Monday, December 29, 2014

Skylanders Trap Team - What I didn't know. What you should know.

First: If you want the Kaos Trap, the way to be sure to get it is to buy the Winter Bundle pack if you can find it. At about $100 retail, it's a bit of a bite to take, especially if you've already spent for the "Starter Pack".

This is not a review of the game play. In my opinion, it's really fun, and I like the physical interface with the game.

What I didn't know:

Elements: As you progress through the game, you'll be encountering certain areas where bonuses apply to attacks by Skylanders that match the battle zone element, or "trapped" Villains.

Traps: These retail for about $6 each. Your starter pack likely comes with one Water Trap and one Life Trap. When you defeat a Villain, and you have a trap that matches the element of the Villain, you may temporarily use that Villain to do battle. If you complete the Villain's quest (the Villain must be trapped), the villain changes color and acquires a new attack/ability. Each trap can hold one villain at a time. Some strategies might be useful to swap between villains of the same element, so multiple traps of the same element may be desired. Most of the traps support swapping between 3-6 villains within the same element (one element per trap, one villain at a time per trap). Only when you're at the home stage, can you swap out villains within an element (the exception being an opportunity to swap a newly captured Villain within a currently occupied trap).

Trap Masters: These retail for about $16 each and they are the only way to unlock certain areas with matching elements.

Skylanders: These retail for about $10 each and each have its own attacks/abilities and element. These cannot open the locked areas, but they are useful for different attack reasons, including being the only practical way of continuing a battle as an "extra life".

Availability of pieces:

You'll find out that some traps in particular are harder to find at the store than others. At a local Wal-Mart, I found a bunch of water and life, some magic, a couple each of fire, earth, and tech, and no air. Also, no dark or undead unless purchased in the set. Certainly, no Kaos Trap on its own, but it was included in the Holiday Bundle.

Likewise, a similarly sparse number of Trap Masters: Tech, Air, Fire, Water were available as stand alone, while Dark and Undead were available as add-ons (bundles).

How much money will you eventually need to spend?

It depends on if you want to be able to complete all goals or just play. There is plenty to do without needing to spend beyond the starter pack. Certain areas and quests just won't be able to be accomplished without the tools to unlock the quest or areas. The figures are very cool to play with and look at and are cross-platform between consoles. The character stats apply to the specific figure in use, so two of the same figures will have different stats.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Move WSUS content to a UNC path

Yes, it's possible to do this.

It's fairly easy to do, doesn't require any weird mappings or software downloads, and best of all, it's not that hard.

Yes, you absolutely can use a UNC path for destination of data.

But .. you have one more step after the location is moved:

Go to IIS Manager
Your server,
WSUS Administrator
Basic settings (on the right)

(See? The physical path is now the new UNC path but ...)
Test Settings
If you have green checks for both Authentication and Authorization, you're done.
If not, close this
Click Connect as ...
Change to (*) Specific user
Set the domain\username

and test again. If both checks are now green, you're done. If not, figure out the credentials needed to connect to the UNC path. The only downside I've seen so far is that you *must* connect with a domain login.

Your results may vary. Don't blindly trust things on the Internet from people you don't know. If you don't like this, don't do it :).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bertrand's Box puzzle

Basically, the puzzle is:
You have three boxes, each with 2 coins:


Assuming you chose a Gold Coin first, what is the probability that the second coin is also Gold?
The answer appears to be 1/2, but is actually 2/3


After all of the machinations, the problem comes down to this: You have twice as much likelihood to choose Gold/Gold as you do Gold/Silver. (There are two gold vs one gold). And three boxes? Not relevant (if you look at it from the question after the first gold coin is pulled.) You have a 50/50 chance after a 3/4 chance of getting a gold coin.

Or, another way to look at it: out of the three remaining coins that are possible, two of them are Gold.

(Three coins? But only one box of two!)

But not really: the coin you grabbed must be one of three available gold coins (out of 4 possible coins to pick). There are now two available gold coins in that original set (of 3 remaining coins) = 2/3.

No, you don't go to 1/2 just because the box is chosen and there is one other coin left. Your original choice is one of 4 coins, three of which are Gold. Assuming that the first pick is gold (a 3 in 4 chance), there are now three coins that are left from what you could have chosen. Two of those are Gold. (2/3).

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Play 2048 here.

Another 4096 - same day (today).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reference/Dereference for languages

I get a bit confused on reference/dereference, etc... until I figured out an analogy that worked for my purposes.

A ref/reference to an array, hash is where it is in memory. (use \ in perl to reference)
Dereference is what the contents are.

In another environment, I've explained how, instead of automatically sending an attachment email, one should send a link to data, and not the data itself. "But why? Isn't that just another step for the end user?" Yes, but the key is ... it's cheaper for both parties to have knowledge of and access to where the attachment/data/array/hash is stored so it can be retrieved as often as necessary without having it take up space in email. "But the user has to click a link to download!" Yeah, but the user can do that when he's in a position to do that, and if you send *the link* again, the user won't have the [potentially large] attachment *again* in the inbox and the sender won't have the attachment *again* in Sent Items.

So it is with programming. If you want to pass a variable's data to/as part of another variable, it's cheaper to point to the location of the data than to pass the entire structure of the contents of the variable.

Think of it like symlinks or shortcuts to folders on another storage device. They are references to where data is stored, but you can make LOTS of symlinks, all having the same access to the same data, without duplicating the data.

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