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Ask a Geek Anything, issue 11

Good Morning, and welcome to Ask A Geek Anything, Issue 11

First, I would like to apologize for missing last weeks issue.  See Liberty con is practically a state religion here at AAGA, so most of us where there, and the few that weren’t (like yours surly) were working 12 to 13 hour day seven day weeks trying to get a project out of drydock and into the water.  Sadly that left me too brain dead to do anything but eat and sleep in the off time.

But hey, we’re back now, with more questions that won’t get us arrested by the FCC, and one that probably would.

And on that subject, Hope asks- would there be a way to deactivate or stop transmissions from a wireless mini earphone while still in a persons ear?  Well as one of the Hardware geeks in residence, my initial thought was hell yeah, I can think of three solutions right off the top of my head… Then my common sense, lawyer, spoke up, and reminded me that doing or suggesting how to do something like that was a VERY fast way to gain the attention of the Friendly Candy Company (as we used to call them back in the bad old days) and wind up with Federal Officer NOT SO FRIENDLY knocking on my door in a manor that is likely to cause things like halitosis, male pattern baldness, and loss of security clearance.  Since I’m already susceptible to two of those, I really can’t afford the third. So Hope, we’re going to have to pass on that one, upon advice of counsel.  Sorry Darlin.

Frantic Student asks- When can you trust Wikipedia? When are they dubious? Our wonderful source for scholarly research,  Amanda Fuesting asked to answer this one, so take it away Amanda…
You can never trust Wikipedia would be the easy answer here. There are a number of problems with it, including the fact that you have no idea who is posting information on it or why they are posting information on it. It could very well be accurate information, posted by an expert who knows the topic inside and out. It could also be a high school student trying to see if he can get a false quote published in the news. It also has a relatively small pool of editors tasked with the job of correcting work done by vandals, biased parties, and people who simply don’t know what they’re talking about.
The problem with saying to never trust them is that so many people do use Wikipedia, and that they are getting better in a lot of ways. It would be better to say that you should approach Wikipedia with a trust but verify mentality. A heavily sourced Wiki article is probably accurate. You can click the source links at the bottom to determine if you trust their sources. For anything important, you’ll want to dig up some primary sources. A Wikipedia article that has few sources, or is on a particularly controversial topic, should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Ultimately, don’t use Wikipedia for academic papers. Don’t use it as a primary source. It is much better to use it as a starting point, and then research further from there.

CMJwyrd asks-: Do you think MMORPG’s like WoW are becoming less popular than online-networked video games like XBox, etc.? and our irrepressible Declan Finn answers: No. In fact, given how the console wars have been going, the consoles (like on Xbox, Playstation, etc) may be in trouble in the long run. Think about it – PC-based games are usually cheaper than console games, and if they’re not, then just wait for a Steam Sale, where you can pick up these games for $5.

This is also helped by the fact that gaming computers are cheaper and cheaper, especially if you know where to shop. What was once several thousand dollars are now under a thousand, depending on the rig you end up with.

But let us look at the console-based games for one second, shall we? Elder Scrolls Online was an unholy mess, and even long-term fans of the franchise were pissed off at it. Destiny? Their lack of plot drove a lot of people to stop bothering, and their DLC policies induce large bouts of nerd rage at regular intervals. Evolve? Don’t make me laugh. Don’t even get me started. They lost half of their players within a matter of weeks.

Is it possible for consoles to take over? Maybe, but I doubt it.

And I’m going to weigh in on this one too.  It depends to a great extent whether the console designers get their heads out of their fourth point of contact any time soon.  Here’s a BIG bitch of mine, I do PS-3… Well that system is about to be replaced completely.  Trouble is PS 4 (interesting note, if you capitalize that you get PS-$… just saying) ISN’T reverse compatible!  So I have about 75 games, between my better half, the Boy, and the Grandkids and myself, that are about to become so much Bird repellent in my cherry trees.  YES that PISSES me off.  I understand the Next Gen X box is supposed to be backward compatible, if it is, I may shift sides in that particular culture war (look, when it comes to my nation I fight for love, when it comes to the corporate wars, I’m a MERC, I fight for who ever gives me the best deal! If that’s Micro Squish, so be it!)  I play computer based as well, but I mainly reserve my computer for WORK, to include writing this and my novels.  Silly I know, but the clarion call of games would destroy my productivity even more than I already suffer.

OK folks we have just enough room left for a couple of the TLA section of AAGA, where we explore slang and Three letter abbreviations unique (or not) to the Fen world.

Dorsai: well there may be more than one answer to this one, but the one I know is the Childe cycle series by Gordie Dickson.  Humanity splits at the Diaspora to “like minds” settling together and further developing the strength of what ever portion of the mental mind set they find most appropriate.  Whether this is coincidence or guided is part of the series plot… Anyway you have the Friendlys (imagine crossing the Quakers with the Roman Catholic Church Militant from the middle ages) Their big thing is Faith.  Several other groupings that specialize in science and…. then there’s the Dorsai.  They specialize in Freedom, and as such minor in Military Mastery, (think Scottish Highland SEALS and Delta)  It’s an old series, but one that still has a lot to say.  Take the time.  I seem to remember that a Con group used to and may still self ID as Dorsai, and specialize in Con security.

Filk:  This is a new (well not new anymore, but WORK with me here) term for a very old game.  Take someone’s music, and put your own words to it… (I say old because I’m fairly sure that Henry VIII wrote the words to green sleeves to and older song, and lets not even get in to The Garden Gate, aka “the hair on her dickydido”)  Extra points if the words are S/F related, Max points if the words are S/F related, track to the original theme of the song, and are sexual in nature: The Last of Grand Mav Tarkin’s Crew, to the tune of The Last of Barret’s Privateers scores almost perfect marks.

Alright folks, that’s all for today, we’ll be back next week (Uncle Sam permitting) but unless my partners in crime take over while I’m gone, Next issue will be the last one until after PENSIC. (IE mid august)  and remember, If you don’t ask it, we can’t answer it.

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About morrigan508

A retired submarine sailor and former cop, author of the John Fisher Chronicles, as well as a contributing author of the Otherwhere Gazette.

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