Hot Flaming Death

Our web server crashed… HARD.

Perhaps you have noticed that this blog, along with my main web site, SophSoft.com, has been down and non-functional for a couple of days. The web server hardware that was running these sites (and several others) got completely fried on Sunday.

When I say “fried”, I mean truly fried. The AMD processor in the box overheated and filled the area with a nauseating burning electronics smell. If anybody asks, the amount of time it takes for an improperly cooled CPU to self-destruct is about 5 seconds, and when that happens, it stinks (in more ways than one).

We were already contemplating a system upgrade anyway, and since finding a replacement for this aged processor would be considerably more hassle and cost than replacing the entire box (with one three times the speed), we acted upon the latter option. This also gave us the opportunity to dump Windows 2000 Server in favor of Ubuntu Server (Linux).

So, after building a new server box and installing a new (to me) operating system, the hardware and software now seem to be working properly. Note that “properly” is not quite “as desired“, and there is still much configuration to do in the coming days (including recovery of our secondary sites), but at least our two main sites are back together.

[Insert image of Phoenix rising from the ashes.]

Curmudgeon Day 2007

Once again, I celebrate my favorite major holiday today.

Today [Friday, November 23] is/was Curmudgeon Day, which is traditionally celebrated by remaining at home and doing whatever one wants. The fact that Thanksgiving provided both the first significant snowfall of the season and an abundance of leftovers, the observance was fairly convenient for us this year.

To read more about this holiday that has been celebrated for decades, here are my previous posts on the topic:

Curmudgeon Day 2004
Curmudgeon Day 2005
Curmudgeon Day 2006

Please do not confuse Curmudgeon Day with the pretender, “Black Friday”, which has been debunked by Snopes, the premier urban legends site. Although my blog only extends back a few years, I proclaim that Curmudgeon Day predates all other claims on this day.

I will note that this particular date is significant as the birthday of Spanish King Alfonso X [1221-1284], who wrote (or perhaps commissioned) Libro de los juegos (English: “Book of the games”), which is one of the earliest and most important books containing game rules. This book, finished 724 years ago, forms part of the foundation of our industry.

Happy Thankgiving 2007!

I hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving day (even outside the US).

Following tradition, here are the things for which I am thankful this year:

On the business side, I am thankful that we have been productive and successful this year, that business is definitely on an upward trend, and that we have a clear roadmap for the next several projects and updates. We managed to finish Vista-friendly versions of all of our products, including Pretty Good MahJongg, Action Solitaire, and Most Popular Solitaire, before the consumer release date, Pretty Good MahJongg won a Shareware Industry Award, and we released Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition, expanding onto a new platform.

On the personal side, I am very thankful that my immediate family is happy and healthy. My wife is actively volunteering in our community, my older son is enjoying his first year at Michigan State University, and my younger son started his high school career by being cast in their production(s) of Working that will travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thanksgiving 2005
Thanksgiving 2006

Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition 1.01

An update to our Mac solitaire game is now available.

Goodsol Development has released a product update, Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition 1.01. One can download or purchase the update, or find out more about the game, at the Pretty Goodsol Solitare Mac Edition web page.

Due to customer requests, this update adds two new variants to the solitaire game, Gaps, which can be found on the ‘Preferences->Rules’ menu. Some people really wanted the option of unlimited redeals, so that is now available. Since this makes the game impossible to lose (without quitting, that is), and hence no real challenge, we also added an option of only four (4) redeals, which is easier than the default two (2) redeals. This easier (but not unlosable) option provides some challenge but makes most (if not all) deals of Gaps winnable, with some effort.

Fortunately, the release version of the title contained no showstopper bugs, but we did fix a couple of aesthetic issues, along with one annoying problem that made the random deal selection when starting a ‘New’ game considerably less than random. Ironically, it had similar symptoms to a bug reported and fixed during beta testing, but the cause was completely unrelated. More on that in the future…

National Games Week

Start playing games as a family tradition this week.

The week of Thanksgiving, in the United States, has been declared National Games Week. This year, that means November 18-24, 2007. Although the original promoter, Games Quarterly magazine, has ceased publication, there is a MySpace page for National Games Week dedicated to its continuance.

Here, it is a short work week, leading up to our biggest holiday for traditional family gatherings, followed immediately by a day dedicated to just staying home. What better time could there be to enjoy the simple pleasures of playing games with friends and family. I encourage you to break out the board games, or maybe a deck of cards, and enjoy a timeless activity experienced around the world for centuries. Better still, use this opportunity to start a game night tradition in your household or neighborhood.

By the way, the crocodile at my door tells me that Nashanull Keel-a-Zeeba Day is this week, too.