Tuesday, August 28, 2007


By now anyone into the PC gaming scene has heard about the ridiculous anti-piracy methods that were implemented in BioShock. And while the SecureROM protection is certainly not a root-kit, it does install software without explicit permission from the user and it makes the assumption that anyone who installs the games is a bad evil crook.

The purpose of this software is to attempt to control how many times the game can be installed before requiring the user to contact tech support, beg forgiveness for to many installs, and receive another serial number.

I was planning on getting a hold of this game. I am not willing to pay for the privilege of being treated like a thief.

(OK, well technically I DID play for the privilege to BE a thief before, hmmmm)

Anyway, this is a game that I was seriously excited for. I am a huge fan of the System Shock and System Shock 2 games. BioShock was touted as a spiritual successor to these games. I did install the demo and geeked out over it since the game play reminded me strongly of my old SS memories.

I’ll go no more into this because it’s been discussed by much cleverer people than I.

But, the thing that I keep wondering about is how this decision was made. I keep imagining a conference room filled with clueless morons and deciding that it couldn’t possibly have happened that way. The people making the decision to treat legitimate users as plundering hordes must have been made by intelligent and educated people. How then, could they have made such a stupid mistake? What could have blinded them to the fact that the only people who will be harmed by this decision are the legitimate users? How could they have thought that the people engaged in software piracy won’t just remove any protections?

I suppose someone must have made the analogy of putting a home alarm system on your house. The point of a home security system (for most people) is to shift the risk reward ratio so that bad guys will choose to rob the house next door instead. This strategy actually works pretty well for a situation where there are multiple targets of equivalent value.

If this was the thinking they choose to use then they were wildly wrong. Each piece of software is a unique target. Thinking that the pirates will just hack someone else program instead is a serious logical blunder.

Anyway, since I never finished Oblivion, after removing the Bioshock demo and all traces of SecureROM from my system I re-installed it. I guess I’ll just play that instead.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I’ve heard some stories about people that blog about their works and get in trouble for it. So this is definitely not about my work in any way. In fact it was something that happened to someone else. In another work place far away. At a completely different era than mine. Ummm, on a different planet. It, errrr, all came to me in a dream where the ad was shot in the server room, ahh, in my dream.


Anyway, I got to watch part of the process of creating a TV advertisement the other day. I’ve seen lots of ads on TV. I mean, who hasn’t? They are everywhere. I have never seen one shot before though. On TV the ads take 10 to 60 seconds and, if they are done well, are seamless and smooth. The reality behind that is wildly different than the perception.

The server room I have has a nice big glass window and someone along the line decided it was a perfect setting for an ad they had come up with. I got involved by first of all being asked to clean it up. *grin* Yeah, this dream had me spending some time cleaning a room.

On the day of the shoot crew members started showing up around 11 AM. They had a truck. A big truck. They started wheeling huge carts loaded with stuff to the lobby of the building and prowling around looking at lights and angles and windows. The evicted one worker from her cube and I opened the server room for them. I pointed out the things to please not touch and the things that were OK to use taking care to point which power outlets were on different circuits and therefore available for them to use – no problem they said there is a generator they will use for their own power anyway.

They then commenced to setup lights. And reflectors. And filters. And giant pieces of cardboard. And cables. And signs. And a giant camera. And lots of tape to hold everything in place. All in all I counted 20 crew members working on setting up.

The actors showed up and were cast – three made the show the rest were sent off. Two girls came and setup a bunch of chips and soda and crackers. I watched people asking them for gum and to help with tasks on the set. I guess they have the entry level job that gets all the little tasks. Props were set up and the lighting was completed in my server room. I have never seen my server room look so cool with the spiffy red and blue glows coming from it.

It was now approximately 2 PM. Makeup had been applied, angles chosen, and props setup. The actors were in place and the director called for rehearsal. .About an hour later they were ready to for actual shoots of the ad. Places were taken again and off they went.

Frankly, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between rehearsals and takes except that there was slightly less fiddling between each attempt. This is where my brush at fame almost occurred. The art director decided that he wanted someone walking in the hallway opposite the actors and asked me to come along. I was supposed to walk down the hallway and give the actor a bored hi five as he passed. WOOHHH! That was cool – I’ve never been filmed like that so it was exciting. We did four takes with me doing that before the art director said that it wasn’t working for him and they asked me to leave. Drat – so close to fame and fortune. Oh well I’ll have to stay with the salt mines.

Finally, around 4 they had finished and gave each other a round of applause and put everything away. All this was for about 15 seconds of film. I have no idea how much goes into post production, not to mention the rest of the ad with all the phone numbers to call and the rest of the pitch.

This whole experience gave quite an insight into what goes into producing the calls we all see every day to buy things or to choose this product over another, or to a certain course of action. What looks simple on the surface is simply the veneer over a complex and time consuming process requiring hundreds of man hours to create a few seconds of viewing time.

My server room never looked as good as it did on the TV monitor that day. That is a lesson I’ll take from this experience.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


chorus: Hi Drake.

....and I'm a blog addict.

With a tip of the proverbial and electronic hat to ~J here is the latest in my on going quest to add every even mildly amusing web quiz in the world to my Blog.

57%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Minneapolis Singles from Mingle2

I'm not sure I entirely agree with it since I don't think I blog _that_ much but it may be weighted heavily on just having one that gets semi regular posts. I'm averaging about 5 posts per month right now, which is below the goal I had when I restarted this (trying to hit more like 8 posts per month). In addition to that, though, I regularly check several blogs in my favorites list every day to see if there is anything new.

I thought I would have a lower score because I don't use a feed aggregator or RSS / Atom type feed to keep track of blogs I like. Instead, I just roll through my favorites list at lunch time checking up on sites.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I have absolutely no topic burning a figurative hole in my mind to write about today. Well, that’s a pretty good thing I guess. I mean I really don’t want anything to burn an actual hole in my head and I suppose that if it were I wouldn’t be in the mood to write about it anyway.

Sometimes, I just feel the need to start writing something down. This weekend I had a little bit of time when my kids were away and the house was quiet and I had finished what I was reading and I hadn’t written in a while and the journal was right there and and and. I wrote a page of stuff and learned a little bit about myself in the process

Anyway, writing is usually an enjoyable process for me. Sometimes I’ll write something just because I want to write. See todays entry for example.

Sometimes, I’ll write because I can’t figure out what I’m thinking. No seriously, I sometimes have no idea what I’m thinking about or feeling and in order to get in touch with that I have to start pouring it out on paper….errr or electrons. Whatever.

The process of making the fingers try and express what is going on in my head forces a … well not a simplification… but a crystallization. I can no longer just feel or think I have to express. This flows the mental stuff through a filter of language. That process of filtering often gives me insight into what the heck it is I am feeling.

Plus there is a power to naming your thoughts and feelings. Once they are named and described you can look at them and decide to keep them or not. You can more easily see where they came from. You can choose to change them or just accept them as they are.

I think that this crystallization process is probably the reason people are encouraged to write journals or do any therapeutic writing. It’s important to get in touch with your own feelings before you can relate to anyone elses or even to handle your own with any skill.

The writing on this blog is for fun. It is almost like scratching an itch to sit down and compose something and put it up. Maybe it’ll never get read (heh heh except I know I’m in several friends RSS feeds so it WILL get read) but that isn’t the point anyway. I love that people read it – it’s a fulfilling feeling but the primary point of writing here is just for fun.

Writing for fun is therapeutic as well. It’s important to take some time to do the things we enjoy. Spending even a few moments doing something just because it’s fun for you to do is extremely healthy. It sends a message to your brain that you like you. And this sub-conscious message acts to improve your mood and your outlook on life and strengthens yourself image and confidence. These all have positive effects on your relationships and other bits and pieces of your life.

So I’ll keep writing every now and then thanks for tuning in.
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