Jun 3, 2017

ONYX

It’s time to set your land stream to “Epic”

 

ONYX Promo [MP 725x500]

 


 

The sim was relatively quiet that day as the land stream carried on, oblivious to whomever happened to be in earshot. My only company in the empty showroom was a strategically placed bot behind a counter attempting to reaffirm its purpose in virtual life, however inconsequential, and my friend Brian.

 

I closed my eyes for a brief moment, and when I reopened them, I was reminded that what I was seeing wasn’t some sort of practical joke.

 

“So this is it, then?” , I asked. “I mean… I expected more.”

 

Brian stood quietly beside me, acknowledging only that he, too, was laying witness to what was before us.

 

We were standing at the XANcast showroom, looking at their “best” land radios and I use best very loosely in this context because, (and let’s be honest), it was little more than a badly textured prim with a script.

 

In the corner was no better; A badly designed jukebox with flat and misaligned textures on a few prims.

 

“Why doesn’t anybody do any better in here?”, Brian finally replied.

 

I paused for a few moments before answering, “I don’t know. But I think it’s time we found out.”

 


 

Down the Rabbit Hole

 

About a week prior to this, I had been staring at my own PIONEE receiver sitting in the workshop for Andromeda Media Group and the thought occurred to me that the quality wasn’t very good. It, too, was a badly textured single prim with a script in it.

 


 

PIONEE Receiver

 

PIONEE Receiver in White – 200L$

 


 

I went looking on Marketplace for a new radio system, and was immediately struck by how little options there were. Not that you couldn’t find all manner of radio designs on marketplace to manage your land streams, but they were all very similar across the board when it came to functionality.

 

All were driven by a notecard based script that let you put all of your stations in and they would open a simple menu to let you select among them.

 

This accounted for (I’d say) about 99% of the radios available. Most were made out of prims, or a single prim badly textured; To wit, we’re talking about a picture of a real stereo slapped on a box. However, there are well-done mesh land radios and jukeboxes available… and while I had gotten my hopes up, it turned out that they, too, were running on that notecard driven system as well.

 

What surprised me more was that they were selling between 10L$ and a few hundred. After all, my old PIONEE was still listed on marketplace for about 200L$.

 

During this time, I had decided to try my hand at building my own radio to at least improve the quality and functionality over the PIONEE. The notecard driven system wasn’t too big of a deal to implement, and within an evening I had the initial reference model for what would become the ONYX land radio.

 

Of course, I did make it in prims but kept it a respectable 6 land impact and added features I hadn’t seen before as a test. When all was said and done, I had a well organized land radio that actually had ambient audio feedback for changing stations, clicking the device, and a TTS voice during setup to guide you through it. Very user friendly.

 

 

ONYX Receiver_002

But something was still bothering me about it all… why didn’t anyone make a better land radio? What was with all of these notecard driven systems? As I was mulling this over, our main genius at Andromeda Media Group took a look over the reference receiver and asked if I would like him to do a custom mesh version.

 

The answer was “Knock yourself out, Amigo.”

 

While Jon was going about the mesh aspects of the ONYX, I dug a little deeper into marketplace and found exactly three land radios that weren’t notecard driven (ignoring the Always-On brand), and it was these three which really started me down the rabbit hole.

 

If you own a land radio in Second Life, you’re probably familiar with XANcast, Trigitec and SHX. All three of these brands offer something the other radios didn’t – namely they were all driven by the Shoutcast directory and dynamically updated.

 


 

XANcast Radio 6 AboutLand Classified

 

XANcast Promo – 2017

 


 

This gave them a definite advantage in that they had access to 300+ Genres, thousands of streams, and automatically updated listings. At the time, I wasn’t aware of how much of an advantage it actually gave them, and as it turned out… the answer was a total monopoly.

 

And yet, when I went to look at them in the showrooms… the quality was piss poor at best. Even the best model offered by Xancast – the 876, had a dynamic character display on it but was mostly just a single knob put on it in prim and a box that was badly textured (yet again). This alone put the receiver at 17 prim, and for some reason… XANcast thought it was reasonable to charge 695L$ for it.

 

It wasn’t much better at either SHX or Trigitec, either. 

 

 

TrigiTec One Prim Advertising with 14 Designs  final copy

Trigitec follows the same “bad prim build” example, and the models they offer aren’t anything to call home about. Oddly enough, SHX offers similar radio designs to Trigitec – as if they are in competition only with each other.

 

Is it really just a coincidence that both SHX and Trigitec have a land radio model that is just a skull?

 

I returned to the workshop shaking my head, when I finally asked “How hard is it to build a Shoutcast enabled land radio in here, and why hasn’t anyone else done it?”

 

Jon answered succinctly, “It’s actually not too hard, you just need the API key.”

 

And that’s where things got even more interesting.

 


 

shoutcast_logo

 

 

From there, I decided to look into what was involved with obtaining a Shoutcast Partnership and that magical API Key to query their database. Immediately I ran into what was very likely the reason nobody else had made better land radios and why XANcast, Trigitec, and SHX essentially had the monopoly.

 

Reading through the Shoutcast forums, I saw post after post of discouraged developers telling their story about trying to apply for a Shoutcast API key and partnership but getting a canned response saying they aren’t issuing them at this time. This had been going on now for what appeared to be a few years at the very least.

 

Knowing that Trigitec’s last known system update was around 2014, this made a whole lot of sense as the pieces started falling into place. XANcast is probably under that premise as well, and SHX. Suddenly I realized that these three brands had effectively gotten their API keys and partnerships before Shoutcast stopped issuing them, and when Shoutcast went on extended hiatus like they did, it made it impossible (or very expensive) to build a radio in Second Life with the same abilities as those three brands.

 

  1. Shoutcast wasn’t issuing API keys or partnerships
  2. The only other option was 3rd party APIs which charged a fortune

 

Now it all started making sense.

 

They got in early, and kept their access when everyone else got locked out. No new contenders in the land radio business meant that they were effectively the monopoly among Shoutcast enabled dynamic systems in Second Life.

 

It’s a smart business move, and it worked out great for them. Normally I wouldn’t have any issue with this except for a few nagging bullet points.

 

  • They were effectively abusing their position
  • They were offering shoddy products
  • They were charging far too much*

 

This is a perfect example of bad business practices and not doing right by the customers or the Shoutcast brand which you rely on.

 

While I thought this was all incredibly shady practice, I hadn’t really committed myself to going toe-to-toe with them. I was going to just build a decent mesh receiver with some nifty options and go from there.

 

Meanwhile, Jon had mulled it all over himself and decided to build a dynamic 32 character display into the ONYX unit, and then added a color dial to change the colors. Again, still adding options that were better than a majority out there, so we weren’t worried too much.

 

Better yet, the receiver was only 5 Land Impact. While close to the reference model in prims, it had a lot more detail and functionality.

 


 

ONYX Display ANimation

 


 

It’s On Like Donkey Kong

 

The ONYX itself was coming along nicely, and so I decided the best way to launch it was to arrange for some radio commercials in-world and maybe a couple of magazine ads. I got in touch with my friend Scorpinosis Nightfire and asked if they were still running the radio station and magazine (iMoogi Radio and NuVibez).

 

He answered in affirmative and then asked, “Why, boss… what are you up to?”

 

Well, I decided to tell him what were were doing with the ONYX and that we were scouting stations to advertise on, collecting metrics and pricing so we’d know what kind of budget we would need to launch.

 

He kindly set up a meeting with Filipa over at iMoogi (she runs the place now) in which she and I sat down and started talking, and that is when the involuntary twitch kicked in.

 

It turns out that Trigitec charges for them (iMoogi) to be on their stream list (pinned to the top). It used to be 6,000L$ every 6 months, but they’ve recently decided to jack that up to 9,000L$ every 6 months arbitrarily.

 

Now, I can’t speak for any other station that may be paying Trigitec for those spots on the list, but I feel it is safe to assume they are all getting charged in the same ballpark.

 

When asked why she doesn’t just go somewhere else with that business to someplace more reasonable… her answer is what finally made me decide to flip to “total annihilation” mode with ONYX.

 

“Because there isn’t anywhere else to go. They have the monopoly.”

 


 

Unleash the Hounds!

 

Heading back to the workshop, Jon was merrily tapping away at the internal code of the new ONYX receiver on the workbench. When I explained to him the situation in detail, he went quiet.

 

I know that look he gets when he’s about to go “Beast Mode” on something, and it’s usually the same reason I go that route – because now it’s both personal and a matter of principle to stomp the competition.

 

It’s no longer a matter of “Let’s do this as a personal project for the hell of it.”

 

No, this (in the famous words of Bugs Bunny) means war.

 


 

It’s time to get serious

 


 

It didn’t take long for Jon and I to formulate a plan and set it into motion, but we both agreed that in order to do this we needed the proverbial key to the kingdom. Which is to say, somehow we needed to get a Shoutcast partnership and API key.

 

This seemed like the first impossibility standing in front of us. We both knew Shoutcast had been known to be giving canned responses and not issuing new partnerships for a few years, but while I worked out an alternative route to handle the dynamic system (3rd party API), I still thought it couldn’t hurt to at least try to convince Shoutcast to give us a fair shake.

 

So I went into it all with a full proposal, the background of Jon and I, why we felt it was necessary that we would have a Shoutcast Partnership and API key of our own, and yes… I even outlined the three brands abusing the monopoly that (ironically) Shoutcast had inadvertently created.

 

I hit send and kept my expectations low.

 

Meanwhile, Jon continued working on features for the ONYX – adding a functional front panel with buttons. There’s something you don’t normally see on any radio in Second Life… the buttons actually work and aren’t just there for show.

 

While not all of them work, a majority do what they say: 8 Preset buttons on the front, Forward and Back Tuning, Display Button, Power/Standby and at some point Volume – though to be frank, the Volume just controls the volume of the unit and not your land stream volume. Because the ONYX has sound built in for various things, the volume switch will control the volume of that.

 


 

Snapshot_016

 

ONYX Front Panel Buttons


 

Obviously the Bass, Treble and Balance knobs are for show. We’re good, but we aren’t miracle workers (usually).

 

After the weekend came and went, Jon asked if Shoutcast had gotten back to me yet, and the answer was (unfortunately) “No.”

 

We both sorta wondered what was taking so long with them, because if it was a canned response, it should have been simple. Of course, I got the response the next day (Tuesday) and instead of a canned response… what I received was actually an email from the Shoutcast team issuing us our API Key and partnership, and asking us to let them know when the product is ready to launch.

 

 


Armed and Dangerous

 

Forwarding off the information to Jon that Shoutcast had sent me, we were now officially in a position to be on par with the top three receivers in Second Life, but if you know nothing else about myself and Jon, know this:

 

Good enough isn’t good enough.

 

Why settle for only matching the competition? Might as well go for broke and add features that nobody else seems to have at all, right?

 

If you have a dynamic 32 character display on the unit, why not

 

  • Include a VU meter
  • Digital clock as a display option
  • Why not add a Sleep Timer or a Scheduled Timer
  • Why not have options that would be useful to venues in Second Life like Guest Stream Management
  • and much more…

 

There’s a host of options that can (and likely will) be added for launch, most of which aren’t on any other system (Universal Profiles).

 

But I think the most important take-away is simply a commitment to better design overall.

 

ONYX - Main Menu

In the bigger picture, that is the real focus. Why have a messy menu layout (XANcast, Trigitec, etc) when you clearly don’t need to? That’s just lazy design, if you ask me.

 

So obviously we are putting as much thought into the menu layout as with everything else. We want it to be clean and accessible without any clutter.

 

Attention to details like this are really what make a system like ONYX shine.

 


 

When Will Then Be Now?

 

In the famous scene from Spaceballs, Dark Helmet asks “When will then be now?” when looking at Mr. Rental. I suppose the same question could be asked of us concerning the release of ONYX.

 

When will then be now?

 

To which the pat answer is always -

 

Soon.

 


 

When will then be now!?

 


 

ONYX is in development and will be for a little while longer. We want to make absolutely certain it is rock solid (pun intended), has a bunch of features we know you’re going to love, and also that it sufficiently is able to trounce XANCast, Trigitec and SHX in the land radio department.

 

When the ONYX launches, trust us… you’ll know.

 

Because it’ll likely be the last land radio you’ll ever need.

 


Feb 14, 2017

Games People Play

A brief look into the world of BDSM

 

BDSM Girl Cuffed [Banner]

 

 


 

What is it about the allure of fantasy which piques our interest as adults? Whether we’re talking about cosplay or something a lot more complex, the underlying story is still the same every time.

 

And yet, when we look at the world of BDSM in the context of Second Life we more often find there are discrepancies involved with the understanding of the lifestyle in and of itself. That isn’t to say these stereotypes and misunderstandings do not exist from the real world, (and we’ll cover that shortly), in the virtual world it would seem that they are exaggerated even further while intentionally focusing on only the stereotypes.

 

For this wonderful Valentine’s Day, I would like to focus on a relationship centered post – but because I deal heavily in virtual worlds, it couldn’t be simple like a vanilla approach. After all, if you’ve read this blog long enough, you’d know by now that I absolutely love taking the side roads into the less traveled.

 

That being said, as the title implies, this post is about the Games People Play or; What a D/s and BDSM lifestyle actually look like versus the stereotypes. It goes without saying that we’ll be covering some basics as well as the difference between BDSM and Abuse. So if you’re a bit squeamish, or are easily “triggered”, now would be a good time to change the channel.

 

This is (after all) an adult oriented post.

 


 

Beginnings

 

On the surface, one may believe that the topic of D/s and BDSM is something of a mismatch for this blog (not to mention me personally). But that simply isn’t the case.

 

When I set out to transition from a Nidus focused blog into a virtual worlds inclusive space, part of that was with the intention to explore a wider swath of the virtual worlds community overall. As you and I both know, alternative lifestyles and virtual worlds may as well be synonymous, since there is little better opportunity to explore such things than through the interaction of avatars.

 

In the context of Second Life, let’s begin on the premise that D/s and BDSM within this context should be considered the “training wheels” of the lifestyle.

 

Now, that isn’t meant to belittle whatever dynamic you may be a part of. Instead, what I am getting at is that due to the context of interactions within this virtual space, there is a lot lost in translation.

 

You get much of the mental aspects, but therein is the downfall. D/s and BDSM are predominantly tactile experiences.

 

When it comes to me personally, I’ve been in the lifestyle for roughly nine years and running – though I had the benefit of getting into the lifestyle as a real life tangible long before I bothered with the virtual world side of things.

 

Of course, one may be asking:

 

But if Second Life and alternative lifestyles are nearly synonymous, then why did you make it a point to avoid the lifestyle in virtual worlds?

 

The answer may surprise you.

 

See, it actually had nothing at all to do with professional involvement. As most people already know about me, I really couldn’t care less what the opinions of others for me actually are. I’m usually straightforward and matter of fact. An open book (so to speak).

 

So if not the professional or public stigma, what gives?

 

The problem all these years was simply that what I saw in the alternative lifestyle circles inherent in virtual worlds played more to the stereotypes than to an actual D/s or BDSM dynamic. Often times masking the dishonesty, manipulation and abusive behaviors of pretend “Dominants” and the insecure, co-dependent, damaged goods known as “submissives”.

 

This (I believe) is why D/s and BDSM have that negative stigma. When somebody is being genuine and real about the whole dynamic, willing to sit down and have an open and honest discussion from a standpoint of common sense and logic… well, you tend to get a very different viewpoint about these alternative lifestyles.

 


 

The Wrong Way…

 

There’s this ongoing saying in the D/s BDSM world inherent in Second Life that “There is no right or wrong way to do this”, but for somebody looking at this from the perspective of a real life Dominant, I have to raise an eyebrow and laugh outright for the absolute line of bullshit that is. Not only is it a line of bullshit but it is also potentially dangerous to people who aren’t informed otherwise.

 

Is there a right and wrong way to practice breath play? Yes, because if you fuck up, somebody is dead. Ask David Carradine.

 

Allow me to paraphrase:

 


 

 

Kill BillActor David Carradine was found dead in the closet of a Bangkok hotel room Thursday with a cord wrapped around his neck and genitals, leading Thai police to suspect his death was not a suicide but an accident resulting from dangerous sex practices.

 

Carradine, 72, best known for his role in the 1970s television drama "Kung Fu," was found by a chamber maid at Bangkok's Park Nai Lert Hotel naked and dead, slumped in a closet with cords bound and connecting his neck and his genitals, Bangkok police said.

 

Citing Porntip Rojanasunan, the director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, told the Bangkok Post that the actor may have died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, the practice of cutting off one's air supply to heighten sexual pleasure. Carradine had been in Thailand since May 29 to shoot his latest film, "Stretch."

 


 

The running joke about “real” Doms and their Dom Hats and Belt Buckles… then the “there is no right or wrong way to be a Dominant or submissive” to justify what extensively would be abusive/victim behavior is appalling to me.

 

The one thing I would impart on those looking at the lifestyle for the first time is simply that while there are infinite variations, there actually is a right and wrong way to do anything… including everything inherent in the lifestyle.

 

When I speak about “true” Dominants, my differentiation is between Dominant and Domineering. Traits inherent in an honest, trustworthy, respectful, and consensual Dominant – in short: Somebody who exhibits leadership qualities.

 

A submissive isn’t a door mat. He/she has a choice in the matter and despite what any Dominant may tell them, they are equal in the lifestyle.

 

It is a lifestyle that is entered into out of mutual respect, consent and most importantly by choice.

 

In the bigger picture, there absolutely is a right and wrong way to do things in this lifestyle, and anyone who tells your different is going to get you permanently hurt or killed. The line of “no right or wrong way” is the sort of thing you would expect to hear out of one or two types of people:

 

  1. Somebody who was told this themselves when being taught
  2. Somebody who is manipulative and abusive looking for victims

 

While we can say such things as SSC and RACK exist as acronyms, they are only baselines as a reminder. Safe, Sane, Consensual and Risk Aware, Consensual Kink are pretty much predominant mantras but there are others. The reason for this is because people in the lifestyle can’t seem to agree on what is safe or sane when it’s time to play so many people just “wing it”.

 

My general definition of safe and sane may not be the same as yours, but it goes something like:

 

What is safe and sane relies merely on understanding the disincentive to cause permanent or debilitating damage (physical or mental) to your partner including death, but also to include personal life and family, jeopardize their wellbeing or the wellbeing of their friends and or family, or destroy or cause harm to their career.

 

With the exception of scarification or branding, which in itself falls on the more extreme end of the scale in this lifestyle, the rest holds true. You don’t want to break bones, scar or disfigure your partner, or cause permanent injury, compromise their health (physical or mental) or cause death in the process.

 

What actions which are taken during a scene may appear as though they are out of control or “going too far”, but (and this goes back to our right and wrong way), a well balanced Dominant will always be in control of themselves and the situation at hand – every stroke, every decision is well calculated and thought out beforehand. It is our responsibility to actually know when you (as a submissive) have had enough and act in your best interest.

 

That isn’t to say that a Dominant isn’t acting in their own best interest as well. Some things are purely for the satisfaction of the Dominant – though I fall back to the overarching definition of safe and sane.

 

In order to understand this differentiation better, let’s take a look at “true” Dominants versus the pretenders.

 


The One True Morty

 

The biggest misconception about the lifestyle is that it is a disempowerment of a submissive in totality or in part. A dominant will never be wrong, always call the shots, and nothing is too far. A submissive, therefore, comes into the lifestyle believing that in order to be a “good” submissive they have to do whatever they are told without question.

 

If anything, this line of thinking is the biggest load of bullshit ever perpetrated in the lifestyle and is responsible for causing some of the worst situations imaginable. We ultimately do a disservice to submissives by telling them this and reinforcing these horrible behaviors.

 

Even when entering into a TPE (Total Power Exchange), the rules of engagement are meticulously discussed and agreed upon before anything is committed to, and even then the submissive has the right to use a safeword when they’ve had enough. Which is to say, the parties involved always are in control of the situation.

 

So when you see a dynamic whereby the submissive is “always doing what she is told” like a “good girl”, it is with express understanding that the submissive and Dominant have agreed to these interactions ahead of time. Even then… if the Dominant is going too far, breaking those agreed upon boundaries, etc, the submissive always has the right to refuse service.

 

After all, if you don’t believe somebody is of sound mind or body to be leading you, then you obviously would revoke their right to do so. Even with the TPE “slave”, he or she has outlined boundaries well in advance and only gives that near total control out of trust and respect which has been well earned by the “Master”.

 

I believe this is a point to consider when you are encountering self-entitled “Masters” in the virtual world… they often believe that they have control over every submissive they meet and act as thought they do. Of course, we know this isn’t true because the submissive never did consent to their control or to be in their service. In short, “Dominants” like this are simply ego driven and delusional. 

 

More to the point, by perpetrating the lie of inequality, we empower predators covering as Dominants who are using the lifestyle as cover to justify their actions.

 

When I first entered into the lifestyle years ago, I had a predominantly negative view of it all merely because there were so many negative examples of dysfunction that I saw in the lifestyle. But once I had things better explained to me by my own mentors, and that what I was seeing were toxic people masquerading as Dominants, preying on submissives, and that there is a more noble cause to being a Dominant… well, it suddenly made more sense.

 

Allow me to pass on a little bit of wisdom that I was bestowed years ago when I first got into this lifestyle, and hopefully you’ll understand better.

 


 

Leadership

 

It is said that a natural born leader embodies a set of characteristics which dictate how they act and react to their surroundings and circumstances. They are individuals which inspire others to follow their lead through practice, patience and confidence. What makes them different from other “Dominants” in Second Life is that they embody the leadership role realistically.

 

Effectively speaking, when I first got into the lifestyle, I was lucky enough to have been mentored by individuals who had their heads on straight – each giving me invaluable insight and advice not only about how to be a respectable Dominant but (not surprisingly) how to be a better leader in all things. They instilled in me the confidence and drive to strive to be somebody that others look up to as their milestone.

 

Others may look up to me, or use me as the litmus test for others to aspire to not because I am better than anyone else but because I strive to be better than I was yesterday. I’m not in competition with you or anyone else, but instead I am competing with myself. In the end, I am looking to lead by example.

 

Let’s go over some of the basic qualities inherent in leadership roles:

 

  • Focus
    • You aren’t easily distracted from your responsibilities and goals. You can set those goals, manage and maintain the course to achieve them.

 

  • Confidence
    • There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Being confident comes from a past understanding of your performance and ability to follow through, it is something which resonates with others as self-evident. A leader instills confidence and ‘followership’ by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach.

 

  • Transparency
    • As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from others is to be 100 percent authentically me — open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about the tasks at hand. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.

 

  • Integrity
    • The difference between needing to be right and doing what is right. If you focus on becoming authentic in all your interactions, that will rub off on others, and the rest takes care of itself.

 

  • Inspiration
    • Others gave me great inspiration and fantastic advice, and I was fueled by my beliefs and an internal drive and passion. That’s why I’m always willing to offer motivation — to friends or strangers. I know the power of inspiration, and if someone can stand on my shoulders to achieve greatness, I’m more than willing to help them up.

 

  • Innovation
    • Innovation is always seeking to better yourself and others. You are looking for better ways to accomplish things, how to better one self or another in the process.

 

  • Patience
    • Patience is really courage that’s meant to test your commitment to your cause. The path to great things is always tough, but the best leaders understand when to abandon the cause and when to stay the course. Having patience is fundamental to being a leader in that one must have the innate ability to see the forest for the trees (big picture) and understand both short and long term goals.

 

  • Stoicism
    • It’s inevitable: We’re going to find ourselves in some real shit situations, whether they’re costly mistakes, unexpected failures or unscrupulous enemies. Stoicism is, at its core, accepting and anticipating this in advance, so that you don’t freak out, react emotionally and aggravate things further. Train our minds, consider the worst-case scenarios and regulate our unhelpful instinctual responses — that’s how we make sure shit situations don’t turn into fatal resolutions.

 

  • Authenticity
    • It’s true that imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, but not when it comes to leadership — and every great leader in my life has led from a place of authenticity. Learn from others, read autobiographies of your favorite leaders, pick up skills along the way... but never lose your authentic voice, opinions and, ultimately, how you make decisions. Being authentic is akin to: Be honest in your dealings. With others and yourself.

 

  • Open-Mindedness
    • One of the biggest myths is that good leaders act with dogged determination to stick to their goals no matter what. It’s nonsense. The truth is, leaders need to keep an open mind while being flexible, and adjust if necessary. Your commitment should be to invest, develop and maintain great relationships.

 

  • Decisiveness
    • ‘Make the call fast, make the call loud and don’t look back.’ In marginal situations, a decisively made wrong call will often lead to better long-term results and relationships than a wishy-washy decision that turns out to be right. The ability to make decisions clearly isn’t based on not knowing something, but instead comes from a place of expertise in a given field in which you can reliably make judgement calls on the fly. That being true, however, does not mean being close minded or refusing to defer decisions when you should instead be expanding your understanding further in order to make better decisions. In short: Know what you know, but most importantly, Know what you don’t know and make it a point to learn.

 

  • Personableness
      • We all provide something unique to this world, and we can all smell when someone isn’t being real. The more you focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them—rather than just focus on what they can do for you—the more likable and personable you become. This isn’t required to be a great leader, but it is to be a respected leader, which can make all the difference.

     

    • Empowerment
      • You seek to elevate others and delegate tasks which can and will allow them to achieve the best that they can be, applying their unique strengths to the given situation rather than their weaknesses. You seek to work on their weaknesses in private while allowing their strengths to shine in public.

     

    • Positivity
      • In order to achieve greatness, you must create a culture of optimism. There will be many ups and downs, but the prevalence of positivity will keep things going. But be warned: This requires fearlessness. You have to truly believe in making the impossible possible.

     

    • Generosity
      • My main goal has always been to offer the best of myself. We all grow—as a collective whole—when I’m able to build up others and help them grow as individuals.

     

    • Persistence
      • All great things take time, and you must persist no matter what. That’s what it takes to be a leader: willingness to go beyond where others will stop.

     

    • Insightfulness
      • It takes insight every day to be able to separate that which is really important from all the incoming fire. It’s like wisdom—it can be improved with time, if you’re paying attention, but it has to exist in your character. It’s inherent. When your insight is right, you look like a genius. And when your insight is wrong, you look like an idiot.

     

    • Communication
      • If people aren’t aware of your expectations, and they fall short, it’s really your fault for not expressing it to them. In a leadership role, whether it is in business or BDSM, my mantra has always been: I am only as good as you keep me informed, and you are only as good as I keep you informed. Otherwise, we make reasonable decisions based on bad information which in turn creates bad decisions and actions.

     

    • Accountability
      • It’s a lot easier to assign blame than to hold yourself accountable. But if you want to know how to do it right, take note: When you screw up, take responsibility and then go above and beyond to make it right. Own your own actions and strive to elevate yourself above the pitfalls of the blame game. This is accountability. It’s not only taking responsibility; it’s taking the next step to make it right.

     

    • Restlessness
      • It takes real leadership to find the strengths within each person and then be willing to look outside to plug the gaps. The “outside looking in” approach is a willingness to offer that constructive criticism and offer solutions to help inspire and guide others to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. This mentality also requires that we be honest with ourselves first and foremost, lest we use self-delusion to stunt our personal growth and potential.

     

     


     

    BDSM versus Abuse

     

    Now that’s we’ve taken a look at some of the qualities inherent in a leader, it should become obvious now that many people you interact with (including those pretend Dominants) actually exhibit the opposite of those qualities. This is why they are often referred to as “Toxic” Doms. More importantly, however, they are toxic people in general.

     

    In the D/s and BDSM lifestyle, these are people who are “fake” Dominant or (more aptly) Domineering archetypes.

     

    • Selfish vs Selfless
    • Opaque vs Transparent (Dishonest vs Honest)
    • Disrespectful vs Respectful
    • Govern through fear instead of Respect
    • Arrogant vs Confident

     

    I could go on for an entire article just on this, but to be perfectly clear, we’re talking about somebody who is truly in a leadership role versus a dictator.

     

    The latter will more often than not be self destructive and toxic to others. Manipulative, isolating, antagonistic, threatening, controlling and so on.

     

    Of course, the obvious comes up when making these lists out:

     

    Isn’t the point of being in a BDSM or D/s dynamic as a Dominant to be controlling?

     

    Well, not entirely. Context here is king (or queen).

     

    What a Dominant in the lifestyle really does is follow the consensual lead of the submissive. As a Dominant, you are fulfilling a role of responsibility to a submissive to help them attain certain things out of the dynamic – whether it is self-fulfillment, betterment or just to get their ass whacked while tied up.

     

    Ultimately, and I believe this is sorely overlooked, a Dominant is listening to their submissive’s wants and needs in that negotiation, and then accepting  the responsibility of helping that submissive achieve those needs. It just so happens that such wants and needs have a positive effect for the Dominant in reciprocal fashion.

     

    A Domineering individual achieves those ends through physical and emotional manipulation, fear based repercussion, isolation, antagonistic and intimidating behaviors. In short, they are abusive individuals. Either physically or mentally (maybe both).

     

    Now, the end-all to this is a simple declaration:

     

    The difference between BDSM and Abuse is Consent.

     

    If you didn’t agree to it, it’s abusive.

     

    The reason I say this is because there are plenty of circumstances in D/s and BDSM where those Domineering behaviors are explicitly sought out and consented to by submissives of sound mind and body. Therefore, what looks like abuse from the outside looking in could simply be an agreed upon dynamic to the untrained eye. It all stems on that one lynchpin of consent.

     

    In the grand scheme of things, the bigger issue among the lifestyle in Second Life (and sometimes real life) is that the context of consent isn’t there, and then we have submissives who are finding themselves in abuse situations thinking it is healthy BDSM… not that something is wrong with their partner but instead that something is wrong with them and their inability to “serve”.

     

    The goal of a “true” Dominant versus a Domineer is to elevate a submissive and help them achieve their goals. A Domineer will intentionally try to break a submissive mentally and physically to deter and prohibit their happiness and fulfillment.

     

    Key Elements of BDSM

     

    • Communication
    • Consent
    • Trust
    • Respect

     

    Key Elements of Abuse

     

    • Physical/Emotional Damage
    • Fear of Partner*
    • No Communication or Consent
    • No Trust or Respect

     

    * Keep in mind the distinction between fearing your partner and fearing pain. For example, you may flinch when being spanked despite having asked to be spanked, and you may enjoy being spanked. However, you trust your partner to respect your boundaries and do not fear them – rather the opposite: You trust them enough to take the responsibility you have given and not break that trust.

     

     

     


     

    Dominant as Life Coach

     

    A lot of what people believe concerning BDSM as a lifestyle revolves predominantly around kinky sex as the generalization. Unfortunately, this is a very misguided belief and more often than not fails to characterize what BDSM and D/s is all about.

     

    When I first got into this lifestyle, my mentors also explained to me a simple analogy as the baseline of being a Dominant:

     

    In effect, you are a life coach. Your responsibility to a submissive is to help identify needs, wants and together reach those goals. You lead through guidance and the submissive will follow through. A submissive should naturally wish to please and follow through, because they respect your judgement – and not because they fear you. They have taken the role and handed you the reigns because they believe you have what it takes to guide them on that journey.

     

    With this premise, both should be able to find genuine happiness with themselves and each other.

     

     

    Tony Robbins is an excellent Leader

     

    From a baseline perspective, BDSM may encompass no sex at all and be entirely non-sexual in service and direction. Take the “service” submissive for example:

     

    If you’re simply into the lifestyle as service only, there isn’t always a sexual aspect to this. You could merely find fulfillment as a glorified personal assistant. Maybe a homemaker archetype? These are types of submission just the same and often cited in religious circles (Christianity also).

     

    At the core of it all is something I believe many forget or simply ignore, which is the need for discipline.

     

     

    Discipline

     

     

    When we speak of discipline (for the sake of this writing), we are speaking of The controlled behavior  aspect and not the act of disciplining another person for correction. In this context, think of the etiquette and presentation of an individual.

     

    There are many ways to instill discipline in another person, through corporal actions or more intellectual means. Personally, I avoid corporal punishment tactics because I am more of a life coach mentality as a Dominant. The punishment or correction (repercussion) is aligned in such a manner whereby it becomes self-evident and does not require reinforcement.

     

    This might vary from dynamic to dynamic depending on what was agreed upon and personal styles, so keep that in mind.

     

    That being said, a service submissive may look no different than a vanilla relationship, and more to the point a BDSM relationship may look quite similar to a well balanced vanilla relationship outside of the bedroom/dungeon.

     

    After all, BDSM isn’t always about sex. So you can kindly ignore the glorified porn videos capitalizing on BDSM… those situations are about as common as normal porn video plotlines. It is (after all) about playing out a fantasy or ideal.

     

    The big picture is that two (or more) consenting adults have found a dynamic which makes them happy together.

     

    But what is happiness?

     

    Well, in the words of the famous Anthony Robbins:

     

    If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

     

    When we are making progress and improving, we’re happy.

    When we aren’t, we tend to be miserable.

     

    Interestingly enough, we can then say that (in spite of the kinks and taboos), BDSM and D/s are the practice of adults in a relationship dynamic (sexual or non-sexual) which is meant to bring happiness and fulfillment to the parties involved.

     

    Of course, that is where we can say – and how you go about getting there is varied and there is no right or wrong way.

     

    So long as we understand the happy, healthy, safe and sane methods to reach those goals – what you will find is that in the bigger picture, BDSM and D/s are far more practical and disciplined than you might have thought.

     

    In the bigger picture, we are exploring amazing things about each other with dynamics and at an elevated level of trust and honesty that becomes required in order to partake in this lifestyle without causing lasting emotional and physical damage to another human being.

     

    Overall, what BDSM is about is realizing a better self with the help of another.

     

    You can take out the kinks and leave out the sex… and you’d still have a lot of parallels with BDSM mentality. Even if you know that those four letters stand for… now (hopefully) you know what a monumental amount of good it can be applied to.

     

    And of course, there’s some kinky sex involved depending on who you’re with.

     


     

    Epilogue

     

    For the past few years, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to lead discussions regularly in this lifestyle at a myriad of locations in Second Life. As of the new year, I had made the conscious decision to take a step back from those circles and not lead discussions for awhile. The biggest reason to this decision revolved mostly around the alarming drama and abusive situations I’ve noticed in various groups in-world.

     

    There is a lot of misinformation and (unfortunately) a lot of predatory individuals leaving a trail of abused people in their wake. I may in the future decide to return to that discussion circuit but for now I am enjoying a semi-retirement from all of that with my girl.

     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Jan 29, 2017

    Quick Fix

    Fix That Annoying Win10 Taskbar over YouTube Videos in Full Screen

     

     

    Google Wallpaper Hd

     


     

    Affects: Windows (7,8,10)

     

    Includes: Chrome Browser, YouTube

     

    Read Time: ~ 5 minutes

     


     

    Let’s set the stage:

     

    You’re watching YouTube and decide to set it into full screen mode. So you click that little button and (as expected) the video fills your screen. Except one minor detail:

     

    The Windows 10 taskbar is still visible on top of the video.

     

    It’s safe to say that this little bug can drive the most patient person insane. Do you enable some magical option in chrome://plugins? Is there some setting in Chrome that you missed? Do you uninstall Flash Player?

     

    Well, there are some short answers for most of this which I’ll cover today.

     


     

    Unpin Chrome

     

    The first culprit could simply be a glitch with pinning Chrome to the taskbar. Some suggestions I’ve seen involved removing it from the taskbar and re-pinning it again. I’ve had marginal success with this at best.

     

     

    Flash Fire

     

    In chrome://plugins you can also check to see if multiple versions of Adobe Flash are enabled. Just hit the Details button on the top right to see. If they are, just disable the ones that aren’t the Pepper player native to Chrome.

     


     

    Restart Explorer

     

    The solution that seems to have worked for me is simply to restart the Windows Explorer process in Task Manager. Seems a little scary for those who never have done this before, but rest assured it’s perfectly safe.

     

     

     

    Step One

     

    Screenshot_1

     

     

    • Right-Click on your Taskbar
    • Select Task Manager

     

     

     

    Step Two

     

    Screenshot_2

     

    • Locate Windows Explorer in the Task Manager List
    • Select it and Click Restart  below

     

     

    What This Does

     

    Essentially you’ve rebooted the computer without rebooting it.

     

    Sometimes the Windows Explorer process gets a little finicky or glitched up depending on what is going on and over what period of time you are running the computer. When things go awry with the taskbar, sometimes you just need a quick restart of the process itself to sort it out.

     

    This can also happen due to other factors -

     

    • Windows Update
    • Registry Errors

     

    There is also the possibility that when you boot up the computer, the loading process itself might have messed something up with the shear volume of items vying for attention on Windows Start.

     

    In any event, this will give it a fresh start and (hopefully) resume your ability to run YouTube videos in full screen again while using Chrome.

     

    Have any additional tips or suggestions?

    Feel free to drop them in the comments for others.

     


     

    Jan 10, 2017

    Speed Demon

    Making Everything Faster!

     

    Google Chrome Faster Header

     

     

    Operating System: Windows 7, 8 & 10

    Topics Discussed: Chrome Browser & Computer Speed Tweaks

     


     

    It’s a well known fact that Google Chrome tends to be a memory hog at times, and we are often quick to believe that this is always the reason our beloved web browser starts coming to a crawl. However, this isn’t always the case, because the reason it uses so many processes and takes up memory like it does is because it is running tabs in separate processes (for stability).

     

    In this manner, should a website in one of your tabs go awry, it doesn’t take down the entire browser with it. Of course, that isn’t to say Google Chrome is innocent when it comes to slowing to a crawl or just taking it’s sweet time getting anything done. Over time and extended usage, Google Chrome can and often will begin slowing down to that ingratiating snails pace.

     

    In fact, all web browsers will begin to move at the speed of smell over time if we aren’t maintaining them.

     

    So what’s going on?

     

    Well, the simple answer is that the browser has collected a ton of unoptimized junk in the cache in conjunction with a number of other possible culprits which may be contributing to the lesser experience (which we’ll be addressing).

     

    If you’re running around the internet using a monster gaming rig worthy of the PC Master Race, then none of this will likely apply to you. But for the rest of you dirty peasants of computing, I’m certain you’ll find some of the tricks and tweaks below helpful.

     

    For this post, I won’t be addressing an oversimplified “Top Ten” sort of list, but instead we’ll be covering a Comprehensive Tune-Up. When all is said and done, not only should Google Chrome be hauling ass, but (mostly) your computer will be too by comparison.

     


     

    That Magic Box of Wonders

     

    So let’s start by talking about the sad shape your computer is in. You know… that magical box of wonders that delivers cat pictures to your Facebook?

     

    cute-cat-wallpaper-hd-1920x1080

     

    I know I said this was a post about speeding up your Google Chrome browser, but here me out. After all, Google Chrome is just a program running on your computer, and you’d be surprised to find out that if your computer isn’t running its best, then the programs you are running will also suffer as a result.

     

    GASP! SHOCK!

     

    For many of you reading this, you may not have touched a Disk Defrag in years, or even run some basic computer cleaning tools to clear out all that garbage. In the worst case scenario, you may even have a ton of toolbars and PUP running in the background hogging things.

     

     

    A PUP (potentially unwanted program) is a program that may be unwanted, despite the possibility that users consented to download it. PUPs include spyware, adware, and dialers, and are often downloaded in conjunction with a program that the user wants.

     

     

    In order to get to the bottom of this problem, it helps to understand your computer in terms of a symbiotic ecosystem where everything relies on everything else. So if seemingly unrelated parts are suffering, it’s going to drag down the experience for everything else. Therefore, before we get into Chrome specifics, let’s take some time to eliminate outside influences which may be swiftly kicking your browser in the teeth while it’s trying to do its job.

     

    As a quick disclaimer, nothing in this article has been sponsored by the recommended companies I’ll be mentioning, and I’ll just be making recommendations based on things that have worked for me, personally. These are all things I’ve done before for clients when working on their computers in a professional manner over the years and they have been proven to work in those cases reliably. So if you’ve ever wondered what those tech folks were doing behind closed doors to clean up and fix your computer when it’s running slow, now you know.

     


     

    Clean-up in Aisle 7

     

    As with anything, there isn’t a single “magic bullet” approach to getting something done with this. Many other websites will give you ten tweaks for Chrome itself like experimental options, flags, and add-ons but they aren’t addressing the entire ecosystem at play. Ultimately, this isn’t just about making Google Chrome faster, but maybe your entire computer as well.

     

    Of course, this comes without saying that there is only so much one can do in order to make a computer move faster if you have an older system. At some point, we all have to concede that the problem is just that the computer is very outdated and needs an upgrade. (I’m looking at you Windows XP users)

     

    Barring that, however… these are some preliminary things you can do in the meantime to set the stage for speeding up Google Chrome (and your entire computer in the process).

     

     


     

    CCleaner

     

    Download Button

     

    CCleaner

     

     

    To begin, let’s grab a copy of CCleaner off of the Piriform website.

     

    CCleaner does a pretty good job of clearing out all that junk piling up in the background and taking up space, and it comes with a built in Registry checker. Between those two options, adding the Tools option for Startup tweaks round this out as a solid first step, and you’re going to want to do this step first before anything else (trust me).

     

    You’ll want to install CCleaner Free, unless you feel the need to go ahead and purchase the Pro version.

     

    Step One:  Go to Cleaner on the left side, then click Analyze at the bottom.

    Step Two: When the cleaner is finished analyzing, just click Run Cleaner.

     

    Next, click on Registry to the left.

     

     

    CCleaner 2

     

    Step One: Click Scan For Issues at the bottom.

    Step Two: If anything comes up (and often you’ll get a large list), just click Fix Selected Issues…

     

    It’s at this point, CCleaner is going to ask if you want to back up your registry “just in case”. You can if you want to, but in all honesty I’ve used programs like this for many years and haven’t had a problem occur after allowing it to fix the registry.

     

    You may want to rinse and repeat the Registry portion fix a few times to catch the straggling registry errors and correct them. When the list comes up clean for scanning for issues, you’re good to go. 

     

    Quick Explanation: For those who aren’t aware, the Registry is where your computer is keeping settings and other miscellaneous information about programs like what program opens what files, and so on. Problem is, this can get bloated and out of control as you uninstall programs because it leaves a bunch of invalid entries. The reason this is a problem is that the computer has to load the Registry when it starts the computer – so obviously, the larger that list is, the longer it’ll take to start the computer. Though on more modern systems this could be negligible. As a result, it is really just a good practice to occasionally go through and clean that up with a program like CCleaner on a regular basis – maybe once every couple weeks should be fine.

     


     

    Auslogics Disk Defrag

     

    Download Button

     

    Auslogics Disk Defrag

     

     

    If you’re like most people who use a computer, regularly defragmenting your computer hasn’t occurred to you. If anything, Defrag is that program that came with your computer (Microsoft), assuming you knew where to find it.

     

    While the built-in defrag program works fine, sometimes you’re going to have to up your game and get a program with a little more oompf to it. For this, I suggest Auslogics Disk Defrag. It has a plethora of options, including algorithms for SSD drives and more. The Pro version (that you see above) has a host of other tools at your disposal as well (like health of your hard drive and such).

     

    While the version shown here is the Professional version, the Free version should work just fine for your needs at this time. By all means, if you want the paid versions of these programs, support the developers and buy them.

     

    Auslogics Disk Defrag is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to select the hard disks you want to defragment (usually just your main drive) and hit Analyze. After it’s finished with that, go ahead and press Defrag.

     

    Now, you’ll notice there is a drop down menu option for Defrag, and these are more advanced methods for doing the job. Each option is tailored to specific needs, and there is even one there for a more thorough sort of defragmentation.

     

    Choose whatever suits your needs best for this, and if you’re unsure, just stick with the default settings and let it do its thing.

     


     

    Spybot Search & Destroy

     

    Download Button

     

    Spybot Basic

     

     

    Remember when I mentioned earlier PuP, spyware and malware? Well, after we’ve finished CCleaner and Auslogics Disk Defrag, now it’s time to double check to see if there is any of that on your computer. Spybot S&D (Search and Destroy) is a program that is built just for this purpose.

     

    After you install the program, it should walk you though the basic steps from updating the database, running your first complete scan, and then immunization.

     

    There’s a lot to cover with this one, so go ahead and take some time to familiarize yourself with the program a bit and remember to click that update periodically to get the latest definitions from the server (it doesn’t auto-update in the free version).

     

    There are other options out there (Maybe Bazooka or MalwareBytes, etc) but this is the one I’ve been using for years and it works wonderfully.

     


     

    The Nuclear Option

     

    There is a program I’ve left off the main list because it is more of an advanced nuclear option when it comes to cleaning up your computer. Essentially this program removes the unwanted programs, toolbars, advertising popups, and all that crap that seems to be plaguing so many computers. If your browsers have also been hijacked, this will usually solve the problem.

     

    Essentially, if you already know that things have been getting out of control (Toolbars, hijackers, adware, etc) then this is what you use to kill it with fire.

     

     

    Malwarebytes JRT

     

    Download Button

     

    Malwarebytes JRT

     

     

    I’d love to show you some pretty graphics when it comes to JRT, but this is really all there is. JRT, or Junkware Removal Tool, runs in the Windows Shell (or DOS as you old timers remember). It is absolutely no-frills and has one purpose in mind:

     

    Kill all junkware, PuPs, toolbars and whatever else sneaky and unscrupulous folks might have snuck into your system. This is pretty much the nuclear option when you want to make sure none of those nasties are left over.

     

    This program works extremely well, but a word of caution is in order: It might work a little too well for your liking. For instance, killing off bloatware that came with the computer that vendors love pre-installing, etc.

     

    So as the program itself says – use it at your own risk, and it is provided “As-Is” without warranty.

     

     


     

    Antivirus Ahoy!

     

    Ok, so let’s assume you have an anti-virus already installed. Usually I can guess which one for the average end-user (sit down, power users… I already know).

     

    So let’s take a guess and say maybe MacAfee or Norton?

     

    shudders

     

    If it works for you (and you’ve paid for them), then go ahead and keep them.

     

    There are a lot of better options out there (in my own opinion). One thing I have noticed over the years though when dealing with client computers is that MacAfee and Norton (and also Panda) seem to cause way more problems than they are worth.

     

    Here’s a quick recommendation that I would suggest if you were going to get rid of MacAfee, Norton, etc.

     

     

    Avast!

     

    Download Button

     

    Avast Free

     

     

    I’m going to be honest: I used to use AVG for years as my antivirus program, but in the past few years it has started getting absolutely ridiculous with the advertising and popups. So much so that I’ve come to the conclusion that AVG is in and of itself malware.

     

    So what did I change my antivirus over to? Well, after evaluating the options I finally decided on Avast. Just reading through the list of features was impressive and as I’ve been running this antivirus for awhile now I’ve noticed that it is insanely fast.

     

    They’ve offloaded a lot of work onto cloud systems or something, so when you go to run your initial scan (or any virus scan), you might expect a couple of minutes for the entire thing to go through and complete.

     

    When I first ran the scan, I was expecting a good half hour or hour before it was done, so I went to make a cup of coffee and came back to find it had finished.

     

    Adding a cherry to the top of this, Avast doesn’t seem to really eat a lot of resources or footprint on my system.

     

    So if you’re running AVG, MacAfee, Norton, etc… you could very well be dragged down by their bloatware running in the background.

     

    Just some food for thought.

     

    There are other antivirus solutions too (just to mention).

     

    Things like Kapersky and whatnot. As I said before, I’m just going by what I’ve done personally to speed things up and make it all a well oiled machine. Your mileage may (of course) vary.

     


     

    Intermission

     

     

    Like you didn’t see this coming…

     

     

    Holy smokes! We’ve been quite busy in this post today, haven’t we?

     

    We’ve addressed the majority of the computer itself and done what we’ve could to clean up and sort it out. There’s plenty more that could be done, but then we’d be delving into the voodoo level of things that most consumers wouldn’t feel comfortable messing around with.

     

    So let’s get right to it with a list of things you can do right now to speed up Chrome Browser (if it hasn’t sped up already).

     


     

    And Now – The Main Attraction!

     

     

    Of course, when we talk about speeding up our Chrome Browser, we’re going to have to get into some options that aren’t run of the mill. This means that going forward, we’ll be taking a look at experimental options, flags, and other little tweaks that can improve your browser experience above and beyond the normal default settings.

     


     

    Enabling Experimental Features

     

     

    If you didn’t already know, the Chrome browser has a special page of experimental features. These features are still in development and it will be applied soon in the future as a default setting (maybe), but gosh darn it why should we wait for the cutting edge?

     

    It’s time to get our tinker on and strap the Flux Capacitor to it for good measure!

     

     

    Doc Brown

     

    Let’s head over to the chrome://flags options in another tab and get to work enabling those advanced features. While on that page, enable the following options:

     

     

    Faster Image Loading

     

    Press Ctrl+F and find “num-raster-threads“, you will see “Number of raster threads” feature. You need to change the value of it to 4 from default if it already hasn’t been changed.

     

     

    num-raster-threads

     

    In short, what this will do is give Chrome 4 threads to render images with instead of something smaller, thus speeding things up considerably if your browser was set to default.

     

     

    Faster Closing Windows & Tabs

     

    Press Ctrl+F and search for “enable-fast-unload“. Click on Enable, this will make closing of tabs faster.

     

     

    enable-fast-unload

     

    Essentially, you can think of enabling this as the “Kill it with Fire!” option. When you close a tab or the window, it’ll just go ahead and kill it without bothering to be courteous about waiting for the scripts or whatever is loading to give it the OK.

     

     

    GPU Acceleration

     

    Press Ctrl+F and search for “ignore-gpu-blacklist“. Click on Enable link, this function will ignore those GPUs which has less performance & video RAM and it lets chrome to use the available VRAM.

     

    ignore-gpu-blacklist

     

     

    An obvious word of caution here: Everyone is running different hardware, so your mileage may vary. This might even cause your computer to crash in some isolated cases. That being said, you should be pretty safe in enabling this as it definitely does give you a speed boost in Chrome.

     

     

    Smooth Scrolling

     

    Press Ctrl+F and search for “smooth-scrolling“. Click on Enable, this will do what it says.

     

    enable-smooth-scrolling

     

     

    Smooth scrolling is a hit or miss option. Some people absolutely love it, while others think it was an option that spawned from Satan’s ass-crack. The theory here being that while it doesn’t necessarily speed up Chrome, it does give you a perceptual fluidity of interaction which can go a long way toward making the bigger experience feel like it’s performing better.

     


     

    Regular Settings & Options

     

    Ok, now that we’re done with the Mad Scientist stuff in chrome://flags let’s hit Save to make sure the settings stick before moving on. Of course, it will kindly let you know that restarting Chrome needs to happen before any of it kicks in (unless Chrome restarts for you automatically).

     

    In any event, we’re now down to “Regular Stuff” that we can do in the normal settings… so let’s take a look and make sure these things are done:

     

     

    Enable Prefetch Resources

     

    Go to Setting> Advance Settings> Privacy.

     

    This option is pre enabled in latest Google Chrome browser. This feature does just what it says “Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly”. Resources means “Javascript” or any other types of script that the page might have will be stored in you PC locally and retrieve it when needed.

     

     

    enable-chrome-prefetch-resources

     

     

    Disabling Unneeded Plugins

     

    Obvious answer is obvious, right?

     

    Kill Chrome Extensions

     

    There is no doubt that the Google Chrome’s plugin are quite helpful but they often make the Google Chrome experience slow and affects the performance. That doesn’t mean you should go in there and burn the whole place to the ground. Instead, this is a job for a scalpel and not a blunt instrument. Just figure out what’s in there that you really don’t use and cull the list if you can.

     

    • Go to Settings – Extensions – Dustbin button after every extension that you want to delete from your browser.

     

     

    Clearing Browser Data Regularly

     

    Basically, the saved cache and the other kinds of saved data like the login details, browser history, saved forms, etc. dumps a heavy weightage on your browser. So, it is kind of better if you clear them which will make Google Chrome faster.

     

    Clear brosing Data in Chrome

     

     

    • Go to Settings and scroll down a bit.
    • If you see Advanced options, enable it to see the rest
    • Under Privacy you’ll find the magic button

     

     

    Clear Browsing Data B

    You’ll see a window like this pop up asking what you’d like to clear out.

     

    Just remember, if you get rid of the cookies too, then you’ll probably be clearing out any saved logins for websites that you may have had. But on the flip side, there’s a lot of ad trackers in there spying on you just the same.

     

    That being said, this will definitely give your Chrome browser a fresh start and smooth sailing going forward.

     

     

     

     

    Allowing Chrome to Run In The Background

     

    This one is optional and depends on your personal preferences for how you would like to manage your computer and what’s running. That being said, if you choose to allow Chrome to run in the background, it’ll be pre-loaded in memory when you go to “run” the browser and therefore show up faster versus a “cold start”.

     

    • Click on the Chrome menu (or press Alt+E)
    • Select Settings.
    • Click on the link titled 'Show advanced settings'
    • Under the section headed 'System' tick/untick the box next to “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed” depending on your preference

     

    Pretty much, the theory here is that since Chrome processes like plugins essentially use Chrome as their operating environment, then Chrome will be waiting in standby when you go to run the browser itself with everything pre-loaded.

     


     

    Adding the Flux Capacitor

     

    After a section that advocated removing plugins from Chrome, this final section will seem a bit hypocritical – but bare with me. The following plugins are ones that I use and they are immensely helpful in the goal of making Chrome faster and better overall.

     

     

    Flux Capacitor

     

     

    Data Saver

     

    Download Button[30]

     

    If you are vaguely familiar with Opera as a browser, then you know that they have an option built into the browser that compresses websites server side to make loading on your side faster. This is a god-send for people on mobile who may have a limited data cap. Of course, this same approach is a god-send for people who want a faster browsing experience overall.

     

    But ok, we’re using Google Chrome… what now?

     

    Well, Google has something similar but it’s not built into the web browser by default. It’s a plugin called Data Saver, and it essentially does the same thing as what the Opera browser does.

     

    Huzzah!

     

     

    Data Saver Extension

     

     

     

    AdBlock Plus

     

    Download Button[30]

     

    Obviously, if you aren’t using an AdBlocker by now you’re wasting a ridiculous amount of bandwidth and time using Chrome. While some advertising is a good thing (and you can make whitelist exceptions), the majority of websites lately just bombard you with advertising from every conceivable angle.

     

    Advertisements that aren’t loading are images, videos, etc that aren’t eating up your bandwidth and slowing down the websites you’re trying to visit. Ergo, AdBlock Plus makes Chrome work faster.

     

    It’s in your best interest to install AdBlock Plus for a faster, safer, and less annoying internet experience.

     

     

    Adblock Plus

     

     

    Mercury Reader

     

     

    Download Button[30]

     

    What is Mercury Reader, you might ask? Well, it allows you cut out all of the clutter on a website and present the content you want to read without all of the distractions. Originally the Readability extension, Mercury Reader is the evolution of that premise.

     

    If you’re really looking to speed things up while on a website trying to read the content, then this extension can be a life saver. Your eyes will thank you later.

     

     

    Mercury Reader

     

     

     

    Last Pass

     

    Download Button[30]

     

    If you remember earlier about clearing your browsing history and the possibility of losing your passwords and logins? Well, it’s a good idea to clear out those cookies just the same because they contain a ton of personal trackers that allow companies to spy on your online habits.

     

    Of course,  you don’t want to lose your passwords in the process, which is where a plugin like LastPass comes in. LastPass is an award-winning password manager, saves your passwords and gives you secure access from every computer and mobile device. Simple as that.

     

     

    LastPass

     

     


     

    So there we have it!

     

    By the time you’ve gotten through this entire post today, not only should your computer be running a bit (or a lot) quicker, but so should your Chrome Browser.

     

    I you have any other suggestions, tips or tricks, feel free to leave them in the comments.