January 12th, 2011

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I’ve been less than happy with the direction that Wizards has taken for Dungeons & Dragons.  One small example is their horrible communication.  As s DDI member on the Community site today I received an email with the subject of “New Broadcast”:

You have a new broadcast on your site at The Wizards Community!

WotC_Trevor from the group D&D Insider has sent you a broadcast.
Subject: Content Calendar and Article News

More information and discussion on the Content Calendar Changes can be found here. Also, Steve Winter talks about the new vetting process and for Dung…



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To view the entire broadcast click here

So instead of sending me the broadcast message, I get a truncated notice that I should read a the new broadcast message on the Community site.  So, so wrong — even Facebook sends you the entire message and includes the sender in the subject.  So next I click the “click here” to be taken to the broadcast message and instead of being the content that I would care about, I get:

More information and discussion on the Content Calendar Changes can be found here. Also, Steve Winter talks about the new vetting process and for Dungeon and Dragon content and recent article delays in his blog.

You have to be kidding me.  So not only does the email you sent me not have the interesting content, the email just links to a page that has a couple links where the interesting content was posted to the forums and a blog (which at least can now be followed via RSS).

You shouldn’t force your customers to read an email and then visit three web pages just to get some important information.

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January 12th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

Wow, nearly a year again.  At least I’ll have something to blog about in the near future (more on that later).  My last post was on my fear that A Song of Fire and Ice would not be completed due to the author, George R. R. Martin, falling ill. And he’s stoking my fears again with a multi-day hospital visit.  First, I am very happy that he is on the mend and hope he stays well.  Bug George, I don’t care about side projects and the TV show (well not as much as the novels), so please finish the novels!

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George R. R. Martin‘s recent post Grey Days on his Not A Blog blog, is setting off alarm bells. What does this remind me of: author of an epic fantasy series with thread control issues, about 60 years old, and “sick” — Eeeek.  A Song of Fire and Ice has been a wonderfully unique addition to a genre that has gotten a bit stale — it needs to be completed…

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December 7th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

Fortunately I’m still employed, but three companies that employ friends and family laid off staff last week.  Zymogenetics cut 52 jobs, including my Mom’s — she took a voluntary early retirement package and is happy about her situation.  Wetpaint also cut a bunch of jobs, laying off a friend from high school who had escaped from Microsoft for a much better environment — which turned out to be several rounds of layoffs.  And Wizards of the Coast continues their holiday tradition of shedding talented staff via layoffs, luckily I haven’t heard of anyone that I personally know getting the axe.

This is all worrying.  My job is pretty safe until the summer and will know more after the state confronts its large budget crisis.  If the state heaps on additional cuts to the higher education budget I might be at risk.  With the Democrats firmly in control at Olympia and already talking about a tax increase there is a good chance that I’ll be fine.  The discussion of tax increases leaves me quite conflicted.  I am philosophically against such increases as very bad policy — but I have a lot to gain in the short term from tax increases.  Hopefully, I am not so selfish and self-absorbed as to compromise my evaluation of the wisdom of these tax increases…

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December 4th, 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

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Let’s see:

  1. The movie Avatar is coming out
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    Avatar is a fantastic movie
  3. If you are a geeky, smart guy, you should wait in line for days to see Avatar because hot chicks with tattoos will flash you and then desperately want to, as they put it in the show, “pitch a tent” with you.

I’m fine with product placement even if it is a bit obvious, but when the product placement is the entire ‘B’ plot of an episode you’ve basically jumped the shark.  Five seasons is more than enough (particularly for a show with no arch) — come to and end and move on.  Oh and I forgot to add that I also learned that a normal sex life involves having sex 10-15 times per week.

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Been a while

December 4th, 2009 | Tags:

OK, so it was January when I last posted.  Will try to be better.

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January 22nd, 2009 | Tags: ,

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Microsoft is getting back into the Music business (after abandoning it and screwing their customers because the DRM’d music stopped working) with the launch of the MSN Mobile Music Service.  Music is a good business now so that makes some sense, though they’ll have to compete with iTunes and Amazon for paying customers.  PCPro (UK) interviewed the guy in charge.  The key features of Microsoft’s new service:

  1. Tracks cost 2x as much as on iTunes and Amazon
  2. Tracks are DRM’d
  3. Tracks will only play on the mobile device you bought the track on

Essentially, you are being asked to pay 2x as much for the ability to play a track on a single device — one that you will likely be replacing in less than 2 years.  And I’m sure that if your phone breaks and you get a warrantied replacement, you’ll have to buy the track again.  When asked about this puzzling plan:

What is your message to consumers – why should I come to you instead of Amazon or iTunes? What do you offer that none of your competitors do?

There’s a whole bunch of people who are very loyal to MSN on the web and there’s now almost a million users of MSN Mobile every month, within the space of 12 months of it being launched.

So there’s a whole bunch of people who are using MSN on their mobile phone for a whole variety of reasons. And we’re saying to them, if you want to download music, it’s available here. If you don’t, that’s fine.

It’s a consumer’s choice and they will decide if they’re happy with the MSN Music service or if they want to go somewhere else.

So what they are offering is to milk the fools who use MSN for as much cash as they can get.  Nice…

Today Microsoft announced that they’ll be firing laying-off 1,400 employees today.  While the prevailing economic climate has a lot to do with the layoffs, launching products that don’t provide a competitive advantage but rely on customers being locked into your brand can not have helped.

Seen on Slashdot.

P.S. I still HATE Exchange.

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January 11th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

There are fewer things more vile than the persistent accusations of Truthers that the US Government perpetrated the attacks of 9/11.  The ignorant suppositions of these fools do nothing to expose truth but just feed paranoid fantasies.  CounterKnowledge put together a list of 15 questions for Truthers, and then 5 more questions.  These “questions” are an attempt to point out the counter factual and entirely illogical basis of the Truther dementia.

(5) We are being asked by the truthers to believe that the 19 hijackers were “patsies”, or non-existent. If that was the case, and if the intention of the real plotters in the US government was to justify military interventions to overthrow hostile regimes in the Middle East, why were 15 out of the 19 ‘bogus’ Al Qaeda terrorists given Saudi nationality? The other four hijackers consisted of an Egyptian, a Lebanese and two citizens of the UAE. We are being asked to believe that the conspirators behind 9/11 decided that they would make the hijackers citizens of allies of the USA, not enemies. Why were they not given Iraqi, Iranian or Syrian identity? Why were they not given forged links with terrorist groups (such as the Abu Nidal Organisation, the PLFP-GC or Hizbollah) with closer links to Tehran, Damascus and above all Baghdad? If we are supposed to believe that the Israelis had a hand in 9/11, then why were none of the patsies Palestinians linked to Fatah or Hamas? What kind of conspirator sets up a plot to frame an innocent party without forging the evidence to implicate the latter?

(10) If the WTC towers in New York City were destroyed by controlled demolitions rigged by US government agencies, then why were the fake terrorist attacks used to cover up these controlled demolitions so insanely convoluted? Why concoct a scenario involving the hijacking of planes which are then crashed into tower blocks (involving complicated planning involving remote controlled flights timed with explosives detonated in the towers, which allow plenty of opportunities for gliches and technical errors)? Why not use a more simple means, such as a truck bomb?

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January 11th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

This isn’t really the official scientific list of the Top 10 Signs of Evolution in Man, but it has some very cool points.

#6) The plantaris muscle is used by animals in gripping and manipulating objects with their feet – something you see with apes who seem to be able to use their feet as well as their hands. Humans have this muscle as well, but it is now so underdeveloped that it is often taken out by doctors when they need tissue for reconstruction in other parts of the body. The muscle is so unimportant to the human body that 9% of humans are now born without it.

Reality is often weirder than fiction…

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martina hingismartina hingis now an equestrianmartina hingis martina hingismartina hingis now an equestrian January 9th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

I have long despised Santayana’s advise: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, because while there may be some superficial truth to the statement it is usually invoked by one drawing a parallel to between a historial incident and a current event despite being ignorant of the full context of both.  Without understanding the facets of a historical event you can not understand the true reasons for success or failure, nor can you apply leasons learned to a current event if you do not have a fair understanding of its facets.  In essence: Context Matters.

So to aide the few out there that read this, I will point you to David Bernstein’s post on the USSR’s malignant role in the Middle East.  There is no grand wisdom or lesson to be applied directly to the current battles in Gaza — just an understanding of one of the key facets of the conflicts in the Middle East

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