I have mixed feelings about this. I was a freelance business writer during the end of the DotCom boom. I actually did have some published pieces, and because of that, I didn't have too hard a problem getting into MOST industry events (where I was professional and actually working).
However, those same tech events were even then littered with "faux press" already--guys who showed up with huge empty duffel bags for the sole purpose of hoarding all of the free crap that they could grab, like T-shirts, software samples, etc. It made it almost impossible to get a legit review copy of anything, be it a book or a software title, if you got there past the first open hour, because the grabbers had already been through.
There was a whole sub-tribe of folks who I ran into for years who did nothing at trade shows and industry events other than get drunk, eat as much food as possible in the press room, and take as much free crap as they could carry.
ON THE OTHER HAND.....
I know lots of very good and legit bloggers and photgraphers who were shut out of events precisely due to lack of previous "paper" published work or byline in-hand. It seemed very arbitrary.
The grabbers always made it in, but a lot of honest folks trying to make a start for themselves got shut out.
I don't know what the legality of a two-tier press pass system would be, but it would be nice if there was some kind of intermediate "apprentice" pass available for just-starters. If they get a positive follow-up from an event organizer X number of times, they could "graduate" to a full pass. If they're not grabbers or bullshit artists, then they wouldn't mind giving a real URL and a real name for contact purposes.
Just a thought and my 2c.
Been playing since Beta, and was also frustrated by the initial crashes and lags. However, I stuck with it, and it's been very much worth it. I currently have 3 toons going--a 65 DT, 45ish HoX and a 30-something Ranger. I play on a PvE server, but still interact a lot with my guild. Major bugs to grouping and much of the lagginess seems fixed.
I tried the DX10 but wound up sticking with 9 for now; the graphics are still fantastic and drop-dead gorgeous.
I would urge anyone who dropped this game after the first 3 months to give it another go--it's improved for the better and I can't wait to see whatever else Funcom has in store for us.
Also--re Hellgate London--that was my favorite game before Conan, but that game died for me the second that they started whispering that they would go offline At Any Second...for months. Why level characters when you may never get to finish the game?
Funcom really turned around a rocky launch into something fun, big, and great.
Or Hitachi (google Hitachi Magic Wand...)
*sound of canned laughter*
He's here all week, folks, don't forget to tip your server! Try the fish!
Seriously, if the Russian thug-ernment is behind these asswipes, what makes you think they'll face any consequences?
Hey, no, I am not bothered by sex in SciFi. I'm bothered by the fact that it's in his books for no particular reason. I EXPECT Heinlien to be naughty.
Okay, I have read most of Stephenson's stuff. I absolutely LOVED SnowCrash--to me it had just the right blend of geekery, cultural commentary, science, action, and character development in a shortish package.
Diamond Age was also fun, but I also noticed that the discardable character was more prevelant here--as was quite a bit of ink spilled on sex, consensual and otherwise, than I would have thought.
Cut ahead to Cryptonomicon, which I loved because it managed to keep a brisk pace despite its size-and despite the fact that once again for whatever reason some rape and an unplanned pregnancy, and other random sex had to be thrown in for no particular reason.
(note: at this point, I begin to wonder if we he will ever write a main female character who does NOT get raped, have sex with another main character, get pregnant, or any combo of the above).
Soo...then there's the Baroque cycle. After Cryptonomicon I launched into it full-charge. And then...it dragged on...and on...after the first book I strongly considered not continuing, but in a perverse way I kept reading hoping that at some point the pace would pick up. I LOVED the descriptions of the various cities and attention to detail, but after a while I felt like I was on a forced walking tour where I just wanted to go back to my hotel and drink straight from the bottle and watch cartoons for an hour, you know?
Finally I finished the trilogy (again, which just wouldn't be complete without some rape, sex, and unplanned pregnancy thrown in).
I almost didn't get Anathem, but then I saw the trailer and figured hey, this seems like a departure from the Baroque cycle, maybe it'll be a longer Snow Crash with cooler science and better characters.
I liked the overall idea and storyline, but as per other reviewers, it was just too damn wordy and long. The details and extra bodies added confusion, not clarity after a certain point.
Oh yeah and let's not forget at least one unplanned pregnancy. At least he managed to not include a rape and kept a lot of the sex to a minimum, but still, I almost dare him to write a book without one.
While paying attention to those details, though, he left a lot of really good characters dangling AFAIC. Fraa Jaad? The Inquisitors? One thing that Stephenson seems to do a lot of is either just ignore wrapups for key players, or just kills them off.
OTOH at least Enoch Root didn't make an appearance.
I'll buy his next book as long as he promises to keep it under 500 pages.
It's too bad, because I have a preorder copy but am having trouble with the tutorial also--CANNOT get past the balance beam tutorial. This may be the steepest learning curve that I've seen on a game.
I remember begging my folks for a Capsela set when I saw it in one of the Smart People Bookstore catalogs back in the day. The problem was that one of the first projects I did was the boat, and the seals didn't really hold and one of the engine capsules got wet. We didn't have a dehumidifier in the house so Mom just set the oven for around 150 and we dried it out that way. It worked! This same technique had worked years earlier on my red patent leather strap Mickey Mouse Watch when I accidentally dropped it into a sink full of water.
I only really got into Lego in a big way when the FIRST robotics kit came out and my BF got me one for my birthday. I still have it; crappy IR controller and all.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.