A real original RE at last

Over the years, I’ve generally considered GOG a good thing but haven’t cared terribly much given my focus elsewhere. But much to my pleasure, it turns out they have a real nice treat that I never expected to find: Resident Evil.

While I appreciated the HD version of the remake, I also didn’t enjoy my childhood memories being made useless by the fact that it was built from the GameCube remake rather than one of the original PlayStation releases. Meanwhile, the version recently released on GOG looks like it’s a fairly vanilla build of the PC release of Resident Evil rolled up for modern machines without extra hackwittery.

I haven’t really played the original since the 1990s and the original PlayStation. Within moments of launching the game, I felt like a proper trip backdown memory lane — in just about every way, it’s how I remember it from almost 30 years ago.

Metal Gear Solid Delta Trailer

I’m going to take this as a good sign that the remake of MGS3 will actually be released closer to ‘soon’ than ‘later’, as in we may actually get to see it this year.

The original Snake Eater was one of the more personally significant / formative video games that I played as a teenager, and remains my favorite in the series. Literally, if they throw modern controls in the sense of MGS5 at it and remain largely faithful, I’m likely to be happy. When I originally learned of Delta, my first words were probably in the vein of ‘Shut and take my money!’, so it’s likely I’ll be buying it and finding out 😀.

Playing Snake Eater in the 2020s has generally been a somewhat grainy problem. My Play Station 2 can only output 480i, which looks pretty damn grainy on a modern 2160p screens compared to ’90s era tube televisions. That’s sort of alleviated by the ‘HD’ release for modern consoles where we get progressive output, but there’s really no fixing the control scheme with that. It’s ingrained in the design, just like it was in its predecessors.

I love Metal Gear Solid 3 very much. But even at the time it came out, the choice to retain the control scheme (and I assume engine) from Sons of Liberty made the Snake Eater experience less than ideal for the jungles. The mechanics and such worked really well in the first two metal gear and virtual reality training missions, where the majority of your environments are close quarters or high octane. Creeping through the jungle would have been better served by an already then contemporary shooter control scheme, like that seen in SOCOM and many others. The controls never were the good part of MGS3, but yet the game was freaking brilliant and the story poignant. Everything else about the game was superb, and perhaps was Metal Gear Solid at its finest.

Here’s hoping for a solid remake, and that we don’t end up crying tears of blood.

Dusting off the old iBook G4, I can’t help but wonder how the machine would behave with a solid state drive instead of its twenty year old 40G IDE drive. MacOS Tiger is surprisingly nimble except when it isn’t, and most of those involve impact to both the processor and I/O heavy operations. When I had ran OpenBSD on it, the key limits were the lack of SMP and modern javascript engines having moved on with a lack of 32-bit PPC support.

The ol’ PowerPC chip is about as impressive as a single core CPU can get, I suppose. But the hard drive is basically a potato. The trick however, is it would be a major pain in the ass to replace the drive even if one of my MicroSD to EIDE bridges would fit without a hub bub.

Ahh dang it, why is temptation such a problem when it involves old computers? SMH!

Daylight – 60 fps e-paper?

Now that’s kind of impressive. The main negatives of e-ink is that the refresh rate is generally trash and the resulting flashing during bigger refreshes can be quite jarring on the eyes. But they work really damn well as long as you don’t need things to move or change on screen, thus they’re excellent for reading but terrible for scrolling.

The trade off for a more LCD-like “It’s off” when the power is off versus how e-ink holds onto its image isn’t that bad, and for such high refresh rates it would be more than worth it for a computer not so much for things like price tags on store shelves.

It’s also kind of interesting what they might come up with by trying to reimagine human interaction with computers, but I’d expect that to be a lot less successful than the display technology, due to the crushing weight of established conventions. But just the same, I’m kind of interested in what they might come up with. Ironically, I’m reminded of the Think Different speech.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs

Violet Evergarden: The Movie

Last night, I finally got to watching something I’ve been putting off for a few years. Because on one hand, Violet Evergarden is one of my favorite anime and on another, the synapses suggest a box of tissues potentially required. Which is kind of true of the series as well, but also well worth it.

I kind of love how Violet’s story is overlaid with the future. A young woman named Daisy learns how her recently deceased grandmother Anne had received a letter from her own mother every year on her birthday for fifty years, and that they were penned by who at the time was a very famous Auto Memory Doll named Violet Evergarden. Reading them, she understands so much more about the one she’s lost and then she sets out to discover just who this Violet Evergarden was, and in turn manages to put her own feelings into a letter to her parents once she reaches the end of her journey.

Violet, I think is a superb case of character development and the movie finally brings it full circle both as a character and as a story. In the series when we’re introduced to Violet, she’s like a void; an empty slate where human emotion should be. By helping other people express their true feelings, she grows as a person and manages to do some very good things along the way. The side story of the boy Yuris serves to show just how special the CH Postal Company is compared to simply scribing and delivering mail, and serves as a great close to the era of the Auto Memory Doll.

When unexpected means brings Violet and Hodgins to the Island of Ekarte in search of Gilbert, Violet very much captures human emotion and how much the character has grown since we first met her at the beginning of her story. Violet’s feelings about seeing Gilbert again, and her reaction when she finally does are beautiful renditions of what it’s like to be a human being. Violet’s reaction when a young boy on the island describes the nice man that serves as their teacher, who happens to be missing both an arm and an eye, are perhaps some of the best renderings of the character’s expressions–as she becomes certain that the one she loves still yet lives.

I mostly think of Violet Evergreen’s story as one about people’s true feelings reaching the people they wish to express them to and that’s why it’s so poignant. And with the movie, we finally have the chance to see Violet and Gilbert’s true feelings reach each other rather than being cut by loss.

Plus, the story deals with the most important words of all, 愛してる (I love you), so what isn’t there to enjoy? 🙂

Federico Viticci’s Not an iPad Pro Review, I think is a scathingly well done piece.

Having used Android tablets as an all-the-things primary computer for the better part of a decade, I particularly found the problem of background processes to be a killer. It effectively relegated my iPad from a fully productive machine to a fully-everything-else machine that probably cost twice as much as the Galaxy Tab S-series it replaced. In fact, I virtually never reach for the Magic Keyboard and fire up a SSH client on my iPad. I’ll break out a heavy ass laptop or walk across my home if I need that, because it’s annoying as fuck when you switch apps and then it’s gone. By contrast, I readily used my Android tablets for SSH tasks both for programming professionally (ssh -> build server) and for local things (ssh -> my servers).

I also rather like the notion of Desktop-class apps as a terminology. Apple’s spiel about tablet optimized apps vs Android was largely full of bullshit and handwaving back in the day. But I think Desktop-class captures the distinction well. My aging iPad Pro grants access to a few professional quality apps like Working Copy, Procreate, and Lumia Fusion that are available on iPadOS, but relatively few Desktop-class applications.

By contrast, my Android tablets were often good enough for the dock to a monitor and have at it modularity, because guess what? Some crazy guy probably wrote a desktop class application worth paying for, or no one actually gave a fuck. iPadOS on the other hand, well the best thing I can generally say about most of the software is that app xyz is almost the same as xyz is on Android. There are a few that I miss even when using Macs and PCs. And as Federico notes, there’s basically a plethora of things that just can’t exist on iPad because there’s no support for building them.

Multi-tasking is kind of a more meh perspective to me, but I think his description of how it’s evolved is spot on. Personally, I like the more full-screen task centric nature of Android and iOS. I wrote about that plenty of times in the 2010s back when G+ was a thing, and even a few journal entries here. The whole floating window thing, I find rather nice if you have a 20″ to 30″ monitor but not so useful when you cut that screen in half, like a tablet or a laptop. I appreciate the ability to split screen or slide over or float windows on my tablet, but not as much as I appreciated Android apps allowing me to do things like switch between a terminal session and an email without fucking up what I’m doing.

Stage Manager kind of squeezes it in for me. On Mac, I enjoy Stage Manager because it helps organize and group windows effectively for working on tasks. On iPad, I mostly view Stage Manager as a sucks-less way of switching between applications when multi-tasking more than anything else. On the flip side, iPadOS did grow the ability to do external monitors far better. But of the actual multi-tasking experience, the most that I can say all these years later, is that I no longer have to reboot my iPad constantly whenever using slide over, because I basically never use it on purpose :P.

Or should we say, I enjoyed the quality of iPadOS’s launch version so much, if anyone ever bemoans the quality of my code, I’ll just ask if they ever did much with the first version of iPadOS 😂.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

It’s only taken 36 years, but it’s finally happening!

Considering I hauled my ass out to the theater some years back for the anniversary showing of Beetlejuice, I have a feeling the long overdue sequel will probably get me to go. But the real question is, will we see a Hawaiian cameo as a nod to one of the old script ideas? 😀

Revisiting one of my favorite anime, I’m again saddened that we’ll likely never see translations of the original Light Novels. I tend to enjoy stories that take tropes, and turn them on their ear, and Maoyu is one of those. But more than that, I think it takes a more unique tack than most stories.

The Hero goes to slay the Demon Lord, and it quickly derails when he’s trying to slice down the archnemesis and she keeps side-stepping the sword and saying hello in greeting, 🤣. It’s kind of a classic trope for a confrontation to the death to erupt from two such forces meeting. But it quickly flips over when faced with two key problems: if the war suddenly ends, it’ll be calamity for all and if either side wins, it spells doom for the other. Rather than fighting, they pledge each other to the other and seek the other side of the hill, that undiscovered country where both their dreams may be found–peace.

Thus the Demon Lord becomes the Crimson Scholar, finding ways for humanity to avoid the starvation and economic collapse the war’s end would cause; and the Hero becomes the Black Knight, cutting down foul human and demon alike to create a world where both sides may come together. But of course since peace isn’t challenging enough they must also face forces that would see the war continue in perpetuity for the sake of lining their own pockets.

I think that tropes are tropes for a reason. Like romantic comedies and action movies, both genres are full of tropes. The couple will end up together. The good guy will triumph over the villain. Yada, yada. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes tropes make for a nice cheesy goodness; there are reasons why the patterns repeat themselves, because we enjoy the journey not just the results. Yet that also means deviating from those established patterns in amusing ways, can be quite a pleasant result.

A roux makes it better

One of the banes of my cooking experience has always been macaroni and cheese. It’s something that I’ve never been able to make the way that my mother did, and generally don’t make because I suck at it.

In Googling recipes, I encountered an interesting idea for one for a baked macaroni and cheese: using a roux as the foundation of the cheese sauce. That’s definitely nothing like how my mother used to make it, and we didn’t bake it either. I didn’t opt to try the recipe, nor bake it, but I wanted to try the concept. Because it makes sense even if it’s not how I was taught.

Result? Well, a light roux of salted butter and flour meets milk and cheese equals the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever made. Ordinarily, I always find the results lacking or calling for lethal doses when I try to replicate my mother’s methods. Well, a roux isn’t how she did it but it sure makes for a good meal 😋