Ramblings

Linux – I’m giving up again

Ideals and patronizing Microsoft policies be damned – I’m coming back to you, Windows.

Every few years, I have a brief stint with Linux as my primary operating system (dual booting with Windows for gaming etc.). Each time I try Linux, I hope “they” have finally fixed all the little annoying details that made me quit last time. And this time, I thought it was finally for real, and I lasted longer than ever before. But in the end, like every other time, I left disappointed.

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Gaming

Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Like so many other open-world games, The Witcher 3 is way too big for its own good.

I’ve long been a fan of Andrzej Sapkowski’s world of The Witcher, centering on the professional monster slayer Geralt of Rivia who tries and utterly fails to stay away from grand politics, intrigue and conspiracies. Having enjoyed Sapkowski’s seven novels and CD Project Red’s first two games in the series, I was looking forward to the much hyped third installment. To quote its product page on Steam, it boasts of a large open world “full of meaningful choices and impactful consequences”, and I’ve traditionally quite liked those kinds of games. What could go wrong?

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Books

Why you should read 1984

1984 is the kind of book you dearly wish were pure fiction, but unfortunately isn’t.

What if the mere act of independent thought was punishable by torture and death? What if we lived in a society where you constantly had to delude yourself to keep up with the government’s public manipulation and falsification of historical records, to such an extent that you even had to forget about deluding yourself or indeed that any such forgetting ever took place?

Welcome to the dystopian world of 1984, where the constant audiovisual surveillance by the Thought Police on behalf of the all-powerful Party is all but successful in eradicating individualism – forever.

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Gaming

Review: Tales from the Borderlands

Despite Telltale’s best efforts, Borderlands is still best enjoyed aiming down the sights of randomly generated guns.

The Borderlands games have managed the impressive feat of carving out a distinct identity and firmly staying put against a tidal wave of ever more monotonous first-person shooters. The strength of the franchise has been a core of loot-driven, trigger-happy run-and-gun FPS gameplay with RPG elements, wrapped in a generous helping of wacky humor. This makes Telltale Games’ spin on the Borderlands universe an interesting one, entirely swapping out the FPS mechanics with the now genre-standard conversation-driven adventure format. I’m intrigued by a Borderlands game where your strongest weapon is your wit, but while they certainly nail the absurd humor, I could to without the halfhearted attempts at adding drama to the mix.

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Diary

Fire ikke-faglige ting du bør få ut av en doktorgrad

Om at vitenskapen er ikke så glamorøs som man kan tro fra utsiden, og et par ting til.

I forrige innlegg reflekterte jeg litt over det å avslutte doktorgraden. Jeg nevnte der at begrepet «filosofi» i graden Philosophiae Doctor ble brukt i ordets opprinnelige greske betydning, «kjærlighet til visdom». Kunnskapstørsthet skorter det sannelig ikke på her i gården, og det er jo klart at man bør trives med å ha en sterk faglig fokus når man virkelig skal fordype seg i og forske på ett enkelt emne i tre år. Men en doktorgrad bør også få deg til å reflektere over mer generelle ting enn bare faget ditt.

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Diary

Noen tanker om en fullført doktorgrad

Paradokser, klissete metaforer og hvorfor videregående var vanskeligere.

Etter tre år som doktorgradsstudent kan jeg nå, helt på ordentlig, legge bak meg opptil flere kapitler i livet mitt. Fredag 21. oktober disputerte jeg for doktorgraden min, og etter et par timer med utspørring fra to av verdens fremste eksperter på det jeg driver med, kunne komiteen meddele at de hadde funnet meg verdig tittelen og at jeg endelig kunne kalle meg Philosophiae Doctor, eller Ph.D. Continue reading “Noen tanker om en fullført doktorgrad”

Gaming

Review: Republique

Republique completely fails to follow through on its solid elevator pitch.

Imagine a high-tech Orwellian dystopia. A teenage girl known as 390-H (or Hope, as she calls herself) is caught with an illegal political manifesto and scheduled for “recalibration”, an unexplained but undoubtedly nefarious process. Using a cellphone, she contacts you – the player, a mysterious entity in an undisclosed location – and begs for help. Your task is then to help her escape by jumping between the ubiquitous surveillance cameras in the strange facility, hacking doors and other equipment, and telling Hope where and when it’s safe to go in order to avoid patrolling guards.

The elevator pitch is great, but sadly, Republique completely fails in delivering a satisfying, cohesive experience.

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Gaming

Review: Oxenfree

The most natural conversation system I’ve seen in a game combined with excellent voice acting makes this five-hour experience a worthwhile one.

I’ve never attempted to hide the fact that I’m a sucker for big open-world games with complex mechanics. But games can be so much more than that. In particular, I’m fond of short and focused games that know what they want and how to get it across succinctly, without pointless filler content. Oxenfree is just such a game.

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Gaming

Review: Life is Strange

Life is Strange touches on important topics and, despite some flaws, is well worth experiencing.

Most games lack complex characters with any depth at all. Most games steer clear away from important topics and issues. Most games do not concern themselves with evoking more complex emotions than “I’m having fun”.

Thankfully, Life is Strange isn’t like most games.

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Tech

The Mythical Man-Month: Too obsolete to be useful today

Review of “The Mythical Man-Month” by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

One cannot venture far into the world of software engineering literature without hearing about The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. The book is consistently hailed as a classic, so in my quest to grow as a software practitioner I decided to shell out and see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, being written in 1975 (re-issued in 1995 with minor changes to the original material), it seems so out of date now that I doubt it can have more than academic appeal.

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