Sunday, December 2, 2012

TLU: Apropos Comparison

Tank: To be fair, I thought the Shammy would make quick work of them all.

Me: Enhancement Shaman know nothing of "quick AOE" you speak of. We only do Tantric AoE: the explosions will be big, but it takes a long time to get there...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

TotD: Dear Tillers,

If my soil is being occupied, does that mean I'm part of the 1%?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WoW: The Five Stages of Talent Tree Acceptance

1: "This sucks. There's no more complexity here! You're giving the game over to the casuals! FUCK YOU BLIZZARD!!!!!!! You're destroying the game!!!!!!"

2: "You won't fix Talents this way and there will still be cookie cutter builds. You should just go back..."

3: "<insert Theory Crafter site here> says Leaching Poison is the best newb. What do you mean 'not for this fight'? Wait.. did the boss AoE just destroy me..."

4: "Did you see what that guy did there? Fuck me, why didn't I think of using it like that..."

5: "You know, I'm kinda getting us... Wait, what do you mean they're nerfing my level 90 talents?????? FUCK YOU BLIZZARD!!!!!!! You're destroying the game!!!!!!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WoW: CRZ fun.

Ah, the joys of new stuff.

TyL: Or, are Going to Learn

Free to Play (F2P) is not a cure all.

City of Heroes is currently scheduled to go dark later this year. There are many efforts underway to try and prevent this, and I won't knock them because there are a lot of people who really liked this game even if I didn't when I gave it a shot. But, I won't pretend they are likely to succeed either given that the Developers have apparently been shown the door. Although one assumes a caretaker crew is still in place to keep up the servers, spawn some insane critters in the last month/week, and then turn out the lights, I don't expect they're likely to bring an entire studio back from the dead.

City Of Heroes: Freedom - the F2P version of the game appears to have been launched Sept 27th 2011; it bought the game a little more than one year more of life. In that year, about half the press releases from the company were biweekly announcements about great things you could buy with "Paragon Points": the cash to game currency conversion.

Apparently that didn't work all that well.

There are other reasons floating around - ambivalence from ArenaNET/NCSoft towards maintaining a NA Development studio when their markets/offices are increasingly elsewhere is the prevailing one - but I'm going to go with the most obvious: CoH was an 8 year old game well into the tail end of it's player base; still beloved and in people's memories but no longer played nor paid for by many of those that flocked to it initially. Not only that, but the number of comments from people hoping they port the Character Generator to it's own engine and release that separately as a stand alone going away present still makes me wonder how many people were playing the game, and how many were simply playing Super-Hero Designer inside one of the best tools for doing it currently on the market by all accounts.

So, what we learn from this is that F2P has the potential to get people in the door and interested again but you need to be able to sustain that burst and get them to buy your perks in order for it to actually prevent your product from failing. Newer games may have greater success at that because they are the "new shiny", but they too can potentially run into problems over the long term because their continued existence is now reliant on keeping those free players entertained and shopping or enthralled enough to buy into the premium product.

Which raises the question: why do we even call this F2P? Because of the illusion that the game is now "free"? It would be easy to come up with some derogatory term for what this model actually is but that would only serve to get people combative so I'm going to skip that and just close with the following: the reality is that the game is only free to play to those that are not paying. Someone else is still paying the bills even if you are not and when there's no longer enough people willing to pay for you to be able to play, your game is still going to die.

Do enjoy the ride in the meantime though.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

WoW: Offered WIthout Comment.

Ghostcrawler: More stable slots would be fine to a point. Don't want hunters feeling like they should tame evey pet they see. Taming should be a decision. There are plenty of "collect all" achievements. Hunters aren't crazy cat hoarding ladies.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

RftP: Worst Writing Ever....

Some guildies have introduced me to Sandra Hill. She specializes in erotic fiction. I honestly don't know what scares me more; that this gets published from a mainstream publisher, or that it apparently made the NYT Best Seller list. An Excerpt:
… Her long hair, still wet from the shower, had been combed down her back in a wet swath. Hilda was sitting on the floor, her round, wet boobs still wet from the shower’s water.
I take it showers make things wet....
She dried off the water with a towel, which then became wet
... no shit...
Hilda gasped when she saw a reflection in her bedroom mirror: through the slightly open door, she caught a glimpse of the chiseled abs and square jaw of the mysterious stranger who shared her cabin. She stood and spun around, her breasts swinging heavily with the momentum.
... You know, I've yet to accidentally walk in on a naked women I wasn't dating whose first reaction was to just turn towards me and let it all hang out... Maybe I need to stumble into change rooms more often...
She grabbed the door and flung it open, revealing shirtless Torolf quivering with desire in the hallway.
... you're kidding, right?
Torolf was ashamed at being caught, but his shame made him even hotter – hotter for sex.
... Torolf is apparently related to Zapp Brannigan,
He stepped into the room, and his bulging abs accidentally smushed into Hilda’s rich chest.
From this we learn that Torolf is either 8 feet tall, or Hilda is a dwarf...
As Hilda’s buttermilk bosoms squished up against his granite abs, Torolf almost had a dick aneurysm.
A Dick Aneurysm is what you get when your idea of research is looking up Explosion in the thesaurus of MS Word.
“Hilda,” Torolf murmured thickly, his throbbing meat wand pressing against Hilda’s warm thighs. “There is a secret I need to not tell you: You are my forbidden desire.”
Hilda had been waiting to hear these words. Her heart was lifted on golden wings and soared toward a radiant sun of perfect joy. She saw herself and Torolf happy together, bathed in the golden light of love. Her snooch got all warm, too.
Hilda doesn't get complemented all that often, does she...
“Torolf,” Hilda moaned, her lush teats straining with desire. “I need you.”
Torolf, coarse abs pulsing softly in the moonlight, stood silently.
Hilda looked at him expectantly.
“Oh, sorry,” she added. “Torolf, I need you – sexually.”
... and Torolf is thick as a brick...
At hearing those beautiful words, Torolf flexed his rough-hewn abs and Hilda found herself being guided to her soft bed by the sheer force of Torolf’s undulating midsection. She parted her thighs in anticipation, exposing the soft pink petals of her clunge.
... ok... let's dissect this for a second... Tor is basically back stepping her towards the bed while she's trying to spread her legs... that... that doesn't work well...
Torolf entered her like she was a lottery.
So she's a $2 6/49 whore? $10 Scratch Ticket? $100 Charity Lottery? Somewhere in the middle?
His engorged pecker pushed inside her and she felt fulfilled with sexual fulfillment.
For all the effort she puts into finding slang for penis, you'd think she'd be able to come up with something other than two variants on "fulfilled" for that sentence.
Hilda clutched at the bedsheets with lust and ecstasy and her hands.
Thanks for clarifying that at the end; I was worried Hilda was stressing her toes...
Her spongy love mountains hurled to and fro with each pounding. Her body was like a beautiful flower that was opening and somebody was pushing their dick inside it.
Because that sounds incredibly sexy...
Then Torolf moaned, arched his back, and suffered from dick Parkinson’s.
Ok, now she's just throwing words together...
He pumped in all of his hot pearlescent sperms as Hilda spasmed with so many orgasms!
The two lay still for a moment as the stinky scent of lovemaking billowed around the room.Hilda got out of bed, still shimmering with orgasm. She glowed with contentment, like a cat who ate the cream of the crop.
The sex so hot, so heavy, so steamy, so epic that it would be over in 5 sentences.
She walked across the room and picked up her towel, still wet with shower water. “Torolf,” she said softly, “there’s something I have to tell you…”
But her bed was empty.
Torolf was gone, escaped out the bedroom window. In the distance, Hilda heard the fading sound of galloping abs.
... galloping abs? Really?

This insanity brought to you by Rough and Ready; a book whose plot - time lost Navy SEAL takes the crack team he's managed to assemble in the future back in time to 11th century Norway to avenge his family - is almost as incredulous as this writing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WoW: It's Been a Good Week So Far....

... and now the sword finally drops off of Eranikus.

So, doubly good week for me. Doubly bad week for Dragons.

WoW: Saving Azeroth: One Nerf at a Time....

35% Nerf. Two weeks before the next expansion. Fuck it, I don't care; the bast is dead:
Full credit to the guildies who stuck it out through thick and thin and those guilds that came before us. Long, long, before us. Hopefully the next expansion will be more productive.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MoP: Does Beta Archeology Still Suck?

No idea.

Here's the only thing I learnt from the Beta before realizing it was going to take too much of my time now to get a feel for it: the prof is still pretty much so only a max level prof. Perhaps when 5.2 hits and they go "oh, ok, now you can have heirloom Tomes of Pandaran Flight", it won't be but, for now, trying to grind arch while running all over the place ground-bound is just painful as you level.

So, knowing that I'd have to either level my Archeologist to 90 to be able to test properly (especially since the Lorewalker functions don't really become available until 89/90), or level Arch on my other 90 I'm gonna wait until some point in MoP to get around to addressing this; assuming I find time to get around to it at all. Just throwing that out there in case anyone's waiting for an update.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MoP: The Little Things Matter Too

In Beta a lot of people get focused on the bugs and "MY DPS IS NOT HIGH ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!" x is better than y ish stuff but you also need feedback on just plain old fashioned playability; what are minor quirks in the game that you think need to be addressed. For example:
I noticed that we've got all this new stuff around the Eastern Earthshrine in Stormwind (pet battle trainer and Panda village/Monk trainer), but the area hadn't been tied into the city all that well for the low level characters who'd now need to get there.

One suggestion later...:
... and we have a nice path up there for the new players to easily find their way in.

So, don't just be focused on what's "broke" - if you see something minor that just needs tweaking make your case clearly and it might just get done. But remember, the crowd, or Blizzard, could have a different opinion than you so be prepared to defend it clearly and without devolving to insult spam either.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TotD: It's a Man's World

I'm kinda indifferent on Kristen Stewart's talent - the whole debate over it's existence or not is largely fanboy driven - and the whole fiasco circling her and Patterson right now is just background noise one expects in a gossip driven industry these days but...
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the sequel to June's Snow White, which starred Stewart, Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, is being reconceived as a spinoff movie [starring Hemsworth's character only]. It's unclear whether director Rupert Sanders will return, though one source with ties to the production says he will.
... this would be an entirely one sided asshole move by an old school "blame her for spreading her legs" misogynist bean counter if she's booted and the later comes to pass.

RFTP: The Bourne Legacy

I've often wondered if reading advanced press about a film influences my interpretation of it; in this case it's hard to walk out of the theatre without saying it has 'cause if I hadn't read about Gilroy's getting called out by Damon over the last film I'd probably not read anything into what's going on here.

As it stands, the film has some good action but... dear god, it's a mess script wise, it essentially retreads the first film with a new character, the ending is anti-climactic, and you get the distinct feeling that elements of it are an open challenge to Greengrass and Damon to get back in the saddle - particularly a drastic reversal of fortunes facing a character from the last film who now finds themselves in dire straits in the closing seconds of this one for no justifiable reason other than a "please come rescue me!!!" plea given that they have no presence whatsoever in the rest of the film other than as an entirely off screen impetus for other characters behaviour.

I hope they were at least paid well.

So, this little piece of blackmail passing as a film ends up wasting a pretty good cast as it meanders between set pieces; the first 1/3 is all cuts between locations and scenes of people talking about things we already know, the middle third is the "our leads finally meet" section, and the last is almost entirely an insanely long chase sequence in Manilla. It's a film that's full of words but remarkably empty of content for being so. You get the feeling that Gilroy was more caught up in the politics of super-spies than introducing his own character because at the end of the movie Aaron Cross is not remotely defined clearly or changed from the person you meet 15 minutes into the film. And the ending... it's like something straight out of a 70's Bond flick; the very masthead whose tropes the first Bourne movie drove so far into the ground when it was released that the license was remodelled around Bourne's more "realistic" take when it was revived. Worse, it's basically all setup for more films and when writers forget that films are supposed to end is when you often end up unsatisfied because assumptions have been made that there will be sequels to answer everything they leave up in the air.

Note to writers everywhere: unless you're working on guaranteed a three movie license for Lord of the Rings; close your fucking film. Even then, each film should have a clean break point that feels satisfying with regards to "the story so far". That's just common sense and this film leaves so many balls up in the air at the end that they miss that by a mile even before the cheese is laid on thick.

If there's a 5th Bourne film with Renner, hopefully they hire someone to write and direct who can leave the office politics at the door - and I'm not talking about the CIA. I'd ask for a new set of producers too so we can have a fresh set of eyes across the board, but I suspect those contracts are tight...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TLU: Being Old Has an Over Under (2)

Her: no way, you totally look 19...
Me: Um, ok...
Her: no, it's good thing..
Me: Depends on your point of view.
Her: Huh?
Me: Well, consider this: if I look 19, then I look way too young for the women my age and the ones I'm the "older guy" to are almost entirely illegal.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rant: On Old Republic and F2P

The problem with Old Republic wasn't that it was a subscription game and the whole "Oh, this is a the era of F2P" talk is just that: talk.

This is not to say they won't improve their numbers by going F2P (and dropping the price of the game to $15, that won't hurt either folks); that's actually fairly likely. But, the bigger reasons why they're in this position are the same ones that every other "WoW Killer" has fucked up in the last half decade or so and the fact that none of them learnt from their collective mistakes - even more-so when you consider that Bioware is considered to be top tier - is kinda surprising. That said, since they seem to be unable to learn on their own, lets explain it to them:

Lesson The First:
Your game must be finished. Yes, yes, these games are never "finished", but the days when you could launch with a leveling experience and some dungeons and: "we'll tack a proper endgame on in 3-4 patches", are gone. Your benchmark now is a WoW Expansion because the simple reality is that people are going to level to 50 in 4 days regardless of how grindy you make it, kick around your dungeons a bit, and then go "well, nothing left to do here for 8 months", and then walk out the door taking their friends and negative word of mouth with them.

In case you haven't noticed, they don't come back in great numbers either because the next new shiny is right around the corner to pull their attention.

As such: Endgame. Level 1. Must. Be. Finished. At. Launch.

Old Republic made an attempt at this, but in making everything heavily story driven they were limited to one Operation and 5 bosses. That's a shortage of content that's going to be ground into dust in short order.

Likewise, while no software is ever bug free, you've gotta nail those game killers. Old Republic lost a friend of mine when they were doing the final quest for their class, got half way through one of the events, and then the whole thing bugged out; placing them in a position to start all over again.

I shall quote: "Fuck That".

And, out the door they went.

You've got your 60 days folks: get yourself off on the right foot or it's all for naught.

Lesson The Second:
You can have too many servers. The one thing we've learnt from all the "WoW Killing" (1 2 3) that's been attempted over the last few years is that there are at least 1 Million players you can count on to try something new. Old Republic was able to leverage their license to 2 Million. Then half left and most of the servers became ghost towns.

Sometimes I think developers get too excited when they see a whole pile of initial subscribers so I have a bit of advice for them. The trick to a new launch is now as follows: enough servers that people can play, not so many that when the inevitable happens and folks bail your MMO turns into a single player game most nights. Hell, sometimes people complaining about how hard it is to get in is a good thing if it results in a general feeling that people are playing the game en-masse. Even WoW is having to make concessions to the reality that not having people to play with provides a disincentive to continued play via cross-realm zoning; a change that could allow them to eliminate the concept of "server" altogether if they wanted to.

Side note: If you're a competitor working on the next-next WoW Killer, don't be surprised if Titan comes along and doesn't have "servers" at all. Cross Realm Zones is as close as you're going to get to an advanced warning.

So, if you want to avoid server merges on the principle that they make your game: "look like it's dying", don't have too many servers to begin with.

Lesson The Third:
I think the big lesson is that trying to "kill WoW" is pointless.

This is more a conceptual problem for fanboys, investors and media than the developers themselves; they've likely some idea at this point that this is unlikely. I'd suggest WoW's more likely to kill itself than be killed. It's approaching 10 years old, people's /played is getting up there, and general life changes for folks playing since vanilla and are now almost a decade older are going to move them along into other interests with no intervention required from anyone else.

To a certain degree, this is why Blizzard is working on making the game more accessible: the 24-28 year old with work, significant other, and potentially kids to wrangle is harder to lock down into the stock raid night login pattern than the 14-18 year old they were when they first logged into the world and this is even more true for those who are older than that. So, they need to find ways to keep those players involved and feel like they have a reason to log in with the limited free time they may have. In this way Blizzard keeps their community involved in the game, even if they're not digging heavily into the endgame, and it's that community of friends and links that keeps the game at high levels of subscription - even after the drop-offs - and helps to attract even more new people to the game by keeping it in the public eye.

The hardcore may bridle at it, but it's these concessions and new things to do on the side that are likely to keep the game alive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TotD: The Problem Facing Modern Bookstores...

... is that in becoming these giant, sprawling, megastores with comfy chairs, Starbucks Cafes, and welcoming staff they're often now treated as libraries by the customers; someplace to sit and read. In a setting like that, it's no wonder magazine sales are down: there's no grumpy old lady getting cranky or signs on the racks saying "No Reading Allowed!" anymore and folks just loiter. This attitude has spread to the books as well with just as many people sitting around the stacks as there are down by the mag racks.

You honestly have to wonder how many people are there to buy vs read sometimes. Which then makes you wonder how much of a loss leader that is and how long they can continue to support it now that everyone online has stomped over their turf, claimed huge sections of it, and run off entirely with the DVD and Music sales they were supplementing with.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

TotD: Dear Marvel

How did you manage to publish this? On what planet did we need a Black Cat/Wolverine comic where they spend half the thing implying how much sex they're having off panel (or want to have off panel)? It's like a bad slash fiction with the Wolverine as the Author's Mary Sue and Black Cat shoved in as the bondage gear wearing B-Lister you were willing to let slum to service his fantasy.

More importantly, did anyone actually buy it? 'cause it's shit and the fact that there's even a hardcover edition, scares me. For the love of god, not everything with "Wolverine" in the title needs to get to the bookstore....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

RftP: Amazing Spiderman

Lets rub some of the dust off this particular tag 'cause it's time to take the piss out of this reboot...

Don't get me wrong: I think it's a perfectly serviceable piece of entertainment, I just don't think it holds together as a film nor, particularly, as a Spiderman film. In fact, it feels like someone grabbed the Coles Notes Nolan's Batman series and cut and pasted his name in there.

Lets see...
1) tragic parents die in mysterious fashion... check
2) left to be raised by a kindly old man (and woman)... check
3) man who knew your father becomes your mentor... check
4) who you have to beat in the final act... check
5) by preventing him from dispersing an aerosol bomb, being deployed in the middle of the city, with the assistance of the chief of police ... check, check, double check...
6) all while trying trying to earn the love/defend the prettiest girl in school... check
7) who can't act and she has absolutely no on screen chemistry with the lead... wait a sec... how'd the studio manage to fuck that last check up?

Oh, someone let them cast Emma Stone. Duh.

Lets just throw this little round of prognostication out there:

Film two: Spiderman faces off against his most dangerous foe, the manic and demented Green Goblin/Norman Osbourne, driven mad by whatever saves his life and going on a rampage; eventually finding Peter's secret ID and leading to the Death of Gwen Stacey. Peter throws down the mask in depression and walks away....

Film three: The Kingpin is revealed as the man behind Oscorp's schemes, moving out of the shadows to consolidate his hold on New York; forcing Spiderman out into the open again and into the arms of the Black Cat for assistance.


Lets dodge the debate of who did what first and move on.

The real problem here is that, like Green Lantern although nowhere near as bad, the film suffers from trying to be three things: an Origin Story, a Love Story, and setup for a meta-arc and, in so doing, doesn't really service all three particularly well. The film feels rushed and the pacing is seriously off between the scenes. Couldn't we have done the love interest in the second... excuse me for a sec... sorry about that... there's totally not gunman at my door with a pile of review notes from the studio... The love interest is totally necessary to bring the female demographic out to the film. This is a brilliant idea.

This is not being said under duress. There is no need to call 9/11.

But, seriously, can't Gwen Stacey be the girl in school Peter can't get up the courage to do anything about until the second film for once?

Hell, can't we get actual teenagers playing Peter and Gwen too? Is it really that risky to go there? That's not a slight against the actors but it's getting pretty silly seeing a 28 year old pretend to be 18 again... and again...

But I think the thing that really threw me for a loop is at the tail end of the film where our hero, injured, declared public enemy number one by the cops, and doing his best to get to the villain is followed by a News Copter whose ride along reporter declares, in all seriousness: "Will Spiderman be able to make it on time!!!"


Look, the press has no reason to like this guy yet. They don't know whose side he's on; he's a wanted man who just helped trash a school. This is not their line. Their line is to question his intentions and perhaps call out the Cops for not stopping him.

The other line, along with an exclamation of who's on the side of the angels here, belongs to the leader of our final acts grand deus ex machina that stands in the place of our screaming, can throwing, New Yorkers on a bridge.

The fact that they missed something so core to the relationship between Spidey and the media VS the public tells you all you needed to know about where this film misses the mark as a good Spiderman film.

Well, almost. But I don't want to spoil anything.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TyL: Watching Your Package Travel.

View Larger Map
Apparently, it's cost effective to ship to Toronto, ON, CA, from Nashville, TN, US, via Calgary, AB, CA.

The Map should be enough explanation for why I find this surprising.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TyL: From Extensive Beta Experience.

People are apparently searching my blog for an answer to the following question: "what happens with characters mop beta"

I can happily answer this, assuming the inquiry is inline with wanting to know what happens when the beta ends: they get deleted. With extreme prejudice. It involves submersion into magnetic fields and the screams of billions of bits of virtual characters data snuffed out in slow, agonizing, torture.

You know that scene with the Shoe in Roger Rabbit? Worse.

So, no, you won't be able to take your level 85 Pandaren Monk over to the live server, nor your painstakingly grifted AH Gold, or anything else you get over there. Just enjoy your lead time, find - and report! - some of what's broke, maybe spot some of the things you might want to do/get ready to streamline your levelling, and get out when you're not having fun anymore.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

TotD: When the Alien Archaeologists...

... sit down to try and read through the collective remains of our civilization's records the thing that will throw them for the greatest loop won't be the number of languages or dialects. No, what's really going to throw them is trying to figure out which half of the planet reads left to right and which reads right to left.

And then they're going to find the languages written in vertical columns...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TotD: Sherlock S2

Moriarty never intended to kill Sherlock, just make him disappear in the most debasing way possible.

The running theme of the season is Sherlock's rise to fame, starting in Scandal and peaking in Reichenbach. Can you be an effective private detective if everyone knows who you are? Sherlock answers that question himself in a throwaway line in Scandal that could be conveniently summed as: "No". Just as importantly, from Moriarty's point of view, can you fight a shadow war with someone the press keeps the spotlight on? Hell no: that's bad for business and if your business is criminal you don't want to be the known enemy of someone playing centre stage of a media circus.

So, you'd want them off the board but... if that's the case... what's all the talk of an IOU about? Despite the malicious posture, Sherlock's never really stopped Moriarty from doing anything of note yet - he's been more of a thorn - so what's he owed outright for? Well... lets go back to Scandal: it's established in the opening and towards the end that Moriarty and Irene Adler have a working relationship of sorts. Given the outcome of that case, could Moriarty feel that he owes Sherlock a favour? The character's always been designed around a twisted morality when it comes to such things.

So, could he feel that he needs to help Sherlock regain his anonymity to clear a debt and let them get back to their private game? If so, how can he do so thoroughly and without looking like he's trying to do Holmes a favour? Destroy his reputation with extreme prejudice and then rig his death?

Hell, working out the mechanics of that while staying a step in front of Holmes might just be fun too...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FiM: Your Segment is Over There.... Way Over There....

As if Uggs for Men wasn't wrongheaded enough, someone in R&D thought the next breakthrough segment was is the realm of wedding shoes (you will have to select the Australia Store to view).

Because, as we all know, sheepskin boots/slippers coated in sparkles/fluff hair is exactly what every women has secretly been craving to reach for on her wedding day.

But, hey, I'm a guy. What do I know. I could even conceivably be wrong here. Personal experience says otherwise though: the wedding day is the one day most girls - even the most non-girly girl ones - actually want to go girly-girl. In a dressy way, not a "something I'd wear to lounge around the house" way and, while I'm sure Uggs could design a wedding shoe using their staple components, all they've really done here is bleach the basic model white, coat them in sparklys and/or throw some gems on the side, and add extra fluff.

In other words: they've taken comfort wear and dressed it up as gaudy shit that runs up to $225 Australian. The list of people who aren't paid to want that who'll want it is not likely to be that long.

Monday, May 14, 2012

LS: Cleaning up your Mac After Diablo III Beta

For those people who are looking to install Diablo III today to play tomorrow, if you were in the Beta it's suggested you do the following, particularly with regard to step 2:

1. Navigate Mac HD/Applications directory and move your Diablo III Beta to the Trash
2. If You are NOT in the Mists of Pandaria Beta:
Navigate Mac HD/Users/Shared directory and move the folder to the Trash
    If you are in the Mists of Pandaria Beta
open "Mac HD/Users/Shared/" and delete d3 beta setup folder there
3. Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Blizzard directory and remove the Diablo III folder (if it's there)
4. Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences directory and delete any files that begin with com.blizzard (if they're there)

That will clean the Beta files off your Mac and let you get on with a clean install.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TyL: You Can't Just Slap Things On Top of Fries & Curds & Call Yourself a "Poutinerie"

Dear New York Fries,

It is with regret that we must inform you that you are failing miserably in your effort to get into the whole "Poutinerie" business in which places like Smoke's have carved out a niche with custom toppings for their Poutine. There are a few reasons for this, which shall now be provided:

1) Smoke's remembers that, at the core, they're making poutine: which is fries with curds + gravy to melt it. You drop the gravy to be replaced your various toppings and hope it can do the same job; which it often can't because...

2) ... the toppings - particularly the pulled pork I tried tonight which formed up in the surface - are not liquid enough to get down into the body of the poutine and get to the cheese. This is where the gravy comes in to actually make the cheese curds melt but now you end up with just the top surface curds melting and the bottom ones never getting touched because...

3) ... of your insistence on throwing some chips in a basket and then hammering an ice cream scoop of cheese curds down on top as one solid mass. When your toppings aren't liquid enough to penetrate and melt that, you end up with unmelted curds at the bottom and none of the gooeyness you'd expect from poutine. If you'd separate the curds amongst the fries, you'd be better able to come at them from all sides and get them all to melt. With the right liquid heat source.

There are ways to address these issues, but they all involve realizing that what worked for when you were just doing basic poutine doesn't work when you're trying to throw steak chunks on top and you need to either make poutine, and then add steak chunks, or put a whole lot more thought into how you're going to get your curds to melt properly from your steak topping.

That said, we do appreciate that at least you've never tried (to our recollection), to make poutine with crispy fries...

Unlike some people.


Concerned Poutine Lovers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

TotD: Avengers Makes $447.4M

No, this does not mean you're getting more Firefly. Seriously: do not remotely get your hopes up.

The odds that there are any Studio Heads saying anything other than: "Well... Joss is nice and all... but you could give that lineup to Uwe Boll and get a similar result", are pretty slim.

PS: Joss - you killing people is becoming expected. Find another trope to run into the ground. Thanks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

MoP: What Happens In Beta Stays In Beta....



We shall never speak of this again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

TLU: They're Not Alone...

Him: Indeed. I've seen religious wingnuts (of the Muslim variety, at least) argue that women get raped for dressing down.
Me: err, we've had Toronto Police Officers state this; how do you think we ended up with Slut Walk? This preconception is not remotely a Muslim only issue.
Him: Yeah, but Muslims...
Me: I'm sorry, before you go any further I have to ask: have you missed every single "Family" TV show/movie in the history of North American Television? Of the ones that have kids growing up, how many are there without a very special episode/segment where innocent little Tina turns 15 and decides it's time for Mini-Skirts, Tube Tops, and makeup* and dad doesn't go apeshit while mom tries to talk him down.

The opinion that what you wear somehow influences your chance to get raped is not remotely limited to race, religious creed or culture no matter what spin you want to put on it. Hell, from the strict perspective of a risk analyst - that one is increasing their visibility over someone else who "fits in" - there may even be some validity to it. But, as a society we need to throw that line of thought out because the simple fact is that there can be no acceptable justification for the act of rape and when we think otherwise is when we risk going back to the days when "look at her, she was asking for it" saw guys walk because the people in charge of protecting the victim agreed.

* Or the "scandalous" thing of the day - for example I seem to recall an ad for Degrassi:TNG episode all about the "appropriateness" of visible thong strings in the middle of the Thong Song craze

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TotD: Really?

Actual Headline: "Police handcuff, charge 6-year-old girl after kindergarten tantrum"

I'm sorry: what planet do we live on now where you call the cops because someone you can likely pick up with one hand is throwing a fit? I understand we exist in a world where discipline by schools has come under scrutiny but come on: be a fucking adult and do your job...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

MoP: Want This as a Mount

These huge ass detailed lizards brought to you by the Valley of the Four Winds.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TT: No... Just... No...

The Toronto Star ran a story earlier this week about how a Downtown Relief Line would make life easier for the suburbs by relieving congestion on the main lines. This is not incorrect. The following image from the story however...
... yeah, kinda flawed.

The main problem with it is the assumption that the line should run to Union. This would be a categorical mistake because we already know Union will approach capacity around the middle of this century and we need to divert people from there. Not only that, but where's the incentive to users to get off the Bloor line to goto Union to get onto the Yonge Line and backtrack north along one arch or the other? There really isn't one, so the argument that we're going to free up space at Bloor/Yonge this way is flawed.

Because of this, any Downtown Relief Line needs to cross through at Queen so that you both relieve traffic at Union and allow people to cut off some subway stops if they're heading mid-downtown. In fact, an older Toronto Star story about the capacity issues building up shows an Metrolinx projected route that does just that:
This route makes much more sense because you're both intervening further out to divert people from the far east end from Bloor/Yonge and you're diverting them through Queen - Within walking distance or 1 stop from most of the business district where people work/shop.

My primary problem with this later plan is the swing south to Exhibition Place which seems unnecessary given the seasonal use nature of the place at the moment. I'd rather see the west end run straight through to Dufferin/Queen, link up with a new Go Hub there, and divert people from Union at that location before eventually extending through into Etobicoke. With the Streetcar right-of-ways currently in place to service Exhibition Place likely capable of handling the traffic, we could then look to a north/south midtown line to run there in the future should the nature of use for the location change.

Likewise, traffic could be further relieved upon the Yonge line from the East by making use of the Don Mills rail right of way to build out a surface transit line that would run down to the Port Lands as envisioned in the first Toronto Star graphic and could serve to move people between the Bloor, Sheppard, and proposed DRL.

Monday, April 9, 2012

MoP: Because Rubik's Cubes are Cool.

I suspect there's not a Panda friendly model yet.

Friday, April 6, 2012

MoP: Gatekeeper Quest

Sooo, after dealing with my ISP's subcontractor de-provisioning my modem I finally get into the Beta for MoP and run into this 4 quests into trying to roll a Panda:
Why are all those people there? Because someone thought it was a good idea to have a quest where you need to click on an item to get credit and then didn't stop and consider just what would happen if there was only one of the item available for everyone. Little hint: it's called a choke point.

So, now there's 60 some odd toons sitting there; some trying to be "first", some just griefing by body blocking and jumping through your way, and others spamming some macro (that, depending on who you ask, either works or doesn't), in the hope they can progress though the zone. Grouping can help you try and get it done, but the /s spam makes it damned hard for anyone to announce a group. It's poor quest design and really needs to be addressed before the game goes live. Two ways to do it would be:

1) Phase the event so it's your solo run to your solo scroll

2) Change the quest so people in proximity can get credit. This has been done for other quests in the past so shouldn't require much if any new tech.

Hopefully they'll accept that something needs to change because even if this quest is "just fine" 12 months after launch, it's going to be a meat grinder for the first two weeks as is for anyone looking to roll a Panda.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TotD: When it Comes to Brothels...

... Politicians won't legalize someplace they'd have to risk being seen walking in and out of; it might cut into they and their friends ability to order out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rant: An Actual 5 ways to "Fix" the CBC.

First, tell Jeffrey Dvorkin and all his acolytes to go fuck themselves. The CBC is not a god damned private art house network and becoming one isn't going to make you "relevant" with the kids. If you want to know why you've been dying for the last 30 years, it's the fucks like him who find their way into the leadership seat and seem to think there's no necessity to air anything anyone actually gives a damn about on it that are problem one. It's time people remember that the purpose of media is to Entertain AND Inform. If you don't do enough of the former, your ability to do the later becomes limited as your customer base dwindles.

Second, establish and maintain shows that people want to watch. You don't fucking cancel Hockey Night in Canada or Dragon's Den: you use them to drive eyeballs to your other shows. Fundamental Law of Business: people can't purchase what they can't find. In this sense, throwing away flagship programs people actually watch just makes you more irrelevant, not less.

Third, and extending on the second: stop this "We can't air US TV Shows" BS. The CBC needs to remember that the primary purpose of TV is entertainment. So, buy entertainment that people want to watch and use it to drive them to your other shows so people will give them a chance. Follow that up by making your shows the best shows they can be and you might find that they actually stick around instead of die on a cross labeled "No one cares about your backwoods network anymore".

Fourth, while News is important the list of people who want to watch people sit around and talk about it all day is not long and not young either. Seeing to it that your news is quality and relevant is good: depending on it for your entire business model nationally is folly.

Finally, adopt the policy that anyone who complains about you kicking a "private" networks ass on their own turf can go die in a fire. You may be a public entity, but a public entity that makes money for the public is better positioned than one that draws money from the public. Start doing that, and you'll quickly find yourself with a blank check to do what you want with less political interference.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TyL: Sometimes Free is all you Need.

Soooo, when I wiped my computer and installed OS X 10.7 earlier this year I threw away my VMware Fusion 2.0 install... just in time for tax season.

For some reason no one makes tax software for Macs that I can find (at least, north of the border), so I used to just load the software up in a Windows XP VM, plunk in my numbers, and get on with it. As such, I grabbed the install DVD for VMF2.0, slapped it in, and was greeted with a: "Sorry, we'll only install on Intel Macs!" error...

A short Google later I find out 2.0 won't run on 10.7 unless you boot into 32 bit mode. Yeah... no. Not wasting my time rebooting again and again for that. Some more Googling ensues and I find VirtualBox, a VM from Oracle ( and Sun before the purchase), that's conveniently free. WTF, give it a shot before dropping stupid money on a "commercial" VM.

30 Minutes later I'm up and running with no issues. Zippy, more responsive than VMF2.0 at least ever was, and entirely serviceable for the things I'm going to be doing with it.

Don't know if it games - don't care - but if all you need is something to boot Windows Apps from time to time you should be playing around with this before paying for something else.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LS: Should've Been Better At Math.

If you understand statistical analysis, you can likely identify winning scratch tickets just by looking at them and paying attention to the patterns.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TotD: On Real Money Auctions and Diablo 3

People sitting around complaining about service fees to auction virtual goods for real money in Diablo III need to wake up to the following reality about how this system works:

You get to play a game where, on occasion, something may drop during gameplay that someone else is likely to be willing to pay real cash for.

At this point, you can place it in a store operated and maintained by Blizzard, to be presented to willing customers for sale that Blizzard's been kind enough to bring to the store , and then Blizzard is going to do the really messy part of actually getting the money and putting it in your account.

In other words, all the actual work of selling your item is being done in the background while you're more than likely kicking around a dungeon still having fun. No one's going to do that for free and it's really no different a situation than you showing up at a consignment store and being told "This is going to be our cut of the final sale for doing all the hard stuff, take it or leave it". You always have the option to walk at that point but if you want to play you're going to have to play by the shop owners rules. Otherwise, you'd best be prepared to do all the actual work yourself.

Given the reputation of most third parties that have been doing "the actual work" in the past, good luck with that once there's a "legitimate" channel...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

TyL: When $1 Billion isn't $1 Billion.

Rob Ford likes to say: "We've got $1 Billion, lets build the Sheppard Subway out to Victoria Park".

Small problem: he doesn't have $1 Billion. In anything other than monopoly money that is.

What Ford had was an agreement that would've done the following two things: see $333M from the Federal government previously pledged to the Sheppard LRT under Transit City and up to $650M from the Provincial government if there was money left over from tunnelling all of Eglinton; a conditional which, given the history of these kinds of projects, is a pretty big given to accept at face value. Now, City Council tossed that agreement to the curve when they began overruling the Mayor on this file and established their own agenda so, at this point, one has to question where that money really lands. I suspect you could make a fairly safe argument that City Council is now positioned to decide where that money goes and that the Federal and Provincial money will flow back to a Sheppard LRT they were originally intended to fund and no longer be available for anything else.

If that's the case at the end of the day, then there's no money for subway stops at all and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

TotD: Kickstarter Fever

We've had two successful Kickstarter projects now and much fanfare about potentially being able to revive classic PC gaming genres, or even titles, through crowd source financing. The first is Double Fine Adventure; a project that sees to reunite Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert to make a classic old school adventure game and saw the public donate just under $3.34 Million to get it off the ground. Meanwhile, immediately on the coattails of this Brian Fargo has successfully raised the minimum required to see to it his project will be funded to create Wasteland 2: a sequel to a classic apocalyptic RPG from the late 80's.

So, a few thoughts today:

a) Kickstarter makes financing these things possible, but it's digital distribution avenues like Steam that makes them practical. Without this advent, these companies would run into the simple reality of finding themselves with a product but hindered by a distribution model that requires them to get buyers to be willing to purchase it. Steam eliminates corporate buyers and lets you go straight to the consumer; a good thing when you consider that Kickstarter just ate Gamestop's Pre-Order money to finance making the game. We'll get back to that later reality in a minute.

b) While these projects have been successful, they're both backing either noted creators and/or existing IP fan bases. While smaller projects have been financed through the method, we're still waiting on the new IP/unknown creator lining up $1M+ to make something that "can't be done under the studio system".

c) I'm hoping the DFA Pitch Video doesn't become the template by which all others are created because the Wasteland one shows you where copying it can go wrong when Comedy isn't your strength. Also, one suspects you're only going to be able to go "Big Gaming Hates You!!!!" so many times before the audience is going to tune you out. I'd like to see some different videos that play to the strengths of their creators and focus more on selling their game than bitching about market realities.

d) The truly interesting question here is this: are we simply letting Pre-Order money flow to the creators instead of Gametop, and putting it way up front instead of after the game is in the home stretch (Duke Nukem Forever notwithstanding), or will there be substantial purchasing power that remains on the backend. I'd say the answer will likely turn out to be 50/50 and likely comes down to how well the games are received when they are released. Which makes for an appendix question: if the end product turns out to be "crap", what effect does this have on people's willingness to continue participating in this "front end finance a game" model in the future?

Those are questions we really want to be able to answer to determine the long term feasibility of this business model but really can't until products start to ship.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TyL: We Couldn't Predict This...

... is a commonly presented viewpoint by businesses when "bad things" happen.

Lets consider a rather large "bad thing": The Fukushima Disaster last year. Supporters of nuclear power and TEPCO themselves like to fall back on the "unpredictability" of the event as their primary defence.

Sadly, the record proves them wrong.

An AP report from March 27 2011 gets to the crux of the issue1. In summary, in 2001 papers were first published detailing the geological information that was building up about the Jogan/Sanriku earthquake and tsunami of 869 indicating that it was both more dangerous than previously thought and that there appeared to be evidence of an 800 to 1100 year cycle period for it. This made the possibility of a similar earthquake happening soon increasingly likely as we moved into the 21st century. TEPCO's response was to ignore the evidence, going as far as to try and argue it was "unreliable":
In a 2007 paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Pure and Applied Geophysics, two Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees and three outside researchers explained their approach to assessing the tsunami threat to Japan’s nuclear reactors, all 54 of which sit near the sea or ocean.

To ensure the safety of Japan’s coastal power plants, they recommended that facilities be designed to withstand the highest tsunami “at the site among all historical and possible future tsunamis that can be estimated,” based on local seismic characteristics.

But the authors went on to write that tsunami records before 1896 could be less reliable because of “misreading, misrecording and the low technology available for the measurement itself.” The Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees and their colleagues concluded, “Records that appear unreliable should be excluded.”
In other words, when the facts don't fit our version of reality, discard.

This would almost be excusable in a: "Well, that's big business for you", sense of apathy if not for further reporting by the New York Times last week2. In this article, the Times spells out how the regulatory agencies were executing similar dances with presentations of data related to the Jogan earthquake as well:
One of those whose warnings were ignored was Kunihiko Shimazaki, a retired professor of seismology at the University of Tokyo. Eight years ago, as a member of an influential cabinet office committee on offshore earthquakes in northeastern Japan, Mr. Shimazaki warned that Fukushima’s coast was vulnerable to tsunamis more than twice as tall as the forecasts of up to 17 feet put forth by regulators and Tepco.

Minutes of the meeting on Feb. 19, 2004, show that the government bureaucrats running the committee moved quickly to exclude his views from debate as too speculative and “pending further research.” None of the other 13 academics on the committee objected. Mr. Shimazaki’s warnings were not even mentioned in the committee’s final report two years later.
Ahh, government happily falling back on: Hear No Evil, See no Evil.

At this point, we could stop and go: "Well, no one wanted to hear it. What do you expect?", but... at the tail end of the article we find out that TEPCO finally ran the numbers in house in 2008... promptly shat themselves, and then sat on the stinking pile for a year... releasing some of the revised numbers to the regulators in 2009... threw a tarp over the rest and fled the room for another two years before finally releasing what would happen if a 50' wave of the kind that eventually crippled the plant to regulators on March 7th 2011: 4 days before the fatal blow, and 3 years after they knew they were going to need to do something to address this.

Here's where we hit the "stop" button on the "unpredictable" argument folks: people knew this was coming but they also knew what this was going to cost to fix. However, instead of paying that bill, they rolled the dice that it wouldn't happen "soon" and now we've got a 30 Km exclusion zone in north-east Japan to show for it. When it comes to failing at craps, I wouldn't let these guys within a 1000 KM of Vegas in order to ensure Japan stays a sovereign nation and not a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Inc.

Compare and contrast with this3 LA Times story from village of Murohama in the affected area: when the Jogan tsunami ravaged the area 1000 years ago many residents in the town went to the lower of two hills and were swept away by the waves. The survivors built a shrine on that hill and the story was passed down through generations of what happened that day. When the earthquake hit on March 11th 2011, the populace instead moved en mass to the taller hill this time and watched the other be inundated by the waves.

Imagine that: learning from and responding to history. Perhaps TEPCO should've done the same and then they wouldn't be in a position where they have to try and hand wave it.

1."Japan utility used bad assumptions to conclude nuclear plant was safe from tsunami": March 27, 2011, AP.
2. "Nuclear Disaster in Japan Was Avoidable, Critics Contend": March 9th, 2012, NYT.
3. "Japan's 1,000-year-old warning": March 11, 2012, LA Times.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TotD: TIFF Bell Lightbox...

... is doing a Ghibli Festival in which they note Grave of the Fireflies is a masterpiece of the house, but won't be showing it.

Guess suicide insurance was too expensive.

Monday, March 5, 2012

FiM: How to Annoy a Community in 3 Easy Steps

1) Hire/Assign a representative to act as liaison to the Community and announce to great fanfare.

2) Let them begin working with the community on getting answers to their questions.

3) Release them from Employment with you 6 days after they get the questions and 23 days after you've sent them in during a round of layoffs.

<insert facepalm here>

Seriously guys, did no one stop and question just how big of a tease and/or douche this was going to make you look? Worse, it seems no one had any answers prepared for when the natives have found out and want to know where all the projects this guy was running are going to land.

It's one thing to miss the former, it's a complete other to miss the latter because you had to have known the question would be coming.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

TotD: On Iran and Nukes.

If Israel bombs Iran to "stop them from getting nukes", it will likely start a significant period of unrest if not outright war in the Middle East with a high risk of uniting the region against them.

If Iran gets Nukes and uses one against Israel, turning several important Muslim holy sites into dead zones for the next decade or two, does anyone actually think the outcome is going to be celebration in the region?

Your answer to this likely depends on whether or not you're in the school that Muslims are what I'd all "classical" anti-semites (i.e.: they hate Jews for nailing Christ to a cross), or have their own current reasons (i.e.: they kicked cousin Paly off his land), that are just reinforced and referenced by dogma as is wont to happen when people get angry and political/religious leaders look to assign blame.

My answer is this: if Iran, or any of their proxies, turns those religious sites "into glass" they have more to fear from their own populace and the rest of the Muslim nations than they do from Israel and they damned well know it. This is why, while the idea of a nuclear Iran doesn't remotely thrill me at all from a "world needs less capacity to destroy itself, not more" perspective, it doesn't particularly scare me either.

At the end of the day, self preservation has always been a startlingly effective deterrent when it comes to these things.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rant: Subways in Toronto. This Bullshit has to Stop.

Toll roads are an option, he said, but rather than put tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, Councillor Ford proposed new purpose-built freeways through the city.

“On a nickel a kilometre — it’ll bring in $200 million a year,” he said, noting it would cost “a good chunk” to build new highways, but then all revenues could flow to subway construction. He said he would happily pay $3 to whiz downtown from Etobicoke rather than be stuck in Gardiner gridlock.
Excuse me. I need to go scream at the heavens for a bit...


No, still need to find my happy place... BRB...


Ok... heres the problem folks. The Fords want to build subways but no one wants to pay taxes or development fees to finance them, they also don't have the cajones to admit they screwed up when they canceled a revenue stream that could have paid for Subways when they bought votes with tax cuts, and so now we find then unable to bankroll their big platform idea.

Remember this key detail, because it's important: there's no money for their little project. Zero, zilch, nada. Not only that, but even the Chong plan has now been debunked by City Hall staff outside the "disloyal" TTC who found the revenue projections overly optimistic and the case still ~$1 Billion short at the end of the day before said projections crashed into the wall that was reality.

So, again, there is no money.

Having realized this Doug, who's supposedly the "smarter" brother, now suggests the solution is to build new freeways (because, again folks, no cajones to place tolls on existing freeways to be found here), and toll those because it seems that while there is no money for subways there is money in some dark recess of City Hall for that.

Sorry, but I call bullshit.

Here is what's going to be needed to get "new" freeways built in Toronto:

1) Environmental Assessment of Routes which means millions of dollars and years spent chasing our tails just to plot the trail.

2) Mass expropriation of land. Unless you want to tunnel the whole thing (hey, that's only a few hundred million a kilometre, if you're lucky. Just ask Boston), you're going to have to buy people out of the way because there is very little open space left within the city. With ramshackle huts in this town going for $500K a pop, this will amount to hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. Oh, and court cases to tie the process up for a few more years.

3) OMB Reviews. Yes, even those folks who don't get their land expropriated are going to be pissy when you announce there's now going to be a freeway through their neighbourhood. Have fun sitting around the court table for another few years.

4) Yay! Maybe we can get to construction now! That'll just cost a few billion and, take 5 to 10 years as they split out the payouts to construction over multiple years, and play havoc on city traffic flow as we tear up existing streets, build overpasses, and off/on ramps. No problems there at all....

So, I'd say a safe, conservative estimate, is that about 15 to 25 years from now and Billions later you'll get freeways to pay for subways. Good thing Mr Mammoliti and "Finch Area Residents" are willing to wait 50 years to get them 'cause that would the the optimistic timeframe as I'm willing to bet cold hard cash that Tolls will have to pay all this back before they can be directed to feed subways.

One small little problem: if there's no fucking money to pay to build subways where's the money going to come for this???

The private sector? Well, lets stop, look, and listen for a second. Doug suggests a Toll of 5 cents a kilometre. The 407 ETR charges 19-25 cents/km depending on the time of day. Thus, if you're looking to the private sector I suggest you try again off your meds 'cause they're affecting your perception of reality: they're going to want far more than 5 cents.

Sooooo, without a much higher fare we're likely back to the public sector spending billions in the hope that someday they might be able to make money to build something else.

Suggestion: if we have the billions to build new freeways we damned well have the billions to build the subways that make them irrelevant. Or we don't; remember point one folks. In the later case, council really needs to put an end to the Rob and Doug show so we can get back to legitimate discussion of how to get this done because the current spittle coming from their foaming little mouths is inarguably full of it and amounts to little but a continuation of pander beyond measure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

TyL: It's Not Me, It's You...

Sportnet Hockey Central Crew: Waaaahhhhhh!!!!! There've been no trades yet!!!! We have nothing to talk about!!!! Trade Deadline Day sucks if the GM's don't do anything!!!!!
NHL GM's: Maybe you whiney bitches should wait for the deadline before doing your show then so you actually have something to talk about, eh?

For reference, the banality of the 12 hour Hockey Trade Deadline show here in Canada has been discussed here before.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rant: The Raid Finder

A lot of people seem to misconstrue the purpose of this addition for some reason; mostly because they have their own agenda of victimization to perpetuate. For the record, it's not about "catering to the casuals" i.e.: Bads". It's about trying to recreate the far more active raiding scene from Wrath that's largely died out with the launch of Cataclysm for various reasons - primarily the loss of gear prestige from 25 man raiding.

It was that gear differential the encouraged a lot of alt raiding amongst guilds who often couldn't field a second full 25 man roster to attack the raid that week. That lack of personnel "in house" created a whole lot of opportunities for the people with limited play time to simply log in and go hit a raid because Trade would be actively spammed during the evenings. Now, with 25 man raiding diminished and 10 man raiding on the rise there's a lot less action on Trade looking for groups - 'specially once you're off the high pop servers. In addition, a lot of those Trade groups are looking to fill 10 slots, with DPS often filling quick and Tanks/Healers being the only things in demand.

So, the people with no interest in guilding up or unable to meet raid times frequently find themselves locked out; left with little to do once they've Heroic Cap'd and few reasons to log on until the next patch. Raid Finder exists address that need and it's a benefit for everyone. People in your guild who can't make raids for some reason (say, a work schedule shift),now have an avenue to keep up somewhat on their spare time so they're not as far behind when they can come back to the roster. New players get to sample raiding and, perhaps, get an itch to try the full blown thing which brings in fresh blood. Time limited players get their Wrath raiding levels back so they don't walk away and lower your server pop/drive up the economy by stopping to gather things needed for raids.

Someone else can likely come up with more but those alone are reasons that make the RF worth having regardless of your personal stance on who's "wrecking the game".

Friday, February 24, 2012

LS: For Future Reference.

When I get a new computer later this year, I shall have to try this.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

TotD: Douchebagicus Gameramus

Easily identified by their frequent use of the word "Casual" as an insult without any sense of irony or the impression of self-absorbed asshole they're giving out. This animal is often found screaming to high heaven about "how easy the game is!!!!!!" whilst hiding behind a level one alt softly nuzzling their links to Elitist Jerks in the belief that knowing where it is and having read it somehow makes them similarly 'l33t, despite never stepping foot inside a raid.

Mostly harmless- unless you invite them to a run. Then they will likely die to their own stupidity and inability to follow instruction or accommodate the current situation whilst cursing you all as "fails" for not keeping their awesome rotation tunnelling skills alive. As such, best avoided and left in the corner where you found them, quietly mumbling about events that either never happened or are now filtered through nostalgia glasses 30' thick.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GP: The Burger's Priest.

The Burger's Priest caught a little buzz last week here in TO thanks to picking up a Zagats ranking of third on places to eat in Toronto. With locations out in Scarborough on Queen East and between Lawrence and York Mills on Yonge, here's what you need to know:

1) If you're the kind of person who expects to walk in, get your burger in 1 minute, and go sit down: you're missing the point. This is not McDonalds: everything is cooked to order so you best be prepared to wait a bit.

2) Whether or not it's the "best burger you've ever had" is subjective and perhaps a bit hyperbolic. You'd have to have pretty specific taste buds to not at least say that it's good comfort food though 'cause it is. Just a basic simple ground beef burger topped to your specs and cooked until it's done. In the "what was in here that was going to kill you is now dead" sense, not the "charred to a crisp" sense. So, it stays nice and juicy with a good amount of flavour. (note that this is the default, if you want well done, ask for it)

Its not a place I'd eat at all the time, but it's definitely one of those worth poking your head into now and then to treat yourself to a nice snack.

WoW: Enhancement MoP Talents + Skills (V2.0).

Zee MoP Talent Calculator has been updated today. The big change is that the Mobility tier has been taken out and some tiers have been shifted around. The "control" tier of roots and knock backs has been moved to Tier 2 and has seen Repulsion Totem replaced with Windwalk Totem from the lost mobility tier. Tier 1 is now the defensive cool down tier which remains largely the same, some numbers have been shifted around, but most notably Stone Bulwark Totem only regenerates to about one third it's initial drop value every 5 seconds now.

Tier 6 can now be found at Tier 3, but Elemental Harmony has been given the chop which makes me sad. In its place is now Call Of The Elements: a 5 minute cool down that resets your totem cool downs. Which could make for some interesting Elemental usage in PvE, but is nowhere near as useful as being able to drop Stone Bulwark Totem and Earthgrab, and Tremor all at the same time would've been; perhaps why they shot it. Following that, Totemic Restoration now no longer restores totems but, instead, simply reduces the cool down on them by half the runtime time that would've been remaining when they were killed - up to 50%. Totemic Projection remains unchanged.

Tier 5 is now Tier 4 and sees the same abilities in place but cleaned up to make more sense. Elemental Mastery is now straight 30% haste for 20 seconds and no instant cast; turning it into a mini-Heroism/Bloodlust on a 2 minute cool down that actually does something for us now. Ancestral Swiftness, if I'm reading it right, now provides a constant 5% melee and spell haste passively while also acting as an instant cast cool down on a 1 minute timer. Booming Echos remains the same and I suspect the question in the damage tier comes down to this: do you need to burst down targets at specific time windows (think Spine)? EM. Then wait for the math folks to sort out which of BE and AS works best in fights that favour more consistent output over burst.

Closing things out for the moment, as Tier 6 is currently empty, Tier 4 now becomes Tier 5 with no significant changes that I can see.

Two other things are worth mentioning as the spell tree also got a bit more fleshed. Firstly, there appears to be no plan to replace the Haste Totems at the moment. Instead, it looks like all Shaman will be bringing 5 straight up Mastery points - not rating: know the difference - to the raid via a new ability: Grace of Air. All Shaman also will currently bring the Wrath spell power buff via Burning Wrath. Secondly, our level 87 spell has been added and is apparently a transformative ability called Ascendance on a 3 minute cool down lasting 15 seconds with different effects/forms for each spec. We only care about one of those here: "While in the form of an Air Ascendant, auto-attacks and Stormstrike deal pure Nature damage and have a 30-yard range."

Now that will make bosses with zone clear mechanics a bit more interesting, won't it....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rant: Dear Toronto News Media...

... I do so love how you're looking at Karen Stintz's new transit plan and being positively gleeful about Rob Ford being "dealt another defeat". You even went out and got quotes and everything from "supporters" on council "hopeful" that the mayor will "come on side".

What you seem to be ignoring is a simple reality: Rob Ford is going to be quite happy to run his next campaign with a list of "those big bad councillors" who "prevented him from getting things done".

In other words: he doesn't give a shit if he loses; it's just more ammo for next time.

The longer you twits at the Toronto Star continue to shove your head up your ass gloating while ignoring the reality that the people who "support" Rob Ford aren't going to end up that list and, in fact, are likely running cover for what basically amounts to the Mayor's office becoming increasingly aware that the private sector isn't inclined to foot the bill for one metre of the Sheppard extension (as I pointed out would likely happen), the longer you're giving him press to point to to back up his claim. Now, because we're at the point where consensus is that there's little to no money for extending Sheppard coming from the private sector, this means anyone with an ounce of sense realizes we need to come up with money from somewhere to get a token station built. Token? Remember: even while saying he's having problems lining up money Gordon Chong, the man in charge of finding the fictional private sector money, has maintained an expectation that getting another station done on that line is the minimum goal to show that the "Mayor has done something".

So, going forward with knowledge of the actual purpose of this station, the worst part is that we need to come up with money to get a token station built at the wrong end of the fucking line.

Why do I say that? Well, consider the following: in 2015 the Spadina Subway extension will be opening so... how are we planning to move the people to be coming in from the 905 from the Spadina line to the Yonge Line? How about those from the Yonge Line looking to go north? Ahhhh, yes... busses. In other words, increased traffic on the already overcrowded Finch bus line and/or the continuation of the Express busses on Sheppard. In the later case, busses you'd otherwise be looking to take off the route once the subway runs to York University since that's the primary reason for their existence at the moment.

But, what happens if you run the Sheppard line West to Downsview instead of East one stop to Victoria Park/Consumers Road? You move all those people looking to move to/from the Yonge line off of busses and onto a 2-3 stop subway trip, that's what. This serves much more of a purpose than shaving 5 minutes off a bus trip along Sheppard to Don Mills station. Even more relevant, this stretch of Sheppard is also seeing significant redevelopment and a bit of a condo boom - especially closer to Downsview station.

Because of this, there's more sense going West than East in the grand scheme of things if your goal is to improve the interconnectivity of the transportation network. On the other hand, the only reason to goto Victoria Park is entirely political and going to be praised by the Mayor as a win even while he's lambasting his opponents for putting the far end of the Eglinton Crosstown above ground (along a stretch of road 7-8 lanes wide. i.e.: where there's room). The Toronto Star in particular could stand to be slapped out of their current "Looossssinnggg" Charlie Sheen-esque drug infused daydream in that regard.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lazy Friday: Two Hours of Your Life...

... you decide if it was worth it or not. StarWarsUncut was a crowd sourcing project in which the challenge was to shoot a 15 second section of the film and post it to the site. This:

Is the end result. Enjoy, but pay attention because there's things slipped in there you'll miss otherwise.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

TotD: You Know...

... with all the whining, kvetching, and general "Everyone's in fear for their lives!!!" headlines leading up to Rickey Gervais' second run at the Golden Globes quite possibly the biggest joke he could pull would be to walk out on stage and be unbearably nice to everyone.

Or would that be too meta?

LS: Someone's Monday Productivity = 0%

Transmog Fashion

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TyL: Balsamic Fig & Maple...

...marinade from Sobeys should have a: "Only Use in Well Ventilated Spaces" warning on it. Stuff is seriously fucking toxic on the senses. I just had to wash up every thing that I cooked it in and ate it off of 'cause it was starting to irritate my throat and make me feel like I needed to vomit well after the actual meal itself.

Then I bleached the sink because it was still wafting up the drainpipe.

I'm not remotely joking here. Avoid.

Friday, January 6, 2012

DGtCDB: The Siege of Wyrmrest Temple (LFR Edition)

My Annotated Video Guides to the four Siege of Wyrmrest Temple fights in LFR. I'm undecided if I'm going to do this for the last four. Too much griefing and general bullshit happens back there and I'd rather not have to spend a month chasing clean feeds.


Yor'sahj the Unsleeping:

Warlord Zon'ozz:


Happy hunting folks.

Rant: Lion Scroll What???

So, get the computer back with two shiny new fans installed and decide now is as good a time as any to do a clean install and move to OS X.7 Lion. Get it in, goto play WoW and... wait a second.... why am I zooming in when I should be zooming out. Hmm... I can flop mouse up for mouse down in Keybinds and that fixes it but why is it doing this in the first place?

This is why:

"Move Content in..." + "Scroll Direction Natural" are linked; the later is what makes the page scroll down when you use the two finger up on the Trackpad and up when you two finger down. Unfortunately, because they're linked this also makes the mouse scroll wheel behave the same way and you can't set them individually so you can have them act in ways you're used to. It would be really nice if that were not the case because the wheel on the mouse is conceptually different in use from the trackpad and it's behaviour should not be tied to that device; especially when the settings are individual on the control panel.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Rant: WTF is it Doing, Line Auditing the Code?

I've gotta take my laptop in 'cause there's a processor fan that definitely doesn't like being under load anymore and I'd really like to get at least 3-8 months more out of it. Soooooo, for giggles I'm like: "Lets see how WoW runs on this NetBook I've got in the meantime. Low res, AMD Graphics instead of Intel, who knows, maybe marginally playable...." Just to be safe, I'd started it running WindowsUpdate at about 23:15 local time.

It's now 1:37 and we're on patch 28 of 30 with the end nowhere in sight.

If I'm lucky, maybe it'll be done in the morning. Or it'll find more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012