Feed on Posts or Comments 30 July 2021

Monthly ArchiveNovember 2007

Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 30 Nov 2007

Getting Lynched

The above review by Jeff Gerstmann is, one must admit, pretty stark. Though his review gives the game a 6.0/10 overall, he speaks in great lengths as to the poorly constructed plot, the poor AI, and the overall shoddy construction of the game. This was to be his last post though, as CNET, parent company of Gamespot, fired him not long after this review went up due to the “unprofessional reviews and review practices” he used.

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Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 22 Nov 2007

Hitting where it hurts

MPAA Warning

A new 747-page bill is being given a run in Congress concerning budgeting for college aid.  I’m not exactly the type of person who reads government documents literally the size of airplanes, and a new version of this bill comes up pretty routinely as this is a $100-billion dollar expenditure and Congress does not take large a sum that large lightly.  However, embedded within this document is a little bit of nefarious wordage, which the MPAA could not be happier about.  The essential of this is that schools would have to prove that they are trying to subvert illegal file-sharing or run the risk of losing financial aid.  What constitutes an attempt at subverting illegal file-sharing can be anything from putting up a botnet that scans each package for copyrighted material, or simply subscribing every student a subscription service like Napster.  The MPAA’s stance is that college digital networks are the highest source of government expenditures and end up being one of the highest sources of file sharing practices.  Those who do not comply, according to CNET:

…If universities did not agree to test “technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity,” all of their students–even ones who don’t own a computer–would lose federal financial aid.

You can imagine the ramifications of such a thing are pretty terrible.  Students of lower income, those that have likely never owned a computer, are the most likely to be effected by this move.  Especially as those of lower income are more likely to aim for cheaper colleges that might not be capable of affording or even knowing how to install a botnet.  Of course, schools are not happy about this.  A letter signed by the chancellor of the University of Maryland scolds the bill for just this reason.  A representative from the MPAA Angela Martinez stands fast, at first, to this, and warns:

“Because it is added to the current reporting requirements that universities already have through the Secretary of Education, it would have the same penalties for noncompliance as any of the others requirements under current law.”

Later though, when this bill begins to get more media attention, they seem to almost try to pull a 360.

The MPAA vice president emphasized that there’s technically no requirement under the bill that universities actually sign up for such “alternatives,” namely subscription-based music services like Ruckus.com and Napster, nor that they actually activate the filters they’re planning to develop. Committee aides close to the bill-drafting process have denied that schools would see their funding yanked if they didn’t come up with satisfactory plans, even if Attaway seemed to suggest that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Whether or not the bill is intended to be used to deny funding, leaving the ability to do so is a bit strange.  Why even write a bill if it’s not planned on being put to use?  The chance that this might be used to deny otherwise innocent students the chance at a higher education is of paramount importance.  Congress will review the bill when they return from their Thanksgiving break in December.

Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 20 Nov 2007

Flogging a dead horse, as well as other things

Manhunt 2

Generally speaking, when someone comes to me and blames the problems of our nation’s youth on video games, I tell them they are misinformed. When they bring up “Grand Theft Auto” and refer to it as a “murder simulator”, I casually explain that the game implements one of the best scripts this side of Hollywood, taking cues from such ground-breaking movies as “Scarface” to “Menace II Society”. The games are voiced by such noted actors as Ray Loitta and Samuel L. Jackson. The average gamer these days is well into their late twenties even by the worst estimates and these games are distributed explicitly for an adult audiences. Most retailers, especially retailers primarily devoted to video games, know better than to sell to children: it can cause them both financial and political problems. As such, these games are not murder simulators, but well written stories intended for adults. The fact that they include death is roughly as meaningful as mentioning that “Casino” includes murder, and more f-bombs than I used after falling off a three-story building.
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Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 13 Nov 2007

My website has a first name, it’s “I-R-O-N-Y”

It wasn’t exactly all that long ago that I posted on clips from The Daily Show that finally saw the light of the Internet again after Viacom forced YouTube to remove all copyrighted content. Something about Viacom posting thousands of clips from the show, hand picking the selection even, seemed pretty cool. Of course, they have ads at the end of the clips, but it could easily be worse. Then, the WGA strike occurred. I’m currently not feeling that pain, as my copy of “I Am America (And So Can You)” is keeping that warm spot in my heart reserved for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report warm, but eventually I will be done with this book, and rereading “America (The Book)” will eventually get tiresome. As a side note, Comedy Central book writers, I am on to your naming scheme.

Still, I see these videos with direct advertisements posted on their webpage and I have to wonder how much they’re making per clip. I can imagine a world where they might be doing little more than breaking even on these clips, but honestly that is hard to swallow, especially as YouTube itself has very little in way of advertisement yet manages to give residuals for popular clips.
That said, the cooperate take on Internet content is as follows:

“New media has proven to be an effective and cost-effective promotional and marketing tool for both films and television but there is not enough marketplace data to judge its true potential, ultimate impact on traditional media or viability as a business.”

Is that so? So, the billion dollar lawsuit, the half billion expected revenue, the time and effort spent developing a website to raise past episodes from the archives for the joy and pleasure of netizens…these are all promotional tools to be used by the company. Clearly this whole Internet thing is a fad, and traditional media is going nowhere. The fact that CD and DVD sales are dropping as downloadable content continues to rise is just a fluke and has no correlating data to show that it is a potentially continuous trend. After all, there was a dot com bubble burst before, who’s to say it won’t happen again?
I’m sorry, I believe I just choked on my own sarcasm. I suppose, after all, we have to back up our claims of profitability with actual proof, after all we can’t just take the words of a bunch of pissed off writers. After all, they’re paid to tug at our emotions. Perhaps it would be better to hear it all straight from the horse’s mouth?

I present to you, your noose.

[For more interesting facts on the WGA strike, check out United Hollywood]