Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cyberthrillers

It's Sunday so it was time for the weekly trip to Powell's books so before I went I did a quick search for cyber-thrillers to see if there were any I wanted to read - short answer it's a rather short and disappointing list that appears however one title did catch my eye.  Geek Mafia: Black Hat Blues.  Part of a series the description looks promising and the reviews aren't bad but I am leery.  The last time I did this I ended up with an NSA themed harlequinn romance, and at $9.39 it's not exactly cheap.

Ah, my innate cheapness is shining thru.

Oh well I have read the first chapter and it doesn't appear horrible so we'll see.

If anyone has any suggestions let me know.

(quick aside if you are into this genre you can't go too far wrong with Mark Russinovich's ( @markrussinovich ) Jeff Aiken series)

While I was at Powell's I did pick up the first two Transmetropolitans, which I have heard good things about, and Steven Levy's Crypto, which I have been meaning to read for a long time.

Chili day today

Just felt like the right time.  Made my usual recipe except I used ground beef instead of steak because I am feeling like I need a chili dog and the ground beef works better for that.  Beef stew tomorrow, and pot roast Tuesday.  That should provide lunch and dinner for over a week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some thoughts on Ello

You may or may not have heard of Ello, it is a new social network (or as it was calling itself the anti-social network).  Founded by some Facebook alums it was supposed to address some of facebooks more annoying aspects such as ads, paid feed placement, lack of privacy, etc.  I liked those ideas so I requested an invite and joined.

I apparently joined at the wrong time - for two reasons, first I got real busy at work and haven't had much time for posting anything, and second the place appears dead.  I think there are probably over a million members but you wouldn't know it because no one posts.  I am looking at the general "noise"feed and no updates for 24 days.  I admit I am partially to blame, I have made one post and followed three people.  In my defense, not only was I busy but it turns out that I have nothing in common with anyone on the site.

 I searched and searched using all sorts of search terms for people I had something in common with and nothing.

I invited a few people but they are apparently all smarter than me because they didn't join (in desperation. I even sent offers of invites to random twitter and G+ followers (OK Jeri Ryan ( @JeriLRyan +Jeri Ryan ) and Felicia Day ( +Felicia Day ) weren't random, they both have massive followings on twitter and G+ so I figured maybe they could liven the place up (more bad timing on my part as Felicia Day was doxxed soon after and probably isn't too thrilled to be receiving random messages))  Anyway no luck getting anyone else to join, which sucks because everyone on the site is either a novelist (barista), musician (barista with attitude) or actor (waiter / waitress) (joking about the barista / waiter - waitress stuff I couldn't resist) in other words creative types and my experience has been that in general they prefer not to hang out with the knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, illiterate types like me.  I am a square peg in a round hole there.  There is a plus side however;  I am willing to expend my remaining invites on the first 5 of my twitter followers, G+ followers or members of my facebook groups who ask for one.  Then you can send out invites to your friends and we may be able to liven the place up and stage a mini-coup. ( +Jeri Ryan +Felicia Day you can still get in on the revolution.)
Vive le Mort, Vive La Guerre, Vive le Sacre Mercenaire!  (oops wrong toast never mind)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Can @caitlindewey not see the problem here? More #GamerGate stuff

I was away over the weekend visiting family and didn't really expect to be revisiting #GamerGate after my last post on the subject, then I come home and start going thru my RSS feeds and find this article by Caitlin Dewey (@caitlindewey) bemoaning the efforts of #GamerGate participants to get companies to withdraw advertising from companies whose editorial viewpoint they disagree with.

Aside from the fact that I dislike the entire, "We are your betters, how dare you question us tone of the article?" there is also a huge cognitive disconnect in Ms. Dewey's writing.

Early on in the article Dewey explains one of the driving forces behind #GamerGate:

In early October, Intel hastily withdrew advertising from Gamasutra, a news site for game developers, as a result of the letter-writing campaign. (The piece over which the site lost funding was an essay critiquing video game culture and attacks on women in the industry; many readers — including, apparently, Intel — read it as a “sneering, vicious denunciation of an entire group of people.”)

A couple paragraphs later she writes:

 Topping their most-wanted list, at present, is Gawker Media’s Biddle, who tweeted a string of jokes about Gamergate on Thursday. In context, at least, the jokes were an obvious — if tongue-in-cheek — commentary on the movement’s well-documented, often hateful, idiocy. Critics construed them as an endorsement for bullying. (Biddle later apologized for the tweets.) (emphasis added)

I don't know, does she really not see how #GamerGate participants might feel like they aren't getting a fair shake in either the gaming press or the mainstream media?  Or does she just not care? And those tongue in cheek tweets:


So yeah, they are presented in a joking manner, but keep in mind that these tweets are from the editor of a group of sites that has come out as ferociously anti-gamer and anti-#GamerGate so maybe people thought there was a little truth to them.

I would suggest that if similar tweets had come from a pro-#GamerGate site regarding females or minorities, or even if I tweeted something similar regarding Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian (and I am on regard as saying that I don't particularly support #GamerGate and definately condemn any harassment that these women (or others such as Brianna Wu) are being subjected to) that they would be taken much more seriously by Ms. Dewey.

What I find especially questionable is that after printing this Dewey has the gall to suggest that those trying to organize a boycott of anti-gamer / anti-#gamergate sites are somehow in the wrong for attempting to express their opinions.  Two questions:

1.  Did she feel the same way when left wing groups were trying to destroy Fox News?  I'm just guessing but I would bet no.  Ms. Dewey strike me as the type who was out rallying against "Faux News" every chance she got.

2.  What other option do you have when you disagree with a media outlets editorial viewpoint?  How should people express their opinion regarding such matters?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Just some thoughts

At Carnifex.org, Chris has some thoughts on #GamerGate:
Biddle is actually an Editor over at Gawker media, specifically Valleywag. I think in just a few tweets he has summed up the whole Anti-GamerGate real agenda, pushing nerds back into the basement. Biddle’s problem here is very obvious, he hates nerds, he has nothing but contempt for them and he is openly admitting it. So my question is, why should I give my time and allow the company he works for to monetize me? 
I think Chris is a bit more into the Nerd culture thing than I am but I basically agree with his point - basically...

 By most measures I am a nerd, I like Sci-Fi (Fuck Harlan Ellison's pronouncement that anyone who uses the term sci-fi (in a 1979 / 1980 issue of Starlog) should be cast into the depths of the darkest star, or words to that effect BTW). I game, I enjoy comics and superhero movies, I work in the tech industry blah blah blah, you get the point, and more importantly that is basically how I define myself, but despite that I am not 100% on board with the #GamerGate thing.

First off, I think it's silly to be getting this worked up by the actions of the gaming press.  Yeah I get pissed off when they write something offensive about me or my circle of friends / interests so I point it out on facebook, twitter, etc. and I will argue the point if challenged, but really I think it's much more effective just to vote with your pocket book. This whining about ethics is just that -whining.  Welcome to the real world - journalists are even bigger shit peddlers than lawyers and politicians.  Get used to it.

Second, despite the protestations of Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) and others there has been harassment originating out of the #GamerGate camp.  I'm not saying it is organized or even that the major players in #GamerGate are condoning it, but some people who are associating themselves with #GamerGate are doing it.  Personally I think that's bullshit and it should stop.  (For the record I have also seen some rank shit coming from the other side too, and it is just as huge a pile of crap coming from them)

Third, when it really comes down to it I just don't give shit.  I don't read most of the gaming sites on a regular basis, so what do I care if they devote thousands of inches to Zoe Quinn and her interactive Suicide Quest.  I have watched a couple Anita Sarkeesian videos at a couple times over the last year or two.  I didn't find her either interesting or enlightening so I stopped.  I pointed out what I thought were the flaws either in a post here or twitter, facebook, Google+ whatever.  And moved on now I don't visit her channel any more.  That's how you win.  Point out the flaws in their logic and vote with your money.  The more attention you darw to them by doing things like a) making death threats, b) trying to slut shame someone, c) doxxing them, the more positive publicity you give them.  If you just refuse to visit their site they lose ad dollars and that will effect a change much faster than anything else.

So after all that I am back to where I started - basically I agree with Chris.  Don't patronize site that are going to treat you like shit and don't read anything by Cory Doctrow, because believe me he hates you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I am still alive

Just can't get caught up enough to do any actual blogging at the moment.  I am trying to write something epic about #GamerGate but I am not a very epic guy so... Anyway I will be back soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Catholic Church Softens Stance On Gay Marriage

Meanwhile I am still waiting on an Ello (@ellodotco) invitation.  At this rate we will have an openly gay pope celebrating mass on a float in the Folsom St. Gay Pride Parade before I have an account.

Source


Monday, October 13, 2014

What are you reading 10/13/2014

Usually I am the one putting out the links but I am running a little dry at the moment so what are you guys reading?  Books?  Articles?  Fiction?  Non-Fiction?

To get this started - I am working on two books at the moment:

Stealing the Network:  The Complete Series - Kind of a cult cyberthriller series.  The books are a bit dated now, but still a fun read.

The Warriors by Sol Yurick - The basis for the movie.  I read this book back in the late 70s but looking back I am pretty sure that at the time I was too young to appreciate it, so yesterday at Powell's I saw a copy and picked it up.

I will be back this afternoon / evening with the regular collection of nonsense links that no one but me cares about or reads :-).