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September 11th, 2008 at 11:53 am
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Ok. It doesn’t suck. But I’m not a happy bunny with it at the moment.

I actually started writing a mostly positive and enthusiastic review and was going to bitchslap some of the naysayers that seem determined to hate the game… but then Spore kindly corrupted my game saves and I can neither continue any of my five or six games on the go nor create a new one. I’ve lost somewhere around 60 or 70 hours of game play – I know this because it was several DAYS ago that I achieved my ’50 hours play’ badge.

It is also exhibiting numerous other bugs. Here’s a list in no particular order:

  • Crashing to desktop randomly. Looking at the resources, it seems to have a huge memory leak.
  • Won’t import most of the hundred something creatures I made in the Creature Creator before Spore came out. Those it will are listed as owned by Maxis, and not me.
  • Some of the creatures I’ve created in the full version show up on my Sporepedia page with no image at all, and some flat refuse to appear despite the fact the game insists they’re uploaded.
  • Some games just bug out… after sacrificing all my game saves to restart, the first game I played, EVERY creature I encountered in the Space stage were the same creature, but not affiliated with each other. Imagine how ridiculous this is gonna be? You are allied with the Deceptilow empire, the Deceptilow empire and the Deceptilow empire – but are at war with the Deceptilow empire and the Deceptilow empire.
  • Sometimes you’ll spend ages creating a vehicle, space ship or building that is still well under the complexity maximum and it’ll refuse to save it without telling you why. Basically at this point you have to start ripping off parts to see what it disagrees with.
  • Also, it doesn’t work with SLi at all, you have to disable one of your video cards, and it doesnt work with hardware acceleration and you have to disable your sound card down to software only.
  • There are other bugs I can’t think of atm but I’ll add em if and when I do :p

So at the moment, my enthusiasm for Spore is at an all time low. Which sucks, because I’ve had it on preorder since 2005, and salivated at every teaser video, screenshot and preview since. I have been so up for this game it’s unreal, so to have it and be currently hating it hurts!

Of course, the other factor is that it’s an EA product. Soooo, that means absolutely DIRE support from a bunch of morons. :/

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July 24th, 2008 at 8:04 am
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Aside from being pissed off at Caligari – who are owned by Microsoft, btw, and I’m perpetually pissed off at them, so I suppose piling new hate on them doesn’t make any difference – I’m pissed off at Mozilla, too. I installed Firefox 3, which initially seemed great… except it has caused some very weird problems in Windows that don’t even correct themselves if you completely uninstall Firefox nor if you do a system restore to pre FF3 state.

The problem is that, seemingly randomly, mouse clicks will simply stop working… for anything. I mean, hyperlinks aren’t clickable, windows cant be brought into focus with a click, shortcuts or taskbar items cant be clicked on. The only way to get it working again is to alt+tab thru the applications list. Which wouldn’t be so bad, albeit dowright annoying, if it wasnt for another little issue… it can happen on the Windows Login Screen itself… soooo, I can’t click my user name to put in my password and log in.

Rapidly learning a bunch of Windows shortcuts I never had to know or use before. :/

How do I know it was down to FF3? Because a bunch of other people have experienced the same problems, as detailed on the Mozilla Support Forums

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July 24th, 2008 at 7:21 am
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Along with all the video courses. And that really, really, really pisses me off. Because it’s just about exactly one year ago that I dropped $700 on buying it – and then discovered¬† the gaping flaws in it that essentially negated my reason for buying it in the first place.

I cannot describe what I’d like to do to Roman with a pair of pliers right now.

Still, for the rest of you that didn’t just get royally fucked up the ass by Caligari, it’s great news!

Personally I couldn’t get it to download any of the training videos. It still wanted me to pay between $59 and $79 each for them… yes, imagine if you had bought every one of their dozens of training videos, which were still on sale up until yesterday, along with Truespace?! How much money did you just get fucked for then?!

Fortunately, I’m not in the habit of paying for instruction on how to use the software I just bought due to the manual being woefully inadequate, or I might well be headed for Caligari HQ right now with those pliers.

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April 15th, 2008 at 4:19 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Anyone got any good experiences of any UK broadband providers? I was with Virgin, who are fucking shit. And then I moved to BT. Who are even more fucking shit. So any suggestions for my next move appreciated!

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April 9th, 2008 at 12:17 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Sometimes, venting on a blog pays off!

Following my last rant, the manager of my local SpecSavers called me to offer his apologies and a new and free pair of glasses.¬† It seems head office got involved and were interested to know about their spontaneously imploding lenses. Supposedly they have no other reports of this happening ever. Which I guess makes me about the unluckiest person alive to have it happen twice…

On the plus side, though, I can see again now, albeit through a much sturdier non frameless design that hopefully won’t try to blind me!

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March 18th, 2008 at 12:54 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Or: SpecSavers… Blindingly Good Value! Yeah, I could have had fun with a title for this, although the content is far from amusing.

Like many people, I wear glasses. That might well be something to do with sitting at a computer monitor for most of my waking day. Which is also why when I do buy glasses, I spend a lot of money on getting all the extras, like scratch resistant coatings, uv filters etc.

So I’m all the more pissed off, then, about the build quality of SpecSavers glasses and their attitute towards their shoddy products nearly blinding a customer…. TWICE.

The pair I was wearing up til yesterday were a rebuild of an identical pair. They are of a frameless style where the nose bridge piece connects directly to the lenses. In the first weeks after I got them, the connecting screws would come loose regularly, and since they use a special nut that no normal person would have a tool to tighten, I found myself going back to the SpecSavers store several times to have them tightened back up.

So one time just after one of their staff tightened them back up, I was out walking and a gust of wind picked up, I heard a crack, and felt a blinding pain just under my eye. It transpired that the edge of the lens around the screw had shattered, and very nearly into my eye.

Obviously I took them back to SpecSavers, and they made me a new pair. As well they bloody should.

The new pair seemed better – they didn’t keep loosening. However, the other night, I’m sitting doing nothing more strenuous than watching tv when I hear a pop, and again get a searing pain right near my eye. In fact, this time it drew blood. The EXACT same thing had happened – a razor sharp shard of lens had just shattered out from around the screw.

So I just went back to SpecSavers to complain. Their response to their obviously fundamentally dangerously defective spectacles shattering the exact same way and nearly blinding me twice? ‘They’re out of warranty’. What could they do for me? I could buy new spectacles from them.

So beware, folks. If you DO choose to save a bit of money and go to SpecSavers, make sure that you lose your eye within the first year, ok?

When I dig out the original pair, I’ll post a side by side comparison picture of the two pairs to show just how identical the two shattered sections are, and maybe a nice closeup of the razor shard that embedded itself in my face just to the side of my tearduct. It’ll be the same photo I send to BBC Watchdog and Trading Standards. Like I say, there is obviously a fundamental problem with the design and build of these glasses – the lens is obviously under a lot of (inward) pressure, as I can attest to with the force that glass shards were flung into my face both times.

So to add to my growing list of problems (the main one being lack of job and income), I can’t see now, either. Life can be so fun, sometimes.

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November 20th, 2007 at 2:26 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

So I’ve had a Cafepress account for, ooh, a week now for a site I’m working on. My second ever design included the word ‘Caution’ on a square yellow background, just like every caution sign you ever saw anywhere in the world. (It was actually incredibly specific, too. There’s like one in 10,000 people that could even qualify to buy the darn thing as a tshirt! It said ‘Caution – Long haired head banger. Whipping and spraying likely to occur’).

Cafepress pulled it and pointed me to a ‘guess what you done wrong’ FAQ of the myriad of reasons they might possibly pull a design. So I asked them what the hell?

They responded by saying that the word ‘Caution’ is the trademarked property of some company I’m not gonna bother to name because I don’t want to give them any publicity. Well, as you and I both know, but apparently Cafepress don’t, that is impossible because you can’t just trademark common words.

A five minute Google reveals that the trademark is specifically for the “use of the word ‘Caution!’ inside a diamond shaped box resembling a traffic sign”, and there even seems to be some stipulation as to what products they can claim infringement on. (Added to which, it seems the trademark only covers use when the word and design is used together and on its own as described – any other wording in the diamond would invalidate the trademark).

Which is not really surprising when their design is actually a rip off of one of the variations of a popular internationally recognised warning sign.

So, here’s a warning from me! (I might put this on a Cafepress shirt…)

Caution!

Cafepress will remove your
legitimate design from your
store without even
investigating the
validity or legality
of any infringement claim.

There is a serious point to this, though. It’s surely very risky to put your original designs on Cafepress at all? Because potentially, someone could steal your design and claim that YOU infringed them, and since Cafepress policy is (and I quote) “In order to best protect ourselves from risk, we must take all allegations of infringement seriously and take action in removing the content from our site.”. Really. That’s their customer policy! The mind, boggles, doesn’t it?

They will just comply with the first person who complains, however dodgy, unlikely and downright false their claim is, you will be completely screwed. In other words, any competitor with a grudge, or any shady character who decides they’d quite like to use your idea will be able to scupper your business, invalidate your product and rip your IP off with the full tacit agreement and complicity of Cafepress. Or, like in this case, some sad litigious moron with too much time on their hands who obviously just scours the internet looking for people he can piss off with false claims because he feels like he has some god given right to any and all use of a common everyday word. *waves to Jim*

Don’t get me wrong – I’m totally in favour of protecting your IP. But this is not what their policy is doing. This is complying with and accepting as fact a malicious false claim that labels their innocent store keepers as content thieves. You would think that if I could find out the exact nature and numbers of these Trademarks in well under 5 minutes and establish that there is absolutely no validity to the claim, they might have enough respect for their customers to do the same before accusing them of a crime.

In fact, Cafepress policy amounts to ‘everyone except our customer is always right’, and suggests that they will actively aid people in committing a crime – after all, that’s what it is… there are laws about falsely and knowingly claiming infringement (and this moron knows exactly what his own trademark covers… how can he be in any doubt?) – against their customer to cover their own asses. So it seems that if you’re a Cafepress customer, the odds are very much stacked against you.

It doesn’t seem that common sense even comes into it – this is a word in the dictionary, people. You’re telling me that if I use it in ANY context it’s a trademark violation? You don’t have to be a lawyer to realise that Cafepress look ridiculous even regurgitating this crap like they believe it.

If I actually were doing something wrong, I’d be the first person to apologise and amend it, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on the receiving end of real IP theft and it’s not fun.

Anyone have experience of any of the other companies that lets you do much the same as Cafepress but doesn’t roll over the first time someone falsely claims infringement? Of course, I expect T&C’s etc… I don’t mind a bit of red tape, but not a kangaroo court that takes at face value without investigation any ridiculous complaint.

Preferably one that requires a DMCA takedown notice being formally issued (which would obviously fail because there IS no infringement!) instead of a complaint from some fat guy in his moms basement on the back of a cigarette packet.

I’m actually really glad I found out the dangers of using Cafepress before I put any proper original designs up that I’ve spent ages working on instead of just a humorous slogan, because this site I’m working on will be heavily merchandise based. As such, I need a good alternative to Cafepress to take my business, please!

But you know what? If I could be bothered about this sad moron and his abuse of the law to attack my integrity with false claims, I’d bloody well register the word ‘Caution!’ in a triangle traffic sign and go into direct competition with him. Give him a little education on how far his ‘ownership’ of the word actually extends. But frankly, it’s a lame brand and lame products from a petty little man. So I won’t be bothering.

Instead I’ll change the word to ‘Warning’ because frankly I only used ‘Caution’ cuz it fit better. Like I’ll be impacting his business with a frickin tshirt that only a long haired heavy metal fan going to a concert could wear anyway…

[EDIT] I’ve just had an email from Cafepress saying that they made a mistake and will reinstate my designs. Whether that was my scathing blog or my scathing email, I dunno. :p

Letting the rant stand for now because (a) I’m still pissed off, (b) I’ll still be looking for another company to take my business to and (c) it takes a while to do that much ranting!

[EDIT 2] LOL! I just received another email from Cafepress saying that they wont be reinstating my designs and they sent that last email to the wrong person. Add ‘incompetent’ to the list of things you can say about Cafepress. Unless there’s a trademark on that word too, of course. So the rant will definitely be staying!

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November 16th, 2007 at 11:37 am
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

I just received Crysis, the much hyped PC game. I’m installing it now, in fact. All 12 gigabytes of it. Yes, really.

Ya know, I don’t care how good a game it is. Even if it’s the best game ever made by a long stretch, 12 gigs of install is just beyond ridiculous. If they’re going to start doing this regularly, games need to start coming preinstalled on a fucking second hard drive.

Ah well. Back to the install. Though if the demo is anything to go by, it’s going to run like a dog, even on medium resolution, on my super specced PC (even though it scores in the top 1% of all PC’s on the planet on 3dMark).

Maybe the world is not really ready for Crysis yet. They still need to invent the computer it’ll run on.

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November 14th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

So I got a call from Microsoft in the US. This being about my complaint that after they sent me back a refurbished console I can no longer use a lot of my downloaded games or content as I should be able to. It was going quite well, initially. She explained that she could manually update their system to reflect my current xbox serial number and all would be well. Quite why you can’t just reregister yourself from their website like you do originally, I dont know. But I digress.

So she asked, specifically, for the serial of the recently refurbished Xbox360. I explained that there was no point in me giving that, since it was already scheduled to go back to the repair center again, since they’d essentially sent me a non functional replacement. And then the trouble started…

You see, I own two xbox360’s. And I don’t even use one of them for those accounts, that download content, or even to connect to Live. But I wanted to give her the serial of the surviving xbox360 – it doesn’t make any difference to me which I use, and I don’t see why it should. But apparently, that blew her tiny widdle mind. She couldn’t comprehend anyone owning two xbox360’s, and it seems her brain just shut down it’s normal thought processes and ability to comprehend or listen at that point.

She immediately blurted out that that was precisely why I was having these difficulties! Download content is licensed to a single box! I can’t use it on both!

I explained patiently once again that I knew that. That I wasn’t trying to do that. That I did not use the second box for online, download content, and it does not know of the existence of the gamertag and account for which I’m having the issue.

But no. That was why I was having problems! I tried to explain it in simpler terms. Ya know “pretend that I have an xbox that has never been used and is in no way connected to this issue, but since you keep sending me broken consoles, I want to use this one now instead so I can actually play games and stuff. Like, it’s not your concern at all. I want to deregister one serial number for a dead xbox that you’ve now sent to some other poor sucker, and give you another. When you eventually replace my broken xbox360 with another, I’ll use THAT one as the offline, no content one and you won’t have to worry your pretty little heads about it”. Ok, I’m paraphrasing. But really, how hard is it to comprehend?

Nuhuh. By this point, her brain is in meltdown and she can no longer string together a sentence longer than “I, uh, will, uh, have to, uh, consult with my supervisors and, uh, ring you back”.

….

?!

Maybe I’m the first person in history to conceive of buying two of their products.

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November 7th, 2007 at 2:01 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

No, seriously.  I am.

I noticed I’d lost a bit of weight when I went to put my pants on the other day – since I stopped working in September I’ve mainly worn jogging pants around the house. But sometimes you have to venture outside, ya know?

Anyhoo, my pants fell straight down again. So I put my trusty belt on, and even pulling it to the tightest notch, my pants are still falling down.

Ok. So losing a bit of weight around your waist I can understand.

But then I put my watch on for the first time in a while, and the tightest notch on my watch strap is too loose!

WTF?!

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