Why Even the Idea That Neocon Senator Tom Cotton Might Run Trump’s CIA Is Scary

The Strangelovian senator apparently subscribes to a world war without end.

In a recent profile of Tom Cotton, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Willick characterized the 40-year-old junior Republican senator from Arkansas as “hawkish and realistic” and described his worldview as “tinged with idealism.” Yet it was unclear what the unabashedly Strangelovian Cotton did to earn such a charitable description, as he rattled off a series of opinions that amounted to a call for world war without end.

Cotton told Willick he favored arming Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons to counter North Korea, an unprecedented escalation that would bring the region a stride closer to armageddon. China, according to Cotton, is a “rival in every regard” that must be isolated economically and confronted militarily with aggressive freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. (The senator ignored a recent Rand assessment that found the US could easily find itself outmatched in a duel with the Chinese military.) From eastern Europe to Asia to the Middle East, Cotton urged regime change operations to replace governments that resisted Pax Americana with “countries that share our principles.” On Iran, Cotton would accept nothing short of war, imagining a cakewalk that would only require “several days” of bombing, as he has previously said.

Cotton’s comments are worth considering in light of his status as a rumored potential CIA director in the Trump administration. Reports recently surfaced of a coming reshuffle that would move Mike Pompeo, a longtime stooge of the Koch brothers and evangelical Muslim basher, from CIA to Secretary of State, dislodging the insufficiently loyal Rex Tillerson, who Trump has trashed as “weak on everything.” While the Cotton rumor has been tamped down in recent days, if Cotton truly is next in line for the CIA, a key agency of the US empire stands to fall into the hands of a militant neoconservative whose worldview was formed through prolonged cultivation in a right-wing hothouse.

Cotton would hardly be the first ideologue to take the helm at Langley. During the 1950s, Allen Dulles used the CIA as a vehicle to recruit a collection of Nazi war criminals and mafia henchmen for covert anti-communist campaigns across Europe, develop the failed mind control program MK ULTRA and plot assassinations and international intrigues in order to topple popular governments. Then there was Bill Casey, who painted the Soviet Union as the puppet master of international terrorism in order to justify secretly funding Central American death squads through the world’s most unsavory third parties.

But Cotton is in a class of his own, not because he is an unbridled zealot, but because he would be the first fully developed product of the neoconservative movement to rise to such a sensitive position. If appointed, he is almost certain to militarize intelligence in the service of the Saudi-Israeli axis and drive their destabilizing anti-Iranian agenda to terrifying extremes.      

The path to power, from Harvard to Iraq

Cotton’s grooming as a neocon cadre began at Harvard University, where he won a fellowship from the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank in California that fused the anti-gay kulturkampf with libertarian “starve the beast” economics. At the Harvard Crimson, Cotton emerged as a prolific voice of preppy reaction, promoting divorce-proof “covenant marriages” as a remedy for social decay, upholding political apathy as a virtue and activism as a vice, and hailing the valor of professional golfers. Cotton’s senior thesis at Harvard was an ode to the most elitist, anti-democratic themes contained in the Federalist Papers. “Inflammatory passion and selfish interest characterizes most men, whereas ambition characterizes men who pursue and hold national office,” Cotton wrote of the Founding Fathers. “Such men rise from the people through a process of self-selection since politics is a dirty business that discourages all but the most ambitious.”

His own ambition vaulted him into the ranks of the U.S. Army as it barreled across Iraq and sent the country spiraling into a sectarian bloodbath. From inside armored personnel carriers and behind the barrel of a gun, Cotton experienced his only substantive engagement with the people of the global south. It was clearly a formative period that left him brimming with hostility. “One thing I learned in the Army is that when your opponent is on his knees, you drive him to the ground and choke him out,” he reflected this October. Though he failed to earn any special distinction on the battlefield, Cotton resorted to opinion writing to earn a bit of fame back home.

In January 2006, New York Times correspondents Eric Lichtblau and James Risen revealed the existence of a warrantless CIA program that examined the financial records of American citizens suspected of terrorist involvement. The story appeared almost simultaneously in several other papers, triggering a public tantrum from Vice President Dick Cheney. From his garrison in Iraq, Cotton saw a perfect opportunity to rally the conservative shock troops back in the States. He fired off an indignant email to the New York Times and cc’ed a right-wing blog, Powerline, for good measure. Citing his credentials as a Harvard Law grad and former law clerk, Cotton demanded Lichtblau, Risen and their editor, Bill Keller, be jailed under the Espionage Act: “By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars,” he thundered at the journalists.

George W. Bush’s approval rating was hovering around 30 percent by this point, public support for the war had evaporated and Americans were coming home by the thousands in wheelchairs and coffins. But here was a young platoon leader—a Harvard Law grad, no less—willing to defend the war on terror against the treasonous nabobs of negativism. When Powerline published the letter, Cotton became an instant folk hero among right-wing Iraq war dead-enders. Before he had even returned home to his family’s cattle farm in Arkansas, his political career had been made.

The great neocon hope

Cotton first entered Congress in 2012 as a representative from the formerly Democratic Arkansas district that contained Bill Clinton’s hometown. Iran-bashing became his hobby horse, prompting him to introduce an extreme “Corruption of Blood” bill that would have forbidden trade with the relatives of Iranian individuals who were under sanctions, from their great-grandchildren to their nieces and uncles. Panned as an outrageous violation of the Constitution, the bill died on the House floor, an embarrassing rebuke to the self-styled constitutional law expert. (Article III of the Constitution forbids punishing the relatives of those convicted of treason, while the Fifth Amendment grants due process even to non-citizens charged with crimes.) 

Cotton struck out the following year on a campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. On the stump, he demonstrated all the charisma of a filing cabinet, compensating for his lifeless delivery with incendiary warnings that a coalition of ISIS terrorists and Mexican drug cartels would overrun the country unless the southern border was sealed off with a Maginot-style wall. Cotton won in a landslide, sailing into the Senate on the strength of surging anti-Obama sentiment and piles of cash from Likudnik oligarchs.

As Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe reported, the second largest source of funding for Cotton’s senate campaign was Paul Singer, the pro-Israel venture capitalist who has bankrolled a who’s who of neocon outfits in Washington. Cotton also benefited from nearly a million dollars in supportive advertising from the Emergency Committee for Israel, a right-wing group founded by the face of the neocon movement, Bill Kristol. ECI operated for a time out of the offices of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, the group that drummed up support for regime change in Iraq. This office also housed Orion Strategies, the lobbying firm that has represented the governments of Taiwan and the Republic of Georgia, two of the key US-backed bulwarks against China and Russia.

A relentless drive toward war with Iran

In the Senate, Cotton’s obsession with Iran deepened by the day. Within weeks of his swearing-in, he orchestrated an explosive letter signed by 46 Republican senatorial colleagues and addressed to the “Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Published on Senate letterhead, the missive aimed to convince Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to disregard the power of President Barack Obama to implement the internationally brokered P5+1 nuclear non-proliferation negotiations. The arguably unprecedented stunt led to accusations that Cotton had violated the Logan Act, which forbade diplomatic freebooting.

While the White House fumed, Cotton tweeted a translated version of his letter to Khamenei, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. But in his haste, it appeared Cotton had acted without the help of a native Farsi speaker and simply run the letter through Google translate: “We hope while the nuclear negotiations are progressing this letter enriching your knowledge of our constitutional system and mutual clear understanding elevating,” the concluding line read.

A day after the diplomatic fiasco, Cotton scrambled off to a private event with the National Defense Industrial Association, the lobbying arm of America’s top arms merchants. Cotton’s rhetoric on Iran was music to the ears of the weapons industry. “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” he declared. “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism.” The senator found a natural ally in Riyadh, the political vortex of theocratic despotism. “This arms deal sends the right message to both friend and foe alike,” Cotton stated, describing it as a step “to maintain peace in the region.”

Cotton has insisted that “there are no mythical moderates” among Iran’s leadership. Even worse, according to him, was the fact that the Iranian government was “already in control of Tehran.” While Cotton melted down over the Iranian government’s presence in its own capital, most Iranians seem to have accepted that the United States was comfortably in control of Washington.

Trump’s open embrace of the Saudi-Israeli axis has elevated Cotton’s influence, transforming him into the administration’s congressional Iran whisperer. While advising efforts to whittle away at the Iran nuclear deal, he has co-sponsored legislation to make it easier to reimpose sanctions despite Iran’s faithful compliance with the agreement. Cotton’s presence in the Senate is so central to the neocon agenda that the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes has argued against his promotion to CIA director. But as Cotton made clear in his senior thesis long ago, he views himself as a man of destiny driven to the heights of power by limitless ambition. Before long, the world could become a laboratory for his own “inflammatory passion.”

 

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Rage of Demons: Session 2

In the previous session the group escaped from a prison of the drow in the Underdark. Now they were free, but more or less lost in an unfamiliar environment, with neither food nor drink, and limited equipment. And the drows were pursuing them. So apart from a few combat encounters this session was mostly about how to survive and travel in the Underdark.

A tabletop role-playing game always plays on two levels at once: The story level where the warrior chops off the head of the orc, and the game level, where a player rolls some dice. The art of Dungeon-mastering is to balance these two levels and to connect them. By treating travel and survival in the Underdark as a series of dice rolls, with modifiers based on player decisions, the players gain agency over the story. And unexpected dice rolls can add surprise to the story. The Out of the Abyss book, chapter 2, has some very good suggestions on how to handle travel and survival. I just needed to combine that with existing rules in the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide to a “loop” of rolls to do every day: A roll for navigation in order to avoid becoming lost, a random encounter roll for during the day, another random encounter roll for camp at night, and a roll for foraging.

The trick to make all of that a bit more interesting is the drow pursuit: Players can choose to travel slow, normal speed, or fast. Traveling fast makes them gain more distance from the pursuers, but prevents them from foraging, and increases the difficulty of navigation and perceiving enemies. Traveling slower increases the risk from the pursuit, but makes everything else easier. In this session we played through that loop for 7 game days, which with several days traveled at high speed meant the group went from the drow outpost Velkynvelve to the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop.

To give the group some means of orientation I used the previous encounter of the cleric with Juiblex to give him a level 1 madness which made his face wounds burn whenever he looked in the north-western direction from Velkynvelve (towards Blingdenstone to be exact, for reasons that will become obvious much later). That gave him advantage on navigation rolls, and the group used a second character to help with navigation when they were traveling at fast speed, so they never got lost. After the first day the cleric also switched spells to have Create Water, which solved their thirst problem.

As encounters we first had one attack at night by goblins, which weren’t too hard to beat and provided the ranger of the group with a short bow and arrows. It also turned out that the players weren’t the squeamish kind, and they filleted the goblins, cooked them over magical fire, cast Purify Food & Drink on the meat and ate it. Later in the session they encountered a bunch of gnolls, which are larger than goblins, and thus ended up with more than enough food for their journey (although I ruled that meat wouldn’t keep longer than 2 days, because otherwise the whole foraging thing would become useless).

Then they came to the Silken Paths, an area of spider webs crossing a large chasm, connecting stalagmites and stalactites. Two non-aggressive goblins had created a business guiding people across, and the group agreed to pay them for passage. On the web they found a large chest, which of course turned out to be a mimic (that still works with new players). Then they were attacked by darkmantles, which after killing them they used to make waterskins out of. In fact this group is the first one I see in 5th edition which makes use of crafting skills from their background. Once over the chasm, the group decreased their pursuit level by burning the webs they had crossed, although of course they couldn’t burn the whole giant web.

The gnolls they met in an encounter which was supposed to have them come upon a hunt, with the gnolls chasing a pair of hook horrors. But the group just cast a fog spell to hide from the monsters and then traveled on. Then they came upon the second half of the hunters, and killed them. The group decided to rest there, but of course the first group of hunters came back before they were rested and they had to fight gnolls again.

At the end of the session the group arrived near Sloobludop, and gained level 4 from the xp for survival and the various encounters. Just like in other campaign books of Wizards of the Coast, level increase is at least twice as fast as what you’d get if you just gave out xp for monsters. I decided that was okay, as nobody wants to be low level for too long. I might have to slow that down a bit if I feel that the group is becoming too powerful for a dark themed adventure.

Magic the Gathering Arena

I’ve been in the Magic the Gathering Arena beta for quite a while, but only this week the NDA dropped. So now I can finally express how incredibly disappointed I am with this game. In Magic Duels they had a great game which was mobile and playable for all different sorts of players, including casual and new players. And they stopped supporting that to make Magic Arena, which is solely tailored for the needs of a very small hardcore crowd.

Magic the Gathering is 25 years old this year. So over the years there have been quite a lot of digital editions of the game. And every time, after a few years Wizards of the Coast stopped support of the current platform and launched a new platform. Which means that every time any cards you had bought became useless, and you needed to start your collection all over again. One needs to be very hardcore under those conditions to invest heavily into Magic Arena. But with Magic being the original pay to win game, the people who do invest heavily have a huge advantage over those who don’t.

Because Magic Arena only features a single player vs. player mode, constructed, this mode is dominated by those hardcore players. You simply can’t start up Magic Arena and play a fun, casual game. There are neither casual PvP modes like two-headed giant, nor are there any modes to play against an AI of various difficulty levels for practice or just plain fun. There aren’t even less cutthroat competitive events, like limited mode leagues. There is only hardcore constructed, where anybody who isn’t hardcore and who hasn’t spent much on cards is just simply crushed. There doesn’t even appear to be some sort of matchmaking algorithm to even try to get people a more equal opponent.

That means that the flow of play of Magic Arena for a new player looks like this: He starts his first game, gets crushed, then gets crushed again and again, until he either uninstalls the game, or pulls out his wallet to be able to play with the big boys. My guess is that very few people will opt for the latter. It is as if the developers had carefully studied exactly what made Hearthstone such a big success and then decided to do exactly the opposite. Magic the Gathering simply isn’t such a mass market game any more that you can run a digital platform only for the hardcore.

I really don’t understand why Wizards of the Coast had to stop supporting Magic Duels, they could have kept that one going for the casual and mobile players. There is no overlap in the target audience of Magic Duels and Magic Arena. And now I am really sad that there isn’t any digital Magic game for me any more.

YoU are GeTTing HaCKed! -‘Cloak and Dagger Attack’


Android users may want to keep a close eye on the apps they download onto their devices as researchers have discovered a series of vulnerabilities in the operating system that relies on two particular Android permissions to work.

Dubbed Cloak & Dagger by the research team that discovered the vulnerability, the attack relies on abusing the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW and BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE permissions in order to compromise the system.
System vulnerabilities
The way the exploit works is pretty straightforward: a malicious app gets downloaded and installed to the Android device, with the necessary permissions being granted without requiring the user’s input.

From there, hackers are able to perform Clickjacking, record keystrokes, phishing, and even installing a God-mode app, all without the user being aware of it.
God-mode-app
Illustrate the danger that the vulnerability poses, the researchers have prepared three videos that demonstrates the potential attacks that could be carried out.

The first one is called the Invisible Grid Attack, and it works by placing an invisible overlay over the device’s keyboard. With it, the hacker could identify the information that is being typed out.
The second video depicts a clickjacking attempt that eventually culminates in a God-mode application being silently installed in the background without the user even noticing it.

Finally, the third video showcasing how a hacker could steal a password by manipulating the overlays.


Even newest Android version Android Nougat 7.1.2 might get affected due to this attack. So be aware of it.
As google is working on this problem, they will be coming with a solution pretty quickly. Stay safe!

Want  to learn Android Programming?

How abundance makes us poorer

Maybe it was to be expected with an offer that involves charity, but it turns out that for me the Humble Bundle Monthly is mostly an investment in a source for philosophical thoughts. When I initially bought the bundle in order to get Civ VI for cheap, I went for the three-month plan. So even if I since unsubscribed I just got my second months worth of games. And compared to the first month, there are even less games in there which I can see me playing. That is not to say that the offer is a bad one, or the games on offer are bad. Rather it reflects upon how my interests got narrower over time.

I am old enough to remember a time before video games. The first video game I played was Pong on a console that couldn’t play anything else, in black and white on a TV screen. When people got the first consoles with cartridges and computers, kids typically had just a handful of games, not necessarily chosen by themselves. If you only have 3 game cartridges, you will play the hell out of each of those games, whether those are your favorite games or not. Fast forward to 2017, where 7,672 games were released on Steam alone, again nearly doubling the number of Steam games available for a fourth year in a row.

Everybody has favorite games and favorite genres. If you are limited by the number of games available to you, you play what you got regardless of genre. If you have an abundance of choice, you get more and more picky and only play your favorite genres. The bottleneck becomes the amount of time available to play, so why should you play let’s say a platformer if you prefer role-playing games? Of course the consequence of that is that you end up with a much narrower experience. You only play a handful of favorite genres and don’t have the time for a bunch of other genres, which might offer a very different experience of gaming.

I see a parallel to the world of news and politics. Back in the day where your only source of news was one paper you and everybody in your street was subscribed to, you all got the same variety of news and opinions. Today there are so many sources of news and opinions that you can choose one which aligns well with your own opinions. If you are a fan of Trump, you watch Fox News and read Breitbart, if you are on the other side you watch CNN and read Huffington Post. But the result is that you end up in an echo chamber which doesn’t allow for a variety of opinions. This has gone so far that the echo chambers of today don’t even agree on the same set of facts. A news source that reports something uncomfortable to you is “fake news”, truth has become subservient to opinion.

The future is one in which we lead comfortable lives in which we play only our favorite games, see only our favorite genre of movies and TV shows, hear only news that please us. Until we have become so isolated from another group of people (which might well be our neighbors) that the two groups don’t consider each other of being of the same kind any more, and start killing each other off. The internet, which had a promise of offering us a much wider offer of everything from information to entertainment, ends up making us all poorer and more narrow-minded.

Life is Pay2Win

I was listening to some well-known YouTubers complaining about lootboxes in new games like Star Wars Battlefront II or Shadow of War and pointing out in painstaking detail how getting this or that bonus unbalances the game in favor of people who buy lootboxes. However they appeared to be totally okay with other people getting the exactly same bonuses by grinding the game for many, many hours. And that annoyed me. Wouldn’t we be much better off if our multiplayer PvP games would be perfectly balanced and the outcome only determined by skill? If you can get bonuses that make you much stronger than another player, why would it matter whether you got them by playing the game for endless hours or by using your credit card? It appeared to me as if some hardcore gamers are quite okay with a game being unfair, as long as that unfairness favors them and their kind.

The only advantage playing a game for longer should be the skill you acquire by practice. Any other bonus you get from grinding is in fact a historical and economical anomaly. The practice will certainly disappear over the coming decade, because it simply isn’t in the interest of game companies to keep doing so. Companies don’t *want* players that use a lot of their bandwidth but give them no money. The only free players they want is those that they are still trying to persuade to cough up some cash.

Fact is that life itself is Pay2Win. In a consumer society, the more money you have, the more luxury you can afford. The whole “American Dream” idea is built around the concept that money is the yardstick for success in life, and that by working hard on pursuits that actually earn you money or improve your chances to earn money later, you are leading a better life. Even the people who would like wealth to be redistributed don’t complain about the fact that more money buys you a better car or the best seats in the theater. So why exactly should video games be exempt from that?

Games went from being fair and balanced to being unfair based on time spent. Now they are moving from there to being unfair based on money spent. People complaining about that on YouTube or various internet forums isn’t going to change that, because millions of people will buy those new games with their new unfairness. Because for millions of people the new unfairness is actually an improvement over the old unfairness. Gaming has become a mass market for the general population, and in the general population there are more people who can afford to spend $100 than there are people who can afford to spend 100 hours. Calling for that to be rolled back to the previous state of unfairness doesn’t even have the benefit of being moral, the moral situation would be games that don’t give you any advantages from neither time nor money.

Anthony Scaramucci Publicly Blasts ‘Loser’ Steve Bannon During Hannukah Party Remarks

The speech was supposed to be about his pilgrimage to Israel.

On Tuesday, short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci took a jab at fellow ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon at a New York Hannukah party.

As the New York Post‘s Page Six reports, The Mooch blasted Bannon as a “messianic loser” at Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s annual Hannukah party on the second-to-last night of Jewish holiday.

As Page Six notes, Scaramucci was at Rabbi Boteach’s party to discuss his recent trip to Israel — and was also the subject of a recent controversy after his “Scaramucci Post” Twitter account published a controversial tweet poll asking how many people died in the Holocaust.

“He’s a loser,” Scaramucci reportedly said. “He’ll be a stalwart defender of Israel until he’s not. That’s how this guy operates. I’ve seen this guy operate.”

“The problem with Bannon is he’s a messianic figure,” he added. “It’s his way or the highway.”

Scaramucci also once again brought up “leakers,” the ostensible subject of his rant to a New Yorker writer over the summer that likely led to his ouster a mere 10 days after taking his press secretary job. At the Hannukah party, The Mooch accused Bannon of “leaking on everybody” in the White House.

“I’m not Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci told The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza in July. “I’m not trying to suck my own c*ck.”

 

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The ultra popular Arena of Valor finally launches in North and South America

  • Arena of Valor, a game with over 80 million players in China, launches in North and South America today.
  • The game is a MOBA and pits teams of five against each other.
  • There will be eSports leagues and competitions for the game.

One of the most popular games in the world is finally launching in the Americas. Arena of Valor is a MOBA from Tencent Gaming that has been all the rage in China. It has 200 million registered players with over 80 million daily active users— all using their mobile devices to play the game.

Arena of Valor, or Honor of Kings as its known in native China, pits teams of five heroes against each other in a bid to take over each others’ bases. If the game reminds you of League of Legends, you’re onto something. Arena of Valor is developed by Tencent Games, who owns Riot Gaming— the makers of League of Legends.

See also

The game is making some changes as it crosses the pond. It’s dropping the Chinese-specific parts of the game for more Western aspects. The in-game heroes are now more appealing to Western audiences instead of the original Chinese versions. Additionally, Facebook is used to log in, rather than WeChat. These changes are in an effort to appeal to a wider audience— something that other Chinese games in the past have failed to do. 

To hype the title, Tencent is creating an eSports league for competitive play. It is also partnering with streamers on Twitch to promote it. eSports has exploded around the world where Twitch streams can top a million viewers for popular competitions. Tencent hopes to tap into that trend and show audiences that eSports can be mobile games too.

See also: PC smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds coming to mobile 

This isn’t the first launch outside of China for Valor. The game is available in Europe and has accumulated about 2 million downloads since August. If you’re in North or South America and interested in trying the game out for yourself, you can hit the button below to download it. 

get it from google play

7th Continent – Upping my pledge

I am not a millionaire. However I am not poor or “just about managing” either. If I had to classify my financial situation I’d call it “comfortably well off”. Now if you look at my hobby, games in general, the cost of games is usually in the tens or hundreds of dollars/euros. Which means that the purchase of even an expensive game or a somewhat exaggerated, unnecessary game purchase isn’t going to cause me any financial hardship. There are occasions where spending more is a reasonable option for me, even if I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody. All this to say that I just upped my pledge for the 7th Continent second Kickstarter project from $49 to $200. Why?

Well, it started with me packing a suitcase for a week of holidays with my wife. We like our holidays to be a mix of visiting things and relaxing, so we always take some entertainment with us. And I was hesitating to take the box of the 7th Continent game I got from the previous Kickstarter. I really want to play this, but what if it gets damaged or the airline loses my baggage and the game is gone? You can’t buy the 7th Continent anywhere, it is only available during Kickstarter projects, and they don’t happen all that often (about every 2 years).

And then I realized that because there is currently the second Kickstarter project ongoing (I had already pledged to get the next expansion), I could up my pledge and get a second base game too for $129. Throw in a bit more money for optional purchases like expansions (which also aren’t available anywhere else) and I upped my pledge to $200. Worst case scenario is that I end up with one extra box I’ll never open. Best case scenario is that I’ll have a shiny second edition box with lots of expansions at home, and the peace of mind that allows me to take the original box with me on holidays without being stressed about damaging or losing it. Not something I would do for a game that can easily be replaced, but for the 7th Continent I considered it worth the money.

The current Kickstarter project ends in 5 days, so if you still want to join you need to hurry. The projects already has over 33,000 backers and is over 10,000% funded. That is not a typo, they asked for $40,000 and got $4.5 million. As a “second edition” the risk of not getting the product you paid for is much reduced, although it probably will be late again. Great success of a Kickstarter project brings its own logistics problems, and this second run got 3 times the backers and 4 times the money of the first run. The game has raving reviews on BoardGameGeek (Rank #56 out of 96,000 games) and elsewhere. And unlike Gloomhaven you can’t just buy the 7th Continent on Amazon. You can get just the base game, in English or French, for $80, but another $49 also gets you the big expansion “What Goes Up, Must Come Down” and the many stretch goals. Or if you are like me you can go all out and get pretty much everything for $200.

Microsoft SQL Server Installation

MS SQL Server

1. ABOUT

Microsoft SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It is a highly scalable product that can be run on anything from a single laptop, to a network of high-powered cloud servers, and anything in between.

Of course, by “anything”, it still needs to satisfy the usual hardware and software requirements, but these requirements are reasonably modest, considering what SQL Server is capable of.
SQL Server is the 1 of the most-used database in the world. Well, according to Microsoft it is! But they could be right – it’s certainly widely used.

While it’s core function is that of an RDBMS, SQL Server has become much more than that. SQL Server 2014 includes built-in business intelligence tools, as well as a range of analysis and reporting tools. 
This is on top of the database management tools such as database creation, backup, replication, security, and more.

MS Sql Server provides different server type as per users requirement i.e  Database Engine, Analysis service, Reporting service,Integration Service.


Database Engine :
SQL Server comes with a number of tools to help you with your database administration and programming tasks.
Some typical database administration and programming tasks could include: 

Fig 1 : MS SQL Server Architecture


  • Create & maintain databases
  • Create & maintain tables
  • Create & maintain other database objects such as stored procedures, views, etc
  • Create & maintain and schedule data backups
  • Replication (eg, create a copy of database.
  • Create & maintain users, roles, etc
  • Optimization tasks


2. Edition’s

SQL Server 2014 comes in three principal editions and three specialized editions. The edition you choose will depend on your (or your organization’s) requirements. 
You could also download an trial evaluation copy of SQL Server 2014 for 180 days.

Principal Editions :                                            Special Editions

1. Enterprise Edition                                             1. Developer Edition (viz. Compact Edition)

2. Standard Edition                                               2. Web Edition
3. Business Intelligence Edition                            
3. Express Edition



Download SQL Server Express Edition :

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42299

Versions of Express Edition :

1. SQL Server Express
This is the core Express database server. Use this if you need to accept remote connections or administer remotely and do not need the tools or advanced services.
2. SQL Server Management Studio
Does not contain the SQL Server database, only the tools to manage SQL Server instances, including LocalDB, SQL Express, SQL Azure, etc. Use this if you already have the SQL Server database and only need the management tools.
3. SQL Server Express with Tools
Contains the core SQL Server database along with the tools to manage SQL Server instances including SQL Server Express, LocalDB, and SQL Azure.
4. SQL Server Express LocalDB (MSI installer)
Lightweight version of SQL Server Express that has all its programmability features yet it runs in user mode and has a fast, zero-configuration installation. No management tools are included.
5. SQL Server Express with Advanced Services
Includes the database engine, Express Tools, Reporting Services, Full Text Search, management tools, and all the components of SQL Server Express.


3. Installation

SQL Server supports two types of installation −
  • Standalone
  • Cluster based
Checks
  1. Check if your account is in admin group to run setup.exe file.
  2. Software location.
Requirements
  • Which version, edition, SP and hotfix if any.
  • Service accounts for database engine, agent, SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, if any.
  • Named instance name if any.
  • Location for binaries, system, user databases.
  • Authentication mode.
  • Collation setting.
  • List of features.

Pre-requisites 

  1. Setup support files.
  2. .net framework 4.0.
  3. SQL Server native client.
  4. Windows installer 4.5/later version.
  5. Windows PowerShell 2.0.

Install

Step 1 : Double click on the installation file (SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU   & SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe)

Step 2 : 1.When prompted to Choose Directory for Extracted Files, click OK to use the default directory, or click Browse… and select a different directory:

Step 3 :You will be asked to perform a new stand-alone installation, click New SQL Server standalone installation or add features to an existing installation:


Step 4 :
Accept the licence terms and click Next:



Step 5: At the Feature Selection screen, select or deselect the features you’d like to include or exclude


Step 6 : Specify the instance path (or leave it at the default) and click Next:


Step 7 : On the Server configuration screen, you can specify user accounts and startup type, or simply leave it at the default configuration


Step 8 : Once complete, you may be asked to restart your computer. Click OK and restart the computer.


Fig 2 : Install Window
Step 9 : Select SQL Server feature installation option and click Next.



Step 10 : Select Database engine services checkbox and click Next.



Step 11 : Click Next on the above screen and the following screen appears.



Step 12 : Make sure the correct collation selection is checked in previous step and click Next.



Step 13 : Make sure authentication mode selection and administrators are checked and click Data Directories.



Step 14 : Click Next on the above screen.


Step 15 : Make sure to check the above selection correctly and click Install.