Making Linux Suck

Yesterday on Slashdot, the question was asked, “Could Linux ever be made to become fully compatible with all Windows and Mac software”. The short answer to this question is, this work is already being done. The Wine Project has spent a couple of decades trying to add a Windows compatibility layer to Linux with varying degrees of success. Of course this was not really what the person asking the question really wants. What they want is Windows to be integrated into Linux in the same way Linux has been integrated into Windows via Windows Subsystem for Linux. This can also be done, all it would take is for Microsoft to step up and provide the environment and for the Linux community to provide the hooks into Linux to provide the environment with direct access to the hardware.

From my prospective, this is a bad idea. for a couple of different reasons. First and foremost, Microsoft would have to do all the work, but there is no money in it, Linux users are notoriously cheap, most will not want to pay for a Windows license and those that are, have already done so and are dual booting or using virtual machines. The Linux community stands to loose even more. If there is a Linux Subsystem for Windows, suddenly there is no reason to develop Linux specific software. Second, Linux already has its own set of problems, by introducing a Windows environment into Linux, we would also be introducing all of Windows issues into Linux.

The question I asked was, why would someone want this. I mean to me, use the correct tool for the job is the answer. If you use some piece of software that only runs under Windows, then you should use Windows. The answer I got was, wanting to use Windows software does not mean they want to use Windows, well actually, it kinda does. One of the people who supported this idea stated, “Because it could be another form of Windows that’s not recording everything I do, installing applications without permission, deleting files without permission, etc.”. Okay, I get that, but the solution to this problem is not to break Linux, the solution to this problem is to force Microsoft to make better software.

I guess my thing here is, I use Linux and I deal with the problems that go along with that choice, I do so willingly. Those who choose to use Windows need to deal with the issues that go along with that choice as well. There are already solutions for this problem, Wine runs most of the small time Windows software and a good chunk of the big time stuff. If Wine does not work for you, there is VMWare or Virtualbox and finally there is good old fashioned dual booting. Linux Subsystem for Windows is a solution looking for a problem and it is a bad idea.

Steve Jackson Games Stakeholder Report

Every year Steve Jackson Games issues a stakeholders report explaining how the previous year went and setting priories for the next year, it is an interesting read.

http://www.sjgames.com/general/stakeholders/

The interesting thing for me was the classification of the Dungeon Fantasy Boxed Set as a failure due to cost over run and missing deadlines. This is sad but not surprising, I put in $250 for the project, they delivered a really great product and I wish my game group was more inclined to play this than they are. The fact is though, while DFRPG is a good idea in theory, the reality is, this type of gaming is better suited to D&D and anyone who seriously plays murder hobo games is going to play D&D. The scope of this project was just too big for the number of people who are really interested in it. Unfortunately, I can see the same thing happening with The Fantasy Trip.

Tales Retold

Back in the 80’s I was running one of the Judges Guild modules (I wish I remembered which one), there was this one awful player who was playing a halfling fighter, he became so annoying the other players ganged up on him and threw him into a fountain with a water weird. After that it became a running gag that anytime there was a pool or a fountain in the dungeon, there was a water weird along with dead halfling fighter floating in the water, this has happened at least a dozen times in the last 3 decades. Recently in my current D&D game, I have been running modules written by M.T. Black, when I got to Wizard in a Bottle, specifically room four, I spewed my coffee out my nose and when I ran it, none of my players believed I was running it as written. There is something to be said for collective consciousness.

Oh if you want a short, easy to run, fun adventure, Wizard in a Bottle is a good choice, in fact M.T. Black is a very good adventure designer and I would recommend anything he has written, so far he has never failed to amuse.

KoL Skills

This is a list of skills for Kingdom of Loathing characters that I think are the must have skills. All of these skills will make your runs faster and easier. If you do all Hardcore runs, getting 300 karma per run it will take 16 runs to get all of these skills. There are other skills obviously that deserve to be on this list, but I purposely limited the list to class skills and I wanted to get a nice balance of the best skills across all the classes.

Lunging Thrust-Smack (SC)
Amphibian Sympathy (TT)
Pastamastery (P)
Advanced Saucecrafting (S)
The Ode to Booze (AT)
Advanced Cocktailcrafting (DB)

Double-Fisted Skull Smashing (SC)
Tao of the Terrapin (TT)
Transcendental Noodlecraft (P)
The Way of Sauce (S)
Fat Leon’s Phat Loot Lyric (AT)
Ambidextrous Funkslinging (DB)

Pulverize (SC)
Hero of the Half-Shell (TT)
Springy Fusilli (P)
Saucemaven (S)
The Moxious Madrigal (AT)
Superhuman Cocktailcrafting (DB)

Rage of the Reindeer (SC)
Wisdom of the Elder Tortoises (TT)
Leash of Linguini (P)
Saucestorm (S)
The Magical Mojomuscular Melody (AT)
Mad Looting Skillz (DB)

Odd assortment of subjects

I have been following the forum threads about The Fantasy Trip on Steve Jackson’s web site. One of the things that amuses me to no end is there is a group of about 5 people who are proposing changes to the system. If even a quarter of these changes were implemented, The Fantasy Trip would essentially be the 1st edition of GURPS. When I point this out, the response is generally not good. I really don’t want Steve Jackson to rewrite GURPS, what I want him to do is give us The Fantasy Trip 2nd Edition he would have done in 1985.

Since I did the bug out bag, a couple of people asked me where I would bug out to. My first response to that is, if I were going to bug out, I would never tell anyone the truth about where I was going. So I am not going to name a specific place, but I will provide criteria. First it would be a large city, someplace where no one sticks out and a new person on the block would go unnoticed. Second, I would probably not go as far as you would think. Moving across country is expensive, even if all you are taking a backpack, having said that, I would leave whatever state I was living in. Third, I would choose someplace with a high transient population, somewhere with a lot of tourists or an industry full of seasonal workers. Fourth, it would have to be somewhere with some decent economic prospects, Detroit, for instance is a big city, but finding a job and a place to live is impossible. Lastly, it would be somewhere I have never been before and someplace where I have no friends or family, the last thing you need when you are bugging out is to run into someone who will recognize you and post it all over FaceBook.

Someone asked me why I would suggest a Chromebook to someone who was interested in Linux. The reason is simple, most people who want to learn Linux really don’t want to learn Linux, what they want is the benefits of running Linux without having to deal with learning Linux. The answer to that problem is a Chromebook, they are cheap, easy to learn and fast, what else could one want from a computer.

 

Carnifex’s Field Guide to using Linux

I have been using Linux for a long time, I booted to my first Linux floppy disk in 1992 and installed Slackware on my system for the first time that same year. I compiled my first kernel in 1994, it took 18 hours on my AST 386 SX/2. I dual booted with Windows until 1998 when I started using Linux full time. I have used Slackware, RedHat, Coral, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Gentoo, Linux From Scratch, Ubuntu, Mint and experimented with half dozen others over the years. I am not and never have been a Linux power user, my primary use has been that of a hobbyist and a casual user.  So if you are considering the move to Linux, here are some beginner tips that will make your life and mine easier.

Do your research: Do some reading, decide what you want to use Linux for and choose a distribution that best suites your needs. If you are using AutoCAD on a $5000 workstation, use RedHat. If you are building a server, use CentOS. If you are a looking to learn Linux for a future career, use Arch Linux or Linux from Scratch. While you are at it, every Linux distribution has a hardware compatibility list, please spend 10 minutes looking at it and verifying your hardware will work properly on your computer. Don’t be afraid to admit Linux is just not for you, this decision is best made at this stage rather than after you have formatted your hard drive.

Do your research part 2: Make sure the distro you pick has applications for everything you want to do. Web browser is a no brainer, but if you spend hours using the Kindle App to read ebooks on your laptop, you are going to be very disappointed in Linux. You also need to understand that even if Linux does have a program for doing what you want, it will likely work differently than the Windows program you are currently using, so it is a good idea to see if there is a Windows version of the program, install it and make sure it is usable to you. Finally, If you want to play AAA games, you need to stick with Windows.

Just use Ubuntu: Having said twice now, to do some reading, 99% of you are probably just using it for normal day to day activities like web browsing, email and such. Just use Ubuntu, don’t try to be a superhero, or prove your nerd cred, just go with Ubuntu and call it a day. It is easy to install, works with most hardware and has a lot of reasonable newbie friendly defaults. I use Ubuntu on my Raspberry Pi as a development platform, I use it on my servers and I use it as my desktop OS, it just works.

Use the LTS releases: No one likes to install a new OS every 6 months, no one likes to be a beta tester, Use the Long Term Support (LTS) releases, they come out every two years, are better supported and are more stable.

Virtual Machines are your friend: Virtualbox is free for personal use, download it, install it and use it to install Linux before you wipe your hard drive. It will give you a chance to walk through the install so you know what to expect and lets you google anything you don’t understand. It also lets you use Linux and try out those programs you might not be familiar with.

Don’t be knob: When you ask a friend to help you install Linux and they spend 4 hours at your house helping you install it and getting your desktop the way you like it, don’t format and reinstall Windows 2 days later because you can’t figure out how to unzip a file. Go to Google and spend the 5 minutes it will take you to find the answer. If you are not willing to put in the time to learn a new OS, don’t waste my time.

Consider buying a system with Linux pre-installed: Most all the big OEM computer makers sell Linux machines, there are also several small companies that specialize in Linux systems. The big advantage to this is they will sort out the hardware for you, install Linux for you and provide you with support when you need it. If you really do not need all the bells and whistles, consider buying a Chromebook, it is Linux in its simplest form.

 

Word of the day

Assholomorphic

Example: “Exponential smugness is an assholomorphic function”

Chromebook

I use to own a Chromebook, I gave it to my nephew for Christmas a couple of years ago. Recently I realized I missed it. It was a handy system to sit on the couch and do stuff with, it was also a nice travel laptop. I really like two things about them. First is the fast boot time, it is literally as close to instant on as you are going to get and they are amazingly responsive when using them. Second they just work, no weird crashes, not screwing around with settings and drivers, you press the power button and everything just does what it is supposed to do, no muss, no fuss. So I purchased another one. I think when I retire, a Chromebook will probably be my main system.

Mid Life Crisis

Recently I was in a discussion about the male mid life crisis. The consensus seems to be that the male mid life crisis is the reemergence of the man child, a point in a mans life when he realizes he is 45 and wants to be 25. This is a point in a mans life when he either gets a mistress, a sports car or both. Frankly, I do not see it this way, I think what we see is simply an outward expression of much deeper problem. The male mid life crisis is not about being bored, its not about trying to recapture lost youth, these are only symptoms. I think this is where he figures out he wasted the prime years of his life. This is the point where he realizes all that money in the bank does not mean squat if he drops dead of a heart attack at age 50. This is the time it dawns on him that he does not have close friends anymore and most of his social interaction comes from work. In short, he realizes his life sucks and there is nothing he can really do about it. So if you know a man going through this right now, and you find yourself thinking “That selfish bastard!”, please understand, you are probably one of the reasons he hates his life.

Linux, Ubuntu, Spectre, Meltdown and me

The kernel patches for Ubuntu to fix the Spectre and Meltdown issues were made available tonight, interestingly enough, there was also a patch for the Nvidia driver. I updated my server and my desktop, so far I have not experienced any noticeable performance problems or any other issues with either of the two systems or the VM.

RE: Well stocked bug out bag

Last week I discussed this mostly as a thought experiment. I left out some fairly important items.

  • Backpack
  • 2 Burner phones
  • Cash
  • Visa/Mastercard gift card
  • Change of clothes, including extra underwear and socks
  • Food; water and energy bars
  • Prescription meds, including extra set of glasses
  • First Aid Kit; bandages, anti bacterial creme, iodine
  • Hygiene kit; toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, wash cloth, deodorant, shaving kit, toilet paper
  • Something to read, preferably a couple of paperback books, try to choose something innocuous, a hobby magazine that only you and 98 other people read is a bad idea.
  • Swiss army knife or a leather-man multi tool

Linux on a 486?

Some guy decided to see if he could get a modern Linux distribution to run on an old IBM PS/1. This seemed like a stupid idea to me and after I read the article, I still thought it was a stupid idea.

A Science Project: “Make the 486 Great Again!” – Modern Linux in an ancient PC

The guy was at least smart enough to know if he had to compile it from source it was going to take 3 weeks on that old piece of garbage, so he compiled the source on a modern ThinkPad. He got this abomination up and running, but the poor bastard of a system takes 12 minutes to boot.

Other sites have been discussing this because apparently this is important because this computer is not vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in modern Intel CPU’s. When I heard this I thought, “WOW, lets do something stupid for an even stupider reason, I am so bereft of useful things to do that I can totally spend a couple of days doing stupid things for stupid reasons.” . Seriously folks, if you need a computer that is not vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown, then go buy a Raspberry Pi and build a Linux desktop out of that.

Why Raspberry Pi isn’t vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown

A Raspberry Pi will pretty much suck as a desktop as well, but it will be better than a 25 year old 486 by several magnitudes.

RE: RE: The Fantasy Trip

I am not sure this re-emergence of the Fantasy Trip (TFT) is going to be all that successful. Looking around the web in the last few weeks, I have seen a few articles covering the news, but mostly it is just rehashing the Steve Jackson Games (SJG) announcement. Surprisingly, several of the websites dedicated to the subject did not share the announcement. Not surprisingly, the discussion died down fairly quickly on the gaming forums. Even the discussion on the SJG forums seems to be 3 or 4 people talking about rules modifications they want to see. Both the Facebook Group and the Google Plus Group have nearly no discussion going on. Finally, I think this blog is the only place that has talked about it in more than one post.

I think this just bares out what I said earlier, there is really not more than a few hundred active players out there, maybe (probably) not even that many. This game was not all that popular and therefore has a very narrow appeal and I think even most people who did play it back in the day moved on. Steve Jackson said he will be doing a Melee Kickstarter this year, that probably means it will be followed by a Wizard Kickstarter and eventually one for TFT proper. So I have to wonder, will the Melee Kickstarter even fund and if it does, will the follow up Kickstarters fund? It seems unlikely to me right now.

RE: The Fantasy Trip

I have been think about why this game has been fascinating me these last few days. The Fantasy Trip (TFT) was an unpopular RPG back in the day that held very little interest for me and my group at the time. Even in the years that followed I rarely took it out and looked at it. I considered playing through some of the solo games a few years ago but never followed through. But now suddenly Steve Jackson announces that he has acquired the rights to it and will be publishing it again, that I am suddenly interested in it. This is what I have been thinking about.

Both TFT and GURPS fill the same gaming niche. I have come to the conclusion that I like the theory of GURPS, but I don’t particularly like the reality of GURPS. GURPS was not the first of the 3rd generation RPG’s, but it is the one Iliked the best. It lets you build detailed characters and has an interesting game mechanic that allows for as much or as little detail as you want, but it is more of a tool box for building campaigns than it is an RPG. In reality it has way too many fiddly bits, too many moving parts, even at its most basic level it can be overwhelming. I had hoped that the Dungeon Fantasy boxed set would sold some of these problems by building an easy to play, easy to understand stripped version of GURPS, but all they did really was add templates.

I guess, what I am excited about is the possibility of a game that ultimately fulfills the promise of GURPS. I want rules that allows me to build interesting characters with a minimal amount of effort. I like the Talent system, it is basically a skill slash special ability system, the list is long enough to be fun, but not long enough that you spend two hours trying to figure out the best character building strategy. The reality is, I will probably never play this game, or if I do it will be because I run a one off game or two. D&D 5E pretty much does everything I just described, a simple point system for attributes, a general purpose skill system and a few customization options to make it fun. So when the Kickstarter for TFT comes, I will probably not take the $250 get everything option, I will probably just go for the PDF or if I am feeling better, I might order the printed core rules in whatever form they take.

As 2017 comes to a close

So here we are on the last day of 2017 and all I really have to say is “Meh!”.

More Fantasy Trip

I sat down and generated a couple of characters. At first I was just going to do one Melee character and one Wizard character, but I decided to use the full TFT rules instead. I had not made a character for the game in many years and in fact I have never played this game as an RPG, only as a tactical combat game. Making a basic game character literally took 2 minutes, the advanced game took me less than 10. I have said for years that one of the things I admire about the Traveler game was that you could express a character in three lines on a note card, TFT characters are about the same.

There is something to be said about simplicity.

Fighter
ST 13 DX 10 IQ 9 MA 10
Talents: Bard, Horsemanship, Sex Appeal, Shield, Sword, Thrown Weapons
Equipment: Bastard Sword (2+1/3-2), 2 Daggers (1-1), Cloth Armor, Large Shield, Labyrinth Kit

Wizard
ST 9 DX 11 IQ 12 MA 10
Talents: Literacy
Spells: 3-Hex Fire, Drop Weapon, Far Vision, Fire, Fireball, Rope, Staff, Staff to Snake, Summon Wolf, Trailtwister, Trip
Equipment: Staff, Cloth Armor, Labyrinth Kit

Well stocked bug out bag

Okay so you did something stupid and it is a good possibility you will have to go on the run soon. You will not be able to take much with you, pretty much only what you can fit in a backpack, we are talking about a book bag here not a huge camping pack.

  • 2 Burner phones, buy them at different locations on different days, get extra time cards, pay cash for them.
  • Cash, as much as you can afford in a variety of small bills.
  • Visa/Mastercard gift card, again, as much as you can afford, oddly sometimes cash is not an option, pay for it with cash and activate it under a fake name.
  • Clothes, at least 1 change of clothes, a 3 pack of new underwear and socks is probably a good idea, oh and don’t forget a baseball cap and sun glasses.
  • Food, energy bars and water will be godsend if you find yourself hiding in a barn.

Did I forget anything? I am sure someone will suggest a gun and extra ammo, but I am really not a violent person, my instincts tend toward flight rather than fight and my plan is to never be in the position to need a gun.

Edit:

I was asked why 2 burner phones. The first one is so you can call your Mom or Sister or whatever before you disappear forever. This may sound stupid, but it actually serves a purpose, make the call at a bus station, then leave the phone there to be picked up by someone else, who is hopefully travelling in the different direction than you are.

RE: The Fantasy Trip Returns….Eventually

So I have been thinking about this for a little while now and I have been considering just what Steve Jackson might do with the property. Looking out at the internet, there is very little in the way of community around this game. other games of the time seem to be doing well, Tunnels & Trolls for instance has been in print pretty steadily for the last 10 years, Traveler as well and RuneQuest. So if there were a real hunger for this game, I would be able to find a some serious web space dedicated to it. Sure there are a couple of fan sites, but mostly they have not been updated in years and yes there are a couple of knock off game, but nothing that seems to be getting any traction. This brings me to the conclusion that there are at the outside a few hundred active players of this game. This is not a big customer base, sure there are more than a few people like me who remember it, but looking at the forums where the news of Steve Jackson re-acquiring the copyright is being discussed, there is really not a ton of enthusiasm beyond “Hey this is really neat” and most of the discussion has already died down after less than 48 hours. This leads me to believe that the potential customer base for this game is a few thousand at best. If I were Steve Jackson, here are the things I would be thinking about.

  1. How to get people interested in the game again: Running a Kickstarter and putting out a huge Dungeon Fantasy style boxed set will take 2 years, assuming nothing goes wrong. Two years is a long time to let the enthusiasm die down. I would be thinking of ways to get this into customer hands as quickly as possible, even if I eventually wanted to do a big boxed set.
  2. How to keep it from competing with GURPS: Steve Jackson has a huge investment in GURPS, it has been their staple RPG for decades. Unfortunately gamer money is limited and it is good possibility that every dollar spent on TFT is a dollar not spent on GURPS. Both games fill the same niche and will naturally compete with each other.
  3. How to make this more than just a vanity project: The reality is, TFT is an old system that was never super popular and had this not happened, practically no one but Steve Jackson would have regretted it. The only reason this is happening is because on some level this has been bugging him for the last 35 years. At its core this is a vanity project for Steve Jackson, however he is also a business man and everything he does needs to make at least a little profit. Moving a new edition beyond this will be a challenge.

Here is how I would handle it. First I would try to get this back into the hands of gamer as quickly as possible. The original game was published back when they still had to typeset printing presses, so there are no real electronic versions available. First thing is to hire a transcription service to type those 8 books in word for word, update the new books with errata and commission some new art. This process will likely take less than 6 months, then put them out in PDF format and sell them for $5 each. This will solve problem number one, it will get people playing the game, it generate interest and give you breathing room to produce the big boxed set.

Once this is done, launch the Kickstarter, get the ball rolling on the big boxed set. Spend the time updating the rules for the 21st century, I know this will upset some people, but if you want solve the 3rd problem, you will need to publish a modern game, not rehash an unpopular game from the 1980’s. This needs to be a game people will play, not a box that will sit on the shelf. Remember you are selling this game to new players, the 200 people who are still playing the game are not your target audience, if this game is going to be more than a nostalgia buy for aging Baby Boomers and Gen X, the new edition needs to appeal to the new generation of gamers.

As for keeping it from taking sales from GURPS, this is more difficult endeavor. Basically, I would not move TFT beyond the fantasy genre. If gamers want a truly universal system, where they can bounce between genre without learning a new system, then that is what GURPS is for. If they want an easy to learn, fast to play fantasy game, then TFT is what they will pick. This is mostly an exercise in marketing. One of the things I would not do is dual stat. Dual stating is one of those things that everyone loves in theory but never works in reality, and is frankly mildly insulting.

Now, I seriously doubt this is how Steve Jackson will handle this. I expect we will see a Kickstarter for Melee which will have a boat load of miniatures and some nice maps, he himself has said as much. Then later we will either see a Kickstarter for a similar Wizard product or we will see one for a more compete system, but all of this will not see the light of day before 2019 and more likely 2020. The question will then be, will anyone besides Steve Jackson really care anymore.

The Fantasy Trip Returns….Eventually

Steve Jackson announced yesterday the copyright for the 8 The Fantasy Trip (TFT) books he wrote for Metagames has been returned to him. One of the rules under the current copyright laws is the original author can ask for the copyright to be returned after 35 years under some specific rules, which TFT obviously fell under.

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/archive/2017-12-26

I remember playing the micro game spin off of this RPG, Melee and Wizards in High School with my friends in the school library, which mostly consisted of Wizards facing off against each other in an arena. I still have most of the game books and I am looking forward to see what Steve Jackson does with this material.

Edit:

I do not really remember this game as an RPG. As you can see I do own the advanced books, I bought them at GenCon in 1988, but I have never played the advanced game and I am not really sure I am interested in playing it now. I remember it as a tactical combat game that as I mentioned earlier, we played at lunch time. What I would like to see is Steve Jackson reprint Melee and Wizard in the original micro game format, sort of what they did with the Ogre Pocket Edition they put out a few years ago.

The Quiet

Here I am with a bit more than half an hour left of Christmas Day. It is quiet, PezWitch has went to bed, the cats seem to have settled in for the night, I seem to be left here with my own thoughts. The only thing that seems to be coming to mind is my life kinda sucks.

Merry Christmas

I am not sure yet how I feel about 2017. Nothing majorly bad happened, but on the other hand I have not really felt like things were going in the direction they should be, I feel like everything in the universe except me is about 6 inches to far to the right. It does not keep me from doing anything, it just makes everything feel awkward and unnatural. I am not sure what the source of this is, maybe it does not matter, even if this is the new normal, I suppose I can live with it.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Important things to know

Karma–is the concept of “action” or “deed”, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma

Kismet–Is by Fate or Destiny, a predetermined course of events.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kismet

The Death of Net Neutrality

I am aware this kind of breaks my ban on political topics at this blog, but I feel Net Neutrality is an important issue of the day that genuinely impacts everyone and it is important we engage in a civil debate about it.

I was recently asked by my Nephew what the problem with returning to the internet of 2015 was, the internet seemed fine to him back then. I named some hypothetical for him, but I had to go dig up some real issues that cause the rules to be put into place in the first place. So here is a list of the shitty things ISP’s were doing prior to 2015 and are now free to do again.

MADISON RIVER: In 2005, North Carolina ISP Madison River Communications blocked the voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) service Vonage. Vonage filed a complaint with the FCC after receiving a slew of customer complaints. The FCC stepped in to sanction Madison River and prevent further blocking, but it lacks the authority to stop this kind of abuse today.

COMCAST: In 2005, the nation’s largest ISP, Comcast, began secretly blocking peer-to-peer technologies that its customers were using over its network. Users of services like BitTorrent and Gnutella were unable to connect to these services. 2007 investigations from the Associated Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others confirmed that Comcast was indeed blocking or slowing file-sharing applications without disclosing this fact to its customers.

TELUS: In 2005, Canada’s second-largest telecommunications company, Telus, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website supporting a labor strike against the company. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Toronto found that this action resulted in Telus blocking an additional 766 unrelated sites.

AT&T: From 2007–2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other competing VOIP phone services on the iPhone. The wireless provider wanted to prevent iPhone users from using any application that would allow them to make calls on such “over-the-top” voice services. The Google Voice app received similar treatment from carriers like AT&T when it came on the scene in 2009.

WINDSTREAM: In 2010, Windstream Communications, a DSL provider with more than 1 million customers at the time, copped to hijacking user-search queries made using the Google toolbar within Firefox. Users who believed they had set the browser to the search engine of their choice were redirected to Windstream’s own search portal and results.

MetroPCS: In 2011, MetroPCS, at the time one of the top-five U.S. wireless carriers, announced plans to block streaming video over its 4G network from all sources except YouTube. MetroPCS then threw its weight behind Verizon’s court challenge against the FCC’s 2010 open internet ruling, hoping that rejection of the agency’s authority would allow the company to continue its anti-consumer practices.

PAXFIRE: In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation found that several small ISPs were redirecting search queries via the vendor Paxfire. The ISPs identified in the initial Electronic Frontier Foundation report included Cavalier, Cogent, Frontier, Fuse, DirecPC, RCN and Wide Open West. Paxfire would intercept a person’s search request at Bing and Yahoo and redirect it to another page. By skipping over the search service’s results, the participating ISPs would collect referral fees for delivering users to select websites.

AT&T, SPRINT and VERIZON: From 2011–2013, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile-payment system that competed with a similar service called Isis, which all three companies had a stake in developing.

VERIZON: In 2012, the FCC caught Verizon Wireless blocking people from using tethering applications on their phones. Verizon had asked Google to remove 11 free tethering applications from the Android marketplace. These applications allowed users to circumvent Verizon’s $20 tethering fee and turn their smartphones into Wi-Fi hot spots. By blocking those applications, Verizon violated a Net Neutrality pledge it made to the FCC as a condition of the 2008 airwaves auction.

AT&T: In 2012, AT&T announced that it would disable the FaceTime video-calling app on its customers’ iPhones unless they subscribed to a more expensive text-and-voice plan. AT&T had one goal in mind: separating customers from more of their money by blocking alternatives to AT&T’s own products.

VERIZON: During oral arguments in Verizon v. FCC in 2013, judges asked whether the phone giant would favor some preferred services, content or sites over others if the court overruled the agency’s existing open internet rules. Verizon counsel Helgi Walker had this to say: “I’m authorized to state from my client today that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements.” Walker’s admission might have gone unnoticed had she not repeated it on at least five separate occasions during arguments.

Introducing ChrisCoin

It is no secret that I consider crypto currencies to be ponzi schemes. The fact that wall street is now setting up a BitCoin commodities markets tells me this is going to be the biggest ripoff scam of the decade. I have come to the conclusion that this is a if you can;t beat’em, join’em situation. So I am introducing ChrisCoin, a new crypto currency that will be available as soon as I get off my lazy ass and code it.

The first thing I want to implement is getting rid of this requirement to “Mine” coins, this is bullshit, it wastes electricity and serves no real purpose other than to make people believe they are actually doing something when they are in fact not. The reality is “Mining” is simply a lottery, the more tickets you buy the more likely you are to win, except in BitCoin, the more processing power you have the more likely you are to win. I am going to remove that shit from my version and I am going to make it what it is, a game of chance. Every night at midnight my server is going to draw 10 numbers ranging from 0-99, every individual client will be able to generate 1 set of 10 numbers and check in to the server for a match once per day, the limit will be designated by IP address. Anyone can play more than once, but they will have to change IP address. Any client that generates the same 10 numbers will have 1 ChrisCoin deposited in their wallet. This will continue until 20 million ChrisCoins have been distributed. Of course the first million ChrisCoin will be deposited straight into my own wallet during the testing phase, so only 19 million will actually go out to other people.

Quote of the week

If you say, with great power comes great responsibility, I swear I will throw up on you!
-Jessica Jones