Monday, July 22, 2019

TheGamer: The 10 Toughest Boss Fights In The Metal Gear Solid Franchise, Ranked.

While I agree with the last one, I'm not so sure I agree with the rest.

To be honest the battle against Fatman is the number one reason I don't revisit MGS2. I played that game very heavily and acquired more than a few dog tags in my mastery of Solid Snake Sneekery back when it was a young game. But I reflect upon how the old games were and how frustrating that speeding bastard was, and view it as the biggest challenge to actually completing the game.

You can probably tell that I don't like bomb timers very much 😝.

When I originally played Snake Eater I probably would have considered The End the third biggest challenge amongst the games bosses. But having played through a few times, I've generally found that to be more one of strategy. Let's face it: engaging The End in a sniper battle is cool but not productive. The controls and visuals being what they are, my preferred strategy was hunt him down and assaulting with automatic weapons and explosives. Because it's a lot easier than seeing the camouflaged old bastard in the jungle. Especially if you've gone from a tube TV to a modern 4K, and are still stuck with 480i! Fighting this way makes it much less cool but also much more easily accomplished.

By contrast the battle with Quiet was much easier and actually fun. I owe this to two real factors. Metal Gear Solid V is built more like a shooter where as Metal Gear Solid III and prior were built more like RPGs: it's just damned easier to engage in a sniper battle. Being faced with the wide open terrain also makes it a lot easier than finding The End. With Quiet it is more a matter of hitting first than hitting at all.

Metal Gear has always been known for its boss battles, and it's rather eccentric boss characters.

The first right with Vulcan Raven is actually one of my favorites. See, when I played MGS for the very first time: that was about as far as I got. Coming back some years and around 300 VR missions later: I unleashed hell upon the bastard and his M1 tank. Being called a demon for taking down an Abrams main battle tank almost bear handed in that situation was something I relished. Because that was around the crossing point in my life when I actually got to be good at clearing games like MGS. Ironically thought, I have never completed the original Metal Gear Solid.

Fuck you, Colonel Volgin 🖕.

Most of MGS3's boss fights are more a nuisance in retrospect but Volgin is a pain in my arse. Mostly due to how the checkpointing interacts with kicking his saddist ass in the CQC and his various special moves as the bout progresses. It's the kind of fight that you'll either find easy or very hard; me I find it very tiresome.


Fighting The Boss was without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done in Metal Gear. The first time I cleared Snake Eater, I must have fought Boss for hours in that beautiful field. But it isn't just about the right to the death, oh no. I think of all the things I've seen and done in Metal Gear: the story of The Boss influenced me the most.  Because Metal Gear Solid 3: Operation Snake Eater is as much our story as it is hers. We experience the birth of Big Boss through the death of The Boss. But in the aftermath we get to see all the threads unravel, and if you paid deep attention the threads run very deep. MGS3 and it's narrative struck a deeper cord with me than any other in the series ever has.


Actually that makes me remember, her code name in The Cobras was The Joy, wasn't it? Yes, I think it was.

RIP, Boss.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Horrible temptation: Rimuru style

Horrible temptation befalls me!

Doing a quick Google Search to see of there are any affordable cushions like those featured in the OVA/OAD, I see that the Crunchyroll store has a pre-order up for the first part of season one. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime is also supposed to return for a second season next year, I believe. Plenty of time to get discs of season one, probably.

By the time you factor in shipping costs it also looks like the Crunchyroll store's plushie would be cheaper than Amazon. Although I'm kinda afraid the dogs would claim it as their personal pillow....lol.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime - s01e24.5 - Tales: Veldora's Diary.

Cycling back to finish the season, and catch up to the recent OVA, I'm kinda enjoying the extra episode in between.

After Ifrit got gnoshed back in episode 7, we only saw a glimpse of Veldora greeting him. The point five episode serves kind of like an annoying commentary track as Veldora and Ifrit chat and play Shogi. Despite being a bit of a villan, Ifrit ends up rather polite company for the Storm Dragon.

Given the "Interesting" personality that Veldora exhibits in the series' beginning, and that he doesn't really reappear in a serious way, I find this strangely fitting. Hey, if you spent over 300 years locked in a cave, you might become a lonely tsundere of a dragon!

Strangely interesting episode ^_^.


Edit: oh my @#$% was the finish funny 🤣.
NPR: 50 Years After Apollo 11, Here's What (And How) Astronauts Are Eating.

That reminds me: don't think I've ever actually tasted Tang, nor have I ever really felt the need drink that stuff.

Over the years though, I've generally come to the conclusion that astronauts don't get the gift of good food. I'd like to think that life for the ISS crew sucks less than shuttle and Apollo crews suffered in terms of food stuffs but I'm pretty sure the day when space food is really great food rather than just the best we can do, is still quite far off.

The 20th century kind of brought a lot of advancements to storing, packing, and preserving food. But some problems remain unsolved, lol.
Being a human bit of shade while walking the dogs, I'm not sure what I find more concerning. That the translation of my thought would be: "Ahh, that feels good!"; or that the thought wasn't in my native language.



Somehow, I blame it on growing up in south Florida :P.
Passing Thoughts: if I could be a monster, I'd probably want to be made out of coffee. Some kind of coffee monster. But then I'd be in danger of a Pizza the Hut locked in his own stretched limo kind of end.

Actually now that I think of it being a slime wouldn't be so bad if being like Rimuru was an option. And I bet absorbing tons of coffee would be easy 😂.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/6G2R5yc1MA1RYZ2Q7

Two years ago and still comfy.
Coin flip: you may be drowsy or crazy if you imagine your dog being very Juno and explaining there is a special place in hell for those who don't share their midnight snacks.

Yes, I'm pretty sure that is what Misty wants to tell me about the lack of sharing going on....

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Cheapskate Handy repurposing of old stuff: turning my multimedia dock into a spare tablet stand.

After writing this the other day, I was a bit tempted to get another stand similar to the Anker I use in my living room or just transition one of my Breffo Spider Podiums to my desk.

Rooting around in the closet to see if I had any spare Spider podiums to use as a headphone stand, I foumd my old Samsung multimedia dock. Sadly it became a paper weight when I upgraded from the Tab S2 to the Tab S3, much as I traded external monitor support for S-Pen capability when I did. Without Samsung's old 11-pin MHL/MicroUSB and driver support the ports are basically useless. Shame because it was a great one cable and done docking station when I used my tablet as my workstation.

But the little fellow still remains physically useful as a stand since my Tab S3 still fits in the slot. Thus one problem solved by recycling, and not having to spend a dime; this makes me happy even if the poor dock is no longer able to fulfil its original purpose. It is still useful for more than keeping makkuro kurosuke from settling in /dev/closet.

It also puts my tablet at a fairly convenient angle, hehe.
Seen "Hi Score Girl" on Netflix yet?

Reminder seeing this listed a good while ago and filling it under "Watch later, maybe."

Many of the games depicted flash my brain back to my childhood. There's more than a few, probably most of the ones shown that either landed American Genesis and SNES releases. Not to mention the reoccurring bits of Street Fighter II; which probably was the fighting game my brother and I played the most of in the early '90s.

Wccftech: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Benchmark Leaks Out, Almost Titan V Tier Performance For $699 US.

This reminds me: my hand me down GTX 780 fell into that price range when it was young, back in '13. Far from New the old '780 still kicks more than a little ass at plowing through games. I'm also inclined to believe most of my issues with FVXV's performance are due to my processor not aging equally as well, since the stutters revolved around my Core i5 spiking to 100% usage.

And that's exactly why you would pay such a fortune for a top dog GPU: because you won't have to buy a new one for quite a freaking while. 2019 - 2013 = 6 years and only now showing signs of age.

Personally, I'm more interested in what follows the GTX 16 / RTX 20 thing. But cards at that level have very long service lives to match the ludicrous price tags. Pretty much regardless of generation. By the time such cards age out it is because the mid ranged cards have finally caught up quite a few years later or because of more Direct 3D and driver level advancements leaving you in the dust; which isn't so often.

Catching up on Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket - s01e14 - Thats a Secret.
Fruits Basket - s01e13 - How Have You Been, My Brother?

Catching up on the last several weeks, I find episodes 13 and 14 both remarkably great and strongly contrasting. These are both episodes I'd clip if Crunchyroll had something like Hulu's "My Episodes" feature.

13 is a fairly light hearted episode fueled by twisted humor, in a sense of twisted. While rather endears it to my funny bone thanks to the antics of the senior generation. I'm pretty sure that Ayame, Hatori, and Shigure would have been an entertaining handful in their youth.

14 on the other hand if painted in a totally different, more somber shade. The story of Momiji and his family is one that I think serves well to bring out his statement in the end. Humanity would do well to remember Momiji's view about memories; Tohru's reactions being both very human and very Tohru, IMHO. The visit to her mother's grave also stands in contrast to the rest of the episode while keeping the somber attitude despite some rather fun "Crimson Butterfly" highlights along the way. We can but conclude as usual that Tohru's mother was quite a person.

Both are great episodes, but for different reasons.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Recurring problems: when your brain tells you not to make coffee after dark.

Is there such a thing as too much coffee? I doubt it.

There are weekends where my coffee consumption approximates my weekday consumption, and there are weekends where I hardly down a drop of coffee. :/.
I wonder what's technically worse: when you're sitting at your desk and using your tablet/pen to finish something. Or when you're still sitting at your desk and consider transitioning your keyboard over to aforementioned tablet rather than switching to a PC.

An odd artifact of my small desk space is how well it meshes with my tablet.


The mousepad dominates most of the working surface; the Razer Goliathus because I wanted a large pad and the SteelSeries Rival because I got tired of how fast Logic MX rats wore out^. Years ago, I had bought my K810 as a way of sharing a keyboard between my tablet, laptop, and desktop at work; these days it just serves as my desktop keyboard. Underneath the headphones and xbox controller off to the left is a USB keyboard of similar size and layout.

This lack of space is what lead me to such a small keyboard--full size but with the "Right" matter, the numpad and navigation clusters removed. Basically a few hairs larger than the smallest you can make a physical keyboard without me calling it useless.

Conveniently my tablet fits in much the same spot. Since swapping the wired keyboard for the Bluetooth one, I find it much less hassle to simple push my keyboard aside and put my tablet in the same spot; whichever I am using at the time usually takes center stage and the displaced ends up on the side-zone or next to the charging cable.

I think it is quite possible that if I had a dandy stand in here like I do on my living room end table, I'd probably would have dropped my tablet in it and toggled my keyboard over to my tablet; rather than writing this on my desktop. Yes, I'm kind of lazy 🙄.

^ Two left mouse buttons in 10-15 years is too much 😜. I loved both my Logitech MX-series laser mice but wanted something with claims of "Many damned clicks" before it dies.


From Ink to iPads: The Evolution of the Modern Comic Book.

As someone more familiar with the analog processes: I found this a particularly nice, long read.

A sprawl of comfort.

Heathy eating

Questionable choices: when you chase a dinner salad with devil's food donuts and whiskey.

Or perfect choices? 😂

Circuit Breaker: A brief history of cutdown game consoles.

While only brief in that it's limited to Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft: the modern names in the console gaming business, it is never the less a good write up.

I also find it interesting how times have changed. The way I encounter such revision has changed more than the patterns too the hardware alterations.

The alterations to the earlier NES and PlayStation consoles were things that I first encountered in stores, or later read about (PS2 Slim) after the fact. Seeing such things in stores were head scratching events. More recent history such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 iterations are principally things I've only encountered online because I skipped much of that generation. Current affairs like the One S are both things I've usually read about online ahead of time and have also encountered personally.

Growing up, I was pretty much exposed to everything Nintendo and Sega offered in the United States until the great dominance the Sony PlayStation achieved, and I mostly exited mobile while the Game Boy Color was still getting new titles.

Somewhere in the early 2000s, I kind of made a switch away from consoles. If they interested me: I would still buy games for the PlayStation 2. But by in large my gaming activities became focused on PC. Thus while my peers were typically (original) Xbox converts: I had returned to the desktop. Up until the late '90s our PC was limited to MS-DOS 3 and a single 5 ¼ floppy drive, so it wasn't hard for consoles like the Super NES and original PlayStation to ingrain themselves in my gaming habits and draw me away from our Tandy. Around when Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was young and popular: we finally gained a PC up to playing modern games. That remained the pattern and is again my norm.

It was actually my brief but multi year affair with the first model Xbox One, that I had experienced a console younger than the launch model PlayStation 2. Platforms like the 360 and PS3 are ones I either skipped totally or only experienced through games ported to PC or Xbox One backwards compatibility.

Seems the popularity of game consoles hasn't stagnated over the decades. Changes to make the hardware cheaper as the platform ages of still the norm. But the way that I learn about them has.

On the flip side it seems like the hardware reliability has also largely remained the same, since Deathstar One remains fully operational. Despite its growing age and my focus returning to PC. Underneath my Xbox One is a Steam Link and a PlayStation 2, non slim. The PS2 still works just as well as the Christmas I first played Ghost Recon on it. Ditto for the GameBoy Color in my closet, sitting next to a Pokemon Blue and Yellow cartridge. This stuff tends to last 😁. Although I do wonder when analog A/V inputs will disappear from televisions, lol.
Ctrl blog: Investigating why my 7-year old Windows 10 laptop became unbearably slow.

While some might be quick to harp on the DRM aspect and tune out the rest, or ditto the unjoy that can be Windows, I'm kind of reminded of the times when DEP and the rise of dual core processors. New things equal new points of failures.

I don't recall encountering many problems when those features came to NT but whenever I did it usually involved I video game doing squirrelly things. Because running old, poorly and hastely written software on newer operating systems and hardware sometimes bite you in the arse.
When it comes to the PC port of FFVIII, I imagine that there's only two views to take of the train mission. Either its creator was a kind soul for giving you plenty of time, or your mind might flash to Robin Williams' line in Mrs. Doubtfire about the masochistic bastard who invented high heels, and picturing some game porter with a set of nine inch heels jammed up their butt.

My simple solution to the translation problem:

numeric code -> on screen key map -> actual controller map

Is to configure the game's keyboard settings to use 1, 2, 3, 4 for the specified actions. Taking advantage of the fact that the game basically requires the same number of buttons the original GameBoy worked with.

While the button miss-ordering is apparently a known issue with the port, I rather hope that the U.S. PlayStation release didn't have a similar grumble to it, lol.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rubba dub, dub! Rub that magic lamp and have a long ass, brutual, determined to drag his ass out for a fight until the bring of death and beyond.

After rubbing the lamp it wasn't long before Zell fell, and Selphie mid battle.  All the GFs fell before Diablos' mighty gravity area of affect pretty promptly, so I effectively got stuck having to widdle his health down with basic strikes. Blinding him at least limited his ability to spam AoE *and* lunge a fighter to prompt death but didn't really help with the endless stream of gravity strikes. Losing the healer lead to trading draw-cast-cures and sword strikes, after losing the ability to tag team DPS him between cure cycles. A steady flow based on draw-cast-curing my way to survivle between his area of effect spams.

In the end, expecting to lose my head, a quick scan revealed the drowsy beast was down to about 700 HP. Shouting "WHO DARES, WINS!", I rather picked my ass off the floor and went back to buisness--working in as many magic strikes as I could.

For better or worse determination doesn't tend to be my problem in clearing part of a game.
Explaining to dogs that refried beans are not for them is bound to never go well. Ending with "If I gave you this: you would fart, and we would all die", is probably not the best idea either.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


If I ever get the option of being reincarnated, I hope that dog with a good comfy home is an option rather than coming back as a human.
Comicbook.com: Netflix Adds New Anime Series Anohana, Angel Beats, and More.

Can't speak for the rest but I'd recommend Anohana. Depending on your experience with grief and depression the amount of tissues required could be non zero but it is a very well executed series.

A lot of times we watch anime for the laughter or the action. Then there are some that punch you right in the feels.

AppleInsider: I replaced my Mac with my iPad Pro for a week -- here's how it went.

Kudos for not publicly blaming the app developer when you're test driving a beta version of the operating system and relatively young features.

The concept that things aren't difficult but more time consuming, and the feeling of jumping between apps is typical of pushing modern mobile-centric operating systems harder than most. Or at least that's my opinion having been a tablet but since Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb.

What I think people should really ask themselves are three things:


  1. Do I really do that often?
  2. Is what I do most, smooth?
  3. Can I do this here?


When you do something very often it becomes more important how smooth the process is.

If you spend a lot of time shuffling data between applications, paradigms like: Android intents (sharing), drag & drop, and the almighty Unix pipe become more important IMHO. Spending time juggling file open and save as dialogs; etc can become a drag pretty rapidly when what you're really trying to do is manipulate and share data instead of leaving a trail of temporary files. I get happier when I can quickly move my data between applications without having to go out of my way to make the transfer happen.

Just because a method of operation or workflow is different doesn't mean it sucks or that it is great.

What's the quality difference between one tap and two menus deep? How often you do it! We find ourselves doing certain tasks more frequently than others. You will evaluate a function in a spreadsheet cell far more often than you will lookup what function performs any given task. As a side effect it's effective to be able to smoothly insert common functions with a little typing; a menu to find a specific type of function instead of Googling it is a plus. Having to walk through several menus and a multi page wizard as the only way to input data would just be deranged and painful for an application like a spreadsheet. Software for getting real work done will care more about the tasks you do all the damn time than software just trying to do the task once in a blue moon.

But here's the one that tends to be most cut and dry: can you really do this? Yes, odds are you can or you will give up pretty quickly. Just because you can run a word processor on your phone doesn't mean you should write that five hundred page novel on your phone. Just because it's backed up to the cloud doesn't mean you won't cry when you drop your phone in the toilet either 😜.

Software takes time to mature and different people (and problem domains) have different ways of working. There is a big gap between what you do constantly and what you do occasionally, and that tends to be where it goes south.

Ahh, now I'm rambling 😂.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/CCHmWMBjYqMVjaan9

Two years ago and still comfortable little gooners.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Signs you've been playing video games too long

After learning enough of Final Fantasy VIII's battle system to beat the bastard upon the communications tower, it felt rather rewarding to watch Elvoret go down. In fact I kinda think he was designed for that: because enough force is required to beat your way through Briggs / Wedge / Elvoret that if you've just winged it and puttered about, to flatten Elvoret you'll have to be doing something right or your party will eventually fall.

And then of course once you've got him cut down to size: got thirty minutes to reach the extraction point, and a big assed robotic spider whose first encounter makes him invincible until you flee. That just figures. Because after finally having that victory, why not force the player to run like hell and if they're effective, manage to blow the still-even-more-hit-point-bastard to kingdom come as he chases you to the beaches: or let the attractive Quistis do it with a machine gun ^_o.

Yes. Somehow this follow up just seems appropriate to me. On the flip side it doesn't take for freaking ever. Like the massive Dungeon Crawl that can occur in Dragon Age: Origins if you decide nope, not killing the little possessed tike, but haven't helped the Mages with their little cluster fuck.... I seem to remember tackling that castle going from "Eh, should take a break soon" over to "Alright, just how many dungeons was this crawl?"; If memory serves it was three or four depending on how you view the castle, the circle, and the occasional trips to the land of freaky things.

Actually, one of these days I really should revisit DA:O. It was probably the first RPG game that I really got into and enjoyed the ever loving crap out of rather than getting bored after a few hours.
Testing a pair of headphones, what is the first thing I fire off? P!nk's Funhouse!

So far for a cheap pair of headphones the Mpow H7 Plus definitely exceed my ears requirements but I wouldn't recommend it for anything base heavy. Sometimes headphones are more convenient than my antique 2.1 system, which usually means having to jack my Xbox headset into its AUX IN or Centauri's motherboard.

Ordinarily, I think I'd just get a second pair of AF32s as I've been very happy with my pair from back in '13. But the prices on the current gen are a bit too steep for my blood. Unlike the pair I use with my tablet there isn't a 50% off deal.

But that's where in lays the rub. When I want to use headphones it's a bother to screw with things. When you're turned into a dog chair sometimes having a wire between your desk and head isn't convenient and neither is repairing devices often. Being cheap and lazy has its side effects.
Prime Day Deal on Fire TV Stick 4K

So $25 for the 4K stick and $15 for the 1080p sick? Well I'm likely sold.

A while back I was debating if I wanted to retire my first generation (2014 iirc) Fire TV box with one of the modern iterations of the Fire TV Stick just for the upgraded codec support.

Pretty much my old first generation box and Sandy Ivy Bridge desktop are the last Gizmos I use that lacks H.265 support. My desktop, well it doesn't spend its days playing video and can probably brute force anything 1080p at this point.

The only reasons to hang on to my first generation box is it still works damned great and the Ethernet port happens to be a short trip to my network. That and the dollars per year of usage must be ludicrously awesome by now, lol.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Strange things: when you start running out of Final Fantasy XV content, and start debating between VI, VII, VIII, XIII as a future target.

Maybe this is what I get for skipping out on the entire series as a kid instead of keeping up with it :P.

Before playing #15, I think the closest I ever really got to any of the games was a short demo of one of the side entries during the PlayStation era. A long, long time ago #7 was kind of just there but despite its success wasn't really popular in the circles I ran with back then. Nor (J)RPGs in general, I suppose.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Draft FAQ: Why does the C++ standard ship every three years?

While Herb Sutter's answers might be a tad strict I have to admit that I am pleased with the results they've been shipping.

C++14 makes a pretty damned good working language for the environment that I work in. If twiddling things forward to C++17 wasn't a bunch of toolchain wrangling for my own sake more than customer driven, I'd be using it. This leads to reading the reference and thinking "Yay, someday!" as new features trickle out over the three year release cycle.

Over the years between C++98/03 and C++11 new toolchain releases usually revolved around their features. Like people agreeing on template vulgarities or improvements to code generation. Today I tend to be more interested in where the standard is headed, and what runtime library and compiler versions actually implement a given version of C++.

By contrast a very long time ago: it was just a plus if the compiler supported C89 and most of C++....lol
Fire Support: noun; when a Astral the size of a skyscraper picks you up like an action figure and smites the area from orbit.

I found the dungeon of the old wizard guy a touch unimaginative compared to the first Astral encounter with Titan but I have to admit that the whole nuke the area with his staff thing makes Ramuh rather handy. Especially if one of FFXV's hunts is carrying on too long, hehehe.
Some thoughts on long term planning,

At this point the kind of off machine that fits my "I'm done, that's close enough" form adds up to about $1,500 if you shop off the rack. But that means 2 kilos of luggable with a GTX1650, a Thunderbolt expansion port and non soldered memory for its upgrade path. Something less awesome could be found quite a bit cheaper if combined with +$300 worth of eGPU dock but that usually means giving up something like the ability to reuse my ginormous SSD or having to suffer 8 GB of soldered on system memory, and aforementioned eGPU dock would be a prerequisite for handling games, as far as cheaper notebooks go.

Frugality makes me look at future upgrades for my desktop.Where good old Centauri principally hits her limits are games like Final Fantasy 15 and Resident Evil 7. Games that either hit harder than normal or that you wish had more fine tuning put into them, lol.

A trend that will only continue over the next 5 years of her extended life--I have already exceeded the retirement age I had designed Centauri for, and am tempted to see just how far she keeps on truckin'. Because while showing the signs of age: Centauri has been a superb machine.

Replacing the Core i5-3570K with a Core i7-3770K would cost about $200 and deliver a major CPU bump. On the downside this would mean a really nice processor goes to /dev/closet. But the crunch boost would probably last another lustrum quite easily.

A modern Core i5-9400F would deliver comparable enough crunch power for about the same costs when factoring in the motherboard replacement it would need. But then it's + $75~$100 more for making the generational leap in memory. On a machine originally built for 8 GB and retrofitted to 12 GB when her older sister retired; needless to say forward motion is 16. And that would tally about $300 between processor, motherboard, and memory.

On the flipside one can find pretty decent deals on the GTX 1660 Ti and original RTX 2060 for between $300 and $400. Both solve one of the limits of my antique GTX 780 which is being limited to only 3 GB of graphics memory.

While my general suspicion for RE7's performance issues vs RE2 running quite smooth has been expecting my processor to be the bottleneck, in FFXV I am running virtually full of VRAM all the time. So much so that I wonder if many of the performance dings align with the allocator trying to decide which textures to flush and which to keep. or if the game was designed to maximize usage. Performance drops often coincide with with the games FPS overlay showing graphics memory usage at holy crap full levels, relative to the near constantly full levels.

Hmm, think I'll screw around with FFXV's benchmarking program.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? - s01e01

While a touch unusual a spin on a familiar concept, I admit that as a member of the NES generation I find this quite amusing. Especially the reactions when Mamko selects her weapons. It's a bit over the top but leans in the direction of funny and that suits me just fine.

I've generally figured that when my generation gets old, we'll either be some rather interesting or particularly weird old farts compared to our grandparents.

Actually, now I rather feel like rewatching KonoSuba 😜

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Forbes: Shock Samsung Confession Fuels Galaxy Note Cancellation Fears.

Another part of why I believe more in tablets then over sized phones: you've got more room to spare. Not to mention a bigger screen and sizes that trigger tablet UI layouts in applications.

But in the flip side tablets don't really do phone calls that well enough you're doing speakerphone or headsets. You do use your expensive phone for answering phone calls, right? 😉

Also the overall usage gap between my phone and tablet is such that you don't wanna know how many incoming calls I take on my tablet instead of my phone; be it in the next room or in my pocket.
GameSpot: Nintendo Switch Lite: Price, Release Date, Colors Revealed.

While not as cool as the regular Switch or as cheap as the 2DS / 2DS XL, I kinda like the idea of a cheaper Switch.

I mostly look at the Switch as attractive from two different perspectives.

One is the potential value: yeah it is costly but if you can get out of buying a 3DS and an Xbox or PlayStation that would be a nice excuse. At least that's how I'd envision selling my mother on such a console or being sold on it if I had kids without fur.

Another is that personally, if I found myself often waiting in line or such pretty regularly: I'd buy a Switch in a heartbeat. But as an adult I'm usually stuck having to do other things that require my attention,a bus travel insufficient in my neck of the woods. So spending on a portable isn't justified the same way it was when I was a kid.

But I also reflect on my childhood. My last Nintendo was a GameBoy Color that my mother purchased from a pawn shop around the time Pokemon Red & Blue were big handheld titles. A device as expensive as the Switch wouldn't have been in my family's means way back when. When I think back to those days, I find it kind of amazing that I had a PlayStation, lol.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Magical Sempai - s01e02

The frequent chuckling continues, this time with some slightly lewd humor to round it out.
There are times when even I forget whose bed this is.



I'm also pretty sure reincarnation as a dog with a good home would beat coming back as a human, lol.

A little Ray of sunshine after the disappointment of the Tab S5e

Exclusive: This is the Galaxy Tab S6 and it has a dual camera.

A little Ray of sunshine after the disappointment of the Tab S5e.

The return to 16:10 is still as disappointing as it was when the Tab S4 came out, but nothing compared to the saddness of my Tab S3 having a cracked screen and the latest model launching with no pen and mid ranged specs.

I do have to admit though, in terms of hardware it's becoming harder to justify Samsung's tablets over Apple's. Today it's mostly the fact that behind here since the era of the Steak 7 and EeePad Transformer--I know Android fulfills my software needs with flying colors. While I still expect iOS to make me grumble and groan.

My upgrade path has been looking rocky. Since the crack, the only Android option has been the Tab S4 which is already aged a bit. Over in fruit co land there's at least the 11" and 10.5" iPad Pro models as viable successors.

In reality of course I'd just like my screen's crack not to expand for another year or two.... Lol.

Before and after treats

Willow before treats:


Willow after treats:


It's probably worth mentioning that Willow is more likely to attempt thefts when there is fish involved, and the dogs get a nice round of treats after I've had dinner.

Also Misty's glare, not pictured, could have thawed ice.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The New York Times: I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked.

I think Mr. Berlinquette make a rather accurate statement towards the end:

With the ISIS campaign, Google decided what a radical view was, who seemed to hold those views and who should be able to view them. It’s hard to be cynical about an initiative that deters extremism. But entering the domain of social engineering is a slippery slope. The standard of what needs to be deradicalized is adjustable.

Social manipulation in one form or another isn't very new. What is new is the ease of exposure. Most people are going to see search results one way or another. The number of people using as blockers will likely remain a minority.

It's not like you've got to rely on stories from the local village elders for everything. Searching the world wide web connects you to many sources of knowledge; beware the wise asses you listen to. Because we all have an agenda whether or not we realize it ourselves.

Oddly I feel a bit of temptation to watch Blade Runner....
Probably a good thing that I have a 'reserved' spot on the bed...





Looking through Google Play's editors choice sections, I'm happy to see ArtFlow listed.

Think I've had this on my devices since the days of the Note series tablets. It's become about the only drawing app on Android that I tend to care about.
Scrolling through old journal entries, interesting to come across A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning's Vision. (2012) and my comments about it at the time.

In a lot of ways I still find Corning's vision fascinating.

Something is also apparent to me in hindsight: casting. Bits like the car dashboard were still pretty foreign at the time. Approximately a year later, Google launched the first generation Chromecast. Devices like the Roku would likewise gain voice input and competitors like Fire TV weren't far off just yet. Today in '19 it isn't abnormal to easily manipulate a screen but we're nowhere near as cool as that video yet.

I don't think any product like the Surface Hub was well known until a few years later. While iMacs and clones had already modernized by then I don't wanna gander at history to see when more touch capable AiOs became readily available. Devices like the Surface Studio are Still. To. Damned. Expensive. Not to mention rare in people's homes and work places.

Another thing that has changed since Corning's video is the PC. Back in '12 touch screen laptops were more of a novelty than an accepted thing. Hell, the modern tablet had just about come into its own, and was very unlike its PC based forebears.

A lot of things have changed in hardware and software since then and will continue to change. But I still hope the result looks more like A Day Made of Glass than 1984....hehe.
Odd thoughts: Pretzel stick for the dog, whiskey for the human.

Somehow this seems to suit all of us, lol.
Passing thought: Dad's habit was reading a newspaper. Mine is called a tablet.

These do pretty much serve similar purposes. Except as a multi role thingamajig I'm going to say the other uses for a tablet tend to be more fun then what you can do with old newspapers.
You should be listening to video game soundtracks at work.

Actually this reminds me: I wanted to check out if Google Play Music includes any of the Final Fantasy sound tracks.

I find it curious and appropriate on so many levels that the road trip music in FFXV is pretty much video game music. Usually at work I don't listen to the kind of tunes you'd find in an RPG. Country, rock, classic, folk, jazz, all sorts of stuff. But I will admit that Dragon Age and Mirror's Edge sound tracks do show up in my playlists every now and then.
How a 1919 Army Truck Convoy Across the U.S. Helped Win WWII.

The daily log being made available kind of interests me in doing some reading.

Really I'm kind of surprised that the Army could make such good time with that assortment of vehicles. Most Americans alive today take for granted that the main problems getting around relate to traffic conditions, navigation off the main roads, and affording the expenses.

How awesome our road systems are is largely a modern thing. The growth of car ownership may have exploded out the wazoo during the twentieth century but that doesn't mean suitable roads and bridges predate the Ford Motor Company. Today you can basically get in the car and go--the problem becomes affording a long vacation rather then can you get there by automobile.

The United States is not without our problems but we at least solved a few over the generations 😉.
Forbes: Netflix's Worst Nightmare Has Come True.

I think the notion that Netflix will survive but shrink is likely true. They're large and successful enough that they won't go suddenly into the night but quietly over a couple decades.

Along with Hulu they've long enjoyed being one of the only whales in the game. Efforts at original content have been a mixed bag but I think this also owes to to simple facts.

One is Netflix isn't built around making media. They're not like the big TV networks with the huge pipelines for content and advertising. Their strength has been in their service, and that's gone well enough that people like me will likely remain customers for many years to come.

Second is they don't have anti-trust / holy crap that's comically one sided rights to streaming content. Eventually everything you see in Netflix will end up impacted by a contract and neogotiating them. It's not like certain old world network blocks that got given away with too little forsight 😝.

Moving towards where we may be nickle and dimed by various networks is still an improvement over the cable situation IMHO. Because greater control versus take it and like it. Net result being: if it's not in the circle of stuff we subscribe to the we are either going to skip it 'til it is or eventually come to an arrangement.

I know that's how my streaming subscriptions work, and how several decades as a cable customer worked.

Note to self

Google Photos show up in Blogger's photos UI under "From your phone" regardless of source. Probably. Or at least when I use my tablet.

Impromptu dinner

Just when I decided on curry rice for dinner, I got home and realized that one of the lies we tell ourselves is: "I'll do that before bed".


Thus I came up with an alternative that works when I do dishes after dinner rather than before 😀.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Verge: A portable Bluetooth cassette tape player brings retro audio into 2019.

Not sure what's worse: that someone actually thought of this or that I like the idea.

For better or worse I pretty much made the conversion from compact cassette tapes to audio files on a computer; largely bypassing CDs and the once common MP3 player. Thus prior to two thousand something, any music I have is either on tape or you're counting my parents record collection 🤣.

And there's just not that much stuff laying around that supports cassette anymore, lol.

Last time I moved, I had found a tape off some of my dad's taste in music. Shortly debated if I wanted to break out my mother's boombox (don't ask) or not. In the end I decided to take a ride as the car I had at the time was a simple radio + cassette unit. Well let's just say that the car option isn't so there anymore 😜.
Watching Astra Lost in Space made my trip to Hulu well worth it.

The series kick off interests me enough that I may need to check into the availability of the manga. Surprisingly good stuff.
Watching Demon Lord, Retry! in Hulu reminds me that not all simulcast goodness it's limited to Crunchyroll territory.

Also when being summoned to another world: always end up the demon lord and leave a note about erasing your hard drives.
BGR: Bill Gates explains why he couldn’t duplicate Steve Jobs’ magic ‘spells’.

"I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells, and I would see people mesmerized, but because I'm a minor wizard, the spells don't work on me," 
Gates said, according to advance news of his remarks reported by B/oomberg. 

While the minor wizard bit might seem modest but I've got to admit: it strikes me as an excellent way of putting it. In a way it also makes me wonder how many table top RPGs Bill Gates may have played over the years, lol
A Quick look at the Pinebook Pro USB - C video output
Gotta admit that looks pretty damned good for such a SoC. Being what it is perhaps that should be expected; since the "OP1" in a certain high profile Chromebook is very similar.

My various 'Pi and old ODroid wouldn't be able to pull off any of that so easily :P.

To archive or not to archive: that is the question!

In a way I wonder what is kind of more sad.

That for all these years that I have had my e-mail archives well organized. E.g. different labels for different types of messages being archived. It's a very clean system.

Or that it's probably taken more than a decade for my laziness to tell me "Meh, why don't you just use one archive directory."

Because when I actually do hunt for old messages there's this thing called "Search" that tends to work well enough that I don't need to refine by 'where' I archived. And the amount of taps to move messages to xyz archive consumes more time per year than smacking archive or how often I pull up old messages per decade.

Yes. I have a feeling lazy may win out.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Next on the finishing plate

Amazing Stranger - s01e11 - Space Probe's (Space Pilot's) Song.

As I go to finishing off my backlog, I find my reaction somewhere between Haruto's at the last episode of Nona's show and the desire for a drink after the two nitwits snow up.

You know, JD and a burrito sounds like a good plan to me.

Edit: also the ending of the series is pretty great 😁
Forbes: The New Pinebook Pro Will Challenge Google Chromebooks For $199.

Can't say that I've ever cared a lot about Rockchip's SoCs but that actually sounds pretty damned tempting. The chipset should deliver a really nice bang for the buck. Very tempting indeed!

At least as far as 14" laptops with anything weaker than a Core i7 and 32 GB of RAM can go, and for those you would have to shift the price tag over a decimal place. Let's just say for $200: you have no right to complain about the horse power that a Cortex A72/A53 like that can deliver.

Intel's chipsets targeting that $200 price point tend to struggle just playing my music and opening tabs without stuttering. In fact getting tired of that is the number one reason my Chromebook will likely get retirement this year or next year.

Hmm, I wonder for the hell of it how bad the Graphics driver is for the RK3399's GPU. Last time I tried a Mali it was on an Exynos 5 and I was most unimpressed by the desktop graphics performance. But that was quite a few generations ago.
Engadget: Engadget readers love the iPad Pro 12.9.

I find it curious that as things has marched in there is really two kinds of people. Those who think that tablets are garbage and those that love their tablets.

In both cases people trying to push the software tend to miss PC'isms that they take for granted or just learn to achieve the same things in different ways.
It's a pretty safe bet that these goobers are more adept at comfy than I ever will be.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/oni5zTJDfeyVa1PH6

Especially Willow, aka the great white nap.

I would like to think that I'm not the only one whose first, humorous thought was:

ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS – EXCEPT EUROPA. 
ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.

Come to think of it more than a few years have passed since I red the Space Odyssey books. I do wonder though what we may find out there, even if it's likely to be far less dangerous than 2061 or The Turing Test depicts. Instead I imagine we'll just have a lot of scientists and scholars having a decade long think-orgy and that's probably for the best.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Tonight's season premieres

Fire Force s01e01 - Shinra Kusakabe Enlists

Is looking to be a very promising series this summer. The opening bit with the two girls and the lieutenant in the background was especially nice 😃.

At first glance it combines various concepts that make you wonder: is this a crap idea or a scathingly brilliant idea. I think I'm going to lean towards the last one 😜. The blend of action, comedy, and personality makes me think this shall entertain, much.


If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Default a Demon Lord - s01e01 - The Young Man and the Little Girl Meet

Looks to fill a small collection of genres that typically pop up every season. Perhaps even as an adorable slicity. At least, none of the usual eye rolls and worrisome bits rather than a wholesome start off.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Seen "The Umbrella Academy" on Netflix yet?

When this first showed up in the listings I debated whether it would be worth the time and filed out under worry about later.

Well after two days of watching the crap out of it: I'm pretty sure I'll be watching season two when it happens 😙.

Dinner

You can bet that more than a few tatters found their way down the treat hole of some hungry doggos.



You know, if I knew half as much as these three did about comfort....



I'm pretty sure that I'd be non human.



Odd problems:

When your microwave's defrost works by ounces and the numbers in your head sum by the gram. Followed by converting guesstimates of these using your fingers.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Steam Hardware & Software Survey: June 2019

Not much here is surprising. Only two things really show up as particularly interesting data points: the lack of 4K monitors and how spread around the amount of VRAM is.

Beyond that the data looks about what you should expect for Steam users and PC gamers at this point.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Magical Sempai - s01e01

By about three minutes in: I became pretty sure that I am going to enjoy chuckling at this series. Definitely an amusing magical Sempai, lol
Why the B-1 Bomber Is Such a Badass Plane

Growing up, I always found the B-1 a curiosity more than anything else. Here we this large, variable sweep wing bomber. It was and still is rather unique. Meanwhile most folks were mesmerised by the more modern Stealth designs.

Years later, I find it even more curious that people still talk about the Lancer, and that we've somehow managed to keep any in service since the cold war era drew to a close.

Monday, July 1, 2019


Screen Rant: The Doom Doot Meme Explained | ScreenRant

Why, oh Internet, am I only just now hearing about this meme? Also someone put this on a T-shirt, stat!
Seen "The Wolf's Call" on Netflix yet?

If the concept of nuclear weapons doesn't terrify you: ballistic missile submarines should terrify the living shit out of you. That makes for a decent psychological horror film at sea.

The Wolf's Call, I think represents either a spectacular binding of pieces gone wrong or an overly daft view of our world. Or should I say, I'd like to think people a little less trigger happy about issuing the order to end the world. The film deals with the implications of a nuclear power being manipulated into retaliation against another. An act that would eventually kick off a potential end of the world scenario--A trap that we hope no one fool enough to fall into so easily.

But it does capture the fact that the SSBN is the most effective means of bringing Armageddon upon the world.

Not so familiar with the French Marine Nationale but America and Russia have enough ballistic missile submarines that I'd say, "Good damned luck tracking them all" even if you had the means our Navy does. Even if you could fell an entire country: you would be long holding your breath waiting for the mushrooms to sprout. As a form of mutually assured destruction I think a sizable SSBN fleet takes it to a near ultimate form.

And if you forget the value of reason, the sanctity of life, those who remain silent under the sea shall rain death upon us all.

I for one would like to believe most people would think a lot more than twice about invoking such a launch. Because even if people are dicks or fools they usually want to live longer than their enemy.
Amanchu! ~advance~ - s02e09 - The Story of Tears and an Endless Dream

When I read about the Peter bit, I somewhat scratched my head. Figured it would be a strange derailing of a good series.

Turns out that I really damn enjoyed the arc and how it ends. I especially laughed about the blue stripe joke and enjoyed the ending.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Number one thing I like about auto saves: not shouting profanities when the game crashes.

Number two thing I like about auto saves: when they're frequent enough that I don't shout profanities after the game crashes.

Because even if your name has Final Fantasy in it: you're probably going to crash on some players.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Damned temptations

Things that tempt me: the latest XPS 15.

At this point my desktop, Centauri, is old enough that if you buy any variant of Core i5 or i7 laptop: the crunch power will exceed it. Let's just say I've gotten Every, Last, Dollar out of my 3570K and I'm finding its limits as the years go on. I built the system back in 2012~2013 with the plan for it to retire around 2018. Officially it's re-issued expiration date is 2023 based on it being decrepit for my use case by then.

From a bit of poking around: I imagine between my desktop's CPU bottleneck and how old my GTX 780 actually is that such a laptop model GTX 1650 is probably powerful enough for my gaming needs. Close enough that I don't need to spend for a Thunderbolt eGPU dock for the old war horse until bottlenecks actually show up. That counterbalances the sales on the previous chipsets. Games like RE7 and FF15 kinda cause low level fractures in Centuari's Aging Kick Ass Factor.

Likewise there's a fairly viable jumping off point for the fifteen inchers. The heavier assed 15s maintain dual RAM slots and a full sized SATA bay. Where as the lighter 13s only have the M.2 and soldered RAM. Thus allowing me to reuse the Centauri's SATA SSD and its whopping 1 TB of game / video storage. Migrating to 32 GB of RAM is something I fear will happen within the next ~5 years based on my experiences on machines with 16, 12, 8, 4, 3, and 1 GB of RAM that I still use. Which means if I bought an XPS 13 the minimal capacity would be 16 GB.

So sadly the 15" models become far more attractive to me than the 13" models. Because I don't want another couple year and its crap device, if I'm paying that much again: I want a use until fall apart device.

That said, I don't really like the idea of a laptop that weighs almost 2 kg as much as I'd rather one weigh closer to 0.5 kg, but getting such performance in that light a package is at least a decade or two away for PCs >_<.


The concept of paying off such a war beast makes me groan. But on the other hand Centauri is already past her retirement age. And provided no pancaking: it would be a war beast that could both replace Centauri for the next ~5 years while deep sixing the choke point of the beater I use for work.

My Chromebook 3 cost me about $50, as a decent machine for my lab bench. But it is limited by the dinky CPU which leaves me groaning far to often as the machine struggles to keep up with my flow of terminals, emails, and tabs. So much so that I already delegate a lot to my my more powerful Android tablet, with its cracked screen. Which leads me towards using my development laptop, Stark as a bench box rather than kept safely on my desk. Because while Stark is about as old as Centauri, a a 3360M totally nukes the crap out of an N3060 any day.

Heavy lifting usually lands upon Centauri and Stark. The difference is the non compiling code all day tasks are both what Centauri does and where its weaknesses are growing. I imagine that Stark would remain the development system, and that Centauri would replace my file server, Cream; or end up donated to the office.

Ahh, so much to plan.
Steam Summer Sale - VN Titles and Markdowns

More than a few entries on this sale list warrant a gander for anyone interested in Visual Novels, or you may already own half of them :P.

A few lesser known ones worth mentioning:

  • One Small Fire At A Time
    • Short but well worth it.
    • This is currently the only entry on my VN list that ranked a 10/10.
  • The Letter
    • If you ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book than this is for you.
    • The post credits scene may disturb you far more than the horror story :P.
  • An Octave Higher
    • Set in the same world as One Small Fire At A Time.
    • Players of the former will appreciate a certain side character ;).
  • Ladykiller In A Bind
    • Highly abnormal and twisted sense.
    • Come for the story not the adult content 8-).
  • ACE Academy

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Whose bed is that anyway?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hjAYNvASh6d2hdng7

Very comfy doggos.

Solving the wrong problem?

Programming language Python's 'existential threat' is app distribution: Is this the answer?

I kind of can't help but wonder if this is really about solving the wrong problem.

In dealing with the developer side of things: pip and venv really aren't that bad compared to some of the squirrelly means of distributing software the world has known. But much beyond 'type pip install xxx and cross your fingers', I wouldn't really call it a user oriented system. It works well enough for Python developers but is not catered to Joe Average User or twelve year olds who just want to blow stuff up.

To make things ease on end users of course: you have to solve the actual problem. Linux has a good rule about not breaking userspace--but userspace doesn't care about you! Personally I think that is the real pickle.

Over in NT land it's pretty simple. You build some shit and the system ABI is probably the same across a bunch of Windows versions if you're not too crazy, and most of the baggage is the problem of your install creation process. Whether that's some fancy tool or some rules in your Makefile. It's impressive when you load up a video game that's old as hell and it just works, despite being almost old enough to buy a beer. It wasn't made to be efficient: it evolved to become stable. It grew up in a world where people shipped binaries and pushing changes to users was costly.

Now by the time you have an actual Linux desktop distribution: all bets are pretty much off. A decent one will usually maintain a viable ABI for a major release number but that doesn't mean everything will be compatible forever, nor does it mean the binary dependencies you require will remain in xyz package repo for the next fifty years. Some of this lands on distributions and how they deal with package management to squeeze binaries into nixie norms of hierarchy. Some of this also lands on developers, who may or may not know what an ABI is from a hole in the ground because they're used to recompiling to APIs and configuring ten thousand build time knobs and don't care that changing something impacts binary compatibility between their library and the works of others.

There are reasons why things like AppImage and Flatpak exist. Many of these I think owe to the source centric nature of unix systems. Different communities have different norms of sharing and reuse.

When I began learning unix systems, I chose a source centric flavour that would let me learn how things worked under the hood. The kind where you waited three and a half days because a new version of KDE or GNOME landed and many a dependency in the food chain needed to be rebuilt. The kind where you learned to diagnose linker problems and grumble knowing that changes to library X meant recompiling half your environment if you wanted to be sure your applications didn't combust quietly in a corner just waiting for the day you actually needed to launch them again, or curse at some major framework linking to some piddly library that triggered same.

In the end my times with that system were dominated by two things: stability and compile times. But I didn't chose that in order to have an easy one click and done system. I had chosen it because I wanted to learn how computers worked and develop the means of figuring out why the fuck programs broke. Today if you use that flavour of unix, you can pretty much live a purely binary world that wasn't so easy when I was a padawan.

By contrast an acquaintance of mine back then, ironically a Python programmer, had chosen a more widely known distribution that focused on having the latest binaries available without having to compile all the things. One that's still quite popular about ~15 years later. Let's just say the usability of binary focused distributions has improved with time despite the warts that is binary distribution in *nix land. Or to summarize it thusly:

When it came time for a major version upgrade: I spent a few days compiling before getting back to work. He spent a few days cursing and then reformatted, lol.

Lifehacker: The Raspberry Pi 4's Most Interesting Quirks.
https://lifehacker.com/the-raspberry-pi-4s-most-interesting-quirks-1835871780

Sounds like everything I found bothersome has been improved, except for trying to do any kind of serious video playback without using omxplayer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

An old favorite

My Android tablet is set to automatically rotate through my wall paper collection, selecting once at random. But this one doesn't typically pop up given that it's just one along many.



In addition to being an old favorite: this is also the image on my coffee cup at work.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Seen "Neon Genesis Evangelion" on Netflix yet?

Time to scratch this item on my bucket list.
MSPoweruser: Bill Gates calls losing the smartphone market to Android his “greatest mistake”.

In times equally long past I would have guessed it smart phones became a thing: they'd probably run something derived from Windows CE or be a tad Palmy. Meanwhile what I would have wanted back then would probably had looked something like PDAs from Sharp and Nokia.

Today, be it for better or worse: Android is insanely successful. It is to mobile what Windows is to PC in just about every sense of the word. Except it grew up with underpinnings built around Linux and Java rather than DOS and C. It also has had the benefit of hindsight: as those creating it came from a world populated by Windows and Unix based systems.

Microsoft is doing pretty well today. Hell they've even made some nice software and services. But they are dead as the platform for mobile. Want to use Microsoft things on the go? Your phone runs probably Android. If not well it sure won't be running a Microsoft operating system!

For about the last five years or so, I've kind of wondered if in about another thirty years: will Android eventually overtake Windows. Much as Microsoft pretty much became the gold standard as Unix vendors fiddled and burned.

One thing is for sure: the Linux kernel ain't disappearing anytime soon 😜.
When dreaming of being lead down a shaft by Kurtwood Smith and into an extreme Xenomorph infestation with a bunch of hapless pulse rifle totting goons in jumpsuits, always remember to bring Ripley's flamethrower--and extra tanks of flame sauce for when things go south. Bringing a few marines with M56 Smart Guns wouldn't hurt either but my dream didn't include any such support :'(

I find this somewhat curious since most times my dreams are filled with xenomorphs: usually my experience takes on the role of running around in the USCM's ol' M3 armour and assorted armaments. Or just myself. Like that one knife fight with an Alien Queen many years ago. But dreams are weird.

It's probably appropriate though that the flamethrower design was closer to the '92 action figure I had as a kid than the M240 Incinerator Unit we see in the second film Ellen Ripley's action figure featured a rather more dedicated approach to flamethrower action.

But in any case: I say roast them all.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hey I’m watching Good Omens - Season 1 (4K UHD). Check it out now on Prime Video!

Never read any of Prachett's or Gaiman's books but this is so brilliant that maybe it's time to stop living under a rock.

There's really so much to enjoy about this story. An angel and a demon who are pretty much best friends since creation; the four horsemen of the apocalypse on their motorcycles and the rather dedicated delivery guy; the antichrist, his cute hellhound, and his human friends; an oracle witch and witch Hunter and their descendants; and GOD who works in mysterious ways but never says anything unless you're listening to the narrator.

Really, it's good stuff.
Chrome Unboxed: Google Assistant Could Arrive On All Chromebooks In Late Summer.

For the most part I've been done with Google Assistant, and lax in using such tools. But I wouldn't mind seeing them in more places as an option.

My relationship with voice tools tend to take two forms: pressing the microphone button on my phone and sighing at Google's failures to handle my reminders and pressing the microphone button on my remote and asking Alexa to launch something I want to resume watching on Fire TV.

It's nice to have options even if most of the options have failings.

Even my desktop is able to use Alexa and Cortana without much effort; Google Assistant not so much. But of course none really do that much that I find useful in that machine.

Ars Technica: A tale of two cities: Why ransomware will just get worse.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/06/a-tale-of-two-cities-why-ransomware-will-just-get-worse/


Personally I think it a bad precedent to pay such a random. The odds of such things happening probably go up when they turn out to be profitable rather than purely gloat factors.


However I do understand that not everyone goes into writing a disaster recovery plan starting off with the statement, "Oh fuck!, My computer just exploded!" as the baseline. I can just imagine how peachy most town and county networks would fair..... like a flaming car on a roller coaster track: descending into a pit of kerosene.

NextShark: Japanese Artists Turn Countries Into Anime Samurai Characters for 2020 Olympics.

https://nextshark.com/world-flag-anime-characters/


I can't help but wish someone would take this and turn it into a short manga action series or a rather comedic anime. I'd actually enjoy that more than the Olympics, lol

Reflections on my road to becoming a computer nerd

Generally I would say there were about four things that really got me into computers.

  1. Information access.
  2. Word processing.
  3. Video games.
  4. Community


Growing up in an environment where your choice was the family encyclopedias and dictionary: both about as old as me; or waiting a week or two for a trip to the library to actually happen. I was somewhat fortunate in the sense I could checkout books and learn about how nuclear power or jet engines function, and not be worried what people think. Today, I'm not quite sure I'd wanna see the alarmed glares kids might get today at the stuff I read back then but I guess there aren't that many librarians left either.

Online however made a very different set of information available than the bookstores and library could offer me. Two websites especially: the Gundam Project and the Mecha & Anime HQ. While MAHQ is still around the former went defunct before my family switched from dial up to broadbanned. As my interests exploded I found that increasingly the Internet was the way to gather information. You could go to the used bookstore and get books on Star Trek and Star Wars. You couldn't find so much related to Mobile Suit Gundam and Macross. Hell the nearest source of anime was probably drive two hours to a Suncoast, and that usually made it both very rare and expensive for our income level.

Likewise as my interests exploded: I generally faced two problems. One is the inefficiency of handwriting all your nerdy documents. Second was how painful corrections were with a typewriter when your spelling is less than 110% of perfection. I don't think I have even touched one since the 6th grade but correction tape integrated into a typewriter is still among my definitions of wasted time and misery. When I gave the computer a shot at these matters, what those older than I dubbed word processing; my fate was rather sealed. Because between the rapid access to information and the ease of editing text I came to spend inordinate amounts of time in front of a computers.

Once we made the transition into the Pentium 4 era: we finally had a computer worth while for gaming. Well, at least for games that didn't come on and run from floppy diskette. Early in my childhood we had both a Tandy 1000 and a NES, so I've been exposed to video games in one form or another longer than I have been able to read my native language. But most of our computers in between weren't worth much for games, which generally got dumped on consoles.

The rise of multiplayer gaming pretty much created and defined my social connections outside the meatspace, and that largely remained the only link until I began getting into unix systems and learning programming as a teenager.

Strangely today: video games are still a major point for my computer use. It was around 2007 or so where I hit the point that FreeBSD could replace my XP machines, except for the damned Direct3D gaming pickle. At this point I don't think I would even have built my desktop if it wasn't for Steam. My next PC will probably be a laptop and an eGPU rather than a tower.

But that's really where things intersected with other people.

I was quite active in a few gaming circles, and as my knowledge of computers grew so did my participation in circles built around those topics. Many years later: I still have friends that I met through those circles. Well into my early twenties, I was still very active in various forums and news groups related to my interests. As time has gone on most people have generally moved in the direction of services like Facebook and the late G+, and thus so had I. Today that largely takes the form of Diaspora and the Pluspora pod.

As I reflect upon the road that lead me here: I do wonder whether that is a good or a bad trend. But I think it really owes to two facts. A lot of the social things we do with the Internet are like scraps of paper: detritus and transient. Things like G+ made the ease of integrating people a lot higher than when you had to manage many memberships and connect to dozens of systems but it never changed the fact that most of our output is pretty much digital scraps. These aren't communities that will last longer than national governments and treasures in a museum: rather the things we post are closer to asking what some Tom, Dick, or Harry had for lunch in the 19th century. It's all transient at the backbone but we enjoy it while we can.

On the flipside the warehouse of old data on my cold storage drive is rather easier to deal with than stacks of old handwritten and typeset papers. And more than a few of the places I've gone have allowed me quite a bit of ease in backing things up, hehe.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Neowin: User concept re-imagines File Explorer with Fluent Design.

https://www.neowin.net/news/user-concept-re-imagines-file-explorer-with-fluent-design/


I'd actually like to see something like that. Generally I've come to appreciate the new age UIs that pop up in W10, mostly because I've already suffered their design evolution from mobile platforms. Much as I did various desktop horrors from Unix and Microsoft systems.


Windows 10's file explorer largely keeping the status quo left me with mixed feelings. But the fact remains of you end up suffering a GUI file manager: Microsoft's is the gold standard to curse at.

So far I generally find myself in a middle ground of sorts.

Diaspora* makes for a social environment that works pretty well, although I think a touch behind what G+ became. But to be fair most of the things I miss about G+, other than the people, were things that took time for the platform to develop.

Where I find myself most frustrated tends to be the software.

You see: most of my time on such things is centered around my Android tablet. Dandelion is about as much as any Diaspora client could be but I find the performance lacking, as a consequence of it being forced to function as a web based app instead of a native client.

Such that I am almost better off going back to keeping my journal on a blogger platform and automating sharing posts to Pluspora, where there is more social life. This my recent experiments doing RSS -> D*.

But of course that leaves another open loop. Before moving to G+, I had used Blogger. Before that I used Live Journal. But in the years since moving from Blogger to Google Plus not much as changed. Rather Blogger has mostly remained fixed in time and others like WordPress have marched on. Creating a sort of software want redux.

Difference is that it is easier to pull a journal migration or write a custom bot bridge than it is to pull a better Diaspora client out of my wazoo.
While lunch is rather late at least my experiment in making an RSS -> Diaspora bot is going well.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Sad thought: when I start thinking it'd be handy for my Fire TV box Gen 1 retired and was replaced with a Fire TV 4K stick Gen 1 just for the HEVC support.

The Fire TV box Gen 3 I use in the living room generally does its job well. The older Gen 1 I use in the bedroom also does pretty well and still gets the occasional updates other than Android version) just fine.

Typically I normalize my video rips into H.264/AVC video. Making the audio carry an AAC-LE stereo track and passing through surround; and sometimes adding AC-3 because of surround sound constraints on the platform. Because if you can't play H.264 and AAC at this point: you should just go home or be recycled.

Lacking H.265/HEAC is a more understandable at this time. But currently the only devices I really use that lack hardware decoders for that are my Gen 1 Fire TV from 2014 and my Kepler era GPU from 2013. Anything else ain't getting used for video anything anyhow.


A quick little test using Noucome; episode one, chapter one.

The baseline is about 4.18 GB per episode at around 18~20 Mbit input reported by VLC's stats. Drop the DTS master audio for the regular DTS, and you arrive at about 3.8 GB per episode. The amount of bits is also a bit excessive when you consider the show has a stereo audio :P. Feeding it through my usual HandBrake settings the video gets taken down to about 5 Mbit/s which is plenty for a 1080p source in that codec.

Encoding a few tests, creating AAC and AC3 at 160 Kbit/s both take about equally long as just passing through the regular DTS. Because the video codec is really where the ~5 min gets spent in x264. Using my old desktop's 2.1 logitech speakers I can't telly any difference. The file deltas are about 60M for AAC/AC3 versus 90M for DTS passthrough. Not enough to care about that much.

Using my usual HandBrake settings for H.265 HEVC, which aims to achieve comparable quality to my H.264 AVC configuration, my old ass desktop's encoding time for the short clip virtually doubled but the size drops from about 60M to 35M.

And then there's the given case when the per-episode file sizes are only about 4 GB, they're small enough that I don't really need to give a flying hoop. The 3 TB drive for that part of my media server is only about 43% full, and by the time it is filled up I'll probably be able to get an 8 or 12 TB drive for the same price point as when I bought my 3 TB. Which in turn cost about as much as the 1 TB drive it had replaced, lol.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Test 2

Using a different client app that sucks less.

Also want to see how the formatting comes through my RSS feed and into the post bots conversion.

Here's a link to Captain's Log Supplemental as it stood before G+.

Some bold, italic, underline, and strike through formatting.

  • Bullet
  • List

And

  1. Numbered
  2. List

Plus

A block quote.

And a little


Horizontal bar for good measure.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Test

Quick test post #1 for my feed bot.

RSS updates

For quite a while now my RSS feed configuration was like this:

    G+ -> pluss.aiiane.com -> Feedburner

Since G+ is no longer, I have updated my feedburner back to pointing at the normal Blogger feed. Although I doubt anyone really still monitors that feed, if it makes your aggregator angry, I do apologize :P.

I expect that my Feedburner settings have been about the same since Google Plus and the pluss turner-arounder were young, or at least as far back as my journal's migration to G+.