Kevin C. Wong

June 2020

Stuff to Watch on Disney+

My brother got Disney+ for a year and the selection seems more limited than I expected (or Disney doesn't control as many shows as I thought). Shows and movies I'm planning to watch...

Star Wars

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002) - yeah, I didn't watch part 2 of a trilogy
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
The Mandalorian s1 (2019)


Monsters University (2013)
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Coco (2017)
Toy Story 4 (2019) - I think I've seen some of this with Cjr
Onward (2020)


Frozen II (2019)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

Disney Channel

The Wizards of Waverly Place s1-4 (2007)
Austin & Ally s1-4 (2011)
Descendants 3 (2019)

Bigger list than I thought so maybe won't get through it all, especially since there'll be new stuff too.

Diary - Jun 20 to Jun 26 2020

Sat Jun 20 2020

Sleep 13:00 to 17:00.

  • Stayed up and went to Safeway at 08:00. Bought lots of groceries again. Hope I'm set for a month (mostly depends on how long milk lasts, I bought 3 half gallons Lactaid).

Sun Jun 21 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 15:00.

  • The new SMCU UI updates your purchases faster than before. Now I'm confident about the count of debit card transactions I've done so far in the month (I need to do 10 per month). The count used to take a day or two to update after a purchase.

Mon Jun 22 2020

Sleep 14:45 to 17:45.

Tue Jun 23 2020

Sleep 04:00 to 10:00. 20:30 to 21:30.

Wed Jun 24 2020

Sleep 12:00 to 16:00.

  • Two all nighters this week. I think that will be it.
  • HOA Meeting via Microsoft Teams. Zoom is easier to use.

Thu Jun 25 2020

Sleep 21:30 to 01:30, 11:30 to 14:30.

Fri Jun 26 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 11:30. 1 hour nap.

  • Trying to install DDO via Crossover. Not quite there...
  • After some tries finally got DDO to launch and I can move my character a bit. Not sure voice chat works.

HOA Meeting

  • Microsoft Teams. One board member had trouble getting Teams working.
  • Elevator replacement project. Ronald Weis our consultant went over the plan and timeline.
  • Homeowners comments. Mike: why hasn't there been any maintenance the last few months, Marciel: most vendors were not working due to COVID.
  • Discussion on site inspection report and how often Chris (Manor) will inspect site.
  • Tree limbs hitting homeowner's window when it's windy. We might trim out of cycle (usually done once a year).
  • Car was stolen Jun 02 (but some question if homeowner was truthful or correct).
  • Roof problems continue. Some sagging of roof.
  • Spa work stalled getting specialty contractor involved.
  • Termite inspections postponed to next year.
  • Window washing this year?
  • Pool stays closed this summer. BBQ and chairs?

Virtual Tabletop Solutions

A preliminary look at Virtual Tabletop systems for running an RPG. Mostly got the alternatives from reading this article in Ars Technica.

Roll20 - web based, very popular but the main app hasn't been really updated recently as resources are spent on game plug-ins. Free and people say it's quite usable without paying, otherwise $100 per year. Lots of fan add-ons though I think you need to be in a paid tier.

Astral - also web based. Maybe better map tools. Less support for RPPs though some popular ones are supported. Free tier or $100 per year.

Foundry VTT - Although web based it is not subscription. $50 for the app which runs on your web server (which might cost money if you use a third party web server host). Some community stuff which is free?

Fantasy Grounds - Our first app-based solution which means everyone needs a copy (though players can use demo version). Modules are fairly expensive. $150 for Ultimate (or $120 per year).

MapTool - Open Source, Java-based app.

D20Pro - As the name says it's focused on playing d20 games and variants. $10 for players, $50 for GM.

Tabletop Simulator - Someone mentioned using this with a D&D plug-in.

I think Roll20 is the way to go. It's free, has broad system support from the community, and has no app-based client with accompanying issues (instead everyone should be using latest Chrome or Firefox browser).

I'm thinking of using Roll20 with simple maps and counters. Maybe for character sheet too. Discord or Zoom for voice chat. Roll20 has campaign stuff but probably will use my web site. A wiki would be good but I wasn't satisfied with the one in Mac OS Server and it's unsupported now.

Diary - Jun 13 to Jun 19 2020

Sat Jun 13 2020

Sleep 03:45 to 11:15. 15:00 to 17:15.

  • Slept so much.

Sun Jun 14 2020

Sleep 06:00 to 11:30.

  • Not so much sleep today. Did 5 hours of work. FeelsGoodMan.

Mon Jun 15 2020

Sleep 02:00 to 03:00, 06:00 to 11:30, 20:15 to 21:15.

  • Dental cleaning appointment. Wait outside until called in. Answer a COVID-19 questionnaire. Hygienist wears a mask. Transparent screen guard to protect receptionists.

Tue Jun 16 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 08:30, 12:45 to 14:30. 18:15 to 19:45.

  • Noticed that my face mask rubber band is getting frayed. Ordered three masks from Etsy (PrettyStichinDesign).

Wed Jun 17 2020

Sleep 03:30 to 08:30. 12:15 to 15:00.

  • Christopher got Disney+ for a year. I will watch a few shows though my television watching time is kind of low these days.

Thu Jun 18 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 09:30. 15:30 to 16:30.

  • Face mask rubber band (right) snapped. I was able to staple it back with a couple of staples so it's fine now though both rubber bands are frayed and I expect there will be more breaks.

Fri Jun 19 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 08:15. 10:30 to 15:30.

  • DDO sessions doing Masterminds of Sharn has been pretty fun since I've never done these quests. Lots of building and urban environments with open areas that have lots of vertical space. Kind of strains the GPU but it's nice.

Humble Fight for Racial Justice Bundle

I bought this bundle and was wondering what my payment ratios were.

Game Price 1 Price 1

Age of Wonders III 7.50 Own
All You Can Eat 0.50 Windows
Armello 8.00 Own
Baba Is You 12.00
Ball, The 2.50 Windows
BioShock Remastered 5.00 Own
Broken Age 7.50 Own
Company of Heroes 2 5.00 Own
Crowntakers 3.00 Own
Darkest Dungeon Shieldbreaker DLC 2.00 Don't Own Main
EarthNight 10.00
Eastside Hockey Manager 5.00 Windows
Elite Dangerous 7.50 Windows
Endless Space - Collection 10.00 Own
Football Manager 2020 25.00
FRAMED Collection 4.00
FTL 2.50 Own
Gonner 2.00
Gunscape 0.00
Hyper Light Drifter 8.00
In Between 3.00
Jackbox Party Pack 4 15.00
Kerbal Space Program 10.00
Kingdom Classic 0.50 Own
Knights of Pen and Paper 2 2.00
MirrorMoon EP 1.50
My Memory of Us 4.50 Windows
NBA 2K20 9.00 Windows
Neo Cab 9.00
New Beginning - Final Cut, A 1.00
Newt One 3.50
No Time to Explain Remastered 5.00
>observer_ 7.50
Overgrowth 9.90
Overlord II 2.50
Pesterquest 8.00
Planet of the Eyes 2.00
Plunge 5.00
Realpolitiks 5.00
Regular Human Basketball 1.00
Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing 2.50 Windows
Spelunky 2.25 Own/Win
StarCrossed 8.00
Super Time Force Ultra 3.00 Own
Surviving Mars 10.20
System Shock 2 2.50 Own
System Shock: Enhanced Edition 2.50 Windows
This War of Mine 5.00 Own
Titan Quest Anniversary Edition 5.00 Windows
Vertiginous Golf 2.00

Total 172.10 102.75

So $174.10 of games I don't have and can play on Mac (though not necessarily on Catalina, many semi-old games are still 32-bit) at current Steam Summer Sale prices. Donated $30 so that's an 83% savings. Hopefully I'll play some of these games otherwise any savings is moot.

Also kind of surprising how much I already owned. I definitely buy too many games.


Steve Jackson Games' GURPS 2020 PDF Challenge - (most likely) 12 PDFs for $3 or $125 in credit + the PDFs for $99. I got the latter since there is at least $125 of SJG PDFs I can buy in Warehouse 23 (the store will be on Backerkit so a bit of risk some PDFs won't be available).

Buffalo Wings 2 - The Deluxe Reprint - 2nd edition of Against the Odds issue #29 with expanded game content for $37 + shipping.

Rise of the Amazons - Euro style board game for four players, each playing an Amazon in Ancient Greece.

Fred Perry's Gold Digger Remastered Book 1 - A full color reprint of Gold Digger #1-19 plus some earlier appearances. I think it was all in black and white and you can download Gold Digger #1-99 from Antarctic Press. But black and white makes it hard reading as certain characters kind of look alike. A color version would be cool.

The first two I'm buying. The other two probably not.

Diary - Jun 06 to Jun 12 2020

Sat Jun 06 2020

Sleep 08:45 to 13:45. 1 hour nap.

  • Since I was up all night I went to Safeway at 06:00 and bought groceries. Some shoppers but mostly empty so was chill.

Sun Jun 07 2020

Sleep 05:15 to 13:15.

  • Bought Bundle of Holding - Fate of the Norns which is a Viking RPG set during Ragnarok. Thinking of running Dungeon Fantasy RPG + Nordlond Sagas setting so more Viking source material and adventures is good.

Mon Jun 08 2020

Sleep 10:15 to 15:15.

  • Working all night last night kind of messed me up today.

Tue Jun 09 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 05:00. 10:30 to 16:15. 22:00 to 23:00.

  • A second night of work and little sleep.

Wed Jun 10 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 08:45. 11:45 to 15:30.

  • I feel my faith was rewarded. After four months Neeko was playing chess on stream. She stayed in Just Chatting category, which cuts down on the regular back-seating/toxic-to-low-rated-players chess audience.

Thu Jun 11 2020

Sleep 11:30 to 16:30.

  • Yet Another All Nighter.
  • Got KFC, they forgot my fries. And then when I took out the box of chicken tenders it exploded, spilling tenders all over the floor. FeelsBadMan.

Fri Jun 12 2020

Sleep 01:15 to 06:15. 11:15 to 12:15.

  • Next week need to stop working nights. Messes me up.

Steam Summer Sale

In this year's summer sale besides sale discounts you earn points and use them to buy stickers, chat effects, and other ephemera. Since CrossOver seems to be a good solution I won't restrict to Mac games, although GOG is probably even better than CrossOver for compatibility but they don't have a general solution and rarely port modern games.

[x*] is the compatibility rating in CodeWeavers, I think 3* is playable.

Halo 2: Anniversary ($8, 20% off) [3*]

Mass Effect ($5, 75% off) [5*]
Mass Effect 2 ($5, 75% off) [5*]

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell ($3.40, 66% off) [4*]
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent ($3.40, 66% off) [5*]
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory ($3.40, 66% off) [5*]
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist ($10.20, 66% off) [5*]

Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics would be cool but not compatible.

If I but Splinter Cell and Mass Effect thats $30.40 and I get an additional $5 discount. Possibly replace Mass Effect with Tabletop Simulator ($10, 50% off single user) Tempting.

Strategic Studies Group

I was listening to a recent Designer Notes podcast interview with Roger Keating and it reminded me that Strategic Studies Group made some great games and they were known for having great AI that didn't have to cheat to be challenging. I just wrote about Reach for the Stars and I think I played Battlefront or maybe Decisive Battles of the American Civil War v1.

It was a fairly standard wargame (for the time) with the key being you were army commander. You could tell units to where to go but it was up to the local commander to actually execute the order. Units would delay, take unexpected paths, attack the wrong target, break off and retreat on their own. It was impossible to have multiple units coordinate an attack. It feels very ACW so maybe that was the game I played but I did get frustrated with the game.

But the main game I want to talk about is Warlords which I played on a Mac. A fantasy turn-based conquest game. You have cities, each which produces a specific unit type. Eight races each which starts at a set location and the map is also unchanging. This meant that each player had a fairly limited set of strategies due to nearby terrain and opponents but it also meant you could master each race and they gave you different gaming experiences.

A few things I remember.

You could raze cities and create a firebreak. Computer players generally attacked nearby cities but if those cities were razed they'd attack in a different direction.
Some cities (I think in the corners) were always targeted. Players would create a flying squadron and send them on long range attack.
Eight races (all in play), several unit types, occasional heroes that could lead a squadron (for attack bonus) or be used to hunt for artifacts (which gave combat bonuses).
Computer players on max level were aggressive and good at efficiently taking over cities. For most races I used the raze-cities-and-create-fire-breaks, though the Elves (basic unit quick to build and forest bonus when everyone else has a forest penalty) I could forgo that strategy.

I played Warlords II or III and it was not as good. Extra features and more randomized starts kind of overcomplicates the simplicity of Warlords. There is a Warlords iOS app which I have but rarely play because the UI is hard to use. Warlords was designed as keyboard and mouse so touch-only is tedious.

Diary - May 30 to Jun 05 2020

Sat May 30 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 14:00.

Sun May 31 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 11:30.

Mon Jun 01 2020

Sleep 02:45 to 07:45. 11:45 to 14:15. 17:30 to 18:15.

Tue Jun 02 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 10:00.

  • I turned off Chrome > Use hardware acceleration when available and I think that solves it enough for me to go back to two monitors. I guess Chrome will be slower.
  • Firefox also has hardware acceleration and I turned it off. I use FF less so doesn't matter as much.

Wed Jun 03 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 12:30. 45 min nap.

  • After a day with two monitors things are slow again. I'll reboot and see how long that helps... Not really, stills slow.
  • I think next idea is a clean re-install and I guess try latest macOS while I'm at it.

Thu Jun 04 2020

Sleep 06:00 to 09:00. 13:00 to 14:45. 45 min nap.

  • A good night of working. But it messes up my sleep.

Fri Jun 05 2020

Sleep 04:45 to 10:00.

  • Not much work done today.

Drobo Close Call

My Drobo is now a bit too far away from my computers (the included USB C to USB A cable is rather short) so I used a USB A to A extender cable to connect it to my MBP 2015 and with an additional USB A to USB C adapter to connect it to my MBP 2020. Transfers seemed a bit slow so I wanted to remove the extender cable from the chain.

That USB A female plug was a bit too narrow so the cables were stuck to each other. I eventually used two pliers to to pull them apart. Unfortunately I think I crimped the USB A male connector because after plugging in the Drobo would keep dropping out. And that caused the directory to get corrupted so the Drobo volume wouldn't mount.

To fix the latter I used DiskWarrior 5 which is great at rebuilding directory info. It had to do a complete rebuild but after that the Drobo volume mounted correctly. DW 5 saves the day again.

I also noticed that my Drobo volume is Mac OS Extended to Extended (Journaled) and a journaled file system might have prevented the directory corruption. I'll need to move 34 TB of data off the drive and reformat to Extended (Journaled).

Anyways, I plugged in the USB extender cable and will leave it that way since the grip is so tight there is no disconnection problem as far as I can tell.

So a question is do I need a dedicated USB C to C cable for best speed to my Drobo 5c? I did some large file transfers to the Drobo and speed was about 35 to 45 MB per second which would be USB 2.0 speeds. This Quora article says USB A has 1 lane and USB C has two so USB C to C can be faster. This article at KC's Blog says the included cable can be fast but maybe Drobo connects as USB 2.0 unless you turn the cable over and reconnect it to the Drobo. I tried it but didn't seem to help. I don't have a tool to see what connection protocol is being used. Oh well, guess I'll buy a C to C cable since $40 for maybe doubling the speed would be worth it.

Install DDO with Codeweavers

I have a new MBP with macOS Catalina which means no 32-bit apps. Dungeons & Dragons Online's macOS client is now the PC client wrapped with Wine. But I think it uses 32-bit Wine so the install doesn't even complete.

Codeweavers is a 3rd party Wine bottle creator. They test with a lot of apps and customize each app installation with the latest Wine and they use 64-bit Wine (which is pretty new). Still, older apps are sometimes not well supported so what started out as a simple install hasn't really been updated and can fail in various ways.

Anyways, here are my notes on how I installed the Windows version of DDO on my MBP.

Versions Used



  1. Launch Crossover
  2. Click "Install a Windows Application"
  3. (There might be a warning to update Crossover, do so.)
  4. Application name = Dungeons & Dragons Online
  5. Click Continue
  6. Choose ddolive.exe
  7. If given the choice choose Windows XP bottle (should be automatic)
  8. Click Install
  9. During install sub-installers and license windows will launch. Say ok/yes.
  10. DDO Installer: choose Express
  11. Unselect "Launch DDO" and click Finish
  12. Back to Crossover installer. Click Done.
  13. Launch DDO from Crossover
  14. "DDO would like to access files in your Documents folder". Click OK.
  15. DDO starts download updates. At this point add DDO app permissions.
    • Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy tab, unlock controls
    • Go to ~/Applications/Crossover/StandingStoneGames
    • Drag DDO app to Accessibility, make sure app is enabled
    • (Can't drag into Microphone, will have to wait for DDO to request access)
  16. During update DDO may get an error "An application has made an attempt to load the C runtime library incorrectly." Click OK. In DDO you may also see "Failed to load patchclient (Cannot load library patchclient: DLL initialization failed).
    • Quit DDO installer (click X)
    • CrossOver > DDO bottle > Control Panels > Wine Configuration.
    • In Library tab edit msvcr80 to Builtin then Native. Click OK.
    • Restart DDO app.
  17. DDO update continues. If it errors, quit and relaunch DDO. Might have to do this several times until update finally goes through. Sometimes waiting a couple of hours before another try seems to help.
  18. First time you login to a server it'll play the intro animatics. I've read that you want to change your monitor resolution to 720p or DDO will crash. I'd already used the server so didn't experience this.
  19. First time you login to a server DDO wants access to key presses and microphone. The screen might go black as it goes to full screen mode and the macOS dialogs are hidden. We did accessibility in step 15 but for microphone you will need to mouse over the the menu and hopefully a menu item to pop you back to macOS and show the dialog.
  20. That should do it. Game plays well at max resolution on my MBP 2020. I've had an instance where text chat doesn't work but later it worked when I restarted. Voice chat I haven't been able to get working so we use Discord.


After four sessions these are the issues I've encountered.

  • Text chat usually doesn't work do I do get system messages.
  • Voice chat out usually doesn't work so can't hear the other players. I think audio and text chat are the same subsystem (like a third party library).
  • Voice chat in doesn't work. DDO requested mic access and I gave it but it still doesn't get mic audio.
  • Sometimes the app freezes. It might come out in 30 seconds or not even after a couple of minutes. I reduced graphic settings from max to medium and then to low (there is also an ultra low setting) and it seems to help. I keep Object Draw distance at ultra high.
  • Friends list doesn't display. Mostly useful to see which characters are online.

Voice chat we fallback to Discord. Text chat we do without though we could so do Discord. Friends list is really minor. Hopefully I resolved the freezing issue.

All in all it's good enough for me to keep using.