Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chp 611. Brexit


This has got to be the MOST gruelling one month I've ever experienced. Our game will finally release on June 30th, after two deadline extensions. We are now on our focus group testing phase, making changes wherever required, along with game economy balancing. We still need to put in a lot of effort before the launch, but I'm sure glad we are almost there now.

My TeamFortress 2 buddies even mailed me to ask if I was still alive because I haven't logged in this entire month! That speaks volumes on how busy I was with work. :(

Having said that, yeah, I didn't have time to blog at all either. I did write a couple of stuff, but then work piled up and by the time I was done, I was either too tired to continue writing or the momentum had passed. I have many unfinished blog posts, like the one I meant to publish on our YMA day, another post meant for my girl's birthday which also passed, a food related post about smoked pork, yet another post dedicated to my girlfriend's recent launch of her "Summer Breeze" collection.

I will definitely complete writing that last post when I have more free time. Right now, I just want to quickly update my blog about an important event before this momentum too passes, and that is #Brexit.

As we all know, in a historical referendum, 51.9% of British citizens voted to leave the European Union, while the remaining 48.1% voted to remain. And I'm sure we have seen our fair share of jokes and cartoons forwarded on WhatsApp and Twitter regarding this.





I'm not gonna bore you or rant about my opinion on Brexit, because clearly I don't have any solid info on this issue. My view and understanding of the matter depends on which articles I read - Leftist journals make you believe exiting is the worst possible idea, whereas Right-wing journals do the opposite. I look at my Facebook timeline feed and many of my friends who are now in the UK are extremely vocal about it. I totally understand them and why they are deeply opinionated, because after all, they are living there and its gonna affect them directly. 

Take the WhatsApp group of my batch-mates from IIMB for example. I mean, being a drop-out, I was quite surprised to be added to the group. But then again, many of them were close friends. And so, I would just keep quiet during any discussion, too shy to leave the group because they would all see that, and at the same time hesitant to take part in their discussion because they know so much more stuff than me. But even as a silent reader, what they discussed about is always deep and insightful. In other WhatsApp groups, while people were just forwarding Brexit jokes and discussing about how it might impact football (?), in this group people were talking about the actual economical impact and other possible financial outcomes.



At least I understood some of the words they were using in their conversation :D :P

See, these are the people who really know what they're talking about. Not people like me. People like me are the useless kinda breed, you know, who have no clue about the world's financial and economic affairs.

So how do I update my blog post about Brexit without any knowledge of its implications?

Well, this morning, I woke up, and even though today is a Sunday, I had to go to work. And so I quickly ordered breakfast from Zomato. When I opened the app, I got this push notification!



I mean, wowww. Just as I was approaching the land of broke-ness, zomato had to rub salt into my wounds with this! :)

With the tax season just over and Steam's ongoing "Summer Sale 2016", along with me having placed an order for the OnePlus 3, this month had been heavy on my wallet. Hence it was relieving to see such an offer :)

And so I decided to order an English breakfast combo from Where Else Café.




I went for the BROKE promo offer and I got a cool 15% off (INR 48)




A good breakfast indeed - scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, pork sausages, hash browns, grilled tomatoes and baked beans with bread toasts.



So what is so Brexit about my breakfast. Well, it was English, and I got it at a BROKE discount.

Haha, I know, very lame joke indeed. But like I said, I wanted to post at least one blog update regarding this before the momentum passes. Lolz, ok back to work for me now. Cheers. Hihiii.

:)


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Chp 610. Watching Game of Thrones legally


I know, it's that time of the year again when everybody's talking about Game of Thrones. Six episodes into this current season now, and I have already purchased my own customized GoT shirt!



Don't you just love the above quote by Tyrion? :)

And like the past few years, we are seeing a tremendous number of downloads on torrent sites again.

However, the big difference is, this year, HBO is apparently cracking down on illegal torrents. According to this article on torrentfreak, thousands of the latest GoT torrents are being removed as HBO is asking ISPs to track down those IP addresses involved in sharing.

For those who are unaware, GoT was the top pirated TV show for both 2014 and 2015. And HBO more or less used to turn a blind eye to this overwhelming statistic. 

The reason why HBO is now suddenly being so anti-piracy proactive is because they apparently want people to subscribe to their online streaming service HBONow where subscribers can watch the latest GoT episodes legally, for a small fee of course. And as one article mentioned, HBO is targeting only Americans who are downloading through torrent because after all, HBONow is available only in the US. So for the rest of the world, I guess it is still pretty much safe to continue with torrent.

Here's the thing about popular TV shows and piracy. Many of us aren't downloading the latest episodes from torrent just because they are free. People like us have no other option but to download from torrent sites because (a) The show is currently not available in our country, (b) The legal streaming options are also not available in our country, (c) Even if such shows run on our cable channels (like here in India for example), they are shown much much later. By then, everybody already knows all the spoilers. (d) And even if the option to watch episodes online legally are available, many of us have bad internet connection and cannot watch it via streaming. Last but not the least, (e) Censorship!

For me, personally, the reason why I download GoT episodes from torrent is because of that last point. Censorship. Aaarrrghhh. I hate it when scenes are censored out. And I am not talking about the nudity or sex scenes. Lolz, believe me, if I want porn, there are much better sources for that :P I care about censored scenes because cutting them out makes you lose sense of the ongoing plot. Take the very first episode of Season 1 for example that aired on cable here. Bran climbs up the tower. Bran peeks into the window. Suddenly Jamie Lannister appears out of nowhere and pushes him down. Why? Because censorship.

And here in India, they not only censor out all the "hot" scenes, but all the "gory death" scenes as well. I once made the mistake of watching "The Pacific" on cable. I am a huge fan of war drama, and "Band of Brothers" is one of my all-time favorite mini-series. But that day, as I sat on my beanbag in front of my TV, all excited about watching "The Pacific", hehe I was sooooo disappointed. Nothing made sense because they censored out all the death scenes. Suddenly, important characters were no longer in the show. And I had no idea what the hell happened to them because the scene where a head was split open by a sniper or where a marine stepped on a mine and blew himself to smithereens were all censored out. It was only when I downloaded the same TV show from torrent that I finally understood the story!

Coming back to the topic of Game of Thrones, yeah, this year, when I heard hotstar was going to screen the series to their premium subscribers here in India, I immediately signed up. I was ecstatic because FINALLY, I had the option of watching the show legally.

Here are the Pros and Cons of watching Game of Thrones via hotstar.


PROS:

1. It costs just INR 199 a month, with the first month being free. That's cheaper than my daily cigarette pack.

2. The biggest problem with being a GoT TV fan (yeah I haven't read the books) is the show timing. It airs in the US on Sunday 9 PM ET, which is Monday 6:30 AM IST here. Monday means work. Back then, I had two options - (a) download from torrent after work, and (b) download from torrent before work. The problem with option "a" is that by the time you come back from work at the end of the day, you already know all the spoilers because of your asshole friends on social media :) And the problem with option "b" is that you not only end up going late to work, but all the early torrents don't have any subtitles for the Dothraki and Valyrian parts yet, not to mention poor video quality. The legal version solved all those problems.

3. Hotstar really listens to their subscribers' feedback. The past few episodes, many subscribers asked for English subtitles. And the latest episode came with English subtitles!

4. Flexibility – Out of the 6 episodes released so far this year, I didn't have internet at home on two occasions (thanks Reliance), and so I went to office earlier than usual, and logged-in to my hotstar premium account to watch the show before most of my colleagues reached office.





5. And last but not the least, the hotstar stream version is uncensored. Totally. :)


Now here are some of the CONS:

1. Hotstar accepts only credit cards as of now, so for the large majority of debit card users out there, you can't become a premium subscriber yet.

2. Though I mentioned in point #2 of the PROS that I can now watch the show before going to work, it is still not early enough. The latest episodes are available around 7:45 - 8:00 AM IST (an hour after it is aired in the US). So yeah I still end up reaching office a bit late, though you won't have a problem if you have a different schedule.

And of course you might ask, why don't I just watch in office like the two times above when I didn't have internet at home. Well, did I not mention it's an uncensored version? Yeah, it was not comfortable at all with colleagues walking around while I was watching the show. I had to be alert all the time to switch windows quickly whenever I suspected a boob was going to appear on the screen. :D

And so that's my experience of watching GoT legally online. A fine experience, and it fills you with a good feeling of doing something legally finally :D

Cheers then. Until the next episode. For the Door.