Hopping off the proprietary game console train, revisited

Ars Technica reports on Sony’s new release of the PSP Go, and once again I’m glad I quit doing proprietary game consoles.

This one is particularly disheartening, as I felt like Sony was the one decent console manufacturer remaining. Sony’s apparent plan, with the release of the PSP Go, becomes more obvious: take yet another option away from the customer.

The move comes as a consequence of moving to a digital delivery model. Instead of buying a disc (UMD) with the game on it, Sony will soon be making titles available only as a download, DRM-locked to the individual console. In other words, something you can’t just sell back to GameStop when you’re done playing with it.

The article, as written, states that right now, titles will continue to be made available as both physical media and downloads. Put another way, Sony knows how fast to turn up the heat to boil the frog. Don’t be surprised when the option to buy some new titles as UMD simply does not exist.

A rant about mobile phones

This may be a spoof; it may be genuine. Either way, this post at crabbyoldfart.wordpress.com (warning: profanity) is humorous and thought-provoking at the same time. A couple of excerpts:

Back when I was a boy, we didn’t carry phones with us. In my day phones weighed 10 pounds, had rotary dials and were firmly attached to your father’s desk. They were phones of substance, damn it.

If I wanted to listen to inane teen banter I’d go talk to the staff at Old Navy. I sure as Hell don’t need to listen to the idiotic musing of every young person riding the Downtown 34 Express bus.

I am probably up against the boundary of fair use as it is, considering the comparative brevity of the post. Go read the original if you need a chuckle.

To be fair about it, I do have one reason to dislike the prevalence of mobile phone technology: it is now acceptable for phone companies to disconnect phone calls, something that Just Didn’t Happen when making calls between two (analog) landlines. (I have not used VoIP enough to know if disconnects still happen the way they do between mobile phones.) I used to joke about “kitchen phone” and “bathroom phone” with a friend of mine that I spent hours on the phone with several months ago (the carrier I was using at the time had lousy coverage in the area).

In general though, when they work properly, I don’t mind mobile phones one bit. The etiquette books do need to catch up on the rules regarding mobile phone conversations, however.

Artist’s fake bombs made from carrots cause uproar

You really can’t make this stuff up.

The BBC reported on an art project in Sweden that turned into a bomb scare. Or maybe, that was the idea from the beginning. You be the judge. (There is also a Radio Sweden article about the event for those that desire a perspective closer to the events.)

[Artist Conny Blom] taped bunches of carrots together with black tape and attached blue and red wires and a clock to them.

Police received worried calls from members of the public who thought they were real bombs. Mr Blom was forced to remove his art – and may face charges.

The article goes on to say that Mr. Blom describes the event as a “harmless stunt.” The police agencies involved may describe the event a bit differently; Blom may face charges.

The article I found lacked a picture of the actual carrot bombs themselves, opting instead for just a generic picture of a bunch of carrots. UPDATE: Nina from Sweden commented with a link to pictures on the artist’s site.

As much as I despise the use of intent to distinguish between criminal and non-criminal conduct, that may be the only thing that makes sense here.

If Blom was making genuine hoax bombs (which are illegal here in Texas, USA) and disguising the carrots to appear more like real dynamite sticks, then I can see pursuing criminal charges. But, if it’s obvious enough they are just a bunch of carrots made into “a caricature of a bomb” I don’t see why there is so much fuss. Given that Blom was working at the request of a local art gallery, I doubt there was much intent to have the bombs look convincing to all but the dumbest and most gullible passers-by. Of course, the quote from P.T. Barnum may be proven right yet again: “You’ll never go broke overestimating the stupidity of the general public.”

This event does speak volumes for how hyper-sensitive we have become to terrorism, across the entire planet. Prior to 2001, this may well have gone over as “oh, look, someone made a fake bomb out of a bunch of carrots, some wires, and a cheap alarm clock, how cute.”

One last semi-topical aside: I am reminded of a TV news report I saw once on a local station when I was a kid. A bum snuck onto a bus, whereupon the passengers in the back shouted “there’s a bum on the bus.” By the time the driver heard it, it had changed into “there’s a bomb on the bus.” When the report aired, this was kind of funny. I have a feeling it would not be nearly as funny today.