Forthcoming Drought

If I hear one more website put forward the notion that the new GTA is not only better than sliced bread but in fact redefines the loaf, someone is going to have a substantial loss of blood. I think I’m the only one that realizes that we’re heading into the summer video game season and summer is always dry and crappy. There is nothing more transparent than the summer video game release schedule. It’s the polar opposite of the movie schedule.

It’s simple. Games that didn’t make it for the holiday sales push, get released in the first two retail quarters of the next year. Everything else either has an unannounced release date or is slated for winter.

This doesn’t stop the more, shall we say, monetarily influenced media outlets from decrying that this year is going to be the best year of all time for video games. This is going to be such a fantastic year.

Horse shit.

While the video game as a medium of entertainment may do very well this year, the upcoming release schedule is a bit lack luster.

Even if I gave a shit about Grand Theft Repetitive, which I don’t, what exactly am I supposed to look forward to for the next 8 months?

Ninja Gaiden, maybe, we’ll see. Metal Gear? There’s never been a more over rated franchise. Killzone and Far Cry? No thank you. Fable 2? I’ll buy it but it won’t be earth shattering. Spore? Starcraft 2? Ha, if those games even get released this decade I’ll be surprised. The only, and I mean only, games that I’m really looking forward to this year are the Jason Bourne game and the new Soul Calibur. But those are games with limited replayability and limited depth, respectively. The latest Jedi games (Force Unleashed) looks promising as well but it won’t be out until the end of September. That’s it. 3, maybe 4 mediocre titles? That’s pathetic.

They’re not really any triple-A titles this year. No Halo, No new Mario, no Half Life. They think they’ll be able to pull off a Gears of War 2 release by November, but I doubt it. Just you wait. It’ll be “Christmas or Q1 2009” by the end of the summer, I guarantee.

“And although the gaming business has been booming for years, 2008 will surely prove to be its breakout year.”

This statement was apparently written by either a CNN corespondent or someone who just “figured out” how to play Peggle… or both. Maybe I’m too involved in my own hobby to have an outside perspective, but I’d say that 2006 was gaming’s breakout year. Unless I’m mistaken, all three major platforms we launching, game sales were up 200% and people were lining up to get there hands on’em. If that’s not a breakout hit for an industry that had the reputation for corrupting the minds of children, I don’t know what is.

So please CNet, save your ill conceived declarations that this year will be so huge for gaming that it will eclipse all others before it. When we get a Halo 4, GTA5, Guitar Hero 6, Rock Band 2, Half-Life 3, Doom 5, Call of Duty 5 year, THAT will be a breakout year for gaming.

2009 might be that year. We’ll have to see. There are certainly enough big franchises working on their next incarnations for it to happen. I doubt we’ll see any major releases like that this year, so that chance of them happening next year are pretty good. But for now we have to endure a long, dark, video game free summer. Be prepared my friends. The drought is upon us.

The Big Bang

Now that all the papers have been signed, all the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted, and all the announcements and notices given, it’s probably safe to tell you guys. As of May 12th, I’ll be employed at a large (if not the largest) NASA contractor as an art director/graphic designer in their internal art department.

It was an opportunity that kind of came out of left field and that I wasn’t really expecting at the time. I had no intentions of leaving my current job but the chance to work for NASA was simply too good to resist.

Leaving will actually be very hard. This job has been very good to me and I valued highly the advise and wisdom of my boss. I’ve grown a lot here and I’m sad to leave but I’m looking forward to new challenges in a more “corporate” environment.

Compensation didn’t play a large part in my decision but from a benefit stand point, I’m very happy. I’ve never had things like dental coverage or a 401k before.

My new job will mostly involve working on job proposals, brochures, internal graphics, photos, posters, trade publications, etc. I’ll be doing quite a bit of Photoshop/Illustrator work as well as redesigning their intranet site.

I’m also excited that the job might involve a little bit of travel. They need quite a lot of photos and stock material for the brochures and and proposals and they want to start doing that internally as well. But that’s further down the road. For now I just need to brush up on my Illustrator skills, since that’s where it sounds like I’ll be starting.

I also get to play with a wide variety of new fangled toys. My work station will most likely be a quad-core Apple with 16G of ram and a cinema display. There’s also talk of getting a laptop, most likely a powerbook. I don’t really know how to feel about that. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with any of that, and the cinema display will surely ease the pain, but being thrown into Apple-land full force from what currently is a 100% PC world will take some adjusting.

I’m excited. This is a big change for me and I think it’ll be a good one. I can finally start saving some money for a house. I can pay off those student loans, start a retirement fund and all those things that normal grown-ups do.

These next two weeks will be long ones. Not from the “it’ll be uncomfortable because I’m leaving” standpoint, but because we have a lot of work to do before I leave. I didn’t want to leave my boss in the lurch, so I have a lot of project and loose ends to tie up before I go.

Anyways, just wanted to share the good news with everyone.

Matt out

A Long Two Weeks

If I’m delayed in posting, often it’s only for the best of reasons. Over the past two weeks, my father in law has been hospitalized with severe intestinal problems, surgery and compications arising from both. He had surgery two weeks ago and just got out of the ICU a day or two ago. There were a lot of post-surgery problems and they were complicated further by bad anesthesia. He’s doing better now, but he’ll be in the hospital recovering for quite a while. He’s not expected to leave the hospital for at least another few weeks, and then a 6+ week recovery at home. So, we’ve been at the hospital pretty much non-stop for two weeks now. We’ve been back to the apartment only to sleep. I’m borrowing a laptop for the time being so I can do little updates like these and try and stay occupied. So, my appologies on in-frequency, but like I said, it’s all for a reason.


I updated WordPress today as a result of what happened to my friends. I figured it was better safe than sorry, especially if it was the XML injection Chip mentioned. I was already up to date with 2.3.3 but now we’re running the hot out of the oven 2.5. For those of you needing to update as well, let me recommend the WordPress Automatic Updater.

Really a slick deal. It backs up your core files, your database, your plugins, rolls them all into a zip so you can download them, downloads the most current install, stops your plugins, updates the install and restarts everything for you. Very handy. Took me 2 minutes to update and I didn’t even have to download the install ahead of time.

I’ll give you my impressions of 2.5 later, but I just wanted to pass on that tidbit in case anyone else is updating in the near future.


I had my good buddy Matt call me up last night. He’s the one I had set up a WordPress install for a couple months ago. It seems that someone hacked his hosting account/WP install and inserted hundreds of hidden porn links all over his site. For some reason, surfing the page on his Blackberry revealed them, probably since the phones browser didn’t understand the “u style=”display:none” tags. The links were inserted into both the individual pages (single.php) and the footer (footer.php) for every page resulting in a ridiculous amount of links per page. I looked like only the default (kubrick) wordpress theme was affected until I checked out the splash page for the entire site and found them there as well. I had thought it might have been a wordpress exploit that allowed someone to change the themes code, but having it in the splash page (index.html) means they would have had FTP access.

I cleaned up the mess as best I could, changed all their passwords to 12+ characters and I’ll install WP 2.5 tonight just in case. I’ve got the dates/times that the files were changed but I haven’t pulled the access logs yet to cross-reference. I have a pretty good idea what site it came from though since all the links share the same domain and the id= tags are all the same as well.

I’d like to find out exactly how it happened so I can try and prevent it from happening again. Now, with the index.html page hacked, I need to find out if this is a super serious WP exploit or if there was a security failure at the host level. If there is I’m going to recommend they find another host ASAP.

If  any of you guys have heard of something similar happening and have any clues or insight, please pass it along. The website the links point to isn’t a porn site but I think they might have had their RSS feed hacked, because all the links are things like

What the hell is wrong with the universe? Hacking a site to make porn links and then hacking another site to link to those porn links, all to what? Increase your Google rank? This shit has got to stop. Its destroying the interwebs.