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Ramblings

Pirates Suck

I don't like pirates or piracy. When people steal content it discourages creators from making more. My guiding principle when dealing with pirates has been to shut them out and to avoid linking to them. As an example, there are two web sites that have pirated my writing in the last ten years, and I don't deal with either of them today. When people ask about them, I don't hold back in sharing my experience.

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Favorite spam ever

Figured you folks would get a kick out of this email:

This is an enquiry e-mail via http://www.amaz0ns.com from: Don < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > Please send me a number that we may speak to you about your site. Don.

This, presumably, is so that the fine people who bring me 60 or so pieces of email spam each day can also inundate me with telephone spam. So Don, my phone number is 1-917-FUCK-YOU. I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

F*** you, Bagley

Image
Asshole
I picked up Ultimate Spider-Man #90 today and it turns out I am older than the Vulture. Yes - that Vulture - the old guy who wears a big green bird costume. Back when I was a kid, comic books had page numbers - now they don't and I had to count them to tell you it's on page 8. Panel 7 on page 8 shows a computer display identifying the Vulture's date of birth as "August 7, 1971."

I passed Peter Parker a while ago, and I figure I'm right around the age of Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne - but then whack! In one day I wind up older than the friggin' Vulture. And I was all set to blame the writer, Brian Michael Bendis, when it occurred to me that Bendis is bald (like the Vulture), and was probably born about 1971. Sure enough, a little research showed that Bendis' birthday is August 7.

So I realized this Vulture birthdate thing is probably a dig on Bendis from Mark Bagley, the penciller on USM. My destroyed sense of youthfulness is just a collateral casualty. I hope Bagley's having a good laugh right now because I'm going to show up one day at a comic book convention when he least expects it. Making me older than the Vulture - real funny, art boy.

And put some goddamned numbers on those pages.
 

Various things

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but I've been very busy at work and I've also been working on a paysite backend system for fitness models and bodybuilders, using open-source and some commercial components. I'm expecting to launch the first paysite next month. Don't worry - it won't affect Amaz0ns. This is a free site and always will be. The only thing I might charge for here would be eBooks, if I could convince writers and artists to churn out quality content on a regular basis. I've actually written about this before - the idea would be to set a price point of $3 or $5 for a high quality story or comic book. I have no plans to implement something like this now, but I reserve the right to do so in the future without being bitched out for saying that I would never charge for access.

I've been encouraging disillusioned Windows users to try Ubuntu Linux lately. Ubuntu is a free distribution of the Linux operating system, and has the benefit of being small enough to fit on a single boot CD. So you can download the whole thing, burn it to CD, and then boot your PC off the CD drive to give Ubuntu a test drive. (Alternatively Ubuntu will mail you a CD for free, but you have to set up a Launchpad account first. That's also free.)

ImageAnother thing I've been telling everyone about is the i-Fusion by Sonic Impact. I got mine at Target but it's also available at Amazon.com. It's a high quality, truly portable speaker system for the iPod. It folds up into a solid little zippered case and it has a lithium-ion battery that is good for about 15 hours on a single charge! There's also a storage compartment in the unit for an iPod and for earbuds. I love my iPod but I'm not really someone who likes to wear buds or phones, so for me the iPod is all about its ability to interface with my car stereo and my home stereo, and now the i-Fusion. I've been taking it everywhere, listening to it all the time. I can't wait to take it camping when the weather warms up. Here's a review at Playlist.

Finally, we're coming up on the 4th anniversary of the first version of this site, "Lingster's Big Mouth", which launched on January 19, 2002. In some ways it's hard to believe it's been that long, but in other ways maintaining this site has been such a big part of my life for the last four years that it seems hard to remember what it was like before I had the responsibility. We're also coming up on the tenth anniversary of my first post that's archived at Google. There were others prior to that but they are lost to time, I suppose. It begins "Lo ye Immoral Hordes of Big Girl Fetishists-" and pretty much goes downhill from there. (It seems I was kind of an asshole in my 20s.) But ten years have gone by! Holy crap! How did that happen?

It occurred to me recently that if attraction to muscular women ever becomes the standard male attitude, I and some others like Marknew could wind up as weirdly quasi-apocryphal figures shrouded in mystery. You know, like when people debate who William Shakespeare really was, or Jack the Ripper. And of course it's always supposed to be someone famous, never some ordinary schmuck. "He was really the Duke of Edinburgh!" There was a great Superman story about 20 years ago where some future historian had proved that Superman was actually Ralph Nader, I recall. Another historian said, "Well, I think he might have been a reporter named Clark Kent..." And everyone looked at him and said, "Who?"

So in the event that some future historian reads this while trying to trace the evolution of male sexual tastes: no, I am not Ralph Nader. (But I do know where his office is located.)

 

Microsoft Security Update

It's ready - go get it. I mean it - if you're using Windows, go get the patch right now.

Tech stuff

OK, two important things:
  1. If you're running Windows - any version - you really, really need to pay attention to this:

    Microsoft is investigating new public reports of a vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft is also aware of the public release of detailed exploit code that could be used to exploit this vulnerability. Based on our investigation, this exploit code could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the user's system by hosting a specially crafted Windows Metafile (WMF) image on a malicious Web site. Microsoft is aware that this vulnerability is being actively exploited.

    Your exposure may be lessened under certain circumstances if you're running Firefox, but it may not be. So it is critical that until Microsoft releases a bug fix - which could be tonight, for all I know - you should not visit any sites that you're not familiar with, nor should you download any images. You should set your mail client to view plaintext only, not HTML or images.

    You can follow this news at Weblogsinc's unofficial Microsoft blog.

    If you are running Windows 98 or Windows ME, or an older version of Windows like 95 or 3.1, you're basically screwed - you may need to upgrade, buy a new computer or switch to Linux.

  2. I have decided not to change over to Joomla! from Mambo, at least for now. The Joomla! development team has forked off from the Mambo team, and people with Mambo sites (like me) are a little lost about what to do. I did a test re-install of Amaz0ns on Joomla! last month, but there wasn't any real upside to it that I could see. So I'm sticking with Mambo for now.


 

Firefox 1.5

I installed the new Firefox 1.5 release about ten days ago. It has a lot of cool features but it seems to lack the stability of Firefox 1.0, and it also seems to consume more system resources than 1.0. So if you haven't upgraded yet, you might want to hold off for a bit.

I've got nothing but good things to say about Firefox 1.0, though. And by all means you should try it out.

 

Happy New Year

I gotta tell you folks, I never thought I'd live to see 2006. I can remember thinking, thirty years ago tonight, that the year 2000 was 24 years away and something bad was sure to happen to me by then. Now it's 2K6 and I'm still around, and each day is a pleasant surprise.

However, the answer to the question I wanted to live to see has left me unsatisfied. I don't mind so much that we didn't get the flying cars or the Lagrange colonies - though God how I loved those Rick Guidice and Don Davis paintings. My six-year-old brain formulated one question that is still open: "What will Twentieth Century Fox call itself in the twenty-first century?" So far, it's still Twentieth Century Fox.

Poop.

 

Craig Titus & Kelly Ryan

This is terrible. It's hard to understand where that kind of violence comes from. I don't have any thoughts to add to the story. There are video news reports posted here.
 

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