Why I think Disney's RFID 'Magic Bracelets' aren't Terrible

Work with me here guys. We arne't talking 'number of the beast' or any sort of black chopper fantasies.We're talking about what's effectivly your hotel keycard and putting it on your wrist where it's less likely to get swiped and you're able to put your wallet somewhere that people dan't just bump into you and grab.

Is It perfict? Nope. No security system is perfict since no matter how good the automated systems are humans can be connec into getting around the system for you. That does not mean get ridof the people and have your perfict automated system take over since automation reaks down for any nmber of reasos and it's always good to have a person in the loop to step in and go 'Uh you don't look like a mary... Sir.' 

Plus in the case of automation I'd hate for the computer to decide I really do need to pay again for a second time and no that last time doens't count we won't let you get your things out of your hotel room because now the system has deactivated your armband.

This is a problem with existing systems. Magnetic Cards can be cloned if some bright bub puts a scanner between you and the thing you're sticking the card in and you don't realize it, or you can get your RFID card scanned while you pay at the pump. Then again there's always the time honored tradition of sticking a gun against somebody and going 'please swipe wristband here please sir.' Granted that's very un-sublte ut whatever right?

More likely you'll have guys dressed in very official looking uniforms using the fact we're trained to follow directions from people in uniforms to please scan here we are trying to locate someone and we don't wish to raise a fuss. Oh no worries no need to be alarmed we have everything under control.'

That is what I find to be the most likely scenerio outside of getting an employee to give up their skeletn key.

On the flip side say you have everyone in the park wearing these gizmos. Your child wanders off all you have to do is alert one of the park people please my kid's wandered off and because those bands look to be made of stuff you can't just rip rip and get rid of it's not like little Timmy can accidentilly pull the thing off or somebody intentionally try making off with your kid for whatever reason. Child will be found and all should be well.

Of course Disney has invested a billion dollars into this thing so it had better work. This then leads into 'when will we see this kin of thing elsewhere?'

Probably inside of a few years. These things won't replace the cards in your wallet but I can see businesses or at the least other parks having the option for people to wear these things and offer some sort of incentive over dealing with cards.

Cosmos for a New Generation


I wasn't around when Cosmos first showed. However I saw it during rebroadcasts since I'd only missed it by a few years and it was still fairly relevant. This time I'm getting to see it as it happens, but Cosmos isn't for me. Sure I'm a science nerd and found the experience fairly enjoyable, but Cosmos isn't for us geeks. It's for those that aren't sure of this whole 'science' thing and need a gentle nudge to see what they've been missing. Granted your typical lecture about Infinity or Zero or whatever is about as interesting as watching paint dry, but that's where Doctor Neil Degrasse Tyson really shines. He's a man that engages and brings a human element to his talks simply by being excited about the stuff he's talking about. This is also where Carl Sagan excelled and the reason eight year old me found the original show fascinating wasn't just the facts, but that these facts were given to me by someone who was excited about the whole experience. Trust me after having puttered around trying to absorb whatever bits of interesting I can, failing college because I got bored and distracted, and constant frustration at History and TLC turning away from education to 'Reality' TV I understand how big a difference presentation makes. This show nails that part down pretty hard.

Sadly with TV being what it is almost a third of the hour long time slot Cosmos was given is trying to sell you something, and the constant break for commercials after every single little transition was quite jarring.Sad really, but I suppose one takes what one gets and frankly I'm grateful Fox has put forward the sort of effort they have at trying to put forward a show going on at how important Science is when they're a network I at least mostly associate with wing-nut politics that take the stereotypical anti-intellectual christian stereotype and run with it. Sure I suppose with shows like Fringe and Too Human that really shouldn't be the case, but on the whole it's a network I associate more with Family Guy than Fringe.

Speaking of, Seth McFarlain (guy that created Family Guy) stuck his neck out pretty far to make sure this show got made and aired. Seth, I might think Family Guy is a steaming pile, but dude I gotta respect you for getting this show on the air. Thank You.

It isn't perfect and the commercials constantly broke immersion for me, but they did well enough that I want to see more. Fortunately it will be showing on a weekly basis on Fox every Sunday at 9 Eastern, and again on Mondays at National Geographic plus Hulu and there's already an upload of the first episode on youtube (that I'm hoping gets left up, but if they took it down to make room for it on Google Play I wouldn't be overly surprised.) I want this show to do well because I want a new generation to be inspired to look up down and all around while asking questions about everything around them.

Where is the Export Function?

Nintendo has decided to, much to the collective 'meh' of everyone else, Shut down Wii and DS online support. The Wii U and 3/2DS is still going strong and by all accounts Wii online gaming was mostly smash brothers brawl so why care? Worst that's going to get affected is Pokemon right?

Well for me it's more a case of 'this is an object lesson in why depending on an online service is a really dumb idea' I can then sit and point at Joe or Jimmy Online without them thinking it's either tinfoil hat paranoia or an edge case scenario. After all the DS still has freaking pokemon, which has been a license to print money. Nintendo turning off the tap only a couple years after seems like a bit of a headscratch. Beyond that though I have the following to ask.

What about the online services you actually use?

All your runs in Call of Duty, or those photos you upload to Facebook. Server plug gets pulled good luck getting your data out. Anyone remember Tabblo? It was a photo service like Picasa or Photo bucket. I only heard of them through a talk Jason Scott made that got posted to YouTube. Ever heard of Kickststart or LuLu Poetry? How about AOL Hometown or Yahoo Video? All services that got shut down with little to no no clear warning they were going away. The worst offender I know of for that, however, is GeoCities. Their 'announcement' was buried in a helpfile. OK fine you might not care since most of what's posted online is either crap or not interesting. Thing of it is same applies to whatever you've posted to Facebook, uploaded to Google, soundcloud, or whatever. We might not care about anyone else's stories but by the same token just as few care about ours.

This is not me standing by the proverbial car wreck telling the poor shmuck involved they should've worn a seatbelt. I happen to be annoyed at Nintendo pulling the plug, but for me it's one experience along with a dozen others where a game or service or the internet itself goes out for a variety of reason. Because of that I'd figured out pretty fast the internet isn't always going to be there; especially if you're rural.

Now What?
Well sadly there isn't anything to be done for Nintendo, but that doesn't mean you can't use this experience as a wake-up call about your online 'life' and what happens to all the photos, video, and that-have-you that gets posted. I am a big fan of making backups of those things you want preserved. However I'm also a fan of posting stuf online, which is pretty obvious given I keep a blog, post on Google+, and am a fan of being able to find everything online so I'm currently looking into ways to make a home server.

Servers are neat. You can use them not only to host web pages, but you can also automate downloading files, share music, video, or host game servers. The uses really pile up over the years and added complexity of the web. Even better is a netbook can do a lot when all it has to do is deal with you and a few other people and isn't having to double as the family machine. Remember the web in the very beginning used to run on machines we would consider ancient and had to provide for hundreds or thousands of users. Sure the web is more complex and that old 486 isn't going to cut it as a mail server anymore, but that old netbook you got that you can't really use anymore because it has a cramped keyboard, little space, and the processor don't let you do much and got an iDroidBerry device instead? That ting, with a few thumbdrives and a lightweight Linux will give you a new thing to play with and if you already have the hardware all it costs is time to tinker around.

My Thoughts after a Week in the Dungeon

Before I actually get to what will, unless things drastically change, be my final writeup for the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper let's have a little history so people can understand where I'm coming from. I'd gotten Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2 as a bundle pack in the bargain bin at target right around college. This was actually while dungeon keeper 2 was still relatively new. I don't mean 'new' new, but 'within the same generation as the hardware I had' new. Both were played, conquered, played again, hacked to bits when I figured out how to edit creature values giving me imps that could shred a horned reaper, and I ended up losing my copies thanks to loaning them out and just never getting them back.

I enjoyed the writing, pacing, challenge, and was disappointed when I learned there would be no dungeon keeper 3. Many years passed and I sorta just left these games up in the dustbin of old memories til I heard about GOG and the fact they had both games for sale.

Fast forward to last christmas when I got a Nook HD, spent a few weeks with it stock, enjoyed it, put cyanogenmod on it, and enjoyed it more. Then just on a lark I go see if the Play store has anything like dungeon keeper in it since it's a click driven game so the basic formula should translate well. I see Dungeon Keeper itself on the play store... but not for my country. Oh well go through the internet I scored an apk anyway to try out anyway since what could it hurt right? Turns out it not only worked, but it was in english, and they gave me some beta tester perks. That was a very classy move on their part since they could've had it detect that I am connecting from a United States IP range and 'nope not allowed in your region. Sorry.'

History Lesson Over.