Rage of Demons: Session 2

In the previous session the group escaped from a prison of the drow in the Underdark. Now they were free, but more or less lost in an unfamiliar environment, with neither food nor drink, and limited equipment. And the drows were pursuing them. So apart from a few combat encounters this session was mostly about how to survive and travel in the Underdark.

A tabletop role-playing game always plays on two levels at once: The story level where the warrior chops off the head of the orc, and the game level, where a player rolls some dice. The art of Dungeon-mastering is to balance these two levels and to connect them. By treating travel and survival in the Underdark as a series of dice rolls, with modifiers based on player decisions, the players gain agency over the story. And unexpected dice rolls can add surprise to the story. The Out of the Abyss book, chapter 2, has some very good suggestions on how to handle travel and survival. I just needed to combine that with existing rules in the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide to a “loop” of rolls to do every day: A roll for navigation in order to avoid becoming lost, a random encounter roll for during the day, another random encounter roll for camp at night, and a roll for foraging.

The trick to make all of that a bit more interesting is the drow pursuit: Players can choose to travel slow, normal speed, or fast. Traveling fast makes them gain more distance from the pursuers, but prevents them from foraging, and increases the difficulty of navigation and perceiving enemies. Traveling slower increases the risk from the pursuit, but makes everything else easier. In this session we played through that loop for 7 game days, which with several days traveled at high speed meant the group went from the drow outpost Velkynvelve to the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop.

To give the group some means of orientation I used the previous encounter of the cleric with Juiblex to give him a level 1 madness which made his face wounds burn whenever he looked in the north-western direction from Velkynvelve (towards Blingdenstone to be exact, for reasons that will become obvious much later). That gave him advantage on navigation rolls, and the group used a second character to help with navigation when they were traveling at fast speed, so they never got lost. After the first day the cleric also switched spells to have Create Water, which solved their thirst problem.

As encounters we first had one attack at night by goblins, which weren’t too hard to beat and provided the ranger of the group with a short bow and arrows. It also turned out that the players weren’t the squeamish kind, and they filleted the goblins, cooked them over magical fire, cast Purify Food & Drink on the meat and ate it. Later in the session they encountered a bunch of gnolls, which are larger than goblins, and thus ended up with more than enough food for their journey (although I ruled that meat wouldn’t keep longer than 2 days, because otherwise the whole foraging thing would become useless).

Then they came to the Silken Paths, an area of spider webs crossing a large chasm, connecting stalagmites and stalactites. Two non-aggressive goblins had created a business guiding people across, and the group agreed to pay them for passage. On the web they found a large chest, which of course turned out to be a mimic (that still works with new players). Then they were attacked by darkmantles, which after killing them they used to make waterskins out of. In fact this group is the first one I see in 5th edition which makes use of crafting skills from their background. Once over the chasm, the group decreased their pursuit level by burning the webs they had crossed, although of course they couldn’t burn the whole giant web.

The gnolls they met in an encounter which was supposed to have them come upon a hunt, with the gnolls chasing a pair of hook horrors. But the group just cast a fog spell to hide from the monsters and then traveled on. Then they came upon the second half of the hunters, and killed them. The group decided to rest there, but of course the first group of hunters came back before they were rested and they had to fight gnolls again.

At the end of the session the group arrived near Sloobludop, and gained level 4 from the xp for survival and the various encounters. Just like in other campaign books of Wizards of the Coast, level increase is at least twice as fast as what you’d get if you just gave out xp for monsters. I decided that was okay, as nobody wants to be low level for too long. I might have to slow that down a bit if I feel that the group is becoming too powerful for a dark themed adventure.

Mobile games growing up

The #1 on the iOS app charts this week is Fortnite, despite the fact that the game only runs if you got an invite from Epic. The pull is that except for the control scheme the game is equivalent to the PC / console version. Likewise Civilization VI exists in a mobile version equivalent to the PC game, and Final Fantasy XV on mobile is also rather close to the console version. Meanwhile PC and console games are getting closer to mobile standards regarding their business models, if you consider lootboxes.

There appears to be a huge demand to play AAA games on the go. It is one of the explanations frequently cited to explain the huge success of the Nintendo Switch console, in spite of obvious battery life problems of the concept. But the Nintendo Switch as a mobile device at least still has the same JoyCon controllers, which works a lot better than just a touch screen for some games. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would see alternative controllers that can be connected to Android and iOS mobile gaming platforms in the future.

There are still some issues to resolve on the way. Civilization VI is $60 on Steam, but there are various deals to get it much cheaper; I personally paid $12 as part of a Humble Bundle Monthly. On iOS Civilization VI costs $65, and the best deal ever was the introductory half price. With the PC version having more options in the form of DLC, as well as user-made mods from the Steam Workshop, paying more for the somewhat less mobile version doesn’t look attractive. Final Fantasy XV is better, the Steam version costs $50, while the “pocket” mobile version is $20, and you can try for free or just buy some of the chapters if you want. As much as people might like the idea of mobile AAA games, the full price of a console game is very high compared to the usual price level of mobile games.

However the main attraction of high-priced AAA games is that they tend to be “pay once, play forever”. Some companies believe that when porting games to a mobile platform, they should rather use the business models of mobile games, sometimes to a rather exploitative extent. The Sims Mobile is only playable in short bursts, until you run out of energy; then you either need to wait for hours for the energy to restore itself, or spend real money to advance with prices that make the highly expensive The Sims DLC look cheap (The Sims 4 isn’t on Steam. The Sims 3 from 2009 is, and still has $550 worth of DLCs listed.)

Part of the reason that mobile platforms are catching up to the PC is that the period of fast development of PC graphics appears to be over. My 3-year old graphics card (Geforce GTX 970) in my 4-year old computer is still playing every game at good frame rates. I used to have to change PCs every 2 years to keep up. And as Final Fantasy XV pocket edition shows, you can downgrade graphics for mobile platforms and customers won’t care all that much, as long as the gameplay is good.

In summary, I do believe that there is a trend towards more AAA games on mobile platforms. And as long as that happens at reasonable prices, I’m all for it.

The One Scenario in Which Trump Would Risk Impeachment and Fire Robert Mueller

The president reportedly expects to be exonerated soon.

President Donald Trump believes that special counsel Robert Mueller will soon send him a letter that completely exonerates him of any wrongdoing — but the president’s allies fear that such a letter will never come.

CNN reports that Trump has recently been boasting to allies that the Russia probe will be over very shortly, and that Mueller will personally exonerate him. The president believes this, CNN’s sources say, because his attorneys have tried to manage him by telling him that he faces no real danger from the probe.

However, some of the president’s allies believe this is delusional, wishful thinking — and they fear what Trump will do if that exoneration letter never comes.

One Trump ally tells CNN that the president will likely have a “meltdown” after months go by without an exoneration letter, after which “he’ll try and fire Mueller and then be impeached.”

Another Trump ally similarly warns that Trump’s lawyers are playing a dangerous game by buttering him up with happy talk about the Mueller probe ending shortly.

“I’ve known him long enough to know that disappointing him is a problem and they’ve built up a level of expectations for him that are unrealistic,” the source said. “[They’ve] lulled him into a false sense of security.”

 

 

Related Stories

  • MSNBC Shows Frightening Clip of Trump and Putin Using Exact Same Talking Points
  • MSNBC Shows Scary Clip of Trump and Putin Using Exact Same Talking Points
  • Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro Delivers Her Most Disturbing Monologue of Trump’s Presidency

Advanced Excel Charts: Sooo Muuch Data – Analysis Needed !

Data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format.

Today, we see data visualization being embraced like never before. Organizations that know and understand it, love its very existence. Since Big Data is a popular lingo in the tech world today across industries ranging from finance to communications, the need to drive better business decisions is the need of the hour. As a result, organizations are looking for better data visualization tools, to turn their essential load of data into something that is more comprehensible.
Excel charts are an efficient means to visualize the data to convey the results. In addition to the chart types that are available in Excel, some application charts are popular and widely used.
The importance of advanced charts
  • They provide consolidated information in a single chart that makes it easier to compare more than one data set and make decisions quickly
  • They allow us to customize the look and feel of the charts
Lets see some important Advanced Charts in Excel:

1. Band Chart

A Band chart is a Line chart with added shaded areas to display the upper and lower boundaries of the defined data ranges.
Band charts provide by far more context to your visualization and more insight into your data. Especially if you have to explore unknown data sets.

Why is a band chart more efficient than a line chart? Because it provides more context. Unlike a single line chart displaying only the development of the selected data series over time, a band chart provides a variety of additional information at a glance.

2. Waffle Chart:

A Waffle chart is a square divided by 10×10 cells. The value is displayed as percentage, so you can clearly see the difference down to 1%.
Pie charts are often criticized because while at the outset they do seem to convey the information, people still have a hard time comparing the angles and sizes of each element.
Making pie healthier resulted in the Waffle chart! A Waffle chart is essentially a squarified pie. Since it does not involve angles, it’s easier for the reader to compare accurately as well as evoke emotional comparisons.
You can use it with just one measure…
or with a category.


3.Heat Map

A Heat Map is a visual representation of data in a Table to highlight the data points of significance.
For example, in the dataset below, I can easily spot which are the months when the sales were low (highlighted in red) as compared with other months.
In the above dataset, the colors are assigned based on the value in the cell. The color scale is Green to Yellow to Red with high values getting the green color and low values getting the red color.

4.Waterfall Chart:

A Waterfall chart is a form of data visualization that helps in understanding the cumulative effect of sequentially introduced positive or negative values.
The columns are color coded so you can quickly tell positive from negative numbers. The initial and the final value columns often start on the horizontal axis, while the intermediate values are floating columns. Because of this “look”, waterfall charts are also called bridge charts.

5.Pareto Chart:

Pareto chart is widely used in Statistical Analysis for decision-making.It represents the Pareto principle, also called 80/20 Rule, which states that 80% of the results are due to 20% of the causes.
A Pareto or sorted histogram chart contains both columns sorted in descending order and a line representing the cumulative total percentage. Pareto charts highlight the biggest factors in a data set, and are considered one of the seven basic tools of quality control as it’s easy to see the most common problems or issues.

Want to learn Data Analytics?

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

Android Apps Weekly featured image
Welcome to the 220th Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Disney purchased Fox this week. This is a big deal. That means all of Marvel’s property is under one roof again. Disney’s upcoming video streaming service is starting to get a lot more appealing to many people. Some claim that Netflix should be nervous. However, Hulu, Netflix, and others have co-existed for years. The addition of Disney’s streaming service probably won’t change that.
  • Google revealed the top search trends of 2017. Among them are the famous Mayweather vs McGregor fight, 13 Reasons Why, the various hurricanes that buffeted the American south, bitcoin, and many others. In consumer tech, the iPhone 8 and X dominated along with the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5, and the Razer Phone. Hit the link to see all the trends!
  • The latest Humble Bundle is live! This time it’s a bunch of Noodlecake Studios games. That’s good news because that studio is fantastic. Some of the games include Alto’s Adventure, Pug’s Quest, Invert, Framed 2, The Bug Butcher, and others. Four games are available for $1. Beating the average price nets you four additional games. Finally, you can get every game in the bundle for a flat $5. That’s a great deal for some great games.
  • Bridge Constructor Portal already has a decent buzz about it. We now have more to report. The game features Ellen McLain, the original voice actress for GLaDOS. That’s getting people excited. The eccentric robot AI was a fan favorite in the Portal games and remains an icon of the game. It’s really neat to see the actual GLaDOS returning for this mobile game.
  • Microsoft Edge on mobile is doing surprisingly well. It amassed over one million downloads in just a few short weeks. Microsoft Edge browser isn’t half bad. Most of its critiques compare its lack of features to that of Firefox and Google Chrome. However, a mobile app offering shored up a lot of those weaknesses, including cross-platform syncing. It’s good to see some quality competition in the browser space.

For even more Android apps and games news, updates, and releases, check out this week’s newsletter by clicking here. You can also subscribe with the form below if you want. Of course, the best way to stay up to date is with the Android Authority app!

Get the latest Android Apps Weekly newsletter!
Subscribe to the Apps Weekly newsletter.

Storyboard

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Storyboard is one of two new apps from Google this week. This one is a bit unique. It turns videos into comic strip-style storyboards. The app uses experimental research technology for its layouts. You can refresh over and over again until you get one that you like. It’s not overly useful. However, it is a lot of fun to use. Plus, some of the layouts look pretty nifty. The app is also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Storyboard

Ticket to Earth

Price: $4.99 (on sale for $3.49)
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Ticket to Earth is a new puzzle RPG. You play to save a colony from destruction. The game includes various types of puzzles, tile matching, and a decent story line. Most of the game is on a board game style layout. The game first appeared on Steam. The mobile release is more recent. The game is a pay-once experience. That means no ads or in-app purchases. It goes for $4.99 usually. However, the developers are having a launch sale. The game is temporarily $3.49.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Ticket to Earth

Selfissimo

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Selfissimo is the second new Google app this week. This one is another experimental app. It tries to automatically snap pictures of you when it detects your pose. Thus, you just pose, it takes a picture, and you repeat until done. For now, it only takes black and white selfies. It may not be suited for much more than the occasional Instagram or Facebook post. Still, it’s kind of neat to watch an app take your picture automatically. The app is free with no in-app purchases or advertisements.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Selfissimo

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty

Price: $7.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is the latest adventure game in the popular franchise. This one follows Abe as he attempts to save his friends. The evil Molluck wants to turn everyone into food. Obviously, that’s a bad thing. The game comes with decent graphics, support for hardware controllers, cloud saving, leaderboards, and achievements. It’s a tad expensive at $7.99. However, it doesn’t have ads or in-app purchases. It’s a decent game for its price.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY


Grammarly Keyboard

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard was released this week. It’s by the same devs who do the Grammarly extension on Google Chrome. The keyboard works okay. It has a fairly basic set of functions and the layout is a little boring. However, it does attempt to correct your grammar as you type. That makes it unique. Grammarly is having a rough start with this one, though. There are a few bugs and only a few customization options. This one may take a while to get going. It might end up being one of the better Android keyboards over time. At the very least, it’s free with no in-app purchases if you want to try it.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard

10 best Android keyboards

For many people, the default keyboard that comes on their devices is passable. It is usually either the stock Android keyboard or the OEM keyboard from Samsung, LG, etc. However, those are not your only options. …

15 best RPGs for Android

RPGs have one of the most loyal followings of any gaming genre. Whether it’s Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft, people spend dozens of hours crafting characters, playing story lines, and enjoying themselves. RPGs were …

If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments. Check back next week for more!

ZTE confirms Axon 7 will be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo

  • ZTE has confirmed that Android 8.0 Oreo will come to the Axon 7
  • The announcement came via a forum post from a ZTE spokesperson
  • According to the statement, the update is “just around the corner”

If you’re still feeling glum about the sad revelation that the Axon 7 has been axed from ZTE’s production slate, then hopefully today’s news direct from the Chinese company’s mouth will help soften the blow.

In a surprising turn, ZTE has confirmed that its beloved mid-range phone will be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo in the near future. In a post on the unofficial ZTE community forums, Z-Union, a ZTE spokesperson said:

“We are announcing now that we are already developing Android 8 for the Axon 7, your positive feedback has been inspiring us a lot and made us very happy and because of this we try to get it customer ready as soon as possible for the best customers in the world, and I ask for your understanding because we still need some time to perfect it.”

While there’s no confirmed timeframe – the thread is titled “Android 8 is just around the corner” – the news that the Axon 7 will enjoy all of the myriad benefits of Oreo is enough reason for celebration.

Editor’s Pick

The Axon 7 originally launched in mid-2016 rocking Android Marshmallow out of the box with ZTE’s MiFavor UI over the top. The flagship killer was later upgraded to Android Nougat, which some may have assumed would be the end of the line for major OS updates.

As the folks over at Phandroid note, the confirmation comes via a European forum, although it seems likely that the Oreo update will eventually roll out to other regions, including the US.

In addition, it’s worth remembering that Axon M users are still waiting on Google’s latest update to arrive and ZTE will no doubt prioritize its unique dual-screen phone. It’s also unclear whether or not ZTE will stop at 8.0 or continue on to version 8.1 that recently rolled out for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Although it’s not quite the Axon 8 announcement some fans are hoping for, today’s news could mark a nice final hurrah for a phone that remains a firm favorite here at Android Authority.

How The GOP’s Money Grab Will Squeeze Public Schools

The GOP is about to make it harder for communities to raise money for schools.

Republican leaders in Congress make no secret of prioritizing tax cuts for their wealthy donors and corporate allies over the needs of people who work for a living. Donald Trump presented himself as a different kind of Republican—a populist who would look out for ordinary Americans. But, with the president’s full-throated support, Republicans are poised to pass a reverse Robin Hood tax plan that lavishes benefits on corporations and the very wealthy at the expense of Americans just trying to get by.

Americans get it, even though the GOP has tried to keep them in the dark. Republicans in Congress have rushed to ram(link is external)through the most sweeping tax overhaul in three decades without a single hearing, before the final bill has been scored or even seen except by a select few, and without one Democratic vote in favor. Why the hurry? Why not wait(link is external)—as President Obama did after Republican Scott Brown was elected to take Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat—until Sen.-elect Doug Jones can be seated?

That would respect the will of voters, and it would allow for transparency so the details of this far-reaching tax cut legislation for the wealthy can be examined. But GOP leaders are digging in: They know that time, sunlight and their dwindling Senate majority all work against them, so they’re operating as swiftly and secretly as they can. Even so, only 26 percent(link is external) of voters approve of their plan.

A key reason is that for all the talk of this being a “middle-class tax plan,” this is a tax increase plan for millions of middle-income Americans. Even with the deductions that Republicans have been shamed into restoring, such as those for high medical expenses, taxes could go up(link is external) for 87 million middle-class families, including 67 million making less than $100,000 annually. It will strip 13 million Americans(link is external) of their health insurance and raise premiums on the individual market(link is external) by an average of $2,000 per year. That doesn’t even count the automatic Medicare cuts(link is external) of $25 billion next year this corporate tax cut bill triggers, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic cuts(link is external) to other social services over the next decade.

It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of the tax cuts will go to the wealthiest 1 percent(link is external) of Americans. The plan lowers the top tax rate for upper-income households and slashes the corporate tax rate. While union members will no longer be able to deduct their dues, people who own private jets(link is external) will get a break. This is an obscene transfer of wealth upward at a time of record corporate profits and income inequality, while sticking it to wage earners, whose incomes have been stagnant for decades.

Perhaps worst of all, the GOP plan pays for corporate tax cuts by eviscerating the deduction for state and local taxes(link is external), which pay for public education, public colleges, public safety and infrastructure. Millions of people will pay more taxes and, as a result, that will make it harder for states and communities to raise money for these public investments. Squeezing funding for public schools and services is especially cruel at a time when at least 29 states are spending less(link is external) on public education than before the Great Recession.

Raising taxes on ordinary Americans still won’t cover all the breaks for corporations and the wealthy, so the GOP is mortgaging America’s future—by jacking up the federal deficit(link is external) by at least $1 trillion. This will limit our ability to invest in the infrastructure, health, education and retirement programs the country needs, and will saddle ordinary Americans with the tab for generations to come.

Republican lawmakers’ erstwhile aversion to deficits may be gone for now, but not for long. House Speaker Paul Ryan already has said, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” Translation: Blow up the deficit though tax cuts, then use the debt as an excuse to slash education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, housing and hunger programs—shredding the social safety net(link is external).

The AFT and our members have worked around the clock to mitigate some of the most harmful elements in earlier versions of this legislation. But given the rushed, dark-of-night process the GOP has used, we are still discovering new ways the bill will harm working families, such as parents of college students likely seeing a larger tax increase under the bill than taxpayers in general. Sadly, most but not all Republican lawmakers have sided with donors(link is external) and turned their backs on their constituents. They have made the calculation that between tweetstorms, the holidays and the 24-hour news cycle, Americans won’t notice or won’t object to this reprehensible rewarding of the rich at the expense of everyone else. But GOP lawmakers’ hypocrisy and contempt(link is external) for people who work hard for a living will not go unnoticed—now or in November.

Reflection API : in Java

Reflection API : in Java


What is an API?

Application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together,and build his own application.

An example, You are buying an item in online through your credit card. You will provide credit card details and press continue button. It will tell you whether your information is correct or not. To provide these results, there are lot of things in the background.
The application will send your credit card details to a remote application which will validate your information and send the result back your application. API is used in this scenario.
Java application programming interface (API) is a list of all classes that are part of the Java development kit (JDK). It includes all Java packages, classes, and interfaces, along with their methods, fields, and constructors. These pre-written classes provide a tremendous amount of functionality to a programmer.

Reflection API:

As we now know what is API in java,So in simple terms we can say Reflection API is a collection of classes which are meant for Reflection operations in java.

What is Reflection?


In Java, the process of analyzing and modifying all the capabilities of a class at runtime is called Reflection.Reflection is a language’s ability to inspect and dynamically call classes, methods, attributes, etc. at runtime.

Reflection is important since it lets you write programs that do not have to know everything at compile time, making them more dynamic, since they can be tied together at runtime.

For example, using reflection at the runtime you can determine what method, field, constructor or modifiers a class supports.

Where it is used?

The Reflection API is mainly used in:
  • IDE (Integrated Development Environment) e.g. Eclipse, MyEclipse, NetBeans etc.
  • Debugger
  • Test Tools etc.
For example, say you have an object of an unknown type in Java, and you would like to call a ‘doSomething’ method on it if one exists. Java’s static typing system isn’t really designed to support this unless the object conforms to a known interface, but using reflection, your code can look at the object and find out if it has a method called ‘doSomething’ and then call it if you want to.
Using Java Reflection Classes you can obtain  information about:
  • Class Name
  • Class Modifies (public, private, synchronized etc.)
  • Package Info
  • Superclass
  • Implemented Interfaces
  • Constructors
  • Methods
  • Fields
  • Annotations
and much more information about java classes.

Java.lang.reflect:

java.lang.reflect package encapsulates several important interfaces and classes. These classes and interface define methods which are used for reflection.

java.lang.Class class:

The java.lang.Class class performs mainly two tasks:
  • provides methods to get the metadata of a class at run time.
  • provides methods to examine and change the run time behavior of a class.

Commonly used methods of Class class:

Method Description
1) public String getName() returns the class name
2)public static Class forName(String className)throws ClassNotFoundException  loads the class and returns the reference of Class class.
3)public Object newInstance()throws InstantiationException,IllegalAccessException creates new instance.
4) public boolean isInterface() checks if it is interface.
5) public boolean isArray() checks if it is array.
6) public boolean isPrimitive() checks if it is primitive.
7) public Class getSuperclass() returns the superclass class reference.
The following example shows the usage of java.lang.Class.getName() method.


import java.lang.*;

public class SCPTL {

public static void main(String[] args) {

// returns the Class object associated with this class
SCPTL cl = new SCPTL();
Class c1Class = cl.getClass();

// returns the name of the class
String name = c1Class.getName();
System.out.println("Class Name = " + name);
}
}
getClass() method returns the instance of Class class and  getName() method returns the name of the entity (class, interface, array class, primitive type, or void) represented by this Class object, as a String(in this case name of class).
Above code will produce following output:

Uses of Reflection

Reflection is commonly used by programs which require the ability to examine or modify the runtime behavior of applications running in the Java virtual machine. This is a relatively advanced feature and should be used only by developers who have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of the language. With that caveat in mind, reflection is a powerful technique and can enable applications to perform operations which would otherwise be impossible.
Extensibility Features
An application may make use of external, user-defined classes by creating instances of extensibility objects using their fully-qualified names.

Class Browsers and Visual Development Environments
A class browser needs to be able to enumerate the members of classes. Visual development environments can benefit from making use of type information available in reflection to aid the developer in writing correct code.

Debuggers and Test Tools
Debuggers need to be able to examine private members on classes. Test harnesses can make use of reflection to systematically call a discoverable set APIs defined on a class, to insure a high level of code coverage in a test suite.

Drawbacks of Reflection

Reflection is powerful, but should not be used indiscriminately. If it is possible to perform an operation without using reflection, then it is preferable to avoid using it. The following concerns should be kept in mind when accessing code via reflection.
Performance Overhead
Because reflection involves types that are dynamically resolved, certain Java virtual machine optimizations can not be performed. Consequently, reflective operations have slower performance than their non-reflective counterparts, and should be avoided in sections of code which are called frequently in performance-sensitive applications.
Security Restrictions
Reflection requires a runtime permission which may not be present when running under a security manager. This is in an important consideration for code which has to run in a restricted security context, such as in an Applet.

Want to learn more about java?

       

Latest Razer Phone update delivers camera and audio improvements

We noted in our Razer Phone review that the photography performance was garbage. The 12 MP dual camera itself was adequate, but it was let down by poor processing, slow shutter speeds, and weak colors. Thankfully, Razer vowed to address some of these camera problems via software updates last month, and today we’ve come across one such OTA.

As reported by GSMArena, Razer is now rolling out a ~97 MB update which brings fixes several welcome improvements to the camera and audio technologies — check out the patch notes below.

Camera improvements:

  • Improved shutter speed in low light and when using HDR
  • Reduced noise and clearer shadows
  • Improved picture quality and better color cast
  • Crushed bugs and performance improvements

Audio improvements:

  • “Tweaked the knobs” for greater clarity during playback
  • Improved call quality for HD Audio
  • Fixed some issues with Dolby Audio

Meanwhile, Razer also lists a “smoothed out” auto-brightness luminosity, updated “Arrival theme icons to a dark style,” and other bug fixes in its list of optimizations. The handset remains on Android 7.1.1 Nougat for the time being, however, with the October security level.

These are much-needed improvements for the Razer Phone, and though we can’t yet attest to the effectiveness of this latest patch (we haven’t seen the update ourselves and it’s not clear which regions it’s currently rolling out in), we’ll be sure to investigate the situation once we do.

What are your thoughts on the Razer Phone? Is it worth the money? Let us know in the comments.

Is Your D&D Character Rare?

FiveThirtyEight, a website better known for predicting election results with statistical methods, a few weeks ago posted a statistical analysis of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons characters regarding their choice of class and race combination. The result is boringly predictable: People overwhelmingly choose a race that gives at least a +1, if not a +2 bonus to their main class stat. As the race system has been designed to favor combinations that appear in the cast of Lord of the Rings, you get a lot more elven rangers than dwarven rangers, etc. However that is much less an attempt to emulate the classics but rather simple stat minmaxing.

I don’t know how these statistics look for other games or previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons. But I suspect that the “bounded accuracy” math of 5th edition D&D makes a +1 or +2 bonus a lot more important in this edition, because there aren’t so many other bonuses around. Unless you “roll lucky” (which is my way of saying cheat with your stats), an elf paladin is simply too bad stat-wise to be playable. That from a role-playing point of view a haughty elf might make a brilliant paladin if played well is of no importance. You choose your class, then take one of the few races that are good at that class, or default to humans who are good at everything.

As a role-playing challenge I would love to try a gnome barbarian. But as a 5th edition character with standard array or 27-point buy stats I’d end up with something not very fun to play in combat. The World of Warcraft system where your choice of race has only a very minor influence on your combat performance is more to my liking.