Say Weeeeeee!

Thursday, August 16


Dear Marissa*

Go big on email.

I spent half an hour last night rescuing important mail from my Gmail spam folder, and spent half an hour this morning flagging mail in my inbox as spam.**

Rescue Thunderbird.  Get some top UI designers to make it really pretty, and some top coders to make it really fast.  Get it on Android and iOS.  And then make it seamless to use it with Yahoo mail, and make it seamless to move from Gmail or Hotmail/Outlook to Yahoo.

Thank you.

* Marissa Mayer is the new CEO of Yahoo!, formerly employee number 20 at Google.
** And missed the tick box once and had to go and rescue a critical conversation.

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Apple Gallop

So, a court case has broken out between Apple and Samsung.  Apple asserts that Samsung phones and tablets are too much like Apple's phones and tablets which are completely sui generis; Samsung says bollocks - and have been presenting lots and lots of prior art to prove it.

Attempting to avert a months-long jury trial, Judge Lucy Koh set time limits for the presentation of evidence on both sides, giving both plaintiff and defendent 25 hours to present their case.

I just realised why this is completely wrong and a perversion of justice.

There is a tactic in debates - originally, evolution vs. creatonism debates - known as the Gish Gallop.  It's pretty simple: You make whatever claims you like, rapidly and with certainty.

Then it's up to your opponent to answer each point, which necessarily takes far longer than it did to make the claim in the first place.

So if Apple gets 25 hours to make their case, Samsung should reasonably have 25 days.

This case is certain to go to appeal, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it declared a mistrial.

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Wednesday, August 15


A Nation, Friendzoned

FFVII is out (again) on PC.  I've never played it, and apparently some people like it, so I tried to buy it.

Emphasis on tried.

I can't buy it from the US store, because that only covers the US.  And Canada.  And Mexico, and the rest of North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean and associated bits.

So I check their global site, and it directs me to the European site.  So  I go there, and it lets me register (yay) then I hunt down the page to buy the damn thing, and it tells me to fuck off.

It is refreshing in a sense, this constant reminder that no-one - not Amazon, not Steam, not EA or Squenix - has the faintest clue what they're doing.  It's comforting to know that everyone else is as bewildered as I am.  It would be more comforting still if they showed any sign of recognising this fact.

Can't buy the middle volumes of Kage Baker's Company series anywhere, even though they're all online in ebook form from a single publisher.  Can't buy Sims 3 expansions on Steam any more.  (Or Dragon Age II, but that counts as a win.)  Can't buy Final Fantasy VII, a game that is older now than I was when it came out.*  The line of people refusing to take my money has no end.  

Update: Squenix got back to me and confirmed that they are aware of the problem and will have a solution in the next couple of weeks.  Which doesn't get me my Final Fantasy fix right now, but is actual human customer service.
* Well....  No.  Though this is true of the first two Final Fantasy games.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Beautiful Words

Not quite up there with Congress shall make no law, but still:

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

All Tor ebooks have gone DRM-free.  Baen ebooks always have been.  Between them, they cover some huge percentage of the science fiction market, so this is good news for recent Nexus 7 purchasers.

Now if there was just a way to import third-party books into the Google Reader app...

Update: What the hell?  Kage Baker's The Graveyard Game is only availble on Barnes & Noble (for Nook only) and Apple's US store (for iThing only).  Neither Amazon nor Kobo have it.

Update: Ah, it's a "not available in Australia" thing.  Of course, it's not available in Australia by any other means either - unless you import the same edition from the same publisher as a physical book.  That's stupid.

Update: Returned the first three books in the series for refund.  At least Amazon made that part easy, because you can't turn off 1-Click for Kindle purchases, and there's no way to know in advance that it's going to refuse to sell you anything past the third volume of a series.

Update x4: Coincidentally, Ars Technica has an article on the spavined weevils at Hachette UK who are behind all my ebook problems.  Two weeks ago I'd never heard of Hachette; now they are synonymous with overpriced and DRM-crippled.  A Hachette job, so to speak.

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Tuesday, August 14


The Marmoset Song

Of course.

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Monday, August 13


King's Bounty: The Weddening

King's Bounty: The Legend is a mixed RPG-strategy affair, where you roam about the world map in real-time, taking quests, rescuing dragons, slaying princesses (and vice-versa too), and getting zapped into hex-grid land whenever combat is in the offing.

I've been playing a bit of it lately, because it doesn't require much or continued concentration.  Individual battles are generally over in a couple of minutes, so if you have a spare gig of RAM you can leave it running in the background, switch screens when you have a few minutes to spare, and kick some princess/dragon/dryad/beholder/giant turtle butt.

You play the main hero, and you have five slots for your armies.  Each has to be a different type of unit, and the number of troops in each depends on your leadership score.  You don't get to produce your own troops, though; each must be hired from the castles, towers, dungeons, giant mushrooms, snake pits and such that you discover in your travels.  There are usually limits on the supply too - once all the bears are killed off, that's it, no bears for you.  And since hiring troops costs you money, and you have to complete quests to get more money, and you have to fight battles to complete quests,  if you play poorly enough you'll end up destitute and friendless.

The game has its own set of distinct touches, such as the Box of Rage (a sort of Pokemon ball for...  Well, basically, it is a Pokemon ball), the occasional set-piece boss battle, and the fact that you can get married and have children - who take up equipment slots and can't be removed short of filing for divorce.

On the whole, pretty enjoyable - though very long, and prone to suddenly ratcheting up the difficulty by about 400% - and well worth the 25¢ I paid for it.*

* I picked it up on Gamers Gate as part of the Studio 1C bundle - $20 for about 80 games.  I already had it on Steam, though.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, August 11


Ten Years Later, Realizes What Song Was About


Update: I replaced the original video with the official version (which has better video and sound), and apparently that won't play in the US.  If that happens to you, try one of these instead.  The first doesn't work for Australia, which might be a good sign...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:52 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, August 09


Campaign Closed (Successful)

So if you want to buy these games, you'll have to wait until they actually come out, like any normal person.

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Suddenly It All Makes Sense.... Bugs!

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Wednesday, August 08



So, Crea is safely funded, and it's time for another block-based strategy/RPG thingy on Kickstarter. This time, it's Castle Story:

So, you build your castle by gathering 2x1 bricks in various colours and stacking them up, and then defend it with a horde of identical little yellow dudes....

No-one say the L-word!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:55 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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