29 April 2020

Final Fantasy VII Remake Review


Overall super impressed. It has brought to life a cherished game of mine. The original game to me is my favourite game of all time. The remake so far hasn't taken that spot, but it's certainly given me strong feels, shocking moments, kept me entertained, and intrigued. I've wanted to cry, jump for joy, have had huge nostalgia, and just love seeing the game in the best possible way it can be.

The game has deviated in some ways (especially the Whispers and some minor plot points removed), but overall it is highly faithful and I am genuinely impressed. I am very much looking forward to the next one. Given the changes made, I really hope the rest of the game is only 1 more part as they've made significant investment in building up hopes for the rest of the story, and I don't think 2 or more parts properly justifies the deviations made. If I could know it was a closer match story wise, then I'd be up for 3 parts, but imo it could break the immersion and continuity a lot.

The game is very, very stable. Some weird camera controls sometimes, but no bugs. Had 1 crash when loading from an autosave in the collapsed freeway, it froze during the loading screen so I killed it and loaded a full save instead. However I'm impressed how glitch free the game is.

Visual quality is absolutely stunning and the characters are brilliantly brought to life. They are absolutely nailed in terms of voices, behaviour, look, animation, everything. Cloud and Barrett especially are exactly as they should be on all fronts. I am in love with Cloud more than before and can't wait to see the rest of his story unfold.

Some textures are really low quality such as the doors in sector 7 slums, and the view of the other plates when climbing the tower in some shots towards the end of the game is very poor and reminds me too much of the old game with static low resolution backgrounds!

Some weird plot changes such as the Whispers. In my opinion, pointless, and are there only for dramatic effect, and are a bit meta as a representation of oh, let's kill Barret, but then actually the rest of the story needs him, so bring him back. That's destiny! Or more, that's the plot.

There are some good plot changes, such as the side story with Jessie and new character Roche, I thought that was excellent. The majority of the game is all excellent in its deviations until the end.

President Shinra was killed on view, I thought it was more more impactful in the original seeing blood everywhere and his corpse. It was more shocking in the original when you look inside the Jenova chamber as well and see the severed head. I remember that scene scared me before but all that has been lost in the Remake which is a real shame.

I'm surprised by the amount of shots of future scenes like Nibelheim and the reactor there, the end of the game, and hints at Aerith.

I like the extension of the use of the Sephiroth clones as puppets, from what I recall that only was used in the original once you'd left Midgar.

I'm not happy with the scenes removed at the Honey Bee Inn with Cloud and the creepy music plays, and when Cloud gets on the bike at Shinra rather than waltzing in already on it.

I'm hoping they bring back all the scary elements because so far it's completely missing the scary factor that out the game on another level of creepy.

29 March 2020

Star Trek Voyager - Favourite Episodes

Top favourites:
Good episodes:

  • S02E21 Deadlock (duplicate Voyager)
  • S06E04 Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy (Photonic canon)
  • S05E22 Someone to Watch Over Me (Doctor introduces
  • S04E14 Message in a Bottle (Mark 1 EMH meets the Mark 2)
  • S05E06 Timeless (Kim and Chakotay travel back to save Voyager)
  • S06E12 Blink of an Eye (Planet that evolves super fast)
  • S02E24 Tuvix (Neelix and Tuvok become one person)
  • S05E25 Equinox (Evil Voyager)
  • S04E26 Hope and Fear (Dauntless is a trap)
  • S03E25 Worst Case Scenario
  • S03E08 Future's End
  • S07E25 Endgame
  • S03E26 Scorpion
  • S04E23 Living Witness
  • S01 Eye of the Needle
  • S02 Dreadnaught
  • S05 Counterpoint
  • S03 The Thaw
  • S05 Bride of Chaotica

And some good moments:

By season:
  • S1, great
    • S01E01 was really off-putting, had many false starts getting into it because of that one.
  • S2, not a lot stood out for me
    • The Q return was very welcome
  • S3, back on form
  • ...

    Star Trek Next Generation - Favourite Episodes

    Not necessarily using episode titles... will update when I can.
    • Rascals
    • I, Borg
    • Unification
    • Return of Scotty
    • Data sentience
    • Picard kidnapped
    • Day in the life of data
    • The Traveler
    • Scientist who died for Lwaxana
    • The overtake (parasites)
    • Trapped in an asteroid
    • Disguise ship
    • Romulan dream team
    • Black guy builds enterprise
    • Klingon trade riker
    • Darmok & Jalaad
    • Picard flute
    • Picard borg
    • Up the long ladder, funny
    • Worf funny moments. Mr Woof.
    • The enemy
    • Kidnapped picard
    • Barclay clever
    • Remember Me
    • Space creature
    • Disaster
    • Data emulated boy
    • Next phase
    • The chase
    • Frame of mind
    • Thomas Riker
    • Descent

    24 March 2020


    Healthy is a big wishy-washy purely contextual-based term. In my opinion, only diet is healthy or unhealthy, no particular food or restaurant is healthy or not. Healthy is a trendline of "what recommended allowances count as part of a nutritious, varied and balanced diet?".

    For example:
    • Meeting AND not exceeding Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)s on all nutrition types
    • Avoiding known carcinogenic foods such as processed meats
    • Fruit and vegetables "5 a day"
    • Calorie-counting and watching Body Mass Index (BMI)
    • Self-determining RDAs for items that don't have them, such as antioxidants
    • Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for specific E numbers that have known effects such as E129 Allura Red AC which can cause hyperactivity.
    There is some conflicting advice:
    • 'Smaller, more regular meals'
    • 'Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper'
    • Maintain alkaline pH in mouth to prevent gingivitis / brushing teeth twice a day and leaving 30 mins before and after

    14 January 2020

    Things I wish I knew or understood growing up

    • It's very easy to be too modest about your achievements. If you've ever been the only person doing something at work, that makes you its owner. You're not 'a' system administrator. You're 'the' system administrator. Seeing it from this perspective was an instant confidence booster for me.
    • Don't go to interviews or promotion panels without ensuring your clothes are ironed. It seems a waste of time, but it's very easy for others to judge you on it. Those little details count.
    • Research the job and products/services of a company well before the interview.
    • All the endless, crazy thoughts and judgments you have as a kid about whether you should have a girlfriend/boyfriend, know what you're doing in life, having lots of friends, FOMO, etc., can get too much on top of you. I was lucky to have a Connexions advisor who put everything in perspective and explained I should ignore all that.
      • Focus just on what I want.
      • There's no rush to solve everything tomorrow. Let everything fall into place and come naturally to you.
    • Knowing your personality type can help explain many things about your behaviour. Use 16personalities. Also look at other things like autism, anxiety, depression, dyslexia, dyspraxia, discalculia, bipolar disorder etc.
    • Knowing your genetic traits and risks can give you further insight to your behaviour. I recommend 23andMe.
    • Try and listen to any bells. Your conscience may make you aware of emotions that you dismiss.
    • Try not to push people away; being introverted and cynical makes it difficult. Know the different between offence and banter.
    • It's very easy to be stubborn. Open your eyes to other views and listen.
    • Be prepared to be criticised.
    • Admit when you are wrong rather than invent lies.
    • Defence mechanisms - learn Valliant's categorisation and know when you're not being mature. These are also related to the seven deadly sins and virtues.
    • Jealousy - instead of being jealous of what your friends have, turn them into a 'reference'. Be proud that you're friends with them and that you can show them off for how cool they are. It's not a competition.
    • Don't wear your heart on your sleeve: do that and your heart will break too easily. Not that you shouldn't fall over in love/lust, but getting too emotionally involved can be creepy and overbearing. Try not to turn partners into projects, let them come to you.
    • HAIL (TED video)
      • H - Honesty: Being true - straight and clear.
      • A - Authenticity: Be yourself. [Standing in your own truth.]
      • I - Integrity: Be your word. [Doing what you say.]
      • L - Love: Wish them well.
    • Give yourself space; don't take on too much stress. You're allowed to say no.
    • Study and do homework early, don't leave it to the last minute as tempting as it is. Breaking things down to smaller chunks is the best approach. As soon as you see a problem as insurmountable, break it down again and again until you can do something right now.
    • It's okay to be humiliated or embarrassed. It will happen sooner or later. Try to see the fun side of it, and don't take yourself, or anything too seriously - take a pinch of salt.
    • When pressured on the spot, take a moment to breathe so you have a calm approach.
    • Use Reddit to find communities, as well as others like Meetup.
    • "Wear sunscreen".
    • Laugh.
    • Complement others. Be polite. Do good deeds and sacrifice a little effort to help others. It can be rewarding knowing you've helped someone else.
    • Put yourself in other's shoes: try to think how you feel in their situation. It's easy to show sympathy, but harder to have true empathy. Respect others regardless of their characteristics.
    • You are alright. You can stay.

    28 December 2019

    Worst housemate experience

    Once had a housemate who:

    • Washed the washing machine before washing her clothes
    • Found it unacceptable for you to remove her washed clothes from the machine and put them in a bag so that you could use it - even if it was hours before she would get home
    • Put a tarp down in her bedroom
    • Wrapped her kitchen cupboards in clingfilm on all sides
    • Took all of my kitchen utensils and crockery that I had left out to wash and threw them away in the bin without saying anything to anyone (probably counts as damage to personal property)
    • Had a Feng Shui mirror outside her door to reflect bad chi
    • Often left her door open and had once of those dangling drapes you walk through for your kitchen, for her bedroom
    • Spent hours on the phone shouting at her husband
    • Had long showers at 1am but didn't dry herself down, leaving the rest of the house floor soaking wet
    • Used the loo without flushing, leaving nice presents for all to see
    • Used the hallways for storing her suitcases and boxes, even though the contract said not to do this (and everyone else was sensible enough to follow this)

    12 November 2019

    Anti-cold ritual

    My anti-cold/flu ritual is:

    • Garlic bread (antioxidants), typically in the form of Domino's Garlic Pizza Bread (with a Hawaiian pizza and several Garlic & Herb dips, of course)
    • Lucozade (for energy)
    • Airwaves chewing gum
    • Trebor mints (stronger the better)
    • Smoothies especially blueberries (only a bit)
    • Vicks Vaporub (rub onto chest)
    • Lemsip (pill form rather than liquid)
    • Early bedtime
    • Hand wash regularly when outside
    • Tissues galore
    If it gets worse:
    • Indian food to clean out system
    • Chicken soup and bread and butter
    • Strepsils for sore throat

    9 September 2019

    RAM disk

    Source: geckoandfly

    Seeing as you can't actually download more RAM, to spare the life of your SSD, you can use AMD Radeon RAMdisk to share 4GB of RAM, for free, for:

    • browser temporary files such as Chrome - instructions on setting it up here
    • extracting ISOs, zips
    • setting the default Download folder for your browser (if you don't want to keep the files)
    • Spotify cache

    I don't recommend setting it for Windows temporary files as they can grow beyond 4GB. There are more types of cache recorded in CCleaner or BleachBit but as they aren't updated often/are harder to change, I don't recommend going further.


    Linux has an in-built optional RAM disk called /dev/shm, or shared memory. More detail and explanation can be found at Superuser.

    30 June 2019

    Recent Coming Out Stories

    It's so sad that LGBT+ people are still living in fear of revealing their sexuality. I'm inspired by @danielhowell, @AmazingPhil and @EugeneLeeYang for coming out recently. It's 2019 and I'm ashamed, confused and outraged that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are still present.


    I'm an introverted guy, was bullied at school, mildly attacked physically and mentally a few times, namecalled just for being shy and quiet, sexually harassed, been told I was a disappointment, and lost friends for good. I definitely had depression and suicidal moments when I was younger too, and never told anyone about it.

    My sexuality changed all the way from genuinely straight (until I was about 15) to bi through college, until now, where I say I'm basically gay. Not been serious with girls before, so don't feel I can classify myself truly as bi, even though I wouldn't rule it out.

    Coming out

    More than often I've ended up lying about being gay before, typically to people I don't know like the moving people, colleagues, or new friends. Simply because it's easier than coming out, and you don't really know what kind of reaction you'll get.

    I'm starting to see more now that people say "so have you got a girlfriend... or boyfriend, I'm not one to judge", and that eases my mind a lot that people are willing to ask and consider. I generally use many subtle ways to 'come out' to people, like wearing a certain LGBT-themed lanyard, telling them I'm going to certain events, am into certain types of music, have certain idols, or leave a tab or browser open, or allow others to see me chatting to other guys, or that I have Grindr installed! I once dated a guy who felt he had to tell every single person he met, as if it were an important part of his personality, in a vain and camp kind of way, and I wholly reject that.

    I never lie to anyone if asked and have always been comfortable being honest to people who do ask. But letting people know in a subtle way is an easy way to test someone's reaction, and get them guessing, until they're ready to talk about it upfront.


    To anyone who is anti-LGBT+, please, disregard all prejudices, stereotypes, individuals, and everything you know about sexuality. Put yourself in the shoes of someone else who is. Read and watch LGBT shows, films, artists, vloggers, and celebs. Give yourself a chance.


    Labels might be next to meaningless. Some make sense from a biological point of view, yes. But does it matter what gender or sexuality you are to anyone else? For finding a partner, it helps many, sure. But are we not more than reproductive machines?

    When you consider the grand scale of the universe, and how near infinitely large and long it will exist for, why is a person's sexuality or gender a concern? For all the problems we face as a species, the sexuality and gender of others should be your least concern.

    Queer is a term I never felt identified me before but I now understand it as an umbrella term for anyone who is not a well defined normal category, or simply different to most, or strange of themselves, it's actually an interesting idea.


    I am not religious because I do not think a deity will save or protect us. We are an accident. A special, wonderful, beautiful accident. And it's worth protecting all forms of life because of how rare it appears to be in the universe (even though aliens should be common - see the Fermi paradox). We are alone, and it's up to us to protect life.

    Religious beliefs shouldn't get in the way of others being who they are. People can't choose their sexuality just as over 450 other species can't. Sexuality is therefore natural. Using religion as a weapon is hurtful to others. Consider that science has discovered humans didn't come from 2 people. We all came from oil droplets that learned to duplicate themselves, maybe 4 billion years ago. Gender or sexuality had no meaning.

    It's important to reconcile the differences between the facts of science and what religion tells you is the truth. Truth is best found through evidence, and science has overwhelming evidence.

    Homophobia is senseless when you understand that sexuality is a fluid, unconscious and unbound mental property. We cannot choose it. We cannot stop it. It's not something we choose or created or learned from a book. Nothing in science tells us it is invalid in any way. It is simply part of nature itself. Mother nature has no agenda to spread. It should be as undisputed as the colour of the sky, the seasons, and evolution itself. It is as present in our biology and mind as are your favourite flavour of ice cream, band, or colour. Being gay, or being any other sexuality, is natural.

    Why do we need pride?

    A lot of people take offence to pride. I'm not here to offend. I'm here to educate.

    So much more is still to be done. Nearly one third of all countries criminalise homosexuality. Only 28 countries allow same sex marriage. Only 16 have no deferral on blood donation. LGBT people are still subjected to suffering and death. The world is changing but leaders are still homophobic. Do everything you can to help them understand.

    I made a useful and simple website with some key statistics that you can share with anyone who wants quick facts or just wanted to learn more. It's https://www.lgbtrights.co.uk
    Let me know your feedback and I'll do all I can to ensure the picture is as crystal clear as possible.

    Thanks to everyone who came before us and supports us already. With @stonewalluk riots 50th anniversary round the corner, now is a great time to remember everyone who sacrificed themselves or was killed or tortured for their sexuality. Rest in peace.

    My message to those in the closet

    To all those out there who are scared of coming out, I'm so sorry for you, but I promise there are so many others like you. Allow yourself to be you. Don't hold back any more. Be yourself and accept your thoughts. Allow your mind to open to wherever it leads you.

    You're never alone, I know how easy it is to convince yourself that you are, but there are so many people who love and care about you just for being you, the way you are. Don't feel you ever have to be a cog that fits into a corporate and social machine. You're a person, or a formless blob if you prefer, and that's all anyone needs to know. I'm so sorry the world has been so horrible and traumatising to you. Here's hoping we can build a better, more inclusive, open minded world.

    If you still feel alone or that you have no-one else to talk to, I will personally stand up for you, listen to you, call you, chat with you, or even meet with you, and hear what you have to say.

    To close

    I am filled with joy seeing individuals let their inner rainbows out. I am so happy that others can be happy. I respect you so much for sharing your stories with the world and sending that hopeful message: one day, maybe in our lifetime, equality will win for good.

    16 April 2019

    Password advice

    1. Use a password manager. You can make mini databases for both a personal and project stance. For example, KeePass, which is free, has an in-built password generator and can automatically enter your username and password into websites. There are mobile app versions as well for using your passwords on to go, without relying on cloud-based password managers, some of which have been breached before, such as LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password or Chrome Sync. You can find more alternatives here. Some antivirus programs have them built-in, but I'd personally recommend KeePass as it is entirely offline. Apps such as KeePassDroid can sync it with a file on the cloud.

    2. If you can't use a password manager, then make pass phrases instead of passwords. This XKCD article has a good example.

    3. Have I Been Pwned is a useful renowned website for letting you know if any data have been leaked. You can enter either your email or password, and it will do a search on the leaked data and let you know which accounts are vulnerable.