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Weekend recap: I’m meeeelting… and Steam’s Summer Getaway Sale

Weekend recap time! One word: HOT.

I’m sure to a lot of people our highs of 35°C (95°F) after humidex would seem laughable, but remember that we have no AC and neither Liz or I handle heat (or general mugginess) very well. So, we spent the weekend hiding from the heat (and trying to fight a heat triggered headache in my case). We decided to put up the curtains that came with the flat (behind ours) to double up on the protection from the sun, which definitely helped. Our living room is finally dark, despite the sun shining directly in our windows for a long portion of the day. And wow, was it a hot sun…

On a positive note, it was so hot and we were so drained of energy that it led to a nice gaming weekend :). And game we did!
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Alcatel Y800 Mobile WiFi Review & Humble Bundle with Android 6 update

The Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wifi adapter available at EE. Image from EE's site

The Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wifi adapter available at EE.
Image from EE’s site

So, I’ve mentioned that I was getting an Alcatel Y800 Mobile WiFi adapter from EE (and said Liz had picked it up in my next post), so I thought I’d give it a short review.

Here it is: It’s great!

Okay… I should probably expand on that a bit. I’m really quite happy with it. Great connection quality pretty much all along my train journey between home and work (it drops down to 3G and 2G in 2 locations, but it really isn’t something I’d have noticed if I hadn’t been checking the device while I was going). I’ll admit that I haven’t done too much with it – there’s part of me that’s a little weary of reaching my data cap so I’ve been a little bit more cautious with it than I probably need to be, but I figure I’ll start cautiously and ramp up as I get a gauge of how long it’ll take me to reach 3GBs (and based on what I’ve seen so far, I can go nuts without concern).

As that last statement indicates, I’m on the 3GB plan for £15 a month. I can up my limit at any time should I choose to, or, after 1 year, I can drop it down to 1GB a month. If I hit my cap, the device simply stops (as opposed to letting me continue and charging me for over usage), which is quite nice – no need to constantly watch usage.

It’s light, small enough to put in your pocket, and has surprisingly long range – yesterday my wife and I were both connected to it while at the station. I decided to go to the far end of our platform to scan a portal in Ingress, and I was able to do so without Liz’s signal getting any weaker. It also has great transfer speeds (umm… I actually think it’s considerably faster than my home internet, tbh, but I have free, slower internet through work, that gets the job done, so I won’t complain).

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Gunpoint, New Humble Indie Bundle 8 games, and Cats!

Gunpoint Game

Gunpoint (image from Steam)

Yesterday was a happy gaming day:). Firstly, I decided to pick up a great little game on Steam: Gunpoint. Released earlier this week, this game is a 2D spy game. Each mission puts near a target building which contains one or more computers that you need to access to steal (or plant) information. From there, it’s up to you to decide how best to get through the level, scaling walls, throwing guards through walls, or hacking the various systems of the building to open a path for you.

Crosslink in action. Image from Gunpoint site

Crosslink in action. Image from Gunpoint site

This last point, hacking the systems, is the main force of this game. Using a ‘Crosslink’ gadget, you have the ability to rewire circuits within the game. Make a hand scanner overload a power jack (knocking out a guard standing in front of it), rewire a motion detector to call an elevator to distract guards, or even rewire a light switch to cause a guard’s gun to go off (normally while they’re behind another guard). This mechanic lets you have quite a few choices on how you want to complete the game.

Mysterious clients, twisty plot, and subtle (and not so subtle) humour. Image from Gunpoint site

Mysterious clients, twisty plot, and subtle (and not so subtle) humour. Image from Gunpoint site

While the game initially isn’t very long to get through (I got through a full play through last night in one sitting), there are multiple points where you could pick different conversation options which may lead to different missions. I’m really looking forward to going through it again to see the different options, as well as trying to get an A+ rating in the few missions that I didn’t manage in my first play through. Add Steam achievements to that (I’m a bit of an achievement whore…) and a level editor and you end up with a game that will keep you busy for quite some time, and all for £6.99 (£6.29 at the time of writing this thanks to a Steam sale). It’s definitely worth checking out. Great game!

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Weekend Recap: Cineworld and more Humble Indie Bundle

All-in-all, I had a great weekend. The weather was beautiful, Liz and I were in rather good health and spirits (the morale kind, not the beverage kind 😉 ), saved a bunch of money, played a lot of games, and had cake (no lie)! What more could one ask for?

Cineworld LogoI have to admit that the ‘saved a bunch of money’ is actually just a positive way of looking at a negative experience. As some of you may know, Cineworld has a VIP membership deal – pay £15 a month (locked in for a year, no cancellations or refunds for that first year except within the first 6 days and only if Cineworld agrees that you have cause, and more restrictions) and you can watch as many movies as you want for free, get 10% discount on food, and have access to special shows. Despite the terms and conditions, it sounds like a great deal. Go to 2 movies a month and you’ve profited from the card.

The only Cineworld within a reasonable travel time from our place is in Feltham. Since we both wanted to see Star Trek again, we decided to go in to Feltham, see what the cinema was like, and then maybe buy the passes (we’d actually planned on going to see Iron Man 3 which was a 10am show, but we ended up sleeping in so we changed our plans).

We got to the Cineworld and from the outside, it seemed nice enough – sharing a parking lot with several restaurants (Burger King, Pizza Hut & Chiquito), the cinema had quite a few screens (don’t remember how many, but it was in the high teens), a spacious, reasonably well-arranged lobby, and a large concession booth. It was also within a short walking distance of the train station. Seemed like a win, so we went to the VIP registration machine to buy our passes.

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Book club results, and burning things on a Friday!

Yesterday was our monthly book club meeting. As I’d mentioned earlier, the book for the month was Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence. It was a good discussion. It seems most of the group enjoyed the book, with a couple of them rushing out to read the next book in the series as soon as they were done reading the first. While I don’t know that I’ll be reading the remainder of the series, I did find that the book was mostly enjoyable, if somewhat brutal, bloody, and twisted.

After our discussion, we picked the books for the next 2 months, which I think will be in a more ‘comfortable’ area of writing. Next month’s book is Sci-fi:  Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of his novels before (I have a couple of them sitting on a shelf in at home but I haven’t yet gotten around to reading them), so I’m actually quite pleased about this pick. That being said, I just found out that this is the third novel in the Culture series, a series of 8 or 9 books. Hopefully having read the earlier books in the series isn’t hugely important to the story in this one. I guess we’ll find out later this month.

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