Secret Intel Civilization Game

At Reddit, a link to a Civilization 5 trailer produced a comment from user criswell, who claims to have witness a huge Civiliziation (2?) game going on at a Intel cube “fort” in the 1990’s. Assuming this is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this was happening in the 1990’s. Nowadays I wouldn’t think anyone could get away with it.

True Story: (I sure have a lot of these..)
In the late 1990s, I was working at an Intel software development division doing some really early embedded Linux stuff (this was before Intel had any sort of Linux/Open-Source presence, it was kind of trail-blazing for the time). Linux was still fairly new to big companies like Intel, so the entire division I was at (3 floors of cubicles, roughly 300 employees at this location) was 100% Windows based and the sysadmin crew managing us knew nothing about Linux at the time (they regarded all these new Linux people in a very negative light).
Well, this sysadmin crew was kind of crappy. They really didn’t do much to proactively protect their systems and network from threats. Typically at least once a week the entire building would shut down due to some new rampant virus or outbreak. When this would happen, the sysadmins would trundle out of their cubicle fort, grumbling and cross, and deal with whatever fire was going on at the time. They very much practiced “reactionary sysadmining”… which is a style of sysadmining that I’ve never liked… but I digress.
The sysadmin crew numbered ~6 people, and one day I wondered what they did the other 80% of their time.
As I said, they had this cubicle fort, which was located in the middle of the first floor of the building. “Fort” is a very accurate term for what this was. Whereas everyone else had their cubicles setup so that each person would have a mock office, the sysadmins had arranged their cubicles into kind of a club-house with only one way in. They also stacked their bookshelves along the inner-facing cubicle walls to make it virtually impossible for a person of average height to see into their fort. Finally, they had this system of mirrors set up so they could see who was approaching their fort without being seen themselves.
From some small reconnaissance, I discovered there was one external corner of their fort that was outside of their mirror system’s field of vision. Additionally, this corner had the lowest bookshelf in it. I’m a reasonably tall person at around 6 foot 4 inches, and standing on my tip-toes I could peek over this corner. So, one day, I took a look at what they were doing….
All 6 sysadmins sat in front of enormous monitors (bigger than anyone else had in the division we were at) playing a rather huge campaign of Civilization ?? (probably Civ 2, looking at the timeframe, but I could be wrong). They had battle plans scrawled across several whiteboards, and, I kid you not, a table in the middle of the fort with real-world maps marked up with all sorts of crazy strategic planning.
These guys were friggin’ hardcore, yo. Every time I’d walk by their cubicle for the next 6 months, I’d peek in and see them playing this game. I have no idea if it was all part of a single, grand campaign, or if they had a bunch of small campaigns they were playing.
Now, whenever anyone mentions the Civ series to me, I’ll always remember the little Napoleonic sysadmins at an Intel division in the 1990s.

My Five Photo Entries Into The Day Of Enchantment Contest

The New Mexico Department of Tourism is having a photo contest call Day Of Enchantment. The winning photo wins $10,000 and there is other prizes. The tourism department will use the photo for promotions. Note: The last day to enter this contest is 27 June 2010 11:59pm Mountain time.

I have submitted 5 photos (the max allowed). Please go and vote for them.

Entry 1: Pecos, NM

Pecos, NM

Entry 2: Rio Rancho, NM


Entry 3: Abiquiu, NM

Abiquiu, NM

Entry 4: Rio Rancho, NM

Rio Rancho, NM

Entry 5: Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

Scorpions In San Diego, California

I just got back from a week long trip to San Diego, California. While there I thought (for among many reasons) that it would be nice to live there and not have to worry about scorpions.

I was wrong.

Ryan Rubion made a comment on one of my San Diego pictures on Flickr in which I find his picture of a captured Scorpion. In San Diego.

Captured Scorpion

Compare Ryan’s photo of a captured scorpion to my own recently captured scorpion (by my cat) in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.


Master Bedroom Remodel: Ready For Tile

This last November I installed tile in the Kitchen, it was supposed to be practice for the master bathroom tile install. I’m glad I did. I learned a few things: one that the dry winter air made it difficult to keep up with the drying the concrete products, two that it’s easy to lay a tile and think it’s level only to come back later and realize it is not.

My very small kitchen does not need perfect tile. As some point I will remodel it and do something else. I decided that I needed additonal practice and I would tile the master bedroom before attempting the bathroom. Before I could do anything with the master bedroom I had to remove all the crap that had accumulated since I had started using it as storage. To remove the crap from the master bedroom means making space in other rooms. I made about two trips to Goodwill. I still have quite a bit of crap but it felt good getting rid of that stuff.

The master bedroom had been unused for about 5 years with no remodeling progress and once I had the room cleared the project started to move quickly. I started by putting in a larger electrical conduit from the breaker box to the attic, I then ran the 220volt wires from the box to the thermostat location in the bedroom. I also finally wired up the electrical to the master bathroom’s radiant floor heating elements. Then I installed the insulating mat on the concrete floor and the the WarmlyYours heating elements. Getting the conduit to the breaker box was a huge step, since it also allows me to complete a number of other projects.

Before putting down the elements I thought I would try to install wallpaper. After a day or so the wallpaper was in it started separating from the wall. I still need to go back and fix it.

The electric heating elements need to be covered in some sort of cement product such as thinset or self leveling concrete. After my experience of putting in self leveling concrete in the master bathroom I knew I didn’t want to try it again. I considered using a layer of thinset but decided that the risks of having to crawl around on the elements and having to deal with the height thickness in the closet, which had no elements, was too much of a problem. I eventually had a local company Koch Mechanical install a 3/4 inch layer of gypcrete. On a square foot basis, the $400 I payed them for the installation may have been expensive, I could have easily wasted that much trying to do it myself.

The gypcrete was installed on Thursday and I was able to walk on it in only a few hours after it was installed. Good news as I didn’t have to fight to keep the cat out. It’s still very soft and will take a few weeks to fully harden. Also good news as I have other plans for the next few weeks.

This weekend I also installed a ceiling fan along with a separate wall switch and a hallway socket on the same circuit. This completes the electrical work for these two rooms and I can put up remaining pieces of drywall.

I expect to have this room complete, except for painted trim, in thirty days.