before putting energy into a gun ban, let’s be smart and ban gun images in all media – including video games…..and then ban psychiatric ‘medicines’ …

By: Cliff High ( http://www.halfpasthuman.com/gunban.html )

Yes, i would allow an exception for any psychiatric ‘medicine’ that the makers, including all scientists, technicians, and officers, including board members of the corporation were willing to take as prescribed for 5 years……and then only if 250 randomly chosen, board certified, licensed psychiatrists would also take the ‘medicines’, along with members of their immediate families….

As to the gun images….the Main Stream Media will NEVER agree….they make too much money off the death of innocents, and their propagandizing of death. Take guns out of media? The horror! What will the zionist media masters do for ‘visual pop’ in their productions if we remove all the violence that they force down all media tubes. All of it focused on…you got it…guns.

But, realistically, it is the incessant mind control by bombardment of violent imagery that is the real culprit, not the weapon chosen.

However, the powers-that-be seek to remove guns from the populace of earth as a prerequisite to their new world of ‘order’.

Their approach is trauma, and horror, and propaganda.

Their fear was reputedly misattributed to Isoroku Yamamoto, Fleet Commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War 2, in which he supposedly said that “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.

While there is dispute that Yamamoto made this statement, it would seem that tptb would not dispute its truth.

Steam: The Greatest Game Ever

I’m so grateful for the Steam app for Android. (Also available for iOS.)

Why all the excitement over the app? And why would I go so far out of my way to check the Steam sale every day?

Because Steam is, itself, a game. A game that crosses the lines of virtual spaces and real life — a meta-game, if you will — but a game of sorts nonetheless.

How so? Because Steam is about more than playing games. It’s about collecting games, and getting the best deals possible while doing so. It’s a shopping game, I suppose, almost the opposite of Recettear, because in this case it’s Gabe yelling “Capitalism, Ho!” as we scramble to get the best deals on software we may never use.

It became clear to me that Steam was about collecting games at least as much as playing them when I found Lambent Stew’s Steam Profile Analysis page earlier this year. While Steam Calculator is a great way to see how much your Steam catalog is “worth” (I’m over $3,400), the profile analysis tells you how many of your games you have actually played. (Mind you, even starting a game once will put it into the “played” category; that’s pretty generous.)

So. Yeah. I’m only at 58%. I have 133 games I haven’t so much as touched, yet I keep buying more. And my percentage may be on the high side. My friend Kelly is at an abysmal 22% played. Nevertheless, I have been gossiping eagerly about the next Steam Holiday Sale, because we want more. If Steam was just about playing games, why would we want more than we could possibly ever play? Why would we have so many games sitting unplayed in our accounts?
That awkward moment when you go to buy a game… and realize you already own it.

Steam gives us deals so good that we addicts often can’t say no, even if we have a backlog that could last us the next three years. If our collections weren’t virtual, we’d probably be labeled hoarders for our compulsive purchasing.

Want more evidence that Steam is also a “game”? Valve added Badges during the last Summer Sale. In other words, Steam has its own achievements, just like any other game. Valve also breaks the fourth wall with their crazy ARGs, and the odd games they come up with during certain sales (remember all those potatoes?). By linking different games together through ARGs, allowing the trading of items within Steam, etc., they make the platform itself a game space.

But here’s the thing: Steam is a damn fun game. I enjoy checking compulsively for deals on Steam and other sites. Part of the fun is seeing how good a deal you can get on a game, even if you could afford it at regular price. And playing “The Steam Game” can have benefits for your gaming diet in general. I find myself more likely to buy and play outside my usual comfort zone because most games eventually reach impulse-buy price levels. Some of my favorite games over the last few years have been indie games I picked up on sale, and if I’m unsure about a $60 AAA title I can always wait for the price to drop a bit so it’s less of a risk. Finally, from an industry standpoint, purchasing more games but at lower prices “spreads the wealth” a bit more between AAA publishers and smaller developers.

In any case, the Steam Holiday Sale will be starting in a few days and I can’t wait to play Steam: The Game during its yearly climax — even if it’s on my phone! I leave you with this great wallpaper PC Gamer made a couple years ago

 

Google Nexus 10 – The Best Tablet on the Market?

I am sure that the title for this article is enough to make any Apple Follower’s blood boil. However, if online reviews are to be believed then this statement could actually be true. As you are probably aware, the latest incarnation from Samsung and Google has been attracting praise wherever you turn. Having tried it out myself, it certainly is up there with some of the best tablet computers on the market. Some analysts are even predicting that it can even outsell the iPad 4, and that is a pretty bold statement to make! Let’s take a little look in depth at a comparison between the two products.Nexus 10

Of course, if this is really going to be an iPad Killer it needs to have sublime specifications. When you first take a look at the Nexus 10 you will most likely be blown away by the 2560 x 1600 resolution screen. For the more technical minded out there, this is a Plane-to-Line Switching Display, for the less technically minded this means it is brilliant! Underneath this, you have a Dual Core Exynos 520 Processor and a Malu-T604 GPU. To cap it off, there is 2GB of RAM. All of this add up to a pretty powerful tablet computer, and something that can certainly rival the iPad.  In case you are not aware, the Google Nexus 10 runs on Jelly Bean 4.2, which is arguably the smoothest operating system that Google have release to date.

All of these specifications add up to a pretty smooth experience, whether you are viewing High-Definition Movies on your Google Nexus 10 or playing the latest blockbusting tablet game. With multiple viewing angles on the screen as well as top quality speakers, this is an experience that is worth writing home about.

However, in this day and age it isn’t all about hardware. For many tablet owners the look of the machine is ever so important, as well as the build quality. In some regards here the Google Nexus 10 falls far short of its competitor.

Samsung is one of the best manufacturers out there for smart devices, they always manage to pack quality into their machines. However, one thing they are renowned for is cutting back on the costs of aesthetics and build quality, and that ultimately leads to a plastic-looking device. Sadly, they have fallen into the same trap with the Nexus 10.

Don’t get me wrong, the Nexus 10 doesn’t look bad per se. However, when you compare it to the rugged metal exterior of the iPad 4 you can quickly tell that it leaves a lot to be desired. The same problem also seems to manifest itself in the flagship smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S3.

However, looks can be deceiving! As everybody knows, dropping an iPad of any description is never going to be an enjoyable experience. Many people have suggested that despite the ‘plastic’ feel of the Google Nexus 10, it does seem a bit more capable of standing up to a bit of rough and tumble. Drop the iPad from a height greater than a couple of inches and you should be heading off to that Apple store pretty soon to purchase a new one!

Third Party Accessories also seem to be key for the success of a tablet computer. As you are probably aware, Apple have recently shifted over to a new dock connector, and of course, no manufacturers have managed to catch up with the technology to release some products that are compatible with it. Whereas the Nexus 10 uses standard ports such as MicroUSB and Micro HDMI which means it is incredibly simple to find compatible devices. In my experience, Jellybean doesn’t seem quite so picky about what you connect up to it either, and that is always going to be a plus, particularly when it comes to Bluetooth devices.

It isn’t all rosy when it comes to applications for the Nexus 10 however. The Google Play market has exploded as of late, and it is fast catching up to Apple. However, one problem with the market is that there is a lack of table optimized apps. There are further problems caused by the fact that the Nexus 10 has such a beautiful display, and yet very few applications know how to utilize it properly. Reviews seem to have been quick to pick up on this, and it appears to be one of the most common complaints with the Google Nexus 10. Don’t expect this to change anytime soon either, we are still waiting for app designers to catch up with the Google Nexus 7, which had a ‘lesser’ display.

For most people, the operating system will be the deciding factor in their hunt for a new tablet. In my opinion, it really does depend on who is using the tablet. If you are after something which is fast, stable and simple to use then opt for the iPad 4. However, many people love a great deal more control over their devices, and in that case the Nexus 10 will be the one to go for. In my opinion, I would go for Android all the time as it really does resonate with me a lot, it is simple to use and the customization options are sublime.

If price is going to be more of a determining factor for you, then it is worth noting that the Google Nexus 10 is considerably cheaper than the iPad 4. That isn’t too bad as these are devices which are pretty much on par with each other, so this may swing it in favour of the Nexus 10 for some people.

Disable background data and auto sync on Jelly Bean.

I had been looking for a way to disable the background syncing that happens in jelly bean to conserve battery and couldn’t find the option under settings.

Turns out it has been hidden away. To get to it go to:

->Settings

->Data usage

->Tap the three dots at the top right.

->Tap the check boxes for “Restrict Background Data” and “Auto Sync Data”.

This should greatly improve battery life if you are running low.

HSBC has to be Prosecuted.

Apparently,I’m not the only one who believe HSBC should be treated like any other legal person who helped drug gangs and terrorists launder money.

Both Chuck Grassley and Jeff Merkley have written Eric Holder letters complaining about this treatment.

Here’s Grassley (who, as he notes elsewhere in the letter, is the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has demanded a briefing):

I write today to express my continuing disappointment with the enforcement policies of the Department of Justice (Department). On December 12, 2012, the Department entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with HSBC, a global bank that has now admitted to violating federal laws designed to prevent drug lords and terrorists from laundering money in the United States. While the Department has publicly congratulated itself for this settlement, the truth is that the Department has refused to prosecute any individual employees or the bank responsible for these crimes. This troubling lack of real enforcement will have consequences for the health of our economy and the safety and prosperity of the American people.

[snip]

In spite of this egregious criminal conduct, the DPA fails in finding the proper punishment for the bank or its employees.  Under its terms, the DPA obligates HSBC to pay $1.92 billion to the federal government, improve its internal AML controls, and submit to the oversight of an outside monitor for five years.   Despite the fact that this is a “record” settlement,  for a bank as gigantic as HSBC this is hardly even a slap on the wrist.  It only amounts to between 9 and 11% of HBSC’s profits last year alone,  and is a bare fraction of the sums left unmonitored.

[snip]

Even more concerning is the fact that the individuals responsible for these failures are not being held accountable.  The Department has not prosecuted a single employee of HSBC—no executives, no directors, no AML compliance staff members, no one.  By allowing these individuals to walk away without any real punishment, the Department is declaring that crime actually does pay.  Functionally, HSBC has quite literally purchased a get-out-of-jail-free card for its employees for the price of $1.92 billion dollars.

[snip]

Past settlements with large banks prove that they do nothing to change what appears to be a culture of noncompliance for some businesses.According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, jail time is served by over 96 percent of persons that plead or are found guilty of drug trafficking, 80 percent of those that plead or are found guilty of money laundering, and 63 percent of those caught in possession of drugs.[6]  As the deferred prosecution agreement appears now to be the corporate equivalent of acknowledging guilt, the best way for a guilty party to avoid jail time may be to ensure that the party is or is employed by a globally significant bank  In March 2010, the Department arranged a then-record $160 million deferred prosecution agreement with Wachovia based on its laundering of more than $110 million from Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.   Officials at the time stated that “blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations.”   In this case, a bank escaped with a record monetary settlement and a conspicuous absence of individuals behind bars.  If the story sounds eerily similar, that’s because it is.  It happened again with HSBC. [my emphasis]

And here’s Merkley (who is on the Senate Banking Committee):

I do not take a position on the merits of this or any other individual case, but I am deeply concerned that four years after the financial crisis, the Department appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution.This “too big to jail” approach to law enforcement, which deeply offends the public’s sense of justice, effectively vitiates the law as written by Congress. Had Congress wished to declare that violations of money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and a number of other illicit financial actions would only constitute civil violations, it could have done so. It did not.

[snip]

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, jail time is served by over 96 percent of persons that plead or are found guilty of drug trafficking, 80 percent of those that plead or are found guilty of money laundering, and 63 percent of those caught in possession of drugs.[6] As the deferred prosecution agreement appears now to be the corporate equivalent of acknowledging guilt, the best way for a guilty party to avoid jail time may be to ensure that the party is or is employed by a globally significant bank. [my emphasis]

Note, unlike Lanny Breuer, both Senators mention terrorism (though Merkley seems unaware how serious HSBC’s ties to Islamic terrorist financing are).

More importantly, they sound like the rest of us “conspiracy theorists”, making the audacious argument that banks ought to be subject to laws.

If their is someone you hate, give them Windows 8!

Microsoft is no stranger to criticism these days, and the company’s new Windows 8 platform is once again the target of a scathing review from a high-profile user. Well-known Internet entrepreneur and MIT professor Philip Greenspun handed Windows 8 one of its most damning reviews yet earlier this week, calling the new operating system a “Christmas gift for someone you hate.” Greenspun panned almost every aspect of Microsoft’s new software, noting that Microsoft had four years to study Android and more than five to examine iOS, but still couldn’t build a usable tablet experience.

“The only device that I can remember being as confused by is the BlackBerry PlayBook,” Greenspun wrote on his blog after using Windows 8 on a Dell (DELL) XPS One All-in-One desktop PC. The acclaimed computer scientist noted that Microsoft omitted all of the best features from the most popular touch-focused platforms and instead created a user interface he describes as a “dog’s breakfast.”

“Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of an iPad, and an expert user of an Android phone… you will have no idea how to use Windows 8,” Greenspun wrote.

He continued, “Some functions, such as ‘start an application’ or ‘restart the computer’ are available only from the tablet interface. Conversely, when one is comfortably ensconced in a touch/tablet application, an additional click will fire up a Web browser, thereby causing the tablet to disappear in favor of the desktop. Many of the ‘apps’ that show up on the ‘all apps’ menu at the bottom of the screen (accessible only if you swipe down from the top of the screen) dump you right into the desktop on the first click.”

The only praise Greenspun offered was that “some of the supplied apps are wonderful,” pointing to Microsoft’s Bing Finance application as an example.

Take a Moment: Today is 12/12/12

If you’ve logged into your Facebook account today, you probably read chatter about today’s date being 12/12/12. The hype about the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century started earlier this week with several photos doing the rounds pointing out the significance of today’s date. Whether it was referred to as ‘sound check day’ or simply 12/12/12, the fact remains that we won’t see another date like this for a long time to come. There is no thirteenth month, folks.

According to the Toronto Star, the city has seen an influx of people getting married. A spokesperson for the city guessed that City Hall saw roughly four times the number of weddings compared to a normal Wednesday. If three 12s just aren’t enough for you, you could have had three more at lunchtime today (and just after midnight this morning). Did you screenshot the time when it was 12:12:12 on 12/12/12? Let me know if you’re doing anything special on this notable day! Me? Gonna meditate a bit.

Keep the internet open and free, out of control freaks hands

Should countries be encouraged to set up online tollgates that would allow them to monitor and charge for the content of communications crossing their borders?

In the U.S., thank goodness, both political parties reject the idea. But some other governments — chiefly Russia and China — advocate expanding the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations, to push forward such an approach. A global conference of more than 150 countries convened this week in Dubai to consider it.

The idea also has some support from telecommunications companies, notably the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, that would like to assess fees on content providers — online video companies, for instance. They would like, in other words, to be able to make money not only from their subscribers, but also from any business hoping to use their wires to reach those subscribers.

In an age when global networks are used increasingly for important purposes such as electronic health record-keeping and long-distance education, it is essential that ITU governments continue to say no to tollgates and monitoring of all kinds — and preserve the open Internet we have had since its inception.

The World Conference on International Telecommunications is being held in Dubai this week and next to update the treaty that governs how communications networks connect to one another around the world — regulations that have existed since the 19th century but haven’t been revised since 1988, before the Internet became what it is today.

Profit Motive

The government representatives attending the conference hold their discussions behind closed doors. Still, it is easy enough to understand the commercial interest being generated — simply by following the money.

Once upon a time, telecommunications operators earned their money chiefly from people using telephones. These profits have been undermined by the popularity of less expensive online communications services such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and now the companies are looking for new sources of revenue. They can’t charge fees to content providers, however, unless they know what content is crossing their lines. The Internet-control strategy that some governments want would give them the capacity to sniff out that content.

Just before the Dubai conference began, the standards arm of the ITU quietly endorsed a new “deep packet inspection” policy that would have standard Internet technology include mechanisms for examining the content of Internet communications. (A copy of the proposed standard, which was distributed to member countries but not the public, has been leaked.) Thus, governments could monitor political messages, and telecommunications companies could find out whether users employ applications, such as online telephone services, that might compete with the companies’ businesses.

At the Dubai meeting, Russia and a number of Middle Eastern countries have called to make this standard mandatory for all Internet technology companies and network operators’ equipment.

The Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit organization in Washington that promotes Internet freedom, says that the technical standard could “give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an Internet user’s traffic — including emails, banking transactions and voice calls — without adequate privacy safeguards.”

Surveillance

This kind of wholesale surveillance would enable profit- maximizing network operators to charge special fees for particular uses of the Internet. Under the draft standard, Internet users wouldn’t have the ability to cloak traffic in virtual envelopes that would keep it private. Needless to say, no consideration has been made for the security risks posed by adding such sniffing capabilities to a network.

The outcome of the Dubai meeting, standing alone, is not likely to change the Internet used by people in the U.S. Congress would have to adopt any treaty amendments before they could be effective in the U.S. There is little danger of that happening. For good measure, on Dec. 5, the House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution opposing centralized UN control of the Internet.

What’s at stake, however, is the free global Internet pathway. If any one country erected a toll system by itself, it would probably lose its connection to the rest of the Web and become an unpopular and isolated island. But if a large group of countries collectively agreed that such toll-taking makes sense, the decision could change the architecture and generative nature of the Internet for everyone.

 

Valve set to release a console.

Valve has stayed mostly quiet about its plans to enter the hardware business, but in an interview with Kotaku at the other night’s Video Game Awards, Gabe Newell confirmed the company’s plans to sell its own living room PC that could compete with next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The biggest revelation is that Valve seems set to release its own complete hardware and software solution. When we first reported that the company was working on a “Steam Box” back in March, it appeared that Valve was working on a prototype that would establish a baseline for hardware manufacturers, but it wasn’t clear if the company would sell its own product or simply release the designs to others. Newell’s comments to Kotaku provide a much clearer picture of what’s happening; Newell said that he expects companies to start selling PCs designed for the living room next year — which Kotaku says could have Steam preloaded — and that Valve will create its own distinct package.

SURPRISE: VALVE WILL CREATE ITS OWN CAREFULLY MANAGED PC ECOSYSTEM

Newell suggests that the company will create its own carefully managed PC ecosystem that’s distinct from the one offered by other hardware partners — a possibility that I came to after looking at the company’s comments and actions in recent years, including its aversion to Windows 8, its recent embrace of Linux, and its existing push into the living room with Steam’s Big Picture Mode. Newell tells Kotaku that “our hardware will be a very controlled environment,” and that some people will want a “turnkey” solution for their living room. “The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions,” he said. “Customers can find the ones that work best for them.”

As a digital distribution platform, Steam is wildly successful, with more than five million concurrent users on any given day and over 50 million users in total (by comparison, Xbox Live has more than 40 million users). But Valve doesn’t reap any income from the sale of hardware that runs its platform or the software it hosts, and the company doesn’t control Windows, which is the most popular platform among computers running Steam.

Newell stopped short of saying that the company was building a Linux-based Steam OS, but he reportedly said that the next step for the company’s living room operation is to enable Big Picture on Steam for Linux. From there, the timeline is still pretty murky — I only know that Newell expects some hardware to show up sometime next year — but Valve’s intent to compete in the living room in a big way is no longer a secret.