MUSH

When the second plane hit the tower, his chief of staff entered the classroom and told Mr. Bush the nation is under attack.

Not knowing what to do, with no one telling him what to do, and with no secret service rushing in to take him to safety, Mr. Bush just sat there, and continued to read “My Pet Goat” with the children.

Nearly seven minutes passed with nobody doing anything.

As Bush sat in that Florida classroom, was he wondering if maybe he should have shown up to work more often?

– Michael Moore, in his attempt to influence the US elections.

It never occurred that the highest leader of the military armed forces would leave 50,000 people to face the horror that they faced all by themselves when they needed him most. He was more interested in listening to the child’s story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers. So, that gave us double the time for us to execute our attacks.

– Osama Bin Laden, in his attempt to influence the US elections.

Don’t matter what color, all that matters is we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause, no matter the weather
If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better
They ain’t gonna stop us, they can’t,
we’re stronger now more then ever,
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go,
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push up, mush, fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home

– Marshall “Eminem” Mathers, in his attempt to influence the US elections.

Think for yourself. Question authority.

– Timothy Leary, in his attempt to, um.

I’d be hypocritical if I told you who I think you should vote for. I’m not voting. I think Bush has made serious mistakes (most of them named “Iraq”) and I think Kerry would have been even worse in the same position. So maybe in four years we’ll have a better menu to choose from. Or maybe we’ll continue to be lectured by fanatics and continue to be split down the middle of two extremes.

THIS JUST IN: BLOGS CAN BE DANGEROUS!

At least they can if you’re a flight attendant.

“I never thought I would get in trouble because of the blog. I thought if they had a problem, someone would have said something before taking action.”

…”They did not tell me which pictures they had a problem with. I am just assuming it was the one of me posing on seats where my skirt rode up,” she said.

Delta Airlines is shocked, shocked, they tell you, that people would assume that their flight attendants were ever sexualized.

Rest assured, I like my job, so you will see no pictures posted of myself reclining while wearing hose. It’s for the best, really.

In further Fear of a Blogged Planet news, found this on boingboing:

(PR client) is a market intelligence and media analysis services firm. (PR client) is working with F1000 companies who are using our services to Manage and Monitor Digital Influencers (such as blogs, message boards, user groups, complaint sites, etc.) as an intelligence and threat awareness tool. (Person’s name), CEO could talk to you about ‘What F1000 Companies are doing to take action against bloggers’ and ‘How companies are taking steps to protect their corporate reputations from bloggers/digital influencers.’

Goddamn bloggers. Next thing you know, people will start talking to each other about stuff! And learning how to read and write! Aren’t they just supposed to be watching commercials on TV?

RANTER INSISTS HE ISN’T A JOURNALIST, LUM CHUCKLES SOFTLY INTO HIS SLEEVE

No, no, he won’t be your monkey.

So, two comments on the situation (to quote an Israeli columnist). First, I don’t think anyone goes to mainstream gaming sites for “hard news”. I mean, for 99.99% of the public, if they want hard news, they’re not going to be thinking of gaming. They’re looking for news on John Kerry’s lesbian daughter or George W. Bush’s swift boat service or something. Hard news on gaming? People play games to get the hell away from the hard news. Well, normal people do, anyway.

The second comment. Abnormal people play MMOs. And MMOs are, in their own special uniquely broken way, holistic. They are, if not self-contained worlds, a damn sight more of a world than Bloodrayne 2: The Dentata Monologues. They do have a need for, well, news. Much like every community does. Obviously, from my position as craven suit-clad sellout who cackles maniacally as the pure and the needy are broken on my Wheel of Pain (we’re issued those at the Christmas party), I don’t particularly believe that MMOs are vast conspiracies, save that they’re vast conspiracies designed to, you know, generate revenue.

But there’s a lot of “community stuff” that happens. And there’s a lot of industry gossip and backbiting and general bitchiness, much like any other enterprise where people gather. And, well, people involved want to read about it.

I think the “secret” to ltm.net that most people missed was that I thought the vast majority of this stuff was, well. Funny. I took it seriously, but not too seriously. It was a fine line. I mean, in the end, we’re talking about Dungeons and Dragons, people. It’s real hard to work up a serious lather of justified rage over armor class. And the better writers that have popped up lately (and here I’m thinking of Anyuzer and Cosmik) understand that. Sure, you have the REALLY ANGRY people who want to Stick It To The Man, and you have the intellectuals who want you to read their doctoral thesis on the logarithmic regression of Lineage II’s experience curve, but in the end, the people whos comments you’ll remember and think about are the ones who make their points, not with a bludgeon, but with a chuckle.

Or I could be wrong. But I bet Jon Stewart wouldn’t be too worked up about PVP systems. Just a thought…

YEP, SPAM SUCKS

Apologies to anyone who lost their comments this afternoon. Sometime today this site was hit with a blog spambot and I had to delete about 500 “comments”. Shields are now in place, and we’ve assumed Condition Yellow, and are clinging tightly to Mr. Bear. Further updates as the situation warrants. You can’t have Mr. Bear.

DON’T COPY. THAT FLOPPY.

So apparently Half Life 2 is going to use a Windows XP-style online only authentication scheme, according to this forum thread.

Ignoring for the moment that every post on the Internet is ALWAYS COMPLETELY TRUE, it’s pretty interesting. Valve is basically assuming that every computer capable of playing Half Life 2 is also connected to the Internet, and what’s more, apparently, unlike Microsoft, isn’t giving the opportunity to activate via phone. If you can’t activate your software via the Net, well, you can’t play.

This doesn’t affect me personally… thanks to Steam, Half Life 2 is already sitting, happily encrypted, on my hard drive waiting for the day Valve cuts it on. I’ve always been a fan of online purchasing; Stardock leveraged it to great effect with Galactic Civilizations and, well, there’s that whole MMO thing, most of which can be purchased online (at least in free trial form) now.

But at the same time, it’s pretty invasive. And it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Half Life 2 to be cracked and available for pirates to play whether or not they’re on a network (assuming they, you know, untether after downloading it). Will it be before the game is available in stores?

Some forms of copy-protection are getting pretty brutal, what with deactivating the game if they think you have a CD burning application installed (you know, like the one I have to use to crack the MP3s I paid for two posts back) or even just flat out installing random device drivers without telling you. So how is online activation worse? And given the fact that every single game coming out is up for download before it comes out, something has to be done, and it’s pretty obvious “the honor system” isn’t working. Just ask the guys who did IL-2. And for every Doom 3 which shrugged and probably saw its “early release” as free publicity on a zillion selling title, there’s games like Victoria from Paradox which, after being leaked a month early to pirate sites by an unscrupulous reviewer, saw its sales fall into the floor.

I like video games. I make a living from them – admittedly, on the one category of gaming that is virtually impossible to pirate. It will be interesting to see how Valve does with this.

THE THINGS I DO, LOOKING FOR A GROOVE

Hi, my name’s Scott, and I’m an online music addict.

I have a particular quirk with my online music habit. I buy it. I know, at this point you are probably overcome with laughter at my stupidity. But frankly, I’d rather just hit a button and get my quirky 15 year old dance tracks then have to suffer through 30 pages of Britney Spears search results just to get one track only I listen to.

I also have an iPod clone. I wouldn’t recommend it to others, because it’s large and the front cover doesn’t stay on any more. I use it mainly because my workplace has a no-MP3s-on-company-PCs rule. So to get around that I use a nifty open source Winamp plugin that plays my collection in Winamp.

By now you should realize two problems that I have:

1) I spend entirely too much time fiddling with my music, when normal people just stick in a CD and listen to it.
2) My first quirk is directly in conflict with my second quirk, thanks to something we like to call “Digital Rights Management”.

DRM is the music’s industry of saying “This MP3 stuff is just a fad!”. It tries to make it so that you can’t actually use what you download, by encrypting it and locking it. So I currently have accounts with 3 music stores (yes, I am sad).

First off we have the 900 lb gorilla, Apple’s iTunes. iTunes is basically supposed to force you to buy an iPod. Its DRM scheme ONLY works with iPods. If I want to, you know, listen to anything I buy, I have to burn it to CD, then rip it back into an MP3, at which point it’s finally mine. I dislike doing this, but, well, iTunes has stuff no one else has.

Next we have Napster. You remember Napster? Yeah. It was given a pre-frontal lobotomy and set forth into the world, drooling and wetting DRM all over itself. However Napster supports my iPod clone. I can buy something in Napster, click a button, and it just sort of gets there. I like this. However, Napster’s selection is somewhat limited.

And finally we have Virgin Digital. Just launched, has almost as many songs on file as iTunes, without the tether to the iPod. Finally, the ranch is saved! I buy a couple of albums from them, it works well, everyone’s happy.

Until I finally get quirk 2 working. You see, until the latest revision, Winamp would load my iPod clone’s library, and then promptly crash, which made listening to the music difficult. So I’d just listen to it on the iPod clone itself. But with the latest version it works flawlessly! I can plug into my PC and stream my music from my iPod clone and be lost on a nirvana of musical wonderment and everything is hearts and flowers and OH CRAP it hates DRM-encoded songs. Bleah.

So, I shrug. I have to do the burn and rip shuffle with my iTunes purchases, why not just finish the job and do it with the others. Except, well, Virgin Digital apparently WON’T LET you burn music. Oh, it has a nice flashing BURN CD button. Which doesn’t actually work. Whoops.

By this time I’m about ready to rent time on a Cray supercomputer in order to crack the DRM encryption on my songs. Which, by the way, I paid for. Instead, while, I confess, searching for ways to crack the copy protection on STUFF I PAID FOR, I find this page, which describes how to use a program which automates the burn and rip shuffle. You see, so many people are in my dilemma that there are third party utilities to fix this.

My savior, in Heaven, weeping.

Broken Toys, lost in technology so you don’t have to be!