16 February 2009

Shock and Awe

Good god, I thought it was impossible to shock or awe me, a longtime IT worker, in the annals of user stupidity.
Warning, profane rant ahead.
The people at my college-- Jesus. You'd think they have the Midas touch, except everything turns into cowshit. We give them their drive with their backup data on it,and they are back in not a day later, with this confused, bovine look on their faces: "It's not working." Well, what did you do to it? "I put it on my desk."
Really. Really? OH COME THE FUCK ON. You desk, last I checked, could not POSSIBLY have the static electric potential of Latvia, because that what it would take to reduce your drive to the utter mess it's in right now.
90% of computers we get in... "It just stopped working." If it's a Mac, I run my fingers around the edge of the case like I'm petting a kitten, and what do I find? Dents. Blemishes. Bends. Distortions. IT HAS BEEN DROPPED, NOT ONCE, BUT MANY FUCKING TIMES. Do they mention this? No, never.
PCs? Never dropped, actually. Never seen one with physical damage. But the hard drives... jesus. It's like spyware satan has been using it as a combination toilet and gas chamber for six months. Do you, perchance, download one or two gray-area-legality pieces of music or software a month, we ask. "Maybe." OH REALLY. Because, see, I see a folder here labeled "Warez lolololol" and it is 89GB big, and staring me in the face. Do you know what it says? It says "I BELONG TO A FUCKING IDIOT THAT THINKS THE WORLD LOVES ME AND EVERYONE IS A GOOD-HEARTED NICE PERSON." There are people out there who get their kicks from making your computer shit blood and die in your arms from Ebola. They laugh every time a user is told "Sorry, this was a no-recovery." They HATE YOU. And they seed P2P networks, torrent trackers, and file upload sites with horrible, horrible viruses and spyware because they love to make you miserable.
Every time a computer comes in, and already has AVG or spybot, or something on it, I feel like screaming and shaking the owner until I can find out how much their brain sloshes. YOU HAVE THESE PROGRAMS! USE THEM! Good god, it will take an hour to scan your hard drive and clean it of viruses. Holy fucking shit, have you really never watched a movie you hated before? That was TWO hours of your life you wanted back, wasn't it? Whatever shall you do? It isn't like you didn't spend Saturday night stoned half to unconsciousness, giggling like a complete fucktard on some mod's couch. I have never regretted a virus or spyware scan, but I guess I don't value my time very highly, since I spend it fixing the problems of FUCKING IDIOTS LIKE YOU WHO WON'T EVEN HELP THEMSELVES.

And then, maybe once a month, there is a user who gets it. Once came in today, and I swear I felt the touch of an angel, because you know what? She had everything of hers labeled. She had already written out a problem summary with a detailed history, and gave us a drive to back everything up to. I could have wept. You know something? She is getting preferential treatment. Very preferential. As in, I refuse to do another damn thing at work until her computer is in perfect shape.

I have vented. You know, I have another job like this. Except it isn't like this at all, because I get paid three times as much, am half as bored, and never have to deal with this many idiots.
Hooray for the white-collar life, eh?

13 February 2009

3rd Strike

I seem to be blogging a lot lately, maybe because I'm finally getting back to working.

Anyway, watch this. Dead Space, on the original Xbox. Anybody think that it looks just as good now as it did then?


That's kind of... horrifying, actually. See, back when Dead Space wasn't even a twinkle in the media's eye, I got to play the Alpha on the 360, at EA Redwood Shores. I was blown away. Michael Condrey told me that him and his team had put this together out of nothing, that it was going to be a totally guerrilla project, a real end-run around EA's management or something. So I was appropriately impressed-- It was fun, scary, and I liked the concept.
But come on! If they had the game THAT MUCH DONE on the original Xbox, it means most of the things he told me were lies! This game had been in development FOREVER, and had a team working on it and the concepts for YEARS before he stepped in! Hell, I like the footage above better than the actual game-- it's grittier, darker, more jury-rigged...
One of the main things I didn't like about Dead Space was that it was too shiny and techy for its own good. The Necromorphs didn't contrast very well with the technology-- too similar in terms of highlights, phong shading, edge shine, et cetera. They lit up too similarly. Same with the weapons- with the exception of the ripper and the cutter, they were just too high-tech, not jury-rigged enough.
Oh well, if I'd never seen this footage I never would have known. But I still feel lied to, and that's bad enough.

11 February 2009

WHEN it's done, not IF.

I fucking told you all so.
See, they ARE working on it. It'll totally be finished by this Christmas. Really.

Firefox User PSA

Having trouble playing Windows Media files in your browser? Tired of muttering "fucking Microsoft..." every time someone tries to embed a WMA file into a webpage? Curse no more! Turns out that VLC player and a bunch of other popular media players destroy Firefox's normal Windows Media plugin. There is a replacement, though.


Plzd to be downloading and installing ASAP.

08 February 2009

There goes the neighborhood.

This is how the world ends.

So, if you know me personally you know I've been bitching about Shacknews, my favorite game news site and community, and their acquisition by GameFly. If this is strange and fearful and new to you, get yo'self to school.
With the background out of the way, read the first link. Read the comments. Read them all. This is how a community dies, readers. This is how, bit by aching bit, everything that is good and right and fun is leached away.
In my view, this is how communities work, online--
It starts with an event. Hype forms around the event, and like minded people try to connect with each other about the event. They use existing places: Forums, BBSes, IRC, social networking sites, et cetera, but find them inadequate after a while. They want somewhere that caters to THEM, makes them feel unique and special, flatters their ego, something THEIRS. So, they take their community and put up money, server space, domain names. They turn the talented among them to web design, forum design and customization, the making of their online home. This home goes live, and now the community has a place to be. They love it. They are proud parents, extolling the virtues and cleanliness of their special bubble-place, and they are high on life.
Assuming the core event or product the community formed around is doing well, this continues for a while. Newbies join and are hazed by the old guard, before becoming old guard themselves and in turn hazing the newbies. Debates sometimes cause rifts and splintering, but the community at large remains stable and well-formed.
Then something changes. There are two ways it can go: From within, or from without.
If the cancer is within, it probably starts with leadership that's getting too big for its britches, or failing to listen to the users, or refunding to excise the dead weight. From there it degenerates into infighting, factionalism, and finally, outright war within the community. It's big, it's ugly, it's nasty, and it's completely harmless to everyone outside.
However, if the change is without, it's subtle. Someone outside the community figures that he or she has a vested interest in somehow changing or altering the community. This outside force sways some leaders, and insinuates itself into the community. Sometimes it is still subtle, sometimes... it's blatant, like a hostile takeover or a buyout. After that, the community is in an interesting state. If it can fight hard enough and convince the outside force to merely own and not dig into every dark corner of the community, then it has a fighting chance, under new management. If not, though... the community loses its closeness. Newbies come in and aren't inducted properly- they have no respect for the community norms and customs. Trolls appear and can't be dealt with. Nonsensical or idiotic rules and regulations are passed with no opportunity for debate or consensus. The community loses ownership of itself, and degenerates into a disgusting pool of slime and human waste, a mere shadow of its former self.
I am doing everything I can to make sure the shack doesn't end like that.

04 February 2009

Embiggenating my appendices

Yesterday, I bought my second set of Skullcandy Smokin' Buds. They're the best headphones I've ever owned. I bought first set over a year ago, and I've had them with me EVERY SINGLE DAY ever since, using them, abusing them, kinking the cables, tying them, untying them, squashing them, stretching them, EVERYTHING. They only just died. If you can be tougher on your headphones than me, you must use them to strangle bison on a daily basis, because I am a horribly abusive electronics user. Computers, no. Anything smaller, I abuse it like a drunken sadist in the midst of a 'roid rage.
So. Go buy a pair if you like earbuds. They come with different-sized earcups, too, three sizes. And only 25$! What a bargain.

01 February 2009

Some things that are cool, Part THE NEXT

1. Battle Pope, the comic. Sex! Violence! Jesus! Popery!
2. LittleBigPlanet. The reason you should own a PS3.
3. Netbooks.
4. Unreal Tournament 3 and modding it.
5. Snow.
6. Energy drinks.
7. Internet Jesus.