May 31, 2005

The same research paper: My style

Since I showed you that long and dull research paper on my software patents I thought I would show you the speech I was giving on the same topic. This is much more my style of writing (you'll probably notice within the first few sentences), and it also provides much more of an insight into the whys and hows of software patents. Here it is:

Software Patents: A Bad Idea

     Imagine that you wrote a book, and you managed to get it published and put into bookstores. Now imagine something terrible happens: Someone starts selling your book without your permission for less money. And even worse: They take credit for the book and claim that you are the one who stole his book idea and are selling it for more money because you’re greedy. Wouldn’t that make you mad? Well fortunately, protection from this sort of fraud is readily available in the form of something called a copyright. A copyright is the right to own exclusive rights to something you create. In other words, it is your right to be the only person who sells or offers something you make. With something as straightforward as a book, this is a fairly simple law to enforce and it also is a near-completely justified ownership. But it doesn’t always work. Now let’s try something a little more complicated.
     Let’s say that you wrote a book, a book being many sheets of information between two hard covers, but this is not any book. You’ve written the FIRST book. It contains some very obviously useful information and many people buy it from you, but then someone else writes another book. So you apply for something called a patent on the concept of book. What does this patent do? It gives you the exclusive right to produce anything that fits the description of “many sheets of information between two hard covers.” When someone else writes their own book and sells it, you get paid for every copy of a book they sell because you own the idea, and if you don’t get paid, you say that a patent violation has occurred and you get the government to stop them from selling books. Is that right? Just because you wrote the first book, should you have the right to charge other people for making books? Well obviously, no one wrote the first book in recent memory, and most certainly the idea of patents hadn’t really evolved during that time, but the point still remains: It’s a questionable thing to own something so broad as an idea.
     You may think that nothing so ridiculous ever happens in today’s modern society. Why would something so broad and unquestionably necessary to society be allowed to be owned? Imagine if in addition to your monthly bill for your Internet connection, you also had to pay a fee for every link you clicked. Every time you went from webpage to another you payed a small fee. Wouldn’t that be outrageous? Well sadly enough, the patent office actually allowed this idea to be patented by a company called British Telecommunications. When they attempted to start charging companies for use of “their” idea – known as “hyperlinks” – the court flatly refused to allow it. A clause known as “prior innovation” exists, which says that if someone can prove that the patent holder wasn’t the first person to come up with an idea then his or her patent is void. British Telecommunications obviously was unable to prove that they were the first people to use html or the idea of hyperlinks and so they lost their patent. But ask yourselves: why was this patent even issued in the first place?
     Patents much more outrageous than this exist. Consider U.S. Patent 6,004,596, which gives the J.M. Smucker company ownership of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No, you heard correctly, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a patented idea. Not only that, but they have enforced this idea. A Michigan store known as Albie's Food was forced to discontinue the selling of their crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why?! WHY?! The first peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are guessed to have been circulated around 1904, and that the patent was awarded to the company in December of 1999. If they really did make the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich around 1904, what made them wait 95 years before patenting it? Because it’s not their idea! They claim their patent is valid on several technicalities (mainly pertaining to the crustless seal and the idea of peanut butter on the outside and jelly on the inside in order to prevent soggy bread), but why do they need a patent on this idea? Companies have begun to abuse patents as a way of guaranteeing profits from a product, but why can’t companies simply make the best product out there and trust people to come to them because of it?
     Now you may be asking yourselves, what does this have to do with software? Well these days companies follow a very simple strategy for making money: innovate, patent, profit. You think of an idea, get it patented, and when people start to use it in their programs, you charge them money. Let’s use an example that all of you would know: the mp3. The reason that mp3s are so popular is because they allowed music to be stored very compactly, and then it was implemented by popular software such as napster. The method of changing music from other formats into mp3s is a patented idea. Every time that you buy a piece of software that plays mp3s or that transforms other formats into mp3s (or vise versa), a small portion of the price paid for that software goes to the makers of the mp3 format. Even when you buy a song off a website like itunes, they are charged for it. But is that fair? The mp3 has become an integral part of many our everyday lives. We listen to it in our mp3 players and on our computers, so how is it fair that one company owns something that is such a part of out society? Now we would all survive if the mp3 dissapeared. Other formats would come and replace it, and the people who patented it really did invent it. They also charge reasonable prices for it, and change depending on the product. They only require 1 cent for every mp3 sold, which obviously is not going to herald the destruction of the mp3 market (Buerkle 22). But what about some things that have been patented that would really affect your lives?
     Patent 6,631,412 gave Microsoft ownership of an idea called “system and method for activity monitoring and reporting in a computer network.” What that overly complex sentence describes is something that is a standard in almost all instant messaging programs: if someone sends a message, an alert comes up telling you that you have received one (“Rush” 6). Do you ever use AIM? How about Yahoo messenger? How about something even closer to you right now: text messaging on your cell phone? How would you like it if you had to pay for those things? How would you like it if Microsoft decided to charge hundreds of dollars for every alert, thus making sure that you had to use their products for any and all text-messaging programs that have any kind of alert? Obviously Microsoft couldn’t ever enforce their patent to that degree, especially considering the fact that they didn’t actually originally invent the product, but the fact that they were awarded the patent at all raises serious questions about the patent office’s ability to determine the originality of a product.
     There are thousands of patents like this, that really shouldn’t have been awarded and it has actually gotten to such a point that many companies patent ideas in order to protect themselves from being charged for using them. And since patents can be sold, these “defensive” patents become dangerous once the companies that created them disband or go bankrupt. Novell recently purchased several of these patents and also said that it was for defensive reasons. So why are these patents being issued? Because very large companies claim that to be able to turn a profit and to guarantee secure investments they NEED patents. But considering that many products that you use on a daily basis are offered by many companies and yet they all still make money without patents on the ideas used in those programs, is this true?
I’m here to tell you that no company needs patents to guarantee profit. Individual inventors can use patents, but only for very specific ideas. When companies are allowed to make sweeping patents and prevent others from freely using these ideas to further develop technology it stifles innovation and makes the development of new technologies continually harder. Perhaps it was best said by Isaac Newton: “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” Almost all computer technology is based on other computer technology. If we say that no one can use one’s idea that becomes a part of what we do on a daily basis then we have effectively halted progress in that area. So how can we keep innovation alive while not removing the profit from software? Well for the most part the best idea is to simply keep what you did to make you software work a secret (the strategy that Microsoft followed for years) or do as most pieces of software have chosen to do: Make a free version of your software and then hope that the people who use your software decide to buy it after they have used it for a while. Build up company trust and then ask for donations on completely free software. As unlikely as these ideas sound for making money many companies pull a profit from such simplistic business strategies, and they also help to make sure that progress on the internet doesn’t stop.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2005

Kraft Werk and some nifty javascript

     So I got invited to go to a concert for a band called "Kraft Werk." I think it would have been very impressive if I was in the 1980s and stoned. Unfortunately, neither of these conditions were met by the band and therefore it sucked. They're songs were mediocre (had a nice beat but it was just plain stupid) and they didn't DO anything. They stood on stage with a bunch of computers and played crappy pre-rendered videos on the big screen behind them. The whole time it looked like they were just standing there. Maybe they bounced to the beat a little bit, but it looked like they may have just been playing games against each other or watching movies on the laptops while the video played behind them with the music. In fact, in one of the songs one of the people left their computer, talked to one of the other band members for a seconds, then came back, which showed that they both weren't doing shit. If this wasn't bad enough, this was a sold out concert and practically everyone in there was screaming their heads off at every change in the montage. We left after the third song because we realized that the band sucked and that the visuals were uninteresting. We commented afterward that the entire thing could have been done by a 70 year old man with a mac. So what do I think of Kraft Werk? Boring, unoriginal, and shitty.
     On to some more positive things! Recently, I have discovered the joy of bookmarklets. They allow you to run some... interesting things on most websites. By far the most interesting ones I have found/made so far are these:
The image viewer: Drag me to your bookmark/favorites bar then click the link!
The backround color changer (warning! only works on sites that DO NOT use CSS. This works on sites like google, but not on!): Drag me to your bookmark/favorites bar then click the link!
The text color changer (this has similar restrictions to the backround color changer): Drag me to your bookmark/favorites bar then click the link!
Anyway, these are pretty cool in my opinion, and the image viewer reveals some pretty interesting things about some site structures. Have fun!

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:41 PM | Comments (2)

May 27, 2005

Hytech Exchange blows

     So when my computer decided to kick the bucket I went ahead a bought a new motherboard for my two computers my uncle sent me. I bought the motherboard at a store called "Hytech Exchange." I learned rather quickly that, as a store, Hytech Exchange blows.
     They sold me a motherboard that had a tear in the antistatic bag and then refused to refund my money because they had a no return policy for any electronics. Despite the fact that the product was potentially fucked up because it was opened before I paid for it. Even worse than that, THEY were the ones who opened it. Even worse? It was opened in order to put a sticker on it that said "Hytech Exchange Warranty Void If Removed." What warranty? After reading their lengthy Policies on the back they apparently offer a one year warranty for those who have their motherboards installed by the staff at Hytech Exchange. So why the FUCK DID THEY OPEN IT TO PUT A STICKER ON FOR A WARRANTY I DIDN'T FUCKING BUY?! Of course despite all of this I attempted to install and run the MB. Guess what? It didn't work. Despite the fact that I connected next to nothing to the board except the bare minimum to make it run, it wouldn't output any bios tests to the screen. I tried putting in another processor. No good. So when I finally decided to take it back, I was told that I had done a very "unprofessional" job because of how loose my heatsink was attached to my processor they claimed that it was enough to destroy the whole board. This is, of course, bullshit. They told me that without thermal putty the whole thing fried in a matter of seconds, which I know not to be true. Besides that, they also refused to discuss anything besides having themselves re-install the board. This of course, would also not help my problem, because all they would do is replace it with another board and charge me for it. So what am I left to do? I'm going to cancel the payment (tell the bank not to pay) and force them to take their shit board elsewhere. I would also recommend not ever going to Hytech Exchange because their technically inept. Anyway, that's my rant. Still working only on my "teeny screamer" because the board I bought is bunk. Hope I have better news tommorow...

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:55 PM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2005


Well... it finally happened. My seven year old (almost eight) computer finally turned off for, what looks like, ever. It booted up to an OS not found screen after three unsuccessful boot-ups (I know this could be fixed by a wipe and reload but that would be it's third one!). So I've decided to move on to a better, newer computer. I'll probably salvage the parts from the old one, but the point is that I'm done taking it's shit because it's a crappy computer. Anyway, I'll have something set up here besides my "little screamer" (as Mitch and I so affectionately dubbed it) soon. Hope you guys can wait... (I'll post the next hhgttg in a little bit)

~~Edit: hhgttg is up!~~

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

More than you even wanted to know about software patents... and then some

     So recently for my English class I had to write a research paper. We were allowed to select our own topics. I selected software patents. Here is my four and a half page paper about them:

Software Patents:
Ownership of ideas?

     Nearly every week, software patents threaten a different piece of free, student-produced software offered through websites. Soon afterward, these sites lose their legal battle against patent legislation and are forced to stop offering their products due to patents owned by commercial companies. These websites trespass onto one of the most controversial of property protection laws known as "intellectual property laws" or "patents." The government guarantees patents, which allow the inventor of an idea to be the sole person to make, use, and sell that concept. Now that definition is being re-evaluated because it poses the question: can one own ideas? Or is it a public right to have all ideas be open and free-flowing? Today the debate rages on and has become even more pressing as software becomes easier to steal through the Internet. It is important to evaluate why the copyright and patent laws exist as they do today, and why the controversy surrounding these two questions has arisen.
     A question of how one can protect one’s “right” to an idea without stopping progress and development has been an issue since the drafting of the constitution. The Founding Fathers understood the importance of free flowing information, but they also knew that there needed to be an incentive to creators. “Thomas Jefferson, a prolific writer and inventor who presided over the granting of America’s first patents, argued that when someone took his idea, he himself was left intact, ‘as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me’” (S. Clark 8). The original copyright laws were defined very clearly as a right to individuals, not government granted monopolies to a product. Unfortunately, the actual definition behind “patent” is much less well-defined. A copyright protects an author’s right to the exact version he or she made. A patent actually gives the creator the right to own the method that produces a specific product, or a specific process that a piece of software implements.
     During the nineteenth century it became abundantly clear that copyright law needed refinement. The concept known today as “fair use” came into existence due to arguments throughout the nineteenth century because of intellectual property theft, but this concept did not pass into law until 1976. “Fair use” is the idea that a piece of work can be used as long as credit is given to the original author. The copyright law also came to cover translations in the latter half of the century, which made all copyrights internationally recognized. During this time, copyright also came to cover music, engravings, dramas, and photographs. Several small changes came about in the first half of the twentieth century, mostly involving motion picture copyright clashing with the right to free speech. But in 1960, the photocopier came into existence and raised a huge number of questions about copyright. The “rule of fives” compromise came about as a result of this, which stated that copiers had to compensate a publisher for every copy more than five made within five years. The final major revision made to copyright law was made in 1976. It was by far the largest revision of copyright law since its creation, and these revisions defined the principals of “fair use” and extended the length of copyrights dramatically (S. Clark 8-10).
     Many companies depend on copyrights and patents to provide financial incentive for individual inventors. IBM (International Business Machines corporation) is the largest holder of software patents in the world. The entire business strategy for IBM is to innovate and then get patents for their profitable ideas. Then they simply charge a small fee for anyone who plans on using a piece of software or hardware based on (or that implements) a technology IBM has patented. In one tech writer’s words: “it has been an axiom of the high-tech era that patents are a benchmark of innovation… applications for U.S. patents alone have surged 64% over the past decade to more than 270,000 a year” (Buerkle 22). This has been the strategy of almost all companies: innovate, patent, and profit.
     In some countries the lack of a patenting process has been a serious issue. In the European Union (EU) this has been a more serious problem than in most areas of the world. “Ireland is among the strongest advocates of an EU software patent, which big computer firms say is necessary to create legal clarity within the industry” (Smyth 21). Without the clout that a software patent gives a company, it becomes very hard to defend an investment in the creation of a piece of software. Many people believe that “the idea of a single patent, legally valid throughout the EU, should be a ‘no brainer,’” because of the fact that patents are so necessary to the development of new software (“Absurd” 20).
     Unfortunately, the fact remains that “it’s one thing to say, ‘I invented the technology to do it.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘I invented the concept’” (Buerkle 22). Many companies have taken advantage of this “ownership” of ideas by patent things that they did not create or that are broader than they need to be. A good example of this overstepping of boundaries is Smuckers’ patent on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This patent, U.S. Patent 6,004,596, was awarded to the J.M. Smucker Company on December 21, 1999. It is estimated that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was first introduced in 1904. Obviously, Smuckers did not create the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and therefore should not have been able to patent this product. In fact, even the process to create this type of sandwich had previously been awarded a patent in 1949 ("Sealed"). Obviously, this patent should not have been awarded to Smuckers, but they were able to claim on several technicalities that it was their own invention.
     This sort of thing happens in the software world all the time. Patent 6,631,412 gave Microsoft ownership of an idea called “system and method for activity monitoring and reporting in a computer network.” What that overly complex sentence describes is something that is a standard in almost all instant messaging programs: if someone sends a message, an alert comes up telling you that you have received one (“Rush” 6). Patents like this prevent rising groups and companies from producing software implementing these broad and normally simple standards without paying royalties to companies that did not invent the ideas, but who own the patents anyway. This stifles innovation in software based on previous technologies. Obviously, a piece of student-produced software cannot offer software freely if they are forced to pay royalties for every copy of a piece of software they produce. Even patent holding companies have acknowledged the need for change in the patent system, “Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said certain changes to the patent system, including the creation of a federal court to hear patent cases, are necessary as ‘our patent system is being flooded with new patent application and an explosion of sometimes abusive litigation’” (Guth B.5). The times have changed and the patent system as it exists today does not work as efficiently or effectively as it needs to.
     The problem of patents and copyrights is not likely to go away quickly and if anything, it will become an even more complicated issue before it goes away. Whether or not we can continue to innovate but still provide an incentive for budding inventors is a question that has no easy solution. Deeply rooted in the constitution is the idea that an individual has a right to his or her own wholly original product, but not so clear is whether one can own an idea behind a product. Patents have long been used for providing incentive to inventors, but many companies have abused the rather careless nature of the patent office and have obtained patents for things that they did not create. The patent office needs to be reformed, but not eliminated. What really needs to happen is that research being done by the patent office for pending patents needs to be done much more in depth and needs not only to look at previous patents, but when the idea entered the market as compared to when the patent was requested.

Works Cited (MLA format)

Buerkle, Tom. “Ideas vs. Income: When Tech Patents Collide Critics See Rise in Claims As Limiting Innovation.” International Herald Tribune 24 March 2001: 22. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 21 April 2005 .
Clark, Charles S. “Clashing Over Copyright.” CQ Researcher 8 November 1996: 1-31. CQ Researcher. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 19 April 2005 .
Guth, Robert A. “Microsoft Adds Its Voice to Call For Overhauling Patent System.” The Wall Street Journal 11 March 2005: B.5. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 26 April 2005 .
Holloway, Andy. “Patently dangerous.” Canadian Business 28 February – 13 March 2005: 85. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 2 May 2005 .
Munoz, Sara S. “Patent No. 6,004,596: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.” The Wall Street Journal 5 April 2005: B.1. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 26 April 2005 .
“Patently absured: The EU should consider a fresh start in its patent quest; [London edition].” Financial Times 15 November 2002: 20. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 25 April 2005 .
“Rush to register intellectual rights is patently absurd.” South China Morning Post 14 October 2003: 6. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 25 April 2005 .
“Sealed crustless sandwich.” 20 April 2005. Online Encyclopedia. 22 May 2005. .
Smyth, Jamie. “ISA backs EU patent move.” Irish Times 21 April 2005: 21. Proquest. Walt Whitman HS Library, Bethesda, MD. 21 April 2005 .

Posted by Kickmyassman at 05:02 PM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2005

Music sung by the choir I'm in

     So today in the mail I recieved a CD of the recordings of two of the Whitman groups from my trip to Orlando. It has both Men's Choir and Chamber Choir. Anyway, I spent all day writing an essay for English about software patents and so all previous writing ability I once had is pretty much shot for the next few days. So here's one song that we sang: Ave Maria. The soloist at the beginning is Ein McEwin (whose name I just butchered). Anyway, I'll have a nice long research paper on software patents for you tommorow.

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2005

Got a quick glimpse of computer time, so here's some hhgttg

     Sice technically I missed a hhgttg day here's the second day in a row of hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

Need sleep!

My oldest sister, Lauren is graducating from college. I'm driving up to New York tommorow to see it. Sorry this post was so late. Gah! I NEED MORE TIME!

Some hhgttg:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2005

Homestarrunner... Needs updating!

     I've begun the rather arduous process of updating my homestar mirror. As of right now the parts that are completely up to date are the sbemail page (got all the rest of the sbemails and fixed a broken page) and the random quote generator. What's left: the toons section and the games section. Anyway, since I seem to be leaving you dangling on and off every other day, here's some music to tide you over:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2005

Massive undertakings underway

     I'm getting ready to make some pretty programming-heavy changes to a lot of different things on the site. The first undertaking would be reparing the deplorable state of scuzzstuff. I think that it's just going to shift over to php for organization issues. I also need to re-code the chat sections. It may make more sence to make it a php project, but I also may make it so that the page actually refreshes and codes on the fly. It all depends on what makes more sence when I write it.
     I';m also discussing the possibility of "living" avatars on the forum. This is by far one of the most intriguing undertakings that I've looked at in a long time. It does need the forum's consent, and then there'd be a long pause as I learned how to code phpBB plugins, then worked on making the actual code go. It would require a LOT of weird work defining sizes, shapes, and positions, but the end result would be awesome. Some of the ideas for features I have:
1) You could buy the eyes (shape and color), nose and mouth (shape/design)
2) You could buy actions for your Avatar to perform.
3) You could buy outifts
4) You can buy different hair styles
5) They could need upkeep (if you don't buy food and water there are ill effects) And this could include a wide range of effects. The most prevolent would be the obidience to you commands. You could ask your avatar to dance, but if you haven't fed him, he'll just sit there and scowl
6) You would be able to decide silly little things like if you took a really long time to read a page, your avatar would fall asleep.
7) You could also have your avatar express certain sentiments based on what you were writing about (you would have to pick that when you made the post)
8) You could make an image be the pattern on the clothing.

Issues with these ideas:
1) The most obvious is that each different position requires a drawing. With template drawings you could see how this would be a hassel.
2) All the positions would need coding for changing the position of all the different parts. If your man falls asleep, his eyes, nose, mouth, hair, and body all need to fall asleep with him.
3) All the avatars would need to be the same size. Could lead to some issues with repetitive avatars (though with enough different styles this shouldn't be an issue).
4) Lots of hard coding of course! (Not really a problem, it'd be fun)
5) All the data about your avatars would need to be kept in the MySQL database. (with some clever coding the size wouldn't be that bad)
6) Since a lot of images would need to kept on hand it might be bad for slower connections. Especially when everyone's avatars were different there'd be a lot of data to download per page.

     Anyway, this is all of course in the "wouldn't this be cool?" phase, so don't expect some amazing piece of software in a matter of days, but maybe by sometime next winter if the forum decides to go through with it.

And, of course, some hhgttg:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:28 PM | Comments (3)

May 16, 2005

Gah! Setting up all these server configuration files is such a bitch.

     That giant server that I said would have an IRC server on it for scuzzstuff? Well I've been working on setting it up and it's being a total WHORE. F#@%$! This thing just doesn't like having any tiny details left out and it keeps on demanding more lines into the configuration files. Anyway, I'm slowly hacking away at the error messages and I'm nearly done, but I'm getting towards the options that I slowly know less and less about. Blarg... I'll have something more substantial tommorow... I hope...

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2005

More predictions coming true

     Well remember when I said that XBox has been losing lots of money simply because they expected to make it all back in games, and they're not? Well I have been saying that for a long time, but I never actually wrote about it on here, which discourages me. Either way, the point is that Microsoft has lost, on average, between $200 and $300 for every XBox sold, and then they hoped that by having charges for internet play and expensive games that they'd make it all back. They didn't. In an attempt to get more money back, they intiated a downright stupid plan, which was to make everyone who had placed a modchip (a device which allows systems to play illegal copies of video games) have their XBox turn off and never turn on again. They did this by making their most popular game (Halo 2) do this if a modchipped system connected to XBox Live. This made a few people buy new XBoxes, but they didn't buy too many new games, and they didn't need new subscriptions to XBox live. The result was more along the lines of lots of people hating Microsoft a lot more, and stopped buying XBox crap.
     So what you say? Well, the XBox 360 was just annouced as being ready to come out sometime this winter (November or December), and it looks like there is one interesting feature about it: It sucks even more than the current XBox. Basically this system has no benefits over the current XBox (as far as hardware is concerned), and will have a ton of features that make it easier for them to charge you for getting onto XBox live. According to PJ McNealy of American Technology Research, "This is more an Xbox 1.5 than an Xbox 2. It's like an Xbox with a broadband cash register built in." They're also still debating whether or not XBox 360 will be able to play XBox games. Think about that: four years of games being trashed for no apparent reason. In addition to not making any money from these games anymore, they'd also remove any incentive for any game producers to make any more games for XBox this year. It'd also remove any incentive to buy any more XBox games this year. Well, I actually hope that they don't put any backwards compatability in it just so that no one buys it and no companies invest in it and the whole system is fucked. Man I hate XBox.

As a side note, does anyone else think it looks like a giant tampon? Anyone?

     Anyway, since I missed yesterday this may come as a surprise for some of you, but the next part of hhgttg goes up today! Hooray!

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:01 PM | Comments (7)

May 13, 2005

Another crappy blogging day, because I needed sleep

Just part 4 to hhgttg:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2005

At the last minute, he chokes!

Panic post! I really like this song, but the video creeps the bujesus out of me. I don't know what it is about the robot, but he really is just so bizzare. Especially those teeth! Ack! Okay, I'll put the video up too, but only because I made so much suspense for it.

Watch the video (17megs)
I left it uploading, so be patient, it may be a few minutes before it's up!

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:34 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2005

When I decide to makes something cool and two unpleasant surprises

     Well... at least cool looking anyway. I made a little animated gif which I think looks pretty fucking awesome. And no, I'm not going to tell you where I got it from (though I'm sure a few of you out there recognize it).

     In other news it looks like google may FINALLY be adding my site to their index (after battling them for almost a year about it). The clincher seems to have been my comment on a recent article which I'll explain in a bit. The important thing is that the site was added at all, which means that it will be scanned on a regular basis, and that more than likely I'll be getting at least a bunch more visitors. Maybe not tons, but that's just because it has a very low page rank right now. With any luck I'll start being linked to by the people who find this site, but I won't get my hopes up because that would make me feel like I expected everyone to love the way I write and such (and a note to people who don't like this stuff: I don't think my site is for everyone, and my writing style may not float your boat, so if you don't like it, I'm not too sad). So Basically I'm hoping for an increase in readership (or at least "gamership" on scuzzstuff). And now onto the unpleasant surprises:
     So out of the 6 email addresses I own, one of them is from hotmail. It's by far the oldest, and I'm unwilling to rid myself of it because too many things I've used may still have that as my primary email address. When I attempted to login yesterday I found a new page informing me that I had to assure them that I agreed to many new agreements that I had yet to read. It was too late that night (and unfortunately too late tonight) to read the whole of the 6 agreements that I was agreeing to. It also informed me that since this was a legally binding contract that I had to be at least 18 to be able to agree to the terms. Well fuck! I'm not 18 and therefore am invalid to be able to agree, but I found that I was able to use the MSN Messenger to log into my email account without agreeing to the terms (if I tried to log in through it persisted in asking me so I knew I hadn't unwillingly agreed), and so I'm doing that for now. But here's what concerns me:
     1) What brought about these new "agreements"? It seems to me like they'll have some embedded greater stupidity like if you are found to also have a gmail account they reserve the right to cancel your account without notice. But it could very well be that they just needed to update their contracts. This one now includes the familiar "this agreement is subject to change without notice" so you could be told that you are legally in trouble with Microsoft for accessing their products with firefox and not know it until they arrested you.
     2) Why so many agreements? And why age 18? It seems like there is some serious legal work being done behind the scenes at Microsoft and I'm more than a bit curious what.
All of this is merely speculative, so you can pretty much disregard all the ramifications. Just pay attention to the fact that something big is happening at Microsoft.

     The second unpleasant surprise came when I recieved the link to this article. It seems that my general predictions about google are coming true. This is yet another step in google's takeover of the net: A "google browser" (codenamed GBrowser) and a google "internet cmputer". Both of these would simply extend google's hold over the internet world and quite honestly this is really beginning to freak me out. If google releases all these products and they are able to handle the load and they remain RELIABLE and SIMPLE, then google will win over 90% of the internet market who don't use their computers for more complex needs. God damn I hate it when my paranoias are right...

And, here's part 3 to hhgttg:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005

Wow... Apple 1984 ties...

     This surprised me in several ways. First was that I didn't know all the information in this video (mainly the parts about hiring ex-cops and legal charges not being brought against the "offenders"), and it was also a really awesome commercial (the first one). Anyway, I don't have much for today because I waited till the last minute to do it and so now I'm just left with a video. Hope you enjoy it (please don't kill me!).

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:00 PM | Comments (5)

May 09, 2005

HitchHiking the Web, Part 2

     Due to overwhelming lack of demand, I bring you part 2 of HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy:

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:22 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2005

Papers and whatnot

     I had to write a paper about the Kurds, but I procrastinated for almost 7 hours while writing it. So while I have managed to accomplish a great deal, none of it is really noteworthy or interesting., while it remains blocked, has been temporarily replaced with I plan on putting up notices on both sites. Besides that I have a quick question for all of you:
Are you willing to wait until the next saturday for the next few weeks to hear the hhgttg? Or are you going to go out and find it on your own? Have you already found it, and are just going to ignore my site now? Please tell me in the comments, and I mights make it an every other day situation. Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:47 PM | Comments (3)

May 07, 2005

HitchHiking through the web

     Well on friday it turns out that they finally closed down through the blocking service at school. Fortunately I knew that this would happen eventually, and so I've been planning what to do about it. Surprisingly enough, they did not block the ip address, only the address "" which means that the domain I paid for will only become good while you're home. I'm not too dissapointed, this means that I can shift back to "" temporarily to allow people back on the site, but the reality is that it needs to be moved to a new server. I plan on putting it on a set of servers that will rotate names and ipaddresses on a daily basis to avoid being scanned. I may also end up making a little password screen that would require you to enter something right in the name. It would popup and say "enter 123 for username and password" and it's let you in. This would make all automated scanners for my site fail, which would make it less nessecary to flip around so often. On to the less serious stuff!
     So I've read all the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy stuff and now I've gone to see the movie. I thought that the movie was decent, but a lot of the jokes required that you'd have read the books. The only thing you really need to know about the movie going into it is that it's practically nothing like the books in terms of plot and jokes. The jokes were all unbritish so it feels a lot different than the books in that way, but they also added a little love story and such, and the books are kind of jumbled together, but all in all it wasn't bad. So Brian (as usual) directed me to something absolutely fantastic: The complete radio show of the HHGTTG (Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy). I'm gonna start posting (over the course of the next twelve weeks) the entire story here on my blog. Check it out every saturday!

If I were you, I'd read all the five books first. Though they are both enjoyable, the books are a little bit better. Also, if you don't get British humour, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. Anyway, read the books first (not required, but reccommended), then listen to this (optional), then watch the movie (optional, but not even really reccommended).

Posted by Kickmyassman at 11:59 PM | Comments (6)

May 05, 2005

Sleep, Work, and School. But I'm still alive!

     To re-assure you all that I'm not dead I'm making a post today. The proof that I am not dead comes from this photograph of me at Universal:

Man, actually looking at that photo... I look pretty bad... oh well! I guess it can't be helped now.

     Anyway, I remain inexhaustibly exhausted, but I also have some exciting news I'll give you tommorow to give you guys some suspence. I'm really sorry that I've let things slide like this, but I'm almost done with the huge deadly amounts of work I have to do, which has kept me from my blog so long. If you're still faithful enough to be reading this, I thank you: you are awesome. Please check back tommorow for another update.

Oh yes! And happy 05/05/05! This is one crazy awesome day!

Posted by Kickmyassman at 10:32 PM | Comments (8)