“He [is] my friend.”

I’m a part of Cyrus Gaming, in case you didn’t know ([/sarcasm]). We’re a guild that has been around in one form or another since March 2009. I joined on the 4th of October 2009 when I was in Aion, and stayed for almost a year before I learned a hard lesson from Redh, Cyrus’ leader. Long story short, after a while of bouncing back and forth, I came back in 2015 to stay when I finally realised that it was my home when gaming in a group, and nothing I could say or do would change that.

So, when he comes at me a couple of days ago, saying that he’s ‘loving the new [me]’ and that ‘It reminds [him] of the old [me]’, I was taken aback. I didn’t think I’d done anything different than usual. But then I thought about it, and realised I had been doing more, and not thinking about it.

Most of my life in the past couple of years has been passive outside of work, and that might be down to the way I prioritised my life. My life was work because I took pride in it, and thus it was what I wanted to focus on as it was the only part of my life that I did take pride in. And therein lied the problem; I was proud of the work that I had put into something that achieved nothing for me, and everything for someone else. Don’t misunderstand me – I like my work, and I like the people I work with; they’re akin to family to me, and each time one of them moves on I’m happy for them but it’s bittersweet.

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Vroom Vroom…

I know that I haven’t posted anything of meaning in the last couple of weeks, or posted any stream archives in the last week and a half. All I can do is apologise for that, but I also want to talk about what will happen to the archives in future. Foxhole will no longer be archived on Youtube, purely because, in my opinion, there’s no storyline to it bar the setting and precursive history/events. I’m more than happy to keep the videos up on Twitch as long as the system allows me to, but in future, and in the batch of entries I’ll be putting up on here over the weekend, I’ll only be putting up the playthrough videos (i.e. the current playthrough of Vampire: The Masquerade, and Stonekeep). I’ll also be fooling around with the way the streams are put on the website as well; thinking of doing a page per game rather than a page per stream.

But, I wanted to explain why I’ve not been streaming at all since Monday. On Monday, my 2009 Razer Naga died (RIP), and I didn’t get a replacement until the following morning, and then I was experiencing computer issues, somehow getting conflicting drivers crashing the computer with the OS receiving unexpected input from what it thought was the old Naga. Long story short, it’s sorted now.

From Wednesday to Friday I was busy with lessons to pass my motorcycle test and get an ‘A’ or unrestricted licence. Twelve hours altogether, excluding the examination itself and the ride home. I was wary, purely because I didn’t think I was ready. My gear changes were still somewhat jumpy, and my clutch control was sometimes a little off on tighter bends.

I passed, and am now waiting for the DVLA to renew my licence with the new entitlements and remove the restrictions on it. I was aware of the three minor marks that I had, and knew why I got them, but beyond that it was a good ride. I need to lean more, but that’s down to spending five years on a 125cc with tyres that feel like a knife’s edge (in a good way), going up to a 650cc with tyres twice as thick. My plan is to ride my CBR125 until the MOT and tax are due, renew the MOT so it has a full year’s worth, and use the interim to build up funds for a bigger motorcycle. I don’t see the point in transitioning straight away, because I don’t need the power that a larger bike has just yet.

That’s one of my resolutions for this year done. I’m easily on track to pass the other two, so long as I don’t relapse. I think this’ll be the first time since starting this blog that I actually meet and beat all my resolutions.

Feels good, man.

Google-less

Google (or should I now call it “Alphabet’s Google”?) as a service and as a family of products have essentially taken over the Internet in terms of how many people use it. We’re constantly told to diversify ourselves and never put all our eggs in one basket in every facet of our lives; pensions, banking, news, information etc. Yet when it comes to online presence we’re more than happy to lay ourselves entirely at the doorstep of Mountain View, CA.

For years we’ve said ‘Google it’ instead of ‘Look online for it’. Nobody says that a product is part of ‘The Alphabet Inc. Family’, but a part of ‘The Google Family’, despite the former being truth because of the name recognition alone, and the mindset the brand name evokes. We’re a long way past the days of ‘Don’t be Evil’, and given the recent firing of Jason Damore over his emotionally bland (but factually correct) memo that was circulated internally and then leaked (as an aside, how much is on the table for the person responsible never being fired over this?) alongside the outright, thankfully temporary, Google-wide ban of Jordan B. Peterson, it gives the wary pause for thought.

But it shouldn’t be just the wary that are taken aback by the brashness and blatant leanings that the web’s largest company has, both politically and ideologically; it should be everyone. The poster declaring that ‘You’ve had a bit too much to think!’ is becoming chillingly accurate. Every person that has all of their online eggs in the Google basket should be concerned about the G-Man potentially knocking on your door with the G-Ban.

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Simple Simon met a PiMan.

I’ve always been a fan of the Raspberry Pi. Ever since it came to the public marketplace in 2012, makers and tinkerers alike were crazy over it, as was I. After all, who couldn’t be at least slightly interested in the idea of a computer the size of a credit card, running Linux with standardised inputs and outputs. The mind boggled at what could be done.

I got my Pi (Model B+) in 2014, and immediately I was fooling around with it. My first goal was a webserver, before I realised how limited the Pi actually was. While those limitations have mostly been remedied by better specs, initially they were a gauge of what could be done with the machine. I tried a media center with XBMC before finally settling on using Volumio on it to turn it into a music player, affectionately called Pi-Fi on my network. I always toyed with the idea of buying the latest version and turning it into an emulation machine (RetroPie now works up to the PSx), but never really went forward with it.

But buying a Chromebook lead to another limitation that I hadn’t thought of before: Chromebooks do not print in the typical way. You can’t just hook a USB printer in and hit CTRL+P on them. They use Google Cloud Print, and while I could just set that up on my main machine, not having it on is the point of having a Chromebook in the first place.

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Stagnate the Internet.

The “Battle for the Net” day of action was yesterday. A lot of non ISP internet-centric companies, personalities and organisations campaigned hard to get the average user to take action. Forms got filled in, members of the government were called, emailed, spoken to, all in an attempt to avoid the FCC reclassifying the Internet from the ‘utility’ descriptor, and all the associated legalities of being declared a ‘Title II common carrier’. I don’t think that this was a good thing.

I know that I’ve just alienated at least three quarters, if not all, of people that actually read this thing, and enraged a good portion of said alienated people. But what I ask is that you hear me out.

Title II is part of the Communications Act of 1934, and the relevant areas of the act state that, by default, no discrimination can be bought, sought or brought upon services provided by ISPs, when they can be distributed to all people connected to that network.

I would like to begin my explanation by simply stating this: Using an Act that was brought into law, with the same initial provisions, in 1934 is not reflective of the way that the Internet was developed, or exists today, let alone in five, ten or fifty years as part of best efforts of futureproofing. Furthermore, this Act doesn’t have ‘relevant’ or ‘applicable’ protections. They all apply. The same that apply to your phone, electricity provider, gas provider and water provider. In addition to that, your sewage provider is also protected. Also, roller coasters were, for half a decade, declared common carriers in certain states. There are countless ‘common carriers’, that do not have the nuance of the Internet, because the Act, that bears repeating, was written in 1934. The Act is outdated for the protections it is being used to offer.

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