All posts by Eric "smurph" Murphy

Eric is a software engineer and father of two, who's hobbies include video games, open source software, and just being a geek.

Lets Beam the Internet to Iran!

I love these types of stories. A reporter asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs if the White House was considering beaming broadband internet to Iran via satellite¬† so opposition forces could communicate more freely. That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in a while.¬†Lets just wave our magic wand so our satellites start talking to cell phones that are designed to talk to cell towers. Yeah, good idea!

Lets put it this way. Ignoring the fact that satellite and cell phones are different technology, and that the cell phones would need complicated re-programming to talk to a different network, you’re still asking a tiny cell phone to hold a two way link with a satellite orbiting the Earth instead of a cell tower just miles away. Any other crazy ideas would involve smuggling in quite a bit of equipment which would make for easily traceable targets.

In case you were wondering, for a satellite to be in geosynchronous orbit, they have to be about 22,300 miles from the Earth’s surface.

Source: Slashdot Technology Story | Could We Beam Broadband Internet Into Iran?.

Steve Jobs Had A Liver Transplant

Multiple sources reported last night that Steve Jobs had a liver transplant two months ago during his leave of absence and will be returning to work soon. While that’s not entirely surprising, what I do find interesting about this news is that it came out on a Friday night. Whenever a company has news that they’re afraid it will affect their stock, they release it on a Friday after the stock market has closed. Apple is definitely correct in this assumption. Their stock took hits after every announcement they’ve made about his health, as well as after rumors of Jobs’ death surfaced from unreliable sources. Has there ever been a man who’s health has affected the stock of a company so much? I don’t have an answer to that but regardless, this is very disturbing. You’ll rarely find an article about his health that approaches it as a human condition. They always focus on how it will affect Apple and where the stock is going. The last thing Jobs needs is more pressure coming from headlines and the stock market. Give him a break!

Sources:
Jobs Had Liver Transplant.[Wired.com]
Not Only Was Steve Jobs Sick, He Had A Liver Transplant.[TechCrunch.com]

IPv6 Finally hits home

Ok, maybe that’s a bad analogy but it looks like Comcast may be the first to offer IPv6 to home users. Its about time! Many estimates say IPv4 address space will be exhausted in less than two years. Personally, I think Comcast is an unlikely ISP to be leading the way considering their track record but its good to see someone moving on this. Hopefully other ISPs and cell companies will follow soon, however, it seems like there’s a lot to be done to get end-users ready. There aren’t many home networking kits that can support IPv6 and what about all the legacy software and devices out there? I bet we’ll be stuck with IPv6 externally from the ISP and IPv4 behind NAT for at least another century. IPv4 will definitely be slow to die.

Source: Comcast Embraces IPv6 – InternetNews.com

Who says I’m too old to game?

Last weekend Erika and I were playing Halo 3 and we got matched up with a couple teenagers who obviously play way too much. I’ll give it to them, they were good, but they were also snotty little *$#&-tards. They had the audacity to say we’re too old to be playing video games. I asked what they would be doing when they’re our age and they quickly backed off. Huh, funny how that works.

That brings up an interesting trend though. When I was their age, the thought of an adult playing video games was pretty alien. Playing games like Action Quake or Counter Strike as a teen I came across a few older gentlemen but they just got more respect even if they sucked at the game. Now days there are certainly more 25+ gamers but we’re also surrounded be even more teens. And apparently they don’t share the same respect I held for my elders back then since every time age comes up in-game, we get ridiculed by someone. I don’t get it.

Anyway, this seems to have sprung a bunch of sites focused on finding older and/or mature gamers to join up with. I’d like to touch on a few that I think are pretty neat.

Co-Optimus: By far my favorite gaming site at the moment. The whole focus of this site is co-op gaming. There is no age requirement but I think the co-op focus tends to attract more considerate and friendly gamers. The news coverage is superb and covers only the games I’m interested in (hint: co-op). The only news you’ll see about a non-co-op game is news that the developers dropped co-op or it should have had co-op. The reviews are mostly co-op-centric giving a score on the co-op aspects of the game but also touching on single player and multiplayer aspects as well. One of the best features of the site is the database which helps you search for co-op games and shows a breakdown of each games’ co-op capabilities. It also helps you match up with other members that have the same games (requires you to add each of your games though). With 2,500+ members (its a pretty new site), there’s plenty of co-op to be had but its definitely a more intimate community than the next two sites.

The Older Gamers: This one is mostly a community site but also hosts a few guilds/clans. You must be 25+ to join and as a result, nearly everyone is friendly and considerate. There’s no emphasis on co-op gaming although there are plenty of people looking for co-op partners. There are user reviews and blogs in addition to the staff reviews, previews, and general news. I don’t keep up with their news quite as much but they’re pretty thorough. With 30,000+ members, there are a TON of opportunities to meet people here.

2Old2Play: This site I just joined so I probably can’t shine light on everything they have to offer but its definitely an interesting site. Again, this one has a 25+ age requirement so you’ll find mostly considerate and friendly gamers here. The first thing I noticed after joining is they have a google map of players! Its not quite as cool as I had hoped but its a start. You can search by username, gamertag, or pick a clan from the drop down and you’ll see a pinpoint on the map of results. Of course this only works if the users put their zip code in their profile. What would be nice is if you could search by zip or state and find people in your area or at least your time zone. They seem to have a more clan-centric and competitive view here, there are a TON of clans and it looks pretty easy to get recruited in a clan. Personally, I don’t have the time to devote to a clan anymore but for other (single) adults, this might be a pretty handy site to hook up with a clan. They host and advertise tournaments and LAN parties all over the US. They also host user reviews and blogs (everyone gets a blog) which seem to be utilized quite a bit. 2Old2Play’s roster has almost 18,000 members.

Well those are all the notable sites I’ve found. I had a few others on my list but I disqualified them for either being empty, out of date, or poorly constructed sites. I’m a member on all three sites now with the username “smurphster” on each so look me up if you join them.

Happy gaming!