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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

On the Keyboard Liberation Front

So, I'm going to preface this by saying that this is NOT sponsored content, and that I'm in no way getting any kind of compensation from the ZAGG corporation.   I feel I have to note that, because this is going to sound so much like an infomercial it's almost sickening.

As a writer and journalist, I find myself spending a lot of time in front of my computer, but I wouldn't necessarily like to.  Right now, for example, I'm taking a bit of break (as you've noticed) from writing regular blog entries.  The impending "Civil War II: This Time It's Cultural" happening in the USA prompted me out of my torpor but I actually found myself 'away from keyboard' at the time.  As much as I love the modern convenience of Android devices, the one problem you face as a writer is that you can't really write a big blog entry (much less an article for a website, and much much less an RPG product) using screen-tapping and auto-correct.

I had, in the past, remembered with fondness a PalmPilot I had, which had a keyboard you'd plug it onto.  I actually wrote a significant part of my Thesis on that thing, while hanging out in my favorite cafe at that time (the Cafe Le Gare, in Edmonton, which sadly has long since vanished).   So naturally, when I got my first tablet I thought of trying to reproduce the experience with a bluetooth keyboard.

The problem is they are almost all utter shit.  I had one keyboard/case hybrid device for my old Google Nexus 7, and that was great.  I got a lot done with that.  But after I retired the Nexus I never manged to find any portable keyboard that worked.

There were many that were too big. What's the fucking point of having a PORTABLE keyboard if you can't carry it around with you easily?!
There were a ton of others that were just generally pieces of crap; they would fail to connect, had batteries that quickly died, would suddenly and spontaneously lose their bluetooth connection or even had to be re-linked.   The cheaper ones never lasted long, and worse they often looked and felt like shit (if you spend a really serious amount of time typing, like thousands and thousands of words per day, you know what I mean abouut the difference between a keyboard that feels like your fingers are touching mush and nice powerful keys that make you feel like you're a piano player or something).

At one point, a couple of years back, I tried to shell out nearly $100 for a Microsoft Portable Keyboard.  It seemed great because it folded up and took up literally less space in your bag than an old CD would. But it too was complete crap.  The thing was advertised as being multi-system (Apple, Windows, Android), and I have no idea how it did in the other systems (one would kind of hope they could at least get it to work right with Windows, but you can never really tell with Microsoft), but with Android it never worked right for me even once. It would take 50 tries to get it to connect, then minutes later would disconnect and you'd have to resynch it to your device from scratch.

So I'd practically given up.  But I really needed something to use if I was going to write a blog entry, and so I went and decided to take a chance on the Zagg Universal Keyboard.

Man, what a world of difference. First, it's freaking pretty.  It's also small and super-slim. You can use its protective cover to work as a stand for your device (convenient).  But mainly, the most important thing is that it FREAKING WORKS!

It had no-hassle connection, like, none at all. and it's great to type on and responds fantastically well.

This, for someone like me, is potentially life-changing. Now, I'll be able to rant abouut how people are wrong on the internet from almost anywhere, not just the comforts of The Abbey.

Hell, I might write my next book on this thing.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Rhodesian A + Image Latakia

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Clarification on Charlottesville

Just to be clear:

If some Nazi wants to march at my side at a Free Speech rally, I'm no one to stop him. So long as he doesn't try to turn said march into a Nazi rally, obviously.

But if someone wants me to march with Nazis, in support of them, because we "must unite the right"?

Fortunately, almost all the right feels exactly the same way. The New Right is a massive populist movement. It doesn't need to "unite" with about 2000 assholes who hate Jews and want to purge the impure for "blood and soil" bullshit.

You know who really needs that, though? The Left. If you watch the coverage of this shitty little rally at Charlottesville (dwarfed by 2nd Berkeley, and countless Free Speech rallies, or any Trump rally ever), they will desperately want you to think all the New Right endorses the gang of inbred cunts who were doing seig heils.

So remember that: don't fall for Fake News.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Diplomat + Burlington's Dublin

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Perils of Technology

I have a plane to catch.  I wake up with one hour till I have to be at the airport.

I usually make my coffee at home with an old fashioned hand grinder & a Vietnamese coffee filter. No electric parts.
But where I'm staying, there's one of these demonic capsule machines.  I have seen it used, & this one looks as straightforward as possible; put in capsule, press big button, coffee comes out.

I put in the capsule. I push the button. Nothing comes out.
There are no other buttons. The screen shows no errors. I figured I might have put the capsule in wrong. I try again. Nothing.
I unplug the machine, thinking maybe it hung & needs rebooting. No change.

Soon I'm thumping the sides of the damn thing like a Neanderthal, violently opening & closing it, howling at the damn beast to give me my fucking coffee! But it refuses, the fucking monstrosity just will not work.  So I head out to the patio overlooking the majestic woodland scene I've been enjoying these many days, trying to see if I can smoke my pipe, sans coffee, before we have to rush to the airport.

My travelling companion is up now, & comes out, & I warn her about the monstrous machine that fails to make coffee.

She tells me "did you press the touchscreen?"

TOUCHSCREEN?! Why on Kek's green Earth does a fucking One-Button coffee machine need a fucking touchscreen?!  What is this monstrous dystopia of first-world futurism I have stumbled into??!

She quickly makes me a coffee, and then as we head out, slightly late, to the airport, I thank Kek that back home I can still follow the simple ways, where so long as my arms don't fail me, & I have beans and hot water, I will always have coffee.

Seattle was lovely, by the way.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Billiard + Image Latakia

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A boy & his dog

You may ask why I haven't been writing.

This is why:

This is Opal, who has been a constant companion these last few days.

She's pretty much the best dog in the world.


Currently Smoking: Neerup billiard + Image Latakia

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

DCC Campaign: The story so far

I've been posting my DCC updates here every couple of weeks for the last long while.  So much so that I got to thinking: there's probably regular readers of this blog now that weren't here when this campaign started, over 4 years ago.

It's also possible some of you newer readers also don't frequent the Pundit Subforum of theRPGsite. So, for all of you, and anyone else who wants a laugh, I give you the Whole Fucking Trainwreck.

That link goes to the official archive of all my hilarious DCC Last Sun campaign logs, dating from 2013 until August 2016 (the archive posts 1 year behind, so for all the more recent clusterfucks you'll still have to search here).  You can also see how both my campaign & my posts about it evolved, becoming more Gonzo and complex and hilarious and frankly spectacular as time goes on.

So, enjoy! And stay tuned for more!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti half volcano + Burlington's October Morning