Thursday, November 30, 2006

whoa! youtube view explosion! its all about the wii-injury.. haha

well, got my nice 37" lcd hdtv in and am in love with her. my wii looks pretty good on it (component will look so much better!!! got me 2 sets of them coming in, figure better to have a spare than none at all).  my pals have a weekly 'Office/OC night' each week and thought hey, what better week to host it than this week! i got my wii and my new tv, hell yea!

so we're just watching the OC now (as i type this blog and an email to a boston globe reporter on my dad's wii injury, more to follow!) and decided i'd check out my good ole youtube stats and decided to check out my dad's wii-injury video since it had like 2,000 views last night.  checked it out and BAM! 

Views: 21,002

#38 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Video Games - All
#30 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Video Games - English
#73 - Most Discussed (This Week) - Video Games - All
#76 - Most Discussed (This Week) - Video Games - English

whoa! where did those views come from? not sure yet since i haven't gotten to my google reader yet but must have been a site somewhere.  here's a link to it:


my dad's wii-injury


http://youtube.com/watch?v=t8KfdYgE1Uc


anywho, back to the OC and soon some Wii sports! hell yea!


peace

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

being unloved: the story of my psp

yes, i feel a bit sad some-days for him. since my ds lite purchase, my psp has sat dormant and charging on his charging cradle. i remember getting my psp on the US launch date and drooling over his amazing 3d graphics and gorgeous display.  but after a few weeks he started to get less and less attention and more gripes (dang battery life! where are the games? not another FPS!) however, it seems things might be changing soon.  it appears that some good games are starting to show up on the PSP (MGS: PO, Lumines II, goode ole GTA) and tempting me to make a purchase. for a while there i had given up on the PSP and its game lineup, which sony seemed to have too.  things seem to look a little brighter (mind you nintendo ds game/hardware sales are still killing the PSP in most regards).   

however, things looked even brighter than ever for the hacker/modder community w/the anonymous release of the PS1P Alpha 1 PS1 emulator (source DCEMU )!  i really have always wanted to play my Final Fantasy VII on the go (and yes, i still own these games but no PS1, :(  ). 

again, i do not promote piracy or warez but this is an amazing accomplishment for any coder/hacker.  sony has not even itself come up with a valid solution or even a proof of concept (at least i have not ran across any demos of an actual PSP running a PS1 game, however its promised now w/the PS3 but a pretty steep start-up cost for most). 

i personally have refused to upgrade my PSPs firmware and still run the same launch firmware, v1.50 which allows me to run every piece of homebrew software available.  after playing through my launch psp titles, i got into the homebrew/emulator very early scene and released a compilation of the best emulators available w/custom icons (seamonkeyPack, most of the time emulators were either only v1.00 ready and or did not have any cool icons or had the kxploit icons). 

the psp's homebrew history is never-ending battle type story with hackers finding exploits and sony releasing firmware updates to fix them (see wikipedia entry on psp homebrew).  it started w/a coder running a very simple helloworld type app on his psp firmware v1.00.  the next coder then ran the same app on a v1.50 psp by using what would become known as the swapploit.  basically you loaded a folder on your main ms duo card and then the emulator/homebrew eboot.pbp on a second ms duo and then once you selected the game in the PSP menu, you had to pop out the first duo card and put in the second, thus swapploit.  however in a mere matter of weeks, the hack was refined to using a two folder system on one ms duo card and was dubbed the kxploit.   later hacks w/firmware v1.51 and up included tiff exploits; the battle between unsigned code and sony was a constant fight.  more dubious hacks were also made such as running PSP iso images of games/movies off of a ms duo card and even making your psp run w/later firmware to avoid having your psp's firmware updated to play newer games (you bought).  i did that for GTA since i loved having my (of course!) mario allstars and chrono trigger (snes) on the psp.  

in my opinion, the psp was a born portable emulating system (PES, haha!) just by the raw power in it (333mhz cpu, comparable to a ps2s) and the amazing screen it was given.  however, this lead up brings me to my next prediction in for gaming (a pretty obvious one too): the PS3 will become the hackers/modders next fave system to hack (even more so than the xbox was, i modded mine!)

its obvious since it already can have Linux installed onto it.  hackers have already dumped a blu-ray game to iso via linux and a basic command line.  it is a mere matter of time before someone figures out how to run iso dumps from their PS3's harddrive.  in my opinion, i think nintendo purposedly went with a smaller internal size to avoid having such problems that the xbox then and ps3 now may have w/game piracy.  one cannot fit a full wii game onto a SD card (since i think the wii only sees up to a 2GB card) or internal memory (512mb).  however usbs could be a different story if its only activated by a firmware update and can take hds. 

also, from (what i dub as..) the 'next-gen' handheld war, it seems pretty obvious so far that games sell systems more than power and specs.  its sad that the reason i will be dusting off my psp and putting the ds lite to rest is not for a game being released but a homebrew emulator.  but my psp will take whatever loving he can get it and my ds any rest she can get. :P

so this upcoming console war could be a good one for everyone including the hackers/modders of the world and us consumers with so many choices.  i have already made my choice; Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!Â

Monday, November 27, 2006

more wii-experiences and minor gripes

well, in the last wiik i've seen more of my friends than i have in the last month! haha. some heard i got my wii others were just swinging over to say hi. anywho, so far everyone's who has played has enjoyed it; from Wii sports to Rayman to Madden.  my friends range from 2 mid twenty females (techie though), a hardcore gamer (FPS), madden junkie, total non-gamer/hippie, and retired farmers.

not a bad mix eh? i'd say that so far the Wii is living up to its hype.  however, after having a wii for over a wiik, i've come up with a list of things i'd like to see nintendo update/change with their next system update.

 -ability to exit to the menu from gamecube games w/out having to reset on the console (decided to go and get zelda wind waker since it looked pretty kewl for the gcn and of course have super smash bros melee enroute for party night!).

-MORE VC games! come on! look at your library (er... glances away from 2000+ rom folder... )  you have some great titles i'd love to see.  like Chrono Trigger (a game i'd love to see remade anyday, still play this on my PSP and DS Lite via homebrew), Mario Allstars, MarioKart, and while we're on a mario binge, Mario Golf 64, and a ton of the other awesome titles that others want say Toe Jam and Earl? i never played it on the Genesis but always wanted to (i got a SMS instead of NES initially back in the day and then a SNES).

-Ability to save settings for the Slideshow in the Picture Channel

-Ability to use loaded mp3s on SD Cards as background music in games like Wii Sports or even as bg music on the menu screen.

-Finally, i really want to see how the browser looks/works and if it can do multimedia (stream music, video, etc).  the wii's setup seems to be the viable way of any current console to do browsing minus of course the PS3's USB abilities/Linux (but you still can't sit and point at the screen.. :P )

but nonetheless i still love her..  oh yea.. on monday i woke up and went into my Mii Parade and look what i see.. Fidel Castro hanging out, added him to my Mii's.. decided i'd make good ole Mr T and Bill Clinton, so say hi to them if you see them in your parade.. :P

also, checked out my game time this first week and i've averaged about 7-8 hours a day, up to 10:23 when i was at my parents. no wonder my batteries died in both remotes yesterday. gotta love those recharables!  and i'm still holding off on playing my zelda and madden till i get my LCD in (this wed, so EXCITED!)

peace

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Vista and CableCards: working but no streaming to pcs

well, now that i'm going to be a true HDTV owner/user did some looking into Vista and its CableCard support and it appears vista is unable to convert and stream CableCard media.  great, so it looks as though i'm stuck w/my cable company dvr system until i get 1) get enough for a series 3 tivo, but really don't want to pay the monthly service or 2) wait till Vista gets a few patches to allow this and also for manufacturers to get a CableCard 2.0 (bi-directional) compliant tuner out!       wow! you really have to read the full article to see what they are saying! i had just glanced a summary on another site and the real story is totally different.


http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/3285/mce_cablecard_limitation


it appears Vista should be CableCard ready but just cannot stream the original signal to other pcs, only MCE Extender devices (which are few and far to expensive, minus an xbox+mce extender kit+wifi adapter which in a few months should be super cheap on ebay i'd say sub $100; the only few extender devices i found a while back were still in the $160 range on ebay and $200 range retail, sad since i could have really used one for my living room).  also TivoToGo has been disabled on CableCard series 3 boxes too.  so it seems that cable companies want to keep the media with in the very closed type of nework. 


now when will we see some actual cablecard tv tuners pc???? come on guys, get going!!! i want my superior dvr box, my htpc!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

wii sports and non-gamers (videos)

well, as previously blogged, here are the vids of my sis, mom and dad playing some wii sports and bowling.

man! my dad was seriously addicted to bowling (since he can't bowl in real-life due to a hip replacement).  he was kicking my ass! won 20/25 games, doh! hehe.

by the time i left today, my dad was asking all of the right wii questions: where can he get one, how much is it, how hard is it to setup, etc.

so it looks like i might not have to bring the wii home anymore or atleast once my parents get one. :P  it was such a blast seeing them have so much fun and being able to game with them. the last time i had played my dad in video games was back in the atari 2600 era and jungle hunt!

my dad's wii related injury (i see why nintendo has those disclaimers about being away from objects or people!):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8KfdYgE1Uc


my sis and dad bowling on the wii:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN6FXQ3tjhs

my mom playing her first few frames of wii bowling:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jU5cpyUQ5w

i think nintendo might be onto something here.. hmm... :P

check out more of my wii related videos at youtube here:
http://youtube.com/seamonkey420

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the parents, the farm and 28k dialup..

well, another thanksgiving has come and gone.  i love thanksgiving the fullness it brings, hehe. we had a great family dinner w/the classic mn dishes; turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, and pumpkin pie and peacon pie. mmmmm!

while at home with the parents and like most who own a Wii thought 'what a great time to see how the Wii goes w/the genre that nintendo was seeking out to (non gamers)'.

woke up on thur and had a cup  a coffee and then decided i'd break out the wii! my sister was home (she and i used to play our SNES religously but after the SNES she kind of got out of gaming) for thanksgiving too (she's 26).  my parents are retired farmers and really have never played any video games since the Atari 2600 era. Popped in Wii sports (totally forgot to bring zelda and madden, kicking self for forgetting zelda!!!) and asked my sis if she wanted to bowl a game or two.  i handed her the remote.  at first she had a few probs getting used to using the wii-mote as pointer and the A and B button placements but once she was comfortable with them she was having a blast!

hmm, 1/1 on the wii so far. next up, my pops (a 66yr old farmer!). he used to be a big bowler but really can't anymore since he had hip replacement surgery a while back. again, gave him a quickie run through on using it and in no time he was picking up spares and trash talking me on my missed spares! haha, that was awesome seeing! 2/2

next thing we know our guests for thanksgiving have arrived, my great aunt and uncle  my dad (who was still playing bowling) told my great uncle to try out bowling.  so gave him a run through on it and after a few frames they were off playing my wii like a bunch of kids, 3/3. wow, nintendo seems to initially have a winner on its hand and is doing what they wanted; penetrating the non-gamer market.  before i headed up to my old room, my dad asked me how hard it was to turn on the wii and get it going since he wanted to play in the morning. what? excuse me? hehe, wow amazing how addicting it was, oh yea my mom also really enjoyed it too, however it took her a few frames to get down bowling.

however, one must still ask though; will wii all be sick of or bored w/our wii's in a few months? will the novelty wear off?  or will the gameplay/controller layout keep us coming back?  the next few months should answer those questions.

here's what i think nintendo needs to do:  keep working the party type games and games that have not ever been put on consoles because there was no intuitive way to control them.  for example, how about a classic outdoor Wii sports?? throw in some horse-shoes, shuffleboard, croquet, and maybe lawn darts or even disc golf??? hmmmm, yes nintendo might have a winner on their hands indeed. i'm very excited to see what other games/genres that are tapped w/the new control layout.

btw, my dad is the first person i know to receive his first wii-lated injury; he caught his hand on our stove while bowling.  :)

i'll post vids of the non-gamers having a blast later this weekend. once i get back to highspeed!!! i tell you, 28k dialup kind of sucks. :( but thanks to johnny's google reader tip (http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/johnny/2006/11/22/7-google-reader-tips-and-tricks/) i've been able to check my news/blogs at ease on dialup.

btw, here's a quick personal note about me most would not expect; i grew up on a farm and farmed as a kid until college.  :P

peace and have a safe and fun holiday! and remember...

always strap your wii-mote on!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

hi-def upgrade #2.. doh! 37" LCD

so you might have noticed how i've been a bit complaining about my sad 24" sd tv (its a pretty sad one indeed). well, i have a bad habit of seeing a great deal and going with it.

was on tech-bargains.com and ran across a deal at newegg for a 37" LCD HDTV (1080i max) for only $699 after coupon code.. nice!  its made by Olevia, yes, i know who is olevia? i was wondering the same question and did some googling for reviews on previous lcd hdtv models and so far all of the reviews are positive.  basically saying its a great deal for what you get; decent picture quality, not all of the fancy filters like the more expensive models but still holds its own against a samsung or philips lcd hdtv.  i guess i'll have my xmas present earlier than i thought (waiting for black friday and actually getting a lcd hdtv might have been harder and more work than getting my wii).  so i'm prob gonna not even try to get the X360 on thursday, but we'll see (for $100, who can say no right? hehe..)

here's a link to the deal: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16889022032  use promo code: olevia200 for the extra $200 off, i think it expires tonight at 12am!!

peace

wii friend codes and photo channel and random wii clips.. :)

ok, i lied. my wii posts prob will not stop until i get bored with it and hopefully that won't be soon! :)


 been in the mood to try to track down some peeps to add to my friend list but really have no pals w/the Wii yet. :( however, after some searching online found a pretty good Wii Friend Code club at http://1up.com, here's a link to the page: http://officalwiifriendcodes-club.1up.com

figure it might be fun to have my mii's running around on other peoples consoles, made most of my friends already and am going to have them tweak their mii's when they play.  put in a nice 2 hours in wii sports. i swear the boxing game is going to get me back into shape again; its tiring if you go all out! my pals were sweating it up yesterday boxing it out.

put a few more hours into zelda, and realized that whoa its been a while since i've played a game w/puzzles and required thinking (usually play mainly racing games lately).  however, i'm REALLY fiending for a new TV now.  playing madden 07 w/my pal was hard on my crappy 24", i could barely read the play names and so on.  hopefully i score a good HDTV coming up on Black Friday.  we'll see how that goes though.

decided to fire up the photo channel and put some photos on my SD Card; pretty plain jane type features. could be pretty neat to have a nice slideshow of HD ready photos w/some background mp3s.  here's a vid of it i took.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi9W0AhiYow

 oh yea, Quinn sent me a link to a funny as heck comic (but sadly resembles the launch attitudes!) from http://xkcd.com/c186.html

 

here's another funny clip on youtube.. hilarious! guy in wii-mote costume goes by a PS3 line. :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJp4hiMy4d8

Monday, November 20, 2006

my wii and my friends..

i love having mondays off.

especially mondays i have a brand new wii console and zelda waiting for me to get to!

so, decided i would head over to my pals place and see what the PS3 looked like.  he said he had picked up Resistance and already had Marvel Ultimate Alliance; so i was pretty curious to see how purty they both looked on his 1080p plasma.  on the phone though, he asked if i could bring over my wii and i was like hell yea, finally someone to play with! (haha, sounds bad eh? but my other pals were off drinking it up while i was in the gaming mood)

i headed over to his place, about a 20 minute drive and also had to stop at Target to pick up a nice Wii branded carrybag (very small, kind of a bag i was looking for to bring to work and put my DS and PSP in while i travel yet i didn't want the 'man bag' look ;)  ).  got over there and first thing he asked was if he could hook up the wii and take for a test drive.

we got her hooked up to his 42" plasma, wall mounted (which so far seems to be the best way to play the wii; walllmounted tv/plasma/lcd).  boy, zelda looks much better on a nice tv (i still have yet to upgrade my TV to an HDTV, but i'm thinking post-xmas is sounding good).  after a few minutes of peeking at zelda, we threw in Wii Sports and had a total blast with it.  my pals loved the boxing and tennis the most, while i'm still in love with bowling.  they were very excited about the Wii and kept asking me if they could get one soon and where.  almost too much fun, like a bunch of kids getting our first NES back in the day. ahh.. the memories.

so about 3 hours later, i'm starting to get my Zelda itch and decide to head out.  after getting home, i realized that i still have not played his PS3 or seen it. :(   maybe next time, if i don't bring over the wii..   (yes, i'm now a nintendo fanboy.. but remember i'm many fanboys! even a sony one in regards to cellphones/cameras, just not consoles anymore)

and yes, i promise this is the last wii blog unless its a hack or newsworthy.. :)  wii play..  two final pics for ya.. wii size comparison to a cd case and my wii launch gear...

wii vs a cd case = tiny console indeed

mii and my wii stuff

Sunday, November 19, 2006

mii and my wii! (update 3)

update 3:

well, the last update before i call it a day.. been playing zelda most of the day and must say its a blast. the whole wii-mote and nunchuk controller scheme is pretty fresh and new.  also tested out the email sending/receiving functionality and it seems to be pretty simple and basic. your wi''s email address is just w+(your wii friend code)@wii.com (ie w5644651651321@wii.com; not a real code!).   Anywho, if any other Wii owners wanna add me as a friend and vice versa, drop me a message or reply and i'll gladly add ya!  peace! thus the wii launch day has concluded..

my target ticket, #30!

update 2:

seems nintendo's site was getting hit w/some major traffic this morning, esp around 8:20am, hehe.   just got back from getting Madden 07 from Gamestop and man, those poor guys must be exhausted after the PS3 and Wii midnight launches. so far madden is pretty cool; a definite change for the good.  i'm still in love w/Wii Sports, pretty fun.  also had to download Mario 64, just cuz its mario 64 and i did get a classic controller for a reason. anywho back to zelda!

update 1:

so after playing w/my wii for about 2 hours now, here are a few quick initial impressions i got!

-man, the Wii is TINY! and you trully get everything you need to set it up, wii sports included!
-ease of setup is pure cake, no parent should have any probs w/it.
-wifi again was easy to setup too, if you've setup wifi before on a laptop, you should not have any probs at all
-using the wii-mote: the first game of tennis was AWESOME! i just had a cheesy grin on my face while i returned a lob w/some nice topspin! bowling was very fun too, got the same type of score i'd get when i bowl in real-life (118 haha!). i'm pretty pumped to get a few pals over to play some drinking wii-sports (good thing i got the protection plans on the system and my wii-motes).
-zelda: only 20 minutes into but so far i can tell that its going to be an epic type game not a boring normal adventure. graphics are what i expected, nothing like a PS3 or X360 but gets the job done.
-wii interface: i really like the wii's interface so far. i have not noticed any slowness in the wifi connection or downloading so far (in comparison to the vids on kotaku.com yesterday). made me a mii, that was way too fun for what it was. hehe.

so i'd say, yes i am glad i waited at 6am today and the initial impressions have met my expectations. and add onto that a SMOOTH launch at Target and i'm super happy! Target did a great job, again i must give props where due. Lined us up inside, let you choose your games/accessories (tons of each title), and pay for it and get a warranty plan if you want and out the door! took me a whole 10mins from the doors opening at 8am to me walking out w/that cheesy grin you see on xmas day when you got something you really wanted! :P back to zelda!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

wii launch update! random quantities from target, bb, and wallymart (update 1)

update:  finally stumbled upon this site to help everyone figure out where to get a wii and the quantities!

http://www.ps3seeker.com/wii/

____________________ 

well.. thought i'd go out and do some scouting for where would be the best place to get my wii and since i had a best buy, walmart, 2 targets and a circuit city close by; i figure i should be guaranteed to get one at one of the places!

so.... the question most of us want to know is; how many Wii's will they be getting?? who is launching at midnight?

well, in my area (southern minneapolis, mn sububs) here is what i found out!

Walmart is launching at midnight tonight since they are 24/7.  only about 20-30 wiis or so the employees say.  also there was a line of 20 some people already waiting (8pm ish)

Both Targets are launching the Wii on Sun  morning at 8am.  One of the Target video game sales reps (who i must say was super nice and seemed like he knew his stuff) said they estimate about 60 wiis and 60 copies of zelda! there were only 4 kids in line outside (the rep told them the number of wiis but they insisted on staying in line; can't blame them with the whole PS3 fiasco).  the other target had no idea and guessed around 20-30 wiis and unknown numbers of zelda and no lines at all (and its the closest!)

Best Buy (the one that got about 120 PS3s on launch and did the PS3 midnight launch) were keeping numbers quiet. guesstimates were in the range of 7-100 (HAHA! nice range eh?). 

But here's the good part!! I was able to pickup a Wii-mote!! so i can see first hand what they look like.  Also, walmart had games already for sale and on display (but zelda was mysteriously missing; must be keeping for the first wii's they sell). it seems unlike most items, batteries are included! also got the 2 year plan on it, just in case something tragic, say airborne mote, happens..

batteries included? thats a first!

here's some wii-mote porn till the morning!

my wii mote! hopefully i have a wii to match it in the morning!

So there's a quickie wrap up of Pre-Wii launch news in the minneapolis area (or where i live.. hehe.)

 i plan on doing another recon mission run at 5am or 6am and might just end up bundling up (layers are key in mn winters!) and bring my DS w/Elite Beat Agents to tie me over till they open!

wish me luck! :)

passing time till Wii get our Wiis

well, it seems every year or so often i get to point where i hit a 'brick' wall, run out of personal projects.  it seems though that the timing of my most recent brick wall might be perfect since i hope to get my Wii tomorrow and figure that there hopefully will be tons of things to hack. i already have a few ideas in mind that i can almost guarantee will work (a few of my older recipes that should work fine w/the Wii's wifi and home network factor).  i'll be posting tons of comments, opinions, first-takes on my Wii experience tomorrow (given i get one! i think i got a plan already to hit Target at 7:30a, if they do not have any or sell out, hit up Best Buy at 9a. that was the same best buy that had over 100+ PS3s; must be one of MN's biggest and some 150 or so campers prior to the PS3 launch).

but the last time i ran into this 'geek brick wall' i started my HTPC projects and of course my venture into handheld console hacking/homebrew.  i still have my PSP w/v1.5 firmware and my NDS Lite Onyx w/my SuperCard MiniSD gamecart and custom NDS firmware (no warnings).  so heck, i guess the Wii will be mii's next hack hopefully!! 

my interest in mobile phones is subsiding after going on a crazy 3 phones in 6 months binge (had a MDA, then a K800i, and now a Z710i hybrid w/W710i firmware) and the fact that there really are not many 'ground-breaking' phones out but are more of the same.  i guess i've come to a gadget wall more than anything.  it seems that right now i'm just waiting for prices to go down on HiDef LCD TVs and for some TV Tuner makers to get their asses in gear and make me a HD CableCard 2.0 TV Tuner!!  my comcast box is just not cutting it and i've missed a few good series while i was away in DC which really irked me and to top it off, Digital Cable imo looks like crap compared to any DirectTV/Satellite TV (parents have DirectTV and their analog shows look almost as good as my 1080i HD shows on my 24" LCD!).  if only dave hadn't killed my HU stream. ;)

so i guess today will be that day of waiting, kind of like a kid on xmas eve (and one who knows he's getting a new nextgen console!)... now i just have to make sure i can get my Zelda at the same time since i cancelled my Target online pre-order (said i wouldn't get it until next week??? forget that, i want it now!! hehe).

it seems the PS3 launch went about like what i thought, pure organized chaos!!  violent lines, muggings/shootings.  heck, my pal was even packing when he went to get his PS3 just to be sure he didn't get jumped! (in MN we have a conceal and carry law now, i wonder if thats why there were no cases of PS3 muggings, people afraid the person they were robbing might turn the tables??). but so far he's loving his PS3 and Ultimate Alliance.  i didnt' get a chance to play or anything since we were having problems getting the RCA connections to work in our office, :(  but prob will swing over tonight to see how purty it is!  so yes, a good launch for sony in that every PS3 sold; however should be interesting to see how many are actually opened and played!! seems ebayers have already begun their 'scalping'.

here's some geek PS3 porn for you (yea, i know they are cellphone pics !)

my pal proudly showing me his PS3 lovin!

more ps3 porn!

ps3 controller in its wireless glory

hopefully, the wii launch will be a more peaceful, zen-ish one.  go big N for having 1 million units on launch!!  and Zelda!!! oops, starting to sound like a Nintendo fanboy; but really i'm a fanboy of Sony too!!  heck, i might even try to get in on Amazon's deal of a X360 core system for $100!! can't say no to that right??? too bad there's only 1,000 of them that will be sold at that price.

hopefully mii will have a wii tomorrow, peace!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

PS3/Wii.. its so close i can taste the greed and bitterness already.. :)

t-minus 11 hours and counting for prob one of the most anticipated and yet disappointing console launches in video game history.  i say disappointing not in reference to the console itself, but more to the way Sony has handled this launch (did anyone not learn anything from the x360 launch last year??).

was cruising by my best buy last night and already saw over 20 tents lined up outside on the grass.  mind you, i live in mn and it gets to be around 20 degrees fahrenheit at night! no console is worth the risk of frostbite imo; plus, don't people understand that there are probably only going to be, if lucky, a dozen units available for purchase.  called the target by my place and they also had the same thing going on; people camped out for the PS3 release tomorrow morning, and i also verified that they will be selling the Wii on launch day.

i tell ya; lately any major launch has really brought out the people and the greed.  i do not ever remember any previous console (from prev generations) creating so much hype, anticipation, and greed.   but then again maybe that was because the big players weren't behind in production and didn't believe in the "small supply = great demand = great hype" mentality. 

my pal confirmed that he will be getting his PS3 via Gamestop (hopefully that is the case, i'll be uploading some screenshots tomorrow night if he does get it!!).  i also went out last night and pre-orderded my Madden 07 and Zelda for the Wii.  i'm thinking that no matter what i'm going to be waiting outside of the target at 5am to be sure to get a Wii (sure would be a shame to have 2 games but no system. hehe..)

been surfing my usual gaming blog sites and its seems the PS3 launch may be one of the most violent launches in history of video games.  1,000s lined up outside of Sony Style in San Fran?? dang!!!   and it seems this pattern is happening everywhere a PS3 is going to be sold.  however, i did go by my local walmart and noticed that there was not a SINGLE person waiting. hmmm... could i maybe get a PS3 afterall? doubtful but ya never know?

so.. to those of you that do get a PS3, i'd recommend going out and getting a lottery ticket; seems like winning the lottery almost has better odds this week! :)

mii, well, i'll hopefully be unpacking my Wii at 8am on Sunday morning! i'll post pics/vids that morning and prob give a quick review of Wii Sports, Madden 07, and Zelda (given they all make it by the weekend to my mailbox!)

peaceÂ

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

more google mobile goodies!

yea, i admit it. i've been in love w/google since day one. however, the best part about google is its 'we can do it all' mentality.

i've already highlighted one google application, Picasa, as a top personal pick of mine.  today i'd like to bring to those uninformed mobile users of a few great google mobile apps (run/installed on the java midlet interfaces, so your phone needs to support java)

google currently offers 4 mobile applications, you can easily download them by visiting googles mobile page (http://www.google.com/mobile/) and then sending a link via text message to your phone to bring you to the portal (can it get any easier???).  the 4 applications include: Search, Maps, Gmail and News.

i've personally have used google maps (used to be google local, and was originally created by a freelance programmer; might have even been a sidekick alpha app if i remember correctly) and it keeps getting better.  google maps lets you: view a map of a location/zoom, get directions (turn by turn), view traffic, view hybrid maps, zoom, and add bookmarks to your favorite spots/directions.  its a great app if you are ever on the run and in need of some directions or a map.

the latest one i just started using is gmail. its a standalone java gmail client for your mobile. yes, you can check your gmail on any phone's wap browser, but the standalone client is nice since its faster and feature packed. you get all of the features you have when you use a PC web browser to check your gmail (views, options, conversations, attachments).

try them out if you have a phone thats been bought in the last 5 years and a data plan (remember, these apps use data and some carriers charge a ton for going over data limits if you don't already have unlimited data)! 

these are seamonkey approved apps! Google Maps and Gmail (mobile versions).

Monday, November 13, 2006

the approach of next-gen launches...

well, the USA launches of the PS3 and Wii linger so very very close!!  we are under a week before we will see both in the wild. Nov 17 = PS3, Nov 19=Wii. however, good luck getting a PS3!!

it seems that Gamestop has cut their first batch numbers in half, meaning that if your #4 or higher on the pre-order list you prob won't have a PS3 on launch day.  now that is big disappointment for most, especially those suckers who waited for hours in crappy weather for a preorder.  so i guess sony is living up to my expectations.. (sound of ball dropping..) 

however, to me the Wii is really what i've been waiting for and its seeming like i should be able to get one. i plan on camping out at my target on launch day (i think they are getting them on launch. hmmm.. might have to verify this).  i even took off mon and tues to play, hehe. so i guess i better get one and zelda looks like a blast!  i do admit that the PS3 games look so purty but what is the gameplay going to be like, same old thing but just a visual upgrade?  hopefully my pal's PS3 pre-order goes through and i get to see first hand on launch. 

well, back to enjoying some room service out here in DC. :)  gotta say that those sprint evdo cards rule and i'm still in love with my work sony vaio vgn-t350p! hehe.  i've been out in DC the last 5 days helping w/an office move. me and a few co-workers are helping w/the pc hookups and all that good stuff.  its amazing how a project can seem like its a total failure and then 3 days later its like it went just as planned.  amazing indeed!   can't wait to get back to minneapolis though. just realized how technological our city is; for example i saw an ambulance rushing through traffic and when it got to the stop lights, they didn't change and there were no blinking light at the intersection warning of an emergency vehicle.  in minneapolis, when an emergency vehicle approaches a stoplight the light will automatically change and then a light on the light will blink warning of the vehicle and the lights in the path of the vehicle in turn will change stopping cross traffic.  and no taxis in DC take credit cards, whats up with that?  however, i have had some of the best food in a while (morton porterhouse steak = pure delight) and the weather has been pretty good (70s and 60s).

well, off to bed; these 14+ hour days are killer! :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

another HD update... cablecard ranting...

well.. i've been doing the HD thing now for about a month or so. had to transition to a comcast HD DVR (scientific atlanta 8300HD) since there still is not a single manufacturer that has created a HD CableCard Tv Tuner.

I really loathe the dvr box..  it lacks the most basic function: ability to search for shows. but nonetheless the quality and sound from it are very good. 1080i looks pretty sweet on my 24" widescreen. i'm still in love w/her and i've had her almost a year now.  she's a dell 24 widescreen; loaded with inputs and comes w/ a great stand.  been using my PC and HD DVR to it and it lets you do PBP and PIP, so i can put on tv on the pip and do my thing on the rest of it.

so ok, i can live with the whole no search thing and just go online to find when my shows will be on. however, they still need more HD channels.  i think i get a measly 12 or so and the digital cable looks like crap after watching some Discovery Channel HD in 1080i.  so hopefully we see more channels go HD, preferably SciFi and Comedy Central.

getting back to the TV Tuner and CableCARDs or lack of; from what i have read around the blogs/sites/forums is that the reason why there have not been any PC HDTV Tuner w/CableCARD support is that they need to be approved for Vista and by the CableCARD creator.  so it seems that us HTPC/Do-it-yourselfers have been left in the dark and forced to buy/rent a service based DVR box.  hopefully, once Vista is officially rolled out in 2007 manufacturers will start developing HD Cablecard TV Tuner cards.  The current offering of CableCards are the v1.0 (which do not allow two-way communication; thus things like On-Demand, guides, and payperview are not accessible w/the current slew of CableCARDs).  A new version 2.0 of the CableCARD is coming, this version will allow two way communication and in turn allow us HTPC builders to go back to our superior DVR PC boxes.  However the standard for CableCARD 2.0 is yet to be finalized so manufacturers are a little hesitant on creating Tuners which might not work w/the 2.0 format.

Once CableCARD 2.0 is finalized, we should expect to see a slew of CableCARD 2.0 Tv Tuners and by that time, Vista should be out in the wild too! So i guess i'll have to make due w/my HD DVR box till next year (good thing its almost the end of the year!).

for those interested in reading more on CableCARDS, here are some links:

CableCARD Primer: http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/CableCARDprimer.php

CNET's Whats a CableCARD: http://news.com.com/FAQ+CableCard+Whats+that/2100-1041_3-5542400.html

Wikipedia's CableCARD entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cablecard

Friday, November 03, 2006

multiple monitors = maximum geekiness (with the right setup)

well, i've been a total multi-monitor man since my first Geforce2 and TNT Riva.  i remember having to open my window in the winter to let some cool air in; i swear i could have used the CRTs to heat my room.  i then experimented with several different setups; side-by-side and vertically stacked.  however since CRTs are rather big, you were kind of limited to where you could put the monitors. then finally LCDs finally hit the market and became affordable.  LCDs offered us monitor geeks the freedom to put them almost anywhere (w/the help of a VESA mounting bracket) and also cooled our rooms down quite a bit too!  my first LCD was a KDS Rad-5; finally got rid of it last year. then moved up to a 19" and then finally to my 24" wide-screen.  most people had never really had multi-monitor setups until prob the last 3-4 years. nowadays its almost a requirement for anyone that works in IT to have this kind of setup.

what i've found through the last few years is that just having a multiple monitor setup will not make you that much more productive.   multiple monitor setups are very cool to look at and really give you that 'uber' geek image. however, most setups are not utilized to their max potential due to the users not having the most productive tools to manage their setup.

a couple of problems i faced when i initially started using a dual monitors included:

1. taskbar for the secondary monitor

2. no real way to toss windows from monitor to monitor

3. desktop wallpapers were the same on each monitor

4. save desktop icon locations on the secondary monitor

after doing a ton of research and searching (before it was googling, hehe); i stumbled upon what i would consider to be one of the best utilities/applications i've ever purchased: Ultramon (www.ultramon.com)

Ultramon is basically a multiple monitor management utility. it allowed me to have a seperate taskbar for my secondary monitor, so when i had my Outlook on the secondary monitor, i'd have the taskbar showing it on that monitor than on my primary monitors taskbar.  Also, it allowed me to setup hotkeys to toss a window/program to the primary or secondary monitor.  nothing is more rewarding than being able to just do a CTRL+ALT+Right Arrow and see the window move to the opposite monitor.   Another thing it did was to save your desktop icon locations; one thing i had noticed when running dual monitors was that no matter what i did, my icons would always reset to the primary monitor when i wanted them to be split up (main apps on the primary, entertainment icons on the secondary).  Nvidias NView came close to doing this but it didn't do it all.  Finally, Ultramon solved my seperate wallpapers for each monitor or the ability to stretch one image across both monitors.  

my latest setup consists of 2 Dell LCDs; a 24" widescreen and a measley 15".  when i was running Media Center 2005 on my box, i used my 15" for TV while i did photoshop/browsed on the 24".   Photoshop w/a multi monitor setup is great!  or just browsing a site on the 15" and have a DVD going on the 24".  all being driven by an ATI X800 and an Athlon X2 3000+.

one more tip i have to offer is this: when i go to bed, i like to have my main monitor play my movie however having the secondary at the desktop can be a bit distracting.  So what i do is i setup my ATI Catalyst Control Center to use hotkeys (i know, i love hotkeys!!) to switch profiles.  most new video cards will support overlays on the secondary monitor, what that means is that when i have overlays on and a movie going on my main monitor, the secondary monitor will have the same video playing in full-screen overlay mode. :)  now that's easy on the eyes.

so if you haven't tried a multi monitor setup, i'd recommend it! once you go multi, you can never go back.  plus, it shows your friends how big of a geek you really are! ;)

major photoshopping

my geek setup