Friday, May 15, 2015

Is Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm's matchmaking still broken?

Anyone care to guess who won this game?

I didn't have a teammate above level 24. And I had at least 5 times as many games played as all my teammates.

Uh, yeah. We lost. Hard.

I had been on quite the losing streak lately due to the old 0 healers vs. 1 healer team comp issue. So I thought I'd switch over to LiLi.

Wins are in green. Losses are ... not in green.

Suddenly I was on the 1-healer team. And there were no healers on the other team. Huzzah!

And then I saw my teammates spend the first 10 minutes of the game all grouping in one lane while I scrambled to rotate to empty lanes to keep pace with the opposing team's XP. Gaining XP early is generally regarded as a good strategy.

And then we got to level 10. And my teammates inexplicably split up. Everyone was running around on their own grabbing watch towers, trying to do solo coin turn ins and other terrible ideas.

And the opposing team stayed together as a rolling 5-person death ball ... easily picking off all my solo teammates.

I think I typed "group up" into the allied chat 10 times during the game. I even started forecasting teammate deaths as they ran off on their own. No one seemed to care.

Blowout loss. Morale low.

I couldn't help but do some investigating. Here's what I found ...

My team:


See any big differences there in terms of Player Level and games played?

And now let's have a look at the opposing team:

Not exactly mind-blowing that they understood the fundamentals of laning early and then grouping late.

In case you missed it, all of the above adds up this:

Is this what I should continue to expect from Quick Match matchmaking?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Turns out the Apple Watch battery is great

I take back everything I said in my previous post. Seems that my first day with the Apple Watch was not at all like a normal day. Probably too much fussing with the settings.

In the last week, I've commonly woken up at 7am, done an hour long outdoor activity with GPS and heart rate and all that and gone to bed around 11pm. I've had the normal amount of updates received and texts sent from the phone. 
And with all that activity, my watch is usually around 30% when I go to bed. 
And my phone easily lasts all day too. No mid day charge required. Seems an iPhone 6 (regular) can easily handle an all day blue tooth connection. 
Thumbs up all around for the Apple Watch. Excelsior!

Power reading from early evening on a normal day.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My First Day With The Apple Watch

I liked Siri. I love the Apple Watch.
So it's been about 24 hours. Here's the thing: I was the guy that used Siri. I'd be on a dog walk and I'd ask Siri to read me a new message. I'd be driving the car and I'd use Siri to remind me to watch a movie later that night. I used what I thought was one of the most useful tools out there ... all the time.

I've come to learn that I'm the only person on the planet that used Siri. And the Apple Watch is a very useful and very accessible visual version of Siri.

Getting an update and seeing it quickly on your watch is as fantastic as I thought it'd be.

As much as I love my phone ... and I use it all the time, I really do like the idea of keeping it in my pocket more often.

The watch allows you to do just that.
  1. Get a wrist tap (and a sound too if you like).
  2. Glance at your wrist.
  3. If it's an update from ESPN, read it and hit dismiss. Or don't even read it. Just lower your wrist.
  4. If it's a text or something you want to respond to, quickly respond by dictating your response aloud. Or by choosing from a pre-set number of quick responses. (You can also set up your own quick responses by the way).
  5. Phone stays in pocket throughout.
And your phone doesn't even bother lighting up assuming you get the update on your watch. The phone and the watch are pretty much one device. One is not a copy of the other. 

Siri on your wrist is even better than Siri on your phone.

I know no one uses her, but you can simply raise your wrist and say "Hey Siri, set my calendar for the Bulls game tomorrow at 5pm." Then press OK.
And that's that. The calendar is set. No need to pause in between "Hey Siri" and whatever you're going to say. No need to listen to Siri dictate it back to you. No need to press anything at all to engage Siri. 
I'm begging you people. Use Siri. If not now, when?

Customization overload. In a good way.

This is the screen that allows you to customize the "modular" watch face.
All of the gray boxes can be set to whatever you want: calendar, date, temperature, stopwatch, activity, battery life, world clock. It's fantastic. Only issue is I can't figure out the perfect item for my lower right box. What's more ridiculous than first world problems? 0th world problems?
And that's just the one watch face. There are many to choose from.
I'd consider using a lot of the available faces. And you can color coordinate each face. I like the blue for the second hand on the face above. And yet I like yellow for the "modular" watch face.

The apps and features are mostly great. If not a little clunky here and there.

You kinda get that nostalgic feeling of using the iPhone 1 here and there. In such cases, I recommend just removing that app from the watch and waiting for an update.
Some apps really make sense though.
I love having the ongoing heart rate tracker.
Not pictured, but also awesome, the watch dings if you've sat around for too long and reminds you to get up and move around for a couple minutes. It also tells you "Hey, you're good. Sit on back down."
You can always have the temp on your watch face. Clicking it though brings up the hourly which I think is laid out really well.
Shazam. The watch is perfect for it. No more awkwardly holding your phone upside down in the direction of the speaker. Bonus: Shazam can even hear what TV show you're watching.
Not advertised clearly, but the "What's Playing" glance can control music, podcasts, 3rd party apps (like Downcast) nicely ... you can control whatever is playing.

The iPhone app is required for making serious updates to your settings.

Not that I mind that. It makes a lot of sense. I mean, you *can* update the settings on your watch, but why ... when a great full phone size interface is waiting.
Easily move your apps around and put them where you want them.
Adjust which apps use "Glances" on your watch ... the feature that you can access at any time by swiping up from the bottom. And then view the latest score, tweet, weather, etc.

Battery life is *NOT* going to be an issue.

Maybe it's just because I'm fussing over my watch wayyyyyyy more than I will be down the line, but my watch is at 59% at 1pm. 
  • I woke up at 7am.
  • Did quite a bit of app updates and settings adjustments while watching Chelsea.
  • Used the watch to track a 3 mile walk with Steve.
  • And now I'm here.
I think I'll have to take the watch off before bed time to charge it. Maybe I'm wrong. We'll see.
Oh and your iPhone requires a constant bluetooth connection to the watch in order to take advantage of all the functionality. My iPhone battery life was at 60% after the dog walk. I'm charging it right now. Which is a bummer because I recently remarked on just how amazing the battery life was on an iPhone 6 with iOS 8. I was battery-life-carefree for months now. Looks like those days are over. Seems the watch will put me back into battery watch mode.
Hopefully software updates can help with this. We'll see. This is the only major downside I've found so far. Which I could certainly see being enough of a reason for a potential buyer to become ... not a potential buyer.
Turns out I was way off about the battery - both for the iPhone and the watch. See my updated post here.

Obviously *I* love the dang thing.

As ridiculous as it sounds, it's so convenient to quickly take in info by just raising your wrist. Somehow it feels 1,000% easier than reaching into your pocket, pulling out your phone and pushing the home button to see the same info. (See the 0th world problem reference above.)
However, if you don't think the watch is for you, it probably isn't. Trust your instincts. Battery life is potentially a big problem for both the watch and the phone. And certain apps are downright not ready for use.
But, as an "Apple Guy" that likes to stay current, I'm in. I mean, just look at it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Story of Glory - World of Warcraft Noobs Cruise

This is my favorite story of my days playing WoW and I recently submitted it to DLC with the hopes it'll be read on the air. Figured I should post it here as well.

When 5 of my college buddies and I decided to buy World of Warcraft and start a guild themed around the movie Point Break, safe to say we were ... impatient.

We all got to level 10 or 20 or so and decided it was time for our Horde guild to take it to the Alliance.

Keeping in mind we were on a PVP server, we somehow didn't die to any of the hundreds of level 30+ Alliance players between Orgrimmar and Stormwind and made our way to the dock - the dock for the Alliance.
Still don't know how we all made our way here without dying.
We snuck our way onto the Alliance ship that departs from the Alliance friendly dock and eventually lands in a neutral spot on the Horde side.

We literally hid from the NPC guards until the ship departed and then, since we couldn't attack the Alliance players on the boat right away, we'd "befriend them" by dancing and doing other things. The Alliance players, while confused, would always end up dancing too and "hanging out" with us.

Then, the loading screen would appear. And the Noobs Cruise began. Me and the guildies (Johnny Utah, Angelo Pappas and the like) would take advantage of our PVP server and massacre our new Alliance friends on their own ship.

For non WoW players, the loading screen represented the programmed transition from the Alliance friendly side of the game to a neutral PVP zone. That is, the transition from us not being allowed to attack Alliance players over to ... game on.

We made 3 or 4 laps that night and massacred a dozen or so confused Alliance players who never knew they had set sail on ... the Noobs Cruise.
Grommet napping in the cabin waiting for the cruise to begin.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Horns on Jam by Michael Jackson vs. Horns on Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars

Not that I'm upset about Bruno Mars attempting to make this kind of music popular again, but hard to deny the similarities in the horns.

Jam by Michael Jackson (4 minute 50 second mark)

Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars (1 minute 16 second mark)

It ain't too much for me to funk you up ... if you will.