2004-08-26

Olympics

Every olympics I spend a lot of time in the rec.sport.olympics news group. There are the usual morons who post such low level garble of dreary prose that I just have to join in and set them on the road of self recognition of their lowly standards of verbal description, and comprehension.

OK, I flame.

But it is all good fun and I make sure there are plenty of smiles around. At least on my side of the screen.

However there are some particularly good posts and a lot of people wanting clarification or discussion on various issues that are important to them. One of the more interesting discussions is of course, who is winning. The one who has the most medals, cries the USA. Some, like many of the Australians there, would like to think you should score on medals per million population. The truth is that it is much more complicated than that, or simple. The simple answer is - measuring who wins is silly; athletes win events - so just stop there. There have been attempts to define a standardising function using population, economy and some other factors to predict what your score will be next games, and it seems that a couple economists have come pretty close.

In the end - we just want to see our countrymen do well. We would like to share in their moment of joy (seeing as usually our tax money went to get them there). We would like to see some spectacular events. We would also like to see sports that are familiar to us. Given all this, the television stations have a pretty hard task ahead of them. However they are stuffing things up. The free to air stations here in Australia have digital bandwidth that they could be filling with events that they don't have time to put into the mainstream feel good sections. They could have a couple other channels dedication to swapping between a full broadcast of the gymnastics, equestrian, shooting, judo, wrestling, team sport matches etc. But they haven't. This had bloody not better be the case in 2008. What a perfectly fantastic opportunity has gone begging for the tv stations to get people to buy digital decoders. Losers.

Microsoft

People who know me will know I have been rough on Microsoft from pretty much Windows 3.0. Before then the software they made was well known amongst the computer savvy as being second rate, or barely adequate. But Windows 3 started Microsoft down the route of bringing the PC to the mass market. The mass market didn't know anything about crap software. Microsoft made the operating system so the word processor has to be good. Sounds logical. Reality was very much different tho. Microsoft started a bunch of dirty tactics to make sure that it and anyone who wanted in would have control of the market. Control. It's the big keyword here.

I see a lot of other people trashing Microsoft these days, but they don't have a very big grasp on the history and the slippery slick foulness that oozed off this company. Some people are just plain annoyed and mouthing off with spurious claims of Microsoft's misdeeds and they are doing more damage to the cause than good. I get a feeling for how some of the more conservative greenies must feel about the feral hippies chaining themselves to trees. Or the absolutely moronic punks who throw rocks in a globalisation protest. The idiot kids who want to fight against the "One Nation" party for what the kids "think" the party stands for and not what it actually stands for (which is more ignorance than maliciousness). Unions whose noble ideals are corrupted by petty minded administrative power hungry representatives.

A cause is not responsible for the morons that fight for it.

Unfortunately, in this day where marketing rules all, it seems if you have idiots on the frontline then the mass media will push that image. The public gets turned off the idea.

If you are a moron and prone to getting excited in a mob, please stay home.

Gandhi would win the media campaign every time with his non-violent protest, the other guy would have to become active and voila - he's the bad guy. And if they don't bite, damnit starve yourself until they do.

Back to Microsoft's history; the continual law suits and settlements against Microsoft were simply amazing. They stole code. They stole workers. They bought things that were good and bent them to their own purposes, often making them crap or killing them off completely. Their main product lines were and are lousy with bugs, flaws, unecessary feature bloat and lack of control. The department of justice lawsuit against Microsoft, which went on for years was a farce. Microsoft was convicted. Talks of splitting the company up were just about set in stone. But the penalty was appealed, while Microsoft continued doing what it went to court for. Negotiations and appeals went on for ages. Until the Republican party got in. Microsoft are big buddies with the Republicans. They are major sponsors of the Republican conventions, along with the national gun lobby, telecommunications companies, drug companies, and the tobacco companies. What then. Oh - let Microsoft think up their own punishment; free software for schools. Don't go thinking that the Democrats are any better, justice might have been served in this case had Gore been president but Microsoft money was still good enough for them. As soon as the Republican government came to power everyone knew that Microsoft would get off.

It seems that lately Microsoft, like the USA government, has picked up the pace of doing dirty evil thngs. The push for digital rights management, the lies about other operating systems, the pulling out from the United Nations Standard group, it's enourmous push to place patents on even the most rediculous of things is indicitive of an unhealthy system and power gone mad. The centralising of wealth can only go on for so long, but it seems that the power mongers of society today are rushing to wring every last drop of blood from the planet ... before we turn on ourselves.

So - don't buy Microsoft. Or Sony. Or NEC for that matter (they screwed me over once and I won't forget it). There was more point to this but my fingers and brain are tired.

2004-08-08

Brisbane Lions

The Australian Rules football club known as "The Brisbane Lions" have to be the top team playing. They have been playing extremely well and looked a certainty to win the premiership for the fourth time in a row. Three weeks ago they were a few points away from being FOUR times the opposition's score. Lions' supporters were over the moon. Other club supporters: not so happy. Nothing looked like stopping us.

Until two weeks ago. The Sydney Swans who have been doing a reasonably good job for a long time beat us. Beat us bad. Which was very odd, given the state of play. Then today we get beaten by West Coast. Not by very much. Although the umpiring was woeful, the Lions weren't playing very well at all. Unusually poorly in fact. There were four simple and straight forward kicks or hand passes that went straight to an unopposed Eagles team.

Conspiracy theories:
(1) having the Lions or any team looking like they will dominate the entire game is bad for the marketing of AFL.
(2) Having the Lions specifically appearing to dominate will cause trouble with the alleged inflated cap we have and cause the administration to reconsider and possibly revoke any industry.
(3) The Lions want any/every non Victorian team in the finals they can get and are willing to lose to them to give them confidence.

For the moment, let's just say that we sucked for the last two games.

Doom 3

Yes, I am a big fan of ID. I was one of the geeks who played all of the Wolfenstein levels you could find, I played the various Commander Keen releases too damnit. I was one of the idiots waiting for ID to release the original Doom, which they couldn't because the site they were supposed to release it on was clogged with slobbering geeks awaiting the download. I played a huge number of add on levels of Doom. I played it over a modem, I played it in a group lan.

And Quake was even worse for me. So many LAN parties which included a horde of Duke Nukem. I was in one of the top Australian guilds.

Quake 2 was fun ... in single player mode. Quake 3 was good intense fun for quite a while through the demo but never really made a hit with me for some reason. I guess that was when Everquest came out. So I wandered in my ID following. Return to Castle Wolfenstein was ok except when some of the bosses were just a little too hard I just went on to more fruitful ventures in life. Like anything. Vietcong provided a whole new feel for a while. Unreal Tournament with co-operative against bots was VERY entertaining. I have a friend who is in love with Serious Sam, and that was a real blast to play through on co-operative. I have played the Unreal Tournament 2004 demo and love the vehicles and taking over power towers. But it gets to the point where you know which side is going to win and the rest of the game is spent in futile resistance or bothersome stamping out of the opposition.

I knew there were a heap of other great software out there but you really have to limit yourself to something that will entertain you. LAN days where you spend half the time changing software is not really too much fun.

Doom 3 has been on the cards for a long long long time now. There was a "release" of a beta that showed a pretty neat environment - but wasn't overly interesting. The hype has been steadily building since then. The current reviews of the game are as good as you will ever get. Doom 3 was released last week and I have been playing it on and off whenever I get the chance. To make it simple for you, I approve and agree with what the reviews say: this is an awesome and defining game for it's genre. This game will scare you.

I love the tribute to the Doom monsters and setting. Some rooms I can pick as being right out of the original Doom. So should anyone who has had the Doom dreams - you know what they are if you have had them. And if you have had them then you have played Doom seriously too much.