balooga's recent activity

  1. Comment on The new Motorola razr in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Feeling some serious déjà vu right now! Nice to see you're still active on Tildes. Somebody's gotta keep representing classic gospel hip-hop around here and that person is you. And me. Us.

    Feeling some serious déjà vu right now! Nice to see you're still active on Tildes. Somebody's gotta keep representing classic gospel hip-hop around here and that person is you. And me. Us.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's design lessons from The Outer Worlds in ~games.game_design

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I'll play around and see if I can figure that out. I may have assumed that all the weapons designated as "1-handed melee" were functionally the same.

    I'll play around and see if I can figure that out. I may have assumed that all the weapons designated as "1-handed melee" were functionally the same.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What do you think about the concept of generations? in ~talk

    balooga
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    I've never been wild about the whole concept, as demarcated by birth year. I think there might be more value in something similar based on cultural touchstones instead. The most obvious example...

    I've never been wild about the whole concept, as demarcated by birth year. I think there might be more value in something similar based on cultural touchstones instead.

    The most obvious example for me is the rise of the "digital native," a person who has never known a time before the advent of the web. Of course, the web didn't just appear overnight... different families got plugged in at different times over the span of a decade or two, so whether or not people qualify comes down to their individual experiences. Complicating things, the midpoint of that transition period came right around the middle of the "millennial" window, creating a generation composed of half digital natives and half digital immigrants.

    I'm in the latter category, and "millennial" is not terribly useful for describing me. My childhood was offline. I graduated college before the student debt crisis exploded. Struck out on my own and started my career immediately after school. Never got particularly into selfies or emojis or social media or the other things that are supposed to represent millennials. On the other hand, Gen X doesn't really fit either.

    If the lines were redrawn to account for more than just age, generations might be a useful concept. But not in their current form.

    9 votes
  4. Comment on Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's design lessons from The Outer Worlds in ~games.game_design

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Is there a silent blade option for melee assassination? I haven't found anything like that... everything I've tried alerts all the nearby enemies, even if I'm crouching in tall grass and their...

    Is there a silent blade option for melee assassination? I haven't found anything like that... everything I've tried alerts all the nearby enemies, even if I'm crouching in tall grass and their backs are all turned.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on The new Motorola razr in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I've enjoyed Pigeon John since I discovered him in the early '00s Christian hip-hop scene. He's got a distinctive voice and a pretty goofy sense of humor. Nice to see he's still making music,...

    I've enjoyed Pigeon John since I discovered him in the early '00s Christian hip-hop scene. He's got a distinctive voice and a pretty goofy sense of humor. Nice to see he's still making music, though it looks like he's shrewdly adjusted his target audience over the years.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's design lessons from The Outer Worlds in ~games.game_design

    balooga
    Link
    I'm really enjoying The Outer Worlds, actually doing a couple parallel playthroughs to compare different paths and I'm very impressed at how different the story branches are. One complaint I have...

    I'm really enjoying The Outer Worlds, actually doing a couple parallel playthroughs to compare different paths and I'm very impressed at how different the story branches are.

    One complaint I have is that stealth takedowns / assassinations are non-existent. If you attack an NPC while hidden, I think you do some bonus sneak damage but it's not obvious... and that's about it. Even if you one-shot your target, all the other NPCs in the area will be aggro'd. There is no way (that I've found) to ghost your way through a location, killing everyone while remaining undetected. Considering there's a whole "Sneak" skill and "sneaky" weapons like 1-handed blades and silenced pistols, it seems like a big oversight to me that you can't play this way.

    A related issue is that if you kill someone your reputation with their faction is immediately affected, even if there were no witnesses. You should be able to cover your tracks to avoid consequences.

    Both of these things were better handled by Skyrim, in my opinion, and I would've loved it if TOW used some of the same design ideas.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on 1Password has raised $200 million from Accel in ~tech

    balooga
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    I've been a 1Password user for 12 years. I love the company's approach toward privacy and security; they're one of a small few tech companies that has completely won my trust. I don't know how...

    I've been a 1Password user for 12 years. I love the company's approach toward privacy and security; they're one of a small few tech companies that has completely won my trust.

    I don't know how this funding will change the company, if at all, but I hope the impact on the product is minimal. I'm happy with the software as it exists today. Not looking to add a bunch of whiz-bang features or gimmicks. "Do one thing, and do it well" is a great mantra. Now that there's money on the table I'm nervous the company may try to grow the user base by adding a bunch of useless nonsense.

    10 votes
  8. Comment on The new Motorola razr in ~tech

    balooga
    Link
    I've never seen one of these foldable phones in real life, and I'm not exactly a material scientist, but is it even possible for a surface to unfold with zero seams or creases? All of the...

    I've never seen one of these foldable phones in real life, and I'm not exactly a material scientist, but is it even possible for a surface to unfold with zero seams or creases? All of the marketing renders show completely smooth panels over the hinge. Is it true that you can't see or even feel where the fold is, or is this a white lie of advertising?

    I mean for any devices in this category, not specifically the Razr. Just asking about the physical practicalities of engineering something like this.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on MacBook Pro 16” in ~tech

    balooga
    Link
    I'm not in the market right now anyway, but I'm eager to hear if the keyboard redesign fully resolves the issues of the previous gen. I'm typing this comment on a butterfly-key MBP and about 1 in...

    I'm not in the market right now anyway, but I'm eager to hear if the keyboard redesign fully resolves the issues of the previous gen. I'm typing this comment on a butterfly-key MBP and about 1 in 5 presses of the space bar is resulting in two space characters. So frustrating to keep going back and fixing them. I'm still flabbergasted that a company as prestigious as Apple allowed something like this to go to market in the first place.

    The other changes in the new model I'm not sure about. I use a 15" model for work and a 13" for personal use. If we're making the machines bigger I might be interested in a 14" but I think 16" sounds too big. The general spec bump is welcome. I'm still bitter about the move to only Thunderbolt ports (necessitating so many dongles) and the death of the magsafe power connector. I'm happy the escape key has returned but I would've preferred if the function keys joined it and the touch bar got the axe. The inverted T arrow keys are a small but welcome improvement.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on What is your dream game? in ~games

    balooga
    Link
    Others here have talked about procedurally-generated RPG worlds and autonomous NPCs. My dream game falls into this category too, but I think the core element needs to be a "narrative engine" that...

    Others here have talked about procedurally-generated RPG worlds and autonomous NPCs. My dream game falls into this category too, but I think the core element needs to be a "narrative engine" that generates emergent storylines as you play. It would manage NPC relationships, personalities, and motivations. It would track player's alignment with (and perception by) a range of factions, including families, neighborhoods, merchants, law enforcement, etc. Most importantly it would dynamically script meaningful narratives with surprises along the way, and satisfying conclusions. It would flexibly adjust the story in interesting ways according to unexpected player actions. Side quests would be distinct but also tie directly into the larger story.

    Probably pretty pie in the sky, but I imagine we'll see tech like this emerging in the next 20 years. How good it will be, is yet to be seen.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    That's a great idea. I'm in the process now of evaluating if it's worth trying to install Pi-hole directly on a DD-WRT or Tomato router, vs using a dedicated RPi. Never worked with it before but I...

    That's a great idea. I'm in the process now of evaluating if it's worth trying to install Pi-hole directly on a DD-WRT or Tomato router, vs using a dedicated RPi. Never worked with it before but I think it will definitely be part of my future home network, with or without a smart TV connected to it.

  12. Comment on Google Stadia - Launch day line-up (12 games) and planned releases by the end of the year (14 games) in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I participated in the "Project Stream" beta which was only for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and I didn't run any benchmarks, but there was no noticeable latency for me. The game felt highly...

    I participated in the "Project Stream" beta which was only for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and I didn't run any benchmarks, but there was no noticeable latency for me. The game felt highly responsive and totally playable. Occasionally there was a slight dip in picture quality, but never any input lag I could discern. I think that issue may have been congestion on my own network anyway, not something upstream.

    Fighting and rhythm games are a whole 'nother level, but after my initial experience, I'm optimistic they can pull it off.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    What’s “specialist” about an identical display with fewer features? I mean, you’re not wrong. That’s how the manufacturer is positioning products like these. Just seems to be arbitrary, and not...

    What’s “specialist” about an identical display with fewer features? I mean, you’re not wrong. That’s how the manufacturer is positioning products like these. Just seems to be arbitrary, and not reflective of the manufacturing costs.

    7 votes
  14. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I came across this Reddit post earlier this year, where somebody reported their smart TV was surreptitiously connecting to open WiFi networks in range, even if never explicitly configured to...

    I came across this Reddit post earlier this year, where somebody reported their smart TV was surreptitiously connecting to open WiFi networks in range, even if never explicitly configured to connect. Reading that caused me to seriously doubt whether smart TVs can be trusted in this matter.

    Bottom line is, I don’t trust these TVs because I know that the economics behind them are fundamentally anti-consumer. Respecting my privacy is not in the manufacturer’s best financial interest. They have every incentive in the world to aggregate and monetize every bit of data they can about me. I’m aware that I’m being conspiratorial, and I might sound a little crazy, but we’re living in a surveillance dystopia thanks to tech like this. I do what I can to reduce my digital fingerprint where possible, and remove the possibility of my technology working against me.

    Bonus xkcd I always think about when this subject comes up.

    15 votes
  15. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    That’s absolutely a concern of mine. I’ve heard stories of some TVs doing that on the sly. Certainly seems like a good argument for flashing the ROM in one of these things before trying to use it.

    That’s absolutely a concern of mine. I’ve heard stories of some TVs doing that on the sly. Certainly seems like a good argument for flashing the ROM in one of these things before trying to use it.

    6 votes
  16. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Have you seen any with 4K OLED displays? Pretty sure those don’t exist anywhere.

    Have you seen any with 4K OLED displays? Pretty sure those don’t exist anywhere.

    2 votes
  17. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Oh, definitely. That’s basically my plan already. I have 7 devices that I use for my content, and I just want the TV to be a dumb display. I’m looking at using a hardware HDMI switch so there will...

    Oh, definitely. That’s basically my plan already. I have 7 devices that I use for my content, and I just want the TV to be a dumb display. I’m looking at using a hardware HDMI switch so there will just be a single cord running to the TV, and I won’t even need to use the TV’s aux input switcher. I think the only control on the TV I’ll need to use is the power button.

    Honestly that’s probably enough. I’ll never connect it to WiFi and never use its “smart features.”

    Still I’m curious if it’s possible to go even further, and actively render those features unusable.

    7 votes
  18. Comment on How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Unfortunately I'm really targeting high-end OLED picture quality, and a size larger than 40". That's why I'm asking about jailbreaking a consumer TV, because there aren't really any suitable...

    Unfortunately I'm really targeting high-end OLED picture quality, and a size larger than 40". That's why I'm asking about jailbreaking a consumer TV, because there aren't really any suitable products in other categories at reasonable price points.

    12 votes
  19. How do you turn a smart TV into a dumb TV?

    I've been lamenting the death of the dumb TV for years now, but I'm finally in the market for a new set and trying to plan my next purchase carefully. I've come to grips with the fact that any...

    I've been lamenting the death of the dumb TV for years now, but I'm finally in the market for a new set and trying to plan my next purchase carefully.

    I've come to grips with the fact that any late-model TV I buy is going to feature some or all of the following:

    • Internet connectivity
    • Slow, janky menu screens with awful UIs
    • Pre-installed apps (all of which I consider bloatware)
    • Ads incorporated into the built-in menus or overlaid on my content
    • Alexa / Google Home integration
    • Automatic content recognition and/or other data collection techniques
    • Microphones or cameras, purportedly for voice/gesture control

    My goal is to take a stock smart TV and completely neuter all of the above, resulting in an otherwise fully functional dumb TV. All of my content will be delivered over HDMI from external devices.

    As I understand it, basically all modern TVs are running one of five operating systems: Android TV, webOS, Tizen, Roku TV, or SmartCast. Not knowing anything about these platforms, where should I begin? Which are most susceptible to rooting? Are there any good custom ROMs I could install that would achieve what I'm looking for? Surely others have asked these same questions before me, but I can't find the answers online.

    Yes, this is a companion post to my other home theater question earlier today.

    37 votes
  20. Comment on How to find AV hardware for specific requirements? in ~tech

    balooga
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Sure, I'm planning a "home theater" revamp for a very small room. I have 7 HDMI devices I want to switch between with minimal plugging/unplugging once it's all set up. I don't have an actual AV...

    Sure, I'm planning a "home theater" revamp for a very small room. I have 7 HDMI devices I want to switch between with minimal plugging/unplugging once it's all set up. I don't have an actual AV receiver or speakers, just a sound bar with Toslink in (which is more than enough for this room).

    I'm asking about 10x1 switches because I want room to grow. If I pick up a couple more devices in the next few years I want to be able to accommodate them easily. I'm thinking maybe I should just settle for 8x1, that'll still leave one available port for the future. If I do end up needing more down the road, I can look into buying a 4x1 switch at that point, and daisy-chaining it.

    I currently run Toslink from my TV to the sound bar; the reason I want an audio extractor is so I can play music from a device and keep the TV off.

    Edit: Budget is low-ish. I'd rather not spend more than, say, US$200 on this switching setup unless there's a value add to make it worthwhile. (For example the Monoprice audio extractor I was just looking at includes 3.5mm audio out, which means headphone listening could be a bonus I hadn't considered.) Anyway, I'm certainly not looking for pro-grade rack-mounted equipment or anything.

    2 votes