On 2 September 2010 I wrote my first flight simulator related blog article and published it to an old blog site I called “Position and Hold”. Ten years later, I’m still actively writing about my involvement in the hobby of flight simulation. And with a brand new simulator release from Microsoft, there’s going to be so much more to write about.
A few years later I did rebranded my site to bring all of my simulation based gaming interests into my GrizzlyBearSims brand and renamed the site “Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Farming Too!) which of course is the name of a great movie starring the late John Candy and Steve Martin. The concept was to have a single platform to write about flight sim (Planes), train sim (Trains) and ATS/ETS2 Truck Sim (Automobiles) and of course also throw in Farming Simulator into the mix.
Over the past 4-5 years my writings typically followed which ever of the above mentioned topics I spent the most time enjoying. While I enjoy ALL the titles I mentioned above, my writings have been the most passionate when they discussed the topic of flight simulation. This is why you’ll find a lot more posts on flight sim than any of the other topics.
As previously mentioned, with the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, there will be so much more to experience and ultimately write about. I’ve already been busy enjoying the new sim and providing as much information as I can through both this blog site and also my YouTube channel. In addition, I’ve been rebuilding my GrizzlyBearSims Discord channel to feature all things simulation. Please join me as I pop the cork on the past 10 years and what will hopefully be many more years to come.
I haven’t been active on social media much the past few weeks. Since Monday, 16 March I’ve been working from home and being in the IT field, I feel as if I’m just as busy in this remote configuration as I’ve been at any time based in an office. Still managing the same projects, much of the same work and even some new challenges as a company of over 100K employees all fight for available bandwidth across a VPN network. The good news is everything seems to be holding together well and we’re all just trying to make the very best of the situation.
My wife and I, (along with all my family members around the world) are all healthy. In early March and well before the grocery store shortages began, my wife and I began shopping for essentials as we suspected things would get bad here in the US. We didn’t hoard, but we added to our pantry some essentials and even some non-essentials such as snacks. After all, if we’re going to be confined to our house for any length of time….might as well enjoy it with some Twinkies, Oreos and bean dip. No, this doesn’t get consumed together. LOL
Parents Role Reversed
I’m really not sure at what point in life the role of parent/son gets reversed. After my mom passed away last year, I’ve had a few opportunities where I needed to apply a little more persuasion with my dad than I’ve ever done before. My dad will turn 77 this fall and for the most part he’s doing well coping after my mom’s passing. But I had to be a bit forceful a few weeks ago about insisting that he go to the grocery store and purchase a little extra food than normal and also that he limits his visits. He gets it and I rest easier being 1,000 miles away from him that he’ll be OK through this.
We all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to how we deal with the stresses of life. My wife and I both lost our moms last year. She and I were very eager to celebrate the new year and say goodbye to what we thought was a crappy year (2019) and hello to what we thought would be a very good year (2020). Needless to say, the jury is still out on just how this is all going to unfold and what things are going to look like on the other side. But as I said, we all have different coping mechanisms….
While I’m busy with work, I’m still stuck at home. I’ve been spending a bit of time doing some virtual flying. It had been a few months since I had seriously spent any time with Prepar3D (P3D) and I’m enjoying flying long-haul flights where I can start the flight up before my work begins and either land during my lunch time or after my day ends.
This week all I’m flying are cargo runs as I still can’t believe we have as many real-world passenger flights flying all over the world and furthering the spread of COVID-19. But I digress. As I said, the flights I’m flying are cargo runs with Fedex. I’ve done some flights to and from Memphis, but now embarking on some imaginative flights to help shuttle medical supplies, food and perhaps even some toilet paper to some far away places.
I’m no expert. But we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay Home! Wash your hands! And while we all need to stay informed, limit your exposure to the 24 hours news cycle to just a few minutes each day (perhaps a few times a day).
I may storyboard some of my flying adventures and post them here to my blog. Who knows….
Until next time….
Please stay safe! Remember, the life you save…might just be someone else.
First, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to read this posting. Perhaps you’ve come here from my brief YouTube announcement, from a posting in Discord or you just simply stumbled onto my blog site. Whatever the reason….I truly appreciate you taking the time from your busy day to read this important message.
Getting to the Point!
I realize I have a tendency of using 10,000 words when perhaps less than 100 will do the job. So with that, I’m switching gears and making plans with regards to my gaming social media life. For the time being, I’m stepping back from the creation of “Let’s Play” videos from my GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel. I believe this news has truly been a long time coming.
For the past year, I’ve struggled with the creative motivation needed to keep my channel current. I’ve taken lengthy breaks in an effort to recharge my batteries, but once I restart I once again hit the brick wall called burnout. Unfortunately, with my heavy work schedule and other life commitments, the stop/start would only continue to stop…then start.
Don’t Touch That Dial!
Please Don’t Unfriend/Unfollow Me Just Yet! I’m going to make some changes to both my Discord channel and eventually my YouTube channel. These changes will be a rebranding effort to support SimplySafeMods.com. What? You haven’t heard about SimplySafeMods?
If you’ve been around my YouTube, Discord and this blog site for very long, you know my thoughts on some mod sites. I wrote an article a few years ago where I identified a few “reputable mod sites for Farming Simulator Mods”. Unfortunately for all of us, several of the sites I listed as “reputable” are no longer around. This includes PC-SG, FS-UK and Mod Central. I created SimplySafeMods.com in an effort to offer a safe, reliable, fast and absolutely free alternative to the scam mod sites such as uploaded.net.
At SimplySafeMods.com we work directly with the original mod author so you can be absolutely sure the mod you download is genuine. In addition, SimplySafeMods is 100% ad-free and offer fast download speeds.
At the present time, SimplySafeMods is hosting both Farming Simulator 17 and Farming Simulator 19 mods. Please take a few minutes and visit the site and browse our selection of mods. You might be surprised at just what you’ll find available with some truly awesome new mods coming very soon.
The first thing you’ll notice change is with Discord. The GrizzlyBearSims Discord channel will be rebranded to become SimplySafeMods. I want a method for both mod developers and the users of their mods to have a way to communicate with each other in an effort to provide reasonable support. Discord is a much better solution than a clunky forum.
Finally, I will eventually rebrand my YouTube presence to also reflect SimplySafeMods. I believe YouTube can be used to help promote SimplySafeMods as well as be a platform to host mod reviews etc.
This is not goodbye
I have zero regrets about the time I’ve spent making YouTube content. I’ve met some really incredible individuals who have become dear friends to me. This is just about shifting gears and focusing on a new project. I will continue to be around Discord and will continue to watch all the great content from those of you producing it.
Before you go, please do me a favor. First, visit and join my Discord channel and say hello. Second, visit and bookmark SimplySafeMods.com. Browse the FS17/FS19 mods and see if anything interests you. Then stay tuned to both Discord and SimplySafeMods for new mod releases.
As always, thank you for your friendship.
Well…let’s see. The last time some of you heard from me was just before my wife and I embarked on our three week European vacation. This was back in mid-July. That seems like it was ages ago…and I suppose it was.
The trip was mostly uneventful. I say mostly…only because both my wife and I got sick during the trip and we had to change our plans as a result. We spent the first several days recuperating and then the heatwave hit. Needless to say it was HOT! We were in England on the hottest day of record and it was miserable.
On our flight home, we both were just ready to put it all behind us. After all, 2019 hasn’t been the best our best year. Shortly after the new year, my Mother-in-law passed away and then in April my own mom died. This vacation was supposed to be a time for my wife and I to relax and it was anything but. But as I said, we were on our way home and as the old saying goes…”There’s no place like home”.
After arriving home we found we had a leak in the upstairs master bathroom that had ruined the ceiling in the kitchen. For the next several weeks our house resembled something out of the movie Outbreak. I half expected Dustin Hoffman to come walking out. We had a giant containment room setup in the kitchen with loud fans and air scrubbers running for 5 days and then the entire downstairs ceiling had to be repainted.
To cap it all off, our upstairs AC decided to stop working and this resulted in about a week of learning to sleep in warm temperatures which just reminded us of the England trip.
Fortunately, things are slowly starting to come together. We managed to make it through the long Labor Day holiday weekend without any major issue and we’re both looking forward to fall.
I’m sorry I’ve been mostly absent from discord and social media. Needless to say…I’ve just not really been in the mood. I will try to change this in time.
Thanks for reading. Talk soon…
I participate in two different hobbies which in the past have always promoted good will towards mankind. The first is amateur radio (ham radio) which brings likeminded radio/electronics enthusiasts from around the world where we find each other on the airwaves and use our common interests to bridge the issues that divide us. In this hobby, I’ve talked to fellow hams all over the world. From someone a few blocks away all the way to hams in England, Japan, Australia, China, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Israel. We exchange our thoughts, ideas and our dreams for a peaceful and better world. In my over 10 years of being an FCC licensed amateur radio operator, I’ve never heard anything other than positive vibes regardless who is talking and regardless of where they are talking from.
Years ago, the flight simulation hobby was just like this. VATSIM, IVAO and the internet in general has brought many of us from differing cultures together for a common interest and that is aviation and flight simulation.
Last week on one of the Facebook groups I belong to, a fellow flight simmer posted a series of screen shots he had taken from his flight simulator to showcase a flight he had recently enjoyed. The pictures showed an aircraft from the Israeli airlines El-Al. The image was simply celebrating the history of Israel. The image, nor the typed message from the original poster didn’t contain any hateful, hurtful or political remarks. Yet, just a few minutes after it was posted….several members began sharing their hateful, spiteful and dangerous comments.
Thinking back to the immediate days after September 11, 2001….VATSIM shut down their network to coincide with what was happening in the real world. I was extremely proud that something which is just a hobby, made the decision to also cease operations during the timeframe where no other commercial aircraft was flying around the world. I received messages from fellow flight simmers who also were members of the same virtual airline I was flying for at the time (American virtual Airlines) offering their condolences for the tragic events that took place that day. Some of these fellow members were from the Middle East. They realized this hobby has no place for hate and political BS. We just want to fly our virtual aircraft.
Our world and our hobby is not the same as it was on the 10th of September 2001. The internet and social media has unfortunately created a mass of “keyboard warriors” who spew their hate, spew their political agendas and their absolute ignorance. I’m not being naïve about this, I’m simply saying that this hobby doesn’t have room for this behavior. The good news???? The admins of this Facebook group did quickly act, they shut down the post and they banned those who were spewing their hate towards the El-Al photograph.
I’m a fan of all airlines and while I mostly fly American Airlines, Southwest and British Airways….I also simulate operations for airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air and YES…I also fly El-Al from time to time. I’m not planning to stop and I’m not planning to stop sharing screenshots of these flights. If this happens to become the new norm (and I don’t think it will), I’m not sure I want to remain participating (at least not publicly) in the hobby any longer.
For the most part I realize the overwhelming majority who participates in our hobby will agree with what I’m saying. However, there is that old saying which reads, “a few bad apples can spoil the entire barrel”. So I hope you’ll join me in ensuring the bad apples never make it into the basket. If while on social media you see the type of behavior I’ve described, say something…report it. I’m not suggesting you act the same way (two wrongs don’t make a right), but stepping in, reporting it and I’d even go so far as insisting the admins do the right thing and place temporary or permanent bans on the offenders is really the only way this can be stopped.
Next week I’m going to discuss the struggle for balance between between performance of the sim versus maximum immersion. The following week I’m going to give an overview and some tips if you are planning to move away from Envtex/Envshade to the new REX Environment Force. Then if nothing happens, the week following I plan to share with you my “Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3d/FSX”. I hope you’ll take the time to read.
Until next time…
Be Kind to each other….
I began working on this article to publish on my GrizzlyBearSims gaming blog over two months ago. I also talked about my weight loss and exercise journey on one of my last YouTube Videos before my break. As I had over 90% of the article written, I didn’t want it to go to waste so I’ve completed it and it’s ready to publish. While this won’t be a regular topic on my gaming blog, it is something I’m passionate about and something that many of us truly can benefit from. So perhaps every few months I’ll throw together some health related topics and include them here. But it will certainly be less than 25% of my normal content. If you’re interested in discussing more about this, you can reach me via Discord message.
We’ve all seen and heard the typical stereotypes regarding the un-healthy lifestyle of most gamers. Let’s face it, if you consider yourself a gamer…well, you probably enjoy spending many hours sitting while enjoying what ever type of game you enjoy. It’s just the way it goes! Of course, perhaps this article already finds you also living an active lifestyle. If so, congratulations and you can probably stop reading. But if you’re like me and spend 50+ hours a week at a high stress desk job, sometimes arrive before the sun comes up and usually leaves after the sun has set and the amount of exercise you achieve is the quick walk to the vending machine and back. Then perhaps this article might interest you.
Go See Your Doctor
Now before I get started allow me to just say this. Before starting any diet/exercise program you really should consult with your primary care or family doctor first. In addition, for those of us who have experienced more than a few trips around the sun…this should be done once a year. Some insurance providers even cover these “Wellness Exams” 100% with no co-pay. But the important take-away from this is to consult with your doctor just to be sure you are safe to begin an exercise program.
I’m Not a Doctor…
…and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night either. I’m also not a dietician, fitness expert or anything else related to this subject. I’m just a regular guy who once was overweight, out of shape and decided to do something about it. Then a few years passed and I almost let it all go down hill again. The topics I’m going to cover are simply what have worked for me. Will they work for you? Most likely they will…but my method does require some commitment and yes…a lot of hard work. Again, go see your doctor and remember this is just my method.
How Weight Loss Works
A friend of mine posted the below “How to Lose 10 lbs. in a week” meme on Facebook the other day. Despite what you might see on TV, this meme is 100% accurate. Simply put…you can’t lose 10 lbs. in a week. Once you accept this fact, it makes the true understanding about how weight loss through diet/exercise possible.
In simple terms, a normal/healthy human body will lose weight when the amount of calories burned through some form of exercise is greater than the amount of calories consumed. Said in the opposite way, a normal/healthy human body will GAIN weight when you sit on the sofa all day and eat nothing but cheeseburgers and barely move.
While the concept of losing weight by burning more calories than you consume is relatively easy to understand, this is where the discipline comes into play. The only way to really make this work is to monitor your exercise and count calories. But fear not…there are some wonderful tools that will make this easy peasy and I’ll tell you about the tools I use in just a moment.
But What About Those Fad Diets
Oh…you mean the ones you see on TV? Like Jenny Craig, SouthBeach Diet, WeightWatchers etc. Yes, these will work…but have you checked the price of those meals? WOW! These programs work (if you adhere to the program) by simply limiting your calorie intake. But you can achieve the exact same thing by shopping at your local grocery store and preparing your own meals. Plus you’ll save hundreds of dollars in the process.
Now I do typically keep a few Healthy Choice (or other brand) frozen meals in my freezer. These are for when I just don’t have the time to cook. The reason I do this is as a safety net. If something is keeping me from cooking, then the typical default plan is to go get fast food. WRONG! So I keep a few frozen meals in my freezer and will eat these instead. While these are not as healthy as fresh cooked food, these are far better than fast food. Plus it’s really easy to know just how many calories I’m consuming and can add that to my daily plan.
The Basic Numbers
Like most things…the science with weight loss through diet/exercise is a numbers game. As I’ve already pointed out, a normal/healthy human body will lose weight when the amount of calories burned through exercise is greater than the amount of calories consumed. But to really understand how this works, we need to know a few numbers. These numbers may vary depending on the source. The numbers I’m listing below are from a website I’ll talk more about later called MyFitnessPal. Also, these numbers are based on my age, height and gender. For the record, I’m 52 years old, 6’0” and I’m a guy.
Based on the info I mentioned above, I would need to eat/consume 2,250 calories just to maintain my weight. Or 1,750 per day to lose one pound per week or 1,500 calories per day to lose up to two pounds per week.
Just for comparison, looking at the numbers for a 6’0” tall, 52 year old woman the numbers would be 2,060 calories per day to maintain current weight. Or 1,560 calories per day to lose one pound per week or 1,200 calories to lose up to two pounds per week. As you can tell, the differences between the male and female body as it relates to metabolism are quite different.
So yes, in theory….you could simply just consume the above mentioned calories and still stay seated on the couch and either maintain or lose weight. But that’s no fun and it’s not healthy!
The Benefits of Exercise
When I was a young boy, I absolutely hated calisthenics. That’s what our exercising program in elementary school was called. I just wanted to go out to the playground and run, jump and chase the girls around the playground. The end result would most likely have been the same…but instead we had to line up in the gymnasium and do all sorts of things. But now that I’m older and of course much, much wiser…I fully understand the value of getting my butt up and moving.
For me personally, I have elevated cholesterol numbers (used to be very high) and I have above normal blood pressure readings and also suffer from acid reflux. Most likely the recent stress of my job and a few other things that have been going on is contributing to the above normal BP readings. While I’m not in the danger zone, my doctor wants me to reduce the numbers AND SO DO I!
Regarding my cholesterol. About 15 years ago it was sky high. My primary care doctor at the time prescribed me one of the popular statin drugs and I popped a pill every day for about 8 years. The statin drug did what it was supposed to do, but I began suffering from the side effects after using it for that many years. I had to do something and thankfully I changed doctors and found one that helped motivate me to exercise more.
So in my case, the exercise (and diet of course) eventually allowed me to lower my cholesterol to safe and normal levels naturally. Unfortunately, I got lazy again. But I’m back in gear and working the numbers back down to safe levels.
So that my friends, is one of the benefits to exercise. There are many others including actually getting a better nights sleep. I sleep so much better when I’m exercising.
As I also mentioned acid reflux. When I was really heavy (several years ago) I took prescription Nexium daily. When I lost all my weight, I was able to quit the Nexium. I should have listened to my body as a few months ago as I allowed my weight to creep above 200 pounds, I began having acid reflux symptoms again and had to go back on Nexium. Lesson learned! Always, listen to your body.
My Exercise Program
Once again I’m going to encourage you to visit with your doctor before starting any form of exercise. I’m also going to remind you of what I’ve already said regarding these are the things that work for me. With that out of the way, an exercise program can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. For me, I absolutely love walking and walking is what I do and it’s just about the only thing I do for my exercise program. Yes, I do occasionally lift small weights…but generally I just walk.
My daily goal is 10,000 steps per day. 10,000 steps per day is roughly (give or take) about 5 miles. As previously stated, I love walking. While I will walk on my treadmill during inclement weather, I much prefer to be outside. I have a park across from my neighborhood which is safe and I can walk and listen to the birds sing. I also have areas around my office building where I can also safely walk and on warm weather days see many others out stretching their legs and taking in the fresh air. But yea…I just simply walk.
But…I walk at a fairly fast pace. The courses I typically use will have varying elevation to them. Some flat, some downhill and some uphill. I like the variety as it really gets my heart pumping on the uphill segments, but then allows for a bit of a cooldown on the flat and downhill segments. I can generally cover a mile in just under 16 minutes. Just walking…no jogging.
Gadgets Are Cool
What can I say? I love gadgets and many times gadgets truly help make our lives better. Of course there are a ton of different gadgets related to fitness. I’m going to share with you what I use and how I use them.
As I mentioned earlier, my daily exercise goal is to walk 10,000 steps. While there are many different pedometers available I invested in a Fitbit about 5-6 years ago. I use the Fitbit One model. Unfortunately, the Fitbit One is no longer in production and Amazon sellers are charging an arm and a leg for new ones. But the reason I chose the Fitbit One was I don’t typically wear a watch and I wanted something I could just clip to my belt loop and off I go. I wear it every day, all day. It counts every step I take regardless if I’m intentionally exercising or just walking down the hall. But generally…even if I’m walking down the hall to a meeting, I’m doing that at a fairly brisk pace. Folks in the office used to stare at me. But then they began noticing the weight falling off and I’ve converted many to my lifestyle. The Fitbit One model is fairly basic as it only tracks steps and sleep tracking. Some models will track heartrate and most likely someday I’ll upgrade to a more fancy model. But for now, my Fitbit One is all I want/need.
The Fitbit devices will automagically sync up to the Fitbit website via a smartphone app. This website tracks my steps, active minutes, number of floors I’ve climbed and calories burned. Pretty much all the info I need to monitor my daily exercise goals.
I know….I know! Counting calories is a pain. But hey…there’s an app for that. When I began my weight loss journey (the first time) over 5 years ago, I not only used the Fitbit I mentioned above….but I also used a website (and app) called MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal or MFP for short is truly a thing of beauty and best of all, the Fitbit website and MFP can be integrated in such a way that your fitness tracking will sync to MFP (and somewhat vice versa) so you easily watch and control all your important numbers.
MyFitnessPal also has a sleek smartphone app which makes it super easy to update your food diary when on the go. I personally love the bar code scanner feature of the app when cooking. I can quickly add items to my food diary or even build up complete recipes. The MFP website also contains an extensive database of food items including everything from fast food down to individual ingredients. Super, super easy.
Counting calories is just as important as your individual exercise program. In my opinion, if you are putting in the effort to burn calories and you are not taking the time to carefully count your calories, then you will fail. Everything you consume needs to be accounted for. EVERYTHING! Otherwise, you will fail.
Moderation is Key
The word moderation is your friend especially when it pertains to what you should and shouldn’t eat/drink when on a diet and exercise program. Remember….this is just how I do things. But quite honestly…if you want to eat a Wendy’s Triple burger when on your diet, go for it! Just understand this one triple meat burger weighs in around 1,090 calories, want to add large fries to that order, that’s an additional 530 calories and while we’re at it…let’s finish it off with a small errr I mean large Frosty at 590 calories for a grand total of ……(drum roll please)…..2,210 calories. You better do a whole lot of walking to burn all those calories. But I suppose it can be done.
But seriously, eating the foods you love “in moderation” is still doable while on a diet and exercise program. Unless your doctor specifically tells you to watch your sodium intake…you can still enjoy “in moderation” just about everything from time to time. While I love cheeseburgers as much as the next guy, I would much prefer to cook my own, on my own grill than blow my calorie budget on fast food. But that’s just my opinion.
Speaking of moderation. I’m partial to bit of Bailey’s a few times a week. A one ounce shot of Bailey’s is 98 calories and if I can work it into my dietary budget, I’ll do it.
Speaking of Budgets
I just used the word “budget” when I spoke about working that shot of Bailey’s into my dietary plan. In my earlier failed attempts at trying to make a diet/exercise plan work I never thought of it as a budget. I often had “free days” built into my plan and didn’t accurately count calories or track my workouts. These “free days” were days where I didn’t exercise and I ate whatever I wanted. Free days often turned into back to back free days which often turned into free weeks, free months…..I failed each time. It wasn’t until 5-6 years ago when I bought my Fitbit and signed up for MFP that I truly began to look at things as a budget.
Just like my wife and I operate our household from a budget, you need to think about your diet/exercise program as a budget. The exercise is the income and the food/drink you consume directly comes from that budget. Nothing is free…there are no free days. I’m not saying you have to workout seven days a week. But I am saying you have to be conscience of what you are consuming and how that will impact all your hard work. If you slip, don’t beat yourself up…rather…pick yourself up, dust yourself off and resume the work.
I realize this is a lot of information and a lot of words to read. I also realize this really has nothing to do with simulation based gaming other than, as gamers, we run the risk of not properly looking after ourselves and I’m sharing this with all of you to be helpful. I firmly believe that if you devote just a few hours a week to getting some exercise, getting some fresh air and eating correctly…you’ll feel so much better and possibly add years to your life. The alternative is to continue to feel poorly and in time lose a possible few years. It’s up to you. Just do it!
Until next time…
Stay Healthy My Friends!
Over the course of the next few paragraphs, I’m going to discuss Article 13, YouTube, Modding and the Death of the Internet as we know it….However, first I want to just say a big “Thank You” to all my readers and friends who read my articles (even though I may not always post on a consistent basis). Life has been busy and it’s kept me from writing.
I’ve been working on this article for a few days as I wanted to try to understand the issues behind this proposed legislation and also understand what the impacts potentially are. While I’ll be the first to admit that we do have issues with copyright and intellectual property theft on a large scale and I certainly believe more should be done to control, limit and outright prosecute those who violate these laws…I feel Article 13 is far too overreaching.
Trust me when I say that I still know very little about all the fine details regarding this possible piece of EU Legislation which is being planned, discussed and has a very strong possibility of becoming actual law. But before we get too deep into the weeds here, allow me to first attempt to explain exactly what Article 13 is and how it could unravel YouTube, our favorite video game modding community and essentially cause the death of the Internet as we know it.
What is Article 13?
Article 13 is simply a shortcut term to describe a much larger piece of European Union (EU) legislation titled Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (or EU Copyright Directive for short). Primarily the largest impact to us fall into the individual articles being Article 11 (link tax), Article 13 (meme ban) and Article 13b (copyright-protected visual works). Again, most of the discussions taking place on the interwebz just lump everything in this harmful legislation into the single name of Article 13.
How exactly will Article 13 impact us?
From what I understand after watching several videos (some produced by YouTube), reading text of articles written by Google, Reddit and other sources is Article 13 will force an over-cautious approach to how social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Google, Reddit, Twitter, WordPress etc. will be able to provide content to individuals residing within the 28 member state of the European Union. Allow me to further break down the lengthy subject line I used to title this piece.
Impact to YouTube
The impact of Article 13 to both YouTube and many other online content sharing services can be summarized in the following clause which reads as follows:
“Online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorized protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.”
This “good faith” effort could force YouTube to essentially block a large portion of content to the EU and also prevent any content creators residing in the EU from uploading to the platform. After all, the Article 13 legislation will make YouTube (and others) responsible for the copyright material that appears on these services.
While YouTube and other online services currently have systems in place to assist with detecting certain copyright material, these systems are not perfect and do from time to time place blocks on non-copyright material and allow other copyrighted material to slip through. As this new legislation will make YouTube responsible, the end result might just be a complete block of certain content to these EU nations.
Impact to Modding
For very much the same reason I mentioned above, the impact to our favorite video game modding communities could also be severely impacted. The modding communities for many of my favorite simulation based games are the heart and very soul of the overall gaming community for these titles. They are the reason these gaming titles stay relevant for so long and allow us as gamers to spend hundreds and thousands of hours enjoying the game. As a few of my favorite simulation based games are actually developed within the EU, these developers might be forced to lock down the use of mods within the game.
Death of the Internet As We Known It
There’s a lot more to the Article 13 legislation than just how it can impact the gaming piece of it. As an example, there is a component within the legislation (Article 12a) which proposes granting sports event organizers copyright over recordings of their events. While in principle this might sound like a good idea to prevent the unauthorized re-broadcast of sporting events. It could have an impact on (as an example) on any media captured at a sporting event even including pictures and videos taken of the crowd.
But of course, social media is a big thing in the 21st Century and as companies like YouTube, Twitch, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, WordPress etc. distribute a variety of the impacted content I’ve been talking about, the very face of the internet could be changed forever.
I’m generally the “Less is More” type when it comes to government legislation. It seems like every time we turn around we seem to be confronted with more and more rules impacting many of the freedoms we’ve enjoyed for a long time. I need to be careful as I tip-toe here as I could easily find myself climbing on my political soapbox and I have always tried to keep politics out of my blogging and YouTube content.
Of course, I don’t live in the EU. But that really doesn’t matter. If the Article 13 legislation becomes reality we could see it rolled out on a larger scale. But as I pointed out, anyone who typically reads my content here and has an interest in some of the same simulation based games could certainly see an impact regardless where I live.
Finally, for me it’s not about the impact I might experience in my YouTube content creation. While I make a few dollars a year via advertising revenue on YouTube, this is not and never will be my full-time job. But there are others who have been able to transition to full-time content creators as a result of monetizing their content. Regardless of where these individuals live, I can see Article 13 impacting their ability to continue.
What can we do?
There is a Change.org petition which currently has over 3.6 million supporters. I have signed this petition and I encourage each and every one of my readers to do the same. It took me all of about 30 seconds to sign and join my fellow supporters who are against this legislation. Please consider visiting the Change.Org website and signing the petition. The very internet you save, might just be your very own.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I encourage you to also conduct your own research into Article 13.
As my readers will know, a few months ago I experienced a total PC meltdown/failure of my gaming PC. I went through my normal process of designing, acquiring parts and building my new gaming rig. I won’t deny that the timing of this build was not good, but it was necessary as I had no other PC capable of delivering the performance I need with the games I enjoy.
I’ll share my thoughts, ideas, suggestions etc. on the very subject of this blog article shortly, but as with many of my writings, I like to get my reader thinking about a few things first. So basically the main question you need to ask yourself is for what is the purpose of this new computer you are contemplating buying or building? Now one might think the first and perhaps only question one might need to ask is whether you believe you have the ability to build your own PC. While this is an important question to ponder, at least for now…this blog article IS NOT going to be about how to build your own PC, just whether or not you should (or at least consider the option). So, for what purpose will you use this new PC?
Now one might think the only folks that may stumble onto my blog site or read my writings on other websites are gamers. I’d wager to guess that gamers do make up 95% of my readership, but with the power of SEO….someone, anyone could perform a Google search and end up reading this article whose interest is not gaming. Let me share a few thoughts about the non-gaming and non-performance driven user first.
Basic PC User
In the event you are a non-gamer, non-performance driven PC user and you’ve stumbled onto this writing…WELCOME! Thank you for reading! If you are merely in the market for a new PC simply for web use, word processing, accounting and stuff like that, then you may very well be a candidate for an “off the shelf” store purchased PC. At the end of the day, you might actually save some money this way. Brand named PC’s are available just about everywhere and often bundle deals can be found where you can walk out of the store with a new PC, monitor, printer and even bundled software options that when all considered together do make this the less expensive (and certainly less frustrating) option.
In the real world, I’m an IT Professional. While most of the systems my group deploys are laptop computers, even the desktop PC’s we deploy are store bought models. Yes, we get volume discounts….but the time saved in simply being able to open a box and deploy versus build just can’t be overlooked. Do your homework, shop around and I’m sure you’ll find everything you need.
Another option for the basic PC user to consider is purchasing a laptop computer. Many years ago, laptops were typically only for the wealthy business traveler. But in today’s world, an excellent range of brands/specs can be found and if you would like the flexibility to user a computer just about anywhere, then a laptop PC might be the best choice for you. However, I do invite you to continue reading.
Desktop versus Laptop for Gaming
Before I dive into the world of gaming PC’s and gaming PC components, let me just state the following. While I just suggested a laptop PC might be an excellent choice for the non-gamer, non-performance driven individual, I simply can’t recommend any laptop for the serious gamer. Even a “Gaming” branded laptop will have limitations in what can and can’t be done with that platform. I’ve witnessed too many examples where an individual has shelled out thousands of dollars on a “Gaming Laptop” only to find out they can’t play their favorite games after all. This is especially true if you are working on a tight budget and perhaps you can’t afford the top of the line machine. Laptops offer very little upgrade opportunity and as a result, they don’t hold their resell value very well.
I fully understand budget constraints when planning a new computer purchase. I also understand some folks just can’t afford to have two PC’s and often times a laptop purchase becomes a requirement (students etc.). If this situation applies to you, then I suggest purchasing the very best gaming style laptop you can afford and just understand you’ll most likely have to compromise when it comes to graphic settings in order to get solid performance. Remember, the bottom line between any gaming laptop and the equivalent desktop is portability over performance.
One final comment or perhaps a word of advice if you truly must go down the road of purchasing a gaming laptop. Just because the word “lap” is used to describe this type of computer, don’t even think of trying to game with it in your lap. You’ll need to place the laptop on a hard surface (table/desk) and I would also highly recommend purchasing a cooling pad. Not only will this fairly inexpensive accessory help keep your laptop cool, it will also help to extend the life of the laptop. Remember, heat kills.
The performance driven or gamer type user is a unique breed of user. Computer based tasks such as video editing/video production, CAD Design and gaming have a very similar requirement. Often the need for a lot more horsepower than what can be found in a brand name, store purchased PC. Yes, there are some major brand computer manufactures designing, building and distributing “Gaming Machines”. But in my opinion, these are much, much more expensive in the long run and often come bundled with a lot of extra software which really is never needed or even wanted. This is why a custom built PC will almost always be the less expensive option. In addition, a custom built PC might also allow the consumer to build something on a budget and down the road upgrade a few components.
A Real World Example
The new gaming PC which I recently built, is my dream build. Perhaps for the first time, at least in a long time…the machine is exactly what I want it to be. In other words, I’m not skimping on anything. From a hardware perspective…this machine is state of the art with all the latest and greatest available hardware (at the time of build) and will serve me (as built) for hopefully 5 years. Even my previous build I went with a lower end graphics card and upgraded to the 980Ti about a year later. Not this time.
While I always planned to build this new machine myself, I’ve taken the time to do a little research just to see how much I’ve saved overall by building the machine myself. I’m pleased to say (and my wife is pleased to hear) that I’ve saved over….(drum roll please) ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Yes…over $1,000 I saved by doing the job myself.
But time is money right? It sure is. I’ve invested perhaps 4-5 hours of my time planning, tweaking, researching my build, more tweaking, ordering parts and perhaps another 3-4 hours to assemble and complete the hardware build. So let’s call this 10 hours. But for a geek like me, it’s been 10 hours of reading reviews, watching some videos and basically feeling like a kid in a candy shop. Bottom line, it’s been a fun process. It’s something I enjoy doing and I consider it to be an extension of the gaming hobby.
But you’re an IT Guy, I’m not!
In today’s world, even a non-IT person can design and build their own gaming PC. YouTube and Google are both excellent resources in helping the non-IT Professional in this area. There are also websites such as PCPartPicker which can assist you in designing the build and can help ensure individual parts compatibility. After all, not all PC parts are created equal. Another alternative is to copy cat another build. For example, you can view all the individual hardware components I used in my recent build here. I ordered all my individual PC parts from Amazon, CDW and Newegg.
Intel versus AMD
The Intel versus AMD debate may be as confusing as Coke v. Pepsi, Ford v. Chevy or Prepar3d v. XPlane. Folks have their preferences and for the record my choices are Intel, Coke, Ford and P3D…but I digress. Most of my readers may know that I’m a long time flight simmer and really have only branched into other simulation based games in the past 3-4 years. But I made a really costly mistake about 10 years ago when I made the disastrous switch from Intel to AMD CPU’s. While I can’t specifically speak towards AMD performance with games such as Farming Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2/American Truck Simulator, I can say that just about every flavor of Flight Simulation software I’ve ever used performs far, far better on an Intel CPU than the AMD equivalent. So I would highly suggest you research this topic carefully and when in doubt, make sure Intel is inside. You’ll thank me later. Especially if you’re a flight simmer.
SSD versus HDD
I suppose I could have listed this topic in the above section when talking about debates, but really there isn’t much of a debate regarding SSD versus HDD performance. If your budget allows, you’ll appreciate the performance gain when choosing an SSD over an HDD. If your budget permits, go with multiple SSD’s and perhaps one HDD. Install Windows on its own SSD (recommended 250GB) and on a second SSD install your games and any other supporting applications. If you record your gaming content on a frequent basis, consider installing a fast HDD for this purpose.
Air or Liquid Cooling
As CPU’s have increased in speed over the past several years, the need for liquid cooling has become more important. When I built the beast version 4 about four years ago, I installed an inexpensive water cooled CPU cooler. This cooler only lasted about 6 months and nearly caused my CPU to meltdown before I realized I had an issue. I replaced it with a air cooled CPU cooler as that was what I was used to using. However, as I began researching the new build and specifically how best to keep the Intel i7 8700K cooled, one CPU cooler kept coming up in all the reviews and that was the Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2. I decided I would give a liquid CPU cooler another try and I’m really glad I did. I still frequently monitor my CPU temps just to be on the safe side, but it really keeps my CPU temps nice and low and as I mentioned before….Heat Kills!
The subject of overclocking is a highly debated topic. To be perfectly honest, I’ve overclocked my builds in the past and rarely see a performance difference. Especially when I weigh what little performance gain I might experience versus the added stress caused by the OC’ed components. Remember, Heat Kills!
Budget Build Today, Upgrade later
As I mentioned in the laptop versus PC section, a laptop (gaming or otherwise) offers very little in the area of down the road upgrades. Also, gaming laptops just don’t retain their value. Also as previously mentioned, I’ve built gaming PC’s on a budget and upgraded components at a later time. The issue with my last PC was a motherboard failure, but all other components were just fine. I managed to sell my 980Ti for just a few hundred dollars less than I paid for it. So keep that into consideration and if you are building on a budget and plan to upgrade some parts down the road, make sure you keep the original box. You’d be surprised at how much more you can make from selling used parts when you have the original box, user manual and any other accessories.
I know this article doesn’t cover everything you need to consider with regards to building or buying your next computer. But hopefully I’ve addressed some of the key areas to consider and really I truly believe that just about anyone can build their own PC these days. Just do your research and read the instructions. Seek out assistance via YouTube and Google, take your time….and enjoy the process. When it’s all built and you power it up for the first time, you’ll experience a level of satisfaction that’s hard to beat and just think about all that money you’ve saved which can be used to buy more games.
Until next time….
It’s been 10 days since the covers were battened down on the new GBS Beast v5 (my new gaming PC) and I couldn’t be happier with how she’s been performing. All the simulation based games I truly love and enjoy playing perform flawlessly. Since v5 first booted up with a brand new install of Windows 10, I’ve been feverishly getting everything reinstalled, configured and operational. I’ve managed to resume (and almost catch up) with getting videos recorded for the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel. For me, my simulation gaming is a huge stress reliever for me from the hectic days of real life and I feel that life and my sanity are back to normal, or as close to normal as can be expected in my life. I’m very pleased.
Much of the time I spent with v5 in the first few days could have been considered baby steps. As previously noted, I spent some time playing FS17 and recording content for the YT channel. I also began the daunting task of getting all my flight sim add-ons reinstalled and configured. In addition, spending time getting Prepar3D v4 dialed in with the new system. While P3D v4 is not new to me, the configuration settings with the new performance hardware is drastically different that how I had it setup with the previous gaming machine. But thankfully, the new hardware in the Beast v5 is allowing me to really crank up the graphic settings and both the GPU and CPU are working well together to deliver a spectacular visual experience which I couldn’t be happier about. But with almost 10 days of taking it easy on the new machine, I felt the need to really stress her and see just what she could do.
The True Test
As my long-time readers will know, I’ve been a flight simmer for a very long time. Quite honestly, it’s because of my passion for virtual flight which served as the requirements for the new PC build. I could have saved a lot of money if I were only building the new rig to play FS17, ETS2, ATS etc. But to achieve the stunning levels of immersion and eye-candy I wanted from Prepar3D v4, I needed the CPU/GPU and other elements. But how would this new system perform. Would it, could it deliver the level of performance I really hoped it could. I new of only one way to test this and it would involve pretty much an entire day of my time. Of course, time spent gaming is never a waste of time. Right???
Now, I must admit that I rarely have the time or real desire/interest to commit to a full international long-haul flight in the sim. In my earlier years, spending a full day flying from the US to the UK was something I did quite frequently. But as one begins to settle down and all that…then sacrifices must be made and for the most part my virtual flying generally consists of shorter haul flights in the 2-4 hour range. Also, until the GBS v5 was born….I had difficulties getting the type of performance that would allow a full international long-haul flight without a system crash or really slow performance at the very end. I had hoped this new rig would solve those issues and let me say once again, I couldn’t be happier.
On Saturday, I booted up GBS v5 and loaded up Prepar3d v4.2 with the PMDG 747-400 (Queen of the Skies II) and placed her at the gate at KDEN (Denver International Airport). I set the sim time for just before 1900 hours and began to perform all my pre-flight setup work to ensure a prompt departure for 19:35. I would be simulating British Airways flight 218 which operates daily between Denver and London’s Heathrow Airport. This is the very flight my wife and I will take in a few months. While in the past BA operated the Boeing 777-200 on this route, for the past few years they have operated the Boeing 747-400. The Queen of the Skies won’t be around many more years and it’s truly a joy to have the opportunity fly on this wonderful aircraft.
The real life flight time for this route is approx. 8 hours, 35 minutes and I’ll be doing my best to simulate this down to the very minute. After all, “As Real As It Gets” right?
Push-Back and Departure
Unfortunately, the first few screenshots which I captured while on the ground, pushback, taxi and take-off didn’t get saved. But despite one family being a bit late arriving to the gate, Speedbird 218 Heavy pushed back at 19:36 and began the short taxi to runway 36R.
Speedbird 218 Heavy climbing through the clouds just as the final minutes of sunlight was visible to the west. The four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines provide all the thrust we need to reach our cruising altitude of 37,000.
A near full moon is visible just off the starboard side of the aircraft. Wing shots are some of my favorite to capture.
The flight deck of the B747-400 (view from the jump seat)
Here comes the sun. The sun rising in the east, but we still have many hours to go.
A port side wing view. PMDG simulates wing flex very well with their aircraft. It’s truly amazing just how much flex these large wings have.
The Queen of the Skies is a thing of beauty. Note the heavy cloud cover over the Atlantic ocean. Not much to see.
Land Ho….just approaching the cost of Northern Ireland. Almost time to get to work getting this bird safely on the ground.
One more body of water to cross before reaching the coast of England. At this stage of the flight we’re beginning our descent from FL370 and experiencing a lot of turbulence.
Somewhere, down there….you’ll find Thornton Farm, Coldborough Park Farm. Love the details
It’s pretty soupy in Old London Town today.
Gear down and fully configured for landing. Speedbird 218 Heavy is joining the ILS for runway 27R. The Thames River is visible in the background.
Cleared for landing on 27R and just seconds before this shot the end of the runway was in full sight.
The total flight time from push back at KDEN to engine shut down at EGLL, was just a little over 8 hours, 45 minutes. So about 10 minutes late, but this was mainly due to heavy traffic as we entered the busy London airspace. But the GBS Beast v5 performed just as expected during this entire time.
This long flight pushed the new machine hard. Night time, heavy cloud cover and flying from and to heavy detailed airports were all tasks which would have been difficult with the old PC. It handled it all with flying colors (pun intended). I’m going to spend a few weeks flying some European routes before eventually heading back to Denver.
Until next time….
WOW…what a whirlwind the past two weeks have been. Just before 22 April, my gaming machine (Beast v4) had issues with installing Microsoft Windows 10 updates. It finally reached a point where I had to reinstall Windows 10 (which I did). But soon after I just wasn’t satisfied with the performance so I did a clean install of Windows 10 and was in the process of getting all my games installed and configured when the machine suffered a motherboard failure. I was absolutely gutted. It’s never a good time for a PC just to die like this and especially when I had hoped I could get another year of use from her. But best laid plans and all that….
Need a Plan
I quickly put a plan together and began looking around my collection of antique radios and other gadgets I don’t use much. I also went ahead and gutted much of the v4 PC and realized the market is quite good for used PC parts at the moment. I managed to sell the 980Ti GPU, RAM and a few other components which I determined were fully functional. With the available cash on hand, I began ordering all the pieces and parts needed to build v5. They began arriving on Wednesday with the first batch of parts being the new case, motherboard, CPU, RAM and liquid CPU cooler.
v5 is honestly the most powerful gaming machine I’ve ever designed, built and owned. While other builds (including v4) originally had a few less than optimal parts which down the road I upgraded, v5 will roll off the assembly line (my workbench) most likely the same way it’ll head into the sunset hopefully 5+ years from now. Meaning….I’m cutting no corners in this build. The pride and joy of this gaming machine is the Intel 8th Gen i7 8700K CPU and the 11GB GTX 1080Ti GPU. It’s funny to believe that when I first built v4, I installed the GTX 780 TI (3GB) and about 18 months in upgraded to the GTX 980 Ti (6GB) GPU. Now I’m jumping to a whopping 11GB of GPU goodness.
The build of v5 took place over two evenings. I started assembling the parts which had arrived on Wednesday, 2 May and finalized the hardware build on the next evening (Thursday, 3 May). I’ve updated the full breakdown of v5 which can be found here. Thankfully, my build partners (Fedex, UPS and Amazon Prime) all managed to delivery everything on time and in the order I needed them.
New ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero Motherboard installed inside the NZXT S340 Elite ATX Mid-Tower Case.
Keeping my Cool
When I initially built v4, I installed liquid cooling. I admit I didn’t choose wisely on the brand and model I purchased. Within about 6 months of use the water pump mechanism failed and thankfully I caught it in time and shut the machine off before I had a full meltdown. I did my homework this time around and went with a more trusted/reliable brand of Corsair. The install was super easy with the units radiator mounted at the front of the case. The fans draw air through the radiator. The other three case fans are configured to vent the warm air out of the case from the top, bottom and rear.
With the CPU safely installed, it’s time to mount the Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 CPU Cooler in the case.
An Open and Shut Case
I absolutely am in love with this new case. If anyone is interested, its the NZXT S340 Elite ATX case. It’s amazing and relatively easy to work with. I love the cable management features and absolutely love the SSD drive mounting options. The power supply mounts at the rear and under the red metal cover. This really helps to keep all the cabling coming from the PSU tidy or at least just out of sight.
Cable management is made super easy with this case from NZXT.
The SSD drives mount onto a metal tray which clips in and held in place with just one screw.
Speaking of Drives
At the heart of the v5 build is a superfast 1 TB Samsung 960 EVO PCIe NVMe M.2 Internal SSD drive. I’ve never installed or used one of these in the past. But OMG…this thing is fast. Yes, fast…but also expensive. For comparison, this NVMe M.2 SSD has a read speed of up to 3.2 GB/s and a write speed up to 1.9 GB/s. Compared to a standard SSD drive (as pictured above) where read speed is around 550 MB/s and write speeds of 520 MB/s. I thought Windows 10 booted fast on a standard SSD…but literally after POST, Windows 10 is ready to go in the blink of an eye. I’m super impressed.
The moment of truth
With the final component installed and most cables tucked out of the way, it was time to test the build. I grabbed an old monitor, keyboard and mouse and fired up v5. She roared, actually whispered to life as she’s super quiet and a quick rap of the F2 button and I was in the BIOS. I made a few tweaks mainly consisting of setting correct date/time and just verifying everything was set correctly. I shut v5 down so I could properly secure all the visible cables and batten down the hatches on the case. By the way, if you’re not aware….you never want to operate a desktop computer (especially a high performing one) with the case covers open. The design of the cooling features in most modern cases depend on the case being closed down for proper air flow.
Let’s get Windows installed
The fun can’t begin until Windows 10 has been installed and patched. As this is not the first time I’ve installed Windows 10 in the past week, I’m old hat with all that needs to be done. This also allows for a more peaceful break in period for all the components in the machine. The first software application I installed was CAM by NZXT. Yep, same folks that make the case. CAM is a wonderful monitoring tool which I’ve used from time to time. After installation, I launched CAM and moved the application over to one of my secondary monitors so I could keep an eye on v5 while she was taking updates and installing software. Most likely I’ll rely on CAM and keep it open and active on my system for the first several weeks (at least) just to keep a watchful eye on my new baby.
A Lot of Work To Do
I still have lots and lots and lots of work still yet to do on v5. Of course this is all software installs and configurations. But to all my extremely loyal and wonderful Farming Friends, FS17 has been installed and tested. I’ve verified everything is just as I left it (not by choice) with Green River and even ran a quick test for about 10 minutes where I drove around the map and had OBS recording. The machine performed just as expected and GPU/CPU temps all stayed nice and cool. I plan to record episode 10 of GreenRiver on Saturday, 5 May (Cinco de Mayo) which won’t actually be released on YouTube until the week of the 14th of May.
Something Old, Something New
Some of the funds that went into helping purchase the pieces and parts to build “the Beast v5” came from selling some old AM radios I purchased and refinished. The illuminated USB thumb drive is made from an old analog tube. I don’t know the exact age of the tube, but its most likely in the same age range as a few of the old radios I sold (circa 1940). This is a 16GB USB thumb drive which I used to install Windows 10 into the new machine. Sort of cool huh?
The GBS Beast v5
As previously stated, I still have many hours of work installing and configuring software. My flight sim setup is quite complex and takes many hours, actually a few days to completely get setup. But in the mean time, please allow me to introduce you to the new Beast v5. Yes, I’ll eventually peel that caution sticker off which is just a warning that the main case cover is real tempered glass.
Thanks for reading and sharing in my excitement. This build (like all the others before it) was a lot of fun both in the planning and building stages. I’m confident this new machine will provide me many, many hours of enjoyment as I continue to play FS17, ATS, ETS2, Flight Sim and many other games.
Until next time…