Saturday, August 29, 2009

Internet Emergency Powers Bill

Why does the president need power to control the Internet in case of emergency?:
Should US unemployment levels continue to rise, the President needs the ability to order the shut down of World of Warcraft, forcing millions of Americans to go out and get fucking jobs.
-- Paul Carr on TechCrunch

Brilliant column from Paul Carr :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Shadow Complex

The last few days saw the release of the game Shadow Complex, by developer Chair Entertainment and Epic, and published by Microsoft. I played the demo, and it seemed great to me. In fact, I thought it was awesome. But it is close to Batman Arkham Asylum, which is a game I am getting, so I decided against purchasing Shadow Complex for now (even though it is a considerably cheaper game, costing $15). However, the release of Shadow Complex also saw the spark of a controversy regarding the involvement of writer Orson Scott Card in the development of the game.

The thing is that Orson Card is an activist against gay marriage and gay civil rights. So, a lot of people with a strong view on the subject, obviously opposed to Card's, started calling for a boycott of the game. This of course sparked a reaction for those who like the game. And so you have one side arguing that they don't want to give money to Card, and the other saying that Card's political views have nothing to do with the game, and the developers should not be punished.

I am going to be honest here: I don't have a strong stance in this subject (gay marriage). To put it blunt, I don't really care much. I do think gay civil rights should be respected, just as I think anyone else's civil rights should, but beyond that, I don't have a strong position in the subject. I do, however, have a strong position on the subject of free speech. Which is why I don't think a boycott is a good idea here. See, if you say it is not about punishing the developers, but to make a point agains Orson Card, then you are being a little naïve. I respect your right to do whatever you want, but... you have to accept the full responsibilities for your actions too. Because the truth is, you ARE punishing the developers. The developers here are a casualty of your decision, and this is something you have to consider. In fact, they are probably the only casualty, because say, in a scenario where this boycott actually worked and stifled the game's sales, it would probably affect Orson Card only marginally.... the one taking the hit would be the development house.

The scenario depicted above is what makes me hope that boycott doesn't work, because no matter how I think about it, the world I wake up in the day after this happens is not a pretty one. See, maybe you don't see it, but this is the type of actions people like Orson Card would usually call for. A book comes out that was written by a person who is gay, and the immediate call is 'BOYCOTT!!!'... now imagine if they succeeded... that would be a world in which writers would probably hide their sexual preference from the public just to survive...

The world in which this boycott works is one in which, now, development companies take the hint, and they start screening the people they hire for their political views. But not just Orson Card's views necessarily, but any that would be a 'problem'. This is a discriminating world, where censorship goes rampant. Where maybe you couldn't get a job with a developer because you're gay, or because you were pro-life, or because you were a libertarian... a world where free speech was in danger. Because, see, free speech goes both ways.

I was not going to purchase this game. I think it is a great game, but there are other full retail games coming out that I was going to use the money for. But I am going to buy it now, because I feel I must act on my convictions. Because that world scares the hell out of me, and I don't want to wake up on it. So I am buying this game not because I condone Orson Card's views... I am defending his right, and my right,,, and yours, to say and expose your ideas. To be able to say whatever the hell you want to say.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Creatine Kinase up... moving

So, at this point I'm close to the moving day. Come the 31st I'll be leaving Kansas, and moving to California... boy am I going to miss Kansas! I can't believe it's been 8 years since I got here... but what's more difficult to accept is that I'm leaving.

I am used to moving a lot. I was commenting to a friend that I have never lived in the same place for more than 8 years. And so the cycle starts again. Something tells me that my stay in California will be even shorter, but who knows? maybe this will be it :-) Anyways, as much as I am used to the moving, it is always hard leaving a place. And I really love this town (Manhattan, the Little Apple). I will miss everything. I will miss what is now, and won't be afterwards. I will miss the people. I will miss the weather. I will miss my friends...

All that said... I am also extremely happy! See, about a year from now, my wife and kids moved to California, and I stayed behind. It's been a tough year... being away from my kids is about one of the toughest things I've had to endure. Also, this was the year my health deteriorated. So, I am really happy to re-join my family! :-) Ten more days, and we will all be together, like should have always been...

Aside from all this, today I'm a little bummed. One of the things I had to do for the moving was getting my medical records, for when I get a new doctor over there. These included my latest lab results, which have the latest Creatine Kinase numbers. Well... it was up. Up as in right on the range where it starts being an issue. If you have been following this blog, you may recall that the doctors had me on a tapering down regime for the Prednisone. Well, at this point I'm on 20mg every other day. These results may mean the current low dose is allowing the disease to reappear... but I don't want to get ahead of myself. Right now, I feel OK, so I'll just go from there...