Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?
I saw Tron Legacy over the weekend and the plot had a lot of interesting little avenues that were just dead ends. The son of Dillinger does...nothing. Tron shows up for 5 minutes and does...basically nothing. They bring a program from the machine world into the human world and they do...nothing. If you want a good read from a great author that really expounds on a lot of interesting ideas predating the Matrix, Tron Legacy, and others, check out Roger Zelazny and Jane Linskold's Donnerjack. It does a great job of exploring the ideas of humans going into a virutal computer world, bringing a program back into the real world, having a child with that program and then the child being able to cross back and forth physically between worlds. As a bonus, the virtual gods are trying to take over the real world and Death gets cheated a couple of times. Lots of fun and a neat look at something that had to have influenced a lot of the writers making these flicks.
DRM vs. Unfinished Games
I don't know that Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) really fits the description, but I've found the model to be very interesting. Basically, you can download the basic game for free and create two online characters from a limited number classes. If you want additional content, characters, bank slots, potions, etc, you can buy them at the online store. If you want to pay the monthly subscription fee to get it all, you can do that too. The game is pretty cool too. To give it a try, go to www.ddo.com.
Navigating a Geek Marriage?
After 20 years of being married to a non-geek, there are some things I remember going through that might be helpful.
- Stay employed, preferably both of you. That way you will have plenty of money to do what you want. We pooled our money instead of having separate accounts. Make sure you talk about this before you get married. If what you decided isn't working, don't be afraid to discuss a change. In the end, marriage ends up being more of a financial arrangement than a sex or passion thing. You will fight over money and the things you want to spend it on (or foolishly spent it on) more than anything else. Think about what major purchases you may make and have a plan. Absolutely do not sign anything you are not sure of. My wife really didn't like our house when we bought it but signed the papers to buy it anyway. Now she is stuck there and likes to let me hear about it once in a while. This has also happened with a couple of cars. You need to both agree that if you have any doubts about major purchases like this that you will not just sign it to please the other one because they like it so much.
- Set a spending limit and try to stick to it. We have a $50 rule. If it is over $50, you have to ask the other one if you can get it. This helps to avoid those huge fights over money.
- Make sure to go hang out with your friends. Her friends don't have to be yours, just make sure you have somewhere to go once in a while to hang out or play games or whatever. It is good to be away from each other once in a while. When I first started living with my wife and would go to play D&D with my buddies, she would literally cry at the door and tell me I loved them more than her. Just keep going and she will get used to it. It might take 10 years, but eventually she will understand.
- Remember that being married is like being on a diet...you can read the menu, but you can't eat. Don't cheat on your spouse. You will get caught. You will regret it. Most likely it will turn out to be the most expensive sex you've ever had.
- Don't try to do everything together. Don't take up knitting just to spend more time with her. Do you really want her taking up your hobbies and ruining your private time?
- Be nice to her mom.
- Help out around the house. Even if you are the only one working.
- Save your money, use the library. Don't go berserk collecting stuff you can access legally for free.
- Lastly, choose your battles. Do you really care what color the towels are? Unless it is something that is really important to you, don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.
China Denies Role In US Grid Hacks
While that sounds good, it really isn't a realistic or technically feasible. The grid was not originally designed to handle the huge amounts of electricity that are currently being transferred between entities. The power pools must have some way to manage the flow of electricity across the wires to keep the system from being overloaded and brought down. It is also necessary to monitor the flows to collect the tariffs that are charged.
For example, if Company A in Oklahoma City sells electricity to Company B in Des Moines, the power pools must be able to verify that there is capacity on the lines in between, whose lines the electricity will be travelling across so that they can maintain the stability of the grid, and collect the tariff paid to all the intervening transmission line owners. Without these systems being connected via computers, there is no way to accurately maintain and monitor the current system.
As the Northeast blackout of a few years ago pointed out, lack of visibility into these systems can result in a devastating cascade of blackouts. If the Chinese or Russions actually do have Trojan Horses planted in these systems, they could literally bring us to our knees and shut down the country. It is really not that far-fetched since many of the smaller electric companies are locally owned co-ops or run by small cities with little or no budgets for security infrastructure or staff. The NERC CIP standards are certainly a step in the the right direction, but require a huge investment in time and manpower many of these smaller companies can't really afford.
What it really comes down to in the end is continually increasing rates as customers demand reliability from their electricity provider. This reliability comes in the form of better computer controls of the electric system along with increases in the security around those systems. It is no longer feasible from a cost perspective to have a human being at each substation and switch gear with a walkie talkie. Utilities are trying to keep the rates down by automating the systems. Unfortunately, that introduces a new kind of risk. The risk that they are hacked, not only by the simple hacker, but by the nation state that views having a backdoor into our systems as a type of insurance in the event of war.
Small Robots Could Build Landing Site For Moon Base
50 Wall-E's should be just what they need.
Facebook Reverts ToS Change After User Uproar
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Seagate Firmware Update Bricks 500GB Barracudas
That's why you go with Raid0 baby. Full speed ahead. Who needs backups anyway.
Hellgate: London To Be Closed, Possibly Saved?
I recently bought a used copy of Hellgate: London for $6.99 at a local shop. While the game installed fine with the key code from the manual, I could not create a multiplayer account because the previous owner had used the code to create the account. I contacted EA support and asked them for a new key. They asked for my personal information, screenshots and I even sent them a scan of my reciept and the manual with the key on it. After days of back and forth, they finally told me they could not identify me as the owner of the key. Really, what a surprise. They wanted me to send them my manual or game disc and $10 to get a new key, just so I could create a multiplayer account. Glad I didn't do it now that the multiplayer is being shut down.
I have been able to play the single player game and thought repetitive, it has been enjoyable. It is really not very challenging as I have only died once. The levels also seem to be very repetitive. Essentially it is Diablo from a first person perspective with swords, guns and spells.
This is one of the reasons PC gaming is dying. No LAN multiplayer capability and dependent on a third party for providing the multiplayer support just so they can enforce their DRM. This game is a prime example of one that will die a sudden death and really piss off people who spend $29.99 or less to buy it from a bargain bin only to find out they can't play multiplayer at all.