The Socialist Country formally known as Australia!

Australia is proposing a new law that would put you in jail for ten years for refusing to unlock your phone.

The Australian government wants to force companies to help it get at suspected criminals’ data. If they can’t, it would jail people for up to a decade if they refuse to unlock their phones. The country’s Assistance and Access Bill, introduced this week for public consultation, strengthens the penalties for people who refuse to unlock their phones for the police. Under Australia’s existing Crimes Act, judges could jail a person for two years for not handing over their data. The proposed Bill extends that to up to ten years, arguing that the existing penalty wasn’t strong enough…

via Slashdot

I think the existing two year penalty is bad enough.

China or Australia…starting to look like the same country to me.

However, Australian women are gorgeous so there’s that.

Battlefront II Imbalances

I don’t expect everyone who reads this website to understand how Battlefront II works. With that being said, I intend to rant about something that I believe is important to good gameplay. Balance.

The reason I bring this up is because I just played a game where one side would never possibly win. The way the game works is that when you accumlate enough battle points by either playing objectives or taking out enemy players you can upgrade your character to something even better and more powerful.

I believe an imbalance occurs when one side achieves a level where they have been able to claim most of the better player slots and the other side is never able to recover. If the light saber welding folks are hard to kill and they can pretty much kill any other player without a light laber, how would the other side ever be able to counteract that?

I’m not complaining just for the sake of complaining. I’ve been on both sides of this. On a team that just couldn’t be beaten and the team that always was. Here is how I would fix the imbalance. I would only allow one light saber weilding player per side per game. Let’s face it, Kylo Ren wasn’t present at Naboo so why should that character be able to play? In most cases other than the clone wars, light saber weilding players were low. There were only a few per side. Why not keep it that way in Battlefront II?

That is why in some cases, one side can never win. It is real jackassery on the part of Electronic Arts if you think about it. They gutted the original layout of the game to begin with and for those of us who were there at the beginning, they offered an olive branch for those who lost points, credits, and crystals and then never allowed anyone to cash it in. Well, you had a time limit but they never told you that. Sorry, I digress.

I love the game and as a veteran, I know that you don’t want your fights to be fair. You want them to be as lopsidded as possible (in your favor, of course). However, this is a game and I still believe one light saber character per side should be good enough for anyone. Especially, if you want to enjoy the game.

Ok. Rant mode off. I understand if I am the only one who understands this drivel. It’s good to have your own website sometimes.

Bitcoin – Still a Good Idea?

Ahhh, hell no. As this Yahoo article points out.

While Bitcoin ended the day with a 4 percent decline in its value, Ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, plummeted by 13 percent against the US dollar, becoming one of the worst performing major cryptocurrencies alongside NEO.
Tokens recorded the steepest drop in their value on August 11, as most Ethereum-based tokens such as Theta Token, Aion, Pundi X, Aelf, DigixDAO, WanChain, and VeChain recorded a drop of around 14 to 18 percent.

via Yahoo Finance

Today, money has no value unless a government gives it value. The United States is a great example. How much is $5.00 worth? Whatever the United States government says it is. It is not backed by anything. Neither is cryptocurrency. It’s worth is decided by Wall Street traders which makes it even worse than the US government. How much is a bitcoin worth? It depends on what day you ask the question.

What if you buy a fancy crypto wallet and store your digital currency in that? What if you forget the password? Well, this happens.

But not all early cryptocurrency enthusiasts are counting their coins. Instead they might be racking their brains trying to remember their passwords, without which those few Bitcoins they bought as an experiment a few years ago could be locked away forever.


That’s because Bitcoin’s decentralization relies on cryptography, where each transaction is signed with an identifier assigned to the person paying and the person receiving Bitcoin. It’s how the system is able to process large transactions without a central bank, since each exchange is guaranteed by authenticating when money is going from one wallet to another using both public identifiers and private passcodes, and no one can access your Bitcoin wallet without your private password. If someone else somehow had your password and swiped your coins, they’re gone for good. Passwords are used to unlock your bitcoin wallet address, and if you forgot your password, those coins are locked away. There’s no central point of control to help retrieve your Bitcoin or change your password. If there was an easy means of cracking open people’s Bitcoin wallets when a password was lost, the cryptocurrency would be worthless, since the whole point is security without centralization.

via Slate

My two cents: I think that arguing that this is a good idea based on the fact that you are a geek and this is a geek thing has no merit. In the age of hacking, this is a horrible idea.

Reporting on Non-Existing Consumer Products

The one thing I absolutely love about Apple is that they don’t announce something that they don’t have. You might not be able to buy it for a few months until production ramps up and they gauge how many units they can sell, but they’ve presented a REAL item.

Having said that, Stanford University is working on/developing a new type of battery storage. It is not ready to be purchased — hell, it may not even work on the scale they think it will so my question is — why report it?

There is plenty of “pie in the sky” in the article. It could do this…It might mean this…

There is even a COULD in the article’s title “Liquid metal battery could lower cost of storing renewable energy.” …and if your Grandmother had wheels she’d be a wagon.

EU is a Big Fat Bully Who Wants Your Lunch Money

I equate the European Union (EU) to the bully at school that beats kids up and takes their lunch money.

Follow the Google link below for the latest bullying tactic.

They have fined Apple, Google, and Microsoft just to name a few. The reasoning is pretty weak and they just seem to be using their bullying tactics to extort money from the wealthy American companies. I’m pretty sure they care more about the revenue stream than protecting the rights of the downtrodden.

The EU declares war on American companies pretty much the same way that the small country did in the movie “The Mouse That Roared.” The whole premise of the movie was that if this small country could declare war on the United States and lose — the United States would pay them reparations which would boost their economy. My guess is that the officials in the EU have seen that movie and have taken it to the next level.

Engadget has a pretty good article giving you the background on the latest round with Google. The whole idea that Google is a bad guy for trying to get you to use its content is counterintuitive. Of course Google wants you to use its services. In case you missed it, that is how they make money. Taking that money from Google is how the EU makes money.

Getting out of the EU is probably the best thing Great Britain ever did. No-one wants to be associated with a bully when you want to make friends.

I think it would be awesome if the United States sued the EU for extortion.

They are a criminal organization that deserves NO less.

Update: 07.23.2018 – This little snippet from Engadget is extremely telling…

Google reportedly offered to make changes to its Android policies in August 2017, not long after it received an EU antitrust penalty for its product search practices. Although Google didn’t dive into specifics, it had offered to “loosen restrictions” in Android contracts and had considered distributing its apps in “two different ways.”

The EU wasn’t having it, according to the sources. Officials reportedly said only that a settlement was “no longer an option,” and that Google’s offer was “too little too late.” It couldn’t even mention the possibility of paying a fine as part of an agreement — regulators had effectively locked in their course of action.

So 10 Days Later…

I haven't posted anything on here for 10+ days.

There is a good reason for that.

Ok, no there is not.

I have a new day time work schedule so maybe that has something to do with it.

Two Things That Piss Me Off

The lady that puts her hazardous lights on, gets out of her mini van in the middle of a busy road to collect mail from a roadside mailbox. The problem is that the lady doesn't just grab the mail and move along. No. She stands there in the road looking at each piece of mail. Hopefully, one day someone will run her fat ass over.

The media (call it mainstream if you'd like) but the media in general really pissed me off over this Sandy Hook school shooting. How many facts can you get wrong? Not only that but the sensationalizing and glorification of an evil cold-blooded child killer is wrong on any planet you may find yourself on. The media should be ashamed of itself for the way it covered this tragic event. Shame on you and I hope you burn in hell you pathetic pieces of shit.

Wow. I feel better.

Yes. Someone still needs to run the fat ass mail lady over. It just needs to happen.

My Problems with Farmville

 

1. Way Too Much “Sharing”

2. Way Too Many “Notifications”

3. Notifications literally can interrupt game play, thought processes, and bring the game to an abrupt halt. I’ve been in “placement mode” only to have a notification kick me out of it. Same with plowing or planting seeds. I’ve had to literally go through the process of buying seeds two and three times because a notification has kicked me out of what I’m doing.

4. At this point, Farmville does more of “getting in your way” than anything else.

Ok, small semi-enthusiastic rant over.

 

Cyberduck is Dead to Me

Cyberduck_Death.jpg

This small rant is about a program I used to love and recommend.

Cyberduck.

Cyberduck had to be one of the easiest FTP clients for Mac that I’ve ever found. Very little set up involved for any site and it just worked.

Until now.

Late changes in its development have made this program a complete and total pain in the ass. Asking me if I want to change the way I communicate with the site I’m trying to access and arbitrarily making changes to my settings that worked up until now. For software developers out there let me say something that needs said. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Believe me, I understand “why” you thought these changes were needed and perhaps they are but my gripe is how you’ve implemented these changes and how you continue forcing me to do something I may not want to do.

For example, a dialog box popped up asking me if I’d like to change from FTP to sFTP (secure FTP) and the choices are continue, cancel, and don’t show me this again.

I chose “don’t show me this again” because…I don’t want to see that dialog EVER again. What does the program do? It changes my settings anyway!

My website is not set up to use sFTP at the moment even though Cyberduck seems to think it is and the way I have my sites configured, it is not necessary. Security should never be forced on a webmaster by software. We are well aware of security threats and will deal with them accordingly; thank you very much!

The next to last point I feel I need to make is whether or not I can continue to recommend Cyberduck to my friends and family.

The answer is a resounding NO.

If I have trouble initially understanding what Cyberduck is trying to force me to do, I’m quite sure my mother will have troubles. My father will get angry and possibly throw the computer and my kids will call me every five minutes until their Cyberduck gets fixed.

I hate having to change this recommendation, my personal recommendation on Mac OS X FTP programs is to use FileZilla. Don’t get me wrong, FileZilla is awesome but up until now it has been a bit too complicated to recommend to my family (but not by much). Weighing Cyberduck‘s changes and now forced me to conclude that FileZilla is easier to use on a Mac. Of course, FileZilla is available on ALL platforms.

Finally, I’d like to address the issue of the “Donate” dialog. This dialog pops up every time you upgrade Cyberduck. If you have donated in the past as I have (twice) then you’ll appreciate what I’m about to say.

DonationGraphic_Twist.jpg

(Caption: This issue was considered so annoying that a help desk request was submitted to the developer. Go here to read the whole thing.)

In the past, a dialog box popped up asking if you’d like to donate to the Cyberduck project. Let’s face it, developers appreciate a little “scratch” now and again for their work and rightfully so. After you donate, you simply check that you’ve donated and move on with your life.

Until, the next Cyberduck update. The dialog re-appears and asks you if you’ve donated. You say “Yes” and the dialog goes away until…

…you get the idea.

From a coding standpoint, it is not very difficult to write a routine that “knows” that you’ve donated from change to change thus keeping the annoying dialog box from rearing it’s ugly head every time you upgrade. Common practice is that you would ask for a donation again only after a major upgrade (e.g. version 3 to version 4). This program asks for a donation after each and every “incremental” change (e.g. version 3.1.1 to version 3.1.2). The numbers may not be accurate and I’m just throwing them out as examples but you get the idea.

The latest implementation shows a “Get a Donation Key!” button at the top of the window. The problems I am speaking about occurred prior to this change and no; I will not be donating a third time just so that I can now get a freaking donation key.

I can easily dismiss the annoying donation issue but when it’s combined with the sFTP changes, it becomes too much for even me to bear.

Cyberduck is neither easy nor fun to use anymore.

That makes me sad.

Note: This article is based on my own experiences and my own opinions. If you aren’t bothered by these things then “good on ya.”