Club Penguin Island is Shutting Down

On December 22, 2010, I registered for a special virtual world. That Virtual World was called Club Penguin.

It was the Holiday Party 2010. I explored the island, checked out what I could do, played some of the minigames… and I was hooked.

On January 29, 2011, I launched my first game. It was a short one, but those of you who know the story of Club Penguin will recognize the influence that led to this game:

You see, since joining Club Penguin, I have done a lot of Googling on it. Of course, at the time, I used Google a lot, but a name popped up that I found really cool: Penguin Chat. When I learned of this game, I wanted to create a game like it.

On February 20, 2011, the Puffle Party came on. I was so excited for this party, that I created a whole video on it, just fanboying over it.

Over the course of this time, I continued to learn the story of Club Penguin and Penguin Chat: Who Rocketsnail is, what he created, his inspiration… it’s an amazing story that really deserves a documentary, very, very inspiring.

In fact, I was inspired to become a creator myself, so later that year I launched my new website: Screenbones.

At the time, it was very, very simple. Just two clip art pieces, a text field, and two buttons, one leading to a page introducing the website, the other leading to my first game: Good Dawg. A game that… I don’t think is available anymore, I can’t find it.

I would soon continue work on Screenbones, using Wix as the builder for the website. At the time, Wix actually had a pretty decent website builder that worked through Flash, as this was in that era. Eventually, I would leave Wix, on a constant search for the best way to build this website.

On July 30, 2011, Screenbones.com would officially become my official domain for my website.

As you can see, Club Penguin has become a very important part of my life. It serves as the inspiration for me to become a creator. In just 7 months, it has led me to make a decision that would change the course of my life forever.

And now, it saddens me to hear that it’s all coming to an end. Club Penguin Classic shut down March 30, 2017 in favor of this new and improved Club Penguin Island.

And Disney is now shutting that down.

To me, this is not just the case of my childhood going away. I have seen many things come and go over the years: Space Heroes Universe, Pandanda, iGoogle, Woogi World… but this one, Club Penguin, hits me harder than anything else out there.

Club Penguin is a name that really defines the start of Screenbones, and it still has its influences today. I still plan to start a virtual world similar to how Club Penguin looked and felt. The layout to this website has hints of Rocketsnail’s old website. I am still waiting for his new Box Critters world, as well.

It’s sad to see it go the way it is. Disney blindsighted the creators with this news, after promising them two more years of a job. Club Penguin Island is going away, and it doesn’t seem it’s coming back in any form. Disney is officially killing the Club Penguin Brand, a brand that, given some love, could have returned to being their most profitable game ever.

Club Penguin died to corporate greed. And it’s all Disney’s fault.

As Always,

-Keep Exploring

An Open Letter to YouTube: The Downward Spiral

Dear YouTube,

About 3 years ago, you launched a service called YouTube Red. With this, came YouTube Music and YouTube Gaming. Over the course of the years, we saw YouTube Kids, YouTube TV, and a refresh to YouTube Music, which is meant to replace Google Play Music. We also saw the new Polymer design language to the website, a dark mode, and some more stuff.

With this, there is something I have started to notice: You are capable of building good products. YouTube Music is actually pretty great. Same with YouTube TV. YouTube Kids could use some work on the algorithm, but otherwise, it was a great install on my little sister’s tablet. YouTube Gaming is kind of the black sheep, but that’s really because it’s been neglected… you either need to work on that or shut it down.

Then there’s regular YouTube. so far, Polymer and the new Friends feature are the only real good things that have changed. Subscriptions has grown worse, with the new bell icon being used to tell YouTube that… you want to receive all the videos a YouTuber uploads. Yeah, I totally subscribed to get the occasional video.

I could fix the subscription feed. Duudl3 could fix the subscription feed in a day. It’s this simple: The Subscription Page should be an RSS reader, with subscription buttons subscribing those channel’s RSS Feeds to your reader. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT! It would take some time to get the page to fit with the Polymer format, but in terms of functionality, we could get it done in a day! Neither I nor Duudl3 has a college degree!

Then comes Content ID. Come on YouTube, your parent company is Google. It should not be hard to get a team of human beings on board to work on appeals. Instead, you place the job of judging the merits of an appeal to the company whose interest is in keeping the content claimed. If someone claims a video, all the ad money goes to the one who placed the claim, with no way for the original creator to recoup that money.

This. Is. Wrong.

Then came adpocalypse. Because some advertisers decided to boycott you (something they’d have to eventually quit doing), you decided to place a bunch of YouTubers on a blacklist, meaning they get $0 from ads. They deny this blacklist, but the evidence is there.

You guys, you are capable of making really good products. You made 3 really good products that anyone can use, not to mention YouTube Premium actually has some merit to it. Why do you refuse to make your main product into a quality product, for both viewers and creators alike?

The answer is actually pretty simple…

Why would you? Where would the creators go? All the eyes are on YouTube. There is no competition.

Now let’s look at the good products:

  • YouTube Kids, of course it has to be good for parents to be willing to install it…
  • YouTube Music has to compete with Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, etc.
  • YouTube TV has Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, etc.
  • YouTube Gaming was created to compete directly with Twitch

But YouTube has nothing. Dailymotion? Nah. Vimeo? Nah. Bittube? Nope. There is no viable competitor to YouTube, and it’s for a simple reason: All the creators are on YouTube, and all the eyes are on YouTube.

But if this downward spiral continues, eventually you will see the creators boycott the platform. When this happens, the viewers will start to leave after noting there’s nothing good on there anymore. Then something will replace your platform.

How do I know this is possible? Simple: This is exactly what happened to MySpace, and exactly what happened to Internet Explorer. People stopped using these products after they became terrible, when much better options came on to the scene, and now they are the laughing stock of the internet. Microsoft even tried to remedy this with Microsoft Edge, and it didn’t work.

Don’t think it can’t happen, YouTube. It already has.

Sincerely,

Marco Salin

An Open Letter to CNN: Left-Wing Costs

Dear CNN,

A little while ago, you did a segment with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez regarding the costs of her policies. However, it seems you don’t know how to math…

You took the policy costs, and added them up together to form $40 Trillion. In terms of raw costs, there’s nothing incorrect about it on it’s own. However, you heard us state that Medicare for All would save us $2 Trillion…

And subtracted $2 Trillion from the total.

That is not how savings works. Medicare for All’s costs are not going to come on top of our current system, rather it’s going to completely replace the system we have right now. If the numbers you presented to us was intended to show how the spending would change if the policies were implemented, the cost of Medicare for All would end up being -$2 Trillion.

A parallel to this would be if I intended to switch from Netflix and YouTube TV to Hulu with Live TV. Sure, the cost of Hulu with Live TV is $39.99/month, but it’s intending to replace both Netflix and YouTube TV, the total cost being $51.99/month. The savings would be $12/month.

Over 10 years, Hulu with Live TV is $4798.80, while Netflix and YouTube TV ends up being $6238.80.

Yes, the nearly $5000 price tag for Hulu with Live TV is an immense number, but compared to what I have right now, I would save $1440 over 10 years.

However, it would not mean that the cost of Hulu with Live TV would go down from $4798.80 to $3358.80 and still be placed on top of what is already being paid for. Why? Because Hulu with Live TV is replacing Netflix and YouTube TV. Maybe the extra $1440 would be used for YouTube Premium ($1438.80 over 10 years) or YouTube Music ($1198.80 over 10 years) instead.

This is how you math. I just graduated High School not even a year ago and I was able to math better than a massive corporation.

Yes, you got $40 Trillion adding the raw costs of everything, but if you take into account the savings we will make replacing our current healthcare system with Medicare for All, a more accurate number would be $6 Trillion. This number is far, far less than the number you tried to push onto Ocasio-Cortez.

If you use the liberal number, rather than the conservative one, the savings is actually $17 Trillion (Our current system being $49 Trillion). That would actually lead to a $9 Trillion SURPLUS over 10 years.

This would mean we’re saving tons of money by using a better healthcare system, and using the savings to invest in other proposals for the people, and we still end up saving money in the end.

That $40 Trillion without any context is massively misleading, and to ask where the other $38 Trillion will come from has a completely incorrect premise.

But I guess that’s how propaganda works, huh?

Sincerely,

Marco Salin

An Open Letter to Apple: The iPhone XS is far too expensive

Dear Apple,

When the iPhone X came out, it was such a radical redesign and introduced such a cool new feature, that I didn’t really pay much attention to the $1,000 price tag. “That’s okay”, I figured. I thought the follow-up would be a little cheaper, especially when the design and some of it’s ideas was copied by a bunch of Android phones.

I saw it as a “First-Generation” kind of thing, not to mention a 10-year anniversary kind of product.

Come this year, and we got the follow-up: The iPhone XS and XS Max, plus the new “Budget” XR!

Yes, “Budget”. In quotes. Because the “Budget” offering is $749. That’s a flagship price, not a midrange or budget price. The iPhone XR’s price should be closer to the OnePlus 6’s price, which is $529. That’s ignoring the fact that OnePlus managed to provide an OLED display, whereas the XR uses an LCD.

But that’s ignoring the flagship offerings: The iPhone XS and XS Max. The XS is $999, and the XS Max is $1099.

WAIT, WHAT??!?

Now, to be clear, this wasn’t unexpected. All of these details have been leaked before the keynote. That being said, it’s pretty outrageous, kinda like the $5,000 iMac Pro that you couldn’t even service. When Linus Sebastian tried to get his iMac Pro serviced after breaking it, you wouldn’t fix it.

Linus knew his iMac wasn’t covered under warranty, since the damage was his fault, not yours, but you wouldn’t even service it with Linus willing to pay for it. And even if you did, it turned out the repair would have cost Linus more money than it would have to just purchase a whole new iMac Pro.

It’s not like your outrageous behavior is unprecedented. However, it’s about time I stop being sympathetic to you guys and start questioning your strategy. The iPhone XS is just as powerful as a $750 Android phone. Even then, I’m willing to accept an $800 iPhone XS and a $875 iPhone XS Max. I am willing to accept an Apple Premium, just as a Nike Fan is willing to spend the extra money for the Nike Brand.

Apple, the iPhone XS is just far too expensive. I was totally hyped to start saving up for the iPhone XR until I saw what you were charging for it. I’m not willing to purchase a budget product for a flagship price, especially when there’s a midrange option that’s nearly as powerful as your flagship option. The only thing I really miss out on with the OnePlus 6 is the wireless charging, something I can live without (I’ll just get a dock for it).

It’s a shame, really. Your products are actually good, and when one goes for all the Apple products, such as the MacBook, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, EarPods, and HomePod, it all works really well together. I expect a premium price for this level of quality.

But a luxury price?

The iPhone XS uses a design that’s already a year old and copied by nearly everyone, there aren’t any luxury materials, save for the sapphire camera lens that you’ve been including for years already, and it still doesn’t have a Touch ID sensor underneath the screen, something multiple companies have managed to accomplish up to this point. This is not a luxury product. You should not be pricing it as such.

Remember when the original iPhone came out? It was priced at $499 ($603.89 today). It was a top offering with a whole new, radical design. Then the second-generation iPhone 3G came out at $199 ($228.11 today), using a nearly identical design.

Given this context, you understand why most people see this as overpriced? Even the luxury product from a decade ago was only $600 after inflation, with the follow-up at $230.

I’m willing to accept $800 for the flagship offering, and $530 for the budget offering.

I end this with some honest questions: What exactly is your strategy here? Are you relying on people who are, in reality, iSheep? Why should someone realistically go for the iPhone XS over the Samsung Galaxy S9? Why should someone realistically go for the iPhone XR over a OnePlus 6? The brand?

Who is the iPhone XR really for? Because the only people that will realistically purchase it is the iSheep on a budget. Is that your target audience?

If so, how sustainable is this business model?

Sincerely,

Marco Salin

Statement: John McCain’s Death

It is true that I did not, and still do not, agree with his politics. He voted for every tax cut for the rich and did not meet a war he didn’t like, not to mention he voted for the unconstitutional Patriot Act. The fact is, he voted in line with Trump 83% of the time. However, none can deny  his heroic actions in Vietnam, when he refused to be released from capture in spite of being tortured, unless they released the other prisoners. He also had some good politics in him, such as supporting campaign finance reform and being opposed to torture. John McCain had values, which is more than I can say about the other Republicans, and even of most of the Democrats in office right now. He is someone I can truly respect as a Human Being, and as an American Hero, even if I disagree vehemently in his Politics. Rest in Peace, John McCain.