Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Quick Tip: Stream to Twitch and play online with different internet connections

The Counter Strike Global Offensive team that I play in, Care Bear Kill Squad, recently started a Twitch stream, with me streaming the first game.

The problem I ran into was that while I could play and stream to Twitch.tv fine independently on my LTE connection, I couldn’t do both at once without my CSGO ping being very erratic.

Luckily I have two fixed-line LTE connections, and it is actually pretty easy to use both at once.

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Full Netflix vs ShowMax South Africa Catalogues

A couple of years ago I wrote a guide for getting Netflix in South Africa, which still gets thousands of hits a month. A lot has changed since then – notably, Netflix has finally launched in South Africa, and a bunch of local VOD services have launched (ShowMax, Vidi, and some other small ones).

But even though Netflix is now in SA, the content is really limited. This isn’t Netflix’ fault, but comes down to licensing and what makes commercial sense. For this reason, the guide linked at the top is still 100% valid, and will open up tons of extra content.

Since the Netflix SA launch there has been lots of media comparing Netflix with ShowMax (and others), however none of them really go into any detail, and the actual data they have seems pretty inaccurate.

So I crunched the numbers!

Netflix vs. ShowMax January 2016 Continue reading

Amazon reviews from the PS4 and Xbox One next-gen console wars

The Xbox one has now been out for a couple days – which has given it enough time to gain a fair number of reviews on Amazon. The same goes for the PS4 which has had quite a bit more time.

However taking a look at the them reveals that a significant number of scathing 1* reviews are not considered “verified”, which means that the person didn’t actually buy the product from Amazon. Now, that doesn’t mean those are all fake, but it’s pretty easy to see that die-hard fanboys from both sides of the fence are attempting to create bad rep for the other.

I was interested to work out how many of these reviews were just created by trolls, so I wrote a bit of code to scrape all the reviews (only from Amazon.com) and then attempted to make sense of them in the graphs below.

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Why you shouldn’t go to IMAX Gateway

Years ago we had a massive IMAX theatre at Gateway in Durban. Unfortunately it was closed down. But SterKinekor came to the rescue this month and launched the IMAX experience once again for South Africa.

We went to Gateway this last Sunday, very excited to watch Thor on IMAX. Upon arriving at the original area where the IMAX used to be, we were redirected to cinema 18 amongst the rest of the normal cinemas. This was rather puzzling as we couldn’t figure out how there was enough space to fit it in.

Well, turns out that there isn’t enough space. SterKinekor’s new “IMAX” theatre is actually just a normal sized screen, in a normal sized theatre. All they have done is replace the traditional projector with an IMAX one – and curved the screen. Besides the tiny screen, there also seems to be some problem with the 3D, because it was blurred all around the edges. Then there were the terribly designed staircase LED’s that stop people from tripping. Instead of shining the LED’s downwards, they shine upwards right into your face. Ever looked directly into a bright blue LED? Yeah – you’re going to spend 2 hours doing that.

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Quick read: Avoiding distractions when working from home

Peter Gardner just tweeted (ironically enough) about a product called Anti-social.

It seems like a pretty simple desktop app:image

I’ve been freelancing for the past ~2 years, and this got me thinking about how I manage my time while working from home?

  • I don’t actually work from home. I work out of an office in my garden which creates a very real line between what is work and what isn’t. It seems like a small difference, but it is very important.
  • Throughout the day I set mini “goals”. Things like “when I finish view X I can watch a video that a friend has Skyped me”.
  • Music! If I play music I find that I get less distracted by other things, especially going to sites like YouTube because that would require me to pause the music.
  • I ignore emails. Usually not on purpose, but just because I forget to open Outlook. It’s 12:19PM now, and I just realized it was closed.
  • I used to unplug my network cable for hours at a time as a way to enforce no internet usage. These days almost all my work is against live API’s so I can’t do that (but maybe Anti-Social is a good idea for this).
  • Probably most importantly, I try only take on work that is actually interesting (but this isn’t always possible).

So I’m interested to hear from other devs – how do you avoid distractions?

I’ve often though about making a simple little app that tracks how much time I spend in each app during an average day. Maybe one day I will – but I’m not sure I will like the results.

The definitive guide to Netflix and Hulu in South Africa

Update (6 Jan 2016):

Netflix has now officially launched in South Africa. All rejoice!
But as expected, and as I wrote below 2 years ago, the content is much more limited than other regions like the US. So with the launch of Netflix in SA, it doesn’t really change much. For the full catalog of shows, everything below is still valid.

 


 

 

Since the rumor a few days ago about Telkom being in talks with Netflix, some people have started realizing that you can already get Netflix in SA. It’s incredibly easy, and a number of sites have guides on how to do it but either have affiliate links to the services or have adverts attacking your eyes from every corner. I don’t know which I hate more. So here is my completely advert and affiliate-link free guide 😛

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Secrets of the Windows calculator

This tweet from a while back prompted this short little post.

Here is the standard Windows calculator that we have all used hundreds of times. I often have about 5 instances of it open at any one time (and have of course forgotten what half of them represent). I’m pretty sure everyone does this, but a quick way to open it is: Windows Key –> R –> Calc –> Enter. You can usually skip typing Calc because it will still be there.
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But did you know that this calculator does other [very cool] stuff too?

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