Halffull.org

Category: Rants

Eve Kills boot.ini, Or: Why I Won’t Be Playing Eve

by redshift

I’m a programmer by trade. I read a lot of tech-related and programming sites, both for the good tips and the horror stories. We’ve all heard about the IT guy who forgot to backup the production server (oops!) or the janitor who unplugged the AC in the server room (ouch!). All kinds of fun in the world of corporate IT.

We’ve even heard about some commercial software with heinous errors. Games with no sound. Security software that steals your resources. Sony installing rootkits. Microsoft software.

Eve Online, however, has just gone one step beyond. If you installed their new expansion, Trinity, on opening day, it deleted your boot.ini file. You can no longer boot Windows.

Even a rootkit leaves your computer working for a little while.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Eve Online is a space combat MMORPG. There are somewhere around 300,000 subscribers, and 30,000 people online on an average night. Tens of thousands of potential victims.

Of course, there was no warning that this would happen. They did not send out any kind of alert until a day later – today at 5:45pm EST. If you happened to reboot or shut down your system in that time, and you’re not running Linux (my saving grace), you’d be greeted with a unusable computer.

This is simply inexcusable. CCP, the developer of Eve, and whose slogan is “We Care More, We Work Harder,” is a professional software development firm. They should have tested what they’re putting on your computer. My God, you’d think making a computer inoperable would make one of their QA people say “Hmmm… that can’t be right.” There is no conceivable reason for the game installer to even touch the boot.ini file, forget about deleting it.

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BMWs, iPods, and speed limits

by redshift

Hey you. You, driving the BMW at 90 in a 65 with your iPod earbuds in. I know you can’t hear me, but try driving instead of loading more techno music.

Oh, by the way, it’s quite easy for cops to see the white cords.

Cellular Companies Preventing Progress? A Wireless World

by redshift

Cable Mess
The world is going wireless. We’ve been seeing the trend for 20 years, and it’s really gained momentum in the last five. Not only do all new laptops have wifi built in, but many new desktop computers do as well. It’s getting difficult to find someone who doesn’t own a cell phone. Portable music players, such as the Zune, are getting interesting wireless capabilities. Home entertainment equipment is going wireless to prevent the mess of cables pictured over on the right. All new cars have wireless key fobs for easier entry. I could go on all day.

Not all wireless devices are a commercial success, of course. Remember the portable TVs of the 90’s? They were in every electronics store and usually had a 2″ screen. You never see one anymore. It’s because of the popularity of cable and satellite TV, and the unwillingness to settle for three channels. It is not because of the screen, I might note – geeks go crazy for tiny screens for the portability. I predict that we’ll see a resurgence of portable televisions, though in a different form. We’ll have television streamed onto portable media players through wifi or cellular broadband. And this brings us to the topic of this post.

Cellular broadband is the only commercially viable method of sending data wirelessly to the entire country. Public wifi networks only exist in a few major cities. Satellite is available, but not feasible due to cost and receiver size. Cellular networks such as EVDO and HSDPA are virtually nationwide, the new standards are coming soon, and the older EDGE and 1xRTT standards are available as fallbacks.

Think of what we could do with the cellular data networks in an ideal world. First of all, no cables. Your computers wouldn’t need network cables, your TV wouldn’t need a cable line, your online-capable video game systems wouldn’t even need a wireless router. Your cell phone or portable media player could be fully internet capable, not crippled like most current devices. Your car, house, and appliances could send you maintenance reports. You’d never lose a device again, because they’d all have GPS-like capabilities. You’d worry a lot less about stolen goods for the same reason. And these are just the basics.

So why isn’t cellular data more widespread? Because the cellular companies like their profits. Huge profits. Text messages are marked up 7314% from the data charge, and the data charge itself is marked up by an even larger percentage. The most basic data plan for a PDA from Cingular is $19.99/month for five megabytes. For comparison, I can download five megabytes at home in about five seconds, for a cost per megabyte of 0.007 cents. The first unlimited plan, not including any text or media messaging, is $44.99/month.

Quite frankly, it’s absurd, and I think it’s holding back technological progress. It seems to be another case of short-term thinking on the part of the business, and consumers lacking the information they need to make better decisions.

Maybe if more of the consumers knew they were paying a 285,571% markup for mobile data, they would have a word with their cell phone provider.

Math Dunces!

by blue midget

England’s Math Dunces Baffled by Christmas Sale Offers!  “About 14.9 million adults in England do not have the maths skills expected of an 11-year old and may have problems working out even basic deals like “20 percent off” or “buy one, get the second half-price”, the Department of Education and Skills said.”  WTF!

What possesses them?

by redshift

AMD bought ATI. What the hell? Now I have to choose between overpriced processors from The Man with good video cards, and good, cheap processors with bad cards?

Control Sucks, Or: Hey! FBI! Investigate me!

by hulk

So I read that in Texas they’ve got a program where undercover officers hang around bars and arrest drunk people. The justification is that they might get into a car. One legislator said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that someone might not be driving at the moment but that could change and we need to prevent that. *Huh?*

Oh, it gets better. Oregon is the first state that I know of to announce that it’s investigating a program to put black boxes in everyone’s car. They’ll track your mileage and tax you for what you drove in Oregon so that they don’t have to raise the gas tax. Again, *huh?* Wouldn’t raising the gas tax be so much simpler?

I realize I’m simplifying things but I feel like the underlying theme is control. I won’t say that I’m worried about where this control is going because I know slippery slope arguments are crap and that no trend continues indefinitely. I’m just pissed off, is all. The justice department is giving itself a lot of power in the name of hunting down terrorists, the government is looking at putting black boxes in your cars to track you (it’s not just Oregon looking at this), I’ve heard the term “fat tax” too many times in the past year as a way to reduce health care costs… and I know most of you are with me on this. The government should be losing control over our lives, not gaining it.

So who’s supporting them, who’s doing all this? Well, most of us. We can all look in the mirror. A pregnant woman dies when a drunk driver hits her, so we demand our legislators protect pregnant women with a law that makes it illegal to harm a fetus. Which, by the way, is such a complete joke, because I’d like you to find me the drunk driver that thinks of the laws he’s going to be violating when he gets behind the wheel. We get our planes hijacked by terrorists, so we demand security that ends up with us all walking around shoeless in the airport and has children getting put on no-fly lists. We ask for more protection for the environment and the Army corps of engineers is unable to pursue a project to reinforce New Orlean’s levees.

We stress so damn much about our schools that we push for increased programming and watching and monitoring and security and then we wonder why our damn property tax bill is so high and why an 8 year-old gets sent home for sexual harassment. Or we whine about a double standard when a man rapes one of his students but a female teacher gets off light – let’s quit being PC and just be honest. The woman should get a lighter sentence than the guy. It has to do with the dynamics of sex. I’m sure Debra LaFavre seduced or manipulated the kid, but it just isn’t the same as an older man seducing a girl. Or worse, using physical threats and intimidation. Women are pretty incapable of rape, despite what PC-mania might have us believe.

It has to do with taking things too far. It has to do with applying rules blindly, all in the name of doing what kinda-sorta sounds right – or at least won’t get us sued. So government agencies, schoolboards, and the like blindly follow rules and laws when they can because they believe it’s the safest path. It’s not the right path, it’s the safest.

So come on, everyone! When you wake up tomorrow and you read the newspaper and you’re shocked that shit happened to someone somewhere, write to your legislators! Demand more laws, more oversight, more regulation! Give up your freedoms! Control the fat, the lazy, the misguided children, control the poor, control the middle class, control our cars, control our speeds, control our habits, control our sex, control the violence with more laughable hate crime laws – we’ll all be really, really safe.

I’m just pissed off.

Affirmative Action: For White Men?

by hulk

So I read that some colleges are alarmed that the supposedly growing gender disparity between men and women is growing at colleges – in favor of women. The response? We need to recruit more men!

Huh? How does that work again? Well if you’re talking in terms of percentages, that means denying admission to qualified women in favor of men. This is pure genius. Let’s face facts: women are more likely to apply themselves and get their shit together and do their homework. It comes down to that. We men have beer, porn, sports, video games, beer, porn… all distracting us. Women, on average, are better at avoiding distraction. I think it has something to do with their periods.

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I eat babies

by redshift

And I kill people all day long because I play video games 😦

Jack Thompson is my hero

Jack Thompson owns

Scientific Inaccuracy, Or: This is not another anti-global warming rant.

by hulk

I swear. I’ll shut up about global warming. That rant has been made, more than once by me if memory serves, you can find the rant and comment there. Here’s what’s pissing me off today: the phrase “long overdue”. Can you use a colon and then quote something? Is that appropriate from a literary perspective? Can I deviate from the topic like this? I need an independent editor, not like redshift who feels the need to make up rules about parantheses. I honestly think he’s just lying. Why can’t (I) d(o) this()()((((()((()(()()))())()()))))?()

Anyway. The phrase “long overdue”. Here’s my problem. While radiological dating is pretty reliable, it’s not exceedingly accurate. I also believe, and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, that the error increases as you go out. Such that the predictions that something happened 400,000,000,000 years ago, and the prediction that something happened 30,000 years ago, do not have the same error. I’m guessing that 400 googly years ago number has a error of oh, say, 30 brews of coffee (a widely accepted unit of time), whereas the 30,000 year number has an error of maybe 0.5 batches of chocolate chip cookies. I’m sorry, I’m using two different units, and you canadian readers (assuming I didn’t piss all of you off with my asian rant) are confused what with your metric thing. 0.5 batches of chocolate chip cookies = 3 brews of coffee = 8 minutes. That should clear things up.

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You are what the media says you are, Or: An interesting psychology experiment

by hulk

Who else has been waiting for the day? It’s finally here, my friends. Congressman Nick Ranhall, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin are all calling for greater mine safety. Holy crap! Mines are dangerous! Everyone! I promise that as your elected leader I will make mines safer!

Sigh. I typed into google “ranking of dangerous occupations” and came across an article that listed mining as the fifth most dangerous occupation in the US. First is logging, second is fishermen, third is airline pilots, and fourth is structural metal workers. I’m assuming the whole thing is based on number of deaths per person in that occupation. Not even cops and firemen made the top five… and cops and firemen are heroes… who wants to place bets that miners will be labeled heroes by at least one TV commentator or politician in the upcoming elections this year? Maybe someone can say something fun like, “if we don’t take care of our brave miners, the terrorists win.”

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