Categories
Link Dumps

Link Dump #3

I don’t want to blog, it feels like work. This is all I can muster, I hope you’ll forgive me … I’m sure it will pass.

ODROID-GO – Hack your own handheld gaming machine ($80) with which you absolutely won’t break any copyright laws. Another version.

Watchy by SQFMI – Speaking of DIY hardware, check out this barebones smartwatch, case optional ($59 crowd funded).

Vivaldi Webmail – Back in the 90’s, webmail was the killer app. I like and use the Vivaldi browser every day and found out recently they have a webmail service. Neat!

Vivaldi – Oh what’s Vivaldi you ask? Learn more about how it’s different from Chrome.

Tallest Roller Coast in Each State – Titles says it all. Large PNG. I’ve been on Superman the ride! Terrifying.

Dark Days (2000) – A movie about people living in abandoned NYC subway tunnels. A good watch if you like raw documentaries.

Be My Eyes – An awesome app that allows sighted people to assist those that need help (think, crossing a busy road or choosing a colored article of clothing) using the power of smartphones! The problem (if you can call it that) is that it’s super popular, and I haven’t gotten one call since I installed the app 6+ months ago.

Categories
Link Dumps

Link Dump #2

After my first link dump, I thought it would take me time to build up another list. Boy was I wrong. Even after pruning almost 100 links I acquired while going down a Gamestop, Robinhood, Crypto, Dogecoin rabbit hole I still have a crapload, so here goes.

Typefully – Easily compose long form content for Twitter.

Twizzle – I’m use it now and find it to be a perfect match for my new Twitter aversion.

Chirr App – Twitter threads.

A Beginner’s Garden of Chess Openings – You know it’s good because the website has no CSS or Javascript.

Chess Tactics – An online book of sorts.

Chess Tempo – Online Chess Training.

On Learning Chess as an Adult – Tip: Don’t.

Most Recommended Books – In case your friends and family have terrible taste.

Bitcoin Explained – This was pretty funny.

What the first Bitcoin transaction was probably like – the pizza was real, the conversation maybe not.

BitPay – I have no idea why I saved this, but I think they focus on helping businesses accept Bitcoin which I’m all for!

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Categories
Wisdom

Keep Your Bar High

Recently I had a virtual meeting scheduled with a client who’s project I wasn’t ignoring, I just wasn’t… “where I’d like to be”. In other words, I had done little, and needed to finesse my way through the meeting in order to buy myself time to catch up, and meet my obligations.

Leading up to the meeting, I was stressed. While I had completed some tasks, I worried about what tasks I hadn’t and what the client might say. During my morning shower the meeting played out in my mind as I tried on various excuses:

“The holidays set us back”
“We’ll double down and make up the time”
“COVID really has us super busy but things are settling down”
“We’ll discount your hourly rate until we catch up”
“I’ll put another person on this project to speed things up”

Just prior to the meeting I prepared reports, notes, questions, thoughts, anything that would pad the lean completed task list.

The meeting started, I went over my updates, data and schedule. The client was thrilled, the call was over in 25 minutes.

Were my my standards too high? Were the expectations of the client too low? The answer I’m sure lies somewhere in the middle but I never want to lose that feeling of obligation to my clients. While I don’t appreciate the stress, worry and occasional paralysis that comes with caring, I fear uncaring more.

While this may ultimately be a lesson about the stressful side effects of poor time management, I would rather conclude the high bar I’ve set for myself protects me from harming my business.

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

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.