starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

Okay, so I'm actually rather tired of trying to use Discord as a decent chat client. The UI is rather poorly designed for a chat app, and the thought that it was never meant for more than a voice chat system really shows in the desktop and web app UI.

For starters: The nicklist (user listing) and servlist (server listing) panes are completely static sizes, allowing them to completely overtake the chat area. No, I'm not exaggerating, you can completely obscure the chat area with a small enough viewport. You can't hide the nicklist or servlist, either.

For tablets where people need higher zoom levels—somewhat akin to lowering the resolution—this can make Discord completely unusable. The default should give the chat pane a minimum width (min-width), and auto-hide the nicklist and servlist if the viewport shrinks to a certain point. It's trivial to impliment this in CSS, or any programming language (C#, ObjC, C++, etc…)for that matter.

Then there's the whole "auto-load every old message in a very cluttered chat area" problem on loading a room. Yes, for a feature, having old messages is great, but apps that do this typically show some sort of clean break between old messages and new ones. Hell, they typically have much better spacing for the messages themselves.

There needs to be a clean break when you log in, and there needs to be more spacing between messages.

Now, don't get me wrong. Discord is a great service, and I'm all for seeing it grow. That's why I complain about these things. Unless I'm just utterly taking the piss out of something, I'm typically criticizing a product because I know it can be better. It's just like how I criticize Mozilla about some of the decisions that I think are bone-headed.

Personally, I'll still prefer IRC over Discord, but for a Skype replacement, it's one of the best options out there…outside of Mumble, which I endorse more simply because you can roll your own server. Most people won't use XMPP, even though you can do voice and video calls over it rather easily, so I don't try to push that too much.

And there ya go…

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

Personally, I like the featureset of Discord, an IRC-like chat system designed to be better than TeamSpeak and Skype. Servers are private, and require an invite link. Server connections are persistent across multiple devices, and don't require multiple usernames for one person to connect with multiple devices at the same time. They also have their "roles" system, which gives a lot of fine-tuning to permissions—including allowing or denying access to entire chat rooms. It's useful!

But, there's a huge problem—or at least it's a huge problem in my view. They have a web app for their client, but nothing for mobile web. I mentioned this on Twitter, and the reply I got was kinda tonedeaf…

Now, as you'll notice, I specifically mentioned Firefox OS, which I'm using on my LG Fx0 (a very lovely phone, expect a review before too long). It's not Android or iOS, so promoting the apps does nothing for me. Either the person behind Discord's Twitter account didn't know what Firefox OS is (which wouldn't surprise me), or they really weren't paying attention.

Regardless, I kinda can't use Discord on my phone, all because of an arbitrary requirement for a platform-specific mobile app. And don't get me wrong, I've used their Android app...It kinda sucked compared to their iOS app, which one of my mates uses. They don't even have feature parity with their desktop web app, much less the native desktop apps. Something tells me they don't really care about mobile. It's effectively Skype once again.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of mobile web apps that support IRC (Internet Relay Chat), and even a few IRC apps for Firefox OS (which are packaged web apps themselves). They work perfectly for the most part—though Firesea IRC seems to take a while to connect.

IRC is one of those technologies that's been around for a while, works perfectly as intended, users aren't tied to a single client. I can use LimeChat, Chatzilla (my preferred client), Mibbit, KiwiIRC (my preferred web client)…There are many IRC clients to choose from across many platforms.

Then there's chat systems like Telegram and WhatsApp…Ugh…I like the idea behind them, but the fact that a chat client requires a mobile number to simply function is annoying as hell. Add the idea of automatically adding anyone who has your number to your contacts list without your permission, and it just makes using such a service completely unappealing to me.

That's why I like XMPP. To add someone, you need to know their Jabber ID (jid), and they have to not only authorize you, but do so knowingly. It's also far more secure, since login isn't based on a finite-length standardized numbering system (phone numbers) and a login code sent to a smartphone. With XMPP, you can implement secure single-factor authentication (Kerberos, key blobs (a la SSH), etc…) or multi-factor authentication (SMS, OAuth, OTP tools, etc…)

Hell, if given enough time, I could probably adapt XMPP with some extensions (in the XEP series), take a project like Jappix, and remake the features of Telegram on my own. It's completely possible…given the time and skill.

I dunno. Maybe I'm "too old" for modern chat, as a couple of people have told me. Honestly, I prefer to see it as be being spoiled by growing up when chat systems had useful features, rather than just aesthetic features. Custom emoticons are nice, but when I wanna be left alone, let me tell people as much.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

So, sitting next to my laptop is my new LG Fx0, a Firefox OS handset that can truly be called the flagship of the platform. Originally made for Japan's KDDI for their "au by KDDI" phone service, LG released the device worldwide online after Mozilla dropped the Firefox OS project for cell phones—a decision that came far too soon, in my opinion.

I bought it for $55 USD from Amazon.

With a translucent gold outer case ("au", the carrier's name, being the chemical symbol for gold), this device looks absolutely beautiful. It feels like cheap plastic at times, but once you get over the misconception of "it's a cheap phone", it doesn't matter at all. What matters is that it's lightweight, easy to keep a hold of, and can run well.

The screen is crystal clear, even with the stock International ROM (Firefox Os 2.1), but where it shines is with the original KDDI ROM (Firefox OS 2.0), which can be found on an Fx0 reddit at the moment. It takes some tweaking, and MMS doesn't work on AT&T (yet), but it works otherwise. I'm still tweaking the settings where I can, but this project may take a while.

The camera isn't the best, but it works quite well for what's considered a cheap phone. It's clear in proper lighting, and it can take 6 megapixel images at 3264x1836 (16:9 ratio), or 8 megapixels images at 3264x2448 (4:3 ratio), and records videos at 1080p (1920x1080). For a $60~ USD phone, I'd expect a lot less from it. It also has flash, which I rarely see in cheap phones here in the US.

Storage isn't really a big issue. It only has 16 GB of internal storage, but it also has a microSD card slot to add more storage when needed. Currently, I have a 32 GB card in my own handset, and I've barely used it. Larger microSD cards would likely give you more storage than even an iPhone, and of course, more than Google Photos since you can simply slot in a new card in place of a full one.

With 1.5 GB of memory,it doesn't really slow down at all with the KDDI ROM. The stock international ROM is a bit jerky, but I don't think LG optimized it at all. If you can, try to run your own build, or the KDDI ROM.

Now, I know you'll likely expect me to talk about the OS, but that's for another article, and another time. I've got a lot to say about that subject.

Overall, I highly recommend snagging an LG Fx0 if you can. They're cheap, and they work well. I'll likely try and get a second as a backup at some point, but for now, I'm happy with the one I have.

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For those who don't know, Mozilla is seeking comments about their redesign of their branding. They're not seeking the community's help for the actual branding design, just…comments.

I once said that Mozilla has been slowly becoming corporate in their mentality, and it's looking more like that's the case with every moment I see news about them.

They've given SeaMonkey and Thunderbird to the community, but they've killed Persona and the Firefox App Marketplace, and FirefoxOS has gone from a good mobile phone OS to something used as a gimmick on smart TVs.

Now, Mozilla is giving a somewhat valid reason behind the branding overhaul: lack of recognition.

Since late 2014, we’ve periodically been fielding a global survey to understand how well Internet users recognize and perceive Mozilla and Firefox. The data has shown that while we are known, we’re not understood.

  • Less than 30% of people polled know we do anything other than make Firefox.
  • Many confuse Mozilla with our Firefox browser.
  • Firefox does not register any distinct attributes from our closest competitor, Chrome.

Let me break it down just a bit.

"Less than 30% of people polled know we do anything other than make Firefox." – Well gee, could it possibly be because you barely market anything else, or that those other projects keep getting given to the community? Outside of Firefox, Webmaker, Mozilla Developer's Network, Firefox Accounts, and Firefox OS (somewhat), I can't think of anything else Mozilla has really talked about in the public eye. Hell, on the Android App Store, only Firefox (and FF Beta) and Webmaker are listed as products. That's Not much for people to go on.

Also doesn't help that the only project they advertize on is Firefox. Just saying…

"Many confuse Mozilla with our Firefox browser." – Of the five projects I mentioned above, three of them have Firefox in the name, one is made for developers, and Webmaker isn't something I really even hear about. On top of that, I rarely see any decent Mozilla branding in the apps themselves. In "About Firefox", Mozilla's information is reduced to a line that puts the Get Windows X Trap to shame. The company is bad at even marketing themselves in their own product!

On top of all that, this problem is very common. There are plenty of games where someone can tell you the name of the game of the top of their head, but not the publisher or developer. It's normal for mainstream people to not know who's behind something, simply because they're selective about what they remember. It's not a branding problem, it's a people problem, and that's not something a rebranding will help.

"Firefox does not register any distinct attributes from our closest competitor, Chrome." – Besides the fact that it's not Google? It's a web browser! Outside of minor features, the UI, and platform-specific integrations (Firefox Sync & Firefox Accounts), it really shouldn't have all that much difference on the surface. In fact, on my Mac, it runs better than Chrome without being too different, and that's not a bad thing.

Now that I'm done ranting about the Corporate PR Ponzi Pitch™ blog post, it's time to get serious about something. Mozilla's design and branding language have nothing to do with why people have difficulty seeing Mozilla as separate from Firefox.

In fact, in my opinion, Mozilla's current design language for their websites and Firefox OS—the whole Gaia theme—is quite honestly the most beautifully simple styling I've seen in a while. It goes very well with the Mozilla Star logo, with the blueprint-style themes of MDN, and with the general theme of Firefox and Firefox OS. It's not bland, it's universal and easy to design around, which speaks volumes about what Firefox really is, universal and open to everyone.

MDN is clean and readable. MDO is clear about its messages, easy on the eyes, and works on all platforms. AMO flows perfectly between the platforms, and has a great UX.

Mozilla needs to realize that what they have now is something they can capitalize on if they would just make the move to do so. They have the style guides for the current theme written already, but they don't enforce it for their clubs and such. They also don't market themselves well, instead relying more on word-of-mouth and social media than anything. They need to fix that.

Gather someone people who know how to handle social media advertising properly, and start from there. Show people who Mozilla and the Mozillians are, and what Mozilla about: the open web, open source, making the web accessible to everyone, providing privacy to the users. Mozilla is about the people, no matter their background.

Mozilla, you started to do this very thing, but it became so disorganized that you lost every chance you had to take advantage of your stronger messages. Your privacy campaign fell on deaf ears because it came after the small window that would let you get that message out to a large number of users. Webmaker hasn't taken off in in most places because you've barely pushed it. Persona didn't get much traction because you didn't show people why it was better.

Take it from a long-time Mozilla fan who started with the old Mozilla internet Suite on Windows XP after moving away from AOL, and from a self-proclaimed child of the web who loves the open web far more than any operating system or piece of common technology: Your brand is strong, but your marketing is weaker than Microsoft's attempts at being clever and humorous. Look towards that direction to fix your problems, not a redesign of your brand image.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
So, this is rather neat. I use KeePassX as a password manager, and I was somewhat worried about how I'd be able to keep using it if I ever got a Chromebook, or use a browser-centric spin of Linux. Pretty much everything with by passwords is in my manager.

Then I ran into Keeweb, which is a web app that lets you use a KeePass ".kdb" or ".kdbx" file from a browser and open it as if you were using the native app. It keeps everything local unless you tell it to sync to a cloud storage account—OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or a WebDAV account—and that makes it extremely secure. No need to keep it on someone else's servers if you don't have to, right?

You can also run it locally if you want, or even your own instance on a webserver. It also has offline support, so you can still get your passwords and other info while you don't have internet access.

If you use a Chromebook and you like KeePass for your passwords, I highly recommend this project.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

 I know I practically just finished ranting about something similar but this is one of those subjects that keeps popping up, especially when I'm talking with tech-savvy people.

I'll see someone talking about getting a device or computer, and someone else will pipe up with something like "Why don't you just build your own computer?", or "Why do that when you can do $otherThing?". Most of the time, these people completely miss the point behind why the other person wants the device, and make assumptions that said person doesn't know what they're doing. Not only is this rude, but it's also rather ignorant to do.

When a situation like this comes up, and you feel you have a better idea of what would benefit the person, take my advice: stop and ask questions. Is this person tech-savvy? What kind of skills do they have with computers? What do they plan on doing with the device? Would they be willing to learn something else that could be better for them?

Find out exactly what they're looking for, and make your suggestion around that.

  • Do they just need a machine to browse the web, and don't know much about computers? A Chromebook or Chromebox could really benefit them with how dead-simple they are.
  • Do they need a machine for gaming? Point them to some parts and a copy of Windows. If they don't want to take that leap to build their own system, point them to a fairly decent pre-built, like an Alienware system.
  • Do they need something to do some heavy programming? Suggest a Mac if they don't want to act like a sysadmin, or a Linux machine from System76 if they want to go full-throttle into learning sysadmin skills as well.

Far too often, people assume they know exactly what someone needs, when in reality, it's based on their own needs and skills. Take a moment to do a reality check before you criticize that person's choice, or you'll just come off as overbearing and more than a little rude.

Geeks have a bad rap for being "anti-social" as it is. Please don't make it worse for the rest of us.

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 Just to update people... Sildrae and I just got back from the front office. We've sorted out the problem.

Because my van hadn't been moved in a while, the manager had to tag it as a vehicle violation, as per corporate rules. He seemed rather spiteful about having to do it, too. Like he really didn't like that rule.

The reason it was marked "no tags" is because he didn't check the back--again, unlike Texas, Arkansas doesn't require front plates--and was trying to spend as little time outside as possible. A good thing, as the UV index has been outright dangerous lately. It was also assumed inoperable due to it not moving for an extended period, so it was a good thing that I drove it to the front to talk about it.

I gave him my plate number, and he made a note that my van has an Arkansas plate, and that there's no front plate required. He also noted down that it's operable, so everything is good for now.

However, this has me somewhat pissed at Sun Homes corporate. It shows that they're completely disconnected from the effects of their rules, and likely don't even care about those effects. Even the manager here seemed perturbed that he's forced to put potentially hard-to-remove stickers on the windows of the vehicles. That shows something.

I won't miss living here, especially with the new rules that keep getting instated. However, it's good to know someone is trying to make things right.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

 Okay... I need to vent.

When my mate Sildrae and I started to go to Wal-Mart tonight, I was going to suggest we take the van my parents have been loaning me, just to give it something to do since we haven't had to use it lately. When we go outside, a bloody tow sticker was plastered on the driver side window, just in the right place to obscure the driver's view of traffic on the left.

I walk up to it, and it's marked to be towed in 48 hours for "no tags", and "vehicle inoperable". These are both lies.

For starters, the van does have a tag. Arkansas tags, which don't require a front bumper plate at all. Obviously, whomever put the sticker on the van didn't even bother to look at the back, much less which state the vehicle was registered in. The tag is up to date, as are the registration and insurance. My van doesn't need a Texas environmental tag either, as it's not registered in the state of Texas.

Then, further down, the mark my vehicle as "inoperable". Now, my van does have the battery disconnected at the moment, in order to keep it from running down due to a busted latch on the sliding side door. The door is held closed, but not enough to disable internal sensors, so it can run down a 12v battery pretty damn easy. However, it does run, has gas in it, and has been used recently. It is in no way "inoperable".

Sildrae and I plan to go up front tomorrow and complain to the front office, because they know that we're moving soon, and that having my vehicle towed would only slow down that process when they can get a paying customer faster by leaving us be.

I'm pissed...I'm WELL beyond pissed. Let's hope things are sorted out tomorrow, or I may have to call the cops on some people.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
Yes, I've opened comments again, but unless you're on my "access list", you'll need to go through a captcha and moderation before your comment will show up. Just an FYI. 
starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
 So, apparently my parents had a small fire at their place. The 'apartment' workshop within their garage had an incident, and a thing caught fire. Gutted the small internal apartment area, and everything in it, but left the garage intact. It's also a separate structure from the house, so no issues with continuing to move. No one was hurt, either.

Still, this is news that I woke up to, after missing a lot of sleep. My nerves are shot (again), so I think I'll work on getting myself calmed down for now.
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This past 4th of July, our dear housing overlords posted notices that people caught shooting fireworks in the neighborhood would be subject to possible eviction. Now, this isn't unreasonable. The place is so packed with houses that one bad firework could burn down the neighborhood.

However, I've seen absolutely no fallout from the fireworks being shot off near the clubhouse, much less the other areas.

To explain: The clubhouse is where the main office for our housing complex. The clubhouse itself was open during this time, meaning that someone from the staff had to be there. That means they had to know what was going on outside.

Something tells me that their threats were nothing but a bluff. They don't want to lose paying customers, so they won't say or do anything.

This makes me even happier that we're leaving this place behind. As Austin has progressed, it has become quite a bit worse to balance the good parts.

Oh, and they were firing off the stuff into the night as well, when people were trying to sleep. There's celebrating, and then there's being just plain rude.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

First of all, this is partially due to my mate Calyo writing a blog post about the subject, but I feel I need to talk about it as well.

Me and my mates, Calyo and Sildrae, are moving near the end of next month. We considered all options, but after so many dead ends and uncertainties, we decided to (temporarily) move in with my parents back in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This is mostly to get us back on our feet, until we can figure out where to go next.

Why move? Three reasons.

Reason 1: Rules at our current place

The place we’re staying at has recently undergone yet another management shift, and with it, new rules governing what we can and cannot do at home. This includes:

  • Can’t have anything but patio furniture visible outside of the home from the street—including BBQ grills, and even the trash bin.
  • Vehicles that are unregistered, inoperable, or have expired registration aren’t allowed in the community. They also require vehicles with oil or gas leaks to be repaired immedately.
  • In regards to the second point, they do not allow car repairs to be done in the driveway, meaning that your only option is to pay someone else to repair, or to have a garage.
  • They inspect “home conditions, broken windows, broken blinds (yes, the fucking blinds), missing window screens, missing house numbers,  and needed painting or repairs”. They expect even renters to take care of this, from what I can tell.
  • They require residents to handle tree and shrub trimming on top of lawn care, and will charge the renter/owner fees if they have to call out someone to handle it. However, you have to get approval to remove a tree or shrub, or to do anything to the exterior of your home.

Now, as a note about the blinds, they require the cheap white blinds, and will not allow you to use anything else, even blackout blinds for those who work at night. Yes, they are that anal about it.

These people have become far worse than a Homeowners Association, and reinforce why most HoAs are unwelcome in the town I grew up in.

Also, I don’t mean to sound racist, ever since the change to a mostly Hispanic staff, I’ve noticed that a lot of non-Hispanic families have left. Most of the African-American and Caucasian families I used to see around the community just haven’t shown up lately, and I’m worried that, like our previous location (Avesta Aguve Falls), there seems to be a bit of bias towards catering to Hispanic families.

Reason 2: Rent Prices

From Calyo’s blog, since she said it best:

It’s basically impossible to find anywhere in Austin with a cost per square foot comparable to where we are living now, in a 53-foot manufactured home that we’re currently renting for just shy of $1000/month. Apartments half the size of this home cost about this much in and around this city.

Even the nearby “rent controlled” apartments have their 2 bed, 2 bath, 950 sq ft apartments at $821/mo USD, a $200 USD deposit, and require that you make $2052.50/mo just to qualify. Their 3 bed, 2 bath, 1100 sq ft apartments cost $946/mo USD, a $300 USD deposit, and require that you make $2369/mo to qualify, and they’re the cheapest place we’ve found near town.

Now the other reason we dropped this place triple-quick is their stringent requirements for being accepted, some of which are arguably illegal since they’re getting tax credits under the Fair Housing Act. Here are just a few choice requirements:

  • First time renters require an additional deposit.
  • You cannot owe an apartment community or landlord more tha $1.00 USD, and cannot have any evitions or judgements against you.
  • Landlord reference indicating that the landlord would not re-let to the applicant due to a lease violation is an automatic denial.
  • All applicants and residents have to undergoe criminal history screening. A felony conviction of any kind will result in an automatic denial.

So yeah…We’re not trusting these people. They also underwent a management shuffle, and became a fully gated community. Also, like Avesta Aguve Falls and this community we’re living in, the apartment complex had almost all Hispanic families. I did not see a single child come off of the school busses who wasn’t Hispanic, and while it might be a rather nice neighborhood, that makes me worried about the management showing bias.

Reason 3: The Tech Boom!

One of the big reasons Austin has started to see an insane climb in its cost of living is due to the tech boom currently hitting the city. With Google and Apple looking to move in, and many data centers, hosting companies, and startups opening shop here, Austin’s CoL is rising like crazy. Rent is beginning to rise, the roads are becoming are more crowded during the day, people in the lower and lower-middle classes are being pushed out for the upper-middle and upper classes, and we’re starting to see more of a San Francisco trend in the city. Austin is losing a lot of what made it a great place to live: keeping it local.

Of course, technology advances, and people want to take advantage of it. That’s just life now. However, I really wish it wasn’t at the cost of everyone else’s happiness.

So, that leaves the question: What am I going to do when we get there?

Well, I still want to work on my writing and art, and perhaps take up craftwork like woodworking. However, to start, I’ll begin doing my writing patreon again on a per-work (max of $X per moth) basis, rather than a per-month basis.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing beyond that, though. I mean, I’ll be helping my family with things, and eventually looking for a new place of our own to rent for a while within the Arkansas River Valley area. I also eventually want to drag Calyo and Sildrae to Hot Springs, AR for a trip to the bath houses and Mid America Museum, and maybe drag Calyo to some of the Fort Smith Symphony concerts. <3

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

Okay, I need to make a vent entry, so ignore this if you want.

FUCK WINDOWS 10! Every time I try to use it, it breaks. Every time it updates, it breaks. Every time I try to turn off updates, it ignores my settings, downloads updates, and BREAKS!

Seriously, Microsoft, who do I have to get FIRED for the forced updates to STOP!? I’ll petition the fucking FTC to have the BOARD OF DIRECTORS fired and put in Guantanimo if I have to, but for fucks sake, get your head out of your collective asses and STOP FORCING UPDATES that have EVEN A CHANCE OF BREAKING THE OS!

My time using the Surface Pro 3 has been pure HELL thanks to Windows 10. I’ve had to refresh this fucking thing after EVERY UPDATE! My productivity on WIndows 10 is lower than it was on MS-DOS! In fact, I had fewer issues with WINDOWS ME than with this hunk of garbage! I had fewer problems running GENTOO on INCOMPATIBLE HARDWARE!

Just… I give up. I may end up selling my Surface Pro just to get an iPad of some sort. Better yet, I should get an Intuos for my desktop and draw with that.

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Just a little while ago, my mate Calyo mentioned about the attack on FA, and that FurryNetwork had taken advantage to make a little push for others to join their site. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic when I mentioned that it rubbed me the wrong way, and brought up the whole competition standpoint. That’s what sparked this blog post to be written.

For those not aware, FurAffinity was hit by vulnerabilities in ImageMagick, a popular open source library for creating tools to manipulate images, and ported to many programming languages. As a result, the attacker reportedly downloaded the source code of the site and distributed it on flash drives at Biggest Little Fur Con, as well as supposedly doing some damage to user content. FurAffinity is considered the biggest furry-oriented art site out there, and one of the biggest targets for such attacks due to drama and such regarding site administration.

I’m not happy that so many people are cheering about this happening—in fact, it actually worries the hell out of me. I’m also not all that amused that so many people are telling everyone to jump ship—just like everyone seems to do to every service when something bad happens. I’m rather jaded about such issues at this point, because I know that any website with scripting and actual programming will have problems. Just like a desktop application, there is no such thing as bug free code.

With that said, I’m not too enthusiastic about sites that take advantage of another site’s problems to push their own. My mate chalks it to being a competitive field, but there’s a difference between being competitive, and rubbing salt in an opponent’s wounds. The later is just dickish behavior, and despite the fact that people are usually called out for such behaviour, no one calls out companies and such for it.

I’m not one to be competitive—something which my dislike for competitive games has shown me multiple times. However, I do know that competition is necessary in certain fields, including art sites. That still doesn’t excuse bad behaviour in my book.

I called SoFurry and Weasyl out for the same actions long ago, alongside companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others. I have no problem doing the same to FurryNetwork, or any others. In fact, a real competitor doesn’t need their competition to suffer to pull ahead. They can draw customers of their own volition, so long as they have what those people want.

FurryNetwork is drawing more users—especially well known artists—much more easily than Weasyl and SoFurry, and it’s because of their features and crew. They don’t need to pounce on FurAffinity’s suffering to prop themselves up…and they didn’t. FurryNetwork handled it tactfully and with courtesy, rather than taking the piss out of FurAffinity like others tend to do.

So, why the big wind-up? Because of how my mate phrased the incident, I was worried FurryNetwork used Weasyl’s tactics from a while back: rubbing FurAffinity’s problems in their face while trying to draw users in. I’ve been actively avoiding Twitter as much as possible (the site is nothing more than pure depression for me, and I can’t give two shits what goes on there these days), so I had to actively look up how FurryNetwork handled the situation before I said anything here.

The people who are handling the issue in a tactless manner are, as always, the users who are angry about FurAffinity’s downtime and handling of the situation (“Of course!”). I have no problem with people trying to encourage users to move away from FurAffinity, but some of the reactions actually make me glad that I no longer put the “furry” tag on myself. I won’t link to any of it, but if you go searching around Twitter, you’ll find it rather easily.

That said, I’m done with this rant.

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I’m not normally one to review shows like MLP, but this episode is one of the very few of any series that’s actually managed to both disappoint me from the fan aspect, and anger the writer in me. I’m not going to talk about the show play-by-play, but I will touch on a few aspects, and there will be spoilers.


Read more... )
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Earlier today, I was in the middle of an IRC conversation with a fur. They had apparently been reading through my old stories, and wanted more info about the automorphs in one of those stories. In particular, he wanted information about the more adult aspects, and I had no problem giving him the details.

Suddenly, his boyfriend hijacks the conversation by sending me some rather threatening private messages, saying he doesn’t approve of anyone RPing with his mate without his knowledge. I flat-out told him I wasn’t in an RP mood, and was giving information about something from my universe that he asked me about. He then proceeded to apologize, saying that he worries about his boyfriend being unfaithful. I told him that he needs to talk with his boyfriend, and that his actions could very well tear his relationship apart if he’s found out.

(Note to Calyo: This isn’t someone you know. Pony fur.)

All of this actually reminded of something which happened long ago, before I myself started dating. Passive memory recall is funny that way.

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starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

Okay, this is a subject that I've become rather touchy on, so forgive me if I seem a bit annoyed in this one.

Too many websites use terms like "Mature Content", "Adult Content", "Not Safe for Work" (NSFW), and other similar ambiguous words to denote content not meant for minors. If you look at the rules on some of these sites, you'll find that they don't even list an age range, just the subject matter those terms are meant to cover, despite intending everything to have a hard-coded age limits. In all honesty, this ambiguity simply makes me cringe from a user experience standpoint.

Why does it make me cringe? Because not all cultures follow the same rules regarding what's appropriate for "minors", and even fewer have the same age of adulthood. In some cultures, an "adult" can be as young as 13 years old, while in others, they have to wait until the age of 21. And even then, in some cultures, sexual imagery is considered "appropriate" for a mature audience while violence or alcohol can be considered adults only. The list of differences goes on, and on, and on.

Because of this, people from other cultures do get confused when an English site--especially a US site--suddenly reprimands them for marking something sexual as mature. In their culture, minors could be more than welcome to see such imagery, so it's not really clear to them without having to dig through the Terms of Service. In some cases, it's the only place that the admins make such policies clear.

From a UX standpoint, this is facepalm-worthy in my eyes. Clarity is something that should be ingrained in a website's design, not added as an afterthought. If a website intends something to be made for a US-18 audience, they should label it as 18+ or US-18+, and explain what that means. Likewise with content meant for a US-13 audience, which should be labeled as such. With those labels and explanations, there is no ambiguity, and therefore, the rules are clear to everyone.

Seeing a great artist from outside of the US becoming so frustrated by an art site for reprimands over adult content that wasn't adult for their culture made me want to slam the site for "UX idiocy". In all honesty, the site in question is run by devs who couldn't recognize good UX if they were using it themselves--and given their number of MacOS-using devs, this is rather apt.

UX is something that most developers shouldn't be taxed with. It should go to dedicated UX/UI people, who can figure out where the problems lie, and what can be done about them. Unfortunately, that's something that sites are crowdsourcing now, which usually ends up making the problems worse. "Rule of the Majority" is not how UX/UI works, because the majority can create mob mentality. It's always best to go with the "Small Groups of Smart People" approach, because those dedicated to the task can see it from more views than just the majority of the users, helping those who aren't part of that majority.

Sorry-not-sorry for the rant, but I really needed to get that out. Dealing with poor UX makes me frustrated, and seeing others suffer from it makes me pissed.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

I've mentioned that Twitter annoys me. Not just the 140 character limit (which doesn't work well for people like myself), but the fact that I can't easily mute drama without muting or unfollowing entire users has gotten on my nerves.

I know a lot of people complain about Facebook's algorithmic news feed, but being able to mute topics by saying "Don't show this post" is such a useful and amazing feature for keeping away fights and politics that I don't want filling my feed. Not having to watch people complain about a politician in another country is such a nice feeling, as is getting rid of the negativity of daily drama.

Admittedly, the best way to get rid of drama would be to drop Twitter entirely, but with family and friends using it as a primary means of communication, that's rather difficult. I'm just going to avoid using it as much as possible. I have a Facebook account for news and the like.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

This is a portion of the list of games I've decided that I'll never play, for one reason or another.

  • Mainline Pokémon games (I have no interest in competitive games, and that's all Pokémon has become these days).
  • Pokken Tournament (I have no interest in fighting games due to the community)
  • Super Smash Bros DS/WiiU (No interest in the game, as it's almost all hardcore competitive players)
  • Undertale (I've seen the playthroughs, but I'm a completionist, and don't play games if I feel I can't complete them. Plus, the community...)
  • Starcraft & Starcraft II (Blame the community)
  • The Warcraft series (Again, blame the community)
  • Fez (The creator. Enough said.)
  • The Street Fighter series (Too competitive)
  • Marvel Vs Capcom (Too competitive)
  • Mass Effect Andromeda (Don't care anymore)
  • Dragon Age (Because choice means nothing in a game about choices. You're an asshole no matter what)
  • Defense of the Ancients (The community...Just the community)
  • League of Legends (I still like the lore, but the community is still as toxic as DOTA)

Other games include a majority of fighting games, first-person shooters, MOBAs...Competitive games in general tend to go on my "Never Play" list simply because I find the communities become far to toxic and "pro" for me to enjoy them.

This isn't the full list, as I don't think my hand would survive writing that out. However, you can get the gist of my preferences here.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)

Spam... Spam pisses me off. It pisses everyone off. And the sites where I see it strike the hardest are those with open APIs. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and others are simply too open for their own good, so to speak.

One of my favourite social networks, Hatena Haiku, had to shut down their US service because of all of the Russian language spam that flooded the community. Almost all of it was phishing attacks in the form of unregulated soccer streams, with a few spear phishing attacks peppered throughout.

I see similar spam comments on YouTube, often imitating the very channel that owns the video they're posting the spam on. Channels like Markiplier and Game Theory will see giveaway spam posted in video comments, using their own names and avatars.

Then there's the Twitter spam. It's on a completely different level, using keyword searches to tag both users and tweets alike for replies and follows. Most of these spam accounts look like real accounts, except that they do nothing but throw out generated content. In most cases, the link in their profile leads to a phishing attack meant to hijack the user's account through OAuth.

The problem is the whole "public API access" issue. I hate to say it, but the only way to severely reduce the spam is to close the unrestricted access to those APIs. Put up more barriers to get tokens that allow for that sort of access. Even a mobile number doesn't seem to be enough.

And yes, it's completely possible for a person—or group of people—to be employed for this purpose. I'm fairly certain that's what happens on YouTube, Yahoo Groups, and many PHPbb forums. That's what moderators are for, though.

And with that, I'm done ranting.

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