Monday, April 28, 2008


So after experiencing short burts of the infamous Windows Vista, I wrote it off as a Macinized Windows XP. However, I've not really sat down with it until late.

For learning purposes, I left Vista on my new laptop. Other than IE7 being somewhat unreliable at times, I don't really see any problem with Microsoft's not-so-latest OS. It otherwise runs quite well, and the new organization of menus and the Control Panel are a lot more sensible. The gadgets are a blatant rip from Mac, but they are useful nontheless.

I'm the real problem comes in when you try to install non-Vista software. But what do you really need? I know some people are into downloaded mounds of junk and other things they shouldn't. But if that kind of stuff doesn't work anymore, that isn't really a bad thing.

Since I don't PC game, I don't have much too offer. If I go on another business trip this year, I'll probably buy Halo 2 or Bioshock or something. Maybe even Orange Box, just to test the Vista gaming waters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tyra, Morgan, women, men, and video games

Note: I'm still on hiatus, but I just had to comment here.

When I read the article, I wasn't too amused. However, youtube is blocked at work, so I could only imagine how it went down. I wasn't far from accurate, but I was incorrect on how it would bother me.

Morgan Webb, from the throwaway show G4tv, manages to quickly categorize all gamers. We're whittled down to three stereotypes, which surprisingly don't seem that far-fetched. In my terms, they end up being 2.5 categories: Story whores and Competition junkies. The .5 will the be the "hero" part; it's sort of an underlying theme in any kind of entertainment. We'll let it slide.

What bothered me is the audience and Tyra's responses to the comments. All the females in the group seemed rather snide and god-complexed by their inability to comprehend. Naturally, the assumption was that only pre-teens are gamers, even though statistically they are far outnumbered by older gamers. If "the boss" likes to discuss it at work, I highly doubt it should be quickly dismissible. It's rapport that's not going to happen if talking your recent attire purchase.

Well, Tyra and Morgan, it's time for an unfair comparison to this unfair stereotyping. Since men are into silly things like interactive stories and building, I guess we have to find something to fire back at. How about the stereotypically accepted shiny-rocks, slop bags (read: purses full of junk), overabundance of shoes, and meandering shopping? What is with women and shiny things, anyway? Some of us would rather drive a car then wear an effing rock. Try wearing out a purse before buying 3 more. If you are only going to wear it once, don't buy it (marriage as an exception is plausible). And no, it isn't savings to waste a weekend driving and walking to dozens of stores to buy a single thing from each.

But to each his or her own respectively. =)

Back to reality, there really was two problems in the depicted relationship. The highlighted problem, was the man's addiction to video games. Several hours a day can be excessive, especially if there are responsibilities being ignored. The second problem was the woman's (and her support groups) unwillingness to try to understand the hobby and rather change him instead. Both parties need to be willing to compromise and that does come at the cost trying to understand each other. I can't say that this will be achieved after their appearance on this show.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sony and MS need to look at Wii Sports, not the Wii Remote

I had a thought when reading how Microsoft and Sony are both trying to mimic the Wii Remote and hopefully "its" success.

Honestly, I don't think it's the motion control itself that has made the Wii popular. As far as I'm concerned, the Wii has been a huge gimmick that doesn't seem to be improving much. It doesn't do anything (technically) that the other consoles couldn't do, but the reverse isn't the case.

The assumption seems to be that the "motion control" itself is what really made the Wii successful. However, without Wii Sports, it is highly doubtful that anyone would bat an eye at the Wii at all. Obviously, the Wii is flooded with piss-poor games, which barely deserve to be called "Games" on many occasions.

What Nintendo was able to do, is convince people that that Wii Remote would make everything "better" and "different". It's different, but a long debate could be made about the former part. Even staunch Wii supports have to admit, that the Wii controls are shaky most of the time. It doesn't react as expected, and even with a steady hand, it can be unpredictable. Sure, we could blame the developers, but in reality the tech just isn't consistent.

So they threw in a game anyone could relate to and play. Even if the Wii Remote had 20 buttons, it wouldn't matter if anyone could play it and it didn't look intimidating. It looks easy, and the concept matches obvious imagination. The mental Wii advertisement isn't Brawl, Metroid, or even Zelda. It's Wii Sports.

Look at Guitar Hero and Rock Band. They work on the same principle. The console doesn't matter. It really IS the game.

Sony proved that motion control alone isn't enough with their disappointing SIXAXIS controls. Often they inappropriately forced in games, and it shows. Motion control alone isn't as big of a piece of the puzzle when it comes down to it.

For MS and Sony to come in with motion controllers now just seems silly. They need to offer an inviting experience instead. If they insist on a new and simple controller, they better come out with several games that use it, and have the same type of appeal of Wii Sports or Guitar Hero for each. Hell, make four casual games that all come with the if you buy one of each you'll have the four controllers you need for multiplayer.

My bet is on futility with both companies if they aren't careful.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Coerced into a break

Well, as I usually do once a year, I'm going to have to give up for now. I just don't have the time. Life has taken over, and I'm not even finding time to work on my official blogs.

I just spent an entire day doing my performance review for my "real" job. Sure, I'll end today with some Rock Band and Halo 3, but I just don't have the energy to keep up with the gaming world right now. My main concerns lie in purchasing my first home, and getting the drums recorded for my "real" band and finishing that effort.

Many complain that the summer months are slow, but I'm thankful. There's no way I could catch up. The hours required to finish Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect, Burnout, Assassin's Creed, and whatever else I have left is going to take me all summer. And that's assuming I'm settled in to my house.

I want to congratulate all the struggling parents out there. I don't see how you juggle it all. It makes me realize that the proclaimed TV babysister isn't necessarily done out of laziness, but possibly necessity. A good friend of mine is struggling to find personal time between wife, kids, school, getting healthy, and work. I just don't know how you could have kids without being finished with school and without being financially secure. It's possible, but ultimately it removes some years off your life I imagine.

I'm sure it's no surprise, and the sparsity of my posts already indicated I was done as of late. You can still check me out and whatever TechbugTV becomes. I'm committed to weekends so I'll at least make that. In the interim, I'll still post here what I'm not comfortable posting at the other sites.


Friday, April 04, 2008

My skin applied to the 360

Take a gander at my 360 under "Systems" at the right. The new pics should accompany my review.

360: Black Messenger, Memory card, and Vision cam

Here are the pics I promised. I think the Memory card and Messenger turned out fantastic.

The vision camera is a little tricky due to the way it's made. I didn't allow the parts to cure long enough on the last couple of coats either. I actually may just buy another so I can do a better job. Keeping paint off the green ring of the camera requires some intricate taping! My parts are still good, so if anyone has a non-working vision cam to donate, please send it my way.

This last pic is actually my memory card dangling from a saw horse via duct tape. No, I didn't take it apart to paint it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why the obsession with Xbox 360 + Blu-ray

No time for reference links, but any of you should know what I'm talking about.

The media's obsession with Blu-ray is profound. Yes, the PS3 has it. Yes, it won the HD format war. No, the Xbox 360 doesn't have it, but it could.

My question is: why would you want to jack the 360's price up for the sake of Blu-ray? Is it really that important? Is the assumption that games will make use of Blu-ray's extra storage? Or are consoles the new movie devices of the generation?

Microsoft would have to be in a different universe than the proverbial clue to start using a non-DVD disc for games. They are committed to DVD, and regardless of what the attention-whoring media says, Blu-ray isn't really needed. When it comes down to it, even games on Blu-ray aren't optimized yet and compression is good enough not to need the space. By the time they are, we'll be on Xbox 720. So rather than alienate customers, they best stick to the 360 standard for games.

As for movies, Blu-ray seems like 1024kbps bit rate for mp3's; ridiculous and unnecessary. Does it look better? Sure. But it certainly didn't have me or my friends and family jumping out of their seats, asking where they could get a BD player. I made sure to point out that what we were watching was in 1080p and "Full HD". Needless to say, even with the 1080p TV already purchased, they weren't jumping on the band wagon. $40 movies are a hard sell when $10 up-scalable (and comparable) DVD's are readily available.

My PS3, which is really a glorified Blu-ray player that spends most of its uptime updating, is the Blu-ray player of choice. Not because it's a good player, but because it's one of the few updatable ones. After a year of owning the PS3, I've yet to see any reason why Blu-ray was integral. Sony's precious Resistance was mediocre for the experienced, and the movies proved to be a poor value.

The videophile zealots will quickly throw the life preserver comments in, but they don't represent the common consumer. Microsoft has no reason to jump on Blu-ray right now. BD movies are selling, but not at a rate to be concerned with. They are near the magical price point, and going BD drives would destroy that opportunity.

Media, give it up. We don't need Blu-ray right now. Neither does Microsoft.