Software Development Tip #330


This goes out to some dear friends of mine.  Perhaps they can pass it around and SOMEONE can learn something.


Dungeons and Dragons–A Birthday and A Movie


I make it no secret that I am an old school Gaming Geek – and I really feel old when I hear that one of my favorite games, Dungeons and Dragons, turns 40 this year.

Originally designed by the late great Gary Gygax (RIP Gary), this game literally changed how the fantasy genre was viewed and was the kickstart to the role-playing revolution. 

It exposed fantasy writing to the next level, opened minds and really was a phenomenon unto itself.

If you think about it, without D&D (and Notre Dame Football) – you probably would not have had the Marvel Universe brought to light, nor the current blockbuster – Guardians of the Galaxy in the theaters – as director Jon Favreau credits Dungeons & Dragons with giving him “… a really strong background in imagination, storytelling, understanding how to create tone and a sense of balance.”.  Also…..Groot is a gamer too (via Vin Diesel).

Sadly – D&D also led to Bronies.


Anyway – back to the post, I wanted to point out two topics every gamer should be interested in – First we have the release of the latest edition of the game.  I have only perused the rules, you can too for free…HERE, but things look very streamlined and interesting.  I might get a gaming group together and check it out….if just for nostalgia’s sake.

Secondly…there is a movie coming out, and it ties just as directly to the popularity of the RPG industry as the game itself.  Of course, I am talking about DARK DUNGEONS!

Dark Dungeons originated as a small comic book (called a Tract) released by Jack Chick and his Chick Publications in the late 70’s and continues to this day.  Like many of the “Chick Tracts” – it decries the subject matter and details through narrative his twisted Christian theology….and how you must denounce the topic at hand to be saved.

In this case, it is Role Playing Games – and tells the classic take of Black Leaf, and how RPGs caused a young girl to commit suicide.  You can read the whole tract HERE.

Personally – I am proud to be attacked by multiple Chick Tracts (RPGs, Freemasonry, Catholicism, Halloween & many others) and that is why I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to DARK DUNGEONS – The Movie.

In this, the producers whip out a vorpal weapon and take on (in the best way) the stupidity of Jack Chick’s Tracts.  Don’t believe me?  Then watch the first 8 minutes below:

How could you not love the chants of RPG? 

So – for only $5, you can watch the entire movie….and I will be this weekend, with a review soon to follow. 

Enjoy and viva la Black Leaf!

Windows 7 Update causes BSOD


<Ed Shaking his head> – Its as if there is not an entire IT Field specializing in Quality Assurance.

Microsoft urges customers to uninstall ‘Blue Screen of Death’ update

Computerworld – Microsoft on Friday quietly recommended that customers uninstall one of last week’s security updates after users reported that it crippled their computers with the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD).

The update, identified as MS14-045 in Microsoft’s numbering, was one of nine released on “Patch Tuesday,” Aug. 12, was designed to fix three separate flaws, including one related to a font vulnerability and another in the Windows kernel, the heart of the operating system.

Within hours of its release, however, users reported that MS14-045 had generated a Stop 0x50 error on some systems, mostly on Windows 7 PCs running the 64-bit version of the OS.

“Installation went smoothly. After rebooting everything worked fine. But when I shut down my notebook and switched it on a little later it came up with a blue screen with a Stop 0x50 in Win32k.sys. I could not even boot into safe mode as Windows failed to start no matter which mode chose,” wrote a user identified as “xformer” to start a now-long thread on Microsoft’s support discussion forum.

As of Sunday, the thread contained nearly 380 messages and had been viewed almost 50,000 times. The latter is a large number even for Microsoft’s support forum, and hints at the scope of the problem.

Others on that same discussion thread pointed to different updates issued the same day that caused identical problems, including one meant to support the Russian ruble symbol.

Woody Leonhard of InfoWorld, like Computerworld an IDG publication, reported the BSODs on Thursday, Aug. 14.

Some customers were able to regain control of their PCs by using System Restore to return the machine to a previous date, but only after they’d booted the computer using original install media.

In the updated MS14-045 and other supporting documents, Microsoft said it had removed the patches from its Download Center. As of Saturday, however, the flawed update was still being pushed by Windows Update, Microsoft’s service for delivering patches to PCs.

“Microsoft is investigating behavior associated with the installation of this update, and will update this bulletin when more information becomes available,” the company said in the revised MS14-045’s Update FAQ. “Microsoft recommends that customers uninstall this update. As an added precaution, Microsoft has removed the download links to the 2982791 security update.”

Microsoft’s advice, however, may not be of any help to those already afflicted. It told users, for example, to boot using Safe Mode, which many on the support thread said didn’t work.

Not every PC that installed MS14-045 or the other suspect patches reported problems. Several IT administrators posted messages on, a mailing list dedicated to the subject, that said they had successfully updated hundreds of client systems and servers.

Last week’s patch problem was not Microsoft’s first by any means.

In April 2013, Microsoft urged Windows 7 users to uninstall an update that had generated BSOD screens. And last August and September Microsoft had such a run of problems with updates for its Office suite that experts called it a “worrisome” sign of declining update quality.

In October 2013, Microsoft yanked a Windows 8.1 RT update from the Windows Store after some tablet owners reported their devices had been crippled.

Although Microsoft always publicizes its Patch Tuesday slate, it has not broadcast that MS14-045 should be uninstalled. Neither the blog run by the Microsoft Security Response Center nor the Twitter account the group uses has mentioned the flawed update or the company’s recommendation.

Additional information on how customers should deal with the buggy updates can be found on Microsoft’s support site.

Ever Cross a Samurai With Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer?


As a way to change things up, I decided to go over to the “Geek Side” today.

With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy…I thought I would turn to another comic classic that I have been a fan of for years…..Usagi Yojimbo.

Usagi Yojimbo (meaning Rabbit Bodyguard) has been around for 30 years, starting in 1984 (also the first  year as TMNT and later picked up by the same publisher – Mirage Comics), this was one first indie comics I was introduced to back in 1987.  I loved the artistic style and the use of animals as characters (no – I am not a furry)…and when I was at Ft Deven’s, the Comic Shop in ran a TMNT RPG based on this world. 

Much like saying – I will never see a Hell Carrier or a Sentinel accurately depicted in movies (WRONG) or a third tier comic series come to life (WRONG again with GotG) – I am now seeing what could be a fun rendition of another great series from my youth.

Done in Stop Motion style (hence the Rudolf reference), the folks at Lintika Films (please like their FB Page) have really done a great job with this short.  I definitely will be picking up the DVD when it is released, and if you have kids getting into the genre – I highly recommend checking this out…

20 Years Ago–The First Microsoft Webpage


1994 was a really “Fun” year for technology.  NT 3.5 was out, Cisco was really making a push and the Dot.Com bubble was way on the horizon. 

Me personally, this was the year that I had gone to Goma Zaire and Zagreb Croatia (yes – that is me back in the day), our Sun Sparc computers in the Trojan Spirits were  to access graphical pages via a browser – something called Web Pages. 

I also did my first Video Conference (via the same aforementioned Spirit in Zagreb – a demonstration of video surgery capabilities) and ran more fiber-optic cable than I ever want to admit.

1994 was a great year.

1994 was the year that Microsoft put out their first webpage, and to honor that event 20 years ago….they are re-publishing it.

Click HERE for a trip down memory lane…and enjoy.


Microsoft's First Website From 1994 Looks Delightfully Ancient Today