The Exigent Duality
Genetic Deviation - 06:21 CDT, 10/17/19 (Sniper)
This week, wifey issued Duncan his first-ever standardized tests, in reading and math. He's six, and would have just started the first grade in a conventional school. Results: fifth grade level, in both exams.

They have a chart showing his percentile, for his age. It's so deep into the ninety-ninth percentile that their graphing tool can't even visually represent the precision.

Wifey and I are both in the 120s in terms of IQ; I took a "Mensa" practice exam once, and it told me that I should try for the real thing. But how did we produce Duncan? He's bogglingly beyond either of us at the equivalent age. And it's not just environment.
1984 - 16:37 CDT, 10/16/19 (Sniper)
Obviously this was a "false flag" threat, with the corresponding newspaper op-ed all ready to go, probably even written and finished the night before. It's so phony baloney that it's clear they're not even trying anymore.
Fallacious - 09:25 CDT, 10/16/19 (Sniper)
Molyneux's story at the 6:25 mark of this video explains what's going on with today's Democrats. There are millions of people in the United States today who still believe the Michael Brown "hands up, don't shoot" narrative, for Pete's sake.

Steven Crowder did that "CNN is fake news, change my mind" event recently, where a lady was point-blank, to Crowder's face believing that Trump "colluded with Russia", right after admitting in the same conversation that there was no evidence.

It's Scott Adams' "two movies" deal. Makes it difficult to have rational conversations.

About the so-called "deep fakes" concept, I know that there are algorithms which can detect if an image has been altered since its creation. Perhaps there is a similar thing for videos. I think we'll get to a point where all videos and images will be accompanied by an equivalent to SHA or MD5 checksums, proving that the content is authentic.
Uphill - 09:20 CDT, 10/15/19 (Sniper)
Juxtapose this, this, and this together. Then consider: Google essentially runs the entire web, CNN is continuously blaring on televisions around the country, and Wikipedia is taken as gospel by hundreds of millions of people.
News Array - 08:59 CDT, 10/12/19 (Sniper)
White men, cucking as usual. It's like that recent Scott Adams strip. There was also a "meme" I once saw, but can't find now, which juxtaposed "1919 - white men give women the right to vote", with a 2019 clip of a female feminist declaring "no more white men!"

In other news, here is a follow-up to my previous post. Most people I talk to have no clue what fractional reserve banking even is, much less how "money" is created. But encouragingly, people almost universally ask me to teach them how the system works, and find it very interesting.

In yet other news, years ago I wrote a blog post about "education and marginal utility". It's really stood up well I think, and is my final word on the topic. Read or skim it, then take a peek at this; as a society, we've done the opposite of my suggestion, and the outcome backs my hypothesis.

On a completely unrelated note, my wife's 2014 WRX takes this concept to whole new levels: not only do you not need to take your eyes off the road, but the controls are winter glove friendly: take a look at the chunky silver A/V knobs beneath the center vents, and the giant four-way flashers button.

And speaking of winter gloves, there is snow on the roof of my garage right now. Winter is my favorite season, and the same is true for Duncan. If the roads get dry enough, I think I'll bundle up and hop on the inline skates, while D can grab his bike: I've been using my skates between one and two hours per day-- I'm hooked.
Fake - 07:56 CDT, 10/11/19 (Sniper)
I've noticed this same trend in my workplace; in security-related meetings or when conversation turns to "intellectual property theft", it's always "Russia" who are used as an example, despite the Russian economy being barely larger than Australia's or Mexico's.

One day, the "human resources" department released an infographic breaking down the employee base. To my total shock, twenty percent of the people working for my employer were based in China. Probably in plants, but I'm not certain.

Personally, I'm sick of the Chinese. At one point their central bank owned like twenty percent of their stock market; they've printed trillions of yuan building empty ghost cities; they're using their monopoly money to buy up football clubs like Inter Milan, which now has Chinese characters all over the San Siro.

As an American maybe I shouldn't be throwing stones from my glass house-- but China is the biggest bubble country ever.
In a Bottle - 17:06 CDT, 10/09/19 (Sniper)
"We're not going to restart QE-- we're just going to expand our balance sheet by buying Treasuries!" Hah.

Most of the time with crazy people, you can just walk away from them. But with politicians and central bankers, there is no escape! You can't tell them, "I'm minding my own business-- leave me the hell alone."

In other news, H and I spent an hour outside weaving back and forth on our inline skates. And it worked: we're now able to turn and stop!
Balance - 17:04 CDT, 10/07/19 (Sniper)
Only my second time on roller blades, and I'm already over the "constant struggle versus having fun" hump. Now I just need to learn how to stop without diving onto the nearest grassy patch!
Identical - 13:09 CDT, 10/05/19 (Sniper)
Steven Crowder's talent at voice impersonations is phenomenal. Pieces like this really show off the convergence of his skills not only in that regard, but also in writing and acting. As a refresher, compare Crowder's voice in the parody to that in the original-- wifey and I were positively dying with laughter at how good he is!

His most recent show has some great examples of his President Trump voice, check out the 9:14 and 18:50 marks to hear those.
Off Kilter - 17:18 CDT, 10/04/19 (Sniper)
Oof, Shenmue III looking totally off to me. The most closely-aligned quote from the comments: "its so odd looking... like those weird nintendo fan remakes in the unreal 3 engine". Indeed.

I think it has to do with the environment art being so generic; it's not stylized at all, so it's almost like a dump of assets from a 3d models demo disc or something. It looks very discordant with the highly stylized character designs.

The other problem is that the game's rendering is so obviously Unreal engine that it creates a certain mental expectation to what kind of game it is, only for the HUD and Shenmue-style movement to feel jarring and bolted on.

At least, they nailed the voice acting.
Surveillance Society - 08:09 CDT, 10/04/19 (Sniper)
The government is doing mass license plate scanning, as are private companies like McDonalds. Just because something is possible doesn't mean it's a good idea...

The good part is that people will eventually rebel against this stuff-- hopefully in a peaceful way. Those will be suppressed for awhile, like this Democrat saying that people who "make fun of politicians" should be thrown in jail.

But in the medium-term, rebellions often work because the State enforcers can't keep their morale up.
Perfect - 08:03 CDT, 10/03/19 (Sniper)
The shot at Cousins in this is absolutely hilarious. I also found this to be pretty funny.
Even Worse - 18:48 CDT, 10/02/19 (Sniper)
I've long know that these tech companies are evil, and I have had as little to do with them as possible for years running, but the revelations in this article caught even me off guard. How about Eric Schmidt sitting on a Federal government board, selling himself his own technology with tax payer money?

The quote which really got me was Twitter's response to the discovery that the head of their Middle East division is a psy-ops agent with the British military, bold emphasis is mine: "we actively encourage all our employees to pursue external interests." Hah!

Amazon is also drafting legislation-- it's like a new branch of Congress!
New Connection - 19:33 CDT, 10/01/19 (Sniper)
I've written about "global warming" before, but this is probably the best collection of totally conclusive charts and graphs I've yet seen.

In other news and after hours of tech support over the past two days, I've finally got the whole house, server included, cut over to the new fiber connection running to my house.

It sure is fast: 950 Mbps down, 890 Mbps up! Now I'm just crossing fingers that the reliability matches the bandwidth.
New Flight Simulator - 13:08 CDT, 9/30/19 (Sniper)
Regular readers know I rail on-- and for good reason-- about the lack of ambition in today's games. But this is one of those stunning aberrations. I can't wait to get my hands on this thing.
Lacking Mental Stability? - 08:58 CDT, 9/29/19 (Sniper)
I normally don't bother with these "Leftist tech elites praising dystopian futures while blindly trusting tech companies despite mountains of evidence to the contrary" articles, but this one is so bizarre that I can't help but link to it. Enjoy!

In other news, I had the Switch port of Dragon Quest XI reserved for like six months, only for UPS to botch the package deliver-- Friday turned into Saturday, which has now turned into Tuesday. Grrrr.

Finally, Lazio completely dismantling Genoa at the moment. Such a fragile team: when the "big four" of Sergej, Alberto, Immobile, and Correa are all playing together the performances are great-- but as soon as even one of them is absent, the team disintegrates.
Naughty or Nice? - 05:53 CDT, 9/28/19 (Sniper)
Duncan and I finished our first application in Fuze, on Switch. The application opens up like this-- observe the "chip" song which we programmed. From there, you can input and view your data, flipping between months using the "L" and "R" buttons.

The premise is that we wanted a fun way to track Duncan's "strikes" each day; if he achieves a certain average over a minimum time period, he gets his new Ryzen, Windows 10 gaming PC.

It doesn't handle the correct number of days per month, or leap years, or anything like that-- it would take tens of thousands of lines to reproduce the entire equivalent of .Net's "System.DateTime" implementation. Our simpler approach meets our needs.





Light - 05:04 CDT, 9/28/19 (Sniper)
There may be some downtime with the server on Monday. For the first time in fourteen years, I'm changing ISPs; we're at the point where companies are now running Gigabit-level bandwidth to people's houses.

Not only that, but it nearly cuts my existing bill in half due to a running promotion.

I vividly remember the 9600 baud dial-up days, so this is a strange state of affairs.
The Dark Crystal - 21:01 CDT, 9/27/19 (Sniper)
Just a bit ago, Henrietta and I watched the classic Jim Henson film "The Dark Crystal". Imagine the most twisted "Star Trek" episode you can picture, done using puppets.

It's set on an Earth-like exoplanet. The life forms are vaguely like those on Earth, but the entire evolutionary tree is different, making everything extremely unsettling.

One of my favorite parts about it is that the film doesn't overexplain things; lots of gaps are left for the viewer's imagination to fill in.

I don't think the human race is capable of producing something like this movie anymore. I've heard that the Netflix series does a good job mimicking the original film, but that's not the same, nor is it the equivalent technological achievement.

This makes me want to look up more classic films for H and I to watch together. I think I'm going to show her "Blade Runner" one of these coming nights.
Rules for Radicals - 15:35 CDT, 9/27/19 (Sniper)
2016: Hitlary pays Russian sources for dirt on her political opponent through Fusion GPS in an attempt to steal an election. Democrats perform a two-plus year witch hunt falsely accusing Trump of trying to steal an election using Russian sources.

2019: Video surfaces of then-Vice President Joe Biden bragging about how he used mafia-style shakedown tactics on the Ukrainian Prime Minister to get the prosecutor of his shady son fired. Democrats falsely accuse Trump of trying to use mafia-style tactics to shake down the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

Incidentally, I'll be attending Trump's upcoming rally in Minneapolis. It will be fun to hear his remarks about this topic, told in his usual trademark style.

He's not a Libertarian, but he has good instincts and is receptive to new information. And after all the shit this guy has gone through, it's impossible not to like him.
Fools - 08:25 CDT, 9/26/19 (Sniper)
Hah, ran across this chart; currently, carbon dioxide consists of .038% of Earth's atmosphere-- and man's contribution in the entirety of his time on the planet is 14%, of that .038%.

At its peak, carbon dioxide was almost 9% of the atmosphere: that's 237 times the present level-- and no Venus-style run-away "greenhouse effect" took place, as evidenced by the fact that we're here now.

Bozo O'Rourke, Commie Bernie and his motley pals tell us that if we obliterate the world's economy and plunge the very least fortunate of us into desperate, crushing poverty, the black line on that graph will basically only go up one fifty-fifth of a pixel, versus one fiftieth.

Meanwhile they had tens of thousands of hysterical kids engaging in truancy from school, over... nothing.

And all of this is assuming that carbon dioxide isn't a trailing indicator of temperature levels, caused by variations in the sun's activity. It's also not taking into account the role of water vapor: even the "one fiftieth of a pixel" estimations assume that water vapor is a multiplier-- which is unconfirmed.
Mediocre at Everything - 11:45 CDT, 9/25/19 (Sniper)
Excellent "Switch Lite" review here by Richard Leadbetter. It's humorous how the consensus now seems to be that a focus on just one or the other-- handheld-only, in this case-- makes such a superior product, considering that I had that inclination up front; better to specialize than to be a master-of-none.

Perhaps the "Switch Pro" is going to be a console-only rendition, trading the costs of screen and "joy-cons" for 1440p-capable graphics hardware and HDR? Considering that Switch games on the current hardware hardly ever even meet the target LCD's native resolution, especially in handheld mode, a console-only version which can draw game frames which don't look like rubbish would be great.

Which leads me to one area of concern for the "Lite": I played some games-- most notably "Xenoblade Chronicles 2" and "Fire Emblem: Three Houses"-- virtually exclusively on my TV, because they ran at Nintendo 64-era resolutions in portable mode, minus the art assets intended to be viewed at those resolutions. This meant there were two fidelities: decent, and terrible. With the "Lite", only "terrible" is available-- which in essence means the entire system's library needs to be re-evaluated on the graphical front.

Henrietta's special edition "Pokemon" unit arrives in November, so I'll soon find out how big of a deal this worry is.
Root Analysis - 08:13 CDT, 9/24/19 (Sniper)
I dug into the most recent hoopla regarding Stallman here. But this analysis takes it one step further, following through on all of the "accusations" of "intellectual malfeasance".

I put "accusations" in quotes and use the term "intellectual malfeasance" because Richard Stallman never actually hurt anyone: he wrote words, on his personal web site. That was his "crime".

As someone who was recently threatened over "words on his personal web site", I'm sympathetic at how hysterical the Millennial Mob is these days.
Crooked Arrows - 19:58 CDT, 9/23/19 (Sniper)
I really liked this interview with Molyneux, and particularly enjoyed the interviewer, a fellow named "Harminder Singh"; he disagreed with Molyneux on certain points, but stayed calm and focused strictly on ideas, versus ad hominems and silly cheap shots.

One thing which struck me was that this Mr. Singh seemed to agree with Molyneux ideologically in general, but appeared ready to throw all of his principles overboard as soon as a personal sensitivity was brought up: in this case, the cost of housing in Hong Kong. "Perhaps Singapore, where eighty percent of housing is controlled by the State, is the correct model?"

Those who are proponents of the free market are speaking for one hundred percent of people: in all human hearts, everyone agrees that they should not be coerced-- and thus should no one, derived from the principle of universalization. It's one hundred percent accepted common sense-- it's stating the obvious! The only reason anyone has ever argued against it, is because they personally want something they can't have right at that moment. And they are willing to be complete and absolute hypocrites to get whatever "it" is for them: willing to lie, steal, cheat, and pillage if necessary, while decrying anyone who would dare do the same to them!

Freedom-- people voluntarily exchanging goods and services-- maximizes the most utility for the most people, most of the time. But that's totally different than everyone getting what they want, whenever they want it! In the case of Mr. Singh, maybe young people should find someplace else to live, other than the expensive main city? So what if rents are high for ten or fifteen or twenty years: things always reach equilibrium and markets will always clear, as long as the State doesn't interfere. If there is demand for lower-cost housing, it will be built, if not now then later! He needs to learn patience.

The irony in all of this is that a popular ad hominem thrown at free market proponents is "utopian". But it's the critics and Statists who are "utopians"! The second they reach any kind of discomfort, they are willing to start swinging around the nearest rifle! By contrast, no freedom advocate claims that all things will be perfect all of the time-- only that people left to maximize their own utility is the optimal way to achieve general, aggregate social utility.
Keen Observer - 13:58 CDT, 9/23/19 (Sniper)
I'm not the only one who gets it; check out Scott Adams in this one!
The Weather - 07:51 CDT, 9/23/19 (Sniper)
Want yet another dead give-away that the "global warming" hoax is just another form of Cultural Marxist-inspired social engineering? Notice how they guilt trip white people into not having kids, while not saying a peep about Africans or Muslims.

White culture birth rates at large aren't even at replacement levels. Whereas projections show sub-saharan African populations essentially taking over the world by 2030.

Even in my own family, between my wife's side and mine the five of us have only produced two grandchildren, both of which are mine-- not even close to replacement level.

To reinforce the true motivations of the "movement", Comrade Bernie says that if he became President of the USSA, he'd sign an executive order to carte blanche let all of those Africans and South Americans come into the country, unimpeded. Of course, that's to create a permanent voting bloc.
DMA - 19:06 CDT, 9/19/19 (Sniper)
I wonder if this is one of the things modern game creators are getting wrong: they're trying to design a game first, then figure out the technology bit later-- and that's a big part of why the creativity is so low, and why they get hung up on pre-existing genres?

Whereas Mike Dailly says it used to be, "cool, I wrote this weird engine, now what can I do to make it like a game?" Seems like that inherently lead to more design inventiveness. It's also fun to listen to him talk about the PC Engine, and how it was multiple times faster than anything he'd programmed for prior.
Science? - 07:40 CDT, 9/19/19 (Sniper)
I've long held the impression that the "global warming" nonsense had whiffs of a cult-like movement. "Climate denier!" But just check out the 3:51 mark of this video-- it's a confessional booth!
The Strange Case of Dr. Stallman - 15:02 CDT, 9/18/19 (Sniper)
I may not like his politics, but long-time readers will know how much I admire Richard Stallman's contributions to personal computing. I frequently advocate for "libre" software, and sit here transcribing this very post into GNU Emacs, running on the GNU operating system.

When I read that he "defended Epstein" and consequently caused a virtual earthquake by resigning from both MIT and the Free Software Foundation, I figured I owed it to him to see if the accusation was true.

After a little digging, I unearthed the email chain in question. Below, I've reproduced the relevant part of the conversation verbatim, bold emphasis is mine:

Stallman: "We can only listen to what is said to us.

All I know she said about Minsky is that Epstein directed her to have sex with Minsky. That does not say whether Minsky knew that she was coerced. It does not report what each said and did during their sexual encounter. We can imagine various scenarios.

We know that Giuffre was being coerced into sex-- by Epstein. She was being harmed. But the details do affect whether, and to what extent, Minsky was responsible for that."


And that's it!

Quite literally all he said was, "Hey guys, let's not throw Marvin and his legacy under the bus quite yet, until we know more details." But because this is crazy-eccentric Richard Stallman, he made zero efforts to sugar coat or offer disclaimers.

It didn't help that in the same thread he went on to to engage in abstract philosophy. Only Stallman would think this was the ideal time and place:

Stallman: "I think it is morally absurd to define 'rape' in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.

I think the existence of a dispute about that supports my point that the term 'sexual assault' is slippery, so we ought to use more concrete terms when accusing anyone."


*sigh*

At least someone did come to his defense in the email chain. But it evidently wasn't enough:

Redacted: "No on in this thread has accused Giuffre of lying. Rather, the discussion has been of whether Giuffre actually accused Minsky of sexual assault or not. I will not step into that discussion, but will instead ask the following meta question: 'If someone in csail says in this discussion group that Minsky was accused of sexual assault, a very serious accusation, and someone else in csail thinks that he was not, should the latter person refrain from saying so in this same discussion group out of concern that the conversation will leak and be misconstrued by the press?

The 's' in CSAIL stands for 'science'. The job of scientists is to evaluate evidence and seek truth. We have a social responsibility to do that as well. I hope that we scientists will never evade our social responsibility to seek and defend the truth out of fear that the press will misconstrue our search.
Not Equivalent - 14:12 CDT, 9/18/19 (Sniper)
There is one significant difference between the Sega of yore, and the waxing poetic observations about today's blue team: in its glory age all of the games mentioned were original and first order, whereas today's Sega is merely rehashing the same tired old series.
Gemini - 16:17 CDT, 9/15/19 (Sniper)
I'm zero-for-two so far today, with both Lazio and Vikings laying more eggs than my daughter's chickens... it's all up to Minnesota United now!

On the car front, four completely brand new sets of brakes, a fixed wheel bearing, plus a brand new exhaust system later, and my 350z feels like a brand new car! Combined that with the mind-bogglingly good tires I've got on it, and I'm sure the car would generate materially superior across-the-board benchmark results to when it was even brand new, seventeen moons ago.

About the "Invidia Gemini" exhaust specifically: it sounds more-or-less stock above thirty five hundred RPM or so-- but below that range, which is where ninety nine percent of driving generally happens, it's not just substantially louder than the stock system, but the low-pitched growl it generates makes the car intensely satisfying. My research paid off!

Beyond that, the car feels way up on power, partially because this is an actual dual system versus the fake Y-piped stock one-- but also because I think the old system had so many small leaks and holes, that the back pressure management was all messed up!

And the best part: my car doesn't need to comply with any of the bullshit new cars do; no freaking "backup cameras", no blinking lights or steering wheel wrangling when changing lanes, no GPS whatsoever, no "black box"... heck, my specific car's throttle isn't even drive-by-wire! And what few interventions it does have (ABS, STM) are either tastefully non-intrusive, or can be defeated with the press of a single button.

If my exact car were offered brand new on the market today, it's what I would buy! Feels good.
Mass Delusions - 08:21 CDT, 9/14/19 (Sniper)
Sometimes I forget that people haven't figured this stuff out yet.

  • Conservatives: America is the best and most free country. Except I need a permit to take a dump, or I'll get beat by the police.

  • Liberals: Socialism is what America needs. Just kindly step over the two hundred million corpses please.

  • Libertarians: Central bank trillions straight to the regulatory capture and Israeli-run war department.

"Good models can explain past events, and predict future outcomes."

I discovered Libertarianism in my twenties after Neoconservatism got everything wrong, and it was the first time that the entire world made sense. It was like Copernicus: "Maybe the Earth revolves around the sun?"

And that's not even getting to Marxism, or "Social Democrats" as they call themselves these days. How those people can even get through an entire day without getting crushed by cognitive dissonance is beyond me.
Massive - 16:45 CDT, 9/12/19 (Sniper)
I've been jumping between "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" on Switch, and "Metro: Exodus" on Windows, and I'm not sure that the gap between the top-level of handhelds and the top-level of all platforms has ever been wider.

On my PC, I'm getting 1440p at a locked 60 fps, with HDR, DLSS, and hardware ray-traced lighting. Truthfully, I could probably push on to 1800p or even more, and still keep 60 fps. On Switch, I'm getting a 720p, fourteen year-old Xbox 360-era game chugging away at 20 fps much of the time. Going back-to-back between them is jarring.

Whereas, compare the Turbo Express to the Sega Genesis: hardly a gap at all. Heck, even the Game Gear wasn't too far behind the Genesis when you really boiled it down. Or take the PSP, which was very nearly on-par with the then-current PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

The only other chasm I could point to this wide would be the very brief window where the NeoGeo Pocket Color was going head-to-head with the Dreamcast-- that was obviously enormous. But then the 32-bit Game Boy Advance and N-Gage quickly followed up, then almost immediately superseded by the aforementioned PSP.

Whereas today, I don't really see anything on the handheld horizon even approximating today's top-end, much less whatever the top end will become in the next couple of years. I suppose we'll have to see what the "Switch Pro" is-- but my guess is it won't even be PlayStation 4 Pro territory, much less PlayStation 5.
Lineage - 09:30 CDT, 9/10/19 (Sniper)
Lots of really nifty chronologies here. Some of the systems mentioned as "first-ever platforms":

  • Fairchild Channel F
  • Texas Instruments TI-99
  • Coleco Vision
  • Amstrad CPC 464
  • ZX Spectrum
  • Amiga 600

Pretty sweet! My boss at work started with the tape-loaded 8-bit Atari machines as a kid back in Belarus, in the late 1970s.

I'm a little more boring; 37 years old, and my linear sequence went like this: Atari 2600 -> Atari 7800 -> Sega Genesis -> 3DO -> PSX -> Dreamcast -> Xbox -> Xbox 360 -> Wii U -> Switch -> PlayStation 4 Pro.

Of course, that's totally excluding the stuff I've bought out of sequence; I owned an N64 for a brief time circa 1996, a PlayStation 3 for a short while prior to my Wii U purchase, bought and built an extensive library for the Sega Saturn starting in 2006, did the same for the PC Engine some years later, then yet again for the Atari ST just a few years ago. Not to mention countless handhelds, and continuous gaming PC building from 1989 to present day.

I keep waffling on whether I should save up for a PlayStation 5, or continue to dedicate myself to the Switch. Sony's stuff has always been a lot more appealing to me than Nintendo's, and as you can see from this thread I share a more common lineage with PlayStation 4 owners. But Nintendo has done a fantastic job of releasing just that "one more piece" of Switch software which I can't resist buying. Kudos to them!
De-Evolution - 07:57 CDT, 9/10/19 (Sniper)
Speaking of prescient novels, how about Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"? Just take a gander at this article, then think back to her descriptions of the gradual collapse of cities; she didn't specifically call out fecal matter for Pete's sake, but she was close otherwise.
Favorite Albums - 13:57 CDT, 9/09/19 (Sniper)
Like my top games of all time list, here are my favorite albums:

  1. Rising Force - Yngwie Malmsteen (1984)
  2. Invictus - Virgin Steele (1998)
  3. Rust in Peace - Megadeth (1990)
  4. Dust to Dust - Heavenly (2004)
  5. Epica - Kamelot (2003)
  6. Images and Words - Dream Theater (1991)
  7. Odyssey - Yngwie Malmsteen (1988)
  8. Hall of the Mountain King - Savatage (1987)
  9. Land of the Free - Gamma Ray (1995)
  10. Crystal Logic - Manilla Road (1983)
  11. Ecliptica - Sonata Arctica (1999)
  12. Sign of the Winner - Heavenly (2001)
  13. Defying the Rules - Hibria (2004)
  14. The Odyssey - Symphony X (2002)
  15. Chapters from a Vale Forlorn - Falconer (2002)
Diversity and Inclusion - 12:39 CDT, 9/09/19 (Sniper)
Karl Marx saw the world as divided into two groups: the oppressive factory owners, and the oppressed workers. Black and white. Good and evil. He predicted that "capitalist" countries would collapse, with the economically crushed "have nots" proletariats overthrowing the bourgeoisie.

In 1920's Frankfurt, a group of bald white guys sat around trying to figure out why Marx's predictions were going wrong. Far from a revolution, the standard of living was rising in "capitalist" countries for the workers! Rather than admit that perhaps Marx's patently ridiculous painting with a mile-wide stereotype brush was incorrect, they doubled down on his claims, saying that he didn't go far enough!

You see, what Marx didn't realize was that oppression takes many forms: what about whites-- aren't they a bunch of evil colonialists, after all? Or how about men, keeping women down for all of those years? Or-- hello!-- Christians; ever heard of the inquisition?

This umbrella of thought became known as the "Frankfurt School", and needless to say its failure of even basic logical deduction meant that it didn't catch on. Until, that is, the "boomers" started rebelling against their "silent generation" parents in the 1960s, whereupon they resurrected these ideas as part of what became known as the "New Left".

The idea is simple: if whites are oppressive, then promote non-whites; if men are oppressive, then promote women; if Christians are oppressive, then promote Muslims; if heterosexuals are oppressive, then promote homosexuality and "transgenderism". Of course!

These "boomers" then went on to become parents, school teachers, and college professors, putting into action what "Frankfurt School" luminary Max Horkheimer described as thus:

"The Revolution won't happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism."


In the past ten or fifteen years, this encroachment has shifted into private companies, specifically through their "human resources" departments. The policies include explicitly hiring and promoting non-whites and females, purely on the basis of their skin color or sex, while simultaneously dismissing critics as people who have "unconscious biases" against those who "don't look like them". Clear as mud?

These programs are then given "lipstick on a pig" euphemistic handles-- commonly, "diversity and inclusion"-- because of course, only a racist or sexist would be opposed to those values, right? This line of thinking then provides a false moral high ground for its proponents, while simultaneously providing cover as to what the policies actually are.

Contemporary Leftists in Hollywood and elsewhere excuse their relentless shoving of propagandistic, one-sided narratives with the explanation "it's impossible to separate the politics from the person creating the work of art anyway." Similarly, corporate HR departments are now pushing "initiatives" telling employees to "bring their whole selves to work"-- meaning, it's not only ok but encouraged to push for "social justice" politics within the office.

What so many of these "human resources" pawns fail to realize, is that they are merely channeling Herbert Marcuse, another "Frankfurt School" member:

"The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which grant constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities."


Reflect on that quote for a minute: as a value, whites, men, Christians, and so forth having "rights and liberties" and "constitutional powers" is not as important as the promotion of women, blacks, homosexuals, and others. Meaning, the entire "equality under the law" approach encouraged by people such as Martin Luther King Jr. goes right out the window.

Re-worded to reflect the HR "diversity and inclusion" policies then: "the continued promotion and hiring of women and blacks is more important than the preservation of equal employment opportunities for white males."

Sounds fair to me!
Throwback - 19:41 CDT, 9/08/19 (Sniper)
Want to see a perfect example of the falling testosterone levels in men over the past forty-odd years? Check out present-day 49'ers coach Kyle Shanahan, versus his dad Mike Shanahan, at the same age of thirty nine years old. Pretty shocking difference-- we're talking strong double-digit gap.

In other news, this was basically my PC in 1999, right down to the Sony Trinitron monitor and Riva TNT2. I loved the TNT2's 32-bit color. Except, I went the AMD route that generation-- the Athlon 700 was faster than the Pentium 3 700, and was cheaper to boot. It too used the "cartridge" form factor. Interesting fact: I met my now-wife on ICQ using that PC. In fact, I still have that computer sitting in the basement-- albeit the once beige Antec chassis is a bright yellow now, and the CRT monitor is long gone.

I freaking hated "Half-Life". I didn't like Dudebro "cinematic" games right from the word "go". "Shogo" was my 1999 story-based game of choice, and I played it so much that I had it 100% memorized. Like "Half-Life", it had a cutting-edge graphics engine, except it had a huge anime influence with the art direction and soundtrack, which was really appealing.

It's incredible how John and I had the same video card path in the 1990s! We both went Matrox Mystique to PowerVR PCXS2 to Riva TNT.

The Mystique was an interesting card: people called it the "Mistaque", but in its defense it had "hit the ceiling" 2d RAMDAC performance, so it was great for DOS gaming. On the 3d front though it had no OpenGL or Direct3D support-- remember, this was circa 1996 or something. Instead, it used Matrox's proprietary API, which games had to specifically be written to use. The only hardware accelerated game I remember playing on it was the Matrox-funded port of "MechWarrior 2", and it was pretty amazing.

I'm also with John on how LCDs are a big step backwards from CRTs. Not to mention it was a pure signal, versus the rubbish DRM and handshake-filled cables used today. If CRT monitors make a comeback like mechanical keyboards have, I will be first in line to buy one.

1998's "Unreal" is a better looking game than 2019's "Fire Emblem: Three Houses", even if the triangle counts are obviously higher in the latter title. I guess display technology isn't the only thing which has gone backwards. Sound is similar: my dad's 1970s era wood-panelled stereo still works and sounds great (it has a physical string and pulley which pulls the radio frequency needle back and forth!), whereas my modern receivers and "sound bars" distort things and keep breaking.

The same goes for CRT televisions. Lots of my friends have been playing emulators on LCDs for so many years now, that when I show them a Sega Genesis game on my Toshiba CRT TV they are floored at how amazing it looks.

It's fun watching John play "Unreal"-- I too bought it on day one, and spent a lot of time in UnrealEd. In fact, you can still find references to some of my maps to this day: "DM-Ponikus2", published on June 13, 1998 baby.

Last anecdote: I remember playing the demo of that weird "Jurassic Park" game in 1999 with my friend Cake-O-Demon! We were busting a gut at how silly it was: we kept grabbing the crates, jumping, letting go, then running beneath them. Hilarious! Still, it's the kind of novel idea we just don't see in today's gaming corporatocracy.
Best of Bad Options - 09:54 CDT, 9/08/19 (Sniper)
I'm craving a sports game at the moment, but none of the options seem very enticing.

Not enough changes in "Pro Evo" from year-to-year to make it worth buying annually. Plus, it sounds like they turned "Master League" into some kind of cinematic mode, whereas I'd rather see a shift the other way towards more of a "football manager", mouse-driven spreadsheet interface. Incidentally, the game also got a bizarre name change this season-- "eFootball"? I guess they're trying to differentiate from "FIFA".

I haven't bought an NBA-based game since 2002 on the original Xbox. However, WNBA players were added to "NBA 2K20"-- but you can only use them in single season mode, so what's the point? Maybe next year. The game also has a Colin "hands up don't shoot" Kaeperdick-inspired single player mode, which is a real turn-off. Even if I chose to just ignore it, why pay money to support the creation of such nonsense?

That leaves the latest "Madden", which I guess is a copy & paste of last year's game, with a new menu theme. I didn't buy the 2019 version, so it could be worth it. And I'm sure it'd run at native 2160p on my RTX 2080. But the rap music in the menus and overall emphasis on ghetto rape drug-dealer culture drove me nuts in the 2018 edition of the game-- not sure I could fight through that again.

Maybe I just need to toss my copy of 1994's "FIFA" into my 3DO and call it a day!
Make like a Banana - 08:52 CDT, 9/07/19 (Sniper)
Secession is a dirty word, and it shouldn't be. All it means are two-or-more people voluntarily going their own way, because their lives would mutually be better that way.

Take this Eric Peters article, for example: one part of the country wants to force their world vision on the other part, while simultaneously telling the victims that they aren't allowed to leave.

Or use these two vomit-inducing articles; how would everyone's lives not be better by simple saying "sayonara"? Thank goodness for home schooling, let's just say that.

The Federal Government already blows 5.4 trillion USD per year on who-knows-what. Why not buy some one-way tickets to California for Lefties who want pedophilia grooming for kids or the consumption of hamburgers to be a prisonable offense, or flights to Texas for Conservatives who just want to be left the hell alone?

Another take: Which is preferable-- secession, or civil war?
One-Way Street to Crazy Town - 18:21 CDT, 9/06/19 (Sniper)
The so-called "codes of conduct" governing events like this are insane.

You harrassing me, and aggressively screaming in my face demanding that I address you as a Toaster Strudel: it's all good! After all, it's just you "communicating in a more blunt tone" about your "different lived experiences" as an organic food substance.

Me politely suggesting that you take a deep breath, and explaining to me why you think you're a Toaster Strudel: get your ass out of here! That's just me having an "unconscious bias" against breakfast pastries, "putting the burden of education" on you, and "critiquing your tone".

It's no wonder 97% of heterosexuals would not date one of these people. Pro tip: Being a violent bully is not a good pick-up strategy. Especially when your entire gospel is based on the self-defeated research of this monster.
Hmmm... - 16:34 CDT, 9/03/19 (Sniper)
After seventeen years of loyal road-going service, my 350z finally needs some money put into it, starting with a new exhaust: the bracket holding my catalytic converters recently rusted out, and the whole pipe system is hanging on by threads!

I think I've narrowed the choice down to two options. Here is choice number one: a "Motordyne TDX2". The second option can be heard here: an "Invidia Gemini".

Both Duncan and I prefer the first one. In fact, it sounds so good it brought tears to my eyes! The only problem is the cost; can we say double the MSRP? Is it really twice as good?
Partial Truth - 12:32 CDT, 9/03/19 (Sniper)
It's an interesting hypothesis and maybe there is a little truth in it, but ultimately I think Eric Peters has this one wrong-- or at least as it pertains to my home state of Minnesota.

Where I live, adults frequently cycle to virtue signal that they are on the "green" team: the alien-head helmets and tight clothing are their side's uniform. And they deliberately ride on the roads just to slow down car traffic, even in the presence of massively wide, often-times even lane-marked "sidewalks" running alongside the car street. These "sidewalks", which are more like miniature bicycle roads, are so large that they force the car roads to get cut-down to one lane each direction, further discouraging driving.

Another give-away is how militant and aggressive are many of these adult bicyclists to car drivers, for basically any excuse. Imagine "road rage", complete with shouting and the flipping of the bird, but while riding a bicycle.
FUZE4 - 08:55 CDT, 9/02/19 (Sniper)
It's finally out! The cool part is that it will apparently detect and utilize a USB keyboard plugged either into the Switch dock, or directly into the unit itself. This will be perfect for when Henrietta gets her Switch in November.

For Duncan though, I could see Francois Lionet's upcoming "AMOS 2" being a better option, since it will let him work on programming from the new PC I'll be building with him this fall.

Having been an enormous fan of game creation systems since the very early 1990s and ZZT, expect full reviews of both of these aforementioned releases from me over time. And don't forget my already-written take on the PS4's "Dreams".
Scammed - 14:59 CDT, 9/01/19 (Sniper)
Cat was bleeding heavily out the anus. Four hundred and twenty dollars and four hours later, we're told that he has diarrhea. Reminds me of the time I went to the doctor complaining about lack of sleep, and was told I had insomnia.

The medical profession at large is such a swindle that unless something absolutely Earth-cracking is happening, it's best to just diagnose and treat problems at home. I had thought "bleeding profusely out the ass" was one such moment where they would actually be helpful.
No Simple Answer - 15:43 CDT, 8/31/19 (Sniper)
The frustration with this fellow is palpable; "white dominated capitalism" and "black-voted government" both have got him down.

The urge is real to hop on a plane to LA and go help people. But how? Molymeux once said, "anyone who thinks helping someone is easy, hasn't ever tried to help anyone". I have personal experience in trying to help someone with mental illness-- it's like being a dog and chasing your tail in circles.

Whatever the solution, it'd been to be private charity so it'd efficiently use resources, and it'd need to be highly personalized; some people need a check, whereas to others cash will just enable them.
Ten Reasons Against "Unconscious Bias" - 16:58 CDT, 8/30/19 (Sniper)
It's a hammer without a nail. Is there some explosion of employees engaging in racist behavior which suddenly needs to be curtailed? If a specific employee is having performance-related character flaws show up on their annual appraisals, then it should be addressed through the appropriate performance review channels, and for the specific individual involved.

It's pure psychological projection based on a five year old's conception of the world; an "interactive training" we had to take at work finger-waggled me for assuming a picture of a white guy was a CEO-- except that I'd actually clicked on the black woman. Whoops!

It's a tautology. Your denial is proof that it exists. It's "unconscious", see?

It assumes differences in outcome are due to "bias", even when there are more rational explanations. It's like the person who thinks there's a ghost every time the curtain flutters. 80% of NBA players are black not because of anti-white racism, but because black men often have physiological advantages which suit the particular sport, because black youths tend to practice the sport more, and so forth.

It focuses too much on Cultural Marxist bogeymen; a brow-beaten NBA player singled himself out as the "one with the problem", despite being literally the only white guy on his entire team. What about the "bias" of his black teammates? Meanwhile, the marketing department in my workplace is predominantly female; why are they not explicitly hiring and promoting men? Why are men in commercials presented as bumbling and effeminate, while women are shown as masculine and strong and in control? And so forth.

The "IAT" research upon which this is based is bunk; even the people who made it had to admit that it showed very little connection to anyone's actual behavior. Not only that, but the test results are not even remotely repeatable, even when issued to the same person moments apart. There is no way it could be used as any kind of clinical diagnosis of any kind; results could probably be randomly generated, and come out similarly.

It conflates "facts" with "hate". Completely variable-adjusted, repeatedly and scientifically sound studies show material IQ differences between racial groups. 37% of violent crimes in America are committed by a racial group which is just 13% of the population. 92.1% of nurses are women. Women make more money than men when income data is normalized by variable. I routinely see the "unconscious bias" crowd flip their wigs at numbers. Can't we have science and treat eveyone as an individual?

It's brainless and bandwagoney. Companies are doing this because other companies are doing it. Ironically, the "training" is telling people to understand the deep reasons for their actions.

It's creepy. Just in the 20th century, Communist regimes from Vietnam to North Korea to Romania and elsewhere used "re-education" camps to "correct" wrongthink. The Chinese government runs them today, and reports say there may be as many as 1.5 million Uighurs in them. It seems really tone deaf for a private corporation to start down the road of pre-emptively thought probing its employees.

It's ultimately insulting and demeaning. If I were to round up every employee at my company and tell them they are all "unconscious pedophiles", and asked them to click on pictures of small children based on whom they were most attracted, how do you think people would react?
Day Has Come - 09:09 CDT, 8/28/19 (Sniper)
Inevitably, it has arrived in my back yard: my employer has been pushing so-called "unconscious bias training". I plan to do an entire blog post about the myriad of problems with it, but in a nutshell and just to set the stage, it works like this: "Did you know that you hate people with moles on their arms?", to which you of course respond confusedly, "...? What?". The response: "A-hah, see? It's so unconscious you don't even realize it!"

Funnily though, it only ever seems to work one way: it's always white men who have the "bias", even in situations where such a suggestion is patently absurd. Of course, this is because the Cultural Marxist theology says that white men are evil. Incidentally, wouldn't that be an example of conscious bias, by the by? But never mind!

As an example of this, my work place invited some white NBA player in to speak about how he needed to repent on bended knee at the SJW altar for having "unconscious bias" against black people-- despite having just been traded onto a team as the only white guy in an all-black squad! He wasn't just the "racial minority", but literally a member of one!

Interestingly, there is a significant perception that white men aren't good enough to play in the NBA. Why didn't my workplace trot out one of this fellow's black team mates, and examine his "bias"?

Of course, it's wrong to corral people up at random and call them racists without any kind of evidence. I'm merely pointing out the double standard.

Also to be fair, there are physiological reasons-- other than just height-- as to why black men are better at basketball on average. I can't remember the fellow's name, but there was a researcher who pointed out that the proportions of the bodies of black people, specifically to do with their legs and hips, typically lets them run faster, and jump higher. Cool! It's sort of like if you look at a cat: it's easy to see why they can leap many times their height.

There's nothing any more "racist" about pointing that out as an explanation of why there are so few white NBA players, as there is pointing out that black men typically aren't as smart as Asians on average, hence why fewer of them are Astrophysicists. Neither of those things are "bias"-- they are facts. But as I stated above, I'll write more on this topic at a later time.
The Beginning - 16:17 CDT, 8/27/19 (Sniper)
I've been plucking my way through the original "Dragon Quest". If you take a look at the game's influences, none of them remotely resemble what we know today as a "JRPG". I'm going to mark the game down then as one of those rare genre-birthing moments.

It's really doing it for me too: the simplicity reminds me of my favorite Genesis RPGs while the atmosphere is cool, like how the music gets scarier and scarier the more floors you descend into a dungeon.

I did print out some maps though; the overworld and tomb dungeon in particular are very confusing to navigate without some kind of reference. I'll probably do the same for its sequel, after I beat the original and am ready to move on.

In other news, spent the entire day yesterday at the Minnesota State Fair. For those who don't know, it's the country's largest such event when looked at by daily attendance. The kids and I went on a Ferris wheel, and the whole party ate way more sugar and carbs than the average person probably needs in a year!
Snowflake - 17:04 CDT, 8/26/19 (Sniper)
Once in a while I'll get a particularly unhinged message from a reader, and I got an interesting one a couple of days ago. Maybe instead of "Dear Abby", I should start a "Dear Sniper" column? Anyhow, I can basically distill the ad hominem-strewn tirade down to this:


"Dear Sniper: Why do you think cucks and betas are losers? I find your views extremely upsetting!"

Dear reader: Thanks for the message! I'm not sure how familiar you are with computers, but modern web browsers have this really cool feature, where if you don't like what I have to say, you can just click this big "X". Pretty neat, huh?



No one has ever accused me of not being helpful, don't you know!

I just did a free text search of this blog's database, and I have never called cucks or betas "losers". They do get on my nerves though: more on that in a minute.

I'm a Libertarian: if full-grown men want to sit around their house knitting, then more power to them: I have zero issue with that, in and of itself. One of my best friends growing up has never been particularly masculine, and is now a happily-married gay man. Good for him!

Mostly, I just make observations. Numerous studies, not to mention anecdotes from popular social observers, shop owners, and corporate marketers all confirm that men are becoming increasingly effeminate. I've picked up on that, and on these pages I call it how I see it.

My frustration with these people comes in with situations like this, starting at the 17 minute mark. Predictably, the woman is about her emotions: "I can't explain why for the life of me, but no wall for sure!" Traditionally in the past, the man would then chime in with "Yeah, but law and order is important, and besides you have a fenced in yard, right? And why do you think castles had walls around them?", and all sorts of other rational arguments.

Instead nowadays, you get the guy in the video piling on with the woman! In fact, when you boil it down at almost every level, what's the difference between him and the woman he's with? Because I can scarcely tell!

"So what, you patriarchical Nazi?" Here is why it matters:

According to one of the world's very leading experts in Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, women are typically better at empathizing, whereas men are usually superior at systematizing. A healthy world needs both empathy and logic, in the same way that the Enterprise needed both Deanna Troi and Worf.

What do you think would happen if huge swathes of the traditional systematizers were transformed into emphasizers? Most likely, you'd wind up with an ochlocracy-style "mob rule", with knee-jerk emotional reactions governing society. Sound familiar?

And believe me, this is not going to have a happy ending for anyone, least of all the effeminate men, who will be the first ones tossed over the cliff by the more militant feminists once their usefulness has passed.
Narrow Perspective - 11:38 CDT, 8/25/19 (Sniper)
I love Eric Peters, but like all people who for one reason or another like crude, ugly, lousy-handling American muscle and pony cars of yore, he can be sort of eye-rolling whenever he makes a statement about automobile performance.

Here he is trying to paint the picture that a 5.7 foot tall (!), over two-ton, front-wheel drive platformed, 0-60 in 7.3 seconds, seven-seat SUV is some kind of performance vehicle. His basis is comparing it his 1976 muscle car Trans-Am, which I can virtually guarantee you drove more or less like a boat even brand new. The best numbers I can find are .83g on the skidpad, and 7 seconds 0-60.

In other words, comparing a modern car to his old muscle car is not exactly the highest bar.

It's like when my father-in-law was bragging about how quick and fast his father's old Ford Mustang was, putting down my 350z in the process (he hates my car, because it has a Japanese badge despite being designed in California). I looked that Mustang up, and it did the 1/4 mile in like 17 seconds, and 0-60 in over 8-- it was slower than the front-wheel drive Scion tC I used to own! It also had a live rear axle, so I'm sure handling was rubbish.

I'll go ahead and put my money where my mouth is: let's set a more reasonable bar then.

How about my .91g skidpad, 5.5 second 0-60, 14 second 1/4 mile 2003 350z? It's sixteen years old, so it's also not the best handling or quickest car around by today's standards. But if you're going to go on about the "performance" of some stupid SUV, why not compare it to a car which at least has some semblance of actual performance?

On new summer tires, I've comfortably taken my 350z at 60 mpg around cloverleafs: because of the car's 50-50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive layout, it felt great! Try that in the afore-referenced SUV, with your butt sitting several feet off the ground, and with 60% of the weight over the front axle, and let me know how quickly you piss your pants-- after you're rubber-side up in the drainage ditch.

In any event, just felt like a rant over what's in reality a pretty minor pet peeve. The rest of his article is great, like pretty much everything he writes.
Teetering - 20:43 CDT, 8/24/19 (Sniper)
Check this out: the 1974 Scudetto-winning Lazio, versus the 2018 rendition-- so, an apples-to-apples context (professional football, same country, same club, just different eras). And holy buckets! There are a couple of less-manly guys from the 70s team, but on the balance... look at Pulici, or Wilson, or Nanni, or Chinaglia, or Polentes... even the coaches, Maestrelli to Inzaghi! This isn't any kind of attack, I love our current team, and can't wait for the opener tomorrow. But it's still shocking how much men have feminized due to dropping testosterone over the decades.

On that note, I haven't been watching much English football over the past several years, but I did see part of a Leicester City game a week ago, and I saw this guy-- "Hamza Choudhury"-- for the first time; I'd never even heard of him. I was captivated by him during the match, and I couldn't figure out why. Then finally, it hit me: he looks like a man! It was like he was plucked straight out of the 1960s and dropped into 2019.
Little Dragon King - 20:55 CDT, 8/23/19 (Sniper)
Remember less than a month ago when I lamented the fact that there was no modern-day equivalent of something like the Game Boy Advance-- a tiny, light-weight, cheap handheld that could easily fit in your pocket? Turns out, I wasn't looking hard enough. Behold the yellow wonder, right next to the aforementioned Nintendo classic incidentally!



As I've discovered over the past few weeks, 2018 saw a renaissance in the area of "open source" portables. Why? Because the Chinese got interested. And being in that part of the world, the Chinese have cheap, easy access to mass-bulk acquisition of MIPS knock-off system-on-chip designs, including the Bejing-made "Ingenic JZ4760" powering this tiny device.

To be clear, this is not a fast chip: it's a nearly decade-old design, and it's hilariously built on a 130 nm process. To put that in perspective, some of Intel's Pentium III variants were also 130 nm-manufactured chips! Nonetheless, this plucky bugger has pretty decent battery life so far as I can tell, and doesn't generate much heat. It's also paired with 128 megabytes of DDR2, which is plenty for this sort of thing.

Just don't expect Dreamcast emulation-- or even 32X, truth-be-told: it's a PC Engine SuperCD or SegaCD-and-prior platform. And that's just fine: most of the best video games ever made came out before 1994 anyway. Although, the Game Boy Advance emulation is pretty speedy, and that's a turn-of-the-millenium 32-bit system-- so there is that!



I've read that these Chinese firms are able to acquire chips like these for less than 5 USD per unit, and the screens for little more. Fab some cheap plastic housing, and sell the thing to wealthy Americans abroad for dirt cheap: the LDK goes for 55 USD, while some competitors such as the "Bittboy PocketGo" are available for as low as 35 USD-- and that price includes trans-Pacific shipping if you buy from a store like RetroMiMi!

On the software side, the little yellow wonder runs an obscure, extremely light-weight GNU/Linux distribution called "OpenDingux". Like all GNU operating system variants, the whole thing runs on total transparency: nothing more than shell scripts and simple utilities. Check out the initialization script, and one of the application launchers. And who said software couldn't be self-documenting?





Those screenshots were taken from my PC. But I could practically have taken them from the system itself! Yes, this is a terminal emulator on the actual system, plus a full-fledged file manager. It doesn't get much cooler than this. Check out that kernel version-- 2.6! Brings back those halcyon memories of 2005, when Torvalds was still an asshole-- thems were the golden days!





The system has two SD card slots: one beneath the battery, and one on the unit's side. The internally-slotted one is clearly intended to contain the primary, system-oriented partitions, while the external one is meant for user-space data. It doesn't have to be that way though, since the operating system and supporting tool chain is quite customizable, even outside of needing to compile anything:



As I've gotten older, I've learned that how nice something is up front, when it's all brand new and working, isn't nearly as important as how easy it is to mend when it inevitably breaks. That applies to operating systems (GNU/Linux over Windows), household appliances (simple toaster over WiFi one), cables (S-video over handshaking DRM-saddled DisplayPort), cars (big V8 and carburetor over "hybrid"), and yes, even computers (PCs over laptops). When that battery in your 800 USD smartphone breaks, you're fucked. But this little baby? Just pop the battery out with a butter knife or switch blade, and drop in a new 5 USD one from eBay! Problem solved.

There are already fifty billion videos on CensorTube of people showing off games on the system-- but no one illustrating the TV-out functionality, which is the primary reason I wanted one of these little doggies in the first place! My goal was to replicate what the Switch does, but for "classic" games: play it on the TV (a 4:3 CRT, baby), or on the go (and it actually fits in your jeans pocket)!



But not-so-fast, slugger: you've got a choice to make. Either you stick with the abandoned, dead-end stock firmware-- now referred to as the "Useless" firmware-- and get TV-out; or, you leap to the current developmental pathed "RetroFW"-- which hasn't re-implemented TV-out for some inexplicable reason! I asked about this regarding the "Bittboy", and let's just say the notion was shot down quicker than me asking for a date in high school.

On the other hand, it's not like these devices are even Internet-capable; they're like the non-networked 386 you had in the 1980s-- the only security you needed was a password on your "After Dark" flying toasters screensaver. And it's not like these old roms change, many of them being over thirty years old at this point! So if the emulation is solid with the stock firmware, then we don't need no stinkin' new firmware anyway.

So back to that TV-out thing... I've decided to be that one guy on the entirety of the inter-tubes to focus on that aspect. How is it? Turns out, rather glorious. There's a bit of overscan, but the colors are vibrant, and the fidelity isn't too bad! Much better than my Atari ST's RF modulator, that's for sure:



How about the emulators themselves? Do you like Super Mario Bros. 3? Who doesn't! How about on both the Super Nintendo, and the Game Boy Advance?





You might notice that the Game Boy Advance pixels look a little wonky... actually, a lotta-bit wonky. And it's not your imagination: the stock firmware comes with a port of the "gpSP", and while performance is good provided you feed it a slight overclock to 624 MHz, the "aspect" scaler looks rather terrible. It's usable on the tiny screen, but blown up to a TV, and... well, you can see for yourself:



The binary for the scalar option-rich "reGBA" emulator are on the file system, but beats the heck out of me how to get it running! Executing it from the terminal revealed that it was missing a config file-- so I dropped just such a file in place, and it "freezes" while processing it. Nonetheless, I created an icon launcher for it, and I've by no means closed the door: I'll provide an update when I inevitably get it going, I just need to put some more elbow grease into it. Hopefully it will turn this baby into a perfect GBA replacement.

Thankfully though, the other emulators-- "OhBoy" for the Game Boy and Color, "Temper" for the PC Engine, and "SMS SDL" for the Master System and Game Gear, just to name a few-- look so great on the TV that I didn't even bother taking pictures. And let's not forget the Sega Genesis!



Er, actually, forget about that one-- like some of the more sophisticated "smoke & mirrors", programming wizardry Atari ST games, this "PicoDrive" emulator sends some kind of crazy frequency that my conventional TV doesn't support. I bet it would work on my fancy, more versatile Sony PVM security monitor, but I haven't tried yet.

While we're speaking of "PicoDrive", other than the TV-out problems, it's easily the best emulator of the bunch that I've tried: you can tell it does some incredible bare-metal assembler, as it not only pixel-perfect fits the screen's native resolution somehow, but it's so unbelievably butter smooth-- locked at 60 fps, permanently-- that it almost beggars belief. It's no wonder it doesn't work on my TV!

Special shout-out also to "Temper": playing something as complex and rich as "Rondo of Blood" with pitch-perfect emulation on my TV, Red Book-included, means that this tiny Chinese knock-off might actually be able to replace my actual PC Engine Duo-R. I need to try more games to be sure, but it's looking promising so far.

And I've barely scratched the surface: there are dozens of emulators, and I've tried maybe six. This deal even has DOSBox-- how much you want to bet I can get "One Must Fall: 2097" working? It even has an Atari ST emulator! Hmmm. STOS programming, anyone? Or why not get even nuttier: spiritual successor to the Diamond Rio PMP300?



Speaking of old DOS games, perhaps surprisingly the best part of this system are the native ports, which are absolutely astonishing. Just check out "Chocolate Doom"! It kicks the lousy Switch "Doom" and "Doom II" ports right in the nuts, on every level. It even displays the ASCII post-exit splash screen!





Or how about some "Jazz Jackrabbit"? Crazy:



There are loads of others which I haven't tried yet, including "ECWolf"-- regular readers will know that I marginally prefer "Wolfenstein 3d" to "Doom", so that will be a treat, if I can figure out where to drop the danged data files!

And that about wraps it up! In summary, I am thrilled to death with this device: with the exception of Genesis emulation, it does everything I want both "on the go" and "on the big screen", like the classic-games oriented Nintendo Switch I've been craving! And best of all, it's deliciously hackable, washing that disgustingly proprietary closed ecosystem flavor right out of my mouth. It's like digital Listerine! Just make sure to floss the bytes out of your gums.

And this might be as good as it's ever going to get: I strongly suspect that once newer, faster chips start circulating in this community, everything will switch to 16:9, analog sticks, and digital-only out via HDMI. So get these babies while they're hot-- they might be big collectors attractions in the not-so-distant future!

My daughter has a "Bittboy PocketGo" coming any day now which she bought with her own money, and while the firmware doesn't support TV-out, as I mentioned earlier, I'll at least take a few pictures of it and write up some impressions. Until then, I'll be playing some Game Boy Color "Dragon Warrior".
Was Not Aware - 07:45 CDT, 8/22/19 (Sniper)
Holy buckets, this reminds me of the "George Zimmerman" and "Michael Brown" instances: Leftist media narrative is completely contrary to the facts which emerge during the investigations and trials.

Those two cases are why the terrorist organization "Black Lives Matter" exists: note that they didn't dissolve the group once they were proven wrong. It'd be like me continuing to hate someone for losing my car keys even after I'd learned they'd merely fallen out of my own pocket.

Between Molyneux's "truth about Castro" presentation some years back and Mark Dice's daily videos over the past few years, it's astonishing to me how evil Big Media is. "Fake news" indeed.
Traits - 16:09 CDT, 8/21/19 (Sniper)
Apparently a bunch of layoffs occurred at "Game Informer" yesterday. It sounds like the cuts were due to GameStop's bigger-picture issues-- yet at the same time, part of my wonders if it was an example of "go woke, get broke"; regular readers will remember me pointing out how the magazine has become overly politicized. I'd be interested to see their subscription numbers over the past couple of years.

It's weird to think of how divided the country is today. I actually met Andy McNamara a couple of times in the 90s, and I never would have known he and I were on the opposite sides of a political schism-- we were just two dudes who liked games. Yet today, he's turned a video game magazine into a veritable extension of CNN-- to the point where I think it would be difficult for he and I to get along, trying to avoid the elephant in the room.

In other news, I was reading the other day about the roles which hormones play in the development of facial features: higher testosterone leads to more square and defined jaws, closer set and smaller eyes, larger noses, and a more pronounced brow line-- lower testosterone, the opposite. I've been paying close attention to that whenever I see a picture of a Left-leaning male, and almost without fail they have the pointy chins, larger wide-set eyes, and weak brows.

At the same time I'm not saying you can predict someone's political affiliation just by levels of testosterone: I was analyzing the player's faces on the sideline during the last Vikings game, and many of them-- especially the black players-- were almost at parody levels of the above male-typical features: oozing testosterone! And yet, most of those black players are probably liberals. Still, I'm sure there is some correllation between these traits and political outlook, even if it's one set of factors among many.

But back to the topic: I've never been to art school, but it looks like they teach artists these things: I was paying close attention to the character portraits in "Fire Emblem: Three Houses", and the facial traits mirror the apparent mascuilinity of femininity of the character's personalities and voice actors! For instance, Ashe is pretty effeminate and passive-- take a look at how they drew him! He even has freckles, which is usually a trait of thin, more feminine skin. Next, take a look at Dedue: smaller eyes, square jaw, brow-line. Then at Flayn. The best one-- since they're related, but of opposite sex!-- are between Gilbert and his daughter Annette.

As for me, I've always had pretty masculine hobbies: sports (playing and watching), cars, and military stuff like tanks and airplanes. As for my face, I have a strong square-like jaw, a big nose, small eyes (my tiny eyes have always been a running joke with my wife), and a pronounced brow (to the point where one eye examiner's equipment couldn't reach my eyeball from my brow, so deep was the set). Then again, I do have a higher-pitched voice, although part of that is due to constant nasal drip. So does Mike Tyson incidentally, and I don't think anyone would call him feminine. To be fair, I do have some less masculine hobbies too: reading classical literature, and working indoors on computers.
Dust Bin - 11:51 CDT, 8/20/19 (Sniper)
I've had this on in the background as I work, it's interesting to note that all three of them learned how to program, in the 1980s, using STOS! Well, the fellow on the right learned on AMOS, but same thing. STOS indeed is one of the best pieces of software I've ever used of any type, across any computing platform, ever. Which reminds me, I really need to get back to finishing my racing game...

On the flip side, I don't get why they made so much fun of the Jaguar controller's keypad-- it was a brilliant idea; as they even showed, you'd put game-specific, 1980s PC keyboard-style inserts over the top of it. Along with the 3DO's daisy chaining, I don't get why the Jaguar keypad concept didn't become the industry standard. I think it's a superior invention to the analog stick, frankly.
Every So Often - 17:25 CDT, 8/19/19 (Sniper)
Ahhh, it's another one of these idiotic things! In the spirit of the upcoming Minnesota State Fair, it's Fascism on a Stick; "private-public" collusion, great model that.

Signed by close to 200 businesses, huh? I've never mentioned my employer by name and I never will, but let's just say that they're surprisingly not on this list, despite usually participating in such nonsense.
Facepalm - 14:02 CDT, 8/19/19 (Sniper)
Lesson numero uno: when the SJW mob comes to destroy you, never ever apologize: these people are not your friends, and they will take a mile out of the inch you give them.

They have absolutely no power over you. Worst case scenario, you find another job or some other way to earn money, of which there are thousands-- big deal.
Mini-Documentary - 09:07 CDT, 8/16/19 (Sniper)
This is a really cool video, been watching it out of the corner of my eye as I've been working. "Castle of Illusion" is one of the best platformers of all time-- easily-- although I was never huge on its sequels, or "Fantasia", all of which I owned back in the day. I will say that "Quackshot" is phenomenal though-- I remember renting that at the time with my best friend Tim, and being really impressed.
Fox Guarding Hen House - 08:25 CDT, 8/16/19 (Sniper)
I don't think Windows 10 is sending off personal data-- but that's based on me and others sitting there running tools like "Wireshark", then inspecting the results; it's not totally conclusive since it's not like I logged everything for weeks-on-end-- heck, I don't even run Windows for those kinds of durations, as I do 99% of my work in Manjaro Linux these days. But the point is, to make the claim that Windows "respects privacy" requires some kind of independent, third-party audit.

Then you get to people like this fellow, who asserts "Windows 10 respects privacy because Microsoft put little toggle switches into the control panel." Yes, but how do you know they do what they claim to? In GNU/Linux, I can independently look at the source code and see exactly what configuration GUIs and scripts do. But in a closed-source proprietary OS, simply saying "company XYZ has a control panel which does ABC" is almost totally non-verifiable.
Different Places - 08:26 CDT, 8/15/19 (Sniper)
Wifey is as hard-set as they come with regards to these so-called "red flag" gun restrictions, and recently made every one of these arguments to me, but derived all on her own. So it's interesting to see them in writing in an actual article! The point she emphasized the most was number seven.

Part of the reason Leftists and Conservatives are arguing about whether or not "white supremacy" is on the rise is because they are operating from different definitions. To a Conservative the term means "white people are superior to all other 'races' and should rule over them", which is a tiny set of people; to Leftists it essentially boils down to "anyone who says anything I disagree with", which is a much larger-- and growing!-- set.

Excellent Eric Peters article here regarding so-called "anthropogenic climate change" theory. I've also researched the topic, have written about it before, and arrived at many of the same conclusions.
Dystopia Today - 11:01 CDT, 8/14/19 (Sniper)
Behold a real-world consequence of virtue signalling; this is your automated electric car future.
Stretched - 18:27 CDT, 8/12/19 (Sniper)
You know that feeling you get when you're standing in a long line at the bank, or in your car at a fast food drive-through, or at a grocery store cashier-- how the sensation of impatience and frustration morphs into an almost physical pressure after awhile? That's how I get when playing modern video games.

I'm trying to trudge my way through the new "Fire Emblem", and it's so bloated that it quite literally feels like a trip to the DMV-- like they're not respecting my time at all. It'd be like playing chess, and every move involves fifteen minutes of dialogue and menu sifting.

I'm debating whether or not to keep my "Dragon Quest XI" Switch pre-order. It's listed at an unbelievable 87 hours for "Main + Extras", which is the column on this site for which I'm usually most closely aligned. Ugh.

It's a shame, because there's a lot to like about some of these games. I usually just wind up quitting before I get to see most of it.
Infinite Loop - 12:14 CDT, 8/11/19 (Sniper)
William Strauss's and Neil Howe's "The Fourth Turning" makes the essentially irrefutable case that history really does repeat itself, and in regular cycles at that, with each point in the cycle reflecting certain values in society.

At present, America is a cesspool of hedonism, post-modernist thought, violence, hypocrisy, totally inauthentic virtue-signalling, and narcissism. A few weeks ago I wrapped up Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment", and was startled by the character "Lebezniatnikov", who is a carbon-copy of today's Millenial college student!

And when I say "carbon copy", I mean it in very specific ways-- so specific that it's like ticking through a list of Cultural Marxist talking points, as if somehow Dostoevsky traveled forward in time to 2019 America, watched for a few days, then went back to his own time-- 1860's Russia!-- and reproduced the dysfunction in his novel.

My next step is to figure out what was happening in Russia at that time, and what came after. I know that the Bolsheviks rolled into town and started the country's eighty or ninety year reign of abject Socialist terrorism-- but that wasn't until thirty or forty years after "Crime and Punishment" was published; what happened in between?

In any event lest you, dear reader, think I'm exaggerating the similarities of the times, I've reproduced a selection of passages, which form a conversation the Antifa BLM fellow was having with his friend, who was rightfully mocking him regarding his views. All bold emphasis is mine:

"He found him incredibly inattentive and irritable, though he, Andrey Semyonovitch, began enlarging on his favorite subject, the foundation of a new special 'commune'... but the 'humane' Andrey Semyonovitch ascribed Pyotr Petrovitch's ill-humor to his recent breach with Dounia and he was burning with impatience to discourse on that theme. He had something progressive to say on the subject which might console his worthy friend and 'could not fail' to promote his development."


Right from the get-go we see that Andrey Semyonovitch Lebezniatnikov is a radical, hardcore Socialist. Sounding familiar already? His job in the world as he sees it is to "promote" the "development" of those around him. Leftist in-your-face preaching? Who'd have thunk it. Let's continue with him talking:

"You don't understand; I used to think indeed, that if women are equal to men in all respects, even in strength (as is maintained now), there ought to be equality in that, too. Of course, I reflected afterward that such a question ought not really to arise, for there ought not to be fighting and in the future society fighting is unthinkable... and that it would be a queer thing to seek for equality in fighting. I am not so stupid... though, of course there is fighting... there won't be later, but at present there is... confound it! How muddled one gets with you!"


A familiar theme indeed: that women and men are totally identical, and that all differences in outcome are due to "societal fighting" and "inequality". And that in some kind of "future world", no one will fight, even as the character himself is doing so. The cognitive dissonance is hitting him so hard even as he speaks, that he becomes flabbergasted. Very familiar! Let's resume:

"Certainly not insult, but protest. I should do it with a good object. I might indirectly assist the cause of enlightenment and propaganda. It's a duty of every man to work for enlightenment and propaganda... I might drop a seed, an idea... and something might grow up from that seed... they might be offended at first, but afterward they'd see I'd done them a service."


Does this sound like CNN's Jim Acosta, or what? It's the mainstream media's job-- no, duty!-- to use propaganda to "enlighten" the people. Same with people who make movies, TV shows, or video games. And to what end? Why, radical Leftism of course: no family unit, no countries (open borders!), no privacy (we'll get to that), but behind closed doors it's all Harvey Weinstein:

"You know, Terebyeva (who is in the community now) was blamed when she left her family and... devoted... herself, she wrote to her father and mother that she wouldn't go on living conventionally and was entering on a free marriage and it was said that that was too harsh... I think that's all nonsense and there's no need of softness; on the contrary, what's wanted is protest."


A thot abandons her family and children because she wants to ride the cock carousel? Why was she blamed? It's society's fault, not hers! More:

"Varents had been married seven years, she abandoned her two children, she told her husband straight out in a letter: 'I have realized that I cannot be happy with you. I can never forgive you that you have deceived me by concealing from me that there is another organization of society by means of communities.'... That's how letters like that ought to be written!"


Boy is this one familiar: "I cheated, but it's my man's fault that I did it." The other character in the conversation engages in some ribbing:

"Is that Terebyeva the one you said had made a third free marriage?"


Our social justice warrior becomes flustered again, even going so far as to herald prostitution as a noble act, even though it's by definition a strong independent womyn who don't need no man slutting herself out in the most disgusting, degrading, personal way possible for a few rubles:

"No, it's only the second, really! But what if it were the fourth, what if it were the fifteenth, that's all nonsense!

As to Sofya Semyonovna personally, I regard her action as a vigorous protest against the organization of society, and I respect her deeply for it; I rejoice indeed when I look at her!"


His opponent is having none of it, ribbing once again:

"I was told that you got her turned out of these lodgings."


Admits it, but tries to explain it away:

"Lebezniatnikov was enraged. 'That's another slander... I was simply developing her, entirely disinterestedly, trying to rouse her to protest... and Sofya Semyonovna could not have remained here anyway!'"


His opponent hits the nail on the head: he was grooming her for sex!

"And you, of course, are developing her... he-he! Trying to prove to her that all that modesty is nonsense?"


A hilarious "defense":

"Not at all, not at all... setting aside the general question of chastity and modesty as useless in themselves and indeed prejudices, I fully accept her chastity with me, because that's for her to decide. Of course, if she were to tell me herself that she wanted me, I should think myself very lucky..."


Hah, "of course if she did happen to want to sleep with me because I'd been brainwashing her, who would I be to say no?" On to another one... deep state much?

"Now I am explaining [to Sofya] the question of coming into the room in the future society."


A sardonic response:

"And what's that, pray?"


No right to privacy:

"We had a debate lately on the question: Has a member of the community the right to enter into another member's room, whether man or woman, at any time... and we decided that he has!"


Oh! Just decided that! That's all it takes! And I guess it's his duty to engage in propaganda to "enlighten" others that what's theirs is his-- even their most intimate moments, like Google and Amazon spying on people having sex with those 1984-like, always-on in-home speaker systems?

But we're not done yet: what about kids? Any of this sound familiar?

"Children? You referred to children. Children are a social question and a question of first importance, I agree; but the question of children has another solution. Some refuse to have children altogether, because they suggest the institution of the family..."


As Hitlery would say, "it takes a village. And holy buckets does the "not having kids" point hit close to home-- straight out of any of America's present-day college campuses or "progressive" web sites. And to top things off, how is this for Leftist logic?

"When the deception is open, as in a free marriage, then it does not exist... I mean if I were to marry, legally or not, it's just the same, I should present my wife with a lover if she had not found one for herself if she had not found one for herself. 'My dear', I should say, 'I love you, but even more than that I desire you to respect me. See!' Am I not right?"


"If we 'decriminalize' crossing the border illegally, then there will be no more illegal immigrants! Hurr durr." And what about the unbelievable parallel with the cucking! It reminds me of this.

There is also another scene in the novel where the enlightened, women-loving Lebezniatnikov beats up his own land lady in a dispute-- but I haven't reproduced that in this post. I bring that up to illustrate the the parallels don't end with the above.
Anger - 12:18 CDT, 8/09/19 (Sniper)
This drivel is exactly everything that is wrong with video games today. The short version: "I had a bunch of selfish, narcissistic friends who were 'thots' and 'chads', and they didn't like video games-- so I think the whole industry should start bending over backwards to make non-games to rope these people into the hobby, instead of 'catering' to the 'white male nerds' who are the only reason the hobby even exists because they've been there since day one."

It's my "Invasion of the Hobby Snatchers" post, written from the very kind of person who is propagating such madness-- a smoking gun. I despise this term, but I'm going to use it just so I can speak a language they can understand: I find the whole notion offensive.
At Least It's Transparency? - 15:21 CDT, 8/08/19 (Sniper)
The Fascistic Leftist pro-censorship crowd isn't even trying to legitimize their actions anymore.

First there's the 8chan situation: actual killer uploads "manifesto" to Instagram. Someone else re-posts it on 8chan. 8chan gets taken down, Instagram does not. And about 8chan as a site, it had a wide range of political discourse on it, as explained perfectly here, not just right-wing stuff.

Second there is Mitch McConnell: the "just stab the motherfucker in the heart" #MassacreMitch posters do not get banned. Mitch McConnell does for pointing out the "hashtag".

Third there is the Gab scenario: radical Muslims, Antifa, BLM, and other Leftist radicals routinely user Twitter as a platform to coordinate. But, Amazon pulls the plug from Gab, which had quite literally nothing to do with either shooting.
Can't Last - 10:43 CDT, 8/07/19 (Sniper)
I'm always one for the "things are complicated", and "there are many gray areas", and "the real world is messy", and so forth. But sometimes I see something which makes me consider whether or not I'm overthinking a subject, and that the explanation really is pretty simple.

Recently, I've wondered whether the bias against hiring and promoting males in my workplace is a result of women simply expressing in-group preferences. Now, put these charts into play-- they clearly illustrate how women, who statistically vote for bigger government far more than do men, has resulted in a one-way flow of resources.

Personally, with the exception of one month when I was 22 years old, I've been employed in one-or-more-simultaneous-jobs contiguously since my 15th birthday, and other than my tax payer-subsidized "Stafford" student loans-- which were relatively miniscule since it was almost twenty years ago, and I went through the much-cheaper state college system to boot-- I've received zilch in terms of government freebies, yet have paid in some incredible amount in taxes, a sum which I don't even really want to think about. Not only that, but with the exception of a computer lab job in college, 100% of my work has been in the free market, with my value being the only thing maintaining my positions.

Even with the "greater than Middle Ages peasants-to-kings" levels of wealth confiscation-- I recently took home $5800 in cash out of a $10,400 work bonus (to be fair, there were 401k contributions in there too)-- my wages do support a very comfortable life style for my family. See? I'm fair and balanced. But on the flip side, as a strong introvert working in a stressful career for decades so I can subsidize abortions and single motherhood, and maybe even "free $1000 per month for people who won't work" if Trump loses in 2020, makes it very difficult to not pull an "Atlas Shrugged".

At some point this is all going to reach some kind of breaking point: a society where one half is pulling the wagon while the other half are sitting in it is not sustainable in the long run. On top of it, in Minnesota where I live, I found that 78% of people either work directly for the government, or for one of its cartels. If you factor that in, it's a tiny percentage of the population who is actually contributing the real, net productivity in the economy.
Diminishing Returns - 08:12 CDT, 8/07/19 (Sniper)
I saw this image today; graphical progress over 10 years, in the 2000s:



So I decided to make this corresponding image; graphical progress over 7 years, in the 1990s:

Mainstream - 11:54 CDT, 8/06/19 (Sniper)
This conversation reminds me of the "Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus" marketing, which was verbatim quoting Antifa propaganda about killing "Nazis" in America. "#NoMoreNazis!" When that kind of rhetoric is in the mass marketing of a video game, you know how mainstream is the Leftist normalization of violence against political opponents.

Of course that's not surprising to me, given that any time Marxists get into power, the first thing they do is take people behind the garden shed and shoot them in the back of the head, execution style: just check out people like Che Guevara to get the idea.

I wish things were different. Most of my best friends and their parents were card carrying Democrats when I was a kid, and I shared lots of values with them-- it was easy to find common ground. But that was back in the 1980s and 90s: the Democrats have shifted so far to the Left on average that it's rapidly becoming one of those "secession is the only option where values are literally incompatible".
An Option - 07:27 CDT, 8/06/19 (Sniper)
Sergej should just stay, and I mean for the long run. We've won a lot of trophies in our history, including some very recently. And as Lotito has been carefully and methodically upping the wage budget, we've been perennially challenging for the top spots.

So why not view Lazio as a destination, versus a stepping stone? Beyond that, think of all the players who left, and what happened to them: Hernanes and Candreva each went from superstars to "filling out the roster numbers"; Keita Balde has fallen off the face of the planet; Stefan de Vrij is riding the pine at Inter. And that's just a small sampling!

To players like Milinkovic-Savic, Correa, Luis Alberto, and Immobile: why not just stay and see how far you can take this club, while simultaneously being superstars and focal points of the project, with the adoration of the fans, and playing in every game? Making an extra 0.5 of 1 million EUR per year is tempting, I get it, but there are other values at play too.
Revealing - 12:06 CDT, 8/05/19 (Sniper)
In this post I discussed how modern Democrats are Marxists. To support my view, take a look at the "Democratic Socialists of America": they refer to each other as "comrades", and say that their goal is to "defeat capitalism".

Remember: modern Democrats always hide behind the "we're not socialists, we're democratic socialists" explanation. But unsurprisingly, in practice it's a distinction without a difference.
Missing Glue - 10:58 CDT, 8/04/19 (Sniper)
One thing which I think is contributing to how miserable people are in Western countries is because the societies aren't structured enough.

Conventionally, and influenced at least in part by Marxism, people judge society vertically-- meaning, how "equal" are people. So they compare billionaire hedge fund managers to single moms and thus use the term "neo-Fuedalism", implying that if society were less vertically stretched, people would be happier.

But I've discovered that society can also be looked at horizontally-- that is to say, how tightly-knit are its communities, and how strongly do its members see that they have a well-defined purpose and role within the group.

I've been reading a lot of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, and while the nobility-peasant spectrum was rather vertically stretched, it was horizontally very dense. My impression from those various novels was that people-- yes, even peasants-- were much happier than in socieities like today's America, which are vertically pretty short-- even "poor" people have air conditioning, their own cars, running water, and even iPhones and flat-screen TVs-- but horizontally very stretched.

I don't think what makes the single mom unhappy is that she doesn't have a yacht like James Simons-- that would be a vertical concern. Rather, I think the source of her misery are the conditions which led her to become a single mom: a lack of good role models, a lack of religion, a lack of community, a lack of strong parenting especially from a firm father figure, and a lack of a sense of purpose. Those are all horizontal concerns.
Makes Sense - 08:03 CDT, 8/03/19 (Sniper)
I sure as heck don't fit with the "millenials", but I'm the child of a pair of "gen x'ers", so I don't really fit there either. Behold then: the "xennial"; "analog childhood, digital adulthood." Born in '81, I was a DOS, broadcast television Saturday morning cartoons, turntable and record my music onto audio cassettes kid. As an adult, I have a 4K HDR television on my wall. Interestingly, wifey-- born in 1985-- actually fits into this "micro generation" as well, both from personality and technology standpoints, even though she's a wee bit past the identified cut-off.

In other news, in the post-Abramovich monopoly money Premier League I've long observed that English teams are between thirty and fifty percent overvalued. Lazio defeated Bournemouth in a friendly yesterday; their squad is filled with players in the 20-30 million EUR range, and yet individual-by-individual they were not anywhere near as classy as we were. I think if you dropped Luis Alberto or Correa into the Premier League, they'd instantly jump from 20 or 30 million to 50 or 60, just because they're playing in England.
On the Go - 07:37 CDT, 8/03/19 (Sniper)
This doesn't surprise me in the least. A highly trained, super specialized tech worker-- so, getting paid well into six figure wages for sure-- recently told me that he lives in "section 8" housing in San Francisco! Of course, he was so politically indoctrinated that he was telling me how "great" that "subsidized" (funded through theft) housing was; I could tell that nowhere in his mind did he ever stop to contemplate the larger state of affairs there, or his overarching world view.

In other news, I spent some time yesterday looking into my "Nintendo Switch for old games" idea. The new Raspberry Pi 4 apparently is fast enough to run 3DO games; a company called "Adafruit" makes a GPIO header-based 320x240 display; and my 8bitdo SN30 Pro will work as a controller. The only problems then are getting a case cut with the right holes for the Pi 4's moved HDMI connector plus the screen, and the fact that apparently the emulation software has kinks with the 4 at the moment. The total cost should be less than 150 USD to build this thing, if I can get the right parts.
Modern Democrats Are Marxists - 11:45 CDT, 8/01/19 (Sniper)
When this guy, whoever the heck he is, challenged Molyneux's assertion that the Left has a strong Marxist bend-- "I don't ever hear them say they're Marxist!"-- I wish the latter would have used this as the central piece of his argument:

Classical Marxism says that there is oppression between the classes: the "haves" and the "have nots". So, the "have nots" need to enact a massive State apparatus to ensure "social justice" by using force to "reclaim" from the oppressive bourgeoisie what was stolen from the oppressed workers. Once that is done, the State apparatus can dissolve, since utopia will have been established.

When it became obvious that Marx's predictions were failing and that his prescriptions were turning into nightmares, thinkers who later became referred to as the "Frankfurt School" said that it was because Marx oversimplified the problem by not defining it broadly enough: oppression takes many forms. Society needs to then not just be deconstructed according class lines then, but all conventions need to be blown away and re-built.

That's from where the modern-day concept of "intersectionality" comes. The idea now is that the State needs to use force to ensure "social justice" to "protect" all of these "marginalized categories". Just walk up to some random Democrat on the street, not to mention the presidential contenders, and ask them if the government needs to forcefully step in to "right historical and systemic injustice." One hundred percent of them will say "yes".

This kind of thinking is so prevalent among even "centrist" Democrats these days that corporations-- even my own employer-- disproportionately hire and promote women simply because they have vaginas, giving the "Frankfurt School" explanation about "correcting for systemic injustice". It's taking over advertising, music, cinema, video games, college campuses, and elementary schools: it's all-pervasive.

The fellow is right in the sense that modern Leftists aren't "classical Marxists" who want a "proletariat uprising": that kind of Marxism is dead. Instead, it's been replaced with a new style of Marxism-- called "Cultural Marxism". And this new Marxism is treated as absolute gospel by virtually all modern Democrats, even the "moderate" ones.

As one final note, go read the "Green New Deal": a total Communistic take-over of the economy to achieve "social justice goals". It even applies "intersectionality" to nature: "environmental justice"!
Games Galore - 15:06 CDT, 7/31/19 (Sniper)
Got Henrietta's Switch pre-ordered. I can see her sitting up in her bunk bed playing this thing for hours at a time; she might look back on it the same way I do my Sega Genesis.

In other news, John Linneman takes the new Doom and Doom II ports to task here. Despite their faults though, the Switch versions are close enough to being half-way decent source ports that I find I'm able to overlook the shortcomings.
Crazy Dreams - 08:25 CDT, 7/31/19 (Sniper)
This is an exact example of what I wrote about here; how in the world is something like this supportable and extendable? The 1985-era, non-OO Basic code in my Atari ST game is a thousand times more readable than this, not to mention modern development environments.

I appreciate that since the 1970s people have been trying to make "programming without programming" possible-- but there is a reason why that paradigm has never taken off. If I had a penny for every time that concept has gotten recycled and re-branded as something revolutionary...
Unique - 17:19 CDT, 7/29/19 (Sniper)
I've been playing a lot of Game Boy Advance lately-- one which my father helped me "Afterburner" mod circa 2003, interestingly-- and it's fascinating how it satisfies a totally different want for me than the Switch; the Switch is enormous, sucks battery power like no tomorrow, and focuses on console-like experiences. In a lot of ways, I see it as a spiritual successor to something like the Game Gear.

By contrast, the Game Boy Advance is tiny: it's only 5.7 inches across, weighs a mere 4.9 ounces, and its 2.9 inch screen is smaller than a Post-it note. Even with my lighting mod cranked to full brightness, it runs well over 10 hours on just two AA batteries. Playing games on the system has a totally different feeling than anything else on the market today. And that's not even getting to the later, credit card-sized "Micro" model!



Also remember, adjusted for inflation the Game Boy Advance was only about 140 USD in today's money. And in spite of its age and low price-- by both today's and yesterday's standards-- it's amazing just how modern the system still feels; it can't do much in terms of 3d, but when it comes to 2d it can push a bucket load of sprites and simultaneous colors at high framerates. It is, after all, a 32-bit piece of hardware.

In fact, I don't have to stretch my mind much to imagine such a system coming out today, with the exact same specifications, selling for 50 USD, with games priced at about 10 USD each. The market segment for a true pocket handheld with low specs, simpler games, cheap price, and extreme battery life is simply not filled-- especially since the incoming "Switch Lite" is just about as massive and heavy as the full version!
Swirling - 08:29 CDT, 7/29/19 (Sniper)
In spite of the absurdity of the story-oriented "let's get to know the softer side of BJ" approach-- a joke character of course named by Romero, whose name was literally "blow job"-- I enjoyed the first "Wolfenstein" remake: the art direction was really strong, it had fun gunplay, and the level designs gave the player flexibility as to how to approach each situation.

In the run-up to the second game, Bethesda was actively pushing pro-Antifa rhetoric in their advertising, clearly equating the actual, literal concentration camp, throwing Jews into ovens-styled Nazis in their games with Republicans who want lower taxes-- to the point where I suspect the game itself is possibly an analog for the 2020 presidential election: "kick the Nazis out of America!" Needless to say, I did not financially support the message by buying the game, though I may play it via my recently-acquired, free "Xbox Game Pass" subscription.

And now we get to the third game, and... I'll just let the video speak for itself. Notice the trajectory this series is taking?
4D Chess - 07:47 CDT, 7/29/19 (Sniper)
It's difficult to overstate how brilliant Trump is; in his remarks about Elijah Cummings, Nancy Pelosi, and Al Sharpton, he:

  • Exposes and puts into words what we all knew about them-- especially Sharpton-- but that no one else of Trump's social stature had the courage to say. This "speaking to truth" power of his scores major points with millions of people, myself included.

  • As he's always been so adroit at doing, he's now stuck "can't unsee it"-style nicknames to more of his opponents: the best literary experts couldn't have come up with better attachments than "King Elijah" and "Conman Al"-- it absolutely captures and puts into bottles the essence of them both.

  • His comments have successfully shined bucket-loads of analysis and attention on the third-world, delapidated states of Democratic strongholds like San Francisco and Baltimore-- in his re-election cycle. Whenever he takes a jibe at someone, his primary goal is to shine a spotlight on something, and the Democrats keep taking the bait over and over.

  • While managing all of this in just a few short "tweets", he also manages to squeeze in a reference to how extreme the Democrats are these days, rightfully pointing out to Pelosi "Racism? Your own party members called you a 'racist'!", which also serves to dispel the ad hominem.
Internal Versus External Combustion - 16:59 CDT, 7/28/19 (Sniper)
I've been collecting numerous facts and links related to external combustion-- I.E., electric-- cars over the past several months, and finally got around to putting them up on this blog.

Notes
  • Man-contributed carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is 4.3% total, in entire atmosphere, since man has been on the planet.

  • Depending on which study is referenced, from manufacture to life to disposal, external combustion cars are either a tiny percentage worse than internal combustion cars in terms of CO2 "emissions", a dead wash, or a small percentage better. In either extreme, the macro difference in terms of atmospheric composition is tiny, even if the assumption is granted that man-made CO2 "emissions" are actually a problem in the first place, in real-world quantities.

  • In the earlier parts of this century, Volkswagen worked on a hybrid-diesel prototype, which got 240 miles per gallon. Volkswagen also sold conventional diesel cars, which got around 50 miles per gallon on the highway, and which cost just a little over 20,000 USD, and where the diesel engines had a life expectancy of nearly 500,000 miles.

  • An investigation by an organization called the "ICCT", which is funded by "European Climate" and "ClimateWorks" foundations, along with the European Commission, found that Volkswagen diesel ECUs were not using "clean" mode in real-world driving.

  • This led to a huge media hoopla, with the mainstream press using language like "The world was rocked" and "consumers shocked" by the "revelations". Reuters even proclaimed that it was more important than the Greek sovereign debt crisis! Meanwhile, Volkswagen's CEO was forced to resign, while Audi's CEO was actually arrested.

  • I pulled the numbers into a spreadsheet for some quick napkin math, and found that Volkswagen diesels were emitting on average five tenths of one gram more "NOx" per kilometer driven, where a "NOx" is an aggregate of harmful chemicals.

  • According to the EPA, cars have had their "NOx" emissions reduced 99% since 1960.

  • To put this Volkswagen "scandal" in perspective, this would mean that average "NOx" numbers for a 1960s car would be from 40 to 50 grams per kilometer-- versus .54 grams per kilometer for the "cheating" Volkswagens.

  • To support this math, once the "cheating" was corrected via a simple ECU flash, actual change in real-world gas mileage of Volkswagen diesels was negligible, if non-existent.

  • In the aftermath of all the drama, plus increasingly strangling regulations, Volkswagen killed off their diesel car line in America, and they are no longer for sale-- removing the primary competitor for external combustion cars.

  • The average age of a car today in America is just shy of 12 years. Real median household income in the US is just over 60,000 USD. 63% of Americans can't afford an unexpected $500 expense.

  • The average price of a new car in America is over 37,000 USD-- meaning, a new car costs nearly 40% of an entire family's wages, for an entire year. Most people live on extremely-used cars, because new cars are too expensive.

  • Battery packs in electric cars last about 100,000 miles, or ten years, after which they cost between 5,000 and 10,000 USD to replace. This means there will be very little used car market for electric cars: they will be "totaled out" as soon as the battery pack expires.

  • As cars continue to get more expensive, and the State continues to push electric cars via their "CAFE" fuel mandate standards, more people will be forced into mass transit, because fewer people will be able to buy and operate expensive electric cars.

  • Tracking people's personal data is extremely lucrative. Google made 116 billion USD in revenue in 2018, just via accumulation of personal data used to sell advertisements. Meanwhile, Facebook made 55.8 billion USD in revenue in 2018, also on accumulation of personal data used to sell advertisements.

  • Major cities now have hundreds of thousands of State-operated cameras, monitoring the movement of everyone. In London, there were over 627,000 such cameras, or one for every 14 people there.

  • Car corporations are rebranding as "mobility" companies, where they will be collecting data about the user as they ride and are consuming "entertainment" as the autonomous car drives them around.


Tentative Conclusion

Governments, their environmentalist acolytes, and tech companies are trying to push people into either fully-autonomous electric cars or mass transit, so that people can be tracked and their data harvested for sale. After all, the most lucrative form of profit these days is in information peddling, and the State's actors naturally see that as also providing for the widest possible tax base.
Men Under Attack - 08:47 CDT, 7/28/19 (Sniper)
I find this sociological phenomenon of men becoming increasingly feminized to be absolutely fascinating in how pervasive it's becoming: almost every photo of a man I see these days looks like this, or this.

The first picture features the now-infamous "cuckface", while in the second one, just look at how soft and rounded the guy's features are! Incidentally, thirty seconds perusing his post history on Reddit reveals that he's in his 20s and still lives with his parents.

When experimentally controlled and analyzed over decades, it's been found that apples-to-apples testosterone levels in the average man are falling over one percent per year! Low testosterone in men leads to things like excessive fatigue, a feeling of weakness, depression, lost sex drive, and more.

Then on top of it, you've got popular media demonizing men as "toxic"-- while simultaneously ignoring feminine toxicity, which is rampant these days-- and specifically designing all of their films, video games, and television shows with the explicit, sole purpose of expressing how superior women are to men. When young men are already struggling with confidence and a sense of self-worth, this media corruption can't be helping.
Manage That Memory - 15:30 CDT, 7/26/19 (Sniper)
Whoa, the shot of the QEMM 386 user interface shown here really took me back: my dad and I were heavy users of that program throughout the entire DOS era! Interestingly, we pronounced it "cue-emm", whereas the guy working at the company spelled out the acronym, saying "cue-ee-emm-emm". I'm gonna' go with his pronunciation, and just assume my dad and I had it wrong.
A Mix - 09:18 CDT, 7/25/19 (Sniper)
I woke up today to a few assorted, interesting tidbits.

First, there was the ABC guest in Mark Dice's latest who said that what the Democrats needed from Robert Mueller was "storytelling" and "emotional impact"-- note: not "facts and reason". He goes on to say, "If you want to look at it from the macro standpoint, impeachment..." It really tells you everything you need to know: it was an emotionally-driven witch hunt with a pre-defined verdict right from the start, with the only objective-- the "macro"-- being "impeachment", no matter what the facts may say; the only possible deficiency would be in "storytelling".

Second and sticking with politics, it sounds like Boris is off to a good start. Leftists should-- but won't-- take note that Conservatives are the true adherents to Martin Luther King Jr's "color blindness", appointing "minority women" and Muslims to key positions not because of those facts, but simply where they are the most qualified candidates.

Third, I've certainly been frustrated with some of Lotito's mistakes in the past, but I wouldn't trust anyone else in the world with the stewardship of the club at this point: slow and steady wins the race. What's most impressive about him though is how much he's improved and learned over his fifteen years in charge; here he is discussing how important it is to keep the players happy-- where was that wisdom back in the "freezing out" days of people like Ledesma? But it's sure here now.
Generational Leap - 21:31 CDT, 7/24/19 (Sniper)
As I promised in my previous post, I've taken and assembled some screenshots from "Metro: Exodus"; click on any of them to get a larger version.

They don't even come close to re-creating the actual experience of watching a character's body casting shadows from the ember glow as he shovels coal, or real-tme reflections off of the water as it ripples, not to mention seeing the whole thing in HDR-- but it's the best I can do. Sitting in front of my actual TV playing, this is as big of a generational leap as we've had in nearly fifteen years.

Pay close attention to the reflections in the framed pictures in the first screenshot: they real-time bounce the light from the opposite window, shifting perspective as you walk around exactly like an actual glass framed picture in real life. It's one thing to marvel at the water, but it's actually the little touches that sometimes impress me more.









Zen 2 PC Upgrade - 09:00 CDT, 7/24/19 (Sniper)
I've finally received, installed, and benchmarked my new "Zen 2" chip! I was a little nervous that it would work with my venerable Ryzen launch-day motherboard, but this phenomenal spreadsheet put my fears to rest. And sure enough I flashed my BIOS, swapped chips, clipped my aftermarket cooler on, and it POSTed immediately!

Here are my PC specs as they stand then, along with some benchmark scores. The graphic at the bottom is this cool image "Sandra" generated, showing my PC with the old CPU, old video card, and old RAM in blue, with my current setup overlaid in red. My new RAM doesn't clock quite as high as the old stuff so memory latency and bandwidth are the only areas in which my PC has taken a slight step backwards, in exchange for a doubling of RAM capacity (16 to 32 gig.). Next time I see a great deal I may upgrade the RAM to something faster.

I'm also going to do a follow-up post in the coming days with game impressions. The ongoing problem is going to be how to convey the experiences in any kind of meaningful way: screenshots won't do the ray tracing justice and obviously won't show HDR, while compressed video will be useless too. Nonetheless, it is absolutely no exaggeration that ray traced lighting, HDR10, and DLSS on my P50-C1 at 1440p and 60 fps is as big of a generational leap as seeing the "Sonic Adventure" whale scene for the first time, or playing those very first "high definition" Xbox 360 games on my Sony SXRD back in very early 2006; it's "PlayStation 5" gaming, today!

More to come though after I've had a chance to play some additional games. Without further ado:


Specs

Component TypeComponent Name
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3600X
MotherboardMSI B350 Tomahawk
RAM32 gig G.SKILL Aegis PC4 24000 @ 3000 MHz
Video CardGigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce OC 8 GB
Power SupplyCorsair RM750X
System Storage256 gig Intel 600p NVMe SSD
Application Storage3 tb Toshiba P300 7200 rpm SATA
CaseFractal Design Define R4 Black, Midtower
Operating SystemsManjaro Linux XFCE Edition, Windows 10 Pro
KeyboardAULA Wings of Liberty Mechanical Keyboard
MouseRazer Abyssus 1800 with Goliathus Mat
ControllersLogitech F310 Gamepad, Steam Controller
DisplaysLG 22MP55 1080p IPS, Vizio P50-C1 4K HDR
SoundVizio SB4051 40 inch 5.1 Sound Bar


Benchmark Scores

ProductBenchmarkScore
3dMarkTime Spy Overall10099
3dMarkTime Spy Graphics10835
3dMarkTime Spy CPU7293
3dMarkFire Strike Overall21909
3dMarkFire Strike Graphics26090
3dMarkFire Strike Physics20100
3dMarkFire Strike Combined10601
SandraOverall Score35.06 kPT
SandraProcessor Multi-Media665.58 MPix/s
SandraCryptography16.343 GB/s
SandraProcessor Financial Analysis41.16 kOPT/s
SandraProcessor Scientific Analysis31.13 GFLOPS
Sandra.NET Arithmetic62.06 GOPS
SandraMemory Bandwidth33.516 GB/s
SandraCache & Memory Latency36.6 ns
SandraFile System Bandwidth612.398 MB/s
SandraFile System I/O29200.5 IOPS
SandraGP Processing2996.20 MPix/s
SandraGP Cryptography109.509 GB/s
SandraGP Financial Analysis5166.74 kOPT/s
SandraGP Scientific Analysis1254.17 GFLOPS
SandraMedia Transcode16.420 MB/s
SandraGP Bandwidth65.385 GB/s
SandraGB Memory Latency128.3 ns


Old Setup Versus New

Simplicity - 15:07 CDT, 7/23/19 (Sniper)
On one pole there is the 3DO: pre-baked API and custom silicon-- jointly referred to in developer documentation as the "Cell Engine"-- means that making games is a matter of making shared library calls to render your frame, play sound, and so forth; no custom code allowed! And custom code can't be permitted, because crazy assembler hacks would break compatibility across variety of 3DO consoles released by the various hardware partners. It's cool that you get all of these zany effects out of the box, but there isn't much flexibility to do your own thing.

And on the other absolute opposite pole as I found out through some digging yesterday, is the Game Boy Advance: I couldn't find the specs for its chipset, and eventually realized it's because there is no chipset; the GBA is just a CPU in a box! Want to do sound? Include a mod or digital file library in your game, then send the output stream's bits to one of the pair of "digital-to-analog" converters, or DACs, for output to the speaker and headphone jack. Want to do graphics? Write some assembler and draw pixels to the display.

This explains why I've always observed that GBA games vary wildly in terms of graphics style and audio quality; every single game on the system is "roll your own everything"-- quite literally an anti-3DO! Some GBA games use ray casting, some use simple sprite libraries, others draw texture-mapped triangles... some play sample-based music, others use wave forms, the Phantasy Star Collection actually emulates the Genesis's YM2612 and sends that output to the DACs... absolutely crazy!

Of course it's slow to do everything in software, but because the thing was so simple to manufacture Nintendo could sell it for $99! I remember first hand just how impressive it was technically back in 2001, and especially for such a low price.
Clever - 21:17 CDT, 7/19/19 (Sniper)
I wish I had half the writing panache of Kunstler, just take a gander at this-- absolutely marvelous. Maybe I need to take a creative writing class or two to improve my use of imagery.
Two Tales - 15:48 CDT, 7/17/19 (Sniper)
Some video game systems-- the NES, the Genesis, the SNES, the PSX-- were legitimately "cool" and mainstream while active. Others-- the TurboGrafx-16, the 3DO, the Saturn-- were "systems for losers" back in the day, but like William Shakespeare became cool after their lives had ended.

The Nintendo 64 is one of those systems. I owned one at launch, and sold it less than six months in because there was absolutely nothing to play on it-- it was bar none the worst system I've ever owned in terms of release draughts. I brought it to Funco and traded in for a PSX-- in terms of my hobby, best move I've ever made.

To paint the juxtaposition, I recall my best friend at the time bringing over games like "Goldeneye" in 1998, and thinking "what the hell is this crap?" I actually ruined the system for him, because right after he showed me Turok, I fired up Unreal. He soon had me build him a PC, and he put his N64 into a box in the closet.

But take a look at this video from John over at Digital Foundry: turns out, the aforementioned "Turok" was actually a pretty cool game, and did some things technically better than even PC shooters of the era. And for some reason cartridge based systems themselves are just "cooler" these days to me than CD systems with their slow and flaky optical drives-- they've aged better somehow.

I started looking at N64s on eBay, and turns out that not only are the systems cheap, but the games are affordable as well.
Hypermedia - 17:01 CDT, 7/16/19 (Sniper)
There are a couple of real gems in the 1990 "hypertext" episode of "Computer Chronicles": first, this bit showing an example of proprietary, pre-HTTP markup-- the names of the tags are different, and backslashes are used instead of forward slashes, but it otherwise looks really similar!

The second is this prediction that the only thing holding hypertext back was the lack of a good broadcast mechanism-- he goes on to say that things like LANs and "low cost digital transmission facilities" would solve the issue, and then hypertext would "explode". That's almost astonishing prescience!
They Bought the Wrong System - 13:16 CDT, 7/15/19 (Sniper)
Back around the time I wrote this still-prescient piece I had people arguing with me, "But old games are broken!" I couldn't figure out what they meant, because out of the hundreds of old games I'd recently played, none of them were "broken".

Fast forward to these past couple of weeks, where I've been trying lots of NES games via Nintendo's "Switch Online" app, and lo and behold: almost every game I've tried has been garbage! For example, I've been trying to force my way through the heralded "StarTropics", and it was so frustratingly designed I finally just had to give up.

I've had the same experience with a lot of Atari ST games I've tried over the past couple of years: some of them run too fast, or too slow, or the controls don't work right, or they run at seven frames per second, or they simply have terrible designs, and so forth.

So it turns out those people sort of had a point, in the sense that they were just playing the wrong systems; outside of just a handful of games-- Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, River City Ransom-- the NES is the most overrated video game platform ever! I don't think the 80s computers-- Commodore 64, Atari ST, and Amiga to name a few-- have aged very well either.

To play some good old games, you need to pick up a Sega Genesis. I've played hundreds of games on it over the decades, some of which are on my favorite games list, and I can't think of even one that's on the same level of "bad" as the supposedly "good" NES games; just compare something like "Golden Axe" to "Double Dragon II", and you'll get what I mean.
On Repeat - 11:56 CDT, 7/15/19 (Sniper)
In 2019, you can go to Amazon's web site and see that anyone can write and publish a book. And everyone today recognizes that this situation is a good one! In fact, if you proposed to people, "How about we change things so that only the Catholic Church can publish books?", they'd look at you like you're daft, and quite rightfully so. But once upon a time, there were a lot of people who thought that the printing press was bad! "Blasphemers!", "Liars!".

To build on my previous post, we're at another printing press moment in time, except this time with CNN and MSNBC as the gatekeepers. And the same thing is going on: "Climate deniers!", "Conspiracy Theorists!". It's a huge threat to the existing power structures. But just like it was the first time around, soon all of this tech censorship will seem just as silly as the Pope being the only book publisher.
Trump Gets Another One Right - 07:57 CDT, 7/15/19 (Sniper)
I wish I could give this ten "thumbs up". The hilarious things the mainstream media are writing about it shows how unbelievably desperate they are. I wish I could have been there for the Jim "Fake News" Acosta portion, can't wait to see more of that!

And for the record, before you feel any sympathy for an obviously despondent, defeated Jim Acosta, go check out Mark's latest book-- it documents all of this stuff in gory detail, with hundreds of footnotes.

Also remember, it was the mainstream media which invented the term "fake news"-- in fact, I could probably go back through this blog and pinpoint the day, because I think I wrote about it. So it was them who started to discredit their competitors, and it was pure cosmic justice that the term got flipped around on them.
Golden Age of a Genre - 10:09 CDT, 7/14/19 (Sniper)
Holy smokes does this "Computer Chronicles" episode take me back!

I was an enormous flight sim kid, playing many of the earliest editions of "Microsoft Flight Simulator", along with pretty much all of the Dynamix titles, from "Red Baron" to "A-10: Tank Killer", to the later "Aces of the Pacific" and "Aces Over Europe" releases.

Interestingly, my 3DO sampler disc has a preview of the apparently then-planned port of "Red Baron"-- can you imagine how cool that would have been, rendered using the 3DO's "Cel Engine"? That port never having gotten completed is one of my biggest 3DO regrets, I'd still be playing that today had it come out.

Seeing a young Damon Slye was a real treat, he was one of my game design heroes as a kid. I had a friend who was a die hard MicroProse fan. I was never big on their games, but watching Bill Stealey-- a real Air Force pilot-- was pretty cool.

It's difficult to explain to people today just how ambitious video and computer games were back then. A 386 33 was only capable of 11.4 MIPS, yet programmers were making full-fledged flight simulators with hundreds of fully-recreated cities and airports, evolution simulators (Sim Earth), city simulators (Sim City), and so forth.

Today's CPUs are so powerful that they seemingly don't even publish or advertise MIPS numbers for them! And we get infinite re-releases of dudebro shooters, re-releases of annual sports franchies, and racing games little more advanced than "Gran Turismo" from 1998, running on the original PlayStation. Thank goodness Nvidia took a gamble on ray tracing, because it's about the only thing I can name since 2002 (shader model 1) that's actually some form of risk taking, versus the intense "quarterly numbers" conservatism which dominates tech (the entire world really) today.

One last note: the increasing prevalence of CD-ROM mentions in these episodes reminds me of the first single-speed drive my dad bought in the very early 90s. It had this cartridge kind of thing with a flip-top that you would eject-- you'd open it, put the disc in, close it, then insert that whole metal and plastic piece back into the drive. We had "Microsoft Bookshelf", which got a shout-out in this episode. We soon upgraded do a double-speed drive, and even by that time the modern-day tray mechanism was in use.
Dysfunction - 08:17 CDT, 7/14/19 (Sniper)
When I see some inane opinion or another online, I sometimes spend a couple of minutes looking up details about the person's handle. Today I saw someone say "Rayman Legends" is great! So I looked at their history on Reddit: they do LSD and shrooms, and practice screaming in their spare time.
Sigh - 12:51 CDT, 7/11/19 (Sniper)
Hah, what a joke.

I'm not even remotely "ashamed" to admit that I've been watching every single Lazio game for over a decade via "illegal" feeds-- in Minnesota, there is quite literally no other way for me to watch the games! Cut off those feeds, and Lazio can kiss goodbye to any more merchandise purchases, or plugs I give for the team via this blog and elsewhere. As for Europe, I've heard first hand from people-- and it's even discussed in this article-- that the "official" ways of watching the games are exorbitantly priced, to the point where it makes absolutely no sense to buy via those channels, than to subscribe to the "unofficial" sites.

There is precedent in other industries for this: for example, studies in the music industry found that "pirating" of music digitally actually increased album sales-- once people got a taste of the music, they wanted the higher quality version, and to support the bands. Ditto with software. In the case of football, how many people have gone on to pour thousands and thousands of dollars into foreign economies, because they went there to see their favorite team in person-- a team they only became fans of because "illegal" feeds brought that team into their lives?

Whenever I see "problems" like this-- graffiti, welfare fraud, software "piracy"-- I can always trace it back to root causes; central bank-oppressed people need an outlet for self-expression, the "welfare trap" cliff, or the absurd pricing of software, particularly in emerging markets. If Serie A is supposedly "losing" all of these millions of Euro on "piracy", then why don't they take some of that, throw up an internationally-available web site with streams of all the games, and charge a reasonable price? I'd subscribe in a heartbeat! The problem would go away, and they'd be making money off of it too.
Differentiation - 08:28 CDT, 7/11/19 (Sniper)
I completely get what Eric Peters is saying here, as I have similar impulses in almost all matters too. But in nearly my entire lifetime-- I was born in 1981-- the Corvette was America's sports car, whereas models like the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger were what Peters is describing in the post: huge engine, poor handling but over-the-top brutishness, and so forth.

In making the Corvette mid-engined, that nearly forty year-old paradigm is simply being maintained: those pony car options are still out there en masse for Eric Peters. The only terrible thing will be if the C8 doesn't come with a manual transmission option. Even if I could afford one, I would never buy one as a result. But maybe I'm talking out both sides of my mouth: why not do the Euro-exotic all the way?

Which leads me to the conclusion that what the world is really missing is an affordable sports car that isn't slow. The Corvette used to sort of be that car, in base model trims-- but no longer. When brand new, the cheapest trim of my 2003 350z was quicker in the quarter mile than a Porsche 911 Carerra or Mustang GT, and got better skidpad numbers too than even the Porsche-- and it was available for under $30k! Where is that equivalent today?

Nissan still sells brand new 370z's, but the model has fallen hopelessly behind in terms of power. The modern-day equivalent would be a V8-powered Z car-- or something else-- with 400+ bhp. But due to the government, the only way to generate that power without going afoul of fleet-averaged "CAFE" mandates is with a turbo-- or twin turbo-- V6. Which means, forget being affordable.

A friend of mine at work recently bought a Kia Stinger-- totally different class of car, mind you-- and it has a twin turbo V6. MSRP was something like $50k! So I've essentially given up on any prospect of ever owning a car in a performance class above what I've already got, between my 350z and wifey's WRX. As for the ham-fisted, forced "emergence" of electric cars, they are quick, but handle like rubbish due to having hundreds of pounds of batteries strapped to them. Take a look at the Tesla Roadster handling, versus the Lotus Elise.
Switch Sort-Of Lite - 07:28 CDT, 7/10/19 (Sniper)
It's a little "Fisher-Price" looking, it's not as small as I would have wanted, and it still has a big bezel around the screen-- but it's here!

200 USD. Apparently there will also be a "Sword and Shield" Pokemon bundle, presumably with a specially-adorned unit as is so common with those kinds of things. Henrietta is already eyeing that up!

It will be nice having a second Switch in the house. We play split-screen coop quite a bit, and now we can just do local wireless.

Now I'm just waiting with bated breath for the Pro version... here's hoping for more teraflops and HDR support.
Bottom Barrel - 07:33 CDT, 7/09/19 (Sniper)
Hah, the current state of game journalism is hilarious! Check this out, bold emphasis is mine:

"Ever since its announcement in 2013, Dreams has always been an oddity in the games landscape. A wonderful oddity mind you, redefining creativity, reinventing the very definition of what games are and what players can do within them and oh, so ambitious – so ambitious in fact that when the early access release date was announced, it felt like a relief: Dreams was well and truly coming.


If you follow the link to the author's profile page, you'll find that she's a thot film industry reject, who "settled" on covering the games industry in... 2015! I suppose from her perspective, if you can even call it that since it's so narrow, "Dreams"-- which has precedent all the way back to "Cube" in 2001, if not even "UnrealEd" from 1998-- really is that novel.

But even setting that aside, the writing is so terrible that it sounds like it came out of a sixth grade girl's diary. The caliber isn't much better at places like "IGN" or "Gamespot" either.
Cars Are Dead - 07:21 CDT, 7/08/19 (Sniper)
What's happening to the car industry is sad; cool graphics, but I can't even tell which one is the "NSX".

The original NSX was my all-time favorite car as a kid-- even today, it's in my top five "coolest looking cars ever" list. The new one is just a cookie-cutter, carbon-copy of every other contemporary exotic and supercar: they all look basically the same, and focus on heavily computerized systems versus straight-up mechanical engineering paired with a manual transmission.

All of the romanticism is completely gone, replaced with corporate board room crap and Nurburgring times.