Windows Security Tools Missing after Malware/Virus Infection – How To Restore

I’m starting to become a convert to the cause of Macs.

I spent much of the past week trying to clean up after my computer got hit with some malware, and I’m still not completely sure it’s entirely gone even after running multiple anti-malware and anti-virus programs for HOURS of my life I’ll never get back; two Windows background programs trigger anti-virus warnings and warnings from Windows Firewall when they shouldn’t, and I still can’t get to microsoft.com or any part of it without being redirected to a Hotmail login screen, on my laptop only.

The worst part, though, was that the virus apparently wiped all of Microsoft’s tools for protecting against malware and that sort of thing from the registry. That wouldn’t have been that bad, except Microsoft seems to be slow on the uptake about this for some reason, because I had to spend copious amounts of time hunting through various forum threads for every single program (not helped by the aforementioned microsoft.com issue) where the correct and rather simple solution was almost never the first one suggested and often reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows was brought up, often by supposedly trained Microsoft professionals, before some random dude shows up and solves the problem in a single link – always a link to a .reg file that, when run, puts the necessary stuff back in the registry automatically. (Not that I’m not considering reformatting and reinstalling anyway, given how far-reaching these tentacles are.)

So, in the possibly vain hope that no one else has to go through what I went through, I provide this handy list of the requisite .reg files to restore these programs to the registry. If I’m missing anything that should be there but isn’t, leave it in the comments. You may want to back up your registry before making any changes. Before starting, open the Start menu and click on the search box or “Run”, type services.msc, and run it, then verify that the below services are missing from the list.

Windows Security Center: wscsvc.reg (located inside ZIP file)

Windows Firewall: bfe.reg AND firewall.reg (You will need to run regedit from the Start menu search box or Run dialog, find the folder “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\BFE”, right-click on it, choose Permissions, and give at least yourself and possibly “Everyone” “full control” using the Add button; then go back to services.msc, find “Base Filtering Engine”, click it then click Start on the left side of the window, then click Windows Firewall, and click Start in the same place)

Windows Defender: windefend.reg

You will need to make sure to restart your computer after running these.

Unlike with the green sun, though, I don’t think there was no way it could have been presented clearly.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized anniversary laziness.)

Once again, I goofed up in my reading of a Homestuck flash, and once again I’d like to shift the blame to how confusing said flash was. But I don’t think I can do so entirely, because there’s a lot that snaps together, both about the flash and about all of Act 6, once it’s properly understood, right down to that long-unexplained “wriggling day” reference… while also raising as many questions as it answers.

It seems that Roxy and Dirk are, in fact, native to the time “years in the future” (over four centuries in fact!) when the Condesce/Crocker has ruled for some time and flooded the planet. That explains a lot about what we’ve seen over the course of the act, well beyond just what Hussie points out here. It puts into perspective Dirk’s future tense here vis-a-vis what we learn about the Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff franchise in Act 6-2 (to the point it’s stunning in retrospect that it wasn’t glaringly obvious at the time for that reason alone). It gives an alternate explanation for why Roxy and Dirk know so much about the game, and explains the depth of Roxy’s commitment to the notion of the Batterwitch (and the witch’s copious appearances in the history of said franchise).

On the other hand… besides what it just plain doesn’t explain (namely, the lusii on Jake’s island, and the nature of the childhoods of Roxy and Dirk), and why they would withhold this aspect of themselves from Jane and Jake (I’m not convinced by the explanation Dirk gives), there’s also the fact that it renders the three-year gap the kids are making up completely meaningless. Even if Roxy and Dirk are ultimately the same age as Jane and Jake are at the time they’re communicating, the game is just as objectively tied to their timeframe as that of Jane and Jake. Then there’s the question of whether God Cat is shuttling between two time periods, if he’s screwing with people at two different points of his life, or whether there are two God Cats, and the question of whether the troll Jake saw has anything to do with the troll Roxy saw (which the subsequent intermission seems to give evidence for).

There’s also just how much technological prowess Dirk has contributed to the past, namely the robots sent to Jane and Jake, and the fact that Dirk (and his auto-responder) can control them (and detect their activities) remotely, which seems like it completely screws causality to bits. And then there’s the whole question of how these two time periods got so synched up in the first place, to the point that not only can Dirk serve as Jane’s server player, but so can his auto-responder, which screws up causality even more. (Well, more than it usually is in Homestuck.) The explanation we’re given in the intermission, “Trollian-like technology”, only raises the question of why Roxy and Dirk can’t simply contact Jane and Jake at any point in time they wish; clearly, the two timeframes are synched somehow.

It also suggests some interesting things about the origin of the game in this universe: namely, that Roxy must have hacked it off the Crockercorp servers after the invasion. Moreover, I can’t help but think the company planned on this, and that may help explain how the time periods got synched up, because Jane’s room contains an advertisement for the “alpha” game she’s about to play, but that game appears to only exist in the future. It’s possible that the Condesce imported the game itself from either the kids’ or trolls’ universes – and if the former, that may provide an excuse for how it’s pre-set up for the eventual arrival of the kids, down to what appears to be largely read as an unorthodox method of entry.

What happened in the intermission that just concluded? Well, the Wayward Vagabond was revived by a doomed-timeline god-tiered Feferi almost in passing. We learned not only that no one will prototype their sprite before entering the new session, but that there won’t even be a battlefield when we get there, destroyed by the Courtyard Droll for unknown reasons. We learned some really weird things about how the Scratch works, and it makes the troll session sound really, really unusual, in that it was the post-Scratch session that produced all the players for both sessions. We saw universe-warping god-dogs chase sprite cats. We got names for the two trolls encountered in Act 6-2, and seemed to confirm that they are, in fact, from the pre-scratch troll session.

And most weirdly of all, we got Hussie’s author avatar getting killed off by Lord English… and proposing marriage to Vriska. Yes, Hussie is indeed prone to trolling his fanbase.

I think I’m getting sick of Hussie’s penchant for these sorts of “everything you know is wrong” shocking swerves. “Roxy and Dirk are actually from the future! The guy making the comic in-universe is dead!” It’s just a random twist thrown in to make us ooh and aah at his ability to pull off a twist, with the former complicating things as much as anything. It’s the sort of thing that has me seriously considering dropping Homestuck. We’re two sub-acts in and I still don’t feel as connected to these characters as I have to the kids and trolls. I’m mostly holding out hope that they will finally show up in the new session soon. You have no idea how relieved I was when the intermission started – back to the characters we’ve actually been following for nearly three years! I never intended to be a regular reader of Homestuck, and if the kids and trolls don’t show up soon or the new characters don’t give me a reason to care about them, I may be one no longer.

Fox Sports Takes Over Saturday Nights

I’ve figured Saturday night, so abandoned by the broadcast networks, was an ideal sports night for some time. Way back in 2005, I believe it was, I wondered why a college football game between Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) with massive BCS implications was airing on ESPN. It made so much sense for ABC to air college football in primetime, and this was a perfect example of a game that would easily have aired there under the circumstances. In other words, I had the idea for “Saturday Night Football” before ESPN did. (If I’d only known how ESPN would treat ABC in subsequent years…)

When “Saturday Night Football” was announced, I wondered if other sports would colonize Saturday primetime, perhaps even to the point of it becoming as sports-saturated as weekend afternoons. It happened in bits and pieces here and there, but I have to admit I didn’t initially have much of a reaction to Fox revealing they would be giving virtually their entire Saturday slate to sports. I guess I just figured it was inevitable at some point.

The surprise is that it is Fox taking this step. Up until recently, Fox seemed to be the network that still cared about Saturday the most; while ABC and NBC aired movies and CBS aired reruns, burned-off shows, and “48 Hours”, Fox had a consistent, ratings-producing lineup of “COPS” and “America’s Most Wanted”. But “AMW” was all but cancelled, turned into a series of occasional specials, this past fall, and now Fox is cutting back on its “COPS” order to give the night over to the sports division, which will fill it up with baseball, NASCAR, UFC, NFL preseason games, and in the fall, regular-season college football for the first time in Fox’s history (and potentially one NFL divisional-round game come January).

I expect that by the end of the decade, all four major networks will have largely turned their Saturday nights over to sports. A key could be the upcoming Major League Baseball contract renegotiations. Fox has already greatly increased their inventory of primetime baseball games, to be branded “Baseball Night in America”; I expect baseball will, with whatever network they shack up with, make primetime the core of the main broadcast package (certainly only the holder of the baseball contract can reasonably expect to reliably fill Saturday nights with anything worth showing for much of the summer), possibly even to the point of inverting Saturdays. Right now most games not airing on Fox are in primetime, partly due to Fox’s exclusivity preventing Extra Innings from carrying any game in their window. I could see a situation develop where most games are played during the daytime on Saturdays with only those games picked to air on the network playing in primetime.

Options abound for the other three networks for optimizing their Saturday primetime, though some of them depend on picking up more contracts and renegotiating existing ones. ABC already airs some NBA playoff games in primetime; they could experiment with airing a few high-profile regular season games there as well. The SEC’s contract with CBS and ESPN restricts CBS’ ability to air more than one primetime game (it took a lot of hoop-jumping to get LSU-Alabama aired there this year), but that contract may have been reopened as a result of realignment, and CBS could air some college basketball games in primetime on a regular basis. NBC is probably the least well-equipped of the networks to fill out Saturday nights due to their lack of suitable contracts, but they could air more Stanley Cup Playoff games in primetime on their main network on Saturdays if Canada’s CBC (for which Saturday has always been “Hockey Night in Canada”) would rather have them there, and have Notre Dame put more and better games in primetime.

One interesting side effect could be a potential bright spot for people like me who bemoan the march of sports events off broadcast. If broadcast networks decide they would like to get the higher ratings for sports events on Saturdays at all costs, they could nab sports events that might have aired on cable otherwise. Obviously there’s a limit to how low-profile you can go before it makes more sense to stick with what they were doing before, but you could see events that would otherwise have aired on ESPN show up on ABC, NBC Sports Network events airing on NBC, and so forth. Reports of the death of sports on broadcast appear to be greatly exaggerated.

An open letter to the Internet Explorer team:

If I exit Internet Explorer, and certain processes/pages don’t close for whatever reason, and I have to use the task manager to close them…

…then when I reopen Internet Explorer, the pages associated with the processes I had to close manually shouldn’t be the only ones that reopen.

Of course, what you should really have is an option to automatically resume the last session upon starting again (instead of hunting through the menu unless it crashed) like, I don’t know, EVERY OTHER BROWSER IN EXISTENCE.

(Still ticked off after planning to write a big post about Fox’s new Saturday night sports experiment and get a few other things done besides and instead spending most of my free time all day having to wipe the SAME piece of malware off my computer TWICE…)

Wha… what’s this? It… it’s an ACTUAL WEBCOMIC REVIEW on Da Blog! Oh, happy day!

(From The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. Click for full-sized resurrection interruption.)

For whatever reason, despite – or perhaps because of – their popularity in comic books and among nerds, superheroes are not that popular of a subject for webcomics.

Oh, there are webcomics, even reasonably popular ones, about superheroes; it’s just that none of them have ever reached the level of popularity of a Penny Arcade or xkcd. Moreover, even fewer play the concept entirely straight; at the least they tend to be painfully self-aware of the tropes of the genre. Either it flirts with other genres, deconstructs the trappings of superheroes, or is constantly joking about those trappings, perhaps all of the above.

So perhaps it’s not too surprising that perhaps the most well-known superhero webcomic is a straight-up parody.

It’s kind of hard to describe The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, and not because it’s just completely random. No, Wonderella is hard to describe because it’s undergone considerable evolution over the course of its run, without really changing much at all. That may or may not make any sense, but it never underwent anything remotely approaching Cerebus Syndrome, yet the characters and nature of the humor underwent considerable evolution regardless.

Wonderella is a superhero who, well… does anything but go superheroing, and she’s not even above doing a little of that, though rarely in the typical fashion (I can probably count the number of times she’s actually depicted on-panel using her alleged powers on one hand). She doesn’t particularly care much for it either, preferring to lie around and get wasted, and often borders on the sociopathic. The only person she doesn’t completely mistreat is probably her sidekick, although her relationship with her archvillain can take on vaguely romantic overtones. At least in the strips that made the comic popular, she’s also incredibly entitled, is only concerned with how much she can milk her brand for, and is utterly ignorant and uncaring about anything that happens in the broader world, especially outside the United States… in other words, she’s what a conservative thinks a liberal cariacture of an American is. As such, many of these strips take on a rather satiric tone.

I speak of “the strips that made the comic popular” because I’ve noticed a definite shift as the comic goes along. Now a good number of the strips that come along are parodies of other things. Wonderella’s sociopathy is still there, and she still tends to be rather ditzy, but seems to be considerably toned down, and certainly seems to be less often the focus. I’m also seeing something closer to straight-up superheroing cropping up more often. There are some similarities throughout the run of the comic, especially Aaron Pierce’s penchant for rather surrealist humor, which could take the form of a seemingly stream-of-consciousness procession in the earlier comics, and all in all the shift is probably imperceptable if you’re not looking for it, but it’s definitely there.

Wonderella is funny enough that I originally intended to write this review to make clear that, despite what may have come across in some of my past reviews, I don’t have anything against pure humor comics without much story, so why can’t I get excited about it now? It’s not that it’s bad, or even that it’s not good. Perhaps it’s just that it’s not consistently funny enough, not consistently laugh-out-loud funny, to maintain my interest, especially considering it updates only once a week, meaning it has the same problem that befalls all comics with that infrequent an update schedule (no jokes about Order of the Stick, please). You might think that means it doesn’t take that much additional toll to add it to my RSS reader, but what it really means is that I’m not really receiving enough bang each week to really justify it.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that I just can’t get into the newer comics the way I could the old ones. That may sound like I’m accusing Wonderella of jumping the shark, but honestly I can’t really detect any decrease in quality to go along with the shift. But it no longer seems like Wonderella is the focus of her own comic, but more a conduit for the larger sorts of stories Pierce wants to tell. A lot of the time in the parodies, you can swap out Wonderella for someone completely different and it’ll read much the same way. It’s possible that, like many webcomic artists, Pierce ran out of stories to tell with his original concept and branched out into whatever stories he wanted to tell that he could shoehorn Wonderella into. Which I guess really does sound like I’m saying it’s jumped the shark, but I really do feel like the more recent comics haven’t really slipped that much from the older ones, though it is the case that Wonderella is less interesting as her sociopathy becomes de-emphasized. Still, the newer comics just aren’t quite my cup of tea.

Would I have put Wonderella in my RSS reader back when Wonderella’s sociopathy was still the focus? Maybe, but the fact remains I can’t get into it now. Wonderella has lost its heart, the reason for its appeal in the first place, and what’s left is something of an empty shell. Perhaps that’s something you might still find funny, but for me there’s nothing there, nothing to make any sort of impression on me, certainly not coming once a week.

First impressions of Jim Rome’s new show

Because of classes, the ESPN shows I watch and the inability to switch channels with no one home, I wasn’t able to see the first episode of Jim Rome’s new show on the CBS Sports Network, Rome. I did, however, watch the second episode on Wednesday, so what’s my verdict after what I said about his ESPN show, Jim Rome is Burning, a while back?

While the show’s structure is fundamentally the same as JRIB, it seems to have embraced the rushed nature of Rome’s takes and has condensed them considerably. JRIB normally saw four takes in the first segment, maybe five. That Wednesday, I saw seven different takes in the first segment, and that only lasted about six minutes. During the last segment, I saw a total of nine takes, almost tweet-length, or short enough for PTI‘s Big Finish, during the last segment; on its predecessor, rarely was there even three “Final Burns”.

This simple change turns out to produce two segments good enough for me to watch on a regular basis. Back in December, I threw out a whole swath of potential changes to the opening segment, from no longer reusing takes from his radio show to ditching the music in the background to getting a cohost to introduce each topic. Several other changes have been introduced – for example, Rome is now sitting down in the first segment, though it’s harder to notice than you might think – but as it turns out, all it took to improve Rome’s show considerably is one simple change with ripple effects on other aspects, as the topics now seem to flow better.

However, it only produces two segments like this. The fact is that the show completely grinds to a halt in the middle two segments. “Goin’ In” seems to come closer to restoring the original intent of the Forum, but it’s a jarring contrast to the fast-paced “Rome Wants” segment that follows it. Considering the pace the rest of the show goes at, it’s worth wondering whether the bookend segments have been made too fast. Ultimately, speeding up Rome’s takes only serves as a band-aid to the larger problem, to the extent that the show really feels like a series of disconnected segments than a cohesive whole.

One thing Friday’s and Monday’s shows, which ditched “The Newsmaker” interview segment in favor of a second “Goin’ In” segment, put into focus for me is that “The Newsmaker” grinds the show to a halt more than “Goin’ In”; the latter segment actually makes sense as a way to go more in-depth on some of the topics covered in brief in the opening segment. Perhaps that should be made the case full-time, but there’d be even more of a contrast if “The Newsmaker” was placed in the penultimate spot and immediately followed by “Rome Wants” (though two “Goin’ In” segments full-time is probably overkill).

At least when the show was on ESPN there was limited space in the schedule for it to air; on CBS Sports Network, there is no excuse for the show not to be a full hour. Do you know what airs on CBS Sports Network in the 6:30 ET timeslot immediately following Rome? A re-air of the episode of Rome that just aired! The only conclusion I can come to is that CBS is anticipating adding another sports talk/debate show in the following time slot at some unspecified point in the future. If the show doesn’t expand, though, and “The Newsmaker” is going to be kept, I would suggest at least trying moving it to the penultimate segment.

Also, Rome really needs a better phrase to start the show with than “Let’s do this”.

ComicMix “Webcomics March Madness” Tournament Blows Up

I’ve become fascinated with the “March Madness”-style tournament the ComicMix website has been running, partly because such a structured excersize is right up my alley, but also because it’s blown up into something no one could have ever anticipated, one that’s gotten multiple webcomickers’ competitive juices flowing, helped by the increasing cash prizes for comics making the Final Four. I only ever heard of it because of various webcomickers’ linking to it.

The site did much the same thing last year, but that stayed fairly self-contained and saw several fairly obscure webcomics having considerable success. That’s far from the case this year; the only comic in the Sweet 16, let alone later rounds, that I didn’t recognize is something called Romantically Apocalyptic, which knocked off the likes of Girls with Slingshots and defending champion Erfworld before finally falling to Goblins in the Elite 8, in a George Mason-esque run that would be like if a 14-seed in the NCAA Tournament somehow reached the Elite 8. The very first round saw every contest get more votes than the final round last year, and it’s only gotten more so from there; one particularly important creator has been Andrew Hussie, whose linking to the tournament has caused the site to repeatedly crash (which seems to be the case with everything MSPA touches). I’m positively scared of what they’re planning next month. I can’t imagine what this thing is going to look like next year, but I’ll probably be following it closely every step of the way.

When the final four came down to MSPA v. Gunnerkrigg Court and Goblins v. Order of the Stick, I figured for all the world that this gigantic showdown would, against all odds, come down to the two comics I currently regularly follow (although more on MSPA next week), MSPA and OOTS. However, in the end, that didn’t end up happening; Goblins managed to survive against OOTS, while the showdown between MSPA and the Court came down to an earth-shattering, apocalyptic, site-crashing showdown that, when the dust cleared and the site came back up, ended with the Court prevailing by a grand total of forty-six votes.

Now the final battle is in progress between Goblins and the Court, which if you wish and are familiar with the comics, you can take part in (or at least follow) here. Neither are comics that I myself have reviewed, but they’re both comics I’ve considered. In fact, I’ve had plans to review the Court and Questionable Content in some order since 2009, and when they met in the Elite 8 I decided to use the result of that matchup to at least help determine which to review first. Now, however, I’ve decided that the winner of the tournament, whichever it is, will be the subject of a review in two weeks’ time. Both I intend to review before the end of May, but this will determine which gets the immediate spotlight, and which I end up delaying until next month.

What? Of course I’m still a webcomic reviewer. Why are you laughing?

Could the BCS Save the Bowl System – by Destroying It?

USA Today recently revealed a document that basically lays out what the conference commissioners are looking at with regards to changes to the BCS. I’ll take a look at the playoff proposals contained therein at a later date, but for the moment I want to take a look at the other thing the document reveals: proposed changes to the bowls that wouldn’t be part of a playoff.

Although much has been made of the possibility of the BCS managing only the national championship game, if, as seems likely, the BCS commissioners go to some form of plus-one, the current five-bowl BCS would ultimately go in the opposite direction and be expanded to, in addition to the national championship game, five, six or even ten games, including the semi-finals. Rather than having bowls draft teams as happens now under the BCS, or having convoluted tie-in structures determine nearly random matchups as happens now for the non-BCS bowls, a committee would determine which teams would go to these bowls, with an aim of creating “evenly matched and attractive” games in geographically appropriate locations.

This gets to the heart of why the BCS, for so long adamant that they would never institute a playoff of any sort, is now almost certain to institute the plus-one. It’s not declining ratings for the BCS itself – that’s a predictable result of the BCS’ move to cable. It’s the increasing triviality of the bowls, where more than half the teams in FBS are going to a bunch of meaningless games no one cares about. This option where the BCS would create eight non-semifinal bowls smacks of the BCS taking over the entire bowl system by monopolizing most of the Top 25, unifying it under a single banner and creating more interest, while having the BCS committee take over the setting of bowl matchups could result in the best slate of games we’ve ever had, largely helping to justify the bowls’ continued existence and in part restoring what the lesser bowls looked like before the maze of conference tie-ins took hold. It could conceivably even be seen as setting the stage for a later expansion of the playoff to eight or sixteen teams.

It also occurs to me that by trying to make these bowls “evenly matched”, the most likely result is going to be similar to what the bowl system would look like if there were only two conferences on the top level of a promotion-relegation system. Maybe, in the long run, that dream isn’t so crazy after all.

They changed it, now it sucks.

(From xkcd. Click for full-sized Mary Poppins act.)

I continue not to read xkcd, but when it changed the look of its front page this past weekend, I was willing to accept it as part of the April Fool’s joke of the early version of the “Umwelt” comic that day.

When the actual comic (which I’m sure Scott McCloud would have a lot to say about) came out the following Monday, I was willing to accept it as a continuation of the joke and as a way to get the coding needed for the comic to work to work… even if the look had now spread to the archive pages.

Now another comic has been posted. And the new look is still there.

The same cramming of the upper-left links into the corner (making it look less rationalized and formal), the same spacing out of the news space below the title (and cramming of the title itself), the same airy look on the navigation buttons, and worst of all, the same large type on the buttons and permalinks and simplifcation of the formatting on the latter. In short, the same ugly new look that seems to be designed more for your grandparents than anyone else.

Look, my philosophy is, saying “it’s not that big a deal” is a double-edged sword: if it’s not that big a deal, why are you being so stubborn about it? It’s times like these I really don’t like Randall’s propensity never to say much about his comic…

The Sad Decline of Comixtalk

O Comixtalk, how art thou fallen, light of the morning.

Comixtalk started life as Comixpedia, an online magazine dedicated to “comics in the digital age”. As such, it strove for the same level of in-depth interviews and analysis of comics as a medium that you would expect of a print magazine, with some names you’ve probably heard of contributing columns. Before there was Websnark, Comixpedia strove to be the site of record for the webcomics community, taking the medium as seriously as it deserved to be taken and serving as the backbone of the growing community.

Or, so I’ve gotten the impression from its entry on the current Comixpedia, old Websnark posts, and its own flashbacks. By the time I encountered Comixtalk in 2009, it had largely abandoned the more “magazine”-like aspects of its format, instead serving as a news blog, rehosting and rebroadcasting blog posts from all over the webcomics community with Xaviar Xerexes’ own posts as the backbone. Supposedly, only the best, most important posts found their way onto the front page, but while I found the “webcomic blog aggregator” format useful enough to add to my RSS reader – it often exposed me to interesting things or topics I’m not sure I would have ever encountered otherwise – there sometimes seemed to be so little rhyme or reason to what posts made the front page, and the workload implied for Xerexes seemed to be so great, that I reached the conclusion that certain blogs were simply given a rubber stamp to have all their posts put on the front page automatically. As such, I planned to wait until I had reached the point that my own posts had achieved the same status, and then write a post detailing my issues with Comixtalk, that would then be reposted to the Comixtalk front page. You see, the plan was totally brilliant.

As it turned out, I only had one post posted to the Comixtalk front page before Xerexes ended the blog aggregator format late in the year, citing high server bills. And now? Now it’s basically a poor man’s Fleen. And while it lacks some of the cutesy names Fleen sometimes indulges in, it doesn’t update nearly as often.

Oh, for a while Xerexes tried to put up an update every day, but right now you tend to get lucky if you get two full-fledged updates a month. And when you do get them, or other posts, they’re basically Xerexes putting up some big piece of webcomics news or something he found somewhere on the Internet relating to webcomics and often giving some sort of personal opinion on them. It’s really become just another personal blog talking about webcomics, at best a bulletin board for various happenings Xerexes comes across somehow. Even if I was interested in any of the news he posts about, it updates too rarely and is too mixed with more frivolous matters for any of it to draw me in. It barely even makes enough of a sustained impression on me for me to get invested in it, and that’s not a good thing. It’s moderately interesting if you’re interested in Xerexes’ rarely-posted opinions, but if you’re looking for a reliable, comprehensive source of news (or even opinion on it) from around the webcomics community? You’re best off looking elsewhere.

That’s a bit of a shame. Comixtalk used to be the one must-go place for webcomics aficianados like myself for smart opinion about webcomics, and to see it reduced to the state it’s in is quite disappointing. My impression is Fleen now has a bit of a monopoly on reliably reporting and pontificating on webcomics news, but I’m not sure it’s as reliable about that as it could be. Admittedly I’m probably a bit hesitant about wholeheartedly embracing Fleen as a result of my documented fondness of the old Floating Lightbulb blog, but the fact that Comixtalk doesn’t provide anything you can’t get at Fleen (with a few occasional exceptions)? Or that the closest I can think of that any other blog does to what Fleen does is occasional news posts at review blogs like the Webcomic Overlook?

Clearly, I’m not the only part of the webcomics community that has slipped tremendously since 2009.