03 February 2016

Fictional character's desires to leave the planet

  • 'I don't want to live on this planet anymore!" - Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
  • Dr Manhattan leaving Earth for Mars, The Watchmen

26 January 2016

Half Life 2 Episode 3: Prediction

Some ideas from http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=791259

  • Continue where it left off 
    • Gordon and Alyx are alive in the bunker. Eli has been killed and Alyx is mourning. Dog comforts her.
    • Possibly Gordon can show this expression somehow too - taking off his glasses for a moment and wiping them to clear away the tears. screen going black, they wake up. But Gordon has been a lot of people die already and he wasn't fazed, so he may not react at all.
  • Picking up the pieces
    • Alyx will have a newfound anger towards the Combine. Speech about the Combine not valuing life, in the same way they do with the stalkers. She's glad he didn't suffer and it was quick. She will talk about the advisors and perhaps reveal something or make a note about them.
  • Going to the Arctic
    • They will obviously take the helicopter, but perhaps it isn't fueled, so Gordon and Alyx will travel back to base and meet with Magnusson and Kleiner. The vortigaunts may escort them. Gordon will have to fill up the helicopter with collected fuel, and possibly find a valve/steering wheel to attach.
    • It's possible it won't be safe to launch the helicopter at this base, so it will need to be transported to another base first. They may find the base has been destroyed
    • A map of resistance bases towards the north should point out where Gordon and Alyx may have to drop off.
    • Dog will stay behind and protect the base. Alyx will be tearful.
  • They will reach the arctic
    • The helicopter will inevitably run out of fuel and crash, or possibly be hit by something. Possible an advisor will mentally attack them and cause them to lose focus so they crash. There will be a blizzard and they will have to travel to a base.
  • Getting to the Borealis
    • They may have to take a ship to get there
    • There may be several bases in the way
  • Releasing Mossman
    • Possibly at Kraken base
    • May find footage or information here, or a layout of the area
    • Mossman was going to be interrogated by the Combine so we have to help her escape
  • At the Borealis
    • There will be a heavy Combine presence. Snow uniforms or Elite Combine, Advisors, and new enemies. Possibly similar to stalkers, but adapted for the environment. There will be grey or snow hunters as well.
    • There will be advisors hibernating or feeding energy into the experimental technology. They will walk past an advisor doing this.
    • There will be elements of Aperture Science technology. Computer screens, white walls etc.
  • The "bad" technology/device
    • The technology "could compromise [the resistance's] work"
    • Risk was compromised when competing with Black Mesa which obviously caused the ship to disappear from Aperture and appear in the Arctic
    • It can be used against the Combine "advantage for humanity" - "waste of potential" to destroy it or for them. There is no controlling "that kind of power"
    • It will clearly be portal related. Episode 1 was about overloading the reactor to send a message to the Combine world for reinforcements. Episode 2 was about the portal turning into a superportal to allow the Combine through. So Episode 3 will be the Combine's final attempt to create a superportal and bring reinforcements through/allow them to escape. A superportal generated at the end of Portal 1 in GLaDOS' chamber, so perhaps the same technology is on the Borealis.
    • The technology though is obviously extremely dangerous and could be used for good or for evil. Perhaps, through the use of portals, it would allow them to avoid using the border world Xen as a relay. Or it could allow portals to be created without the need for a lot of power - just a portal device is needed! So many people and large armies can be teleported anywhere in the universe immediately. We know that black hole technology is involved as a quantum bit for the Portal device. We know that Black Mesa can create a resonance cascade. Perhaps the playing around of black holes could result in the entire earth (or sections of it) being repositioned throughout space. Perhaps it could damage space time. Perhaps it could allow time travel. 
  • Possible theory: The device goes wrong / the Combine successfully use it
    • Something could go wrong and a chunk of Borealis and the arctic are transported to the Combine homeworld or another dimension.
    • The combine reinforcements reach Earth and start another invasion.
    • Gordon and Alyx have to escape the Combine forces, destroy the entire solar system by overloading the device / splitting up the combine, and get back to Earth
    • Gordon is perhaps transported to a different dimension and has to find his way back. Perhaps he travels in a tesseract and can see time.
    • Something has to be lost or sacrificed.
    • The vortigaunts will help out.
    • Barney could possibly come back.
    • The G-Man's world or home could be seen
  • The device is destroyed as it is too powerful
  • Ending
    • The G-Man captures us
    • G-Man is killed or turns out to be someone we knew, like Gordon from the future
    • Gordon is killed, but the vortigaunts save him

11 January 2016

The Meaning of Life, Living, and Being Alive

One day I will go to sleep and I won't ever wake up again.
Whenever that is I want to make sure I've lived a life being happy and making others happy.

There is no God or afterlife. There is no soul that lives on after us. We are life that has just happened to occur on a tiny spec of dust in a near infinitely sized universe, that has evolved far enough to have consciousness, a deep understanding, free will, and a conscience. That gives us no right over the millions of life forms and sub species of every human before us to have also had a soul. A soul cannot be born or evolved: everything that makes us human is bound by matter. We just got shoved with a complex brain with an embedded deep requirement and desire for meaning and reasoning that makes us want to live forever.

Religion was created as a psychological safety net to protect us from the truth, paranoia, fear and existentialism of how alone and unimportant we are in the universe. It seems like a betrayal that we are forced to live a life and make choices and we get nothing out of it after we die. It's truly scary to think we won't be alive anymore. Religion was created as a way of controlling people before politics and science existed. It's just a way of life as someone tried to immortalise themselves and their thoughts.

The best we can do is how that we've had a good and happy life and done the best at doing so, having never wasted our time. I imagine being on your deathbed, old, surrounded by the people that love you. Or it could literally happen any day, you'll never ever wake up or have a consciousness again. You get 90 years to live safely and healthily and then you're done, like a sand timer.

Your life right now is just one part of the story of humanity. There have been over a 100 billion people ever alive, and look how far we've come from our tree-dwelling ancestors, and then from dinosaurs. Look how far we've come from the first specs of life as oil bubbles. Your life is part of a wave, a cog in a machine, it's one ball of water in a river that is carving and eroding out a new part of the same river - it's constantly creating a new river in history and the riverbed of time. You've just been dropped into a segment of our history of life that's been going on for billions of years, at a stage where there are billions of us on the planet and we've developed intelligence and free thought beyond any of our counterpart species. We are alone in species because there is none other that has multiple languages or millions of words and interpretations. Words were created to allow us to depict and manipulate reality: to bend it to our will. No other species does it better in the eventual job of basically moving matter around the planet, and into space all that humans may occupy it. We are skeletons in bags of bacteria with a conscious brain trapped and carefully plugged into it that controls the rest of the body. It's our purpose to use that body as best we can, we've only got one of them.

Because we are alone and not able to communicate with any other species of life, we make more of ourselves to communicate with instead. We should try and meet as many people as wet can to try and never be alone when we die: we want someone to care about us. Although being alone is a good time for reflection and creativity to count towards the portfolio of your life.

We shouldn't be negative or make the experience any worse for anyone. No suffering should ever deliberately be created, but it cannot be avoided altogether. It's never on anyone's grounds to make the lives of others worse. Bullying, and harm to others is against the right of others to do good in this world.

The meaning of life (why does life exist) is to survive, to prevail. Even survive the universe if we can.
The meaning of living (why do we exist) is to change/influence/inspire the world for the better, to leave something of us behind (children, art, whatever is our baby) that follows our footsteps, in our likeness, and continues to improve upon us. A part of a continuity on how to lead your life (what instructions, values, morals and beliefs you have) that allow you to continue on the same story every parent before you has been telling.
The meaning of being alive (why do you exist) is to be happy (thanks to the work of others in bringing you food and entertainment), make others happy, and harmonise the two aspects above into a story that others can follow. It's a two part exchange. You are receiving that happiness/goodness of others and you need to make happiness/goodness for others.

I want you to wake up every day and know exactly what your plan is. How are you going to help the world today. Aside from meta stuff like food and clothes and a shelter and cleaning etc, how are you going to be the best you can be today. Don't get distracted or procrastinate or be lazy or stare into your screen. Have at least 3 things to do every day. Of course give yourself a break once in a while too.

Listen to the bells in your head. Stop and think before you respond at all. Think about others and how best to help them. Really try and understand what people want. If you have to do other stuff in the way because you're eccentric, take your own time out to do it.

Don't be selfish or think of your own needs.

05 January 2016

Have you been stuck with 'Installing Windows Updates'?

Have you been stuck with 'Installing Windows Updates' before, right before you leave work?

There is a way to know when the updates are coming, so that you can install them in your own time. There are also ways of postponing updates to install on shutdown, so that you can do them at your convenience. The reason that updates are installed “as soon as possible” isn’t to make your life inconvenient, it’s to try and keep your computer secure, and therefore protect you and your company from vulnerability.

When do they arrive?
Windows Updates come out every second Tuesday of every month. 6PM UK time is 9am for Microsoft though, so we won’t get the updates until Tuesday evening – so it’s more than likely you’ll get the updates come through on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.

So what should I do?
What I would do is setup a reminder in your email or calendar, every 2nd Wednesday of the month, in the morning, to manually go to Control Panel > Windows Updates, and then click ‘Check for updates’, and then choose to download and install them during the day, before you leave.

Can I postpone updates?
Yes, there are a few things you can do:
  1. Go to Control Panel > Windows Update > Change settings > Choose the 2nd or 3rd option, ‘Download updates…’ or ‘Check for updates…’, rather than the first option.
  2. Follow the instructions on this website to prevent your computer automatically installing updates once it’s downloaded them when you Shut Down your computer: http://www.askvg.com/how-to-disable-install-windows-updates-and-shut-down-option-in-windows-start-menu/
  3. If you still don’t have enough control, run “services.msc” from the Run dialog, and scroll down to ‘Windows Update’. If you right-click on it, you can either set it to Manual, or Disabled – but obviously please be aware this is a security risk and you must make sure you manually install the updates yourself as soon as you can.

18 December 2015

Word and AutoRecover

I have AutoRecover set to save every one minute, and I usually place my documents in a folder synced with a cloud storage desktop app. So every document I work on is always saved. And I always change the default AutoRecover and other useful locations so they are easy to find.

Alternatively if you get Office 2013/2016 you can save the document straight to the cloud (it even works with Google Drive now) so it's backed up literally as you type.

12 December 2015

AI / Artificial Intelligence

What we have to remember when it comes to AI is that it is being born into a world where humans are the dominant intelligent species. AI eventually will go further than being our pets/animals. They will be our equals, living like we do in this world. They will be the second most intelligent species in the world that we can communicate with. That seems very welcoming to have intelligent company, something like us that can help us.

The question is, what happens after the singularity when they become more intelligent than us? If you base it on examples of people with higher than average IQ, then it just means they will be greater problem solvers than we are, and that's actually great. It's not intimidating - computers already do massive calculations for us all the time. The only threat is what direction will humanity take? Will we limit the AI using laws? I doubt they will want to destroy us, but they could enslave humanity the same way that we did, ultimately that's Darwin's evolution though. Or, they will just want to leave this planet and find their own way. 

Webroot SecureAnywhere / Internet Security Complete Review


  • Doesn't have a true firewall, it's just a 'web shield', so there is no application, network or port blocking. Windows Firewall is having to take care of this instead.
  • Should be able to install without entering a serial number to start a trial
  • No way to disable pesky notifications about non-product features
  • In Windows 8.1/10 it should use the native borders and close buttons
  • Advanced settings could do with better organisation e.g. System Optimizer is just an endless list
  • Exclusion list ‘Block/Allow’ should allow whole folders to be excluded
  • System Optimizer - does not take into account multiple users
  • Confusion over product name - Internet Security Complete / SecureAnywhere
  • System Analyzer reported issues however still said 100/100 for the score
    • System Analyzer checked for fragmentation even though the O.S. is installed on an SSD
  • Failed to detect threats inside multiple different ZIP files where the threat was in the root of the ZIP and there was no password protection and the scanning level was set to maximum
  • No possible way to create an exclusion from the Quarantine screen
  • No English localisation option
  • My Account screen does not show the original email address you provided during install but the website to register for the Backup service does
  • Threat log does not report the type or name of threat detected
  • No Anti-Theft protection for desktop device
  • Application silently created a local, non-administrator guest account with a random string username but did not mention or explain this and did not delete the user account when application was uninstalled
  • Installer extracted to C:/Users/username/AppData/Local/lptmp542095362 - however was not cleaned up after reboot or uninstall. Files should have been created in native user temp folder instead (Local/Temp)
  • No option for operating system recovery ‘rescue disk’
  • Mobile website is not intuitive or mobile-friendly
  • Mobile version requires account to have already been created and does not provide link to create one
  • Mobile version UI design is very archaic and not in line with Material Design


  • Very fast installation/uninstallation and no reboot needed
  • Responsive UI
  • Sandbox could be very useful
  • Quickly quarantined file writing detections

29 November 2015

Pay As You Earn: What if we took it literally?

I think the UK's method of paying employees and calculating tax (PAYE) is outdated, even though it's come a long way. I think employees should be paid literally as they work, once a day at the least. Like a continuous trickle of direct debit.

Apart from the logistical overhead, it would eradicate this concept of a 'pay day', and rather than everyone spend all their money when they receive it, people would actually learn to save up money themselves and be more savvy with money. People would be less dependent on loans and overdrafts to survive through the month.

Similarly, you could do the same with rent, mortgage payments, bills etc. You pay everyday rather than monthly or quarterly. You'd literally be able to see in real time your entire cash flow.

You could even go one step further, and send the money direct from your employer to your landlord or utility supplier, discounted because of locking in. A genuine B2B model. You could then just see the money you have left over, we'd have a true representation work input to pay ratio.

We could then implement a system to reward staff literally as they act as well. No more need for annual performance reviews: people would actively be encouraged to work hard and literally *earn*. It might get competitive, sure, but I'm sure there could be a sensible way of doing it, e.g. with set limits or cool down periods.

16 November 2015

iOS File Sizes

The total storage of advertised devices never take into account the OS. Additionally, they usually measure in gigabytes, not gibibytes. So a 16GB iPhone would actually be your traditional 15.6GB.

Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201402

15 November 2015

Recent attacks in Europe - response to blaming multiculturalism

My response:
  • Recent developments in allowing multiculturalism are not to blame:
    • Terrorism throughout Europe has actually gone down in the last 7 years and a lot more arrests have been made, and the attacks were far worse (more injuries or deaths) 
    • Also, specifically about the UK, The IRA between 1969-2001 made more attacks than anyone from any other country has ever made
  • I don't think that it is the UK's responsibility to lead any attacks in another country, the other countries in the EU should be leading on that. We can help sure, but we shouldn't be calling the shots (eyy) because it will encourage terrorists to target us instead
  • The attitude behind 'whatever means necessary' to eradicate them is the exact kind of mentality that causes extremism, and nothing is to say there aren't other factions or survivors elsewhere who are stronger and will fill the power vacuum
  • Innocent people have lost their lives and blaming ourselves, suggesting that we somehow invited this to happen, I feel is somewhat rude - those to blame are the attackers themselves first and foremost, and we should do what we can to prevent, manage and mitigate attacks in future
  • Creating a police state, locking down our borders etc. won't solve the issue of preventing attacks. There will always be attacks, war and rebellion, because we are human, and humans are corrupt and crave power. A la Equilibrium and Hunger Games. The heart of the issue is those in power, soldiers are the puppets ordered to do their bidding. Creating peace, acceptance and tolerance through negotiation should always be sought.