Sublime snowflakes



Today we had a somewhat light snowfall, ahead of Sunday’s blizzard. I got a few photos of them as they were truly breathtaking, picture perfect like I’m not sure I’d ever seen before.

The pics won’t do them justice, but hopefully they’ll give you some idea of how beautiful they were.

Netflix back with more confusing recommendations


Yesterday I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Today Netflix took that information and made some recommendations... the first three I can understand, but I don't understand why it recommended Ken Burns' documentary on the Vietnam War.

Ringing in the new year with a sick child on my lap


I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ringing in the New Year sitting up on my bed with an ill child asleep on my lap, and I couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe I could, but you know what I mean.

And “happy” is the wrong word. I have a very strong paternal urge to care for sick children, especially our own, so when one of our children is ill there’s nowhere I’d rather be than there taking care of them.

We spent most of the past two weeks with someone ill. First it was our eldest, who grew 3/4rs of an inch over the space of three weeks and then had some mono-like symptoms for a few days but ultimately was fine after some rest. Then our middlest and awesomewife both came down with lethargy and some sinus congestion at roughly the same time, followed quickly by our youngest. Jump to yesterday and our youngest was jumping around feeling back to normal while the other two still had some residual coughing, so I was expecting that today everyone was going to wake up and be right as rain. Our hearts sank quite a bit when at about 6 this morning our youngest started a croupy cough in his sleep - this bug wasn’t quite done with him yet, and we were in for another few days of ickiness until he was fully recovered. We then changed our plan for New Years’ Eve to skip going to the Bangor Library’s festivities (with special indoor mini-golf?) and instead having a mostly quiet evening in.

At bedtime he went down to sleep really quickly, but within half an hour awesomewife sat up in bed with him on her lap. Half an hour later again, and I’ve traded places with her, she’s now doing some final nighttime things and I’m writing this.

I’m anticipating 2019 being a good year for us. We have some exciting plans for the year, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

I do hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and look forward to meeting up at some point throughout the year, or at the very least talking on the phone or online.

Diablo 2 works on newer macOS releases?!?


While looking at how to get the Diablo 3 expansion pack for our eldest I discovered that Blizzard had updated Diablo 2 to run on newer releases of macOS! Nice! As always they have this tiny downloader program you get from their site, then the full installer is a 1.5gb download from within that app. I'll let you know how it goes.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

The latest installment in that wonderful series Black Mirror, Bandersnatch is extra unusual in that it is a choose-your-own-adventure game built into the TV show. Instead of just passively watching the show you have to make choices along the way, by clicking on one of two options presented at the bottom of the screen. Initially the choices are innocuous - what cereal to eat, what music to listen to, etc. As the show progresses the choices become really dark, deciding people's fate.

While I haven't finished the show yet, what I've seen has started getting quite disturbing. As mentioned the story puts you in a position to decide the fates of certain characters, and the points where these choices happened felt early enough that it was pushing the story too much, too fast for this to be a reasonable plot point. Instead it feels like the story is too eager to force the "player" / "viewer" to choose murder over alternative options. While video games have always had an element of death / murder, flipping it around so that the characters are clearly people rather than animated pixels (uncanny valley not withstanding) is .. unsettling.

I also wonder if Netflix are tracking the options selected by viewers, and, if so, what might happen to that data? If a sufficiently large portion of the viewers select the murder options early enough in the game will Netflix use this information to dictate content of future shows.

One thing worth noting is that I remember in the early-to-mid 1990's the BBC show Tomorrow's World had an episode where they foreshadowed the day when a TV show would become interactive - not playing a game which has FMV, which have been around since the 1980's, but a full-on TV show being interactive. I find this to be quite an interesting parallel - I wonder if the show's creators remember that episode too?

Update: For what it's worth, I did get to the "happy" ending, without needing to select to kill (actively) any of the characters, so that's at least possible to do. I'm not sure I'm going to go back to it again, I think I'm content with this ending.

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