Category Archives: technology

Content Nanny Strikes Again Part III

Congressman Baca submits his bill for the third time to add another warning label for parents about content in video games. The question we should ask the congressman is, Do we need another layer of regulation on an industry that already self regulates itself well?

I previously written about this issue twice already. However the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin has published a new article about his third attempt.

Baca’s bill, opposed by an industry trade group, would mandate the following message be printed on video game packages: “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

The odd fact about this bill is that it will apply to cartoon games such as Mario Kart as well as violent realistic games such as Grand Theft Auto. Maybe our congressman rarely plays video games to know the difference.

Baca’s new bill is H.R. 4204 for this current session of congress.

It Is Never The Same

It stinks when your favorite program you use for your computer ends up becoming mediocre or overpriced in the next revision. Nero Burning Rom was perfect with version 6, but ended up becoming a bloated piece of junk in each future version including their version 10 four years later.

Feeddemon was shareware, then became freeware, then became advertisement ware, then now it is now cripple ware. I know authors need to make money, but they should also be sensitive to the economic climate because once you turn your program into crap they will likely seek other alternatives.

Expecting people to pay 20.00 for the first license, then 9.99 for each year may be good for some, but I think there should be more flexibility such as the following.

Crippled version with advertisements free

Crippled version without advertisements 9.99

Full version with advertisements 14.99

Full version without Advertisements 19.99

So users of Nick Bradburry’s program would have choice, the author would still get money to make a living and the author would maintain his market share and I would not need to move to a program such as RSSOWL.

Maybe software developers need to have a focus group of maybe their long term customers and give them occasional questionnaires.

Blackberry Burnout

I do like my Blackberry, but there is barely enough space to do anything with my Blackberry 9700 Bold.

Including the operating system there is only half the space that is included to use for your emails and any applications you want to utilize.

Right now I have 56 meg remaining and I have to be choosey in what I would want to install. I bet if Blackberry OS 6 came out for the 9700 the phone would be barely usable.

I bet if the Blackberry to have a future with the consumer it would need to have 1GB of ram for applications and the operating system at least.

If you want applications to be developed in future Blackberry devices RIM needs to have new devices with more spacious RAM.

I wish we could rent mobile phones so we could try them out so we could make an informed choice.

My 22 months for a subsidized update will start again November 2011. Being stuck with the 9700 will be torture.

Maybe RIM will end up becoming irrelevant like NOKIA in the United States.

Let Us Party Like It Is 1995

The BBS was my first introduction to the online world. I have been calling and using BBSs since May of 2005 when I ended up spending 4-5 hours calling Santa Monica chatting with people on a BBS called Earth Spirit, but fortunately a classmate from high school gave me a local BBS number where I was met with the BBS community.

Wab E App had like over 30 door games and message forums about Magic The Gathering, while the Screaming Electron had a UUCP link to the internet with email and newsgroups up the wazoo for people to post to.

The 909 Area code had its own little sub-cultures, bbs’s that used WWIV, which was the dominant bbs software in the western part of the area, or bbs’s that were using Renegade or Wildcat that were connected to Fidonet were also part of the mix.

I tried running my own bbs, but when I was able to have access to an income and more resources the bbs world went down due to the accession of the Internet.  This post by semi-regular commentator the Ontario Emperor made me decide to make a post my retrospective of the 909 scene. Continue reading Let Us Party Like It Is 1995

Blackberry Application News

If you are a blogger and you use a Blackberry, the people at Screaming Toaster would like to let you know that the price has been cut to $10 a year for a subscription to their blogging application service. The program is not that bad, and I am looking to give them a chance. Programmers do deserve to be compensated for their work, but in the age of a slow economy people have to be mindful that people do not easily have disposable money as they used to.

If you use wordpress as your blogging engine this program is for you. You can use the program with up to 3 blackberry devices so you can use it with your work and personal blackberries. The program uses cloud computing so you should expect speed and efficiency with the program. I am looking forwards to subscribing to the service shortly so I could give an in detail review of the product.

They are going to come for us next! Time Warner Bandwidth Caps

They came to Beaumont Texas, and now Time Warner wants to severely meter the bandwidth in four more cities. Although they have not reached California yet, we should be prepared for the possibility that bandwidth will be crippled.

Expect to pay more and get less. I understand that Time Warner needs to make money. However in a crippled economy people will disconnect services if costs become more prohibitive.

Since October I have installed Networx, a bandwidth traffic measuring program to find out how much traffic I actually do use.  I found out I use around 12gb to 32gb of traffic. Unfortunately they do something dishonest they measure 1GB as 1000 MB when it is actually 1024MB. So give yourself 5 percent as breathing space just in case if you go near the traffic cap.

At least Comcast was more pragmatic and reasonable with their network cap regulations with 200gb of traffic. However if we need to download updates for our programs and operating systems then we are going to probably enter a world of hurt. If Time Warner wants to be more pragmatic on their consumption caps they should offer to host a sourceforge.net and a tucows mirror where the traffic would not cost towards our bandwidth traffic.

I know Time Warner is biased towards having their customers wanting to use their television services as well, if they do then how about offering more bandwidth if you have at least the television service combined.

40gb is reasonable, it should be the low tier, however 5gb of traffic for 30.00 is a rip-off for the low tier of usage, nor is 60.00 for 100gb of traffic. People will be curtailing how they express themselves on the internet if bandwidth becomes expensive. Innovation is going to be further curtailed, while people in Sweden and South Korea watch their videos while we go back to text messaging.

California’s nanny state killing the economy.

If you want to know why California is not competitive in the economy, its nanny state tendencies are the reason why. California’s regulations put people out of work and deprive communities of sales tax revenue.

The California Energy Commission is mandating that televisions have to meet federal energy standards else they cannot be sold in our state by 2011. So if you find a television you wanted that was found on one of those technology websites you might have to go to Las Vegas or online to buy one.

Even though most consumer electronics manufacturers are meeting or exceeding energy standards, regulators want to feel good about saving the planet where they do not care about the financial impact to retailers and the loss of tax revenue from 87 to 130 million dollars each year if luxury televisions get restricted.

We all do need to save energy, if you have a 60 inch plasma television you are more likely to afford the energy bills required to power the device. It is all up to personal responsibility of the consumer to conserve energy so we can avoid blackouts. If you have an energy guzzler as a device unplug it when it is not in use to save money and to keep the nanny state at bay.

From: Save the planet. “Big brother” may stop the sale of electric toothbrushes [Orange Juice]

Simplify our state government, follow Nevada’s lead.

California is in a severe budget crisis and we need to start saving money and become innovative in how we offer public services. In Nevada they offer self service kiosks where you can perform a good number of tasks that people used to do at the local DMV office.  We could reduce the need for people to stand in line at the DMV offices across our state and make government more convenient.

In Nevada you can renew your registration (even late registration up to 18 months late), you can reinstate your registration after a lapse of auto insurance, get a print out of your drivers license history for employment purposes and renew your license thru the kiosk too.

Technology can make government more accessible for the people of our state and reduce the amount we have to staff our field offices for the DMV in California.

My Congressman Loves the Nanny State

Recently it has been announced that my congressman Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) has introduced a new video game labeling bill (H.R 231) that requires an extra warning label for any game that is rated T or above to state the following:

WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.

However some games that are rated T (Teen), are not violent at all such as Gran Turismo – TV Top Gear and Singstar ABBA which makes the warning label that is required for this bill redundant and silly. This is one of the first things I have noticed that is seriously wrong with this bill. I know the congressman wants to make himself look good in front of the parents and grandparents of the 43rd Congressional District, but while this bill is in committee at least he should try to make it where only games that are actually violent should have the Consumer Product Safety Commission Regulation in it.

However we already do have a ratings system and its called the Entertainment Software Ratings Board and they been around for over fifteen years and they have done a decent job with rating electronic entertainment. Parents are already given the tools necessary to evaluate their children’s choices in the games that they play. Information is displayed at leading retailers and at the website for the ESRB.

Not all gamers are children and teenagers which video game regulation loving politicians would like to portray where the average gamer is 33 years old and becoming politically active thanks to organizations such as the Entertainment Consumers Association and the Video Game Voters Network. Stores self-regulate their sales of M (Mature) rated video games and if children are playing these games then parents either authorized the purchase or is just simply careless.

The best idea for Congressman Baca and his co-sponsor in the Republican Party Congressman Wolf of Virginia, is to simply embrace the ESRB ratings and help educate their constituents of their districts instead. Franking a newsletter to the constituents would be cheaper than adding a redundant regulation that will simply confuse consumers.

I made an attempt to contact the Congressman’s office about my concerns about this legislation. There was nothing really substantial from his office when one of his representatives contacted me, I just stated that if he insists on making this rather redundant bill he should at least get it made right by adding some of my suggestions.

It is unfortunate that our leaders are using popular media as a scapegoat for the problems that face us in society such as violence. Electronic entertainment is not the sole reason why some people choose to be violent in today’s society when we should investigate the other reasons first. We are America, we are not Australia and we should not enter the world of censorship and mandatory labeling of games. With an economy that is hurting we should avoid adding any new governmental programs that are already done effectively in the private sector such as ratings of electronic games.

If you care for freedom of expression and or limited government contact Congressman Baca and Congressman Wolf if you live in their districts as soon as you can.