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Archive for the ‘News and politics’ Category

July 31st, 2008: 12:10 am

There are legal issues surrounding the imitation Scrabble game known as Scrabulous. The fact that this is making news headlines around the world is very intriguing. I’m guessing that before the game was available via facebook, it did not have anywhere near the popularity and user base. So here we have this facebook entity shaping our lives in such ways as to determine what constitutes ‘major news’ in our society.

People are sad that they can no longer play Scrabulous on facebook (in Canada and the US). The reality is, these people are lazy. It appears that the same game is served up for play through their regular homepage, which I think was available well before facebook went mainstream. So what people are really sad about, is the fact that they lost their convenient way to play it — from within facebook.

Will I miss Scrabulous? No. To me, turn based games follow a sort of bell curve pattern. To start, its kind of fun, you see how things work out. Then, something catchy about the game, plus additional people available to play against causes urge to play more. Then, you are checking it every couple of minutes. And then, slowly and without reason, the interest wanes. The game is played less, and then almost never. In the case of Scrabulous, I couldn’t be bothered to check if it was my turn anymore, nor did I particularly care. In the case of netrisk, after a few games, I think I got my fix, and didn’t feel the need to either find people to start another game, or wait for everyone to actually finish their turns. And in the case of Scrabble (the real board game), Tiffany and I go through cycles where we play it a lot for about three weeks. And then it goes onto the shelf for another two to six months. Just a natural flow.

The reality is: if I want to play Scrabulous or a Scrabble type variation, I can sign up at the Scrabulous site, or try out the official Scrabble facebook game. Or pour some juice and set up the board game at the kitchen table. Or play one of the other millions of anagram-based web games widely available on the internet. That’s enough options for me.

Do I think the imitation game should have been taken down? Sort of. While I don’t think that legal action was necessary, and admittedly would like to see Scrabulous live a long internet life, I think that it was the right thing to have happen in the end.

Am I biased? No.

When Coca Cola was getting started, lots of imitation beverages jumped onto the scene, trying to cash in on Coke’s new found success and popularity by offering similar product with intentionally confusing similar names. I’m not saying that Scrabulous is trying to be deceptive here, but Coke had the right to protect its product, and Hasbro/Mattel do too. And at the end of the day, I’m glad that I can enjoy the refreshing taste of the one and only Coca Cola.

[A response to Brad’s Post]

February 17th, 2008: 12:58 am

It appears that Toshiba is pulling the plug on the HD-DVD format, paving the way for Sony Blu-Ray to become the next-gen DVD format. Personally, (and based on absolutely no knowledge about the technology) I was hoping that blu-ray would be the one to tank. I’ve got nothing against Sony, but I did not like that they tried (and failed) to create a new medium for movies with the UMD discs (for the PSP), and this seemed like yet another proprietary format in the beginning. I’m glad this ‘format war’ is over, so that everyone can get to work on mass producing and making Blu-Ray discs and readers cheaper. Fortunately for me, I didn’t buy an HD-DVD player, but was tempted when the price of the Xbox 360 drives dropped to $130 recently (and now, they’ll probably be giving the rest of their stock away). But until I can buy blu-ray movies for about $20, I’m not likely to get with this program anytime soon.

And hopefully they make a blu-ray player for the Xbox 360, so that I don’t have to make room under the tv for one more device.

February 2nd, 2006: 4:36 pm
So apparently, telegram service has ended a week ago (news blurb).  While I knew that telegram services existed, I never questioned why, or more specifically, when it would end.  I never received a telegram, but now that its gone, I think it would have been a cool novelty to have received at least one in my lifetime.  So the lesson of the story is… ummm… make sure you have received a postcard from someone you know, while there is still time.
I also wonder if they replaced the service with something equivalent.  Can I still go to these offices, and say "I want to send a message from A to B", and have them take care of it?  I suppose that even if they used an internet chat window instead of a telegram, and then performed the same delivery as before, it should be cheaper and maybe less prone to error.
December 13th, 2005: 2:20 am
So, on the first day of Christmas, Santa came along and put a turd on the Edmonton radios.  In what is the worst joke ever, 96X has made a radical shift from Top 40 to Country.  This sucks, there is no longer any Top 40 radio station in Edmonton, that isn’t heavy on R&B music, and doesn’t also play garbage from the 80’s and 70’s.
I don’t know why such a big move was needed, but I also don’t know why Power 92 decided to pack it in two years ago either.  What I do know, is this is making the new Satellite Radio options very attractive.
XM Radio
September 17th, 2005: 5:21 pm
"Starting Nov. 1, travellers in hospitality class who want a pillow or blanket will have to pay $2 for them."
– Edmonton Journal, Air Canada pillows — for a price, Sept 17, 2005
September 1st, 2005: 5:34 pm
The awesome province of Alberta turned 100 today.  I plan on eating a hamburger in celebration.
(Yesterday was another round of wheatgrass for those keeping score)