My review of The Last of Us Part 2

This week I finally finished The Last of Us Part 2.

I’ve been waiting patiently for this game to come out for a few months. Being a fan of the first one, I eagerly awaited its release. I preordered the game through the PlayStation store and started playing it a couple of days after the release date. This post is just a few thoughts I had on the game. I’ve tried to avoid any spoilers, which is why this review is short.

The game starts five years after the first game with Joel and Ellie settled in the town of Jackson. From here, the story begins to unravel with a good pace, and you’ll soon find yourself in the thick of the action once again. You’ll find yourself taking out the infected, as well as searching for crafting items and munitions to top up your supplies.

There are some differences to the first game that I liked. For a start, there are more characters in this game which is a nice change from the smaller cast of the first game. With more characters, you get more story, and I do like games that have a good story to them. There are also more places to explore in the game. You can wander off the path of the game a bit more, and with the added option of jumping and climbing, you can use elevation to your advantage in combat. Stealth is still the best option in combat, but you can also use speed to your advantage, as your character can switch between actions more smoothly.

The setting and story are two areas of the game that I particularly enjoyed. Seattle, where most of the game takes place, has been recreated with incredible detail. While the setting was fantastic, it’s the story between the characters that I enjoyed the most. There are cinematic scenes in between the action that fills in parts of the story. I thought there were more of these scenes than in the first game, but to be honest, they did add to the game and its story.

The game also has its dark and violent moments. That’s not to say these moments shouldn’t be in the game. They should. It’s these moments that add heightened tension to the game. By the end of it, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever manage to play the whole thing again.

Despite these dark moments, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game. It’s a different game from the first one but also a different game from many other games. I think it stands up there as a great game, and those involved at in producing the game at Naughty Dog, have done a fantastic job in creating a successful sequel to The Last of Us.

Friday night fun.

Pizzas from our favourite local Italian restaurant, a couple of cocktails for me and Jen, followed a few board games including the family favourite, King of Tokyo.

A great way to start the weekend.

Despite switching to TailwindCSS, I still find myself styling components so that they look very similar to Bootstrap. I’m still startout on the journey of TailwindCSS though, and I think in time, I’ll start to find ways to get away from this styling.

Google acquisition of Fitbit being scrutinised by EU regulators

Google announced it was buying Fitbit last year for $2.1 billion and said it hoped to complete the deal some time in 2020. But it’s possible the acquisition will be delayed over fears about the search giant’s increased access to sensitive data from Fitbit’s hardware, including users’ heart rates, their fitness activity, and their sleep patterns.

Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition is getting closer scrutiny from EU regulators

I’m still glad I deleted my Fitbit account when I did. Regardless of whether Google says they will or won’t use my data for its search and advertising, I’d rather not give them any chance at all to use it.

Today’s plan was to get in a round of golf with my son, my dad and my uncle at my dad’s golf club. I’ve been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks. As always though, the weather has scuppered these plans.

Taking the day to instead work on my product for a few hours.

Hello Hey!

I’m sold on Hey email.

In the last six days that I have been using it, I’ve been getting my head around its features and workflows that make Hey different from most other email services.

The screener is a nice feature. When you receive an email from someone from the first time, Hey asks you if you want to continue to receive email from that person. Instead of you trying to determine if you have received an email from someone, Hey lets you know. Nice touch!

What I like best about Hey though is that it doesn’t look or act like a typical email client. There are some similarities sure, but instead of going down the same route as every other email client and using the same view for each collection of email, Hey goes a step further to make different groups of email more comfortable to read. The Paper Trail allows to scan recently received receipts, but The Feed page shows recently received newsletters and also makes them easy to browse through much like you might scroll through RSS feeds.

One advantage I’ve found from signing up to Hey is that I can stop using an email address tied to my domain name. Sure, it’s nice to own your domain name as well as use it for your email address, but I often wondered if tying these two together was a bit of a hindrance. Over the years my email address has been used for all manner of accounts and is probably on quite a few mailing lists that I would rather it wasn’t on.

In signing up for a Hey email address, it felt like I had a clean slate to start over with again. When Hey adds the ability to use custom domains, I might not transfer over my domain right away. I think I’ll keep going with Hey’s email address for as long as I can.

I’m going to pull the trigger on the subscription tomorrow at some point. Sure, it’s early days for Hey, and there are lots of things that are missing, but for a product in its first few weeks of launch, it’s got more than enough new features to make me switch over.

Is it time to go out on your own?

In a post-Covid world, maybe the time has come to go out on your own. Keep it simple initially: just you, no start-up capital and a desire to be beholden to nobody. Except you, of course.

Agility Is The Big New Differentiator

Since the lockdown started, it’s clear to me that striking out on my own again is the best way to go.

Giving Hey a try

With Basecamp’s Hey email product now open to everyone, I have decided to try it out for myself over the next two weeks. The plan is to send some newsletters over to Hey and forward a few emails to my Hey account. During this free trial phase, I’ll decide whether to stick with Hey or not. There are, however, several factors which will influence my decision.

I’ve been a FastMail customer for years. I have several email addresses redirecting to a single FastMail account. I’ve never queried the service and what it offers in all those years, but even though I am happy with the service, Hey’s rethink of email has me wondering what else they can provide in the long term.

My primary email address uses my domain for my email address. I also have a few email addresses on other domains as well in FastMail. Hey have indicated that they will support custom domains in the future, but what will that support entail? A single domain, multiple domains?

Like most online services my family uses, we are usually all in them together. iCloud, Netflix, FastMail as well as a few others. Email is one service we use that we are all in one. It would be nice if Hey included a family plan as well. Especially one that supported custom domains for each user as well.

The next couple of weeks will be interesting to see how good Hey is, but I’m not sure that two weeks will be enough to see what Hey is capable of doing. And with it being a new product, there are many features that we won’t see until after a few weeks or even months of usage, by which time I will definitely need to have bought into using it.

I like the new GitHub

This week, GitHub shipped a significant change in its user-interface. And with it comes the same reactions from people that we see whenever any product does a significant user-interface change. Some people like it, some people love it, some people are indifferent, and some people want it back to the old design.

I like the new design, but I did find one particular aspect of it a bit weird. The white space between the repository name and tabs on the left and the repository actions on the right is quite big on my 24-inch monitor. Maybe it’s the alignment of the repository tabs being on the left and not centred in the middle. Yeah, that’s it. Other than that, I like the new GitHub.

This morning as I trawled through my RSS feeds, I found a few links to CSS stylesheets and extensions that revert the GitHub design to the old design. As I’m sitting in the camp that likes the new design, I took a pass on reverting the GitHub design.

Having seen lots of user-interface upgrades over the years on different platforms, I’ve rarely had a moment where I dislike the new interface so much that I would install a plugin or stylesheet that reverts to the old one interface. This stylesheet or plugin won’t always ensure I can use that same design and if it does stop working, then the transition to the new design is that much harder.

These design changes improve the product and also give it a fresh coat of paint to keep it relevant. Also, this new design change from GitHub is not complete yet. GitHub will use this new design as a foundation for more minor changes to come. And with it, there will be a growing appreciation for the design.

That is until they start thinking about a new design change ten years down the line. But that’s okay. I can work with this new one until that happens.

Great night for a few holes.

We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter

An apology from the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell:

We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.

We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter

This apology from the NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell, is a move in the right direction. Some might say it’s too late though. It’s been four years since Colin Kaepernick started protesting by kneeling during the US national anthem. His action’s are now being replicated at protests all across the US. Sure, the NFL have admitted that they are wrong, but the real test in their words will be during the upcoming season. Will players be allowed to peacefully protest during the national anthem?

Wonderful night for a walk.

Fun gaming with Minecraft Dungeons

Tonight I bought Minecraft Dungeons. To be honest, it might have been more of a nostalgia hit. Ever since I had my first computer, I’ve always had at least one form of dungeon crawler game installed. I also played a bit of Dungeons & Dragons as well, so the idea of a new dungeon crawler game was always going to appeal to me.

I’ve not really had a chance to delve into the game yet, but the review from The Verge paints a great picture of enjoyable the game will be.

What really makes it work, though, are the Minecraft trappings. Dungeons is a new way to explore an incredibly familiar setting. Yes, the gameplay is vastly different from the original, but there’s something satisfying about charging into a crowd of creepers while swinging a blocky sword and firing magic spells. It helps that the world is lovingly rendered and incredibly charming, from the beautiful landscapes — I especially love the desert areas — to the wonderful soundtrack. Even when you’re surrounded by pools of lava or giant gelatinous cubes, there’s something about the Minecraft aesthetic that makes it all very light and playful. Even the puzzles can be funny, like the dungeon keys that will run away when you’re attacked.

Minecraft Dungeons is a lighter, more family-friendly take on Diablo

Just downloaded iA Writer from the App Store. I forgot how wonderfully simple this editor was. Quite a few new features in here since I last used, but still simple. Love it.

Version 3.00 of my preferred typeface for coding, Iosevka, just dropped.

The over due pull request

I have a pull request that’s been sitting in Github for about two weeks now. It’s for a Rails app and the pull request includes some breaking changes. I’ve done my best to limit these breaking changes but there are some parts of the application that I need to update after the deploy.

I haven’t scheduled this into my day as I know it’s going to take a chunk out of my day so I’ve just let it lie there for the last two weeks.

I can’t put it off any longer. I’ve scheduled it in for this afternoon. I just need to get it done.

Bringing back blogs

I hate to play down the benefits of blogging, but I think the author here has a point. There used to be so many blogging platforms. Google even had a filter on their search engine for blogs. Now though, it feels like there are fewer blogs out there.

But they would be the one thing I’d bring back to the internet if I could bring one thing back. They’re the thing I miss the most and the most often. They were the most valuable thing on here, besides freer availability of news, free although low quality video content on YouTube, and I guess some kinds of social media. But blogs are something you can sit down and read and get really into to the point you forget where you even are, and think about how you want to try those things maybe in your life, or just enjoy their writing, and you can read deeper into them into past blog posts, and tune back in later and see what they’ve posted since the last things you read about them.

If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs

I think this is a bit ironic me pointing this out. I’ve definitely not been blogging as much as I have in the past. I’ve been struggling with blogging frequently again for the last two years, but the want to publish just isn’t there as much as it has been in the past.

Stay focused with context

Curtis McHale offers some important productivity advice for those working from home which you can use. And yes, that includes those of you with kids at home as well!

So take some time and evaluate the context you have around you. What steps can you take within those limits to reduce your distractions and improve your focus? Make those changes so that you can have the most productive work area that’s possible.

Setting the Context for Productivity by Curtis McHale

Star Wars meets Top Gun? I never thought I would see that happen but it does kind of work.

This demo for the latest Unreal Engine is absolutely astounding. The level of detail, lighting effects and sound add a whole new level of expectation to what the next generation of games will deliver.

After a lapse of reading, I’m back on track and finished Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo tonight. A good story and something a bit different from your usual fantasy books. 📚

The Last of Us Part II is finally getting a release date in June and the new trailer is just adding to the excitement.

Another wonderful evening stroll through the trees with Jennifer and the boys.

What better way to celebrate Star Wars day than a test of patience with a jigsaw.

A bird’s-eye view

I spent the morning finishing off a few components for a theme for my Caddieclix product. This is the fourth theme that I have done for the product. The idea is that organisations can select one of these themes for their websites and it will apply the theme’s look and feel to their own website, much like the way themes do for other content management systems.

This morning I was finishing off the fourth theme, but along the way, I felt that I got my intentions for the third and the fourth theme crossed over. It wasn’t until I took whole page screenshots of each of the themes and looked at them as images sized to my screen when I started to see where I was inconsistent in the layout of some of the themes. I could also see where I had applied the wrong styling for each of the components in the third and fourth themes.

In the last few months, I’ve been working at close range with each of these themes. I’ve been getting each of the components right for each theme and then moved onto the next one. I haven’t really taken a step back and seen if all the parts of each theme work together.

With these screenshots of each theme, though, I can see where I need to make changes to improve each theme and where I haven’t applied each theme’s styling consistently.

In the future, I’ve added a task to my theme review process so that I capture a whole web page screenshot of each theme. I’ll use this screenshot to ensure that each theme is adhering to its own design guidelines.