Next Gen Console, Last Gen ISP

OK, I was able to score a Next Gen console recently and a few next-gen ‘optimized’ games. I have fast Internet, so wasn’t too worried about having to download the mandatory patches needed to play any game you purchase these days. Soooo, after installing and downloading the 1.24GB patch for one game, a few 64-100GB patches for a few others, I was alerted from my ISP that I was very close to overrunning my data plan. What? I thought I was on an unlimited plan. Not so fast there buddy….your unlimited plan does have a data cap, and when exceeded, we charge you for overages. However, if you want a truely unlimited plan, you must pay us an additional $40/month. So to all who use your Internet connection to stream videos and TV, download files and use Next Gen consoles, be sure to read the fine print in your ISP contract to make sure unlimited is really unlimited, not some redefined definition of unlimited.

The new era of Pop Ups

We finally won the war of the popup ads through ad blockers and persistence. But there is now a new enemy in the web browser popup war: – ‘XXX wants to know your location’ – ‘XXX wants to send you notifications’ – ‘We use cookies, do you accept? (thanks EU 🙁 ) – ‘Subscribe to our newsletter. Enter your email address.’ – ‘Log in to see more content’ – ‘Click here to save 10% on your order’ – ‘You qualify for a free credit card (while logged into credit card company site to pay my bill)’ Yes, these are no longer annoying ‘Punch the monkey’ type popups, but instead rather obnoxious fill-the-screen pop-overs that you need to close on every visit to the web site. Give me the old days of banner ads.

Idea for video game

I had a dream about an idea for a video game. It is like Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online, but a mixture of single person and MMO. You are a warrior class outside a kingdom of a nasty king. The main idea is to overthrow the king, if you like, or assimilate into the kingdom. The whole world is interactive with quests and side quests, and your demeanor is determined by the actions you take. Coins are the currency of the world. You get coins by doing quests, selling items, helping people or mining gold and selling to a refinery. You can try to mine for gold almost anywhere outside the kingdom. For example, there is a place named Golden Field which is full of yellow-gold flowers. If you look around, you can find small gold nuggets. However, if you mine the area, you destroy the landscape permanently, but may find much much more gold. You can set up a mining operation there and recruit others to mine for you for pay each day. Eventually, Golden Fields will look like a large mining operation. Once you fill your wagons, you send them off to the nearest refinery which pays out for ore depending on the size, amount and current Gold price (which is calculated by total gold in the kingdom to adjust for inflation or depression. However, along the path to the refinery, other players may attempt to steal your supply. Chests are secured with Expert locks, so lockpicking is difficult if the thieves manage to overtake your caravan. You can send the wagons unguarded, or hire guards, place wards, hire Ogres or Giants at pricely sums, or even have trained animals such as a Dragon guard your wagon train. Inside the kingdom, there is no PvP. You can settle in a house and farm if you please, set up a store or blacksmith or whatever. There is a fighters arena for others to settle differences ‘legally’. Outside the kingdom, you can clear parts of a forest and make a homestead, but you will need wards or defense creatures to protect it from others looting. You can join a Den. Everyday, new missions are automatically posted for Den members to partake in, or the Den leader can, using a Mad-Libs type form, create their own. If you complete an automatic (or King assigned) task, you are awarded experience and gold from the kingdom. If it is a Den task, the Den pays for it out of their coffers. Tasks/quests can be performed as single player, or team up wth other Den members to complete (and split the prize). Dens can even arrange raids against other Dens, but those Dens must be at equal or greater power than yours. If you are far away from your Den on a quest or just scouting around, you can communicate via carrier birds. The inform you of new tasks or quests or request for you to come back to the Den, etc. You can spend your time questing the countryside, invading the kingdom (and incur ransoms on your head), or take break to clear some outlier land and make a home for yourself and tend to fields, operate a store or whatever. While not playing, if you are attacked, the game will play for you, with you having the advantage. If you are attacked while paying, it is up to your skills to defeat the attacker, but again, you can only attack equal or greater levels. If you do attack other players, you may incur a bounty or get arrested. If defeated, you don’t die, but rather respawn at the closest refuge, losing any armor, weapons or items of value, and much of your gold. You can select no PvP option gameplay as well. If you do, you cannot join Dens or attack others, and you cannot be attacked. You also become protected by the kingdom, so overthrowing the king is much much more difficult. It is a vast open world. In the kingdom, you need to follow the rules (or rather, not get caught). Outside the kingdom, rules are more lax. You can hunt, explore ruins, learn magic, fight mythical creatures (or befriend them), whatever. The environment is remembered and slowly regenerated. For example, trees that are deforested leave the area barren for a period of time, even if you didn’t do the deforestation. You can smith everyday items from the land such as clothing, armor, hunting/fishing supplies, weapons, etc, or you can gather raw materials and visit a specialist to craft even more powerful items, and even make them magical. You have many skill sets you can level up in. These are similar to Skyrim. You can train to be a warrior, magician, thief, druid, or whatever combination you desire.


I wanted a bowl of cereal tonight, but realized I forgot to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home (worked late, hit every light coming home so the trip was one hour and was focused on getting home and it slipped my mind). There is enough milk for the kid in the morning, but not enough to drown my cereal. Soooooo….

Let’s get creative. I have a bag of Sugar Smacks. I have a bowl. I have a spoon. I have some FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM. Wait, WHAT? Milk comes from cows. Ice cream comes from milk (in a round about way). Hmmmm. TASTY GOODNESS. You get a crunchy and smooth treat, then as the ice cream melts, it is just like a bowl with milk, except the cereal STAYS CRUNCHY.

I think I am on to something here. Watch out Ben & Jerry’s!

Straw Shortage?

Is there a shortage of straws? This is the fourth time in 2 weeks that I have received a drink at a drive-through and didn’t receive a straw. I have asked on two different occasions and told that ‘it was in the bag’. Stupid me to believe them. Well, I hope this lack of straw inclusion messes up their cup-to-straw inventory ratios and requires them to order a few hundred more cups because they have one straw left and no cups, then have to order a few thousand straws because they only have one cup and no straws.


I was at the gas station the other day and someone ahead of me was buying lottery tickets. Now, I hate standing behind these people, trying to pick and choose their instant win tickets and trying to relay the numbers for the Lotto, then trying to count out the cash, but this conversation takes the cake:

“Give me $20 of these, $5 of these, one of these, one of these, two of these, one of these and $5 in quick-pick”.
“That’ll be $35”
“Oh yeah, and $5 in gas on pump 3”
“That’ll be $40”
“Wait a sec, give me back the $5 for pump 3. Hopefully one of these tickets will be a winner and I can then fill up my tank”
“WOW! I won $5. Here ya go.”
clerk verifies and hands customer $5.
“I’ll take another $5 quick-pick and $5 on pump 3. Guess I won’t be filling my tank after all unless the quick-picks come through tonight.”

So, this genius started with $40, bought $35 in lottery tickets, won $5, cashed that back in for more lottery tickets, and was left with $5 to buy gas with for his beat up brown POS car outside. Now go home and kick the dog.

Pool Posers

This past weekend was the last days for our community pool before shutting down for the winter (don’t get me started as to why they decided to build an outdoor pool instead of a year-round indoor pool!), so I took my daughter there for a last swim. Saturday was not very busy, so a fun time was had. However, Monday, being a holiday, was busy. First, you have all the deck chairs taken up by women sun bathing. Not eye-candy women, but people that should not be wearing what they were wearing. I don’t understand why these people did simply sunbathe in their backyards? I mean, a large number of them never set foot near the pool, but took up valuable real estate intended for swimmers. Then we have the ‘pool posers’. These are the handful of guys ‘sunbathing’ (but are pure white), gawking at the bikini’s over their sunglasses. One guy in particular was pretty obvious, given his sunglasses half-way down his nose, his neck straining in every direction, and the flag pole in his swim trunks! Yes, you could actually watch him raise and lower his staff. As a game, I would watch the other side of the pool, and when some teenie-bopper arrived in a small bikini, I could be sure that the staff was raised. Sure enough! When they were replaced by a less desirable bunch, the staff lowered. To top it off, a few post-teens set up shop near him. While they were getting settled, he arose from his voyeur chair, sneaked to the pool edge, splashed water on his hair and chest, then stood up and stretched/exhaled like he just completed an Olympic swimming event. He then sat back down and proceeded to ‘dry off’ while smiling at the post-teens. What a poser!

Next, we have the water polo team wannabes. These are the people who toss around a ball or football across the pool without regard to other patrons. They dive around, throw the ball over everyones heads, and make faces when people are in the flight path. Here is a tip: PLAY BALL IN THE FIELD!!!

Google Chrome – Step forward or Step backward?

I downloaded the new Google Chrome (which I am using to type this post) and it is not good, not bad, but seems to be missing some features that are expected by ‘power users’ in a browser. First, cruise over to the Official Google Blog for a low down on Google’s browser and see if you want to test drive yourself. Beware that, like all things Google, your privacy is their profit, but you do pay for free things in the long run.

Anyway, there are 2 things that I rely on in a browser that are lacking in my quick 10 minute tests:
1) Changing the Cookie handling to ‘Restrict how third party cookies can be used’ prohibited me form logging into Blogger. There were no additional configuration options, so I had to revert to ‘Allow all cookies’.
2) I use x.509 certificates extensively to authenticate to web sites. I am impressed that Google Chrome uses the Microsoft Certificate Store under the covers, so all my Windows cert-management tools work (unlike having to additionally manage separate cert stores under the various Mozilla-based apps), I never get prompted for a user certificate authentication challenge, nor does it send a ‘default’ x.509 user certificate. Kudos for using an existing cert store, but poo-poo for not (yet) allowing user-certs for authentication.

Here is the About info:

Google Chrome (1583)
Official Build
Google Inc.
Copyright © 2006-2008 Google Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13

Safari/WebKit based? Oh noez!!!! But the dragging/reordering of tabs is pretty cool.

I have a long list of Firefox plugins that I use that are not available for Google Chrome (but since it was just released today, time will encourage developers to port their code), so FF will remain my default browser. My second beef is the name: Chrome. Mozilla already uses a framework named Chrome, and this only adds to the confusion. At any rate, I will give it more test drives, and will update this post as I discover more.

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