Editorial: Whenever This Is

Yeah! Editorials!?! Remember those? Back when I tended to stick to a blogging schedule I would put one of these out every month to… well, I guess tell you about all the other things that I’d been doing that month. But as my blogging has drifted into the realm of less-regular (understatement), the hallowed ‘editorial’ was ditched to avoid every one reading like an apology for why I haven’t been writing more, or that I ‘would be taking’/’have just taken‘ a hiatus. There would just end up being more apologies than rambles about gaming and I didn’t want that. In general I’ve done my best to avoid talking about blogging breaks and suchlike, in the same way I try to avoid talking about social media on social media. We all know the deal: life happens, blogging sometimes happens, gaming happens etc…

What I’m trying to say is ‘Don’t Panic!’ nothing’s changing, I’m still going to be doing this blog with the regular super-infrequent irregularity that you’ve come to expect, and it’ll remain gaming focussed.

… but I did want to have a bit more of a casual post about stuff that’s relevant, but has never really fit entirely in to my normal blogging activities, and this does kind of touch upon matters outside of gaming… kind of… and it’s my blog, so I get to ramble about what I want.

Decentralisation? Federation? …erm… Frustration?

Which leads me neatly into my broader recent online presence. A little while ago, I left Twitter, and just like all those other preachy abandon-ers, I can honestly say that my online life has improved because of it. Or, bits of my online life at least. I’ve logged back in about twice since signing off for good. Both times to update my profile details should anyone want to follow me elsewhere. The idea of seeing advertisements in my feed, or an algorithm pushing posts that I might like now seems kind of ridiculous, not to mention the increasingly erratic directions that Twitter’s all powerful leader seems to be violently steering the platform in. The biggest loss are the people who I genuinely enjoyed following on ol’ Tweetblargh who didn’t make the jump to one of the platforms that I now occupy. I guess in a way this is my appeal to give it another shot if you made an account on Mastodon or Cohost but never quite got around to using it. Having said that, I get it; not everyone can leave Twitter.

Weirdly one thing I enjoy about Mastodon is contributing financially to the instance that I’m on. I don’t give much, and I’m not even saying that everyone should, or can, chip in cash. The ‘enjoyment’ (yeah, that was a weird word choice) is about really about squaring away where the product is: On Mastodon, I’m paying to use a service. On Twitter, I am the product.

I guess more broadly it’s about taking a bit more control of my online presence, which brings me back to here. I like having my own blog. There’s a reason that I never tried to ‘team up’. I wouldn’t want to lose the control of being able to ramble blandly about the latest game I’ve played in one post, and jump into some goofy funny-to-me ‘fan-fic’ in the next. Of course, I don’t self-host. I currently have a personal plan account on WordPress.com which is pretty much the lowest bar in terms of ease to getting a blog on a unique domain. I like my domain… I’m less fussed about the WP.com… but then moving away would require more effort and realistically I like writing and not arguing with WP-plugins for hours on end.

I did toy with the idea recently of really really self-hosting as a side project. An old raspberry Pi was gathering dust in a draw and I set it up to be a LAMP server hosting wordpress and a copy of my blog. Running with a fairly lite theme I even had it technically visible to the outside world for a very short period of time. Given my visitor numbers, I thought that the Pi would be able to handle the strain… and my readers would probably wait the extra couple of seconds for pages to load. Ultimately I’ve shelved the idea out of a sense of maintaining my home network security; I didn’t like the idea of having ports open to the internet with my only tenuous grasp on basic security requirements. But it’s nice to have a fallback plan.

Old Tech

… and keeping old tech going is great. I’m writing this on my Chromebook that reached the end of product support some time ago that I somehow managed to install a … Linux.. on it… That’s right! A proper Linux! I guess I’m a Linux person now.

Of course the even better sort of old tech is the type that sits in my RetroNook. The Hundstrasse RetroNook has been a thing now for the best part of a year. A small section of the house carved out just so that I can have my retro consoles setup permanently. My self-gift to celebrate was a GameCube, which is a console that I’ve wanted to own for such a long time, but alongside that I have my trusty ol’ chunky PS2, Wii, and Sega MegaDrive all ready to go at a moment’s notice. I love it. Rediscovering old favorites, exploring classics that I just never played, and playing trash from the past are absolutely my things now. I’ve made some effort to try and get them all to look as good as I can without getting too Tech-ey. Picking up decent cables makes a huge difference, and I specifically went out of my way to buy a 2nd hand TV with all those old connection types that you just don’t get anymore.

Despite my ‘collection’ kind of filling several shelves. I don’t really see myself as a collector. Accumulator? Is that a thing?

… and the Donkeys? What’s that about?

Hey hey… check out my phone case…

The Gaming Donks have become a more regular part of my blogging output. Do they count as blogging? Does anyone other than me find this funny? Should I spend more time on them to try and draw them better?… are just some of the many questions I asked myself… but now I don’t really care. The Donks love their RetroGaming goofy humour, and cabled controllers… and so do I. For some reason, donkeys and old tech go together.

… and the side projects?

Regular readers will know that I love a good side-project. You know, that thing I’m sort of doing as a “Hmmmm… this is interesting”. The aforementioned Pi hosting was one of them, but there have been others on the go. I’ve recently been trying to hack ‘Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf‘ (Shark Attack!) for Atari ST and inject some custom courses. Honestly I’d like some of these to be non-computer based, I’ve had long aspirations to build dioramas of some of the scenes from Resident Evil 2, but time, space, and skill tend to get in the way, so all I have are sketches and doodles at the moment. Maybe one day.

That being said, I’ve also had a hankering to do some more bits of game programming. Arduboy was great for that, and Pico-8 was pretty good, although, I kind of struggled with the low-res interface. Yeah, I know I could technically use a different code editor and import to the Pico-8 environment, but to me that doesn’t feel like it’s in the spirit of the fantasy console concept. There’s always this real temptation to go classic and write something for ZX Spectrum, or bizarre and write something for a graphic calculator or something.

… and you know, I think I’m going to wrap it up there. I hope all is good wherever you are on the internets!

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