Tech day

It’s fun getting to know how things work, and configuring them to work as you want them to. Today, I wrote a to do list of all the things I wanted to fix, and proceeded with checking them of one by one.

I recently bought a new laptop. New computers mean installing software, removing software (so much bundled crap…) and tweaking. There’s still a lot to do, such as syncing files and organizing backups.

I use Irssi as my IRC client (runs on a server) and finally configured it to auto run my scripts and join my servers and channels. It’s not hard to do that manually, as the server rarely goes down for maintenance. Still, if you can automate it… you should. There’s a whole bunch of Irssi scripts you can utilize. If you don’t know where to start, check this post out. The author covers a lot of good scripts.

Some SSH stuff. Changing keys, moving configs, learning how to tunnel traffic. I found a great and simple guide on how to create a ssh tunnel.

My router has been running DD-WRT for about two weeks now. Did some poking around in there as well.

Dream Journal

I’ve previously written a beginners post on Lucid Dreaming, but I want to elaborate a little bit more on keeping a dream journal.

 Why to keep one

There would be two reasons why to keep a dream journal: 1, It helps with dream recall and 2. it’s interesting.

It’s quite common for people to believe that they don’t dream, just because they can’t remember their dreams. If you are one of them, why not change it? Why not remember the incredible adventures that you might have during your sleep? By keeping a dream journal, you’ll also notice any patterns that might be present.

How does it work

A dream journal will help you remember more dreams (and more details per dream) because of several reasons.

By intending to remember more dreams, you will remember more dreams. By keeping focus and working towards your goal, you will make it true. The dream journal will be a tool to channel your motivation and effort. The process of remembering becomes more real when you have an actual object dedicated to it.

The ritual will help. If you always write in your dream journal, even if you can’t remember anything, it becomes a habit. If done right, and done serious, it could become a ritual of sorts – something you do every morning. Eventually your brain will be used to it, and help you.

Putting the dream experience into words, making it real. Verbalizing is important, because the dream isn’t real and won’t be remembered very well. It becomes real when you define it, however. Writing those words down in a journal will make sure you have to describe it, as well as aid your memory later on. It’s shown that thinking and writing the thoughts down will help you remember better than simply thinking.

After a few days you should have enough data to start analyzing. What themes, items, contexts and so on are common? Knowing this will help you remember more.

What should you do

Fetch a notebook, a journal software (or Notepad, any text editor could work) and put a name on your new journal. Any medium would do, really, but text would be preferable because it’s easy to go through later on. Imagine trying to skim through ten hours of voice notes. I believe computerized text is optimal, because I don’t have to decipher my handwriting and I can search through the entries.

The probability of remembering dreams would be highest just when you wake up. The number of details and amount of clarity recalled will decline over time, as will the likelihood of remembering any “new” dreams. Therefore it’s important that you plan on how you are going to consolidate your dreams into the dream journal. Are you going to write them down when you wake up in the morning, or are you going to write them down later? Writing when you wake up is great. Personally, I take voice notes when I wake up and write them down later when I have spare time. Still, some details could be lost, as I can’t speak out all the details.

How are you going to handle waking up during the night, if you have a dream fresh in your mind? “Meh, I’ll write it down later, I’ll remember it…” doesn’t work – trust me on that one. Voice or written notes? Can you go back to sleep after having a bright phone in your face? Or write clearly in the dark just after waking up? I dim my phone’s backlight and take some quick notes – key words. It works for me. If you forget what those key words mean, try to write the dream down instead. With practice, you might be able to get away with shorter notes. Test different things and see what works for you.

If you remember any new dreams or details during the day, be sure to jot them down as well.

Keeping a dream journal will aid you in recalling more dreams in greater detail, but it’s only the basic step. The most basic, and indeed the most important step.

Artemis Spaceship Simulator

A friend of mine introduced me to this great game (or perhaps simulator) called Artemis. The official site can be found here.

It’s a game meant for six people using six computers. There are five stations/consoles, each of which requires one player. The sixth player would be the captain, coordinating the ship and executing strategies. It’s meant to be played at a LAN or similar, but it’s also possible to play over the internet. Trust me though, it’s way more fun to play when you’re all in the same room.

I thought the game would be hard to understand, seeing as it’s labeled as a simulator. To my relief, I was wrong. It actually only takes one round to understand how it works, which is great. Simple to understand, but hard to master.

It sells for $40, which isn’t that much considering it’s the price for the entire bridge. If you’re unsure weather to give it a go or not, you could try the demo which is downloadable on their site.

100 Floors iOS/Andoid puzzle game

Just updated 100 Floors for iPhone, and the app now actually contains 100 floors. More puzzles for me to solve.

The game is quite simple, actually. The goal of every “floor” is to open the elevator, and travel to the next floor.You’re expected to solve both easy and tough puzzles as well as utilizing all sensors available. Touch, buttons, multitouch, accelerometer. Yep.

It’s a great app, and I got it for free so I’m not disappointing. Giving it negative criticism isn’t that hard, though. Sometimes the puzzles fail to work as they should, and you have to restart the floor and start over. The restart is slow. Some puzzles are very far-fetched and not fun to solve at all. Some puzzles can be solved easily by brute force, which is kind of bad.

However, it’s worth the huge download.

Finished Amnesia

So here’s the deal: I don’t enjoy horror movies. I find most of them boring and the only thing keeping me in front of the screen is the time I’ve invested so far in watching. I’d rather finish a bad movie, then to watch it half way and walk out. I rarely watch any horror movies anymore.

However, I like scary computer games. I enjoyed Quake 4 and Doom 3, both because they’re good games, but also because of the horror. F.E.A.R is another great game, which puts more emphasis on this. I find it surprising that I can enjoy horror in one form, but not in the other. Perhaps it has something to do with the interactivity.

So I’ve played Amnesia before, and quit. Being unable to protect yourself contributes a lot to the overall feel. This, combined with playing at 3:00 at night made me freak out. Playing F.E.A.R at 3am is awesome, but it’s a whole different kind of horror.

I finished Amnesia some days ago. In retrospect, the game wasn’t that scary at all. Not knowing is a huge factor.

I still have two and a half games in the Penumbra series to finish (same developer as Amnesia). The first one isn’t as scary as Amnesia, because you have the ability to defend yourself. Hiding is easier. Monsters don’t appear out of nowhere to the same extent as in Amnesia. Still, I think it’s amazing how the developer managed to create so good horror games. The games does require some effort in order to be scary, but they’ve made a good job at sucking you in. If you don’t care about dying or about the story, then it’s not going to be a lot of fun. If you do enjoy puzzles,  role playing and being immersed… then it’s awesome.