Zombies. They're a pain. They're annoying. They aren't going away anytime soon. It's a sad truth-- the epidemic is spreading. Chances are someone you care about will become a zombie.

Tell them how you feel BEFORE they start moaning and shuffling, with our convenient zombie greeting cards. Let them know that if you see their zombified corpse, you'll feel bad when you put a slug through their brainpan.

Because, once they're a zombie, it's too late to say you care... Send a Zombie Card

Zombie Cards, Zombie News, Zombie Blog

Tag >> Opinion

Excuse the interruption, but I have a small rant to get out of the way.  Today, for the sixth time in two years, I found myself reinstalling Adobe's Creative Suite.  For those of you more familiar with the finer points of zombie decapitation than pushing pixels, I'll explain. 

Adobe Creative Suite is a software package for professional use typically including Photoshop, Illustrator and other software to edit images, manage html code, edit video or create flash animations.  It's great professional software and it is priced accordingly.  The costs range from about $1500.00 up to $2500.00 depending upon the package you choose.  New versions are released about every 18 months and upgrades are priced at $400.00 - $800.00.

So, nice software, priced for professionals, and I'm happy to pay them for their hard work.  As a matter of fact I've been paying them for their hard work across 8 versions of their software.  Add it up, carry the three... ok, so I'm not good at math.  Let's just say lots of money over the years for various versions of their software.

The problem is that about three versions ago, Adobe realized that most of their installed user base "aquired" their software through sites such as The Pirate Bay.  They were losing millions of dollars in revenue to pirated software and needed to do something about it.  Product activation to the rescue. 

Adobe came up with a system to verify that the software is legally installed every time it is started.  Again, good for them.  I want the talented, hard-working Adobe employees to get paid for their work and I want Adobe to have the funds to continue development of their software.

Unfortunately, the only time I usually need to re-install Creative Suite is when I've had a problem with my computer.  The hard drive crashes or a motherboard is fried.  Generally this means that I can no longer run Creative Suite because the hardware no longer works.  The only way to deactivate an Adobe license is to run the software and choose "deactivate" from the help menu inside the program.  But of course I can't start the program to deactivate the software and do a new installation because the original hardware doesn't work.  Vicious cycle -- it now becomes clear why fighting zombies is a necessary hobby.

OK.  Old computer is not accessible.  I've installed Creative Suite on new hardware.  Stomach knots up because I know what is coming when I start Photoshop... and there it is: a popup that says "Pardon the interruption, but we've decided to stop your workflow for a bit because we just don't trust you."  Well, it doesn't exactly use those words but that's the general idea.

This screen displays a cryptic 12 digit number and gives you exactly three options:

1.  "I've deactivated the software on my old computer and want to activate it on this one"

2.  "I'm ready to buy a new license"

3.  "I want to use this for 30 days as a trial"

Adobe's solution is apparently to hope you will buy a new license.  There's no mention of how you can manage old activations.  There's no phone number or support email listed.  There is a link labeled "Learn about software activation" which will eventually take you to a page which lists a phone number you can call to beg for a new activation.

How about a fourth option of "Manage my existing software activations"?  Since I've already registered the software and have an Adobe user account why can't I just log in, see a list of machines I've installed the software on and deactivate the old, non-working hardware?

I've had installations of Photoshop stop working because they suffered a corruption of the activation key.  The software had been installed and running for months, but one day Photoshop decided it needed a vacation and stopped working.  Guess what?  You can't deactivate that computer either because you can't start the program. 

I know that software piracy is a controversial topic and I'm not going to impose my beliefs on others.  I think people should be compensated for their work and I will pay for their product.  Others argue that Photoshop is only popular as a professional tool because it was so widely pirated.  The claim is that most people who illegally acquire software would never have bought it in the first place so no sales are lost.  They go on to say that many people who learned how to use pirated software eventually get jobs that require that software and influence their company to buy more copies. 

Fair enough-- the argument is probably at least partially valid.  But these same people who pirate Adobe software, easily bypassing Adobe's copy protection scheme and not  paying a dime, are never hit with the inconvenience of failed software activation.  Most of the people who have their work day stopped are paying customers.  The paying customers deserve to be treated better than the criminals.

Everything above was written while I was on hold waiting for an Adobe agent to allow me to run my legally licensed software.  25 minutes on hold.  When I mentioned this to the customer service agent he became very angry and said that I wasn't on hold, I was "in the queue".  I asked if he could pass on a suggestion of allowing customers to manage their own machine activations online for future versions of Creative Suite.  He angrily told me that it can't be done and that I had agreed to a software license that allows Adobe to refuse to activate their software (little bit of an implied threat there).  The ferocity of his response tells me that I'm not the first to complain.  I'm guessing his job really sucks.

(On a related note: Hey Apple--ditto for iTunes.)

Sci-Fi legend, writer, collector, producer, agent and sometime actor Forrest J. Ackerman has died at the ripe old age of 92.  Ackerman was not only a fan of Sci-Fi from an early age, he actually created the term Sci-Fi after hearing an ad for a stereo system on the radio.

 Ackerman was a founder of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and was credited with launching the careers of Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Marrion Zimmer Bradley and many more.  He published stories under dozens of pseudonyms and created the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland

 He played small parts in over 200 movies (sometimes as a zombie or a victim for zombies) including President of the Earth in Amazon Women on the Moon.

Forrest, or Forry, was most well-known for his extensive collection of sci-fi memorabilia which filled his Hollywood hills home.  Every Saturday, Forry would open his house to allow fellow fans to see his collection.

I visited his home (the Ackermansion) about 15 years ago not knowing what to expect. The sheer quantity of stuff was amazing. Hundreds of thousands of books and magazines filled shelves, boxes and piles on the floor. Every extra piece of floor space had display cases containing movie props, masks and awards. The walls were covered with photographs, book cover and magazine paintings (most featuring nude women), and movie posters. Shelves full of books, awards and movie props lined every wall including the staircases.

An old-school Cylon was propped up in his living room next to tasteful Victorian furniture and his kitchen table held an impressive, overflowing mountain of unopened mail. The overall impression of the chaos was overwhelming but fascinating.

Walking down the stairs to his basement I turned around and noticed an Original Series Star Trek phaser and communicator just sitting on a shelf on the stairway. Any of these strangers could have just picked one up and left but there was a sense of great trust in the air.  He couldn't conceive that other fans would take advantage of him and he was right.

People wandered around the maze of hallways and rooms (including his own bedroom) on their own unguided tour, always respectful that they were in someone's house and occasionally running into Forry as he wandered about as well. A couple times I saw him grab an object from  a shelf with a smile (as if he just discovered it) and look around for someone to show it to.

Even though he had people in his house every week, he loved playing the host. He didn't tire of telling stories and wanted to show off his more obscure pieces. When he saw me trying to figure out what a sad looking stuffed creature was (sitting next to the robot from Metropolis) he grinned and showed me a frame from the original King Kong-- It was the remains of one of the dinosaur creatures from the movie.

Later after most people had cleared out he invited everyone to sit in his living room and he told stories about his days in the ancient history of Hollywood and quirks of his author friends.

He claimed one of his proudest moments was being cast as "President of the Earth" in Amazon Women on the Moon and told us of his grandfather who was involved in designing the Bradbury building (which was featured in Bladerunner). When someone sat down on a wooden chair he told them it was 150 years old and was made for Lincoln. He laughed when they quickly jumped up-- "No, no. Sit. That's what chairs are for!"

Forrest Ackerman was a generous, kind and trusting man who had a passion for both sci-fi and people. He pushed forward the genre in ways most fans don't understand or appreciate.  The world is a more entertaining place because of him.  We tip our zombie-splattered hat to you, Forry.  Thank you. .

  Fighting the zombie scourge isn't all guts and glory.  Sure, we spend some of our day digging trenches, sharpening crowbars and packing shotgun shells.  However, just as important is our work here on the web keeping you informed about the undead menace.

This means part of our day is consumed scouring the web for zombie news, researching our award-winning, in-depth exposes and keeping the most popular web site for undead news and greeting cards alive.  Although we employ a large IT department to keep things humming, occasionally we need to contact other companies for tech support.  Sometimes, like this week, there is a perfect storm of problems that require us to make almost a dozen support requests from various companies in just a few days. 

This isn't a post complaining about out-sourcing-- we're all big supporters of the free-market economy and even offer zombie tech support at our Bangalore facility.   All our support technicians are highly trained in both superior customer service and have the knowledge to help solve your problems quickly and painlessly.  In the past week though, we've had some poor support from various companies and thought we would offer them some advice:

Continue Reading after the jump

 So, you live in Pittsburgh and notice zombies moaning around the neighborhood.  Before you start shooting the undead, what should you do?  Besides asking, "Why do I live in Pittsburgh?" you should also check your calendar. 

Yes, that's right.  It's time for another ill-conceived "charity" event glorifying the end of life as we know it.  Pittsburgh's Zombie Weekend is scheduled for October 24th - 26. 

On Friday, local micro-brew Straub Beer will be sponsoring the Zombie Masquerade Ball at the Churchill Valley Country Club.  We  can't think of a better way to end a day than sucking down a case of smooth, refreshing Straub.  Straub-- it's made from beer! 

Festivities continue Saturday and Sunday at the Monroeville Mall, site of the original documentary George Romero film "Day of the Dead".

You all know our stance on zombie dress-up-- violently opposed, by the way-- but sometimes you just need to unload your shotgun, sit back in your zombie-proof bunker and enjoy a few days digging into your supply of jerky and potted meat food product. 

 Remember the old saying, "if you can't beat them, don't shoot them either because they are probably just the damn neighbors dressed as zombies."

More information is available at http://www.theitsaliveshow.com/  .

The Canadian Zombie Conspiracy CSCTUTOTLI co-President  Tyler McDougall writes:

Our people here in the zombie wing at the Canadian Society Counteracting The Unfair Treatment Of The Living Impaired (CSCTUTOTLI) believe that your site is outrageously prejudiced. Zombies are people too and should not be judged by the few of their kind that are actually bad or the stereotypes depicted by television and movies. Most zombies are actually good samaritans and kind people. People like you judge them because they're different. We believe it is because you are jealous that they have been given a second chance at life. Your website is disgraceful and offensive to all of zombie kind and you should learn to get to know a zombie. Most of them are friendly and it may change your opinion about them. In the future, could you please be more considerate and get all the facts before you judge the living impaired. That includes ghosts and vampires too.

Can you see the obvious flaw in his argument?  That's right, he's Canadian.  Never in recorded history has any nation been more evil, more sinister and more confusingly objectionable than the frigid land of Canada. 

Oh, sure, they seem nice.  When you meet a Canadian you are always surprised at how "polite" and "genuine" they act, but this is simply a well-orchestrated cover for their real intentions.  Quick, name a major economic export from Canada.  Nope, snow, bad entertainers and stanky beer don't count. 

As a matter of fact, our researchers in the World Economic Studies Department of IfYouWereAZombie.com (WESDIYWAZ) have been studying this anomaly for quite some time.  It turns out that Canada contributes nothing to the world economy, has no industry to speak of, few natural resources and no sense of humor.

 Everybody knows that most zombies freeze solid every winter and we've all seen the hilarious YouTube videos of uncoordinated zombies attempting to walk on icy sidewalks.  With average temperatures of -120F and six-foot snowdrifts covering the ground 11 months of the year, Canada will never be threatened by a zombie epidemic.

Our investigations show the Canadian government has been serving as the power broker behind Zombie rights organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies (PETZ), Zombies are People (ZAP) and now the CSCTUTOTLI.  The Canadian government and its people have been spreading these lies hoping to extend the impact of the Zombie epidemic in the civilized, warm parts of the planet.   Once we've all been eliminated by the zombie horde (and those zombies have been given several years to deteriorate), Canadians will move in, sweep up the mess and finally achieve their long-standing dream of world domination.

We're on to you Tyler. .

Well, what's not to like? .

 Reader N8 writes:

well im not clever enough to actually make the cards but i think you are missing out on a hugh part of the Zombie card industry, you havent included any "im glad your a zombie" cards.   like "i would be happy to kill you"    or   " i cant wait to run a spike threw your heart"     im thinking a whole line of cards to send to your Ex-wife.  

This reminds me of something Mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, for God's sake don't write it down and leave a paper trail that THEY can follow."  Leaving aside Mom's troubles with "The Man", our market-research has determined that people don't want more hateful web sites and are looking for ways to spread joy and understanding. 

Just think if our world leaders used IfYouWereAZombie.com to send along a little note to each other.  (We have noticed an increase in cards being sent from the whitehouse.gov domain recently, so we have our fingers crossed) Our cards will continue to  be helpful, optimistic  and cheerful to help you maintain productive relationships while fighting the zombie scourge.  Besides, if your ex becomes a zombie, you've already won.  And one thing we've learned, N8, winning is important.  Thanks for reading. .


The Zombie Equation

Zombies are a retarded version of the Terminator.  That is what makes them interesting.  It makes zombies an intellectual exercise in survival against the elements.

None of the team here in the spacious IYWAZ tower is a big fan of zombie movies or excessive gore.  Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate some gore if the story warrants it-for example; Robocop needed the excessive blood to set the tone for the over-the-top, comic-book nature of the film.  Saving Private Ryan wouldn't have been as engaging if the first scene featured a GI storming the beach, randomly clutching his chest and lying on his back with his feet in the air.

Continued after the jump