fail

Keyboard not present; press F1 to continue.

I've gotten ^ this error ^ multiple times while booting up a client's computer for troubleshooting and forgetting to plugin a keyboard. I chuckle every time.

Blizzard Entertainment's support system seems to follow a similar design philosophy. I recently went to my friend's place with my PC to play some games and when I tried to sign on to Diablo III I was informed that my location did not follow my regular usage pattern so my account had been locked. I was genuinely happy and impressed that Blizzard was proactively protecting accounts from hack attempts, but that happiness faded quickly when I tried to unlock my account.

To unlock it, I needed to reset my password by either answering my secret question or entering the first 6 keys of one of my Blizzard games attached to the account. Easy, right? Well, I don't have any of the CD keys; I purchased my copies online and so the keys are all saved in my Battle.net account game listing, which I was locked out of. Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, also decides does not send you the game key in the online purchase confirmation email so this reset option is not viable if you've made online purchases. I proceeded to answer my secret question instead and their page says I would receive a confirmation email shortly. Cool.

I waited, and then waited some more; nothing came in. I checked my spam, nothing in there either. I even opened up my server logs and checked all incoming mail only to find nothing from Blizzard at all. Blizzard hadn't sent the message.

My next logical step is to submit a trouble ticket with their support team, so I went to the trouble ticket manager and it asks my to type a few words related to my problem. I enter 'can't login'. It offers me a few suggestions (including the password reset page which doesn't send emails) and then says if my issues are not resolved to sign in to create a ticket. Wonderful. So (1) I am locked out of my account, (2) the system detects this and (3) their recommended course of action in this context is to sign in to my account.

I try their phone support and find out that not only are they busy, but their hold queue is full so they are refusing to take my call. I tried calling a couple hours later with the same result. That brings us to today, where my calls are still being refused. Here's a really easy solution Blizzard: hire more support staff.

I've also tried email support@blizzard.com and got a response saying that the address is ignored and to sign in to create a ticket. Fail.

I'm normally a patient person when it comes to this type of thing, because as a software programmer I understand how complex maintaining a beast like battle.net can be. But it was entirely Blizzard's chose to remove single player play from the game in favour of online connectivity to reduce piracy. I get that, and I'm okay with that, but Blizzard has to keep up its end of the deal too. Account hacks are not my problem. I use a strong password and I shouldn't have to worry about getting my SINGLE PLAYER game account locked. If your system is under automated attack, find a way to fix it without inconveniencing your players. Otherwise, I'll take my money elsewhere.

Update 2012-06-25: After finally getting a response on a ticket submitted from my brother's account, they told me I would have to call in. *sigh* I'll just find another game to play for two weeks because realistically I'm not going to speak to anyone before then.

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Facebook Terms of Use

The new facebook terms of use are just unbelievable. I first saw the story on Slashdot, but it's all over the web - Facebook owns everything you post, forever. Here's an excerpt from the official Facebook terms of use page:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid,
worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain,
publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt,
adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you
(i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to
your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your
website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or
advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion
thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing
licenses.

So essentially, "I hereby grant Facebook the right to do anything they'd like with my pictures, comments and other media that I publish, including sublicensing that media, selling it, publishing it, or modifying it without having to compensate me." Nice. I'm not going to use Facebook until this is sorted out.

Please, join this group to show your concern. In the mean time, I've restricted my privacy settings - I recommend you do this too. Just click the Settings button at the top of your profile and remove all applications, disable Beacon and similar services as well as restrict everything to "Friends Only".

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I'm tired of this (rev3)

Apple has been in my good books for a long time because as their computers have no problems. Nearly no viruses, popups or adware at all. No additional software needed. Their computers 'just worked', right out of the box. I'm seeing more and more things in Apple that I don't like, things that I stopped using Microsoft's products for. Apple's products work wonderfully, but in many cases only with other Apple-based products. iPhone. iPod. iLife. iMac. And even then I find they don't work that well all the time.

A perfect example is recently when I was creating a slideshow using music purchased from iTunes. The iTunes Plus tracks worked flawlessly - Drag & drop, that was it. I'm happy Steve Jobs supports it and I really hope the industry moves DRM free... But I'm getting off track. I try the regular iTunes tracks (DRM encumbered) and turns out they refused to be added to the iMovie slideshow claiming the computer wasn't authorized. I entered my password, authorizing from iMovie which didn't work so then from iTunes too. I even deauthorized and reauthorized the Macbook in iTunes to make sure. Then I tried playing the tracks in iTunes - It worked. I switched to iMovie and what d'ya you know, same results. In the end I burnt all the songs to two CDs and then ripped them. Another two hours of my time wasted. Apple's FairPlay doesn't seem too fair at all - I couldn't use it on the very same computer I had purchased the songs from, and forget even trying to play them on another computer. I don't even know if you can put songs purchased from iTunes onto non-iPod players without having to break the DRM first (which is illegal in the US).

This time, Apple has added encrypted firmware and hashes in the database which makes it near impossible to use a new iPod with 3rd party tools (see the article I posted at the beginning of this entry). To make it worse, the encrypted firmware makes you unable to run Linux (aka Rockbox) on it to workaround the database issue. One could say otherwise, but I don't see the advantage of encrypted firmware or hashes in the database to users... What do the 3rd party tools change from Apple point of view? Users have still purchased their iPods, and whether people update iPods from iTunes or GtkPod doesn't make a difference to Apple whatsoever.

Considering one can't use an iPod with Linux anymore, I'll have to use iTunes from Windows or Mac OS X. And considering what happened the last time I used iTunes, I won't be buying the new iPod everyone's talking about either.

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DBA

DBA: Drivers before Activation.

I'll have to remember that next time I install XP, as after installing the Intel and JMicron RAID/SATA controller drivers Windows thought I had "major hardware changes" and required me to reactivate my machine... At which point it said I had reached the maximum number of activations (which really was only one, half an hour before, to be precise) so I had to call Microsoft to get that sorted out.

I wish I could opt out of all this genuine activation.

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My ramblings on Marvell 88E8056, 2.6.21, sky2

The Marvell LAN on my GA-965P-S3 board stopped working all of a sudden after a reboot the other day, and I franticly tried flashing the BIOS & firmware, I undid my overclock, even rewired everything inside. No luck.

The problem was due to the semi-broken sky2 driver... From what I've heard it's been broken for a while (and developers know it). Sky2 seems to work pretty well from my experience.. Apart from this.

Anyways the cause was the new 2.6.21 kernels, which is why it only started happening after a reboot, as I started booting new kernel. Reverting to 2.6.20 (in my case, the FC6 kernel) worked perfectly.

$ /sbin/lspci | grep Ethernet
04:00.0 Ethernet controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 14)
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Soft Drinks & DNA

Did you know that soft drinks can potentially damage your DNA?

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