The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Fortnite chapter 2

If you don’t have teens or video games are not your thing, you still may not be aware of the phenomenon that is Fortnite. But if you are aware, you may know that the creators of Fortnite, Epic Games, recently update the franchise to what they call Chapter 2.

After 2 years and 10 “seasons”, taking the gaming world by storm, and doing some very interesting things, they shut down their product for 36 hours before launching a revamped version.

And I love the update!

What’s better

First, like most products, a revamp usually entails a slightly new look. And Fortnite follows suit here with a new map (the story shifts to a “new world”). The new location borrows a little from the first, but the overall look and feel has a little more texture to it. The water, the leaves on the trees, the entire landscape feels homey.

But along with that aspect of the game, Epic Games also update the UI. The location of items in the player’s HUD are slightly different, but so too are the mechanics for getting to your next match. Previously, once you were eliminated from a match or were the victor, you could spectate the person who eliminated you, or return to the lobby. From there, you could then start your next match.

In Chapter 2, this is greatly improved. When you’re eliminated, you can choose to spectate or return to the lobby. Or you can choose the new default option, which is to just head into your next match immediately. Not having to wait to return to the lobby and then wait while the next match loads removes the majority of the friction of playing.

After a couple of weeks of playing the game, my biggest takeaway was this:

In that vein, I think Epic would do well to make it a little easier for new players. Programmatically get groups of players in similar tiers/levels against each other so someone who’s played less than 10 times doesn’t wait 2 minutes for the game to load only to last 30 seconds before getting two pumped from behind by some person who's played since season 2… totally speaking from experience here

They really nailed this aspect in Chapter 2. After a couple of games, I felt like I was such a better player. So much so that I was compelled to dig into what had changed. And it was bots …

Now, the word itself causes confusion. When I first mentioned to my boys that the reason Chapter 2 feels easier and more fun is because of bots, they were confused. That’s because in their circles, bot is a word for a player who has purchased all the loot and looks like they’d be dangerous, but they really don’t know what they’re doing. There’s an entire vernacular for young people about this game.

But in Chapter 2, Epic Games added real bots As in, computer controlled players:

In the next Season, we are adding Bots to Fortnite. They will behave similarly to normal players and will help provide a better path for players to grow in skill. Bots will work in conjunction with the new matchmaking system, and as your skill improves, you’ll face fewer Bots. Bots will not be present in Competitive playlists. This is another system that we will continue to update and iterate.

Thanks to these changes, I finally achieved my first victory with 6 eliminations. And it felt sooo good. I’m pretty sure some of those six were even humans.

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RescueTime for iOS

I’ve been using RescueTime for a few years now, and I have come to appreciate it. But for whatever reason, I never had any desire to install the version for iOS. Until recently.

What I like about it

The app tracks your pickups and how much time you spend on your device. I like the way it summarizes the pickups — both the total and the location and timing of them. It’s a nice way to visualize how much you’re reaching for the phone.

But where the real value of the iOS comes into play for me is how the desktop dashboard combines the two.

What I like is that it shows a combined value, but you can hover over the time to see how it breaks down across devices. The chart also shows the same with the phone time showing as a green line.

Does this replace Screentime (especially now that it’s available on all your devices as well)? It’s too early to tell for me. But since RescueTime is a tool our team uses and the team behind it focuses on nothing by healthy habits (unlike Apple), I don’t see myself dropping it for the options built into the operating systems.

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Getting started with the Zettelkastën

I’ve been wrestling with the usage of the Zettelkasten method for months. At first, my interest was merely piqued. Then I started to consider how I could benefit from using this method. Finally, I started to consider how to get started.

That eventually led to purchasing How to Take Smart Notes, which has been an enjoyable read (I’m currently about 75% finished). The problem? The focus has been very much on why you should use this method, but hardly much at all has been said about how you use it. Or rather, how one gets started.

This has led to a lot of review of previous blog articles I’ve read previously, then a lot of Google searches. Finally, I ended up back at Zettelkasten.de, landed on their curated article overview, and started reading through every post mentioned there.

Under the topic of what to store in your first note, this thought well captured the mental state I found myself in:

Starting your Zettelkasten note archive can be confusing at first. Getting it right first seems so important to some folks that they get stuck completely – paralysis by analysis.

Thankfully, I found inspiration in one of the other posts mentioned near the top of the overview. In a discussion of why categories are a bad idea, Christian states the following:

If you’re stuck setting up your knowledge management system, stop setting up anything at all. Just add information to it. Store text in files of your liking and put them in a folder if you’re uncertain which software to use. Starting is always better than not doing a thing. You can’t analyze your way into the perfect system without getting your hands dirty. Only experience reveals where the bottlenecks are, and whether you are really going to use (or miss) the oh-so-awesome feature X of the super expensive app Y.

I hope to have more to discuss in the coming weeks.

Regarding notes, this update from the Ulysses team caught my eye.

In addition to that, version 18 will bring the ability to use Ulysses’ own file format in external folders. This is bigger than it sounds, as it removes almost all of the limitations when working with these folders. You’ll not only be able to use all of Ulysses’ Markdown XL tags, but also to add writing goals, images, keywords and notes. Dropbox will therefore become a serious alternative for anyone who can’t – or doesn’t want to – rely on iCloud for synchronization. We’re happy about willing testers for this one, too.

As I’ve thought about adopting the Zettelkasten method, I’ve wondered whether Ulysses was a good choice. One concern with these types of things in lock-in: if I invest a lot of time putting notes into Ulysses, what happens if I ever stop using the product? Can I easily get my notes out of it?

Using Ulysses with external folders was a thought I had. This news that the advanced formatting Ulysses provides would be available for use with external folders caught my attention as it’s not currently possible. My research continues.

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