I’ve been using the own-brand Element Games Kolinsky Sable brushes for a while now, and I have nothing but really good things to say about them. For the money they are fantastic. Winsor and Newton Series 7’s are usually seen as the “gold standard” brushes for miniature painting (obviously it’s one of those subjective things) — I think the Element Games brushes are easily as good as the W&N’s I’ve used over the years. At £19 for the set of 3, it’s hard to argue against the value, either.

Don’t just take my word for it: multiple Slayer Sword winner David Soper likes them too. Interestingly, he found them to be “stiff” compared to the Series 7’s… I had the opposite experience in that mine were “softer” – particularly the “Regiment” brush – which has become my new go-to brush for most tasks.

A great post (part of a great series) from “Admiral Rob” on planning out your gaming purchases to save money and get maximum bang for your buck. Games like Warhammer 40,000 can be really expensive, but if you plan things out ahead of time you can really make some savings.

In our discussion on Twitter I pointed out another, related, way to save on new 40K armies: remember the spare parts/kits you already have. I’m terrible for starting a project and never finishing it for various reasons. I was thinking about reviving an old idea as a new army, pricing up all the kits I would have to buy. Then, when I was looking for something else, I found a bunch of old kits and sprues that — while not the shiny newest versions — would significantly cut down the amount of stuff I might need to buy. It’s totally fine to repurpose stuff from one project to another, if it means at least one of those projects getting finished.

So plan things out, remember what you already have, and spend smarter, not more.

I’m having a _lot_ of fun in Hitman. I’d go so far to say it’s surpassed _Hitman 2_ as my favourite entry in the series.
_Hitman 2_ was fun to play, but I never felt there was all that much replayability. Sure, you could go back and try a different approach, but you weren’t really rewarded for it. _Hitman (2016)_ has had me replaying the same level for days at a time, trying to beat all of the Challenges, get all of the Feats, and try out all of the Opportunities.
The approach I’m taking is to max out Mastery on each level and complete all of the Challenges/Feats/Opportunities before moving onto the next level, and I think it’s been the best approach to maximise my enjoyment of the game. Once I’ve done all of the levels then I will go back and play the Escalation modes and bonus missions.
Depending how much time I have in the evenings to do this, then I might be ready for the rumoured start of Season 2 in August…

I completely missed this when Agile Bits introduced their new 1Password.com product (which, admittedly, I didn’t really pay attention to), but standalone licenses for 1Password are no longer being marketed. If you want one, you have to email Support to get one.

As someone who’s bought multiple versions and upgrades of 1Password over the years, I’m a little torn over this. On the one hand, if there are genuine technical limitations caused by supporting standalone versions with local vaults, and the new platform provides a truely better experience, then great. On the other, I’m always wary of putting all my eggs in one basket… if Agile Bits were to suffer some catastrophe tomorrow then my standalone 1Password 4 and local vault wouldn’t be affected in any way at all. I’m mostly fine with the security aspects, as from what I can tell, even if they were to be breached, all a hacker could get would be an encrypted binary of your data.

Something for me to think about, I guess.

External link: 1Password Support Forum Thread

A powerful recount of Coraline Ada Ehmke’s terrible treatment at GitHub. Please take some time to read it.

I think back on the lack of options I was given in response to my mental health situation and I see a complete lack of empathy. I reflect on the weekly one-on-ones that I had with my manager prior to my review and the positive feedback I was getting, in contrast to the surprise annual review. I consider the journal entries that I made and all the effort I put in on following the PIP and demonstrating my commitment to improving, only to be judged negatively for the most petty reasons. I think about how I opened up to my manager about my trauma and was accused of trying to manipulate her feelings. I remember coming back from burying my grandmother and being told that I was fired.

GitHub has made some very public commitments to turning its culture around, but I feel now that these statements are just PR. I am increasingly of the opinion that in hiring me and other prominent activists, they were attempting to use our names and reputations to convince the world that they took diversity, inclusivity, and social justice issues seriously. And I feel naive for having fallen for it.

This isn’t the first time GitHub have run afoul of having a toxic internal culture. Perhaps ironically, it appears from my view that it was the “corporate” controls implemented after the previous fallout, combined with cultural issues and inexperience of how those controls are meant to be applied that led to the horrible experience.

I’ve done Staff Management in companies hundreds of times the size of GitHub; I recognise every tool and process mentioned in Coraline’s recount, and have been part of them numerous times. Each instance in this retelling seems to be a perversion of what is meant to be applied. Tools designed to help and protect everyone in involved in the process were turned against the party with the least power.

After my last post, I came across some discussion about implementing JSON Feed, and whether using a template is a good way to implement JSON Feed in a site. The concensus seems to be “No,” with one of the authors of the spec weighing in. For the most part, I do agree – a template is more likely to break under some edge case than a proper serializer – but until there is more support for the spec I see it as a pragmattic short-term solution. So proceed at your own risk for now!

I can’t take credit for this – I found the code below (from vallieres) after a quick search for adding feed.json to Jekyll without plugins. The only thing I’ve added is the sitemap front-matter which will exclude the output file from our sitemap.xml

layout: null
  exclude: 'yes'
    "version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1",
    "title": "{{ site.title | xml_escape }}",
    "home_page_url": "{{ "/" | absolute_url }}",
    "feed_url": "{{ "/feed.json" | absolute_url }}",
    "description": {{ site.description | jsonify }},
    "icon": "{{ "/apple-touch-icon.png" | absolute_url }}",
    "favicon": "{{ "/favicon.ico" | absolute_url }}",
    "expired": false,
    {% if site.author %}
    "author": {% if site.author.name %} {
        "name": "{{ site.author.name }}",
        "url": {% if site.author.url %}"{{ site.author.url }}"{% else %}null{% endif %},
        "avatar": {% if site.author.avatar %}"{{ site.author.avatar }}"{% else %}null{% endif %}
    },{% else %}"{{ site.author }}",{% endif %}
    {% endif %}
"items": [
    {% for post in site.posts limit:36 %}
            "id": "{{ post.url | absolute_url | sha1 }}",
            "title": {{ post.title | jsonify }},
            "summary": {{ post.seo_description | jsonify }},
            "content_text": {{ post.content | strip_html | strip_newlines | jsonify }},
            "content_html": {{ post.content | strip_newlines | jsonify }},
            "url": "{{ post.url | absolute_url }}",
            {% if post.image.size > 1 %}"image": {{ post.image | jsonify }},{% endif %}
            {% if post.link.size > 1 %}"external_url": "{{ post.link }}",{% endif %}
            {% if post.banner.size > 1 %}"banner_image": "{{ post.banner }}",{% endif %}
            {% if post.tags.size > 1 %}"tags": {{ post.tags | jsonify }},{% endif %}
            {% if post.enclosure.size > 1 %}"attachments": [ {
              "url": "{{ post.enclosure }}",
              "mime_type": "{{ post.enclosure_type }}",
              "size_in_bytes": "{{ post.enclosure_length }}"
            },{% endif %}
            "date_published": "{{ post.date | date_to_xmlschema }}",
            "date_modified": "{{ post.date | date_to_xmlschema }}",
            {% if post.author %}
                "author": {% if post.author.name %} {
                "name": "{{ post.author.name }}",
                "url": {% if post.author.url %}"{{ post.author.url }}"{% else %}null{% endif %},
                "avatar": {% if post.author.avatar %}"{{ post.author.avatar }}"{% else %}null{% endif %}
                {% else %}"{{ post.author }}"{% endif %}
            {% else %}
                "author": {% if site.author.name %} {
                "name": "{{ site.author.name }}",
                "url": {% if site.author.url %}"{{ site.author.url }}"{% else %}null{% endif %},
                "avatar": {% if site.author.avatar %}"{{ site.author.avatar }}"{% else %}null{% endif %}
                {% else %}
                "{{ site.author }}"
                {% endif %}
            {% endif %}
        }{% if forloop.last == false %},{% endif %}
    {% endfor %}

Lately I’ve found myself enjoying the YouTube channel Outside XBox (and their sister channel, Outside Xtra). Normally what will happen is I’ll put a YouTube video on the TV as “background noise” and it ends up playing videos from the same channel for a few hours; in this case I ended up going down a rabbit hole of their Hitman videos. Whether it was the normal play throughs, the challenge modes, or the “3 ways to play”, I was hooked and wanted to play the game for myself. But I refuse to pay full price for a game that’s been out for a while, so it sat on my Steam Wishlist until last week, when it was discounted by 60% on the evening before the Steam Summer Sale.

I finally got round to playing Hitman today, and so far I’d say it’s got the potential to be the first game to really hold my attention in since Metal Gear Solid 5. I loved Hitman 2, and kept tabs on the ups and downs of the series after that, so having another game in the series feel as good as that one did is certainly welcome.

So far I’ve only completed the prologue missions (though I did replay the very first mission several times), so these are very early impressions. Fingers crossed the game holds up as I get further through it!

I caught the first trailer for the new Marvel’s Inhumans TV series. The whole thing looked so stiff, awkward, and sterile. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but based purely on the trailer I have zero desire to watch the show. Marvel’s movies and Netflix series (mostly) manage to feel somewhat anchored to the “real world” despite how fantastical the plot or setup might be… but Inhumans had none of that quality on show.