I do not understand the obsession with “identifying” with a character

Video games is a weird thing.

So there’s some shit going on right now about how Rust, a game of survival, for whatever reason decides to throw you into the shoes of a random gender, and your stuck with it for life.  Never mind the fact that Rust of all things isn’t a good platform for being Politically Correct or Morality Policing with shit like this being the norm

But “People are Freaking Out“? Really?

It stems from this weird outcry lately of game players decidedly only playing games now if they can “identify” with who they’re playing as.  This is an aspect of game playing I literally just can’t understand.

Oh, I get a persons innate desire to have the adventure all for themselves, but the problem is that you do not translate into the adventure, at least not until true Interactive Storytelling becomes a norm.

When people pour umpteen million hours into the character creation tools of Elder Scroll and later Fallout games, what is this for? Nothing you choose here has any effect on the game whatsoever, and it’s not online so no one will see your hard work, what’s actually stopping you from just smashing the “Accept” button on the default chosen template and going from there?  Nothing. Actually nothing. Nothing at all.

And that’s fine, this is a series that thrives on having an adventure around you, and your just along for the ride. You have no voice, no major impacting interaction with the environment (in fact you can steal someones shit and they will just never notice), and only a bare minimal consequence when it comes to the dialogue trees.

And that’s the pull with blank check characters. Unlike experiences such as Dungeons and Dragons where imagination is the only limit to what can happen, video games are defined by limitations and working within them.  We’ve come a long way, but the myth of true Interactive Storytelling is still a ways off, as people like Chris Crawford can tell you, who has spent his entire career chasing this dream. This is why in a role playing video game where you get to create the character from top to bottom, the world will never be able to truly understand who you are and what you do in their universe.

I dont know about you, but I look at character driven media fondly, and why? Because they have personalities and flaws that help push a narrative and build a world around them. The fact of the matter is, not everything needs “choice”, and not everything needs to pander to you as a person to be an excellent adventure and narrative.

The statement “because it doesn’t matter what the gender is, the same things can happen whether they’re female or male” works as a double edge sword to those who throw it around, as then why is there a problem in the first place being forced into an established character, regardless of their gender/race/orientation? If it shouldn’t matter what gender they are represented as in the game, why should it matter what the choice of the designers took? it’s the same game, enjoy it for how it’s designed.

Never in my entire life of playing video games, have I ever felt a detriment to the experience if I was “forced” into a “role” I didn’t completely identify with. Because I don’t let pettiness destroy my enjoyment of things, and neither should you. I didn’t feel “taken out” of the experience when playing as Faith anymore than I did playing as Dante. I didn’t feel I was being misrepresented when playing obvious over-sexualized and objectified male roles like Chris Redfield any-more than I felt uncomfortable playing as obviously over-sexualized objectified Ivy in Soul Calibre.  I didn’t feel weird playing as Bayonetta any less than playing as Solid Snake.

These are characters, they aren’t supposed to represent ME as a person, they are representations of characters as defined by the designers spinning an experience.

That’s not to say that the fight for equal representation is won. There are definitely plenty of games out there starving for a female character where there is only and needlessly male choice. Counter-Strike is my favourite example here. For all the updates it’s received in 16 years, still no female character on either side?

But if we’re going to seriously sit here and perpetuate this “I’m a girl, so take your male lead as an only option and shove it” and “im forced into a female role but im a dude so I don’t know what do with myself” nonsense in video games, why not go the whole mile?

You know what, I don’t feel Harry Potter had enough feminism in it, please J. K. Rowling, re-release every book and movie but instead of Harry Potter, it’s Henrietta Potter and replace all the male pronouns with female pronouns please. ONLY THEN WILL I BUY INTO YOUR FANTASY.

You know, I don’t feel as though Hunger Games was as strong as if I could have a choice to buy into a male version of the books and movies. Please re-release a new series of Hunger Games but instead of Katniss please replace with Keith Everdeen but keep Gale as a love interest.

It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Like what’s the point of an artist or designer if every single lead character has to be this weird blank mute slate so every single person in the world can slot themselves into it.

This is all getting extremely ridiculous.  But it does boil down to artistic and design integrity.  A couple of extremely good examples of companies holding their ground come to mind.  Like this response in the No More Room in Hell games Steam Forum:

That is an appropriate response to the nonsensical notion of “your [insert thing here]’s stop where my feelings begin” over-sensitivity to unnecessary topics.

The other one? Blizzard, me and you have never really gotten along but this.. this was savage and amazing of you.

This was apparently too objectified and over sexual
This was apparently too objectified and overly sexual

Some people took problem with this pose that Tracer, a character in Blizzards new game OverWatch, strikes.

In a controversial move, Blizzard said “We hear you, we weren’t happy with the pose any ways, so we’re going to change it” much to everyone who tripped over themselves to be offended’s rejoice. What they got in return?

Trolling level: Unbelievable
Trolling level: Unbelievable
slack-imgs.com.0
This is the original pin-up pose that they decided to copy

While I think it was a bit gratuitous to do this, it did tell me that Blizzard wasn’t taking anyone’s shit. They hired and trust their designers to do their job well, and they will stick by their integrity instead of pandering to the latest bleating sheep calls of the overly sensitive who most likely wouldn’t purchase their product in the first place.

Spring Time

And no I’m not referring to the weather

I struggled for three solid days to get a properly configured connection to a Postgre database,  three days! I finally got it,  by seeking out a github repo that accomplished what I was looking to do already. The docs? Unhelpful.

A lot of my problem stemmed from a situation where I thought I grabbed spring,  through this “spring boot” thing it talked about.  Wasn’t sure what Boot was exactly but it looked like a quick and easy way to get going.  This came with zero configuration files and ran out of the box with gradle.  At this point we could see a page that said “lol”  on it and I was able to move some files around to make more structural sense.  We were stoked to really get started.

So my next task was to establish a database connection,  preferably with Hibernate ate if it could be swung easily enough, of not a basic JdbcTemplate file demonstrating an executed query would have sufficed.  It’s even here where I hit a wall.

Accurate representation
Accurate representation

This wall erected because I was missing a few things: jdbc overall,  Postgre drivers,  and configuration for… anything, really.  I added jdbc and Postgre to the gradle builder and let it do its “magic”, which it failed repeatedly to accomplish doing. Despite the maven repo giving me exactly what I needed to plunk into gradle,  it simply refused to download anything. For both jdbc and Postgre drivers. After fucking around for seemingly forever trying to get a query to execute and messing with downloaded jar versions,,  cursing because a fresh project is already getting messy.. My partner in this project pointed out Spring Initializer.

Spring Initializer is a tool that let’s you choose a huge repository of plugins and components to bundle in pre-configured into spring boot, ready to go.  At this point my faith in gradle was nil and every person on the planet talked about maven instead of gradle,  so we went with maven this time.  And hallelujah,  it got everything! It was like Christmas! Except I still didn’t have a connection..

a little too literal
a little too literal

The next day was all about jumping around the documentation.  See the problem I have with the documentation is it pulls the greatest docs sin: assumes you have everything.   In this case,  spring boots docs just assumed I already have a configuration xml or configuration class ready to go.  Not even initializer came with one.  I was stuck again trying to find information,  any information at all,  about the configuration file.  What it’s called,  where it needs to be,  and what it’s schema is.  Because all I’m getting from the docs is stubbed snippets of the config needed for just that thing.   And that’s not right.  And the examples that do feature using things like JdbcTemplate? In memory configuration-less h2 database. Ugh.

Eventually after failing to find spots which talked about the vital STRUCTURE of a spring boot app,  I did a last ditched effort and went to github,  looking for spring samples.  I hit a treasure trove repo which contained samples to do a huge variety of things in spring,  but lacked the one thing I was looking for: connecting to a database.   Oh make no mistake there was a single jdbc sample there,  but it Too made only a passing mention about “the config xml” without actually saying what it is,  where it’s at,  or what it looks like,  it just said “add your connection info to it”

At this point,  I’m ready to call into question what I’m doing all this for. This is torture.  Until I stumbled upon my saving grace, another repo,  explicitly dedicated to setting up spring boot with Hibernate and Postgre.   I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Im-So-Happy-Right-Now-Reaction-Gif

Following this persons repo got me up and running in 4 minutes. I had to make some light adjustments as I think he was just using spring and I was using boot,  but nonetheless the vitals were all there.

So now we’re rocking a connection,  a data class persisting back and fourth,  a template engine, and a now configured host with heroku.

What’s next? Well..  I’m currently looking at scala.

I get to see my family again tomorrow

This blog has been a bit cathartic to me. At least, I think that’s the right word I need to use.  I started really publishing to this thing as a means to keep my mind busy while my wife and daughter took a trip to see the little ones grandparents. They live in a city four or so hours away, so naturally I come back to work and get to hang out on my own.

These moments are quite the double edged sword, and just as predictable as magic. On one hand, I get an opportunity to come and go and do pretty much anything I want without having to worry about being somewhere or doing something else out of inherent parental and spousal responsibility.  I love being a husband and I love being a father, and this is supposed to be a win/win scenario. Kid gets to see her grandparents and cousins, wife gets to see her family too, and I do the aforementioned lifestyle to get caught up on whatever I need to. We do this twice a year, and the length of time varies, though it’s anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks at a time.

Wooooo! It's like a vacation from real life!
Wooooo! It’s like a vacation from real life!

The past few times we’ve done this however, have been killer on me. I miss my wife dearly, but being away from my kid for so long, hurts me in ways I thought I were immune to.  I miss coming home to the sounds of her rushing the door to greet me after coming home from work. I miss her grabbing my hand, leading me to her room to play blocks and legos. I miss playing video games and watching movies with her. And the part that stings the worst is I miss hugging her tightly.  Out of everything, I probably miss that the most.  She is my world.

My wife is my rock through and through, she keeps me on the straight and narrow (which I need) and helps me stay organized and productive. Keeps me motivated, keeps me level headed, and gives me everything I need as a reason to live my daily life as I do.

My daughter is my heart and soul. I’m so lucky to have a kid like her. She’s so happy, cheerful, caring, sensitive, yet reserved. She trusts her parents to guide her straight and true, and in return she gives us her love and respect. It’s so easy being her parent, it’s so rare that she does anything intentionally malicious, it’s even more rare when he’s truly angry at anything.  She’s a loving little individual who prefers to see people happy than anything else.

I can't wait for these again
I can’t wait for these again

And I’m not just saying that as her parent. I truly do mean that.  She will NOT let me leave for work without dragging her mother over to give me a goodbye hug (nor will she let her leave until we’ve had a goodbye group hug either). If your hurt, sad, injured, or anything other than happy, she will drop everything to come and cheer you up,  it doesn’t matter what it was that caused it.  And it’s not just us, it’s her friends too. Ever since she seemed to grasp the concepts of compassion, she’s also been extending that sweet loving side of hers to her baby/toddler friends too. They arent allowed to be totally sad for long, she will give them a hug, take them by the hand, and go play.

She’s truly the best.

My daughter not pictured here, but her compassion looks like this
My daughter not pictured here, but her compassion looks like this

 

I miss you girls, it’s been super tough this time around without you!  can’t wait to see you again tomorrow! 🙂

 

Java Spring, the ol college try

It is no secret whatsoever that I have not been a fan of Java,  for quite some time now.  I didn’t like it in high school,  I didn’t like it when I was writing android apps (ironic that my proposal to my wife was written as an android app), and certainly not for many things.

The thing is,  I don’t hate the syntax.  I love OOP,  and Java is about as purebred OOP as it gets.  No,  I hated the ecosystem that surrounds Java development.  The tool chains,  the dependencies,  the headaches go into full swing when all that comes within a few feet from me. So imagine my shock when I was thinking about which platform to start building a new project with,  and decided on Spring?

with a capital Q
with a capital Q

I was actually quite impressed with how fast it took me to build out something that returned a Hello World on a page, and even more impressed with how fast it took to transform that request into a dynamic RESTful API, complete with json output.  Having been exposed to Java applications, it’s just always been kind of Java’s thing to serve up XML as the serialization of choice, at least to me anyways.  Well no more it seems!

Even more impressive was when it came time to get my friend to try building it too. He grabbed IDEA 2016, opens the folder, typed “gradle build && gradle bootRun” and he was up and running, able to see the same thing I was.  No hassle, no fuss.  This is clearly not the same levels of frustration I’d had only even a couple years ago. This is a totally different beast now… I can’t wait to explore it further!

me, anytime discovering something is awesome, after having written it off
me, anytime discovering something is awesome, after having written it off

Blood Pressure Rising…

If there’s one thing I can genuinely say bugs and annoys me beyond belief, is when people write stories primarily regarding subject matter that the author has maybe a Google search surface level understanding of. This is one of those stories.

Disclosure: I don’t blame CorpseHusband here, this is not his fault as it’s (to.. my best assumption) not his primary. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I can’t quite frankly blame him for narrating creepypasta’s on subjects regarding the deep web as it’s a hot topic and guaranteed some views and likes.  But it is stories like this that cause reactive descriptions like this:

WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT AND LANGUAGE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. The Deep Web / Dark Web is a very real and scary place..
Let me know what you guys thought of this one
~ Corpse Husband

The Deep Web is indeed real, but it’s no more “scary” than any alleyway in your own neighbourhood. Just because you dont travel down it out of a complete un-need to do so, doesn’t make it a bad place.  Sure, people may try peddling some drugs, and the underbelly tend to congregate in areas outside of the “clear view” out of necessity to facilitate away from whistleblowers and authority, but on your average moment it’s nothing more than just another area for cars and pedestrians to freely meander to their hearts desire.  And quite frankly, once the novelty of it wears off, it becomes just another paved area.

Absolutely, there’s enough to be frightened of there, but I could argue it’s still just as hazardous on the surface web as well. You don’t even have to try all that hard to find “scary” websites that may or may not be legitimate, authority honeypot traps, or hacker phishing or thievery scams up here. The common “netizen” falls for these legitimately every second of the day.

Don’t be afraid of it, because there’s no need to be.  It’s not a friendly place exactly, but then neither was the internet we all came to know and love back in the day.


Something else that really got to me about that video, was the actual creepypasta itself.  The first three minutes were all I needed to get a clear understanding that the author of that story only had a base understanding of most of those buzzwords being thrown out there. *sigh*

71% Want the Dark Net Shut Down

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160329/15041234047/71-want-dark-net-shut-down-showing-most-have-no-idea-what-dark-net-is.shtml

Articles like this make me shake my head.

People need to realize the “Dark Web” is just what our normal web used to be like. Remember, d87ad9a3byb87y6gfasd.com is also just as hidden as dif87u8sdnw2234234ds.onion, except that the .onion needs Tor to access it, and the .com can potentially be seen and crawled by a search engine (setup your robots file to keep them away, or lock it away with a HTTPBasicAuth gate)

deepwebinfo
Simple explanation, though not sure why “Social Media” is so low, that’s about as theoretically high as it gets

Your “Hidden Service” can be used for whatever you please, like a forum for private invite-only discussion (in case your group keeps getting banned from facebook lol), it can be used as a super private yet still accessible repository of stuff, it can be used for writings, blogs, private recruitment, ecommerce, services exchange, the list goes on.  Wait.. doesn’t that sound like any regular old .com? Why yes… yes it does doesn’t it?

What Hackers Look Like
2spooky4me

One of the most barbaric Quora Posts I’ve ever seen

Source: https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-discourage-my-son-from-learning-programming

How do I discourage my son from learning programming?

I hate the work-life balance and the constant need to update skills. As an Indian IT  was the only way out.

I had to choose IT for getting out but my son is outside of India and I feel  does not have to go through this. Ironically he takes lot of interest in IT now.

How do I discourage him ?

I … just.. can’t.. even process this right now…………..