balooga's recent activity

  1. Comment on The Last of Us | Official trailer in ~tv

    balooga
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    It looks really good! And it looks as though it'll be unusually faithful to the game for a TV adaptation! I'm pretty intrigued. But I had two negative-ish thoughts along the way that I wanted to...

    It looks really good! And it looks as though it'll be unusually faithful to the game for a TV adaptation! I'm pretty intrigued.

    But I had two negative-ish thoughts along the way that I wanted to mention. First, is it me or does Pedro Pascal kinda look like Nathan Fillion in some of the shots? There were moments in the trailer where the tone was deadly serious but he looked like he was holding in a laugh, in that weird smirky wisecracking Nathan Fillion way. I have no idea if that even makes sense. I guess I just think the guy looks funny (as in, "comedic," not "strange").

    Secondly, as much as I love TLOU, do TV audiences want another gritty zombie show? Seems like that's pretty culturally played-out at this point.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    balooga
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    Oh yeah, Vigilante 8 and Twisted Metal were 100% inspirations for me back in the day. Destruction Derby too. I did the same thing as you, setting up head-on collisions in any game with car damage...

    Oh yeah, Vigilante 8 and Twisted Metal were 100% inspirations for me back in the day. Destruction Derby too. I did the same thing as you, setting up head-on collisions in any game with car damage models, Daytona USA was a favorite of mine for this. Later on I had a lot of fun with the Burnout games and Danger Zone. None of these are exactly what I had in mind though, a true chaotic, destructive arcade racer with weapons and that co-op dedicated driver/shooter gameplay.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on If you have more than ten tabs open they’re not tabs anymore they’re bookmarks wasting RAM in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I haven't tried a tree style tabs extension but I've looked at the screenshots of them. I'm on a tiny laptop and screen space is at a premium. I'd really rather not concede 1/6ish of my screen...

    I haven't tried a tree style tabs extension but I've looked at the screenshots of them. I'm on a tiny laptop and screen space is at a premium. I'd really rather not concede 1/6ish of my screen width to a tab management sidebar. Am I misunderstanding how that works? Traditional tabs are awful, but at least they're small and horizontal.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    balooga
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    When I was a kid (in the late '90s as early 3D games were going mainstream) I came up with my own "dream game" that I desperately wanted to be made. I haven't really thought about it since, and...

    When I was a kid (in the late '90s as early 3D games were going mainstream) I came up with my own "dream game" that I desperately wanted to be made. I haven't really thought about it since, and I'm probably forgetting a bunch of the details, but to my knowledge it still hasn't been made. Of course my interests and free time for gaming have shifted a lot since then, so maybe it was and I just didn't hear about it. I think it could get made in much finer form with today's tech then I ever dreamed of in the PSX era.

    Anyway, I was really into racing games back then. I imagined a 2-player co-op arcade racer/shooter with elaborate destructive environments. It would play like an over-the-top action movie. One player is the driver, and the other is the gunner. Tracks are long and linear, not circuits, and it's a struggle just to survive all the way to the finish line, let alone finish first (no respawning). In addition to taking out the other hostile racers, there are tons of hidden shortcuts and alternate routes that can be opened up in chaotic ways. There are also environmental hazards to avoid, and maybe penalties for civilian casualties, because most of the tracks would be through busy public spaces. Part of the challenge would be in managing a limited ammo supply and collecting armor/weapon/boost power-ups.

    Tracks would offer a wide variety of terrains, from mountain cliffs to jungle ruins to downtown city centers. Each track would provide its own preset vehicle and weapon loadout, so you're driving trucks in the countryside, convertibles on the beach, motorcycles on the freeway, snowmobiles in the Himalayas, you get the idea. This is a video game sprung from the mind of a 12-year-old boy so there's not a lot of subtlety in it! But I still think it would be a lot of fun to play.

    There were some scenes in the last couple Uncharted games that definitely felt close to what I imagined, as you're jumping onto moving vehicles, shooting bad guys with the mounted turret or whatever, then hopping into the driver's seat for a while, and so on. And I played a racing game called Split/Second that had a bunch of stunts and explosions that opened up shortcuts, that was also similar. I wouldn't be surprised if my idea actually has been made, so if you know it please share!

    1 vote
  5. Comment on Revealed: US Military bought mass monitoring tool that includes internet browsing, email data in ~tech

    balooga
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    I have a lot of questions about this Augury tool. I'd guess the vast, vast majority of the netflow data it's hoovering up is TLS-encrypted. If they're really adding 100 billion records a day to a...

    I have a lot of questions about this Augury tool. I'd guess the vast, vast majority of the netflow data it's hoovering up is TLS-encrypted. If they're really adding 100 billion records a day to a store that's already petabytes in size, how much of that is completely incomprehensible noise? It sounds like they're also correlating that with ISP data, if I'm reading it right. Maybe there's a piece of the puzzle I'm missing but users should be able to nullify that bit by using third-party DNS (even better with DoH) and a good VPN. Let me know if I'm overlooking some crucial revelation here.

    I guess my point is, the internet has made great strides at hardening itself against surveillance since we first learned about Room 641A, PRISM, XKeyscore, etc. Those were truly alarming at the time. Today, with robust encryption nearly universal, I have a lot more confidence in the ability of users (savvy ones, at least) to stay private online. Again, maybe I misread something and these new tools blow the doors off that assumption. This arms race has been going on for decades and new innovations are liable to emerge from either side.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on Return to Monkey Island | Launch trailer in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    We'll surely avoid scurvy if we all eat an orange!

    We'll surely avoid scurvy if we all eat an orange!

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Reddit CEO Steve Huffman discusses how he wants every subreddit to be its own media company and he wants to see money being exchanged from users to users and users to subreddits in ~tech

    balooga
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    I really don't understand how to use Discord. Which is to say, I use Discord quite a bit but I'm always frustrated because it feels like a firehose of parallel chat rooms and a neverending...

    I really don't understand how to use Discord. Which is to say, I use Discord quite a bit but I'm always frustrated because it feels like a firehose of parallel chat rooms and a neverending whack-a-mole game of unread badges. There's no way I can keep up with the flow of conversation in there or feel connected to anyone else. Whenever I say something I feel like I'm either shouting into the void, or asking some dumb noob question everyone has already hashed and rehashed a thousand times.

    I'm sure I'm doing it wrong, but I'm not sure what "right" is supposed to look like.

    7 votes
  8. Comment on Return to Monkey Island | Launch trailer in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Okay, you guys got to me. I picked up the game and played a bit this evening. The art style is really not as bad when playing, as it looked to me in the trailer. The animations are crisp and...

    Okay, you guys got to me. I picked up the game and played a bit this evening. The art style is really not as bad when playing, as it looked to me in the trailer. The animations are crisp and responsive and everything feels great at 60 FPS. Lots of little details like particle effects and depth / dynamic zooming add richness that I couldn't pick up on in the quick-cut video. Overall I'm quite satisfied with my purchase! And more than happy to pay full price — the whole whopping $25 — to support Ron & Co.

    I will say, it's early yet but already I'm missing Earl Boen as LeChuck and Patrick Pinney as Stan. Both of them are inimitable (though the new LeChuck they cast is certainly trying) and irreplaceable parts of the cast. All the other characters I've encountered so far sound great. It's a treat exploring Melee Island again after so many years, and fun to see some new vantage points of familiar locations.

    It's also worth mentioning that the new contextual point-and-click scheme is pretty decent. Maybe I'm just a masochist who grew up with the classic verb buttons, but I was bracing to hate it. And it is streamlined almost to the point of dumbing down the game, but at least as far as I've gotten it doesn't cross that line. I'm impressed at the way the hover text manages to both guide the player and provide humor of its own. The in-game hint book and tab-to-reveal-clickable-objects are also great QoL improvements over the old system. I'd say on the whole it's way more intuitive than what CMI did, for comparison. Have you played The Cave? Another Ron Gilbert adventure I really enjoyed, which had its own UI innovations, and I so far I like Return to Monkey Island's better than its implementation too.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Return to Monkey Island | Launch trailer in ~games

    balooga
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    I've never been a day-one gamer but I'll definitely pick this up at some point. I love the old MI games and I'm excited to see where this one goes. I'm particularly excited to see Ron Gilbert at...

    I've never been a day-one gamer but I'll definitely pick this up at some point. I love the old MI games and I'm excited to see where this one goes. I'm particularly excited to see Ron Gilbert at the helm again and with a beloved voice cast to boot.

    Really not digging the art style in that trailer though, yikes. Obviously that's not a dealbreaker for me but uff da does that look cheap.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Prompt injection attacks against GPT-3 in ~tech

    balooga
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    I've been practicing my Stable Diffusion prompt-writing, and while it's amazing to see your words spring to life, the lack of precision can be very frustrating. It's one thing to convert a prompt...

    I've been practicing my Stable Diffusion prompt-writing, and while it's amazing to see your words spring to life, the lack of precision can be very frustrating. It's one thing to convert a prompt into pretty pictures, but something else entirely to entrust a prompt with the power to execute business logic or guard mission-critical secrets.

    Someday we'll probably standardize a solution for this. But for the time being, any system built to use AI in this way is recklessly premature.

    6 votes
  11. Comment on Assassin's Creed Mirage | Cinematic trailer in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I've played a bunch of them over the years. I think my favorite in the series may still be Brotherhood, I really liked the Ezio character and the Italian renaissance setting. The low points for me...
    • Exemplary

    I've played a bunch of them over the years. I think my favorite in the series may still be Brotherhood, I really liked the Ezio character and the Italian renaissance setting. The low points for me were AC3 and Rogue. That was the time period when Ubisoft pivoted on the modern-day plotline and intriguing precursor-race mythology that the first games established. Those elements got a lot less coherent and took a backseat to the historical stuff. Which is fine, I love the historical stuff too, but I feel like a lot of potential was squandered.

    Another pivot occurred when Origins was released. It greatly expanded the size of the open world, added RPG elements, reconfigured combat to play more like the Batman: Arkham games, and (most drastically, for me) completely dumbed down the parkour system. One of my favorite things to do in the old games was figure out the route up to the top of a tower; I really loved the Assassin's tombs and Romulus lairs that were all about just finding your way through a space to the treasure inside it. With the new games, you basically just hold the climb button and press up, and the character will scale anything.

    The new games are a huge time suck. I've put hundreds of hours into Valhalla and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. Since I was a kid I've always been a video game completionist but I've met my match now, it doesn't seem humanly possible to do everything. The worlds in these newer titles are enormous, but not particularly memorable. The storytelling is legitimately good, I don't want to downplay that, despite the incoherent lore of late. There's a huge emphasis on settlement building that's fairly boring to me, and I'm not a fan of the the way weapon/armor upgrades work now (lots of collecting resources for marginal stat bumps). You'll do a lot of grinding. There is also a microtransaction store selling stupid cosmetic upgrades and stuff, I have no idea who would actually pay for any of that. (Kids today, etc. etc.)

    There's also magic now, in the forms of runes you can equip and supernatural enemies you fight. It's kind of handwaved away as dreams or animus glitches or "you were poisoned by a hallucinogenic mushroom" or whatever but that feels like a cheat to me. I always loved the grounded realism of the old games.

    The last few games also have nonviolent educational modes that let you explore the historical game worlds as a non-assassin, with interactive explanations of a lot of the true history behind them. This was the biggest surprise to me for the series and it's actually really cool.

    I may have focused too much on the negatives. Like I said, I've played a lot of Valhalla and I'd recommend it. I've gotten a ton of enjoyment time out of it for the money I paid, and at some point I'll dive back into it for another stab at finishing the thing. Its gameplay loops are fairly addicting and do a good job of rewarding the player's personal playstyle. In some ways it's a step back from the early titles, but it's improved on them in others. One thing I will say about AC in general is it's never been afraid to experiment with new concepts, to varying degrees of success. I'm curious to see what new things Mirage will bring to the table.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on The Little Mermaid | Official teaser trailer in ~movies

    balooga
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    I'd be all for a grimdark Little Mermaid if it wasn't the Disney telling of it.

    I'd be all for a grimdark Little Mermaid if it wasn't the Disney telling of it.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on Disenchanted | Official trailer in ~movies

    balooga
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    So somehow I've made it this long without ever watching or hearing anything about the first movie, and (prompted by this trailer) I remedied that this evening. I liked it a lot! It's a really...

    So somehow I've made it this long without ever watching or hearing anything about the first movie, and (prompted by this trailer) I remedied that this evening. I liked it a lot! It's a really sweet fish-out-of-water romcom with nods to the classic Disney canon and an unexpectedly fantastic big musical number. I'm glad I finally gave it a try!

    Little skeptical of sequels that come out 15 years too late... but that said, this looks like a fun one and I'll be there for it.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on The economist who knows the miracle is over in ~books

    balooga
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    I just listened to Sean Carroll's Mindscape interview with Brad DeLong and it was very interesting. Might need to pick up his book too. I definitely feel that something changed, directionally...

    I just listened to Sean Carroll's Mindscape interview with Brad DeLong and it was very interesting. Might need to pick up his book too.

    I definitely feel that something changed, directionally speaking, for humanity in the last 10-15 years or so. It's tough because these things don't have a single tipping point everyone can look at and say "that was the day it all changed." It's a vague, qualitative, gradual, undirected process. All I can say is anecdotally that I've been shocked to watch the (brazen, unapologetic) return of historical evils to the world stage, mindsets and politics I was sure had been relegated to the dustbin of history, not just where I live but seemingly everywhere in the world simultaneously.

    Meanwhile our technological development has absolutely exploded but the expansion seems to have targeted all the worst parts of it specifically. We've got cyberwarfare, weaponized trolling/propaganda/disinformation at an insane scale, ML/AI advancements that completely erode both our privacy and our ability to distinguish truth from fiction. The zone is completely flooded with shit. Everyone's attention span, mine included, has been decimated. Public discourse is a bifurcated echo chamber full of spiteful bullies, grifters, and very loud idiots.

    With fingers in our ears we're accelerating towards climate catastrophe. A pandemic is sweeping the planet and everyone everywhere seems, not just unable to do anything, but unwilling to try or even to pretend to care about it. The zeitgeist of optimism for the future has all but evaporated. I've never been a doom-and-gloomer but these days, apart from the very small joys of parenting some awesome kids, I don't have much happiness or hope for their future anymore. I very much hope that this is just a temporary phase mixed with my own depression. I miss the way I used to feel about the world and the people around me.

    More to the point of Brad DeLong's economic arguments, the past century really has been a miracle. I learned plenty of history in school, but it wasn't until I was in my thirties that it really sank in how utterly crappy and miserable human existence has been for the vast, vast majority of it. Nasty, brutish, and short. Memorizing important names and dates doesn't really convey much about the quality of life of our ancestors. For all its many shortcomings, the 20th century brought staggering improvements to many parts of the world! And we (or I, I'll speak just for myself here) have taken that for granted. The comforts and conveniences I enjoy, imperfect as they are, are not guarantees, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some existential dread about their erosion over the coming decades.

    13 votes
  15. Comment on What’s something you’ve been mulling over recently? in ~talk

    balooga
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    I live in a big tech region and work remotely for a big tech company located here, and I'm paid the standard rate for the high cost of living in this city. Lately I've been considering the...

    I live in a big tech region and work remotely for a big tech company located here, and I'm paid the standard rate for the high cost of living in this city. Lately I've been considering the possibility of relocating to another place the company does business in, where my expenses would be ~40% lower.

    There are other benefits of that move, like being closer to family, but the main advantage is what a huge shot in the arm it would be for my finances at my current income level. I'm pretty sure my employer would levy a "compensation adjustment" if they knew I was moving, which would make the whole idea pointless. So I've been mulling over the legality and ethics of various degrees of disclosure, and trying to gauge if there's any way to make it work. It seems obvious to me as a remote worker that as long as my performance is consistent, it shouldn't matter one whit to the company where I live or what the cost of living is there. There are some issues around income tax withholding that are legitimate obstacles, but apart from those it feels like this should be doable somehow.

    I haven't spoken with my manager about this yet. I think I will soon, but I'm hesitant to let the cat out of the bag until I've considered every angle of this.

    7 votes
  16. Comment on Are you sure you’re not guilty of the ‘Millennial pause’? in ~life

    balooga
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    I'm also at the older end of the "official" range and don't identify with any of these stereotypes. Of course, I quit Facebook over a decade ago and haven't touched social media since, so a lot of...

    I'm also at the older end of the "official" range and don't identify with any of these stereotypes. Of course, I quit Facebook over a decade ago and haven't touched social media since, so a lot of this stuff simply isn't applicable for me. Funny enough, I guess I relate to the gen-Z criticism of "lol random!!1!" culture as stupid, shallow, and annoying. The disconnect is that I still associate it with young people and now it's the hallmark of the old and out-of-touch, or something.

    I've been saying for years that the labels and birth windows we assign to generations don't make much sense anymore (if they ever did). Even for people around my age, there are huge cultural divides between the geeks like me whose families were early adopters of the internet, the normies who migrated online later in their youth/teen years or adulthood, and the digital natives who have never known a world without the web. And all those are separate categories from the younger folks who came of age in the smartphone era.

    I have strong formative memories of floppies and magnetic tape. Rotary phones and dial-up modems. Single-player gaming on a monochome 8" CRT. Text adventures, and later, telnetting into MUDs and MUSHes. The advent of multimedia CD-ROMs, the information superhighway, and the promise of the global village. The novelty of firing up Netscape 1.0 to surf Prof. Dr. style pages on AltaVista, and waiting 10 minutes or more for tiny GIFs to load.

    These experiences have radically affected how I view the online experience in 2022. I recognize that only a narrow band of the population shares them with me; Gen X is mostly too old to have participated in the same way I did, and many of my fellow millennials missed all this and started their online lives with MySpace, LiveJournal, the "blogosphere" or something that came later. Frankly with the pivotal role the web plays in all of our lives today, I think where a person lands in this spectrum has a large effect on how they perceive a lot of the world now. And that's just too granular for these broad generational categories to provide much value.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I enjoyed TOW rather a lot myself! I'd describe it as an odd low-budget mix of Fallout: New Vegas and Mass Effect, with a theme that lands somewhere between Bioshock and Firefly. The scope of the...

    I enjoyed TOW rather a lot myself! I'd describe it as an odd low-budget mix of Fallout: New Vegas and Mass Effect, with a theme that lands somewhere between Bioshock and Firefly. The scope of the game is small, but the writing and open-ended multitudes of player choice make up for it. It's fun to pick a faction and play through the story from their POV, but the most pleasant surprise for me was discovering the existence of a viable diplomatic playstyle. Every single conflict in the game can be defused through mediation. It's not an easy path necessarily, and it does lengthen the game somewhat. It's also not a "happy ending" as it involves making some hard choices and compromises. But when I got to the end of it (after having seen how the other storylines resolve) I felt really satisfied that I had brought about the best possible conclusion for the most people. I can't say I've encountered another game that left me with that.

    I was excited for the eventual sequel, but I'm obligated now to call out how the Microsoft acquisition of Obsidian killed any chances of its release on Playstation. I'm happy with my PS5 and not in the market for an Xbox, and not a PC gamer, so I likely won't get to play it. Maybe I'll change my mind at some point, but I'm not keen to let MS' anti-consumer policies win out.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Amazon is acquiring iRobot in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    The Eufy brand is owned by Anker Innovations. As far as I know they're unaffiliated with Amazon. That separation from the tech giants is actually why I bought both a robot vacuum and a baby...

    The Eufy brand is owned by Anker Innovations. As far as I know they're unaffiliated with Amazon. That separation from the tech giants is actually why I bought both a robot vacuum and a baby monitor from Eufy. They offer wifi-connected IoT products (yuck) but I've been pretty pleased by both of my purchases, which were fully-offline models of pretty high quality. It's getting harder and harder to find that in both of these categories, so I've got fairly high regard for Eufy compared to other companies in those markets. Between all the unsecured "smart baby monitor" leaks and now Amazon getting all this mapping data, I'm feeling more vindicated that I stuck to my guns about this.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on Linus Torvalds is using an Apple Silicon Macbook running Asahi Linux in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I appreciate the tip, I've tried that. I've tried EVERYTHING haha. It's just an Apple design failure.

    I appreciate the tip, I've tried that. I've tried EVERYTHING haha. It's just an Apple design failure.

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Linus Torvalds is using an Apple Silicon Macbook running Asahi Linux in ~tech

    balooga
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I'm on a notched 14" MBP and just tested this. The pointer disappears behind the notch, but does not teleport from one end to the other. You can move it around at normal speed behind there as if...

    I'm on a notched 14" MBP and just tested this. The pointer disappears behind the notch, but does not teleport from one end to the other. You can move it around at normal speed behind there as if it were onscreen, just covered up, and partially reveal it if you move over to the side or bottom of the notch. No magic behaviors.

    The exception to this is if you have one of the menubar menus open and move the cursor horizontally across the menubar to access menus on the opposite side of the notch. In this situation, the cursor does teleport across the notch to keep the menu experience smooth. Seems like the right call to me in that specific situation. Most apps don't even have enough menus to span across the notch anyway, and people probably aren't often browsing through their menus like this anyway, so it's a pretty uncommon occurrence.

    I didn't even notice that the corners are rounded until I read this thread. (Now I can't unsee, THANKS GUYS!) Nor did I notice the "physics" which is really just that if you slide the cursor straight up along the edge of the screen, it will follow the top curve inward so it continues to climb instead of stopping when it hits the first sloping pixel. Because it's the menubar, and probably also because I'm not using "hot corners," I never even realized this is a thing on this machine. Super subtle.

    It's worth pointing out that only the top corners are like this; the bottom corners are nice and square. Which is important because application content lives down there, as well as the Dock. I think it would be a bigger thing, a problem even, if they rounded all four corners. Of course, macOS draws windows with slightly rounded corners so in most cases you still have the illusion of the bottom rounding off as well, though those curves have a much tighter radius than the menubar corners do. You can still focus on a window if you click in its rect, outside of that radius, even though it looks like you're targeting whatever's underneath it. In the case of maximized windows that's good, because if you slam your cursor down to the bottom corner and click to focus that application, it does what you want instead of your click making it down to the desktop or something else hiding behind it.

    2 votes