Equipment update

Yo Joe! Just a short update this time. I had mentioned being in the market for a new laptop to work on at home and well, I’m typing this on my brand new Microsoft Surface Pro 7. As it turns out, in January, there was a great deal where you not only got a discount on the Surface, but you also got a free Type Cover. Sadly, I couldn’t get the Signature Type Cover because someone at Microsoft decided that they don’t ship those in QWERTY to Belgium. They do have the regular Type Covers in International layout, so I got that one. Make room for a – small, I hope –  rant here? You bet.

You see, in Belgium we officially have 3 languages: Dutch (Flemish), French and German. Our country also has 3 regions, each with their own governments and politicians. And then there is a Federal government and the European Counsil and Parliament as well. Needless to say, too many captains for a small boat and too much money down the drain – or worse, into the pockets of the politicians. French had been the dominant language for years since the founding of Belgium way back in 1830. The aristocrats and upper echelon of society still hold on to French to keep a distance between them and the commoners, who speak Dutch. Can you imagine being a soldier in the WW I trenches and having a commanding officer (who got the position just by being from a particular family) that only speaks French, while you don’t speak that language? Anyway, the Flemish got sick and tired of being seen as second rate inhabitants and from the late 1960’s onwards, Dutch grew in prestige and it became the most prominent language. Officially though, we still have the 3 languages and our school directives still state that we should all know the 3 languages. In reality, the French speaking part still can’t speak a word Dutch and the Dutch speaking people still switch to French when we encounter someone speaking French. Since French was so dominant and they controlled the school system for so many years, when the typewriter came to life, AZERTY was chosen as the layout in our country. And the Dutch speaking half was forced to use it. Me too, I have learned to type on AZERTY and for years I had to use it because they just didn’t sell QWERTY keyboards. When I went to college, I shared a computer classroom with the Engineering department. They used QWERTY as that makes a lot writing code a whole lot easier. Since then, I have gladly switched and have been trying to convince every Dutch speaking Belgian to do the same. Typing English is easier on QWERTY and so it typing Dutch (The Netherlands use QWERTY so that’s a No Shit Sherlock moment for you right there). Still it’s very difficult to buy a new keyboard – seperate or as part of a laptop – with the QWERTY layout. Just visit hp.be, dell.be or any other manufacturer or store and try to order one. If you’re lucky, it’s an option, but most of the times is just impossible. Let’s end this cultural history lesson and rant here, if you skipped this part:

TL, DR QWERTY > AZERTY

Back to my new Surface Pro 7. I wasn’t really sure what to get. I looked at regular laptops (keyboard issues came to play here), desktop ones and hybrid forms of computing. I even looked at the new iPad, but in the end I went with a Surface Pro because it gives me everything I need. First off, it runs a full version of Windows 10 meaning I can use all the programs I was using. Next, it has a touchscreen with pen support, so I can actually really write on it. I haven’t gotten a Surface Pen so far. Still looking at the best one, should I go original MS or a different brand? Prices are very different to say the least, so I’m comparing and researching before making a decision. Third, it’s compact and light, so even though I don’t usually take it with me, I could, say take it along when I have a doctor’s appointment and work on the go.

surface2.jpg

Bit of a crappy picture, I know. Trust me, it looks awesome in real life!

So far, I’ve been getting everything I need onto it. I’m using OneNote as a draft and research tool. Then the WordPress app to create the finished blog post. As for writing the longer stuff, I have Scrivener. I’m gonna try to not put too much stuff onto it, keeping it clean and somewhat free of distractions (no games!), but I do have a Shadow link on it just in case I need the power of a full blown desktop.

Well, that’s it for this short update, I’ll be back soon with the regular posts on the Impel Trading Cards.

Until then, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

2020 a.k.a. the best Joe year this century?

Well, another year has come and gone so I guess it’s time to look back at 2019 and forward into 2020. To be honest, I haven’t been able to put as much time into the blog as I would have hoped at the beginning of last year. The first half of 2019, post were fairly regular, but the second half of the year I has less time to spend on the blog. Overall, the blog didn’t do bad last year. We got almost 30% more visitors and over 17% more page views and all this without any advertisements. We started the year with building an army and we made it through the Impel Trading Cards from #75 to #86. I hope you all did enjoy the posts and will be back for what’s to come.

We will be getting back on track with the Impel Trading Cards, continuing where we left off with the Special Missions’ cover themed cards. I can say now, that some really good stories are still coming. Off course, I’ll drop some random post in now and again to show off some new gear, book, comic or toy or whatever I feel like sharing and is remotely connected to G.I.Joe.

Now as for 2020, I’m hopeful that we will get a good new movie focusing on Snake Eyes. The man already has 68 figure releases, so this year will be memorable when figure 69 is dropped. And then probably some other versions as well, getting his total well above 70. I’m also hoping that we’ll get the new toys over here as well, though I still have a lot of vintage Joe to collect, so I’ll be busy either way. And besides, the world has gotten smaller over the years, so if the shipping costs aren’t skyrocketing, I’ll be a happy shopper across the globe.

As for the blog, I’m organizing and planning my time so I will have one evening each week to do some writing. I still have an idea for a story that I’d like to get out on the web someday (maybe even in print if there is interest), so that will be taking of too this year and of course writing blog posts. Related to that, I’m in the market for a new laptop/tablet hybrid for my writing as well. A Remarkable looks great, but in my opinion is overpriced. Same goes for Apple, although the new iPads are better affordable now. I’m kind off locked into Microsoft though (I work for a Certified Gold Partner) and have been using their programs for years now. I’m using OneNote to prepare the blog posts and do some research. For my story – it’s to early to call it a novel(la) – I went ahead and got a license for Scrivener. I had looked at the program a while back, but had been putting it off because I didn’t have the time to write. I pulled the trigger on getting it, thinking that on some level, having the license will give me more incentive to really start writing. I’m currently still working on my 8 year old HP Elitebook 8760w. I’ve used this one for work first and then later for personal use. It may be a laptop in name, but due to the size and weight, it’s not that practical. So, I’m looking at the new Surface Pro as my next personal laptop/hybrid.

Well, now that is out of the way. Let’s focus back on G.I.Joe. 2020 will be a good year. I’m pretty sure of that. The club may be gone (for now?), but the community is very much alive and kicking with Facebook groups, podcasts, YouTube and I hope this blog as well.

Let me end by thanking all of you for your support and views, likes and messages. I hope you and your family, friends and loved ones have a wonderful year, filled with happiness, good health, love, friendship and G.I.Joe!

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!