Categories
Gaming Reviews

Google Stadia Review

First let me preface this review by disclosing that I’m not a console gamer. Having began my gaming career in earnest on PC, I never got the appeal of console gaming nor have I mastered the fine art of controller button mashing. Mouse+WASD is my jam, but as I transition from part-time-gamer to hardly-ever-gamer I’m forced to leave behind the competitive and ultra focused leaned-in PC gaming world for the laid back and lazy world of couch console gaming.

Enter Google Stadia, a console-less console experience for the modern gamer. While I do still dabble in (imperfect but decent enough) Steam, Stadia represents a small step in gaming technology but a giant leap in gaming mindset. The latter I did not understand until I had a few days to fully absorb what Stadia truly represents. Which if Google (and now Amazon) can pull off, should make Sony and Microsoft very nervous.

As a loyal YouTube Premium customer I was lucky enough to snag (for free) a Stadia Premiere Edition which included a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia Controller and free 1 month trial of Stadia Pro.

Pros:

  1. Setup was smooth and easy with Chromecast Ultra.
  2. Time to gaming is very fast.
  3. Stadia Pro ($10/month) is a great deal if you don’t already have other gaming subscriptions.
  4. Much easier & cheaper than Steam, which requires a gaming PC.
  5. Other controllers are supported.
  6. No dealing with game updates and downloads!
  7. No console or gaming PC required.
  8. Pro membership not required to play purchased games.

Cons:

  1. Game library is limited.
  2. Google may kill the service in 2-4 years.
  3. Requires a fast & reliable Internet connection.
  4. While truly mobile gaming is possible, the Stadia controller works best at home.

The irony of this experience is that it made my want to hook up and play my Steam games with my now discontinued hardware Steam Link and innovative Steam controllers. Not only do I have a large library of quirky and AAA titles in Steam, I can also use an emulator to play old Nintendo games which are the family favorites.

The PC-based, DIY world of Steam will always have it’s appeal and place on my HDMI input list, although once I was done replacing batteries and updating my Steam Link and game library, and waking up my PC, I immediately realized the advantage of the “just play” mentality of cloud-based Stadia. Welcome to the future old man.

Categories
Link Dumps

Link Dump #1

Throughout my 20+ career in tech I have bookmarked a lot of webpages. Like… a lot. As with many bookmark addicts I struggle to manage those bookmarks and make use of them. For a time period I was a happy del.icio.us user, but all good Internet things must pass (or die) and so I was thrust back into the open arms of local bookmark management.

Time passed, and I amassed another giant list of “webpages I will never visit again but think are cool”. I burned that to the ground, and then promptly started making another one. Rinse, repeat.

So here’s my new attempt to make “use of” these bookmarks, without hoarding them to die another day, or pissing them away into the river of ephemeral content that is social media.

Runaroo – A search engine.

BetaFPV – Tiny first person flying drones.

Jacon O’Neal – Cool visualizations.

Million Short – Another search engine, with a twist.

Lichess.org – Free online chess.

Hemingway Editor – Simplify your writing.

Garfield Minus Garfield – The title says it all.

Categories
Rants

YouTube Music Discovery Sucks

As a refuge of Pandora I am apparently spoiled by smart recommendation engines. I settled on YouTube Music over Spotify or Apple Music and am quite disappointed with the “music discovery” aspect of the service. I frequently find good music and then “Start Radio” to find more music like the source but YouTube Music is just plain terrible at genres and understanding relationships and all too often leans on heavily on songs I’ve already liked. Pandora was great at this and maybe it’s time I give it another try before SiriusXM puts their (probably ruineous) stamp on it. For a company which was built on smart search Google or Alphabet(?) has a long way to go with YouTube Music.

Categories
WordPress

This Post Was Composed with LocalWP

On my “to try” list for a while now is LocalWP, an application to streamline the process of working with WordPress locally. Put another way, you can build a WordPress website on your local computer and then use WPLocal to push that site online. Why would you do this you ask? There are several reasons, chief amongst them being speed. Here’s why I like LocalWP and will consider working it into my normal workflow.:

  1. It’s fast. While WPEngine is fast, the speed of interacting with any website that isn’t hosted locally is a result of many factors including your Internet connection speed and daily traffic levels. WPLocal is operating on your local computer which for the most part bypasses any reliance on your Internet connection.
  2. Good for travel. For those that travel and rely on cellular Internet access, closely managing your bandwidth usage is key to survival. Because WPLocal works mostly offline, this reduces the amount of bandwidth used and is of course much faster than working online if your connection is poor.
  3. Another staging environment. While WPEngine features a robust and easy-to-use staging environment system, working locally gives you another staging environment, to queue your updates and protect you (from yourself) from screwing up a live website.
  4. Tight integration with WPEngine. LocalWP will connect directly to WPEngine using their API, which is easily enabled. You can then view all of your sites, and “pull” any of them locally, to be edited and then pushed back live.
  5. It’s free. The Community version is free, and LocalWP claims it will stay that way. Pro adds a few features, and priority support which makes sense if you’re going to make LocalWP an integral part of your team’s process.

While I’ve only scratched the surface of what LocalWP can offer, I’m pleased to find the toolset to be simple and powerful.

**Update**

Upon pushing my local changes live, I had an issue. The local domain: josiahcole.local did not update to the live domain: josiahcole.com – A quick chat with WPEngine support solved the issue, however the root cause is still unkown. I will udpate this post the next time I attempt to publish vis LocalWP.

Categories
Announcements

Grill Brush Danger

I launched a new side project called Grill Brush Danger about the danger of using traditional grill brushes to clean your BBQ / propane grill.  Bristles can come loose, and become lodged in your food, which can then become lodged in your mouth, throat and stomach causing serious pain, and expensive medical treatments.  Egad!  This simple website, built using Bootstrap in one day will be growing slowly to include more informative content, and links to purchase safe alternatives.  Check it out before you fire up that grill this summer!