nawkcire

Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Formality v. Functionality–Big Twitter apps

[Starts 3 paragraphs in for those who want my review, thought you liked a good story…]

It’s not a surprised I use Twitter more often now to promote my blog and YouTube channel. I’m usually on there to just find something to read or have something short to get off my chest rather than posting it on my blog with under 140 characters. For a awhile when I started my blog, I wanted to be able to spread my message out there in the simplest form. Mainstream or some way to broadcast to the world, “I wrote something, might be nice to give it a read.” I started using Twitter as a media prerequisite to learn about the world and the culture I live in, over time the account went into disuse until I started my blog. First impressions, Twitter wasn’t the best place for a 19 year old. I was on it because my teacher wanted me to be on it so classroom censorship was a tough deal breaker when you have something to say but your account is restricted for media studies only. The turn around when I started this blog a few years ago a way to document my thoughts and activities. As I began to grew a skin around blogging and microblogging, I decided to use an application to be a hub for all my Twitter needs. At the time, I just read up on applications and reviews; most of it in jargon. So rather than just reading a review for the pick, I just observed what everyone was using. Most of the time, it was TweetDeck and HootSuite.

tweekdeck

For the past couple years, I’ve used TweetDeck on the basis of popularity. It was most commonly used when I was lurking at hashtag threads. When I first got it on Chrome, the interface was simple to master. One simple login screen later, the application went to work by sending me feeds from my own Twitter. Soon after, found the Search button to find other hastags to follow and after that was able to organize to what I wanted to see and not see certain posts. But that’s just one camp out of many to simplify the experience.

The other large one I seen and heard about was HootSuite. Only largely came to me from large app review sites and users from organizations. I was really hesitant at first to ever try it. Today, let hesitation be damned! Setting into a new application isn’t always easy if you’re like me, why move on to something else when one works perfectly? After creating an account through HootSuite, I was greeted with a stark dashboard similar to the TweetDeck app. Along with an approximate sidebar for your options. So how do they fare against each other?

hotsuite

After spending a few hours on HootSuite, the similarities begin to fade away. Both platforms offer multi-account support, so you can monitor each Twitter profile simultaneously. Each can create tabs based on criteria such as retweets, favourites, and hashtags you wanted pinned as a tab for easy reference. TweetDeck and HootSuite provide a simplified interface to ensure ease of use, so you know where to go and how to do certain Twitter-y tasks. Unfortunately this is where TweetDeck ends it’s list of goodies.

HootSuite offers more than just connectivity to Twitter. It provides a way to be connected to other blogging and social media websites like LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook and mixi (Hell if I know what is mixi). Along with account aggregation, it has an array of enterprising features such Assignments to help business consolidate their media efforts. As a Pro and Enterprise user, you have access to team organizations to help with assignments. With organization, you would want to see the team’s or your brand’s performance in media; so they have analytics to help form a report on your media involvement through all your accounts or just particulars. Along with it’s organizational faire; it boosts a range of in-app applications such as a YouTube app to view and share through your HootSuite, which most apps are trying to advertise the same view and share feature if not trying to enhance the in-app experience.

As a Personal user, I found the program fairly restrictive. Most of the features your listed as Pro feature which required a $8.99 (assuming US currency) per month payment for use. The only things I can really necessarily do is add apps within an app and just view counters of my tweets and followings with analytics. As a personal user, the only redeeming quality is a list of followers and a list of people I followed; which is easily accessible but really unnecessary at times. Like this feature already available on TweetDeck and on Twitter itself, it’s analytics is par if not worst to the online solution already provided by Twitter. I’m a free user on both, but getting additional data from Twitter for free. Though if I was a business, I would agree HootSuite might contain some insight through it’s own analytics but would not necessarily change my behaviour within social media. The auto-scheduler is a nifty touch if you want to send out tweets at a particular time. However this feature is best removed to prevent people with spam accounts from filling threads with their wares. Unlike Tweetdeck, it feels more geared towards businesses than it is for individual users. With it’s suite of analytics and in-depth monitoring, it’s a improbable choice for a single user like me.

What I found interesting is the load times and the refresh rates. Upon loading up each application, I found TweetDeck to be much faster. Though if you have a speedy connection, you won’t feel it. As a person who uploads video to YouTube, it’s noticeable. I can only speculate what is going behind the scenes, but this slowdown makes it very regrettable since it feels not optimized for lower connection speeds. On HootSuite, you can set refresh rates to as close to 2 minutes for each tab within the application. On TweetDeck, you can set it to almost real time in a margin of a few seconds if you have a slow connection. While TweetDeck can update in the background, Hootsuite seems to stop updating when you’re not in the Chrome browser tab. Along with update angst, the way it personally handles hashtags does make it easier to read since it gives you a brief amount of time before the dashboard tab refreshes. Good thing if you are watching a keyword or tag with a lot of frequent users.

Each application has features gear towards a niche user. Enterprising and business prefer to see things by the numbers while your average Jane and Joe want to just post and share. As a personal user with very little social outreach, it would be preferable to stick with TweetDeck by Twitter for it’s simplicity. Simple doesn’t always mean better, simple means in this case I get what I need and I don’t really need it to be any better. If I was a social media specialist or a community manager for a large organization with multiple accounts, I would say HootSuite is the way to go to provide the means of easy consolidation; but would not jump on board too quickly on analytics.

Overall experience for both, restrictive on HootSuite where features are blocked and load times are slower when connection is slow. However it does provide a sense of additional control through analytics and aggregation. Where are TweetDeck is simplistic with little to no load times. However remains to be seen if it can handle business.

Don’t believe me? Give them a try on Chrome:

TweetDeck

HootSuite

Until next time, follow me on Twitter?

Dating a Gamer – The Insider Guide

[Left in a lot of euphemisms, enjoy!]

This week, we’re going to be a bit light on the subject and approach a topic I don’t talk to anyone about; mainly because I have no one to really talk to about things, hooray loneliness! With how prevalent gaming culture is now, it’s best to lay down the line about going to pick up someone who is a gamer just like you. If not like you, then picking a gamer to be that special somebody in your life. Like any good RPG, there will be ups and downs filled with dungeons of demons and dragons in the hopes your reward was worth the quest (Can this sentence get any dorkier?).

As a note, I’m not a dating expert; I’m a gamer. I take from my personal experience to help you if you are confused or unsure. Results may vary since people’s personalities vary, this is to help you and not all necessarily get you hooked up with anyone. 

Let’s Play

On top of how you fine that special someone, a new complexity reaches when the person says “I like to play games” and “I’m a gamer”. It might sound like a turn off, but I find video games are the best way to learn about someone. Much like learning their hobbies and interests, video games can be a great indicator of their personality. Approaching someone with the question should be around the same time you ask about their interests and hobbies. Now, don’t freak out that you don’t know any of the titles they’re mouthing off, feel free to ask them about it and you can totally just Google it later.

When you bring up the topic of video games, there can be two reactions; ecstatic or passive to the topic. If they seem to come back with the “Meh, games are okay.” kind of response, you got a lamer. They’re not into games but they have no opinion on it (or they do but they just want something else, I’ll let you figure that one out). To me, these people are way to active to play video games; totally understandable, we all need something else.

If they’re really interested, they would probably tell you their favourite games and all that. Good indication, they are committed to one thing. If you’re looking for a long term relationship, commitment is good right?

Choose Your Own Adventure

Now when it comes to their favourite games, they usually stick around for a reason. The game will always fall under a certain genre, much like music or movies. It can tell a lot about someone based on the games they stick to or are currently being played.

If this special someone like MMO’s, they’re usually seeking social interactions and a sense of belonging. Depending how often they play these games, they want to be sociable with some control.

Shooters are the equivalent of your adrenaline junkies. They seek a short thrill and they want those quick amazing moments. As one of them, definitely you want more and more until you get burned out.

Strategists whether they play in real time or turn based, these people really like to plan it out before they execute it. Total control for the right results. Plan and then execute. Careful where you make you move because they will make their move.

Roleplayers like to be in their own world and play their own parts. Self control comes from doing deed for the comrades around them. They can get fairly creative sometimes (Bow chicka wow wow).

Indie gamers are a toss up. Those I’ve met have been a bit of everything; hipsters to mainstream gamers. These people usually are looking for something outside their comfort zone and open to new ideas and concepts. They want change and want to find the small and special gem.

Tank or Spank?

There are two “streams” in gamers; competitive and co-operative gamers. All gamers possess both but one will be the most dominate. There is no both or none; even lone wolf gamers, they are competitive because they want to be good by themselves. Competitive gamers strive to be better than all and would try to do whatever it takes to be the best and on top (Wink wink nudge nudge).  Cooperative players usually put the team before themselves, they rather watch your back than be alone. They are committed to being one with the team than running solo.

Endgame

After all it’s said and done, knowing if someone is a gamer can be the easiest way to find out more about themselves than through other hobbies or interests. Opens up to know what their personality is like. However as a note of caution like any human being, a gamer has their flaws. They will range from person to person, but usually it’s obvious depending how much video games they play. Sometimes they can be hyper focused on games, but that’s the risk you take. Only way to really date a gamer is to be a bit of a gamer yourself. You don’t have to be totally involved to it or into it, just contribute a little and they will contribute back.

Each gamer has their flaws so watch for pitfalls and explosive barrels. Be committed to the plan or leave the game. Most of all, enjoy it and take every little bit of loot you get. When you find the right one, make sure you’re both geared up for the best two-man raid of a lifetime.

Things I’ve learned making Let’s Plays

I’ve never put in so much time for one thing I wanted to do; okay, I put in a lot of time for a few things. However I never been devoted to be a bit creative. It was always something I lacked. I can be creative at times to think of ideas (thus how this blog was born) but I never really been a visually creative person. Start of this year, I decided to make let’s plays on YouTube which somewhat harkens back to my old Black Ops gameplay. I always wanted to do something constructive or creative to develop something I had problem learning. For my new readers, I’m ADHD and I am not a very creative person; quite the unusual irony.

Over the past six months, I learned a few things from playing and recording video games. To veteran recorders and producers of gameplay, it may be obvious; but I do admire the fact the consistent and persistent nature of YouTubers. They remind me the humbling experience of being unpopular, bottom of the pyramid, way of finding a style. To those who haven’t had their mind set on WordPress wanting to do LP’s or record gameplay, I want you to learn from someone who doesn’t have a following and started with pretty much with a lot of time, plentiful amounts of procrastination and no money to put forward to upstart a hobby or interest. Take this as a warning or advice (or both).

Starting off, I needed a recording software. Something light on the system and can record the amount of time you need. For me, I need it to record continuously because I never know if there will be some good action bits. At the moment I’m using Open Broadcaster Software because it allows a one click solution with minimal set up but enough functionality to make changes to the encoding. At the beginning, I downloaded the program to replace CamStudio because the installation file I downloaded for The Dead Linger didn’t work. Both are free, but after having an experience in both products, I’ve come to realize the interface with OBS is easier and built towards online streaming and local recording than for tutorials and short presentations.

When I started with Banished LP’s, I recorded them in large huge batches. I’m talking like files sizes of 1GB times how much time I had. So in under x amount of hours, my hard drive would be capped out on raw video files. I think at one point I had 10 files lined up for uploading and those uploads would take up to 12 hours per file to upload. So it would take about 10 days to upload if you include time for me to just use my internet connection for anything besides uploading. So in the 30 plus episode run, it took a day each. However in TubeStar, the same 20 minute file would take about an hour or two. So if the game is very action based would require more frames. Therefore the file size will be larger compared to text based or 2D games. This is true in OBS by the way, try with your recording software of choice!

In making The Dead Linger, I found a difficulty with sandbox games where travelling is required. For one thing, you have to fill the time walking with something interesting. If you are a quiet gamer, definitely cut out the nothingness. If you have something to talk about, just talk and don’t hold back until you’re done. It can be interesting, informative, funny or just be somewhat like a small video journal about your life while you play. Just let it out and even if you are going to cut it, then cut it but it’s always to have some extra bits to have more to add if the video is a bit short.

Length of the video to me is only the limitation to the audience and your hard drive. However personally, I think people have a bit of a short attention span. With that in mind, I do my best to make my videos 20 minutes or less. At first, I aimed for 20 minutes. Now I end it when I think I have enough content or I set an end point. I guess it’s because Defiance has missions unlike The Dead Linger. So I can end one mission as a video. What I’m trying to say, find a way to end a video.

Early on, I said I’m not a very creative person. The truth really unfolds if you watch my YouTube channel compared to everyone’s LP. I don’t have a visual introduction, no end cards or effects. I just play as is and I do that because two main reasons. First being theory; I don’t really want to promote myself, I want to promote the games I play. The games are the feature on my channel and I want people to find their niche in video games. The large part I want them to see my video and try the game themselves. I think the second reason why I don’t have visuals is obvious. I’m not the best editor or graphic designer. I’m usually the idea man, the guy who wants to do it and get it done. I like to be the person to establish point A and point B and let people define the direction of travel. But at times, I do regret I’m not a visual person. I wish I could have some creativity so I could make graphics. But for now, you got to like where you start out. You don’t have to be established to start something, you just have to start.

Have I learned everything from making videos? I’m just about to get started. I don’t have a job, I don’t have the creativity, I don’t have best of anything. I just do it because I go in knowing I could fail and I would learn something from it or succeed and gain something I don’t really know and I could get interested into it. I might not make money from it because I consider myself small time but it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, I do what I love. I love video games, I love playing video games and I want to share my love with people who are still finding their love.

If someone who loves to teach a noob about graphic design and video production, let me know!

Apocalypse…Now?

If you are a 20-something like me, you probably remember the Y2K. For the younger generation, remember when that guy high on bath salts? What about that Mayan Calendar business? No? Don’t follow “end of the world” conspiracies? Okay, fine. For most of us, we have certain specific fears. Whether you are afraid of heights or spiders, we all have one fear we may or may not acknowledge; the fear of the unknowns. Things we don’t understand or yet to comprehend. Ideas like the future or death is something we can either be happy or dread would happen because it is something we have never experienced. What if I told you, fear of the unknown is a natural feeling.

There is nothing to feel dreadful for when it comes to things we yet to know. We face it together in our own way. When we lose something in our lives, fear is there to remind us we are still alive. Being fearful is a natural response to things we are scared of such as darkness and heights. To me, we feel fear because we are not quite sure what’s there beyond what we can see. We are not scared of the colour black normally, but when we’re in the dark we are scared not because it’s dark; I think we are all just afraid what is within it. For the large part, we all get startled or scared based on what we previous encountered. So if we are in dark places all the time, usually we can get comfortable with it and we overcome it. How about on a grander scale? What if this scenario of fear goes beyond just one person and it’s a population?

Over the last couple decades, the western world has changed from worrying on past mistakes to brazenly take on challenges beyond what we can full understand outside our own understanding. We see things through one way mirrors. We see and examine things from our enclosed space to make assumptions of others. As a society, it can be dangerous for us to be looking through this mirror. We can do what we can to put labels on people to the extent where we can catalogue everyone and everything in the world based on these assumptions. As a gamer, we are presented these assumptions. The end game scenarios presented to us show a torn world from it’s former glory and a world where the places of pride are bloody battlefield where we get by through killing others to achieve our goals and needs. It always happens at once, the spark that lit the gunpowder. The world’s fragility, regardless of it’s daintiness and finesse, would be able to manage to get through the first of many days.

In any apocalyptic scenario I could conjure, I always account for optimism of which a few good people would prevail to defend their way of life or the lives of others. Whether they would be soldiers fighting sentient robots or doctors curing the human zombie virus. They will be the ones we will be looking forward to get us through the upcoming days; hope in a nutshell. Life would continue as close to normal before any situation goes out of hand, after which it would fall apart a bit at a time. The hardest thing lose for anyone is control, because they are scared of what will happen if they do. Which would explain why dictatorships would like they do; they keep the same people in power and to maintain it, they use whatever power to gain more power to hold on to their power. This cycle only breaks when the leader does not possess everything. This is when revolution (or rebellion depending on which historian you ask) occurs to star anew. In our culture as refined as it is now, started with revolutions of both peaceful and violent natures. These fumbling and failing are reminders we are all part of something bigger and we should never gain power by taking it from others. An apocalypse whether it is natural or man made would be the greatest lesson in humility to all mankind. When the electricity powers down and the oil dries up, we will depend on the largest resource we have; ourselves.

To me, an apocalypse is not really the end of humanity. It is revolution at it’s largest when we are not generally prepared to face it. Usually it will be slow going at first where the socio-economic systems break down in places. All the end results would be people trying to calm people down and attempt to maintain order even if there are shortages on resources like food and fuel. Even as the world falls apart around us and society ensuring its survival, would we be able to see it in time to save ourselves? Would the apocalypse be here without us knowing it? Could a day, a few month, a couple year down the road; would that be all the time we have left?

Hard to image what the beginning would be like, the collapse. Would it be full of civil unrest? Catastrophic failings to our human hubris? Zombies roaming the Earth? What would life be like right before everything kicks off? Would those people even know it was coming? Would we even know it was coming? We never really look too far ahead of us as a society. We are always looking for the here and now; what we need now so we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. We never really look too far ahead of ourselves to really see what we can do to keep everything steady as it is now. I remember hearing so much about peak oil, the world supply of petroleum is running out and we reached a point where we can’t get anymore of it. We humans use it for many things; from fuels to fun toys, from tools and trade. What if suddenly there was no more oil left? Would we still be here on our computers? Are we still going to be able to open a plastic bag of food and drive our cars? Of course a few have been looking into alternatives to mitigate our dependency on fossil fuel, but would this research reach mass production? Would it be just in time before we run out of fuel for everyone?

However the world falls apart, the question remains; are we prepared for everything? There were speculations the 2000’s were going to be chaotic, where the end to our means finally arrives. Predictions of resource depletion and violence if we continued our way of life. Perhaps the apocalypse is already here. Perhaps this is what they meant. Did we even see it coming?

The Video Game

You thought the debate between console superiority was crazy, there is one which still debatable and attempts to define the gaming industry outside or within the entertainment genre. What constitutes a video game? This in many forms has sparked many opinions about what qualifies as a video game. Many are in depth, setting parameters which define most but not all video games to date. While the others grasp on the notion of a video game on principles of entertainment to define them as mere entertainment, which skirts the very purpose of the question.

Lets break it down simply, the noun itself; “video game”. Video being an electronic medium; TV, computers, anything with a visual display which can generate images. With an emerging tech industry, video is going beyond flat images and even innovating on it’s own medium. Holographic and 3D technology is slowly coming to fruition but will be awhile before it is accepted as common medium for all our commercial uses. “Game”; a form of play or sport. If it is competitive then it’s played with a rule set which luck, strength or skill is  a determining factor for a victory state. Now we are going somewhere; we can now say games are a sport and a form of play. Take that mainstream media for calling it child’s play! Suck it hard and savour it! Regardless of either play or sport, if there is a competitive element it must have winning condition based on those 3 attributes. So poker is a game since it’s a bit of luck and skill. Soccer is a sport since it’s all skill. FIFA 2014 is a sport because it requires skill to win. Starcraft? Definitely sport since the win condition requires skill; same with most strategy and shooters, though shooters are sometimes more of all the three than just the one. What if the “game” does not possess a competitive or sport component? Is it still a game?

Now we have to understand what exactly is “play” to understand what is defined as a “game”. Like sport, play is set in two camps, structured and unstructured. Structured being a clear set of rules enforced while unstructured where none are existent or clearly enforced. Under this all video games are games; games with no clear goal and those with one are all defined as play, in turn maintain their game status. Even sports can be play if rules or victory conditions aren’t observed. The National Institute of Play (apparently it is a thing), goes beyond the two camps to describe types of play. Attunement play is to make interactions with other beings or persons to socially connect to them. Body play involves human movement; jumping, reaching, rolling and anything you can do with your body. Object play is the manipulation the environment; skipping stones to moving your dear companion cube, this would constitute as object play. In it’s complexity, social play gets into involving a group into an activity; whether the group is one more person or a crowd. Imaginative play or pretend play would sit nicely under this type; this form is more creative where you make up your own little world or place in your mind. Narrative play; in short, storytelling can be considered play since it allows us to convey our experiences and stories onto others. Creative play, somewhat like the jazz music of play; where we build upon our own or other ideas which can help us understand complex thought in simple terms. All video games would fall under at least one of these categories regardless if there is a victory condition or not. Some can even go to say they may be two or more of these types. A game is both competitive and non-competitive with or without a end or victory condition.

As humans, we tend define the world as we see it. We qualify and quantify to the exact measurements for our satisfaction but in the end exactitude can lead to exclusion; what we can exclude, we could learn more about. Perhaps the question is more than to define what a video game is, perhaps it’s an exercise in humility. Regardless of the genres of games out in the world, video games is just another bit of our existence; a subset within a subset within another subset in the totality of human experience.

“Hero”

One word of many I never really got into my life on a casual term. It’s one of the words that are I feel overused as a positive compliment to an individual. Whether you say it in it’s masculine or feminine, out of it’s commonality is it’s mediocre value to the word which I think should be more valued.

A hero (or heroine if you are a woman, for ease of use I’ll refer to the masculine term) in contemporary is a person admired for their courage, achievement or possess noble qualities. I find the definition insufficient for a lot of reasons; mostly the because these are descriptions of every person. Courage is among us whether we choose to acknowledge or refute in our self-esteem. In many ways we own our life through courageous acts regardless how small they seem to be to someone. To ask the pretty girl (or guy, not going to judge) to asking their hand in marriage. From fighting wars to getting over a loss of someone. We have some amount of courage based on our experiences. The more we can embrace different and new experiences, the more courageous we are because we are ready to face those same and similar events.

In our society, we tend to overstate achievements. As a gamer, I see achievements in a material and numerical state. As social status symbol, it distinguishes experiences we endure; as a material society, this gets a higher meaning with material manifestation in medals, parades and an every lasting legacy through name or likeness. Achievement in it’s basest sense successfully fulfilling something, the something being a goal most of the time. Our society values achievements which hard to obtain; most of the time, these are academic or difficult goals to obtain. As before, achievement is overused and even underused to differentiate events in your life. We might not get a medal for the first kiss, but we would remember the very first kiss than any other sequential first kisses with other people. We celebrate the achievement of completing of high school with prom, but it is more of a necessity than an achievement because it is not the end but an ends to a mean. We might not get a notification for life’s achievements, but we should acknowledge them they are what they make us individuals.

Nobility is a quality dictated by others. It defines what is good and what is bad to do and the etiquette of resolution and action. Whether to steal to save a life or holding a door for someone, this is a noble quality to conform with our morality and ethics to act in the good or reputable. In our society we consider noble qualities are acts and ethics which positively serves the group.

Back to heroism, you can see anything could label you as a hero but society materially distinguishes you if you are a hero based on a set of conditions. In my life, heroes are usually refer to who has been in war or has saved someone life. But under the contemporary sense, anyone can be a hero in their own right.

The way I would label any person a hero would be someone who has endured a great hardship to success in their goals. Especially those who question and defy conventional ethics or morals to achieve something for the good of all. To me a hero does not need to be recognized for their deed nor the adoration of others to do what is necessary. They are there to help others regardless of their enduring hardships. They put themselves out there to save others but never be saved themselves. They are the risk takers and defenders to keep us going. They are the warriors and pathfinders who march forth into the unknown to seek our answers. They remind us every moment is hard fought and worth preserving.

We are the heroes and we stand amongst our own.

Open Letter – Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

As a long time user of your operating system, I’ve found it very adequate for my needs. The interface is fairly archaic but classic and the program variety is immense, it’s safe to say you are very versatile when it comes to PC computing. The only problem I have with your product is how much I have to pay to access the games and programs.

Whenever anyone buys a copy Windows, I doubt they are looking for a new experience or how it looks. Rather they buy it because of the programs classically synonymous to the platform. Originally it was the main way to get to the internet through the archaic Internet Explorer. To play Flash games, you would’ve needed Adobe Flash Player. In the current state, you are in a stalemate with Apple’s operating system for user accessibility and aesthetics in an operating system (close second is every Linux distro). To be honest besides from changing how you look, there isn’t much left you can really push for an an operation. It’s a heavy price to pay to play and use the programs I like which is why I scour the seedy parts (pardon the pun) of the Internet for a copy. The last copy I bought I had to wait really long for a price drop, even then it was pricey for the update. 

I don’t use any programs that you make any more aside from your operating system. VLC over Media Player, Paint.Net over Paint, Firefox over Explorer. Third party has got you covered, all you have to do is facilitate their use. You really have nothing going for yourself anymore. So I don’t really see the point in trying to reinvent something you have perfected You new interface on Win 8 was a dud when people demanded the old desktop layout for PC. The only thing they seems to be going great is the Microsoft hardware. You have the tablets and the XBone, they need you there; but the bulk will be the millions of laptops and desktops. They need you to be space saving but robust, Windows. For the price, we expected you to be pretty good but all you are is a disappointment.

You totally suck for a $200 operating system since all you do is waste space and catalog my personal files. My only beef is you are way too damn expensive that I rather pirate than buy you. You can stop compensating for the price with software that don’t work as well as third party and slim it down your need for secure yourself from pirates. If you made it yourself affordable, there wouldn’t be much of a need to steal it.

Just some food for thought, Microsoft. Stop gouging for an online operating system and go back to make a helpful experience. Otherwise, I might be looking for Ubuntu. I’m starting to hear good things about them.

Sincerely,

Eric

Blogger, Windows 7 user

“’sup, random?” -Me

It’s that time of week again where I mumble on the most random topics and you have the time to enjoy the absurdity of my thoughts! My brain space to the cyberspace, it’s more of oddities of the weird and wonderful.

Last year, there was so much hype around facial and vocal recognition in gaming to have a system to personalize your gaming experience. It wasn’t revolutionary, but more innovative. Regardless of it’s setbacks and it’s flaws, it’s just one more reminder of how individual is unique. We have fingerprints, irises, body types; but how far are we unique? If there is a machine to use for identity purposes, what body part can we use? Would it be possible to sit down and get a unique butt print? What about punching the machine, would it leave  different fist print than someone else? Could I use my anus like a fingerprint? Would the anus be unique to everyone? I would like to see the applications for these machines if they exist.

This week, science got another big ego boost when images emerge of a new ship design. For those military folks, it’s not a boat. The future is in travelling towards the stars. A lot of articles have indicated this rendering to declare NASA’s design to the Alcubierre drive; in layman’s terms, warp drive. “Warp drive…like Star Trek?” Yup, before you rejoice I find it somewhat inaccurate to compare what is dubbed the IXS Enterprise to the fiction famed Enterprise (Not going to associate the registry number for the ship, you can pick any ship of that name in the Trek universe). Most sources claim the ship looks much like the Enterprise however to me and perhaps a lot of hardened Trek fans, this is nothing like the Enterprise. The Trek ship is just what it is, a ship. True the name Enterprise has be used as a ship name since ships sailed the seas, the only commonality ends at the name. Admittedly, forward section looks a bit rounded to look like a half saucer. The interesting part is the rings around the ship. In my head, I do believe these rings are used to displace space-time to create a warp bubble. In much it is a Star Trek-like design but it is not anything close to the Enterprise or even anything from Starfleet. The closest resemblance to any ship would be a 22nd century cruiser design from Vulcan. The logical design to keep the warp bubble simple and symmetrical. The best part of this situation even though it is conceptual would be if we can get it launched on the same day, year and location. In Star Trek, this would place the first manned flight April 5, 2063 in Bozeman, Montana. Though I doubt the drive can work in atmosphere, so likely above Bozeman would be a compromise. Wouldn’t that be an irony if we achieve the same? So far the communicator, laptop and even the tricorder has come to fruition.

Along with neat stuff, whatever happened to the idea of colonizing Mars? I remembered some project to permanently put people planet side. A one way ticket with the chance of living your life on a red rock. In a world of billions, there’s bound to be volunteers to get off this planet. Will the chosen be much like the explorers of the New World? Will it be the curious ones among us who will travel to the planet next door? Will the first colonists be families and people with backgrounds essential for survival? I got a weird feeling there we a lot of people wanting the opportunity to go just because life here kind of a dud. Adventure is beyond safety and curiosity is not without risk. If it meant living on a different world forever, the untouched frontier sounds incredibly appealing assuming food and shelter is somewhat assured. Quite appealing if you consider another world void of plants and macroscopic life. It would be fun at first, seeing the new world unfold in your Earthbound eyes. As long as you don’t let the isolation get to you, it would seem almost living in a world beyond material wealth. Perhaps for those who will go to Mars will experience what humanity has fought and lost over many generations; the truest sense, freedom.

Summer Festival, Refits, and Shuttles

Star Trek Online has started their 2014 Summer Lohlunat Festival on Risa. Once again like the 2014 Winter Wonderland, I’m not even surprised the goodies in this event involves a ship. Last year’s inaugural festival contained the Risan Corvette, this year we have the Risan Luxury Cruiser. Ever since they released the ship specification, I’ve been comparing it to ships of it’s class and other ships to find a comparatively similar variant. There’s an underlying theme for Risan ships; speed, turn rate and flight speed. From the corvette and the luxury cruiser, they don’t necessary top out as the fastest ships but it comes close to being the fastest. By comparison, the corvette is close to a Tactical Escort and the cruiser this year is close to a Assault Cruiser or a Heavy Cruiser. In an escort, speed is important; not so much on a cruiser but it does help with getting away from sticky situations. In larger ships, you would also have to account for inertia as well; for the cruiser this year, she’s a big girl when it comes to slowing down and speeding up. With double the amount of inertia, it is predictable to see the drift effect seen in the Odyssey cruisers and carriers. Also it would take the ship long to reach top speed, so running in and out of combat would be a bit more difficult. Out of all the analogous ships she can be compared to, the closest resemblance would be the Odyssey for the fact of here lethality and configuration. In the Dev Blog, she boasts 5 engineering consoles, high hull damage and passive subsystem boosts to shields. Along with the obvious Cruiser Comms Array, it solidifies her position as a a busty boat. However what makes her Risan by design aside from the aesthetics is her unrelenting speed and unique console piece which completes the 2-piece set. Overall, I’m a bit excited to own the cruiser, however fitting her for a combat role would be a challenge.

Recently I managed to gather the credits in game to make refits to my Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit, it was  a pricey operation to get her up to date with the new Fluidic antiproton cannons but it’s slowing paying off. More proof Cryptic pushes endgame with overpowered gear. My main priority now is to get my Jem Hadar Dreadnought ready to go with canon weaponry. At the moment I have most of the weapons excluding the torpedo launchers I need as well as engineering and tactical consoles being unfilled. Once again with my handy dandy escort, console grinding should be relatively simple much like bashing your head against the wall. With both the Dreadnought and Luxury Cruiser now taking up ship slots, I have to put up with grinding dilithum again for Zen for additional ship slots; I am not looking forward to it.

Underutilized, I still believe having an armed shuttle is a priority. With the new Counter-Command rep project and Cryptic releasing shuttle mission variants for a limited time, I managed the opportunity to experiment with the two ship sets. For the most part, the weapons are definitely underpowered when facing races with a high resistance to phaser and disruptor damage. The tactical console is weak considering the small boost to damage compared to other console. The powers provided by the set is really useless in a shuttle setting but the power and shield strength is pretty useful on a shuttle. Though I only tried it on my Delta class shuttle, I think both the stats and the looks make the shuttle useful, however the weapon/console set is off putting because of the lack of damage. I would just prefer an antiproton turret and quantum torpedoes compared to the special phaser turret and photon torpedo. So I scrapped the idea of a Counter-Command shuttle in favour of a mix of items that work well together. Even then, I still need to find more consoles to help me get it all together.

Summer of Star Trek, year two. I think this is the longest game I’ve played ever.

Double The Trouble – The No-Win Scenario

My personal newsfeed recently has been addressing a lot about the good ol’ double standard. It’s interesting how people are now pressing this as an issue. Is this really a big deal?

I’m not belittling the fact there is a problem with our society and how people should act to each other. It is interesting how people come to the defence of a certain gender; in particular, the arguments that are pro-male or pro-female and anti-male or anti-female remarks. The way I see things, all sides have a good point which everyone is a causality of the debate. No matter how you can argue, you can’t escape the fact you represent one gender. Your opinions are your own and they are valid to some extent but doesn’t mean it is the correct or incorrect value. It would be similar to looking through a window in a house facing in each direction and deciding which vista is the most beautiful.

For now, the news places a male in a situation where he shot people of one gender because the other gender made him feel inferior. No matter how much spin you place, this is the bottom line with all the fact currently presented. The secondary effects being the online lashing against males objectifying females and subject of sexual entitlement. The results are standard, victims placing blame based on observation bias and those who use this opportunity to parody and attack others based on that very bias.

Regardless of gender, race, culture and religion; no one is entitled to own another person as property. Most Western societies have outlawed this, to a coin a phrase to feel you belong to someone is one thing but to demand it is another matter. In our society, my society, we place values set decades ago towards males. We place them as the bread winners and protectors. Feminism at it’s core also places these values towards women, which should be how it should be; in fairness and equality. Feminism at it’s purest is to allow women to be able to do everything equally to men, in theory at least. We done leaps and bound sin the last 60-70 years to bring forth equality and yet we haven’t stopped because we still have so much to achieve. In this modern era, no one should feel greater than someone else based on gender; but there is artifacts of what was and is the past. In the workplace as an average; women make less than men, men are likely hired for laborious physical tasks. At the same time the way we treat taboos also account for bias; example being the teacher-student relationship; how often do you seen a male teacher in a school compared to a female teacher? In most areas, it’s fairly common while others still have a higher ratio of female teachers.

From birth to death, we are discriminated whether we like it or not. We personally to accept them as compliments or insults. Those gestures gravitate towards what is acceptable and what is not to a group of people. This becomes our norms and taboos, our codes and creeds. Though they may slowly change with the times, those that don’t usually have themselves rooted somewhere in our society. I’m not anyone under the bus on this matter but there are a lot we still hold on to from our Western past which hold true to today.

What do you see on TV and over the internet? What do you hear from others around you? The medium to present a message is everywhere we go in out interconnected world. We should be wary of the people present them and question them and never accept it as a fact. Women should never be skinny to the point where they are “slim”, men are not suppose to look buff with “abs of steel”. Look beyond the superficial and you will discover the truth, there are forces beyond a person’s control to change but doesn’t mean you have to play by those rules and perceptions. As a group, we can change what is acceptable and what is not; we have the power, but we are stuck here pointing fingers at each other. Men blamed for being misogynist while we watch the newest fashions donned by young and impressionable women. There is no side to blame besides our own. We are the product, we are the end point in this cycle we call society. That man shot women because he objectified women; at the same wouldn’t a woman have the same capability to do the same because she objectified men? If the situation and role were reversed, would it received the same media coverage as it did or would “he deserved what he got”? No one deserves to be shot and no one deserved to be shot because they are who they are and cannot change. Whoever you are, you are a victim as am I to other’s control. When we feel inferior, we try to feel superior and when we do we cause a chain reaction where we hurt others to make ourselves to feel better. This is a no win scenario where no argument is the right argument, it is only an argument just because this situation has arisen where we address it as a problem.

However where there is no right or wrong, there is a compromise where no side necessarily gains. In this case, it is acknowledgement of our flaws and differences. Women, you are held in regards for your behaviours just as men are responsible to our own. In our society, we sexualize both to gain a capital profit and in the end the only victims are those who idolize this perception and consider it as beauty. Don’t put us in  the position where we consider those perceptions to be true or there will be those radical enough to consider them as fact. Men, you too are expected to be held accountable for your actions. Any perceptions of manhood held by our former patriarchy regardless of it’s antiquity has very little merit in modern society.

Until next time, you are and ambassador of your respective sexes; respect each other or both would be disrespected upon.

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