Monthly Muse #2

Saturday, May 20, 2017

For this month's Muse, lets talk a little bit about what has been revealed so far for the upcoming 8th edition 40k, review some recent (and not so recent) hobby activity, and lastly I'll share some of my thoughts on using the Blogo app over the past couple months.

So this post was supposed to go up a few weeks ago but ran into a number of delays, some of which I'll get into later, but mostly life has gotten the better of me this past month. As the title suggests, I will try to do these every month and hopefully improve the format as I get into a rhythm. This will differ from my typical posting style (largely driven by spur-the-moment / whenever I have a new photo update to share), in that I will slowly add to the post each week, whatever is interesting & stands out, hopefully culminating into an enjoyable recap by the end of each month. This post started out that way, collecting topics fresh off the heels of the first post, then started running into delays, such as not receiving my last 2 copies of White Dwarf within the promised time frames... :(
But that kinda works out given the news that dropped from Games Workshop regarding 'NewHammer' 40k, giving me something more exciting & positive to talk about!

Warhammer 40,000 - 8th edition

Everybody is talking about this and the hype that's building from the daily reveals over on Warhammer Community has been quite fun to follow along in my opinion. The announcement and build up to this new edition has been handled MUCH better than previous iterations, and the community response appears to be mostly favorable. I am quite happy with what has been shared so far and the direction the game seems to be headed. Simpler stat line, tighter & streamlined core rules borrowing from the best of what works in Age of Sigmar while retaining the grimdark, distinct feel of 40k.

Excitement is brewing to see how my armies will fare in the new edition, especially my Dark Eldar. There's still a LOT that we don't know about yet that could absolutely change how we even think about our armies, but I do trust Frankie's opinion on them as he too is a True Kin at heart, not to mention the greatest 40k player in the world ;)

From the tidbits offered up, I'm predicting that some of Dark Eldar's most competitive builds will focus heavily on our transports; everything will be mounted in one if they have access to, not unlike what we saw during 5th edition when we could MSU like a boss. The broader effect of changing Vehicles from using Armor values to Toughness/Wounds is a huge buff to our paper airplanes -- it will (hopefully) mean far less one-shotting our ships and losing the squad in the wreckage before coming close to engaging. I'm sure our stuff will still die rather quickly, but surviving even one more turn can make all the difference to an army like DE. Either way, I'm excited to see what's in store and happy to start dusting off my favorite of favorite armies!

Really glad this guy isn't going the way of the Baron!

Hobby Time - Stardrake

I've continued to make progress on my Stardrake, focusing on getting the color tones dialed in. Lot's of work with washes / shades, even brewed up my own wash for the scales & skin. This beast is now a lot darker than the previous work-in-progress pic, and I'd like to revisit the Dracoth in a similar fashion (it's a lot brighter than the drake, and I'd like my Stormcasts to look a little more grimdark / AoS28 style).

I had to do some greenstuff work on the rider, the exact same repairs I had to make to the Lord Celestant on Dracoth, but once I get that corrected I'll be able to mount the wings. Really looking forward to that part as I know it will motivate me to finish the model and move on to the Start Collecting box.

Blogo App Review

I had high hopes for this app streamlining my own personal workflow for blogging, perhaps a little too high. Let me start out by saying your results will vary depending on your device. Full disclosure, I'm using the free version of Blogo on an iPad mini gen 2 with a logitech type case -- this little guy has served me very well the last 2+ years. I use it for a variety of things but mostly used in my audio recording setup; because I run multiple DAWs on it, I don't automatically update to the latest version of iOS due to compatibility concerns with these hefty apps and most importantly, my Sonic Port VX interface. All this to say, if you are using a newer iPad with the latest operating system your experience with the Blogo app may be better than mine. At the time of writing, the Blogo app is only available within Apple's ecosystem.

App Stability - I did run into the issue of the app randomly crashing, sometimes at really inopportune times. Thankfully, the app does save drafts locally & frequently, so I didn't really lose anything but this was still disruptive. Some functionality like adding in a page break or images from the device/elsewhere, was a little buggy sometimes causing the app to crash or adversely affected overall app performance. Again, running the latest build on a fresh device could make all the difference here; but running it on older devices will see more bugs and crashes.

App Design / Interface - The app's interface is pretty slick. It's a vast improvement from a lot of other blogging apps I've seen and tried. I have to give the developers credit here, the overall design is well thought out. A good interface is one that doesn't get in the way of what the user is trying to do, and I think the Blogo app achieves that. The focus is on writing content, as it should be, and I did enjoy typing up drafts in the app. The app doesn't try to do too much either which is nice as I wasn't distracted by a huge feature set. You get a nice, elegant word processor which at the end of the day is the best part of this app. It does this better than the other apps I've tried and allowed me to be more productive.

You can't do everything from the app that the standard browser interface offers, but that's the case with all apps in this category. You sacrifice the full feature set for the ability to blog anywhere you can take your tablet or phone. Blogo offers a couple extras over say the official Blogger mobile app; better text editor, ability to add links and images within the body content. The caveat here is, the more elements you add beyond simple text the more complicated your post and the code behind it becomes -- that feels like a captain obvious thing to say, so maybe a better way of putting it... just because you theoretically can do something doesn't mean you should.

I put the app through its paces and tried everything that is available in the free version, from simple straightforward posts to more complex ones. Problem is, even the simple ones with nothing more than an image couldn't be published without some kind of issue; the published post never came out looking like the 'preview post'. The image size would re-render and bleed into the margins, despite selecting a smaller image size on even the low quality iPad camera. In the settings, you can alter some of these preferences and maybe find a happy medium, although I couldn't. I don't like to publish posts without some kind of image or graphic, so I would try to go back into the draft from the browser to fix or add images from there. The HTML code being generated from the app was not the cleanest and didn't seem to play well with Blogger. When accessing a Blogo draft from the browser, well, frankly it was a mess. Every post required some editing in HTML mode to salvage the draft. I'm cool with HTML, but not cool with spending more time on fixing a post than had I just typed the draft in an email to myself, where I can easily drop it in Blogger next time I'm at a real computer. And thus ended my purpose of using the app in the first place. Ultimately, it just didn't save me any time.

So that's my long-winded take on Blogo. If you have any specific questions about it hit me up in the comments below. Again, the app is free to try so definitely give it a shot. It may work out for you and your workflow and the app may run better on a newer device. But for me, I've decided to fix up my PC and stick with the trusty browser experience until something better comes along.

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