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Malik (5/2/11)

I'm back from my overly long hiatus. Well, I'm almost back. My goal when I vanished a couple weeks ago was to first find a new web host. After some issues with a certain company that owns a couple dozen hosting companies but keeps the info on the down low (let's just say this company is not one I wanted to use), I came across WebHostingHub and I think all of that is settled. Officially, it should be settled in the next 24 hours when my domain is officially transferred away from my old company. I will not get into details, since we live in a lawsuit trigger-happy type of society, but I'll just say that my old company was not my idea of good. In fact, my old company was nothing short of miserable to work with due to a horrible customer support system that cannot seem to agree with itself when it comes to TOS violations and refuses to offer clear help in such cases. Anyway, I had a minor TOS issue due to my old forums, which will probably never return to Geek-Asylum, and even deleting the SQL files associated with them didn't solve the TOS issue (which my old host said could be solved by deleting the offending SQL...go figure).

I have to say WebHostingHub has been nothing short of amazing so far, and a fair bit cheaper on the price point than my old host ever was. Beyond that, WebHostingHub has some really amazing customer support (when they say to expect a reply in the next day for a support ticket, it turned into a reply and a course of action in about 2 minutes...that's what I call good support).

I also aimed to have a new layout and web design in place when I returned. Well, financially, that must wait. I need a new HTML program, and those cost money. FrontPage was nice, and it does it's job, but I need to enter the modern age. That will come in the next couple of months, but will wait for now. There is just too much to talk about that I need to get out there before it's all old news.

Ok, to keep things on track, but short...Project Cafe. Yes, the next Wii is on it's way, according to Nintendo, and we'll see some major info around this summer when it's officially revealed. Until then, it all seems to be speculation. I mean I've seen, without any solid proof to back it up, news of how Cafe will have a better processor than the PS3, more memory than anything out there, a Blu-Ray drive, touch screens in all controllers (that will definitely suck when you aim to pick up enough controllers for four player actions...the price...), HD visuals, and some are talking about 3D capability. All I can say is that this doesn't sound like Nintendo. I mean this will be expensive and it sounds more focused on technology than being accessible and friendly to families.

However, my main thought is that this is not the console for me. I mean it sounds cool, but didn't the N64 sound cool before launch? Didn't the Gamecube sound cool before launch? Didn't the Wii sound cool before launch? This does too. But, didn't the N64, GCN, and Wii all suffer from the same damned problem? I'm talking about this simple question; what have you been playing on your Wii? It's a current generation console and I have not touched that thing since Final Fantasy IV: The After Years came along. I should play Epic Mickey (Velveta got me it for Christmas...but I've been so behind on games due to the Steam holiday sales), but that would be one single game after a year and a half of not touching the Wii. I may have spent more money on the 360 (~$650 without tax due to a non-red ring death of my first console) or PS3 ($400 for the Drake's Fortune 120GB Bundle), but they were far more worth the price. Without counting added functions (I use the 360 for Netflix nearly every day), and just looking at games, the Wii is still not looking like a good cost for the lack of entertainment I've gotten from it.

In the end, I can name all of the games I enjoyed on the Wii without much effort. Super Mario Galaxy 1&2, Zelda: Twilight Princess, FFIV: The After Years, Wii Sports, Wario Ware, and...that's it. Now if I name the games I just couldn't enjoy due to being lame games, or due to the motion control screwing things up, then I just wouldn't know where to start. The opposite is true for the 360 and PS3. I can't name all of the games I've enjoyed because there are just too many.

So, while I'd love to remain with a console from Nintendo for future Zelda and Mario stuff, I just cannot explain the justification for that purchase. We live in a bad economy, and I don't see it getting much better in the next year or two (when I'd expect to see Cafe released), so that type of purchase needs to be well justified. That's a lot of money, and with the rumors having a chance of being real, this could be an expensive system with expensive controllers (remember, Nintendo always sells a console at a price to make a profit or at least break even). Sorry, but unless Nintendo does something huge soon to redeem themselves, I cannot afford a fourth lame duck console from them in a row. Maybe if a friend picks one up, I'll happily play it, but I don't see the Cafe coming into my home anytime in the future. Nintendo may make some good first party titles (although a few on the Wii were absolute crap compared to how the first party stuff seemed on the GCN and N64), but unless third party support is real for once, Cafe is looking like a true successor to the Wii...a dust magnet that doesn't do a damned thing in my home except sit there taking up space.


Malik (5/6/11)

I not doing the postings as often as I was hoping, now that I'm back. I think my brain has just been getting too much of a work out each day this week to even consider trying to put words to virtual paper. However, I can now say the entire site changes, at least on the technical level, are done and Geek-Asylum is now officially with a solid and professional new host and the domain has finished transferring along with the server space. Now I just need to bring the site design into the last half decade and all will be good with this long overdue reboot.

I've been meaning to talk about the Sony PSN issue for a while but only now have the time and mental energy to get to it.

First off, I have to say the obvious; I hate hackers and what they stand for. I mean they are a standard part of our current world, without a doubt. However, it's a part of the world in which we live that we can all happily do without. They come up in any electronic service at one time or another. It can be minor, like the Anonymous denial of service attacks or larger data theft jobs. No matter what, it will always exist and will always remain a part of our lives. Ever since the digital world became a part of the common every day life they have existed.

First a quick side note, or not, since Anonymous is now being implicated in some ways by Sony (Sony has implied that the Anonymous attack led to a security hole that made the data theft that true? Who knows for sure...). Anonymous really does piss me off. While I can understand the philosophy they live by, I cannot see how the ends or the means do anything constructive. They remind me of a child who just learned a swear word. The child will use it in many ways, to look and sound "cool", to anger authoritative figures, or just for the pure rush of adrenaline of doing something "wrong". However, that kid is doing nothing that will make progress in the world by uttering this forbidden word.

That seems to be how Anonymous works. They know, as a group, that a denial of service attack is in their abilities. It's not hard to pull off with a large enough group. However, what does it do? When Sony was hit, it cost Sony almost nothing, except a minor PR hit. Actually, the PR hit is easily navigated by just pointing out how a group that has become so ubiquitous with annoying the digital world (Anonymous) caused it. As for the service going down...Sony has the know how to overcome that consequence pretty quickly. A day later and all will be back to normal. It really serves no purpose for a major company to be hit with a denial of service attack in the long run. The end result is useless. As for the means or the method, it's a bunch of people being jerks and trying to exert their authority on the name of allowing freedom in most instances. So, in the name of people being able to have freedom to mod or hack the PS3, or (with Amazon/WikiLeaks in the last year) to leak potentially confidential data to the world, Anonymous is forcing their will on others. It's like telling people to "live free and be happy...or I will force you to!" It's an absolute contradiction.

Most of all, Sony takes a minor PR hit and an almost negligible fiscal hit for a sort term denial of service attack. On the other hand, the common people, who Anonymous seem to claim they represent in their ideals, are now forced to not play a round of an online game when they want. The people are not allowed to pick up that new add-on for a game that they really wanted. The people all take a minor hit to their freedoms (like the freedom to play a game to relax when their want to) by the millions. This ultimate impact is far worse in scale than what Sony feels. In the name of the people, the people are hit the worst. It's like a teacher punishing an entire class for one student's actions in the name of helping all the students learn better.

If Anonymous wants to punish and force their "justice" on those they hold to be evil and immoral, then they shouldn't hit the rest of us in the process. I don't use PSN much, but I do occasionally download some game content or demos. Well, I've been now without that ability for a while due to their "justice" being enforced on me. I might add, I actually have no problem with the release of the Playstation 3 encryption key for game lockout data (the entire thing that brought about the Anonymous attack was Sony fighting against this information release). So, I ask Anonymous, since I can only speak for myself and not the millions of other PSN users; what did I do wrong to bring about your vengeance on me? Also, another question; Anonymous, did you ever realize that your actions could bring larger problems like the data theft? I mean you can say if I drive over the speed limit, then I face the consequence of a speeding ticket...but there can be more severe consequences beyond that, like causing an accident, hitting a child that didn't look both ways, causing a road rage problem...everything can go beyond the short term and if you cannot let yourself think out the possibilities, then you have no right to inflict "justice" on the wrong-doers of the world.

As for the data theft...I think it's obvious how I, or any sane person, feels about this. It's bullshit, plain and simple. I mean we are all facing an unknown on what actual data is gone (Sony does think PSN related CC numbers were taken...unless they can be certain, then I don't feel reassured...and Sony Online people are looking at CC number theft) and what may come from this. However, while it's easy to blame the known parties, I cannot blame Sony. This type of crap happens, and even if they could have protected the data better, I imagine their security is more than us average geeks keep implying it is. They didn't just leave the info in a box by the dumpster behind their offices, like many web comics have implied in the last couple of weeks. They could have stronger security, but then again...isn't it nice how we, in hind sight, can be so damned "smart" when Sony, without hind sight, was so "stupid" with security? Then again, if we were all so "smart" then why the hell do any of us use debit or credit cards and not PSN cards or disposable credit cards for our purchases online? I guess maybe we are not nearly as "smart" as we think in the eyes of someone using their hind sight.

As for the universal thought that went on until Sony announced a month of free PSN Plus for all; what do I think Sony owes us for this loss of data? Not a damned thing. We don't pay Sony to guard our personal data. In many cases, we don't pay Sony for online services at all. PSN is free, and only PSN Plus users have a right to complain about compensation (as well as Sony Online customers who pay to play MMOs). They are all being taken care of with service additions to make up for lost paid time. Sony could do a lot of things to make the PR hit less severe, but they have given more than they ever needed to by giving a month of PSN Plus. Sony doesn't owe the average (non-paying PSN user) a game, money, or anything beyond letting us know about the compromised personal data. That they did...although it would have been nicer to know sooner, but even that is not an issue.

While many like to think of their PSN account and their PS3 as some family member or a pet or something, it's all Sony. The thing about Sony is that they want to make money as a business and they have a careful path to go down that goes between having good income and good PR to ensure more income. In the end, they could do some things better, but that's hind sight again. If we all get time machines and can travel back to warn Sony, then our hind sight will pay off. If not, then we all need to just learn whatever lessons apply to ourselves and stop the bitching and moaning like spoiled children who just learned a new swear. Yes, in responding to all of this, the people of Anonymous seem to have made on accomplishment; they turned us all, on average, into spoiled children.

Of course, the one lesson I've learned, beyond how much I continue to dislike Anonymous and their forced methods to impose freedom, is that it doesn't matter as much as we all seem to think it does. I had plenty of other things to keep me occupied while PSN was wonky, and this just, in the end, doesn't really matter.


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