Saturday, December 12, 2009

Are you Racist? Find Out!

We hear a lot about police racism in this country ever since Rodney King Jr., and if you read anything on the subject, it's clear that officers are bigots. Malcolm Gladwell's Blink discusses that fraction of a second cops have to guess whether or not a person is pulling a weapon. Unfortunately, it seems that race is an overriding factor in that determination. Why? Because their job primes them to act this way. Crime happens in lower economic areas, so we send the cops there. They see non-whites committing violent crimes day in and day out and it becomes an unconscious expectation. If a black guy reaches in his pocket to grab his wallet, in that instant, it becomes a gun to a cop.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Healthcare: Wendell Porter

I'm still somewhat open to alternative solutions, but single-payer does seem the best way to go.

From some news site:
One of the panelists, former Cigna Health Insurance executive-turned whistleblower Wendell Potter, said in his opening statement that if Congress “fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.”
Forgive the use of a random-ass site. I just wanted to make sure you saw that I didn't pull reformed smegma-sucking asshole Wendell Porter's quote out of my ass (he's still a putz for his past, but at least he realizes it now). Those guys framed it in a way that explained who he was and gave the quote without requiring me to use ellipses between the two. Now for the PBS interview with the same guy (if YouTube sucks at buffering it, try this instead):

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kingory is not copycat. (Evony\Civony v2.0)

If you liked even one of my Civony\Evony posts in the past, you need to read the most recent development. I swear I want this to end as much as all of you, but God damn they make it easy!

Also, in case you haven't noticed, I disable comments on almost all of these offlinks because I don't want to split the discussion. Comment me on NFO if you've got something to say. The Akismet can be horrible at times, but as long as you're not posting a bunch of links, you'll get through.

So yeah: Read. Laugh. And click some of the articles I link in that post too - most of them are great as well!

Thanks to Jim for the tip :3

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kanyelicio.us

Image yanked from Encyclopedia Dramatica, an intarwebs site

I don't intend to make a bunch of micro-posts, but damn it I've got a lot of games to play and many people to talk to! At any rate...

Just found this through a friend: http://kanyelicio.us/http://www.google.com I've chosen not to roll it into some "5 Sites You Should See" kind of thing because it's unlikely they'll keep it up for too long (as the joke will get old). Go watch Kanye West's publicity stunt at the VMAs if you don't get it.

If you haven't seen a site like this before, here's what you do: Type http://www.kanyelicio.us/{ANY URL} into your address bar and replace {ANY URL} with the URL of the site you want to see Kanye interrupt.

Erd's Nothing I- BEYONCE HAS ONE OF THE BEST....

Also...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget

I don't know why Erd hasn't posted in a while, and frankly I can't blame him since neither have I. But, at the very least I wanted to talk about this date in history, because it's obviously significant. A part of me died on September 11th, 2001. Let me tell you about it.

I was in class when I heard the news about the World Trade Center. The school assembled the students in the cafeteria to watch the coverage. An hour goes by. We get to leave early... not because The-middle-of-fucking-nowhere, New Jersey is some prime target for terrorist groups, but because - as one might expect - a few of our classmates had relatives that worked in the New York Metro. We drove around, thanks to an upperclassman's car, talking about the attacks. A friend suggested we get something to eat.

We pull into a plaza, grab a bite, and saunter through a record store, still bewildered by the news. I flipped through racks of CDs, perhaps looking for something to dull the sting of our country being attacked, but there seemed to be no salve in stock. Then, I saw it: "Glitter," the soundtrack. Could this be the pill I sought? Could this be the bright spot in an otherwise dark day? There was only one way to find out. Debit card in hand, I deflected insult after insult from my friends. It's not their fault. They don't understand Mariah like I do. They were just venting. They'd see what a great album this would be - like all her others before it.

That afternoon, once I'd had my fill of the media, I retreated to my room: prize in hand. It was time for an escape... to passionate vocals of love, joy, and the struggles of a mixed race woman's journey to stardom. Life is much simpler in the world of music. Unfortunately for me, life was far worse. I thought "How could this be? Why would someone do this? Who would produce such a tragedy? Who was behind this? Such beauty, such majesty... crumbling down!" I could take no more. I smashed my CD player to pieces in anger and screamed at the top of my lungs! What a waste of money this was, what a waste of time, what a waste of... FUUUUUCK!

A part of me died that day. Specifically, the part that would continue to buy Mariah Carey albums. I of course calmed down, and a couple weeks later, I decided to go see the movie itself. It was just as bad... perhaps worse.

And if for no other reason, September 11, 2001 will go down in my memory as a truly tragic day. A day I try my best never to revisit, but inevitably do year after year. Never forget.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Evony: It's official... worst ad campaign ever.

Another small update on Evony was posted to NFOpocalypse. You'll enjoy this, all of you.

Click title, read, and masturbate.

August 22nd: The linked post on NFO was updated to include yet another ad. I want to be done talking about this scam game, but it's a bottomless well of pathetic video game marketing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ROMiniscing: Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (PC)

Click title, read, and realize why games have the potential to be the best form of media.

Day of the Tentacle is made of so much awesome that I managed to write a post that diverged a bit from my "robotic fanspeak" tendencies.

For those of you unfamiliar with emulation or torrenting, here's a brief step-by-step to get you playing DotT:
  1. Buy the game or pirate the torrent (you'll need a free BitTorrent client and a torrent site like The Pirate Bay that you can search)
  2. Pop in the CD or mount the image (you'll need a CD emulator like the free Daemon Tools Lite)
  3. If your system is old enough to run the game as-is, enjoy! If your computer is even remotely modern, download ScummVM (also free)
  4. (Optional) Copy the Dott directory to your computer so that you don't need to remount everytime you want to play
  5. Run ScummVM. Choose Add Game... and point it to the directory (either on the CD\image or your hard drive, depending on step 4). For settings, just choose whatever sounds good. You can always come back and tinker with it by clicking DotT from the list and choosing "Edit Game". If you're running it from the CD or an image, make sure you give it a directory for your Save path (where the saved games go)
  6. Have fun playing (F5 brings up the menu when you're in-game, Esc lets you skip cutscenes)
Sounds like a lot of work for one game, but it's really not. Besides, ScummVM can handle a huge library of Graphic adventure classics, so you're doing yourself a favor.

If you have any questions about getting this running, I'll leave the comments section open. I'm not going to link you a torrent, so don't waste your time nagging. Also, if you post a link to illegal content, I'm obligated to delete it.

Also, check out the other two posts from today here on NIP, Edc (don't want them to get too buried).

What the... somebody reads NFOpocalypse?

Click that title. Even if you never follow these offlinking posts, click that title and scroll down to the bottom.

Apparently, NFO's audience is greater than its writers and their parents. Who'd'a thunk it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Awe-Some Jams

I haven't updated in a while and unfortunately I don't have anything too important to say today... so we'll keep it light-hearted! A couple friends of mine recently linked me some music, and if I say so myself, it's great shit. The guys in these bands are fucking visionaries.

First, here is a cover of "Such Great Heights" (The Postal Service, another band I adore) done by some badass metal dudes called Confide. Don't let the "Love" and "Hope" tattoos on the one guy's fingers confuse you: it'll melt your face.




This next band, known as Entropy, has some pretty dark lyrics, but hilarious names and shit. The bassist refers to herself as "mAlice" and says that "strawberries are a metaphor for blood." Where do they come up with this great sense of humor!? They're hardcore about their music, even carpooling their fans to shows and stuff (apparently the Lexington music scene isn't ready for their level of awesome). They're activists too in a sense, as demonstrated by this blog post about the educational system in America.

Excerpt
How do I know why America’s public school system was designed the way it was (age-segregated, six to eight 50-minute classes in a row announced by Pavlovian bells, emphasis on rote memorization, lorded over by unquestionable authority figures, etc.)? Because the men who designed, funded, and implemented America’s formal educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote about what they were doing. Almost all of these books, articles, and reports are out of print and hard to obtain.
These dudes are digging up some really obscure and important information and converting it to lyrics. Check out their music on their MySpace. As an aside: lol at their URL, it's "entropy is pretty awesome in most measurable ways i mean wow." This was funny enough to be both their URL and a blog post title where they give out awards to people for being "Punk as Hell," "Because Entropy said so" and because they can do wicked shit with their arms.

Here's another YouTube, this time a band called "Attack Attack!" with their song "Stick Stickly" (fucking Nickelodeon references ftw). I love their headbang\hop, the Crabcore stance, and the guitar swinging choreography. It's so fresh and cool looking. Listen at least to the 8th or 9th breakdown, where it goes all super-cool Electronica (who DOESN'T love Electronica?) The blonde chick in the video keeps covering her ears. If she doesn't, they may shatter her brain with their metalitude.




And lastly, here's a band in the same vein as "Attack Attack!" called BrokeNCYDE with their single "Freaxxx." I assume the three X's are like how you rate liquor, cause this shit will get you seriously drunk on the devil's brew. It's hardcore, man - just look at all the gang signs, smoke rings, and beer they spill for their homies. I'm 99% certain they'll get famous because they combine the best elements of the best genres (Electronica, Screamo, and T-Pain autotuned Hip hop... such a kewl effect).




Anyway, that's all for today. These guys are real music revolutionaries combining music styles and stuff. All these bands are pretty small right now so you can become one of us true fans that support them before they sell out their musical genius and start becoming catchy trash!

Monday, July 20, 2009

ROMiniscing: ActRaiser (Super NES)

This week, it's a clever mix of hack-and-slash and city-building. If you like platformers with a twist, click the title.

As always, ZSNES is the way to go. I hope everyone is enjoying their summers!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ROMiniscing: Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (Super NES)

Click title. Read. Download. Enjoy.

This is one of those games that surprised the hell out of me because I had literally never heard of it until about two years ago when a friend recommended it. It's not 100% polished, but it's still damn good. It manages to be original even with all the Tactical RPGs that have come since.

Anyway, this shit's worth playing. Absofuckinglutely it is.

ZSNES is best.

Monday, July 6, 2009

ROMiniscing: Adventure (Atari 2600)

Adventure. Geez, what is there to say? I mean, it's such a painfully simple game that I don't think today's gamers can appreciate it, but at the same time it's such a masterpiece for its time that it deserves to be talked about for decades to come. It manages to be simultaneously timeless and dated somehow.

Clearly, the only solution is for you to play and judge for yourself. Click the title, read the piece, and dig up Stella or some other emulator.

Monday, June 29, 2009

ROMiniscing: Kid Chameleon (Genesis)

I was always a SNES fan myself, but I didn't completely miss out on the fun shit Genesis had to offer. This week, I'm spotlighting a game I spent far too many hours on as a kid: Kid Chameleon.

Click the title, read the article, then go download the game on one of the many ROM sites out there. If you don't have an emulator for Genesis, I've found "Gens" to be fair. The interface is piss-poor, especially compared to ZSNES, but it's leagues better than Hu-Go!

Anyway, go play some games.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Everyone Loves (Pandering to) Parents!

It's not some controversial topic, so I'll keep this short: Enough fucking pandering already. Parents especially don't deserve it. Their jobs are necessary for the continuation of humanity and an act of choice (or an act of failure-to-make-a-choice). For these reasons and more they definitely don't need holidays or, at the very least, they don't need the kind of pandering nonsense they receive from the media on these holidays.

The local news down here in Nowheresville, Maryland is quite abysmal to begin with. I originally figured that the news networks down here, what with being located in the nation's capital, would be at the top of their game. This could not be farther from the truth. They read teleprompters like a dyslexic 4th-grader and have the comic ability of a TGIF sitcom. For Father's Day, one of the anchors said this:

One of the douchebag sports anchors on NBC\DC4:
Without fathers, there'd be no baseball... think about that!
What a fuckwitted segue. Seriously? You thought that was clever? I took the bait and thought about it. In roughly a tenth of a second I realized:
  • Without fathers, there'd be no human race
  • Without stromatolites, there'd be no land creatures
  • Without cataclysmic extinction events, there'd probably be few, if any, of the lifeforms we know on the planet.
  • A decade or so from now Project Natal-like gesture-based user interfaces could be standard and the middle finger I threw at the screen could appropriately change the channel like I wanted it to.
On the other hand, sometimes the ball(s) of a particular type of pandering can be quite amusing. If you've ever watched USA, you know that House, MD reruns make up at least 60% of their schedule. They try to justify this by having constant marathons, such as "End of the Weekenditis," "Seven Deadly Sins," and perhaps the best yet: the Mother's Day "Mother of All Marathons."

One final note: Hooray for people who read blogs (clicktheadclicktheadclickthead)!

Monday, June 22, 2009

ROMiniscing: Uniracers \ Unirally (Super NES)

Click the title for a tip on some high-octane, fast-paced racing fun... ON ONE WHEEL! Uniracers really is a relic of a time when games rose and fell on their originality and uniqueness rather than graphics and marketing shock and awe.

As usual, ZSNES for the win and enjoy your Monday!

Monday, June 15, 2009

ROMiniscing: Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (NES)

Commemorate National Man Day by playing a classic Beat 'Em Up. There are a couple of stages (including the Dark Queen boss fight) where you get to beat women! Now that's a celebration!

But seriously... click the title and go read that shit. Then, download that shit. Then, play that shit. Then, take a shit. These are your duties as a man.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fuck yeah Sunny! Fuck yeah Danny DeVito!

This needs no introduction:



For those of you who need to catch up on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, It's Always Sunny Episodes (a blog with embedded streaming episodes) seems to have its shit together. Better yet, go buy the DVDs. Amazon's selling them for less than FX does, but I assume you could find them cheaper elsewhere. Still, $52 bucks with free shipping for both sets plus a pre-order ain't bad.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ROMiniscing: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super NES)

Whoops! Didn't realize yesterday was Monday and forgot to post. Oh well, you get a new ROMiniscing a day late. I never officially said on NFO that it was a weekly feature, so fuck off.

Well, fuck off after you click that title and read the post. Actually, there are more posts for the future...

Nevermind... don't fuck off. Love me, love me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ROMiniscing: Secret of Evermore (Super NES)

Yup, it's Monday again. You had to work harder than you should for less than you're worth, your kids had to be rushed off to school for another day of indoctrination, and you're one day closer to that summer vacation you can't really afford but are going to do anyway.

On the plus side, it's also the day when another ROMiniscing posts on NFOpocalypse. Click the title, read, and enjoy.

As always, I recommend ZSNES.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A pet peave: "Agree"

Lately, I've been hearing people respond to statements with just simply "agree" so as to say "I agree with you." Is it so fucking hard to say "I agree" or "agreed?" They're both one extra goddamn letter!

When you state a verb without a subject, you are making an imperative sentence using an implied you. For example, when I reply to your "agree" nonsense with the words "Shut the fuck up," I am saying "[You] shut the fuck up."

Alternatively, words can be used as exclamatory sentences or statements to express an emotional response. This is usually done with words that are either interjections, profanities, or onomatopoeia. For example, when you say "agree," I may reply with "Good God!" "FUUUUUUCK!" or "Ugh!" Since the verb "to agree" is a passive action (oxymoron), it makes no sense in this context either. Agreed however is an interjection.

Correct
Person A: "The sky is blue."
Person B: "I agree."
B (expanded): "I agree [with you]."
Incorrect
A: "The sky is blue."
B: "Agree."
B (exp.): "[You] agree [with yourself]." Wha-?
In order to not sound like a dimdick, here are a few of the thousands of better alternatives to "Agree!" that you can use:
  • Mhm
  • Yup
  • Yes
  • Right
  • Correct
  • Agreed
  • Affirmative
  • Totally
  • Definitely
  • I concur
  • I agree
  • That's true
  • That's right
  • That statement is wholly\mostly\partly accurate
  • Erd has a chocolate-covered cock. Also, you make a valid point.
That last one will hopefully get a rumor going that will improve my blowjobs received/year ratio. As of right now, it's severely low.

Friday, May 29, 2009

DMCA, Derivative works, Piracy, Barack Obama

At the intersection of these four topics, we have...

Normally, I'd post a concise but comprehensive post about an issue as important and complex as intellectual property laws in the digital age. I can't exactly do that here though because the issues are deep inside a grey area. I'd need a thousand pages and five experts to touch on every point.

On the one hand
it costs money to produce high-quality creative stuff. If the fair use and derivative works laws make it legal to essentially pirate works, people can't afford to create them. Production companies need copyright protections or else we end up with the braindead ramblings that inundate YouTube as our only form of entertainment.

On the other hand laws that aren't black-and-white force court interpretation. This means the common derivative artist will need to have more legal savvy and money than the mammoth multinational that comes after him. In what world is that the likely?

The only clear part of this whole debate is that the laws are outdated. If nothing else, they need to very clearly define the parameters of a protected derivative work. We were able to clear up fair use, first-sale, and genericized trademarks. Hopefully, we can clear up the derivative work question as well.

As with anything, the first step is for individuals to understand the current laws so that they know when they're in the right. In theory, the rest will be solved by court precedents and people like you and I demanding revisions to the statutes.
So, instead of trying to write a complete manifesto sans Juris Doctorate, I'll use the John McCain Gets BarackRoll'd video to demonstrate where we're at with - and possibly educate about - derivative works. Sony has been all over YouTube demanding the removal of the audio portion of this file (hence why I'm linking the one from Funny Or Die)...



Things to consider about this video:
Disclaimer: Neither Ed nor Erd are attorneys. These is Erd's interpretations of the laws. Call a lawyer if you're facing legal trouble.
  • Originality: The audio file for this "remix"-class derivative work is merely the superposition of Obama's words over the original, copyrighted work. Thus, it is on shaky IP ground to begin with. But while the audio file is the crux of the humor in the original BarackRoll video (no audio), this new one involves extremely good chroma keying (watch the reflection on the stage behind McCain) and the intermixing of video from McCain's speeches such that the joke is now an annoyed McCain being forced to endure a BarackRoll of epic proportions.
  • Potentially satire: Though its real purpose is internet humor, one could view this video as political satire - it shows Obama saying he's "Never gonna make you cry," "Never gonna tell a lie," and that "You wouldn't get this from any other guy." This is all met with thunderous applause and chanting from McCain's supporters. Really, the video could be a statement of "Vote for Obama!" or even the less obvious "Obama's celebrity status has reached ridiculous proportions... what the fuck is going on?"
  • Purpose and character: Unless you actually buy the above rationale, this derivative work is not transformative (Wikipedia has two articles on the topic). However, it is released for free, so the authors (Hugh Matkin and Alastair Corrigall) are not seeking to make a profit off of Sony's music.
  • Amount and substantiality: If somebody wants to hear "Never Gonna Give You Up," this video is not the place. Of the 3-minute 33-second song, only 1 minute and 26 seconds are used - about 40%. More importantly, all but the first few seconds of this sample are corrupted with outside audio (Obama's voice and chanting). In short...
  • Effect upon work's value: It doesn't infringe on Sony's ability to make a profit off of the song. If anything, it's free advertising. Do you think anyone from our generation would know who Rick Astley was if it wasn't for the RickRoll and all its kin?
  • Artist's consent: Though Sony owns the copyright to his song, it is interesting to note that Rick Astley likes the BarackRoll and the grassroots creativity of the Internet. He even likes the rudimentary RickRoll.
Isn't it about time that Google-YouTube takes a stand in favor of their content creators? Isn't it about time Sony, Universal Music Group, and other companies stop abusing the DMCA and IP law to suppress artists? Isn't it about time we update copyright laws so that companies can't use the domineering "We have lawyers, you don't" tactic to subvert the rights of creative individuals? I'm usually pretty ambiguous or even in favor of the company trying to protect their works, but this situation is pretty one-sided for Matkin and Corrigall as far as I can tell.

Does Sony being wrong matter? Not a bit. YouTube gets hit with the DMCA fist of fury every day. They're unlikely to restore the audio even if hmatkin made a convincing argument that's he's not infringing - doing so runs the risk of them getting sued over something silly. Even if YouTube won, it costs money and time to defend themselves. Since hmatkin doesn't have monetary damages (the video is free to watch) he'd have a hard time suing Sony. His only remedy is to bait them by posting the video on a site\server -ideally outside the jurisdiction of the DMCA - that won't bow to cease and desists (or his own server), hope Sony sues him, and defend himself in court.

In essence, rather than Sony (the "injured" party) proving that hmatkin is infringing their rights, hmatkin has to prove he's not infringing theirs. This is the clusterfuck of DMCA in the digital age: You don't have to prove I punched you, I have to prove I didn't. Guilty until proven innocent (in a spaghetti-strand-through-third-party-hosts-too-pussy-to-defend-their-users kind of way).

The solution? The law needs to not hold YouTube liable for the content their users post. It didn't used to, but thanks to the DMCA, it does. If I build a road for public use and you use that road to traffic drugs, am I guilty of drug trafficking? Is the CyberCafe guilty for the libel and threats you posted online while you were there? If you burn a bootleg, am I guilty just because you did it when you borrowed my computer? YouTube provides infrastructure for people to upload stuff. It's not their job to monitor how people use it. The DMCA requires that YouTube remove infringing material - which works in theory except that the scales aren't even. YouTube has no legal obligation to its users, but does have one to Sony. The result is that any company with a few lawyers can bully even YouTubers who are legally using their content.

The "big picture" issue here is that the Internet is being treated like book publishing or TV - lots of channels, each with their own Standards & Practices team reviewing things before they air. It's not: it's global, it's hosted by public and private organizations and individuals, it's free-to-use and ubiquitous, there is no central authority, and on places like YouTube or Blogger, it's direct-to-publication. The Internet is unlike anything we've seen before... it'd be nice if our legislature understood that.

Anyway... thank the gods of the Internet for making it virtually impossible to put a tourniquet on the spread of these videos. In the time it took you to read this post, three more web sites added "John McCain gets BarackRoll'd" to their library and five people have downloaded it from somewhere and uploaded it to their own YouTube\DailyMotion\Vimeo\etc. accounts. Until the AT&T packet sniffer precedents are set, we're not completely in the shitter.

I'll let Barack Obama have the last word (Series of Disappointments = hmatkin = Hugh Matkin and maybe Alastair Corrigall)


Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Ellen" from Pete & Pete - Where are they now?

This is something cool I found out a while back after a fun weekend with HighResEuph0ria during which we watched the best things our DVD collections had to offer. It just now occurred to me that I should share it, as most of you were like me and had a tremendous crush on Ellen way back when:

Assuming my Google detectiving is right: Alison Fanelli, the above-pictured and aforementioned Ellen from Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete, went on to Goucher College for a B.A. in Pre-Med, then the Ivy League Dartmouth College for a Master's in Healthcare Improvement, and lastly Arcadia University for her Physician Assistant certification. She now works as a PA-C at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where I and many relatives and friends of mine were born.

That's pretty friggin sweet in my opinion and only makes her hotter. Now I just have to give one of my younger cousins the Swine Flu so I can go hit on her without seeming like a stalker.

Relevant links:
  • Wikipedia page, with links to imdb as citations for the after-the-show stuff
  • Her staff page on CHOP's web site
  • Explanation of what a Physician Assistant is - basically, it's one step down from a doctor with set hours, less ridiculous schooling, and almost as much authority (they can even write prescriptions!). Excellent choice of career if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Advertisements: T-Shirt Hell

Ever since I actually read the terms of AdSense, I realized we could never use their ads for this site (omg bad language and maybe a porn link sometimes). While browsing T-Shirt Hell (love their shirts), I came across their affiliate program. Fuck yes! A site that is relevant to the general tone of our blog that we trust and can personally recommend.

At some point in the future, I'm going to add either a pay-per-click banner ad across the top of the page or PPC text ads in between every couple posts. If we get lucky and stumble across another site that we like that has a PPC program, we'll be all over it. Anyway, long story short: if your site is too "edgy" for Google, check out T-Shirt Hell (and use our referral link to sign up). I once bought 14 shirts there in one visit.

When I originally did the layout, I made sure the planned ads wouldn't be too obtrusive and annoying for any readers. Yes, the T-Shirt Hell ad puts the category listings a bit far beyond the fold. We may move it in the future...

What do you think? Should it go down a row or two? Fine where it is? Should we change the text underneath it? The goal is for it to be obvious without being completely in the way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gems from the Evony\Civony forums

This is just too fucking funny. It took me about 45 minutes to see the game for what it is and another 4 hours or so to make absolutely sure before I bad-mouthed it (and to collect relevant screenshots). It's hard for me to empathize with the suckers in that thread.

This thread is seven pages of the administrators asking players to report grammar and spelling errors. That way, they don't have to cut into their profits by paying one guy a few bucks to correct things.

These poor saps (one of which gave UMGE $180) seem to think the Evony developers actually give a shit about the game. They don't recognize that once the ROI for the Evony scam drops to an undesirable point, UMGE will simply rebrand, relocate, and rescam. Shell games ftw!

(also posted as an update on NFOpocalypse)

For background on this topic, see my original post.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ROMiniscing: E.V.O.: Search for Eden (Super NES)

At Noon PST, that title will link to my ROMiniscing on E.V.O.

Click and enjoy!

I recommend ZSNES for this one. If you can get your hands on version 1.42, the Netplay is easier to handle (though for this game, Netplay is just a method by which someone else can watch you play).

Beautiful Young Pussy

You probably don't care, but here are some pictures of a beautiful, young pussy anyway.

Monday, May 18, 2009

ROMiniscing: Splatterhouse (TG-16)

Click the title and enjoy a review of a truly badass relic of the TurboGrafx-16.

If you want to play, there's the Wii VC, or Hu-Go! Search Google for "Hu-Go!" and then "Splatterhouse ROM" for some zombie-punching awesomeness.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Empty Gestures: What I did for Earth Hour

Earth Hour is staged as a symbolic reminder to "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle." In fact, it’s a symbol of how self-aggrandizing people draw money, effort, manpower, and time away from important research and development by turning “awareness” into a trend rather than a means to the end: solving the fucking problem. This article was posted as a draft at the start of my time zone’s Earth Hour, throughout which I encouraged anyone I knew that was online to read it and recommend edits. For the full duration of American Earth Hours, I closed no programs and turned off no electronics. Why? As a symbol that moral superiority posturing solves nothing.

Whether it’s jelly bracelets or being Inspi(red), we’ve gotten used to the “social responsibility” buzzword of product marketing. In this day and age, even breast cancer ribbons are abused as a marketing gimmick (see Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Season 5, Episode 3 if you are unaware of this. The episode also delivers lots of tits). Companies quell what outrage we would have by using the blanket term “awareness,” and as my main man Matlock (in later image as “S7411…”) sarcastically put it:

Awareness is all that matters because if people are aware then people care.

Most people – if you make the point – will recognize the logical fallacy in thinking that once you’ve created awareness, you’ve solved the problem. That is… unless you're talking about their pet issue. “Green” is the buzzword of the 21st century, and boy do people have a boner for acting like they care about the environment. Earth Hour is the newest Race for the Cure of environmentalism.

A short disclaimer
Some people and organizations such as Leadership in Energy for Environmental Design (LEED), the alliterative Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and the World Resources Institute (WRI) do great work educating about and developing sustainability science as well as spreading awareness of emergent technologies and legislative initiatives. People like this are not in my crosshairs.

Today, my problem is with the fools pushing this Earth Hour nonsense like a panacea for power plant emissions. Since Earth Hour’s inception, technical personnel have been raising some important questions about the viability of the idea - specifically, "if air conditioning units and major servers consume more power starting up than they would idling in these reduced-traffic conditions, wouldn’t it be better to leave them on?" What do Earth Hour supporters say? "Shut up! Of course it’s better! It doesn't matter how effective the gesture is, what matters is that we unite under this symbol, make a reduction in power consumption, and most importantly: raise awareness." ...what?

Is there anyone out there who isn't aware of the unsustainability question? Shouldn’t we be past the national holiday point and instead be devoting our money, time, effort, and media coverage to answering the tough questions by now? I don’t doubt that Earth Hour’s net effect on power consumption will be positive. However, by dismissing questions like “Could the resulting spike in energy use at the end of each time zone’s Earth Hour cause our plants to hemorrhage a great deal of energy?” you’re just demonstrating that this isn’t about getting green, it’s about feeling like you’re part of a “movement.”


You want to get Americans green? Awesome! We want to be green. We're aware. Stop raising awareness and start funding new solutions – particularly ones that people will do for more reasons than just "out of respect for the environment." That's why litter laws don't work.

1. Cost: Develop and encourage products and services that are more cost-effective for the consumer (short or long-term). Solar roof panels, fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs, energy-efficient computer equipment, homebrew alternatives to toxic cleansers (like using black tea instead of wood polish), refillable fountain pens, computer scrapping facilities, mass transit, faucet filters (though municipal water has done this job for you), ink cartridge recycling incentives, programmable thermostats, tankless water heaters, cat toilet training…

2. Convenience: “It’s better for the Earth” won’t excuse a higher price point for people who are already strapped for cash. Convenience however… Municipally-funded recycling, multi-switch power supplies with remotes, motion-sensor lights, waterless urinals, digital distribution, smart residential electricity meters, better Li-ion batteries, electric cars that draw from home power sockets, Touchstone chargers, paperless office tools, Smoker’s Outpost ashtrays…

3. Quality: If it has to be more expensive without being more convenient, then make it more effective\healthier\multipurpose than non-green alternatives. Soy-based spray insulation, composting trash cans, compressed paper golf balls, bicycles, some organic farming techniques (as some others can’t be applied on a great scale without a major drop in yield), aluminum products, smartphones, reusable tote bags, landfill methane energy collection, green cosmetics, some hemp products...

“Dark greenies” love to imagine a world where mankind keeps 100% within its means solely by virtue, and I'm no different. Too bad this is the real world. Yes, we need to be humbler about our place in the universe, but don't draft initiatives as though we’re in your moral utopia and then be surprised when they have marginal effect. Every creature acts in its own, sometimes short-sighted, self-interest. Whether or not this overlaps with the common good is typically an afterthought. Just because our species has higher reasoning doesn't mean we aren't still dominated in many ways by our instincts. You want to make a difference? Play to the base instincts we all have, not the higher reasoning most people clearly lack... why else would Arrested Development be canceled while American Idol is endless?

Oh, and one more thing: nuclear motherfucking power you dreadlocked half-wits.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sammy the Cat

In weird news today: A cat was banned from the Notasulga, Alabama post office for not paying taxes!

Okay, obviously this is a bit of a joke. I imagine the person that complained was only doing it in jest, but now there's a little bit of a debate going on in the comments pages of the various news sources reporting on the story. One that I read makes an excellent point: People who are allergic to cats (like myself) are now forced to undergo an undue hardship when they go to the Post Office!

This mirrors one of my main reasons that I support the smoking bans: I have asthmatic friends that are bothered by smoke. As wlpresvd puts it in his comment, "I don't walk, I race down the detergent aisle in the supermarket, or I start to cough and wheeze until I can’t breathe." Frankly, anything that screws with the air quality is no good, especially when it's brought indoors.

The inconsiderate residents of Notasulga bought Sammy a post office box so that you can send your thoughts. If you want to help educate them about asthma and dander, send a letter to:

Sammy the Cat
P.O. Box 173
Notasulga, Alabama 36866

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prey

Look, I understand that the cost of television advertising has dropped significantly in the last decade courtesy of greater competition from cable networks and the Internet. I know that the extremely low risk of scamming through the internet combined with the power of automation and mass spamming (law of large numbers) has made it so that people can actually make a living scamming people from the comfort of their computer chairs. I understand this, and yet I can't help but wonder how some of the most blatantly retarded scam concepts make it to the airwaves. Why aren't networks refusing to advertise? No doubt they only care about the ad revenue, but that begs an even more important question: Where are these scam companies getting their money? Who is falling for this shit!?

I wrote this off as business as usual for a long time. Scams and shitty products have been advertised on TV for as long as I can remember... however, these things always landed in the "Obviously bullshit" section of the station guides (2am to 5am). For the last two or three years, I've been seeing these scams advertised during popular shows, in prime time, and this year even the Super Bowl. WTF? The only reason I leave my TV on during the Super Bowl in the first place is for the commercials, and now you're gonna put Cash4Gold on? Standards? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

None of these links go to their web sites. I don't want my blog anywhere near the referrer lists of these bottom-feeders.


Kinoki Footpads
(actual ad)

ANCIENT JAPANESE SECRETS! I love when commercials advertise that something is based on medical pseudoscience from a millennia ago. It's tantamount to saying "This product is made from the feathers of the magic unicorns of Gumdrop and Candy Cane Island!" In reality, 1000 years ago was a time when "exorcism" was a legitimate medical cure, scurvy (which you prevent and cure by... eating fruit, zomg) killed tens of thousands regularly, and the average life expectancy was almost a third of what it is today. Still think ancient medicine is worth trying out? We didn't eliminate polio by wearing "ionized" bracelets - it took real medicine.

If you love ancient Asian "medical science" so much, go get your qi realigned by having a needle poked into your foot to cure your Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Oh and don't forget: if you ejaculate, you lost some of your life force. Every time you masturbate, God doesn't just kill a kitten, he also shaves a year off your life.

Kinoki footpads: Put Japanese wet naps on your feet and, while you sleep, magic will suck out metal through your toes just like how the trees do it! ...?


Crazyfox \ Wolf \ HomeBusiness4757454.com
(Video may be slightly edited from the original ads)

You'd have to be crazy to visit this web site... crazy like a fox! Either that or you don't remember which of the 50 URLs they used on the commercial. News flash: Legitimate businesses want you to be able to find them. That's why they go to such great lengths to buy out URLs that are almost the same as theirs (Netflix.com owns Netflicks.com), that's why they buy domains that are easy to remember, and that's why they don't change their domain every week. If something is being advertised with unnecessary numbers (crazyfox200.com), it's often because they are playing a shell game with you to avoid being held accountable, most notably through domain name-based review and commenting services like McAfee SiteAdvisor. This is especially obvious when you see a new domain name on their next commercial, again with pointless numbers (134crazyfox.com). I wish I had listed all the "Crazyfox" domains I'd seen in the last three years. Some were hilariously stupid. I think I shit my pants laughing when they started doing Crazywolf.com's without changing the tagline of the commercial... "Crazy like a fox? That doesn't make any sense when you've labelled him a wolf in your URL!"

The idea that anyone could fall for this makes me feel nauseous... in the testicle. How many syringes of Imbecilin do you need to inject before you believe this has any modicum of legitimacy? Sadly, given that the commercials only seem to be increasing in frequency, someone must be falling for it.

Crazyfox: Send him a shit-ton of money, he'll send you back a pamphlet about joining his pyramid scheme, encourage you to quit your job, change his URL (and species!), and fuck your kids.


HeadOn & Pals
(Information! Apply directly to the forebrain!)

This one got enough attention as a joke nationwide that I figured people by now know it's a scam, but believe it or not I've seen many a forum post where people ask "I know it's a stupid commercial, but does it work?" NO! HeadOn, ActiveOn, and any derivatives I can't recall right now are total jokes. The "active ingredients" are barely effective headache treatments when in chemically significant amounts, and when diluted throughout the wax candle that you just bought have no effect on your body. And even if they did, rubbing stuff on your skin doesn't cure headaches. I don't ever remember my doctor giving me a prescription with the advice to smash two caplets into my face every 6 hours as needed.

HeadOn: Rub candlewax directly on your forehead so that the next time we see you out in public, you have a Scarlet Letter of gullibility and we can try other schemes on you.


Riddex
(These bugs seem pretty scared)

Plug the Riddex into your wall and it'll emit EM Pulse waves through the wiring of your house to scare off roaches, mice, and other pests! First: Low frequency EM waves are barely detectable to begin with (especially the kinds that would be emitted by a device like this). Second: We're not even sure if bugs can detect them at all. Third: There's no reason to believe that, if bugs and rodents could detect the waves, they'd be repelled by them at all. Lastly: Even if they were somehow scared away, the effect would be extremely temporary and minor in comparison to the myriad of other non-poisonous non-lethal methods of pest control. But who needs to test the efficacy of something before they make money hawking it to millions of desperate, naive people!?

I have a pest prevention tool of my own I'm considering marketing. I've seen it repel many types of bugs, rodents, and other pests, it takes roughly the same amount of electricity as this piece of shit (while performing another helpful function as well), and it's available at virtually every drug, convenience, grocery, department, and home renovation store in your area: a light bulb.

Riddex: Plug it in and tell yourself it's working, even though you have no way of detecting what it's doing and we don't have one iota of scientific proof that it works.


Cash4Gold.com
(The infamous Super Bowl ad)

I'd been laughing at the Cash4Gold commercials for over a year before the Super Bowl. How they managed to rip off enough people to buy a Super Bowl ad is beyond me. Here's how their system works: You call them up or go to their web site and they'll send you an envelope for you to put your gold jewelry, etc. into and mail back. Once they've received it, they'll melt it down and send you a check for what they say it's worth. It'll be fair market value. They promise. Seriously. Why would they rip you off? What do they have to gain (besides your gold at a dirt cheap price)?

Also, can someone explain to me why I should be taking financial advice from MC Hammer?

Cash4Gold: Send us your gold and we'll send you a check back. Trust us. Don't get involved with those shady dealers that quote you a price before they take your jewelry. Those places don't have Ed McMahon on their commercials, and he's the guy that used to come to your door with the big checks! Remember?


Human beings are supposed to be predators. We have eyes in the front of our heads, have an omnivorous diet, and use tools and communication like no other species on the planet. So why in the hell are so many of us acting like prey?

Word of the day
Alopecoid (adj.) - Similar to or resembling a fox

Another Update on ETM Security Suite

I now recommend skipping Ad-aware Free if you're comfortable with the levels of protection Comodo and AVG provide. Frankly, turning it off during start-up is a royal pain. I managed to do it using one of the handful of administrative tools I use. I'm not sure if it was TweakUI, SpeedUpMyPC (which costs $), or CCleaner. I went through all of them and most couldn't actually stop the Ad-Aware processes completely. Anyway, I scanned my computer and Ad-aware showed nothing different. In fact, I had no malware at all... just two undeleted cookies. I wish I'd known that before scanning over a million files four times.

Since I am a seriously heavy browser and downloader, I'd say that's a fair test of the package's ability to protect your computer.

I've stricken it from previous posts and linked all three like so:

[Original Post]
[Update 1]
[Update 2 (This one)]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hell's Kitchen


People will never learn.

It's a well-established fact for any restaurateur that using microwaves is just plain stupid. As Chef Ramsay would say: "You're a donkey if you think that tastes good." Now, I personally eat out regularly at pretty upscale places in the Tri-State Area, so I know when something tastes microwaved. Typically, the food will be cooked\scalding hot on the inside but relatively cool or undercooked on the outside. Unfortunately, shows like Kitchen Nightmares regularly showcase chefs that use frozen ingredients in microwaves and deep fryers more than fresh daily ingredients in stoves and grills, resulting in shit for cuisine and no return business.

So, time to get to the point: I think I'm in fortunate enough circumstances to have the type of palate required to out yet another crappy chef who should do time for Assault with Deadly Culinary Techniques and also for Endangerment of Diners. This chef had a fairly fresh and exotic ingredient, but still needs to learn to cook properly: linkage.

How utterly sickening. I'm glad she's going to jail. Only the good chefs who know to use ovens should get to be free.

Friday, January 16, 2009