Geekiness

[Geekiness] Volume button not working in Windows 10

Quick fix if your volume icon stops working erratically like mine does in Windows 10. Still waiting for the day Microsoft fixes this (happens only in Win 10, did not happen before).

  1. Open Task Manager. If you don’t know how, click on your Windows Start Menu then type “Task Manager.”
  2. Scroll right down to the bottom past Windows Processes to “Windows Explorer.”
  3. Right-click, select “Restart.
  4. ????
  5. PROFIT! You can now select your sound output (headphones vs monitor, etc) and change your volume.

You’d think they would have fixed it by now, but as this thread shows, it’s still happening today. Sigh.

Geekiness, Musings

Digi Up – A few thoughts

Digi Up is a new service for Digi subscribers, targeted at those who upgrade their phones frequently. It offers subscribers the “newest and greatest” phones at an affordable monthly rate. In a nutshell here’s what you need to know:

Who’s eligible:
– Those who receive the call or SMS from Digi beginning 2 Feb, if this page is right.
– Usage above RM80 monthly for the last three months
– My suspicion: Those who switched phones frequently in the last few years (I had 3 phones over the last 3 years, which was probably why I was targeted)

At a glance, you’ll get quite a few good benefits:
– New phone yearly if you like, or once every two years (flagship level, it seems)
– Phone theft protection (you can claim once per phone)
– Accidental damage (water, screen protection, etc)
– A concierge-like service for all your phone needs
Buy back guarantee for the phone they ~rent~ give you

So it looks like a pretty damn good deal right? You can upgrade your phone yearly if you like and it will always be flagship-level, you get great phone protection and dedicated customer service. I dropped by a Digi store to get more info, and then the hidden stuff came to light.

Here’s the bit that’s a little obscured on their site they don’t tell you:

  1. You MUST subscribe to the Digi Postpaid 110 plan.
  2. You will be paying the device price together with the plan.
    So if you choose the Note 8, you’ll be paying RM262 aka RM152 (device price) + RM110 (subscription).
  3. This is a phone rental service.
    Yes, you read that right, it’s a RENTAL service. You cannot keep the phone even after your contract is over. You need to either return it to Digi for a new phone or extend your contract (max 6 months) OR pay a Payoff fee that’s not listed on that page.
Is Digi Up worth it?

Well, it depends. Digi Up seems to be the next incarnation of Digi’s previous instalment plan, the Easy Up. The biggest change seems to be the mobile protection offered – Easy Up required a separate subscription to Mobisure while Digi Up offers it as part of their service. There’s some wording that also seems to indicate that users could keep their phones on the Easy Up service – on Digi Up, you have to return it or pay them an extra fee to keep it forever.

If you expect to change your phones every 12 months or so then this may be an option for you. If you are already on the RM110 plan OR are considering an upgrade to that plan and was in the market for a new phone, yes, this plan might be worth it. Otherwise, if you’re like me and you expect your phone to be with you for a few years… probably not.

Geekiness, Ramblings

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.

Geekiness

Implementing SSL for WordPress on Exabytes

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.

Geekiness, Ramblings

[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.