2007/07/31

Want to run your own free MMO?

Yarien at the GalCiv2 boards posted about him reviewing independent titles at Gametunnel.com. One of the games reviewed was Minions of Mirth. MoM is a free MMORPG built around what looks like EverQuest 1. It is free to play, with a $30 purchase for premium content. However, beyond the typical MMO game, you actually have the ability to host your own persistent MMO server, complete with your own rule-sets. Want to play a god for a little bit?


Speaking of MMOs, SomethingAwful has an interview with an real, live MMO person!
Q: How often do larger companies actually listen and take suggestions from the players, and incorporate changes based on what players have suggested?


A: Depends on if they want to be successful or not. Players know more about a given MMO then their developers do. This isn't a joke or hyperbole, it's simple fact. Players spend a lot more time, both in man-hours and sometimes individually, then the people working on the code.

2007/07/30

Taser Testimonial

2007/07/28

Read all three stories, in order.

No, don't glance. READ. When you are done, READ them again. If you have teenagers (or those who act like teenagers when driving), have them READ it.

The LawDog Files: The semi-mythological collaboration post is up.

2007/07/27

Misc. Friday Ramblings...




Friday FIREPOWER!
  • Own an assault weapon, you aren't mentally qualified.


  • Boeing awarded mobile laser system contract.
    Under the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) Phase I contract, awarded Friday, Boeing will develop and complete a preliminary design of a rugged beam control system (BCS) on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.

    The objective of the HEL TD program is to demonstrate that a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system can effectively counter rocket, artillery and mortar projectiles. The program will support the transition to a full-fledged Army acquisition program.

    I'm still waiting for the phased plasma rifle in 40watt range.

2007/07/26

Which Tarot Card Are You?







Which Tarot Card Are You?




You are the Justice card. Justice preserves the harmony of the world. Working with opposite forces, Justice does not seek to criticize or condemn but rather to accept. The idea behind the card justice is that opposite forces are complementary; you could not have good without evil or light without darkness. Justice's position is to make sure that if a thing is out of balance, the weight of its energy is realigned with its opposite force. This card is also a card of humour, for it is in pointing out contrary positions that humour is often found. The attitude that is found in the humourous person, being able to shift perspective and flow with an instinct, is important in the maintenance of good balance. Image from The Blue Moon Tarot Deck. http://www.themysticeye.com/pics/bluemoon.htm
Take this quiz!








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2007/07/25

2007/07/23

So, I just watched the YouTube Democratic debate on CNN...

Even though the questions were cherry picked, and not all candidates got a fair shake of time, I liked the format. It was contemporary and snappy. Most speakers kept to the subject and the time limits. Anderson Cooper did a pretty good job. It wasn't as dry or rehearsed as the typical debates, and the facade of having the questions come from the people was a bit refreshing. The two hours went by pretty darn quickly. However, the CNN scrub of the questions, and the immediate talking-head followup naming Hillary "Gladys Knight" and the rest of the panel "the Pips" pretty much lets you know who CNN is backing. :)

So, here is a breakdown as I saw it:

Gravel - Who? Oh yeah, the crazy guy that spoke his mind when he was given about three minutes of a two hour debate to do so. Good advice on following the money trails, though.

Dodd - Angry eyebrows. Otherwise, kinda lackluster in his performance. Didn't really stand out, although his Youtube style campaign video was hilarious. White hare indeed.

Edwards - Worked the issues good up until the preacher nailed him with the religion in politics question. I still can't see how any candidate can truly say that they are deeply religious, but when they are on the job, they don't let their beliefs influence them in any way. His "no nuclear" energy policy seemed to set him apart from the others on the energy issue. I also don't like the fact that he wants to mandate what healthcare I get.

Clinton - I just don't like this woman for some reason. She seemed to be get her mileage out of Bush bashing. Grating voice. She did seem to have the more politically "experienced/correct" answers, especially when it came to having talks with the "Axis of Evil" leaders. I think she missed a beat on the Darfur question, though, stumbling through comments about US troop involvement.

Obama - Polished, but still doesn't have the experience to edge out Hillary. Seems hell bent on changing the old guard out of Washington, along with shutting down all special interests. I do believe that he edged out Hillary and Edwards on the other issues that they got to address. I like it that he thinks health care should not be mandated, but available to everyone. He also really seemed to be pandering to the Republicans/Undecided as well. He mentioned Ronald Reagan at least two times, and flattering at that.

Richardon - When I took the candidate poll a while back, this is the guy that matched up to me above everyone else. I think I understand where he is coming from and wants to go, but I'm still unclear on whether he knows how to get there. He is the only governor running, so I think he has a better understanding on how the issues will trickle down to the state level. He's also down with the Beetis.

Biden - My wife really liked his answers. He seemed direct and to the point on every answer. He really wants to tell the truth. :) I DO NOT like his stance on firearms. The last two minutes of the debate were just not enough to let people fully see how he wants to strip that right from every citizen. I think he was also the only candidate that insulted the question asker as well. So, people who own or want to own military style weapons are mentally unstable. Interesting...

Kucinich - I think this guy is so far left that he makes everyone else look moderate. No-eyebrow people scare me a bit.

Overall, a good twist on the typical debate scheme. It will be interesting to see how CNN handles the Republicans in September. I know they can't throw the same questions at them, because they could have time to rehearse. However, I think the format of this debate works and should continue to evolve until people can truly ask their candidates what is on their mind.

Mama said knock you out....


MMA Really Quick Knockout - Watch more free videos

2007/07/20

Misc. Friday Ramblings...

GWB:
Justice ought to be fair.

Friday FIREPOWER!
  • DC wants Parker to go to the SCOTUS.
    Local government officials in Washington, D.C., announced Monday they will appeal to the Supreme Court in a major test case on the meaning of the Second Amendment. The key issue in the coming petition will be whether the Amendment protects an individual right to have guns in one's home -- an issue on which there is now a clear conflict among federal Circuit Courts. The city will be defending the constitutionality of a local handgun control law that is regarded as the strictest in the nation.

    The petition would have been due Aug. 7, but city officials said Monday that they would ask Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., for a 30-day extension of time to file the case. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and city Attorney General Linda Singer disclosed the appeal plan at a press conference, along with local Police Chief Cathy Lanier. (A news release announcing the action can be found here ) The Mayor said: "We have made the determination that this law can and should be defended and we are willing to take our case to the highest court in the land to protect the city's residents. Our handgun law has saved countless lives -- keeping guns out of the hands of those who would hurt others or themselves."

    The D.C. Circuit Court ruled on March 9 that the Second Amendment does guarantee an individual right to possess a gun -- at least within one's own home. The ruling was the first by a federal appeals court to strike down a gun control law based on that view of the Amendment's reach. The case is Parker, et al., v. District of Columbia (Circuit docket 04-7041). On May 8, the Circuit Court refused by a 6-4 vote to rehear the case en banc. The mandate is scheduled to be issued Aug. 7, but will be withheld after the city files its Supreme Court petition. Thus, the existing gun law would remain in effect temporarily.

    Of course, this all depends on whether the court wants to hear this case or not. If they do decide to hear and rule on this case, the outcome could be the worse thing since US vs Miller.

  • NBC piece on women and owning "evil black rifles".
    Because a few whackos choose to use them illegally is not something I should be punished for.

    The congress has changed, and probably so will the presidency. Main-stream media knows this. Of course, they didn't make mention of how the same type of rifle was sold DURING the Clinton era ban, only how many have been sold since it expired. Expect more investigative journalism like this in the future.

  • Neighbors don't like residential gun range.
    If a gun club has been there 50 years, DON'T MOVE IN NEXT TO IT YOU DUMB ASSES.

2007/07/18

Robotic Hunter-Killer squadron headed to Iraq

The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer" drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.

That moment, one the Air Force will likely low-key, is expected "soon," says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? "We're still working that," Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview.

The Reaper's first combat deployment is expected in Afghanistan, and senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq sometime between this fall and next spring. They look forward to it.

"With more Reapers, I could send manned airplanes home," North said.

Sarah Conner last seen headed to Mexico mumbling something about a storm coming.

2007/07/17

Can you hear me now?



The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.

The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone.

Kaplan's opinion said that the eavesdropping technique "functioned whether the phone was powered on or off." Some handsets can't be fully powered down without removing the battery; for instance, some Nokia models will wake up when turned off if an alarm is set.

This week, Judge Kaplan in the southern district of New York concluded that the "roving bugs" were legally permitted to capture hundreds of hours of conversations because the FBI had obtained a court order and alternatives probably wouldn't work.

The FBI's "applications made a sufficient case for electronic surveillance," Kaplan wrote. "They indicated that alternative methods of investigation either had failed or were unlikely to produce results, in part because the subjects deliberately avoided government surveillance."


"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

2007/07/13

Misc. Friday Ramblings...

Arnold as Jack Slater as Hamlet:
To be or not to be.....not to be...

Friday FIREPOWER!
  • Taser XREP 12ga round.
    Introducing the TASER XREP – the eXtended Range Electronic Projectile. XREP is a self-contained, wireless projectile that fires from a standard 12-gauge shotgun. It delivers the same Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation (NMI) bio-effect as our handheld TASER X26, but can be delivered to a distance of up to 100 feet, combining blunt impact with field proven TASER NMI.

    The core technology that made the XREP possible is the XREP engine. A stunning engineering achievement, the XREP Engine provides the same bio-effect as our field proven X26, but from an electronics package that weighs only 2.4 grams and consumes less than one tenth of a cubic inch. In order to achieve a wireless projectile, the battery is fully integrated into the chassis and autonomously provides the power to drive the XREP engine for its full 20-second cycle.


    But does it stop zombies?

  • AK47 = Weapon of Mass Destruction?
    Authorities do not yet know what caused the rifle to discharge once. No other bullet was fired.

    99% of the time, it is the finger inside the trigger guard. Sheez.
    "It's considered a weapon of mass destruction," Campbell said. "It's known to go through a few walls."

    Better hide my sledge hammer then, cause I can chuck that through a few walls as well.

  • N.J. senator proposes toy gun ban
    "We need to stress to our children that guns are not toys, but deadly weapons which should always be regarded with extreme caution and handled with respect," Scutari said. "Restricting access to imitation firearms will help to drive that point home."

    No, it teaches them that nanny-staters hate Airsoft.
    "It misses the mark because it demonizes toys instead of criminal behavior," said Scott Bach, president of the New Jersey Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs, which is the National Rifle Association's New Jersey organization.

    Scutari said the bill would help police and school officials figure out whether a firearm is either fake or real, but Bach said it would intrude upon retailers and parents.

    Oh sure, let me go paint an orange stripe on the end of my Beretta 96F. Then, let me put some gloss black over the orange of a toy Beretta. Can you tell the difference?

    This does nothing for safety. All this does is prevent state liability, because no one enforces personal liablity anymore. It is always the state's fault.

2007/07/12

I'm being eco-friendly, so I'm sure you can just deal with it...

When employees of The State came in to work following a three day weekend, they found their workstations overloaded with "cannot logon" and "Exchange communication" error messages. The Network Services folks had it even worse: the server room was a sweltering 109° Fahrenheit and filled with dead or dying servers.

At first, everyone had assumed that the Primary A/C, the Secondary A/C, and the Tertiary A/C had all managed to fail at once. But after cycling the power, the A/Cs all fired up and brought the room back to a cool 64°. At the time, the “why” wasn’t so important: the network administrators had to figure out how to bring online the four Exchange Services, six Domain Controllers, a few Sun servers, and the entire State Tax Commission’s server farm. Out of all of the downed servers, those were the only ones that did not come back to life upon a restart.

They worked day and night to order new equipment, build new servers, and restore everything from back-up. Countless overtime hours and nearly two hundred thousand dollars in equipment costs later, they managed to bring everything back online. When the Exchange servers were finally restored, the following email finally made its way to everyone's inbox, conveniently answering the “why”:



From: ----- -----------
To: IT Department
Re: A/C constantly running.

To whom it may concern,

I came in today (Monday) to finish up a project I was working
on before our big meeting with the State ----- Commission tomorrow,
and I noticed that there were three or four large air conditioners
running the entire time I was here. Since it's a three day weekend,
no one is around, why do we need to have the A/C running 24/7?

With all the power that all those big computers in that room use, I
doubt it is really eco-friendly to run those big units at the same
time. And all computers have cooling fans anyway, so why put the A/C
for the building in that room?

I got a keycard from [the facility manager’s] desk and shut off the
A/C units. I'm sure you guys can deal with it being warm for an hour
or two when you come in tomorrow morning.

In the future, let's try to be a little more conscientious of our
energy usage!

Thanks,
-----

As for the employee who sent it, he decided to take an early retirement.

2007/07/05

Darwin Award: Fireworks Style

Waves of shock poured through this Downriver city Tuesday after a grassroots picnic with a $1,000 fireworks show ended in horror -- a grand finale of 25 blastoffs and lights illuminating the motionless body of Danialle Barse, 27, of Taylor.

She had bent over to see why the first firework didn't launch. Moments later, it did. The explosive meant to propel 200 to 300 feet into the air struck her head, and a crowd of 30 -- including her three sons and fiance -- could do nothing as the rest of the show cascaded above.

2007/07/04

Today, we celebrate our independence day.

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

  • For protecting them by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

  • For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren.

  • We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.

  • We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.

  • We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare.

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,

and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;

and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,

and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new States as follows:

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton