I love video games and I play them daily. I always have one of my portable systems in my work bag to play on my breaks. As much as I love my digital games I feel like something has been missing in my life lately. I miss shuffling the cards and rolling the dice. I miss real, physical games.
I have an unconventional work schedule and getting a group of people to play is difficult even under normal circumstances. I’m in a Pathfinder 2E group that plays weekly but we use a virtual table top (VTT) to play. It’s still very digital. Recently I discovered a new option. Single player board games.
Recently a lot of companies have been releasing games that include rules for a single player. Many members of the gaming community have created their own rules for solo play. As great as that is, it’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about games specifically designed for a single player.
My favorites are very portable and simple. They include games that fit inside an mint tin and games that fit in small wallets. I love that I can just grab one, throw it in my bag or pocket, and it’s available whenever I have a few minutes. It scratches the itch for me.
I also learned about print and play (PNP) games .Games that let you download the the game files at a cheaper, sometimes free price. Just add your own dice and game tokens. I haven’t played with PNP much but I’m interested. I will be adding some of these games to my collection and posting about the experience shortly.
So while Doom Machine may not be the same as an epic Gloomhaven session, in many ways it’s much better. I actually get to play it and it doesn’t consume hours of my day.
I’ve always been an early adopter. I signed up for Twitter at the beginning. It was cool. You would have conversations with people you wouldn’t normally get to to interact with. The saying was “Facebook is people you knew. Twitter is people you will know.” Then things changed. Social networking became social media and interacting went away. It was all about fake internet points. A bunch of other things happened and I didn’t enjoy Twitter anymore.
Then I found Mastodon and it was like Twitter used to be before it was corrupted. In my first week on Mastodon I had more interactions with people than the last year on Twitter. I haven’t been on Mastodon for a long time but long enough to have an opinion about it. So here are a few things I like about Mastodon that convinced me to stick around.
No one owns it. You pick a server and live happily ever after or you don’t and pick another server. Servers have their own rules and etiquette so pick one that works for you.
No adds or trackers.
Do I really need to elaborate on this. It’s just awesome.
People are nice.
All the toxicity of Twitter doesn’t exist on Mastodon or if it does I haven’t seen it. The few times I’ve seen someone start to step out of line, the community quickly reminded them that this is not Twitter and certain behavior is not tolerated. When that is unsuccessful it very easy to block or mute the person.
I don’t care about the World Cup but a lot of people do and they post about it. Just like you can mute a person you can mute a hashtag and remove all that unwanted nonsense. The flip side is you can follow hashtags. When someone posts using a hashtag you follow, those posts will appear in your feed.
These are just a few of the top things I really like about Mastodon and I might elaborate in the future. Next post I’ll be writing about some tips I learned to make your experience a better one. In the meantime feel free to follow me on Mastodon. https://twit.social/@heavymetalhero
I made it through 3 days before giving up. My daughter got sick, I fell behind, and I realized I was in way over my head. Challenges that took me a couple of hours were done in a few minutes by others. But I still learned a lot.
Even though I stopped doing the challenges, I still watch videos to see how others are doing them. I’m learning what I still need to learn and learn better ways to do things I already know.
In addition to all my programming failures I realized a few life lessons I learned doing the few challenges I did.
Pay attention to the details.
I’ve always been a big picture guy. Programming and AOC has taught me the importance of focusing on the details.
Break big problems into smaller ones.
I guess that’s all programming really is but AOC really hit me over the head with this lesson.
Read all the directions.
A lot of my time being frustrated was because I didn’t read ALL the directions. I wrote a solution, entered my answer, and got told I was wrong. Looked through all my code and every thing seemed fine. After about an hour reread the directions and realized I was solving the wrong problem.
So even though I failed at the AOC it wasn’t a total failure. I still learned a lot and found many topic that were new to me that will require further study. In the last post I said I was going to post my code to GitHub but I’m not. My code is too embarrassing and understanding GitHub better is one of the many skills I need to improve upon.
The Advent of Code starts tomorrow and I’m excited. I can’t wait to see how far I can get with the challenges.
Advent of Code is a new programming puzzle every day until Christmas. I will be doing the challenges in Python but you can do them in any language.
I’m not good at all when it comes to programming but I think it will be fun to try and solve some puzzles and get away from following a book or website. I feel like this will improve my problem solving skills and I’ll get a lot more proficient in searching and reading documentation.
I plan on posting my code to my GitHub page. You can look at it and feel better about your programming skills. Let’s see how far I can go. If you’re doing it too feel free to comment and share your code as well.
I recently got my Steam Deck and in addition to playing a ton of games, I also made a few modifications.
A new skin.
One of the few things I dislike about the Steam Deck is the smoothness and lack of grip. I added a skin from https://dbrand.com/shop/steam-deck-skins/details and it feels much better. I won’t go into the details of applying the skin since the videos they provide are better than I could, but I do have a few tips.
Take your time. What they did in the 12 minute video took me just over an hour.
Use heat. It will make the material more pliable and easier to work with.
A custom boot screen.
I also added a custom boot video and I’ll share the steps below.
Change System Update Channel.
Press the STEAM button and scroll down to Settings
Set Beta Participation to Preview
Update and restart the Steam Deck
Go to Desktop Mode.
Hold the power button until the menu appears
Select Switch to Desktop
Create the file to store your videos.
Open Dolphin by clicking the file icon on the bottom left side of the screen
Select the hamburger icon (3 lines) and select Show Hidden Files
Navigate to ~/.steam/root/config
Create a folder called “uioverrides” and open it.
Inside the uioverrides folder, create a new folder named “movies”.
Get you video ready.
Rename the video you want to use as “deck_startup.webm”
Move that file to the movies file you created earlier. I use FileZilla to transfer the file.
Restart your Steam Deck and watch your new boot animation.
Last Monday I received my Steam Deck and it has taken up a lot of my time. After playing with it for a while here are my first impressions.
The Steam Deck is huge. It’s not uncomfortable to hold or play on, but it is much larger than any other portable I used. Unlike my 3DS which mostly lives in my backpack, the Steam Deck fits but is too bulky to leave in unless I plan on using it. The casing is very smooth so I will be adding a skin soon.
Most of my games work.
I’m sure the fact that my main PC is Linux (Pop!_OS) is a factor but most of my games work on the Steam Deck with little or no modifications. Steam cloud saves seem to work flawlessly. Proton DB will be your friend.
You need a memory card.
You will probably need a few. I have the 256GB model and space gets used up fast. GTA IV takes up most of it. There are better cards out there but the SanDisk 1TB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card seems to work good for the price.
Get a dock.
I don’t plan on playing the Steam Deck while docked. I can just use my PC, but a dock is helpful while using Desktop Mode. It’s possible to use Desktop Mode without a dock but that is not ideal. If you want to do anything in Desktop Mode you will want to attach a mouse and keyboard. I have used the Anker USB C Hub and the JSAUX Docking Station. They both work fine.
Recently I have been learning Vim and this how I’ve been doing it.
Vimtutor is just what it sounds like, an interactive tutorial that teaches Vim. In about 30 minutes you can complete the tutorial and have a basic understanding of how Vim works. You will be nowhere near an expert after the tutorial but you will be able to function if you have to use Vim. If you already have Vim installed, all you need to do is enter “vimtutor” in the shell prompt and follow the instructions on the screen. I did this daily for about a week until I was comfortable with everything there.
Learning the Vi and Vim Editors – Arnold Robbins and Elbert Hannah
I get it. Learning from books isn’t cool anymore. There are blogs, videos, online classes, and so many ways to find the information you need. Why read a book? Here’s why. A lot of blogs and videos will only give the basics. A book is more robust. You will be exposed to things never covered in a 5 minute video. Even if the information exists online, would you even know what to google to find that extra information?
I know I just spoke poorly of videos but hear me out. I don’t actively watch videos. I have them on in the background and listen as I’m working on other things. Every now and then I hear something that peaks my interest and then I may look further into the topic. That’s how I learned about the relative numbers setting.
It’s not my thing but if learning by playing games is you style, the link bellow has a few options for you.
I want to preface this post by mentioning that I am not a developer. I’m just an enthusiast who enjoys learning new skills so keep that in mind while reading.
I have recently started learning Vim. I have access to other text editors but I want to learn this one. Every post on the internet mentions that you will not be taken seriously in the Linux community if you don’t use it. Like bro, do you even Vim? I hope to one day be part of the Linux elite.
Since I started this journey I’ve made some observations, good and bad, about Vim. Enjoy.
Vim is unnecessary for my needs.
One of the selling points of Vim is that it’s available on many systems and sometimes it’s the only thing available. I don’t go out to various job sites and I’m not in an office where I’m limited to the tools provided to me. I have sudo privileges on all my machines and can install whatever I want.
They claim it’s efficient.
This may be true but I’m not there yet. I’m getting better but there is a steep learning curve. I’m not sure if I am disciplined enough to see this to end.
It’s open source.
This makes me happy.
Vim is customizable.
Once I learned a bit about customizing my editor using the .vimrc file I began liking Vim a lot more. Just having relative number lines makes navigation so much easier. Mine is very simple. I haven’t scratched the surface of what can be done. I plan on doing a post focusing on .vimrc in the near future.
It’s kind of fun.
As frustrating as Vim can be I am having fun learning it. Vim is a lot different than anything else I used before. It’s challenging but not impossible.
So that’s where I’m at right now. These are just some of my early opinions and I’m sure they will change as I continue learning. To answer my original question, is it worth it? I don’t know yet but I’m going to continue the journey and I will keep you date.
A few months ago I decided I wanted to learn Linux. I already had Linux Mint installed on a old MacBook Pro but I wanted to really learn Linux. I wanted to learn the command line, Vim, and all the other skills to make me a 1337 h4x0r.
One day I was browsing Reddit and came across r/linuxupskillchallenge. It’s a 21day challenge that exposes you to different Linux concepts throughout the month. On January 30th I completed the challenge.
The challenge encouraged setting up a server for the course and when it was over I couldn’t stomach the idea of taking my beautiful new server offline. I wanted to do something with my server and become a legit system admin. Apache2 was already installed from the challenge so I added the rest of the LAMP stack. After many problems with MySQL it was good to go. I installed WordPress and here we are.
So now I have a WordPress site. What better way to learn than on a live server in front of the entire world.