retroity

ICE tells international students to transfer universities or leave the US

ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) recently notified international students that if their universities are going entirely online for the fall semester than they must either transfer to another university, or leave the country. This is a massively harmful policy that is undoubtedly going to screw over a ton of students. These students not only study in our university, but they also do research and work in university labs, all of which they will no longer have access to, which can ruin study plans for many students.

Not only that, but this massively screws over a ton of universities, so this will likely kill some especially struggling universities. International students massively contribute to this country, it's development, it's technological and scientific strength, and it's economy. Many of these students will contribute greatly to their own countries, and that's not even considering the students who decide to live in the US full time, contributing to this country even more.

There is frankly no reason for this change by cruelty. It is punishing students for not being American. It is a move that will likely discourage international students from studying in the United States in the future. It is a decision that was made with no regard to the lives of the students, or the universities that they study in. It is a absolutely shameful decision and I hope it is overturned.

Coming to Terms With My Past

Everyone has skeletons in their closet, so among everything that's been happening, I feel like I need to share mine. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I feel like I can't be at peace with myself if I don't come clean.

I was raised in Texas in a very conservative household. A place where homophobia, transphobia, racism, etc are the norm. Furthermore, when I was 14-15, at the height of far-right and alt-right populism, I feel down a far-right rabbit hole. As a result of these things, I said and did many things that I regret today.

I made statements during that time that were homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist, etc. I've handwaved white supremacy and systemic racism as no big deal, despite the presence of these evils in American society today. I've supported movements that are hateful, or would become hateful.

I've abandoned those views about 2-3 years ago and I've vowed to fight against these very evils that plague society today. The things I did and said during that time is one of the biggest regrets in my life. I wish that I could go back in time and slap myself for saying those things. But what's done is done. There's no going back, and all I can do is try to be a better person in the future.

To anyone hurt by the hateful things I've said or done in the past: I'm sorry. They were unacceptable then and they are unacceptable now. Even though I feel like I've changed quite significantly for the better in the last 2-3 years, I understand that I will always have to strive to be a better person in the future.

Thank you.

A Note on 2019 (and The Entire 2010's)

As I'm writing this, 2019 is a little over an hour from ending in my timezone. So I figured I may as well write a blog post about it, as well as look back at the decade in general.

I'll be frank: 2019 was a rough year for me. I've struggled with depression and anxiety, and it really hit me hard this year, and resulted in my mental health taking a nose dive. Luckily though, I recently started seeing a therapist, and I'm hoping to improve my mental health over time. It's for these reasons, in addition to me working on finishing up high school, working on other things, and a couple other things, that I haven't really made much this year. I haven't delivered on any of the promises that I made at the end of 2018 for The FNaF Archive, I haven't written here as much as I planned to, and most importantly to me, I only uploaded 2 videos this year to my YouTube channel. I'm terribly sorry about all of this, and I hope to be better, and make more in 2020.

On the positives for this year however, I've applied to, and have been accepted to a few colleges, I started seeing a therapist to improve my mental health as mentioned earlier, and I've made major efforts to try and be a more empathetic and overall better person. I also came to run the official OverSimplified subreddit, and then subsequently create the official OverSimplified Discord server, alongside GamersVille101. I can say that this Discord server has really changed my life. I've never had this much responsibility over something online before, so this taught me a lot.

This decade was also incredibly important. It was this decade that I started my online persona, later becoming Retroity. I started my YouTube channel, and learned video editing, photo editing, web design, etc. The Retroity YouTube channel has put me on a career path I'm still going down. It was the decade that I joined the FNaF fandom, which significantly changed my life by allowing me to meet lots of wonderful and wonderfully talented people, and a place where I could be myself and have a purpose. It's also the decade that saw me creating the OverSimplified Discord server, and meeting several wonderful people.

So here's my shoutouts for this year, and this decade:

Chase88 - Thank you for so much. Thank you for letting me be a part of Ravenger, thank you for being my friend, and thank you for introducing me to many other friends. You're the best.

Chess46 - Thank you for sticking by me, and for being a good friend. Thank you for being willing to put up with me.

Kizzycocoa - Thank you for trusting me as a moderator for the FNaFLore Discord server and for generally just being really cool.

The Entire FNaF Fandom - Thank you for tolerating me, and for using The FNaF Archive, and it's predecessors. 

The OverSimplified Discord Moderator Team (GamersVille101, SharkSideOfTheMoon, Cobra, Doc, Swagbear, Tetra, & Vultige) - Thank you all for being super cool and for everything you do. You're all the best, and I couldn't ask for a better team. To GamersVille specifically: Thank you for coming to me with a proposal to make the Discord server. Without you none of this would've happened.

Every content creator that I've watched during this decade. Your stuff is the best, has significantly inspired me, and has helped me get through this year, and this decade.

Finally, thank you to everyone that has supported me during this year, and during this decade. You're all the best. Seriously, thank you all so much.

Here's to a good 2020, and here's to a good decade. Happy new years, everyone.

Made By Google 2019 Event Thoughts

Google held another Made By Google event today, revealing many new products, most them were leaked well before hand and all of them were at least rumored. Here's my thoughts on everything announced.


Stadia

Google briefly talked about Stadia, reiterating that it will launch on November 19th. It was only a brief mention, but it was there to remind us that it's coming. To me, Stadia is the culmination of every single piece of restrictions, DRM, online-only games, and more that the industry has been pushing for the last decade. It represents a future where consumers lack any control over their games, and where access to those games is dependent not only on a fast, stable internet connection, but on Stadia continuing to exist. It represents a future where games can be easily taken away from consumers, and where the consumer is always dependent on the provider. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, who knows. But what I've seen from Stadia makes it hard to be optimistic.

Nest Mini

The Google Nest Mini is part upgraded Google Home Mini, and part of Google's continuing efforts to integrate all of it's home products into the Google Nest brand. There isn't really much new about the Nest Mini. The Nest Mini has better speakers, improved touch controls, some new colors, and a hole at the bottom so you can hang it on a hook. It's the same price as the Google Home Mini ($49) and it comes on October 22nd.

Although the Nest Mini itself is a bit boring, Google did use it to talk about general improvements to their smart home ecosystem, and to tout the various commitments that it mentioned at the beginning of the presentation. As part of Google's sustainability push, the Nest Mini's fabric top is made from recycled plastic bottles. Furthermore, for products that use Works With Nest, Google is allowing those products to move to Works With Google Assistant, but is requiring those partners to go through a security review first. Google is also introducing new Works With Google Assistant functionality, such as allowing direct control over Nest devices, after explicit user permission. With this, Google is hoping to simplify and integrate everything into the Nest brand.

This hopefully means a future for the Google Home ecosystem that makes devices, especially third party devices, work better in the future. This feels similar to Amazon's efforts to simplify the Alexa ecosystem, such as creating a simple setup process within the Alexa app, among other programs. I sincerely hope that Google actually follows through with these efforts.

Nest Wifi

Google is redesigning the Google Wifi and bringing it into the Nest brand with all of their other smart home devices. The new Nest Wifi is totally redesigned, and works more like Amazon's Eero routers, with it working on a router and extender system. Because Google is determined to stuff the Google Assistant into everything, all Nest Wifi points are also Google Assistant smart speakers. Through this and it's design, Google is attempting to get people to put their Wifi routers in the open, and this is their strongest argument for that yet. I hope that there is an option to disable the Google Assistant for people who already have Google Assistant speakers in their home. The Nest Wifi is also supposed to work as a smart home hub, with devices connecting directly to it, and in the future devices using the Thread wireless technology will supposedly work seamlessly with the Nest Wifi for local connections.

Speaking of the Google Home app, it's getting a redesign with what Google's calling the home feed, and will also be able to control the Nest Wifi, effectively merging the Google Home and Google Wifi app.

Google is really going to have to justify the Nest Wifi's price, considering that a 3 pack of Eero routers costs $100 less, at $249 compared to $349 for a 3 pack of 1 Nest Wifi router and 2 Nest Wifi points. (the Eero router 3 pack is not to be confused with a 3 pack of Eero pros which costs $499.)

Nest Aware

One of the last Nest/Google Home updates was a update to the Nest Aware subscription tier. Google is redesigning the tiers and pricing to go from a model that is per Nest camera to one that is only one subscription for unlimited cameras. This is a significantly better deal, and the extra $1 a month (making the lowest subscription tier $6 per month instead of $5 per month per camera) is totally worth it, especially now that all cameras get 30 days of video storage with Nest Aware and 60 days with Nest Aware Plus. This makes Nest camera storage significantly less expensive and makes it way less costly to invest in Nest cameras. This is a really positive change and I'm glad Google is doing it.

Pixelbook Go

The Pixelbook Go is a new version of the Pixelbook Chromebook laptop that features a new design and less beefy specs than the normal Pixelbook. It's available starting on October 28th and starts at $649 (but has configurations that go up to $1,399). It's still a bit expensive than the original Pixelbook, but it's finally starting to feel like the pricing is somewhat reasonable.

Pixel Buds

3 years after the original Pixel Buds, "wireless earbuds" that attempted to be Google's answer to AirPods yet had a cord between them, Google announced a totally redesigned Pixel Buds that are actually wireless earbuds. They feature the Google Assistant (of course), 5 hours of continuous battery life and 24 hours with the charging case, long range Bluetooth (apparently up to a football field away according to Google's claims) and adaptive sound with a vent design at the bottom of the buds to adapt the sound based on the environment you're in. The Pixel Buds cost $179 and despite the new them being announced today, Google says that they won't be available until Spring 2020. It's a shame that they would be available for a while as they actually look pretty exciting. I'm definitely glad that we're finally getting proper Android competitors to AirPods.


Google Pixel 4

Last but not least, the Google Pixel 4 phone. We're pretty much known everything from this Phone due to a multitude of leaks, and now it's finally been officially announced. Gone is the very large (and frankly very ugly) notch, with Google instead having a bezel containing all the front cameras and sensors at the top and a much smaller sensor at the bottom. The Pixel 4 has an 1080p display while the Pixel 4 XL has a Quad HD display, but both feature a 90hz refresh.rate (so glad this is finally becoming more common in flagships). It has a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of ram, and comes in either 64GB or 128GB storage configurations. The Pixel 4 features improved Camera software, and 2 cameras despite Google's statements in the past that 2 cameras are unnecessary as it can do more with just 1 camera. This is in an attempt by Google to get it's "best smartphone camera" crown back after having it chipped away from the likes of Huawei, Samsung, and Apple.

The main selling points however, is the new facial unlock feature, which works very similar to Apple's Face ID (and is not to be confused with previous facial unlocking in past Android phones, which was really just comparing your face. to a photo that your phone has stored) and motion sense, which is the culmination of Google's Project Soli project that we've been waiting years for, enabling gestures to be performed on a Pixel 4 without touching the phone.

Pixel 4 ships globally on October 24 and starts at $799 (or $899 for the Pixel 4 XL). The Pixel 4 is also the first Pixel to be carried by all 4 major US carriers, finally joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, and LG. In the past, Pixel phones gave unlimited original photo storage on Google Photos, however the Pixel 4 only provides 3 months of the 100GB tier of the Google One subscription. Overall I think that the Pixel 4 actually does a really good job of justifying it's own existence and the upgrade from a Pixel 3. The lack of the unlimited original quality Google Photos backup is a major disappointment however.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I quite liked this Made by Google event, especially in comparison to previous events. Many of the devices that were announced are much stronger choices than before, and for once it kinda feels like Google actually has a vision or at least some sense of direction with these products.