Ultralight Design

Hello world! I had a talk about this on stream today and thought I might expand my thinking here. This website is, after all, a perfect example of what I’d like to highlight in light weight design.

If you’re a normal person you likely have never read an ultra minimalist website. I can offer you two examples from the top of my head. I will not explicitly be defining what the do right but present content forward pages correctly.

First we have MotherFuckingWebsite which I assure you is not at all adult other that it’s arousing design and powerful wrangling of the English language. https://motherfuckingwebsite.com offers all the information you need about it’s design philosophy on its main page and it is worth a read. The core design principle is to focus on what’s already built into HTML5 instead of needlessly loading libraries. I can also recommend this video which highlights the speed improvements that are available when moving out of heavy and unnecessary JS and into HTML and CSS https://youtu.be/VUwyYhNO63I

Secondly I’d like to tip my fedora to you all and say that the Arch wiki is not only one of the worlds most exquisite repositories of information but also a paragon of content focused design. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Installation_guide I have linked the install guide as an example page but all follow this same simple layout and beautiful indexing. Although this isn’t specifically a design consideration I also appreciate their Code of Conducts resource on answering questions http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html this page also follows our design rules coincidentally!

Many “old” projects like Debian have a get repository of information in archived versions of their mailing lists. If you are a computer hobbyist you’ve likely stumbled into a handful of these through frantic googling. One of the great parts of these websites is their indexability. It seems web crawlers absolutely love the way the information is presented so straightforward instead of being needlessly distributed through flashy graphics, animated menus, or slideshow-like pages with nearly no information to inflate traffic. It’s all just right there. A truly tranquil feeling passes over the body when the pages load so quickly and the information is so readable. As if asking a classmate which page to turn to and they not only provide the number but also the paragraph and line to begin from. Excellent.

There is a learning curve to pushing yourself to correctly chew through such dense information. Often pages like these read like a research paper and that is daunting to the uninitiated. Research papers are one of my favorite ways to get useful information as the abstract will offer a far different and likely more nuanced summary than any news article attempting to spin their work ever could. Likely, most would load the PDF file in their browser and immediately close it due to its alien dual column structure. I would like to push more people to return to the source and away from the colorful and distracting stylization of information for the layperson.

Content is king and a website shouldn’t take 13 seconds to load for any reason. Information density is not for everyone but may be for you. It surely is for me. Take a stand against not only radio edit songs but also the dilution of quality information. Thanks!

Blog Relaunch

Well well well. Look who’s back to writing a blog that no one will ever read or care about. That’s right! Lil’ Cropster.

As you can see I’ve gone and touched up some of the loading issues and improved the site a little. Goal is the same as it always way. Create more content and hopefully attract more eyeballs to look at it. A growing list of topics continue to overflow from my notes application and “like a bee thats gathered too much honey, needs hands out stretched to take it” or something, whatever Zarathustra said.

I spent some time last year writing a few posts for this which, after careful cringe analysis, seem to actually be good! Hopefully after I private all my posts and scrub this blog from the internet again in the coming months when I have some kind of internal crisis I will look at these posts during the 2020 relaunch with pride.

Your time is valuable

I think it was Bill Clinton who said “If you’re good at something never do it for free” or maybe that was the Joker.

Anyway this past week I was approached for contract work so I’ve had some numbers on my mind. I’ll share my opinion on selling your services and pricing your work.

A race to the bottom

There’s no getting around the fact that there are plenty of people who are working for far too little pay. Whether that’s a lack of confidence in themselves and their work or just wanting to be “nice” and giving their clients a deal they both have the same effect. Every time you take on a job for free, accept lower rates, or work for additional unbilled time you are actively devaluing yourself and those with a similar skillset. Expectations of hourly rates for whatever it is you do is important to have a steady stream of clients. If the competition is willing to work for half of what their time is worth you may find yourself dropping to their level to stay competitive. The quality of work some freelancers push out for minimum wage when they can set their own prices for their time is really sad.

You’re skilled at what you do. You have worked for years to learn what you know and practiced to become an expert. That’s why people seek out your services. They value your time. They trust your track record and know they can have a great product delivered. If you have a skillset of any kind you should at the absolute least be charging 2.5x minimum wage.

If you’re an artist/professional and self employed I know the business side of things can be hard. I hate email and I hate talking money with clients. Of course hating something doesn’t mean it’s not important. Spend the time to learn to manage your business. Spend the time to REALLY think what your time is worth. In both the long run and the short run higher rates make it easier to turn down work or clients you don’t like. Pricing yourself appropriately helps you and everyone else in your field push for a better quality of life inside and outside of work.

When sifting potential clients have a keen eye to spot any questioning of your prices. An “OUCH! Very expensive” comment immediately drops you to low priority brain processing and 1 to 3 business days for email communication. These are the people you waste time thinking about. These are the people who find someone who’s services fit their budget last minute after you’ve sent 10 emails back and forth. By spending less time on people who are less willing to step up and pay a fair price for great work you’re going to have a lot less stress in your life

Find a number that’s higher than what you, as a professional in the field, would be willing to pay your competitors. If it feels too high you’re in the right ballpark.

Anyway whatever I just needed to write something here to fill the gap. Thanks!

OSRS Jad Practice Tool

Yo.

Thought I should just post this here because it was something that I worked on for a few hours two weeks ago. Might be useful to other people that had or are having difficulties figuring out Fight Caves.

What is this?

In Old School Runescape the best in slot cape for melee excluding the Infernal cape is the Fire Cape. The Fire Cape is a reward for completing a 63 Wave Player vs Monster challenge in the TzHaar Fight Caves. Most players want to get this done as quickly as possible due to its dominance in the cape slot. Although the Fight Caves have no level requirements a prayer level of 40 for Protect from Missiles and Protect form Magic is essential for completion without utilizing advanced mechanics like Tick eating.

The final monster and by far the hardest part of the Fight Caves it a level 703 TzTok-Jad. Jad has both a ranged and magic attack which he switches between at random. Failing to react to Jad’s attack switch even once will be the end of your Fight Cave run. Worst of all to even have a chance to see or practice Jad you’re going to need to climb all the way to Wave 63. This can take around 2 hours depending on your combat  stats. Here is a clip of me getting dumpstered last year on my 4th/5th attempt https://clips.twitch.tv/WrongLazyDootHumbleLife

To help other players practice the sounds and animations of Jad I created a practice tool for the OSRS Fight Caves. It’s missing a lot of things and is a really basic mod of some decent RSPS source. Jad doesn’t have healers. Collision for units is completely off for the other waves. Sound effects are only in for Jad.

Demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuPFbeX_UWw

Download: https://downthecrop.xyz/downloads/Jad-Practice.7z

Forum post: https://www.rune-server.ee/runescape-development/rs2-server/downloads/679199-jad-fight-cave-practice-tool-w-sounds.html

Cost of Living in Korea.

Hey, Word famous video gamer downthecrop here with some HARD HITTING information. I threw together a spreadsheet to help anyone calculate their own personal monthly cost of living. If you’re interested in that you can get that here. I’ve also included what a month of living in Korea breaks down for me to. That totals $760 CAD living in a GoshiTele with a private bathroom.

A Goshiwon can be considered as a (very) small, (very) minimal hotel. And we do mean small and minimal — if you really do expect hotel standards you will likely be very disappointed.

You will come across many different names for a goshiwon: Goshitel / Livingtel / Residence / One-room-tel / etc… However all of these are effectively the same kind of thing and are all registered as a “Goshiwon” business type in Korean and we will use the term Goshiwon to refer to all of them.

Goshiwons are a uniquely Korean concept, originally intended as a place where people could stay affordably and temporarily without distraction while they study for government exams. Because of this legacy, there still exist many goshiwons that only offer rooms that are nothing more than closet sized rooms with a desk, bed and internet connection. These very old-school goshiwons rarely include a bathroom/shower in the room and provide very little amenities.

https://blog.goshipages.com/housing-faq-ff5f15c7e3a7 goshipages FAQ Mar 1 2017

If you are not a minimalist or can’t live minimally obviously rent makes up a good chunk of the costs here. You can copy that Google sheet and fill in your own values to fit your lifestyle better. Another large expense that you may need to add would be a cell phone bill. If you’re planning on leaving your home country for an extended period of time I would suggest putting your phone on a temporary disabled mode through your carrier. This keeps your plan and number safe but cuts off service to your phone. These are actually really expensive for some reason ($40 a month for Telus or so which is pretty nasty). If you’re planning to buy a SIM card in Korea make sure your phone is unlocked so it can join the new network. Most plans for unlimited data are 60,000₩ or ~$70 CAD a month. If you’re close to paying off your phones balance with your plan I’d suggest a cancellation. I’ve been without a phone number for a while now, about 5 months so far and there really isn’t a big problem. If you rely on texting, Facebook Messenger is a good replacement. If you’ve hear of the Chinese love for WeeChat and Line, in Korea we have KakaoTalk. It does everything to stay in contact with anyone that you might need. If you have an iPhone iMessage and FaceTiime can be used with just WiFi but you’ll be in under your iCloud email instead of a phone number.

I am a little short of breaking even off investments to make that $760 monthly payment. Flights are around $1,000 for a round trip but can be as low as $650 if you can wait for a good deal. My accommodations are all handled through AirBnB. Might look at renting next time with a key money deposit. Communication is easy through AirBnb and you can be sure that your money is safe.

Anyway that’s the breakdown. The dream setup is obviously to make some money while living here. My investment game is really heating up and I’m hoping to get into making some YouTube content that can make a few bucks a month. Stream is steadily making progress and that will likely make a few bucks a month too.

Thanks for reading! League of Legends and Stoicism update next week.

Peace!