February 23, 2018

Beginner Tips and Hints to Playing Cities: Skylines

Steam recently offered a free weekend play of Cities: Skylines, so I gladly took up the offer. Long story short, a few nights of sleep deprivation later, I had some thoughts and tips on what to look out for as a new beginner to this game.

Shun Away From Walkthroughs/Guides/FAQs Until You Have A Few Hours Under Your Belt

Seriously, I mean it. Close this tip page and come back after you have tried the game. Cities: Skylines can be overwhelming and everything that you read beforehand will likely be forgotten or not make sense to you before your first game. I suggest getting your hands dirty, have a general feel of what is going on, before reading up on tips and guides to better understand some of the nuances and game play.

Resist The Urge To Restart Or Reload At The Beginning

At the beginning. you are likely going to stumble a lot while discovering the game. The urge to reload or restart is strong but I suggest to let it go, because you are likely going to redo most of your initial base anyway. The game ships with a few mods and unless you enable the all buildings unlocked mod, the game restricts your progression by limiting the starting structures, gradually releasing more upon reaching each population milestone. By the time your base has developed to a certain size and you have unlocked most of the important structures, you are likely going to revisit your initial section and redo the roads or relocate some structures.So there is no point in wasting time reloading/restarting, or redoing your structures early in the game. Speaking of which...

January 7, 2018

Early Map and Dungeons Exploration in Risen Game

I really like Piranha Bytes' Risen game, even though it is a pretty old game from 2009. Many players may not have heard of this game since it launched without much fanfare. I too first found it by chance and was quickly absorbed by the open world gameplay, much like a medieval Grand Theft Auto. 

Unfortunately, due to other commitments, I did not go very far in my first play. Since then, Risen 2 and 3 were released. Even though I have them all in my Steam library, I never had the chance to play the series anymore. Recently, I decided to revisit the first Risen game again and wanted to share some interesting observations from my second play.

Risen is unlike most RPGs, at least for its time, in that it is not very linear. While it is true that you have your usual main and side quests, except for small parts of the world which is locked out by magical barriers, you can actually visit most of the places right from the get go, after waking up on the beach.

The only limitation put in place was tough monsters which blocked access to secret treasures or dungeons, Given your initial outfit of rag tag clothes and probably a stick or broken sword picked up from the beach, you would do better to heed the game tutorials and not venture too far from the guided path until you get to the Bandits' camp or Harbour Town. In fact, given your lousy state of affairs, it is unlikely you can explore many places in the beginning.

October 19, 2017

Installed Dot Net Framework Security Patches Repeatedly Prompts After Reboot

Recently my Windows 7 windows update kept prompting me to update dot Net framework security and quality rollup patch. It started off with KB4041083 for September 2017 and then later included KB4043766 for October 2017. No matter how many times I install, it will always show successful in "View Update History" but upon next boot up, I will get prompted again to install the same patches while other patches that I apply do not show up anymore.

I initially tried to download KB4041083 from Microsoft Update Catalog, which gave me 4 separate patches to download:

September 24, 2017

How to share a Xiaomi webcam/video camera to multiple Mi accounts

Recently got a Xiaomi Home Security Camera 1080p, needed to add it into 2 different Mi Home accounts. The setup process suggested that each device can only be tied to one account, so I had thought it was not possible. But after tinkering around a little, I found the "Share" function which does the job I need. This should also work for other Xiaomi video camera products like Mi 360 Webcam (Xiao Bai), Mi Home Security Camera 360, Xiao Fang Webcam 1080p, Yi Smart Webcam. Apologies that I have to link to the Chinese Xiaomi website, as the US and International websites do not seem to have any information on the Xiaomi webcam products.

So here's a pictorial guide on how to do it:

July 30, 2017

Google Adsense Violation for Malicious Software

I recently received an email from Google Adsense, complaining of new violation on another website of mine.

In the last 24 hours:
  • New violations were detected. As a result, ad serving has been restricted or disabled on pages where these violations of the AdSense Program Policies were found.

I was confused to say the least, as I have not been making any new posts or changes recently. Logging into my Adsense account to check "Policy center", (Adsense > Left Panel > Settings > Policy center), it shows:

"Violation: Malicious Software"

with a funny web address containing a random and unrecognized "proxy9747.my-addr.org" plus one of my post links. This left me with even more ???.