Is Steam Legit? Yes, And Here Is Why…


Up to this day I do often still find some people asking in different gaming related forums if Steam is legit. Some trolls would then usually answer if this question is legit and that’s just sad because there could be several reasons why you asking this question, maybe you are new to PC gaming or whatever. So, let’s dig into this subject. The short answer is, yes, Steam is a very legit and a quite popular service in the PC gaming world. So, why is Steam legit?

First of all we should clarify what Steam is. Steam is a digital distribution and social network platform related to games and designed for gamers. That means, you can buy games there, you can find and befriend with other gamers who play the same games as you, in fact you can befriend anybody there even if you want to have a chat buddy to talk about games or what not. Steam comes with several nice features related to gaming. It’s basically a platform made for games and gamers.

Steam was developed by the company Valve Corporation and released in September 2003. Valve was earlier just a game developer, but with Steam, they became also a digital distribution company. In other words, they don’t only develop games, they also started to sell them when they released Steam, and they do it up to this day.

Speaking about the game developer Valve developed big titles like Half-Life, Counter Strike, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Dota and Team Fortress. They are also the creators of the very well-known Source engine that they used in most of their games and that the modding community used heavily as well.

Valve Corporation was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington. The headquarter of Valve is in the United States, Bellevue, Washington.

Valve basically reached cult status with their games, as same as the co-founder Gabe Newell became literary a Messiah for PC gamers. Why? He never was shy to raise his voice about technology and gaming related issues, including harsh criticism against console platforms, and that’s what PC gamers liked. Apart from that people simply loved the Valve games and the fact that they always have been released with high quality and without problems.

So much about the background of the company and people behind the digital distribution platform Steam. Is Steam legit? Yes, pretty much, and not only this, it’s an extremely popular platform as well. There are millions of players online with Steam around the clock.

So, if you ever asked yourself if Steam is legit, yes, Steam is legit and you can trust this service, quite a lot of people buy and play games with that platform. Another reason why many people think that Steam is great, they do often have a lot of deals and there are several ways how you can get Steam game discounts. There are even other sites related to it where you can win free Steam games with a little bit of luck.

I hope this article was helpful and answered your question. Let me know in the comment how you came to PC gaming and what you are up to.

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New Plant For The Living Room – Phoenix roebelenii


Phoenix roebelenii and my cat

I found this nice palm that is called Phoenix roebelenii in one of the local stores. I only had one plant at home, you can’t see that one fully as it is the plant in the orange pot, but I really liked the Phoenix roebelenii that I found in the store and searched in the internet if this plant could be toxic and dangerous for pets. I found out that this plant is not listed as a dangerous plant for pets and went back to the store to buy the palm. I researched that this plant is also sometimes called pygmy date palm, miniature date palm or just robellini.

As you can see on the photo above, my cat Shyna was curious about the Phoenix roebelenii right away and I am happy that I have done my research. Anyway, she never was curious about my old palm that you can’t see on the photo, she is more curious about this new Phoenix roebelenii and she tested some leaves already, but I take already care that this won’t become a habit. Not sure why she likes this new plant so much.
But I noticed she doesn’t want to eat the leaves, she tried to gnaw the leaves and played with them with her paw. I think she was curious about the plant.

my cat near two palms

On the photo above you can see my older plant a little bit better. Not sure how this plant is called. But on the left side you can see my new Phoenix roebelenii that I really like and that I have since some days now. Also you can see my cat again near the plants. By the way, I visited the same store again today and they have again some new plants but I was a little bit short in money as it is the end of the month.

It’s tempting to get a third palm as they now have different ones and I might buy a third plant in a few days, but I am not sure yet. If so, I would like to have flowerpots in the same colour, now I just used what I found in the basement. I would like to have all flower pots in orange or in red I think. I also would like to find more of these bamboo mats, it’s a year ago when I found these mats in a store and I am not sure if they still have them. But for now I am just happy that I have two plants now. Let’s see if I buy a third plant. I would write about it if I do.

Posted in Animals and Pets, Cats, Life, Nature, Nature and Animals, Photography, Photography and Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Banks As We Know Them Today Are Outdated


Online Banking

Sometimes there are things I can’t and won’t understand. As the title of this post states, I will tell you why I think that the banks we know today are pretty much outdated and should be replaced by something better at some point.

Why do I think so? Well, there are several reasons. One of the reasons is about time. How can it be for example that it takes up to two weeks for a cash remittance to show up correctly on the bank account statement, and in most cases also to transfer the money?

I live in Germany in the year 2015, so, how can something like this be true? As a web user who does often use PayPal and Bitcoin for transactions, I simply can’t understand why transaction with both of them just take seconds while my bank transaction needs several days and in many cases even weeks. Old banks are inferior and do lag behind.

I think there is probably not a technical reason why cash remittance with banks can take a lot of time. I think they work with out money, they earn interest with our money. That’s where I come to another point. Why do I need a middleman at all? A technology concept like Bitcoin does show that you don’t need someone to take care about your money, or manage your transactions.

I call it a technology concept as nobody knows if Bitcoin is the future way of money transaction. I mean, nobody knows if it will go mainstream. However, I think the concept, the idea and the protocol, that is the right direction. I think at some point it might happen, Bitcoin or something very similar to the Bitcoin protocol will replace banks as we know them. Yes, you read right, I think it’s long overdue. Banks are already a relict of old times.

PayPal had to register as a bank too, and while I like the usability of PayPal and the quickness how my transactions are handled there, I do think they have some high fees. That is another point I want to make and I do think that the future way of money transactions won’t plague with very high transaction fees. But if I talk about speed of transactions and the usability again, it must be mentioned that PayPal is superior to traditional banks. Even when I login there, everything does look more slick compared to the online banking site of my traditional bank.

Bitcoin does come with several advantages compared to my traditional bank too, and even with advantages over PayPal. With Bitcoin, transactions won’t be processed and verified by a central authority like banks or companies, because Bitcoin is a decentralized network that comes with all kind of benefits.

However, Bitcoin has several issues as well, especially when it comes to usability. You can cut out middleman services with Bitcoin if you install your own wallet on your system, but for non-tech people it is a little bit tricky to understand. That means the usability and security aspects are a problem. Then there do appear more and more services that make Bitcoin more easy to use, but if you use them, you have again a middleman in the boat. There are some other issues like the high volatility, the value of Bitcoin is unstable, as it is at the moment heavily used for speculation as well. Bitcoin is at the moment still more something like an experiment.

But the point I wanted to make is that this is the right direction, regardless of whether it will be Bitcoin or something based on that protocol, or something that is just very similar, I think that is the future. I do say this because I can’t understand why traditional banks do need so much time for transaction processing, I don’t understand why we need a middleman service at all, and I see no reason for high transaction fees.

This is why I think traditional banks are outdated. I do think that they will be replaced at some point with a technology that is superior. It probably won’t be Bitcoin, it also won’t be a service like PayPal, but I am pretty much sure it will be a technology that combines the advantages of both. It will happen, and if it happens, the banks as we know them today will be history. I wouldn’t cry, I think we all would benefit from it. Who does trust banks anyway? I don’t.

Traditional banks will be a relict of old times because technology does advance, and technology makes unreliable things obsolete. I agree, sometimes this is sad, because not everything that got replaced by technology was necessarily bad, but in the case of tradional banks it would be a blessing for us all.

If you appreciate my article, you can tip me on the following Bitcoin address 1M5Un812riWoxkNokRNpiP9X9wEYUzGkCd or via ChangeTip.

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Photoshopped Doggy And A Story With A Happy End


Black Dog

I thought it is time again for some Photoshop work. Above you can see the result of the work. I had this very bad base image of a quite funny looking dog. If I mean bad, then I really mean bad. There was almost everything wrong with the base image but since the dog looked so funny I gave my self the task to get the best out of the image as I can. I didn’t really think that I can get great results as the original image is just horrible, but I am anyhow quite happy what I have done with it. Above is the result and below I will show you the bad original image…

Unedited Black Dog

It’s probably very apparent what is wrong with the image. Apart from the really cool and funny looking dog, I disliked the background pretty much as there are some really heavy backlights on the floor and the whole green color looks just damaged. The whole floor looks really bad. The dog fur contained too much grey in my opinion and there were other issues and it was clear I had to fix a lot and I really wasn’t sure if it would be possible, I just experimented with all kind of things to get the best out of the photo. The first image in this post is the result and I am really happy, considering that the original image is that bad.

Apart from the image quality of the original, the dog looks absolutely funny considering this, it was worth the work to make something better with the image. The dog is by the way now in Sweden. There is a nice side story about the dog. My mother knew someone who was the owner of the black dog. Sadly he didn’t want the dog anymore which is a shame because that is something that shouldn’t come to mind after getting the dog. My mother thought the same and offered help. She took the dog as she wanted to get a good new home for the dog. The dog was too wild and too big for her home, apart from that she does already have a dog, but instead her plan was to find someone who seriously wants the dog.

She created a classified ad where she mentioned the high standards to get the dog. There were several rules and my mother wanted to know what kind of people the interested ones are. She asked a lot of questions and really did take this all very serious as the dog shouldn’t get again in a similar situation as before. Someone who was currently in Germany did call my mother by phone and mentioned that he would be from Sweden and that he had a similar dog for a long time until he died. They exchanged photos and talked a lot until my mother decided, this can only be good for the dog. She was right. This guy took the dog and they traveled to Sweden and until today they still do exchange stories and photos. It’s not only that my mother found someone who seriously wanted to give the dog a good home, it seems she did also find a good friend in Sweden.

Yes this is really a cool story. The point is that my mother was in no way liable to help the dog to get a good home, but she did it. She just thought the ex owner wouldn’t put that much effort into the search for a new owner and offered to manage all this. The dog is now in Sweden and he can even play and run free without leash as the new owner is very experienced, but not only this, also because they do live in the nature of Sweden and that is pretty good for a wild dog. This and the fact that my mother does now know someone new with whom she can exchange stories and dog photos, that is really cool, and for the dog it is of course a happy end!

This shows again, if you walk through the world with opened eyes and ears, if you offer help where you can, it might be that something cool is happening to you too. But even if not, you always know for yourself why you helped. Helping is great and I am very happy that my mother helped the dog. It’s really a good story.

By the way, we took the photo when my mother took care of the dog last summer until she found the new owner. We took the image on her balcony while we had a lot of fun when we played with the dog. I have some more images of the time and especially some that I don’t need to edit as they a great. I will upload them too some day. I hope you liked my edited image and the story about the dog.

Posted in Animals and Pets, Dogs, Graphic Design, Life, Nature and Animals, Photography, Photography and Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is Steam Down? How To Check The Steam Server Status!


Steam screenshot

As a gamer you know this question, is Steam down? That question comes up as soon as you can’t login to Steam anymore or if parts of Steam like the community or store section don’t load properly anymore. Maybe you also can’t go on with you game as you lost connection but it requires to be logged in to Steam, or the game downloads don’t work right and so on. Is Steam down? That is a question that all Steam gamers know. So, how can we find out more about the Steam server status?

There are ways to find out more about the Steam status. As I often frequent in the Steam community of Reddit, I would find it either out because a lot of people would open threads there with the question about the Steam server status, or I would find it out as they have a really nifty widget linked in the sidebar where you get information’s about the steam servers status.

However, the Steam network status linked there is based on steamstat.us and that is really a nice site to find out more about the Steam online status. If you ask yourself if Steam is down, I suggest you to take a look on this site. You can not only find out more about the Steam network status, you can also see how many people are currently online on Steam.

On this site you can check the Steam server status of all servers, including the United States servers, the Europe servers, the China servers, the Netherland servers, the Australia servers and the Singapore servers. All shown locations have several Steam servers and you can find out how many of them are online or offline. If the servers are healthy, the text is usually in green, and if not the text will be shown in red.

Not only this, you can check out there if the Steam store is ok, if the Steam community server is running and the Steam API. So, this is really a nifty site that will tell you information’s of the Steam online status and if every server is running correctly. You can find out on this way if the problem is on the end of Steam.

If Steam is not working right and really down, you would probably ask why is Steam down? The answer is that it could be due to all kind of reasons. If it is Tuesday at around 16:00 PST, it is most likely a scheduled server maintenance and it would probably show you the message “The Steam servers are currently down for routine maintenance.”, and in all other cases we can’t know as it could be due to any issues that they work on.

Steam servers are usually not for too long offline if there are issues or maintenance of the servers. If all Steam servers are online, the problems might be on your side. In this case you might check out the network connectivity troubleshooting page of Steam or the Steam support page in general. I hope this helps.

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What Are Internet Memes And Why Did They Became So Popular?


Introduction

I am a little bit fascinated by internet memes since some time. I mean why they became so popular and how it could be explained. The answer to this question is probably obvious but I want to dig a little bit deeper into this subject now.

What Are Internet Memes?

The chance is very high that you noticed them already, it’s in fact quite hard to miss them in the internet these days because internet memes are a widespread phenomena. But maybe you noticed them, you just didn’t know that they are called memes. Internet memes are those pictures that transport a message. It is often a funny photo that becomes even more funny when people put a catchphrase on it. It could be a parody of a photo but the image could also come with a more serious message.

A meme is basically an idea, a message that is spread from person to person, in most cases it is a message highly targeted and spread by users for a niche or within a subculture. Also videos can be a meme, but if people speak of internet memes, they do today often mean those labeled pictures. It must be mentioned that internet memes are just an adjusted phenomena of a behaviour that was already there before the internet.

To name examples, carving “I was here”, or a love message with initials of a couple with help of a knife on a park bench, that is a behaviour that became so widespread that most of us probably did that at some point or at least saw it on a bench. It’s basically the same, just that those messages were transported on another medium, the wood of the park bench, and with other tools like knifes or paint markers. For internet memes, the medium is the internet and an image, the tool is the keyboard of our computer and maybe our computer mouse.

Another similar example is a graffiti that became very popular in the USA in 1940. So, many things can be a meme and spreading a message, a graphic or an idea, that is nothing new. You can say, internet memes are the adjusted form of sharing a short and maybe funny message or idea.

internet meme popularity

Why Did Internet Memes Became So Popular?

Memes And The Attention Span

I think there are several reasons. First of all, a picture with a caption does transport a message much faster than a long video or a long article. That doesn’t mean that a long article or a long video is inferior to a meme, but the meme is in advantage when it comes to attention span. While many people love to read detailed internet articles or watch long and entertaining videos, it is not guaranteed that this kind of content would get the attention of any internet user.

Pictures with a short caption however do not need your attention for such a long time, they transport the message within seconds. There are studies for example that recorded 59,573 page views of internet users and the results were that 17% of the views of the content lasted less than 4 seconds while 4% lasted over 10 minutes. They did also calculated that the average attention span of internet users and the result was 8 seconds in 2013. To make you laugh, they also measured the attention span of a gold-fish and the result was 9 seconds.

The Guardian suggested in one article “Say it quick, say it well” and wrote about the attention span as well and proved it with other numbers taken from studies. I would disagree that we need to stop creating long form or detailed content, but all the numbers do at least prove the advantage of captioned pictures, so-called internet memes.

It would be boring if we wouldn’t be able to find very detailed information’s in the internet, but what I mean is that time is a big factor when it comes to the popularity of internet memes. While you have 8 seconds to convince an internet user to read through your full article, a meme did transport already a short message within that time span. That is one factor why internet memes are very popular and spread all over the place and in different communities.

Memes Are Highly Targeted And Easy To Share

The advantage that a meme can tell you a short story quick combined with the fact that you can target a particular audience instantly, as sharing a picture works flawless anywhere, that makes them strong too. There are many ways to share images, with emails, through blogs, with all kind of messaging apps or on any social media platform. In almost any case, the image would show up fully loaded on your screen, whether you use a mobile device or a desktop device, while long text content doesn’t show up fully. This means memes are blatant in a positive way when it comes to outreach. Not that you only don’t need much attention to get the message of a meme, they are extremely easy to share and they do deliver the message on one screen and that immediately.

Now if you do for example caption a funny photo of your cat with a cool message to share it, you can reach anybody interested in cats. That doesn’t promise that every single meme would get popular, but if one of them would, you can reach anybody interested in cats. That applies to all kind of subcultures, a funny photo of a soccer star captioned with a hilarious message, that one has the potential to reach anybody interested in soccer. Memes related to your interests for example, have a high chance to make you feel a sense of connection with them. They are so popular because they create connections between a subject and an audience. This is the relation memes do ride on.

So, memes are basically often something like inside jokes. Memes have the potential to spread through communities like viruses, and that is where the term viral marketing comes from. Viral content can appear in many different forms too, and did appear before internet memes became very popular, but as memes have some features that make them highly sharable, not only the regular internet user is interested to create them, companies try it too but they often appear organic and do often fall short to deliver a joke. Popular memes instead are not forced or created to sell something, they become popular they connect people and their interests, they are created and watched by people with the same interests.

Memes Are Easy To Create

As a meme is basically just a photo and a caption, it is not really rocket science to create them. You just need a nice photo that you want to caption. That is another reason why the internet is full of memes. The process of creating memes is really not too difficult. There are all kind of meme generator websites out there but if you want a little bit more control it is suggested to use a graphics software. You can use any graphics software and I wrote a guide how to make memes with Photoshop. But as said, if you don’t have a graphics software installed, you could also use one of the meme generators you can find with Google. I just mention it as I think that this is another reason why you find memes all over the place, it’s not difficult to create them and a lot of people do it.

Conclusion

Internet memes are phenomenons that probably won’t disappear anytime soon. Memes are like a bridge that makes a connection between people who share the same interests. It’s easy to make a meme, and it’s easy to share them. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and sites like Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest or even blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr and so have a huge community where internet memes became integral parts of content. People love it if they have something in common, people love to laugh about something together, and that is the reason for the popular memes, they are connective and this is why memes travel across the internet and why memes are a popular phenomena. Let me know in the comments, what do you think why internet memes are so popular? What is your opinion about memes generally?

Posted in Internet, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

About Cat Behaviour, The Creative Cat


cat and guitar

Above you can see a random snapshot that I took a while ago when Shyna was curious about my guitar. What I like about cats is that they are not stupid but rather creative. With creative I mean that they know their can openers very well. Nope, my cat is not that creative that she would start to play guitar, but she is creative enough to know how to get my attention.

Every now and then, for example when I didn’t gave her enough attention one day, she did walk to the guitar and pulled a string with her claws. Seriously, when this happened the first time I thought “What the… why do I hear a guitar string buzzing?” and noticed the cat near the guitar. That is the creativity of cats, because she learned that the guitar is something very important in my life and that she can get attention by pulling on a guitar string with the claws.

This applies to many other situations and not only to the guitar. I just told the guitar string story because it fits well with the photo I showed you and because she really does pull a string at times to get me attentive. But the message is that I am totally amazed how creative cats can become when they want your attention. If a cat wants attention, you will pay attention, they simply know ways to make you smile.

It’s not only that we cat lovers like to study cat behaviour, it’s also the other way around because they study us very well too but the subject is called different, it’s called human behaviour.

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Relaxed Kitty


My cat relaxed

I still have way too many photos that I didn’t upload to my blog yet, even photos of last summer. Above you can see a photo of my cat that I probably took last summer.

Maybe I should create some galleries to upload more photos at once and to work all the folders off, but I rarely use galleries as I don’t like them much. Galleries make look posts look strange if you use too many photos, at least with my theme here.

Posted in Animals and Pets, Cats, Life, Nature and Animals, Photography, Photography and Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GTAV PC Release Date Schifted And System Requirements Announced


Originally posted on Tech Feeling:

GTAV PC Screenshot 2

Rockstar Games announced the system requirements for GTA V PC but at the same time they do mention that the release date is postponed. GTA V PC will be released on March 24, 2015. The release date is shifted as the developer want some extra weeks for testing and polishing to give the game a good release.

They also mentioned the minimum and recommended specs that you can find below…

Minimum specifications:
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2* (*NVIDIA video card recommended if running Vista OS)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
Memory: 4GB
Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
HDD Space: 65GB

View original 60 more words

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed


The motto of the recent weekly photo challenge is shadowed and as always we can interpret it as we like and we could for example experiment with shadows. I liked the idea and experimented a little bit.

Some day when I did stand near the scratching post of my cat, I noticed how my cat did climb on me from there and liked the view, since then I sometimes let her go on my shoulders and for this photo challenge I did it again.

I placed one of the lights so that it shines in the direction of my living room wall so that the shadow of us appears bigger. I think that is a funny idea and the picture is somewhat cool for an experiment….

Shadow cat and human

Posted in Cats, Life, Nature and Animals, Photography, Photography and Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments