Friday, December 30, 2005

It is the year 2005...

"It is the year 2005. The treacherous Decepticons has conquered the Autobot's home planet of Cybertron." At least, that's how it went in the classic Transformers: The Movie animated film. It's a year of some interesting time. Some of them are good and yet some of them bad. I think I'll make some mentions as to what went on in that year. I'll start off by going along the theme I started this entry.

The year 2005 introduces Transformers: Galaxy Force into the airwaves. To promote the series, the Galaxy Force toys also made its debut. Starting with the two prominent leaders of each faction, Master Megatron and Galaxy Convoy, the toy figures from Takara is perhaps one of the most interesting yet since the Car Robot days in 2000. Some figures quickly sold out due to high popularity along with truly original characters such as Vector Prime. As the series progresses, new characters are introduced as well as new figures to promote it. The introduction of Noisemaze and Soundwave clearly made the figures fly off the shelves due to original designs and intricate posing abilities of the two figures. The latter, a major tribute to a vintage character of old age, not only includes a bird designed companion but also features a cassette style ejecting system to show its character roots.

The Galaxy Force series also introduces leader-classed characters designated by the Convoy name. Each Convoy represents the planet by which they protect or govern. With 5 Convoy characters total, it is truly something different that has never been done in a Transformers series. The main character, Galaxy Convoy, leads the Cybertron people. Nitro Convoy speeds down the highway in the name of justice on Planet Speedia. Flame Convoy overpowers all as he governs the inhabitants of Planet Animatros. Live Convoy quietly watches over the people of Planet Earth. And Megalo Convoy stands tall above everyone as the leader of Planet Gigalonia.

Sadly, Takara will silently fade into history as part of TOMY's acquisition and merging. And while this may put the Transformers franchise in question, the series will continue on. The name of Takara has been around for a long time. It'll be a sad time when we will no longer see the Takara brand printed on the box of future Transformers figures.

Next in the list for 2005 is Apple. In one of the boldest yet logical move in computing history, Apple is going with Intel. And while Steve Jobs proclaims that Mac OS X has led a secret double life for the past several years, the notion isn't all that surprising really. With Apple's Darwin kernel being open source and freely available to coders, developers, and hobbyists, it has been a known fact that Darwin can run just fine on Intel x86 hardware with ease. Yet I had this uncertainty as to whether they had co-developed the OS X GUI under both platforms all this time. The event also shed light as Steve Jobs revealed that the machine he was running at the keynote is indeed Intel hardware. Hardware questions were raised immediately and people started investigating on the possibility of running OS X on everyday and common commodity x86 hardware. It was soon revealed that running OS X is possible, albeit with hacks and workarounds to how certain modules were loaded up.

Nature has its say in 2005 as the year with so many hurricanes and tropical storms that they had to resort to using the Greek alphabet for the next series of names. Yet the most devastating was, according to others, Katrina, which hit the New Orleans area "hard." Now, speaking of my opinions here, the New Orleans area is just asking for a disaster ot happen. And while Katrina is nothing more than your average hurricane, the destruction set upon the city is immense due to a particular structural failure -- levees. Many people have suffered so much due to this hurricane yet I cannot helped but wonder why they were not evacuated. The flood of rural towns and areas is one thing. But to hear the staggering number of people lost to the hurricane, it's outrageous.

Moving back to the technology portion, AMD released dual-core versions of their processors onto the world. And people are liking it. At first, the Opteron processors were the first to receive dual-core treatment. Then in the summer, the Athlon64 processors got their share of dual-core goodness, dubbed as the Athlon64 X2. Tests upon tests, benchmarks upon benchmarks, the performance improvement over single-core processors shows greatly in a variety of applications ranging from 3D rendering and modeling to video encoding and editing. And while people will question the need for dual-core processors in gaming environment, the benefit of having one is there in some form or another, no matter how miniscule it may appear or seem.

Intel combats the dual-core offense with their Pentium D processors. Tests were run and scores were recorded. And by many accounts, the Pentium D didn't perform on the same level as the X2. The heat output, the architecture, and the design all contributed to the Pentium D's drawbacks in performing in the same league as the X2. But while Intel took a heavy blow on the dual-core front in the desktop and server arena, the portable market seems to be Intel's only area of expertise. Their Pentium-M processors have shown to be top performers that rival even the desktop counterparts at time. Going with that, Intel is planning to focus on that while providing future users with dual-core processors. Intel still plans on keeping the fight on in the desktop and server market but time will tell what Intel has in store for the rest of us. 2005 is AMD's year for dual-core. It's time to see how 2006 will be.

On the gaming front, there's quite a few notables that stands out. But I'll start with something that went silently and very unnoticed by many. Several years ago, a multiplayer game developed by what was Dynamix created a large-scale game that later defines how online gaming ought to be. Starsiege: TRIBES turned out to be a truly unique game that sets Capture the Flag apart from everything else. It was perhaps one of the best multiplayer online game of all time, simply because not only is it your average Capture the Flag style of game but you're albe to fly around with a jet pack. In early 2005, Vivendi Universal Games ended support for TRIBES: Vengeance, citing major financial loss for the upkeep of support. The truth is out there somewhere. But the ending of support for the title means software bugs and problems will forever exists. Many were angry with the decision to end support for the game yet others have moved on prior to the announcement. To this day, there are some who linger around playing the game.

On the other end of the spectrum, the year 2005 marks the beginning of something different in MMO games. NCSoft, the company who has a hand in the game City of Heroes, and ArenaNet released Guild Wars into the world. With no monthly fee, it is a game that separates itself from the rest of fee-based games like World of Warcraft.

Preorders were made and people were saving up. The Xbox 360 was released in November of 2005 and people spent oodles of cash on it while other made tons off of it. The system debuted with two distinct and separate packages: Core and Premium. Given the price differences between the two, many dumped $100 more for the Premium due to the immense savings. And while there were reported problems with the system, the graphics is rather disturbing. Having seen PC graphics so much that it's natural to me, viewing one of the titles for the Xbox 360 (King Kong), I cannot helped but think "Is that it???" The visuals in the system was unimpressive and I felt rather disappointed in what I have seen. However, it is only one fish in the sea and I have yet to see the rest or know what it is truly capable of.

Moving a bit back into the Apple area, the iPod Video debuted and videos became something new for the iPod. Yet the funny part is what you can put into this. Since the iPod can play videos and since iPod is much more popular due to its design, the possibility of dumping questionable materials into it for playback is very high. Music videos and TV shows became something Apple now offers as part of their overall sales in addition to the music that it originally sold. One has to wonder if it should be called iTunes Music Store now.

On the entertainment front, Star Wars Episode 3 made its debut both in theater and on DVD, selling quite fast for Star Wars' final installment of the 6-episode series. Harry Potter magically appears on the silver screen again in The Goblet of Fire. Tom Cruise fends for himself and his daughter in War of the Worlds. Johnny Depp eerily plays Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story of Batman's origin is told once again with Christian Bale playing the role of Bruce Wayne. And Adam Sandler puts on the football gear again in 2005's version of The Longest Yard.

The year 2005 is quite interesting. Yet one can say the same for every year. There's always something notable to mention in a particular year. The problem is remembering them all. The year comes to a close. And a new one will begin. Time continually goes on. And the human race continues to ponder what will tomorrow bring. Will it be the end of the world? Will a disaster strike? Will a miracle happen? Will a hero be named? Well... we'll see.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bah humbug!

No I am not a Scrooge. But you can say that I'm not always in the spirit of the season. Last year I made a purchase that I somewhat later regret getting. Yes, the price is right. But the rule of "you get what you paid for" held true on me when evaluating the product.

The Belkin 802.11g wireless router (model F5D7230-4) was on sale for about $7 to $8 after the mail-in rebates are applied to the initial price. Needing a wireless router to better complement the laptop I have in possession, I took a shot in participating in America's worst nightmare -- Black Friday. The one single day out of the entire year where people do many of their holiday shoppings. At first, I figure it's just some crazy thing. But experience would tell me otherwise. It's more than just hell on earth. The number of people lining up are like those trying to mass-purchase gallons of water in preparation for a Catagory 5 hurricane. It is that bad.

I figure I'd go with a bit of time prior to opening hour to at least guarantee my shot at this router. Little did I know that there are those waiting much longer. And there I stood in line with the rest of the lunatics enduring the cold and bitter air. It felt like death.

Fast forward to this year's Black Friday. This time, no getting up early. It's getting there early in the ungodly hour of the night. The plan was simple -- grab a 19" LCD panel and Battlefield 2 and go. Part 1 of that plan was easy enough. Part 2, the checkout (go) part, wasn't. Long lines, slowly moving, and nothing to make it faster or easier to check out. An opportunity arises and I and 3 others jumped line to get an early checkout. Two hours spent and I later went to bed.

The problem with the Black Friday dealie is that people rush out. Ungodly hours for deals that didn't seem all that interesting, mixed with hordes of unknowing spending buyers grabbing items off the shelves. And for some items, there's never enough of them in stock to meet the demands of all the buyers. At least, that's what I initially thought. Despite that, I loathe the notion of having to deal with mail-in rebates and waiting for 2 months (maybe more) to get your damn money back. It's stupid and I despise it to the extent that it should have been internationally banned like child porn.

Yet here I am, two items purchased, one of which at an interesting price... at that time. In the retail arena, the current price for a 19" LCD panel with a DVI port would run you at least $250 with or without rebates. It doesn't get any lower than that. I usually want to wait until there's one available at a good price to get it. It seem at the time that it wasn't bad of a price. Of course, most of us fail to see what the future may hold for the LCD market. That's always the risk involved when it comes to purchasing a piece of the computer puzzle.

After an hour of cleaning and rearranging, I managed to make enough room (just barely) to squeeze in the LCD panel. Hooking them up was no problem. Plug the power cable in and the test began... The panel glows and I noticed something right away... something I knew would be a problem no matter how many times I have heard about it regarding LCD panels. So I counted. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9... Nine subpixels stuck, each of the three fundamental colors of light: red, green, and blue. In order to ensure that they are indeed stuck, I ran the test of all-white and all-black, filling the entire screen with one or the other for a good 5 seconds or so. And sure enough, they were stuck.

I sighed and unplugged it. Back to the store. But before I did that, I wanted to make sure that what I have is exchangeable. So I called up their tech line and inquired about their pixel policy. This is necessary as I know that for each LCD panel being sold that the policy varies from store to store and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some won't tolerate a single one and some will tolerate up to an ungodly and unbearable amount. I was then suggested to go to the store and get it exchanged, of which I had mentioned that the store may not have any more in stock due to Black Friday and the possible limited supply of the panels. The person advised me that this is something I will have to contend with the manager for.

Upon arrival, I inquired and then their tech desk brought it to the back to have it looked into. I then inquired that they have any of the panels in stock to ensure I can get a valid exchange. To my surprise and shock, they said they have over 40. Sure enough, I was able to get at least one that should be perfect... or close to one.

The exchange went well as expected and I then returned to the tech desk to have them test for dead and/or stuck pixels. The person said the panel did not show any sign of defect or flaw. I was skeptic at first. So I went back to test it for myself.

The LCD powers on... and the image come into view. Another test of full white and full black, I had it sweep the entire screen... and I found nothing. Nothing. No single red, blue, or green. No single black spot. No single white spot. No single spot of any combination of red, blue, or green. It was devoid of irregularities. The screen was consistent, clean, and... perfect. The panel was flawless. And I was relieved.

Barring from any specification pitfalls when compared to other panels, the monitor was bright. Strangely enough, it's taking me a while to get used to the intense brightness of the LCD, as it sits right next to the 21" CRT monitor. Perhaps the only bad thing about this monitor is the horrendous contrast ratio (the range of whitest white to the blackest black). But that's no big deal to me. The screen works quite well and so far I am satisfied. And I'll be even more satisfied when the rebates are approved, processed, and sent back to me.

Two Black Friday experiences, I have survived both of them. And both times I hated the event. I loathe it in every way and for what it stood for. Of all the goddamn days of the year, why that day? Why not something more traditional? Why not something where everyone can get an equal opportunity shot? But no, the corporations want to take advantage of the twisted mind of the consumers and have them fight over something (and in some cases, that was taken literally). Pathetic and pitiful. Is this what the human race is about too? If there really are intelligent life out there in the far distance of the galaxy, I bet that they are laughing their asses off. I do not want to be a part of it. Yet I had little choice on the matter. I've no inside info as to the amount of stock they have in the inventory room. And I sure as hell do not have any inside info as to how many people are going to purchase a particular item. Had I known, I would have planned appropriately.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm Not Worthy

For those Stardock and WinCustomize visitors who stumble upon this, I'll say this up front:

I'm guilty.

For a while I've been secretively using Stardock's software without a proper license to use them. All those enhanced versions you know of, I probably have them somewhere. Yes, I'm a bad person. And I'm being honest to you right now.

"Why now? Why not earlier?" Well, let's say Stardock finally gave me an incentive on signing up. It's partly due to the activation system implemented into WindowBlinds. But I also find that now is a good time to jump the gun while taking advantage of the 1 year timeframe with the possibility that...
  • IconPackager 3.0 will be out
  • ObjectBar 2.0 will be released
  • A new version of WindowFX made public
  • Virtual Desktops for desktop windowing management
But I'm not worthy. Yet by all means I am entitled to it. I'm undeserving of all those softwares soon to be released. It's just not right.

I was one of those people who wouldn't pay for softwares if it means one can get it for free. I know where to go. I know how to get it. Lowlifes like myself don't have the kind of spending money to really indulge ourselves in quality softwares that make our lives more productive or entertaining. I won't mention what others I have laying about. But you already know just how much of a scum I am for doing this to Stardock.

I don't ask for your forgiveness, nor do I ask for another chance. You take me for who I am. However, there's just one thing different now. There's just one thing that is finally done right for Stardock: I paid my dues.

When all is said and done, Stardock has another customer. Satisfied? Definitely. Whether or not I am deemed worthy is really up to them. If you say that I am being hard on myself, you're being too nice. Given the opportunity, if Stardock had not implemented that activation system, I still would not have paid that $20/$50 up front. Granted, certain activation methods on softwares are fine. However, a certain software developer would be getting into a lot of trouble if such activation means restricting certain other users from getting critical security updates.

In the end, what matters is how you face piracy. Do you take it as compliment? Or do you take it as a financial threat to your company's well-being?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Forbidden Realm

Back when Steve Jobs announce to the world that they're switching to Intel processors, the people were in shock when they find that the OS X that was shown during the keynote was running on Intel hardware. Well, a lot weren't all that surprised by this news all things considered. But the notion that developers are going to get their hands on Intel-based hardware to code on, that raises the age old question as to when it'll be leaked.

As expected, the developer disc was leaked as well as some modifications to the base install hard drive image. And people started trying the OS out... like me.

After some minor hackery and modifications as documented by many people, I was able to finally get a usable dekstop going. Unfortunately, there's little I can do considering the platform I was using (my Pentium-M has no SSE3 support). Safar (their web browser) crashes at various websites. And Firefox has yet to be built into Universal Binary. Updating Safari didn't help, as I incidentally crippled it. Not wanting to continued fixing what was broken, I wiped the partition clean and put my Windows image back into the system. But during the time I was using OS X on my x86 laptop, the OS performed unlike anything I have ever seen. Effects and transitions were all perfect, with minor bugs due to hardware differences. It's amazing how accelerated graphics can make a difference in usability.

Having used OS X for a bit, I feel that Microsoft is in deep trouble. While Windows Vista is developing along, the hardware requirement for OS X is very modest and minimal. It ran with all the effects on integrated chipset hardware, something that Vista is likely not to be able to support or handle for full effects. If the Mac hardware is cheap enough, then perhaps I'll be looking towards to owning one... Maybe...

Friday, October 14, 2005

"DENIED!" - Apples to oranges???

My previous post stated that I made an offer to the seller's in response to the "dare to find it cheaper." And I now have a response from the seller -- Denied. The seller replies with the following:
They do not incurr ebay fees therefore we cannot compare apples to oranges.
Let me be frank and bold to say... bullshit, complete and utter bullshit. The response is less than professional when I got the email. And I am furious as to the person's tone and reasoning in declining my offer.

The auction is completely misleading those like me into believing that I won't be able to find a better deal than what the guy is offering. I have met the dare. And there was nothing to indicate anything that has to be specific regarding to the rules of the dare. It was just a simple and straightforward dare. Being the price-concious buyer that I am, I went ahead and scoured the 'net for a deal that is better. And I found one... at ZipZoomFly.

The offer was submitted with an URL to indicate proof that I have met the dare. However, I only recently got the response that my offer was declined and I am outraged at the reasoning behind it. There was absolutely nothing on the auction listing that indicates there has to be a rule or a limit to that dare. I have rightfully met that dare and was declined wrongfully so.

Now, when you put up an open call/dare for anyone to find an item for less, you are aiming that nobody will ever meet it. As such, you are aiming that nobody will put you at a loss (in $$$). That's the point of a dare... to bolster your superiority of something because you believe nobody can beat you in that something. If no rules are set, anything goes. It's a free-for-all. Dirty tactics will and can be then used.

Apples and oranges are indeed two completely different things. However, nobody said that it has to be restricted to a certain place or to a certain limit. It's wrong to tell me that they're different. It's the same item. And the seller is only selling it through a medium. The seller would then have lost out on two fronts -- not being true to their words and me being a customer. A seller's goal is not to simply profit but to garner as many customers as possible. The more customers you have, the more profits you make. But like any business, there's always a loss somewhere. Sometimes a customer found a typographical error. Without any kind of terms to say that typographical errors cannot be honored, the customer has every right to purchase an item for the misprinted price, despite that it is higher or lower.

I'm truly disappointed in how this turns out. If this is how the seller operates, then they are operating in a deceptive manner. I am frustrated by this and it's only going to reinforce the notion that some items are better off getting from reputable e-tailers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A penny saved

I'm sure that those who ever goes out to buy some fancy stuff would want to save the most money as possible. It's only natural to do so since we'd like to make the most of the dollar. A penny saved is indeed a penny earned. Sometimes people are good at saving money. Others aren't so good.

Perhaps one of the best thing about the online auction site eBay is that people buy stuff up, often at prices that exceeds a person's expected price point. And often I see people bid on some items that I keep tabs on (computer components, toys, DVDs). A lot of those times the amount they bid is beyond the price limit for me. Sure, they may have saved some dollars. But that's just it... they only saved only a few dollars. In the computer world, saving a few dollars means very little when it only takes a week or two for the price to come down by that amount. This is especially true in components that fluctuate a lot, like processors and RAM. For me, I seek out for the best deal possible to ensure that the amount I bid is the amount that'll save me a bunch, not just a few dollars. Factor in shipping costs, and the bidding limit goes even lower.

When Logitech introduced the MX1000 laser mouse, I was anxious to know how it runs with games. However, I soon realized that some people experiences small or minor problems when they run games, particularly when they need to readjust their mouse by lifting it up and setting it down. The supposed delay that they describe made me hold off that hopeful purchase. And then there's the wireless aspect, something I'm not too fond of. Perhaps the one thing that kinda ticks me off about Logitech is how they are not diversed in their offerings when they introduced a new model or product. Lemme explain...

The MX1000 is the first laser mouse from Logitech. It's also wireless. Compare that with Microsoft's introduction of the tilt-wheel mice. Originally it started as wireless but a wired model is soon released. There's also a Bluetooth version as well as a model that includes a fingerprint reader. Microsoft provides more options and all of them came with a tilt-wheel. Look back at Logitech and for months on end their MX1000 was still the only laser mouse in their lineup. And it's still wireless.

Only recently has Logitech finally unveiled two additional mice that uses laser technology, one of interest is the Logitech G5 mouse. This particular model is laser and, at long last, wired. Well, the wait is over... so to speak. The hunt then begins for the bargain to get this mouse into my possession. And so I scour the various price engines and eBay for the best offer. I also check up on the retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City, and Microcenter for availability and prices although none of them has them in stock nor do they offer a better price than the MSRP.

And so I notice that the price for the mouse is starting to drop slowly, with the lowest found at an old favorite called ZipZoomFly at $54.99 with free shipping. Cross referencing through eBay, and I found one particular entry with a text indicating to the seekers and buyers to dare to find it for a cheaper price. Upon closer inspection of the auction, there sits near the price is a 'Best Offer' link for buyers to make their case to the seller.

The first attempt failed due to my offer seemingly falling on deaf ears. My second attempt ought to be more interesting, as I have included more text to better fill the 500 character limit of my offer message. And with my message archived, I hope that this time the seller will take a look in order to see that I have indeed met the dare and have provided indisputable proof that I can get it for less. However, I will fall into the trap that I mentioned at the beginning, saving only a mere few dollars. If my offer is refused or, again, fall upon deaf ears, then nothing is lost. However, if I do not get this offer accepted, I will then question the seller's credibility. Alas, there is no way to actually comment on the item itself. But I'd like to have something like this more publically known to any buyers out there.

Maybe I'll get it. Maybe I won't. Either way, it matters very little to me. It'll just be an added bonus if I can get it for that much since I would have saved some dollars. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More than meets the eye

Having grew up in the 1980s where Nintendo, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and other notable mentions ruled the children/parent market, it seems nothing can come close to the attachment that I have to Transformers and anime. When the two worlds collide with the added backings of Japanese designers and writers, things aren't the same anymore when it comes to American "cartoons."

As the current Transformers: Cybertron series airs on the airwaves of the KidsWB network/channel, the toys being brought out by Hasbro is continuing on in batches and waves. Some of these are simple imports of the Japanese versions, while others are new and are simply recolor of an existing design.

A little historical background, if you will... back in the days of Beast Wars animated by Mainframe, the Transformers franchise is starting, albeit little by little, to gain some momentum. It wasn't until I heard about Takara's 15th anniversary celebration ideas that I heard of various reissues, releases, and plans. As part of their celebration, they started designing their next set of figures to be based on the first incarnation idea of Transformers: vehicles and existing machineries. It caught my attention immediately. And from there, that fandom exploded. The toys, or figures, became much more desirable than ever. But the story did not end there...

Upon the arrival of the Micron Legend (AKA Armada in USA) series and toys, something went wrong. It didn't look as interesting. The colors aren't right and the design seem to be lacking in many of the toys. When Super Link (AKA Energon in USA) arrived, it got worse. The design seems to be going backwards. I have no idea as to why. And I do not know who is behind these horrible designs. There were only a select few that were interesting but they are rare. It seems all hope was lost...

News got around that GONZO Studio is going to be heading the animation on the next series, titled as Galaxy Force. Given GONZO's reputations for animations, it seems things would be interesting. It wasn't until a special preview DVD was released that things are looking much more promising, showing transformation sequences of both Galaxy Convoy and Master Megatron. The 3D render is much better than before and my faith in the series in its design is starting to improve.

Back to the current timeframe, Galaxy Force is heading to its 40th episode and I have not been disappointed ever since it started. The anime has been great and the toys are ever so good. The latest addition, GX-02 Soundwave, is a great tribute to one of the most loyal Destron/Decepticon character in Transformers history. And the toy does not disappoint.

With 13 episodes left (40-52) and only a handful of figures to go, I cannot fathom how Takara will ever repeat the great designs that went into both the characters and figures. For any collector, getting these imported from Japan is very costly. But I firmly believe that it is worth every cent spent on getting them. The quality simply cannot compare to Hasbro's version, which they are known to make cosmetic, sexual, and identity changes.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Zoom zoom zoom

And the latest addition to the game Guild Wars, Sorrow's Furnace, has been released unto the world. Everyone flooded into the servers, towns, and the like, streaming content down to their computers like madmen. I was about to let others do their streaming first, and wait until the surge slows down. However, I became a little curious as to what was changed. Amazingly, the changes are vast. But some of the changes weren't all that great. But that's only my opinion.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I broke down and ordered parts. They all arrived a day earlier than usual. And once the boxes were opened and the parts inspected, I went back to the system to do a final preparation and backup. It is then I issued the final command: Shutdown. And so begins a grueling six hour hardware swap process that includes unmounting the motherboard, cleaning the parts, evicting dust bunnies. The process would have gone a lot quicker had it not been for a piece of metal backplat being stickied onto the motherboard. It took me a good amount of time just to tear it out. Fortunately, the plate came off without any damage to the board. Although I must admit that doing so put me on the highest level of fear and anxiety. Once the plate was removed, it was the usual -- applying thermal compounds, place the CPU in, mount the heatsink, and so forth.

When the system made that single beep after powering up the system, I was happy. The greatest fear to anyone who tinkers with their own system was not hearing that single beep after the system goes through a simple series of tests (aka POST). It was there that the next phase of the upgrade begins: testing the memory. To absolutely ensure that the system runs at the specified speed, I have to test the memory in order to ensure that nothing got fried when I handled the sticks of RAM. So this was a priority.

7 hours later, a reboot, and the third phase of the upgrade begins. There I ensure the CPU has no "defects," as this is also as important as the RAM. After confirming that it works and runs (to a point), I rebooted and start overclocking, a process that pushes the CPU beyond its advertised specfication. After a series of tests, I landed on a very nice 2.4GHz, 2 models beyond the original speed (4600+ vs 3800+). At this speed, it has effectively saved me a couple hundred dollars. But how long it'll last. That's something I won't be able to know for a long time.

The system runs fantastic. After a couple of mishaps in configurations, the system is stable and I am very happy with the performance. Having two cores is unbelievable, and I am thankful that a low-end model can be had for an affordable price point. Given that Intel's Pentium-D is cheaper, the performance benefit and its architectural design doesn't meet what I'd want to do with it. Meaning, as a gamer, I'd like to have it perform. And sadly, Intel just can't perform with their architecture. To add to that, to go dual-core with Intel is perhaps much more costly than one might think, for Intel shoved too many things to the consumers without considering the DIY (Do It Yourself) market.

I am happy with what I have now. I hope this system will last a long time. All that's left now is getting a pair of 1GB sticks or a new video card. Hmm....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Slowing down or speeding up

For a time I've been slowing down my time with Guild Wars, seeing as there are some things that are getting out of control and out of hand. With the recent update, things are a little better, but not by much. It seems things were just about to go downhill... or so it seems.

About last week, I was testing a new setup, a new style if you will. For a long time, my monk character has been dedicated to healing players and computer AIs. I figure a little change may be needed. So I started up a test build to see how well the build works against a bunch of physical and projectile attacking enemies. The test went well and further tweaking is needed. But then I discovered something...

After a couple of test runs to determine how well the build works, I discovered what may be a gold mine for certain special and rare items. After one of many final tweaks, I have confirmed that what I discovered is a hotspot for farming. And further investigation by guildmates also reveal that another certain enemy class can provide such rare items. Shortly afterwards, the run begins. And things picked up for me. At least, for a little while.

Now on to a different topic. I've finally broke down and made the order. There's a new baby coming home and it'll arrive by next week. As soon as I've confirmed a few things, I'll be able to have a new system up and running in no time. And with it, some drastic improvements to everything, both in CPU power and overall usability. Until then, everyone will have to sit back and wait it out... at least until pictures are then uploaded. *grin*

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

And other notable mentions...

Before it fades away from my memory, I'd like to expand on my personalized list of morons found in the world of Guild Wars. It baffles me just how dumb some people are when it comes to playing the game. And while it may be just a game, there are times when you just gotta wonder if they are really that stupid.

For this entry, I engrave Mystic Fear (aka Peoples Killer) into the stone tablet of morons, assholes, pricks, fucktards, idiots, dumbasses, and whatever kinds of degrading adjectives you can think of. And with good reasons for doing so.

In a society where order and management needs to be maintained, there is a need to put someone in charge, a leader if you will, to ensure that things go according to the task at hand and to supervise the entire performance. It's a common idea used in many places like military and large corporations. Without this kind of hierarchy system, any group being sent out to do a task would easily fall apart. And as such, there needs to be someone to at least give the group some form of direction.

Upon entering the area labeled as the Fissure of Woe, it was mentioned beforehand that a certain individual will be assigned the task of making first contact with enemies and to lure those enemies into the group for an organized and structured attack. This, of course, is a common tactic used in the military as well, to bait enemies into falling into a common trap system where the soldiers will ambush them. However, it seems such a notion is never in the mind of the aforementioned individual, who continued on in attracting enemies when he is not supposed to. Repeated attempts to get the person to stop failed. Eventually, the group informally agreed to not assist him to minimize the risk of failure. That idea worked about one-third of the way to our destination when he died. However, the individual refused to leave and instead stayed where he would constantly harass remaining party members. While the harassment was in text and in compass pings and drawings, the group continued on, battling against the odds and surviving twice.

But while the group eventually died due to a mistake on my part, it was proven to that individual twice that he alone cannot falter a group whose teamwork made the trip most interesting. There was little to no communications between the remaining members and everyone knew what they are supposed to do. No voice communication software was even involved.

For whatever reasons there are, it's bothersome and tiresome that there are those who do nothing but bring grief and sabotage a party's run. Sadly, people have to live with this fact and try to avoid those who are like this. But perhaps the worst part of all this is the fact that nothing can be done other than simply avoiding them. The administrators cannot deal with them unless it is a serious matter. And while the problem is serious enough for the casual gamers, it isn't according to the administrators. I can only hope that parties I join in the future are sensible, as it is risky and is no guarantee the party I end up on is of any good.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sabotage and Technobabble

This'll be technical for a bit so if you know nothing of computer hardware, you can skip this portion.

Lately I've gotten the upgrade bug and am seeking to upgrade the hardware. However, I ran into a problem when I could not find any hardware that supports a particular series of processor, namely the Athlon64 X2. At first it seem weird that only boards with nForce4 chipsets would be able to use the X2 processors from the start. But I later realize that, after visiting a technical forum, that this is not entirely true. In fact, some nForce3 motherboards are supporting the X2 series with, as AMD has mentioned, just a BIOS upgrade. This came as a great relief as I did not want to dive in that much into the world of PCI Express where the upgrade would then cost me more than anticipated. So far, the only hardware that will be replaced is the CPU and motherboard, along with the heatsink since I have no proper heatsink for an Athlon64.

I nearly panicked when I realize that I may be screwed over when I have set my sight on a motherboard make and model. But thankfully things are starting to look better. At the moment, the lowest price for a X2 CPU is $435. Combined with a motherboard would make the grand total of over $555, not including the heatsink to cool the CPU down. However, recent news say that there is a new CPU model being released to be slated at a price of $345 (in 1,000 quantities). This'll be a welcome thing for me as it'll make getting a X2 CPU more affordable and opens up the potential for overclocking. Hopefully the upgrade won't delay me by a lot. I'm anxious to get my hands on the lower-end X2 and will be relieved when I finally get it installed.

Now on to different matters. In my time in playing Guild Wars, I've come across players of varying types. Some good, some bad, some I've no opinions of. You pass by them every time much like passing by another person out on the streets. For this blog entry, I'll be focusing on a particular player whose beliefs does not work or blend with others. I have contemplated for a while as to whether or not to start publishing names of people who has shown intelligence lower and beyond zero IQ.

Enter "Ro The Rock," a warrior who believes to strike while the enemies are standing and waste no time to do so. He also expects everyone to come along and help him before he is killed, which is quite unlikely given the location the party was in. In the game, there are two high level areas called the Underworld and Fissure of Woe, both of which costs 1,000 gold to enter and features enemeies with levels no lower than 24. Upon arriving at the Underworld, the area is littered with Battle Aatxe, a minotaur derivatives set at level 29. Hits from these enemies range in the 150 and up, of which no player can single-handedly stand going against one of these creatures.

After virtually sabotaging the entire run for the whole party, the person left after dying. It was then that the person deserves no respect nor deserves any cooperation from anyone. He would resort to using foul language whereas I continued hassling the person via private message. If any, that person ought to live the rest of the gaming days without anyone else to assist him, ever.

So I hope this list will only be a small one and I hope that people may spread the word about this bad individual. In the game, it's more about teamwork than about being Rambo.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's running a what?

On Monday, June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs basically dropped the bomb. The rumors that ran rampant throughout the various news and fan sites, it all suggested it. And it turned out to be true. Apple's going to Intel for the CPUs. All I could say is... 'wow...'

All that news really took time for it to sink in. The news of it, shocking everyone, surprising everyone, and placing everything to rest, it was so bewildering to me that I had trouble believing it to be true. But all it take was a little bit of time and some thinking. And that's when it hit me -- the hardware.

People who have been tinkering with PC hardwares for a long time know that the PC has some really great stuff yet, at the same time, has the most ancient and outdated code. I'd know this for myself personally having to deal with the workings of the BIOS, the very software that enables the PC to start up and initialize the hardware. It's old, legacy, and very outdated. Yet nobody notices them nor even realize that we're pulling an ancient code that emulates ancient hardware for no reason at all. Change is needed and it's hard to make that change unless hardware manufacturers do something about it. It's very sad to see this, as there is so much potential in making such a drastic change as overhauling the entire BIOS methodology.

The BIOS architecture basically emulates an old Intel CPU model, an 8088 or 8086 (which one, I forget). I do not know when the BIOS was introduced or extended to but it's probably during the introduction of the 286 or 386 line of CPUs. At that time, it was fine since it made PCs more modular and configurable. Sure, it introduced problems and limitations but it was good for its time... for... its... time.

The Apple iMacs, PowerMacs, iBooks, and PowerBooks, they all have some specific hardware that makes it all customized and more 'natural' to OS X. And what happened was that the BIOS those hardware uses is vastly different from the BIOS PC systems use today. There was no limitation in how big a HD can be. There was no problem when you plug in hardware designed to work on Macs. The aim and goal was to make it 'just work.' Well, the idea is great and sound but it also limits the peripheral market. Designing stuff around a specification to a niche computer market is very limiting and won't net you a lot of profit. Quite a problem that creates...

So Mac OS X will eventually run on Intel hardware. Steve Jobs was also using OS X on that very hardware at the WWDC. Yet, he is willing to take that risk, that chance, to jump ship and hop aboard on the Intel bandwagon, the x86 bandwagon. It's the greatest news for all PC fanatics everywhere who has ever yearned and wanted to use OS X. Well, the general idea is grand. That's the good news. But with every advantage comes a disadvantage. There's a downside to going with the x86 architecture. Above I have mentioned of an ancient code that runs upon boot time. The BIOS has limitations that may make it difficult for Mac OS X to live on. So the questions were raised as to whether or not Apple will make it usable on common commodity PC hardware. The question lingers and I've yet to see an official statement on the matter. But... there's always this particular speculation.

Intel has a project going on with a few other companies to develop a replacement to the ancient BIOS that every PC has today. Such project could very well become a reality. What does this has to do with OS X? It's the hardware. Apple may very well end up continuing their Apple designed/customized computers instead of using common commodity x86 hardwares. Using everyday common x86 hardware will save Apple a lot of money in building their own machines but the cost would be legacy hardwares being plugged into the system. That would be a bad thing. On the other hand, Apple can design and manufacture their own motherboard but have them loaded with a customize BIOS designed to take advantage of today's speedy CPUs. And Intel can help Apple achieve this by using that project to turn Apple x86 Macs into a very interesting series of computers. A BIOS replacement would mean faster boot time and you may end up seeing a computer show its OS logo in a matter of moments, not seconds.

I have seen projects that want to replace the current BIOS generation with something that takes advantage of today's CPUs. To completely elimiate the BIOS would mean systems would boot so much faster, it may actually shave a good 5-10 seconds off the average startup time for Windows. Why? Because hardware detection that has to go to the BIOS for access would be so much faster, initializing anything would be instantaneous and without limit. It's disheartening that the market doesn't see that though. And so we are continously tortured by the legacy software that sits on the very hardware that make our computers work.

An Apple x86 computer will be a very interesting piece of hardware. And I'd look forward to seeing what kind of changes there will be when we finally see a PowerMac come 2006. Then again, that's still a year off. And many things can change 'till then. However, because of this move, I'll happily say that I may very well end up getting an Apple computer very very soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A long, long time ago...

I'll make it simple. The days of Tribes is seeminly ending. Gone are the days we'll be able to fly into the air with the jetpack, shoot, snipe, mortar, or fire off that lucky shot for a mid-air kill.

It's quite disheartening that it has to come to an end. With Battlefield 2 demo already released, and the game being released in retail on the 22nd of this month, things are looking up who are wanting a team-based game that focuses on strategy and skill rather than simple run-n-gun. It's all fine and dandy. Meanwhile, I happily play along with my character in Guild Wars, building that character up into something worthwhile, finding rares, runes, and special weapons. Hopefully, it'll be worth the effort. And while the Player vs Player (PvP) aspect of it is no interests for me, the option is always there.

Nowadays, I find that this little place is being neglected, all due to the time spent on Guild Wars and possibly the BF2 demo. Eventually, and soon, I'll have something worthwhile to show. And maybe I'll jump on the PvP bandwagon. Then again, perhaps not. Who knows?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

the road not taken

Or perhaps it'd be called the road less traveled. Either way, playing through Guild Wars has been quite interesting. Going through the various lands, areas, dying, living, and ressurecting, it's all been a great experience. However, I now wander the endless sand dunes of the desert where the enemies are tough, numerous, and a pain in the rear end. It is now nigh impossible to get by due to certain devices that won't work unless one has at least one human partner. In the end, I only ended up waiting as comrades catch up. The voice communication software used in coordinating strategies, attacks, and assists made the teamwork all the more rewarding, for certain areas where it is difficult to get by is now a little easier. Alas, due to the complicated layout of various enemy spots and groups, we were defeated numerous times. And so we broke off, to tackle the problem another day. It was needed, to ensure that we do not wear ourselves out.

It was refreshing that I was able to play with these people, where it's much more easier to get by spots where it'd take me a longer to complete due to the difficulty nature of the quest and mission.

And so another day ends, and a new one begins. My character will continue its quest for enlightenment soon, along with his comrades, hopefully.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jacking In...

The title is misleading. In truth, I'm about to play Guild Wars to my heart's content for the first time. No time limit. No rushing. Just full-on exploration of the vast world presented in the game.

On Tuesday afternoon, I called up my local EB Games to inquire on the availability of the game. It doesn't surprise me that the store had it in stock with my copy waiting. In my rush to get the game, I forgot my Pre-Order slip that would have simplified the process of getting my copy. Well, the purchase was made and my identity proven using my driver's license. And there the box sits for a few minutes, waiting to be opened. In order to purge what leftover content that remains from the previous betas, I've uninstalled the game and installed straight from the CD. As I type this out, O&O Defrag is currently defragmenting my partition. Another 40 minutes to go and I'll dive right in. Signs of addiction? I hope not. In all honesty, I just hope that it doesn't pull me in too much like Phantasy Star Online.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Start : Run...

After hitting that snag and doing additional research, the transition to the new design is finally completed. But there are still things needed to be tested before I can be sure that it works fully. Hopefully, the template works as it should and that there'll be no weird surprises as time moves on.

On other parts, Guild Wars has finally gone gold. And given from the time frame it went gold up until store date, it should arrive on time to meet the April 28th date w/o much delay. I guess I'll be ... 'absent' during those times.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Well, it seems my goal of completely customizing the blogger template hit a major snag. I just finished the template design only to hit a major roadblock due to a certain template tag that's being used. Unfortunately changing it over will have to wait another day or two, maybe 3. After a quick look at the help system, I find that it's possible to simply use individual elements to display what I wanted or need. I was pretty close to completing this, only to have this roadblock hit my face. Well, the change will still be smooth, albeit slow.

Looking forward

And so the last beta weekend event for Guild Wars has come to a close. For a late entry that is nearly a week after it started, I had to process a few screenshots so that I can post it up here.

The ending to the final event turned out to be one amazing show. But no show is complete without some amusing entertainment and chaos. ArenaNet provided that for those able to participate and witness it. I'll let the screenshot speak for themselves.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3
Screenshot 4
Screenshot 5

Anxiously waiting for April 28, I hope to have the game on hand to get started.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sleep? Nah...

After running around in Guild Wars for a few hours, I'd like to put up some blurbs here for those to read. So... here goes...

The April (final) Beta Weekend Event started off as normal, seemingly starting at the 12AM PST mark as I checked half-hour past it. However, one thing that I am feeling disappointed in is the consistant lag issues I've been getting. While I firmly believe the issue is not with my connection nor my router, certain doubts made me think that perhaps it's time to reboot the router. But at what cost? The router has yet to run into any form of problem and I've just created a new updated kernel for it to use. All that's left is to let it reboot if I am forced to reboot.

Internet performance with the router standing at over 30 days of uptime show that I have yet to find a flaw that indicates the problem is the router. All bandwidth tests I've ran turn out normal and is within specifications as advertised by the ISP (screw you, Comcast). My computer has been clean of virus, spyware, and any other junk that may possibly infiltrated into my system. It's gone through a mishap reboot before and it was very recent. All in all, I just can't seem to narrow down exactly where the problem lies. Can it be distance? Or is it something else? Whatever it is, I've no way of fixing it.

So what is this particular issue? It's the plain and simple... lag...

Starting from the February beta event, I have been noticing a lot of warpings stemming from what looks to be lag. But how can such a thing be possible? Nothing is eating up download stream and nothing is even uploading either. Up until now, it seems to be getting worse or just as bad as before. I wish I could figure it out exactly where the problem lies. Alas, I'm at a loss.

Other than this issue, things are running great. The new user interface is vastly different and is taking some getting used to. Along with that is another revision to the inventory system. Not only is it possible to view individual containers but one can open all of them in a single window. Along with this improvement, there's a new 'vault' that stores items across characters. The only downside is the 100 or more gold fees associated with it. Nonetheless, it's a welcome addition to the game.

Item drops are interesting now with color variations with certain item types. But I am still finding it a little difficult to make enough gold to craft new items. Hopefully I'll rake in enough to buy new armors for future journeys.

But therein lies a problem... time and effort. Surely enough, the characters will be reset and one-time guests accounts wiped. It's fun to play around in. But then by release day (or the day before), we'll be all back to square one once more. Is it worth running around completing quests? One has to wonder. I love exploring MMO worlds. But maybe that's why I like World of Warcraft. And with a vast environment, it'll be interesting to see how much Guild Wars will keep me in. Come release day, I'll be able to finally play at my own pace and not worry about having to wait for a month for the next shot to play. Here's to hoping I don't create another Phantasy Star Online fiasco...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

This isn't going to hurt a bit...

Hacking a little bit on the template, I am slowly morphing it one bit at a time to a style that I prefer. The sans style that's inherit in the template just wasn't cutting it. Maybe it's just me but I prefer the sans-serif style more. The blog isn't meant to be newspaper-like but I think it's better this way instead. Eventually I'll be rearranging the layout and making it more customized to my needs. Hopefully I'll be able to accomplish this without breaking too much into this.

Maybe I'm looking into this too much. Instead of hacking the available template, perhaps I should just design the blog from scratch. Who knows? Maybe I'll end up doing just that. But that means having to spend a lot of time relearning what I've not done in so long. My personal homepage has been using the same old style for the longest time since the style worked so well. I'll have to consider just how much of a change I'll be making into this and hopefully present it in full working order.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Learn some what???

Anyone who has played the game of TRIBES in any iteration, shape, or form will know what I speak of. If not, it's probably of no use in knowing what I'm talking about, so skip on by.

I've been absent during the majority of days of TRIBES 2. The constant patching and framerate issues I had is just not working out for me. As a result, I ended up going AWOL on the clan that I have been with for a while. It was then that upon the announcement of TRIBES: Vengeance I'd try it out once more, given I am confident that I can play the game without issues. Sure enough, this was true.

As a player, I experiment with varying armor types, weapons, and setups, trying to find that formula that'll work best for me. As a result, I became versatile in a variety of position depending on map. And my strongest point was playing a Light Defensive position, or LD for short. Because of the skills I possess, I have accumilated 5 accusations of cheating, of which they can never prove as I don't waste my time with such things.

On a server out there, the map called Junk came into play. Knowing that it's a public server, I realize that one of two things can happen. After failing to make the first cap, I fell back into defensive position and attempted in repairing the base. After dying countless time, it became quite annoying that the same individual would come in, tear up the place, and never leave it alone for a single minute. I have tried to explain that it's getting tiresome to die so frequently without having a chance to set up a proper defense but they fall upon either deaf ears or a mind incapable of input and ethical values. I was then told to "learn to do some LD." How amusing that, as one of the primary LDs for my clan, that I would be told to learn to do the same thing I have been doing for a while now. But that individual's mind won't change. He wouldn't hear it nor would he understand. It's these kind of people that makes playing the game not fun.

It's difficult having to deal with these kind of people. How I wish for such ability to rid myself of his attitude. But alas, I do not have such authority. So I endure it all. At least, until he left. Others have said nothing except for a few, who wish for the arguing to stop. But I push forth. Alas, often I wonder just why people fall back to using swears and such in their argument. Wait, can that be called an argument then when it comes to that? Isn't there such a 'law' that says when a person begins to use foul language or name-calling that the person who has yet to degrade to doing such thing automatically wins the argument? If there is, I'd like to know it.

I play Light Defense. I snipe any incoming enemies down. I chaingun the enemy flag carrier. If you believe that I am good in doing those things, I am appreciative of it. If you don't believe it, then I respect your opinion of it. They always say that if you got nothing good to say about another person, it's best to not say anything at all.

Good night...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Across the ocean blue...

I've recently gotten an email stating that my order is on its way. I expect it to arrive in two weeks due to the slow nature of non-express shipping. It's a sacrifice I have to pay to save a little on shipping. The currency rate for the yen is horrendous and was not like that before. But needless to say, the old conversion concept is back and it's easy to calculate a rough estimate of a product in US dollars. Hopefully the American economy will get better, since it's been quite a pain to endure the poor performance.

I expect Exillion to exeed my expectation due to the very slick design of the vehicle. For a car of its design, it appears to be the most realistic since it can very well be a design to be used not too far off in the future.

Nitro Convoy will always be vaguely similar to Speed Racer's Mach5. I do not know why but it just does. It could be the coloring or the design of it. Either way, it'll be a very nice addition to the family.

Lastly, Fang Wolf will add a beastly air with the Beast Wars figures that stand tall... real tall.

Live Convoy is still set on my radar. But maybe I should just settle on preordering it. The snag I mentioned in the previous entry is actually something I encountered when I tried to order from Fan2Fan. While it's nothing, I do not like it when I'm being faced with additional charges upon trying to confirm an order. It would have been a nice deal but alas, the deal is just not there anymore. Perhaps it's all due to the way how PayPal works -- I dunno. But it's a sad result that I won't be preordering from Fan2Fan any time soon.

As a result of this, I am leaning to using Hobby Link Japan as my primary source of all things Transformers. Not only is this the cheapest, but it is perhaps the best way to get import figures than through other good stores such as Big Bad Toy Store, which, by the way, just recently bumped their flat rate shipping to 7 dollars.

With more import Transformers figures to go, I wonder just how long it will take before the total outnumbers my Hasbro versions. Needless to say, I've a bunch to go. But considering the difference between my old Generation 1 and my "current" (Beast Wars by Mainframe and beyond) generation, the gap between the current and my imports is slowly diminishing. And it won't be long before I have more Takara than Hasbro. But it's quite sad in retrospect. It would not have been this way had Hasbro been smart about all of this. The disappointing changes are what made me so angry at them that they are no longer worth a company I'd support wholeheartedly. That reminds me. I need to make a separate entry regarding a certain software publisher.

I've my own reasons to support Takara over Hasbro. But the single biggest reason is this: consistancy. Over the years, Hasbro has been lacking in consistancy that sometimes things don't make sense at all. The color, mold, mechanics, and name changes are what separates the original from the carbon copy. Takara has been consistant when it comes to getting customers. Repaints, die-cast metal, and original color schemes are what drives the hardcore collectors to preferring theirs over Hasbro's domestic copy. For instance, Hasbro's 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime "features" a shortened smokestack, which is a change from the original both in character and in release. Takara's version featured the original high smokestacks such that it's more true to the character and franchise it's dedicated to. So while there are reasons behind shortening the smokestacks, it doesn't hurt to keep its length anyway, as such price, weight, and complexity makes it not for most children. The marking "AGES 5+" on the box pretty much sums it up.

There are other rantings behind this that could very well occupy this space, but I'll leave that for later. For now, I'm anxious to get my hands on these figures and I hope they come very soon. But I should not think about it so much.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More than meets the eye

The collection continues to grow. However, one is hitting a snag. Thus far, Galaxy Convoy, Master Megatron, and Starscream are in current possession. To be added to the list are Exillion, Nitro Convoy, and Fang Wolf. A die-cast 12cm tall version of Galaxy Convoy is on preorder and will be an exceptional addition to the "family." Live Convoy is currently in need of ordering, which I mentioned ran into a snag.

I need to find some materials to use as backdrops for photographing my collection. The details are amazing and I'm liking this particular series very much. It's almost like Car Robots all over again, as I've collected two versions of Fire Convoy and God Magnus. One has to wonder where I'll place this now that I'm expanding even more. Then again... I do have a room to clean out badly. I guess I better figure out how I'll arrange my room.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I Pity Da Foo...

April 1st, also known as April Fool's Day... for me, it's a day I can hardly forget having lived in the suburbs of Boston. Some years ago, a snow storm hit Boston on April 1st. It caused much hell for me having to shovel the damn snow. I still hate the snow to this day even tho they are nice to have. Having to shovel the snow is no fun at all. Alas, the snow received this season seem to be okay and average, even though there are times I wonder when the hell it'll stop.

And so today shall come and go like any other day. But one has to wonder what kind of pranks one can pull on this very day. Alas, I do not know if I'll be in the mood for a laugh this year around. Not without a sense of humor, I just find it a bit depressing coincidentally this time around. Details are known somewhere... but I won't post here. At least... not yet...

Friday, February 25, 2005

the seasonal cold

It sucks when out of the blue you're struck with the seasonal cold. It hits you and then you had to rush to grab every medicine possible to make the symptoms less severe on you. That's what happened to me. I already know who I got it from as well. But that didn't stop me at least. What did stop is my playtime. The headache that would come in would kill me over, all due to this stupid cold. But fortunately, I had lots of rest and I hope I had enough liquid to flush out the cold. Right now I am in the recovery stage and am feeling a little better than before. But due to being out with the cold, it also set me back a good two days worth of news.

I spotted this webpage earlier and found it to be quite amusing. I'm sure this friend of mine would love to see this. How much it actually cost to properly pull this off, I'll never know.

Until I am up and running 100%, it seems like my online gametime will be cut. It'll be interesting to see how much rust I develop when I do return.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Internet Terrorism

Hrm... BitTorrent seems to be taking a pounding. First Suprnova. Now LokiTorrent. But despite the closing of those two, there's a rumor, or rather an observation, that provides some points that may get people to think twice before visiting or using a torrent site. It's sad but it's also horrible. Nowadays, it'll be so hard to ever trust any bittorrent site. Yes there are still some that are true to their words and true to their involvement in the community. But alas, the latest blow by the MPAA will forever strike paranoia into the people who have more than enough reason to gain a backup copy of their purchases.

Eventually, people will find a new place to flock to. Or that they'll simply move deeper into the underground, eventually going back to the old roots of simply using IRC to download whatever stuff that they want. What will become of those who use it? Personally I've used Loki a few times before. But it's been that long ago that... I completely forgot what crap I've downloaded from them. Then again, there's just something that doesn't motivate me to download a bunch of movies. Yes, there are some good ones. Yes, they're good to download in order to preview what the movie's about. But what happens when you delete those files and purchase the DVD of it at your local store? Does that still make you a criminal? The MPAA isn't stopping when they wanna catch people who have illegally downloaded copyrighted movies. But what right do they have in throwing various accusations to people using an IP address?

Let's use MPAA's outrageous rulebook for the moment here. That means having a legit copy of a DVD at hand and letting a friend borrowing it is illegal. So... what about rentals? Rental shops let you 'borrow' a movie for a fee for a period of time. About roughly the same concept of letting a friend borrowing your copy of the movie for a period of time. And what about those real pirates out there? The internet is just a medium. And yet the MPAA is focusing so much on that? Why can't they just go to their local low-class neighborhood stores and look into that? They don't. Why? Maybe some of the MPAA staffers also buy bootleg copies of their own movies from there too. Oooh, conspiracy. They claim that they lose millions due to piracy. I doubt that is the reason. I believe the problem stems from them being incapable of filtering out bad ideas for movies. And part of that problem also comes from bad direction.

Here's to hoping I won't be brought to court, even tho I believe the chance of that isn't that great.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Testing 1 2 3...

Hrm... Ain't nothing here. Just started this thing. I haven't decided on what will be posted here. Still trying to decide on what the aim this blog place will be.