Monday, July 31, 2017

Space .... and an appeal ...

Yep ! More internet spaceships. But a bit more later too about a friend.

I suspect it's showing that I've been enjoying my time back in Elite since restarting the character ... I've definitely been in the game a lot (albeit in short-ish doses befitting my current attention span) and that's in comparison to spending a few months away from it after completing the preparations for the April Fools post.

I suspect the Plan this time is better. And that's to eventually own every ship in the game, trying them all out, instead of ignoring most of them and just driving up to the big ones. Who knows, the keenness to play may evaporate at some point as I find something different. Like going back to the game that pushed me back to Elite ! That'd be Bounty Train.

So what did I do at the weekend ? Outside of watching the cricket that is ! Well done to England again today. Great win and hopefully I'll watch almost 5 days of great cricket starting from Friday (the almost is because I'll be working in the morning on Friday).

I'm organising my time in Elite a fair bit around the weekly community goals. This time around the community goals were first to bring lots of rare booze to a station in the Harma system and the second was to protect the people bringing in the booze. So a trading run and a combat run and an excuse to try out a little fighter or two :
That's the Imperial Eagle ship called Katherine Of Space and I'll come back later to why the little fighter has that name. (Ha ! First pic becomes the thumbnail for the post and that's the thumbnail this post needs !)

The first fighter was an Eagle ship called the Elizabeth Sparrow after one of the more memorable characters on the HeyChrissa discord chat server. A name from a little fighter definitely befitting a little fighter.

I enjoyed taking the two ships out for a spin, although I was learning a little about handling them in flight too. Elite works partly on Newtonian physics, so if you Go Very Fast in a particular direction, you stay going Very Fast in that direction until the thrusters compensate. One idea I have is to turn off what's called Flight Assist in game to let me quickly flip around to bring the guns to bear. Doesn't quite work like that .... Because you end up several km away (and out of gun range) and moving further away.

Need to learn better space combat tactics.
That's the Elizabeth, which joined the growing fleet at the weekend. I now have 10 of the 31 that players can buy and the in game cash is coming together to buy a lot of those remaining. The community goals help a lot with that ...

But that's gaming. Gaming's fake. It's not real life.

It can be good to effectively hide in the gaming though. When I'm in the game, I'm only thinking about the next trade stop, I'm in the second to second of staying alive in combat, finding the next target and trying not to bite off more than I can chew. Where I'll be exploring next.

I'm not thinking of the state of my outsides or all the other problems I have. The gaming is an escape.

Which brings me back to the Katherine Of Space ... Why that name ?

It started as a tribute to KatherineOfSky, who is one of those lovely gaming people. Perhaps a clutching at a straw for finding names. Maybe.

But it's gone on from there as I remember a Katherine that was and a Kate that is. Katherine was someone lovely who used to be in the same team as me, who had a small smile that I still remember. I mirror people and how they feel and when walking past Katherine on the way to grab a coffee, if a smile was seen from the Katherine then it made me feel so much better.

Katherine was lost to us due to breast cancer a few years ago and inspired my Pink Hat cricket tribute where I wore that Pink Hat for a season of cricket. I thought about attaching charity collecting to that but ... I'm just too frail to support that. But it did inspire lots of questions, which I answered with memories of someone lovely. Here's the pic of that Pink Hat.
The Kate that is is someone I met a few years ago with the Psoriasis group. The mob hasn't had a chance to meet up since but it would be good to see Kate again before it's too late.

This Kate is a single mom who has been fighting all the challenges. She's a single mom, she has fought the life changing condition of Psoriatic Arthritis which isn't just the signs you see on the outside, it viciously attacks the joints on the inside too and as it's an auto-immune disease, the treatment severely damages the immune system. And she has terminal cancer as well.

But we know our Kate will keep on fighting as long as she can.

Hopefully long enough to meet up with us Patchy People of the Psoriasis group again and also for ...

Time for an appeal ! A couple of the ladies of the Psoriasis group have put an appeal together to provide the funding for Kate and kids to have a chance to build some great memories together. HERE'S THE LINK !

I very rarely post links to charity pages but I think this one is worth it. Only met once but some people you meet ? You get an instant feeling that they're great people.

Memories are very precious. I still hang on to the great memories of my nan and the good memories of my granddad, both are no longer with us.

I'm still hoping for a miracle that would see the Kate-that-is stay with us for a good while longer.

And if I name any of those Internet Spaceships after anyone, one that is a pretty little fighter has to be named as tribute to the Kate-that-is.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Coming up to a break. And ships.


Coming up to having a bit of a break again, which will be my usual thing of having a week off work just chilling out around the house. At least, that's the norm at the moment due to the continuing state of my feet.

They are improving gradually but it's still very easy to set back that healing and some of the things I've used before (like the HC45) are very limited in use for me now. Like a lot of medicines, they can hinder as well as assist.

I'm still enjoying the Elites a lot, although I have a sense that the rapid progress my character has been making there is going to turn from going up with rocket boots into rolling a rock up a hill. But ....
That's my Dolphin class small passenger liner ship. I quite enjoyed bouncing around a few star systems in this one. (As usual, click for bigger plus .... I bought a nameplate DLC !) Another couple of Queen liners will appear but they're a fair way down the list of ships I'll be getting. I nearly lost this ship though after some complications when trying to take a tourist around a few systems. (I bumped into the visitor beacon while trying to scan it and got a bit entangled with the beacon ...)

The latest two ships in the fleet after the Dolphin are an Eagle light fighter :
She's the Elizabeth Sparrow, after a particularly combative and fierce lady with lots of character who brightens the HeyChrissa discord.

Talking of HeyChrissa ...
There was a half joking conversation on the stream the other night where I said I needed ideas for a ship to name after the Chrissa ... And the suggestion was : Chrissa's Potato. And the most potato like ship is one of my favourites, the Asp Explorer.

Here's a better view :
I'll be using that one for quite a while. The Asp Explorer is a great workhorse capable of doing lots of different jobs pretty well.

But I'll use the Eagle to do some crazy shooting up of ships first. The Big Plan is to go down the list of ships as they get bigger and more expensive and use them for the purpose intended. So at the moment, there is a Community Goal aimed at shooting people and turning in the bounties for them, so the Eagle will be thrown into that melee. And an Imperial Eagle after that, then the 2 Vipers and so on as they get more expensive.

I'll be going scouting again with the scout ships at some point too, which brings me to another thing ...

I need a pretty ship to name after KatherineofSky ! There's a new link on the right there to another Lovely Gaming Person. I've been enjoying watching a couple of people play a game called Cosmoteer, it's a (currently) free to play spaceship building and combat game that's in its early days but it has a massive amount of potential. Here's the KatherineofSky playlist. Her latest ship has been called "Dragon" ... Coincidence ? A wonderful one if it is :-).

But yeah - the games help to (mostly!) distract me from worrying at my damaged bits although they do tire me out. I'm done with the games for tonight, although I'll be watching the stream on the laptop while some other gaming videos are on.

I should probably be reading in these downtime times ...

And I should probably not be watching the Lego building videos too ! If I had the money and the space to put the models, a lot of Lego would be getting built. There's just something about watching something start from nothing steadily come together and take shape as something amazing. That's the thing with Lego.

The current kit that is attracting my eye is the Lego Air Race Jet although some of the trucks and cranes with all the technic motor and pneumatic systems look amazing.

Temptation is a wonderful thing - but expensive !

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fun with the ship names


More Elite. It probably shows with the number of Internet Spaceship themed posts lately that I've been enjoying my time back in the game since the reset, with my head in the spaceship pilot seat most of the time ... even if I'm not actually in game as much as it seems. What can I say, it's a game that caught the imagination and I find it quite restful plying my trade amongst the stars.

After giving the current internet spaceship a proper name (It's the ICV Lisa Kelly after one of the Ice Road Trucker people), I want to give the other ships names too ...

But first .... how many ships ? What do they look like ? I found this pic :
As always, click for bigger .... although you might actually like to open it out into another window or tab for later reference. Maybe not if you have a limited amount of download though because it is a very big picture (14MB if Google hasn't made it smaller)

I also saw the video I'm about to link, which really does show off the ships pretty well. Here's the ship comparison video ! Good video.

The ships I already have are the starter ships :
Sidewinder - Humility because it was a return to humble beginnings.
Hauler - Dignity after that Deacon Blue song.
Adder - Algebraic.
Cobra Mk3 - Ranger, with it marking my first forays to the edge of the populated bubble.
Cobra Mk4 - Pathfinder, as a follow on from the Ranger.

And I'm now in the Lisa Kelly, a Type 6 space truck. Tool for the trade and that one is back to being unarmed. If you carry weapons in the game, the added weight and power requirement (leading to a heavier power supply) mean a lower hyperspace jump range which means it takes longer to get to where you're going. And there isn't much point in getting guns for the space truck as it's not fast or agile enough to bring them to bear and doesn't last long enough to win the fights.

It's always wise to pick your battles but sometimes you have to pick .... no battles. :-D.

There are another 3 space trucks and a trio of liner ships that I'll get ... I have names lined up for the Keelback - ICV Art Burke after a rather combative Ice Road Trucker. The Type 7 will be the Alex Dewey after another pair of Ice Road Truckers and the Type 9 will be named after Darrell Ward, a very colourful trucker from the series who was lost to us in an aircraft accident.

The three liners ? They're the Dolphin, Orca and the Beluga. Let's see ... I take some inspiration from the luxury liners that sail our seas and in particular, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. So I think our internet liner spaceships will be the Queen Karen, Queen Skye and Queen Jenny. I can't see me using those ships very much though as the passenger mechanics sound ... annoying. But they do look gorgeous though.

There are a series of fighty ships as well which I won't use too much, I'll come back to fightyness in the game later on when I can afford to wreck in the Federal Corvette. It'll be fun to zoom around in some of the smaller ones though.

Let's see :
Eagle - will be the Elizabeth Sparrow. She's one of the characters of the Discord servers, a small and very feisty lady who keeps us men in our place.
Imperial Eagle (a variant) - if the Eagle is Liz, then the Imperial Eagle should be another from the Discords. Perhaps the Quotation Raven.
Imperial Courier - and following the theme, this should be the Kaisha Louise.
Moving up from there are the Vipers, Mk III and Mk IV. Following the Chrissa discord theme, these have to be the ultimate in moderators, Lord Jms and Lord Nikmurder with their ban hammers.
The medium fighter ship is the Vulture with a pair of rather large guns. I quite enjoy reading the online tech news site called The Register, who have the Vulture as their prime symbol. So my Vulture can only be called Registrar.
And then there is the Fer-De-Lance - ultimate of the pure fighter craft outside of the chunky Federation ships. Not sure here, although there is a character from Chrissa's Discord who I haven't mentioned yet - Lady Monowheat.

The probably daft thing though is that while I'd like to collect all of these ships, I'm not likely to fly many of them very much. I'll leave the fighty ships until I have a battle wagon and I won't indulge in the awkward passenger carrying much. But it'll be curious to take them out of the station at least once.

The next ship was going to be Discovery but I'll name the Asp Explorer after Chrissa instead. It'll be Chrissa's Protatoe. I raised the idea in stream chat earlier and the response was to pick something potato like. And ....
There's an Asp I owned in a previous character. I believe that means the smaller Asp Scout just has to be the Lauren Radderss after the other streamer I enjoy watching.

Following that theme, there are another two exploration oriented ships. These are the Diamondback Scout and Diamondback Explorer. After enjoying their Factorio series, which involved exploring a Death world and cutting out their place in it, I believe these should be the KatherineOfSpace (actually ...ofSky) and the Nilaus.

Next up are the Federal ships, which are chunky combat ships. We have the :

Federal Assault Ship - Commander Warspite
Federal Drop Ship - Captain Hood
(After a pair of celebrated Royal Navy warships)
Federal Gun Ship - after his highly enjoyable series on Cosmoteer, (here's the playlist link) this shall be the Commodore Elysium. This ship must have big lasers in honour of EE's Chalice battlecruiser.
Federal Corvette - there can only be one name for the flagship combat ship and that's the Admiral Nelson.

After the Asp, the next ship will be the multirole Python .... which has to be named after my favourite of the Monty's, Michael Palin. And the biggest and most flexible multirole ship is the Anaconda which shall be named ... the Sarah Taylor. Perhaps not the most fitting name ! Sarah Taylor aka Squirt is the England ladies wicket keeper, who I think is the best keeper in the world at the moment. She did her part and then some in the World Cup final yesterday.

And then the last couple of ships are the pretty Imperial cruisers :
Chocolate edition Clipper and Chocolate edition Cutter :
(Paint jobs not actually available in game !)

If I gave a couple of ships above names based on Chrissa's mods, I can't leave out another fella. I believe Lord Silvernightwing would be appropriate for the Clipper of spoilers and other nastiness from Radderss' stream chat. Silver's a lovely mod, strict yep ... but a good egg too.

That Cutter though ... I think this one will be the Baron Stephen when it arrives for .... reasons :-D. Someone else spent lots of time in the original Elite as well as me when we were kids !

I'm sure I'll lose a few of these ships over my time in game so there's definitely room for more names, like calling ships names like the Luth Curmal (definitely!) and the Admiral Stone. Perhaps a bit of Doc FairosMakani and Krinza, Npralie, Tufflan/Camilla, Makai, Fubb, Zaphyr and Souleater from my Warcraft days too.

Post your ideas ! I think the comments are open again to anonymous people :-) (Although Google's not-a-robot might interfere ...)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Despicably Apeing Spacemen

I've been struggling again lately. I think one of the symptoms of that is when I don't put much here.

There's usually two reasons for that - busy is one ! And then I catch up later with what I've been up to. Or it's the other kind of busy where I've been putting everything into work with not energy much left over for later. It's been like that lately and work isn't something I'll be talking about here.

The other reason for not posting much is that old bugbear of the depressive cycles ... I've been in one of those lately. Depression is especially tough because it alters your mental perception of what's going on. It makes you doubt, it makes you look to negative explanations for things.

One reason my depression is kicking at the moment is the wreckage that is my feet ... Yep. Still lots of damage, not really helped by me attempting to clean up the bad bits. The trouble is that if I'm slightly too aggressive about cleaning up the damage, I cause more damage. It really needs time to heal up on its own, which means not attacking the damage.

And I'll be giving it chance to do that with a week off in a fortnight. At least it's currently planned to be in a fortnight. I am in two minds about wasting a week's worth of being able to park ... Which is silly because I need that rest and recuperation and healing time more than I need to park. My knees have actually recovered over this week, they were a wreck as well this time last week.

Another reason why depression is hard is that it's very hard to lift yourself out of it. I depend on friends to help out. The camaraderie that I see in chat on streams helps up to a point but it's nowhere near as effective as people talking to you, boosting your confidence with that reassurance of "Yes, you really do know what you're talking about even if you don't believe it yourself."

I know two (actually 3 !) ladies at work who help me out a lot with giving me confidence that I am actually a quality engineer who is equal to and better to a lot of my peers. They're actually surprised that I'm not higher up in the hierarchy (which is something I'm working on).

And there is one very special lady who makes me think I'm worth knowing socially as well. She gives good hugs.

As one example, I've watched Despicable Me 3 twice over the last week or so. Once, with the Work-Ish mob. Didn't enjoy it very much that time, the depression was in charge and colouring my perceptions of an actually quite funny film (even if it is a formula that's now gone on too long). Yep. Came out under a thundercloud metaphorically as well as literally. On Tuesday though, I go see Despicable Me 3 with Cupid's Gift, CG's sister and another friend. Really enjoyed it. Seeing the little lovely broke that depressive cycle and while it didn't get me all the way back to Happy Sleepy, it got me able to enjoy things again.

Talking to people helps out a huge amount. That's my plea - if you have a friend who is struggling and needs to talk, be a listener. Make time for your friends when they are struggling and they will hopefully return that favour when you're struggling.

And we all struggle at some point in our life. Life is tough. But fun if you're around the right people.

Game time !
I haven't been in Elite actually that much but I have been enjoying my time back in there since resetting the save. That's the latest ship in the fleet, the ICV Lisa Kelly. It's a Type 6 space truck and it's named after one of the more charming of the Ice Road Truckers. There are 3 more space trucks and I think the names for those will be ICV Art Burke for the Keelback (a more fighty oriented truck and trucker), ICV Alex Dewey for the Type 7 (a mix of Alex Dopogorski and Todd Dewey) and the Type 9 super freighter will be ICV Darrell Ward, after an Ice Road Trucker who lost his life in a plane accident after the last series.

Here's the fleet so far :
In the previous save, I would usually sell the ships after upgrading to the next. This time around, I will attempt to collect all of the ships. There are quite a few .... So far, I have the Sidewinder, Hauler, Adder, the two Cobra types and the Type 6 space truck. After the latest community goal finishes, I'll have more than enough to get an Asp Explorer multirole ship (Discovery) which I will continue to use for a rather long time ...

So that's 6 down so far, 1 more coming imminently and after that, 25 more to collect. I could afford a few of the cheaper ones quite quickly although it would be a shame to buy and then not use them at all. It'll be a while before I want any of the more fighty ships though.

It's not all Elite though, I've been enjoying playing Halcyon 6 although from what I hear, that's not one you really want to play into its end game. Another I have trouble playing into its end game is Stellaris ... which has been back in the playlist today. I have another hive race which is aiming to eat the galaxy. Although not quite in the same way as before ... This time, I'm looking to have super clever people with robots doing the donkey work with mineral collection. I haven't used robots much before.

I've been in the Motorsport Manager again, although that's a little frustrating as my team isn't catching up to the lead teams as quickly as I'd like. They're still 2 to 2.5 seconds a lap behind. But I still got them a win this year taking advantage of the AI teams making really bad decisions in wet conditions.

Need to read more though. I've been just after the first prologue chapter of an Alastair Reynolds novel for a while now. I just don't feel much like reading at the moment !


Two more weeks at work, then chill out properly for a week. I've arranged it to coincide with cricket on the telly :-).

And that's the last thing to mention actually ! I really enjoyed keeping an eye on the Women's World Cup cricket final today with England playing India. I had Stellaris on at the same time but my attention was steadily diverting over to a cricket game that was steadily getting more and more tense to the finish.

Would England hold on in the field and defend a low total ?
Would India's batting depth see them home ?
Would the rain win with showers starting again at the end ?

In the end, it was an excellent win by England with it being great to see one of my old celebrations on screen again with Anya Shrubsole taking 6 wickets to give England the win with arms aloft, aeroplane style, for almost every wicket.

Great to see.

PS Apeing ? Almost forgot. Watched War for the Planet Of The Apes on Wednesday ... a pretty good film, quite dark though. Not an entertainment film but a good one to continue the story of that series. Recommended if you're a fan of the Planet of the Apes remakes.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Continuing Adventures of Cmdr Sleepy

There haven't been that many adventures to be honest.
Some - but not too much time in there. A lot of that is down to me hitting that wall again in terms of health and energy. I haven't had bugs in any major way for a while but the energy is definitely struggling to be unlocked. And that's strange too, because since I figured out one reason why I wasn't sleeping*, I've actually been sleeping better.

*(I was tensing up while trying to drop off to sleep, the consequence of which was that the tensing up was keeping me awake. I'm looking to put my brain into a "relax all muscles" mode now which seems to be working).

However, I think I'm in one of the troughs in my cycle of manic-depression. Not had the proper manic for a little while, it takes energy to feed it. I do slip into it at work, purely due to wanting to get the throughput of the work done. And we're getting a lot done at the moment.

Work's a bit funny with that. We had a lull in some of the work up to the election and we're now catching up with that now. The hectic just means that the normal housekeeping stuff you'd keep on top of is pushed right until there is time again to deal with it. I'll throw myself into the working day and then collapse in a heap when I'm home. There's also the ongoing effect of my bad feet and other bad bits, they are fixing but the constant awareness of them is very wearing.

Watching the video game playing fits in quite well with that. Whereas I cut short an Elite session today due to finding it a bit too wearing, I'll rarely get bored with watching the gaming videos, although that's more a matter of being selective about what and who you're watching. (And I really must empty the washing machine too now it's finished !)

Anyway - Elite ...

A fortuitous combination of missions let me quickly upgrade the Adder into a Cobra Mk3.
That's Ranger. The Cobra Mk3 was the iconic ship from the original game. It's a smaller multi role ship, which does well at everything. Up to a point ... I even put guns on it, although I'd be running from anything significantly bigger or combat oriented.

That's the real trick in life as well as in games, pick your battles. Find a way around fights that you can't win, put all your effort into winning the fights that you have a chance at. Always go in with a winning attitude, even if the "win" condition is to avoid the battle.

Ranger spent most of its time in a couple of systems called Sothis and Ceos. They're a couple of hundred light years away from the small populated bubble of space and are very handy for mission running ... You can regularly get the maximum allowable amount of easy courier missions to run a circle between the 3 stations there.

I don't want to do that too much though, I'd rather go to a variety of systems and bounce between tasks instead of grinding away at a single task.

But yeah, a few trips around that loop plus the big paying long range courier mission on the way back gave the funds for the next upgrade :
Erm yep .... It's very similar to the Mk3. This is the Cobra Mk4 named Pathfinder, which has been pressed into service answering the call with the latest Community Goal.

A group called Null are looking to get an Asteroid Base built. These, along with Megaships, were added in the last major content patch and I want to see one at some point. Soon :-).

Yep. Latest community goal, thought I'd missed it but they've sponsored a repeat of it :
(Click for bigger and hopefully legible text!)

Yep. They've put a call out for tea and my Cobra Mk4 has been pressed into service to answer the call. It's quite odd doing this community goal. Before the reset, I would have been doing it in an Imperial Cutter with around 704t (depending on configuration) of cargo space. That easily puts you in the Top 25% or so inside a couple of runs. After a few runs in the Cobra with 72t at the moment, I'm in the Top 75%. It'll be a handy few million credit pay out which will go towards either :

An Asp Explorer - a long range ship that is very good at quickly going around the galaxy. Decent at trade too.
A Type 6 freighter - I really don't want to fly the freighters too much (they're too slow and move like bricks) but they are much better at moving cargo than the other ships. Handy for the community goals.

And then the aim for a little way off is to get a Python and attempt to do a run around the galaxy trading rare goods. I have a 90 odd stop route that I should really try and complete.

But for now it's :

Half watching the end of the Test Match cricket on the telly;
Half watching the T20 game they'll show later. Hopefully it doesn't get rained off like last night !
Stream watching, although I'm not quite sure which I'll watch. Probably Heychrissa;
Figuring out how to simultaneously watch the cricket, Grand Prix and World Endurance Championship tomorrow;
And emptying that washing machine !

And maybe some more Internet Spaceships when I have the interest and energy !

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Music for a galactic flyboy

It's been a while since I've done a music post !

Time for one that's a little different. I've been enjoying my time in Elite with a restarted character. It's become fresher, there's a sense of much more risk that brings engagement, it's a definitely novelty having to dock with my own piloting for a change and I like the small, nippy ships. Oh and no one in the galaxy knows Cmdr Keela Danne yet, Cmdr Iceangel was quite well known and could get the good contracts.

I should probably say that this is partly intended as a New Player Advice Post !

I definitely didn't have a sense of being Indestructible (Alisha's Attic) in the trusty Sidewinder I started in.
Cute ship. If you can call a box with an engine cute. This is the ship they give you at the start, with 1000 credits and all loaned parts to make your name with. It can hold 10 tonnes of cargo if you take the shields off it, a little more if you run without a scanner too. But that's a bad idea because you can make a little bit of money with the scanner, plus it's very useful for planetary landings on bodies that you actually need to find.

Anyway - Space Dog (Tori Amos) ... or Space Puppy on the move again.

There isn't much option in the little ship to do anything other than moving cargo and letters around. The jump range goes out decently when you get a better hyperdrive but it's very limited in the amount of fuel it can carry.

And a Starman (David Bowie) wants to range far and wide.

I started off in Federation territory, where you can pick up some fairly easy courier contracts (but be prepared to Run) that boost up the money supply pretty well. Quick enough to get that Sidewinder upgraded quite nicely to a longer range hyperdrive. And then ....
The black Hauler class ship called Dignity. That name comes from a track by Deacon Blue which is one of the favourites. There's a fella out there who wants to retire and buy a ship called Dignity. Good song.

That ship didn't end up being a Frequent Flyer (A Camp). I got rid of it after one flight ! It's not actually that much of a jump between the Hauler and the Adder class multirole ship. The black Adder not actually known as Edmund can hold 20 tonnes of cargo with a shield. I've put guns on there now too to chase away pesky Sidewinder pirates.
I think my original Adder was called Starbug. This one is named after a play on its class name. It is the ICV Algebraic (Independent Courier Vessel) after another wonderful song by A Camp, Algebra.

The next step up from an Adder will be the old favourite from the very first Elite, the Cobra Mk3. I'm not quite there yet. I could buy the ship but I'm waiting until I have a good packet of money available for upgrades. It's good to get into that top level hyperdrive as soon as you buy the ship.

Cos you know, that Road To Somewhere (Goldfrapp) can be a Long And Windy Road (Beatles).

Can you believe that this :
Makes this ?
I think I need one.

And then it's up the ship classes into Cobra Mk4 for a while (bigger, more capable), the Asp Explorer, the Python and then maybe .... one of the bigger ships. I'm only intending to fly ships I'll enjoy flying this time around which counts out the freighter type ships. They can make a decent amount of trading cash for their size but they're pretty hateful to fly. It isn't all about the money though. Sometimes it's How High (Madonna) can you go.

One thing about the switching between ships. There's a few very sites for the new and not so new Elite player. (the edcd version is newer) lets you build ship designs, see whether they work in the weight and power limits and ... sends you over to EDDB to show you where to get them.
Elite Dangerous Data Base is invaluable for trading, although you can get caught up with the data being out of date.
And then there is as another site carrying tonnes of info about the game.

If the ship isn't capable of turning that quick, you can't really Blame It On The Moon (Katie Melua) for slowing it down.

A few more quick ones ?
Don't want to get Stuck (Caro Emerald) and dry on fuel ...
I avoid Open mode like the plague cos of Kids With Guns (Gorillaz);
If you Linger (Cranberries) too long, it is a crime punishable by death (Really !);
At some point, I'll be Chasing Pirates (Norah Jones);
The Midnight Sun (Lisa Miskovsky) is especially pretty ... but if I'm seeing suns at midnight that's going to be really bad for my sleep pattern !
I'm definitely in the best ship for Mathematics (Little Boots) at the moment;
I hope the Lifeboats (Snow Patrol) work ...
I'm always hoping for Safe Travels (Lisa Hannigan);
It's wonderful being Under Stars (Aurora);

One last one. One of my favourite albums which doesn't get enough linkage here is Dark Side Of The Moon (oh even more appropriate !) by Pink Floyd with .... Great Gig in the Sky.

Oh wait ! There is the perfect song for any Elite or space game player ... It can only be ... We aim to misbehave, Firefly style.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Pondering a new beginning ....

Don't get too excited !

It's in a game. Not in the real world. At least, not in the real world outside of the game. Pixel People have lives too right ?
The game in question is Elite and you've read me writing about it loads of time before. It's a great game to lose yourself in as a space trader or explorer (maybe a bit of combat shooty too). You can dip into the storylines they set up and the community goals that are run (bit too much of a short cut to riches those).

Yeah. I've enjoyed my time in the Elites. But lately, I haven't had any interest in playing it. I think that's due to running out of goals. I'm very much about the journey in games like this, not really interested in the end. Starting small and having an adventure along the way. And then getting bored and wanting to start the journey again.

Goals ? Having the Pretty Ship. Seeing the sights. Going to new places. Getting a sun tan from the stars.
(Gotta say I'm not a fan of the new camera mode - so far. More play needed).

So I'm thinking of retiring my current pilot and restarting my game. Big step but .... it's only data ! Gotta remember that. You invest time into the games but you shouldn't invest too much .... reliance on it ? Not sure what the word is. If you have to start again to get enjoyment back into something you had fun with, do it.

And you can put pilot avatars into the game now too ...
Khajiit has wares if you have credits.

How far did I get in the game ? To the centre of the galaxy and back (big trek, here's the story). I earned the Imperial rank for the Pretty ships. Almost enough for the Corvette, best combat ship in the game. (I didn't do much combat)

I earned the cash to fit a small selection of ships.

Many, many ports visited, goods traded.
A hell of a lot more crime and smuggling than I got caught for.
And many, many stars visited. Although that is just scratching the surface of just how big the Elite galaxy is.

But I haven't been back in since creating the April Fools post.

I think the thing that's changed is trying out Bounty Train. It has reminded me about that journey. The theme of starting tiny and building up. That journey has always interested me in gaming. That's another theme that has run through my gaming. I went through a few strategy games before Stellaris supplanted Moo2. I kept going back to Moo2 after realising it was better than the new one. Like World of Warcraft, every MMO I tried sent me back to the original that I enjoyed for so long.

So I think my original pilot, Commander Iceangel has just decided to retire. Instead of propping up the bar she's been in at Ridley Scott starbase and seeing the sites of Lave, Zaonce, Diso and Leesti, she's buying her own corner of the station and opening Iceangel's Ices. A coffee bar specialising in cooler drinks, definitely creating all sorts of ice cream. (Themes are good).

And the next commander will follow what happened in Eve. My original pilot, Mistress Iceangel that time (cos Iceangel was taken and I needed to add something!) got succeeded by Keela Danne. So something like that will happen this time around. Keela is a character name I've used a fair bit, it was randomly generated by a D&D name creator and I thought it was a fantastic name so I kept it going.

Not yet though cos that retire and restart is irreversible and I'd like to do it when I have chance to put some time into the early game.

Which isn't tonight ! Chill out time tonight before working for a while tomorrow and chilling out to the cricket over the weekend.

Good times.

Hopefully restful times !

Enjoy your weekends :-)

PS Enjoyed Baby Driver tonight. Great fun film, rather daft, definitely violent, best soundtrack there will be for a while.
PPS ....
That's a Sidewinder, which I'd be restarting in. Tiny ship. Fragile ship. But a little speed demon too.
PPPS ....
As games go, this is one of the prettiest.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Unnecessary Drama

That was definitely me last night ....
Yep. Wasn't with my body (for a change!) it was the electronics and the gadgets doing things I didn't want them to do again ....

Yep. It happens. Even a techie guy like me can be hit with the viruses and malware on the computer. Even if you have the careful habits, it only takes a little bit of carelessness to allow something quite nasty into the machine. Just see the news reports about the massive cryptovirus outbreaks that have been going around the world lately.

Anyway. What actually happened ? I have a patched up Windows 10 machine, current with all the security updates. I had trusted to Windows Defender for now and to be fair to Defender, it did flag up that something bad was occurring. With its DEATH SCREAMS !!! Yep. Nastie took out Defender first and proceeded to install all sorts of Bad Stuff.

But I'm getting ahead of myself there.

I was looking for a convertor to turn FLAC audio tracks into MP3s that iTunes could understand. Easy enough (I'll be using a questionable quality but safe online convertor). I looked at a reviews site, which pointed me towards a program called Super. Looked good, downloaded it, installed it.

And then the malware gets in. Malwarebytes is an excellent program in itself for getting rid of this stuff but even that has its limits. It spotted 1153 bad items in its first scan.

Symptoms - youtube was utterly broken, many other sites were reporting security compromises, Windows 10 was going nuts with the "An application has caused a problem with this file extension, it has been reset." If you have Windows 10 patched up, you'll be sick of those.

The browser security was messed up by one part of the nastie which was sitting in the middle intercepting the calls (I should really reset a few passwords) and breaking the trust chain. Youtube was also messed up by adverts coming in with Russian script. Not sure what the point of those are, if you don't understand the language, you ain't gonna pay attention.
It wasn't that bad but it did take almost extreme measures to get rid of the problem.

If you suspect something odd is happening with your machine, follow these steps.


The first instinct if you've been hit by a virus is to go nuts changing things like passwords. Don't do that. At least, not on the suspect machine. Keyloggers are quite common and if you change the password before removing the keylogger, you have just sent your username and password combination to the person the keylogger is reporting to.

Wait until after the machine is clean or better still, change the passwords on another machine that is clean.

2 - Run a scan from something like Malwarebytes.

Malwarebytes Anti Malware (MBAM) is a top program that deals with most Internet Nasties. It couldn't cope with this one but .... I think this one was especially tenacious. Follow the process in MBAM, let it clean and reboot as necessary. Keep running the MBAM scans until it reports no threats.

And then run one of the free online virus scans (I used ESET) to confirm that the machine is clean.

Aside - sometimes Malwarebytes doesn't have success. In this case, the Nastie was particularly tenacious with 2 processes running in Windows that I could identify, more processes running as browser extensions and undoubtedly a few more besides that. Any one of those left behind and the machine would be reinfected.

3 - Ask Google how to get rid of the leftovers.

This is probably a waste of time to be honest. I looked up the name of the Nastie on various sites and they were pretty much just carbon copies of "Reboot in Safe Mode, remove all files associated with Nastie." Ok. Tell me what files are associated with the Bad Stuff.


4 - Use a competent antivirus.

I've broken a run of 5.5 years without a decent anti-virus, having trusted Windows Defender up to now. Bitdefender won the vote of the online review site jury and is currently doing a full machine scan.

5 - Look into System Restore to resolve the problem.

This seems to have done the trick here. I haven't noticed any symptoms of the Nastie since running that last night. It does reset your data as well as the system files but I hadn't worked on anything saved locally since the Restore although it reset a few of the "Where am I?" in the youtube playlists I'm running through.

Hopefully that's the problem resolved now, although it seemed to be a particularly tenacious bit of malware.

I've learned my lesson and I'm looking to Bitdefender to do a bit more than croak at the first sign of infection like Defender did.

Stay safe on the interwebs !

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Cos .... random thoughts ...


Over a week again since last post. Slipping again !

I've been partly looking inwards again, partly being very frustrated at a couple of things. Definitely looking forward to the chats I have with a few people. Lovely people get the mind directed towards good things and away from the bad.

And I know a few lovely people who raise my spirits when the messages come in.
I do like the games. But I like talking to and interacting with good people even more.

Smiles bring smiles.

Struggling at the moment though. I read something that described High Functioning Depression the other day and it's Internet Doctoring again but I do share a lot of those symptoms. I definitely have trouble getting myself going at the moment, with it being a real struggle to do anything for myself. I'm much better at doing things for others.

I'm extremely self critical (including about not posting here too much!) and the frustrations about the new IT at work have been (probably very justifiably because the system is garbage) getting to me. I like to be able to get work done and it's just .... getting in the way.

Condition of me probably doesn't help there. My feet are the worst bit still and are taking a while to repair. But ... when I'm able to leave them alone, there is actual progress. It's getting there, still extremely slowly and prone to quick setbacks but ... it's improving bit by bit.

Still gets to me though. I feel the worn down ness again although I think I have been getting more sleep. It does help perhaps that I've been going to bed at more reasonable times (although that has been due to being absolutely shattered !)

How about those good things though ?

I have bought 2.5 games so far in the Steam sale and there are likely to be 2 more .... The 2.5 I have acquired are Stardew Valley, Starbound and a DLC pack for Motorsport Manager. Plus soundtracks for Stardew and Starbound.

I've been enjoying the soundtracks of Stardew and Starbound although I haven't opened the games yet. I had a peek at the Motorsport Manager DLC and a couple of races with the new bits (GT cars and a KERS mechanic) but I've been concentrating on the save game that I've had going for a little while now. It's to take a very weak team and get them winning at the top. After a few seasons dominating the middle championship (to generate money to build up stuff to get more money to get a money warchest for competing at the top), I've had the team struggling in their first run in the top tier. They're 8th best team at the moment, which is probably better than can be hoped for. Gonna build from there and should catch up.

I've been enjoying the Motorsport Manager.
Although you do have to ignore the drivers when they get too keen. Improve on a time set in the dry when it's tipping it down ? I don't think so Mr Becker. It's perhaps more interesting to play when you're mid field than when you're dominating, because skill as a player and your decisions count more. Managed to get a driver finish on the same lap as the leaders in the last race, which is first time that season. I did have to hack the save game though, my championship expectations got set to a "I'm sure I didn't pick that" too high level of 6th, which nearly saw my person fired ... Oops. I only modified the championship expectation to what it should have been - sorted.

Watching the cricket has been good. The Champions Trophy was good when the weather started cooperating, lots of good games with close results. I'm looking forward to a good game tomorrow between the ladies teams of England and Sri Lanka. Fingers crossed for an England win and some spectacular keeping from Sarah Taylor. It's good to see that one back, she's an absolute legend behind the stumps.

I miss playing the cricket but at the same time, I remember what it was like around the games. Cricket brings pain. And fun. But also a lot of pain. I have trouble sometimes gripping things due to the damage to my knuckles from nearly caught cricket balls. It's the nearly caught ones that murder your bones.

The games ? I'm likely to buy 2 more games in the steam sale and then that'll probably be it.

Halcyon 6 is a curious one. It is set immediately after the New Terra Homeworld gets demolished by aliens and you're the last hope, living on a highly advanced alien starbase from which you build a fleet to kick those aliens back to their own dimension. Lots of character in this game.

Bounty Train is a light hearted looking one where you are a train driver in a 19th century America. The aim is to trade, fight, upgrade and improve your train so you can get the funds to buy control of your dad's old company.

I've been watching a couple of playthroughs of these games to try and make my mind up and .... Yep. It's dangerous who and what you watch sometimes. Did I mention both of these games come with soundtracks ? :-D.

Talking about watching things .... it is the cricket season now and that does tend to take priority with what's on the telly but .... My series link list has seriously diminished ! It used to be up to I think 14 things being recorded, it's now at 5 ... (F1, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Deadliest Catch, Mountain Men). Where did the shows go ? :-). Means I can catch up on the recordings and maybe, just maybe watch a few of the series of dvd that I've been meaning to watch for ages just not really had time.

The Doctor Who finale was really something though wasn't it. I won't do the spoiler thing but ... special finish to a very good series. I did like Bill, her actress did a stellar job all the way through the series and Peter Capaldi has followed in the footsteps of all those who went before of Perhaps ... Perhaps ... being the Best Doctor Ever. They've all been amazing in their own ways, all been different. From the madness of Matt Smith, to the gravitas of Peter Capaldi.

I've definitely enjoyed his time as Doctor, although I'm not sure there will be a "I'm not crying, you're crying" moment like when the Curator turned up in the 50th anniversary special. Tom Baker was born for the role.

So yeah. Hanging in there.

Struggling a bit. (Aren't we all?)

Looking for a bit of an escape route.

And being very grateful to friends who give me some of that escape route and help with the struggles.