Rant: Steam

By YellowOnline on Tuesday 30 September 2014 21:11 - Comments (19)
Category: Rant, Views: 5.137

To: Steam Support

Dear Steam,

I have 200 games on my Steam account, so I guess I'm a pretty good customer (how much money would my account be worth?). I didn't complain in all these years about prices being different between continents even though there's no reasonable, er, reason for that.

But that could change: apparently Steam started to use a simplistic form of geolocation, the worst of all evils for people who do not stick under their village's church tower (or mosque/pagoda/...), for its payment processing.

I can no longer buy games with Paypal because my Paypal is registered in Belgium and my current IP is in Germany. So what? And why do you ask me to confirm where I live even though I don't even have any choice? (Not ticking the box gives a "Please verify your country selected below.")

Of course, I could circumvent this: use a VPN to buy a game, use a third-party key reseller or even use my Visa account (funny that: registered in Belgium to a German address and at the same time also the card behind my Paypal - it would actually work).

Yeah, I live in two countries, but I am not being unreasonable when I don't want to change my address every so many months because you implemented a payment check without thinking it through (within the EU, why would it matter that my IP is from a neighbouring country?). On a side note: Paypal doesn't even have a procedure to change country except "close the account and open a new one...". It involves a time-out period of god knows how many months for my credit card so I can't even register a new account immediately.

If Valve doesn't want to sell it to me because I move between two addresses in two countries these days, well, it's mostly your loss. I have alternatives (... not EA's Origin though. Their internationalisation is, admittedly, a lot worse still).

I have no illusions that whoever reads this support message doesn't give a shit about this, but at least I will have tried to buy a game legally.


Kind regards,


Setting up XBMC with MySQL

By YellowOnline on Saturday 13 September 2014 23:24 - Comments (15)
Category: Other, Views: 10.982

You have a central media server and several XBMC/Kodi devices connect to it. Unfortunately, what you watch on one device isn't marked as 'watched' on another and each device needs to refresh its library individually. The solution: use an external database. XBMC uses SQLite, but most people use MySQL if they isolate the library part.

There are plenty of guides already around for this, but quite some of them are confusing, outdated, version specific and/or assume the configuration will happen flawlessly. That seldom happens. I hope to be able to help anyone who got stuck with other how-to's.

My media server runs on a Windows Server 2012 R2. My MySQL runs on the same server (XBMC doesn't talk MSSQL), so my guide is Windows based. Most issues are platform independent though.

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Whatever you do, do not order the soup

By YellowOnline on Wednesday 3 September 2014 16:38 - Comments (12)
Category: Other, Views: 5.819

I know this pretty good restaurant in Berlin... just don't order their soup. Not in English, at least.

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