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Messages - sitnaltax

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General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: September 26, 2017, 07:24:03 pm »
It's not that the company wants you to take personal time. It's that employees having the hours banked is a liability, and the CFO would be happier if that liability were smaller.

I believe you, but I don't know why this would be. Could you explain?

Warning: I've had a little bit of finance training, but I'm not an accountant.

When you accrue PTO, the company accrues a liability equal to the equivalent of your wages for the time you're entitled to. (Examples:, ; googling for "accounting PTO" will turn up more). To my understanding, this is true even if your PTO can't be "paid out" as cash when you leave. So if lots of employees have 80 hours of personal time banked up, this shows up as a large liability. The only way to reduce it is to have employees take the time off, thus, the rule requiring that employees can't save as much.

Kirian's point about the risk of having all the employees take time off at the same time is interesting and possibly relevant, but as you point out, it can be mitigated by policy. But that policy doesn't change the accounting rules, which require that the liability be recorded. That's why I conjectured that the CFO, in particular, is the officer who'd care.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: September 23, 2017, 06:17:03 pm »
My company's deciding to allow us to carry over only 40 hours of personal time at the end of the year instead of 80. I'm not fond of this. I like having a strong buffer. It really helped me out one year when I was laid up for 2 weeks due to surgery. I got to use personal days instead of disability pay.

The rationale is that there is a perception that people aren't using their personal time enough. But if we have a hard cap of 80 hours anyway, then that argument doesn't hold since that only really applies the first year you start saving. If you start off with 80 extra hours and then carry over 80 hours at the end, then you're using just as much personal time.

I just like having a choice.

It's not that the company wants you to take personal time. It's that employees having the hours banked is a liability, and the CFO would be happier if that liability were smaller.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: August 24, 2017, 10:01:00 pm »
On the recommendation of the desktop Dungeons creator, I've been playing Fidel: Dungeon Rescue. If not truly roguelike (the levels aren't procedurally generated) it definitely feels like one, a tight-feeling but surprisingly open puzzle game. It's definitely fun, with a mid-length, friendly learning curve. I've beaten "normal" and "hard" modes and am now trying to work on normal with the ball (you're a dog).

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: August 08, 2017, 09:27:42 am »
How did I put up with those load times? I don't know, the game was good enough for me to want to finish I guess.

My Commodore 64 had a Western game where you were a sheriff standing in a street and various people showed up to talk to you. You answered by choosing a response with the joystick, and if you pushed the joystick all the way up, then you exited the speech options and immediately drew your gun and could aim it. It was an amusing little game.

But it was so graphic-heavy that it would take literal minutes for each scenario to load. It could take half an hour to play the game, and you may only see 10 scenarios.

In a sense, I suppose I can't say those days are fully gone. When I want to play a new game, I have to install it. If I buy it for the PS3, it seems normal nowadays to have to wait several minutes while it downloads updates.

Law of the West, if you want to play it emulated for the nostalgia.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: May 28, 2017, 07:49:18 pm »
One of my gripes with Ziggurat is that the weapons are really uninteresting. Wand/spell/staff/alchemy is just pistol/shotgun/rifle/rocket, with not much difference within the type. Everything is a projectile, and most monsters are fought the same way. I wanted to be a wizard--waves of fire, bolts that penetrate to the monsters behind, DoTs that corrode a big threat while I shoot it with something else.

My other gripe is that it gets going too slowly and the first levels are uninteresting. I got to the point where I can wand my way through the first floor and not use many resources. That's fine, but it takes 10-15 minutes, and you can't skip any part because you'll miss the resources that you'll need in the future. Then death comes suddenly in a tight-packed Scavenge room and there's nothing you can do about it.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: May 25, 2017, 08:33:11 pm »
Are you talking about Ziggurat?

I was excited to give it a try, but after 10 or so plays, I'm losing enthusiasm for it. There's way too much filler in between the exciting fights, and the platforming challenges are miserable. (And they hide excellent treasure, so skipping them isn't great.)

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: February 20, 2017, 07:44:02 pm »
I believe it's Celestial Chameleon's 2013 solution to emptying the supply in 4 turns, at +119:

It's possible that there's a Donald X or MF-successor post with more, but I can't find one.

Dominion Online at Shuffle iT / Re: Making More ShuffleIT (1.0)
« on: January 13, 2017, 04:36:03 pm »
Shuffle iT More?

General Discussion / Re: what computer should I buy?
« on: December 26, 2016, 10:25:16 pm »
It sounds like you want a "budget laptop". The Wirecutter has a fairly good guide here.

They like Acers, which is contrary to Awalcus's preference, but as the article says, at the price you're looking at, every choice has flaws.

Chris-is-me suggested a netbook, which I wouldn't recommend. I used to have one, but that section of the market got eaten alive by tablets and what's left is not impressive to me. If you need something that's tiny and not a tablet, and you can do just the Web, maybe a Chromebook is fine. A budget laptop sacrifices the fancy portability engineering for inexpensive parts, and as a result it's larger.

Goko Dominion Online / Re: A Christmas Eve Gift from Making Fun
« on: December 25, 2016, 07:00:03 pm »
Ah, the good old Sapphiron D****.


General Discussion / Re: Entrepreneurship
« on: October 24, 2016, 07:49:51 pm »
IANAL of course but it's probably not illegal, as in, you're not going to find yourself in a cop car or a courtroom for selling candy out of your backpack.

It's probably against the rules of your school, as in, the administrators can probably find a rule you're breaking and shut you down if they want to. A reasonable administration would just ask you to stop, but since when are school administrators known for being reasonable? The most likely consequence is getting your stash confiscated and a detention. There's probably an outside chance of a suspension if the administrator is particularly draconian or has some grudge against you.

Whether that would be a problem is between you and your parents. A suspension is not going to send you down the road of delinquency and destroy your future, but if it would disrupt your family harmony, maybe you clear your plan with the admins first.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: September 17, 2016, 10:11:13 am »
If you like Portal and similar games, check out the new Turing Test

I'll second the recommendation for The Talos Principle for Portal fans. The tone of the game is different (serious and somber instead of darkly comic) but the puzzles are excellent. Thanks for this recommendation; it looks interesting

I played a similar game called QUBE that I would not recommend unless you're desperate. About 2/3 of the way through the game, the puzzles just turn terrible; a big disappointment.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: September 10, 2016, 10:56:05 pm »
I'm surprised Dream Quest is not mentioned here. (Maybe it's only for iOS? I played it on my iPad.) It's basically a roguelike take on Dominion/Ascension-style deckbuilding. I actually don't like it at all but it has many fans and I respect its innovative genre mix. (The reason I don't like it is that I feel in some way it's a worst-of-both-worlds mix, but others may disagree.)

I just got Dream Quest a couple days ago and... wow. It's amazing. I can get how it's not for everyone, but I was drawn in quickly. It's $3 for iOS or $10 for PC, I assume because the author forgot that the PC port exists (the only place to get it is on a weird Humble Store page).

Edit: I recently got my first win with an action-chain focused Thief with the god that gives enemies a sword but you an equipment slot, and a Vampire Sword.

General Discussion / Re: Cars and Phones
« on: July 11, 2016, 10:24:34 pm »
Cars: You probably want a used car; however much you're planning to spend, the value is just so much better. I haven't seen anyone mention reliability. This should be especially important to you if you're not much of a car person. I highly recommend you go to your library and grab Consumer Reports' latest car issue. It has recommendations for used cars by price range based on what's been reliable, and lots of general car-buying advice. I think a lot of libraries have Consumer Reports online, so that may even save you a trip outside. I drive a Civic (purchased used) and am very pleased with it. Hondas and Toyotas in general are known for being solid, reliable and holding their value quite well.

Unless you manage to line up a private party sale, expect an unpleasant shopping experience. Be skeptical, haggle, and be ready to walk away. There are more cars out there. If you're not going to buy the car with cash, talk to your bank or credit union to get approved for a loan before car shopping. They'll give you a better deal than the dealership, who will use the financing to pull a fast one on you.

Phones: A couple years ago you had the choice between spending $600 on an iPhone, "flagship" Android (Samsung Galaxy/Nexus/HTC One/etc), or $200 junk. Nowadays the $600 phones are huge and you can get an excellent phone for $400ish if you don't mind it being slightly smaller; the iPhone SE, the Moto X Pure (what I have, and would recommend), OnePlus 3, etc. The Samsung Galaxy is still costly (and decent enough) but no longer head-and-shoulders better as it was in the Galaxy S3-S4 days. I would definitely recommend one of those phones rather than a $200-$250 "budget" phone, which are much better than they used to be but you'll be using it every day for two years so spend the money. I have used both iPhone and Android and really, both are fine. iOS has more and better apps and, perhaps surprisingly, better security; Android delivers a better value and saves you from the walled garden/branding phenomenon that some people find off-putting. If you have friends or family that prefer one platform, that may sway your decision. Ars Technica is my preferred source for reviews, and especially their roundups/guides, but they don't publish those quite as often as you would hope (they did a really nice one around December, but that's half a year ago now).

Comparison - 'How many moose are blocking the road?'

(Skip to 0:50; YouTube's link-to-time-stamp isn't playing nice with the embedding)

General Discussion / Re: GenCon 2016
« on: May 15, 2016, 11:36:54 pm »
Where, outside of tournaments, do I need to spend the generic $2 tickets?

Just to share my own experience: when I went last year I bought a bunch of those (either $20 or $40 worth, I can' remember) and didn't end up spending a single one. But maybe you're more into scheduled events and less into wandering than me.

Good point. Note that unlike Origins, you can't return unused generics for cash (you can return them for credit toward the next year's badge or whatever) so maybe just preorder $4-$6 worth and buy more if you find that you're using them.

General Discussion / Re: GenCon 2016
« on: May 15, 2016, 07:22:07 pm »
Howdy! I will not be at GenCon this year, but I've been in the past.

Quote from: Roadrunner7671
Where can I just sit down and play games for free?

Unfortunately, GenCon is probably the worst con for this because it's so busy, crowded, and commercial. Keep in mind that there are SIXTY THOUSAND people attending, and probably 35000-40000 on Saturday alone. If this is your main goal, I would recommend literally any other convention. That said: In the past, both Rio Grande and Mayfair have sponsored free-play rooms where games from those publishers were available for demo, often with people there to help teach.

A lot of people play the day's purchases with friends in hotel lobbies, especially in the evenings. If you're going with friends (do this if you can), this can be you! If you're extroverted and able to make friends quickly (I'm not), you might be able to get in on another group's.

Quote from: Roadrunner7671
Where, outside of tournaments, do I need to spend the generic $2 tickets?

Any scheduled in-the-program game or seminar that isn't full will take generics. People who have registered explicitly get priority, of course, but many don't fill up.

Quote from: Roadrunner7671
Does GenCon take place outside of the exhibit hall?

Very much yes. It takes up the entire convention center and spills into neighboring hotels. All of those games, panels, seminars in the program... those take place in other rooms in the conference center and nearby hotels. (Nearby businesses often have welcome-to-the-con promos. They're also VERY busy because there are tens of thousands of extra people in downtown Indy at unusual times. Bring snacks (granola bars, etc) and bottled drinks.

Quote from: Roadrunner7671
What can I do at the average publisher's booth?

You can usually buy games, at least their newest ones. You'll usually pay list price or close to it--the only reliable way I've ever seen to get a discount is an educator badge--but you'll get whatever promos are available. You can usually get a demo and sometimes a full play of newer board games that the publisher wants to show off. At smaller companies' booths you can sometimes chat with the designers or other employees.

A lot of publishers premiere games at GenCon or have sneak previews. So you'll be going for the event, the spectacle, and being the first one to see some new things, not to play a huge variety of games.

Dominion Online at Shuffle iT / Re: Creating Dominion
« on: April 15, 2016, 09:03:21 pm »
This is fantastic news for Dominion to be back in fan hands after so long in the wilderness. Congratulations and good luck to you both!

To echo a couple of requests that others made:

  • Social features, even rudimentary ones, are missing from MF and I think it really cripples the game. I hope for friend lists, block lists, a way to chat with friends that aren't my opponent, and a way to share blocklists.
  • A way to report players for intentional slowplay, rudeness/viciousness, or a Decline of Civility would be great.
  • I think alternate art cards would be a fantastic addition, whether they come as tournament prizes, promos, along with achievements, or whatever. Collecting them would be fun! As jsh showed us, some of the early cards especially would benefit from alternate art. You could also make steps toward the "hey, why are there so few women in the illustrations" issue.
  • Another possible tournament award is titles. In USCF chess, when you participate in a tournament and play at least as well as a player of <whatever> rating, you earn a "norm" to the title associated with that ranking. Five such norms and you earn the title. (Bridge works similarly, but rather than Elo-style ratings, some number of your points have to come from tournaments of sufficient size/competition level to attract strong enough opposition, depending on the title you're working toward)
  • A third possible tournament award is badges or medals displayed on your user page or whatever. Bigger tournament = bigger medal, higher ranking = shinier medal.

The idea I brainstormed was: An 8-person casual tournament has a first prize of, say, 100 points, 50 for second, 25 for third, and 10 participation points for everyone. A typical alt art promo costs 100 points. You can also earn points for nontournament  playing, possibly 10/day or so, so even if you log on and have an awful day--hey, you're making progress towards that sweet alt art Scout.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: January 30, 2016, 11:49:59 pm »
I want to buy a new USB 3.0 cable for my Galaxy S5 charger (the cable that came with the phone is starting to fray).  There are lots of entries on Amazon for amazing prices... except many of the reviews suggest that they are actually cheap knock-offs.  Is there an easy way to find something that is verified authentic?

At this point I'm probably going to buy a non-Samsung cable from Best Buy.

Edit: Bahh, I'm just going to go buy the cable locally.  Even if I found something authentic, I don't want to keep using the frayed cable while waiting for shipping.

Monoprice is the place to go for cables and adapters of any kind. Inexpensive and fair quality.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: January 20, 2016, 09:11:15 pm »
Question:  mammals can "breathe" temporarily in a perfluorocarbon.  Would fish also be able to do so, or would they "drown" in an otherwise oxygen-rich environment?  (Ignore for a moment the density; fish would float straight to the surface in current PFCs.)

My uninformed biology-enthusiast speculation is yes. My best googling suggests that fish die if you take them out of water because their gills collapse, so there's not enough surface area to transfer oxygen. So in an appropriate-density environment, a fish would be fine. I'm making the unfounded assumption that gills and lungs transfer oxygen in fundamentally the same way, differing mostly in the way they're adapted to handle the density and oxygen concentration of water vs. air.

Like mammals, I can't speak to the longer-term effects for fish. You wouldn't have the "this thick fluid is damaging the delicate lung tissue" issue, though.

Fans of this thread may be interested in a similar cult classic that hit BGG a few years ago:

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: December 21, 2015, 10:11:53 pm »
Just finished up two DCSS games in the last week or so: a HESk^Dith and a GhWr^Qaz.

Dith is pretty amazing. You get a huge offense boost to both melee and magic, accuracy penalty to enemies, and a big stealth bonus. The active abilities are lackluster (especially for a non-stabber) but who cares? The Skald book is awful except for Spectral Weapon, which is very strong. Unfortunately, that means you have to take the fragile High Elf into melee to make it work. I splatted a dismaying number of promising HESk's before I got wise and started playing them more like AEs. I cast Airstrike almost 1200 times in my final winning game.

The GhWr of Qaz just felt invincible the whole way. It's a blast to play (pun intended) and I'd recommend it highly. I can't find much to like about the Warper book, but starting with a scroll of blinking is like having two bonus scrolls (since you don't blow the first one you find read-IDing it). I boosted Strength and took plate armor, and Qazlal took care of every monster I couldn't shred with claws.

If anyone has a suggestion for my next game, I'm looking for an interesting new playstyle. Here's what I haven't won yet. I don't need to tick off a new one of each.

Unwon species: Fe, Fo, Dg, Mu, Op
Unwon backgrounds: Ne, Su, Ar, Wn
Unwon gods: Beough, Ely, Jiyva, Nemelex, Zin

The obvious choice is some kind of Su or Ar of Nemelex, but my adventures with Nemelex so far haven't gone well.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part II
« on: November 29, 2015, 02:42:36 pm »
Does someone know an online calculator who computes the parameters of a function based on a number of sample values?

e.g. I say f(x) = a + b *x and f(0) = 10 and f(1) = 12 and he tells me a = 10 and b = 2

I'm pretty sure it has to be there but I can't find one. Maybe I don't know how to phrase it correctly.

Looks like trying to solve a system of linear equations?

Here it is:

I don't think anything will shock longtime Dominion or Donald X. fans, but it's an interesting read about game design. My favorite section was the considerations about what makes a good expansion.

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