Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


About Uriel-238

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  • Sep 22nd, 2020 @ 1:03pm

    Internet Security makes the US everyone else's sucker.

    Curiously, this is a running theme. State department databases, Social security databases, even the big NSA mass surveillance database that US lawyers (allegedly) need a court order to access are compromised and easily hacked by foreign government agents.

    And they do.

    The good news is we may ultimately get to inflict public transparency on our federal offices after all.

  • Sep 21st, 2020 @ 12:21pm

    Gratuitous Umlauts

    Umlaut = Mëtal

    Diaeresis = Ancient << Though I can't find a good article on Lovecraft's diacritics, it's a thing.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 5:03pm

    Our systemically corrupt justice system

    And Justice Ginsberg just passed on from pancreatic cancer complications.

    It's entirely on brand for Trump and McConnell to try to get another Federalist Society shill (or one of Trump's selects, Senators Cruz or Cotton and hammer him onto the bench during a lame duck session (assuming he loses or the results are thoroughly obfuscated).

    I am beside myself. I'm not sure if it's better or worse if this sparks a flash.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 1:31pm


    GOG doesn't require a client to download and play games, and part of the service is assuring that old game stay compatible with new OSes. Even DOS games.

    Old games on Steam or on disc are often not compatible with more recent OSes. It doesn't always mean they're unplayable, but often it has to be tweaked until it is. GOG does the tweaking for me.

    As a result I've repurchased a bunch of old games so that I don't have to rely on the optical media (or plugging in an optical drive) to play them.

    Granted, like any other corporation, it might someday get bought out by something bigger and more malicious and turned into a parking lot and we all lose our licenses. But this is true of a lot of licensed content including most recent consoles.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 1:25pm

    Online validation

    I've never test how often Steam requires online signing in, but I've never had a problem starting a (single-player) game in offline mode.

    Even my Ubisoft games will run when my connection is offline or preoccupied. I just won't get the benefits of cloud-saving (or buying microtransactions, which I don't do anyway.)

    I did play The Division with friends, and eventually its online mandate became a dealbreaker, especially when the servers lagged out and could set me back hours of play. But I've avoided MMOs for that reason, and MMO-lites (like The Division) had all the disadvantages of MMOs with fewer advantages.

    The game had pretty weather effects though.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 1:19pm

    Getting banned from Steam

    That's actually a good question. I've since purchased an extensive library. In the Aughts, their rules required them to pay me back for the licenses I lost. I don't know if its the same.

    If they did, it would be cruel and serve no actual function. We already know that consistency in moderating services is nearly impossible.

    It's been around a decade since brick-and-mortar franchises sold used PC games in stores around here, but I did enjoy checking the stacks when I could.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 12:35pm

    "Pull your own weight" / "Pitch in"

    It still fascinates me how we still cling to the notion that everyone is or would be a goldbricker if they could get away with it. The sin of sloth and laziness are, by common sense, epidemic character flaws throughout the species, even though the psychiatric sector has long (since the 1990s, which is long for the psychiatric sector) recognized all of these as avolition, a symptom of depression or other psychosis.

    And yet, to this very day, the people of the United States is being denied relief by the Senate because it'll make them lazy. It's regarded as a character flaw. And we believe them.

    Curiously, if you take a healthy guy and feed him and put him in front of a television, he'll go mad with cabin fever. Most of us start hobbies and projects just to do something. Most of our basic science and knowledge comes from bored aristocrats who found that eating and rutting just wasn't enough.

    Our modern work ethic was famously utilized by the Nazis to speed their interns to the grave via malnutrition. (The gas chambers came later when they weren't dying fast enough.)

    And yes, our captains of industry ever struggle to find workers eager to do the jobs they want to get done, often it's because they're shit jobs, or they take the workers for granted and treat them as machines, or the workers learn their hard work is superfluous and unappreciated.

    But we eagerly blame it on the workers. We eagerly blame workers for failing to find jobs in a scant job market where underemployment is the norm and even STEM trained citizens are expected to bag groceries for a living and like it.

    We also don't recognize that when we pay everyone too little, they become too exhausted to work or to do civic duties (like sort out news from fake news critically or actually learn what their own best interests are) And they're too exhausted to raise kids, and that's how you raise generations of dysfunctional lunatics like me.

    The western work ethic, and the myth of laziness figures centrally in who I am today.

    Labor should be painfully expensive. People should be able to earn a living doing part time work. Anything less than that is peonage. It's servitude. It's the superset of slavery that we should have abolished when we abolished slavery.

    And yes, that may drive us towards automating more. Good. When inactivity is regarded as a symptom of illness, when no-one works to live, rather works for self-fulfillment, when shit jobs don't exist, then maybe human civilization is something we can once again hope for.

    Until then, our would-be bosses can go to Hell.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 9:05pm

    Presidents pardoning themselves

    When a president pardons himself, it raises the question why we'd want another president at all, or would want to accept the new administration (in contrast to an entirely new regime).

    A lot of us are still super sore that the Bush Administration principal cabinet hasn't been prosecuted for all the torture and war crimes, for which the United States is still responsible and guilty.

    Whether not it's still their problem, it's ours. The United States tortured. Even if the ones who enacted that policy are held unaccountable for doing so, the US -- we -- still tortured. The same with Trump's kids in cages and abandoning Kurds on the battlefield. If we let Trump walk, the people of the United States are still responsible.

    If staying the United States means we have to suffer the legacy of those policies and can't touch the ones who implemented them, maybe we don't want to be the United States anymore.

    Not being the United States means we can declare all those guys enemies. We can assure they don't sleep at night until they come in and face international tribunal (which I think Germany is already hot to do).

    If we can't have heads on pikes, Cascadia starts looking pretty good.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 8:51pm

    Nazis shot saboteurs.

    They just summarily executed them in the streets. When the SS wanted to be mean they'd shoot someone in the leg and forbid anyone to render care, so they bled out over hours.

    Such brutality only hastened new recruits into la résistance. We've had the same conversation about bombing civilians to kill terrorists. It just triples the numbers seeking revenge.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 8:47pm

    Once dissenters are prosecuted as seditionists

    Once dissenters are prosecuted as seditionists, it kinda legitimizes the Rebel Alliance.

    In 1940, Paris it seemed like the Nazis were going to win. They thought they were just going to have to keep cool forever. But then the Nazis kept abusing the civilians. They just couldn't help themselves. And for the Parisians, watching the brutality became too much: They were compelled to do something.

    It all started small, with phone-line cutting, tire slashing, taking down propaganda posters. But it rapidly got organized into a thriving sabotage campaign.

    Vive la résistance!

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 8:37pm

    How will this help?

    If the police don't obey laws, why will they obey rulings or court orders?

    And why aren't Brady lists public?

    Isn't lying in court perjury? Isn't there jail time?

    If one law enforcement officer likes with impunity, it compromises the integrity of the entire court system, and de-legitimizes its authority. That means the justice system doesn't operate under consent of the people but because the police have guns and will shoot civilians.

    But it's not one officer, it's a Brady list.

    Again, we need to abolish the entire justice system. Law Enforcement, the prosecutors, the courts, the prisons. The whole thing. We won't get a fair system until we do.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 5:35pm

    Repurchasing games

    Some titles I particularly like I re-purchased on GOG when they get cheap enough to do so, just so I have a version that can work without a client.

    But these are exceptions to the rule, generally.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 11:24am


    You know, Carl Sagan put it more eloquently, which even knocked the wind out of Lovecraft's explorations of human insignificance. Kansas did us even one better.

    Welcome to absurdism, pal. Surprise! Sisyphus loves his rock and his toil. It's his jam.

  • Sep 17th, 2020 @ 11:17am

    Buying Half Life 2 used

    Actually that's exactly what I did. I bought someone else's account which only had the Valve suite. It means the root name of my account is not related to me, but I could change the public name (and have).

    After all these years, I am curiously not bothered by the strange name on my account at all.

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 9:21pm

    I've already learned to live without EA Games

    When EA launched Origin and mandated the service, it came quickly that the TOS allowed EA to scan our computers for whatever they wanted and terminate accounts for any reason or one. I had Compuserve flashbacks and stopped patronizing EA.

    And terminate they did. Frequently. The most common crime to bring the banhammer was speaking ill of EA or Origin or of EA games on the forum service. (Racism, Misogyny and general abuse typical of teenage flame wars wasn't punished.) Entire libraries were lost.

    It's now a common policy for experienced EA players to create separate Origin accounts for each game title so that a ban only costs them a single game... and whatever microtransactions they bought. It also helps to just not engage the EA community, on the forums or wherever.

    Speaking of which, Star Wars Battlefront II remains the cautionary tale about lootboxes. (It was an EA representative who used made the surprise mechanics justification) EA continues to do the Star Wars licensed games an injustice by focusing so much on turning them into predatory markets. That hasn't changed, though I heard Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has minimal microtransactions. Still Squadrons is ready to take our money and how!

    Maybe when The Sims IV has a complete version for a steal, available without Origin, I might pick it up. For now, it's three digits for all the stuff and the furniture sets are sparse for the amount paid. Other than that, they've either stopped all the franchises I liked, or brought them to ruin.

    I've never really had reason to regret my oath never to install Origin.

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 2:49pm

    That's "Fringe Hypothesist!"

    No. All our federal politicians have to operate with campaign supporters, not just direct monetary contributors. They all operate with superpacs and dark money And a good portion of them require policy concessions for their support. Ms. Harris is like the rest of them, and I'd expect (but haven't confirmed) her most influential benefactors would come from those with close ties to the justice system, considering she has close ties to the justice system. There really are shadowy masters.

    That tells me she's not willing to reform the system to the degree that it would need to be reformed to stop the killing and assure the rule of law is sufficiently upheld.

    According to Professor Lessig has argued, big money has been determining primaries at least as early as Boss Tweed. Since then, the influence of petitioning citizens to their elected officials in changing positions and policy to be exactly zero. It's a flat line. Our elected officials do what they want once in office.

    Perhaps I was being hyperbolic (or at least sensational), though some of our plutocrats actually do hang out with each other cackling over bigoted jokes and expensive cigars in dark conservatories while plotting world domination. That has a history in the US dating back to our robber barons, and the cigars and conservatories have far from gone out of style.

    And to be fair, Osama Bin Laden did, in fact, create a large complex plot to hijack airliners and crash them into important buildings in the US. Sometimes IRL, plots are not merely conspired but carried out to completion.

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 12:07pm

    Harris' dark work

    Considering her rise to power was by utilizing the funnel-to-prison pipeline, I'm worried too many of her shadowy masters will keep her in lockstep with the fascist police state.

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 12:03pm

    Plausible worst case scenarios

    We've seen police and elected officials use worst case scenarios often to defend their bad choices.

    The next line of argument is, well, how often do plausible worst case scenarios actually occur? It's right to look at the hazards caused by policy (or lack of policy), but that needs to be assessed and compared to the hazards that already exist.

    Little girls occasionally do get snatched up by total strangers and then trafficked as sex slaves. That's a non-zero factor. But by far, abductions are by known adults (other parents and guardians) and kids are (90%+) returned safe and untraumatized. And yet we spent decades imagining a stranger-danger model of kidnappings.

    Right now, police officers are far more dangerous than armed lunatics. Even when we account for the belligerent ones.

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 11:54am

    Insanity vs. On Drugs

    Not much. The latter has the advantage that sobriety usually only a short matter of time away, though depending on the circumstances that can be unpleasant or dangerous.

    In the recovery sector someone inebriated in unsafe circumstances is looked at as a symptom of a bigger problem that got him (her) snookered and in public. All recreational use of drugs are self medication, and indicative of dysfunction.

    (Granted there are caveats here. Temperate use of booze, pot or even meth might be a better alternative to stressing out over your shit job and abusing your loved ones. And if you took acid in a place you expected to be safe, and it got interrupted by a fire or swat raid, or California earthquake, well, there are bigger things going on.)

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 11:43am

    Hence the gray.

    Well, yes. Banksy produces evocative graffiti and operates outside the system in which property is recognized. Which is why it seems out of character that Banksy would endorse or utilize IP laws.

    Banksy art should be public domain by definition, but then we human beings are so, so bad with consistently adhering to principles.

    That's why I wondered if he's hungry. The litigation feels desperate.

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