Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.


Why the “Open Letters to Jennifer Lawrence” are bull.

Some people are going to have an issue with the things I’m going to say here…buuuuuut I’m willing to run that risk.  Recently, various celebrities had their cloud accounts hacked and naked pictures of themselves leaked.  That’s the crime.  Period.  Full stop.  End of story.  Among them is Jennifer Lawrence, an absolutely (from what I know of her) awesome lady.  She was understandably traumatized and hurt when people violated her privacy in a way that I have no frame of reference for.  I suggest you read her side of things here, because her words are going to be infinitely better than mine.

What happened to her is shitty, and her standing up and being willing to talk about it is awesome.  Do you want to know what else is shitty though (and yes, I’m using ‘shitty’ because that’s the perfect word for it)?  People who use her pain, to push forward their own issues and talking points.  Even worse, is taking the opportunity to preach at her as if she has to share your morals.  One quote was all it took to turn Jennifer Lawrence standing up for herself into “This is a perfect opportunity to tell people how she’s wrong and you don’t need porn.”

This just reeks of the “NotAllMen” mansplaining crap that pops up on a regular basis.

“Well, not ALL men look at porn.”

“She shouldn’t have taken the pictures if she didn’t want them on the internet.”

“I don’t want to spend time talking about what a stupid idea it is to take and upload explicit photos of yourself (a.k.a. porn)…” (That one is real and not just hyperbole.)

Its all the same BS.  Well, ok.  It’s different flavors, but still the same BS.  The latter is really ticking me off though.  All of these letters pick one quote out of her whole interview:

“It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

And then proceed to talk about either what she did wrong: I.E. sharing pictures of herself with her committed boyfriend OR the goes into the Porn is bad (which I’m not getting into here) OR starts in examining her relationship and telling her what she’s doing wrong because its not the traditional Christian thing.

So, its not going to go over well with some of the people I know, but here it is.  Using someone else’s pain to put forward your Christian viewpoint is not Christian.  It is a crappy thing to do.  Your call isn’t to publicly shame someone else who is already hurting from something terrible that happened to them.  That’s not love.

Using someone else’s pain to promote your ideas is not Christian.  I don’t care what you message is.  I don’t care that you have the best of intentions.  If Jennifer Lawrence would read your “Open Letters” you would not be helping her in the least.  You’d be showing her that you don’t really care about what she’s going through, you just wanted to use what’s happening to her for a little signal boost.

And I know.  Some people probably have the best of intentions.  But guess what?  You’re not helping either.  Because by “pointing out her sin” or whatever you THINK you’re doing.  You’ve missed the entire picture and point of what just happened.  Jennifer Lawrence and the others who were hacked are the victims of a crime and here you are, wasting time telling them how they’ve screwed up, how THEY are the ones who need to get right with God.  That’s how I know you don’t care about the people who have been hurt by this, and how you don’t care about Jennifer Lawrence.  She sent some pictures to a man that she has been in a relationship with for many years.  Someone else violated her privacy and millions of men joined in that violation.  Why don’t you turn your “righteousness” on them?

I have been told my entire life that “God is Love” and I truly believe that.  I believe that Jesus loves us, and wants us to love others in return.  Maybe you “Open Letter” could think about what that really means for a while, and come back when you have a better understanding of the word, because I don’t think you really know what it means.  Am I being particularly loving now?  *shrug* Eh.  I’m an imperfect man.

Notice: I tried to be as respectful to Jennifer Lawrence and the other victims of the recent hack as possible and I apologize if that did not come across clearly enough.  If you want a good explanation of where this is coming from go and read a little of Chuck Wendig’s blog on #HeForShe.  To anyone wanting to explain how I’m wrong about Christianity and how we should treat people who aren’t Christian, please move along. 


Tropes Vs. Women in Video games deserves your respect

Every time Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency and Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games, comes out with a new video in her series, I feel like I need to write a post because the same thing happens every time. Before we get going into this I’m going to set the tone. Do I agree with absolutely everything Anita says in her videos? No. I think that some things she points out are reaching a little too far, and that storytelling should excuse some of the faults she points out. We’re not going into those because they don’t matter.

Why don’t they matter? Because they’re her opinion and she has every right to express herself online and the sad fact is, that while I may not agree with her on some points, she raises a great many concerns that I agree with whole-heartedly. Even if I didn’t agree with her, she has every right in the world to express her opinions and concerns with the gaming industry freely and without fear of being singled out.

Is that what happens? No. With every new video she is met with an ever increasing amount of bile and misdirected rage. Bile? No, that’s not quite the right word. Let me try again. For the simple crime of speaking her mind and standing up for what she believes in she is met with behavior so foul and putrid, so revoltingly infantile and rank, that bile would be a considerable step up. There are times it makes me ashamed to call myself a gamer, to associate with the group of moronic ass-hats that claim they are defending my hobby.

What sort of behavior am I talking about? Well, it ranges from standard troll activity, loathsome on the best of days, to threats of death and rape, threats so specific and threatening that Anita actually had to leave her home for fear of her own safety last month. Why? Because she says that video games have a problem with sexism. That female characters in games are often treated little better as props or eye candy for male gamers to fantasize about. What is she asking for? Not for the industry to change overnight, but for people to start thinking about it and to start pushing for a broader range of characters in video games. She’s not invading your home and taking away your Grand Theft Auto disc, but she is pointing out how differently the game treats its male and female characters.

For this heinous crime, she is reviled by an extremely vocal and disturbing minority of gamers. There is a level of contempt and anger directed at Anita Sarkeesian, and other women in the industry, that you’d expect to be directed at an ACTUAL murderer, instead of someone who’s saying “There’s too much violence against women in video games.”. From the hate directed her way you’d think that she was some sort of baby eating monster… but no. She’s articulate, well spoken, says things that people don’t agree with and has the audacity to be a woman while doing it. The nerve.

And Anita isn’t alone. Her treatment is more par for the course for women in gaming than it is the exception and this saddens me so much.  Zoe Quin, creator of Depression Quest and other games I haven’t played because I have no damn time, has recently been at the center of what can only be described as a “shit storm”.  Don’t believe me?  Read her own account of it.  Am I just taking her word for it?  YES!  Part of the problem is that some people (men) don’t believe women when they talk about the kind of shit they have to deal with online.  Me?  I tend to refer to John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Dickwad Theory: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Dickwad.  See the scientific research here.  Basically, we need to teach people that online is not different from real life.  What you do and say online doesn’t “not count”.  If you threaten to rape or kill someone online just because they have the audacity to have opinions or lifestyles different then YOU are the bad guy.  You’re the stain on society’s underpants.

The thing is, Anita is absolutely right. We need change in the gaming world. We need more inclusive games, we need more women protagonists who are more than just male characters with a different skin to give them boobs. We could really benefit from the stories that would result from games told from perspectives that aren’t aimed at “Male: age 15-35.” How many times do we have to tread over the World War II, first person shooter ground? There are different stories to tell, and different audiences who might love them.

I know.  I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before, better and by smarter more eloquent people.  Just take a look, you’ll find it.  All I really want to do is take a stand and say that, whether I agree with her completely or not, Anita should be listened to, considered, and treated with respect. Everyone deserves that right; to be able to say what they believe and not have to fear that doing so will get their personal information leaked, and their very well being put at risk. I’m not saying you’ve got to agree with her, or with me, just don’t be a horrible, disease of a person about it.


WordKeeperAlpha Update: Where its been and where its going.

Its been a while since I posted anything specific on WordKeeperAlpha, so I thought I’d update everyone on exactly how its going and how far away 2.0 is.

During the course of development last week I noticed that I had ten more users than I had previously noted which is both encouraging and disappointing.  Encouraging because that’s easily twice the people than were previously signed up!  That’s awesome.  Discouraging because all of them are getting their first Impressions of WordKeeper from the ugly ass old version.  Lets take a second to compare.  This is the current main page:

 

Old Landing

This is what its going to look like as soon as I hit publish in a month or three:

New Home Page

This is what I have for graphing right now:

Old Graphing

Blech! Right?  It doesn’t even actually work.  I thought it worked for a little while, then around the time I was designing the new version I noticed that it never changed, never kept up… It was broken to the core.  WordKeeper 2.0 is going to start off with 4 graphs!  Not 2.  Not 3.  But 4!   They’re not powered by some crappy code that I just threw together, but powered by Highcharts, an awesome javascript graphing library that I’m acquiring at no small cost to myself.  I mean that… That shit is expensive, but you guys are worth it.  Here are the graphs you’ll see right at the beginning:

New Graph 1 Yearly Graph
Monthly Goal Graph

I’ve gone mildly crazy in the data generation for those bad boys, and you’ll be able to do a lot of neat things with them that you can’t see in a jpeg.  Enough of that though.  Next up is goals!  Goals is the section of the site that I’m currently working on and just got the initial code working for.  Here’s how the goals look right now:

Old Goals

This is the new hotness!

Goals and Projects

Yes, I used the word ‘hotness’.  Shut up.  I’m excited.   I’m still working on a few of the features for the new goals, but already they are much better than the old ones.  Soon, you’ll be able to update your other goals automatically, or individually (which is a huge pain.)   Once I have the bugs worked out of goals I’ll tackle Projects, which will be a beast all on its own.  You can see what to expect up above.

Unfortunately, I still have a ton of work left to do.  A lot of the code is working only in the sense that I know how to use it without breaking things, so there’s going to be a lot of debugging.

Now, for all of my current users, I have an important question.  I’m sick of the old version being online, generally being ugly and not up to my new standards.  What would you think if I put up version 2.0 in beta form BEFORE I get the Projects code done?  I’d essentially be turning you all into beta testers, but you’d honestly get a LOT more utility out of it, even if I were to put it up now.  I’m certainly willing to work with you and set up projects for you behind the scenes (until the code works).  I’d ask that you report any errors that you find, but it would probably speed up development and final deployment a LOT…and it would get the eyesore that is WKA 1.0 off the internet.  I’d really like to know, so please, post a comment here if you have an opinion.

P.S. Sorry about any breakage that the current WKA is suffering.  Publishing the new version will help with that! 😉


Wildstar: Totally not addicting.

I don’t actually want to write a post tonight. I don’t want to write anything tonight.  What I want to do is play some more Wildstar.  Man… I knew that game was going to be trouble when I saw the first trailers for it.  If you don’t know anything about it, check this out.

Its like World of Warcraft and Firefly had a baby!  Those first few trailers hooked me hard on the concept, and everything I’ve seen since then has only deepened my desire for the game.  Now, its finally out and, God help me, I am really enjoying it.  Thankfully, its not the world ending obsession that I thought it would be.  I’m still writing, maybe I’m reading a little bit less than I should… In fact I should really get some more reading in.  Audiobooks really don’t count. *sigh*  The last time I actually played a MMO was World of Warcraft years ago, and, at the time, it destroyed my productivity for everything.  Thankfully, I seem to to have developed a little bit of self-control since then.  You can tell, because I’m here, writing this blog post, as opposed to killing those Dominion bastards.

There really wasn’t anything for me to do, but to play an Exile.  I’ve started off as an Aurin, because I’m steeped in anime enough that I really can’t resist playing a race like that.  If I stick around long enough, I’ll start a Chua, because they’re psychotic technomagic rodents, and there’s nothing about that description that isn’t fun.  My character is a Spellslinger, which means I run around casting spells out of my dual pistols and generally being awesome at magic.  So far, its been a blast and I intend to keep playing until the inevitable boredom with the “endgame” kicks in.  That’s pretty much what happened with WoW, is that it started feeling WAY too much like a second job that I wasn’t getting paid for.  Two hours collecting reagents for potions that I sell in the auction house is not what I call a good time.  I’m not saying it isn’t for some people.  It just doesn’t hold much interest for me.

To protect against the possibility of addiction setting in and destroying my progress on Impervious and WordKeeperAlpha, I’ve instituted a system that limits my playtime based on my word count.  1000 words of Impervious buys me 30 minutes of playtime, 1 hour of work on WordKeeperAlpha nets me 15 minutes.  So far, its been working out pretty well.  I’m working on an awesome new chapter in Impervious (that wasn’t in the first draft and should kick things off more smoothly) and I’m finally working on actually getting the goals working in WKA.  Once Goals and Projects are working, I’ll be able to scrap the old WKA and publish the new and super shiny one.  So yeah.  Progress continues apace.  This month, I’m going to shoot for a full 10,000 words on Impervious and I’m going to try to track that goal in WordKeeper.

For now though, I’m going to play a little bit of Wildstar, before taking a little time to read a book.  I’m going to do my best to read more, and maybe I’ll even start putting up a few book reviews.  Everyone likes book reviews!