Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

Star Trek Online | progress update

Last weekend I spent some time playing Star Trek Online with the intent of getting promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and getting a new ship.  I had my eyes set on a new Excelsior class starship, but through bad clicking (and maybe some glitchyness?) I was given a Constitution class starship. OK, not a big deal, the main thing is that I now have an additional photon torpedo tube that I can use to deal more damage ;-)

The one thing that got me thinking, last weekend while playing, is how people form alliances on such MMO games.  Now, in the good ol' days, when I spent a lot of time on Yahoo Chat to meet fellow Greeks and have a virtual kafeneio, the reason you went to a chat room was to chat, and meet people.  In an MMO the goal is play, and at least for me leveling up and getting new ships (Defiant, I've got my eyes on you!).  While playing, I was asked by a couple of people (while on a Starbase near Earth) to join their alliance, and while flying through deep space on a mission, some other random person wanted to be my friend. I declined all invitations since I don't get on frequently enough to participate in any group play. Plus, I do like to go out on my own path.

Now, if I were playing STO with a bunch of people I already knew, it makes sense to get in an alliance with them for those pesky hard battles; like a Borg battle, that was theoretically appropriate for my level, but ended up getting my ship destroyed multiple times - good thing I don't start from scratch when that happens. But, I am wondering where the need comes from to seek out strangers to befriend and form alliances.

Any ideas? anyone? :-)
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Discovered a bug in Mozilla's Open Backpack!

I've been using many beta software titles for a while, and I've also been a volunteer beta tester for software that I like in the past, but I've never actually come across an actual bug!  Well, this is all about to change this morning!  In the past couple of days I've been messing around with Open Backpack. Sure, I had an account before, and I received a badge for completing the #BonkOpen MOOC, but I didn't think I would need to use the backpack this soon.

I am currently in the BlendKit 2012 MOOC, at much to my surprise, and delight, I was awarded 2 badges a couple days ago.

Email notification of badge. Notice my email in the URL (click to enlarge)

In any case, happy to see that I got a badge, I clicked on the link to claim it. I logged into my open backpack account and I clicked on the "Cool, Let's go" button to add it into my account (confirming, of course, that it was indeed my backpack account I was in...)

OK, Cool! Let's go! Add that badge!

Then...Oh oh (queue in ICQ sound clip)! Error! Open Backpack claims that my email isn't my email! Now, it could be the capitalization that's an issue (it shouldn't), but I have found no way to change my email on OpenBackpack to change the capitalization.

That said, I tried changing the URL (and changing the capitalization of my email)...and...crazy thing is that it worked! wow! It actually worked! I know that the URL is just passing some arguments to open backpack...but this, in a sense, seems like a security flaw.

Your thoughts?
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Gears of War 2 | Done

Well, that didn't take long ;-) 20 days after I started Gears of War 2, it's now complete! I got Gears of War 2 as part of the Gears of War Triple Pack last Christmas (I've been working my way through other games first), and upon completing the original, this one was next in my xbox play queue.

The game picks up at the end of the first Gears of War, where Delta squad comes back to deal some more punishment to the....well, whatever the heck they are.  I still don't know if they are supposed to be aliens, mutants, or just another race of underground beings.  This time around the squad has a rookie with them, Carmine, who ends up dying in the end.  This was a bummer because knowing that there is a third GOW out there, I had hopped to see more of him.  But no, he was just a red shirt. Disappointment.

In any case, we still didn't see Fenix's father, although at the end of the end-credits we have his voice saying "noooooo! what have you done???" which I guess it is foreshadowed that he will be in the third one (hopefully). It was a bit weird that they sank their last city at the end, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.  I do wonder how they will recover from this in the third Gears of War.

In terms of stats for this game, 21 out of 50 achievements earned. Not bad, much better than what I had done with the first one. I had made quite some progress on gaining some more achievements (like "variety is the spice of life"), but I completed the game before doing so.  Perhaps something to aim for during a replay when I have more time ;-)

All things considered, not a bad little game!  I really enjoyed it! :)
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Some initial thoughts on the Slate 7

Quick and dirty home office setup
It's been a few weeks since I've had my new Samsung Slat 7 tablet PC and I thought I would give it a quick review before I upgrade the OS to Windows 8 (this way you get a sense of what it's like out of the box).

The cool things about this PC:
The tablet hardware is actually pretty freakin' nice! The chassis of the PC is nice and thin, the touch screen responds to both a pen input (although there is no pen silo in the chassis), and to finger touch!  My pet peeve about previous tablet PCs was that you only had pen input which was pretty awful.  I think that this device has a wacom digitizer which gives you 8 points of touch, pretty impressive when you add the Windows Touch Pack and you get a copy of the lagoon app/screensaver. There is 1 USB slot, 1 SD card slot, 1mini-HDMI slot (with wireless HDMI on it as well, if I am not mistaken) and a headphone port. There is also a front and a back camera so you can skype, MSN chat, yahoo, chat and any other app that can do video chatting on it.

As you might be able to see from my setup, I also got the dock for this which I setup with a spare visio monitor I had lying around to enable a dual screen workstation.  I expected this tablet to be a little laggy compared to a desktop, but jeez, the thing is fast! Totally worth the money and you can easily bring it with you and be mobile with the case stand, and a wireless keyboard (I use my Apple Wireless Keyboard whenever I don't use it with my iPad). In addition, if you happen to have another dock where you work, you can easily bring the tablet with you to-and-from and just use the same device - pretty nifty!!!

The bad:
Well, number 1 is Windows 7. Don't get me wrong, when docked, with a keyboard and mouse, this tablet kicks some serious butt when compared to most work machines (PCs) I've worked with. But as a tablet, Windows 7 is still not that great.  The mouse and desktop metaphor doesn't work that well with touch and a tablet.  Samsung has done a pretty nice effort getting a launcher and some touch enabled apps (calendar, RSS, weather and so on), but it still feels tacked on.  I would prefer to use Microsoft's extras download pack for calendars and such, and use Outlook for mail, and I would love for those to be touch optimized. This is why I am looking forward to Windows 8.

The dock:  OK, I said I liked the dock, but I have a serious issue with the cost for what it offers.  It costs $91 and it's just a square that gives you 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet, and 1 USB (well, and power).  FAIL. Most computer monitors have VGA or DVI. Would it kill you to include an HDMI cable and an adaptor to DVI or VGA?  Also, why only 1 USB port? What if I want to have an external DVD drive and an external Hard Drive on my dock concurrenlty (And not use the port on the tablet)?  It just costs too much money for what you get (a square slab).

That said, I love this device :-)

Let's see what Windows 8 brings.
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Flat News

I came across this last week on YouTube, a fictitious (and very humorous) newscast about the happenings of a flat (apartment).  Now imagine how much fun we could have if we had a "insertYourDepartment News" or "Cubicle News" ;-)

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Gears of War | Done

Another game completed this past week was Gears of War.  I had bought the Gears of War triple pack back in December, and I had started the game, completing Act 1 back then, but I put it aside, and didn't return up to now. I am not sure if it's because I played the game on Casual and not Hardcore, but the game seemed rather short!  In totality it seemed like the game had 5 Acts, which I was able to go through in a matter of days.

This doesn't diminish that the game was actually quite fun to play, but I felt like I wanted more (especially from a story perspective). Fenix (the main character, which you control) is busted out of the brig so he can be part of the defense and attack effort against some enemy that (still to me) is unknown.  Maybe I missed something, but the game starts 14 days after "E-Day" (when the Aliens, or are they aliens?) first attacked.  Who are these aliens? Why are they attacking? What the heck is going on?!!

At the end of the game you get a little more information, but it seems like there is much more left to explore in the mythology of this game universe. Once I was done, I popped in Gears of War two, part of the same triple pack, which also has 5 Acts.  I think a purchase of Gears of War 3 is my immediate future if GoW2 is as easy ;-).  This time around I am playing GoW2 on "normal" difficulty.  As far as achievements go, I only got about half in Gears of War.  I am thinking of  trying a multiplayer (local) once I get through the trilogy.
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Castlevania: Lords of Shadows | Done!

After a very, very long time, I was able to get back into the Castlevania groove and complete Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for the xbox. One of the reasons that I really got back to it is that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is supposed to be coming out later on this year, and I wanted to be able to continue the series having completed the original.  If you are reading this I assume you've played the game, and if you haven't...SPOILER alert.

In terms of Achievements, I didn't do all that well, but I just wanted to complete the storyline on this one. I think that at the end of the day I only got 19 out of the 50-something achievements.  I really wanted to see what happened in the end, and if Gabriel got Marie back.  I admit, I am a sucker for happy endings.  However, this wasn't to be.  Good ol' Zobek turned out to be manipulating me for his own benefit, made Gabriel kill Marie and others; but in the end, he had his coming! Lucifer killed him, and Gabriel promptly killed Lucifer.

Fast forward to the present - the big reveal is that Gabriel IS Dracula...WTF?!?! Beyond the original shock, I think I like this ending.  It sets up a dueling dynamic between the Belmont clan and Dracula, now revealed that he is one of their own, and of course they need to clean up their own messes...errr...I mean family affairs.  Too bad this this game isn't considered Castlevania Canon. I am looking forward to the second installment.
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