Monthly Archives: July 2010

Recording Policmen is illegal ??

Apparently, in some states it is illegal to record the police, even if they are in a public area where it is legal to record virtually anyone else. It occurs to me, if you live in one of these states, you should declare yourself a journalist. Setting up a credible amateur news site and posting even a minimal amount of news and editorial content will provide you with freedom of the press protection. Then if you get the opportunity to shoot video of a cop doing bad things, it makes it far more difficult for them to harass you. Well, they can still harass you, but they will not be able to charge you with stupid things like breaking a wiretapping law.

Quitting my day job

This is not really about me quitting my day job as much as it is about self employment. I know several people who are currently unemployed. All of them are smart, capable and enthusiastic workers in various fields. The problem is there simply are not enough jobs available. Recently I saw a spot on CBS Morning saying there are five job hunters for every job available, my experience is this is far too optimistic. Recently at my job we hired 20 new phone techs, something like 800 applied. Any politician who says these people are just lazy and are on “Funemployment” are lying to you.

Recently on Yahoo News I read an article about the destruction of the middle class in America. It is a depressing read, I do not suggest reading it if you are in a particularly good mood, no point in ruining it. The gist of the article is, if you make less than $100K a year, likely the last 10 years have not been kind to you and more importantly, its not likely to get better anytime soon. I think the bottom line here is we can no longer depend on large or even medium corporations to employ us, nor can we count on them to save the economy not just for us, but our children as well.

Everyone who is unemployed right now needs to be thinking of new ways to make money, the new global big business model is failing. Those jobs that went over seas are not coming back and I would also point out that even jobs created in this country by big business’s usually come at a price. 20 new employees in one place usually means 50 were laid off somewhere else. Supply side economics has failed, but there is no sign any of those horrid ideas are going to be reversed anytime soon. Supply siders have not produced shared wealth, instead are in the process of creating shared poverty and they are proud of this.

What this means in order to survive we need to adopt the old local small business model to survive in the coming years, the solution I think, is self employment and/or self sufficiency. I have already written a nice post about starting a blog for profit, but there are other ways to use the Internet to make money. For instance, becoming an ebay sell. Spend your weekends going around to yard sales buying up reasonably serviceable items at extremely low prices and then turn around and spend the rest of the week selling the stuff on ebay and craigslist for a nice profit. This might sound silly to you, but there are plenty of people who make their living doing exactly this. The key to this is understanding that junk is junk, but there are genuinely useful things people will always buy if the price is right. Another idea is selling craft items on line, if you can make quilts, look into buying scrap rags on the cheap, use the material to make quilts, use blankets from Goodwill as filler and then sell the quilt that cost you $5 in material and four hours of work on the Internet for $20-$30.

Even if you are currently employed, especially if you are employed by a large corporation, You should be thinking about what you are going to do to survive when the lay offs come to you, not IF, but WHEN. Get out of debt as much as you can. Okay, you can not pay off your house, but you can pay off your car and you can pay off your credit cards and for gods sake, stop using the credit cards. Do this even if it means devastating your savings, everything you pay off today is one less thing you are paying interest on later. and if you pay off your debts now, you should have time to build up some savings again before your time comes. Additionally, if you pay off your car, you can save money by reducing your insurance coverage.

Next, whatever you grocery bill is, you need to slash it in half. There are a couple of great sites out there for living on a $1 a day. If you own your house, turn your backyard into a garden, no not a little 10×10 spot, the whole thing should be turned over to growing food. Don’t know what to grow, try growing a three sisters garden, it is easy, low maintenance and sustainable. There are some staple foods which are extremely cheap to buy and easy to store long term, rice and beans (if you are not going to grow them yourself) for instance can be had for around a $1 a pound. If you have 50 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of beans in the basement and grow a decent garden, you can live an awful long time buying only milk, bread and a little meat every week.

The goal here is really to become as self sufficient as possible, so when the dread moment comes, your boss is asking you for your badge and some stranger is packing up the things in your cubical, you can walk out the door with dignity and some peace of mind.

This is just wrong

See these girls have no intention of delivering on this promise, all they are doing is tormenting horny nerds at Comic Con for the sake of some cheesey product thier boss is selling. To me this is false advertising and they should either have to deliver free hand jobs or be fined $100 Million dollars, personally I’d prefer the hand job, but whatever.

JLA Plus One

This is the kind of picture I really like from Comic Con. Over the next couple of days there will be post after post on Digg and Slashdot pointing to picture collection of women at Comic Con, but most of those pictures will be of booth babes, who are professional models being paid to be there. People like those in this picture are there because they love comic books and are not afraid to show it. Okay so Batman is a bit pudgy and Green lantern is balding, so what, they were having fun and that is all that counts.

The White Queen has good taste

Who knew Marvel characters had preferences in Operating Systems. I’ll bet Reed Richards is a BSD User.

All hail the HypnoToad

The Westboro Baptist Ministry protests protests at Comic-Con were in fact met with a counter protest.

Here is the io9 Coverage

Here is a nice big picture

All I have to say is, those Westboro Baptist Ministry idiots should be happy all that nerd energy is directed towards comic books and not religion and politics, this would be a VERY different world if that sleeping giant were ever awoken.

You loose some, you win some.

Last game was a bit of a bummer. You can read Davids write up of the game over at his blog. I am not going into a lot of detail here, but it resulted in a character death and the loss of a great many magic items. To help balance things out, I gave the party DoomSaker, a +8 HackMaster sword, which should be fun.

DC ADVENTURES Hero’s Handbook

Product Summery:
Name: DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
Author: Steve Kenson
Line: Mutants & MasterMinds
Cost: $39.95 ($20 for the PDF)
Pages: 281
Webpage: http://mutantsandmasterminds.com/dc_adventures/

I love comic books, specifically, I love DC comic books. I also love Roleplaying Games (RPG), specifically, I love Mutants & MasterMinds (MnM). Add DC Comics to MnM and you have as close to a perfect RPG as you can get as far as I am concerned. The hard bound book is not going to be available until after GenCon in August, however you can buy the PDF version right now and if you pre-order the hardback, you can get a coupon to download the PDF for the silly cheap price of $5.

The layout of the book excellent, they start out explaining the game system, and move smoothly into write ups for the popular DC Characters and then skim the setting. The only thing they really skimped on was the setting background material, which I suspect will be done down the line. The art in the book is fantastic, even the less great ones are still pretty good, none of the choices is bad. Kenson is a good writer and it is very obvious he is familiar with the source material and did it the justice it deserved.

The game system is my only real nitpick with this book. MnM started out as an OGL/d20 derivative and with each edition they have gotten further away from that root system, which is not really a problem for me. What I do not like is the direction they went with the 3rd edition of the rules. In 1st and 2nd Edition, the attributes were more or less defined the same as they were in OGL/d20, with the 3rd edition, they decided to go with a steeper formula, with each increase of an attribute, the characters ability doubles. I realize they did this so they could get Jimmy Olsen (Strength 0) on the same scale as Superman (Strength 19/23). The problem is this sort of scale tends to fall apart rather quickly, especially when mixing non powered characters with powered characters in a group. It does not matter how good a karate expert Batman is, he will not stand a chance against Superman because nothing short of a blast from a tank is going come even close to hurting Superman.

What can I say about the setting, Silver Age, Modern Age whatever, who cares, the DC universe is rich and diverse. This book goes into very little detail, but it really does not need to, most of us who this appeals to already have a functional background. Heck everyone knows Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, so I would argue, everyone knows enough about the setting to play the game.

All in all, this book is worth every penny of its $40 price tag.I have not been this excited about a product in a really long time. I am going to force PezWitch and the interns to play this one, but I am going to make PezWitch run the game so I can play Green Lantern.

Summery (Scale of 1-5):
Appearance and Layout: 5
Game Mechanic: 4
Setting: 5
Overall: 4.666666667

Leave my comics alone

Again, I am truly embarrassed to share genetic code with these morons.

http://kotaku.com/5588292/hate-church-targets-comic%20con

Don’t bother trying to claim these people do not represent your religion. The fact is, they DO represent your religion, because they are the ones carrying around stupid bigoted signs and getting thier pictures in the news. The side effect of this is, when I think of the Christian religion, these are the people I think of.

Does information want to be free ?

First go read this:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/07/closing-the-digital-frontier/8131/

Okay, so essentially what this article is saying, is the hippies, the hacker and slackers lost and corporate America won. According to him we will be paying to access information we were previously getting for free because no one could figure out how to make money by giving away information for free. The problem with this premise is, it is simply not true. Baen Books makes a lot of money by giving away electronic copies of their out of print books for free. The DailyKos and quit a few other political blogs make enough money to support several employees allowing free and unlimited access to all their websites. Gawker Media is highly successful and profitable, I have never paid a cent to read one of their websites.

What is really going on here, is the old media has not figured out how to make crap loads of money yet and so they are claiming because THEY can’t make crap loads of money, then nobody can possibly make any money at all on the Internet. The fact is, plenty of people are making money on the Internet by giving away their product for free and the old media can not compete. Instead of altering their business model, they have decided to alter reality or at least alter perceived reality.

The article I linked to above is not the first such article I have read recently decrying the “Information wants to be free” mantra. While I am not saying absolutely that all information should always be free all the time, there is a lot of information that definitely should be free. Editorial pages come to mind, they are rarely hard news and for the most part are opinion pieces which claim some grand insight not available to the unwashed masses. I would go so far as to say, most editorial pages and op-eds and not even worth actual money. As for actual news reporting, it is a very sad fact that a significant number of the younger demographic in this country, gets its news from Comedy Centrals The Daily Show. This show has gotten so significant, Presidential candidates make it a point to appear on this show. What does that tell you about the quality of news reporting in the modern era ?

So go a head print newspapers and news magazines, start charging for our content, it might even save your business for a few years. But I am here today to tell you, it is not going to work. No one wants to pay for crap and the problem is, crap is all you are delivering, so it is likely your business model is doomed and will be replaced with the pajama media model. All I ask is that you die with some dignity.