It’s Been Like, Six Months, Scoob

Suddenly occurs to me this morning that Blaugust started over six months ago. That means I’ve been doing this about ten times longer than my typical project. A nice victory, to be sure. In my revelation I took the time to go through some of my older posts, particularly the more meta ones where I was talking about the blog itself. I’ve pulled out a few quotes out that I found interesting.

Maybe it’s some form of guilt. I look at all my past endeavors and see a long string of abandoned and/or forgotten projects. In a way I think I fear this will join that list, ultimately. – Pre-Project Jitters

Yep, long standing problem, but between the blog and a few other random I have sufficient evidence to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Some thing stick, some things don’t, and some come and go like tides. Among the things I talked about in the earlier days that I haven’t brought up in a while are Warframe, cause I haven’t played it and haven’t seen much I wanted to comment on, and Elite: Dangerous, which actually does have some interesting things going on, including a massive player expedition to the far reaches of the galaxy. I’ve just been hanging back seeing how it goes for me. Last I read they were having some issues, but they weren’t catastrophic.

Turns out there’s going to be something called Blaugust. A month long event encouraging anyone to blog. One post, thirty posts, whatever.

So they’re talking about the YouTube, podcasts, and blogs. I’m thinking about the various ventures I’ve started and left incomplete and figure “screw it, what I got to lose?” So I signed up, and here I am.

Let’s do this. – Everything must have a beginning – My first post

I’ve been taking this stance more and more often as the blog has gone on. In fact, I believe I’ve said the same thing about this statement before. Thing over there I want to check out? What have I got to lose? Of course, where money is concerned, it’s a little different, but I’ve been getting slightly bolder over time. To the extent that I actually submitted a college application this morning. I mean, worse case scenario I get denied and I’m out the application fee. It’s really a small cost compared to getting accepted.

Once I’ve done that, I go back through and start placing some images throughout the post. It just doesn’t feel right to post this giant wall of text. I honestly don’t think anybody cares or wants to read about it to begin with and that it evokes a sort of “omg, I am not reading all that” sort of reaction. – My Blogging Process

My approximate reaction to reading that one. Image from Hotel Transylvania 3.

Hehe, man I totally didn’t stick to that. My current schedule simply doesn’t allow me to easily throw pictures into everything. All my good editing software is on my PC at home and that’s where the least of my writing occurs at the moment. This was not the case earlier on when I had the 10AM post schedule, but that’s because I was writing them the evening before. I could probably try a little harder though.

I’m going to leave you guys with a quote today. I linked to this in one of my posts back in August and wanted to include it here as well. It wasn’t directed specifically at me, but it was relevant then and now. Y’all take care.

Because, really, it is. The fact that you decided to blog (or stream, or just be a content creator in any sense), whether it was yesterday, or ten years ago, is a huge accomplishment. It may seem like it’s something that everybody does, but I think that’s because we’re in the thick of it.

So remember as Blaugust continues, regardless of what you accomplish compared to your own goals (or what you think they should be), you are successful, you are deserving of being a part of this community, and you’re not the only one who feels this way. – Chestnut – Impostor Syndrome and Your Blog



Willingness to Communicate

So I mentioned at some point that maybe I need to set social media as a whole aside. I’m not sure what’s changed, exactly, but whatever prevented me from engaging with others has weakened significantly.

I think blogging is part of it. I’ve become accustomed to expressing my opinion publicly. Obviously I’m not exactly a very notable individual, in the grand scheme of things, but I get on the internet and ramble on about something for around five hundred words. I dunno, it’s created this idea that I’m not only allowed to speak, but in some cases feel obligated.

Unfortunately, boldness is not the same as correctness. Overall most of my experiences engaging with people have been positive. My goal, typically, is to engage with someone from a point that understands their position, even if I disagree with it. Respectful discourse and all that.

The problem is that I’m increasingly unwilling to pass something by without comment, especially when I disagree with it. This is becoming a fairly severe problem within the current political climate of the US. I personally tend towards the liberal/democrat end of the spectrum. My coworker tends toward the more conservative/republican side of things. Yet we both sit in awe of the people on both sides who’s argument seems to boil down to “that’s wrong because the other side supports it.”

It’s mildly amusing to know my coworker has been having the same issue with social media as well. A little bit worse in his case because facebook and family are involved. I don’t associate with most of mine anymore, on either count.

There’s a different kind of boldness there too. I’ve become much more willing, when I have a question with no clear answer, to just tweet at or email the company/person with said question. I figure the worst that can happen is they ignore me right? That’s usually what happens. I think I’ve only had three responses, ever, and those were via email. A super short and rather belated one from Gabe Newell. At least he was polite.

“Thanks, Steve.” – Gabe

A slightly longer but more dismissive one from someone who gave a seminar at work, and a rather incomprehensible one from a music artist. I was trying to determine if they intended to do any more live streams on their gaming channel.

“I do still them”

I, uh, think I know what that means? Evidence so far has, however, not matched the implied meaning.

It’s cool though, I get it. All of these people are probably rather busy. I appreciate the fact that I didn’t end up in a spam folder somewhere. Each one of those three people took some time out of their day to actually respond, which is more than I ever got via more public platforms like Twitter. I’m sure the somewhat private nature of email helps.

I’ve actually considered fishing around with some interview-ish questions in order to write a blog post, but that seems awful selfish of me, to ask someone for so much time when it seems that it only really benefits me. On the other hand, what’s the worst that can happen, they ignore me?

On that note, I’m gonna go get some work done. Y’all stay safe out there.

Page Views and Steam Sales

Okay, so I loosely monitor the views and stats for the blog. It doesn’t really inform the choices I make in writing, I just find it entertaining because it always seems the most random things get the most views.

Sometimes it’s fairly easy to figure out what’s going on by looking at the referrers section. A few of my spikes were the result of being linked somewhere else on the internet. Other blogs, mostly.

One that surprised me though was my post about ES6 and the Creation Engine. That post got a fair amount of search traffic for reasons that are still a mystery to me. I wouldn’t think that my opinion was all that interesting, really. Very recently I keep getting hits on, of all things, that Big Boy appliances post.

I mean, I thought it was mildly amusing, but why?

I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. It just seems like a really odd post to have acquired so many views. A few people even watched the video. Such an odd outcome for a post about a passing curiosity.

In unrelated news, the Steam Winter Sale is now live. This means it’s time to do some voting and maybe pick up a few odds and ends for Something New posts. I’ve very briefly looked through my wishlist, though, and not much was standing out.

It’s also time to vote for the Steam awards, the same ones we did nominations for a while back. My voting now mostly follows my nominations. I mean, I wouldn’t have nominated it if I didn’t think it was a good pick.

I’ll probably go over it again anyway, as there are a few things I thought were amusing or interesting.

I’ve also noticed Steam selling VR hard, again. I’d love to use VR, if, y’know, the headsets didn’t cost $600+ apiece. I’m sure the kids would inevitably find a way to damage it anyway, and I’m not sure my PC has quite enough power to push it. I actually tried streaming Elite VR to my phone at one point, but never could get it to work quite right.

Either way, it’s off to bed with me. Tomorrow is going to be fairly busy and I’d like to get it out of the way. I could use some downtime. I’ve been quite irritable lately. Y’all take care, don’t give all your money to Valve.

Screenshot Shenanigans

Right, so I’m still messing with this while I’m playing Elite. I’ve made some tweaks to Snagit and took back to back screenshots with it and Steam. We’ll show the screenshots then I’ll discuss a few things.

Snagit Stars


Steam Stars

Snagit Station
Steam Station

So, the first thing I learned when comparing these is that in a direct side by side comparison on my monitor, they are for all practical purposes identical. The effect I’m complaining about is not present. So right off the bat I can say that Snagit doesn’t immediately appear to be the issue.

When I look at my editing preview, or use the actual preview button however, the effect I’m chasing is clearly visible on the article itself. Now, there is a difference in the files themselves. I have Snagit set up to save all captures directly to a folder as an autonamed PNG file. As formats go I’ve liked PNG for quite some time as a reasonably good lossless format. The more old school JPG we used back in the day was a lossy format that’s pretty good to take a bitmap and make a smaller file size but degrades quickly if used continually.

Now, while I didn’t see much difference side by side, I can see some loss of quality in the preview for the Steam Station screenshot. I have a hypothesis that it’s how WordPress is processing the png, so we’ll try a jpg from both.

Snagit JPG
Steam JPG

Still seem to be losing a little bit of detail here, but I’m losing a lot of patience messing with it and running out of ideas at the moment. Maybe I’ll revisit this after I’ve had some more time to think about it. I’m also open to suggestions.



Twitter Account for the Blog and other Random Things

I’ve been slowly removing most of the blog’s connections to my personal accounts. I just set up a new Twitter account specifically for the blog for anyone that would rather use that to follow or communicate. The link is also in the menu above. I don’t like the way my banner looks at that size but I can’t be bothered to fix it at the moment.

In fact, I’m testing several different things to ensure that my little post links end up in various places like that Twitter feed, because I’m quite forgetful. I’m really having a crisis of time on my hands at the moment too.

I used to carve some time out of my evening to get things done, but since I started getting up at 3 AM for work I simply can’t, even being up till 10 is becoming unsustainable. As a result my Saturday morning, the other time I used to get some stuff done, has all but disappeared. I slept till nearly noon last weekend, the price I pay for pushing the clock during the week. Unfortunately there isn’t currently much of an end in sight. I’m don’t know where I stand on overtime until the Thursday before, at the earliest, and I already know we’re doing it again next week. I additionally have lost Wednesday evening due to Halloween. I don’t mind, as such, it’s for the kids after all, but the balance sheet still has to add up to 24.

It’s immensely frustrating.

I’ve entertained the idea of switching workplaces and/or careers off and on for several years now, with an increasing tendency towards on. I’ve yet to reach the point where I’ve written a new resume, mostly because a lot of my free time right now is currently during the work day. In bursts, but that’s a maintenance thing. If you get it running right then you don’t have as many emergencies. Writing the resume at work though, well, seems like a dick move. I dislike the current situation but apparently still have a little give a dang in reserve.

While I’ve worked here for around 12 years, I’ve had a variety of different roles. My current role is about half that, the single longest period of time I’ve held any one work role…. ever. I feel that the stability I like so much is becoming less of an asset and more of a burden, but I know that disturbing it will… unbalance things. Except that daily balance sheet, still gotta add up to 24.

I’ll catch y’all tomorrow. I got plenty of sleep today, at least, so hopefully I’ll be able to function long enough to do more than a wall of text rambling about… whatever.

SnagIt 13 – Obviously not mind controlled

So I picked this up in a humble bundle a while back because with so many different publishing platforms passing through my hands these days it’s hard to get a consistent screenshot key and user experience. This looked to me like it would fill that role fairly well, and it has, to a point.

It’s a great way to collect and manage an ongoing collection of screenshots with a built in editor and a fairly easy to use crop tool. Almost every image on my blog has passed through it at some point, even the rabbit and lizard picture are usually cropped or modified from the original. It also has a handy blurring tool for the times when cropping text or names would be inconvenient.

It’s certainly not a perfect option, and I’ve tried tweaking settings here and there to try and slowly mold it into what I want it to be.

See, the first major problem is that I currently have it set to open the capture in the editor so I can see what I got and decide to resnap it if needed. Some games tolerate this fairly well, some don’t. Warframe really doesn’t like it. It generates a lot of input lag that makes doing anything with fine maneuvering, like spy missions, difficult. Maplestory 2 doesn’t really like it much either.

The second one is the quality of my screenshots in Elite Dangerous. For whatever reason it seems to have issues with color and clarity. It’s really kind of hard to explain. It’s the difference between looking at the stars in the city vs in the country. You wouldn’t know they were there looking at the screenshot, but they were clearly present to me when I took it.

I’ve done some reading today and have some good ideas on what to try next. I actually skimmed the extremely boring and dry manual before I wrote this. So hopefully I can get somewhere.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll try filing a support ticket, because I’m running out of ideas.

I think this officially counts as a day off

It’s rather irritating to me that I’ve worked myself into a position where I have little to say on a given day. See, I’ve been playing Maplestory 2 for Something New, but that’s tomorrow. I intended to do an update on the lizard I adopted once I had a more appropriate enclosure that makes him easier to take a picture of, but that’ll be next week sometime. There’s a Warframe update that gave me some stuff to talk about, but I do those on Wednesdays only.

Outside of that I haven’t done much, a side effect of working 11 hour days most of last week and doing the whole sleep recovery thing today.

I refuse to post nothing however, so you got me complaining and a cat in a rabbit nest box. If it fits, it sits.