Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Story 005: The Keys of Marinus

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Original air dates April through May of 1964.

The Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian wind up on Marinus, and are blackmailed into finding some “keys” needed to operate a planetary mind-control machine.  Hijinks ensue. (more…)

Making Paizo-like pawns AKA stand-ups

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

There are often cardboard stand-ups used for characters on a map when playing a role-playing game. They’e cheaper than minis. Paizo has sets of them they market as “pawns”.

The plastic bases commonly used hold 1/16″ chipboard, perfectly. It’s also numbered 0.06″ or just 0.06. It can sometimes be called Binder’s Board and is used for making book covers. Check the scrapbooking places.

I got a big box of it on eBay – possibly a lifetime supply – for $16, including shipping.

It fits the stands perfectly. I’ll print the art, glue them to the cardboard, and cut them out on the laser cutter at TechShop.

Road Trip 7 – Friday afternoon

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve had to work this week, so haven’t done much interesting. Today’s been a bit odd as we’ve had flaky electricity and Internet due to a huge thunderstorm that’s moving past. Giant, rolling peals of thunder shaking the buildings. It’s made work a challenge.

More next week, when I’m on vacation again.

Foswiki for Role Playing

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Foswiki has enough access controls to allow it to handle players and games.  If you set it up properly, it works very well.

Step 1: Install Foswiki

Follow the installation instructions.  Using CGI is easiest to set up, if you watch the gotcha I found with running bin/configure.  FCGI is much faster, and works well once you install the extension, and if your host supports it.  (Mine does!)

I have had a little trouble getting the Apache config right, and have had to make several changes to get it working in my webserver configuration.  Make sure the virtual host is correct (not the default *), that the logs are as you want them, and to add a redirect for / to /foswiki/ if you want that.

Step 2: Configure Foswiki

Use the bin/configure script to configure Foswiki.  Mostly this is paths and mail.  Add the FastCGI if you want to use that.

Step 3: Add Admin Users

I like to create a user (or users) for administration and put them in the AdminGroup so they have full rights to everything.  This is easier than using the special admin user.  I like to create a “FirstnameAdmin” user – I’m LouAdmin, usually – for each administrator.  Get the admin to create them and then use the magic ‘admin’ user to add them to the AdminGroup.

Step 4: Add Game Groups

For each game, you’ll want two groups.  GamePlayers and GameGMs.  Create them, using tools in Main/WikiGroups

Step 5: Add Users

Have the GM(s) and player(s) create accounts.  Add them appropriately to the GM and Player groups for each game.  The GMs does not have to be in the player group.

Step 6: Add Webs

Create a Web for GamePlayers and GameGMs.  (System/ManagingWebs).  Then, set each of those to be limited to the the correct groups.  Go to the WebPreferences setting for each web (GamePlayers/WebPreferences, for example) and update ALLOWWEBVIEW to the appropriate groups.  The Player web should have the players and the GMs, and the GMs should have only the GMs.

The GM web should look something like this:

  • Set DENYWEBVIEW =
  • Set ALLOWWEBVIEW = %USERSWEB%.GameGMsGroup, %USERSWEB%.AdminGroup
  • Set DENYWEBCHANGE =
  • Set ALLOWWEBCHANGE =
  • Set DENYWEBRENAME =
  • Set ALLOWWEBRENAME =

The Players web is the same, but includes the players in ALLOWWEBVIEW:

  • Set ALLOWWEBVIEW = %USERSWEB%.GameGMsGroup, %USERSWEB%.GamePlayersGroup, %USERSWEB%.AdminGroup
Step 7: Clean Up
The above get you per-group webs that players and GMs can use properly.  The default page layouts have a bunch of extra stuff on them that can be adjusted, as you desire.

Using a Wiki for Role Playing Games

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I have run Role Playing Games (RPGs) for some time, and played in them for longer.  One of the things that comes up as useful is ways for the players to sort and organize their notes, discoveries, etc., and for the Game Master (GM) to do the same thing.

In this modern age, where many (if not all) of the people at my gaming table have laptops or tablets, the use of a Wiki should be perfect.  However, many wikis have a strong feeling of “The Wiki Way”, which says everyone should be able to see and edit everything so that the experience and knowledge of everyone can be gathered and stored.

There’s at least two problems with this for a gaming Wiki.  First, the gaming Wiki’s probably on the Internet, where “anyone can edit” translates into “instantly defaced by spammers”.  That’s not ever good, and it seems to be ignored by many of the Wiki packages.

The second problem is that the GM needs a private place on the Wiki to conspire against the players.  If there’s more than one GM collaborating, they need to share information.  The players need to be kept out, so the things there can be a surprise when the game plays out.

It’s great if the players have a place to put their collective notes and information as well.  Some GMs want access to those, and some won’t.  Some will think these should be hidden to only players in the game, and some won’t.  (If the player characters are doing anything salacious or gaming anything subversive, it is perhaps best not to have those on Google.)

Enter Foswiki.  Foswiki allows access control by groups.  The next articles will detail how to set up Foswiki for RPG use.

Foswiki 1.1.3 Fast CGI installation

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

This took me a long time, and a trip to the IRC channel to sort out.

When you install Foswiki, the installaiton guide sends you to an Apache Config File Generator. One of the options is to use cgi, or Fast CGI. Since I’ve used Fast CGI before and I know it works on my server, I selected that.

I got the configure program running, but the wiki would only 404.

I dug in and discovered the FastCGI configuration uses a foswiki.fcgi script, which wasn’t anywhere in my archive.

There’s a reason: It’s an extension you have to install. Foswiki dosen’t ship with FastCGI support.

You can install it through Configure; go to Extensions, click the Find and Install Extensions button, then install FastCGIEngineContrib.

A kind user there, gac410, knew this and got me straightened right out right away. Thanks again, gac!

Quirk Installing Foswiki 1.1.3

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

When I installed Foswiki 1.1.3, they sent me to a very handy ApacheConfigGenerator. One of the options is to use “short” urls, where you can use /Web/PageName instead of /bin/view/Web/PageName

Naturally, I turned this on.

Then I tried to run the “configure” script. It wouldn’t run, telling me I needed to run configure.

The short-url change aliases / to bin/view. That includes ‘configure’.

In short, don’t use the Short URL option until you’re done with configure, or turn it off to do so.

Commenting out the three lines in the Apache config is enough to turn it off briefly to run configure.

Adding Actions to a Catalyst app at testing time

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

In response to a question I posted on the Catalyst list, Tomas Doran (among other suggestions) posted a beautifully devious way to add additional capabilites to your application for test purposes.

When you’re testing with Catalyst::Test and running a local test, you don’t actually fire up a web server and talk over the wire.  It loads your program’s library in to the test script, and calls the functions with the same objects given to it by the other servers.

Your Cat app runs, but all as functions in your program.

Since this is your program – and a test script is just a funny Perl program – you can load libraries and add additional things to the namespace.

Testing Catalyst Session Data

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Tomas Doran pointed out the other day, in a post on the Catalyst mailing list, that you could manipulate the session data between test calls if you needed to.

My original question was about manipulating what user was logged by playing with the cookie cache, but it should apply to any value in the session.  You could check them, to see that the internal state of your program is what you think it is, or you could fiddle with them, to test that it does the right things.


Stealing From the Experts: Look at Their Tests!

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

I don’t know why this didn’t come to me quicker, but I got some good advice on the Catalyst mailing list.  It boils down to “look at how other people do it”, which I usually think of.

What I’d never thought of before was to look at their test cases for ways to do it.

Both Tomas Doran and Peter Karman made good suggestions of places to look for things that would help with my authentication issue.