Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015, Belatedly.

Progress Continues!

The holidays have proven distracting, on top of any number of other things, but they are nearly done with the impending new year. In the meantime, however, I believe Christmas Songs are still customary.

It's only six minutes, how bad could it be?

Meanwhile now that the actual Christmas is past- and thank you to the the staff who handled their collective Christmas Parties responsibly and without friction (though we again have security footage that will require deletion in some cases)- I have been able to get back to work properly and am beginning to find free time once again. Which, as some of you know, really should be much easier to do than it has been until recently.

A special shout-out if you will to the cult of Urmgosh the Nebulous. The Subterranean Facility loved your Christmas Pageant, but were- I suspect- appropriately confused by it. Was it supposed to be serious? A comedy? Parody or artistic? Primary descriptors used by the attendees were fascinating, surreal, and ineffable. I am sure Urmgosh the Nebulous, if they exist, would be very proud. Or possibly furious.

Looking over the video I was reminded of this. Inspiration perhaps? Be sure to have both clips playing at once, for full effect.

As you are all so fond of saying, no one can possibly know for sure. Possibly not even Urmgosh. Assuming of course they are real, which I personally would not advise.

A late Christmas gift to me personally was the reminder the odd person not paid in some way by me, or otherwise looking to destroy myself and all I have wrought, read this thing. Very novel. I shall have to try to upgrade the quality.

I hope everyone had a truly wonderful Christmas and likewise a fantastic New Year's Eve. New Year as well, naturally.

Progress continues!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Secret Diary of Darth Otion. Beware Force Awakens Spoilers.

Warning : Any witness to the writings within will be slain. My pain dairy is for me alone, as is my pain.

Fear the knowledge contained within, and flee from it.

Dear Diary,

We finally tracked down the map. Or would have, if General Hux's cannon fodder could do anything right. I had them slaughter the village we found the Resistance pilot in. One of the Stormtroopers, FN-2187, had some sort of mental breakdown, nothing else explains their looking directly upon my dread countenance. Perhaps they could see the deep pain I hide behind this horrifying mask instead. Moved to silent admiration for my commanding prescence despite the suffering I endure, mocked and bullied by the Light Side as I am.

I spared them, just in case.

Now though, I will extract the location of the map from the Resistance Pilot. He will see the Power of the Dark Side.

So noble I stand through my suffering. Life is pain, death is mercy, the villagers will never understand my kindness.

Dear Diary,

I found this taped on my door.

I think General Hux is behind it. When I find the minion he tasked with this, I will force-choke them to death. The idiot doesn't understand. The Lightcrossguard doesn't need to be functional or practical in any rational sense. It's symbolic. It embodies my noble purpose and dedication to a higher ideal. It looks so much more powerful than a conventional Lightsaber. If Darth Vader had used one, it's symbolic weight would have surely kept him from succumbing to the seduction of the Light Side.

It makes people take me seriously.

I found this on my door last month. They are so bitterly jealous of my dark erudition.
Dear Diary,

I was betrayed. It hurts, so badly. 

FN-2187, the Stormtrooper I was so kind as to spare, escaped with the Resistance pilot. Why must they hurt me so? Here I thought that they might have seen past my mask and into the true me, but where I imagined admiration I know now there was only jealousy.

I should have slain them then. Stupid of me. So stupid.

Darth Vader would not have made this mistake. I will pray to him for guidance.

Dear Diary,

General Hux fails me yet again. He's surely doing this on purpose, just to spite me. Master Snoke fails to see the truth, that they are sabotaging me at every turn. Still, he makes it clear to them that they must clean up this mess. Also my mess. I had to destroy so much equipment to vent my terrible rage over the news the Droid, and the map, escaped.

The only thing that soothed my rage was mention of a girl with the Droid. She's important to me somehow.

Master Snoke mentioned my incomplete training. Perhaps soon my trial comes, and I can finally free myself of the Light Side's offensive tugging at my soul. The pain will end, all I have to do is kill Dad.

I hope it counts. He's not even my real Dad.

Dear Diary,

We have destroyed the Republic. It would have been glorious, but for having to listen to General Hux prattle endlessly on about it. He knows nothing of true order. True power.

But enough about that cruel idiot.

We captured the girl. Her beauty calls to my tortured soul, I removed my terrible guise, to sooth her in turn with my handsomeness as I invaded her mind for the information I need. Unexpectedly she saw into my mind in return, and cruelly created lies about what she saw there.

Me? Afraid I am not as strong as Darth Vader? Absurd. I had to get out of there immediately to avoid bursting into laughter. Because it was laughable. I'm just as tough, or will be once I kill Daddy.

Dear Diary,

The girl is some sort of Light Side prodigy. She escaped. I was so angry, but then Daddy turned up. He asked me to take off my helmet while I spoke to him. The fool.

I asked him to help me, and he agreed. So I killed him. Even in the end he couldn't admit the truth. I am clearly adopted.

I LOOK NOTHING LIKE HIM OR 'MOM'. How long did they expect me not to NOTICE?!
Still, I think it worked. I feel much stronger now.

Dear Diary,

I was defeated today. I would have been killed, but the earth conveniently split me away from the girl, who despite being a Light Side Prodigy fortunately did not spontaneously master Force Jumping as well. It's so unfair. Being a Dark Lord is sooo haard, and no one understands!

I have no idea what went wrong. Perhaps killing Daddy wasn't enough because he wasn't even my real Dad. Master Snoke says it's time to complete my training anyway though.

It had better work. In the meantime I must find out who my real dad is, so I can find and kill them. Just to be sure.

I'm going to cut myself on the ride back to Master Snoke.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Viral Legacy

Progress continues.

Though I can take little credit for it. Having something of a sick day here. Vexing really, as for reasons I shouldn't get into that should have been nigh impossible. Still, I have a virus. But not Windows 10. It's biological.

If you choose the left option, Microsoft will reveal they actually already installed Windows 10 when you weren't looking.
The sad fact of this is that for most people this tactic will be successful. They will resent it though. People always resent it when you chip away at their freedom to choose. That's not going to stop "Behold my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Microsoft though.

They're really quite determined to force this, despite the fact that being a de-facto monopoly already ensures that the next time any of us buy a PC, Windows 10 will be right there on it complete with advertising and a pop-up that reminds you you can have a fully functional word processor/media player/etc. for a low low monthly fee.

They might as well slap in some novelty user avatars and rename it World of Windows Online: Through the Dork Portal.

A subscription model with a cash shop has been every company's wet dream since Blizzard's most successful skinner box. And of course this one comes with a surveillance package that makes NSA Directors jizz their pants. Though you can disable those, I'm told. At least until Microsoft patches out that option without telling you.

Enough about that, however. Normally I would not linger on this topic, but I am ill and cranky today and THAT, above, was the first thing to pop up and insult my intelligence. "Both buttons say to upgrade! Oh noes! I musts upgrade!"


Where was I... Oh yes. There is nothing like a bit of illness to make you ponder your legacy. After all, immortality is not on the table. When I am gone, and I must go eventually, what will I leave behind?

Surprisingly little that is attributable to me, as it happens. When I cease, so does Arketer Labs. I should have quite the long run yet and- worry not- all projects not completed by then will still be pursued. It just won't be by Arketer Labs.

Meanwhile I myself am indeed just a manager of the truly brilliant, with comparatively little aside of some, reputedly, good ideas that went into various projects. Still, when it is time for those projects to meet the world as a whole, my name won't be attached to them.

In a decade or so, perhaps I should settle down. Have an Heir or Heiress. Take a decade or so off of the expected end of my lifespan to open a cafe somewhere... Or I really rather think I would enjoy running one of these.

Well, time will tell.

Here, have something terrifying.

And now something less terrifying, courtesy of a friend.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dirty Windows

Progress Continues.

I personally use Windows. Just on the one computer as I find the novelty refreshing.

However over the past year or so I have been ever-increasingly annoyed with Microsoft's determination that I really should upgrade to Windows 10.

Windows justly caught a great deal of heat for that middle one.  It says "Upgrade now or Upgrade Later this thing is happening, Peon." 

Microsoft is an anti-competitive software Titan. They aren't going to give anything away if they aren't sure they will make more than enough money to compensate. This would perhaps be fine, if they were upfront about where they make their money.

That it should be free to the consumer is not good news to the consumer. Microsoft is loyal to money, but if the money is not coming from the consumer then Microsoft is not going to be loyal to the consumer.

So the question arises- Who is Microsoft loyal to now?

Clearly it is someone who can pay them enough money that they can eat losses in giving away copies of their software for free.

What then are they selling to this mystery buyer? It isn't software, clearly.

Rather than explain this however, Microsoft spares no expense to tout the many wonderful improvements Windows 10 offers over previous versions- Oh, and has now decided to no longer say what is in it's patches to Windows 10.

This is the New, More Open Microsoft.

Windows 10. "You'll pay, one way or another."

Really, the entire thing is an attempt to spite Google- itself a terrifyingly powerful company- but one with less in the way of villainy in it's history. Microsoft wants to take them down by getting your information before they can- and by subtly forcing you to use Bing.

You didn't think Cortana was googling anything, did you?

Meanwhile I rather prefer the old way of buying software once, rather than having my software replaced with something under subscription models bundled with intrusive spy and adware.

Of course, I do grant it would be that much worse if they did that AND made you pay for Windows 10. Which many will still have to do.

About the only good news on this point is that it lowers the bar even more for the Steam OS. Assuming Microsoft hasn't discreetly killed that somehow in a backroom somewhere.

Progress continues.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Subversive Heroism

Progress continues.

Not that I will be discussing it, of course. Instead I'm going to talk about a cartoon series that ran initially from 1983 to 1985.

I was a fan, at the time for all of the stupidest reasons- as befit my age.

The series covered the misadventures of an abomination of science, a malfunctioning cyborg with the IQ and self-awareness of a toddler. They were supposedly the hero, despite only ever accomplishing anything on their own through the sheerest chance.

Pitted against it was an organized terrorist organization lead by a criminal mastermind with the good sense to distance them so far from their crimes that not even the fans knew what they looked like.

Were it not for plot necessity and the intervention of two additional players, only the worst of outcomes could be expected, and that brings us to the true heroes of the series. A small girl genius and an improbably loyal dog genius.

The smartest characters in the entire series.
The team of Penny and Brain were responsible for nigh every case's successful resolution and while they tended to fall short of stopping the Nefarious Dr. Claw for good, still kept him and M.A.D. in check.

Penny often took great pains to ensure that her Uncle Gadget received credit for her and Brain's work. This was accepted without question. Presumably because it would have devastated Inspector Gadget to realize the truth, that he owed all of his success to his underage niece and dog, the latter whom he could not so much as recognize as a dog if Brain wore so much as a fake mustache.

Of course, it is more accurate to realize that Penny simply put her Uncle to very good use as she did what was necessary to thwart M.A.D.. Inspector Gadget was the bumbling, loud, noise-making useful idiot who drew the attention of the nefarious while the Competents- Penny and Brain- actually got things done.

Letting him have the official credit is, if anything, a bargain for the amount of threat his bungling diverted. It no doubt helps she probably did care about her Uncle. Indeed, why not let him have the acclaim for the risk he put himself at?

Perhaps more importantly, in a practical world had her role in affairs become public- she would likely soon become unable to participate in resolving future threats. Either simply for being underage- adults would reasonably wish to spare a child from danger, or because thus clearly identified they would have been much more directly targeted by M.A.D.

In this, they- whatever the writers intended- exemplify not just quite the strong female role model (predating what is probably the next most competent female role model in the fiction of the age- Samus of Metroid fame.) but also what a true (benevolent) genius would do. Getting what needs to be done, without desire for vainglorious celebration of their talents and courage. Not because those are terribly corruptive elements- which they are- but because such puts them in a great deal of danger by revealing them to their enemy.

After plot armor, secrecy and misinformation really is the best armor. At least until we develop something better. Complex remote-control operations are close to being a new second-best, though they do seem to breed a certain carelessness in practice...

But I digress.

Remember the heroic genius of Penny Gadget!

Mr. Gadget could have been much more disastrous in another profession indeed.

Progress continues.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Intrepid Lemon Demon

Progress Continues.

Recently I have come to realize that one artist keeps turning up in my internet meanderings, one which has been turning up for a great deal of time. So much so, they feel a bit like an old friend, even though we have never actually spoken.

I speak of course of Niel Cicierga, or Lemon Demon- if one goes by their Porn Name.

Best known initially, I believe, for their song and "The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny", posted below, they've made a career for themselves out of humor and music- but mostly humor. They are also solely responsible for one of the most personally touching songs I have on my alarmingly advanced music player. Which is not The Ultimate Showdown.

While I am only really beginning my foray into entertaining weird people online, Lemon Demon has been at it for years- and shows no indication of slowing down. It is safe to say I am a fan. I am, in fact, somewhat envious of their zeal for it.

No small inspiration as well. I keep meaning to write them a fan e-mail, but quite frankly just can't bring myself to breach the idea to #0. They really have no appreciation for such things.

Niel Cicierga is on Patreon, but without a good polarizing scandal which to ride like a bucking bronco, sadly brings in less than one-third of other internet celebrities who have ridden such things hard.

Progress continues.