Me and my fiancé are eagerly counting down the days until we head to the UK/Europe for a five week vacation. It’s a very exciting time given neither of us have really done much in the way of travel and certainly nothing of substance abroad.  The trip started out with me being asked to be a groomsmen at a friends wedding, and has spawned out from there. During our time overseas we’ll be visiting Italy, Scotland, Belgium (to attend a close friends wedding), France and Netherlands. Some of the highlights will probably end up being visiting the Vatican, spending a night in a castle along with attending some shows in Paris. We’d love to see more but have had to face the reality that we can only do so much in one trip. Next time I’d love to visit England. All in all, the flight out of Canberra can’t come soon enough.

Otherwise not a lot has been happening these past few months. I’ve run through a few games since my last post, the most notable perhaps being the 3D remake of Majora’s Mask. For some reason I never got into that title when I was younger, but it was truly delightful to revisit it with a fresh mindset and finally experience a game that had been raved about so heavily for the past fifteen years. I don’t necessarily regret missing the title on the N64 as it holds up so well today and some of the changes made were for the better. I certainly would encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it to pick it up and I imagine it’s worth a revisit to those that played it in the 90’s as well.

Early in the year I played through the entire Halo Masterchief Collection single player campaigns. Quite enjoyed that, particularly revisiting Halo 2 and 3. It was quite odd revisiting Halo 3 in particular and having that title as by far and a way the least technically impressive of the lot, by virtue of it not getting the same HD remastering of Halo 1 and 2. Still a fun series, although after playing Halo 4 again and knowing all the issues that the Halo MCC had with multiplayer, I’m a bit weary as to how good Halo 5 may or may not be. Hopefully they get that title right.

Right now I’m giving Tomb Raider a go on the Xbox One and have found that to be a rather refreshing experience for a franchise that until now has never really captured my interest. Certainly the game is giving me some major ‘The Last of Us’ vibes due to the unending bleakness of the surrounding world, and the absolute hells that the protagonist goes through. I can’t imagine the game will ultimately have the same impact as TLOU, but it’s definitely proving to be an enjoyable trip thus far.

For those with a 3DS who struggle to get Street Pass hits, I recommend having a look at this guide on how to set up Home Pass. By setting up Home Pass on a router, you’ll have the ability to reproduce the behaviour of a public Street Pass location. Given I could go days between getting Street Pass hits, I’ve found it a nice way to get additional mileage out of my 3DS.

As I type this I’m watching the Windows 10 Preview installation go through. Looking forward to giving the OS a go since I never really loved Windows 8.0/8.1. I didn’t dislike it to the extent that some others did, but found the distinction between traditionally desktop applications and Modern Apps quite jarring and poorly integrated. If I’d owned a Windows tablet, I’m guessing I’d look at the OS more fondly. Hopefully bringing back a more traditional start menu and largely doing away with the Modern UI will resolve the usability issues that were there in 8.0/8.1.

On a related note, I’ve had a play with Windows Phone for the first time in on two handsets, a Nokia 530 and a HTC X8. Certainly the 530 seems to struggle a bit, but for the $29 I paid for the handset thats hardly surprising. The HTC X8 fares fairly well and with a bit of effort the OS looks quite pleasant. I can’t imagine I’d use it as my primary phone OS any time soon (the X8 is a work issued device), but at least it offers something different. As has been said time and time again, the App Store could really use some work and inventory.

A few months back now I contacted my host after experience frequent resource issues with regards to my hosting, which was resulting in forced automated reboots occurring on a daily basis. I’m happy to say that those issues look to be well behind me. The support staff identified some configuration issues that was likely the cause for the high RAM usage, and after that was resolved I moved the hosting onto so more beefy hardware, with the big benefit there being an increase from 300MB to 1GB of dedicated RAM. Not content to stop there, I’ve also optimised some of the code on the page, with one big change being that mobile devices will fetch caches resized images when viewing pages (based on the display size) as opposed to always grabbing the desktop version. The net result is that the site now appears to be perfectly stable, and as a bonus, loads quicker too.