Nov 212008

…guess what? You can kiss my lily white American ass!

You want us to stop bombing your country? You feel that we are violating your sovereignty? Act like a damned sovereign nation, take control of the entirety of the land within your borders and the people that are there.

Sure, we might have some crazy Mormons in the desert building camps and practicing polygamy. Sure, we might have crazy hillbillies in the Apalachians sharing the family tooth. You know what we DON’T have? We don’t have those same people getting into plans and mangling shit in your country. The only reason the US military is there doing that is because you don’t have the balls, the smarts or the ability to do it your own damned selves.

So, grow a pair and be a real country, or prepare for things to get far worse than a few bombs being dropped on a few mud huts. Besides, India is just itching to have a reason to beat the hell out of your country. If we gave them the green light, you’d have Hindus and Elephants so far up your asses, you’d start praying for Vishnu to come to your aid.

Oct 292008

Let me say up front for the record that I do NOT support gun control measures implemented by the government at large. I shall not be rejoicing with them in this news that surely will help make their case all the stronger with Americans-at-large who cannot critically think for themselves.

On 26. October 2008, an eight year-old boy fatally shot himself in the head with an Uzi while his father was nearby. This occurred at the Westfield Sportsmans’ Club in Westfield, MA. As of this writing, their website is down, likely due to traffic from morbidly interested folk. That was the boy’s first (and obviously last) time firing an Uzi and he was unable to control the recoil.

So, let’s look at some key words and phrases in the description of this event. Eight years old, shot himself in head, Uzi, father nearby. It’s hard not to blame the parent on this one, regardless of what policies the club “should” have had to prevent such a thing. With a responsible parent in the picture, why should the club be required to disallow a child from shooting an Uzi. Personally, I don’t believe there is any reason. if the parent thinks it’s a good idea, so be it. Now, not only am I anti-gun control, I also firmly believe that the best way to prevent gun-related accidents involving children is to teach them to respect weapons at an early age. Most of the fatal gunshot victims who are children are city-dwellers. In the rural areas, where many kids grow up hunting with their fathers from a ripe young age, you don’t often see such things occur.

Despite the above, I think common sense should kick in involving young children and machine guns. it’s one thing for junior to fire his .22 at a tin can, and wholly another for him to lock and load an Uzi and fire downrange.

Apparently, the local DA there is looking into filing criminal charges, probably negligence of some sort, in regards to this incident. What? I’m fairly certain stupidity is not illegal (though I’ll be damned if i don’t believe it should be). The family lost their child. I’d say that’s pretty much the punishment right there, wouldn’t you?

At any rate, I’m sure that Gun control advocates are just peeing their pants in anticipation of how this plays out in the courts if it does actually go to trial. That, boys and girls, is just sad!

Aug 242007

This is a topic that has had me a bit upset for awhile due to several different major issues that have cropped up. However, recently reading about the “two install” scheme from 2K Games regarding Bioshock and the recently changed scheme of “5 by 5”, I have to throw my arms in the air and ask, “WTF?”

For those not in the know, the shipping version of Bioshock for the PC will allow the game to be installed on up to two PCs. This alone isn’t a horrible thing, however these schemes generally work using a hash from various parts of your computer. When you upgrade components, a lot of these schemes break, thinking you are installing on a new PC. As a geek, I upgrade my computer fairly regularly. I’ve been burned by this in the past, personally, and know other who have as well. Perhaps 2K Games does not care if you play Bioshock in two years, but that alone seems rather short-sighted.

The new “5 by 5” scheme allows installation to 5 PCs, and a reinstall up to 5 times on those PCs. That’ll kick my ass immediately! I tend to reinstall my OS and games about every three months. Why? Well, because thee’s nothing quite like a freshly installed OS, clean desktop and better running PC. It’s the gamer-geek equivalent to rolling around in sheets fresh out of the dryer with the Snuggle sheets just having been removed. It’s wonderful. But much less so if at some point you can no longer install games you paid for even on the same damned computer.

My only possible assumption is that someone on the business side felt that money could be made or lost by restricting use of a game. While this is perhaps partially true, it also brings with it the plague of unhappy users, feeling the bane of protection schemes.

Though I have not yet been able to try it first hand, I wonder if the 360 version of the game can only be played on a single 360, or two, or five? Legitimate reselling of console games has to account for as much profit loss to the developers and publishers as does copying and such. Besides, in the end, anyone that is a gamer or is in the gaming business knows that there has yet to be a type of DRM or protection scheme that some vigilant cracker has not overcome. In the long run, it’s the people who KNOW such things exist and where to get them that are more likely to download and play pirated games. The people who don’t understand such things are the ones who ultimately buy their own copy anyhow, and often get burned by such schemes. Does this really seem good for business to anyone who thinks about it for more than a few minutes?

What was the last game that had a single-disc multiplayer offering? I thought that was a fair compromise. You install the game on one PC and install a game clone on a second. You put the CD in the first machine and as long as it hosts the game, the second machine may play along. I don’t recall seeing it anytime recently, but it was a novel approach to copy-controlling.

Of course, there are always copy protection schemes that are outright horrible, such as Starforce. I don’t recall even Sony’s Rootkit/Unlawful Redistribution DRM getting quite as much bad press as Starforce has. Starforce, in at least some iterations, has been known to compromise Windows security to make sure you don’t copy and play pirated games. Except it still doesn’t work (or rather there are still workaround). That sounds like a great customer service move. Of course Ubisoft has dumped them twice. The aforementioned Sony Rootkit on certain BMG label music CDs caused quite a commotion, not ONLY for installing a rootkit on your PC to prevent copying the music, but also because they used licensed code improperly in doing so.

“Hey, I know, we can use this code, unlawfully, to protect people from listening to our music, unlawfully”… I wish I could say it was only at Sony that such thoughts occur.

In the end, I tend to watch for such things. Games and music CDs that use copy protection such as this that can actively affect my systems are not purchased by me, EVER! When I hear of a game that does not have any copy protection or DRM at all, I almost always buy it, even if I’m not terribly interested, to financially support my cause. DRM isn’t really all that great for the content producer, but it is all too often problematic for the end user. How many CD copy protection schemes have made music CDs unplayable in certain CD players? Ugh! I just don’t understand why business types think potentially alienating the consumer is ever a good option.

If you’re reading this and you are one of those business types, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t.