Link Dump – March 2015

Link Dump, Lists
Time for another collection of random amazing things. Long Reads Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter? - if you read nothing else, read this (the post, and the comments!). The subtle art of not giving a fuck. What 4chan thinks of Hacker News “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from The borderlands gun collectors club. New websites worth following or bookmarking: Polygon - game news. Gamasutra - in depth game articles, developer/designer/creator centric topics. Programming humor: Code Chef, Devops Borat, I Am Devloper, W3C Memes. Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley - amazing. SXSW Douchebags - same as above, but for Austin. People I Want to Punch In The Throat. Write 365…
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Letters to my father: Building a Desktop computer in 2015

Letters To My Father, Tech Support Myths
Arguably, in 2015, if you need to ask someone what to get to build a desktop machine, then you don't need to build a desktop machine. Commodity (consumer, everyday, best buy-buyable) machines are fast enough for any home user who's not a computing professional. If your job or video games require a beefy machine, you may build one and get a little bit better performance for a better price, but if that's not you - don't build a desktop, buy one. If I needed a new desktop machine today, I’d just buy a mac mini instead of building one. I’d buy the 2.6ghz model, upgrade to the i7 processor and 16GB of ram, making the machine about $1100 before taxes. I really wish the mac mini line was competitive with…
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Music To Code By, 2014

Music
Previous years: 2013 2012 2011 Standard Disclaimer: I'm a fan of post rock, electronic music, and alt rock. To me, the best album ever is Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins, and my current favorite record is either 65daysofstatic's Wild Light or BT's These Hopeful Machines. I like to listen to albums all the way through, and I'm not really a top-40 or metal fan, somewhere in between metal and top-40 - that's me. 2014 has been a slow year for music. I'm hard pressed to recommend much of anything new this year, so my recommendations this year are mostly from years past. Due to the slow year, my listening habits have been all over the map in 2014, so there's bound to be something in here that you've never…
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Minecraft – A Software Engineer’s Experience Part 3

Life and Philosophy, Midnight Ramblings
You should start at the beginning: Minecraft – A Software Engineer’s Experience Part 1 I started playing Minecraft early this past August. What started as an innocent and fascinating experience in a "real world" simulator eventually took a turn. I spent about a month happy as could be with an extremely limited world view: break down the rocks, harvest the garden, live on, break some more rocks, enjoy the sunset, fish, repeat tomorrow. Then Andy's friends joined, right around the time I realized the Minecraft world is in actuality more like the real world than we'd care to admit: It's a massive massive expansive world with limited resources, but more than enough resources to last several real-life lifetimes of gameplay. What's more, the "world" we played in was shared by…
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Minecraft – A Software Engineer’s Experience Part 2

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First, you should probably read Minecraft – A Software Engineer’s Experience Part 1. August of this past year is a blur to me - a month remembered in terms of Minecraft. I spent the entire month enthralled with the possibilities the open-ended game allowed, playing most evenings and weekends, habitually. Early on in the game my friends who played with me told me that I needed food to survive. They did this shortly after they had ridded our world of food, slaughtering all of the animals on the island and cooking the resulting meat for their own food stores. Minecraft emulates the real world with incredible detail in a number of ways, and one of those ways is in spawning an animal every once in a good long while. Two…
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Minecraft – A Software Engineer’s Experience Part 1

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After years of pestering, my friend Justin convinced me to try Minecraft one evening this past summer. That was early in August. Thanks to Justin, I do not remember August, September, or October of 2014 in terms of real life - I remember these months of my life in terms of Minecraft. --- That first night, I purchased the game, joined his server, and spawned alone on a tiny island in a massive ocean. The island about 10 feet deep and 100 feet long. There was a tree, and a bunch of light tan and green 8 bit blocks to walk around on. I was surrounded on all sides by an ocean comprised of cubes of water. One tree, some sand, some grass, some dirt, and an incomprehensible stretch of…
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Pikmin – The Video Game Interview Question

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For the past decade and a half, Pikmin has been my most favorite game of all time. As a software engineer with an affinity for automation, tooling, and efficiency - Pikmin struck a chord with me like no other game had before. Pikmin is a unique twist on real time strategy games (such as the command and conquer series, warcraft, or starcraft), where resource gathering equates to winning the game. That is, Pikmin is an RTS without a strong battle tactics mechanic. Instead of becoming the greatest war general, Pikmin simply encourages you to gather enough resources to move forward while using time wisely. What sets Pikmin apart from many other video games in the genre is that the game has concurrent goals. It is complex enough to allow multi-tasking…
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Cats and Dogs

Life and Philosophy, Midnight Ramblings
My wife is a cat person. I am a dog person. I do not understand why my wife is a cat person. Why be a cat person, right? Cats are neurotic, fiercely independent, super picky, indifferent to your existence, jerkface assholes. Agreed? Good. Dogs on the other hand are sweet, pleasant and so damn simple. The end. I despise cats. I wouldn't say I hate them, but I passionately dislike them at times. --- When we got married, we had a 5 year plan to get a dog that delivered in about 1 year. I fell in love with our dog in two seconds and that was that. Amanda took longer to come around. She liked the dog, the dog was cute, or whatever, but she didn't LOVE the dog…
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Codes well, struggles with being an adult.

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When I was younger, I promised myself I'd never turn out like my parents and their always-frustrated, always-busy, sad circle of friends, and yet.. --- When my grandfather was coming to town, he would mail a copy of a heavily detailed itinerary to everyone in Texas. He grew up in Texas, had his family in Virginia, and retired in Colorado. One of his children lived in Colorado nearby, and the other three ended up back in Texas. All of grandmother's kin stayed in Texas all along, so one could argue the OCDish over-the-top itinerary was necessity - they had a lot of folks to visit when they made their annual road trip. My grandfather's name was Joe. When Joe came to town, he always had one item on the itinerary…
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