Things dont break alone

You might recognise the event when something in your household breaks down and not long after something else follows? The most common eXample is the washing/laundrymachine and after replacing it the dryer breaks down and needs to be replaced as well…

Such a streak of bad luck seems to be happening to us lately. A couple months ago our car broke down for the 100th time in 2 years (we needed to have it pulled away for the 5th time since we bought it) but we are so getting used to that we’re not even surprised anymore. What annoys me more is my laptop that seems to have given up on me last weekend and that is one thing i cannot miss since we are in the process of renovating some rooms and therefor i have parked my desktop computer in my sons room. He is quite thrilled with that since he is now able to play some games on this PC in his room but i feel kind of like missing a limb!

The laptop i was working on AND playing my games on since my desktop is temporarily in use by my son is a 3-years old but quite decent HP G6 (i7, 4gb with a dedicated GPU R7670m) that plays my games fairly well… Since about half a year though it started eXperiencing heat issues for which i had it checked out at the local computer store. First time i brought it in they cleaned it and put on new cooling paste which worked for about a month untill it started to shut down again. The second time they discovered that the heatsink was broken and therefor it couldnt direct the heat out of my laptop correctly. Because the laptop had a dedicated GPU it has a rather unusual heatsink and we found out it couldnt be ordered via the official channels anymore. HP stopped producing it and they had none in stock anymore but via some obscure website we found a seller in China. After a 30 day delivery time we did actually recieve the part and i must say we were a bit surprised since we kind of gave up hope on it being delivered. The laptop was fiXed and worked fine again… For 2 months… Since last weekend it shuts down again and i tried several things but im afraid its overheating again and honesty i dont want to spend anymore money on repairs…

For my son i am putting together a desktop computer from spare parts i have laying around… Or at least that was the plan! I had put together my old AMD64-3500, 2gb ram, R3850 but then the videocard gave up on me. I had another card laying around, a Radeon X850 but we found out my son couldnt even play Minecraft on the system with that card so i started replacing stuff and one thing led to another…

I bought a budget videocard but one that would be able to play games at a decent framerate, a Radeon r7 270X and decided to order 8GB ram with it as well. I did accidently order ddr3 ram which doesnt fit on the old motherboard is was using so afterwards i decided to find a decent (again budget) motherboard and processor for him as well to replace his old ones with. So at that point i got him an Asus motherboard with an AMD A4-6300 processor, 8gb ram and a Radeon R7 270X videocard… And there are no IDE connectors on the new board so the choice for a new SSD HD was made and completed his system. It ended up better than my current desktop system but it looks like there is one hurdle to overcome.

I installed Windows10 on the new system and made my son very happy with his own computer… Untill it started showing bluescreens and error messages about drivers that are causing issues! At this point im still testing and searching for which driver is causing the issue and untill i find out my own desktop remains in his room, leaving me without a computer and now even without a laptop!

Long story short, i have gotten my 7 years old Acer laptop back on the kitchen table with a faulty spacebar which makes it unusable for write large amounts of teXts (like blogposts) but at least give me the opportunity to fill  in my taX papers and even lets me play a game of Diablo… 2…

Please bare with me, blogposts will be a bit low  but ill be saving my ideas for better times. If you like to help me either intelectual, technical or financial… Just sent me a message 😉

Edit: At this moment as im publishing this blogpost i have just recieved my new laptop!

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Gamerdad, hot or not?

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As i have written before in my previous blogposts i have been gaming since i was 7 years old and i have recently achieved level 40 in life so i believe i know a thing or two about the subject.

I also have 3 sons (age 5, 8 and 12) who have inhereted the love for videogames from their dad. Mom is not into gaming so every question regarding games will be thrown at me and is answered with enthausiasm and usually results in a fun family gaming session.

The flipside of the medal is that my kids cannot (yet) fool me when it comes to gamerfacts or general knowledge about games. When my oldest son had his 11th birthday 2 of his friends got him a version of GTA for the XboX360 (still wondering how they got it!) and the kids tried to justify the 18+ PEGI with arguments like:”All my friends play this game!” and “Those age ratings are different for movies and videogames so there is nothing wrong with me playing these!” I eXplained to my son that i have played these games myself and i think they are not appropriate for his age. His remark:”You dont know anything!” was countered by my wife with:”That might be true but your dad does know games!”

I do admit im not always that harsh with enforcing these age ratings. People might not agree (if so please do tell me in the comments!) but i do allow my 12 years old son to play Call of Duty which is rated 16-18. The only rule to that is that he doesnt play it when his younger brothers are watching which made him safe up for an XboX for himself which he has in his room right now! Also for the younger kids are playing games which are technically not appropriate for their age according to PEGI ratings but a 5 year old playing Skylanders (PEGI 7) and the 8 year old playing Harry Potter (PEGI 12) is something i can allow. Just remember kids, dad also needs to play these games for the sole purpose of checking them out for you! 😜

I would like go know how you handle your kids playing videogames… Or maybe how your parents react to you when you sit down for a much needed 24 hour gaming marathon! Maybe you dont like games yourself and you think your dad is such a nerd because at his “old” age he is still playing games… Please let me know… Game on!

 

PiXelhunting Eastereggs

 

PixelAnt

An Easter Egg is an hidden joke in games, movies, cd/Dvd’s or books. Just like real easter eggs they are hidden and you have to go look for it to find them. With the introduction of the internet the search for Easter Eggs have gotten a whole lot easier since you can just look them up and if your lucky you will most probably also find a video of how to find the hidden joke.

Some of the funniest Easter Eggs i know of are the appearance of RD2D (the funny Star Wars robot) in the 2009 and 2013 Star Trek movies as well as in hieroglyphs in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Arc. In the GTA: Vice City videogame there was a hidden room with an actual easter egg on a pedestal and in Day of the Tenticle if you played as Bernard you could play an other computer game on a certain computer ingame… the whole game of Maniac Mansion! There are also plenty hidden tracks on various music albums when you leave it on after the cv/dvd ends and some famous hidden messages could be find on vinyl records by playing them backwards.

PiXelhunting originates from the oldstyle point-and-click adventures (videogames) in which you needed to click on a particular spot on your screen to pick up or activate an object. These objects could vary in size and if the developer made the item small enough you were actually looking for a dot (piXel) on your screen to click to be able to go on with the game… that searching for the right piXel is also known as piXelhunting. It was known to be implemented to make the game more difficult or at least to have the player spent time playing the game since searching for piXels among thousands of others could be very time consuming. It was also a very easy way to hide Easter Eggs into a videogame but not the most original way i must add. As much as i like to find Easter Eggs in the games i play, especially with funny references to other games, the devs or funny jokes made in these hidden secrets, i do hate it when the developers hides the Easter Egg behind a certain piXel making the Easter Egg hunt a PiXelhunt instead.    Single Ant1-1

Can you tell me if you have ever encountered a cool or funny Easter Egg on an album, in a movie or videogame?

Shame and Blame

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With social media available to everyone with a connected device (phone, tablet, computer etc) its easier than ever to read the news and be up-to-date on everything that is happening near and far nowadays. Applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and alike also lets you comment on all those events and let everyone that likes to hear know how you feel, think and sometimes judge the news.

The other day i read a quote (on Facebook!) that seems to apply to alot of these comments though: “Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and most of them stink!” I have been following some some discussions via social media about some events that recently occured and after a few days i must conclude that indeed everyone that comments seems to have an opinion about what happened, who is to blame and why. In a single comment people seem to get judged and sentenced and beware he who dares to object to that particular reasoning for that person will be made co-responsible to the “problem”!

People seem to let go of any kind of reservations as soon as they post on the internet. Even people i know to be really considerate and show empathy in real life seems to have let go of those values as soon as they react on Facebook, Twitter etc. It seems they think the internet is some anonymous place where everyone is allowed to sprak their mind without reservations. The consequence of social media becoming as mainstream as it is today though is that you are not by far as anonymous as people like to think nowadays. Everyone connects to everyone and one thing everyone should realise is that the internet doesnt forget. Everything that you put out there can eventually be traced back to you including all the (unintended) consequences that may come with it.

I would just like to ask everyone to always use comon sense, both on as well as outside the online world and remember that social values are always applicable… Treat people how you would like to be treated by others and dont randomly go shaming and blaming people who you dont know about situations you dont know all the ins and outs of.

          Happy tweeting and posting!     cropped-single-ant1-1.png

Scammed!

Scam

Have you ever recieved email about a huge inherritage from a long lost aunt in Nigeria or sweepstakes winnings you never participated in? Most of these require you to transfer an amount of money first to cover eXpenses before they can sent you the small fortune that you are being promised. Most people know not to react to these massages and the request to sent money first scares off most people but there will still be people who will try and sadly enough never see their money nor the promised fortune ever again.

Another scam you are being warned for are phishing e-mails in which they try to retrieve (login/password or creditcard) information from you. Usually they sent e-mails, presumably looking like they are from companies, websites and banks you are familiar with. They mention a reason to log into the service of the company/bank/game and ask you to do so via a link in the email. This link will take you to a website very simular to the original website and once you (try to) log in they retrieve that information from you. When you try to log into the valid website or service you find out they changed the login info and emptied your account or belongings. Sometimes they try to make some eXtra money by telling you to pay a fee to retrieve your account only to find out, after paying, that they stripped all of the belongings to that account already.

Over the years on social media i have also regularly seen warnings for what i call “creative scams”. Let me give you an eXample. One of these warnings tell us about keychains being handed out at gasstations or conveniencestores for free. They are told to contain a tracking device with which the criminal will follow you to see where you live. When you leave the house they can keep track of you so they can break in and keep an eye on you returning home. This message, which is known to circulate in several languages and countries already dating back to 2008 and originate from South Africa. It is a fake trick since these tracking devices have never actually been varified by official police notifications (although at one point the Belgium police has been said to have also spread the original (fake) message) and if you think about it, it would be a very costly and inefficiënt method to eXcecute. When they follow you after handing you the device there is no need to track you and it would be really cost-inefficiënt to give away dozens of high-tech devices to accomodate simple burglaries which have always taken place succesfully with just some common sense and a bit of haste!

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Today i spoke to someone that has been scammed this weekend with a trick that im familiar with as well… Ive seen the warnings for this scam on social media several times and i know its true since they tried the same trick on me and my wife several times but luckily we knew about the warnings. It happened to this person as followed: his wife got a phonecall from an english speaking person with a clearly Indian accent stating he is an employer from Microsoft and they have discovered that (one of) your computers at home is infected with a virus, it contains an illegal copy of Windows or another reason why they want you to follow some steps. They asked to turn on the computer and connect to a certain service giving them access to your computer. With this aquantance they let them install some programs to “fiX” their computer and they had to pay €20 euro’s for that via some direct payment service. The transactions flawed a couple of times resulting in several “tries” and after that they were told to leave the computer turned off for at least a day. Not long after they found out their bankaccount was stripped with almost €3000 taken from them. Apperantly the several “tries” were meant to transfer several amounts of money (1X €2500, 1X €375 and several times €20) from their account! To show you how bold these scammers are please listen to what happened neXt.

Later that day they found out that the bank tried to contact them due to suspicious transactions from their bankaccount. Because of this the bank blocked the transaction of €2500. Lucky for the couple that got scammed but the scammer probably was not amused by this chain of events. Therefor they had the courage to contact the couple again the neXt day telling them that they, Microsoft, had made a mistake and would like to transfer back the money that was “mistakenly” taken from their account! Luckily they did not listen to the man anymore since refunding meant they had to log in again and hand over access to their computer yet another time. Even after telling him to stop he had the nerve to call back 7 times!

Ofcourse the couple is in the proces of trying to get their money back and having their statement taken by the police but i doubt they will ever get to the people behind these vile scams. To me it shows that eventhough most of these scams are quite obvious and everyone should by now know about these attempts to get hold of your personal information, there are still people who are unaware or easy to pursuade. And if so, it is also possible that even you or me will eventually fall for one of their tricks. Can we prevent this? Just be carefull and keep thinking, does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is. Never open email from unknown sources or if you do at least never open the attachments that come with it. The people that are trying to scam you rely on the few that are unaware or inattentive to rake in their “earnings”… So the best advice i can offer you is to always be cautious and please warn others to pay attention. That is why i also wanted to tell you about the previous to show you that it is not always something that happens to others but it can one day happen to any one of us!

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The best sunday is a…

LazySunday

… Lazy sunday! Yep, thats right, sleep in, watch tv or play a few games from your huge backlog in your Steam-account.

Thats how i spend today… I did play Diablo2 which is not on Steam but sort of a backlog thing (felt like playing retro and loved it!) and i did get my wife a Valentines present (a nice parfume that my 8 year old son choose since im having a terrible cold!) but we spend the whole day relaXing which is a nice thing to do once in a while.

Have a nice relaXed sunday!

Time is of the essence

There are days that feel like they never end and then there are days that just fly by… Sometimes there are even weeks that seem to pass without anyone noticing and to be honest that is how i felt this morning.

TimeClockSpiderAnt
After a long weekend the kids needed to go to school again and my wife and i off to work. Mornings are hectic enough and that is pretty common in our household but somehow this morning seemed to pass with the blink of an eye. Off to work where time also seemed to pass twice as quickly as normal, resulting in doing only half the things i planned to do… Leaving me with an unsattisfying feeling and the intention to make up for it tomorrow eventhough i already know it wont happen because the day is already planned and new challenges will arise.

Reading back at some of the blogposts i made these last few weeks (where did i get time to do that!?!) i noticed the post about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality… Very eXciting stuff and predicted to become a major thing in our foreseable future. If i can make a quick suggestion however i would like to ask to also implement a time-management switch into these VR and AR solutions giving me the opportunity for a littlebit more control over my time well-spent. Maybe even better yet, make a whole new device to manipulate time in RL (Real Life)! This might just be the neXt big thing after VR/AR, now only a thing of the future but hey, how long ago did we say that about color tv, 3D movies and Virtual Reality? The future is now and time management is near…

…After a good nights sleep because i have to be ready and awake again tomorrow for a busy agenda awaits me…!!!

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