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.

Adieu OpenFeint...I guess?

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Well, this one crept up on me. OpenFeint, a cross-platform social network for gaming is closing its doors in a few weeks.  It started life on iOS, as far as I know, and later on got onto Android and Windows Phone.  Initially the pitch was global leaderboards for games, something that I really didn't care for much in my iPod touch days...but then came the achievement badges for games and that got me a bit more interested, having already had the experience of achievements from my xbox. This was, of course, before Apple's game center.

When Apple released Game Center, the need for OpenFeint wasn't as big, since most games either used on Game Center, or used both Game Center and OpenFeint, in case you had friends on other platforms.  This was truly the nice thing about OpenFeint - no need to be on the same platform to compete with your friends.

I did download GREE (the social network that the company who bought OpenFeint supports) but it just doesn't really seem that great. I think that for iOS gaming I will just stick to Game Center.  I just wish there were a way to export all of my achievements to Game Center or something :-)


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Woot! Vice Admiral rank achieved!

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Alright! I finally made it to Vice Admiral on Star Trek Online ("3 Stars" equivalent to real military) and thus I have reached the highest rank in the game (level 50).  Too bad, because I was looking forward, with Season 7 just being released, having the capability of going up to full Admiral. Oh well!

I got my Vice Admiralty while completing Season 4. Not bad at all! I am currently mostly finishing up Season 6, and then I am moving over to the New Romulus pack that was just released for Season 7. I also broke down  this week and I joined a Fleet (in WoW terms, a Guild). Even though I am one of the most high ranking people in the game, my Fleet rank is still "cadet" and I am not sure how Fleets work.  Most of my gaming is solitary (although I did enjoy the PvE challenges/matches that I played late last month).

There were also some disappointments with reaching the final rank:
  • No new ship token...darn...
  • Can't continue to level up my character, so all the XP goes toward my bridge officers...
  • ...but I have no more open bridge officer slots...
I guess it's time to pony up some cash for a micro-transaction to get some more bridge officer slots and buy a couple of ships.

In other news, I decided to decommission my second ship, a Constitution Class starship, the USS Amaliada. I liked the name (I picked it after all), but I didn't like the ship class (picked it by accident).  Next ship I buy will probably be renamed the Amaliada :)
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Windows 8, 3 Weeks in, initial thoughts

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It's been three weeks since I got the Enterprise edition from our friendly help desk (those guys rock!) and I installed it on my work computer, and aging Dell Optiplex GX620, which runs on a 3.4Ghz P4, 2GB of RAM built-in graphics and 500MB of hard drive space.

Yes, I know, you must be wondering how I can get work done.  The truth is that this is my backup machine where I undertake specific tasks, like departmental email on Outlook, admissions and where I manage departmental records. So, mostly file system types of things and emails.  For these things the machine rocks. The daily driver is my 27" iMac ;-)

In any case, I decided to use my GX620 as the guinea pig machine o test out Windows 8. My Samsung Slate does not have a DVD drive (which I am waiting for) to install the upgrade on it.  I really wish Windows had something like Apple's Time Machine, so if an installation borked the machine, I could reinstall the factory restore image, and then restore from time machine.  Anyway, here are some observations of 3 weeks of work usage, on a non-touch screen computer:

The Good:
  • I am still living in the desktop! Despite all the doom and gloom about getting rid of the desktop, it's still there and I use it almost exclusively
  • As a launcher, Metro is nice! The start menu was really nice in Windows 95 because it wasn't cluttered. 17 years later, with the increase in storage capacity, the start menu became a dump, and it's nice to have a clean application launcher again!
  • I love the lock screen! It's sort of like this notion of "side show" that Windows 7 had, that few PC manufacturers implemented, where you had notifications of important things. Now I just wish more applications took advantage of it.
  • I keep wanting to touch my screen. I know this can get annoying, but I think it's a good step forward to enabling touch screen computing on the desktop.


The M'eh:
  • Despite the cluttered mess that was the start menu, the bottom left of the screen isn't the same! I really would like a windows button there with access to control panels, documents, disks and so on.
  • Metro apps really need rethinking. Even is a 17" screen, I don't want my IM to take up the whole screen, and I don't want to jump out of one app to jump into another one. It should be the case that apps share the screen, at least on a desktop computer!
  • It seems that Metro apps, and legacy apps don't have the same data storage. So, I can have a desktop version of Evernote, and a Metro version, and the data storage is separate for both. This is a bit of a fail.
  • While in this line of thought, It would be nice to have "fat" apps that contain both interfaces, a metro interface and a legacy interface. There are some apps that I would use the desktop version for when I had a mouse and keyboard; and I would use the Metro version for when I was on my slate (undocked and mobile).
  • It's been 10 years already (if not more).  If I have localized my OS to Greek, contextual menu items (native and third party applications) should either be in English, or Greek, not some gibberish like "???e?/a???"
  • Strangely enough, I miss Aero (I liked the transparency) and the 3D switcher. Bring it back ;-)

That's all for now.
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Halo Terminals

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With the release of Halo 4 everyone seems to be talking about it.  In one of the video game podcasts that I listen to there was mention of the Anniversary edition of Halo which contains hidden terminals that augment to story (give you some background) and if you've watched all of the terminal videos (supposedly) your enjoyment of Halo 4 will be greater. 

I did, just by accident, find one of these terminals, but in all honesty I didn't spend much time looking for them (despite the achievement you get). Luckily, there are  people who record these and post them on YouTube :-)  Enjoy!

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Made Rear Admiral!

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OK, so this past weekend I made Rear Admiral (lower half).  I suppose that by next weekend I will make Rear Admiral upper half the way I am going.  I am actually quite surprised at how quickly I am leveling up!  It seems as though the number of experience points required to reach higher levels is linear and not exponential in nature. Oh well, I am not complaining ;-) I just wish I had more bridge officer slots so I could actually utilize the bridge officers I have already been awarded.

One thing I discovered are the bridge officer dury assignments, which seem similar to Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. The first few I botched and epically failed in. Once I got the hang of it, I've only had success in them.  Not bad!

I was thinking about one thing while playing this past weekend, and discovering the duty officer missions: iPad and iPhone clients for second screen duty roster checking and assignments! No need for a PC to log into your account to check in on duty officer assignments, why not have a mobile client that allows you to check in on your duty officer assignments and assign them new tasks once they are done?  Also, why not use this mobile client to customize your avatar (like you can in the xbox live app for iOS) and use it as a way to get your ship from sector to sector. Nothing stinks more than waiting for your ship to travel expanses of space so you can begin a mission.  Why not do this while you're on the train, and when you get home, you're in the right system to start a mission. - Just a thought :-)
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Halo forward unto dawn is awesome!

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OK, if you weren't watching before, you should watch this before picking up a copy of Halo 4. Forward unto dawn is not a prequel (I don't think), but it gives people a little more information about the Halo universe. As someone who's played most Halo games, and have read more Halo books, this was certainly an interesting live action show.  I am not sure what it cost to make this, but I would certainly watch an entire season of this.

One thing that was personally disappointing was the death toll in this.  There were so many actors that I recognized in this series that just died.  What the heck?  I was hoping for more name-brand actors to survive, but in the end only three cadets make it.  Oh well. I supposed I shouldn't be surprised since in the short stories most people end up dead anyway ;-)


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Macheist 4 thoughts

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I know MacHeist 4 is over, and it was an incredible deal ($29 for a boatload of apps AND 1 year of premium evernote!). I have to say that this time around I did not buy the MacHeist bundle, despite its awesomeness, because I didn't have much use for most of the apps.  Now if Parallels or VM Ware were part of the deal, or if RapidWeaver 5 were there, that would have been a different discussion :-)

In any case, why am I writing about MacHeist? It's simple: this year think they really went a step forward and increased the audience engagement to a really nice degree! There were a total of 8 (4 "regular" and 4 "nano") missions available on MacOS and iOS that MacHeist "agents" could take part in.  The story was a bit cheesy, but that didn't bother me.  Each mission had puzzles that you had to solve, and throughout the missions there were some free MacOS apps that you could earn for solving puzzles and moving the story forward.

I have to say, the free apps didn't get me to participate in the MacHeist missions, but the puzzles and they hokey story did! I hope next year's MacHeist raises the bar some more with these iOS games. Nice job people!
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Stranglehold | Done!

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Well, this past weekend I slogged through stranglehold, and in all honesty it was just to get it done! I had some pretty high expectations for the game, it being a John Woo game with Chao Yun Fat as the lead character (Tequilla).

That said, the first couple of hours of the game really tainted it for me, mostly because I was getting Alone in the Dark vibes from this game: in other words, nice concept, poor execution.  I decided to drop the difficulty level to Casual in order to get through the game. This actually made the game more enjoyable because I was able to progress through the storyline much quicker, and the storyline was actually much better than Alone in the Dark!

There is really no need to talk much about the story itself. If you've seen a Hong Kong police movie with all the crazy action and gang/cartel related (and honor related) plots, you've got a pretty good idea of what Stranglehold is all about.

In terms of game play, the Tequilla time (bullet time) was actually pretty good, and something that game the game more enjoyable. The thing that got pretty tiresome, really quickly, were the standoffs (see video bellow).  The first, and second time, around it was pretty exciting.  After that, the same formula was followed many, many, times, which made it just another thing to do in order to get closer to get closer to the end of the game.

At the end of the credits I was expecting some sort of wrap-up cinematic...but that never came. Oh well.

When all was said and done the game gave me a final score of "D" (hey, it's passing!) and I collected 20% of the achievements (11/55). M'eh.  Stranglehold, you gave me a "D", so my grade for you is a C.


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