I must apologize to my regular readers…you guys haven’t had much reason to tune in lately, and I’m sorry. It turns out that I had a couple other minor health issues that I had to deal with, but it appears that it has all worked out now.

So today is going to be kind of a grab bag of what I’ve been doing/thinking about.

First off, being in the hospital convinced me that I need a laptop, but full-featured laptops are quite expensive. I’ve been drawn to the idea of the netbook – that is, a small laptop with no CD or DVD drive but built-in wireless and wired internet so that it can do everything over the network. Since I already do almost everything over the network, the idea of a netbook really appeals to me. Especially since prices can be as low as $250.

Of course, the one I really want isn’t that cheap; I’ve got my sights set on the Asus EEE PC 1000HA. I’ve chosen that one because of its large hard drive, its zippy Intel Atom processor, and its larger keyboard and screen. About the only bad thing anybody has to say about it is that the right shift key is in kind of a weird place, and I’m pretty sure I can work around that. The MSI Wind was also a contender but it has the disadvantage of coming in lots of slightly different versions, most of which are cheaper either because they have smaller 3-cell batteries (which greatly reduce the life of the unit) and/or use solid-state drives instead of hard drives. I don’t like solid-state drives for a machine I’ll be doing development on because a) they’re too small and b) they are read fast/write slow, so compiling takes longer. It really feels like with the Asus 1000HA I’m going to be getting the most bang for my buck.

On a completely different topic, my favorite movie is now Kung-Fu Panda. I was amazed at how good it was; it was well written, well voice-acted and superbly animated. If you haven’t watched it because you don’t like Jack Black, you should probably reconsider. There’s a bit of his shtick at the beginning of the movie, but it’s actually funny and then he disappears into the sweet, lovable Po. And the movie has a great villain in Tai Lung; while I was listening to the commentary the writers noted that the key to creating a great villain was to remember that the villain always considers himself the hero of his own story and Tai Lung certainly fits that bill.

And finally, I have actually been working on Planitia! Can you believe it?! No, I can’t either. I seem to recall stating that I would stop work on Planitia at Midnight on December 31, 2008 and move on to something else…but that was before I lost two months in the hospital. However, I will have a LAN multiplayer demo available this Friday, December 19, 2008. Response to this version may influence how much effort I continue to put into Planitia; I’ve got several other projects I want to get started on. I know that Planitia is nowhere near done, but I’ve now spent two years worth of evenings on a project that isn’t going to make me a cent…and I’m starting to feel the whole “opportunity cost” thing. If Planitia turns out to be a quick, fun multiplayer-only game…well, I guess I can live with that.