Help me rescue @JapanaRadio & @WNOHGB!

A dear friend of mine has a project dear to him that is in risk of going under. If any of you are Anime or Jpop music fans, I'd love for you to take a listen to Japan-a-Radio. It is an online radio station for Jpop and Anime music. Right now, Japan-a-Radio runs out of my friend's house on a T1 connection that he pays for himself with the assistance of donations and paid subscriptions to Japan-a-Radio (you can still listen to Japan-a-Radio for free still, it just has some adverts in it).

Not only am I good friends with the person who runs Japan-a-Radio but I also am a heavy user of another project of his that is run off of the same T1 line (that is also in risk). It's a Star Trek themed MOO that I've been playing for about two years now, I wrote about it here to get more players in the game.

Anyhow, this T1 line needs help and not only is it's livelihood important to my friend but it is important to me as well. If there is anything you guys can do to help out, that would be awesome. I've donated myself, but I can't give much more than I already have. However, as proof that I have put my own money up on this project I have a picture of the receipt for my donation.

How can you help? Obviously the most awesome way is by directly donating or buying a subscription to Japan-a-Radio here is the Donation page. I personally don't like asking strangers for money, so I would be just as thrilled if you could just go listen to Japan-a-Radio and spread the word. With luck, some one will appreciate the station and buy a subscription or drop a tip to Japan-a-Radio.

Please don't hesitate to contact me for any questions or you can reach out to my friend @Otaking on twitter if you have any questions about this :)


My latest addiction

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Let me first explain that I have a different definition of fun than most people do.  I enjoy writing, I enjoy theatre and I enjoy D&D greatly.  

That being said, let me describe this game that I play. For those of us who had the internet in the early 90s, games like MUDs, MUSHes and MOOs were our MMOs.  There was a big difference for me though, creating the characters and getting to play them out. Sure that sounds pretty nerdy, probably a lot more nerdy that writing fanfic but I swear it's lots of fun. 

So, the game that I have been playing is called "Where No One Has Gone Before" and it is a Star Trek themed text based role playing game.  Whew, that was a mouthful!  I use a program called Atlantis to log in with my Mac (you can use Telnet if you're really a sadist or SimpleMu if you're on windows).  

I've been playing at that game for almost a year and a half now and it's been the greatest time killer anywhere.  I recruited one friend and she has gotten addicted.  Now, if you haven't gotten an idea at all of what happens in a text based role playing game, then let me give you an example.  Check at the roleplay logs from the game.  That is the game and what happens every day in multiple places.  

I think that the Staff there are great, they have been very welcoming and helpful and I also have gotten friends with one of the guy who made it happen.  He's a really awesome person, he's @Otaking over on twitter.  He's certainly made my transition into the game and really made things great.

I can't say more than awesome things about it, it's a great deal of fun and the events that happen run by the Administration is very fun, witty and very involved.  I know that it might not seem your type of game, you might need some pictures or even some buttons to click but text really grows on a person. 

I encourage you to to go check out the wiki, I wrote a lot of the stuff on the Romulans.  You can find out about the timeline and some of the commands that you'll need to learn to play the game and get a feel for the characters that exist in game, read their stories and perhaps if you like it you'll join me.  If you figure out how to connect and want to make a character give me a shout out, my character's name is Ael'Ihhuein.  

Help me kick cancer’s ass!

The time is almost upon us! Starting this Saturday (October 16th) at 8am Pacific time, I will be participating in a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for the Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California.  Below, you can click on the clip to be taken to my donation page.  100% of your donations go directly to the charity and are tax-deductible.  Please consider sparing even as much as a single dollar or two.  


You can also join in on the fun by tuning in to my channel, which will be providing a live stream of the gaming awesomeness with myself and team WNOHGB! You can either watch the stream from or directly on (links provided below). - Video/Chat Embed - Direct link.

I'll also be doing some giveaways during the stream, so don't forget to pop by the channel and see what you can possibly win!


Loving your geeky beau

I asked earlier today on Twitter, "You've got a geeky male love interest, how would you sweeten his day?" I was surprised by the responses, not the suggestions but more of the people who reached out to me privately saying, "Let me know what people say, I'm curious!" With stories of their geeky beau they want to make happy.

Without getting into the multitudes of types of geeky men, I can break this down in one answer: Show interest and curiosity in what he does. 

If you're beau is a programmer, you don't need to know how cache invalidation works, Big O notation or the finer points of functional programming, you just need to listen.  You're not going to understand everything, but I promise if you take a moment to ask him about his work he'll tell you.  If you have a programmer love interest, try asking them if they've "solved any cool problems this week," in regards to their job.  Chances are, you'll have them asking you if you seriously care (and do show interest) and then going on to tell you what they did. Perhaps they work at a webby startup and has been fighting some bug all week and after finally vanquishing it, discovered that they were able to speed up request times on the site they work for by a couple of milliseconds.  

It's not hard to talk to a programmer, even if you don't think you're not smart enough to hold a conversation with them.  I've only had good experiences talking with programmers, most of the ones I know are very opinionated and passionate about their specialties. Communication isn't a one way thing.  
I've known many a geeky male to be more than happy to sit back and let me talk about myself, my interests and my work.  That's not a conversation though, don't let them get away with being listeners.  You also don't have to pretend to understand what they are talking about to get them to converse and potentially respect you.  

Which brings me to my next point, there is no shame in telling some one "I don't know." Repeat that phrase, learn it and embrace it.  You'll gain far more appreciation and respect if you own up to things you don't know and seem willing to learn.  Learning doesn't mean being a master of something, it just means knowing more about a subject than you knew five minutes prior.

The above suggestions can go for whatever genre of geekery your interest is into, be it video games, physics, medicine, programming or math (and all the other genres of geekery).  It really doesn't matter, just show interest.  Nine times out of ten, you'll not only get an explanation of what your interest did at work, but they will also try their best to explain what it means to you in laymen terms so that you can better follow the conversation.

I'm sure you probably were thinking I'd have a list of things you could buy your geek instead of something as simple as "listen." So, I've put together a list of nice things that I know some geeks appreciate:

  • Composition Book - This is half line paper and half graph paper, if you have yourself a programmer or an electronics aficionado this composition book is great for mathematical proofs and circuit diagrams with notation.
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War –  Check to see if they don't own this already!  Not only is this book a great read, it's about zombies too!
  • IM Me Device – If it's a hardware hacker you've got on your hands, this little device is a really great way to have a hackable radio on the cheap. 
  • Cling-on whiteboard sheets – Whiteboards are the vitae of many a geek's life.  These are static cling on whiteboard sheets that one can plop up on their wall for some giant sized whiteboard awesomeness.
  • Dr. Who USB Hub – There is never enough USB ports for all of your devices, why not let him celebrate it with geekery.
  • Battlestar Galactica, the boardgame – YES It exists, surprise your geek with it and enjoy this "semi-cooperative" game with them.
  • Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers – Chances are, if they are a boardgame geek they already have the original Carcassonne.  Do they have this version yet?  Also, why aren't you playing Carcassonne with your boardgame geek yet?
  • Cowboy Bebop CD Box Set – I've yet to meet an anime geek who didn't absolutely love the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and cheaper than the entire DVD set.
  • The Black Mages: Final Fantasy – If you have a gamer geek on your hands, they might appreciate this collection of final fantasy music. 

If you have any suggestions or additions leave me a comment or tweet me to: @tia_marie

Game Center, Game Changer for Mobile Social Gaming?

Today many iPhone and iPod touch users will install the new iOS 4.1 update which will include a new App from apple called "Game Center."  This new application bills itself as a social gaming application that will incorporate leaderboards, achievements and friends.

This is nothing new to those of us who have been playing mobile games from our Apple devices as we've seen social gaming platforms like OpenFeint and Plus+ who have been the leaders in this app space for quite some time. Both platforms offer the same features as apple's Game Center with a laundry list of compatible games.

I personally have been a fan of OpenFeint, they make discovery much easier of OpenFeint enabled games and even have daily deals of free games which are OpenFeint enabled.  Their platform is stable and fast with a huge collection of games of all genres.  

Plus+ seems to be more of the underdog in these applications, despite having wildly popular applications like We Rule and GodFinger.  The Plus+ platform has always been buggier for me and applications that are Plus+ enabled seem to load extremely slow and frequently cannot connect to the server (which for games that require an internet connection, leaves you unable to play the game at all).

Being such an addict of social gaming, I was quite excited to get Game Center added to my 3Gs iPhone (you can find me as tia_marie).  The interface looks really slick but the giant draw back is that I can't find a single damned game center enabled game to play! Extremely frustrating for a launch product and in poor taste as well.  I'm under the opinion that if you're going to give your users something shiny to play with, you'd better make sure that they can explore it's complete functionality.  

Despite this glaring drawback, what will Apple's Game Center mean for competitors in this space?  OpenFeint has a dedicated staff and thriving community of users and game developers, there are always new games and new achievements to be earned.  Will Apple be able to beat this?  I personally have low faith that Apple will be able to even match functionality.

Apple has never proven to be competent in the gaming side of things.  They do a decent enough job letting other companies to take up the responsibility of serving their user-base best, but I have low expectations that with Apple running the show themselves that they will be able to be up to par with other social gaming platforms such as OpenFeint and Plus+.  They will shove the responsibility of making enticing achievements and such up to the game developers and do very little to no follow up on the quality.  Most likely, game center enabled games will either be games related to advertising campaigns or big marketing platforms (such as games for movies, recording artists and TV shows) or worse the dredges of App store games (like those stupid iFart games) that just hope to jump on the bandwagon for more market exposure to their applications.

What do you think? Will Game Center dominate or will other platforms like OpenFeint and Plus+ continue to be leaders in this space? Share your thoughts either through comments or shoot me a tweet to @tia_marie.



The Birth of a Gamer


I wish to share a very personal story with all of you.  This is the story of how I became a gamer and I write it because I want you my friends to know how gaming came to be with me.

The year was 1987, I was a young child of five and we didn't have a great deal of money.  I don't know how my mother convinced my father to buy a Nintendo in the first place, but she did.

Her favourite game was "The Legend of Zelda." The first installment in Miyamoto's dynasty of the Zelda universe.  My mother was in love with the game.  Despite being so young, I can clearly recall the time my mom spent at the NES.  She had her pencil and graph paper out, carefully marking every hidden item in the game.  Each and every bush, rock, wall or secret place in the game that you could burn, bomb, push or play a recorder at, that woman had it marked (on the 1st and 2nd quest). Then she helped me through it. It was another one of our reading bonding exercises.  She'd help me read the clues and the speech boxes and give me gentle nudges in the directions of the clues. I fell in love with gaming.  It was even better since my mother had such a direct impact in my life as a gamer.


My last memory of my mother was the night before she died. I was sixteen years old, it was a Sunday night over the summer.  We were playing the original Diablo over battlenet.  I had introduced her to "hacked" characters and showing her that you could PlayerKill with these. She was laughing herself in tears telling me how horrible I was as she controlled the mouse to kill unsuspecting players as I trolled them over chat.  I'd never seen my mother laugh so hard. Nor had I remembered having so much fun playing a video game before in my life.


I'm all grown up now and I'll never forget where I got my start as a gamer.  My mother's influence in my gaming origins will never be forgotten.  Legend of Zelda had such an impact on my life and my memories of my mother that I had forever etched the tribute of the game that first tied me to gaming on my right forearm.

In closing, I had the most awesome mom ever. <3

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