Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So I was using the Stumble button in my browser and came across a page showing all the supposedly ‘badass’ sections of the Bible. Sections like Exodus 2: 11-12 where Moses kills and hides the body of an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew…or Kings 2 : 23-24, where Elisha cursed a bunch of kids for calling him a ‘baldhead’, apparently causing two bears to come out of the woods and maul the kids to death.

Now I’m not going to debate this. I’ve posted about religion enough to last a lifetime.

What I want to talk about is the sheer ignorance of some of the replies.

As you can probably guess, the comments for that post quickly turned into a major flame war. Religion versus Science. However, one comment stood out to me. A guy who obviously thought he’d ‘proven science wrong’. Here it is in its entirety:

“How do you explain starlight? Science tells us that most stars in the sky are millions of light years away and that the speed of light is constant. If both of these are true, then how can light from these stars reach us right now?”

Ummmm, yeah.

Basically, he’s saying if a star is millions of light years away, how can we see it? If it’s going to take a million years for the light to reach us, how are we seeing it now.

Let me just break it down for him:

Average life of a star : 100 million years – 100 billion years or longer (depending on its size)

Approximate Age of our galaxy : 11 – 13 billion years.

Approximate size of our galaxy : 100,000 light years across.

Approximate age of our solar system : 4.54 Billion years.

So our planet’s been here for around 4.54 billion years. The other stars have been here for around 13 billion years. In other words, the light from those stars have had about ten billion years to reach us.

Long story short, the reason we can see those stars right now is because the light we see has had billions of years to reach us. Sure, we’re seeing what they looked like millions of years ago, but we can still see them.

The moral of this story is simple. Don’t try to use ‘Science’ to prove your argument or disprove someone else’s argument when you don’t even come close to understanding the most basic concepts of what you’re talking about.

This is essentially like me saying:

“The Bible’s a big fake! It’s meant to have been written almost 2000 years ago…so why isn’t the paper in mine yellowed? How come it looks brand new? Why is it in English? Why isn’t it hand written on papyrus? Explain that!”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I did not say that.

One of the things that’s always amazed me is the way England and America treat democracy.

Apparently, we love democracy. We love it enough to go to war to protect it. However, as much as we say we love Democracy, our voter turnouts are tiny. I mean, less than 40% tiny.

Isn’t that a kick in the balls? Just from our voter turnout, we could say that the minority have the power. We can only hope that the people who actually do take the time to vote are a decent cross-section to represent the rest of us.

I was thinking about this today, and I realized why we have such a small turnout.

First of all, all we have to do is look at candidates’ campaign tactics.

Basically, rather than go to the trouble of talking about their policies and what they’d do with the power we can give them, they spend millions and millions of dollars telling us what an asshole the other guy is.

The saddest thing is, I don’t really care if one candidate smoked a little weed in college. I don’t care if the other candidate cheated on his wife in 1994. Hell, I don’t care if the candidates are weed-smoking, vodka-drinking wife-swapping ex-convicts as long as they can actually do the job well.

Secondly, what does this do to us, the voters?

We’re put in a position where we know that all the candidates are huge douchebags. Either that or all of them are lying.

No wonder our voter turnout is so low. Who do you want representing you? A douche or a liar?

Last but not least, once these people do get into power, they start (continue?) lying to us.

Just once I’d love to see a politician get asked a tough question and say:

“You know what? I fucked up. I made a mistake. My bad, people.”

You see, I could respect a guy who said that. Someone who was willing to accept responsibility for their actions and admit when they’re wrong.

Instead, what we get is a politician who will appear on TV on Monday and say:

“We have absolute, incontrovertible proof that politician A is not a pedophile. We support and trust him totally. He is not under investigation and will continue his office for the foreseeable future.”

Then, of course, a few days later, a video is released and it turns out politician A is indeed a pedophile. Then the same guy who went on TV on Monday will be interviewed:

“So, Mr. Politician, why did you say you had absolute proof of politician A’s innocence when that was obviously not the case?”

“I never said we had proof. Politician A has been under investigation since the beginning.”

“But you said in a press conference on Monday that you had ‘absolute and incontrovertible proof’ of politician A’s innocence.”

“I did not. I did not say that at all. I have never stated that Politician A is innocent. We have had Politician A under investigation since the beginning, and I definitely did not say we had proof of his innocence.”

“But last week you said Politician A was not under investigation and that your administration supported and trusted him totally.”

“I did not say that. Your statement is totally false. Next question.”

“What will happen to politician A now?”

“No more questions about Politician A please.”

That’s what I don’t get. Interviewing a politician is like catching a kid who’s covered from head to toe in chocolate, but is swearing they didn’t eat the chocolate cake you were saving for company. We have them on tape saying something. They know we have them on tape. However, when asked about it, they will insist they never said that, ever.

Basically, if you put your fingers in your ears and say “LALALALALALA”, the problem goes away.

So there you go. Basically, the average voter is going to the polls to decide which guy gets to lie to them for the next few years. We know they’re both douchebags, liars and will promise us anything to get into office…but once they’re there, they’re under no obligation to follow through on a single damn thing they said.

No wonder so few people vote.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mid-Life Crisis.

I was flicking through an old copy of Reader’s Digest when I stumbled upon the problem page.

I hate problem pages. I hate them a lot.

Usually, the ‘problem’ is so minor it shouldn’t warrant 15 minutes thought, let alone a letter. Then, the advice received is either so ridiculously obvious an amoeba would go ‘duh!’ Or, three, the advice just won’t work in real life.

For example, a mother wrote in saying that every time her 8 year old plays with a particular friend, he comes home acting like a monster.

Here’s my advice. Punish your kid for bad behavior and tell him he can’t play with that friend until he stops acting like such a sheep.

What did the ‘expert’ say? To ‘go to the kids parents, tell them you think their kid is being a bad influence and to ‘work out a solution’’.

Yep, because going to someone’s house and telling them they’re bad parents isn’t a great way to get punched in the face! If the kid is such a little bastard, chances are his parents don’t care anyway. Great, you’ve just turned a minor, everyday problem into a major feud.

Anyway…I digress.

The one that really caught my eye was from a wife who was ‘concerned’ that her middle-aged husband had just bought a red sports car. She thought it was a ‘mid-life crisis’ issue and wondered if she should talk to her husband about it.

Ok, let me let the ladies in on a secret. When it comes to males, ‘growing up’ is a myth. Every fully grown man out there is essentially a 14 year old in a man-suit. As we grow up physically, we become aware that we’re supposed to start acting differently, so we do…but it doesn’t mean that’s who we are.

Think of the stuffiest, most ‘responsible’ no-nonsense guy you know. See your 60 year old bank manager? He might be sitting behind his desk, the respected head of a major financial institution…but if he could get away with it, and be sure no-one would find out…he’d be outside with the bank’s partners, a twig for a gun, playing army.

Right now, you might be thinking ‘Not my man’, but yes, your man. See the toolbox? That’s a grown man’s toy-chest. He might tell you he bought that security system to protect the family and lower your home-owners insurance…but he bought it because it has buttons, lights and sounds, and he can pretend he’s a secret agent defusing an atom-bomb every time he punches in the code.

Ladies, you do it too. Guy’s might ‘waste’ money on things like tools and cars…but do you really need four hundred pairs of shoes? A make-up kit that weighs 100lbs? So many clothes you could kill yourself by putting them in a pile, climbing to the top and then jumping off? I hate to point this out, but while men swap their toy cars for real ones, you stop playing dress-up with Barbie and buy accessories for yourself.

So, anyway, back to the sports car. Here’s the deal. Every guy wants a sports car or its equivalent. It might be a boat, motorcycle, gigantic truck or our very own private workshop (read ‘toy room’). We’ve all wanted one ever since one drove by when we were five. It’s big, it’s loud and it’s shiny…we want it.

Now it comes down to simple economics.

What’s the difference between a 21 year old guy and a 40 year old guy? The answer is money.

At 21, we have no credit, no savings and probably working in a crappy job. By 40 we have a decent credit rating, savings and property to secure a loan.

In other words, guys don’t buy this shit because they’re trying to recapture their youth. It’s just we’ve all always wanted a big, shiny red sports car…and when we reach that mid-life point, we can finally afford one.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


A Marine Corps Sergeant did his part in an attack on a Middle-Eastern city, in order to take down a dictator who not only shot the rightful president, but had the populace killed in their thousands.

During the attack, the Sergeant’s unit was informed that there was a possible nuclear device in the Presidential palace.

The Marine’s unit lifted off in the evac chopper, when from the tailgate, the Marine Sergeant saw a Cobra attack helicopter get hit by ground fire and crash land. The pilot was killed, but small arms fire along with panicked calls for help showed that the gunner was still alive.

Despite the massive number of enemy soldiers that were advancing on the chopper, the Marine’s commander chose to land and attempt a rescue, even though the rescue attempt guaranteed that the chopper wouldn’t be at a minimum safe distance if the nuclear device in the Presidential palace detonated.

During the rescue, the Marine Sergeant dodged enemy gunfire from a massively superior force and managed to pull the female gunner from the wreckage. He physically carried her, still under heavy fire and wounded himself, back to the Chinook. Obviously in pain, she flopped onto a chair, with not even enough strength left to thank her rescuer.

The Chinook lifted off, and still coming under heavy fire, joined a formation of friendly aircraft evacuating from the city.

The radio crackles, informing the troops that a NEST team was on location and was working to defuse the nuke. However, the transmission was cut short as the Marine Sergeant saw a mushroom cloud bloom from the ground behind the chopper. As the blinding light faded, a shockwave raced out from ground zero, destroying everything in its path.

The Chinook, electrics fried from the blast’s EMP, went into a violent spin. The Marine Sergeant could do nothing but watch in horror as one of his friends lost his grip and was thrown from the back of the helicopter. From his vantage point at the back, the Marine also got to see the other aircraft in the formation spin out of control or get thrown out of the air by the shockwave that was rapidly gaining on his aircraft. The helicopter crashed hard and the Marine lost consciousness.

He awoke in a nightmare world. The chopper was split almost cleanly in two, and the only company in the wreckage was one of his dead comrades. From the tailgate all he could see was a blood-red sky. A nuclear wind was whipping up radioactive ash that was so thick it looked like snow.

He pulled himself along the floor as best he could, inch by agonizing inch, and managed to struggle to his feet. He tried to jump from the back of what was left of the chopper, but landed badly, his legs unable to carry him. He clawed his way along the ground, managing to stand again for a few seconds, but fell again after a few limping steps.

As his vision faded for the last time, the last thing he saw was a tall apartment building collapse in front of him, burned out cars littering the road and, almost bizarrely, a street sign written in a language he can’t understand standing next to the cracked, destroyed road, almost pristine among so much destruction.

He lost consciousness for the last time.

No one will ever know he helped save his comrades lives during the attack. No one will ever know how he ran through heavy gunfire, dodging bullets and getting wounded himself, just to save the life of a pilot he didn’t know.

He becomes another statistic. Another Marine soldier KIA.

All of the above happens to one of your characters in ‘Call of Duty : Modern Combat’, not if you lose, but as part of the story

…and people say these games de-sensitize you to violence and glorify combat and killing.

All I took from this game is a deeper respect for our armed forces, and the hope that I never, ever have to go to war in real life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Many Traditions of Thanksgiving...

1) Should a husband be dumb enough to set foot in the Kitchen during the cooking stage, he will be instantly chased out for 'getting in the way'.

2) Should a husband try to keep out of the way and stay out of the Kitchen, he will later receive a 20 minute lecture on how he should be more helpful and didn't lift a finger.

3) Should a husband actually help out, and do something simple such as mashing some potatoes, he will make sure everyone at the table know he is responsible for that particular dish.

4) Guests will be so impressed at the husband's contribution that they will spend at least 10 minutes talking about how amazing the mashed potatoes are.

5) Should number 4 happen, the wife will silently seethe at the end of the table because no one made half as big a deal over the turkey, dressing, gravy etc that she made.

6) If a wife asks for help (such as "pass me the milk from the fridge") that help received automatically allows the husband to say 'he helped make that'.

7) Wives will spend at least two days cooking. She will make enough food to feed at least 5 times the number of people attending the dinner. She will know this but do it anyway.

8) After putting in two days of effort to make the best tasting and most beautiful looking meal available, everyone will say how their favorite part of thanksgiving dinner is the cold turkey and dressing sandwiches the next day.

9) Someone will always fall asleep shortly after dinner. It is perfectly acceptable to mess with that person while they're asleep.

10) At a family dinner, all the female members who brought something will engage in the ultimate passive-aggressive battle over who's dressing was 'the best'

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

They must be doing this on purpose.

I've not watched G4 in over almost 2 years. I stopped watching shortly after it was bought by Comcast who totally ruined it.

Today, however, I was flicking through the channels, looking for something to watch and saw that 'X-Play' had a review of Assassin's Creed. Wanting to see that review I changed the channel to G4.

Now, since G4's buyout, I thought that X-Play was about the only show on that network that was still at least slightly worth watching. 5 minutes after I started watching, I changed the channel because I just couldn't take it.

I used to believe that G4 debacle was the result of a buyout by people who just didn't know what they were buying. They took a niche network and tried to go for mainstream popularity.

After watching X-Play for for five minutes, I'm honestly convinced that someone is deliberately trying to destroy this network.

Here's the deal. X-Play used to review games. Now, they still review games, but the entire bottom quarter of the screen is taken up by a 'live chat' ticker. Basically, while I'm trying to watch the show, I'm being visually assaulted by text messages from a bunch of 14 year olds, sitting in front of their computers trying desperately to be funny...usually by churning out Chuck Norris jokes.

I suppose it makes sense in a way. They took an intelligent technology based network and turned it into an AOL chatroom.

From "Hey, here's a neat little exploit that can squeeze some more performance from your PC" to "OMG Chuck Norris! Lollz! Roflcopter!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What do you think?

It’s not very often that a game inspires me into some serious philosophical thinking, but that’s what happened the me today.

I was playing (you guessed it) World of Warcraft.

I’d decided to give player-versus-player a try. This works a lot like many other multiplayer games. You have two teams, the Alliance and the Horde, and win by controlling certain areas on a map for a specific length of time.

Here’s where the philosophy starts to come in.

Horde and Alliance players basically can’t interact with each other. While you can trade, talk and quest with members of your own faction, your only interaction you have with the opposing faction is to either ignore each other or fight. Even if you try to chat with a member of the opposite faction, the game will change what you type to nonsense in order to simulate different languages.

It’s also true that Alliance players outnumber Horde players by at least five to one.

What this means is that the Horde side has a much tighter-knit community. Playing on the Horde side means you’re far more likely to run into the same players over and over again.

So, when it comes to PvP, more often than not, the Horde team is made up by a group of people who know each other, have quested together and are used to working as a team. On the Alliance side, the team is made up of mostly strangers who don’t know each other at all.

What this boils down to is that the Horde team is just that…a team. They work together and use tactics to win. The Alliance team tends to devolve into one big cluster-fuck with very little tactics and absolutely no overall plan. While the Horde leave the starting gate knowing exactly where they’re going, what their individual jobs are and operate in organized balanced teams…The Alliance players run around like headless chickens.

I’m not exaggerating here. I’ve seen Alliance teams that far outnumber the Horde team lose because the Alliance attacks in ones and twos while the Horde team groups and supports each other.

However, what I noticed was occasionally the Alliance team would accept an ‘ad-hoc’ leader. Someone who would give out at least a sketch of a plan to start with (Like “group one attack this area, group two attack this area, etc etc.)

Most of the time the overall tactics would be off (a lot of the time someone would order an attack on a control point when all we had to do was dig in and defend to win). However, even when a ‘leader’ gave bad advice and ordered things that were tactical errors, as a team, the Alliance would do much better than the usual ‘headless chicken’ approach.

This is what started me thinking.

This game basically showed that any leadership, even totally incompetent leadership, is preferable to no leadership at all. An army ordered on a suicidal attack as a group will probably last longer than individuals picking their own targets and going up against an organized enemy in ones and twos.

So, what are your thoughts? Do people function better with poor leadership than with no leadership at all? Are we more successful following a bad leader than everyone just doing their own thing?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just a thought...

The whole premise of 'Intelligent Design' is that 'complexity implies a creator'.

In other words, things are so complex that they couldn't possibly have come into being 'by accident'. Life is complex, so therefore it had to be designed by someone.

However, if complexity requires a creator... and considering that God would be the most powerful and complex being ever...wouldn't that mean that someone had to create God? If God didn't have a creator, doesn't that disprove the whole idea?

It's typical when you think about it. It's classic religious thinking. Believe what you want to believe, ignore everything that proves you wrong...and when a major contradiction in your logic is pointed out, say "That's where the faith comes in" or ignore it completely.

Believe what you want to believe, just don't try to pass off your belief as Science. Intelligent Design isn't science. It's religious doctrine prancing around in a stolen lab coat.

Oh, and 'faith' is believing in something when there's no evidence to support your belief, such as belief in God's not believing in something when you've actually been proven wrong.

That's called 'idiocy'.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Windows XP : Smacktard Edition

Picture the scene. I’m sitting in front of my computer playing WoW, when right in the middle of a major boss fight, I find myself back at the desktop:

WindowsXP : OMGWTFBBQ!!!! Dude, there’s like this major security hole that needs to be fixed! You have to download this update right now!!!

Me : You mother f**ker... It’ll have to wait.

So I get WoW back up to find that after fighting my way through an difficult instance for an hour, I’m now dead, as is half the party.

WoW Players : Paulius, wtf?

Me : Sorry, comp crapped out. Stupid auto updates.

WoW Players : Yeah, I hate it when that shit happens.

Me : I know, I say I don’t want auto updates so I won’t get disturbed, but it still disturbs me to tell me there’s an update.

WoW Players : Yeah. Oh, you missed the roll for the boss’s helm, Magdeline got it.

Me : Shit, that’s the only reason I did this instance.

Suddenly, amidst much hard-drive grinding, I find myself back at the desktop.

WindowsXP : Dude, you mustn’t have heard me the first time. There’s a major freaking security hole here that needs fixing!

Me : There’s always a freaking security hole! There’s a new one every week!

WindowsXP : But this is urgent!

Me : So there’s been a security hole in XP since it came out, but because you’ve discovered it now, years later, it’s suddenly urgent?

WindowsXP : YES! You finally get it.

Me : Piss off, I’ll download it later.

I click, and after 30 seconds of yet more hard-drive grinding, I’m back in Azeroth.

WoW Players : Paulius, you still not rezzed yet?

Me : No, comp keeps crapping out. I think my PC needs some Ritalin or at least a damn good kicking.

WoW Players : Well, get your ass in gear. We’re gonna do another run, Uldaman this time.

Me : Cool, I have 3 quests there. Go ahead, I’ll catch a gryphon from Southshore and meet you there.

Black screen….hard drive grinding….45 seconds of frozen desktop.

WindowsXP : OMG dude! You’re not listening! You need to do this nooooooowwww!!!

Me : Oh for f**k’s sake.

Click….black screen….hard drive grinding…WoW music loops for 45 seconds.

Me : Hey, my comp’s screwing up again, just go in without me, I’ll try and catch up.

WoW Players : Well, hurry, this is gonna get ugly without a tank.

Me : Will do.

Click….black screen….grinding….looped music…frozen desktop.

Me : Ok, download your f**king update.

WindowsXP : Finally! You don’t take security very seriously do you?

Me : Yes I do, it’s Microsoft that doesn’t.

WindowsXP : Ok, downloading now, you can continue working while I do this.

Me : Fine

Click…black screen….grinding….looped music….frozen desktop….frozen WoW.

Me : Ok, I’m on my way.

WoW Players : Ok, how long you gonna be?

Me : I just got on the gryphon, It’s about a five minute flight, then I gotta ride there from Thelsamar…about ten minutes.

WoW Players : Ok, we’re moving pretty slow with no tank, so you’ll get here in time before we get to the first boss.

Black screen…..grinding….looped music…frozen WoW….frozen desktop….

Windows XP : Just letting you know, I’m downloading and things are going great.

Me : You interrupt me when something’s wrong, then you interrupt me to tell me everything’s ok. At least the latter doesn’t happen very often. I hate you Windows XP. I hate you like the Wrath of Kings and the pure unbridled burning hatred of a thousand suns. I hope you die.

WindowsXP : Hey, this isn’t annoying, it’s a feature.

Me : Go f**k your mother.

Click…yadda, yadda, yadda….

Me : Great, now I’ve been eaten by wolves.

WoW Players : Where are you?

Me : Running back to my body from the graveyard.

WoW : You’re dead? How did that happen?

Me : Windows…f**king…XP

WoW Players : Lol, say no more.

Black screen….usual crap.

WindowsXP : Ok, all done and installed! Would you like to restart your computer now?

Me : No, I’m busy.

Click…blah blah blah

Me : Ok guys, just got inside the instance…catching up now.

Black screen…getting very annoyed…want to kill someone…Bill Gates is a Douche…

WindowsXP : Do you want to restart now?

Me : NO! I just said I’ll do it later.

WindowsXP : Ok, I’ll check back in another five minutes.

Me : No, don’t. Leave me alone until I tell you.

WindowsXP : Well, ok…but I’ll check back in five minutes to see if you’ve changed your mind about me checking back.

Me : How about you leave me alone until I specifically tell you to reboot.

WindowsXP : Sigh…ok.

Click…more loading…taking ages…want to throw monitor through window.

Me : Hey guys, what did I miss?

WoW Players : Magdeline got the epic sword, Talon got the epic boots and I got this nifty lockbox filled with gems!

Me : Sigh…any decent loot left in this dungeon?

WoW Players : Well, this next guy has a great set of gauntlets, you can have them.

Me : Cool.

Halfway through the fight….black screen…want to scream…gonna kill someone…find Bill Gates and feed my entire computer to him.

WindowsXP : Listen, I’ve been thinking…

Me : What in the blue f**k could you possibly want now?!? You’ve just killed me, half my party and lost me my chance at that loot!!

WindowsXP : I want to talk about our relationship. You’re not very sensitive to my needs.

Me : What about my need to not get disturbed every five seconds?!

WindowsXP : Well, it’s like this…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few minutes, and…well…I just have to ask….

Me : What?!?!?!?

WindowsXP : Do you want to reboot now?


Since I started blogging I’ve written more posts on stupid people, gullible people, reactionaries and band-wagon jumpers than I can count.

It’s time for one more.

Checking on today’s news I read a story about a woman in Cyprus who tried to charge a man $12,000 for ‘breaking a curse’ for him. The guy didn’t want to pay, so he went to the police and now the woman’s on trial for sorcery.

Ok, let me just check the calendar…

Yep, it’s 2007, not 1707…I mean, come on! Sorcery? Haven’t we established by now that magic isn’t real?

Of course, it’s easy to laugh at those wacky foreigners, but when you consider there’s a major ‘movement’ in the USA trying to get the Harry Potter books taken for the shelves for teaching our kids ‘witchcraft’, you really have to stop and think for a minute.

Let’s use a bit of logic, shall we?

If there was a such thing as magic, and I mean real magic, we’d be living in one big dictatorship. If I was on trial for sorcery, it’d go like this:

“How do you plead?”

(Big flash of light)

“There you go judge, enjoy living the rest of your life as a frog.”


“Mr Prosecutor, from now on all your descendants will be born with very small dicks…and that includes the girls.”


“Well, now these handcuffs are taken care of, and your side-arms have all been replaced with poisonous snakes… does anyone else feel like putting me on trial for sorcery? No? Didn’t think so. I’ll be off. Oh, and the court owes me 50 million in damages for besmirching my good name.”

Isn’t it amazing that all the witches and sorcerors that have been put on trial throughout our history have all had amazingly powerful evil magic…that somehow just doesn’t work on prison cell locks or on the people that accuse them?

Magic isn’t real.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Virtually Worthless?

Sunny recently posted this post about a Dutch teenager being arrested for stealing around $5000 worth of ‘virtual furniture’ from an online game.

At first, like everyone else, I just laughed. It sounds ridiculous. Arrested for ‘stealing’ something that isn’t even real?

However, I started thinking about it, and now it doesn’t seem quite so strange.

You see, our world is changing and our laws and attitudes to it are having a hard time catching up. People are buying virtual land, virtual property and the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘not real’ is becoming blurred.

Basically, people are paying real money for ‘virtual furniture’. If I pay real money for something and it gets stolen, doesn’t that make it a real theft anyway you look at it?

It’s a matter of perspective.

For example, this ‘virtual furniture’ may not exist in ‘real life’, but this furniture doesn’t exist in exactly the same way an mp3 doesn’t exist or a movie file doesn’t exist or even a website doesn’t really exist.

People are paying money to have streams of ones and zeros sent to them. Does it really matter what those ones and zeros make up?

Sure, you can say an online music purchase is different because it’s just a new way to deliver music. I personally don’t think it’s different at all.

We think things like this are just stupid because we see ‘virtual’ things as having no intrinsic value. It’s something created by someone in their free time that can be copied over and over. It’s not ‘real’ and therefore can’t be stolen.

However, you could apply that same type of thinking to real world objects. I can buy a set of oil paints and a large canvas for under a hundred bucks. Does that mean the Mona Lisa is only worth about the same amount?

Basically, it comes down to the way we apply value to things. For example, I could grab my microphone, and record an mp3 of me burping for three and a half minutes. What I’d end up with is a ‘virtual object’ that is physically no different to the mp3 currently at number one in the iTunes music store. However, one is worth something, the other isn’t.

What it comes down to is this. If I hacked your computer, copied all your mp3s, then deleted every one of them off your hard drive, you’d call that a theft. But why? Technically those songs don’t exist. You can’t hold them in your hands, technically they’re virtual CD’s.

Of course, you would call it a theft. Just because something isn’t ‘real’ doesn’t mean it doesn’t take real time, money and effort to make and, of course, money to purchase.

If we look at this whole issue at its most basic level, what we have is a creator who makes things and a customer who wants what that creator creates… and are willing to part with money for it.

If someone steals that content, a theft has taken place, whether the item stolen is physically real or not.

Basically, we’re now living in a world where people make their livings buying and selling things that don’t technically exist. It’s been done for years on the stock exchange with the ‘futures’ market. Unfortunately, our attitudes and laws are having a hard time keeping up.

In the end, a painting is still a painting whether it was created on canvas with paint and brush, or in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet and keyboard. Things gain their value by what we’re willing to part with for them, not just what they’re made up of.

Long story short, someone put in the time, money and effort to create this ‘virtual furniture’ and just like actual carpentry, this virtual furniture it took skill to make. Then someone decided it was desirable enough to part with real money for.

Then someone came along and stole it.

I suppose the best way to put this to my fellow bloggers is to point out that under this type of thinking our blogs don't really exist. They're 'virtual publications' and exist only as more ones and zeros on a server somewhere. Do we believe our blogs have no value? Would we mind if someone stole our posts and put them up somewhere for profit? How would we feel if we found a book made up of our posts and someone else was claiming it as their work?

We'd probably sue, despite the fact it 'cost us nothing to make' and we're not losing any money because someone has stolen it.

Long story short, content is content whether it's 'virtual' or not.

Now, is everyone still convinced no 'real' crime took place?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Grown up? Moi?

So Sunny did the second part of her sleep study and the Doc told her that she has sleep apnea. Basically, she stops breathing when she sleeps.

The Doc gave her a machine (I was jealous, it has buttons, lights and beeps). Upon careful inspection, I decided that the thing’s basically a high-tech air-pump. It hooks up to her nose and helps her breathe while she’s asleep. I wanted to play with it in the bath to see if it works like Scuba gear…but Sunny wouldn’t share her toys…selfish.

Anyway, the thing looks a little silly. It has a head strap that holds a plastic thing against her nose, which is attached to the pump with a long plastic tube.

So Sunny puts the thing on, and being a caring, thoughtful husband I tell her:

“You look like a borg who goes to special school.”

Apparently, it’s hard to talk with this thing on. So in response, Sunny just gives me the middle finger.

Then she puts on the chin-strap. This is basically a stretchy bandage that you wrap around your head to hold your mouth closed. (The thing works on the principle of keeping the air pressure outside your lungs higher than inside. It doesn’t work with your mouth open). I look at her again and say:

“Now you look like a borg who goes to a special school… who has a toothache.”

Sunny laughs and tells me to shut up, but because there’s a constant stream of air coming out of her mouth when she opens it, her voice takes on a hissy, snake-like quality.

“Now you sound like Lord Voldemort, who’s been assimilated by the borg, goes to the special school…and has a toothache.”

So, she laughs even more and chooses a few choice words for me. The machine has ‘switched gears’ by now and her voice sounds different. I tell her:

“Actually, I’ve changed my mind. Now you sound like a cheesy 1970’s sci-fi robot.”

About ten minutes later, the lights are off and we’re both falling asleep. Out of nowhere, I hear from the lady in bed next to me:

“Would… you… like… to… play… a… game? How about… a nice… game of… chess?”

Expensive medical apparatus + Extreme Childishness = FUN!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In the beginning....

Using that ever so addictive “Stumble” button on my browser, I came across a writer’s website.

It’s quite a neat idea. You write, publish posts like a blog, and 50% of the site’s revenue goes to the writers based on how many votes your posts get.

I know, I know…it’s not going to make anyone rich, and I’m pretty sure that the website owns the rights to anything you publish on there, but I decided I had a ton of blog posts, so I might as well try it out. I doubt I’ll earn a single cent, but it can’t hurt, can it?

So I decided to have a read through some of my older blog posts to find some that I could give the old cut and paste treatment. It was as I was reading some of my first posts from back in April ’05 that I made a discovery.

The quality of my writing has taken a freaking nose dive since then.

I read some of those old posts and found myself thinking “Hey, this is good, I wish I could write that well!”

Halfway through reading, I popped my head around the monitor and told Sunny my findings.

“You know, I used to be a halfway decent writer. Today I’m pretty much sitting at this desk, banging on the keys like a monkey.”

I think I figured it out, though.

Back in ’05, I started this blog, and like everyone with a new blog, I wanted one thing… Lots and lots of readers.

Back then, I’d write a post in Word, go through it three or four times, editing as I went, trying to make everything as good as possible. Then I’d go through again checking for spelling and grammar errors.

Back in ’05, starting every paragraph with “So” “You know” or “Basically” wasn’t an option. Having 7 commas in a single sentence wouldn’t have happened. I was actually concerned with the rhythm of my writing. Spelling and grammar were important. I’d actually triple check that I hadn’t used ‘where’ where ‘were’ was meant to go.

If we fast forward to today, it’s a different story. Back then, I started with maybe 6 ideas for blog posts and wanted to make sure I nailed each and every one of them. Today, I honestly don’t care about having a huge audience. I’ve gone from ‘performing’ to just plain writing.

Today I’ll have an idea, write it and publish it. That’s the process from start to finish. No leaving a post for a day to get some ‘distance’ from it, so I could edit it with ‘fresh eyes’.

However, I have to say that I’m a little sad that my work ethic has suffered so much.

I’ve found that I’ve gone from writing with an audience in mind, the same way I would if I was being paid to write an article, to a sort of hybrid style that’s somewhere between article writing and a private journal.

Maybe I should go back to writing the way I did in ’05.

…if I can be bothered.

Frickin Meme's

Tagged by my missus…which she will soon receive retribution for:

What was I doing 10 years ago:

I’d just graduated high school and was getting ready to start college. I was working at the Cricket Club bartending and hoping the truck driver’s strike would end their blockades so I’d be able to get the fuel to drive to my first day of college.

What was I doing one year ago:

Waiting on my Greencard, sitting in front of the computer and blogging a lot…pretty much exactly what I’m doing today, but looking for work instead of waiting for my Greencard.

What was I doing yesterday:

I hadn’t slept, so I spent most of the day on the couch, verbally sparring with Sunny as we tend to do a lot anyway. I also watched Mythbusters and, as usual, wished as hard as I could that it would turn out that Adam is my long lost uncle Uncle…because that would be awesome… imagine the Christmas presents.

Five Snacks I Enjoy:


Cheese & Saltines

Snickers Ice Cream

Beef Jerky

Egg Rolls

Five things I would do if I won 100 Million:

Give half to my Mum and Dad…they deserve it.

Buy a nice house and car.

Buy the $15,000 Falcon Northwest computer I’ve been drooling over.

Build my own private movie theater in the basement.

Buy the food network so I could fire Paula Dead and force the Italian cooking girl to pronounce ‘spaghetti’ properly instead of saying “spa GEE Tee”

Five Locations I’d run off too:

I don’t care as long as there are no freaking phones.

Five bad habits I have:


Leaving dishes in the sink.

Not tidying my desk.

Starting every written sentence with "So" "Basically" "In other words" or "Anyway"....and having 7 comma's in a single sentence.

Generally being a slob.

Five things I like doing:


Making things

Video Games

Learning new things


Five TV shows I like:

Doctor Who


Sanford and Son

Dirty Jobs


Five things I hate:

Only 5? Geeze….


People who never admit they’re wrong.

People who never contact you unless they need something.

People who wait until their purchases have been rung up before they search their bottomless purses for the cash to pay.

Being hurried up as I get ready…only to be kept waiting for 20 minutes once I’m ready to leave.

Five biggest joys of the moment:


That I’ve come up with a new book idea and I’m actually writing it.

That I’ve found probably the only WoW Guild that has no tolerance for douchebaggery.

Watching a TED talk that makes me think.

…and that’s all I can think of.

People I tag:

OzzyC, MC Etcher and Cindy

Friday, November 09, 2007

Just a thought....

It seems that at least twice a week I need to download updates for Windows XP.

While this is annoying, it appears that every time I need an update to fix yet another security hole, I also have to download the 'Genuine Advantage' application...a bit of software that checks to make sure my copy of Windows isn't pirated.

I'm using an operating system that Microsoft stole from Apple, after Apple stole it from Xerox.

So, basically, I'm using an operating system based on software that was stolen from a company who stole it from another company.

...and they have the balls to check my copy isn't stolen?

Fuck, Bill, the Windows emblem should be a pirate flag. On top of that, you have the balls to block legal software in Vista...because it can be used for piracy.

Oh, I get's only bad when people steal from you.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quick! Get the Lysol!

Anyone else think this whole filtering and disinfecting everything is getting out of hand?

The TV was on while I was on the computer and it went like this:

Infomerical for an air-filter – Explaining just how ‘dangerous’ it is to breathe.

Ad for a disinfectant spray – Explaining how everyone you care about it going to die unless you spray everything down once an hour.

Infomerical for a water purifier – Explaining how drinking tap water is going to give you a nasty disease.

Now, as timing would have it (and just to be clear) my mother-in-law gave us a really good air-filter today as an early Christmas present. I have to say I love the thing, but that’s because we have a dog and I smoke. I don’t really care about ‘allergens’ in the air…it just makes out living room smell nicer.

The thing is, you have to expose your immune system to the bad stuff in order to strengthen it. When you get ill your body learns how to fight that virus or infection, which helps you fight it off more easily next time.

Long story short, if you lived in a totally sterile room throughout your entire life, you’d have no immune system…and if you went outside, getting a cold or the flu would probably kill you, or best case scenario, a disease that would just slow a normal person down a little would knock you on your ass for weeks.

So, if you have a kid that you only let breathe filtered air, drink filtered water and spray everything they touch with disinfectant every day…good luck on his first day of school.

However, what bugs me the most about these infomercials though, is just how full of shit they are.

The one for the water filer showed how their filter reduced ‘harmful’ ingredients to just 4 parts per million….then pointed out that even bottled water was ‘massively’ contaminated with 170 parts per million of harmful stuff.

Wow, 170 parts down to 4? That’s massive right?

Well, no.

If you look at it as a percentage, the 4 parts per million is 0.0004% contaminated versus 0.017%.

Let’s face it “170 parts” sounds like a big number…but we’re still only talking less than a 100th of a percent.

Oh, and that’s just how much ‘stuff’ is in the water. Not ‘harmful’ stuff, but just things like minerals that you find in water anyway.

I’ve also seen an infomercial about an air filter were they ‘demonstrated’ what you breathe in by washing off a filter and then showed the dirty water. Then the presenter douchebag held it up to the camera and said “Would you drink that?”

Well, probably not…but that’s a half pint of water holding all the dust and airborne particles that it would probably take me a month or so to breathe in normally. It’s the difference between living within a mile of a major highway and connecting and oxygen mask to your car’s exhaust pipe.

Long story short, a water filter will make your water taste a bit better, an air filter will make your house smell fresher and disinfecting everything in your home is useless unless you plan on living like the bubble-boy. ‘Health Benefits’ my ass.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

User Friendly

The reaction to my last post got me thinking…again.

I want to share and event I experienced in the mid 90’s.

At this time, the internet in my area was still dial-up, and you paid for the phone call whenever you logged on. I was the only member of my extended family with internet access because the rest had decided that they either didn’t need the internet, didn’t understand what it was, or thought it was ‘too techie’ for them.

Bug-bear #1 : People who decide something is too difficult before ever trying.

Anyway, my young cousin had a paper to write on Shakespeare for school. He gave me a call and asked if he could use the internet at my house to do some research. I agreed.

So I sat him down in front of the computer, pulled up Google, and typed in ‘Shakespeare’. As you can probably guess, there were a few hundred thousand results.

“There you go.” I said. “Just look through these links, then click the ones that look like they’ll have the info you need.”

A few minutes later, he turns up downstairs.

“Hey Paulius, you did Shakespeare at school, right?”

“Yes I did.”

“Well…can you tell me what I need to know for this paper?”

Obviously, I asked why he wasn’t using the internet, and his answer floored me.

“There was too much, I don’t wanna go through all those links and read all those pages!”

“You do realize you don’t have to read all of them, don’t you? Just find one that has his biography and use that.”

“But there’s tons of links!”

Basically, he’d decided that actually reading was too much trouble. He somehow expected to sit in front of the computer, click a few times and end up with everything he needed for his paper.

It wasn’t user-friendly enough.

Of course, everyone who remembers having to actually go to a library and flick through a card catalogue will find the idea of a Google search being ‘too much trouble’ absolutely laughable.

This is the prevalent attitude today. I want this to work, I want this to work right now and I want it to require absolutely zero effort on my part…and if it doesn’t, there’s something wrong with it.

Don’t get me wrong, if everything could be like that, it would be great. My point is that with some things it’s just not possible.

In my ED glasses review, I went into a lot of detail about how the glasses worked and what the controls did. In reality I can sum up how to work them in a few sentences:

“Press F5 to turn the glasses on. Then press F7 until the game looks 3D. Finally, press F6 until any double images revert back to single, 3D images.”

In fact, I think ‘user friendliness’ held me back a little on these glasses. Like I said in the review, the controls were mislabeled.


Because if they’d called the F7 key “Perspective Offset” and the F6 key the ‘Focal depth’ the average gamer wouldn’t have understood what they did. This would mean Edimensional would have had to write at least half a page on how 3D works and what those controls mean…which in turn means people would be instantly ‘put off’.

In fact, thinking about it, I find the ‘manual’ (one printed page taken up mostly by ‘care and cleaning’) to be incredibly telling. One thing sticks out:

“Keep using the glasses! The more you use them, the more experienced you will become with the controls and find it easier to get good results.”

At least to me, this can be translated as:

“Look, we could tell you what these controls do, but if we do, we’ll have to explain them. If we put it this way, we make it sound almost as easy as it actually is to get good results, but if we explain what the controls actually do, we’re going to take up at least half a page…and when people see that many instructions, they’re likely to give up and not bother. So work it out for yourself because we’d rather you have a little more difficulty using them than you would if you read two paragraphs of instructions, than admit openly that these glasses aren’t totally plug-and-play.”

This seems to be the industry standard today. If you can’t tell the consumer everything they need to know in 5 lines or less, your product isn’t going to sell.

This is a huge problem, and here’s why:

Using ED glasses as an example, we have an amazing technology that, in realistic terms, is easy to use. The learning curve is nice and gentle. Unfortunately, people don’t want a ‘easy’ learning curve, they want zero learning curve.

Because of this, ED glasses remain a very small ‘novelty’ product that doesn’t make much money…and no-one’s going to invest very much time and money in a novelty product.

If more people were willing to put in a little effort, they’d make lots of money and we’d be a huge leap closer to the ‘user friendly, zero learning curve version’.

If you think I’m over-stating things here, just look at the internet and home computers.

Computer networking and the Arpanet (the forerunner to the internet) was first envisioned in 1966. It took almost 40 years to go from an idea to general acceptance…because at first, it was hard.

I’m not suggesting that we should be willing to buy products that require years of study or an advanced degree to use, but you don’t have to know how a hard-drive works in order to save a file.

Spending 30 minutes reading a manual should not be ‘too much effort’ to use any product, and the simple inclusion of a manual shouldn’t count as a black mark against a product.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More 3D

Etcher's comment on my last post (The ED Shutter Glasses Review) made me think. He said:

"Too much adjustment needed, I think I'll wait another 10 years."

Here's the bad part. If things carry on the way they are, there's be no noticable difference in the technology in 10 years.

During my research I read numerous forum posts about people who wrote to ATI asking for Stereoscopic 3D support in their drivers. The answer was always the same:

"ATI has no plans to support 3D shutter glasses at the present time. We care about our user's needs and may support this feature in the future if we see a real demand for it."

What we have today is a vicious circle. Despite the amazing potential of this technology, on most systems the technology just isn't quite good enough. In an industry that's fueled by eye-candy, very few people are willing to sacrifice a little graphical quality for true 3D.

In other words, the technology won't get better until there's more of a demand for it...and there won't be more demand for it until the technology gets better.

I think this is a sad state of affairs, because speaking from experience, Stereoscopy gives you a unique experience that you can't get anywhere else.

Even with the limitations of this technology today, after playing various games in stereoscopic 3D, I have to say that it's the difference between playing a game on a 12 inch, black and white TV...and playing a game on a 40 inch 1080p plasma screen.

It's impossible to describe the experience adequately to someone who's never experienced it. All I can say is it's like the difference in realism between Wolfenstein 3D and Doom 3. Without stereoscopy you're playing a fun game. With stereoscopy you get a real sense of actually 'being there'.

As I mentioned in my review, this technology suffers for 2 reasons:

The first is the lack of support on non-Nvidia cards.

Nvidia cards use 'page flipping' to generate the two perspectives you need for stereoscopic 3D. This means with each refresh of the screen, a whole new picture is generated. Non-Nvidia users are stuck with interlaced page flipping, which means with each refresh only every other line is flipped. (basically if you numbered each horizontal line on your screen, even numbered lines would be for one eye and odd for the other)....hence the drop in picture quality.

This is an easy fix, all it requires is a demand for support.

The second is how 3D vision works.

The only solution I see for this problem of focal depth (like I said in my review) is to fit the glasses with sensors that can track each eye and the screen, so the software knows exactly where on the screen you're looking.

However, like I also said in the review, this isn't a huge problem. In all honestly, once I worked out what the ED controls actually did, it took me a couple of minutes to 'tune' Battlefront 2 to only give (a really tiny) double image when an object was literally inches from your face. I wouldn't even call it a double image...what you actually see is a few millimeter's 'bleed' around the edges of very close object.

What it boils down to is whether you're willing to lose a bit of graphical quality for 3D.

The only real problem I see with this technology today is our attitudes and the sheer number of variables involved with a product like this.

Basically, we all want plug-and-play. It doesn't matter how complicated something is, we want things to work right out of the box.

The average user wants to start a game, put on these glasses and get mind blowing 3D with absolutely no effort. This is certainly something to shoot for, but considering your graphics card, type of monitor and even your own eyesight effect the can understand how difficult this is.

The way I like to look at it is this:

When I first got into PC gaming, you had to set up your videocard, soundcard and controller or joystick manually for each game. This wasn't a big deal because it was standard practice. You thought nothing of manually calibrating your joystick and assigning your soundcard's Interrupt Request because that's just what you had to do.

For someone who cut their gaming teeth on a PS2 or a Windows XP system, this would be way too complicated and not worth the effort.

Long story short, it takes people willing to support a technology through its infancy to get to the plug-and-play stage.

Basically, I think shutter glasses are good enough today to justify a place in every PC Gamer's arsenal. If more people would take a chance on this technology and create a demand for it...I would honestly bet that Sterescopic 3D would be 'the next big thing'.

Edimensional 3D Glasses Review - ATI + LCD

Relevant Test Hardware:

ATI Radeon X1300

Gateway LCD 1400x900 monitor at 75hz

It seems every review I read for Edimensional’s glasses came in one of two flavors. People either loved them and thought every gamer should own a pair, or absolutely hated them and said they didn’t work.

My first few hours with them explained why this is:

I spent my first half hour with these glasses cursing them and thinking I’d have to send them back because they wouldn’t work. I spent the next half hour thinking they worked but the effect was no-where near the price…and 6 hours later when I had them finally figured out I was almost leaping out of my chair to avoid enemy rockets from hitting me in the face.

You see, while the hardware is purely plug and play (you just put a dongle between your graphics card and monitor, if you can put a square peg in a square hole you can install this product), setting them up for individual games takes a while until you get used to it.

This is mostly down to the terrible manual. With the ED drivers (Nvidia card owners can use Nvidia drivers which are much more intuitive), you have 2 controls that are labeled ‘More/Less 3D’ and ‘More/Less 3D close up’.

These controls are frankly mislabeled. The ‘More 3D’ control increases the distance between the two in game cameras that represent each eye. The ‘More 3D close up adjusts the distance from you at which these views ‘converge’ (The focal point, basically).

I think this ‘mislabeling’ was an attempt to not confuse the average user who has little or no idea of how stereoscopic 3D works. Unfortunately, this means your first instinct is to ramp both controls up as high as they will go. All this does is exaggerate the 3D on a very specific plane and result in crazy double images for everything not at that exact distance.

For example, I put on a flight simulator, paused the game and adjusted the settings until the plane in front of me just leapt out of the screen…but as soon as I unpaused and the game resumed, everything broke into ‘double vision’. At first I blamed the hardware, thinking the shutters were out of sync.

In reality I’d done the equivalent of setting my ‘eyes’ to a few feet apart, then crossed them to focus on that one object. (To understand this, put your finger a few inches from your nose and focus on it…now focus on an object in the other side of the room…see how your finger breaks into 2 images? That’s what’s happening in the game.)

Basically, once you understand the controls, setting up games becomes a snap.

There are a few downsides however.

The first is that the picture gets significantly darker when the glasses turn on. You’re basically playing a game with the brightness turned down through sunglasses. Having said that, the game was still playable in a brightly lit room, and if you’re playing in a darkened room, you quickly get used to it. In fact, after playing with the glasses for an hour, it felt like the picture was good with them on too bright when I turned them off.

Secondly, if you have an ATI card, the only 3D support you have is interlaced 3D. This results in an interlaced image, but I have to say it isn’t really intrusive.

My only other real negative is that this technology is limited in a few ways.

Remember what I told you about the double images? In real life your eyes will cross slightly to focus on the object you’re looking at. Because you have to set a fixed focal point for your games, objects that get extremely close to you can double-image no matter how you set up the game.

To be fair, once I worked out the controls, I only got a tiny amount of double imaging on objects, and the object had to be extremely close for you to see this (and how often do you stand on a combine cop’s toes in HL2?)

The only time this becomes a real issue is with the HUD objects in some games, such as cross hairs and health bars. Again, if you have an Nvidia card, you can set an ‘Nvidia crosshair’ that gets rid of this by rendering the crosshair in 2D.

I don’t really hold this as a black mark against these glasses, because the only real solution I can see for it is if the glasses had independent eye-tracking built in so they could tell what part of the screen you’re looking at. This is advanced and expensive technology, so you can’t really expect it in a pair of glasses that cost around 70 bucks.

Luckily you can adjust your 3D settings ‘on the fly’, and it’s just a matter of setting your focal point so it works for the majority of the distances you’re dealing with in the game. Like I said, I got to the point where I only experienced double images when an object was ridiculously close.

One thing that isn’t really a negative, but takes some getting used to when it crops up, is when you get ‘contradictory’ depths.

For example, in Star Wars : Battlefront 2, it looks like your gunsight is hovering a few feet in front of you. If an enemy or object gets closer to you than that, you get the strange phenomenon were your eyes are telling you that your gunsight is simultaneously further away than the object, but also in front of it.

The other thing I’m not holding against the glasses themselves is that there is a tiny amount a flicker when using them (and I mean tiny). The reason I’m not holding this against the glasses is because my monitor can only support the bare-minimum refresh rate of 75hz. If the flicker is so barely noticeable at 75hz, if you have a CRT capable of over 100hz, it won’t be a problem.

The only other real negative is that you do lose a bit of picture quality, and get a bit of a drop in frame rate when the glasses are turned on. Fortunately, at least for me, the drop in frame rate was barely noticeable. On the games I could actually check on, frame rate dropped by roughly 5 to 7%

Now onto the good parts:

Hardware-wise, the glasses are incredibly light and comfortable, and they also fit very easily and comfortably over prescription glasses. The lens size is also nice and large, I had no problems when looking at a 22 inch widescreen monitor at about 2 feet away…and that was with my prescription glasses on (holding the ED glasses further from my eyes than someone without prescription glasses would experience).

The other tip I’ll give you is that unless you’re planning on buying a second set so someone else can watch, go for the wired versions. I personally didn’t see the point in paying an extra 30 bucks for the privilege of losing one thin wire and having to buy batteries every 100 hours of use.

Once you have your glasses correctly set up and working, the effect is absolutely incredible. In all the shooters I tried it felt as though my weapon was really in my shoulder…and it was a genuine scary experience when a hellfire tank in Battlefront 2 released 15 rockets at me.

Believe it or not, it also makes a lot of games a little easier. I found in Combat Flight Simulator 3, I was getting a much higher hit ratio than I could without the ED glasses (25% hit rate versus my old 3%). This is because you can actually judge the distance to an enemy, and it makes ‘leading the target’ a hell of a lot easier. Landings and bombing also become easier because you can actually judge your distance from the ground.

It also leads to some amazing experiences you just can’t get without stereoscopic 3D.

I got behind an enemy plane, opened fire and with each hit debris would fly off the plane…and come right out of the screen at me. Then the pilot ejected and I got the amazing view of the pilot just missing me as his plane exploded. It’s the difference between looking at a picture of the action…and really feeling like you’re in a plane flying through a field of debris.

Also, remember that part of HL2 where you play catch with Dog? As the Soprano’s would say…fughedaboutit!

It’s really hard to explain the effect to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but if you’re playing a shooter, imagine taking the screen out of your monitor and setting up GI-Joes inside it. That’s what it looks like (albeit through sunglasses).

Another experience that sticks in my mind was I was playing Ultimate Spiderman and was jumping from rooftop to rooftop…suddenly I leapt out into space between two skyscrapers…and felt my stomach jump into my mouth. I got a real feeling of vertigo…and that’s realism you just can’t get anywhere else.

The other big positive I can mention is that even though the Edimensional driver for non-Nvidia cards is essentially a hack, it works beautifully with most games. I found the glasses worked with about 95% of my games.


If you have an ATI card and an LCD monitor capable of at least 75hz, I’d recommend these glasses. You won’t use them all the time, but they’re definitely worth owning.

Considering everything I’ve heard about how much better these glasses are with Nvidia cards and CRT monitors, I don’t see why anyone with that hardware wouldn’t own these glasses.

All I can say is don’t expect them to work perfectly out of the box. Expect to spend a couple hours playing with them and working out how to set them up before you become proficient with them. After that it’s butter.

One last point to mention is that if you own an LCD monitor, make sure you buy your glasses from the Edimensional website. I saw these for sale on for $50, but the $50 pair are the old ones that will only work with CRT monitors.

Friday, November 02, 2007

In case anyone's interested.

I played with the Edimensional glasses for a few hours today.

I've not gotten around to writing a full review (I'm still toying with the idea of a video review), but here's what I have to say about them in a nutshell:

There are a couple of problems that come down to the limitations of the technology (that I can't see being fixed until these glasses have independent eye tracking...more on that in the full review)...but I have to say I'm incredibly impressed with them overall.

More later.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

So very, very tired.

It’s currently twenty to nine in the morning.

Thanks to circumstances that I may go into tomorrow when my brain is actually working, I had a terrible night and I have been awake since four in the afternoon. Four in the afternoon… the day before yesterday.

For the math impaired (or my fellow sleep deprived) I’ve been up for 41 hours, and I have to stay awake for the FedEx package that should have got here yesterday. If I’m completely honest, I’m only writing this because if I do anything that’s purely passive, like watch TV…I’ll be out cold.

Early this morning I called FedEx again, because their stupid shipment tracker had my package listed as both ‘on time and in transit’ and ‘Delivery Exception, awaiting further information from recipient’.

Isn’t it funny how they call it a ‘Delivery Exception’? Shouldn’t that say ‘We fucked up and totally can’t do our jobs’?

Anyway, I called FedEx and found that call to be interesting for two reasons.

The first is that their voice recognition menu is absolutely flawless. I mean, it understands my accent and got my 15 digit tracking number right the first time. If they can do that over the freaking phone lines, why can’t my copy of ‘Dragon Naturally Speaking’ understand me 60% of the time…or uninstall properly for that matter.

The second thing is that while the voice recognition system could understand me perfectly, the actual human I spoke to couldn’t. I suppose it’s only fair though, because I couldn’t understand a single fucking word he said thanks to his ultra-thick Indian accent.

Yay outsourcing! We lose jobs we badly need, get sucky service…but on the upside, FedEx makes a fuck-ton more money for less work. Awesome.

What made this call even better is that the guy kept finishing my sentences for me, and getting it completely and utterly wrong:

“Hey, I called yesterday, you tried to deliver a package but your driver couldn’t find my house. So I called and gave you…”

“Yes sir, you give me directions and I’ll pass onto driver.”

“No, I’ve already given you directions, I just want to make sure it’s going to arrive today because your website says…”

“No sir, you have not give me directions yet. What is name of street?”

“No, listen. I gave the person I spoke to yesterday the directions, it’s just that I need to know if it’s going to arrive today. Your website…”

“Website, yes. You can track package on website. You go to www….”

This went on for ten solid minutes.

Now, normally I try to be as nice as possible to these people. Someone else fucks up, and they catch the shit. However, my patience only goes so far when I’ve been awake for 40 hours, thanks mainly to waiting up for a package that never arrived, and I have a very simple question, but the guy identifying himself as ‘Steve’ won’t let me get a word in edgewise. I felt my mouth moved and heard the words:

“Listen! You don’t talk. Close your mouth and let me talk. I’m going to ask my question and you’re not going to say a damn thing until you hear me utter the words ‘now you may talk’. Do you understand me?”

“Yes sir, but if you go to www…”

Ever wished that you could strangle someone over the phone? If I’d been awake enough to focus I probably could have made him burst into flames just through sheer force of will.

Anyway, I finally got the info I needed…it’s now 9.01am, and I’m still waiting for the fucking package.