February 2008 Archives

February 3, 2008

Cabela's Free "Limited Edition" Catalog

Okay, so today the USPS guy nocks on my door and by the time I get out of bed to get to it he has left; normal. When I open the door, laying at my feet is a cardboard box from Cabela's with the Free "Limited Edition" Catalog; not normal.

Why is this not normal you say? It is a hard bound, super-glossy catalog. Its like the ones you would go through as a kid and circle the things you wanted Santa to bring you, only a zillion times better.

After leafing through this one, of which I did circle a few things I would like ;) I get the feeling that Cabela's has too much money. I mean what store, even the "Word's Foremost Outfitter" spends this much money on a catalog, and how many do they send out?

It even has special cut pages, so when you open them they are multi-tiered and stuff, with fold out tabs and junk. This is high class stuff. I mean the box even has Worlds Foremost Catalog™ -- yes, they trademarked that, too.

So I call up my dad, who is a bigger Cabela's shopper than I am, and he didn't get one. He tells me that he got one of the hard-bound catalogs a few years back, they were selling for $20 with $10 off, so he bought one just for the novelty of it.

I wonder if it has coupons or something in it. We live in a crazy marketing world.

February 4, 2008

Blu-ray Saga Comes to Close, Happy Ending Inside

This Blu-ray saga specifically so I don't have to recap.

Last week, Best Buy provided me with the information that proved they in fact processed the return as the exact same time as the sale. Why they didn't do this earlier, who knows? So, that brought this all back on the bank, and I filed a complaint with the BBB of Cleveland where they're located plus the Attorney General and followed up with the local news channel who was helping me along.

Today, I went to deposit my paycheck as I never had a chance this weekend, and when the teller handed me the slip, it had way more money on it than I thought it should. I asked her to make sure she deposited this into the right account as I knew I didn't have that much money. She double checked, and lo and behold, there sits a full credit for the rest of the overdraft fees I've been fighting for.

I win.

Matt Paprocki - 1
Charter One Bank - 0

Not sure which complaint actually convinced them to do it (or maybe the combination), but at this point, I don't care. Thanks to any and all who helped even if they'll never read this. So, to restate:

I win.

February 6, 2008

Terra Soft Releases Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 for Apple, IBM, and Sony PS3

Just the really important details.

Yellow Dog Linux v6.0 supports:
- Sony PS3.
- Apple PowerPC G4, G5.
- IBM System p (JS2x, 510, 520, 540).
- 802.11b Airport auto-configuration; Extreme with configuration.
- Audio on all tested machines.
- Sony PS3 Sixaxis game controller.
- Cell phone internet connections with configuration.

Yellow Dog Linux v6.0 key features:
- E17 & Gnome installed by default, KDE included.
- Gnash, the Flash work-alike.
- Ekiga VoIP, Pidgin IM/IRC, and Fluendo codec installer.
- kernel v2.6.23, gcc v4.1.1, gblic v2.5, and Eclipse v3.2.2.
- The only Linux distribution to include by default Cell SDK v3.0.
- IBM iRT (interactive raytrace) demo available via YDL.net Enhanced.

I am downloading the ISO right now. Once I have time to play, I will have a full report.

Devil May Cry 4 in the House

I would much rather play Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360, but considering the series has been a Sony exclusive in the past, I guess it is fitting that Capcom sent the PS3 version of DMC4.

Capcom always sends great stuff with their review material, and this is no exception. The Art of Devil May Cry 4 is a pocket sized hard-bound art book, about 50 pages.

Also included is the Tome of Knowledge, a reviewer's guide also with some nice artwork in it. This game has the most elaborate embargo I have ever seen; I mean it, it has a multi-tiered flow chart! Luckily we are past that embargo by now.

I can't wait for the reported 20-minute load time for the initial install.

February 7, 2008

Stormwire is really starting to irritate me

Take a look at this screen shot:


This is a single processor machine and anything over 5.0 and there are problems. So while they tell me my sites are not down, I sure as hell cannot access them -- which means to me that my sites are down.

Rear Bumper Accident

As promised, here is the damage to my rear bumper. The Bumper cover shows the damage, but the Absorber and Reinforcement are what are really damaged.

Click for a 640x480. Hit the jump for a picture of how far I can push the Bumper cover in where the kid hit me.

Continue reading "Rear Bumper Accident" »

February 10, 2008

Accomplishment: River of Red has been unlocked!

Hey I think this calls for a celebration! Why? I just got my first PS3 "Accomplishment." I guess that is better than their original name, "Entitlement."

So my first Achievement, err, I mean Accomplishment, on the PS3: River of Red has been unlocked!. What is it for you say? Yea, so do I. What the hell does it mean?

There is no description. It is also on a lame XMB looking black screen. I had to consult someone who has the 360 version of DMC4. Which is lame, Sony. River of Red is for "acquired 10,000 red orbs."

How can they copy something so utterly engrossing about the 360 experience and make it un-fun?

I also got Rookie Devil Hunter, though I have no clue what the meaning of it is. Really, Sony, the point of getting Achievements/Accomplishments is that you feel as though you have accomplished something. And this is not feeling as though I have accomplished anything.

Ah, I found it, again thanks to the 360 version of DMC4: Rookie Devil Hunter (10 points): Defeat a total of 100 enemies. Well, except for the 10 points thing.

February 12, 2008

So... sick...

Dear god. There's sick and then there's "please someone stick me with a plasma grenade from Halo and get it over with." That's where I am.

Saturday night I come home from work and feel fine. I get some needed writing done, and start playing Halo. About 20 minutes into the session, I start feeling sick. Like, rapidly heading downhill by the minute. Sunday morning and afternoon was spent in the hospital. I woke up about 4 AM and my cough had caused so much pain in my chest, I could barely breathe. Here it is on Tuesday and I've slept maybe a total of three hours over the past two nights because of this crap.

I'm headed to the doctor again this afternoon to get something that my actually help because the hospital meds sure as hell didn't. I just took another freelance job too and I haven't even started. I can barely stay awake to type this, yet I can't sleep either because this damn cough doesn't let me.

February 13, 2008

Exclusive Guy Kawasaki Interview with TheDigitalLifestyle.tv

Watch this video as Guy offers his thoughts on the Macbook Air, the blogosphere, and talks about his new online venture, Alltop.

His comment at the end about the blogosphere is priceless.

Oh, and my thoughts exactly on the MacBook Air.

February 15, 2008

My Apartment Heater Died

It sure was cold Sunday night. Colder than it has been in a while. I know, I was up playing Devil May Cry 4. I also know because the electric heater that brings much warmth to my apartment in the winter died. It made some rather awful sounds a machine should never make, then went kaput.

The repair guy was so busy Monday he could not make it out until Tuesday morning at 11, my landlady said. She left me a heater for the night. I figured it was a nice sized space heater -- no, it was a warm-your-ass-while-sitting-on-the-john heaters.

So it was cold Monday night, inside my apartment. It got fixed Tuesday and now life is back to normal. And by normal of course I mean my apartment has heat again. If you were thinking of any other kind of "normal" than you don't know me well.

The Verizon Wireless Rant

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you might have heard Matt or I sound off about how "wonderful" Verizon Wireless is. But this one takes the cake.

I do not know who to be more pissed off at, Verizon Wireless, or 2 B Mobile, the Verizon Wireless store downtown. A few months ago, as in, four, I switched from a 450 to 900 minute a month plan, because I had gone over (way over) two months in a row.

Last night I called Verizon Wireless tech. support on an entirely different matter (good fodder for another rant actually, they could not help with my problem unless I called them from a different phone -- my cell phone is my only phone.

The lady I talked to was at least nice and very helpful. She looked into the problem best she could without having a tech. call my cell phone to figure out the problem. She noted that my bill was coming out and it was rather high, because I had severely gone over my minutes. "How the heck did I go over 900 minutes!" I ask.

Here I have gone four months on the 450 minute plan. Now, those who know me know I do not get irate, I have a pretty high boiling point, but that lit my fuse. The smart ass, cocky, pimple-faced prick down at 2 B Mobile never changed my plan to 900 minutes a month. And I sure as hell would like to know what he was doing because it took an age to sit in the store while he was "working" on my account.

Needless to say I was credited $78.55 without too much bitching, and was *told* I was put on the 900 minute plan. I am not trusting anyone connected to Verizon any more so will be calling them back to double check. That or login to my account on their web site. Or both.

Kind of makes you want to switch carriers. You know, to AT&T. And get an iPhone. But its not like they are any better.

I Beat Devil May Cry 4 Today

First game for 2008 that I have beat is DMC4. And a PS3 game to boot! I don't get to finish too many games these days, and this one is surely worth finishing.

Full review on BC soon.

February 16, 2008

Reminder: Download GHIII Aerosmith Free for 2 Days

Don't forget to download "Dream On" now through 11:59pm (Pacific Time) Monday, February 18th. After that it is not free, though I cannot find how much it will cost.

The most notable item here however is the fact that Sony can in fact put DLC on their PSN Store on a day that is not Thursday. This is a concept that Sony should embrace more regularly. You know, like on Tuesdays when Rock Band has new songs.

February 17, 2008

TTAM #5: All Those XMB Screens in PS3 Games

Developers are getting better, but not by much. As a matter of fact, I cannot think of a PS3 game that has NOT had those damn XMB screens that you have to hit OK for. Thought I know there have been one or two I have played and said THANK YOU to the developer.

What am I talking about? When a PS3 game loads it many times has one, two, three (no joke) "select OK" screens before you can load the game proper. And this is even before you load the saved game, which also uses the XMB (that is a good thing, I like uniform methods of loading games). Take Devil May Cry 4 for example, as the latest in the long list of developers who JUST DON'T GET IT.

When I load the game, it has to warn me, every time, not to turn off the console when the hard drive indicator light is active. Well no shit sherlock. And considering it installed 5 GB of data on my drive, that is all the time I am playing the game. But this menu, and many more like it, are like model dialog boxes on a computer; nothing else is going to happen until you select "OK." And like I said, some of these PS3 games have 2 or 3 of these suckers. This glaring problem, that sticks out like a sour thumb, is that the 360 games do not have this problem. Sure, they have warning screens, but that is just it, they are screens, and progress to the rest of the loading screens/logo animations/intro movies/game menus/whatever so that you can start a game, and without thinking too much, be at the main menu ready to load your game.

Off the top of my head, Virtua Fighter 5 had 3 of these such screens, it was outright irritating. Why must you create these screens that you must hit X (or what is even worse, in some cases O) to actually load the game? If you haven't guessed by now, I like to put the disc into my console, sit back in my couch, and play the game. That is why we chose to play console games. If I wanted to click "OK" 15 times before I got to the menu I would be playing PC games.

I am Blu-ray Certified and So Should You

I guess AVS posted about this a while back, and Matt passed it along to me. You sign up for an account, then "watch" all the movies, take the quiz, and get a free Blu-ray movie. And a Certification pin, and "Blu-ray Disc Pocket Guide."

Anyways the training videos are a riot and you get a free movie out of it. And a cool pin.

February 18, 2008

Yellow Dog Linux 6 Available on DVD, Pre-installed on PS3s

You might have remembered me blog about YDL 6 already. It was, on Feb. 5, only out for ydl.net Enhanced users. It is now out for all, an can be bought on DVD, or even pre-installed on a 80 GB PS3.

Why would you buy Linux? For the support from the great YDL community, of course. It also will not be available to download on public mirrors until March 3.

Check Out The Pigskin Podcast

I am now hosting a new podcast, the Pigskin Podcast. Getting them into the iTunes directory wasn't as hard as I thought. The site is using MTOS 4.1, as is clearly evident by the default skin, but the Podcast plugin by Byrne Reese really makes adding a podcast to posts look nice, with a flash widget.

Joel Hammond, one of the four guys who do the Pigskin Podcast, worked at the BG News years ago. You never know when old friends will need blog hosting ;) What a perfect opportunity for a shameless plug: If you are looking for affordable blog hosting with phenomenal support, let me know at ken [at] meancode [dot] com.

February 19, 2008

New Look For Breaking Windows

Yes, I finally got sick and tired of the default MT3 theme, and more importantly, found some "free time" to modify the theme with my own graphics.  Hope you like it.

For those wondering, the red image behind the blog name is part of a piece of artwork I made some eight (!) years ago when I was creaing fine art, instead of the commercial art that I create these days.

I also added the "Social Networking" block in the right-hand column. I will be expanding that. I looked at Action Streams look really cool, they are a lot of work to setup. And while I have a couple hours to devite to changing the graphics of the skin, I don't have time to upgrade to MT4, plus right now I do not see the benefit.

I do have some more additions to make to the blog, and will post more once I have time to add them. 

Introducing Rants & Reviews, Sort Of

This is a teaser, and nothing more. We are a week or so away of launching a new project called Rants & Reviews. Stay tuned, I think you will like it.

Blu-ray Wins; CNET on Royalties

We now know that Blu-ray has won the "format war." Is this Revenge of the Betamax? Who knows, but the dust has settled and HD DVD has taken a bow now that Toshiba has made it official today. Sony took a gamble and put Blu-ray in the PS3. Me, being an early adopter to the PS3 (for games, of course) am one of the many gamers that are glad they did.

Continue reading "Blu-ray Wins; CNET on Royalties" »

February 20, 2008

BC Multiplayer Chat #12; Guitar Hero III, Devil May Cry 4 Giveaway

Wow look at this -- you get a two-for-one post special here today! Be sure and listen to our 12th show, I think we did a great job. See the show notes.

If you have not already, please sign up for our giveaway. BC Gaming is giving away three copies of Devil May Cry 4 and one copy of Guitar Hero III. 

The Taco Bell Rant

Ah, yes, Taco Bell, otherwise known as "Toxic Hell" -- is a chap place to get lunch. It is right down the street from the office, too. I decided to go there to grab lunch and take it back to the office. You know, the usual eat lunch while you work type of day.

I kid you not, it took over 30 minutes to get my food. I know this because they print the time on your reciept. Can you believe that? And then the guy who handed me the food had the balls to say "and those chelupas are fresh." 

February 21, 2008

WipeOut Pulse Stats

Wipeout Pure had statistics, but not like this. This game has 12 pages of various bar charts and numbers galore. You want to know how many units of damage taken from cannon fire? You got it. What about how much timed played just online? Check. Yes, you can feed your inner statistics nerd.

PixelJunk Monsters Demo, Finally

It is about time that the PS3 gets a demo of PixelJunk Monsters. If you are not familiar with the game, think Tower Defense with a pretty nice looking art style. Why don't we have demos of PSN games like we have demos of XBLA games? I mean really

Continue reading "PixelJunk Monsters Demo, Finally" »

Introducing Snap Shots from Snap.com

You may remember I had Snap Shots installed a little while ago. Well their service is a lot better now. So I am re-introducing it here today.

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

February 22, 2008

HD DVD players become DVD upscalers in format war fallout

This from Engadget: "In an attempt to clear their shelves of dead HD DVD weight, retailers are taking the obvious step of slashing prices. Others, like play.com are renaming the players."

I guess Circuit City is doing the same thing now too.

It sure is a good thing that Toshiba made the HD DVD format backwards compatable with DVD, otherwise they would really have a lot of dead weight laying around that could not be sold. Hit that link for picture and Google Cache proof. Pretty funny, and genious marketing. 

Ways to Extend Xbox 360 HD DVD's Life

Team Xbox has a must read "editorial" on ways to extend your Xbox 360 HD DVD's life. Priceless. Must read!

WipeOut HD Screens

Less reading and more clicking!

February 23, 2008

Sound SEO Advice from Fathom SEO

One of the guys who worked for me many hears ago, Kurt Kurt Krejny, got a job at a SEO firm. He has an informative blog post, and you should go read it, 10 Traffic-Stealing Weeds That Suck the Life Out of Your Google Garden and How to Yank Them.

AOL ending all support for Netscape on March 1

Read this news from Ars.

It is kind of sad to read this. I may be dating myself here but I am old enough to remember Mosaic Netscape and NCSA Mosaic web browsers. Netscape IPO was in 1995, and I remember that, too.

Later there was the Netscape Navigator browser, I remember version 1.1N very well.

Continue reading "AOL ending all support for Netscape on March 1" »

Microsoft: HD DVD Support for Xbox 360

Strait from the (short) press release:

As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD.  Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market.  As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.  HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.

Continue reading "Microsoft: HD DVD Support for Xbox 360" »

February 24, 2008

Alexi Eichelberb Must Go; Tiger Woods 08 Rant

Dear EA, I just dusted Tiger Woods 08 off my shelf and fired it up. It is nice to have the free Turnberry, Ailsa course that was in Tiger 07 as DLC, thanks for that. Did you ever release that, or the premium DLC for PS3 owners? I am pretty sure you didn't. Glad I have a 360. 

Continue reading "Alexi Eichelberb Must Go; Tiger Woods 08 Rant" »

February 25, 2008

Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper

You might have seen or heard the new commercials for Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper, and you know what, they are true! Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper is quite dessert-y. It says "Limited Edition" on the can though, so I better go find a case or two of this stuff. Yes, if you could not tell, I am a big fan of Dr. Pepper.

February 26, 2008

Gotcha, CAPTCHA! Gmail bot detector system cracked

News from Ars:

The Gmail CAPTCHA has been cracked—albeit not easily—raising new concerns about spammers' ability to abuse Google's e-mail services. Websense Security Labs pointed out the security breach late last week, noting that spammers have a lot to gain by being able to use bots to automatically sign up for new accounts.

So, they have cracked the GMail CAPTCHA, with a 20% success rate. What is the world coming to?

Because you need Twitter stats

Because you need Twitter stats, here they are. The charts on the Presidential candidates and the Super Bowl are quite telling of the usage patterns of Twitter-ers.

Very Bad Journalism; Fairly Decent Photoshop

From Ars and WSJ, via Daring Fireball.

While Gruber's comment is pretty funny, this brings an entirely new meaning to "Photoshop Friday" and yet another black eye to photo journalists everywhere.

This is obviously not the first time this has happened, but this is rather high-profile. It won a major award for the photo photo illustration.

Improv Everywhere: Mobile Desktop

Jason turned me on to Improve Everywhere. Their latest post is about a "mission" at Starbucks where they bought coffee and proceeded to use their desktop PC, monitor and all, inside the store. One even had a Wi-Fi card. Thee agents in all pulled off the stunt, and caught it all on video. Be sure to watch.

February 27, 2008

Internet Party: A night of social networking

If Matt can go on YouTube posting tangents, than I can post this well-executed CollegeHumor video. As with most things at CollegeHumor, it is NSFW (language).

Very well written skit. 

February 28, 2008

Using Barack Obama's Middle Name

From the NPR News Blog:

Using Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, sounds "like a rallying cry for bigots."

No, that didn't come from anyone in the Barack Obama camp. Nor did it come from any liberal pundit defending him. It actually came from someone many liberals consider akin to Darth Vader - Karl Rove.

Well, even McCain apologized.


February 29, 2008

And Another One Bites the Dust

"Oh, the 360 Elites are made better."

My ass. I pop in a rented copy of The Club. It loads fine. Just before I get into the game, the drive starts making this loud grinding noise as if it was tearing the disc to pieces. I quickly eject, and that would mark the final screen I would see off a disc. Nothing else works as far as discs are concerned, the drive sounds like a jackhammer when booting up, and the only thing left are my Arcade games until the coffin arrives.

There goes my 200 straight days of playing on 360Voice.

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