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Subject:Is it just me...
Time:07:33 pm
...or does the Harry Potter wizarding world make a lot more sense if it's actually a Reserve (an enclave of brainwashed volunteers) in the Transmetropolitan universe?
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Subject:Another Day...
Time:09:00 pm
...another iMac G4, courtesy of Gumtree.

Trek out to the arse end of nowhere AKA Thornton Heath got me another 17" G4. The usual problems - the DVD drive is dead, the PRAM battery needs replacing, etc. - but it's in nice external condition, the screen is fine, and it came with a keyboard for a tenner. I can put up with a lot of aggravation for that sort of price.
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Subject:Fame at last!
Time:11:51 pm
Just realised that tonight's Evening Standard has a letter I sent them a few days ago, in response to a photo and caption they printed on the 20th which doesn't appear to be on line, describing London's canals as being overgrown with algae.

The Benefits of Canal Duckweed

While it was nice to see your annual picture of the green canal in Little Venice [July 20] , the green plant in the water isn't algae but duckweed, a small leafed plant that is actually quite good for the environment. It takes up nutrients from the water that would otherwise go to algae, and its shade slows down the growth of algae.

It's also a very good food for ducks and could easily be harvested as animal fodder. There is some algae in the water but it isn't actually visible in the photo because the duckweed is in the way.

Marcus L. Rowland


The interesting thing about this is that they published the original picture on the 20th and I sent them an email in the evening. On Friday 22nd they published another article:

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/regents-canal-turns-green-after-explosion-of-duck-weed-forms-on-london-waterway-a3302686.html

Which is basically saying what I said in my email.

Then published the email today, so it looks like a comment on their duckweed article!
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Hillfolk
Time:08:03 pm
Hillfolk is a system by Robin Laws that favours character interaction over combat. I haven't played it much, but my impression is that it's a fun system with some nice twiddly bits to keep things moving.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Hillfolk2016

"Can't wait for the new season of Game of Thrones? Why not start your own episodic series of tense, character-driven drama? Hillfolk, the Pelgrane Press RPG of epic interpersonal conflict by Robin D. Laws, brings HBO series-style drama to tabletop roleplaying. Hillfolk focuses on characters, their relationships, and the dramatic conflicts that keep their actions fresh and exciting. Using Hillfolk's DramaSystem rules, you can weave enthralling multi-session sagas about Iron Age tribes, fantasy intrigue, Regency socialites, border town drug kingpins, troubled Sopranos-type crime families, posthuman cyberpunks, and more.

Hillfolk's spectacular October 2012 Kickstarter campaign earned over US$90,000 and spawned a support line of "series pitches" -- new settings written by many of gaming's greatest designers. Originally presented in February 2015, our resurrected Hillfolk Bundle once again brings you the complete game and nearly all the series pitches -- plus three Hillfolk music tracks especially commissioned by Pelgrane Press for your series.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format), and each audio track as an .MP3 sound file. Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity selected by Pelgrane Press co-owner Simon Rogers -- the United Kingdom's anti-racism educational charity, The Red Card.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$53. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all seven titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $24) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Hillfolk rulebook and no less than six series pitches. Cast your own series about engineers battling zombies in the Imperial court of a magical 1920s Russia -- or the gladiatorial arena of a steam-powered flying city on the brink of revolution -- or even the dreamers, has-beens, and never-will-bes in a touring jukebox musical. (In that one, you sing!)
  • Hillfolk Rulebook - Retail price US$15
  • Encore - The dreamers, has-beens, and never-will-bes in a touring jukebox musical - Retail price US$1.50
  • Hold the Chain - The gladiatorial arena of a steam-powered flying city on the brink of revolution - Retail price US$1.50
  • Iron Tsar - Engineers battle zombies in the Imperial court of a magical 1920s Russia - Retail price US$1.50
  • Narcocorrido - Narcotraficantes and border patrols on The Devil's Highway - Retail price US$1.50
  • Sheep's Clothing - In a tranquil bedroom community for cops, a massive Internal Affairs bust threatens dozens of its key citizens - Retail price US$1.50
  • Terminal X - Modern sorcerers wage a turf war in one of the world's busiest airports - Retail price US$1.50
Pay more than the threshold (average) price (starting at $14.95) to level up and also get our complete Bonus Collection (retail value $39), including the nigh-essential companion volume Blood on the Snow, another slew of series pitches, print-and-play playing cards, and three DRM-free .MP3 music tracks especially created by composers James Semple and Marie-Anne Fischer to enhance Hillfolk game sessions. (You may recall their work from our August 2014 GUMSHOE Music offer.)
  • Blood on the Snow - A DramaSystem companion - Retail price US$15
  • Hillfolk Music - Every drama needs a theme tune - Retail price US$5
    Hillfolk playing cards - Shuffle up some inspiration - Retail price US$10
  • Art and Murder - Murder artists in the 32nd Century - Retail price US$1.50
  • Campus Desk - Return to the ink-spattered days of idealistic student journalism - Retail price US$1.50
  • Honor Among Thieves - Young thieves surviving in a City that wants to cut their throats - Retail price US$1.50
  • Niflgap - Sail the black tide of the cosmos - Retail price US$1.50
  • No Crowns - The struggles of democracy and free market capitalism in a high fantasy world - Retail price US$1.50
  • Promised Land - Squad comes before all as genetically engineered cadets take on the universe - Retail price US$1.50
There's at least one bonus item, which everyone will get if they paid more than the average at the time of payment. As usual I can't reveal what it is.

This looks like a good bundle, and some of the series pitches are very interesting indeed - I haven't quoted the full text because it would make this post way too long. I think it's well worth a look, but as usual I have to stress that I get this stuff free - your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Telescope!
Time:06:36 pm
Someone on Freecycle has given me an astronomical telescope (800mm x 80mm diameter) with a tripod, gear-driven mount, and a couple of eyepieces. Needs some work and a lot of cleaning up, but I think it's OK - I can focus on leaves on trees etc., but there's so much light from the sky etc. that everything looks washed out. Tonight I'm hoping for a clear sky so I can try it on the moon etc. The main other problem is that the little aiming telescope has snapped off; I've made a mounting bracket with Meccano, but it probably isn't very accurate.

I suspect there's too much light pollution in this area to get really good results, so I may end up giving it to someone who lives outside London or can take it to remote areas. But I'm going to try my hand at astronomical photography first, it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Later - clouded over, of course! But I think it's OK so I've ordered a camera adapter, it isn't hugely expensive - just a tube with a Nikon mount at one end and a tube the diameter of a telescope eyepiece at the other.
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Subject:Today's boot fair stuff
Time:08:14 pm
An old turquoise plastic iMac G3 keyboard and (ball) mouse, both USB and working well, for £3 - very retro and cute
An old ipod charger, the type with the firewire port, powering up properly, for £2
And a watch that looked nice but turned out not to be, but since I only paid £2 I'm not too bothered, I can probably sell the band for more than that.

Meanwhile the Lego kit has been bid up past £99 with a week to go. Probably won't go very much higher, someone has one without the box for a buy it now price of £125, but you never know your luck.

And the batteries for the Nikon Pronea APS SLR I bought last week have arrived, and that appears to be fully operational. Won't be hugely profitable, but it'll be a nice weird one for a collector, or someone who actually wants to use film and only has Nikon DX lenses. Just a real shame that the lens that came with it doesn't fit other Nikons - it's really teeny but Nikon deliberately built the Pronea lenses so they don't work with anything else. Theoretically the body isn't compatible with DX lenses either, but they seem to be OK.
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Subject:Since I don't use eBay's global shipping program much...
Time:01:08 pm
I have no idea how much they're charging for the Lego kit, which is about 3kg packed.

I'd be grateful if people outside the UK could check this and let me know what they're quoting for postage - not customs, which is going to vary with the price:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/131884926958
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Subject:Son of More eBay Tat
Time:08:19 pm
Lots more useful(?) stuff including the big Lego Wright Flyer kit, some lenses and converters, another programmable calculator, and a 1st generation Apple Wireless Mouse - re-listed due to non-payment. I shifted the iMac G4 for a small profit yesterday, much less than I was hoping for if I'd been able to upgrade it properly, still no nibbles on the CD duplicator so I'll probably reduce the price again after the weekend.

Here if anyone's interested.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html

later - and as of Friday morning the Lego kit is already on £22 with more than 9 days to go.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Lamentations
Time:09:10 pm
This is an offer based on the fantasy RPG Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which can best be described as "Adventuring is really dangerous and nasty, everybody dies." It's a clone of D&D with stricter rules for things like encumbrance, and sets out from the outset to make things as difficult and horrible as possible for adventurers. It doesn't at first seem like a fun idea, but when you remember what happens to most characters in e.g. Paranoia or Call of Cthulhu you can see it might be interesting. Art etc. tends to be gory and disturbing. I'll be honest, this isn't one I'd particularly want to play, but if I was still running D&D style games I could possibly get into the idea of a REALLY nasty dungeon or two to teach players to be careful.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Lamentations

"Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing presents a sinister and horrific twist on traditional fantasy gaming. Though the rules are a tight retro-clone of B/X D&D --with stricter movement and encumbrance systems, for reasons explained below -- LotFP's attitude comes out of heavy metal and Dario Argento horror films: Anything goes, wild as hell.

You could call it "horror fantasy," but this isn't about werewolves or serial killers. LotFP is largely about forces from beyond our awareness causing great distress. Some might describe it as "sick." One review struck the right note: "This adventure has torn open a slime-laden murder-blunt-trauma hole in reality's sky and poured in the awesome."

Designer James Raggi explains: "The inspiration for LotFP is the basic belief that the life of an adventurer is a hellish thing nobody sane would want -- full of danger and violence, with no real home, no real family, no certainty, ever. Think of the classic RPG adventure form: You're going into some dark hole with a sinister history, fully expecting to encounter deathtraps and supernatural monsters and all sorts of things that want to kill you and probably eat you, and you're doing it for some money. Or 'glory.' In real life we get pissed and dream of quitting our jobs when our bosses want us to sit at a desk for an extra hour, and our 'glorious heroes' are the people that are victims of the most and worst gossip, and bloody hell this is all terrible. So let's drop the pretense of being noble heroes doing things for noble reasons and just spotlight the fact that 'adventures' are terrible, life-ruining traumatic experiences. And my love of heavy metal and horror movies provides wonderful inspiration for making them so. That's LotFP."

Lamentations has become notorious in the Old School Revival community for this unforgiving ethos. Many fantasy RPGs establish dungeons that are supposedly dangerous ("no one has ever returned"), and then the player characters waltz in and kill everything. But LotFP dungeons are seriously dangerous -- as in, "You're Definitely Going To Die Down Here, No Really." Touch something the wrong way and you're hosed, or sometimes you trigger an apocalypse. As with Luke Crane's Torchbearer, even ordinary logistics can do you in. Remember how the LotFP system emphasizes movement and encumbrance rules?

In a metagame sense these doomed journeys teach players caution. They're "nega-dungeons"; they exist for the purpose of you not going there, and if you do, you've already lost. A place like this can help your campaign. As Evan Jeshka wrote in a November 2014 entry on the official Bundle of Holding blog, "Welcome to Death Frost Doom, Now Turn Around and Go Away": "It adds grit and verisimilitude, and reminds you you're in a world that exists for its own purposes, not to feed you experience and treasure."

We've presented many Lamentations titles in our past Old School Revival offers, including A Red and Pleasant Land, Death Frost Doom, The God That Crawls, Qelong, The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time, and others. This offer's only duplicate from past collections is the single most famous Lamentations title, the spectacular city-design supplement Vornheim by Zak S.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, The Myositis Association.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$92.50. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all twelve titles in our Weird Starter Collection (retail value $42.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules & Magic Full Version (retail price $5): The complete core rulebook by James Raggi of weird-cosmic-metal fantasy. Includes the introductory adventure Tower of the Stargazer (retail $6).
  • Vornheim (retail $9): The brilliant city-design supplement by Zak S (A Red and Pleasant Land, Maze of the Blue Medusa). Previously presented in our first Old School Revival offer, November 2013.
  • The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions (retail $10): A system for building wizard towers by D. Vincent Baker (Apocalypse World).
  • Thulian Echoes (retail $7.50): One dungeon explored twice -- first in the ancient past, then again a thousand years later.
  • The Pale Lady (retail $5): Zzarchov Kowolski's expedition into the realm of an evil fae queen.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $22.95 to start, also get our entire Historic Bonus Collection with eight more titles (retail value $50) that show LotFP's fascinating takes on world history:
  • World of the Lost (retail $10): A breathtaking 180-page hexcrawl and time-crawl by Rafael Chandler (Pandemonio).
  • The Magnificent Joop van Ooms (retail $4.50): A Renaissance Man in 17C Amsterdam who brings cosmic weirdness to the world.
  • The Cursed Château (retail $7.50): James Maliszewski's venerable haunted house in an expanded deluxe edition.
  • Scenic Dunnsmouth (retail $10): A rotting swamp town with two dark secrets, and an innovative dice-and-cards system that makes it endlessly replayable.
  • The Squid, the Cabal, and the Old Man (retail $7.50): The 1685 war between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke, told with a bloody twist.
  • England Upturn'd (retail $7.50): The English Civil War, Lamentations-style.
  • Forgive Us (retail $5): 1625 was a plague year in Norwich. History tells us it was an outbreak of the Black Death. History is wrong.
At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early.

I'm not particularly interested in this, I gave up on D&D-style games many years ago, but I think it looks like a reasonable offer. As usual I have to point out that I get this stuff free if I want it, your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Today's charity shop bargain...
Time:11:11 pm
Was the Lego Wright Flyer kit, which appears to be pretty rare, for a tenner. Unfortunately the box is badly battered and it appears to be missing three out of 600-odd bits though I'm hoping it may turn out I've somehow sorted them into the wrong bags or something. One is still available from Lego, the other two are out of stock. It sells for a couple of hundred complete, I'm hoping it'll still be profitable in its current condition.

later - found all three on ebay - cost £4 or so but it's worth it to be able to offer the kit complete.
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Subject:Supergirl S2 Casting
Time:11:31 am
S2 of Supergirl will cast a former werewolf (Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoechlin) as Clark Kent (but apparently only for a couple of episodes), and a former Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) as the US President. Also some other familiar DC characters have been cast, e.g. Snapper Carr and Maggie Swayer. Looks like it'll be fun!

http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/tv/supergirl/40487/supergirl-season-2-first-poster-more-casting-news

Later - forgot to say thanks to pauldormer who mentioned the casting news elsewhere.
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Subject:Frozen
Time:08:47 pm
I finally got round to watching Frozen last night - The plot twists on the usual Snow Queen story were quite fun. One thing I did notice was some interesting parallels between the ice palace sequence and a somewhat similar scene in Watchmen. And when I checked, I was not exactly the first person to notice:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/03/17/_let_it_go_watchmen_mashup_does_let_it_go_pay_homage_to_the_dr_manhattan.html

There's even a vid:



It looks like there were others that have had their sound tracks muted due to takedown notices from Disney.

It's a shame that nobody seems to have done it the other way, with the Watchmen music etc. on the Frozen footage.

And if I haven't recced it before, there's a fun Frozen / Thor crossover fanfic series, in which Loki is Elsa's father:

The Ice Demon By Lizardbeth
http://archiveofourown.org/series/148596
Currently five stories and 164K words.
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Subject:Continuum
Time:08:30 pm
With a month to go finally remembered to book my train tickets to the Continuum RPG con in Leicester. Really must think about a scenario or two...
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Daring Tales
Time:11:15 pm
This is a collection of material for Savage Worlds, a reasonably playable RPG aimed at pulp fiction and similar sorts of genres.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/DaringTales

"This offer is an offshoot from this past May's Pulp Adventure offer. We wanted to include two Daring Tales of Adventure Compendium collections from Triple Ace Games for Pinnacle Entertainment's bestselling Savage Worlds RPG. But we ran out of room in that offer, so we pulled the two books in favor of this all-new collection. Whether it's the Middle Ages, the 1930s, or the near and far future, the many Daring Tales lines bring thrilling action to your table. Each game line includes pregenerated player characters, making these short adventures ideal for one-night (or one-knight) pick-up games.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$122.50. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $54.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Perilous Places & Serious Situations (retail price $7): A toolkit to add excitement to any battle. Includes the free Savage Worlds Test Drive rules (2013).
  • Daring Tales of Adventure Compendium 1 and Compendium 2 (total retail $14): Nine globetrotting thrill-ride pulp adventures in the pulp 1930s. Includes Figure Flats (retail $5) with 25 character standups to print and cut out.
  • Daring Tales of the Space Lanes Compendium 1 (retail $12): Four far-future Firefly-style adventures in spaaaace.
  • G-Men & Gangsters (retail $10.50): A miniatures game with a setting made for roleplaying -- an alternate Prohibition-era America shattered into warring ganglands. Includes the free Savage Worlds Showdown miniatures rules.
  • Elite Nazi Units and Rocket Rangers (total retail $6): Two short Daring Tales of Adventure supplements with nefarious bad guys and high-flying rocketeers.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $21.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eleven more titles (retail value $68):
  • Daring Tales of Adventure Compendium 3 and Compendium 4 (total retail $14): Eight more pulse-pounding pulp adventures with dark pharaohs, lost subterranean Aztec kingdoms, Tunguska, etc.
  • Space Lanes Compendium 2 (retail $12): Four more starfaring missions with ancient alien relics, doomsday weapons, a holomovie queen, and maddened space whales.
  • Daring Tales of Chivalry Compendium (retail $9): What ho, venture back to mystic medieval England with these five mysterious quests for brave knights.
  • Daring Tales of the Sprawl Compendium (retail $12): Grab your mirrorshades and jack in to these five jobs in the neon-lit Conurbation of 2075.
  • G-Men Faction Packs 1-6 (total retail $21): Six short supplements for G-Men & Gangsters with detailed factions, nonplayer characters, vehicles, and equipment. These miniatures supplements also fit smoothly in a Savage Worlds roleplaying campaign.
There will be at least one additional item added after launch; "When a title is added to an offer after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased that offer automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early." I'm not allowed to say what the item(s) is/are, but it/they look pretty good.

I think this is a pretty good deal if you're into two-fisted adventure etc. and want a LOT of adventures pretty cheap. As usual I need to point out that I get freebies, so YMMV.
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Subject:The end of an era
Time:02:07 am
After eighteen years and umpteen thousand strips we've finally reached the end of the first chapter of the Freefall web comic!
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Subject:More Ebay Tat
Time:08:45 pm
Just listed another shed-load of stuff including several watches - the three I got last week and a couple more yesterday - the graphing calculator I mentioned, and more photographic stuff. I've also reduced the price of the CD copier, in hopes it'll stir up some interest.

All here if anyone's interested.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
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Subject:Today's Charity Shop Bargain...
Time:05:14 pm
Was a book best that had "Zoological Magazine - Linnaeus - Vol 4" on the spine, but when opened identified itself as

An
Historical Miscellany
Of the
Curiosities and Rarities
In
Nature and Art
Comprising
New and Entertining Descriptions
Of the most surprising
Volcanos, Caverns, Cateracts, Whirlpools, Waterfalls, Earthquakes, Thunder, Lightning
And other wonderful and stupendous
Phenomena of Nature
Forming a Rich and Comprehensive View of all that is Interesting and Curious
In every Part of the Habitable World
volume the fourth


What it actually seems to be is a part work, a compilation of bits from 18th and 19th century books; for example, the first bit is "On the Nature and Phenomena of Comets" from the Encyclopaedia Londinensis which was published 1810; it looks much earlier because it still uses f for s in a lot of words, e.g. Underftood.

I doubt there's actually much of use to me, but it only cost £2.50 and does include things like a series of recipes for DIY fireworks (which I don't think I want to put on line) and some quite nice engravings of various birds and animals, so I think I got value for money.
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Subject:Another double RPG bundle offer - GURPS Traveller
Time:09:14 pm
Traveller has to be the iconic SF system. The GURPS version keeps the original setting and adds the level of detail we've come to expect from GURPS supplements, lots of nice twiddly bits that enhance the setting and can easily be adapted to the original rules. There are two offers, one with the basic setting and essential supplements, the other some of the more obscure worldbuilding stuff. For both of them you do need the GURPS rules, of course, and the Lite version is included in one of the bundles:


GURPS Traveller Essentials [core rulebook & major supplements]

http://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTrav1

"This is the first of two separate offers, running in parallel, that present many titles from the licensed GURPS Traveller line originally published by Steve Jackson Games based on the classic SFRPG Traveller. This first offer, GURPS Traveller Essentials, presents the core GURPS Traveller rulebook and all the major supplements you need for a complete campaign in this alternate Third Imperium. If you're new to Traveller, start here. The companion offer, GURPS Traveller Imperial Survey, presents the Alien Guides, Planetary Survey supplements, and more. Both these offers include starship Deck Plans in .PDF versions that are available here for the first time anywhere.

In 1998 Traveller designer Marc Miller licensed the Traveller setting to SJG for use with its Generic Universal RolePlaying System. GURPS Traveller (1998-2015) uses the Third Edition GURPS system. The game takes place in Year 1120 of an alternate Third Imperium timeline (20 years after Classic Traveller) in which no Rebellion occurred (as in MegaTraveller) and the Virus was never released (as in Traveller: The New Era). Loren Wiseman, who worked with Game Designers' Workshop on the design and development of the original Traveller, was the GURPS Traveller line manager and editor of the online magazine Journal of the Travellers Aid Society. SJG produced over 30 supplements for the line, covering all of the major alien races, many minor races, interstellar trade, expanded world generation, the military forces of the Third Imperium, and starships.

SJG's Traveller license lapsed earlier this year, and rights to the line reverted to Marc Miller. He proposed these two Bundle of Holding offers.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Heifer International."

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$92. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • GURPS Traveller 2E (retail price $12): The complete 179-page Second Edition corebook (2002). Includes the free GURPS LITE rules and the free introductory adventure "Flare Star."
  • Starships (retail $8): Three dozen complete spacecraft designs plus rules for creating your own.
  • First In (retail $8): The Imperium Interstellar Scout Service and a complete system for building the worlds its Scouts discover.
  • Deck Plan 5: Sulieman-Class Scout/Courier (retail $10): Are you a scout in a First In campaign? This is your ship. GURPS Traveller Deck Plans are available in .PDF in these offers for the first time anywhere.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with six more titles (retail value $54):
  • Behind the Claw (retail $8): The GURPS guide to the canonical Traveller space sector, the Spinward Marches -- one of the most detailed treatments of the Marches in the setting's history.
  • Humaniti (retail $10): The societies and cultures of 16 different human races -- Darrians, Azhanti, Syleans, Kargol, and many more.
  • Starports (retail $8): The anchors of the Imperium. Written by novelist John M. Ford.
  • Modular Cutter (retail $8): A sourcebook for the workhorse Ship of a Thousand Uses, a favorite of Traveller groups for decades.
  • Deck Plan 2: Modular Cutter and Deck Plan 1: Beowulf-Class Trader (retail $10 each): Ship layouts printed with both hexes (for GURPS) and squares (Classic Traveller).
There will be at least one additional item added after launch; When a title is added to an offer after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased that offer automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.




GURPS Traveller Imperial Survey [alien books, planetary guides]

http://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTrav2

This companion offer, GURPS Traveller Imperial Survey, presents the Alien Races guides, Planetary Survey supplements, and the Far Trader supplement about mercantile campaigns. Both these offers include starship Deck Plans in .PDF versions that are available here for the first time anywhere.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$72. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $33) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Far Trader (retail price $10): Independent merchants and the economics of interstellar trade.
  • Alien Races 1 (Zhodani/Vargr) (retail $10): The Zhodani, Vargr, and three minor races, all presented in thorough detail never before seen in Traveller by star GURPS writer David L. Pulver.
  • Planetary Survey 3: Granicus (retail $3): A pirate stronghold that threatens from Imperial space to the frontier.
  • Deck Plan 3: Empress Marava-Class Far Trader (retail $10): The ideal starship for a small commercial enterprise. GURPS Traveller Deck Plans are available in .PDF in these offers for the first time anywhere.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with six more titles (retail value $39):
  • Alien Races 2 (Aslan/K'kree), Alien Races 3 (Hivers/Droyne), and Alien Races 4 (retail $10 each): Detailed guides to the rest of the major nonhuman races in the Traveller universe.
  • Planetary Survey 1: Kamsii, Survey 2: Denuli, and Survey 4: Glisten (retail $3 each): Three more guides to worlds and systems full of adventure.

Again, at least one more title will be added after launch.



I think this is a good offer, especially if you're new to the Traveller universe; I'm not, and already have a lot of it in dead tree format. Even so I think it's worth considering, but as usual I have to point out I'm not paying for this stuff, if you are your mileage may vary.
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Subject:A better day
Time:08:42 pm
Had a lie-in this morning and determinedly did not touch the iMac G4, it can wait for a wet day.

Instead I went out to post a couple of things and walked around a dozen or so charity shops. Result, I got a graphic novel I wanted, a milk jug (which I've been meaning to get for ages), and another TI-84 Plus calculator, the one that can be programmed from a computer and is horribly expensive. This one wasn't, and seems to work! The last one was sold to the Italian gentleman who claimed I'd sent him a job lot of old electrical junk, hopefully this one will be a little less traumatic.

I also dropped by a Cancer Research UK shop and paid in another £42, the payments that bounced or were returned from the Forgotten Futures people who didn't reply to my emails. That hopefully does mean the end of the shareware side of things, at least I fervently hope so.

Less good news is that Iceland no longer sell the diet sweet potato curry I particularly like - I'll have to sort out a recipe, or find another source.

Got home to find that the batteries have arrived for both of the watches I got on Saturday. Result, two working watches! I'm going to have to download the instructions and get the hands synchronised, at the moment they aren't, but everything else seems to be fine. I might keep the world time one, it's very cool looking, but the Waveceptor isn't as good as the one I already have, and even without a strap should earn a few bob.

And I've just sold the zip drive I got for £1 a couple of weeks ago for a couple of THOUSAND percent profit, so I'm in a much better frame of mind than this time yesterday.

This sounds like I'm obsessed with money, which isn't really the case. I just think that with the current weird state of things I need all the income sources I can get...
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Subject:It's dead, Jim.
Time:06:19 pm
After increasingly futile attempts to get the Mac to do anything I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I buggered something when I "upgraded" it. My guess is it's probably one of the memory sticks, which is malfunctioning just often enough to foul up intallation and gradually getting worse, but it could be anything. Right now I'm feeling too tired to work on it, so I think I'll leave it alone until I have a rainy day or some other reason to stay home, and will start by putting everything back the way it was and work on from there.

So far it's only cost me a lot of time. If I can keep it that way I won't be too bothered, but if it starts to get expensive I'll sell it as non-working and start over with another one.
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Subject:Are we there yet?
Time:07:30 am
Looks like the Juno probe has arrived successfully

https://www.theguardian.com/science/live/2016/jul/05/nasas-juno-spacecraft-arrives-at-jupiter-live
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Subject:It lives! It lives!
Time:08:41 pm
OK, after three hours of looking for the blasted 500GB drive and an hour and a half of actual work I now have a 2gb iMac G4 17" with a 500GB drive, DVD-RW, and 2GB RAM. Leopard installation is chugging along nicely.

Where was the 500GB drive? In my external Firewire box, which is where I put the damn thing to test it a couple of weeks ago!

MUCH later - spoke too soon, for some reason Leopard install repeatedly wouldn't work, I think the DVD drive didn't like the disk which has had a LOT of use. I got Tiger on OK, so I'm now trying to make a bootable Leopard install disk on my Macbook Pro; managed to copy it to an image file, but OSX 10.11 disk utility apparently doesn't burn DVDs natively any more, which is a bit of a PITA. I'm trying to burn the file from Finder but I'm not sure that will work.

If that doesn't work I think I'll use the firewire drive box to make a bootable hard disk of it. You can't, unfortunately, boot a G4 box from USB, so a USB version is out.

Any other suggestions?

later still: DVD is bootable - hopefully will install.
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Subject:Probably not entirely the fault of Brexit
Time:11:15 am
Apple Pro Speakers (the spherical acrylic ones that go with the iMac G4, Mac Cube, etc.) seem to have had a sudden price surge, even the ones on sale in the UK. I'm hoping it's just a temporary blip, if not it's going to make restoring them a lot less profitable. I'm thinking about bundling the current ones with a pair of USB-powered speakers instead if I can't sort out the real thing soon.

Annoyingly there was a job lot of five sets on offer from the US last week, even with shipping they would have worked out much cheaper per pair. Maybe something like that will turn up again. At the moment I'm seeing single sets on sale with silly shipping from the US, e.g. $40! Meanwhile, if anyone in the UK sees anything like this in a charity shop or something please let me know, or pick them up for me if they're cheap!

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Subject:This weekend's markets and boot fairs
Time:11:06 pm
Lots of small crap, nothing major

Several cables including a couple of Apple video adapters, an Apple USB keyboard extension cable, a Dell mini-DVI to VGA adapter, and an ipod remote control cable.
An Apple Wireless mouse (the original clear plastic one with only one button) at £3
A couple of photographic filters at £1 for 2.
A Casio world time watch and a basic Waveceptor radio controlled watch with no strap for £5 - batteries are dead so I'm taking a chance with them, but even if they're dead they're probably worth more than I paid (including a couple of quid for the batteries I've ordered) as spare parts.
A couple of DVDs for 50p each
A giant jigsaw in a cow-shaped box for youngest nephew for £1
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Subject:Anyone need an A1 plotter?
Time:11:28 pm
Just spotted this HP DesignJet 350C A1 Inkjet Plotter on Islington North freecycle - no use to me, plus I don't have room for it or any way to transport it, but maybe someone else here needs it:

https://groups.freecycle.org/group/Islington-North-Freecycle/posts/55222652/HP%20DesignJet%20350C%20A1%20Inkjet%20Plotter
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Subject:So farewell then, Boris Johnson...
Time:05:59 pm
We'll really miss you You could have been a contender Why the f**k didn't you do this when you were mayor of London? Unfortunately you'll probably be back...
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Subject:J.O.I.
Time:12:31 pm
If you don't already follow apod's feed, you should. Today we get a preview of next weeks Juno probe's orbital insertion, in the style of a Hollywood blockbuster trailer.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160628.html
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - The Laundry RPG
Time:09:13 pm
This is one I'm excited about - The Laundry is Charles Stross's series of novels in which the Stars are Right and British intelligence has to deal with a slowly mounting extinction level event. The RPG manages to capture the bleak setting (and the black humour of the writing) very nicely, and I've played several times now and enjoyed it immensely.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Laundry2016

This offer launched Tuesday, June 28, and runs through 2PM Eastern US time (GMT -5) Monday, July 11.

"In the satirical novels and stories of UK science fiction writer Charles Stross, "The Laundry" is a branch of the British secret service, tasked to prevent hideous alien gods from wiping out all life on Earth (and, more particularly, the United Kingdom) while maintaining ISO-9001 compliance. In The Atrocity Archives and many sequels, the harried occult agents of the Laundry fight Mythos horrors and their own bureaucratic procedures. They can save the world, but they have to get a receipt.

The stars are right for this revival, because Charles Stross has just published his new Laundry novel, The Nightmare Stacks (Amazon Kindle edition), and last year's The Annihilation Score is out in paperback (and you can still get its Kindle edition). The Laundry RPG is a great introduction to this ever-sprawling bureaucracy. The roleplaying game, by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (Mongoose Traveller, The One Ring, PARANOIA) and others, adapts Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing engine (seen in Call of Cthulhu and many other games), adding new rules for "computational sorcery."

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$115. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get both titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • The Laundry corebook (retail $25): The 288-page guide to the top-secret, bottom-drawer occult branch of British espionage.
  • Agent's Handbook (retail $15): Required training for Laundry officers, and essential guidance for Laundry players.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $23.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles (retail value $75):
  • Black Bag Jobs (retail $15): Six self-contained missions ranging from the war-torn hillsides of Afghanistan to the corridors of power in Whitehall, from yoga lessons in Devon to the end of the world.
  • Cultists Under the Bed (retail $15): Eight of the nastiest, most tenacious foes of the Laundry, plus dozens of minor ones.
  • God Game Black (retail $15): Expands on the revelations of The Apocalypse Codex novel to send your games hurtling towards Armageddon.
  • License to Summon (retail $15): The dark side of Computational Demonology and arcane science in the Laundry, as well as the magic of other agencies -- and other entities. New spells, new gadgets, new ways to end the world!
  • The Mythos Dossiers (retail $15): Dozens of reports, handouts, eyewitness accounts and deranged speculations from the murkier reaches of the Laundry's archives.
There don't seem to be any surprise extras this time, I think the offer includes everything that's been published for the game.

If you like gaming modern horror and black comedy, weird spy stuff, and/or shooting squamous things with big guns, this is an essential buy. And it looks very good value, especially if you get in early. But as usual I have to point out that I'm not paying for this stuff, I get freebies, so your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Yesterday's eBay bargain...
Time:08:43 pm
...was another 17" iMac G4, which I somehow got for £15 - largely, I suspect, because it was collection only, and has the old black Apple Pro keyboard and mouse. Picked it up tonight and it's in VERY good condition, possibly the best I've ever seen as regards scuffs etc., and turns out to already have an Airport Extreme card - so I needn't have bought more this morning. They'll probably be useful if I keep on refurbishing these machines, so never mind. So far the only problem I've found is that the DVD drive doesn't appear to read DVDs - this is a common problem, I've had to replace drives in most of them. I already have memory, a much bigger hard drive, and the correct white keyboard (which by an odd coincidence I picked up at a car boot sale yesterday) and Magic Mouse so hopefully this will be a nice fast little earner - the only things I'll need to get are the plastic globe speakers and a replacement DVD drive. VERY pleased.
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Subject:Looking for a Superboy story
Time:05:43 pm
In one of the 1960s - or possibly 1950s - Superboy comics (sorry, I'm not sure which issue) Superboy is challenged to perform several feats to demonstrate his powers. For the last of them he simply stands on his head for a while; when watchers complain he tells them to turn their photos of this feat upside down and check with astronomers, who tell them that Earth has been moved sufficiently out of its orbit to be detectable by instruments of the period.

Can anyone give me the date and issue number and title of the story?

It isn't this one, incidentally:



Anyone have any idea?
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