Stuff

I’ve been working on my ‘backend’ setup for awhile, the last few weeks I’ve basically just been letting things go to see how stable they are — as far as I can tell they’ve been great. I’m planning on a post or two detailing some of my experiences running my own VPS with digital ocean, and what I miss from shared hosting. For instance, I took email for granted. I’m still not sure if my SIMPLE AND BASIC forward (neo@kupatrix) works or not; I’ve been running into an issue with gmail auto-flagging system emails from my backend as spam :(

Listening to VG Music from the Past

ChronoFanArt

I’ve been going through my files, some date back to ancient times, when dialup was standard, and blinking html was cool. In the past I used to have a Drupal-powered website, this was before I learned about WordPress, and I admit that I enjoyed it, I don’t think I really had that much trouble with it, but as far as a running a single person site, it seemed overkill. Eventually I moved on to WordPress, but in doing so I wiped my old site clean, along with it some various sections and files. Why does any of that matter?

Well I used to have a cool little mini-guide on playing SPC or PSF/2 files in Winamp. Earlier I came across my old “music” folder on a backup and it had some Final Fantasy game rars, along with Winamp 2.95, and SNESamp (a plugin for winamp that enables playback of snes SPC music files). Currently I’m listening to Chrono Trigger music — the really cool thing about this, is that it’s not just converted, it’s literally the same sounds you hear when playing the actual game.

Recently I’ve been adding a lot of random pics to my stash section, however I think I’ll detour from the mindless graphics to vg music, it would be sort of fun to recreate my old guides.

Moving from Shared to VPS: Goodbye Dreamhost, Hello Digital Ocean

Stream of Light PSP

I happened across a promo deal with this startup canadian company, offering seemingly crazy “one-time cost” VPS hosting. And I thought, what the heck I’ll go for it. So $35 later I’ve got my own VPS. Which is a scary thought since I’m prone to break things… except on a VPS that’s not a problem! After I broke and re-imaged the server a few times I was starting to get the hang of things. I’ve never been a complete novice when it comes to command line stuff (after all I am a web geek), but I’ve not at all a “sysadmin”. Boy did I have a lot to learn!

At any rate I thought having a VPS was fun, plus it was amazing how fast things were. I honestly didn’t know that WordPress’s Admin area could actually so responsive and quick. I was hooked. I decided “I want this for my main sites”, and so I proceed to make that happen.

However, I wasn’t going to pin everything to this startup, so far they’ve been great, and the VPS I bought from them is still up and running perfectly, but I definitely wasn’t going to throw up my 7~ year old sites on a brand new company like that.

I’ve always known about Linode, it has sort of been “When you’re ready for serious hosting, go to Linode” in my mind. I had actually been set to sign up with them, even if they were a bit more expensive but eventually I decided to go in a different direction. There’s a newer VPS provider that’s been making waves lately called Digital Ocean. Their prices certainly can’t be beat, but one of the other draws they have is that they offer SSD hosting. And damn are they fast, I can’t gush enough about how freaking fast they are! It was definitely worth the “hassle” of having to set things up myself.

So far I’ve been with them for a few days, and through the use of rsync, mysql dumps and imports, and a nifty search and replace windows program (to fix mysql database path stuff), all my big sites are back up and running on my super fast VPS. I’ll likely make a few posts regarding the technical aspects of moving hosts, since aside from some of the Digital Ocean tutorials/articles, most Linux “How Tos” are extremely confusing and/or out of date and/or just obtuse.

I would like to give a shout out to Dreamhost, my previous hosting. Shared hosting is a great place to start off, and their custom panel is definitely a painful loss. Having to do things manual now is quite a pain, and don’t even get me started on setting up email!  I actually found Dreamhost to be extremely useful in helping me prepare my move. The fact that they offer you shell access for shared accounts was a godsend, I couldn’t imagine having to manually download my file hosting sites and then slowly uploading them to my VPS over days, or even a week or longer.

EDIT: For anyone interested in Dreamhost, feel free to use my KUPATRIX promo code, it’s one I setup ages ago, offers a free domain for as long as you’re with Dreamhost, and has a discount, though I forget for how much

The one thing I was surprised about was that there were no specific articles about moving from Dreamhost to Digital Ocean, I would have figured DO would have had one themselves, or at least someone somewhere had written about it. At the least I figured I would post a few articles on my experiences.

FF14: Thoughts So Far

ff14 logo

ff14 logoI’ve been busy lately tinkering with my site, but I thought I’d like to post something before too many days go by. So let’s talk FF14! For the record I have a level 50 Monk (finished the story quests!), and three level 50 crafters (Goldsmith, Culinarian, Carpenter), and 1 level 50 gatherer (Miner). I have some scattered lowbie fighter classes too, like a Lancer too 22~ sort of thing.

My first impression of this game was back during the beta, and I was amazed. To put things into perspective, I never pre-order games unless I’m absolutely sure I’m going to enjoy them. Basically I’ve only ever done this twice: Starcraft II, and Mists of Pandaria. However after Beta Phase four, I jumped to pre-order it asap.

Now, let’s be fair, there are some negatives in this game, for instance the animation lock takes some getting used too (and IMO is a big failing of the gameplay). Now only are your skills determined by a global cooldown, they’re also limited by various animations. You can’t chain-cast off-the-GCD buffs (eg: like in WoW). This isn’t necessarily bad per se, but it is a but off-putting coming from a game as smooth as WoW is. There’s also quirks relating to dodging aoe effects (usually seems like “lag”), and some of the classes seem a bit out-of-balance. And some other stuff I’ll touch on further down.

But otherwise? This game is absolutely gorgeous. Even the gear sets at lower levels are cool, granted the quest reward ones you end up with are dyed really funkily, but that’s part of the fun! It’s been awhile for me playing a Final Fantasy, so ARR really struck it out of the park as far as graphics are concerned. It also gives off a vaguely Ivalice feel (see:FF12). Something else to note: The attack animations themselves are pretty cool as well, especially the limit breaks.

Storywise this game is pretty solid as well. Coming from WoW, it was a different experience for me to play the hero as you do in ARR. No longer is it a “group of heroes defeated big bad lore bad guy” it’s, “you defeated it!”, which gives it a sort of a solo-game feel, yet in an MMO world.

Gameplay is where this MMO loses a couple of steps; I already mentioned the animation thing up above but there are some other things: After you get to level 50 as one fighter class (Discipline of War), you really don’t have any quests to do to level up a second one. Since most DoW classes aren’t technically finished until they pickup a 2nd or 3rd skill from a level 3x class it means that one of the cool draws of this game is steeped in some major grinding. The most efficient way to level is via FATEs, which are sort of random-fights that spawn in various location that involve defeating a group of enemies, protecting an NPC, defeating a ‘boss’ monster, etc… However, to be blunt, I can’t imagine anything more boring (And I leveled a Miner to 50 before they got an experience boost!). Dungeons are technically viable, but if you’re a DPS class, expect to have a long wait.

Another issue is the disparity between melee and ranged DPS, it is extremely punishing to play a Dragoon or Monk in a serious boss fight. I’ve also heard that Warrior tanks are seeing balance issues as well.

Still this game is fun for me, personally I’ve decided to focus on Crafting (hence my lack of posts lately, I’ve been recouping some of the gil I lost leveling Carpentry and letting my level allowance grow) so I can eventually be super self-sufficient… and/or rake in tons and tons of gil, muahahaha!

Slider Quirkiness

I’ve been working with Catch Box, this theme I found on the wordpress theme directory, and so far I’ve been really impressed, it’s not too difficult to modify to suit my needs, but I just wanted to post about some quirkiness in relation to the slider: It actually changes height depending on the length of the excerpt. This happens to push content down, or pull it up, depending on which slide is being shown. Sort of annoying, eh? How did I fix it? Added the following to the CSS:

#slider {max-height:280px!important;width:auto;}
#slider a {display:block!important;}