A Busy Month - February, 2023
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Also I need a better title for these kitchen sink posts.
In the news, everyone’s shooting down Chinese spy balloons, ignoring Google Maps. President Biden delivered the State of the Union, angering Republicans. An earthquake killed tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria, devastating a region that was already a hellscape. Kansas City won Super Bowl LVII.
A little bit more work drama began the month, just when things were settling down after the New Year’s work drama. Less catastrophic this time, in that a much smaller number of people lost their jobs overnight, but I’m in the midst of an unexpected and quite large team and organizational change, which always brings short-term chaos. The day-to-day is looking a bit uncertain for a while. Makes you wish the retirement age wasn’t 67.
I didn’t download or even look for any demos in the Steam Next Demo Fest, which apparently takes place thirty seven times a year now. I’ll be finishing Resident Evil 0, then starting on Resident Evil 2, and if I’m lucky, finishing it, and then starting Resident Evil 3.
I don’t give a flying owl hoot about Harry Potter or the new Hogwart’s Legacy or the culture war surrounding it. But I’m an adult and I’ll buy and play whatever games I want to play until the Thinkpol bans them completely. I’ll happily read all the books, watch all the movies, and listen to all the songs with subversive and inappropriate and even dangerous content in them.
Forgot to include this link this morning: Roger has a nice writeup on the game if you’re interested in, you know, the game.
The playing of the prequel, Resident Evil 0 HD Remake, continues, but I’m struggling to finish it. It’s not as good as the first one. The dual-protagonist controls don’t really add anything to the game. Some of the puzzles are frustrating–I think they just weren’t translated very well. The game often doesn’t give you enough information to know what to do.
For example, there was a bit on a train where you had to enter a code before a countdown killed you, and there was no discernable way to figure out the code. I had to check a wiki, and even then it still wasn’t very intuitive (because of course modern game wikis are garbage dumps). It’s obvious and easy once you’ve done it, but before that it was a complete mystery. (A classic “curse of knowledge” situation.)
Twitter has had quite a month so far. First Twitter was going to shut off free access to their API on February 9, which is a pretty drastic measure even among all the other drastic measures. Then they immediately backtracked and said it will still be free with limitations. Then Twitter added a feature for some people to tweet up to 4000 characters (I haven’t yet seen any of those tweets but I would likely unfollow those accounts). Then Twitter went down for a couple of hours. Then they decided not to change the API until the 13th, while announcing it’ll cost $100 a month. And somewhere in there World of Warcraft turned off their Twitter integration, but nobody cared.
The basic takeaway is that whatever headline you read about Twitter is probably going to turn out to be wrong or obsolete in a few hours, because basing stories entirely on the random rantings of a mad CEO who throws spaghetti at a wall every day isn’t a good idea.
For myself, I’m hoping my automated Twitter notifications for blog posts keep working, but if they don’t, c’est la vie. There’s nobody on Twitter anymore to see them anyway. Besides, there’s RSS feeds: They still work, folks. Use them.
Wilhelm also talked about the Twitter Chaos Show recently.
A bunch of gaming folks are moving to a new Mastodon instance Gamepad.club run by Gazimoff. It seems fine. But my position on the fediverse hasn’t changed since the beginning: I don’t want to post there until I own the domain name attached to my identity, any more than I would want to blog at a domain name I didn’t own. There isn’t really a convenient way for me to do that yet and I’ve run out of energy to try to setup inconvenient solutions. It’s not that important.
Honestly you don’t really need to make a Mastodon account when everyone posts publicly on the local timeline anyway. Just, you know, refresh the web site. You only need an account if you want to talk.
This section exploded into a rant about where I fit into the modern gaming community which I put into another post.
Stashpad and Obsidian
I’ve been experimenting with a desktop app called Stashpad which might serve some of my needs as a Twitter substitute. It’s basically a note-taking application but the UI is like sending text messages, which is perfect for me. It’s a bit limited in functionality, though. I can’t paste images into it, for example.
I’ve also been looking at Obsidian, which is more of a document-based app, which might work for writing blog drafts. It’s like Evernote except it works on plain text Markdown files. Very fast UI, cool features. Complicated to use, though.
I resumed uploading daily videos (meaning I re-enabled the task scheduler job that does it automatically), starting with a Lords of the Fallen series, which I started early in 2016 and finished late in 2022. It’s also an unintentionally embarrassing documentary of the evolution of the quality of my commentary audio track over seven years.
As per usual, it’s a chore to write descriptions for videos, so I don’t bother. Consider yourself lucky to get a title on each one. Maybe one day I can hire an intern to do that stuff. Only 700 more subscribers to go before the influencer cash starts pouring in and I can quit my day job!
I made a #shorts! I thought it was funny, but I left it as “Unlisted.”
It looks wrong in the embed. Anyway, it came about because I wondered what a “Let’s Play video” might look like in the style of a TikTok vertical video for the kids. It was a lot of work. I don’t want to do it full-time.
Speaking of lots of work, I’m making an 8-minute video “documentary” showing how I make game videos, part of my new plan to make two or three video essays a year. It was fun to make, and I’m quite pleased with the result, but it’s an excessive amount of work. I don’t want to do it full-time.
This was the one and only topic I could think of for a video essay, so it might be the last one, too.
Good practice with Davinci Resolve though. Learned lots of stuff. (I only need to know how to do about a dozen things in a video editor, but sometimes it’s challenging to find them amongst the thousands of features that go unused in a typical video editor.)
My new Python scripts to render videos are working quite nicely, too. They take the raw “multicam” OBS videos I record now and render different kinds of video output for use in different situations. Good Python practice. Python isn’t as syntactically strict as I thought it was for all these years.
Automating hours of work down to a single button press is very cool. I recommend it.
My gaming PC crashed a lot when using a video editor, which I thought was because Davinci Resolve was just buggy. But I’ve also been plagued by random game glitches and freeze-ups for a while now, so I started trying to find a cause.
I discovered the Windows Memory Diagnostic, which restarts your PC and runs a memory test similar to the old MemTest86 (which is now owned by PassMark, the benchmarking people). It said my memory was bad, so I ordered new memory–which, it turns out, is one of the only relatively easy computer repairs that one can do without hours and hours of frustration. Windows reports no errors with the new memory.
But it turns out Davinci Resolve still crashes very frequently. It’s just buggy. Fortunately it has very good crash recovery and I haven’t yet lost any work.
Video Editor Search
I’ve tried some other video editors to find less buggy alternatives: I got Movie Studio 2023, and it’s horrible. MAGIX turned it into an abomination, a shadow of its former self. Movie Studio 17 was the last usable version, I think. Tempting to get Vegas but I don’t ever want to pay a subscription for productivity software.
Kdenlive is okay but suffers from the “open source terrible inconsistent UI by Linux programmers for Linux programmers” syndrome (same as Audacity). There’s a new open source one called Olive which isn’t ready for prime time yet. There’s one called VideoProc Vlogger which is actually surprisingly speedy and easy to use, but has limited features and it’s a bit pushy with the business model. And of course I tried REAPER, which has enough video editing capabilities to meet my needs, but it’s unintuitive, a bit slow, and it’s horrible at rendering.
And just so you know, I’ve hated Adobe products and their subscription model since the 2000s and will never install one on Windows ever again in my lifetime, so don’t @ me about Premiere. Maybe someday I’ll buy a Mac just for video editing but don’t hold your breath.
Just watching Last of Us and The Legend of Vox Machina and almost caught up on Critical Role Campaign 3, The Dullest One So Far. Dimension 20 is a better production in almost every way, but I’m waiting a bit before getting back to Neverafter. Also I fire up the VPN now and then to watch new episodes of Would I Lie to You? and QI across the pond.
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