Esports and the Future

Esports is something that none of you would be very surprised really interests me because it does show how things can evolve.  Now the older generation not wanting to stereotype anyone but they might not get this because to them a sport is not a video game it’s something that your out training for and has a physical element to it.  However to those people I want to just point out probably one of the most popular Esport at the moment League of Legends the pros play the game for 8 hours or more to get to where they are.  If people are investing that amount of time and effort into the game to improve how is it not a sport?  Doesn’t it show that it could be considered a sport like the more traditional ones?

With that rant over the real reason for posting was Rocket Leagues first final in the competitive scene of Esports and throwing its hat into the ring.  This for me is huge because I will admit though new to the Esports scene probably really getting invested into Esports Season 3 of League of Legends.  Not really knowing much about it and like the above people not considering gaming a sport until I’d seen just how competitive and effort that players had put into the game.  I know that League of Legends isn’t the first to start Esports you had Starcraft, World of Warcaft, Counter Strike and Eve (just a few games that sprung to mind could be more) putting together tournaments but League of Legends just seem to push those little tournaments that bit further.

Me scoring first Goal at Rocket League

Me scoring first Goal at Rocket League

Rocket League addition to this list however is huge for me because it’s the first game since knowing about Esports that has really been a new game and thrown its name into the hat.  Only being officially released in July of this year it has had a month and already they are holding events and producing grand finals.  Not that I will say they should take away from traditional sports but I think that it awesome that society looks like its changing and the time and dedication of gamers can actually be rewarded other than that feeling of completing a game.  If you’ve got that competitive edges Esports gives you that outlet.  Of which you can see in me with the way I keep going back to League of Legends.

League of Legends is the dominating game in the Esports scene as said but its good to see Rocket League added to that because it is bringing the tradition game into Esport world.  As it is football (soccer) based game and if i am honest although Fifa has the capacity to be an Esport I haven’t really seen much about it if it is.

How do you feel about Esports?  Which is your favorite let me know if a comment below.

For more information about Rocket League ESports go here

Rocket League Final

SEO in WordPress Revisited 2015

Since the huge melt down I had a few years ago with WordPress if I am honest I haven’t really put a great deal of thought or any effort into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) because I don’t know when I came back to blogging here at Totalreach I wanted it to be an outlet for what mattered to me personally.  In the back of my mind I wanted it to become bigger and better than it was before but that reality of being that needle in a haystack loomed over me until now.

Showing all the elements that bring SEO together

What Matters in SEO

Yesterday I had played with caching and without having any stats for you now the blog does seem a little less responsive at times and faster at others, so without proper testing I can’t judge on my success there, at moment but it did reignite something in me.  As soon as I had sorted out the configuration and was happy it was working I wanted to do more.  I wanted to improve my blog which I hadn’t wanted to do in a long time.  I have wanted to post and produce new content but that want to do more technical things to the site just hasn’t been there.

YouTube was my friend again if I am honest it was the next video in the series of Craig Chamberlin, so I settled in listening to his video which was an easy listen I must admit because he wasn’t screen capturing this time it was more of a podcast/discussion with a guest.  This really worked out well for me because it allowed me to write-up my blog on WordPress caching well taking on tips.  There was a recommended plugin Yoast SEO and that was it I was downloading it and listening to what the video had to say.  The bit that hit me first while doing this was that how much things have changed in the few years that I hadn’t been worrying about SEO, for a start now people don’t worry too much about keywords anymore.  They still there but now its more to do with the quality of the post and social side of the internet, all though this isn’t news to me but it’s how much of impact the social side can have on those results.  Also the advice of not getting the archives indexed.

Not getting the archives indexed was a weird one for me because when I was really getting into SEO it was the school of thought then you wanted all your site indexed.  The revelation to me today was that you don’t you want all your posts yes but you don’t want all the archive pages that are created in a blog because it won’t be giving the visitor the information they are looking for really.  It will be giving them a list of posts on a given date or using a given tag in some cases as well, not the specific post/page they are looking for.  What’s the problem with that I hear you ask?  Yes the information they wanted is there but they have to look for it, and in that case you may lose the reading.

New Plugin installed now only time will tell if all my new changes to SEO to see if it makes a huge difference to my little site but only time will tell as you can’t rush the powers that be at Google to index the new link formats and other little changes I have made.

WordPress Caching

WordPress Caching

Background

WordPress Caching is what I have been working on today and this is a huge topic. What brought this whole thing about was the fact that a mate has just ventured into hosting his own personal blog (He is not new to blogging as he reviews for some well known sites but its his first move into his own).  While answering some of his questions as someone that has had a WordPress Blog for many years now albeit now master at it in the slightest but I know enough to get by I noticed caching and the fact that I didn’t do it.

The web hosting provider that I use as some CloudFlare stuff built into the CPanel and that was where I first noticed it yesterday due to the fact that I tend just log into my WordPress installation and don’t really deal with the back end of my hosting package now that everything is set up. This addition had looking into the service and I quickly realised ok my site isn’t visited by loads of people as of the time of this post but this could be something worth looking into.

So while setting up CloudFlare I have admit I ended up removing and adding my site multiple times because although I followed the instructions, the speed test sites kept telling me that I wasn’t running CDN which it should of said I was.  So last night I thought never mind, I’ll look into caching plugins and forget about CloudFlare and so that is what I did.

Plugins

WP Super Cache

Having given up on Cloudflare just not working right and to be fair to the service not giving them the full 24 hours to propagate my DNS settings for my site I went into using WP Super Cache.  While not really understanding which settings would work best for me I did some Googling and furious YouTube video watching to find out what would work for me.  I activated it and took the settings I thought that would benefit my server and site and ran with it.  To be honest I saw little difference in my personal browsing of the site and run some tests and although there was a little improvement not enough to warrant really keeping the plugin.  On further reflection though I do think that due to the lack of traffic to my site it could have caused the problem of which I would say that maybe you don’t want the cache expiring so quickly, especially as my site is updated 3 times a week at the moment.

W3 Total Cache

Not completely happy with the speed improvement that WP Super Cache gave me and to be honest with you the niggling feel that I should be using Cloudflare, I found myself browsing the WordPress Plugins and another caching plugin that was high up was W3 Total Cache and I thought why not lets give this ago.  Before installing it however I decided to YouTube it and found in actually fact one of the Tech Channels that I used to watch did a whole video on this plugin.  I was amazed with the amount of features it had and although WP Super Cache probably had them in there somewhere this was better laid out and while the guy was going through the plugin he admitted to being no expert but this was just what I was looking for.  The reason for this because the plugin has extensions where as WP Super Cache didn’t and one of those extensions supports CloudFlare.  With all this in mind though it does have some minimum requirements and you can check that your server is compatible with the features and it turns out although mine will running it won’t run in the most efficient way.  No biggy I thought lets give it ago what’s the worst that can happen, after watching this video I went through the plugin with ease and set it all up.

Conclusion

I’ve only had the caching system enabled and configured properly for about an hour so the jury is out on whether it will make a difference but I am hopeful after running some initial tests  have shown the caching to work, having taken a whole 5 seconds off load and also shown the CDN being active.  This huge because manually setting up CloudFlare hadn’t shown that and Super Cache didn’t have the option to use it.  Be warned though both these can/do edit your HTAcces file so it might be worth backing up a copy before installation of the plugins just so you can repair it if necessary.  So if you’re looking for a caching Plugin I would say W3 Total Cache is the way to go.

As always feel free to comment and share your thoughts and experiences with these plugins or anything related to WordPress Caching.

I will probably update you on the reports from CloudFlare once I have been using it for 24 hours.

 

Showing the Speed of my site

Showing the Cache Working see the difference on the Repeat View and First View

Here is the video that I used to configure the plugin with some changes due to my server specification.

Shark Week Collection Thoughts

Shark Week

Last Weeks collection on Now TV was shark week and if I’m honest I always find these sort of things interesting and started to make my way through some of the documentaries and it was amazing how little we seem to know about probably one of the most well-known predator in the world.  The view that we have of them being solitary animals when in actual fact that it seems certain sharks actually work together in small groups.  Due to this being a new behaviour that we haven’t seen a lot they don’t know whether the sharks just hunt in these packs or whether they actually live together.

The one bug bare that I had with a few of the documentaries is the fact they are looking for a specific shark they haven’t seen for two years, although I understand why they were looking for that specific shark but at the same time how did they know it was still alive?  The team in the one documentary ended up going to three different countries in order to track down this one Shark.  Which is great but to me that does feel like it could be a waste of time and money, but was really pleased when they did find that particular Shark.  Although the collection is now gone the documentaries are still there if you want to watch them.  I would highly recommend you go and check them out if you access to the Discovery Channel whether it’s through Sky or NOW TV.

One thing though I will say all the documentaries have in common is the fact they say the shark has no other animal in the world that can beat them as a predators and we know that, that just isn’t true because there is a pod of Orcas that pry on Great White Sharks.

Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

It’s been a while that I’ve gone into a movie not knowing what to expect however this was a bit weird for me.  The hype around it was it was a James Bond type movie, and to be honest I can see the connection but I wouldn’t describe it as such because there is something that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes it completely difference, but don’t panic because it is a still a spy movie.

One of the major things that stood out for me in this movie which was surprising was the comedy.  Having seen Henry Cavill in Superman I wouldn’t have put him down as a comedy actor but he really did pull this role off albeit a really bad American accent he made the role his.  That would probably be my only complaint I had with his performance or casting in the role, was his accent, it just didn’t sound right to me.  He would have been better being on the British side if you was going by accent.

The storyline/plot was really well done as well because you thought you knew what was happening and then all of a sudden there was a twist and the story would go off in another direction.  You never quite knew who was going to live or die. The action scenes were also done really well because in combat, they shot it in such away in a few scenes you never knew who was actually getting hit and who was going to save the encounter.

Overall this was a fun and fully enjoyable movie the acting was well done albeit accents being struggled with, along with well shot action scenes and some well placed comedy scenes I would have to say this movie has something for everyone and give it a very solid 8/10.  Enjoyable but not blockbuster for me.

If you anything to add to this review or disagree with anything said then feel free to comment below.

Fantastic Four – Heroes Unite Together Movie Review

Fantastic Four is always one of those movies that I look forward to not just because it’s a Marvel story but because it is no longer made by Marvel it makes me interested because in the latest offering from Marvel there has been too many links to The Avengers I feel. Not saying that there is anything wrong with that because I really enjoyed both The Avengers movies but some times it nice to have something separate and I do understand that The Avengers is the poster child for Marvel but at the same time take Ant-Man for example after watching a while to reflect it left me wondering did it really need all the references to the The Avengers?

Rant over about Marvel and The Avengers let’s get into the movie, I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t say that it was the must see Blockbuster that I was hoping for, but as an action movie I found that it was more a drama super hero movie but all in all quite well done. The problem I think came from the way that this movie was written, and how it wasn’t quite what people were expecting, the majority of the movie was based on building up the characters and the back story for want of a better word. The heroes spent more time without their powers than they did when they had them. As I non comic book reader though the way in which some characters were bought in was interesting the little that I know about the Fantastic Four was obvious because of the delay in introducing Johnny Storm for some reason I thought Victor was going to be Mr Flame On in this movie not realizing he was actually Dr Doom.

Although the comments about the movie was a bit more drama based I felt that this was good because you brought up some really origin to the characters because previous Fantastic Four movies they already had their powers and they kind of skipped over how it actually happened in my opinion. This was something that I personally liked however the guys that I go to the cinema with wasn’t that happy with the new look and I could see why. It was good going into the back stories and everything and them not having their powers but they didn’t give the final fight enough time in my opinion and they could have extended it a little.

Now I think I am going to stop the review I think because I am getting dangerously close to spoiling it. I would say the acting was good, the story was good but the action lead a lot to be desired. Overall I would give this movie a 6/10 because I enjoyed it but it had some serious pitfalls .

How did you find the movie let me know in a comment below.

Twitch and the Unknown in Streaming

For years now I had always had this idea of streaming because I do enjoy watching streams and I also enjoy playing games if you haven’t already guessed.  While due to geographic location streaming really isn’t/wasn’t an option for me because of the state of our internet speed.  While recently with the purchase of a PS4 and also an upgrade in internet speed (still not quite faster enough being 17 meg up 1 meg down) however good enough for a low quality stream I thought I’d give it ago.

Although I understood, that you’d get lost in the amount of content YouTube has and you’d really have to be unique in order to make a success of that side of things I did think that due to the way in which streaming works you wouldn’t have to be so unique.  The reason for this logic is or was because it’s live and you could be the only one playing that game at the time you’d get the viewers that way.  The other thing is the language thing if you’re the only one playing in people’s native language you’d get the viewer.  Bare in mind now I had streamed The Walking Dead off the PC and ended up finding that I did get the odd visitor without even making it public knowledge.

This time however it seems a little harder so maybe it’s the game that I am playing I am not sure, at the moments the games I have streamed are The Witcher 3 and Rocket League properly and found it, in most cases a very lonely place to be.  That said I know that I haven’t put enough work into the stream to really push for viewers and I know that I probably won’t because the quality of the stream however what I am going to try to do is stream a few hours a day.  The reason for this I want to see if I can get viewers this way, so that when the option of fibre comes along I can make a more informed decision whether or not we really need it.  Due to the fact that with the upgrade to 17 meg that is enough download for me to be honest and I would only be getting the fibre really for the extra upload and that would give me higher quality streams.

So who knows this is a bit of a rant and waffle but that’s where I am up to with my online presence and maybe even see you at twitch.tv/totalreach

 

Rocket League Review

Rocket League has left me stomped I am really not sure what to say about this game as on paper this game really shouldn’t be my thing.  Anyone that knows me knows I have no special awareness and probably one of the worst reaction speeds ever but I really do enjoy this game.

The major factor to the success of Rocket League between myself and friends that are playing it is that it was free for PS Plus members this month and in meant that although not huge sports fans, and definitely not football fans we picked up this game just to give it ago as it was getting a lot of hype in the gaming world as the streamers we watch and other community were saying how much fun it was and we just had to try it from that point there was no looking back.  I have to admit I was the first to pick it up and was wondering if it was really the type of game for the guys and when they started playing it, it has become our go to game in the evenings for a bit of Co-Op.

The graphics themselves aren’t spectacular but then they aren’t terrible either and the premises is simple you get to do what the Top Gear team did in real life but virtually and that is to run around playing football in cars.  I wouldn’t like to say we are great at the game well I wouldn’t even say we were good, but fun has been had by all even when everything is going wrong and we are bumping into each other, tempers on a high and we are still having fun.   This game does have the potential to ruin friendships but when games only last 5 minutes who really cares if we are 8-0 down hey?  Well if I’m honest we probably would worry a little more if we were playing ranked but we haven’t actually ventured that far.

Multiplayer is the driving factor for this game but don’t be worried if you haven’t got anyone to play with there is a season and offline mode where you can change the skill level of the AI.  Although I haven’t spent a lot of time in this game mode, I have no doubt it’s no different to the Multiplayer online.

I would say that if you want a competitive while fun game to play that you can have a laugh with friends this is the game for you.  It has an arcade feel to the game which is rare these days but I could see this game in an arcade machine if people would do an adaptation for it.  I would give this a 10/10 just because I haven’t had a game where I haven’t laughed or enjoyed the match and if it can get non sports people interested when it’s based on a sport it must be doing something right.

Have you enjoyed Rocket League what’s your thoughts on the game let me know in the comments below.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Movie Review

It’s been a while since I have seen a Mission Impossible movie and to be honest they were starting to run a bit dry for me I liked the premise behind them but I don’t know they got over used.  This one though was one I was looking forward to due to the fact it had Simon Pegg in it as I thought he could bring something different into the franchise the question is did he?

Right from the get go though you could see that this was now going to be similar to the other previous movies because the IMF was under attack and they needed to go double agent in order to save the world again.  This was actually really well done though in my opinion because I was sat watching the movie not sure whether the IMF was going survive as an organisation let alone Ethan Hunt.  Unlike similar movies lately I thought the use of gadgets and technology was really well done because they didn’t go over kill and they focused more on the skills of the agent rather than their reliance on tech to get them to their end game.

I thought that the action was really well done with the right amount of drama and suspense building.  Simon Pegg did offer something different to the movie, the comedy was well placed and was all centred around him which was really good because I don’t know I don’t really see Tom Cruise in a more comedic role.  Simon Pegg’s performance wasn’t the only good performance, there was other characters that were stand out and you didn’t quite know which side they were on not wanting to name names because of spoilers.

Overall I would give this movie a 7/10 there wasn’t enough in the movie to give it a lot more than that, along with I wouldn’t say it was a must see but it is one that if you’re at a loose end and enjoyed the previous Mission Impossible movies than this is definitely worth a watch.

Just Less Than 24 Hours with Windows 10

This post is going to be a bit disjointed as I am trying to write these posts from a more personal aspect because that seems to be what Microsoft are trying to achieve from this Operating System and that it is built with user experience in mind.  If I am completely honest with you I do feel that they have done what they have always done and that is Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been.  So I guess the big question is 24 hours on will I be going back to Windows 8 which was on my main machine?  The answer would be no but that’s not to say I haven’t got issues with Windows 10.

Windows 10 Logo

Performance wise it seems ok, but boot up seems a little slower than it was although I didn’t actually time the Windows 8 boot so haven’t got the actual statistics to back it up (kinda of wish I had).  That said though as it was an upgrade and not a clean install this might not be a fair statement so once I have got myself settled and a bit of time I might try to do a clean install and it could improve the performance.  The other thing to note though is that for the first month Windows 10 is holding onto your older installation so you can recover it and go back to Windows 8 or 7 depending on what you had so it might even improve after you get rid of that.  Other performance issues I have found is my Graphics although this isn’t really a reflection on Windows 10 more to do with AMD and their driver, as I did upgrade my driver for my card on Windows 8 about a week ago and found that there was some screen tearing at times, and rolled back the driver to find out that the tearing stopped.  In the rush to upgrade I forgot to check the driver version I was using so could get the non tearing one, but who knows there could be a fix around the corner.

Microsoft Edge is a new feature of the operating system that replace Internet Explorer and to be honest I like the idea, and its feature set but when I was using it, it just felt clunky and I had some issues loading high intensive webpages for some reason even seeing memory usage go past a gig, so for that I quickly went back to Google Chrome.  I don’t think I will ever really leave.

Speaking of Google and there is one huge elephant in the room here and has coursed some really outrage on the internet and with a friend in discussion about it and that’s privacy. There is a whole set of settings for privacy and although this operating system is built around it seems collecting data about us, I would like to say that it isn’t necessarily Microsoft’s fault maybe its the way in which we consume our technology and the services that we want to use?  Although there is a lot more that I could discuss about this issue I feel that it deserves its own post if I wish to discuss the topic.

Privacy Settings for Windows 10

Realizing that this all quite negative in some respects there was one feature that I was very surprised about and that was the Windows Update System has been completely revamped.  No longer do you get the optional updates, so this means that you will always get all the updates installed if left on default and also they operate using peer-to-peer now so would come down even quicker as you’re not relying on Microsoft Servers alone, but there is a downside to this you’ll be uploading patches in the background.  That said though there is an option to turn this feature off or just use it for local machines which is the option I went for.  So my computer will only allow computers on my network to share updates with, thus will actually make it even easier and quicker for the downloading of updates because one computer will download it from Microsoft and then the other two on my network will just take it from the first machine to get the update.  As my network is quicker internal than external you can see the advantage and also if you were on a usage limit for your ISP this now reduces the strain on that just for Windows Update as it means you won’t be needing to download the update 3 times in my case.  This is all providing that the machines are on at the same time.

Windows Update Delivery Settings

Overall I would give my experience with upgrading to Windows 10 a 7/10 and would say that although there are some issues I would recommend people upgrade for free if they can.  As they have sort of reinstated the start menu and I also it does mean the support life of your machine will be longer.

After that really long blog post how have you found Windows 10?  Are you enjoying it or has it been a nightmare?

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