Weekend Recall: Star Wars

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I spent all of my free time playing Star Wars: The Old Republic and watching the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

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With the aid of the 12% experience boost I was able to get a few more classes to level 55 in SWTOR. On the Imperial side I have a Sith warrior: juggernaut, Imperial agent: sniper, Bounty hunter: mercenary, and Sith inquisitor: assassin. I added a Jedi knight: guardian alongside the Smuggler: gunslinger on the Republic side. Hopefully the experience boost will return as a legacy perk, but in the meantime I have enough characters to enjoy battling Revan in the upcoming expansion.

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The teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII came out on Friday. If you happened to miss it I have included it here.

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Bump Day: Thanksgiving

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However you plan to spend the day, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving day.

This year I am thankful that things in life can get better. I am one of the unfortunate Americans who was without a regular job for the last couple of years. Six months ago I took the opportunity to move to Austin, TX. One month after arriving I was hired by a great company in a position where I get to use my knowledge in computers and youth ministry.

It was easy for me to be paralyzed by the worries and doubts that came to my mind because I could not find a job. But I have a loving family and good friends who encouraged and supported me as I tried to get back on my feet. I am grateful that I am now in a position to repay the love and kindness that was shown to me.

The other thing that helped me persevere was that I volunteered my free time at a local church. I not only invested into other people, but other people invested time with me. I was able to help at summer camps and even got to travel to Idaho to learn about leadership.

I couldn’t change my situation, but I was always in control of my attitude. If you are going through something similar right now let me encourage you to take the time to find something to be thankful for and begin to change the outlook on your situation.

Weekend Recall: World of Dishonored Battlefield Wars

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This past weekend was chock full of gaming. So much so that I am actually tired on a Monday and I have no screenshots prepared.

Friday night I played SW:TOR and leveled Bel’anjel the Sith Inquisitor Assassin to 48. When I returned to ship I noticed the Makeb planet quest line opened up for her which is fine by me because I was having a tough time getting through the fights on Voss and Corellia. I was falling asleep so I went to bed and didn’t get back to her until Sunday.

On Sunday I ended up changing her specialization from damage dealer to tanking. Now I can survive the fights and practice the tanking rotation. The Makeb GSI bolster makes things easier and faster not in a bad way either. It is nice for those of us who end up playing solo more often than not. When I logged off, Bel’anjel was level 53. This weekend I will finish leveling her and get to working on a healer.

Warlords of Draenor dominated my Saturday. I focused on Misfight the Undead Rogue. Let me say that I feel that the leveling is going very fast. I am doing every quest and elite boss that I can find so I am experiencing all of the new content. But leveling from 93 to 97 in a day seems ridiculous. Considering that the end game is almost non-existent at this point I will have nothing to do when I max out.

Before going to bed on Saturday I setup some games to download overnight from Steam. Dishonored was one of those games I picked up during the summer sale that has just sat there beckoning to me. I ended up playing Dishonored for most of the day on Sunday. It was a great escape into a unique world where I can sneak around looking in every nook and cranny for goodies.

I wanted to play some Battlefield 4, but there was an issue with their login servers so I went back to Dishonored and got to the big story plot twist before I had to get to bed so I wouldn’t fall asleep at work.

Bump Day: Net Neutrality

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Typically I want my Bump Day posts to cover lighthearted topics, but the issue of net neutrality is back in the spotlight. As an Internet content creator and consumer I want to share some information I have found and possibly spark a discussion among the gaming bloggers.

What is net neutrality?

It is the requirement that all Internet service providers allow unbiased access to lawful content. In addition, the service providers must agree to disclose service information to ensure customers have equal access to the Internet.

Does the FCC have a position on Internet usage?

Currently the FCC adheres to the transparency rule of the 2010 Open Internet Order. Prior to 2010 the FCC had already outlined a 2005 policy with the following principles:

  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.

The FCC presented the Open Internet Order on December 23, 2010 establishing rules for transparency, prohibit blocking and discrimination. The policy remained  for 4 years until…

The FCC’s rules were challenged in federal court, and on January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the Commission’s authority to regulate broadband Internet access service and upheld the Commission’s judgment that Internet openness encourages broadband investment and that its absence could ultimately inhibit broadband deployment. The court upheld the transparency rule, but vacated the no-blocking and no-unreasonable-discrimination rules. The court also invited the FCC to act to preserve a free and open Internet.

If the FCC already has a policy that makes sense then what is President Obama calling for?

In President Obama’s statement on net neutrality he wants:

  • No blocking
  • No throttling
  • Increased transparency
  • No paid prioritization

Specifically the President wants, “the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do.

What have I learned?

  • The FCC already has a hands-off policy in regards to regulating the Internet going back to 2005.
  • None of the things that those in favor of net neutrality claimed would happen have happened.
  • Communications companies that have violated FCC policies have been dealt with.

My thoughts…

First of all, I believe Internet access is not a necessity of life. If I had to choose whether to keep paying for Internet or buying groceries then the Internet would be cancelled faster than you can say potluck. Local governments already spend quite a bit of money to ensure their citizens have open access the Internet at the public library.

The Internet has done quite well without government oversight. For example there are all kinds of illegal content not easily accessible if at all. The flip side of that coin is that I never have any problems writing posts on this blog or connecting to my favorite online games.

In his statement on net neutrality the President makes it clear that the Internet needs regulation like a public utility. To me this means federal government involvement. With the Internet doing well enough alone, why does it need regulating?

Additional Resources

PCWorld.com – Is Net Neutrality Good for Gaming? – Alex Wawro Jan 23, 2010

Forbes.com – Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality? – Joshua Steimle 5/14/2014