Tag Archives: Bad Ideas

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

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.

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!

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.

Bored of the Rings

I just bought Bored of the Rings on my Kindle. My life is now complete. The humor in this book is a bit dated, but it is still funny as hell. This influenced my early D&D playing, heck, it influences my gaming today. Bored of the Rings is, to me the ultimate novelization of a RatShit D&D game. Bruce and I still quote it to each other.

Amazon – Bored of the Rings (Kindle Edition)

Uh, NO!

Over at io9, they ask the question, why was Hal Jordan picked to be Green Lantern rather than Superman or even Batman. The theory goes, that Superman or Batman with a power ring would be just AWESOME!

http://io9.com/why-the-hell-didnt-the-green-lanterns-pick-superman-512852750

They do go on to explain it in a not very convincing way. My take on it is pretty simple, while both Superman and Batman have formidable wills, neither are in Hal Jordan’s category in this area. I point to the old DC Superhero RPG by West End Games as a good indicator. In this game the scale for attributes is roughly 0 to 25, where 0 is an average man and each level you go up on an attribute is roughly double the previous, basically going up in a logarithmic fashion. In this game Superman’s Strength is 25, his will is 20. Hal Jordan’s Will is 25, while Batman is a mere 12. Again keep in mind 0 is an average man, by that standard, Batman has an impressive Will, however, even Gnort, the most incompetent Green Lantern in the universe, has a Will of 15. Superman comes much closer, but on that scale, Hal Jordan has as much Will as Superman has Strength. Face it, when it comes to ring slinging, Hal Jordan was the most qualified candidate in the space sector.

All of this has pretty much played out at one time or another in the comics, both Batman and Superman have ended wearing Hal’s ring, but neither have ever been able to use it as effectively as he has. At one point Hal Jordan takes on the rest of the GL Corps……..AND WINS! This was not a sneaky sneaky bullshit plan, this was a head on full frontal assault. Meanwhile, Superman has been pretty consistently been fought to a stand still by small groups of GL’s. So yeah, no, Hal Jordan was the first best choice for the ring.

Proof Microsoft is truly EVIL

Microsoft has applied for a patent on the idea of awarding achievements for watching TV. If true, this is positively the most insidious idea in the history TV watching. Anyone who has played video games in the couple of years knows what an achievement is, basically, it is an in-game reward for doing pointless tasks like killing 10 Orcs or collecting 40 boggie scalps. My guess is this will become a reward system for sitting on your ass watching TV. I wonder what I will get for watching 25 Crest commercials? Or watching a Doogie Howser marathon start to finish? My worry is how will they know you actually did it? If it were not for the creep factor here, I’d probably think this was a better idea.
http://kotaku.com/microsoft-thinking-about-giving-you-achievements-for-wa-509961989

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-05-24-microsoft-applies-for-patent-on-tv-achievements?utm_source=feedly

RE: Will desktops be irrelevant in three years?

Last year I wrote about this subject because some random Google exec thought cloud computing was where is was all at. I wrote that piece 20 months ago, more than half way to his predicted “Death of the PC” and I see companies like Dell, Acer and Gateway still making billions of dollars selling PC’s.

Now we have Jonathan Zittrain telling us the death of the PC is on the horizon. The center of his argument is that cell phones and tablets are outselling PC’s. This was pretty much Google executive John Herlihy’s argument as well. However Zittrain goes on to complain about the closed garden of Apples iPhone AppStore. I am going to say this again, PC’s will not die until PezWitch can plug her smart phone into a 42 inch TV and play World of Warcraft at 1920×1200 resolution.

Seriously, WoW is a 30 GB install, how many smart phones have that much free space for a single application? I doubt there exists even a dual core ARM processor capable of running WoW in 640×480 let alone anything approaching 1920×1200.  You can’t even get an iPhone App that lets you log into the WoW auction house to buy and sell things using a simple interface.

Now here is what I hope will happen. I believe approximately 80% of the people who use computers are too stupid to actually use them. This is born out by the fact that virus’s and malware are so prevalent and I still get email from people where the subject line starts with FW:FW:FW:FW:RE:. I would like to see these people replace their computers with an iPhones, a Kindle Fire and an xBox, or some other combination of smart phone, tablet and game console. People who are too stupid to use computers should all be corralled into the closed gardens where they can not do harm to others and will be a lot less likely to have to call tech support because every time they open Internet Explorer, they get a dozen porn popup windows.

Even if the virus writers start creating for smart phones and Kindles, it will not really matter, because I can do a full scale reset in 5 minutes and have all the apps reinstalled in another 10. I can teach even the stupidest non technical person how to do this in a minimal amount of time. This will leave real PC’s to the rest of us and they can stand in awe of our ability to type “dir” at the command line and glean information from this cryptic environment.

Sadly, this is not going to happen. Ten years from now, the same companies who are selling PC’s today will probably still be selling PC and making billions of dollars a year doing it. Some one will also reinvent the Dumb Terminal/Thin Client/Cloud Computing paradigm yet again and technology pundits will again be singing “The witch is dead” around the PC.

Everything old is new again.

Dark Dungeons

Everyone who played RPG’s in the 80’s remembers the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons. For those of you in the know, some guy has made an animated version of the tract.

http://www.boolean-union.com/DarkDungeons/info.html

Is it just me or was that dreadfully boring? I went back and read the original tract and yes this film is word for word from the tract. Jack Chick was a horrible writer and the guy who did this film made it worse with poor acting and bad animation. This falls under the category of lost opportunities.

Group Photo Bomb

This is a picture of some of the people I work with, posted without comment.

 

Picture no longer available

The near future of the tech industry

I am not into making predictions of the future. Okay, that is not true, I do it all the time, so what the fuck. A few weeks ago HP announced it was selling its PC hardware and mobile device businesses. Michael Dell promptly started antagonising them on Twitter, nearly everyone thought this was a bad idea and their stock plummeted. The HP board of directors fired the CEO in an attempt to sooth queasy investors. What HP didn’t do is abandon the plan to sell off their hardware divisions and become a service company. Upon appointment the new CEO promptly said she planned to follow the plan to restructure the company, the previous CEO was right, he was simply a victim of poor marketing.

This whole ordeal reminds of of another similar decision made by another tech company several years earlier. IBM sold off its PC hardware business to a Chinese company who now uses IBM’s patents to build the Lenovo line. Today it was announced that IBM has now over taken Microsoft as the #2 most valuable tech company in the world. While I can’t foretell the future, I will give even odds that in 5 years HP will be laughing all the way to the bank and Michael Dell will be left wondering what the hell happened.

Hookey Bobbing

Over on Facebook there is a new group called “You know you are from Billings when..”, for the most part this group has been less than amusing. However, the other day the discussion of Hookey Bobbing came up. Hookey Bobbing is when, during the winter and all the roads were covered with snow and ice, we would grab the bumper of a car while it was stopped at a light and then let the car pull us along, often at speeds of 35 miles an hour or greater. As tremendously stupid as this sounds it was the primary mode of transportation to school during the winter for teenagers not yet old enough to own a car. The pit falls of Hookey Bobbing are obvious, hit a bare spot of pavement and if you were lucky, you lost soles of your boots, if you were not lucky, you ended up with a dislocated shoulder. Sudden stops by the car usually meant a black eye or broken nose and speed dips or speed bumps usually sent you flying into the nearest wall, telephone pole or mail box. Sometimes I am truly amazed that I survived my childhood.

Everything I hate about comic book shops

A couple of weekends ago Pezwitch noticed a collectables shop opened up along one of our regular routes. It was not until today that we got a chance to stop in and have a look around. Before I go into how awful this place was, let me state that not all comic shops are like this, although too many are. Rogues Gallery in Round Rock is everything a comic book shop should be. It is well lit, organized, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, it what any business should be. Even if I didn’t work in Round Rock, I would still make the 60 mile trip to get my comic there for all of the above reasons.

Now back to this other place. I am not going to name the business or its location, with my luck the guy would see this and sue me, however I feel the need to rant about it, because as I said earlier, way too many comic shops are like this. First off, when we pulled up and tried the door, it was locked, this is the middle of the day on Saturday. Second as we walked away the guy running the place opens the door and invites us in. He is wearing a wife beater t-shirt, dirty pants and no shoes, the guy smelled like he had not bathed in a few days. The store was not much better, he likely had a lot of things I would have been interested, for instance, he had a fairly extensive Green Arrow collection I would have like to have thumbed through, however his comics were not anything close to organized and I lucked upon  the Green Arrow stuff purely by accident. Every flat surface in the place was piled with books and trading cards. Again, I would have been interested in looking at his Magic Card collection, but it seemed to broken up and piled in at least 3 different places. On top of that, the whole place smelled of dust, mildew and mold. PezWitch stood by the door the whole time refusing to walk any further than a few steps in. I can tell you with 100% certainty I will not be going back there.

Enough with the Retro Clones

Brave Halfling Games has just announced it is going to do yet another retro clone of the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D), most likely with the odious “Race as Class” rule intact, called Delving Deeper. Personally, I would rather see him pick up one the already available retro clones. I am aware he was caught in the middle of some sort of disagreement with the two guys who authored the Swords & Wizardry white box set. I can sympathise with him and I can see why he does not want to bet his business on other people, honestly I do see it. The problem is there are still a bunch of other rule sets out there he could use; Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lords or Lamentations of the Flame Princess to name just three and yes, there are more. Okay, so by writing a “New” OD&D clone he has complete creative control, but so what. My question is what exactly is he adding the Old School Renaissance (OSR) ? The answer of course is nothing.

My real problem here is I would rather he spend his time writing modules or supplements or setting books. These are the things missing from the OSR. Please, do something new and original, something we have not seen yet. If you want to keep the OSR going you are going to have to innovate. If you keep going over the same territory again and again, after a while people are going to loose interest. Find a niche and fill it, I point to Carcosa as one possible way to bring something new to the table. Another way to go is perhaps a supplement for Labyrinth Lords similar to OSRIC Unearthed. How about a setting based on Norse Mythology, who doesn’t want to be a berserker Viking. My point is, there is a lot of ground not being covered by the OSR that is ripe for the taking. It just seems to me doing yet another OD&D clone is a waste of time.

Open letter to Goodman Games

To: Goodman Games
From: Carnifex.org
Subject: Race as Class

Dear Sir,
In reference to your “Designer’s Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn’t”. Specifically in regards to bullet point number 9, “It utilizes races as classes — you can be a warrior, or an elf.”, Really ? Why are you including one of the most odious rules used by OD&D in the 70’s ? The “Race as Class” rules were unnecessary, overly complicated, confusing and added nothing to the game. I can see why tiny one man company’s like Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Brave Halfling cling to these bad ideas, they need every single sale they can get and can not risk alienating anyone. Goodman Games on the other hand is a widely known and respected company within our hobby, presumably you can make design decisions based on making good games rather than trying please a group of people who have not been in a game store since 1985, but yell really loud on Internet forums. Please dump the “Race as Class” rules, your game will be much improved and you will feel better about yourself for having done it.

Regards, Carnifex

Bad ideas: Rocky Horror Picture Show Remake

Let me be completely clear:

A remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, should not, under any fucking circumstance, ever, Ever, EVER, be made !

http://io9.com/5667413/glee-creator-will-remake-the-rocky-horror-picture-show-++-for-real