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Scott Ertz

Scott Ertz

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

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Scott is a development manager here at PLuGHiTz Corporation. He is the project lead for PLuGHiTz Gaming (DDRLover and CounterQuest) as well as PLuGHiTz Live!. Scott is most known for his time in the DDR World, both as a player and then for hosting and presenting tournaments in the Tampa, Florida area. Currently, his energies have been in the development of a few new sites for PLuGHiTz Corporation, as well as redeveloping some of our current sites.

Recent UpStream Articles

The End of G4 Has Finally Arrived

posted Saturday Nov 22, 2014 by Scott Ertz

The End of G4 Has Finally Arrived

It has been 2 years since Comcast officially announced the the end of G4, with the cancelation of the network's two top programs, Attack of the Show! and X-Play, and the transference of Ninja Warrior to NBC. Since then, the former hosts have found new homes, including Adam Sessler's move to Revision3.

Somehow, the network is still on the air; at least as of the writing of this article. Comcast will shutter the network after November 30th, following 2 years of no new programming and no clear direction. After that time you will have to find somewhere else to catch hours of Cops reruns.

Founder and former CEO Charles Hirschhorn has taken this opportunity to raise money for charity. He has started an auction of G4 branded materials, including T-shirts and hats. The prices are higher than you might expect, considering the network has been dead for so long. Perhaps this is a sign that the network had more fans than thought, or perhaps this is simply nostalgia run rampant.

Either way, the brand only has a few more days of life. Will you, or do you already, miss what G4 was in its heyday? Let us know in the comments. For those of us who admired what G4 and TechTV managed to do, especially in their early days, and were even inspired by some of what happened, I know we miss what used to be.

read more...

EU Begins Making Moves to Break Up Google

posted Saturday Nov 22, 2014 by Scott Ertz

EU Begins Making Moves to Break Up Google

Google's government-related legal troubles have been numerous and varied. In the United States, they have been FTC investigation, with a potential antitrust suit incoming. In Europe, they are being watched and warned by France, along with fines.

Their biggest issues, however, have come from the European Union, which have been investigating Google's practices. Recently, they were ordered to create a way for EU citizens to remove themselves from Google's search index, which resulted in an interesting and larger than expected influx of requests. This week, though, it looks like the EU is really upping their focus on Google's practices, beginning the process of enforcing an antitrust breakup.

The European Parliament has a draft resolution calling for Google to break its search business from the rest of the company. It should be finalized next week, with a vote coming as soon as Thursday. The biggest issue with the resolution is that Parliament actually has no power to order a breakup. They are really just hoping that by passing the resolution, it will put pressure on the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, which does have that power.

Consumer Watchdog, an organization that has been highly critical of Google, was pleased with the move. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director told PCWorld,

This is exactly what needs to happen. Search should be separated from Google's other businesses. We called for this back in 2010 and the need to do this has become even clearer as Google's power has increased.

There is plenty of concern over the combination of Google's search business and others, such as YouTube and Google Shopping. Because of the combination, Google has the ability to place priority on their own offerings in search results rather than more accurate or relevant search results from their competitors. Because of this, it is understandable why the EU would want to separate this threat.

Unfortunately for Google, this separation would ultimately result in the end of the non-search business. Google is a company which has never quite figured out a business model and, instead, has relied on the Ponzi scheme of online advertising. That advertising money comes in largest form from search results. Without that revenue, Google could not continue to operate the rest of its businesses.

Could the EU force Google's separation? Would it ultimately end the company, or would Google abandon Europe entirely, as they did China? It would appear that we could have an answer as soon as Thursday.

read more...

Masked Player Owned All Competitors in Smash Bros. Tournament

posted Saturday Nov 22, 2014 by Scott Ertz

Masked Player Owned All Competitors in <i>Smash Bros.</i> Tournament

One of the best parts of the release of a new Super Smash Bros. game is the resurgence of tournaments, which are always fun. One of these launch-related tournaments was one for Super Smash Bros. Melee in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that went quite unexpectedly. One contestant, who is only known as Falcomaster3000, competed in the 9 hour tournament without ever speaking. He registered for the tournament by signaling the use of a pen at the registration desk. He also wore a black ski mask the entire day.

If this unnamed, unidentified, masked competitor wasn't weird enough, it turns out his name was accurate. It turns out that the Falcomaster3000 WAS indeed a Falco master. After 9 hours of competition, Falcomaster3000 was the winner. In fact, it was fairly clear that, until the finals, this guy was never even challenged in his play. During those times he would choose Marth or Fox instead of his beloved Falco.

After finally winning, the crowd chanted for him to "take it off," which he did not do. Instead, still without speaking or unveiling his face, Falcomaster3000 left as mysteriously as he had arrived and played. There is no telling if this was some sort of plant, or a legit player who just wanted to mess with a room full of people; either way, it sure lit up Reddit.

Check out a video from someone who was there after the break.

read more...

Google Settles Patent Suit with the Rockstar Consortium

posted Saturday Nov 22, 2014 by Scott Ertz

Google Settles Patent Suit with the Rockstar Consortium

Do you remember the Rockstar Consortium? They were the group of tech companies, led by Microsoft, Apple, Sony and Ericsson, who bid together on Nortel's patents. The intention was to share the technology between the members of the group. You will notice that there is a big name missing from the group: Google. This was because of Google's decision, turning down the offer to join the group.

This decision turned out to be a bad one, as their unique bidding process ended in a loss. Shortly after the win, Rockstar filed suit against numerous companies, Google included. Those suits have been coming to a head this month. Earlier in November, the main unrelated company, Cisco, settled the suit with Rockstar to the tune of $188 million.

This week, the only truly important case ended when Google agreed to settle "all matters in controversy between the parties" in a filing with a federal court in Texas. This settlement is important because of what it means to the other high profile cases that are related.

Among the other active suits from Rockstar are ASUS, HTC and Samsung - all under suit for their involvement with Android. Google's operating system is the "product" that got them into trouble, and the "product" that they ultimately settled over. Do these other Google partners stand a chance defending themselves over a product whose owner decided they couldn't defend themselves? We will likely know for sure in the next few weeks, either as the cases settle or not.

read more...

Disney Interactive Finally Turns an Annual Profit Again

posted Sunday Nov 9, 2014 by Scott Ertz

Disney Interactive Finally Turns an Annual Profit Again

In 2009, Disney merged the operations of their Internet and gaming divisions into a single subsidiary: Disney Interactive. Since then, they have never turned an individual annual profit for Disney. In 2009 they reported a loss of $295 million, but lessened the losses to only #81 million last fiscal year. Their futures changed this week when Disney posted their annual report, showing that not only was Disney Interactive profitable, they made $116 million in annual operating profit, which is a nice change of pace for the brand.

Most of this profit is attributed to the incredible success of Disney Infinity, with its gameplay and unique integration of a wide variety of interactive figures. Integrating characters from an array of Disney brands, including the uber popular Pixar and Marvel worlds.

President James Pitaro said of the success,

We are very pleased with the results of the first installment of (Disney Infinity) and we feel good about the launch of the second installment thus far. But we will have a better sense of overall performance as we enter the holiday season.

In addition to Disney Infinity, Disney Interactive saw growth come from mobile games. Their Star Wars free-to-play games, such as Assault Team, which were abandoned a few months ago, played a role. The real success in mobile came from expanding on the Frozen brand with Frozen Free Fall.

It hasn't been all rainbows and lollipops for Disney Interactive this year, however. Part of the operating profit came from March's layoff of 700 employees, which represented about a quarter of their workforce. Pitaro said at that time, "These are large-scale changes as we focus not just on getting to profitability but sustained profitability and scalability." It would appear that it helped.

read more...

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