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Magic: The Gathering Deck Building Method

ImageThe following is an excerpt from a page I found one day about deck design. It’s a article about deck design in Magic: The Gathering but the part I was most interested in is this:

Good deck design is possibly prevented more often by a lack of understanding of how a deck should be organized, than by anything else. The following method of organization should help you visualize what a good deck is. (Although this is not the only method).

The deck (which is presumed to be 60 cards) is divided into 3 Sectors, each of which contains 5 Blocks, each of which contains 4 cards. As seen below.

SECTOR 1 SECTOR 2 SECTOR 3
BLOCK 1 BLOCK 2
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 3 BLOCK 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 5
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 1 BLOCK 2
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 3 BLOCK 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 5
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 1 BLOCK 2
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 3 BLOCK 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4
BLOCK 5
Card 1 Card 2
Card 3 Card 4

This chart should be used every time a deck is designed, so that you know what cards you have, how many there are, and therefore what the odds of getting a particular card or combo of cards are. It is very helpful in visualizing the effectiveness of a deck before it is even played.

For example: If I want to design a deck which works around a particular card, say I want to Millstone someone to death (the Millstone removes two cards from the deck of the opponent). I would want to include cards that help Millstones. So in designing this deck I fill the third sector with land (whatever I need for my cards, I may decide later to add a little land or take some out). I fill one block with Millstones (4 cards, the max. I can have in a tournament). That leaves me with the better part of 2 sectors to fill with helper cards.

The important key here is that if I have put in a card I can instantly look at all the cards in my deck and see their relationship one with another. If I have put in a card that I like but that does not help build my deck theme in any way, I can quickly identify it and remove it. That way my deck has a team roster. And I can check this roster every time I think I want to change ‘players.’

This written format allows you to see your deck, and thus accomplish basic rule #4, know your deck. It will also help streamline your deck by helping identify and eliminate unnecessary elements from your deck, and improving the odds of picking up the cards you really need.

I really liked the idea of categorizing your deck into sectors like that. I have been trying to develop this method into something further. I find by putting what I consider win conditions for a deck into the top sectors of the first two blocks the lower ones are what are supporting the card whether it be tempo disruption, creature removal, etc.. Then I find the left over blocks are used for additional land and extra card for the deck that supports either the win condition or supports for the support. As there is no fool proof way that this method works every time since I move blocks around between sectors, it does help in the visualization of the whole deck and really help narrow down cards that are just not working so you can get an open slot for something else.

I have done this method with most of my decks now aside from the EDH deck and earlier decks that are pretty much based off of net decks. My newer decks or my ever changing decks have gone through the block sorting method and most have been successful against casual players. If you would like to read more from the article, visit this link.

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When’s the last time you scanned for viruses?

Lately I’ve been noticing more people talking about their computers becoming infected. The past few days malware infections have raised dramatically and it’s important that you take the time to make sure you are protected and clean from malicious software. Your computer maybe running just fine right now but most viruses have payload dates that will activate some code that will cause your computer to go crazy and possibly stop working on a later date. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Check to see you have a antivirus program installed. Usually you’ll see the icon running in the tray next to the clock on the bottom right corner of your screen. See something? Like Avast, McAfee, AVG, etc? (If you don’t I suggest Avast!) Great… now open it. (Sometimes viruses trick you into thinking your antivirus program is running when really it’s not. If you don’t check it from time to time you’ll find that the program hasn’t been running since May and you were collecting more disease then [insert witty statement here]) If the antivirus program does not load or you are getting an error message from it… then you may be infected. I would either skip this step for now and jump to number two or contact me. If it does load up make sure it’s up-to-date. Look for anything with the word update and go for it. The program should do most of the work for you. You may have to click an OK here or a Yes there but you can do it. After it updates do a scan. Do whatever it recommends. Usually this means just hitting the scan button and it will do it’s job, if there is more than an OK or YES try to not change too many settings as they are probably already set to go, it just wants you to see what you are selecting. This will take time. You can still use your computer if you want. If you are a little more savvy, look for boot-time scan and restart your computer before you go to bed. Boot-time scans are best because there are no programs or files loaded and the virus program checks everything.

2. Run a antimalware program. This is a little different from a antivirus because it looks for programs that are tracking what you do on the web or what programs you run. These programs clog up the computers resources causing it to slow down. I suggest Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware or SpyBot S&D. The first one is a little easier to use and I find it works quicker and better than SpyBot S&D. But I also find Spybot S&D finds stuff Malwarebytes does not. If you have the time, download both and run both of them. It won’t hurt anything.

3. Run the program called CCleaner. It will clean out your browser, temporary files and whatever else maybe just wasting space. This is, in my opinion, an important step as temporary directories is where viruses like to stay dormant until it’s payload date. Clean out the cobwebs and dust won’t grow. There is also a option to run a registry fixer that will clean out your registry and get rid of unused entries making your computer a tiny bit faster.

Don’t be afraid to try. Usually things can be undone easily and as always I got your back if you do something wrong. 😉

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The Misadventures of Lonnie McDonald

http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/forums/index.php/topic,4925.0.html

 

 

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I use Chrome and these are the extensions I recommend

Adblock Plus
Usually does the job and gets rid of inline ads and most pop ups. Not always though.

FastestChrome
This one needs tweaking in the settings. It can kind of get in the way especially when using Goggle to search something. I mostly use it for the auto-load next page and quick definition look-ups.

Google Mail Checker
If my phone didn’t alert me already, this will show how many unread messages I have. A handy tool.

Hover Zoom
I don’t like having to click a link to see a picture because it’s too small. This automatically grabs the picture without have to click on the link and if you hover over the link it makes the picture bigger. Works on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more.

StumbleUpon
The internet gets boring, spice it back up with a few stumbles around random websites. You can customize what categories it looks for to so you’re not stumbling on websites you don’t want to see.

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MKV to Bluray pt.2

UPDATE: I found software that does this much easier. http://www.freemake.com/downloads/

So it’s come down to this.

Step 1. UncropMKV

Step 2. tsMuxeR

Step 3. ImgBurn

These three steps have given me no trouble when it comes to burning movies to bluray discs. Plus it’s only about a three to four hour process and this is something I can live with.

For some reason the all-in-one programs don’t work very well for me. I think it’s mostly because the programs are trying to convert them into a better format and thats nice and all but I don’t need that.

The one thing I wish uncropMKV did that multiAVCHD did was automatically make 12 chapters. In uncropMKV you can tell it to make chapters every X minutes or custom make them but depending on the length of the video you could have more chapters than you would know what to do with.

I’ve been thinking about creating a program with VB or something that would automate the process for me. Just tell it what movie I want to convert and let it do the work for me. Wishful thinking of course but you never know.

I wrote down the steps on what I do and want to create a guide type of thing for future users that may want to dable in burning blurays. Probably going to have to just use Print Scr button and some paint program because from what I can tell there isn’t a program out there that will do the work for me. I found screencasting software, but I have no mic and really no intention of putting my voice on it. My subtitles?

Hopefully soon the price of bluray discs will go down. The burners are cheap enough, but $1 a disc is pretty steep and you can only find spindles of 25 at a reasonable cost.

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The Journey of Making MKV’s into Blu-Ray discs

I remember way back when I used to convert .avi files into a format that DVD players could read. I remember having to sit there for HOURS waiting for the movie to convert into a mpeg2 format. Oh how many DVD coasters I made from that horrible task. But as time went on the technology and software improved and from what took hours now only took minutes to do, and that included the burning. But today we now have new format and new software that’s still in it’s infancy (from what I can tell).

Blu-rays came out in 2000 and it probably wasn’t till 2007 or so that software was coming out to copy a bluray disc into a format playable on the computer. And if you can play it on the computer, you can in turn burn it onto some kind of media. I’m sure it started off with DVD’s since everyone has one of those, but eventually some people with the money were able to get bluray burners and buy the discs at $5 a pop.

Well today I have one and 50 discs to figure this out. I’ve had it for only a few days but so far I’ve been finding out it’s just like the early days of making your own dvd’s. The process is slow (even though everyone is saying how fast it is) and there is just way to many options.

So far I’ve used the following pieces of software to accomplish my task:

tsMuxer

tsMuxerGUI, to be exact, is really my only successful program. It’s pretty straight forward. Input file, Create Blu-ray disk, add chapters, start muxing. Creates a folder that has the file structure so a blu-ray player (most likely) will read it. After it’s done I then used…

ImgBurn

I’ve used ImgBurn before but the wizard thing threw me at first. But build, drag and drop the two folders into the input and burn to BluRay. Piece of cake.

AVCHDCoder

Right after messing with tsMuxer I came across this one that was the Step 1, Step 2, Step … process I wanted. I don’t remember if it worked though.

uncropMKV 1.55

After two coasters and reading more and more I started realizing that the reason my videos weren’t reading in the bluray player I learned it’s because the player was ignoring the videos because they were not in a compliant resolution. This program resized them to a resolution it could understand. It did well, but the author of the program said it’s better to use multiAVCHD instead because it can process faster but it’s using the same program? I don’t know… I just went on to the website and downloaded…

multiAVCHD 4.1

This did everything, but it’s a bit overwhelming. You have a lot of options to click and tweak. This is a step 1, step 2, step… kind of process but there is a lot of tweaking involved. My first attempt gave me a coaster. It neither played the video or played the audio. I then started messing with resizing the video so that it stretched the entire screen instead of giving me the two black bars on the top and bottom. Well from a process that was only taking about 3 hours turned into 9 hours. After a few aborts and try again I just realized that this is the bottleneck. Having to resize frame by frame is whats going to take the longest and the only way I can justify this process is if I had a dedicated computer with the right kind of hardware to convert much quicker. Anything longer that 4 hours is just not worth it in my opinion. I’d rather just go out and buy the actual movie instead.

Freemake Video Converter

I don’t know I found this while searching Google for more software. It’s a convert-to-all kind of app that has the option to burn to bluray. I never finished an actually encoding because it took almost a half hour for it to get to 1%. It was very straight forward and I wanted to use this one, but I don’t have that kind of time for it to transcode.

So now I’m at a point where I’m trying to decide if the bars on the top and bottom bother me. I’ve concluded that the TV should be able to handle it by stretching the video if necessary. The time it would take just isn’t worth it to me.

So for those who are attempting MKV to BluRay… good luck!

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Mafia II on XBOX 360

I think I played the original Mafia on the PS2. I remember it being a really fun game. One of those games that I picked up and really got emeressed into it. The story is what captures me and having a connection with the main charachter.

I’ve only got to chapter 3 so far but I know this is going to be my next Red Dead Redemption. I don’t think I will be going to in depth with it and trying to get 100% but that could change.  The games controls were a bit of a learning curve mostly because I’ve been playing FPS lately so I’m used to A being climb over not RB.

 

Update: Finished the game, it was awesome. The ending was pretty good. Was going to download some DLC and play more but moved onto something else.

 

This troll approves

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Sega Genesis Model 2 Sonic the Hedgehog Paint & Mod Project

I started this on March 28, 2012 and completed it (mostly) on the 30th. It started out with a couple of pictures on the internet and the inspiration to tinker with an extra Genesis. I dismantled the system and cleaned the plastic in a hot bath with a brush. Then I took extra fine sand paper and scuffed up the plastic. The next day I went out and bought red and blue spray paint. I taped up the labels on the bottom and removed the feet. I painted the entire system with white and let it dry. I then taped the front of the system and the oval and painted it blue. I gave it a few coats for a few hours and after it dried I removed the tape. I used newspaper to cover the blue up to paint the red. After it was dry I started working on the controller. I dismantled the controller and the houseing and the buttons a bath. I scuffed up the buttons and the controller housing and painted it all white. I then taped the areas around the D-Pad and the buttons to keep them white. I then painted the controller all blue and the buttons all red. I gave them a few coats as well. After it was dry I put the system and controller on my work area and used a clear coat spray to protect the paint from chipping and wearing off. I let it dry over night. The next day I removed the plain red LED that comes with the Genesis and replaced it with a ultraviolet LED. I then reassembled everything back together and tested it on the TV.

The project was fun to do. I learned a few things along the way. One is that spray paint comes out fast and gets globbed up on whatever it is your spraying. To counter this you have to move in quick left to right or right to left mostions and stop spraying when you get to the end of  the item your spraying. Also, don’t use newspaper or magazine pages to protect the paint when your painting something else. The ink rubs off onto the paint and it has to be repainted. Also taping is vital and requires much detail. I was using the large stylus that comes with a DSI XL to get the corners and crannies and I still missed a few spots that made the paint seep through. If you look closing in the album (that includes high-def pictures) you can see the blue seeped into the white on the oval on the top of the system. Thats mostly because I couldn’t get the stylus in there. But now I know. Also on the bottom of the system I must have missed my alignment with the tape because the white sort of starts and stops in weird spots. I’m not sure what happened there.

To see the rest of the photos visit this address: http://imgur.com/a/oQbzl

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Some Stuff from the Internet







http://imgur.com/w1ahW

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