Monday, January 21, 2008

Dear Netflix...

So, Netflix,

I know we’ve been through a lot together, and I really appreciate that. I mean, you told me I wouldn’t like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and I doubted you. You know what? You were right. I should have listened. But that’s just one bump in the long road of life. I thought we were doing good, despite my one moment of weakness.

Last week, you wrote me and told me that you wanted to be with me forever – sort of. You said that, since you loved me so much, I could now view unlimited movies online. No waiting for the mailman, no hassle about your place or mine. You promised to be there for me, whenever I wanted you. All I had to do was reach out and click.

And tonight? Tonight I turned down the lights, lit some aromatherapy candles, and slipped into my robe for a long night with you. Watching your pixels flicker into the wee hours, enjoying the sound of your voice. Tonight, I was going to embrace my new unlimited access to your treasure trove of entertainment.

But then you told me I had to upgrade to Windows Media Player 11. Upgrade? Last week, you wanted me just the way I was, but now that you’ve opened yourself to the world, my Media Player 10 isn’t good enough for you? I run on XP Media Center Edition, Netflix, I can’t upgrade to Media Player 11. I’d have to buy a new operating system, at which point I may as well just buy a whole new computer. I never figured you for the gold-digger type, Netflix.

“But wait, my love”, you said. “Click here for support. I can give you instant answers! Instant gratification”. And being the fool that I am, I believed you. But your instant answers kept going in circles. Never leading me anywhere, nary an “Email Us” link or form in site. You kept assuring me that all I had to do to enjoy your warm online embrace was upgrade to Media Center 11, and really, I thought we already covered that.

At last, though, you gave in to me. Sitting there, glowing like a promise from the cyber angels who crafted you… Your digits. Eleven numbers, three dashes, not necessarily in that order. You wanted me to call. You wanted to talk to me, help me work through our problems with us. You told me I could call until 2 AM Eastern. You’d stay up late for me and risk getting in trouble with the boss in the morning when you were all groggy from staying up all night, sucking down coffee to chase the dreams of our night together from your mind. You told me I’d only have to wait about a minute. You would be there for me!

I clutched the phone in my sweaty hand and trembled out your number across the keys. I heard your sonorous voice, a promise of fulfillment, telling me that my expected wait time was in excess of …. TWENTY SIX MINUTES? Are you totally batshit? I refreshed the help page, there must be some mistake. Sure enough, it said you were still waiting, that I would only have a minute to wait.

But it also said I could call 24 hours. Netflix, are you bipolar or something? First it’s 2 AM, now it’s 24/7? One minute it’s just a single minute to wait, the next it’s an excess of twenty six, and then it’s a minute again? Are you just screwing with me, here?

Sorry. I let my temper get the better of me for a minute there. Anyway, I just wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you are a horribly duplicitous bitch. I’m incredibly disappointed with you now, but I’m not going to do anything crazy like call up my bloated old ex, Blockbuster. I’m going to give you your 26 minutes, then I’m going to give you a piece of my mind and see if we can’t find some common ground that doesn’t involve me shelling out a couple hundred bucks and you taking it to your other boyfriends and using my wad of hard-earned cash to mop up some other dude’s digital spunk.

Yours, with waning love,

~ Colin

Caster's Realm: I interview Jess Lebow

Head on over to Caster's Realm to read my interview with Jess Lebow, Content Director of Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Crazy Talk with Jess Lebow

Posted by STONEBOTTOM on 01/21 at 05:51 PM

Holy sabattical, Batman! The SB here, coming at you from the far side of holiday break. Truth be told, this article was promised a week ago, but those Gizmodo goons IR blasted me at CES and my fragile little mind took a little extra time to recover. This week’s Crazy Talk is well worth the wait, though, as I’m not showing up to the party empty-handed. I’ve brought a keg of Swashbuckler Gold and an interview with none other than Jess Lebow, Content Director of Flying Lab Software and uber-geek extraordinaire! We took some time to yap about Pirates of the Burning Sea, user generated content (thumbs up), micro-transactions (thumbs-down), the toe-curling terror that is Splash Mountain (WTF?), and a host of other goodies. Strap yourselves in, pour yourself a grog, and feast yourself on some Jess Lebow, but feast gently – he’s a sensitive one!


FakeNews Wire: Johnny Depp Not Appearing in PotBS

FakeNews Wire: Johnny Depp Not Appearing in PotBS

Posted by STONEBOTTOM on 12/21 at 01:24 PM

Johnny Depp Not Appearing in Pirate-Themed MMO, Stunned
By: Stonebottom

St. Tropez, France (via FakeNews Wire) – International Film Star, Screen Actors’ Guild Award Winner, and former People Magazine Sexiest Man of the Year Johnny Depp announced today that he is not appearing, in any way, shape, or form, in the upcoming Pirate-themed MMO “Pirates of the Burning Sea”, currently under development by Flying Lab Studios in Seattle, Washington, USA.

(Read More...)

FakeNews Wire: Vandal Strikes Wrong MMO

Vandal Strikes Wrong MMO
By: Stonebottom

SAN DIEGO, CA (via FakeNews Wire)– Sony Online Entertainment, LLC (SOE) has been forced to temporarily shut down all of their servers in response to what is best described as the most mis-directed case of cyber vandalism in the history of the computer age. As of press time, SOE technicians were working dilligently to close security loopholes and restore service to the millions of players affected worldwide.

At approximately 1 AM Pacific this morning, the live servers for SOE’s beleaguered “Vanguard: Saga of Heroes” restarted. Said Vangard lead developer, Salim “Silius” Grant, “Yeah, the beeper went off, but let’s be honest – a complete server restart and rollback isn’t unusual for us. I thought there was something weird about the info, but at 1 AM on one of those .5” x 1.5”, non-backlit beeper LCDs, you’re lucky if you can read anything – let alone a 17-digit version number. One word, Mr. Smedley: Blackberry”. According to sources close to the situation, somebody gained entry to the Vanguard servers and pushed a hacked version of an early beta release of the game. Though the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indicators are that this was an inside job.

“Ten minutes later, I got the ‘server up’ message on the beeper. The other devs and I were in [Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (WoW)] doing a Battlegrounds run and I asked [Vanguard Designer] Avarem to log in to Vanguard and check it out”, said Silius.

Vanguard’s development team first got the sense that something was wrong when Avarem reported in WoW guildchat that he was downloading a very large patch. Shortly thereafter, all of the members of the development team were logged out of WoW and patching. They were greeted with an altered loading screen (Image Below) that appeared to have been lifted from Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, edited with MS Paint to read “Suckula Rasa”

At this point, Silius and his team made the decision to pull all the servers offline until they could determine the extent of the damage. In addition to the loading screen vandalism, the character select screen seemed to have been reverted to an incomplete version with notes of “Add Later” and the only available character classes as “Rangers”. The character racial choices were limited to “Garriott” and something called “Micronauts”. Extensive vandalism was reported here as well.

SoE President John “His Royal Smedness” Smedley, having been alerted to the growing problem, logged into Eve Online to ask the Star Wars Galaxies development team to assist in the restoration of Vanguard and to begin checking all other SOE games for possible tampering. He also called Richard Garriott, who had been swimming in his money bin outside his Austin countryside castle, and alerted him of the situation.

Said Garriott, “We’ve had numerous attempts to attack the Tabula Rasa servers over the past few weeks, which isn’t uncommon for any major MMO. None of which have caused any major alarm.” When asked if he had any thoughts on a suspect, he offered, “Well, most of the recent ‘attacks’, and I use the word lightly, originated from Carlsbad, California. And we have had a bit of ruckus on our forums from a fellow named Enudara, but the fellow seemed to lack any sort of ability to finish what he started. I doubt he could have pulled off something like this.”

Despite our pressing inquiries, Mr. Garriott excused himself for an appointment to get “NC $oft”, surrounded in a cluster of pink hearts, tattooed on his chest.

SOE expects to have all servers back up and running by noon Pacific Time today and is confident that they will find and close whatever security hole this attacker exploited. Authorities believe the individual responsible intended to vandalise Tabula Rasa directly, was technically incapable of doing so, and instead spread his message of hate via Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

John “Smedstar Runner” Smedley released the following statement to the press:

“Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online games industry, today suffered an act of vandalism of it marquee product, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, a highly-successful massively multiplayer online game, re-branding it as “Suckula Rasa”. SOE is announcing a $25 million reward for information leading to the discovery of the attacker behind today’s events.

The driving creative force behind the Suckula Rasa effort in the game space is unparalleled. We look forward to identifying the genius behind it and continuing their vision to deliver sound groundbreaking game play.

SOE seeks to make Suckula Rasa an integral part of its online games portfolio, bringing even more value to its valued Station Pass member with this exceptional product.”

Detective Sean Grady of the San Diego Police Department issued the following statement: “The city of San Diego takes this vandalism very seriously and we are doing everything we can to find the perpetrator of this act and bring him to justice. In the meantime, stay vigilant, report and suspicious activity, and for Pete’s sake will you nerds please just go outside and get some sun? Frankly, we don’t understand the big deal. Go play softball or something like normal people.”

Please keep your eye on the FakeNews Wire as this continuing story develops.

Caster's Realm: The Meldrath Interview

SOF: The Meldrath Interview

Greetings to our new friends at Caster’s Realm,

Stone here, joined via Satellite by a power-hungry and very excited Baby Naggy, bringing you our first newscast for the Caster’s Realm News Network. If anybody has some dragon-formulated Ritalin, please be sure to send it to the studios ASAP. He’s shaking like a junkie in Amish country. Why, you ask, is our little co-anchor so revved up?

Easy answer, kids, Secrets of Faydwer has gone live and The Nagmeister is looking forward to exploring strange new lands and the various ways with which he can cook and eat the locals. He’s already crowned himself King For All of Ever and started his rampge! Clickity-click below to read on…


Caster's Realm: Cultural vs. Raid Gear

Debate: Cultural vs. Raid Gear

Last week, The SB Himself sat down and discussed all-things SOF with Frodlin, the Warrior Class Correspondent (Read the full interview here). One of the hot topics of discussion was the quality of Cultural gear vs. Raid gear and the balance issues presented. Read on for Frodlin’s thoughts and a nifty little chart that may or may not help this hot topic make a bit more sense!


Caster's Realm: I interview Frodlin

The SB Interviews Frodlin

Greetings, fellow nerds! The SB and Baby Naggy here bringing you some more Crazytalk with another hot interview, this time with an actual real person (Shocking, we know)! We wanted to learn more about this Secrets of Faydwer business and since we’re too lazy to go exploring ourselves, we figured we’d find somebody who knows a thing or two already. We sent out our team of PR Ninjas and they came back with Frodlin, Warrior Class Correspondent and all-around kinda Awesome guy. To see what he has to say about SoF so far, clickity click below. Oh, and don’t mind the outfits, Baby Naggy and I are freaking out about Tin Man. It’s like Serenity meets Wizard of Oz meets The Awesome.


Caster's Realm: PotBS: The Caribbean Comes Alive

PotBS: The Caribbean Comes Alive

Ahoy ye scurvy dogs, and a special ahoy ahoy to the wenches in the audience! The SB here with the first in a series of sneak peeks at Flying Lab Software’s Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS), on course to set shore in your local nerd store on January 22nd. I will warn you up front, I am a major supporter of International Talk Like a Pirate Day and this new MMO is going to give me the excuse I’ve been looking for to talk swashbuckler year round. If you’ve a low tolerance for piratical turns of phrase, you may want to take some valium before reading on. Yo ho!


Caster's Realm: I interview Travis "Rashere" McGeathy

The SB Interviews Rashere

Good morning, my friends in the Caster’s Realmiverse. Word on the street is that you’ve been some naughty little niƱos this year, but The SB still loves you as much as Fippy Darkpaw loves seppuku. Last year, as you’ll recall, I gave you nothing for Frostfell. This year, I figured I’d amp up the Awesome and bring you a powerhouse interview that the kids reading at home will be talking about for minutes to come! So I set baby Naggy to stalking the EQ Public Relations team until they agreed to land us a major exclusive interview. Apparently, nobody uber-important was available, but they did manage to hook us up with Travis “Don’t Call Me The Malignant, Call Me Rashere” McGeathy – Lead Designer of this silly little wonder drug we call EverQuest. We discussed a lot about the current state of EQ as it relates to new players, the new 12-month design cycle, bumper cars, and a smattering of other random Crazytalk. Read on for the scoop…