Random Links – Again!

– A history of Mario Sprites, from his Donkey Kong roots to his more ugly pixelated recent Mario vs. Donkey Kong game. Some good commentary, but just fun to see all the different versions of our favorite plumber.

– SpaceShipOne made it up and back safely. This is great to watch. Their next flight is scheduled for October 4th and then the X-Prize will be theirs. Fun part is, a friend of mine works for Dynon Avionics, who has some of their systems in the SpaceShipOne.

– Here’s an excellent guide to where trojans and malware hide on you system. Pretty much I’m going to check my system when I get the chance. AdAware on gets so much of the junk.

– From RandomURL, comes this link to a electoral vote predictor based upon how the polls are in the different states. I see this changing as the debates go on, but time will tell. Breaking my own rule on not talking about politics, when is middle America going to realize that our president lied to them so he could go to war and change American foriegn policy and the world view of us forever? On another note, this guy makes arguments against the electoral college. He’s got some points, but then everyone has their arguments.

Copy Protection

I found an excellent article summing up software copy protection. It’s written by Brian Hook, who’s site has a number of well written articles that I may cover later. But onto copy protection.

Like most of us, I love digital technology. The possibilities that it presents for the future are amazing, and the ability to preserve the past and make it available is also one of my favoite features of the digital medium. With the growth of the download speeds in the US with broadband connections, the ability to get intellectual property (music, movies, games, software in general) for free over the net has increased. This is all well known and well documented, and also better covered by thousands of sources out there. Moving on.

Brian Hook’s article covers software protection. He mentions at the beginning of his article that most any computer user has “pirated” at least $50 worth of software sometime in their user experience. Probably a copy of MS Office, or getting a copy of Warcraft II from your dorm buddy. Thinking back, I was way over that $50 before I was even a teenager. My friends and I readily traded back and forth games and their schemes for copy protection (usually some sort of manual look up (oh do I remember the days of “Page 32, Paragraph 3, Line 4, Word 13”)). It was natural almost. It’s not that we didn’t buy games, but it was generally understood that if we bought games, somehow our friends had copies too.

Fast forward to the 90’s where games got bigger (whoa, multi-media) and making copies was unfeasable, and my dialup was certianly not going to get me the latest Tie Fighter expansion. I bought during this period, after playing demos of games that I was interested in. Quake, Diablo and more. I played, knew it worked well on my system, and wanted more, so I bought it. I had the disposable income to do so in a few ways.

Nowadays though, sigh, I wish I could say I bought all of the software on my system. It’s not the case, and while I know I’m only one of hundreds of thousands with something I didn’t buy on my system, I know there is room for improvement. Taking a look around these days, if I need a new application to help get something done, I’ve started to look on Sourceforge first to see if there is an open source option for the program I’m interested in. Be it an FTP program, browser or random editing tool. I love this option. Also as my system ages, I like the option of demos for games. Independant software developers have always been good at this and I love the trend.

Back to the article, Brian does a good job of covering excuses, complaints and reasons of software piracy, but as well covers how improvements might be made to prevent losses, and as well as prevent alienating their paying user base with intrusive copy protection schemes and authorizing features. Excellent read, and worth the time.

The Hedge Knight

The Hedge Knight
I picked up this handy graphic novel collection of the comic adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s – The Hedge Knight. It was a short story in an anthology called “Legends” and someone saw fit enought to dress it up a bit and put it to print.

The story is set in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, but 100 years before the events of the novels. The story of a squire who takes up his dead knights arms and ends up doing a lot of harm and a lot of good.

I remember hearing about this adaptation a number of months ago but was glad to find it at my local comic store. It was the first time I’ve set foot in one for years. A bit of nostalgia, the sad realization that all those “hot” books I bought in the early 90’s are all worth… cover price or less. Sigh. Oh well. I’m kinda getting back into a comic kick these days. At least reading the collections and graphic novels. I don’t think I could go for another time of buying series and collecting that way.

Fantagraphics Books – Saves by Peanuts

I’ve never been a big fan of the Peanuts comic strip, though I was a fan of the older Peanuts movies (The Great Pumpkin, Christmas and so on). I remember hearing about how there was going to be a complete collection of the older strips being collected into a book form and thinking, “…eh”. I actually looked up the first volume and was suprised by the humor and such that they contained. To me, Peanuts was like Family Circus or Marmaduke, strips that had way outlived their funniness and any chance at humor, but these early strips were actually pretty good.

The Seattle Weekly’s article on Fantagraphics, the publisher of these volumes, is interesting. Financially struggling, Fantagraphics was literaly saved by these books. Well known in the indie comic book publishing arena, they’ve been resposible for publishing other more well known books in the past, like Ghost World (made into a movie).

Good read. And check out Peanuts!

Summer Darling

An old friend of mine is in a band. I’ve watched him from his days as a drummer who couldn’t keep time to being a stunning lyricist and songwriter. His band, Summer Darling has just released their new album.

On the website they have a couple of songs available for listen as well as a couple here on Pure Volume. It’s your indie rock music, but not as whiny as some of it tends to be. Listen. Enjoy.

Links again.

Curmudgeon Gamer has posted the final article in their series covering the Midway Arcade Treasures Vol. 1. The author has gone and covered in depth each of the games in the collection, and presents relevent strategy.

– As if India’s software growth continuing wasn’t completely obvious.

– Apperently Intel think’s the the Interweb is dying and can only be saved by them!

Even better, a new self-propogating computer “Worm now installs a packet sniffer so it can send back information, like passwords and logins. Great.

Game commercials from the 80’s on for practicaly everything! Fun for nostalgia and more.

Google’s GMAIL

I recently got an invite from someone to Google’s Gmail service. It might have been hard to miss some of the hype surrounding it, but basically think of Hotmail, but with 1 gigabyte of storage, and not controlled by the Bill Gates empire. It’s web based, and the theory is that you won’t have to delete all your old e-mails, but since you have all that room you can store them and search them out later and keep all your old favorites around.

Anyways, since I have it now, I’ve also been given some extra invites to give to others. So… If you want one, e-mail me at nixon66 at gmail.com or leave a comment.

The return of JAPAN

So a while back I used to have a website I called JAPAN (Just another page about Nintendo), and I helped a few people out by hosting their recently dumped NES games. Was great fun. TheRedEye and I even had a Christmas spectacular together. Eventually things happened, I lost my original hosting, then lost my new hosting and JAPAN was retired.

Fast forward to today, and I’m hosting a few French language games for Ranma, from Sardius’ board.

JAPAN – I give you the return. Sad.