The New Blog Section

Today No Life is introducing the new BLOG section of the site. This is where the hosts and writers of NoLife.Digital can write opinion pieces and updates that don't otherwise fit into news/reviews/content sections. Basically everything else fits into this section.

What sets the Blog section apart from other sections, is also the fact its easy for us to post from our cellphones/tablets, for quick uploading. Which means the content in this section is a bit more "unpolished" compared to regular posts.

Anyways, just more content for you, and more fun ways to engage with us.


The Music Hole: Ep. 1

Episode 1

Welcome to the Music Hole. This new podcast is Loco and Matt's take on new music, and which projects they recommend, or which ones they don't.

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The State of Unreal is Unreal


We all know the Unreal Engine. And if you don't know exactly what the Unreal Engine is, you've almost certainly used it many times. It's one of, if not the most popular, gaming engines available and their recent keynote at GDC 2018 shows how they are upping the ante again.

In the above video, you'll see some of the most cutting edge rendering technologies available. At the helm of it all is Unreal (and Nvidia's) work to bringing real-time raytracing in gaming. What this means in layman's terms is that lighting in gaming has gotten a significant upgrade.

The technology behind these upgrades are a bit over my head. But when you watch the video above, and you see the rendered scenes, I want you to notice a couple things. The most important being the eyes. Notice the skin and expressions around the eyes. Those small nuances make a world of difference when conveying emotion, especially during the Andy Serkis segment.

This will give games more impactful cutscenes, and allow much more emotion to be conveyed through these characters. Next I want you to notice the skin. You might not be able to tell, but the "subsurface scattering" has improved as well. This is how the skin looks when light is refracted upon it. And lastly, during the Star Wars scene, look at the lighting. What you're seeing is real-time ray tracing, the "holy grail" in graphical advancements. The way they can achieve perfect shadows, shadow diffusions, light patterns, refractions and reflections, all in a dynamic environment, is fucking badass. And I can't wait to see this tech work its way into our games.

 

 


No Life Tech: Ep. 39b - CTS Labs HITJOB; Cambridge Analytica and Buying Elections

AMD on Fire

In this week's  No Life Tech we look at the curious case of CTS Labs vs AMD and the plot lines thicken. We also talk about how Cambridge Analytica vs Facebook, and how CA seems to be more DEEP STATE than we previously thought.

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No Life Gaming: Ep. 39a - Nintendo Nindies Forever

Indie Life

In this week's  No Life Gaming, we chat how Nintendo needs to stop focusing on the 3DS and put all its attention on the Switch, and bringing indie devs to its console, and then we get into more gaming news from the week.

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Doc Hunter: "Take Your Pills"

Doc Hunter is a segment of No Life, that focuses on feature documentaries worth looking at. Our first one, “Take Your Pills” directed by Alison Klayman shown at SXSW, is a new documentary being released by Netflix that focuses on the rising use and “epidemic’ of Adderall. This article will highlight the documentary as well as some of the new research and studies around Amphetamines, to put things more into perspective. NOTE, No Life does NOT encourage nor endorse the use of any illicit substances not prescribed by your physician. These articles are strictly opinion, meant for entertainment, and are NOT meant to be seen as educational.

The Review

Let’s first start by touching on the presentation, which is a huge strong point for the film. I love the editing, which is done in a schizophrenic manner, mimicking the effects of an Aderrall overdose, and is done quite well. The audio also follows suit, where shrill, shrieking sounds dominate the soundscape, further highlighting that teeth-grinding atmosphere adderall can induce. Many documentaries are put together on shoestring budgets and often lack the icing on the cake. This is the exception, and it seems like many more Netflix documentaries seem to have a bit more capital to use towards its presentation. A welcomed addition to an otherwise bland genre.

I will admit, I was a bit worried though about the direction of the documentary. At first the documentary seems to romanticize the drug that closely resembles Meth, and it was a bit concerning. Talking with successful financial leaders, Hollywood agents, professional athletes, and high performing rich students, without much of an awareness of side effects. It focuses in on how these successful characters rely on the drug to make quick & clever judgement calls, never distracted from the task at hand. Story after story we were introduced to people who were able to gain a notable edge from their competition, just from this little pill. Later on the doc seems to focus on ADHD, its origins, and its patients. Finally we start to get an understanding of the detrimental effects stimulants can have. More particularly on those who take it as prescribed. What it seems to harp most on is the overprescribing of the drug by doctors, and the social pressures modern society can give, persuading those to use anything to get a leg up on their peers.

The documentary touches on the topic of drug addiction, in a modern contemporary way. What I enjoyed the most, is the comparisons the doc makes between opiates and opiate epidemic. Many don’t quite seem to see Adderall in the same vein of Oxycontin, but the parallels are there. Think how Oxycodone is synthesized heroin, Adderall is synthesized Meth. This connection is often missed, but not here. They do so by showcasing the addiction side of the drug and how the “crash” is causing many to keep using the substance, in the same addictive manner opiates have. Where the doc starts to pull together is when they couple that, with the fact a large percentage of the population is prescribing these drugs to our children. Thus producing a shocking realization that sticks with you.

The documentary touches on the topic of drug addiction, in a modern contemporary way

The film starts to lose its way a bit, when it goes into the cognitive performance “enhancements” of Adderall, where it starts to veer off more into Nootropics and Smart Drugs. Micro-dosing psilocybin and LSD also make an appearance. This is about where it starts to preach more on “alternative” medicines, rather than cessation methods. Then towards the end, we only learn that some seem to need Adderall for their ADHD diagnoses, and some don’t. Yeah, it doesn’t quite pull together. That said, I highly recommend checking the documentary out if you, or anyone you know, may have an issue with Adderall but doesn’t quite correlate drug addiction with it. Hopefully the documentary is able to give caution to many of those who think Amphetamines is a quick fix for success. Or at the very least, explain that NOT everyone has “a little ADD.”

Credit - Netflix

The Science

The last point I want to touch on is the science portrayed in the documentary. One in particular is the study done by Martha J Farah, who makes an appearance in the film, to talk about the cognitive enhancements of Adderall. The study famously explains that there is NO correlation between cognitive improvements and taking Adderall. The study was done at UPENN and had 40 participants. You can find the full study here. They found that Adderall did not improve cognitive performance, in all areas except one, motivational. Adderall would lead those to BELIEVE its improving enhancements, which comes with many added benefits of confidence. Which is mainly like saying “Cocaine makes you feel like you could rob a bank and get away with it, so you’re more likely to succeed at robbing a bank and getting away, just from that extra boost of confidence, than otherwise.” Not the best way to go about things, but must be noted.

There was also a big feature on the “godfather” of ADD/ADHD, Dr. Carmen Keith Conners. Conners was one of the first doctors to effectively identify attention deficit disorder, and since creating the “Conners Scale” which is a questionnaire designed to identify ADD/ADHD in people. He was also one of the first doctors to prescribe Ritalin for this diagnosis. I bring this up because there’s been a ton of scrutiny on his “scale” - which can be seen here - by being too lax, creating the over-prescribing of these stimulants. This article here also shows how Conners regrets some of the science he directed explaining his position on the epidemic. “Everyone has a little ADD” was a sentiment made in the film that leads the charge in stimulant use, though minimizing the diagnosis of true ADD/ADHD patients.

"I was always suspicious that the high rates of “diagnosis” and prescription for ADHD came about because researchers based their figures on reports from parents, who in turn based their beliefs on teachers or doctors with no credible evidence." - Dr. Keith Conners "Godfather" of ADD/ADHD

Conclusion

So looking at the film, the stories within it, and the science behind the film, I think it does a great job of being truthful about America’s favorite hardcore stimulant. Cognitive enhancements, either through stimulants or nootropics, seems to be something worth looking at. We take supplements for our physical health, why not the same for our mental health? I just wish the film treaded a bit more carefully around the topic of use, showed a bit more of the darker side of abuse, such as intravenous and insufflation which is much more prominent than the film shows; and included more about the detrimental physical ailments long term amphetamine use can have. Instead it harped more on the patients of ADD, how Adderall effects them, and the social stigmas around the drug. It’s a bit reckless, something a drug documentary should never be. But its still an intriguing and truthful look at drug use in America, and worth a watch.

Editors Note

I’ve recently come across this article/review by Thrillist. I just wanted to point out that the writer seemed particularly invested in the film, due to the writers child being diagnosed with ADHD. While I understand the sentiments expressed, I do want point out that the film DOES portray how these drugs can help those in need of these pills. As shown in stories of the Hollywood agent, and the street artist. It’s the fault of the film, on how this writer may have missed these topics, because the film convolutes prescribed use and abuse. Just one last example of how the film’s message gets a bit muddy.


Gamers 1 - EA 0: Battlefront 2 Gets Rid of Paid Loot Boxes

In a triumphant battle between the gaming community, the StarWars community, and one of the most hated companies in the world, Electronic Arts, consumers end up on top! Today it was announced, that EA will be releasing an update to the game called the "Progression Update" which will rid the loot boxes of skill based items and cards, only allowing them to be won through in-game milestones, daily logins, and other challenges. They are still allowing real money to be used to purchase loot boxes, but ONLY for cosmetics, a system that many gamers don't have an issue with.

You can read the extent of the new update here.  Ea states in the post....

With this update, progression is now linear. Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you'll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you'd like to equip.

The question now is, did EA / DICE wait too long to implement this new linear progression update? The games sales were massively impacted by the outrage, and as someone who currently owns the game, it's safe to say active online player count seems to be quite low. That said, it seems like they're making the right moves, and if they continue down this path, listening to gamers, giving the audience what they want and deserve, while also continuing to put the game on sale for less than the MSRP of $59.99, I think more and more players will pick this game up to give it a try.

 


This is the End for Snapchat

Snapchat has seen some better days. When the app first started picking up steam, thanks to its unique way of making social media feel more "exclusive", it was valued at nearly $30. But after some horrible decisions made lately, like trying to compete with Instagram, infusing commercial advertisements into users' timelines, and now this situation, the stock is plummeting like a sinking ship.

The Last Straw

Over the past couple days, Snapchat has been scrambling to control the damage done by a disgusting and terrible advertisement they displayed on their app. To be honest, I have no idea what the original intent of the image was. It's clearly mocking the domestic abuse dispute between artists Rhianna and Chris Brown, and I'm not sure if there was ANY other motive behind this other than malicious.

Of course, this image started to make its round across social media. Most people were absolutely stunned at how Snapchat could ever allow this type of graphic to be displayed on their app. Finally, it got to Rihanna where she made this post, on Instagram.

"Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain't my fav app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess!" the singer wrote. "I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb. You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it."

Snapchat, once made aware of the situation, released this statement to The Verge. "This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service. We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.” 

But it might be too little too late. Their stock has been falling since the incident became public, now sitting at a depressing $17.01. This is also combined with the publics disapproval of their latest update, which combines both the app's discovery tab with the personal tab. Their reason behind this was to improve discovery of other snapchat accounts, but in reality is just a way for them to monetize their app, something that has been very difficult for them to do.

Game Over

In my opinion, Snapchat will never be able to regain the popularity the app once had. It may not completely die, but if they can't figure out a way to monetize their platform, while also keeping users happy and engaged, then Instagram is going to continue to dominate. Speaking of which, Instagram already containing many of the features that made Snapchat so unique. Couple that with the public's image of Snapchat after this situation, it's going to be quite tough for the Silicon Valley company to pull itself out of the hole they dug themselves.

 

 


No Life Tech: Ep. 38b - PAY FOR YOUR PORN!; Nas for Novices!

Tip Your Porn Actress

In this week's  No Life Tech, which now airs on WEDNESDAYS, we chat about how porn is changing, and we look at the WD MyCloud NAS.

 

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No Life Gaming: Ep. 38a - Smash Coming to Switch B@#%hes; Can Xbox Win?

Bring on the SMASH

In this week's  No Life Gaming, we chat about how we predicted Nintendo's moves and how hype we are at Smash being released this year. Then we discuss on if Xbox can ever enter back into the console race, and what they need to do to do so.

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