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alChandler's Halls

Serving dozens since 1999

Moon and al

On Friday Marie helped me with a couple of boss fights in World of Warcraft. They were instanced so she wasn't able to join me in the battle but she gave me valuable information that helped me turn the tide.

I'm not the easiest person to play with, I've been playing WoW for ages now and still get lost, I sometimes sulk, and my reflexes are slowing (not that they were any good to begin with). Still we carry on and that 13 year old picture sums things up quite nicely.

June 26, 2022

Biden versus the Republicans

At one time you could say that Republicans and Democrats both wanted what was best for the country but differed on how to go about achieving that goal. I submit that those days are gone forever and the only thing the Republicans want is to turn America into a fascist state. Unfortunately the Democratic standard barer is a 79 year old gent who thinks he's dealing with the loyal opposition. It's like Biden is living in a Jane Austen novel facing guys from a Quentin Tarantino movie. I'm hoping that Biden doesn't run in 2024 but if he does I'll vote in the Democratic primary for the first time in my life.

June 26, 2022

New York City Ripostes

June 25, 2022

Yes, It's That Game Again

One of the reasons I never finished Far Cry Primal is that at a certain point you really have to craft stuff and collect resources, neither activity appeals to me. As a result I'd put it on Kosh when I was bored, hit a wall and uninstall it. But today I had a breakthrough, I made a two handed club and killed three mammoths (not with the club) to get enough pelts to fully upgrade the healer's hut. Having done that there's a fair chance I might finish the game.

By the way, I was scared shitless of mammoths but as it turned out they're pretty easy to kill. Just get on a place they can't climb to and pump arrows into them. Who knew?

June 20, 2022

PC Gamer's Advice on Video Cards

Not my advice mind you, I'm referring to the magazine. Its website has an article called Don't be blinded by GPU price drops, buying an RTX 3080 even at MSRP is a mistake. The gist of the article is that you can now by a Nvidia 3000 cards for their suggested retail price but that would be a mistake, Nvidia's 4000 series will be out on some unspecified date in the (probably) near future. The article states:

We're in deep rumour territory here, but leakers have suggested the RTX 4090 will offer up to 2x performance of the 3090 at 4K. It won't be 2x gen-on-gen with every GPU, but we'd expect to see a decent performance uplift across the whole product stack. Even if that means the RTX 4080 equivalent is just, say 50% better than the RTX 3080, that still makes dropping $700 on the current-gen card today look questionable if the new one is potentially just three months from launch.

So here's my own little story. In 2017 I had a Nvidia 980 card. Visually I was satisfied but whenever the card was doing some heavy lifting it made a whining sound. It was coil whine, the vibration of the coil in an inductor as the power passes through it. On my 980 the sound was obnoxiously loud and I had started wearing headphone to drown it out. By the end of 2017 I wanted a new card. Nvidia's 1080ti was a fairly powerful card and it did not produce a banshee's scream when rendering graphics. Rolf tried to talk me out of it because the 2000 series would be out in 2018 and those cards would have support for ray tracing and better graphics in general. It didn't matter, I wanted a quiet card and Rolf got me the 1080, put it in my system and sure enough the 2000 series cards dropped in 2018. I didn't care.

Time passed and in 2021 I decided to upgrade to a Nvidia 3080ti. Although the suggested retail price was $1,200 they were selling for much higher, if you could even find a store that had any in stock. In November Rolf found a 3080ti for $1,700 and gave me a head's up. Back then a $500 mark up was a great deal and I bought it. Today you can find used 3080ti cards for list on Amazon and for well under $1,200 on ebay. I do not regret my purchase and will probably keep it until the 5000 series drops in the hypothetical future.

I suppose this is a long way of saying that I'm not the target audience for PC gamer's advice. I can think of people who would agonize over whether or not to buy a 3080 now or hold out for a 4080 next year. But there are lots of people who enjoy gaming on a PC who don't sweat a new line of graphic cards arriving.

June 19, 2022

DALL-E Mini 2

When Caty was a toddler she loved the Teletubbies, and when I was visiting her Mom I had no choice but to watch them, hour after fucking hour. Since then I've been steadfast in my conviction that the Teletubbies are evil bastards. And the proof of that is when I prompted the DALL-E Mini with Evil teletubby the results weren't that far from the originals:

I rest my case.

June 15, 2022


DALL-E Mini is a program that will generate images based on a written prompt. It's a smaller version of DALL-E, a program that's not available to general public. DALL_E Mini is available and you can play with it here. In my case the prompt was Sauron drinking a beer. It's a toy compared to the big version but still fun to mess with. However it's also quite busy during the day, Sauron was produced at 2:30 in the morning.

At this hour my prompts are unimaginative, here's one of the pictures it produced for Darth Vader versus Cthulhu. I like that it gave Cthulhu his own light saber.

Hours of fun for the whole family.

June 12, 2022

Little, Big

I'm rereading John Crowley's Little, Big for the first time in over 20 years and I have a better opinion of one of the characters, George Mouse. George visits his cousins in in Edgewood and ends up sleeping with one of them, Sophie Drinkwater. And to me, all his good qualities were kind of overshadowed by the incestuous liaison. But as it turns out rereading it 20 (30?) years later I figured out that George and Sophie were second cousins. Which explains Alice's (Sophie's sister) reaction, "George Mouse, of all people. Sophie, that's practically incest." And in fact a search revealed that it's legal to marry your second cousin in all 50 states.

I suppose I could have asked somebody, "Um, is it incest if you have sex with your second cousin? I'm asking for a friend." There are odd gaps in my knowledge of the world.

By the way, if you're into reading fantasy and haven't read Little, Big or to to give it its full name, Little, Big: Or, The Fairiesí Parliament you should at least check it out.

June 12, 2022

Jason Alexander

I read that Britney Spears' ex-husband, Jason Alexander, crashed her wedding and was arrested. My first and second thought was, "Wait, Britney Spears was married to the guy from Seinfeld? And he crashed her wedding?"

I have since learned that there's more then one person in the world named Jason Alexander.

June 10, 2022

Dagerfall and a Bit of Diablo Immortal

To start with Diablo Immortal, I'm no longer playing the game. I had a bit of problems with the controls. I might have stuck it out had the game been better but it's pretty mediocre, a collection of bits strung together to get you to make in app purchases. It's getting review bombed on Metacritic.

But I am still playing Daggerfall, to my surprise. It's like this, Daggerfall is the PC gaming equivalent of a silent movie. I personally love Metropolis but before I'd recommended it to a friend I'd make it very clear that I'm recommending a silent movie. Daggerfall is like that. It's 26 years old and not only are the graphics dated, the gameplay is too. But I was 40 in 1996 and I was always disappointed that I never finished it back then. So here's another very short snippet of a 90s rpg.

June 8, 2022

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal is a phone game, at first Blizzard had no intention of porting it to the PC but they changed their mind. But while the mobile version is final the PC version is a beta, however it's a free game so I'm not complaining.

It's enjoyable enough but after 25 years the whole war between angels and demons is getting a little stale. Still, I'm not very far into the game, for all I know wonders beyond my conception await.

June 4, 2022

Jezero Crater

The Perseverance rover on Mars took this photo from Jezero Crater. It's exploring the crater because at one time there it was the site of a river delta. If you're looking for some signs of ancient life an old river delta is a good place to check out.

They say that in its youth Mars was a lot more like Earth. At some point its core stopped producing a magnetic field. Once that happened the solar wind chipped away at Martian atmosphere and now it's desolate. But I'm amazed that we can take beautiful pictures there.

June 3, 2022

Old but Still Sharp as a Tack

I spent two days in this dungeon because I mistook the exit for a tapestry.

May 30, 2022

An Adventure in Time Travel

I've been a bit restless since finishing Ghostwire Tokyo and since Epic was giving away the Bioshock games for free I went to Steam and put the enhanced edition of Bioshock back on Kosh, just to mess about in Rapture for a bit. I couldn't get the game to run, at least not very well. It was to be expected, I ran it on Windows 7, 32 bit, and I was trying to get it to run on Windows 10, 64 bit. Fifteen years is a long time.

Tonight I read an article in PC Gamer, it was about getting Daggerfall to run on modern systems. Bethesda made Daggerfall a free game some time ago but it's a 26 year old dinosaur that required DOS. I messed about with it from time to time but even when I got it running it looked like shit. Yet PC Gamer seemed so sure that by downloading Daggerfall, Dagerfaall Unity and a few well chosen mods the game could be a pleasant experience.

I played it back in the 90s but the game always intimidated me. It was the first open world game I ever encountered and the game world was the size of England. I was not ready for that kind of thing in 1996 and I quickly abandoned it. By the time I changed my mind it was too late. I was not willing to play a game that looked like this, however regretful I was about walking away from it.

I decided to download Daggerfall and attempted to follow the instructions in the article. After all, in my younger years I did this sort of thing all the time. And so I started downloading and installing and this is the result. Note that it's very dark in the beginning.

Not a modern game, not even close, but if you have sentimental memories of playing game in DOS it's quite playable. And I'm hoping that I'll be playing it better then this little outing. Now, if only someone can get Fallout New Vegas working for a modern computer.

May 26, 2022