Radio Is Dead

I’m starting to see why people dislike radio nowadays. I don’t think the internet is the problem.

Locally according to my new MP3 player, a SanDisk Clip Sport, I have about 20 stations playing music. Not just pop music but a bit of a cultural mix aside from the occasional talk shows. However most of the stations do play top 40’s from the present or yesteryear. Which is the realization, I remember back in the day there were hardly any new top 40’s. Now it seems like there’s a hit every few months or so.

Back in the day for you to discover new music, you had to listen to the radio or from background music at a store. Then you would just have to buy the CD or a cassette (if you’re as old as me). Different to now, where you can discover music through an endless stream. Then you just buy the single or the album – digitally. In a way, radio is playing catch up and playing more of sports recap of all the best music that has graced people’s ear. Then depending on your country, they have to abide with  censorship laws. So songs with profanity are edited for radio or it won’t be played. It’s unfortunate because some songs are great with the profanity. There is an upside to this.

Most of the tunes chosen by the DJ are usually great to listen most of the time. Though in the recent trends, the new urban hip-hop and R&B is kind of producing lacklustre songs. Catchy yes, but you can get sick of it so quick.

With all it’s flaws, I don’t think radio would go away. In it’s limited way, it’s an amazing free way to listen to some good music. Even as diluted as it is, you can always have  chance to discover a new song. Here, we have an indie station and usually it’s  hit or miss because it’s all music I’ve never heard of but that’s a classic trait about radio.

I’ll still listen to the airwaves but I’ll be station surfing.

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It Could Be Anyone

I’m terrible at keeping this thing updated. I’ve been kind of just going on my own thing and I was planning a week long trip. Unfortunately all best plans fall short, especially with me.

With the recent ongoing crisis in my city, I feel like the aftermath brings so much hate and ignorance. Three months, a van attack with 16 injured. A shooting involving two children. Another that killed two downtown. Now 13 injured and 2 dead with the shooter slain. To each, a reason why. To each, a victim undeserved.

Watching the news about the recent incident causing mass bodily harm, I realize not just the victims can be anyone. The man with the handgun, 29, mental health in question, deceased.

We all make choices in life, acting mostly to the obvious and some the obviously easy way out. Of all the things I try to spearhead, mental health is the strongest issue I try to push onto others to learn. Since ever I identified my own demons, I was given another option. With everything I’ve learned in my short life, there’s always another way to fix all your problems – a peaceful and mindful fix.

For me, I do my best to help others and capture the intricate moments with my camera. I always felt like an outsider and tried to be in. But I’ve accepted who I am and now I’m just working on being comfortable with myself.

As much as anyone can be a victim, anyone can be their own bad guy. However a good human being is the power within knowledge and understanding the world around you.

 

 

 

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.

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.