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'No Man's Sky Next': Tips To Get You Started And Ease Your Way
August 4, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

‘No Man’s Sky Next’Credit: Hello Games

No Man’s Sky Next is a satisfying and addictive game that overflows with discovery, wonder and challenge. It’s finally the game that No Man’s Sky notoriously was not when it first released in 2016. It can also be immensely confusing for first time players. You’re most likely to begin the game in threatening circumstances with a clock ticking down and no idea what to do or how to do it. Here are some tips to get you started and ease your way if you haven’t played No Man’s Sky before or don’t remember much about the game.

The opening

You begin the game on a random, procedurally generated planet. You may luck out and start with a planet that doesn’t present a life-threatening hazard, but the chances aren’t good. Most planets demand protection from the environment. Your Exosuit’s Hazard Protection system protects you, but when the game begins it needs to be recharged. You have some time left, but not much. When the charge runs out, you begin to take damage. You need sodium to charge Hazard Protection. Where do you find it? How do you get it? How do you use it?

The most common source of sodium is a plant that emits a golden glow. Harvest the plant by clicking on it.

If you don’t see any plants or crystals, you can use your Scanner to find some, but first it has to be repaired. Fixing it requires ferrite dust which is easy to acquire. Almost all of the small rocks and many of the large ones are sources for ferrite dust. Shoot them with your Mining Beam and you can gather the 50 ferrite dust needed to repair the Scanner in a minute or less. If you don’t immediately see a sodium source in your area, shoot rocks and repair the Scanner.

‘No Man’s Sky Next’Credit: Hello Games

Three main conduits for interacting with the game

Once you have either sodium or ferrite dust you have to use them. This is a good time to become familiar with No Man’s Sky Next’s three main conduits for interacting with the game, the Exosuit, Starship and Multi-tool. Each conduit serves as an inventory space for related subsystems, tools, devices, and upgrades. The Exosuit and Starship also store the things you collect and the crafting components you gather.

The Exosuit houses the Jetpack, and the Hazard Protection and Life Support subsystems. Clicking on Hazard Protection will let you charge it once you’ve acquired sodium.

The Multi-tool houses the Mining Beam and the Scanner. Click on the Scanner to repair it.

The Starship houses the Launch Thruster, Pulse Engine, Deflector Shield, Photon Cannon and Rocket Launcher. You need to repair the Launch Thruster and Pulse Engine before you can fly the ship.

Finding your starship and leaving the star system

If you gathered sodium, use it to charge Hazard Protection and then repair the Scanner; if you repaired the Scanner, use it to find sodium and charge Hazard Protection. If the Scanner doesn’t reveal any sodium sources, don’t worry. Getting into your ship will also charge Hazard Protection. The ship is close by and easy to find because it shows up on your HUD as soon as the Scanner is repaired if you haven’t moved too far away.

Repairing your ship is your next task once you’ve found it. After your ship is repaired you can explore the local star system while you complete the in-game tutorial which unlocks new tools, devices and capabilities.

There’s so much to do in No Man’s Sky Next that it’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s not a problem if you do, but you may not have advanced far enough into the game to take advantage of many of the things you discover. Following the tutorial will keep you on track and give you everything you need to warp out of your first star system.

‘No Man’s Sky Next’Credit: Hello Games

Tips to ease your way.

  • If you have a long distance to travel on a planet, boost into space, move until you’re above your target location, and then dive down through the atmosphere. It’s much quicker.
  • Use your Mining Beam carefully if there are Sentinels around. If you’ve attracted their attention, go somewhere else until they lose interest. They call for backup if you get into a fight.
  • You can avoid most fights by running away from Sentinels and boosting away from space pirates. The AI isn’t too bright.
  • Build the Analysis Visor as soon as you can. The visor lets you scan flora, fauna and minerals as well as locate buried items and large mineral deposits. The large deposits can be harvested with a Terrain Manipulator which the tutorial will show you how to build. The Analysis Visor also locates your ship and keeps it on your HUD which is a life saver if you get lost.
  • Scan everything that’s unidentified. Scanning gives you units, the game’s main currency, and uploading your discoveries gives you nanites which are used to buy blueprints and upgrades.
  • Stockpile blueprints. They don’t take up inventory space, let you reinstall your favorite upgrades after you pick up a new ship or Multi-tool, and may be just what you need for an on-the-spot upgrade.
  • You can buy additional inventory slots for the Exosuit at one of the merchant kiosks on the space station. Walk past the merchant to get to the suit-upgrade device. The first slot costs 5000 units and the price doubles for each additional slot.
  • Discover buildings and points of interest on a planet by feeding Navigation Data to the Signal Booster. It beats flying around randomly looking for things. The orange octahedrons inside buildings yield either Navigation Data or nanites. Asking lifeforms for directions will also reveal planetary locations on your Exosuit and Starship HUDs.
  • Visit all the planets in your star system once you get your ship repaired. Each planet has its own ecosystem to scan and is loaded with things to find. Planets with extremely hazardous environments also tend to have more valuable resources to harvest. A relatively benign planet is a good base of operations while you complete the tutorial.
  • Carbon, ferrite and di-hydrogen are often-needed crafting materials that are plentiful and easy to acquire on most planets. Sodium and oxygen are not rare but not as abundant either. It’s a good idea to keep some in your Exosuit inventory because they’re needed to charge Hazard Protection and Life Support.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your deployable machines like the Signal Booster and Portable Refiner after you’ve used them. Having to build a new one because you left the old one behind is annoying.
  • If you swap ships with a lifeform to increase your ship inventory, make sure you empty your ship before you make the trade. All of a ship’s cargo and upgrades go with a ship when it’s traded. Upgrades can’t be removed but they can be salvaged for parts. Move cargo you don’t want to lose to your Exosuit inventory and sell the rest before you trade ships. You’re going to have to make some hard choices about what to keep and what to sell but it’s better than losing it all.

No Man’s Sky Next is a complex game with a lot to discover and do. I haven’t even scratched the surface here, but it should be enough to ease your way through the early stages of the game.

If you’re interested in No Man’s Sky Next, here is another article you might enjoy.

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Here's What Happened When I Started Running My Life Like a Business
February 13, 2018 6:23 pm|Comments (0)

I wear the same thing every day. My banking is 100% automated. Once a year, I go to Costco and stock up on an entire year’s worth of essentials. My wife thinks I’m a little OCD (and you probably do too!) … but I firmly believe systematizing my life has made me more successful.

I run my life the same way I run my company: with streamlined systems and processes to guarantee success. You can’t go in blind and expect to land in the right place; you need to be planful, create a vision, and establish actionable ways to achieve your goals. It’s not for everyone, but I believe we all can benefit from implementing systems into our day-to-day lives.

There’s a System For That

Entrepreneurs spend so much time building out processes to keep their business running like a well-oiled machine. These systems are the nuts and bolts of everything the business does; without them, the whole thing would fall apart.

Few of us apply the same mentality to our personal lives. Most people are insanely busy all the time — myself included. I run four companies, I have three kids, and I value my personal time, too. The more tasks I can systematize, the more time I have to focus on everything that matters.

Take packing, for example. Most people make a new list every time they pack, but that’s just not efficient: not only are you wasting time on a repetitive task, you also run the risk of forgetting something. I travel a lot so I have a ready-made list that I use every time. This way, I don’t have to overthink it and the process is more efficient. Systematizing my life is about being purposeful with my time and never wasting a minute.

Systems Are Reliable — and Fixable

I’ve always believed in Michael Gerber’s sentiment, “People don’t fail, systems do.” Systems are meant to function cohesively and to set you up for success; if something goes wrong, it can almost always be traced back to a glitch somewhere.

I schedule my working days down to the minute — from the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep. This allows me to maximize my time so there’s never a second wasted, not even my commute: my assistant schedules all my phone calls for when I’m driving, so I can be just as productive enroute as I am in-office. (Don’t worry, I’m always hands free!). If I tried to squeeze calls into my office hours, I’d never get anything done.

It comes down to your mindset: when you start looking at each aspect of your life as a distinct system, it becomes easier to identify, address and streamline for the future.

A Systematized Life is a Simplified Life

Over the years I’ve learned that the less complicated the system, the more likely it is to work. That’s why our systems for our businesses are incredibly simple — as in, they fit on one page. Anyone who reads our operations manual can run a successful franchise. I apply this same philosophy to my life.

How’s this for a simple system: I wear the same jeans, T-shirt and Chucks almost every day. It’s my way of removing an unnecessary step from my life. The less time I waste on decisions like what to wear, the more time I have for more important things like my family and the business.

Maybe it’s because I’m a minimalist, but inefficiency is one of my biggest pet peeves. I swear it’s not just an oddball quirk; being efficient lets you spend less time working and more time living. After all, a simple life is a happier life.

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Why This CEO Started a Secret Company to Compete with His Existing One
February 10, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

Eighteen months ago, FreshBooks CEO Mike McDerment did something that might blow your mind. In secrecy, he started a brand new company to compete with his existing one.

Finding Space to Experiment.

In my recent interview with McDerment, he described a moment in the winter of 2013 when he had been feeling uneasy about the steady growth of his business. Freshbooks, which had long been the darling of the DIY bookkeeping industry, needed to keep innovating to remain competitive.

The reality, which McDerment recognized, is that software products, by their very nature, are malleable and constantly changing. In today’s business landscape, consumers expect products to be constantly improving.

But how do you make major changes in a way that does not disrupt existing users? Especially when their livelihood depends on your product?

How does a company allow for the exploration required for innovation without screwing up what it’s already getting right?

McDerment asked himself these questions. And he believes he’d found the answer by rolling out an updated product, but not under the FreshBooks brand.

And so, he started BillSpring.  

Newcomer BillSpring could market its product as “in development,” thereby creating the space for experimentation and attracting new users with its updated design.

Sure, this strategy is logical, but it’s jarringly unconventional. However, McDerment says Freshbooks has sought to establish a culture of putting people at the center of every decision, so for him, it was an obvious move.

Being Human-Centered.

FreshBooks took the coveted first place spot in the highly competitive Great Places to Work survey. The secret sauce, according to McDerment, is the company’s ability to embody a human-centric approach to all facets of the business: from product development, to hiring and training.

Employees aren’t the only people who matter when it comes to making decisions at FreshBooks. Customers are in constant focus–a concept McDerment calls customer proximity.

To make sure that all team members understand customers, all newly hired employees spend a month in customer service. And this pitstop in customer service occurs without exception, not even for the new CFO, who had taken three companies public. Despite not having any customer-facing interactions, he too spent 30 days getting to know customers on the front lines of customer service.

As a result of this mentality, the company is hyper-sensitive to customer satisfaction. So in retrospect, the decision to create a completely separate brand is no surprise. In fact, it’s a considerate way of introducing change.

A Considerate Approach to Introducing Change.

Whether change is as simple as a minor feature update or something as significant as starting a whole new company to compete with, the consideration of the impact on all people involved should always remain at the forefront.

It’s not just what Freshbooks values, but as so many companies have proven, it’s just good business. 

Eighteen months after the experiment, Billspring had shown improvements in business performance and customer satisfaction, exceeded those of Freshbooks. At this point, McDerment finally decided it was time to come out of hiding, dissolving the Billspring brand and merging the products back under Freshbooks. 

“When we launched we didn’t want our users to worry. So if they said ‘you know what? It’s great but not right for me’ then they could return to Freshbooks classic,” McDerment says. “We did everything in our power to not destabilize our users’ business, and so the vast majority of people recognized that and chose the new version when they had the chance.” 

The Takeaway: Create the Conditions for Innovation.

The extreme stealth-mode approach may not be the right answer for other companies looking to navigate change and growth, but creating the conditions for change and growth is–for the organization and, more importantly, the real people they serve.

Despite the radical time and cost investment, McDerment stands by his 18-month experiment to deliver positive outcomes for its employees and customers. Ultimately, affording the freedom of time and space is what has enabled the award-winning success that the company enjoys today.

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KFC Just Started Letting Customers Pay In a Way That Could Change Everything
September 4, 2017 3:43 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek

Many traditional fast food restaurants are slowly being left behind.

It’s not that customers don’t crave their greasy goodness.

It’s that many fast food restaurant brands feel a touch old-fashioned and new rivals have come along, offering a heady recipe of a more exciting brand and better food.

This has led the likes of McDonald’s to experiment with, for example, touchscreen ordering.

Never, though, has one of the monolithic fast food brands tried what this KFC is doing.

As the South China Morning Post reports, a KFC-owned restaurant called KPRO — an oddly healthy place that serves salads, panini and fresh juice — is allowing customers to pay with a smile.

I tried getting away with something similar in one or two restaurants during my teens. It didn’t work well, as the owners quickly demanded, well, money. Or else.

Here, though, you walk up to a large screen. You use a touchscreen to select the very healthy food you’d like to quickly consume.

Then you click on the Smile To Pay feature.

It uses facial recognition to decide who you are.

Then it asks you to enter your phone number, for a little extra authentication.

This could be a little awkward if there are people standing behind you.

Don’t these technologists care about privacy? Oh, you know the answer to that one.

Once you’ve ordered, you go and sit down and your food is magically delivered by someone who, one hopes, doesn’t say: “We know where you live.”

KFC worked with Ant Financial, part of the vast Alibaba Group, to create this system, one that will surely make people feel so very modern.

Some might look at the video and think that all this button-pushing and pausing to take a picture isn’t all that fast.

It’s also gloriously impersonal.

Then again, isn’t that what technology would prefer we become? A face and a phone number, rather than, say, a living, breathing, purse-bearing, picky-eating human.

From finger-lickin’ good to face-bearin’ payin’.

This is progress.

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Hugh Jackman Didn’t Know Wolverines Were Real Animals Until After He Started Shooting X-Men
June 16, 2017 6:10 am|Comments (0)

We hear stories about actors being cast as superheroes who have never picked up a comic book all the time, but Hugh Jackman took this a step further when he showed up for his Wolverine audition back in the late ‘90s for the first X-Men movie. He didn’t even know wolverines existed—and he found out in the most…

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U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil Started Out ‘As Underachieving As You Can Get’
October 9, 2016 10:20 am|Comments (0)

How can someone who has underachieved for years change their course and exceed their potential? This question was originally answered on Quora by DJ Patil.


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