For a while now I’ve been thinking on communication. How, despite my father being a professor of communication for all of my life, I don’t seem to be an expert in it. In some cases, I’m not good at it at all. This is definitely my failing, not my father’s, just trying to put things in perspective here.

I am fine when it comes to speaking and talking with groups of friends. I am even ok when it comes to strangers, as long as I know what the heck I am talking about. If I don’t, then I use the old adage of “It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” I learn a lot by listening to others, and will eventually catch up.

The issue that I have been ruminating on lately though, is that of keeping up communication. I’ve always said I am bad at selling myself, when I was freelancing especially. A good part of that is keeping up communication.

So in an effort to be better at communicating, I will be restoring my previous efforts of posting to the blog. They will most likely be in audio format, since I have more time to record my thoughts than I do to type them.

The content of the podcast postings will be fairly random, but mostly be on the topics of: flash/flex and mobile development, writing, and perhaps some other bits and pieces from my life.

This is an effort to increase my communication skills, so if you like it, great. If you don’t then let me know.

A few other things that I will be doing to increase my communication with family, friends, and colleagues is to email or phone more regularly, to respond to their communications more frequently and in a more timely manner, and… well, I need some help on the rest. That’s why I’m posting, and doing this navel gazing introspection, right?

Is it really “The Grind” when you are having a ball? – Day 12

So my interview is probably postponed until January 5th or after due to the holidays and people being out of the office. This isn’t really a surprise, since I have been through this part of the year when I was contracting before. Since I have the one freelance contract right now, I’ll be fine until then.

Note the nugget of wisdom above for other contract and freelance workers. December, especially the last two weeks of December, is the worst time to find work over the entire year. I suppose that this year for many people that it is doubly so. So if you have the chance to grab a contract or three that will last you into January, do so early.

Here’s an almost disaster turned into a great customer service story. My machine is an HP Pavilion notebook, a dv7 series for those that are interested. I have had it for several months now, and earlier last week, the AC adapter started making strange noises. Today, I thought it would be a good time to call HP service to see what they would do about it. While on the call, the adapter stopped charging my notebook, and I couldn’t get it to work again. (I have since the call, but then, no power.) Let me just say that the HP support person was very helpful, almost too self deprecating, and she was quite efficient, even if her computer systems were slow. I was on the phone just about 20 minutes from the start of the call, to the end where they took my address and were shipping me the new AC adapter. A fairly short, and definitely productive, call and I will have the new AC adapter on December 26th via FedEx. The computer is under warranty, and I was thinking that they would need me to cross ship the old adapter, and so did the support person, but as we both found out, I don’t need to. I keep the one that is acting up, and get the new one later this week. Not that I am going to want to use the old one, but in case the new one shorts out, I can go to the old one for backup. Overall, I would continue buying HP products. A few years ago, I would not have said that. Good job HP.

Happy holidays!

Fallout 3

So recently I have been playing Fallout 3. I have been hooked on the series since it’s unofficial progenitor, Wasteland (with Michael Stackpole – – as one of it’s designers) caught my eye and stole my hours as a youth.

I’ve been a fan, but never actually finished Fallout, or Fallout 2. I dabbled in Fallout Tactics, but didn’t get much into it either. Fallout 3 though, it’s pretty much perfect for me. First person shooter, with the option to slow things down with V.A.T.S. when I feel the need, or just want to watch the cinematic glory of a something being blown apart by my combat shotgun, or stapled to a wall by my railroad gun. Exploration, the go anywhere, do anything, real life sort of feel, but with the option to fast travel if things start to get tedious humping around all over the place. Roleplaying, it’s there, better than most computer games that I have played, though still not anywhere near an actual role playing session, it is still definitely fun. I recommend buying up your Speech skill to get better options.

I usually play on the steam locomotive on my way in to the citadel. So I only have about an hour to play at a time, and with this time constraint, I am not feeling lost or that I can’t play it. You are able to save pretty much anywhere, and at any time. So things that take a while can be broken down into smaller chunks. However, when I have had hours at a time to play, just like in my youth, they dissipate into dust of the wasteland leaving me only memory, beautiful, blood soaked memory. I also like the “random” encounters. If they are random, I can’t tell, and that makes them awesome. The wasteland should be dangerous and fairly unpredictable, but once you get to know what to look for, you can handle it. The game does that well.

There are a few things that aren’t bad, but sometimes detract from the game. The biggest, is the computer cracking. I am not sure if the Science skill does anything with cracking computers, other than let you get into harder terminals. I think I have seen that the number of passwords you have to guess at goes down, but I am not sure. The thing that detracts, is that you have four guesses, but if you can’t get it in that, it locks you out, but if you log off before then, you get another four guesses. So I end up spending three cracking attempts, logging out, making three more. The character matching hints that it gives after each guess are slightly helpful, but sometimes when I do get the password, it seems like the hints that it was giving had nothing to do with the password at all. So before I detract from the game more by making this larger than the actual review, let me say that the cracking is optional for the most part, and it does not occur often enough to annoy. There, that’s that. I won’t talk about any other negatives, because frankly, I don’t have any others worth mentioning here. Sure there are some, but they pale in comparison to what the game does right.

The one thing I would really like to see in this game, and others like it, is what I call Limited MMO play. That’s where one person would host a server and up to, say, 32 to 64 people max, would be able to share the play in the world. I would love to play it multiplayer at the lan parties I hold.

While getting sustenance today, I spotted something, and that something fit so well into my hunger for all things Fallout, I had to get it. I don’t know if some marketing genius knew that Fallout 3 was going to be big, or if it was just a huge coincidence, but I don’t really care. I had to get it anyway. So I did.

It’s faintly orange pop flavored, not orange juice, but orange pop. It’s not bad at all, it’s actually a step up from the Red Bull and Diet Rockstar that I have had. It’s also 0 carb, or at least the version I got is. So if you want a drink that fits the theme while you play Fallout 3 to the wee hours of the morning, afternoon, or night, then check it out. It at least looks cool on your desk.

I originally posted this over on the Dirigible of Pain site: