Friday, June 28, 2013

The Arkyd 100 Space Telescope

About a month ago, Planetary Resources—the company that caused quite a stir a while back when announced its intention to mine asteroids—created a Kickstarter campaign. Their intent with it was not to make money—looking at the investors at the company’s website, they probably do okay in that area—but to offer the public access to one of their small space telescopes expected to launch in 2015, called the Arkyd-100. Since the telescope is intended for the public, the company is asking for one million dollars to crowd fund it.

While this idea seems a little far fetched at first—after all, what can one million dollars buy in an industry that already operates on billions—but if anyone has a chance to pull this off, it is Planetary Resources. Since the company does not need to design the telescope from the ground up, “simply” re-purpose one of their already existing designs, they can send it up with their own fleet of asteroid hunting space telescopes. So, in essence, the team at Planetary Resources offered us the opportunity to hitch a ride with them to space. This, I think, is pretty cool, and apparently I am not the only want thinking that. Twenty days into the Kickstarter campaign, the Arkyd-100 space telescope had surpassed the one million dollars mark, not only giving the project a clear, green light but also marking a significant milestone in citizen science.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Build an Organizer for Arkham Horror

If someone asked me what my favorite board game was, I would probably have to say Arkham Horror from Fantasy Flight Games. Among its many great qualities, the one I like the most about the game is its complexity. With intricate rules and an army of bits and pieces, Arkham Horror provides a fun and long-lasting experience—extra fun if you happen to be a devotee of H. P. Lovecraft. Complexity, however, often comes with a price, and, in the case of Arkham Horror, this price is difficult storage. The large number of components can be tricky to properly store and organize—especially if someone invested in one or more of the game’s many expansions. Of course, you can always use tackle boxes and be done with it, but there are those of us who would like to use something a little more fitting to this great game; preferably, without spending too much money on it. That is where I come in.

In this article, I will guide you through the process of building the above pictured wooden organizer to replace the plastic insert that comes in the game’s original box. My goal is to present you with something that is relatively simple to construct—without any previous woodworking knowledge—yet still looks professional and elegant. Furthermore, this organizer is not only good looking but also highly functional, able to hold the core game and an extra expansion comfortably in one, tidy box.

Although this was my first attempt to work with many of the tools and material I used in this project, I feel confident that I learned enough from my own experience to write this guide in such detail that you do not have to suffer through my mistakes again. So, if you feel up for the task, read on and start building!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is This the End of Console Gaming?

It has been quite some time since I last posted anything here, and I apologize. This new Xbox One craze, however, kind of forcing me to get back into the writing game as I care deeply about this issue

First of all, if you haven’t heard what is going on, here is a quick recap: the new Xbox, called the Xbox One, has features that basically cripples the used game market, has a mandatory DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) system, mandatory installs, a Kinect sensor that is forced on you whether you want it or not, and a crap-load of other restrictions. But the most important thing is basically the killing game ownership. In the next generation, you will no longer buy games, you will lease them, and if you don’t check in with the company over the internet after a certain amount of time, you cannot play! That is right! You cannot play a single player game without checking in with Microsoft first and then after every 24 hours! And if the company goes under or decides it wants out of the console business, there goes your game collection with it.