Category Archives: popular stupidity

Storm Eagle Software: a company that would have made George Orwell proud


IF this is the new paradigm for software distribution, it leaves a lot to be desired.  (written in 2012, not posted until now)

Note from the year 2013: I wrote this a year ago, and sort of let it lay in the draft hopper out of apathy.  It’s still all true, but I would add a small epilogue: I did finally get the software installed after two weeks of effort and lots of repeated system admin tasks…. and it sucked!  The game interface is moronic, you have very little control over individual ships beyond steering them and hoping for the best, and it’s a bit of a yawner.  Not really worth giving an in-depth review too.  Kind of anti-climatic after all that work, no?  I have to stress that Storm Eagle, cited here, did not create the software I’m trying to install in this transaction, so I can’t fault them directly for that, that’s all on Totem Software’s head. In the end, I wasted my money, and went through a lot of stress, to boot.  I’m posting this a year later, really because it amuses me more than it angers me.  The so-called customer service rep’s replies become blander and less officious as the exchange continues, and in the end I wondered if he could type that drivel with a straight face.

There are days when I feel like a relic, and the last four days have certainly made me feel that way. I have always had an interest in games with a military history element to them; that much might be obvious from casual reading of this blog. So when I was idly responding to an advert banner ad about Dreadnoughts at the Storm Eagle Software site, I noticed this boffo new-ish product:

Totem Games Victorian Admirals

They are having a sail on Totem Games’ VICTORIAN ADMIRALS collection for roughly 30 bucks. This is just ducky for a guy like me who’s nuts for the pre-dreadnought Age of Steam naval conflict era– I have reservations about the Totem Games interface– it’s a little clunky and not exactly inspirational, but the art is lovely and the history is obscure.

So I did a mental version of “Yipppeee!” and ordered it.

Full disclosure: I just ordered it. This is TOTALLY my fault for jumping and not looking.  Don’t even bother lecturing me or shaking your head.  I didn’t think about reading the damned fine print. I did zero research. I saw something about digital delivery, but so what? I’ve ordered games from Matrix Games with a digital delivery option, I just got a download code, downloaded the thing and that was it. I’ve even ordered from GOG.com in the past, and though it was slow, I downloaded their version of digital delivery. So what could possibly go wrong?

There was a link on the Storm Eagle website that informed me that they were selling the software as an affiliate for SES.  Yeah, yeah, so…

Without reading much more than that, I paid by paypal, and was then told I had to download the STORMPOWERED application which is the way they were going to send me VICTORIAN ADMIRALS.  I should have had alarm bells going off at that stage, but I complied, downloaded their “STORMPOWERED” client application, which is somehow beneficial to the software delivery process.   Digital Delivery, as my hipster younger friends tell me, is the way of the future for computer programs.  That’s progress.

FOUR DAYS LATER, after frequent attempts to download the product I PAID FOR, with NO CHANCE OF A REFUND, I realized that A) I was foolish and should have read the fine print, and B) this ain’t no way to run a railroad.  Because we’re in the age of “Digital Distribution”, Storm Eagle Software has essentially adopted policies that preclude the customer getting a refund if he or she is dissatisfied, with no redress whatsoever.  There are no reasonable alternatives offered if the client doesn’t work– I can’t get a CD download (hell, I’d even pay extra for it now).  I can’t access the software from a secure FTP site, like I can with Matrix Games.  Throughout the process of dealing with Storm Eagle Software’s so-called customer service agents, I have been told that this is essentially my fault.  I have followed their instructions.  I’ve tried to download this at home and at work.  The STORMPOWERED client, essentially, is defective.  It will apparently work if I add exceptions to my anti-virus software and log in as an administrator to install and run it.  I have done so, and it still doesn’t work.   So, apparently, I’m also supposed to do all these extra system administrator tasks to download a file.   I rapidly got fed up with the defective software, requested a refund, and was told that no refunds are granted.  I asked for a CD delivery, and was told they don’t supply software that way.  I asked for a FTP download and was told they wouldn’t make an exception for me.  During the four days of increasingly fruitless “customer service” emails from  the while, every message ended with a cheerful variant of “We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure you get your product”.   Except, of course, CD Delivery, FTP delivery, or any other reasonable option to satisfy a very disgruntled customer.

Do you think I’m over stating this?  Maybe, being a bit of a drama queen?  Read on by clicking below.

But wait, there’s more!

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This is epic…


I think I wouldn’t have left the house like this, if it were me.

IPods.. a hideous scam!!


bullet rocket

I’m technology’s bitch!

And it wouldn’t be the first time…
Step 1: Remove Ipod Shuffle from the packing material and review the controls.

Check.

Step 2: Charge up your ipod by connecting to the computer and letting the batteries power up.
It's so simple, a caveman could do it!
Check!

Step 3: Install the Ipod Itunes software on your new laptop.

(weakly) it took three attempts to install this software, but… Check!

Step 4: Register your Ipod Shuffle with Apple.com over the net.

It took me creating an Apple.com account first (they don’t tell you this).. but..
Check!

Step 5: Browse through the categories for podcasts at the Music store and subscribe until you have the shows you wish to listen to regularly “subscribed to”.

Check!

Step 6: Download the specific shows to your “Library” on Itunes.

Check!

Step 7: Drag the shows over to your Ipod Shuffle icon in the Itunes menu.

Check!

Step 8: You’ve been awake for several hours now. Try to keep awake. because theoretically, you just need to put the earphones on, turn the Ipod Shuffle on, and har lots of music and podcast goodness tickling your eardrums RIGHT NOW….

Oh Boy!

Click.

(Sounds of Silence… as my Ipod Shuffles imitates the audio stylings of a cinder block)

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!

What is the trick here??? What aren’t they telling me? I want to be an Ipod hipster, too! C’mon world, I worked on this sucker for THREE HOURS last night!!!

What am I doing wrong?

model may come with some customization…


Modern Tribalism

The tattooing/scarification/multiple piercing thing always left me cold. What’s the point of altering yourself permanently? What if you get sick of it down the road? My father in law (may he rest in peace) had tons of tattoos on his body from the old, old days. All of them where done when he was under 21, back in the early 50s. After several years and extensive weight gain, the tattoos were just stretched out blue/black blurs under his skin. He hated them.

Nowadays tattooing seems almost mild– everybody has some form of permanent ink on them somewhere. And multiple piercings are de rigeur with young women (and some young men). Again, that’s a pastime with minimal appeal to me. At least piercing holes usually close up, right? So it’s reversable to some extent.

Check out the latest fetish. Surgically modding your body by putting implants under the dermal layer. This seems not only oogy but dangerous.. the idea is to put a silicon casting (pretty much in any shap you can conceive) under your skin to give the skin a raised-up 3D outline of the object. The effect is startling and more than a little oogy for me.. yick. Talk about messing with the factory model.

No thanks!

Klingon arms

Klingon Arms?

this looks awkward

Does this look comfortable to you?

Implants

the star implant from the picture above

Devil boy

This man is sporting the look that boldly states: “I’m marginally employable!”

Oh, these strange modern hipsters. This is too much for me. I can only imagine what these things would be like at my father in law’s age. Me, I can’t imagine what keeps the body from attempting reject the foreign object– wouldn’t the object get all puffy with white blood cells and such?

Believe me, I can do the math.


My Grand Self-Delusion

Blombo ga yoink yoink

Deep in the heart of man lies the impulse for self-delusion.. we all like to think we are intelligent animals but there’s a part of us that wants the magic to happen. So itis with me when Mary (administrative person for our office) wanders by my cubbie once a week to tell me about the riches to be had by playing the power ball this week. I tell myself, “this is a tax on the poor, dumbass.” I tell myself.. “You have as much chance of winning this thing as you do of walking on the moon”.. and yet, there I go again.. forking over a dollar every now and then. Mary tells me… “won’t it be great when we all win and submit our resignations!”

Yeah, right.

But.. isn’t there a glimmer there, where for.. just a second… I have a micro-second ‘s worth of fantasy, where a few million dollars might come in handy…. and maybe pigs will fly, too. Isn’t a micro-second worth a buck every now and then?

Whoopsie! Not so funny NOW, is it?


Phlegm Gobber from Hell

Not that I’m a big fan of Taco Hell anyway….

This reminds me strongly of a recent DANE COOK MOVIE that came and went in point blimfark last Fall… and a notorious incident back in my college days.

Fast-Food Employee Allegedly Spits In Drink
Employee Charged After Incident

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — A Stafford fast-food employee is facing charges after a man told police she spat in his drink.

Shaleesheya Ford, 18, is charged with adulteration of food — a felony charge — and misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and making a false report. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

It happened April 14 at a Taco Bell along Garrisonville Road, and authorities said it started when a customer couldn’t get some tea.

According to Stafford General District Court records, the 35-year-old victim, who did not want to give his name, purchased food at the drive-through window but received a different drink than the iced tea he ordered.

He said he complained and later got the drink. But when he opened it up he saw “a strange substance” floating in the cup. Court documents revealed the substance was saliva.

The man said he asked for iced tea, but was told the restaurant was out. Then, he said he was handed soda without ice and that the employee acted suspicious.

“She said, ‘Have a nice day, sir’ and then giggled about it,” said the victim, who did not want to be identified.

(editor: Quote of the week coming right up!)

“I would honestly say, and I’m not trying to gross anybody out, but it had the strong mucus of somebody who had a cold, and was dark in color.”

Customers were disgusted by what had allegedly happened.

“It’s kind of alarming to think that you could go through a drive-through and get some spit in your food,” said the customer.

Investigators later linked the incident to the woman.

“Taco Bell is firmly committed to providing the highest level of food safety to our customers,” said Taco Bell Corp. representative Rob Poetsch in a statement released Friday. “Our franchisee does not tolerate this behavior and has terminated the employee for violating our strict food handling policies. Our operator will continue to cooperate with authorities in their investigation.”

Ford faces arraignment next Tuesday.

(attribution: NBC4.com)

It’s Earth day!!!


Happy You Day, Sweetheart

You’re still looking good after all these years.

Let’s hope we don’t do something stupid and ruin your health.

Love, the Tenants..

Follow up to "In the Blink of an Eye"


Taken In?

Follow up to: Another Point of Singularity: Sobering Comment on Motorcycle Safety

Perhaps. There are days when this blog generates an unprecedented amount of traffic. Yesterday was one of those. Normally I just chug along, content that somebody out there might read stuff on here from time to time. Yesterday, I noticed that I was getting an unbelieveable amount of simultaneous hits on that little “where are people reading this from?” dingus on the left hand side.. 10 Americans, 5 British, 1 Spaniard and a Canadian were all on at once. And it was all because of that ghoulish post about the motorcycle accident, In the Blink of an Eye. What was even more interesting was the comments it generated:

  • That can’t be for real.
  • I was suprised by the lack of blood, I think it looked a little too clean.
  • Nah not buying that one.
    Show me a news article on the accident and I might start believing it.
  • It doesn’t look real, there’s no impact damage to the tree, no signs of skidding or sliding and nowhere enough blood.
    The bike’s still smoking apparently so it happened minutes ago. The drag mark to the bits isn’t wet enough and looks too even to represent a body fluid spill over time.
    Where are the emergency services? did the happy passer-by with the camera go and collect the pieces with his friend?
    There’s not much of a reason for the crash to happen there either is there? dry road, good visibility, no adverse camber, no other vehicle…….
    I’m not convinced.
  • That is so fake. Looks like something out of the Starship Troopers movie. The bugs are after motorcyclists! Do you want to know more? Staged for sure.
  • the world is full of people wanting to look at mangled bodies. Just do a search on google for “gross accidents” or something.
  • When at Uni these sort of pictures did the rounds all the time.
  • Looks bogus to me, too. No names attached, for one thing.
  • And someone “knows” the bike was going 280 kph (176 mph). Who? Another rider? Was he also going that fast, leaning into a curve on a rural road? Conditions look good – good visibility, dry road, clearly marked curve. No reason for the crash, unless the rider was a total moron. Which may well have been the case…
  • The still-smoking bike is propped against a tree on the *inside* of the curve. That’s a neat trick – the skid mark goes off into the field on the *outside* of the curve. And I doubt anyone moved it there after the wreck, because there’s no reason to, and no one I know is going to move a still-smoking and potentially explosive bike.
  • I love the pile of body parts and motorcycle leathers. How gruesome! But if he was going 176 mph, or even 60 mph, wouldn’t the parts have been strewn all over the road and field? Maybe someone picked up the parts and placed them on the road, but, if so, he didn’t make a very neat pile, and he also didn’t pick up all the pieces. I see what looks like most of the torso and part of one leg. Where’s the lower torso, the other leg, and the arms? Man, if you’re gonna pick up the pieces, pick up *all* the pieces, for cryin’ out loud!
  • Nah, there’s too much about this that screams, “Fake!” Probably parts of a pig carcase dressed in a mangled set of leathers and a helmet.
  • As for why someone would fake such a thing, give me a break. The reasons range from “I’m bored” to “dude, we made the ‘blogs!” all the way up to “let’s teach young bikers a lesson in terms they’ll understand”.
  • Are the skid marks narrow enough for a bike?
  • I vote for this being a fake.
  • Never seen anyone ride with one boot and one running shoe. Those suits are expensive so it you loose a boot you buy new ones, not ride with one only.
  • You know, I should show this to my friend. He’s a mortician, and as he was (still is?) the bottom of the pecking order, got all the “fun” cases. And he tells me about them…

    Graphicly.

    I vote fake too…

  • Thank you, CSI TMP.

    As to whether or not it’s fake, I have no idea. Like a lot of things that get bandied around the Internet it was passed to me with almost no attribution. It looked real enough to me, certainly sufficiently close to some of the grotesque films they show you of the aftereffect of motorcycle crashes at high speeds.

    If this WAS a false or faked accident scene, I’m sorry for posting it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the human body is remarkably fragile at high speeds. If somebody faked this, that leads to an entirely different chain of ponderings.. what kind of individual FAKES something like this? It obviously takes a huge amount of time and effort (and a destroyed motorcycle) to create a false accident scene… FOR WHAT REASON?

    The world is full of wierdos.

    Of course, it could be real, too. 😀

    Contemplating LASIK eye surgery


    I had my doubts about laying down thousands of dollars on what may or may not be a proven science in the long run. However, the introduction of the recent DO IT YOURSELF LASIK HOME SURGERY KIT, with a fee that’s just pennies per dollar compared to the original, “in the hospital style” Laskik.

    This is their latest ad campaign in OPTOMETRISTS MOHTLY. It reallly gave me piece of mind..

    Say Cheese!


    How Many Times was your Picture Taken Today?

    Having been inspired by the Surveillance Camera Players, I took a look at the environment around my workplace to see what the security camera situation was near me. The results are interesting, if not sobering.

    The Scenario: It’s raining. I walk halfway to my building, then duck in a side entrance to the “esplanade” and walk indoors to avoid the rain. Much like it was raining this morning.. The distance is about two city blocks.

    Normally I walk outside the entire way, but the cold rain wasn’t comfortable. So our count starts as soon as I make the right in the first picture, above.

    Eight feet inside the entrance is our first camera (above). A small security cam in a black opaque dome. It is angled to view people entering and exiting the doorway. I wave!

    At the first corner (above) I see our second camera, what I call an “Angled drop ceiling” cam, designed to look down long hallways. It’s pointing in the direction I’m walking.

    I make a left, moving out of Cam 2’s range of vision.

    Camera 3 is a real oddball, being perched on top of a cellular phone display. I’m not sure if it’s there only for the cellular display or for the entire surrounding area. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Rounding the corner from Camera 3, in about fifty feet, I encounter a security multi-screen flat panel dropped from the ceiling, giving a live view of several cams.

    The display indicates 11 live views in real time. Hard to make out from the distance it’s displayed…

    Fifty feet down and around the bend, another look-down-the-hallway cam, probably broadcasting to that monitor we just passed. Is my hair okay?

    Camera 4 has me in its sights all the way down the hall, where I do a dog leg and ..

    .. followed quickly by camera 5, angled to see me LEAVE the little underground area I’m passing through…

    At which point I’m outside, crossing a street…

    To be greeted by:

    It’s CAMERA SIX! Cheeeeeeeeese!

    Camera 7 is the most normal looking surveillance camera of the whole lot.. shooting down a long gallery…

    I go about 75 to 100 feet, crossing right around a corner, and leaving Cam 7’s viewpoint, only to be picked up by…

    Camera 8 of course.. a non-descript, larger black globe surveillance cam. Hard to figure out which direction it’s pointing, but likely towards the entrace I’m about to walk out of, to cross the street to my building.

    Where….

    Camera 9 recorded me walking down the street in front of my building.

    Going through the front door, I immediately encountered Camera 10, which looks just like Camera 8. I don’t work in an environment where I can take pictures indoors (security is stringent, and a fellow walking around taking pictures of security cameras sends just the right sort of signal to create a paranoid reaction), though, so just imagine it. That makes TEN TIMES IN A TWO BLOCK WALK.

    Now the other day I made a similar journey and thought I had counted closer to TWENTY cameras. On closer inspection some of these were fire control systems in opaque domes and motion control sensors for automatic doors, which look a lot like cameras. I undoubtedly missed a few cameras I didn’t take a picture of. However, the ones pictured here are most definitely ACTIVE and sending live signals.

    Food for thought?

    Just to clarify!


    Check your calendar, “Nostradumbass“!

    If you’ve been getting this in the e-mail yesterday and today:

    On Wednesday at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 A.M.in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. That won’t ever happen again.

    Keep in mind that will happen again, exactly one millennia later!

    Still, it’s a cool symmetry of numbers, and a very rare one. Worth putting into Outlook to beep me when it happens… Gee, I wonder what was supposed to happen? SunSpots? A Total Eclipse? Will a chicken be born with two heads? Will the City of God be proclaimed in Jerusalem?  I dunno…