Thoughts on joining the PS4 generation…

Well, I guess it had to happen.  One of the games I play fairly often is DC Universe Online – aka: DCUO.  While I played it on the PS3, there was a limitation that I was terribly frustrated by: higher-leveled characters could use area-of-effect (AOE) spells and powers that just flat toasted my PS3’s graphics card.  The images would lag, load slow, or in worst-case scenarios the image would totally pixelate and the system would lock up.  It wasn’t just my system either – this was a problem lots of PS3 users would talk about in chat.  It has long seemed like the only remedy is to upgrade to a PS4.

In addition to that, there was another game, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO or ESO) which a friend and I have been trying to play together, because we both like the series that preceded it and we can interact in real time even though he’s in Florida and I’m in Kansas.  ESO is not available at all on the PS3, but it IS available to the PS4.

Put both of those paragraphs together, and it was inevitable that I would eventually get a PS4.  About a week ago, I found a listing on eBay where a guy had bought a special (meaning more expensive than normal) edition PS4 as a present for one of his kids, only to find out that the kid didn’t like Star Wars (it has a  Darth Vader silhouette  line sketch on the outside of the box).  So he was selling it (still NEW, in the box) for over $100 off the usual price so he could get a different one as a Christmas present for the kid.  It seemed to me like a win-win, I get the PS4, his kid gets something he likes.

The PS4 arrived ON Black Friday.  I also ordered (via eBay) a copy of the ESO game for the PS4, from a different seller, that arrived at the same time.

First off, the setup process was a LOT more cumbersome than I thought it needed to be.  When I put in my PSN log-in information to access the account I had set up while gaming on the PS3, it went to a loading-screen that displayed a polite little animated swirling circle with the words, “PLEASE WAIT” – and stayed there for over 24 HOURS.  I still don’t know what it was trying to do, but I finally gave up and hit the “Back” button to escape whatever it was doing, and moved on.  Most of my trophies, friend contacts, and other such information seem to have been transferred alright, but I’m still not entirely pleased.

It seems that ESO has some sort of partnership with SONY beyond just making a version of the install software for the PS4.  ESO is a massive, multi-player, online game.  That is all that it is.  There is no game without being online and logged in.  But, ESO won’t even install on the PS4 unless you ALSO have a PSN Plus subscription.  The only real difference between ESO and DCUO is cosmetic, but DCUO was originally released for the PS3, and so does not require the Plus subscription.

I’m pretty disappointed with the PS4, overall.  It is not backwards compatible, which means that none of the games I already have for the PS3 will play on the PS4.  There are no PS4 versions of any of those games, except for Dragon Age: Inquisistion, which I don’t really care for because it’s so different from the other Dragon Age games it should have a different name.  I looked in the Playstation Store, and there aren’t many PS4 games at all, and the ones they do have aren’t games I want to play.

So, it seems that the only reason I now have a PS4 is to play DCUO, or take advantage of the social networking stuff.  If you have a PS4 and want to add a new friend, leave me a message with your ID, and I may hook up.  I would just put my account name here, but automated spam-bots troll the internet specifically looking for things like that.

Facebook’s name-game woes continue…

Facebook has a policy that they expect every user to use their real, legal name on the site.  They also have a policy that their systems people can suspend accounts if there is a reasonable expectation that a user’s listed name is fake or misleading.

Those two policies collided in a spectacular “fail” moment for Facebook when they suspended the account of a Vietnamese man whose name is pronounced “Poo da Bi”.

Being Vietnamese, the spelling is quite different, and the story is hilarious because there are so many ways Facebook might have avoided embarrassment over this, and they pushed it to a full-blown media circus.

Can you spare one?

Frustrations abound.  A couple of months ago, I realized that my PS3 wasn’t keeping up with the changes that are being made in the online games I play.  The last few major updates to DCUO (DC Comics Universe Online) have included some very powerful graphics-hogging area effect powers for characters, and every other online player who uses those is contributing to bogging my PS3 down to near non-playable status.

The only fix, of course, is to upgrade to a PS4, about $350 USD.  That’s not even anything fancy – just getting set up.

However, we’re nowhere close to having that kind of discretionary spending fund at the moment.  This last year we’ve replaced 2 coffee makers, bought an upright freezer (to replace the dis-functional freezer compartment on our refrigerator), replaced a steam kettle, and made 3 runs at the telomere supplements.  Looking at what we have planned over the next year or two, it looks like a safe bet that if we wait until we’ve comfortably saved the funds, I’ll have a brand-spanking-new PS4 about a month before they release the PS5.

Nah, I’m not really begging anyone to send me a PS4 game system.  I just thought that someone else might be interested in knowing they aren’t alone in making choices about priorities in their lives.  If that’s you, this post is for you.  I understand.

the last few days . . .

I’ve been really busy the last few days, though someone outside the house might not think so.  Last Monday a good friend who’s been out-of-touch for a few years called me up and asked about renewing our friendship.  One thing we both have in common is playing video games, so when he suggested we get our respective copies of The Elder Scrolls Online updated (and he had a TON of mods to share with me – I’ve never tried modding an MMO before) we worked out how he would share the mods with me and I started checking out which ones I wanted to use.  Two days later – the game no longer looks familiar!  Not that I played it all that much anyhow – I don’t like MMO’s unless I’m sharing them with someone I already know IRL, AND know their game-play style works with mine.

Anyhow, now I have to sort out which mods I want and don’t, based on how the game experience changes as I play using them.  The first thing I need to do is get rid of a huge dwemer-style clock that is sitting smack-dab in the middle of my screen.  LOL!

I’ve been looking for this . . .

I’ve been looking (literally for YEARS) for a Windows-based screen saver that was nothing more than a basic clock displaying the current system time on the computer.  I’ve seen clock-calendars, appointment schedulers, and all manner of other computer critter – but, not just a basic clock as a screen saver.  Until now.

Meet – New Free Screensavers

which not only offers a digital clock as a basic screen saver, it offers them with a variety of backgrounds, fonts, colors – and analog clock options as well!  I downloaded the Simple Wood Clock (displays the time digitally with a wood paneling background) and Old Digital Clock (digital time with black background and light blue numbers).  I like them both, but ODC is slightly better (IMHO).  Seriously – none of them is a BAD idea, in so far as I know.

Mozilla blocks Adobe Flash Player…

Mozilla has announced that all current versions of Firefox will block Flash by default due to security concerns.

Of course, these security concerns have been known for quite some time, and are responsible for why I haven’t allowed Flash to install on any of my computers for the last 3 years.  Still, it’s good to see Mozilla flex it’s muscle to get something done about them.

New termite feeder…

Yesterday afternoon, during a break in storm activity, the utility company showed up with 2 trucks to plant a new utility pole in our yard.  This is needed in preparation for the new sidewalk, which will be going through where the old pole already was.  The new one is about 5 feet closer to our house.

Of course, that was when I noticed that the FedEx delivery service had left a note telling me that they tried to deliver my new computer.  *groan*  I don’t think he (the delivery man) even bothered to knock.

Anyhow, I am now using the new computer.  For those who care about such things, it’s a Dell desktop:  3.2 GHz cpu, quad core, 8 Gb of RAM, a 1 TB internal HD (along with the 1 TB external drive I already had), and a GeForce GT 720 graphics adapter card.  Oh, and it came bundled with a new keyboard – which proved sort of useful when I realized that my old keyboard wouldn’t work because it didn’t have the right connector!

To get my wife to agree to this, I had to agree to let her use ALL of my VA benefits check for the next 10 months to pay down the credit cards – but that’s alright, since I also got a new copy of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel (an online MMO video game along the lines of Oblivion and Skyrim, complete with the Explorer’s Pack).  I’ll be busy for a while, with the renewal of the friendship with the man who introduced me to modern gaming!

Yesterday was interesting . . .

Back up to Saturday morning.  I was feeling very run-down, no energy, ultra-lethargic.  I didn’t want to do anything.  As a consequence, I spent most of the day Saturday in bed – not sick, just not doing anything.  When my wife went to sleep, I continued sleeping as well.  Woke up around 4:30 Sunday morning, fed the cats at 5, and played video games for a while, but still didn’t feel right.

Around 10:30 Sunday morning, the phone rang.  It was a very dear friend (who introduced me to modern video games with his original X-box – I’ve known him over 10 years) whom I have not talked to in a couple of years.  He needed some help – help he knew I was almost uniquely capable of delivering.  A little bit more specifically, he needed something that is only available from a very small number of people globally, and I happen to know many of them.  So, I wrote down his current contact info and promised to pass it on.

Quickly opening up Skype, the person I wanted to pass it on to was already hooked in, so my part was over in about 5 minutes.

A few hours later, I started to hear thunder.  Yep, we had storms moving in, and my arthritis was loving every bit of it.  Plus today’s forecast is calling for more storms possible – 100% chance tonight.

Oh, and the new laptop?  Perhaps my story will change if I get a good Linux OS for it, but it isn’t really working out.  It can’t surf the internet the way I want.  I seem to remember the ad saying it was supposed to have 8 Gigs of RAM,  but in reality it only has 2.

Keeping more than 3 tabs open in Firefox causes it to bog down and crash Firefox.  So, I ordered a new Quad-core, 3.4 GHz cpu, 8 Gb Ram desktop that will be here in about a week.