Fallout Shelter on iOS

I bought an iPad Mini in December, and went in search of some great games to play on it. One of the first games that I downloaded was Fallout Shelter. It had excellent user ratings and best of all, it was free. I hadn’t played any of the traditional Fallout games, so the franchise was new to me.

The game is great! Beyond the simple enjoyment of the game play, I’m really impressed with how well the app itself is put together. It is solid. It runs smoothly without any glitches, and it has never crashed on me once. It is a bit slow to load, but it has a lot to think about, so I’ll give it a pass on that.

Fallout Shelter is described as a “mobile simulation” game. You build rooms in your vault and assign dwellers to perform different tasks in those rooms. At the basic level, you begin by building rooms that generate power, food, and water. You are encouraged to assign dwellers to particular rooms based on their skill set. After you’ve played the game for some time, rooms are unlocked that can be added to increase the skills of the dwellers.

You can add new dwellers to the vault in two ways. One is by building a radio room and staffing it with dwellers that have high charisma. Dwellers in the wasteland will detect the radio broadcast and arrive to join the vault. Note: The radio room is not available at the beginning of the game.

That leads me to the second way to add dwellers — making babies. Simply drag a man and a woman into the living quarters and sit back and wait a short while. They’ll begin exchanging small talk, and eventually the couple will run off together. The small talk is quite clever and funny, I might add. The game developers appear to have had some fun with that. After the couple returns from running off-screen, the woman emerges pregnant. There is a waiting period before the child arrives, who after that must grow up to become an adult before they can become productive in the vault. Dwellers that are related cannot do this, which is a clever addition.

Naturally, as dwellers are added to the vault, the need for power, food and water increase. Maintaining the balance of energy resources and keeping everyone happy and productive is the main element of the game. Raiders, attacks, fires, and other destructive forces act to slow down your progress.

There is no actual end to the game, except for the limitation that you cannot have more than 200 dwellers in the vault. It makes sense to impose a cap. It’s probably a limitation of the processing power required to calculate and display that much activity.

My vault currently has 89 dwellers. Once I reach 100, I will be able to unlock the final room, which appears to be a bottling facility of some type. At that point, I will reasonably be able to say that I’ve done pretty much everything you can do in the game. To continue adding dwellers beyond that would simply be a matter of having twice as much of everything that I already have in the vault now. I’m nearing the end of the line, but it’s been a lot of fun along the way.

I highly recommend Fallout Shelter. If you like mobile simulation games, you’ll love it. It’s available for iOS and Android. And it’s free! There are in-app purchases available, but I haven’t needed to use any of them, as the game generously allows you to advance painlessly.

I’ve posted a screenshot of my vault below.

Fallout Shelter vault

New Blitzcraig Site Theme

After more than five years of donning my old WordPress site theme, I’ve decided to change direction and apply a fresh coat of paint.

A few hours of tweaks and graphic edits later, I’ve deployed a new theme on my site. I like the open space and scarcity. The new site has a responsive design, in which all pages display equally as elegant on a desktop computer, tablet or phone screen.

My new theme eliminates the need for a few of my third-party WordPress plugins, which I have used over the years to help prop up the site for modern browsers. For instance, I’d been using WPTouch, an excellent free plugin that displays a mobile-friendly version of my site. It’s a great tool, and I surely recommend it, but I no longer need it now with this new modern theme, which automatically incorporates such functionality. The same is true for a page navigation plugin I had been using, which I no longer need. Nobody enjoys updating WordPress plugins. The fewer, the better.

I hope you like the new layout. I’ll be making some subtle tweaks as I go.

A Decade of Blitzcraig

Happy 10th anniversary to my blog! As of this writing, at the tail end of December 2015, I’ve maintained my blog for ten long years. I wrote my first blog post on December 2, 2005! I truly never imagined this would go the distance.

Five years ago, I commemorated my five-year anniversary, and in what seems like a mere blink of an eye, it has suddenly been a decade.

I wrote more posts in the first five years by far than I have in the last five. I can accurately be accused of phoning it in many times in the past few years. I’ll concede that truth, but at least I still made an effort to publish new material.

Looking ahead, I will continue to make an effort to write a blog post at least once a month. Will my efforts survive another ten long years? I somehow doubt it. Weighing the decline in my interest in the last five years, I will be very surprised if I’m still doing this ten years from now in 2025. (Can you believe that a decade from now will be 2025?!)

As for the visual appearance of my site… I’ve often contemplated changing the visual theme of my blog. I last changed the theme on January 30, 2010. At the time, I purchased a lifetime membership to a design studio that created my design theme for around $30. Since those days, newer, more modern web practices have supplanted the aging design that I am maintaining on this site. That being said, I still enjoy the sturdy fixed-width presentation of my blog. I may consider updating the design in the future. For the time being, I’ll happily keep it the way that it is. If you’re reading this on a mobile device, then you aren’t seeing the traditional theme that I mentioned above. I had implemented a mobile version of my site a couple of years ago that streamlines my posts on a small phone screen.

At the end of the day, I’m not planning to stop doing this any time soon. It has truly been a pleasure to write blog posts for the world to read. Thank you all for reading my posts! This post in particular. Here’s to many more.

I love you all! (Except the scammers that have inundated my site with hundreds of spam comments every week for the last ten years.)

Cheers!

PS – Honorable mention to my friend Hannah, who was the person to suggest the name Blitzcraig way back in the day, years before the existence of this site. I thank you.

Vehicles Should Have a Volume Limit

I have a long overdue complaint. I am sick and tired of hearing ridiculously loud cars on the road. I live near a relatively busy four-lane street. During heavy traffic hours, I am bombarded with the sound of a few extremely loud cars. During the milder months, I often like to open my windows. I am disturbed by the frequent sound — not of the overall traffic — but by the one car that is louder than fifty others combined.

As much as I am generally opposed to the addition of any additional traffic laws, I think that something needs to be done about this noise pollution nuisance.

I propose that it should be deemed illegal for a non-commercial vehicle to exceed a set volume limit. From now on, an audio test should be included as part of an annual vehicle inspection. I don’t know precisely what the limit should be. I’ll leave that to someone else to decide.

Large commercial vehicles such as buses and dump trucks can be exempt from such volume regulations. I have no problem with that. After all, they are massive machines. My issue is with the average citizen who modifies their muffler on their Honda Civic to intentionally blast as much noise as possible. Why do people do this? Do they think it impresses other drivers or something? It doesn’t. Those people (probably teenagers) are idiots. It is utterly obnoxious and it needs to stop.

The elephant in the room is the primary offender of outrageously loud machines -– motorcycles! There is absolutely no reason that a machine built to propel the weight of a single human being should make so much damn noise. When I am driving alongside a motorcycle, I am barely able to hear myself think over the roar of their deliberately loud engine. This needs to end. It is not right that a single individual is allowed to disrupt the lives of everyone around them for their own ego. I don’t care if I offend die-hard bikers with these remarks. Loud motorcycle engines need to be outlawed. Period.

I don’t know what else to add to this. You get my gist. The time has come for something to be done about this noise polluting atrocity. I am surprised that this issue has not already been addressed. Transportation needs to be silenced. End of story.

My Second Worst Meal Ever

This week, I had the second worst meal that I’ve ever eaten. No kidding.

I say second worst; because the number one worst meal I have ever had the dissatisfaction of eating was a god-awful nasty hotdog at Goodberrys that I bought many years ago. I wrote about that on this blog way back when. You can read about that here if you dare.

The cafeteria at my office has a refrigerator with prepared foods that you can microwave. I try my best to avoid such desperate measures, but one morning this week I was very hungry when I got to work. I was craving a hot breakfast sandwich. I decided to visit the refrigerated goods. That turned out to be a big mistake.

There were virtually no breakfast foods to choose from, and I was forced to settle for a spicy chicken, bacon and Swiss jalapeno cheese bagel. It was beyond revolting. I do not like spicy foods to begin with, but I was quite desperate. What I experienced was absolutely disgusting.

I nuked the bagel. The odor emanating from the microwave was very potent. I should have known I was in trouble from the get-go. The bacon had the floppy consistency of a paper-thin white strip of rubber. The chicken was extremely chewy, and beyond overly seasoned.

I was only able to eat a third of it before tossing it in the trash. My mouth and tongue were in flames from the extreme jalapeno spices. I couldn’t taste anything beyond salt and fire.

That morning, I made a vow to never eat a prepared sandwich from the cafeteria fridge again. It was that bad. No matter how hungry I may be, I can’t bring myself to experience such an atrocity again. Absolutely disgusting!

I took a picture of the package, which I have posted below. If you ever run across this bagel, please avoid it at all costs! You have been warned.

Bad bagel

My Feedback Read On The GOG Podcast

I listen to the Grumpy Old Geeks podcast. I’ve been a subscriber for several months. Last week I decided to write Brian and Jason some listener feedback. To my surprise, they read my email on the show this week! It is on episode 132 during the “comment of the week” section. Awesome! Thanks guys!

I cut the clip of them reading my email: gog.mp3

Fly By Night Computer Schools

I do a scan of the radio dial on my drive to work every morning. Most of the time I’m only hearing a bunch of commercials. I practically hear the same ones every day.

There are two computer schools that advertise regularly. I can’t quite determine if they are actual schools or simply some type of online course. It’s not a good sign that I’ve heard these commercials so many times, yet I still don’t know exactly what they are offering. The advertisements sound a little shady to me. They all sound like the empty promise of a get rich quick scheme.

One of these “schools” said that they had a student who enrolled in July and was already working in IT in August. Oh, come on. I don’t believe that. Another ad said a student was hired in the IT department of a large company only four months after being enrolled. That also sounds rather dubious. I doubt that any IT manger has even heard of these shady schools.

The ads don’t mention any specific course material. They’re very generic. There is no jargon spoken. It’s as if they are directing the ads at people who don’t even know how to use a computer, let alone program one. This is not an actual quote, but it’s as if they’re saying, “Hey, people who work in computers make good money, don’t you want to do that too?”

I’m not going to name the schools or point you to their websites because I don’t want to give them any publicity. I haven’t looked into them or visited their sites. I don’t care to. I’m basing my opinion solely on what I hear in the radio commercials. What I hear just sounds a little fishy.

If these schools were in strong demand and enrollment was high, they wouldn’t have to advertise on the radio every morning.

Beep Goes the Microwave

I despise the beeping sound of a microwave. My microwave at home beeps at least three times when the time runs out to announce that it has finished cooking. The units in my office cafeteria beep four or more times. I don’t know the precise count offhand, but trust me, when there are a row of microwaves, it can become highly obnoxious at lunchtime.

There needs to be an option to disable the beeps entirely, much like most dryers allow you to disable the buzzer that signals when the clothes are dry. (For the record, I hate that buzzer too.)

Most of the time, I simply use my microwave to reheat a cup of coffee or something small like that. Reheating coffee takes less than 20 seconds. Does the microwave really need to beep three times to let me know that 20 seconds have passed? How far away could I possibly have gone that I need to be reminded that I just heated a cup of coffee? Seriously. The majority of the time, I open the door before the time expires so that I don’t have to endure the sound of the beeps.

I have an idea for a better, smarter microwave. The number beeps should correspond with the amount of time the microwave was running. If a frozen dinner has been in there for 7 minutes, then by all means, go ahead and beep three times. Chances are that I will have left the room by the end of those 7 minutes. However, if the total cook time was less than a minute, it should beep only one time, if at all. I still would like to have the option of disabling it entirely.

While I’m on the topic, why does it have to be a beep at all? Why not add a voice announcement that says it’s done? Perhaps they could program different options in there, or perhaps, let me record my own.

Does this obnoxious beeping bother anyone other than me? I’d think there would be more of a movement to do something about it, but the general population seems to be pretty content to simply put up with it. Oh well!