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It's Yet Another Sunday...

...and it's been yet another good week!

Been working like a mofo mostly. Went to an exclusive early screening for Wreck-It Ralph 2 on Wednesday (review coming up as soon as I catch up with those - posted another twelve this week), to a fancy restaurant on Monday (Borgmästarn), played some GTA VC on Android every night and this weekend I finally got this thing done. Half a year after the last update!

It's been on my mind for some time now, but various issues kept coming in the way. I won't delve into detail on that again - already posted a massive post about that on the thread which the link above links to - if for some reason you're interested in what that's all about.

You might be interested if you're a big fan of NG and have no idea what the hexalist is. Or if you're not a big fan of NG in which case you definitely should become one, and check out the hexalist as soon as you start wracking up stats. It's the ultimate list.

In site-related news I've fixed it so that I can use shy hyphenation without WordPress interfering, via this simple filter (add to functions.php if you want to use it): add_shortcode('shy', 'my_shy_shortcode'); function my_shy_shortcode($atts) {return '­';}

...when that's in there you just need to enter [shy] in a post, and there you go! I'm plotting to use this for more similar time-saving things, like non-breaking spaces and line breaks. At least.

I added in a nifty little comment edit plugin last week too, so anyone who posts - account or no, has five minutes to fix potential comment errors... or delete their comment entirely should they very quickly regret ever posting it. Since we're GDPR compliant anyone can send in a request for such things anyway, though. JSYK. This is starting to sound like a promo post. Just want to let y'all know: things be changing around here! As in: improving!

I've also been learning how to make weapons in prisons, because why not right? You never know. And prison culture's interesting.

Next week it'll be off to Östersund for a long weekend, to visit my brother and his family, maybe have some both embarrassing and good times learning basic ski techniques I should have learned some twenty years ago like everyone else who lived where there was snow did and... well, having a good time. I'll be going by train, and back by plane, straight to work, and then off to Hungary a few days later.

Was feeling kind of stressed out a few days ago, but I''m calm right now... hope it's not one of those before-the-storm things. Travel's always a double-edged edge that way. For me, at least. It's great once you've gone somewhere, but just way too much preparation - mental and otherwise - before each trip. Surely that'll all fade away with time though? And I grew up abroad. I should be used to that life. Will be living like a globetrotter a little while there's still some winter darkness to stay distracted from (speaking of that though: we've got snow now: it's awesome), and hopefully come back more focused than ever; rich with experiences from the faraway world! Err... neighboring countries. Exciting times though.

May not have time to post next weekend but I'll see y'all around. A few more reviews should be up soon too.

The Burning Bus

I dreamt that the bus caught on fire.

My family and I were on one from the airport, though I'm not sure where we'd been, and in one particularly tight curve of the road the side mirror of the bus brushed against some dry grass, and suddenly the back of the mirror was ablaze!

We must have been in the UK, because the bus driver was sitting close enough to start swatting the mirror with a piece of cloth - the right mirror, and it didn't look like the tropics. He kept driving at the same time, trying to kill the fire by wind, too, even if that didn't seem to work at all.

In my mind I thought about how fire feeds on oxygen, and wondered if the fire wouldn't burn slower if we stopped... but we were all scared of slowing down too, because for some reason the bus was highly flammable, and it felt like if we did the fire would engulf the whole bus instantly. Even if it was just the mirror on fire. Separate from the main body of the vehicle.

Up until now we had been driving on country roads, far from the hustle and bustle of city traffic, but suddenly there were other cars on the road, an intersection was coming up and the city streets panned out in front of us. My dad ran to the front, and while the bus driver focused on the driving my dad leaned further out the window and managed to swat the fire on the back side of the mirror to really extinguish all of it.

I sat and wondered about how a mirror could catch fire like that, if it was really possible. If the grass was dry enough maybe. If particles from it somehow stuck to the mirror. That and the extra friction...

Moments later we'd stopped, everything was good, and we were fetching our suitcases from the bus. They were locked in on some strange seat-like docking stations that rose from the floor when you pulled at your suitcase.

I picked the wrong one first, but it was my sisters so that was OK. She wasn't on the bus for some reason but we had her suitcase too. I was about to fetch my own right after but... that's when I woke up.

Just another one of those everyday crazy bus ride catching fire dreams.

Missal Of Silos

Missal Of Silos

One more reason not to get too deep into AI!

Courtesy of XKCD.

XKCD Way Back

Old Times

This goes back. Way back...

Kill Hitler

...but not as far back as this one.

Links here.

World Record Egg

World Record Egg

What is wrong with the world these days?!

Whiling In Tallinn/Nokia 3.1 (2018)

I didn't get that cold! And so we went to Tallinn, toured the old city for two days, tried some cool experimental vegan foods at Vegan Inspiratsioon, a delicious but excruciatingly expensive dinner at the somewhat renowned Cru, a quick spa session and two trips to the gym as well as a massive breakfast buffet at the Metropolitan Spa Hotel (great place but not the pillows) where we spent our one night, had some local Glögg in the town square (it tasted pretty much like our own local Glögg), and had our first and last stops at the modern Mall of Tallinn in search for cheap tea (found it), among other things, also in a couple other shopping districts, finally consuming a steamy seafood wok at the airport before a late plane home.

Not bad for a two day trip... and then I spent the weekend catching up: doing this, designing a logo, checking hotels and communicating and damn time just flies by too fast these days... I'm really not slacking. I think.

I took the trip as an opportunity to try out my new phone too, a Nokia 3.1 (last years model now) that I bought specifically for these upcoming trips. My old one's not too feisty these days. It doesn't do GPS too well, can't run the newest apps, takes time to load, and surf with, and is just no longer a reliable method of communication or other mobile necessities... which seem all the more important when you're traversing distant lands in search of places you've never been before.

Tallinn was pretty easy to get around though. At least after the first, somewhat disorienting night. It's surrounded by water, has a few pretty tall buildings and churches you can use to navigate, and some high ground you can go to for a better vantage point. Hard to get lost.

It was also a really nice place, way more modern than both Riga and Vilnius, yet with some older areas in stark contrast to the glossy skyscrapers and shiny metal facades of new.

Prices, however, weren't much lower than they are at home, but they do have cheap tea, and honey, and probably quite a few other things when you know what to look for.

Living costs are cheaper too, unless you happen to check in to a pretty expensive four star hotel with a luxury spa that's pretty much entirely empty because it's totally out of season with four saunas and an indoor pool. That was pretty cool. Not to mention their post-sauna cold shower.

Regarding my new phone, which I must mention is a huge upgrade over my last one... here's a quick review. First the differences, from old to new:

Samsung GT-S7560 (2013)

  • Android 4.0 (4.0.4 final)
  • 2G/3G (21 Mbit/s at most)
  • 0,3/5 MP cameras
  • 4 GB memory (16 external)
  • 768 MB RAM
  • 1 GHz single core
  • 1,500 mAh battery
Nokia 3.1 (2018)

  • Android 8.0 (8.1 now)
  • 2G/3G/4G (42 Mbit/s at most)
  • 8/13 MP cameras
  • 16 GB emory (32 external)
  • 2,048 MB RAM
  • 1,5 GHz octa core
  • 2,990 mAh battery

Add to that a screen upgrade from TN to IPS, 233 PPI to 310 PPI resolution density, a 4 to 5,2 inch screen (I prefer the first size, but it's hard to find a new that's similar... unless it's an iPhone), 118 to 138g (feel the weight of progress), Micro to Nano SIM (and dual SIM support!), plus a bunch of new protocols and nifty little features that came along for the ride.

The new one's also using the stock version of Android, which means less bloat, and more potential for continual upgrades. So far: I like it.

Pros:

  • It's fast!
  • Everything works!
  • I'm playing GTA VC on the highest settings no problem. Edit: Apparently I had to switch down the settings a bit after a while, and I have run into some strange save issues too, but that's probably/hope­fully more related to the game than the phone itself.
Cons:

  • The camera wasn't as good as I hoped, even if the resolution is. The color tone is cold, and images often turn out fuzzy if you don't give it time to focus, or take pictures in less than ideal lighting conditions (Samsung was better on all points but resolution).
  • Nokia apparently has a start-up sound you can't toggle in the settings, and it's loud! I've reached out to support about it (other people are pretty annoyed with it too).
  • GTA 3, for some reason, does not run well with this one. Incompatible GPU...?
  • More hardware eats more battery, so even with twice the mAh it doesn't last very long.
  • Some might say the lack of fingerprint scanner is an issue, but I've never had a phone with one so I'm not missing this bit... yet.

The memory also runs out quicker than I'd like it to, now that I'm installing somewhat heavier apps than I did on my last one. And games.

There is a way to use the SD card as internal storage, but I tried that first and it totally messed up the size quota, so I did a clean install and I'm keeping the SD card separate this time, hoping it'll still be possible to move over some apps or files there (it seems possible, but may require some third-party apps...).

On Android 4 this was easy. On the new one certain settings seem to have been slimmed away. I'm missing a few other useful detail-specific settings too, though there are a lot of new ones that'll definitely make life easier too. Screencaps, for one, is going to be incredibly handy. I've been living behind the times without that.

Regarding the OS: Android 4 felt like a much more streamlined and polished product overall, but it's possible Samsung added in some of their own bits and pieces to the version I used to make it better. There were generally a lot more options available, and interesting developer settings I can't find on the new one. I also miss the dark theme, which didn't just look cooler but also had the added benefit of: less battery use.

That'd definitely be useful now.

Other things I liked better with Android 4? The clean page transitions, the no-nonsense top menu (no need to double drag to open it fully), the voice recorder (was that a Samsung thing though?), the camera effects (ditto?), the color scheme on the calendar and notes (a more yellow/orange hue), the color tone on the calculator (more orange), the number pad being shown in full for the phone app - without extra clicks required, the more hard-drive-like way of browsing files, the built-in gallery, music and movie players even if I later replaced those with better alternatives anyway (maybe this was Samsung too?), custom email and Internet browsers and the order of the settings menu.

But most of all the style. The color scheme. I preferred it greatly over the new one, which seems more like an extension of Google itself than a mobile device optimized for such capacity.

Maybe this is the whole idea though. Standardization between services. Not only via their web-based apps but across devices, too.

It's a bit crazy how much Google there is these days... they do everything. From the hardware itself, to the software it runs, to all the services they rely on. Our search. Our browsing behavior. Our lives.

Though these deviations from my preferred design aesthetics, lack of (at least not easily accessible - if they exist) settings, and apps that might've been custom-tailored for my old phone are all small details. Fortunately I like Google (hesitantly; in fear of nefarious global domination schemes). I'm happy with the new, and in particular appreciate the additions they've made to the OS as well these last... five or so years, but if I get a chance (read: prices drop sufficiently), I'll probably get back to Samsung next time around. It'll still be Android, and though it might not be updated as long as I like it'll probably have all the features I'm missing right now, and most importantly a better camera.

For now I'm giving Nokia a chance, having some good times reminiscing with GTA VC on a smaller screen than I'm used to, and hoping they'll fix the start-up sound thing or I'll seriously... not be very happy with them.

It is a budget phone though, and the specs are amazing considering the price. The overall build quality is good, and as far as plain mobile-related tasks go it's more than satisfactory. I bought it on the end-of-the-year sales too, at a heavy discount.

I bought a new camera too, but haven't had much time to test that one yet. Alas, I thought I'd save some packing space by using my new phone as camera on this one trip, but next time I'ma bring my camera. Maybe some phones have, but this one certainly hasn't replaced it yet.

And that concludes my not-very-short-after-all new phone review.

It's been a good week; especially weekend! I didn't get to posting any new reviews, or recording the verse I wrote last weekend but didn't get time to record then either, but I have watched a few more movies, and written a couple more songs, and today we officially cheered out Christmas... and that's about it!

Time to rush off to bed, and onto the next one, and see you next time.

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