Don’t make these people mad.

It’s been a good week. I want to get the gaming stuff out of the way because I have something entertaining to talk about. I picked Diablo 3 back up over the weekend and man it feels like a whole different game compared to launch. Fantastic. Got a new wizard from 1 to 70 and cleared my first rift without a death. Only on Hard, mind, which is like the 2nd easiest difficulty out of 10. But I think I’ll be down that rabbit hole for quite a while.

Anyway, what I really wanted to get into. I wrote two weeks ago that I wanted to get into malware analysis and research. So I have been, meeting new people and getting in some circles. Twitter is the go-to community for this line of work, as the rapid response time and ability to talk to people you’d never met before both work in its favor.

My experience with trying to get into the inner circle of a new community is to bring something to the party. So I did, in the form of the Practical Malware Analysis starter kit, which has been a smash hit and got me a little credibility for the cost of about five hours on a Saturday morning getting the stuff I would’ve gotten at some point anyway. I also wrote up a piece on using GPOs to neuter some malware. So it got me a little cred.

That’s led to good things. I can’t be specific yet because the virus is still live and the author isn’t aware, but thanks to a community-provided sample, me and a few other guys and girls got our hands on some new ransomware, before any large campaign got underway. We were able to extract data from the software sample, and with a combination of internet sleuthing, intuition and a little luck, we’ve accomplished two big things:

  1. We added a backdoor to the ransomware, to decrypt any infection when we desire.
  2. We were able to identify the man’s name, age, and the university he attends. Unfortunately, said university is in Morocco, so I don’t think the FBI is terribly interested.

What’s crazy is that this isn’t some sort of test, something from the Practical Malware Analysis lab questions. This is real malware with real consequences for the people that get infected with it. The whole reason I wanted to get into this is to make a difference and I think I managed to do so in my first week.

Don’t misunderstand, I got a bit of a break getting something this easy to crack in my first week. I still have a ton to learn. I said this is pretty much all new content and that’s been true. Learning assembly and the whole world of unpacking, decrypting, and generally breaking open a black box is a new world. But it’s still significant, because it showed the community at large that I’m worth training. Now I can ask questions and I’ll get answers, or at least pointed to the right resources. I can’t overstate how important that is. Nobody learns alone.

We’re approaching a four-day weekend. That’ll be my first one since my first week on the job, almost exactly six months ago. I’ll be down half my staff and my boss after Wednesday, so read-only Thursday as well as Friday. We’re also approaching what is essentially a read-only month, the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July. The last machine we were going to bring into Nutanix was done last week so we are fully on that platform and the monolithic task we’ve been calling Nutanix since November is done.

This is gonna be a great week, too. I can feel it. My GTD article should come out this week too.

The Department of Clever Ship Names

I finally got over the hump of one of my harder games, beating FTL Advanced Edition, and did so with only four points in weapons. It took 33 hours on Steam and probably another 10 from the “extended demo” prior. It took probably 40 attempts. Maybe I’m just not very good, and surely if I’d broke down and read a guide on the game and some weapon comparisons, I’d have had a better record up to this point than 1-40something.

Diana and I got some tennis in over the weekend, which did more to make it feel like a weekend than beating FTL did. I’ve got some soreness in my index finger, hopefully from too tight a grip rather than old bad habits involving running the index finger down one face of the handle.

The slowdown in writing isn’t really one, it’s just a question of who is seeing it. I’m about 2500 words into a guide on my new GTD implementation, and it’s been quite helpful to write it out, too. It gives you an opportunity to stop and ask yourself why you did something a particular way.

I really don’t have much this morning, pretty tired even with coffee. It’s just as well Mondays aren’t too demanding.

1, 2, 3, Cancun

Happy Read-Only Friday. It hasn’t been a tremendously successful week. Best I can do at this point is try to close it out strong. I’m jumping between writing this and sending out some emails, delegating some things that have sat for a while.

I’m sincerely hoping skipping coffee was strictly necessary. It’s a big difference.

I’ve been torture-testing myself in Rocket League, playing a lot of 3v1 and 4v1. I win all the games at 2v1, about half the games at 3v1, and none of the games at 4v1. It’s a pretty good test, really. Playing those unfair modes means you have to really play perfect, keeping the ball in front of you at all times. If you don’t, you won’t be in position to do anything about the counterattack. It also makes for good keeper training, just staying in goal and letting 4 players fire at you. If you don’t mind losing 15-0, you can get a lot out of your five minutes.

The Boston Celtics were knocked out last night in a rather lackluster display. I’m not sure whether that was more on the Hawks playing exceptionally well or the Celtics just not making their shots. The Hawks did rack up a shitload of blocks. Dennis Schroder is better than I gave him credit for, he made four or five really nice plays around the basket. Tonight there are three Game 6 games happening. The Blazers and the Hornets both have a chance to win their series at home. Honestly, it’s going to mean a hell of a lot more to the Blazers if they advance than the Clippers. So much of the media wrote the Blazers off at the start of the year. That wasn’t an outlandish thing to do, either. They lost 4 of their 5 starters and their 6th man. That represents like 80 points a game they needed to get elsewhere. And they’ve done exactly that. I can’t really say how happy I am for CJ McCollum.

Tomorrow is Game 1, Spurs vs. Thunder. Going to be a great series. Westbrook vs. Parker is way in favor of OKC, but Durant vs. Leonard might just be a push right now. Everything else favors the Spurs. I can’t believe the Thunder have gone this many years without solving their problem at Shooting Guard. At least they’ve got plus defenders out on the perimeter, they’re going to need them, and they’re going to really tighten up defensively. There are flashes when the Thunder operate, where they’re executing on the offensive end, finding the open man, but they’re also locked in defensively. When that happens they’re the best team in the league. But it’s not something they seem able to do on a consistent basis.

Monday is Game 1, Cavs vs. Hawks. If Atlanta executes like they did last night, this’ll be a series. It would be an ideal time for the Cavs to go to their small lineup with LeBron at the 4 and Love at the 5. Atlanta’s undersized inside, but they’re great shooters. I’m hoping this will be a better series than last year’s Eastern Conference Final.

Regularly Scheduled Interruptions

It hasn’t been a great week. I ended up running late on Monday, missing not only the regular train but the late train. I was having a lot of abdominal pain Monday night and yesterday morning so I called in sick yesterday. It got a bit better throughout the day but worsened at night. So I woke up this morning feeling ill again, and missed the train. I’m on the late train. Saying I still don’t feel great is quite an understatement, but I’ve gotta go. I really need a few months of good health here, it’s a real pain to be right on the cusp of no sick leave all the time.

Since I was home yesterday, and I just got my 27″ monitor in the day prior, I spent most of the day gaming on it, running through a bunch of games. I ended up spending quite a bit of time on Rocket League and the new Hoops mode. It’s always fun to get in on the ground floor of a competitive game, when everyone’s on about the same footing as far as experience. The 2v2 setup is ideal for such a small court, and it leads to some very intense matches. Two of the first three games went to overtime, the first one being sent to OT with a bank from three-quarters court with no time left on the clock.

I also decided to try some ranked 1v1 play. When you’re playing an evenly matched opponent, 1v1 is a blast. For reference, I’ve been playing Rocket League a bit longer than most. I picked up the predecessor game, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars on release day in 2008, and I’ve got about a thousand hours logged on it. Rocket League plays pretty much identically in every manner. The thing is, the crowd that played multiplayer SSARPBC were incredibly skilled. Most of the game happens in the air. At the top tier of Rocket League the same is true. But if you didn’t have a top-class aerial game, you weren’t playing multiplayer SSARPBC. Play single-player against bots, or perhaps try a new game. I chose to play single-player.

So as you transition to ranked play, it first has you play 10 unranked matches to determine your skill level. These are generally against players in the bottom 3 tiers (of 15 possible tiers). Bear in mind, I haven’t played 1v1 at all in probably two years. My first few games were wins by scores of 8-3, 9-1, 8-7, and 6-1. I ended up going 3-3 in the remaining six games which was sad but 7-3 over ten games was a good enough performance to place me in the Prospect 3 tier, which let me skip the bottom two tiers entirely. I was hoping to skip this one as well and go straight to Prospect Elite. I think the loss in the last game is what prevented that.

There aren’t many games where I feel like I have the potential to be one of the better players in the world. I certainly never feel that way with any shooters. It’s never going to happen with chess or go, not Scrabble nor Boggle. As a pre-teen and teenager, I thought it might happen with soccer. That ended up having more to do with the quality of opponents than my skill. I feel like it could be the case with Rocket League. The biggest factor in improving at something is to constantly be challenged, having peers at your skill level to analyze your work and offer feedback and a test. If you’re sandbagging your way through a game, it reinforces bad and sloppy habits. And there’s always temptation when you’re sandbagging to stay there. It’s like Mitch Hedberg said, “I wish I could play little league now, I’d kick some fuckin’ ass.”

I played a fair bit of XCOM: Enemy Unknown over the weekend. This is where that sandbagging and sloppy play comes up. I started a game on Easy mode, and played far too aggressive and loose. My squad was scattered all over the map, triggering tons of aliens, but they didn’t hit hard enough to make me change my playstyle. Until the first terror mission, that is. Full squad wipe. Rage quit. Like it’s the game’s fault that I played like an idiot. I started up a new game, and played it proper. Moving as a group, not dashing unless it’s a must, using overwatch. I’ve incurred one loss, a support that could’ve been saved if someone else in the squad knew how to work a fucking medkit. I’m all the way through the alien base assault and the first abductor landing. I have high hopes.

I really have no idea how today’s going to go. I still feel quite ill. There’s a lot to do. At some point I’m going to be asked to think. I would much prefer to be back in bed, honestly. I feel on the edge of throwing up. I think I should cut out the coffee for a few days, I think the acid is making things worse.

I’m only now questioning why Santa Fe is as expensive as it is to own a house. Speaking objectively, there’s not much to do here. No nightlife to speak of, not so much as a bowling alley to be found, no beer scene outside of Santa Fe brewing. More than half the homes don’t even have air conditioning. Traffic is a huge pain in the ass at rush hour. Why can’t you find a house for under $200k worth living in? That’s some crap. Is it strictly because it’s a state capitol? There was a listing for a house for $165,000. The first sentence in the listing? “Some say the house can be saved.” And I want to meet the person that said that, because they’re crazy. You couldn’t open all the doors at the same time or the fucking house would collapse.

Maybe the answer really is “Because have fun driving an hour from Albuquerque every day.”

Ready Up

I really couldn’t ask for a better Friday. No alerts in the morning, couple emails to plan stuff for next week, got my evaluation from the boss, got my one-on-one meetings with my direct reports done, and nothing broke or caught fire in that timespan. It left me from 1:00 to 5:00 to plan and do a thorough weekly review.

It’s a really good feeling knowing that you have tracked everything going on at work, and know exactly where everything is at. That you don’t have to think about those things just for the sake of remembering them. You can actually relax.

So, the evaluation. I indicated it would have a lot of influence on how I felt going into the weekend and in general. I’ll just read off the relevant line out of the eight paragraph evaluation:

Daniel is a very skilled technical supervisor. The right person for the job.

The right person for the job. Validation. It’s a wonderful world.

I was initially joking about bringing decaf coffee with me on the train on the way back instead of gross lightly coffee-flavored cold water. I had a decaf pod in a variety pack. Guess what I’ve got today? It would be better if it wasn’t quite so warm out. But it was still a good idea, I stand by it.

All the Nutanix migrations so far have either been flawless or invaluable learning experiences on non-production boxes. My systems guy has done about a dozen machines, and we have about two dozen to go. If we can get about another dozen done in four days next week there’s a half-day off on Friday there for the taking. There actually is a train that leaves at about the right time, 1:07. I think we want this.

I ordered some replacement Gunnar glasses. My go-to model was discontinued, but a pair appeared on Amazon for about half price. I also bought a Google Cardboard kit. For 10 bucks, I’m quite curious how it actually works. They’re not terribly adjustable and this is a fairly exact science. But for an approximation of technology that’s currently going for $600-1000, it’s worth a shot. It would be funny as hell if it actually worked well enough to not need to bother with the Oculus Rift, Gear VR, HTC Vive, etc.

I’m gonna play the hell out of some vidya this weekend. Damn shame the new monitor won’t arrive until Monday. I know the new Hoops mode for Rocket League is next week, and I’ll be playing the shit out of that when the time comes. I think it’s going to be Dark Souls this weekend. I only have the first one and started with a rather cheesy minmax (Drake sword). I’ve heard from a number of people that it really does detract from the balance of the game, so no Drake sword this time. It’s a full-on franchise at this point, and my policy on franchises is that I have to play through the first before playing any of the rest. I know in this case there isn’t a ton of plot I’m messing with, but that’s the plan just the same.

So, you know. Praise the Sun. \[T]/

The 28 Year Old Rookie

Twice the last two weeks I’ve made the big rookie mistake of train-riding. I’m currently seated on the wrong side of the train, so I either get a delightful glare from the monitor or a face full of sun. By the time I realized (about five seconds) all the correct seats were already gone.

I ended up getting a reasonable amount accomplished today. Nutanix is one staged patch away from being ready, and we have a migration plan ready for tomorrow morning. I’m working on some of those carrots that are viable now, like a new backup target for some hosted web servers. Joining a Linux machine to an AD domain is easier than ever in CentOS 7, and I left off at a good point. Tomorrow I’ll have logons restricted to a security group and sudo restricted to a different one.

I spent my lunch break remoted home, organizing my storage, moving files around to more logical locations, cleaning up names with Filebot, and generally setting this new array up for success. I also downloaded some 250 games between Steam and Origin, and boy am I happy we’re not doing data caps on residential internet yet because that was about a terabyte of data right there.

I’m going to be really happy to have the system back in a usable state. This has been quite the homework project but it was a lot of fun, too. I’m happy I’m going to be able to game again tonight. I’ve got an odd juxtaposition of game styles I want to play. I want to keep playing FIFA 15, I’ve really been enjoying it. But I also want to play something very difficult like an XCOM or Dark Souls. The thing is, they are difficult through entirely different mechanisms. XCOM uses a lot of uncertainty in dice rolls and random enemy placement; the former keeps metagaming low and the latter keeps the game feeling fresh. It can be called out as “artificial difficulty,” but it’s also more adjustable. Dark Souls is “tough, but fair.” When you die in Dark Souls, it’s your own fault 95% of the time. You mistimed an attack, you overextended yourself, you failed to plan. I find myself less rage-prone with Dark Souls than XCOM. If XCOM doesn’t make you mutter “fucking bullshit” at least once or twice a session, it’s not living up to its ancestry. Most deaths in Dark Souls are learning experiences.

In the middle of those difficulty extremes is FTL. There is a little luck involved in terms of drops, missions, hit chance, and so on. But it’s also a game made much easier with a great plan. Honestly the Borderlands franchise can end up here too. There’s luck involved in most of the drops and critical chance, but understanding how to play your character, when to be defensive and when to blitz the enemy, is critical to advancing in True & Ultimate Vault Hunter Modes.

Maybe I’m wanting to play Rogue Legacy, or the new addition to my Steam library, Nuclear Throne. I think I’m just excited to be able to game again and everything sounds good.

I don’t understand why or how you still get the taste of coffee in a thermos after washing the shit out of it like five times, but it’s crap. I want water to taste like water. Maybe I’ll switch to decaf on the way home. If you can’t solve the problems, change the parameters, you know?

74/240

We got Nutanix racked and stacked, powered up, networked, and updating. It’s also the most I’ve walked since I started here by 40% over the next highest day according to my Fitbit. It didn’t seem like that much in the moment, but by 3:30 I was feeling it. It’s about 5 miles of walking, all between two adjacent buildings.

So, a number of things to be thankful for. All the gear is working well. The Dell tech, so far, has been quite good and works well with us. I bought lunch for the team and that went over quite well. No dead drives out of 38 to get started.

Good chance that tomorrow we’ll be out of the setup phase and ready to vMotion some test machines, and seeing if we’ll be able to use Nutanix’s in-built backup utility. The details we got initially aren’t promising on that front, and we may need to spring for Veeam B&R. If we have a VM living on the cluster tomorrow I’ll consider us well ahead of schedule.

I can already tell this week is going to fly by.

I had to put in a change request for a new Software Restriction Policy. The last SRPs I had to deploy were to block CryptoWall. This one is to block Windows 10. Despite a Group Policy named “Do not upgrade to latest versions of Windows”, a registry key named “DisableGWX” (Get Windows X), and a registry key named “DisableOSUpgrades,” I’m still somehow not being clear enough to Microsoft, because new updates are pushing the GWX app anyway.

Our users can’t perform the upgrade themselves anyway, they lack local admin rights to do so. But it still nags the user and basically asks them why their sysadmins are horrible security-haters.

It’s hard to believe that they’re being this pushy about it. They’re so disconnected from the actual enterprise and business world from a compatibility standpoint. They only have to worry about Microsoft software, so once it’s all working with the latest OS, they have no reason not to move up to it. That’s totally reasonable, if you’re Microsoft! But that’s one company that it makes sense for, and the rest of us that need to carefully test the third-party software we use, and wait for compatibility to come to us. You see, the thought is that since we paid six figures for Windows 7 licensing, we get to use it for as long as we deem suitable, not to exceed the extended support end date in 2020. We upgrade on our terms, when we feel we have done thorough testing of all software being used by a dozen different bureaus in different lines of work, and we find that all the software works and that our users are comfortable with the transition plan. See a trend in that sentence, Microsoft? This isn’t your fucking decision to make. It’s bad enough that you broke your own support cycle on 7, saying that new Intel gear isn’t supported by Windows 7. That’s a fucking joke.

Are they still going to be this pushy when Windows 10 switches to a paid product in a few months? That’ll be some shit.

Diana sent me a picture mid-deployment, my wired Xbox One controller arrived. It’ll finally be time to retire the 360 controller that’s served me well for…lord, I don’t know how long. I think I got it in 2010. It’s time for a viking funeral. The left analog stick has been worn totally smooth, and the right stick has a significant deadzone that’ll result in a lot of drifting to the right. It’s also had six years of oils from my hands get transferred to it. Net result: Texture. Not a desired place for Texture. The reviews for the One controller is that it’s a general improvement in pretty much every aspect, so I’m willing to try it. I also ordered some Klein screwdrivers to replace some Kleins that grew legs at my last job. The Klein 10-in-1 is a better presidential candidate than most of the field.

Gross Performance

This is the least sleep I’ve managed on a work day, while still making it to work, in quite a long time. Things didn’t really go according to plan for the most part. I did make a purchase last night, the Asus VG248QE gaming monitor. I’d been watching this growing arena of 144Hz monitors with some interest; I knew the science was there for a noticeable improvement over your standard 60Hz or 75Hz display.

Even knowing the science was there, I was not prepared for how dramatic a difference it would be with the right games. The big ones that let the GTX 970 show out was NBA 2K16 and X3: Albion Prelude. There’s a smoothness that I’ve quite literally never seen before in a PC game. And for all the shit people give these 144Hz displays for being washed-out looking, for a TN display it looks incredible even when making full use of the high refresh rate. My plan is to also get a 27-inch (60Hz) IPS display and see how I like it. I’m starting to think I might just want to get another of these, because at some point in the future I’ll have the desk space to run 3 of them and get that sweet triple-monitor gaming experience. It’s an enticing proposition.

DangItBobby was well-received, I do like the /r/sysadmin community and how it leans towards being helpful when it’s sensible to do so. A lot of places have the chance to be helpful and the culture of the place means it’s just shitposting instead.

I’m left with not much to do today, I need to do a little technical writing, some additional instructions to the end-users for something we rolled out. I think I’m going to write a soft-skills piece for bluesoul.me and /r/sysadmin on using GTD.

Very gray looking day outside, really not helping with the drowsiness. Gonna do the best I can, here. I’m finishing up the business of tapering off the e-cig. I’ve got what I’d estimate to be 5mL of 6mg juice left, and just about everything after that is 0mg. Right now I’m replacing the habit with chewing gum, that’s about all it is at this point is a habit. I’m going from vaping at work to only doing it before, after, and at lunch. Honestly, it’s going fine. The job just isn’t that stressful, and it’s one more piece to a puzzle of self-improvement. I do have a bottle of last-resort juice that is truly shitty. If it comes to that, it’s not exactly leaving on good terms.

FIFA 15: Get Good or Blame The Camera

So after lamenting the sometimes-broken play of FIFA 13, I decided to pick up 15 for $20 on Origin. EA Sports titles that are on annual cycles can have surprisingly high variance year-to-year, even when they obviously share some (or a lot of) code. I played it most of the weekend and it’s mostly good with a few head-scratching changes in there as well.

Places where 15 is better than 13

The ball behaves more like a ball would, and less like a magnet. The ball physics and illustration of spin are significantly improved. In 13, the odds of getting a successful tackle in were extremely slim. The ball would stick to the foot of the opposition like it was on a string, but you would usually not have the same good fortune, even if you are covering the ball. Now the occasional reckless touch will put the ball a little too far in front, leaving you or your team a chance at poking it away cleanly or, failing that, sliding in and actually having a chance at catching the ball before the player.

Speaking of slides, they’re viable again, and the physics are somewhat improved. I almost said “much improved”, but there’s some good and some bad. To the good, they behave largely as expected, and are very dependent on timing, as they are in real life. Also, players have a chance to jump over the slide, or keep their footing and get the advantage from the referee. To the bad, the slow-motion replays will show all the wonkiness this game engine generates with falling players. It’s not uncommon to see a player tumble over a sliding defender, and right before they land on their back, they gain altitude in mid-air, rotate another 180 degrees, and land on their chest. It looks ridiculous.

But at least players are willing to tackle this year, and in doing so the game feels much more human and organic. There’s some emotion involved in getting put on your ass from a questionable tackle. And now players will get into little arguments and shoving matches before the ref intervenes.

The commentary is improved, as to be expected as every year they add more lines. I also like the reimagined half-time and full-time highlights, in fact most of the replay system treats the game more like broadcast TV, and it’s a more polished experience in that regard.

Teams have at least some difference between each other, sometimes seemingly making a concious effort to get the ball to their best forward, sometimes having an overall style that’s a bit more or less aggressive. It’s not a true-to-life simulation, and for years and years people have lamented that even teams like QPR are struck with the ability to play beautiful, Barcelona-esque football. That’s still a valid complaint, but EA knows what it’s doing. They have never set out to capture the slog of a 1-0 victory. The fact that they still happen occasionally is good enough for them. I would certainly welcome more variance in team styles, but this is the first time I’ve actually noticed a difference (I’ve played 08, 10, 11, 13, and now 15).

And as a minor quality-of-life improvement, the UI has been reworked a little big to eliminate some useless confirmation boxes and generally allow for faster navigation of everything.

Places where 13 was better than 15

I don’t know what they’ve done to the camera, but it’s managed to get worse in 15. Apparently, there are some truly awful camera bugs tied to running the game without a frame cap, most notably when you’re in pro career mode. If you’re attacking, and you get in close, the camera changes its position to a lower, closer one. If you don’t score, and the ball goes outside the zoomed area, the camera doesn’t always reset to show you where the ball actually is. I’ve had to wait for 5-10 seconds for the camera to fix itself, and this is while an attack is trying to build up again. I’m essentially blind when it does this. That bug is fixed by capping the frame rate to 60 fps, for some reason. It’s not the only camera bug, though. In about 1/3 to 1/2 of the throw-ins where I am doing the throwing, the camera will be directly above my player. Uh, I can’t see where I’m throwing! Good luck, my team! Finally, the camera swings around and moves around far too much, a problem when the directional controls are relative to the camera. Truth be told, I think I’d be fine with the camera in a fixed location behind me. I wish it were an option. Few things irritate me quicker than “player vs. camera” or “player vs. controls” gameplay. The controls stay out of the way here for the most part, the camera does not.

On the start of the game and after goals, it’s not unusual for the man receiving the ball to rocket upfield, 1 vs. 11. It’s boneheaded, it’s bewildering, and it’s surprisingly effective. But I don’t want it. I always ask for the ball back and pass it back to the mids.

And…that’s it, really. If they had managed to fix the camera (these bugs are still present in 16 apparently), 15 would represent an across-the-board improvement.

Things that are just different

For things that aren’t necessarily better or worse, just different, the penalty rate is quite high. It’s a byproduct of much, much more slide tackling. There are 3-5 yellow cards in any given game, and a red card will be seen occasionally for slide tackles from behind or other exceedingly dangerous tackles in the box, probably 1 game in 10.

The through ball is a game-breaking strategy in 15, particularly if it comes in from overhead, and it’s far more defensible in real life than in the game. In 13 it was the shot from 20 yards that was game-breaking, in 10 it was the chip over the keeper. There always seems to be one.

The emotion system that they added in 15 results in some realistic plays and some bone-headed ones. The keeper will rush out to the ball to meet an attacker, only to think better of it and retreat into more defensible ground. That’s realistic. But I have seen the keeper get caught out chasing down a ball he had no business bothering with. That’s more bone-headed than realistic, but still conceivable as a fluke. It’s a wash, it doesn’t really affect gameplay most of the time.

All in all, for $20 FIFA 15 is a more enjoyable experience than 13, slightly marred by a buggy camera and silly forwards. Well worth the price of admission for someone that hasn’t played a soccer sim in a while.

mrognin

It took about 20 minutes before I realized I was on the train. Having a hard time waking up, not to mention a delightful sore throat and post-nasal drip. I’m inclined to blame the cold snap that’s going on right now, though. At least nobody’s at the office to infect.

My goal today is to close half my tickets, so 7. I think I’ll be able to manage that, I like the odds. More meetings today that are tangentially related to work; I would much prefer to get the notes later on how it went. Hopefully they’ll be understanding of that.

I’ve been playing a fair amount of FIFA 13, I mentioned a few days ago. Despite their best intentions, and some talented programmers, the “be the goalkeeper” mode in Career mode is terribly boring. Reducing the chess battle to a circle you should stand in, using one analog stick to abstract away all your movement? Both boring and frustrating. I was defending in a crowded 6-yard box, an attacker gets the ball around the penalty mark and gets turned toward me. Due to the way people are positioned I can tell if he shoots it’s gonna be to my bottom-right corner, but I need to hold my spot until he winds up because there’s another attacker to my left. He winds up. In real life, the motion would be a quick wide step to my right and fall forward onto the shot. What happens in the game is I run to the right, I’m in the path of the shot, and then I dive to the right, to get out of the way of the shot. Rage.

And if the one analog stick is too much control, you can hold down LB instead and the guy automatically positions himself, diving for balls, punching away dangerous overhead passes. Your whole involvement in this is being the guy that holds the button that lets the AI work.

Maybe I should see if 16 is any better after all.

I’m really irritated with the housing market in Santa Fe. Not only because the houses are about double the cost of owning in Albuquerque, but also because of the luddite mindset towards cooling. It’s absurd how many houses here not only don’t have even a swamp cooler, they don’t have ductwork or vents should they decide they might need one in the future. In the desert. With global warming setting record highs every year. “It just doesn’t get that hot at 7000 feet.” You mean, it didn’t. It does nowadays. Last year had 4 straight months with an average high above 87. It’s never hit 100 degrees here, but I have a funny feeling that’s changing this summer. I’ve gone back and forth on this, I’m willing to try a swamp cooler, but these places that don’t even have ductwork? Fuck ’em. Those houses aren’t selling in 20 years when the average high is 95 for four straight months. I’m starting to wonder if we’re better off getting a house built, just to be assured it’s got something resembling modern air conditioning.