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January 31, 2000: Upcoming Pyramid Chats

Here's a look at some upcoming chats on Pyramid:

Tonight (Jan 31), 7pm: David L. Pulver
Guardians of Order staff writer and GURPS freelancer David Pulver discusses his current projects, including the newly-released anime horror RPG DEMON CITY SHINJUKU, his ongoing work on TENCHI MUYO! The RPG, and his two current projects for GURPS Traveller.

Wednesday, Feb 2, 7pm: Steffan O'Sullivan and Ann Dupuis
Steffan, the author of FUDGE, and Ann, whose company Grey Ghost Games publishes FUDGE products, discuss anything FUDGE.

Wednesday, Feb 9, 7pm: Bob Portnell
Bob Portnell takes questions on SIMPLY ROLEPLAYING! from MicroTactix Games, his super-hero gaming column at Comic Book Life, and the joys and trials of line editorship.

January 30, 2000: Fnord

The fnords ate this illuminator.

January 29, 2000: Text Adventures From Hell

Who says that the text adventure is dead? Check out the Old Testament Text Adventure.

Or, for a really SHORT experience, try the Richard Cory Text Adventure. Or "Corey," as the case may be; the authors can't make up their minds. You will want to give the art at the end of the game a miss; subtle, it's not. But the text game is definitely worth the very small investment of time . . .
-- Steve Jackson

January 28, 2000: Conservation of Conspiracy

Illuminated Site of the Week: When they're all out to get you, your day can fill up fast: changing buses, dodging metal detectors, renting P.O. boxes. Now, for the theorist on the go, intricate plots - all of them - come in this quick, easy-to-digest article from Brunching Shuttlecocks.

January 27, 2000: Chicago, Chicago

I'm in the Windy City from today until Monday, meeting with Alain and Micah to scheme about new games in general and In Nomine in particular, visiting FASA and Bungie, discussing plans for a new [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR CLEARANCE], and generally hanging out with our Chicagoid MIBs. I'll report further when I get back.

I will also be doing three game store appearances, along with our Managing Editor, Alain Dawson. There will be demos, prizes and book signings. All you Chicagolanders, shake off that cabin fever and come out to play!

On Friday, January 28, we'll be at AF Books in Frankfort, Illinois, from 9:00-11:00 pm. For directions or information, please call (815) 469-5092.

On Saturday, January 29, we will visit Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, Illinois from 12:00-2:00 pm. For directions or information, please call (847) 577-9656, or check out their Web page.

Later that day, from 4:00-6:00 pm, we'll be at Something Wicked (the mystery/game store) in Evanston, Illinois. For directions or information, please call (847) 328-1300.
-- Steve Jackson

January 26, 2000: Honesty Does Not Pay

There are two ways to look at the story of the French math whiz who cracked the code on their "smart" bank cards. Was he an evil hacker trying to blackmail the banks, or was he a brilliant entrepreneur who saw a potential problem, worked to solve it before criminals could figure it out, and then made the mistake of asking to be paid well for his time?

On the one hand, he asked for a lot of money to reveal his formula. On the other hand, if his intentions were malicious, he could have wreaked havoc by publishing it on the Net. And it certainly looks as though the "offense" for which he was arrested - buying ten subway tickets with his gimmicked cards - was performed at the request of the bank, after he contacted them!

In late February, we'll know what the French courts thought about it . . .
-- Steve Jackson

January 25, 2000: Free Paper Miniatures

S. John Ross has set up a lot of Dan Smith images as Sparks - downloadable drawings set up as TrueType glyphs. Thus, they can be printed out in any quantity and at any scale. Docco is included . . . No, they're not ALL free, but freeware samples are available on the site.
-- Steve Jackson

January 24, 2000: No Thanks, I Just Had Some

If you think that online bookselling is the cutting edge of the Internet, think again. Those Goats guys have a new business plan . . .
-- Steve Jackson

January 23, 2000: Army Men!

Why pay for metal miniatures when any toy store will sell you a bag of plastic ones for a few bucks? They were good enough when we were 6; they ought to be fine now. Here are a couple of sites with Army Men rules:

Fighting Plastic, a game by Corey Butler. Still in playtest; tell him what you think!

The Army Men Homepage, with collector/nostalgia information and another set of rules.
-- Steve Jackson

January 22, 2000: New in Warehouse 23

Java's Crypt now has their own section in Warehouse 23, showing the entire line of Illuminati and In Nomine jewelry.

And we've got some new items . . . Wear the new pendants, earrings or pins creations based on the infernal bands from In Nomine. Proclaim your membership in the Illuminati with new sizes of pendants and pins and earrings. (Actually, it's a great cover. Who would suspect you of being Illuminated if you CLAIM to be Illuminated?)

January 21, 2000: Two Million!

Sometime Tuesday, we hit the 2,000,000 mark on our home page hit counter. Scary . . . the 1,000,000 mark was only 15 months ago (we've been keeping count since 1996). And of course we have thousands of visitors every day who don't go through the home page; they visit Pyramid or Warehouse 23, or go directly to one of the game pages.

Our thanks go to the people who make this possible. We have a number of volunteer editors for various pages. They're the ones who keep the news, errata, and other content up to date. Think good thoughts about them . . . And, of course, none of it would happen without webmaster Kira and assistant webmaster Keith, and the people at IO who keep the the T3s up and running.

And, of course, without the fans it would be nothing at all. It's nice having you folks visit. Please keep coming . . .
-- Steve Jackson

Server Update

Yesterday's upgrades went fine, though as it turned out the problems were more hardware-related - all of the cooling fans in our server's case had failed. But a bit of minor surgery fixed it right up, and all is well again.
-- Kira

January 20, 2000: Server Downtime

Our webservers will be offline for a short time Thursday for some long-overdue upgrades. Don't panic. Everything is under control fnord.
-- Kira

January 19, 2000: Is This A Test, Sir?

Finally went to see Fight Club last night. Liked it. Much better than the reviews . . . I suspect that the critics liked it too, and didn't want to admit it. You have to sympathize with the protagonist . . . it would be pretty rough to suddenly find out you were the leader of the Servants of Cthulhu, and even rougher to find out you couldn't quit.
-- Steve Jackson

January 18, 2000: Skinny Dipping

K. David Ladage sent us this new skin for WinAmp, based on the GURPS cover. Kind of neat . . . I use SoundJam for my Mac, but part of its package is a converter for WinAmp skins, so I've got this on my own machine right now . . .
-- Steve Jackson

January 17, 2000: Now Shipping

We're now shipping The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming and the French version of Illuminati.

And we've just done another print run of the GURPS Basic Set, and we printed another 2,100 hardbacks. Almost all of them have gone to distributors already; yes, once again, it looks like we should have done some more.

For the full-scale blurbs for the new stuff, see our New Products page. I will, however, take this opportunity to say that the Munchkin's Guide is an EXTREMELY silly book and, if you like humor about gaming, you should definitely check it out.

-- Steve Jackson

January 16, 2000: My Brain Hurts!

It seems that the folks at Goats came up with a new direction in gaming early last year. How could we have missed it?

January 15, 2000: Steven Brust to chat on Pyramid

Steven Brust, author of such excellent books as To Reign In Hell, The Book of Jhereg, and The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars is joining us on the Pyramid chat area next Wednesday to discuss his writing and current projects. Don't miss out - if you're not already a subscriber, join now!

-- Kira

January 14, 2000: It's Very, Very Black

Illuminated Site of the Week: Check out . . . but don't tell them where you found out about it.

January 13, 2000: Are We Really This Desperate?

Who am I to say? Maybe we all have a Voard in our future.

January 12, 2000: Discordia Attacks to Control Orbit One

with 20 megabucks . . . Check out the CNN story. Is it real or is it Illuminati?
-- Steve Jackson

January 11, 2000: Alliance To Floor SJ Games Products

SJ Games and Alliance Games Distribution, Inc., have agreed to an arrangement that will allow the four Alliance warehouses to offer 100% guaranteed fill rates on all SJ Games items in print. Alliance will keep an inventory of all backlist product and monitor the inventory level in order to make sure retailers can always get their orders immediately.

Said David Cooke, VP of Alliance, "Starting February 1, Alliance will offer a 100% fill rate guarantee for all Steve Jackson Games items that are currently in print and available."
-- Steve Jackson

January 10, 2000: Government Raids Electronic Business

It was the Customs Service rather than the Secret Service, but what happened to Ramsey Electronics in November was eerily like our own experience with the Cyberpunk raid. The perfunctory, incorrect, unsigned inventory list of seized goods is especially familiar . . . as is the story of a clumsy initial "recon" followed up by a raid on a legitimate business, using wholly unnecessary force. Ain't it great to live in a free country? As with the SJ Games raid, it makes you wonder why they didn't just come in and talk to the boss . . .

Visit Slashdot for much more on this.

January 9, 2000: There's One Born Every Minute?

Some hopeful entrepreneur is trying to hawk a copy of our free GURPS Lite on ebay. His opening bid is only $1.50, plus a buck shipping. No takers yet :-)
-- Steve Jackson

January 8, 2000: Scary Candy

Product testing above and beyond the call of duty . . . that's what you'll find on the Ultimate Bad Candy pages. Its creators have tried the Candies That Should Not Be Eaten, and lived to tell the tale, that others might avoid their misfortune. Our hats are off to them.

January 7, 2000: Curses, Foiled Again, Eh?

Illuminated Site of the Week: You wouldn't think from looking at all those benign, smiling faces that Canada could field a cutthroat group of spies, and you'd be right. According to All Things Considered, they've been lax of late, letting little things get in the way of the finer points of international espionage.

-- Suggested by John Dunn

January 6, 2000: OSHA Pulls Back

Faced with widespread criticism, OSHA has explained that no, they didn't really mean their "clarification" to have general application after all, but they are withdrawing it anyway. The story is on

But they called for a "national dialogue" to study the issue of government supervision of employees who work at home. I'm still going to write my letters.
-- Steve Jackson

January 5, 2000: Government Erects Barriers To Telecommuters

All right. Here comes our benevolent government again, making it harder for people to earn a living. The Net makes "telecommuting" possible . . . now you're not completely dependent on your local job market, nor do you have to live in a bad place to keep a good job. And it's great for a company like SJ Games, because we can draw talent from all over the world.

But the Feds have to get involved . . . These OSHA regulations make employers legally responsible for the employee's HOME, which gives employers a very good reason not to hire telecommuters, or to fire the ones they already have.

Here's the whole story.

If you think this is insane, write to your Congressman. I'm going to. Our telecommuting employees are very valuable, but I sure don't want to have to snoop around their houses every few months, and the government shouldn't force me to do it.
-- Steve Jackson

January 4, 2000: SJGames Attacks To Control MacWorld Expo

With the recent Illumination of Purity Software, Inc., Steve Jackson Games has launched an ambitious play today. With Purity's added transferrable power, in the form of a WebSiphon version of The Fnorder, the attack is sure to succeed. To join the ranks of the Illuminated, visit Purity Software's booth (#3458, in the North Hall Net Innovators pavilion) at MacWorld Expo today through Saturday and mention the secret word of passage.

You don't know the secret word of passage?

-- Ben Kimball

January 3, 2000: But Bugs Are Natural!

As we enter a new century of freedom and scientific progress, Austin-based Whole Foods has given into the latest round of anti-science hysteria and banned "genetically modified" ingredients from its products.

Meanwhile, looking at their site, we see that their next featured chat is "January 6th, 6:00-7:00 PDT - Turn those pesky insects into delicious meals! David Gordon is a biologist and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. Chat with him about the benefits of eating insects."

O-o-o-o-kay . . .
-- Steve Jackson

January 2, 2000: Kira Writes a Book!

No, not a GURPS book. Actually it's a CGI book for beginners, entitled CGI Programming 101. I've been working on it for longer than I care to think about... 3 years is a conservative guess, though admittedly about half of that was procrastination. The other half was a lot of hard work, since I chose to self-publish, and had to not only write the book, but also do the layout and print buying.

But it's finally done now. I had it printed by Bang, the same printer that does many of SJG's books, and it turned out really nice. I doubt it'd have gone so smoothly without the help and advice of a lot of people at SJG: Jack Elmy, who designed the spiffy cover; Gene Seabolt, who showed me how to tame Quark; Monica Stephens and Russell Godwin, who answered a great many of my questions about printing and shipping books; and SJ, who edited the English parts of the book (as opposed to the Perl parts) and who proofed the cover text for me. I also have to thank Mark Cogan, one of our Pyramid subscribers, who proofed the Perl code and helped me refine many of the chapters and code examples. Many thanks to all of yall for helping me turn this crazy dream into reality.

If you'd like more info on the book, visit The table of contents, ordering info, and first six chapters are online, along with code and examples from the entire book.
-- Kira

January 1, 2000: Happy 2000!

Looks like we've all made it into the new year, even if the new millennium technically IS next year. The calendar rollover has gone more smoothly than expected by anybody but the most Y2K-complacent. And I am *delighted* that the emergency preparations were unnecessary. Working on GURPS Y2K certainly killed any lingering ideas I might have had about the romance of chaos . . .

So now it looks as though we'll start 2000 about where 1999 ended. Which is fine with me. 1999 was a good year for gaming and for SJ Games. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to write an "annual report" for you . . . after all, our customers are very important stakeholders in this operation.

Oh, and here's MY new year's prediction . . . next year we'll start listening to everybody who said that the real millennium starts in 2001. And we'll do another round of mega-parties!
-- Steve Jackson

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