May 13, 2011

Gagaville

WARNING: NOT IN FRONT OF THE KIDS


"Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick
I wanna take a ride on your disco stick
Don’t think too much just bust that stick
I wanna take a ride on your disco stick"
— Lady Gaga

Hey, doesn't that make you hot? Put some lustful thoughts into your mind? Is it fun? Is it cute when your kids sing it?
Here, try some more:
  • And baby when it’s love if it’s not rough it isn’t fun fun
  • I want your ugly, I want your disease
  • The only place you wanna be is underneath my Christmas tree, light me up with me on top lets falalalalalalala...my Christmas tree is delicious
By the way, there seems to be some occult imagery in her material as well. 

"Come on, Cowboy Bob! There are worse things out there!"

No kidding? I had no idea. Guess what? There are far better things out there, too.

Listen, I don't really care what people choose to put into their minds. If you want lust, nonsense, occult or whatever else to influence your thinking, that's your business. But...

Enter Zynga, the social network game company. "Zynga is committed to transforming the world through virtual social goods. Zynga players have made real change by raising millions for several international nonprofits since Zynga.org launched in October 2009." Ummm...OK.

Zynga is also committed to making money, let's be honest here. They are constantly striking deals with big businesses to promote their materials. I have a Frito-Lay truck and an American Express windmill in Farmville.  And you can bet that Zynga is not doing the promotions to about 65 million players of their games just to be pals.

Now they're teaming up with Lady Gaga to promote her new "Born This Way" album. The new product? Gagaville. I received the e-mail a little while ago.

Frankly, this strikes me as a bit hypocritical. If you are one of the six percent of the Farmville players under age 21 (I think that's the percentage, anyway), your winery will not produce wine, but will produce coolers and juice products instead. Protecting the kiddies? And yet they'll actively promote the material of a pro-perversion, sex-obsessed performer. Hey, maybe they'll restrict play to people who are over 21. Nah, who am I kidding?

Listen, Zynga. I've tolerated unresolved flaws in game play, "quests" when I wanted to play in other ways, having my items electronically "stolen" (they disappear), neighbors not receiving items I have sent to them, overall "bugginess" and other irritations. But this bugs me quite a bit.

I find it very off-putting. Maybe it's time to stop playing Zynga games and use my time more productively.

May 11, 2011

Let Me Ax You Something Else

Edited
Buon giorno. In my business, keeping secrets is paramount. Sometimes when I send Lela and Nicky out to collect payments, they have no idea who they are calling on until they get most of the way there. But never mind about that now.

For what I am about to say, I received no vig. Why should I? It's Open Source, and free.

On another computer, I had a copy of AxCrypt by Axantum. This little dandy lets you encrypt your files so that nobody can get at them (even Hal the Hacker was impressed). You can make a self-extracting .EXE file and pass it along. This is quite different from TrueCrypt (also Open Source), which "mounts" a virtual drive on your computer, and knows how not to be seen. Bit of a steep learning curve for the details, though, but exceptionally secure. AxCrypt, in its default state, does not hide the fact that a file is encrypted. But so what?

I was impressed earlier today when I found a leftover archived encrypted file (yeah, big words again, but you have to learn them sometime). This file had been shuffled from hard drive to portable hard drive to another portable hard drive. The original Windows XP system was long gone, and I was looking at it on a 64 bit Windows 7 computer. I could see several reasons why this would have to be deleted.

I looked up AxCrypt's site. They have AxDecrypt now, in addition to their main installed piece. And it worked! I had the password and it was accepted because it was built in to the encrypted file, so to speak. This impressed me because the company was being so consistent.

They've expanded since I last checked in. As I said, they have the decrypter. But they also have a portable version (no, I haven't tested it yet), and the company has Xecrets. Isn't that a clever name? Anyway, this one is a subscription service that stores your files "in the cloud" (that is, online...why are people hung up on sky images for this stuff?), so you can access them anywhere. I don't feel the need for "cloud" stuff like that one because I have KeePass, the Open Source password safe. They have a portable version, so I can store the main file (or a copy) online or on a flash drive or other portable device. Like the Lord of the Rings, one password to rule them all, and then store all of your passwords in it. As well as your other information, it's quite safe.

Do you want a "back door"? Pervert. No, I'm talking about a back door to get into the software and recover your information in case you lose your passwords. If that happens, I will refer you to the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu, who said, "Sucks to be you". Ain't got no.

So there you have it, an update on some very useful ways to keep things secret. Even knowing what I use won't help you, though. Arrivederci, Baby!

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