I have been admiring a lot of digital art lately and have decided I want draw with my computer. To this end, I've been checking out tablets.

I can pick up Wacom tablets of various sizes with prices that range from $100 to $750. But what I really want is to be able to draw directly on the screen. And if I want to get something like that from Wacom, I'm looking at $1800 to $3000 dollars. And that's an awful lot to pay for a fancy screen, as nice as it may be.

So I've been looking into tablet PCs, but I don't know much about them either. This seems to be the ideal solution, since it would allow me to draw directly on the screen as well as double as a laptop with full PCs cabilities. But I'm not sure what features I should be looking for or what the price range is (though it seems to be about $1200-$2000 from what I can tell).

This is where I'm turning to you. Maybe some boffers will have some recommendations or experience with this, since I've never really looked into tablets (like Wacom) or tablet PCs before.

What say you?

Gain the Power of the Head of Vecna!

As someone once said, this is the "BEST D AND D STORY EVAR!", which I am sure you'll agree with.

After you've read that, check out this dialog with Morte, a flying disembodied skull from the game Planescape: Torment:

Fall-from-Grace: Morte, I'm curious... what happened to your body?
Morte: It's a long story involving the Head of Vecna. I don't want to talk about it.


I want to see if dcormier and I can pull this one off on some friends.

I am actually constructing some new DnD PC's right now, should I ever get to play some v3.5. This Fighter/Monk I came up with is beastly.

I invite you to go a few rounds of 20 Questions with [link http://y.20q.net:8095/]the most interesting/creey AI on the internet.[/link]

It has guessed correctly a good 90% of the time on me and everyone I have try it, and we're not throwing anything easy at it. It guessed accurately "beared dragon", "capybara", "orc", "asprin", "tapir", "phosphorus", "bleach", "jack-o-lantern", "squash". It even told the difference between "dog" and "beagle, "alligator" and "crocodile", and "big toe" and "toe".

Knowing the subject of web standards and ASP.NET has been of concern in the past, I felt I should let my fellow propeller heads know about this [link http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/posts/39620.aspx]developer blog about upgrading ASP.NET to output XHTML Strict[/link].

You can thank [link http://webstandards.org/buzz/archive/2003_11.html#a000255]this post[/link] over at [link http://webstandards.org/]WaSP[/link] for the info.

I was reading [link http://www.alistapart.com/stories/basics/]an article[/link] at [link http://www.alistapart.com/]ALA[/link] when I ran across a particlar phrase I'd never heard before: [i]...as if it were four minutes 'til midnight.[/i]

Luckily this phrase was also a link to the 4 minutes in question. Here's the link. Check it out; I found this very interesting:

[link http://www.bullatomsci.org/clock.html]bullatomsci.org/clock.html[/link]

That's what the sign in front of the strip club on the way to work says. Well, today, I'm now allowed to party. I turned 18.

I haven't done anything too special yet today, but one funny things happened first thing this morning. I was asleep in bed when my parents came sneaking into my room with a card. Right as my dad woke me up, my best friend bursts in our house, unannounced and without warning, catching everyone completely by surprise. He runs up to my bed and starts throwing thing down on me.

"Since you're now 18, I got you a Playboy! [drops Playboy on me]. And a pack of cigarettes [drops pack on me]. And here's your card [drops envelope]"

I've been awake for a total of 10 seconds by now, and I'm still trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes. I manage to open the envelope, and the outside reads something like "Cool people never win the lotto [picture of fugly guy holding up giant check]" On the inside it says "You'll never win the lotto". But out of this falls 5 lotto tickets.

Oh, and a condom.

He ends with "I would have bought you a six-pack, but I have to wait 3 more years for that. Anyway, gotta go to work!" then runs out and leaves.

My parents are still standing with their card in their hands. They didn't plan this, but they're glad it happened (since they just got me a card, and nothing else).

Anyway, thought I would announce it.

I found via Wired.com that New Zealand is discovering a computer game addiction in its young, as reported by this news article:

[link http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3505220&thesection=technology&thesubsection=general&thesecondsubsection=]Police concerned over teen game addiction[/link]

[quote]Police are determined to deal with an alarming trend towards children becoming addicted to a violent internet game.

An internet cafe has banned two 13-year-old "junkies", who, it was claimed, had broken into 40 taxis over six weeks to pay for habits which culminated in a four-day gaming binge.

The 24-hour Wellington cafe, E-Joy, told police the boys had occasionally slept there after falling asleep playing Counter-Strike, one of the world's most popular online tactical war games.

IPlay, another 24-hour Wellington cafe, said it had found people sleeping under computer desks after marathon overnight sessions.[/quote]
Normally, I would just think these kids were losers for being so addicted to Counter-Strike that they'd have to steal to pay the Internet cafe. And while they are sill losers, another article I read recently reveals a more grim aspect of this addiction (as I think it can properly be labeled). Crazy, I know, but check out this article:

[link http://www.vnunet.com/News/1136154]Second gamer dies after massive binge[/link]

[quote]At 7am on Saturday, a staff member found the man on the floor of the cafe's toilet foaming at the mouth and bleeding from the nose. "They rushed him to hospital but he was already dead," local police said.

A police spokesman stated that doctors believe Wen-cheng died from exhaustion, having remained in the same position for too long. The death highlights the danger of such intensive game-playing.[/quote]

As you can tell from the title, this was the [i]second[/i] such death, the first having been only 10 days earlier:

[link http://www.vnunet.com/News/1135824]Games binge ends in death[/link]

[quote]Police said Kim had been virtually glued to the computer since for 86 hours and had not slept or eaten.

He collapsed in front of the front desk but soon regained his consciousness. He then went to the toilet where he was later found dead.

An initial investigation ruled out the possibility of murder and police believe he probably died of exhaustion.[/quote]
Put down the BF1942, step away from the computer, eat some food, get some rest and stop stealing from taxis.

[link http://visuals.free.vovoid.com/]Neato cool 3D graphics[/link]

This tends to be fun: Post whatever happens to be in you clipboard at this moment. Just hit Paste and post it.

Here's what I happened to having laying around in cache:

[quote]<input type="button" name="quoteselected" class="submit" value="Quote Selected" onclick="javascript:quoteSelection()" />[/quote]

Meh. I've seen better.

While at lunch today, I saw an elderly couple eating together. At a glance, they were like any other old folks. White hair. Plain clothes. Wrinkly skin. I didn't pay them much attention until they stood up to leave.

It was then that I actually paid attention to them. They both looked delicate from their age, and you could see the frailty of their bodies by their slow, careful movements.

The woman had clear plastic tubes leading from her nostrils to a oxygen tank in a blue cloth handbag. The old man stood up with her, holding the bag in his hands. He put the straps over his shoulder. The lady turned her back to him so he could rest his arm on her shoulder, and they slowly walked to the counter to pay.

I noticed this, and thought of how much the man must care for his wife to always be at arms length from her, carrying her life support. It seemed that his wife was entirely dependant upon him, and yet he was perfectly willing to always be at her side. Something made it even more touching that he made a point of always having a hand on her, to make sure they pastic tubes never stretched should they step apart, or so I thought.

It wasn't until I was leaving that I noticed one thing more. As I walked out to my car, I saw the old man helping his wife into the driver's seat. I noticed something in his hand, besides the oxygen tank. It was a walking stick with a red point. I looked at his face. Thick black glasses. It was suddenly obvious. He was blind.

That's why he had his arm on her shoulder. It didn't have anything to do with the tube. She was leading him. She was just as much his support as he was hers.

I don't know if this has communicated the emotion of the scene to you, but I felt I had to share this however I could. It stuck in my mind, but maybe just because I was there.

More posts can be found in the archives.