Go Back to Your Country (Belated Happy Father’s Day)

The thought has crossed my mind before, at times provoked by a stranger’s pointed remark.

I remind myself at those times of the struggles that my father overcame in order to have the fortune to come to America. Make no mistake: my mother must have cut many ties as well, but my father is responsible for our Americanness. Their feelings of otherness must have been at least as strong as those that I have experienced, for they came to this country with just enough English language ability to get by.

Yet get by they did: my father earned two degrees from the University of Tulsa, enabling him to work alongside some of the brightest in the oil and gas industry. His earning power meant that mom could devote all of her time to rearing me, Alice, and Justin. I try to bite my tongue when my father uses the wrong pronoun in conversation (sometimes referring to a man as she, or a girl as he, often while the object of this pronoun is still present).

Unlike my parents, I never struggled with language. I may not have engaged with every fool looking for a fight, but I understood their every word. My father, aware of the limitations within his command of English, may have considered communication skills to be a sticking point in career advancement for himself and others like him. I’m positive that this contributed to my mom’s insistence that we master English, and her reluctance to teach us Chinese. More likely, my father and his peers had butted heads with the Bamboo Ceiling.

The America that I live in now is a place where Asian men remain emasculated and othered. In spite of my growing awareness, I won’t leave the US. My reasons are as follows:

Because this is the country of my birth, the country whose passport I hold. The country where I work, pay my taxes, and live. The country where my paternal grandfather was buried.

I have great love for this country, but I also have beef with it. See, within the Statue of Liberty is a plaque bearing the text of Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem, The New Colossus. The best-known verse, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” speaks of America’s values, bringing to mind thoughts of Winthrop’s “city upon a hill.” Yet in the information age, I am reminded time and time again of our collective loss of right to the moral high-ground.

Although the option to leave this country remains attractive, I won’t leave until I see the day that all men are treated as equals. “Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses.” When the day comes that true equality exists, perhaps I will see no compelling reason to leave. Until then, I will enjoy the freedom that comes with being here, while fighting alongside my brothers in arms for a fair existence.

Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

One of the more interesting developments to come out of E3 (not that I’ve been following that closely)

I saw this one pop up on Xbox Live. Microsoft has set up a microsite for the Elite Wireless Controller at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/accessories/controllers/elite-wireless-controller

Their video documentary and teaser are both slick.

At a $150 price-point, it’s going head-to-head with the Scuf controller. The benefits of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller are many. Paddles can be customized through the Windows 10 app. Each thumbstick can be swapped to one of three different types (standard, tall, and dome). For longevity, the thumbsticks are made of metal, and they feature a low-friction surround within the controller body. The controller also features onboard memory for two different profiles. In the video documentary, Microsoft also teases customizable sensitivity profiles.

I’m curious to see what the guys over at Scuf Gaming are going to do in response to keep Scuf loyalists in their camp.

How to Add a Microphone to Your Headphones for Gaming with Xbox One, PS4

I wanted to adapt my audiophile headphones into a gaming headset so that I could communicate with my teammates in comfort while enjoying crisp game audio. Although I approached this from the perspective of an Xbox One gamer, the process is relevant to all gamers, regardless of platform (pcmasterrace included).

This is what I wanted:

Clear comms and the ability to adjust the balance between game and voice volume levels on-the-fly.

This is what I had:

  • Stock Xbox One Chat Headset (MSRP $24.49, Amazon.com)
  • Xbox One Stereo Headset (MSRP $59.99, Amazon.com), bundled with Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter (MSRP $24.99, Amazon.com)
  • Fiio E17 (Amazon.com)
  • Sennheiser HD 650 audiophile headphones (MSRP $499.95, Amazon.com)

The Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter features a single 3.5mm input, allowing you to plug in a CTIA headset. This is necessary for the original Xbox One controller – newer Xbox One controllers feature an onboard 3.5mm port. More information on connecting compatible headsets to the Xbox One is available at: support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/accessories/connect-compatible-headset

Last I checked, the Apple iPhone headset won’t work, because Apple has proprietary standards (surprised?)

I initially investigated the Astro Mixamp (MSRP $129.99 Amazon.com), which is talked about a fair deal amongst console gamers. Some say it’s the best investment for a console gaming setup. I opted not to go down that route, in favor of something simpler.

Plenty of commercial products aim to make adding a microphone to an existing headphone setup easy:

Microphone Options

  • AntLion Audio ModMic, starting at $42.95 on Amazon.com. The official website for the ModMic is modmic.com
    I ruled this one out because I don’t want to put any tacky adhesive onto my nice headphones, but others swear by the ModMic
  • Headset Buddy MoovMic $20 (Amazon.com)
  • Zalman ZM-MIC1 ~$10 (Amazon.com)
    This is the one that I picked up for use in my setup – it clips onto your headphone cables
  • V-MODA headphone owners might look into the $30 V-MODA BoomPro (Amazon.com), which comes recommended by Destiny Serious Business fireteam member extra-ordinare PullRequest.

Plugging it all together

Now we have headphones and a microphone: let’s connect it all together!

The cheapest solution is to take a CTIA headset adapter and plug it into the stereo headset adapter. This is truly plug and play, and it only adds a single interface. Run the mic to the mic input, amp the audio output it if you like it loud, and enjoy.

I bought this CTIA headset adapter (Amazon.com)

Xbox One Controller + Stereo Headset Adapter

Readers also like Sennheiser’s PCV 05 Combo Audio Adapter (Amazon.com)

Watch out that you don’t purchase a stereo splitter! The difference is in the connector. You must get a CTIA Y adapter, like the one that I linked. The male portion is 4-pole as opposed to 3-pole (TRRS vs. TRS).

TRRS = Tip Ring Ring Sleeve

For PS4 owners

The DualShock 4 controller has an onboard 3.5mm CTIA port. All of the above is applicable to your case. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a hardware solution to allow on-the-fly adjustment of the game and chat volume mix for the PS4.

The finished product

Sennheiser HD 650 + Zalman ZM-MIC1

I hope this helps – GLHF 🙂

For those curious to learn more about audio jacks in general, I found these pages to be very informative:

Solution proposed on XIM4 forum: xim4.com/community/index.php?topic=36866.0

Xbox -> Optical Out -> Creative Sound Blaster sound card

Going balls to the wall with a PC sound card…

One with optical in & out, like Creative Sound Blaster Z

Creative Sound Blaster ZxR

Order Placed: Sony Playstation Move Navigation Controller

I placed an order on a Playstation Move Navigation Controller to add to my Xbox One setup (~$20, Amazon.com).

It’s a discontinued product that I alluded to in my post on the Mayflash Multi Max Shooter vs. Xim4.

I ordered it after realizing that there were some limitations to running the keyboard, namely in the loss of full analog control. A good keyboard is great to have, but console gaming is designed around analog control.

I’ll write a follow-up post detailing my present Xim4 setup for Destiny.