Garmin Venu 3

I’ve been using Garmin Vivoactive 4 for quite some time. But a couple of months ago, I discovered that Vivoactive 5 was released, so I thought I’d give it a try. It turns out, though, that Vivoactive is now the budget solution that lacks some features like a step counter, and the Venu 3 is instead the upgrade path from Vivoactive 4 moving forward.
Externally, Venu 3 looks very similar to Vivoactive 4. You really need to squint to see the differences: three buttons instead of two, and the bezel is now ridged. The screen is different, though. The technology has moved forward at least there, and now it’s always-on AMOLED. Much brighter and nicer for sure. Sound is back as well.
Which is funny, I had a Casio 20 years ago that had an alarm, but then I moved to Pebble and Pebble Time, which were silent, and to Vivoactive 4, which was silent as well. So it’s the first time in 20 years I hear a watch beep on my hand.

PC Gaming

Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

Completed Excavation of Hob’s Barrow.
What a beautiful game.
I like how modern point’n’click adventures respect your time. I suck at those games, I really do. But with this game, I didn’t need a walkthrough once. I didn’t even get stuck for more than 10 minutes. Even at the barrow, when you have to do some password picking, there are plenty of clues, and the password is pretty much written down in front of you.
It is indeed very lovecraftian. It doesn’t try to scare you, though, not directly. There are no “screamers”, and nobody actually dies, imagine that!
An archeologist is invited to excavate a barrow. She discovers that her father, who fell into a coma 25 years ago, is the one that excavated it previously. She’s then told that if she removed the seal that he placed, he will come back to his senses.
But it’s all an elaborate lie, of course. Some of the villagers are interested in releasing the ancient god that was sealed in the barrow, and it seeks revenge. Beautiful story, brilliantly voiced by some great actors.


I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

Completed “I am Pilgrim”. Officially the worst book I’ve read in years.
The only positive thing about this book is that the author shoots in all directions, so to say.
He criticizes EU immigration policies, and failures to expel illegal migrants even with radical Islamist background.
Funny how the book constantly betrays the idea of “show don’t tell”. The reader is constantly told how good of an agent and investigator Scott is. But he’s nothing but. He’s impatient, anxious, arrogant, can’t control his temper, falls for the simplest of tricks and speaks to himself in front of others betraying literal secrets. Almost a parody.

PC Gaming

Excavation of Hob’s Barrow

A Lovecraftian point’n’click adventure, similar to Shadow of the Comet. Feels a bit like the Last Door too.

Thomasina, an expert on barrows, is invited to a remote village in the UK to inspect a strange barrow.
Uncharacteristically, there’s is a kind of “Mass Effect dialog system”, where you often have to choose if you want to be pleasant, rude, or to deflect a question or an ask.

You can see this isn’t ScummVM when the character moves to the background. The pixels are too dense, and also the shadows are too modern.


Deanston Virgin Oak

9th bottle from my Advent Calendar, this one is absolutely disgusting. Yes, they sell this stuff that smells like alcohol and tastes just a tad better for 33GBP. But then you could grab heavenly Aberlour for the same price sometimes. So this is just an offence to any whiskey lover, really.

Emulation PC Gaming

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty

I always thought that New ‘n’ Tasty is just a remaster of Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. Turns out it’s a complete remake. I never played Abe’s Odyssey, so I gave it a try as well.


And I think I prefer the remake better.


The game itself is a puzzle-platformer, akin to Another World, featuring mostly defenceless or at least not very heavily armed hero that needs to sneak past or cleverly incapacitate his enemies.
At later stages he also gets the ability to possess enemies, ride a local version of Yoshi and there are also some weird “puzzles” where you need to repeat a sequence of notes after other Mudakons.


One notable feature that the remake didn’t need, though, are particles flying into the camera:

It’s ingenius.

*.DOC *.MP3

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

The fact that a book is promoted doesn’t mean it’s any good. This one isn’t.
The hero is a Mary Sue. The youngest in the Service, bla-bla. Shoots his boss because he’s working for the Russians. Gets his job. Yeah, right. Also, he’s the adopted son of a millionaire, so it’s not an issue for him to retire at 30 and do whatever he likes. Like writing the best book about criminal investigation ever. Because why not.
Storytelling is amateurish. The author wanted to tell the story from the first person, but then decided he needed to tell another story from 10 years ago, which is supposed to be based on accounts of interrogations, but contains details nobody would mention, like what was going on in the head of a terrorist, or his soon-to-be dead victims. Amateurish.

PS4 Sony

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

After beating all three installments, I decided to try and play against human opponents.
First, even though I already paid for the console and the game, I had to subscribe to PS Plus. Without it, the multiplayer just doesn’t work.
And then… there are no opponents. For the whole evening, I had just two matches with a single opponent. That beat me twice. And the lags were abysmal. For the next evening, I had one opponent, that got disconnected after the first match. I have a feeling I won’t be extending my subscription to PS Plus.

*.BAK Hardware

WorkSharp Benchtop Knife Sharpener

It all started with a Facebook ad.
I had a Vulkanus pullthrough sharpener for at least 5 years. But then I saw an ad for a strange rolling knife sharpener called Tumbler, or something like that.
After a short investigation, I discovered that it’s a cheap Chinese knockoff of HORL knife sharpener:
And unlike Tumbler, HORL is actually considered a good sharpener. Then I started digging deeper. And turns out there isn’t as much choice among knife sharpeners, as one would expect. There’s unimaginatively named Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpener line, and then there’s WorkSharp, that produces both manual and electric sharpeners.
A lot of sharpening enthusiasts were swearing by the WorkSharp Field Sharpener. But since I didn’t need something too compact, I decided to get the benchtop version.
After sharpening half of my knifes, I can confirm, that it’s good, very good. Not something for people in a hurry.



This comics is best known for its animated adaptation and the memes it produced.

Basically, it’s a comics about the son of Superman. That also tries to make fun of comics. Like Watchmen. And The Boys. And plenty of others, I guess.
Here’s a meta-joke:


Jokes asides, though, this technique is actually pretty good:

PS4 Sony

Nier Replicant

Story wise, there are two siblings, one of which, Yonah, is sick with some curse. Her brother finds a talking White Book, that is supposed to heal her, if he finds the Black Book. This is all set in a post apocalyptic world that fell into Middle Ages
I tried to play the original Nier back in the day on Xbox360. The English version protagonist was a middle aged man, Yonah father. Then when the remake came out I discovered that in the Japanese version it was always Yonah’s brother, a teenager.
Most interesting part of the game is the camera work. Usually it’s just a free 3rd person view. But sometimes it would switch to a sidescroller, or a top down view.
The gameplay is quite boring, that’s why I dropped it the first time. It’s a mix of ARPG and slasher mechanics. It’s interesting though, that the game has some selfawareness. At one point, Weiss asks the hero what he thinks about the stupid errands everyone gives him. At another point, the hero asks why a girl he meets is wearing just a lingerie: a common fantasy trope for sure.


Eureka Mignon Libra coffee grinder

Some more impressions.
The indirect grind control is indeed very nice. With Compak, you had to hold it with both hands to rotate. Here, you can do it with two fingers.
It is extremely precise once dialed. All my shots come out at exactly 35s.
That is, until you change the beans. And to be fair, I changed the beans 3 times, and everything was fine. But the beans from Back to Black just stopped the grinder dead, I had to remove them completely and start again.

PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes (PSX)

Impressed that the upgrades actually alter the car looks a bit:

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It’s nice that until the final tournament, you don’t have to grind money at all. It’s just all natural progression. For the final tournament that requires 500K cars though, you will have to grind a bit. Here’s the funny part, though. You can either do the Grand Touring Competition tournament for a 100K prize, or the International Supercar Series tournament for a 175K prize. But, the second tournament is much, much harder: the cars like Lamborghini Diablo SV and Ferrari F50 are very prone to losing control, and quite a few tracks have rain conditions, which only worsens the situation. This tournament is not fun. At all. Instead, you can literally cruise through the first tournament on the Ferrari 550, and get what you want with less effort, and less real-time.
The last tournament takes place on a completely new set of tracks. And although McLaren F1 GTR is a beauty to behold, PSX aesthetics aside, and a pleasure to drive, I feel like this tournament requires to much planning for me to care.




Finished reading the Shigurui manga. It’s a very impressive work, both in terms of writing and visuals. Yes, there are some detours just to add brutality to brutality, like the story about the “frog” swordsman.
But despite those detours, I appreciate the fact that it’s a complete story.
At first, I thought it’s a story of revenge. But thinking about it some more, I think Shigurui is all about loyalty. Gennosuke wants to avenge his master. Not because it was just in any way: his master was a demented psychopath. But only because he was his master. That’s it.


Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus GC513

Because I suffer from tunnel vision while playing games and generally have a bad memory, I like to record my gameplay. On PC, it’s usually easy: just use GeForce Experience. PS4 can capture 15 minutes of gameplay. Nintendo Switch captures 30 seconds. But older consoles, such as PS2, can’t capture video at all, and I noticed that I stopped playing them for that reason alone.
Now I already have a basic capture card that works surprisingly well. However, it requires OBS. This means that I can either have my console close to the PC or have a laptop close to the TV, which is a nuisance, to be honest.
So, I decided to get a “PC-free Capture Card” instead. Those are quite rare. Elgato 4K60 S+ is one, but it’s not produced anymore. I tried to get it on eBay but lost my bid.
Therefore, I decided to give Avermedia a try. They actually have two models with SD cards: the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus and the EZRecorder 330. The latter supports HDD drivers, which is nice, but doesn’t support OBS.
I feel now that I was lucky that I lost the bid, as LGP2 simply works. You put a microSD card in, connect ins and outs, press the big button, and it records stuff at 1080p and 60fps. Tested of Neo Geo + RetroTink 5X for now.

20 minutes of video results in a 3GB file.
Once you want to transfer the video, you can either eject the card, or alternatively, connect the entire device through USB and flip a switch to transfer mode.

Initially I didn’t want Avermedia because it looked very “gamery”, with all the red plastic. But seeing it in real-life, it’s actually okay.

Nintendo Switch

MiG Switch

Something I didn’t think would be possible: a Flash Card for Switch. But it’s apparently true. No need to solder anything, and it should be able to play every XCI:


I don’t need one at the moment, but it’s an interesting development.


Reacher S01

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Reacher. And it’s okay. Which means it’s probably better than 90% of the stuff out there. The actors are actually good. The fights are good. Reacher is interestingly compared to Frankestein’s Monster: he’s huge, and everyone is afraid of him. It’s funny how the gun he gets is a Desert Eagle. Fitting his size.


It is also impressive that they didn’t neglect to make a point of how big of a exit wound a .50 caliber bullet leaves.


Also, they did the Georgia accent well: Roscoe is asking this “wa” instead of “why”. “Why did you lie?” becomes “wajuly?”. Willa Fitzgerald is very good.



Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir

Finished listening to Project Hail Mary. I hope I’ll never hear the words “petrovascope” and “astrophage” again.
Jokes aside, though, it’s a solid piece of science fiction, with some emphasis on science.

PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes (PSX)

PSX version of High Stakes misses quite a lot compared to PC version. There’s no cockpit view. The weather effects are almost non existing. Just 4 leagues and no modes besides Tournament. So, it’s a High Stakes without the “High Stakes”.
But it has a few advantages as well. First, lighting is surprisingly better than on PC. Especially lens flares. And upgrades actually make a difference in this version, making it more playable that the brutal PC version.

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PC Gaming PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes

I fondly remember Need for Speed 4 from my childhood. I had a friend who was really good at this game, unlocked all the cars, while I always was terrible at racing games, so I didn’t even manage to complete the first tournament race.
So, I decided to revisit it. And it is still brutal. You need to pay entrance fee for most tournaments. You car gets damaged and needs repairs. To compete in eponymous “High Stakes” race, where you stake your car against opponents, you need an extra car.
At first I thought that upgrades, tucked away in one of the menus, will help. But it’s quite pointless, since opponent cars are upgraded as well.
Some of the tracks are extrucicating. With 8 laps, they take 15 minutes of real time. And this is before modern racing features such as time rewind and guidelines.

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