Gah!

Lady Gaga has become the first living person to have more than 10 million fans on Facebook with her tally standing at 10,673,476 (5 July).

According to new research by online site Famecount, the star recently overtook Barack Obama (9,824,885) to claim the number one spot.

Source

The term “like flies to a shit” springs to mind.

Get off my Internet!

Banned! Article: Get off my Internet http://www.koffdrop.com/?p=999

Whilst my own online social activities (arguing on message-boards) have diminished to nothing, I still read many sites and observe comments and responses posted by readers.

Following big announcements, such as the type made at annual shows, there tend to be plenty of extra-sensationalist news articles produced that tend to elicit a more intense type of response than normal. In part, these responses are provoked by the presentation of the article. Making comments and refreshing a page all counts towards pages hits and advertising exposure for the site. It’s not in the site’s interest to have people just calmly acknowledge what was written, after all.

Things can get to a point where conflicting views result in a call to have someone banned from posting or for there be some other means to suppress the disagreeable opinions of a poster.

The internet is an amazing place. It gives everyone a voice. People practice this freely (as I am doing now) as is their right. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, in my opinion, and so it makes no sense to practice ones freedom of speech by dictating who else may or may not speak. It demonstrates insularity and narrow-mindedness that someone is so wrapped up in having their own voice acknowledged that they feel justified in silencing others to do so. Nobody likes a loudmouth – especially one with double standards.

Or to put it into game terms: if you can only win by cheating the rules, you’re just showing you lack the skills to take part. Maybe this game isn’t for you.

In my experience when issues arise where one person experiences difficulties stemming from the behaviour of others there tend to be two approaches to take:

  • Petition to others that their behaviour be modified to suit you whilst you continue to behave as you normally do.
  • Modify your own behaviour to accommodate the circumstances of the issue.

In short: there’s things you can reasonably control and there’s things you can’t.

Now, the forms those two options take may be many and varied. For example, you can expect other road users to get out of your way, responding to your aggressive driving and beeping your car horn or you could start your journey earlier so that their behaviour won’t impact on you quite so heavily.

If you find the online community of those around you to be too ignorant, biased and narrow-minded you can argue your superior knowledge with them or you can leave them to their own devices. That one can take a while to sink in!

The mature response to those that consistently say things you don’t like the sound of is to simply ignore them.

Ignoring things is easy on the internet. You just don’t read whatever it is you want to ignore. Or, if you’re particularly disciplined, you’ll scroll the offending text off the screen or maybe even cease to visit the page the text is on. All methods that are simple to grasp and execute without calling upon anyone to make some sort of change on your behalf.

Expecting gamers, shielded by anonymity, throwing personal insults and making threats to take this pro-active approach to this is, of course, totally unrealistic. Remember, we’re talking about a culture that expects to be handed absolutely everything on a plate, doesn’t actually know what they want but will complain that they don’t get it and persistently present themselves as victims of corporate greed.

Really, how on earth could they possibly be expected to scroll past some text on a screen?

Such lack of discipline is exemplified by a variety of sites that allow comments to be graded by others. Some sites even go as far as hiding comments that have been graded especially poorly by other site members. I don’t recall ever seeing one of these systems requiring voters to make themselves known or to justify their grading of others.

So, what you naturally get is a corruption of democracy. Get enough people to vote a comment down and you get it hidden. Demonstrating a mistaken belief in that dismissing a point is the same as disproving it.

Unpopular views, views that go against what people may wish to hear, are not necessarily invalid views. Were that the case then we’d all still be talking about the earth being flat and burning witches.

In my past I’ve belonged to online and also managed online communities and made many comments online. I’ve clashed with more people than I can possibly remember and, without question, I have always been right. Always! Others have not always appreciated this fact but, showing mercy and benevolence, I have never called upon others to have these people removed from my presence. Sometimes it has been better to educate them or let them dig a hole for themselves so that their inadequacies are more clearly broadcast to others. In some cases I simply move on.

I read some sites with increasing amusement, witnessing people’s inability to control their own behaviour whilst demanding changes be instated to control the behaviour of others. I don’t think this is a good solution to an issue. In case you find yourself disagreeing with me, I’ve installed such a function to help you. If you look at the very top-right of your window you’ll find an ignore button installed, marked by an “X” in a square. Click on it whenever you think I should go away and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Aren’t I nice?

Watch me not care

Following on from my previous post, the fallout from the sheer apathy towards the discussion of the Digital Economy bill is, in my opinion, quite justified.

Given the significance of the bill and what it means (and the path if paves for further actions against freedom of speech on the internet) it is deplorable that so few politicians could even be bothered to turn up and discuss it.

The old discussing the new

More feedback can be observed at

BBC – Digital Election, day one

Debillitated (heaps of images, bandwidth intensive)

And if you’re wondering whether your mp was one of the 600+ that failed to turn up for work you can check on this page.

Mine didn’t. And I very much look forward to asking him why when he hits his campaign trail hoping to secure my vote.

I already find it hard to care about the forthcoming election.

Call this a democracy?

The Digital Economy bill – which includes plans for the PEGI ratings system to be passed into law – is set for a crunch debate in the House of Commons today.

The controversial plans, which include the infamous ‘three strikes’ rule for pirates and file-sharers, have been labelled by some as a “rush job” – with Labour keen to get the bill through Parliament before it effectively closes its doors on Thursday for the General Election period.

Speaking at last week’s ELSPA Question Time event, Conservative shadow minister Ed Vaizey indicated that it was important for the bill to be passed before the election, because – in his eyes – it would difficult for a new Parliament to introduce it afterwards, while Labour MP Tom Watson accused the two main parties of cutting a deal, and branding the actions as shameful.

I’ve highlighted the part I find most pertinent. Source.

The attitude here is not whether the bill should be passed or not – as though that aspect of it is a foregone conclusion that needs no further discussion – but how much trouble it will be to pass it later rather than sooner.

Well, sorry politicians, just because it might mean a bit more work for you that’s no reason to cut corners or compromise the standards by which you are meant to govern and represent the interest of your constituents (you work for us, remember?) to slap some legislation through nice and quickly.

I’m a consumer. I’m also someone that’s worked in a creative industry, working on products aimed at the consumer and protected by copyright law. I know for a fact that people have stolen the work I’ve toiled for months and years over.

I also abhor censorship and am also in full favour of net neutrality. I don’t agree with the idea that a person or a group of people can dictate what information I may or may not be ready to deal with, that they know what is best for me. Such a mentality has repeatedly been proven to have the man-on-the-street’s interests last and control of information for a far less noble agenda first.

Piracy is wrong. It is a form of stealing. Regardless of how the moral pirates wish to spin it, they know that it is wrong. It is a result of opportunistic greed and desire. No pirate is ‘teaching the company’ a lesson by stealing their product. I’ve heard every pirate excuse under the sun and they’re all fundamentally flawed.

By extension, DRM and copyright protection is justified – and a response to piracy, not a cause of it (as some pirates would hope to convince you of). Admittedly, the execution of DRM needs some work, but it is a justified as the lock on your front door.

Given my stance on digital theft and on the openness of the internet I am interested in the Digital Economy bill and see it as something to be handled with care, not rushed through the legislative process for the convenience of people elected to serve me and my best interests.

The subtext of “when” and not “if” in the views expressed and the motives behind them are deplorable and show a worrying disparity between the decision makers and the people who will be affected by such decisions.

How would some of these politicos respond if it were being discussed “when” and not “if” they were going to return the expenses they scammed off the public?

Exactly.

UPDATE: Just saw this in my RSS feeds. I can say it’s especially comforting.

Another facelift

iNove WordPress Theme. Gone but not forgotten

WordPress, how I love thee!

The iNove theme I’ve been running this site with for a considerable amount of time has done a fantastic job. It’s been a decent balance of swishy graphics and open space for lengthy, ranty content. The time has come, however, for a change.

I’d been looking out for something rather spacious and generous with how it presents text. So many sites seem to use teeny-tiny text in cramped spaces. I can understand that you need to keep a lot of supplemental content on major sites, your “Follow me on Twitter” icon, your adverts and so forth.

As for me, I have none of that concern. Just a nice spacious bachelor-pad of a website to lounge around in and do as I wish. Hey, it’s not like anyone ever visits this place directly anyway, right?

The issue I face is that many of the typography-centric WordPress themes were a little too spartan in their design and, more often than not, completely monochromatic. Yes, I could play with the CSS and tweak another’s theme to suit my own ends but I’m not sure I have the energy and I tend to find that if you ever upgrade your modified theme with a new release of the original you have to take care to re-apply your edits. It rather dents the convenience of snap-on, snap-off themes. Even more so given the convenience with which WordPress lets you install, preview and apply them.

So, if you’re reading this in your RSS reader go and have a quick visit to the actual koffdrop.com site. See? I even linked it for you just now. Aren’t I nice? It’s graphics-lite so will load reasonably quickly and I’m sure it’ll add a momentary splash of colour to your day.

And if you’re wondering why anyone should give a hoot about typography then there’s hundreds of designers that’d like to talk to you. But, perhaps a more immediate example will give you an idea of the impact it can wield:

The Perfect Gaming News Website

I’ve expressed on more than one occaision my utter disdain at the state of the games media today.

A lot of this stems from watching all these hack ‘journalists’ letting their egos and bias get in the way of what’s most important – the information. Reading some new article presented as a 800 word fictional short-story depicting two people talking in a pub about a piece of information is 95% ego. If you want to write fiction then you’re in the wrong career. If you want a break from copy and pasting PR statements then, by all means, get another job. Don’t think your effort at ‘proper writing’ in the completely wrong context is what anyone actually wants to read. It’s like watching some no-hoper audition in X-factor claiming ruining an iconic song, crashing, burning, looking like an idiot and then claiming they sing their way instead of the proper way because “I make the song my own”.

There’s the point.

There’s you.

And there’s about 50 miles between the two.

I even read a recent article on one of those “gotta post everything” games blogs asking its readers if games were being spoiled by having too much information about them made available too early. At no point did the author ever consider that the gaming websites such as their own play a fundamental part in the oversaturation of information. No – it was everyone else’s fault but theirs.

Lack of accountability. What a cushy number that is. “But I’m just the messenger, I’m not to blame”. Bullshit and you know it.

…and breathe

So, out of nowhere comes a gaming news website that has no ego and no bias. Hell, there’s not even a flock of so called gaming intelligensia to argue over each other’s misinformed guesswork after every post.

It’s just a picture, a statement and absolutely nothing else. Draw your own conclusions. Think for yourself. What a lovely change from the rest!

http://www.allgamesbeta.info

That I should live to see this day..

That's one small tweet for a man, a giant tweet for mankind. ENLARGE YOUR PENIS NOW!

Space. Endless void. The remote inky darkness of a cold vacuum. Now with the added thrill of some nobody telling you what he just bought for lunch in Starbucks.

Nostradamus, it seems, has nothing on Douglas Adams.

Given the way technology has evolved since the dawn of time with discoveries like the wheel, fire and the astounding feat of visiting other planets, I can’t help but feel this is very much a step back towards the primordial soup.

Day of the Cat

I’ve always been a cat person, a trait I possibly inherited from my parents. There’s always been pet cats around me – since growing up, moving out, visiting family. They’re everywhere. It’s just as well I’m rather fond of them.

In fact, it seemed that we were pretty much the only people we knew in the area that didn’t a pet cat. Not that this was a factor in Dexter’s arrival into our first-floor flat last week. Dexter’s found his way into our home courtesy of a rescue centre as the poor fellah had a rough start in life. Fortunately he was found, looked after and is in good health today. He’s a handsome devil too.

Although Dexter is still wary of big clumsy humans and unfamiliar environments it hasn’t stopped either of us putting on silly high-pitched voices and coo-ing at him and making encouraging sounds at almost anything we see him do.

Pathetic isn’t it? 😀

Yet another bout of inactivity

There’s not been too much action at koffdrop.com in 2010.

I recently started a new job and there’s a lot to learn in the role. I don’t mind admitting that I’m rather brain-drained at the moment and not really up to doing anything cerebral in my free time – even something as undemanding as writing a blog post.

I am, as always, checking my RSS subscriptions and cherry-picking the stuff that catches my eye. You’ll see those reflected in the “Newsbites” area of the side-column. If you like, you can subscribe to the Newsbites as an RSS feed too.