December 2004 Archives



December 1, 2004

GameStop Universal System Selector Pro HD

This switchbox retails for a $100. That's what I paid for mine last year. It has 3 ethernet ports, 8 component video, 8 s-video, and 8 composite. Best buy you'll ever make if you have more than one system.

$25 from GameStop.com

The Terminal DVD Review

Most people have a hard time waiting 10-minutes for a flight. A & E's entertaining TV show "Airline" proves that. Then you have people who just take whatever is put in front of them and just deal with it. That's the basis for "The Terminal," a great little character study about one man facing one of the most awkward situations of his life.

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Slap Shot DVD Review

Sports comedies are probably one of the most enjoyable genres Hollywood has to offer. There's just something funny about seeing overpaid athletes look like idiots on screen, even if they do win "the big game." The year 1977 not only brought us "Star Wars," but a little hockey movie called "Slap Shot." It was probably a lot funnier back then.

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Metal Gear Solid 3 PS2 Review

There will be a time when movies finally collide with video games, creating an invisible line between the two, clashing for survival. That fight has just started. "Metal Gear Solid 3" will likely go down in history as one of the most exhilarating, well produced, intelligent, and flat out fun video games this industry will ever see. Director Hideo Kojima is nothing short of a genius.

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Game Console Hacking Review

Hacking video game consoles is a popular pastime for many gamers. It's amazing what some of these people have discovered by opening their systems and looking around. "Game Console Hacking" puts all the information you need in one convenient place. It's not just a great source for those who have already taken their systems apart either. The basics are all here too.

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MacTHEMES Delicious Library voting begins

Voting has begun! Your votes will count for 50% of the entries' final scores, so check out the 55 entries, and feel free to try them out.
Source: MacTHEMES.net

My personal favorite theme is "Loft."

BBEdit PHP Glossary 2.0: almost 6,000 entries

On Friday, BBEdit PHP Glossary 2.0 was released. This BBEdit add-on contains glossary entries for almost 6,000 PHP functions, constants, control structures and code snippets. Based on PHP 5, it also includes the functions available in versions 3 and 4. BBEdit 7.0 or higher is required to use this free software.
Source: MacCentral

Yet another reason to love BBEdit!

Kennedy assassination re-created in video game

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- A new video game to be released on Monday allows players to simulate the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The release of "JFK Reloaded" is timed to coincide with the 41st anniversary of Kennedy's murder in Dallas and was designed to demonstrate a lone gunman was able to kill the president.

Source: CNN

This is sick! The FAQ page is a real winner, and makes me want to throw up with entries such as "Can you give me some background information on the role I am playing?"

I can't wrap my head around why someone would want to play the roll of assassin and kill a digital JFK.

Google sees benefits in corporate blogging

Google Inc., which implemented an internal Web log system behind its firewall about 18 months ago, has seen tremendous benefits from it and may in the future consider providing tools and expertise for this purpose to interested clients, a Google executive said.
Source: MacCentral

Who thought that blogging would be part of companies like HP, Google, and Microsoft, to name a few.

The Complete U2: The World’s First Digital Box Set

In October, Apple announced a deal with rock band U2 to provide its entire music catalog on the iTunes Music Store as a “digital box set” called The Complete U2. For the first time, a significant artist’s entire career would be available — legally — over the Internet. On November 23, Apple released this electronic collection on all of its iTunes Music Stores. Being both a U2 fan and a trustworthy Playlist editor, I took it upon myself to purchase and download this new approach to music packaging and collecting. Here are my experiences and impressions.
Source: Playlist Magazine

Dan Frakes provides a full review of what is included. If you ask me, the $149 is worth it. I am heavily thinking of buying it, even if it would take hours to download!

Here is another review.

Bloody Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller

This is not a joke, but it is for mature gamers only!

The CMS Matrix

CMS Matrix now has 200 products for you to compare, making it the single largest CMS listing site anywhere.

Blade DVD Review

Simple creatures as they are, vampires have been around for what seems like eternity. They have also filled our movie screens for seemingly just as long. No will likely ever forget Universal's original treatment back in 1931, but much like the legend itself, the movies have tweaked their origins to suit themselves. "Blade" is a fantastic, brutal, and wild ride with a great new look at how these creatures live. And die.

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December 3, 2004

Blade II DVD Review

After the surprising success of "Blade," it's no surprise that four years later a sequel was spawned. A new director in tow, "Blade II" is the typical sequel, a lesser version of the original. That's not saying that the film is a failure, just a step down due to a few missteps and some really nasty CG work.

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Aladdin Platinum Edition DVD Review

Not everyone had the opportunity to grow up during the peak of Disney animation. "Bambi" was likely ancient by the time most of us were born. That doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable, but every generation should have one to remember their childhood by. For a lot of us, that movie is "Aladdin."

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Midway Arcade Treasures 2 PS2 Review

Hitting the early 90's, arcades found resurgence after a huge slump, almost entirely due to Capcom's classic "Street Fighter II." Midway dove in right next to them, popping out hits like the "Mortal Kombat" series and "Total Carnage." This PS2 compilation, "Midway Arcade Treasures 2," is an almost perfect visit back to those glorious cabinets, but that does not mean these are great games.

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Riki-Oh: Story of Ricky (Lai wong) DVD Review

Certain movies require a little investigation before viewing. You shouldn't just walk into the video store and grab whatever you see. If you do, you may very well walk out with something like "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky." Never has such a level of gore been attained in a feature film and unless you know what you're getting into, you probably shouldn't be putting this one into the DVD player.

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December 6, 2004

ecto 2.0 for Mac OS X

Wow what a radical change! From the site:
There are a lot of changes, which I had to make if I was going to respect the suggestions made by quite a few users. I'll just list them all one by one as that may give you the best overview:
A new improved XMLRPC backend
Blog more than one entry
New interface for drafts
A rich text editing mode
One blog isn't the other
Attachments
Other small additions
So many changes to read about. Oh, and its free! Kudos Adriaan, I can't wait to dive into all the new stuff. The new window interface is extreme, but I like it. The only thing I miss is how the Custom Tags button used to act as a drop down menu.

Nintendo DS Overview

Here's an interesting little gadget. While it won't revolutionize gaming (at least not yet) like Nintendo said it would, the DS is a nice piece of hardware with a serious hunger for software. Potential here is huge, and you just have to wish developers take advantage of it.

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Spiderman 2 Nintendo DS Review

Getting a full game out for a new console launch has to be tough, especially with the complexity of today's games. The DS sort of came from nowhere, and it seems most developers were left with no clue how to use such unique hardware. "Spiderman 2" sets the example with shoddy level design, cheap enemies, and ridiculous objectives.

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Last week of classes - Fall 2004, Site update

Hey its the last week of classes! I have a quiz in art history on Wednesday that I am very ready for. I could have taken in last Friday. Its just a little odd for me to be ready and waiting for these quizzes and exams. Its a good feeling.

Anywho I have been freakishly busy lately with a number of things, and have let Matt take over the site recently. He has done a great job with the DVD and video game reviews, as usual.

Matt Just got a story printed in the Toledo City Paper, be sure to check out the web site (it has not gone to press yet).

December 7, 2004

Gaming Hacks Book Review


"Gaming Hacks" is yet another in a recent string of books on the topic. What's different is that author Simon Carless approaches it from a unique viewpoint that varies wildly from that onslaught. It's a book that is probably wildly different from what you would expect when you first pick it up, but contains enough pertinent information to make it a worthwhile purchase.

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My New Laptop

Hi! Have you heard about these things called "laptops" yet? These things are pretty cool and I got a new one. They're a variation on those "computers" you may have heard of. See, they can sit on your lap because they are made so small. That's why they're called laptops.

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You think you know yourself...

...until you use google.

Everyone should google themselves, you never know what you might find.

The Snoop Shnizzalator

Try The Snoop Shnizzalator on Breaking Windows, or CNN.

Parental advisory, as in, Not Safe For Work!

Thunderbird 1.0 takes on Entourage, Eudora

Weeks after the launch of its Firefox 1.0 Web browser, the Mozilla Foundation on Tuesday is set to release version 1.0 of its Thunderbird e-mail client.
Source: MacCentral

Special note to Windows users: Thunderbird uses the Mozilla rendering engine to display HTML e-mail messages, not Microsoft's IE engine, making it immune to IE-related bugs.

After only about 5 minutes of use, I really like Thunderbird 1.0. It has all the features I like about Entourage. It has the 3 column layout that Entourage 2004 and Outlook has, it even has the search bar at the top right. Reading RSS feeds in Thunderbird is just like reading email.

The default spam filter of Thunderbird 1.0 is a little touchy. It thought all my mailing list emails were spam. I also wish by default Thunderbird would leave the messages on the server the first time it retrieves your mail. You have to go into the account settings before you retrieve your mail and tell it to keep the mail on the server. Apple's Mail seems to be the only email client that by default leaves your mail on the server. Kudos to Apple, I wish others would realize how nice a feature this is.

December 8, 2004

Apple tangles with owner of itunes.co.uk

U.K.-based Internet entrepreneur Benjamin Cohen says that he got an unexpected shock last month after he checked his voicemail and heard a lawyer representing Apple Computer Inc. telling him to hand over his Web site domain, itunes.co.uk. Apple alleges that Cohen's CyberBritain Holdings Ltd is a "cybersquatter" just sitting on the domain hoping for a big settlement; Cohen denies the allegation.
Source: MacCentral

Uhuh... an "unexpected shock" my ass.

Consumer Reports gives Apple high marks

In its latest issue, Consumer Reports has once again looked at the computer industry and rated hardware companies on their products. Apple Computer Inc. topped the charts in a couple of categories, including repair history and tech support.
Source: MacCentral

I have been happy with my repairs and tech support I have received from Apple. They really bent over backwards to support my 500 Mhz PowerBook G4, otherwise known as "the lemon" or "Rev. A." It worked well enough to make me want to buy another PowerBook, and this one I have had no problem with.

* knocks on wood *

Agendus 9 released

Iambic just released Agendus 9. I just bought Agendus 8 in August, there is no way I am paying $9.95 for the upgrade.

I upgraded from Agendus 5 to 8, which was a substantial upgrade. I did this mainly for support for my Tungsten T3 then for the added feature set.

Agendus 8 is great, and I do really like the new features from version 5. It is much better then the built in PIM apps. I cannot go back to the built in address book after using Agendus for so long.

Troops put thorny questions to Rumsfeld

(CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced tough questioning Wednesday from troops about to be deployed to Iraq.
Source: CNN

I watched a little bit of this on Wolf Blitzer on CNN today. The question about the armor on the Humvees was just astonishing.

A Pentagon spokesman said later Wednesday that 450 armored Humvees are being produced each month. This is up from August 2003 when only 15 per month were made.

December 11, 2004

Office Space DVD review

There are just some movies we can all relate to. Regardless of your place in the American work force, "Office Space" has something in it you've likely experienced. Oh, it's relentlessly funny too.

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story DVD Review

Those red rubber balls hurt. Just about all of us have suffered a cruel fate at their hands at some point in out lives. "Dodgeball" takes a look at this very painful situation for exactly what it is: funny. That's assuming of course you're the thrower and not the victim.

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Spiderman 2 Collector's DVD Gift Set Review

If super heroes really did exist, we would take them for granted. That or we would submit them to non-stop genetic experiments to find out what makes them tick. Seems that Peter Parker is starting to figure all of this out in the incredible "Spiderman 2." It doesn't make for a bad DVD set either.

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Xbox Fan Book Review

Out of the three major consoles vying for dominance, the Xbox is easily the most confusing. With it's built in hard drive, Xbox Live, DVD playback, and variety of connections, this is the system you'll spend the most time with. "The Xbox Fan Book" tries to make owning the system less of a trial, but most of the information can be found in the user manual included with the system.

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Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt Demo DS Review

After a slew of negative press, "Metroid Prime" surprised a lot of people. Taking a classic, 2-D side scrolling adventure game and plopping it into a first-person environment was a radical change, but it worked. Now on the DS, "Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt" is the basic game that appeared on the Gamecube, just in demo form and with a wholly original control scheme.

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December 14, 2004

Nuclear Holocaust Video Game Style: EA Buys NFL

There were rumors abound earlier in the year that Electronic Arts was buying out the NFL for exclusive video game rights. In all of its absurdity, it was a very real and scary situation. Like some bad dreams, it all just came true.

Continue reading "Nuclear Holocaust Video Game Style: EA Buys NFL" »

Fight against phishing moves to a new level

The announcement last week of a new antiphishing consortium that includes financial services firms, Internet service providers, IT vendors and law enforcement agencies represents one of the most concerted efforts yet to curb the growing problem of e-mail data-theft scams.
Source: MacCentral

December 15, 2004

Apple fights RealNetworks' 'hacker tactics'

Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players.
Source: C|Net News.com

Last Art History 146 quiz & test

Last week I got a 24/25 on my last quiz in Art History 146. The final exam is this Thursday. If you have wondered why I have not updated the site recently, that is why. I feel very confident I will do great on the final exam. I have to, I did poorly on the midterm exam. This exam is over: Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. These movements are very easy because they are so close in current history. Wish me luck!

December 16, 2004

Knights of the Old Republic II First Look

Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) was a revolutionary game, but we had no doubts that BioWare could pull it off. I mean it's BioWare! New developer Obsidian takes the reigns for KOTOR 2: The Sith Lords.

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December 20, 2004

PC Mag: eMac is worst desktop of the year

In his "Worst products of the year" list, Jim Louderback of PC Magazine calls Apple's eMac the worst desktop PC of 2004. "Apple, the entry-level eMac really does represent Think Different. That's because for a company that prides itself on quality, this computer is different. As in bad. On the plus side, it's stylish. On the downside, it's slow, underpowered, and pathetic. The 40GB hard drive will fill up quickly, the lack of a DVD burner makes offloading files impossible, and the Radeon 9200 graphics card won't even run this fall's hot Mac games. And at around $800, this eMac ain't cheap. If you're considering a home Apple, think different. Buy a Dell. Or be prepared to spend a lot more for an acceptable Apple computer."
Source: MacMinute

It is possible to offload files, its this thing called a CD-RW. They come standard. You must not have done your research if you think $800 for a Mac is not cheap.

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December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas 2004

I am right now sitting at my grandma's house using the 56k modem in my PowerBook. This is brutal to say the least.

I have a number of reviews to post from Matt, maybe he should learn how to post his own stuff (hint, hint). I might get to it before the 1st, I do not know.

Right now I cannot even send email, it times out. That is no fun. And of course the amount of SPAM accumulated in the 4 days since I have checked my email makes reading email all that more fun.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Best wishes for a prosperous new year!

If you do not celebrate Christmas, have a happy holiday season.

Matt and I have a year-end best-of video games column that I will get online before the new year, but as for the other reviews, those might be a late Christmas gift from us to you.

Art History 146 is over!

I passed Art History 146 with a "C." I was really worried. I did great on the final exam but I knew I did horrible on the mid-term exam. With great quiz grades and extra credit I pulled out with a "C" and I could not be more elated. I know I can do better, and will try to do better when I take Art History 145 next semester.

Right now I am only signed up for ARTH 145 for Spring 2005, but I might also be taking Advanced Digital Imaging. I think that would be a fun class. And it would be doing artwork again, and not the "commercial" form of artwork that I have to do to pay the bills, if you know what I mean. So I very much look forward to the Advanced Digital Imaging class.

Widescreen rant '04

Well it took you long enough. It seems the masses have finally embraced widescreen DVD's. This excerpt is taken from the outstanding www.widescreen.org:

"So, I'm very pleased to announce that the widescreen releases for the Star Wars trilogy and many other movies continue to sell and rent far more than their pan-and-scan counterparts. Every week I check the sales and rental numbers. It's clear that widescreen continued to gain the confidence of the majority of American movie watchers. In fact, the pan-and-scan - sorry - full-frame version of the Star Wars trilogy was consistently ten places behind its widescreen counterpart."
Now, this is considered a "geek" movie (no offense, I'm one of you), one of those that has a fan base who is more in tune with technology and wants their movies perfect. Still it's a sign that shows we are moving in the right direction.

Continue reading "Widescreen rant '04" »

December 26, 2004

It's a Wonderful Life DVD Review

Each year, the holidays become more of a burden for everyone. Running around for gifts that are out of stock, making the trip(s) to see family, and watching the checkbook all add up to a time of the year that many people loathe. George Bailey has a more pressing set of holiday problems, one that may cause him to commit suicide, unless someone (or something) can stop him in "It's a Wonderful Life."

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Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban DVD Review

Whether or not you read the books, there's hardly any denying that the "Harry Potter" movies work really well. Now on their third iteration, the films continue on the same path, even with a change of directors. "Prisoner of Azkaban" offers up and incredible amount of entertainment for just about any age group while adding to the lead characters story better than any other film in the series.

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Happy Gilmore DVD Review

There's a theory out there that no one really LIKES golf. It has to be the most frustrating sport in the world. That little hole has certainly sent people over the edge since the creation of the sport. Golf simply exists to let people vent their frustrations of day-to-day life. The same could probably be said for hockey, which is why "Happy Gilmore" is the perfect guy for the sport.

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Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S DVD review

This latest batch of Godzilla films, starting with "Godzilla 2000," has been hit or miss all the way through. Fans have been split on nearly every film. The Shinsei series gets its only direct sequel here with "Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S," and it's a pretty close call.

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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation DVD Review

They've been to Wally World. They've been to Europe. This season, things are a bit different. It's time once again to visit the Griswold family, this time for a little holiday cheer like only they can provide. "Christmas Vacation" is a somewhat unique film in the series, but it's hard to argue that it's not the best.

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Godzilla vs. Hedorah DVD Review

There's a reason the Godzilla series has been so criticized over the years: The 1970's. Starting things off after the stock footage filled "Godzilla's Revenge," this oddball piece remains the strangest of all Godzilla films to date. It has a message for sure, but it's trapped inside a warped and flawed film that ends up being more campy than powerful.

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Godzilla vs. Gigan DVD Review

It's hard to spot when the Godzilla series began a steep decline. Many will tell you it was when Godzilla first turned into a good guy in "Ghidorah," others will say "Godzilla's Revenge." By the time Toho studios reached "Godzilla vs. Gigan," it was blatantly apparent there was no turning back.

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Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

It's almost like Toho knew how badly they screwed up. After a series of bombs at the box office, the studio needed their franchise star to come back strong. The question remains as to why they let the films slack off in the first place, but they made up for it somewhat with "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla."

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Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid DVD Review

It's probably surprising to know that the monster-happy 1950's never brought with them a giant snake movie. Considering a good portion of the population is terrified of them, it should be an easy way to scare an audience. Leave it to the 1990's to provide this service. Along with "Anaconda," the Sci-Fi channel provided us with "Python" and "Python 2." Now in the new millennium, we get another one, "Anacondas."

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Son of Godzilla DVD Review

Every truly great monster has an offspring. Dracula had one, Frankenstein had one (though it wasn't exactly the monsters son), and of course Godzilla had to have one. The second Godzilla film to be set on an island, "Son of Godzilla" is a quirky entry into a (then) fast declining series. That doesn't mean it's missing some charm.

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Ridge Racer Nintendo DS Review

Since the first arcade edition and the then unforgettable PS One port, Namco's "Ridge Racer" has been an enjoyable arcade racing series. On the N64, the series stayed pretty formulaic, not straying far from the formula at all. The same can be said for this solid port of that very title here on the DS, but the fact that it is portable does make it a bit more desirable.

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Feel the Magic Nintendo DS Review

There are some games you pick up that are so wildly different from anything else, you simply can't comprehend what it is you're playing. "Feel the Magic" is one of those games, a totally unique gaming experience that uses the DS to the fullest. It's a little short and can be frustrating at times, but you'll always be back for another shot.

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