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alChandler's Halls

Serving dozens since 1999

Windows 11

The picture is from an article on Windows 11 over at The Verge, you're looking at the new and improved start menu. I'm sure Windows 11 will be an incremental improvement over Windows 10 and I'll grumpily adjust to it but the days when we all were enthused about OS updates are long gone, at least over here. We'll know more on Thursday when Microsoft unveils Windows 11 to the world. I'll be following the action via the tech press.

June 20, 2021


Modern CPUs run hot and need to be cooled. Recently Rolf was over to do an upgrade for Kosh, here's my old motherboard, the i7 chip is under the fan.

Rolf told me I've had that chip for five years. This time he put me into an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-Core Processor. I expected the new motherboard to look a lot like my old one. I was wrong, apparently modern chips need a scooch more cooling power.

Prepare for ludicrous cooling.

June 19, 2021

Assist Mode

I nearly finished Control a couple of years ago, in spite of it's punishing difficulty. At the end I hit one fight I just couldn't win and put it aside.

Normally I wouldn't have spent so much time slogging through the game. I once bought Dark Souls on sale, just to see how far I could get and through in the towel in the tutorial section. But the environment of Control, the offices of The Bureau of Control/The Oldest House, kept me going. And I suspected that with so many complaints about the difficulty spikes in the game, eventually the devs would patch it.

Control was released in 2019, a patch was released on August 27, 2020 that added Assist Mode. I was unaware of that until a couple of weeks ago and I reinstalled the game the setting in the screen shot. However I turn immortality on for the boss fights. I beat those guys once without Assist Mode and it sucked so fuck 'em. But once they're dead I turn it off again. And I'm looking forward to finally unraveling the mystery of the Oldest House.

June 14, 2021

Windows Update

Early Friday morning MS pushed an update down. I chose the update and shut down option and went to bed. When I got up later in the day I discovered that MS had added that weather and news widget to my taskbar.

At one time I would have launched into a shrill screed about what bastards the people at Microsoft were and how dare they put this shit on my precious desktop. Instead I contented myself with right clicking on my taskbar and removing the widget. For good measure I also booted Cortana off the taskbar. By the way, I've seen speculation that MS is going to unveil Windows 11 this fall. Be still my beating heart.

June 12, 2021


I have a new pair of bifocals and reading is better, distance is better but alas, reading on the computer is a lot worse. I looks like I'll have to go back to the doctor and get a pair of computer glasses. Aging is awesome!

Update: Because of the new glasses, I have to lean back in my chair to read print on the monitor. Not everyone is unhappy with that.

June 11, 2021

Anthony Burgess and Hunter Thompson

Back in the 70s Anthony Burgess agreed to write a think piece for Rolling Stone. Then Burgess wrote to Jann Wenner asking if he could substitute a novella instead. Wenner deferred to the literary guy on staff, Hunter Thompson, and asked him to respond.

June 10, 2021

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Ubisoft's passion for historical accuracy has waned a bit in recent games.

June 9, 2021

Beginning the Upgrade

So, Kosh will be getting a new motherboard, a new chip, and new memory. I've just finished backing up stuff, just to be in the safe side.

June 8, 2021


I had a few problems with The Outer Worlds, not technical, just getting used to hunting for quest givers.

I didn't have to hunt for quests in Cyberpunk 2077, instead people with quests contacted you. You couldn't drive for more then a few blocks in Night City without somebody DMing you about a job they wanted you to do for them. The Outer Worlds like that, you have to find the quests. And yeah, that's the way it's been in every other RPG I've played for the last 38 years. It's just that I got used to sitting on my ass and letting the quests come to me.

So I restarted the expansion and made it a point to talk to named NPCs I saw along the way. I's all coming back to me.

May, 30 2021

Amazon Sidewalk

First the bad news via Ars Technica:

If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device, you have only 10 days to opt out of an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance.

On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who donít have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you donít have a connection.

By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not.

Amazon has published a white paper detailing the technical underpinnings and service terms that it says will protect the privacy and security of this bold undertaking. To be fair, the paper is fairly comprehensive, and so far no one has pointed out specific flaws that undermine the encryption or other safeguards being put in place. But there are enough theoretical risks to give users pause.

Opting out of this is pretty simple, just open More from the lower right of the Akexa app then navigate to Settings>Account Settings>Amazon Sidewalk and turn it off. After all, we password our routers for a reason.

May, 29 2021

The Outer Worlds

After a week of intensive reading, as well as a couple of visits to eye doctors, I finally started the last dlc for The Outer Worlds. I'm told it's short, about ten hours or so, and it will be the last content for this game. I've had it on my system for awhile now but had put it off, it's always hard to say good bye to a world you enjoyed living in. After that I have the Assassin's Creed Valhalla expansion. That one is supposed to provide about 40 hours of content.

Not sure what I'll be playing after that but I'll think of something.

May, 28 2021

The Enlightenment

The review of in the Guardian of Ritchie Robertson's book, The Enlightenment led me to believe the book was an easier read then it turned out to be. I sort of felt like the guy who agrees to run a race and discovers after the fact that it's a half marathon. It's not beyond his capabilities but he wasn't planning on it. But last night I buckled down and read the last 160 pages and finished it. If nothing else I'm glad to see that I still have the discipline to get through a dry (but interesting) book.

So for the near future I'll be reading lighter stuff, I've earned that.

May, 23 2021


This image is making the rounds on Twitter, supposedly it's a propaganda poster from China. I can't speak to the accuracy of that but I do know that if I were Biden I'd have one of those installed in the Oval Office as soon as possible.

May, 22 2021

Post Game Thoughts

After 102 hours I finished Cyberpunk 2077. I got a good ending but one that's not considered the best ending. And I suppose I could go back and try to get the best ending but that would mean overriding V's decision. She had reasons for what she did, so I'm sticking with the ending I got.

You can continue the game but the ending is definitely a cut off point. After the credits roll the game drops you back to the lest save before you reach the point of no return. As with Witcher 3 I'll probably mess about in the game world for a bit then put it aside until the first dlc gets released. And now my I have to decide whether I'm going to play The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos expansion or Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids. From what i understand the dlc for The Outer Worlds is fairly short. That and the fact that the game has a light tone means I'll probably go with that next.

May, 19 2021

Act Four

That's V's outfit in Act Four of the game. I'm level 32 and will be concentrating on main plot missions, after all, I've been playing this game for 93 hours.

There was a lot of hype about his game and while Night City looks better then London in Watch Dogs Legion or Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto 5, in every other way it's a typical open world city. Most doors are locked, there are only a few NPC body types used over and over again; the world is static. Indeed, I don't think we have the technology to make the kind of city CD Projekt promised us in their ads. But if you ignore the hype, Cyberpunk 2077 is a good RPG. The city does look great and I had a good time in the game's world. When I finish I'll keep the game on Kosh for the planned expansions.

Hmm, just gave that picture a second look. I've created a speed skater with a gun.

May, 17 2021