Apple Didn’t Invent Pinch and Zoom

Here’s an interesting little article talking about how Apple’s “pinch and zoom” patent was recently struck down by the US Patent and Trademark Office because they found prior art showing that Apple didn’t actually invent the idea.

Software patents are ridiculous in the first place and need to be done away with.  Copyrighting the code is enough.  Software patents just slow innovation, causing advancements to go much more slowly than they otherwise would.

To read the article, click here.

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Fountain Pen Update

As an update to my previous post, I decided to get the Pen and Ink Fountain Pen Sketch Set.  Once I get it I’ll post my thoughts and perhaps a picture or two.  Hopefully it’ll be nice and start my journey into the world of fountain pens.

Fountain Pens

I have something of a small addiction to pens.  Right now that addiction tends to take the shape of gel pens and rollerball pens.  Even after I find pens I’m happy with, such as the Pilot Precise V5, the Pentel Energel, the Uniball Signo, and the Bic 537R, I’m always on the lookout for new pens.  I justify the pen hunt by keeping in mind that whenever I write a story, I always write the first two drafts by hand, and whenever I’m writing a new role-playing game, I always write the design notes for the game by hand.

But alas, I’ve recently become curious about fountain pens.

As I’m on a budget, I don’t really want to spend a ton of money.  Basically, I want one that’s cheap, but still decent.  I know a lot of people are fond of the Lamy Safari and Lamy Al-Star, however I’ve also heard quite a few people mention them to be scratchy and skippy, and even saw a video on YouTube where someone went through a lengthy process filing down and refining the nib on the Lamy Al-Star, which makes me very wary.  I want a pen that just works, nice and smooth, right out of the box.

I’ve also heard of the Platinum Plaisir, but haven’t heard much about them.

I found the Platinum Preppy which is very inexpensive, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.  Also, because it is so inexpensive, I think it may be a good way for me to start my fountain pen exploration.  As I understand it though, the Platinum Preppy won’t work with international ink cartridges, which is a concern of mine, as I’d like to use the Private Reserve international ink cartridges.  I’ve also heard that the standard Platinum Preppy ink cartridge will only write about five pages before running out, which is also a concern because I do much more writing than that, and the ink cartridges are rather expensive for them to last for so few pages.

Finally, I found a kit called Pen and Ink Fountain Pen Sketch Set.  It comes with an iridium tip instead of steel, which it claims makes the writing smoother.  It’s gotten mixed reviews on Amazon… some people love it, and some people don’t care for it very much.  It comes with the pen itself, three ink cartridges, a converter, and a suede wrap to carry it all in.  I think it also works with international cartridges.

So all-in-all I’m not sure which one to get, but those are on the top of my list.

Thinking of Classic Gaming

There are about fifty billion D&D / AD&D retro-clones out there… games which to varying degrees copy the retro feel and mechanics of classic Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  Despite that, I’m feeling the itch to create my very own OGL (Open Game License) retro-clone, giving it my own special twist.  If I do, I’ll keep you updated here to let you know about the game’s progress.

It’s All About the How

With most stories, you already know how they’re going to turn out before they begin.  In general, the good guys are going to win.  If Bob needs to get the magic saddle, you know that by the end of the story he probably will.  Unless you’re reading Stephen King, of course.  But that’s not really what stories are about.  Stories aren’t about what happens, they’re really about how it happens.  How is the good guy going to win?  What steps and challenges will he have to face and overcome along the way?

The what is pretty simple, and can usually be described in just a sentence or two.  Bob needs to get the magic saddle.  He does.  But how does he get the magic saddle?  Ah, now there’s the story.

New YouTube Layout

Just for the record, the new YouTube layout is absolute poop.  It doesn’t even have all the features and functionality of the old YouTube layout.

In old YouTube, if you set it to only show your subscriptions when you went to the front page, it would remember that when you went back to the front page again later.  In new YouTube, it doesn’t.

In old YouTube, if you removed a video from your subscription feed because you’d already watched it or weren’t interested in it, it would remember that.  In new YouTube, it doesn’t.

In old YouTube, you could sort search results by most recent.  In new YouTube, you can only sort by date blocks, not by most recent.

I find myself wishing there was a viable alternative to YouTube.

What Don’t You Like Writing

When it comes to writing, we all have a certain aspect or subject we don’t like writing about, even those people that generally enjoy almost everything about writing.

For me, it’s writing fight scenes.  I’m just not good at choreographing fights in my mind, and I feel like writing fight scenes gets stale very quickly.

What subject do you particularly not enjoy writing about?