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Eric Ravenscraft
Writing words.
Writing words.

Eric Ravenscraft's posts

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I know this is boring shit, but it matters. If you're having a problem with your internet service provider and they won't fix it, call the FCC. If you even think your ISP is engaging in unfair practices, report it to the FCC. That includes unfair data caps, failing to deliver promised speeds, and overpriced service.

For a long time, we've sort of accepted that home internet companies suck, there's minimal competition, and it won't get better. It's also easy to get cynical and say the government never does anything and just yell into the wind. That's not entirely true anymore.

In February of this year, the FCC enacted Title II rules to govern ISPs (somewhat) like public utilities. What that means is if your ISP is acting unfairly, the FCC now has more power to do something about it. Filing a complaint with the FCC may not fix it forever, but it's a way to make your voice heard.

They might not listen to every complaint you file. To be totally frank, chances are most people don't understand how the internet works to effectively complain. That shouldn't always stop you. If you think there's an issue, let the FCC sort it out for you instead of giving up.

If you want to know more about the changes to the FCC rules, I wrote a brief explainer about it here:

If you want to file a complaint with the FCC, I have a guide on how to do that here:

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Unsurprisingly, the Japanese Age of Ultron trailer focuses even more heavily on robots.

Also, like, massive amounts of spoilers.

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The Avengers are a group of incredibly violent, yet incredibly popular characters. They operate outside the law and often create just as much, if not more, destruction than they prevent. When they're not blowing stuff up, they hang out in the penthouse of a lavish skyscraper where they hold decadent parties for members and friends of their team. They own a variety of high-tech weapons and vehicles with sweet customizations, decked out with their own team colors and logos.

The Avengers are the Third Street Saints.

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In which a representative for the National Association of Theater Owners claims that The Interview will lose money because theaters didn't like Sony's day-one VOD release schedule. Because that's what happened.

I get that theaters have to cling to their exclusivity tighter than an internet writer clings to sarcastic jokes as a defense mechanism. But when the star player sits the game out and pouts, he doesn't get to come back and say "See? We wouldn't have won anyway." Maybe they would have if you weren't being a selfish dick.

Oh, and let's not pretend that theaters chose not to show The Interview because Sony also wanted to put it online. This wasn't a moral objection or a negotiation tactic. Movie theaters simply did what they do best: they pissed their pants the instant the internet did something scary, took their ball and went home.

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Most folks who know me here also know +Cameron Summerson. If you haven't heard, his friggin adorable two-year-old son needs a kidney transplant. His family could use some support right now. I don't usually pass around crowd funding campaigns, but I can't think of a better cause.
Yesterday, I posted that my family recently got hit with a life-changing event. I want to share a little bit more about that today. 

To get to the point, my wife and I found out our two-year old has a chronic kidney disease called Chronic Nephrotic Syndrome. Basically, his kidneys aren't working as they should, and they are irreparable. In order to live, he's going to need a kidney transplant, but he can't even have that done until he effectively doubles in size. This is a difficult task in children with any chronic disease, but the kidneys are especially crucial in growth. It's going to be a long, hard road that will perhaps take two years or longer. In the meantime, he's going to require three weekly dialysis treatments.

For those of you who are interested in the longer version of the story, here it is. I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.

Axten has always been a small baby, much smaller than other children his age. We just assumed that this was because my wife and I aren't very big people - her being 5'4" and me only 5'6". He's also a very picky eater, but that's not uncommon for a two year old. We figured he'd grow out of it. A few months ago, we started noticing swelling around his eyes, mostly in the morning when he wakes up. A lot of kids have allergies, so we just chalked that one up to the dusty Texas atmosphere.

Turns out those were all the first signs of a serious kidney disease. It wasn't until last week when he came down with the flu that we knew something more was wrong, when his feet and legs started swelling. It was the day after Christmas and I decided to take him to the ER because of the swelling and lethargy. After one look the ER doctor told me to take him to the Children's Hospital in Dallas immediately. We've been here ever since.

We had no idea what we were in for. We were in the ER for six or seven hours while they ran all sorts of tests on him. He was severely dehydrated from fever, which sent his kidneys into overdrive. Apparently they were functioning just enough to get by before he became ill, and the sickness was just too much for them to handle. Within 24 hours of arriving at Children's, we went from thinking he had some sort of flu and infection to finding out he has failing kidneys, a surgery to install a hemodialysis catheter, and the first round of dialysis treatment to clean his blood. He has handled it all like a champ, especially since he's so small. I nicknamed him Tiny Tank, because honestly, he's just tough as nails. 

I've never experienced anything so terrifying in my life. We're still trying to adjust to what's happening and the new life we'll have moving forward. He's already had four dialysis treatments, but has responded exceptionally well to them, which is a good start. After spending three days in the intensive care unit, we've been in a regular room for a couple of days. Eventually we'll get to go home, but we're still not sure when that will be. 

We have a long, hard road ahead of us that I never could have expected. I'd like to ask that everyone keep us and Ax in your thoughts and prayers. This all happened so suddenly we're still trying to figure it out. Honestly, it's overwhelming. I still can't believe any of this is real. 

If you'd like to help out financially, my sister-in-law started a GoFundMe account to raise money for his treatment. I don't want anyone to feel obligated by any means (and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about sharing this link in the first place), but I've had several requests for a way to donate since we first started telling people, so I'm sharing it here, too. The link is attached. 

Thanks for reading. Just typing this up has been cathartic for me. 

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Amazon customers discover their genitals for the first time.

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Hold on.  You mean to tell me that restricting a physical media format to only approved players, bogged down with complicated update schemes, completely banning PC playback without expensive software, ignoring the Mac market entirely, and generally giving the finger to paying customers didn't result in huge sales for years to come?

Color me mother fucking surprised.

Question for the Linux users out there: I'm doing research on an article about the best features of Linux desktop distributions and equivalents you can bring to Windows. Any suggestions? Accepting both known equivalents and sweet features Linux does have that there may not be a direct equivalent for.

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Turntable may be dead, but is alive and well. If you're up for some weird music on a Friday night, get in here.

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I can't believe this needed to be said, but...guys. Don't fucking smash your phones.

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