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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Geekery (page 2 of 80)

Yet Another Redesign

Every so often I realize that whatever theme I’m running isn’t up to whatever task I need it to perform. The last couple were certainly pretty enough on the big screen of a desktop PC but neither looked very good on a mobile device. Since I live on my phone (and to a lesser degree, the tablet) almost as much as on a regular PC nowadays, this has become important.

It’s even more important when I’m getting ready to launch a new posting project. (More about that, later…)

At any rate: I’m not done tinkering but the basics are in place now. If you see anything really out-of-whack please let me know!

Better Living Through Video Games

It’s been a long couple of months. Bad weather, bad news, grim mood, no enthusiasm for much of anything.

So, I’ve been playing a lot of games lately. Here’s what’s keeping me occupied:

Stardew Valley – I never played Harvest Moon or its ilk but for some reason I decided to jump on the hype train when this came out, and I have not been disappointed. You play as a farmer, struggling to get your inherited run-down farm up and running. You plant crops, you raise animals, you sell the vegetables and eggs and milk and crafted products for money, you collect things to restore the dilapidated town center, you delve into the mines (too deeply, perhaps) for more raw materials and artifacts, you earn friendship with your new neighbors (and perhaps marry one of them)… there’s a lot going on, is what I’m saying. It’s a very casual game in most ways but you have to pay attention to really prosper.

Guild Wars 2 – It’s an MMO. It’s published by the bastards who shut down City of Heroes, so yes, I have moral qualms about giving them my money. But it’s as good of an MMO as I can find at the moment. I’m not really into it as much anymore but it scratches that particular itch.

Diablo III – Until they release a proper HD patch for Diablo II, this is where I’m getting my isometric-perspective monster-smashing fix. It’s repetitive, sure, but sometimes it’s not about the novelty or the challenge, it’s just about making horrific demonspawn go “sputch” in satisfying ways.

Catan Universe – This is the second computerized rendition of the Settlers of Catan board game that I’ve tried. The first one is… buggy, to put it mildly. This one is very German and very very pre-release quality, but hey, you can play with/against friends and/or against the AI, and it’s a solidly playable experience. If you can’t get friends to your house to play around a table, it’s the next best thing.

Overwatch – I haven’t really played many “shooters” this past few years. Sometimes I’ll sign into one of the first two Borderlands games for a bit but I think I’m just out of touch with that playstyle. I know I started out playing Doom & Doom 2 quite well but it’s a whole different world now. And while Overwatch tries to match people up “by skill level,” I’m almost always the least-skilled person in any given match. I don’t regret the purchase but I’m not compelled to play, either. I probably need to find a group to play with; that was always most of the fun in the old Doom/Quake/UnrealTournament days, after all. Hmm.

…yeah, that’s pretty much what I’ve been playing the last few months.

Hashtag Poke Mongo

With only a day (mostly) of Pokemon GO under my belt, I have some thoughts, presented in bullet point form… or Pokeball-point, if you prefer:

  • Boy howdy is this a Niantic game or what. This is Ingress with a thick layer of Pokemon slathered on top. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but we should be clear that Pokemon GO is more the former than the latter, at least at this point.
  • The in-camera effect is surprisingly effective! (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) I mean, it’s far from perfect but if you’d shown me video of someone playing this game ten years ago, I’d have considered it nigh-unattainable science fiction. I won’t say it’s convincing, but it achieves the right level of immersion and that’s the key part of it, as far as the game is concerned.
  • You have to either find out online how to capture a Pokemon with your Pokeball, or get lucky and figure it out, because nothing in the terse tutorial tells you to swipe to throw the ball.
  • This is unlike a modern Pokemon game because so far as I can tell, you can’t trade and there are no battles of the type any Pokemon player has become accustomed to (hence nothing actually being “surprisingly effective”). It remains to be seen if this remains to be the case, and how much of a downside it’ll be.
  • This looks very like an iteration of Ingress, where you have to team up to take key points on the map, etc, etc. Which is… what turned me off from Ingress because there was zero incentive for solo play and a huge requirement to form some kind of mid-to-large size team of fellow players. If solo play in Pokemon GO is similarly discouraged, I’m out.
  • A “Pokestop” (low-key supply station) near my work is based on a window mural from an aquarium supply store. Too bad that store is gone, and what’s on that window now is the name of the insurance company at that location. There seems no way to report these inaccuracies, unlike in Ingress. Presumably that will be remedied at some point.
  • I was a “smurf” in Ingress, I’ll probably be on the blue team in this game as well. Convince me otherwise if you can.

Rate Your Music

Recently, Kyla and I started entering our libraries of books into Goodreads. After a few days of that, I started wondering if there was something along those lines but for music.

And this right here is where that train of thought led me.

What you see there, as of this writing, is the result of plugging three or so shelves’ worth of information into the RateYourMusic system. Most of the editions were already there, I just had to pick and rate and tag. No problem! On the other hand… most of my Depeche Mode singles from before the Violator album are the 1988 German pressings, not the later 1991 “silver ring” motif versions. Very few of the 1988s were in the system, so guess who got to enter those all in?

Yeah, and I’d do it again, too. I’m weird that way.

At some point my whole CD shelf will be in there, probably by the time I’m done with my impending staycations this month…

The Finished Product

It was pointed out (rightly) that I left off an important part of the build presentation: a picture of the completed model. Allow me to remedy that!

image

All things considered, it’s a neat little model. Not sure if I want to do another build like this one any time soon, though…

Idle Hands, In Time Lapse

Ingredients:

  • One (1) box containing many small plastic parts, some stickers, and instructions for assembling said parts into a model car.
  • One (1) tablet with a copy of Lapse It Pro installed.
  • One (1) tray table with lip to prevent plastic parts from sliding off onto the floor.
  • Two (2) hands with which to assemble the parts.
  • Five (5) hours of idle time on a Sunday afternoon.
  • One (1) copy of Adobe Premiere Essentials.
  • One (1) Blue Snowball USB microphone.

Result:

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