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Demodulated routed

Blather | Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 | 10 years, 6 months ago

I’ve just finished painstakingly copying all my previous posts and images from Blogger to the new one. Most unfortunately, it’s too much bother to recreate all the much appreciated comments left by my readers on the new blog so I’ll have to leave them on the old one.If you happen to find any wonkiness in the archives kindly let me know and I’ll fix it right up!

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In case you’re wondering what kind of troubles I’m faced with as I port my posts over from Blogger, just take a gander at this ridiculously sloppy code generated by Blogger from one of my previous posts:

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All that just to display this!

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Way to make Microsoft Frontpage look good, Google!

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Enlisting Mouskateers

Politics | Monday, November 27th, 2006 | 10 years, 6 months ago

My girlfriend and I broke our yearlong hiatus from filmgoing this weekend by attending the adorable and surprisingly weighty Happy Feet. We attended a matinee ($12 at Silvercity Yonge & Eglinton, Toronto) where we were welcomed with a full but cheerful theatre full of starry eyed pips and their parents.

In the way of pre-movie commercials the 25 minute double-dip hadn’t subsided much at all since we saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last year. What had changed, however, was what passes for a commercial:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Above is a compilation of the Canadian Army recruiting propaganda currently propagating on Canadian television. Despite Canada’s traditional role and image as peacekeepers, these ads unabashedly show individuals carrying and firing assault weapons, tactfully surveying ruins and homes, deploying in hot zones in helicopters, and carting away wounded civilians.

One such advertisement played, in all its big screen and surround sound glory, before a gaggle of kindergartners. And then the penguins started tap dancing.

What does the army have to do with a children’s (rated PG) movie? What indeed.

The purpose behind these ads is that Canada’s Conservative government wishes to transform our military from support and humanitarian troops to a front-line aggressor. The goal: to fill our newly desert-coloured camouflage fatigues (our fighting force was green in more than experience in the early 90’s gulf war) with temporarily warm Canadian bodies.

To glamorize war to children is unnerving and irresponsible. Highlighting action-packed yet safe clips of wartime deployment forcefeeds an unrealistic soft-lensed idealism upon our impressionable youth.

But really, to sell anything to naive children, MUCH less war, is immoral. On this topic, the Canadian Marketing Association has this to say in their Code of Ethics and Standards of Practise:

Marketing to children must not exploit children’s credulity, lack of experience or sense of loyalty.

And what is marketing if not the exploitation of these human traits?

Our Conservatives largely won our vote for putting a megaphone in front of the Liberal party’s floundering following a sponsorship scandal in which corporate and individual political sponsors were overly compensated monetarily for their assistance. They completed this one-two punch with a smear campaign showing Canadian citizens shaking their heads in disapproval while listening to the promises of the Liberal party. In my opinion the Conservatives won the vote by capitalizing on the now active Federal Accountability Act which was claimed, or perhaps just implied, to help enforce policies on campaign sponsorship.

It is therefore confusing to see the same Conservatives, mere months after enacting the policies, propose a loophole amendment to exempt them from having to rationalize millions of dollars in unaccounted lobbyist donations.

Steven Harper and the gang are simply bait-and-switch artists who dangle a carrot in front of the populace and don’t tell them about the maggots within and pesticides without until after they convince us to enjoy a good crunchy bite. The Conservative party is poisoning our government with its lies and sabotaging our youth with its half truths.

After many years of disillusionment I was convinced to cast my vote in the last federal election. By researching the issues and choosing the party that matched my ideals I hoped to assist the increase of mass transit service, preservation of environmental resources, reduction of gun violence in urban centres, assistance to the underprivileged, continuation of social programs, continued abstinence from war, increased unity with Quebec, and strengthening of Canadian identity. The Conservatives were elected and they have worked tirelessly to ensure the opposite of each of my wishes occurs.

Remind me please, why am I voting again?

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Wow! Play World of Warcraft for free!

Video Games | Thursday, November 16th, 2006 | 10 years, 6 months ago

I don’t keep my despise of World of Warcraft and what Blizzard has become a secret. WoW does not deliver what I consider a fair deal per dollar, the game suffers from frustrating downtimes, and the often huge patches must be distributed peer-to-peer via an inflexible proprietary Bittorrent client. Considering that your “purchase” of the box (in addition to the monthly fee) is no more than a double-dip cash grab, the whole package smacks of cheapness.

For those not up to speed, allow me to elaborate; A friend issued me a free trial which I had a great deal of difficulty redeeming. After many gigabytes of transfers and several wasted hours after failed installs, I finally got everything working. I enjoyed playing with my friend despite the crippled functionality of the trial account so I purchased a 60-day time card. Unfortunately for me, trial accounts are not upgradable so I was forced to buy the retail disc even though I had a working copy installed on my machine. The box came with 1 month of playtime, but this meagre offering did not justify the $35 expenditure for assets I had already painstakingly acquired.

2 months into my 3-month account I got fed up with Blizzard’s greed and abandoned the game. I merrily threw my sink-hole investment of a retail box in a public garbage can and promptly cancelled my account prematurely. I’d been a Blizzard customer for over a decade but I see little reason to keep up my patronage with this funhouse mirror doppleganger of a formerly fantastic company.

A while back a friend of mine introduced me to a fascinating video games discussion forum, fucktheinter.net. A quick glance through one of the lesser-trafficked topics revealed a link to wow.fucktheinternet.net – a privately-run World of Warcraft server! This came as quite a surprise since the only other rogue WoW server I’d heard of was shut down by the US “justice” system. In court, Blizzard challenged BNETD, an open source battle.net daemon (server), on the grounds that it violated the DMCA. Despite the unspecific wording and subsequent danger to other interoperability software projects like CGIs and ODBCs, the courts ruled in Blizzard’s favour, penalizing the 3 teen programmers responsible and demanding the immediate removal of the software from the internet.

Unbeknownst to the American judge, the internet exists outside of the USA’s jurisdiction, and so bnetd can be found available for download in the DMCA diaspora.
This means that, as Google will attest, free WoW servers abound! By simply signing up with one of these servers (Rook’s Realm is my favourite) and changing the realm in realmlist.wtf in the WoW install directory anyone may play this renown game for the price of the boxed retail copy! What a concept!

But don’t be so quick to cry foul. Is this truly unfair to Blizzard? You cannot join a server without a legitimate copy of the client software, and Blizzard does not distribute this freely. The going rate of about $30 for a WoW game box is about par with 2-year-old PC games, but this investment really nets you nothing as it is useless without a subscription. Said subscription pays for Blizzard’s network connectivity, administrative and support staff, and other human resources that are not exploited by those using third-party servers. Really, these servers net Blizzard a profit since they are run by volunteers.

As it happens, if you’ve thrown your WoW box in the garbage as I have, or you just don’t feel like footing the bill, you can purchase a 14-day trial disc for $1.99 and install that. Really, you’ll be saving Blizzard money by not taking advantage of their generous trial account.

However, if you’re in the USA and would prefer to stay on the sunny side of the DMCA you might want to give that trial account a whirl instead. Use mine. I sure don’t need it.

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P.s., check out wowstatus.net for a mindbogglingly huge and detailed list of free WoW servers!

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