Deep in the heart of a mythical nation known as Kyrat, you play Ajay Ghale; a man returning home to spread his mother’s ashes. But things are rarely so simple. Far Cry 4 places you in the midst of a civil war which leads through a tangled family past. Thrown in are CIA operatives, criminal regimes, drug induced passages to magical worlds, wing suits, gliders, the unsafest aircraft ever and an insane amount of weapons. It’s a decently sized, open world first person shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The story is fun and hilarious, the game play mechanics varied and the game moves at a decent pace without ever grinding.Read More
Bret Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist and podcast who recently interviewed Robert Malone and Steve Krisch about the current COVID vaccines. Dr. Malone, the researcher who invented mRNA technology, expressed concerns about continuing to push these new vaccines, when it was clear that the medication Ivermectin could be used effectively as a prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19. Dr. Malone pushing for the use of Ivermectin, and challenging the safety and efficacy of the current vaccines being promoted by Pfizer and Moderna, lead to the podcast with Weinstein being removed from YouTube.Read More
I remember hearing about SuperHot at a party; a first person shooter where time only advances when you move. I played a three level demo while the game was still in the early stages of development. Conceptually, the game is unique and creative. Although the setting and low polygon graphics may seem basic, the mechanics are creative, challenging and addictive. The story is fairly simplistic, but it does play a little into a meta-narrative on gaming. Overall this is a fun independent title that merges puzzles and first person shooters in a unique design.Read More
The mask mandates for Chicago began on May 1st, 2020. The exact order only mandated masks in stores that were not large enough for social distancing. However, in practice, every store was refusing to let people in without a face covering. I already had concerns over the reaction to the pandemic, and I decided to draw my line in the sand very early. For the next few weeks, I drove to Indiana in order to shop for groceries to avoid the mandate. Usage grew even past the state line, and one store stopped allowing entry to those who were unmasked. Eventually I settled into a routine of purchasing groceries and supplies on-line for drive-up/pick-up. Eventually I left Chicago for an undisclosed location on the east coast, in the deep south, far away from cities and the growing hysteria. Even in the middle of nowhere, major chain still have signs requiring masks. There are some people who wear them, but the rules are never enforced. Although seeing people with masks in stores does disturb me, I’m glad I now live in a place where I have the option to not participate in a mandate defined by pseudoscience. It’s not “Just a mask.” The consequences of shame around a new article of clothing are not minor, and I think we will see the effects for decades to come.Read More
A few months ago, I got a notice stating Google Hangouts would stop handling SMS/Voice. In 2012 I transfered my primary phone number to Google Voice before leaving the country, so I could still send texts and keep my American number. At the time, it cost $20 to transfer a number to Google Voice. Eventually Voice was deprecated and Google moved their customers’ phone numbers into Hangouts. Now they’re moving everything back to Voice apparently, in their never ending confusingly labeled and hopelessly broken suite of communication tools. Rather than wait for Google to finally put their telephony products out of their misery, I decided to port the two phone numbers I had on Google over to another service. After some experimenting and trials with various providers, I decided to go with jmp.chat which allows for both Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for voice calls and XMPP for texts/MMS.Read More
As people have been banned from one major platform after another, one common response has been, “build your own platform”. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Platforms need infrastructure to run on, and if every hosting provider decided to not offer someone service, corporate censorship can kill a website. Parler made the mistake of tightly coupling their website to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The weaponization of the courts essentially made their contract with AWS entirely worthless. Parler’s response makes me question a lot of their core business decisions, and their future.
People may have flocked to the new network because Parler promoted themselves as an alternative to the current social media landscape. Yet Parler has made critical mistakes with their infrastructure stack, and arbitrary decisions about what content to allow. Parler also suffers the same failure points as any centralized social media platform. To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi, “This is not the free platform you are looking for”.Read More
I’ve grown increasing concerned over the way big social media networks have been manipulating large swaths of the population. Many of them compete with, and are actively aggressive to, smaller independent platforms. I rarely ventured onto the large platforms except to promote my own material. Yet, the growing audacity of these networks and their blatant manipulations of human thought and perception, has led me to the point where I feel I can no longer ethically use them. I decided that even using them passively for promotion was no longer morally acceptable. In February of 2021, I deleted my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’ve potentially cut myself off from a large number of acquaintances I’ve know throughout my life, yet I’ve always had my own presence on the web which I control and promote. The people who truly matter, will always be able to find me.Read More
Having 25,000 troops in the United States Capitol is not a sign of strength. When Biden was sworn into office, he looked incredibly weak. January 20th was not an inauguration, it was a coronation of a king who has taken the royal throne way past his prime. It had the iconography of a religious gathering, with every attendee’s face covered in literal symbols of fear. Biden is not a president, he is a Pope coming in near the end of his life, to prop up the ceremony of a dying religion, from a dying era. His presence sends a dangerous message to the world: America is corrupt and is working to get its people under control.Read More
Home storage is not very expensive today, and the magic of the cloud is more fragile than ever. We hear story after story of accounts getting locked, suspended or terminated on platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter, often with little to no explanation. Thanks to certain legal requirements around the world, you can usually make full backups from these services. This is a quick guide on how I regularly backup my data. It’s pretty easy and everyone should have a reminder on their calendar to do this at least twice a year (or until you loose access to your calendar).Read More
A few weeks ago, my account on Hacker News, a Reddit like aggregation site for technology links, was banned. My five-year old account received zero warnings before I got a comment from a moderator. Recently, I also discovered from a friend that this website, BattlePenguin.com, has been shadow banned on Hacker News. To any user submitting one of my posts, the submission will look as if it’s successful and appear on the new page. However, if one switches to a private browser, they’ll find that the submission does not appear.
I cross promote new articles on this blog across several platforms, some that are even hostile to smaller websites. Typically, promoting on various platforms doesn’t guarantee additional clicks unless you actively participate on that social network. Hacker News was one of the few sites I enjoyed participating on. I knew it was heavily moderated, but I liked how it generally pushed articles specific to programming, hardware and technology, and avoided more controversial topics.Read More