Contents

Caty and Cara's Page

Our Computers

Snapshots with Text

Essays for Fun

Ken Burch's Tales

Ken's Neocron Tales

More Neocron Tales

Secret Wars

Tales of the Walker Clan

Our Cast

Why Kevin Doesn't Dance

Writing of Mine That Doesn't Totally Suck

Stuff dl Thinks Is Cool

The Old, Old Grandma Story

The Final Battle

James' Photos

James Meyer's Birds:

Introduction

Photos 1 through 25

Photos 26 through 50

Photos 51 through 75

Photos 76 through 100

Reading

` a book cover

Playing

alChandler's Halls



Serving dozens since 1999


Google's Sense of Humor

Chrome used to have the ability to right click on an image and choose Search Google for image. But a couple of days ago Google removed that ability from Chrome at the request of numerous copyright holders. Today Google released an extension called Search by Image (by Google) that allows you to right click on an image and choose Search Google for image. And another extension brings back the View image button for search results. That disappeared last week too.

Well played lads, well played.

February 19, 2018


Third Time Pays for All

The guy in the black fog is Tunon, archon of justice and my former boss. In the third act of Tyranny he puts me on trial for exceeding my mandate. I could have just tried to fight him but instead I proved my innocence in court and he was so astonished by my astonishing command of the law that he swore loyalty to me on the spot.

My third and final play through of this game took 25 hours and I finally beat it. As it turned out, by lifting Kyros' edicts (at her command of course) I actually absorbed their power and can now issue them myself. In short, the game ends with me becoming Kyros' rival and a setup for a Tyranny 2 a game that will never be made. For while I enjoyed Tyranny the game underperformed for Obsidian. And it had its problems, controls were finicky, the pacing was erratic and to my surprise a lot of people found the combat too difficult. That's my line normally.

And I suppose not everyone like playing an evil bastard, it took me a year and a half to deal with that. Still, having made my peace with it I'm a little sorry that alChandler and Kyros will never have a final showdown. Meanwhile I was looking at Kingdom Come: Deliverance until I read this post from Certis at Gamers with Jobs:

It's way more technical that "slow attack, fast attack" like you see in other games. I find the melee combat pretty challenging and I'm still getting my head around it because they actually don't give you a TON of opportunity to fight. Often you're either running from someone in full armor or using your bow and arrow when you can. I can dispatch a bandit or two in leather, but a fully kitted out solider remains challenging. You need to time blocks and if you also move your weapon to the direction of the incoming attack you can do an unblockable counter. There's a lot of things to juggle at once but I am starting to feel a bit more automatic and flowing than just scrambling to keep my stamina meter from tanking.

It rewards patience and practice. Player skill is a big factor, not just your weapon stats. Definitely not easy to pick up and play like Skyrim.

So while it looks really interesting, it's out of my league. But Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is going to be released on April 3, I put another game I never completed, Consortium, back on Kosh along when I put Tyranny on and I'm sure I'll mess about with it for at least a bit and perhaps Assassin's Creed: Origins will consent to work in time for its second expansion.

February 18, 2018


Tyranny: Checkpoint

Kyros has two competing armies in the Tiers, the last area to hold out against his rule. There's the Disfavored, think Romans, led by the Archon of War, Graven Ashe and there's the Scarlet Chorus led by the Archon of Secrets a rather psychotic fellow called Voices of Nerat. The Scarlet Chorus has more troops but they're basically a mob.

In my first play through I backed Graven Ashe and that's what caused me to quit the game back in 2016. I need to get passage through a village of beast men for the Disfavored. Unfortunately this tribe, the Stonestalkers, hate the Disfavored and their leader attacked me. That led to a battle and the Stonestalkers were wiped out. I couldn't deal with that, not with Trump winning the election and all.

I got the same result this time but for some reason I'm cool with it. Maybe it's because I let them strike the first blow. I don't work for Graven Ashe or Voices of Nerat, I work for Tunon, Archon of Justice and so far he's pleased with my work.

And that's what's different about this play through. The only one I'm really concerned with pleasing is Tunon. In a village I found a beast man in chains, accused of killing humans. I was fairly certain that he was innocent but when I rendered my verdict Tunon was displeased. Eventually I figured out that I had to talk to everyone in the village about the murder. After that when I declared the beast man innocent and freed him Tunon was pleased because I had done a thorough investigation.

And that's where I'm at, 20 hours into my third go at this game.

February 18, 2018


Future Cities

That's 23rd London as imagined by the design team of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Saint Paul's has survived and a movie poster shows the Gherkin, so some relics from the past survived. On the whole it looks like the city has been massively built up since the 21st century. Of course in the Star Trek timeline there were two massive wars since the 1960s. In the 90s there were the Eugenics Wars and in the 21st century there was World War III which lasted from 2026 to 2053. So that may explain the look of London in the 23rd century, the city was rezoned by bombs.

And that's a present day shot of the City of London, a separate city in the center of London. It's a devoted to finance and it looks it. It certainly looks futuristic enough but it's surrounded by the other London and while there are skyscrapers there, it's not the architectural wet dream of 23rd century London.

I'd like to know more about the design of cities and what people who study such things think major cities will look like by the end of this century. Most cities in science fiction movies look like at certain point the mayor said something like, "You know what I think about zoning regulations Martha? I say fuck zoning regulations. We don't need 'em."

Meanwhile here's some footage of present day Tokyo, set to Blade Runner Blues by Vangelis.

February 17, 2018


Tyranny

I've been playing some Tyranny today and I think I've gotten a handle on why it's not disturbing me this time. While there are guys like the Joker who see themselves as evil and like it, most evil people don't see themselves as evil. Me, I'm one of Tunon's fatebinders. Tunon is the archon of justice and as such he reports directly to Kyros the Overlord. As such my character considers himself an all right guy. For instance, just now I killed a bunch of sages who refused to let me see a prisoner I needed to talk to. I gave them every opportunity to back down but they attacked. When your on the losing side of a battle against a dark lord and the dark lord's representative asks you for something politely it's a rash move to shout, "Attack him!"

I just may finish the game this time.

February 17, 2018


Chrome Adblock

Every morning I go to the Go Comics site. If you use an ad blocker they'll ask you to disable it on their site. So one day I did and was served a full page interstitial message, purportedly from Microsoft, warning me that my computer had been hacked and urgently telling me to download a fix. I'm almost 62 and slowing down some but I'm not quite that naive. I ignored the message and turned AdBlock back on.

There are a lot of sites that serve up ads that are just trying to install malware. Other sites have unskippable video ads, pop ups and the like. I've used AdBlock for some time and while it works, it blocks everything, it's a blunderbuss of a program. I'm aware that bandwidth isn't free and I don't object to ads per se, but some of them bug me and others, like the phony Microsoft thing, are actually criminal. Today I read that Google included their own ad blocker in the latest build of Chrome and yesterday they turned it on. So I turned AdBlock off and gave Google's ad blocker a try.

Ads not on that list are allowed. So far it seems to be working, I can go to Comic Book Resources without the site nagging me to turn off AdBlock. I see some ads and they get some revenue. Of course I haven't uninstalled AdBlock, just disabled it. It remains to be seen if the browser's ad blocker will stand the test of time. And I'm interested in seeing if Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Opera come out with a similar feature for their browsers.

February 16, 2018


Star Trek Discovery

Today CBS All Access showed the 13th and final episode of Star Trek Discovery's first season. I'm not going to talk about it until Rolf has seen it but I will say that for all its flaws, and it has a lot of them, it's my second favorite Trek. Star Trek Deep Space 9 still hold the first slot.

I encountered Star Trek in 1966 or perhaps 67. I can't help wondering if I'd give STD (unfortunate abbreviation) the time of day if it wasn't a Trek show. I like some television science fiction, I'm enjoying Altered Carbon and The Expanse returns soon. But I can't help thinking that there's a nostalgia factor that got me to pony up $18 to watch Star Trek on my monitor. Still at my age nostalgia isn't such a bad character flaw. And it's nice to have Trek, well not on the air but available over the net.

So now I'm going to post this, fry up a steak and watch Altered Carbon. Because it's science fiction Sunday! Well, actually it's Monday now but why quibble.

February 12, 2018


Email

I tend towards paranoia at the best of times so when I was unable to access email this afternoon I was worried that it was somehow connected to my hard drive crash, even though my email has been working normally ever since Rolf replaced the drive.

Eventually I got around to trying to get email on my phone and that didn't work too. Paranoid I may be but not so paranoid as to assume my computer and phone both decided to malfunction in exactly the same way at the same time. So I called Comcast and they confirmed that they're having problems wit email in my part of the world.

It's not like I'm an important person or that I do anything critical via email but still a heads up would have been appreciated. In a world where my local pharmacy texts me when my prescription is ready, a little text that said: We're having a little problem with email in your neighborhood, you can still access it from our website would have been appreciated. Just a thought.

February 11, 2018


Tyranny: Two Hours In

In my first real fight I nearly died because I'm playing a mage and I forgot that mages are squishy and need to stay in the back. In my second real fight I did stay in the back and did a lot better. I also think I'm getting the hang of evil. I freed a prisoner and promised that she could join the Scarlet Chorus. The Scarlet Chorus, one of the two faction in the game, objected so I got her to prove her loyalty by killing her two tied up fellow prisoners as a test. She bashed in their heads with a rock and got to join. Let's see if I can keep this up.

February 9, 2018


Tyranny

I've always had trouble with Obsidian's game Tyranny. It's not that it's a bad game, far from it, but it requires you to play an evil character. I've stated it twice and abandoned it twice. But I'm in the mood for a game and I want to play something just to reassure myself that the glitch in Assassin's Creed Origins is on Ubisoft's end and not mine. And what better way to do that is invest in a role playing game.

So I will try to be the best evil bastard that I can. It will do me good to get out of my comfort zone.

February 8, 2018


An Update on the Glitch

The first thing I did after my new hard drive was installed was play Assassin's Creed Origins and a few minutes into the game the graphic took a turn towards the dark.

Now, shit happens and games do weird stuff from time to time. That's why I use a PC for gaming, a robust machine with a new SSD hard drive that can handle multiple saved games. Unfortunately Ubisoft has an automatic save system and you're only allowed one save at a time. I can travel to the area of the expansion and get graphics. For that matter I can start a brand new game and get graphics. But the ideal solution would be to reload an earlier saved game and move on with Bayek's life, and that's just what I can't do.

And this isn't a one in a million thing. So many people have the black screen problem that there are Russian sites that offer a free program guaranteed to fix things. How nice of them.

You know, I've had a computer for 35 years now, and I learned early on that things screw up. But it annoys me that a problem that could be fixed in a minute if the game allowed me multiple saves is now turning into a long drawn out email dialog between me and the folks at Ubisoft customer support. And since this glitch not only effects the PC but Xbox players are getting it too, I suspect I'll eventually be told there's no hope for it.

I can't really complain, I've gotten 99 hours out of the game, but it is provoking. Never the less I'm being polite. I answer Ubisoft's questions, send the files they ask for and keep a stiff upper lip. For there part Ubisoft apologizes for the two day wait between replies on their end. They admitted that they have a lot of people asking for technical support. I'm not too surprised by that.

Meanwhile, 35 fucking years, I guess I'm sticking with this PC gaming as a hobby thing.

February 7, 2018