Saturday, September 29, 2007


Way back when I first started this blog I was annoyed at the way it put a one pixel border around all my pictures, especially my picture over there on the right. I had drawn in the drop shadow on the white background and the border ruined the effect. I was way too lazy to search though Blogger's template HTML code that was way more advanced than the HTML code I had been familiar with years before. So instead I just put some simple HTML code into one of the 'about me' sections of my profile that loaded the picture and the links that used to be under it.

Not so way back, but still awhile ago, a friend pointed out that I don't have my blog's name nor my own name written as text very often and therefore I'm not easy to find on search engines. I could fix that but updating so fields in my profile but I found out that Blogger no longer allows you to to put HTML in any of those fields. So if I changed anything on my profile it wouldn't save. In order to get the new picture up I had to rename the new .jpg file, over writing the previous 'Blond 2006' picture.

So to make a long story even longer I fixed it all yesterday. I nuked the HTML in my profile, updated several fields; notice all the posts are signed "Joseph B. Hewitt IV" instead of "Joseph the Fourth" now. I still didn't use their layout because it makes the picture really small. I re-hacked my picture and links back in. I do like the way it says my name now instead of 'About Me' like it used to. It was quite the pain figuring it all out though, comment out a line... see what changed... change a line... see if it worked... There were times I was screaming and shouting at the computer so much Connie thought I was playing Team Fortress 2 again.

I did find a bug though. I was dismayed at the profile's lack of choices for profession categories. For a Game Designer I expected to there to be something like 'Software Development' or at least an 'Entertainment' category but there isn't anything close. I chose 'Not Specified' but it doesn't save and always resets back to 'Accounting' which is the first option on the list. Horrified at being listed as an Accountant (sorry Becky) I switched it to the very generic 'Technology' category.

Scott at My Extra Life is doing the judging on his Jack Thompson Photoshop contest this weekend and posted all the entries. I was a little disappointed at all the dodgy ones. I was hoping to see a few really grand entries but most of them seem to have been given little thought and were pasted together using MS:Paint. I guess I am more used to seeing the quality Photoshop Phriday stuff on Something Awful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jack Thompson's First

As you may have heard, the online comic strip My Extra Life is doing a Jack Thompson themed Photoshop Contest. Jack has even already sent them a Cease and Desist. Not a legal Cease and Desist mind you, more like doggy threat. But as pretty much everybody and his favorite video game character knows, he has no legal leg to stand on. So just like his (actually filed) Cease and Desist, 5 PM Friday deadline filed against Rockstar Games regarding what he claims is a reference to him in the game, it too is being ignored.

The whole thing reminded me of the Hustler Magazine, Campari ad parody that implied that the Reverend Jerry Falwell had sex with his mother. This is the ad that sparked the lawsuit: Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988) which went all the way to the Supreme Court and inspired the movie “The People vs. Larry Flint”. So I decided to throw together a Photoshop entry for My Extra Life’s contest basically recreating that same ad parody with Jack and video games as the focus. If you follow that last link to the lawsuit, you can see a scan of the original parody ad this is based on.

Now you might think that wasn’t really any real ‘Photoshopping’ done. But I want to point out that that the joystick and Atari game were not originally in the photo with the Campari. I also had to match the lighting; note the silver-ish highlight reflection on the bottle to match the Atari game? Okay still not anything all that difficult and probably not a ‘contest winning’ entry but I am thinking it should at least get an honorable mention for the historical reference. I still hate all that dead space on the right caused by having the joystick there, but that is the best picture of the Atari Joystick I could find that I could match to the Campari photo.

Oh and btw Adobe, the publisher of Photoshop, discourages use of the term "photoshop" as a verb because that undermines the company's trademark.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Robert Jordan

I just read on Slash Dot last night right before leaving work that Robert Jordan passed away. I personally gave up on his Wheel of Time series a few years ago which is a big thing for me. Usually when I start a book or series I will finish it even if I absolutely loath it. But I got just tired of where the series was going (or wasn’t going I think was more the point) and gave up. I used to use the Wheel of Time books as a good example of how popular writers still need good editors to keep them in line. I still read (listen to unabridged) a lot of Stephen King’s stuff and I just can’t help but wonder sometimes how much better the books would be if he had an editor that said, “I don’t care if you are Stephen King, cut out this fluff and pick up the pace!” like I’m sure his editors were able to do in the early days before he was the success he is now.

Anyway, back to Slash Dot. I was reading through the comments on the post and there are some very harsh parting words for Mr. Jordan.
In the spirit of the man, friends and family of the deceased have requested that his eulogy be tedious and poorly written.

God finally finished Book 11, said "Are you fucking kidding me?", and whipped out the Smite Stick.

So this means I'll get to wake up my girlfriend like this tomorrow:
"Well, I've got good news and bad news. The good news: Remember how you were worried the 'Wheel of Time' series would never end? Well, you don't need to worry about that problem anymore ...."
After that it sort of deteriorates into arguments regarding those types of posts.

I did notice this passing shot at George R.R. Martin.
I hope George R.R. Martin is paying close attention.

I love his "Song of Ice and Fire" (The Dwarf, in the toilet, with the crossbow, heh.) There was some talk when his last book came out in 2 parts that he was starting to show signs of " Jordan 's Syndrome" Maybe this will help him focus. (and get the damn thing written).
I don't want to sound cruel or insensative, but if Mr. Martin passes on before finishing his series, I'm going to follow him down to hell and I'm bringing a typewriter! Now I really hope Mr. Martin goes on to live for many many years to come because 1. I kinda hope that for everybody, I'm not a death wishing on others kinda guy, 2. Because I do really enjoy his writing and am really looking forward to Dances with Dragons, and 3. I'll really feel like crap for having said what I just did about hell and the typewriter!

Oh and one last thing I wanted to say. The Wheel of Time series was one of the first really big fantasy series to be released unabridged on audio and for that I will always place it on a pedestal, even though I stopped listening to them. The readers, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, were excellent and I absolutely loved the accents they did for the characters from different regions in the world especially the Seanchan.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh my GOD! Is that what I sound like?!

Yesterday I was the guest on the latest episode of PALGN’s Podcast. It is a good example to show how much of my legendary wit is due to extensive editing and rewrites.

PALGN – PAL (as in Europe and Australia PAL TV signal as opposed NTSC TV signals used in the United States… which doesn’t really matter as much anymore as most newer TVs can accept both signals) Gaming Network – is one of Australia’s most popular gaming publications created in 2002 as an answer to the US-centric nature of online games journalism. This is their 3rd officially scheduled podcasts, as opposed first ones they released without ‘officially’ schedule them. I’m not sure what that story is, iTunes is showing me six episodes total. I downloaded one of the earlier ones before going on the show but only listened to about half of it. Been doing a lot of writing lately and I can’t listen podcasts or audio books while writing. I’m just going to imagine something went down akin to the buddy cop movie scene where the captain calls them into his office and yells at them for being wild and out of control, telling them that the Mayor and/or the Commissioner is on his back and that they have to get these podcasts officially scheduled or he’ll have their badge!

Anywhere here is the spiel:
You know that feeling you get when you take a left down the strip in Vegas, pass the Bellagio, and somehow find yourself in Queensland desperately searching for a decent fajita, paying the bills by working on what was originally pitched as a Korean MMORPG but is now an MMO with a multi-million dollar prize pool backing it? Yeah, I hate it when that happens ...

Featuring special guest star Joseph Hewitt, Senior Designer from Auran, we also unleash the Fury and discuss his experiences working with Sony, EA, Westwood, and Sierra as well as on a variety of gaming classics including Command and Conquer and Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception. As if that wasn't enough, he also helped support Star Wars Galaxies at launch, complete with inside info on how life was in the trenches - the man's got game. Literally, actually - most in their original boxes! (Read More)
Right click to download the podcast
Subscribe via RSS | Subscribe via iTunes

What is the secret of comedy?TIMING!!! Hmm, that works much better verbally. What makes stuff work better in print is rereading you stuff, massive editing, removing the fluff, moving bits around, giving it time to settle and then coming back to it and editing it again, rinse repeat. It is definitely the edits and rewrites that gives me my pacing and timing. Live on the air I fell apart, I just didn't have that magic.

Okay, so it wasn’t THAT bad and I did have a lot of fun. It was a blast actually and I may appear on their show again in the near future. There were more than a few things that we were talking about where I was thinking that I had debated and researched those issues before but just couldn’t access the information. Just now I went back through my old blog posts and found two of them. So while you are listening to the region coding section here is my post Console Modding versus Region Coding from August 1, 2006. Then when we get to talking about TV shows and view on demand stuff here is my post Av4st Y3 Scurvy Dogz! from September 12, 2005 on the subject. As you can see; I’m much more deadly and to the point in print. Hopefully with practice I can get my verbal game up to par. If anything, not having to worry about all the spelling mistakes should give me a leg up.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Fourth

I was playing Fury on our live beta servers the other day and found out that one of the guys in my pick-up group posted about it on his blog. So I decided to use it as an opportunity to vent about GTA IV.

It may not be immediately obvious how the two are connected. Here is a link to his blog:

What I want for the Gravity name/FURY discussion
Gravity Gaming. Home of Team Gravity - Saturday, 08 September 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Zero Punctuation

Zero Punctuation LogoA link went around the office the day that I thought I would share. Zero Punctuation puts out these little flash movie game reviews that are pretty funny. He was picked up by Escapist Magazine which now publishes a new one every Wednesday. He has put up three of them for the Escapist so far and I think three before that. My favorite is still the first Escapist one which reviews ‘Heavenly Sword.’ I highly recommend giving it a look-see.

There is another thing that I feel I should mention though. While going to the sites linked above to get the URLs to make the links. I experienced an odd computer pause and keep getting little ones as I tab back and forth through the sites. I think… and I am just guessing here… that it may be caused by the large flash “Fury Challenge Beta Event” adds that came up on the Escapist site. They are new add that I haven’t seen before and show some scenes from the cool “School of Life” Fury video.

People have asked me about the death move in that video. He stabs her through the throat, why then break her leg? The answer is the same reason he then jumps up onto her shoulders and flip her over into the wall... because thats the point of the death blows in Fury. They are finishing moves, equivalent to spiking the ball in the end zone. They are a clear statement to the other player that not only did you kick their ass, but you took the time to sign your name on their right cheek with your sword while you did it. Slash! Stab! ...yours with love, Joseph... BAM!