Thanksgiving . . .

Thanksgiving is – supposedly – a day set aside by the entire nation (here in the United States) to remember the reasons we have to give thanks.  Everything from veterans who have maintained our right to self-governance, to family and friends, and even our individually chosen faiths.

In that vein, I’d like to take a few moments to list some things I’m giving thanks for this year.

My wife, My friends, what remains of my health – those should be obvious, but I feel the need to list them anyhow.

I’m also thankful for something that happened literally yesterday.  I’d been sleeping, and when I awoke I tried to turn on my PS4 to check for activity in the communities I’m a member of.  The fact that 5 of those communities trust me to be a moderator makes this something I take seriously.

But, yesterday when I turned on the PS4, I could not get an image on the TV – no matter what I tried to do.  After several minutes of fighting with it – I told my wife that I thought we needed help.  I called our local electronics repair guru, only to find out from his wife/receptionist that he was out of town and they wouldn’t be able to help me before Monday.

So my wife called a local 2nd hand store to see if they had any PS4 units for sale.  They had one – a PS4 Pro with 1 Terabit hard drive – for $350.  We drove over there and bought it.  Then my wife dropped me off while she ran a few other errands before the holiday today.

Meanwhile, I began the process of installing the “new” PS4.  As I was removing the old unit – I noticed that the HDMI cable didn’t look right.  I checked the back of the old unit – and part of the HDMI cable was still stuck in the slot.  After pulling it out – I took the HDMI cable from the new unit and plugged it into the circuit  – and had a working PS4 again!  So, I called my wife and told her to stop and buy a new HDMI cable to replace the one I was using, and we returned the unit so someone who needed it can buy it.  The cost – aside from the driving and time – for the whole repair was about $10.

But, there is another thing about that which I am thankful for.  It hasn’t been so long ago that my wife and I had a very hard time with our finances, and even paying rent + utilities was a challenge.  Yet, in the years since, we’ve grown to where we can make a $350 purchase without sweating about it.  Even after spending over $10k on home and car maintenance during the 2017 calendar year.

THAT is a major victory for us.


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.

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.