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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UPlay, or not UPlay?

I’m the type of person that tends to hold grudges against companies for a long time, if they’re doing something anti-consumer, or just shady as all hell. One of the reasons that I’ve been so loyal to Steam (my account is now 9 years old) is because while they may have been tweaking things on the back end, aside from a couple of issues (latest being the 2015 Cache-tastrophe) there’s been very little in ways of issues for the consumer. Not so much for EA’s Origin, and Ubisoft’s UPlay. They have both had their fair share of problems, anti-consumer DRM, and generally sloppy attempts at trying to beat Steam at their own game that they have been playing for well over a decade. EA’s Origin originally took 20% of CPU power just to run, and both EA and Ubisoft had anti-consumer, always-online DRM that only spurred gamers further to find out how to break it. “SimCity is not an offline experience”, except when it is after a modder figures it out is a perfect example of this.

But times have changed. I’m still something of a die-hard Steam user, but I also use Origin, if only for the ‘On the House’ games and the Mass Effect Collection that I bought in order to play the trilogy without having to fire up the Xbox 360. But UPlay is one that I have always avoided putting on my machine, not just because of the software itself, but because of what hte company stands for as a whole. Cyrus, and more honestly, Redh, changed that and encouraged me to buy the Division now that I have a good gaming computer that can handle it.

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Time For an Upgrade!

I usually don’t spend more than £500 on a new computer. More often than not I’m an incremental upgrader; adding a bit here or a little there, but each time I invest in a new system it’s almost a quantum leap. With this last machine I couldn’t really do that because the motherboard was end-of-life on the socket for the CPU, I already had an SSD in it and the bottlenecks on the motherboard made it so getting a new graphics card wasn’t worth it. It’s gone on for five or so years (though the graphics card is older) and I decided that it was finally time for an upgrade. I’d been saving up for another plan that hadn’t panned out, so I figured I would spend a decent amount, though not only has the game changed in terms of what’s available, but also in terms of the price.

I spent £1520 on a machine that will blow my socks off, and it has just been assembled and is awaiting quality check before being shipped to me. It’s got a 4.4Ghz quad-core i7, 16GB RAM, a 240GB SSD with a 2TB SATA to back it up, with a GTX 1070 from MSI. I’ve never invested this kind of money in a system before, nor have I been this close to the bleeding edge of tech. I always lag behind a couple of generations as best I can to make sure that I get a good deal.

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You Are Tenno. I Will Prepare You.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been engrossed in a game that has given me the chance to rack up three figures in hours played. There’s MMOs, there’s Team Fortress 2 and the Mass Effect series. Since I started playing Warframe, I’ve seen my playtime soar, and I’m feeling better for it.

I played it once before but I don’t think I gave it the attention and head-space that it needed to show off everything it had. With it being in Beta at the time (though it still is now), I wrote it off and moved on. I came back to it about three weeks ago and I’ve honestly not been able to stop since.

The game itself has a very MMO feel to it, though it’s entirely instance-based as opposed to a huge overworld with instanced areas. The game has such a flair to it that it feels like a combination between a shooter and a spectacle fighter, and it looks gorgeous even on my old machine.

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