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Ezekiel Hendrickson (flowerysong)
Probably not a marsupial
Probably not a marsupial

Ezekiel's posts

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Picked up a couple of things in Chicago.

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Damnit, Google.
This is my friend Scott's band, and they need your help.

On November 17th, 2012, New York-based comedy music group Fortress of Attitude uploaded a music video they created for their song “PS Gay Car” (using the exact words of a mean note they found on their car one day) to YouTube. The pro-gay rights video was immensely popular, garnering coverage from, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, College Humor and Queerty.

The video gained 39,800 views in its first month, and then a month later Youtube took down the video, claiming they’d used bots to drive up views.

The story that unfolds is Kafkaesque: Fortress of Attitude hires New Media Rights to help them get their video reinstated, and Google/YouTube’s response is to send form letters back that just restate the alleged initial TOU violation. Ultimately, Google/YouTube refuses to consider any evidence or explanation from Fortress of Attitude, and deletes the video permanently.

This presents a serious problem, Fortress of Attitude’s Pat Stango writes, because “Basically, ours is a case showcasing how Youtube can delete the work and the accounts of their users on a whim, without any chance for users to plead their case. (Hell, without any chance to interact with a live human at the company.) Frankly, we think it’s crazy for a business, with millions of users and customers around the world, to act in this manner and to be so unreachable.

“We’ve been told there are a lot of other people that also got mistakenly caught in this Section H filter on the same day. We feel bad for those people because they’ve had to pay lawyers $100s an hour only to get those same form responses from Youtube’s legal department. At least we found lawyers who would help with this for free.

“Therefore we ask you, oh nameless faceless readers of this rambling letter, to help bring this issue to a wider attention. Tell Youtube that you don’t think it’s right for them to delete their users’ work in such an unfair manner. SPECIFICALLY tell them you want “PS Gay Car” to be reinstated immediately. Tweet and Facebook this post! (We’ll be tweeting @Google and using the hashtag #PSGayCar on tweets about this.) And then, if someday “PS Gay Car” does get rightfully reinstated, please like the video and share with your friends. (If you want to.)”

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Subscribe to Geek & Sundry for all your Ikea furniture needs.  Or I'll kill a baby koala.
April is the first year birthday for Geek & Sundry! We really, really want to get 500,000 subscribers by then. Help us make it happen!

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Another step in the democratization of finance?

Oh, great, this again.

alien-root# dig +short ptr @

alien-root# dig +short ptr @
;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached


So, #Kickstarter .  Since joining in mid-February, I've backed 33 projects.

31 reached their funding goal
1 failed to fund
1 was cancelled by the creator

I generally only back projects that I feel have a good chance of success on the funding front. I didn't actually think the one that ended up failing had a chance, but I wanted to keep an eye on it.

Of the 30 completed, successfully funded campaigns:
3 had no associated reward I was interested in
2 were funding a project, and  the available rewards were not an end result of the project
25 had backer rewards that were basically pre-orders

Of the 27 backer rewards:
13 met their estimated delivery time
1 was significantly late
3 are significantly late and have not arrived
10 have an estimated delivery in the future

Again, I only back projects that I feel have the ability to follow through on their backer rewards in a timely manner, though sometimes I guess wrong.  All of the delayed rewards encountered logistical or legal issues that should have been accounted for when planning the campaign.

To digress for a moment: it saddens me when I see the now-mandatory "Risks and Challenges" section filled with more marketing fluff ("our biggest risk is that our awesome project might not be funded, so you should fund it and be awesome") or an obstinately optimistic refusal to think about the realistic issues that might cause delays or changes ("Risks?  Our team is awesome, we don't have any risks.").

The best positive example I've seen is ; the section is cheerful, optimistic, and entertaining, but still shows that the creators have thought through their project and its potential issues.

Contrast that with a random negative example from the front page: .  All it does is tell you that they think they'll be able to deal with challenges as they come up, without communicating anything about the actual risks.

Rant over.

Despite the occasional frustration or delay Kickstarter has been an overall positive experience and I look forward to funding more projects in the future.

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Needs more escalator photos.

U-Con new-to-me game roundup:

Colossal Arena: A fun, quick game. We only played through once, but I liked the betting mechanics and tactical play. There are several monsters at the beginning, and players take turns betting and playing cards that determine monster strength. Each round the weakest monster is eliminated; final scoring is based on how early and how often you backed the three surviving monsters.

Are You the Traitor?: Would have been better with more players. Hidden role game reminiscent of Mafia or Werewolf, but with much quicker play and no eliminations. Each role except the traitor has another role they're trying to uncover, and can end the round at any time by making an accusation. Points are then awarded according to whether good or evil won, and roles are redealt. The game ends once any player accumulates ten points.

One Stormy Night: Another Mafia-esque game. Players have a hidden species card (vampires, werewolves, and stinking humans) and item/action/whatever cards are divided into three equal decks, one for each group. The goal of each group is to discover and then burn through their respective deck. Each round players vote which deck to reveal a card from (ties revert to random, so if your deck is losing by a lot it can be advantageous to vote for a different one and hope for good luck), and then the winning cards effects (if any) are resolved. Plays fairly quickly, but the highly variable effects of the action cards made it a bit too random for my liking. Didn't hate it, didn't love it. It's currently funding on Kickstarter, so if it sounds interesting go ahead and kick in a few bucks.

Little Devils: Trick-taking card game with a custom deck. Cards numbered from 1-something, with many of the cards also having between one and five scoring pips. Your goal is to avoid earning points; tricks are taken by the card played that is farthest from the card led. Additionally, the second card played determines the direction for the trick; if the second card is higher anyone who plays a card lower than the initial card breaks the trick, and vice versa. Broken tricks are taken by the card in the wrong direction that is farthest from the lead; anyone who played in the correct direction is safe. Easy to learn, easy to play, and lots of fun.

VivaJava: Didn't really care for it; I didn't like the constantly switching forced teamups, and I feel that the randomness comes into play at the wrong place. Imagine playing Catan and having everything you need in your hand, then having to shuffle your hand, deal out three cards, and hope you built the thing you wanted. Oh, and you definitely built something, so kiss those resources goodbye even if it was useless. It's not my cup of tea, but if that sounds like fun to you check it out.

The Legend of Drizzt: Pretty fun. We came extremely close to killing Shimmergloom and reclaiming Mithral Hall, but Catti-Brie died to an ill-timed blow. Not a huge amount of complexity; it's a tactical miniatures game based on a simplified version of 4th Edition D&D.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (second edition): Conquer-the-board strategy game. I loved it, but I think I'll have as much luck getting people to play it with me as I do with Risk and BSG.
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