Enable the Windows 10 emoji picker

I’ve heard about the Emoji picker you can spawn by hitting Win Key + ; or Win Key + . but I was never able to see it until I tweaked the registry. It looks good and does what it’s supposed to.

This guide is about Windows 10 and was tested on build 1709.

Into the registry

Like always you can open the registry by hitting Win Key + R, this doesn’t change much.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Input\Settings and create a DWORD value called EnableExpressiveInputShellHotkey and set it to 1.

Run: regedit.exe

Source

This post was written after finding the Windows Central page about it.

I have unsubscribed from LinusTechTips

LinusTechTips is one of the channels I have the most followed out of my subscriptions over the years. I’ve been writing this post on and off since May 2017 and I have unsubscribed in April 2018.

I feel like this post is still relevant because it also shows what YouTube is becoming.

What I liked

I like the unboxing type videos that were going over hardware and benchmarks. The overclocking guides were nice and I always wished they would showcase some of the keyboard and mouse software that is actually part of the experience.

The content was genuine and didn’t seem all that forced (unlike pushing a Dyson sponsorship over a vlog).

There used to be something to get out of the content.

What I disliked

When doing review of keyboard and mice they always skipped the software that comes with it. It’s part of the experience too. They also don’t cover older hardware to see how it performs nowadays or make follow ups on gaming laptops…

Once the content is produced and uploaded they’re done, unless it’s a multi part video.

The silly faces do not make me feel like I’m a grown up too even though they were not as bad as the current ones.

Why I’m ending my subscription

It’s not what it was. It became pretty bad and that’s what happens when you expand. The clickbait is painful. The thumbnails are terrible. The video title could be randomly generated by and algorithm for all I care.

Toddlers made the thumbnails and wrote the titles

By looking at the thumbnails and the titles it’s really hard to know what it really is about:

  • Gaming with your FEET: what the name/brand of the device?
  • High School for GAMERS: where?
  • Hotel Built for Gamers – WHAT???: what and where again?
  • This Laptop Does EVERYTHING! Sorta.: which laptop?
  • Why is EVERYONE Buying the $200 Phone??: what phone?

The videos only aim to generate clicks, not content.

Clickbaiting Intensifies

Some call it sensationalist, I call it clickbait.

Name catching videos are necessary, right, everyone need to earn a living because food doesn’t grow on tables. But there are video titles that too far.

  1. A GAMING PC AS THIN AS A COIN!
  2. Triple your Battery Life for FREE! THIS METHOD REALLY WORKS!
  3. AMD RYZEN 5 AND 3 PERFORMANCE PREVIEW!
  4. We Stole Tampons from the Cashier-less Amazon Go
  5. Double your RAM – This Method Actually Works!

It sounds like a lie that a PC could be as thin as a coin. When I think of the thinness (or thickness) of a coin I don’t think about the diameter of one but about the actual side, edge or slice. When comparing thinness you take the thinnest part to compare to the other thinness part. The flat side of a coin isn’t the thinnest.

Triple your battery life by crippling your performance and experience! We could also desolder all the LEDs just in case and replace the electic fans with hand fan.

Already recommend while I just unsubscribed

Low Quality content

At first the quality was low. The idea was putting out new videos as quick as possible but we had informative content at least. That was during the NCIX time. Then LinusTechTips became a team and quality went up and the content was really good.

But now everything is going down the drain. Quality and informative content doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

  1. What Happens If You Delete System32?
  2. $30 MOTHERBOARD?! – Can it game?
  3. 5 BIZARRE Wearables;
  4. WTF?? A 3-Dimensional Keyboard??
  5. AMD LET ME BUILD THEIR NEW 80 VEGA SUPERCOMPUTER…

The 3D keyboard might be more damaging than anything else. The quality of the video is so bad that it doesn’t even feel serious anymore. We don’t need to have actors fake fainting/falling. The old B-roll was actually better.

Nitpicking

I don’t need to hear the sound of a data center, you can afford to do voiceovers now, not that it’s expensive or hard to integrate over moving pictures. I’d prefer high quality B-roll instead of bad and unnecessary acting.

Even an amateur would be able to stitch audio with Audacity and merge it with video by using ffmpeg.

The videos are also clearly aimed at the North American audience and the rest of world, in wich there’s Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, won’t be able to relate to the pricing or the imperial system. There’s no world besides America on YouTube most of the time I guess.

For the pricing excluding tax makes price seems so much cheaper, it’s deceptive but it’s not like they sell the hardware they review so… Whatever I guess?
And again they target a North American audience.

High quality content

Let’s give credit to the guy where he deserves it. Some of his recent content can be pretty interesting.

These kind of videos are hard to come by today.

YouTube problem

Monetizing videos is harder than ever. The adpocalypse hit hard and pushed YouTubers to seek alternate ways of earning money such as sponsorships and Patreon. On the surface it’s not a big deal for us viewers and the idea isn’t bad at all if it really pays out in the end and doesn’t end up worse that the preroll ads.

Sponsors are no longer funny, they’re the unfunny joke that keeps getting told over and over until someone decides to change their slogan (Squarespace for example). Some other sponsors are irrelevant to the content been watched and I’m genuinely impressed that a shampoo brand hasn’t sponsored anyone I watch yet.

For sponsors to appeal to their viewer they need to be relevant and unlike TV they must not be the same copy/pasted speech that everyone knows and that doesn’t actually differ much from one channel to the other.

Pushing Patreon or some other pay wall is not as bad but it can still be tiring to end a video and have 2 or 3 minutes where the names of the Patreon subscribers are being shown or read… This is a waste of bandwidth and artificially increases the length of videos (to trick the algorithm maybe).
This also feels a bit like shaming the non paying viewer.

Sadly I have no viable solution to this issue. Revenue is never secured in this kind of business.

Recommendation

There are a couple of channels that are genuinely good, don’t clickbait and produce content with substance, I will highlight more in details these in a later post. In the meantime I’ll just list them here:

Honorable mention to Level 1 Techs (Level 1 Linux) for Wendell’s Linux coverage and hardware (but I still don’t like their news coverage).

At the time of publishing, these YouTuber are light on sponsors and put forward their content before anything else. There’s much more passion coming out of what they do.

Conclusion

LinusTechTips is becoming really irrelevant outside of the benchmarking of new hardware and new hardware isn’t released that often.

The videos are boring, clickbaity, irrelevant to my interest and full of sponsors that are irrelevant.

Just to be clear I’m not attacking anyone. I just don’t enjoy them anymore. I couldn’t care less if the channel were to shutdown, their success doesn’t affect me and I don’t want to be frustrated with the new “content” they produce.
They do not need me nor my subscription.

Review Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World is the latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise that is design for modern hardware. It’s not cheap since it’s basically matching the price of the console version but at least we are able to get it on the superior platform for once.

I’ve purchased the game on the 10th of August.

What’s good

The graphics are quite stunning and the framerate is smooth. Some quality of life changes have been made compared to the 3DS versions too.

The loading times are actually quite good for spinning rust, A.K.A. mechanical hard drives.

While the zones can be confusing when starting, the map actually does a pretty good job at representing the entities (harvestable points, monsters…) and you will not get lost.

Fighting at 60FPS+ is the best improvement and walking away from a fight while chugging on a potion (spamming X because your life depends on it) is better than in the previous games. You will not pose when you have finished drinking a potion.
Aborting healing is also a tactical advantage and choice you might appreciate.

While sometimes you’ll be slaughtering small monsters, most of the game is a boss fight game and it’s really enjoyable when two bosses collided and start fighting each other.

“I was hungry!” – Grimgar

The pacing of the game is the usual where you usually end up tracking the target and then taking it in (capture) or out (slaying). Sometimes you will have multiple targets.

What’s bad

It’s not possible to have more than one Palico unlike Monster Hunter Generations.

Graphically the game is very blurry with TAA, go with FXAA if you need antialiasing. The textures are really low quality for a game that came out in 2018 and the graphics do not justify the performance for a high end computer.

Can you see the blur?

The tutorial doesn’t seem to be all that useful for the newcomers. It would be great if it was optional since it just feels like playing Final Fantasy XIII when you start the game. Cutescenes need to be skippable if I must absolutely play the tutorial.

The male characters’ faces don’t look very good. The female characters look better but that’s to be expected I guess. This is more the style of the game than trying to pull a Mass Effect Andromeda or pulling some experimental motion capture.
It’s original and the effort is appreciate. We will get used to it.

“Didn’t cart more than once.” – Rookie Hunter

DLCs

The amount of DLC on the page can be quite surprising for a newly released game. None of it seems required at the time of writing but it can be seen as cosmetic microtransactions.

Cosmetic items are part of the Monster Hunter franchise

Running on older hardware

I can sadly not test it on my laptop since it keeps crashing when starting to play. Even though the game was ported from console, decent hardware will be required.

The only drivers compatible with my G750JM will always crash

DRM

As previously stated on the Steam page (with Steam Enhanced) the game uses Denuvo. The impact is currently unknown but we can only hope that they minimized the impact and that the Intel i7 3770 they ask for on the recommend hardware isn’t because of Denuvo.

Launch issues

As with just about any games that come out there are issues. Some issues are quite minor and some are major and gamebreaking.

Gamepad not detected

If you are using an XInput gamepad such as a wired XB360 gamepad you will be surprised that it might not be detected by the game when Fraps is running.

Simply turn off Fraps. Thanks reddit. But be careful, starting Fraps might crash the game.

Lightning drops the framerate

Having a hunter equipped with lightning weapons will make the framerate drop significantly. The Kirin must also affect the framerate.

Cheating

Cheating is already starting to happen with amplified damage and inventory editing. Some would think that there would at least be something to do about cheating such as implementing a known anticheat but they did not.

Cheating is not impossible on console too.

Raw gameplay

Since I like capturing the raw gameplay with no commentary or any editing here is the video showing what the game is from the point of view of someone with a hundred or so hours in Monster Hunter Generations.

The game crashed once so the video will restart and I just stitched the video files together for the full experience (crash included).

Conclusion

This game is a bad port. If your war machine can’t handle it then you should wait for them to optimize it a bit more. It wasn’t worth waiting 6 months for this kind of results.

On the bright side though… The game is enjoyable as expected. It’s still aimed to the Monster Hunter fans since the tutorial will not be the part that will hook you onto the game. But if you like boss fights then this game franchise is made for you.

A bit more than 60 hours were needed to complete the game’s story and all available optionnal quests. Some farming was done because it’s a Monster Hunter game and equipment must be crafted.

What this blog is about

When I first started this blog in 2013 I was thinking I would be posting much more. I obviously didn’t post that much.

I’m not sure what this blog is supposed to be right now, I’ve invested basically no time in building it and writing content but I’ve been thinking that I should maybe try more.

I’ve written about subjects I like or dislike, tried my hand at reviewing and speaking about more personal stuff. Some of it still exists as drafts while the rest has been published.
After 5 years I’m not even sure about what I would like to do with this space but I will continue to provide content, even if it’s not much.

I’ll try to post review and work on improving my writing skills. I’ll aim for at least two posts every month and since I’m not promising anything we’ll see how it goes.

The food in the header is a minced chorizo quesadilla and my favorite.

RErideD: The episode 1 that didn’t try

I came across the first four episodes of RErideD, scheduled to air starting October 2018. I gave it a try and was disappointed.
I’ve only watched the first episode and will not be watching more.

Trailer

Disclaimer

I will be spoiling the first episode, this isn’t much to be honest because it’s not really the destination that counts but the experience.

Continue reading RErideD: The episode 1 that didn’t try

If I’m not coding, I’m not working

I’m currently a web developer and whenever I’m part of a meeting or just not in front of the computer smashing the keys to advance in my JIRA task I feel like I’m not working.

Same goes when I’m doing research or writing snippets of code to test or benchmark ideas.

I know that this feeling is wrong, being at work and doing some research by written snippets of code or being part of meetings is part of the job.
Shaking off this feeling isn’t easy.

Review: Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III is hard and fair. This game will always be fair to you but it won’t give away chances to be easy. There is no difficulty setting.

Rising from your coffin

You start the game after a simple intro video that doesn’t do much of explaining why and what. You rise from the coffin and make your way to Firelink shrine: the main hub of the game.

In the shrine you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons, level up your stats and interact with some NPCs. You’ll learn the story through your interactions with some key NPCs and by reading the item descriptions.

Your next destination will be Lothric’s high wall and your objective is to bring back the lords of cinder.

Prithee be careful

Dark Souls is known for not forgiving. But it’s quite fair to be honest.
Your character has life points, attunement points for casting spells and endurance for performing actions.

Mashing your way through hordes of undead doesn’t work well when you have no endurance and an oversized sword, but that doesn’t mean you cosplay as Guts and wreak havoc wherever you go. Just get good first by learning the game.

Don’t tell, show

Learning the monsters pattern, learning parries, learning from failure. This game shows you everything you need to learn. Dying is part of the experience.

The plot will never get in your way, except maybe once. You might not know where to go at first but you’ll always end up by finding a path that you didn’t explore before.

Backtracking through shortcuts is also a very important part of the game even though you can fast travel between bonfires.
Everything you see in the skybox can be explored too.

Your style

You will be able to choose what kind of “class” you will start as but nothing is set in stone yet and you will be able to change to whatever suits you best. If you’re more of a mage you will be able to learn sorcery throughout the game.
If you live the way of the sword you will have multiple choices ranging from the straight sword, to the great sword or even some katanas.

Do you need a shield or are you confident enough to dodge the attacks? You play the way you want to.

Online mechanics

The first online part of this game is integrated through messages that either warn or troll.

The second part is combat. You will either summon or invade.

Summoning brings help for a boss or an invasion while invading sounds just like it’s spelt. Invading is a big part of the game that is optional.
You might feel like you are bullying other players (or getting bullied) but you will more often than not learn tricks by watching other players attempts them.

The only unfair part of this game is the player interaction, it can be disabled in the options. It can be tiring to invade a group of players or be the only one of your group of invaders actually attacking your foes.

No regrets

It runs well while being locked to 60FPS, the game is gorgeous.

Conclusion

Dark Soul III is a hard game. It’s my first Dark Souls and it will not be the last. The controls are satisfying with a gamepad and the fights are really good.
This game kept me occupied during the start of the year.

Player interaction can be pretty boring though after getting invaded or invading a group.

You first run will probably take some time, I spent nearly 50 hours before behind able to initiate NG+.

Review MGSV: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is, at the time of writing, the last game featuring the characters from the Metal Gear universe from the mainline of games.
This game is an open world game, like many games that came out in 2015. It still contains the main elements from a Metal Gear game like sexy posters, cardboard boxes and fun stuff (the hamburgers of Kazuhira Miller).

How about having a late review?

The hospital

Waking up to some music and a nurse tending to us we get to enjoy the cinematic experience of Metal Gear Solid before being thrown into a tutorial. In this part we won’t learn much of the game and will have to basically follow the corridor.

This will introduce some basic mechanics though like healing certain injuries and cover. Not much else…

Afghanistan

After escaping Snake will travel to Afghanistan in order to rescue Kazuhira Miller. The game starts and throws you into the open world experience where you will learn better how to use the new game mechanics to sneak around.

OctoCamo is not yet a thing in 1984 so you’ll have a hard time hiding in plain sight like in MGS 4 but the enjoyment is still here since you have the whole world to hide in.

As yet another open world game you’ll be able to do some gathering. Gather plants, resources and people. Yes. People are a resource and can be kidnapped fulton extracted to expand the skills of your staff in Mother Base so you can develop new weapons and tools.

Mother Base

This is kind of the main hub of the game where you will return for every major events, take showers, beat up the moral of your staff and upgrade it to generate more resources, send more teams on missions or just relax.

There not much else to do and you will spend most of your time in Afghanistan or in Africa.

Main missions and side ops

The game has few modes you can access through your iDroid:

  • Main missions: story missions;
  • Side operations: side missions.

The way you progress in the story is straightforward until you run out of story missions and you are “forced” to play side ops. This might be a way to make the game somewhat unpredictable. Sadly it feels forced and will end prematurely missions you are playing.

Overall there are enough missions spread out over the world to sometimes encounter an event that will lead to a main mission or a side op like falling face to face with an armored unit or a sniper team of highly skilled soldiers.
But as expected of an open world game several of the side ops are the same that will just take you into another location.

Unlike other games the story doesn’t force you very often to play some events and you will be able to roam freely every time unless your actions have advanced you to a certain point where some missions are unlocked. This is a rare occurrence and will not block progression on previous missions.

Game performance

Playing the game on PC can be a challenge with the badly ported controls. The controls feel much better than those of MGSV: Ground Zeroes. There are still some issues like some keys that can’t be rebound (slowing down on the rocket punch) and the frame rate is locked.

The FOV can feel tight and the draw distance is quite low. Other than that the game looks good and performs well.

I have played the whole game with a mouse and keyboard.

I have run the game on my 2017 desktop.

Regrets

Instead of giving points or stars I’d prefer to give regrets or bullet points that will list and maybe explain why I (might) have felt regret.

  • The story doesn’t feel finished;
  • Walking is slower on a keyboard than with a gamepad;
  • Can’t rebind all the keys that have prompts.

Conclusion

The game still doesn’t feel finished, some plot points have not been ended and there’s still some things in the wild that shouldn’t be there anymore. It feels like there’s still some things left to do to wrap up the story and (try to) explain what happens next.

The text scroll that recaps the whole series is great and helps to situate the events correctly but that is not what we are used to. There’s at least an hours and a half of cutscenes missing.

Since Hideo Kojima is not working at Konami anymore and that Konami will never be able to produce a true successor (instead of remaking MGS3 as a pachislot) we may never see a true conclusion to the series.

Playing a nearly 3 year old game that doesn’t feel too outdated was a good experience and I really felt engaged. This is currently one of the top two games I have played in 2018 that have come out during the last couple of years (the other being Dark Souls 3).
I’m happy I was able to purchase this game, the experience was good and I kinda felt addicted (like for Dark Souls 3).

I have logged 70 hours and just finished “The man who sold the world”.