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May 1 20

Taking Cleveland All the Way in Retro Bowl

Cleveland Browns in Retro Bowl

I mentioned there’s no sports to watch on TV, so I’m playing a lots of sports-themed video games these days. My current favorite: Retro Bowl. As their tagline says: play football like it’s 1987!

Retro Bowl is a very charming “retro style” arcade football game for NFL fans and dreamers everywhere. You play a very simplified game of football on an 8-bit style Atari/Intellivision/early Nintendo-inspired field.

The game is equal parts arcade (run/pass/throw) and career/season management. I think it strikes a really nice balance, although the games themselves feel “short”. You play 2-minute quarters, which usually gives you room to play three total drives for both teams each half. The paid/pro version lets you alter the amount of time you can play per quarter.

All the career management stuff is in there. You draft players, hire and fire staff, and try to guide your team all the way to the Retro Bowl — the championship game at the end of the season.

Since I have all but given up on my dreams of seeing the Cleveland Browns capture a Super Bowl title in my lifetime, I consoled myself with coaching the Retro Bowl version of the team to consecutive championships.

I started coaching the Miami Dolphins and got them to a championship in the third season. Then I was “recruited” by the Browns to lead that team. The first season was a definite rebuilding year. But then I signed a good quarterback, wide receiver, and running back, and a championship was in the cards!

May 1 20

Sports in the Time of Covid-19 – There’s Nothing to Watch

Bored with no sports on TV

Being a sports fan in the time of Covid-19 and the Coronavirus is tough. There’s nothing to watch. I know a friend who watched a replay of the 2019 Master’s golf tournament.

How bored do you have to be to re-watch golf?

So I was excited when the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, started airing on ESPN last month. It chronicles the 1997-1998 season of the Chicago Bulls, featuring Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and coach Phil Jackson. It’s a nice way to escape from a world where there’s no live sports to watch.

The last few episodes have focused on Dennis Rodman, who was such a crazy character in the 1990’s but his personality and “outlandishness” seem tame by comparison today.

If you haven’t seen the documentary, you can find it on ESPN (which is part of Disney+, don’t forget). It’s worth a look. Besides, what else are you going to watch?

Dec 14 19

Going for the Nether Portal Speed Run


I was reading someone’s MineBlr (a Tumblr Minecraft blog) and they were talking about how they were trying to get to the Nether as quickly as possible in a brand-new Minecraft survival mode game. Basically, it’s a Nether Speed Run.

There are lots of ways you can move as quickly as possible to get what you need to build a nether portal, but mostly what the speed run boils down to is whether you get lucky with finding diamonds once you dig down to the bottom of your world. The faster you find 3 diamonds, the faster you can build your diamond pickaxe. You’ll need it to mine obsidian, which forms the frame of a nether portal.

Starting a new Minecraft Survival Mode game as Durr Monkey.
The start of my new survival mode game. I’m using the fun but questionable choice of a Durr Monkey skin.

The first order of business is to gather some wood. I found some nearby oak trees and started punching away. I gathered enough wood this way to build a crafting table and a wooden axe, which I used to cut down more trees, but faster than with my weak-ass monkey fists.

Punching trees in Minecraft
Getting busy punching trees for wood.

Once I had enough wood, planks, and sticks, I started to make my other tools, like a shovel and pickaxe. Soon, it was time to start digging down.

Digging a tunnel on my starting island.
I’m ready to start digging a tunnel down. Deep down, to search for Diamonds.

Armed with my shovel and pickaxe, I started to dig my tunnel deep down underneath the island. The goal is to build a steep staircase tunnel that goes all the way to the bottom. There, I’ll begin my search for diamonds. If I’m lucky, I’ll find some coal, iron, lava, and water along the way. I’ll need all of those to make the remaining materials I need to build my Nether Portal.

Staircase down to the bottom in Minecraft
Here I am deep in my staircase tunnel.

Finally, I hit bottom. Now the search for diamonds begins.

The bedrock means I’ve hit bottom. Time to build another crafting table and furnace so that I don’t have to climb back to the top to make more tools.

And I found diamonds! Fortunately, there were enough of them to build a diamond pickaxe.

Found diamonds in Minecraft
I found diamonds!

I got enough iron to make an iron bucket, which I’ll use to transport lava and water. By bringing them together, you can make obsidian, which is then mined using the diamond pickaxe.

Found lava in Minecraft
I found my stream of lava!

I didn’t find any water underground, but made two quick trips to the surface to collect water in my iron bucket. Then I made an “endless” water well by emptying the buckets diagonally in a simple 2×2 well.

My simple “endless” water well is used to make obsidian.

To make the obsidian, I carried a bucket of lava over to the water and emptied it just above one of the water blocks. The obsidian forms and then I was able to mine it with my diamond pickaxe. Once I had 10 blocks of obsidian, I was ready to make my portal.

Your nether portal needs to be in a 4×5 frame, but you don’t need the corner squares. So a “bare minimum” portal has 3 blocks on each side and 2 blocks to make the top and bottom.

Standing next to an activated Nether Portal

You then light/activate the portal using Flint and Steel, but you can also light the portal with some lava and a flammable block, like wood. I already had some flint from shoveling gravel on the way down, so it was just as easy to craft the flint and steel and light it that way.

Then I stepped through into the Nether. All told, it took me 48 minutes to do!

Jun 1 19

Watching the All-English Champions League Final

Mo Salah Liverpool

I’m watching the All-English Champions League Final being played in Madrid. It’s Liverpool vs. Tottenham in an all-English match. Neither team was expected to be here.

Liverpool created a stunning upset of Barcelona, after being behind 3-0 following the first leg. At Tottenham put away a strong and young Ajax team.

So far the match is 1-0 in favor of Liverpool following an early penalty kick score by Mo Salah. But the night is still young and anything can happen in the Champions League.

May 31 19

Taking Notes with the Cornell Method


I take a lot of notes.

It’s a habit I developed in college and one that I continue using to this day. I take notes on conversations I’ve had, I take notes about books I read, I even take notes about TV shows and movies that I watch.

I used to take notes free-form with minimal structure. Sometimes and outline. Sometimes just bullet points.

A few years ago I discovered the Cornell method of taking notes. It’s a lot similar to regular outlining, but with the careful organization of the page and a process that includes identifying follow-up questions and keywords, and then a final summary. It was developed at Cornell University in the 1950s.

You leave the left third of the page open for questions and keywords, and a few lines at the bottom for the summary. The main area of the page is left open for your notes.

There’s also a video that explains the method here. Quick tip: the good stuff starts at the 4:00 mark.

May 26 19

The Indianapolis 500 is Today

Indy 500 cars

It’s Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and you know what that means: it’s the running of the Indianapolis 500, one of the best-known auto racing events in the world. 2019 marks the 103rd Indy.

The biggest concern today is the weather. Thunderstorms in the area are expected and that might delay or even prevent the race from running. Let’s hope for clear(ish) skies and good, safe conditions.

If the weather holds out, the race begins at 12:45 pm. The famous, “Gentlemen, start your engines…” will be called at 12:38. It should be exciting!

May 26 19

Fortnite – Will it Ever Die?

Fortnite llama

Fortnite was the Game of the Summer in 2018. Here we are, almost a year later, and it shows no signs of stopping.

It made its way into Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame and recently, Elon Musk declared that Tesla would port Unreal Engine and Unity into its cars so that among other things, you can play Fortnite on long car trips. Then again, Elon doesn’t really like Fortnite.

Regardless of Elon’s thoughts, Fortnite is everywhere.

When will it ever end?

Fortnite mania will probably only come to a conclusion when a new and more exciting game displaces it. Until then we must simply wait. And wait and wait and wait.

Mar 25 18

Discord Chat – Why It’s the Greatest

Discord chat server

Discord is the greatest VoIP service available.

Discord is a free voice plus text communications platform targeted typically in the gaming market. It goals to coordinate with the ease of usage of present chat clients similar Skype plus mix it with the power of servers with manifold rooms and role consents offered through voice clients similar Teamspeak. Discord is constructed by the newest tech employing a contemporary jitter buffer, instinctive gain control, sound subduction, echo annulment, system reduction on Windows plus more.

How to create/join public discord servers

Discord permits you to generate or connect a server. A server on Discord resembles a community of like-minded gamers having communal interests toward following plus talk about. For instance, a public discord servers of “Counter-Strike” entices individuals interested in enjoying Counter-Strike.

You could make your own server if you would like to have a private communal. Afterward, your server is shaped, you could invite friends and family through sharing the server’s invitation code. In the same manner, you could join different servers, specifically, using the server’s invitation code you would like to connect.

By the ideal pane of your server’s dashboard, you could view the number of online consumers on your server. As well as you can moreover view somebody’s profile plus mute, deafen, or reference him at the chat. Additional you could view/set role plus consents of any person.

In a public discord server, if you have consented, you can moreover add text otherwise voice stations. A channel in Discord is similar a group of gamers toward talk around one subject. For instance, a text channel called “CS Cheats” is finest for studying otherwise sharing Counter-Strike cheater codes.

Since you may have by now understood, a voice channel is for set voice calling as well as a text channel is a group chat box to discuss texts by everybody. Astonishingly, Discord lets to make or connect and chat on a limitless number of public discord servers with no restriction.

Crucial features

Discord deals potent features in an easy interface. It permits you to insert buddies using their Discord tag which is equally in setup to Twitter’s hashtags nevertheless is restricted to four personalities in scope.

You can moreover add buddies exclusively and message them outer of servers. You might even block directly messages from undesirable people plus Discord automatically arranges their message from the servers.

The program’s dashboard shows online, pending, plus blocked contacts in diverse tabs. At any time you obtain a message, Discord sends you a push announcement in order so you can quickly understand who led what. What’s more, you could begin a voice conversation with a distinct or inside a channel as simply as pressing small mouse clicks.

One of my preferred features is its own in-game overlap, which lets you vision who’s speaking in the middle of the match, only similar Facebook Messenger’s Conversation Heads. Additional you can regulate the volume, alteration servers otherwise stations, as well as do extra without leaving your match play. The overlay, however, needs its DirectX 9, Windows Client, otherwise above, plus OpenGL.

Safety features

Discord application auto-encrypts talks and additional information, as well as simplifies your IP address, not like main VoIP solutions. Its rear end public discord servers runs via DDoS protection and features spontaneous failover device which works toward upstart the program in case of server issues. What’s more, in case of a server letdown, Discord would auto-switch to a new server to stop data loss.

That is not all. The program packets in lots of privacy plus security features. In server’s collections, if you’ve consents, you could place anybody’s and everybody’s functions plus permissions.

High performance

As Discord is just designed for gamers it creates the least influence in your CPU, and thus does not make a difference in your match’s enactment (i.e., uppermost FPS rates) — allowing you to play flawlessly. What’s more, public discord servers are scattered around the globe and so, you can select and connect to a next server to enjoy a quick experience.

Its innate app does not require special driver’s otherwise compound configuration, so it requires only a couple of minutes toward set up. Because of its low necessities, you might also run it on your browser.

Moreover, you’ll be amazed to know that its own voice superiority is so clear that you may even hear the least incoming audio. That is also because Discord is constructed with sound suppression, echo cancellation, plus lot more features.

Discord is constructed for the 21st-century gamer. It communicates a scope of functionalities in 1 program. Distinct the boring chat interfaces, Discord aids to handle conversations in channels and servers jointly with many customization alternatives to suit your requirements.

May 28 17

Kickass Torrents – Any Alternatives

Kickass Torrents

So I would never, and I mean neverĀ use a Torrents site to download illegal copyrighted content. I mean, who would? But with all the main torrent sites getting shut down, inĀ theory it must be hard to find any good Kickass torrent alternatives.

It’s a tough time to be a torrent site. The owners of Kickass, The Pirate Bay, and are all finding themselves in deep legal trouble, and probably for good reason.

This video from TechSayyer on Youtube, runs through the top 10 alternatives that are out there and available for those of you who are looking for alternative action.

May 28 17

Barcelona Wins Copa del Rey Again

Messi Waves

Third year in a row for the Catalans. FC Barcelona won the Copa del Rey last night, 3-1 over heavy underdog Alaves. It must have been bittersweet for the team, though. They narrowly lost La Liga to arch-rival Real Madrid, and they’re missing out on the Champions League final to boot.

It was the final match for coach Luis Enrique, who will probably go down in history as one of the all-time greats for FCB.

Attention now turns to the Champions League final, where Real Madrid takes on Juventus on Saturday, June 3 in Cardiff, Wales.