Opinion

Finding a new home…

Finding a new home…

Sar Crux is no more, either as a twitter handle or a domain name…

Yes the domain, sarcrux.com will still point here, but that will eventually expire, so try to update your bookmarks before that! ūüôā

Why the reason for the change? Continue reading →

Posted by Sar in Gaming, News, Opinion, Personal, Website, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
Still alive #isurvived2016

Still alive #isurvived2016

Don’t worry, I’m still around ūüôā

Been taking a break from WoW due to burn out, and been enjoying the time off away from the game over Xmas & New Year, especially as I got a PS4 from Mrs Sar for Chrimbo ūüėÄ

I’ve got a¬†pretty hard case of burnout from grinding AP for 3 months straight, so time away is doing me good, especially ahead of Nighthold releasing in 12 days.

Been playing quite a lot of Overwatch too, and enjoying getting into it again. D.Va is my girl, and she can do no wrong! ūüôā

Expect more regular updates and posts soon too, as I’ve been taking a bit of a writing break over December, mainly due to the amount of assignments and coursework I had to do throughout Nov/Dec for my degree course, but the biggest cock-block has been my work firewall blocking this site because they say it’s “game-related”. And guess where I at least draft write a lot of my posts?

Pfft.

Anyhow, hope you have all had a great Xmas & New Year, and had a great time with your loved ones ūüôā

Posted by Sar in Gaming, News, Opinion, Personal, 0 comments
That’s my secret, I’m always angry…

That’s my secret, I’m always angry…

 

Angry.

Really, properly, angry.

A white-hot, incandescent, rage-fuelled, burning, seething, roiling, pure, barely restrained anger.

That’s how I’ve felt since the result of the EU Referendum was announced in the early hours of Friday morning, when the UK had, incomprehensibly, voted by a slim margin to leave the EU.

My last post about this before the referendum was largely an on the fence one, but as you have probably guessed I went with my head rather than my heart, and made the sensible, logical choice to remain a member of the EU.

It seems however, that slightly too many people within the UK, particularly in Little England, actually fell for the jingoistic, xenophobic, misplaced patriotism espoused by the Leave campaign in the run up to the vote. Now of course begins Project Backpeddle, as the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Daniel Hannan start telling us that¬†in reality: Continue reading →

Posted by Sar in News, Opinion, Politics, 1 comment
Brexit: Thoughts from someone on the fence…

Brexit: Thoughts from someone on the fence…

Not exactly our typical sort of programming, but then again there’s a reason why I renamed from Sargaming.net to SarCrux.com ūüėČ


So the EU Referendum in the UK is merely days away, and as someone who is pretty firmly-ish on the fence I’ve been doing my best over the past few weeks¬†to make my mind up on the issue.

I am leaning towards a Remain vote at this moment in time, but I do have some serious misgivings both ways.

I had a good discussion with @BenTinyShaw on Twitter today about the pros and cons. He’s pro-leave, but not given to the usual histrionics and nay-saying that seems to mar both sides of the campaign lately.

The leave campaign largely seems to be strongly flavoured by racist and xenophobic lot, a la the BNP, UKIP, EDL, Britain First, Rupert Murdoch’s plethora of rags such as The Sun, and in Northern Ireland politics the DUP. All of the above¬†I abhor with a zealous fervour. That’s why it was good to have that discussion today on Twitter with Ben, because there was none of that. Respect.

Admittedly¬†the Remain camp’s campaign has been nothing short of farcical, with ever-increasingly silly claims about what would happen if we left the EU: “Brexit will drive down wages!” “Brexit will drive up prices!” “Brexit will cause massive job losses and unemployment!”

I await someone seriously claiming Brexit would give us all cancer, blot out the sun or eat our babies!


Staying

The Arguments For

So my main concern about leaving the EU is this. The SNP in Scotland at the last election absolutely decimated Labour’s voter base. As a result Labour’s share of the overall vote dropped to a point where it may potentially never recover enough for them to win another election. Certainly for this generation at the very least.

That means that the UK will for a good long while at the very least, be for all intents a One Party State, and that One Party is the Conservatives. This is the same Tory party that loves Zero-hours contracts, wants to repeal the Human Rights Act, had to be forced to bring in legislation on maximum working hours, maternity pay, paid annual leave and other various workers’ rights.

If we were to leave the EU, the Tories would have unfettered ability to repeal all of the above legislation, all of which was ushered in by the EU and has improved the lives of working people right across the UK no end. In other words we’d all be back to doffing our flat caps to our Guv’nors again and offering to polish their shoes.

Fuck that.

If we’re going to be a Tory-run country for a length of time, I’d hate for them to run the UK without governance from the EU.

It’s this that is my biggest concern, and the main reason I’m leaning towards a Remain vote.

Also consider¬†the fact that Austerity+ would potentially be the de facto economic status for the UK should the Tories remain in power for the foreseeable future, especially outside of any fiscal oversight from the EU. Not something the EU would have a direct say in, but I’d hate to think how hard the Tories would turn the screw should they be allowed…

And Against

At the moment with people free to move about the EU at will and work wherever they like, more people move into the UK to work than leave. This increase in net population levels surely has to place increasing strain on our public services, particularly the NHS and benefits systems? The NHS is already at breaking point, thanks to the Tories (again) doing their best to drive it into the ground in an effort to privatise it and have the UK running with a medical system akin to that in the US. And we all know how broken the financing of the medical system is in the US, being as it is an arms race between the insurance companies and the medical industry in ever-burgeoning costs.

$24,000 for an X-Ray? Pull the other one GOP, it’s $6,000 cheaper.


Leaving

The Argument For

If we did leave, concerns above aside, we would have full control of our borders & immigration policies.

We’d also have full electoral accountability, given that the leadership of the EU itself is unelected and unaccountable for its decisions. We also wouldn’t be subject to some of the dafter laws, such as no straight bananas. A law which is responsible for so much food wastage across the continent that if donated, would probably end the famine situation in Africa.

And again, against

If we did leave, export tariffs into the EU would come into effect, a zone which accounts for 44% of our exports.


Our single biggest trading partner is actually the US, taking about double that of our second largest export market, Germany. And, despite this, given how much we export to the EU¬†I’m skeptical about¬†how hard they’d hit the UK with import/export tariffs if we did leave.

But I really fear for the future of workers’ rights, the NHS and general wages if we left the EU.


So, like you’ve seen, there are plenty of arguments on both sides.¬†But for me,¬†it’s basically like trying to decide between which bucket full of shit you’ll be prepared¬†to eat if forced. Lumpy or runny?

The process of me sitting writing this hasn’t really helped me all that much, but I hope it’s helped you if you’re still fence-sitting!

Posted by Sar in News, Opinion, Politics, 0 comments
New Website Theme

New Website Theme

So I made a change to the theme for the website, and this one’s a hell of a lot better for those of you reading on a mobile browser.

However, the site itself should work fine and dandy, and look a bit better even on a desktop browser.

There’s still a few wee niggles to sort out:

  • I want randomised headers, but the theme doesn’t support them natively, requiring a cludged code fix (TBA).
  • There are some minor CSS¬†issues with posts on the front page vs single post pages (next few days).
  • I want to create some more headers, but need time to do that (within the next week).

So that will all be sorted over the next few days, but hopefully you’ll find it a bit of a better reading experience, regardless of which type of device you’re reading this on!

Posted by Sar in News, Opinion, Website, 2 comments
A week of Blizzard related events…

A week of Blizzard related events…

So this week has been great ūüėÄ

First up on Monday (23rd) I attended the live cinema launch event for OverWatch!

It wasn’t bad, a lot of the cinematics, followed by a developer Q&A, but at least the Soldier 76 cinematic was new to me, as I deliberately didn’t watch it ahead of time ūüôā

Winding back a bit, the previous Monday (16th) I was contacted by a PR firm working on behalf of Universal Pictures, who wanted to invite me to a couple of events this week, both of which were in Dublin.

Both events were related to the Warcraft: The Beginning movie. First up was an Art event in Temple Lane South on Tuesday (24th), where I was invited to take part in the creation of a mural depicting a scene from the movie:

So I was there most of the day, from about 11:30am until 6pm. And when you factor in the fact I live just outside Belfast, I had over 230 miles of a round trip, and 7 hours travelling both days!

I really enjoyed the art event, watching @solusstreetart creating the above scene and getting to see Dublin as well! That was my first time in the city, despite having lived in Belfast all my life. Derp.

Dublin is gorgeous though, and the weather on Tuesday for the event was absolutely wonderful. Sunny and warm all day, and it showed Dublin off to its best. The city is set along the river Liffey, and it’s just really beautiful.

So that was Tuesday’s event, then on Thursday (26th) I was invited to the Irish Premiere for the Warcraft movie itself!

Yep, I’ve already seen the film, more than a week ahead of it’s UK release on Friday 3rd June!¬†

There’s a review embargo in place until this coming Monday (30th) at 12pm UK time, so I’ll not be publishing my full thoughts until then.

But¬†expect a long and thorough review at that point, giving my full thoughts on the film, what worked, what didn’t work, what frustrated me and what impressed me.

But, to give a taste, some of my tweets from last night, right after seeing it:

Make sure to come back on Monday at 12:01pm for the full review!

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Movies, Movies, News, Opinion, Overwatch, Personal, Reviews, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
The “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” Crux Review

The “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” Crux Review

This ¬†is going to be a spoiler filled review, so if you haven’t seen it yet? Look away now…


Today was my dad’s birthday. He would have been 65.¬†
He died 5 years ago and I miss the hell out of him.

It’s apropos, trust me.


So I finally got around to seeing Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (hereafter referred to as simply: BvS), after it being on release for over a week already. Having read and watched reviews being less than kind to it, I wanted to see for myself if the less than glowing critiques were justified, and if they were, what was it exactly that made the film so bad?

For a start, BvS isn’t quite as bad as the current rating of 31% on Rotten Tomatoes would have you believe. There were some pretty¬†good points about this film…

Batfleckg0EhmhH

The first positive of the movie. Seriously.

Christian Bale was and probably always will be my favourite on-screen Batman. So when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman, I was seriously questioning what the fuck DC were thinking.

As it turned out, he makes for¬†a great Batman. Not Bale great, but great nonetheless. Bats in this film is a perfectly realised¬†Frank Miller’s Batman of The Dark Knight Returns. Right down to the story beats, age and even his bat costume & armour. All¬†are directly referencing and lifting from Frank Miller’s defining work.

This is a pissed off, grizzled and just plain fucked off Batman. A man who is sick of shit and just wants to clean up and protect his Gotham from any and all threats.

As Bruce Wayne, he was in Metropolis during the events of Man of Steel (MoS) and saw and experienced first-hand, at street-level, the kind of wholesale wanton destruction that Kryptonians are capable of when they have a tiff.

After a short dream sequence (the film is full of them), the intro sequence to the film depicts the destruction during the end of MoS as witnessed by Bruce. The background to this destruction laden intro is the World Engine that was unleashed by Zod in MoS, battering the city.

With buildings collapsing left, right and centre, Bruce dodges his way through the destruction, in an effort to see who he can save. His main goal is the Wayne Industries building in Metropolis, which he witnesses being sliced in half by Heat Vision, and collapsing, killing everyone still inside.

From that point on, you can understand how an ordinary man like Bruce would view aliens like these. Mega-powerful, god-like¬†creatures¬†who can’t be stopped or killed by mortal weapons and who could, on a whim, destroy all life on the planet. As he said to his butler, Alfred:

‚ÄúCount the dead, thousands of people. What‚Äôs next? Millions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race, and if we believe there‚Äôs even a one percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty.‚ÄĚ

Thus begins his mission to take down Superman…

Supermanbatman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-trailer-henry-cavill-warner-brothers-youtube-12032015-1276x850

Henry Cavill returns as Superman, his second appearance as the Last Son of Krypton.

I bloody loved Man of Steel, and a lot of that was down to Henry Cavill. I think he not only makes a perfect Superman, but also a great, more modern Clark Kent.

Christopher Reeve for many, will of course, and rightly so, be the best Superman. However as good as he was (and he was!), he never quite had the physicality that you would associate with someone as physically powerful as Superman.

Cavill fills that suit with aplomb.

If it sounds like I’m completely man-crushing here?

#guilty #broner

He returns to the role, and does just as great a job here. The impact that the events of MoS had both on Metropolis and Clark play out here.

There are two diametrically opposed views on Superman¬†in this film.¬†Those who support Supes, and believe he’s only here to do good, and those, like Bruce Wayne, who believe he presents a clear, present and potentially future threat to the citizens of Metropolis and beyond.

Cavill plays the guilt-ridden and conflicted Superman/Clark to a tee, and events later in the film show him pushed to the breaking point, ready to go full on nuclear on the film’s main antagonist and first major failing, Lex Alexander Luthor.

Good job Henry.

Call me?

*ahem*

Alexander “I’m not Lex” LuthorEfgtr

No, not the Lex you’re used to. Just not yet at least. Jesse Eisenberg, again playing himself as he does in every film he’s ever in (hey it worked for Sean Connery right?) plays Alexander Luthor, son of Lex Luthor.

Here, Alexander…fuck it, Lex, is a tech billionaire, of much the same ilk as another character Eisenberg¬†played in the Social Network: Mark Zuckerberg. Here he’s full of twitches, tics and really hams it up as a man¬†with psychological and pathological daddy¬†issues.

His portrayal of Lex frames the character as one that might actually be clinically insane, which was honestly the best thing about the character.

But the biggest negative about his character is his motivation.

What the fuck was it?

It was never made clear throughout the entire film exactly why Lex was doing what he was doing. He just seemed to hate Superman and wanted to kill him. He kept referencing imagery of angels and demons, so maybe he was meant to be thinking that Superman was a demon in human form and he saw himself as the saviour of the world?

But if that was the case, then that doesn’t track logically with his unleashing of the villain that criminally was shown in the trailers: Doomsday. A creature hell-bent on destroying everything. But we’ll come back to him in a bit.

Cameos: Wonder Woman

Underused, but we got to see a decent glimpse of how Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will be realised in her first full length feature that’s set¬†to d√©but next year.

There were initially a lot of concerns, similar to Batfleck, about Gadot’s¬†casting. Happily though, again similar to Batfleck, Gadot pulled off the Immortal Amazonian Princess shtick with not a little bit of credit to her name.

No, she’s not built, like some would have liked, but she did well with the little she had handed to her to work with. That amounted to a few scenes outside of the Doomsday battle, and of course the majority of that battle itself.

It was good to see DC’s holy trinity on screen at once for the first time though.Batman-V-Superman-Trailer-Trinity

But what of the other cameos? Flash? Aquaman? Cyborg?

Well, these were all “blink and you’ll miss them” cameos. Seen mainly as surveillance footage gathered by Lex in his research, each cameo was on screen for less than a minute each.

For me though, Flash aside, none¬†of the others really have me all that pumped. And I only exclude Flash from that because I love the completely unconnected TV show. But frankly, the guy they’ve chosen to play Barry Allen in the DCU?

Looks like a skeevy drug dealer to be frank:

flashvszoom15

Barry Allen on TV: Clean cut, fun and wholesome.

ezra-miller

Barry Allen in the DCU –¬†$5 a baggie?

Bleh. I remain to be convinced about any of the coming Justice League members outside of the Trinity. They’re not the Avengers, that’s for damn sure.

And as an aside? No-one even fucking¬†likes Aquaman. I feel sorry for the frankly miscast Jason Momoa. He’s been stuck with a fucking terrible superhero to portray. I predict his solo film will absolutely stink.

Not even the guys on the Big Bang Theory, who all love superheroes, even like Aquaman.

cdec069e361d3e41b0259fe6991e48a2

Fear him, he can swim like, really fast…?

And as for Cyborg? Anyone care?

Thought not.

Anyhow, the remainder of the MoS supporting cast are all here too: Lois Lane and Perry White (a returning Amy Adams and Laurence Fishburne), as well as Martha and Jonathan Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner).

The actual emotional highpoint of the film for me was when Superman went AWOL for a while to try to clear his head and to get away from Metropolis, following a bombing at a trial where he was the only survivor.

He went hiking in the snow, and had a vision of his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent whilst there.

Pa Kent had a few wise words for his son, and the line that got me, after the vision ended?

Clark: I miss you dad.

Told you it was apropos.


Lowpoints of BvS

Anyhow, onto the failings then, and what dragged the film down, Lex Luthor aside…

First off, there was very little humour in this film. I can remember two jokes, one of which was the “I thought she was with you” line from the trailer.

Other than that, and an aside from Alfred (who seems to have been merged with the character of Lucius Fox in this DCU continuity and provides Batman’s tech support), there was bugger all to lighten the mood of what was otherwise a fucking grim spectacle.


Serious spoilers for the end of the film follow from this point right through to the end. You were warned!

Spoilers-Spoilers-everywhere-memeWhen you think about it, the reason it’s really grim is because the storyline of this film is quite simply¬†The Dark Knight Returns vs the Death of Superman.

And yes, DC are using a bastardised Zod’s body (as seen in the trailers!) as that Doomsday. And here? He looks like a fucking Mutant Ninja Turtle. Like a pissed off Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja¬†Turtle that didn’t get his pizza delivered within 20 minutes or less…

doomsday-and-raphael-separated-at-birth

Anyway, the storyline follows that particular character’s most notable story to a tee.

Yeah DC, you done blown your load early.

You killed Superman.

You went and utterly blew the Death of Superman storyline by cramming it into the last 20 minutes of the second film in the DCU?

Seriously?

/facedesk x infinity

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu….

Death of Superman should have been a storyline that had an entire film dedicated to it. Man of Steel 3 perhaps.

You should have given the general audience time. Time to bond with this iteration of Superman beyond 1.5 movies. Give them time to see him redeem himself from the events of the first movie, to prove himself to be the hero the world knows him to be.

Then? When he’s a proper saviour, and adored by the world of the DCU and audiences worldwide? Then drop the hammer of Death of Superman, without any hint that he may still be alive, unlike what¬†they did with the final shot of this film.

Alas that wasn’t to be. Instead, DC rush things in an effort to catch up to Marvel, and cram Superman’s most important storyline into the last 20 minutes of only the second film in the DCU, thus robbing the character’s sacrifice of much of its gravitas and importance.

Fuck.

But, as anyone who knows the Superman comic history will attest, Supes does¬†come back after the Death of Superman storyline, and this version will too, but I’ll swing back round to why in a second.


There were many dream sequences I mentioned earlier, and two of them are relevant to where I think the DCU are heading with their overall story arc. Particularly that of Superman.

The first dream sequence involved a more overt cameo from the DCU’s Flash. In it, he warned Bruce Wayne:

“Listen to me now. It’s Lois, Lois Lane. She’s the key. I’m too soon? I’m too soon. You were right about him. You’ve always been right about him. Fear him. Find us, you have to find us.”

The other sequence, partially in the trailers, was set in the post-apocalyptic wasteland outside of a city, presumably Metropolis. In it is carved a huge Omega symbol, and there are troops with Superman’s S logo emblazoned upon their arms.

In this dream, it looks like Superman has gone evil, and amassed an army that worships him like a god, and he’s destroyed everyone that has gone against him.

batman-v-superman-final-trailer-6

Given these two dream sequences, I have a feeling they are going to really fuck things up. Especially for Superman fans.

How?

A few years back, a fighting game was released by WB featuring the superheroes of DC.

It was called Injustice: Gods Among Us.

It was set 5 years after the events of Death of Superman, and in it, he and Lois are married and she’s pregnant with his child.

The story goes that Superman, after the Joker tricks him into killing¬†Lois and destroying¬†Metropolis, Superman decides that he needs to impose a forced “peace” on the world. He warns the governments of the world to cease fighting, or that he’ll do it for them.

In essence he becomes a global dictator and rules the planet with an iron fist.

If you want to read more on it, you can read the Wikipedia synopsis, or a longer fuller description of the comic prequel.

So yeah, that’s where I think they’re going, and maybe why they’ve blown such an important storyline so early in the DCU.

It’s also fairly obvious that the major villain in the DCU, and perhaps in the last¬†JL movie proper, is going to be Darkseid. In the aforementioned apocalypse nightmare, Darkseid’s henchmen are fighting¬†alongside a corrupted Superman and his troops, so it looks as though both Superman and Darkseid could be teaming up in a future DCU installment.

In essence, Darkseid is going to be DC’s Thanos.

Except Marvel will have threaded the threat of Thanos throughout 12 movies over the course of 10 years.

Not so much patience being shown by DC.


Conclusion

Am I glad I went to see the film?

Yeah, of course. I love superhero films and TV shows, and it takes one to be really really bad for me to regret seeing it. Potentially Aquaman’s solo flick will be falling into this category.

Would I recommend you go see it?

Eh. It depends if you’re as big a fanboy as I am. If not? Maybe wait for the Blu-Ray release in 6 months.

Ultimately, it’s a very mixed film. Storyline was sketchy to non-existent, and the¬†characterisation¬†of some characters was off or incoherent at best.

The premature use of the Death of Superman storyline so early on in the DCU is so very nearly unforgivable, and Zack Snyder is going to have to really justify trying to run before he can walk with this nascent Justice League IP. This should have been a story that would have been built up to over the course of years, and if Darkseid’s coming? Have him resurrect Superman as his lieutenant.

But the film did have some high points. The fight sequences were good, and the effects were well handled. Batfleck and WW both came out of this with credit in their banks, and we’ve got a possible showdown with Darkseid on the cards.

I don’t usually score stuff, but it would be around a 5 to 6 out of 10. It was far from awful, but it was also far from great. And I say that as someone who adored Man of Steel, a movie that has had no shortage of critics in the years since its release.

An appropriately bitter-sweet experience then, for a bitter-sweet day.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Posted by Sar in Movies, News, Opinion, Reviews, 0 comments
Linux: A torrid love affair

Linux: A torrid love affair

https://twitter.com/Sarcrux/status/699979059955179520


I have an on and off (mainly off) love affair with Linux. I’ve been using it on a sparse basis for years, whilst using the most recent version of Windows for my day-to-day stuff.

Now, some of you may or may not know, that in my day job I’m an IT Analyst/Engineer. I do a variety of tasks within this role:

  • User support via phone/email-based service desk
  • Training (I’m a qualified IT Tutor)
  • Server Support
  • Software deployment & maintenance
  • Hardware deployment & maintenance/repair
  • Windows OS mobile¬†phone & Surface support
  • And basically anything else that comes up…

So needless to say I’m a bit of a geek, both personally and professionally…

However Linux is something that has been a consistent pain to get working over the years. That said, it’s definitely a situation that has been improving, albeit slowly, over the¬†years.

At least nowadays installing nvidia drivers in linux doesn’t involve having to dig into the guts of the OS and edit xorg.conf files and bollocks like that.

Linux Mint has been my distro of choice over the past couple of years, as it works better than most other distros I’ve used.

Mint in particular works pretty much out of the box. There is very little that needs to be done once it’s installed, other than run updates and make sure the programs you want are installed properly.


For those that don’t know, or are unfamiliar with Linux and how it works, there are many different “flavours” of Linux available.

Some, like Ubuntu and Mint are specifically targeted at Windows users who want something different, right through to the other end of the spectrum, where you have distros like Arch, which are highly technical and should only be used by seasoned Linux users & pros.

Mint¬†is a “fork” of Ubuntu, or rather it uses¬†Ubuntu “under the hood” while presenting ¬†a very different desktop experience to the user. A few years ago, Ubuntu’s makers decided to take the user interface in a direction similar to that taken by Microsoft with Windows 8.0 – a desktop seemingly designed for touch devices, even on a bog standard PC with a keyboard and mouse.

The creators of Mint decided that they liked the Ubuntu OS/Distro, but felt, like many others, that the direction Ubuntu were taking the desktop experience in was wrong, and decided to create a version, or a fork, of the Ubuntu OS with a more traditional, start menu/button like environment.


Rosy? Not quite…

However, there are still some egregious issues with Linux, and it’s still far too easy to completely break your entire PC and your ability to even boot it into either Linux or Windows, if like me you’ve decided to play it safe (hah!) and dual-boot.

For example, I tried to install a new desktop environment called Gnome into Mint, and even though I did everything perfectly fine, and did exactly what I was meant to, it somehow managed to break¬†the entire machine so badly that it managed to lose the boot settings. This meant it couldn’t find the configuration file (a thing Linux uses called GRUB) it needed to boot up, and as a result I was left with a machine that wouldn’t load either Windows or Linux.

So after an hour or so trying to fix it by hand, manually typing commands into the only thing I was able to get, a command prompt named Grub Rescue, I decided to boot up a live copy of Mint via a USB stick and use the above named utility to repair the damage that had been wrought.


Apocalypse averted!

And lo, everything was fixed once more and off we went again, this time a bit more cautiously and staying well the fuck away from Gnome!

So once it was back up and running, it was time to set about customising and trying out some games…

So using a windows emulation program named Wine, I’ve managed to get the Battle.net client installed, and got WoW downloaded and installed too.

WoW’s performance is nowhere near as good as it is on Windows, obviously, but it’s good enough that if I’m in Linux I can log on and check my garrison missions, or maybe jump on the AH, pick up mail and so on.

It’s certainly not anywhere near good enough to raid or even do any sort of group content like 5 mans.

Perhaps it just needs a bit more tweaking done, we’ll see.

Steam on the other hand doesn’t seem too bad. I’ve something silly like 680 games in my Steam account, and just over 200 of those have native Linux binaries, and are directly usable in Linux without having to go through Wine.

This includes even modern games, like Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin (Enhanced edition), and even the likes of X-Com 2!

Of course big strides have been made in this area in recent years, particularly by Valve, as they’ve created their own distro of Linux, named SteamOS. This stemmed from Gabe Newell’s dislike of where Microsoft were trying to take the PC desktop environment with Windows 8.

This all stemmed back to when rumours were still flying round about the intention of MS to lock the OS to only be able to install programs from the Windows store, and trying to lock the entire PC hardware to only be able to boot into Windows via TPM and Secure Boot.

Of course none of those things ever came to pass, but Valve have carried on developing SteamOS, building it into their branded PC hardware OEM lines, called Steam Machines, which are essentially linux powered PC based games machines for the living room.


I’ve yet to try installing any Steam games, as last night was all about battling with Battle.net via Wine (spoiler: it’s not a flawless experience!) and getting various other programs installed, like Chrome and Spotify.

Steam games will be tonight’s experiment, so I’ll make a post over the next few days letting you know how I got on with those, and how well they perform in comparison to Windows.

I’m hoping the native Linux games in Steam are a damn sight better performing than WoW is, given the lack of Wine emulation to suck performance out of it.

I’m glad though Steam & Valve are pushing to get more games compatible with Linux, as otherwise, this would be the sort of “quality” gaming experience you’d be subject to…

tux-racer-deluxe

Gran Tourismo 5 it is not.

Posted by Sar in Gaming, General, Linux, News, Opinion, Personal, 0 comments
Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So it’s Xmas time again, Winterveil is currently in effect on Azeroth, and we’re all looking forward to seeing a fat man emptying his sack all over our living rooms late at night…


Christmas¬†came early for me and a lot of other geeks this year, with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Dec 17th. Long gone now are memories of George Lucas’s attempts to destroy the franchise with his horrific prequels, which were packed full of risible acting, complete lack of acting or direction, and the terrible decision to eschew practical effects completely in favour of CGI, which hasn’t aged well, even only 10 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

JJ Abrams took the helm for this first film of another trilogy, and it quite bluntly shits on the prequels from orbit. It is a far, FAR superior film to all three prequels on several fronts:

Acting: Newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as Rey & Finn respectively absolutely school Natalie Portman and the godawful Hayden Christensen in terms of raw acting ability.

See Anakin? THIS IS HOW YOU EMOTE!

Ridley is absolutely delightful, and Rey is now firmly one of my favourite SW characters. Boyega as Finn completely owned his role and finally showed what a black male lead character (itself practically a SW curiousity) in the SW universe can be.

Sorry Lando & Mace Windu, but you were hardly lead characters!

ūüėČ

Practical Effects: Frankly, screw overuse of CGI. If you can build a set practically, then for god’s sakes do it! It gives the actors so much more to work with and allows both them and the audience to inhabit the scene so much more, and the situation becomes so much better realised and believable as a result.

Practical creature effects also helped enormously to give this new film the same feel as the original trilogy, especially the new “cantina” scene at Maz Kanata’s castle.

Friends¬†Reunited: The original trilogy cast & characters make a very welcome return, and when Han & Chewie appeared on screen for the first time, you couldn’t have wiped the stupid fanboy grin off my face for a million quid. Not that the story concentrates on them in any way. No, this is firmly a film centred around the new triumvirate of characters (Rey, Finn & Kylo Ren, the new villain), but the appearances of them spattered throughout the film’s 136 minute running time help make the universe feel just like the one we left 32 years ago.

Story: No trade federation, no trade routes, no silly senate dealings. Nope, this was back to the roots of story telling in Star Wars: A¬†story firmly about family. Or in this case, families…

There was one major criticism of the plot for this film:

[su_spoiler title=”Click for slight spoiler details…”]The film’s plot, beat for beat, perhaps too closely mirrors that of A New Hope. Didn’t bother me at all though, as it was perhaps better to help root the characters and setting once again back into a galaxy far far away…[/su_spoiler]

Overall though? Absolutely loved it. I was completely wrapt for the 2 hours, which is not something I could say for more than any individual 10 minute period of any of the prequels.

Is it better than the OT films? Perhaps Jedi, which as always been the weakest of the OT, but New Hope and Empire for me are still stronger films, especially Empire.

I’ll be going to see it a 2nd time over the Xmas & New Year period, which is something I rarely do with films/movies in the cinema. Last time I did that was the Matrix!

If you haven’t seen it yet, WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS!? GO!


Posted by Sar in General, Movies, News, Opinion, Reviews, 2 comments
Crux: Universities – 21st Century Day Care for the Overgrown Baby.

Crux: Universities – 21st Century Day Care for the Overgrown Baby.

Crux Articles: Articles that aren’t gaming related, and will touch on other more real world subjects, such as politics, religion, or in this case, rights of free speech.¬†Be aware that these articles are more ranty in nature, and may contain more¬†NSFW language than normal!


Traditionally, University has been somewhere where we send our young people who are intellectually capable and have intellectual promise in order to enhance their knowledge. To expand their minds and broaden their horizons.

To increase their literacy, strengthen their skills of reasoning and application of logic, and to prepare them for a life spent in a more professional capacity.

Free speech is something that most modern democracies not only encourage, but actually enshrine in law. The right to say whatever you want, even if it’s offensive or obnoxious to some, is a human right that should be protected at all costs.

Before I go any further, watch the below video.

It’s a slightly sarcastic take on what I’ll be talking about afterwords.

Done? Good.

Ridiculous right?

Nothing that insane could happen in reality, right?

Right?


Disclaimer: I never went to University. I quit school to begin working when I was about to enter my final year of secondary education, so I was about 17 at the time I left to take up a job that I thought would be of more benefit to me than completing my A-Levels. It was at the time, but longer term it proved to be of no benefit. As a result I have since began studying with the Open University, completing an Honours Degree in Computing & IT with Applied Psychology. This is an action borne of both work reasons and personal satisfaction, and so far I’m really enjoying it, but I will forever have¬†missed out on the full University experience that I would’ve had, had I stuck with school and gone onto University when I was the appropriate age.

However, it seems that even today, University students the world over are missing out on a full University experience because of hysteria and political correctness gone mad.


Unfortunately it seems that this is not ridiculous, but is also reality in more than one University campus across the Westernised world at this moment in time.

Political correctness began as a movement intended to reduce the chance that minorities would take offence at certain terminology, language etc.

Noble intent? Perhaps. But it has now reached such levels of self-parody, that students like those satirised¬†in the above video are not only real, but they are so earnest in their attempt to be seen as standing up for a cause that they’ve begun to become a satire of themselves.


Disclaimer #2: I am a proponent of equality and freedom. Very much so, and I believe that everyone has the right to live their lives the way they see fit. When it comes to gender, I believe men and women are equal in all things, and firmly believe a woman doing a specific job should be paid 100% in equality with a man doing the same job. Yes some men are physically stronger than some women, but likewise some women are physically stronger than some men.

Put it like this, I would not be picking a fight with Ronda Rousey any time soon… ūüėČ

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey – A fellow WoW player!

I’m also a huge advocate of gay rights and the rights of the non-hetero peoples of the world to live their lives in a manner they see fit as well. IMO the state has no right to dictate who should be able to marry or for people to love whoever they want.
I live in Northern Ireland, the last part of the UK that still legally discriminates against gay people and their right to marry, much to my ever-living disdain and embarrassment. Blame religion, I do, as it’s the conservative ultra-religious nutbags in the DUP blocking it every time.

Fucking religious bigoted assholes…


As mentioned at the beginning of this article, traditionally we send young people to University in order to strengthen their reasoning and argument skills, in addition to their critical faculties.

To prepare the next generation of great thinkers, philosophers, doctors, psychologists, scientists, authors etc.

However it now appears that in far too many cases, modern Uni students are seemingly less concerned with intellectual rigour, and seem all too eager to find a “cause” to champion.

Even if that “cause” is something that logically otherwise would be abhorrent or antithetical to their existence…


Case Study 1: Maryam Namazie (Video 1 or shorter 2)

Maryam was invited to give a talk at the¬†Warwick University a few months back, and more recently to talk at Goldsmith’s University. On both occasions her invite was initially retracted after an outcry from Student’s Union in the Warwick University case, and in the second was objected to by the Goldsmith’s Islamic Society.

Maryam’s crime? Speaking out on women’s rights, gay rights and calling for an end to death threats against apostates. For which, during the Goldsmith’s lecture, she received death threats herself.

The thing that got me was that Goldsmith’s Islamic Society had a staunch ally in the “fight” against Maryam speaking out on women’s rights: The Goldsmith’s LGBTQ society.

Now, that’s odd enough, given how well we know that Islamic extremists treat gay people:¬†See how ISIS treat gay people in Syria: They either behead them or throw them to their deaths from clock towers and cliff edges. But it’s even more puzzling given that the (now former) chair person, Muhammed Patel (@Mopey96 – now deleted!) of the Islamic Society at GS hates gay people:

image12

The LGBTQ society standing with ISOC over Maryam’s talk stinks of nothing more than painfully, desperately needing a “cause” to champion, of not having principles and thinking independently for themselves about who it is they’re throwing their support behind.

It shows a distinct lack of appreciation for the work someone like Maryam Namazie does, who it is she speaks for and shows a shocking lack of forethought and research.


Case Study 2: Germaine Greer

Similarly to Maryam, Germaine was invited to speak at yet another University, this time in Cardiff Uni. Prior to the lecture’s date, she made some rather unfortunate and offensive comments on transgender people, stating that “Transgender women aren’t really women”.

Regardless, rather than debate the issue with Germaine at the lecture, and try to convince her that she was wrong, some of the students at Cardiff decided to try and shut her down, by launching a petition on Change.org¬†to try and put a stop to her lecture, entitled ‘Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century’.

So rather than try to engage in a structured debate with Germaine, they tried to outright prevent her from speaking at all. Hardly indicative of young people mentally prepared to test their mettle against one of the 20th Centuries foremost feminist figures!


Case Study 3: Erika Christakis

Erika penned an email in response to a directive from the¬†Intercultural Affairs Committee at Yale University in the US, that decided that students should not wear halloween costumes that “might offend” or “culturally appropriate” minorities.

Erika’s email basically stated that students should be able to wear whatever the hell they like, even if it’s a little bit “offensive or obnoxious”. She asked¬†“whether blond toddlers should be barred from being dressed as African-American or Asian characters from Disney films”.

For any right-minded person dressing your 4 year old caucasian daughter as Mulan or Pocahontas wouldn’t even raise an eye-brow, but not here.

After that, hundreds of students signed an open letter criticising her viewpoint. Following the furore she resigned her post as a lecturer at Yale, and her husband, a fellow lecturer at Yale has taken a semester-long sabbatical, after he had to endure the shrieking of butt-hurt cry babies screaming in his face:


Case Study 4: Tim Hunt

Sir Tim Hunt was asked at short notice to give a talk at the 2015 World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul. The words in question that caused this particular shit-storm?

“It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls? Now, seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women, and you should do science, despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

Now, clearly Tim was being self-effacing and somewhat taking the piss, calling himself a chauvinist and going on to jokingly justify that statement by making clearly ridiculous assertions that were taking the mickey out of the people that actually think that way.

Now the talk was given during a lunch for female journalists and scientists, and clearly those in attendance thought that Tim was not being misogynistic as his words were greeted by warm laughter and applause.

But of course that wasn’t the end of it. Someone recorded a short snippet of the talk, cut it to make it look like he was being a sexist pig, and uploaded it online. Then the social media butt-hurt police took over, there was a Twitter-storm, and he eventually had to resign his post as¬†honorary professor with the University College London’s Faculty of Life Sciences.


Case Study 5: Katie Hopkins

Now, Katie is a woman that I, along with a large percentage of the UK population have come to despise deeply over the years. The woman is a shit-stain on the public arena, because all she has ever done is make statements designed purely to revolt, disgust and shock in order to keep herself in the public eye and further her own worthless career.

There’s a¬†famous quote, one all too often mis-attributed to Voltaire, but actually penned by Evelyn Beatrice Hall writing about Voltaire’s attitude on the subject, that goes like this:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

And with this statement I agree whole-heartedly. So even though I despise Katie Hopkins with every fibre of my being, I defend her right to say the crap she spouts, because that’s her right to do so.

However, it seems like the students of Brunel University don’t have quite as mature an attitude to her right to speak.

She was yet another example of someone invited to give a talk at a University that was then treated somewhat childishly by the students.

She was part of a¬†panel debating whether the welfare state had a place in 2015 as part of Brunel’s¬†50th anniversary celebrations, but as soon as she started to speak a large section of the students in attendance simply stood up, turned their backs on her as she spoke, then a minute or so later started filing out of the auditorium.

So again, rather than debate Katie Hopkin’s reprehensible views, they simply refused to engage and instead behaved like a bunch of spoilt whining babies throwing a tantrum and walked out. I wonder if any of them had their fingers in the ears going “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. I’M TELLING MY MUMMY ON YOU”


Sadly it seems that in today’s world of overly-sensitive cry-baby students and the ease with which social media armchair warriors and philosophers can shriek the loudest and force the hands of otherwise rational people and bodies to crumble under the pressure and go against common sense.

Instead of strengthening their intellectual capacity, rigour and critical thinking faculties, it seems students and by extension the social-media cry babies would prefer to become intellectually lazy by refusing to engage in debate.


I’M GOING TO USE TWITTER TO BERATE YOUR LIFESTYLE CHOICES AND ALLY MYSELF WITH A RANDOM CAUSE THAT WANTS TO KILL ME! WAAAAAAAA!

I HATE THAT YOU’RE ABLE TO SPEAK TO ME AND I’M TOO LAZY TO EVEN TRY TO OUT-THINK YOU! WAAAAAAAAA


And just before submitting this article to the ether of the web, I came across this little pearl. The president of a small college in the US basically told his students to “grow up” and stop being so “self-absorbed and narcissistic”.

That whenever their feelings are hurt or they take the slightest bit of offence that they play the victim, and that so-called “safe space” policies where dissenting opinions are shut down for fear of causing offence are¬†stunting free speech.

And this is in a CHRISTIAN COLLEGE.¬†And if the Christians are getting pissed off, well boy, you know something’s¬†fucking rotten in the state of Denmark.

Right?

And if anyone’s offended after reading all this?

Then that’s entirely your right.

As it is mine to not particularly care ūüėČ

And if you’ve made it to the end of this monster and are still reading, well done, a Twitter cookie for you!

Posted by Sar in General, News, Opinion, Personal, 0 comments