Deal with it, FT.

Sometimes I do like scrolling through anonymous advice articles. The writers you can relate to in their situation at times. I think this is the first time I feel like I had to do a double take to the author who responded to the letter. The “TL;DR” version – The first quote is a person who bullied people early in their life. Amy (the columnist) responds with a fairly neutral response in the second quote.


Dear Amy: I was a very unhappy person up until my 20s. I’ll spare you the melodrama, but I didn’t grow up in the best home and had very poor social skills. After learning to manage some real anxiety and depression issues and a lot of therapy, I’ve been in a much better place for a long time. I’m now in my late 40s.
After a recent class reunion and re-engaging with some old acquaintances, I have heard about a number of ways I acted back in the day that range from insensitive to downright terrible.


It pains me to realize that I was apparently an insufferable jerk. I don’t think I’m that way anymore (at least I hope not). But what do I do with these revelations?
I’ve tried apologizing, and some will listen, whereas others just apparently want the satisfaction of telling me off.


With one man who says I bullied and harassed him (I don’t remember it that way), I even tried saying, “I wasn’t a happy person then,” on top of apologizing.

I am left not feeling very good about myself, which is not a good path for me.
It’s like I’m never going to be able to redeem myself in the eyes of a large swath of people I grew up around.


I’ve thought about a universal, wide-ranging apology on social media saying, “Look, I know I wasn’t a great person to be around, but I’m not that way anymore.”


Thoughts? Suggestions?


— Formerly Terrible

Dear Amy, Local Sun

You can almost feel the desperation of the writer. After I read this, I was fuelled up to see how Amy could bring this person around. Some articles I read really put an “in your face” approach to people with problems. Usually they have a small hopeful positive, but it’s always something realistic in the end to put people in the now. I like articles that make people want to accept the situation they’re in and to move on.

At the same time, Amy responded.


Dear Formerly: I don’t suggest a wide-ranging apology on social media, mainly because it might lead to a piling-on, as people recall episodes and incidents from over two decades ago.


Mainly, I want to offer you a high-five. You have changed. You have tackled your behavioral problems and are now quite appropriately trying to acknowledge, as well as somehow manage the fallout. It’s a reckoning.


Acknowledging your behavior is huge. Apologizing to the people you have wronged is appropriate — and also huge.


There is an additional step, however, that you may have missed — and that is asking for forgiveness.


You say, “I did this to you. I know I hurt you. I am ashamed, and so sorry.”
Then you let the person vent, respond or recount the consequences of your behavior.


And then you say, “I’ve worked very hard to change. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”


That’s it.


Some people will forgive you immediately. Some will ponder your sincere effort at making amends, and will forgive you later. Some may never get there. And some will be inspired by your honesty and authenticity.

Dear Amy, Local Sun

So Amy does show some sympathy. Offering some sound advice by telling the writing (I’ll call them FT), don’t go public for something that happened in your private life. There are stipulations, in my opinion, on going public.

Acknowledgement and acceptance to the offending behaviour is a major step. To understand why people see it as offensive and the consequences that can lead to a bunch of closed doors.

Asking for forgiveness after bullying everyone around you is futile. The relief is the one that were bullied to submission will forgive you but it was you that bullied them to that position. They still see you as a bully but not a sincere person. You have not earned that apology as a person, you are still the child that demands attention from others.

I feel Amy was never really bullied as a child. I hope Amy or whoever respond to FT take it from someone who was bullied for over a decade with no support from anyone.

Amy, being harassed as a child is a heavily scarring thing that only we are beginning to realize. Those that say things that dismiss less than this, were the problems in our lives. They never aided anyone positively to fix the problem. Consoling in the victim does fix the problem alone. We are social animals, meaning we have the ability to grow and heal as a group but have the capacity of aggression like any other animal. When you realize these people exist in the world as your grow up, something riles up in you. There is a reason by violence and suicide in teens was highly publicized in the late 90’s to 2000’s, these kids snapped. Those kids who were bullied and without nothing to hold on to, they broke. I’ve had ideation to shoot up an institution. I’ve had ideation of suicide. I’ve had both, murder-suicide style. These are symptoms to bullying and much like a mental illness, these are symptoms to a bigger problem. Healing symptoms does not solve the main issue.

As an advice column, this answer is a very 90’s approach to bullying which is why we still have kids who are as messed up as they were. Little to nothing to really help FT in this situation. So my response:

Formerly Terrible,

As a personal who has been bullied by people like you, I don’t forgive. Your actions are irreversible to your victims as a consequence, you must live with that guilt and you must live with it as a sobering reminder. This reminder: always weigh your personal actions.

I hate people like you because people like you kept my life a living hell for years. My life is the way it is because of you turned me into the person as I am. That is something I can’t have back and if that disturbs you soul, then it is you that disturb it.

At the time, you did not think about because of your predisposition of whatever happened to you as a younger self. You have grown up, hopefully more self-aware than before. This is the path you chose and no amount of grovelling can take you back.

Your peers may not forgive you for your past, but now you know better you can lead the change to end the same problem for someone else. With age should come wisdom and knowledge of the world. Our ability for hindsight is what helps society change, if we don’t understand that hindsight then we are to repeat our mistakes.

Go on in your life knowing this is where it ends, no one can forgive you. However this is where you will begin to make amends to those mistakes.

nawkcire, Personal Blogger
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Love Is Strange

On the week of Valentine’s Day, I started to play the new prequel to Life Is Strange. I was completely blown away at what they’ve done with the old characters while introducing new characters.

As someone who played the first game, there are a bunch of references. While I know what happens in the first game, I did my best to think about this as the “first” game in the series. I’m not completely done but it is so far really entertaining. There are a lot twists and lots of moments where it’s fun and sad. Life Is Strange played with my heart but Before The Storm really feels like a heartbreaking game.

Chloe and Max are probably the two characters in any video game yet that reflects how I perceive the concept of love. It’s a difficult subject to grasp and no one would every get it right, but we all understand it in out own way. What it means to us and what it matters to be with and without.

The game feels so much shorter than the first but I can’t wait to finish the 3rd episode and wait for the bonus episode.

Life is…Strange. Ohhhhhhhh!

I thought it would merit a blog post in itself since I’ve played the entire episodic narrative, Life is Strange. After a long 6 months since I bought episodes 1-5 on Steam, recently I finally put aside some time from work to play. All this time avoiding spoilers I can put in a review down without ruining any plot lines and there are a bunch of plot lines.

Developed by DONTNOD and published by Square Enix, you play as Maxine Caulfield who has travelled to Oregon to attend Blackwell Academy in hopes of being a photographer. Within the first month of settling in, you have premonitions of a tornado. You have 5 days to prevent it happening. Along the way of trying to save the seaside town of Arcadia Bay, you make friends both old and new.

You play in the third person in a narrative where each episode is a day until the end. As you play choices from the previous episodes can effect the story and how it will culminate. The art for the game does exude something resembling of water colours which exemplifies focus on the story while delivering a detailed (but not too detailed) atmosphere. The entire game is littered with story devices which opens the player to character development outside of Max’s journal. If you are an empathic gamer, you will find yourself thinking about these little bits of information as you interact with other characters and help make decisions throughout the game. The voice acting in itself is very professional and does feel very natural and fluid with each choice. The character animation is nothing impressive, there are parts where characters would just talk and wouldn’t necessarily interact with each other. Felt more like talking heads on the news than a theatrical performance. Definitely something work improving is the motion capture to let these characters interact with the space around than standing there and have it be consistent. Max’s time travelling provides a good plot device to allow the player to change their answer if they think their choice is undesirable considering most choices aren’t described fully. Usually the game will give your an explicit choice of actions or a vague noun like “Nathan” or “Joyce” and hope that choice is what you are thinking it would be what is summed in a few words. It makes a logical choice to have the choices concise but a bit more description would be helpful. Then again the time travelling ability really solves all that.

Thematically, the game is about choices. Choices everywhere and if you aren’t tainted by spoilers, these choices are interesting because they carry weight through the game and changes up what you can say and do. The developers seemed to explore the idea of choice in terms of a social sense with moral implications. Choices which challenge vices and virtues, needs and wants, truth and the perception of truth; the does give some good examples of philosophical dilemmas which defines our humanity. Who said video games can’t teach your anything?

If you haven’t decided to get Life is Strange yet and you want to play it, I would recommend getting all the episodes in one package. For the value of a movie ticket and popcorn (like 25 dollars-ish),  you get about 22 hours of content (That’s on my count, experience may vary). As much as the first episode is thorough in giving you a preview of things to come, the main attraction is a story which a game can only deliver. There are some faults in quality such as some bugs and some dialogue which fell flat because of the animation. It’s a good play with achievements which can be completed (for you perfectionists out there). In the end after I made all the choices and comparing similarities with my personal life, the title is indeed exclaims a truth. Life is strange, so very strange.

First 12 hours Windows 10

Yesterday, I finally dipped my toe in the most recent develop with Windows. I decided to install Windows 10 to give it shot. Since my desktop is still my gaming and recording PC, I’m not willing to lose data over something I’m not certain of; so I chose my laptop that’s good for nothing but the Internet and doing blogs.

Like with Windows 7 when I upgraded from XP, the installation of fairly straightforward with little input from me. Then the one and continuing obstacle comes to me; upon being asked to create an account, the system allows me to connect online using my Microsoft account. Innocuous at first, I hesitantly put in my log in information. Definitely the first time looking at the innovations from Windows 8 and 8.1 and coming from Windows 7, Win 10 looks very impressive and fresh. The desktop design remains very familiar, much like a signature of the brand. Along with the translucent and bold contemporary design, it feels very new as if the developers want to be away from their predecessors while maintaining functionality. Opening up the Start menu, I encountered the same layout with a small added addition; tiles that was previous implemented in the Windows 8 series. Tiles that worked more like a glorified icon which can stream a service, such as the current weather conditions and who is sending you tweets on their Twitter app. Much like mobile phones, I was surprised Windows now has an app store where I can purchase applications. I’ll talk more later after this, but overall it looks very vacant in terms of actual apps. For me as a transitioning Windows user, I can see some similarities to other operating systems.

Of all the features I have a problem with, I’ll start with the user friendliness of the entire interface. Yes, the entire interface. The problem I have is I’m well use to using scrolling to move up and down lists. At the moment, I have to use arrow keys to move through these lists as well as options. I do like I don’t necessarily need to use my trackpad to navigate, as a internet laptop I’m use to scrolling and tapping with my pad. Next is the difficulty to find settings and options through its supposed straightforward interface. Every is so simplified to the point where there are some things I want to turn off but would turn off other things. Aside from a “settings” visible at the Start button, it took me some doing to produce the old Control Panel which I’m well versed in using. If anything, this Settings button is superfluous to what the Control Panel can do. Onto the apps and the app store, the system will automatically install some applications like Skype, a mail client and other proprietaries from Microsoft. After peaking through these apps, there are many others I can download which surpass the usefulness. The applications I would like on there is not even on there. At the time of this post, I use Tweetdeck while there is an application to display it’s streaming capabilities. Though nifty as this Twitter application is, it’s space in my hard drive to load the interface while Tweetdeck is done all online. Meaning I don’t have to load it and I can do much more than just view and write tweets. We’re not even in the store yet, but it’s more frustrating than you think.

The store does contain a lot of games and applications at my finger tips; but as I browse through the catalog, I started to look into the sizes of these “apps”. Most of the applications are about 14KB to about 10MB which in this day in age seems small for apps. The largest are the games but for the most I’ve seen, most hover around 20 KB. From what I remember, a shortcut on your desktop is somewhere around the same size as well which makes me wonder if this should even be called an “app store”. Along with these, some of the titles do give away what they’re intended for; mostly to promote a website or periodical. Which makes me wonder if these are just glorified bookmarks; in which case, it’s not innovated but more of a waste of space. Perhaps in time, they would moderate and regulate the store but it does seem more of a grab for an audience and competing with these false bits of hope.

Performance is another problem I have with it. I understand my laptop is aging and it could be edging off the minimum requirements. Compared to old reliable Windows 7, she’s a bit hefty and slow. Loading and shutting down is slow as well as initializing a program. It could be the fact it’s new so it’s creating temporary files for indexing. It could be the fact some of the apps are continually requesting updates. In which case, it’s a poor excuse to trade off performance for convenience. The app store is also nothing new to desktop PC as some Linux distributions do have their own stores where actual programs are placed to download. Which makes Windows 10’s store worse than Blackberry’s app store in my opinion even though not many user use their products by comparison.

As a technological society, we are pushing towards a more mobile world. It doesn’t really mean we are readily connected, just means we want to carry a silicon and plastic brick everywhere we go. Agreeable some places have cheaper internet, but the majority of the world is still catching up. In an operating system, it’s not about being cutting edge and well known; to me, I need something light and fast that supports my needs and not the needs of the company. Even at a $100 and over price tag, it should offer piece of mind as well as in-depth customization. Though simplicity can help a beginner; I feel a bit outed by the next generation of Windows users because they want everything at a click of an icon.

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?

Into Indies

At the moment on my YouTube channel, I have played a couple indie games but I never really just picked something up to just display it. Recently, I thought I would use IndieDB to help me find some games to make short playthroughs. As a starter, I have downloaded TubeStar.

TubeStar is a parody to making videos on YouTube and “simulates” being a YouTuber. I wouldn’t be so sure what that would actually be like but I thought I would give it a shot. Though there is a bunch of games out there so why would I pick something so obscure? Simply, I picked one at random I can download and gave it a shot. From the recorded gameplay footage, I somewhat regret my decision. It was very dull to say the least and the gameplay was not compelling.

Lessons learned from this little let’s play recording session? First would be to read about the game, then download it to play a bit to see if it’s compelling or has something worth showing. Secondly, compelling gameplay; honestly I got kind fo bored halfway through the game. Most definitely trust my ADHD-meter for interesting games. Last point to make would be pick from genres I would enjoy and not through a mystery bag system.  

So the first indie lets play on my channel is a semi-success, but I’ll let the viewer make that count. Until then, I’m sticking to my laggy playthrough of The Dead Linger. 

“It’s going somewhere…” – Star Trek Online, Season 9

The last week, season 9 for Star Trek Online has come out on its Holodeck server. This means I get to check out what’s new and the challenge to unfold for a Starfleet captain. To start it off the developers have provided a review of what the universe has been through since the game’s conception.

Story in short so far, Klingon’s are suspicious of everyone and started to wage war against the Federation. Romulus is destroyed by it’s own supernova star, thus ending the Romulan Star Empire. The Borg returned in their attempt to take the Alpha Quadrant. The Jem’Hadar provide a friendly reminder the Gamma Quadrant is still dominated by the Dominion. The Undine have been undermining the superpowers to dismantle them. Within the conflicts from the past, the Federation and Klingon look forward to the future. The Federation and the Klingon Empire forge a “no touching” alliance to hold off the Borg and assist in the resettlement of the former inhabitants of the Hobus star. In the Tau Dewa sector in the former Romulan territory, Romulans and Remans have created the New Romulan Republic. Learning from past mistakes of the clandestine Tal Shiar, the Republic work toward establishing a new homeworld and to create a future for the Romulan people based on unity and cooperation. Recently, the Romulan, Federation and Klingon alliance has found an Iconian gateway which lead to the discovery of a another gateway which lead to a Dyson Sphere in the Delta Quadrant. At the same moment, the Voth have taken interest with the Sphere, specifically the Sphere’s Omega particle technology. Old enemies are united to enter the year of 2410. And yes, it took 8 seasons for the year to change once unlike the TV series.

The dubbed features for this content update is mostly visual changes to Starfleet’s Earth Spacedock and character customization additions, introduction of the Undine as the main protagonist for this season and instances and missions associated with it. First thing I did once the patch was install was examine the visuals. At first the patch pushed the graphics up to display the new aesthetics of the characters. Once I was loaded in the game, I set a course right for Spacedock. Coming out of warp above Earth, it was indeed different. The ships moving to and form the drydocks and the station seems to be lively. Upon docking, it was definitely a new sight and definitive change in the colour palette. In short, I’ve spent a long play session just looking at every decal, object and NPC in the changed social zone. Apparently they have added a reason why the zone layout has changed. To avoid spoilers, please play it for yourself. In short, we the players lose a little to gain some different. Like the exteriors, the zone is lively with NPC’s and have much of a shopping mall feel when it comes to the item NPC’s. If the item and exchange area feels like a mall, then the ship interaction NPC’s is the information desk. Aside from the tall ceiling and open space, it’s easier to navigate and feels less crowded unless you walk into the high traffic area.

To the story content, the Borg missions have changed to include a prelude to the Undine storyline. The missions feel long which can be good and bad. Good being it feels like an episode, the bad is the voiceover gets interrupted by accident in certain areas. Double upside, the Borg storyline no longer feels out of place and supplemental. Now the bulk, the Undine story.

To avoid spoilers in short, the action is intense and the story is an obvious changer.  It takes away from classic games concepts and maintains the feel of the Trek intensity once enveloped in the series. This is the season where there are no exclusive additions in fleets but a lot of additions to hold people over until new episodes are released such as the Voth Zone in the Solanae Sphere being overrun with Undine.

Change in the reputation mechanics does make it way easier and less of a grind. First off, main rep projects are separated in two; 20 hour dailies and 1 hour hourly projects. Each of the projects reward a box containing a random object from the project’s store. Also it seems, the project item sets are more linear to be easier to find and redeem which results in making missing set pieces a bit impossible to receive unless you have the project queued prior to the update. Overall, it allows the content to be easier to experience and less of a time gate.

Lastly the Undine STF of two space and one ground 5-man instance. The ground mission is part combat and part detective work. You figure out who on Bajor is an Undine spy and rid the city of Hathon from the Undine spy network. One of the space instances is assault against the planet killer shipyards in fluidic space. The other instance is a counter-offensive above some of major species’ homeworlds. This instance requires attacking on 3 lanes and destroy 2 fluidic rifts. If this idea sounds similar then yup, it’s that kind of game; great way to suck the DOTA crowd.

It’s a balance in art and content changes which slowly advances the storyline. There are small bugs at the moment of this post but negligible. Of the start, season 9 of STO is a good start; the only surprise would be fulfilling season unlike the last few seasons which were devoid of episodic content.