David Crew is a gamer and web lover. Read my blog or else I'll throw a Bomb-Omb at you. Lighted. :)

News

Read Wall Street Journal Online for Free


Hey Everyone,

Being a business student, I am always subjected to professors asking to find and regularly read various articles from the Wall Street Journal. Being also a poor business student, this can be very difficult because the business school I attend provides relatively no subscriber passes to its students unlike other competing colleges and universities. So if you need an article for a class, or even want to browse the Wall Street Journal Online without much hassle, just follow the guide below:

Follow these Steps:

  • Download Firefox and install it.
  • Then proceed to the add-ons section and find the Javascript powerhouse, Greasemonkey
  • Next, proceed to http://userscripts.org/ where there is a whole variety of various scripts to download for Greasemonkey. Search through and get the script WSJ Paywall Bypass
  • Install the script, make sure your little monkey icon at the bottom of Firefox is colored and go and visit WSJ Online to view articles.
  • Enjoy!

Note:

There are other ways to get around the paywall of WSJ online, such as using Google News and Firebug, or even finding different browsers like Chrome that can run Javascript add-ons. If you are a heavy reader of the WSJ, I highly suggest getting a subscription if you can afford one. I’m actually more of a fan of Reuters, the Economist, and other sources, but it’s really up to you.

I only use this workaround because we have archives of the paper editions at our school, but instead of sprinting to the library and spending hours searching through it all, this is a much quicker way to find articles for assignments.

Happy Reading!


David’s Got an Apartment!


Hey Everyone,

This semester has been quite ridiculously hectic so far:

Got Kicked Out of University Housing:

 

Yup. I guess I’m a troublemaker? Hoodlum even?! That’s right, hide yo kids, and hide yo wife, because I’m just an awful

person. Also, I guess having a person that is in your room who is 21 and drinking their own single beer is a evict-able offense… at least in the eyes of the University. Oh well.

Now I’m living in a 3 bedroom apartment with my other roommates that got kicked out, and we’re paying $750 dollars less a month for three times the space of our original dorm with our own kitchen, bath, and living room. Heat and water are also included which is mad nice too. So I guess, I got forced into saving enough money that I can now afford that car I was thinking of? Thanks College! Gotta admit, I love it here. It sucked moving out, but now we always have people over and finally have a little more privacy. Distance from campus? 5 Minutes. Love it. ❤

New Girls, New Stories 😉

I am not a ladies man. Alright, alright, I’m outgoing, funny, kind, intelligent, and I respect and treat women right. Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s the exact formula that women in college don’t go after. I am not a spray tanning, eyebrow waxing, hair mousing, muscle man that is more in love with biceps than with his girl, so naturally, I don’t really have that many girls who I have intimate relations with.

But this year, it’s all different. Ever since the start of the semester, I’ve had a few different girls each month that are involved in my life for a bit, we do things and have fun, then next thing I know, there’s more girls adding themselves in. Where did this come from? Could it be that college girls are actually maturing and realizing that the Jersey Shore wannabe dudes (devout fan btw) aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? Maybe there’s just a spike in the college slut population, yet still these girls aren’t skanky, so that can’t be true. I don’t know what changed this year, but I’m lovin’ it. I actually have a few stories I may tell later on that you may appreciate. Nothing big, just regular gossipy stories that I know some of you subscribers out there eat up like crack coated charleston chews.

School is Hard.

Very. Seriously, doing a double major is not my cup of tea right now. Maybe it was the small period of homelessness I had in between moving (that’s right, I was homeless for a week: certified hobo fresh). Or maybe it’s just the fact all the intro stuff is going away and now we have to learn REAL things, not theories and such. Whatever it is, it’s just difficult and my grades are not so hot. HOWEVER, these last few exams I rocked harder than your grandmother’s rocking chair on speed, so hopefully that GPA will be flyin higher than MIA soon enough.

Business is Good

I started consulting this semester. You know, just trying to earn a little extra cash with some of the knowledge and experiences I’ve had in my life related to technology, business development, and other things. So far, I’ve had a few residual clients that I love working with. It gives me a chance to help out small business owners and other independent professionals with various portions of their professional establishment or professional lives, all while making a decent profit at it. (I charge about $35 an hour, which I guess is rather low for a consultant, but I don’t mind.) I really feel like I’m making a difference in these people’s lives and hopefully they are getting the information that they need to further their professional development.

But, I’m like Nutella, I’m delicious and spread nice over things, but you soon find out, that you’re completely out, and your breakfast, lunch, dinner entre is forever empty of sweet, sweet Nutella. WHY OH WHY IS IT GONE!? But seriously, I always feel like I’m spreading myself thin here. The company is going fine, you know, the one I founded over the summer? I have a partnership deal being hammered out with a popular nationwide pizza franchise which, if it goes through, would land me about $100,000 more with the business. So, hopefully things go well and they like what I have to offer enough to work out a nice little business relationship. If not, well, shit happens, gotta roll with it. Bootstrapping is nice and all, but a little extra nudge is always nice 🙂

Also, I’m working on a children’s book series.

“But David! You’re ****ing crazy! You know nothing of literature, children’s books, publishing, or anything of that sort!”

And to that I say, so what? One day, as a kid, I came up with a list of things I wanted to do before I became an adult and became boring. One of them included, well, not being boring, and also to come up with something to give back to the world as a whole. It didn’t matter what it was, but it had to be something material enough and something worthwhile that someone would say, “Hey, this guy, this guy right here. He did something that changed my life and helped me. Have some of my Nutella”. And then I would proceed to never run out of Nutella ever again and not have to resort to mundane peanut butter on my slice of bread.

Why can’t I make a book series? Who’s to give you the authority to tell me it isn’t going to happen and I should just give up the work I’ve put into it? Sure, I may do bad things occasionally, bend the rules sometimes, and talk and say things worse than a drunken Irish man that had someone take his keys away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put together some semblances of human emotion and put them on a page and hope it helps a child out there learn about life.

It’s the experiences we have that gives us the ability to teach and produce true artistic material. I can’t remember which Simpsons writer it was that said it in a Simpsons’ commentary, but the best scripts they always had, were the ones where the writer could reach down into a personal experience or event in their lives and put it into a plot for an episode. That’s why, it’s not always an Ivy-League graduate who will produce the best movie, research, or children’s book, but rather an individual who has experienced many great and wonderful things in his life as well as many not so great things. I’m not saying the book will be like a multi-platinum album of the literary world, but even if it changes the life of one child in the world, I’d say that’d be pretty sweet.

Someone Hire Me

Like most college kids, an ideal life would be to go to school, find the perfect girl in or a little after graduation, get a decent job that’s got benefits, have a couple planned kids and maybe an accidental one, then work 50 or so years and die knowing that you were loved and relatively successful.

I gotta find me a job.

I did an internship this summer, and loved it, but now I have to find a new internship at a larger firm to possibly secure a position when I graduate. Graduation isn’t for another year and a half, so I have a decent time to plan, but still, I would like this feeling of floating in an sea of unknown to go away and actually know there’s a rescue career helicopter out there waiting to pick me up and bring me to a job with $50k a year.

I guess, it’s just hard sometimes to really motivate myself to do well in school. It’s like, where am I going? Where will I end up? Will I be happy? I guess I’m being super emo right now, but this is some serious shit. If I don’t figure out what’s going on with my life, I may wake up one morning and see an obese, disheveled, excuse for a man staring back at me in the mirror. I don’t want that. I want to be better than great. I’ll be so awesome in life, they’ll have a new adjective named after me. Oh, Warren Buffet? Yeah, he was a DAVID CREW.

But I digress. I love this place where I am right now, but it won’t last forever. I love doing these little projects, they keep my life interesting, and I guess if I end up finding myself unemployed for a while after I graduate, will hopefully keep me sane. I need to always be doing things, that’s why I’ll always update this blog no matter what. (So subscribe today! 🙂 )

Anywho, that’s more a less an update on what’s going on. Have a good one you guys, and lovin the views and subscribers we’re getting right now. It really means something when you see that stuff. Vote/comment/share today!

-dc


Back From Colorado


Hey Everyone,

Yesterday I got back from Colorado, and I must say, it was pretty fucking awesome. Never before had I seen such beautiful landscapes, nice people, and rolling mountains. I tossed some pictures below for you guys to check out. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


.co Domain Extension


Hey Everyone,

I don’t consider myself a genius when it comes to the process of purchasing domains and the entire handling of websites and such (if you talk servers, python, and other things I’ll just ask for a CMS), but haven’t we all seen this kind of process before?

I bought your website domain, nude.

Every couple of years we get another top level domain extension added to the registrar where you can register your long awaited, unique domain name to a less-than-the-infinitely-better-in-every-way .com extension since a bunch of schmucks all over the Internet with an average weight of 300 lbs. all purchased them long ago in 1996. There’s a whole slue “top level domains” out there for the GoDaddy power user:

  1. .coop – for the websites that don’t do single player.
  2. .tel – the extension for the nonexistent, long-since deleted word for “telephone”.
  3. .gg – the domain for internet websites with good sportsmanship tendencies.
  4. .arpa – the evil, malicious domain twin of the .sherpa domains.
  5. .museum – for the stupid intellectual who decided to throw as many syllables as possible into a domain. Oh yeah, and help museums.

But that doesn’t really matter because the process remains the same. Come out with a new domain, auction off the really awesome ones, then leave the rest of them to be picked up by the same 300 lbs people as some kind of Internet investment (people, Zecco is right around the corner if you want to do investments, ffs.). Then within a few months, everyone realizes how idiotic it is to have anything but a .com, tries to resell their “investments” that they paid a premium for through hyping, then the Internet quietly awaits domain transfers of .com’s again.

Seriously, the only domains that should be considered are .com, .org, and only if super duper necessary, .net. Otherwise, if I visit a site that has any other extension, I’m gettin’ out of there.


What’s Up with David?


Hey Everyone,

Kinda busy over the weekend and today working on a few projects. For one, the internship started up and I’ve begun working for that company, which I must say is pretty sweet. Here’s a list of the things I’ve been working on over the weekend and today, and why there’s no new interesting posts today:

  1. Had to work the weekend
  2. Internship work after the regular full time job
  3. Writing a zombie movie script that has a twist on the zombie movie genre. (8% complete)
  4. Preparing a proposal for several new ideas to implement into the full time job that can be picked up nationwide. Already received the support of the general managers, now working on getting the support of regional managers.
  5. Working on an internship program businesses to use with our organization on campus, including the application, guidelines, and submission dates.
  6. The god damn Batman. =D

See you tomorrow everyone! ❤


Facebook Sued for Massive Majority Ownership Stake


Wow, what an interesting read. Check out this legal action brought against Facebook by web designer, Paul Ceglia. I wonder what will happen to Facebook if Ceglia wins this contract dispute. Article from Information Week:

Facebook Sued For 84% Ownership Stake

Web designer Paul Ceglia says a 2003 contract entitles him to majority ownership of the social networking site.

By

Alison Diana

InformationWeek
July 13, 2010 11:43 AM

Facebook has moved to overturn a recent temporary restraining order won by New York web designer Paul Ceglia, who filed suit against Facebook and company CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming an April 2003 contract now entitles him to an 84% ownership stake in Facebook.

“We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. Facebook and Zuckerberg have 30 days to respond, according to court documents.

On July 9, Allegany Court judge Thomas P. Brown; Ceglia’s attorney, Paul Argentieri of Hornell, N.Y.; and Facebook attorney Lisa T. Simpson of New York, spoke via conference call, according to the local newspaper the Wellsville Daily. During that conversation, Judge Brown continued a temporary restraining order that prevents Facebook from transferring assets while the case continues.

Simpson filed a “notice of intent” to move the case away from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo, according to the Wellsville Daily.

Under the seven-year-old contract signed by Zuckerberg and Ceglia, the designer received $1,000 and a 50% stake in the site which eventually became Thefacebook.com, according to the suit. The lawsuit also says Ceglia is entitled to “an additional 1% interest in the business for every day after Jan. 1, 2004, until it was completed.”

Terms of the work for hire contract state, “It is agreed that Purchaser [Ceglia] will own a half interest (50%) in the software, programming language, and business interests derived from the expansion of the service to a larger audience.”

In papers filed with the Allegany, N.Y., County Court on June 30, Ceglia seeks a declaratory judgment and relief in the form of monetary damages and 84% ownership — worth between $5.6 billion and $9.24 billion — of the social networking giant, based on Facebook’s estimated value of between $6.5 billion and $11 billion. Zuckerberg’s personal fortune is worth between $4 billion and… (Full Story)


Summer So Far


Hey Everyone,

Hopefully everyone’s summer is going well, I know mine has been alright. Recently I’ve just been working 40 hrs a week, visiting friends on the side, and working on my side projects. July 4th was a blast! I got out of work early and was able to sprint up to the lake for the remainder of the weekend and spend it swimming, boating, and of course, my personal favorite, tubing. =D

Working for retail has been a pretty interesting experience so far. It gives an overall newer appreciation to how the products that we purchase in stores and online really come about to get to our homes and the immense amount of work involved in the process. I was pretty surprised at how systematic and routine everything was. From the systems that display and monitor inventory management to the amount of labor that goes into making every shelf look decent for customers, there truly is a lot of work that’s involved.

The thing that irks me the most and unsettles me is the amount of time some of these people have spent working for the same company. I couldn’t imagine working for the same corporation for 15 years, let alone up to 35 years that I’ve seen from some fellow coworkers. It seems baffling to me that anyone would stay in the same corporate structure for that long and be happy with their situation. I mean, honestly, you have to want to explore other companies and the world a little bit more, right? A little ambition goes a long way, and I swear if you see me working at the same place for 15 years, then you know something went wrong. What happened to their passion? What happened to that drive as a human being to want to explore? Sometimes walking into work can be very depressing, and looking at some of those faces really makes me more motivated to get a degree.

Also, I just want to give a shout out to June’s site views. Last month this site got over 14,000 hits, which is just great and I really appreciate everyone that comes to the site and hope they’re finding something interesting each time. I know I haven’t updated it recently, but don’t worry, I will be doing more once the internship kicks in. 

And on a final word, the state of the gaming industry has certainly taken a baffling turn this year! With the onset of 3D not only in our movies but now proliferating our TVs and now our video game consoles, I really don’t like this new fad. It didn’t work a couple decades ago, and once people stop spending an extra 50% on movie tickets to see silly movies in “oooooo 3D!”, I hope we can get back to developing what’s really important, making the holodeck from Star Trek a reality 🙂


What It’s Like to Work at EA – An Employee’s Perspective


Hey Everyone,

I stumbled across this little review of a person that has worked with Electronic Arts for over ten years. There’s a lot of interesting little information contained in their review that you may find fascinating, such as the development time and the politics of gaming companies:

Electronic Arts – “10 years of ea”

Electronic Arts Director of Technology

“Pros

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

The deal is: employees also get a lot out of working for EA. I did, at least. There are lots of very talented people at EA, and (usually) opportunity to ‘craft’ your own career. Working on blockbuster titles, for the latest consoles, is fun stuff. Hardcore engineers (like me) love having access to the equipment – and the opportunity to make significant contributions to a high-profile product.

And, if you do make big contributions (the kind that are visible to upper management — like rendering features) it is easy to become a ‘top engineer’. Top Engineers are respected across the studio, and are showered with stock, bonuses, and promotions. For 5 years in a row, I got a promotion each year. My 1998 salary of 50k moved to 75k, then to 90k, then to 150k, and finally to 190k. While the promotions are happening, my stock grants are vesting – and I’m unloading them into e-trade for huge gains.

(employee buys nice house, and car with > 300 horsepower)

Is it a perfect company? Hell no. Does it have upside? OF COURSE. If it didn’t, people would leave. EA employees usually don’t have trouble finding work. They are vocal with their complaints – but are private with the upside (see text above). If the upside wasn’t there – everyone would walk out.

NOTE: In 2010, the state of ERTS is so bad, the upside discussed above has almost completely vanished. Now, it is just a horrible job. But- who else is hiring – at the same salary? It isn’t a fun place to be right now – but – in this economy – it is probably good that a direct deposit check is hitting the account every 2 weeks. Before the bottom fell out of the economy, everything I said above was true. And, it will probably be true again someday. But – so will the Cons. (Read below). Is it worth it? For some people. Usually, young – out of college, and un-married. As college becomes more distant, and marriage happens, the “upside” at EA isn’t quite as attractive. Depending on how high you were able to climb, it might be possible to get into a position where you can continue to pull your salary – and contribute virtually nothing. This eventually leads to depression, however. But, this is starting to sound negative… Go read Cons for more.

Cons

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

Before I continue, I’ll admit that I am happy with my own experience at EA (see Pros). What follows is not sarcastic, but is an honest assessment of what I saw over 10 years of employment (at 3 different studios)

Read with a “just the facts” tone – and ignore the cynicism that creeps in (after 10 years, it is impossible to avoid)

EA does kill employees to ship games on brutal schedules. Seriously. The rumors wouldn’t be so persistent if there wasn’t truth there. Yes, many teams move into a mandatory 6 or 7 day work-week, with 12 hour days (with the occasional over-nighter). At the worst of crunch, I did several weeks of 14 hour days. With a 14 hour day, there is just enough time to get home, get enough sleep to stay alive, and go back to work. This *is* sustainable – for weeks on end, but isn’t much fun. All shipping projects crunch. This was true in 1998, and in 2008 – and every year between. Usually, this is assumed – and everyone (silently) knows that it is coming. Sometimes, when morale in the studio is low, management will hold an ‘all hands’ meeting to launch “new development practices” – and a “more efficient project management system” …. and a promise of a decent work/life balance, and short (or zero) crunch. Employees like the sound of it, but are very skeptical. But, over the next few months, the discover that the Management promises were true!! Sure, there was that ‘one big demo’ that required some late nights, but – otherwise – the work/life balance isn’t so bad!!!

I’m not sure why – but everyone seems to forget that ALL PROJECTS START THAT WAY. The problems start when the team is actually approaching Alpha. Suddenly, the team realizes that major systems – although planned well – have serious integration issues. Oh, and performance issues. Engineers are very quick to blame themselves. They work 10, 11… 12 hour days to work out the ‘critical’ and ‘blocking’ problems. Then, it is back to finishing features (but – uh oh – the Alpha date passed!!) … feature work continues into Alpha, and usually slips a bit into Beta. By this time, the entire team is working killer hours – meals are catered, and hundreds of wives are considering divorce. (Seriously, EA is not a safe place for your relationship). Anyway, by the time crunch arrives – everyone has LONG forgotten about the ‘new project management’ stuff. Who cares anyway?? The schedule is completely blown (because of multiple failures, it isn’t possible to “fault” one person – or one group). Most of the team feels half-guilty for letting the top-management down, and are convinced that they somehow brought this major breakdown upon themselves. So, mandatory 7 day week. We must finish this thing. We’ll learn from our mistakes. We know what went wrong, and we won’t repeat it. But, right now, we need to get this thing Gold – and shipped to sony and microsoft for approval. QA is still finding class A bugs — engineers yell at QA because the bug existed “since milestone 2!!” — why are we just hearing about it TODAY? But, secretly, the engineer also feels guilty for making such a stupid mistake, and works an all-nighter to get it fixed.

He looks like a hero, and management is pleased. Except – all he did is fix his own ‘one-liner’ bug, and it took him all night to track it down. Accomplishment? No. Paradoxical praise? You bet. (Pay close attention to what a company ‘says’ they value – and what they actually reward. EA rewards workers that kill themselves to get things done. Anyone that says differently is either hiding from that fact, or lying).

So, the game finally ships, and everyone goes on a week or 2 of comp time (resembling a coma). The game ships, sales are huge, game goes platinum, screen-shots and press coverage is everywhere. It feels good.

Management calls an ‘all hands’ meeting to discuss the upcoming cycle, and – maybe – promise some big changes. Will it ever change? Of course not. But, notice that EA employees will complain, but they don’t actually quit. Like crack, it is easy to complain about – but very difficult to walk away from. (Did you look at the value of your vesting stock? Holy crap!! I made more on stock that my entire salary last year!!!!) But, this is sounding positive, read Pros for more.

Advice to Senior Management

Oh goodness. I’m not sure what to say… Lean on the titles that make money – and try to get out of the other side of this “lost console cycle” – and economy hit. Maybe that $16 stock will start coming back up. If not, I’m not sure that “advice to management” is worth anything — because the head will be chopped off by the Board. EA needs to turn around soon, but everyone already knows it. If it doesn’t happen, the company will “re-org” again — call it (another) “reset” and lay down big plans for mobile gaming, online, and China. Oh – and replace all the top execs. (If your name includes SVP, you’re done).

EA will either pull off a Phoenix move – or collapse, like a dying star.

The really creepy thing? John R predicted this demise – in 2006/2007 – when EA was feeling fairly bulletproof. If you heard his speech on this, you know what I’m talking about. He gave examples of big tech companies that completely folded – and quickly. He cautioned ‘resting’ on the current business model – and said that it was a sinking ship.

The plans to escape the sinking ship (new business model) failed. Now, EA is doing a 180, and killing all new development. “Focus on the key titles – and build them” (Madden, FIFA, etc). But, how long can you sit like that – and not get run over?

Time will tell.

Good luck, ERTS.

Signed,
the guy floating away on a golden parachute (I traded in the golden handcuffs)

My advice to management: get one of these parachutes – and jump out of the doomed plane.”


Finals Suck


Hey Everyone,

Won’t be around for a couple of weeks with finals, but here’s a couple things to check out while I’m mia:

  1. Steam coming to the Mac with Torchlight and Portal on Wednesday (May 12)
  2. Microsoft’s Natal coming in October (link)
  3. Best selling games for Europe and America for 2010 so far (link)

Colossal Squid Believed to be Lame, No Longer Awesome


Hey Everyone,

According to a recent study, the ginormous squid that you’ve seen in the news before, every time one of these baddies’ bodies are recovered, is most likely a “wait and see” kind of kraken rather than a “let me get tossed into Pirates of the Caribbean for Kicks” monster. These monstrous squids still have some pretty slick stats to their name though and let’s break it down:

Pros:

  • 15 meters long (like 45 feet long)
  • Their eyes have reported to be 27cm across (11inches)
  • Instead of little suckers on the tentacles, these things have arms with swiveling hooks, SWIVELING hooks.
  • Bioluminescences. Like- Glows in the dark., +1 BA pts.
  • Would make the water temple in Ocarina of Time bearable.

Cons:

  • Hides in the dark like a puss.
  • Eats 1 fish, doesn’t have to eat again for 200 days. Lame.
  • Would be the worst contestant on dancing with the stars.

For the full report, and some random scientists making predictions on things that they’re just inferring rather than backing up with substantial results: (Link Hurr)