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User Journal

Journal: Why I pirate

Journal by SmallFurryCreature
On 9 October 2012, the game XCOM: Enemy launched... launched in the US. Unknown to me, the EU launch date was to several days layer, 12 October 2012. Maybe. Yet, 9 October 2012, I received an SMS from Gamemania.nl a dutch gaming retailer chain, that my copy was ready to be picked up. So I left work early that day to arrive 17:54 in front of the store. Doors pulled almost shut, store had already closed and refused to serve me. Very well, I thought there are other stores in the world, so I bought it the next day at Free Record Shop in Amsterdam. Then when I came home, I tried to install. First I had to install steam, which crashed, crashed and crashed some more but finally I got it working and had to create an account. Then activate my email. Then I installed the game and was told it was not released. What? If the game was not released, what was I holding in my hand? Note the error message mentioned nothing about a region or what would be the release date. Just not released. By google came to my aid and I found that throughout Europe, the game was available for sale but not yet ready for install. I read this from angry users posts. Not a single forum had an official answer yet. Not yet and counting. Even the official release date was less then clear. But I know my Internet, if Steam, Dutch retailing, 2kgames/firaxis couldn't/wouldn't help me, maybe some pirates would? thepiratebay itself is of course famously blocked in holland but there plenty of mirrors around. So I checked and yes, full downloads were available in various flavours for a total cost of ZERO bucks! And if you had issues, then the supplies answered your question in minutes. Not like the hours, days and counting before getting a reply from people I had payed money too. Many a reply to a piracy story has had comments similar to my story, so what is so special about it? Nothing. Just that after years of downloading, I have with MMO's gotten used again to paying and I didn't have any issue with paying for this game, if it had worked. But I do have an issue with paying 50 euro's for a game that can't be played and that now that I have read the forums I have seen is filled with bugs. Bugs the official forums have no answers for but that are fixed on piracy forums. To repeat myself, for this game the people that wanted me to pay did:
  • Act as if my giving them money is a favor they are doing me and only when they feel like it, opening hours be damned.
  • Not reply in a timely manner (or at all) to complaints
  • Treat Europeans as second rate customers for no reason (what are they afraid of, that a world-wide release will overload the servers)
  • Break consumer laws by selling a product not fit for its purpose (a game that can't even be installed is obviously not a fit product)

Meanwhile, the pirates offer:

  • Early access
  • No charge
  • Free, fast useful support by computer experts.
  • Service available any day of the week at any hour.

Sometimes the anti-piracy people complain the content industry can't compete with free. But come ON! I had PAYED already and the companies just said "no". Meanwhile the group that doesn't want money, said "yes". This is like paying a hooker to have an headache while your wife is stuffing your wallet full of money and begging for sex. Something ain't right!

And this is why I pirate. Because how else can I send the signal that I am not a sheep who will just keep turning the other cheek? Sure, there are sheep who advocate just that, just wait 3 days, it is not the developers fault etc etc. FUCK THAT! Nothing is every anybodies fault and I as a consumer should just take it all and keep quiet.

NO! And that is my reason why I post about being a pirate. Because just downloading alone isn't enough. Consumer boycotts don't work, there are to many sheep drowning out the silent protest of people like me who just see no other option but to not pay to make it clear I expect more service for my cash.

Because I see no other option. Mails go unanwered, forum posts get ignored, I can get my money back from the store and the sales clerk don't care, not his problem. How can I HURT that manager who thought it was a good idea to do a staggered release, hurt that Steam admin who didn't just flip a switch to prevent customers getting angry. How can I even get the companies involved to acknowledge my existence?

I can't. But I can keep my money in my pocket. That doesn't solve anything but it is a lot more fun having impotent nerd rage with cash then without.

Anyone want a beer over the backs of game developers who haven't learned that if they want an income, they need to tell their managers to not upset their customers?

User Journal

Journal: Whereabouts

Journal by bettiwettiwoo

Normally, I'm not here, dah-links. Normally, I'm elsewhere. Usually on twitter or fb. And yes, I'm bettiwettiwoo there too. Bien sÃr.

Earth

Journal: Oil Munching Microbes 1

Journal by zogger

Researchers have discovered a new microbe that is eating the gulf oil spill fairly readily, with the added bonus of not depleting the dissolved oxygen supply too much. (abstract only, article is paywalled)

Certainly a piece of good news out of that mess.

Here's an odd thought I had some years ago..what would happen if these sorts of bacteria got established deep down in the big pools of oil? As in, one day we find out we are a few months away from no oil because it is being eaten up....wouldn't that be interesting.

United States

Journal: Mortgage Jubilee 9

Journal by zogger

Due to excessive greed and stupidity in the higher levels of repackaged mortgages, you might have the opportunity to own your property a bit earlier than you might have thought. Worth a look Mortgage jubilee

If by any odd chance people don't get the jubille reference, it is an old "all debts are cancelled" deal, plus pardons and whatnot. Basically, wiping the slates clean, start over.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_Biblical

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_Christian

Security

Journal: Untethering from the Utility Monopolies 14

Journal by zogger

Many more people are choosing to go "off the grid", untethering from traditional utility connections like electricity, natural gas, even municipal water and sewer, in whole or in part. Reducing demand while increasing your personal production of power can lead to energy independence, plus more security, and in a lot of cases, just plain more comfort.

Most off the grid people approach this situation from both ends, going to eliminate demand by wise construction techniques, using a lot more insulation, better windows, planned air in and out,etc. This drops the normal high level demand that most homes have and is the number 1 utility bill, for heating and cooling. Following similar steps, it is quite possible to enjoy all the niceties of modern life, without being part of the problem of massive fossil fuel use, along with eventually eliminating that monthly bill you can never pay off the traditional way of staying tethered. Another advantage is that these systems work-when the main centralized system doesn't.

They also mention in the article the concept of buyers clubs, getting together with other folks and negotiating bulk buy discounts for such things as solar PV panels, etc. The food co-op model taken to energy, which I have advocated in the past as one good way to reduce upfront costs. Another way to go there is the step by step method, just replace one circuit at a time, starting with your most critical "needs to work all the time" circuit.

Security

Journal: Water, food, shelter, security 16

Journal by zogger

note: cross posted at my site as well:

Long time readers will know my big four survivalist needs, what to get independent on, are, in order of importance:

water, food, shelter, security

Now look at this BBC article about floods in Pakistan and what they determined to be the basic needs for all these displaced people

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-10901896

"The government said the most pressing needs would be for clean drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare."

Pretty dang close!

And that is why I picked those out years and years ago, because I have "been there, done that" in emergency and "you are completely on your own" type situations. This is *my* tech expertise, threat analysis and mitigation.

People who "invest" in $1,000 TVs or the rigged crooked "stock" market, etc and such like and don't even have a good gravity water filter..eventually, this chronic dumbness is gonna bite them hard. EVERYONE will go through at least one-if not several- serious emergency situations in their lives, and it might last for a long time, weeks or months, who knows. If you ain't prepared..you are gonna lose it, bad. And you can NOT rely on government or "why don't *they* do something"?, you know this "they" guy over there someplace people always refer to when they mean anyone other then themselves. And this can be beyond some natural disaster, look at the economic situation, you could lose your job tomorrow, or the dingbats could decide we need a much larger war in the middle east and the price of crude could jump to 300 bucks a barrel..whatever, black swan events outside your control.

    Sorry, reality doesn't work that way with this "they" guy "saving you" or "doing something"!!

  Any medium to large scale emergency, there ain't a government out there, including all the rich nations, that has enough resources to do this. We don't have entire backup cities and regions just sitting around with all the infrastructure intact in warehouses or whatever, which is what it would take to come up with a huge numbers of refugees in need of aid situation, a large scale one. It is not possible, it doesn't exist, it isn't going to happen, so you will be on your own, so you need to get it in gear BEFORE any bad stuff happens, well before, that is acquire gear/supplies plus the needed skills to use that gear and supplies.

Just like with computer data, if you have no backups, and if something weird happens, you got nothing and will be in a world of hurt.

The Almighty Buck

Journal: China and Brazil 3

Journal by zogger

Another example of how china is taking the west's surplus cash it ships there, and turns around and invests heavily in places to get access to their natural resources, then they turn around and sell to them, developing new markets.

The developed world is going to be the late not so great de-developing world pretty soon now. China invests in Brazil

All these western economists go on and on how we don't need "protectionism"..well, why is it then with china being so protectionist, they are advancing at a record pace? Could it be that some protectionism is necessary to keep from going bankrupt?

"Chinese firms have bought stakes in Brazil's electrical grid; they are building steel mills, car plants and a telecommunications infrastructure in that country. Chinese grain companies are negotiating to buy huge tracts -- some larger than 600,000 acres -- of Brazilian outback to plant soybeans. Chinese firms have the inside track on landing a huge high-speed-rail contract. They want to help realize Brazil's gargantuan plans -- estimated at more than $250 billion -- to tap its offshore oil reserves. "

And they have all this investment money because our glorious leaders said we didn't need old fashioned manufacturing, oh noes, that is passe', that we would be some sort of combo financial services (90% high stakes casino games), IP (ideas=dime a dozen), service (we'll mow each other's yards and get rich!) and governmental workers (in a shrinking economy, by all means, quadruple the size of government as the first step, raise taxes on those still barely producing any real wealth, plus add a few trillion in debt!) economy.

  Well, that mastermind theory sure has worked out just swell....and we still keep electing these people who let those pirates keep selling off what is left of the national seed corn for a fast buck. Corporate raiders, nation sized. Our political and economic "leaders"... When does this get to shift from just "sucky" to "treasonous" anyway? Oh, I guess that is passe' now as well, to be loyal to one's nation first.

And I can't blame China, they would have been stone idjits to not take the golden egg laying goose when it was offered. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing as a nation, looking out for themselves FIRST. After that, sure, get generous, but if you can't take care of affairs at home first, you won't have any "extra" to be generous with. You have to make wealth before you spend it, that's the real economic bottom line, and manufacturing is the top way to make wealth today, closely followed by agriculture and mining/natural resource extraction.

    The big kahuna though, is the factory. Destroy your factories, you lose, end of story. You aren't replacing them with *anything*, that's the fairy tale they get people to believe in. Destroy your ag, you lose + starve, end of story. Sell off your natural resources cheap, fat city for some years..then you lose. You gain a few warlords who own a lot of yachts and limos and tanks and jet fighters eventually, that's about it for selling off natural resources cheap, that's the end game there.

Security

Journal: Blue versus Red, when the money dies

Journal by zogger

A pretty good read about the republishing of a book detailing what happened socially when the banksters and their political puppets lose control of their printing presses, back in the Weimar Republic. What follows, in the historical record, would be classed in the US as a red versus blue civil war (note, red state and blue state are overly simplified, look closer at the records and this red blue schism is urban versus "other than urban", in just about any state you want to look at. Then it turned into a general large war as we all know when they weren't able to repair all the damage, and those "elites" created internal and external patsies to blame all their troubles on.

It can happen again, too...

    The collapse of fiat currency systems lead to the collapse of the blue urban areas *really quickly*..as they have no actual human needed product, none of the necessities I mean. The currency system must be sound, not overly inflated or manipulated excessively for it to keep working. If they screw it up, "bad stuff" happens and the system breaks down.

    In the record, they flee the cities and go on looting rampages, that's the real bottom line, the cities become untenable for the most part. The "blue" areas are completely dependent on imports and exploitation of the red areas, despite claims they "support" the red areas. This "support" is a false notion, it is merely modern day imperialism backed up by the controllers "trickle down" economic theory of credit and currency creation at the top, in the mega blue urban areas, then lending it into existence-complete with charging interest on this newly poof created currency- at lower levels, until eventually a pittance makes it to the red areas, even though they really produce all the needed "stuff".

Of course there are variables, government checks now go to a lot of places, but once you subtract that, and a bout of fiat currency panic, such as loss of the FRN and the world's reserve currency would bring, would certainly subtract that as those checks go worthless for getting much real goods, because look at real wealth production..the red areas start the whole thing rolling, because that's where the food/water/energy/materials come from. All the stuff necessary for modern life. And the manufactured goods today..the stuff that keeps all the retailers busy..increasingly comes from places that might just cease taking fiat currency A as they deem it worth-less and less.

Anyway, a decent little read from Ambrose: Paper money

Cellphones

Journal: Jhon on Text Messaging

Journal by Jhon

Isn't modern technology amazing? We're able to take a simple conversation which would take about 2 minutes and extended it out to 2 hours by just using our thumbs!

Security

Journal: Going to the Stupor Market 33

Journal by zogger

This is something that is really disturbing to me and I hope to more people, food security and prices. We have a food commodities market now that is skewed way out of proportion, it results in higher than necessary prices for consumers, really doesn't address farmers security, forces people to pay tribute to-once again-that nest of global thieves in Manhattan.

I farm because I want a peaceful life, do an honest job, and just make a living, not a killing, and provide food for people..because all of that is a combined good idea. But see, we all are subject to the parasite tax now, we've become defacto put into economic bondage to these gents, and they try to hide it like saying biofuels drive up the prices of food, etc, which is hogwash, and will also kill off the only viable option we have to use instead of pumped crude for all the millions of existing vehicles out there. This is the same sort of thing they do in the metals markets, and the same guys doing it, game the system because they now pwn the system..and they shouldn't..no one elected these thieves, but they sure have seized control.

Here is a nice interview with an additional link to the original story on manipulations in the global food markets.

Oh, food security? We swapped actual stockpiled mass quantities of food, which is a good idea, for server entries in these investor banks and letting them skim off zillions. That's not security, it's stupidity.

"Ya, Mom, what's for dinner"?

"Here ya go Junior and Sis, nice heaping plate of news reports about some huge banks with their leveraged and hedged futures contracts..dee lish"!

"Wahhh..we wanted real food"!

"Sorry, our betters decided this was..better..it makes them more money, which we all know now is the most important thing in the world..we are lucky we all get to work for them"

"Oh..."

The Almighty Buck

Journal: China switching markets on schedule 2

Journal by zogger

This is an indication of the moves I have been saying that china will do as the economy changes around the world. Now that they have extracted the bulk of the necessary manufacturing knowledge they need from the west, they no longer absolutely "need" the western markets. It's not that they will abandon them, but they now have the wherewithal to not be fixated on them, a significant change. They had to export cheap and work really hard for a long time, just so they could get access to western currencies so they could turn around and get the high tech goodies from those nations. This is done, accomplished for the most part. They can build most anything, in mass quantities, at globally competitive prices, and will now just get better at it.

  Now stage two, the big shift, where they emphasize their internal markets more, the thing I said was 'coming soon". It got here. Here is the reference, China and internal markets They move this way and institute polices to rapidly expand their middle classes, this makes them really much wealthier, and eliminates the potential for mass social unrest (while the western nations are killing off their middle classes and increasing the odds of mass social unrest...)

  Stage three is then another expansionist move they will make into areas of the world where they source raw materials from. This will be an almost unprecedented diaspora type event, millions of people going to set up businesses in cooperation with the locals, on a much larger scale than they are doing now, which is impressive enough. they have to, they have to get millions to move someplace else, they have run out of water and arable land at home. They will develop way more of an interest exporting and trading with these raw resource areas than they have with just the fiat currency "consuming" nations (they want real stuff for their manufactured goods now, they have about had it exchanging IOUs for just relabeled other sorts of IOUs for all their expotts. This has gotten old for them. It's also why they started unpegging from the dollar). This big change will also include exporting just a ton of their population as a necessity move. They *have* to, they have no choice at all, all you had to do to see this was look at some simple data from years ago, demographics and so on, and extrapolate it. They have to lose tens of millions of their people out, or run dry, plus they have this hugemongous young male surplus, plus people with good college degrees and no domestic jobs for them. that means..they have to go expansionist.. They simply do not have the water and the space any more, and need to keep expanding, or their fatcats lose their cushy jobs and heads..so the orders will come down to go this way, because that is the only other option they have, internal collapse, or expand..

  This will be part of the deals they arrange with a lot of foreign nations, offer them all kinds of manufacturing help and natural resource extraction help, and a ton of "engineers" and so on moving there will be part of the deal. That stage three move, when it begins in earnest, will be (IMO) the tipping point for the US to lose world's reserve currency status, right then, and to hit a really fast decline (barring some other real hard to predict wildcard). There will be "enough" indicators for that point to narrow the timing down better once it gets closer, that's when the major dollar rout will occur.

Much fun and games in the USA then.

(just a note: the past full month now my net connection has been more down than up, and even when up really flaky. I was more relying on my slow cell connection and "bent" the TOS a little-tethering- just to have any connection at all, so I didn't want to push it and lose that as well. I use a WISP and they got hammered with a huge batch of the radios we customers use that are all crapping out just a scosh past warranty, and they are proprietary and expensive. They've replaced mine twice now, but only a matter of time before it craps out again, and the speeds are really slow now. So it goes. Allegedly they might switch to a more "4g" technology and apparently I might be on the shortlist for the initial trials. Anyway, that's the reason I was mostly absent for several weeks, I could only skim the major stories and add the odd comment before losing connection, didn't have the luxury of my normal JE back and forths until just a coupla days ago.)

Security

Journal: pirates 6

Journal by zogger

Closer pirate action

And by all means, let us have the feds and fearless leader continue to dump on Arizona, to protect this sort of action. I mean, those are just poor unfortunate pirates who just need jobs, the jobs gringoes won't take..or something like that.

    I mean I didn't really realize that folks down there in Texas refused to take the pirate jobs, maybe it doesn't pay well or something, so we must import "guest workers" to fill those slots. We should offer them nice benefits and retirement packages as well..and instant drivers licenses, any name they want, low interest loans-scratch- outright grants to get better new pirate boats, free healthcare, personal translation services so they can apply for more government help, and subsidized more modern and lethal weaponry. They need decent tools for their jobs. Someone has to protect us from those dangerous bass fishing terrorists!

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

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