Audience Feedback

Hey everyone. I hope I find you well. I’m here today to ask you a bit of a favour. I’d like some feedback.

Over the last months I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of content, ranging in medium and topic. How am I doing? Is this stuff any good? Do you enjoy consuming what I produce, or do you wish I’d just stop it now? What kind of things would you like to see more of?

I’m just stabbing in the dark. Any constructive criticism is very welcome.


Please Don’t Like Me

It could be argued that we are living in a golden age of content creation. Never before in human history have we had such amazing technologies and communication methods available to so many people, in their homes. The internet is awash with videos, music, podcasts, blog articles, and so much more. If anything, we don’t have enough time to consume as much as we want to. It’d be great spending all day playing video games, surfing the net, and listening to music and podcasts, but there’s work to be done.

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s something out there for you. Unfortunately, our favourite content creators can, and often do, get completely lost. There’s the old saying about cream rising to the top, but that’s just bollocks. As a content creator, there are some things you can do to try to get your content seen by as many people as possible, most of us rely on social media. It’d be great if we could all afford to buy ads for everything we make, but that’s just not financially viable.

When you build up an audience on social media, it is a big help to you. It’s a sort of guaranteed audience for everything you make, and it’s a great way to communicate with your fans. Our fans like our work, they want to consume more of it, and they want to show their appreciation. Some of us do that financially. If you want to see your favourite content creators continue to make content, money is one of the best things you can offer them. Unfortunately, money is a bit thin on the ground for most people these days, and they’d like a different way to show their appreciation for your work.

For some reason that I don’t understand, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, and just about every other website that you can post something on, have come up with a way for you to feel like you’re showing appreciation without actually doing anything. They have a Like button.

I see many of you use it quite often, and please don’t take this article as a sign of a lack of gratefulness on my part. You just have to be aware that the Like button does nothing for me or any of the other content creators you follow. It’s nice to see that you like something, but ultimately it achieves nothing.

So what can you do? Luckily there’s a button, usually situated right next to a Like button, labeled Share.

Sharing the posts of your favourite content creators helps them out no end. The biggest struggle we face is getting ourselves known. Having an audience share your content is the absolute best way of dealing with that problem. Like I said before, please don’t take this article for ingratitude for your likes. In fact, please continue to hit the like button on everything I make. It’s just that it’d would really help me, and everyone else, if you also hit that share button. If every Like I received was actually a Share, my content would get to many more times the people than it currently does.

Thank you for reading my articles, watching my videos, and listening to my podcasts. Tell your friends!

The New Nintendo 3DS Review

I know I’m reviewing a game system that has been available for well over a year. Everything that there is to say has been said. So why review an old piece of tech? Simply because it’s by far the most exciting, interesting, and joy inducing piece of tech to end up in my grubby mitts in 2016. Also, you’d be right to point out that I’ve said some less than pleasant things about Nintendo over the years. Now is time to make amends.

So what prompted me to go out a buy a 3DS? I’ve joked that it’s all to do with Allison spending too much time on my PS4. The truth is that it’s our PS4, and that I’m struggling to find games I want to play. It’s great that I can play games like Bioshock and GTA5 with new and improved graphics, but they aren’t new games. There are very few PS4 titles that have gotten me excited.

Beyond that, while I’ve been put off hand held gaming because I simply don’t go anywhere, I have always been interested in having a personal small game system. I had a Game Gear back in the day and loved it. With misplaced optimism, I’ve looked to iOS to fill this gap, but it’s rubbish. Not that there’s anything wrong with iOS, or the hardware that it runs on, it’s just that it isn’t geared towards gaming in the same way a 3DS is. There’s no way that virtual buttons on a touch screen can compare to hardware controls. The iPhone has a fantastic processor and a full HD screen, but that’s meaningless if you can’t control the game you’re playing. I got myself down to Game and bought a New 3DS XL. It is orange.

After 30+ years of gaming, this is my first Nintendo console. The NES never got any traction in the UK, and the SNES was beaten by the Mega Drive. Kids my age played games on computers not consoles. I’ve played some of the classics, but never on a console I owned. From what I gather on YouTube, the childhood of every American my age was awash with Nintendo. I had one friend that owned an NES. That friend later got a Mega Drive. I cannot stress enough how unpopular consoles were for gaming in the U.K.

The 3DS is a difficult console to review because I can’t find anything wrong with it. Really, nothing. As I play it I’ve been day dreaming about what you could do to make it better, and I’m coming up with nothing.

It’s important to remember that the 3DS is a 3DS. It isn’t a portable version of anything else. Replicating an at-home console experience isn’t the aim of the game, so it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have a 1080p screen, photorealistic graphics, and the latest version of Call of Duty. It’s a 3DS that plays 3DS games. Most of the hardware components are less than the best spec available, but it doesn’t matter one bit. At this point I feel like an attempt to improve it would end up ruining it.

If anything I just hope that my writing skills are good enough to convey the feeling of pure joy you get using the device. In our house we call it Nintendo Joy Face. It’s to look that sneaks on to a person’s face whenever they’re playing Nintendo. As far as I know, it’s a phenomenon unique to Nintendo products. When you get a PS4 one of the first things you do with it is turn off the music on the main menu. When you get a 3DS you turn it up as loud as it will go so you can dance around your living room to the music on the main menu.

There’s a good store system which I’ve been told is actually quite new and is one of Nintendo’s better online offerings. Unfortunately it suffers from the same problem as the PlayStation and Xbox stores, in that it offers games at full RRP. So far I’ve been buying games on cartridges because they’re much cheaper. Mario Golf is the full £39.99 in the store, or £16.99 for the cartridge on Amazon. You can also trade in cartridges when you’re done with them, or share them with your girlfriend to use on the 3DS you buy her because you feel so guilty about buying one for yourself, less than a month before Christmas.

I’m impressed with the job Nintendo have done with encouraging me to carry the thing around with me. There a system which allows two nearby 3DSs to detect each other and talk. The result is in game prizes for you and whichever 3DS carrying person you happen to walk past. It even tracks your steps and rewards you in an attempt to encourage you to get outside.

The games I’ve played so far have all been great fun. I’ve played through at least the main part of Super Mario 3D Lands, blasted through Starfox, greatly improved my handicap in Mario Golf, and done stuff in other games too. Before this experience I was guilty of believing that games on portable systems were small and limited. It might have been like that in the Game Gear days, but it’s not the case now. The 3DS games I’ve played are every bit as complex and full featured as anything you’ll find on offerings from Sony and Microsoft.

I’ve also been enjoying the Virtual Console. That’s where you’ll find popular games of consoles past. Finally I can play legitimate versions of classic games. Punch Out is great, as are Zelda and Mario 3. There are even a few Game Gear games available. I just hope they don’t come with the experience of totally killing six AA batteries every three hours.

In the time I’ve taken to write this article, my game library has grown. I’m playing all kinds of games and loving every second. If my 3DS broke today, I could almost say that I’ve had my money’s worth out of it. It’s by far one of the most joy inducing things I’ve ever owned. If you like video games, you should have one. You’ll love it. In a way, I’m kind of surprised that we don’t all own a 3DS. They’re just that good. But when I think back to the kind of things I’ve been saying about Nintendo on Tech It Or Leave It, it’s not really much of a mystery. Smartphone gaming clearly took Nintendo by surprise. Before the iPhone, if you wanted to play games out of the house, Nintendo was pretty much the only option you had. Now, people are playing more games on their phones, which I think is a shame. Smartphones can’t offer the same experience as a dedicated gaming device. On screen controls will just never be as good as physical equivalents. Perhaps Nintendo should do more to communicate that to potential customers. An iPhone could run Super Mario 3D Lands without breaking a sweat, but there’s no way it’d be playable without physical controls. Take it from somebody who tried carrying around an iOS controller in his bag for a couple of weeks, it’s a road you don’t want to go down. They’re bulky and awkwardly shaped, and the games that are actually compatible with them are barely worth bothering with. It’s much better to have your trusty 3DS and a couple of game carts tucked away, ready to get your Zelda on whenever you’re ready.

In conclusion, the Nintendo 3DS is awesome and you should get one.




Making Sense with Richard Smith Episode 12 – A Christmas Message

Hello and welcome to a Making Sense Christmas Special, I’m Richard Smith.

As 2016 comes to an end, we find ourselves bruised and battered. It has been one hell of a year. If you made it through alive, well done.

I’m speaking to you today in the hope of building some bridges. Our country has never been so divided, and if we’re to have a hope of getting through the years to come, we need to do it together.

At the moment we’re split into Leavers and Remainers. Sometimes we’re split into left and right, it doesn’t matter. We always have the same goal, and this whole Brexit affair has made us forget that. I’m not here to talk to you about Brexit. That has been and gone. We need to move forward in pursuit of our common goal… a good life for the British people, and success for the United Kingdom.

Before we do that, there are a few things we need to say out loud and accept. This is directed at both sides of our divided nation.

Remainers, you need to accept the fact that leavers aren’t all racist, xenophobic, and homophobic. Some of them are, but there are broken people in any group. It’s true that the racists, xenophobes, and homophobes will have voted to leave the EU, but there really aren’t 17 million people in this country that are driven by those values. Even if it were true that every Leaver was racist, xenophobic, and homophobic, their hate can’t rub off on you. Hate is a one way street. You can come away from it, but you can’t go back to it. You aren’t suddenly going to start hating immigrants and refugees just because we voted to leave the EU.

Leavers, you need to understand that although you personally aren’t racist, xenophobic, or homophobic, some of the people you grouped yourself with are. That makes the Remainers feel understandably uneasy to say the least.

Furthermore, you have to accept that some, if not all of the reasons you have for being a Leaver, are based on lies. Of course, that depends on your personal reasons, but going on the kind of stuff the Leave campaign did, it’s safe to say some of you really thought that leaving the EU would result in the NHS getting an extra £350 million per week.

Remainers. In return, you will understand that Leavers did the best they could with the information they had. Channels of information that can usually be trusted started broadcasting lies and misleading the public. You can’t get angry at people for being mislead. You can help them to understand who mislead them, and why. You can really help by not making fun of them. Nobody likes being made to feel like a dick because they believed a lie.

To both sides. This referendum should never have happened. Regardless of how intelligent we think we are, none of us were qualified to make that level of decision. Nobody, from the long term unemployed, to the most successful brain surgeon, had the information they needed. It was a stupid idea, hatched by the broken brain of a man who ran away as soon as he could. I know that some Leavers were Leavers before it became cool, and you’ve been campaigning for years. But the truth is that even when UKIP we’re doing their worst, the UK was never as damaged as it is now. The damage we’re living through now was caused by Cameron’s Tories. Not UKIP, not Jeremy Corbyn, not the extreme right, and not immigrants and refugees.

We’ve spent the last six months calling each other names, and accusing the other side of being traitors to their country. I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of it all. I don’t want to fight with people anymore. And in case you didn’t notice, we’ve been going at it for months and we’re all still here. No matter what, we’ve got to live with each other, and that’s really all there is to it. The abuse needs to stop. Now.

And finally, this “You lost, get over it” attitude has to stop too. Sorry to tell you this but politics isn’t a black and white, right and wrong kind of thing. People never get over it. People never shut up. If people just got over things like this, there wouldn’t have been a referendum in the first place. You know that when you tell somebody to stop arguing with you, it at the very least gives the impression that you know your argument doesn’t hold up. Every time a Leaver says “get over it”, a Remainer hear’s “Stop pointing out how I’m wrong”. Nobody is benefiting from this attitude so it has to stop.

From here we move forward. We have no choice.

Here’s a fact for you. No normal person in this country has a life as good as it should be. The only people who do, are the Tory elites. The people who run our country are doing very well. Meanwhile, children are starving, people are homeless, and we’re only a couple of years away from having to decide if we can afford a visit to accident and emergency. Everything is bad here, and it’s only worse, unless you’re the Tory elite. Surely none of you can argue with me on those points. Should we have starving children, homeless families, and people unable to afford medical treatment? Of course not.

I know that some of you are going to feel like vomiting when I tell you that I live in what is known as the left side of the political spectrum. The thing is, I believe that you also live there, but have been lied to, and purposefully mislead by a media with an agenda, and a government stopping at nothing to improve only their own lives, and protect their political power.

Convincing you of that isn’t going to be easy, and for some of you, it’s going to be impossible. I know that going into this. I ask that you always remember the most important part of all of this. Our shared goal. I want a better life, and I want you to have the same. Keep that in mind, and we can talk. Our commonality will allow us to discuss and look at actual facts. If we can do that then we can move forward.

After Christmas this show will be dedicated to examining how the British people are being lied to, and examining who is responsible. There are people among us that are standing in our way. They’re the Tory elite, and they’re waging war on the people of this country. They are using the British people as a weapon against themselves and most of them don’t even know it. This must stop. I will no longer fight my fellow man when he is not my enemy. I ask you to fight along side me, and I’ll give you all the information you need to do it.

The future is ours if we are strong enough to take it. Britain belongs to her people. They must be woken up, reunited, and get back what was taken from them.

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. After the holidays, it’s time for Great Britain to stand together and rid ourselves of the elite power that holds us all down.

iJoy RDTA Box Review

I can’t help but get the feeling that iJoy have recently lost an employee. That person had the job of saying no to things. Now that person no longer works for them, their designers are free to produce whatever they can dream up.

Small and light are not words that mean anything to iJoy. They seem to prefer words like sure, and why not. Want a mod that takes four batteries and can output more power than any sane person could ever use? Sure! Want an all in one system that’s well powered, holds tonnes of liquid, and produces enormous cloud and flavour? Sure, why not! Thanks to that type of thinking, we have the iJoy RDTA Box.

I’ve seen all in one systems before, and they haven’ impressed me. They’re all aimed at the beginner end of the market. They tend to offer low power, and hold very little liquid. Making a set of compromises that make them better for carrying in a jacket pocket. The RDTA Box throws that all out the window. It takes two 18650 batteries and produces 220 watts of power. There’s temp control for all the usual suspects, and a couple of TCR memory slots. You can even input your own custom fire curve. It’s very well featured.

The true genius sits on top of the mod. There you’ll find a 12.8ml tank, big enough for you to just pour your e-liquid into. No need for droppers or unicorn bottles. On top of that tank, you’ll find an RDTA style build deck. It’s compatible with iJoy’s range of build decks, so you can get whichever one you prefer to build on. Basically, it’s the same as all the other iJoy RDTAs, except its build into a mod, and has an enormous tank. The cloud and flavour production is spectacular.

I’ve been trying to make it leak, and haven’t managed it so far. If properly wicked, you should have no problems. I’ve left it laying on its side and held it upside down. Not a single drop of liquid leaked out. However, it’s important to remember that while liquid won’t leak out of the tank, it is still an RDTA. That means that under that drip tip, you collect all the condensed liquid that you didn’t inhale. It does get gunky under there, and that will drip out if the mod isn’t upright. It’s the same as you’d expect from any RDA or RDTA. The device comes with a sort of drip tip condom. The idea is that if you want to throw the RDTA Box into your bag, you slip on the little condom thing, and that stops anything getting out. In practice, things aren’t that simple, which leads me to one of the problems with the device.

The top cap doesn’t attach well enough. It’s far too easy to pull it off. So when you use the little condom thing, you’ll end up pulling off the whole top cap when you try to remove it. Then you have to struggle to remove the top cap from its condom. If the base was a little taller and perhaps used a third o-ring, it might be much better. As it is, I don’t see this device being thrown in my bag anytime soon. Maybe you’ll do ok with it, I’m not the best person to say as I don’t really go outside all that often.

It also eats batteries. I’ve been vaping it at between 60 and 80 watts. There’s no way I could vape through a tank of liquid without needing some freshly charged batteries.

To sum up, I’m a fan, barely putting it down since it arrived, it’s a joy to use. It feels great in your hand, the fire button is made of dreams, and the flavour production is as good as drinking the liquid straight from the bottle. You’ll find them available online, I paid £59.99 for mine.