Archive | February 2017

The issue with not wanting to train workers…

Companies seem to be unwilling to train and retain in today’s job market. Quite often I find job postings that ask for X-number of years’ experience with additional education required that is to be paid by the candidate prior to joining up so to speak. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if it were a first aid course or something that can be done in a single day, but when companies are not willing to train grunts from the ground up and instead expect them to sign on already armed with the diploma or whatever equivalent education is required is sheer nonsense.

 

Sure I get it, post-secondary is important; yet we tend to forget those who either never got the chance to go or could not afford to because more debt is never the answer. Gambling like that with money one does not have usually ended with the person homeless in ancient times, or worse, having to give up their daughters to become sex trade workers because the people they are indebted to are criminals playing around with spare cash.

 

Entry level should be just entry level – none of this: “must have X-number of years experience in position A, C, or D. Must also have completed training or is certified in subject X.” Come on you rich fat pigs, hire the right person and train them; increase pay here and there to acceptable numbers to retain – company will flourish. Refuse to do so, and watch the closure sign hang over your office door in the next year or two – enjoy it.

 

This problem is likely to continue here in Canada; more people arriving daily, not enough work, and jobs disappearing due to either out-sourcing or automation. The government may soon have to consider a guaranteed basic income if the people are unable to find work because it simply is not there; this isn’t a far off idea, and political leaders who cannot adjust to changing conditions may soon find themselves in the unemployment center doing the exact same thing the people had to do because their opponents would have taken their seats as they promised (and especially if they delivered – unlikely) what the people need.

 

Could you imagine if the military did this sort of practice? “To be an Infantry soldier one must have completed Basic Military Qualification, Soldier Qualification, Basic Infantry Qualification, and Developmental Phase 1. Must have two years’ experience with demolition experience.” Sure the army never would because there is no school outside of the military that offers such a program, but if that sounds odd to you then why does an entry level position demanding X-number of years’ experience and all sorts of schooling (with a low low wage I might add) sound normal? Utter nonsense, all of it – this practice cannot last.

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Forcing people to do something isn’t a good idea…

Earlier today I read the comments section of a post and I probably should have known better, but it was discussing organ donation and how the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is now making it easier to register at their offices should you choose that route. Now the problem wasn’t with the article or ICBC’s decision, it was the commenters who felt it would be a better idea to copy France’s law and force everyone to register, and if people wanted out they would have to opt out.

 

Firstly it does not seem like the case where French police will go door to door and drag people into massive cage trucks to be transported to a processing center, rather it simply registers every citizen in the country and from there people who opt out can remove themselves from the list. This raises some serious questions about the morality of the commenters; some of whom might have relatives sitting around waiting for such a service. Emotion-based responses are never a good thing, and forcing others to do what some might want to do is not a good idea either.

 

Last I checked a free society is a society where choice exists more so than mandatory duties. Voting is even optional for citizens, and while there were times in the past where I thought forcing people to vote was a good idea I have come to realize that if they decide not to vote it could be for a series of reasons ranging from protest to outright disgust of the system. Forcing people to register is not the answer, but giving them an easier way to register is, and it can help increase the amount of donors willing to give up a piece of themselves so that others may live.

 

Still, it is to be expected with comments online – emotion drives the responses not analysis of the details. Though there are those who do analyze and study the materials, they seem to be drowned out by crying adult-children who are preoccupied with themselves and not the bigger picture.

Article (Global News).
You can now register to be an organ donor at all ICBC offices

Friday roundup. The Coffee Break 24 Feb 2017.

Hello folks,

 

Earlier in the week I published a piece on the Halo Wars 2 story arc, and while my opinion of the game still stands I am slowly warming up to the idea of trying it out later on in time. Recapping what I said, the game has little in the way of cinematic cutscenes unlike the previous title; though the amount of cutscene time is the same between both games with only a few seconds’ difference. The issue I had with Halo Wars 2 is before each mission there was only some dialogue and an in-game: “move into position” cutscene using the gameplay graphics. Halo Wars 1 had a small clip at the beginning of each mission (with a few that did not) but the story was cohesive and if you couldn’t spare the time to play the game through you can still get a good idea of what was going on just by watching the cutscenes.

 

Now the cutscenes in Halo Wars 2 were great, and though presently I am in a spot where I prefer Real Time Tactical games vs Real Time Strategy titles I can honestly say that I am interested in trying out the game when the opportunity presents itself (and excited to see if Halo 6 will mix the two arcs together into a single story). With Cortana commanding the galaxy, the remnants of the UNSC and of the Arbiters’ forces need all the help they can get – what better help than an aging warship and a crew that has absolutely no idea what has happened since they had last seen the galaxy twenty eight years ago.

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Halo 5 Guardians was alright (and this is the same with Halo Wars 2) but I guess this is because I am simply out of fuel with regards to the series. Both games offer a unique experience, but to a veteran of the series for almost ten years it feels like the same old plate of mac and cheese – tasty, but isn’t anything exciting or new. Now were Halo 6 to work the two storylines together, and produce something of a guerrilla war in which the UNSC conducts operations against Cortana and her forces all the while her grip on the galaxy tightens causing various species to revolt against her would be an interesting tale – one that I would be keen to explore further.

 

Sure I was happy to see the UNSC end the war as the top dog, but there is always something appealing about guerrilla warfare compared to conventional warfare where armies of the same strength and capabilities fighting without issues in logistics, supplies, or manpower. Cortana controlling some of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy might help humanity to A. place trust in the Elites who sided with humanity, and B. develop tactics to defeat a superior foe without relying heavily on technological advantages (as an enemy force can easily out-produce, or outpace you in technology). Ending this post here before I go on a rant about UNSC tactics and strategy I am optimistic about the future of the Halo franchise, but this optimism is always sitting beside the phrase: “hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.”

Halo Wars 2 Story arc (Spoilers).

Halo Wars 2 was a bit of a disappointment on my end; I had expected more CGI cutscenes just like the previous title which did a wonderful job of combining in-game cutscenes with CGI ones to tell the story. Instead what we have is a few key moments where CGI is employed, with the rest being entirely in-game cutscenes where you are looking down at the units similar to during gameplay. Yet you came here for the story so I intend to deliver on this front.

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Twenty eight years have passed since anyone has heard word from the crew of the Spirit of Fire, and when the ship is finally awoken they find themselves over the Ark (though they do not know that due to being asleep in cryo for twenty eight years). Serena (the ship’s AI) is long gone as she has followed through with the UNSC protocol concerning expired AIs, and she has left Cutter with a fully repaired ship, and a message detailing what had happened.

 

Unsure of what the ship had stumbled upon, the Spirit of Fire dispatches their spartan team to investigate. Upon arrival they find a logistics AI and a horde of non-Covenant aliens who seem to be a mix of pirates, mercenaries, and a clan of Brutes that were used as expendable muscle by the Covenant. Afterwards the Spirit of Fire engage in operations against the Banished (the alien faction) of which they wrestle for control of the Ark. After successful missions against the Banished, they manage to prevent the Banished from getting their hands on the newly forged Ring world, which would have been a happy ending were it not for the professor being stuck on the ring as it went into slipspace. With the professor gone, Captain Cutter (Commander of the Spirit of Fire) is left to fight the Banished that remain on the Ark and wait until the professor returns with help from Earth.

 

The final cutscene features the professor discovering a Guardian, hinting their possible involvement in Halo 6 (or Halo Wars 3). Right well the story itself was okay; I say okay because it did not excite me as much as Halo Wars 1 did back when it game out on the Xbox 360. Halo Wars 2 delivers a story of discovery and asset denial – character development doesn’t occur much except for the AI, and our wise-cracking Sergeant Forge is long gone so we lack any sort of sarcasm. Cutter himself is still: “Mr. In Charge,” and the professor is – well – the professor. The Brute leader of the Banished (I have lost interest to look up his name at this point so you can google it on your own – this is how little I care about this game) is the typical: “MUSCLES! SMASH EVERYTHING – ANGRY AT GALAXY” Brute leader, and of course the colour of the energy blades on his Hammer is red – along with almost everything else in his army (vehicles painted black and red – you get the idea).

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Halo Wars 2; if you are absolutely dying for an RTS due to the drought in the genre, go for it – I think I will stick to other titles I have collected over time. Time is precious in life, and I am not about to waste it on a game I feel little interest for, nor spend money on the title that I know I will play a little bit of and then abandon.

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The proliferation of on-call positions.

Everywhere I look, there are few jobs with guaranteed hours and tons of: “must be willing to work on-call,” or “no guarantee of hours – candidates are chosen based on willingness to work on short notice/ same day.” Sure I get it these organizations are looking to save money; they see hiring more help as expensive, so they would rather hire/fire like it was going out of style than actually retain useful workers.

 

On-call work does not pay the mortgage, nor does it help feed the family when they depend on fixed income. These companies like to see people suffer, do they not? They like to see people beg for scraps – it gives them a sense of pride in a world where going out of business is a real threat to their organization.

 

Newsflash company: sooner or later people will stop applying for your positions, then it will be time for your useful workers that you retained to retire. What, are you going to bind them in a contract threatening not to pay pensions even though the workers are 65 + all because you want to continue this cycle of on-call work jerking around good folks trying to make a living? Yeah good luck with that.

“…Employers don’t like complainers…”

What, they want people to accept working for minimum wage – they like to see working folks beg for scraps? This is almost like the scene from Django Unchained where the slave owner looks to the man on his knees and says: “I like the way you beg, boy.”

This is the attitude that exists in today’s working world. When I read so-called: “tips and tricks” for interviews I see the same old pile of rocking horse feces: “complain less, be upbeat, be enthusiastic.” Ever see the memes regarding being passionate about frozen yogurt? Come on employers be realistic – they work they get paid, and you get profit in your business. Happy, no? Well according to this it is wrong – you have to be passionate about low-wage work that guarantees no hours and turns you into a beggar: “it’s how things work, yo.”

 

Sure I get it, the interview is where you are supposed to shine, but when the deck is stacked against us regular folks why should we just sit there and take it? Everyone knows about so-called “connections,” and the well-connected often get the good-paying positions while we are stuck with begging for a few hours a week of part-time work with no benefits, no stable salary, or even paid sick days (forget vacation time, that’s a dream similar being a king – when you wake up it is gone).

 

Right, so they do not like complainers; well pay better then! How easy is that, make your employees happy and stable and they will put out like enthusiastic troopers on the western front. Yet their bottom line worries them, and it is in this atmosphere that the workers are beginning to demand a living wage from even minimum wage work as they are relying more and more on it. Recently I read an old article from the New York Times (2014 was the publish date) and it talked about how the most gains for jobs during the recession were in the low-wage jobs, and really high up at the top of the ladder. Now the top of the ladder is out of reach for most of us because we neither have the connections nor the 200,000.00 wedding gifts necessary to climb – the education we got has taken us nowhere, and we are fed the same crap everyday: “return to school, study this, study that.” Newsflash folks, if it doesn’t lead us anywhere, why waste 40,000.00 on a piece of paper? Why feed the education sector when we benefit little from it?

 

Profits are for the wolves, the Sheepdogs are few and far between for they are dying off and we lack the numbers to replace them. The sheep are left vulnerable to the wolves, and the world rotates on. People will complain because they have a reason to complain, not because they have a poor attitude. Were things perfect then perhaps your idea of zero complaints about work will have some ground to stand on – complaining about a well-paying job with benefits is just plain greedy, but complaining about a job that is minimum wage and offers no real future is an actual grievance.

Enjoy your gold bricks – I’m sure if you attempted to swallow it whole you will not choke on it.

For Honor Story arc.

Well hello there folks,

 

For Honor recently came out, and of course I watched all the cutscenes for the entire campaign and it was alright. Sounds lackluster right? Well worry not my fine readers, I shall walk you through the story and give you my thoughts on it afterwards.

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The story goes through all three factions present in-game: first the Knights, then the Vikings, and last the Samurai as they begin to war against one another thanks to a warmongering warlord who manages to play all three factions against one another that turns into a war that lasts seven years (we find out at the end how long the war lasted from those trying to make peace – the game takes place before the war just as events are unfolding).

 

Now the typical identities of each faction exist: Knights are very chivalric and heavy-hitting, the Vikings are very savage and brutish, and the Samurai are very swift, direct and merciless. The characters you play as behave just as you would expect out of a character of each faction, and it would seem that only some of the classes are playable in the campaign (storytelling I suppose). However one thing to note before moving onto combat is the sound design; something about plate armour crunching and so forth feels right to me as the viewer, and it is with this that I can safely say that For Honor nails the sound design relatively well when compared to other games featuring plate armour that end up making it sound like jingling keys (or a bag of nails). Perhaps it is the romantic notion I possess of heavy plate armour and the crunching sound it makes whenever a soldier moves, but who is to say I cannot indulge my senses when tackling a game?

 

Now I cannot speak for combat as I have not played the game, but it seems that the fighting is very heavy, and yet refined in a way that it feels a lot better than Witcher 3 and, in some ways, even more advanced than the Witcher 3 game. That being said, this game did advertise itself as a sort of: “combat simulator” per se so it is not surprising to see the centerpiece of their title actually shine and stand tall. Yet we digress from the story discussion; back to the campaign.

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The Knights campaign starts off with you being recruited into the Blackstone Legion (Knights are divided into Legions), and you bring “order” to your lands before going north to wage war against the Vikings. Far up north you soon realize that your warlord (a crazed lady in rusty plate armour) plans on leaving just enough food for the Vikings so that they will start fighting among themselves to survive. The campaign then switches to the Vikings and you are tasked with uniting the clans and killing the “wolves” among you. After that task is complete you then build ships and sail east to raid the Samurai lands.

 

Once you land in the Samurai lands, it is shown that the crazed warlord in rusted armour is also there to upset the balance of power as once the Emperor is dead the Vikings pillage while the warlord captures and releases the various feudal lords of the Samurai to war with one another for power in the lands. The campaign finally switches to the Samurai and it is there that you unite the Samurai clans and travel to fight the knights. Finding out that some Knights have left the warlord to forge a new order and have left the path to the Blackstone fortress unguarded you assault the fort and kill the warlord, but not before she reveals her master plan and all three factions go to war (again, apparently).

 

The story is not anything impressive, nor will it wow audiences with its unique storytelling mechanics or whatever you can dream of that might be seen as innovative. However the story is far from terrible, and while it does not warrant a replay per se, it is still fun to go through it once to at least get a feel of the universe that has been created so we can indulge our fantasies and fight either as a Knight, a Samurai, or a Viking – never ending war and the subsequent quest for glory and honour.

 

Feel free to check out the story arc in the link below; it’s a decent story for what it is worth, but do not expect it to be a groundbreaking story like Mass Effect or Witcher 3 – enjoy it for what it is and nothing more. Thanks for reading everyone.

For Honor Game movie.