The Balancing Act: Web Development and Fatherhood Under One Roof

10 months ago 2 minute read Real Life
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As summer fades, Michigan's long winters loom ahead. While this typically boosts my work productivity, it also leaves me pondering how to fill my free time. With the kids back in school and shorter days, I often find myself at a loose end. And this year is no different.

My recent venture, Worldstone.io, hasn't been as successful as I'd hoped. Although it's faring well for a two-month-old site with roughly 100 daily visitors, it hasn't seen the steady traffic or loyal visitor base I'd anticipated. This, despite my Diablo IV browser extension (Chrome) (Firefox) boasting over 5,000 users, all linked back to my site. As a result, my initial plans to enhance the Diablo fansite have taken a backseat. Instead, I've opted to maintain regular content updates and let the site run on auto-pilot for the time being.

This pause has me contemplating my next move. Should I embark on a fresh website project, revisit past ventures, or perhaps dive into an entirely new realm, like game development? It's an open question, and the answer eludes me.

Financial stability is a growing concern. While a few of my projects still generate some income, it's not as much as before, tightening my financial belt. My ideal next project would offer a reliable monthly income, even if it takes a while to establish.

The life of a self-employed web developer and full-time father to two young boys isn't easy. Balancing work with parenting is a juggling act, fraught with challenges. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Soon enough, my little ones will join their older siblings in school, and I'll be back to solitude in my office.

Financial ups and downs are part of this journey. But I remain optimistic, knowing that when the time is right, prosperity will find its way back to me.


Review of RuneScape 3's Newest Skill: Necromancy

11 months ago 3 minute read Review
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RuneScape 3's highly anticipated skill, Necromancy, made its debut just about a week ago. As someone who's diligently working towards reaching the coveted level 120 (currently hovering at level 83), I wanted to offer an intimate perspective on the journey, especially as an average PvM'er.

Initial Impressions

Embarking on the Necromancy adventure was, to put it mildly, somewhat tumultuous. The initial stages were not only challenging but also a bit devoid of enjoyment. If I'm honest, my habit of rapidly pressing the spacebar through in-game dialogues, including the Necromancy tutorial, didn't aid my comprehension. Jagex's game lore, often peppered with humor that doesn't quite hit the mark for me, meant I found myself navigating the new skill with limited guidance. But perseverance prevailed. I meandered through the basics, primarily using bones to gather souls, until reaching level 40. It was then that I chose to pivot from rituals to combat.

Journey through Mid-Level Training

What awaited me in combat was a stark contrast to rituals - it was engaging, exhilarating even. My primary guide through this phase was Maikeru's tutorial, which proved invaluable. Combat didn't just score on the fun factor; it was also remarkably faster. It wasn't long before I hit level 60, albeit with a minor hiccup. In my enthusiasm, I'd overlooked the need to upgrade my Necromancy gear, thus reaching level 60 in my tier 20 equipment. A rather amusing oversight, if I may say so!

Deeper Understanding of Necromancy

Today, standing at level 83 in Necromancy, I might not boast of a max level or extensive PvM proficiency, but I can confidently claim a comprehensive understanding of the skill as a seasoned RS player. Its allure is undeniable. Necromancy, with its captivating combat style, has won my favor. The fluidity of animations, coupled with the gratification of 100% accuracy, has made it my combat method of choice. I eagerly await my journey to the Kiln for my cape and subsequently, my face-off with TzKal-Zuk for the upgraded version. However, a looming vacation means my aspirations for the capes will be momentarily deferred.

RS3 City of Um

Reflections on the City of Um

As splendid as the Necromancy update has been, the City of Um felt like a missed opportunity. There's an echoing sentiment among many in the RuneScape community: Why has the magic of crafting memorable cities been lost on Jagex recently? Their recent attempts seem tethered by a reluctance to truly innovate. A well-designed city isn't just about aesthetics but providing reasons for players to gather and linger. Sadly, the absence of features like the Grand Exchange in the City of Um leaves it desolate, save for Necromancy trainers. Yet, credit where it's due: its visual design is commendable.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, Necromancy has exceeded my expectations, presenting a balanced mix of challenges and excitement. While the skill could benefit from integrating more minion-based combat, I remain optimistic about its future expansions. The ultimate goal? Achieving level 120 and confronting "The First Necromancer, Rasial". Perhaps, once that milestone is achieved, I'll share another detailed RuneScape Necromancy review. Until then, thank you for accompanying me on this narrative journey.


Between Curiosity and Fear: Delving into Extraterrestrial Possibilities

11 months ago ~1 minute read General
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Recently, my fascination with UFOs and aliens has intensified, primarily due to the recent UFO congressional hearing. My explorations on various subreddits and YouTube have led me to uncover numerous intriguing theories and information. While I wouldn't say I'm obsessed, every so often, a new piece of information or an interesting theory reignites my curiosity.

The concept of extraterrestrial beings has always instilled a sense of fear in me, perhaps stemming from late-night shows like "Unsolved Mysteries" that I watched as a child. I still vividly remember the countless nights I'd lie awake, too anxious to fall asleep, wondering if I could sense their presence nearby. It's not a thought I like to dwell on.

While I've never witnessed any event that would confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life, I find it hard to believe that in the vastness of space, we're alone. The likelihood of other forms of life, possibly even advanced civilizations, seems probable.

The idea that we might soon become more familiar with non-human intelligence is both exhilarating and unnerving. Imagine being among the first generations to witness alien technology, possibly even utilizing it for travel, extending lifespans, and other unimaginable advancements. The dichotomy of excitement and fear is truly unique.

I'm eager to delve deeper into this topic and will likely share more insights on my blog as new revelations emerge. In the meantime, I'll be avidly following Reddit and YouTube for any fresh updates or sightings.


What Is It About Camping?

11 months ago 2 minute read Real Life
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My family and I recently embarked on a camping adventure, though it was more "glamping" than traditional camping. Rather than pitching tents in the wilderness, devoid of modern conveniences like electricity or running water, we opted for something more comfortable. We rented two small 10x10ft cabins at a campground, each equipped with a table, two chairs, two bunk beds, and a nightstand. Joining us were my mother and stepfather, necessitating the two cabins.

Initially, I was concerned about the weather. Michigan has been experiencing a wave of intense heat and humidity, which usually leads to an uncomfortable time outdoors. The thought of being stuck without shade, a breeze, or, most crucially, air conditioning seemed unbearable. However, as it turned out, the weather was nearly perfect.

Our camping trip began later than planned on the first day, as we had to wait for my wife to return from work and pack. With our car's brakes out of service, we made two trips to the campground in our van. Once settled, we enjoyed dinner, a brief swim for the kids, a campfire, and then headed to bed.

The second day of our camping trip was cooler, with some rain in the morning that later gave way to the perfect summer warmth. Our children spent most of the day splashing around in the pond and pool. Fishing was a challenge due to the strong current, making both regular and magnet fishing difficult. But the day was special as we celebrated my stepfather's birthday with ice cream, brownies, and, naturally, another campfire.

The final day was reserved for packing up and reflecting on the experience as we headed home. I found myself pondering the appeal of camping. Although I have a pleasant backyard where I can set up a tent and enjoy a fire, the idea of "camping" at home never entices me. Perhaps it's the enforced simplicity and connection to the moment that makes camping so appealing. I'm already looking forward to next year's trip, although my wife and I have decided to forgo the cabin, as they were not as enjoyable or comfortable as we had hoped.


Diablo IV: Season of the Mismanagement

11 months ago 3 minute read Review
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What on earth is happening over at Blizzard? The latest Diablo IV patch, 1.1.0, released just yesterday, is a true exercise in mismanagement. The lack of understanding and responsiveness to player concerns and criticisms is quite frankly alarming. With Season 1 just around the corner, many are wondering if it's even worth participating given the current state of the game.

Since the majority of players have completed Diablo IV's campaign, they're left facing the end-game - a grind that is slow, tedious, and scarcely rewarding. In a baffling turn of events, Blizzard has managed to make this experience even more of a slog, turning the dial down on fun and up on monotony. The reasoning behind this move is anyone's guess - even the developers might struggle to provide a coherent explanation.

Yesterday's patch inexplicably nerfed every single class in the game, even those that were previously underperforming, such as the Necromancer and Sorcerer. Balancing skills, enhancing and reducing abilities where necessary, is an integral part of maintaining a video game, but Blizzard's blanket nerfing strategy, without any balancing buffs, is perplexing. The reaction from the player base is predictable – disillusionment. It's as though the developers aren't playing the game they're creating, or at least, not at a level where they'd experience the real end-game struggles (like surviving a T70 Nightmare Dungeon).

Furthermore, the path to leveling up has become significantly more arduous. World Tier difficulties now come with minimum level requirements. Previously, you could unlock any difficulty your character could handle. Now, players are locked out of certain difficulties until they reach a designated level (50 for WT3, 70 for WT4). So, if you managed to unlock WT4 in your 50s or 60s, you'll now have to wait until level 70 in the new Season. Prepare to invest countless hours to level up, all the while dealing with sub-par loot rewards. It's a tough pill to swallow.

Helltides were supposed to provide a means to earn great loot and a fair amount of experience. However, Mysterious Chests now cost 250 Aberrant Cinders, a steep increase from 175, without any corresponding increase in loot or Cinders dropped by enemies. Solo players, already finding it tough to gather 175 Cinders, are left high and dry. Couple that with the risk of losing half your Cinders upon death, and it's easy to see why many are frustrated.

And looking at the new mechanics for Season 1, the prospects don't seem too exciting. There's a new boss that you'll probably only fight once, and gems with effects that will likely just add more complexity to the RNG system. While other games are rolling out innovative seasonal updates that revolutionize gameplay, Diablo IV seems to be stagnating.

In short, the future of Diablo IV seems murky at best. Blizzard, we implore you, listen to your community and breathe life back into this once thrilling game series.


Vue or PHP, Practice or Familiarity?

1 year ago 2 minute read Projects
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I find myself at a crossroads with my recent Worldstone.io website. While the site has been thriving and closely aligns with the majority of my initial projections, it stumbles in one critical area—search engine optimization (SEO).

I'm still adapting to the dynamic landscape of JavaScript, having been weaned on the simplicity of its older versions, and maybe a bit of jQuery. The more contemporary variations, Node and Vue, are still novel concepts for me. Over the past few years, I embarked on a self-teaching journey, starting with Node as a backend for a game project I've been tinkering with. Subsequently, I delved into Vue, aiming for an efficient frontend for the game. Naturally, I presumed this new endeavor would broaden my proficiency in Vue. Alas, it's been a detour rather than a direct route.

I've experienced an unforeseen regression, despite the overall performance of the website. The stumble lies primarily in the SEO department. It escaped my foresight that Single Page Applications (SPAs), by their very nature, aren't SEO-friendly since they're precisely that—a single page. This configuration eliminates the ability to update the page's title and meta information as with conventional web pages. Consequently, social platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit) struggle to extract accurate information from your page.

Well, that's a tough pill to swallow...

And now, I face a dilemma: do I persist, embracing a new system like Nuxt3 to achieve my objectives? Or do I retreat to the comfort of my established PHP ways? I find myself inching towards the latter, but with a contemporary twist—incorporating advanced frameworks. I have traditionally been a stripped-down PHP programmer, handling everything from scratch. But perhaps it's time to acquaint myself with emerging technologies, Laravel, for instance.

Regardless of the path chosen, rest assured, I'll share an update soon. I'm eager to enhance the site's aesthetics, zeroing in on the ideal layout. So, here's to a journey of refinement and progress!