Covid, Work, and Life: An Update

Those of you who follow me on social media may remember that I had mentioned resuming the podcast. That is still on the table, and it will eventually happen. However, life’s gotten in the way and the podcast, as much as I’d love to jump into it, is not a priority.

The current covid situation in Italy is decent enough. There have been outbreaks here and there, and there’s concern with younger people infecting one another as they enjoy their summer in a somewhat careless way. Schools will finally reopen mid-September, so whether that leads to a mess that requires another lockdown remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ve already begun purchasing flour to make bread at home. Not kidding.

The economy is what is: a mess. I used to have my hands into a bunch of cakes with online gigs of various kinds, but most of those are gone. When I tell people, they’re usually shocked: “I thought you were safe, working online for foreign companies.” Yeah, well, not really. Those companies depend on having clients bringing money in, and especially with the US being the disaster zone that they are right now, that’s just happening less and less. It’ll take a while for things to bounce back, but yours truly ain’t no idiot and has been saving and planning for years. I’m not rich, but I’m not sinking in a month either.

And while a few gig have gone, a few others have come. I’ve begun collaborating with a neat gaming site called SideGamer, writing articles (you can find them here) and helping the boss with some behind-the-scenes stuff. Due to time constraints I don’t play games much lately, alas, so it’s been an interesting excuse to do that (“it’s for work!”), and a way to get words on paper screen again.

Indeed, writing those articles definitely rekindled my desire to write “my own stuff”, though you obviously wouldn’t be able to tell, since I don’t post here much. Then again, perhaps I’m writing something else and some announcement shall be made in the future, for all you know. The same applies to photography: not much to see, but lots of plotting and planning are happening, so stay tuned if you’re interested.

In the end, many things are changing all around us, and that may require us to contribute to those changes, or facilitate them. The thing is that leaps of faith are scary at the best of times, and downright terrifying at a weird moment in history like the one we’re collectively going through. It reminds me of this song, and the irony of that, I’m quite sure, won’t be lost on a small group of people who are probably grinning right now… (Never mind if you have no idea; that’s for the best, believe me.)

To quote Marvin: “Life! Don’t talk to me about life!”

Portal bookends: HUGE SUCCESS

I don’t know if these are actually for sale or not, but I would buy them immediately. Probably more than just one pair.

This was a triumph, I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS

This was a triumph, I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

PS: the cake is a lie. 🙁

Turning casual gamers into frustrated gamers with a PS3

Ars Technica talks about how the fast pace of firmware releases for the Playstation 3 adds to the frustration of casual gamers. Being forced to update your system once per week or so makes people pissed off, and it’s worse for those who only play once in a while because it’s more likely that they will need to go through that every single time. I had a PS3 and I sold it for different reasons — I only used it as a Blu-ray player, as I prefer playing on the Xbox 360 — but I can talk about another, even worse, frustrating thing about Sony’s console: forced installation.

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Video games: are they addictive?

Every now and then, we hear news that someone around the globe has ruined his or her life by playing video games. It appears to be a big problem, to the point that the American Medical Association had considered adding it to the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The idea was then put on hold because more research was needed.

But are video games addictive? Are some people more likely to be unable to stop playing? And when should playing video games be considered an addiction? Let’s try to answer those questions.

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Most gamers prefer physical media

The research company Ipsos ran a poll in the UK, and found out that “64 per cent of the users polled would rather have games on physical discs, while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies”. The survey involved “over 1,000 Internet users aged between 15 and 50.” A detailed article about the findings is available at THINQ.

Such results do not surprise me in the slightest. I am a casual gamer, in that I usually buy a game every couple of months or so, and I usually purchase them from the UK, where they are much cheaper than in Italy. The reason I do that is that, since I never get games that have been just released, having to wait a week for the delivery is not a big deal. Savings versus instant gratification. (Disclaimer: that may not be the fact when GTA V comes out. Can’t help it.)

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