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My Curated Intellectual Breakfast: The RSS feature
2023.05.14

My Curated Intellectual Breakfast: The RSS

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“Why on earth is he going to talk about RSS feeds? Are we in 2005?”

Here’s the thing, folks: I’ve been sailing the RSS ship since… well, since forever. And let me tell you, it’s a life preserver in the ocean of digital drivel. It’s one of whose old techs that still works. Like vinyl record.

For the uninitiated, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, but I like to think of it as my personal Reality Sanity Saver. You know, the kind that lets you pick and choose which parts of the internet merit your precious, coffee-fueled attention.

Oh, the power of choice! That moment when you realize you’re not at the mercy of an algorithm, but instead the captain of your own content ship. Algorithms, bless their binary hearts, can indeed serve up some delightful new discoveries. But put them in charge of your entire digital diet, and you’re headed for a feast of uniformity, a banquet of sameness, a veritable smorgasbord of manipulation. It is a breath of fresh air in the stale, algorithm-driven room of the internet. It’s the thrill of taking the steering wheel back from the autopilot, the rush of reclaiming your own digital destiny.

And the best part? RSS is the master key that unlocks all the doors. It’s the universal remote for your digital subscriptions.

  • Blogs? Check.
  • YouTube? Check.
  • Mastodon. Check (take that Twitter!).
  • And podcasts, the beloved companions of long commutes and cleaning sprees? Absolutely Check!

It’s a central hub, a one-stop-shop for all your curated content needs.

So, if you’ve ever felt like you’re just a passenger on the algorithm express, it might be time to grab your RSS ticket and hop aboard the train of choice. Trust me, the view is much better when you’re the one choosing where to go.

A Good Recipe

A good recipe:

  • Frequency
  • Niche and curation
  • Direct and simple

A good RSS feed is a bit like finding a good taco truck. It needs to show up frequently enough to quell your hunger, but not so often that it’s parked outside your house daily, taunting you with the smell of fresh guacamole. Nobody needs that kind of stress.

Forget about generic news sites that offer a one-size-fits-all approach. This feed takes things up a notch by diving deep into the realms of specialized subjects that truly tickle your curiosity. It’s like having a knowledgeable friend who understands your unique interests and serves up a delectable array of valuable and thought-provoking content, specially curated to satisfy your intellectual appetite. It should not target the mainstream.

Rather than relying on clickbait, it offers high-quality articles, in-depth analysis, and engaging discussions that satisfy your intellectual appetite. The focus is on substance, catering to true enthusiasts who seek valuable information without the need for gimmicks. The goal is to leave you fulfilled and craving for more in your chosen niche.

My Menu

So, what’s in this assorted bag of digital candy, you ask? Well, it’s an eclectic mix of games, boardgames, game development, programming, business, writing, photography, politics, personal, education, site, and fun. Well… just like this blog.

My RSS feeds have a surprising amount of video channels. I’ve got this sneaky trick where I automatically set watch them at 2x speed. It’s like time travel, but without the pesky paradoxes. For text, I use a Text-to-Speech plugin called Read Aloud in my Firefox browser because, frankly, my eyeballs need a break sometimes.

Continuing the practical advices: I use Feedly. Originally, I was a Google Reader groupie (may it RIP), and for a hot minute, I self-hosted on a TinyTiny RSS server. But Feedly and I, we have a thing now.

In the upcoming posts, I will be sharing a collection of sites that I personally enjoy following. These sites cover a wide range of categories, reflecting my diverse interests. By exploring these sites, you can discover new content and choose what appeals to you. Some feeds may have fallen into obscurity, while others are eagerly anticipated additions. It’s a dynamic reflection of my varied interests and the fascinating topics that capture my attention. From technology and science to art and literature, these sources offer a variety of interesting topics. Join me as we navigate through this curated selection of sites, and perhaps you will find some new favorites along the way.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider feature
2023.05.09

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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As a seasoned veteran of Lara Croft’s archaeological escapades, having played and appreciated both previous entries (Tomb Raider (7★★★★★★★) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (7★★★★★★★)), I approached Shadow of the Tomb Raider with a certain level of trepidation. I was still hopeful that this game could rise above the notorious “third entry curse” (Godfather III, anyone? How about Spider-Man 3’s toe-curling emo dance sequence?). We’ve all seen once-great franchises stumble at the last hurdle. So, while trilogies can indeed be a challenging undertaking, Yet, as I navigated through its convoluted narrative and lackluster mechanics, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the developers were simply contractually obliged to create a third entry, rather than being genuinely inspired to conclude Lara’s journey with the grandeur it deserved.

Shadow tomb raider core loop

Not-Action-Nor-Adventure Genre

The encounters are spaced too far apart, akin to a meal where the appetizer arrives just as you’re considering leaving the restaurant due to hunger. And when the combat does arrive, it’s a jarring mix of laughable ease and sudden, brutal difficulty. It’s as though the game can’t decide whether it wants to be a relaxing stroll in the park or an uphill marathon in the scorching sun.

The game heavily leans towards an Arkham-esque stealth approach, with most enemy encounters designed around small groups of foes. This could have provided an interesting strategic twist, but insteadm it feels like a mechanic imposed upon the player rather than an organic choice. Guns, and headshots, in particular, feel less impactful as even naked natives use ornamental cloth helmets that protect them from bullets. And while I appreciate a good challenge, trying to accurately shoot rapidly moving targets, even with a keyboard and mouse, is akin to trying to thread a needle while riding a rollercoaster - it’s more frustrating than fun.

Ah, but let’s not forget about the traversal challenges. You’d think that scaling cliff faces, diving through underwater caverns, and swinging over death-defying gaps would hold a certain amount of adrenaline-pumping excitement. The traversal is devoid of any real danger or skill, with most routes clearly signposted and any potential excitement systematically wrung out. They’re akin to a rollercoaster that only moves at a snail’s pace - sure, it’s technically a ride, but you’d have more fun reading the safety instructions.

On Trello, It’s Great

The crafting and skill tree systems… It’s almost as if the developers wanted to include a crafting system just to tick a box, without any tangible benefit to the player. I always play in my regular hoarding mode, gathering resources like a kleptomaniac squirrel preparing for eternal winter, only to discover the fruits of your labor are about as appetizing as a rotten acorn. These systems are like meticulously building a Lego tower, only to realize it serves no functional purpose.

Despite diligently upgrading guns, swapping armor, and unlocking new abilities, their impact on gameplay is disappointingly negligible. It’s a classic case of sound and fury signifying nothing. I spent hours scouring every nook and cranny, amassing all but two skills and fully upgrading my gear, yet the final encounters were no different than when I first started. It’s as if Lara’s arsenal of skills and equipment is just window dressing on a storefront with nothing inside.

The only equipment that does make a noticeable difference is the Metroidvania-style tools, which grant access to new areas. Yet even these feel less like exciting new additions to your repertoire and more like a set of janitor’s keys, tediously unlocking doors rather than opening up thrilling gameplay possibilities.

Shadow tomb raider latino salad

Too Long; Don’t Play

And then there’s the story. The narrative, a key component in any Tomb Raider game, has been left in ruins, more nonsensical than a Shakespeare play translated by Google. It revolves around a Mayan prophecy of the apocalypse that, for reasons, can only be thwarted by a small Peruvian mini-civilization centuries-old. It’s an absurd premise that strains the suspension of disbelief to its breaking point. One imagines the writers sitting around a table, throwing darts at a board covered in random plot ideas, and deciding to just include them all.

The villain of the piece is a peculiar chimera of conflicting elements as if the developers couldn’t decide on a single identity and decided to simply combine two wildly disparate ones. He’s a jungle native, steeped in the rich culture and history of his people, while simultaneously acting as the leader of a multitrillion international organization. It’s a bizarre mix that’s as jarring as a Japanese haiku stuffed into a Lord of the Rings epic.

The game also introduces a multitude of side characters – a queen, a future king, a mighty village warrior – yet fails to imbue them with any real substance or relevance. They flit in and out of scenes like fireflies in the night, their names and stories evaporating from your memory almost as soon as they leave the screen. Even Jonah, Lara’s trusty sidekick, oscillates wildly between near-death experiences and nonchalant used to be an adventurer before taking an arrow in the knee talk to BFFs natives he just met.

All in all, Shadow of the Tomb Raider feels like an imitation of its predecessors, a pale shadow lacking the vibrancy and excitement that defined earlier entries. It’s like being served a store-bought cake when you’re used to homemade - sure, it’s technically cake, but it’s missing the love and care that makes it special. The game is not without its moments of brilliance – a picturesque vista here, an intriguing ancient riddle there – but they are few and far between.

Quick note: who are those people that construct colossal and intricate structures, BTW? They were certainly the most advanced civilization that that time. Or aliens. Definitively aliens

My Rating: 6★★★★★★
Metacritic: 77
Short Games feature
2023.04.30

Short Games

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Who says you need to spend hours upon hours playing video games to have fun? Short video games are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They’re perfect for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to spare, but still want to enjoy a good gaming experience. Out of curiosity, I’ve asked ChatGPT to compile a list of 10 short PC games. You’ll never run out of options.

Some video games leaves us with a satisfying sense of completion and a hankering for more. Forget the drudgery of grinding through a seemingly never-ending RPG; these little charmers have mastered the art of making us feel like we’ve gotten our money’s worth, while still leaving us craving another serving.

In an era where our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s memory, these bite-sized gaming adventures save us from the dreadful FOMO of an unfinished saga. So, my fellow gamers, let’s raise our controllers to short video games, the sassy haikus of our digital lives – enticing, engaging, and ever so delightful. May they continue to deliver epic experiences in tiny packages, proving that great things truly come in small sizes.

But don’t just take my word for it. Pay attention to games that have good reviews, with good Metacritics score. These games may be short, but they pack a punch with amazing stories and fun gameplay. And who knows, you might even discover a new favorite game that you never would have tried otherwise.

Game HowLongToBeat (hours) Metacritic Own Played Finished
A Short Hike (8★★★★★★★★) 1,5 84 X X X
Abzû (6★★★★★★) 2,0 86 X X X
Anodyne 6,0 75 X
Ape Out (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 83 X X X
Before Your Eyes (8★★★★★★★★) 2,0 77 X X X
Braid (8★★★★★★★★) 6,0 90 X X X
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (8★★★★★★★★) 3,0 90 X X X
Carto 5,0 83
Celeste (7★★★★★★★) 9,0 94 X X X
Cloudpunk (7★★★★★★★) 8,0 75 X X X
Coffee Talk 3,0 74
Dear Esther (6★★★★★★) 1,5 75 X X X
Detention (7★★★★★★★) 4,0 83 X X
Doki Doki Literature Club! 4,0 78 X X
Donut County 2,0 75
Eastshade 9,0 81
Eliza 4,0 80
Evergarden 4,0 86
Everything 3,0 84
FAR: Lone Sails (5★★★★★) 3,0 83 X X
Fez (7★★★★★★★) 7,0 91 X X
Figment 5,0 76
Firewatch (8★★★★★★★★) 4,0 81 X X X
Florence (9★★★★★★★★★) 1,5 89 X X X
Forgotton Anne 6,0 79
Gemini Rue (4★★★★) 5,0 81 X X
Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy 2,5 74
Gorogoa (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 81 X X X
Gris (8★★★★★★★★) 4,0 89 X X
Grow Home 4,0 75
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (8★★★★★★★★) 8,0 83 X X X
Her Story (7★★★★★★★) 2,5 91 X X X
Hidden Folks (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 85 X X
Hyper Light Drifter (5★★★★★) 8,0 84 X X
Hypnospace Outlaw 6,0 84
In Other Waters 5,5 80
Inside (8★★★★★★★★) 3,5 93 X X X
Into the Breach (7★★★★★★★) 7,0 90 X X
Journey 2,0 92
Journey to the Savage Planet 9,0 77
Katamari Damacy REROLL 5,0 84
Katana ZERO 4,0 83
Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) 2,5 78
Later Alligator 4,0 87
LIMBO (8★★★★★★★★) 3,5 88 X X X
Little Nightmares (7★★★★★★★)Little Nightmares (8★★★★★★★★) 4,0 81 X X X
Minit (6★★★★★★) 1,5 80 X X X
MirrorMoon EP (6★★★★★★) 3,0 69 X X
Mo: Astray 8,0 80
Mutazione 6,0 82
My Friend Pedro 4,0 81
Necrobarista 4,0 78
Nidhogg (6★★★★★★) 1,0 85 X X X
Night in the Woods 8,0 88 X
Observation (7★★★★★★★) 6,0 76 X X
Old Man’s Journey 1,5 75
Orwell (7★★★★★★★) 5,0 77 X X X
Overcooked! (7★★★★★★★) 6,0 81 X
Oxenfree (7★★★★★★★) 4,5 80 X X
Papers, Please (7★★★★★★★) 4,0 85 X X X
Pikuniku (6★★★★★★) 3,0 80 X X X
Pony Island 2,0 86
Quadrilateral Cowboy (7★★★★★★★) 4,0 77 X X X
QUBE 2 (7★★★★★★★) 5,0 76 X X X
Rakuen 6,0 82
Refunct 1,0 77
Return of the Obra Dinn (9★★★★★★★★★) 6,0 89 X X X
Ruiner (6★★★★★★) 6,0 75 X X
Samorost 3 4,0 84
Sayonara Wild Hearts 2,0 89
Shady Part of Me 4,0 75
SOMA (6★★★★★★) 9,0 84 X X
Stacking (6★★★★★★) 3,5 82 X X X
Stories Untold (7★★★★★★★) 3,0 81 X X X
Subsurface Circular (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 75 X X X
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP 4,0 82 X X
Superliminal 2,5 78
Tacoma (7★★★★★★★) 2,5 76 X X X
Telling Lies 4,0 83
The Beginner’s Guide 1,5 76
The Fall 3,0 84
The Gardens Between 3,0 81
The Messenger 8,0 85
The Pathless 6,0 76
The Pedestrian 2,0 80
The Red Strings Club (6★★★★★★) 4,0 80 X X X
The Sexy Brutale 6,0 83 X X X
The Stanley Parable (7★★★★★★★) 1,5 88 X X
The Swapper (8★★★★★★★★) 5,0 87 X X X
The Unfinished Swan 3,0 77
Thomas Was Alone (8★★★★★★★★) 2,5 77 X X X
To the Moon 4,0 81 X
Transistor 5,0 83 X
Untitled Goose Game (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 80 X X X
Virginia (7★★★★★★★) 2,0 74 X X X
West of Loathing 7,0 89
What Remains of Edith Finch (8★★★★★★★★) 2,5 88 X X X
When the Past Was Around 2,0 77
Whispers of a Machine 6,0 81
World of Goo (9★★★★★★★★★) 4,0 90 X X X

Statistics

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time to pull up a chair, grab some popcorn, and dive into the fascinating world of gaming stats!

Playtime to finish (hours)

1: *****
2: *************
3: *********
4: ***************
5: **********
6: ************
7: ***
8: *****
9: ***

Metacritic Ratings

60-69: *
70-79: ***********************
80-89: ************************************
90-99: ******

My Ratings (from those I’ve played)

4: *
5: **
6: ********
7: ******************
8: ************
9: **

The Metacritic score (from those I’ve played). You can see I a bit more harsh.

60-69: *
70-79: **************
80-89: ***********************
90-99: ***

Finally, a cheeky little “formula” to predict the Metacritic score based on game length! Behold:

score = 80 + length * 0.36. Sure, the score might slightly improve as the game gets longer, but it’s nothing to write home about. So, worry not, short-game aficionados, you’re still in for a whale of a time!

Well, it turns out I’ve been playing these bite-sized gaming bonanzas quite a bit. Who would’ve thought that my inner explorer and experimenter would find such joy in these compact yet captivating digital adventures? It’s like a custom-tailored playground for my curiosity, with each game offering a unique world to uncover and a fresh challenge to tackle. The evidence is irrefutable – these short video games are not just a passing fad, but a delightful match for my gaming personality. So here’s to more exploration, experimentation, and, of course, to the unadulterated joy of discovering new universes in the world of short video games!

A Skyrim Review A Decade Too Late feature
2023.03.09

A Skyrim Review A Decade Too Late

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Ah, Skyrim, the game that we’ve all sunk countless hours into and have been rewarded with hundreds of dragons slain and hundreds of hours of gameplay. I mean, the game was released on 2011-11-11. It’s like Bethesda knew that we needed something to distract us from the impending doom of the Mayan calendar.

As a massive fan of fantasy RPGs, I picked up Skyrim on release day. Was one of my first purchases after getting a job in Rio de Janeiro. After playing for more than a hundred hours, I reviewed it but never finished it. My mage-thief AquaDiFiori was halfway on the main quest, and she was the leader of some of the factions. It was then that I realized that Skyrim is one of those games that you can sink an endless amount of hours into and still find new things to do and explore.

Recently, I decided to restart the game after several years, using various mods to fix some bugs and add more embellishments to the game. I played as a mage in the College of Winterhold, a thief in the Thieves Guild, an assassin of the Dark Brotherhood, and a warrior in the Companions, most with the same character, the female wood-elf UberCamelot. It was like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but with more dragons and less page flipping.

Skyrim is dead

One thing that frustrated me about Skyrim is the absence of a credits screen after the ending. What’s the point of defeating Alduin if you don’t get to bask in the glory of your victory while the credits roll? Instead, players can continue to explore the world. It’s like you’ve saved the world, but the world is still “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.”

Of course, one of the biggest downsides of the game is the frequent crashing. I get it, Skyrim is a huge and complex game, but wired bugs are one thing (for Bethesda Studios, it is a feature, not a bug), crashing after 10 years of patches is another completely. It’s still infuriating when you’ve spent a lot of time managing your inventory, crafting and enchanting items, and the game suddenly crashes. Quick save is your best friend in this game.

Despite the crashing, I enjoyed Skyrim very much. The game is incredibly immersive, with breathtaking scenery, atmospheric music, and realistic sound effects. The combat system is intuitive, and the ability to choose different skills and abilities for your character provides a lot of variety in gameplay. The world feels alive, with NPCs going about their daily routines, animals wandering around, and the occasional dragon swooping down from the sky. More than my memory served me. It’s like living in a high-fantasy version of a nature documentary.

Skyrim is dead

That being said, while Skyrim is an excellent game, I still think that The Witcher 3 is a better game. It has a more engaging storyline, better-developed characters, and a combat system that feels more refined. Side missions feel more meaningful and have a greater impact on the game’s story. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Don’t @ me.

In conclusion, Skyrim is an excellent game that just won’t Fus Ro Dah-way anytime soon! It’s been years since its original release and yet people are still shouting and modding. Keep selling well on every platform under the sun. It provides endless hours of entertainment.

My rating, after all these years, continues to be high. Finally, the Laat Dovahkiin will retire from the land of the Dovah. Let’s wait for the next scroll.

The final dovah is–over
The final dovah is–over

Lutris: Games in Linux Easier than Ever feature
2023.01.26

Lutris: Games in Linux Easier than Ever

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Lutris is an open-source gaming platform for Linux that allows users to easily install and manage Windows-only games without having to dual-boot or use a virtual machine. It works with a wide range of sources, including Steam, Epic Game Store, Origin, and Ubisoft.

Under the hood is Proton, the compatibility layer. It is not an emulator. Unlike traditional emulators, which run games in a virtual environment, Proton is a conversion layer that translates Windows system calls to Linux system calls. This allows Windows games to run natively on Linux without any performance loss. The result is that games run on Proton often perform just as well, or even better than they would on native OS. This is because it takes advantage of the performance optimizations and features of the Linux kernel, while also providing compatibility with Windows libraries and APIs. Proton also uses various performance tweaks and optimizations to improve the performance of games on Linux, and it is regularly updated with new features and bug fixes to support both recent AAA titles and older games.

I have been using Lutris on my daily Kubuntu system for the past 3 years and have had a great experience playing a wide range of games, from the latest blockbuster releases to older classic titles. From my experience, Lutris and Proton work exceptionally well and I have been able to successfully play most of the games without any problem. The process of installing and running games through Lutris is straightforward and user-friendly. The platform also provides a wide range of options for configuring and optimizing game performance, which is particularly useful for older or resource-intensive games.

Another great advantage of using Lutris is that it unifies all of your game libraries from different stores into a single interface. This eliminates the need to switch between different launchers or applications to access your games and makes it much easier to keep track of what you have installed and what you want to play next. You can browse and manage your entire collection of games from one place, regardless of where you purchased them from. If needed, Lutris launches the launcher automatically for you.

In addition to the convenience of having all of your games in one place, Lutris also provides a variety of tools and features that can enhance your gaming experience. For example, the platform allows you to create custom game configurations and launch options, manage your game saves, and keep track of which games you have completed. With Lutris, you have all of the tools you need to manage your gaming library and get the most out of your games.

Valve, the company behind Steam, has also made a significant contribution to the development of Linux gaming. They have invested a lot in developing Proton, which is now a key component of Lutris, and also the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming console that runs on Linux. This investment by Valve demonstrates a strong commitment to the Linux gaming community and it’s great to see that the gaming experience on Linux is getting better and better.

Note: You can check the list of all games that that are working fine in ProtonDB and Lutris DB. The most problematic games are those that require some anti-cheat feature, because they are tailored for Windows and use intrinsic techniques.

Lutris and Proton are powerful tools that provide a seamless gaming experience on Linux. The platform is user-friendly, easy to configure, and constantly updated to support new games and features. Have fun!

Proton db

Bruno MASSA