MiniComics Day 2016

Saturday March 12, 2016 was MiniComics day. You can find out more about minicomics day at http://www.minicomics.org/. Normally I will say I am going to participate but then get tired and not finish much of anything. However, this year was different, this year I actually finished a minicomic.

Not only that, I produced a making of series on YouTube while I went too. I stayed up way too late finishing it, but I think it turned out pretty cool. It turned out to be a massive seven part series. I only finished printing and putting together a single comic before going to bed but I am going to call it a win.

If you want to see the youtube series check out the links below, if you just want to read the comic, just keep reading after the break.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks,

  • SeggiePants

PBJ_for_ Stegosarus_0000

Continue reading MiniComics Day 2016

Hourly Comic Day 2016

I started hourly comic day last year, but ran out of steam. The site that hosted the forum with all the comics kind of fell apart. Now it is filled with someone’s blog spam. It kind of ruined my motivation last year and I quit just a few hours in. Despite last year’s poor showing I decided to try once more. Need to do at least one post a year, right?

Anyway this year I am drawing it on my phone, it is always with me and I won’t have to scan everything. I did pay extra for the one with the pen so I should use it, right?

I am gonna try to upload and revise this post throughout the day. So stay tuned.

image

Continue reading Hourly Comic Day 2016

Dear Microsoft, the ribbon and start screen are both terrible

OK, I promised to write this post a long time ago, lets get it over with. I still hate the ribbon interface Microsoft puts on things now a days. For similar reasons I dislike the start screen too.

A lot has happened over at Microsoft since I said I would write this post. The guy in charge of Windows 8 is gone. The CEO of Microsoft has been removed and replaced. They even make an XBox One without the evil always on microphone/spy camera. It seemed they would even put out an update to put some sort of start menu back. Unfortunately the last one appears to be stalled until Windows 9.

You don’t get that sort of reaction from a company unless they have been making such awful choices where despite a near monopoly customers decided to just stop buying your stuff. Windows 7 and the now unsupported Windows XP still dwarf Windows 8 in market share. So Microsoft here is a list of things I dislike about both the ribbon and start screen.

Continue reading Dear Microsoft, the ribbon and start screen are both terrible

MARCH MODOK MADNESS

I decided to participate in March MODOK Madness this year. I didn’t want to do it alone so I got my nieces and nephews to draw with me. I had to bribe them with Pokemon cards to do it, but such is life. Of course I am lazy and waited until the last minute to submit the pictures. Hopefully I’m not too late and we get in this year.

Without further ado, here are the pictures. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more to draw with me next year.

Stewart

StewartG

Nathan – Age 13

NathanW

Adam – Age 11

AdamW

Elise – Age 9

EliseW

Emma – Age 8

EmmaW

Thomas – Age 6

ThomasW

 

 

I still can’t recommend the XBox One.

It looks like Microsoft is going to get three posts in a row. That is strange, I certainly didn’t want this blog to be Microsoft focused. The next post will be about why I hate the Windows 8 Start Screen and the Ribbon. But I want to craft that one a bit to make sure it is readable instead of a rant.

So, what is this post about you ask? It is about the X-Box One again. It seems that Microsoft has done an about face and turned of some of the truly awful parts about the XBox one. I didn’t want to leave inaccurate information at the top of my blog for months on end, but I didn’t want to erase the post either so here is an update. In short it will allow you to buy and sell used games as you could on the XBox 360 before it. Of course they took away all of the digital sharing options they were going to build around that to try and take the sting off of the previous setup.

They thought they could be the console version of Steam, and it didn’t float very well. I think the thing that changed their mind was that very few people pre-ordered the new machine. Frankly I won’t buy a game on Steam either. I think it is a horrific DRM system too. Once the servers are gone (and one day they will be) so are all of your games. I think there are some legal proceedings in Europe to force them to let people buy and sell their used games they purchased on Steam. All of the video game companies, android, and apple would be wise to start adding that to all their digital download systems before it is legally mandated. It should have been there from the start (and dont’ put in any middle man fees, I know you are thinking of it).

So, anyway if they fixed that, why do I still think you shouldn’t buy the XBox one?

  • Kinect mandated – You still have a spy camera / microphone in your living room you don’t control. Is it on, is it off? Short of unplugging the box you don’t know. I believe they have a patent on targeting advertising based on how many people are in the room and the demographics of each. That is the kind of creepy behavior an ever present kinect sensor encourages. It also makes the machine $100 more than it’s closest competitor (not smart in my opinion).
  • Internet access STILL required. They tried to hide it in the announcement but you still have to have the internet at least once to set up the machine after you buy it. Why do they do that? I am guessing that it is so everyone will put it in then forget about it. How many people will set it up once then tear it back out? Still slimy and still horrible to people who don’t have a good wi-fi source. Unlike a DS you can’t just haul it down to McDonalds and use the wi-fi while you eat a hamburger.
  • System updates. There is nothing stopping them from reinstating all of the horribleness with a system update once the system has been running for a while. This is the same problem I have with the image constraint token on Blu-Rays that get to decide whether you get a high quality picture on your TV or not depending on what connectors you use. It shouldn’t be their choice. Sony stole away Other OS from people who purchased the first PS3’s and didn’t get any legal problems (they should have) the precedent has already been set and I don’t like it. They will take away your stuff if they feel like it and you have no recourse short of a class action lawsuit you just signed away the rights to by clicking OK on a form (that shouldn’t be legal either).

Are there others? Probably I haven’t watched that closely. I just wanted to update so I didn’t have outdated information on the top of the blog. I still don’t recommend any of the next gen consoles yet. If Nintendo eventually gets some good games and drops the price I may change my mind but I am not holding my breath.

Don’t buy the XBox One

Hi, I just wanted to drop everyone a note and ask them to please make sure to NOT purchase the upcoming XBox One.

Why you might ask, what prompted this?

In short it is the horrendous DRM and privacy problems built into the machine itself. I’m sure that it will play games well enough, but the rest of it is a nightmare.

Let’s start with the simpler to explain part, privacy. The XBox One requires (and comes with an updated Kinect). The Kinect has a camera and microphone built into it. The XBox One will not run if the Kinect is not plugged in. If you turn off the machine, the machine isn’t really turned off and neither is the Kinect. After all, if you say a certain voice command the machine powers back up. Sure that is kind of cool the first few times, but it means it is sitting there robbing you of electricity all day every day while it sits and waits for the code phrase. Listening and waiting.

Wasting electricity isn’t the main problem. The fact that it can be listening (or watching) when supposedly powered off is. I don’t see anything that makes it impossible for someone to send you a system update that effectively turns an XBox One into a dedicated spying device. There are already people out there that have fun turning the webcams built into laptops into spying devices, why should the XBox One be any different. It might be more difficult than a random laptop but I doubt impossible. Of course with the Prisim stuff in the news the most likely suspect to want to upload such a thing would be the government. Why stop at reading through your phone logs when they can watch you while you play a video game. They can make Microsoft add a back-door to any XBox One they want without letting anyone know. The next one in line to spy on you is of course advertisers. Do you really think Microsoft won’t sell your private conversations for some extra ad revenue? It is an Orwellian nightmare that the customer has no good way to control. The best solution is to not let it anywhere near your home.

Another major problem with the system is game ownership. When you spend $60+ on an XBox One game at your local retailer you get a disc, but the disc is somewhat unimportant. You see it is really just install media. Every game you play on the XBox One MUST be installed to the system’s hard drive. After that you don’t even need to keep the disc.

You may ask yourself how they would stop you from just passing the game disc around to anyone and everyone. Well, the game has to be registered to the console over the internet if it has already been registered to someone else it simply won’t run on your machine.

So what if you are tired of a game and want to give/sell it to someone else? Guess who gets to insert themselves as a middle-man and gets to allow / disallow the transaction. If it is a gift, the game can only be given once and then never again and only to people you have been “friends” with for at least 30 days (so much for Craig’s List). If you want to sell it, only select retailers will be allowed that have an “arrangement” with Microsoft.

What is to stop you continuing to play a game after selling it to GameStop or giving it to a “friend”? After all, if the install disc is no longer required couldn’t you just keep playing after selling it? Nope. You can’t because the system now requires that it log into the internet and communicate with the mother ship at least once a day. After you have sold/gifted the game it will of course be removed from your machine.

Wait a minute you might ask, why can’t I just not hook the XBox One to the internet? You could try, but it will just refuse to play games at all.

Q/A Time:

  • What if I only play single player games do I still need internet then.  Yes.
  • What if my internet goes down for a day or more? No gaming for you, not even single player games.
  • What if I only have dial up internet? Not good enough.
  • What if I only have cell phone internet? You had better hope the XBox One doesn’t decide to download multi-gigabyte updates. I suppose you had better keep that cell phone connection next to the XBox One too.
  • What if I want to take XBox One to Grandma’s house? Grandma had better have high-speed internet and give you her password or else no gaming for you. Dial up won’t cut it.
  • What if I have high-speed internet but my parents won’t let me connect the XBox One to it? No gaming for you, you may as well return that $500 doorstop before the return window closes. Actually with double digit percent numbers of XBox 360 machines not being connected to the internet, I expect to see an awful lot of returned machines. If I were a retailer, I wouldn’t be happy about that. Expect to see restocking fees.
  • What if I’m a military person called to serve somewhere without consistent internet access? No gaming for you.
  • What happens when the next XBox after this one (lets call it XBox Purple just because it is silly) comes out and Microsoft decides that it is no longer profitable to run the servers that the XBox One authenticates to? Guess who just lost all their games? It’s you! Didn’t you learn anything from Electronic Arts killing off online access to all of those XBox 360 games? Ten years from now, Twenty years from now do you want to be able to go back and play a game you paid for? Too bad it is no longer profitable for Microsoft to run the servers. Even if your game system and disc are in perfect condition and connected to the internet, if there are no authentication servers you can’t play. So much for preserving culture and history. Go and read up on Microsoft’s Plays 4 Sure music DRM.
  • Didn’t Sony get hacked and have their online systems wrecked for over a month a while back? They did, don’t forget people had credit card numbers compromised too. What is to stop that from happening to XBox One? Well, the servers might be better patched, but otherwise………nothing. Guess who doesn’t get to play for a month if that happens to XBox One. It’s you!
  • What if I just don’t have internet access either due to being poor, or in a place where it is not offered. The head XBox guy says you could buy a 360 instead, of course seeing as how they will probably stop making new games for it shortly I can’t say I would recommend following that advice.

As you can see the whole system is a privacy nightmare, and a horrendous leech slurping down your expensive internet access without asking all so that it can serve it’s own digital kingdom that you are only a serf to. Anything you buy through it could be lost at a moments notice even if you did nothing wrong. As soon as it is no longer profitable don’t expect to be able to play any games you purchased with your hard earned money ever again.

Seeing as how Sony likes to install rootkits on your computer because you might theoretically rip an audio CD to MP3, and that they like to take away advertised features you already paid for (Other OS) because someone might be able to hack through that, I can’t say I recommend the PS4 either. At least it is the only game system at E3 this year that didn’t manage to be given a really STUPID name.

I wish I could recommend the STUPIDly named WiiU (yes the Wii is also a STUPID name). However, with only one person getting a game pad and everyone else demoted to Wii-motes I really can’t recommend it either. Since there are no replacement game pads if it breaks you may as well buy a whole new system. Since it doesn’t have a centralized account system, good luck getting back any downloadable games you already paid for if the machine breaks. Oh and as of the writing the are precious few games to even play.

Maybe it would be best to just skip a generation all three look like stinkers. Just do me a favor, if you find you must buy one of them, make it something other than the XBox One. I don’t want such anti-consumer methods to spread. We are already saddled with garbage like on-disc DLC, and online-pass I don’t think I can take any more of this junk.

 

Comment Spammers

You may have noticed that this blog doesn’t have any comments. That doesn’t mean that nobody has tried to comment. Unfortunately they have all been comment spammers. I don’t think the spammers have even read a single post on the site. Only their robots have. I might be the only human who actually reads this (well, my sister might drop by on occasion). I don’t really post often enough to justify a following. So I’m not really expecting comments.

I have moderation turned on. That means I get an email every time someone comments, but it stays hidden until I approve it or trash it. The comments spammers get increasingly sneaky. At first is was pretty obvious but each new one seems to be trying something different.

The early ones are pretty blatant advertisements – denied. From there they have context-less but inoffensive comments they probably copy/pasted from a random post on the internet. Those have links to advertisements or usernames with advertisements – denied. This morning I seem to have hit a new threshold, insults calling me a liar. No obvious advertisements, but if I look at the whois information on the internet google says they are a SEO specialist – denied. For those who don’t know SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. They try to abuse search engine rankings to make themselves artificially higher in search results. In general SEO services are slime. Stop trying to break the internet for your own greed!

Hey spammers, look around the page, what do you notice is missing. That’s right, advertisements. That is ON PURPOSE. I am reading each and every comment, if you don’t have something useful to say, or if you are only commenting to advertise it will NOT get through. Even if it were an on-topic comment from an actual human that made sense and didn’t advertise things, if you are being a jerk it still won’t get through.

Of course the spammers aren’t really reading this, their robots are. Their robots might pick out keywords but that is about it. They don’t really understand anything.

One last thing, free advice to the comment spammer. You might not stick out like a sore thumb so much if you commented on the post at the top of the page instead of the bottom. Commenting on a post that is a month old is more likely to be seen as more topical than commenting on a post that is a year old.

OK, I need to update this blog more often. The bottom of the page shouldn’t go back a full year.