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Journal Journal: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand!!!

M.A.S.K. The Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. (Hey, it had to be K to fit with the acronym, poor spelling skills be damned). As a child I skrimped and saved my allowance and pretty much had the entire toy line. Sure, it meant I couldn't buy He-Man or even G.I.Joe most of the time. But who needed them when you had M.A.S.K.?

With all the revisiting the 80's toy lines, including Star Wars (all of them) and Master of the Universe, it's curious to me that M.A.S.K. hasn't been similarly resurrected. For those too old or too young to remember the toy line, let me put on my "When I was your age..." cap and begin to knit my yarn.

The entire toy line was based on real vehicles. It was, I guess in a way, our answer to the Japanese invasion of Transformers. Instead of robots, however, the M.A.S.K. vehicles all transformed into massive vehicles of battle. All covered with weaponry, death and destruction. Did the combatants end there though? No. They each also had a helmet, or MASK, that was also itself a weapon and each one had it's own individual power. Not unlike a nod to the huge comic property of superheroes in the day. Some even came with hand held weapons. These toys were just ready to take out the world.

On further introspection, maybe I can see why it hasn't been resurrected, however He-Man certainly has massive amounts of weaponry as well. G.I.Joe is most openly a military body ..... any way, I digress.

Now, while I'm geek enough to remember each of the vehicles, weapons, drivers, and masks in turn. I will not bore you with those details. But I will hit highlights of the back story surrounding the toy line and a grand overview of the vehicles involved.

Matt Trakker, leader of the forces of M.A.S.K. and on the side of light and good, came by his weaponry from his brother, Andy. His brother had been partners with Miles Mayhem, leader of the forces of V.E.N.O.M. (The Vicious and Evil Network Of Mayhem) who together found the crystals that powered all the devices in the series. Andy knew that Miles was getting ready to pull something, and built a second series of masks and hid them for Matt to find.

Then we get into the standard cliche villian plot. Miles wanted to take over the world and to that end had hundreds of schemes that Matt and M.A.S.K. were always there to thwart.

This toy line touched it all (at least for a boy) It gave you cars to "drive," figures that could get into the cars. Cars that transformed into weapons platforms. Back story to relive battles with the toy line. Interchangable components. (The masks were removeable, and could fit different figures, etc. Unlike some toys even today where they are basically cast plastic figurines that don't even move ..... toy my eye.) Superhero like powers. Really cool villians to fight (I mean come on, Stink Man? [He-Man Villian])

*sighs* Ah well .... and look at the DVD run of items coming out. Knight Rider, Munsters, Strawberry Shortcake?? .... and yet, still no M.A.S.K. love ..... truely a forgotten artifact of the past. Now all we need is Indiana Jones to help us find it!

Thanks for letting me ramble about the past.

Just out of curiosity, especially since probably only 1 person on all of Slashdot will stumble across this, how many would buy a M.A.S.K. DVD if it were made available? Maybe we can get AnimEigo to pick it up. I think Rhino owns the distribution rights to it right now. Hmmm...

Operating Systems

Journal Journal: General Rant on Who We are Mad at This Week

I originally wrote this patent pending Bullshit Theory of the Day in response to the article: "iTunes User Sues Apple Over Lock-In"

I'm placing it here as a permanent rant due to the extreme insanity that now moves about throughout the hobby / profession that is IT and Computing. Though it was in response to an Apple related story, it could as easily have been for any other Technology savvy company that gets flamebasted at will online. Enjoy.

It pains me to say, given that with free speech comes free opinion, but I am getting fed up with the pissing, the moaning, the bitching and the complaining that get done in the name of Company X is the AntiChrist, Company Y Save Us! Apple Computer, Inc. is a Corporation. Their sole purpose for being in business is not to cater to your every whim. They are in business to please their shareholders. Shareholders are pleased by making money. They don't care about you or me .... no wait, I'm a shareholder, maybe they do care about me.

The point is that they are in business to make money. If they think that selling a $500 Mac (Mini) or selling a $9000 PowerMac will make them money, then they will do that. By contrast if keeping Real Networks and their music off the iPod will make them money, they will find every legal way to do that. (Better stay legal, don't make me flex my voting options.)

What never ceases to amaze me though, is the rule that "What is good for the goose is *not* good for the gander." All nature of items that you use for (one) so many people refuse to use for (another). Why is that?

Let me explain.

People are up in arms about the fact that Apple has made changes to the iPod firmware to keep music bought from Real Networks from working on the iPod. Real used AAC DRM controlled files bought and downloaded from Apple that were reverse engineered to give them the keys that allowed them to change their own AAC controlled files so that they looked like an Apple iTMS file to the iPod. Apple, as their right, changes the firmware and now they have become Company X.

I must interrupt to call bullshit on this. Apple is the Goose.

You see, my Mom drives a Chevy Blazer. It's the largest pile of cow dung I've ever been forced to examine. It is, at this moment, slowly bleeding to death in my parents garage. (And to skip the flame baiting and trollers, I am married and live 35 miles away from my parents.) It leaks from the transmission, it leaks from the rear main seal, it leaks from the oil pan, heck for all I know the transfer cases leaks and I'm not even sure that there *is* fluid in there.

Hang with me, the point is coming.

Even though she is mad as a hornet in a hen house at GM, and even though the vehicles that they purchase for my father will never again be GM (He currently has a Ford F150 and a Dodge Van) my mother *will* be buying another Blazer. Why?

On Star.

Does that mean she has the right to sue GM because On Star isn't available on a Ford? What do you think GM, as a Corporation and we've already covered what their interests are, would do if Ford discretely hacked the On Star system so that their brand new Ford Mustang authenticated itself as a Buick LeSabre? Do you think they would offer assistance to a driver in a Mustang that was upside down on it's roof?

"Help, I've flipped my car and I can't get out."
"I see that you are in a Buick LeSabre, the side windows are specifically designed to be kicked out in the event of a roll over."
"LeSabre? I'm in a Ford Mustang GT."
"Hello? Hello??

So now we have the GM Gander. You and I both know what is going to happen, GM is going to change the On Star system so that Ford vehicles can't use it. Why? Because if Ford wants an On Star like system, they need to build their own system with their own network and have their own button. Call it the FoMo Net or something. Is this anti-competitive? Would anyone even think twice about this happening?! No. Why? It's the auto business, a Ford is not a Chevy.

Yet we argue about this same thing day in and day out with Apple and Real, Linux and Microsoft, (Red Hat and Linux) .... no .... wait, that one's the same thing now ... no, it isn't? It is .... it isn't? .....

Where is the difference in Apple protecting itself as a company and it's brand image when we allow GM to do it, we allow McDonalds to do it, we allow Nike to "Just Do It." Seriously this whining is getting ridiculous. Apple said no to Real about licensing it's FairPlay, just like GM would say no to Ford about licensing it's On Star (at least until they spin it off into a seperate division where they'd make a gorilla-load of money doing it, then it pleases the shareholders, then it's good, then it's done.)

*Sighs* That is a rant I had to perform. Not that it did any good. Knowing the community I'll get flamebasted to a nice golden brown. But what the hell, it made *me* feel better, so in the end, that's really all that matters right?

That wraps it up for another Bull Shit Theory of the Day!

On, and as a Post Script: If Real Networks wants to sell music to millions of people then great for them! In my On Star opinion, let them build themselves a RealPod. *That* is competition. Is it a legal offense that I should file suit against because I can't play my Xbox games on my Mac? Should I gather up the armed forces because my iLife software doesn't run on my XP Workstation at the office? It isn't anti-competitive for Apple to say you have to buy the *software* that the music is encoded in from us to be able to use our hardware.

Besides, if Real *really* wanted me to listen to Rhapsody music on my iPod, they would sell it to me in a straight, non-DRM MP3 format anyway. Nothing Apple could do would be able to keep a Real music file encoded in pure MP3 off the iPod. But this rant has gone on long enough.

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