August 2007 Archives

August 3, 2007

Ebert's Archive

This is simply an incredible archival job by someone who spent A LOT of time digitally recording these episodes. Nearly every review ever done on TV by Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Richard Roeper, and guest critics is accessible online.

If anything, it makes you remember how good Siskel was as what he did. Not to take away anything from Ebert who I greatly respect (despite his "games are not art" rants), but Siskel truly loved film. He hated the business aspects of the industry, and focused on truly great cinema, but also knew how to have a great time. These reviews prove it.

The First... And Last Time On the Air

This is flat out embarrassing. It's a live TV interview with what could quite possibly be the least qualified host in the history of television.

August 5, 2007

Samsung u740 Extended Battery

This isn't so much about the battery, but the utterly horrible customer service of the local Verizon Wireless store. It took them two weeks to order it, for some reason, and they ordered the regular battery for me.

I called their national number and had the correct battery ordered right away, it was even FedEx delivered to me.

The battery life in this u740 is my only gripe. The phone itself is the size of the LG 8600 or RAZR and you can tell they obviously had to cut the size of the battery for the form factor.

Unlike other extended batteries I have had for my cell phone, this one comes with a nice cover that extends the entire length of the phone, so you don't have the battery jutting out in the back.

Going from 800 mAh (the standard battery) to 1300 mAh is a huge improvement. I play games on my phone (big surprise there) and with the normal battery Vijay Golf would just kill my phone.

Now I do not have to charge my phone in the middle of the day. So what is the lesson here? Don't go to the local Verizon Wireless store. Just call the national number and you will avoid weeks of irritation.

AdManager Pro 4 Upgrade

Last week was a long work week for me. Not only did I have training from 9-5, but then I had to get web work done after that. MediaSpan training went well though, and now our Advertising department is out of OS 9, which is such a blessing.

It is going to be great to not have to support OS 9 any more, I cannot express how much I have been looking forward to this day.

Of course I will now get a lot of OS X questions, because it is very new to those working in our Advertising department, but it is much easier to support something that you use every day. Especially considering I have not used OS 9 for at least six years now.

I was not present when they did the training in 1997 for AdManager Pro 2 (I had to chose between learning Editorial or Advertising, and I chose Editorial) so now I have a much better understanding of how AMP works.

Two big jumps at once, AMP 2 to 4 and OS 9 to X, similar to when Editorial jumped from Quark and OS 9 to InDesign and OS X.

We are also getting Liners Online, which will allow people to purchase classified ads right on our site. This will be installed soon.

August 6, 2007

Blast Factor now weighs in at 400 MB

Blast Factor, with the Multiplayer add-on, and the Advanced Research add-on, comes to a whopping 398 MB.

The Advanced Research add-on was $4.99 and doubles the games levels, from seven to 14, which includes new enemies and new bosses as well.

Thats a pretty good value for your money, but i guess you pay for 1080p visuals in a 400 MB arcade game.

Soft Launch for The Grand Scene

I got The Grand Scene off the ground early last week. It is a soft launch, a very soft launch. This is an events calendar powered by Helios Calendar, which I have a lot of the templates customized for our design.

I still have some work to do, however. As I want the event listings and detail pages to look better, have more information.

I have OpenAds installed to handle the banner rotation, though I do not have that setup yet. All the articles on the site will be in Movable Type, so I have to integrate Helios with Movable Type.

Then there is the software for the classifieds section. Like I said, this is a soft launch. The events listings work, and the informational pages are up, which is what we were aiming for when things went live last week.

August 10, 2007

And Another One Bites The Dust

You know, saying that the 360 hardware failure problem has gotten to epic proportions doesn't seem that far fetched these days.

Fellow BC Editor Josh Hathaway is the latest victim of a dead 360. I can't count the people I personally know who have had dead 360s on my fingers and toes anymore, how sad is that!

And its not like Josh played his 360 a ton. He played one game (Madden 07) and did not play every day.

I sure hope this latest batch of Xbox 360 hardware has been greatly improved. The failure rate, whatever it is, is a joke at this point.

August 14, 2007

Buy my 360!

That's right folks. You can own MY 360! The one where all of the magic on the review section of Blogcritics comes from. Well, most of it anyway. It's simply become too much for me. The achievements are an addiction, and once I admitted I had a problem, I had to take drastic steps. Selling it was my only option.

I'm missing out in the finer things in life, at least I'm told I am. It's time to explore other things. I mean, if I died right now, I would have never had the chance to experience 360 games in HDMI coming from the brand new 360 Elite I'll be buying with the funds. How could I miss something like that? It would be a tragedy I tell you, a true tragedy. That's not going to happen.

August 15, 2007

Superbad Screening Security

Superbad is one of the funniest movies of the year.

What's not funny are the "security measures" taken by the studio to prevent piracy at an early screening I just got back from. You can't enter with a cell phone that has a camera of any kind. You need to hand it over to an employee who seals it in a bag, and you're then given a ticket with a number (think county fair or arcade redemptions) indicating which is yours. Lose the ticket, and I don't know what the hell you do.

Continue reading "Superbad Screening Security" »

August 18, 2007

Ken Edwards Not Leaving The News

So Brandon just wrote on my Wall (on Facebook, about a week ago now) asking if I left the news. Must have seen my Status about working for myself now.

Me leave the news? Come on, you have got to be joking!

I do work there less, yes, but I am still working for Student Publications.

It just so happens that the majority of my time is spent at my office in downtown BG (133 N. Prospect St. -- stop by!) and not in the newsroom.

I work with two print designers, and I handle web and database development. I have finally, after five years, taken my company (Meancode Media, LLC) out of my apartment. I could not be happier with the arrangement.

So, if you need a web site or web hosting, you know who to call :P (Shameful plug, I know)

Two week old Intel iMac hard drive died

Man, when it rains it pours! We have had major hard drive issues this summer, but that is another blog post. We just got AdManager Pro 4 installed, and have been using it for about two weeks, though only one week of "real world" use.

Yesterday it started making an odd noise, and crashed. I got it working again but this morning it was not working; blinking question mark icon. It must have crashed again before 11 PM, because that is when the automatic database backup goes off, and we have no backup for 8/16.

After BGSU ITS replaced the hard drive, I was on the phone to MediaSpan to get FrontBase and the AMPServer all setup and running.

What a long day, especially after being in the newsroom late making sure the Freshman Edition went out the door smoothly.

Sadly we have to re-enter a day's worth of ads. And yesterday was about the busiest day of the year.

There is no reason for that iMac hard drive to go bad in two weeks. Like I said, when it rains it pours.

Xbox 360 Guitar Hero II Glitch

I wonder if this is a common glitch. I talked to my RedOctane PR rep. about it, and he had not heard of it before, but I just talked to Kevin and he had the same thing happen to him.

Both of us had the glitch happen when doing the same thing: deleting a band out of our profile. The next time we went to play the game, it froze the 360, ever time.

The only way to be able to play Guitar Hero II again (on the same profile) is to go into Memory and delete your GH II save file. Meaning you lose all your progress.

Not fun at all.

Yet Another Sign of the Apocolypse

If you look at my 360voice page, you will notice that as of Thursday Guitar Hero II surpassed Oblivion on my list of top 10 played games.

Yes, I have played Guitar Hero II more than Oblivion now. Not only that, but more than myself and Jordan has played Oblivion, as he plays it while signed into my account.

Scary I have played it that much, I know.

I have gotten a lot better at it, mainly due to playing Encore: Rocks the 80s so much. The chords in that game are killer.

August 23, 2007

Even More Reasons I Hate Flash

I really want to like Flash. I really do. But it does so many things wrong. When displaying HTML objects over a Flash file, such as with the HTML drop down menu over the Flash file, you get a "flicker" every once in a while, sometimes the background of the rollover goes transparent too.

This is what is called a "feature" of Flash, and there is no way around it. That is just the way life is.

The second reason in today's lesson is a bit more technical. It has to do with the z-index of the web page (think of layers in Photoshop, or layers of a cake, or whatever) and the fact that Flash totally ignores it completely.

Flash always rises to the top layer, no matter the z-index you set. The only way to deal with this is to set a parameter making wmode = opaque. The fact that wmode does not equal opaque in the first place is even more baffling.

This makes combining Flash and HTML objects a total pain in the ass. This is why many sites do not have hybrid designs, or if they do, Flash is completely contained in one area and it does not interact with anything else on a page.

You would think by version 9 of something they could make Flash more usable. Flash is a usability nightmare. I fear it always will be. It is really a shame that SVG never caught on.

August 26, 2007

TTAM #3: My Referb 360 Sucks

So I have a refurbished Xbox 360 now, thanks to the RROD. I have two complaints with it, both of which are really irritating me lately.

Problem #1) I turn the system on my the wireless controller, the 360 does not actually turn on (no video signal) but the green light in the middle of the Ring of Light stays on. The controller never syncs with the console either.

Using my remote to turn the system off and then on again sometimes works, but not always. I usually have to power down the unit completely and then turn it back on again.

Problem #2) Even though I have the options checked in the Dashboard, my "new" 360 does not connect to Xbox Live. It signs into my profile just fine, but then will not login to Xbox Live.

Like I said, two annoying glitches in my referb 360. Why can't Microsoft make solid hardware? Oh, thats right, because they are a software company.

I Am Now Basecamp Free - switched to dotProject

I have said a lot about Basecamp over the past few years. I have been a user for a while now, and the service now is better than ever. Sadly, most of my clients were not using it, so the $50 I was spending per month to organize my projects was not seeing a return on investment beyond personal use (and that does not count in the bottom line).

There is a free, open source, project management tool out there called dotProject. Since it is open source it is quite rought around the edges. It can do so much more than Basecamp, but it is at least 10x more complicated, even to do simple stuff.

It can handle time tracking down to the minute detail, and can even do invoicing if you use an older version (that of course I am not using). One thing I miss is the To-Do lists from Basecamp. A third party has developed a To-Do like module called "Action Items" but it, like most of dotProject itself, has a clunky interface.

But in the end it is the bottom line that matters, and saving $50 a month is worth the idiocyncrisies of dotProject. It is a good piece of software and keeps me on task, so in that reguard, it does exactly what I need it to do.

Now I just have to figure out how to create users with limited access! I know it is possible as the software has pretty granular permissions. Thankfully there is an active community forum to answer questions.

Get Paid to Take Your Kid to the Library

That's right folks, we live in a world where we need to pay parents to get their kid to go to the library. Oh, and remember, it's the video games fault.

August 28, 2007

Jeanne d'Arc for PSP is amazing

Initial Impressions:

I am only a couple days into playing Jeanne d'Arc on PSP, and I have to say, I am stunned. If you're a RPG fan, specifically ones more strategy oriented, this is a fantastic game.

Every aspect of the game has a polish not seen that often, especially not on the PSP (sadly). You will have to wait until the full review on Blogcritics - I also want to get a bit more game play under my belt before I write a review.

I just wanted to say that this is a game not to be missed.

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