Ahmad Muhammad

Blog, portfolio, and stories

Browser showdown: Google Chrome vs Microsoft Edge

UPDATE 06/01/2017:

I switched. I switched back to Chrome. I did it because of 2 things: 1): Edge started to freeze, crash, and was rendering websites incorrectly, and 2): As of Chrome 55 which was released in December, Chrome uses significantly less memory. And I will admit, Chrome does have a lot more functionality than Edge. So yeah, that’s it right there, I switched, for good.

Remember the good ol’ days where Internet Explorer ruled the world with its sluggish performance and security threats? Until Google Chrome came and changed it all, that is.

For years, Google Chrome has ruled all browsers and has been the most widely used web browser around. Then privacy was a concern, and Mozilla came out with Firefox. Since then, Firefox and Chrome are the most popular browsers, and Internet Explorer was sitting unused on Windows computers. Windows 8 came, Internet Explorer 9, came, Microsoft claimed that Internet explorer was a faster browser. It even came up with an ugly touch centric version of Internet explorer on Windows 8 PCs. It was time Microsoft realized that Internet explorer was not a browser anymore unlike 1998, it was merely a tool to download another browser.

Microsoft soon realized this is and instead of refreshing Internet explorer, it just came up with an entirely new web browser which debuted with Windows 10: Microsoft Edge.

In case you’re confused, Microsoft edge doesn’t at all build up on the bases of Internet Explorer. It’s faster, cleaner, and more compatible. The funny part is that Microsoft still left Internet Explorer untouched, and even ships it with new PCs pre-installed with Windows 10. Microsoft claims that Internet explorer still ships for compatibility purposes. Personally, that’s a mere 5% of the web that only works on Internet Explorer. But Kudos to Microsoft for taking care of its existing cliental, even if it’s a mere 5% of the Web. However, another interesting thing to note is that a website which will only work on Internet explorer and not Chrome or Firefox still works on Edge, although Microsoft claims that Edge has nothing to do with IE.

Nonetheless, Edge is still a great browser and its seamless integration with Windows 10 is great. But how does it stack up against the king of Browsers, Google Chrome?

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING COMPARISON IS BASED ON MY USAGE CASE AND MY PREFERENCE. YOUR USAGE CASE MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN MINE OR YOU MAY PREFER ANOTHER BROWSER OVER ANOTHER.

One thing to note is that I don’t believe in benchmarking web browsers because web speed depends solely on your internet speed. Also, each and every website is unique and contains a different amount of graphics and code. So you could benchmark a web browser, say Edge, but in real world usage Edge turns out slower in certain websites whereas it was faster in the benchmark. Benchmarking web browsers is not the same as benchmarking computer hardware in terms of performance. With that out of the way, let’s go ahead and compare the two browsers.

In terms of UI (user interface), I really used to like Chrome’s minimal and modern UI. To me, Firefox UI was a bit cluttered and not that user friendly. However, I really like Edge’s new UI, and when I go back to Chrome for whatever reason, it feels cluttered. Edge is also building on Microsoft’s recent flat design which its incorporating throughout Windows 10, so Edge also tends to blend in to the Windows 10 interface better than Chrome. Edge wins this round.

Speed. This is the key factor that many consider when choosing a browser. And, I must admit, Chrome redefined browser speed. However, speed also depends on many different factors such as your internet speed and also your computer. For example, if you have an older computer, Chrome will take forever to load a page because your hardware is slow (e.g low RAM, slow processor etc.). We will cover the hardware performance later below, but under ideal circumstances, both Chrome and Edge will give you identical results in speed, some websites loading faster on either browser. But Edge is not painfully slow like Internet Explorer was. The winner in this round is a tie between Edge and Chrome.

In terms of compatibility, well Edge basically uses the same rendering engine that Chrome and Firefox use, so websites are mostly compatible. Again, no Internet Explorer legacy here with incompatibility on websites. Winner in this round is a tie between Edge and Chrome.

The next biggest factor when choosing a browser is hardware performance, and this round is where Edge and Chrome are miles apart from each other. Google Chrome is very resource intensive. At any given time you’ll have roughly 50% of your RAM taken up in my usage case. On a 2GB RAM computer I always had 75-80% of my RAM taken up by Chrome. On a 4GB RAM computer I always had 45-50% of my RAM taken up by Chrome. In comparison, Edge on the 2GB RAM computer took up about 20-30% of my RAM, and on the 4GB computer took up 10-15% of my RAM. To further elaborate, Firefox always took up 50% of my RAM on the 2GB computer, and roughly 25-30% on the 4GB computer. In these usage cases, on average I had 3 tabs open, namely Facebook, my blog, and a YouTube video playing at 720p. RAM usage will also vary greatly depending on your usage. In terms of CPU utilization, I don’t have the exact numbers, however Chrome definitely does benefit from a high end CPU, and benefits greatly from multi-core CPUs. Edge and Firefox on the other hand are not that CPU dependant. So the winner in this round is clearly Edge.

Extensions. To me they don’t matter that much however some users depend greatly on them. Since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Edge now supports extensions, however not many extensions are available yet on Edge. So if you depend on extensions, Chrome is totally your guy. Have a low-end PC? Then Firefox is for you.

Security. Google Chrome ruled this field. Firefox had caught up with Chrome, but recently a few security exploits made Firefox weaker in this field. Edge does a better job at detecting malicious software downloads, because Edge depends on Windows Defender and Windows Smart Screen filter. However Edge’s phishing website recognition is poor. Way poorer than Chrome; in fact, there’s no comparison. Although Microsoft claims that the security team is working on it and that the Windows 10 Creator’s Update will feature more security updates to Edge. Now here I must say that Edge failed in browser security “Benchmarks” but I’m pretty sure in normal day to day use Edge should protect you against phishing sites. Besides, you shouldn’t be depending on browser security anyway, you should have a mind of your own. So the winner in this round is again a tie, Chrome will protect you against phishing better, and Edge against malicious downloads.

So to conclude, it all boils down to your personal preference. For me, Edge is the winner. For you, it could be something else. However I must point out that Edge is only available on Windows 10, and if you don’t have the Anniversary Update, then you’ll encounter a lot of freezes and bugs. I strongly recommend using the Anniversary Update version of Edge if you want a more faster, secure and bug free browsing experience. Edge also has a couple of features built in that are otherwise available on Chrome in the form of extensions that slow down your browser, such as Inking on the web and reading view, which is quite convenient. For a full list of Edge’s features, visit Microsoft’s page here.

Which browser do you prefer?
Have you run into any issues, compatibility or otherwise while using Edge?
Let us know in the comments below
.

P.S on a side note, sorry for not uploading in a long time, I just didn’t feel like uploading.

Microsoft vs. Apple: What this week’s events brought

This week was quite interesting for the tech geeks out there. In case you didn’t already know, Microsoft and Apple both had their keynotes held on the October 26th and 27th, respectively. I’m not going to go through the whole keynotes but I’ll outline below key points from both the events followed by my opinion.

MICROSOFT

microsoft-logo

Microsoft’s keynote, in my opinion, was far better than Apple’s event. Below is the stuff that really matters, apart from a bunch of marketing talk and testimonials from clients over the world:

  1. Windows 10 Creator’s update.
  2. 3D to the world.
  3. 3D integration with Microsoft Office.
  4. Paint 3D
  5. Surface Studio
  6. Surface book i7.

We will start with the Creator’s update.

Being a Windows 10 user, I’m glad that Microsoft finally decided to stop forcing users to pay for advanced software upgrades like it has always done in the past (Windows XP? Windows Vista? Windows 7? Windows 8?).

As the name suggests, this update is going to have a lot of cool stuff for creators and creative professionals. This update goes hand in hand with Microsoft’s future vision of letting everybody have access to 3D, providing lots of integrations for 3D editing and creations, along with its redesigned version Paint, dubbed Paint 3D. I’m not sure how this is going to work, but Microsoft also hinted at being able to 3D print creations from Minecraft. The update is also going to bring quite some features that will impress gamers, one of them being the ability to stream any game live via the Xbox app, using the game streaming service Beam which was recently acquired by Microsoft.

There will also be some updates to Microsoft Edge as well as Windows Defender. Windows defender, for now, is a standalone win32 app that comes installed on your computer. It currently looks like this:

screenshot-30

In the upcoming update, this is how it’s expected to look like:

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/28/13451846/microsoft-windows-10-creators-update-features

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/28/13451846/microsoft-windows-10-creators-update-features

I’m actually surprised at how long it took Microsoft to realize that its built-in protection is still looking like any third-party software.

I don’t want to bore you guys with the full list of features that are expected to come, so here are a few links where you can get a list of features of the upcoming Creator’s update:

http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/28/13451846/microsoft-windows-10-creators-update-features

https://www.wired.com/2016/10/windows-10-creators-update-new-features/

Next is Microsoft’s mission about 3D.

With Windows 10, our goal is to have the effect of the Gutenberg Press on this next generation of computing, enabling 3D creativity, mixed reality, and eSports & game broadcasting for everyone.

At our core, we believe each of us are creators. I’m personally inspired by creators who use technology to build a better world for each of us, who build communities with technology, and who develop revolutionary new ways to educate all types of students. However you choose to create, we are building Windows for each of you. We want to help you make your mark on the world and for Windows to be the place you love to create and play.
Read more at https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/10/26/empowering-a-new-wave-of-creativity-with-the-windows-10-creators-update-and-surface-studio/#8GtmMJ7V71zpve1W.99

I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but in a nutshell, Microsoft’s future vision is empowering creators all over the world. Microsoft also sees a huge potential in 3D and believes that the future is all about 3D. You can read more on Microsoft’s website here.
The biggest and most exciting news from the Microsoft keynote was the Surface Studio, Microsoft’s new All-in-one desktop PC. Basically Microsoft’s answer to the iMac, it’s more than just an ordinary all-in-one.
surface-studio

Surface studio with the Surface mouse, keyboard, and Surface dial.

Unlike the iMac, whose components sit behind the monitor, the Surface Studio’s guts sit inside the base. The display is really thin, and it can actually be adjusted as either a standard display or it can be tilted all the way down to a 20-degree angle so it can be used as a drawing board as well. It features a 3:2 aspect ratio as well a 4500 x 3000 28″ Pixelsense display, which in Microsoft’s language basically means retina Display. I personally feel that with its touch display as well as its 0-gravity hinge, a lot of designers will be switching from the iMac to the studio, provided that they have the cash.

The maxed out version of the Studio comes with a 2TB hybrid drive (HDD and SSD), 32GB of RAM, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, at a whopping $4,199. Personally, I feel that it is worth the money if you can afford it. One thing Microsoft could’ve improved on is the GPU though.

You can learn more about the Surface Studio here.

Lastly, we have the Surace book i7, as Microsoft calls it.

Basically, it’s a new configuration Microsoft announced at the keynote. It’s actually funny why Microsoft called it the Surface Book i7, considering they already had an i7 configuration. However, this new version features a 1TB SSD (just imagine the speed!) and 16GB RAM, as well as a GeForce GTX 965M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, priced at $3,299. The biggest, most notable change is the battery life; the new model features up to 16 hours of battery life. That’s an entire day at work plus some evening Minecraft all unplugged. I personally think that for graphic designers and/or photographers whose job revolves around traveling, the new surface Book configuration is the best choice.

So to conclude on the Microsoft side of things, I must say Microsoft had quite a blast of an event unlike Apple’s. (More on that below). There was quite a lot of advanced products introduced as well as some awesome new features to the Windows OS. I personally can’t wait until the Creator’s update comes out.

But that’s not it, and hopefully, you haven’t forgotten Apple’s event (although I don’t blame you if you did forget it).

APPLE

apple-logo

Apple’s event was unlike any of the rumors we have been hearing for the past 6 months – or perhaps even longer.

The only thing that was announced at Cupertino apart from a bunch of marketing talk was the new Macbook Pro. That’s it.

Personally, I think it’s the beginning of the end for Apple. Let me tell you why:

Apple’s new Macbook Pro comes without the function keys row at the top of the keyboard. It is replaced by an OLED touch strip, which Apple likes to call the Touch Bar. And the trackpad’s size has been increased. Also, the processors have been upgraded to the 6th generation “Skylake” processors. And the GPU specs have been kicked up a notch.

But the most notable thing that’s changed and will cause Apple to lose a lot of customers without them realizing it is:

The SD card slot is gone.
The USB ports that we are so acquainted with are gone.
The HDMI output port is gone.
The MagSafe charging cable is gone (and replaced with USB Type C)

So you may be asking, “If everything is gone then what remains?”. Well, only thunderbolt 3, and surprisingly enough, the Headphone jack. Yep, headphone jack survived it this time.

Because of the demise of the USB port, that basically means that you can’t even connect your iPhone 7 to your computer without the purchase of another adapter. Why Apple, why?

Apple basically wants to make its hardware such that no third party peripheral can be connected unless you pay some $$$$ and purchase many adapters. The only people who will buy Apple products (at least in my opinion, maybe others think differently) are the ones who care about the brand. Let me tell you why I think that way:

Let’s suppose you are a graphic designer. A client wants you to design a signboard. You take your laptop to the client so he can give you his logo. Now he has transferred his logo etc. into a USB flash drive. He gives you the USB drive only to find out that your Macbook Pro can’t take a USB port. You’re stuck now and the only choice you’re left with is to rush to the iStore and purchase an adapter that costs you $75.

If I were a graphic designer or photographer (another industry that has heavy usage of USB flash drives as well as the SD card slot, something that’s also gone) , I wouldn’t go with the new Macbook Pro. I’d be much better off with something like a Surface Book or any other high-spec laptop out there. But again, that’s only my opinion and maybe you think and feel differently about the new Macbook Pro. I also wouldn’t feel comfortable with the new Touch Bar either. For example:

If you’re a computer programmer, chances are that you use the “Esc” key a lot. For me, it would be a major inconvenience to always pull up a drop-down menu in order to get access to the Esc key. Perhaps Apple would even come up with a separate “Esc” key that connects via Thunderbolt and costs $80.

And then there’s the headphone jack. Apple made such a fuss about removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and called it “courage”, why didn’t they remove it from the new Macbook Pro then? Perhaps they were not so “courageous” with the Macbook I guess.

So in conclusion, I personally think that Microsoft had a lot more to its event than Apple. Microsoft also has shifted its focus to creative professionals, an industry that’s currently dominated by Apple. The way Microsoft is doing it is by adding useful features in its Creator’s update, and the Surface Studio is a big step in that direction.

What are your thoughts on the new Macbook Pro?
Do you think that Microsoft will break Apple’s dominion over the creative industry?
Who’s event did you think was better?

Let us know in the comments below.

Do I need antivirus?

Short answer: If you have Windows 7 or earlier, yes. If you have Windows 8 or later: Still yes, except that it comes pre-installed.

But let’s get a bit more into detail here. The answer to the question “Do I need antivirus?” is “yes” irrespective of your operating system.

WINDOWS 7

Windows 7 was quite pushy about installing an antivirus, and the irony was that at the time, Microsoft didn’t recommend installing its own Windows security essentials (now dubbed Windows defender), and for good reason because it simply didn’t work. It was best that you installed a third party antivirus software, either paid or free. At the time, AVG was one of the most downloaded as well as the most reliable one out there, followed by Avast! antivirus. I personally used AVG on many Windows 7 devices and wasn’t disappointed.

WINDOWS 8

However, with the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft started doing huge improvements on the security side of things. One of those improved products was Windows defender which came built in to Windows 8 and naturally, Windows security essentials were made obsolete. But how good was Windows defender compared to AVG and the likes? Well, to be honest, it was still stagnant. I personally had an experience where Windows defender scans my PC and doesn’t detect anything but AVG found a Trojan horse or something like that. Bear in mind that AVG was still a decent program unlike other antiviruses which would actually infect your PC in order to convince you to upgrade to paid versions to clear your PC of those threats.

WINDOWS 8.1

With Windows 8.1 came a much better Windows defender, but again, it still wasn’t as good as you’d expect it to be. However, one important thing to remember is that AVG started deteriorating, however not as bad as it is at the time of writing. I still stuck with AVG but there was a drastic performance drop on my PC and I wasn’t very happy with AVG.

WINDOWS 10

Windows 10 brought a much more effective and powerful version of Windows defender, given the fact that Microsoft’s main aim with Windows 10 was security. Microsoft claims that Windows 10 is the “most secure Windows ever built”. Simultaneously, AVG started to pay much more attention to its paid version and the free version was very pushy about upgrading to the pro version. I was considering getting rid of AVG altogether. But given its previous track record, I was reluctant on switching completely over to Windows defender.

WINDOWS 10 ANNIVERSARY UPDATE

The Windows 10 AU was a very big step in the life of Windows defender. The Windows defender with the AU was a killer, along with new features such as real-time monitoring (did I mention it wasn’t there in the previous versions?). Simultaneously, AVG dropped down to the point where it seems to be going on the same road as McAfee and Norton. I got a new computer and I never even bothered installing a third party antivirus because Microsoft has finally reached the stage where its own antivirus is enough to keep your PC safe in the ever-growing world of cyber threats. And I must say I’m really impressed with the performance of Windows defender on the Windows 10 AU.

BOTTOM LINE: SO DO YOU REALLY NEED ANTIVIRUS?

What I’m trying to say is that you’ll need antivirus on any operating system. However, the question “Do you need THIRD-PARTY antivirus?” really boils down to personal preference. But f you’re not after enterprise-grade protection and can do with just the basics, in my opinion Windows defender on the Windows 10 AU can do the job nicely. And I’d like to end off with one piece of advise: Please do yourselves a favour and don’t install AVG antivirus. It’s basically become more of a bloatware as opposed to an antivirus.

Also, just because you have antivirus doesn’t mean you can get as careless as you want visiting websites that have a bad reputation and downloading stuff that comes from unreliable sources. At the end of the day, your PC’s security is ultimately in your hands. And the antivirus program is there just to assist you.

What antivirus do you use?
Do you think Windows defender is sufficient to protect your PC from the ever-growing threats out there?

Let others know in the comments below.

Speculations on the future of Minecraft

Since Minecraft was acquired by Microsoft, the vision of Minecraft has changed visibly, especially with the launch of Minecraft Pocket Edition & Windows 10 Edition version 15.0 dubbed the “Friendly update”. As Mojang announced at E3:

We want to bring together every Minecraft player so they are able to play together. And the Friendly update is just the beginning. – Lydia at E3

We can already see that Minecraft seems to be using the Xbox Live platform rapidly on majority of its platforms.

But the PC/mac version doesn’t have Xbox integration yet, and it’s isolated from the pocket/Win10 editions.

But if what Lydia announced at E3 is really going to happen, would that mean that the PC version would get Xbox live integration at some point? I personally think that even if this were to happen, it’s still quite far off. What makes me think that is because currently the only versions that have Xbox live integrated are in a different language completely, thus making integrations in between the 2 really difficult. I personally think that IF it ever happens, it’s still far off because there’s going to be a lot of work involved, so naturally it’s going to take some time.

In my opinion, it would be great if Microsoft eventually unified all of its versions. That would mean no matter what kind of device you have, you could still play with each other. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see when it happens. But remember, Microsoft already announced their goal at E3, so sooner or later it’s going to happen.

Do you think that Minecraft PC would get Xbox live support?
Do you think that the unification of all Minecraft versions would be a good thing? Or bad?

Let others know in the comments.

WordPress vs Medium

There are a lot of blogging platforms out there, but two of the most popular platforms out there are WordPress and Medium. We’ll be reviewing both of them below and discuss what features the both of them have, allowing you to decide which platform works best for your blogging requirements and target audience.

WordPress.

wordpress-bg-medblue

If you’ve been using the internet for quite some time, WordPress requires no introduction. WordPress is available in two variants: WordPress.org which can be installed on your website server or WordPress.com which is hosted on WordPress servers, like my blog. Both the options are free, however, wordpress.org is open source and free to download but you still have an expense of hosting etc. wordpress.com on the other hand, is completely free. Bear in mind though that the functionality on wordpress.com is limited as opposed to wordpress.org on the free plan if you want additional functionality you have to upgrade to the paid plans available.

WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform. Many businesses also use WordPress for stuff like e-commerce as well as advertising their products and services online. Many news websites also use WordPress.

The benefits of wordpress.com are that there is a whole community of like-minded bloggers out there looking for new blogs to follow, so you have quite a few readers, to begin with as opposed to wordpress.org where you basically have to market your site more to get views. Another cool little feature of wordpress.com is that you can follow blogs that you like and every time you open WordPress the newest posts from blogs you follow appear in your reader. Bear in mind, however, that the views you will get initially from the wordpress.com community is fairly low compared to what you will get on Medium as we will discuss later below.

Medium.

medium-logo-2015-logotype-1024x768

Medium is fairly new to the web. It has quite a large base of users and is growing rapidly, becoming more popular by the day. However, Medium’s approach is different from WordPress. WordPress basically allows you to have your own website, themes etc. and you have control over your site. Medium, on the other hand, is similar to a social networking site, per se. You just write articles, people view them and yeah. More so, it’s not like a blog where you have a page that has all your posts.

One neat little feature of Medium that WordPress lacks is publications. Basically, more like a magazine, you can create a publication and write articles inside that specific publication. You can group posts in categories in a blog, but it still isn’t as convenient as a publication.

Below we will compare some of the key features between Medium and WordPress.

Writing interface.

When it comes to writing interface, it can’t get much better than Medium’s. A completely minimalistic and distraction-free interface, it really can’t get much better than this.

 

screenshot-1

A minimalistic and distraction-free writing experience. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Customization.

Again, WordPress is a blog and a website. The customizations you can get with WordPress is far higher than what you get with Medium, which is more like a social network. With WordPress, you get a huge variety of themes available, and you can even dive into CSS and make your site exactly the way you want it. You can have different pages, fonts, you name it. Medium is merely just a write and publish tool. Sure, you do have a huge community there waiting to read your article as opposed to having your own website, but a website is a website.

Readability.

Readability on WordPress is theme dependent. It all boils down to what theme you have. Readability on Medium is nice and easy on the eyes. The font is big and easy to read.

Audience.

Medium has a lot of users. It’s a very big community that loves reading and will be more than happy to check your post out as soon as it’s out. Medium also has a feature called ‘recommend’ which is basically more like a ‘like’ feature. When you recommend an article on Medium, it will show that article to your followers, thus promoting that article. Basically like a ‘share’ feature. WordPress, on the other hand, is a website. If you’re using wordpress.com there is a community out there looking for blogs to follow, so you’ll have quite a few readers, to begin with. I’ve made quite a few blog friends on WordPress too. 😉

Conclusion.

There is no way of saying which platform is better. It all boils down to what your requirements are. WordPress may work for me but Medium could be better for you. But the points that are given above should (hopefully) help you decide what platform is best for you.

The best way to find out what platform works for you is to go and check them out. On all of the options above, deleting your account is simple and hassle free.

WordPress.com

WordPress.org

Medium

What blogging platform do you use? What are your reasons? Let everyone know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading this, guys. With that, see you all next time 🙂

P.S Please comment ideas below for my next horse & rider weekly post, I’m completely out of ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

What Jonty thinks while being ridden

So today’s post is going to have a bit of a twist to it. I decided to post something fun, so I’m going to do “what Jonty thinks while being ridden”. Without further ado, let’s get into this.

When you click your tongue.

Ugh human. Stop making that irritating noise. You think that’s going to make me go forward. Ugh. What a waste of time and energy!

When you say “trot on!”

As if I understand English. What do these humans expect of me? To understand their stupid languages?

When you squeeze.

Oh hey human. You think your lousy little legs are going to do anything? Oh stop annoying me, for once! You’re not going to get me forward but you’re just irritating me.

When you kick.

Blech. Stop it. Oh, well you won’t leave me alone. I’ll just have to go faster! Ugh the hate I have for these humans.

When you kick harder.

Ugh don’t kick the living daylights out of me! Fine fine I’ll go faster!

When you tap on the shoulder.

*ignore*

When you smack on the shoulder.

Ugh just stop annoying me.

When you kick & smack on the shoulder at the same time.

Why do you have to ride me anyway??

When you tap on the bottom.

*raise head* What do you think you’re doing human? *go faster*

When you smack on the bottom.

*pathetic little buck* Just leave me alone or get off my back!! *go faster*

When the reins are too long.

FREEDOM!! I AM FREE!! Oh wait… annoying human is still on my back, talking to the other annoying human on the ground. (instructor)

When the reins are too short.

Human, I’m NOT A DRESSAGE HORSE!!!!

When you make Jonty go in front of the lesson.

Human, you know I’m a follower. How will I become a leader? Oh hey other horse… I’m going to kick you. *tries to kick horse behind*

When someone’s cutting the grass in the field more than 2 miles away.

Human! HUMAN! THERE’S A MONSTER in that field!!! YES A MONSTER!!!! AHHHH! Take me away take me away now!!

When the horse in front is going too slow.

You see, human wants me to go. But the other human doesn’t want his horse to go. What choice do I have? *go from canter to walk*

When the horse behind is coming too close.

Human! That horse is going to eat me ahhhh!!! Oh I see human won’t do anything… *slow down and try to kick*

When the rider gets distracted.

Oh, the joy. The joy I have! In slowing down. Every second, but human does not realize.

Human’s POV:
*suddenly find himself in the middle of the arena almost at a halt*

When the rider gets nervous and does something stupid.

*lays ears back* Ugh human. Just wish I could throw you off!

Those are just some of the cool stuff that goes on during our lessons! I hope you enjoyed.

And, with that, see you guys NEXT TIME!!

Things NOT to do at the barn

If you’re a horse owner who stables their horse at a public barn, you know there’s always that one person: and I don’t even need to say who that one is. So below are some things NOT to do at the barn, so you’re not one of those people.

  1. Don’t be Mr / Ms. Richest
    A common pet peeve of all horse owners is that one person at the barn who has a lot of money to splurge, but the worst part is: he/she goes on bragging about it.
  2. Don’t be Mr / Ms. Know it all
    Sure, you may know a lot, but you certainly don’t know EVERYTHING. Others do know more than you know, just saying.
  3. Grooms are human beings too, in case you didn’t know.
    So STOP treating them like a piece of… I needn’t say any further.
  4. Rider’s pay the instructor for classes, not you.
    So let the instructor do their job unless they ask you for help, which I’m sure is never, ever going to happen. Don’t go on being the instructor that everyone is plain fed up of. Just let a professional instructor do their job, please.
  5. Don’t be that annoying music man.
    You love to listen to music. Nothing wrong with that. But you play it at such a loud volume that it can be heard on the other side of the barn. Not everybody loves the music that you do, just saying. Besides, how do your ears even cope with such a loud volume?

I think that’s all what I have to say. This post is not intended as an offense to anyone.

Short post :/

But yeah, with that, see you all next time!

A tragic Minecraft experience

Wow. So just a few days ago, I wrote a post on tips for surviving the Nether. Looks like the Ghasts in my world weren’t happy with that. Well, I’ll tell you a story about my experience in Minecraft.

I had this survival world for 3 weeks. I started out as just any random survival player; punching trees and gathering resources, making a house, making a bed, mining etc. However, I got exceptionally lucky, in fact, luckier than I have ever been in a survival world. I’ll tell you why.

I started a Mineshaft going down until I struck a cave. A cave filled with iron and Redstone. However, there was a one-block hole in the floor I didn’t notice, underneath which there was a pool of lava. You can imagine what would’ve happened. I did lose quite a lot of stuff, however, I didn’t lose everything. You see, before I (my Minecraft self) died, I managed to swim in the lava as close to land as possible. That way, when I died, a few of my stuff burnt in the lava, but quite a lot of it popped out on land. My spawn point was at my house, and I had seen my stuff pop out on land. I immediately went down the mineshaft, vary of the hole this time. I expanded the hole in the floor so I could go down and collect my stuff. I managed to retain my helmet and leggings, however, I lost my chest plate and boots. I then blocked the lava out with cobblestone and carried on exploring the cave.

As if my death had something to do with it, I found diamonds. I however first mined the iron and Redstone, went back up to my house, smelted the iron and replenished my tools that I had lost in my (not so tragic) death.

I went back down the mineshaft a Minecraftian day later, all ready to mine the diamond. I mined around the diamond (which you should always do, to make sure there’s no lava or anything around) and to my surprise, I found 5 diamonds. I made sure there was nothing left to mine in my reach (there was a lot of stuff that was right next to lava; I was in no mood to even attempt mining that). I went back up into my house and crafted myself a diamond sword and pickaxe; thus finishing my diamonds, but come on, what else should you make?

After a few Minecraftian days, I went back down into the mineshaft and found obsidian. Score! I mined the obsidian with much difficulty due to the lava surrounding it. I went back up in my house (sorry for saying that so many times) and made myself a Nether portal.

I then wrote my tips on surviving the Nether post, mostly as a motivation for myself and points for me. Until yesterday, I geared up the courage and went into the Nether.

Everything seemed to be going well. I survived 2 ghast attacks, accidently stared at an Enderman but killed it. However, during one of the Ghast battles, a fireball landed on the roof of the Nether near the portal, and a lava fall started, surrounding my portal with lava. To top it up, I was afraid of blocking the lava off because of 2 magma cubes in the vicinity. I then performed a neat little magic trick and got rid of the magma cubes (I quickly turned my difficulty to peaceful causing them to despawn, then turned my difficulty up again.)

I then started to block off some of the lava by placing cobblestone around the portal. And that’s when the real tragedy hit.

A ghast didn’t like the fact that I gave tips on fighting ghasts in my blog post. He shot a fireball at me. It missed. However before I could move, he shot a second one which pushed me into the lava fall. Within seconds, I died. And as far as I could remember, I heard all my stuff burning. As I respawned, I immediately turned my difficulty to peaceful and went back into the nether, to verify the loss of my stuff. The results were exactly what I had expected. All my stuff burnt down. Not only that but also a huge pit of fire right at my portal.

Stricken with tragedy, I went back into the overworld. I’d have to start, everything from scratch. Fortunately, I had kept back some stuff in my chest back home, so as to give me a kick start, but still. I lost all my diamond tools, my cobblestone, my torches, my armor. And I doubt if I would be able to get myself established again.

I am now confused with two choices. And I need your opinion on what you would do in this type of a scenario.

Choice #1: Start afresh with a new world, or
Choice #2: Start afresh in the same world, so you can utilize the little stuff you had.

Please comment below what would you do in this type of a scenario! And I’d like to offer my condolences to CrazyMiner02, who was so tragically killed by a ghast.

Quite a dramatic and action filled post! Everything mentioned above, by the way, is real and not made up. With that, see you guys next time!

Gaming weekly: Tips for surviving the Nether in Minecraft

The Nether is every Minecraftian’s nightmare. Only a few brave people venture to the Nether, and only a few survive. Below are some tips that I’ve gathered for going into the Nether:

  1. Keep obsidian and a flint & steel with you.
    That is in case a ghast damages your portal, you’re not trapped in the nether, FOREVER.
  2. Try and build a cobblestone house around your portal, as soon as you reach the nether.
    Again, ghasts. Ghasts are the nightmare of any Minecraft player.
  3. Try and stay as close to the portal as possible.
    That way, if you fall in a fight with a pigman, you can quickly hop back into the overworld. Venture far from your portal in the overworld to make the pigman forget you, then return back.
  4. Stay away from soul sand!!
    Soul sand is a block found in the nether. Nothing wrong with that, however when you try to walk on soul sand, you walk extremely slow. I must add that it doesn’t affect mobs.
  5. Keep your eyes on the floor.
    Because in the nether, it’s possible that there’s a 1 block hole in the ground, below which lies a huge pool of lava.
  6. Lava flows faster in the nether than in the overworld.
    Lava is actually quite sluggish in the overworld, but not in the nether! In the nether, lava moves at the speed that water moves at in the overworld. And you had better know, water is really fast in the overworld. So be careful out there.
  7. DO NOT ATTACK PIGMAN!!!
    These otherwise neutral mobs, when hit, they form a coalition and attack you all at once. Death guaranteed. Only pick up a fight with a pigman if you have a SMITE enchantment on a diamond sword, that way you can kill it faster. Or else, only attack a pigman if you’re lost and want to get back to spawn and have placed all your stuff in an Enderchest.
  8. Use the Nether as means of transportation.
    Have two houses in the overworld? Both of which are worlds apart from each other? Not to worry. One block travelled in the nether = eight blocks travelled in the overworld. You can back a Minecart system in the Nether from one portal to the other. You save far more time.
  9. Do not waste arrows on ghasts.
    The only easiest way to kill a ghast is by deflecting its own fire charges. Quick and easy with no resources on your part. Only use arrows if you have a very good aim, or simply have too many arrows to waste.

I think that’s all what I have to say! Quick and short post, just to keep the ball rolling. I’m going to upload a Horse & Rider Weekly this Friday, which I haven’t uploaded in ages so stay tuned for that as well!

Until then, see you guys next time 🙂

Horse & Rider Weekly #14: Dealing with horse changes

Today’s post is actually going to start off as a message to all instructors out there before we get on to the rider’s point of view.
In the horse world, you’re going to come across a lot of instructors. And I’m saying this because it’s a fact of life: you will come across AT-LEAST 2 instructors. And like anything, each instructor has his/her own opinions and own styles of teaching. Now this also goes in conjunction with the student’s style of learning. So today’s topic will be about changing horses.
Many instructors believe that changing horses every lesson, or every other lesson, helps you to learn quicker and to gain more experience. Now again, this goes in conjunction with the student: sometimes the student really does learn better! Some instructors believe that sticking to one horse helps you learn quicker, and only once you reach a certain level of confidence should you be transferred to another horse, to broaden your experience. And many students feel that way too, me for example. It would be perfect if the two types of instructors and the two types of riders corresponded with each other, but the world is a broad place. I’ve been through both of the above types of instructors, and I prefer being with the latter, the one who believes in sticking to one horse. However, it was only recently that I got to stick to one horse: so I’m going to provide some tips below on how to cope with a horse change if you’re a rider like me, but before that, I’m going to put a message out there for all instructors first from a student’s perspective.

TALK. Talk to your students. Discuss what learning styles suit them, and also discuss what teaching style you prefer. Remember, in the teaching industry, it’s impossible to go by the book. You need to adapt as per the student’s style, what helps him/she learn faster and better. So talk and adapt yourself as per the student’s requirements.

Okay, now that we have addressed the instructors out there, time to get back to students with tips on how to cope with a horse change, if you’re a rider like me. These tips do seem to work for me, so I’m not sure if they’ll work for you or no.

  1. Relax!!
    As with anything in the horsey world, relaxation is key. Remember, the horse knows when you’re nervous and then he gets nervous. And when the horse gets nervous, all I can say is things won’t go well. Just relax, and watch the magic happen.
  2. Think to yourself: “what if this was the horse I am used to?”
    Just ask yourself the question and think it over. Start imagining that this is the horse you’re used to riding (in my case, that would be Jonty.) It doesn’t make a dramatic difference, but it does help. You know, something is better than nothing.
  3. Stop thinking!
    After relaxation, the most important thing is to stop thinking. Talking from experience, the more you think, the more you make things bad for yourself. Simply put, if you get thrown on a new horse which you haven’t seen in your life then STOP THINKING about it being a new horse, just go ahead and DO IT. Believe me, it works. However, one important thing to remember is that this goes in conjunction with relaxation. The two just have to work together: you can’t not relax but stop thinking then expect it to work, or vice versa.
  4. Ask others about the horse you’re given.
    If you’re taking lessons, then ask your instructor about the horse. Unfortunately, though, many people are shy to ask questions. And the reason for this? Simply put,  many instructors out there hate it when their students ask them so-called stupid questions. And I’ve also encountered instructors like that in the past: so here I am, putting yet another message out there for instructors:

    Teaching is all about questions. And simply put, if you cannot tolerate questions then simply give up on teaching. Put yourself in the student’s shoes and think.

    If you’re not taking lessons, then ask other riders at your yard. Whoever you ask, though, don’t be shy. And the reason you should ask is because each horse has his own perks. For example, in my case, Jonty doesn’t mind – sometimes he’s immune to the riding crop on his shoulder, but when you go behind your leg he bucks. Bibi, on the other hand, hates the riding crop altogether, irrespective of where. If I wouldn’t have asked my instructor where to use the crop on Bibi, things would’ve turned out much worse because I’d have hit him hard as I’m used to on Jonty, only to find myself running around and around because Bibi thought I hit him too hard: he took it as a cue for a canter or a gallop. So please, in the best interest of you and your horse, don’t be shy to ask!

So I think that’s all that I can say: writer’s block as always :/
If you have any other tips please leave them in the comments below!
With that, see you next time 🙂

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