The Mediocre Gazette. 28 November 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first ever post for the mediocre gazette. My name is Vincent, bringing you gaming-related news, news concerning folks in Montreal, the West Island, and various other topics of my choosing. You can leave suggestions for future works in the suggestions tab at the top of the page. Now to start things off; some of the more veteran readers of this blog will no doubt notice the disappearance of the hybrid. The reason for this is because I felt it was rather pointless to collapse the two items together – updates and off the records – as there is no need to make things more efficient. Ultimately the purpose for the section has diminished and I felt it was time to remove it from my blog and replace it with something more meaningful. The end result, the mediocre gazette was born. Now I have decided to utilize the critical thinking skills, and the realistic approach I have, to talk about various stories in the gaming industry and news concerning Montreal: both of which I find interesting and worth talking about. Coming up in today’s Gazette; a letter response by an editor of the Montreal Gazette, Facebook users are slightly uneasy with the change in the privacy policy, Czech game developers detained in Greece, fringe-extremist group goes around harassing Anglophones in Montreal, and Minecraft creators hope to attract more young people to coding.

Now onto the news you care about: there was an article I found on Sunday that talks about Anglophones in Quebec (though the article focused primarily on the Montreal community) and how they are a ‘harassed minority.’ It was written in response to an opinion piece done by a man from Detroit and the letter basically retorts the Detroit native, Brian Lipson, who stated that the fears of Anglophones in Quebec are baseless and without logic. The link to the 2 articles is in the description below:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Opinion+English+risk+anglos+oppressed/7520562/story.html

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Letter+Anglos+harassed+minority/7539705/story.html

In all honesty, the ‘harassed minority’ concept is rather accurate as I have noted in my previous pieces. This language debate is something that is a common sight in Quebec politics, and especially in Montreal where a good chunk of English-speaking Quebecers reside. Thus it is no surprise that there will be some back and forth in regards to the topic of the English language in a predominately French-speaking province. Even as far back as the Quebec Act in 1774, the issue over language was present. This is something that is likely to continue for a bit, though I am still optimistic as to say that cases of harassment are something of a rarity as the stories we hear from the media tend to be single-case events of which spark a mountain of discussion to rise up from the ocean floor. The end result is morale panic: a term used to describe the sudden uproar of opinions that occur when a shocking story surfaces. Examples include the Amanda Todd incident, the Vancouver Riots, and the list goes on. I myself admit to succumbing to morale panic as it is easy to let your emotions get in the way and not critically analyze the situation before commenting.

Onto some other news: Facebook has updated their privacy settings. Now there has been this sort of bandwagon of people posting privacy-related statements on their personal pages. I just would like to point out that if you use Facebook’s services, this statement is void as you have expressed permission to grant Facebook the use of whatever data is stated in the privacy policy and terms of use. The only way to prevent them from using the information that you have provided is to delete your account. I highly doubt you will have the time and/or money to bring Facebook to court, unless you and a few loyal members of the party band together to launch a class-action lawsuit. If that were to occur, it would be an interesting dispute as the laws governing Facebook are US laws, and in certain jurisdictions it may violate terms of use. Now when all is said and done, Facebook will not broadcast what you have set as private on your profile nor will they go about selling the data to some corporation or private enterprise. Certainly some advertisements may be catered to your taste, but this has been happening since you started using the internet. I digress; the main point to take away from all of this is that they will not force you to make your profile public. Whatever you did in the settings for your account will not be forcefully changed. They are simply stating that if you make data public, it is your responsibility to keep track of things and not them. A good analogy for this would be: ‘They are not your mother and will not clean up after you.’ You can read the full statement in the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

2 Czech game developers continue to remain in custody in Greece after being arrested for supposedly conducting espionage for Turkey. The Greek media has completely taken a one-sided approach, stating that the 2 persons detained had night vision equipment, which was not the case as the case file clearly states that they only possessed equipment that was attainable via conventional markets such as cameras. Bohemia Interactive, the guys behind the ARMA series, have come out with a statement which explains that the two were on vacation on the Island where they were detained and that they are in no way linked to any spy operations in Greece. Recent reports have stated that the two men have had their appeals denied by the Greek courts, and due to the abysmal conditions in the prison the situation has become dire. The links to the stories are below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19585426

http://www.gamespot.com/news/arma-devs-arrested-for-spying-in-greece-6396243

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/181856/ArmA_espionage_suspects_denied_bail_in_Greece.php#.ULQbtYb6cSk

All I can say is this: it is unfortunate that the two men were arrested while on vacation, however it should be noted that they were taking detailed photos of military installations which might be hard to explain considering the time they took the photos ARMA 2 was set to release soon. Presently the game is set to be released sometime early next year, and the community Alpha is kicking off in December. This sort of research is conducted prior to the code for the game being written, and as such it might strike as odd that they are doing their research this late in the development cycle. Nevertheless thoughts go out to the families of the two men who have set up a site to help raise awareness on the issue. You can visit their site in the address below if you so desire.

http://www.helpivanmartin.org/

Onto some other news: a Facebook group I keep track of recently posted a link to a blog which belongs to what appears to be a fringe group which supports Quebec Liberation and Marxist ideology. Now what the group has done is it has made the community aware of what this fringe group is doing: that being going around to stores, and complaining about the lack of Quebec culture in the respective stores. Reading through the discussion on the topic, I see a lot of fear and restlessness amongst those who are Federalist; Francophone and Anglophone alike. This makes sense considering how the Parti Quebecois have hinted that it will seek to toughen the Bill 101 legislation in Quebec, of which when these changes come into play, could affect both Anglophones and Francophones alike by separating them and forcing them to attend their respective institutions. What is meant by this is that if the new legislation were to pass; a Francophone student would not be able to attend an English-language post-secondary institution, even if they wanted to attend. With this example stated, it is important to note that there is a modest degree of sensationalism on this group’s posts. I will admit, these fringe groups are frightening and at times deter an Anglophone such as myself from visiting the city let alone consider it for a future place of residence. With this said however it is sensationalism, and therefore it looks more frightening than it is in reality. My guess is that these fringe groups are no bigger than thirty members and more often than not are underground, occasionally peak out from under the rock to sniff the air and proceed to retreat below ground where they can post videos and write their ideas on a blog like the above mentioned has done. You can read more on this subject and scroll through their posts at the address below:

https://www.facebook.com/putbacktheflag

Minecraft’s creators Mojang is set to release a version of Minecraft that is aimed at encouraging more young people to get into coding. Titled Minecraft: Pi Edition; this new software will be completely free to download and allows players to build the traditional Minecraft way, and enable them to break open the source-code to start manipulating the world in which they build. You know this is not a bad idea at all. In order to attract young people into coding, it has to be made accessible to them and using a game is a clever way of going about this. Up to this point, only a select few amongst the gaming community ever do code work, while the rest simply aim to be more of the artist behind the characters. Now while this is all fine and dandy, I must stress that coding takes a lot more work than simply pressing a few keys here and there. The bigger the game, the greater the source code, and at times it can be discouraging when your source code does not turn out the way you wanted it to look. That said it does encourage the growth of a healthy mod scene where players modify the game and extend its’ life cycle. Ultimately we will probably witness a strengthening of the PC gaming market, something that will benefit consumers greatly. You can read more on this story in the address below:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/182262/Minecraft_Pi_Edition_aims_to_encourage_young_people_to_code.php#.ULURcob6cSk

Well that about wraps it up folks for this Wednesday’s edition of the Mediocre Gazette. Check back in on Saturday when I will be posting another addition to the gazette. If you have any suggestions for future editions you can leave them in the suggestions tab at the top of the page. My name is Vincent, and I will see you next time.

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About thoughtsandtopics

Creating articles related to the games industry and military news.

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