The FBI has their Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List, cataloging all the criminals who have successfully escaped the long wrinkly arm of the law. President George WB. "W." Bush "Bush" Jr. Sr. Jr. has his Top 10 Most Wanted Terrorists List, a directory of personal threats to America which was up to about 855,231 people last time I checked. Baskin-Robbins has their infamous 31 Flavors of the Month, an assortment of outlawed frozen flavorings wanted for questioning in the murder of 17 Seattle prostitutes throughout the summer of 1995. It's about time somebody had the guts - no, the balls - to create an Internet Most Wanted List, an assortment of individuals and organizations responsible for making the collective lives of our online communities a living hell. Although I have absolutely no authority, power, or interest to bring the following offenders to the ideal punishment they so richly deserve, I am hoping that we, a responsible Internet community, can band together and make a difference by, well, I don't know, doing something. Maybe we can have a "National Wear Your Socks Inside-Out Day" or partake in a "Surf the Web Naked Weekend" which would probably result in the government carpet-bombing the Something Awful offices.
THE UNOFFICIAL OFFICIAL INTERNET'S MOST WANTED LIST
#1: Rob Burgess (CEO of Macromedia)
CRIME(S) AGAINST THE INTERNET: Running a company that continues to produce, market, and distribute Flash, despite the fact that they really shouldn't and I don't think anybody is personally encouraging them to.
BACKGROUND: Macromedia purchased a company named "FutureWave Software," creators of FutureSplash, in December of 1996. They saw how closely FutureWave was working with Microsoft and Disney's online services and decided that distributing such web-based vector animation software would help their company grow. Also I suspect they were strongly attracted to the name "FutureSplash," which sounds like some kind of homosexual science fiction movie that takes place on a boat. Unfortunately, Macromedia has taken this software and used it to gradually transmogrify into the company singlehandedly responsible for making the Internet a more obnoxious and painful place, all thanks to the chronic (mis)use of Flash.
Now I'm sure that Jonathan Gay, the creator of FutureSplash / Flash, had no idea that his creation would eventually mutate into the vile, twisted abomination that it is today. I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Gay wrote this software solely for the purpose of entertaining impoverished inner city children and spreading joy across the world like a warm blanket full of tapioca pudding and severed puppy dog eyes. However, somewhere during his product's devolution, this noble idea was abandoned and the main purpose of his software centered around displaying annoying full screen popup ads with surround sound, full motion video, and 1x1 pixel "click here to close ad" boxes which don't even work if you can somehow manage to squeeze your mouse pointer into the miniscule target area. It's nearly impossible to visit any large website without getting smacked across the face with a series of ads trumpeting Ford's new 8000-pound SUV / wheat harvester hybrid vehicle, thundering across your screen while patriotic rock and roll blasts in the background all thanks to the miracle of Macromedia Flash. I guess it's not directly Macromedia's fault that their product has become the number #1 most detestable plugin on the entire Internet, but we need a scapegoat in this case and I'm more than willing to throw Mr. Burgess into the pyre if it slows down the inevitable advancement of ads rapidly flying around my computer monitor like drunk sperm searching for eggs to fertilize.
TEMPORARY SOLUTIONS: Video Ads Blocker (for surfing with IE), FireFox (for surfing with an Internet browser which will make you sexually appeal to slovenly IRC users and exponentially more slovenly people on Slashdot).
#2: Rob Glaser (CEO of RealNetworks)
CRIME(S) AGAINST THE INTERNET: RealMedia. Enough said.
BACKGROUND: RealMedia and RealPlayer and all that RealOtherAnnoying shit started with founder Rob Glaser in 1993. As far as I can tell, Satan appeared to him during a methamphetamine-induced nightmare sometime in 1992, demanding Rob "create the most worthless, non-functioning, buggy piece of crap" software possible or else the Dark Lord would cause Rob's testicles to explode and shower him with hundreds of tiny poisonous scorpions. Since Rob was previously employed by Microsoft, he had no problems getting the go-ahead to start such an ambitiously worthless project, one dubbed "Progressive Networks" because the name "Really Fucking Shitty Ass Networks Which Everybody Hates and Uses Only Out of Pure Necessity " was already registered by Ted Turner. Progressive Networks broke all ties from Microsoft in late 1998, citing governmental studies which proved it would be impossible for Progressive Networks and Microsoft to work together without the universe imploding in a giant black hole of frustrating malfunctioning software.
One of the most impressive aspects regarding RealNetwork's 10+ years of existence revolves around the fact that during this entire time frame, not a single person has ever managed to successfully download a smoothly streaming segment of audio or video through their service. This was perfectly acceptable back in 1993 when most personal computers were simply large rocks with letters and floppy disks glued to them, but it's really difficult to find an excuse for RealMedia's inability to stream any media whatsoever these days. Hell, I've had better luck streaming uncompressed .avi files than I have with any RealMedia trash. Luckily RealNetworks continues to release a new version of RealPlayer, RealArcade, RealRhapsody, ReaLemon, and RealAwfulShit every two hours, so you can always be sure that once you've finished downloading the current 263-meg build of bloated software, there will be an even newer, more bloated piece of crap for you to install. After all, you wouldn't want to miss out on such crucial features as instant online grocery list randomization, mood-based graphic equalization database tracking, and some kind of shitty chat software which allows you to communicate with people who type out smiley faces for a living. Don't even get me started on the image quality of RealMedia files, which is rivaled by many Etch-A-Sketch drawings.
TEMPORARY SOLUTION: Real Alternative (plays those horribly blocky .rm files without that damn software bloat).
#3: Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple)
CRIME(S) AGAINST THE INTERNET: QuickTime. It's the Mac version of RealPlayer, which means not only is it crappy, but it is crappy and has a snotty attitude.
BACKGROUND: I'm sure my decision to list Steve Jobs on the Internet's Most Wanted List (and conversely my decision to not list Bill Gates) will cause the collective panties of all Mac readers here to get in a mess so tangled that it would take several hundred PowerMac G5's several hundred days to successfully untangle. Fortunately I'm not too worried about offending a couple dozen people who spend most of their free time color coordinating their wardrobes to match their mobile mp3 player. QuickTime 1.0 shipped late 1991, and rumor has it there are still several people who downloaded movies at that time waiting for QuickTime to finish loading and run.
QuickTime, while being a whole hell of a lot less annoying than RealGarbage, still continuously finds fresh and exciting new ways to annoy anybody forced to use it. First of all, no Apple, I do not want to pay to upgrade your terrible software so I have the ability to watch 30 seconds of the "Spiderman 2" preview in full screen, but I really honestly truly do appreciate you throwing a popup registration window in my face requesting money each and every time your program runs. Also that system tray icon is just infinitely useful to me, especially considering I have to load up QuickTime and de-associate random file extensions that it takes over each time I turn my back. And thank you so much for sneaking in the iTunes and iPod software onto my computer! Although I don't own an iPod now and don't use iTunes and don't plan on ever doing either, I do realize that I could sustain a series of damaging blows to the head which would possibly make me reconsider this sometime in the future! Oh and I simply cannot lavish enough praise on Apple for allowing developers the infinitely useful ability to code Java applications in QuickTime too, it will truly be an awesome day when, upon loading the program, not only am I greeted by a gigantic message urging me to "go pro," but I get to play a free 10-second trial game of JavaTetris while iTunes promotes the latest J-Lo song about having sex in the shower. At least the streaming image quality of QuickTime is better than RealPlayer, but that's like saying it's less painful to be ripped apart by wild dogs than it is to have hundreds of thumbtacks crammed into your eyelids and throat.
TEMPORARY SOLUTION: QuickTime Alternative (only download if you can risk the depressing possibility of not seeing that wonderful "WHY GO PRO?" nagware box).
#4: Bruce Chizen (CEO of Adobe)
CRIME(S) AGAINST THE INTERNET: Adobe Acrobat.
BACKGROUND: Adobe had a vision, a dream of a "paperless office" which wasn't burdened by hundreds of unnecessary faxes, memos, and notes. Their solution was to create something dubbed "IPS" (Interchange PostScript) which could be run on 99% of all computers, assuming the people using those computers had enough patience to not smash them to pieces while trying to wade through these electronic files. This Carousel technology (later dubbed "Acrobat") won the coveted "Best of Comdex" award in 1992, narrowly edging out "AIDS" and a computer which automatically sodomized its user with a broken beer bottle whenever activated.
Despite being a program whose sole purpose is to display online copies of VCR operating instructions, Acrobat has somehow grown into a monstrous entity which not only annoys you to download it for nearly every information file out there, but then continues to annoy you to download various additional components so it can be even more annoying. Add this to the fact that it takes roughly nine working days for Acrobat to completely load, and you've got a wonderful recipe for aggravation. It doesn't get any better once you're actually running the program, as wading through an Adobe Acrobat document is like trying to navigate a river full of sewage and molasses while standing on top of a folding card table. The only benefits of using Acrobat consist of being able to click a "click here to email me" link and automatically emailing "me," as well as the ability to include black and white photographs of the VCR so the user can see a graphical image of what they just purchased and are searching for information on.
TEMPORARY SOLUTION: Go to your Acrobat Reader folder and take everything from the "plug_ins" folder and move it into "optional" except the following: Search.api, Search5.api, IA32.api, EWH32.api, EScript.api. It won't delete Acrobat from your hard drive or install an alternative, but it will make it less painful.
These are just the top four criminals on my Internet's Most Wanted List, but I can assure you there's many, many more, and this list will undoubtedly grow as technology progresses. If you are hurt and offended that I left somebody off, please keep in mind that I don't get paid to write articles for the Internet and furthermore I hate you. Still, the existence of such widespread horrific software begs the question: why must mankind use so many tools for evil instead of good? How many "Surf the Web Naked Weekends" must society endure before these people get the message? I secretly hope "a lot," because I'm starting to enjoy the freedom my private parts are experiencing here.
YOU ARE NOT RICK JAMES BITCH
Ryan "OMGWTFBBQ" Adams here, with a really funny Comedy Goldmine update. No pictures this round, and I swear to God if you write in bitching about the lack of funny pictures for you to laugh at, I will release the hounds on you. This Goldmine comes from Forum Goon n3cro, who spent a little while in a mental hospital. During his stay he ran into various wacky people, and managed to create a bit of mischief himself. We've got 13 stories of mental patient hijinks, and here's a taste of the world inside the walls:
My first few days at Summit were mainly uneventful. There was group therapy, I learned how to play spades, and things were cool. Then came Dianne. Dianne was as paranoid a schizophrenic as they come. She was convinced the US Govt had turned her into a lesbian nun, which was odd, considering her boyfriend would visit her throughout her stay in the hospital.
We all pretty much learned to ignore her ranting and kind of walk away from her once she got going. Apparently, Dianne did not deal well with lack of attention. One day after lunch, all the Status 2's (those allowed to leave the wing and go upstairs to eat) were returning back into the wing to get our allotted two cigs for our after lunch smoke break. As the door opens, we heard screaming, singing and laughter all at once.
It seems Dianne had decided a great way to get attention would be to run around the wing completely naked while singing opera. The wing was small, so it only took the staff about 2-3 minutes to cut her off and finally subdue her. Even after her subsequent capture and injection of Ativan (Summit’s number one choice to chill us out), Dianne could still be heard singing from the confines of the quiet room for a good amount of time.
So go ahead and enjoy this week's Comedy Goldmine, "Tales from the Mental Hospital."
This is your typical consumer model throne. If you just want a cheap prop, it's fine. If you want to actually sit like a king, pony up the cash and get yourself a prosumer model. This entry level stuff is more for a duke or baron at best.
Do you wish to know what computers will be doing in the year to come? With a sigh I shall exert the minimal effort it takes to reveal all. Feel free to print out these predictions and share them with your friends via fax.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.