“Internalize the concept that git is designed to forget things. If you haven’t seen something reach another repository, maybe it didn’t. Heck, even if you did see it go somewhere else, maybe it fell out of the historical record there and then got garbage-collected.”

— How to use Git to lose data, by David A. Eckhardt, CMU CS Prof

Fun with Chrome

First, if you haven’t already stopped using Google Chrome, stop now. What could possibly go wrong with allowing web sites to edit files on your computer, and have your mobile browser automagically process those annoying two-factor-authentication SMS messages and agree that it’s really you logging into your banking site?

Security? They’ve got Top Men working on it right now!

An update for Chrome 78 is now available that fixes two major security vulnerabilities, one of which is already being used to exploit devices.

BotW: inverted challenges…

Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is a third-person open-world exploration/puzzle/combat game with some elements drawn from RPGs. There’s some variety in playstyles, but no real choices that would differentiate one person’s save-game from another’s. Once you’ve progressed past a certain point, you can do anything that anyone else has done in the game, simply by swapping in the appropriate gear.

Assuming you have the twitch reflexes and well-honed console skills to pull it off, of course. Personally, I suck at precisely-timed button/button/stick combos, so many of the “easy strats” you can find on gaming sites and Youtube are almost impossible for me to pull off reliably, while a straightforward sword/board/bow-focused slugfest worked just fine for getting me through the main story and the major side quests.

Since I went through the main quests methodically, I saw a generally sensible progression in difficulty. Puzzle and combat shrines started off easy, outdoor fights that were obviously too hard were avoidable and could be returned to later (much later…), and most problems had multiple solutions. Creative use of the special powers you pick up along the way makes it possible to cheese your way through situations where your gamepad skills aren’t up to par.

Usually. There are certain things, however, that I just can’t pull off reliably.

  1. Rapid headshots; there’s a significant benefit to hitting certain creatures in the head, and sometimes specifically in the eye. In certain situations you can slow down time long enough to line up a precise shot, but in real-time, I often miss, with messy results.

  2. Perfect blocks; get it right, and your enemy takes all the damage from the attack he just hit you with. Get it wrong, and he gets another free shot while you’re rolling on the ground recovering. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got the timing down against Guardians, but then I’ll suddenly miss 80% of them, lose half my health, and break three shields.

  3. Flurry of blows; this combines the precise timing of a perfect block with pressing the left stick in a specific direction. As a result, I think I’ve done it half a dozen times accidentally, and never when I needed it.

Mastering all of these skills makes combat much, much easier, leading to Typical Internet Responses for anyone foolish enough to ask questions about how to deal with situations those skills make trivial.

I went through a pretty standard progression, using a walkthrough just enough to expand my inventory and work around the weapon frailty system. That means I visited a lot of shrines to boost my health and stamina, wandered all over the map collecting things to craft food and upgrade my armor, defeated the four preliminary bosses, and then set the final boss battle aside while I acquired and upgraded the best gear in the game, until I was sure I could survive the fight long enough to win.

It was a cakewalk. Out in the world, I could still get my ass handed to me by carelessly engaging a group that turned out to have neighbors, overlooking a distant enemy that could stun or disarm me, taking on two guardians at once and suddenly having three leveled-up undead and two ninjas spawn, or, say, being spotted at long distance by a silver-maned lynel who has AoE arrows.

Main boss? I think he knocked me down once at the start of the fight because I was trying to take a picture of him. Then I just shot him with arrows until the fight moved outdoors, at which point I shot him with even better arrows (supplied by a special this-fight-only bow that can’t run out of ammo).

I checked the FAQs and walkthroughs, and there are all sorts of things that can happen in the big battle, but I never saw any of that; the only brief change was that right before he went down for the first time, he gained an energy shield, and kicking off Urbosa’s special took that down so I could shoot more arrows. I didn’t even use any specials in the outdoor fight; I just aimed where Zelda told me to.

I got into more trouble cleaning up outside the castle after it was over. I still have difficulty taking down lynel without suffering a ton of damage and/or breaking multiple weapons. But I could kill the Big Bad any time, just to show someone the ending scene, no problem.

I’ve got a bunch of shrine quests and DLC content to go through now, and now that I have some basic franchise knowledge and console skills, I may play through again on hard, but for that, I’ll stack the deck in my favor. Literally; I ordered a set of fake amiibo cards that shower you with loot once every 24 hours. (turns out I had just enough left over from that silly Paypal/Ebay gift card I got for Christmas a while back…)

New Release Of A Bookworm…

I see that the next Ascendance of a Bookworm light novel (part 2.1) comes out next week, and it’s currently in the top 20 for “fantasy manga” and #1 for “children’s manga”.

Note that it’s not manga at all, nor is it the claimed 33 pages long. The publisher seems to have some severe tagging issues, but I’m sure they don’t mind the ranking and “#1 bestseller” marker.

I need to sit down and catch up on the anime. When last I checked in, they had a long way to go to get through the first three books, although it looks like they’ll be using some of the side stories that pad out the books as the Bluray-only episode 14 (a rare case where “buy the blurays” does not involve steam removal…).

And, yes, that’s Koyasu as Benno.

After the jump, an artist’s rendering of what the future holds for the Adorable Moppet…


Candy, Free

As mentioned earlier, I bought almost exactly the right amount of candy this year, and if I hadn’t picked up a few boxes of full-sized bars as a reserve, I would have almost nothing left. 109 trick-or-treaters isn’t a record for my house, but it’s pretty respectable in an era where many kids can’t get more than thirty feet from their parents without either being scolded or taken away by social workers “for their own good”. Never mind that the tales of abductions and poisoned candy have gotten so stale that they’ve resorted to spinning yarns about evil-evil-thc-edibles.

In celebration, I offer these four-eyed cuties:

…never said the four eyes were evenly distributed…

Well, that was unexpected…

At least it would be unexpected anywhere outside of California, anyway. My power just blipped at home, like they quickly cut over from A to B somewhere along the line, the electrical equivalent of a California Rolling Stop. The side effect of this is that all the Philips Hue bulbs in the house came on at full brightness, and I couldn’t turn them back off until the hub booted up and reconnected to everything.

The Internet came back right away, at least, since I have my cable modem, router, and NAS all on UPS. And I’ve never lost anything else in the house to an outage, which I always attribute to the whole-house surge protector (which could well be a placebo, but I certainly used to lose things in outages, and I’ve got a lot more stuff plugged in these days…).

In other news, I really, really hope that the neighborhood kids show up in force for trick-or-treat tonight. Last year’s turnout was very disappointing, especially compared to the 130+ kids I had the year before.

Final Total

107 munchkins of assorted sizes. I went through about 65 pounds of candy, since it started off slow and I gave out extra-large handfuls (especially to the pretty girls; I am weak). Two more kids and I’d have had to break into the reserves (four boxes of full-sized bars and a big bag of Hi-Chew). So I’ve got maybe 10 pounds left over, which is much, much better than last year’s debacle.

Final Final Total

2 more teens showed up at 8:55 pm, so I gave them each a handful of the full-size bars.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

Yuu has been posting on Pixiv for 9 years now, and has improved dramatically from those early sketches.

Here’s a little something to warm your cockles. If you have cockles, anyway; they can warm something else if you like, I don’t judge.


California Priorities

Parked in front of the building today, and saw this bit of virtue signaling on the construction site across the street. Because smoking is the real hazard.

Isekai Iteration

I should do this one for NaNoWriMo:

“Reincarnated In Another World As The Goddess Of Reincarnation, I Reincarnate People In Other Worlds As Reincarnation Gods”

On a personal note, I was surprised to wake up and still have electricity, as PG&E’s Five Year Plan of rolling blackouts merrily continues.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”