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"
    • The technology though is obviously extremely dangerous and could be used for good or for evil. 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 tunnelling component for the Portal device.
    • It will clearly be portal related. 
      • Half Life 1 was about the resonance cascade being created at Black Mesa, being held open by the Nihilanth, who was then destroyed by Gordon.
      • In the interim, the Combine invaded Earth in 7 hours
      • HL2 was about Breen escaping Earth and going to the Combine overworld. Gordon destroyed the machinery supporting it.
      • Episode 1 was about overloading the reactor to send a message to the Combine world for reinforcements. They did successfully send a message but it caused the reactor to explode and destroy City 17.
      • Episode 2 was about the remnant portal turning into a superportal to allow the Combine through. The resistance stopped it by sending a rocket with a cancelling signal.
      • So Episode 3 will be the Combine's final attempt to do something portal-related. 
    • My theory based on the HL/Portal universe:
      • A superportal generated at the end of Portal 1 in GLaDOS' chamber and teleported her, Chell and parts of the chamber to the car park on the surface of the facility.
      • The Borealis was teleported sometime before the events of HL2:E2, and very likely before GLaDOS killed everyone before the start of Portal 1, with the new somehow getting to Black Mesa with an informant perhaps.
      • The entire Borealis and part of the dry dock was teleported to the arctic. This is somewhat similar to the behaviour of GlaDOS in Portal 1 - a big sizeable area of stuff was just teleported away.
      • So obviously this technology is a superportal-making device over large distances. 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.
      • The Combine obviously want to 
        • Get home - just disappear from Earth and leave forever
        • Bring reinforcements through by opening a massive portal again
        • Teleport the entire Earth to the Combine Overworld (most likely and most epic! Seems likely because we know the technology is too powerful, unpredictable and takes an unexpected amount of things with it, and it doesn't act a portal exactly - unclear)
      • So

        • 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.

5 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.