Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

SOPA and PIPA Suck.

January 18, 2012

Obligatory post. ‘Nuff said. Do everything in your power to make non-techies aware of the issues at hand. If enough people fight back, they will back down. If enough people boycott their goods, it’ll hurt them where it hurts most.

I Would if I Could

February 18, 2011

As you may know, the United States federal government has been seizing Internet domains for hosting copyrighted content or child pornography. However, they went above and beyond that when they “accidentally” seized 84,000 domains, most (if not 99%) of them innocent. Looking for more information I found this article on “El Reg”. Seeing a bold “fuck off” half-way down the article, I decided to click on the link to a blogger who was had one of the 84,000 domains. Imagine my surprise when I see that the blog is called stop_error.

At first I kind of smirked, seeing that some one else used the title. Do I care? No. Really, it’s just the official terminology for a blue screen of death. But there was a more important thing that I started thinking of. Why can the federal government just come in and “grab” any domain they want? Even domains registered outside of the United States? What about a little thing I like to call the United States Constitution? This is a result of big government. Democrats and Republicans both love big government. We need people who understand and respect the Constitution in charge. I’m crying right now about this, much like a certain person in the house. And yes, this is a big fucking deal.

I Want the Old Slashdot Back

January 26, 2011

After freshly installing a Fedora 14 virtual machine (just trying to keep up with the different Linux distros. I really don’t think I can fully switch over to Linux on my primary machine due to my love of PC gaming. I won’t get a console, thank you very much!) I decide to fire up Firefox and go to Slashdot, just to test and see if things are working. It worked, but I now wish it didn’t work, since I saw something so horrid that I wish I never saw it. I saw… the horrible new Web 2.0 Slashdot.

In typical Web 2.0 fashion, it has lots of blank white space and that downright annoying as all hell header that scrolls down with the page. I have to ask: why? What was so wrong with the older design? Or even the design older than that? I’m hearing reports that it isn’t compatible with older browsers on older operating systems, so this is a major bummer. If only web designers would design sites the way I would: “if it doesn’t work with Netscape/Internet Explorer 3, then it sucks”. There might have been a lot of things to hate about 1990’s web design (such as most GeoCities pages), but at least for the most part it sucked less. I’d love to hear what you think of the new design.

Written from my Fedora 14 Virtual machine.

 

EDIT: Of course here is the news entry about the redesign itself.

I’m Racist? Really?

January 15, 2011

When you play a game online, communication is key. A crappy team with communication will for the most part win over a good team without communication. But what happens when you’re in a game where people are communicating, but in a different language? What happens when they lag so bad, that other players feel like they’re lagging? I was playing a game today where all that was happening and I pointed this out. Another player called me a “racist”.

Is it racism when you want to play a game where communication and lag can make or break a game?

Valve, You’re Losing Your Touch

October 30, 2010

The latest Team Fortress 2 updates  have (in my opinion) practically destroyed the game. Micro-transactions. New items that don’t fit with the art style. Its turned into an entirely different game than the one I purchased several years ago. Hell, everything up to the War! update (December 2009) was great. Even the Engineer update was pretty good. But everything after that went down hill.

Micro-transactions are quite possibly the worst idea to grace video gaming. Originally, they said the micro-transactions would be cheap. Cents. Maybe a dollar or two. That was an idea I could go along with. Cheap items to customize your game play (but not let you have a have an advantage over other players). The Team Fortress 2 micro-transaction system (the “Mann Co. store”) is not cheap. The game itself cost $20 when I bought it (standalone retail release in April 2008). As I write this post, it is currently 50% off, going for $9.99. The Orange Box (which included Team Fortress 2, Portal, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One and Half-Life 2 Episode Two) cost $50, when released in October of 2007. Look through the screenshots below to see how much some items cost. It’s amazing, actually, that people purchase these “items”. And, some of these items have bonuses when purchased through a bundle. Valve said that items for purchase can also be dropped using the item-drop system. From what I can tell, some items are only available for purchase.

Valve, I don’t want to think this, but you’re turning into Activision or EA. That’s something I thought would never happen. But I was naive. In the end, everyone sells out.

First. Sale. Doctrine.

August 27, 2010

You’ve probably heard about THQ (and other publisher/developers) whining about used-game sales. It sickens me to see people agreeing with the companies. Video game industry take note: you’re no different than the music, movie and book industry (they whine as well, but it’s impossible to enforce their demands). I purchase a game for $50, I see it as the value of playing and enjoying the game and the possibility to sell the game if I don’t like it or would like to purchase another new game. I love hearing the argument about maintaining the game servers. Didn’t part of the initial cost of the game go into maintaining such servers? I always thought that only one player could play online per copy of the game? If I sell a copy of the game, isn’t there still only one player (a different player) playing online?

Oh wait, they expect for people to get tired of the game and no longer play it online, thus allowing them to discontinue it. But if I sell my copy of the game, another player who never played it before will be interested in it and will be playing it online. Meaning it’d be a little more controversial to discontinue it. What about just stating on the back of the package “Online services will be discontinued on November 30, 2013” (or whatever date they decide to discontinue it).

There’s also that pesky First Sale Doctrine, which basically states that people are allowed to sell or give away anything when they want to.

Why Dice, Why!?

July 2, 2010

I love the Battlefield series. I can honestly say that a good portion of my most epic moments in gaming came from that series. Jets. Helicopters. Tanks. Jeeps. You name it. I’ve piloted one (in game, at least) and I’ve killed (again, in game) lots. I buy every new Battlefield game for the PC. And every Battlefield game is buggy. Not a little buggy, but very buggy. From extremely crappy server browsers to the menu that takes 10(+) seconds to load. And yet I put up with it. Why? Because as soon as I’m in game I have as much fun as anyone could possibly have while blowing shit up.

But with the latest game (Bad Company 2), I really can’t say the same. The server browser is downright horrible (the latency doesn’t even show up correctly). The buggy quirks annoyed me. It was like every other DICE game; the game is great except for those little things. And a lot of those little things make a big thing. After the Modern Warfare 2 (I’m sorry but MW2 was and always will be Mech Warrior 2) dedicated server, or lack of, fiasco, DICE promised that BC2 would feature dedicated servers. And they were right.. well somewhat. The game does indeed have dedicated servers. But they’re not servers that I could run in my basement. I have to rent a server from an “authorized provider”.  With BF2, there were ranked (rented) servers, that would allow unlocks and unranked servers that wouldn’t allow unlocks, but anyone could run. Why isn’t there an option for that in Bad Company 2? I would like to be able to practice flying the different helicopters offline, but with this I can’t. Why don’t you allow for unranked servers?

I Think I’d Like to “Jump Back in Time”

June 23, 2010

This site has got me to start thinking about HTML5 and Flash Player. About how the horrible things that Flash has spawned onto us (Flash advertisements, for one). The horrible Flash player for Linux (and from what I’ve heard, the just a little better Flash Player for OS X). About how OS/2 or BeOS users (who have modern browsers ported for their platform) are stuck with ancient or no (well, that may be a good thing depending on how you look at it) Flash Player. Think about how many times the Flash plugin has crashed on you. I think I’d rather “jump back in time” to a 1998 where plugins don’t crash my browser while I’m getting rickrolled. Yeah, and I’ll play some Tomb Raider 3 or Half-Life and be content.

I’d rather have an open specification such as HTML5 that can be freely implemented in any browser on any platform imaginable that won’t crash and require 98% CPU usage to watch a 360p video on YouTube in fullscreen. So what if it can’t do a few stupid things that shouldn’t even be done with in the first place. Though, I will admit that Flash has a time and a place. But that place is not in a users web browser when they’re watching stupid videos on YouTube or uploading files to a website. There are things that Flash does well and there are things that Flash just doesn’t do well.

I’m Sorry Mr. Jobs, but I’m Afraid This is it.

April 30, 2010

I’m not an Apple fanboy. Quite the opposite, actually. I dislike almost everything “Apple”. The control restrictions they place. The overpriced hardware. The (parts of the) community that consider Steve Jobs to be godlike. Hell, even a God apon Earth. But, I could handle it for the most part. Maybe a jab here and a small rant there, but I never hated Apple. That is, until now. Enter the 2010 Apple/Steve Jobs. The massive turd that is the SuperSized iPod touch, err iPad, rather. Steve’s “Thoughts on Flash”, where he has the balls to rip the “openness” (or lack of) of Flash. Steve, shouldn’t you look at the products you produce before even talking about openness? How come I can’t install whatever I want on an iPad? Why can I not install OS X on any old IBM PC compatible system? You’re just as “open” as Adobe is, Apple.

And then today Steve talks about a patent battle against Ogg Theora, where he says:

All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.

Steve, how about that openness you spoke of earlier?

Written on my Windows XP x64 system, and proud of it.

Yet Another Steam Rant

April 28, 2010

The “new and improved” Steam UI update was released today. The new user interface is too shiny and overly verbose. For a comparison:

Simple. Streamlined. Perhaps even a hint of elegance. And now we have:

As I said: Too glossy. Too verbose. And just plain “ugh”. Why is it that “News” is now a separate tab? Why was it that in the old UI I could look at updates for games in a secondary window but this is no longer the case with the new UI? I dare not complain on the Steam forums for fear of getting my head bitten off by the “gamers” who’ll consume whatever Valve PR tells them, like the obedient leashed dogs they are.

And then there’s the fact that they’re dropped support for Windows 2000. Don’t give me the “But it’s x years old” bullshit. The box said the game supported Windows 2000, and it had better support Windows 2000, should I decide to install and play it on a Windows 2000 machine. Don’t give me the EULA bullshit either. I could very well write an application that has an EULA that states that the users soul is now my property (much like that game retailer in the UK). But would it be legal?

As I’ve said many, many times prior, no DRM at all is “acceptable”. They are all just as horrible as the next one, but in different ways. They all restrict your rights to software you purchased (nee, rented or “subscribed” to). The only reason at all that I put up with Steam is because of Valve’s good games. Perhaps I should stop and no longer play such games.

Those of you whom have had bad experiences with Steam may speak your mind here. There is no corporate kool-aid around here, I’m afraid. Just an angry geek that’s about to snap at DRM bullshit.

UPDATE: There are also reports that the update created performance problems for several games (such as Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead [2]).