I am still playing Diablo 3

I know. It seems weird, but I constantly return to Diablo 3. Now that I have it on the Switch, I still play on the PS4. Mainly because I have lots of level 70 characters (well 4), and I am trying to slowly move up the Torment ladder. My Crusader is on Torment V, and my Barbarian is on Torment III. Soon, I’ll have some more to go, and I need to get my Barbarian’s gear upgraded to move up. The gear on my Crusader is all awesome, but I forgot what it’s called. I’ll have to post a follow-up when I play again (which should be really soon. heh.)

I played Diablo 2 up to a point, but I think I’ve put more time in Diablo 3 than both 1 and 2 put together. It’s almost approaching Oblivion/Skyrim hours played. It’s a great game, and the loot harvesting is just more fun than I thought it was. 🙂

Necromancer time! 🙂

Nethack

I enjoy the difficulty of Nethack, mainly because I like exploring the ASCII dungeon with my pet, and I am not overly upset when I die from something, because I usually cause it myself. There have been times that I have been stuck without food and a good escape plan, but I figure I overlooked something and my leveled up (not very high) character was destined to fall through the cracks, so to speak. I have yet to ascend, or for that matter find the amulet, but I will still try off and on. It’s just a fun game. This game is an example of difficulty that doesn’t punish for not being “as good” as the developer or whatnot (Dark Souls comes to mind. It punishes for not being an elite player that spends 24 hours a day practicing only to be pummeled by something they couldn’t see in the shadows in front of them.) The concept of difficulty is not nuanced, and it simply puts itself down to practice and mastery of the game rules. Difficulty isn’t about memorizing patterns and getting muscle memory to help get past things that are deliberately there to annoy.

I guess I’m just an old-school difficulty guy. Some people will disagree with my assessment of the Dark Souls franchise. It’s a good game wrapped in mechanics that reward players who don’t have lives. That’s fine if you like that sort of thing, but I’ll take my Nethack difficulty (or “roguelike” difficulty) over that any day.

Laptop shopping

I can’t really think of a reason to buy one, but I figure I could do with one, at least a not-so-powerful one that does the things I need (in Linux of course), and one that isn’t too hard to read for my bad eyesight. My desktop is an i5, but on the low-end of the spectrum, so I really am not one of those who thinks it necessary to get the latest chipsets each and every iteration. I probably won’t update this desktop until it gives up the ghost (more than the accessory components, mind you). So when looking for a laptop, I have a broader spectrum of choices, albeit ones that are more Linux-friendly than not.

I’ll keep you posted as to the search as I dig around the stores and Amazon/Best Buy. There’s no rush, and I’m not settled on screen size yet. I am leaning towards portability, but the larger screen might help my eyes. Anyhow, that’s in the future…. until then… I must shoot the alien menace before it lands!

Broke My Filco

After much fiddling when I bought new keycaps, I finally was able to break the spacebar on my Filco Majestouch TKL keyboard (with the black keyswitches). It was my first mechanical keyboard purchase, and I think I may have overpaid for it, but I liked it quite a bit, since it dispensed with the numeric keypad (something I only need when I’m playing Nethack and forget the other key layout.)

Still, it stinks that I got all of the keys replaced and I mucked up the spacebar. I figured the one I’d break was the Enter or the left shift (which I broke one of the feet holders already way back when.) I might try to fix it one day, but until then, I’ll just set it aside. I won’t be buying a keyboard to replace it just yet. I’ll give it more thought than I usually do, and in many cases there are a ton of knock-off and almost-expensive (and a couple of expensive) keyboards that I have bought over the years because I am still, even in 2019, searching for the “perfect” keyboard.

I think I’ll just use my HHK2 and call it even. There is no such thing as a perfect keyboard, I’m thinking now. But who knows? I might find one in the near future and it’s just waiting to be purchased. Until then, I like that my HHK2 has a nice USB hub built in that lets me plug my mouse into it rather than using another slot on my PC. 🙂 I think that’s a neat feature of keyboards that has fallen by the wayside. I’m under no illusions that my HHK2 is a powerhouse, but it’s quite the little footprint, which is something I like. I do refuse to pay $400 for a similar sized (“real” HHK) and I don’t fancy paying $199 for a 60% keyboard just because it’s 60%.

I would like to say that the PBT doubleshot keycaps are a must-have in all my new keyboards, though. They look and feel great. They don’t feel slippery like the regular ones, and due to their texture, resist the “shiny” parts that you generally get on the well-used keys of a keyboard after a few years. All things considered, wasting a few hundred bucks on mechanical keyboards has taught me not to have too staunch muscle memory when typing. I like that, since I frequently have to use different keyboards all the time. 🙂 We’ll have to see if the “perfect mechanical keyboard” actually exists. It’ll be fun to shop now and again to see how they are coming along. 🙂


Addicted to Mechanical Keyboards

It’s official. I’m addicted to mechanical keyboards. I now own no less than 5 of varying types and quality. I recently added a Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro to my collection. It has true RGB (like one of my Logitech Gaming keyboards that I can’t recall the name off the top of my head). It’s a beautiful bit of color that I never thought I’d need on a keyboard (until I bought one.) After reading Reddit’s Mechanical Keyboard Guide, I settled on the Cooler Master (or Coolermaster) from their picks, because it’s the nice sweet spot between the WASD and the off-brand “mechanical-like” keyboards on the market. WASD makes some awesome keyboards, but their cheapest cost models are $150 and up. This Cooler Master came in at $99 with free shipping from Amazon. Now, for $150, WASD gives you some seriously good stuff, but nothing with RGB. I have a Cherry MX Green WASD keyboard that I love, with the notable exception of its height. It reminds me, as I might’ve said earlier, of my old Breadbox C64 in how I felt typing on it. I still use the WASD, but not as my daily typer. 🙂 That’s the Cooler Master for now.

A small aside that I like (along with the WASD) the Cooler Master has no “Windows” keys. This keyboard has their logo printed on what would be that key. My WASD has a Tux logo. I appreciate that companies are learning that Windows/Mac aren’t the only games in town. I’ll be writing emails and fiddling with this keyboard for the next week or two and I might write a follow-up that details the “first week with the Cooler Master”. It depends upon how much info I can get out of using it (other than “it’s great” or “I hate it after X days” sorts of things.)

I’m off to play with the lighting now… the RGB wave that it is using now is neat, but I like to fiddle. 🙂

Fiddling with keyboards

I am apparently very difficult to please when it comes to keyboards. I’ve had plenty (loved quite a few, but mostly didn’t like them after a period of adjustment), but none have been “perfect”. The closest one was my original Microsoft Natural Keyboard (before the “Elite”) that was quite comfortable and easy to keep my hands on and level. It now holds a spot in my office at work for my development machine. It’s a great keyboard that I truly wish I had bought a spare or two. (I often wonder why Microsoft quit making that keyboard, but I reckon it’s based on cost.)

Another useful keyboard was my Ninja Tenkeyless from Filco. It was my first mechanical keyboard and used Cherry MX Black switches (which have a very rigid feel to them and aren’t “clicky” like the Greens or Blues). I bought it because it was a keyboard without a numeric keypad, which reminded me of my old 8-bit machines. Still, in spite of its heavy travel on the keys, I used it quite a bit. I bought a WASD Keyboard with Green MX switches, and those were great too, but they were clicky and heavy travel (for some reason.) I felt like I was typing on my old C-64 keyboard at times with the high front and even higher back. The keyboard is built like a tank, though and I appreciate its durability. I just needed to use a wrist wrest for extended typing sessions.

I have had many knockoff keyboards too, since I am a sucker for a cheap RGB Chinese knockoff for $20. I have a couple of them, including a Wal Mart branded “Blackweb” cheap Chinese knockoff. I am currently using it because it has a built-in wrist wrest. Of course it’s a large keyboard and though I use a trackball, there’s little room in my pullout keyboard drawer for anything but the keyboard and trackman. 🙂 It’s louder than the Green MX (not sure what knockoff keycaps they’re using), and it has that pleasant RGB coloring that the Logitech G keyboards have (I had one of those too, but I didn’t like the travel on the keys all that much.)

So, if you count the myriad of keyboards that either came with PCs I’ve bought or purchased used on a whim (plus my micro keyboards and my mechanical ones), I’ve bought far too many keyboards to count. I’m going to stick with this Blackweb one (which wasn’t terribly expensive, so I surmise it’ll last less time than my Filco or WASD.) But if some other keyboard comes along and tickles my wallet, I might just move to another. 🙂 I am fickle, and I certainly don’t have brand loyalty when it comes to keyboards. 🙂

Rust and Go

In 2019, I’m going to add to my language repertoire with Rust, Go, and Java. Java is a minor addition, because we’re doing some conversion from Java to other languages (Oracle’s new licensing is really putting a damper on usage. Some projects are going to OpenJDK, but some are being converted.)

I have fiddled with Go for a bit and I am impressed. It has all the power of C with Python’s ease of syntax and simplicity. I rather like it so far. I have been working on a django web project and think some of the things can be handled by Go, given its ability to do web-based backend stuff without much code. It’s too early to tell, but it might work. 🙂

As for Rust, I have found some great books, and given Firefox has been rewritten in Rust, I have to give the language a shot. If for no other reason to get the two books on making your own interpreter and compiler in Rust. It just sounds like fun. I don’t do as much system level programming anymore, but I still like to fiddle from time to time. It’s a hobby, but if it pans out and I need it someday soon, I’ll be all the more ready.

Of course I will still work in Python, because I love the language. I have some great ideas for things and tools I could use (while at the same time honing my skills and learning new concepts), and with Python it helps to keep up with the language. It doesn’t hurt that it’s my favorite language to code in either. I’m really interested in Pygame for some ideas I have and some toolkits I could make for hobbyist stuff i do with MAME roms and whatnot. You know, to automate the boring stuff. Plus, I’d like to, even though it’s a bit outdated, learn Curses, so that I can make some things in the terminal that I think would be neat. Mostly, I’m just working along and seeing where it takes me.

I would like to get into more text processing (for things like conversion and whatnot), so that I can get a handle on manipulating text fluently and without a lot of iterative steps and brute-force methods for dealing with data. I can use those techniques at work and at home, given that text processing is always something one needs to do. I can do that in Python and Go as well. Given that I have not learned enough Perl to do anything useful, I suppose I could brush up on some of the streaming features of the language. But suffice to say, Python is the language of choice (for me at least) when it comes to manipulating text.

One day I’ll retire and I’ll probably hang up the coding hat, but I’m not there yet. And given that I’m not prolific in my output (doing little things here and there) should be enough for me not to get burned out on the tasks. Now that I eschewed Social Media, I’m free to jot down things here and do what I love, rather than try to interact with trolls and rotten people online. It should be a fun adventure.