nawkcire

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

Category Archives: Rant

Google Map Reviews

It’s been awhile that I signed up as a Google Guide, a service that allows you to participate in editing and reviewing locations on Google Maps. Recently (though I don’t want to brag) I reached by 100th review and I’ve seen some good and bad reviews.

Full disclosure of how I rate and review, Google uses a 5 star system. With it, I base all ratings on the following:

  1. Does the place physically exist? Kind of mandatory for most of the places I’ve been.
  2. How’s the customer service? How was my personal experience?
  3. How was the services and products offered? Were they everything I expected?
  4. How does the physical location look? Optionally, how’s the washrooms?

I don’t usually offer a 5 star rating which means from me, 4 stars is the most. However 5 stars just indicates I’ve had an exemplary time and experience. Meaning 2 through 4 were exceptionally greater than the places I’ve been. This is fairly hard since a lot of restaurants and shops provide the same amount of service and usually meets a pseudo-standard which seems professional but accommodating.

In terms of a written review, it follows a personal standard. First beginning with a preamble about the general location, nothing bias here. Then I move on to atmosphere of the place, products and services, then customer service. Along with it, I put down anything I’ve observed to be interesting to me and the last paragraph is for if I want to recommend this place or if I would visit again.

It’s likely not the best way to be labelled as a useful review however I’ve seen some really ridiculous reviews on there with a bunch of users saying they found it useful. On Steam it’s the same thing but that’s another story. Usually these reviews have no content besides from a star rating and the phrase “not bad”, “great”, or “would visit again”. If I was a stranger, I would like to know why people enjoy this place and something to really be convinced on going. The idea of a review is not to just let people know what’s going on here but to provide people a reason to go there or should not even bother. I know some people can be extremely critical (some of my reviews sound like that as well) but the idea is to be honest to provide feedback to a place while giving something a potential customer needs to go there.

Regardless I found a lot of places over Google Maps because reviewers have provided some good feedback. Then there are places with those 2 word reviews that turn me away because I don’t feel like going there. With a lot of users, I think Google should extend this Guide program to products. Perhaps a joint product review with Amazon but the Guide program does offer a somewhat credible system for folks.

Four out of five, will review again.

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People are terrible.

Before I say anything, I’m going to say this. I’m a lurker at Imgur. I’ve never made an account on there but I like to browse through some of the content over there. Sometimes it keep things light hearted and some things I see there can make you feel passionate about things. As a hobbyist photographer and I don’t know why, I saw this and my jimmies were rustled.

For those who like to play it safe, let me tell you what you will see in that link. It’s a long list of pictures of people taking photos, seems innocent. However each image has those people abusing the environment. You would see a person standing atop a ledge, one harassing a large bird, and a person shaking a cherry blossom. Then the last one which had me wound up; a man wielding a camera taking a close up of a bird which looks like it’s being choked.

I was shocked and I’m happy I haven’t seen people do that yet. However the reminders are there when taking a photo, never jeopardize your safety and never harm your surroundings. Some people don’t necessarily think of their safety until it happens to them. It’s one thing to stand high and tall to get that majestic shot but once you lose an arm and a leg, not having a good picture is the least of your problems. After seeing the gallery I decided to see if there was a list of selfie deaths. Surprisingly, there is a list! Even worse is the list a long. A lot of folks doing, not much thinking. And I thought I was a bit impulsive.

Then there is the wildlife cruelty, I just hope there is a special dark place for people like that. Whether it’s animal or plant, I do think as a photographer I should be observing and not influencing. There is something about studio photography where you are capturing a subject but when you’re in the big wide world, you are just there to take what may come. If you’re using the world as your backdrop, then you should be responsible to minimize your impact to the environment. Don’t tread on a flower garden or shake a tree because it suits you.

Anyways, I will be doing a bit more photography as the days grow longer and sunnier.

This. Phone. Company.

A couple weeks ago while I was writing the last blog post, I kept getting calls throughout the week. At first I understand these people are being paid to call me to sell me the company I subscribe to for my telecom service. However after the third phone call in a week, I’m starting to get fed up.

Of course it makes sense companies call you by their means to be friendly to let you know you’re due up to renew your service after a contract (if you have one). As important is to keep repeat business going to make money off their customers. However I’ve been called a few more times than usual within the week. Prior to this, I would receive the occasional text about local discounts on entertainment and venues. Those customers similar to me might know this company.

It sounds to me this company is desperate. Their constant calls in the evening seem to be more hostile than informative. It’s really getting on my nerves that around 8:10 in the evening, a lady calls me to tell me about their “new fast internet service” they would like to  offer to me as a “loyal customer”. There are a bunch of problems.

Starting with the speed of about 25 mbps, it’s great speed – incredible speed, even. However at $50 a month, I am still paying for my internet. No matter how affordable it may be, my current living arrangement has given me access to the Internet. My income isn’t enough to pay more bills considering I would pay double for communications. So if my phone company is reading this, know this – please stop calling me. I’m set for the time being.

Thanks for “considering”.

Gaming Achievements

Don’t know about you guys out there, but I feel a bit off every time Steam tells me I’ve  completed an achievement. I always open up the in-game overlay to see what I did to deserve a pop-up like that. Usually achievements fall under after completing part of a the game or the whole, then there are achievements which are very mundane. Some games are sensible with the achievements but there are are some that can be sinning against the purpose of achievements.

To me, a sensible achievements is story completions. It makes sense especially if you created a game that’s hours long. Another sensible one is when you collect an amount of objects. Makes sense to put a good achievement on a tedious task. If the game has some complex stuff in it, it’s even cooler if there is an achievement for it like saving someone from explosion damage or being able to react to a certain way. However there are a few achievements I don’t want to see even though I might have achieved these on my own account and accord.

I like a good achievements for a repetitive task. However a repetitive achievement for a repetitive task is overboard. As much as I can kill 100 bots, I don’t want to kill a million bots for an achievement. At that point, you’re just playing to kill and not necessarily enjoying the killing bots. This goes the same with FPS games which does the same thing but with a different weapon. I’ve played games which want the player to kill  a thousand with one weapon and a thousand with another. It’s a nice way to push players to try these guns and grenades, but there is no point aside from forcing players to play with weapons the developer is lazy to balance or the player does not which to play with for the duration.

Mystery achievements, as much as they are surprising they sometimes don’t provide any contextual information for their completions. Whether in the icon or description, they can be fairly vague. Most games I’ve encountered have been mysterious but able to convey a point where they want us to do. For most of the time, some of you developers have to give the player some sort of clue.

Then there are games I’m not even sure they’re really games anymore with over a hundred achievements. I have a game in my library which has over 500 achievements. Most of the are hidden since Steam has the courtesy to hide the massive list. I don’t think I have the patience for 500 achievements! Early on I had Team Fortress 2 as the only game with achievements. Looking at it now, it has a lot of achievements that look intense. I did achieve the “Pyromancer” achievements but it was an undertaking. To spent years on a game to complete the list of achievements is as agonizing as spending years in an institution. Which gets me into downloadable content achievements!

This generation of gamers seem to support DLC to games. Nothing wrong with that since some of them are like expansion packs of the past. Most of them would hardly count as an expansion pack, but I digress. I don’t like achievements related to DLC’s, especially on Steam since the service clumps all the game’s achievements. Which means you can’t “perfect” a game on Steam without buying their DLC content. Which sort of supports the argument of games are incomplete until all the DLC’s are released which sounds a cash grab.

Achievements should be an enhancement and not the objective for enjoying the game. I honestly hope more games can do less in achievements.

The Dark Hole

With all the news and headlines running amok, it really feels like we are living on the brink of chaos. I usually avoid the news to stay in a positive mood, but it seems more recently these articles are popping out more often.

The animosity of peoples unable to feuds and differences and a people’s indifference to care but to care for the superficial; I’m starting to think tomorrow is the tomorrow of an uncertain future. As we see ourselves as decent, noble, compassionate people; I can hardly describe what I see as just. I’m including myself in this. We are vile and terrible creatures compared to our ancestors who made a difference in the hardest times. Yet here we are squabbling over sensational headlines and preaching toward social justice for our selfish gains. As I sat at city hall recently looking at all the happy faces about in the seat of municipal power while the news reports about hatred for civil authority; I had to ask, “what do we want?” What exactly do we want as a people? Do ask for peace? For unity? It’s scary how it looks like we’re grasping at straws rather than having a defined movement in our generation. With technology gifted to us, we are underutilizing it to push on with the gift our ancestors alwys wanted and given to us. A gift of everlasting peace and harmony to our people and the people in need.

I feel I can just do is sit here and watch for us to dig a dark hole to bury us all.

Rush.

This is definitely based on my feelings on people taking public transit; especially during rush hour. I’ve been working a bit more recently and for it, I too have become one of those people who wake up early morning to go to work. In my city, we do have train and bus service. On most days nothing really happens, people get on and people get off; no fussing considering how cramped the subways get. However a few incidents have occurred where I don’t really understand people sometimes.

During rush out here, the trains run on a tighter schedule. We’re talking about a 5 minute delay between trains. On off peak hours, it’s really a bit loose on what really defines 5 minutes. As a gamer timing matters no matter what the case will be (Except casual games; filthy casuals). In RTS and FPS we have rushes, run in and do the dirty work regardless of the cost. In reality, rushing could really mean injury and delays when it comes to public transit. I’ve seen people get squished by doors on trains, a few times some people do get halfway in and just get smashed by the door. Of course the doors don’t split you in half but it does hurt to get smacked edge on by a pneumatic piece metal and rubber. As much as people are looking out for themselves, they don’t consider their behavior to generally be malicious. If money talks, then money is making people things to get on time. I’ve seen old people, young people, in suits, in casual wear, pretty much everyone during rush hour get hit with the door because they ran for it Indiana Jones styles. Best story is yet to come. I’ve once had a one minute delay where people seemed to want to squeeze in more and more as the train was stuck in station because people wanted to race through the doors. One guy runs up, smack. Next guy in a suit, smack. Two more before we had the train moving again. As cool as it to dodge the doors, you as the person rushing, are a selfish person. Considering each train is carry about 100 passengers or more, you are jeopardizing everyone’s word schedule just so you can conform to yours. Next time, get an alarm clock so you can at least get to work early.

Not as often, I get to observe the best in people. Most often than that, I see a lot of worst in people. Sure you hear some good news about people doing good deeds, but I want to acknowledge those unnamed folks who has always given up their seat for someone who is in need of one. Whether it was for a pregnant woman, an elderly person or someone with a handicap (like a broken leg from running towards the train doors). Those few in my city, are really outnumbered during the many in rush hour. On the buses and trains, there are designated seats; 6 in the front of the bus or 3 closest to the doors. As nice as it is to have a seat during a long commute, some people would outright refuse seating. A few days ago, I was coming home from work. Old lady steps up on the bus, the bus is packed end to end. I step aside so the lady can pass me, she stops at the designated seats at looks at the three people sitting there. For a brief moment of time, those three made eye contact at each other wondering who is giving up their seat. The guy in the suit looks both left and right of him while the woman looks to her left and another man looks right. I don’t want to be ageist, in the situation of “giving up your seat for an old lady”, regardless whether she was a man or woman and she was either old, crippled, or pregnant, I would say socially the youngest looking one of the bunch should stand and logically the closest to the door. So it was either the woman or the guy in the business suit. Luckily, he grew a pair without not before long.

Definitely the past few months, I’ve seen the best out of people and I’ve seen the worst while travelling by transit. It’s always the same stuff too. We lived as a society for millennia and yet we have not held on for dignity and respect for one another.  Be thankful we live in the age of buses and trains. Not long ago, we had horses and long before domestication, we have our own two feet. In all respect all human progress has led us to a very prosperous moment where we have all this to our disposal. Be humble for the fact you can travel a great distance to get to work because you wouldn’t want the alternative.

 

Trust.

I’m going to say this right now, since the last time I posted on my blog I am thankful for every game developer out there. Without their games, I would’ve ended up at home curled up in a ball and lost faith in humanity.

Trust to me in important, the way society works. To garner security and resources, trust has to be placed somewhere. You wouldn’t realize it but at this very moment, you put your trust in hundreds of people, mostly faceless, to protect you and make sure you have food and water for the next day. You rely a chain of people who ensure your money is worth something to buy the necessities within your society like clothes. Trust is a very delicate thing but it could create the strongest social bonds.

The scariest thing is when the trust is compromised. The momentary vulnerability can destroy the safety of yourself and those you care about it. Something said in confidence now for the world to hear. It definitely can destroy a person’s reputation and their perceptive character. For me, I can’t trust the person after it. It could be a long time to trust them again; could be years, could be never. Most of the time I hold trust as high as respect, fairness, honesty, loyalty, duty and service; this is the base I gauge my trust in others. Whether they are a group or an individual, these what I hold as above all. A person can have the same interests as I do; if they don’t hold or display these values, it’s unlikely I could ever trust them.

Trust is a risk no matter what anyone tells you. Trust is a culmination of what you know based on instinct. It’s not a guide but what you can build on top of the trust. Until next time, and I hope I can trust you, I’ll see you next time.

Resolutions 2016

This is starting to feel like a yearly topic about new years resolutions. I personally don’t believe starting a new year with something new. A dramatic change in your life will now change your forever, for me making quick changes leads to quick disappointments.

To me it doesn’t matter what you have said to commit yourself to this line of activity; whether you want to write more, be more fit, earn more or do more of the things. Resolutions to me notifications of how less I did last year so I push myself early on this year to do more. In reality I really want to do more in the entire year rather than the first month. A resolution for new years shouldn’t be anything more than to let you know what you could potentially do, not of what yourself should push hard to do more.

I’m about a year into my last resolution was work out more, it didn’t necessarily start out as a gym membership and a everyday schedule. It started with realizing what I could do and just going out and finding the means to do it. At first, push ups next my computer; months later I upgraded to a gym membership since I outgrew the basics I could do alone. Now in 2016, I’m still at it; lifting and running since 2015. Not because of a resolution, but I noticed I wanted something a bit more for myself.

Resolutions to me are the wake up call. The commitment and the will to change comes from within to continue and persevere. Do you have what it takes to continue or whither? We all want to be a better, but it will take a little time to be the better of ourselves.

Slow in Sixteen

Happy new years, readers! As much as I want to be jovial, I feel anchored in 2015 and dragging myself into 2016. Dragging because I’m getting older and I don’t want to grow up.

Ripe in this moment in my life, I went from having a broken heart and a broken dream to just hanging on a bit of hope alone. From one bad thing to another in the past few years,they seem now stepping stones. Coming into 2016, I feel my time is running out. I fear in 40 tears time, I will have a big regret of never spending my time wisely while I was young. The last decade whipped by me so 20 years can easily be a blur.

I still have time to set things in motion for the next few years. My stubborn hope is all that keeps me from giving up. Hope in something I have yet found. 2015 was the year of recovery, perhaps 2016 will be the year of discovery; maybe rediscovery?

Day 16 – Education

I have ranted on about education in the past. It’s been something I’m frustrated with when I’m job searching. A lot of employers I meet have the preference of wanting post-secondary students for menial labour. As I read their position’s duties, they do not require someone with such qualifications. As someone with nothing more than a high school diploma, I would think I would be more qualified than a post-secondary student.

As someone with little to no interest in post-secondary, I would consider myself more of an asset to employers since I would have little to no obligation to work. I can world over time and late nights unlike university students who may work over time but are less hesitant to do so because of classes the following day.

I feel young adults are not lazy or not work, but overworked and underpaid. With all the unpaid internships floating around, it’s the employer’s treasure to find free labour through promises of “work experience”. I’ve actually tried to get into some of these interships and most of the time the employers are asking their interns to flip the cost for certain things. I remember this interview where the employer told me about how I would get into events as a media outlet. Suffice to say, if I wanted to write a piece about a concert I will have to flip the bill myself. All for “work experience”, my advice is to ask lots of questions if they’re wanting to just provide you just “work experience”.

Some of you out there might refute this and tell me your job is fitting for your qualifications. Then you have figured out how to get into it. However living in a large city, you have a lot of folks entering post-secondary and come out with an expensive piece of paper with little to no way to justify the last 4-8 years. People go back in and get more degrees and diplomas while some settle for a trade. Perhaps the schooling is not wrong with education, but how education is applied in certain areas. There are sectors which may require a post-secondary qualification, however in positions like cashier and warehouse associate a diploma would make little sense. I’ve even seen sales associates and representatives requiring a bachelor’s  degree! The way I see it, there are employers out there expecting way too much from the the employee. Most of the time, employers are the one’s lazy. They don’t seem to want to train you on workplace equipment so they want a school to do it for them.

If you have it nice and set, I dare you to try and find a menial job with your big boy degree. You will not feel those 4 years would be worth anything. I don’t even have one and I would feel the exact same thing.