Bethany Corcoran

Final Fantasy XV: Fixing the narrative

Final Fantasy XV came out a month ago today, and I've been playing it a lot. Like, a whole bunch. By which I mean, I've clocked up around 87 hours so far including beating the main story and doing much of the side content including the dungeons - I've got two of the 'sealed door' dungeons left and then I'm mostly done. So, it's fair to say that I like this game a lot. But it really wasn't what I was expecting - hoping - from a Final Fantasy game. I'm a big fan of the series primarily for the narrative so I was hoping a strong narrative from this, particularly after Kingsglaive, the tie-in film that is basically required watching for the game, sets the scene for the game so well.

Final Fantasy XV does a great job of making an enjoyable open-world experience. That's high praise from me - I generally don't enjoy open world games. And the combat, while it does have some flaws, generally feels great. But they could have done so much more with the story.

Warning: Full plot spoilers follow, for both Kingsglaive and Final Fantasy XV itself!

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A Scary New World: Protecting your online self in an increasingly fascist world

Note: I've written this as a blog post rather than a private Facebook post so it can be more easily shared. Share away!

Thanks to my friend @ThisAllieKatz for pointing me at the VPN comparison table, the recommendation of VPNSecure, and StackSocial discounts. They're the best!

Updated 25/11 to add that OpenVPN is usable on iOS

What's going on in world politics right now?

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain within the European Union, a referendum promised by David Cameron as a cynical attempt to get more votes in the 2015 General Election due to the gains being made by UKIP over fears about immigration. A referendum won by the Leave campaign in large part over fears about immigration.

A couple of months ago, the far-right, anti-migrant AfD - Alternative for Germany - party made big gains in regional elections.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States, and the Republican party retained their majority in both Senate and Congress.

And now, Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist in France, is one of the leading contenders for the Presidency in France.

Stoking fears about immigration to control your population is a classic move of authoritarian nationalism - develop more power over your population by using "them" as a target of hate. Simply put, these parties are all the 'acceptable' faces of fascism. This has been building for a while and it is likely to continue building for the foreseeable future, both in these countries and elsewhere.


Raspberry Pi: New useful things (well, thing) – off-site backups via rsync

bethany@euporie: ~_004Been quite a while since I updated this site! I've just moved this to a new web server (which is to say, this website is now running off my home server) and thought I'd post a little update on here.

Recently I managed to acquire a few surplus hard drives so I decided to get a RAID device. Already owning a Mac mini that I use as a server I wanted to use directly attached storage, but the device I got (a Sonnet Fusion QR) was pretty terrible and didn't work properly, and their support was pretty rubbish too. I ended up getting a Synology DS1815+, an 8-slot NAS. We use Synologys a lot for clients at work and I've been unimpressed with their performance in the past - they are just powered by Intel Atom processors after all - but since the x15+ models now have quad core Atoms I decided to get one and I've been pleased with the performance so far. It's able to transcode 1080p video at 10Mbps rate (with Plex) smoothly whilst also running a virus scan, so I'm happy with it. I've also moved my Mac mini (and the Synology) into my kitchen (I may write a little post about my current IT setup because I'm quite pleased with it, and between these two I have plenty of horsepower for running plenty of things. Which begs the question - what's the point of having my Raspberry Pi running any more? Well, there is one thing I can do with it, which is using it as an off-site backup location.


Raspberry Pi: Doing useful things

IMG_1540I've had my Raspberry Pi for a while now, and it's done a few different things. Firstly it was just a toy to tinker with, the latest cool gadget out, and that's what my previous posts about it have detailed. I found though that while it is powerful enough for some things, it's certainly not powerful enough to provide a smooth desktop experience compared to powerful modern computers which limits its useful functionality somewhat. After a several month gap I moved into a new flat, and found that I had a 20" computer monitor and some speakers that I didn't have a use for, so I set up the Raspberry Pi with XBMC and a Plex plugin so I could use it to watch stuff while cooking, in an attempt to make me cook real food more often. My Mac mini is my Plex server and the idea was that I could watch any media on it on this Raspberry Pi, but I found that the Plex plugin for XBMC on here was a bit clunky and wouldn't always find the server and I still find cooking rather dull so that never really got off the ground. It was however capable of playing back up to 1080p h264 content thanks to the onboard hardware decoder, so that's good.

My flatmate of the time left a couple of months ago (he enjoyed cooking and found lots of use with the Twitch.TV functionality) so I had the opportunity to repurpose the Raspberry Pi. My living room was getting increasingly warm thanks to the combination of summer and the Mac mini running in it constantly, and receiving a really big electricity bill was the icing on the cake: I resolved to find a new use for my Raspberry Pi.