review, gadget

It’s been 5 months since I’ve gone to a metal show. The last one was Bloodstock Festival and Lamb of God was headlining that. The playlist on this show had no surprises (Just the way we like it). O2 Academy Brixton twitter account kindly tweeted the playlist:

Lamb of God Playlist

“Open up the dance floor!”

Apparently this was a sold out show. It was quite crowded and people went nuts the second LoG hit the stage. Normally there is a small area for moshpit in front of the stage right behind the first 2-3 rows or people. But from where I stood it looked like the half of the floor was a giant moshpit area. Check this short clip to get a sense of the atmosphere (sound quality is awful so make sure you don’t start it at full volume).

Notes

  • Number of girls seemed to be a lot more than a usual metal concert. Number of girls in the moshpit was definitely a lot more than a usual metal concert!
  • Guitarist Mark Morton didn’t take the stage. At the beginning of the show Randy introduced Paul Waggoner as his temporary replacement and explained Mark’s absence as “He had to attend to a family business and family always comes first in this band”
  • Beer prices were ridiculous (or maybe I should say tragic): £4.75 for a Carlsberg. I only had two. The feeling of being ripped off ruins the fun of it but mainly the long queues in the front of the bars were a huge turn off.

Lamb of God Venue

Lamb of God Image 1

Lamb of God Image 2

Lamb of God Image 3

Lamb of God Image 4

Lamb of God Image 5

Lamb of God Image 6

productivity

I’ll keep rambling about my opinions, observations and experiences about productivity. Here goes:

01. Don’t try to cut back sleep to gain time

We all fee like we need more time to accomplish things but sleep is not the right item for savings. I tried it in the past. Tried to get away with sleeping 3-4 hours every night. At first it felt like the days were longer but towards the end of the week I was feeling so tired that I couldn’t perform well during the day. So I was up for more hours but my productivity had reduced significantly. I strongly suggest to have a good night’s sleep around 6 – 8 hours.

02. Two pomodoros of reading a day makes you (feel) smarter

In my last post I talked a bit about the Pomodoro technique. I love using it to divide small tasks into short work units. The idea of spending two pomodoros for reading is similar to saving money in a piggy bank. It’s easy to use 50 minutes a day for reading no matter how busy your day is. You wouldn’t notice and it wouldn’t become a huge burden once you make it a habit. But over time it would amount to a bunch finished books that would be gathering dust on your desk otherwise (or iPad or Kindle or phablet or.. anyway, you get the point)

03. Review your processes often

Setting goals for the day and week is a good practice but to make it work you have to review the outcomes periodically. In the excellent book called 30 days of Getting Results, J.D.Meier names is as “Friday Reflection”. Every week the status of the tasks that were targeted to be completed must be reviewed and more importantly the process must be updated the following week based on lessons learned from the previous week.

04. Keep learning

Everyday we are wasting a tremendous amount of time doing chores, commuting etc. At this day and age we have access to so many different means of accessing technology. We have small computers in our podcasts that are almost always connected to Internet. It’s a great chance we have to make use of the idle time by watching a PluralSight video for example. There are similar online courses of course but it just happens to be my favourite with apps for all mobile platforms. Another way it listening to a podcast. There are a lot of podcasts about technology and development. A few of my favourites are:

  • .NET Rocks
  • Run As Radio
  • Hanselminutes
  • Yet Another Podcast by Jesse Liberty

I’m planning to compile a list of my favourite shows so I hope this list will look more comprehensive.

The reason I added this item is using these learning mechanisms help you keep sharp and on track. Generally it’s not possible to really learn something by just listening to it but the idea here is to keep an eye of the latest to research about it.

05. Don’t multitask!

Trying to do multiple things at the same time creates an illusion of going fast and accomplishing a lot but I don’t believe that’s the case. Of course I’m not talking about doing something meaningful along with a chore. Like as in #4, it’s perfectly acceptable to watch a technical video on your way to work. The type of multitasking I’m against is doing it while coding for example. My idea is divide such tasks into pomodoros, focus on one thing at a time and nothing else. This would improve the quality of that unit of work dramatically and will eventually lead to accomplishing more.

Resources

fitness, game

Yet another horrible term coined by inaptly fusion of two words! I was going to call dibs on it but a quick Google search showed other people used it before. Someone even registered the .com domain for it! Anyway, obviously the term is an abomination of words “Ingress” and “Exercise”.

What is Ingress

Ingress Logo

Ingress is an augmented reality game developed by Google (Well, actually by a company called Niantic Labs that is owned by Google). To play the game you need to install the free app on an Android device. (I saw iOS support is coming in 2014 here)

For me the beauty of this game is having exercise without even noticing it. Even having a desire to do it. Last Sunday, for example, I walked around at least 30 minutes hacking a bunch of portals. To an outsider I might have looked like I was enjoying a nice walk in the park but actually I was trying to keep to world free from the unreliable Shapers! I didn’t even notice I walked for that long.

The story

An alien race called Shapers use Portals to teleport to earth. There are two teams: The Resistance and The Enlightened. The resistance are opposed to Shapers’ whereas Enlightened believe they should be embraced.

The goal

The ultimate goal is to control as many portals as you can. You can create links between the portals your team controls and the triangular area between the portals forming the link is called “control field” and any player located inside this area is considered to be under your team’s control. They are called “mind units”. That’s essentially how the current control rates on the intel page is calculated. (As a proud Resistance agent it just saddened me to see we are down to 43% of global control)

The gameplay

Portals can be found anywhere. They can be controlled by either of the teams or they can be unclaimed. To claim a portal at least one resonator must be placed. To capture a portal controlled by the opponent team their resonators must be destroyed by firing XMP. You progress to higher levels by collecting AP (Action Point). After you start hacking the portals you will notice some items in your inventory.

Basic strategy

Okay here’s a guide to the absolute beginner: Just walk or run around and hack every portal you see. Don’t attack powerful enemy portals, you will just end up using all your weapons and energy. If you find unclaimed portals (the gray ones) jump on them instantly. You will gain a lot of APs by deploying resonators and linking them to other portals. Before attacking enemy portals check out the deployment and mod status. Once you have enough weapons in your arsenal and move up a few levels try to find fairly weak portals and zap the resonators. You can earn some sweet APs by creating a control field and don’t let enemy portals surround you because links cannot intersect and if they have a link going through your portals you cannot establish a link between them. So in that sense best defense is offense. Just pick your fights carefully.

Glossary

  • Portal: Places where Shapers can teleport to earth. The main goal is finding and hacking them.

  • Hacking: You hack the portals to get Action Points and add items to your inventory. You can hack any portal but you only get AP by hacking other people’s portals. You get more items by hacking your own portals.

  • Resonator: Every portal has 8 resonators. The resonators deplete over time and eventually the portal becomes unclaimed unless they are recharged. This helps your team to keep control of the portal for a longer period of time.

  • Portal Key: When you hack a portal you might get portal key (there is 15% chance you will). They are very important because you need them to create links between portals.

  • Mod: There are various mod items that let you upgrade a portal. Every portal have 4 mod slots. The mods are portal shields (to defends portals against XMP attacks), force amplifier (increases force of the portal), link amplifier (increases the portal link range), multi-hack (increases the number of times a player can hack a portal), heat sink (decreases the duration between hacks) and turret (increases the portal attack rate).

  • XMP Burster: Weapons to fire XMP on enemy portals. You can destroy resonators, links and control fields with them

  • Power Cube: Used to store XM so you can recharge your XM reserves.

Conclusion

It’s an enjoyable game for me but I can see myself getting bored of it pretty soon. But I have a great motivation to keep playing. It makes exercise just go by. I cannot wait for spring when I can start using it while running which would allow me to hack so many more portals that I can by walking.

Resources