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Ipad Impressions

First impressions of the ipad on NYT.


Ok, so this was a long post about my ideas of where the iPad could go.  but LJ ate it.  It makes me sad.  So here it is, or at least some of it, for the second time.

What could be done with the iPad? What do I think will be able to be done?

  • I predict many medical apps.  My doctor already carries a laptop wherever she goes in the office (of course I wouldn't have a primary physician who wasn't net-savvy!), I expect the iPad to replace it.  Obviously Steve had dreams of making the tablets doctors used in STtNG into reality, here it is.
  • games games games! Obviously more real estate will enable bigger, more complicated games, and I'm longing to play Eve Online on my future iPad.  BUT, what about playing chess with 2 people at lunch? Or another game, whatever.  The iPad is big enough to actually play boardgames with multiple people in small areas.  OMG, I'd love to play Arkham Horror on an iPad just 30-45 minutes at a time, start a game on Monday, finish the game on Friday.
  • Interactive TV (inspired by the MLB description).  Ok, we've been wanting this forever, but how do you navigate a video stream in real time? Hard to do by mouse/remote control, but touch? I'm imagining watching a sports game where I can click on the players to bring up relevant wiki-like pages for them, or the coaches, or the soft drink on the field. ;)  "Click here if you'd like to know more" Ah, Starship Troopers
  • DND combat tracker.  I'd like to sync an app for tracking monsters in D&D with a virtual keyboard (maybe ala Surface) for people to manage their figures on. Touchscreen, the light weight, and the long battery life make this perfect for tracking initiative/monsters on.
  • Webcam chat.  Ok, I know the iPad doesn't have a camera facing the holder of the screen.  I think thats sad. :(  But, a bluetootch attachment could possibly be added, clipped onto the top? I think it'd be awesome to videochat through a iPad.
What else could be done on it?

hosting game notes on Obsidian Portal

I've been using Obsidian Portal to track campaign notes for my Saturday 4e game, its going pretty well, though its hard to stay on top of it and keep it updated.

Update - Success

Well kind of success, they sent me a coupon for buy 1 get 1 for 3.99  Anna and I enjoyed dinner there last night for a pretty decent price. :)

Open Letter to Chevy's Fresh Mexican Grill

I sent this letter to Chevys.  I got one coupon email too many trying to get me to buy something I flat out don't want, when they have something I specifically do want.

I just wanted to comment on your coupons.  Most of the time your coupons are absolutely useless to me.  I want to explain something.  I, and many other people, don't like chunks of onions.  We just don't, I don't like peppers either, but thats a different situation.  So I go to a mexican restaurant, and I want good fresh refried pinto beans thats just beans with maybe some bacon cooked in it, and fajitas, just steak.  But at any other mexican restaurant the tortillas are premade not fresh, and they tell me they can't give me just steak, its all mixed together.

So I go to chevys and the steak or pork in the fajitas is delicious, incredibly delicious.  And I ask for it just steak, and they say everything is fresh here, so no problem.  I can't get the beans, because there are small diced onions in it, so I just get steak and tortillas, though last time I got some fried yucca and it was yum! 

The chips are fresh, strangely, I like your salsa, but just the juice, not the onions.  I'm weird ok? But I'm not alone, plenty of people don't like that weird texture of the onions. 

You send coupons, and do you send 2 for 1 fajitas? No.  Do you send Special 2 dollars off lunch portion fajitas? No.  You send specials for these combos you keep making more of on your menu.  And you know what? I'd love some tacos served in your fresh tortillas. Just diced steak or the pork, cheese, and fresh tortilla, awesome.  My gf would probably get it with lettuce and diced tomato too, she isn't as much of a purist as me.  But your combos are all crazy, tons of ingredients, I can't just ask for meat and cheese, because they all have peppers or onions with the meat premarinated.

I grew up in New Mexico, when I would go to my gf's house, her mom would put all the ingredients out for the entire family and we'd go through and fill up our tortillas with whatever we wanted, it wasn't all mixed together.  It was the most delicious mexican food I've ever eaten, so I don't want to hear any "this is authentic", maybe it is, but there are many "authentic" food styles.

You used to have many chevys in Las Vegas, now you just have one.  And where do all my friends want to go when we want mexican? Macayos.  Macayos!!!  Do you know how bland they are? And no, I can't get fajitas there, they premix it all.  Or they want Michoacan, which is pretty good, and they make fresh tortillas, but the chips are hard like a rock.  I want chevys, but it seems like you're going further away from what makes you great. 

I'd love to go to Chevys for lunch, I spend about 9 dollars a meal for lunch, but the fajitas are too expensive to go to every week and your combos, are, like I said, crazy. o_O

Thanks for hearing this rant.


Science is not a democracy.  Science doesn't have compromise.  You make the best decisions with the facts that are available.  Period.


Socialism vs Capitalism an Email Exchange

This was a little email exchange I thought I'd share, with my coworker who always is arguing his extreme fiscal conservative capitalist agenda.

From: John
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 9:56 AM
To: Richard Mathis
Subject: Econ wisdom


I imagine this story is a hoax, but the moral is accurate. Made me think of Anna and the other professors you talked about. - JWM


An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,

but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.


The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.


After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. 


As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.


When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. 


All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

This reply is to the email down below

My Response
There should be another story where the econ professor gives a limited number of grades of each type (As,Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs) and doing certain activities can allow a student to rack up more than 1 A on an exam.   


Then watch how certain students will get multiple As “just in case”, preventing some other students from ever getting a single A, requiring them to work ever harder to get multiple Bs to equal a single A, which makes it even harder for the next set of students to even get a single B by getting multiple Cs, let alone working hard enough to get the equivalent of an A. Which leaves half the class unable to get anything more than a high D or even an F.


Which would illustrate that a system based on competition without adequate safeguards will always result in a system where certain members of society will always get far more than what they need and keep it for no other reason than to have it, resulting in other members of society working harder for less and less. 

The point of all of which would hopefully tell the readers of the two stories that only some form of moderation between the two is a viable means of creating a productive society that benefits the majority if not all of its members.  



Richard M Mathis

Application Development Lead



7/17/09 crazy coworker

Nick's diagram showing how cats are like cars
09 crazy coworker


My problem with Shadowrun

I know a lot of people who have liked the concept of Shadowrun since 2nd or 3rd generation (I'm one of them, I still have my 2e book).  The setting is awesome, and while I think people who take their "real world characters" and toss themselves into a D&D world to try and emulate the idea of us dealing with a fantasy world is LAME (Gah I hate when I hear someone is going to run this cool idea blah blah, sorry, it might be superawesome if you like that kind of thing, to me, its lame, dead in the 80s, let the cartoon go ;)), I think the idea of "our" entire world being meshed with magic in some sort of post Mayan apocolypse to be very intriguing, especially with 4th edition where they've caught the technology up with our own and stepped it up a bit.

But why aren't more of us playing it then? I'm running a game over on the forums of dndorks.com (http://forums.dndorks.com/forums/thread/810092.aspx) and one of the principal issues I'm having is the lack of GM support.  A lot of sections vaguely tell you how to handle a particular type of conflict, but the core book doesn't do a very good job of explaining what are ideal difficulty levels, especially for a group of new players.

The next problem I have is related to the first, which is that there isn't an easy way to determine what is an appropriate challenge for characters with 0 karma, 30 karma, 60 karma, 100 karma, etc.  I'm sure if you've played a group through 50 points of karma, you probably know what they can handle, but honestly I feel like there should be better difficulty tiers.  I noticed the adventures often have whats called a Threat Level, some sort of system to describe who can handle what or how to modify the adventure appropriately.

But honestly, for someone like myself, creating a run by myself as a new GM to Shadowrun, I feel like I should be given a better idea of how to plan the run, what kinds of IC to use, what kinds of spiders, etc etc.  

I feel like part of the reason is that Shadowrun leans much further towards "realism" in its rules, meaning that the system describes the rules as it is, rather than as some sort of gameboard for the players to play on.  So if you know the typical stats for a large important matrix with its IC and so on, then thats what it is, even if it'll instantly kill your 0karma players...  and thats fine, I suppose, it'd be lame if it was just as challenging to hack Ares at the start as it is 10 adventures later. 

BUT shouldn't there be a way for me to know at what point can the group handle a run against Ares?   Other than going over their large and complex charactersheets looking for every possible combination? 


Message to Social conservatives

So at this point, with another social conservative in the news for an extramarital affair, you, if you're a social conserative, must be wondering how this happened?  How is it that these individuals of such high moral standing find themselves in affairs?

I have the answer for you, after this, no more wondering. 

The liberals have infiltrated all the social conservative groups.   Your churches, your political parties, they've snuck in, intentionally acted like good social conservatives for decades, talked about how important morals were, then completely tossed the morals out the window and had a very public outrageous scandal, just to mess with your minds.

Surely this is the only way that those of high moral restrictions, which you're a minority in this country btw, could have so many successive scandals?  Hopefully this helps you sleep better at night, knowing that the moral quality of your most vocal leaders hasn't crumbled, it was never there in the first place, at least not for the super secret liberal spies.

Who will be next? Who knows, all of them? Wouldn't that be ironic, though it'd make me feel better personally.  Hopefully these very smart intelligent individuals will retain their offices, I've always liked Ensign, but personally, I hope if they stay in office that they start worrying about say... running the government, you know managing the economy, international relations, defense, and not worry anymore about social issues like who is marrying who, who is sleeping with who, what divine entity someone pays homage to, or other crap that has nothing to do with what is actually important to government. 

After all, it'll be hard to say with a straight face how important christian values are when they've been publicly outed for their own particular preference of sin.

Research Papers are totally worth it!

2004 Fed study entitled,“Are Home Prices the Next Bubble?”

Starts here

“Home prices have been rising strongly since the mid-1990s, prompting concerns that a bubble exists in this asset class and that home prices are vulnerable to a collapse that could harm the US economy.”

Woot, crisis will be averted, the smart people have things in hand.


Ends here

“A close analysis of the U.S. housing market in recent years, however, finds little basis for such concerns. The marked upturn in home prices is largely attributable to strong market fundamentals: Home prices have essentially moved in line with increases in family income and declines in nominal mortgage interest rates.”

What happened?


Thank goodness for these expensive research papers, if not for them,my 401k might have something like a -6% rate of return!!. >_>

Seriously though, I despise the academic world's emphasis on publishing research papers, since so many of them seem to be worthless, often used by people seeking to justify some often bad direction in politics.