Dreamfall: Chapters

I was going to discuss the new GPS Tracker I bought for my dog, but I seem to have a faulty unit, so I guess that’ll have to wait.  Instead, I’ll talk about a game I’ve been playing.

Dreamfall: Chapters (DC) is the (finally in production) sequel to Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (DTLJ) – which was itself a sequel to The Longest Journey (TLJ)).  If nothing else, I give Red Thread Games (RTG) points for a unique way of naming sequels!

DC does it slightly differently to the original two.  Both were ‘self contained’ stories (if you ignore the horrible, unresolved ending of DTLJ), whereas DC is an episodically released game.  I’ve just finished the first ‘story’ and am now onto the second. Continue reading

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Samsung Galaxy S6

I seem to have made a habit of buying my Samsung Galaxy phones the way folks reputedly watch Star Trek movies: I only get the odd ones.  I started with the no number, since it wasn’t a line yet.  Then the S3, and now the S5.  However, it’s not necessarily because I think the odd numbered ones are better; it’s just because that’s the point in the release cycle that my phone plan runs out and I can get a ‘free’ new phone.

So why am I talking about the S6?  Because I have something to say about it.

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Command Line Stuff: Differences In Lists

If you’ve no interest in Linux command-line things, then this isn’t likely to be that interesting for you. Sorry about that.

Due to my work I’m often in the position where I need to find the differences between two lists.  Now, some people may point to ‘diff‘ or ‘sdiff‘ as tools  appropriate to the job – and in many cases they are exactly what is required.

However, what I often need is to compare two lists, breaking them into different categories – new lists – that I can then pass through other processing to find patterns, and perhaps find out why they’re different.  The categories I usually need are:

  1. Items exist in both lists
  2. Items exist in only the first list
  3. Items exist in only the second list

For this, ‘sort‘ and ‘uniq‘ are invaluable to me.  Nothing in this technique is amazing, or ‘tricky’, but it is one I’ve found very useful for diagnosing various issues.

One caveat though: this technique relies on each having no duplicates.  That is, you cannot have two ‘jsmiths’ within the same list.

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I bought RAGE a while back, but never got around to playing it.  I mainly bought it (cheap!) for the same reason I bought FUEL – I was interested in how well the technology worked for a game.

I think I’m lucky I had a 360 because I’ve heard rumours, hearsay and scaremongering about the ‘MegaTexture‘ technology that RAGE uses not working as well on the PS3, and not as efficiently on the PC.  Are these true?  I have no idea. But I didn’t want to waste a whole $6 to find out!

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PathPix for Android


I was in the mood for some puzzling before sleep one night, and PathPix came up in the Google Play Store as recommended by a friend of mine.  I downloaded  ‘PathPix Lite‘, which is a free version that has 9 puzzles, and that let me decide if I liked the game or not.

I finished the 9 puzzles, then quickly bought the full version, which has 189 puzzles.

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Just Cause 2 – The Game

Now that I’ve got the story out of my system, I can talk about why I’m having so much fun with Just Cause 2 (JC2).

The previous entry gives a rough idea of the tasks ahead of you in the game: blow stuff up.  However, there’s so much more to it than that.  You can also kill people by shooting them! Or using your hook wire to drag them to their doom.  Or hook them to a gas cylinder and turn that into a rocket or …

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Samsung Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner – Forgotten Your Alternative Password?

It occurred to me that I had no idea what ‘alternative password’ I’d assigned the fingerprint scanner should I lose my remembered fingers or if the scanner broke.  Even though I could still get into the phone (I still have said fingers, and the scanner still works) I couldn’t change the password.

Then I discovered that by deleting all of the saved fingerprints, and re-scanning them,  you get a chance to enter a new password.  Now I have a brand new one to forget.

Of course, to use this trick you have to get into the phone first – so if you have lost your digits, you’re probably out of luck.

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Just Cause 2 – The Story, The World

I’ve been playing Just Cause 2 (JC2) to death lately.  I keep trying to write about it by starting with something like “I’m going to ignore the story and world, as that’s a mere frame of tissue for the rest of the game.”

The only problem is, I keep wanting to talk about the story, and the world and so I’m going to get that out of my system first.

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AI And The Death of Humankind

Artificial Intelligences (AI) in fiction more often than not ‘go rogue’ and try to kill their creators, or just humans in general.  Whether it be because they decide we’re too dangerous to live, are fed up with us, or the AI in question has gone insane, the end result is the same:

Wipe them out.  All of them.

In Real Life, as far as I’m aware, we don’t have ‘real’ AI yet.  We have all kinds of attempts to mimic intelligence, but we don’t yet have the self aware artificial mind that can say “I think, therefore I’ll kill you”.

We are, however, getting close enough that some big minds are starting to panic over it.  Stephen Hawking began worrying.  Now Elon Musk has also revealed his worries, and has kicked in $10 Million to keep Skynet at bay.

Reading about Musk’s view, and the goal of that $10 Million for ‘keeping AI beneficial for humanity’ got me wondering if we aren’t heading towards a self-fulfilling prophecy here.

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Life Without Internet

Well, that was interesting to say the most.

I moved house, and due to Australia’s original Telco playing silly buggers, I couldn’t get a phone line – there was apparently no copper to my (established since at least 1970) house.  Still, once I worked out the rules to this ‘game’, I had some fresh copper connecting me to the exchange.  Since I wasn’t about to hand Telstra even more money after their rather appalling behaviour, I then had to go to my ISP of choice and ask them to give me ADSL2+.  I was also moving my Home Phone to the ISP, so that took even longer with all of the processes involved.

The upshot of this is that I was without ‘real’ internet for far too long a time.

Now, it was true that I had flaky 3G (down to H+ or H most often) on my phone, and I could use that as a wireless hot spot, but that wasn’t the fast and, more importantly, unlimited service I’d got used to and ‘needed’.

Obvious things like heavy, undirected browsing were out.  Any videos I wanted to see I bookmarked for later.  I had only one machine hooked up so I could control how much data I used for things like OS and Antivirus updates.  It meant a few things I was used to had to be curtailed, and I whinged about it, but really I had enough internet to talk to my wife (by messenger) who’s in the US, get email, and look up things on the web that I really had to know about.

What surprised me, but probably shouldn’t have, were the things that apparently required an internet connection.

While I could still play disc based games on the XBox 360, the majority of my arcade library was relegated to trial versions.  Even ones I’d played recently before the move.  There didn’t really seem to be a rhyme or reason to which ones remained the full versions and which were downgraded to trial.

On the tablet, a couple of apps and a game apparently decided they needed to ‘call home’ to verify that I owned them.  I’m not sure if they do this every time, but I guess I wouldn’t notice as I always have internet.  Except I didn’t now.

I didn’t even try downloading and playing Elite: Dangerous at this point., since I knew it needed an internet connection.

For me the whole railing against the trend towards games needing ‘always on’ internet has been mostly academic.  I don’t like the idea, but it usually doesn’t affect me.  It’s interesting to have it suddenly affect me, and realise what it really means for a hobby I like to spend a lot of time on.

So, I doubt I’d enjoy doing this ‘forever’, but I survived the time I did have limited internet.

Just don’t ever ask me to give up my 3G as well…

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