This post is dated back.
Twenty fifteen started with a blast. My girlfriend and I went to a concert of TAO where we experienced the martial arts of drumming. It was a really great show and we even managed to get some pictures and autographs afterwards.
I also finally managed to get my reference sheet for Blackbird done. After the artist I initially commissioned backed out and refunded me I decided to give Naira a chance at it. Since I had been waiting for over a year I was delighted when she accepted me on her waiting list. I hadn’t worked with her before, but I loved the details that she put into her art. The fur and eyes were something that I haven’t seen very often. Sure, for a reference sheet the art had to be a lot simpler and clearer. The finished project was a bit more expensive than what I had planned, but Naira was one of the most professional and charming artists I had the pleasure to work with. Not only did she keep me in the loop on what was happening and asked for details, but she also had a very nice and clean way of explaining things. The finished drawing was great. Like, REALLY great. Naira made sure to portray Blackbird more anatomically correct (well it’s still anthro, but even there you can aim for realism) and included everything I wished for. I can highly recommend her services to anyone that is looking for something more realistic and to those who prefer to work with a professional artist.
When Logitech announced their new MX Master mouse to launch in April I was excited. The predecessor MX Professional served me well for several years now. And since the Logitech support was even so nice to give me a 50% off coupon when I accidentally dropped mine (and destroyed the “back” button in the process) I pre ordered it as soon as the mouse was available. I have to say that Logitech once again managed to create a masterpiece (no pun intended). It fits perfectly into my hand, the Darkfield-laser works even on a glass table and you even can add three Bluetooth device to the mouse. For me the automatic scroll wheel is the most used function. Usually it “clicks” on every step, but if you spin it fast enough the break unlocks and you have a free rotation until it spins down again. A very nice and useful feature if you’re scrolling though long pages of code. The battery is also a point worth mentioning. I use my PC a lot. Like 8-10h a day when I have to work and even more on the weekends. The battery lasts for nearly a month before I have to recharge it. Compared to my old MX Professional (that I bought with me to work and use it there every day) it useable nearly four times as long – and that’s amazing. Recharging, as with its predecessor, is as simple as plugging in a micro USB cable into the front.
In May our two little devils celebrated their first birthday with us. As a gift we got them a huge ass scratch post that reaches from the bottom to the ceiling in our living room. I even had to move the lamp a bit (and install LED lighting in the process) to fit it in the desired place. It has two caves and tunnels, a ramp (with scratch-able material on top), several “tables” where the cats can lay down and observe the surroundings and a very comfy hammock. Both Rambo and Blacky loved it from day one and explored every bit of it. They take turns in the hammock and the caves and relax on it when we’re not playing with them.
In July my PC got damaged during a thunderstorm and I had to build a new one. Instead of replacing the broken parts (which I wasn’t sure would actually help in this case – because you can never be sure which parts are damaged by the surge) I decided to create one from scratch and only re-use the parts I knew were still fine. You can read more about the whole rig here.
So as you might know I play a bit League of Legends. Since I’m not very professional I am still stuck in Silver and that probably doesn’t change very soon. However, to show my girlfriend a bit about the game we decided to watch one of the World Championship games in Berlin together. Even tho the whole show was held in English and she needed a quick explanation who was playing against who and how the game in general worked I think it was a great experience for both of us. And we even snagged some merchandise which I got signed by Krepo, one of the casters. She even wanted to play it on her own but well… let’s not talk about the training level shall we? =D
When I built my new PC I wanted to make full use of the security features that would come with Windows 10, so I installed a Trusted Platform Module and used UEFI. However, since Windows 7 wasn’t fully compatible with the secure boot I had to use the CSM-Function of the UEFI BIOS. When I activated Windows 7 and later upgraded to Version 10 (since I didn’t want to buy a new Win10 license, obviously) it worked fine as long as I didn’t switch on secure boot. But since the BitLocker encryption only works WITH secure boot I was screwed. I tried the telephone activation of Windows and was put through to the technical support. Since the German support wasn’t available at 21:00 I had to talk to the international support. The first guy had a very heavy southern accent and I barely could understand him, but after I told him my problem I was put on through to another department. After some minutes waiting a nice Asian sounding lady picked up and tried to solve my activation issues. They even verified that the Windows 7 key I entered was correct and everything, but since they didn’t have a solution at hand we decided to talk the next day after she consulted some colleagues. So on the next day I was actually called back by her and she told me that there currently was no way of getting my Windows 7 license activated with enabled secure boot, but since that wasn’t my fault I was given a brand new Windows 10 Professional license for free. After some talk with her supervisor and a few minutes of copy and paste in the notepad (it’s really great that you can search for the English names of applications in the start menu) I had a fully activated Windows 10 Pro. A HUGE shout out to the international Microsoft support here. Not only did they solve my issue, but they also called me back during an agreed timeframe. Awesome.
While I was at it I also switched my email provider to Webhod. Apps4Rent isn’t bad or anything, but since their servers are located in the US the performance is mediocre at times. I would still recommend them to any friends from abroad, but from Europe or Germany it’s not the best connection available. Well Webhod is also a bit cheaper as well, and offers the same quality of service. So far I’m quite happy with it even tho the support takes a while to answer the tickets.
Since we didn’t get any tickets for the show I watched the League of Legends finals at the CinemaxX Dammtor (a quite large cinema chain). I have to admit it’s something different watching the whole thing on your 27″ screen, your 45″ TV or at a huge ass cinema wall. The show was great even tho I missed the live performance at the beginning (they scrapped that show this year for unknown reasons). As per my prediction SKT won without any big surprises, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
For Elizabeths Birthday in November we decided to go on a Holiday trip to the Tropical Islands resort near Berlin. The place was built in an unused air carrier hall and resembled some sort of tropical jungle with beaches and several pools. As soon as you enter you’re greeted with a very warm, very humid environment. This was not our first trip to Tropical Islands, but the first time that we stayed out of the main hall for the nights. We rented a small container-like house a 5 minute drive off the entrance since we were kinda late this year with our reservations. The home was surprisingly well done and comfortable. Sure, the equipment inside like the furniture, shelves and wardrobes were not of the highest quality, but you had an air conditioning system, a tv, two bathrooms and showers and even a place to cook and wash your dishes/clothes. Overall a place where you could totally live during your stay at the resort. We still only used it for sleeping at night this year round, but we might change that for the next stay. The staff was very friendly and helpful as we were used to and the food was excellent. They had opened up a new section with a large outdoor area and a wild water slide. You could choose between cold or heated water for the pools. I can really recommend this place if you’re looking for an “adventure” style of resort or a place where you can get all your wellness needs. Yes, it is a bit pricy, but I think it’s worth the cost.
Soo with no further ado, let’s get to games. This year we had one of the greatest games so far: The Witcher 3. The Polish studio CD Project RED created the next part of their award winning Series ‘The Witcher’ to continue the story of Geralt of Rivia and his companions. Yes you will see Ciri and Yennefer again. If you haven’t played it yet, Witcher 3 is pretty easy to step in, you don’t have to know everything that happened in the previous part since most things are explained in dialogue.
Following up we have the more-casual MOBA Heroes of the Storm from Blizzard. You don’t have to buy items, set talents/masteries or manage runes. All you have to do it decide between 2 or 3 skills every few level ups. Also experience is shared between all teammates. So no matter if you’re doing badly against your lane opponent you’re still not as far behind if you would be in other games. Otherwise it’s quite the same principle and it can be fully competitive like in other mobas.
Tomb Raider also continued the story of young Lara Croft with ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’. As usual you still have your crafting and gathering system as well as the parkour parts. The graphics is amazing. Like REALLY amazing. Story wise I can’t say much, since I haven’t finished it yet… but so far it was a wonderful journey with several surprising parts.
But speaking of surprises – Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was one hell of a ride. The twists during the story were quite shocking and really got me off guard. Loved it.