All posts by RejZoR

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Some explanation of avast! data selling drama

I want to explain some things in regards to this thing. People seem to be freaking out like it’s end of the world and I have a feeling 3/4 of them don’t even understand what’s going on, they are just jumping on the rage bandwagon. For TLRD, scroll down and skip the next two paragraphs.

I do have to admit this is pretty bad fuckup on avast!’s end and it was just a question of when it’s going to happen. I’ve been long time avast! supporter since it’s quite early days when it was still a relatively small company. It felt like family run company, team was super invested into actually listening to users and while it had some issues like unusual fancy interface and detection that wasn’t the best of the best, everything felt genuine and their top priority was product quality and user satisfaction. Fast forward to now and all their company seems to care is profits, profits, profits and again profits. I guess that’s what always happens when you get investors from outside, all they care is money and they always do it in most desperate ways. Selling user data is one of them…

As evident from investigation by PCMag and Motherboard. avast! of course responded with their official response and blog post, but I don’t think this will fix much. Damage has been done and to my surprise, they don’t seem to understand or care how quickly you ruin your reputation that took decades to build up. Coz if they cared, it wouldn’t even cross their mind to do it like this. Or have a whole freaking subsidiary that deals with data selling.

TLDR

So, yes, they were selling user data and although they say it was anonymized, it was a dick move. But there is no need to be totally freaking out and uninstalling avast! like it’s end of the world. After all, avast! does have a very good detection and that’s what we use antiviruses for.

  • If you were/are only using avast! Antivirus without any browser extensions, you are NOT affected.
  • If you were/ are using avast! browser extensions, but you have disabled Data Sharing in extension settings, you are NOT affected.

So, chances are, some users who weren’t using their browser extensions or had data sharing disabled, it’s like nothing happened. It’s a black mark in their rap sheet, but I’d still consider their antivirus. One coz they can’t afford another such fuckup and second, because it’s good and if you opt out from data sharing like I’ve always done, it’s still a good option. I never understood or liked sharing of data beyond protection one in antiviruses. Be it avast!, Kaspersky, Bitdefender or any other.

But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to stay in this “relationship” or use something else…

EDIT 2020-1-30:

I got some extra info from a Reddit user that data collecting was also involved with antivirus alone through Web Shield component (at least per their EULA which I haven’t analyzed to such depth). Which means users not even using browser extensions could be affected unless data sharing was also disabled in antivirus itself. Which is what I’ve always done right away after installing avast!, but I can imagine millions of casual users not doing that.

EDIT: 2020-2-14

I just got a reply from avast! employee on their forums that Web Shield in desktop versions of avast! was not involved in data collection. Data collection only affected mobile version of avast! Web Shield assuming you had data sharing enabled. If you didn’t, then you weren’t affected either.

USB charger manufacturers are bad at math

I was on a lookout for USB charger that has 4 ports and doesn’t have any serious limits per port like most cheap chargers that drop to 1A output when more devices are connected. So I found few of them that claimed they have 4x USB each with 2.4A output which seems to be the maximum for regular USB chargers that don’t use specific quick charge techniques. Perfect. I’ve checked one from BASEUS, a Chinese maker that I generally have really good experience with. Their Qi charger is pretty good. Then I’ve noticed in reviews people were complaining it’s not reaching specified outputs. So it made me wonder what’s the deal. And then I’ve noticed a basic math problem.

The given USB charger has 4x USB, each is suppose to deliver 2.4A of current. At 5V, that makes each port output 12W of power. Which is odd because the specs say adapter has maximum total output of 40W. That’s 10W per output at only 2A.

It’s similar with RAVPower’s 4 port charger I looked up on Amazon and sold by RAVPower itself. They state up to 2.4A per port, but total output is 40W and 8A. Meaning max per port output is only 2A.

Only one that doesn’t really say specifics is ANKER which only states up to 40W output on 4 ports so I can only assume it’s 2A per port.

Turns out finding a charger that actually does 2.4A on every of 4 ports no matter the load is really hard. They are all some variations of 36W and 40W total wattage, but it has to be 48W to output that kind of power.

PayPal, stop limiting password lengths you total imbeciles

I’ve just found another gem today. You know how everyone keeps saying how we should use unique long complex passwords to improve security? And you’d especially want that with financial services like payment systems, payment processors, banks… Right?

Well, here comes motherfucking PayPal with their password gem:

PayPal_Passwords.png

Now, I applaud them for limiting the minimum password length to minimum of 8 characters. But for fucks sake, why do you have to limit it to 20 characters as maximum? WHY? You’re literally telling the whole world brute forcing any users account will never ever have more than 20 characters long password. And just from sheer perspective of limiting users with the most important and basic things when it comes to account security.

What if user wants to use 25 characters long password? Tough luck. 40 characters or maybe even 150 characters? Users should NEVER be limited on the upper end of length. Only limit that I can accept as reasonable limit is something like 128 characters. If you can’t technically deliver something like this, then what are you even doing with your company?

I’ve ranted at smaller services than PayPal for nonsense like this, but there is absolutely NO excuse that I can accept with PayPal limiting passwords like this. They are simply too big, used by too many people and handle real frigging money to be allowed to do bullshit like this. Limiting password length to 20 characters is simply UNACCEPTABLE! Get your shit together PayPal and remove this absurd limit NOW!

Increase audio volume beyond 100% in Windows

In general, the audio volume control for Windows has plenty of range for quietest and loudest volume you ever need, especially on PC with stand alone amplified speakers. However, there are cases where you have to work with what you have and you’re just not getting enough loudness even when you already have volume set to 100%. Like for example laptop speakers or bluetooth earphones. Which was exactly my case.

I have a hybrid netbook that often lacks volume even when at 100% and I had the same problem with AirPods 2. On iPhone, I can get plenty of volume from them, but on my laptop, even at 100% volume, they were just too quiet.

There are some audio “enhancers”, but the problem is they mostly refuse to work with bluetooth earphones as they simply ignore them and other tweaks with Windows Loudness Equalization which doesn’t even appear for bluetooth devices. Until I found Equalizer APO. I’ve heard about it before, but never thought it might resolve this. And it has.

Basically, you need to install it, select which device you want to apply it to like so:

APO_Device.png

There might be more devices listed in your case, only select those that you want Equalizer APO to apply to. My other laptop had Realtek device and AirPods 2 listed when I had them connected. Since I wanted volume boost to only apply to AirPods 2, I only selected those. So laptop speakers work like before, but AirPods 2 have boosted volume. In example above, it’s the hybrid netbook that needed some extra boost in volume.

Then you fire up the Configuration Editor which allows you to control the audio:

APO_Preamp.png

Since I only need volume boost, I’ve removed the rest of features using red minus button. And then cranked up the gain to +20dB (you can use less if you feel desired volume has already been achieved or if you can hear audio distortion). The neat thing about this pre-amp is that it works along Windows volume control. So you can still make things very quiet or very loud using regular Windows volume controls, hardware buttons or hotkeys just like before. But you can go beyond original volume when at 100%, depending on boost you set. Equalizer APO also offers other settings like Equalizer so you can maybe boost highs or bass if needed, but that’s for some other topic.

Right now, we solved the low volume when it could play louder. And that’s all we needed here 🙂

RejZoR’s Apple Watch Face Gallery

I’ve bought Apple Watch 5 when it came out this year and I’ve grown to like it, but I also still like good old classic watches. And while there are too many watches out there and I only have two wrists, changing dials or watch faces to one that fits my mood at the moment is a nice thing to have.

So, I’ve decided to make Apple Watch faces inspired by real old school watch brands and some iconic designs like Omega’s wave pattern dial, Seiko’s Snowflake or Rolex’s Meteorite dials. Dials are tested on Apple Watch 5 44mm and they fit the display perfectly without any adjustments. Black ones obviously drain less battery and do not dim when not in use, brighter ones like Snowflake or Meteorite do. I’ve thrown in some Apple branded ones as well since it’s an Apple watch… I might add other brands and designs in the future.

Disclaimer:

All the watch faces/dials are fan made by me and are not paid, sponsored or otherwise endorsed by their respective owners. These are also not allowed to be monetized in any way shape or form. I made them for my watch as I like some of these brands. Maybe someone else will too without having to make them on their own. For personal non profit use only! I don’t know the exact legal conditions for logos and trademarks, but I think I shouldn’t be in trouble for making and sharing these.

How to use:

Download to your iPhone, select the image, click Share button and select “Create Watch Face” (Apple’s “Watch” app needs to be installed). Select digital watch type and position the time to upper or lower position so it matches the logos correctly. You can manage the complications in your Watch app or on your Apple Watch directly.

Last updated: 2019-12-24

 

Gallery:

AppleLogo.png
Apple Logo
AppleWatch
Apple Watch Logo
OMEGA_Seamaster_Plain.png
OMEGA Seamaster Plain
OMEGA_Seamaster_Original_Plain.png
OMEGA Seamaster Plain Original

 

OMEGA_Seamaster_B&W.png
OMEGA Seamaster Black & White
OMEGA_Seamaster_FullOrange.png
OMEGA Seamaster Full Orange
OMEGA_Seamaster_Orange.png
OMEGA Seamaster Orange
OMEGA_Seamaster_Original
OMEGA Seamaster Original
GrandSeiko_BW.png
Grand Seiko Black & White
GrandSeiko_Snowflake.png
Grand Seiko Snowflake
ROLEX_BW.png
ROLEX Logo Black & White
ROLEX_Color.png
ROLEX Logo Color
ROLEX_Meteorite
ROLEX Logo Meteorite
Bulova_New.png
Bulova (New Logo)
Bulova_Old.png
Bulova (Old Logo)
Bulova_Precisionist_New.png
Bulova Precisionist (New Logo)
Bulova_Precisionist_Old.png
Bulova Precisionist (Old Logo)
Bulova_Precisionist_Carbon_New.png
Bulova Precisionist Carbon (New Logo)
Bulova_Precisionist_Carbon_Old.png
Bulova Precisionist Carbon (Old Logo)

 

 

Too many AirPods clones

I wanted to grab a pair of wireless headphones for my laptop coz I often watch stuff on laptop in the living room and then I have my wire over the “walking” area around the couch.  It’s a bit inconvenient if someone walks there or I tangle up the wire somehow and pull the laptop. So, wireless should solve it.

And since I really hate silicone thingie earphones which you need to stuff inside the ear, only option nowadays are Apple’s earphones. I’ve tried EarPods that came with iPhone and they were great, except with wire of course. And since I wasn’t quite ready to commit spending 189€ on original AirPods, the idea was to grab one of AirPods clones. Not because I can’t afford the real deal, I just didn’t think I needed the real deal for what I’ll be using them. They should work fine and you can get pretty good ones for around 50€ and people say they are cloned to a point they feel the same and sound quality is actually pretty similar. 50€ is still a lot cheaper than 189€, right? Ok, so I have priorities set, lets find some clones I said and ventured on AliExpress and looked for some AirPods clones. And there was immediately a problem. I know early models were named i7 TWS and there were iterations up to i10 TWS. It would be straight forward if the listings were not a mishmash of specs, images and numbers with largest possible number, because larger number means better product. By Chinese standards anyways. There are also i100 TWS, i1000 TWS, i10000 TWS and I could even find i100000 TWS with all the number iterations from 1 to 9 in between and they all promise they are the best thing after sliced bread.

Was browsing through them for quite some time and the more I was looking at them, the more confusing it was. In the end it was so confusing I did the unthinkable and just ordered the real Apple’s AirPods 2. Because only that way I was sure what I was paying for. Coz paying even 50€ for a bad clone wouldn’t be saving money for what I need them for, if they ended up being crappy first clone generation with made up specs. I wonder how many people did the same because of absurd versioning sellers are doing…

So, good job sellers on AliExpress, you’re so confusing with your bullshit descriptions and images, people end up buying the real thing for 3x as much instead lol. If I’m spending anything, I want to know what I’m spending on. Even if it’s something budget, cheaper or “clone”… Well, that was a weird journey of buying wireless earphones…

Need for Speed developers don’t understand the point of cops in the game

This was suppose to be a NFS Heat review, but since I haven’t finished the game yet for reasons you’ll read below, I’ve decided not to make it a full review, but a rant about cops mechanic in the game that entirely ruined what looked like near perfect game…

I’ve been in love with the concept of racing and cops basically since the original The Need for Speed back in the early 90’s even though they only had to overtake you to bust you and that was it, the only mechanic in the game. I’ve played racing games a lot back then since 90’s were the golden era of racing games and the one problem they all had before and they still have to this very day if cops are not present is that they become repetitive and boring very easily and very quickly. It’s also one of reasons why I just never liked F1 games or “racing simulators” or quasi simulators like Forza, because they always end up being these dull repetitive real world circuits racing by holding same perfect line every lap, for 50 laps. Or whatever. Yawn.

Some time has passed and NFS3 Hot Pursuit arrived back in 1998 and that’s when EVERYTHING changed (now you know my fascination over NFS3). The game had amazing selection of sports cars and you could download more of them made by fans. Hundreds of them. It also had absolutely amazing circuit tracks with various elevation changes, shortcuts and were thematically unique. Countryside highways, futuristic cities, desert canyons, snowy summits, beautiful coastline cliffs in the sunset, the lot. And it also had cops. That cherry on top X factor that made game so diverse with every race I can still fire it up today and have fun with it despite knowing exactly how each car feels and handles, every corner of every track, but I never know where and how exactly I’ll have cops getting in the way, something no other game could offer before. When you learned other racing games, they became boring because you just drive the track in best line you know it works and other racers just weren’t a distraction enough to matter. But with cops, every race is just tiny bit different. You interact with cops at different points of the track, you interact with them in different ways and they used different methods, so while not a groundbreaking change to the concept of racing, they were this random modifier within the game that wasn’t a focal point and wasn’t absolute annoyance, it was just sort of there to spice things up. And this trend basically continued through out the NFS franchise till EA handed over development to their internal studio named Ghost Games. Apparently a team of game developers that hasn’t played a single NFS game in existence and develop NFS games based on description made by someone who also never played any NFS game. Coz they just feel exactly like that in the end.

When NFS 2015 was released, the “reboot” to the NFS series, there were cops in free roam. And I was excited. I remembered all the fun and exciting moments I had with NFS Most Wanted 2005 and NFS Carbon as well as many games before. Just to be let down entirely by how worthless cops were. I had a stock starting car and I could shake off cops in matter of seconds and as soon as you upgraded the car they were basically non existent. They hardly had any presence in races and they were so useless in Free Roam it felt like they don’t even exist, basically eliminating the X factor cherry on top, exactly what cops were suppose to be in the game. All they had to do is tweak few parameters about cops and it could be perfect. But they never bothered and just kept the game in its broken boring state. The game was so boring I never finished it. Guess who made it. Yup, it was Ghost Games.

Then NFS Payback was released. Again by Ghost. They didn’t even bother to have cops in free roam because of all the criticisms of worthless stupid cops in NFS 2015. They appeared in scripted races where their presence was basically pre-coded and when triggering “loot boxes” around the map. Otherwise they didn’t exist. Game was plagued by other problems like cars locked into classes and upgrading with absurd slot machine mechanic. I’ve finished it, but the thing was so forgettable and boring it’s one of the worse NFS games of all times.

People wanted cops in free roam for the next game after NFS Payback. And we demanded them to actually mean something, not like in NFS 2015. And Ghost Games being Ghost Games, they’ve gone totally overboard in NFS Heat (current latest NFS game released in Nov 2019), making cops these absurd absolutely obviously cheating god like fuckers that ruin the whole game because they’ve decided to make them a fucking focal point of the game. And I was like my fucking god, you morons don’t have the slightest clue why cops exist in NFS games. Focal point of NFS games should always be racing and exotic cars. Cops were always a thing in the game that was just sort of there that spiced things up and brought randomization factor. Not here. I’m 26 hours into the NFS Heat game and I currently have a 1000 HP Mitsubishi Evo X and apparently, that’s still not enough to actually even have any fun interaction with cops because they are so stupid overpowered they chase you at lightning speeds at only Heat 3 (there are 5 heat levels and 5th being highest) and these Heat levels seem to escalate too quickly before you can even shake off cheating cops whole games becomes an absolute god damn chore to play. And you need to go against cops during Night Time because that gives you REP points which you need to actually unlock higher tier performance parts so you can buy them with money earned during Day Time. So, you’re literally forced to do this chore of dealing with motherfucking cheating cops that are so freaking not fun to interact with. And to make matters worse, apparently when you upgrade the car to level 400 and above, cops become too easy. Or so I heard from others, it’s downright chore to play this game so I’m not in a rush to play or upgrade cars in it…

So, Ghost managed to create a game that’s dreadful to play until you get everything to a certain level and when you get past that level the game becomes boring. And there is this tiny window within the entire game where you have like 5% of actual fun coz then you soon have 400+ level car and it’s boring. And I can’t believe how they fucked up the game with 1 (ONE!) elemental rookie design mistake which they’ll never fix because they just playing don’t give a shit. Player car damage. Just this one single fucking detail in the game fucks up the whole game so badly it’s literally unplayable and considered anything but fun, hours into the game.

Currently, player has a limited health and if cops beat you enough, you lose health, get wrecked and as a result, busted. Which is a problem because cops feel and behave like you’re playing against a player online who’s not hiding the fact he’s using all the possible cheats that exist. That’s how NFS Heat cops feel like. Oh, you have a 1000 HP tuned Mitsubishi, pheeeeh, doesn’t matter, those shit ass Crown Victoria police cars can keep up with you easily. And so can higher heat level Chevy Corvettes, that on paper have up to 600 HP, but somehow keep up with absolute ease with a way more powerful car you have. Because they just so blatantly cheat.

And this cheating wouldn’t even be a problem on any level if you couldn’t get wrecked with such absolute ease. I’d even encourage them to be stupidly aggressive, at least it would mean you’d really have to try hard to evade them and since you’d not be limited by health, you’d at least try to work something out even if you were pushed around like a pinball. But not in this game. Health goes down and you just kept on getting busted. Game after game. To a point it’s just not even fun to even play it and becomes this thing you want to avoid. There is no thrill because you already know in advance interaction with cops means almost certainly you’ll get busted. Opposed to all the NFS games from the past where your chances of evasion were WAY higher although you could still get busted if you were stupid. But it was fine. Cops are meant to be the randomizing factor and something that spices things up, not something that sucks all the fun out of the game. And that’s exactly what they do in NFS Heat. They suck absolutely all fun out of the game.

To make matters further worse is how cops behave as whole. In basically all NFS games, if you were speeding, cops reacted to that. Here, you can drive 300km/h past a stationary or driving cop during Day Time and they won’t react. At all. During Night Time, you can do the same 300km/h thing past them and for as long as your Heat level is 0, they won’t react. Have just Heat 1 and they’ll go after you with entire arsenal of cheating bullshit tricks. I was like, hey guys, what’s the deal with cops not reacting and apparently, that’s “by design”. A design that makes cops not behave like you’d expect cops to behave. They are just there not doing anything unless you straight up crash into them. Which is basically never unless you purposely do it.

And what’s even more shocking is how every time you comment and criticize this absolutely garbage design on NFS subreddit, there are a always smartass morons who say “uh oh git gud and learn to drive noob”. Bitch, I was probably playing NFS games before you were even born and you’re gonna be saying this smug shit to my face? You don’t fucking have a clue what the purpose of the cops is in this game and you have no clue how good cops would and should feel like in the game. And I can tell they most certainty shouldn’t be this fuckery we have in NFS Heat. It made otherwise well designed game and turned it into absolute unfun (I made this word specifically for this game) horseshit.

And all because stupid Ghost couldn’t leave fucking player health out of the game that would ensure epic massive chases and doing so would eliminate cops being a problem with their absurd cheating. Hell, it wouldn’t even be a problem if they made them even more absurd at Heat 5 level just to keep things interesting long term.

I still just can’t understand how they fucked up NFS Heat game as whole so badly just by fucking up the design of cops. Graphics are amazing, the city is beautifully crafted, cars handle well and just feel good to drive and there are tons of them, sensation of speed is amazing , sound design is amazing and there is a lot to do on the map from collecting Street Art, collecting flamingos, smashing billboards, doing long jumps, there are alright races across different map even though Ai players suck pretty badly and they brought back normal car upgrading and tuning. It’s becoming a well rounded package at this point. And then they put these bullshit cops into the game and fuck it all up to a point it’s one of the worst NFS games I’ve played in my life because the fun factor is down in the shitter. HOW?! How could you people fuck up a game that could actually be one of the best NFS games in decades to a point it’s actually one of the worst ones of all times. You really have to commit and go out of your way to fuck something up this badly with just one aspect of the game that drags everything around it all the way to the bottom. And all this could be solved by either eliminating the player health or just make cops that are actually capable of being cops and not be this blatant obvious cheaters. And since fixing the second would require a lot of effort, removing player health should be the approach. But I already know for a fact this will never happen…