Early Christmas Shopping

No stress here

It is a wonderful and unfamiliar experience to be able to say, “I have all my Christmas shopping done” before December even starts. No caring about Black Friday and Cyber Monday or dreading going to crowded stores. I say this as someone who remembers well the seasonal joys of being in a Walmart at Christmas Eve. I have my gift giving guru sister to thank for this level of preparedness.

From what I’ve heard this Black Friday/Cyber Monday business started as stores trying to clear inventory for Christmas shopping. Apparently now that these days are big business better deals are found a month before Black Friday/Cyber Monday. There is a limit to just how far the Christmas shopping season can be extended….right? Maybe next year I’ll remember to make good use of price tracker websites like camelcamelcamel.

One thing that stands out to me is how dated the term “Cyber” sounds. Cyber Monday. Cyber Stalking. Cyber Security. Cyber Space. I can’t think of any new “Cyber somethings” that have been created in the last decade. Cyber seems to be a marker for things/concepts that arose to widespread awareness in the late 90’s or early 2000’s.


Chernobyl

Bleak and compelling

I have no idea how closely the HBO show Chernobyl depicts the actual events of the 1986 disaster, but the show manages to depict a bleak yet compelling version of the events. There’s an almost supernatural horror element to it. Incredibly powerful and yet invisible radiation pouring out of the exposed nuclear reactor. I think the most horrifying part was when the Soviets try to use robots built for use on the moon to clear the roof of the facility, but the radiation immediately destroys the robot. And in what has to be the most Soviet action ever, orders thousands of people to clear the roof that was too radioactive for a space robot.

There’s also a podcast with the creator of Chernobyl. I haven’t finished them all yet but it is very clear this was a passion project.


Easy QR Code Generation

Fun with Inkscape

QR Code

Recently I’ve been reinvestigating Scalable Vector Graphics. Svgs are a type of image that can increase or decrease in size without losing quality. Svgs are never the right answer for photographs, but for a wide variety of images like icons, charts, or simple pictures they are the perfect solution for a world with so many different screen sizes.


Close encounter of the possum kind

The 1:45 AM surprise

possum

During the night there was a rustling of leaves and some frantic scratching on glass. I found this possum trapped in the basement escape window. Ordinarily it’s covered, but the one time it is left open for house painting, it ends up with an adventurous youngster. I ended up putting two long boards (one seen in picture) into the escape window to make a ramp for it to climb out.

The best flashlight in the house + phone camera flash really lit up the area. The picture doesn’t even look like it was taken in the middle of the night.


Ducktales Remastered soon to be unavailable for purchase

Just over 24 hours until it's unavailable...

So here’s a bit of info I just found out. Three days after I posted my experience trying out Ducktales Remastered on Linux through Steam’s Proton/Wine compatibility layer, Capcom announced that the game would soon no longer be available for purchase. As I type this, the game’s Steam page is showing 37 hours remaining.

As I said in my other post, due to a game breaking bug at the very end that I and others experienced (and was never fixed!), I cannot recommend this game. That being said, I will point out that the game is currently available for a going away price of 75% off. Maybe you’ll have more luck than I did. It was a very enjoyable game until the final part.


Pass and Keepass

Password management

Dealing with multiple passwords is just an unpleasant fact of life for anyone using computers. The number of passwords continue to grow as computing continues to transition from applications stored on a computer to web services that all want you to create an account. Anyone that wants a more sophisticated solution to juggling passwords than relying on post it notes will eventually investigate password managers. Here I lay out my experience with two such password managers, pass and KeePass.


Ducktales Remastered on Linux

Woo hoo!

Scrooge and the Terra Firmians

A recent Steam update included the latest version of Proton (4.11), Valve’s Windows to Linux compatibility layer based off Wine. Along side the improvements was a list of newly whitelisted games that meet the quality standards necessary to be automatically available to download and play on Linux. Most of the games on the list I’d never even heard of, but I do have Ducktales Remastered. I had played it years ago, I remembered not having finished the game, and I figured this would make a nice test for Steam’s compatibility progress.


Ori and the Blind Forest

A beautiful but FRUSTRATING game

Ori picture

I really wanted to like Ori and the Blind Forest. It was on sale at the recent Steam sale and was recommended, although not to the degree that games like Hollow Knight were being recommended. Just about any video or screen shot will show off the game’s strong visual art style. I’m always on the look out for quality platformers and Ori seemed like it would be my sort of game.


Goaccess

Website analytics with Goaccess

I’ve been looking into what’s available in the world of web analytics. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s key information for answering questions such as

There’s just no getting around the fact that the giant in this area is Google Analytics. It’s easy to see why, just add some javascript to your website and Google will take care of the rest. Particularly good for those using shared hosting accounts and don’t have access to log files. And of course this helps Google track everyone on the internet.

But what if you don’t want to help Google track and record people for advertising purposes? What if you want LESS Google in your life? That’s where Goaccess comes in. Goaccess is a fast open source program that provides website metrics in a useful and organized manner. One stand out feature I really like is the ability for Goaccess to provide information in a terminal or as a static website. The static website is admittedly nicer to look at, but being able to SSH into a server to get immediate information is pretty slick. I should mention Goaccess also provides a websocket server as a third way to provide information. I haven’t seen a reason to experiment with this option - my websites don’t warrant millisecond level real time updates.


Hollow Knight

A thoroughly enjoyable game

After hearing about this game off and on for the past 2 years I finally picked it up during the recent Steam sale. Now having beaten it (the first ending anyways) I certainly see why it is so highly praised. If you are a fan of the metroidvania genre, then Hollow Knight is a must play game.

Hollow Knight


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