review contains spoilers for 2013 Spike Jonze movie Her. Last year I wrote a few thousand words about the trailer for the Spike Jonze film Her. I have finally got around to watching the movie proper, and … Continue reading

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Transistor

If you haven’t played Transistor yet, I highly recommend it. It was made by the same team that did Bastion and it features similar isomeric perspective and hack-and-slash derived game-play with an interesting pseudo turn-based combat, and rather unconventional character … Continue reading

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Midas Flesh

Do you ever have those weird 4am conversations where you try to apply half remembered science to pop culture or folk stories? Like for example what happens to conservation of mass when Megatron transforms into a handgun? Or how real … Continue reading

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Technological Convergence

I was talking to a friend the other day and I completely forgot the word for a photo camera. Being bilingual, this is not uncommon for me. Every once in a while I experience a brain fart where I just … Continue reading

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Skaven: Clan Skryre Army

I have been playing Warhammer and collecting miniatures for close to two decades now. I got into the hobby somewhere around 1995 and have been in and out of it since then. I currently play three Warhammer Fantasy armies, and … Continue reading

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Installing Arch Linux on the PogoPlug

Back in 2012 I wrote about how I set up a $30 linux server by installing Debian Squeze on a PogoPlug. I have been using the device for close to two years, but it died. I grabbed an identical replacement … Continue reading

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Minion Academy

Have I mentioned that the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor was really cool? Because it was. Playing that game made me wander what else could be done with it. For example, I have always been fond of RPG oracles … Continue reading

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Shadow of Mordor

WARNING! This review contains massive spoilers. Back in the 90’s I used to play Middle Earth: The Lidless Eye which was a collectible card game about being a Ringwraith. Unlike Magic The Gathering and similar games, MELE was not as … Continue reading

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Make Your Web Forms Time Lord Friendly

This was a conversation rolling through my Twitter feed lately: how do we design good web service signup form? One that is unobtrusive, intuitive and inclusive. How many fields do you need? What is the best way to arrange them? … Continue reading

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Sleeping Dogs: Real Gansters Wear Panama Straw Hats

First thing I noticed when I started playing Sleeping Dogs was that it isn’t Watch Dogs. It took me a little while to actually realize this because on the surface the games are nearly identical. You run around and open … Continue reading

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Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I have been a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s writing ever since I picked up some issues of Sandman. I thought that American Gods was brilliant and really established the author as an undisputed master of magical realism. Anansi Boys … Continue reading

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Strong Female Protagonists

There was a comic floating around on reddit the other day which was attempting to “prove” that the complaints about gender diversity in video games are false by listing few dozen “strong female characters” in a rapid fire sequence of … Continue reading

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