Monthly Archives: March 2013

Five Internet-Era Things That Need To Die Painfully


5. Endless New Appearances By Censorship Legislation

I can’t be the only one who’s aggravated by receiving endless messages about some new law Americans have come up with that will cripple half the internet, since I kinda-sorta *don’t live in America* and therefore my ability to interfere in their passage is limited. Either pass the legislation once and for all, or (preferably) get it rejected and stop trying forever, because mashing Retry every time the attempt fails is *really annoying* and I would be very happy if you would *stop it already*.

4. Internet Access Being Required To Play Games Which Are Not Online At All.

Mass Effect. Angry Birds. SimCity. Once common trend that unites these games: they are not online. There is no reason for them to be online. It would be the work of a lunatic to decree that they should be online. Why, then, do you need internet access to play them, apart from corporate idiots who are morbid piratophobes?

 

3. Facebook

I have a fairly comprehensive hatred of Facebook. To me, it is little better than a mobile phone, another annoying thing of little merit that only serves to do annoying things at stupid times. Mainly, I hate that it nets me a lot of spam, and “happy birthday” comments that I feel bad not responding to but don’t really want to enter Facebook again to deal with.

 

2. “Upgrades” That Take Half An Hour To Make Whatever Is Being Upgraded Worse

Recently one of the two email accounts I maintain (one for business, one for pleasure) received the “upgrade” to Outlook, which as far as I can tell is not an improvement in any way, shape, or form. (The other one hasn’t, maybe because I kept telling the popups not to.) Why did you do this? What is the point of “upgrades” that either don’t change anything or make it worse? Why did Angry Birds get an “upgrade” that stopped it working on my laptop? Why does any internet-enabled modern laptop get near-daily “updates” that take twenty minutes to configure and do nothing? Why engage in this pointless spam?

 

1. Stuff Written As Yourself: Less Interesting Than Stuff Written As Karkat

This blog: 11 followers.

My Karkat physics tumblr: 30 followers.

Hooray for self-expression, I guess.

(Just kidding, I love all my readers – all 11 of you!)

– OSM out

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The most pointless videogame mechanic ever


I think I’ve found it.

No, no wait, I have officially found it.

I picked up a copy of Custom Robo Arena at EB lately and it’s actually fairly fun. I mean the mechanics and plot are surprisingly similar to Pokemon-with-robots, except that the battles are real-time rather than turn-based, but generally it’s entertaining.

The major fly in that ointment, however, is the polishing system.

Yes. It really has a system by which your robot gets dirty and you have to clean it.

Okay, what the hell? Do you really think that *this* is the part of the mecha experience we’ve been waiting for all these years? “Hmm, I know! What if you have to clean your robot occasionally to make it fully functional? Also, what if we made the robot’s crotch a specific part that you have to do individually?”

You heard me. Polishing your robot’s crotch is an important mechanic in this game. I don’t know why either.

– OSM out

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Dear game manufacturers, about Steam…


Please do not use it as an excuse to make game discs that are little more than a URL to where it can be downloaded.

I’m serious here. My laptop has busted hinges and I’m not on any wireless networks. Transporting it over to the modem would be fraught with peril, and while my laptop is a piece of garbage, it’s the only one I’ve got. If you are going to sell me a game, I have come to expect that the CD-ROM you sell me *actually has that game on it*. Otherwise, why bother with a disc at all? Why not just sell me a piece of paper with a passcode on it? If you *are* going to sell me a game in this fashion, at least clearly label it “WARNING: WE WERE TOO IMPATIENT TO DO THE JOB PROPERLY AND BURNING DISCS TAKES TIME. YOU WILL REQUIRE THE INTERNET TO PLAY THIS GAME BECAUSE WE ARE TOOLS.”

I mean, in general I hate “internet required” installation. I hate it even more since Angry Birds was updated in such a way that it permanently ruined it by not only making it impossible to run on Windows XP (I’m not a luddite, I just hate Vista and didn’t have 7 or 8), but also stored this information in a completely different place from the program files so that even uninstalling and reinstalling did not allow me to run the game. But requiring the internet not to verify the game after a few levels, but to have access to it at all? That’s just nonsense. Even in this online age, it is a pain in the backside to conclude that therefore everything must internet or GTFO. Doubly so when the game disc *does not actually have the game on it*.

So no. I don’t think you’re clever for making your game disc a Steam installer and nothing else. Actually, I just think you’re kind of pathetic.

– OSM out

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The least competent scammers ever


In case you hadn’t been warned, Australia (or at least my part of it) is currently plagued with scammers who phone you up to ask, usually in thick Indian accents, that they are calling about Windows. I don’t know why they continue doing this, but then I was fairly sure everyone had been warned off the 419 scam so I guess I’m not good at spotting gullibility.

But I just several minutes ago had a call from these idiots, and the woman on the line informed me that she was calling from the payments department of Windows.

Not Microsoft, which you may be aware is the company that *makes* Windows, but from Windows itself.
So apparently my operating system is trying to get money out of me. Who knew?- OSM out

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Laser clowns have kung-fu fight with werewolves


And other great headlines you will never see in a reliable newspaper.

“Man burns toast.”

“Karkat Vantas declared Pope.”

“The hunt is on – NRA members legally declared ‘gamebirds’.”

“Kerry Packer rises from grave as lich – adventurers sought.”

“Space alien weds two-headed Elvis clone.”

“President abducted by Wookiees – George Lucas blamed.”

“Shocking twist! Wookiees abducted by ninjas! President bewildered.”

And of course:

“Australian politician tells truth – Opposition flabbergasted.”

– OSM out

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Dear Vatican, about your next Pope…


So the results are in, and George Mario Bergoglio has become Pope Francis, thereby becoming the first Pope to adopt a name no Pope had held before since 1978, and if I’m reading this list of Popes correctly, the second since the ninth century.

Being the heretic I am*, I can’t help but suggest some alternative formats they may want to try when Pope Francis leaves office.

1. The Vatican’s Next Top Pontiff

Hosted by Tyra Banks, or the most insane celebrity available if she can’t make it**, this format focuses on the Pope-as-Celebrity. Challenges are heavy on impressions of being “worn down but determined”, “humble” or “aged but regal”. The occasional “sexy” challenge will be filmed; the result will be burned to a disc, and then the disc will itself be burned. With fire. The elder who looks best on camera is solemnly handed the pimpin’ Papal tiara.

2. The Weakest Cleric

The candidates are ruthlessly grilled on Catholic doctrine and history by the most ruthless game-show host available, in tried-and-tested Weakest Link format. The winner is invested as Pope. Then, the host is unceremoniously excommunicated on the spot.

3. QI: Papal Edition

Adding a touch of comedy to the proceedings, Stephen Fry takes the top three candidates and Alan Davies and gives them the panel game treatment until one of them wins. The main draw of this one is the remote but still present chance of Alan Davies becoming Pope.

 

Also, someone should totally do a bumper sticker with a crucifix and “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For The Tumblr Fluffy Chicken”.

– OSM out

and quietly dousing the front of the house with water for the inevitable firebombs

 

*Or, if you want to be absolutely technical, am not, since only one within the membership of a church can commit heresy.

**Insert your own Sarah Palin joke here.

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Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell


I’ve watched a few episodes of this ABC news spoof, and I’m wondering: what is he mad as hell about? Is it political hypocrisy? Useless news media? Or is he just peeved that his writers aren’t as good as Jon Stewart’s?The show itself consists of Micallef cracking wise about news events, engaging in fake interviews with people bearing ludicrous names, and going off in peculiar directions. Some of the sketches are comic genius, others just leave you going “bwuh” and wondering why anyone bothered. It’s all a bit hit and miss.

The main draw to the series is, of course, Shaun Micallef. It does have to be said that he has a lot of charisma. I’m pretty sure that he could set up his own political party from deadbeats, ex-cons and people who listen nonstop to Shannon Noll, and he’d be a shoe-in for Prime Minister; mind you, the current Australian political landscape consists of one group that make evil decisions and carry them out competently, and one that makes good decisions and execute them as poorly as Nearly Headless Nick was, meaning that I’m pretty sure a full-time mime artist could reach high office if he put in the effort. And certainly, for my money, more Micallef is always welcome – but it’s a bit hard to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

I mean, it’s not too bad as comedy series go. The silly names are a bit of a letdown, but it does fill a bit of the gap the ABC left when they stopped having the Daily Show shipped over. Ultimately, sadly, that’s the problem: consciously or unconsciously, it really is trying to be the Daily Show, maybe with a bit of the Colbert Report mixed in, and as good as Micallef is, he’s not quite that good. Even the funny sketches lack that essential stick-in-the-mind quality of, say, Monty Python, or even Thank God You’re Here (on which Micallef was a frequent participant), meaning that you laugh a bit and then totally forget everything about them – and I can remember a number of Garfield comics from fifteen years ago, so that’s a bad sign.

Final score: seven hoots out of ten. I don’t mind getting a bit as an incidental bonus for being overly cautious when taping QI, but I’m not feeling particularly eager to watch it consistently.

– OSM out

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