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  1. I’m sure this is all designed to help keep our machines safe from dirty hackers who want to install Linux everywhere.

  2. I generally like chrome, but still find I run into occasional rendering issues that I don’t get with firefox. Of course the blame usually falls on bad web design, but it’s still something that comes up from time to time. Also a few plugins and extensions that I use either don’t work with chrome or are not as good as the firefox counterparts — so I keep going back to firefox, but mix in chrome and even a little safari here and there.

    Definitely hoping Firefox 4 drops some of the bloat and goes back to it’s roots. The betas have been promising, at least.

  3. I am really interested in Garage Band for iPad. We will see how well it works with the lower powered iPad1. I may also have to pick up an adapter for my guitar.

  4. It appears that GarageBand will not be for sale until March 11. When I click “How to Buy” it redirects me to the iPad 2 webpage. Oh well, I guess I can wait a couple more days to let loose the creative juices.

  5. Yeah, I think they’re holding Garage Band and iMovie for the iPad 2 launch. Not much of a musician, but I have to admit, Garage Band looks even more cool on the iPad.

  6. GarageBand is now live.

  7. I definitely remember CodeRed, it attacked the company where I was a Novell and Linux admin at the time. I remember being quite smug and saying things like “that’s why you don’t use Microsoft as web server!” Still not a fan of IIS.

    That company will always hold a special spot in my heart, as it was the first company, of many to follow, that went out of business while I was working there.

  8. I tried a Zune once. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t particularly good, either. I find it funny because I *just* made a Zune joke to someone today. Full steam ahead with Windows Phone 7 Phone, I guess.

  9. As usual Slashdot is several days behind.

  10. Several days is pretty good for Slashdot. Usually it’s over a week, and then it’s double posted 2 days in a row.

  11. I see your Captain Kirk and raise you a Mr. Spock.

  12. “Core” isn’t a very useful label, as Amazon uses it. “Core” describes games like the Far Cry and Splinter Cell series, but it also includes all of the Sega Genesis games on Amazon’s download service. Doesn’t quite add up.

  13. Thanks! You just cost me $40…

    On a related note, did you get one of the covers? How do you like it?

  14. Yeah, I got that email the other day as well. What is a “core” game? Just a strange way to present it.

    • I’ve always thought it was short for “hardcore” games…like FPSes, RPGes, etc. The games that “gamers” play. Everything else would be casual games like Bejeweled, Angry Birds, Peggle, etc.

      But yeah, it’s kinda lame.

  15. Yeah, I got a smart cover too. The smart cover is pretty good, it keeps the screen covered adds almost no bulk and is about as close to a “built in” stand as you’d get with the iPad2. It’s solid, but I think you’ll still need something else to put it in if you’re lugging it around in a laptop bag or something, for extra protection. Also the back is unprotected, and that’s where you’re more likely to end up with scratches.

    I’ll have a write up on that and trying out a little video demo to go along with it. I’m thinking tomorrow or Saturday I’ll post that up.

  16. I noticed Schneier pointing out recently that it’s much easier to attack than defend. Given that the highest-profile targets will attract the highest-skill attackers, it seems like the current state of security means that the defenders will almost always lose…eventually.

    • Well, attackers have nothing to lose. It is the defenders who lose. IMHO there is no such thing as perfectly secure. What there is is a knowledge of your risk posture.

      I also liken it to the old two guys and a bear story. Two hikers come across a bear and anger it causing it to chase them. One guy stops to put on his running shoes. The other one looks at him like he is crazy and says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun the bear!” The first guy responds, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I have to out run you.” Don’t be the low hanging fruit. Now, obviously this does not apply in this case. It appears that RSA was specifically targeted.

  17. Nice review. Thanks!

  18. I am not sure what to think of this one. My initial thought is it is just a consolidation of very large companies which reduces competition and eventually hurts the consumer. ATT was broken up in the 80s for a reason. And now we will be left with very few national choices. These companies already get away with killer fees such as $.20 for a text message. I shudder to think how much bigger my bill is going to be in a couple of years.

    • Yeah, I can’t think of any way this can be a win for consumers. Granted, I’ve been both Sprint and T-mobile customers at one time, and had bad experiences with both, vowing I’d never go back — but I don’t see how less competition will benefit end users, no matter how bad the alternatives are.

  19. Guesses at a couple of the Lightning Deals seems to point to Bulletstorm at 11AM (Pacific) and You Don’t Know Jack at 7PM (Pacific).

  20. DNE = Does Not Exist
    DNC = Do Not Care

  21. Maximum PC (confirmed by Crytek) says today or tomorrow we will see the release of a DirectX 11 patch for the game which will come with added menu options for advanced graphics settings. Another case of a game not completely finished before release? Say it ain’t so!

  22. To Crytek’s credit, they’ve already offered some new config options in a recent patch, and it sounds like that upcoming patch will further improve the situation. But it’s sad to see a former flagship developer for PC now playing catch-up, and it’s also frustrating that these problems were already exposed in the multiplayer beta. Funk, Zeus, and I enjoyed the beta, but we all found it pretty unplayable before we applied some of the arcane launch options to increase FOV, remove motion blur, etc. And let’s not forget that the first version of the PC multiplayer beta started with the instructions “Press START to begin”….

  23. I’m disappointed to read your impressions of Singularity – I’d been looking forward to grabbing that game on sale someday. It’s hard to believe, but maybe Activision totally buried it for a good reason.

  24. It would be easy enough to fix the save system. Even without adding more checkpoints, all Crytek has to do is implement an autosave whenever you quit the game – basically an ad hoc checkpoint every time you quit. For games that use checkpoint saves, this approach should be absolutely mandatory.

    • That would be a perfectly acceptable solution. Instead it gives you a vague warning that “unsaved progress will be lost” with no indication of what exactly will be lost, unless you’re totally paying attention to the checkpoint notifications.

  25. On cue, John Gruber links to an interview with CEO which discusses the MLB apps, subscriptions and their relationship with Apple:

  26. Good write-up. Honestly, I think I’d rather use Steam on my PS3 than use PSN.

  27. Hmm… Trying to decide if it is worth it. I liked the first one, but I did not go bonkers over it like the rest of the gaming world.

  28. Valve says that portal 2 is 2.5 times longer than the first one, with more varied stuffs. Also the co-op is seperate than the sp with a different story and puzzles. Take that for what it’s worth.

  29. I have been using Instagram – Burbn, Inc. lately myself.

  30. I think I am going to pick this up to do some panorama shots. 360 Panorama – Occipital

  31. Instagram is great and free, but I find that Camera+ can do pretty all that and more. I think I’ve also tried out Panorama. It’s pretty neat.

  32. The “clues”:

    6AM – World of Warcraft Battle Chest $17.99
    8AM – Dragon Age II $39.95
    10AM – Pick up this Sony PS3 exclusive collectors edition (Killzone 3?)
    12PM – Hey man, nice Skillshot (obviously Bulletstorm)
    2PM – After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins (Final Fantasy XIII?)
    4PM – Embark on epic quests and build your Kingdom (Sims Medieval?)
    6PM – Unravel the mystery surrounding the origin of the “Kingdom Hearts” (Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep)
    8PM – Get ready to take to the field (MLB 2K11?)

  33. Surprise! It’ll turn out to be the hackers fault.

  34. Still down as of Friday night. Pretty bad if you ask me. These devices are so linked to Internet access that they are close to useless (no netflix??) when it is down.

  35. Sony is now claiming an external intrusion on their network is to blame.

  36. Translation: “Our crappy security and server model is to blame.” Not that I could have done better…but then again, I’m not a multi-billion-dollar international company dedicated to this stuff.

    The gf and I would’ve watched Netflix last night if Sony’s incompetence hadn’t screwed us out of it. I still use my PS3 primarily as a BD player in between periods of gaming, so I don’t seriously regret buying it, but the software side of the PS3 has been really disappointing overall.

  37. I’ll definitely pick up one or two of EA’s iPhone games for cheap.

    While looking through other deals, I just noticed that Amazon’s current price on the boxed PC version of The Saboteur is just $5. Lots of people seem to love this game, and it’s been patched up since release. I’m springing for it at that price – it’ll never be cheaper, even through a Steam mega-sale.

    EDIT: Oops, that’s not Amazon’s price at all – it’s a third-party retailer. Still a great price – not eligible for Amazon’s standard shipping rates, but Amazon Marketplace rates mean it’s still only a bit north of $8.

  38. Incidentally, this makes D2D by far the best place to pre-order The Witcher 2 – because the $45 base price gets a reduction of 25%, giving a total of about $32.50. I may transfer my pre-order over to D2D, despite the lack of DRM exclusive to I’d love to be able to support the developer more directly through, but as they say, grad students can’t be choosers….

  39. That’s the most frustrating thing. It’s not like they’re some low-buget start-up. A billion dollar multi-national company that specializes in online services, and there’s no contingency or backup plans? Really, Sony? Really? No matter what the cause, it’s hard not to call it an epic failure. It’s been down for 4+ days now.

  40. You can actually still use Netflix, without logging in to the PSN. >.>

  41. You both must be lucky. Several reboots does nothing here. Launching both the Netflix or MLB.TV apps says I’m required to sign into PSN, with a PSN login. Trying to log in says “PlayStation Network is down for maintenance” — then I’m kicked back to the PSN login and stuck in an endless loop. Nothing breaks out of it aside from killing the app. Lots of people are having the same issues.

  42. Hacking Netflix posted a work-around for the PSN/Netflix sign-in issue — your mileage may vary. Unfortunately it does not work for me for MLB.TV:

    Also, now Sony says they are rebuilding their infrastructure:

    • That process is pretty much what has been working for me. However, even then, sometimes the video would start to load and just sit there indefinitely.

  43. omg! sony better hav a good explanation of what happened… im so board NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY ONLINE :(( … all these days ive been crossing my fingers for it NOT to say “YOU HAVE BEEN SIGNED OUT OF PLAYSTATION NETWORK.. AN ERROR HAS OCCURED”… its been 4 long hard days without online… cmon sony i thought it was guna take only 1 to 2 days maximum..??! what happened..

  44. Anonymous now claims that they are not behind it, but concedes that individual anonymous members may be doing it.

  45. It’s really absurd that Sony still won’t say anything about this, including any word on whether private customer data has been compromised.

  46. I think that’s the most frustrating part about this whole thing. Sony’s lack of communication is stunning, especially in regards to what, if any, personal data was compromised. I can see this being a case study as how not to handle a crisis. Now a week into it and all they say is that they are working on it and have no idea if sensitive info has been exposed.

    I’ll think long and hard before I buy another Sony product again, because if you go by their PR on this issue, it surely seems like the don’t really care about their customers.

  47. With regard to crisis management strategies, Sony’s first priority to address should have been customer data. Even if some of their customers seem to care more about games than privacy, this would have demonstrated that Sony cared about customers.

    The customer data angle is dicey, tho, because there are a lot of states and some countries that have laws requiring disclosure whenever customer privacy is breached. I have no idea which of those laws Sony is even subject to, but they might be hunkered down with their lawyers telling them to say nothing and do nothing. That still means it’s Sony’s fault, but who knows – there are probably people there who want to do the right thing, and they’re not being allowed to.

  48. “The key thing we learnt from Stuxnet was the need for rapid response across the private sector,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley. “There, we need to increase the rapidity of response, because in that area — as in several other recent attacks — we’ve seen very, very sophisticated, very, very novel ways of attacking. When you’re getting at control systems, now you’re really talking [about] taking things over, so this is an area of deep concern for us.”

  49. Destructoid is talking about a theory that “rampant piracy” is at least partly to blame for the full PSN rebuild Sony seems to be doing. Basically, they claim that it’s possible with modded firmware to have full access to everything in Playstation Store for no charge at all. Totally unconfirmed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is at least partly true.–199610.phtml

  50. This also illustrates a common occurrence of corporate PR that drives me nuts: “We once again thank you for your patience.” Actually, I’m not patient. I’ve moved past “frustrated” and am on the way toward “fuming”. That line only makes customers feel that their issues and feelings aren’t being acknowledged.

    News flash: there’s really no cost to acknowledging and respecting customer frustration, and it’ll get you ahead in the long run.

  51. The US Congress loves to “look into stuff” — just ask Apple, and now apparently at least one senator has publicly said something about Sony:

    Not that it means anything other than Sony is getting a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

  52. Looks like Sony may have lost your PII & CC information.

  53. Yes – you, me, and about 70 million other people around the world.

    Funk suggested on IRC that this might be the biggest customer data breach ever. In any case, Sony had better ramp up its legal department about 10000% – because it’ll be entangled with consumer privacy laws in every nation on Earth that has them.

    Here’s the US PSN link:

  54. I think that this is pretty much it for me with Sony for the next couple of years. The only reason I got a PS3 was I wanted a media box. My popcorn hour wasn’t cutting it. Sony already won the format war vs MS & HDDVD. Plus, when choosing between MS & Sony I think it is a toss up between which one has done less savory stuff. I had pretty much forgiven the whole cd with a rootkit thing. And while this was unintentional and I realize that there is no such thing as perfect security, they have handled the entire thing poorly.

  55. Had they been upfront, right from the beginning, I’d be more understanding. Hopefully a security breach of this magnitude will teach other companies how to handle these situations better and have more precautions in place to better prevent it from happening.

    Heh. I’m going to be bitter about this for a while.

  56. I read this earlier today and it seems pretty reasonable. However, if I put my paranoia hat on, I am still slightly concerned. But then you know that the phone companies are already tracking all of it. Plus, whatever echelon is tracking.

  57. If it’s all true, then I think it’s a great response. Interesting to find out that the data isn’t actually data from the phone, but rather data delivered to the phone. In all the articles I read about this, I didn’t see a single person speculate about that possibility. (Of course, it could still be used to get a pretty close approximation of the phone’s location, but it makes a lot more sense.)

    I’m glad Apple will be limiting this soon.

  58. I also thought this bit was interesting:

    “Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years. ”

    I have no problem with them collecting anonymous location data, assuming it is totally anonymous / non-reversible. Of course we’ll never really know that for sure, but even non-smart phones/phone companies/hardware vendors gather location data and do god-knows-what with it. At least Apple is telling us what it’s plans are.

  59. Funk, companies that haven’t learned these lessons yet…won’t. Until it happens to them, I guess. Sony had plenty of real-world examples to learn from, plus tons of research and countless hours of seminars targeted at corporate executives – and none of those available resources seem to have helped one of the largest consumer-based corporations on the planet.

  60. Steve Jobs answers some questions directly:

    “As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education,” Jobs said. “We haven’t as an industry done a very good job educating people I think, as to some of the more subtle things going on here. As such (people) jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions in the last week.”

  61. It was a “Jump to Conclusions” mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor… and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.

  62. I’d definitely like to go back to the mp…but there is such a small window of opportunity to capture a healthy online crowd, and the fact that this game was released without any meaningful anti-cheat is a huge fail by Crytek. It’s a shame, because the mp is actually pretty good. I *might* get back to it….but I might not.

  63. Decent guesses on who were or were not responsible for the hack:

  64. To start with, Sony could stop talking about “physically rebuilding” and “relocating” their datacenter to “a more secure location”. That’s security theater, plain and simple. PSN was hacked because Sony’s virtual infrastructure wasn’t up to snuff, not because it’s datacenter was located in a bad part of town.

  65. Interesting phone interview with Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, and Scott Forstall about the tracking issue:

    (It’s the original source for the article from MacOSRumors that Funkmaster posted above.)

  66. Another report of sony related credit card numbers possibility up for sale:

  67. Have you looked at any other cases? I know that there are some with embedded BT keyboards, etc. I figured I would just stick with the stock case, but if you knew of any better alternatives, I would take a look.

  68. Not exactly what I had hoped. 30 days of Playstation Plus proves it’s just lip service, in my opinion. Obviously, you give out a 30 day trial for two reasons, to give users something for free so they feel like the are getting a benefit and to help sell the service to those who may end up wanting to keep it long term. 30 days isn’t enough for me to become confident in Sony again, and definitely not enough for me to feel compelled to purchase a service which I didn’t feel I had a need for previously. 3 or better yet 6 months…anything less, don’t bother.

    The free game option should be a choice from a select list, because if Sony picks a game you already own (or worse, something almost worthless), that benefit is instantly nullified.

    Also, more importantly, they made no mention of the other things I was looking for, such as being able to purge my credit card data from their system permanently. That is the one thing they really have to do at this point. They’ve proven they can’t be trusted with my personal data.

    Lastly, as our own security expert Zeus had mentioned, if Sony had been taking security seriously, why is it just now they are getting around to hiring a chief information security officer? A multi-billion dollar international company that has millions of online transactions everyday with all that personal data — who was in charge of security? Obviously, no one. They’re only doing it now because they *have* to.

    No mention of being able to mange your own personal data. No mention of credit monitoring services. Patronizing freebies. More empty phrases like thanking me for my patience and letting me know they are “taking it seriously.”

    While they still have time to amend these terms, I am unimpressed by this announcement. It’s basically what i expected, but I hoped they’d take this opportunity to do something different.

  69. Not that I am a big PS3 gamer or anything. I tend to use it more for media vs. gaming. I doubt that sony will be getting much more money from me. The lack of a CISO does explain some things. Especially when we look 5 years in the past at that cdrom debacle.

  70. As you say, it’s pretty incredible they didn’t already have a position like that – considering that they’re a multibillion-dollar global corp with customer data from probably several hundred million people worldwide (over 70 million just from PSN). And the fact that they’ve been so clueless about this stuff so far doesn’t make me optimistic about the future impact of that one new position. On the other hand, the proof is in the pudding moving forward. They haven’t put much on the table so far, but the window’s still open. (How’s that for a triple mixed metaphor?)

  71. At a press conference in Tokyo over the weekend, executives for Sony issued a public apology for the ongoing PlayStation Network outage and admitted that upwards of 10 million users’ credit card information could possibly have been breached.

    “We deeply apologize for the inconvenience we have caused,” said the head of Sony PlayStation division.

  72. Hey… Guess what! SOE has been taken offline and has suffered data loss as well.

  73. Nice to see a company follow through on its commitments within the promised timeframe.

    As of two or three iTunes updates ago, tho, I’m now seeing a frustrating problem with my iTunes/iPhone: iTunes (for Windows) freezes if I plug in (or unplug) my phone while iTunes is open. Everything still works fine if I plug in my iPhone before starting iTunes; I just can’t hotplug it while iTunes is open. Anyone else seeing this with the Windows version of iTunes?

    I’ve tried reinstalling iTunes, and this has persisted through at least two iPhone updates. There are enough variables that this could even be due to Windows updates related to USB, tho. No idea.

  74. Windows…

  75. I only sync to my MacBook and have had no isssues.

  76. Thinking about my recent digital purchases, I realized I haven’t bought anything from Steam lately. Amazon and Direct2Drive has had better and more relevant deals for me. I don’t think I’ve bought anything from Steam since the past holiday sales, which were actually a bit lackluster.

  77. I did just pick up SimCity 4 Deluxe for $5 on Steam, which was a great price for the well-reviewed latest installment in a franchise I haven’t played in a very long time. Should be worth a trip down memory lane. But I agree about the Steam holiday sale. I wonder what they’ll roll out for the summer sale, usually in July?

  78. Btw…interesting that Deus Ex: Human Revolution isn’t anywhere on that D2D sale.

  79. Well, at the very least, nobody smart will be attacking Sony again anytime soon – since the company is no doubt still working hand in glove with law enforcement agencies from multiple countries.

  80. Apparently, Japan is not letting them come back online. Kind of ironic.

  81. Has anyone ever bought a PSP?

    I will probably get Wipeout just because racing games tend to work well on consoles. Don’t know much about the other ones.

    It is not the compensation that bothers me, it is the lack of forward thinking that bothers me. And this is a historical problem with Sony. Again, how does a $77B company not have a CISO and claim that they take the security of my information seriously? CC information does not bother me much, as my CC company will cover that. It is the rest of that information that I am worried about. Can someone use that collection and sign up for services in my name? That is the big question.

  82. Which is more of an outrage? Sony’s PSN security or the NFL lockout? Both are totally frivolous and non-important, but both have shown a complete lack of regard for their paying customers. Continuing the tradition of entertainment companies actually hating their customers.

  83. Interesting question. The NFL picked this battle. Sony stumbled into theirs. Both are based on greed however and the end result is a tarnished reputation regardless.

  84. Interesting development. Certainly makes sense from gamefly’s perspective.

  85. I don’t really agree that CoD is on the downward side of the arc…unfortunately. Don’t forget that BLOPS sold a lot more, and more quickly, than MW2 did – and MW2 equally outpaced CoD4. We might see MW3 fall significantly behind the record that BLOPS set, but I’m not holding my breath. The segment of the market that laps up every CoD title seems to be pretty large, and it might be better served by CoD than any other franchise…sigh.

  86. True, you may be right. I’ve just noticed for the first time more than just a few people saying that they’re getting tired of CoD. Of course that doesn’t account for the tens of millions of people who are foaming at the mouth for every bit of CoD news. Maybe not on the downward side of the arc, but maybe just starting to see a few cracks in the armor? Or maybe it’s all a mirage and MW3 will top BLOPS and Activision will ride the CoD profit horse for years to come.

  87. Doing a little testing, and yep, it works. Downloaded an app on my MacBook, and it autoloaded on my iphone. Did an app download on the ipad, and it auto loaded on the Mac. Seemless, no effort. Look Mom, no wires!

  88. I’m a little unclear on iCloud’s backup features – will it actually store and sync my entire music collection, which is mostly ripped from my own CDs rather than purchased via iTMS?

  89. I’m one of those steam exclusive guys.
    Steam is so easy to use and is also a very good social tool, other digital gaming stores have attempted this kind of thing e.g gamespy comrade and I hated having a crappy software on my computer that I would only use for one or 2 games.
    Steam sells almost everything and it always at the cheapest price, and downloading even the biggest of games rarely takes more than 2 hours on my AUSTRALIAN Internet.
    Valve is probably my favourite company in the gaming realm as they always produce good quality games and always have some sort of amazing steam special, like how now tf2 is going play for free. I believe valve is driven more out of entisiasm for games than ea as there titles are often no 1s and they support there games waaaay after develpment and ea on the other hand is a
    money fueled beast that dosent care for consumers, especcially because they don’t even make games, they are just a publisher, valve on the other hand is a games manufacturer that owns a publisher (steam).

  90. Oopss… Forgot an important one. An African Safari.

  91. Alaska and Hawaii so I can say I’ve been to all 50 states. Maybe the pyramids if it ever settles down over there. Beyond that I’d love to start touring the tropical islands of the pacific.

    • We had plans to go to Alaska this fall and ended up cancelling them. I would still love to go there as well.

  92. wow…Your list is pretty hard not to copy/paste Zeus

    New Zealand has been the very top of my list for 20 years.

    You’ve already been most of the places that are on my ‘realistic’ to go to list.

    My Aunt and Uncle have been all over the world in style…one of their favorite places is Tahiti…i picture the corona commercials…doesn’t sound/look bad. Is that the French Poly?

    The Alaskan cruises get a lot of attention…might do that with mom/dad sometime soon….they have a big anniversary coming.

  93. Antarctica would be another location to see.

  94. Great post, zeus.

    I’ve had New Zealand at the top of my list for a very long time, and Australia’s up there too. For awhile, I hoarded frequent flier miles with the intention of visiting NZ, but United decided to make NZ one of the only global destinations ineligible for reward travel. Otoh, Australia’s still on the list, so I could take a month or two and make a combo trip of the two. Flights from Australia to NZ would still be vastly less expensive than from the US to NZ.

    One of my big regrets in recent years has been my lack of travel. If I play my cards right, a post-graduate job should give me enough security to do a lot more globetrotting. I’ve never even been to Asia, for example. And my European travels have been pretty minimal overall – just Spain, Andorra, Belgium, and Germany.

    I also think in terms of backcountry trips I want to do. There’s not much of that in Europe, but there are countless amazing backcountry possibilities in Asia, Australia, and NZ. Africa, too. Another thing that NZ can offer is some of the best whitewater rafting in the world.

    If you want to raft the Grand Canyon, keep in mind that waiting lists can be long. The inexpensive way to do it is find people with a private permit rather than a concessionaire permit, but that can mean a wait of several years (or even more). The full-on guided trips are more readily available but vastly more expensive. Just do a search for private permits and see what you learn – the option may or may not work for you. (It might require knowing people with gear and know-how, for example.)

    One trip that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a few years is closer to home — a multi-week or month-long canoe trip from Canada down to Lake Superior, following the historical route of the French fur traders with the North West Company. My interest in that has recently been renewed, as I’ve read about the market battle between the NWC and the Hudson’s Bay Company from a perspective of economic history. It’s capitalism! 😉

    The big barrier for me is available time. I can’t convince myself to spend money on trips like this if I only have a week available. Sooner or later I’ll either have to clear more time, or decide to stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Had to try and match your “bucket list” cliche!)

    • Time is a big deal. I have a decent amount of vacation, but my wife does not. So, we are usually planning around 5 business days off.

      That is the other reason why I am planning to do staycations. Or find something local and take a day or two off and do something we have not done before.

  95. Also – I recently saw this 2008 article along the lines of your post (while I was reading another Smithsonian piece on the physics of cheating in baseball 😉 ):

  96. Thank you very much for this writeup, I’ve been wondering for a while about how the service is to use. I’m especially interested in any DRM, etc. and you address that very well.

    However, I was looking at a download game on amazon called “Chernobyl Terrorist Attack” (because how could you not?), and the review there mentioned that it uses “Amazon’s activation wrapper”. So is this a case of some games do have extra Amazon-specific DRM? I wonder if there’s any way to tell, pre-purchase…

  97. I’m also a steam exclusive guy.

    There are several reasons why I choose steam. Number one reason is Valve. They have been providing us highest quality AAA titles, fantastic story telling with richest use of art, sound effects etc. Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 are the latest examples for their unique skills. I’m happy and I know I will always be happy with every one of their product or platform.

    Second biggest reason is the prices. I live in Turkey, Retail games are overprices here. At first steam was selling with European currency with taxes and etc. in our region but several years ago they changed the pricing. Now they are cheaper. Origin is still expensive. (Also GreenManGaming did this change too) I contacted about this but I get stupid answers from EA’s customer service. That attitude is not gonna help them.

    I don’t want to buy from anything other than Steam. But I definitely want BF3, so I’m gonna wait a litte longer, that probably buy it from direct 2 drive or gamers gate because it’s still cheaper than Origin. Strange but true.

  98. GOOD! Steam needs to take a step back and let the developers control their games. I’ll glady buy BF3 wherever it is cheapest. I only ever buy Steam games during its ridiculous sales, and those hard to find classics. Everything else falls to its competitors, or *gasp* a retail box.

    Valve needs to remove its lengthy patch approval process, and make patching steam client games easier and faster. Remember steam fanboys, not everything valve touches turns to gold…. “Valve anti-cheat” works wonders right?

    • You know that EA didn’t develop this game ? dice did..
      Sorry but the whole thing with origin just isnt working for me…

      connecting by a browser is a pain in the ass.
      i rather have steam than this.

  99. What’s wrong with VAC?
    also Im in the priccess of moong money to my paypal account to buy off origin…

  100. Coca Canyon in Peru may be interesting to check out sometime. It is apparently twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, but the walls are not as steep.

  101. No steam exclusivity here, I do prefer games on steam because it’s no worries about patching…not to mention if you reinstall your OS no grabbing all game discs and doing the pop one in pop it out routine. I do on the other hand hate origin if it’s still doing the same thing that EA downloader(or whatever it was called) did. What I’m talking about for those who didn’t know is when they would only let you download a game for a year unless you payed extra, but even then it would only be allowed for 5 years. After that period is up it’s as if you never owned the game(if you didn’t keep a backup).

    I could care less if they allow it on steam even though I prefer that but I will not support origin(through it’s use).

  102. I think that this was inevitable. Which is what scares me about Comcast purchasing NBC. And what has always concerned me with Sony. When the content producers also become the means of distribution you have a conflict of interest.

    Now, in this case, competition is good in the software delivery business. (Not that Steam is all about delivery, hello Steam crashes.) The major players I can think of are Steam, Amazon, D2D, and now Origin. I do think that Valve has been more “friendly” to the gaming community vs. EA in the past. Who knows if EA’s complaints are legit or if they are just smokescreens for exclusive content. I do believe that I cannot purchase L4D or TF2 from anyone other than Steam. So, this is certainly nothing new.

    Will it impact if I buy the game or not? Not really. I am more concerned if I want to have yet another “realistic” army shooter sitting on my computer.

  103. I don’t think that anything like origin would stop me from buying a game I wanted. Heck even before these game management programs we had to deal with anti cheat mechanisms. Plus, gamespy was used by several games as a requirement. Didn’t UT3 require gamespy? I think that that was one of many things that turned me off from UT3.

    DRM is probably the only that is going to get me to not purchase something. Any publisher who thinks that always on DRM is going to seriously stop the copyright infringement of their software is sorely mistaken.

  104. Im only buying if its on steam.

  105. I, for one, am NOT buying BF3 because of forced “Origin” use. Yet another DRM – because that’s what Origin really is – on my system? And one by EA, who rarely play nice or respect their customers? The BF series was fun, but other games are fun, too. Bye bye!

  106. thanks for info. no thanks to origin. no sale here. it’s not enough that i bought the game, but they want to know when i play and how long i play? how much intrusion will you put up with?

  107. It’s steam or nothing. Steam makes pc use user friendly, I’m too busy to dl patches upon launch of games. Steam does it on steam launch instead. Origin won’t get a sale out of me

  108. Im not a steam exclusive but i dont feel like having alot of programs just to play a pc game i prefer having all my games in one so it would be cool if you put bf3 on steam also if its not on steam im getting the retail

  109. ahh… I remember the days when you actually “owned” the game after purchase. Not anymore… now you basically rent the game.

  110. So, what do you think so far now that you have gotten some more game time in?

  111. Really buggy. There’s a great game in there, but it’s sometimes hard to find.

    Apparently the beta is a build from August, and they have just about another month to tighten things up. Two months from beta to release might be enough to make it playable, but overall this beta feels rougher than BC2’s did.

    Btw, the game is paced pretty differently from BC2 – weapons feel more lethal, like in CoD4. I actually prefer BC2’s slightly slower pace, but we’ll see how this works out.

  112. I do not get the point of releasing a “beta” on months old code. Why not ship the latest so that people can test that out vs. things that have supposedly been fixed.

  113. I especially wonder that about an MP game. Sure, in a SP demo you have to build a subset of the gameworld specifically for the demo, and that takes time – but in a game like this you basically just post one map and call it a day. I know it’s a little more involved than that, but it can’t take more than a person-day or two, can it? Seriously, I don’t know – am I totally off-base?

  114. Full steam ahead for me, its alot easier to use than origin and its alot quicker too, and the advantage of buying games online instead of in the shops is that you cant damage a disc, if your computer crashes simply download another copy of the game

  115. Amazon has it today for download… AMAZON BUY STEAM NOW! 😉

  116. I’m also a Steam fan boy – If EA doesn’t release BF3 on Steam, it just shows us how EA don’t give a $%^$ about their customers.

    Why would anyone want to run Steam and Origin alongside each other – that’s just a ball ache.

  117. There’s definitely a lot to like in iOS5. The notification center is probably the biggest single improvement, although iMessage is pretty great too. Also digging the split keyboard on the iPad. I won’t use it all the time, but depending on how I’m holding it makes it useful.

  118. iMessage would be nice if my wife didn’t SMS her mother so much. So, I can’t drop the unlimited SMS we have now.

    Haven’t checked out the split keyboard yet. Just upgraded the iPad last night and have not had a chance to play with it.

  119. I remember the days of Battlefield 1943 when you had to sign up for a separate EA account on the PS3. I know, I know, this is between Origin and Steam, but i waited a whole month to hear back from stupid EA in order to play BF1943. Why would you even need a separate EA account when you already have a perfectly fine PSN? It’s enough of a pain in the ass to have 2 accounts when you easily could have one.

  120. Steam or nothing for me. No, Steam isn’t perfect, but I have yet to hear anything good about EA’s attitude and how they run Origin (read: fail.) I certainly have zero desire to install and use another game delivery system. Less is more; Netflix is learning the hard way on that (as they try to back pedal from some corporate idiot’s idea of requiring separate websites for DVDs and streaming titles).

  121. What happened in EA live chat yesterday…

    Michael: Hi, my name is Michael. How may I help you?
    2297527067: hello
    2297527067: i played bf3 on origin, i found that i had a digital copy of bf2142 deluxe edition online in the cloud.
    2297527067: i have just tried to log in to origin to download the client and cannot find a download link anywhere.
    2297527067: also
    Michael: Do you have BF 2142 Digital ?
    2297527067: i have multiple games from ea and altyhough i play them all under one account i do not see them on my account, what is going on, any ideas?
    Michael: There is no way to get games on one account.
    2297527067: i was able to download 2142 from the origin client and play it
    Michael: A game registered once cannot be deleted or transferred.
    2297527067: i was able to download it through the origin client and play it
    2297527067: ?
    Michael: Ok give me all your emails
    Michael: I will search it
    Michael: The game is there on
    2297527067: k
    Michael: Login in Origin
    2297527067: i just have and cant find it
    Michael: In Origin ?
    2297527067: in origin
    2297527067: where is a link to download the latest origin client?
    Michael: Oh
    Michael: Obtain the latest available version here
    2297527067: thank you, the other games i have from ea and have registered are they available in the cloud
    Michael: cloud >?
    2297527067: the ea “Cloud”
    2297527067: ea’s digital cloud
    Michael: Only BF 3 beta and BF 2142 is on origin on
    2297527067: i have four other ea games i have registered, are they available?
    Michael: NO they might be on some other account
    2297527067: i only have one account
    2297527067: you mean on EA not origin?
    Michael: Its same
    2297527067: well i can see these Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam PC Download
    Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight PC
    Battlefield: Bad Companyâ?¢ 2 Battlefield: Bad Companyâ?¢ 2
    2297527067: but no way of downloading them
    Michael: Give me the keys to check
    2297527067: AAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2297527067: you have the keys they are all related to the same account
    2297527067: i registered them because i move around quite a bit and do not always manage to keep my stuff together, if a contract finishes quickly and i have to go i go.
    Michael: No we don’t have the key.
    2297527067: the whole point of registering them online?
    2297527067: didnt i have to put it in when i registered the game?
    Michael: Yes
    2297527067: they are not there by magic are they
    Michael: Check on the game manual
    2297527067: i dont have the manuals
    2297527067: anymore
    Michael: That means you have no proof that you own the games
    2297527067: i didnt have the 2142 manual and it was there to download more than 2years since i last played it
    2297527067: i registered them
    Michael: Ok give me the key to search
    Michael: search*
    2297527067: key?
    2297527067: which one?
    Michael: Serial number
    Michael: BFBC 2 or CNC 4
    2297527067: the one i dont have but did have when i registered it?
    2297527067: the whole point of registering games is to keep them safe
    2297527067: you shouldn’t have to worry about losing a key after it has been registered
    2297527067: you know im thanking god i spend most of my money on steam games nowadays
    Michael: You have no proof that you own the games,.
    2297527067: they are on my account, prove to me that i dont own them
    2297527067: proove it by showing me someone else has tried to register the key
    Michael: If you want the game then you have to proove.
    2297527067: i registered it
    2297527067: its mine
    Michael: so where are the keys.
    2297527067: in the cloud where i put them
    2297527067: proove to me i didnt
    Michael: Wait
    Michael: You want the game in Origin ?
    2297527067: i dont mind
    2297527067: ea dl or origin
    Michael: Same
    Michael: Open
    2297527067: system error try again later
    Michael: Ok same error coming to me also
    2297527067: system down maybe?
    Michael: Yes
    2297527067: can i reach the activation page from a copy of the link or do you have to send me to it?
    Michael: Try it after some hours.
    Michael: Good news is I found your keys
    2297527067: i appreciate you trying, thank you michael, they are mine.
    Michael: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    Michael: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx Command & Conquer 4
    Michael: Try to activate after some hours
    Michael: On that link I gave you.,
    2297527067: how about the key for bf2142?
    Michael: That is already on origin
    2297527067: do ihave to transfer them myself or will it happen automatically?
    Michael: Transfer ?
    2297527067: also i have need for speed hot pursuit does that show on your games list for me
    Michael: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Need for Speed Hot Pursuit PC
    2297527067: anymore i have forgotten about lol?
    Michael: No
    Michael: Its all
    2297527067: michael thank you very much, i appreciate your help.
    Michael: Thank you for your participation in the EA Games Chat Support.
    Take care, Bye!
    2297527067: the cloud one day will be automatic and this will all be a bad memory….
    2297527067: bye

    Amazing how i got what i wanted after mentioning steam….Also they lie there is a key for bfbc2 vietnam they never fessed up to.
    After this i refuse to buy anything from origin, its a cardboard cutout impression of what an online digital store should be.

  122. Same here been using steam since before WON was shut down I am and I remember saying then I wont switch I love WON!! Well its been ten years and a lot of bug fixes it was horrible in the early days but I am fully loyal to steam I have 100+ Games on my account as well as all my steam friends that are not on origin. I recently preordered Modern Warfare 3 almost purely because Battlefield 3 isn’t on steam I honestly wasn’t impressed by the beta the gameplay reminded me of Medal of Honor besides all the bugs (granted its a beta) Origin itself isn’t that bad I had no issues making a account installing just the whole Browser based game menu and pseudo facebook notifications made me hold shift and run as far as I could away from this game. I ended up getting MW3 because I know what I am getting it’s the same game as cod4 I don’t have high expectations but I am sure I will be entertained instead of being just let down by Battlefield 3

    I am really waiting for Counter-Strike Global Offensive

  123. My system has a small SSD for OS and Arma and a slave drive for the rest. I have Origin installed on F drive and have specified in settings -select were you want to install your games-F:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\. It reads exactly as the default except F is the drive. When I install, Origin is still installing it to the C drive and creating a new folder . I’ve restarted Origin and I’ve downloaded twice and attempted to manually move the file to the F drive default position but Origin thinks the game isn’t installed although I can trigger the game from the desktop icon. Not sure if this will be fixed by opening day or a problem waiting to happen. Before I uninstall Origin and try it all again I’m wondering if there’s a fix for this?

    • Curt,

      I can’t help you. I just have the one drive myself. Hopefully, someone else with more knowledge than I will stop by and provide an answer. I assume you have asked over on Origin’s support forums? I looked in the FAQ and didn’t see anything to help you.

      • Yes I posted at the forums but with the amount of posts coming in there every minute I’m going to have to keep bumping it till I get a answer to avoid complications when I get time to play. Thanks for your reply!

  124. Solution: Reinstalled Origin and chose settings-change default install path- browse (F) ProgramFiles x86 ( my extra drive). When BF3 install begins the installer adds a BF3 folder there. Originally I wasn’t sure if it would just dump the files in there. I also attempted to change the game installer path to the (F) drive the same way but it wouldn’t allow it (folder is already in use message) so I created a ProgramData in F-ProgramFiles x86 and it allowed that. This totally fixed my space limits on my OS (C) drive. I’m not sure how much space the installers are going to use on Game day if they’re on my space limited (C) drive. Something stupid like 20Gb might cache on my space limited SSD and that wouldn’t be cool!

  125. ok so ive paid for this music once, the icloud then makes it so it is on my ipod, but i cannot play them, and now i have to pay $25 to have access to songs ive bought and paid for???

    so i ask why should I have to pay for this, when I own the songs, they are on MY ipod, and THEY forced this update on me???

    on top of that it can only improve the quality of songs that are contained in their rather limited database. with their lack luster lossless format.

  126. Origin is the worst software I’ve ever used in my life. I have downloaded BF3 twice, called tech support, ultimately purchased the game on DVD and I still have only played for about an hour due to all of the problems Origin brings to the table. I will be hacking it to work out of Steam and disable Origin from communicating in any way with the game or the internet since EA obviously don’t know what they are doing.

  127. I’m pretty amazed at the high caliber of games this year – both commercial games as well as indie games. In each category, the crop was better than I can remember in years. We’ll be lucky if 2012 delivers even close to the same level of quality.

  128. So let me get this straight: First you download the archive, then that extracts to a folder structure of the DVD image at a different location, then you use that DVD image to install the game to yet a third location? Sounds pretty cumbersome and time-consuming, plus you would need tons of hard drive space. Steam, on the other hand, downloads the game in a pre-installed state, then it runs a quick one-time system configuration the first time you play. I much prefer that. So even though Amazon is currently having a 75% off sale on 95 games, tempting as it is, I think I’ll pass and wait until Steam puts them on sale. Out of all the digital download services out there, Steam seems to be the only one that got it right.

  129. The only reason I even start up Origin is because it’s required for BF3. I really didn’t use the Steam client that much either though, just to launch my Steam games.

  130. Well sir, I have just had a very, very different experience with digital downloads. After the long 19 hour download of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 it just stopped nothing happened and the disc files it downloaded are non-executable. There are no instructions that I have been able to find as for an alternative means of using those files and Amazon’s help only says to download it again. Which resulted in the exact same results and their customer service is being of no real use.

    So, personally I would never recommend downloading from as there is apparently no 100% guarantee to receive that which purchase.

    I will now be downloading a torrented version of the game and using my product key to make it official.

  131. Any news on Battlefield 4?