Archive for July, 2007

Over 40 Gamer Episode 5 is up.

July 29, 2007

I haven’t been posting much and this podcast went beyond the every two week schedule I’ve been sticking to, more or less.  The only excuse I have is that it’s summer.  In any event, on this show, I talk about:  The Overlord Glitch; Owning both a PS3 and an Xbox 360; gaming as being worth the total lifetime cost; Demo reviews (The Darkness, DW Gundam, Ace Combat 6, Genji Days of the Blade, Heavenly Sword, Resistance Fall of Man); Jonesing for a light gun.

Netflix, HD DVD, Blu-Ray and random movie watching.

July 15, 2007

Netflix is letting you pick a priority order now of how you want your queue. I picked Blu-Ray, HD DVD and DVD. There is a crapton of stuff out on Blu-Ray now. It’s kind of amazing.

This weekend, I watched The Warriors, Ghost in The Shell Solid State Society, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I’m too lazy to do a full review, but I’m never too tired to give my opinion. The Warriors had such an impact on me as a kid in 1979. I remember it being campy. It was. I still enjoyed it though. GiTS was good. I’ve enjoyed every bit of that mythos. I found Fear and Loathing to be unwatchable. I’m sorry, I liked the book, but I hated the characters in the movie.

Next up in the queue is Ghost Rider, TMNT and Memento. I heard Ghost Rider isn’t so bad. Turtles from the 80s didn’t make me run to the theater, but it’s a rental. Memento is on a lot of people’s list as one of their all time favorites. I’m glad I waited because now I get to see it on Blu-Ray.

I’m also sending in for my 5 free Blu Ray disks. The choices aren’t great, but I’m thinking: Invincible, Blazing Saddles, Stir of Echos, Black Rain and The Transporter 2. I’ll watch them and then put them up on eBay (except Blazing Saddles).

Mr. Rogers did not contribute to American narcissism.

July 14, 2007

Professor Chance picked on the wrong American Icon in his rant against narcissism.  Students that try to argue up their grades are really a tradition.  It’s nothing new.  Rudeness, vulgarity and disrespect are definitely societal problems.  However, Fred Rogers was part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Mr. Rogers didn’t hurt anyone by telling them they are special.  My thought on it is that it was more about people having intrinsic value as human beings.  Let me be specific: if people have intrinsic value, then they should not be abused or harassed or tortured or killed.  To me, it’s not about entitlement.  That’s an entirely different social ill.  Fred Rogers was far deeper than that.  His message was more global.  Look at how people treat each other across the world.  Look at the violence.  Rogers is so far removed from the petty social ills that Chance discusses, it’s not even the same universe.

Fred Rogers was a humanitarian who consistently worked toward furthering the causes he believed in his entire life.  He is a giant among those who would help others.  Frankly, if you are going to try to criticize him, you had better have better ammo than some glib accusation.  Then again, attacking an icon is a great way to get attention.

I have always believed that you need to work for what you get in life.  So I am no fan of the spoiled.  However, blaming a guy who is probably as close to a modern day saint that we’ve had in the last 50 years for negatively impacting our society is crazy.  Also, let’s look at another theme of his show: respect.  Each character, each person, everyone on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood treats everyone else with respect.  Do we have too much respect for one another today?  Also, in addition to teaching that people have intrinsic value, Rogers taught that you should recognize those who help you through life.  This is from Wikipedia:

“Daytime Emmys, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Rogers. The following is an excerpt from Esquire Magazine‘s coverage of the gala, written by Tom Junod:

Mister Rogers went onstage to accept the award — and there, in front of all the soap opera stars and talk show sinceratrons, in front of all the jutting man-tanned jaws and jutting saltwater bosoms, he made his small bow and said into the microphone, “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence.”[5]

And then he lifted his wrist, looked at the audience, looked at his watch, and said, ‘I’ll watch the time.” There was, at first, a small whoop from the crowd, a giddy, strangled hiccup of laughter, as people realized that he wasn’t kidding, that Mister Rogers was not some convenient eunuch, but rather a man, an authority figure who actually expected them to do what he asked. And so they did. One second, two seconds, three seconds — and now the jaws clenched, and the bosoms heaved, and the mascara ran, and the tears fell upon the beglittered gathering like rain leaking down a crystal chandelier. And Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said softly, “May God be with you,” to all his vanquished children.”

That is about as far away from narcissism as one can get.

I submit to you that Rogers telling you you’re special is a voice of hope in a very violent and hostile world.  Rogers was a man of great humility and he commanded respect by his devotion to humanity.  Plus he turned me on to Cardigan sweaters and occasion specific shoes.  In all seriousness, Fred Rogers deserves more than Professor Chance’s criticism.

Best Practices for iTunes?

July 13, 2007

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my playlists.  In the year and a half or so that I’ve had my iPod, I’ve always been moving iTunes from one machine to another.  This is usually because the machine breaks.  For the stuff that I’ve bought, I have maxed out the authorized computers.

A month or so, I had the opportunity to buy a little laptop that I can pretty much carry everywhere.  It has now become my iPod server.  All music I acquire goes on this machine.  The iPod charges and syncs with this laptop only.  I can use the automatic music management and I am happy.

When I think about all the music that’s been lost over the years, it’s frustrating.  I don’t think digital music is a better way to keep it than CDs.  Of course I lose CDs too or they get scratched or whatever.  I’m hoping now, with one solid repository of music it will be better.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done backups over the years, that doesn’t stop stuff from getting lost.

How do other people do it?  How do you manage your iPod?  How do you keep from losing playlists?  How do you keep from losing songs over the years?

Owning both a PS3 and an Xbox 360

July 11, 2007

Playstation 3 40GB
Xbox 360 Elite System Console Includes 120GB Hard Drive
Say what you will, but when Sony dropped the price on the PS3, I hauled my butt down to the Best Buy and bought one. Actually, I bought the last one on the shelf. I brought it home and set it up and then I just sat there and looked at it and at the Xbox 360. I now have two pieces of consumer electronics that essentially do the same thing.

If nothing else but to justify this in my own mind, I want to talk about these units together. The style points definitely go to the PS3. It’s black sleekness is evil! The 360 looks like the toy that it is next to it. The PS3 is a computer. You can plug in a USB mouse and keyboard right into it. You can also plug in media cards. I ran the PS3 all last night because I wanted to charge the Sixaxis controller. I didn’t worry about that at all and I made sure I ran Folding at Home. I wouldn’t dare waste precious 360 burn time by keeping it on all night. A 360 is like a light bulb. You’ve only got so many hours before it burns out. My original PS2 is what, 5 years old? I have no doubt that in 5 years the PS3 is going to be going strong. I’ll probably have gone through a half dozen 360s by then.

But I sound like I’m ragging on the 360. The fact is, right now, the PS3 can’t touch the Xbox as a gaming system. There are tons of great games out for the 360 and not so much for the PS3. Everyone knows this. Moreover, the 360 has movies you can download. The PS3 has a couple of trailers and a few demos and games, but nothing like the 360. The 360’s software is superior. The PS3 isn’t bad, but applications launch in a kind of clunky way compared to the 360. The 360, while it’s running, is awesome!

But as I sit here and watch coverage of E3 it’s clear that the games for the PS3 are coming. The PS3 has so much potential, it’s almost painful to see it in its current state. From a hardware perspective, the PS3 is an impressive machine. It’s significantly quieter than the 360. When I watch HD DVD movies on the 360 with it’s separate drive, it’s noisy enough to be distracting. The PS3 is quiet enough to be a real piece of home theater equipment. In fact, the real reason that I bought it was that I wanted a Blu-Ray Player. The PS3, in my opinion, up-converts slightly better than the 360. Watching movies in 1080p is something that once you experience it, you don’t want to look at anything else and now I have the player of the standard that is poised to win the format war.

The 360 streams video from your computer quite easily. I did it once just to try it. I really don’t have much use for it beyond that. I believe you can get the PS3 to do it as well although I’m not sure as easily. For me, the media card support is more important.

So yes, in the end is it overkill to have both a 360 and a PS3? Of course! Is if fun, absolutely. I have the best game system available right now in the 360 and a terrific Blu-Ray player in the PS3. I can tell you though, that as games come out going forward, I’m going to look for them first on the PS3 and only buy the exclusives on the 360. The last thing I want to do is get half-way through a game and have to send the 360 back to Microsoft because it has given up the ghost.

Over 40 Gamer Episode 4 is up.

July 8, 2007

I spend a lot of time talking about Overlord in this show. I’ve been playing the game religiously and I think I’m close to finishing it. I also spending time talking about gamer nausea issues. It’s really easy for me to get sick gaming if there is a lot of spinning involved. I’d hate to get to the point where I have to take Dramamine to play! I continue to be obsessed about the coming PS3 price drop. If you can get the $100 off and the 5 movies, I’m in. In other news, I get pwned in Pokemon and I have some thoughts on E3 next week. Finally, I have some fan mail to discuss and another podcast

“This is the nerd equivalent of being a cat lady.”

July 7, 2007

Normally I don’t blog about blogs, much less blog about comments left on blogs.  This, however, is a special exception.  Kotaku, the source of all information that is gaming, reported on a couple who have 46 World of Warcraft accounts, 47 PCs and manage 23 WoW accounts between them.  They have a side by side rig with two Lazyboy chairs and 7 monitors.

One can just imagine what their waking hours are like:  16 hours a day of non-stop WoW interrupted only by food and adult diaper changing breaks probably only done once a day to maximize efficiency.  Even hardcore geeks are amazed, leading one commenter, Nikolii to quip brilliantly:  “This is the nerd equivalent of being a cat lady.”

I want to know more.  I want to see them play.  I want to know how they can afford this kind of lifestyle.  I want to see these people!  Mainstream press should pick up on this story!

Of course the mainstream might wonder why they do this.  I know the answer to this, because it’s fun, in a really, really obsessive way.  And I can relate to it a little bit.  I have 15 computers (not all of them are up) but 8 are in use all the time.  I’m not sure that’s like having 8 cats though.  Computers don’t need litter boxes.

Waiting for the iPhone without the phone.

July 5, 2007

I’ve been telling people that as cool as the iPhone looks, I just don’t need a new phone right now.  I would, however, greatly enjoy a new iPod with all the same features as the iPhone without the phone part and with an iPod style hard drive.  It is inevitable that this product is coming.  People know it too.  Leo Laporte has discussed it on TWIT, for example.  Veronica Belmont says it will be out before Xmas.

I would really, really love to have an iPod that syncs itself wirelessly and has that great iPhone screen.

It’s not that I wouldn’t mind having an iPhone, it’s just that my Blackberry does everything I need quite well.  Even though Verizon is not cheap, I really don’t want to trade it for AT&T.  I already carry an iPod around with me so I don’t mind keeping an extra gadget.

So how about it Steve?  When can I buy an iPhone without the phone?  When can I buy the next generation iPod?

Best picture I’ve ever taken.

July 4, 2007

woman knitting

Originally uploaded by Thaed 3

I was thinking today that, aside from family photos, that this is the best picture I’ve ever taken in my life. I’m obviously no photographer. I shot this through the window of a bus in Chongqing China. Amazingly, it all came together. I like her expression, the colors in the background and the memory in my mind of people selling things on the street.

Do you have a picture that you consider to be the best photo you’ve ever taken?

More Screen Shots of the Samsung ln-t5265f

July 1, 2007


Originally uploaded by Thaed 3

I’ve had my TV for a little more than two months now. I am still in love with it. This picture was taken straight on with me sitting on the couch. I took the pic at approximately 10:00 a.m. on a sunny morning. Those of you worried about glare shouldn’t. Yes, it does reflect my camera’s flash, but that’s to be expected. I could not be more pleased.

I posted a more detailed review here previously about the TV.  I have to say that I tend to be unemotional when I review something.  I completely lost it here.  It’s the most unabashedly fanboy review I’ve ever done.  However, I have to say that I still feel pretty strongly about it.

Here’s another pic from the side to avoid the flash.  The resolution of the television show being displayed is in 1080i.  You should see 1080p!