Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Viral high school students video Twitter scam

Wow, looks like the video alleging racism on the part of Catholic high school students on a class trip was promoted by a fake Twitter account powered by an army of bots. It wasn’t just a case of a video accidentally being discovered.

Who was behind this disinformation campaign? The Russians again?

(Thank you, “destructure,” for bringing this to my attention.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 22, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Technology


FFXIV is short for Final Fantasy XIV, a game designed by the Japanese company Square Enix, and what I think is the absolute best of the genre of MMORPGs, that is massively multiplayer online role-playing games, of which World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most well-known example.

Yes, FFXIV is definitely the better starting point into this genre than WoW. I’ve been playing it since Christmas weekend. Great way to kill time. (Yes, I am aware that killing time is a very low class thing to do. SWPLs want to use every ounce of time left until they die to do SWPL things like learning a foreign language or traveling around the world with the meager time left over from their hopefully self-actualizing career. Playing videogames is not considered to be self-actualizing, therefore it is low class.)

You do want a PC with a discrete GPU to play this game. I was able to run the game and get 15 fps at 720p resolution on a computer with integrated Intel graphics, but it’s not that great. The game looked choppy. With my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti (but note that the GTX 1150 is probably coming out in 2019, making the 1050 obsolete!) I get 30+ fps running at 2560 x 1440 with all the graphics settings maxed out. And the game looks beautiful! While 60 fps is considered the gold standard in gaming, you really don’t need 60 fps in a slow-moving game like FFXIV.

MMORPGs are a dying genre of game. People have gotten accustomed to faster-moving games. Like Overwatch. Or Fortnite. Games that also cost less money to play. Overwatch is pay once than play as much as you want. And Fortnite is totally free to play.

I believe that most people playing FFXIV (or WoW) are older players, older meaning at least old enough to drink. Teenagers these days would be playing Fortnite or some other “shooter” game. The monthly subscription tends to keep away players that don’t at least have their own credit card. Most teens would have trouble convincing their parents that they “need” $12.99/mo or (or $14.99/mo for WoW) to play a time-wasting videogame, and besides, all of their friends are playing Fortnite or first-person shooters.

For the most part, battle in FFXIV consists of you pushing a button every 2.5 seconds, and then your skill automatically hits the enemy. In some fights, especially “boss” fights, parts of the ground turn a different color, a warning that something painful is about to hit, and you have a certain amount of time to run the hell out of the way to a non-indicated area. That’s the extent of the fast reaction time needed, which can still get dicey for a middle-aged person with middle-aged reflexes during intense fights where you have to dodge out of the way but still hit the right buttons to trigger your abilities. But it’s not like Overwatch where I am stuck below 1000 skill rank because I can’t compete against younger players.

While FFXIV has a huge amount of complexity with respect to the many things to do in the virtual world, the game slowly introduces everything to you. You just keep following the “main scenario quests” (which are clearly marked) and you will slowly learn everything about the game. Plus there are some important side-quests marked in blue with a plus sign that unlock things you may need. The other quests you can just ignore. If you select to start a character on a “preferred server,” you get double experience up to level 60, which means that you get all the experience you need by just following the main quests, without having to do any “grinding” or side quests. (“Grinding” means the repetitive killing of monsters or other repetitive activities to gain experience points or other beneficial things like better armor.)

The story behind the main quest isn’t horrible. While I find many of the cut scenes tiresome, some people might enjoy watching the story unfold. One of the important quest-giving NPCs is this blonde babe wearing an outfit that shows off her bare midriff. Yay for fan service!

And there are these evil guys called the Garleans who came from outer space in these steampunk spaceships. You know they are evil because they wear evil-looking armor, and evil music plays during their cut scenes.

The main quest line requires you to do “dungeons” and “trials” along the way, which are instanced activities requiring a group of four. Don’t worry, you don’t need to make any friends, the “Duty Finder” will assign you three random teammates. This is why FFXIV is such a better experience than WoW, because it mixes things up and coaxes you into doing group activities like that. Eventually, when you reach max level and get to the “end game,” most of your time will be spend doing group dungeons and raids. Furthermore, WoW is so old that most of its low-level content has become completely irrelevant to the current state of the game.

It is my understanding that WoW offers a better endgame for the top-tier players because it has the most complex 40-man raids, which I don’t think that FFXIV has, however I have never personally played WoW’s endgame, so I’m just going off of what I read on the internet. My impression is that FFXIV offers a sufficient endgame experience for regular players who are not completely addicted.

FFXIV has a free trial that allows you to play the game up to level 35, which is quite a bit of content. The free trial has no strings attached, the whole game is yours up to level 35, except that a few things that would be useful to gold farmers are turned off: no access to the marketplace (where you can buy and sell to other players), and you can’t initiate chats with other players (to prevent gold sellers from using the free accounts to advertise their wares). Unfortunately, to continue past level 35, you need to buy the game ($60, or $30 if there’s a half-price sale) and then pay $12.99/month.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 31, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Technology

Most-watched games on Twitch

There are some interesting observations here.

For background, Twitch is a website where people can watch other people watch videogames. Theoretically, people can stream other stuff, thus the category “Just Chatting,” but the vast majority of hours spent on Twitch is spent watching videogames.

We can assume that what people are watching on Twitch closely correlates with what games people are playing themselves, because generally, it’s pretty boring to watch someone playing a game that you’re not familiar with. However, it’s possible that some games are more conducive to playing yourself rather than watching. For example, World of Warcraft being so time consuming, who has time to watch other people play it?

The first thing we learn is that videogame success is winner-take-all. The most-viewed game, Fortnite, has more than 6 times as much viewership as Overwatch, the #11 game (really the tenth because “Just Chatting” isn’t a game), and Overwatch in turn has more than 5 times the viewership of Black Desert Online, the #41 game.

World of Warcraft gets talked about a lot around here, but at #12, it’s actually an old and fading game in an old and fading game category. No doubt, the $14.99/mo subscription fee keeps away many players when there now exist much more popular free-to-play games like Fortnite, or in the case of League of Legends, free to get started.

Some readers are going to say, “Lion, why don’t you write about something more important than videogames?” But videogames are very important, because after computers and robots replace all of the jobs, what will humans do all day? I predict a lot of free time will go into playing videogames.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 21, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Technology

Facebook in the news again for bad behavior

Every time I read one of these article, I think about how no one would give a damn about any of this stuff had it not been that a pro-Trump consulting firm was caught doing the same thing that everyone else was doing on Facebook.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 19, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Children on Instagram

There’s a New Republic article complaining that it’s unethical for parents to make money from putting photos of their kids on Instagram.

This seems totally bogus to me. It has always been considered OK to make your kids do chores, so why not make them do something that’s far more economically beneficial to the family than chores?

It has always been considered OK to make your kids play sports, thinking they could have a career in sports, so why not make your kids pose for photos so they can have a future career as a model or influencer?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 17, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Asus UX331UA update

I get weird horizontal lines flickering on the screen after going into the Netflix app and watching in full screen mode and then not. I cannot find any solution in the internet. Uninstalling and reinstalling the Intel video driver did not fix the problem. I’m going to try Asus technical support again.

My advice, now, is to not be a cheapskate and to buy a MacBook if there isn’t some reason you need to use Windows.

* * *


OK, I’ve nailed down the flickering.

Initially the laptop video came with default settings of 60 hz refresh rate and a setting called Panel Self-Refresh enabled.

Set the refresh rate to 48 hz and the screen flickers.

Set Panel Self-Refresh to disabled, and refresh rate at 60, and the screen flickers.

Set refresh rate to 48 hz and set Panel Self-Refresh to disabled, and then no flicker. Not only is there no flicker, there’s no flickering in the Netflix app either.

There’s never any flicker using the external monitor.

Also, flickering goes away when the HDMI cable is attached to the external monitor, even though I’m using the built-in display.

My conclusion: The ASUS is generating some internal electrical interference at 60 hz, because it’s a piece of crap.

So why would Panel Self-Refresh enabled make flickering go away at 60hz? The answer is that when that’s turned on, it actually sends less than 60 refreshes per second to the laptop screen, thus effectively lowering the frequency.

And why do I get flickering at 48hz with the Panel Self-Refresh enabled? Probably because that feature is buggy and is known to cause problems.

And the monitor cable? That acts as a ground and eliminates the electrical interference.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 12, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Daughter’s Instagram in the NY Times

So there’s the article, but where’s the link to the daughter’s Instagram feed so you can figure out what the heck the mother is talking about?

Well, here it is:

I assume the mother wanted it to be unknown, but if she didn’t want people seeing it, she SHOULDN’T HAVE WRITTEN AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT FOR THE NEW YORK F***IN TIMES.

I agree that it’s way more artistic than the typical 15-year-old girl’s Instagram feed. It’s evidence of above-average IQ.

But not artistic enough for her to win any fame as a photographer. For comparison, look at what Olivia Bee was posting on Flickr when she was only 13.

* * *

And this is Pauline’s semi-infamous father, victim of #MeToo, and as far as I can tell, still married to her mother. One wonders if maybe the reason that Pauline was locking herself in her bedroom had to do with family drama around her dad being #MeTooed. What happens when a girl is raised with liberal Kool-Aid, and then learns that her dad is one of the evil toxic males she’s supposed to hate?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 9, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Technology

7-year-old kid makes $22 million/year

This is why you want to start your kids out early on the road to being a social media influencer.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 4, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

War against THOTs

Didn’t know this was happening until I read the article in Wired.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 3, 2018 at EST pm

Do you need to be a pretty woman to be successful on Instagram?

Some of the comments to the last post said something like, “be a pretty woman, duh!”

I think the answer is more nuanced than that.

There are many niches on Instagram where people are successful that don’t require any humans to be in the photos (food, pets, art, etc.), and the sex and physical appearance of the photographer doesn’t matter for those niches.

I have seen some accounts on Instagram that have lots of followers and engagement and the only thing going for the account is that the young woman is astoundingly beautiful. Not just above average, but more like top 1% hotness. But that doesn’t mean it’s a profitable niche to be in. Having a bunch of horny male followers is the worst thing for making money on Instagram, because men don’t look to Instagram to figure out how to spend their money, it is women who do that.

An example of a very profitable account is @gypsea_lust, owned by Lauren Bullen. She’s certainly not ugly, but she’s not the hottest woman on the planet either.

She does have blonde hair, and it’s my impression that blonde hair does better on Instagram (although not 100% sure that’s not my own bias), but pretty blonde hair something that can be obtained by paying a hair stylist. I don’t think that Ms. Bullen is a natural blonde. She’s quite slim, but I’ve seen some women on the chunkier side also do quite well on Instagram.

I think that in order to succeed in the most profitable lifestyle/travel niche, all that’s required is for a woman to be under the age of 40 and not be in the bottom 50% looks-wise. The rest can be made up for with good hair, fashionable clothes, and most importantly the right photography. Remember that most of the followers will be women, and women don’t necessarily want to look at top 1% hotness, they want to follow a woman whose style they can more realistically aspire to.

Most notably, Ms. Bullen’s boyfriend is a photographer (with his own highly followed Instagram account), and that’s one of the keys to success. I think that behind most successful women on Instagram there’s a boyfriend/husband photographer.

I believe that #fitness is an underserved niche. The quality of photography in this niche is pretty dismal. My theory is that women into fitness have musclehead boyfriends, and there’s truth in the stereotype about muscleheads being stupid. They obviously make dismal photographers. I think that an account featuring a fit woman with the same quality of photography as @gypsea_lust would really take off.

* * *

Of course it goes without saying that an account featuring a male influencer has a much harder time taking off. Heterosexual men don’t want to follow other men, at least not other men who feature themselves the way that female influencers do. Men will follow other men who take pictures they are interested in; for example, men who are into fishing will follow men who take fishing-related photos.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 3, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

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