I’m a Coward.

What do you do when you have a lot to say, but don’t dare to say it?

Right now I have 32 unfinished blog posts laying around – including this one. 32 incomplete gems in the making, screaming for my attention. Some of them are properly aged, with the most ancient draft being a long post I wrote late 2011 about how I reverse engineered the Tidal Android app. Back then, it was called WiMP, and annoyingly it lacked proper head phone audio control support. But that wasn’t something a little hacking couldn’t fix, right? On my way through the code, I discovered clear text API passwords, and other funky stuff that probably shouldn’t be made public. So the post was never left the drawing board. There are also a bunch of incomplete reviews in the sea of unfinished posts, seasoned with drafts that aren’t much more than quick notes I’ve made whenever an idea has tried to form in my head.

In the collection of neglected treasure, there are also about 10 opinion pieces. They are written on a variety of topics, from my thoughts on a proposed ban on porn sites, to science fiction-esque gene manipulation with CRISPR. Among the many drafts, these opinion posts are the ones I’d like to spend some time and energy to finish.

But it doesn’t just take effort to voice ones opinions, defending them can be outright exhausting. Particularly if you’re like me – an conflict adverse, unskilled debater.

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May One-liners.

Here are the new one-liners for May:

  • I’d love to continue this conversation but I wasn’t listening.
  • Sometimes I wish my conscience was unconscious.
  • I wish I could visit longer, but I’ve got something trivial to do.
  • A group of owls is called a parliament, which is strange because owls are quite intelligent.
  • Twitter has taught me, if you have nothing important to say, say it anyway.
  • I can tell Spring is almost here because I’m on the verge of wanting to kill myself, but I’d also like to plant some bulbs.
  • Tomorrow is a big day for me at work. They are refilling the snack vending machine.
  • Gambling: The sure way to get nothing for something.
  • I’ll clean the house when the last kid has moved out.
  • If I ever go missing, before calling the police, please check between my bed and the wall.
  • Sometimes I tell people I’m an introvert just so they don’t expect me to talk to them again.
  • I’m Irish. You’re not really speaking my language until you start yelling.
  • Continental breakfasts should be served on tectonic plates.
  • I’d like to test the theory that money can’t buy you happiness.
  • My wife just threatened to kill me in my sleep, which seems much less horrifying than being killed wide awake. She’s always been thoughtful.
  • I can’t tell if the zombie apocalypse has started or the office coffee maker is broken.
  • I’m too antisocial to answer the door when opportunity knocks.
  • I bet raccoons look at garbage trucks the same way I look at taco trucks.
  • I’m at my most amazing when no one is paying attention.
  • We’re all strangers here, some are just stranger than others.
  • Being an open book isn’t helpful if you surround yourself with a bunch of illiterates.

Stellaris.

You might or might not have noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of activity on this site lately. The reason for that is Stellaris1.

Over the last couple of years, Paradox has become a highly respected brand in strategy gaming circles. The Swedish publisher/developer, operating as Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio respectively, has published and developed some of the most popular strategy games and strategy franchises on the PC platform in recent years. Titles like Crusader Kings, Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Cities: Skylines will make most strategy gamers giggle of joy.

Paradox’ grand strategy games, in particular, have amassed a considerable amount of dedicated fans. Despite their steep learning curve, complicated mechanics, and non-intuitive user interface, Paradox’ grand strategy titles are among the finest in the genre. It was not a huge surprise then, that the strategy gaming community got very excited when Paradox announced their first science fiction title back in 2015: Stellaris.

There were some skeptics. Of course. There always are. Until Stellaris was announced, Paradox had dabbled exclusive in historically based strategy games. Would they be able to conquer space as well? One year after release, it’s time to see if Paradox’ first science fiction title has turned into everything it set out to become.

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Simon Stålenhag: The Electric State.

The alternative history artist Simon Stålenhag turns his attention towards the US.

I’ve never had any real relationship with art. Whether it’s a painting, a sculpture, or something that simply looks hastily thrown together minutes before the exhibition opened, none of it has never really been able to catch my interest. Not even the 130 kg sea of blue candy. Everything has fallen into one of three categories: “Meh”, “not nice”, or “confusing”. Yes, when it comes to fine art, I’m a simpleton1.

But a few years ago, I discovered an artist whose work struck a chord with me. Swedish multi-talent Simon Stålenhag, who I also wrote about back in 2015, makes amazing works of art. By taking science fiction and alternative history elements, and putting them into a familiar 80s and 90s settings, he has very effectively caught the attention of his – and thus my – generation.

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign two years ago, Stålenhag has released two books. In both “Tales from the Loop” and “Things from the Flood“, he mixes his paintings with an intriguing narrative. If you, like me, grew up in the 80s and 90s, Stålenhag’s paintings will trigger your imagination by themselves, but with the addition of the book’s narrative they really come to life.

And now there’s third book project in the works: The Electric State.

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The Smartwatch Hunt.

My Pebble Steel smartwatch is quickly heading for retirement. Is there a proper replacement out there?

The watch has been with me for about three years now. It’s starting to show signs of wear. The battery life is slowly decreasing, and just last week, the screen began to suffer from static lines and artifacts. The latter problem is something that has troubled quite a few Pebble owners.

When I first bought the Pebble, I was sure I’d use it for a lot of different thing. But in the end, I’ve mainly used it for viewing notifications, checking my calendar, and – surprise, surprise – as an actual clock. Notifications are a massive time saver when the phone is in my bag, pocket, or stowed away somewhere else. The calendar extremely convenient whenever I’m on my way to a meeting, my phone is at my desk, and I can’t remember in what room the meeting is. And that happens surprisingly often. The battery life is also excellent, at least compared to your average smart phone, and most other smartwatches. Fresh out of the box, the Pebble Steel managed a good 7 days on one charge. Now it’s down to 5, which is still more than most other smartwatches.

Lately, I’ve also been looking at getting an activity tracker. It’s not features that I really need, but I’m a sucker for statistics and graphs. And let’s be honest: I don’t need a smart phone in the first place, either.

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