v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Review: Mind Meld: Micro Collaboration Between E Learning Designers And Instructor Experts

Mind Meld: Micro Collaboration Between E Learning Designers And Instructor Experts Mind Meld: Micro Collaboration Between E Learning Designers And Instructor Experts by Jon D. Aleckson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A bit conflicted about this book. On the one hand there are some elements of sage advice in here, but the book has a few failings for my liking:
1. There is barely any cited evidence here (the references list is just 2 pages), and most 'evidence' seems to rely on anecdotes and personal conversations.
2. There is a needless re-branding of existing roles (SME = instructor-expert) which makes the writing a little more unnecessarily complex. It also introduces a term, micro-collaboration, without really providing really distinctive characteristics as to why there is a need for it (I don't buy the author's claim that collaboration is only between larger entities)
3. The authors fail to really discuss their model/framework in any degree of depth (see point #1).

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Review: The Jackal's Trick

The Jackal's Trick The Jackal's Trick by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hey! The unsung had been played all along by external forces! Well, I guess this is what you get when a society discommendates several generations of their citizens for whatever reason. Also, Kahless is alive because...he's Kahless ;-) A fun read. Looking forward to the third part.

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Operation Racoon City | Done

Another one of my quick-runs through xbox 360 games to get a sense of the story and the game.  This one is Capcom's Operation Racoon City, which is a game that falls into the Resident Evil franchise.

I think this game did multiplayer co-op much better than Crackdown 2. I played the campaign part of this game back in January of this year. From what I can see you can only play this game online (maybe I am wrong), and it's a game that I really wish had backwards compatibility because it's rather fun!

OK, the story.  You play as a member of the Umbrella Security Services (USS) Spec Ops team, employed by the Umbrella corporation, and whose mission is to assist Alpha team in stopping Dr. William Birkin from handing over his T-virus research to the U.S. military and retrieve the G-virus. In the end there is an inevitable betrayal and you have a choice to make. (at least that's what I remember). I do believe that this game takes place sometime in the Resident Evil 2 timeframe, but I've only played the original, and I didn't manage to get too far with it.  I am not a fan of survival horror: if I am to survive the zombie apocalypse in a video game I want a lot of health supplies and a lot of firepower...

As far as gameplay goes, in this game you pick your persona, one of the members of the USS team, and if there are others interested they can join your game.  Unlike Crackdown no player is allowed to treat others like ragdolls, and as a matter of fact quite a few players healed my injuries!  The community seemed nice, the story was fun, and the gameplay experience felt enjoayble.  This game I'd go back to, and I give it a 10/10.

Gamerscore: 200/1500
Achievements: 12/70
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Legend of Korra | Done

Another really quick review of an xbox 360 game that isn't backwards compatible to the xbox one that I did a quick run through in December of 2018.  This time the game is the Legend of Korra on the xbox 360 (I am surprised that it's not backward compatible!)

I know that this is based on a cartoon, which I haven't watched.  But it is a brawler so it looked like fun.  The game resorts to a regular trope: superhero gets stripped of powers that define them, and they are on a journey to get their powers back and make themselves whole again.  Korra is opposed by a "chi-blocker" who, at the start of the game, strips Korra of her bending abilities, which she has to regain in the course of the game. The game's main villain, Hundun, is named after a chaotic entity in Chinese mythology. An ancient, evil being previously trapped in the spirit world, he was released into the physical world by Korra's opening of the spirit portals at the end of the second season. The game sees him sow chaos in the world and pursue his grudge against the Avatar.

Overall the game was quite fun.  I'd play this again on a more difficult level setting, but I don't think I'll be pulling out my 360 from storage any time soon for it.  I really wish it would come to backward compatibility once "scarlet" hits the store shelves.  Overall score: 9/10

Gamerscore: 300/1000
Achievements: 16/30
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Crackdown 2 | Done

Back in December of 2018, another game that I tried to play through on my 360 before I packed it away was Crackdown 2 (funny thing is that after I completed it it became backward compatible...)  So here is a brief review of Crackdown 2 on the xbox 360:

As you can see from my gamerscore, I didn't really go after all of the achievements. Part of the reason is that the achievements were (like in the first game) about collecting orbs, which really didn't do much for me.  I was playing the game mostly for the story (and for the salty commentary from the game announcer).

The story takes place 10 years after order was restored in the city, after the events of the first Crackdown. The agency was corrupt (IMO), they hired a scientist who performed illegal genetic manipulations (who was ultimately fired, and labelled a terrorist), and now a new agent (you) is called upon to clean up the city from the "freaks" (genetically mutated humans - sort of remind me of the flood in Halo) that have taken over the city.  To do this you need to clear areas of these mutants and keeping them away by activating specific beacons throughout the city.

The game is rather fun, and it does provide a mechanic to allow others to enter your own world's instance - presumably to have a nice co-op game.  I opened up my own instance - hoping that others would help me clear my world (instead of having to grind a lot).  And this worked - to an extent.  I did basically clear most of the world within a few days and not a lot of grinding for XP, but there was at least one jerk who played hacky sack with my character.  Whenever there were no enemies around this idiot would use some sort of pulsewave weapon to blast me across the map.  This didn't make for a fun experience.  I ended up stopping the game, taking a break, and coming back when the jerk wasn't around.  I also did not want to create a new private instance because I'd lose all my progress.

Overall the game was fun.  The story as it progresses gives you the party line - brave police officer falls in the line of duty - but the "real" story is told through audio recordings found throughout the game.  I did find a few, but again - hunting for hidden (optional) things is not my cup of tea.

Overall I'd give it a 8/10

Gamerscore: 390/1500
Achievements: 17/70
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Καλό μήνα...και καλό εξάμηνο!

Καλό μας μήνα λοιπον!  Ήρθε και ο Σεπτέμβρης, και μαζί με τον Σεπτέμβρη έρχεται το τέλος του καλοκαιριού και η νέα σχολική χρονιά στο πανεπιστήμιο (την ερχόμενη εβδομάδα). Φέτος εύχομαι επιτέλους να τελειώσω με αυτή την ριμάδα την διδακτορική διατριβή...

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Dark for the 360 | Attempted

Back in November of 2018 I tried out a game called "Dark" on my xbox 360. I had been going on a binge of games that are not backwards compatible to the xbox one, so I thought I'd give this a try.

The reviews for this game were bad...quite bad! (Metacritic score of 38%).  But the price was right (next to free...) and the concept seemed like an interesting concept: The game follows the story of Eric Bane , a newly turned vampire suffering from amnesia. He learns that his transformation is not complete and that, if he does not drink the blood of his sire, he will mutate into a mindless ghoul. In order to avoid being such a foul creature, he receives missions to drink ancient vampires' blood. However, an angel in Eric's view appears to guide him to the righteous path, and ease intolerable pain that comes from not drinking appropriate blood as it disappears. With a question of this vision, he tries to recover his deleted memories and his true self. (plot from wikipedia, accessed on 8/20/19).

Unfortunately the interesting plot, the interesting visual style, and the interesting gameplay concepts that it tried to implement didn't really come through (as most reviews said!). Sometimes I don't see eye to eye with reviewers but this game was rather bad. I am not sure if I am ever going back to try to slog through and finish this game, but I do think that it deserves a reboot.

Achievements: 3/21
Gamerscore: 120/1000

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Review: Hell's Heart

Hell's Heart Hell's Heart by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book had me reacting out loud while I was listening to it. It was a rather interesting story of succession in the house of Krug (from Star Trek IV), and a rather interesting tale of discommendated, and what happens when the children of those who are no longer considered part of the community refuse to accept a system that is inherently stacked against them for no good reason. Worth a read.

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Review: Defiance:The Essential Guide

Defiance:The Essential Guide Defiance:The Essential Guide by Syfy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was reminded of this ebook while rewatching Defiance this summer. This was a "getting to know the world of Defiance" sort of book.  I think it mostly focused on the TV show, even though Defiance was originally envisioned as a transmedia type of franchise (with the eponymous MMO still running/limping along to this day). Too bad the show was cancelled, but kudos for putting out a guide to the world created in the show. It would have been great to include more of the language related aspects as part of this.  Now, if only I could get my hands on a few Votan fonts...

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Review: Star Trek vs. Transformers

Star Trek vs. Transformers Star Trek vs. Transformers by John Barber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another cross-over, this one a bit more recent I think compared the DC Legion of Superheroes one I read.  An interesting Star Trek: The Animated Series cross-over with Transformers. A bit campy for my tastes, but if you view it from an animated series perspective it ain't half bad. I guess Transformers is now in the official beta continuity of star trek ;-)

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