Category Archives: Personal

My Response To A Survey From Microsoft About How They Can Improve Windows 11

At first glance, the new UI looks very smooth and sleek, but that’s where it ends.

The new Start Menu is very poor. The fact that you can turn off recommendations but the area stays is not good, it makes a waste of space even more of a waste of space for someone who doesn’t use the recommendations section. The Start Menu in Windows 10 is far superior, allowing full customization of the Start Menu with tiles and widgets was perfect for someone like me that uses the Start Menu for quick access to favorite programs, and the widgets are great for a glance at the weather or news. Windows 11 stripped the whole experience out and ruined it. I don’t understand why the Start Menu has been moved to the middle.

When I noticed that the icons for the standard Windows programs had been updated to a sleek new style, I was hopeful that the programs (Notepad, Calculator, etc.) had also received an update. Please update your software.

Word Pad should be the default text editor instead of Note Pad by now. Having a lightweight text editor is great, but Word Pad has formatting options and can be used to write a full essay with no issues. A lot of people I know do not even know about Word Pad. Don’t get me wrong, Note Pad is great for incredibly basic text editing, such as making .BAT files, but an average user does not do such things, they want to be able to edit text.

Bring back the Control Panel and stop linking to the terrible Settings App.

Setting default programs should not be such a difficult chore. Not everyone wants to use Edge as their default Internet Browser, and constantly barraging your customers with notifications that Edge is better and more secure is unfair, confuses, and removes the freedom of choice in Windows 11.

I like the login screen, it is very simple and clean, but please stop forcing customers to sign in with a Microsoft Account. Working in IT, this is a constant problem my customers have when returning to their computers post-update, their sign-in password is now not working, but they can sign in to their Microsoft Account on other computers with no issues. Again, constantly requesting your customers to sign in with a Microsoft account confuses them as they do not understand why it is “more secure” or “safer.” If a customer wants a Local Account then they should be free to do so without having to jump through hoops.

The simplified Context Menus in Explorer are terrible.

An easy Simple or Advance option during setup and the option to switch between in Settings would be a good idea. Simple would be the default Windows 11 experience, and Advanced would be more like Windows 10 with the standard Context Menus, Tiled Start Menu, more use of Control Panel.

Windows 11 feels like a school diorama of Windows 10, missing a lot of details and features but somehow having a familiar experience. It feels rushed, half-finished, and a shadow of its former self.

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My Non-Essential Computers Are Failing Me.

For some time now, I have been running an old 2012 Mac Mini as an HTPC that streams content from my HP ProLiant G7 MicroServer via plex, and my MicroServer also acts as a NAS for several things. Both of these systems are failing me, but not in a major way, yet.

My Mac Mini has developed some unsavory issues that are becoming detrimental to the previously perfect HTPC setup it once was. It has its uses outside of being an HTPC as it has Logic Pro installed on it, so I can create rough drafts for my music, but it rarely gets used for that these days. But the issues that have cropped up are really starting to get on my nerves. For a start, the WiFi drops out at seemingly random times with no indication as to when it will happen or if it has happened. This can be super annoying when your binge-watching a show and in the middle of a tense episode the WiFi craps out, leading you on a whole season’s worth of time trying to diagnose the issue before you even think to check the WiFi icon in the top bar. The other issue is a way bigger problem as the screen likes to turn green when in full-screen view whilst watching media in both applications and in browsers.

My HomeServer isn’t so bad as it doesn’t exactly have anything wrong with it, it all works fine, or fine when used purely as a NAS. As mentioned, the MicroServer is the single-core, 2.0GHz powerhouse that runs my Plex server which streams up to 4K content around my house with the help of the GTX 670 to assist with encoding. I know, raw energy flows through this system. Well, actually it doesn’t run too well when running 4K content, often taking a while to pull data from the 12TB worth of storage drives, or when two different movies are being streamed to different TVs.

I’m thinking that if both can survive into the new year, it may be time to get an upgrade. I have an old GTX1080 GPU lying around gathering dust, and I buy a bog-standard motherboard to run an Intel Core i3 – 11100 with 16GB of RAM, in a nice little microserver type case with hot-swappable drive bays. I’ll have to see what I can come up with. As for the Mac Mini replacement, I can build another i3 or Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 system, something that won’t be too powerful as I can stream games through Steam, but I would like to be able to emulate PS2 games at higher resolutions, which I won’t be able to do through Steam.

BONUS: The little black feet on my MacBook Pro have also fallen off in the last week, so I’ve ordered some new ones. The MacBook itself is fine, although I’m still a little bummed out that I can’t upgrade to macOS Monterey.

Obviously, with all of the shortages in the tech world, these ideas are purely aethereal until I’m actually ready to start planning. I’ll most likely Tweet about it, so follow me up for more tech chat like how I removed a charred DVD drive from a computer because the MOLEX to SATA converter caught fire, as they do.

My move to Android – A Long Time iOS User Converts to the Lil’ Green Roboto

Anyone that knows me personally or as an internet friend will know that I stand firmly on the fence with most things. Especially technology. I’ve got PCs and Macs, I have PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. But one thing I didn’t have both options for was my phone and tablet. I have been an Apple user for my phone and tablet for a long time.

I bought the iPhone XS Max on release and I have an iPad (2019) with an Apple Pencil, and also an AppleWatch as my wearable, and I didn’t think that would ever change. I was happy with where I was on the iOS ship, but the tides turned and the ship didn’t feel right to ride.

I was unsure about moving from iOS, so I bought a budget Android phone. I went for a Motorola G8 Power and I really enjoyed the experience, well, except for the camera. I planned to just test the waters with Android but I found that when I swapped my SIM card back into my iPhone that it was shortlived. I carried my iPhone with me even though I wasn’t using it simply for the camera, but even still I used the terrible camera on my Moto G8 Power, primarily because anything I snapped I would typically upload to Twitter or Instagram straight away.

The camera was just so bad that I was tempted to move back to my iPhone but I just couldn’t, I felt compelled to stay on the green side. I was going through some serious turmoil.

An opportunity arose that I just could pass up and I round up receiving a Samsung Galaxy S10+. This was it. I had everything I needed in an Android phone. I reset the Moto G8 Power and sold it on. I turned the iPhone off and put it in a drawer, and I haven’t looked back since.

It has been one month since I received the S10+ and I am super happy with it. I have a heavily customised launcher, the always-on display which is something I feel iOS definitely needs, and I am comfortable with my experience.

What caused me to turn sides? I was given access to the developer beta of iOS 14 from a friend, and while I found it different, I wasn’t happy with it. The widgets can be useful but are very broken and lacking. I do not like the new App Library feature at all as it feels like a sub-home screen on the home screen and it feels pointless. The issues with iOS extend into macOS Big Sur. As a matter of fact, I cannot stand Big Sur and after a week I had formatted my SSD and reinstalled Mojave.

Big Sur feels like some kind of Linux distro. I hate that the icons next to the clock have such a huge amount of padding between them. The icons feel like a graphic designer’s first project. The entire feeling of Big Sur feels off overall.

I guess what I mean to say is that I don’t like the direction that Apple is going with their new software, and the fact that Android is still as open as ever, and honestly, it’s in it’s the finest form yet.

Will I ever go back to the iPhone? I don’t know. I’m enjoying the feel of Android, especially on a premium device. I could go further with this discussion. A lot of the points were glossed over, and there’s much more I could talk about, but I will ask you to comment below, or Tweet at me, or start a discussion on my Discord server.

It’s been a long while…

I’m now officially all moved in and settled in my new home. A lot has happened, a lot has changed. My living room looks awesome and super cozy and geeky. I’ve built a second PC to replace my Raspberry Pi as my emulation system, and I have two 8bitdo receivers set up for that split-screen amazement. The PC isn’t that great but it does exactly what I need it to.

Today I started emptying out my office ready for a big redo. Gonna set up a corner desk, get a bookshelf set up to store my 3D printers and painting stuff on, and set up some nice lights. I’m totally excited about this office redo to be finished so I can make more use of my office, and I plan to get back onto some of the hobbies that I haven’t had a chance to get back to properly for the past year. So you can expect to see some more Battledoods coming soon, more game music remixes, and regular streams.

60% Complete

The move has been progressing rather nicely. I’ve managed to bring around 90% of my games, consoles, and other stuff. A lot of furniture has been brought over too leaving just a few bookcases and a couch waiting to be brought over. I’m quite happy with the progress made so far but there is still a lot to do in terms of unpacking in, but still, five days to move almost 23 years of life (and junk) from one house to another is still good.

So my new living room is looking good so far, although I’m not happy with how my TV area is set up and it will probably get changed around and have some new furniture bought. I do appear to be missing a bunch of PS4 games and my entire PS1 collection, however, I haven’t yet gone through all of the boxes yet.

My office/streaming area is underway too but I am debating on the three monitor setup as I hardly ever used the third monitor.

I’ve got to admit that I’m very excited to get the last few bits moved to the new place.

I also managed to get a great deal on my internet. I called my provider and told them I was moving homes and they got me the same package that I had previously, and it was half the cost of what I was paying, but I have to wait until next Wednesday until they activate my line. In the meantime, I am using my phone as a hotspot thanks to the awesome package I have with my mobile provider giving me unlimited data, but it’s far from ideal and somewhat of a pain in the ass.

I should dig out my PS4 and carry on with my Spider-Man playthrough, but I will just stick to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s funny, actually. New Horizons. Hmm. The name seems fitting of my current situation.

I’m aching and sore…

I knew moving houses would be hard but I wasn’t expecting it to be this taxing on the body. I only got my keys on Friday and immediately began getting stuff into the new house, including my fridge, freezer, and washing machine. My game collection is currently there along with around 80% of my console collection. I still have my PC, desk, and furniture to go from my own stuff, and then I have all of my mother’s stuff to take along with the stuff in the attic.

It’s looking great though. I can’t wait to have it all over and done with because setting up my office and game room is high on my priority list, plus, I can’t wait to declutter and get rid of a lot of junk that I have been accumulating over the years.

A fresh home, a fresh start, and a new way of life for me.

The anticipation is killing me… I need to hurry up before my body gives up because I have aches in muscles I didn’t even know I had.

Photos of the new rooms will be posted here and on my Twitter.

The move…

There has been a huge uncertainty blowing around inside my mind for the past month or so about where I will be living in the near future.

I was handed my notice from my landlord and given two months to move 22 years of life out of my house, but the biggest issue was finding a place to move. Luckily, we found a place to move to relatively fast but the whole process of getting to this point has been long. Very long.

Today we finally received confirmation that we can move and it is looking to be from this coming Friday. We’re super psyched but there is an overbearing shadow of gloom as this place has been our home for 22 years. That’s not something you can just shake off. However, the biggest worry in all of this is the moving process. As you can imagine, 22 years is a long time, a long enough time to accumulate a ton of stuff that you’ve probably forgotten all about that is stored in the darkest corner of the house. Naturally, a lot of junk will be thrown away, but for the time being, we are prioritizing the transport of literally everything before we begin to dig through the junk and throw out what we no longer want.

A big deal for me is moving my game collection. I’ve been building on it for a solid two years now, going from around 100 physical games to nearly 800, along with roughly two of every mainstream console from Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft. It’s very daunting. I will be documenting the process to the best of my ability and photos will be going up on my Twitter account of the packing and unpacking of everything, so if that is something you’re interested in seeing then follow me!

In the meantime, I will also be trying to keep regular posts on here with a gallery, possibly.

There is a long road ahead, a bumpy road given the current pandemic sweeping our beautiful planet.

Stay safe, stay happy.

Memory Cards and Passwords

Memory Cards are some of my favourite things to collect, they come in so many different shapes and sizes, and for so many different consoles. My collection of memory cards is only small and limited mostly to PlayStation and PlayStation 2, but I do have a couple for the Dreamcast, Gamecube and Xbox. I even have some of those lesser-used and often forgotten about Xbox 360 memory cards too.

I always believed that Sony was the first to create a memory card for a games console, but it turns out that I was wrong as it was actually SNK all the way back in 1990 for the NeoGeo AES. The NeoGeo wasn’t that big of a console here in England, so it’s no surprise it went completely over my head but I would be pretty much correct in saying that Sony popularised the memory card with their 128KB memory cards on the PlayStation in 1994.

I will never forget my first PlayStation memory card. It was as if I had been handed the holy grail of gaming, I could finally save my game in Crash Bandicoot, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Tourismo, and more! I felt like one of the cool kids despite the cool kids already having owned memory cards for around a year before I finally got one and the novelty had worn off on the playground.

My plan with my collection of memory cards is to have at least two for every console I own, leaving just the original Xbox, and the Nintendo 64 without memory cards as of the writing of this post.

Before Memory Cards consoles were restricted to battery-backed volatile RAM in the game cartridges which was an ideal format back in their day, and some of them are still working just fine. These days, buying a retro game in cartridge format usually requires a replacement battery, so it’s always a good thing to keep a soldering iron and some replacement button cells handy, just make sure to replace like-for-like otherwise you may cause damage to the game.

Dating back earlier, but still an often-used option for saving your game, even during the memory card era was the password or passcode option. Passwords were a little more tricky in the sense that one wrong character could mean that you had lost your progress in your favourite game, or if you put in a random string of characters you could really mess with the game’s code.

Passwords were also greatly used to allow for the use of cheats, some of which are still being discovered today through the use of data-mining, some of which are freaking hilarious such as FANNYMAGNET for GTA: Vice City on PC. Some passwords were also known to break games or even completely brick consoles in their later ports to newer hardware, such as ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER in Super Metroid.

I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out passwords in games back in the day because I could never afford ActionReplay/GameShark packs when I was a kid, and my local newsagents didn’t stock games magazines until the later part of the 32bit era of consoles, so I couldn’t even get my cheats through those. It wasn’t until my family got the internet that I discovered the world of cheats beyond the realm of what few were handed out on the school playground.

Kids of today will never know the magic of being able to simply pull out a memory card at your friend’s house and continue to play a game together, or lose the scrap of paper you kept in your game case with all of the passwords you had written on it for your favourite game.

Do you have any memories of saving your game back in the day? Let’s talk about it on Twitter (@Metabera) and even tag a friend? Did you ever have one of those third-party memory cards with the switch on the side? Those things were well known for wiping every save away and leaving nothing but tears. Let’s open up a support group for sufferers of save game disasters.