FiveThirtyEight, a website better known for predicting election results with statistical methods, a few weeks ago posted a statistical analysis of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons characters regarding their choice of class and race combination. The result is boringly predictable: People overwhelmingly choose a race that gives at least a +1, if not a +2 bonus to their main class stat. As the race system has been designed to favor combinations that appear in the cast of Lord of the Rings, you get a lot more elven rangers than dwarven rangers, etc. However that is much less an attempt to emulate the classics but rather simple stat minmaxing.
I don’t know how these statistics look for other games or previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons. But I suspect that the “bounded accuracy” math of 5th edition D&D makes a +1 or +2 bonus a lot more important in this edition, because there aren’t so many other bonuses around. Unless you “roll lucky” (which is my way of saying cheat with your stats), an elf paladin is simply too bad stat-wise to be playable. That from a role-playing point of view a haughty elf might make a brilliant paladin if played well is of no importance. You choose your class, then take one of the few races that are good at that class, or default to humans who are good at everything.
As a role-playing challenge I would love to try a gnome barbarian. But as a 5th edition character with standard array or 27-point buy stats I’d end up with something not very fun to play in combat. The World of Warcraft system where your choice of race has only a very minor influence on your combat performance is more to my liking.
Nova Launcher Prime is regarded as one of the best launchers on Android. It’s sitting right now with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars at the Google Play Store, based on hundreds of thousands of reviews, and if you’ve never used it before, now might be the time.
As pointed out on Reddit, Nova Launcher Prime has been reduced from $4.99 to just $0.99 — the same offer it launched this time last year. This is the unlocked version of the free Nova Launcher app, which comes with a slew of extra customization options and advanced features, like notifications badges, gestures, and more.
Nova Launcher 5.5 throws in adaptive icons, Google search bar in the dock, and more
Having been in beta since September, Nova Launcher version 5.5 is now available for those who like their launches well-cooked, and it’s a bit of a doozy. The first new feature is support for adaptive icons, …
Nova Launcher allows you to alter many aspects of your Android phones home screen, such as the app drawer, folders, dock, and their aesthetic, and has received a number of Android 8.1 Oreo features lately, including adaptive icons and the custom dock widget.
Nova Launcher sits on our best Android Launchers list and it doesn’t look like it will be moving anytime soon. We don’t know how long this deal will last, but you can find the free and Prime versions of the app in Google Play via the buttons below (note that Google Play says Nova Launcher Prime hasn’t been updated since December 2016 but it will still unlock the latest content found in the regular app).
I am getting the hang of my new 3D printer. So I’m posting the photos I promised. First is a comparison: The darker green wererat on the left is with the new printer, compared to the neon green on the right with the old printer. So, yes, for my miniatures the new printer is working fine, and better than the old one.
Next is an example of something my old printer frequently refused to do: Print half a dozen miniatures at the same time. The new one did these 6 bandits in one go without problems. I assume it has to do with the ABS printing hotter, so it still sticks to the previous layer even that layer has been printed a while ago.
The other advantage of ABS is that you can treat it with acetone vapors, which makes the surface glossy and hides imperfections. As an example the 3DBenchy model printed twice identically, with the right one being treated with acetone vapors for 1 hour. Note that for miniatures you better just use 15 minutes, after 1 hour fine parts like arms or swords tend to melt.
Finally I used a model of a bard with a lot of detail to see how it comes out. This is with 15 minutes acetone treatment. Looking closely you can still see the layers and imperfections. But remember that this is just 3 cm tall, so for this size this is as good as it gets. You can see the lute, the rapier, and even the jester’s hat is printing out fine.
Sea of Thieves wasn’t high on my radar until its release this week. But the headlines of servers crashing due to too many players strongly reminded me of, well, every MMORPG launch ever. So I was wondering whether the description of “multiplayer action adventure” meant that it was something completely different than a MMORPG, or whether Sea of Thieves basically is a MMORPG and they just changed the label because MMORPG isn’t fashionable any more.
I am wondering if this is something I should buy. However the game is not on Steam, and as we all know, PC games that are not on Steam basically aren’t real. 🙂 And buying a game at full price at release when everybody is complaining about overloaded servers and lack of content doesn’t feel like a good idea. I’d really like to have a better idea about the gameplay first: How necessary is PvP? How twitchy is the gameplay? Et cetera, et cetera.
The game of Battleship as played with pen and grid paper is a hundred years old. 50 years ago Milton Bradley turned it into a board game with plastic pegs. There have been various computer versions, and even a rather horrible movie in 2012. Now I found a mobile game called SailCraft or SailCraft Online, which is basically Battleship on speed with all modern Pay2Win conveniences.
The original game is strictly symmetrical, except for the player moving first having a slight advantage. But in SailCraft the two players don’t have the exact same fleet, nor do they even have the same size of grid. Instead your grid size and your special abilities depend on the ships you choose for your fleet, limited by the level of your mothership. Ships come in common, uncommon, rare and legendary types, and the more of the same ship you find, the higher you can upgrade them in level. Each ship has an active and a passive ability, and stats for how many spaces it adds to your grid and how much “luck” you have going first. Active abilities allow you to do different things than just targeting space D4 and hoping you hit the battleship: For example you can fire a torpedo, send out a bomber, or use a telescope to scout some grid spaces. There are also counter-abilities like a torpedo-net or anti-aircraft guns.
Overall that makes the game a lot more dynamic to play than the original. But obviously the player who has collected more powerful ships has a distinctive advantage, having more powerful active abilities and a larger grid on which to hide his ships. Fortunately there is a matchmaking system that prevents you getting paired against the top players while you are still in the lower leagues. Which makes the game okay playable without paying any money, or just buying the occasional special offer. Having endless amount of time isn’t much help, as you can only grind a certain number of chests full of ships every day.
I don’t think there is any game left that didn’t get this sort of monetization make-over in a mobile version, frequently based around collectible items. I’ve even seen coin dozer games that work like that. SailCraft has the advantage that the underlying game of Battleship is a relatively intelligent one, and you can actually outthink your opponent to a certain degree. I just don’t think I’ll ever make it to the very top, because that appears to require some serious spending, which I am not willing to do.
The Google Pixel 2 series has already seen one significant audio problem, that being related to how it was recorded through the microphone. Though that was fixed in a recent software update, there appears to be another, more persistent, sound issue affecting devices.
Some people Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners are reporting that the supplied USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter isn’t working. This was pointed out by users over at the Google Product Forums (via Android Police), and the issue seems to be that the headphone adapter isn’t being recognized: when connected, music still plays through the device speakers.
Google Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner slower following Android 8.1 update
We have been tracking all the Google Pixel 2 XL issues since launch. This handset has thus far been the more problematic of Google’s most recent flagship pair (the other device being the regular Google …
According to reports, several people have experienced this problem and have contacted Google for a replacement adapter. Others are seeking software solutions, though there doesn’t appear to be a single workaround that applies in every scenario.
One person said that a software update had resolved the issue, while the process below was also offered as a fix:
Insert dongle/adapter into phone
Plug headphones into dongle/adapter
Start Google Play Music [and, presumably, play something]
Given that there are a variety of possible solutions, here, it looks like it’s not specifically tied to a faulty adapter (one user says they’ve owned three different dongles and the problem has persisted); there may be more than one problem at play.
Google must be aware of this by now — there are lots of comments and replacement requests have been made — though an employee is yet to step into the thread to discuss the problem directly.
If you’ve experienced this issue, perhaps try using Bluetooth headphones (should you own some) while you wait for this to get sorted out.
Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are all cutting smartphone orders by over 10% in Q4 2017.
The companies are sitting on more and more inventory as worldwide smartphone demand has dropped.
Xiaomi is still performing well despite the struggle of fellow Chinese device manufacturers.
One of the smartphone trends that might have flown under the radar in 2017 is the explosion of Chinese cell phone manufactures. While they have been steadily growing for years, this was the year that companies like Xiaomi were able to top Samsung in the important market of India. Huawei is the world’s third largest device manufacturer and occasionally tops Apple for second and OPPO and Vivo (both owned by BBK) are both in the top three in China.
Can Huawei overtake Samsung and become the largest smartphone maker in the world?
Huawei has been the third-largest smartphone maker in the world for quite some time, sitting below Apple and Samsung. According to a market analysis by Counterpoint Research, this has recently changed, as the company actually passed …
To say it has been a good year for these companies would be an understatement. But, it looks like Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo are preparing for a slower start to 2018. According to a report from DigiTimes, the three companies are cutting smartphone orders by over 10%. The information comes from sources at suppliers for the trio of companies.
As demand for new smartphones falls, the companies are now sitting on more and more inventory.
The one company that seems to be immune from the slowdown is Xiaomi. The company continues to be bullish in both online and retail environments. Xiaomi is continuing its surge in India, which saw it overtake Samsung in the country. India looks to be an interesting battleground for 2018 as Samsung and Xiaomi battle it out at the top and Huawei looks to increase its presence.
See also: Report: Samsung’s global market share will fall in 2018
Xiaomi and Huawei are also both expected to increase their presence in the United States next year. Rumors of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s release on Verizon and AT&T have heated up recently and Xiaomi is reportedly in talks with US carriers to carry its phones as well, according to Bloomberg.
Despite cutting orders, it looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Chinese smartphone manufacturers.
Logo is the most important asset of a company. Logo represents your company.
The dictionary meaning of a logo is a symbol, sign, or emblem. Human beings have used such symbols throughout time to convey a succinct message. In present times, logos tend to be graphical in nature, designed for easy recognition of an organization. It is a tool to build an identity for the organization, as part of its trademark or brand, and to generate favourable thoughts and feelings about the organization. A logo needs to be original and memorable for the greatest impact.
A logo refers to an image that relates to a company. For example, the image to the right, is an example of the Suven Consultants logo.
Features of a Corporate Logo
Identify Target Market What type of customers are you trying to attract? The success of your company’s branding efforts will rely on the customers you are pursuing. Trendy graphics and hip hop music may attract the younger consumer, but this type of advertising might turn off the mature customers. Cater to the interests of your potential clientele. Legalities Research your ideas so you do not infringe on another company’s brand. Developing your brand is a long term investment. Register your trademark legally to protect your company’s name from imposters and possible customer confusion. Logo and Color Scheme Choose simple color choices and an easy to read font for your company logo. Choosing a graphic that says something about your business helps in creating your unique brand name. A good example of an effective logo is the swirled red, white and blue Pepsi® circle. The simple logo dominates the cans and bottles it is printed on and the only reading required is to determine if it is regular, flavored, diet or caffeine free. Celebrity Endorsements Visual stimulation will help prospective customers remember you. Grab their attention with ads and commercials using a recognized person or character. Hanes® sales increased when Michael Jordan became a spokesperson for their national campaign and television commercials. Small businesses starting out probably cannot hire a famous celebrity like Michael but there are other ways to attract customers and create an identity for your business. Create your own character. Animated celebrities like M&M® candies have been brought to life on television and online ads. If you are directly involved with your customers in a retail environment, you could be the face of your company. If you are uncomfortable using actual photos, consider turning your picture into a cartoon. There are several photo programs that can transform a picture into a sketch with the click of a mouse. You could also hire a professional to animate your likeness and use it on all of your advertising. Catchy Tag line or Jingle “You deserve a break today” is not heard as often as it used to be but most people still remember that catchy jingle. That saying became popular before there were fast food restaurants on every corner. It was a treat for a woman to pick up dinner at McDonalds® and not have to cook. What does your company offer that can help the consumer? Your tag line should be short, easy to remember and send a message to your customer. Turn your tag line into a musical jingle and your company will become the brand consumers will remember. As a final step, drag your gradient layer below all the other layers in the Layers window. Your logo is now complete! ——–
What We Will Make
We will use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, though you’ll be perfectly fine with older versions of Photoshop as well.
Step 1: Create a New Document Go to File -> New, or press CTRL+N in Photoshop. Select the appropriate width and height for your design. I like to have a large enough canvas to work with – around 1000px width and 600px height. You can always change canvas size later.
Step 2: Create the Basic Shape To create the effect that we want, we will make our logo with two overlapping shapes as shown below: We’re going to use the ‘Pen’ tool to create our shapes. It’s the pen shaped icon on the toolbox to the left.
Now create a new layer. Name it Shape 1. Select the pen tool, select ‘shape’ in the tool properties at the top. Choose a bright red color for the fill (I used #ed1c24). It’s useful to switch on the grid while drawing. Go to View -> Show -> Grid, or press CTRL + ‘. Create the shape as shown below: For the second shape, instead of drawing it from scratch, we can simply duplicate the Shape 1 layer and flip it horizontally. Select the current shape in the layers window on the right. Right click on it and select ‘Duplicate Layer’. Name the new layer Shape 2 you want. Now select the duplicate layer, go to Edit -> Transform Path -> Flip Horizontal You should have the following shape now:
Step 3: Change Colors Since we want to create an overlapping ‘Origami’ like effect, we will make one of our shape layers slightly darker in color to give the impression of depth. Double-click on the Shape 2 thumbnail in the Layers window. The color selection pane should pop-up. Select a slightly darker shade of color. While you’re at it, drag the Shape 1 layer on top of the Shape 2 layer in the Layers window as well, such that Shape 2 appears to be behind Shape 1. Step 4: Creating the Shadow Duplicate the Shape 1 layer as described above. Name it Shadow Layer Change the color of this new layer to black (#000000). Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. Choose a radius of 2.75 pixels. Your image should look like this now: Now drag the Shadow Layer underneath Shape 1 in the Layers window. Right click on Shadow Layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’ Your image logo should now have the nice shadow effect. Step 5: Add the Text We’ll now add text to our logo. Unfortunately, the default Windows font selection isn’t exactly too great. So instead of using tired, stale fonts like Arial, we’ll head over to Google Fonts and download a bunch of new, modern fonts. For this project, I recommend downloading Raleway. This is just a personal preference though. You can choose any one of the hundreds of free fonts on Google Fonts. Some of my personal favorites are:
I choose Arial with font-weight of ‘bold’ and a font-size of 200px. Feel free to experiment with this if you want. Place the text below the logo. For a bit of extra effect, add a drop shadow to the text. Right click on the text layer, select ‘Blending Options’. In the window that pops up, choose ‘Drop Shadow’ and pick the parameters: Step 6: Add a Background Gradient This is the final step to give our logo a bit of dramatic flair. Click the ‘Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers Window. Choose ‘Gradient’. In the window that pops up, select ‘Radial’ under Style. Make sure to check the ‘Reverse’ option at the bottom. Now, double click on the gradient color in the window. The gradient edit window will pop up. Play around with the colors and settings for a while until you find something you like.
Do you want to Market your product using Digital Marketing ?
Before facing abuse allegations and taking his own life, Kentucky Rep. Dan Johnson was becoming a far-right leader.
While the national press is focused on how the #MeToo movement is affecting Congress, state and city governments have also experienced a surge of women accusing politicians of sexual harassment and abuse. Kentucky has been especially shaken by this, with at least four Republican state legislators and a Democratic city councilman being publicly accused of sexual harassment in the past couple of months.
But the story took a particularly gruesome twist after a fifth statehouse Republican, Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, took his own life last Wednesday. That came shortly after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a blockbuster exposé of Johnson’s disturbing history, including allegations that he molested a 17-year-old member of his Heart of Fire congregation, where he was a minister.
This entire sordid affair is already being twisted by conservative pundits to discredit the #MeToo movement. Kathleen Parker asks whether Johnson had “a right to some sort of dispassionate hearing,” ignoring the fact that the alleged victim went to the police, to no avail. A deeper look into Johnson’s career, however, suggests a different moral: It illustrates the growing problem of radical fundamentalists quietly infiltrating local state governments.
Roy Moore may have lost his chance to be the U.S. senator from Alabama — if by an agonizingly narrow margin. But dozens of mini-Moores are flourishing in state legislatures, where they are pushing the Republican Party ever further to the right and quietly working to dismantle women’s access to reproductive health care.
While the molestation allegations against Johnson have been the focus, R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting also uncovered a dizzying amount of disturbing information about Johnson that should have been disqualifying long before those accusations came to light. The man was a con artist who told lies about his own biography so outrageous they hardly needed fact-checking. He had repeatedly been in trouble with the law for running an illegal bar out of his church, and over several apparent arson incidents. During the 2016 election, he posted racist memes portraying Barack and Michelle Obama as monkeys and won his election over Democrat Linda Belcher anyway.
“I think that led him to believe there were lots of things he could do, yet his folks would still support him,” Marcie Crim, executive director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, told Salon.
When his Republicans colleagues came under fire in November for sexual harassment allegations, Johnson took to Facebook to offer a defense, writing, “I’m totally against anything that has to do with abuse, however there are no perfect people.”
Crim was not surprised by this, saying that both sexual abuse and anti-choice beliefs stem from an unwillingness to “believe that women’s bodies belong to the women.” Essentially, she said, right-wing men want to touch women “whenever they want, and they also want to tell them what kind of health care they can and can’t get access to.”
Johnson wasn’t just anti-abortion, which is par for the course in Republican politics. He was a radical anti-choice fanatic. He appears to have been closely working with Operation Save America, an extremist Christian organization that pushes what it calls the “doctrine of the lesser magistrates,” which holds that Christians shouldn’t obey laws that they believe conflict with God’s laws. It’s the same theory used to bolster the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Now it is being used to argue that federal laws protecting abortion rights need not be respected.
In October, Johnson pre-filed a piece of planned legislation called the Abolition of Abortion Act, which would have criminalized abortion in Kentucky both for doctors and patients. The proposed bill explicitly instructed the state to enforce this ban “regardless of any contrary or conflicting state or federal laws, administrative regulations, executive orders, or judicial decisions.” It appears Johnson was trying to put this “lesser magistrate” notion into law.
In an emotional video released before Johnson committed suicide — but after the allegations of sexual misconduct had emerged — Rusty Thomas, the head of Operation Save America, blamed the “sexual revolution” for sexual harassment, saying, “God is lifting the skirt of our national whoredoms.”
Thomas went on to defend both Johnson and Roy Moore, saying that the “establishment will spend millions of dollars to dig up dirt” and that it has “successfully weaponized sex as a political weapon” to publicly shame those “seeking to stand for righteousness and for godliness in our nation.”
Thomas, it’s worth noting, spends his days organizing protests outside abortion clinics that are meant to publicly shame women seeking abortion. Johnson himself showed up at one of these protests and was photographed by clinic escorts.
In the video, Thomas calls Johnson “the congressman we have been working with to introduce a bill of abolitions.” This comports with what Rewire reporter Jenn Stanley discovered while working on her audio documentary “Marching Toward Gilead.” She called Johnson to ask him about his anti-abortion bill, and he had Joseph Spurgeon, a pastor who works with Operation Save America, call her back within seconds.
“I didn’t tell Dan Johnson that this was a story about Operation Save America,” Stanley told Salon. “So Joseph Spurgeon must be a guy he sends out to talk to reporters.” Spurgeon and Thomas have also said they tried to call and text Johnson to prevent him from committing suicide, to no avail.
(Full disclosure: My partner was an executive producer on Stanley’s documentary.)
Operation Save America was the group that spent decades harassing Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Wichita, Kansas, until a regular clinic protester murdered him in 2009. When another clinic opened in the place of Tiller’s, Thomas declared, “OSA has some unfinished kingdom business in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller’s mill was reopened.”
But the main focus of Operation Save America has been the last remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky, which has been subject to the illegal clinic blockades that the groupused in the ’90s but abandoned for many years — until now. The group has been open about its desire to make Kentucky the home of the radical anti-abortion movement, especially now that it believes Donald Trump’s presidency has eased the path for more militant tactics.
The relationship between Johnson and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also shines some light onto the political dynamics that are allowing Republicans to chip away at abortion access in red states. As Crim argued, people like Johnson “would have been fringe characters two years ago, five years ago, but now they’re getting elected to office.”
Once in, legislators like Johnson embrace extreme and blatantly illegal positions, such as an effort to reclassify abortion as murder. This makes politicians like Bevin, whose strategy is to use ginned-up regulations to bury abortion clinics under red tape, look moderate by comparison. But in reality, as Crim put it, “The fringe has become the mainstream.”
There’s only one abortion clinic left in Kentucky, because Planned Parenthood was unable to get hospital transfer agreements required by a recently-passed (and medically unnecessary) law blatantly intended to shut down as many clinics as possible. Planned Parenthood says it has evidence showing that Bevin used defunding threats to prevent hospitals from helping Planned Parenthood follow the law.
There is also reason to believe that Bevin’s true sympathies lie with extremists like Dan Johnson and Operation Save America. In February, Bevin held a meeting with the leaders of Operation Save America, who say they gave him the book “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates” by Matt Trewhella, a pastor who has argued that murdering abortion doctors is justified. The group’s leaders further claimed Bevin had praised the book, even as he demurred on the question of signing legislation to classify abortion as murder.
(Bevin’s office and Operation Save America both failed to return Salon’s requests for comment.)
Stanley and Crim both told Salon that this entire situation highlights how easy it is for radicalized right-wingers to get power in state legislatures and start pushing a state’s politics to the right.
“Most people just have no idea who their state representatives are. People don’t go up to vote for that,” Stanley said. That makes the state legislature fertile ground for extremists to build a power base. “When you think about the things that really affect people’s personal lives,” she continued, “it’s the laws that are passed by these state legislators.”
Johnson’s death has certainly rattled the far-right fundamentalists who supported him, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down their efforts to push their absolutist agenda through the Kentucky legislature. Even before Johnson’s death, his supporters were writing off the sexual abuse allegations as a politicized lie created by the “establishment” and largely ignoring the multitude of alarming claims about Johnson’s long history of fabrications. The day after Johnson’s death, his widow, Rebecca Johnson, announced plans to run for his legislative seat. “These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day,” she declared.
“People like to say it’s the last, dying gasp of previous generations,” Crim said of the rise of the far right in state legislatures. “And maybe it is the last gasp — but it’s a big gasp. It’s a very powerful breath they’re taking.”
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