Finally!

10 months ago when I was hired it was for one main purpose – to upgrade our Sharepoint 2007 to Sharepoint 2010. Sure it’s normal IT operations, some SQL and Exchange management and other stuff too but mainly it was to upgrade Sharepoint. And now 10 months later the day has finally come for me to start and reap the fruits of the past 10 months work!

All the scripts are written, polished and tested 3-4 times and everything is prepared so at midnight tonight the old Sharepoint 2007 will go into read only mode and I’ll start copying all the 250 gigabyte or so of data and migrate it to 2010. And we’re also taking the opportunity to clean up some previous wrongs (like “SiteDirectory” things). So it’ll take more or less the entire weekend but lot’s of downtime waiting for copying, backups, restores and moving things around in the content databases, all those nifty scripts will do that work, I just have to check in once a while to make sure there are no errors and start the next one. So I’m actually triple booked this saturday – first this work, then Star Trek day in Skarpn√§ck and in the evening we’re having our neighbours over for dinner and to celebrate Sams birthday. Then on Sunday I might still have some job to do (although if all goes well it’ll just be building the search index which I’ll just start and leave for 12 hours) and off the the kids funhouse at Barkarby. All in all a busy weekend.

But it really feels good that FINALLY! I can put all my scripts and preparation to good use, I’ve waited for over 6 months to get the go-ahead for this!

More Piracy Stuff

We have some more piracy stuff going on here in Sweden. Our big ISP’s are more interested in expanding internationally than care about the free speech on the internet, which has made it difficult for the Pirate Bay to find an ISP. But our political Pirate Party supplied them with internet access because .. well why not really, everyone has the right to be online if they want right?

Well not according to the anti-pirate corporation here in Sweden, you know the one that dragged on the Pirate Bay-court for years and years and are backed by an army of lawyers (fortunately none that I worked with) and every studio in Hollywood. They sent them an ultimatum to cut off the internet access to pirate bay bu feb 26th “or else we’ll sue the individuals in charge of the party”. And the pirate party isn’t a big party, doesn’t have much funds and the ones in charge of it aren’t wealthy either. So they knew they couldn’t defend themselves in a lenghty trial and “fight the good fight” even if there is no law or court order to support the anti-pirate corporations threat. So the pirate bay went to Norway and Spain and someone the anti-pirate corporation thinks of this as a win for them. And I don’t see how?

First of all – the pirate party just got atleast one new member and voter, so good going there. Secondly the pirate bay is still online. Thirdly, instead of going to court against the pirate party they’ll be going to court explaining what gives them the authority to demand this in the first place. Which I for one hope ends up like it did in Norway.

But don’t get me wrong – I’m not rooting for or even using Pirate Bay and not a big supporter of people who thinks “copyrights are the devils work” and the anarchy label that comes with it. It’s more that I’m against how the Hollywood studios are going about this and what their idea of how distribution should look like which I’ve said many times is so inconvenient and counter productive for the customer that I can’t possibly support it – something I’ve said for years since that Moby “18” CD fail a few years back!

This Is What Drives Piracy

So this week is a week I was looking forward to. The release of Dead Space 3! I absolutely loved the first one and liked the second one, so I’ve really been waiting for the third one. And the trailers for it hasn’t disappointed. But now it all has a bit of a bitter taste thanks to the publisher EA and Visceral Games for sticking with EA!

If you wind back the clock to pre-World of Warcraft and most of the games I played wasn’t legally acquired. Not something to brag about but something changed with WOW but probably more because of the evolution of Steam – a great way to buy your games and download them digitally to your hard drive over the web. It was a lot more convenient than going to the store, buying a physical CD/DVD and installing it. Not to mention when you felt like playing it again you had to find the CD and hope it still worked. With steam you just download it again and play. My Steam library has more games than can be displayed on the page so I’ve been using that a lot. I actually bought the first two Dead Spaces through Steam.

Then EA decided to start their own. I don’t remember what the first one was called but I bought Command and Conquer and it wasn’t as good as Steam. Then they decided to ramp it up and started Origin which is their own Steam platform and the only way for EA games to be digitally retailed (at least in EU). And I’ve bought the Battlefields, Syndicate and even bought Dead Space 2 again since it was that good. But I can’t say I like it. Things like them defaulting the install dir to C: (which nowadays is pretty small when most gamers have SSD drives as C:), and it’s not cheaper to buy them there. Actually it’s cheaper to buy codes off web-stores that you then claim in Origin to get the game. I did that with Battlefield Premium and it saved me $20. It’s why I jokingly call it O(verpriced)rigin. But now they’ve taken it one step further with the launch of Dead Space 3!

I preordered it around Christmas cause I had some money over and it now finally showed up in my library. But guess what? It’s not playable until February 7th! Why is that a big deal? Cause it’s a EU thing – my friends in the states are already playing it!!! And there is no possible practical reason to delay it – it’s not like they are gonna translate it or make it less violent for our censorship or anything. There’s no reason to delay it for 2 days for us! It pissed me off! But here’s the kicker – it’s available on Torrent sites! So if I wanted to I could’ve played the game yesterday, albeit illegally obtained.

And now I ask the suits that are making the Origin decisions this one simple question – give me ONE good reason why I shouldn’t download it from Torrent and play it now? Because of your idiotic no-refund rules I can’t get my money back so my money will still be yours so don’t dare play the “support the developers of great games!” card. Just give me a reason why I should use your service over downloading it through torrent? Anyone? How about “to enjoy the multiplayer”? To hell with multiplayer, I play Dead Space because of that “one man against the universe and winning” feel so multiplayer is directly negatated. Anything else?

This is what drives piracy – poor executive decisions. And whom does it hurt? Your customers and your developers. Because there is no way in hell I’m going to enjoy Dead Space 3 now because of this idiotic thing that forces me to the world of Torrents to play I game I purchased! That’s who, but what do you care – it’s the bottom line that counts isn’t it? Maybe if you would play by the rules and offer refunds or the ability to second-hand sell my digital games, your bottom line would take a hit. But I promise you I will never buy a game through Origin again – this was the last straw!

Updated: I gave it a try and talked to a EA advisor through their support and ask for a refund. It went as expected, if you’re expecting corporate greed and customer service incompetence at understand the issue that is.

Happy To Be Here

That title is a little inside joke, but anyway. Today as I walked back to work after taking a little walk after lunch and I saw our building with our logo I got this weird fuzzy feeling. It took me a while to get it but I think I do now. I’m actually proud to be working here at Thomas Cook (aka “Ving” for all you Swedes!). It’s been over 10 years since I could say that.

After working for companies like “Pulsen” who never saw me as an individual but rather something there to make them money, and Carema who tried to make the most of every dollar they had, it’s such a pleasant thing to be able to say that I work at “Ving”. Because unlike “Vinge” (the lawfirm), this company is very well known, have a very good reputation, are very visible in the media and really takes care of their brand. Recently we just had an ad drive and some of the pictures of people on holiday were of gay couples, and it’s not like they made a big deal out of it or anything, the pictures were just there just like that “happy man / woman” couple pictures. I liked that. And yes I do realise that I’m defeating the purpose by actually making a deal out of it, but it can’t be helped! Also the fact that Ving take very good care of their employees. Even though I was a bit peeved at my boss 2 weeks ago for not giving me the bonus I was promised all year, I’ve gotten over it and it’s not like it was personal or anything. And besides, me and the wife are going on holiday soon that’s alot cheaper than it would be had I not worked here.

So yeah, for the first time in 10 years I can actually say I’m happy and proud to be working where I am. Let’s hope that never changes!