apps

This weekend was all about Destiny and its expansion, The Dark Below. It’s all I’ve been doing in my free time since its release earlier this week. Yesterday delved into what makes Destiny so good, yet there’s plenty about the game that’s painful.

There are three types of gameplay in Destiny: story, end game and competitive multiplayer. The story is over quickly and there’s little reason to replay them. The story itself is terrible too. I don’t play competitive multiplayer because I’m out-gunned and out-skilled by those who have more time to invest in the game. The end game is where I’ve been spending all my time. That’s when you’re theoretically done with the game, but you keep playing anyway because you want to level up your character and get specific weapons and gear.

This is where Destiny is simultaneously special and frustrating. Special because it does the end game so well for a shooting game; frustrating because you have to play a lot to get the best gear and there’s simply not enough content to keep things fresh.

Have you seen Edge of Tomorrow? Awesome movie. The protagonist is in a war with aliens and he repeats each day over and over again, to the point where he knows exactly where the bad guys are going to be. That’s what Destiny feels like. Grunts coming out here so rocket launcher. Sniper appearing there so get ready.

You repeat each mission so often, you pretty much know what’s going to happen. Despite that, to Destiny’s credit, strike missions are somehow still fun.

Dear Bungie (developers of Destiny), please, more strikes. There should be at least 20 to play from instead of a paltry eight. Focus the $500 million budget there.

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You may have noticed that for this week, my daily posts have come a little late. Work is busy as usual but really it comes down to one distraction: Destiny and The Dark Below expansion. The add-on content arrived earlier this week and I’ve been playing it non-stop ever since.

In my review of the original game (see here), I thought it was fun but fell somewhat short. Imagine my surprise when weeks later, I realized I haven’t put so many hours into a single game since Virtua Fighter and Gears of War. Has there ever been a game as simultaneously frustrating and addictive?

The core shooting mechanic is peerless. I’ve never had so much fun shooting bad guys’ heads off, and I’d include Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty in that comparison. In fact, my copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is still relatively untouched.

Playing with people puts the game on another level. When you play with a good team, it feels like poetry. As if somehow, unspoken, three people instinctively know how to move in concert with one another.

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I was a guest on the Tech-Know show on Channel News Asia earlier today and asked to comment about privacy in social networks, and specifically, about an app called Peep. Peep is like a structured group chat, and kinda like Path.

The big point I made on the show is that while private social networks like Peep are a huge trend, it’s one that’s been happening for a while. For most of us, chat apps are our private social networks, and why Facebook acquired Whatsapp for $19 billion.

So for apps like Peep to add value, they have to demonstrate what they can do better above and beyond chat apps.

It’s a tough hurdle, and I’m not sure Peep clears it.

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I am what you might call a committed Candy Crush player. The kind that waits for KING to issue new levels and then promptly completes them. So I was interested to check out the sequel to the billion dollar franchise, Candy Crush Soda Saga (iPhone, Android).

I didn’t like the game at first. What’s this purple float that rises from the bottom, inverting gravity so candies float up instead of fall down? The game also looks weird. Gone are the candies’ bright, colorful hues; replaced by this strange, purplish, dark-ish tone that looks like the candies are old and drenched in fruit punch. Ugly.

But I plowed on…and after completing a dozen levels, I now kinda like it.

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451 Research conducted a survey of 1000 IT pros and found that Dropbox is the most popular cloud sync and share service (chart after the break). I’m not at all surprised by that. And that’s because Dropbox is still the best at cloud sync and share.

I’ve used Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, Bitcasa, and myriad others. I’ve settled on just using OneDrive and Dropbox. The rationale for OneDrive was simple — it’s integrated into Windows, it’s cross-platform and I got 200 GB free with my Surface 2. For that amount of space, I was willing to put up with OneDrive’s quirks.

Dropbox is the best for two key reasons: first, it syncs tremendously fast. I can save a file at work and be 100% sure that saved file is waiting for me at home 10 minutes later. Not so with the others, although OneDrive has improved a lot in that regard.

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That Adobe and Google are working to bring Photoshop to the Chromebook as thin client computing is big news. It works just as how you might imagine: the Chromebook receives inputs and displays outputs; servers elsewhere do all the heavy lifting.

The cloud is going to be a big deal. Photoshop Streaming is one small step towards that future.

Ironically, image editing may not be the best app example to start with. It’s unlikely that pro users will find this solution good enough. Is that artifact inherent in the image or a flaw in the streaming? Is color reproduction faithful? Is the experience going to be fast and stable enough? I still find Google Docs unworkable for complex presentations and spreadsheets.

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wpid-wp-1416717300177.pngI recently noticed that my Android phone was draining battery a lot faster than usual. So I checked out the battery page and discovered that Google Search was my top source of battery drain, more than Screen! That’s insane. None of my settings had changed so I didn’t understand why this was suddenly happening. Rebooting didn’t fix the problem.

Google Search was definitely the cause. From its app page, I saw that that Google Search was using up to 500 MB of storage, and was constantly restarting every minute or so and rebuilding that massive index. No wonder it was taking so much battery!

Searching online showed that other Android users has/had the problem, and that it wasn’t limited to my OnePlus One. So here’s my fix, after a painful day of research and experimentation:

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