Saturday, June 20, 2009

Re: Post-Election Iran

Reposted from a friend of mine from the middle east:

If anyone is on Twitter, set your location to Tehran and your time zone to GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone searches. The more people at this location, the more of a logjam it creates for forces trying to shut Iranians' access to the internet down. Cut & paste & pass it on.

I don't have Twitter, but I do have a blog. Done and done. (and yes, this means my time-stamps will be horribly wrong for the near future.)

UPDATE September 2009: I have since reverted to the proper timezone. After this much time has passed, the likelihood of this sort of tactic still helping is minimal at best.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Farewell, Analog TV

Yesterday was the final (oft-delayed...) cut-off date for the end of analog NTSC television broadcasts in the United States. From here on out, the only free over-the-air TV that will be available is digital.
The original date for this had been back on February 17, but Congress got worried that too many people were still unprepared, so they fast-tracked a bill to delay it until now. Stations were still allowed to shut down on the earlier date if they wished, and many across the country did. (it's rather expensive to keep an extra transmitter running...) When they did, many stations did something special on their analog feed right before shutting it off, to mark the occasion. I wondered whether any of the Pittsburgh stations would do this last night, and KDKA didn't disappoint: (you may have to fast-forward)

According to YouTube commenters, KDKA were the only ones to do anything like this around here. WTAE and WPXI just unceremoniously cut to snow at midnight. Come on, you guys. This is a moderately significant moment in geeky television technology history!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Steam Still Bugs Me Sometimes

When Half-Life 2 came out in 2004, I had a healthy level of teenage nerd-rage going over the fact that it required Steam, Valve's online content-delivery platform. Over the years, Steam has matured into something I can live with, and even like. (Using Steam Chat to launch into a game of Left 4 Dead is delightfully seamless.) I bought HL2 at retail because I insisted on having a pretty box and physical CD's if something went wrong, but every Valve game I've bought since (and a few others) has been an online purchase through Steam.

However, sometimes it still bothers me, like with the problem I ran into a couple days ago. I think I've narrowed it down to a freak network issue, but nonetheless: No matter what has gone wrong technically, I see no justification, none whatsoever, for ever showing a user this message:

...regarding a locally-installed game!