Building a Minecraft Machine

So, way back around Christmas time, each of my kids asked me to build something for them or install something on their computers. My daughter wanted to learn a language on her computer. DuoLingo to the rescue. My youngest son wanted java Minecraft, with the Pixelmon mod. Done easily enough. My middle son wanted a computer to play Minecraft on when he came out to my place. Ah! A challenge!

I tend to keep pieces and parts lying around, so I went digging. I had a Lenovo ThinkCentre super small form factor PC from the Other Project, along with its mounting bracket. I had a brand new mouse, but it was from the PS/2 era. I had a monitor that I was using to troubleshoot my server when it went sideways. I had a keyboard collecting dust. That was pretty much everything I needed. Except, of course, the ThinkCentre didn’t have a PS/2 port. Too new for that. So, once again, adapters to the rescue! A quick trip to the local Micro Center, some browsing in their adapter aisle, and I came home with this oldie-but-goodie.

He wanted to play on the family Bedrock server, so Windows 10 was the operating system of choice. Then, I mounted the bracket onto the back of the monitor, and plugged all the bits and bobs in. Keyboard, mouse, monitor, everything was recognized the first time around. There was a little bit of tinkering with drivers, a little bit of poking and prodding, but in the end, everything worked, right down to the wifi.

So, now I’d made the gift, got it together, and tested Minecraft on it. No delays, snappy response, and no drops from the server. It would never play something high-end, but it did what I needed it to do. But, my middle son wasn’t out to my place as often as his younger siblings, so I needed to be able to store it away. The monitor cable was easy to wrap up and tie, but what about the mouse? It couldn’t be permanently shortened, he’d need slack on it when he used it. I’m not sure why, but this is my favorite part of the build. Two curtain hooks from an old box fit right between the computer case and the mount bracket, and the mouse wraps around them just like a vacuum power cord.

When he got the computer, my son loved it. He was excited, and the first thing out of his mouth was… “Can I play Fortnite on it?”

Ah, well. Can’t win them all!

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 1

Three switches was all it took to relinquish control of my faithful ship, the Crystal Song, to the station’s auto-docking system. Once again, I flipped them, the motions burned into my brain from what seemed like years of piloting. The ship and station seemed to spin as they negotiated a common horizon. I focused on slowing my breathing and keeping my muscles relaxed. If it happened again, it was likely to hurt just as bad as the last several times. Unfortunately, the Anomaly, as it was commonly known, was the only place in this universe or any other where I could exchange the salvaged tech I’d dug up for blueprints. And I REALLY wanted those blueprints.

The outside doors opened, and the Crystal Song was through. Incomprehensible machinery moved, switched, and rotated around the ship as I slowly drifted forward, toward the inner doors. Maybe this time would be different. I’d gotten in once since this had started happening, but I didn’t have anything to trade. Of course, now that my hold was full to the brim, as they say, I couldn’t get in. And each attempt was more painful than the last.

The inner doors cracked open, spilling out warm, intense white light. This was it. Moment of truth. The doors slid all the way open, and the Song’s instrument panel faded to the light filling my vision. So close! Just one more second, and I’d be through…

The warm white changed to a cold, harsh blue. Every nerve ending lit up in pain. It felt like being torn apart and being pulled away, like every atom in me screaming away from ever other, but I was still alive enough to feel it. Then all I could hear was my own screaming voice, and my body was rebuilding itself inside my base on Akrodne X. It took only a moment, and then the pain was gone as if it had never been.

I was breathing so hard that my faceplate was fogging up. How many times was that? Five? Six? I haven’t tried it again since. The Anomaly hovers there, hanging in space next to the system’s station, taunting me. But I’m not risking it again. Not for a long while.

Site Updates Coming

Skippy with mask

Hey everyone. First, I want to say thank you, for sticking around while the blog’s posts have been intermittent in the best of times. I’ve been stalled, as of late, getting some security updates installed for WordPress, and it didn’t feel right adding new content while it might not be secure, and with everything else going on in the world, I’ve put a hold on shilling in general. So, it really means a lot to me that you’re here. Same goes for people who are just coming by. Welcome!

Secondly, I’m going to be updating the theme of the site so that the landing page is more of a, well, landing page. The blog will still be here, but it might require an extra click to get to. The good news is that you’ll be able to check in on all of my major projects from one place. The blog, the writery goodness, vlog, the Twitch channel, the YouTube archive, the tech projects, the webcomic, all of it.

Thirdly, in an effort to get back on the fiction-writing bike, I’m intending to post some fan fiction that I have rolling around in my head. Right here! For your eyeballs! So, get ready for that!

Remember, you’re awesome, and you’ve got this.

Goodbye, digestive system.

I think, in retrospect, this might be one of the things I look back on fondly, but wonder what, really, WHAT, was I thinking? This Saturday, at 3PM Eastern time, I will be participating in a Hot Ones-inspired wing challenge, with good friends and streamers.

If you’d like to see me suffer, tune in either at my Twitch channel or Zeb’s. It’ll be good times! (Face melting not guaranteed!)