NCAA pulls USC over…

May 27, 2011

Gratuitously stolen from:

usc-dummies5b35dOfficer NCAA: License and registration, please. Do you know how fast you were going?

USC: Uh…55. I’m sure of it.

NCAA: Yeah, try 90 in a 55 zone.

USC: No, I’m sure I was going 55. And you can’t prove otherwise.

NCAA: Well, I have you clocked on my radar gun at…

USC: Okay, okay, maybe I was going too fast. It won’t happen again. I promise. See? I’ll even let Lane Kiffen drive. He NEVER speeds.

NCAA: Sorry, still going to have to give you a ticket.

USC: But I didn’t know I was speeding!!?!?

NCAA: Did you look at your speedometer?

USC: Uh…well, I don’t really have a working speedometer…

NCAA: Well, then, that’s your fault. You lack automobile control.

USC: But that’s not fair! Look, NCAA, my tax dollars pay your salary. In fact, I’m a major taxpayer. So you better watch out…

NCAA: Yeah, we’re not buying that. You aren’t as important as you think you are.

USC: But everyone else speeds too! Nobody drives under the speed limit around here. Don’t be naive.

NCAA: Yes, I know that you aren’t the only one speeding. But you were the most blatant one on the road, and that’s why I pulled you over.

USC: But what about the Ohio State car? And the Auburn car? They were going really fast too! Didn’t you see them?!?

NCAA: Yeah, we’re writing up Ohio State right now. And we have our eye on Auburn…if they keep driving like maniacs they’re going to get caught. Don’t worry about them.

USC: Yeah, right! You’re just singling me out for punishment. You want to make an example of me because I’m really important and a very big deal. I’m the best driver on the road and everyone just wants me to fail because they are HATERS!

NCAA: Uhhh…yeah. Whatever. Here’s your ticket.

USC:  I can’t believe how arrogant you are!  What makes you think you have the right to do this to me?

NCAA:  Well, you were driving.  On the road.  With all the other cars.  And my job is to enforce the laws on the road.  So, if you don’t want to be subject to my authority, then stay off the road.

USC:  But I know a bunch of other people who were caught speeding.  And you didn’t give them such a harsh ticket.

NCAA:  Yeah, usually when people cooperate with me and don’t give me a hard time when I’m writing up their ticket, I’ll write the ticket down a bit.  But when people act like a-holes, I throw the book at them.  Pretty much common sense.

USC: F you!  We’re going to fight this!

NCAA: Great. See you in court.

USC: But…but…this is UNFAIR!?!

NCAA: Have a nice day. And slow it down. Maybe you ought to let Haden drive.

USC: Pssshh. This sucks. Reggie, get out of our backseat. You’re walking home. This is all your fault.

My thoughts on animal shows…

May 17, 2011

imageA friend of mine recently asked me about my thoughts on animal shows featuring competitive breeds.  Here’s an adaptation of how I responded:

Shows are generally breed specific.  I’m all for the appreciation of animals in any way possible in that I think we as a society have gotten away from the closeness that humans can have with them – even house pets.  And IN GENERAL – breeders are also staunch advocates for humane animal treatment and good shepherds of the species.  They usually strictly control breeding and manage their litters so that newborns are cared for appropriately and have good homes waiting for them.  The majority are exceptional stewards of animal ownership.  There’s always going to be exceptions but I’m not going to quibble about that matter here.

The problem I have with shows & what one person I know referred to as breedism is that it implicitly communicates that breed purity is somehow better than mixed breeds.  This sort of mentality easily infects uneducated individuals and encourages people to “only like Persians” or be “exclusive to Siamese”.  I know that everyone has personal preferences and normally this wouldn’t be that big a deal however people are generally lazy when it comes to “getting what they want” and breedism encourages the easiest route to obtaining one’s “preferred breed” which involves animal PURCHASES as opposed to adoption.

In Southern California, I’m repeatedly told that almost 9 out of every 10 animals in shelters are killed.  (Los Angeles Animal Services reports almost 5 out of every 10 are killed in shelters, but it’s purportedly really bad in the valley and rural inland areas)  It’s the ugly truth that most people either don’t know or choose to completely ignore when they buy an animal.  I just saw the most adorable affectionate 3-year-old Australian Shepherd at a shelter yesterday (I visit every other week) and it just tore me up that he wasn’t likely going to be around in 60 days if someone didn’t pick him up.  Meanwhile any family looking for a friendly pet would have loved to have had her.

I’ll get off my soapbox but that’s basically it:  Shows aren’t inherently bad and breeders IN GENERAL aren’t bad.  But while they help cultivate an appreciation for a species, animal shows do encourage a mentality that I think distracts from adoption and I think that the situation is so desperately, DESPERATELY dire in Southern California that anything that deviates from animal adoption in Southern California is hard for me to support.


In case it hasn’t been said enough, pet stores that sell dogs, cats, and rabbits are almost always, always, ALWAYS SHEER EVIL.  And y’all know who you are.  Every pet store that sells dogs, cats, and other animals lie through their teeth and say they get their animals from “professional breeders” and none of them ever do once their origins are traced.  Every time you see them investigated, it’s discovered that they get their stock from kitty/puppy mills i.e. mass production engines with generally horrible inhumane living conditions. 

It’s all about money:  For the pet stores, the profit margins are much better when buying from these awful “mills” because the overhead in properly caring for newborn animals is high with honorable, well-meaning breeders – hence the much higher prices they tend to charge.  Breeders, in my experience are usually orders of magnitude more expensive than pet stores because they use good food, have quality living conditions, provide vaccinations & veterinary care, etc.

Why Microsoft doesn’t use Blu-ray on Xbox 360

May 11, 2011

imageI’m getting a little tired of the constant comments I read from people making the false claim that the Xbox 360 “needs Blu-ray to support larger games”.  Some even go so far as to extrapolate & hypothesize that “game developers are limiting their games to fit them into the storage footprint of Xbox 360’s disc format, DVD9.

I’m sorry – I just don’t believe that.

Developers simply have not been running out of disc space to the point of limiting their vision.  Out of the 1000+ titles that have been released for the Xbox 360, here are the only titles that have gone “multi-disk”, using more storage than what was available in DVD9 (7.95GB) in the past 5+ years.

  1. Castlevania (2 discs)
  2. Dead Space 2 (2 discs)
  3. Final Fantasy XIII (3 discs)
  4. Mass Effect 2 (2 discs)
  5. Blue Dragon (3 discs)
  6. Infinite Undiscovery (2 discs)
  7. Last Remnant (2 discs)
  8. Lost Odyssey (4 discs)
  9. Magnacarta 2 (2 discs)
  10. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (3 discs)

Only 10 titles out of 1000+.  And 5 of them were Microsoft co-funded… as in they wouldn’t have existed if Microsoft Game Studios themselves hadn’t explicitly commissioned them.  Each of these sponsored titles are of a specific genre as well:  They all represent Japanese adventure games – somewhat in the mold of Final Fantasy – which surprise, surprise:  Is a 3 disc game itself.

Generally speaking, there is a very specific type of game that goes hog wild in needing disc storage.  And it’s an extreme minority.

Newer games very often require LESS storage on disc than older games.  I know this is a hard concept to understand but as developers get more sophisticated and as gaming libraries become more optimized – such as Unreal Engine – games are often smaller on disc than their predecessors.

Take the following examples: 

  • Crackdown (original) required close to 6.2GB on disc.  Crackdown 2 requires 3.4GB. 
  • MechAssault was 3.42GB.  MechAssault 2 was 2.29GB.

There’s this contention that just because a game takes up space on the drive that it’s actually the size of the game’s codebase.  That’s simply NOT TRUE. 

For example, “You Don’t Know Jack” requires 2.1GB on an Xbox 360 hard drive when installed locally.  Does anyone seriously believe that a game that took less than 100MB on the PC, is driven by Adobe Flash, has NO VIDEO playback, and has had more sophistication on Windows than on Xbox 360… somehow requires 2.1GB on the Xbox 360 disc?

So if Xbox 360 doesn’t need the extra space – why did they ‘allegedly’ release High Capacity Disk Format or HCDF? 

The story goes according to Eurogamer (not me) that HCDF betas make an additional 1GB available for developers to use on standard DVD9 disks, which has historically had 7.95GB of storage total, however 1GB was used for a mandatory VideoTS file/partition which supposedly contained copy protection and some other stuff in there that Microsoft mandated.  This left developers of Xbox 360 with 6.95GB to work with.

The new HCDF disk allegedly eliminates the need for the VideoTS file/partition and instead makes available the entire 7.95GB of accessible storage on a DVD9 disk.

The basic answer one has to believe is that if the storage is there:  Why not make it available to developers?  If innovations in copy protection and how Xbox 360 handles disks make it possible to provide 1GB of breathing room… why not?  It doesn’t cost users anything other than a system update to read the new format.

Bottom line:  It’s not necessary – I believe it’s more of a luxury.  When almost none of Xbox 360’s games require expanding beyond what was available with 6.95GB of storage, you have to believe that this is more of a “because we can” move.