45 thoughts on “January 12, 2021: Formittable”

      1. Wasn't sure if we were going for fomentable, formattable, formidable...
        All words that, the longer I stare, the wronger they look...

  1. Board Game Alert:
    Got to play the new Dune Imperium game last night. First impressions are that this is a solid game that blends worker placement with deckbuilding. Great use of the IP. Feels like a mix of Clank, Lords of Waterdeep, and (a much shorter) Twilight Imperium. If you're a Dune fan, I highly recommend. If you're not a Dune fan, it's still fun, but you probably won't be immersed as much as a fan would be.

    1. Have you played Between Two Cities? We got that one for Christmas, and it's fun but a little odd to play with three people. Because you're building cities with the people next to you, with three you're playing with everyone at the table, so it's hard to make too many strategic decisions. I was surprised at how quick it plays, which is pretty nice it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get through a full game.

      1. Yep! In fact, I'm a huge fan of the publisher, Stonemaier Games. Between Two Cities certainly has an interesting twist in that you're working with your neighbors to build your cities. Not many games have that marriage between working collaboratively AND competitively. Have you heard of the follow up to that game Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig? Same idea of working on a castle with your neighbors, but now each tile you put down has effects based on where you place it. Doesn't have the 4x4 restriction that Cities has. I like it a little better, but both are neat games.

        1. Heard of it for sure. Cities seemed like it was the more appropriate weight for us (with an 8-year old). But it seems to be well liked, so I'm sure we'll add Castles soon enough.

    2. Christmas saw us receive a number of games. We've played a bunch of King Domino which has been perfect speed for the kids, with them able to compete just as well as adults, but it isn't boring, and it moves quickly which helps too. The other one that's definitely worth mentioning is Gnomes At Night, which is a co-operative game for kids, and plays very well with the younger ones.

  2. The jalapeno has a terrible tendency to open YouTube in another window and watch that during his live Google Meets for school. Constantly checking to make sure he's not doing that is driving me bonkers!

    Is there way to block a specific website during certain hours? Even if there is, the other issue is that teachers may sometimes embed YouTube videos in slide shows as a part of their virtual lessons. It's maddening.

    1. So much this. I can block Youtube, but not SOME of Youtube. I have a Koalasafe router where you can set multiple accounts and tiers of filtering and schedule for times. But it's a lot of work I wish I didn't have to think about.
      This all is still kicking our butts over here...all three kids. At least the little one can absorb as they go along. Bigger ones just can't seem to pull themselves together.

      1. Yeah, I had this conversation with the IT department. Have to block either all or none. I believe I heard the school will somehow limit YT to 2 hours usage per day, but I'm not sure if that was implemented. I also considered some sort of extension, but not sure if I can even install anything on there.

      2. The downside to HTTPS is you have to block absolutely everything or nothing. There are some ways to go around that, but I doubt it will work with YouTube and only with sites such as here. If the certificate for the site isn't pinned, then you can install your own certificate for those sites in the root trust store and run everything through a proxy that will decrypt and re-encrypt everything. Apps will usually pin certificates to prevent that, and you can do that for sites as well, but it's challenging and easy to do it wrong and break access.

      1. My 7 year-old gets caught editing Wikipedia articles. For a couple weeks until our IP got a warning he wasn't doing any homework.

      2. Even alternate "school" activities are a welcome distraction, ours spends a lot of time on "Epic" flipping through stories on the iPad.

    2. Yup, a few weeks ago I caught Honest Abe on the Berenstain Bears YouTube page during school.

      1. LOL.

        My daughter has had a motivation problem this year, but I think she's mainly texting her classmates during school. I'm not going to take away the phone because it's her only link to the outside world and she is doing fine *when she gets her homework done*. I feel like I will just have to get after her a lot because taking the phone would be too much for her to bear, I think.

        1. that's a tough one, alright.

          Maybe counsel her to put it out of reach and practice ONLY checking it at fixed break times during the school day?? Kind of a modern marshmallow test type exercise.

  3. Yesterday, I speculated that Belichek might be the only person to refuse a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not true. Moe Berg also refused his and that's a lot more interesting.

      1. I assume Belichek will just get one awarded later, or swing by and pick it up in February or something.

      2. The Catcher Was A Spy is one of the better baseball bios. IIRC, Paul Rudd was trying to turn it into a movie a few years ago.

    1. I would recommend whatever Wirecutter suggests. Their competition section lists other options that are fine for teleporting yourself to other countries. If you're considering options not mentioned, some quick searches about whether the VPN shares your connection will determine if you need to worry about it. You could also slog through the terms of service. The cheaper the service, the more likely you are loaning your connection to then.

  4. Got my lab results from my annual physical and I've never had a better lipid panel, LDL below the target of 70 (by one point) and for the first time ever I got my HDL number above 40 (by two points). I've been walking on the treadmill 30 minutes a day (plus 5 minute warmups and cooldowns) and with the holidays behind us I'm eating a more normal diet with a lot less fat. I couldn't believe how much shortening, butter, sour cream and cream cheese we went through during the holidays.

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