July 2017

Fight Pad, Elfless, Bill’s Star, Demi surprise!


DanSora 12

Ok, I was wrong about how the last two episodes would play out, because there was only one. And yet somehow they ran out of story and padded it out with multiple exposition scenes that explained all the details and implications of what just happened. At least Aiz’s seiyū finally got to show emotion for more than a split-second, even if it was limited to rage.

Seriously, even Finn is jacking off to Bell’s heroic spirit now?

Eromanga-sensei

I didn’t realize last week was the finale, because it didn’t end so much as just stop. Fun little series, but I guess the source material didn’t have an obvious spot to end the season. I presume fistfulls of cash have been waved around for a continuation, so they didn’t really think it was necessary.

Doctor Who 10.12

I have no words. No, that’s not true. I have a lot of words, but they’re not very nice, and I don’t want to clean spittle off my screen. On the bright side, at least I got my wish; she was dry and showed emotion.

In the middle of the episode, my Amazon Echo thought it heard the Doctor ask it to tell a joke. This turned out to be more entertaining than the actual dialogue. Perhaps next time he should ask for a decent storyline.

I think the best way to understand this season is as a metaphor for suicide. The trailer for season 8 boasted, “I’m the Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2,000 years. I’ve made many mistakes, and it’s about time that I did something about that”, but he never does. Instead, he becomes more and more self-destructive, even trying to throw away all of his future regenerations by jumping into a rift to hold back a trivial threat.

It’s a chronicle of hesitation marks and cries for help. He’s torn between wanting to end it all and wanting someone, anyone, to save him. Which is Missy’s role, the frenemy he calls in the middle of the night after swallowing a bottle of pills and slitting his wrists (“across is for attention…”).

So maybe I did have a few things to say without spitting. Much.

Demi-chan 13

This more than made up for the weak end to DanSora, the possibility of several seasons without Elf, and the cut-and-paste DW climax that had the emotional impact of a cheese dip recipe. Demi-chans are always welcome. More, please.

Too late, Darwin, too late


The story of the 19-year-old who killed her boyfriend while trying to make a Youtube video sets a new record in “hold my beer and watch this” stupidity, while both shooter and shot were cold sober at the time.

  1. He convinced her it was safe, because he’d shot at a book before and the bullet didn’t go all the way through it.

  2. She believed this claim.

  3. He held the book against his chest.

  4. She shot from one foot away.

  5. With a .50 AE Desert Eagle.

  6. With their 3-year-old daughter nearby. (do the math, 18-year-old knocked up 15-year-old that he started dating when she was 13)

  7. While pregnant with their second child.

  8. All of this was announced in advance, both online and to friends and family, who couldn’t talk them out of it but took no steps to actually stop them.

The words “tragic” and “accident” are twisted out of shape to cover this dangerous, reckless, deliberate, stupid stunt, which was designed to make these two imbeciles Youtube celebrities.

Predictable “if only we had more gun control” arguments are being made, but fall to pieces if you so much as breathe on them, because people stupid enough to do this are doing other stupid things. If she hadn’t killed him, they’d likely have killed their daughter eventually with carelessly stored household chemicals, matches, etc.

Mini-Review: Sakura Dungeon


WARNING: as published on Steam, Sakura Dungeon is NSFW. As augmented by the free patch, the art includes hardcore porn. It’s also on sale for $12 as part of the Steam Summer Sale, along with all the other Sakura games (all NSFW, but only about half with explicit patches).

Developer Winged Cloud is a bit of an oddball, since their only web presence is a Patreon, and everyone who used to publish their games broke up with them a while back, so there are a lot of dead links out there.

Sakura Dungeon is apparently their most ambitious title, with a full RPG dungeon-crawler layered over the standard dating-sim kinetic novel core common to their other titles. The PoV character is a fox-spirit (female) trying to take over a dungeon full of monsters (female), with the reluctant help of an adventuring knight (female). Naturally, all of them are young, busty, and cute as buttons.

(via, apparently from a pre-release copy, since the names are incorrect)

The dungeon is a strict grid, with only a few different images for each floor type. The puzzles are pretty simple and occasionally tedious, the loot is unimpressive, and the combat is straightforward turn-based point-and-click.

So why play? Because the characters are fun, the story is shallow but engaging, the girls are gorgeous, and the combat is full of Most Common Special Attacks that blow their clothing off. And not being a Japanese title, there’s no loli, no oddly-specific fetishes, and the closest it gets to non-consensual sex is “aw, c’mon, it’ll be fun”.

Why did I buy it in the first place? Because I kept seeing this picture around the net and finally found out where it came from:

Update

I apologize for misusing genre jargon above. I’ve tended to lump all of these sorts of games together as “dating sims”, but while that may be their most visible manifestation, it refers to a set of relationship-building mechanics that are not present in all such games, and is orthogonal to the distinction between “visual novels” (where the player has choices with consequences, the old choose-your-own-adventure paperback) and “kinetic novels” (where there’s only one narrative thread, what we used to call “novels”). Most of the Winged Cloud games are kinetic novels where your choices boil down to “watch them fuck” or “don’t watch them fuck right now”.

There’s only one narrative thread in Sakura Dungeon, and you can only fail to achieve it by losing fights in the dungeon, not by making choices in the narrative. There’s no point in the story where the PoV character can choose between “take over the dungeon” and “perpetual orgy in this town full of sexy girls who worship me”. There’s also no stable management or relationship manipulation, like a raise-the-princess game or dating sim; if you catch a monster girl, she will join the party, and any improvement to her fighting ability is determined by using magic items with predictable effects (“raise agility”, “increase fire resistance”, “learn shockwave”). Who’s in your party affects only your combat ability in the RPG and some one-liners in key fights (with a few exceptions where a character is required to unlock a cutscene).

So that makes it a kinetic novel where progress is gated by an RPG/MCSA dungeon crawl, with unlockable “watch them fuck” cutscenes.

Amusing note: I’ve been playing around with the popular Ren’Py engine, swiping art assets from Sakura Dungeon to “kineticize” my old Hero meets Villain story. It ends up being about four minutes long, which makes a useful comparison to how much story is in a Winged Cloud game that takes 2-3 hours to play.

Update 2

Thanks to unrpyc and some quick regexing, it looks like there are roughly 138,000 words of text in Sakura Dungeon, making it a good-sized novel. Selecting a few at random turns up such literary gems as:

  • “I like it when people lick me all over…”
  • “If you apply magic to it correctly, it can hold its shape yet remain fluid…”
  • “I care not what I whip, only that I am whipping.”
  • “We cannot let that panda roam freely.”
  • As we step into the room, we find that we’re surrounded on all sides.
  • “Sorry, but I really want to see you in a maid outfit.”
  • “Oh… You’re one of those…”
  • The chocolate absorbs some of your mana and replenishes itself.
  • “That rabbit is going to learn a painful lesson.”
  • I can only imagine having so much attention from so many cute, luscious women…
  • “Please come back later if you would like to use our services.”
  • “It’s not a real tail.”
  • “I wonder what sort of things they have on-board for stimulation!”
  • As it slides into me, my body shudders from the sensation.
  • “Can we cuddle, at least?”
  • “We should do this again sometime!”
  • “Please don’t go wandering off by your-”

And how could I forget:

  • In the popsicle goes again.

A cool 18th of Moa to all


2017/07/04: 9am, 55ºF outside; projected high, 69ºF.

I just turned on the gas fireplace to take the damp chill out of the house. The prevailing wind direction makes a huge difference in temperature and humidity around here.

Also, happy 18th of Moa, which Google search inexplicably celebrates with a “4th of July” image that’s red, white, blue, and animals commonly hunted in North America.

Cheap Hunie


HuniePop and HunieCam Studio are deeply discounted in the Steam Summer Sale for another 24 hours, at $2.49 and $1.74, respectively. I found them both quite entertainingly naughty (or naughtily entertaining) games.

QFT…


What’s your social justice super hero name?

[your undiagnosed mental illness]
        +
[The weapon you used at your last peaceful protest]

(via)

Cheesecake: Creayus


I liked the above-the-fold image from the previous cheesecake post so much that I went looking for more by the same artist. Often when I do this, I discover that the image I liked is a rare gem buried in a sewer (like the one artist who took his most attractive creation and drew her taking a dump; yeah, not going back there again).

The image I liked happened to be of CC from Code Geass, and it turns out that’s 90% of what he draws. Even many of his drawings of other characters are just CC in cosplay. Not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re marathoning the whole collection to pick out a few dozen.

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Porch Cats: Scrawny, Tubbs, Smoky


I’m up to five regular visitors, and the most common ones are getting comfortable enough that they don’t vanish over the fence when I open the front door. Instead, they wait to see if I’ve got a bag of food in my hand, which has allowed me to get a few pictures with a real camera.

Scrawny

Queen Of The Chairs, she’s out there almost every day now, and has become bold enough that she’ll let me get within three feet as she waits for the food and water dishes to be filled. She doesn’t like me, and will hiss if my hand gets within about a foot, but she’s the boldest of the lot.

Tubbs

Like his Neko Atsume namesake, he’ll eat everything that I leave out if nobody beats him to it, and I often see him making the rounds from porch to porch. Fortunately, he seems to have a lot of places to visit, so most days the other cats get food.

Smoky

I’m stunned that he refrained from fleeing long enough for me to get even one in-focus picture.

Whitefoot

Terribly shy, and mostly comes around after dark, so I’ve just got night-vision footage from the Arlo Pro cameras. Part of that same litter I found two years ago, and the first to spend a few days lounging on the chairs. That’s still the only decent picture I have. Update: finally got a good picture, and it’s not the same cat.

Caramel

Scrawny claimed his chair during the day, so he mostly comes by at night now, when nobody else is around. The others all seem to get along if nobody challenges Scrawny for the chairs, and I’ve got lots of late-night footage of them just hanging out together on the porch. Still no good pictures of him, just the one where he was hiding in the bamboo.

What’s missing in all of these pictures is any hint that they’re housed anywhere. They’re healthy, but they don’t have any tags or collars, and after the rains ended, Tubbs was pathetically grateful for the self-refilling water dish I put out. And they’re not socialized; Scrawny is the least skittish, but reacts violently to any attempt at contact. In his kittenish days, Whitefoot sat on the chair and purred, but now vanishes in a heartbeat if I start to open the door.

Pressure Comfort Foods


I’ve been having a lot of fun with my new pressure cooker, purchased with a pile of Amazon gift cards that were lying around. It wasn’t a budget model, but it’s the top recommendation from America’s Test Kitchen, and after picking up a few good cookbooks (1, 2), a cheesecake pan, and parchment rounds, I’ve had plenty of tasty, hearty meals, and several cheesecakes so good that I can no longer risk making one unless I’m sure I’ll be able to give away most of it.

Note that there are several versions of Fissler’s pressure cookers, and I couldn’t be sure if the various Marketplace dealers were selling the right parts, so I went to authorized dealer Kitchen Universe, whose listings include the actual part numbers, so I could verify them against my manual.

Alton Brown’s eggs under pressure produces perfect, easily-peeled hard-boiled eggs by the dozen. Namiko Chen’s Japanese curry is much better than the standard back-of-the box stovetop method. The America’s Test Kitchen cookbook linked above has a fantastic beef short ribs recipe with a rich sauce that goes great over steamed or fried rice.

My own humble contribution is gyro meat. I started with This Old Gal’s recipe, but found the 8 cloves of garlic a bit overwhelming, and switched to The Dread Pirate Paramour’s spice mix, doubled or more as recommended in the comments, along with a little advice from Alton Brown.

I didn’t bother making my own tzatziki sauce. In my experience, most gyro joints serve a thin, watery tzatziki that tastes mostly of cardboard, that’s nothing like the thick, creamy sauce that helped make George Psyhogios an OSU legend. My best attempt so far to reconstruct that memorable flavor has been a 50/50 mix of whole-milk greek yogurt and Safeway’s “Better Living Brands” Tzatziki Cucumber Dressing.

Pen Testing, with Jun Amaki


Below the fold, there’s a good joke and a bad one.

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SimCity 2017


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A Question of Ethics


Is it really black magic if you order the demon to destroy a robocall server farm?

Asking for a friend.

Cheesecake Champloo 6: boin!


My leftovers folder was getting overstuffed, so I found a few pictures with two things in common.

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Livin’ in the Weird Weird West


The just-released SF anthology Straight Outta Tombstone has a lot of good stories in it, with a nice mix of authors. Good to see Phil Foglio working in prose again, and I particularly liked the fact that Jim Butcher’s story isn’t one of his usual “you’ll need to read this to understand the next Harry Dresden novel” (which is often used to sell anthologies full of stories I’m not interested in…).

As is usual for Baen, the first two stories can be read for free here.

PC Gender Identity


I think your birth certificate, government ID, and passport should have a mandatory field containing the letters P or C.

No, not that P & C. Prostate and Cervix, to determine which cancer you’re susceptible to. No matter what “identity” you claim, this is information you and your doctors will need at some point in your life, and it’s dangerous to pretend otherwise (like the recent nonsense in Canada).

Update

Gosh golly wow, I’m already behind the times on this. It seems the Teen Vogue guide to anal sex (no, seriously) divides its recommendations into “prostate owner” and “non-prostate owner” to avoid the unacceptably accurate “male” and “female”.

Dear Jamie Zawinski,


“No, but I’d kiss his redheaded clone sisters.”

Bump and Grind


Over the weekend, I made a second run through Sakura Dungeon to try to unlock a few achievements and screenshots I’d missed. This included increasing the difficulty level, but that didn’t make the fights more difficult, just more tedious, so I soon started using console cheats to buff my characters, and skipped through most fights (press “S”, then “A”) and all the dialog I’d seen in my first run (“S” again). I couldn’t bypass the puzzles, but most of them can be navigated quickly with maps; level 12/13 and level 15 are still really annoying, though.

Once the console is enabled, you can do all sorts of cheating, but the method that has the least risk of breaking the game is to use just two commands, repeated as necessary:

for i in party: i.xp=99
player.items.append(elixir)

Setting xp=99 means that everyone in your party will level-up during the next fight (eliminating a lot of tedious grinding), and adding an elixir to your inventory will revive and heal anyone who’s down after a fight (allowing you to only return to the surface when you find a teleporter, eliminating a lot of tedious navigation through cleared floors).

Basically, even on normal mode you need to grind wandering monsters to get your level high enough to handle bosses (who will one-shot party members ~5 levels below them), so any enjoyment I got out of the simple combat system was gone well before I beat the main campaign, and I had no interest in grinding even more on “hard”, so I made sure my party was always a level or so ahead of the monsters.

I now have 34 of 37 achievements, and I’m not going to bother with the other three, because they are: grind more monsters, go through the main campaign on really-hard mode, and grind even more monsters.

The Steam global achievement page for the game says a lot about how much people liked the dungeon-crawling:

  • 20% didn’t finish level 1 (“never played the game”)
  • 25% didn’t finish level 2 (first boss)
  • 45% didn’t finish level 4 (unlock Sylvi)
  • 60% didn’t finish level 8 (unlock Yomi)
  • 73% didn’t finish level 14 (unlock Maeve)
  • 81% didn’t finish level 21 (milk for Anubis)
  • 85% didn’t finish level 27 (the main campaign)
  • 89% didn’t finish the short bonus campaign (defeat Hiriko)
  • 91% didn’t defeat the extra boss (Izanami)

That is, they didn’t. Basically, half of the people who played at all stopped around ¼ into the main campaign, and half of the remaining players dropped out by the ¾ mark. Obviously this is skewed a bit by recent purchases, but the game’s over a year old, so it should be in the ballpark.

(note that the “Burning Soul” achievement is rare not because it’s difficult, but because it’s broken unless you’re playing the 1.05 “beta”, which has never been made the official version because of Winged Cloud’s breakup with their former publishers. If you play, play 1.05)

Ultraman Forever


(via)

WTF WTF West


It was late, I was bored, and Wild Wild West was free on Amazon Prime video. I vaguely remembered that it was… “less than good” (and not “so bad it’s good”), but also that it prominently featured the delectable Salma Hayek.

How did so many talented people manage to commit such a dreadful train wreck?

Okay, there’s the claim that producer Jon Peters tries to get a giant mechanical spider into all of his films.

And the gang-bang rewrites of the script.

And the last-minute reshoots to “clarify” the fact that it was supposed to be a comedy.

And that Kevin Kline “considered himself too good of an actor for the finished product”, despite a lack of evidence for this in his performance.

And Will Smith’s admission that giving up the lead role in The Matrix for this was his worst career decision ever.

And the decision to use the original series theme in only one scene.

And Kenneth Branagh attempting Frank N Furter levels of campiness.

Hmmm, I think I’m answering my own question here…

The Catgirl Obsession…


An unrelated post on Mad Genius Club suddenly reminded me of my first catgirl crush:

My incurable case of Feline Fever goes back more than four decades.

Sanitized For Your Perversion


Gee, I wonder why the folks who subbed the Rape Zombie series and put it up on Amazon Video left that part out of the title, and just went with “Lust Of The Dead”…

It’s nice to know that if you want to watch hilariously terrible low-budget soft-core schlock movies, Amazon’s got your back. The “customers who watched this also watched” list for this one is like a blackout drinking game of awful titsplosions.

It must be jelly…


I happened to notice that the Youtube embed for the Dororich commercial was broken, so I searched for a working link, and discovered that Glico had done a followup with a different set of models:

Featuring Anna Konno (今野杏南), Ayaka Sayama (佐山彩香), Asuka Kishi (岸明日香), Alisa (亜里沙), and Mizuki Hoshina (星名美津紀), in case you see something you’d like to search for more of.

Bonus Asuka

Porch Cat: Whitefoot


I’m working from home today (one of those “look up from laptop and notice it’s already 3pm” days), with the windows open to catch the breeze, and I noticed Whitefoot walking along the back fence. Guessing correctly that he was headed for my porch, I was waiting with both wet and dry cat food, and despite Scrawny’s mostly-silent disapproval, he held still long enough for me to get a picture.

The surprise was that he isn’t the cat I thought he was all this time. The one who hung around on the porch two years ago had a white soul patch and only two white feet. Now that I’ve seen Whitefoot in good light, there’s very little similarity.

Scrawny, by the way, has moved onto the padded bench right by the door, which is a small show of trust. It puts her within arm’s reach when I come outside, and she doesn’t retreat nearly as far.

Miwako no bikini


The title is correct in two languages…

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Got Cowgirls?


I can’t trace the origin of this NSFW “commercial”. The product is real, but I have just the tiniest little hunch that the video is not authentic.

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Fortunately, Berkeley is a law-abiding town, right?


The (completely predictable) story about a Berkeley student who had previously claimed to be the victim of racial profiling—now under arrest for mass vandalism and hate crimes—included a small photo of the “illegal spring-loaded knife” that he was caught with.

It looked like a pretty normal liner-lock pocket knife to me, and the article specifically noted that the blade was only 2.5 inches, so I followed the link to the Berkeley Municipal Code:

13.68.010 Dangerous weapon—Defined.

As used in this chapter, “dangerous weapon” means and includes, but is not limited to:

A. Any knife having a blade three inches or more in length, or any snap-blade or spring-blade knife regardless of the length of the blade;
B. Any ice pick or similar sharp stabbing tool;
C. Any straight edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle;
D. Any cutting, stabbing or bludgeoning weapon or device capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm;
E. Any dirk or dagger or bludgeon;
F. Any “taser public defender” or other similar electronic immobilizer which causes, by means of an electrical current, a person to experience muscle spasms and extreme pain, followed by unconsciousness.

Forget about the “spring-blade” nonsense (which is much more vague than the corresponding state law), the sections I’ve italicized make it clear that Berkeley cops have the discretion to arrest you for carrying anything at all. Which makes you wonder why they’ve showed such remarkable restraint when dealing with “activists”…

Blowing up the picture from the article revealed his tire-slasher to be a “Tac-Force Speedster” (yes, with spring assist), and it’s probably the least-hideous design they sell, so at least he has good taste in discount tacticool knives ($6-8 online). That should serve him well in jail.

Foods from my native land…


The company’s having an “international potluck lunch” with foods from our “native countries” on Wednesday. I don’t have time to order Cassano’s Pizza, and the nearest White Castle is in Vegas, so I can’t decide between corn on the cob, Johnny Marzetti, Cincinatti Chili, or just stopping at Wendy’s and buying a bunch of Frosties.

Ms. Doctor


I was really kind of rooting for Hayley Atwell as the next Doctor, but while I’ve never seen Jodie Whittaker in anything, she seems like a sound choice. At least she has a good relationship with the new show-runner, which was apparently one of the (many) problems with Capaldi’s tenure.

What I find tiresome is the nitwits on social media who are treating it as a victory over The Patriarchy. Reminder: when you hate half the population, you’re the bigot.

Update

Naturally, Those Lovable Leftists hate her because she’s white. Of course, much like the deafening silence regarding the gender imbalance in the field of sewer-cleaning, I’m not seeing a lot of demands for Women Of Color to win the coveted Nazi roles in WWII movies and games. What kind of world denies a black Muslim lesbian her right to be Hitler?

Wither, BBC

(not a typo)

“One in six of all on-screen BBC roles must go to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or disabled people by 2020, the corporation’s new diversity targets state.”

“The BBC’s royal charter, due to expire this year, is currently under Government review.”

(not a coincidence)

I’m guessing the disabled activists will be getting the short end of the stick on this one.

(via)

Best. Hug Pillow. Ever


Sadly, it’s one of the prizes in Yomeishu’s summer campaign, not for sale (unless you want to buy it used in a few months…).

(via)

Dear Google,


If I open Google Maps and search for “gyro”, results that include Burger King, Chuck E Cheese, Jack In The Box, wine bars, taco joints, sushi, and chinese restaurants are not useful.

Neko Atsume Live: Achievement Unlocked


I petted Scrawny last night. I won’t say she was happy about it, but consent was sought and received, without bloodshed.

She wasn’t up for it this morning, though. The fact that her response was silently scooting away from me on the bench rather than hissing or running away can be considered progress.

The lesson to be drawn from this is that in The Glorious Future, we should be careful not to let catgirls go feral.

Dear Atlassian,


Auto-rendering emoticons in a bug-tracker is dumb (because of course someone who pastes 50 lines of log output into a ticket wants to see smiley faces, blue stars, and thumbs-down icons, and SQL always looks better with broken hearts). Repeatedly closing support tickets asking for a way to turn it off is dumber. Forcing your customers to remember to manually comment out this misfeature in an XML file every time they upgrade Jira: priceless.

Enthusiasm Level: Tepid


The teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok was cool, but—having seen the other movies—I was worried that the finished product would be nothing like it. Now that I’ve seen the comic-con trailer, I hope that the movie will be nothing like this one.

On the DC side of the fence, everything looks solid in the Justice League trailer except for Flash, who seems to be woefully miscast, as well as cursed with terrible dialogue and a clunky costume. However, since the only current-generation DC movie I liked was Wonder Woman, I’m not getting my hopes up. There’s still plenty of ways for them to screw the pooch.

Three-Gun Nanoka


Nanoka (菜乃花) has a distinctive face, and photographers and stylists have managed to coax a variety of pleasant looks out of her over the past six years. Since she was already over 21 when she debuted, there are no pictures where you have to guess her age before shamelessly ogling. More here.

Kawaiiiiiiii…


Not what I’m usually looking for in the “cute girls in kimonos” genre…

(via)

Dear Yurina Kumai,


I see you’ve found the new Hello!Project box set.

(via)

Gendering The Doctor


A bit belatedly, it occurs to me that there’s no one to react to the results of this new regeneration. Unless they bring back a human(ish) character from a previous season, no one who encounters the new Doctor will have a reason to notice, much less care.

Life with Arlo Pro


Now that I’ve had the Arlo Pro cameras for a few months now, what do I think?

Pros

  • Setup and placement is easy, although I recommend buying better anchors for their dome mounts.

  • The cameras trigger reliably and record video and audio with plenty of quality for their intended use.

  • Battery life is excellent at the default settings, and they recharge at a reasonable speed.

  • Notifications are usually quite quick, to the point that when I get home, the alert arrives on my phone before I can unlock the front door. I have one camera set to high sensitivity, and when it goes off in the morning, I know a cat has shown up (or the wind is strong enough to blow the bamboo in front of the camera).

  • The week of cloud storage from the free base tier is sufficient for my needs.

  • Viewing, managing, and downloading recorded videos is quick and easy.

Cons

  • The app/website frequently reports that the cameras and base station are not reachable, and insists that they must not be connected to the Internet. Never mind that the base station is pingable at all times and I can see it sending traffic to their servers. This appears to be a problem with dropped connections at their end.

  • Connecting to the camera can take a very long time even when the app/website can reach them, and often times out. For instance, just now it took me nearly ten minutes of trying to get it connect to one of my cameras, and it repeatedly claimed my base station must be “offline”.

  • Even when the app does connect, I’ve never gotten the intercom functionality to work. For instance, when the neighborhood kids were playing hide-and-seek, I couldn’t tell the kid who kept setting off my cameras to go hide somewhere else.

  • Since you can only configure the base station and cameras through the app/website, all administration is blocked when it claims you’re “offline”.

  • When notifications don’t arrive instantly, they can show up hours later, but the app doesn’t tell you which videos are new; they’re silently sorted in with the ones that showed up on time. Basically, when you get an alert on your phone, you have no idea if something just happened or if an hours-old video finally showed up.

  • The USB storage is basically useless. When I recently pulled out the drive, it had video from March and July, but nothing in between. And the only way to view what it recorded is to log into the app, hope it connects successfully, tell it to stop writing to the drive, then connect it to your PC.

Conclusion

A security camera that sometimes alerts you promptly is not terribly useful.

I suspect their servers are overloaded, and all of the problems they blame on my (rock-solid) Internet connection are on their end. I also suspect that the service would magically improve if I upgraded to a paid tier…

Bottom line, if your primary requirement is prompt, reliable notification of security events, buy something else right now. The Arlo Pro will record the event, but you might not find out about it for hours, and might not be able to get a real-time view of the scene without wasting several minutes waiting for a successful connection (which can require force-quitting the app).

If, like me, you’re mostly interested in package deliveries and wandering cats, it’s flaky but acceptable. Hopefully they’ll resolve these problems with server, client, and app updates, but right now it’s pretty Beta.

November Update

The app and website no longer show my base station and cameras constantly going offline. So, one major Con removed. I haven’t retested the notification, USB drive, or intercom issues yet, but if they got those sorted out as well, I’m much happier with the product.

Cheesecake: underwear only


This one was hard to strip down. So to speak. Even quickly skimming through the 350+ pages of results, I ended up with over 350 candidates, so there will be lots of lingerie in the next chanpurū collection. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Wrong day to fly coach…


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Got Pez?


This is the most appealing picture I’ve seen of Suzuran Yamauchi (山内 鈴蘭). Actually, it was the only picture I’d seen of her, but after looking her up, it’s still the one I like best…

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