KapteinB's recent activity

  1. Comment on Microsoft reducing Windows store cut to just 12 percent in ~games

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    Speaking as the previous owner of two Windows-powered smart-phones: This kind of user experience is a proud Microsoft tradition at this point. Both phones came pre-installed with an Xbox app,...

    it has that slightly disjointed thing going on where games are presented as part of the Windows store and the Xbox app simultaneously.

    Speaking as the previous owner of two Windows-powered smart-phones: This kind of user experience is a proud Microsoft tradition at this point. Both phones came pre-installed with an Xbox app, which probably had some neat integration with Xbox that I never bothered explore, but also operated as a separate (and completely unnecessary) game-focused app store.

    I think both then and now Microsoft has overestimated the power of the Xbox brand. It did little to prevent their phone business from toppling, and I imagine it does even less good for their desktop OS. At worst, they may be diluting the brand by using it in places it has no business being.

    Game Pass is awesome though. I'm not currently subscribed, but I was back when I was playing Sea of Thieves. I think Microsoft should focus more on the user experience than on killer apps. If they can make installing Steam seem like an unnecessary chore compared to using the Windows Store, then they can really make a dent in the gaming market. Game pass might help with that strategy.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    KapteinB
    Link
    Deception Point (audiobook) It really picks up in the second half or so, and overall I quite liked it. It's longer than it should be though, which leads to a lot of repetitions and pacing...

    Deception Point (audiobook)

    It really picks up in the second half or so, and overall I quite liked it. It's longer than it should be though, which leads to a lot of repetitions and pacing problems, especially in the first half. The premise and characters are interesting enough, so I think this could have been a very good book, if it was about half as long as it actually is. The romance subplot could have been dropped as well I think, since it felt forced and unnatural. Not every book needs a romance subplot.

    The Dresden Files (paperback)

    I've finished the first book (Storm Front), and am now about halfway through the second book (Fool Moon), and I'm loving it. The protagonist is a noir-style private investigator, who is also a wizard. (In fact, in the Yellow Pages you'll find him listed under "wizard", not "private investigator".) The Chicago PD occasionally hires him to help investigate supernatural crimes. The wizarding world here isn't actually secret (like in Harry Potter), it's just that few people believe in it. It's all very pulp, and very fun, but you can't really take it too seriously, because I suspect the whole world and premise would crumble under a close inspection.

    Fables (comic)

    This has been a multi-year project for me from I bought the first volume until I recently finished the 22nd and final volume. The premise is that every single fairy tale and folklore character is real, and live in New York. The quality varies wildly.

    The first volume is a noir detective story (so I like it for many of the same reasons I like Dresden Files), with the Big Bad Wolf playing the role of the gritty detective. This is probably the best part of the entire comic, and the part that spawned a video game series which is probably better known than the source material. I think I can recommend the first volume to more or less everyone who likes comics.

    From there the serious has its ups and downs. There's a long story-arc that explains why the fables are stranded in our "mundy" world and tells the story of how they form an army to fight the evil emperor who controls the homelands, before he has a chance to conquer our world as well. This whole arc I enjoyed a lot.

    Spoilers volumes 12-16 Then there's a story-ark with a new villain who was released from captivity with the fall of the Empire: The Dark Man. This arc didn't feel as inspired to me as the previous did, and he (and his co-villain Nurse Spratt) isn't as interesting as the Emperor. The witches get to show off a bit more though, and the superhero spoof they do with volume 16 is fun!

    I strongly disliked the crossover with Jack of Fables and the Literals in volume 13 though; the only part of the main story where I skimmed through large parts of it.

    Spoilers volumes 17-18 The focus then turns to Bigby Wolf and his immediate family. Volume 18 was one of my personal highlights of the series, probably because it leaves the messy world of post-Dark-Man New York for a fresh location and more inspired story.
    Spoilers volumes 19-22 From there the series goes into more pure high fantasy territory. It goes heavily into the backstory of the sisters Snow White and Rose Red, and how they possess powerful magic and are destined to fight each other. I wasn't too impressed by this final arc, and kept reading mostly out of obligation. In volume 21 they also took a page out of the Game of Thrones playbook (which was *huge* at the time) and killed off several of the most important characters, but it felt like they didn't really get why GoT did this, and instead did it for pure shock value. It's actually a bit puzzling, because they pulled this off very successfully earlier with the death of Boy Blue. (Actually, I guess that makes it an even more fitting parallel to Game of Thrones.)

    In the end they pulled off a happy ending, and spent about half of the last volume with epilogues for various characters.

    There's also a long-running side-plot based on The Wizard of Oz, which probably is a lot more enjoyable for people who grew up with that film as part of their childhood. I ended up skimming much of this story.

    There's also a long list of spin-off comics, but I have zero interest in them. I feel like I'm done with Fables.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on The US military will fully leave Afghanistan on September 11, twenty years after the 9/11 attacks in ~news

    KapteinB
    Link
    Well, this is probably for the best, I think. Let's cut our losses and focus on the battles that we actually have a chance of winning. But what happens after this? Is there any hope for a peaceful...

    Well, this is probably for the best, I think. Let's cut our losses and focus on the battles that we actually have a chance of winning.

    But what happens after this? Is there any hope for a peaceful resolution (maybe with a power-sharing agreement, reserved seats for the Taliban in the parliament and government for example), or is there destined to be another bloody civil war, with the Taliban as the likely victor?

    7 votes
  4. Comment on Let's talk about this year's crop of Eurovision songs in ~music

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    Agreed. Iceland was amazing last year, and this year's song is a step down. It's a real shame ESC 2020 had to be cancelled. It would have been one of the all-time greats I think.

    Agreed. Iceland was amazing last year, and this year's song is a step down.

    It's a real shame ESC 2020 had to be cancelled. It would have been one of the all-time greats I think.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on Let's talk about this year's crop of Eurovision songs in ~music

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    No love for Iceland this year? Or don't you consider them to be Nordic?

    No love for Iceland this year? Or don't you consider them to be Nordic?

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Let's talk about this year's crop of Eurovision songs in ~music

    KapteinB
    Link
    There are a lot of good songs this year, in my opinion. I think my favourite is Malta. Sure, it's a bit derivative of Israel's winning song from 2018, but I actually think this one is even better....

    There are a lot of good songs this year, in my opinion.

    I think my favourite is Malta. Sure, it's a bit derivative of Israel's winning song from 2018, but I actually think this one is even better. And I'm a sucker for electro swing.

    Second favourite: Germany. Just so much fun!

    3 votes
  7. Let's talk about this year's crop of Eurovision songs

    The contest is still more than a month away, but all songs have been released, so let's have a listen and a discussion! Eurovisionworld has links to all the songs (ordered by how likely the...

    The contest is still more than a month away, but all songs have been released, so let's have a listen and a discussion!

    Eurovisionworld has links to all the songs (ordered by how likely the bookmakers consider it for them to win the contest). There's also a YouTube and a Spotify playlist of all the songs.

    So which songs are your favourites? Guilty pleasures? Overrated, underrated? Most fun? Most excited to see performed live? Predictions? Etc.

    8 votes
  8. Comment on Hell is other people's home decor in ~creative

    KapteinB
    Link
    The title "If these walls could talk" made me think of a song by my favourite band, and the lyrics are .... shockingly appropriate.

    The title "If these walls could talk" made me think of a song by my favourite band, and the lyrics are .... shockingly appropriate.

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Where do you go for humor? in ~talk

    KapteinB
    Link
    I still go to Cracked. They're not as good as they were at their peak, but they're still quite funny.

    I still go to Cracked. They're not as good as they were at their peak, but they're still quite funny.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on China's reckoning (Part 1/3): Chinese demography in ~life

    KapteinB
    Link
    This video is also on Nebula for those preferring to watch it there.

    This video is also on Nebula for those preferring to watch it there.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on The Snyder Cut is a much longer Justice League, but not a better one in ~movies

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    Some time ago I watched a YouTube video which explained how Snyder completely misunderstood the source material for Watchmen, and my biggest takeaway was that I too had completely misunderstood...

    Some time ago I watched a YouTube video which explained how Snyder completely misunderstood the source material for Watchmen, and my biggest takeaway was that I too had completely misunderstood the source material. Subtlety and metaphors are generally completely lost on me, and that's probably why I enjoyed the film more than the comic.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on The Snyder Cut is a much longer Justice League, but not a better one in ~movies

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    In a review I read they claimed the weird aspect ratio is because the film was originally shot for Imax theatres.

    In a review I read they claimed the weird aspect ratio is because the film was originally shot for Imax theatres.

  13. Comment on A look at search engines with their own indexes in ~tech

    KapteinB
    Link
    Petal is intriguing. Huawei of course needs some other search engine than Google, and my first guess was they found the Chinese search engines to be not international enough. They would have...

    Petal is intriguing. Huawei of course needs some other search engine than Google, and my first guess was they found the Chinese search engines to be not international enough. They would have probably saved themselves a lot of work and money still by partnering with for example Baidu and commissioning them to create a more internationally focused search engine.

    However, after watching a couple YouTube videos about it, it looks like the primary use case for Petal is to find Android apps that aren't in Hauwei's App Gallery, with the web search more of a secondary feature.

    Visiting the website on desktop show's it's not only designed to be mobile first; it's plain awful on desktop. It's clearly meant for the mobile market.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on 2-person boardgames? in ~talk

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    Hmm, intriguing. Personally I think Ticket to Ride works well as a two-player game, but that variant sounds very interesting. Do you use the full amount of wagons from your regular colour? If so I...

    I've enjoyed ticket to ride before when you get half of a shared colour at the start and are forced to make routes you can both use until you run out and use your own colour.

    Hmm, intriguing. Personally I think Ticket to Ride works well as a two-player game, but that variant sounds very interesting.

    Do you use the full amount of wagons from your regular colour? If so I imagine the game will take a bit longer to finish?

    1 vote
  15. Comment on 2-person boardgames? in ~talk

    KapteinB
    Link Parent
    I prefer Wingspan to Splendor. Though I haven't tried the tabletop version of Wingspan yet, just the Steam version.

    I prefer Wingspan to Splendor. Though I haven't tried the tabletop version of Wingspan yet, just the Steam version.

    3 votes