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Archive for the 'general' Category

Cyberpunk 2077

I can’t wait for this game to release:

Star Citizen, scale

I’m starting to get excited again. Just look at the incredible scale of this mission!:

Amazon Prime no more

I was an Amazon Prime member until recently, meaning after they jacked up the price to $120 per year. I don’t use Amazon Video, Music, etc, so the only advantage Prime gives me is “free” 2-day shipping.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t care much how fast the thing gets to me. So I cancelled Prime. It was not easy to cancel. Amazon REALLY does NOT want you to cancel Prime. Really. Like… REALLY. They DO NOT WANT YOU TO CANCEL PRIME!

But… if they really really do not want me to cancel Prime, why did they jack up the price?

So now I’m Prime-less. Saved some money. I don’t miss any services on Amazon. I order stuff like usual. No problems.

EXCEPT… It seems to me that Amazon is deliberately delaying orders now. I only have a few months experience with it, but it definitely seems that they are delaying orders to make it take longer. I’m not talking about the type of shipping. I’m talking about the time it takes to get the tracking numbers after I order.

ALSO, some items I order regularly are no longer available to me. I went to buy another bag of cat litter, and Amazon said, “Prime only” or something. So I searched Walmart.com for the same item, found it for the exact same price, and now I buy those items from Walmart.com instead of Amazon.

It’s almost as if Amazon doesn’t want my business if I’m not a Prime member.

I’ll continue to post updates of my experience with Amazon after Prime.

Amazing Artist: Khyzyl Saleem

https://www.artstation.com/khyzylsaleem

This guy’s technical perfection is astounding!

Good groves: Magnatron 2.0

Goood groooves!:

I bought it:
https://newretrowave.bandcamp.com/album/magnatron-20

Not the vinyl but the digital download, then I downloaded the whole thing in FLAC.

Groovy, man!

Solo: A Star Wars Story

I don’t see what all the griping is about, Solo: A Star Wars Movie was AWESOME!!

I loved it so much I’m going to see it again, and then buy it once it comes out on Bluray.

Interesting Artist: Tony Skeor

https://skeor.artstation.com/

Star Citizen is not fun

I’ve been investing in, and playing, Star Citizen since I heard about it a few years ago.  I’ve purchased many, many ships.  I’ve spent many, many thousands of dollars on the game, and to assist development.

Now that we’re well into alpha version 3, and things are really coming along… it’s not fun.  What do I mean by this?  Take mining as an example:

Mining is FRUSTRATING rather than fun.  I personally believe games should be fun.  That’s just my opinion.  I have a friend who likes to play games which are kinda impossible, and very, very frustrating.  That’s his choice.  I don’t play those games.

I play games which are fun.  That’s the whole point, in my book.

If you’re considering getting a Star Citizen game package, my recommendation is to get the minimum you can (such as the Aurora starter ship, like I did) and then WAIT another few years.

Will they make it fun?  Don’t hold your breath.  Christ Roberts wanted mining to be this hard.  They did this ON PURPOSE.

Neverwinter

908 hours of Neverwinter playtime

908 hours of Neverwinter playtime

Years ago, I tried out Neverwinter with some friends.  It was okay, not great.

Since then, I’ve jumped into the game from time to time.  I’ve built up two characters to the current level cap, level 70.

Getting your character to level 70 is easy.  Even playing a few hours per night like I did, it won’t take more than a week or so to level up all the way.  The first few areas/regions, starter levels, are designed to be easy on your character (at that level) and to make it easy to level you up.

After that, however… things get a bit more serious.  What do I mean?  I mean you won’t be able to do JACK SQUAT without POURING MONEY into the game.

The game is free-to-play, which means free-to-suck.  You can play for free as much as you want, but you won’t get anywhere.  I’ve been playing for well over 900 hours, and both my characters get their asses kicked wherever they go (except the starter levels).

So… after many, many hours of frustration, my advice regarding Neverwinter: don’t bother.  There are many other games which are much more fun.

Ready Player One, the movie

As a standalone movie, not related to anything else, I thought it was pretty good and very entertaining.

It does not represent the book, however. The book is outstanding, and there is kinda no way to compress all that awesomeness down into just two hours.

Some of the characters in the movie are in the book, and there is a contest, but that’s where the similarities end. Almost everything in the movie is not in the book.

I did buy the movie, and I’ll watch it again as it is entertaining, but it does not compare to the book (as movies rarely do).

Get the movie here (good).

Get the book here (better).

 

Have a satisfactory non-denominational capitalist wintertime gift-giving season!

Have a satisfactory non-denominational capitalist wintertime gift-giving season!

I wish you to have a satisfactory non-denominational capitalist wintertime gift-giving season.

Have a satisfactory non-denominational capitalist wintertime gift-giving season!

Merry Force Be With You


And merry Christmas!

Ready Player One, the movie!

Dear Internet,

Remember way back when, I told y’all about the greatest book of all time in any universe? You remember, this one:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s called Ready Player One, by Ernie Cline, and it’s the greatest book of all time in any universe. Shortly after the book was published, there was news of a movie in the works. I’m both excited and worried about this.

I’m excited because it could be OUTSTANDINGLY AWESOME!!!

I’m worried because there is kinda no way a movie can stand up to the book and do it proper justice.

Here’s the preview:

With that all said, and with that preview… If it’s done right, I think it could be outstandingly awesome! We’ll see.

New Gaming Rig, Oct 2017

Time to upgrade!


Amazon link

Case: Corsair Graphite 760T Full Tower Windowed Case, Black

The case holds your expensive computer equipment together. Sometimes, it’s even stylish. This one has some style, and a window-door on the side so you can watch the pretty lights inside. Oh, and it’s also HUGE!

This case is the biggest I’ve ever worked with. But hey, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be able to get my hands in there and have room to work. I got my wish. It’s so big it doesn’t fit on the side of my desk like my old one did.

In Oct 2017, I paid $145 at Amazon.



Amazon link

Motherboard: Asus Republic of Gamers Strix Z270F Gaming

The motherboard (or mainboard) is the heart of your system; everything else connects to it.

This sucker is loaded with nifty features and should last me a number of years.

In Oct 2017, I paid $150 at Amazon.



Amazon link

CPU: Intel 7th Gen Desktop Processor i7-7700K 4.2Ghz

The Central Processing Unit is the brain of your system. I wanted it to be a lot faster than my previous system, so I paid more than I usually do for this one.

In Oct 2017, I paid $335 at Amazon.

The “K” on the end of the number means it’s overclock-able, which means I can crank it up to run faster than it was originally designed to run with some kind of improved cooling system. I don’t plan on doing that for a long time.



Amazon link

CPU cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 400 CPU Cooler. 4 Heatpipes, Red LED Fan

The CPU cooler helps prevent your CPU from over-heating and turning itself off, which can interrupt your game. When I bought my CPU, it didn’t have a cooler, so I got this one. In my previous builds, I’ve referred to this design as the “tower of coolness”. I like it, it’s pretty easy to install, fits in the case… I’ve got no complaints, so I got another one.

In Oct 2017, I paid $33 at Amazon.



Amazon link

RAM: CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4-2400 (PC4-19200) C16

Your system can’t do anything without some memory. You could do most things with 4 or 8 Gigs, but I like to go overboard on RAM because I’m tired of waiting for it to swap to disk (virtual memory). When your system is swapping to disk a lot, this is called “thrashing your disk”. I’m tired of that, plus I play games which require lots of memory, so I got 32G of RAM; four 8G DIMMs! That ought to do the trick.

In Oct 2017, I paid $335 at Amazon.



Amazon link

Power Supply: EVGA 750 GQ, 80+ GOLD 750W, Semi Modular

Your brand-new, expensive computer system won’t work at all without power! This power supply maxes out at 750 Watts, which should be enough to run any number of power-hungry video cards, drives, or anything else I throw at it.

I don’t know why they call it “Semi-Modular”, it seems pretty darn modular to me. All connectors are optional except the ones for the motherboard, but the thing won’t even turn on unless you connect the power for the CPU also!

In total, I connected three power cables: CPU, SATA power for the drive, and VGA to power the video card.

In Oct 2017, I paid $88 at Amazon.



Amazon link

System Drive: Samsung 960 EVO Series – 250GB PCIe NVMe – M.2 Internal SSD

SSD means Solid State Disk, which is not a disk at all but a huge block of fast non-volatile memory. M.2 is the designation for the type of connector that it works with. The M.2 connector is directly on the motherboard, so it’s very fast. I’m using this SSD for the system drive, and it is very fast. The whole system boots up in about 15 – 20 seconds. I love it!

In Oct 2017, I paid $118 at Amazon.



Amazon link

Gaming Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 8GB ROG STRIX OC Edition

I wanted something reasonably fast, but not more than about what I paid for this one. This should do me for a while. If it starts lagging behind the demands of a game, then I can add another one (the motherboard will take up to three), and connect them together with a special cable. This is called SLI: Scan Line Interleave) which divides up the work where one card does the odd-numbered lines, and the other one does the even-numbered lines, and it almost doubles the frame rate.

In Oct 2017, I paid $440 at Amazon.



Amazon link

Hard Drive: Toshiba X300 6TB Desktop 3.5 Inch SATA 6Gb/s 7200rpm

I got this hard drive for storage. 6TB (actually, it’s 5 point something), will last me a long time.

As I write this, I’m downloading my Steam games (it’s taking days), and I’ve still got lots of space left over.

In Oct 2017, I paid $169 at Amazon. There’s no way you can pay this much for an SSD and get anywhere near this kind of storage. This regular drive is much slower than an SSD, but it’s much bigger for much less dollars.


Putting it all together:

Gaming Rig 2017

HOA = Home Owner’s Association = Evil

Yes, HOA’s are evil.  Some people in this world are only there to cause trouble.  Those types of people work at HOA’s.  An HOA is only there to upset you and order you around.

I used to live in a house in an HOA area.  Never again.  NEVER AGAIN.

The people who work in an HOA are evil.  There is no other word for it.  Try it and you’ll see.  Move into a house in an HOA area and live there for a few months.  You’ll see exactly what I mean.

I could go into details about what they did to us, the egging of vehicles, the legal threats, but it would be a waste of time and you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Here’s the area where I used to live (from Google Maps):

HOA's are evil.

My previous HOA-controlled neighborhood.

It’s in Caldwell, ID, just South of U.S. Highway 26.  It looks picture-perfect (from Google StreetView):

caldwell_streetview

It looks picture-perfect (but it’s HOA-evil).

Looks can be deceiving.  Once you move in and start getting your stuff unpacked, the HOA-evil will hit you like a cup of ice water in the morning.  After that, the neighborhood doesn’t look so nice any more.

Speaking of the neighborhood, I think one of the reasons the neighbors were so hostile towards eachother is because the HOA pisses them all off on a regular basis, so they are in a nasty mood all the time.

But not all the neighbors are nasty.  We had nice neighbors.  The guy on our left had been hassled by the HOA for years.  He used to work a graveyard shift hauling something with a trailer.  The HOA only saw his trailer out front when he wasn’t working, during the day.  But he worked at night, when the evil bastards at the HOA were sleeping.  So they fined him for parking his trailer at his house all the time.  He told them to go to hell because he moved that trailer each working night, but they never withdrew the fines (see?: evil).

Speaking of trailers, the HOA really hates trailers.  We used a trailer to help us move all of our crap.  It’s our trailer.  We parked it next to our house on the side where the street doesn’t go anywhere.  Someone called the police and reported the vehicle & trailer “abandoned”.  Some of our neighbors were very hostile.

So we moved the trailer each week, to prevent the “abandoned” thing from happening each week.  That’s when the egging started.  We eventually had to put the trailer into external storage at our expense.  The HOA really doesn’t like trailers.

Anyway, the point of all this is that HOA’s are evil, and I recommend you not live under one.  I never will again.  NEVER.

Google Cardboard

This is a good idea. It’s an easy way to introduce someone to VR (Virtual Reality).

google_cardboard_620x387

https://cardboard.withgoogle.com/

I tried it at home:

Google Cardboard OMG

Google Cardboard OMG

I loaded up the Google Earth Cardboard demo and handed it to my roommate.  He looked through and said, “Wow!”  He was floating above Chicago, looking around in 3D, watching the buildings and scenery load and render… all on my Samsung S3 smartphone.

There are other demos available.  Lots of fun.  I recommend it.  I got my kit for about $25 at DodoCase:

http://www.dodocase.com/products/google-cardboard-vr-goggle-toolkit

Small-Claims Court Experience, Part 3

They paid!  I don’t have to take them to small-claims court!!  YAYYY!!!

I received the check on the 12th.  It was post-dated the 11th.  The check was dated the 5th.  Why the delay?

Did they write the check, then just leave it laying on the desk for 6 days?  Was the check laying there on their desk and they noticed it 6 days later and said, “Hum. I guess we should pay Hawk. We’re already over the deadline.”  Did they have to move money around so that the check wouldn’t bounce?  Were they just trying to cause me trouble?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  I may never know.  But at least I got my security deposit back.

Small-Claims Court Experience, Part 2

Turns out, it’s easy to file in small-claims court.  It’s much easier than I thought it’d be.  Just see this site:

https://www.lawhelpinteractive.org/

They have a walk-through which took me step-by-step through the whole thing, then generates a legal document that you can just print out.  That was the easy part.  The hard part is getting the defendant served.  From the instructions:

Giving Notice of Your Claim to the Defendant

You must give notice of your claim to the defendant. The procedure for giving notice to the defendant is called service of process. If service of process is completed correctly, and the defendant doesn’t answer your claim, the judge can give you a default judgment. The judge cannot give you a default judgment if service of process is not completed correctly. If there is more than one defendant, you must serve process on each defendant. If the defendants are husband and wife, you must serve process on each spouse.

Service of process should be completed within 30 days after you file your claim. In most counties, if you do not complete service of process within 30 days, your claim will be dismissed. If your claim is dismissed for lack of service, you can reopen your case by re-filing your claim. If you reopen your case within six months after you first filed your claim, you won’t have to pay another filing fee.

There are two basic ways to serve process: certified mail and personal delivery by a non-party. Service of process is complete when the court clerk receives a certified mail return receipt signed by the defendant, or an Idaho Sheriff’s Return of Service or an Affidavit of Service stating when and how the defendant was served.

a. Certified Mail

You can ask the court clerk to serve process on the defendant by certified mail. The court clerk will charge you a fee. The court clerk will mail the papers to the defendant, return receipt requested. If the court clerk does not receive a return receipt signed by the defendant, you will have to try a different way to serve process. Service of process by certified mail costs less than the other methods to serve process, but is often not completed because the defendant did not sign the return receipt.

b. Sheriff’s Office

In most counties, you can ask the sheriff’s office to serve process on the defendant. (Some counties have a marshal’s office that will serve process in small claims cases.) You will have to pay a fee, and you will have to provide information on where the defendant can be found. The sheriff’s office will not investigate to find the defendant for you.

In some counties, the court clerk will collect the fee for the sheriff, and give the papers to the sheriff’s office that are to be served on the defendant. In other counties, the court clerk will give you the papers, and you will have to take the papers to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office will prepare a “Sheriff’s Return of Service,” stating when and how the defendant was served, or that the sheriff was not able to deliver the papers. Some sheriff’s offices will file the return with the court clerk, others will give you the return to file with the court clerk.

c. Private Process Server

You can ask a private process server to serve process on the defendant. You can find them in the phone book. You will have to pay a fee, and you will have to provide information on where the defendant can be found. If you don’t know where the defendant can be found, some process servers offer investigative services. The process server will charge more to find the defendant for you.

The court clerk will give you the papers to be served on the defendant, and you will have to take them to the process server. Once the process server has delivered the papers to the defendant, the process server will prepare an “Affidavit of Service” stating when and how the defendant was served. If the process server was not able to deliver the papers, the affidavit will say so.

Some process servers will file the affidavit with the court clerk, some will give it to you to file. Service of process is not complete until the affidavit, stating when and how the defendant was served, is filed with the court clerk.

d. Any Person Not a Party and Over 18

You can ask any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party to your case to serve process on the defendant. You can get an Affidavit of Service from the court clerk. The server will complete the Affidavit after serving the defendant. You will have to file the completed Affidavit of Service with the court clerk.

Does anyone have any advice on which method is the best?

Small-Claims Court Experience?

Dear Internet,

Do you have experience taking a realtor to small claims court?  I need to do this to get my deposit back on my previous rental house.  If you can help in any way, please email me at jedihawk at yahoo.com.

Thanks in advance.

Simple Mobile doesn’t want my business

I make jokes with my friends all the time about how businesses don’t want my money.  When I go into a store and they don’t have what I want, I say to my friend, “They obviously don’t want my money.”

And my friends nods and replies, “They clearly don’t want your money.”  This happens a lot.

With Simple Mobile, they clearly don’t want my money.  Why?  Because they turned off my cell service.

“No problem,” I say to myself, “I’ll just ‘re-up’.”  So I call their customer service line (the only number that works on my phone).  I get an automated system which asks for info that I don’t have, such as my “Simple Mobile PIN.”  I’ve never had one, nor set one.  So I hang up and try to get a human on the line, but that doesn’t work either.  It seems like they don’t want my money.

“No problem,” I again say to myself, “I’ll just ‘re-up’ online.”  So I go to the Simple Mobile website and try to log in.  “We don’t know you, man.” they reply.

“Say what?” I ask myself.  I try two different usernames, including my email address, but nothing doing.  So I say to myself, “Self, you’ll have to re-set your password.”  So I click the re-set password link and enter my email address.

“Sorry Hawk, we don’t know you, man.” the website replies.

“Say what now?” I ask myself.  My username doesn’t work, and my email address doesn’t work?  Then I see a link to use my phone number.  “Hey now, that should work!” I say to myself.

So I click the link, enter my phone number, and the website responds, “We don’t know you.  Man.”

To summarize:

  • My username doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website.
  • My email address doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website.
  • And my phone number doesn’t work on the Simple Mobile website!

I say to myself, “Self, it’s clear Simple Mobile doesn’t want your money.”  And I wholeheartedly agree.

Boost Mobile logoThe next day I walk down to my local phone guy.  This guy, David, has helped me out with DSL service at home, as well as cell service.  I explain how Simple Mobile doesn’t want my money and he sets me with up with a new service, new phone, and life is once again wonderful.  I got a Samsung Galaxy S III (which is a wonderful device) and a service with Boost Mobile with unlimited everything for $35 / month.  That’s a promotion price, but no contract (yay!).  After my experience with AT&T and their contracts, I’ll never go on another cell-service contract again.  After 6 months, it goes up to $50 / month.  For unlimited everything, including 4G LTE service, that’s still a good price.

So it seems Simple Mobile doesn’t want my money, and Boost Mobile does.  Boost Mobile wins and gets my money.

UPDATE: Simple Mobile still had my account in the auto-billing system because they auto-charged my card $41.68 yesterday.  Now I’ll have to call ’em up and try to get a refund.  Such a hassle.

My new Samsung Galaxy S III with Boost Mobile

My new Samsung Galaxy S III with Boost Mobile

Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

gun rights vs. gun control

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