Next game – Rajas of the Ganges [EN]

I first heard about Rajas of the Ganges a while ago, although i still was surprised to learn it is almost 3 years old now. It looked like a common points heavy euro game, so i didn’t even bother to watch a review i think (or i watched and didn’t think much of it). I also heard a few times how neat is its scoring mechanism, where you either go hard on points or money and have to meet another track to win and so on. This didn’t sound interesting on paper either. But when it came out on Yucata i decided to give it a try and solidify my assumption, that i won’t like this euro. This long intro is just to show you how assumptions can be wrong. And boy, i was wrong ๐Ÿ™‚ I liked this game on my first try, where i did horribly and lost by a mile behind my opponent. Next time i played with the same player and shoot ahead quickly, but eventually lost at the end running out of steam. My third game with the same opponent and i finally won by doing a balanced strategy. And that feeling when you get closer and closer on both tracks to meet in the end, it is so satisfying. You build something, you get a few points and a bunch of coins and you move both markers closer to each other, you cross the bonus spot and move a bit further again and so on. I haven’t yet explored all the options and strategies even. I don’t do much in the market and on the river and am still able to play strong with mostly building tiles, but i had one game where i got tons of money from the market, so it seems fairly balanced. Manipulating dice is also fun and getting more and more of them is very satisfying. But you have to sense when it is time to sacrifice a few of them to build that juicy city tile and get points. This game managed to beat Oracle of Delphi for me. Maybe because it is still fresh and i have already played Oracle a ton. And it shows that i might like a clever euro a lot. Strong 9/10.

Blog annual stats (v2019)

This year i have started using Matomo to track visits and have noticed same IP addresses going often every few hours to the same pages. So, stats are a bit skewed by such bots, but in a grand scheme probably are not affected that much. Also, Matomo masks true IP and shows last part as 0.0, so i can’t tell if these are truly the same IPs and of course it is not possible to block them without knowing a real IP. The 2019 stats:

  • Posted 110 entries (+38):
    • Technology โ€“ 88 (+32), although there were less Windows Insider posts, but i’ve explored various other topics like cloud services, Android, statistics, also started posting Microsoft 365 news a few times per month;
    • Books โ€“ 7 (+7), big increase, hope to keep reading as much and posting about it;
    • Board Games โ€“ 7 (+1);
    • Next Game โ€“ 6 (+2), reviewed 1 game more than last year;
    • Movies โ€“ 3 (-4), watched less movies during Kinopavasaris festival and in general, also not always posting about it, in total probably watched 5 movies this year;
    • General โ€“ 3 (+1);
    • Top 10 โ€“ 1 (-);
    • Artwork โ€“ 1 (+1).
  • Sadly, no comments received this year.

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Yearly Board Games Stats [EN]

As i have used Board Games Stats app for the whole year, i can now provide a bit of stats. The play count will be rather big. That’s because i also count my plays on Yucata and BGA. Because i play with humans there, not AI and because i want to ๐Ÿ˜› But there were also some live plays this year.

2019:

General stats:

  • Plays: 232
  • Games: 40
  • Players: 179 (yeah, 99% Yucata)
  • Locations: 3 (Yucata, BGA and new work)
  • H-index: 9 (9 games played at least 9 times)

Most played games:

  • The Oracle of Delphi: 27
  • Firenze: 21
  • Cacao: 19
  • Guildhall: 16
  • Thunderstone: 15
  • Zooloretto: The Dice Game: 13
  • Las Vegas: 10

Favorite player count: 2

Games played live: 12 ๐Ÿ™‚

Best board games (v2019) [EN]

Same as last year, only in Eglish, and only the list of new games i have tried this year and the overall Top 10-100 as of 2019. Ranked using Pub Meeple’s Ranking Engine. This year had some strong new games, which also made into Top 10 of all games (Oracle of Delphi and Rajas of the Ganges) and Codenames just barely missed the top ๐Ÿ™‚ Top 2 stayed the same though. Yeah, i have only tried UNO for the first time this year and i didn’t like it ๐Ÿ˜€

Best new to me games this year:

  1. Rajas of the Ganges (4th overall)
  2. The Oracle of Delphi (5)
  3. Codenames (11)
  4. When I Dream (31)
  5. Kingdomino (50)
  6. Mysterium (62)
  7. Red7 (65)
  8. Machi Koro (67)
  9. Imhotep: The Duel (86)
  10. UNO (97)

Best games of all time:

  1. Firenze (-)
  2. Tokaido (-)
  3. Small World (+2)
  4. Rajas of the Ganges (new)
  5. The Oracle of Delphi (new)
  6. Thunderstone (-2)
  7. Ticket to Ride: Europe (-4)
  8. Carcassonne (-2)
  9. Cacao (-1)
  10. 7 Wonders (-3)

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WSUS can’t distinctly identify 1909 version [EN]

Been using WSUS for so many years and never learned this. Partly because on my old job we always were using one version of Windows 10 (or Windows 7) and there was no need to know the exact versions or builds. Now when i have to manage 4-5 different versions of Windows 10, Version column in WSUS became essential. It shows full Windows version with build number and last CU update version, e.g. 10.0.18362.449 for 1903 version. You can see the same information on a local machine in systeminfo or using winver command. But there is a catch which i’ve only noticed after installing 1909 Enablement Package update on one test 1903 machine. It still shows 18362 build in WSUS console, although it should be 18363. And even CU number after the dot is not up to date. I’ve been told that WSUS is actually checking Windows Update agent’s version (wuaueng.dll) to determine Windows build. And in 1909, this agent hasn’t been updated and stayed the same as in 1903 version (because 1909 is just a CU update of 1903 disguised as a “feature update”). Moreover CU updates also not always change WU agent’s version, so version after the last dot might also be stale. It seems that ConfigMgr has another column for that – Operating System Build, which shows correct version of a system. This is probably a result of WSUS being a legacy tool, not originally designed to work with such dynamic changes to build versions and it never was updated properly to work better with Windows 10 (and never will). This also shows in “failed” status while a machine downloads a feature update and some other quirks requiring a mandatory wiping of SoftwareDistribution folder as PCs just stop reporting status to WSUS properly. With 1909 update Microsoft is trying to optimize their updates and new features delivery process going away from a huge feature update rewriting all system files, requiring huge installation package and multiple restarts. Now they release new features with regular CU updates, but features stay disabled until an Enablement Package is installed at some point. It seems that MS is delivering on a promise of a Windows as a Service and maybe in a few years we won’t have big versions like 1809, 1903 and such. There will be one version for good and new features will be released monthly with regular CU updates along with fixes and security patches. Well, some businesses still will require LTSC version, so it probably won’t go away.

WSUS and ConfigMgr – additional product listing for Windows 10 1903 [EN]

Microsoft has posted on their Windows IT Pro blog about a new temporary requirement related to Windows 10 1903. This new Windows 10 version will have changes to UUP (Unified Update Platform), which require to introduce new product in the list of Windows – Windows 10, version 1903 and later. Administrators will have to enable that product along with regular Windows 10 product to be able to sync updates for 1903 version (once they have upgraded their machines). This is a temporary requirement and there will be no similar product for 1909 version and newer. Once you upgrade to 1909 you should be able to uncheck this product and leave only regular Windows 10 selected. This applies both to WSUS and Config Manager (SCCM). But ConfigMgr also has to be updated to at least 1902 version to support this new product. Even if your older ConfigMgr is showing 1903 upgrade as available. This requirement is about updates that will come out later for 1903 version and not related to upgrade itself.

NOTE: after a few comments on MS blog it seems that maybe this new category will be used not temporary, but for all next feature updates going forward. And then old “Windows 10” category won’t be needed. Still waiting on clarification from Microsoft.

Google Analytics alternative – Matomo [EN]

I have started this blog in September of 2015 by installing WordPress on my hosted domain (which i had for 7 years then and only used for email, sharing files and occasionally trying some stuff like web RSS client). I’ve used my providers (IV) Installatron service to install and configure everything. At first i wasn’t very interested in statistics, wasn’t expecting to get many visitors. So only about a year after i’ve decided to hook my site to Google Analytics, which i have used a bit at work. I have also installed Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin in WordPress and added a widget to my Dashboard. It is nice. Minimal, but has a lot of views and slices. Sometimes can be buggy and show you two days old information as one day old. But it is convenient to quickly glance at the stats when going into WP dashboard. Maybe once in a month i would also go to Google Analytics page and view more graphs and details.

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Testing free trial of Google Cloud [EN]

I already did an overview of basic features and possible issues of AWS and Azure offerings for a free tier or trial. This is not an in-depth and detailed review and comparison of platforms. Just a first look from a completely new to this thing person’s view. I’m not sure why i have skipped Google’s option at that point. Maybe i thought there is no free or trial tier. It appears there is. If you are signed in into your Google account, you can go to https://cloud.google.com/ and press the “Get started for free” button. Google gives you 300$ credit for 12 months and tells you a few times, that it won’t automatically convert you into a paying customer and charge you suddenly.

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Current state of Windows 10 Feature Updates in WSUS [EN]

After quitting my job i didn’t have a chance to manage WSUS again. But i was curious how Windows 10 updates were handled in the recent months. So, i have spun up a Windows Server 2019 VM and installed WSUS. In the image above you can see all 1809 versions (Fall 2018 Update) currently available. 1809 first was released in the beginning of October and i was annoyed by the fact that by the end of that month there were still no separate install packages for x86 and x64 (which were introduced for previous versions to cut the size of install). It shows that separate x64 packages were released on November 27th. So it took Microsoft almost 2 months to do this. By that time i would usually already have all my PCs updated to the latest version. Ideally i would like to have separate packages be available at the same release date. Or we don’t even need combined packages. Anyway, turned out 1809 was a mess, so nobody hurried to install it. You can see that there was another build release in 2019 March (2019-03B), which probably had fixes for all 1809 nasty issues included. Interestingly, this time they released just separate packages for x86 and x64 at the same time and no combined one. Maybe they will keep this procedure. Will keep this VM around to check later. Obviously, there is no 1903 packages yet in the general Windows 10 product category (it is still in testing and wide release is planned for a second half of May). Although i saw “Windows 10 1903 and later” category in the list, but haven’t tried to sync it. This can be handy though. If your network only has PCs with say 1809, you don’t have to sync older updates, if you are setting up new WSUS service. Just pick the 1809 and later category and get only relevant ones.

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