Monday, 12 September 2016

I Need Your Help


Hi Blogverse,

As the title suggests, I need your help. Three years ago my wife was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition; Syringomyelia – she has a cyst of spinal fluid trapped in her spine and it’s crushing her nerves at around T-14. Already she spends most of her time in a wheelchair, eventually she’ll lose ability with everything from the waist downwards.

My wife is an outdoorsy kind of person – she loves archery (and she’s annoyingly better than me), LARPs, Walking in the woods and along the river sides. Sadly no wheelchair available to us through the NHS (or even that’s affordable to us if we buy independently) will cope with the kind of outdoors life my wife enjoys. Such a wheelchair does exist, it’s called a Mountain Trike.

It’s designed for exactly what my wife enjoys!

Here’s where you come in – these things cost £4,500 and we simply don’t have that kind of money. So, we’ve set up a GoFundMe to crowdsource the funding. If you can’t donate, please share our story in the hopes of finding people who can.

Thank you.

I Need Your Help


Hi Blogverse,

As the title suggests, I need your help. Three years ago my wife was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition; Syringomyelia - she has a cyst of spinal fluid trapped in her spine and it's crushing her nerves at around T-14. Already she spends most of her time in a wheelchair, eventually she'll lose ability with everything from the waist downwards.

My wife is an outdoorsy kind of person - she loves archery (and she's annoyingly better than me), LARPs, Walking in the woods and along the river sides. Sadly no wheelchair available to us through the NHS (or even that's affordable to us if we buy independently) will cope with the kind of outdoors life my wife enjoys. Such a wheelchair does exist, it's called a Mountain Trike.

It's designed for exactly what my wife enjoys!

Here's where you come in - these things cost £4,500 and we simply don't have that kind of money. So, we've set up a GoFundMe to crowdsource the funding. If you can't donate, please share our story in the hopes of finding people who can.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Want to play games for Cash? Now you can!

When I say ‘now you can’ I really should say, “you’ve been able to for a while now’.

People have known and seen for ages that YouTube allows it’s channels to be monetised and will pay out money to youtubers who have good viewing stats, a lot of followers, and generate good income via adverts to youtube itself.

To qualify you need something like 500 followers, and a hoard of channel views, and good, original content.

A few years ago (don’t ask me about the name, I have no clue why it was called that) started up allowing people to broadcast LIVE. Soon, the gaming the community hooked on to this and started live streaming their gameplay. Then the gaming comunity took over, and had to create to separate the gamers from everyone else.

Since then has folded, has taken off, gaming streamers are king, and only now are ‘craft’ streamers getting any momentum.

So, how do you make money playing games?

Well, it’s simple … ish.

  1. You need a machine (or two), and an internet connection capable of playing your games AND of streaming video and audio out at the same time. OBS is the tool of choice among most streamers, and is pretty good at it’s job.

  2. Then you need to set a schedule of when you’ll be playing … and STICK TO IT. Imagine you’re hosting a TV show; it’s on at the same time every week, so folks know when to look for it. Change that at you peril!

  3. Get used to talking to the void – initially you will have no audience, it takes time to build up, and will fluctuate. Get used to the emptiness.

  4. Make a youtube / twitter / facebook page for your twitch channel, and promote the hell out of it. Use social media as your advertising outlet, it’s free and without it no one’s going to know you exist.

  5. Get family and friends in your channel. If you’re shy about streaming to friends and family, then earning money by streaming isn’t for you. Having people, even friends and family, in your channel does three things: 1 – it saves you from an empty channel, and 2 – makes you talk to people and that is always more entertaining, 3 – it bumps you up the browse list for your game.

  6. Pick your starting game carefully: If you pick Mechwarrior 3, no one will look for it, and your channel will go unnoticed by the casual browser. Conversely if you pick League of Legends your channel will be at the bottom of a 6000 channel list .. and go unnoticed.

    Also, pick a game you feel comfortable playing. If you’re comfortable with the game it’ll be easier to interact with your audience.

  7. Interact! Don’t just commentate your game, talk to your viewers. If they talk about another game, join them, make them feel a part of your community. Your channel isn’t just about you – you’re building a community, so make your viewers feel a part of it.

  8. Branding! You are more than just a broadcaster, you are, or need to be, a marketable brand. Make your imagery on your channel unique and ‘you’. Pick a schtick, a character, a theme, and go with it. For instance g33kgrrrlygaming portrays herself as an Elf, she wears a pair or ornamental elf ears, and frequently refers to herself as an elf, Old_Man_Blue is a US Army veteran using his channel to raise cash for homeless and disabled military veterans (a worthy cause imho), his channel is themed around patriotism.

    Although you don’t get to use custom emotes (yet – that comes later) make some that are in keeping with the theme of your channel.

  9. Use channelbots – There’s a number of channelbots for Twitch that can take some effort out of streaming, especially in terms of channel moderation. Fine one you like the features of, set it up, and use it.

  10. Get some channel mods. You will have some regulars (eventually), and you’ll get to know the temperaments of your regulars, choose one or two who you get on really well with, are balanced and fair, and match your outlook, and make them mods on your channel. They will be able to help you in your busy times.

  11. Now the really hard part – Making money!

    There’s a few ways to make money off your channel:

    – The first is to stick a donate button on your channel.

    Most channelbots have a donate feature, use this to enable your viewers to donate money to you. The bot takes a skim off the top, that’s to be expected.

    Mention the donate button, but don’t beg for donations.

    Thank all who donate, make them feel that their $5 (or whatever) is really helpful and appreciated.

    You could even set up your bot to mention the donate button.

    Don’t ever feel guilty about it.

    – Get partnered. This is a toughy. You need to have a lot of followers, a lot of regular views, a good solid branding, and your own set of custom emotes ready for use. Once you have this you can apply for partnering. This may take several attempts.

    Once partnered you will have a subscribe button, allowing viewers to ‘subscribe’ (for $5 a month) to your channel. Twitch get a chunk of that money, but you get to see the start of a regular income, and your subscribers get a few benefits (use of the custom emotes you created, subscriber only chat etc…)

    There are other ways, but they’re more involved and less reliable.

  12. Keep your channel fresh (new games, new takes on existing games etc).

Good luck!

Me? Yeah, I stream. I don’t do it for cash, I do it for fun.

Follow me on these cool social media sites:

Twitter:- NitebytesFM

Facebook:- NitebytesFM

YouTube:- NitebytesFM

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Phobia != Hatred

The word or suffix phobia is defined as:

a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.

Quoted from wikipedia for ease of copy/paste.

So what we have as a phobia is a fear, irrational in it’s strength, which causes the sufferer to go to great lengths to avoid the cause.

Now, let’s map this across to some common usages:

– Arachnophobia – fear of spiders, will have the sufferer leaving the room, screaming for a non-sufferer to remove the creature from the vicinity.- Claustrophobia – fear of enclosed spaces, will have the suffer pushing through people, clawing at wall and doors trying to get out, or having a panic attack and going catatonic if they can’t.

– Homophobia – Fear of homosexuals, will have the sufferer doing their utmost to avoid homosexual people …

OK, we all know that’s not what we know homophobia as, it is instead an irrational hatred of the subject often resulting in mudslinging, insult throwing, violence, and death.

How we went from fear of (x) to venomous hatred of (x) I am still trying to work out, and we should really give it another name.


Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, a phobia in the clinical sense is an irrational fear of something that can be debilitating and life affecting for the sufferer, and something that clinically is treatable. By calling these bigots and hatemongers homophobes or Islamophobes we’re giving credibility to their acts, a certain sympathy to their plight.

Phobia as a word or suffix comes from the Greek ‘phobos’ which means “aversion”, “fear”, or “morbid fear”, certainly not what we see in Homophobes or Transphobes.

Were I braver I would say there is no such thing as homophobia, but I’m not quite ready for that, what I will say is that we need a more appropriate word for it and other similar prejudices.

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Monday, 16 February 2015

School Dinners

A couple of things recently have had me thinking about school dinners, so I thought I’d share those thoughts here.

“London Primary schools ban pork”

It came out in some newspapers on Friday that Islington Council has stopped schools from supplying pig meat in it’s primary school meals (not secondary schools though)

The headlines dramatized it as ‘Schools ban pork to not offend Muslims’ or similar. As you might expect, I sighed, shook my head and looked more closely in to it.

The council state on their website:

An Islington Council spokesman said, “It’s not true that pork is banned in our primary schools.”

“It is not currently provided in our catering contract, but if any primary school wants to serve pork we will work with them to arrange it.”

In interviews printed in several papers, council spokesmen have clarified their position by saying the following:

“‘Young children, some as young as four, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds may not know which foods contain pork, or may not realise the importance of avoiding it due to their culture or beliefs.”

“Monitoring each child, every day ensuring they are avoiding pork, is an unnecessary cost at a time of tight budgets.”

I fail to see how any supervision is needed by the school to cover this. If a child is being brought up in a religion that restricts foods then it is up to the parents to teach their child what they can and cannot have – in the same way that a child with allergies must be taught when they can and cannot have. At a primary school age, allergy afflicted children are already aware of what they can’t have, and you know what, I’ll come to allergies in a minute.

So what we have is a council making a very worrying precedent that allows them to censor the choice of the majority of children to comfort the minority. Certainly they say they have not banned pork products, but I cannot see any school wasting time or effort in this time of austerity to negotiate getting in pork from any other providers.

There is, in my opinion, no real reason for the council to have done this.

“This school is a nut free zone”


The first thing that struck me when I saw this at my daughter’s school is that they use a peanut for the picture. The peanut (or ground nut) is a legume botanically speaking.

The sign next to it at least did say nut and peanut free, which is better, however I do wonder if the nut ban extends to pistachio and cashews on account of that family being seeds, and closer to prunes than true nuts in terms of family (much like the peanut is closer to peas).

Cashews, pistachios, peanuts, and other similar items are not botanical or ‘true’ nuts but more, culinary nuts, so grouped because they have a hard shell.

Now, in the first segment I argued that schools shouldn’t censor the food choices of it’s pupils, I will now do so again.

Perth and Kinros council have a document about this very subject, where they advise against nut bans, in fact I’ll copy / paste from their document here:

It is understandable why some schools choose to enforce ‘nut bans’, where it is forbidden for pupils to bring nuts, peanuts and food containing nuts and peanuts to school. However, there are several pitfalls in this approach:

1. It is impossible to provide an absolute guarantee that a school is truly nut-free. The danger of banning nuts may led to a false sense of security.

2. If you ban peanuts, what happens when other parents say they want similar policies implemented in relation to milk, egg, sesame, fish, fresh fruit and latex?.

3. Parents who demand nut-free zones may risk possible confrontation with other parents. In such an atmosphere, the risks may actually increase.

4. There is a strong case for arguing that food-allergic children will gain a better awareness of their allergies, and learn avoidance strategies, if they move in an environment where allergens may turn up unexpectedly. If they are trained to be vigilant, their growing awareness may pay dividends one day when, for example, a friend offers them a biscuit at a party.If they are used to a nut-free environment, they may take the biscuit without thinking.

Based on the above we recommend schools do not ban nuts and products containing nuts.

They sum up there my feelings on the whole thing.

Once you ban one type of food for a reason you open the door to a world of similar reasons; so to Islington Council I ask this: When you be banning Beef for the Hindus, Shellfish for the Jews, Onions Garlic, and root veggies for the Jainists … ?

To my Daughter’s school I ask this, when will you ban other allergen foods; dairy, onion, shellfish … again, a long list.

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Are we attention whores?

It’s been said; “Every writer needs a reader”, but is that true?

I realise I can only speak for myself on blogging, and when I do I say I blog purely for myself. For me Blogging is a vent for … well, whatever is brewing away in my head at the time, which is why you don’t see me blog daily or at set times, I’m here when the muse strikes.

I’ve blogged before about being ‘Internet Famous’, although that was more focused on cosplay, today I’m looking at bloggers.

As bloggers we write, and we take an interest in the writing of others, at least I do, and from what I see online so do others. If people like what they read and agree with it, they’ll share it for others to read, sometimes they’ll even share it if they don’t like what they read when it’s particularly well written.

This is all great and how I would expect a blogging community to work.

Where my initial question comes from is when I see bloggers asking for follows and shares. Do these people live on the likes and follows from faceless internet denizens?

Do they gain sustenance from the numbers of page views their blogs or linked sites get?

Almost. From what I can tell they run websites that hook in to various monification schemes, and their blogs link to their websites where you can see their blog in all it’s glory along with other content they put in there. While at their site you see ads and Christ knows what else by way of other cash generation tools. For some people it’s their living – if you believe the hype.

People who write well, and on topics that will generate clicks will do well, others (like me) not so much. This is why I didn’t go that route.

I feel sad for people who have to whine ‘please follow my blog’, it smacks of the cosplayers in my previous article who would post on community pages “Please like my page, buy stuff from my store”.

What these people are missing is any apparent cognisance of the pillars of marketing. If they’re in it to make money – which they seem to be from what I see, they need to take a better grasp of marketing. Some bloggers do it really well, some really don’t.

One of the worst things I’ve seen was a complaint from a blogger that came across more as a stroppy child getting their way, very much in a ‘It’s my ball and if you wont’ play my way, I’m going home and taking my ball with me’ way. The thing is – this is the internet, we have loads of balls, I’m sure we’ll find someone else to play with.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Why Charlie Hebdo is helping Terrorists

Two Posts on Charlie Hebdo? Yes these guys have me all riled up.

In my last post I talked about Charlie’s history of bullying and intent to cause offense. This time, I’m talking about what they’re really achieving.

France has been, so far, a barren ground in terms of recruitment for Al Qaeda and Deash (ISIS / ISIL whatever you want to call them), the French Muslims don’t generally seen quite so predisposed towards extremism as those in, for example, the UK.

Charlie Hebdo normally has a circulation of around 30,000 so doesn’t touch anywhere near the numbers you might expect, and certainly not for any useful recruitment tool.

However, the most recent attack, the aftermath of it, and he number of people looking into its history following the attack is now, thanks to widespread coverage, HUGE! so much so that, with financial help from Google, thenext issue is being printed to the number of 1 million copies!

News worldwide has broadcast the images and comments that Muslims found offensive, these images have now reach, literally, billions of people worldwide, and certainly most of France. These offensive images are now out there on the internet – there’s no putting those worms back in the tin, and more and more Muslims will see these images and become offended by them.

In Paris, and elsewhere in France Mosques have come under attack from people raging against the Charlie Hebdo attack. This will aggrevate yet more Muslims as thanks to the widespread hate and biased coverage people are now linking the terror attack to all Muslims.

This in turn is what will fuel these Muslims, some may have formerly been moderates, towards joining Al Qaeda or Daesh – something that couldn’t possibly have happened if Charlie Hebdo had listened to reason back in 2006 and backed away from insulting anyone’s religion.

Instead, they’re now a prime recruitment tool for terrorists. Congratulations Charlie Hebdo.

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