Pre-flight Checklist – Stream Deck Plugin

What started as a checklist on paper morphed into a digital format.

After I saw the benefit in using the Stream Deck Mini that I won back in 2019,within a year I had decided to upgrade from that to the standard 16 key version. It was well worth it as having more actions per page is great for having more options readily available without having to go between page more often.

One of the things that I was rubbish at doing before stream was, well Everything, I would invariably forget to do something, either forgetting completely or remembering a few hours into stream, such as eating food, checking my peripherals or updating my title and game. I used to have a physical list of things to complete, but invariably I would lose it.

So I decided to build a plug-in for the Stream Deck to digitise this pre-stream checklist, aiming to achieve exactly the same thing, but less likely to misplace it between streams.
Once I had the working prototype working it dawned on me that I could theme it in the style of togglable switches like you might find in a cockpit.

It can however be used for anything that required a checkable list of tasks, so the name change to pre-flight rather than pre-stream allowed it to be no prescriptive but also a familiar enough concept for people to understand.

I haven’t really devoted too much time to getting the plugin into a releasable state but it’s something I’d like to do so other folks can set up their own lists and hopefully get the same benefit I get from it.

Peaking at D4

Interesting Reddit conversations around a Blizzard Survey that was sent out in German for Diablo 4, PCGamesN have a good post that summarizes the translated details from Reddit.

Given how I only just touched on Battle Passes in my The FOMO carrot post there is a clear steer in that direction for D4. Admittedly these surveys are sent to judge player opinion on pricing and bundled content in the case of different versions of the game they are proposing.

While I have no big problem with versions giving early access, I can imagine that if you are a player that seeks out Server Firsts or leader board  rankings, 7 days head start over the bulk of other players will be a must.

However when it comes to the other things on that list they are likely baked into the game model already so we can expect them in the final release.

Platinum

An in-game currency for cosmetics  I wonder if it will have a daily outfit rotation to truly mimic the Fortnite model or be more of a static shop?
Time limited store items may encourage folks to spend Platinum more freely, harness that FOMO power once again. Real world Seasonal event items also play into this with outfits, pets, mounts, transmogs and dyes.

Battle Pass

Battle pass being bound to seasons looks like it could be the model that D4 delivers if this survey text is to be believed. Originally seen in free to play titles , it has now crept into games that have an Upfront game cost too, this falls in line with their Call of Duty approach.

If there wasn’t already enough reasons to be disappointed with Activision Blizzard, not even mentioning Immortal. Unless something changes I may have to think long and hard if I want to even entertain playing the game.

Duck Duck Go Mobile App

So I’ve been running the Duck Duck Go app on my phone for about a year now. I felt that the the trade off between using Chrome (where everything is always logged in but tracked ) and DuckDuckGo, boils down to convenience, yes I may need type my credentials more frequently but for the amount of benefits it gives me it’s feels  worth it.

Browsing

90% of my browsing is just looking stuff up, random stuff, IMDB, Just watch, I’m not even logged into a site to see most stuff.
However we all know that even the most basic searches using a big Search engine is likely to be tied to your account, tracked via cookies ad profile ID, then you will be seeing adverts for things related to that search hours and days later.

By default DuckDuckGo will use it’s enhanced privacy protection to block many trackers, However there are other baked in features that can be set to automatically wipe your tabs and/or browsing data, either on a timer or when you exit the app.

If this isn’t a feature you want to occur all the time you can list a site as fireproof, so it avoids this fate

But not only does DuckDuckGo give you a browser it also offers two additional tools that you can sign up to be part of (at the time of writing this 

Duck Email

Big business means Big data, your data to be exact, our inboxes are swamped with marketing emails of one kind or another. Each of them is a tiny self-contained bundle of ways companies can track you.

They will track

  • is your email address still valid
  • did the email reach it
  • did you open the email
  • did you scroll or interact with the email in anyway
  • did you click a link/image in the email

One of the features they have started rolling out is a email forwarder that sends emails to an email address of your choosing but it removes tracking data from emails (the 3 elements in the list above).

Also at anytime you can generate a random email address that will do the same, only it’s not giving out your duck address but still linked to it.
Lastly you can response to emails and they will go back via DuckDuckGo not giving away your actual email still.

App Tracking Protection

So the latest feature that is being trailed is Tracking Protection from your installed Apps. I love how simple the idea here is, DuckDuckGo setups up a local VPN, the checks happens on your phone, the data never sent out to anyone else. Then the app and you can control what apps use it or don’t make use of it. Some apps that have this tracking nastiness baked into them break completely so you have to toggle those apps off.

Think all those tracking cookies are rough?
Then when you see the quantity of data that can be captured and supplied via app tracking about you and your device, it’s frankly scary.

Revised About Me

The theme for the second week of Blaugust is Introduce yourself, I’ve always tried to maintain an About Me page on more recent interactions of my blog, not much changes on there, I think the biggest change was when I updated it to say I wasn’t 30 something anymore 😛

Now looking at the page I see there is an least one glaring change needed, but I’ll take this time to expand and revise that content via a blog post.


I am Kris (yes named after that one, he was popular in the 70’s OK) and I have been going by the name Welshtroll since about 1998, which was when I permanently got access to the internet at home. Before then it was at other peoples houses and at college. As for the origin of the name it was likely sourced from a good foundation in mythical creatures and AD&D.

I am based in the UK, South Wales to be exact, where I live with my wife (FlyinPinkMunki) and our two sons, upgraded from one as part of the 2021 Surprise DLC Bundle.

I am a programmer by trade, my first job was as “new blood” brought into work on a aging CICS/COBOL financial mainframe system.
I was a lot of fun and working within the confines of an older system required you to be far more creative and cleaver with how you approached development. Once I moved onto working in C# the scope of my work was a lot broader and varied and soon widened to include Visual Basic to support on premises applications.

Now I still work in the financial sector and still technically focused, despite my title change, a lot what I do is still the same as when I started out in the industry, but then I’m much better at it.

When I’m not working, I can be found playing some form of game, whether it be a Video game, Table top or Role Playing.

 

Elite Dangerous : Exobiology

When the Odyssey Expansion released for ED in May last year, it brought with it ability to leave your vehicles and move around on foot. SPACE LEGS FOR ALL!

Walking around delivered a mixture of missions that can be undertaken, like those you see on your ship they are randomly generated and the factions within a system issue them, you can accept them from a mission board like on ships, or you can go speak to a contact face to face, which is a nice touch after years of being stuck in a ship.

When a war occurs in a system you can act as a merc, siding with one faction for the on-foot conflict zone, these are populated with AI troopers, players in the area will of course show as fighting along side them.

One of the new activities to occupy your time while on foot didn’t require missions as it was a new form of exploration, Exobiology, and I adore it. Not an activity that everyone will enjoy, seeking out the various organism on remote planets can be  rather frustrating and always time-consuming.

That said there is something truly wonderful being stood next to some fledgling alien organism, on a plant at the edge of a solar system, which it’s self is at the edge of the bubble.

Big Blue Thingys

Despite being my favourite feature the game annoyingly sucks at two core things to help make Exobiology easier, namely these are:

  • Firstly listing out your discoveries so you can so check what you have documented and from where (same problem as system/planet discovery)
  • Secondly once you have collect enough samples of an organism for analysis, I wish it would mark it on the Detailed Surface Scanner somehow.

Once I was aware of them I have been trying to get around these two problems so I can scan a planet fully at a pace that suites me, as I said I like to be organised, so Trello is currently housing the data so I don’t forget between play sessions.
Much easy to see what I have and haven’t completed.