Site News: Weird Fucking Day

So, this morning I posted the #GamerGate article, and, per usual, announced it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Since that time…

  • We’ve had more people visit the site than any other day, ever.
  • That single article got, in less than a day, 7 times the views of any other article on the site, including the most popular (“About ∞ Infinity“), which has been up for two years and getting steady views all that time. This can be explained because…
  • I got retweeted by the most popular blogger on the planet, the man who started modern blogging, and hence the godfather of the blogosphere, the Instapundit.
  • Which brought numerous other retweets and favorites by sundry people.
  • Links got reposted to Know Your Meme and some unknown group(s) deep in the black-box bowels of Facebook, both of whom sent me record levels of traffic.
  • The article got praised by NYT bestselling author Larry Correia, on Twitter.
  • Actor Adam Baldwin — Animal Mother, Jayne, John Casey — retweeted it.
  • Then he Followed my Twitter account.

Jayne, the man they call Jayne, the hero of Canton, Follows my Twitter account.

Dafuq?

In any case, and the real reason I’m posting this, is that work is progressing on ∞ Infinity. I’ve been working on the shooting rules, armor, and several other smaller rules. As soon as my current spate of Torg posts is through, I hope to start playtesting. On that note, I have another Torg post going out tonight, so those of you on the List / Google+ / etc. keep an eye out.

Here’s the thing: all of the above is awesome, and terrific, and just the coolest thing ever. But it’s not going to last. This is just a temporary traffic bump, driven by an ongoing controversy. It’s about the Internet shitstorm, not me.

Work on my projects will continue, as steadily and quickly as I’m able. Even when I’m not posting, work is going on.

Thanks to all you guys, who take the time to playtest and comment. You’ve displayed inhuman amounts of patience with an insanely slow process, and I deeply appreciate it. I’m not going to let you down.

Mythbusters: “They Did Whaaaaaat?”

As of the end of this season, the three associate Mythbusters are no more. After spending a decade with the cult favorite show, Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci have busted their last myth.

Which is sad, because I watched the show before they joined, and they definitely added something wondrous, something magical, something eminently watchable to the sometimes dry mega-nerd competitions between Jamie and Adam.

It wasn’t just humor they added, it wasn’t just personality, it wasn’t just a youthful energy… what was it?

kari-byron-11

That’s it.

Find all the details of the departure, including the final announcement, at the link!

(h/t and photo find thanks to “tmi3rd” of the “Ace of Spades” right-wing mega-blog.)

New Word: Enshittening

v: to shittify, to shit up, to engage in enshittification. “Microsoft really enshittened that interface.”

I’m not a fan of most console OS’s. They’re shit. Shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shit. Except the 360, which was easy to use (1 button access to all critical functions), unambiguous, and discoverable.

I was hoping the XB1 would be a leap forward from that. It isn’t.

In fact, from what I can tell, Microsoft developed the OS for the Xbox One via a process I’ve dubbed “enshittification”: they took the 360 OS and enshittened it quite thoroughly. It’s actually worse than the PS3 interface now.

Quick example: DLC download queue on the 360. 1 Button press, 2 flicks of the stick, click a button. So long as you can flick left and right, you would see the command: it’s fully discoverable.

On the XB1, it’s hidden. You have to know exactly where it is to use the command. If you don’t know — and you won’t — you’re fucked. (The download queue is under “My Games and Apps” on the XB1. Obvious, right?)

In fact, the whole system (other than a graphics upgrade) seems to have been largely enshittened. Take the multi-GB downloads (that is, from the Net) for every single game I’ve played so far: 16 GB download for Dead Rising 3, 4 GB for CoD: Ghosts. Plus a 26 GB install for DR3 and a 41 GB install for Ghosts. You know how long it takes to copy 41 GB of data to an internal 5400 RPM hard-drive? Hint: it’s not quick.

Plus, the internal HDD is tiny, a mere 360GB usable space. When you’re downloading 16 GB for one game, and installing 26 more GB for that same game, that space goes quickly.

Enshittened. But they didn’t stop there.

Just so web users wouldn’t feel left out, they enshittened the xbox.com website as well. Xbox Live Arcade no longer has built-in demos, so there goes the fun of experimenting with a new game, just to see if you like it. Buy it blind… or don’t buy at all.

Then there’s browsing for the games themselves. This was dead easy, 18 months ago before the XB1 launch (and concurrent enshittification), but it’s virtually impossible now. You can search for one, if you already know the name, but you can’t get a big old sortable list of games to scroll through. And considering that’s a core function of all database programs, the most important core function of all database programs, disabling it must have been quite the trick.

My theory is that, like all new consoles, the XB1 has virtually no games to play, and they wanted to conceal that fact by making it impossible to get a straightforward list of what games there are.

“We can’t let them see we only have the 8 launch titles!”

“How do we stop them?”

“We’ll cripple discovery! Yes, by making it impossible to see what games are available, they’ll never know we have virtually no games at all!”

Of course, by crippling the discovery of new games, they also made it impossible to buy games, but who cares? It’s not like consoles exist to sell games, so Microsoft can make hundreds of millions off licensing, right?

Right?

Kurt Busiek Explains Why Disney Pisses Me Off

Why Disney pisses me off, not him. Busiek’s post is calm and insightful, a state I cannot attain on this subject.

Busiek is one of the best comic writers today, author of Marvels, Astro CitySuperman: Secret Identity, and many other series for many comic publishers. (Astro City being, quite simply, the best comic series in existence.) With all this experience in the publishing industry, he has gained a great deal of knowledge about copyright, creativity, and intellectual property.

His post is about copyright and the lapsing thereof. Or, in this day and time, the lack of such lapses. And (and this is my addition) it’s all Disney’s fault.

Disney built the majority of its mound of cold cash on public domain works. Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and many more.

All public domain. All used — legally, brilliantly, appropriately — by the House of Mouse.

The notion of copyright is that the writer or artist can benefit from his work, without counterfeiters and corporations ripping him off. But there is a time limit (as Busiek notes, it used to be 56 years), because sooner or later his works should become a part of the common culture. Just like you are able to write a story about Robin Hood, because he’s part of the common culture, so others are (decades later) able to write stories about 1930’s Superman or Batman or whomever.

But Disney doesn’t want to give back to the common culture, because cash. And Congress accedes to their demands, because cash and votes.

So the multi-billion-dollar megacorp that profited from other people’s work, won’t allow others to build on theirs. Forget Pay It Forward, they won’t even Pay It Back.

And that’s shitty. And that’s why Disney pisses me off.