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Anyone heard of Soft82?

This morning I checked my e-mail to find two messages from soft82.com.  The first was to tell me the following:

“SoundBoard has been tested by soft82.com team against viruses, spyware, adware, trojan, backdoors and was found to be 100% clean. Our editors will recheck this software periodically to assure that it remains clean.”

They then linked me to their new product page for SoundBoard:

http://www.soft82.com/download/windows/soundboard/

In a separate e-mail, I was informed that SoundBoard “has been given 5 Stars Award by soft82.com editors” and that I should download a copy of their award image to display on my site.  Oh, but I can’t link to their copy – I have to host my own local copy.  Bandwidth cheapskates can’t even let me link to a 3.25KB image…  And even better, judging by the list of available images on their awards page, they don’t even bother with anything other than 5/5 stars.

Anyway, I looked at the page they made for SoundBoard.  They basically copy-pasted my description from my own SoundBoard page, minus a few letters (can’t have complete sentences now, can we?), and proudly announced that it’s virus-free.  They’re hosting the screenshot image themselves, but they didn’t make it, they just copied mine.

Now, if you were to click “Free Download”, you’ve already incremented their “All Time Downloads” counter, even though you haven’t chosen a mirror yet.  Even better, the only mirror they list is my own download URL –  they can’t even bother to host a copy of the shareware themselves.  It’s like a 100KB file!

Of course, that’s probably a good thing.  They linked to the URL that always points to the latest version of the shareware, so even if I release a SoundBoard update today, anyone who downloads SoundBoard through their site will get 2.3 instead of the 2.2 advertised there.

I can’t really complain.  It’s free advertising, and free advertising is, after all, free.  I just thought it was somewhat amusing.  Their site seems a little fishy to me, but as long as they’re linking directly to me for the downloads, I don’t have any problem at all with the situation.  I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’m going to put their award image on my site or not…

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Boycott Eidos Interactive

This is something that happened around May 2008, but I thought I’d share it with you.  There are several incidences of idiocy in this story, but at least it has a happy(ish) ending.

This is one of those posts that’s kind of long.  You may want to grab yourself a snack before you read any further.

I was looking through Steam’s game offerings one day, when I noticed the Commandos pack (containing all four Commandos games) for a relatively decent price.  I bought it, and happily downloaded my four new games.

Figuring I’d start at the beginning, I started up Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines and played the first mission.  Halfway through, I had to leave the computer, so I attempted to save and quit.

The “save” option was grayed out.  A few hours of googling confirmed it – Commandos does not work properly on Windows XP, and there’s basically no consistent way to fix it.

So, I e-mailed Eidos tech support, explaining where I bought the game (Steam) and what the problem was (the Save option is grayed out and unusable).  Their auto-response on May 10 read “we’ll assign a tech to this as soon as possible.”

(more…)

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Compromise

I saw one of Apple’s (presumably) new PC vs Mac ads today.  (Some of you are going to say “that’s not new”.  I don’t watch much TV, so it may as well be.)  The ad in question is the one with the guy that plays Putty in Seinfeld.

A girl is looking for a new computer.  She lists off a bunch of features she wants; Putty (the PC) says he has them.

Then, the kicker: “I don’t want to have to deal with thousands of viruses.”

Putty says “Oh.  Well all PCs have that.”  Unsurprisingly, she says she’ll just get a Mac.

What’s wrong with this picture?  Oh yeah.  “Thousands of viruses.”  Really?  When was the last time you encountered a computer that had thousands of viruses on it?  Even if you can think of a time, I’ll bet the user was doing something completely and utterly moronic (like installing every pirated program in sight, or surfing porn sites, or opening every spam e-mail, or… you get the idea).

Guess what?  Macs won’t protect stupid users from doing stupid things.  There are viruses out there for OSX, using the same tactics that they’re using for stupid PC users.

My Windows machines never get viruses.  Sure, I run Avast! Antivirus, but I doubt I need it.  It’s more a formality than anything.  Want to know my secret?

I’m not a moron. I don’t follow links in spam e-mail or seedy websites.  I don’t visit porn sites.  I don’t install pirated software.  Basically, I employ a little thing called “common sense”.

I can’t say I blame Apple for exploiting America’s obvious lack of this essential skill, but I’m still allowed to be annoyed by it.  My rage is more directed at American stupidity than Apple’s slightly deceptive or misleading advertising.

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Time snafu

It seems the time zone wasn’t set correctly on my server, and I have no idea what the timestamps on the last three posts should have been.  I changed them based on how wrong I think the server’s setting was, but I can’t reconcile the times I ended up with with what my memory tells me about when I wrote them.

Rather than try to figure it out, I’m just going to leave them the way they are.

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C&C 4’s title

For years, C&C fans have referred to the closing chapter of the Tiberian saga as “Tiberian Twilight”.  No, I mean literally.  Nearly a decade.  Back in April 2000, PlanetCNC.com’s Tiberian Twilight page said the following:

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberian Twilight will be the third game in the C&C trilogy. Westwood hasn’t given any official word on the game yet

So it came as a surprise almost a month ago when EA announced a “Name the Game” contest for C&C4.  I’ll quote the PlanetCNC post:

The final winner will be chosen based on three criteria:

  1. Creativity
  2. Originality
  3. Relevance to the plot

It would seem that the first two criteria effectively eliminate the possibility of Tiberian Twilight being chosen…

I submitted a pair of entries.  I forget what they were; it’s not really relevant.  Imagine my surprise when today I see the following picture on the official CommandCom blog of the unveiling of the new name:

tibtwilight

Notice anything about that picture?  Maybe the title of the game?

Yeah.  It’s the one that was essentially disqualified from the contest.  EA, what was the point of having the contest in the first place if you were just going to use the name you basically said you weren’t going to use?

What was the point of promising a reward for choosing a unique, creative name and having it chosen for the game, if you weren’t going to choose anyone’s entry anyway?

I feel vaguely insulted.

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