Friday, January 5, 2018

Minecraft (PC Version)

John Marine | 1/05/2018 10:23:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Minecraft is popular for a reason. Those bestowed with a PC that can run Java can play this highly-successful independent ("indie") game. I previously reviewed console Minecraft. Here, PC Minecraft gets the spotlight. A certain individual who contacted me reminded me of my old post on console Minecraft. This is my chance to review PC Minecraft after previously discussing console Minecraft. So welcome to a new post on "John's Blog Space!"






Minecraft (PC Version)


Minecraft
^ from: money.cnn.com - What adventures await you in the wild world of Minecraft?

Minecraft was born on May 6, 2009 by Team Mojang. Through its history, Minecraft has grown to be more than just a game. It has become a cultural phenomenon. There are Minecraft merchandise ranging from clothing to toys. There is even an entire channel on Pluto TV dedicated to Minecraft. Minecraft found its way onto more platforms ranging from mobile devices to console. Even if you have a Raspberry Pi, you can play Minecraft.

Minecraft was that little indie game that challenged the likes of AAA-type developers. While most gamers were into gritty first-person shooters and some various RPGs, Minecraft was a colorful game offering unique experiences. Because this game is considered a great game even for children to learn programming, Minecraft is one of few major games that can appeal to just about everyone. That is something you can not say about too many major games. Most major games loved by many are usually games rated at least (from the ESRB here in America) Teen.

Minecraft allows you to build your own worlds or try to survive in a world. The block-by-block approach made building worlds easily. Creative minds can create amazing structures and natural settings with a strong imagination. Many different people even developed their own Minecraft-inspired games in the future, including Survivalcraft, which I reviewed previously on "John's Blog Space."

Let's look at "Minecraft" as a concept. You can collect various resources through mining. Rather than collecting items and weapons, you can use those resources of yours to craft items rather than go to a store or something to get tools. These are game changers in trying to exist in a massive world. This is what gives Minecraft its appeal. It is the formula a lot of independent developers tried to match or better. The mod community has made many different mods to help expand Minecraft all the further. You can even gain many more resources to craft many more items.

To a lot of people, Minecraft "cheated" or "sold out" as an indie game when Minecraft was sold to Microsoft. Even still, Minecraft hasn't really lost its indie style and appeal. If anything, Minecraft probably lost its title as an indie game while not being spammed with advertisements or anything.


My Minecraft [PC] Story

On June 13, 2013, I bought a gift card good to play Minecraft on my PC. It never worked on my former PC. My former PC somehow just couldn't get Java to work. So when you can't get Java working, you can't play Minecraft. Since getting my current computer, I've played Minecraft quite a lot. I got a chance to try out a lot of features that makes the PC versions of Minecraft great. I even got to enjoy the music composed by C418 ("Sweden" is my favorite song). Minecraft is a constantly-evolving product. The game has seemed to adopt a lot of fantasy RPG elements over its time. No matter what, Minecraft captures the imagination like no other game.


Creative.

If you prefer creating a world and populating it with cities and other structures, then Creative is for you. I spend a lot of time in Creative Mode honestly. Many things can easily be created and destroyed easily through Creative Mode. And unless you build something that ultimately has you dropping out of the world you created, you can't die in Creative. Trust me- I once dug a hole too deep and fell out of the world I created. Some people have created all sorts of structures and cities. It really depends on your talent level. You can also populate Creative worlds with various entities. Everything from NPC Villagers to sheep to Creepers can populate various worlds. Something to keep in mind is that there are several biomes sort of hard-coded so that you can't make certain natural features in some realms. For example, an area designed to be desert land would still behave like desert land if you were to convert that desert into an icy biome. Imagine dust storms in an icy biome!


Survival.

Survival is exactly what it says. Instead of having infinite resources to build what you want and where you want, you are instead gathering loads of resources to try to survive as long as you can. The two most important tools in your Minecraft adventures are your Workbench and Furnace. The Workbench allows you to create more advanced items than what you can craft without a Workbench. The Furnace can be used to create certain useful items ranging from tools to cooking food. Decorative items can also be crafted using any combination of the Workbench or the Furnace. So be sure to have either or both items on hand through your Minecraft adventures.

You are not going to have access to your own house if you're starting out in real life. With Minecraft, you are not starting out with a lavish house. Your first home may simply be a little cave cave you made through the ground. Regardless, you need some place to dwell in before darkness settles. Dark areas and darkness are breeding grounds for monsters. If caught out in darkness, you will have to learn to fight against monsters. So make sure to craft a sword to battle monsters. You can make other weapons as well as armor to protect you. In later versions of Minecraft, you can craft potions to provide extra protection. You also need to stay fed. Eating certain foods will keep you fed and prevent your Hunger Points from going down.

Some people want a great challenge, so some Survival players go into Hardcore mode. So if you die in a Hardcore difficulty, you can't respawn, and the world you created will be of no further use. Hardcore is pretty much real life.


Atmosphere and Entities.

Minecraft was meant to be an endless, unlimited world. However, most games usually are defined by having a certain plot or mission. Those who felt Minecraft needed a storyline or some reason to continually play the game were met with two things- The End and the Ender Dragon. If you can defeat the Ender Dragon, you've accomplished something for sure. Later versions of Minecraft would give you the ability to craft a boss- the Wither.

You can not talk about Minecraft without talking about its most iconic entity- the Creeper. Creepers are slimy-looking green quadrupeds that are known for (lack of a better term) creeping up on you when you least expect them. The only notice you get of them is a hissing sound as they get close to you. Then when they get close enough to you, they explode at you. This can be annoying especially if you are trying to survive in areas where you can't immediately find your way out, such as deep in a cave. Rumor has it that the Creeper was developed by accident through coding. Still- fear the Creeper.


Neutrality and Gender.

Some aspects of Minecraft may be a bit questionable to people. There is a lot of neutrality that defines certain features of Minecraft.

For one, you may have been to or seen The Nether. What most people would consider The Nether is what we would call Hell. The neutrality even goes as far as gender neutrality. A lot of the material regarding entities was mostly meant to be genderless. There were people who wanted to see a female protagonist other than the male protagonist Steve. There was a character named Alex who was supposed to be that female character. There was even an attempt to make sound effects for the main character that was supposed to be a cross of a masculine voice and a feminine voice. It didn't pan out well. The NPC Villagers are not supposed to be either male or female. Yet still, NPC Villagers mate with each other and give birth to other NPC Villagers. Most people know of witches as females. Well, the Witches aren't really regarded as female either.


Modding Community.

I run bone stock (or "vanilla") Minecraft. So my Minecraft isn't weighed down with a bunch of mods. Skilled individuals can model and code items into Minecraft. In fact, a book I have on coding in Java has an entire chapter devoted to coding in Minecraft. I haven't yet attempted to code or model for Minecraft.

IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED: You can look up a number of websites featuring mods for Minecraft. One such site, however, was the one that brought me to blog about PC Minecraft after having liked my post on console Minecraft. This link will point you in the direction of some of the best mods to try out for PC Minecraft: Top 15+ Best Minecraft Mods 2018. I want to thank this individual for bringing this post to my attention.


With all of this said, you will be facing a lot of opposition while exploring a vast world in front of you. Explore like a boss!





Minecraft (PC Version): Final Thoughts


Anyone who wants to know what has made Minecraft a success need only play PC Minecraft. The limitless amount of enjoyment building content and trying to live have made Minecraft the highly successful game that it is today. It is still an indie title through and through even though it is now owned by Microsoft. Also, this game is very kid-friendly as there isn't much that is extremely violent or sensitive. The game has been criticized by some by being too colorful or too ugly. If you ask me, Minecraft is actually quite beautiful. It is beautiful in its own way. At least its blocky aesthetic and colorful nature is something different from all the gritty dystopia games most other people are in love with. It doesn't need to be some overrated first-person shooter or RPG just to win your respect. Even if you are trying to learn how to program, Minecraft is also good for that as well as modding it to your liking. All I have discussed is only a small sample size of what all you can do in Minecraft and with Minecraft. So what adventures will you take part in Minecraft?


Video Preview.

Even though Minecraft is MUCH more advanced today, here is a very old trailer showing you what is possible with Minecraft:


^ Official Minecraft Trailer


For More Information...

Begin your Minecraft adventures or learn more about Minecraft by going to minecraft.net. Visit the very helpful Minecraft Wikia for resources and help with Minecraft. Finally, I want to thank the individual who got me to blog about PC Minecraft to offer a special resource. You saw the link earlier, and here it is again: The 15+ Best Minecraft Mods 2018 - LyncConf.

These are only a few resources to get you started.





You may have read my post on console Minecraft. Now you know my thoughts on PC Minecraft. I'm sorry it took so long for me to try to focus on PC Minecraft. Anyhow... thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

My First Hospital Procedure

John Marine | 1/01/2018 09:21:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
November 2017 was not an easy month for me. The passing of my grandmother followed by going to the hospital for surgery to remove an abscess and its infection has thrown me for a loop. Missing home and friends was an experience that really tested my patience. I do apologize for not being able to produce much content between these times. So now, I decided to chronicle my time in the hospital and the various thoughts I have to share. This is a rather special post for "John's Blog Space." Thank you for visiting my blog and this blog post. Let's get started!

NOTE 1: This entire blog post chronicles certain moments between November 12, 2017 and about November 24, 2017.

NOTE 2: Some of the material featured in this blog post may not be pleasant to my audience. You are reading at your own risk.






My First Hospital Procedure


This sets up the story. It began at a time when my grandmother passed away on November 4, 2017. In preparing for funeral services, I had to do some clothes shopping. I began feeling funny the Thursday I went clothes shopping. The day after was my grandmother's funeral. I began to feel a bit more uncomfortable. I began to note my scrotum enlarged and felt some kind of funny feeling in my groin. It almost felt like I had a baseball dangling. Some guys have an enlarged scrotum in much worse ways. There was even a show by a guy whose enlarged scrotum was large and weighed about 130 lbs.! I went to get some examination from an emergency care clinic, and I was told to get an ultrasound. So we went to another emergency care clinic to where I got my ultrasound done. Turns out, I had a condition that required me to go to a hospital. I then was loaded up into the back of an ambulance to a hospital.

What happened next almost seemed like a comedy of errors. The ambulance people were unable to get some advice from some of the doctors and nurses about what room I am supposed to be in or how to get there. Once I finally did arrive into my hospital room, I ended up arriving in my hospital room at about 4:40 PM Central Time as I saw the second half of the Houston Texans play at the Los Angeles Rams on the TV. As I was feeling horrible that I needed hospital support, I began to feel depressed and worried this condition was this bad. However, this medical condition wasn't as bad as my Texans getting destroyed in the 2nd half by the Rams after trailing 9-7 at Halftime. As if a single emergency care clinic could only do so much to treat whatever condition I had. To be reminded that I am loved and that there was loving concern, my mother [finally] found the hospital I was in. Since I was basically going to be in the hospital for some time, I basically needed to get adjusted to time in the hospital- including being fed. Initially, it took some time before I eventually got to be part of some meal plan. I was put on a regular diet, so it was okay for me to have almost any food I wanted offered by the hospital. Most of the diet plans instituted are for people who can't eat solid foods, have diabetes, etc. It was going to be some long time to be away from home, so I had to get adjusted to being in a hospital room while also learning the channel lineup on the TV.

Then came Monday, November 13, 2017. For the first time I can remember in my life, I was away from home by being in a hospital room. This was a time when I would be examined to find out just what is going on with me. Most of the real action took place that Monday night. Even before then, my mother came up to the hospital to check on me. She was off due to bereavement in my grandmother's passing. She even got to watch some TV. I had to be mindful that I don't want my mother to miss one of her favorite shows- "Judge Judy." So I made sure I had it on FOX 26 here in Houston so she can see "Judge Judy." Usually 7:00 PM Central Time on Monday night usually means I'm watching pro wrestling. But on this Monday, I had to go get another ultrasound and some extra diagnostic work. After having my diagnostic work done, I was carted back into my hospital room. My brother would arrive at the hospital a bit later to see me and see how I was doing. I was later told that I had some kind of abscess in my groin that required surgery to remove. Not sure if it was some ingrown hair or something. Around 11:30 PM that Monday night, surgeons arrived to take me to the surgery section of the hospital to operate on my groin area. I was given the stuff to where I would be put to sleep and not feel as much pain during the surgery process. I was returned to my hospital room still in my hospital bed. The good thing was that the abscess was removed.

Now the process of post-surgery work was to begin along with all of the recovery work.




My First Hospital Procedure: Post-Operation


After experiencing surgery, I was basically drowning in antibiotics just to treat the infection this abscess produced after my surgery. I was still ordering meals just to say nourished, but I was really beginning to miss home. However, I couldn't be too depressed or homesick because I was in a place of healing. I was still mostly a mess regardless. This abscess triggered some kind of infection that led to me feeling so bad in my groin area and my scrotum enlarged. So this began a process of being strapped to an IV Unit and having to have antibiotics streamed into my body. I also had to have my other daily medicines to be taken care of in addition to my antibiotics. I have had high blood pressure, and I was even prescribed Pepcid AC to help in the healing process. This meant seeing the nurses poking needles into me just to get strapped in. If I wasn't getting accustomed to the different nurses already, I would be. Some of the different nurses and personnel mostly ranged from nurses and physicians to those who simply checked in to do inventory. That even included some housekeepers and those who wanted to do quick surveys.


The Healing Process.

At times after the surgery, I had to have dressing in my wound to try to recover. This usually meant having gauze with some kind of solution get stuffed into my wound to help aid in limiting the blood and to try to naturally recover. The nurses would come in to change my dressing and even change up the linens on my hospital bed. I even felt the pain as the dressing was changed. One point, changing the dressing felt like ripping up jeans by the seams. It hurt like crazy! It also doesn't help having so many hairs down there that just makes the pain feel worse.

I had to make sure that I had the IV Unit was disconnected if I had to use the bathroom or take a shower. At this point, it was all about trying to get this infection treated. My mother still would come to the hospital if she was able to each day. She even called the hospital room each morning and each evening. Anything to not feel like crap or feel alone helped me to feel better each day while I was in the hospital. My mother would even would console me and kiss me before she left my hospital room as I was trying to recover. All the while, I did get to enjoy a lot of shows I didn't usually get since my parents dropped Dish Network and went to Sling. Mostly, stuff like ESPN. There were moments where I was feeling awkward trying to get up. I had to be careful getting up and walking around. In addition to walking around, I had to wear these yellow socks that were good so that I didn't slip and slide trying to walk around. I was able to use the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I felt to bad trying to use the toilet at times. The nurses even warned me to be careful and take my time getting up out of my bed. At times, I even used a urinal for when I have to urinate just to be safe and not have to use the bathroom in my hospital room. I feared often times the dressing would come out or get wet as I was trying to use the toilet or the shower. Speaking of showering, I had some kind of plastic wrap around the IV unit needle to make sure that it doesn't get wet as I showered. I had to also be careful not to wash the groin area too much to where I could possibly spread the infection. Everything went pretty okay.


Missing Home and Its Comforts.

One other way I was missing home was because I was unable to sleep on my own comfortably without having being checked on my nurses. It would probably be about 11:00 PM trying to sleep, until having to be checked on at about 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM. At times, nurses would come in to check my vitals. So I would have some nurses draw blood from me at times. I even had my blood pressure checked at these vital times. A bit later in my hospitalization, I sometimes used a respirator to make sure my lungs were still functional and that I could breathe properly.

I waited until about 7:00 AM usually to order breakfast and even brush my teeth. Brushing my teeth meant using supplied toothpaste and brush, and I also used mouthwash. I usually would just watch the morning news and maybe some SportsCenter. The food I ordered for breakfast arrived mostly in at least 45 minutes. Unlike a lot of my days at home, I welcomed the sunlight into my hospital room. I also just got to see cars drive by looking out the window. The room service people were very kind to call me if I wanted to request meals now or for later. I mostly follow the recommended times of day to schedule my meal plan for each day. Usually, these were my times of requesting meals:

• BREAKFAST: around 7:00 AM
• LUNCH: around 11:30 AM or 12:30 PM
• DINNER: around 5:00 or thereafter

I was missing home while also wondering when this infection would finally die down. Instead, I was watching a lot of shows like Dish Nation, The Chew, Harry, and (I'm afraid to admit) Judge Judy. My mother still would come to the hospital if she could just to see me in the afternoons. Since I was in the hospital, it also meant I got to enjoy watching college football- which I am a big fan of. I almost felt a bit spoiled with all of this trying to make sure I remained entertained and not think so much about when I'm going to eventually be discharged. I sometimes had to have some kind of snack when the room service dining was done for the day. So it meant I had to have something to keep me fed to avoid being hungry. That something? Snickers bars. The moment I felt hungry at night, I would eat a Snickers bar to stay fed. Since Snickers talks about "you not being you when you're hungry," I began to admit Snickers really does fill you up just enough to justify this slogan.


Discharge.

Speaking of being discharged, I just wanted the moment to tell my mother that I'll be finally discharged. Just when I get my hopes up that I can return home, I get held up some extra time. There was one point where I was starting to feel depressed that I am being held up for longer rather than return home and get back to things like blogging and making content online. I even felt like I needed to tell my social media profiles that I have been in the hospital for at least a week.

One of the worst feelings was missing out on being at home with my family on Thanksgiving. So that meant I had to make my own Thanksgiving dinner. I went ahead and ordered as lunch: a roast turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, and a Sprite. I don't have cranberry sauce or anything. It was basically my Thanksgiving. Good news around Thanksgiving was that I was beginning to feel much better and didn't have to have antibiotics streamed into me so often. I went from injected antibiotics to oral antibiotics in my recovery. All the while I was still held up as it was mostly because of a high white blood cell count. That really was part of the reason why I stayed in the hospital for a number of days. I wouldn't get discharged until it went down.

Then on about November 24, 2017 (Black Friday of 2017); I got the word from physicians that I would be discharged on Black Friday. I immediately told my mother that I was ready to be discharged. I wouldn't leave the hospital until I got some extra medical supplies to help treat the wound in my right groin area where the surgery to my abscess took place. After being in a hospital bed for so long, I was finally taken into a wheelchair ready to go home, but not without getting some prescribed material from a pharmacy. Even though my hospital wardrobe was mostly medical gowns, my cute yellow socks, and sometimes some medical mesh underwear; it felt great to wear actual clothes again prior to my official discharge. I knew I could slowly return to going back to normal when I got into my mother's car and saw a Porsche Panamera right in front of me. I then started seeing more interesting cars going from the hospital to the pharmacy. Since I was a little hungry, I went to Burger King to get a chicken club sandwich. That would be my meal going home from the hospital.

I have felt a lot better returning home. Just had to make sure to get up every now and then and walk around just to stay fresh. I even checked all of my social media profiles and the various online communities I was a part of to let everyone know how I was doing. It also made me want to make some online stuff already since my time in the hospital. I actually planned on doing this blog post about my hospital procedure long ago, but I never completed it and released it until now.


Though it was a long time returning home, it felt good to return back to normal while also being free of this abscess and its infection. Now on to some stories from my time in the hospital not related to the surgery. That is the next section.




My First Hospital Procedure: Other Thoughts and Moments


This section of this blog post relates to certain non-hospital related material. Mostly thoughts and other moments. Here are some extra notes as well as some lighthearted material:

• The first thing I was thinking was that the confusion early on was just sad. My mother even felt disappointed that one of the nurses was writing something down on a napkin, mostly feeling a lack of professionalism.

• When I was watching the Houston Texans game at the Los Angeles Rams, the Texans were down 9-7. As the Texans were getting hammered by the Rams, I almost felt like the whole 2017 team needed more therapy than I needed. The 2017 NFL season was a lost cause for the Texans anyways with all the injuries. It was just painful to watch- despite myself being in pain before getting the surgery.

• The remote to the TV had an extra speaker to it so I could hear what I was watching in mono sound. It was cool to me because it meant I could specifically hear certain things and details than I would miss with stereo sound.

• I got to communicate with some of the hospital staff quite well. One of the cool ones was this guy who was a Star Wars fan as well as a gamer. We had some chats about gaming and stuff at one point. It is always great when you get to come across people who can relate to or get along with. Sadly, his nose was broken late in my time at the hospital. So I had to hope he would be alright. I also did my impression to him of the sound bit as sports commentator Joe Buck announced the Houston Astros winning the 2017 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Great guy.

• At one point, I joked to a housekeeper that I needed prayer to get this pain out of my system. What she did later surprised me and made me respect her- she said a prayer to me. We held hands while she provided this seemingly impromptu prayer to me. She was very nice. And so when she would come in to do housekeeping, it was great.

• Housekeeping wasn't entirely good though. There were about three times me and my mother would request the bathroom toilet get cleaned, and it finally was cleaned about a day later by a housekeeper.

• About three different times, I noted helicopters flying onto the helipad of the hospital to bring over patients in their hospital bed. I even was able to get out of my hospital bed to see one patient come into the hospital from the helicopter.

• Some of the nurses were helpful and encouraging. Not to say they all weren't though. There was a point where I was feeling depressed that I was being held over for longer than I was. One of those nurses was able to help me regain my happiness and calm down.

• Almost every nurse was helpful, but one seemed very confused. In order to draw blood while hooked into an IV unit, most of the work was done to my left arm. One nurse started drawing blood to my right arm and even to my right wrist. It felt even more awkward trying to rest and even move about with the IV unit drawing from my right arm as opposed to my left. I think she even was trying to tape up my groin wound strangely. I was... squeamish at best.

• I have been in the hospital for a total of 12 days. But really, since I was discharged after 4:40 PM on that Friday, it was *officially* 13 days I been in the hospital, and it was about 4:40 PM on a Sunday that I made it into my hospital room.

• One of the things I did before returning to my content producing online was devote my newest blog, "John's Life Space" in loving memory of my grandmother. That blog features my discussion of life issues and offer advice to help others. You can visit JLS later in this post if you are interested.


There is one more bit of lighthearted material I have to share, and warrants its own section. So go to the next section!




My First Hospital Procedure: Food


This requires its own section. As much I hated being cooped up in a hospital bed and being drenched in antibiotics to battle an infection, one thing was great for me being in the hospital- the food was bomb! I had to get all set up and everything for my first day. I was on a regular diet, so almost anything I ordered was fair game. There was a service called "At Your Request Room Service Dining" from a company called Sodexo, which I didn't know was a French company. People could request meals at different times of day. You could even have (for example) breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. I checked off the different food items I tried out while in the hospital. What you will see here is all the different food items I tried out. So here goes...

--- Breakfast Items ---
• Juices and Fruits:
apple juice, orange juice

• Morning Fare:
Cholesterol Free Scrambled Eggs, Buttermilk Pancakes, Buttermilk Biscuit and Country Gravy

• Create Your Own:
Breakfast Sandwich

• Beverages:
Sprite


--- Lunch-Dinner ---
• American Comforts:
Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken Breast, Macaroni and Cheese, Roast Turkey Breast, White Fish (choice of Salmon or White Fish)

• South of the Border
Grilled Quesadilla - Chicken

• Grill Favorites
Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich, Chicken Tenders

• From the Garden:
Side Salad - Creamy Cole Slaw

• Specialty Sandwich and Wraps
Spicy Ham and Swiss Flatbread Melt (delicious! Old World style flat breat filled with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, plum tomato, and spicy brown mustard. The "spicy" comes from this sandwich having jalepeños in it, which I found out one time I ordered it), Wraps: BLT, Grilled Chicken Caesar

• Accompaniments:
steamed broccoli, seasonal vegetables, cornbread stuffing, French fries, Macaroni and Cheese

• Desserts:
Baked apple crisp, Cookies: chocolate chip


--- Mindful by Sodexo ---
• Clear Liquid:
Juices: apple, Carbonated: Sprite

• Full Liquid:
Juices: Orange


Because I would be unable to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family back at home, I basically made my own Thanksgiving meal. So what I did was order roast turkey breast with some cornbread stuffing. I was mostly feeling better before eventually being discharged from the hospital the day after Thanksgiving. Some of the food and drink items were healthy choices. I didn't mark which ones were the healthy choices.

I admit I was a bit spoiled by being on a Regular Diet and trying out these various food and drink items. My mother even joked that the hospital food was making it tough for me to get discharged from the hospital! But what else do you expect when you got some good eats? The hospital food was bomb, mates! :D


Now with that lighthearted material out of the way, I learned some serious things about this experience in the hospital. That will be the final section of this blog post.




My First Hospital Procedure: Lessons Learned and Final Thoughts


There are some important takeaways from this experience.


Lesson Learned: I Am Loved.

Some time as I was able to return to being on social media, I received an overwhelming amount of comments from my Facebook friends and family. People noticed I haven't been around for some time since my time in the hospital. I was so pleased so many people commented to me in my return home. Prior to discussing my hospital experience, I received many comments when I mentioned my grandmother passing away. So many people offered their condolences to me in the wake of my grandmother passing away. Usually, the only real time I get so much comments from my Facebook friends is usually when it is my birthday. I was pleased that so many people missed me and that I was so respected.

I didn't need people to assure me that I mean something in their lives. However, it was nice to know that people do care about me and do regard me in such a positive light. Even people who usually don't react to my posts or communicate with me offered their love. You mean something to people. For me to get so many positive and heartwarming comments just made me feel special and loved. Again- I didn't need any proof that I am loved and that people actually read my stuff, but I was pleased to know my presence in this world is a great one and that I mean so much to various people.

One thing I do not take for granted is love among my family. Just the fact my mother would call me almost every morning and almost every evening while also coming up to the hospital shows I have a loving and supportive family. It also meant I never should feel alone or unloved regardless of what conditions I face. This was a reassuring feeling.


Lesson Learned: Psychology of Hospitalization.

Being cooped up in a hospital is a terrible feeling. You are away from home and others. Remember, though- the hospital is a place of healing. There are people who have injuries or certain medical conditions that prevent them from living life comfortably and free. So when you hear of people who have only so long to live, it becomes depressing because you know you have only so long to enjoy what life you have. Therefore, it is great when individuals do their part to help people in hospitals by offering happiness and hope.

I mentioned at one point feeling depressed that I was in the hospital for an extended period time. There was nothing I can do about it because I was still being taken care of to get back to normal health. I ended up feeling great I could return to doing what I love and living my life again instead of being attached to an IV unit or needing surgery to remove some abscess and treat its impending infection. If you have the chance to uplift the spirits of people in hospitals, do what you can to help people feel better.


Salutes I'd Like to Share.

I take nothing for granted. I want to say I am thankful to have a loving family whom are concerned with me. Most people have families and famiiy members who can't stand each other. I am thankful to have a loving and caring mother as well as love from my brother and some of my other family members. I am pleased so many people have shown concern for me as I was away for so long. Even people on Facebook who normally don't communicate with me shown their concern either when my grandmother passed away or when I was in the hospital for almost two weeks. Most of all, I want to thank all of the hospital personnel and all of the nurses and physicians who helped me to recover from this surgery and the horrible infection to my groin area.

I now feel mostly normal again. I couldn't have felt happier and healthier had it not been for the loving support of family and friends, and also for the nurses and physicians who helped me to feel better. I am eternally thankful and grateful for all of the loving support in getting my life back to normal.


Final Thoughts.

As terrible as it is to have had this infection, what had to be done had to be done so I could return to living life normally. While I had to deal with the passing of my grandmother, life happens. This all was part of a 2017 that meant a lot happening to me in my life- dental work to remove a tooth and a cyst, Hurricane Harvey, my grandmother's passing, and being hospitalized. This has been a rough 2017 to say the least. Yet still, I counted my blessings and remained positive. Getting love and respect from my family and friends in trying times is enough to encourage me to remain strong and keep doing what I love. And for that, I am truly grateful.





That is the conclusion of this blog post. I say this often to my sincere and loyal audience, but I really mean it here:

Thank all of you for your loving support. I love all of you.

And also thank you for reading this blog post! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Second Life

John Marine | 12/13/2017 01:38:00 AM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
@SecondLife is a very popular virtual world. I joined #SecondLife to see what I can do in activities and in assets. SL is not exactly a game- it is a world outside of the real world where you can do almost anything. You are free to be you with all kinds of goods and activities to engage yourself with. You can engage in real-life experiences you may never get to experience in real life. You can dress yourself up in literally millions of clothing and avatar options. Besides entertainment, it is offered as a promotional tool, an educational tool, and much more. This blog post offers my own sort of look at Second Life.






Second Life at a Glance


Get to know Second Life.

Second Life Linden Labs
^ from: (Twitter) - Second Life- where you can live in your own world but also exist in the most popular and successful virtual world. It is no game, no social media platform, and no massively multiplayer realm.

Second Life (or SL for short) was created in 2003 by Linden Labs, based in San Francisco, California, USA. It has been developed extensively over the years as it remains one of the best online simulations of any kind. A way to think of Second Life is kind of like "The Sims," only more realistic and not as lighthearted. You can engage in activities and live lives outside of the real world in Second Life. So to say Second Life is a "game" is pretty much untrue. Second Life allows you to live a life outside of the real world. You even can express yourself in many ways you probably would not or could not do in real life. Various promotional content is offered here also. You can be part of causes and even gain an education from material offered here. People use Second Life for much more than entertainment.


Living in Second Life.

As I mentioned before, Second Life is not a game. It isn't even a social networking medium. It is instead executed literally as a world outside of our own. It is not a game because there are no goals or storyline. You aren't on Second Life to defeat a monster or save the world from disaster. You are instead in to live and interact with the world. There are even events that take place on certain days at certain times of day. As the name suggests, you are living a second life outside of the one we all live in.

Not every location in Second Life is a fun destination. People actually use Second Life for educational purposes as well. Some places have educational content you can access. I even once visited a location that was this lavish museum including beautifully-modeled 3D items and fabulous artwork. A lot of places can be quite intensive on the 3D modeling front. So you may need some places to keep loading to see them in all of their detail.

You can join Groups and even find work. You can even seek friends and love in Second Life. There is so much to do and many ways to interact with others. So take full advantage of these things and have an awesome time in Second Life!


Maturity.

Where you can go and what you can do depends on your Maturity settings. Most people usually have their Second Life set at General (G) or even General and Moderate (M). Some people have their Maturity settings at General (G), Moderate (M), and Adult (A). You need to be 18 years of age or older to access Adult content. Being at GMA will likely give you all there is to Second Life to access. Be warned that a lot of content may not be suitable for all audiences. And even some of the General or Moderate material may not be completely wholesome to all audiences. Visit carefully.


Property.

You do not have to be a vagabond in Second Life. With enough currency, you can be able to own land or rent land. Rates for land or houses vary based on the location. If you are a Second Life Premium member, you can get perks such as your own house for not a whole lot of money. But for the rest of us, you're best served trying to find property to rent if you want your own pad in Second Life. Such locations have payment rates for weeks. Make sure you have enough L$ to pay the landlord... or you may have to find a new place to call your own!


Currency.

The currency of Second Life is Linden Dollars (L$). It is needed to access some services and purchase some goods in Second Life. You can earn L$ by taking part in certain games and activities in Second Life. Alternatively, you can pay others in L$ or receive L$ from users- just like you can give and receive money in PayPal. Some places take donations of L$. You can voluntarily donate to places in L$ through certain amounts specified or from how much you want to donate. Donations are always appreciated, but just like with my own work, are completely voluntary (meaning you don't have to do it if you don't want to).


Events.

Events in Second Life happen every day, all the time. These range from entertainment activities, to educational classes, to seminars given at certain times. Get involved with the events if you get a chance. Some events may require certain things of you. For example, some locations and events may require you to wear formal clothing for your avatar. You may also have to be of a certain age to participate in certain locations.


Modding.

Material made for Second Life is all created by devoted and talented users worldwide. Making textures and meshes for all kinds of objects and places is what makes Second Life amazing. Most of your favorite 2D and 3D programs will serve you well in producing content for Second Life. In fact, I have developed interest in making Second Life material.

You can look up many different tutorials on YouTube as well as on Second Life's Wiki page.


Rules.

Just like in real life, there are various rules to make sure you don't step out of line. Many environments have a zero tolerance policy regarding various forms of violence. Second Life has weapons you can equip your avatar with. Many places also have zero tolerance regarding heckling and bullying people on Second Life. Besides violence, a number of locations also have rules regarding wearing clothes. Nudity is disallowed in a some zones and in some locations. Your account can be suspended or terminated if you get reported.


Questioning Virtual Worlds?

Many people would question why we have a virtual world and why would there be so much attention to detail for such a realm? Well, Second Life isn't much more a virtual world as any other virtual world for any game or other sort of interactive media. Second Life is as much as medium of expression as the real world.


Can your computer handle Second Life? Make sure your computer meets the general requirements before playing. You otherwise may not be able to properly participate in the many different activities in the program. Allow me to offer some thoughts now on Second Life. My first impressions are coming up next...




Second Life: First Impressions


Here is a section where I explain some of my original thoughts on Second Life.

The first thing to hit me about Second Life is not so much this virtual world, but how the various areas are implemented. You nearly swear you are in a sophisticated browser instead of being part of some pre-made world. Places you visit seem more like 3D websites rather than some pre-made world. To that point, you note some locations have items such as files you can access or embedded videos you can watch. In fact, when you visit the Social Island (mostly the main hub of Second Life), you will find yourself seeing different embedded YouTube videos that you can access for more help on items. You can actually use these embedded videos and not have to worry about using a separate browser or anything. Second Life does have its own internal browser for things like the Marketplace and for searching for anything within Second Life. So you don't need to have another browser open, unless you want to have one open to look up certain things about Second Life.

Prior to Second Life, the only real environment similar to SL that I have engaged in was PlayStation Home on the PlayStation 3. I had a terrible time meeting new people, and I didn't exactly enjoy customizing many things in that program. PS Home even was slow to access often times. So when I did Second Life, it was a much better experience than almost anything I did on PS Home.

Now on to a few more impressions and thoughts.




My Second Life Experience So Far


Here are my own experiences so far.


Avatars and Outfits.

I mostly have enjoyed dressing up avatars in Second Life. I have an avatar with three different outfits going by name:

Male - a male model I've created.
I started off with a male model in Second Life. As usual, I try to make someone who is a representation of myself along with an idea of my own personality.

Female - a female model I've created.
I am essentially the same way with my female model, only I try to express feminine style as I see fit. So to this end, I try to dress up my female outfit with my own fashion cues and thoughts.

Androgynous (later called "Genderless") - a model with masculine and feminine features, but is technically genderless.
I feel this is perhaps the best platform to express fashion style. Androgyny is either masculine with feminine touches or feminine with masculine touches. I try to find a delicate balance between feminine style and masculine charm. Let's face it- there is a unique appeal to a male with feminine charm. So I emphasize feminine looks while still having somewhat of masculine charm. There are a lot more feminine touches to this outfit but with some kind of reminder this is a male model. So honestly, this outfit can either be seen as a combination of masculine and feminine, or just simply not supposed to be either completely male or female.

Experimental (also called "Sandbox") - a test model for trying various clothing and model combinations.
If I want to make complete avatars or sample clothing options, I will use my Experimental character to try out these concepts. I have interests in designing clothes and other items in Second Life. I will therefore use this model to test out different items.


Shopping.

I am cheap, so I try to take advantage of free goods. The first freebies I came across were with the New Resident Island. Just some mere basics were enough to get me going. I eventually learned how to buy clothing and put them on. Later, I became more adept at it and tried coming up with clothing combinations.

I had used a female avatar in Second Life. What I did was use the Female Dressing Room. That was until some Moderator directed me to the Androgynous Dressing Room. I now use that dressing room like my home or for dressing and undressing my avatars. Since I am clearly male and using a feminine avatar, I could possibly have been reported according to that Moderator.

You can purchase items even if they are offered for free. If an item is NOT for free, you will need to gain credits. The currency in Second Life is Linden Dollars (L$). You will need to gain L$ either by earning money in Second Life or buying some with your own money. To know how much Linden Dollars you want to get, you will need to go to Second Life's website.


Chatting.

I haven't done any voice chatting, but I have done regular chatting. Most of whom I've chatted with are mostly newcomer-friendly persons. It has been a very nice experience so far. Haven't yet dealt with any horrible people yet. One person I chatted with even paid me L$ when I mentioned I didn't have enough L$ to upload meshes (uploading meshes into Second Life costs 10 L$)! It was an unexpected, yet appreciated thing!


Fashion.

Second Life has a whole lot of options available to you for dressing up your avatar. Most clothing options involve setting up bases and alphas before applying meshes. Most items are usually on pictures or in some kind of 3D display. You go up to something and either buy it immediately, or you right-click on it and click on "Buy."

I have interest in developing items for Second Life. Needless to say, while I do follow feminine fashion a lot, there seems to be a whole lot of not-so-wholesome feminine fashions. Almost as if designers emphasize super-sexy and not so much chic or even "cute" fashions. I may want to try to change that.


Locations.

Be mindful that Second Life include places both of the entertaining variety and of the serious variety. Not every zone is a fun place, yet you are allowed to have fun and enjoy your time touring these virtual realms.

Most of where I have visited have mostly been places that offer freebies and helpful newcomer-friendly zones. The first big favorite of mine was New Resident Island. You can score some free items to dress up your avatar as well as learn more about Second Life. There were even some helpful individuals on hand to chat with. One of the first dangers of mine was that I had a feminine avatar, and I used the female dressing room. That was until one individual directed me to the Androgynous Dressing Room of New Resident Island. I since have used the Androgynous Dressing Room to dress up my avatar. I even Landmarked and Favorited it. It is sort of my home in Second Life, though I consider myself more a vagabond in Second Life.

Nikita Freebies is a massive zone featuring all kinds of free items. Not everything is free, though. Some items along the walls and not on the clear floors cost L$. You otherwise can find a whole lot of items for customization. Those even include complete avatars and avatar accessories (such as tattoos).

Not all places are pleasant, though. I once visited a Location in Second Life that was a memorial for transgenders who were killed or committed suicide. It was really sad to look at the different transgender types who were killed and remembered. There are a bunch of candles at this memorial site in that location. You could click on those candles to view small eulogies for fallen transgenders. It was just powerful. I also visited a locale in Second Life representing the Transgender Resource Center.

I mentioned there are more serious places you can access. These can be real-life representations of certain educational and promotional locales. One of those was when I visited a Sandbox (a place for testing meshes and other items) created by the University of Texas Health Services Center at Houston. I then visited other locales such as one Place featuring the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, USA; and I also visited one zone resembling the San Francisco Exploratorium. People actually use Second Life for conducting classes people attend. So take in these opportunities if you get a chance. I don't remember it well, but there was even some kind of airport locale that I visited from from Editor's Choice portal from the Social Island.


Recommendation: Use Firestorm!

The Second Life Viewer is good enough for all of your SL tasks. However, Firestorm works better and has more flexibility. Firestorm is an open-source launcher for Second Life and other similar open-world simulations. Only two issues I've endured with Firestorm- I sometimes access a chatting session by simply pressing any of the regular letter keys, and Firestorm can sometimes be slow to open and close (usually closing).

In case you are interested in Firestorm, learn more about it by visiting www.firestormviewer.org.


Now let me tell what I think about Second Life with these upcoming Final Thoughts.




Second Life: Final Thoughts


Second Life means so many tings to so many people. It is not a game, but a virtual world outside of our own. It allows you to express yourself in a realm where you otherwise may not be able to express yourself in reality. It allows you to experience things virtually you may not be able to experience in real life. While visiting places in SL can be great, it also is great for advertising and promotion. The events and happenings range from entertaining ones to educational ones. It is understandable to think of Second Life as a game. But in reality, it is NOT a game. While I never understood the expression "life imitating art," Second Life imitates life. Not everything in Second Life is about entertainment. People use Second Life for educational purposes and even to offer helpful resources for dealing with life issues. It is the most complete virtual world on the market. It is certainly possible to live another life when you try Second Life. I would recommend you try it out if I have convinced you about Second Life. And with some of the different additions to be made in the future, it will get even better.


Video Preview.

This video offers a basic overview of Second Life and what it has to offer. This is what I have discussed all post long:


^ Welcome to Second Life


For More Information...

Visit the official website of Second Life at www.secondlife.com for more information on Second Life. You can visit Second Life's Wiki page for help with modding for SL. And if you want a launcher for Second Life, I recommend Firestorm, which can be procured here: www.firestormviewer.org.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post.





That is it for this blog post about Second Life. Hopefully I have done enough to convince you about Second Life. If you love my blog(s), please Subscribe and Follow in whatever capacity. It would mean a whole lot to me. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

John's Corner - November 2017 Updates

John Marine | 12/04/2017 10:30:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
November 2017 has been rough for me. My grandmother passed away, and I had to go to a hospital to remove some abscess removed followed by taking antibiotics to treat an infection. I made a new blog but also missed lots of time. Regardless, I am fine. I want to say I am sorry for not being so active this November blogging. I am also sorry I haven't come up with more new material to keep my blogging work relevant and active. While I an can not assure things will change with the snap of a finger, I do feel I can try to offer as much material as possible to make up for lost time. So therefore, get ready for more content as I make it available.

Oh, and welcome to "John's Corner!"
Johns Corner


About That New Blog...

If you haven't visited my new blog, it is called "John's Life Space." "John's Life Space" (or JLS) is a blog about life issues. These are issues relating to a variety of life issues. Among others- life, love, parenting, intimacy, motivation, LGBT matters, and more. Most of you may know I've used JLS to discuss life issues before. Now, though, I want to make a proper blog to help people with various issues. While not every issue discussed may be for all audiences, my hope is to provide a positive space to offer my own help people who may need support and help. "John's Life Space" is my sixth-ever blog I created on Blogger/Blogspot and is currently my fifth blog that I run. So I now run an insane five blogs at present!

On top of that, my "John's Life Space" blog is dedicated in loving memory of my grandmother.


Visit "John's Life Space" Today!

Want to visit my life issues blog? If so, johnslifespace.blogspot.com today!





I may explain further about what has happened in my life while also including more content in the future. Until then, thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Survivalcraft

John Marine | 9/21/2017 09:36:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Survivalcraft by @CandyRufusGames, to some, is another Minecraft clone. Minecraft established itself as a quality game. Developer Kaalus of Candy Rufus Games developed Survivalcraft to offer an experience equal to or better than Minecraft. But did this developer deliver, or is it just another game trying to jock Minecraft's swagger? I will offer my own thoughts with this blog post. Come along for the ride!

NOTE: This game review is based on my past experience with it on Android years ago.






Survivalcraft


Let me tell you about Survivalcraft.

Survivalcraft
^ from: www.amazon.com - Survivalcraft has that similar feel of a similarly-titled game, but is it better than... that game?

Survivalcraft is about what its title implies- survival and crafting. It was created by a developer named Kaalus of Candy Rufus Games. This developer has spent a good number of years and made several releases to make this game as amazing as it can be. Or at least... to the developer's liking.

You are off of a boat and set out to live as long as you can in a wild world. You can craft items and structures to build your own world. Or, you can try to survive for as long as you can with various items. Either way, the goal is survival. You even can craft things such as clothes as part of the survival process. If you think this game is interesting, you should follow the blog from the developer's website documenting on various changes to the game. The experience can be as easy as you like... or as difficult as you like.

Survivalcraft takes many of the elements that made Minecraft successful and add its own touch to it and offer its own challenges. The Survivalcraft world is quite vibrant. You have great looking skies as well as some amazing weather effects. If you absolutely hate blocky-looking entities in the realm, know that there are many detailed, but low-polygon beings that roam the land, the skies, and the water. Your crafting includes tools. In addition, you can even craft electronic systems you could only dream of in Minecraft. So needless to say, you have a lot to look forward to and a lot to do that you may not want to put down Survivalcraft.

Survivalcraft is available on a variety of platforms: Andoid, iOS, Windows Phone, and even PC. Since I'm talking so much about Minecraft here...




Survivalcraft vs. Minecraft


Many people would probably eaasily say Survivalcraft is a better-looking Minecraft. Some people who played Minecraft Pocket Edition would say Survivalcraft is what Minecraft's mobile version should have been. Those who dislike the blocky aesthetic of Minecraft would say that Survivalcraft is a welcome change graphically. Many of the various animals as well as the player model are all done with realistic looking models (compared to the blocky Minecraft models). It's my own preference, but I think Survivalcraft's colors are rather bland compared to Minecraft.

Though both games mostly pertain to a similar set of goals, the two games are NOT copies of each other. The difference between Survivalcraft and Minecraft is almost like the difference between Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport- two similar style games with different personalities. Minecraft takes on more of a fantasy RPG feel. Survivalcraft takes on more of being at one in a living, breathing world than try to have any set storyline. There is even some gadgetry found in Survivalcraft that Minecraft's redstone systems can't better or match.

Both Minecraft and Survivalcraft offer different experiences while being very similar. So it is up to you to determine which is the better game. It is not my job to tell you which you should play over the other. That is up to you.




Survivalcraft: Final Thoughts


Survivalcraft from Candy Rufus Games is anything but a Minecraft clone. It isn't a rip-off of Minecraft. It is not a wannabe Minecraft. It is not trying to jock Minecraft's swagger. Survivalcraft is a Minecraft-style game that offers its own appeal and charm to what Minecraft started ages ago. Even if it falls short in a number of categories compared to Minecraft and lacks the name recognition, Survivalcraft is still a game to give a chance. The game remains as engaging and appealing even if it isn't completely blocky in aesthetics. You probably wish it was available on more platforms so more people can get to see what Survivalcraft brings to gaming, but it is otherwise not a bad game to play on whatever platform it is available and that you can play. Even when you can make your own impact apart from a more popular game, that alone is enough to warrant giving something a try. So if that describes you, by all means, go get Survivalcraft! Don't let the fact that this game lacks name recognition or appeal that Minecraft has. If you care anything about gaming and not always be about the biggest names, Survivalcraft is worth every bit of your time. At least try it out and see if you like it as much as or more than (the similar game).


An Additional Note...

There is a sequel to Survivalcraft called Survivalcraft 2. I have no experience with the sequel, but I may offer a review of that game if I somehow get a hold of Survivalcraft 2.


Video Preview.

I described the game all blog post long- now see it in action!


^ Survivalcraft


For More Information...

Learn more about this game from the developer's blog at kaalus.wordpress.com. You can visit that same site to download Survivalcraft for your device that is offered.





I hope you continue to enjoy my content and the range of topics I try to bring Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Freemium Gaming

John Marine | 9/20/2017 11:00:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Play premier games for free! That is... until you realize you may need to pay to be fully competitive or beat the game. Welcome to "freemium" games. These are free to play, but some coin "pay to win" to beat them. Customization and boosts in most games are also the norm with freemium games. How do I feel about such games on the market? You are about to find out in my blog post regarding freemium games.





Freemium Gaming at a Glance


Real Racing 3 freemium game
^ from: macworld.co.uk - Real Racing 3, which I reviewed in my "John's Race Space" blog, is an example of a "freemium" game. Shouldn't free games REMAIN free?

I recently reviewed a "freemium" game on my racing/driving game blog, "John's Race Space"- Real Racing 3. The concept of a freemium game is for gamers to play high-quality games wihout having to purchase extra material to enhance the experience. A lot of games can be completed without having to purchase anything. However, a lot of games may require your own money whether from your hard money or from digital money. A game that is free-to-play is free; but as the saying goes, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." The experience is never completely free. If your goal is to beat a game, and if doing so means having to purchase extra material, the free game isn't entirely FREE now, is it?

Games that are offered for free are inviting. Freemium games are there so that you don't feel like you have to download a free demo to play. In a way, freemium games are reminiscent of shareware games of the 1990s for PC. Only difference is that these free games feature the full game and not entirely bound to being a glorified trial.


Understanding Freemium Games: An Analogy.

Let me give you an analogy to explain the concept of freemium games. It would be like me offering you my blog to read with and interact with. If you wanted to access some of my unique content or some exclusive content, you would have to pay to access those services. This would mean that you would have to pay credits to view certain topics I post or to access certain material, though the majority of content is offered for free.


"Pay to Win."

People call it "pay to win" in which you have to spend money on a free game to really be competitive. These are for times where to beat the core game and all of its objectives, you need to purchase extra in-game material.


How Should Freemium Gaming Be Handled?

Is it possible for games to be completely free to where you can complete the game without needing to spend money for extra content or to gain the edge? I think a free game should remain free to where you don't need to purchase extra content just to clear the base game.

You have to look at games much like some of your favorite subscription services or something. You may have to pay a one-time fee to be able to enjoy certain services or features. You may need to pay a certain subscription to be able to enjoy the content you want to use and enjoy. As unfair as it is to have to pay for things that should be free, games and such are entities and businesses. People have to come up with some sort of way to make income or revenue for their work despite the fact they are offered for free. Most of the time, a lot of the in-app purchases are non-essential material and completely optional.

A case where a game can be free to play but have to be purchased to fully enjoy it and beat it, you have to look at the model provided from the OUYA and its lineup of games. A lot of games have in-app purchases to where you can unlock the full game to be able to play and complete the full game. Again- these are not ENTIRELY free; and to beat them, you will need to make purchases. Such games are pretty much glorified game trials, only not considered trials. Another example of a "glorified demo" would be a game like "Minecraft: Story Mode." You get the first episode free, but you have to pay for playing extra episodes.

A few times, some of the in-app purchases are not in-app purchases at all- some are mostly in case you want to donate to the developer(s). I think this is the safest and most appreciative aspect of implementing in-app purchases. You get a game for free and maybe want to show your support by offering a donation. To me, this is a case where "freemium" is a great thing. You aren't paying to access extra content or gain an advantage, but you are rather making in-app purchases to simply provide a donation. Almost like giving a tip after a meal at a restaurant. And again- it is completely optional. This is perhaps the smartest way to do in-app purchases without feeling like you wanting to rip people off. You allow loyal and respectful persons to donate so you can help the developer(s) out in making more content or maybe helping their financial needs.

Now it is time I offer some final thoughts in regards to freemium gaming.



Freemium Gaming: Final Thoughts


It doesn't seem fair to have a free game and feel compelled to buy things to be competitive or access certain features. It may sound greedy to have to pay things in a "free" game to stand the best chance, but there are two schools of thought here. Some tasks can be overly difficult in trying to unlock everything. Gaming- like most other creative works- is a business. We wish we can do everything for free, but there has to be some sort of way to seek benefits and profit from our work. The sad reality goes back to an earlier statement- "there is no such thing as a free lunch." To be really competitive, people would feel gypped into having to pay for elements in a game acquired for free. If the game is free to play, why not keep it free and not have to purchase things? I see it more as a business deal. A freemium game that is great is one that doesn't REQUIRE you to purchase extra material to enjoy it or to add more material. If you want to be smart, provide the best quality game and not charge people to gain extra material. Or if you want to be smart, offer as complete a game as possible and offer the option to donate to the developer(s) for future development or to help them live happier lives. Gaming is a business no matter how you look at it. That, sadly, includes free-to-play games that aren't entirely free if you want to be competitive. It is a sad gaming reality that makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of things.





Feel free to express your thoughts here or even respond to discussion questions like this:

What do you think about "freemium" gaming? What are your favorite "freemium" games?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Buses

John Marine | 9/15/2017 02:48:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Carry lots of people on land and on city streets or country roads. How do you do so? Of course- on a bus! You probably rode one to school as a kid. You probably went around town in one. This is a just-for-fun post about buses. I know I blogged about the Volkswagen SambaBus in the past, but this blog post is about commercial buses. This is also a post I had sitting on my hard drive long ago but never completed until now.

NOTE: While this blog post is a "Just for Fun" post, all material offered is for educational purposes.






Buses in General


From school buses to city buses, these vehicles are meant to carry around loads of people comfortably. Passengers range from students, civilians, tourists, music bands, sports teams, and more. There are many buses for many different applications. A lot of responsibility is required in carrying loads of people. Nobody wants a deranged or unattentive driver behind the wheel of a bus, let alone any other kind of commercial vehicle. You wouldn't want to bear the burden of putting multiple peoples' lives at stake with poor operation of a bus now, would you? Most buses usually go around town, but some even go cross-country. Usually Greyhound buses here in the United States are known for their long-distance bus route travel. Some people have unique looking buses as well as some buses unique to certain cultures and locations. Regardless, buses do a great job carrying and transporting people across any sort of distance.

Because buses can be a means of getting people safely across certain distances, one big advantage to bus riding is that you don't have to worry about wasting gas/petrol with your vehicle to go out and about. This blog post bears a little connection personally because my brother's biological father used to operate buses. My brother and I even had spent money on bus rides around Houston before my brother eventually got his first vehicle. Even if you have to pay to ride buses, at least you are doing somewhat a favor for most major cities by riding clean on a bus.

My time riding buses to and from school has taken me towards some shuttle buses and even some proper school buses. I knew I was going to possibly have friends of mine from my school be part of a bus route. Or maybe I would make friends with students who went to other schools. Either way, the school bus was quite the childhood memory for me. They are as much a part of my grade school past as anything.

Let's take a look at some pictures of buses. Please go to the next section.




Buses in Pictures


Here are a bunch of bus types in general. I'll try to feature as many as I can. I will try to find replacement images in case I can't use any of them (for reasons such as copyright).


School Buses.

school bus
^ from: myersequip.com - Time to go to school, kiddies!

A few times back in my grade school days, I missed the bus. Or the bus just didn't show up. At least you know what bus was coming when you saw something big and yellow driving through your neighborhood each weekday morning and each weekday afternoon. Manufacturers of school buses include (but are not limited to) Pioneer, Bluebird, Ford, and GMC among many others. Their job (obviously) is to carry school students to and from school. Usually there are certain bus routes that are followed so that individuals can safely go from a bus stop location to the bus.


Shuttle Buses.

shuttle bus
^ from: www.blogdenuevayork.es (best I could find) - Shuttle buses don't carry as many people, but they still are viable forms of transportation to get people to places for most places that aren't too far away.

Shuttle buses may not carry as many people as school buses or commercial buses, but shuttle buses still accomplish the task of getting across many people safely from place to place. The majority of shuttle buses usually can be seen carrying people from shuttle bus stations to airports. Some others safely take people from one place to another. A vast majority of shuttle buses are also customizable commercial vehicles. For example, you could have a Ford Transit or a Ford F-650 with a bus body attached to it to serve as a shuttle bus. They may also be commercial vans that serve as shuttle buses.

To be honest, I didn't even think about shuttle buses for this topic initially because I focused so much on bigger buses.


City Buses.

city bus
^ from: (YouTube) - Want to get around the city but don't have a car (or prefer walking)? Get on a city bus!

A number of major cities have their own bus lines. We have METRO here in Houston. These buses can even be driving advertisements with a number of promotions on them. Europe has some very stylish buses from the likes of AM General, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, SCANIA, MAN Truck and Bus, SETRA, and more. I am not sure how some of these European offerings would fare here in the United States, but these are some stylish buses that operate in Europe. Some city buses even allow access for handicapped access. Some cities have taken on initiatives to provide cleaner and more efficient buses for use. So some buses are powered by alternative fuels or are cleaner in emissions. Some city buses may even have perks such as Wi-Fi access and more. Some city buses are of decent length while certain others have an extended section attached to a bus to allow for more people to ride. Either way, their goal is to safely carry loads of people around town on roads and highways.


Charter Buses.

charter buses
^ from: www.hismajestycoach.com (best I could find) - Stylishly enjoy riding in style by riding in a charter bus.

Charter buses are almost the equivalent of riding in a passenger plane. These buses were designed to get people to places in style. What makes charter buses different is that they are very luxurious inside. Some even have things like televisions, Wi-Fi access, and more. Think of this more like first class bus riding. Charter buses can range from stylishly carrying people to even carrying around business and performers. They can go around town or even across the country.


Double-Decker Buses.

double decker bus
^ from: sciencehistorylover.wordpress.com - Need to carry around MANY more people? A double-decker bus might do the job.

If a city has loads of people or if many people want to get around town, a regular bus won't do. So go double-decker! Many people will immediately think of cities like London and Hong Kong (but especially London) in regards to double-decker buses. I've never been on or seen a double-decker bus in person, but I'm pretty sure that they do the job in carrying around loads more people and with not as short of length. Double decker buses handle about double the amount of passengers as an extended bus, but they are taller than very long buses.


Tour Buses.

tour buses
^ from: www.dayoutinlondon.com - Why not take a tour by taking a ride on a tour bus?

Tour buses are not only fun to be on, but also great for tourism. These tour buses offer a fun form of transportation for entertainment.


Promotional Buses.

promotional buses
^ from: rockbandaide.com - Some buses, such as this one, are decked out in unique livery mostly for promotion or for certain music groups, businesses, and the like.


So you now have a look at buses. I may feature more content based on this post's popularity or if I want to contribute more to this topic.




Bonus Videos!


Because I love you people, how about some bonus material? I found for you some bus videos! Enjoy the following:


I actually tried to find a decent school bus video, but considering the average audience of my blog, I was unable to find a decent one. So I'll leave it up to you to find a school bus video on YouTube if you are interested: "school bus" search results on YouTube.


I also tried to find a basic video featuring shuttle buses, but the only ones I could come across are conversions of shuttle buses. However, I did find THIS video which should interest you in regards to shuttle buses:

^ Riding the Parking Spot 2 shuttle bus to Houston Hobby Airport

Time I share with you some city buses here. Dome on now- did you REALLY think I would neglect my hometown Houston-Galveston area people for this topic?

^ Houston Buses HD


^ Marathon Coach Custom Coach #1247 Prevost H3-45 Double Slide


If you want to try your hand at bus simulators, here is one for you, a trailer for a bus simulator called called Bus Simulator 17:

^ Bus Simulator 17 - Trailer (Android & iOS)


Don't ever say I never did anything for you all! :)




Bus Manufacturers


These are various manufacturers of buses. To visit their official websites to their commercial buses, you are free to take a look at these sites. They also are mostly the global hub for each link. So if you want to visit a link for your certain country or region, find them within the many featured locations from these global sites. The links all point towards commercial vehicles. Again- all material provided for educational purposes:


AM General - Commercial
blue-bird
Freightliner - Buses
Thomas Built Buses
Proterra
GreenPower Bus
Electric Buses
Local Motors (makers of the olli autonomous shuttle bus)
Marcopolo
Volvo - Volvo Buses
Mercedes-Benz, also Daimler Buses
SCANIA
MAN Truck and Bus
SETRA
IVECO Bus
Navya
JBM Buses (they are NOT named after me, nor I did NOT make these buses!)


I may provide some more material in the future.





That's all for this one. Hope you enjoyed it!

What do you like most about buses? What are some of your bus memories? Are there some buses you maybe wish you could see in your city or your country?

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