My phone broke

Sunday afternoon.  Hubby is out at work and the boys are playing on their Xboxes before bed.  Hubby decided that he wanted a break from driving (taxi driver), so he calls me to see how the boys are doing.

It wasn’t long in to the call when I couldn’t hear him talking…  I thought he had drove through a “dead zone”, so the network had dropped.  I stated my thoughts with my usual, “I don’t know if you can still hear me, but I can’t hear you…  If you can hear me, call me back…”  He called me back straight away, but I still couldn’t hear anything.  Thinking it was a glitch, I repeated my previous statement, but saying that I would call him back.

I called him back, but there was no ringtone…  The display was showing that he had answered the call.  I said, “I haven’t a clue if you can hear me, but I think there’s something wrong with my phone.  Give me ten minutes, and I’ll try to call you back…”

I tried a few things.  I called the house phone, and I couldn’t hear anything from my mobile – but I could through the house phone.  I then had the idea of trying to play some music…  I went to the YouTube app, and pressed play on one of the recommended videos.  It started to play, but no noise.  I repeated the experiment with Google Music…  Nothing.  Then, all of a sudden, my mobile data stopped working.  I couldn’t connect to the internet…  Great.  I quickly texted hubby to say “my phone’s broke”, and to call me on the house phone if he needed me.

Monday morning.  My phone is well and truly “dead”.  After some research last night, I had found the phone that I wanted, and it would come with a free fitness watch.  It would mean that I would have to take on another contract (3 years), but I would get a “top of the line” phone…  I was ok with that, so hubby and I went to the phone shop to pick up my beautiful Huawei P20 Pro and Huawei GT Smart Watch.


All of the above had me thinking…  I am the last generation of so many “ends” of technology, and I am the first generation of many, many more.  I was planning on making a list of all of the technologies that have come and gone, but I’d just be here all day…  Instead, here’s a list of just a few:

Minidisc was a magneto-optical disc-based data storage format offering a capacity of 74 minutes and, later, 80 minutes, of digitized audio or 1 gigabyte of Hi-MD data.  They were first introduced in 1992, and it was hoped that they would replace the delicate compact discs.  Unfortunately, the Minidisc didn’t gain as much popularity as was first thought, and the last Minidisc was produced in 2013.

MP3.  There are many contradictory answers, as to when MP3’s first appeared, although I have discovered that the first MP3 player was produced in 1997.  Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that the MP3 came out prior to when I left high school!  The MP3 is still a  popular choice of audio today.

Audio CD’s were introduced to the world a lot earlier than people think!  They were first available to purchase in 1982; but, as with a lot of new technology, were rather expensive to own.  As the popularity increased, primarily because the compact disc could hold more information than a cassette, the prices went down, and almost everyone owned a CD player.

Cassette tapes were first introduced in approximately 1962, but were all the rage in the 80’s.  The personal “Walkman” was first released in 1980, and was a great source of listening to music “on the go”. By 1993, CD’s were outselling the cassette tape, and by 2000, less than 2% of the worlds’ audio purchases were on cassette.

8-tracks were another popular form of listening to music, but were not able to be “portable”.  The 8-track cartridges were common in car radio systems, and were “in season” from 1964 to 1988.

LP / Records. In 1888, a gentlemen named Emile Berliner invented the flat disc record. These very first discs were produced of a vulcanised rubber.  Later he discovered that a mixture of shellac (a secretion from the lac beetle) and slate dust produced an extremely hard wearing but very brittle surface and from this the 78rpm disc was developed.  The slate dust was used because the older acoustic gramophones used steel needles with a pick-up weight of up to 200 grams and the slate helped grind the needle to fit the groove more closely.  In 1927, a vinyl record was used for the very first talking picture (movie with audio) – “The Jazz Singer”.  Since 1927, popularity increased, and the LP was often sent to POW camps, during the second world war, to keep up prisoner morale.  Despite the devastation caused to vinyl sales by the rapid rise in popularity of the CD, the format still thrives among keen record collectors and club disc jockeys today.

Betamax and VHS were first released in 1975, and although VHS are still available (rarely though), they faded out with the release of the DVD in 1995 (DVD’s have also decreased in popularity, since the introduction of the Blue-Ray in 2003).

The Internet is another thing that has been around a lot longer than people think.  We can trace the development of the first internetworking back to the early 1960’s, and was developed primarily for business use only.  Commercial Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) began to emerge in the late 1980’s / early 1990’s, and by 1995, the internet for home usage was fully commercialised throughout the UK.

The list is not exhaustive, and I will address this topic again, after having done more research.  In the meantime, just have a think as to how far the world has come, technology wise, since you came along.  Did you see one of the first TV’s?  Do you remember when it was incredibly rare to own more than one car?  Do you remember what the connection is between a pen and a cassette tape?

 

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How to single-handedly run a cocaine lab

I have always enjoyed gaming – occasionally collecting the rings with Sonic; bouncing crazily around, with no point to the game, with “Thing on a Spring” (Amstrad game); and even building beautiful houses with The Sims; however my passion for the gaming world really started when my hubby came along.

I’ve had an Amstrad, where you had to hook up the cassette player to the system to load a game on a tape; an Atari (which I still have somewhere); a Sega Megadrive, 16-bit; PSOne; and a PS2.  I dabbled, but never really took it seriously.

It was 2008, and my (now) husband introduced me to the xbox 360.  Mainly I just played the poker game – “Texas Hold ’em”, and I often lost my temper with the “pussycat” who always made me raise, then fold, only for me to lose out to an “orange”.  Of course, I’m talking about AI characters here, and no matter how often you lost your rag with them, you’d still end up in the same situation – shouting at the TV.

I was heavily pregnant with Donut when I thought I would give Grand Theft Auto V a try.  I must have been about 7 months gone, and I felt like I had been sentenced to bed rest by my midwife and high risk consultant.  I had just finished work, on maternity leave, and I was already bored with poker, Minecraft and Fallout: New Vegas (yeah, really), when hubby dearest suggested I give GTAV a try.

I loaded the game, had several attempts of the first mission, where Trevor, Michael and a couple of others robbed a bank (spoiler alert!), and already I was getting frustrated with it.  I wasn’t interested in the actual story – I just wanted to play the open world.  Hubby said that I had to complete the first mission to be able to unlock the open world, so I sighed, and went back to it.  It took a lot of patience and tries, but eventually I cracked it.

Once I finally got in the open world, I cheated immediately by buying a few of those ‘Shark Cards’, where it fills your account up with cash.  I then bought my high end apartment, a couple of cars, and enhanced the performance of them before taking part in random races and missions with the hubby.

Almost 18 months down the line, and I’m still playing it now – although I am only a level 63 (still good, but when you see other players in their level 400’s+, then you realise you’re still a bottom feeder), I’m just starting to get the hang of the game.

A few months ago, Rockstar introduced a new expansion pack – “Motorcycle Club”, and I bit.  My best asset in the game had been my bike – a Dinka Double T, and I was a rather dab hand at riding it.  I had millions of (deliberate) near-misses, and after I supped it up to the maximum enhancements, it was a pretty smooth and speedy ride.  Very few outrun me, and I was always guaranteed to lose a 5-star wanted level from the police.  Granted, it took me a long time to be able to do it, but I got there.

Anyway, I digress…

I jumped straight in to the stunt races that were now available, as I realised they (along with solo missions) were the easiest way to raise a bit of cash.  Once I got enough funding, I went to the foreclosure site (on the internet, in the game) and purchased a clubhouse.  It wasn’t great, and I couldn’t afford any upgrades, but I didn’t care.  I had my clubhouse, and I was now president of my own motorcycle club.

Only I wasn’t.

Even though I had bought the club, I had to go in to the select menu to make myself the president (you have to do this in every session you enter, otherwise you are just a civilian).

I think I’ve had my own MC club for about 2 months now, and it was only this weekend (just gone) that I managed to save up enough of the cash (again!) to buy a sideline business.  I had a fair amount of cash, and a few different businesses to choose from.  I had the choice of buying a document forgery office, a weed farm, counterfeit cash, a meth lab, or a cocaine lab.  I had just enough money to buy the smallest cocaine lab, as, through research, this was shown to be the best choice for generating income.

Of course, as with any business – real or virtual – you have to have supplies to be able to create any produce, so that had to be my number one priority.

When entering the black market, you have a two options.  You can either buy your supplies, or steal them – where you have to go and get them yourself.

I’ve noticed that if you choose the latter, the more you do, the harder it gets.

If you’re a player already, you know that you can see who else is in the world with you, by pressing down on the digipad.  Alongside the other players names, you will often see either a picture of a motorbike, or a triangle.  Sometimes, there will be no icon next to the name…  If there is no icon, this means that this player is not a part of a MC, or corporation.  The triangle represents ‘Securoserve’, and they are a CEO of a business, or working for one.  The motorbike represents their status as either being a MC president, or a biker – in that gang.

The more players that are in the game – especially if there are more MC players, the more risky your supply run can be.

There is a simple reasoning behind this.  When you collect the supplies, a “blip” is put out across the world to say exactly what you have done.  This is a warning to other players, telling them what you have done, and they have the opportunity to literally chase you to steal the supplies for their own uses.

It’s the same as when the final product is made, and you’re ready to sell – it’s all about timing your stealings and sellings appropriately.  You don’t know who else is around, and who you need to pass to be able to complete your business needs.

My timings surround just that.  If there are lots of players in the world, I buy my supplies.  If there are just a handful, I steal.

Let’s backtrack slightly – after the stealing / buying, yet before you do the drug run.

When you have your supplies at your warehouse, always try to upgrade your business as quickly as possible.  Obviously, you need a fair amount of cash to do this too, but with the adversary modes that are currently offering 2x cash and 2x RP, it’s well worth doing an hour or two of those first of all (personally, I find the Deadline adversary modes hilarious!).  When upgrading, security should be your main priority, followed by the staff, followed by your actual lab.  It may make more sense to you to do it the other way around, but when your fiddling the law, securing your business from any raids or thefts should be the way to go.

On entering your warehouse, you get two new bars showing at the bottom right of your screen.  The top bar is your product; the bottom is your supplies.  I tend to use the black market computer in the warehouse to give me my options, as I find this a lot easier to understand.

When I go in to the “Sell Stock” option, I get two options.  Both are to sell my produce, but one is ‘safer’ than the other.

There are two amounts offered.

The lower is based in Blaine County, and is a much less hazardous route to take.

The higher amount is based in Los Santos itself, and can be incredibly dangerous.  You run the risk of losing all your stock by being robbed, or by being killed…  Which you can respawn and try to get your stock back, but it all depends on how far away from your death-spot you are, and who it was who killed you.  Some other players who have business interests of their own could hunt you, take your stock, and you’re at a loss.  If you’re one of the lucky ones, you just get a wanted level, and perhaps shot by the police, and then when you respawn, you can go and claim your items again.  I’ve been killed once by the police, and they did not confiscate my stock, but I cannot comment that it will never happen…

If I’m being honest, I’ve got a bit of a greed on me, and I have never taken the lesser amount.

So far I have made approximately 10 supply runs, and just 3 deliveries.  From the deliveries, I have brought in a little over $630k.  I could have got a lot more, but I’m inpatient.

Do’s and Don’t’s for Dummies

  • Do make every effort to steal your supplies.
  • Do buy your supplies when the servers are full.
  • Don’t steal from the lone biker…  Chances are that they have no one else in their club (same as me), and it’s difficult enough for them to do the supply run, with the general bad guys on their tails, than having you hunt them down too.  Chances are if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone too.
  • Don’t sell your produce at the lower level.  Take a chance, and it’ll be worth your time.
  • Do upgrade, but do it in order.  Security first, then staff, then the lab.
  • Do practice your flying skills.  There are a lot of selling opportunities that require you to fly a plane, or helicopter, so make sure you’re a bit of a dab hand to prevent crashing and losing your stock.
  • Don’t worry about the police being on your tail.  If you’ve outrun them before, you can outrun them now.
  • Do bare in mind that once you’re an MC president, you CANNOT go in to passive mode.
  • Don’t worry if no one accepts your invite for being a part of your MC.  No one ever accepts my invites (except for hubby, when he’s playing), and I’m doing pretty well for myself.
  • Do keep your eye on your map.  If you’re hunting for supplies / stock, look out for the red blips.  Also, if you’re the one being hunted, you can usually tell by the amount of players blips coming closer to your position.
  • Do make sure that you’re fully stocked up on your ammo…  Only got one homing missile left?  You need more…  You never know who’s coming after you in a fighter jet.

So, did I miss anything?  Probably, but I’m still learning myself.