Monday, December 30, 2013

Another place to land (Blackberry)

A few months ago, I saw an article saying that Samsung is working on their own OS.  That sent a small chill down my spine, mostly because I like Samsung.  Nokia released the immensely awesome N900 and then went over to the Windows Mobile dark side (though admittedly their Windows phones aren't that bad, they're just not as cool as the N900 was with it's FM transmitter, IR blaster, and Maemo).  I refused to make the jump to Android until I saw that Android had apps that would allow me to be just as productive as I was on my N900.  To be honest, I still probably jumped over too soon, but the Note 1's massive screen and stylus were called out to me. I do like the Note, and the Note 2.  The stylus is cool, though admittedly not as handy as I'd expected.  But I'm happy with Samsung devices.

But if Samsung switches to another OS?  I doubt I'll stick with them.  It mostly comes down to apps and what I know Android can do.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My mind is reeling (Gumroad)


It's not quite too late for me to be awake, but it's getting there.  <Yawn>  I've been evangelizing for artists to set up their own stores in order to get the biggest possible shares of royalties for a long time.  Pretty much since I became aware of Amazon Web Services and the availability of free plugins to allow many CMS's to interface with it easily. I realized that anybody could set up a streaming Video-On-Demand site with ridiculously low overhead, and if you could set that up on your own, you could set up any digital goods site on your own.  Trust me, I was very into the idea.

So when my friend, who I am currently working on something with, asked me about selling it directly from our own web site, I kind of balked.  I imagine he was surprised at my reversal.  The closer I've gotten to actually publishing works, both personally and through my employers, the more I realize what publishing sites actually do.  For instance, managing returns.  I did a little mail order at my old day job, and I dealt with a lot of returns. I don't like processing returns.  It makes me sad and sometimes angry.  Better to let cold, faceless Amazon handle that junk, right?

Then there's setting up servers, tracking down bugs, etc.  I waste enough time on Blogger just dealing with themes.  When I think about going back to a WordPress blog and dealing with an AWS plugin, along with the inevitable need to hunt down a new plugin every year as my favorite one stops being updated, well, I've soured on the idea a little bit.  But today, as I was reviewing all of the major epublishing sites, their cover resolution requirements and their royalty schedules.   I found a site that listed all of the major publisher's royalty info, here.  Listed along with all of the publisher's info was a brief mention of selling from your own site, through Paypal.  Okay, people do it, but it's still messy, right? I did a quick Google search to see what options were out there.


I have not used it.  I cannot testify to it's utility, disutility.  I only just heard about it a half hour ago.  I've been researching it though, and it looks solid.  Good reviews, anyway.  Every problem I can foresee seems to have been addressed.

Gumroad is a web app that you can use to sell digital files.  Ebooks, comic books, videos, apps, plugins, whatever.  Presumably maps, tattoo templates, self-portraits and religious pamphlets as well.  You upload a file, set a price, and they give you a link that you can put on your website that you can use to sell whatever it is.  Gumroad takes 25 cents and 5% of the sale price.  Gumroad allows pay what you want pricing, and also allows setting a price floor while still accepting amounts over that base.  If I have this right, then:

Selling a 99 cent ebook on nets you $0.35.
Selling a 99 cent ebook via Gumroad nets you $0.69.

Selling a $2.99 ebook on nets you $2.10
Selling a $2.99 ebook via Gumroad nets you $2.59.

Note: Amazon only pays %35 royalties for any books cheaper than $2.99 or more expensive than $9.99.  For everything else it's 70% royalties.  Except, they just added changed it so you can get a 70% royalty on a book at any price, so long as you sell it exclusively on Amazon.  Fuck that noise.

Amazon pays out every 2 months, Gumroad pays out every two weeks.

It's a very cool system if it works as advertised.  I guess I don't have an accurate idea of how much file hosting costs, because they also do streaming video at the same cost of 25 cents and 5%.  They do have a file size limit of 4GB.  Perhaps as a general trend price scales with file size, I don't know.

It just occured to me, how could a system this simple handle ebook revisions?  But alas, they've got this covered as well.  I wonder if the updated file uses the same link as the original, that would be nice, but not necessary.  I actually wonder if this (multi-file projects) would allow you to add more files after being for sale, so you could keep every revision in the folder as you update them. 

The thing that really has my mind reeling right now is the clash between fantasy and reality.  "OMG, I could make so much money!"  vs "This only works if a creator can build a stable, independent channel between themselves and their audience.  You still have to bring traffic to your web site."  Because that's the big hurdle.  Perhaps it's because I read Konrath's predictions for 2014 earlier today, one of which is "Visibility will become harder." Gaining visibility is hard enough already, I thought as I read that section, but he's right.  It will get harder.

I haven't published anything yet, but hopefully by the end of January the company I work for will launch their website and start selling on all major digital stores (and possibly via Gumroad too, if further research holds up).  There will be a few books for sale right away covering many topics, and it will be interesting to see how much traffic will comes in just from random web searches.

Anyway, it's super late now, I should be in bed.  I was hoping to fire this off and keep reading up on Gumroad but this took longer than I though, mostly because I kept having more questions and paused writing this to continue researching them.  So I guess its win/win?

Just did a little more Googling and found this.  It's over a year and a half old but hopefully this ideal still prevails at their company:

I actually like the idea of links being persistent because it (hopefully) means links won't expire, so if someone loses their copy they can re-download it later using the link that's presumably in their original confirmation email.  Also, you can email a copy of an ebook to a friend just as easily as you can email a link, so please don't worry that this leak is somehow going to sink the whole boat.

Hmm, have I ever written a blog post praising something this much even though I've never actually tried it?  Actually, I bet I have, many times.  The netbook?  The Nokia N900 or the first Samsung Note?  But I am anxious to try this service out.  More fuel in my work tank, I guess.  Oh look, it's time for bed, an hour ago.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

BT Sync

Call this "More Chromebook Musings" if you want.

I run Ubuntu on my Samsung ARM Chromebook netbook in a chroot (via Crouton).  I have no idea what a chroot actually is, but it saying it kinda makes me sound smart, yeaht?  Anyway, I had Grive, a command line Google Drive sync utility, working for a while but it started throwing up errors mid-sync so I uninstalled it and went to my backup plan, Ubuntu One.

I gave Ubuntu One a month.  To be honest, I don't like it very much.  There's no taskbar status icon (there is a third party one, but I couldn't find a binary for ARM processors).  It does give status updates in the corner of the screen, but they were super-annoying and sometimes they would stay in front of my windows until I clicked on them.  I could live with those problems, but even though I haven't had any activity in my synced folder Ubuntu One on my Windows PC was constantly syncing, or at least trying to. I restarted the program and restarted my computer, but it kept having trouble.

Ugh Windows Update!

One reason I'm glad that I only use Windows for gaming (and DVD ripping) anymore is their awful update system.  I'm having an issue with internet connectivity, I think due to my VPN program trying a little too hard to get it's chocolate in Windows' peanut butter.  I decided to install Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and do a scan, just in case (which to my shame and oversight wasn't already installed, it's a free and decent app).  I about lose my shit because MSE tells me it can't download the new virus definitions because something is blocking it.  That can be a telltale sign of a particularly shitty virus.  I try it a few more times, and the last time I sit and watch it download the updates and start to install and then stop.  It gives me the same message, something is "blocking" it, even though I just saw it clearly download what it needed, blockage-free.  I clicked on a little arrow at the bottom of the message and find a well-hidden note that it can't update the virus definitions because Windows Update is disabled.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gemini Rue

I just purchased Gemini Rue via the most recent Humble Bundle two days ago, and I beat it last night.  The first night I played it very late, and decided to go to bed at a reasonable stopping point.  The next night I started probably an hour before bedtime,  knowing it would be keeping me up.  I beat it a few hours later, so I wasn't up too late.

All I can say is what other people have said.  It's a great point-and-click adventure, with all of the genre's best qualities and it's worst trappings.  Luckily the trappings are small and far between, and don't even come close to outweighing the good.

The game is beautiful.  The story was great.  The atmosphere was real, alive. I turned the dialogue portraits off because I didn't feel like they fit with the overall art style very well.  I really want to see other things set in this universe, which felt rich and full for how little I saw of it.  The controls were sometimes iffy.  Sometimes clicking the side of the screen with the text "exit" coming up would cause you to walk to the next screen, sometimes it would cause you to stand near the end, requiring a second press. Sometimes clicking to manipulate an object had the player character automatically walk across the screen to fiddle with it, sometimes they said "I'll have to get closer," requiring you to walk them over and click on the object again.  I don't know why sometimes it was automatic and sometimes it wasn't.  Going through doors required a surprising amount of clicks.  That's it though, that's all my complaints.

It's worth mentioning that I played the whole thing on my Android phone, and the game worked much better with the smaller form factor than I had any reason to expect.  I hope that Wadjet Eye releases more of their games on Android.  I've heard good things about the Blackwell games, and I own some of them on Steam, but point-and-clicks are the closest games get to reading a book, and I kind of feel the need to play them like I read:  moving from position to position, from bed to couch to recliner.

I'll also own up to the fact that I sough help from a walkthrough maybe four times.  It was a good one that avoided spoilers ("Open the door, talk to the girl, watch the cutscene.")  My biggest problem with point-and-clicks the requirement to conform, not to another style of thinking, but to a very contrived logic specific only to that individual game.  Gemini Rue isn't as bad as say Sam and Max Hit the Road, their LucasArts point-and-click.  I didn't need the walkthrough, I just got impatient with the roadblocks that I would run into.  I made a decent effort to try everything I had with everything else and everyone I could find before I went to the walkthrough.  The biggest issues I had I think were caused by not doing things in the order the game wanted me to.

So my verdict: buy it.  If you like sci-fi stories, if you want to spend some time thinking about the nature of a person's identity, and if you like point-and-click adventure games, buy it.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Google is getting really annoying

I'm still mulling over writing a blog post on my hatred for Youtube's name hysteria, which I think is a reasonable reaction for me to have considering I've never posted any videos to Youtube nor have I ever commented on a video.  Constantly hounding me over which name is displayed when all I want to do is watch a video someone linked to me is very, very annoying.  I don't even want a Youtube account, it got tacked onto the Google one.

And now I'm playing with settings in a test blog.  Every time I go to edit a Page however, I keep getting the pop-up pictured above.  At least a half-dozen times.  Maybe I need to click "learn more" to get it to go away permanently, I don't know. What I do know is it's really annoying, especially because the account I'm logged in under doesn't have a Google+ account.

"Hey person who went out of his way to turn off his Google+ account, you can mention people on Google+ from your blog!"

Just once is annoying and disappointing enough, though partially expected nowadays as Google seems determined to be one of the bad guys.  Presumably unlimited nagging for someone who doesn't even have a Google+ account?  I think I've already made a comparison between this type of thing and GoDaddy's design and behavior.  I'm not planning an exodus yet, but I am going to start looking for other hosting arrangements.  You can't beat free, which Blogger is, but paying a few bucks a month might beat putting up with slowly shittening service.

BTW - I just tried clicking "Learn more."  Made no difference.  Still get the pop-up.  In fact, the linked page tells me I can't use this feature without a Google+ account.  Hey Google, Facebook built up it's user base by creating a service those people wanted.  I don't fucking want Google+ (or Facebook for that matter).  Stop being a dick about it.


The Cryptographic Virus and the Cell Phone Kill Switch

I don't have a lot of time for this today, and I'm not an IT professional so I'll keep this as short as possible to reduce my risk of any foot-in-mouth disorder.

First there was a New York DA calling for a remote cell phone kill switch, in order to prevent phone thefts.  Now some people in California have announced plans to introduce legislation requiring it.  This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.  Fuck the cuteness, this is just a really, really awful idea.

This post could just as easily be called "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished and the Law of Intended Consequences".  It also, once again, calls into question how beneficial it is to have lawmakers with no basic understanding of technology constantly trying to "fix it" with legislation.

I was recently surprised by learning a new thing that malicious software can do, and it immediately sprung to mind when I heard of this kill switch idea.  I was working a temp job in an office I do a lot of work for.  My second day there (on a week-long job) everybody was off of their computers, standing around.  Their server was slowly encrypting all their files, and the key was unknown.  The IT serviceman had already been called in, and he'd tracked it down to a virus that seemed to have gained access through a browser mis-click.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I deleted the Google+ profiles attached to some of my accounts.

Regarding my previous blog post about Google pushing Plus, I recently went through and cleaned up my Google accounts.  I deleted a Gmail account I never really used to free up the name for someone else who might want it.  I also deleted every account's Google+ profile except for the one attached to my primary account.  Google asked me why I was deleting the accounts, and this is what I said:
I already have a Google+ account through my primary Google address.  I'm assuming this G+ profile was created because when I logged into my email something popped up and I clicked "Next" or "Continue" when I should have clicked "Skip".  This is malware-level trickery and it only results in G+ getting a horde of zombie profiles that will never be used.  If a casual Gmail user happens to see that there is a public profile out there with their names on it (that they never intentionally set up), they will feel used and violated.  Furthermore, the overall Google+ experience is marred for it's actual users, because all of these inactive accounts clutter up the site and can give the appearance at times of a ghost town.
I should add that at the time I wrote this I thought there was a way to skip the Google+ creation profile.  As I mentioned in my last post, I set up another account since and there doesn't seem to be an option to opt out.  You have to click next (which creates the profile), no other options.  It is relatively easy to delete the Plus account right after though.

Also a brief bit of mea culpa, I used "it's" when I should have used "its".  Damn it, I try, I really do...

People are talking more and more about Google pushing privacy boundaries, but I'm also worried about usability issues.  I don't want Google developing an interface as hostile as's just because people aren't using it they way Google wants them to.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Google is Getting Problematic Part 2

A few days ago I logged into Blogger planning to write this post.  Then I saw Google's new sign-in page and ended up writing about that.  Here's the article I originally intended to write.

I have a few Google accounts.  I wouldn't have so many if I ever got any indication that there were policies against it, and in fact there are many indicators that's it's encouraged.  For instance, a few years ago they added the ability to sign into multiple accounts at once.

So I have a few accounts, and some of them were under fake names or using my "online" names just on a lark.  They were free email accounts, I only really cared about the email address, so the name I attached didn't seem to matter.  A while ago, just for consistency's sake and for potential account recovery issues, I changed the names on most of my accounts to my real name.  Then Google got really aggressive with pushing Google+.

If you have a Google account, even if you only use it for email, or signed up for it when you activated your Android phone but don't really use it, there's a good chance you have a Google+ account.  I noticed, for instance, that my dad has a Google+ profile, which he doesn't use and probably doesn't even know about.  A few of my accounts have Google+ profiles attached, when I only intentionally set it up for my single primary account.  For a while there were two Google+ accounts with my name on them, because I didn't realize that one of my secondary addresses had an active Plus profile attached.

I noticed when I was setting up an account for one of my relatives (so they could sync their photos with Google Drive) there was a screen you couldn't skip or get past that seemed to auto-create a Google+ profile for you (name changed to protect the innocent).
I suppose I could have closed the browser and logged in later to avoid this screen, but I imagine they'd just try to push it on me again.  I hit "Next step," logged out and then logged in with another account to see if there was a Plus profile for the account I just created:
And there it came up in a search, second from the left.

Can I stress how shitty this is?  Reminds me of Mean Girls: "Stop trying to make fetch happen!"  A lot of people are using Google+ and like it, but a lot of people want nothing to do with it, and automatically signing them up is just creating zombie accounts that make the service look abandoned.  Trying to force it on people will not generate one iota of good will.  Considering Google has been losing good will by the truckload lately, you think they'd try and be a lot more user friendly.

I'm also a little concerned with their new name regulations.  I changed the name of my secondary account (the one I use with Blogger, coincidentally) because it magically had had a Google+ profile created with my real name, so there were two accounts using my real name.  When I changed this secondary account to a fake name (I wanted to make it "thriceberg", the name I use online) it wouldn't let me.  Basically they've set it up so only real names (or names that for the format of real names) work.  This means no one-word names (So Teller is screwed).  First name can be initials, but not both names.  They won't accept "The" as a first name.  I went with DC Thriceberg, using my initials and my online name.

When I did this, Google warned me that because people don't change their names very frequently in real life, they limit the number of times you can change your name on their site.  They didn't specify the limit anywhere that I saw, but other sources say you can only change your name three times every two years, which in itself seems fair.

Anyway, I've gotten it mostly sorted.  Personally I think this obsession over using real names online is silly, and I certainly don't believe that it has as large of an effect on accountability and discourse as people think it does.  But the policy is sort of easy to skirt for the time being.  If Google gets any worse about it I'm sure a suite of web apps will be released by a company that won't try to shape your privacy boundaries or online habits in the way Google does.

In that spirit, I have been lustily eying ownCloud for a while. It replicates all of Google's services except for Voice, as far as I can tell.  And it's free.

Til then,


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Done with Google Drive

Well, I'm done with Google Drive.  Over the past few weeks I've set up a few family members with Google Drive to sync their pictures, for no reason other than Google Drive offers the most storage space for free (that I'm aware of).

Personally, however, I can't use Drive for my files anymore, as every task I perform for my job is now possible in Ubuntu on my Samsung Arm Chromebook.  I use Windows primarily for gaming at this point, and Google Drive doesn't have a linux client.

I was getting by using grive, but it started giving me backtalk a few weeks ago, stopping in the middle of syncs.  I'd have to restart the program a few times to get everything synced.  Today I started a new chroot with Ubuntu 13.10, and grive isn't working at all.  This may be due to the fact that I can't seem to find an arm version of grive newer than 0.2.  There are a couple ppas that have version 0.3 built, but not for arm.

I spent maybe a half hour or more trying to build it myself when I remembered that Google Drive is kind of shitty anyway, and why not just use Ubuntu One, which is available on arm?

So I'm using Ubuntu One.  I'll get around to installing it on my Windows PC eventually, though I also need to make sure to switch FolderSync on my phone to syncing from Drive to sync from Ubuntu One.  I do find it funny that Android has FolderSync, which can sync with almost every cloud service, but Ubuntu has nothing like it, as far as I know.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bad Preview

Does anyone else have problems with Blogger's preview function is?  First, it doesn't always work depending on your template.  I was trying it out on a blogger supplied template and it was only showing the main page of the blog, and only occasionally would the post I wanted to preview roll down from the top of the screen.

That's not it.  The biggest issue is the inability to click links in a preview.  When I had a Wordpress blog, I'd open up a preview and click on every link just to make sure I didn't make any typos or link to the wrong page.  It's an old habit and a good one, I think, but it doesn't work with Blogger.

That is all,


PS - I also hate that when I search for blogger workarounds, Google brings me results for blogs in general, results that can't help me at all.  Almost as frustrating as Google's old habit of assuming I meant "outline" (and occasionally "outlier") when I typed "outliner".

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chromebook Addendum (JEdit)

Just a little bit ago I finally posted an article on my buying and setting up a Chromebook.  There are two addenda.  One thing I forgot to add, and one thing that's just changed.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Have I mentioned yet here that I bought a Chromebook?  No, I don't think so.  Well, I bought a Chromebook.  One of those Samsung ARM books (They're called Series 3, sometimes).  I went from a Chrubuntu install (dual boot Xubuntu and ChromeOS) to a straight Arch Linux install (deleting ChromeOS off completely) to a Crouton install (Ubuntu running at the same time as ChromeOS).

Originally I shied away from Crouton, because I worried that it might not be as battery-friendly (two OSes running at once). I haven't put the battery through the paces yet, but it seems to be holding it's own.  I also didn't try it first because it seemed like a temporary solution.  I had no interest in using ChromeOS, so why shouldn't I just dual boot?

Well, here's what I learned:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Steam Controller

Image shamelessly stolen from Valve's web site (linked below)
Everybody and their dogs are talking about the Steam Controller.  I happen to be obsessed with controllers, for two reasons:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Saints Row Characters

I spent a moderate amount of time customizing characters for Saints Row 3 (actually, most of my time with the "Initiation Station" character creation tool was spent Nancy Drew-ing why it was telling me my pretty unique name, "thriceberg", was taken.  It was a big mess, I think having something to do with my using it once with a THQ account.  I don't even remember how I got it sorted out.).  Then I went to and saw all the cool characters other people have made.  I ended up using other people's models, occasionally tweaking to suit my desires.

I was browsing the models in preparation for Saints Row 4 (which can use the same character models as SR3.  Thanks, Volition!) and saw there are quite a few good ones.  I'm going to link to the pages, but I suspect the web site's age verification wall will forget links (it did during SR3's release).  So I'm also going to include a picture.  If the creators of these models has a problem with that, let me know in the comments and I'll take them down.  That said, if I could see them in the first place that means they were set up to be public, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Having a Cat

I haven't had a cat for years.  Just the same, as I'm sitting her in this mostly unfamiliar place, with it's strange noises at all hours of the day and night, I'm reminded of one of the best reasons to have a cat.

It's because any if you hear an odd noise at night, you can just shrug it off as your cat messing around in another room and go back to sleep.  If your cat happens to be laying on your bed at the time you can still shrug it off, because your cat probably has a better danger sense than you.  If it isn't perked up and staring at the direction of the noise, it's probably nothing of import.

Apparently my upstairs neighbors are having work done, or else someone has been locked in the closet and are trying to alternatively tap and hacksaw their way out.  I saw an air conditioning van in the parking lot, so I'll assume it's the former.


Saturday, June 1, 2013


I've had a lot of experience with different content management systems, the one I'd used the longest before switching to Blogger being Wordpress.  Or is that WordPress?  The one you actually have to set up a server and install yourself, not the easier subscription one.

Anyway, one of the problems with Wordpress was the glut of solutions for any problem, and the successive problems those solutions would cause.  I wish Blogger allowed for a lot more customization, but at least I don't have to worry about plugin compatibility, or my web site suddenly being replaced with a blank page.

I save money on hosting costs and I save time on the lack of fiddling.  Just the same, I feel like Blogger could allow for a little extra customization.

Firstly, I wish I could change the author of a post.  It's really easy in Wordpress, and really hard in Blogger (the easiest way I've found is to export the article and re-import it as the user you want it to be posted under).  I have a few Google accounts and have them all tied to my blogs for various reasons, but the result is I inadvertently end up posting under the wrong account every now and then.

My biggest problem at the moment is the image insert.  You have five size options for inserting an image.  Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and Original Size.  Large is too small, and X-Large is too large--the image bleeds over into the sidebar.

Why doesn't Blogger have a fit to pane option?  Hmm?  It knows the width of my column, why doesn't it scale images to use all the space it can without breaking the template?  Doesn't that make sense?

Doesn't it?

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Max Scoville just posted the second episode of "Max Scoville's Study Hall", a series in which he talks about a game, it's influences, and similar works across art forms.

In this episode, he briefly mentions that Boba Fett originally was a cop who was fired for killing his corrupt commanding officer and became a bounty hunter.  Of course, in Star Wars Episode 2 he's retconned into a clone and it's stupid and even though I care less and less about Star Wars with each passing day, it still kind of pisses me off at how much that one change has worsened the character.

That in mind, here's a nice reaction:

Two reasons I'll read YouTube comments, by the way:

1) If there's a song in the video that I want identified.

2) If I think the creator is going to respond to comments.

Scoville's comments definitely made it worth the delve.

Friday, May 17, 2013

That was quick. (Frozen Synapse)

So I knew that the awesome Frozen Synapse was coming to Android "soon" after the iPad version. I did not know that soon meant by the end of May. Some of my surprise is because they've been talking about the iPad version being in the works for a while, while merely adding that an Android port could be an eventual possibility.

Frozen Synapse is a great simultaneous turn-based strategy game. I don't tend to like strategy games, but I love Frozen Synapse. One of it's best bits is how it lets you move your enemy pieces about and test different engagement scenarios before committing to a move.

I really hope it lets me install and at least try to play it on my Note 2. I can read comics on this thing, I should be able to play this game with little issue.

By the way, developers need to take note of this port. The game is nearly feature complete (the iPad version missing IRC functionality, no big deal). You can play with people on any other platform (iPad, Android, PC, etc).

I know that you couldn't run the newest Call of Duty for instance on an Android phone, nor would you really want to. However, as mobile devices become more common they'll also (coincidentally) become more powerful. Every Android device nowadays has a HDMI port, doesn't it? Developers need to start thinking about how to make their games play nice with all these platforms, yeah?


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


So I'm away from home for work.  Staying at a hotel.  It's a generally positive experience.

I have a few issues.  The internet sucks.  Really, really sucks.  I've been using wireless, which is not password protected but requires you to click agree to their terms of conduct or whatever.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, after you connect to the network, your OS will usually tell you that you don't have an active connection to the internet.  No apps or services--Outlook (which I don't use), Dropbox, uTorrent, Steam--can connect to the internet.

No, you have to open your browser and attempt to visit a web page so the hotel network can divert you to the aforementioned click-wall.  This presents some issues, because serving a different web page than the one requested by the user is the foundation of many malware attacks, and Firefox won't have it (either by itself out of the box, or with help from NoScript, I'm not sure).  It won't let me see the clickwall, because it knows the internet, and smells MALICIOUS BEHAVIOR.