Author: Ashwin Patel

Tech Update – 2018

Ahhh boxing day. The real Christmas for the frugal/bargain seekers. This year, I was planning on only buying a few things. Mainly a new PC case, a new monitor and maybe a mouse or games if they’re on special. So on the 25th, I hopped on to PB Tech’s website and started browsing cases.

I found the Phanteks P300 with RGB support (trust me RGB = speed). I threw some extra cables into the order and I was done. The case arrived a few days later and I began on moving my PC from my old case to the new one.

All parts were moved in, I flicked the power on and… nothing. I played around with parts and fittings for next few hours. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I fished out my original motherboard from 8 years ago and tested my power supply. That worked. Now for the latest motherboard. I remember I took the CPU fan off for cleaning… I checked that and found out that two of the pins that secure it to the motherboard don’t sit on the motherboard at all.

I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out how this stupid push clip thing works. No dice. I put that down to the cause of no power on and decided to upgrade my whole system. So off to PB Tech to buy a new system. Since this would last me a long time, I went with the option of a Ryzen 5, new motherboard and 16GB of RAM. I already had a Radeon 560 from last year so that would last for a while.

I installed all the parts and it all worked first time. Some small adjustments were made and then it was good to go. I can now play Overwatch in slightly better quality. (I’ll clean up the wiring when I get more time/not so lazy).

So after that I thought that was it. I then began to notice my Xperia Z5 was overheating and having battery drain issues. I knew about the Google Play Services battery drain bug but this was worse. I was going down 50% overnight. This phone has run great for 3 years but it’s finally showing its age. I then decided to buy a new phone. (Editor’s note: Wow this guy)

I found it sad that I have to search for phones based on whether the manufacturer kept the headphone jack. I’m still a strong believer in using the various wired headphones I have laying around and I wasn’t going to buy 20 dongles just to get through my day. So after some research, I settled on the OnePlus 5T. It’s got an almost stock Android experience and lots of nice features. I didn’t know I needed gesture control i my life until I had it. Setting ‘O’ (or a circle) as Pokemon Go, enabling the music controls and swiping the fingerprint reader for reading notifications. The battery is good and the in-box quick charger makes life easy.

So I’m running two phones now. I decided to start an alternate account on Pokemon Go and use my Z5 as a spare device to help with Pogo (Pokemon Go) raids.

So you’re thinking now, that’s not too much. I also stopped by MightyApe’s site and got a Switch Pro Controller, Pokken and some RGB strips for the new PC. I also went on to AliExpress and bought a new case, a few more cables and the new Xiaomi power bank with quick charge support.

 

So there was conclusion to an expensive holiday. I’m happy with my purchases because I always wanted to buy these items but the cost of them all has set me back a bit. Now hopefully all these purchases last me as long as their predecessors have.

 

 

Edit: Post post update. As the header image I got some Custom Pokemon Key-caps.

Quick Reviews – December

It’s December. It’s the Christmas period. So there’s lots of stuff going on.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Before: It’s Star Wars. There’s lots of nostalgic hype going into this.

After: I loved it. It’s almost my top movie of the year. The story was good and the visuals were just gorgeous. The fight scenes were brilliant as well.

 

Bright (Netflix)

Before: A Netflix movie about Orcs in our world with Will Smith. Sounds good to me.

After: It was a pretty simple movie and wasn’t too bad but it also didn’t amaze me. It must have been a good year for movies if people are slating this as the worst.

 

Pokken Tournament DX (Switch)

Before: I dub thee Pokemon Tekken. This is a Pokemon fighting game. It’s almost what everyone has wanted for years.

After: I’m one of the few people who play fighting games as a single player for the fun of learning combos and moves and I like this game. It’s not too hard to get into and there is a story mode of sorts. I will definitely be bringing this along to my next gathering and playing it with my friends.

 

Overwatch – Moira

Before: A new hero. It had better be a healer.

After: OMG. This character is awesome. First couple of comp games and I have both pixel and cute sprays. She’s very easy to manage for both healing and damage and can also help the team out. The common flankers of Genji and Roadhog aren’t a big issue now because of Moira’s warp ability.

 

 

December wasn’t too big of a month in terms of new movies or games for me. Of course I spent a lot of time on Overwatch and Hearthstone. I finally hit gold rank and I’m probably going to spend rest of the season working to stay in gold. Hearthstone is very casual. I’m trying to figure out the right plays I need to make to beat the new dungeon bosses. I also built a new PC but I’ll save that for another post.

Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, I can start getting back into the normal flow of things.

 

 

 

 

Quick reviews – November

So I got this idea from a friend (thanks Ku-Ku). Quick easy movie review/opinions. I’m still trying to work out the format but I’m going to post a few now and see how this goes. To expand on the ideas, I’m going to include games and TV shows as well.

 

I usually watch a new movie every week. My taste in movies is pretty generic. I love my action, comedy and especially my anime. Nowadays I rarely get the chance to watch movies at home, usually go a movie on Saturday night catch up with friends.

With that I was thinking of making monthly post of movies I’ve watched and updating the list before and after the movie.

With games and shows, I’ll try follow a similar pattern.

I’ll try keep these as spoiler free as I can.

So let’s try this.

 

Justice league

Before: DC’s big jump into the cinematic universe. I still dislike the fact that the cinematic universe doesn’t link into the successful TV universe which is running great at this time.

After: CGI still irritates me. You could tell some scenes were forced and didn’t fit in that well. Fight scenes and nods to the comics and other characters were very nice.

 

Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Before: So much community hype. I loved Zelda since I first played Majora’s Mask on the N64. Nostalgia will always play a huge factor with the series for me.

After: Amazing. Truly a beautiful game. So much to do. It’s been a month and a bit but I still have so much to do in the game. This will be my game of the year for 2017.

 

Pokemon – Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Before: It’s just going to be Sun and Moon 2?

After: I’ve played first half of Ultra Sun. Other than small nicer changes it feels like the same game. I’m very interested to see how they change up the after-game.

Punisher Season 1

Before: Punisher killed it in Season 2 of Daredevil. Hopefully he keeps on murdering.

After: DAMN. So much blood and brutality. I loved it. The action was awesome and very good use of the flashback and PTSD.

The rework

Today post is about our lack of post over past couple weeks. For both of us so far we’ve had a busy weeks. I had a post ready but it felt it was too weak/not enough content. We’ve taken some time to think this over and we’re going to switch posting a bit slower.

You’ll still get a post every week, but just one. The post author will alternate each week. We’re open to any feedback and look forward to the writing down our wacky ideas, thoughts and ramblings. We’ll make sure to keep you guys posted once we’re back on track.

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The art of binge watching

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Ahhhh. It’s one of those days. Nothing planned. You got nothing serious to do right now. Let’s sit down and watch that TV series you’ve always been told to watch. The whole series is currently sitting on Netflix now. Break out your favourite snacks, get comfy and chill in front of a screen for the next large amount of time watching TV.

The good ol binge watching of a TV series.

Too many people have done this, myself also included. It’s sort of relaxing and depending on the show you can get lost in the world of whatever you’re watching. The last show I binged was Netflix Defenders. This was the epic conclusion to phase 1 of Netflix’s Marvel universe. I love crossovers, team-up series/episodes. Since this was only 13 episodes, I sat down on a Saturday and finished the whole thing. Thanks to Netflix, all the episodes were up on Friday. I spent the very next Saturday morning finishing off the whole series.

Usually I watch a TV show as the episodes come out. I usually don’t like waiting for the whole series to be out. Main reason would because I’d have to binge multiple series as they finish (episodically most shows run from October to April/May). With each weekly episode I like to read subreddits for the show and see what other fans think, browse the memes or fan-art. It also helps build hype for the next episode.

I personally like using Saturday morning for my quick 2-3 hour binge watching. This usually isn’t limited to Netflix. Most of the time I’ll try catch up on TFS (TeamFourStar) streams or other miscellaneous YouTube videos (i.e. Twitch highlights from PUBG, Overwatch or Hearthstone).

So with binge watching, it doesn’t matter what you’re watching or how long. It’s a new way of relaxing and catching up on some media that you didn’t have time to watch over the week. I like to use it as a form of entertainment or a way to escape my busy life. Even if its just for a couple hours of the week. A binge watch doesn’t have to be restricted to just video. I’ve had weekends where I’ve finished off games or listened to new artist of albums. I like to think of these as tools to help us escape our everyday lives and to be entertained in our own way.

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Learning a song with an amateur

So after watching Mike Boyd on YouTube I got inspired to starting learning random skills. So let’s look at what I’m doing.

Quick background on Mike Boyd. His YouTube channel is based on him learning random skills. This will be things like lock picking, solving a Rubiks cube, doing a kick-flip etc.

So why did I choose to learn a song? I wanted something I could do in short bursts and sort of do everyday. I decided to learn a song while I drove to and from work.

With this mini goal, it was something I thought as I was driving to work one day. I was blasting out Run The Jewels – Legend Has It, windows down and attempting to recite the lyrics. Since this was a rap song I mumbled so much of the song and messed up many words.

Side note: this song was used in the upcoming Black Panther movie so wait for it to explode.

Why this song? My driving playlist consists of over 733 songs. My liked songs is just over 1000 songs. As I stated in a previous post, I like a large variety of music. EDM would have been a bad choice on learning lyrics because its more music based rather than lyrics. Rap has some complex lyrics and getting the correct mnemonics is easier.

So to do this I usually have a 10-20 min drive from home to work and vice versa. I play the song 2-3 times during that trip. As the song progresses I will try recite as many of the lyrics as I can.

I’ve done this for the past 2 weeks. I have yet to actually read through the lyrics, I’ve learnt the lyrics via sounds only. At this stage with only the music I can recite about 70% of the lyrics. What will I do once I can recite the song? Nothing really. This is a fun side project that I wanted to complete on my own and with minimal effort. Maybe I’ll move on to a new song and see if I can do it faster. Maybe I’ll move on to a new skill.

Overwatch: Season 6 Flexing

I’d thought I’d give you guys a small update on my Overwatch status.

For the latest season of Overwatch I have begun to flex out to different heroes. No it’s not me showing my muscles (biceps are in progress) to the team via video. It’s where instead of insta-locking the hero I want (i.e. Lucio or Zenyetta) I let the team now I will help fill the gaps. Usually in the solo queue I’m usually healer or tank.

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So why the change?

Like many of the one tricks and other Overwatch players, I was beginning to feel the exhaustion of playing the same character over and over. DSPStanky stopped playing Overwatch for that reason. He felt his time in that world was over. He continues to stream games he wants and is happier now. I took a week of break after Season 5 and did some arcade and quick play. Not playing seriously and having fun really opened my eyes.

I started playing around with DPS characters and having more fun. I decided after that week I was going to start playing as a flex player on Overwatch. Within that week I learnt how to play each tank. I had a decent grasp on the supports so that was fine. Even when Season 6 started, I would go into quick play and warm up using DPS or Tank. This helped me refine my skills with Reinhard, Zarya, Roadhog, Doomfist, Pharah, Mei and Junkrat.

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The Junkrat buffs sold me as I was also a player that relied on prediction and not just aim. With Junkrat I could easily control the point when I was outnumbered. Remember Pharah being a pesky counter to Junkrat? Not anymore with the 2 bomb system. Simply use one to boost in the air and another to bomb to smack her right in the face.

So from now on I’m try learn the basics of each character. I’ll do this slowly and not instantly. Especially with new characters. To keep the game fresh and challenging I’ll switch to what I feel like, but of course I’ll keep that in mind for team composition because I want to win.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Ah one of my biggest nerdy obsessions.

Pokemon

Pokemon was probably one of the first anime I vividly remember watching. It was always on after school at 4pm. Right before Dragon Ball Z and other amazing shows that enticed a child’s mind.  I never had pets growing up so Pokemon was a great way for me to channel my imagination and pretend.

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To this day, I’m still playing the Pokemon games. I play Pokemon Go every day but that’s for levelling efforts (and gym control). I play the main games every time they come out and I’m attempting to complete my collection of the games.

Yes I know the games are designed for children, and if you read my other post (Adults and kids cartoons) you know a little on why I play. Ultimately the charm of the games keeps me here. Each game is a new adventure and new ways of solving puzzles. Then there’s the competitive online side where for the most of the time it’s a game of outsmarting your opponents.

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There’s also the meme side of the game which the game creators have adopted. With X and Y there was a depth of hidden stories (creepy ghost girl), new in-game mechanics for breeding (easier to breed higher IV pokemon) and the online presence of Pokemon got stronger. They finally gave the chance for the elusive Pokemon like Mew, Celebii which were really hard to get outside of the games or never released worldwide. X and Y gave them out as Mystery Gifts which could be downloaded to each current game (X, Y, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby).

I could keep going but with 20 years of content and still going strong this would have to be multiple post. With Pokemon being a huge part of my life, I don’t think I’ll easily forget about the magic it captures or how it helped me to increase my reading abilities. Just look at the impact Pokemon Go had. It was a trending app and there’s still several hundreds of people in Auckland alone who are playing. I hope it stays a strong part of my life and the franchise keeps igniting the imaginations of others.

 

Success

After last week’s failure post it only makes sense to do one on success.

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So if failure is the act of not succeeding in your goals, that would imply succeeding is the act of completing your goal.

As I said in the last post, succeeding in your goals is all about learning about what to do and how to do it.

I’ve found it’s easier to make mini goals that are along the way to my big goal. For instance if I wanted to get fitter I would set a big goal like run a marathon. Next I would make smaller goals like run half or quarter marathon. To go even further I would set smaller goals of increasing speed or distance that I can cover in x amount of time.

But let’s keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. There will lots of trail and error on your path to success. Remember we must learn from our mistakes. All the smaller goals help us in showing ourselves that we’re on the path to success. We can gain small comfort from knowing that we’re achieving what we’ve set out to do.

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So remember both success and failure are options. It’s your choice as to what the final outcome becomes. The satisfaction of success or the struggles of failure. Just keep in mind that once you reach one of those points there is nothing stopping you setting a new goal and setting out a path to achieve that goal.

Failure

Failure is never an option

That’s a common line we’ve all heard in multiple places. But what if I told you it is.

 

Failure

To put it simply failure is the opposite of success. But what is success? Success is when a goal is achieved. Often failure is associated with negativity in the regard that you didn’t succeed in your task. If we wanted to go deeper then we could include partial success and partial failure, but let’s leave that out for now.

Of course its natural human instinct to strive for success. Remember back in primary school where you would get a new gold star next to your name every time you did something good, that satisfaction of something small like that. Compare that to the something like losing a friendly sports game. They’re complete opposites in terms of feelings. But what about when failure is desired?

The most simple case, that I can think of failure being wanted is, HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training). My gym routine now consists of a HIIT circuit which involves me doing exercise till fail. The point of failure is usually my body’s limit of that rep. At this point I always want to fail at least at my last record or set a new personal record.

But what about other cases of wanting failure?

I’ve always looked at life like so: if you don’t make the mistakes then you wont learn from them. Just look at it this way: there are 2 paths, one to success one to failure. There is nothing stopping you from walking up one path, getting to a point along and deciding to turn around and go the other way. Or maybe one path connects to the other in some weird way.

So don’t be afraid to fail. Always keep in mind that there’s always another path. You never know when that path you thought was wrong could actually be the right path. Remember to always keep on learning from mistakes. In the wise words of the mighty Shia “DO IT”.

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