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Some time on the phone
Battlefield 2142... Rocks!
So much for Battlefield 2142...
More Babylon 5 in the future?
No more online music
MN decides not to enshrine discrimination
Living in the right place
Perceptions of color
Changing the world?



The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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 Saturday, 27 January 2007
Saturday, 27 January 2007 14:24:01 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

A few minutes ago I recieved an unsolicited (and thus illegal) phone call from Card Services Incorporated. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, I'd get connected to an operator and tell them to remove me from their list, along with at least some level of threat of federal legal action.

But this time something odd and interesting has happened. I did get connected to an operator, who almost instantly rejected my call. But she did in in such a way that I'm in a netherworld where I am "piggy-backed" on other calls. One after another, I get to listen in on their conversations!!

Now I am only hearing the operator's voices, not the inbound callers (all of whom are women thus far). I keep waiting to get some juicy personal info like a phone number or credit card number, but all the callers thus far have been smart enough not to provide any such information to the operators.

One can only assume that "Card Services Incorporated" is a relatively incompetent scam. Though I've heard at least four operators now, so they are big enough to have a number of employees and a (somewhat buggy) automatic phone system.

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 Friday, 15 December 2006
Friday, 15 December 2006 10:59:38 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

A couple months ago I posted some negative information about BF2142 due to their in-game advertising. Subsequent to posting that entry, I read more information that led me to believe it wasn't as onerous as it sounded.

So I bought the game.

No ads. None. Yes, there are billboards where the ads should be, but I get no ads.

Even if there were ads it wouldn't be onerous - they'd just appear on some billboards here and there, so that seems pretty easy to deal with.

But I don't get them. And I'm sure the reason is that my home network is entirely behind a firewall/router. Odds are that BF2142 configures the Windows XP firewall on my actual desktop to open the necessary port for the ad software to work. But it can't reconfigure my primary firewall, because that's a totally separate device; a device I'm pretty sure is blocking the download of the ad content.

So I've been playing BF 2142 quite a lot of late. Yes, my life has been incredibly hectic due to family health issues, work issues, yard work in the fall, getting new windows in our house and selling Christmas trees as a fund raiser for the Optimist Club of Eden Prairie. But I've chosen to give up some sleep to play BF2142 - it is that good!

There's just nothing like walking across the battlefield in a three story tall tank, blowing the crap out of the enemy as you go!! :)

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 Tuesday, 17 October 2006
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 22:28:51 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
This sucks. I was seriously looking forward to Battlefield 2142, and if this blog post is correct I won't be able to buy it.

It is bad enough for them to include product placement and commercials in a game for which I pay a ton of money. Which is, btw, to say that if they gave the game away I wouldn't complain about some ads (Though I still might not play the game if the ads were too annoying. It is worth noting that I don't watch television shows unless it is on Tivo or DVD - or I'm trapped in a hotel room and am using the TV as background noise.)

But for me to spend a huge amount of money to buy a game that is going to advertise and spy on me is entirely unacceptable.

And that sucks, because otherwise this looked like a rocking good game that I was planning to buy tomorrow...

Update: it maybe isn't quite as bad as it originally sounded. According to this article, they are not collecting cookies or browser history, just your IP address. Since every web site you ever visit records your IP address, this is pretty much a non-issue.

It still bothers me that I'm paying a huge amount of money just so they can advertise to me, and I think the price of the game should be reduced due to this. The model should be more like magazines, or newspapers, where the subscription price covers the cost of delivery, and advertising covers the cost of the actual content.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2006 21:48:23 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
Rarely does network television come up with anything worth watching - even with the power of Tivo... The only network show I've watched in a very long time is Smallville, and that's a love-hate relationship that will come to an end soon if they don't sh*t or get off the pot (preferably by killing off the Lana character).

But I can now say that I'm hooked on an NBC show: Heroes (wikipedia).

(Though at the end of each episode thus far I've said (and I quote) "I sure hope they don't fuck this up." because I fully expect NBC to totally ruin this show. But not so far, and thus hope remains)

I'm a huge fan of JMS - creator of Babylon 5 - and absolutely loved the Rising Stars comic series he authored. And I love Astro City.

Heroes, thus far, has the darkness and gritty realism (if you can use that term with comic fiction) of both those comic series, but created entirely for the small screen. Unlike attempts to translate existing comic properties to television, Heroes appears created for the medium. Coupled with good production values and decent special effects, the result is very compelling.

I'm not ready to say it is up there with Babylon 5 or the new Battlestar Galactica, but it is (thus far) better than the best Smallville has had to offer in its 5+ seasons.

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 Wednesday, 26 July 2006
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 11:23:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

Apparently there's the possibility of new Babylon 5 in the future - how cool is that!?!

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 Monday, 24 July 2006
Monday, 24 July 2006 11:10:48 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
OK, I think I've had it.

A couple years ago I bought an album and a couple other songs through Best Buy's web site - from a service called Liquid Audio. A few weeks later, my license files quit working, and Liquid Audio was entirely unhelpful - unsympathetic even! I believe they've gone out of business though, so they got what they deserved.

About a year ago I bought some songs from the new Napster. A few weeks later I had a hard drive crash and lost my license files. Fortunately Napster was more helpful and I was able to get my license files restored (though I think it used up the second of my 3 machine licenses).

But today my Napster licenses are just gone. No system changes, nothing. They just quit working. And yes, I'm sure Napster's helpful service people can get them back for me, but that is no longer the point. The idea of downloading music and more importantly dealing with the DRM is unacceptable.

All I want to do is listen to music I purchased, and I can't do it. That sucks. And spending time calling around or emailing to get support to be able to use my own damn property isn't acceptable at all.

So I'm done buying music online. It will be a lot cheaper for me to just go buy the CDs at a store and rip them, and then never worry about this shit again. If I figure it based on my hourly billing rate it is a LOT cheaper to just avoid the DRM.

And when the CD's are DRM protected? Well then I guess I'm done with commercial music. Most of it sucks anyway, and if I can't listen to it on my PC while working then it has no value anyway, so it just doesn't matter.

Yes RIAA, you can protect your precious resource. But in the end you may be your only market, because the rest of us are getting fed up with all the bullshit...

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 Tuesday, 18 July 2006
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 14:34:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
The Minnesota House of Representatives rejects gay marriage amendment.
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Tuesday, 18 July 2006 11:03:22 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
Eden Prairie is one of the top 10 small cities in the US. Yet I often yearn for something I left behind years ago...
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 Wednesday, 12 July 2006
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 08:53:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

The following is a list of colors and common related perceptions. This comes from an article about the color that is most sexually attractive, which is relatively immaterial. What is more interesting to me is that these common perceptions are useful from a literary or gaming perspective - this list makes an excellent guide in terms of picking the right color(s) to set a certain mood or expectation in your reader or the player of your role-playing game.

Black: Sophistication, elegance, seduction, mystery, sex, banishment, binding, protection, evil
Blue: Trust, reliability, belonging, coolness, tranquility, peace, calm, wisdom, justice, depression, understanding, patience, loyalty, sincerity, honour
Brown: Earthy, conservative, protective, constructive, hard-working, solid
Copper/Bronze: Love, passion, friendship, sex
Gold: Prestige, expensive, elite, authority
Green: Nature, fresh, cool, growth, abundance, rejuvenation, recovery, healing, harmony, balance, peace, hope, jealousy, envy
Grey: Neutrality, staleness, depression
Magenta: power, magnetism, spiritual power
Orange: Playfulness, warmth, vibrant, encouragement, luck, kindness, stimulation, optimism, abundance, success, independence, sensual
Pink: Soft, sweet, nurturance, security, tenderness, peace
Purple: Royal, spirituality, dignity, divination, inspiration, meditation, compassion
Red: Passion, energy, excitement, danger, speed, impulsive action, stimulation, assertiveness, aggression, strength, sex, revolt, war
Silver: Prestige, cold, scientific, stability
Turquoise: Intuitive, insightful, inventive, original, renewal, change
White: Pure, virginal, clean, youthful, mild, peace, truthfulness, enlightenment
Yellow: Warmth, cheer, happiness, vitality, change, progress, clarity, communicativeness, affirmation.

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 Sunday, 25 June 2006
Sunday, 25 June 2006 16:49:11 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
While the rich live a different life from the rest of us, it seems that at least some of them do live in the same world.
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