Apr 23, 2009

Reminiscing about Gaming

I read Wil Wheaton's blog regularly...ok maybe obsessively. Seriously, I am addicted. I follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/wilw) so I know when he has updated his blog. Reading Wil's work has made me admit I am comfortable with my childhood geekiness, and sometime miss it. I am proud of my adult geekiness!

Then came the fateful day when Wil linked to a series of D&D podcasts - the folks from Penny Arcade, PVP and Wil sat down with Wizards of the Coast for a 4th Edition D&D session. Listening to them play through, laughing often (these guys are funny!), celebrating their natural 20s, wincing when they rolled 1s, and totally geeking out ... it was great.

It made me remember my childhood days of playing D&D - starting with the red covered Basic set, moving up through Expert, Companion, and eventually Master. And then changing to AD&D - it was so much more complex! Many of my childhood days were spent rolling up characters, carefully drawing maps on graph paper, lovingly collecting dice (really, how many sets of dice do you actually need? Ask any gamer - you always need more!)

Years passed, and then in my early twenties I worked in a comic book / gaming store, and I got back into it all. Our system of choice was GURPS, but we also played a little Rifts, dabbled in Vampire the Masqerade, etc. I also got introduced to table top wargames - we played Epic (2nd edition, before they "improved it" - I had massive Chaos army) and were just getting into Warhammer Fantasy (Dwarf army) when things changed, I went back to school and then moved. I think back on the hours we would all sit around a table, painting miniatures, discussing the latest roleplaying session, weighing the pros and cons of a new strategy for Epic ... I really miss those days!

I really have a strong urge to find a gaming group and get back into it all! But will it be like I remember? I dunno....

Thanks Wil, for sharing and celebrating your geekiness with us all.

Apr 4, 2009

iPhone app - Dog Tricks & Bark Machine

Back in early February, I was given a promo code for the iPhone app Dog Tricks & Bark Machine (website) I have been having so much fun with this app that I forgot to write a review :-)

This is two applications in one - Tricks and Bark Machine. This app works on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

Bark Machine

This is the part of the app that I have been having the most fun with. There are eight different sounds (woof, meow, doorbell, fire truck, click, squeaky, high frequency whistle, and door knock) Playing with these can drive my dog nuts, and cause me great amusement! There can be a training aspect to the sounds as well - my dog is very reactive to a knock on the door, so I have been able to start to desensitize her to the sound with this app!


Tricks is a dog training app, that gives you a bunch of basic commands, as well as some games and tricks you can teach your dog. There are also sections for advice on behaviour issues, and some useful tricks/games specifically for puppies. The developers have added some fluff in the application as well - some cute photos and a mini encyclopedia of common dog breeds.

You can choose "All Tricks" for an alphabetical listing of all the information available in the Tricks part of the app, or you can choose "Random" and shake your iPhone to randomly pick a trick with a Bark Machine sound. There is also a "Search" button if you know the name of the command you are looking for.

Each command is first shown as a couple of clear photos, and then you can press "info" for the step by step text instructions. I found the instructions were pretty clear and easy to follow.

Overall, I think this is a great little app, and is well worth $2.99 (although according to the website it is currently free for a limited time). While I recommend seeking out a professional dog trainer if you are new to having dogs or if you are having issues with your dog, I think this app is a great addition to your training package!