Pither.com / Simon
Development, systems administration, parenting and business

Journal, ISO week 2018-W38

last week

Escaping time based gaming

I've concluded that this style of game is really bad for me (or anyone I think). This is the style of game that demands (to make progress) frequent/regular bits of your time. Eg playing each day to collect a daily reward, or every X hours to restore your shield or collect built-up resources. Couple that with team elements where you need to do those things or risk letting down teammates and it can become quite a feeling of obligation. Of course, that's the whole point of them!

You might think that a game which only needs five minutes of attention every 12 hours is a small commitment, but that's actually over on hour of your time every week. And that's before you get caught up doing a few extra tasks or an additional battle or two. If each of your quick gaming sessions is 15 minutes instead, you're actually playing that game for 3.5 hours a week!

More traditional games, where you sit down and concentrate on playing for 3.5 hours at a time can create much more of an journey from it, with tension, excitement, ups and downs. It can even be a spectator sport too. Perhaps most importantly though (in single player at least), you can pause them, save them and easily put them away until next weekend; or perhaps next month. There's no nagging feeling of loosing out every few hours, just the enjoyment of playing as and when you actually want to and have the time available.

I've been thinking about this for while.

So... I finally uninstalled a long term vice from my phone! I do still have access to the same account via a tablet but that doesn't live with me so I'm hoping the time it sucks up will at least be reduced.

An update at the end of the week - it seems to be working, the time I spent gaming this week was 25% of what I spent last week!

(Do you want to know where all your time goes? Sign up at Non Stop Timer to get early access.)

Now the question is what to do while otherwise idling for a few minutes here and there. So far my intention is to spend it writing notes on blog posts, although that isn't always the easiest of things to dip in and out of for short periods.

A side note on the "pointless games" theme, our eldest has been trying Merge Plane, which reminds me far too much of this paperclip madness - both games that basically count the amount of time you've wasted (there's no skill or learning involved) on them and turn it into a score. What ever you do, don't start playing either of them!

Mental health (for children)

I listened to a podcast on children's mental health, which is based on an article, and found it really interesting.


Following my roasting comments last week a friend recommended this meat book might help. Not sure I'm going to roast enough to warrant reading anything though!

On Friday I successfully (mostly) managed to honey roast the remaining parsnips and carrots that we had left, along with making another cauliflower cheese (complete with from-scratch cheese sauce). That much cauliflower cheese was a bit much between two people though! I spent about two hours cooking it all though so it's definitely not going to become a regular event.


I've spent large chunks of my working time (over the years) optimising code and computing processes. I've hardly ever had to talk about Big-O (since university) but it is worth knowing about and this week I found a nice gentle introduction to Big-O for Python devs video.

I wrote up my recent fun making a Python script into a portable executable.


The PaTMa Property Tools browser plugin saw a new release, making the user interface much nicer and providing faster access to important price history and local comparison data. This was spurred on by a discussion about finding a PropertyBee replacement, which of course the PaTMa plugin is!

Add a comment