Tuesday Mumbles: Technology Breakdowns

Note: this is based on my experience and opinions, so don’t take it too personally.

Heya, it’s ya boi Choujin.

I love technology, it’s something that changes and makes things convenient and useful. One such example I had was a notebook (Lenovo) to replace a computer that was getting old. Only for that first computer to give out with a screen burnout and thus having to get another Lenovo brand. Guess what? That one gave out too when the whole power unit burned out. Now I’m on my third item (ASUS), and hopefully, this one will last a long time. Today’s agitation is not about technology, but how some of them can be so flimsy.

I remembered the first notebook I got was a Gateway (an old computer made by a company that’s no longer functional). That thing was known as an E-Machine. Basically, this thing was designed to be long-lasting (and it lasted me until 2015, though XP would be no longer viable currently). So I had to get an upgrade. Though it was a viable computer, I enjoyed it. Now today, it seems computers you buy get out of date so quickly. It kinda gets me annoying that I want a laptop that can last a very long time without breaking down or crashing on me due to some BIOS or Driver issue. Heck, my old prebuilt computer lasted much longer than today (and some of its components are in my new computer.) So it gets me thinking again about the good days when things used  to last longer when I was younger
Ya boi prefers technology that lasts a very long time. Not something that’ll last forever (as much as I would love to have that) but something that can be reliable and not last three years like today’s new technology. One such example that I had that somehow has lasted a very long time happened to be some old gaming consoles and games like my old Nintendo 64 and Gamecube. All I need to do is replace some batteries on some of the N64 cartridges and Game Boy Advance cartridges, and yet, they work. I think they last much longer than most CDs as all it will take is one scratch to render a CD unplayable (unless you invest in those disc buffers), but otherwise, some would have to buy a new disc. This isn’t even limited to games, as some DVDs can be damaged this way as well, and we all remember having to deal with a damaged DVD from time to time. But seriously, it can be a pain with newer technology that seems to feel frailer by the day.

I mean, it boggles the mind how older technology is much sturdier though obsolete compared to the newer but fragile generation that surpasses it. Analog TVs were pretty sturdy when I was a kid (though heavy as hell), but now you have plasma screen tv that cracks or buckle at one hand slap on the screen. You have phones now that need extra screen protectors to keep them from scratching or being broken. To me, ya boi feels that it’s so annoying that one day I’ll have to buy a new item in a short time just because of some defect or problem.

But I digress, it can be an annoying factor that can make or break people when something falters. Though some would ask one big question: What can we do about ensuring our products don’t break down or shatter like a plate of china. Ya boi doesn’t know what to do with the technology of today save for don’t overuse them and make sure you don’t push your tech too hard unless you know what you’re doing (or if you have friends who are tech-savvy). Otherwise, your best bet is maybe to use screen protectors and other stuff and reminisce about the days when technology used to be sturdy like some old person who reminisces the early days.

That would be my brief Tuesday Mumbles on tech breakdowns if you remembered days when tech (hardware or CDs) were sturdier than today, speak up in the comments.

Monday Mumbles: War

Note: Some of the subjects here may hit a bit hard home, just a bit of a reminder that my opinions are my own. So don’t take things personal

Heya, it’s ya boi, Choujin.
Well, I hope you all had a good 2020, because we’re already starting on one hell of a foot. For those unaware, we’re having a bit of an issue that’s been brewing between the United States and Iran which has gotten people worried about another war in the middle east with others who think that no nation would attack us because the USA would “level them to the ground”. What irks me is less on people who live in fear of inevitable world wars (trust me, ya boi here is a bit jittery about world war 3 as well) but what bothers me are the people who become armchair commandos/soldiers behind a computer.

Some kids and adults who don’t understand that there’s a thing called “Rules of Engagement” and think that war behaves like video games or movies where one wins a war by pushing a button. It’s not only ignorant but belittles stuff that our men and women endure when being shipped to these hot water conflicts. Not only that but it also leads to an underestimation of what our enemies can do if we think stuff can be ended by just the press of a button. People forget that wars can last years (take a look at the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for example) and that it’s not cut and dry that some media love to portray.

The next thing I’ve seen is how some folks who also grossly underestimate nations just because they don’t have new toys or technology. From what i’ve heard on the news and heard from some who served during Iraq and Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and the militants used ambushed tactics like roadside bombs and other IEDs. Heck, during the Vietnam War, the enemy used ambush tactics and hunting traps to give American soldiers in that war hell. It’s not something that’s pretty and even low tech items gives our boys trouble. Just because the nation we’re going to war doesn’t have flamethrowers, bunker busters or drones with hellfire rockets doesn’t mean that they’re not a threat or pushovers. War isn’t like a video game where weak enemies are easy to kill.

The last thing I’ve seen when it comes to folks talking about war comes to when people talk about the men and women who serve their country. Ya boi here supports the brave men and women of our Armed Services for their sacrifices, but ya boi don’t play what some people will do. Though with this case, you got two camps of people. On one side you got people who think every soldier who fought in a war are nothing but mindless killers and wanton raiders, and the other side you got those who treat soldiers like infallible saints who can never do wrong and should be worshiped. I’m sure you’re asking about what I would do? Well, I would treat them like anybody else. I would thank them for their service and that’s it, no berating them nor treating them like gods. Heck, I wouldn’t mind sharing a cold one with an off duty soldier or veteran. They’re people just like you and me, with or without their uniform and regardless of their branch of service

With that, thanks for listening to my mumbles. I understand that it’s not much of anything but it was something that was on my mind after hearing the news. Now, before I finish up, I’m going to say that I don’t know if this will lead to a conflict or not but the only thing I could suggest is wait and see.

Monday Mumbles: Flu Season

Written by TheChoujinVirus
Disclaimer: What I might talk about is based on my own opinions and might hit some areas that are sensitive to some people. So remember not to take it personally; this is my opinion.

Hey, it’s your boy, Choujin.

Today your boy’s been hit by an old enemy that everybody’s been going through since the dawn of time: The common cold.
I’m sure you are like me and are fighting the flu as we speak or some of you may have a friend, loved one or co-worker fighting it. I can simply tell you one thing about the flue: It sucks!

I bet you’re wondering why it sucks? Well besides feeling a whole new level of ick like sweating or hacking up flem. Sometimes you might get that nasty headache and fever that makes you feel you don’t want to do anything except sleep or veg out. As a kid, this may be awesome and perfect if you got a school day, but when you’re an adult? Ooooh boy, you wonder why kids cheer for sick days in my time. Though of course, it was a more simpler time when kids would watch cartoons. However, that’s another story.

“but Choujin, it’s just a cold. All you need is some soup, warm clothes and that’s it”, i’m sure some would say. My response is this: sure I can do that, and I can recoup. However, it doesn’t make it less of a blech experience for me or others. For starters, I don’t want to get sick on the day of the release for the new Star Wars movie, or to remain sick during my Driving Writing Exam. Having a cold and doing an exam doesn’t mix very well, and I mean it..it’s not fun. Sure I can veg out and relax, but I’d rather do that while I’m feeling healthy than being sick.

Then the next problem if you do decide to leave the house (whether you want to or not) is that you end up spreading it to some other person. Especially to your friends, loved ones (if they’re elderly) and other people. Unless I need to pick up medicine or something urgent, I’m not going to spread my cold to other people and would rather sit at home and rest up. Perhaps take an opportunity for some basic housework or getting things done rather than sitting here and doing nothing or being a moron and being the many that spread the flu.

For the time being, i’m writing this article while coughing and sneezing whatever I caught. Though I’m not going to let this cold get to me for writing or studying for my driving writing test. For this short time, your boy will be taking some cough medicine, maybe some soup and a sandwich and just do some basic work while keeping myself warm and not getting sacked by this cold. For those who haven’t caught it yet this season, I’d heavily suggest you get a flu shot from your local doctor or hospital. If you are like me and have caught it? Make sure you take flu medicine, do not push yourself too hard and try your best to not spread your cold to other people (washing your hands, not touching doorknobs).
Hunker down, keep warm and make sure you don’t make it worse in the end. Though luckily the cold goes away and doesn’t linger for long.

For today, this is Choujin saying to you all to hunker down this Flu Season.

Monday Mumbles: Procrastination

Written by TheChoujinVirus
Disclaimer: What I might talk about is based on my own opinions and might hit some areas that are sensitive to some people. So remember not to take it personally; this is my opinion.

Hey everyone, it’s your boy, Choujin.

Have you ever had something planned or a priority you have to do (whether it be school, work or anything) and instead of doing it you held back on it for a while and suddenly you have to do it because it’s near the due date. We’ve all done this (even your boy is guilty of doing this): procrastination. Whether we stall out on studying in favor of binge watching netflix or just playing the newest video game release today. Procrastination can be a pain in the butt.

Everyone who had parents or are/were currently parents had memories of procrastination. Parents tell their kid to do their chores by a specific time and suddenly they get a shocker when they find their kid hasn’t done said chore by the deadline. It can be frustrating that’s for sure as that meant the child wouldn’t care about doing his work. Plus it meant that they prioritize menial stuff over important or urgent things. To parents that’s a bad thing and to me, that’s a bad habit that can grow onto them when they get to my age. Those two things aren’t very good to do

This isn’t just limited to kids, even adults can procrastinate on things too. Not just stuff at the workplace but even things like basic house chores too. Sometimes even adults themselves can space out on important details, events and even simple things that can add up over time until it suddenly has to be taken care of. It can be a pain in the ass if allowed to go rampant should it be something important like a leaking sprinkler head or a mold spot. The workplace could also be a pain if a deadline has to arrive and sometimes you got people who will do that. Only difference between that is the risk of being fired should the deadline be reached and the job is not done. College can be no different as you can fail your classes or be dropped from said class. Either child, student or worker, procrastination is something that angers everyone (especially the procrastinator if he’s aware of this little problem.)

Now, as some of you are probably going to ask, “What should I do to avoid being a procrastinator myself?” Your boy simply can only tell you this: Stay focused! It’s okay to step aside from your work for a few moments but you need to make sure you stay on track and not be distracted by whatever shows up and pulls your eyes away. If you got work or study, make sure you set some time aside for your work and take breaks if you have to. If you’re studying for an exam or test, ensure that you do time for your studying with some breaks in between to avoid burnouts and ensure the temptation of procrastinating isn’t as easy to fall into.
Lastly, if you really want to play that game or binge watch something from Disney+ or Netflix, maybe watch an hour of it then get back to work once you’re done with the one hour watch. Then when you’re finished with your work, you can go back to enjoying your stuff and that’s it.

So when you’re tempted into stalling out on your studying because the newest episode on Disney+ is live or a new episode of Watchmen is found on HBO. It’s best to get that item done before the deadline. Besides, the episode will wait once your chore or job is done.

Oh and for those wondering, yes I did procrastinate while I was writing this article during the weekends. I know, it sucks but it’s something that had to be done (and I had to mumble about it due to this.)
So, what work or study did you used to procrastinate about? comment below so your boy can hear.

Monday Mumbles: Anger

Disclaimer: What I might talk about is based on my own opinions and might hit some areas that are sensitive to some people. So just remember not to take it personally. This are only my opinions.
Note: If you or someone you know may have some serious issues and “dark thought,” I strongly recommend you contact this group and seek professional help as soon as possible.

To be angry is to be human

Padme, Star Wars: Episode 2

It’s normal for people to get mad, its something that happens to every living being on this planet. We get angry through any means, sometimes it could be having a bad day over an unfortunate losing streak in a video game. Maybe you feel like you’re losing control of everything like unable to get a job or sudden changes that you might not. Folks can understand this feeling, though out there, some people have something boiling inside that just takes that one trigger. For some people like me, who are high functioning autistic, that anger can become a real big problem (though luckily it never escalates for some people.) It can be a very VERY serious issue for those who might be seeking an intimate other, seeking employment and even feeling real happiness. For your boy here, it’s kinda like being Bruce Banner, having a monster inside you that doesn’t tolerate anything but wanting to bash and smash those that hurt it. This is what your boy really feels happens from time to time.  It sucks so damn much for people like myself, though for the anger, it can come in various means. Some people explode on the press of a button, others  build up and like a super volcano of rage that could lead to some dangerous things such as the dreaded “Dark thoughts.” Thoughts that can scare every person that ever had them enter their minds like an invasive whisper or moldy conspiracy. It can affect everyone regardless of sex, race or even social status.

A lot are wondering what are these “Dark thoughts”? They are the thoughts that usually cross your mind that can vary between harming others or harming themselves due to what some might feel is a loss of control or, worse, a revelation that they could be a monster. Maybe one bad day too many or other factors that can be catalysts, either way, anger can suck once those dark, inky blots that creep into the mind. The only scary factor after that is the fear of the “Dark thoughts” becoming a reality. It’s there that some fear of becoming the monster they fear and, in that slump, some do feel hapless and hopeless. Other times, some’s dark thoughts go to a point to where someone might think that they would be better if they just “dissapear” Thanos-style and that’s that. It’s stuff like that which can scare and disturb the person who has those thoughts and it really does suck.

So what does someone do when the monster is there and creeps into your mind? How do you restrain the beast inside you and keep it in control?  One is that there’s still time to control it and that you’re not as powerless as one thinks they are in this situation. Second, you don’t have to face this alone, luckily people have friends and family that care for you and for those who may feel alone, you got groups like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and SAMHSA who can provide actual professional help, and probably find some reason to help you fight the issue (your boy strongly suggests always look for expert advice) and some hospitals can provide psychiatry medical help that can benefit. These guys are the best to helping you deal with that monster.

Finally, remember these words: Nobody is a monster they think they are, no matter what they think they are. Only you have that power to help yourself, find support and get some assistance to combat these things, and keep the monster inside at bay once and for all. Sure it may suck, it may take a while to recover, but with a good support group and help, you can make a difference.

Thanks for listening to this short little mumble I’ve had, and I hope people out there who may have the same issues I have, remember these words a friend of mine told me: You are no monster, and you have control of the beast inside you.
Also, remember that you do not have to fight this alone.

Monday Mumbles: Lootboxes/Micro-transactions

Written By TheChoujinVirus
Disclaimer: What I might talk about is based on my own opinions and might hit some areas that are sensitive to some people. So remember not to take it personally; this is my opinion.

Good Monday to you all, it’s ya boy Choujin here for what I call Monday Mumbles. Something that your boy finds and mumbles about various things found. Sometimes it’s political, and other times it’s non-political. So sit back, grab yourself your favorite drink or snack, and let’s get this going on.

Your boy here is an avid gamer as with everyone else, so I’ve played a few games. Some on consoles, PCs, and dove into a few mobile games, and one thing I’ve noticed (as well with everyone else) is the increased basis of micro transactions and the dreaded dirty word “Loot boxes.” For those who might not know what these are or oblivious to the hot button issues, Loot boxes were items you got in the game that once unlocked; one could acquire anything. Sometimes something aesthetic like a costume skin or something like new skills/characters. At first, it was common in some free to play games one could see like Star Trek Online, Perfect World, and even Champions Online. Then, later on, you got games out there that you paid full prices such as the latest Battlefield or the more controversial Star Wars Battlefront II, and *BOOM!* Now everyone’s enraged over how predatory it has become since some would be forced to use real-world money to get them or risk-taking weeks or months to get some hero characters.

I’ve seen the argument about loot boxes and how they put it. Yes, a lot of them are predatory and designed for you to sink all your cash to get something exclusive. When I played Star Trek Online, it took me a ton of money to get those lock box keys and a lot of boxes to get one of the Kelvin Science Dreadnought. God knows how much money some spent to get the Kelvin Constitution. It shows that if you put an incentive, people will dump their whole life savings to get some of these ships.

Heck, in an unrelated moment, I knew a guy who dumped over two hundred dollars in Overwatch loot boxes to get some skins! Seriously, that’s just crazy. Oh, and don’t think I’m going out of my way to bash games like Overwatch or Star Trek Online (though your boy does like ST:O from time to time), it’s just something that I can find hair pulling — putting rare items into loot boxes and banking on people to spend money on boxes, keys to unlock, or both just to get a chance at said items/skins/or other things. No wonder people today think it’s gambling (though honestly, it’s as gambling as buying booster cards/boxes of cards and hoping to pull that one thing.)  Though one benefit between cards and digital items is that I can buy the card without having to buy another box and try again and that the card is personally mine, not the game developers. Now, I’m sure one might say, ‘What about micro-transactions? At least they can show you what you’re buying.’ Why yes, it’s true, they do show you what you can buy, but they’re not above criticism.

Now, micro-transactions. Oh yeah, I’m sure you are familiar with those if you’ve played mobile games. They usually may require you to buy “premium currency” to purchase specific resources, items, skins, timer reductions, etc. Anything that is in a mobile game, you could buy it with said special currency or money directly. However, some do become scummy, depending on the case. One time, I played a mobile game called Final Fantasy XV: A New Kingdom, which was based on the new FFXV game that came out but made into a kingdom building game. I ended up buying a pack for 20 dollars and thought I could get some items cheap. Next thing you know, the next pack with the same value cost 50 dollars, and that’s when I suspected that they’re raising the price of the packs so that I’m spending more and more…Your boy realized that this is pure trash and crap! I mean, why jack the price of packs to get more money! It felt like a scam that if I kept buying these, I’d probably be paying over one hundred dollars just for a basic pack. This crud encourages “whales” (people who sink money) to get an edge though there are other games that do some shady stuff.

Another game I played was known as Star Wars Commander, a mobile game that’s like Clash of Clans but with Star Wars units and such. The game has a history in gaming communities as a pay to win like game, as it encouraged you to pay some amount of money to gain an edge for things like unit upgrades and elite units that can give you an edge against other units or protection against other players. One could play free to play the whole game, but you could take a long time to get some core units needed for that game’s meta. So in some ways, you’re forced to buying premium currency (or hoarding every rare premium currency that sometimes drops.) and use that on rare occurrences.

Now, I’m not bashing loot boxes, and micro-transactions, when done right and free to play games, need some way to pay the bills. The largest picture comes from games that already have you paying full price and having micro-transactions just for that. When I pay sixty dollars for a game, I’d expect the game to be complete with no stuff hidden behind micro-transactions though I can tolerate some things like cosmetic costumes or DLC expansions. However, when you got games that hide power behind lock boxes or encourages people to buy premium currency and items, then it becomes a literal pain in the butt! In a way, I can tolerate some of it on Free To Play Games (to an extent) but not in games I pay full price. I mean, Imagine if someone bought a game like Fallout: New Vegas and it had all that micro-transactions found in Fallout 76. That would be one hell of a problem that is pointless and just predatory for a good game.

Now I’m sure you’re asking, “Hey! How can we stop this stuff then? Should we boycott?”
Now, In my sense, I would encourage several factors: Moderation and not supporting predatory practices. Now Moderation is one thing as for some games, whales (and those who have spending issues) may need to learn to either spend in little quantities or not spend on it at all if they do pay their whole life savings on one item or premium consumers. This is also important for those who have young children, as those little guys can accidentally spend your entire life savings on those items and costumes. Now the next is one thing that some, including a friend of mine who chatted with me, suggests outright boycotting them. Now, I do respect my friend’s idea, and he did bring a good point, though I would go with merely ignoring the predatory practices (pay to win mechanics, literal gambling) and moderating some of the other items (cosmetics).

I know that some people might feel that modern gaming is becoming so rampant with microtransactions and loot boxes. Some might root for government intervention to stop some of these industries form doing this. However, as your boy mentioned, lootboxes are as powerful as we make them. That if you don’t buy said lootboxes or purchase those pay to win items, you’ll ensure that they’ll get the message. Will it work? I’m not sure, but its better than relying on government intervention to solve this mess.

With that, what’s your take on micro-transactions, loot boxes, and how would you find a solution in that big hot train wreck of a gaming concept? Comment below.