Slice of Chaotic Life

The daily life of a celibate middle-aged man.

Archive for July, 2013

Ingress journal: Quantum foam

Posted by Itlandm on July 31, 2013

This morning, after I had arrived in Kristiansand, I saw something unusual on my scanner. I was remote-viewing one of the portals I maintain, using a portal key. I noticed there was a gray portal nearby, and another near that again … I found several gray (unclaimed) portals around in downtown. The park in particular had so many you could barely tell them apart with the usual overview mode, but might have to zoom in a bit to see them all. They were all surrounded by XM, so the whole park was almost covered in white. I have seen this density of portals on the map of central Oslo, where it covers a much larger area, and I refer to it as “quantum foam”. (This is just a joke, in physics quantum foam is supposed to exist on a submicroscopic level.)

So now I have an area in the middle of Kristiansand that is densely packed with portals and filled with XM. This will give high-level attackers an edge, as they can fill up their scanner before attacking a portal. Of course, any successful attack is likely to make me stronger as well, as I have the same bubble bath of XM available to retake the portals once the guests are gone.

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Ingress journal: Battery pack

Posted by Itlandm on July 30, 2013

I stopped by the Clas Ohlson hardware store chain, which has a shop in Kristiansand, and bought a rechargeable external battery pack for mobile phones and similar.  It holds 6600 milliampere-hours (wouldn’t that be 6.6 ampere-hours?) or almost twice of the rather impressive built-in battery in my Note 2. So it should be enough for a long day of Ingressing, if I start with the both of them fully charged.

The price was kr 499, a bit under $100. You can get more storage per dollar some other places, but here at least I have a physical shop I can go to and make a scene if it does not work as advertised. ^_^

Buying a rechargeable battery pack is something very likely to happen to Agents at some point in their career, because as your level increases, you tend to wander further and further from home. I was in Grimstad once, and if health permits, I will probably go there again soon. (Right now my digestive tract and related parts might resent that, but we’ll see.) I also upgraded my 30-days bus card, which expires tonight, so that from tomorrow it covers all of Agder (the province in which I live and the one east of here where Grimstad lies). It is a little more expensive, but if I make just one trip to Grimstad and back (as I did last month) it comes out roughly the same. Any more travel outside the daily commute would then be free. So let’s see if we find the time and health to do so.

I have also contemplated a trip to Oslo, which from the Ingress map seems to be covered in a quantum foam of innumerable portals. Most of those in the town center seem to be blue for some time now. Just a day of hacking those, even if I don’t manage to actually capture any of them, would probably give me more Action Points than weeks here. They are so densely packed that one should be able to hack dozens of them per hour. No wonder there is a number of Lvl 8 players in Oslo, some of whom I have never heard of until I saw their name on portal resonators. I’d need a serious calming of my digestion to keep hacking a whole day though. Not to mention I need to wait until the daystar stops burning me, which typically is 3-4 weeks from now, if all goes well.

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Ingress journal: Overcast! Inventory full!

Posted by Itlandm on July 28, 2013

For weeks and weeks, the ionizing radiation of this planet’s star has destroyed my outer membrane faster than I could regenerate it, forcing me to cut down on Ingressing during daytime, which happens to be when I am in town with most of my portals. (On the bright side, I have 21 keys to the nearest portal here in Mandal…)

Today there was a thick cloud cover. It even began raining. Water and shade! I went to the city and hacked nearly all the portals, some of them repeatedly. There aren’t any blue ones left, but that’s OK. It means I won’t advance as fast, but it also means my faction is happy. And I get to improve my inventory.

There is a limit of 2000 items in the scanner inventory. That sounds like a lot, and it is: I did not reach the limit until around the time I hit level 5.  If you play in a town where there is a strong opposition, it will probably take much longer. Most of the inventory is XMP bursters (used to destroy opponent resonators and free the portals from their influence) and resonators (to bind the portals to your own faction). It takes 8 resonators to fully contain a portal, and there are limits to how many you can use of each level, so you always need to carry an assortment of these if you plan to capture portals. Bursters are only necessary if you run into opponent portals, but this usually happens at least occasionally even here, since the city is a communications hub and people visit for various reasons.

Luckily for us who don’t see that much action, it is possible to recycle inventory items and get a small amount of XM (energy) from them. This again can be used to hack more portals or recharge resonators.  Lately the inventory is full all the time, so I have recycled the lowest level items. Now that I am level 5 and can make level 4 portals, most of the items I get from hacking are level 4 and 5, with some level 3. There are still some portals left by my allies that have not change hands, and are level 5 or 6. These tend to give level 5 and sometimes level 6 items. So I have deleted everything below level 3, and am now replacing my level 3 items with 4 and 5.  I still need some level 3 resonators to capture portals (two of them per portal, more exactly) but there aren’t dozens of portals to capture so I don’t need hundreds of them.

One thing you just don’t do is recycle portal keys, as you can share them with other players who can then link to the portals from their hometown. But 21 and counting seems a bit excessive for a portal that is normally blocked by other links… We’ll see, but it won’t be the first thing I delete.

At least thanks to the weather, I was able to hack portals in the city, where I don’t have an excess of keys. I have a few more now, though. ^_^

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Ingress journal: A walk

Posted by Itlandm on July 26, 2013

The two Resistance-owned portals on the east side of town had decayed so much that I felt sure I could take out at least one of them without power cubes, possibly both. I had hesitated to take them back, because they are almost 20 minutes walk (each way) from the nearest downtown portal, and located in an area with almost no free XM. So you have the XM in your scanner, and the XM of the two portals. If that is not enough, you have to wait for the portals to spawn a new wave of XM, which could take half an hour or more.

Luckily, I got both of them and still had enough XM left to fully equip them with resonators and a number of shields and and a turret. So it paid off. But it still took about an hour for those two portals. And quite a bit of walking, although I have recovered partly from the wear-down mid-week. (Tonight I slept until the alarm went off, something that is quite rare – it is set for the last acceptable bus, and I normally wake up by myself an hour earlier.)

I could have gotten a truckload more AP and take over 10 portals by traveling to Grimstad, but it costs money and also takes an hour each way. So walking it was, this time at least.

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A day without blues

Posted by Itlandm on July 25, 2013

No blue portals today! I am glad. I have Ingressed rather moderately, hacked a few portals on my way to work and from work, and a couple times after I came home to recharge the portals here in Mandal.

I am stiff and sore in so many places, and I can’t seem to get enough sleep to regenerate my body as fast as it is worn down. Since there’s no way to go to sleep early (noisy neighbors), I’ll just have to limit the Ingressing. I still have more interests than I have time, so it’s OK.


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Ingress journal: Too much help…

Posted by Itlandm on July 24, 2013

So today this visiting Resistance Agent took out two of our portals which had a heap of links, and which incidentally belonged to other Enlightenment agents (Fullmakt, more exactly, from when he retook the city earlier this summer a few hours after it went blue). Again he left only one or two resonators so I could easily retake them and set up fields again. It is hard to imagine that he is not intentionally helping me advance. Which is nice of him, but…

My body is telling me that it would really appreciate a day of not traipsing around for an hour or more on hard pavement and being baked in the sun.  I am stiff and sore in many places and some of my fingertips tingle much of the time. (Although I suppose the last part could come from something else.)

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Ingress journal: Scratching them to deah

Posted by Itlandm on July 23, 2013

I took back the portal the joker from the Resistance took yesterday. (His nickname really means something like the joker, or the funny guy.) One of them was easy, since there were only two low-level resonators. The other two were worse, even though one of them was not fully outfitted either. The problem with these were that they were close together, so when I attacked one, I attacked the other as well, and they both zapped me. As a result, I had to take several walks to other portals in the area to recharge my XM, which was drained by the attacks.

The poor guy must have been spammed for an hour and half off and on by messages about me attacking his portals. He did nothing to defend them though, it seems. It would not have been that hard to do. Perhaps he will take them down again at some later time. That seems like a pointless thing to do, since I get to level up fairly quickly by this exchange, and he not at all. But who knows what people think.

Anyway, after about an hour and a half, I had rebuilt the portals and fields. But there is still quite a performance gap between a level 8 and a level 5, evidently. If I had not been allow to scratch the portals to death, he could have kept them for a very long time.  Of course, even hacking them gives Action Points, to you cannot really hold the opposition down if they have the home turf.

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Dream: Young again

Posted by Itlandm on July 23, 2013

This morning I had a dream I remembered, even though I did not sleep as long as I prefer. Usually I remember my dreams best when I sleep in. Also in this dream I was myself, only younger. Often in my memorable dreams, I am someone else who I have never heard of, and their friends and family are also complete strangers to my waking self. Not always, but very often when the dream is not completely trivial.

In my dream I was in my 20es and living in Kristiansand. And so was the girl that was more or less my best friend for a while during that time. However, in my dream she was already a young adult, not the young teenager she was when I was actually that age; it seems the age difference between us had shrunk to something like 5 years, or at least I hope so. Jacobsen, who was Youth Leader in our Church at the time (both in the dream and in real life) was helping me pick an engagement ring for my upcoming engagement to Old Friend. But the ring he found was very big and colorful and frankly did not look like an engagement ring anywhere in the western world at least.  It seems the Youth Leader had negotiated the engagement (if it wasn’t his idea entirely?) because I realized somewhat belatedly that perhaps I ought to talk to the girl about it before the big party, and hear whether she really was OK with this. Since it was still kind of unofficial, we talked about it very vaguely and generally, but she did not seem to mind. This was when I woke up, highly amused by our dialogue. We were beating around the bush like professionals. Or as we say in Norway: “Like the cat around the hot porridge.”


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Ingress journal: Yet another invader

Posted by Itlandm on July 22, 2013

This afternoon, I started getting mail from Niantic about some of my links being destroyed. I checked the corresponding portals, and a level 8 Resistance agent had taken them over. Because he stuck to portals where I did not have resonators or shields, I did not get an alarm when he attacked them. That way he had all the time he needed to tear them down using the ambient XM, which is very high in Kristiansand, rather than having to duel me with power cubes.  That is not to say he won’t try that later.

In any case, it is a futile project as long as I am alive and healthy. So far, every incursion by the Resistance has only made me stronger. I was just complaining to my fellow agents about reaching the limit of 2000 items. Well, a lot of those items are XMP bursters, which are used to weaken and destroy opponent resonators. Since I get new stuff almost every time I hack a portal, I need to get rid of some of those anyway… ^_^

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Ingress journal: Finally level 5!

Posted by Itlandm on July 21, 2013

With a little (unintentional?) help from our Resistance visitor, I got almost to level 5 yesterday. Today I completed it. I spent two and a half hour traipsing around in Kristiansand in the late afternoon when the ultraviolet rays can’t get to me, hacking and recharging every portal except one, and setting up a couple new links, creating a new field that covered even more of the city than before the bluebird flew through.

Someone threw a few bursters at my two portals by the railway station. There were no other attacks, and they were not sustained when I remote recharged, so I would assume it was someone traveling through with train. Trains between Stavanger and Oslo make a stop in Kristiansand. The railway does not go through the city, instead the trains drive into the station and change direction, turning the seats. This takes a while, along with passengers boarding and unboarding, and this fits with the timing of the attacks. So probably a “drive by” attack. Those are the best. More AP for recharging, no lasting damage.

Almost certainly this was a new player, since he did not have enough firepower to destroy any of the resonators and tried anyway. If you attack a portal without destroying any resonators, you get no points for it, while the defender gets points when recharging it. In fact, even if you do manage to take down some of the resonators but not all, the defender gets more AP for replacing them than you got for destroying them. This is why I think it was a newbie attack.

Anyway, with the two and a half hours of continuous movement, plus several shorter trips in Mandal before, my feet had enough. I was also quite hungry. I must have left a trail of dead calories all over the town. ^_^

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