Tag Archives: California

X-Plane 11 vs. Flight Simulator X

Greetings, readers. Yesterday morning I purchased the game X-Plane 11, the newest Flight Simulator. If I had a more powerful laptop or a top of the line desktop, I could max out the graphics and make it look awesome. Right now I have a choice. Have it look awesome and run slow as molasses, or make it look average and have it actually perform correctly. The sim I was playing before was Flight Simulator X, from Microsoft. What follows is going to be my comparison between these two major flight simulator games.

Let’s start with Flight Simulator X, which I’ve used for years. I must say at this point I prefer it better, for you can actually choose a flight plan in the game and load it. Also, I’m quite used to this game and have accumulated many mods (aircraft, scenery, etc.), and have gotten the settings just so. I can fly almost any aircraft with relative ease. Take-offs are a cinch. Landings … well, that is a different story. I’ve made a few, but if they had been real flights, the maintenance crew would have had a lot to clean up. Lol.

Flight Simulator X, or FSX as it is known, to me is easier to use, and it is easier to designate commands and functions on the keyboard. Also, I know exactly how each aircraft’s switches and knobs are used and what they are for. In the other simulator I am still learning. I give Flight Simulator X a solid score of 9 out of 10.

Now for X-Plane 11 and I am going to be brutally honest folks so here we go. The graphics are stunning, even when set to medium. But in the $60 base game, there aren’t that many aircraft to choose from. When downloading after the purchase, the computer prompted me with this question, how many countries and continents would you like to load? The more I clicked the longer the download was going to take. I decided to run a test and choose all. The download was going to take 12 hours. OMG! I canceled that download and simply went with Canada, the United States, Mexico, and South America. That in itself took 3 hours. So far so good.

Now for ease of play. As Norman Thayer would say in the movie On Golden Pond, “Good Gawd!” To load a flight plan takes a PhD. Thirteen-year-old YouTubers make it look so easy, yet this 53-year-old dude can’t figure it out. To be honest, I prefer loading the flight plan in the plane’s computer page that pop’s up, for in real-life pilots load their flight plans that way. It gives it that extra realism and I will learn it so help me, I am determined.

I actually got a plane off the ground yesterday starting from a runway. I was so happy with myself. And noticed that even with medium graphic settings, the sun shone off the airplane’s dashboard and moved across the control panel with the turning of the plane. That I thought was extremely cool. It also has a feature to have an artificial intelligence, or A.I., pilot that can fly the plane for you. I think you actually need a flight plan for this to work. I tried it without a flight plan and the plane took off from State College’s airport and nose-dived into the downtown streets. Oops. The graphics were wonderful as the alarm bells were sounding: Too low terrain, too low terrain. Crash. Obviously, I’m still learning how the A.I. pilot feature. It’s got to be more simple than that. How I think it works, folks, is that you choose an airport and a gate with engines off, file your flight plan in the computer properly, key word properly, and when all the ground vehicles have left, click A.I. Flies Plane for Me. Click it any earlier than that, and who the hell knows what is going to happen.

My preliminary score for this game, and yes, I will update this score in a later blog entry, is a very respectable 6 1/2. I’m going to talk via Facebook page to a couple of YouTubers I know to see if they can help me. Here’s a little something about me. Once I get determined to do something I won’t quit until I do it. I will get this game to run and I will play it.

Finally, prayers go out to all the victims and families in the California fire zones and also continued prayers to families who lost loved ones in the recent shootings. I’m praying that one day soon that the insanity will stop.

Well, there you go. That is today’s blog entry. Hope you enjoyed it. Here is what is happening the next two Thursdays. Moderate snow is expected in our area, so I am giving Rebecca a work from home day tomorrow. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, an obvious day off. So one of us will have a blog entry up tomorrow, we will work together next Wednesday as usual, and then have a Thanksgiving blog post up on the holiday.

Until then, have a great weekend, love one another and give hugs, take care, and happy reading.

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Rebecca and I have been working together for 7 years tomorrow

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe it has been seven years already since Rebecca agreed to be my typist and editor. That job quickly morphed into personal assistant, but that is okay. The main job is writing. After almost seven years together, we have put out over 600 blog entries, three books, and part of a book (written by Rebecca’s husband Darren) based on a play I wrote before we started working together. Oh, and by the way, that book is coming soon.

Yes, we’re very excited about Four’s a Crowd. Although we still have one or two edits to go, I’ve read the project and it is awesome. You’ll love it. Very soon Rebecca is going to begin putting it into the CreateSpace formatted templet, cutting and pasting each chapter in place, and we need to write a book description, before uploading the file to the publisher. Then it will be time to order proofs and we are going to do our final edit right on the pages. Proofs are never for sale, so what the heck, let’s mark them up.

When the book comes out, I’m going to go to Webster’s bookstore across the street and ask the owner, a personal friend of mine, if she would take several copies on consignment and push them. The worst thing she could say is no. I already have a few people from Facebook who I will go out on a limb and say will be guaranteed buyers. I have one phrase for you folks: Spread the word … please.

I’m extremely excited about this project, and Darren, who had lost all hope when things were moving slowly, has renewed enthusiasm as well. I’m not going to set an exact release date, but let’s just put it in the ballpark of January or February of 2018. I think we can do it. Updates as they happen.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to those families affected by the California wild fires, and by Hurricane Nate. I don’t know how long those fires will burn, but from what I saw on TV, they have already ruined several wine vineyards. Expect the price of wine from California to skyrocket. Also, an R.I.P and condolences to Tom Petty, a great singer, and his grieving family and friends.

Until tomorrow, have a wonderful day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of Star Trek holodeck programs I would have if the technology existed

Greetings, readers. As a Star Trek fanatic and a holodeck episode lover, I started to think, just what programs I would create and save if I had use of a holodeck. In the Star Trek world, even though a person is in a small room, the concept is that holographic images are displayed and moved so that people are tricked into thinking they have unlimited space. Here’s my list in reverse order.

#10. A visit to any city I chose. [Maybe one day I would create Paris and sit to enjoy coffee in an outdoor cafe. The next day, perhaps Rome to visit the Colosseum. Or to Devils Tower in Wyoming.]

#9. Drive a car to anywhere. [Oh, what fun it would be to drive to Maine any time I wanted to.]

#8. My own baseball league with my own home team and personally designed stadium. [I could see the Pennsylvania Lumberjacks, perhaps.]

#7. A house with a virtual family. [This idea, I must admit, came to me after watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Real Life”, where the Doctor created the perfect family, but B’Elanna Torres thought that was too easy and changed the program. I would set it up so that I could control the weather and the type of home and furniture we had, but I would randomized how my family reacted to me day-to-day to be more realistic. I would not have the “perfect” family.]

#6. A train ride to anywhere. [I could ride an Amtrak in America, take a local in New Jersey, or hop aboard the Orient Express. Lots of intrigue and mystery there.]

#5. Take a virtual cruise. [I could set it up for any number of days I chose and for any destination. I could take a quick trip to the Bahamas, or a cruise around the world, stopping at all the wonderful ports of call. This one would have to be saved and gone back to. ]

#4. An airplane ride to anywhere. [I absolutely adore aircraft. I wish I could fly in them more often. If I only had an hour, I would take a prop pane ride from State College to Pittsburgh. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I would hop a jet and fly cross-country to California. I could sit in my virtual airplane seat, take notes, and type my stories.]

#3. To speak to any writer I chose and pick his or her brain. [I could share my limited amount of work with them and ask them to critique it. Hopefully they would be kind.]

#2. A day at the beach. [Imagine the warmth, the sand, the smell of salt in the sea breeze, and of course, the ocean. I could spend hours in this program.]

#1. Recreate a day at Bear Spring Camps anytime I chose. [I would have a few scenarios in this program with different kinds of weather, different times of the year, and, of course, the people I know from real-life Bear Spring, as well as computer generated fictional families. You would hardly ever get me out of that program.]

Honorable mention: Camping in a tent. [I’ve never gone camping in a tent before, but if there was one big enough that I wouldn’t feel claustrophobic in, it would appeal to me. To hear the crickets at night and have my campfire going would be soothing and peaceful. I love nature, especially crickets and the sound of birds.]

There’s my list. I hope you enjoy. Whether you are a Star Trek fan or not, please do chime in with your list, either here or in Facebook.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Decisions, decisions

Greetings, readers. Life is full of decisions. From a very early age I always had to make decisions of what I was going to do that day. Would I wear my red sweater or my yellow sweater? When Dave came down to play, would we play Wiffle ball or Nerf football? As the years went on, and I got into high school, those decisions were more long-term. What college was I going to? What should I major in? Etc.

To answer those last two questions, I stayed home here in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, majoring in Liberal Arts and taking some night-time writing classes. Around the age of 20, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer. I’ll be honest with you readers. I wrote a lot more back then. I could put classical music or a Star Wars record on in the background  and type for hours. For some reason, now I can no longer do this.

More recent decisions have dealt with my writing career and its recent lack of productivity. Yes, Darren is still working on turning my play Kimberly into a novel called Four’s a Crowd, and that is showing remarkable promise. When she is home, Rebecca is the editor of the project and is currently proofreading it. I am trying to figure out what I am going to be doing next. I firmly believe that it’s going to be a fan-fiction script for a web-series called Star Trek Continues. I came up with a very good outline, with Rebecca’s help, but after looking at it more closely, I realized that my idea was perilously close to an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I told Rebecca, and I’m promising you my readers, this project is not dead. It’s just on hold for a while until I can come up with an idea that is more my own.

As far as decisions for later in life, they would include: Where am I going to live in my golden years? Will I move to sunny Florida, steamy Arizona, or California? Probably not. Something tells me that I shall remain here in State College the rest of my life. Mom and Dad are buried here, and actually my plot is also there, near my mother.

The decision whether or not to get a used car, to take a cruise, or to marry again are the three big ones. At this point, due to finances, the cruise might be a fantasy. The vehicle will always remain on my wish list. And a second wife, well … time will tell.

Until tomorrow, when I hope to have the top ten list I am working on completed and ready to go, take care, think spring, happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, and happy reading.