Monthly Archives: November 2016

Twitter has jumped the shark

Or: Oh, how the mighty have fallen

I have been a big fan of twitter for many years. I have sent nearly 1400 tweets since I joined the site more than seven years ago. Unlike FakesBook, Twitter had transparency and was completely public.

Was

For the last few years, however, something has become increasingly rotten in the State of Denmark. I have started to see more and more “censorship”, for lack of a better word. It all came to a head a few months ago when Twitter banned Milo Yiannopoulos, apparently for mean things that his followers said (??).

When Donald Trump won the election, I thought that things would improve at “Big Bird”. I was mistaken. Recently I read a story titled “Twitter Initiates Mass Purge Of Prominent Alt-Right Accounts Following Trump Victory

The real problem is that Twitter’s grievance/abuse standards are applied arbitrarily and unilaterally, which reeks of Political Correctness and Editorializing. Nothing says it better than the following graphic – sorry about the bad language, kids; grown-ups say bad words sometimes.

twitter-bias2

Image from Twitter. Oh, the Irony…

There is still time to right the ship, so to speak, and to return to the days of *real* tolerance and free speech (including the bits that you don’t like), but given that the leadership and management hasn’t changed, that is not likely.

The writing is on the wall, if you pardon the pun; Twitter’s stock price is not doing well. It occurs to me that once the good folks at “Big Bird” see the tweet containing this story I may well be next for the chopping block. That’s OK. In fact, I would be honored, and it would just prove my point. I have I have already started an account with a competing service called GAB.AI. See you there.

Twitter, wise up, or go out of business. Your Choice

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Vega Conflict – Alien Invasion

No folks, this is not yet another screed about Illegals crossing our southern border, rather a new quasi-faction in the game. They are not a true faction, as you cannot build any alien ships, nor is this expected at the current time.

  • The Aliens first appeared in the “Incursion” event in September 2016. They were a total surprise, and were completely unexpected.
  • Unstable (one-way) wormholes appeared in every sector, and started disgorging alien fleets at regular intervals. These fleets would then head to regular wormholes and disappear.
  • Initially they would aggressively pursue and attack rebel fleets within ten levels of their own.
  • They initially came in Level 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 variants.
  • After a couple of months, they modified their attack strategy to only pursue fleets in extra-solar space (i.e., they would not attack within solar systems).
  • Soon after that, Level 40 and 45 variants started to appear, and it became possible for two players to engage one alien fleet
  • Only alliance members and players you have designated as “friendly” may assist in engaging an alien fleet.
  • As well as loot or intel, destroying an alien fleet yields “unknown objects”, which remain in the player’s inventory. Nobody knows what they are or what they are for.
alien-hunting

Hunting for Aliens with my good buddy Crescent Wind

Rules of engagement

  • An alien fleet typically consists of three carriers known as hives; usually one heavy and two light.
  • They launch waves of drones at the player fleet. Originally armed with beam weapons, these drones are currently a mixture of beam and explosive weapons.
  • Originally, the three carriers would spawn in different corners of the battlefield. Later variants spawned together, and later still they arrived in a tight formation, which made is difficult to engage them individually.
aliens2

When the going gets tough…

Battle tactics

  • Initially, Aurora rays did high damage to the aliens, but as they modified their weapons and tactics, explosive weapons, such as Creeper torpedoes with Volatile Fuel, became more effective. Currently the most effective weapon is the Manifold missile.
  • Current combat wisdom is to use a heavy carrier such as Ragnarok, Valkyrie or Valhalla. Freyja works too, but has lower range.
  • The carrier has to be protected. Heavy cruisers work well, but battleships appear to be best. Battleships in line formation protect each other and have the double-broadside ability to engage enemies on both sides simultaneously.
  • When using battleships, they may be arranged in a line in front of the carrier, or the carrier may be in the middle of the line.
  • Keep your ships in tight formation for mutual support; any ship that gets out of formation will be targeted and swiftly killed by the alien drones. “the nail that sticks out gets hammered”.
  • If you group them together they will all move and turn at the same rate.
  • When playing co-up, keep carriers together to double the damage.
  • The initial maneuver should be diagonally off to one side, in order to engage one of the hives while minimizing exposure to the other two.
  • You get the same number of points whether you engage a fleet solo or co-op with another player. However, two fleets deal out more damage than one, and take less damage. So co-op is generally better.
  • Successful co-op engagements yield two “corpses” of resources, each of which may be freed up by one of the players.

This article is an excerpt from my recently-updated Game Guide, over a hundred and sixty pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $3.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off. Make me smile – buy my book!

Brave New World

Or: You can’t keep a good man down

More than two years ago I blogged about one Brendan Eich, the short-lived CEO of Mozilla, who committed the cardinal sin of having a politically incorrect opinion.

Way back in 2008, he made a donation opposing Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that made same-sex marriage legal in the state of California. Even though the donation was made as a private citizen and even though he never discriminated against gays in any way during his time at Mozilla, his disagreement with the love-and-tolerance mob was such heresy that a witch-hunt was in order and he was figuratively burned at the stake. Following a political firestorm, he stepped down as CEO and resigned from Mozilla, and lived out the remainder of his days in obscurity.

Or so they thought.

What he actually did, as tech entrepreneurs are wont to do, is to start something new. A new initiative. A new vision. A new browser called Brave.

Brave is more than a browser, it is a new way of looking at, experiencing, and financing the web. Instead of the horrendous ad-supported model that we all know and… er… love, it allows users to financially support websites that they frequent, while featuring state-of-the-art ad-blocking.

I’ve been using it for about a month, and while it still has a few rough edges, but it is fast, smooth and stable (hardly surprising, given that Eich invented Javascript), at a time when predecessors like Firefox and Google Chrome are becoming bloated, slow and crash-prone. This blog post was written in Evernote running in a Brave tab.

Most important of all: No gays were persecuted during the making of this browser… though a large number of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

Whiners and Losers

Or: When History repeats itself

Or: One week on…

Well, it’s finally over… unless you are one of the “By-hook-or-by-crook” protesters who think that Hillary has some kind of divine right to be President. But for the rest of us, including the vast majority of Democrat supporters, Donald-Trump is our president-elect. That got me thinking about who won, and who lost.

Extremists will try to paint Hillary’s defeat as a loss for Women. This is simply not true, except in their minds; a lot of black people think that President Obama let them down. But he never promised black people special treatment, nor should he. The president is *everyone’s* president – or is supposed to be. So women who expected Hillary to “do something for us” are likely to be similarly disillusioned. The same folks who accuse Trump of sexism fail to notice that KellyAnne Conway, was the first female winning campaign manager in history. If that isn’t a victory for women, what is?

The biggest winner – after the unsinkable Mister Trump – has been Scott Adams. I have been reading his predictions for nearly a year, and he has been making them for longer than that:

  • 8/5/2015: “I’m watching the Donald Trump campaign for president with the same amount of amusement as everyone else. The only difference is that I think he has a legitimate shot at becoming president”
  • 8/13/2015: “I’m going to predict he will be our next president. I think he will move to the center on social issues (already happening) and win against Clinton in a tight election.”
  • 8/28/15: Media gives Trump 2% change of winning the nomination “based on historical patterns, solid data, and sound reasoning”. Scott says Trump “would win the general election by a large margin” and gives a 98% chance of winning.
  • 9/12/2015: Scott Adams predicts a Kanye West presidency (you heard it here first).
  • 10/23/15: Scott Adams predicts a Trump landslide and forecasts media embarrassment. “The Huffington Post moved Trump to the entertainment section and sealed their reputation as a useless wart on society… If Trump wins the presidency, every pollster and every pundit (except me) is wrong to the point of irrelevancy.”
  • 11/19/2015: The media says Trump and Carson’s odds < 10%
  • 12/29/2015: “One way is if Clinton’s health or legal issues rise to the point of being disqualifying, and Trump persuades us to think about those things more than we think about anything else. Once you imagine there is one candidate in the race who is eligible and one who might not survive the term, or might be in jail, you start to imagine it as a one-person race. And you will. That’s how you get a landslide.” Spooky

…and those are just the posts from last year.

Another winner is… men. Time after time I have found men reluctant to discuss their political preferences until I boldly speak my mind and say “I’m voting for Trump”. Only then will they speak out, comfortable that no-one will castigate them for having the “wrong” opinion. Gentleman, the coast is clear; you can come out now. If Trump can say it, so can you.

There have been many losers. The sheer amount of raw emotion among Hillary’s mostly-female supporters when it finally dawned on them that she was not going to win was telling. Grief, drama, tears, trauma… and that was just the (few) men in the room; many of the women were having full-on meltdowns, of not outright breakdowns. Do you remember Republican supporters weeping and wailing uncontrollably when they got their hats handed to them in 2008? Me neither. That’s because it never happened.

And it didn’t end there; a week later, there are still demonstrations going on.

The biggest loser has been… the media. ABC (Always Broadcasting Crap), NBC (Nothing But Crap), CNN (Clinton News Network) and CBS (Continuously Broadcasting… um… Stuff) have consistently stumped for Hillary at every opportunity, with the notable exception of Fox news, which has remained studiously neutral – except for Megyn Kelly, who was, I suspect, furious at the Donald for pointing out that she got her job because of her looks. While politically incorrect, this seems reasonable: smart and pretty beats smart alone every time, and as I am fond of saying, “there are no ugly women in TV-land”. One talking head on CNN even admitted their clear bias on national TV.

The elephant in the room is that What is most alarming is that the media is bending over backwards to avoid stating the obvious: “We screwed up. Horribly”. But rather than admitting their clear and obvious bias, they are trying to blame everyone and everything else.

As far as I am concerned, the 2016 election is the coming-of-age and ascendancy of the Internet…

…and the beginning of the end and the proof of the irrelevancy of the “Lamestream Media”.

To My Progressive Friends

The political shenanigans of the past year have shown us both the dark side of human nature and the dirty side of politics.

I have listened to the name-calling, vituperation and insults, both to my chosen candidate, and to those who chose to follow him. You have called me Deplorable, Racist, Misogynist, Homophobic, Bigoted… and that’s just the epithets hurled at us in public.

I did not respond to those insults. There is no effective way to do that; denial that you are a racist just makes you look more like a racist. Sometimes the best defence is to smile, tip your hat and go on your merry way.

The race is over. And once again, I successfully forecasted the result. To the surprise of everyone who took the polls and the media seriously, your candidate lost. That’s democracy; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

The real question, and the one that nobody is asking, is “How could the media have gotten this so very wrong?” With all of their resources, polls, think-tanks, and focus groups, they utterly failed to see it coming. Media bias has been obvious and self-evident to me, concentrating on his alleged sexual misconduct while downplaying bribery, corruption, and potentially, treason.

This is Brexit all over again, complete with the howls of anguish from those who found themselves, as a great man once put it, “on the wrong side of history”.

I know just how you feel. Eight years ago, I greeted the election of Barack, Hussain Obama with this message. I did not vote for him. I did not vote at all. I did not share his philosophy. I did not believe in his policies (particularly Obamacare, oh how right I was…). but I was willing to get behind the new president and wish him the best success. Because he was the duly elected president, and I respected the office, even if I did not respect the man.

Now it’s your turn