Friday, September 07, 2012

4 Things I’m excited about this week


1. Guild Wars 2
I am mostly a single-player computer game player, I am too lazy and socialisation-avoidant to pursue a lot of multiplayer things. So the only MMORPG I ever really played was Guild Wars 1, partly because it was pretty cheap by the time I got into it, partly because they have a non-subscription model of payment, and I won’t play subscription games (I can understand the rationale for subscription games, from the publishing side, but from the player side it just makes it a more unhealthy addiction).
Anyway, I have been pretty excited about GW2 for about the last year or so, because everything I ever heard about it was amazing. And it released about 2 weeks ago, and I have been enjoying it greatly ever since (well, I did play in some of the late open beta testing as well). I particularly like that it’s a game that
rewards, and never penalises, cooperation
has a fairly friendly player base (that I’ve encountered)
has amazing gameplay and visuals
has jumping puzzles! that work!

2. Keyman
I am usually pretty loath to just promote products and companies. I don’t really like spamming my twitter feed with retweets and ads for other people, mainly because I don’t myself want to read such things. But this week I’m endorsing Keyman Desktop 8. I think I’ve written about Keyman before on this blog, but I really do like it a great deal. I use it for typing a number of languages, and I love that I can just set up hotkeys, and switch between languages with a single set of button-presses; It’s helped me learn to touch type Ancient Greek, and Mongolian, and it also gets you into using unicode fonts rather than those older fonts that are not unicode (I don’t know what they are called, but they never convert well!).

3. GMB
I’m in a bit of a spruiking mood today, so let me keep talking about companies that deliver products I love and enjoy. Gold Medal Bodies produces, hmm, gymnastics-based fitness programs with instructional videos? I think that is a fair description. I was lead to check them out after learning a bunch of parkour from the Tapp brothers (who are pretty good, though I don’t really like their style of marketing), and getting a link to GMB’s yoga stuff. it was about this time that I was becoming more interested in gymnastics-based things, and GMB fit the bill perfectly. Here’s why they are great:
They know what they are talking about!
The quality of their instructional materials is excellent
Their programs are well laid out, the progressions are manageable, and they are written for ordinary people, not elite athletes
They are super friendly, and the support is fantastic.

4. The Atlantic Gaelic Academy
Last year I signed up, a little bit spur-off-the-moment, with the AGA to take an online class in Gaelic. It emerged as the best option for continuing to develop my Gaelic, and slotting in at Intermediate 2 level worked out really well. It gave me both some extra structure to my studies, and a lot more speaking practice than I’ve probably ever had. I do have some minor criticisms of their program, but nothing I want to share here (if you’ve listened to any of my language-learning rants, you’ll know where I’m coming from). Instead I want to focus on the positives! They are pretty well organised, have great tutors, and are really committed to teaching and propagating the Gaelic language. The sheer fact that I can take a class from Mongolia in Gaelic over the internet is truly a modern marvel, and so I’m extra excited for the new academic year starting shortly, in which I’ll be diving into Advanced Level 1.

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