Games vs Women

Something that can annoy me sometimes, even make me angry, is when people go out of their way to find something sexist or homophobic or whatever their cause is. People can really ruin something fun like an ad on TV that has humor and BAM! someone shows complete lack of humor and just knocks it down because it made fun of women being portrayed in a special way.

Not that I condone portraying women bad, but there’s this huge space between making something funny in a 30 second ad to having an evil master plan. And sometimes I even feel sorry for those people that can’t look at an image without trying to find something politically wrong with it.

But sometimes there’s the freak occurence when they actually have a point! And I think Feminist Frequency may just have one, even though I think they mistaken in other areas. Who? “Feminist Frequency a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.” says their website. It’s created by Anita Sarkeesian and they have published two long YouTube videos on the subject of how women are portrayed in video games. Not today, but even back in the 90’s. Video 1 is here and video 2 is here. Waiting for video 3.

When I started watching it I was hoping it would be just another feminist trying to prove there’s an Illuminati conspiracy to portray women as inferior beings. And she partly goes into that territory which I think isn’t really helping their case. I’ve played games for a long long time and I haven’t reflected much on this issue. And had there been a long running plan then they seriously failed, at least with me. Another issue I had with the videos was – “what point was she really trying to make?”. Most of episode 2 is covering how women are portrayed as fragile pieces of porcelain that needs rescue (“Pretty Woman” anyone?), right? And then she goes on with statistics of how many women are victims to spousal abuse? How did a (“women being fragile in computer games”) result in b (“women are being beaten because of how they are portrayed in computer games”)? Or did I miss a step?

I can give her points that there is a real lack of women heros in the gaming business. And when cutting so many games together with the common theme like “your wife dies and you have to save your daughter” then yeah it’s apparently lack of creativity on the writing-side of things. We need more Mass Effects and Diablo 3’s where we can chose the sex of our hero to make this even more of a non issue. Although I have to say she missed Diablo 3 when writing up exampled of “women turned evil so you have to kill them” 🙂

I have for a long time thought that treating something like a non issue is a good way to live. 2 guys wanna get married to each other? Not an issue. But Takei made me rethink that by saying that “if we don’t treat it like an issue we’re sweeping it under the rug and pretend there isn’t violence toward the gay community on a daily basis”. And he’s right of course. And I guess it’s the same here, for me it wasn’t an issue of women being portrayed this way. But if we don’t see the issue it won’t change. And not changing our ways is bad.

Playstation 4 vs. Xbox One

Not sure how many of you are into the “console war” of Nintendo Wii vs. Sony Playstation vs. Microsoft Xbox? I’ve never been a major fan of consoles really but back in 2000 I bought a PS2 and basically only played Tekken and Grand Tourismo on it, that was it.

Then I bought the PS3 when it came out. That, the PS3 version of “Civilization” and an exercise bike made me lose about 30 pounds! And I’ve watched bluray on it and used it as the primary media player with the use of PMS. But I’ve never been really big on console games. Racing games makes sense but I prefer games with keyboard and mouse. And I’ve never really seen a big enough reason to buy an Xbox 360. I missed out on Halo unfortunately and the entire Xbox Media Center thing and being able to download games and play them on a modified Xbox. But as I’ve said, never been heavily into console games. But it’s not that I’m a huge Playstation fanboy (I can easily crack down on it, like how it’s not nativaly able to play MKV files even though it’s suppose to be DivX compliant!), it’s just that I’ve simply not gotten around to it.

Well now that both are coming out with new consoles I’m ofcourse thinking which one to buy first. And I’ve gotta say it’s looking alot like it’s gonna be Playstation again. Not that I was blown away by their pretty mediocre reveal or the games or anything like that. But because they aren’t conceded enough to think they can change how I have my entertainment setup at home in my living room which Microsoft thinks they can, but I can already tell them “no”.

Xbox One is supposed to be the “one” box to rule them all and make me throw everything else away in my living room. Well it doesn’t have speaker outputs so I’ll still need the amplifier. And unless the plan to release one specifically for Viasat in Sweden I’m still gonna need my satellite reciever with a build in HD to record stuff so there’s that. And there’s no way they are going to support MKV playback over my network at home so I’m still going to need a HTPC computer. So no, it’s “just another box”. I can see how they want me to connect my satellite box to the Xbox input so I can watch TV through my Xbox to minimize the screen and browse the web and read my e-mail on the side. ‘Cause today it’s terrible inconvenient to do that from my phone in my couch, right? .. And the EA Sports partnership? … not really! Had it been a FIA partnership then yay but focusing on NFL, really? Yeah, it’s big there but not anywhere else. What more was there? Halo TV series? Yeah, am I going to buy an Xbox to watch a TV show, that’s more than likely going to be on YouTube or downloadable somewhere else. And the size of the thing? And it comes with an 500 gig drive which by todays standard is pretty lame – and you can’t even upgrade it, something Playstation have not only supported but actually encouraged to prolong the life of their consoles! But yeah, I can buy a USB drive and hook it up (which I can do just as well with a PS4) and I’ve got one more device that I wasn’t suppose to have.

I’m not going to go into the “online” and “killing of used games market” because neither of those are actually a problem – FOR ME!

If I had any input on the development of the new Xbox here’s my list of things to do that would make me go “YAY!”:

– Multiple HDMI inputs. This would be a great solution so people won’t need to switch channels on their TV or amplifier (if you connect your HDMI inputs to the amplifier and then to the TV). That would be huge!

– Replaceable HD

– Full Xbox Media Center support over LAN.

– Stop focusing on partnerships that offer stuff only a small percentage of consumers want !

With those four things I’d easily buy an Xbox over a Playstation. Because the Playstation doesn’t have HDMI in at all. Or any sort of “play media over network” thing that works well. And the only partnerships I know of are all games-related. With the one exception for DivX.

Or I may end up buying neither until 2 years in when they are half the price…



Got Instagram?

I don’t know if you have Instagram, but if you wanna follow me and my wife when we’re off on vacation next week I suggest you turn to the official “Ving” Instagram channel –

Every week an employee at Ving get’s access to the account and Instagrams from their trip. Yeah, that’s how much we’re travelling – there’s always someone going somewhere willing to Instagram their holiday! Pretty good free PR and it goes both ways – people who are tuned into it via Facebook for example can write up their recommendations and tips for us on the other side, and we can promote our resorts. It’s all good 🙂

So tune in in one week when we’re off to Crete!

I Love My Wife!

Ferrari WatchI say that a lot, maybe too much for her to really believe me. So let’s put it in writing –

I Love My Wife !

So many reasons, most of them unexplainable and unmeassurable. But this weekend it’s because of this little birthday present she gave me. Not because it was an expensive gift but because she knows what I want and goes the extra miles. So yeah, I definitely love her 🙂

What Happened To Both Sides Of The Story?

One thing I thought was very important for journalists is listening to both sides of the story. If you’re going to print a story about a trial it’s important to print both sides of story. For example, last week there was a ruling in a trial where 3 guys had apparently shoved a glass bottle up a girls vagina. That’s one side of the story. The other side was that she had just had sex with two of them and they thought she was ok with this since she never outright said “stop”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the guys here, no matter what’s going on if you think a girl would like a bottle shoved up her vagina there’s something wrong with you, but the point is it’s important to print both sides of the story.

And right now there’s a very big lack of that. So much so it’s embarassing for all journalists in Sweden. Everyone from the people at “TT” who has historically been very good at printing facts down to the “let’s twist the facts so much it’s as juicy as possible without deliberately lying” so called “journalists” at Aftonbladet, they are all doing it. They have for the past 6 months printed one side of a story. Namely the one of Gottfrid Svartholm who’s right now on trial for hacking and stealing sensitive data from our IRS and hacking one of our largest banks mainframe and tried to transfer out money. The guy had apparently done this from his refuge in Laos or wherever. The swedish authorities, who’s already made it public they hate the guy, charged him with a high enough offence that they could have him arrested and deported back to Sweden. This was a long time ago and since then they’ve gathered evidence upon evidence. And most of it is logs on his laptop apparently. And the media have covered this from one angle and that is the information they are fed from the DA who’s handling the case and the managers at the places that got hacked. The DA’s job is to nail the bad guy, and he’s sure this is the bad guy so you could say he’s just doing his job. And the managers at the places that got hacked are, as victims in this case, hardly objective either. And now the trial has begun and in the days leading up to this the DA worked hard to make public what this guy was charged of doing. And he didn’t really speak in the “what we’re charging this guy with is…”-voice, rather the “what this guy did was…” which assumes guilt. But you can still excuse this guy for just doing his job.

But here is where the journalists are failing so hard. They are printing his statements and they are printing them as facts. And so far I have only seen one 30 second clip from the defense where he said “he’s pleaded guilty to some of the lesser charges but not the major ones” and that was it. Where are the people to examine the case against him? Where are the technical experts that will tell anyone that an online computer is easily hackable and anyone could have used this computer to do anything, even plant the logs which now makes up the majority of the evidence against him? Or the people to question why this kind of sensitive information was stored at the outsourced private company in such an insecure way that it was leaked? Where are the journalists to question why they have treated this person as guilty before they even made the arrest (and gained access to those previously mentioned so very important logs)? Where’s the impartiality? Is it left to us in the blogosphere to handle that?

I’m not saying the guy isn’t guilty and that he’s a saint. I can see this guy being totally guilty, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are two sides of the story and the media should cover them both, not just re-print what the DA feeds them!

They Actually Pulled It Off

I gotta say that 2 games into this years ice hockey world championship that the Swedish team wasn’t going to go very far, because it really didn’t look like it. But somehow they got their shit together and pulled a whole rabbit-clan out of a hat and got the gold!

I love it when my expectations go so low and it all just works out like that. But I can’t really say it was the best of hockey games I’ve seen. But you don’t don’t beat Canada, Finland and win the finals 5-1 with luck so there had to be some skill there somewhere!!

As far as my life goes, me and the wife are counting the days until we’re off to Chania, trying not to worry how Sam will cope with us being gone for so long. And we’re also building a little veranda on the east side of the house for those extreme hot sunny days when you just can’t be on the west side. Yeah, I know, really serious problems we have right?

Could’ve Been Better

So how was that weekend you wonder?
To start off, meeting up with my trekking buddies for a beer and burger, great! Always a pleasure. Then came the movie… well I don’t know why I still bother going to the movies actually. First I had to pay extra for the 3d glasses! They should also have offered earplugs because the sound was way too loud. And not “I can hear this through concrete walls”-loud because that I can enjoy. This was loud as in sharp hurting my tinnitus-ear, so I spent half the movie covering an ear. And who needs an AC when you have a thousand people watching a movie when we can make them sweat?! Why do I bother!?

Afterwards I went home (which took longer than it should) and spent a few hours playing computer games until I was tired enough to fall asleep. And I thought I’d be enjoying lying in bed and just not do nothing without having a son yelling at me to get up. But I didn’t, got up at 8 again and watched some TV, movies, Formula 1 and whatnot and playing games, just like I planned. What wasn’t a part of the plan was a phone call telling me that an acquaintance passed away during the night. He’s a guy I met every month at our Star Trek gatherings, a really nice and all around righteous dude. So that pretty much ended that day on a downer. On Sunday it was back to the same stuff and the F1 race from Barcelona with another Ferrari win! And by now the family was back home so it was back to normal life again.

So yeah, it could’ve been better, definitely. But it was still pretty good!

Upcoming Weekend of Awesomeness

As usual I hate to get my hopes and expectations up. Because it almost always leads to disappointment. But this time I can’t help it!

To start with, today is what’s called a “squeeze-day” in Sweden, which isn’t as cuddly as it sounds. It means it’s a workday between two non-workdays. And there’s the tradition that “squeeze-day” is a very unproductive day of slacking since most offices have a skeleton crew, including this one. So today will be a very slow day at work with no meetings and lots of labbing with Sharepoint 2013!

And you know I love my wife and son, right? But they’ll be away for the weekend, which means it’s just me me me. And the new Star Trek movie premiers tonight. Although I’ve already seen it but not in the full glory of 3D! And there’s an F1 race this weekend, Spain nonetheless which means Alonso will try extra hard. And I’ve got my Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer and Red Bulls in the fridge. And Diablo 3 just received a small overhaul. So yeah, I hate to get my hopes up but this weekend has a lot of ingredients to be a weekend of awesomeness!

Reality Check # 2

And right away comes the next reality check – namely this. To summarize – it’s your everyday normal family and the mother drops off their 2 year old son at kindergarten every morning. Except this one day she can’t and the dad steps in. Except this one time he forgets and goes to work and leaves his car in the parking lot with the kid still inside strapped to it’s seat. And the worst timing ever since yesterday happened to be the first really hot day of the year in Sweden and the sun cooked the car and the kid dies of heat exhaustion.

The tragedy is just amazing!! And it makes me happy that I’m in charge of dropping him off at the kindergarten because I’m not sure this would never have happened to me if I wasn’t. Because one time when my wife had asked me to pick him up I actually drove all the way home before I remembered I was suppose to pick him up so I turned right around to remedy that. So I’m afraid what might have happen if it was the other way around. But it’s just so tragic that it can happen. And I can’t say it’s the kindergarten’s fault for not following up why the kid never made it, with their limited resources they can’t investigate shit like this too.

Reality Check

Nothing like a terrible story about how absolutely evil people can be to give you a reality check about things, eh? I’m of course talking about those 3 chicks that finally broke free after being held captives in a house for 10 years. 10 freaking years!!! I can’t even wrap my head around that, it’s just absolutely absurd the evilness that lies behind something like that! Compared to that one doesn’t really have much to complain about. Because it has to be one of the most evil thing you can do, right? What makes people like that tick, really?! It pisses me right off, and all those TV series and movies you’ve seen with innocent girls being kidnapped and held captive by some psycho, that hasn’t gone on for 10 freaking years!? …Here’s hoping they can adjust to life as free people again :/

About That …

Right after I write that they are on the right path of giving us better digital alternatives with Netflix and HBO, then I read a story like this. Basically, Warner Brothers wants to have their own service that they want me to pay another $10 per month for … and that’s not going to work really. If I can pay $10 per month for VIP membership on a bittorrent site I have free access to any movie I want, regardless of studio or licensing. Then why should I pay $10 for netflix and $10 for HBO and $10 for Warner Brothers, and the grapevine says Viacom (which owns Paramount among other things) is considering terminating their partnership with Netflix.

So much for being on the right path ..

The Pirate Bay Mess

I saw the movie “AFK” last weekend. I say movie although it tries to be a documentary. But 99% of the film is following the 3 people on trial for running the Pirate Bay and allowing them to talk freely without any opposition and very limited fact check.

But still .. some things in that entire thing is very disturbing. As is the latest twist Peter Sunde is blogging about. In short … if you’re up for digital copyright violation charges in Sweden you are in for a very very tough uphill battle. Not only is the prosecutor very “Hollywood”-friendly, so is the judge, the jury, the police and the court of appeals and as it turns out the European court as well. It’s pretty scary!

But what strikes me as the most upsetting thing in the entire story is that no one with judicial or political power is taking them seriously. There have been some serious integrity breaches and legal procedures never followed and bias that you’d think that some politician with real power would say “this entire thing was handled wrong!”. But no one is even listening to them. It’s like they hear “pirate bay” and just turn on ignore mode. Which is really sad and makes me embarrassed to be Swedish to be honest.

I can’t argue much for their innocence since they are guilty as shit of “assisting copyright violations”, but even so, a fair trial is the least they deserve.

And here we are, 3 years later and what has happened on that front? Well we have Netflix and HBO has just started in Scandinavia (albeit with very limited selection) but other than that we’re still pretty much screwed. If I wanna see a movie in HD the legal way I either have to go to the cinema, which is an entire project now that I have a kid. Or I can buy the bluray for $30 (which either involves taking a trip into Stockholm or order on te web and wait 3-4 days) and sit through commercials and advertisements and disclaimers and copyright warnings and a menu that takes forever to load because it connects to the internet and then I can finally press play. Compare that to the illegal way of “what movie do I wanna see? this one, ok, download, go make popcorn and poor up drinks, unpack, go to the bathroom, and the press play. They really should offer more legal ways of doing it because I’d pay for it! Valve realized a long long time ago that the best way to fight piracy is offering a convenient alternative and every game I’ve played for the past 8 years I’ve actually purchased.