Tag Archives: Internet

Feeling Disconnected

So as some might know already, I’ve moved into a new house where, amongst other things, I’ve got my own TV/games room.

Very cool, but what’s doing my head in at the moment is being without Internet access – this is being typed on my phone. It’s coming on Friday when we’ll have a 20Mb connection – a fair step up from my old 1.5Mb/sec that I’ve suffered… well, since we got upgraded from 512k – but you don’t realise how much you rely on it until it’s not available.

I have an iPhone so I’m not completely cut off, which would be driving me nuts, but it hurts to have no Xbox Live or PSN, no new podcasts, no new TV shows, limited IMing capability… The list goes on.

I’m sure I’ll be congratulating myself over this little purgatory in a few days when my connection is faster than yours (probably), but for now I’m going to watch Blu-rays and moan that I’m collecting achievements without my score updating.

The hardships that we must endure…

Giles Whittell Attacks Gamers, Loses

The Internet never fails to amuse me with its funny way of delivering retribution, from the Xbox 360 thief who ended up with his whole identity posted online to that ongoing battle between Scientology and Anonymous (both as nuts as each other). It’s like it’s a big instrument of karma, capable of great solidarity when it’s not calling you a ‘faggot’ on Xbox Live.

The latest victim is a Times journalist, Giles Whittell. In a recent column, he says:

“I hate video games, on or offline. I hate the way they suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time. I hate being made to feel hateful for saying so, and I hate being told to immerse myself in them before passing judgment, because it feels like being told to immerse myself in smack and teenage pregnancy before passing judgment on them.

Maybe I’m editorialising, but I think that can be translated as: “I’ve made my mind up, and I shouldn’t have to inform my opinion.” Don’t even get me started on that utterly ridiculous equation that he makes. Good journalism, then.

Thankfully, the wrath of Internet gamers has been both swift and (occasionally) witty. Giles Whittell has written several books, which are available on Amazon (I’m posting some of the reviews below so as to avoid having to publicise the books by linking to them), and Amazon has the handy feature of allowing people to post reviews, whether or not the readers have immersed themselves in the book. Let the games commence:

[On ‘Spitfire Women of World War II’] “Reading this book, it’s clear the author researched this book without immersing himself in the topic. He has clearly never been near a spitfire, World War II or indeed women.”

“I can say that, without a doubt, this is the most colossal waste of time I have ever partaken in. And, in the true style of the author, I didn’t even have to read it to make that judgement. I’ll get back to my smack now.”

“First off, I can’t really claim to have read this book. To be honest I don’t think I need to in order to pass judgement on it. No, let me go further, I find it quite dispicable that Giles Whittel would expect me to read this worthless, time consuming book before expressing my opinions on it. Without reading it I can already tell that Central Asia isn’t worth my time.”

“I tried to read this book, on more than one occasion, but my brain is fried from all the crack, and I’m tired all the time from my teenage pregnancy. I wish I would have involved myself in something safe like video games, I guess it is to late for that now…”

“I’ve never been to Central Asia nor have I read this book, But luckly we dont need to in order to pass judgment on it. This book is full of lies such as Asia being located north of Canada and that all Polar bears are from Asia. If you enjoyed wasting your time with Crack and getting teens pregnant then this is the book for you!”

Given that the reviewers have as much experience with Whittell’s books as he does with games, that must make them just as relevant. Oh, how I love the Internet…

My Drug of Choice

What can you do nowadays with a computer and no Internet access? Not a lot, as I’ve found out over the last couple of weeks. OK, so I had some Internet access, but this is one of those things where having none at all would be less torturous.

The Tuesday before last our Internet access went to pot. We assumed it was a bad day, as can happen, and only got in touch with BT when it was still going after two days. Then followed the familar pattern of calling and re-calling guys with names like “John” and “Dave” who sounded suspiciously Indian and seem intent on telling me that the reason all of the ten-odd devices connected through our router was slow is because of the firewall settings on one of the PCs. I’m sure I don’t need to go through that horrible process for anyone remotely technologically inclined. We’ve all done it.

And so, after numerous brief engineer visits and failed promises of it being fixed, it’s resolved itself suddenly and without fanfare. A podcast that was taking five hours to download and was being measured in bytes per second is now here in less than three minutes. Thank fuck for that.

What the experience of being all but without the Internet for almost two weeks has taught me is just how reliant I am on it. My Xbox feels empty without Live, my iPod library is staid without daily podcasts (I now have 19 hours of them), and I might as well not have a computer without those magical airborne bits and bytes flying in from the other room. And yet I can’t help but think how sad it is that I’m so completely reliant on one source for entertainment…

RIP Lik-Sang

Remember those days when your only choice for getting an import game was the local independent and the prospect of paying £100 for it? Or a questionable mail order company in the back of CVG that may or may not fold before the next issue? Then the Internet came along and we could get all the cheap imports and dirt cheap accessories we wanted from Hong Kong outlets, and it was good.

As you may or may not know, possibly the biggest of these Hong Kong retailers, Lik-Sang, has today announced in a surprisingly ironic statement that it’s closing down as a result of repeated Sony lawsuits against it. The most recent one, which I wrote about in my last post, ended in a ruling that the importing of PSPs into the EU before the official release had been illegal and, by association, that importing the PS3 would be as well.

“Today is Sony Europe victory about PSP, tomorrow is Sony Europe’s ongoing pressure about PlayStation 3. With this precedent set, next week could already be the stage for complaints from Sony America about the same thing, or from other console manufacturers about other consoles to other regions, or even from any publisher about any specific software title to any country they don’t see fit. It’s the beginning of the end… of the World as we know it”, stated Pascal Clarysse, formerly known as the Marketing Manager of Lik-Sang.com.

“Blame it on Sony. That’s the latest dark spot in their shameful track record as gaming industry leader. The Empire finally ‘won’, few dominating retailers from the UK probably will rejoice the news, but everybody else in the gaming world lost something today.”

Well, fuck them. Really, fuck them. I’d never once used Lik-Sang to buy a Sony product but had bought countless cheap gadgets (most recently my £10 component switcher) that are difficult to find elsewhere. Now that’s gone because Sony wants to attack consumer choice for when they decide that they don’t like paying more for a late product. I don’t, didn’t buy a UK PSP, and also won’t buy a UK PS3.

This is a sad day. I hope this pisses off enough gamers to really come back and bite them.