12:03 pm - Apprise
If you will permit me to break from my usual style to apprise you of a few things:
My laptop's latest element to quit working - following the hinges and USB ports - is the network card. The good news is that I've already ordered a new machine, and chances are I won't be getting any sympathy over my present woes once people find out what's under its hood. The bad news is that for all intents and purposes, I'm incognito again. I haven't lost any emails I've received, I'll continue to recieve them, and I'll even be able to read them, but any response of significance will wait until my new machine arrives, which will hopefully be some time next week. I may be able to kludge something in the interim, but if you've emailed me recently and haven't heard a reply yet, don't hold your breath waiting, though I'll see what I can do.
If you've been debating whether or not to subscribe to Puzzle Japan, something I'd recommend regardless, now would be a particularly good time to do so. Due to some spotty connectivity issues they had last month, they - in true stereotypical Japanese humility - are apologizing by upping their puzzle output about 50% through September. Puzzle Japan offers at least three new puzzles a day, often four; for thirty days, they'll be averaging at least five a day. Puzzle Japan requires a PayPal account (for anyone outside Japan, at least), and costs $3.99 per month. I think it important and interesting to note that you pay at the END of each month of service: when you first sign up, all the puzzles of the last thirty days become immediately available, and you aren't charged again until another month of puzzles has been made available. This means you actually have until the end of September to get the extra puzzles. You don't have to solve the puzzles the day they are posted - puzzles don't expire until 180 days. They even have a new service for new members: for a one-time fee of $12, the entire 180-day backlog is immediately made available. That's five months of puzzles for the price of three!
And no, I'm not a Nikoli employee. I do think that if you enjoy my puzzles, you'll enjoy theirs. I'm just a hobbyist at present; they do this for a living. They are the bar I'm attempting to reach.
Speaking of my puzzles, I was trying to do something overcomplicated with Puzzle 15 that really wouldn't have worked unless I used asymmetrical givens. Not wanting to settle for that, I decided to redesign what I had in mind. I should have the puzzle up before Sunday. It'll be a Polyominous puzzle with a 21×21 grid, and the number '21' serves as a theme for it as well. You'll see.
I now return you to your irregularly scheduled journal. - ZM