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User Journal

Journal: yo

Journal by Hatta

--
Censorship is obscene.
Patriotism is bigotry.
Slashdot is unusable without noscript.

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: A clarification 2

Journal by Billly Gates

I am not a Windows troll.

I have read my older entries and realized I have aged and become less crazy about principles like I once was. I guess I view machines as tools now to get work done. In addition, from day one I hate people who choose to become zealots, and wear rose colored glasses with their heads in the sand to appear cool. This is true with GNU and Linux zealots as well. Dumb people or ill informed are one thing. No one but God knows everything about anything. However, ignorance with a smile is something totally different that does a great diservice to yourself and everyone around you. People need to learn and adapt to better themselves.

My views on Windows and Microsoft has shifted because they do good work in attacking bugs and being part of the security community. Also, I have given up on Linux for good as of March of last year when Gnome 3 and unity was coming out. IE 9 and Firefox 4 also came out with full hardware acceleration for Windows only. Windows 7 is MUCH MORE secure than its previous versions. I stand by my earlier principles. XP and IE 6 and 7 SUCK. But we should commend people or organizations that change and rightfully condemn those who do the opposite.

Instead of evangalizing people on Linux I choose to tell them to upgrade or get a Mac. My exwife was correct in wondering why I spend so much time reconfiguring computers with weird operating systems when her Vista box just works. I can't argue and I can't think of any non server related thing Windows can't do anymore. 1999 is over folks. Its time to move on.

User Journal

Journal: Justice 1

Journal by Hatta

Rioters in England cause millions of dollars worth of damage in 2011. 3000 arrested.

Bankers in England cause billions of dollars worth of damage in 2008. Zero arrested.

This is what passes for justice these days.

User Journal

Journal: Metamoderation, wtf? 2

Journal by Hatta

It used to be that metamoderation was just that, moderation of moderation. I haven't metamoderated in a while, but something has gone horribly wrong. When I go to metamod today, none of the comments are moderated. All I see is "Score: 1". What use is it for me to judge whether a comment has been moderated appropriately , when there's no moderation applied?

Just another reason Slashdot 2.0 sucks.

Government

Journal: Legitimacy 5

Journal by Hatta

A government exists to protect it's citizens. Any government that doesn't, doesn't deserve to exist. Let's look at the US government.

In 2004 crime in the US cost its victims almost 16 billion dollars. [cite(pdf, table 82)]

The criminals behind the current financial crisis have cost the US *trillions* of dollars. Clearly, theft, fraud, and all other property crimes are insignificant in the face of this disaster, and our government did nothing to stop it, and is holding no one accountable. They have utterly failed in their responsibility to protect us.

The WTC attacks on 9/11/01 killed nearly 3000 Americans and caused losses reaching 1.7 trillion dollars in the stock market. [cite]
In response, Bush went to war with Iraq. This war has killed over 4500 Americans and will cost over 3.5 trillion dollars. [cite(pdf, p.1)] Not only did the US government fail to protect us, they harmed us worse than Bin Laden did.

Let's keep going. In 2007, 775,138 people were arrested for marijuana possession. In contrast, 597,447 were arrested for *all violent crimes combined. [cite]. As you can see, the US government victimizes more of its citizens than it protects.

So what's left to justify the existence of this government? Majority rule perhaps? Well, Barack Obama got 62.98 million votes in 2008. The voting age population in 2008 was 230,117,876.[cite] That's 27% of our population that voted for this president. That can in no way be interpreted as a mandate to rule.

From all these facts and figures, one conclusion is clear. The US government has no claim to legitimacy whatsoever.

User Journal

Journal: Please Critique My New Web Design 2

Journal by MichaelCrawford
Please critique my website's new design. You can post your comments in reply to this journal or email them to michael@geometricvisions.com.

I just completed the first phase of what will be a two-phase redesign of the website I use for my creative activities - music, writing, art and photography. I'm taking the site a lot more seriously than I used to, as I'm working hard at making a career change from software engineering to music. My site is:

My work so far focusses primarily on improving brand-name recognition of my stage name: Michael David Crawford. I include my middle name to avoid confusion with a famous actor who is also named Michael Crawford. Just in the last three months, analysis of my log files tells me that people are starting to find my site by entering my stage name into search engines. I want to encourage that.

It's a lot better than it was, but could still be improved. I'll do the second phase of the redesign after your critique. I also emailed all my friends and family about it, and will be asking for comments at Kuro5hin, where I'm a prominent member, as well as at Webforumz.

The site will be at a new domain when I roll out the second phase: michaeldavidcrawford.com. I'll put a redirect at the old domain so old links work, and (hopefully) so I can preserve my search engine position. My current domain is named after my first piano album, Geometric Visions, but I hope to have many albums someday.

All but four of the sixty-eight pages are XHTML 1.0 Strict. Two are transitional, because of a Google search form and a web ring navigation pane. Two of the pages are XHTML+RDFa; I had to do some hacking to get the RDFa pages to validate while still working in Internet Explorer. (The RDFa is used for Creative Commons license metadata - I've been placing a lot of my work under CC licenses.)

Internet Explorer also required a javascript hack to support captions inside of the frames I've placed around all the images; the hack replaces the frame's div with a one-cell table. Otherwise the frame would stick to the right and left sides of the window. My CSS and all but one of my pages are valid. The one invalid page is my custom 404 page, and it's because of the Google search form. The AdSense Terms and Conditions don't allow me to alter their markup, so I'm forced to be invalid if I use AdSense for Search!

I'd like advice as to how I could best place an AdSense for Search form on every page - but I won't actually do so until Google revises their markup so it's valid. I've had some conversations with AdSense support about it; I think it will happen but probably not soon.

There are just two tables on the whole site: the alternating left-right index on my homepage is a two-column table, as well as the web ring navigation pane on my telescope making page. I realize I could implement the homepage index as a bunch of divs, but the current implementation seems to make more sense to me, as well as being more reliable for older browsers.

I plan to add more items to the navigation in phase two. To provide the needed real estate, I'm going to replace my explicit email address with just the word "Contact". It will still be an email link, but will be spam-protected by implementing it in javascript. The Contact link will lead to a contact form page if you have Javascript disabled.

I'll be making my site fully accessible, as well as improving SEO in phase two. I have some experience with SEO but I'm by no means an expert. All the pages that I've worked to optimize so far have meta description tags, but most others don't.

My music pages will be reorganized, with my main music page being replaced with a bio, some photographs, and links to all the other music pages. My album Geometric Visions will be placed in a subdirectory (music/geometric-visions). Each of my new albums will have their own page. I'll also place my sheet music on its own page.

There's not much content on the drawing, painting and photography pages yet, but I'm finding that the few images I do have are getting a lot of referrals from image search engines. I'll be adding a lot of photos in the coming weeks. I won't be able to add my other drawings and paintings until I can get them out of storage on the opposite coast, which won't be for a long time.

I have a print-specific stylesheet. It hides the navigation, and makes links look like regular text. On most of the pages that use it, it adds a header to hardcopies explaining where the original can be found online. Try a Print Preview of this page for an example.

I didn't think of it until just now, but the printing code for phase two will keep my logo on hardcopies, while hiding the rest of the header. The print logo will have a white background - the screen logo has a gray background to match the body color; I don't use transparency because it's a PNG, and old Explorer versions don't render PNG transparency correctly.

The navigation in phase two will be implemented as Server-Side Includes; the current navigation was pasted into every single page. Having five websites, I've done site-wide navigation changes the hard way so many times that I finally decided to get help on how to do it the easy way.

Well that beats the subject completely to death . Thanks for your help!

-- Mike

User Journal

Journal: My platform

Journal by Hatta

I'll add to this as ideas come to me.

There shall be a right to trial by jury in all cases.

Abolish sovereign immunity.

Restitution must be made to innocent people falsely accused, if no charges are filed, or if a person is found innocent the state must bear their legal fees, lost wages, etc. Similarly, those who sue and lose should bear the costs to the defendent.

The punishment for legal negligence should be equivalent to the potential damage caused by the negligence. If a prosecutor neglects to produce exculpatory evidence during discovery, then he should get the same penalty that the defendant would have gotten.

There should be something akin to habeas corpus for evidence.

The president gets 2 weeks vacation per year, as do congressmen.

Congressmen must show up for work, i.e. they must be present to vote unless they're on vacation.

Congressmen must read and understand every bill they vote for. Perhaps bills should be read aloud before a vote, or maybe there should be a quiz.

Probable cause should be just that, probable. If any judge issues warrants, or officer makes arrests, and these warrants or arrests lead to convictions in less than 50% of cases they must lose their authority to issue warrants or make arrests.

Given the widespread practice of 'testilying', it shall be presumed reasonable to doubt any testimony given by a police officer. Everything an officer does while on duty must be recorded.

All jurors should be informed of their responsibility to nullify unjust laws.

Passing a law that is found unconstitutional will result in impeachment.

No corporate personhood.

No victim, no crime. If there is no actual, specific, individual victim, no crime has occurred.

User Journal

Journal: Ok, I get the game 1

Journal by stratjakt

So, you upmod me with one of the non-karma affecting mods, then downmod me with a troll or whatever, rinse and repeat, and that's how you take away all the karma without actually changing the numbers.

Yet, one can troll anonymously all day.

Lame. No wonder the site just steadily declines in quality.

User Journal

Journal: Fuck you too, CmdrTaco 1

Journal by stratjakt

So, my karma goes from positive to bad overnight, with no new down-mods in my recent posting history.

Whats up with that?

Taco, you may not necessarily like me or my opinions, but your mods don't seem to have such a problem with it.

Why not let the users decide? They made this site, not you. You'd be smart to keep that in mind. Your opinions and commentary are retarded, and you and the other "editors" consistently show yourselves to be technically inept pseudo-activists and astroturfing drones.

User Journal

Journal: US Democracy: The best person for the job (among These pre-s 2

Journal by BrynM

US Democracy: The best person for the job (among These pre-selected choices)

New sig. I was thinking of the likelihood of a President Hilary. The idea that the US could be a Democratic Dual Monarchy for almost 25 years saddens me (Bush(4)->Clinton(8)->Bush(8)->Clinton(4?/4+?)). Between her electiveness and the state of US domestic affairs, I fear for the future of the land I love. The other candidates are just as "prepared".

Maybe one day we'll actually have some more choices in our choice. Then again considering how we've made villains of any 3rd party, maybe not. I really hope time will prove me wrong.

User Journal

Journal: A new X-Com, Apocalypse that is.

Journal by SmallFurryCreature

Once there was a game called UFO: Enemy Unknown. A turnbased game that saw you take a small squad of soldiers to battle a host of nasty aliens. It was so good I played just the demo over and over again until finally I could buy the full game.

Brilliant... well up to a point. For all its tactical brilliance, too many battles ended in you having to hunt down a final missing alien all over the place. It also suffered from that typical turnbased syndrome that many real world tactics just don't happen in a turn-based world.

Enemy of the Deep put the action below sea level, and while good was just more of the same.

Then came X-Com: Apocalypse. (It changed the name to appease the unwashed masses in the colonies) and it was good... kinda.

It added a realtime element, rather then each soldier on the field being given their own turn, you would pause the game, give orders to your squad and then resume watching your soldiers carry out your orders, or at least attempt to do so.

It gave turn-based gaming what it never had before, real firefights. For the first time your heavy machine gunner really was laying down a blanket of fire to cover your advancing troops, for the first time your soldiers really dived out of the way of incoming fire rather then just stand there and take it because it wasn't their turn.

The game also added multiple factions, and many other goodies but sadly it was also a game from those days when graphics just did not scale and today the game looks truly horrible.

Cue a void of many years before we got our next change to go kick alien but tactically.

Lots has been tried and it all failed, we had turn-based that seemed to increase the endless waiting of the orignal and real-time that failed to do what Apocalypse did.

To be clear, both turn-based AND realtime have their problems.

  • Turn-based suffers from a lack of realism, machine gunners provide covering fire, they do NOT wait their turn to squeeze of a quick burst. Soldiers react to being shot at and don't just stand there. It quickly becomes micro-management if you have to drag your squad through endless turns just to travel across the map.
  • Realtime needs player AI, your soldiers need to do more then just execute the last command. This means they should be able to engage the enemy on their own, take cover if under fire, switch equipment as needed, switch targets as needed etc etc. Without this it can become even more a case of micro management then the turnbased game.

    Apocalypse did it nearly all right. A soldier on their own would attack any enemy, switch to the most dangerous one, take cover behind anything close if needed. This made for some of the most intresting battles I ever seen in a computer game.

    So what is needed to make a true semi-realtime UFO/X-Com sequel.

    You are the commander, selected from thousands of other ordinary human beings by the X-com project (the original games were just a training program) you have been chosen to be the tactical brain behind a program setup to deal with the increasing numbers of alien sightings.

    The first part of the game functions as the tutorial and sees you being asked to deal with several early missions involving events that may be related to the increased number of sightings, including investigating several human organisations.

    The X-com organisation has you making the tactical decisions with overall strategic orders coming from the various real world organisations, your task is to keep your real agenda (keeping the world out of alien control) with appeasing those who fund your program. Not all of them share the same goal, or even your goal.

    Early on their is also demand that you keep your actions as secretive as possible for risk of finding to many opposed to you.

    In the beginning you find yourselve equipped with real world weapons for your combat missions. Resources are limited but realistic, you are outfitted as a small special forces team could be expected to be. You got high quality equipment, basics in ready supply (No special forces unit in the real world needs to hustle for bullets) but limited in scope. Your currency for improving this is NOT just money but also goodwill with various real world organisations, if the US likes you, expect a carrier force to be assigned to your unit, if the USSR likes you, you may get advanced air transport capabilities, the Israeli's like you, you get advanced intelligence, the arabs supply more money then you could hope to spend, etc etc.

    Offcourse their are counters to this as well, not everyone will like you to be friendly with their enemy, especially if they perceive your actions to harm them.

    Before a mission becomes available your job is to insruct your scientists to research what tech you find most desirable, instruct engineers to use this research to augment your gear and to train your soldiers in prepration for the next mission.

    Your soldiers are an entire segment of management on their own, soldiers who are injured need to heal BUT can also spend time studying during that (slows the healing somewhat but wastes less time) Soldiers on intensive training are not available for combat until finished while on-site study might see them ready in a couple of hours. Ready teams can be instantly deployed, but the constant pressure wears them out.

    Then there is the question of deployment, your main base has the best facilities but makes it hard to respond quickly to events in remote corners of the world.

    When an mission occurs your first decision will be to decide to respond or not. Make an attack to stop an alien take over of the vatican and you might just give youreselve a load of bad press, while a similar assault on the pentagon (if the US is friendly to you) might be far more acceptable. (Hush it up as a terrorist strike)

    Then comes the question of what units will respond and how long you will wait before the attack will commence. Do you take the small elite team and drop them by parachute, use local agents, take the time to get a proper force ready. An option is also to attack with the first squad to arrive, then as combat takes place reinforcements could arrive.

    Further tactical decisions are what back up forces to deploy, Evac choppers, gun-ships, civilian rescue teams.

    The combat area itself is fairly large to accomadate real world tactics and the use of light support vehicles, they should also be random like the original X-com games. Combat starts with you having to insert your forces, this changes by the mode of transportation. Parachute drop, helicopter insertion or just driving in from a corner of the map.

    The insertion is for the first time a real part of the battle, as the parachute drop will see your forces scattered over the map and a helicopter drop gives you the firepower of the chopper to clear the landing area.

    Once your troops are on the ground they form themselves into small squads as dictated by their role, machine gunner team, mortar team, sniper duo etc etc.

    Typically a mission will see you first move your combat units (not individual soldiers) to secure the drop zone, then proceed with the mission objective. Units are given directions of were to go, and how to get there, typically you want to move as fast as possible until combat starts. The units however will use their OWN AI to execute their orders and change them as needed. A soldier being told to run down a corridor will STOP and open fire if an enemy appears. Soldiers receiving fire will not slowly walk to their destination, they will either speed up returning fire on the move if possible, or crouch down and return fire or try to get to their destination under cover.

    Not all units are combat units and for larger missions you mind find medical forces and other support units who need to be escorted and protected.

While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.

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