Browse Author: Welshtroll

Habit This

For the last half of 2016 I attempting to motivate myself in an effort to become healthier and be more proactive in some areas of day to day life.
I started to search for applications to aid in this quest and found that there are a number of applications that have health as a primary goal, but in many cases it’s wrapped in a game or a mechanics that aims to teach you the best ways to reduce salt or training for running.
Not only were these too focused but there was alot of things that I didn’t want or need, this task of finding an app wasn’t as simple as I’d hoped.

What I needed was simple, an app that allowed me to track habits, not only those linked to improving my health, but some that we’re more as a reminder to complete them regularly. At this time I didn’t want to have workout routines, meditation plans or linking to friends to encourage me, I wanted to control the tasks and choose how I wanted to approached them.

I’ll most likely post on the exercise topic at another time, but since breaking my ankle and having multiple veins collapse in my leg due to DVT’s, extended periods of time spend on my feet can leave me feeling exhausted and unable to move easily. Low impact activities are my main approach to exercise at the moment until I can stand more strenuous leg exercises. So all these couch to 5k type things look great but I’m not in any position to be able to engage with them right now.

After trying out a number of different applications including SuperBetter, Fabulous – Motivate Me! and Habit RPG, I finally settled on HabitBull, I entered in the habits I wanted to address and tried it out for a few days before purchasing the app.
The setup is simple and once I had habits being tracked it was pretty easy to keep updated using widgets on my phone homepage. Over the next few months I tweaked the habits, dropped some that weren’t really needed and added some new ones.

The image here is an example, one of my key habits was to drink more water everyday, I obtained a large drinking bottle so I had a standardised amount that I wanted to ensure I consumed each day to receive a green circle and not the dreaded red ones. Yes I welshtroll am a complete sucker for gamification of any kind, but maybe not as far as engaging fully with as HabitRPG, who’s approach seem to be more about microtransactions or making logging of activities a little more complicated that tapping an icon, I just want to get on with things and not spend too much time.

There are most likely other apps out there that achieve the same thing (please comment if you know of any), but for me HabitBull was the perfect app at the right time for my requirements.

I could have continued my habits into 2017 as they had been, but I want to challenge myself a little more and hopefully prove to myself that I muster the willpower to achieve more concrete goals. I am attempting to be more active on a daily basis after agreeing to a challenge laid down by one of my fellow streamers, I’m hoping that I can link this into my habits.

I want to continue with my drinking water, I have a fruit bowl on my desk at work to try and encourage me to only snack on healthier options.

Do you have new year’s resolutions/approaches ?


Eastbound and down

Euro Truck Simulator 2 was released in January 2013 and for a 4 year old game it’s really still got some stamina, the game has recently received another large DLC that expand the size of the world map in the form of major French cities and some work around the linking roads.

I’ve always been impressed by how much the company SCS are still supporting this title and it goes to show that the longevity of a game isn’t solely dictated by size of the studio or company, but the fan base and a product that is enjoyable. Not something you are likely to see from the likes of Call of Duty, where each year brings something new, quicker or fancier to collect the FPS’ers annual tithe.

I think this dedication is also reflected in the recent Steam Awards where the title walked away with two awards, one for “I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award” and the community award “Sit Back and Relax”.

I’ve recently had chance to take part in the Grand Gift Delivery 2016 – Holiday delivery event, which was to Drive 10 christmas themed loads to different cities in Europe, it was a great laugh and I ended up unlocking some new areas and routes I’d not taken before. This all helps to feed into my map completion activities, which drops with each new map DLC released.

Some play the game with a keyboard and mouse as I did when starting out, but now I use my wired XBox 360 controller for much of the driving related tasks, swapping back to the mouse+keyboard when using the interfaces or to use a function I haven’t mapped. I don’t have much desk space so as much as the idea of a steering wheel is nice it really isn’t practical, below is the mapping I use, in case you fancy giving it a whirl.

Controller layout

Feel free to check out my WOTr Profile here.

Logitech K380 Keyboard

I use my Nvidia K1 Shield as my main interaction device when I’m away from my PC for extended periods of time, as with any touch screen device using the onscreen keyboard takes up a chunk of real-estate, that shrinks the content that you are viewing. To circumvent this I bought a bluetooth keyboard to allow me to type blog posts and the like a whole lot easier and to also keep the screen size maximised for application usage.

Over the Christmas period I found that my existing bluetooth keyboard had stopped powering on correctly.
So rather than try to figure out how to fix the weird power switch issue (that would most likely need some soldering), I used some money I was gifted from my Grandparents to get a new device.

I wanted to pick up the device ASAP so I could use it over Christmas when I would be using my tablet more heavily, but rather than waiting for a delivery, which around Christmas could have a 3 to 10 day delay, I hit the shops to attempt to find a replacement. After checking in a number of stores and weighing up the devices that were on offer, I finally settled on the Logitech K380 (UK Qwerty) which is a Cross-Platform and Multi-Device bluetooth keyboard.

Powered by two AAA batteries (expected to last around 24 months) the K380 is lightweight device weighing in around 420g, but the craftsmanship feels solid with the keys moving fluidly and comfortably within their recesses. The device has 4 rubber feet that hold the device in place when used on a flat surface, however the lightweight nature means that the device isn’t uncomfortable resting on your lap.

Out of the box the keyboard functions in a basic manner, with nearly all core keys performing their expected function, however characters that require the use of shift key function as if the keyboard layout is defaulted to use the US layout so the @ key is on shift 2 by default rather than it being “.

I have to admit that it took me a little time to figure out that I needed to download an additional application to the device in order to utilise those advanced features. If you need the Android version it can be found here: Logitech Keyboard Plus. One of the core features of the keyboard is the multi-device setup and quick switching keys, I didn’t really have much cause to use this but I tried it out connecting to my Phone on the second profile, then swapping between them using the dedicated keys.

I used the keyboard quite a bit over the Christmas break for typing into slow moving environments like forums or sending tweets, I also found it very useful for chatting on faster paced environments such as Discord and Twitch. It was nice to have cut and paste functionality and once I had it figured out plus the ability to auto-complete functionality for names and the like.

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