Archive for April, 2009

Twit ≠ Twitter

I tweeted the other day that Australians have finally embraced Twitter, but only because Rove McManus and a plethora of sub-par Australian notables, including our dear Prime Minister joined.
Now I have been on twitter for…about a year and a half, maybe a bit longer, and I have used, abused and gotten bored with, the issues associated with its sudden jolt in popularity, the fact that it is so insecure, and 90% of the people using it these days, are only doing so because their celebrities are doing it, unfortunately the remaining 10% became bored with it about the time when Aston Kutcher showed up, and the top ten Tweeters were no longer our Tech luminaries.

Now I really shouldn’t be too critical of Twitter, considering I do use it as one of the three methods I use to get the word out of new articles (the other two being emails and Facebook) even if it is insecure, and most popular accounts get hacked every other day; the techs at Twitter are trying their hardest to keep up with the fans.

Unfortunately, it seems that the media hasn’t caught up with the jargon associated by this ‘new’ social medium, so I thought I would impart a little wisdom as a member of the TWiT Army, I am getting irritated with the “Are you associated with that Twitter thing”, just as much as Leo Laporte is getting peeved with the constant Twitter related content using his TWiT moniker, or being asked if he owns Twitter.

Docs Easy Guide to Twitter

  • TWiT = This Week in Tech, this has nothing to do with Twitter I just wanted to get that out in the Open
  • Tweet = a 140 character message sent on Twitter
  • Tweeter= someone who uses Twitter ALWAYS confused with a twit, A Twit is someone that is attached to the TWiT Network
  • Twitter is a service that was used by people to share ideas and offer advice, now its used to show Demi Moore how much Aston Kutcher loves her. IT IS NOT TO LATE TO CHANGE BACK
  • Just because ‘Britney Spears’ is on Twitter, doesn’t mean that it is actually her, though apparently it is the real Shaq, use Twitter to talk to your friends, or better yet use one of the more stable platforms like actual verbal communication…

I was in Penrith the other day on other business when I saw a kid on one of the public terminals creating a Twitter account, out of curiosity I asked him why he was joining Twitter, he looked at me with a dumb expression and said he was joining because one of the local football players was on it. there are better reasons to join Twitter, lets just make sure your doing the right one.

ISP Drama

I had been hopeful that the Government had silently dropped their flawed Internet Filter considering the recent troubles that the Government had been experiencing, and was happy, for the most part that there had been so little News coverage of the filter in recent time.
Well naivety is one of those things; you can be as hopeful as you want, but it won’t hide the truth.

The truth is, that the Mandatory Internet Filter is still very much on the table, and furthermore, Optus has gone and infuriated their customers, by going forward with joining the trial, even if their major competitors have both turned their back on it. While the number two ISP in Australia will only be trialing the Filter in Sydney and Newcastle; they have already caused a large portion of their customer base, to cancel subscriptions, and end contracts in protest for their going along with it.

There are a number of reasons why a major player would join such a flawed system, however, the most likely reason that the ISP has agreed to the trial, is that they would become the likely recipient of the Federal Governments National Broadband Network (NBN) tender, after Telstra pulled out of the process after stating that the cost would be prohibitively expensive, based on the fact that they would have to be responsible for the upkeep of the network for all other ISP’s. The only other ISP with the capacity to perform such an act is Optus, even if they weren’t initially considered.

While it is disheartening to hear that Optus customers have been betrayed by their ISP, something positive, ok not really positive, more hilarious, has come out of the Federal Ministry for the Internet and the Electronic Economy; and that was Senator Conroy publically putting his foot in his mouth while at a meeting for the National Broadband Network; a meeting of all the ISP’s hoping to bid for the tender, by making disparaging remarks about number three ISP; iiNet, who is at the moment going to bat for its users in the Federal Court about alleged P2P piracy. While the reasoning behind his remarks were obvious, iiNet is the only ISP to date to officially wash their hands of the filter, the fact that he made them about a defence that iiNet has not even made in relation to their Court case, puts serious pressure on both the Government to do something about this moron, and for iiNet to do something in response.

While iiNet hasn’t officially come out and stated that they will be filing charges against the Minister, they have spoken to their legal department, and a defamation suit may be in the works, either against the Minister individually, or the Government. While the DocNetwork does not make it a habit to speculate on backroom politics, but the chances on Conroy retaining his portfolio in the wake of this, yet another debacle, in a list of impressive debacles, is pretty slim. But then the Australian Defence Minister is still in his portfolio following his blunders, so who knows what might happen.

While all seems dark at this point, there is some light at the end of this tunnel, the Federal Opposition revealed earlier this week that while the Government has the legislation to trial the Mandatory Internet Filter, they do not have legislation to implement it. With the Liberal/Nationals Coalition, along with the Greens and a number of Independent MP’s against this travesty, the chances of it getting through are unlikely, but then the Government has gone this far, there is no knowing just how far they will take it

Doc’s Convention Coverage: Part 2 Rowany Festival

Two days after returning to Sydney from Brisnova, I packed my bags once more and headed off to the Rowany Festival, exchanging a Subaru Forester which had transported me to Brisbane, for a Nissan Troop Carrier Ambulance for my trip to Peats Ridge for the week of the Rowany Festival.

Now this was my first SCA festival, even though I have voiced an interest in joining the society for a number of years.
If I have to say anything about this is that I freaking loved this Festival.

The Best place to hide a banner… on an object that doesn’t exist, the best way to hide something in plain sight 
Our Ambulance, holding proudly the banner we ‘acquired’

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I swear the Sword is for when we cant save them

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My lovely and ever helpful Chirurgeon who’s name I either cant pronounce or was never told

I must say from a Medical standpoint, Rowany was the busiest I have ever been, with over 90 casualties, though surprisingly not many from the actual battles that took place over the weekend.

Speaking of the Wars, I was quite amused by the conduct of thirty odd grown men beating the living shit out of each other with bamboo canes, I was told that I may not like the Festival for various reasons, or I wouldn’t get used to the speech and mannerisms of the society, but I mean I am a freaking costumer, I am well versed in period mannerisms.
 
As a rugby first aider, I was already well versed with the kind of injuries I was going to face, the difference being that when a rugby player is injured, its a case of removing their jersey to treat them..all I can say is that it is a completely different kettle of fish when that same person is wearing twenty kilos of armour.

While my methods may be unorthodox, I am yet to understand why it necessitated me gaining the moniker of the Mad Medic, though the fact that I am always guaranteed a drink from every fighter I encounter, even if I get my drinks for free at the Tavern anyway, but I am honored by the privilege.

Apart from the Wars, I have to say that the Marketplace at the festival puts the vendors at Supanova to shame, the amount of handcrafted wares was amazing. Pottery, leatherwork, brass work, and even bull horn drinking vessels, all at very reasonable prices, my only regret was that I did not have as much ‘gold’ as I had liked. But as you can see, I picked up an excellent belt and pouch, as well as a drinking horn. I also picked up a leather bound journal, which I used as my casualty register for the week, and a brass circlet.

Marketplace and Wars aside, the event was one of those that everything seemed to happen all at once, and the rest of the time was spent with complete boredom. Sure I combated that after learning from the Bushfires, but there was still times, especially after finishing my book, where I found myself fidgety, and quite irritated.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this event, and I do hope I can go back next year, I took a number of photos during my stay in the 17th Century, but I am yet to decide just where I am going to upload them to.

Doc’s Convention Coverage

Good evening folks, sorry for not finishing my coverage of Brisbane Supanova, or the Rowany Festival, for I have been recovering from the flu I contracted while attending both of these events in incremental weather, as I am more or less better, I figured I would at least try and get something out.

Brisbane Supanova 2009:

While I had not intended to attend this event, due to putting it off as long as I could, I soon found myself initially disappointed upon my arrival.
While there was a number of interesting vendors, selling the usual wares; T-shirts, figurines, Action Figures, and the obscure Japanese paraphernalia.
What I found disappointing, other than the fact that once again the price had been raised for little or no reason, was the sheer lack of costumers over previous years. Normally I would take roughly a hundred or so photos over the weekend, this year, I took less than thirty. Now previous years I would have taken photos of the myriad 501st Legion members attending, but recently I have seen that they wear the same thing over and over, that I’m looking for different costumes.

This year, we brought a old staple back out of retirement for maybe the last time, updated an existing staple, and created a completely new costume, not bad for the fact that it was less than 36 hours from we were heading to this convention after stating that we wouldn’t be attending.

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FRIDAY
Chris Redfield (Resident Evil 5)

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SATURDAY
Colonel Azreal Gotha

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SUNDAY
Colonel Travis Winters

With the release of the Watchmen, those costumes we did see, there was a sizeable chunk of Watchmen costumers, most being Rorschach’s costumes, and might I add, REALLY bad ones, we did have one saving grace, that being the beautiful Abi filling into the best Silk Spectre Costume I have seen. Apart from a few Cybermen and maybe the entire cast of Scooby Doo, the costume turnout wasn’t so impressive, though Noel, and her excellent Vulcan must be commended, and not because she reads the blog XD.

Once again I organised an Fullmetal Alchemist Photo group, though this year, we were asked to join an FMA Skit, that had just about every single character from the series in it, which was awesome. I will upload those photos to the Cosplay Section of the Blog, as it seems that Vic Mignogna, being the lead Voice Actor of the Franchise, took a massive interest in the group, which I still think is awesome.

Friday: I pretty much pulled this one out of my ass, I had been playing Resident Evil 5 prior to leaving and while the other half wanted to do an UBCS, and since it was decided that we do costumes from the same franchise, I was found without a costume. While it was rushed, I am happy with it, so much so that it might make another reappearance
Saturday: The only reason we brought the State out of retirement was because a cast member from Fullmetal Alchemist was there, and I wanted Vic Mignogna’s autograph on the art book that had already had two other voice actors on it, my goal is to have it signed by all of them. three down six to go.
Sunday: You know it, I love it, the Legion BDU, in yet another manifestation; as I was coming up at such short notice, I had not had enough time to build the helmet that was supposed to go with the face mask, so I went without it, and to be honest, I am quite disappointed with how it turned out, sure I can see, but after seeing it in the light, you can tell that it was a rush job.

Overall I enjoyed Supanova, even though I felt that I was rushed more than anything, and didnt get a chance to see everyone I wanted to.

Ye Old Blog Post

Once again, it seems, that I will be going away for a week with St John Ambulance, however, this time, it is for a less than sinister reason. During Easter, the New South Wales Branch of the Society of Creative Anachronism host their Rowany Festival, a week long event involving armoursmiths, merchants, and men dressed as Knights beating the crap out of each other with Bamboo swords.

This will be the first time I attend this event, and if possible, I will be covering it for the blog. However,  I know going into the Festival, that I wont have cell coverage, so I will not be blogging over Easter.
I will be retuning next Tuesday, and I will be having a full article covering the last two weeks at that same time.

Instead of trying to make my 500 word minimum, I am going to cut this one short, as I am quite tired and I have an early day tomorrow, so Happy Easter Everyone, and I will see you on the other side, with more video, more photos, and more coverage of the stories that interest you.

Onlive: the death of Australian Gaming

I will be returning to my coverage of Brisbane Supanova shortly, but I felt it that I had to cover this as before I covered anything else.

I had been hearing rumblings about something similar to OnLive, for a while, however, like most gamers out there, including Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte (of Windows Weekly on the TWiT Network fame) I had passed them off to be nothing but delusion and speculation…

That was until the GDC (Game Developers Conference) 2009, when startup Company Onlive, announced that they will start beta-testing an on demand gaming system that will go live in the American Fall, that will according to their press release, “eliminate the need for powerful personal computers and bulky set-top consoles.”

By using Server Farms, OnLive, hopes to have in place, a system where users will be able to play any game they want, almost instantaneously, without having to go out and spend thousands upgrading their computer to the latest specs, or by having to buy the latest console. This would also supposedly eliminate the now trivial ‘Console Wars’, as all the latest Xbox/Playstation/Nintendo Games would be all on the one device…right?
Wrong! Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have all refused at least for the time being to participate in this service, and rightly so as no company would intentionally kill their own profit model, so that means that there will be no Halo, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, or Mario titles on this service until at the latest, the release of the next generation consoles. 

All that would be required to play would be either a small proprietary set-top box, or a Mac and/or PC that had the minimum stated requirements (minimum not yet stated) and a high speed broadband connection, with a bandwidth capacity to match.

Now, considering that there are really only a third of the population of the entire planet, localised almost exclusively in parts of North America and Japan, that has the high-speed/capacity internet system at this point in time that would allow them to actually participate in this experience, I have my doubts at this very point in time, as to just how OnLive expect to replace the current gaming conventions.

Unfortunately for me, The DocNetwork resides in a country that is the proverbial wild west when it comes to the internet. With Telstra dictating the bandwidth caps, and connection speeds, by the fact that they own all the infrastructure that the other ISP’s use, coupled with the fact that there is only two direct cable connections connecting Australia to the rest of the world, and BOTH have to traverse the Pacific, all I can say is that unless the current platform of Console and CD gaming continues, gaming will essentially disappear in Australia.

The only way that this would be viable in Australia, or anywhere else outside of Continental United States and Japan, who both have the Capacity, and the Infrastructure to allow people On Demand Gaming, would be to build a server farm in that country dedicated to servicing that country exclusively. But, as Blizzard’s technical director stated, when asked why didn’t Blizzard create a Battlenet server for Australian World of WarCraft Players, he replied quite simply.

“There are states in America that have a larger population than Australia, and a lot more of those people we know play WoW, why should we drop a Server in Sydney that will service maybe a thousand people? when elsewhere, that server would be constantly filled to capacity,”

In otherwords, there isn’t enough profitability for an outside company to invest anything into allowing the 21 million legally recognized Australian citizens the option of playing games when they want, at speeds comparable to the rest of the world, as regardless of how fast the speeds are here, it still takes a while for data to cross the Pacific.

I just hope that in the long run, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony continue to produce Consoles, and that the Game Developers who have signed onto OnLive continue to produce content for Consoles alongside producing it for On Demand, otherwise an entire wedge of the Gaming market will cease to be.
These issues are similar to those that would occur in Cloud Computing, which is also why I am not particularly convinced that it is the future of Computing, just as much as I am not convinced that OnLive is the future of Consoles.

Brisbane Supanova Promo Night

Greetings y’all, this is the first time I am doing this, and probably the last.
Sorry about the quality of the sound, I used a camera that could take video, for the next event I will have a proper video camera.

Once again, Brisbane plays host to Supanova, Australia’s premiere, and comparatively only Popular Culture Convention.
Initially we weren’t going to be attending this year, but a pleasant turn of events resulted in our attendance.

As per normal we attended the promo event, this year as Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5, and a staple of the Resident Evil Franchise, a UBCS, in respect to my host, I will upload the photos at a later date.