Category: Gaming

May 23, 2016

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 … (More) “Don’t make these people mad.”

May 9, 2016

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.… (More) “The Department of Clever Ship Names”

April 29, 2016

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 … (More) “1, 2, 3, Cancun”

April 27, 2016

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. … (More) “Regularly Scheduled Interruptions”

April 22, 2016

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 … (More) “Ready Up”

April 20, 2016

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 … (More) “The 28 Year Old Rookie”

April 12, 2016


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 … (More) “74/240”

April 8, 2016

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 and /r/sysadmin … (More) “Gross Performance”

April 4, 2016

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 … (More) “FIFA 15: Get Good or Blame The Camera”

March 31, 2016


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 … (More) “mrognin”