Feels like summer

People have a dominant sense. For some it is auditory, for some visual, for others olfactory. It is the sense that affects them the most. For me, the dominant sense is “feeling”. A person or a thing’s “feeling” is like a color – it doesn’t matter how much or how little, how big or how small the “feeling”, it is still the same “feeling”. You cannot cut off its start or ending and get a different result, like you would with a sound or a picture. It *is* a bit like a picture, but without any particular details. You feel it with your entirety.

I forget the “feeling” that people and things give me after I have no contact with them for some time. But if I meet them again, I remember the “feeling” instantly and it is the most nostalgic feeling.

Dungeons and Assault Helicopters

Last week I went to Mängudeöö, the event where a thousand gamers take over the local movie theater complex and play games on big screens. At one of the lectures there, a local writer and game developer said something that made me think: that while fiction had no better medium than books in the old days, then nowadays the mediums that best work for longer narratives are Dungeons and Dragons, TV series and video games. It might be true. Today, while playing a board game, I had an idea that board games could do this too. If they do, it probably ends up similar to D&D though.

So I played the board game Legends of Andor today.  The rulebook was only a few pages, which normally means that the game is not very complex, but in the end it surprised me positively. The base game has 5 “legends” or scenarios to play through, the first one being similar to tutorials in video games, teaching you main concepts. The later scenarios add more gameplay elements. What was good is that you don’t need to know much to start playing the game. It introduces you to new concepts when they become relevant, in the course of the story, which is presented on cards that you read as the story progresses.

After finishing the tutorial, we just couldn’t stop and played the next scenario.  The way the game keeps introducing new elements, but keeps having more and more in store for the next games, is pretty addicting and also similar to some video games. The second game also made us feel like we would really like to know what happens next, but it was already late and time to finish for the day.

The board game Descent is quite similar to this one – you can use it to play many different D&D-like adventures. The first edition Descent which I once owned had some problems, but now I would really like to try the revised second edition. I guess both of these board games are actually just simplified replacements for actual Dungeons and Dragons, that are easier to set up and play. Maybe if I enjoy this stuff so much, I should just try to find a group to play real D&D with.

So I Went to Prague…

Prague river
  • The flight from Tallinn to Helsinki is really nice. The plane flies at a low altitude so you can see all the islands and ships in the Baltic Sea. Sunrise also happened to be at the time of my flight, which is quite a sight from an airplane. The flight takes about half an hour, so you just look at stuff from the window and you’re there before you even notice it.
  • Upon arriving at the Prague airport I was surprised that it has signs in Korean. Koreans seem to have a thing for Czechia. There’s this TV series for example. Korean Air also is a major shareholder in Czech Airlines, which might be the reason for the Korean signs at the airport.
  • I didn’t get to play Magic on Friday. When I got to the card game tournament venue, it had a lot of smoke coming from the building. There had been multiple explosions. About a dozen fire trucks and several police cars arrived soon and everyone was evacuated. The first day of the event was cancelled and we were all quite disappointed.  It was not a terror attack. They said that the gas oven at the Asian food stand had malfunctioned. Or maybe someone had played an overly large Fireball, who knows.
  • I’m not sure if it is funny or sad, but each time we want to eat something at a Magic GP we end up walking around for several hours. We visit different restaurants and each time someone is not satisfied with something and we move on – until we either end up eating at a McDonald’s or we’re too tired and hungry and just give up and eat at the next random place we find. The same happened on this trip too. Some of our Magic players call the McDonald’s restaurants “home”.
  • Something that people commonly associate with Czechia is the beer. I found that the most spectacular thing about the local beer is its price. Knowing that 100 czk equals about 3.7 euros, I didn’t even bother to do any more math after seeing that one beer cost around 10 czk. I just bought some.
  • The next week there’s the Magic Pro Tour in Europe, so many Pro players had already traveled here from around the world and were  playing at the GP. The Magic celebs are probably only known amongst other players, but it is still nice to meet famous people –  who you normally only see on pictures and videos on the Internet.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_astronomical_clock

    Our hostel had a gym, an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a restaurant and a bar. It was also really cheap. Some joked that you should move in – it has everything you need and costs less than renting a small apartment in Tallinn.

  • The other Estonians came by car and left on Sunday evening. It takes 20+ hours to drive there from Tallinn. I stayed in Prague alone for one more day, which I spent looking at sights in the city. Prague’s old town has some pretty impressive buildings to look at. There were a lot of tourists everywhere, even though it was -10°C outside.

Don’t Get Scammed on the Internet

Payment

People are subconsciously wired to take everything as the truth. To label something as a lie, you have to use your conscious mind. At the same time, I believe, people are also wired to tell the truth. Otherwise the society wouldn’t function. Of course, there are exceptions. Those people who believe that everyone is out there to get them. Of course, they are kind of right too, because some people are out there to get you.

Anyway.

I made this wonderful drunk purchase of plane tickets to Prague for this week, so I decided I might as well play at the Magic GP there. It’s this card game that I play. It’s having a tournament. In Prague. But since my decision to go was a tad spontaneous, it is sold out by now and I had to find a ticket on the Internet.

I found this wonderful french girl advertising that she has extra tickets. I wrote her, and wrote the tournament organizers, and all seemed to be going well… Until I had to pay her for the ticket. Magic is quite expensive. So she told me that she had actually already sold her ticket by then, and gave me her boyfriend’s PayPal link, who supposedly still had his ticket.

I transferred the money. After that came silence. I started to think – was she actually a real person? Does she or her boyfriend even have a ticket to the event? Was I in this case the overly naive person? Or the paranoid one? The next day I found out. It was indeed as you would expect – I got my ticket, everyone was happy, we wished each other good luck and I’m going to play at the event.

So the bottom line is:  Be like me and don’t get scammed on the internet.

TIL What Is a Fat Loss “Whoosh”

Bar drinks

When you eat at a caloric deficit, your fat cells don’t shrink at a constant pace. They are emptied of triglyceride, which your body uses to get the extra energy it needs, but they fill up with water instead. Then, at some point, the water is also flushed from the fat cells and they finally shrink. Maybe you can think of a certain well known substance to cause dehydration, possibly speeding up the process?

I go to a bar quiz on Thursdays. Last week we did pretty well, it didn’t make a difference that the second place team argued that we spelled “Voight-Kampff” wrong, we still had enough points for the win after losing a few due to typos. So we got the prize – a decent amount of bar credit. Much fun was had. After I got home I was inebriated enough to spontaneously buy plane tickets to Prague for the next week. And a couple of days later I discovered that I had suddenly lost a few pounds. The beer I drank had quite an uncommon effect this time.

It was the whoosh effect.

(Of course, that doesn’t mean that alcoholic drinks are good for losing body fat. Quite the opposite actually)

UI Design Questions: Is This a Feature or a Way to Destroy the User’s Life?

Here’s a little story from work.

A “share” button can increase your store’s profits. It encourages people to share the stuff they like from your store, so their friends can also check it out.  Friends often have similar tastes or interests so they might also buy the thing. They get a cool thing, you get money. Everybody wins.

The web designer you are working with knows this, and adds a nice looking social sharing feature to the design prototypes. It really fits the design well and feels promising. But if you are selling engagement rings, you might want to think about it a bit. Would anyone who is going to propose to his girlfriend really want to ruin the surprise by sharing engagement rings on Facebook?