Sunday, December 26, 2010

Net Chaotic Neutrality

I was watching C-span again, and I saw a FCC debate about "Net Neutrality". I really hate the Net Neutrality debate, because it's bullshit. 100% bullshit.

The basic debate is that someone got the idea that ISPs could boost some sites or services over others. That caused everyone to freak out and scream about censorship and the end of the Internet. Okay it's a tad more complex then that, but that's the basic idea.

There are two main reasons why the whole argument is bullshit:
1. If a ISP does something to block or slow down sites in ways that consumers don't like, those consumers are more then free to choose another ISP.
2. People WILL find a way around any sort of block or slowdown. Any attempt to make some programs work faster will be emulated with other programs. Hackers will always find a way to bypass anything thrown at them.
3. People on the internet do not play by the rules. Attempt to control them and they will destroy you. Period. You really thing any company will survive 4chan's rage when they are put on a shit list?

In short, Net Neutrality is bullshit because the net is already neutral. In fact it's chaotic neutral. Laws and rules mean nothing to the internet, nor does money or social status. The internet will not die unless it's users abandon it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


For a while now I have been caught up in a dilemma regarding my PSP. See people have made all sorts of stuff for the PSP, and much of it is actually much better then the official stuff made for it.

But Sony wants to make sure all the software run on the device is sanctioned by them. They claim they want to stop piracy but as they already have various ways of encrypting games and allowing limited "user mode" access, it's obvious the real reason is something else. I have heard that Sony has a rather odd strategy of undercharging for the device and making most money with development kits. As a result of course, hackers can't help but bypass Sony's silly little protection, which just opens the device up to pirates, where as if they just allowed limited user mode homebrew, most hackers wouldn't bother.

Anyway, the result of this was that every time Sony would limit the device, hackers found a way to unlock it. Then Sony would scramble to fix the bugs hackers exploited, and hackers would come up with new ways to bypass it. Up until a while ago the hackers always ended up on top. But my PSP was wearing down and last year I got a new one to replace it. This time hacking became harder and harder, needing all sorts of special stuff. I never got into homebrew as much after that.

Now, today I got some new games that require an upgrade to play which will make me unable to use exploits without buying some dumb game I have no interest in. I have heard promises of a new thing that may come out soon that will totally open up the psp again. But reliable information is becoming harder and harder to find as the psp hacking community fills up with false hope and crappy news. So you know what? Screw it. Now I have a laptop. If the exploit I hope for comes out, great. If not, oh well I will have to settle for playing the actual games.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Registry Locks

Attention software programmers: If you want to use window's registry system to store data, do me and yourself a huge favor:


It's a badly designed badly implemented system filled with idiotic obscure CLSIDs and stupid shit, and if I have to clean up another botched install by deleting obscure keys no one can find, I will seriously hunt you all down and force you all to program software with the use in mind for once.

You know back in the day we put configuration in a file in the same directory of the application. That people, ya know, knew where it was and how to edit it. I know! Allowing the user to modify stuff! How crazy and primitive! Also we could delete stuff without worrying about tedious uninstall processes. So glad we got out of that and decided to make things 500 times more complicated! That sure improved user efficiency! We even had system configuration in files and people could actually change it with a text editor! Surly that is madness! I mean all the service people would be out of a job if configuration settings were actually easy to fix!

There is only one appropriate thing to do at this point

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Creepy, isn't it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exploring the Metaverse

Virtual Reality is one of those things people used to think was cool, but now is almost universally acknowledged as a stupid idea. Even putting aside the silly goggles and huge gyroscope equipment made to make you feel in the game, which isn't necessary anyway because, as anyone who plays games seriously will tell you, it's easy to get caught up in the experience on your own (I have felt the heat of Norfair plenty of times without fancy neural interfaces). Despite (or maybe even because of) all the silly Hollywood crap where people become trapped in some virtual reality, the interest in that kind of thing is rapidly draining away. Maybe I will feel different when there is a non-invasive full neural interface that let me feel sex over the internet or something, cause goodness knows I am not getting any in real life. Also I would be a girl of course. Er I mean... anyway moving on...

But although the idea of hooking yourself up to a computer sounds sillier and sillier, using computers to make neat virtual worlds to play around with has not. Games seem to be going more in the wide open sandbox direction, and MMORPGs are becoming as much if not more for the social interaction then the game it's self.

But sometimes it goes farther then that. There are programs like Second Life which, while they have gameplay elements, really have no game to them at all. A long while ago, I played around with Second Life. It was fun to build and script things and occasionally to play with people in various role playing games that people liked doing. The problem was in my mind that it didn't really go anywhere. Everyone I met there I only knew from in the world, and while I fiddled around designing stuff I had no real goal or artistic vision. So I got bored and left, as I tend to do with all online things after a while. I lasted longer then some games though. Maybe cause I liked building stuff.

Second Life had some noticeable problems though. For one thing all the world is user constructed and almost everything can be brought with real money. I guess MMORPGs are doing that too and you can often find players selling in-game things for money, but in this system your not paying for something you have to grind to get, your paying for essentially art and/or tools.

A fairly interesting digital rights management system is in place that remembers the owner and creator of each type of object, and assigns permissions to them. The owner can restrict your ability to change or copy the object as they wish (along with other things). There is one important difference between this system and most digital rights management systems. Most others try and control something you have on your computer, but this only is for connecting to the shared world. Honestly if digital rights management worked in such a way with other things it might not be a problem.

Surprisingly enough, it actually sort of WORKS this way, although some programs can capture copies of the object, but I am not sure if all the information can be retained. Scripts are run on the server, so you may never see them, but almost everything else can be captured on a client I guess. But if you abuse copying other people's stuff, they will just kick you off the world and won't let you back in.

For this reason, whole companies can spring up providing virtual world content, and even some real life companies get into it, especially clothing manufactures and fashion designers. The problem is, almost everything sold is useless. Not only is there a lot of free stuff that does the same thing, it's a frigging imaginary world for goodness sake. Do people really care about making up their digital avatar that much? I guess so but it seems silly to me. Even some of the more "useful" tools really aren't worth any thing. The most useful thing I ever made was a special invisible ball that could let me hear things people said from far away and could also say things so I could make it look like something else was talking if I was clever. I also made commands to make it vanish with a command if I needed. Honestly it was a pretty cool thing, but I am sure others have made something better and I never got all the bugs worked out. Even still about the only think I could use it for is spying and pulling pranks.

And that brings me to another problem. The users. Half of the people in it join stupid little clubs and spend time dressing up and doing stupid stuff. A few play games, but they arn't really very interesting ones and most of the users are either sex freaks who like to do things with fake 3D dongs and fake vaginas, which you can buy in vending machines... beat that Japan! You may have panties but Second Life has whole private parts! Others usually sit around and talk about stupid stuff or just do nothing. Sometimes you can even earn money by sitting and doing nothing. No joke. But it takes forever so unless you want to stay online 24 hours a day for a dollor, don't bother.

And worse, Second Life has such a bad reputation and people have nothing better to do so there are often waves of greifer attacks which fill the map with self replication penises or send people in to orbit. You think the first would be easy to fix by having replication limits and commands to mass delete items for admins, but apparently they never thought that far ahead. Also there is a combat system but no one ever uses it because users are basically unrestricted with what kind of objects they can make and how powerful they can be. Funny thing, objects and users do have an "energy" number that is used when they do something, and in theory you should be able to use this to enforce some sort of limit on things, but they don't.

Still, I have often thought about looking into it again, now that OpenSim exists. It is nice to make things, but if I could do that by setting up a private local OpenSim server to play with is there a point to the whole online thing? And without some game features and such I think I will quickly be bored. Maybe I should look more into Gerry's Mod instead, I hear that has interesting movie features, but I would have to install steam and stuff again.

Eh too lazy for both anyhow. Should get back to hacking.

Monday, December 6, 2010


And now, random thought theater:

Really I think one of the biggest problems with the universe is people think there is a problem with the universe. There is just no real ideal state and people assume something is wrong because it's not "perfect". But the universe works exactly the way it's intended to. It's just a chaotic place and it's us who sort things into "good" and "bad". So really, I wish people would realize there is no "way it is meant to be", and instead focus on the "way it could be".

I had a dream a while ago that I was a friend with a sort of artsy-fartsy musician type. He experimented with different sounds and musical styles and asked me if I had any interesting suggestions for his next song. The answer I came up with is something I would really like to see done. Basically I suggested the next time he came up with a song, to document his creative process and the various revisions from first writing it down or entering it into a computer to each major revision and addition, as well as documenting all the tools, programs, and sound sources he used. I really think that would be neat to see. I woke up shortly after so I didn't really see the result in my dream though.

I wrote a review on the Quest For Glory series the other day, mostly talking about how it avoided a lot of the pitfalls of the adventure game genre and added a interesting new spin on it with roleplaying game stuff. I also wrote a review of One Must Fall a while ago. Both introduce lots of character growth and customization to a otherwise rather uninteresting genre. I guess I just like that sort of thing.

Going way way back, Roger Ebert (who should need no introduction) once made comments about video games not being art (which he has since party taken back). I have already ranted about if they could or not, and came with the conclusion that they could (but not always for the reasons people expect). But thats not what I wanted to comment on. I wanted to comment on the reaction he got. Even though his arguments are misguided (as he himself pointed out later), I think the idea that he is simply "old" or "out of touch" is sort of sad. The fact is, people seem to insert a wedge between generations or social groups. The "old" think games are trash and won't play them, the "young" think older things are likewise crap. In fact this is the exact kind of thing I mentioned before between the government and the people. And it's not that they can't understand one another, they just don't even try. Oh well.

The other day I found a online copy of the Principia Discordia, which is pretty neat because I always wanted to read it, though most of it seems like fluff. It always gets me thinking that maybe I should start my own religion, one that combined my metaphysical ramblings with more of a structured mythology. The point would be not literal truth but to teach people how to construct their own religius ideas, and the consequences of using them. I donno.

Anyway yeah.