Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm still alive!


Wow, I haven't made the first post in 18 months.

But, hey, that's okay, let me just remind people I'm still alive, and make what is likely my one and only post for 2013.

So I'll just leave you with this awesome two-part collaboration:

Part 1 (from Minute Physics):

Part 2 (from Vsauce):

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Opinions on Diablo III

Blizzard's latest hit game Diablo III is quite interesting. The first act gives many nods to the original Diablo, from the events of the Fall of Tristram, to the characters involved - King Leoric and the Archbishop Lazarus - even to some of the monsters, such as the Butcher, which could be found in the original Diablo on labyrinth level 2. One of the earliest quests in the game has you saving Deckard Cain, yet again, from demons, in the catacombs underneath the Tristram Cathedral. No, he doesn't reprise his role as your item identifier, as the only items requiring identification are those of rare quality or higher, and you can identify items yourself for free, so long as you perform identification someplace where you won't be disturbed for five seconds. Town portals are the same. 

There's a new lineup of classes, of course, with the only one held over from Diablo II being the Barbarian. There's also the Monk from the original; all classes can be played as either male or female. Your stash, as opposed to being per-character, is now global (transferring items between characters is as simple as putting it in the stash, and then switching over.) So far, I've a Barbarian and a Demon Hunter (roughly equivalent to the Amazon in Diablo II.) Only one class (the Witch Doctor) has Mana; the other classes have class-specific energy reserves which are replenished or charged up in similar ways. At that, there's also no longer Mana Potions. 

Health potions have a cooldown rate - after using one, you're locked from using another for some 30 seconds or so. That's not always a problem, as many monsters drop health orbs, which instantly give you and your mercenary health as they are picked up. Also, health orbs and gold need not be clicked - simply run over either, and your character picks it up. (Imagine how useful that would have been in Diablo II, say, in the Forgotten Tower?) 

There's a few things to be disliked. One, you must register your CD-Key with you Battle.net account, making it pretty much impossible to give the game away afterwards. Two, there is NO offline mode. You must be constantly connected to the Internet to play at all. Adding friends is a two-way process, like on Facebook, and friends can hop into your games at any time - if you want to go solo, they can interrupt and there's not anything you can do about it, aside from leaving the game. The lack of an offline mode is real simple: It's meant to protect the Real Money Auction House, where in-game items can be bought and sold with *gasp*, you guessed it, real money!

The chat system is carried over from World of Warcraft, which isn't all that bad, aside from the help command for chat showing you some chat commands that only work in World of Warcraft. StarCraft II also uses the same chat system, but not as much of it (Diablo III literally has the same floating chatbox, scroll buttons, behaviours, and font as World of Warcraft. Brand identity, I guess.) You can add friends who play StarCraft II or World of Warcraft, and chat with them in-game from Diablo III.

That pretty much summarizes my thoughts. So here's some screenshots of the game, some of which were intended to be used to report bugs to Blizzard. Enjoy!
Note: Click on a screenshot to see it in larger detail.











Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting a Facebook Username

So I was asked recently how to get a Facebook username. A Facebook username is used for several things. First, it's part of your personalized Facebook URL; if your username is johndoe31, then your Facebook URL is http://www.facebook.com/johndoe31. Also, your Facebook username is also your Facebook email account name; as in this example, the email address would be johndoe31@facebook.com, and any mail sent to your Facebook email address shows up in your Facebook messages inbox.

So, let's get down to business.

First, click the downward pointing arrow on the right-hand side of the blue bar at the top of any Facebook page. It will drop down a menu. Select the "Account Settings" option under the menu:


In the General Account Settings page (which should be the first page loaded once you click Account Settings), click the "edit" link on the line for Username (click the image for a larger view):

Afterwards, enter your desired username into the "Username:" box. Please note that you only get to change it once afterwards. When done, click on the "Save Changes" button. Note that the button will be greyed out until you actually enter (or make a change) your username in the "Username:" box. This is to prevent you from losing your chance to change it later by accidentally clicking on Save Changes when you haven't made any changes yet. (Click the image for a larger view):

After that, you should be set! To try it out, go to http://facebook.com/username where username is the Facebook Username that you selected in your account settings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some musings for today

I'm sorry, no, censorship is censorship regardless if you're doing it to yourself amidst a "free society" because of "social norms" dictate that one should not speak of certain topics, or if some totalitarian regime is doing it for you forcibly. It's wrong and it needs to end. Period.

And no, there's no such thing as a truly free society. Such a society is a self-contradiction - for it would mean that one person would have to be free to slay anyone they choose, yet that would infringe upon the freedom of his or her victims to live. Not to mention the laws of physics themselves also limit freedom in other, more interesting ways.



It was recently published legalization and taxation of marijuana would save 13.7 billion dollars off of the national budget annually. Source.

Yes, I understand it's 0.1% of the total deficit. But it's about common sense (just do some research on what alcohol prohibition did for crime rates and society) and fiscal responsibility. The latter doesn't mean you have to go all gung-ho austerity, but at least find some lunatic fiscal policy and put and end to it!

Oh, consider how much you would save on the budgets of state, county, and local budgets as well. California has a $13 billion dollar deficit for 2012. The national savings in one year alone could put California back into the black with a few hundred million of breathing room on top of it to boot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bypassing Gmail's Executable Attachment Restriction

A few hours ago I tried to download a build of a program that was uploaded to uploaded.to, except that with the recent shutdown of MegaUpload, uploaded.to has ceased all dealings with anyone whose IP address originates in the United States of America.

So I had a friend overseas download the program and tried to send it to me, except for the fact that Gmail doesn't allow executable attachments, among others.

So, me and my buddy overseas cooked up an idea to bypass this. What if we just dropped the .exe extension and also used a simple XOR cipher to encrypt the data? Using a key of 0xFF, I came up with this program (after a few bug-fixing revisions, click for larger view):


The source is freely available on the text-snipplet site, Pastebin.com. View the source (updated 2012-01-27 01:32)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Computings

First off, Happy New Year 2012!

Secondly, Portmaster for FreeBSD is funny. Let me just demonstrate:

===>>> Proceed? y/n [y] yes
        ===>>> yes is not a valid response
===>>> Proceed? y/n [y]
I'm not sure if it's a bug or not, but it still makes me laugh. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paul Christoforo's Public Relations FAIL

I have to hand it to this guy. I've not seen someone FAIL so spectacularly in quite a while. Paul Christoforo, president of Ocean Marketing has basically FAILed his way into Internet infamy with a scathing response to a customer of one of the companies Ocean Marketing was hired to provide PR services for.

I'm just going to take one of the nasty e-mails that Paul wrote, and dissect it for the sake of providing humor to all, and "free PR" to Paul. My commentary will be inserted, in italics. - Note: Some mobile web browsers do not support italicized text.

Here's the e-mail I'm dissecting (via Penny Arcade): 

LOL Thanks for the Free PR (Wait, why is "Thanks" or "Free" capitalized? Looks like I'll be playing the Grammar Nazi card, considering this guy is supposedly the president of this PR firm, and claims to be a professional) I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , (Space-comma-space, you also FAIL at English, Paul.) IGN , (Where's the "and"?) Engadget (Not to mention all three basically told Paul to fuck off for being an unprofessional douchebag. See the IGN reply here) I’ll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about. (What the hell does real estate have to do with game controllers?) Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . (Me so speedy, me rev you long time.) Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention (Ironically, it did get posted, but by Penny Arcade. Engadget wouldn't even want to tarnish their good name by even giving you the time of day, Paul.) do you think you’re the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf … Really ... Welcome to the Internet ? (Welcome to the Internet, Paul, you've gotten lots of "Free PR", and not the kind you wanted.) Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet  when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet (Son, I'm 21. I also managed to pass my high school English course. I wwebsite as on the Internet when you were spilling your sperm on the carpet while watching crappy VHSes starring Ron Jeremy.), thanks for the welcome to message wurd up.  Grow up you look like a complete child bro. (Grow up, you write like a complete child, bro.) I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world … Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. (He did. He wrote to the email address N-Control set up for customer inquiries, asking as to where the product he paid for with his money is.) All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you’re the douchiest of them all J (Actually, it seems that you are the doucheist of them all, Paul.) 
To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays! (Why did you even bother adding this boilerplate message to an e-mail sent to a single person, unless you were well aware the whole thing was going to get massive public attention?) 
Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ? (No, because I usually don't pay the full price in advance for a pre-order. In the event that I did, then yes, I do complain. If you paid me today for a blowjob tonight, and I didn't suck your dick for a whole month, and did what I pleased with your money in the meantime, wouldn't you get upset?) 
You just got told bitch … welcome to the real internet (You just got told, douche, welcome to the real Internet. We do not forgive, we do not forget.) check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 (You mean the G4 whose employee Kevin Kelly wrote this?) and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon, gamestop.com, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares (You speak for yourself Paul, no one cares anymore.) what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. (We do value our PR firms, but sometimes we get children like Ocean Marketing that we just have to put in the corner with their "I'm a douche" hat on.) See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? (The PAX East that you've been banned from?) Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told. (If he had no money, how did he order any of these controllers? Or is that a stereotype of the gaming industry's consumer? If it is, then why are you bothering, aside from making money?)
Well, there you have it. Douchebag Paul Christoforo has managed to successfully take his career Titanic, where it shall lie at the bottom of the great digital ocean of the Internet for all eternity, as a cautious reminder to all: Don't be a dick.
Oh, and here's a screencap of a Twitter message that Ocean Marketing posted and then deleted: