Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 vs Windows 9

Heya folks,

It has been a while since I last penned down some thoughts on stuff. Been  pretty busy with work and still in the midst of achieving some work-life balance.

Considering a new laptop purchase.

Alright, back to business. I've been thinking of purchasing a new laptop to replaced my current one and I find myself holding back. And that's right, its because of Windows.

Let's talk Windows 8: buying a new laptop for the family

My dad bought a new Lenovo touchscreen laptop and it running Windows 8. It has a beautiful metro system with little apps all around that my dad can just touch to activate them. Its all good is it not? Well, not exactly ...

Microsoft account
The first hurdle my dad faced is that Windows requires him to have a Microsoft (email) account so that all information can be synced online. This feature is good but it shouldn't have been compulsory and there should be a clear option to skip the process. My dad was stumped because this feature was not present on windows 95, windows 2000, windows millennium edition, windows XP or windows 7. Compounded by the new User Interface (UI), it is rather confusing and intimidating for someone who is not the most IT literate.


Windows 8 prides itself on the new metro user interface. It essentially allows Microsoft to (somewhat) merge or bridge the differences between the operating system on their Windows Phone and the Desktop systems. Great idea. But, is it good for the consumers. Loyal users of Microsoft's windows from the windows 3.1 era for example would suddenly find the disappearance of the 'boot up to desktop' alarming. Windows used to be an excellent system for users to manage their files, folders and access critical systems and / or softwares quickly and efficiently. In addition, the Metro system uses 'apps'. Sounds like a similar system to 'Apple'. Similarities? Works great on a tablet but not as much on a desktop PC. If you have a touch screen PC you can just touch and activate the apps that you want to access on the screen and it works like a phone / tablet. But it is pretty inefficient to navigate when you are using a mouse and keyboard. You find that the large icons are a problem because your screen can only displace limited number of applications and you have to 'scroll and scroll' to reach more apps. Problem!

Another issue i have with the metro system is that the 'shutdown' button is not obvious. In Windows 7, we used to be able to find the button on the 'start' menu. But the elimination / disappearance of the aforementioned button means that it is much less instinctive to the old timers of Windows to turn off their PC. Problem!

Start Button elimination / disappearance

Another nuance would be of course the disappearance of the 'start button'. In the subsequent updates to Windows 8, Microsoft essentially gave in to its users and added in a 'start button'. Why you say do I put the apostrophe marks? Its because it is STILL not the same as a start button. Click on it and it brings you back to the 'Metro UI'. Essentially Microsoft is saying that you (the traditional desktop user) should (change your mindset) access your stuff on a PC like a Phone / Tablet via the UI.

I am not sure what else I can say about it. Bottom line, it is not as user friendly to a windows user who has been using the OS for a really long time. And this change can be intimidating to users particularly those who are less IT literate and the impact translates into less earnings for Microsoft as companies are less likely to transition to Windows 8.

Windows 9

Rumors of Windows 9 started flooding the internet almost as soon as Windows 8 as determined to be 'a problem'. Everyone essentially hoped Microsoft would patch it up or introduce a new Windows 9 for the desktop. However, till today, the information regarding 'alpha' versions of Windows 9 on the internet has yet to be proven to any extent. There has been talk about Windows putting the 'Start Button' back in and making it more like Windows 7 but Learner and more Efficient. Sounds really good.

But bottom line: As of Feb 2014, Microsoft is still releasing updates / patches to Windows 8. And it remains my personal view that the next version of Windows (Windows 9 ) is unlikely to be sold until 2015 at the earliest.

Windows 7

Still loving this version of Windows. All my applications runs well with it. E.g. Steam, video encoding / recording software and many others. And from the forums I've perused, users still love it.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 vs Windows 9

There is no doubt in my mind that Windows 7 is still the best for myself and old timers who have been using Windows for years. True that Windows 8 is much leaner and efficient as compared to Windows 7 but the User Interface is a sticking point for me and if it impacts my productivity by making me search for buttons or 'relearn' the UI then its not something that I want. A UI / OS should be made easy for me and not the other way round. Some people may claim that we should "learn to play" or learn the new OS because its gonna stick but I hold a different view. Products should cater to consumers and no the other way round. 

Windows 9 is something that I am definitely looking forward to. If its as lean and efficient as Windows 8 but looks like the Windows 7. I am all for it.

That's all from me for now.

Signing Off~

Friday, 14 June 2013

Reflections on creating a Gaming Channel : Getting Youtube View and Subs

Hello Guys,

To be perfectly honest, I started my Youtube channel with the thought that it would be real cool to have someone from the other side of the globe watch me play games. And till this day I sill remind myself that that's the most important point despite all the talk about potential monetization and all that stuff.

However, video making is not a simple process. Occasionally, I feel a little tired or disappointed when the quality of my recording is not to my liking. What continues to motivate me is the number of views that I am getting. Its not much but its always very VERY encouraging when a single person leave a short note saying that enjoyed the video or leave a quick thumbs up. It feels really awesome when someone decides to subscribe to my channel. This tells me that they believe that I will continue to produce videos that they are interested in. Therefore, I gradually realise why views and subs are important to Youtubers (youtube creators).

Some people see views and subs as a numbers game that brings them a step closer to monetizing their youtube channel and I cannot fault them for thinking so. But right now, viewers bring me encouragement and that's really important to keep me going. I see little incentive to do sub4sub or view for view just for the sake of it because both parties would unlikely be active subscribers / viewers and I would love to see my subscribers continuously come back for more videos on my channel.

Some strategies for promoting : 

Just in case you are interested in promoting your channel I have researched online for some tips and methods.

1. Obviously you can look for people who do sub4sub or view4view.
2. Highlight your video or channel on Twitter / Facebook / Website.
3. Make posts on stumbleupon or reddit.
4. Be active in forums such as yttalk and perhaps fellow youtube creators would check out your channel.

My personal strategy : 

I was inspired by some fellow youtube creators who continued to produce excellent content. They always keep me going back for more and they have a knack for keeping me engaged throughout the 20min or 45 min video. And that's what I would like to achieve. Produce quality videos that attract viewers and get them to come back for more everyday, all day.

Well, that's some of my thoughts.
Do pop by my channel and take a look at some of the video. Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe! (Some shameless self-promoting) :D

That's all folk.

Signing off~

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Political Machine 2012 : John Kerry vs Donald Trump

Hello Guys,

I've been trying out an older game that I bought : The Political Machine 2012. Its a simulation of the presidential elections based on the situation in 2012. We can pit different candidates against each other. These candidates can be historical or plain fictional from our creations. In my let's play, I pick John Kerry and face off Donald Trump. My strategy is to take advantage of Donald Trump's low credibility stats in the game and formulate a strategy to weaken his position. However, he has loads of cash ....

The Political Machine 2012 : John Kerry vs Donald Trump - Part 1

The Political Machine 2012 : John Kerry vs Donald Trump - Part 2

The Political Machine 2012 : John Kerry vs Donald Trump - Part 3

Who will win?

Check it Out!

Signing off~


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Civ V G&K : Sweden 1 city challenge

Hello Guys,

I am pretty excited about the upcoming DLC for Civilization V. The new dlc is believed to be called A Brave New World where the culture aspect of the game is enhanced. You would be able to do tourism and trade on a wider level and also acquire cultural artifacts to boost your culture rating.

Admittedly, I have not been playing Civ V for quite a bit so I have taken up the game again in the effort to get more familiar with it a prepare myself for the upcoming DLC. I have recorded some gameplay footage playing as Sweden in Civ V : Gods & Kings. This game was played under the constraints of a one city challenge. I am not sure whether its going to be easy but I am going to give it a try.

Civ V G&K : Sweden 1 city challenge - Part 1

Civ V G&K : Sweden 1 city challenge - Part 2

Civ V G&K : Sweden 1 city challenge - Part 3

More episodes would be coming up. Feel free to make guesses on what the outcome will be and comment on what you would have done or not done.

See you guys.

Signing off~


Reflections on creating a Gaming Channel : Recording Gameplay and Recommendations

Hello Guys,

I have been doing quite a few gameplay recordings and there are a couple of things that I have learnt. Recording let's play is not as easy as I thought it was...

What I had previously thought : 

1. Its just recording myself play! No pressure!
2. Since my computer can play the game, it should be able to handle the recording ... right?
3. Any microphone will suffice.

Reality / Recommendations :

1. I feel like I will tend to try harder in a game when I play to record. Its like I feel as if I have an audience and my audience could be my girlfriend, some other girl I am trying to impress, my buddy who would be looking out for weaknesses or just my mum (kidding). It is not as easy as it seems because I now have to talk and play at the same time. Speaking intelligently while playing is not easy. I have to think about what I am going to do in game and also think about what to speak simultaneously. Its very easy to do either one .. but both at the same time? All I can say is that practice definitely helps. My advice : try to relax and game. People want to watch people enjoy the game. Its just that plain and simple.

2. Recording will strain your computer more. Period. Your screen capture software will consume some RAM, some GPU (graphics processing unit) power and CPU power. They add up and will slow your game a little. As a result, take some time to play around with the settings and settle on one that you feel comfortable.

(i) Try different recording software. In my earlier post, I highlighted that FRAPS, while being a solid software to capture high quality video, tend to lower FPS a fair bit. Bandicam on the other hand tends to maintain your game FPS while holding onto a medium quality video. I recommend prioritizing video clarity and FPS. And this can be achieved by reducing some in-game video settings in combination with the appropriate software.

(ii) Try out different Codecs. Video recording software uses different 'language' to convert your video into files. Different 'language' uses different number of 'words' to convey a message. Using less 'words' or hard disk space will lead to some loss in video quality but we can usually find some middle ground to have a good balance of quality and hard disk space. There is no point using 500GB of HD space to record a 1 hour video. I doubt you can recorded a lot of footage at one go on your Hard Drive and the time taken to render a 500 GB video .. unimaginable.

3. Get a better mic. That's something that I realised after trying out the recording process. I started off with my built-in laptop mic and I found a lot of backgound noice being recorded. I upgraded to a headset mic but I found a lot of 'popping' sounds recorded. I am presently trying out the Blue Snowball Mic and I will let you guys know how I feel in subsequent posts. Right now, I feel like its a pretty decent improvement and I hope my viewers feel the same.

Alright. That's all form me.

Signing off~


Friday, 7 June 2013

Wargame Airland Battle : Deck recommendations for Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark,Sweeden)

Hello guys,

I have been playing Wargame Airland Battle for quite some time now and I have tried out various decks by mixing the nato and pact decks together. I have also tried out each of the countries' individual decks and I found strengths and weaknesses in each.

Fundamentally, it would be the best to have a mixed deck such as a nato or pact deck. Most of the national decks have some form of weaknesses that can be compensated by each other. Correspondingly, using a singular country deck would expose you to some pretty crippling weaknesses.

Scandinavia deck

The Scandinavian units generally lack direct firepower in their tanks. Their front armor, with the exception of the Swedish tanks, are rather weak and will be taken out by a single well placed ATGM shot. Their infantry is pretty much on par with the major nations and that is a relief. Basically, most of their units will be out classed by the major nations but they make up for this weakness by having access to more activation points and relatively inexpensive units. More activation points mean that you can bring in much more units than your opponents can in the battle map. And the fact that your units are cheaper mean that you can bring in units much faster that your opponent can and thereby overwhelm him and gain important territories which will gain you further deployment points to bring in even more units. You can imagine and powerful feedback loop here.

I have suggested some builds in my deck creation videos and you might want to consider the choices!


Swedish (Sweden)

Danish (Denmark)

These are my recommendations for the Scandinavian nations. I have focused mainly on bring in inexpensive units supported by some powerful ones.

Do give them a try and let me know how they fare!


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Let's play Wargame Airland Battle Campaign Scenario 1 : Die Hard Part

Hello guys,

I tried out the campaign for Wargame : Airland Battle by Eugen. It is a brilliant game and the campaign was designed in the form of a 'dynamic' campaign similar  to that of the famed Total War series. It is a refreshing improvement from the linear and uninspiring campaign that I played in Wargame : European Escalation.

In this dynamic campaign, your actions on the battle map will directly influence you on the campaign map. For instance, if the AI wins, then you will find that you have lost some territory on the campaign map. Correspondingly if you win, you are rewarded with the necessary morale points to win the scenario. You can watch me play the first scenario in this video.

In the following video, you will see that my victory on the campaign map wins me the necessary territory to achieve victory for the scenario. This campaign mode seriously makes me want to up my game and take each battle seriously. Because I know that there is an incentive to win. In addition, there is a time limit for the campaign and as a result you do not have infinite time to win and therefore it to your benefit to win all or most of the battles.

This is undoubtedly a great game and the campaign is a nice change. It provides a significant challenge and I am sure that you will spend time trying out the scenario repeatedly to carve out a win.