Cineplex VIP

Over the years I’ve been seeing much fewer movies in theaters. I’m tired of the movie start time being advertised as 7:00PM and then setting through 20+ minutes of ads and previews. Sorry, I don’t have to put up with that at home for far less the cost.

So, when a VIP cinema opened up close to home I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Ultimately it will get me back into theaters, at least tiny bit more often.

What all do you get for the $20 admission price? 

  • Reserved seating.
  • Food service directly to your table.
  • Reclining seats (you can even adjust the headrest)
  • 19+ only admission (a serious perk)
  • Access to the VIP bar and lounge
  • No commercials (I not 100% if this is really a thing or the fact of a new theater or an early showing)

The food is, to the most part, what you get outside but brought to your table with a nicer presentation. Currently, they do not have a license to allow you to bring your alcohol into the theater.

Chicken Parmesan & Fries

Everyone was very friendly and it does do (mostly) what theaters should do to survive long term. When you’re competing against films coming to video months after release and people with OLED 4K TV’s, they’re going to have to step up their game even more.

I recommend VIP for big event movies and if I were not forever single, date movies.

State of Mobile Gaming

Ninety-five percent.

For me, that is the percentage of current mobile “games” which are complete garbage. What would be a fantastic start to resolving this situation would be to move all “games” with in-app purchases from “Free” over to “Paid”.

So, who exactly is to blame for the state of mobile gaming then?

Unfortunately, the majority of the blame lands squarely on the users. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve heard people unwilling to even pay so much as $2.99 for an app. Realistically you cannot make a premium mobile game and survive on that kind of money. Think about it. How do you pay staff on a game that people pay for once and so little? The days of the $0.99 cents Angry Birds (which itself has become full of microtransactions) are long over.

“Wait a minute! It sounds like your advocating for current practices! I’m confused?”

No. The current, insidious, predatory practices of nickel and diming the public are going to doom the entire genre unless pulled way back. Yes, yes, that’s a lot of hyperbole but I think people are already starting to get sick of it. The trend is to make the waiting for things to happen so positively irritating that you will decide to fork over some cash. For a quality, feature rich game, I have no problem paying in excess of $15 as a start.

EA’s take on the beloved classic Dungeon Keeper is a shining example of what is wrong with the industry. Now, it should be no surprise that EA is among the worst of these but this, with this franchise, was just so terribly disappointing.

Then, let’s not forget the Warner Brothers title for the “children”, Harry Potter, which strangles your character for a long time unless you pay to speed up his/her rescue… I am not making that up.

I want to echo one of the points from Feature Creep in that many of these are not even real games. They are excuses to make you keep paying or wait. In the game “Boom Beach” a simple upgrade to a character takes 2 1/2 days.

Loot Boxes

This is gambling. Period. Even if the items are not paid to win items it is still a form of gambling and parts of the world are starting to take notice. 

It is difficult to say how this will turn out or how the industry will find a new way to claw money out of us but I think it’s a positive step. Making “AAA” games is not cheap but this exploitation is not the answer.

Subscriptions

If done properly this could actually work. Any game which has a backend to support or wants to continue to put in new features simply cannot work on a single payment. Nor do we want them to resort to loot boxes and other microtransactions. 

Perhaps a “complete” subscription would be the answer. Thus unlocking all features, all characters with no further money required. The drawbacks are of course there’s only so many subscriptions which people are willing to pay for so if subscriptions become the norm the number of games people play will greatly diminish.

Summary

In the end, I do not think there is any easy answers to the problem. I can say without a shadow of a doubt the current trend is poisonous. 

 

 

DevStack Formula

OpenStack®_Logo_2016.svg

Recently I started to get my hands dirty with learning more about DevStack which is a quick way to deploy OpenStack to test with. As with many of open source projects like OpenStack, OpenShift and Cloud Foundry I find the documentation often to be sorely lacking on specifics. In some cases I cannot explain why, in others it’s because they want you to use the paid version instead.

My stepup is on Ubuntu 18.04.1 and the local.conf that I used is below. All I can say is that this worked for me to just get it installed. How exactly functional after that I have not yet gotten to but hopefully this helps someone get started as well.

Note you will likely need to change the FLOATING_RANGE to match your network. The documentation is otherwise decent but I’ll include a few more getting started commands below:

Getting Started

sudo useradd -s /bin/bash -d /opt/stack -m stack

echo “stack ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL” | sudo tee /etc/sudoers.d/stack

sudo su – stack

git clone https://git.openstack.org/openstack-dev/devstack

cd devstack

Create the local.conf listed below

Then lastly run ./stack

Local.conf

[[local|localrc]]

ADMIN_PASSWORD=nova
MYSQL_PASSWORD=nova
RABBIT_PASSWORD=nova

SERVICE_PASSWORD=$ADMIN_PASSWORD
SERVICE_TOKEN=nova

# Enable Swift

enable_service s-proxy s-object s-container s-account

# Enable sahara

enable_plugin sahara git://git.openstack.org/openstack/sahara

# Enable ceilometer

enable_plugin ceilometer git://git.openstack.org/openstack/ceilometer

SWIFT_HASH=66a3d6b56c1f479c8b4e70ab5c2000f5
SWIFT_REPLICAS=1
SWIFT_DATA_DIR=$DEST/data

# Check out from repos every time stack.sh is run
# This is optional and can be changed to no.

RECLONE=yes

# By default `stack.sh` will only install Python packages if no versi# on is currently installed, or the current version does not match a # specified requirement. If `PIP_UPGRADE` is set to `True` then exist# ing #required Python packages will be upgraded to the most recent v# ersion #that matches requirements. This is generally recommended,  # as most of # OpenStack is tested on latest packages, rather than ol# der versions.# The default is False.

PIP_UPGRADE=TRUE

# host ip

HOST_IP=127.0.0.1

# Change the FLOATING_RANGE to whatever IPs VM is working in. In NAT # mode it is the subnet VMware Fusion provides, in bridged mode it is# your local network. But only use the top end of the network by usin# g a /27 and starting at the 224 octet.

FLOATING_RANGE=10.0.1.224/27

# Logging

# By default ``stack.sh`` output only goes to the terminal where it runs.  It can be configured to additionally log to a file by setting ``LOGFILE`` to the full path of the destination log file.  A timestamp will be appended to the given name.

LOGFILE=$DEST/logs/stack.sh.log

# Old log files are automatically removed after 7 days to keep things neat.  Change the number of days by setting ``LOGDAYS``.

LOGDAYS=2

# basic syslog settings

SYSLOG=True
SYSLOG_HOST=$HOST_IP
SYSLOG_PORT=516