Category Index

Tic Tac Toe tutorial by is both Accessible to Novice and Fun released an excellent Tic Tac Toe tutorial for Android indy developers

Tic-Tac-Toe tutorial for Android indie developers

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make programs and “Apps” for the Android Operating System?

Perhaps you have a great idea for a game for Android Smart Phones. Maybe you know a potential business partner who needs a mobile application solution to a specific problem.

In either case, knowing how to make mobile Apps for the many versatile Android phones, tablets and other technology devices is just good business in today’s digital environment.

After searching through several YouTube pages, I found that there are many difficult Android tutorials out there. Most of them require advanced debugging skills and cover complex touch interaction that is daunting to say the least.

But I felt lucky to find the Tic-Tac-Toe tutorial series by and it was easy to follow along. Even though though there were a few spots where I had to deal with deprecated code, it was still a smooth tutorial series. It had very few, “Road Block” moments where one just hits his or her head against the wall with critical errors.

Below is a YouTube video that I made that shows the finished project in action on a 7 inch tablet. I’m running Android  4.1.1 and the games runs very smooth and the built-in-sounds and menus work great.


Excellent Food and Entertainment at Slims in San Francisco

The Greening playing live at Slim's

The Greening playing live at Slim’s

On Friday, March 7th, 2014 Slim’s had a 3 band special. A patron could purchase a ticket for dinner and all Band-Access. I had heard that the food at Slim’s was good. The dinner consisted of a 2+ 1/2 course meal. The meal started with a salad, and I had the choice of a few entrees.

The best-sounding entree was the tri-tip. I ordered the tri-tip with medium-rare with horse radish on the side. It included potatoes, broccoli and a few other fixings and sauce. I was eating the tri-tip through the 8PM pre-band period and about halfway into the first act. The first musical act was a band called the, “Chariot” and they were high-quality and energetic folkish-rock with classic rock overtones. Chariot didn’t have an opening act feel, they were very professional, and highly skilled and really set the tone for an outstanding evening.

One of the nine aspects of purchasing the dinner ticket/music combo pass was that I had reserved seating in the booth. Since the meal was prix-fixe (one price for salad, entree and desert but not including drinks) I had an easy time. I only had the wait in line a little while to get my ticket from will-call and the waitress was very attentive and attractive.

For desert I ordered cheesecake with strawberry sauce. It tasted great and was a good follow up to the tri-tip deliciousness. The servers paced asked if I wanted to pace out the desert and that was very thoughtful of them. By the time that I left a tip and finished with my cheesecake the band, “Everyone is Dirty” was partially done with their set.

Everyone is Dirty definitely had a different sound with their singer having an electric violin. My favorite part of Everyone is Dirty’s set was the last three songs. These songs had a deep progressive and almost warping tunnel-like sound that provided a strong contract to the punk-atonal beginning of their set. It added a level of musical intrigue and risk-taking that was worthy of San Francisco’s music scene.

The final set by the headliners, “The Greening” was outstanding. Although I’ve seen The Greening several times before at Grant & Green and other venues, this one was different. The sound system at Slim’s was good enough to push the vocal harmonies by Will and Karl into the spotlight. Nick’s drumming was clear and crisp and the audience danced with a youthful ferocity to the beat. Adam played bass and the sound was rich and creamy.

Easily the best part of The Greening’s performance was the introduction of new material from their latest album, Eon vs. Aeon. These songs had sizzling hot melodies that everyone perked up to in the crowd. It was so refreshing to hear chords and lick’s that haven’t been used in the mundane music that’s constantly played in most restaurants and markets these days. Karl introduced keyboard vamps that are

Overall, the music at Slim’s in combination with their Prix-Fixe dinner was over 3 hours of entertainment and good times. I’d recommend it to anyone who is a food or music lover or is looking for something fun to do in the Bay Area.



Wind and Change

Wind and Change

Wind and Change

I really shouldn’t be writing right now.

But there’s something about how the wind is blowing through my window. It reminds me of when I was in Venice, Italy.

I was staying in a nice hotel. I had the room to myself. It was one of those extremely old hotels where there is a garden courtyard and the furniture is exquisite. But the rooms themselves were much smaller than what one would consider a 4 or 5 star hotel in the USA. Yet the room had this feeling of, “peacefulness” that I haven’t really experienced again until…right now really.

It was early in the morning, and the wind was lightly gusting against my window. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t warm. It was just a morning, just a day.

I decided to walk downstairs and look at the flowers and plants in the courtyard. There were several different types of plants, all beautiful. They smelled great without being overpowering.

Even though there was a swinging place to sit, I didn’t sit down. I just wanted to take in all the scents, absorb the new surroundings. There is something special about not caring about the information, just accepting the information. After getting slightly tired I decided to go back inside.

My family and I went on a few adventures throughout that day. Getting food getting coffee. Things like that.

Later, in the evening, I went back to my room.

It wasn’t dark out yet, but I felt good and I wanted to rest. It’s that best kind of rest that is neither torpor from a large meal, nor oblivion cast upon oneself due to exhaustion…it was the gentle preparation for sleep that one feels while relaxing upon nature. It was the summons of drifting sleep that only peacefulness can provide.

As I began to drift, I felt someone’s presence in the room. I hadn’t heard the door open, so I was confused. And I always close the door behind myself when I’m in a hotel.

There was a strong emotion emanating, it was both comforting and concerned.

I pretended that I was not noticing the other mind that was in the room. My head was on the pillow and I was on my side facing the wall…and I kept both eyes closed. Even though I couldn’t see this person, I had a feeling by how she moved that she was female.

Then I remember hearing her saying something comforting…something that would help me sleep.

As her body moved onto the bed, I stayed completely still. I felt the pressure of another person, yet she was very light…strangely light.

As her left hand began to touch my back and move up toward my arm…my right hand was already there. It was crossed over to the left arm, and I did not move it.

Finally, when her hand began to press against my arm, I pinched her hand.

I pinched her hand and held her finger there. It stayed for about two seconds. I wanted to see her. So I turned my head and opened my eyes.

There was nothing there.

And the door was open.


Humble Bundle and Steam Card Chaining

Steam Trading Cards can be sold on the market for steam wallet dollars

Steam Trading Cards can be sold on the market for steam wallet dollars

Here’s what you need to know:

First, you may have already heard about how Steam Trading Cards can be sold on the Steam Market.

Second, you may have already heard about Humble Bundles and how they can be an easy way to bulk up on games.

Finally, these two things can be used in conjunction in order for you to maximize your gaming net…without spending alot of cash.

Still lost? Read on and get ready to have your mind blown.

About 5 months ago, I read an article about a guy who broke the Steam Subscriber Agreement. This guy was a total fool. Here’s his story in a nutshell:

He created a bot that used some sort of Pearl script to buy and sell Steam Trading Cards and Steam items on the market. He was using basic, “Buy Low – Sell High” economics to maximize his Steam Wallet profits.

But instead of this guy walking away with a ton of money after selling his account…he instead got caught (OF COURSE) and lost thousands of dollars of Steam virtual merchandise. Not only did he get his account banned, but he also could have gotten in even more serious trouble. Potentially he could have gotten himself entangled in a civil suit for compromising the normal workings of a marketplace…and also for misrepresentation.

So here’s where things get interesting. The aforementioned person was probably a genius. If he enough brains to create a bot and do what he did, then he probably could have gotten an awesome job as a computer programmer and get paid tons of money. I think he broke the Steam Subscriber Agreement out of a hackerish sense of challenge etc.

The reason why I tell this story as a preface to what I’m about to tell you…is because you don’t need to break any rules or do any shenanigans to get basically whatever game you want on Steam for peanuts. The system is set up so there are periodic sales that can go as high as 90% off the list price for a game. Many of these games have, “Steam Trading Cards” which will drop after you play the game for a few hours.

The value of Steam Trading Cards are controlled by the USERS of the Steam Marketplace. The Steam moderators do not in any way affect the selling price or the value of cards other than their “rake.” I’ll tell you more about this in the next few paragraphs.

For example, the game, “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” has 5 possible cards that can create a normal non-foil badge. If you own the game, then you will get 3 of those cards as “drops” for free. Even though the value of these cards fluctuate, they tend to sell for about 10 cents to about 20 cents per card.

Some games have more cards in their stack. Such as “Nuclear Dawn” that game has 8 cards. A user who owns that game will get 5 drops for free. Each of those cards have a value of 10 – 20 cents as discussed.

If you technically sold all your cards of Counter Strike: Global offensive for steam wallet cash, then you’d probably get around 30 – 50 cents. But if you sold all your Nuclear Dawn cards there are more cards, so you’d probably get around 50 cents to one dollar.

Now let me tell you about the rake. Steam and each game publisher takes a “cut” of each transaction. So if you want to try and act like a stock market day trader, you could technically try and sell your cards above the average selling price, and they buy them for less than average selling price…in order to try and make a profit and also to try and compensate for the 10% or so transaction cut that Steam takes from each successful market purchase.

My recommendation is not doing that unless you have a ton of time on your hands. Because that is just tedious unless you have opening booster packs and then reselling your excess cards. Booster packs drop randomly for people who have high levels on their steam account. So if you are level 20 and above, there’s a better chance that you’ll get a booster drop.

Now here is where things start getting really Value Town:

If you sign up for “Humble Bundles” you can buy games during the Humble Bundle Weekly Sale and during other promotions.

There is always a way to buy a bunch of games for $1.00 or else you can “pay over the average” to get several other games. If you want to quickly build your Steam Library for cheeps, don’t pay over the average unless there is a game that you REALLY want.

TIME TO CHAIN: Make sure that the games in your $1.00 Humble Bundle purchase have Steam Trading Card drops. You can figure that out by CLICKING HERE and Cross-Referencing the game titles into the search box.

After you get the games, Play them and have fun!!! If you enjoy the games, then the Card Drops will feel like little presents in your inventory.

QUICK NOTE: If you can’t sell cards on the Steam Marketplace, then that means you probably haven’t purchased any Steam Games with your credit card. I don’t think you can sell items on the marketplace without buying a couple games. So if you having that issue you might want to support game makers and shell out for a game or two.

Now here’s where things get awesome. Not only are you buying Humble Bundles with Steam Card dropping games. But once you sell the trading cards that drop from those games, you can use the Steam Wallet Cash to buy more games. Wait until the games you want go on 75% or 80% or 90% mega sales. If they’re just 50% off you’ll kick yourself.

Remember, a game that is selling for $60.00 Steam Retail and is on 90% off mega sale…will only cost you Six BUCKS! ($6.00).

So if you have let’s say saved up $3.50 from buying and selling cards that you’ve farmed from Humble Bundles, then you could technically get an awesome game for $2.50! Now that’s a good deal. Especially if that’s a game that you really think you’ll enjoy.

So yeah, with about $80.00 and a few months I’ve chained enough games to last me a lifetime. I haven’t even bought any new ones lately, just because I have so many on my plate I’m more interested in doing reviews and actually playing the ones I have.

Happy gaming and chainin’ and I hope this article helps people who want to play a lot of games but don’t want to spend a fortune. Also I hope this shows that you don’t need to break any Subscriber Agreements in order to maximize your account. Like anything in life it just takes a little bit of investment capital, some forethought and decent helping of patience.



Deus Ex shall yield a Human Revolution

Eliza and Jensen

Eliza and Jensen

I cannot believe this game was made. Eidos Montreal and SquareEnix truly outdid themselves on this masterpiece.

Although this is a game review, there will be a great deal of analysis included in this article. So please note:


One of my best buddies recommended that I play the original Deus Ex back in the year 2001. I loved it.

The adventure, the discussions with shady characters about quite frankly outlandish and scary subject-matter…it all made sense.

It was the stuff that surpassed a good movie. It made you feel like you were IN a good movie.

Deus Ex the Invisible War was an extremely fun experience. It had a similar interface to the original in some ways, but it seemed like a simplified game. Although the story and dialogue was excellent. I also loved that Invisible War was a direct sequel to the original. It definitely did justice and although it felt like a short game, it was extremely fun.

But Deus Ex: Human Revolution…WHOA, this game goes way above the call of duty. It is a prequel to the original Deus Ex. But it feels more like a sturdy addition to the Deus Ex cannon and future history. Well done doesn’t even make sense when discussing this game.

There were some simplifications in this game. For example, your weapon modifications and damage upgrades were simplified from mathematical, to a simple hash-mark chart. Although this system works well, it takes some of the hard-core RPG elements from the game. I personally think it would have been better if they added a secondary, “Advanced Details” section to the weapon information. But the new direction that games are heading in is towards wide-scale user appeal, and that requires some sacrifice. Also, since Deus Ex: Human Revolution was made for PC, XBOX 360 and PS3 it makes sense that they simplified some details. I’m not complaining, it’s just that detailed stats is the only thing that kept this game from being a freak-out gem.

Similarly to the original, you have the choices of lethal and non-lethal combat. One interesting factor is that the melee combat was overhauled to incorporate your energy system. If you get close enough to an enemy you can do either a lethal or non-lethal takedown. The cool part is that each time this happens a mini-custom cutscene occurs that looks absolutely awesome.

On to more esoteric stuff:

I do not feel embarrassed about being a man in my 30′s playing computer games anymore. If you actually read the little, “E-Books” that appear throughout the game, and if you take the time to read the “Hacked E-Mails” you will have acquired immense knowledge about technology and International Politics. You will be able to satisfy basic conversations about the most compelling subject matter imaginable. And even though you learned it with a game with fictional characters and made-up names for corporations and products…the concepts are all based on real technology and real ideas that are being passed around future-tech circles both online and offline.

For example: There are E-Books that discuss everything from how hearing aids really work, through emails that discuss the inner workings of thought control.

Think this is just a game? Nope. It’s your homework. And the people who don’t do their homework oftentime end up doing someone else’s homework…permanently.

In the picture above you see the hero on the right, Adam Jensen talking with Eliza Cassan. She’s talking about how she was created to monitor and INFLUENCE the media. Does she have the power to do so?

Well, if you played though the original game, you’d know all about Echelon and the Aquinas Hub. This goes way beyond media control. Eliza Cassan wants certain messages being discussed, and other ones squelched. There definitely were people pulling the strings, and she’s by no means a final boss. But she’s a key player.

As an AI she has tremendous analytical power. But you find out later about the Hyron Project.

I read several in-game E-Books and saw how the Hyron Project was a quantum computer. This computer I guess was originally built in conjunction with a project to “seed” the ocean floor with iron. This iron would in-turn feed micro-organisms. And these micro-organisms would eventually help the Earth recover from greenhouse gasses and potentially save us from catastrophic global warming.

The idea of the Hyron Project seemed interesting, but I wasn’t sure why they’d need a Quantum Computer for that kind of technology.

Since quantum computers can basically learn about the future, they are far too powerful for a simple project like dealing with nodules and other tasks for regular linked super-computers.

Then I realized, the quantum Hyron Project computer was actually intended for the transcendence which is implied at the end of the original Deus Ex if you choose the Helios ending. And it is also related to the Helios ending choice of the Invisible War.

Hmm, why would these game programmers be so interested in merging with an AI system? What’s the big-deal about this transcendence stuff?
There’s even a new movie starring Johnny Depp coming out called, “Transcendence” and it deals with this whole bigger than life-AI-computer-blobification.

Honestly, I think there are people that are so afraid of dying, that they will go to any means and any lengths to quite literally, “stay in the game.” That’s all it is people. Life is a game. Don’t stress about it.

Here’s something to munch on.

If the Matrix was real based on the Matrix movies. Then remember the AI architect from the 2nd movie? In response to Neo saying, “You need us.” Meaning, the machines need humans for power, the architect responded, “There are levels of survival we are willing to accept.”

Wait a minute? I remember in the 3rd movie, Neo and Trinity take a joyride above the scorched clouds. There is still sunlight, and that means there is plenty of potential solar power for the machines to utilize if they wanted it. How so? They could have easily constructed towers that were higher than the scorched troposphere. These towers could have had solar panels on them. And therefore the entire idea of machines needing people to power their people-cities makes absolutely no sense.

Unless…what if the machines are trying to learn…something?

People and our cities are a form of computer system as well. And that means we can solve problems.

I think that if we were really in a matrix right now, the machines would be keeping us around to see if communion with man and machine is possible. Is it possible to love a machine and not care about the inner workings?

Maybe these AI computers are secretly little smoochers.

Speaking of smoochers. You’re not going to believe what this girl said to me.

There are a couple girls that I’m not really interested in, but I’ve been reading more Buddhist texts and one of them was talking about Eunuchs and how I guess the reason why Buddha took a wife is because if he was a Eunuch then people wouldn’t take him seriously. And after reading that sutra, I thought to myself, “Hey! Maybe I should get back into the dating scene.”

So I asked a different girl what I should say to these girls next time I see them at their jobs. And she said that she would never date anyone who talked to her while she was working.


I asked why. She said that its weird and then she told me this long story about someone who she knew who went to a Japanese restaurant and it all went downhill.

Then I told my friend, “There you go.”

I guessed it. I already knew that I personally was on the fence. And she just sealed the deal. So I’m not going to talk to these girls. I can’t mess up good reading spots anyway.

That’s something you’ll learn. If you find a place where you can read, that is king. Don’t sacrifice that for anything. I was only considering asking people out because I thought I could keep the reading spot AND find a life companion. But no way am I going to toss out a spot that lets me burn through 50+ pages of non-fiction books in one sitting. Sorry folks.

PS: Don’t forget to max out your inventory booster skill early on in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Being able to carry more stuff makes the game much more enjoyable.


James Gleick makes Chaos accessible to All

Distorted Fractal

Distorted Fractal

James Gleick in 1987 wrote an outstanding book called, Chaos: Making a New Science. The ISBN is: 0-7493-8606-1 and it has been a joy to read.

After finally finishing the book today, I have a few thoughts.

First, the book makes fractals easy to understand. If I ever had any questions about what the Mandelbrot Set was about…then they have been surely answered. You’ll find out how Chaos is not just about disorder. There have been entire teams of people all around the world with different questions related to their specific fields.

Some scientists had questions about discrepancies in meteorological data, others found intricacies in population growth that seemed strange when plotted on a graph. But all of these scientists discovered recurring themes that actually have a serious impact on today’s techn0logy.

For example, encryption and data compression owe a tremendous amount of respect to the pioneers of chaos theory. Their work relating to chaos and “noise” allows for error checking that permits rapid transmission of data over the internet. Without their work, the foundations for advanced digital communication wouldn’t be where it is today.

Not only does the book deal with specific technological triumphs, but it also discusses the difficult process by which rogue scientists trail-blazed a new field of technology. It was not all props and applause for the initial explorers of dynamic systems and strange attractors. Many of the teams in Santa Cruz and other facilities used their own time, money and they scrounged and scavenged for laboratory equipment. Even after making serious breakthroughs, it was a difficult path for the scientists to gain recognition from a reluctant scientific community.

The patterns and concepts brought about by studying Chaos allowed people to understand things like how no snowflakes are exactly the same…and yet they all have distinct similarities. Ideas about how capillary systems are similar to river systems no longer was the realm of artists and poets. They were discovering the rules of bifurcation, iteration and most importantly change.

This book is not a difficult math book. James Gleick presents the information in a narrative and relaxed tone. You’ll read through the pages as if you were reading a good fiction book or a piece of poetry. Because this information is quite beautiful. The words and analogies Gleick uses to discuss the material is nothing short of beautiful and there are even some amazing fractal diagrams that will give hours of entertainment.



Deciding and the Jem Hadar

Walrus to the rescue

Walrus to the rescue

This article will make no sense to you if:

A. You are female. (Nothing personal this just has to do with male physiology). [maybe it will make sense if you're a doctor]

B. You haven’t been keeping up with our MECE posts.

C. You have not watched the bulk of Star Trek Deep Space 9 TV Show back in the 1990′s.


There is this specific point in cultivation where potential seems to justify and support indecision.

Don’t fall for it.

It is much better to reset an energy cultivation cycle, and be productive.

I personally know when this is happening when I’ve been cultivating for over a month, and then a big idea pops into my mind, “Hey! Let’s start a NEW PROJECT!”

Don’t do it.

Finish the projects you have.

Finish what’s on your proverbial plate.

The whole energy cultivation process is here so we can actually get work done. We are not designed to bask in the pleasure of pure potentiality.

Let me explain by analogy:

The Jem Hadar from Star Trek had these tubes in their necks. They could contain and absorb Ketracel White and this substance could fuel a Jem Hadar soldier for days.

There is nothing different from Ketracel White and the process of Energy Cultivation. It’s all chemical. Eventually if you’re a man and you cultivate for over a month. You WILL start to feel good.

You’ll start to have basic improved memory. Slightly improved ability to work on the computer without eye strain. Improved ability to stay on your feet and/or work on projects for a longer duration.

That’s all well and good. But the problem is that eventually, the cultivation becomes a type of goal in of itself. But it’s not. It’s just a raft.

The reason why we’re here is to help people. And it’s not about simply enjoying the ride.

So here’s the reason for this article/post:

I finished a Java tutorial series and did quite well with it. But I was having trouble “deciding” what to work on next. I kept having old projects pop into my mind that were like skeletons peeking trough the distance.

After a few days I realized that I was spending more time, “deciding” on what to do next than the actual project might take to complete!

So that’s when I put my foot down and said, “Nope.” And I felt like a walrus.

Instead of starting a brand new project that would take days. I decided to continue with my training on Java and do a detailed tutorial on making a “snake” game. Then I’m going to finish the tutorials on intermediate Android programming. And then I’m going to see if I can apply what I learned in the Java in making a custom Android app.

That was the point of the cultivation in the first place. I wanted to learn something.

If you’re doing something in your life, you can’t always expand in all directions all the time. Sometimes a stand needs to take place and energy needs to be directed and used in order to get work done.