Dusting off my blog

Returning to blogging could have been as straightforward as hitting the publish button. However in the 6 months since I last posted and even longer since I had done any maintenance, there was housekeeping that urgently needed doing.

Social

It dawned on me that I had not reviewed the social links in sometime, thankful it was straightforward to discard some out of date links for Raptr,Anook and Forge, I also added some newer items such as GOG and BattleNet.

Privacy & Cookie Policy

Cookies are a way that sites can store data in the browser, this can range from session information to preferences or options, these allowed for customisation of site features. On top of that nowadays cookies can be used to track everything users do on a site, what they searched, what they clicked on and other behavioural traits.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will have encountered the EU Cookie Policy from 2 years ago and also the more recent GDPR, these cover how cookies are set and explaining how visitors data maybe be used respectively. GDPR covers explaining how a users data will be used and also the right for a users data to be removed and how they can request this.

WordPress has been proactive in giving users the ability to create a privacy policy page with a good template to get the ball rolling, however a list of cookies and their purpose is the preferred display method for detailing what cookies your website will be setting in a users browser. So I set about documenting what cookies load the first time you visit my site directly (incognito mode is good for testing this).

Me and Privacy

In the last year I started using Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Privacy Badger, this plugin is for Chrome/Firefox and Opera effectively allow users to manage what cookies from a site they wish to allow and which they want to blacklist.

You may have noted that my Share Buttons have now gone from the end of each post. The reason behind this is that when reviewing my website looking at what cookies were being set for the cookie policy, there were many tracking cookies that were linked to the sharing buttons.

Why remove them?
We’ll I don’t think they were used much, but since I have been taking steps to help my own privacy I didn’t want people to feel the same about visiting my site, so I removed the Sharing Buttons, which dropped the number of cookies massively. I have been looking into alternatives for share buttons, that don’t actually have any tracking or cookies, sounds simple but it’s still a Work in Progress.

I then decided to review the remaining Cookies. There were however 3 cookies from Google Webmaster Tools that I had setup many, many years ago, now if I want metrics on visitors I generally use the information that WordPress can supply. So I decided that since I could not remember the last time I had looked at the Google data I most likely didn’t need it. So that got removed as well.

The result

So after all that my site only drops 3 cookies on a new visitor coming to my site, 2 from WordPress and 1 that my hosting company drop for load balancing.
Running a website used to be quick and easy, now there are hoops to jump through and cookies to bake.

7 out of 10 OS’s

I have been recently pondering when I rebuild my gaming PC if I should go for Windows 10, I have been happy with Windows 7 and so far haven’t really had a strong enough reason to switch.

Pros

  • DX12 support
  • Fast boot
  • Smaller OS footprint

Cons

  • My experience of Windows 10 is that I have seen more Blue Screens in the 18 months of using the OS than I have ever seen with Windows 7.
  • I still regularly hear stories of unexpected or breaking OS updates hampering gamers.

So I decided to see what the take up of the OS from fellow gamers has been, visiting the Steam Survey site, I have to say I was quite surprised by what I found.

Steam Survey Jun 2018

In the last 5 months there has been a vast change in the Steam user base (that have given information for the survey) shifting massively from Windows 7 64bit to Windows 10 64bit.

I know that Sea of Thieves released in mid-march, which was only available on Windows 10, but could that have impacted the metrics so much?
Yesterday Microsoft reported that more than 5 million people have played the game since launch, bearing in mind that in the the first week the number of copies solds was 2 million, it’s not a terrible figure to wave about.
Admittedly those figures cover both PC and XBox but it’s interesting to think that it may have spurred people into updating, but maybe not the sole reason.

Perhaps like myself it was just a natural time for a large number of people to upgrade their machines, taking the opportunity to move OS’s too.
Are DX11 is more performant on Windows 10 and people want to get the most from their existing games?

As more upcoming titles begin to opt for DX12 the last bastions of Windows 7 will start to crumble, maybe I just have to endure the random updates and blue-screens with everyone else.