My Election2017 Cri de Coeur

I’ve been agonising over which party to vote for ever since the campaign started. I bet I’m not the only one, still dithering over whether/how to vote tactically, two days out from election day. Even if you know which side of the spectrum you’ve got your bottom parked on – centre-right or centre-left -, there is that niggly issue of Do I vote for the major party to ensure they’re the biggest they can be … or Do I vote for a minor party that will push the big centrist party further in the direction I think is needed?

Ever since the Great Upheavals in both Labour and the Greens right at the start of the campaign, this question has consumed my life. I have gone through the classic stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, fresh despair …) over idiocies committed on all sides. I have read, obsessively, and watched online and TV debates. The more I laboured (!) at this, the deeper I dug a hole for myself. I became more and more incapable of making a decision at all, the more I listened to endlessly repeated slogans, phrases, and lies. Oh, so many lies. So much outrage. I forgot what an election is really all about.

Max Harris expressed this so well in his article Personal Values Matter this Election and after reading it, I had an epiphany. OK, enough with the fancy words – I had a light bulb moment. I needed to go ‘back to basics’. For instance, I can’t vote for a party simply or mainly to help ensure it makes it over the 5% threshold. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a perfectly valid reason, but I need more than that. Whether it’s a small or a big party: I need to recognise my Personal Values; otherwise, how can I truly connect with what/whom I am voting for?

That was the moment when all that anger and frustration just dissipated, like morning fog. What really matters to me? The people and what they stand for, that’s what. Who is that person parking their bottom, on my behalf, as elected representative on those august benches? Is that the person I really want there? So I went to the relevant party candidate lists and decided – on the spot – that the first 10 candidates are the ones I need to look at very closely. Why 10? It just seemed a manageable number, and it sounded good to me. The Top 10!

I spent this morning (with lots of cuppas and bikkies) checking 20 candidates. I read all the profiles and portfolios as presented on their parties’ websites. I combobulated this info with everything I had seen and heard in the media about these candidates over the last years. With more media-prominent people, this proved quite easy. However, some candidates were nearly unknown to me. This highlights a problem in how our election campaigns are conducted these days: high exposure of the leaders, and often little to no opportunity for other candidates to present themselves in the national media. This applies particularly to the minor parties. I found it strangely ironic that I often had better recognition of Maori seat and list candidates simply because I had been watching Maori TV (MediaTake and other election-related programmes) a bit over the last 6 weeks. They do a really great job of giving as many candidates as possible a platform to discuss (not just 10 seconds to “state their vision”) a whole range of issues.

So … did I finally manage to overcome the deadlock? Yes, I did. This approach actually made it easy and gave me that A-ha! moment I had been longing for. OK … it wasn’t numbskull-easy. Both parties have excellent top 10 candidates and for a moment I floundered. But then I realised 2 crucial points: On one of the lists, there were 2 or 3 candidates whom I had seen exposed in debate or over a news issue, and they hadn’t impressed me. And then the all-important Personal Values question: Which list really stood out and spoke to me about the values, and the commitment to those values, that I treasure? And there, Dear Reader, I had my answer. Those are the people I long to see in Parliament, speaking on my behalf.


Top 10 Vita localizations that should have happened

An article after my own heart.


At times I find myself thinking Vita has been far better supported than it should’ve been based on sales – there are some localized games I still can’t believe we got in the west at all.  The latter part of Vita’s lifespan has been given a strong pulse thanks to incredible efforts by a number of different publishers to bring titles across, yet there are still a number of games which have slipped through the cracks for various reasons.  And in many cases it’s a real shame, because most of these games look absolutely stunning.

In this article, I’ll be looking at a number of these titles – examining what they are; why I think they should’ve come west and various suggestions for why they didn’t.  I’m going to cheat slightly and include multiple games under one heading when there’s a group of games with an obvious connection that we haven’t gotten in…

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Bravely Default: How to get good gear fast

I am finally playing Bravely Default. The looming release of Bravely Second kicked me into ‘Why haven’t I played this yet?’ mode and from the moment I started my journey in Luxendarc it just clicked with me.  I am now looking for any excuse to sneak back to playing this amazing RPG.

I finished the Prologue last night. Like any classic JRPG prologue worth its salt, it’s looong. Not quite as long as Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC prologue … but it’s up there with the best.

The prologue introduces you – via well-timed mini tutorials – to the various game features, and by the end you should be well-versed in the essential skills and options. One option that is IMO really crucial (but may possibly be missed or under-valued) is the re-building of the village Norende. It *may* look at first like a tedious sim module tacked on … but it is in fact nothing short of crucial to how you fare in levelling and gearing up.

You need ‘workers’ to re-build. And workers are hard to come by in the beginning. You start out with just one poor soul. For those of us living in regions where Streetpasses are a rarity, you may be discouraged and therefore not pursue this task. But fear not – the game fortunately recognises this problem and you need not miss out! I have only ever had 1 streetpass in 3 years (!). And now, after just a few days of playing, I have 15 workers. How is that possible? Continue reading “Bravely Default: How to get good gear fast”

PS+ Games for October 2015

There’s been a lot of criticism and ill feeling about this month’s selection on Playstation’s Plus subscriber service.

PS Plus October 2015 Titles
I want to look at it from a different angle – i.e. not the hoary old “there’s no game there that I want!” personal affront response – but rather at how Playstation is balancing its offering in an attempt at providing something playable for as many subscribers as possible. Not an easy task!

Sony has to support 3 platforms – PS3, PS4 and the VITA – and presumably allocates games roughly in accordance with the subscriber numbers for each platform.

What’s noticeable about October is the number of games available for the ‘legacy’ platform: PS3.  A total of 4 games is playable on the older console (out of a total of 6 games for the month). That’s really quite remarkable. I think it testifies to the immense popularity and resilience of the PS3. Maybe Sony has had some feedback (or checked their stats) from subscribers who still want to have content for this console. The unkind commentator might of course mumble that ‘maybe Sony had a lot of old games lying around that they didn’t know what to do with’!

Whatever the reason, there is a reasonable range available – mechanical puzzler Unmechanical, couch co-op Chariot, light platformer Kung Fu Rabbit and rhythm game Kickbeat – for a variety of play styles.

Yes, there are no award winners or standout games here – but I don’t see any reason for getting hyper-grumpy about this either.

Overall, Playstation seems to go as far as possible for a wide cross-platform range, and that makes sense of course. 4 games are VITA-compatible. Sony may not be giving much first-party support to the VITA any longer … but its wonderful handheld is generally well-supported in the PS+ line-up.

We’ve seen this trend for a while now: Sony goes for balance and wide-spread range in its PS+ monthly games; the Big PS+Titles of the past are gone, and I think they’ll stick with this strategy for the foreseeable future.

Finally, from a personal viewpoint, my pick of the month has to be Broken Age. While Super Meat Boy will keep many hardcore gamers happy, I’m just not a hardcore platformer.


If I weren’t so happy with the Uniform Server, I’d start using the Bitnami stacks. Hmmm … but they are hefty, my word! Not surprising, since the complete WAMP/MAMP/LAMP infrastructure is built in.
Alternatively, you can download your infrastructure stack, and then install individual app modules on top.

I know from past experience how much can go wrong with these all-in-one stacks … so I’ll stick to what works. I have the additional convenience of running TortoiseSVN via Windows Explorer; from inside my Uniform Server www folder I can simply via right-click invoke the Tortoise menu and browse Subversion repositories, and grab any software files available. Not surprisingly, I favour apps that keep a SVN repo. 🙂

WooThemes 4-for-1 Special

Here’s how I got my 4 themes: My lucky night.

After over 2 years away from WordPress workings, I quickly figured out that with my limited time there’s no way I would be able to catch up with all the new, and more complex, innards of WP, and manage to construct a decent website.

I had a quick look around the ‘premium’ professional WP theme services (and there’s some good stuff out there) as well as the few still-free themes or theme frameworks that look professional (Carrington and Thematic caught my eye).

In the end, I settled on WooThemes who impressed me (as far as one can tell without actual access to the themes!) with their combination of feature-rich as well as eye-catching, balanced design. The fact that I got more bonus themes than I had bargained on is … an extra bonus! 😀

Uniform Server is still awesome

I stepped away from web design well over 2 years ago … and felt relief.
Now chance and circumstance has thrown me back into the fray and I find I still have that old excitement and enthusiasm. IOW: I’m having a ball. 🙂

UniServer is now up to version 4.2 (Mona) and as good as ever. I love having that option of doing dev work with WordPress or other software on my own box, esp. during times when broadband crawls to a halt here in the Kiwi provinces.

The Uniform Server is simply Awesome

I’m a masochist at heart.

I used to install everything, bit by bit, configure, test, tweak … until I had a complete WAMP localhost development server. The 4 cornerstones: Apache, mySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, and even ActivePerl.

Then there were the upgrades. Hours and hours of tedious fun.
After a while, the fun factor began to wear rather thin. By the time Apache 2.2 and PHP5 were out, I’d had enough.
Also, the whole shebang was pretty slow. Working with WordPress and a collection of themes, the lag in execution was approaching snail pace. It was faster working online, on my webhost server.

I had never been a fan of WAMP kits. They were usually ugly to install, never worked just right; even caused problems. I was a DIY woman, after all, and proud of it!

Well, no longer. I actually have work to do, and would also like to take the dogs out for their walks.

I looked at XAMPP, and it was pretty good, but still didn’t convince me entirely.

Then I discovered the UniServer – and you know when it’s love at first sight. Version 3.2 worked out of the box for me; and the current 3.3 does so too (both on the laptop and the desktop).

The Uniform Server is incredibly lean, runs much much faster than my painstakingly cobbled-together hand-crafted WAMP system, is simply clever in design … and doesn’t require any installation apart from unzipping the file somewhere!
You can take it with you on a USB flash drive. 🙂

I finally spend time again doing development work locally, and enjoy it. Because I don’t have to even think about localhost. It’s just there and simply works.