Chris Miller

Want to read: On Work by Derek Thompson πŸ“š

Current office view

Sitting at a picnic table, looking out at the woods

It’s been a good weekend for Making Things.

Cabbage in the crock for fermenting sauerkraut

A 2 gallon ceramic crock filled with cabbage

🍌🍞

A loaf of banana bread with pecans on top

Roasting coffee. Like you do.

A Behmor drum roaster, glowing deep orange in the drum window where coffee beans slowly turn and roast.

The binder for my new Ironsworn: Starforged all analog game has arrived. I am excited.

A Trapper Keeper in the 1980's style, with 3D primitive shape art.

β€œWhen Hiro learned how to do this, way back fifteen years ago, a hacker could sit down and write an entire piece of software by himself. Now, that’s no longer possible. Software comes out of factories, and hackers are, to a greater or lesser extent, assembly-line workers. Worse yet, they may become managers who never get to write any code themselves. β€œ

Currently reading: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson πŸ“š

Searching for Quiet Time

This past weekend, I embarked on a digital detox and went predominantly offline. It was an invigorating experience, a breath of fresh air. Over the past few months, I’ve recognized an increasing sense of dissatisfaction whenever I’ve found myself aimlessly surfing the web. It’s akin to that peculiar feeling you get when you’re craving a snack, yet nothing in your pantry seems to hit the right spot.

I’ve been pondering over why this may be, and I’ve realized that my relationship with the web has significantly shifted over time. It used to serve as a nourishing hub of information and connection, but of late, it seems like I’ve been trying to extract the same value from an altered digital landscape.

This month, I’ve decided to shift towards more asynchronous internet usage. I’ll be focusing more on RSS Feeds, consuming content at my own pace rather than being led by the constant push of information. As part of this change, I’ve also removed Mastodon from my phone. It’s not an indictment of the platform, but more a conscious step to distance myself from the relentless pursuit of real-time dopamine hits. I feel the need to reset and recalibrate my relationship with the digital world.

The social web, in many ways, reminds me of a local town square. It’s a bustling space for social interaction, dialogue, and news, but it’s not a place one resides in. We visit, engage, and then we retreat back into our own homes. Of late, I’ve noticed I’ve been spending an excessive amount of time in the metaphorical town square. While there’s no inherent harm in this, I’m beginning to yearn for a change.

I put away my phone for two hours and at the end of it I had my laundry done, the kitchen cleaned, my week planned, the car washed, and a tree that I’ve been meaning to cut down for three years disposed of.

I think I see where my focus issue lies.

Currently reading: Grokking Simplicity by Eric Normand πŸ“š

Cyberpunk 1977 (Generated Art)

Cyberpunk 1977

A hippie all made up with cyberpunk mods sitting on the hook of a sci-fi looking 1970s car

Back cover copy for a nonexistent RPG: Cyberpunk 1977

Get down to Cyberfunk 1977, where the future meets the past in a groovy world of neon, chrome, and funk. In this far-out cyberpunk RPG, set in an alternate universe where technology advanced faster than in our world, you’ll take on the role of a streetwise hustler, a cutting-edge hacker, or a daring cyberspace cowboy.

In the neon-soaked streets of New York City, you’ll navigate a world of corporate greed, government corruption, and underground resistance. With your wits, your fists, and your trusty tech, you’ll stick it to The Man and fight for the little guy.

But watch out, daddy-o, because danger lurks around every corner. From the suits and their shady deals to the crooks and their dirty tricks, you’ll need to stay sharp and stay cool to survive. With a soundtrack of sweet soul, funky beats, and killer grooves, Cyberfunk 1977 is the ultimate trip to the past-future. Get on board or get left behind, cats and kittens!

(art by Midjourney)

There are such wonders in the outside lands you guys.

An anthromorphized moose statue in a red sweater smiling and waving outside of a gas station.

Dresden Files for Savage Worlds

As I did with my adaptation of Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, I created some notes around adapting Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files for Savage Worlds for a game I am running. I thought I would share those with folks who might be interested.

You can find it on Github: https://github.com/grueproof/SavageDresden. PRs welcome.

Savage Chronicles of Amber

During the month of April one of the things I wanted to accomplish was pulling together a first draft of some rules taking Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber setting and porting it to the Savage Worlds game system.

I did that. I’m sharing it. It’s up on GitHub. Have a look. It’s a lot of notes just now, but I think there are the bones of a good thing. I welcome feedback and PRs.

Want to read: Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1) by Max Gladstone πŸ“š

TFW your back pops like a bowl of Rice Krispies and all you did is straighten up in your chair.

Cold chicken and gourmet cheese for dinner because meat and salted fat are just highly processed vegetables.

You’ll be shocked to learn that my vocal support of the Writers' strike has yielded zero likes on LinkedIn.

The first empirical study of what happens when using generative AI at work (for the studied companies): www.nber.org/papers/w3…

April into May

My little April experiment went well. I hit most of the goals I set for myself, and anything I didn’t finish wasn’t all that important anyway.

My time away from news was delightful, though I admit that I still listen to a podcast or three. I discovered that my podcatcher of choice (Overcast), allows you to subscribe to a podcast but not automatically download every episode. I’ve gotten into a new habit of reviewing the feeds and selectively choosing what I listen to, instead of plowing through everything that is released in my direction.

I feel good.

During May I need to get outside more once it stops raining Every. Goddamn. Day. There’s a garden that needs cleaning up, some trees that need to be removed, and front beds to be mulched.

One thing I picked up in April that I can heartily endorse is Ironsworn: Starforged, a Creative Commons-released RPG you can play solo. It’s a sci-Fi toolbox with some very flexible mechanics and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a perfect balance of random generators and player-driven storytelling that makes for a nice respite when you want to game, but maybe can’t because of schedules or you just don’t want to be social. The settings you create, the wait the game is constructed, well…it really captures my imagination. I also recommend the Stargazer online app to help manage the game…it makes it super easy to play in the browser and on your phone.

Anyway, much enthusiasm there. Good stuff.

Otherwise, the only other big thing going on is my youngest kid is about to graduate on May 18th. After that…no more school systems, teacher meetings, or mandatory calls and e-mails. I’m looking forward to not caring whether school is in session or not.

That’s all for now. Be well out there. :)

Currently reading: Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow πŸ“š

Finished reading: Homeland by Cory Doctorow πŸ“š

Currently reading: Homeland by Cory Doctorow πŸ“š

Socials: Fosstodon (Tech) | Dice.camp (RPGs)