You can pick up a Steam Controller for five bucks now

When I was a younger, much less experienced man, I bought a Steam controller. It cost me close to $100 in Canadian funds, but I thought it'd be well worth it. A controller that's great, according to the propaganda, for playing everything from point-and-click adventure games to the latest shooters? Who the hell wouldn't want that?

As it turns out, I did not want that.

I used it a few times before breaking down and buying an Xbox wireless controller to use instead. I dug that the Steam Controller allowed you to pretty much map PC game to it to allow for some epic couch gaming sessions. I loathed how cheap it felt and that, even when it was properly mapped to my PC games, It's poor accuracy made for a shitty gaming experience.

From Engadget:

Four years after Valve released its oddball Steam Controller, it's not making any more. The controller is on sale today for $5 -- that's 90 percent off its list price of $49.99 -- and a note in the Steam Store warns that there's a limited quantity remaining. Once those controllers are gone, Valve doesn't plan to make more, The Verge reports.

While most reviewers originally wrote the Steam Controller off as too weird, Valve sold over 500,000 in the first six months. It became one of the most configurable gaming devices -- you could play Street Fighter V strictly with motion controls or Serious Rocket League with the grips programmed for acceleration/brake and drift/boost.

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Elisabeth Moss gets driven crazy in The Invisible Man

Universal's attempts to make their shared Dark Universe full of updated iterations of classic movie monsters, has so far, been kind of a failure. Sure The Mummy was flashy and filled with big names. but its script was lacking in the substance that made the original film so great. And while it wasn't a Dark Universe film, Universal's The Wolfman suffered from the same problem.  From the looks of things, Universal's intellectual property losing streak may well change with The Invisible Man.

If the trailer is anything to go by,iIt looks to be full of suspense and possesses a plot that might put bums in seats once the reviews come in. That Elisabeth Moss, versatile actor that she is, has been cast as the lead gives me hope that maybe this will be a Universal monster movie worth the price of admission. Read the rest

The wee black dots that outline your windshield: explained

Don’t frit. Everything will soon be revealed.

Image via publicdomainpictures Read the rest

MUSIC: 'Come on Up to the House — Women Sing Waits' is outstanding

Tom Waits is 70 years old this year. Read the rest

What it takes to become qualified as a Shaolin Master

This fella devotes eleven years to way of life more difficult than many of us will ever understand. Meanwhile, I get upset when I have to wait more than three minutes for my coffee at the drive-thru. Read the rest

What to do if you're caught up in a tear gas attack

Protesting the rise of right-wing populism and our increasingly oppressive nations is so hot right now. Ideally, living in a democratic society (at least for now) as we do, Americans and Canadians have the stone-cold privilege of being able to assemble and protest peacefully without fear of violence from extremist nuts, the police and, why the hell not, the military.

In theory.

As they say, life comes at you pretty fast. Sometimes, life comes at you firing tear gas (which often isn't actually a gas at all but rather, 'aerosolized solid or liquid compounds.) Wong Tsui-kai of YoungPost offers some fine, hard-earned tips on what to do to keep yourself and those around you as safe from the compound inside of the canister lobbed your way as possible.

Leave the area to fresh air, ideally to high ground as the vapour is heavier than air. If it is used in a building, exit the building. Keeping your arms outstretched will help the gas come off your clothing. Do not rub your eyes, as that will only agitate the crystals and make it more painful. Rinse away the chemical from your eyes and skin with large amounts of clean water or saline. An eye flush can be done by tilting the head sideways and letting the water travel from the inner eye to the outer corner, aiming the stream at the bridge of the nose. Make sure not to let the liquid flow to the other eye, spreading the chemical. The affected person should keep their eyes open during the rinse.
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Civ VI's Gathering Storm expansion is now available on iOS

I already purchased Civilization VI's The Gathering Storm expansion for my Mac, becasue of course I did. There's not a lot of games that my 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina can play that I enjoy—Civ is one of them. I've been farting around with Sid Meir's games since the mid-1990s and my enthusiasm for his titles has only been crushed once. Sid, if for some reason you're reading this, Beyond Earth should have been an add-on for Civilization V. All on its lonesome, it was kind of a lame duck.

Anyway, The Gathering Storm.

In this, the second add-on to Civilization VI, players are introduced to the misery of natural disasters. Build on a flood plain, sooner or later, you're going to have a bad day. Set up shop in the tundra and you may be visited by a winter storm. Drought is a distinct possibility and don't get me started on volcanoes. The upside of all of this potential carnage is that, in the wake of some of the disasters, new opportunities to improve the lot of your cities becomes possible. Flooding leads to rich farmland, for example (but, unless you research and invest in technology to stop future flooding your peasants are going to be pissed when everything gets washed out again.) These problems add a welcome layer of strategy to a game that I've shamefully invested close to 100 hours in when I should have been writing my damn book. Now, it's not enough now that you have to worry about being influenced by other civilizations. Read the rest

Jörg Sprave is back with a new version of his repeating bow

I've often wondered what having Jörg Sprave as a neighbor would do for your home's property value. Read the rest

Apple doesn't want to hear what you think about their stuff anymore

Until very recently, having bought something from Apple's online store, you could leave a comment describing how you felt about it. Here are some examples:

I paid a metric ass-ton of money for this aluminum laptop. I will not be able to buy groceries for a month, becasue of the financial hit I took. However, the laptop is extremely well-made and will last me many years. What the fuck do you mean I'm holding it the wrong way? My iPad still does iPad stuff, but I'm happy I bought this new ipad, all the same. Does the keyboard still suck?

These are all worthy notes that could help an intrepid online shopper to make an informed buying decision. Apparently, Apple doesn't care for this sort of thing anymore.

From AppleInsider:

On November 17, Apple removed the "Ratings & Reviews" section from all product pages on the Apple website. It is currently unclear what has prompted this decision, nor when Apple will bring back the option to read the opinions of other customers at the time of purchase.

The reviews were pulled over the weekend, though it's not clear as to why this has happened. Apple had been known for leaving up even especially negative reviews, which demonstrated both transparency and integrity to their customers.

Transparency and integrity, who's got time for that sort of thing?

As I do most of my shopping in-store when I need a new Apple widget or the repair of an old one, I'm curious to find out whether the company's practice of sending a post-purchase 'how did we do' email will still be something that they do, given the new direction that they're taking. Read the rest

Spirit of The West's John Mann dead at 57 years old

The music of Spirit of The West has been a part of my life since my early teens. The band's lead singer and oft-time song writer, John Mann, was a joyful beast on stage. I saw SOTW live on a number of occasions over the years. They were great, every time. John's energetic rapport with the audience made sure of that. But my favorite time seeing John perform was when he was touring his solo album, Mister Mann. The show was intimate, quiet and lovely. It's a happy memory for me.

John Mann passed away today at the age of 57 due to complications from early onset Alzheimer disease.

From Spirit of the West's homepage:

With deep sadness we announce that John Fraser Mann (OBC) has passed away peacefully in Vancouver, the inevitable result of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease with which he was diagnosed several years ago.

Surrounded by friends and loving family until the end, all were reminded of John’s rich legacy. He was a potent force in music, acting — onstage, in movies and on television, and was world renowned as a songwriter. As well, he was a foresightful activist and charitable figure for several worthwhile organizations. His work will resound long after his untimely passing.

His career spanned nearly 40 years and included multiple film roles, numerous star turns in theatre, and fame as lead singer and spell-binding front-person of Canadian musical group ‘Spirit of the West’.

John was a man of uncommon courage, was a loyal and beloved friend, a gentleman of great social conscience, and a soul brimming with creativity and enthusiasm.

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Amnesty International: Google and Facebook spell trouble for human rights

Amnesty International has had just about all that it cares to take of Google and Facebook's profiting off of our personal information. In a recent report, the international human rights charity stated that they were deeply concerned that the two companies mass surveillance ventures were making large scale human rights violations an easy go for anyone with access to the information and ill-intent.

From TechCrunch:

“[D]espite the real value of the services they provide, Google and Facebook’s platforms come at a systemic cost,” Amnesty warns. “The companies’ surveillance-based business model forces people to make a Faustian bargain, whereby they are only able to enjoy their human rights online by submitting to a system predicated on human rights abuse. Firstly, an assault on the right to privacy on an unprecedented scale, and then a series of knock-on effects that pose a serious risk to a range of other rights, from freedom of expression and opinion, to freedom of thought and the right to non-discrimination.”

If this argument sounds vaguely familiar to you, then you've been paying attention to this nonsense. As TechCrunch points out, the points that Amnesty International makes have been brought before by the United Nations, Zeynep Tufekci and Shoshana Zuboff—an organization and pair of noted scholars anyone would do well to listen to.

This feels like a topic better left to Cory Doctorow to explain than a chump like me, but let's have a go at it anyway.

By agreeing to Facebook or Google's terms of service, you're agreeing to allowing them to use and abuse your private information. Read the rest

When Bernie met Bernie

Obviously, there's a glitch in the political matrix. Read the rest

Nicaragua continues to be on its bullshit

It's been a while since we talked about Nicaragua, but the nefarious crap that's been going on in the Central American nation for more than a year hasn't stopped. In fact, according to the United Nation's human rights office, things are most certainly getting worse.

From Reuters:

The U.N. human rights office on Tuesday criticized the arrest of 16 anti-government protesters in Nicaragua accused of arms trafficking, saying that the charges appeared to have been “trumped-up.”

On Monday, Nicaraguan authorities said the 16 detainees included student protesters such as Nicaraguan and Belgian national Amaya Coppens, who has been arrested previously.

Nicaraguan police also said the protesters were suspected of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the Central American country, which has been roiled by demonstrations against the administration of President Daniel Ortega since April last year.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman in Geneva for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told reporters the arrests looked like an attempt to silence criticism of the government.

So yeah, same greasy tricks, different year and people. President/ gutter trash dictator Daniel Ortega and his Vice President/power hungry despot/wife Rosario Murillo have been using their nation's military, police and masked militia-types to terrorize those opposed to their government's abusive policies for over a year now.

Violence and incarceration have been used as ways to shut up members of Nicaragua's judiciary, students protestors, intellectuals, members of the media and anyone else willing to stand up to the Ortega government. It's believed that at least 320 civilians have been murdered since protests, sparked by Ortega's plans to screw with his citizen's social security system, started in April of 2018. Read the rest

This bear's bōjutsu science is tight

I mean, holy shit. Read the rest

There's a new iOS update out but maybe wait before installing it

I love what iOS 13 has brought to my iPhone's party. I'm not attached, however, to how frigging buggy it's been. Read the rest

How to easily batch geotag DSLR photos in Lightroom

Having spent hundreds of dollars on glass tripods and other camera accessories for my iPhone, it's fair to say that I'm neck-deep in love with iPhone photography. However, there are still some situations where pulling up my trust Sony RX100 III to capture a moment is a better choice. It's a wonderful camera, but it lacks GPS. To get around this issue, after taking a photo with my RX100, I often snap off a throwaway shot with my iPhone for the sake of capturing the location information. I've been doing it for years.

This video covers a bit of this, but it also goes a step further by illustrating how to batch import GPS coordinates for a single location into multiple images via Lightroom Classic. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to preform the trick described in the video using Lightroom for iOS or Android, but it works a treat with the desktop version of the app.

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Why airport gates are so damn far apart

I mean, it’s fascinating, but it doesn’t make me loath sprinting to make my connecting flight any less.


Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

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