It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 2)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

In part 1 I revealed the Secrets They Won’t Tell Hue and some of the things that I like about Hue. Here I show my personal unboxing journey, some applications I’m using, and my stunning conclusion.

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It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 1)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

Overhue

This is an account of my experience with the Philips Hue. It is my review, or my re-Hue, if you will. There are so many puns I could’ve used to title this article, but I think the one I ultimately chose sums up my nightmarish experience. There may be some occasional swears in here, too. Also, I will endeavour to create a Hue pun pretty much at every opportunity.

Caveat: I don’t really know how the Bridge and Bulbs work, I’m just guessing based on a little bit of knowledge and my experience with Sonos. Feel free to correct me in the comments, or share your own experiences!

So happy together...

Imagine me and Hue, so happy together…

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 4/4 – Wrap Up

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Lessons Learned

  • If you are playing a one-off session, the party has no incentive to hoard their XP, and so will use it to reroll or stop your GM Intrusion, so take that into account.
  • We rolled no 1s during our game, so no free intrusions this time.
  • Combat is fast and quick. By not making it a focus of the game, and by explicitly not paying XP out for combat, you as GM won’t feel the need to make combat pivotal to your session. Sessions don’t lead up to and climax with combat. If the players massacre your monsters, you don’t lose hours of preparation, they just get on with their adventure. Had combat been more of a focus, I might not have let the players talk their way out of the entire adventure by convincing the margr chieftain to release the replacement part.
  • This entire adventure played out the way it did entirely because of a lucky combination of 4 random cyphers (semi-random: I vetted the card combinations before handing them out, but only for whether or not I thought it was a cool power or not) as well as Gabriel’s oddity and focus: a pill to let the characters negotiate with the margr, which they could get back after leaving it in town by using an injectable teleporter and a remote tracking device, with a fourth cypher that let them move the Giant Metal Cross around in the air for extra impressiveness. Added to that was a single power wielded by one of the characters, who also happened to be trained in persuasive speech. Very specific combination!
  • Don’t fret if the characters break right through one of your obstacles, be it combat or by skipping a huge chunk of the adventure. They’re having fun, you can always throw a spanner in the works using GM intrusion, and eventually the tables will turn against them.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 3/4 – The Adventure Continues

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The Adventure Continues

The party had some downtime while the quarry mistress headed off to organise the travel arrangements, and so Gabriel, Acrophelia and Arrowtail went for a walk through town, respectively healing, guarding and pickpocketing the tired townsfolk. Chronus went back to the ship where he convinced Deymish to walk up to the tower and again try to make entry. Hataniah refused them again, saying they should come back in the morning. Chronus apologised to Deymish for dragging him all the way to the tower, then returned to his friends to report the news that the tower was still inaccessible.

By this time the town’s steeds were ready. The party gathered their equipment, mounted the aneen and headed north out of the city. They were told the margr would roam the deserts at night, and they would be travelling at night, but this didn’t dissuade them. I suspect the nightmare visions scared them so much they didn’t want to attempt to sleep in the city and surrounds even once.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 2/4 – The Adventure Begins

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The Adventure Begins

And so our party found itself on Deymish’s ship, with 3 crewmen, passing through the Seshar region, which consists of huge artificial canals cut in straight lines through burning desert terrain patrolled by roaming margr tribes. Deymish was urgently shipping three crates to the Redstone clave of Aeon Priests, for reasons unknown.

It’s important to note that as part of character creation I handed out mostly random cyphers to each of the characters, to their limit. Although I can’t remember the specifics of each, the important cyphers will rear their heads in this adventure, I promise you.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 1/4 – Overview

Heads Up

This post will contain spoilers for players wanting to play the Nightmare Switch adventure. It also assumes a basic understanding of the Numenera game system, which is called the Cypher System. If you are going to play the Nightmare Switch intro adventure, you should probably read this afterwards to avoid any spoilers. If you don’t know anything about Numenera or the game system it runs on, you can probably still get something out of these posts, although a quick overview at that last link will prime you.

The total article is almost 8,000 words long, so I’ve split it into 4 parts, the Overview and Introduction, The Adventure Begins, The Adventure Continues, and Wrap Up.

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[Fiction] Diary Found in an Empty Fridge

Work enjoys sending out interesting Friday afternoon ‘clean the fridge’ reminders. This week I offered to write something in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, and the marketing department styled it up on fake paper. I share it here for your enjoyment. There is a longer version but the essence is contained within. Read on and enjoy this light farce.

FridgeDiary

Text

Diary Found in an Empty Fridge

Monday

Dear diary, I realise I may never return to my loved ones in my quest for the Lost Lunch. Legend has it that it lies somewhere in the Metroplex fridges.  God only knows what indescribable items that were once food I may find on my journey. May He have mercy on my soul.

Tuesday

I camped by the fridges last night. My sleep was undisturbed, thankfully. I fear though that something broke free in the night. There is a strange smell in my encampment, a faint smear on the ground that might be Thai green curry. Had something seen me? I could discern nothing out of place amidst the bedewed milk bottles and plastic bags.

Wednesday

It happened again last night. I tried to stay awake, but I drifted off and woke with more tracks about me. Something is growing inside those containers. No sightings of Lost Lunch so far.

Thursday

I forget why I came here. I fear I am going mad.

Friday

I woke tonight and found myself standing as if in a trance in front of the larger fridge, door open. My arms were stretched into that treacherous forest of bags and containers and then I felt myself stepping forward!

It has become too much. I am packing my encampment up. There is something in here, something mouldy and ancient and … the smells cloud my judgement.

I will gird myself this afternoon and clear it out, every last bag and container, righteous or corrupt, owned or abandoned. I leave only this diary as a warning for future generations.

Don’t mourn me. The corruption growing inside these fridges will be gone, once and for all, by 4:30pm.

My Lengthy Pebble Hands-On Review

[Edit: November 13, 2013 – I’ve had the latest update of the Pebble OS for a few days now, and it addresses the major problem I highlighted in this review: the poor notification compatibility with iOS. As of a few days ago, the Pebble app and OS have been updated to integrate with iOS 7’s new notification system, and it’s finally propelled the Pebble into the non-technical user space.

Before, Pebble would forget the settings of your notification system if it ever lost BT connectivity, leaving you only with SMS/iMessage and phone call notification until you manually reset the notifications for the apps you wanted. This was merely an inconvenience for wearers with a technical bent; try explaining to your dad why this expensive watch isn’t behaving as expected, though.

Now, all this is resolved. Pebble remembers which apps are set in notification centre. I now get location reminders and Find Friends reminders and more. It’s fantastic. On the horizon is the Pebble SDK 2.0, which promises to unlock even more of the built-in-but-still-disabled hardware. Pebble is seriously kicking some goals, folks. If the previous iOS compatibility was holding you back, hold back no more. Get into it already and be cool like me!*

Now, please read on to my original review, which still holds mostly true.

*coolness not guaranteed, yo.]

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Halo 4 is fun but it’s not Halo

Warning: This post assumes a passing familiarity with the Halo series, and is indiscriminately spoilerrific so that I can discuss this in as straightforward a manner as possible. In addition, it was written with angry eyes on, and may contain occasional swears like ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and ‘bastards’. It is also very long.

Disclaimer: I played the campaign through one and a half times before I had to return the rental game, so if I missed some stuff that explains or nullifies my angry complaints, please demolish my argument in the comments. I will graciously accept any and all mistakes I have made. Note that if you attack me personally for wearing a silly hat or something equally clever like how I can’t write, then it will be clear you have chosen the easy path instead of countering my argument, and I will ignore you.

And yes, I will be buying Halo 4 (and 5, and 6) later. I’m both a completist and masochist. I’ll also be replaying the Halo series with my daughter, starting with the Anniversary Edition, so hopefully some of these answers will be made clear to me. What they did with the Forerunners in Halo 4 can’t be undone, though, I fear.

So let’s get into it, with our first question from this handy straw man fanboi I had lying around.

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My iPhone 5: Battery and Inexplicable Data Usage

This is the long form version of the many Twitter and ADN posts I’ve been making over the last few days, as I struggle (spoiler: struggled) to get my new iPhone 5 to present me with a reasonable battery life during the day. I will deal first with my phone’s battery life, and secondly with its ‘independence’. Independence here refers to its ability to commence random and excessive downloading on my very tiny 1GB/mth mobile data plan, even while (especially while) connected to WiFi.

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