Rozovian’s Music Log

www.ocremix.org/artist/4795/

Posts Tagged ‘rant’

b0rked, b0rked is the Great Google

Posted by Ad on March 31, 2013

I recently updated some of my instruments, those from native Instruments at least. Not much problem there. Didn’t remember my password, so I asked for a new one and waiting in my gmail inbox. For a while. Then tried again. And again. Nothing. It wasn’t until I searched my inboxes that I found that everything from NI (and pretty much all other music sites) are automatically thrown into a separate music inbox for all those incessant promotional newslettery things they keep sending out. As if my inbox wasn’t getting enough junk already. Anyone, I found my temporary password and finally got to download the updates. And not much trouble there, although I do appreciate Steam’s internal updating of everything over having to download separate installers for every product. Where is Steam for audio software?

Anyway, I get back to my music, and didn’t think much about the update. I notice something sounding weird about some of my tracks. Not all the projects I’m working on, just a few. As if an instrument or two had reset to some weird new settings unlike what they were saved as. That couldn’t happen, could it? Yes it could.

Absynth, one of Native Instruments coolest, weirdest synths, has b0rked. My cool ambient sounds? b0rked. Complex leads? b0rked. Good thing it wasn’t FM8 that b0rked, since I use that way more than Absynth. Gotta love that FM sound. But this whole mess with Absynth bothered me enough to turn to teh internets for a solution. Here’s where stupid shines:

Google has b0rked.

I don’t mean that you can’t find the obvious things any moron can type into a search bar, I mean that if you search for something, anything remotely and tangentially related will crop up in the search. The other day, I was searching for a solution to a mouse/trackball-related problem. I tried limiting it to unix/terminal commands, but then I got stuff that had nothing to do with OSX despite both mac and osx being keywords. I tried using scrollball as a search word, but then I only get junk about Apple’s Mighty Mouse. Trackpad? Laptop results. Trackball? Some arcade golf game control schematic. After a while I just gave up and went to screw with the settings on Logitech’s own control panel instead. Far from ideal, but I can live with it.

For fun, I wanted to see the world as centered on different poles. What if the Mediterranean was the north pole? What if the pacific was a pole? I downloaded a map and started screwing around in Gimp, getting all kinds of fun distortions that approached what I wanted, except in the wrong way. So I turned to Google. There must be someone who’s done maps like that… but Google instead thinks I mean “any map of Earth, maybe centered on the north or south pole”. Other searches yield more perplexing and stupid results.

This isn’t even a new thing, but I’m getting sick of it. I made a remix of one of the newer Mana series games a while back, for one of the AOCC albums, but I forgot the game. No problem, I’ll search for my artist name on YouTube, someone must have uploaded it to YouTube. Minecraft videos. A gazillion Minecraft videos where my music may have been used as background music. Yay. -minecraft, then. All my other remixes. Okay, +mana, then. A gazillion of other people’s remixes of the mana games. No!

I’ve tried a few other search engines, but I’ve yet to find one I like enough. Any suggestions are welcome.

Also, if you’ve found a solution to the Absynth problem, link me up. Also, tell me what arcane magic you used to find it, cuz I refuse to believe Google did it.

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Maybe I should pirate more?

Posted by Ad on August 4, 2012

So I grabbed a bunch of games during Steam’s Summer Sale. Games that were cheap enough for my atm meager funds, games that would work on mac. The problem is that this mac compatibility isn’t that great… and it surprises me that game devs don’t consider the obvious solution:

Don’t put graphics above gameplay!

Crusader Kings II looks like a pretty cool game from the screenshots. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on my machines. One machine can’t run it at all because it has the wrong graphics card, and the other runs it at a ridiculous frame rate, not to mention screws up the colors. Sure, a purple sea (tho it still looks like water) might not be the best creative choice despite that might work for a more moody scenario, but if the frame rate is horrible, the game is unplayable. As the game is really just a bunch of screens with stats on them, plus a map with random troops on it, the graphics can be at a FreeCiv level. FreeCiv is hardly the epitome of graphics, but the game works.

Anyway, I find that SimCity 4 has a bit of the same frame rate problem as well, plus some bizarre and amusing texture issues, but it’s far from unplayable. The problem there is that Steam didn’t offer a mac version, but I found ways around that problem.

The thing is, these aren’t games that need all that much graphics. In fact, most games don’t need anything past what we were able to render a decade ago. A multiplayer FPS would need it to let players blend into the environment realistically, and any real-time game would need it to make sure players get to react as soon as something happens rather than suffer a second’s delay before they see what’s going on and having to work the interface for a few seconds before getting their troops/vehicle/dude/whatever to do what it’s supposed to do. Civ V doesn’t need the graphics it has, the gameplay doesn’t need those graphics. The Strategic View is unfortunately not the default view, nor are its symbols as easy to identify at a glance as the units in the standard view. CKII doesn’t need its 3d display and fancy window decor (and the decor would load faster if the 3d stuff wasn’t hogging the graphics processing). Many games of today are more for show than for gaming, and it’s shutting ppl out from getting to play them.

I wonder if it makes business sense. I mean, I get how it works for the marketing department; they get screenshots and videos and stuff that look good. It’s easier to market than game mechanics. “It looks great, lemme prove it with this non-interactive, print-friendly thing.” But with games like Civ and CK and SC and others, it’s the mechanics that are the game, the graphics are just packaging. They’re harder to market based on gameplay.

Not that I’d want the graphics reduced to the lowest common denominator, but a low-resource alternative graphics option would be nice to have, one that’s less picky about the graphics card and doesn’t require platform specific libraries or only runs on select graphics chipsets. Likewise, the option to not load all the resource-hogging stuff when you start the game (I may have mentioned this before). More graphics options would open up games to a variety of platforms, ultimately getting more players into the game.

Anyway, on a semi-related note…

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…on _my_ internet!?

Posted by Ad on February 22, 2012

I’ve been keeping an eye on Techdirt and a few other internet-centric news sources for a while now, ever since the whole SOPA/PIPA thing made the rounds a few months ago. Techdirt was recently blocked in Germany as it was deemed harmful to minors. It’s a site that discusses the internet and related stuff. Who would find that harmful to minors, if not an oppressive regime bordering on an example of Godwin’s Law just a few sentences into this post.

But no, fortunately, it seems it’s a machine that made this mistake, flagging a discussion of content on the internet, which includes pornography, as actual pornography. While it’s a good thing we’re not talking about outright suppression of dissent, we are talking about giving machines a bit too much power. Imagine if a global censorship machine decided an entire country was harmful to minors, and blocked the whole thing from the wider internet community.

Imagine if that country was the USA, with its media giants. The thought amuses me. Seriously, why doesn’t the EU just step up and tell the USA to clean its own figurative nose before sticking its fingers in other nations’s noses. Why doesn’t the EU say that it’ll block all media business with the USA until they’ve sorted out their corrupt government.

Okay, hard words. Really, tho, I think the US government, as a whole, is either inept or corrupt. During the SOPA/PIPA talks in US Congress and Senate, it became apparent that lawmakers are not denizens of the internet and have little to no understanding of how it works. The Daily Show hilariously and wonderfully pointed out that during the hearings, the representatives admitted to not being “nerds” and suggested “nerds” would be brought in. Stewart suggested they use the term “experts”, since they would be brought in for their expertise.

In lack of a clip of that, here’s one from The Alyona Show. Also amusing.

Either inept, or corrupt. Possibly both, given how easily copyright owners were given the keys to the bulldozer while the internet was represented by a handcuffed dude on a plastic tricycle. This changed when Wikipedia and numerous other sites went dark one January day, bringing attention to all of this.

Since then, I’ve learned that lawyers are trolls, lawmakers are tech-illiterate and gullible (or possibly play dumb while being paid by lobbyists), and media giants are trying to take over the world. It’s like a game of Illuminati!, only instead of having the power to control, neutralize, or destroy groups that threaten my Power Structure, I can at most raise the issue in my corner of the web. No MegaBucks to spend, no Transferable Power to offer anyone on my side, no alignment advantage… (yes, I’m using terms from a game)

It doesn’t help that China and Russia are making a play for control of the Internet as well. I don’t like the look of things.

TL;DR: Machines are stupid and should not run the internet. Old people are tech-illiterate and should not run the internet. Media giants are not a democracy and should not run the internet. I’ll leave you with this quote (by me, cuz I thought I wrote something good) on the difference between the lawmaker generation and the internet generation:

“I’d say it’s more a case of (the internet) being a mere communication and information tool for the older generation. Not in the sense that they use it more than we do for those purposes. It’s just that to them, it’s a telegraph and a library rolled into one, and nothing more.

To us, it’s a free theatre, and we can be both on stage and in the audience. To us, it’s a town square, with market booths for everyone with something to sell. To us, it’s watching tv and playing outdoors at the same time. To us, it’s a club where you can meet strangers and a community where you meet friends. To us, it’s a new frontier to explore, right in our own back yard. To us, it’s a world. To them, it’s a means they could do without.”

(wow, this blog used to be about music and games, and the overlap between the two.)

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Washington Post vs. Safari

Posted by Ad on October 10, 2011

I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street thing since I got wind of it last week. I think it’s a great thing, tho what results it’ll yield, when, and at what cost remains to be seen. But at least they’re shining a spotlight on some issues in how the economy looks. Really, money makes the world go round.

But I’ve been having some problems following the thing. I’ve had a few crashes while reading news sites. The Washington Post is one of those sites that without fail crashes Safari for me. Just to be sure, I fired up the site on my iPhone, let it load, and waited. Then the screen went black and returned to the menu. On my laptop, Safari just hangs, and I must force quit. Granted, my laptop is old, and I haven’t updated to the most recent version of Safari (see last post for one of the reasons why), but my phone’s OS and Safari are kept up to date.

While I doubt the Washington Post web crew are anti-Apple (especially with Steve Jobs’ recent death) or deliberately setting up their site to crash browsers and drive readers to other outlets, it’s symptomatic of a problem that a lot of sites has: clutter. Fancy new flashtastic features that most users don’t notice until it bothers them somehow, and clutter. Back in the day, most search engines filled their front page with categories and options, while Google stood apart with its simple, clean, and quickly loaded page. Today, even Google’s filling up their pages with clutter, tho it has the foresight to not load the stupid preview thing on the outdated Safari version on my old laptop.

Really, too many sites today are full of junk. Long pages that take too long to load on a phone, full of superfluous bloatware that crash browsers or that just slow everything down. I might have mentioned 1up.com‘s terrible, terrible ad before. It covered the whole window, and I had to take a moment to look for the “close ad” button. Not good design, not a good user experience. Many sites use a networking bar at the bottom of the page, one of my favorite sites the Escapist is one of them. Obtrusive and annoying, not just on old computers.

Seriously, while some machines have a lot of real estate on their screens, laptops, the more and more ubiqutious pads, and of course phones, have small screens. Sure, I get to about 2.5 megapixels on my desktop machine, but my iphone? Way less. (Sure, you can zoom, but that requires you to change your grip or else you’ll get tendonitis or something from trying.)

So, websites need to be smaller and less demanding for a few simple reasons:

– small screen devices
– compatibility / not crashing
– not annoying users

Rant over.

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