Misc

[UPDATE – 02/12/08 – The Complete Guide to the 2008 Internet Outage has been finished. It contains the most up to date information including detailed images and explanations to help unravel this cable mess. Please check it out here]

[UPDATE – please be sure to check out part two of this post: Submarine Cables, Subsidiaries and Subversion, where you can find out information on who might stand to gain from these outages.]

Alright. Grab your foil hats if you must, but there’s some things that need to be said here.

While working hard at my job today I was stunned after I read engadget’s report that another large submarine internet cable had been severed. This comes after the news that other cables had been severed reducing the internet, phone, and television capabilities of many countries to nil. As of this writing, there are still reports that Iran is without internet connectivity according to InternetTrafficReport.com. EDIT Many readers have written in to inform me that Iran is, in fact, not entirely offline and that InternetTrafficReport.com is a terrible source. However, there are still millions of people without service. Thanks for keeping me in line.

It seems, that something is not quite right here. Just when I am starting to doubt my gut instinct, the Khaleej Times reports that it is in fact 5 submarine cables that have been damaged:

“Quoting TeleGeography and describing the effect the cuts had on the Internet world, Mahesh Jaishanker, executive director, Business Development and Marketing, du, said, “The submarine cable cuts in FLAG Europe-Asia cable 8.3km away from Alexandria, Egypt and SeaMeWe-4 affected at least 60 million users in India, 12 million in Pakistan, six million in Egypt and 4.7 million in Saudi Arabia.””

According to their reports, there was another cable severed that went unreported. So, here’s the list that they had of the 5 different cables:

“These are SeaMeWe-4 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-4) near Penang, Malaysia, the FLAG Europe-Asia near Alexandria, FLAG near the Dubai coast, FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran and SeaMeWe-4, also near Alexandria.”

As I said: 3 was quite a few. 4 is pushing it. 5 starts to make you wonder. In case you aren’t familiar with that part of the world, here’s a map that I made which shows the approximate locations of the “cuts” in the underwater cables: [UPDATE: I have completed the Google Maps version which includes all the new damages and links to the sources:]

We’re supposed to believe that these were most likely caused by an anchor from a ship fighting a storm. This author finds it hard to believe that this anchor was drug behind a boat from Egypt to Malaysia.

So everyone is scrambling to try and figure out why this would happen. Here’s some of the possible reasons that I have found while looking around the internet:

  • U.S. Government
  • Israeli Government
  • Aliens
  • Underwater Monsters
  • The Cloverfield Monster
  • Rudy Giuliani

However, this author actually dug a bit deeper and found a trail that leads from the owners of most of these internet cables all the way back to some very, very large companies in the U.S. and in the U.K. Which companies you ask? Who is behind this?

Well, that’s the topic for my next post. You’ll have to subscribe to my RSS feed and stay tuned for my findings. Don’t worry, the wait is over.

Misc

Y: The Last Man
Today, January 30th, 2008, marked the end of a wonderful, amazing, one of a kind comic book series known as “Y: The Last Man”. In case you aren’t a fan of comic books, or you haven’t heard any news surrounding a movie deal, here is a link to the Wikipedia article which does a much better job describing this incredible comic book series: Wikipedia: “Y: The Last Man”. Even the mainstream media got a hold of this wonderful last edition. ComicMix has a great round-up of the coverage around the net here.

My girlfriend and I started reading the series last year and loved every issue. Today, was a sad day, as the comic book series has come to an end. Today, during my lunch break, I hopped over the to local comic book store to grab my reserved copy:


(Click here for a larger version)

After issue #59, there was a lot of questions that I wanted to be answered and I was jumping out of my skin with anticipation. The final issue of Y did not disappoint.

SPOILER WARNING – do not read on if you do not want to see how the comic book ends yet.

The comic brought us 60 years into the future and we discover that cloning has been successful for the women left on the earth. In addition, we discover that Yorick has survived (despite popular opinion) and one of his clones gets the opportunity to meet him. It turns out that Yorick was put into a straight jacket and kept with his daughter in a room surrounded by clones of his monkey, Ampersand:


(Click here for a larger version)

Yorick apparently decided that 86ing himself on his 86th birthday was humorous, and thus we find him in his straight-jacketed situation. In case you didn’t get this joke, here’s a quick explanation:

When something is “86’d” it means it is gone. This is especially common in the food service industry. The number 86 is actually short for 8 foot by 6 foot or: the size that graves used to be dug — 8 ft deep, 6 ft long.

Hence, 86’d.

That aside, the conversation that Yorick has with his clone is humorous and we are privy to some flashbacks of Yorick’s history. Particularly moving was Yorick’s goodbye to Ampersand:


(Click here for a larger version)

Just to tear a few more tears out, we find that Yorick was in fact taking Ampersand to visit Agent 355 one last time:


(Click here for a larger version)

We also discover, in this issue, that Beth, his lover, and Hero, his sister, become lovers.

During the conversation between Yorick and his own clone, his clone has opened a window so that Yorick may get some fresh air. It is through this coincidental event that Yorick gets his chance and goes through the open balcony window. The reader is left to think that Yorick has committed suicide. We are then brought to a memory of Agent 355 and Yorick having a humorous conversation. After this, we are brought back to the present to find that Yorick did not jump out the window. But in fact… escaped.

I’m sure that I, along with all the other readers, would not hesitate to say that we knew Yorick well:


(Click here for a larger version)

The special 48-page issue grabs on to your feelings — good and bad — and takes them for a ride. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll remember. The final scenes of the comic offered a satisfying end to one of the most versatile, interesting and original comics to ever hit the stands.

Brian K. Vaughan, the amazing writer behind the series summed it up best:

“The years I’ve been fortunate enough to spend with these characters–and their stupid monkey–have been the greatest adventure of my life, and I’m forever grateful to everyone who helped this boy survive the journey.”

You will be missed Yorick.

(Note about the images: the photos on this page are from my copy of Y: The Last Man #60. The images are ©2008 Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. They are reproduced in this article as works of art open for discussion, criticism, or review.)

Geekery

Well then. Another week means another few games in review. If you read the last review then you would know we came upon a little diamond in the rough called Angry, Drunken Dwarves. But now, we deal with the next games on the list of Ubuntu & Open Source games. If you are unaware how to access these games then you may want to visit part 1 of these reviews.

But regardless of all that here we go!

Armagetron Advanced (Website)
From the get go this game had my attention just from the image in the installation screen:

In case you were living in a hole during the 80s, this game is inspired by the 1982 movie Tron.

It is basically a spawn of a game commonly known as Snake. Except, there’s pretty lights, sound, different game play modes and well, online playing experience. If you’ve ever enjoyed playing Nibbles while learning QBasic


(yes, Nibbles)

–then you should give it a shot. In case you aren’t up for multiplayer, there is also a single player experience. Here’s a screenshot that doesn’t do it much justice:

Overall, this game is well polished and quite a bit of fun. For more screenshots or info, check out the official site here.

Atlantik (Homepage)
This was another one that sounded like it would be something to kill time every once in a while:

“This is a KDE client for playing Monopoly-like boardgames on the monopd network.

It can play any board supported by the network server, including the classic Monopoly game, as well as the Atlantik game in which the property includes several major cities in North America and Europe.”

Well, alright. I’ve got a 25-30 minute block of time. Why not try it out? Let’s see here, we’ll try and get the list of servers first. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a game!

Okay… maybe not so much. Well, let’s see if there’s at least a dumb AI I can play against. Nope: no dice. At this point, I don’t have time to wait for a new game to start or for one of the 5+ people playing to bum rush a game I might host. The screen shots from the website looked promising:

But, it doesn’t look like there’s been any development since 2004. Wow, I can’t believe that was 4 years ago now. Should you feel like going along with the vision of the author, then there is also a designer for the game.

Atomix
Alright, this one is a bit deceiving. By the description, I thought this was going to be a cool game:

“Atomix is a game designed for GNOME in which you have to build molecules, from simple inorganic to extremely complex organic ones, out of isolated atoms.”

However, I was quick to find out that this only partially the case. Although Atomix provides a bit of entertainment, it is very repetitive. There are 19 levels with no randomization options. Oh and when the description said isolated atoms, they just meant that they are located in a weird place on the map:

The game involves selecting an atom and moving it either vertically or horizontally. The atom moves along the board until it stops.

The object is to eventually make enough moves to create a pattern:

Each level is more and more difficult. However, if you get bored on a level, you can just skip it.

If you like this game or games of this nature, then I would highly consider a board game called Richochet Robots. It’s a similar game style in which you compete with people to ‘beat’ a map by coming up with a solution with the least number of moves. Here’s a pic to give you an idea:

Overall, I prefer the board game.

Attal (Homepage)… maybe their Sourcefourge site… nope, nothing there. Oh, here we go, sorta: Attal Lords of Doom Wiki.

Before you go loading this game, you should know that it is still in development. Also note that for some reason, the window it opens in, likes to hide its window decoration behind your top bar. Which, makes accessing any of the menus or closing the game a pain in the butt. I was unable to get a map or campaign, or really anything going so we’re going to have to rely on the screen shot I was able to find:

Nothing to see here. Doesn’t look like there will be anything to see in the near future either.

Balazar (Homepage)
This game is described as a funny adventure game. Unfortunately, playing the game did not produce any adventure, or fun for that matter. It may be that the version I had was bugged as I did not get any reactions when trying to interact with the various people-things, that I ran into as I was running around the bizarre world.

From the screen shots that I saw on their website here, it looks like the game might be fun if I could speak a different language, and if I could get it to work properly. Ultimately, I ended up following the suicide option the game offered more than once to try and get myself back on track.

I wouldn’t try to sink too much time into this one.

Well, that’s it for part 3 of the Ubuntu (open source) gaming review. If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed and be sure to stay tuned for the Ubuntu (Open Source) Games Review – Part 4!