Category: Random Textual Nonsense

My Thinkpad T400 had a good long run, but it finally had to be retired due to a hardware failure that wouldn’t have been very cost effective to repair. That system was certainly showing its age, but it was still usable for day-to-day tasks, albeit a bit sluggishly depending on what you were doing. After it died there was a period of a few months where my mobile computing was limited to what I could do on my phone or tablet, toward the end of which I was given an older single-core laptop to act as a stop-gap. Using a single core system with 3GB of memory in late-2016 isn’t ideal to say the least, and while it was frustrating to use I was no less appreciative of having something to hold me over until I could find a suitable replacement.

Now, I’m not exactly swimming around in a Scrooge McDuck money vault over here—my budget for a laptop is around the $350 mark, which leaves me with precious few options that meet my needs. After a bit of research I decided that the Asus F555LA-AB31 would be my best bet, being one of the only systems in my price range that meet nearly all of my needs, one of the most important and hardest to find being a 1080p display. A combination of procrastination and financial constraints led to me putting off the purchase for a while until a better option eventually showed up.

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I’ve had an interest in photography for several years which has thus far been a hobby that I seldom indulge in; I wouldn’t count out the possibility of eventually trying to do it professionally, but I don’t necessarily have any significant aspirations of doing so at this time. My primary reason for not engaging in the hobby more often than I have is laziness, but the equipment I’ve had at my disposal has also been a factor.

Taken with a MotoG with some adjustments made afterward (color, contrast, vignetting).

Taken with a Moto G.

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The Things

This is somewhat old, but I just stumbled upon it recently and I’m sure I’m not the only one who wasn’t aware of it before. It’s called “The Things” and it’s a short story written by author Peter Watts which takes place from the perspective of the alien entity in “The Thing”. The entity perceives everything in the context of a creature that experiences life as a single unified being and its thoughts are all structured as if it’s a world unto itself. It talks about being separated from and rejoining parts of itself, talking about how it has assimilated parts from other worlds before becoming stranded on earth, not knowing how long it had been in its frozen slumber on our planet and whether or not parts of itself are still alive elsewhere in the universe. The entity also expresses confusion at the concept of individuality, later showing discomfort toward it and pity toward those whose existence the entity feels is limited by it. I thought it was an interesting take on the events of the film, attaching a consciousness to the alien makes it a little more unsettling than when it’s nothing more than mindless space monster.

You can read the original text version here, but there’s also a reading of it available on YouTube which has background music added to it that I thought was neat (Part 1 & Part 2).

Five years late, but I’ve finally got an Xbox 360. It’s a launch model with a manufacture date of November 26th, 2005 and it didn’t come with a hard drive; but hey, it works—for now at least. *Knock on wood*

Currently Not an RRODBox

Eventually those rings will be red, and I will be sad.

So now instead of only writing articles about PC stuff that nobody reads I can also write about Xbox 360 stuff. Exciting! My first write-up will be a review of ‘Splosion Man, a game I’ve wanted to play for quite a long time and couldn’t because there was no PC release. Beyond that I’ve also reached far into the 360 back catalog and bought used copies of Halo 3 and The Darkness which I may write about in some capacity if I can feel motivated enough.

Given the age of this 360 and the platforms sordid history of smearing shit on your carpet and subsequently bursting into flames I’ll have to take very good care of this thing if I want it to last long enough for me to get through all of the games I’m interested in. I’m assuming that because this system is not only way beyond the 3-year warranty period but also because I don’t have an original proof of purchase since it’s both used and won from a giveaway I’d probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning than I would have of Microsoft servicing it. Considering that, I’ll have to break the warranty seal and periodically open up the system to clean it out. Heck, maybe I’ll even mod it if I get bored enough—mod as in increase the cooling efficiency in some way, not as in adding phat spinners or neon lights.

I initially thought I’d be able to get away with exclusively using external storage devices for the system, but it appears that it might be more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth. I’ve determined that some older titles which were developed before Microsoft added support for external storage to be used for things that were previously limited to the official HDD have issues utilizing my USB HDD. Halo 3 is particularly egregious in its inability to recognize it as a valid storage medium. It constantly complains about being unable to add things to my download queue, even interrupting single player and multiplayer gameplay to inform me. The types of multiplayer playlists I can use are also limited and I can’t play co-op. I assume this is because Bungie programmed Halo 3 to look for the presence of the official HDD specifically rather than tell it to utilize any device present that has sufficient storage space. Obviously, the 8GB of space that’s free on the 16GB of reserved space the 360 created should be more than enough for what the game needs to do, but it just doesn’t see it that way.

Various other things need to be considered as well; if I want to play with my friends I’m going to need to get a headset for party chat and an Xbox Live subscription so I can play online without having to constantly scavenge 48-Hour trial codes. I was going to get myself a new keyboard, a CPU heatsink and maybe new headphones this holiday, but I may end up spending money on my ticking timebomb of a game console instead. Le Sigh.

Needs Moar Ghostbusters

Fill my eyes with that, uh, quintuple vision.

One last thing: third-party cables can be a blessing or a curse. In my case, it was the latter. I now find myself in need of a better VGA cable. Luckily, this one only cost me $1.16.

Due to general laziness and time constraints there are only two games this time: one for SHMUP fans and one for Puzzle fans.

Warning Forever

Warning Forever

Skipping all of the top-down scrolling fluff that leads to a boss battle in the typical SHMUP, Warning Forever simply presents you with a series of nothing but boss encounters. By default you start off with 180 seconds and after you defeat a boss time is added to the counter. Rather than giving you a set number of lives the game simply subtracts from your timer each time, meaning multiple deaths will either make you unable to finish the boss in time or simply end your game if it hits zero. The bosses aren’t procedurally generated but there are nine “growing patterns” and four final shapes which adds some variety to the combat. Ultimately, not a game you’d spend hours on but it’s good for killing some time on occasion.

Kiki the Nanobot

Kiki the Nanobot

In this game you take control of a two-wheeled robot and progress through a series of puzzles. The gameplay mostly involves you pushing or shooting blocks and other objects into the correct position to enable you to grab a sphere. The official website calls it a mix between the games Soko-Ban and Kula World.

This will probably be the last multi-game “Free for All.” In the future I will only write about one indie title at a time so I can avoid indie game fatigue and exhausting my supply of filler article material…¬_¬

Do you ever feel like doing something productive, but try as you might you can never seem to do anything but obsessively check the same websites in an endless loop? I find myself in that situation daily and it’s beginning to get a tad depressing. And trust me, more reasons to be depressed is one of the last things I need.

So, what made decide to ramble about this? Well, I have a “Work In Progress” folder containing three articles I’ve been intending to write for a while now, but every time I tell myself that I’m going to work on them I just end up browsing various forums and checking gaming news sites for hours on end. Hell, I usually toss an online game or two in the mix for good measure. It’s not just articles that get impacted by my inability to sit down and do some actual work. I’ve had many Blender3D projects that I’ve canceled or just kept in limbo and some standard chores such as washing dishes and mopping often get put on the back burner.

What’s the solution to this predicament? Unplug my Ethernet cord? I’d just plug it back in after trying to compulsively open Firefox only to be greeted by a network timeout page. I suppose it’s a self-discipline issue more than it is anything else. The Internet isn’t forcing me to occupy myself with the various time sinks it provides access to, so I really only have myself and some off-balance brain chemistry to blame.

Anyway, I just randomly decided to write this little brain dropping while I was in the process of being annoyed by my inability to be productive. Oddly enough, the act of writing this is being productive and somewhat diminishes the value of this post. If I could take the time to write this, why couldn’t I write an actual article or finish a small Blender3D project? My mind is boggled.

Bitter Ramblings

I’ve found that there is a lack of communication these days. Granted, I’m only 21 so I can’t recall too far back, but it just seems like for the past 10 years or so people are less likely to provide a consistent line of communication with you. You talk to somebody, and then they suddenly drop of the face of the earth. This applies to both personal and business relations. I’ve contacted people, talked to them for a bit, and then shortly afterward they just disappear without warning. It leaves you wondering if you turned them away by saying something they didn’t like, if they just decided that you don’t have enough in common to be friends or pen pals. It’d be nice to be told why communication has ceased before they silence starts, you know? There are situations that could prevent a person from telling you why they’ve stopped corresponding with you, such as losing Internet access, being forced to sell their computer because of financial troubles, or at worst they’ve died. I’d say that the vast majority of the time it’s simply that they’ve lost interest and couldn’t be bothered with telling you before leaving you behind.

I’ve had people contact me about buying something that I posted on Craigslist, tell me they’re going to come buy and pick it up, and I end up waiting all day for nothing. Fine, you changed your mind and don’t want to buy it anymore, but would it really be so hard to email me or call me and tell me that? I could have been doing something else with my time instead of waiting around for nothing. How do you know that I didn’t delay or cancel another activity so I can be at home waiting for you? It’s very irresponsible and inconsiderate.

This behavior is surely related to the general attitude of the throw-away culture we’ve become immersed in. People buy gadgets and throw them away as soon as the next best thing comes out, people buy animals from pet stores and then abandon them shortly afterward because they weren’t prepared for the responsibility involved with having a pet, people stuff their elders into “retirement homes” because they don’t want to take care of somebody who’s slowing dying, hop from one clothing, social or entertainment fad to the next…many other examples could be made.

Young people in today’s world have an immense sense of entitlement to everything, they don’t seem to understand the concepts of personal responsibility and often times have very little respect for others. They act as if the world owes them something, as if their very existence entitles them to special treatment. They open lines of credit and buy themselves into debt with a bunch of frivolous purchases, act like partying and getting drunk off their asses or high on are the only important things in life and generally act like lost children trying to make sense of life through extreme stimulation of the senses.

Maybe I’m just and cranky old man stuck in a 21-Year old body, but I find myself disgusted at the way a lot of people act these days. Most people do not fit my idea of what an adult should act like, and often times don’t even fit my idea of what a child should act like. Hell, I’ve met kids more mature than a lot of the adults I’ve met over the past couple of years.

I’m going to have to put an abrupt stop to this as the rant has kind of lost its steam. Mostly because I started writing it roughly a month ago and never finished it. I should have finished it when I was first intoxicated with rageahol, as trying to finish it now makes for a lackluster and slightly disjointed rant. Ah well, I figured I should try to patch on a finish and post it anyway, so here it is.