Monthly Archives: May 2016

Jailbreak Your Consoles For Free!

Today I wanted to write a little article about the pros and cons of jailbreaking your video gaming consoles. This is a topic that many have dwelled over for some years now but nobody has come to a conclusion on whether or not it is actually worth it for consumers and gamers alike. It has, ultimately, been possible for users to do this for around 10 years now, however jailbreaking only really came into the limelight back in 2010 with the original Xbox 360 and PS3 jailbreaks. Now in 2016 it is much more of a niche activity again and very few people are actually partaking in it. This isn’t something that we like to see, ideally we would have everybody doing this to their consoles and then we’d probably end up seeing a lot more people playing the latest video games. Unfortunately this is not the case and it doesn’t look like Xbox or PS3 gamers are going to be pushing for this at any point in the near future. But we can all dream, and continue to dream we must, as Claudio Ranieri of Leicester City said when they won the Premier League title in 2016, something that I did on Football Manager 2015 only last year funnily enough.

I spent an awful long time emulating their success in the games, but the players on the PS3 version for Leicester City are absolutely awful, it is really difficult to see how they could ever manage to do such a thing with poor players like they currently have. Okay, maybe I am being a little bit harsh there, they do have the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’golo Kante, however apart from that who do they have – really? I’m surprised to see them do so well, as is every single other person in the country, but they have kind of epitomized what it means to be a winning underdog – on the most massive of scales too. This feat is unlikely to be repeated again, although I will be trying it out on both my Xbox One and PS4 too. Honestly though guys, if you are keen on trying out the latest games, do make sure to give jailbreaking your consoles a good go, it’s totally worth it and you will see some amazing results in absolutely no time whatsoever. Learn more about the process here and you will see just how easy it is to do!

Violence In Video Games

Today I’m going to be writing a little post on violence that is present in video games, this is something that I and many other of my fellow campaigners are very, very passionate about. Way back in 2005 over 200 academic members of staff that belonged to the American Psychological Association got together and signed an open letter than went against various studies which suggested a potential link between violence and people playing online or single player games on consoles. Now, since this initial stand point there has been many other studies done that essentially suggest the exact same thing. For me, I believe that there is no causative link between the two and any study that suggests otherwise is absolutely rubbish. While some people may be susceptible to such behavior, this is certainly not what most people experience when playing video games, whether it is on a PC, Xbox or PS4.

Hitman Game Xbox

There is just no logical reason for believing this anyway. This ideology formed the backbone of the original study behind the American Psychological Associations paper, they put forward the line of thought that some may become violent, however this was the case in under 0.1% of test suspects. Ultimately it is believed that most people can indeed distinguish between when they are playing a video game in a game universe and when they are walking around in real life. Vast amounts of research has been done in the past 11 years and no credible study has come forward to validate the violence claims. It is usually a whole range of different risk factors that together combine to lead to people becoming violent and it is ludicrous to insist that simply enjoying yourself could lead to this alone.
Despite this, a large proportion of people, predominantly in America – where gun crime is rife, are inadvertently pointing the finger towards video games and are trying to insinuate that games can lead to repeated violent offences within a short time span of playing them. You would have thought that in the twenty first century that science would have progressed past blatant name calling, however this doesn’t seem to be the case. If you just take a step back from the argument and think that if you played a violent shooting video game, say Counterstrike, for a few hours – would you feel inclined to go and cause somebody actual harm in real life? No, and if you answered yes then you may have some form of underlying mental health issue to be honest.

Washington DC Action

The civil disobedience in Washington, D.C. to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and the tar sands was a great success. The action is being called the biggest expression of civil disobedience to support the environment in U.S. history.

For two weeks — August 20 to September 3 — hundreds of people from across North America gathered in D.C. to risk arrest. Day after day, people quietly lined up at the White House, with many awaiting arrest.

In total, more than 1,200 were arrested, including Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein and actresses Daryl Hannah and Margot Kidder. Other high profile public figures and celebrities added their support to the protests, including actor Mark Ruffalo and the Head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. James Hansen. On top of that, nine Nobel Prize winners, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and others, issued a letter in support of the protest.

Washington DC

Now the focus has moved to Canada as the momentum continues to build for the day of action in Ottawa on September 26.

It is our hope that the peaceful civil disobedience in Ottawa will complement the efforts in D.C. and help build an on-going international movement to oppose a toxic tar sands industry, promote climate justice and build the green energy future in which we all deserve to live.

Call to Peaceful Non-Violent Civil Disobedience

The Capitol

This invitation was published by a group of environmentalists, indigenous leaders and scientific experts, calling for action to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. To answer the call and join the action in Washington DC.

Dear Friends

This will be a slightly longer letter than common for the internet age—it’s serious stuff.


The short version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will quite possibly get you arrested.


The full version goes like this:

As you know, the planet is steadily warming: 2010 was the warmest year on record, and we’ve seen the resulting chaos in almost every corner of the earth.

And as you also know, our democracy is increasingly controlled by special interests interested only in their short-term profit.


These two trends collide this summer in Washington, where the State Department and the White House have to decide whether to grant a  certificate of ‘national interest’ to some of the biggest fossil fuel players on earth. These corporations want to build the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries.


To call this project a horror is serious understatement. The tar sands have wrecked huge parts of Alberta, disrupting ways of life in indigenous communities—First Nations communities in Canada, and tribes along the pipeline route in the U.S. have demanded the destruction cease. The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These  local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.


As the climatologist Jim Hansen (one of the signatories to this letter) explained, if we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.” In other words, he added, “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over.” The Keystone pipeline is an essential part of the game. “Unless we get increased market access, like with Keystone XL, we’re going to be stuck,” said Ralph Glass, an economist and vice-president at AJM Petroleum Consultants in Calgary, told a Canadian newspaper last week.


Given all that, you’d suspect that there’s no way the Obama administration would ever permit this pipeline. But in the last few months the administration has signed pieces of paper opening much of Alaska to oil drilling, and permitting coal-mining on federal land in Wyoming that will produce as much CO2 as 300 powerplants operating at full bore.


And Secretary of State Clinton has already said she’s ‘inclined’ to recommend the pipeline go forward. Partly it’s because of the political commotion over high gas prices, though more tar sands oil would do nothing to change that picture. But it’s also because of intense pressure from industry. The US Chamber of Commerce—a bigger funder of political campaigns than the RNC and DNC combined—has demanded that the administration “move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” which is not so surprising—they’ve also told the U.S. EPA that if the planet warms that will be okay because humans can ‘adapt their physiology’ to cope. The Koch Brothers, needless to say, are also backing the plan, and may reap huge profits from it.


So we’re pretty sure that without serious pressure the Keystone Pipeline will get its permit from Washington.  A wonderful coalition of environmental groups has built a strong campaign across the continent—from Cree and Dene indigenous leaders to Nebraska farmers, they’ve spoken out strongly against the destruction of their land. We need to join them, and to say even if our own homes won’t be crossed by this pipeline, our joint home—the earth—will be wrecked by the carbon that pours down it.


And we need to say something else, too: it’s time to stop letting corporate power make the most important decisions our planet faces. We don’t have the money to compete with those corporations, but we do have our bodies, and beginning in mid August many of us will use them. We will, each day, march on the White House, risking arrest with our trespass. We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes—who would change the composition of the atmosphere are dangerous radicals. Come dressed as if for a business meeting—this is, in fact, serious business.


And another sartorial tip—if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again? We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’ We don’t understand what combination of bureaucratic obstinacy and insider dealing has derailed those efforts, but we remember his request that his supporters continue on after the election to pressure his government for change. We’ll do what we can.


And one more thing: we don’t just want college kids to be the participants in this fight. They’ve led the way so far on climate change—10,000 came to DC for the Powershift gathering earlier this spring. They’ve marched this month in West Virginia to protest mountaintop removal; a young man named Tim DeChristopher faces sentencing this summer in Utah for his creative protest.


Now it’s time for people who’ve spent their lives pouring carbon into the atmosphere to step up too, just as many of us did in earlier battles for civil rights or for peace. Most of us signing this letter are veterans of this work, and we think it’s past time for elders to behave like elders. One thing we don’t want is a smash up: if you can’t control your passions, this action is not for you.


This won’t be a one-shot day of action. We plan for it to continue for several weeks, till the administration understands we won’t go away. Not all of us can actually get arrested—half the signatories to this letter live in Canada, and might well find their entry into the U.S. barred. But we will be making plans for sympathy demonstrations outside Canadian consulates in the U.S., and U.S. consulates in Canada, as well on Pariliament Hill in Ottawa—the decision-makers need to know they’re being watched.


Twenty years of patiently explaining the climate crisis to our leaders hasn’t worked. Maybe moral witness will help. You have to start somewhere, and we choose here and now.

As plans solidify in the next few weeks we’ll be in touch with you to arrange nonviolence training; our colleagues at a variety of environmental and democracy campaigns will be coordinating the actual arrangements.


We know we’re asking a lot. You should think long and hard on it, and pray if you’re the praying type. But to us, it’s as much privilege as burden to get to join this fight in the most serious possible way. We hope you’ll join us.

Maude Barlow – Chair, Council of Canadians
Wendell Berry – Author and Farmer
Tom Goldtooth – Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
Danny Glover – Actor
James Hansen – Climate Scientist
Wes Jackson – Agronomist, President of the Land Insitute
Naomi Klein – Author and Journalist
Bill McKibben – Writer and Environmentalist
George Poitras – Mikisew Cree Indigenous First Nation
Gus Speth – Environmental Lawyer and Activist
David Suzuki – Scientist, Environmentalist and Broadcaster
Joseph B. Uehlein – Labor organizer and environmentalist


P.S. Please pass this letter on to anyone else you think might be interested. We realize that what we’re asking isn’t easy, and we’re very grateful that you’re willing even to consider it. See you in Washington!

Here is a link to the American Action Website.

An Invitation


Sunday September 25
Training will run from 1pm to 8pm on Sunday, September 25 at 55 Laurier Ave. E., at The University of Ottawa, Building Desmarais (DMS), 1st floor, Room 1160.

Please plan to arrive in Ottawa by the evening of the 24th or the morning of the 25th for the training.  It is mandatory that everyone attend this training.  This won’t be like every other rally you’ve attended.  Because we are dealing with an arrestable situation it is incredibly important that everyone is on the same page, understands the action, legal consequences and the basics of non-violent direct action.  One person action out of line can jeopardize everyone else.   In addition to the safety reasons the training will be crucial for building group solidarity and trust for the action.  We can look at this as a fantastic opportunity to build community and solidarity for the climate movement 🙂

If, for some reason you absolutely cannot attend the training you must email us in advance so that we can make other arrangements.

Monday September 26
We will be meeting at 10am at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.  Please don’t be late, final instructions for the sit-in will be shared at the solidarity rally.

Solidarity Rally: There will be a solidarity rally at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill at 10:00am. There will be statements from a range of speakers and an opportunity to support sit-in participants. This rally is intended for broader participation and does not involve the risk of arrest.

An Invitation

“There comes a time…”

There comes a time when you need to take a stand. When sending letters and signing petitions isn’t enough. When together we must say, “enough is enough — not on our watch”.

That time is now. We must act together for the health of our planet, our air, our water, our climate, and our children.

On September 26th we need you to come to Ottawa to join a historic action to oppose the tar sands. In a large peaceful protest, many will be risking arrest to tell the Harper government that we don’t support his reckless agenda; that we want to turn away from the toxic tar sands industry; and that we oppose the direction he’s taking this country.

In the U.S., people by the thousands are taking a stand. From Aug 20th to Sept. 3rd, thousands are pledging to risk arrest in daily acts of civil disobedience to convince President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring dirty tar sands oil to the U.S. On September 26th, we will stand up to Prime Minister Harper to pressure him to stem the tar sands industry at its source.

Tar sands mining and other extreme forms of energy extraction like Arctic drilling, shale fracking, and nuclear power generation send us in the exact opposite direction that we, as a civilization, must go to ensure global survival. If we burn the tar sands, we blot our nation’s reputation; if we leave that carbon in the ground, we’ll do the world an enormous favour.

On September 26th we are asking you to come to Ottawa to participate in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience on the climate issue that Canada has ever seen.

Be a part of turning Canada away from the toxic tar sands industry. Help forge the future we all want to live in.

If you are interested and willing to take action email or go to sign-up today. It will be a powerful day, and more powerful if you’re a part of it.


The Council of Canadians
Greenpeace Canada
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)

Playing My New Games

After many years of being a massive Nintendo fan boy, I’ve recently moved over to Microsoft and hopefully I will be staying on this side of the fence for a long while now. It’s been a long and arduous road whereby I’ve learnt an awful lot. Firstly, Nintendo make fantastic video games, yes – I can hear you all thinking – “Microsoft do too!”. And while that’s certainly a correct statement to make, you should consider all of the timeless classics that Nintendo have brought out in the past. The Wii, while it has not really competed with the Xbox One or PS4 in terms of revenue driven, is a revolutionary console in itself. It provided users with their first hand held directional controller and both Sony/Microsoft have followed suit in more recent years.

New Xbox One Controller

I’d also like to point out that Nintendo are not sheep, unlike Microsoft and Sony, they like to create innovative and different games. They appeal to a different market of gamers than those of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 – however they are not intent on trying to get a little bit of extra money whilst destroying their brand. They are effectively the gamers’ game designers, they do it for the love of the games, rather than the money. This couldn’t be more true or evident than when you can see that there are PS4 and Xbox One based jailbreaking software around, but nothing for the Wii or Wii U. This is clearly as a result of gamers not wanting to damage the brand, they realize that Nintendo are already working on a shoe string budget and don’t want to reduce sales even further.

All in all, we are very lucky to have Nintendo and hopefully they will remain a player in the video gaming scene for many, many years to come. Similarly, many Xbox One Jailbreak software development teams have been working tirelessly on finding new and more stable ways of modifying the console, this has not yet been achieved but it is something that the Playstation 4 has had for a few years already. Nintendo are unlikely, as I stated previously, to ever receive such support and this is for the best to be honest. I hope this post has helped a few people out who were interested in this whole side of the gaming scene, if you want any more information you can find loads about it by simply Googling – sorry, I had to.

A Quick Introduction

(Ottawa) – On September 26, hundreds of people from across North America gathered on Parliament Hill for a rally followed by a mass civil disobedience sit-in. Participants responded to a call to action for a large peaceful protest where many risked arrest to tell the Harper government they don’t support his reckless agenda and urge him to turn away from the tar sands and build a green energy future that promotes climate justice, respects Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of our environment and communities.


“It is morally justifiable to risk arrest if you see and witness a crime occurring or about to occur. We are saying the tar sands industry is unlawful. We need to stop it before the damage is done. It’s worth getting arrested to send that warning out to the rest of Canada,” said Louisette Lante, a housewife from Waterloo.

More than 200 people risked arrest on Parliament Hill in the largest climate-related civil disobedience action in Canadian history. Over 100 participants were released with a trespassing ticket. Those arrested included Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), David Coles (CEP), Tony Clarke (Polaris Institute), Keith Stewart (Greenpeace) and George Poitras (former Chief of the Mikisew Cree). People came from all walks of life and regions in Canada to participate in the Ottawa action against the tar sands. Among the 200 people arrested, the youngest was 19 years old and the oldest was 84. The group was tremendously diverse and included a social worker, a plumber, a biologist, an organic farmer, a doctor, a student, a stay at home parent, and many others.  Participants came from almost every province and territory.

The action began at 10 a.m. with a solidarity rally in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill featuring a number of speeches from prominent individuals from environmental organizations and Indigenous communities directly impacted by the tar sands. Following the speeches, waves of participants separated from the solidarity rally and chose to risk arrest by participating in a peaceful sit-in near the front doors to Centre Block.

“The tar sands represent a path of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in the international community, said Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Our communities should not be sacrificed on the alter of Canada’s addiction to dirty fossil fuel; we want a new economic paradigm that protects our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth.”

A broad spectrum of people at Parliament Hill supported the action including grandparents, elected and grassroots Indigenous leaders directly impacted by tar sands operations and pipelines, students, workers, environmentalists and union representatives. Environmental and Indigenous organizations along with a dozen Canadian celebrities and prominent individuals have endorsed the call to action.

“I’ve spent more than a decade writing reports about the benefits of a green energy and asking politely for action on climate change, while tar sands companies worked the back rooms and pollution levels went up. I’m here today to send a message about the urgency of stopping the tar sands and building a green economy in a way that can’t be ignored,” said Keith Stewart, Ph.D.