Saturday, February 26, 2011

SSD, (external) SATA and USB2

It's been a few weeks since the upgrade to SSD, and I was starting to be concerned about my external USB drives. I have two Iomega Prestige USB2 drives (one bought by my robot overlord employer, one bought for personal use). I am scared to death of single-drive data storage on laptops, because wrecking the drive not only kills your OS but also all your data. I like how in desktops and servers pretty much everyone I know tries to use multiple drives, and leaves the OS on its own. Under reasonable conditions (properly filtered power, nobody working the case over with a baseball bat, etc.) it would be extremely rare to lose more than one drive at a time.

With the laptop we don't have that luxury. Since we do all of our programming work with a centralized repository, a disk failure is not a catastrophe: whatever was checked into the repository is on a much stronger server that goes through a reasonable backups regime (I pray to God). If the work was not checked in, most of us run at least online backups, and some of us run a second backups job to an external drive (the reason the company bought me the first USB drive).

A side effect of the switch from a proper HDD to a SDD was less disk space available. I had little by little moved the Windows 7 libraries to external drives, which frees up space but makes it much slower to browse them or to run a media library. A while after the SSD switch I discovered (a year after I bought the damn thing!) that my machine has a built-in external SATA port, and that thanks to my port replicator, I had a second external SATA port available.

And a 160GB, 7200 RPM 2.5" drive sitting in a drawer since I switched to SSD. I thought hell, I can pick up an e-SATA enclosure on Amazon for a few bucks...

I was wrong, it is not that easy. Almost all enclosures I found can't get power through the SATA cable, instead you have to plugin either a power supply, or a Y-cable with two USB prongs. In other words, you are expected to surrender two USB ports to use them as dummy power ports.

A couple of days later a third party showed me a site that specializes in storage for laptops. They sell custom enclosures designed to fit into modular drive bays, so for example you can eject the DVD burner you rarely use and slide in a cage holding a SATA drive, which beats the hell out of connecting the drive with a USB2 enclosure.

The site also had a fascinating product: an external SATA cable that plugs straight into a drive. They sell this thing for $20 and they throw in a rubber bumper for the drive, which basically turns it into the simplest external drive enclosure I have ever seen. I bought one, and it arrived two days later. It took seconds to install.

Just for the hell of it, I decided to test the SSD (C:), the 7200 RPM drive (K:) that is now connected through external SATA, and the two USB2 1TB (E:. I:) drives. Here are the test runs with Crystal Disk Mark (I didn't care about the benchmark, all I wanted was to run the same thing against all four drives):

This is one of the 1TB USB2 drives:

This is the second 1TB USB2 drive:

Here's the 160GB 7200 RPM drive, now connected through external SATA, obviously faster than either of the two USB2 drives:

And yes, both USB2 drives are 7200 RPM SATA drives, and USB2 is murdering them.

And finally, here's the SSD:

Ouch. Now it is obvious I have two things I can do:

  1. Get a single-drive external SATA enclosure for one of the 1TB drives, retire the second one which sounds stupid even as I write this.
  2. Get an external SATA enclosure that allows me to use BOTH 1TB drives at the same time. I don't want a RAID enclosure. This allows me to use the second external SATA port that I have available, and much faster access to my two 1TB drives. I am going to upgrade Ivette's laptop to SSD, which means I can get her 320GB drive connected to her laptop with one of those $20 cables so her media files are not sitting on the machine. I almost considered confiscating that drive, but it is only 5400 RPM. 

What annoys me right now is that this "external" SATA standard seems to be half-assed. In this day and age, one would have expected that "external" connector standards deal consistently with power transmission. Either that, or the problem is that the cheap enclosure makers don't want to add the extra 30 cents worth of circuitry needed to make the damn thing feed itself off the cable. If a $20 cable can do this, the only way a $30 enclosure can't is because the manufacturer is trying to save on the cost of the cable. 

Baby Mistakenly Locked In Bank Vault - News Story - WSB Atlanta

From Baby Mistakenly Locked In Bank Vault:
“The toddler was safe the whole time”
-- Wells Fargo spokesman Jay Lawrence

The phone swap III: Poltergeist

Image representing Virgin Mobile USA as depict...Image via CrunchBaseNo, this is not a repeat. No, this is not an Inception parody, but it almost feels like one.

A timeline:

  • On 1/29/2011 I replaced my Blackberry Curve (fucking bulletproof phone) with a Samsung Intercept. I also replaced Ivette's LG Rumor Touch with a Samsung Intercept. 
  • On 2/8/2011 I received a warranty replacement on the Samsung Intercept since the 1/29 unit was shutting itself off at random times. Ivette's phone? No issues whatsoever. 
  • On 2/14/2011 I received a warranty replacement on my Samsung Intercept since the 2/8 unit (itself a warranty replacement) was shutting itself every time I closed the keyboard. Every single time. Ivette's phone? No issues whatsoever. 
  • Sometime on 2/28 I am scheduled to receive a warranty replacement on my Samsung Intercept since the 2/14 unit was shutting itself every time I closed the keyboard. Every damn time. Yup, you guessed it, Ivette's phone still works absolutely perfectly. 
So there you have it, phone #4, the third warranty replacement since I bought the original on 1/29/2011, is on its way and should be here by 3:00 PM on Monday, if FEDEX is to be trusted. I want to curse and scream and throw shit around, but Virgin Mobile keeps being more than reasonable about this problem. The worst part is that when I got the 2/14 replacement unit I opened/closed the keyboard a dozen times in a row and I couldn't make the damn phone crash. The phone worked perfectly until the morning of 2/25 and then it started shutting down every single time I closed the keyboard. 

Google is not being helpful, since all I can find is people coming up with bullshit excuses. And none can explain why some people are seeing zero issues with this phone. All I can think right now is that there is a big batch of bad phones out there, all other posts I am seeing are pretty much bullshit, except the ones that advise people to run back to the store and swap the phones or call Virgin Mobile and have them swap the phone. I cannot stress enough that every time I called Virgin Mobile to complain they have been insanely focused on keeping me happy. 

Do I still like the phone? Hell yes, but it makes me anxious not knowing if the phone is going to shut itself down by itself instead of by some explicit event, like sliding the keyboard shut when some other unknown criteria is met. Maybe something crashes and forces the Android equivalent of a kernel panic. Or the battery is close to dead but the phone is reporting that it is OK, but it suddenly dies when there is simply no more power. Who the hell knows? 

On a related note, Alex Esoterica switched to Android yesterday (Samsung Epic), and he agrees with me that some of the augmented reality applications are basically technology stolen from space aliens or some other crazy shit, because the technology is pretty much incredible. It almost feels like walking around with a Star Trek tricorder that is high on crack AND PCP. 

His phone has a couple of features that I find superior to the Intercept:
  1. The keyboard has an extra row of buttons, which means it has a proper spacebar unlike the Intercept, plus extra buttons at either side of the keyboard.
  2. It doesn't shut down randomly when closing the keyboard.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

microSD and SD card connectors

The card on the left is actually 10mm wide. I have been using these cards for a couple of years and this is the first time that I notice that the card actually shows a texture from some of its printed circuit board, from even a few inches away it always looked smooth.
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Amazon Prime Streaming Will Disrupt Netflix, Here's How | The Business Of Online Video

In 1998 Reed Hastings founded Netflix, the lar...Image via WikipediaAmazon Prime Streaming Will Disrupt Netflix, Here's How | The Business Of Online Video

It's been an interesting week for video streaming. Amazon is allowing us Prime members to watch about 5000 of their streaming titles for free, Hulu made a deal with the Criterion Collection (at least for the Hulu plus members), and Netflix made a $200 million content deal with CBS. I had a chance to test the free Amazon streaming and it was no different than Netflix, and the only difference (in principle) from Hulu was not having to watch the fucking ads (even if I pay for Hulu plus). I also cashed-in a rental credit with Amazon and watched Exorcist: Director's Cut offline. This was pretty cool except that the DRM license is tied to whatever monitor was active when you asked for the purchase (at least that is how Amazon explained my customer support inquiry  I have verified this behavior, whatever monitor is active when you start the movie will set the DRM and the movie won't be visible from any other devices even if they are HDCP compliant. Funny thing, you can open the WMV file from Windows Media Player and it works on both monitors!), so if you buy the rental from one monitor and you drag the movie to your second monitor, the movie doesn't play.

Except for that DRM issue, it worked beautifully and I am going to consider it as a worthy source of material if I can't pull it from Netflix. This is also a problem for sites that rely on bit torrent users *cough* pirates *cough* because in many times the rental price for a movie is a couple lousy bucks. I don't know about others, but for $2-$3 I would rather rent the movie than try to download it and risk the wrath of the MPAA legal machinery.

Image representing hulu as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseThe question now is, is there room for Netflix streaming, Amazon Prime and Hulu plus at the same time? Well, let's see: Our Netflix and Hulu plus accounts are $8/month,  and Amazon Prime is less than $7/month. I am 100% sure that Amazon is losing money on my Prime account, I have a rule that anything I need to buy that is not critical (read: that I can wait two days for it) is automatically ordered through Amazon, and I almost never upgrade to next-day shipping. This means I can treat the Amazon Prime streaming as a real freebie, so even if I were to rent $8/month of content that still means a grand total of $24/month of combined spending in streaming media. $24 is maybe two DVDs on sale, or movie tickets for two adults for ONE movie, without any kind of in-theater snacks.

I don't even see all of this as a problem for Netflix, in reality it reinforces the business model that yes, everyone can make money with flat-priced streaming delivery. Well, the content license holders and the content delivery providers make money, and obviously the pipe holders make money too. The only ones that won't make money are the idiots still stuck in the old business model of selling overpriced obsolete plastic coasters. I guess this is good news for DVD collectors, because discs are only going to get cheaper at least until supply dies, then the only way you could justify paying anywhere close to what we now call retail price is going to be for premium discs, for example, rare editions, boxed sets, etc. Nobody in his right mind is going to pay $20 for a plain DVD.

Also, at $16/month it means there is still room for the premium networks to make deals with the streaming providers. HBO is already making some noise about the fairness of charging $20 for Netflix if it included access to HBO's library. That would be one hell of a deal but only if it includes access to all of their long run shows, not just a couple shows.

The one thing that is going to get harder is the idea that cable operators won't allow À la carte packages. What's my motivation to pay for 100+ channels when I only watch less than 20? Would somebody in the telco industry please build whatever the fuck is needed so cable operators can offer this kind of custom packaging within the current infrastructure? I am not asking for much, I just want the big three networks, whatever local network carries judge/trash talk reruns all day long, PBS Kids, and the documentary channels. I can live without the other 280 channels in my lineup. I can definitely live without the piece of shit video on demand that Comcrap inflicts on us. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Don’t send the developing world PCs: send them Kindles | PC Pro blog

Don’t send the developing world PCs: send them Kindles | PC Pro blog

Remember when xkcd predicted that the Kindle was in reality a disguised Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy? This is why. What the world needs is easy access to information, not necessarily easy access to computing. The lack of this flow of information is what is keeping the divide going for so long.

A Kindle, or a cheaper gadget based on the first generation of the e-ink technology with a 3G chip in it would do wonders to help the developing world. It would use very little power and can be built to be sturdy while keeping the price really low. I am sure that some creative accountant/tax lawyer can figure out a way for Amazon to burn out through whatever excess inventory they have, send it to a developing country for free and pocket a very nice tax break, which would beat whatever loss Amazon would take from liquidating the old inventory.

Laptop Design For Disassembly - Slashdot

Laptop Design For Disassembly - Slashdot

I don't even think it needs to be so extreme, but there is absolutely no excuse for the parts of the laptop that become obsolete faster to take more than a couple of minutes to swap. I swapped a drive on a one-year old Dell and all it took was to remove two screws and a third one that held a plastic fascia in place. It took maybe 5 minutes. As nice as it was, except for the hard drive, DVD and RAM, almost nothing else in the laptop can even be swapped. How come the networking, wireless and GPU are not built into pluggable modules like the ones that fit into the ExpressCard slot? I know GPUs have cooling issues, but I am sure that this should take no more than designating one of these slots only for the GPU and add the proper heatsinks to it. The other things like the networking and wireless cards should have absolutely no trouble fitting and working in this form factor.

My laptop is one year old, and after upgrading RAM and switching the drive to SSD, there's nothing I can do for it to offset the barely adequate GPU. I know that Dell would rather sell me a new laptop every 3 years than let me upgrade the same one for 5, but it is not acceptable that after just a year the machine has pretty much hit a plateau. 

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter -

Free twitter badgeImage via Wikipedia
Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter - "Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family."
The best the NYT could come up with:

  1. Bloggers are lazy, it's easier to post to the FB wall or to Twitter.
  2. FB does a good enough job in reaching friends and family.
From that they leap to the conclusion that blogs are waning. I imagine that in 3 months they'll write about how people are too busy to Twitter, after all, who has time to write 140 characters at a time? Maybe somebody is going to write an app that taps into your head and posts a stream of consciousness into your social media accounts of choice.

The reality of the matter is that a lot of the people that "blog" simply do it because it is the cool thing to do. A newer/cooler thing came up, so there is no need to blog anymore. There's also a group, myself included, that had been blogging since before blogging was cool. We couldn't care less about how cool it is to blog, we just do it. In my case, I have this urge in my head to write things down, and it is a reasonable medium. My blog pushes a notification to Twitter whenever I post, and my Facebook account (which I only keep because of family, so any friends I got there are just a convenience thing) pulls whatever I post to the blog. I don't like the Facebook part very much because people are too fucking lazy to even read the full post, and immediately jump to conclusions. At least with the Twitter notifications they are so short that all you get is the title, maybe part of a sentence and a link to finish it. In Facebook you get a fragment that may not even summarize what is going on.

People are lazy.

Do I love blogging? Not really. I love to write. Blogging is simply a tool that lets me dump my writings online with the least amount of hassle (it beats posting html articles by hand and updating navigation links every single time). This is exactly how blogging took off, because it took out the webmaster/designer out of the equation.

The second thing that made blogging cool was when Tumblr figured out two of the most important weak spots about "classic" blogging:
  1. Lots of people were reposting content, which is kind of a bitch.
  2. The standard format for a blog post only works well if you are posting a lot of text. If you are posting a quote, video or something else, it looks like crap.
Tumblr fixed the first issue by automating the process of reposting content, which is when "reblogging" became popular. Actually too popular, to the point that a lot of the activity that you see on Tumblr is basically people reposting each other's content.

Tumblr fixed the second issue brilliantly: they decided that you need more than one post type. To me this is the one thing where Tumblr murdered the competition. Posts for videos, pictures, etc. each are allowed to be styled differently, which lets the designer balance them pretty damn well. To this day I don't understand why Blogger hasn't borrowed/stolen this feature from Tumblr.

I was on Tumblr for a long time, but I decided to leave simply because Tumblr was collapsing under its own weight. I couldn't remember Blogger ever going down, but with Tumblr even going to the dashboard was an adventure, and a lot of people complained about not being able to reach one of my blogs. Since it was free, I had no relief except pack up my bags and move back to Blogger. Blogger is still free, but I never have to worry about the site being down. Tumblr, as great as I think it is, needs to figure out how to deal with their growth and pump some serious cash into infrastructure, because they risk pissing off their high-profile posters and one day they'll pack up and leave too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This was intended to be my review on Test Drive Unlimited 2

Goodwood car park - Ariel Atom

Image via Wikipedia

But instead please consider it is a long list of grievances:


I played A LOT of Test Drive Unlimited 1. It was not a perfect game, but it kept me busy for a long time. According to my gamer score, I finished 73% of that game,  34 out of the 46 achievements including the annoying ones like driving every damn road on the island and a bunch others. Needless to say that I know this game, warts and all.

Game Two is a piece of shit. It is so weak that instead of just building it in Ibiza, as announced, they lazily included Oahu to give the illusion that the game is much bigger. So what we have here is a big DLC for Test Drive Unlimited part one.

The Cars

This is by far one of the saddest games in terms of cars available in the full 360 catalog. This is worse than Grand Theft Auto: 4 and Saint’s Row 2. I understand that all gaming titles go through licensing in order to get the cars, but what I am seeing here is just so terrible that the only way it can be explained is that the powers that be decided to not spend the money licensing enough good cars. The lineup is so horrible that there are racing categories where you have just three cars to choose from. I remember having to use a fucking spreadsheet in order to pick cars in Forza 2 and 3, but in this game cars have three performance variables, and they don’t even correlate to the AI opponents you race. You can’t tune many of the cars, so for example you have a Ferrari 308, and you are the first car in the racing grid, and car #2, another 308, takes off and gets a 10-car lead on you even if it is a straight line and there’s close to no wheel spin. WTF? How is that even possible?

The interiors are terrible, which means those of us that like cockpit view are stuck driving using the nose or bumper views.

Tuning is a joke. Cars have four levels of tune above retail, but not all cars can be tuned. Tune shops won’t allow you to buy a certain tune level unless you have unlocked that level of service for that area (Ibiza is split in half, Oahu is split into four). This means that if you have barely explored the side of Ibiza where your tune shop is, you won’t be able to upgrade the car as far as you want to, which means you’ll have to waste time exploring and doing bullshit missions instead of racing.

The Maps

If I were to believe this game, Ibiza is a shithole with tiny bits of pretty areas and some scattered medieval ruins. They tried to update the Oahu map a little bit, but not by much. Exploring 100% of an area is still a bitch, no different than in the first game. I finished the top half of Ibiza and about 60% of the bottom half, and less than 25% of Oahu.

The Challenges

There was very little effort to make the challenges more interesting. Drive a car without damaging it and get paid. Drive somebody without scaring him/her and get paid. Drive somebody without scaring him/her AND on time to a meeting and get paid. Drive somebody WHILE scaring him and get paid. That’s about it. Almost every single one is boring as hell.

The photo challenges are even worse. They aren’t marked at all, you have a list and more or less a description of whatever you have to shoot, but you can only see it if you go to the photographer’s studio, which is idiotic. Those sometimes have weather and time constraints too, so for example there is a picture that can only be done from 10 AM to 6 PM, and only if it is cloudy. Or it has to be a specific car that costs an arm and a leg, and no, you can’t rent cars.


Inconsistent as hell. The AI always magically has better cars than what you can buy in the game. You are forced to go through a racing school for each category before you are allowed to race, and in every instance the stupid racing school is 10x harder than the actual racing. It is completely idiotic and takes the fun out of the whole thing. Because the cars are so inconsistent, it is very hard to learn any of their quirks except the Lancia Delta Integrale, which drives great at every tune level. Everything else I tried but the Ariel Atom and the off road buggy sucks.

Online Play

Complete rip off! I couldn’t get connected ONCE in a week of trying, and all Atari says is that they are having trouble and they are trying to do their best to address it. And the DLC? Worthless because it relies on online play. Why the fuck do I need to use Atari’s servers to play a fucking slot machine? I understand if you want to make the other games multi player, but slot machines? Seriously? How the fuck is Atari allowed to sell this DLC that doesn’t even work?


I paid $50 for this game and $10 for the DLC. I got no less than 50 hours of play out of it, so in terms of bang for the buck I broke even. Now, was it enjoyable? Not really. I am just dropping that turd into a mailer and sell it back to Amazon while they still offer $24 in trade-in credit for it. And I mean that, I actually stopped writing this entry to submit the trade-in to Amazon, print the shipping label and manifest, pack it and get it ready to drop it at UPS.

Even Hall of Famers have differing views with new style of Daytona racing Feb 19, 2011 - NASCAR.COM

"B" rollImage by pvera via FlickrFrom Taking sides - Feb 19, 2011 - NASCAR.COM:

Shortly after Thursday's first Duel, Petty was asked innocuously what he thought of all the two-car drafting that made up the 500 qualifying race. Petty replied tersely that he couldn't stand it and that he was "ashamed to be a part of it."
In a nutshell: the drivers are approaching the race like a road race in cycling, by taking turns drafting the front car. This is huge because in most of auto racing each driver is on his own, they may talk to their pit but not to other cars in the team. Now you have cars coordinating who stays in front and who drafts. The drafting itself is not an issue, it has been a strategic part of NASCAR racing since forever, the problem is that it is coordinated, and that the trailing car relies too much on the lead car (they can't even see ahead because they follow so close). Pack drafting is OK, coordinated in-team drafting isn't. 

They are also bitching, and this is a good one, because the track was repaved and it is TOO GOOD. Yes, they are complaining that the repaving cleaned up the bumps and whatever else that made the track unique.

Haters gonna hate. 

Goodbye Borders

From Sunday At Borders:

I don't understand why everyone is in shock about the news that Borders went bankrupt. I knew they were screwed the last time I set foot on one of their stores more than a couple of years ago:

I was in a mall with Ivette killing time between appointments, and I had my Kindle. We were browsing the new arrivals section and noticed that one of my favorite authors had a new book out. I immediately opened the Kindle, downloaded the free preview for the book and left the store for the Starbucks elsewhere in the mall. Borders lost the sale, Starbucks at least sold two drinks out of this one.

Now I wouldn't even need to have the Kindle, I could just open the Kindle app from my phone and do the exact same thing. How the hell can brick and mortar compete against a digital product that is a 1:1 equivalent? I am not talking about art books, or relics/collectables/etc, I am talking about mass produced hardcovers and paperbacks that have zero physical value unless for example the author signs the item. And magazines are now headed in the same direction, now that tablets are starting to become mainstream and Barnes & Noble turned their Nook e-book reader into a tablet.

The funny thing here, for me, is that while I made the jump to e-books years ago, I still can't stand magazines in PDF format. It is as if there is a perception that the magazine has to be a certain size and the pages have to be glossy. I even went and took advantage of a crazy Amazon magazine subscription sale and got my first ever subscription to the National Geographic and what I am sure is the first time in 19 years that I subscribe to Road & Track (Peter Egan, the Lotus Seven and frames bent like a banana, if these things make sense to you then you are an old time Road & Track reader) .

I don't even know if I am going to miss Borders. I have had a Barnes & Noble less than two miles from the house for 14 years, not that I like it any better. The closest Borders is (was?) at least 7 miles (sorry, 20 minutes, here in North Virginia we measure distance in time, not in miles) away, and most of the times I ended up there was to kill time before a movie. The only thing that particular Borders had was space, including a really nice cafe area where you could park a laptop and write in peace, the Barnes & Noble here has a tiny Starbucks, just a few tables and too many douchebags that see it as a place to be seen instead of a place to drink coffee and read. 

HijiNKS ENSUE – A Geek Webcomic – 5 Days A Week - � Maybe In A Walternate Dimension

Then he let's me help him weaponize the venom into atomizing canisters for the U.S. Military. After that we watch reruns of M*A*S*H while he hooks his brain up the waffle maker and has acid flashbacks.

The second I learned that Fringe was moving to the Friday Night Death Slot, I knew it was the end. I mean, how naive can one be when the damn title of the first episode was FIREFLY? Seriously? That show is on its death throes.

I still tried to watch it, but after two weeks I couldn't take it anymore. What a damn shame. Worse, FOX actually had the nerve to try to come up with a bullshit explanation about how a high percentage of Fringe viewers "time shifted" it, in other words, they recorded it to watch it later so it wouldn't make any difference in ratings if they moved the show. Dumbasses.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Google unveils One Pass system for online content

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

BBC News - Google unveils One Pass system for online content

Here’s an interesting way to piss off Apple:

1. Apple announces they are charging X% for some service. Say, 30% commission if you want to sell through an iOS app.

2. Announce an arrangement that lets app creators to charge for content for less than what Apple charges. Say, 10%.

3. Watch Apple get pissed off.

The way Apple sees this, Google is simply messing with them. The way Google sees it, whenever Apple does something and people bitch about the price, that’s an instant opportunity to pick up customers without spending a lot in marketing (the marketing is paid by Apple charging too much for the service). It is a bit more devious than not doing market research on where to place geek retail, and simply picking areas where Apple has opened an Apple Store, which was Microsoft’s original plan for THEIR stores.

BBC News - Japan halts whale hunt after chase by protesters

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Image via Wikipedia

BBC News - Japan halts whale hunt after chase by protesters

Well, it was bound to happen: something actually happened in Whale Wars! Too bad the new season doesn’t air until Summer.

I am not a greentard by any measure, but I find this kind of unscripted TV absolutely addictive. Now that something actually happened in the show, it is going to be even better. The problem is that the way the show is edited, I can almost guarantee you that they’ll stretch this over pretty much the whole season. I can almost visualize the promos:

“On the next episode of Whale Wars, we’ll show you a five-second clip that hints at the five-second clip we’ll show three weeks from now that hints at somebody getting excited about maybe catching up to the damn whaling mothership.”

Or something like that. They did it already, for the Ady GIl incident.

I hope that when the Caves of Steel happen it won’t impact this kind of TV show.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Generic Tex-Mex restaurant is generic

The Blizzard of 2011 | The Big Picture

The Blizzard of 2011 | The Big Picture

I officially hate ALL weather. Please do whatever it takes to bring us the weather-proof air conditioned bubble above DC, so we can have year-round 68 degree weather and a comfortable level of humidity. Or bring us the Caves of Steel, or whatever else you can come up with.

Level of effort

And yes, all managers have that selective listening filter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Your diet is with us, Karras. Care to leave a message?

R.I.P. Guitar Hero, but I honestly will not miss you

Guitar Hero II for the 360 was (and still is) one of the most engaging games I ever played on that console. I have exactly zero musical ability, and it was a thrill to finally visualize decades of air guitar shredding to more than a few songs that I really liked.

It was also humiliating to fall on my face trying to even pass a stage with an Iron Maiden song I must have listened to hundreds of times in the past 25 years or so. To my relief there were other songs that I nailed cold (Strutter, YYZ), so I think I paid for that transgression in spades.

For some reason I got tired of playing it, and I was never attracted to the games that came out since, or the Rock Band franchise. Friends played both franchises and mostly liked them all.

Here's a fantastic timeline on the 19 versions of the Guitar Hero series that spawned over just five years:

R.I.P. Guitar Hero, but I honestly will not miss you. (Timeline) : gaming