November 2009

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Over the last year on Facebook, I’ve been seeing increasingly frequent ads for, and invitations to join, online browser games such as Mobsters, Mafia Wars, Vendetta, S.W.A.T., etc.

In addition to being able to join and play these games, Facebook also gives you the option to either “like” or “report” these ads/invites. These ads come emblazoned with taglines such as “crime pays big!”, “steal a car!”, “get your guns!”, etc. All are an obvious and extreme glorification of casual violence.

For several months now, whenever I see one of these ads/invites, I’ve taken a moment to report them to facebook. From facebook’s dropdown menu, I usually choose “offensive” as my reason for doing so, although when I’m feeling wordy, I choose “other” and then enter “disgusting glorification of violence” as my reason.

Yes, I’ve played violent video games before, and spent many many hours of my life playing at traditional fantasy RPG’s. However, I’ve never gone down to the local mall, stood on my soap-box, and encouraged passers-by to “Kill or be killed”, etc. I’m blindly hoping that Facebook somehow limits these ads to age-appropriate viewers. Even if so, I am offended, and will continue to resist this blatant glorification of violence, just as I vehemently support a nursing mother’s right to publish a photo of her feeding her baby. I hope you will too.

I’m starting with an Asian Pear or two. A few thin slices of Abruzzese, then into the cheeses. While we wait for the cheese to come up to room temperature, let’s get to the beer.

Tonight I’m re-visiting “The Gnome” with a bottle of spiced Belgian golden ale; the fine La Chouffe. I’ve had this beer before, and while these light ales are not my usual first choice, this is definately the best of the breed, and a better accompaniment to the cheeses at hand than, say, the Mc Chouffe bitter or Houblon Chouffe I.P.A. that were also tempting me.

Taleggio is out first cheese of the night. Ah, a sip of beautiful light ale, touched with spice, followed by a nibble of tangy, salty cheese. Also on the plate, warming and softening even more quickly, is the other cheese: Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog. This second cheese appears more intimidating, but is creamier, with a sweeter nose; a dessert cheese, if you will.

Almost through that first glass of La Chouffe; 8% beer sneaks up fast, and soon I’ll be mellowarm and happy at the end of the day. 🙂

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Yes, I’m one of the ones who managed to somehow make it through Google’s mysterious vetting process, and after a 6+ week wait, have been invited to open a Voice account. I’ve had the account now for several more weeks, and am just starting to discover some of the more interesting uses.

First off, since I only have one actual real phone, the multi-ringing feature is lost on me. What I have been able to make good use of is the free texting and calls to Canada, and via Sprint’s conditional voice-mail forwarding I am now using Google Voice as my default voice-mailbox and handler.
For those of you who have no idea what this means, it’s like having Gmail for your voice messages. Recorded greetings/messages can be then embedded for sharing, etc.

Another fun thing is the call widget. Embedded widgets allow website viewers to connect to your account and to your phone; click, enter your number, and Google Voice rings both parties and connects the call. For free. Well, free in the US and Canada. Well, free inside the US and for US connections into Canada.

I’m going to try posting such a widget and do some experimenting; ideally, it should work out to be a “call me collect for free for everyone” button for my many Canadian friends.