Category Archives: Geekiness

What I learnt this week

Image of the video rendering in progress

So, a few quick things I wanted to write about this week.

Video editing is painful

As part of the ASMR series, I’m uploading a bunch of videos that show me typing. This week’s video with the CM QuickFire Pro has been delayed a few days because I’ve been playing around with Da Vinci Resolve.

The verdict? I’m taking a sledgehammer to a nail. This tool is powerful but I need to relearn how to edit videos from scratch. Why did you delete Movie Maker, Microsoft, why?

Rendering can be nuts

As part of my “learning curve” with the software, I ended up exporting a file that was 65GB. Don’t ask.

This explained why my subsequent export of the same video in a different file format took only minutes instead of hours.

Can’t edit noise in the software

For some reason, I could not edit sound to remove noise in Da Vinci. I am going to export and then add the sound back from Audacity when done. I thought I’d removed all noise earlier. Annoying? Yes, very much so.

Exercise hurts

Finally upped my fitness game from mere walking in Pokemon Go to actual exercise. Yesterday (Wednesday) was Day Two, and for some reason my thighs hurt. Note to self: It could also be due to the fact you walked about 10,000 steps a day last weekend.

Still, it is better than almost nothing of the last two years.

Conclusion

This week was a week of pain, to say the least. See you all next week.

Implementing SSL for WordPress on Exabytes

Fixing SSL WordPress issues featured image. Original by Ilya Pavlov

Back in April 2017, Exabytes announced that they were going to provide free SSL certs for all those on the Shared Linux Hosting plan. In May I activated it, but it was only recently that I realised my site was not redirecting by default to the https version.

Turns out I missed two key steps.

The first is relatively easy to do for most WordPress admins and should not harm your site. It’s basically:

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > General (usually on the left sidebar).
  2. Under the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL), add a “s” to the http, so it will be https://WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS
  3. Save and you’re done here.

The 4th step requires adding several lines of code to your htaccess file. This file is a configuration file for servers running Apache Web. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to download a copy of it to your hard drive and/or copy it somewhere on your web server before making any changes to it.

Now, the Exabytes support site says to add the following code to your .htaccess file:


[IfModule mod_rewrite.c]
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

If you’re having trouble with that, then you might want to give my method a try. It’s quite simple really.

Just add this to the first line of your htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

So if your file has code in it and looks something like this:

BEGIN W3TC Browser Cache


AddType text/css .css

Just add the rewrite code above so it will look like:


RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

BEGIN W3TC Browser Cache


AddType text/css .css

Then save and either clear your cache or test the URL in a private browser. It should default to https:// with a Secure notice (if you are in Chrome). Special thanks to Razier for helping me figure this out.

[rant] urgh Gardenscapes why

Gardenscapes header

So I love Gardenscapes. Made by the people at Playrix, it’s essentially a match-3 game that has a lovely story attached to it, filled with characters that come to life through the things you do in-game. I’ve reached puzzle 1324, which is not too bad since I started playing this game almost a year ago.

The person who takes you through Gardenscapes’ main story is your butler Austin. Yes, your butler, though from the way he orders you around I kind of doubt that. He comes across as a somewhat enthusiastic and friendly chap at first glance.

However, as I play the game more, I’m discovering inconsistencies with his character. I’m not sure if it’s lazy writing or a suspension of disbelief, but there are some things he’s done recently that make me wonder if the writers actually thought things through.

About 300-400 puzzles ago (I think it was then), Austin asked his friend to Robbie (who happens to be black) to help fix the bridges in the garden.

Robbie says that he can’t as he has too many orders for the day and that he could do it tomorrow, but Austin forces him to anyway. Robbie quickly comes over and does a quick job and then has to rush off.

The bridge falls apart later, turning Austin indignant, who believes Robbie had endangered Austin’s potential love interest. Austin goes into a fit, says some mean things to Robbie, and then more or less sulks. When the truth comes to light, Austin “apologises” to Robbie by buying an expensive tool he knew Robbie was eyeing.

Now, here’s the thing that pissed me off. From what I can see, Robbie did the best he could with the bridge, given the time constraints that he had. When it fell apart, it had nothing to do with his skills (beavers are to blame). But he gets the blame anyway.

There’s also the fact that nowhere does Austin acknowledge that he emotionally blackmailed Robbie. Nor does Austin, at any point, directly apologise to Robbie for blaming him falsely.

It feels a lot like Austin is taking advantage of his privilege as a white man, even if he isn’t aware of it. He seems to take most others for granted and his interactions with the few people of colour in the game is subtly different compared from the others we see as white. His “apology” took for granted that Robbie would forgive him, would always forgive him.

Which brings me to the current storyline.

[DETAILED SPOILERS AHEAD]

Alex is an intern at a cleaning company. She’s to help Austin clean the garden. During the cleaning process, they uncover gorgeous ballgowns and learn that that part of the garden is suitable for hosting parties.

Austin decides that the ballgowns are no longer needed and should be sent to a museum, since they’re early 1900s (maybe?) pieces, and in really good condition. Alex, who had been hoping to dress up in said gowns, is disappointed, but she can’t really ask Austin to give the dresses to her. Who is she anyway?

During this plotline, we see that Alex is an enthusiastic, well-meaning girl who is a real romantic. She’s so romantic, that when a random person comes up asking Austin for help with his wedding car, she takes it upon herself to decorate the car. Alone.

So, we’ve established she’s a romantic. She’s good with wedding stuff. And she loves music and to dance.

What happens?

Alex sends the ballgowns to the museum on behalf of Austin. That night, the player and Austin are awoken in the middle of the night by a mysterious sound and subsequently a figure that runs through the garden to escape them. This figure tracks mud all over the garden including areas you, the player, have already fixed.

Oddly, while Austin is alarmed, he doesn’t seem as spooked or angry or surprised. This is odd, considering how he panicked earlier in the game to the point he insisted on getting a dog.

The next day, as they are cleaning up, we discover that the intruder was Alex. She had taken one of the gowns for herself and decided to have a little midnight dance.

Her uncle/family decided to punish her (at least from what we see in the game) by making her clean a spooky old basement filled with spiders and other creepy crawlies. What is Austin’s reaction?

“Oh no, we must help her! Let us ask this other guy who is handy with vacuums to give her one as she asked so she can finish her job quicker.”

The thieving model with her sculptor takes a break
More or less. Alex is thus freed to “model” for the sculptor, who is recreating the romantic story that led to the ballgown’s discovery earlier.

Throughout it all, Austin’s reaction to Alex breaking his trust and stealing from the player has been sympathetic and forgiving. In fact, he never brings up the point that she abused his trust and/or she had stolen things but instead helps her to finish her punishment quicker.

It seems Austin is so desperate to win the approval of the eligible females in the game that he doesn’t just overlook their horrendous behaviour, he encourages it. I’m terribly disappointed with Playrix because they had started so well with the game’s earliest chapters.

Well that's nice of Austin
Contrast this to the way he treated Robbie. To say that he threw Robbie under the bus without even apologising is a major understatement. Heck, even when Claire couldn’t make it he is nicer to her than he was to Robbie!

Really Playrix, you can and should do better. Gardenscapes is a really fun game and I like the touches you’ve added to the match-3 component. I like the characters. What I don’t like is your lazy writing; glorifying Alex’s criminal transgressions while making light of the hard work like Robbie does.

When Windows breaks your MMO…

This is the culprit of that Disconnected from patching server before patching completed error

So, for those wondering what “Disconnected from patching server before patching completed” here’s a quick guide to figuring out what’s the problem:

As of August 11, 2017:

  1. If you have updated to Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update, check your App Settings. This can be done through Settings > App Settings > Apps and Features.
    • Change your settings if it’s set to install Store apps alone. I have temporarily enabled all apps to ensure my update works
  2. Otherwise, check your WiFi settings.
  3. Run the .exe as Admin after that (Right click > Run as Administrator).
  4. Pray it works.
  5. Have fun!

How I discovered this (aka I want to curse the idiot that is myself)
So, about 6 days after Fall of Oriath dropped, I finally decided to install the patch and PLAY. GGG (Grinding Gear Games) usually has an “Allocating Space” step before actually downloading the patch, so I went for a nap to let Kuro (le PC) do its thing. Woke up to find the update stalled so I cancelled that process and started again.

Allocated Space went through just fine. Then I had the “Disconnected from patching server before patching completed” error. This happened twice and I am now kicking myself because I decided to do the whole “delete your content.ggpk file and force the client to REDOWNLOAD the entire game (8GB and counting) in a single file” step as a solution.

You see, right after that I got an error from Windows saying “Oh this app isn’t from the store, installing it is a bad idea” and it clicked in my head that my update had probably failed because of this and not because of GGG. Unfortunately as the file has been deleted, I now needed to wait for the Updater to re-run the Allocated Space (about 45 mins minimum) AND download the game again (hello Unifi why am I getting speeds of only 200+KB?).

Moral of the story? Be patient kids.

Find unread emails for Outlook

If you are like me and you hate having to click through 500 different menus to find your unread email in Outlook, here’s the command for the search filter:

isread:no

You’re welcome. * muttergrumbles about Word making it unnecessarily hard * What is wrong with just telling people on your Help page that the command is that?

PS: In Gmail, it’s:

in:unread