nawkcire

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

Tag Archives: ideas

Bikers, Cyclists, Pedestrians. Oh My!

The other day after I spent my time taking photos around the city, I decided to hop on a streetcar. Usually people don’t chat with the driver because their focus should be the road. However looking at the face of the driver, I felt this guy needed a change of pace. So what did we talk about?

Aside from photography which he was more versed than I would ever be with techniques principles and hardware, we got into talking traffic in the city. We swapped stories as vehicle operators and pedestrians, agreeing and disagreeing on a bunch of topics. The entitled cyclist and racing bikes and cars sprinting through the roads. Hearing from him, he mentioned he wants more warning especially for pedestrian crossing. However I quipped about the confusion about pedestrian crossings.

Here we have a countdown timer for pedestrians. As simplistic it sounds, the countdown was originally meant for the vehicle committing a right turn and to tell pedestrians to stop. Whoever planned and engineered these signs made it look like the lighting system makes you think you have a certain time to cross. I said to him the only way to stop pedestrians from dashing across is if all signs just told everyone to stop. A red light for cars and a solid hand for pedestrians. In lieu of a countdown, just a hidden timer until the next green light.

Sometimes a good idea just involves talking to people who have to live through those mistakes.

The city here is filled with literal and figurative signs of actions upon the infrastructure. Senior zones that cover just 2 city blocks, defunct or aging neighbour watch, unenforced school calming zones on 6 lane thoroughfares; there is no consistent idea what the city wants but works on the whims of those affected by them. In a chaotic system like traffic infrastructure, I would side with anyone who builds a logical and intuitive system of signage.

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More travelling?

So mid-June now, probably put aside to a lot of game time and been buckling down. Mostly for photography in nature, but at the moment I’m still planning. “Still planning” is a term I really dislike because I’m starting to feel more indecisive. I recently took a trip to a local tourism office to really find somewhere to take my camera. Somewhere local and old school, with a bit of historic and artistic value and vistas. Also everything has to close to the hotel room as well.

In-province, I’m thinking of a small town. I went to Niagara Falls this spring and it was a great. So it’s just a matter of finding the place that’s worth taking a shot and perhaps something less seen by other. Niagara Falls has been a tourist trap for ages but I really knew the beauty of the place when you leave the casino area. Really see what Niagara Fall really is when you take away the neon lights. If I can’t replicate the success of that trip, I’m going to exceed it. I want have extraordinary photos and memorable moments.

For the time being, I’ll just be window shopping for a nice place to visit. Hopefully before the end of summer.

Editing Photos

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I’m getting pretty good with my camera. I’ve managed to take some good photos of scenes and portraits recently. Summer’s almost over and I think I’ve shot over 1000 and uploaded only under 50. I personally learned a few things just by shooting. More importantly I learned to shoot the same scene about three times using different settings. I usually find a better shot through the three photos; better in a way of how it looks and the colours I’ve captured.

Ever since I got my computer (almost a decade ago now), I downloaded a nifty image editor called paint.net to replace Microsoft Paint. Out of the box, the program is an improvement on MS Paint and feels has more control familiar to Photoshop. Recently I’ve jumped into the forums to find plugins for the open-source application, trying to find stuff I can use for editing photos. The community did deliver, I managed to find a package of plugins which focused on photography. After installing the files, I’ve been experimenting with a few of the effects. On some photos I used more effects than some I tweaked the white balance and the histogram.

While tweaking and playing around with the photos, I’ve noticed a few things about my photos. The problem I have is I can’t take pictures of the sky without having shaded objects look dark and vice versa. So for me to take pictures of sunsets, the foreground would appear dark while I get white out if I focus on a subject that is darker than the sky. Even with this, I’ve managed to snap a few photos. In the future I might try and take pictures using Canon’s .cr2 format which is a RAW format. Hopefully my system with an upgraded GPU can handle it.

Oh yeah, I bought a 950 GTX. But that’s a post for another time.

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Break’s Over.

Last week, I came back from my vacation. Honestly it was work related and I had to be away from my computer for two weeks. What was interesting was to rediscover my life when I returned. In my sanctum of my bedroom, writing room, sanctum of my inner thoughts and outer release, it describes my life and all my achievements within it.

No one and I mean no one has stepped into my room asides from myself. In this small cubicle with a curtained window, is a open panel computer; aging but holding on as clutter fills the space of my table. cables shunting data and power to a couple sockets in the walls. Creaky hardwood floors as my fan hums away as books and notes from a former life strewn across the top of this so called mess. Underneath are trickets poking out, a multitool, game controller, expired medications, a recently purchased watch. Surprising there is enough to place my phone to charge through my computer.

Behind the chair is a bed fit for one, not much for company but it’s a designated area where I sleep and keep warm in winter. As a guy, I own very little in shoes; a pair for work, casual for getting around, runners for the gym and semi-formal for job hunting. I have two backpacks, one filled with stuff from work and one with my camera gear which I recently purchased stowed within a camera bag itself. I don’t have a headboard but a small shelf sitting next to the door with boxes of games I bought long before Steam – collecting dust. CD’s I’ll never listen because I stream.

This room I consider mine is commandeered from it’s former purpose as a living room, so I have a couch. The couch like my desk is filled with clutter. Mostly everyday clothing I take and interchange from a pile. I do laundry on the regular but this pile is my week’s worth of clothing in a quick grab.

Coming home to this after staring at this for a decade is refreshing. It has given me the impression of the person of who I am from a third person perspective. What I see after a two week absence? Someone who is stuck holding on to the past while looking faithfully in the future. A person who wants to reach out but feels a bit of shame yet pride for all they have accomplished.

I am still here.

For Future Fallout

In my hiatus, Bethesda announced Fallout 4 and providing a bit of gameplay in their E3 demo. While most of the world has seen the video thousands times over and speculating over every pixel, I just saw the reveal in past Saturday. Though the next game shows a lot of progress between New Vegas and now, there is always some room for improvement. From what I’ve seen, the next Fallout has taken the best of the modding community for Fallout 3 and put them into the this game. Most obvious is construction settlements and weapon modifications. Though weapon modifications was touched on in New Vegas, settlements however were seen in Fallout 3 as a mod. Regardless, the next instalment to the series will feature the universe we have seen and probably more. However as I said, there is always some room for improvement.

Vehicles

There were some scenes in the presentation which saws the player in a vertibird as well as views of a zeppelin over post-apocalyptic Boston. Though aerial combat would be a nice addition to the game, I would like to see a fleshed out vehicle system. My suggestion would be the ability to build and salvage vehicles. Either building from shells and hulks in the wasteland or melting scrap into components to build the entire vehicles. Even with that, the vehicles would require a fuel source. With it’s limitations, it would benefit the player into travelling the world. Though the fast travel system in the last two games would turn vehicles obsolete, but how cool will it be to cruise around in style?

Weapons and Power Armour

From the presentation, one thing I was impressed was customizable weapons. Rather than swapping parts, you build from a set of modifications. Each weapon a shotgun, a machine gun and an assault rifle. This from my point of view opens the player to play by their rules. They can be as hard hitting, quick drawing, lead slinging as they want. In the Fallout universe, we have ballistic weapons as well as energy weapons. In the last couple games, the energy weapons did have an advantage over ballistics; slight if not nothing. I think projectile weapons should get deeper if not for all the weapons. Right down to the triggers, barrel, springs and capacitors. Being module is great, but having an intricate gunsmithing system can nitpick each stat.

This goes the same with Power Armour. In the past, Power Armour was something most desired. It had the most resistance to the damage but it would be heavy too. I think in the future, modifying power armour would be impressive. Make it lighter, denser, have special capabilities; it would make the armour more versatile in the end. Especially modifying it down to the pieces; rather than helmet and suit, maybe including the shoulders and appendages.

Settlements

Within the presentation, you can build within certain parameters; I would assume from the presentation, on foundations of older buildings. Though it’s a step in the right direction, it would be more free if the player allowed the ability to create their house and settlement anywhere. Though this is a new feature to the universe, I am like many expecting to explore it. They have included tools to make these settlements something we would be willing to fight and defend. It would be tough to imagine something I have little experience in, but it would great if the game blurred the feature into the world. They tried to blurred the lines in allowing NPC and traders interact with these settlements, however it would expand further. I’m talking about factions trying to take your towns over or trying to subvert your authority through espionage or by use of violence (like raids as seen on the demo). Perhaps the authoritative factions are choices you can pick as the law enforcers of your settlements? Maybe even setting laws in towns and allowing NPCs to develop into these roles like a simulator?

Farfetched as these ideas are, we all can hope Fallout 4 will outdo its predecessor and improve on developing its universe. Doing bigger and better but even then, there is always room for improvement.

The Raccoon “Problem”

In recent local news, there has been a lot of talk about preventing raccoons from getting into the garbage. Not only rolling out new bins which are deemed “raccoon proof”.The idea of stopping animals from getting into my trash is laughable. Not just the idea of an impenetrable plastic box but also the fact that change how it opens would fully stop the raccoon. Classically we categorize animals as hunters, prey and scavengers with their own techniques for survival. The predators outsmart their prey. The preyed learn to evade. The scavengers; well they do what they do best, stay out of the way and survive. The do this well by coexisting with other animals and learning to outsmart other animals while keeping their distance. They are in between prey and predator, they can adapt easily and think independently. This intelligence is critical when surviving in the human cities.

Ever since cities have been around, there have been scavengers claim this as their territory. Mammalians and avian, they lay wait to pick apart our waste to use for shelter and food. So far as a species we tried to eradicate one species at a time since they bring in diseases and disrupt life within these cities. Ever since cities have been area, pest control has been an issue. Many of which are ingenious involving new technologies and innovations to push them out while some are simplistic as declaring open season on these creatures. While wildlife preservation is positive in it’s own right, we have to realize some of these buggers are bloody smart. With warm weather, these raccoons are going to be all over the place. In early May, I went to the gym early in the morning. I found a lot of raccoons foraging through the garbage bins left overnight for pickup. If you live in the city, you have seen these  raccoons. They’re massive; when they become road kill, they become organic speed bumps. We look for humane and conventional means to eradicate but perhaps our past could help with this dilemma.

Like fur trading of old, we should try and lower their numbers by hunting them. Using their big pelts to craft clothing, perhaps turn it into an internal economy. People can hunt the raccoons for pelts and the pelt scan be traded to turn them into clothing and the meat (if it’s not too gross) can be fed to humans or pets. My city has a lot of people who specialize in designing clothing, there has to be one person who can turn a raccoon pelt into an awesome cap. This would lower the raccoon population and at the same time have something to wear in the fall or have something to export to the world as a clothing material.

I’d say when a common creature like a raccoon populates the city, we should try more direct approach to decrease their numbers especially if they’re carrying parasites and diseases.

Crowdfunding, Space and STD’s – Random Thoughts

I’m off the wall this week. I’ve been getting active and creative recently which has been churning out some random thoughts. Once again, I would like to be open about them regardless how random, dark or silly they are; here we go again, sit tight folks!

I am starting to think those people who want to never age are very self centred. You probably know some people  who go out of their way to say “I want to live forever.” First off, bad idea to go around to say that because I would get judgemental. Secondly, why would you ever want to wish immortality on yourself? To each day of your life at one age as others die around you. Your friends, family and pets; they will move on and you will be stuck as yourself at one state for the rest of your life. In this hypothetical if you were to live every day normally and remember everything, you will still be the same as you are forever. So in 60 years you will look like you and have the same vitality but at the same time, everyone you known and loved have passed on. You would become the loneliest survivor of death. What if everyone lived forever? That would be even more catastrophic. Considering the world and its resources, you have about 9 billion people on the planet all wanting the same things. They all want food, materials and shelter; what if they give birth to the next generation. Assuming the entire population was at adulthood and was split fairly between gender, we would have 4.5 billion children wanting the same. That would be 13.5 billion people wanting food! I don’t even think we have enough space at the moment to feed everyone let alone 13.5 billion. If we lived forever, our food demand would increase and it would be exponential. If immortality was existent, I wouldn’t want it because either my future will be lonely or crowded.

With all the conflicts and arms proliferation in the world, what if we took all the money which bought our weapons and war machines and put it into scientific pursuits? What can we human accomplished if we put money into developing new technology? Would be be able to solve our famines with science? Could we build space travel technology within the next 50 years? Perhaps viability for our first warp drive? If we had the money from all our recent wars put into colonizing Mars, would we even be there already? I am still optimistic about our society doing bold and amazing things if we tried hard enough to put aside our differences and do something to help us all. That’s how societies and nations are created, why can’t we just all get along and solve the problems with science?

There has been a lot of gadgets for PC developing at the moment, mostly toward immersive virtual reality. I’m all for VR for video games but I still like the tactile controls of mouse and keyboard; perhaps the occasional controller since most games don’t support controllers on PC. I’m still baffled on why can’t we just consolidate on one or two devices for PC. I have 3 attached to my computer for user input. Of course some manufacturers unify their devices to work on one port. I’m talking about have the one device that can do most if not all the input. I wouldn’t mind having a a device the size of a controller have keyboard functionality with a joystick that can be used as a mouse. When not for work, this nifty gamepad can be my game controller for games that require it. With smartphones, it’s a definite proven fact we can type with our thumbs. I think there may be an untapped market in having an all-in-one device for PC which is you keyboard and mouse and when combined turns into a nifty controller. Someone get on it!

I realized recently I’ve been looking through crowd-funding website for games. You can literally crowd fund for a lot of things now, want a shirt? Crowd fund! Need a video game idea come to life? Crowd fund! Really weird porno? Crowd fund! What about something big and huge, could we crowd fund a space program? Could we crowd fund a cure for cancer? I’ve read article of people having a go at space travel from homemade means. I wonder if they went public and allowed people donate, how much money would they gain from crowdsourcing a space program? I wonder what the rewards would be; if 15 bucks gets you a t-shirt, what would you get for 15 million? Perhaps a seat on the maiden voyage? What about stretch goals, would there be something worth doing as a stretch goal? Science is always trying to find new and cheap ways to do more science, maybe someday I might want to get on board crowdfunding a mission to the Moon or even Mars.

When I was a kid, I was into the first Matrix movie. The idea of plugging in and experiencing a network through firs person. At the time, the notion sounded amazing because then video games become very realistic. Looking back, maybe realism shouldn’t be so realistic. It should suck to die repeatedly in a video game. With my luck, I would sprain my ankle or get shot up like swiss cheese. If I remember correctly, if you get hurt in the Matrix then you get hurt in real life. With the current state of the Internet, I wouldn’t want to “jack in” to the world wide web. For one thing, the trolls; so many trolls that the beauty that is a city would be vandalised. Lastly viruses, there’s a lot of computer viruses. What if we have this technology and we have malware that can infect the brain. What would be the repercussions of of having your brain infected with rogue data and information? STD’s are scary enough, would you want a System Transmitted Disease?

This has been another random thoughts. Until next time, keep being random!

Finding balance

It has always been a problem with me. The world isn’t a linear place; when you have everything set in, some new is willing to test you. I realized this when I was a teen when I tried to balance work and school. It never really panned out since the schedules always conflict and it was my grades or job performance would drop because of it. Sure I could ask for extension and different test days or a different work schedule, but it would never work out.

As pessimistic as it seems, it is the reality. When you finally settle into something you want to do or want, you will realize the other half of it. When you finally settle down, you feel like you have nothing really left to explore or be curious about. You would feel a plateau much like exercising when your body begins to easily accept its regime. At the end, it doesn’t benefit you as much as it did before. Later like I have learned after so long, you will find you just want something more – something different. You want to stretch out there and find something worth pursuing. Like being steady, I found it’s somewhat difficult to do something entirely new and abandon what you already know. Just from what you feel comfortable to what you don’t really feel comfortable, it’s a quick adjustment you can’t really transition towards even if you really wanted.

Change, I find is incremental. It is never sudden, never immediate, never always helpful. Change is merely a transition from a method or idea to another. While in change, we find and discover new things and even question where we will go and where we have come from. In my lifetime, I have witnessed much change. The internet going from phone lines to fibre optics, from personal websites to social media, from homophobia to homophilia to name a few. Even with all this, we are still on the bring of new and different things; some scarier than others. Net neutrality for instance, where companies are slowly pushing to allow speed throttling to certain websites and services at a cost. Civil wars clashing between the people, their oppressors and armed fundamentalists who go against everyone else but themselves. Change is tumultuous, either in the self of in the society. Whether you want to or not, change is always there to test you.

As for me, change is a bit different. It is not a bloodbath or a peaceful demonstration. It is a test of growing and becoming someone I feel comfortable with knowing. It is a change in identity, to question who I was and who I will and want to become. How far am I willing to push myself? Is this my purpose? These are the questions I ask myself sometimes to affirm myself of what I want to do and become. I want to be athletic, so I exercise. I want play video games but not too much, so I starting recording gameplay. I want to get going on a career I find I can be challenged but enjoy; well, I’m working on it and I will let you know how that turns out.

For me, I have been having trouble with balancing my life with change. I have been a bit unfaithful to myself towards tasks and I just want a steady pace while doing new things. It hasn’t come out clean, but I managed to find a balance. Finding that intersect where you feel comfortable but also comfortable enough to try something different. As ambitious as it is, I want to do more and do different things. I want to volunteer but so far no one has accept my applications. I want to exercise more, but it’s getting colder. These are my changes I want happen and I am willing. The questions is about commitment and motivation. Which I have been thinking about a lot in my mind.

Change is something you cannot avoid, but you can control the flow. However over time, there will be change regardless of how slow you want to take it. You never know all the outcomes but you know the best and worse of them. You will never get what you want at the end but change will teach and open you to new things if you let it. Even at it’s worst, change can help you understand a bit around you where you failed to see it before. It might not help you in the future, but it would humble you to know. You never always control how much change, but you can control how much you can accept over time. You may disagree now, but sooner or later you will come around and change your opinions. No matter how rigid you stay, you will crumble; you can either break apart or slowly build upon it. You don’t get a beach body in a matter of weeks in May, you start working towards it at the beginning of year or maybe take you a few years. You don’t get millions of dollars within a month (unless you win it all), you save a little away to get to that amount whether it’s a dollar a month or a dollar a day. You have to be dedicated to change to accept it or change will do it for you. It is your choice to be who you want and do what you want to do in life.

Until next time, let’s all spare a little change.

Randumb Thoughts

It’s starting to be both a gift and curse with so much time on my hands, spending a lot of time doing nothing more than apply to jobs and day dreaming. Over the past week I’ve been letting my head in the clouds as usual. Perhaps some ideas are worth sharing and some are worth burying in a deep hole like a box of old porno mags. Either case, I thought I can put them here and let you figure it out.

After over a decade of “smart” phones, my cell phone still unlocks from the softest touch. With a touch screen, I stick in my pocket when I head out and whenever I whip it out, most of the time I have to deal with a mess or everything comes together and my phone somehow opened up to my browser. Phone locking hasn’t really changed, you have to put in a number or have to swipe and then you can do whatever you want. After looking through my phone’s history of the apps and websites, I’m certain my phone is a depressed drunk. It listens to the saddest music on my phone and tries to look up the longest website names. Either I have to get my phone laid or take it to AA, maybe hook it up to a busty Blackberry or something.

The 20 year olds might remember the the blackout in the summer of 2003. Power went out and people were flipping out. If you lived on the east coast and in a big city, everything just stopped and people just went crazy. People were piling into buses and city surfaces were crowded. Where I was living, I’m surprised no one just went for the idea of just smashing and looting stuff. I live in a centre of Canadian commerce where you can literally walk into any store and snatch a big screen TV. Imagine living without internet for a week? It would be horrible, but what if it was the power that went out? There will be Internet, but you won’t be able to get to it. I would wager after a few months, a lot of people would go nuts. Considering on all the jobs that require a computer now, imagine the backlog in the form of physical paperwork if the power went out. Upside, winter work hours would be shorter unless your business can afford candles.

Recently I walked passed my old high school, I wasn’t creeping; I was going to the mall to kill time. So this must have been new or something but my high school has security cameras mounted everywhere. Not only that, the cameras had this wire cage around them. This is starting to be clearer as an adult, school is a prison. At first you go like there is something wrong with you and then you’re stuck there for your 15 year sentence. All that time, you probably won’t be fed and you get your ass kicked in by other inmates students until you crawl back into your cell and cry. Then when you get out, the world is a difference place and you have more hair than you use to have. When has it come to the point where we’re treating kids like prisoners? You have to have a constant eye on them and and made sure they stayed in once place. There’s definitely something wrong when we treat kids like criminals. Parents if you wanted to lock up you kids, put them in the basement for 15 years, at least they will have their computer and XBox for the duration rather than learning about stuff which mostly will never be used in a social situation. So far I haven’t wooed a girl with my historical wit or my basic understanding of psychology.

With a current living condition like mine, I have been thinking which would be better; living like this or live in prison? Consider side one, my life right now. I have to pay for food, no much recreation and I have to look for a job. Prison on the other, sounds like a resort destination. No need to worry about finding a job, you get the exercise and food you need free of charge, there are activities you can do until you are set to leave. Like who wouldn’t want to just sleep, eat and be entertained all day? I’m surprised not a lot of people committed a crime just to take a sabbatical or just a lifelong vacation. If they didn’t tell you it was prison or jail, it seems like a nice place to go. You don’t work, you just stay there for a predetermined time while they feed you and have plenty of time to yourself.

I’m not much of a believer of religion. For one thing, I would need more than divine intervention to fix my problems. I do believe in “that’s what you get”. Where you do a bad thing and you get bad things bad for you. It would be the most ironic ways it would boomerang back to you. It works in international politics and it works in personal life. Take a look at the War in Iraq, when the US declared war two things happened. Everyone told them it was a bad idea, they did it anyways. Now they have to suffer through Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. I don’t know what I did for a streak of bad luck so I’m hoping all this bad luck becomes good things later on. After 20+ years, I expect I inherit Microsoft or something. At least let me find a big box of porn in the woods.

That’s all I got for now; I’m going to eat a cold burger.

Can This Be A Thing?

I personally own a wireless mouse because the trackpad on my laptop feels uncomfortable (also the mouse was given to me awhile back and I finally have a use for it). Though it does provide more fluid movies on a 15 inch screen, there is a flaw I dislike about wireless products. This being the fact I need to recharge the batteries. I must admit, I use my mouse frequently so I usually recharge the batteries once a week. However as routine sets in, sometimes the mouse won’t last through the entire week and I would have to recharge them more frequently. I have considered a wired option for my laptop but wires would hinder the time I would need to set up my mouse and usually the cable is long and can get tangled. From my point of view having two variants of the same product is kind of out of the way for mobile technology, so why not have both?

I would like to see a wireless mouse designed to be more flexible whether it would be for desktop or laptop. Built primarily as a wireless mouse, it will be small with the ability to use a USB interface just like a traditional wired mouse. I don’t have anything designed; but it would be an interesting concept to pursue. For starters the device would need a transmitter and receiver like a normal wireless device. Second would be it’s ability to be wired as well. I think the USB cable should be able to plug into the mouse and the desktop without a need for a second port. Perhaps the dongle receiver would have a USB port onto itself to relay power and data to the mouse. Now comes the tricky part, I’ve read about USB hardware and someplace has said some devices now won’t allow certain devices to charge through a USB power. I am quite unsure if this is on the computer end or the peripheral end but it would be an extraordinary feature if the mouse can act as a universal charge for the batteries it’s using. So it can draw power from a power source without the need of replacing the batteries and the charging process won’t damage the batteries. With these 3 features, I think the wireless mouse would be great improved in terms of it’s versatility and minimize the need of buying additional peripherals for a computer platform. It doesn’t even have to end at mice, a keyboard which can be wireless and wired with the capability of recharging it’s own batteries would be an interesting step in allowing these peripherals to interface more easily on laptops and desktops.

Has anyone really thought about this besides me? If it was cheap, I wouldn’t mind have a wireless mouse like that. Any hardware designers out there, I offer you that challenge if there is no product out there like it build a wireless mouse which can:

  1. Be wired and wireless.
  2. Able to switch between devices through it’s own means. As in if I have my receiver on my laptop and I have the USB cable plugged into my desktop, I have the function to switch between wired and wireless modes without a need of a KVM switch.
  3. Able to recharge its own batteries. You cannot design the battery and the batteries are from large battery manufacturers which can be easily replaced. As in if I have Energizer brand rechargeable batteries, I should be able to use and recharge them through the mouse. If I chose to use Duracell brand of rechargeable batteries, then I would able to change them out and the Duracell batteries should be able to recharge.
  4. Optionally be able able to hold it charge for a longer period of time. A month at the most before charge. Though I would like to see a mouse that can be as power efficient as possible.

Until next time I leave this to you, geniuses of the world. It’s up to you to make what we have now and make them better.