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Google+

Google, here is a use-case and a complaint.

Forcing me to use my real name on my Google+ account violates my privacy. I do not want random people to search for my full name and find this profile. It is an un-feature. It destroys my existing social circles.

The point of my previous social circle mechanisms (livejournal, twitter, Facebook) was to separate these avenues of my life.

I used to have my twitter account linked to my Facebook. I used to be "Karl Pagan" on Facebook. This changed when my family started joining. I integrated my real-life contacts with my family contacts and made a free-standing separate social experience of Facebook vs twitter. I do not federate my twitter posts to FB. Breaking the barriers between my circles on FB diminished that experience for me.

Here's the thing: I use twitter and G+ a lot more than I use Facebook. If I had the option to have two separate Google profiles connected to my G+ I would do that and preserve that functionality here. I am not going to continue to use G+ without this pseudonym.

Fortunately I am only known publicly as Karl the Pagan. It is a name of note, and my only public identity to League of Legends fans. I used this name professionally as a part of my job duties as I represented Riot's interests on their forums. If I get another gaming gig there's a 99.999% chance I'll continue to use this pseudonym. Publicly. What now Google?
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comment on shakesville

I'm writing to you, not only as a PA fan or PAX volunteer, but as a human being who has genuine empathy to feminist and minority causes. I understand what your community has been through and that this recent history means my genuine concern may be doubted. Please take this at face value.

A few people have written about Mike's struggle with bullying and how that affected his reactions. The cultural differences widened that communication gap (sakesville is non-PC because you know the right course of action, gamers are anti-PC because they celebrate irreverence). I think there was a chance to educate a lot of people, but that opportunity was eroded by hyperbole, anger, and ham-fisted rules created to protect your community from its last invasion. Of course Mike is responsible for what he did after this, but you know how an abuse victim will react in this situation. While that does not absolve his responsibility I feel that you neglected to consider it.

IMHO you owe Mike a personal apology (even a half-assed one). He came to you asking "why now and not then" and instead of saying "those incidents also, but we choose to complain now" you, Melissa, shut him down, bullied him and, if I follow your meaning, later said he was acting like a fucking rapist.

I'm sure that you know that when we teach someone to talk about race and gender it must be about the acts not the person. Not "you're a racist" or even "you're acting racist" but "that one thing, right there that you said, was kind of racist". I think that this community has lost any motivation to educate the ignorant. Troll culture has harshened the dialog and removed any concern you may have had for education.

Finally there is a lot of apologia in your community for the threats coming to PA and their supporters. In words already expressed in this debate it is ridiculous to shed responsibility for your influence when it is convenient. PA and the genuine members of the community have treated your issues seriously and do not condone threats of violence (check forums.penny-arcade.com). If "get over it" is still your attitude then please let me know when you can taste the crow. Shame on you.
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Digital Identity management

I think I finally have a 100% managed identity. No links from alias to RL name / work / etc.

RL name is fairly common, birthday doesn't correlate, company name + alias doesn't correlate. There used to be a few links but they've expired.

So I cleaned up the few remaining personal info journal posts.
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Writer's Block: AKA

AKA
What's the story behind your username?
At Washington State University I got together with some other students and started the Association of Pagan Students. I did the footwork putting up posters around the dorms and answered some basic questions. Word got around and those interested referred to me as Karl "the Pagan".

Some of these people became a core of good friends and I was introduced to new associates as Karl "the Pagan" so it stuck. I adopted it as my DJ name and "raver name" when I got into that social circle and I didn't see a reason to change it when I moved to Spokane. I've had some older videogame or RPG based named, but this one has a much better fit and I continue to reuse it on new social networks.
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Perfect Netbook

Acer Aspire One body, why?
* 3 usb ports
* 2 SD slots
* accessible mini PCI
* battery location encourages very big aftermarket battery
* latest Intel Atom (single core)
* 6+ cell battery (4h+ game time)

what it lacks:
* ~ 10" 16:9 screen (1420x800 or 1280x720)
* NVidia Ion (256mb+) (know what... AMD Yukon is also fine if it performs)
* 2gb+ main memory
* 40gb+ solid-state disk
* WWAN card (hsdpa, ev-do, 3g etc)
* WWAN / WLAN / bluetooth toggle key (I remembered this as I ejected my WWAN express card to save some power, BONUS: client software that handles the toggle gracefully)
* SIM slot accessible without removing battery/keyboard/screws (possibly require open lid? unlocked security slot?)
* Bluetooth (bonus points for all-in-one 802.11n/HSDPA/Bluetooth 2.x that will simultaneously push medium quality A2DP, 80hz mouse, and 256kbps or better download)
* off-center touchpad, directly below the arrow keys would be most comfortable for typing/mousing use, both buttons placed to left of the pad so the whole feature is rotated 90deg from your standard pad (with on/off toggle like the HP Mini 1000)
* vertical orientation for 1+ usb ports (requires open screen, but for travel use most plugged-in devices will be used with screen open, when not traveling a USB hub can be used)
* mini/micro HDMI instead of VGA/audio (if you need to safe physical interface area, here's where, usb or bluetooth headset could be used if needed instead of analog jacks)
* eSATA for dvd/blu ray
* express 34 slot (yes, now I'm being greedy)
* horizontal 1 USB, HDMI, eSATA, express slots on one side, all other horizonal ports on the other
* smooth hard-"rubber" corners (I see banging up such a device, and chipped plastic is bad, bonus - these corners would also act as stoppers for the closed screen)
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The bedroom experience

We now have 40 inches of HDTV goodness right over our bed... paired with a standard definition TiVo :(

Sony KDL-40S4100 (priced nicely as it should be), and the cheapest name brand DVD I saw. I finally watched some of my anime DVD's (appleseed (2004) & appleseed ex machina (2008)). Also got a 12' HDMI cable and a DVI M to HDMI F adapter so I can plug any DVI outputting device (like my laptop) into that HDMI cable. I learned that HDMI audio is digital and requires some kind of synchronization signal or buffer to the digital audio source because the audio packets are sent in the scan-line gaps of the video. It will be a good while before audio/video HDMI ports are standard on PC's and laptops.

Then the Harmony 550 remote: awesome. Except the software wants to stay resident (100MB wasted for programming my remote once a year? KTHXBAI) Backlit, programmable sequences, all my TiVo buttons map nicely to the face buttons (except Exit -> Live TV, Menu -> TiVo button) and the few TV remote functions I use also fit logically on the face with just a few on the extended button LCD pages (4 per page). Backlight + ability to disable extra help + really strong radio signal silences any other problems I might have had with it. The wizard setup is a little confusing for a power user and might confuse novice users, some of it feels like really sloppy UI design. Update: I want to program a macro to turn my HDMI input viewing area to "Full Pixel" instead of the "Standard" cropped default. Unfortunately I can't make a separate macro which is more than 5 commands. The sequence to select "Full Pixel" is 10 commands so it has to be part of the startup sequence. That would be fine except that those options aren't available on the TV until after my PC has enabled the DVI connection - there's no manual pause option. Finally, the "Help" button re-issues the initial commands to activate the activity that you selected in an attempt to diagnose your problem. That would work great, but it doesn't repeat the custom commands entered. 7/10 (lost 2 points for failing to meet my use case)

Now we just need a non-crippled HD TiVo (thanks DirecTV :P you suck) or we might switch to Comcast when they come to Liberty Lake.

Also... Steam sucks lately. It's not forgivable to have games I paid for locked away during prime time because your authentication servers (or just the application?) sucks nads. Support ticket filed. No purchases until this is fixed. You're on notice Colbert style.
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my Warhammer Online review (obviously part 1)

I haven't read many of the reviews of WAR or WAR vs WoW. It's an MMO and they deserve some time to get it right.

So let me be honest... this is WAR vs WOW review - I have no other options. If this game were terrible I wouldn't even spend the time to address its flaws.

But I like this game, and I want it to work. It has some high-level goals that blow Warcraft out of the water. So I'm going to sign up for a 180-day subscription and give it all the time that I need to decide if I want to max-out this game like I'm trying to do with WoW. There are some flaws and gems, as follows:

1. Asking for elevated privileges (Vista UAC) every time it launches is really disturbing. Blizzard has the download/update/patch idea down pat. I can run the game in normal privileges and ALL of my character settings and even my addons and screenshots end up in my user / local settings / virtual store WHICH IS WHERE THEY SHOULD BE. I will do some finer technical evaluation here, but just requiting elevated privileges to check your files isn't acceptable at all. I don't blame Microsoft for shitty UAC warnings, I blame the software makers because they should know better.
WAR << WoW

2. WTF is this loading trailer shit? Every time? Minor annoyance. Make it a menu item.
WAR < WoW

3. WTF WTF ... EULA scrolldown, check, and "ok" every time I login? This better be a bug. WTF EVEN WHEN RECONNECTING FROM A DISCONNECT. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?
WAR <<<<<< WoW

4. Very limited graphical quality options. I want to run this game like I run WoW: windowed mode maximized at the native resolution. My 8800M stutters frequently at 1900x1400 and I don't have the graphics options available that I think I need to make it smooth without losing too much detail. (i.e. manipulating FSAA and Aniso options) GIVE ME AN ADVANCED WINDOW THAT'S ACTUALLY ... YOU KONW... ADVANCED
WAR < WoW

5. But really... the graphics so far are ok... There are some terrains and areas that are just a little under-detailed or a little... 90's esque. Things that remind me of user-made FPS maps and Diakatana. BUT the majority of it is terrificly detailed and has a look & feel like I think it should have.
WAR > WoW

6. Questing: Public Quests are totally awesome... unless you're the ONLY ONE PLAYING THEM, still a really great concept tho! They should make NPC stand-ins to play PQ's with you 24/7. Public Quests are mostly far superior to instances. At the very worst you'll have to look for groups to grind the PQ's. Not a bad tradeoff.
WAR >> WoW

7. The quest interface in general is great. HOWEVER, finding named quest mobs... NOT EASY. Frustrating. I use WoW addons to solve this problem. Put the kill count in the mob tooltips! UPDATE: there's also little visual distinction between normal mobs and your *target* mobs. Take the first named kill quest in Greenskin Chapter 2. I'm supposed to kill a dryad or something, and it looks almost completely identical to all the little trash mobs that wander around it. Nice work keeping your theme at the expense of gameplay.
WAR == WoW

8. Minimap & Questing interface are usually fantastic, with my WoW play patterns fully ingraned I kept trying to re-sort and figure out which quests I was going to do so which quests I should put on my tracking list... but then I realized hey... just look at the red colored areas in the map.
WAR > WoW

9. Early gear progression... it's at least interesting for Black Orc, and some of the PQ rep reward options they give you teach you about the game mechanics: i.e. you are squishy as hell without a shield! In WoW you don't learn shit at early levels.
WAR > WoW

10. Level 1. You know how in AD&D 3rd edition you're a silly little 6hp rogue and almost anything in the game can 1-shot you? This is the evolution of gaming that moves far enough away from that that it is finally closer to some fantastic version of reality and not frustrating, boring, or stupid (thereby letting the fun of the game come out). Your power level relative to the lowest trash mob is as if you were a level 5 AD&D 3rd edition character, or even a level 3 4th edition character, or a level 8 Warcraft character. No bullshit levels here.
WAR >> WoW

11. Achievements and Tome Unlocks. Achievements are (aside from the obvious WoW-like achievements) things like dying 10 times, clicking on yourself 25 times before seeing "click thru player" in the interface options, and discovering new map areas. They give you tiny little exp bonuses that are satisfying but not overkill. Just like map discovery in WoW. Tome Unlocks are achievements that give you titles or other goodies I haven't seen yet. Both are fantastic and really take everything we've learned about the gaming reward/addiction system and perfected it. WoW achievements are few and pitiful in comparison.
WAR >>> WoW

12. Crafting (Cultivation in particular). I kindof like it. Better than picking flowers in WoW. Do you know where I bet they got this idea? Disney's Toon Town (UPDATE: EXCEPT IT TRAVELS WITH YOU! GENIUS!). Great artists steal great ideas. Good job here.
WAR > WoW

12. Inventory management: there's a lot missing here. It's good that quest items don't use up bag space, but trash items are never usable and don't auto-sell. This part of WAR is stupid and boring. Also I use GarbageFu in WoW to help me decide what items to drop when my inventory gets full. This part of WAR is stupid and boring and unnecessarily tedious.
WAR <<< WoW

13. Connection stability. The servers by and large were fine for the time I played. My connection by comparison isn't so fine.

This game has its own physical hints about lag and connection stability, but I don't see a user interface ping feedback. There is no alt-f4 for those "well I'm disconnected but I'm done playing for now" times that I frequently have (like now when I didn't logoff, got in the car and am writing my review, having this monstrous application sucking my battery life down). Also... I don't freaking care if my corpse is standing there for 20 seconds after I log. I just want to get the fuck out of here. I shouldn't have to have server connectivity to quit this application. Blizzard fixed this annoyance years ago.
WAR << WoW