For as long as I owned a computer, I have always felt that it was sluggish and slow to respond. It wasn’t so much about the lack of raw computing power nor the bottleneck of memory/hard drive’s speed, though these were certainly factors involved; rather, it was more of a disconnection between the immense possibilities it could offer and the realization that only a tiny fraction of its potential was utilized, that decades might past before its true potential is fully realized. This feeling of sluggishness has persisted over the years, and no matter how fast the computers have become, no matter how sophisticated it came to be, the feeling was never really dispelled. It was like giving all you have to become a better person, yet years past and you are still nowhere near your ideal self.
Now, I’m not disappointed with the current progress of computing advancement. Despite the various challenges looming on the horizon, I’m optimistic that these can and will be overcome, even if it means the end of Moore’s Law. Just look at where we stand now: Intel is still on a roll despite a delay in the production of 14nm wafers, and is confident in rolling out the 10nm wafers as early as 2015 (though 2016 is more probable) and 450mm wafers before the end of this decade; memristor such as ReRAM has seen its working prototype implemented within the current metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing process, and STT-MRAM isn’t far behind; the 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) can now be purchased for around $500, edging ever closer to the price-performance sweet spot of flash SSDs. All indications point to us living in one of the fastest growing period in terms of technological advancement, one that might not be seen again for centuries to come, and one that is, in all likelihood, in its last decade.
It’s Valentine’s! Phew talk about journey, my backside’s still hurting from the ride! Anyway, I realized it’s been ages (read: ten days) since I posted here, definitely way out of my usual posting schedule, and not following a schedule is one of the first sign of going down the slippery slope. Uh. Oh.
Thankfully, being away from writing for this long also means I have more things on my mind to engrave onto the paper (or in this case, my blog). So, I’m going to do a short summary and review on The Journey. If you do not want to get spoiled, stop right here! It’s a minefield up ahead. But if you don’t mind, read anyway. You have been warned ;p
I mentioned that I am an avid gamer in the About page, but the posts so far has nothing to do with games. It feels kinda unjustified that I call myself an “avid gamer”. So, I think it’s about time that I make a post on games. I dug up an old game that I have never gotten around to finish it, and start playing it anew. The next time I check, I thought “Wow! It’s been a week since I last posted here! Time sure flies.” That’s usually what happened when you pick up a game like Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. It’s not the most addictive games I have played (that honour goes to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), nor the one I have invested the most hours into (that would be Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale), but I think it’s fair to call it one of the most unique game ever produced, and certainly ranked among the best on my list.
Being marketed as an action role playing game in medieval fantasy setting, it goes without saying that there is some hacking and slashing, swords, shields, magicks, dungeons, dragons, the usual. What separate this game from most of its peers, is depth. Its refined combat, centered on unique stamina-based play style and varied enemies that demands you to adapt accordingly or die tying (that’s not a pun); the beautiful world in its sunset, giving off the radiance of everything it once was but no longer, foreshadowing its impending doom; the ever elusive lore of the world, shrouded in mystery, yet every brick and stone gives off a vibe: that the land you are stepping on is brimming with history, and if you look hard enough, it may occasionally offers you a glimpse into its rich past. These all offer something unique to the overall experience of the game, but more than that, they offer something that is at the core of the game’s philosophy: grow, or decay, there is no stagnation (that reminds me of Yoda).
A while ago a friend of mine expressed the desire to learn Chinese and asked whether I could help. At the time I thought, ‘sure why not?’. Having learnt Chinese as my first language and having used it for the majority of my life, I figured I might be of help, and was all fired up and ready to put on my scholarly hat and assume the role of a teacher. Well, that didn’t come to pass. As it turns out, physical distance is an issue, and traveling regularly to attend (or teach) private lessons requires commitment, one that I wasn’t sure if either of us were ready to give.
Fortunately, an acceptable workaround was found. My friend had some basic skills in terms of listening and speaking Chinese, so I thought starting on reading skills would be essential in order to build a solid foundation for the eventual mastery of the language (one can hope after all 🙂 and who am I to stop someone from striving for their goal 😉 ). After some search, I was able to find the perfect learning material – well, almost – in the form of four workbooks designed for beginners: simple, straightforward, focused on understanding the words rather than mere memorization, and most importantly, came with English instructions. These workbooks are gold, it’s like the Kanabō to the Oni, the Genie to Aladdin, or the Firebolt to Quidditch player; with these in hand, teaching Chinese would be a breeze.