Archive for September, 2014

Discovering Divinity Original Sin

Posted: September 25, 2014 in Tech

An RPG for anyone who wants to use their initiative and intelligence – rather than following a Journal and breadcrumb trails all the way to the end…

Divinity Original Sin…

TechNow Geek

Beginning A New Journey…

As an RPG fan, I love the obvious recent classics… Skyrim, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Fable, Mass Effect, [etc]… I’ve even been enjoying retro king, Ultima VII. I absolutely adore playing them (…far too much!)

I had heard of Divinity Original Sin. Their Kickstarter campaign was a runaway success, and upon release it was drowned in amazing metacritic scores and rave reviews. For a long time I actually believed it was PC only… But then I noticed it on Steam, and saw that little white apple next to the Windows icon, and I got really quite excited – because now I could actually play it!

I did my research first… I didn’t do enough the last time I got a game to play on my Mac and got Witcher 2 from the Apple Store. The game couldn’t run at all on a MacBook Pro Retina…

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Not Worth the Jail Time
 

I thought updating to other iOS platforms was bad…

This latest on has been simply nothing but a nightmare!

Apple iOS8 for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch. For too many people worldwide, the above statement is a very short sentence that quite a lot of people have thought and felt, and (in not so many words) said. Possibly even saying the words iOS 8 would make their hackles rise and leave them foaming at the mouth… And I can’t really blame them. The rollout wasn’t just a bit of a PR disaster, it was a nightmare for pretty much every single iOS owner that ever was.

It’s been 3 or 4 days since I installed it. My iPad has been rather a grumpy git since then, and sometimes I kinda wish I’d never bothered. I’m beginning to think my mother has the right idea when she keeps saying, “oh, I’ll do it eventually…” – because when “eventually” turns up, they probably would have fixed everything that’s bugging me (and it) by then. On the other hand, it’s a new operating system, and these things do happen.

What shouldn’t happen is that it’s shipped out without much of an explanation or any instructions from Apple as to how you should deal with the software upgrade.

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The Magic Number…

Like me, most people were probably far too keen to get this going and install it now. We didn’t wait, we didn’t think, we went straight into Settings and went to download it. Then we realised just what we were in for, and probably sat and stared when we saw just what was required to get it.

Kitten and Keyboard

“Noooo… Seriously??!… Meh…”

That space thing was a real charmer. I simply stared at that number that was nearly half the entire onboard space on my iPad (Retina). I literally had to empty nearly everything in the poor thing to shoehorn that damned update onto it… And 5.8GB of space is a lot to ask from any device that’s only 16GB onboard the first place.

It took ages going through each set of apps, checking the Usage total, then deleting some more and checking again – over and over again, until there was virtually nothing left.

I even listed all the things I took off: The final count was 61 apps and 6 games. Not all of them bounced back with everything, which definitely added insult to injury. I am still working on getting it back together again.

Dog-Tired

“Are we nearly there yet…?”

It was only after a long time of repeating the delete-and-check thing so many times, I finally saw the magic numbers “5.9GB” – there was finally enough space free on that damned thing! So I breathed a sigh of relief and despondency, and tapped the Install icon. It only took a couple of hours to get there, now it was finally time!…

Is it supposed to be somehow my fault for “just” getting the 16GB edition? It certainly feels like it – but I really hope that’s not how Apple thinks. And if it is, I strongly suggest they make the 128GB the same price at the 16GB, because that’s the only way these huge updates are going to be managed. What else is there to assume, that I’m almost being punished for having the smallest iPad edition, when I have to have near half my onboard storage allowance dumped to manage this upgrade? (And this is not the part where you point out anything about the PC/Mac option – that’s really not the point right now…).

The actual space used was 1.1GB. The rest of it was installation space. OK, it did need all that extra space to “unpack” the package and install the new iOS onto the device. But that doesn’t soothe the sting of having to effectively upend my iPad into a virtual bin and shake it until there was enough space to fit it in.

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More Problems…

The pain didn’t just end there, though. I squeezed the new operating system in, brought up my list, reinstalled all the apps and games I had deleted, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Insulting ComputerBut it wasn’t over. It wasn’t until the day after that I found out my Messages app wasn’t working properly on my iPad anymore. It was only when I opened the Messages app on my MacBook (which I rarely do, but luckily I did this time) that I realised I even had messages. Damn important ones too, which I missed. I wasn’t too impressed about that.

After all the effort I had already gone to, to delete and then reinstall them again afterwards, it was rather an irritating byproduct of the new upload and seemed rather sloppy on their part that such a glitch would exist.

Rebooting helped a little. It at least sorted out the conversations already going on the Mac’s Messages app that were already open. But anyone that didn’t have an open conversation on the iPad couldn’t get a message through to it. I had to open conversations, sending Testing messages to see that it would still at least work then. I’m unfortunately fairly sure that anyone I still haven’t got open conversations going with won’t get through to me on my iPad.

To add some insult to the “injury” of the difficulty of dealing with the nightmare that is iOS 8, my iPad has also become rather slow and a bit clunky afterwards. I’m a bit unconvinced that the whole thing was a rather good idea at all.

I must admit that I was very lucky regarding how long it took. The entire process took maybe an hour or less, perhaps helped along by the high-speed broadband I am fortunate enough to have. I managed to avoid the reported 12+ hours (minimum) that others were reporting. Once the mass deleting was done, the entire thing ran smoothly and took about as long as expected. I’m not sure, given what has happened, that I would choose to do it all over again, though…

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Space and Size Matters

The best way to avoid most of all the hassle of updating the operating system is to run it via iTunes. You can avoid the storage issue by simply connecting the device(s) to a PC/Mac, and iTunes will pretty much do the rest for you. No mass deleting required. It’s straightforward enough in theory – but 6GB of data is a lot of work for the average broadband package, whichever option you choose.

The problem in most places, certainly in relation to the UK, do not even have access to decent broadband, let alone get the choice to pay got anything over 20mb. Running at full pelt – and when does it ever do that? – it still may take quite some time to crunch through 6GB. In more rural areas, 8mb is the best they can hope for and 2mb is common… Is it no wonder people are having difficulty with it? The problem always has been that Apple live in the future, and BT’s broadband rollout isn’t even trying to keep up in the UK. In some big cities here, including London, up to 300mb broadband is available – for an eye-watering price, of course. Unfortunately Apple seems to believe it’s everywhere in the world, and everyone has it.

Hooking up your device to a computer may solve the storage space issue, but if you don’t have the bandwidth it’s not going to go too great. Broadband is going to have to grow up a bit, as will the providers, for everyone to keep up with technology in the way they want to. Unfortunately, the providers aren’t really doing such a spiffing job of this as everyone wished they would, and ergo we keep having these issues each time people are faced with huge download sizes to very (im)patiently sit through.

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Hate iOS 8? 

Actually, I don’t hate iOS 8. Or Apple. At all.

In fact, I wouldn’t blame Apple in the least for the teething problems of iOS 8 (well, apart from screwing up my Messages app… but that’s just normal teething problems). It’s not their fault that most of this country doesn’t have the broadband capacity to deal with much more than email and YouTube videos. I have higher broadband; I had no trouble whatsoever with the download and installation of the software.

Yet everywhere else here, there is an uproar because so many people are struggling to manage to do it. Anyone complaining about storage should just use iTunes… At the time I wanted to install the new system, I didn’t have access to my MacBook, so I just bit the bullet and did what I had to do to get it installed. OK, I still complain, but I’m aware I had choices, and I could have waited and done it through the computer if I cared that much.

The basic matter of the issue is that people pay several hundred pounds for their Apple devices. For MacBooks/iMacs/PCs, Smart TVs/TV boxes… Yet they are still not supported by the broadband width required.

Once installed, iOS 8 has the usual minor teething issues of a new operating system. It runs well, looks nice, streamlines and adds a few things – and of course there’s all that “added security” in it (or you could just not take naked pictures… no one would ever care  about the crap I have in my PhotoStream, which probably mainly consists of about a thousand pictures of my dog on his beanbag or rolling around on the floor… And if they do hack it – enjoy, they’re so cute!)

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Lacking Collaboration…

I certainly don’t hate iOS 8 for this. I had even initially thought that what has happened with iOS 8 would make me feel rather weary of updating my MacBook to OSX Yosemite, coming “This Fall”… Probably around October/November. But it doesn’t. I’m looking forward to it. I have that luxury of knowing that I don’t have any issues with downloading and installing products (when there’s onboard space for them…).

There is really no problem with the actually operating system itself. Once installed, there are some minor, yet irritating, issues and glitches with iOS 8. But that’s all, and that’s to be expected. It’s normal for a new operating system rollout. It would be odd if that didn’t happen. But the point is, there is no real issue with iOS 8 itself, the installation process, or with space (if you’re willing to be savvy about it and plug it into the computer, or you have the 128GB edition).

Probably a smarter than the average broadband tech...?

Probably a smarter than the average broadband tech…?

I say if you’re going to look to anyone for accountability to the downloading issues of this system, look to your broadband provider – for being so ridiculously incompetent and overpriced, offering ridiculously low speeds for their relatively high prices. I don’t pay that much more for high-speed broadband, though even that price would be out of most people’s reach, I would think – but more importantly that that, most people don’t even have that option. I’m very happy to sacrifice some things to afford the higher speed package… But I at least had all the options available to me.   I imagine there are people out there who would do the same thing. I imagine after having paid out for their iOS device, they would quite like to be able to install its new software without having to wait a week whilst it downloads.

In an ideal world, tech companies should be collaborating and strongly encouraging the broadband network providers to keep up with them and their requirements, locally, nationwide, worldwide. High speed broadband needs to be everywhere. Microsoft famously had to retract their “always-on DRM” for gamers when they effectively booed it all over the internet. And why did they do that? Because their internet never works properly, they can’t afford it a good speed, or they don’t have it in the first place because it’s expensive. For Tech to move forward, the broadband network providers have to as well.

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Thoughts of the Future…

I am now a little concerned that Apple have now set the precedent for future updates… I’m not sure how much more of these kinds of download sizes a little 16GB iPad can take. I can imagine the next one being bigger… And what if they get one that’s 10GB? I imagine this is the time I should be thinking about getting the 128GB edition – and if I had a spare £700 knocking about I would certainly be getting it now… Although I have to admit I’d quite happily bet I’d stuffed even that so full I’d have to delete stuff to get a 6GB update onto it!

Apple - Think Different

Apple – Think Different

I can see where Apple is going with this, and I imagine a 16GB edition will very soon be obsolete and not even offered. These days even 32GB is not enough for what we expect to be able to download onto our mobile devices, particularly when the system takes up a larger and larger percentage of that space just for itself. We also need to hope that broadband providers will also be along for this ride, otherwise we’re really going to be struggling with the bigger download expectations coming from the hardware companies.

If the tech and the broadband access became in sync, we’d all be much happier campers in the world of gadgets, gizmos, and tech thingies. We would probably be more confident and happier to invest in these things too. My parents live in a rural area that has such a bad internet service my phone has better online access on its 3G network than they do via their landline package. I have no idea if they’ll even be able to update their devices. If they have any sense, they’ll come here and do it!

In an ideal world, these sectors would start working together, in collaboration, to get their products out to the people who want them. One requires the other to manage. I’m fairly certain that lightbulb will not go off in any their heads, but I hope it does – and it certainly should.

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