January 2008 Archives

January 2, 2008

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

Source: The Washington Post

Did that just sink in? The RIAA is saying that it it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

What. The. Hell. This is simply going too far. I mean the RIAA is well known for spreading FUD, but this is a new low for them. It is like the DMCA times infinity bad, or something.

I pray for the human race a little more each time I read something like this.

January 3, 2008

The Begining of a Blu-tiful Friendship

For those not in the know, I planned on getting a PS3 with my tax return. It would be a belated Christmas gift from my parents, and I would split in the cost to pay for it. They even got me some Blu-ray movies to open on Christmas to let me know the plan was still going.

So, yesterday I stop into Best Buy to browse. It was a mistake as always. I really should know better than to go in with the attitude “Hey Matt, you’re just looking at the HD DVDs.” That’s never worked.

As I’m browsing, a guy comes up next to me and starts looking at the Blu-ray. After a minute or two, he looks over to me and says, “Do you have this Blu-Ray stuff?”

Continue reading "The Begining of a Blu-tiful Friendship" »

Happy New Year, 2008 Edition

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year from Breaking Windows! This might be the sign of the apocalypse but Matt just got a Blu-ray player, and I just started using mine (after having it for a year). It should be noted that we also got Xbox 360 Elites at the same time, too. Elites and now Blu-ray at the same time? Scary, I know.

Do you have any New Years resolutions? I resolve to open and play all the games I buy. I still have games I purchased in 2007 that are in shrink wrap. Sad, I know - but it is the truth. I resolve to lose weight; hey, I did lose weight last year, just not enough for many to notice. I resolve to not freak out about turning 30 in April. And finally, I resolve to make better use of my time, both at work and at play.

As a side note about Blogcritics, I hope that by this time next year Ubisoft will be sending us review material, as nearly every other publisher, big and small, has been doing for two years now. I also hope that by this time next year Microsoft goes back to the good "old" days of sending us review material. I hope that we get more BC writers who want to write for the Gaming section. I would like to see more news, interviews, and features in the Gaming section.

It would really be nice if GameRankings, MetaCritic, and GameStats would list not only the reviews from BC Gaming, but in the case of MetaCritic, the other reviews on Blogcritics as well.

I hope our Multiplayer Chat radio show gets better in this new year. Last week really sucked. I won't even listen to your comments about it, it stunk.

Okay so that wasn't really a side note but it was fitting for this post.

Happy New Year everyone.

Happy 5th Birthday Breaking Windows!

Keen readers will notice I added the monthly archives back to the home page. Yep, I have been publishing here since January, 2003. Matt started to contribute soon after.

No joke, the first post, dated January 1, 2003, is titled "What is this blog." Wow do those early posts look bad. We sure have come a long way in five years.

What started out as an experiment of a Mac user using a Windows workstation for creative and web work (that failed) turned into a blog on technology, gaming, and, just about anything we want to rant about. It has been great fun.

This also means I have been using Movable Type for five years now, and MT has also changed quite a bit. It is pretty cool having a blog for five years.

I did some (minor) updating for the splendid occasion. "Recent Posts" now shows up on the article pages, and monthly archives is back on the home page. I said it was minor. OH! I also set it to display 15 posts on the home page, instead of 10.

University (BGSU) mourns student deaths

Very tragic...

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Seven Bowling Green State University international students were involved in a car accident early this morning (Jan. 2) on I-80 near Angola, Ind.. Two of the students were fatally injured and the five other students were either not injured or received minor injuries.
Source: BGSU.edu

My prayers go out to their families.

January 5, 2008

2001 Isn't Retro

Note to the always intelligent (sarcasm) Major Nelson readers/Xbox Live users. Metal Slug 3 should not be 400 points because it's "retro." The damn thing came out in 2001 and probably has more frames of animation than some 3-D titles. It's not retro because it's 2-D, and it could not have been done on the SNES. The slowdown isn't there because of "frame rate issues" or because the coding is sloppy. It's always been there and makes the freakin' game possible.

Read some of the other whiney, hilariously uneducated thoughts on this 100+ comment piece.

January 12, 2008

The Blu-ray Saga Grows

If you read this site on a regular basis (get a life!), then you probably remember the saga of me getting a Blu-ray player. If not, here's the story. Well, even that was apparently too easy, as things took a turn from frustrating to "absolutely freakin' ridiculous" in a matter of a few days. The saga continues:

Continue reading "The Blu-ray Saga Grows" »

January 15, 2008

Verizon Gives Best Excuse Yet for No Service

I don't think I've ever posted about this here before, but Ken is certainly aware of our issues with Verizon. Simply put, we cannot get a signal anywhere in our house. The last month was the worst. I made 36 calls, 16 of which were dropped. My mom made 18, 9 were dropped. That doesn't include the times calls didn't even make it to me, or the times I hung up myself because I wasn't able to hear anybody. So, the following are the excuses we were given previously:

New construction in the area
We live too close to the water
Too many trees near our home
Falling leaves due to the change in seasons

However, the next one is simply the greatest excuse ever given by a customer service representative in the history of customer service:

Continue reading "Verizon Gives Best Excuse Yet for No Service" »

The Wild Blu Yonder on Blogcritics

If anything came out my recent Blu-ray struggles, it's the Wild Blu Yonder feature on Blogcritics. The feature will run for a few more weeks as we introduce the format to our readers since we've basically ignored it up to now. Since the 6th, I've whipped up 23 Blu-ray reviews (a few have yet to be posted). If you're looking for some discs to buy, follow the link and see which movies benefit from the HD treatment.

January 20, 2008

Mac Headlines via prMac

If you look to the right column, right below the widget for the Multiplayer Chat radio show, you will see a new listing for Mac Headlines. I just installed these today.

Am I making any money from this? Nope, just displaying Mac headlines because I like reading Mac headlines. If you do too, then check them out!

Encode & Decode HTML Enteties

You may not understand what that means, but there are many out there that do. This tool is indispensable at encoding and decoding HTML entities.

Mac OS X Server (Leopard) 10.5 Annoyances

We just got new toys at Student Publications (Xserve, Xserve RAID). On the software side of things, I am now using 10.5 Server. I have two gripes right out of the box, one of which I know is not just me.

Leopard Server has this new "Server Preferences" application that is used if you setup the server as a "Standard" configuration. Server Preferences is molded after System Preferences. It looks the same, acts the same.

Alright, I'm game. If Apple decided to create yet another new Server application, I will give it a try and see if it works as intended.

Continue reading "Mac OS X Server (Leopard) 10.5 Annoyances" »

January 22, 2008

FOX News on Mass Effect Sex Debate

But oh, what's this? You invited the capable Geoff Keighley on the show to combat the embarrassingly uninformed opinions of one Ms. Cooper Lawrence (loving that book cover, Cooper), a "developmental psychologist" who literally laughs at the mere prospect of playing a video game before flapping her gums about it on national television. Sure, they don't give Geoff enough time to get as many punches in as we'd have liked to see, but that double dose of "that's completely incorrect" is sure to leave a mark in the morning.
Source: Joystiq

I talked about this debacle on last week's Multiplayer Chat radio show (Townhall.com seems to have taken the entire article down, deleted it from their system. but you can read about the "virtual orgasmic rape" because of Google Cache -- the first page anyways).

Well now this video from FOX News just has to be the worst bit of mainstream media I have seen covering video games. Ever. It is just appalling to watch. But just like a train wreck, you cannot look away. Props to Geoff Keighley for trying to set things strait. When Ms. Cooper Lawrence laughed at the question of if she had played the game, I just lost it.

For those who are not in the know, allow me to spell it out for you:

Mass Effect has NO full frontal nudity.

The game is labeled Mature and it is not the governments job (or media) to be the parent and monitor what their kids have access to. Ironically enough. It is the parents job.

You cannot have sex with anyone you wish in Mass Effect.

If you do not develop the relationship, you could play the entire game without the sex scene. Sounds like real life, no?

In the sex scene, you see the side of a boob, blurred, and a small portion of a butt. Again, there is no full frontal nudity in Mass Effect.

I could pick apart line for line what these FOX talking heads had to say, but I will lave you with this: FOX News needs its head examined, not the ESRB. At least Jack Thompson does his research.

Entourage 2008: This Link Might Be a Fraud

According to Entourage 2008, every link in an email might be a fraud, it seems.


So very annoying. Now, not every link you click on gives this dialog box, but I have found that links in HTML formatted newsletters, like the Basecamp newsletter used in this example, always provoke this dialog.

Microsoft, this is not a phishing attempt. 37 Signals is not trying to hijack my identity. They are, in fact, tracking how many click on their email newsletter. You see, I can tell the difference. If your software cannot, then this new "feature" in Entourage 2008 is worthless to me.

Now, how do I turn the damn thing off?

January 23, 2008

Fender Bender (Damn College Kids)

Driving to work this morning, I am dealing with a hosting crisis, and I get nailed in the rear bumper pretty hard. The bad luck just continues through the day, too.

I am stopped at a red light at the corner of South College and Wooster, light turns green so I put my foot on the gas - but not right away, you know, because the guy in front of me still has his breaks on.

And WHAM I am struck in the back, about choke to death on the seat belt. A red Sunfire hit me right in the middle of the bumper.

Some young college kid, on his way to get flowers for his fraternity (I didn't ask). He says he saw the green light and just hit the gas, yes, he sure did.

My foot was on the gas too, and so I shot forward pretty fast, but I had enough clearing distance that I did not hit the guy in front of me.

The kid got sighted for not enough clearing distance. I got his insurance information, all of which is in his fathers name.

No major damage on the outside, just a blemish on the rear bumper. The Sunfire's license plate buckled my bumper. You can still see the impression of where the numbers on the license plate hit the plastic bumper.

At the Theyer Body Shop I got an estimate. $889 for Rear Bumper, Bumper Cover, Absorber, Center Bracket, and Reinforcements.

Like I said I was busy today dealing with web sites being down, so I did not get further than that. State Farm tells me to call this guy's insurance, Property and Casualty Insurance of Hartford, which I believe is thehartford.com, though I have never heard of them.

Yea, the 800 number I was given is The Hartford.

Hope they do the right thing and repair my bumper, of my one year old car.

I will post pictures tomorrow, it is too dark right now, even in a well lit parking lot.

Ironically Burnout Paradise is out this week, where you are supposed to crash into people.

January 26, 2008

Entourage 2008: Execute Script is Gone

When developers start taking features out of programs, it is really baffling. Microsoft does this all the time. Office 2008 no longer has support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for example, leaving many people with intricate VBA-based workflows scratching their heads.

Office 2008 is a joke of an upgrade from 2004. In four full years they have not made one year of improvements. In a nutshell, that is my review of Office 2008 as an entire package.

One thing they decided was important to delete was access to the Scripts menu from the right-click menu of Entourage 2008 via the Execute Script sub-menu. I use SpamSieve, it is a great product. When you want to train a message flagged as "spam" to be "good" you right-click the offending message and go to Execute Script > SpamSieve - Train Good.

In Entourage 2008, Scripts no longer shows up in the contextual menu, why? You have to go to the actual scripts menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen. What a pain. The only way to get the Scripts functionality back is to write a Rule that performs an AppleScript, because of course you can use the right-click menu to apply a Rule.

Office came out of the oven half baked, from privelege errors to file permission errors, and many other known issues. I sure am glad I am not using 10.5 yet on my G5, because AppleScript and Automator Scripts do not work in Entourage 2008 under Leopard.

Rambo: Holy Crap That's Violent Part IV

As an aside to my full review soon to be posted on Blogcritics, I had to get this out. This movie isn't just violent. It creates it's own category for sheer brutality. It's not the type of shock that you see in Saw or torture junk. This IS pure, unquestionable VIOLENCE. I don't even know another way to put it. Off the top of my head, you'll see:

A guy completely exploding after stepping on a mine
A kid tossed into a fire while still alive
A guy severed in a half by turret fire
A .50 cal rifle popping heads like a zit
Innocent kids shot at point blank, or roasted by a flamethrower
A man strung up while being eaten by wild boars
A gang rape on three women by 50+ drunken soldiers
A mans intestines spilled after being gutted alive (then being kicked down a hill as his innards leave a trail)
A man's throat being ripped out - slowly - with Rambo's bare hands
An arrow through an enemy's head, only to knock him onto a mine causing him to explode

This all comes after actual footage of the Burma Civil War that has loads of carnage and dead bodies (some in various states of decomposition). It's unreal, and definitely not for anyone even remotely squeamish. The movie definitely builds its villains, and when the time comes, they definitely get theirs and you'll see every detail. Oh, and the camera doesn't just cut away, it lingers or repeats shots for the full effect. How the hell this got an R I'll never know. The inevitable unrated cut will be worse, I'm sure.

Holy shit was this violent.

January 28, 2008

A Note on Chain Letters

This is too funny not to post about. This kid I know, lets call him "Bob" sent me a chain letter yesterday. Now I don't know about you, but when I get chain letters I hit DELETE as soon as I can. And "Bob" helped me out, he put in the subject line: chain letter.

Today I get another email from "Bob" with the subject: this is yet another chain letter. You can guess what I did with both of those emails.

Not only that, he added about 50 email addresses to the TO field, including mine of course. So "Bob" I have some words of advice for you:

1) Learn the ways of the BCC field, it is your friend.
2) If you want anyone to read your chain letter, don't use "chain letter" in the subject.
3) Some people, but not me, will simply blacklist people who send them chain letters.
4) If you don't get it by now, people, myself included, hate chain letters.

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