Rundown (10/15/2023) Akumu Kojou: Tax Tax Panic!

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  • Reading time:48 mins read
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This Week’s Topics:

  • Natalie bitching about her job
  • A double dose of TSF coolsies
  • The end of the biggest gaming acquisition
  • A premonition of a dead internet
  • The Downfall of Unity: Part III
  • The slick and svelte NEW PS5

Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Akumu Kojou [Nightmare Factory]: Tax Tax Panic!

Yeah, we’re referencing the NES Mario game that I have the most affinity for! Because it de-emphasizes running!

This past week has been the second week of October. I am a tax accountant, meaning I have been trying to get over 20 different returns done within just 9 days. Not because I am doing something wrong, but because I work for a self-described fuck up with a penchant for perpetual procrastination. The work I had laid out before me was not necessarily hard, and the actual hard part has been interfacing with all these people, trying to get the right information to prepare a correct document.

Akumako: “Damn bitch, are you even a human? Could you say that in a more robot-like way if you tried?”

Yes, but I’d rather not. Besides, all my communications are digital, so do I really know if my clients are created by large-scale computing?

Akumako:Fuck Fido with a fire engine, this thing needs to touch some grass.”

I mean, that’s fair. I still live in the dead zone of suburbia, so I lack much reason to leave the house. Especially since I exercise at home…

Akumako: “Just explain your tax work situation and move on with the actual Rundown…”

Right. The actual minutiae is not that interesting, but I would argue that working with my boss is the hardest part of this whole process. It is as if he is so against the idea of work, so against the idea of being ahead of schedule, that he deliberately sabotages himself with unhealthy decisions. He has chronic sleep issues, so he decided to stay at the office until 23:00 one night, and didn’t show up for a meeting until 13:15 the following day. And why was he up so late? Because he had to do some bank reconciliations. Ones that he blamed me for not doing even though… how the fuck am I supposed to know I’m supposed to do something I never did before… unless you tell me? I mean, it takes ten seconds to send me a message, and another ten seconds to tell me to ‘figure it out’ when I ask follow-up questions.

Working with him is such a bother sometimes that I feel it might just be easier to do all the work on my own, and only use him for review services. But then I would need to be the communicator for 150+ clients, and… fuck that. I just wish my boss would sell the client base— and a 5 year contract for my services— to a bigger company. And even though. One that hires people with the ability to come to work on time. Yes, I know I rail on ‘bigger’ companies all the time. But I’m talking about a firm with thirty people instead of… two full-time employees

I want it so much that I’m willing to take a $0 payout for the transaction, despite being a co-owner of the company.

Akumako:Why are you a co-owner of this company? Sounds like you fucking hate it.”

Oh, I do, but I did not have a choice. If your boss wants to make you a co-owner, you legally cannot say no. You do not have the right to refuse ownership.

Akumako: “Pretty sure that’s not how it works… and that’s not what legally means.”

It’s not, but legality is a bunch of made up bullshit

TSF Showcase #2023-32
What Happens When You Gender Bend Close Friends With A Magic App lol by Ue ni Aru Mikan

Let’s see, I need something quick, easy, and that I can prepare in advance. To make up for it, next week I’ll cover some formative shit that I haven’t read since I was 13. Like, the first TSF shit I actually searched for and read! But this week… Let’s talk about the comic that inspired the creation of re:Dreamer.

Magic App lol follows Kiriya, a young man who receives an invitation to a reality changing competitive sex app. Specifically, one capable of capturing people, or perhaps just women, and transforming them into the user’s slaves as they engage in harem-based warfare with other players. All with the implicit goal of becoming the top player and owning enough slaves to staff the most pristine brothel in all the land.

The story begins as Kiriya uses the app, Pocket Genesis, to capture his bratty menthol-loving sister, Tomomi, and uses the app to transform her body and mind into something more palatable to his preferences. Which is to say a lovey-dovey sister with big boobs, pink hair, and twintails. This would normally lead Kiriya to fuck his sister to erase whatever resistance still lingers in her mind, but… this is a work form a TSF circle, so they shuffle over to the TSF instead. With Kiriya capturing his ‘friend’ Haruma and transforming him into a woman. Haruma is naturally pissed about this, but pisses Kiriya off by calling him a “small-dicked phimotic virgin bastard.” Which is the kind of insult you only see from an official translation. Thus leading to further mental and physical alterations, along with a 15 page rape scene.

At this point… the story is pretty much whatever. Dude turns his friend into a girl, rape them, and leaves their mind all screwy thanks to mind control malarky. I’ve seen that so much that I don’t even try to count. But where the story gets interesting is with the introduction of Kiriya’s second friend, Subaru. A man with a girly face who is also part of the Pocket Genesis beta, but has actually read the manual, revealing the ‘real game’ of Pocket Genesis. A PvP battle mode where both players turn into girls and use various skills to rape the other one into submission. Afterwards, the lost player, and all their slaves, become the slaves of the winner.

Afterwards, the story moves ahead a month, showing Subaru having a foursome with Kiriya, Tomomi, and Haruma. All of whom have accepted their fate as sexual servants, and are left lusting over their self-imposed master’s dick, begging to be impregnated by him. Then… actually no, that’s pretty much it.

All in all… I don’t really like this comic. Kiriya and Subaru are deeply malicious figures but, due to the warm and cutesy artwork on display, they never get the opportunity to look like cuddly globules of human shaped custard. The god app’s dehumanization of characters is meant to come off as more jovial and flippant, a display of chaos used to initiate sex scenes while hitting multiple nebulous kinks. But upon re-reading it, it’s hard for me to not peg it as an incel power fantasy for young men who view women as ownable objects who exist for sexual pleasure. Which relates to a broader issue among a lot of TSF material. ‘Gender Transformation’ in general. TSF hentai. …And just regular hentai, really.

That being said…the story was onto something raw and captivating with its ‘reality-altering competitive sex game angle.’ The idea of a group of users going through a city, fulfilling challenges, and battling each other through the means of competitive sex is a genuinely great idea for a battle series. Because the act of sex is one so versatile, so deep, and home to countless alterations to keep things interesting. Doing all of that and throwing on an additional layer with transformation? …Well, now you’re thinking three-dimensionally, dude!

The addition of competition also gets around the most boring element of a god app story. Because while the protagonist might be able to do anything… they also need to content with people just as, if not more, powerful than them. While the inclusion of Arcane Crystals, a resource used to capture and transform slaves and perform skills in battle, adds yet another layer. It forces the player to balance the acquisition of new, better, or more versatile powers… with being able to actually use them.

In just a few pages, Magic App lol manages to create a genuinely compelling set of systems and mechanics for an in-universe game, or perhaps even a game in and of itself. …But everything before and after is pretty average conceptually, and its own execution of this golden idea is underbaked. Which isn’t the worst thing. If all a comic does is throw out a cool idea into the ether, and does something with it, that doesn’t mean the idea is bad and cannot be repurposed. That means someone else can pick it up, do it better, or put their own spin on it.

…Which Espeon did, as she originally wanted re:Dreamer to be more geared to wild competitive sex. An idea that had a lot of problems with the choice in setting and premise, which CaptainCaption spent most of the introduction trying to illustrate. Then most traces of this original inspiration were wiped away with later versions of the opening.

This means that the idea of a competitive reality-altering transformation sex app confined to a city is still up in the air for someone to grab. …I just hope they find a way to work around the slavery shit, because the fetishization of slavery is… no. I’m down for some twisted shit, but… Just no. F****t/Genocide Order Fate/Grand Order really fucked people up in that regard… 

TSF Showcase #2023-33
Raiden Shogun Is My Wife?! by TadxSarah

Notice 11/7/2023: The creator of this comic delisted it sometime after I discussed it here. Fortunately, I backed up all 140 pages of the comic before it was removed. You can download an archive of this comic here.

Every now and then, I happen across a work that makes me rethink everything, that reminds me of what fiction, as a concept, can truly be. A work so marvelously crafted, so impactful, that it transcends all others and becomes something on a tier of the divines. This… is peak fiction!

…Okay, in all seriousness, Raiden Shogun Is My Wife?! is a modern webcomic by an aspiring creator. Someone who, due to a marvelous blend of incompetence and/or a form of unrefined brilliance, made some of the funniest and most absurd shit I have read in a long while. Something so good that, after reading it with Cassie this past Thursday morning, I simply HAD to include it here. Because the world needs to know ASAP!

The story follows Luke, a dark-skinned red-haired anime boy going to anime school who spends most of his free time playing Genshin Impact. Not necessarily because of the game, but because he’s a hardcore simp for Raiden Shogun. Claiming she’s his, that they are fated to be together, that sorta incel shit. He explains this to his friend, Gina, who is probably the most overt and obvious trans woman I have seen in anything to ever insist that ‘she’s still a boy.’ Girl’s got bright flowing hair that goes halfway down her back, has either HRT titties or falsies, wears a skirt and leggings, and even wears a choker— the accessory of choice for trans girls

Normally, I find characters like this to be frustrating, especially because I’m pretty sure Eastern societies are more accepting of trans people, especially when they conform to gender roles this hard. So hard that I’m not even gonna respect their pronouns, because there’s no ambiguity here. Girl’s not even an egg, she’s a freaking bucket of fried chicken!

Anyway, Luke wants to be with his titular waifu, Gina wants to be attractive to girls. But rather than try to make their dreams come true on their own, they decide to follow a rumor on the street. That, in the local park, there’s a “strange old lady” who will grant people one wish, no matter how impossible, if they do her a favor. Seven hours later— which should probably be ten because this is (presumably) East Asia— they meet Miracle Grandma in the park. Who is sitting on a bench with a hunk of cardboard, all bundled up for winter, like the world’s greatest homeless woman. And she’s so psyched to be propositioned that she TGs a mime and turns a little boy into a squirrel… I don’t know how or why.

Miracle Grandma is a clairvoyant servant of a holy power who has the ability to rewrite reality, create parallel realities, and is also a downright fantastic character! She is a chaotic god who offers this story the bulk of its personality with her cartoonish antics. From her energetic and bossy attitude to the utterly deranged stuff she pulls in just a handful of panels. She is the one who understands EXACTLY what is going on in a world that stopped making sense long ago. Because she’s the one who made it stop making sense. 

She is such a strong character that I simultaneously want to steal her for myself, and want to become her as I grow old. I know I said I wanted to become Computer Granny from Rintarou Panic, but Miracle Grandma… is just cooler. She does backflips, hits people in the face with an AK-47, gives away free houses, can teleport, and has the abilities to TF people and make them immortal. She’s like Computer Granny and Godzilla at the same damn time!

Tangent aside, Miracle Grandma explains her schtick, tells the two that they need to smooch if they want their dreams to come true. The fictional girl simp and trans lesbian don’t want to do it, but with their dreams on the line, they give into this crazy woman’s demands, and get sent… to the NEXT DIMENSION!

…More specifically an alternate reality where Luke is a hot ‘six-pack’ boy whose red hair is turning purple— which implies a twinning scenario at the very least. And where Gina is Raiden Shogun. That would be any sane trans girl’s dream come true, but she’s in denial about her whole gender identity shit stuff. 

What follows is some absolute grade-A bickering between the parties. With Gina nailing the ‘pissed off TF victim’ reaction with no skipped beats. Miracle Grandma being a chaos gremlin who pulls out a gun to shoot at Luke to prove his immortality. And Luke being big-eyed-shocked-boy who just marvels at how cool this is. Because it is freaking cool. From there, the comic comes to an end, and whether or not it is continued… is up in the air.

Now, as a story, this is freaking nonsense and punctuated by some excellent Engrish that’s even better when read out loud. It is hilarious to go through, and carries itself with a conviction that you only find from young aspiring creators with little to lose and a willingness to throw themselves into the pits of passion. …But what really sells the story is the artwork. 

TadxSarah is clearly an artist still learning their craft, still finding their style. You can clearly tell that the author is trying here. That they have a vision for every panel, and are doing whatever they can, to the best of their abilities, to bring this vision to life. It’s just that their technique is still pretty sloppy and their style is so loose and squishy that it fluctuates from panel to panel.

This is not helped by the vertical scrolling comic style, which eschews the standard paneling of traditional comics in favor of making each panel its own page. This is a perfectly good format, but for some artists, it can create some inconsistencies when it comes to style, lighting, and a general sense of place. Characters frequently morph from chibi moeblobs to real-sized anime people. The backgrounds frequently fade away to something more stylistic, or with far harsher lighting. While the paneling itself is… just kind of weird. It all breeds a level of discontinuity… that I actually think works here. The inconsistency helps to create this manic, cobbled together, and almost dreamlike environment that adds a lot to the more absurd elements of the story. 

…I mean, that’s probably an unintentional effect, but art isn’t about intent, it’s about results. And the results on display here… are a thing of beauty. TadxSarah managed to capture a type of energy and chaos that I yearn for, and while it might seem weird to call a work like this inspiring, it is in my book. I see what this wacko is doing and think… yeah. I wanna do that too!

Microsoft Now 100% Owns Activision Blizzard
(UK Gives the OK to the Activision Blizzard Acquisition)

Welp, this was bound to happen this week. After nearly two years of back and forth, the UK has finally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. The United Kingdom antitrust regulator Competition and Markets Authority issued a statement Friday morning. And the only major concession is a deal regarding cloud streaming and Ubisoft. Which still sounds like a suggestion from someone not intimately familiar with the world of games, but that’s a minor point.

Now, this is going to wind up hurting the industry in the long run, as this gives Microsoft a rather extreme amount of power within the games industry, and access to a veritable treasure trove of intellectual properties. However, this is an arrangement that I am less than frustrated about, and for three reasons.

  • This arrangement has been known about since January 2022, so the furor that might have surrounded it has long since simmered into near-silence.
  • Activision Blizzard was already a massive corporation, and when a massive corporation buys another… not much happens.
  • Activision Blizzard’s management is rotten to its damn core, as the stories from 2021 plainly illustrated. And Microsoft will represent a change in executive level management and some cleansing of its vile culture.

That last point stands above all others in my book, as I will consider this move to be a good thing so long as the people in charge lose their jobs. Mind you, they will receive golden parachutes, because those are made for executives, but at least CEO Bobby Kotick will be leaving Activision Blizzard by the end of 2023. Hopefully he brings a lot of people with him so Microsoft can staff up those positions. Not because Microsoft is a paragon of management— they have botched so many projects it’s laughable— but because they generally don’t perpetuate a culture of abuse.

Now, this move being finalized does raise a lot of questions regarding the future of Xbox, of how the console library will be stacked up, of how exclusivity will be managed, and all that shit. After all, Activision Blizzard has 17,000 employees. But if their acquisition of ZeniMax is any indication, I suspect that Activision Blizzard will remain its own entity. One that operates under its own rules and is not fully integrated within the broader Microsoft ecosystem. Partially because it is hard to onboard so many people at once and unroot existing systems without breaking everything. But also because it is incredibly difficult to manage tens of thousands of developers.

That’s kind of the bitter part about major corporate acquisitions. They often do not do a lot to fix issues at the companies that are acquired. It is more about making sure things are accounted for, documents are filed, the correct structure is implemented, and everything goes to the right bank accounts. Beyond that? M&A folks just view the company itself as a machine that produces a product and generates income. Because from a broad billion-dollar company view… that’s all that matters.

John Riccitiello is Getting a Golden Parachute
(Unity is Still Doomed Though)

He flat out LOOKS like an evil soulless man!

Unity committed one of the biggest blunders in the history of video games this past month. A flagrant display that utterly shattered the trust between developers and Unity Technologies, and so vigorously that it is doubtful if they can ever be mended. However, I did propose one way that Unity could make things better. An exodus of their executive body, replacing them with people who actually care about games. People who are the antithesis of Unity’s CEO, John Riccitiello. A man who ran EA from 2007 to 2014, meaning he approved basically every bad decision EA made during the Xbox 360 era, when the company was voted worst company in America… twice. And not people who would be willing to sit in the same room as John Riccitiello for a full workday.

As such, hearing that John Riccitiello was removed from Unity, effective immediately, is a seemingly good piece of news… but really, it isn’t. Riccitiello is a disgustingly wealthy man who will exit this disaster with a golden parachute. And as the man who led Unity from 2014 to 2023, his ideals, culture, and methodology have already seeped deep throughout the company, and across the many executives who remain in control. 

Unity would need to undergo a complete exodus of all management staff and be rebooted as a company before they could be offered anything more than the absolute minimum level of trust. This changes nothing. They had their chance, they lost it, and they’ll never get it back again!

Akumako: “Didn’t you already say that?”

Yeah. And it’s still true. So I said it again! Gimme a pick-me-up, you hip pieces of shit!

PlayStation 5 Slim Stealth Dropped
(NEW PlayStation 5 Announced)

There have been rumors about a PlayStation 5 slim model going on for quite a while. That is nothing all that new, as video game likers enjoy finding patterns in history, and like to speculate on what will come next. However, there were plenty of reasons to suspect that Sony was prepping a new model.

You had the usual Chinese factory leaks, which are a staple for new console revisions at this point. There were regional price drops across Europe and North America that practically screamed ‘we want to clear stock for the new models.’ And Sony even launched an ‘upgrader program’ that let new PS5 owners redeem one free game by October 20th.

…As such, it’s no surprise that, on the morning of October 10th, Sony unveiled the 30% smaller PlayStation 5 revision… that they aren’t calling the PlayStation 5 slim, even though that’s what it pretty much is. The system has the same general design, but is just a bit smaller, because every inch counts when shipping a product internationally. Though, there are four major differences with this new revision and the old model. 

One, this new model comes with a vertical stand, because I guess the PlayStation 5 had trouble standing upright. It is a metal circle with a plastic base and costs $30 to buy outside of this package, because Sony is just insane like that. 

Two, these models all ship with 1 TB of storage, instead of a paltry 500 GB. That… is still not enough to store a lot of modern games, so players will still need to pony up a few hundred dollars for a 4 TB or 8 TB NVMe drive. (Which you might want to buy sooner than later, as price hikes are expected.)

Three, these models introduce the previously rumored detachable Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive. For the standard model, this just means that users can remove or replace the disc drive with little difficulty, and transform their disc-reading PS5 into a digital edition PS5. While for digital edition PS5s… the opposite is true. Users can turn a digital edition PS5 into a regular PS5 if they are so inclined. Now, how much does this disc drive cost? $80! Which… is actually not a bad price. External 4K Blu-ray players go for about $50/60 and the cheapest brand name Blu-ray player I could find in two minutes of searching was a $100 Sony machine. Plus, this disc drive is designed to play PS4 and PS5 games. Can a $60 Blu-ray drive read those? I don’t think so!

Four, the digital edition of the PlayStation 5 is seeing a price hike from $400 to $450. Normally, I would object to any form of hardware price hike… but this one actually makes sense. Sony does not want people buying a digital PS5 and disc drive for $480 when they could pay $500 for the standard PS5. So they bumped it up to $450, meaning there’s a $30 upcharge to upgrading the console. Is that kinda crummy? Yes. But in exchange people are getting an extra 500 GB of storage, which is almost enough for four whole AAA games! …I’m not actually being facetious when saying that. Sony puts out 100 GB games these days.

Overall, I think this would have been a great opportunity for Sony to pull the trigger on their plans for an all-digital future by making the digital edition the standard. Keeping the digital edition price at $400, and introducing the modular disc drive at $80. That way, there would only be one SKU to stock, and more people would be inclined to buy games digitally, as they would need to pay $80 just for the privilege of playing physical media. It’s a good hustle.

Akumako: “…You make it sound like you WANT to phase out physical media by relegating it to a damn peripheral.”

I don’t… but I know for a fact that Sony must have considered pivoting in that direction.

The new PlayStation 5 will be released this November. No release date was given, but it’s probably going to be ‘whenever they arrive at the stores.

The Internet Is Dying By Design
(Natalie’s Platform and Preservation Nightmare)

A pet peeve I encountered this past Sunday morning is when I’m directed to a new artist, see their work, like it, and find out they only post their stuff on Twitter 𝕏. A move that just boils my broth for so, so many reasons. One, 𝕏 is not a good platform for storing photos, as they are viewed linearly in a line, and searching for anything is hard. Just compare it to a slightly more functional system like DeviantArt or Pixiv and the ease of use should be evident.

However, this gripe is more than me just not liking how a platform stores artwork and buries older stuff. It sucks, but at least there are plug-ins like the invaluable Twitter Media Downloader. An extension so useful it’s been delisted

This is a gripe with people putting their eggs into the basket that is a single social media platform. If you put all your stuff on a platform with questionable viability, then there’s a good chance it could just disappear. This is why I think it’s just straight up smart for artists to post their works on various platforms like 𝕏, DeviantArt, Tumblr, and Pixiv. It gets their work out there, helps garner a larger following, and while it can be a pain to post on everything at the same time, if one goes down, the other should be unaffected. It’s just like making backups.

This is the way that artists typically operate this way, or anybody whose career relies on social media and spreading their works. It makes sense, it is an accessible way to find things… But thinking about this also helped me reach a realization. That, in the ensuing past decade or so, the idea of an artist having their own personal website containing all their artwork has pretty much gone away.

Partially because mutants who use the internet on their phones use apps instead of browsers and don’t want to fuss with different interfaces. And partially because website builders just stopped giving people enough storage spaces. A lot of artists like to export their work at the highest quality, as they should. So if you only have a 500 MB limit with Wix or a 1 GB limit with WordPress, then do the math, divide those numbers by, say, 5 MB per image, what do you get? Jack bupkis! Imgur is no longer an option. A 15 GB Google Drive storage account should be enough, but those can be taken down easily by someone reporting ‘inappropriate content.’ And every new image storing platform is at risk of going the way of Photobucket. 

In fact, getting online storage meant to be used with a website seems… pretty expensive. I’m currently grandfathered into an old $300 WordPress Business plan where I have access to 200 GB, which is more than an image heavy text-based website would realistically ever need. Like, shit, my non-comics art directory is only 82 GB across 56,000 files. But they recently decreased that storage down to a measly 50 GB. Which… is not how that is supposed to work. Files are getting bigger, images are getting higher resolution, so storage should go up!

And when dealing with video… is it really any wonder why everybody just uses YouTube and weirdos use Vimeo? I mean, there ARE storage solutions like BunnyCDN, which is suspiciously cheap, charging $1.00 a month for 100 GB. And the industry standard storage rate seems to be 2 TB for $100 a year. 


The point I’m getting at is that… the internet has become something fickle. Creators need to either gamble with a platform that could easily collapse under its own girth. Or pay money to host their own websites in order to properly store their stuff. But no matter what one does… things are going to keep breaking. 

Everything everyone said about the internet being this permanent entity was a short-sighted misconception. They like to view the internet as a separate layer of reality, when it just isn’t. It is something that exists within the real tangible world in the form of servers, data centers, and storage devices. It is something owned and managed by corporations, who can and do change things on a regular basis. Sometimes it makes them better and more usable, but seemingly more often than not… it just fucks things up.

I have been having significant issues with the WordPress editor as of the past few months. Due to a material input latency when trying, making it hard to use it for any form of actual writing or editing. And a similar issue has plagued Patreon creators, as the posting function was effectively broken by a recent update to rebrand the site with a logo designed by… absolute dipshits

The internet was never truly in a stable position. Platforms died out all the time during the initial wave, with only a few stray, archived vestiges remaining. And while people were led to believe that things were stable and established during the Web 2.0 era, that is coming to an end. Not because of crypto, or the metaverse, or even because of AI. (They might be factors, but they’re not the hatchet in the camel’s neck.) But because the business and economic environment that allowed Web 2.0 to flourish is at its end. 

The recession of 2008 was in many ways the best thing that ever happened for venture capital and private equity companies. Because while it harmed the working class of America, and much of the western world, it had the side effect of ushering in low interest rates, creating an era of free money. An era that continued throughout 2020 as governments tried to stave off a total economic collapse and decade-long depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that the pandemic has been sidelined to something ‘manageable’ interest rates have shot up dramatically, meaning money is no longer free for wealthy corporations.

How does this affect online platforms? Well, it means that the shareholders of these companies want to see some results on their investment. However, the platforms that rose during the Web 2.0 era were not really designed for making money. They were designed to garner large user bases by providing a need. 

So, what am I building up to in this topic whose focus has already drifted far, far away? Well… I think shit is going to break. I think a lot of platforms are unstable, overly dependent on outside funding, and unable to sustain themselves due to the large storage and server requirements needed to run a platform with millions of daily visitors. Now, do I really care if platforms die off? Honestly, not really. Platforms are just frameworks. They’re a bucket where things are stored and a building where things are displayed and curated. The true value of these platforms is the materials they offer. 

Reddit is valuable because it has over a decade of information covering a wide spectrum of niche topics and interests. Not because of how it looks, how it is designed, or how its social credit system works. DeviantArt is valuable as a repository of art and related discussions. Not because it is good at displaying art, because ever since its Eclipse redesign, the site has become less functional.

If these platforms were to be destroyed, but all the value that was stored on them were to be backed up, the biggest loss would be their accessibility/usability. …But changes are, the data on them, everything of value on them, will not be backed up, and these platforms will simply be shut down. That is what I am scared of, and the more time goes on, the more likely that reality appears to be. That several major platforms with decades of data from users, with 100 petabytes of media stored on its servers, will just up and die.

…And if I had to guess which would be the first to die, I would say Twitter 𝕏. Now, I have largely stopped using the platform—

Akumako: “According to your internet history, you visited three times this past week—”

Which is precisely my point, Akumako! 𝕏 has served as a repository for so much information over the years that it is hard to get away from it. Say what you will about the platform, about its algorithm, and its design. But if you don’t acknowledge that it served as a hub for artists of all varieties, that there was an art of producing short-form posts, then… Leave. Just… leave my website and don’t come back.

But… even if things are preserved… there is a limit to what can be preserved, and a limit to what should be preserved. There’s no sense in saving every Zoom meeting someone has, just like there’s no sense in saving security camera footage that’s months old. And with humanity producing exabytes upon exabytes of new data every day, it’s hard to imagine any way to store that in perpetuity. Especially when people are just using supercomputers to generate procedurally generated images, video, and music

The internet, as it currently exists, and as it has existed for basically 30 years… is not sustainable. Something needs to give, something is going to crack, and the pursuit of accumulating capital shall clash with the matter of preservation even more than it already has. As such… I advise everybody who does stuff on the internet, everybody who produces something, ranging from art to software to a website… to back up whatever you can. Because you cannot trust profit-seeking corporations to preserve things. Because it’s not their job. If anything, their job is to do just the opposite.

Akumako: “So, does that mean you’re FINALLY gonna backup your WordPress site? Because if WP bites the dust, Natalie.TF is TOAST!”

…Yes. Look at the header image. I FINALLY figured out what I was doing wrong. I had to go to Settings, Hosting Configuration, and then generate my SFTP credentials. I swear, it’s like everybody who writes WordPress tutorials uses a completely different interface than me. Am I just NOT supposed to use WordPress Admin? Because it sure FEELS like I’m supposed to!

Akumako: “God, imagine how lost this cunt is gonna be when she finally becomes a real tran and learns how to code…”

Progress Report 2023-10-15

This image comes from Astra: Knights of Veda. After an 11 hour day of work, I wanted to play a gosh darn video game. Despite having an obscenely large library, I decided to check out a demo as part of Steam Next Fest, and found a game called Astra: Knights of Veda. It looked like a VanillaWare fantasy beat ’em up… by which I mean Dragon’s Crown, and seemed like it could be a fun way to spend an evening. Then I actually downloaded the 9 GB demo, and quickly realized that, no, this is actually Dragon’s Crown X Genshin Impact

Its UI is blatantly inspired by Genshin, it uses the same summoning costs as Genshin, summoning is designed just like Genshin, and it has its own Paimon. Except this one is just a tiny version of a ‘horni’ goddess who likes to sleep. (So basically Cassie.) It even has the character switching cooldown system, rechargeable skills, rechargeable character-specific super moves, character specific HP— it’s Genshin, but with a Vanillaware-esque skin. 

I only played it for a few hours, and… whenever I try out a live service, I come back to the same criticism.

“It’s pretty good, once you get rid of the crap anyway.”

Natalie Neumann, RE: Live Service Games

Live services just have too much shit to ever be truly rewarding experiences in my book. I love games about upgrading characters and making them stronger… But they just put WAY too many barriers into unlocking crap. This shit is going to cause so much brain rot when it comes to RPG game design in the next decade. I mean, it already has to an extent, but if this is what the children are weaned on, and this is what is currently acceptable, things are gonna get worse.

2023-10-08: Ugh. I decided to work on “The Internet Is Dying By Design” after watching a video essay during breakfast, then had a meeting, then flipped between tax work and that mini-essay. So I did not actually start work on VD2.0 until 11:00, where I wrote 1,400 words before going to bed. I would have done more, but I had to spend 20 minutes researching instant message apps circa June 2015. I thought WhatsApp would work… but it wasn’t secure enough, so the character uses Telegram instead. Like freaking crypto bros.

2023-10-09: 2,200 words today, because I just could not focus at 1:00.

2023-10-10: Only 600 words today, because I worked from 11:00 to 22:00. By the time I was done, I was just not in the mood to write things. So I decided to play the demo for a game called Astra: Knights of Veda.

2023-10-11: With some rewrites of last night’s work, I wrote 2,800 words after nailing a dynamic with two characters.

2023-10-12: I added the second TSF Showcase during my free time in the morning, worked until 23:00, showered, and worked a bit more. Then I was so worried about work that I decided to edit the Rundown instead of writing anything new.

2023-10-13: 2,200 words, because I was feeling frantic and bothered and just wanted to work on a dumb spreadsheet project.

2023-10-14: I woke up at 8:30, left at 10:30 to visit my new house after the old owner moved out. Got back to my current home around 12:00. Had lunch and vacuumed the house. Worked from 13:00 to 1:30… mostly on a single client my boss LOVES working on at the last minute. I didn’t write SHIT!

Verde’s Doohickey 2.0: Sensational Summer Romp Progress Report:

Current Word Count: 131,089
Estimated Word Count: ~600,000 
Total Chapters: 75 
Chapters Outlined: 42 
Chapters Drafted: 16 
Chapters Edited: 0
Header Images Made: 0
Days Until Deadline: 227

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