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Time Warner Backs Down

It looks like after two weeks of public outcry against metered bandwidth, Time Warner has backed down with their trials system of bandwidth capping.   Their initial test in a small town in Texas went over smooth I'm sure because nobody seemed to notice, but citizens in Rochester, NY we're not having it.

The plan to expand the test into North Carolina and New York survived in public for two weeks, and not even TWC's decision to dramatically boost the caps a week into the fracas could stop the anger. Not that the company believes anything about the plan was fundamentally misguided; as CEO Glenn Britt put it today, "There is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing."

That "misunderstanding" went all the way to the top. Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) last week announced his plan to introduce a bill placing limits on the ability of companies like TWC to cap its connections, especially in areas where it was a virtual monopoly. But it took a heavier hitterin this case, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)to make TWC change its ways.

Hopefully this shows Time Warner and other ISPs about what people think of bandwidth caps.   I've already ranted about them in some posts before, so I won't get into it again, but I'm pleased that Time Warner has seen that bandwidth caps are only going to hurt the consumers and themselves.
Tagged: misc




DLC Woes

Downloadable Content (the kind you pay for) is one of my favorite topics in the gaming world today.   Especially when companies rip you off.   Capcom is boasting their DLC for Resident Evil 5 -- but it's not really DLC.   You're not paying 5 dollars for something that Capcom developed after the game shipped -- no, that would make too much sense.

The total download size for RE5 Versus Mode is 1.86MB. You are not, in fact, downloading the content from Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Network. Instead, you are downloading a key that unlocks content already on the RE5 retail disc. The same disc you paid $60 for a month ago.

You're paying for a key to unlock content already on the disc.   So it looks like that game developers and publishers a like are no longer satisfied with just getting 60 dollars for their entire game.   I mean, why do that when services like Xbox Live Marketplace and the Playstation Network make it so easy to nickel and dime your audience?   It's a stupid idea to sell your entire game up front, you won't make as much money that way.   See, what you do instead is make the game, and then decide that part of that game "took extra resources" so you can charge your consumers another 5 dollars in addition to the 60 they already dropped.   The 60 dollars they spent assuming that they were getting your entire product.

I'm absolutely disgusted by the business practices of some of these companies when it comes to their "Downloadable Content."   This isn't the first time Capcom has pissed me off either.   Hell, even the alternate costumes you can "Download" for Street Fighter IV are already on the god damn disc.
Tagged: games misc




The Meter is Running

Just another article I've come across addressing the recent happenings at Time Warner Cable and their new tiered bandwidth cap billing system that they plan to roll out to 4 more cities across the country.

The caps that Time Warner is proposing is absolutely ridiculous when pairing them up against the average internet user's consumption.   Here's a rundown from the article of the author's household bandwidth usage:

Last month, my husband bought The Witcher: Enhanced Edition off of Stardock, which was about a 13 GB download. Since I'm a sucker for Psychonauts, I bought it (again) from GameTap, at 3.78 GB. I also couldn't resist the siren call of competitive Peggle, so I picked that up too for the Xbox (0.1 GB). Together, we downloaded demos for World in Conflict, Empire: Total War (1.2 GB and 2.2 GB from Steam, respectively), and the Xbox demo for Resident Evil 5 (0.47 GB). Finally, since streaming an HD movie eats up an average of 8 GB a pop (Source: Business Week), altogether my Friday movie nights on the Xbox add another 32 GB.

So in just one month, we've downloaded about 52.75 GB on our various gaming devices. If we were on the 40 GB/month plan, we'd be paying about $67 for our broadband service. (Currently, we pay $39.99.)

They use 52.75 GB of bandwidth just through gaming alone, and they haven't even calculated in their regular internet use of downloading and browsing, or file transfers.

To put it simply, this is an absolute nightmare.   It's going to essentially reshape how Time Warner customers use their internet connections, and put a stranglehold on the digital distribution markets that have been growing rapidly over the past few years -- a market that I'll be depending on next year to make a living.   Will people want to download a game that I put out into the digital distribution realm if it means they're going to go over their bandwidth cap and have to pay extra?   They probably won't be so willing compared to the current limitless plans that many enjoy worldwide.

The internet is going strong and making so much progress, and now Time Warner stands to counter all of that progress by putting a stranglehold on their customers.   People are no longer constrained by schedules or bombarded with commercials when they want to watch their favorite shows.   Information, media, entertainment, its all available on demand and virtually instantly.   I just can't stand to see these assholes tear down this progress with this archaic billing system that they seem so eager and happy to pursue.

Yes, they are a business, and they need to make money, but when almost no other internet service providers are following this pattern, and when the rest of the world seems to be kicking the United States' ass when it comes to internet connectivity, there simply is no excuse for this.

Apparently there is an email address that can be contacted for feedback purposes, but I haven't yet received a response from it.   Feel free to give it a go if you want: realideas@twcable.com.
Tagged: misc internet




Time Warner To Kill Internet

Awhile back Time Warner introduced its new and "improved" metered billing to some towns in the Texas area.   If things went smoothly, then they would continue to roll out this new process to more cities, and recently that list of new targets has been revealed.

The high end of this cap proposed by Time Warner is 40gb per month.   The average internet user that uses video streaming services such as Hulu, or Fox's own HD streaming service, YouTube, and Netflix can hit this cap in a matter of days.   Not to mention online game players that use services such as Steam to download game content that can easily take 1/4th of that cap in a day.

Time Warner is essentially attempting to kill the internet with this proposed cap.   Obviously the amount of people subscribing to cable services is dropping over the years because of the rapid development of internet video.   Quality is better, less commercials, and everything is on demand -- you don't have to wait until 8pm of a certain day to watch you're favorite show when its available all the time on the internet.

Anyone that uses the internet even mildly through their day to check email or just send messages should be opposed to this limited bandwidth model.   If we give them an inch, they'll take a mile, and other companies will then follow.

All five of these trial markets have limited or no FiOS availability. Rochester is home to financially-troubled Frontier, who (judging from posts to our forums) can barely offer consumers more than 3Mbps, and has been exploring 5GB caps. The other Time Warner Cable trial markets are in AT&T territory. AT&T is also testing metered billing, imposing caps from 20 to 150GB in two trial markets, charging customers $1 per gigabyte in overage fees.

So if you're opposed to the cap, let your voice be heard through any channel.   If you can contact Time Warner directly, go for it.   The more public outcry over this crippling bandwidth cap model, the better.   Time Warner is about to take a huge step backwards.   The U.S. is already behind when it comes to broadband speeds, and this will take us back even further.
Tagged: misc




The UK's Crazy Photo Laws

Check out this article on BoingBoing about a man who was arrested for taking a photograph of a sewer grate under a new law in the UK that allows anyone to be arrested for taking photographs in public under suspicion of terrorism.

So the guy takes a picture (but he didn't take a picture, the police only thought he did) and is arrested, and he's put in a jail cell for 2 days.   During these two days police pretty much turn his home upside down as they search everything and anything for any suspicious materials that could possibly relate to any sort of crime.   All for just taking a picture with his camera phone, and they couldn't even find the picture that they thought he took, because he didn't take a picture.

I really don't know why photography in public places is such a big issue, especially in the UK.   I've had a few friends run into a few incidents even here in the US where they're harassed for taking photos in public places.   It doesn't make any sense.   The UK already has cameras everywhere, why is it against the law for the citizens to use their own?
Tagged: misc




I'm Sick

Monday night I could feel the sensation of droplets running down the back of my throat.   A post nasal drip... usually the beginning of something awful when it comes to my health.   I went to sleep that night knowing that I could either wake up fine, or a total wreck.   I didn't wake up fine.

I've been battling some sort of sinus infection since then and it hasn't been fun at all.   I feel like I want to cough up all the crap in my lungs because I know that there's a lot of crap in there, but the problem is that my throat is so sore that it feels like I'm coughing up blood, so I try to stop myself from coughing but eventually it's unavoidable.

I was going to try to work on a short game for Valentine's Day but that was scrapped as soon as I fell under the weather.   I haven't been able to get much of anything done since this hit me.   I managed to finish art for an iphone game that will be released by next week, so we'll see how that turns out.

I'll return when I feel better!
Tagged: misc




Where Does the Time Go

Ah, crap.   It looks like I forgot to write on my interblogs for a long time!   Lately I've managed to draw a few things that I felt like were worthy of posting, so you can find that stuff on the right hand side or on the art page.   I've been working on trying to get a Snapshot demo ready for GDC that would be made in Game Maker, but I'm not as far along as I'd like to be (which always seems to be the story for working on my games.)   The final version of the game probably won't even be done in Game Maker or MMF, and I'm only doing this because I don't want to work on the MMF version anymore, so it's hard to work on it knowing that it's just going to be another concept demo.

Verge has to be put aside for now though because of all the Snapshot stuff going on.   I find myself answering emails and trying to conduct interviews with press sites and people more than I'm actually working on the game.   I never really thought I'd ever find myself in such a position.

Game Developers Conference 2009 is fast approaching and I'm really excited to head out to San Francisco again and hang out with all the awesome people I met last year.   This time I won't be just some random kid showing up for the hell of it, I'll actually be in the spotlight with my very own IGF booth set up!   I ordered lots of Snapshot business cards that I hope will be all gone by the time GDC is done and over with.

As far as distractions go, one of my main problems is playing Left 4 Dead.   I haven't played a whole lot of games before L4D came along, and while it's a lot of fun to play until 5am, it's been putting a dent into the time that I should be spending working on games.   Also I seem to be doodling around in Photoshop a lot more, and that takes away time from game work, but at least that's productive in some way.

I'll try to get back into the posting habit, but there hasn't been much to talk about.   For now, I present you with a video featuring an 8-bit Daft Punk song.

It's from a game called D-Pad Hero which is a mix of Guitar Hero and an NES controller.
Tagged: misc




Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the internet folk out there.   I hope that Santa treats everyone well and everyone gets what they want the most.   Now I will fill in this blog post with a bunch of photos I'm messing around with from my family's Christmas Eve party.

These are mostly just quick Photoshop experiments as the original photos were shot in a pretty dark room with no flash for a majority of the shots (I hate flash) so some post-production work is necessary.   That's it for me, see you in 2009!
Tagged: misc
Hey man! Imagine seeing you here. I got linked to here from gamertonight.net, didn't know you had a hand in that...
Greeting. It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
I am from Equatorial and learning to write in English,...
That is insane. Congrats!
Josh Whelchel
shhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiittt GIANT ROBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's finally done! Good job DarthMohawk! Too bad I finished the game already... Thanks to your advice. :D
Hack SW



Lunch Bag Art



Thanksgiving Rickroll



Don't talk about Obama



The Truth



What the Crap, CNN

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The views and opinions here don't really reflect those of anyone else, probably.

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