Sunday, August 25, 2013

Afterfall Insanity Boss guide

image credit: wikipedia

I just finished Afterfall Insanity and there are few guides out there. So I decided to write a mini guide for the Boss fights. There are only 3 bosses.

I am basing this guide on the PC steam version of the game.

Some general pointers.

All boss fights have one or two ammo dispensers with unlimited ammo. Because of this and the scarcity of melee weapons in those areas, you wont be using melee for the most part. A few guns are strewn around the area.

The crosshairs remain colored white if you are not aiming at a valid target or not aiming at a vulnerable part of the Boss's body. So only shoot when it turns red.

Health regeneration is pretty fast so you can just duck behind cover or run away and wait till your health regenerates. There is no health bar but the screen turns reddish to indicate low health.

The first 2 boss fights are divided into parts with no checkpoint in between. The last boss fight also has 2 parts but has a sequence before the 2 parts with a checkpoint, for a total of 3 parts.

The first Boss fight happens when you are clubbed from behind by one of the surface dwellers and you are thrown into a gladiator arena like area.

The boss is a fat giant. He's armed with 2 weapons. First weapon is a metal flail that has a short range. The flail will automatically make you knocked down. Just stay away from him and you wont be hit by the flail. If you do get hit, use RUN and DODGE to get some distance.

The second weapon is a shield that is thrown captain america style. It might be dodgable but I have not been able to dodge it. A hit will cause you to be knocked down.

The strategy for the first part of the fight is to stay away to avoid the flail. Then stop and get a piece of cover between you and the boss. The boss will throw the shield. It will then get lodged on the piece of cover. When that happens for a few second the BOSS's tummy is exposed. Start shooting the tummy (the HUD crosshairs will be red). Rinse and repeat. I like to use the submachine gun.

For part 2, the boss gets a big hammer. Its more important to stay away because one hit from the hammer will make you fall down. Once you fall down its very difficult to get away before the next hammer blow. Also, a few scavengers join the fight.

My strategy is to run away - shoot the scavengers who are running towards you - reload and get a few shots at the boss's tummy - run away. Rinse and repeat

Boss #2 is an animated pile of scrap metal that you find on the surface. Avoid areas with sunlight since that spawns ghosts. Ghosts are annoying but they deal low damage.

In part 1 its attacks are primarily cars. It picks up cars and throws them at you. Just keep running and dodging and keep your distance. I think it can use melee attacks but I'm not sure. I prefer the assault rifle.

So the first vulnerable spot seems to be the right arm (or was it  the right leg?) Shoot it and scrap metal will fall off.

Later on use the crosshairs to hunt for more vulnerable spots. The torso may be vulnerable but it usually covers it with its left arm so you need to wait for it to do something like throw a car to expose it. Rinse and repeat

In part 2, the boss switches to an attack that creates a line of spikes from the ground that travels in a straight line. The strategy is still the same. RUN or DODGE its attacks and hunt for a vulnrable spot then shoot it. Rinse and Repeat.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

FAMI web portal criticism - part 3

Back to part 2

Okay, now lets review the inside of the FAMI web portal. 

The first thing I noticed upon logging in was that I was prompted to choose a new password because my old password was expired. If you go back to part 1 you will see that the password criteria is very strict. It took me over 10 min to decide on a password then. Its been less than 2 weeks since I made part 1. If the password expires once every 2 weeks or less than I am never going to use this portal again. Why the heck is the password expiry period so short? Never mind, I'm not going there.

For a website so paranoid about security, I'm curious as to why they do not use https web encryption.

Okay, moving on. This is the page that greets you once you are in, the main page.

Its a bit busier than the competitor's web portal main page as seen in part 2 but it does the job. Its divided into 4 parts.

The "investor summary" in the upper left essentially is the equivalent of the competitor's main page in part 2. Clicking the "+" brings up a popup with more info. It shows how many units you own, the latest NAVPS and how much its worth as of now.

Clicking the "graph" tab merely brings up a graph showing what kinds of FAMI funds you own. Since I only own balanced funds i get a single 100% graph. A little boring.

In the lower left is the "statement of account". Its very similar to the "investor summary" with more data. The "graph" tab is also similar. You can limit it by time period. If you invested say 100 pesos in jan 2012, jan 2013 and may 2013, it will display 300 pesos worth. If you limit it from Jan 2013 to today, it will show 200 pesos worth.

In the lower right is the "Historical SOA". It should be available now since its after july 31 but its still down. FAMI should add it soon.

In the upper right is the "investment analysis". Unlike the "investor summary", it displays the amount you invested. Unfortunately it only shows a total amount within the time period specified. If you invested 100 pesos twice within the time period selected, it does not show each individual transaction but only shos the total of 200. Now this is a big limitation IMHO. The competitor's web portal in part 2 does have this. See pic below. FAMI should add a feature like this.

Verdict: Since the web portal seems to be in beta, there are a lot of bugs, wrong design and missing features. From just the web portal alone I would give it 3/5 stars. But considering the difficulty in signing up and logging in, I drop it to 2/5 stars.

The end for now

Friday, August 2, 2013

FAMI web portal criticism part 2

Part 1 tackled the registration process for FAMI's new web portal. Part 2 now tackles the web portal itself. I will review it and tell you if its easy to use and if it gives the info you need. Take note that the FAMI web portal is newly launched and can be considered to be in beta so expect changes and improvements in the future.

First, let us look at  a competitor's web portal. It will remain anonymous of now. I chose this competitor because Its the only other MF I own with a web portal. Below is the main page that greets you after logging in.

Its pretty simple and direct to the point. You can immediately see the 2 things you need the most, current NAVPS and current value. "To the point' as the saying goes.

As a side note, the entire portal uses https for better privacy.

You can also click on your account number to bring up a chronological list of all your investments.

You can immediately see how many times you invested. Different types of MF's are grouped together. For each you can see when you invested, how much you invested, any deductions, NAVPS at the time you bought it and number of shares.

At the bottom is the interface for looking at historical values. It gives you a list of numerical values which can be copy pasted onto a spreadsheet so you can make a graph and perform calculations. Unfortunately the portal has no function to make a graph. Take note that FAMI's web portal does not have this function as of this time.

This other company's web portal works well and is easy to use. I give it a 4/5. Now, lets look and compare.

UPDATE: unfortunately, I cannot get into the portal.

882 minutes is like 14.7 hours. I tried before at 991 minutes but didnt get a screenshot then.

This is a huge bug. If you do not log out properly and just close the browser tab, when you try to login again you get the above error message.

This is a huge usability problem. Its not user friendly because a normal user would just close the browser. It does make it more secure but at an unacceptable cost, it becomes less user friendly. The other company gets around this without incurring a security hole by merely auto-logging the user off if you close the browser. This is very poor design IMHO. I hope FAMI fixes it.

More security is nice but not at the expense of making it less user friendly and harder to use. AFAIK you can't really buy or sell anything in the web portal so I think the extreme security is unwarranted.

So, expect a part 3 of this review. I had to cut it short because I could not log in.

UPDATE: part 3 is up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

FAMI web portal criticism - part 1

Recently FAMI, a mutual fund company, launched its web portal. Here's some criticism of the FAMI web portal. I'm still trying to decide a new password so expect a part 2 once I get inside and look around.

I've had lots of experience navigating web portals like these from major companies as well as designing some using HTML and PHP. And so far, FAMI's first shot at it has major usability issues. It is, I'm afraid very much unpolished unlike some of the portals used by big multinational companies.

This is so disappointing since I like the performance of FAMI mutual funds and I invest in them.

OK, here goes.
* I didnt know that I needed to register. I only found out by reading the comments i the FAMI facebook page. There should be a note or something, not just a page with a blank username and password. See Pic below

* When registering, there should be some help since some terms like "COR" might be unknown to the users. Hint: its in the snail mail you receive.
* When registering there are multiple blanks that I dont understand. Aside from the aforementioned "COR", there are multiple COR's and multiple accounts. How the heck can a simple client understand what the multiple "COR" and "accounts" means? Is it one COR/account per person? Or is it one COR/account per transaction? If its the latter then if you bought say 10,000 pesos worth of mutual funds last year then bought another 10k this year then is that 2 accounts? Or maybe yo just have to fill in the first account only? Look at the pic below and you can see how a normal person might be intimidated

update:  The FAMI facebook says that you only need to input one valid COR. You get one COR every time you buy MF's. Its in the letter they snail mail to you.

* I didnt know that i should recieve an email. I only found those out from reading the comments here. You should have a small note that says "an email will arrive with your username and password bla bla bla"
* after registering there is a number generated. There is no note that explains what the number is for. And so far I see no use for it except maybe as a reference number if for some reason your registration has a problem
* It takes some time for your email to arrive. A day or so. A note explaining that it would take a day or so would be nice
* The email gives you 2 pieces of info: User ID and Password. But when you try to log in, there is a password blank but there is no User ID. There is a username blank but some people might not get it. From my experience in databases, changing the name of a variable can cause lots of confusion
* When you first login with the userid and password emailed to you, you are required to change the password. OK thats very much standard procedure. Good
* However the website is set up to be VERY VERY strict with creating a password. Look at these restrictions
  • Password must have at least 1 special character.
  • Password must not contain your user id.
  • Password must have at least 1 capital alphabet.
  • Password must have at least 1 lower case alphabet.
  • Password shouldn't contain date aspect.
  • Password shouldn't contain consecutive character.
  • Password must be alphanumeric.
  • Password must not match with your 5 old passwords .
  • Password should be greater than 7 characters
    and less than 14 characters.

Security is good but TOO MUCH security is bad since it makes remembering the password hard. Heck, even inventing a new password that passes all these (specially the consecutive character thing) is hard. There is a time for idiot proofing stuff but this goes too far and is condescending, treating the user like a child.
* "Password shouldn't contain date aspect". What the heck does that mean? I'm getting a rejection like that even if my password only contains among it s characters a single number.
* "Password shouldn't contain consecutive character ". Hard to explain but lets give an example. the word "password" fails that rule because it has 2 letters in succession, s and s. Removing one s would make it pass that. At least I think so. Not sure.

The end for now. Wait for part 2

UPDATE: part 2 is up

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crowdsourced taxi service - a theoretical excercise

One possible high tech solution for traffic in a city. Too bad its illegal in some places and possibly dangerous (specially in the phils). Since its possibly dangerous I'm treating this as a theoretical excercise. Oh, and it uses up smartphone 3g data connection and battery for 3g data and gps so it really becomes more theoretical. This probably would become feasible in the Philippines at least a decade from now.

Note: I'm now speculating on how it would work, or how I would do it in theory. Its off the top of my head as it were.

Note: This is based on me reading one article about similar services in the USA.

If you have a car and want to earn some money you sign up to this service. Load the app on your cellphone, the "driver" version of the app. When you are in your car and are not in a hurry, turn 3g data on and gps on your cellphone then sign in on the app and change your status to "available". Now go on your commute

A person who previously signed up to the service who needs a ride turns on his cellphone and GPS and logs in to the app, the "passenger" version. He or she then clicks on "find me a ride". He also specifies his destination. the app uses his GPS and contacts the apps of all drivers nearby who are available. They are informed of the passenger's destination. The app calculates the distance from passenger's pickup point to destination and gives a fixed fee. There is no haggling and no cash transaction. Obviously the fee should be competitive with official taxi services. The first "driver" who clicks "accept" will get the ride and he gets the passenger's username as well as a GPS map showing the route to the passenger. Of course since the drivers are all volunteers who are already by chance on the road, the ones who would accept are the drivers whose final destination is not too far from the passenger's destination. The system records all of this of course. The passenger gets the drivers username and a dynamic map showing the current location of the driver.

Also, the system is designed to allow multiple pickups to improve fuel consumption per passenger, ala car pooling. Passengers that have destinations that are on the projected route and are near each other can be told to walk to a common pickup location. A driver already with a passenger can accept another passenger en route via the app and the current passenger can veto this with his app by paying a fee.

Once the driver and passenger meet the passenger can accept or reject the ride. If rejected the passenger must input in the app why he rejected the ride, like a short mini feedback similar to the one in Ebay. If the passenger accepts, the passenger's  and the driver's cellphone somehow exchange a digital handshake which includes GPS location. This could be via internet, bluetooth or NFC and is of course logged in the system.

After the ride or if the passenger decides to cut short the ride, wherever the passenger decides to get off, GPS is used to calculate the distance travelled and the fee. The fee is transferred from the passenger's account to the driver's account. So a passenger must fill up the account first with load. And of course, the sytem will inform the passenger if his account's balance is below the estimated cost of the ride based on GPS. After the fee is settled, the driver and the passenger are asked to accomplish a feedback form just like on Ebay

Now of course, in the real world there are certain dangers to this such as driver on passenger and vice versa crime.And of course, the system can also be tweaked to make it totally voluntary like carpooling with no fee.

the end

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reminscing the history of PC stores in Robinsons Galleria

Robinson's Galleria is a mall in metro manila. Located on the corner of EDSA and ortigas. This is the wikipedia entry.

Disclaimer: I am in no way connected with Robinsons. I'm just reminscing about my own personal experiences in the 1990's and the 2000's in this mall regarding PC shops. My memory is not what it used to be so forgive me if there are some inaccuracies,

Unlike other old malls, Galleria has not changed much over the decades, only a couple of small wings added. So it looks eerily the same as it was before. I went there recently and since I have not been there for several years, the eerie similarity hits me. My mind was taken back to the early days. I was in college and postgrad during the 1990's and the 2000's and I did go there from time to time. Before gilmore rose to prominence, virra mall and a few other malls like robinson's galleria were the best places to shop for PC and other tech goods.

Go into Galleria's EDSA entrance and you see the supermarket on your right and jollibee on your left, same as it was during the 90's. Go straight and you'll see the beginning of the food court on your right. Go further a little more and you'll see an escalator going down. This leads to the basement shops, the lowest shops in galleria. At the base of the escalator, there used to be on the left the hardware store and the PC shop section. It was a narrow circular corridor with pc shops on both sides. Go right instead of left and the long underground corridor parallel to ortigas has several shops. 2 shops of note that seem to have survived from the 90's are a small gun store (not sure if its the same) and a big appliance store across the entrance to the basement parking.

Going back to the EDSA entrance, go up to the third floor and with your back to EDSA you'll see an appliance store to your left and a narrow circular corridor to your right. Then as now its full of dental clinics, cosmetological clinics and spas. But in the 1990's there was something special there in tech. One of the early net cafe's in the Philippines. I remember going there and spending hours surfing and downloading to my box of 3.5 diskettes. Its gone now

A few years later, the PC stores all moved to the third floor, where Saizen is now. Kenny rogers and red ribbon were there before and are still there now. A gun store next to Kenny Rogers seems to have closed.

Currently, the PC stores in galleria have fallen on hard times. They are relegated to a small wing next to holiday inn hotel. Some cellphone stores are nearby next to the food court.

On a side note, garry lising's joke shop 3 floors up next to holiday inn seems to be gone.

the end

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ms Office 2010/2013 does not print part 2

 I covered this topic before. But if it doesnt work, there's another workaround. I got the idea from here. So thank you. I'm reposting what I did to fix it here.

Okay first some background. Your problem is that Office 2010/2013 apps dont print but other programs like notepad, browsers, etc can print. You already tried re installing office, changing to or from 64/32 bit office, and re installing the printer driver. You even tried the tip in my other post. If those dont work do this.

I'm doing it in win 8 64 bit but it should work the same for win 7.

* Go to control panel.
* Go to Devices and Printers.
* Click on "Add a printer". I chose at random the LPT1 and the HP deskjet 4320.
* Do not make it the default printer.

Thats it. MS office should print OK from now on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oishi Bread Pan White cheddar QR code

I previously blogged about the erratic quality of QR codes in Philippine newspapers in a previous blog post. My 2 megapixel samsung galaxy Y can't recognize the codes.

Well look at this new product I bought in the supermarket. Oishi bread pan white cheddar flavor. Now made with whole wheat.

I noticed that there was a small QR code in the back. Printing quality is good although under some lighting conditions the shiny surface is not the best for getting a clear picture. Of course I tried it and it doesnt work on my cellphone. Since the quality of printing is pretty good, its the size. It only measures 1.4cm square.

Again, my suggestion stands, test your QR codes with a low end cellphone to avoid alienating a section of the market.

BTW. It tastes good. A bit gritty due to the whole wheat but thats ok.

the end

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Better paypal exchange rates

If you buy stuff online usually there are advantages to using paypal. But paypal is not without its disadvantages. One disadvantage is its "less than optimal" exchange rate. But here's a way to use your debit card or credit card's exchange rate instead.

Here's how to do it. First when you get to Paypal, click on the  "other conversion options

then click "bill me in the currency listed on the seller's invoice"

So, how much of a savings are we talking about here?

Okay, right now if I google "us dollar to philippine peso", I get a value of php 40.58 to one. In the first screenshot above the conversion rate is 0.0237523 or 42.10118599040935 to $1. My actual conversion rate for that purchase was $1.24 converted to php 51.14. Thats 0.0242471646460696 or 41.24193548387099 to one. I save  php 0.85925050653836 per us dollar.

Small but it adds up

The end

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ms Office 2010 does not print

Have you ever installed MS Office and it doesnt print however other programs like browsers, notepad, etc do print?

The first thing you should do is check your printer drivers.

If that doesnt work a workaround is to install a PDF converter, preferably freeware like Cute PDF. Set cute PDF as the printer, print and save as a PDF file. Then open the PDF and print.

But a workaround is not satisfying. Here's the real fix.

For MS publisher, go to the FILE tab then click options. Click Advanced then scroll down to Print. There's only one option : Use XPS enhanced print path when available. Un check this.

For MS word, go to the FILE tab then click options. Click Advanced then scroll down to Print. There are several options. Try unchecking Print in background.

A reboot might be necessary.

the end

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