Being WyW_URZ

Like many of my age (old) I started gaming on a Commodore 64. The games took ages to load and I was invariably rubbish at them. I remember Speed King which was a bike game, way over 30 mins to load just to see the pixelated arse of my rivals disappear into the distance never to return.

Spin forward 30 years and I’m still rubbish at games, they just look better. I have finally got to grips with shooter style games using the PS4 controller (as opposed to mouse and keyboard) but of course the lack of dexterity and co-ordination caused by my disability does not aid this.

Movement of a character on screen for the average player is a relatively sedentary affair, you sit, controller resting in hand, relaxing on the couch, occasionally venturing to edge of your seat for a “good bit” but in my observation average gamer uses the same amount of movement to bring down great empires via their console as they do doing up a shirt in the morning.

Not me.

Just simply moving my character involves me being sat correctly, properly supported. Fully concentrated. That’s just to start. Once I get into the game, kak handedly actually trying to shoot other players, my legs want to get involved and if I tense up cramp can get me down better than any headshot. Jump scares? I’ll throw the controller in the air. It can be incredibly frustrating at times, fighting yourself, before you can play a game. Sometimes I shout at myself, it’s just a game though right?

Gaming is part of my life. I am aware of my own limitations, nothing wrong with trying to push them or adapting my style of play to suit. I play for fun, when I’m not having fun I do something else.
I play to beat my top score not top the leader board.
I play to help my team, although sometimes I know I will hinder them.
I play because very occasionally things like this happen

Feel free to add me WyW_URZ on PSN.

Pong Never Had Safe Mode

On the 3rd of January this year my Playstation 4 died. It returned from Sony on Monday. Last night 3 days after its return it promptly did a reverse Jesus and died again. This time however (at the time of writing) I managed to channel the gods of geek and fix it, not that there is much your average geek can do with a dualshock controller and closed OS.

I’ve been a casual gamer for a long time. I am not a pro, or semi pro or any good. I don’t care enough about “awesome headshots” in CoD or Levelling Up in WoW to trouble the top scores pages. I play for fun, I play online and whilst battling my complete lack of dexterity I occasionally manage to beat other people from all over the world in dazzling HD.

My PS4’s frailty of late has made me think back to the early years of gaming. Mid 80’s Commodore 64 for me. Press Play on Tape! Yes the games took ages to load, yes they sometimes crashed but the C64 remained in perfect working order for me to either try again or load something else. I even roped my family in for sessions of “Winter Games” My Mum ably representing the USSR in the ski jump.

Move forward a few years to my first console the grey box of wonder that was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Instant load times due to cartridges, age old tradition of “If it’s broken, blow on it” This technique worked with the SNES too and a simple tap of the reset button worked for everything else. No firmware updates, or patches. Everything worked 99.9% of the time.

Now with progress we get games that are released half finished (Watchdogs) because consoles are connected to high speed broadband. Even if you pre-order a title on disc your console will find an update the second the disc is inserted.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a gamer in a era of epic titles like the Last of Us, a true work of art (if you haven’t played it.. go now) but as a console gamer who is a bit of a geek I am frustrated by the lack of info the system gives me if it goes wrong. When my console was returned by Sony no information was given in regards to what they actually did.

In conclusion I guess the price we pay for cutting edge is that we might fall off occasionally and we won’t know why. But we will join the queue to hop back on, and it will be different Oh yes it will be different.

PS4 and Dualshock 4

(WMB4X) What Price Progress?

Just give me approximately two minutes. Will ya? Now about a minute. Cheers! Now under a minute.
Still under a minute… Please bear with me.
Hang on. Now wait a minute. Or two. Wait five hours.

Hey ok I’m ready. Welcome to today’s WMB4X post. That five hours went quick didn’t it. But the under a minute seemed to last much longer.

If you use a computer (in the broadest sense iPads, phones included) which I’m guessing you do as you are reading this. You will have encountered a progress bar. Now software designers can tart it up, pinwheels, beachballs, circles, eclipses or camel toes.

All progress bars of one type or another. Your device is busy. Please wait.

Now I understand that not everything can be instant. I don’t mind a wait. However I hate progress bars that are not in any form a representation of where you are in the process. For example a bar which is 50% full you would expect would be half way through the process. Just like if you drink half a cup of tea you have the same amount of lovely until you have to get up and make another.

But no. 50% progress bars mean diddly. The first 50% can whizz by and the second half might not be done even if you leave it to go and inflate Ingrid and have a night of passion. We live in a world of multi-cores 64bits and Intel Rampant rabbits. You would have thought with all this they will have given you something that can accurately tell you when your porn is downloaded..when your updates are done.


The view from my desk

You wanna test out the progress bar in your browser. Go check out the Resident Weebles blog mine loaded in 3 seconds.

iPad Mini: “Isn’t the Nexus tab crappy”

Before 2009 there was another tech love dear to my heart. Even now in the midst of my Apple fan boyism there is a piece of my heart that will be forever Sony. This love began simply as love stories all should. I won a colouring contest in the mid 1980’s and was presented with a new Sony Walkman. I was well and truly wired for sound. I did indeed listen to “Wired for Sound” on it too big Cliff Richard fan back in the day. (I was a strange child) That Walkman was used and abused and lasted at least 10 years before it died. A love was born.

I then set about filling birthday and Christmas lists with Sony kit, in the hope that my parents could take out a second mortgage and buy all the kit I asked for. Between the years of 1990 and 1997 I got given a Sony Triniton TV for my bedroom and a boom box style CD player. I loved them dearly and took them both to my new house when the need was there to spread my wings. I then set about filling my own house with Sony kit.

PS1 then PS2 and onto the present PS3, DVD recorder, Freeview box, and pride of place a 27” wide screen Sony CRT. At the same time I was doing this the company themselves were in trouble. Loosing money like no tomorrow. You see between the Walkman and Blu-Ray Sony forgot how to innovate. They famously lost the battle for home entertainment, with their technically superior betamax losing out to the less expensive VHS tech of JVC. A few years ago Sony had slipped into a bad practice of re-badging. This is letting someone else make things and shoving your name on the front. Wouldn’t be bad if these products were good but alas this was not the case. Sony’s reputation for good quality suffered.

Now I fear that Apple have forgotten how to innovate. Yesterdays launch of the iPad Mini is a case in point. The iPad was a innovative device that changed the landscape of computing and created a market all it’s own. Others tried to compete but could not match the quality user experience that the large screen iPad gave. Now it has gone mini. Why? I have a horrid feeling it is because it’s competitors have.

Last nights Keynote was without a doubt the worst Apple event I have witnessed. Don’t get me wrong the new iMac’s are amazing as the 13” retina display MacBook pro was predictable. But the iPad Mini section… or as I like to call it “Aren’t Google Tablets shit” section was awful. I cannot remember an Apple presentation that focused so much on a rivals product. This includes the entire Mac vs PC campaign.

Engineered so you can hold it in one hand, like an bigger unwieldy iPhone then. What is it for? Small and portable, you have your phone. Easier to create and absorb content for extended periods (with optional Coffee and bagel) you have the full sized iPad. Who is this device for? Who is it aimed at?

It’s not cheaper, sorry less expensive, than equivalent Android devices, so anyone in the Android Army is unlikely to jump ship, especially when you factor in the cost of buying new Apps. So what is the main competitor for the iPad Mini? The 4th Generation iPad. This appears to me to be Apples very own “Starbucks” moment Apple competing with well… Apple.
That’s not to say it won’t sell, oh it will. There will be lines of people, whooping and hollering excited to buy what is essentially a smaller iPad 2. Two whole generations behind it’s larger retina displayed brother.

iPad Mini every inch because someone else was doing it.