Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Metamorphosis / Breakpoint 08 / NVISION Anyone?

Hey all, how was your long weekend? With the current Toronto weather, mine could have ended up quite boring. But of course it didn't, as I was saved by the miracle of ASD! =D The Breakpoint demoparty was held during the weekend, and there were quite a few awesome demos competing in various categories, including ASD's new demo by the name Metamorphosis. This demo is one of the most different, artistic and refreshing demos that I have seen up to this day. I'm not going to say more about it here, because you just have to see it. And by the way it seems that the Rogers problem with pouet.net has been resolved somehow, so you're not going to have any problems accessing the page hopefully. Make sure you also check out other demos released in Breakpoint 08. Some of my favorites:
- Masagin by Farbrausch [This one is incredibly cute! =) ]
- Challenger Deep by Traction & Brainstorm [Extremely Beautiful]
- theBeauty by Einklang.net [Colourful demo]
- Linear by SQNY [Darn kool style]
- Concentrate by Adapt [Some very cool effects]
- Diego on e - Unfortunately I have no clue who made this [Very very colourful and pretty demo]
- 60 Seconds for Mr. Light by Anadune [Underrated unfortunately.. I found it absolutely adorable]
- Wild Demo: Craft by lft [Oh Jeez... this one is awesome in ways I can't possibly explain!]

On a bit of a different topic, NVISION anyone? A couple of weeks ago I sent a whole load of information out about NVISION, for people who have left an email address with me to be kept in the loop with any demoscene related events. But so far no one has got back to me. Is there anybody who's going? In case you're wondering what this is about, check here. NVISION is a newly born demoparty which will be held in the San Jose, from 25th to 27th of August, and from what my understanding is, it's going to be pretty darn cool. And yes it's true, unfortunately I can't go because at that point in time my plane will be going to the opposite direction. But you can be sure that I would go if I were to be around. So if you're going, let me know. And if you're not sure yet, well, just GO! =) Don't miss this!

Update: ALSO ALSO... Jeez how could I forget to write this? The scene.org awards ceremony was also held during the Breakpoint, and you can find a complete list of winners here. Congratulations to ASD for winning the award for the best demo, as well as a couple of more categories. Make sure you check the winner for Breakthrough Performance too, it's very cute. Sumotori Dreams by Archee.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008
BlueHost: Web Space Scam! [aka BLUEHOST SUCKS!]

Well, yes. And I have to mention that this isn't just about BlueHost, it concerns a lot of other currently popular hosting services, that offer huge web space for not such a big price. Well, let me tell you about my experience with BlueHost in the last 48 hours. To start with, let me give you a part of the official BlueHost terms of use, that you can find on their website. I have to mention that the TOS page is basically nowhere to be found, unless you search for it in the help center. Yeah, very informative. If you want to see the whole page, it's here. But here's the section of interest to me:

"No material that provides sells or offers to sell the following: controlled substances, illegal drugs and drug contraband, weapons, pirated materials, instructions on making, assembling or obtaining illegal goods or weapons to attack others. Information used to break, copyright, violate the trademark of or to destroy others property or information. Information used to illegally harm any people or animals. We do not allow pornography, nudity, sexual products, programs or services. Escort services are not allowed or other content deemed adult related."

This is the only thing that they are saying about "copy righted material". That you don't have the right to sell them. I add to it myself: don't share them either, basically don't violate the bloody copyright laws. But hey, what part of any copyright law, OR the bloody terms of service, says that you are not allowed to back up your legally collected copyrighted material on your web space? What if you're using the God forsaken 1500 Gigs that "supposedly" they should give you, to back up parts of your hard drive? And what if that backup is 1 - password protected, 2 - outside of your public web folder, or to say it in simple terms, what if nobody but you has access to that back up? Exactly what are you violating that way? Well, let me tell you what gets violated that way: BlueHost's shameful marketing scam. They tell you that you have 1500 Gigs, but they know that most people use only something about 20 Megs [I'm also quoting parts of this from Genox, as I was speaking to him about it yesterday]. They advertise 1500 Gigs to get your attention, but they never have the kind of resources to allow people to use 1500 Gigs each. Which means that if you, as one of all these supposedly clueless customers, actually want to use some of the space, they will freak out and start pushing you with limitations that they never ever mentioned anything about, in their terms of service. You just wake up one morning, and figure out that your website has been suspended, without any sort of warning, and not even your email addresses work. I mean how un-considerate and un-professional is that? Then you call them, and they tell you that you are "violating" their terms of service, and you are "violating" copyright laws, while you were doing no such thing. They tell you that unless you remove everything you have in your personal folders, they will not give you access to anything. It doesn't matter how many times you try to tell them that this is wrong, they simply won't listen. They use the fact that you need your website back online, and push you to do exactly what they say: to never use what you have paid for. Yes, this is no kidding, this just happened to me. And then I emailed their "abuse" department, asking for an explanation about this, which so far they haven't responded to, and something tells me that they won't.

But hey wait, this is not all, it gets even better. You know what they primarily made me remove from the server? PUBLIC DOMAIN EBOOKS, AND LEGALLY FREE MUSIC! Yes, no kidding, how stupid is that? I had, in my public folders, eBooks that are legally free and fine to share and distribute, and music that happens to be made by my boyfriend [Genox] who releases his music for free, and somehow I'm pretty sure that he doesn't mind me sharing his music! Yes, the bloody BlueHost support didn't listen to me when I tried to tell them that this is free material!! They kept telling me that until I remove it, they won't re-activate my services. What does that tell me? That this is not at all about TOS or Copyright or law or anything like that, this is about the fact that they're lying about the 1500 Gigs, and they're just counting on it that with the kind of limitations they apply, you can never use the damn thing. I mean exactly how many full text websites can you have to fill up 1500 Gigs? Is everybody going to start their own eBay or something?

Now as I mentioned, this is not just about BlueHost. It goes for bunch of hosting services out there, but I would say BlueHost is the worst because:
1 - They don't mention anything in their TOS about their backwards policies,
2 - Their live chat support STILL tells you that it's ok to have copyrighted material as long as you don't share them [I tried this with a fake name yesterday!],
3 - Other similar hosting services won't get b****y with you if you're using their space with legally free material, and they understand the concept of "public domain books". Or at lest that's what their phone support tells me,
4 - The BlueHost support "lady" got quite offensive with me yesterday and hung up the phone on me, when she basically couldn't say anything in response to my logical argument.
So, ladies and gentlemen, this is _THE_ one most ugly behavior I have ever experienced from a company offering a service. In one act, BlueHost has managed to surpass even Rogers and Network Solutions. Good job, really!
So here's what's going to happen now. I already have full back up of my websites and databases and everything, and I'm fully prepared to move to another host if they bother me again. Actually given the current horrible downtimes of BlueHost, that would not be too bad anyway. AND, I have just put back my legally free material online, and I have absolutely no intention of removing them. And I have every intention of filling up the web space I'm paying for, with completely un-copyrighted material that can be very useful to my website viewers. Lets see what happens.

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Monday, March 17, 2008
Happy Noroooooz! =D

Yup, it's that time of the year again. When you don't exactly need a calendar to tell you that the year is getting renewed, you can just feel it in the air. Or at least you're supposed to, unless like me you're stuck in the cold of Toronto. On Thursday [March 20th], 01:48:19 AM, year 2567 (1387) of the Persian calendar begins. From what I already know, this year is going to be one of _THE_ most important years of my life. Full of ups and downs and adventures. There's much that's about to happen, and I'm very much looking forward to everything. I hope that this year is going to be a good year for all of us, and although I have my doubts as to whether the current "situation" in Iran is going to change in any positive way, but I'll still keep my figures crossed. So happy new year everyone, and best wishes from me, Ahoo, Aasemoon.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008
Twine: I'm In! =)

Yes yes, I did receive an invitation from the Twine cast and crew. =) Honestly I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and I'm happy to say that I haven't been disappointed with what I have seen so far. The truth is, I also do have the same feeling as Genox about the number of current social networking websites, as well as their quality. [Which is: not a very good feeling!] But now after having used Twine for a day and half, I can say that it's something new. Yes, finally something new! I still have to use it quite a bit more before I can talk more about what it does and how it's like, but from what I've seen so far, to put it simple, it really is a way of sharing knowledge and interests! It's like Wikipedia + del.icio.us + Digg + a public weblog, and it has social networking tools and abilities too. I'm currently very much curious about the "behind the scenes" of it, and I guess I have some digging to do. ;) Oh yes, I also have to mention that although you get a warning when you try to log-in using Opera, saying that the browser is not supported, but actually everything works just fine on Opera, including the bookmarklet.

Also: The online version of Zine #13 is out! Yes, it is, finally! Click here to read.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008
Twine, Anyone?

Has any of you folk, reading is blog, heard about Twine yet? I guess I could start with giving you some background as to what this is about. You know how I have this habit of digging around the web for..well.. for everything? Including useful tools to add to my website for organizing this and that, and the latest big bangs of the web world? Well last night I was looking at my own blogger profile and the ton of interest links that don't exactly do much.. and then I thought to myself, that maybe just like my little link organizer, I should fix a little something of my own that would give me the ability to organize my interests in a somehow more useful way, instead of just having a repeated bunch of words in every profile that I have on every website, including my own. But then... organize the interests to do exactly what with it? For example on my blogger profile, if you click on each listed interest, you get a list of other people with that interest. That's kinda cool, but not so much since a good many people using blogger never really create a profile. And half of what you do get is actually pretty outdated anyways. Not much of a good way of figuring out exactly who may be able to help me out with my Pliant problems [the programming language that I like and somehow nobody else does]. And I have to add this, the "interest search" feature in most of the networking websites isn't exactly much better either. So, I figured I needed some ideas, and the googling started. My first query was "organize your interests online", and the first result that popped up was this article on techcrunch.com talking about something called "Twine". Following the link to the Twine website and having a look around, I figured that this, is probably the 10000 times more advanced version of what I was looking for. The ultimate way of organizing what you're into, and finding out that you're not quite the only person with that certain weird interest that you think nobody else in the entire universe has. So, marvelous all of that, lets give it a try! But hey, not so fast apparently. Just when I wanted to sign up, I saw that tiny little banner saying that this a beta and invite only. Meh. Now my interest is boiling and I can't get inside this thing. Ah well, I thought I should probably ask my friends! I got into every other invitation only beta by asking friends! But no luck, nobody has even heard of this. Ok then, lets ask google again. Maybe I can find something. And yes, I should probably post an article about it, maybe someone gets back to me. So I was halfway writing this post when I found this weblog: Minding the Planet. The latest post on that blog says that if I write an article about Twine, and send the author of that blog the link to it, and if it passes all tests, I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiight get an invitation. Of course it's a pretty big "might" since from what I read, there's a good 30,000 people waiting out there for an invitation. But well, I already wrote this, I may as well send it in and see what happens, right? =)

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Thursday, March 06, 2008
Genox.ch / Lazarus / Demo Videos

Nowadays, it seems that there are more weblogs on the net than anything else. Weblogs of all sorts, for all topics and purposes, with all the various looks and designs that they have. Or.. do they? Well, not really! Honestly it seems most weblogs these days are somehow the same, design-wise, that is. Blog templates are pretty repetitious, and well maybe I'm a bit of a visual person, but I would like it better if the text and the looks have something to do with each other... if the blog is supposedly the reflection of the persons mind, isn't it a good idea if the blog template is too? At least to some extent? Anyhow, I've had a lot of people telling me that my weblog looks somewhat "unusual" or "different than what's out there". Well, if you think my blog is different, wait till you see the new template of Genox.ch! Just check it out... now this is what I call difference. =)
Is any of you guys reading this blog into comic books? Well, I am! I can't say that I'm reading them all the time, but every once in a while I just like to drown myself in some good comics. That being said, lately I came across a 3 volume comic set of a certain genre that I don't read just thaaaat often. But hey, I found these ones pretty interesting! The comics are called "Lazarus", and they're about a guy who is on the run after a horrible experience... it's a bit of a painful and horror-like story, created by Diego Cortes and Juan E. Ferreyra. So if you're into comic books, check this one out.
On yet another completely different note, I just put together an FLV demo video collection in my gallery [viewable on the web]. The collection, which is not that large yet, is mainly for "demonstration" purposes. The idea was basically handed to me by some of the folk attending the demoshows, saying that it would be nice to have an easy/quick way of showing what you mean by "demos" when you're talking to somebody about them. Specially if it's such that you don't have to search YouTube for some good demos, when you don't know many names! So there ye go! =) And yes, I am planning on expanding the collection, and do drop me a line if you have some videos to add to this.

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Ahoo "Aasemoon" Pirsoleimani, 1998-2014