Archive for Entertainment

Fun Readings

Fun Readings
Swing, James Bond, interface design, Dresden, an Elizibethan England children's novel, and more -- it's all good.

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Not fixing the Xbox 360?

I broke down and bought a new Xbox 360 Arcade unit to replace my variously failing boxes.  If you remember back just a bit in time, I tried a couple of strategies to fix my machine.  They all worked -- for a time.  The time the fix worked, however, was variable, ranging from 5-30 hours for a good fix, and as short as 30 minutes for a bad fix. I've spent a lot of time on the boxes, and unfortunately, the time I spent fixing seems to have eclipsed the time I spent playing. The thing I've found most fascinating about the process is that, while buggy, the 360 hardware is quite resilient.  With enough twiddling of screws, I can get a box up and running quite consistently.

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Well, they’re now on the list, anyway…

Alternate titles for this post:
  • How Gamestop ruined my Valentine's Day
  • Gamestop Made Me Do It
  • I'm an Idiot
Read the rest of this entry »

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Design Work…

Design Work...
I just picked up three books on Design, based largely on the recommendations in the JavaPosse Roundup 09 sessions on the topic.  I haven't read them yet, but just perusing them makes them look to be a lot of fun.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Fixing the XBox 360

I thought I was in the clear as far as the 3 red lights goes for the XBox 360... it happened, I was under warranty, Microsoft send a cardboard coffin, and I sent it back.  End of story. Oops, it happened again.  There's no free lunch this time.  Even if I paid the $100 to MS to repair it, they would only give a 90 day warranty on their work.  So, either buy a new one (with a massive extended warranty, of course) or try to fix it myself.  After attempting to buy a new Arcade unit for $200 at K-Mart twice, but failing both times because they were out of stock, I went the fix route. Read the rest of this entry »

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Podcast Rotation

I just wanted to capture the current set of podcasts I listen to. I commute two hours a day, and this set keeps me lightly stocked -- Sometimes I run out for a day or two, and I rarely fall behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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You’re just fooling yourself…

... that you're cool if you find yourself ever saying any of the following:
  • buff
  • debuff
  • tank
  • aggro
  • DPS
  • AoE
  • Bonus:
    • Tapping
    • Untap
In some cases, you may even be fooling yourself that you're playing a game.  Seriously, though, I'm a nerd, and listening to people talk like the above makes me want to take their lunch money. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Review: Crackdown

Game Review: Crackdown
Buy.com recently had a great deal on some games and battery packs.  One of the games included was Crackdown.  Here's a quick review, after playing about half the game.  I get the feeling that Crackdown is one of those games everyone's heard of, but few have played.  It's never had a mega promotional campaign, but it's a solid, well put-together title.  To sum up my feelings about the game: it's a blast.  And it gets blastier the farther along you get. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Review: Portal / Orange Box

My wife found a cheap copy of the Orange Box, from Valve.  It actually contains 3 full games (Half-life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal) and two large expansions for HL2 (ep. 1 & 2) -- a lot of content. There was only one reason I wanted the game:  Portal.  I heard from friends and reviews about the thing, so I had a feeling I'd like it.  I did.  Great writing and mind-bending (but not too mind-bending) make for a fun game. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Review: Mass Effect

It was brought to my attention that I forgot a game review of Portal, so I thought I'd lump several games in today that I've been meaning to review but haven't yet.  This is in order of me getting each game, starting with last Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Loose lips sink… gaming?

One less secret I have to keep:  see Riot Games to Summon 'League of Legends' in 2009 - MarketWatch.  That's for anyone who is curious about what my friend Scott has been up to and/or the game I interviewed to work on. I can't believe I missed the press releases, but such is life. The main community site is at http://www.leagueoflegends.com/ I wish them the best.  The game is fun and has a lot of teamwork potential.

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Game Review: Too Human

Too Human is an action RPG for the XBox 360.  Sillicon Knights developed the title on-and-off for almost ten years.  The game combines features from several other well-known action RPGs.  To sum it up in a sentence, Too Human combines the frantic gameplay and hordes of enemies from the Diablo series with the weapon stylings and combos of Sega's Phantasy Star Online. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Naming

How often have you read a story where the way to defeat an enemy is to know its name?  Or seen a movie where the discovery of a name leads to control over the named object?  Some examples in popular culture:
  • Rumpelstiltskin would be the prime example here.  By learning the name, and speaking it to the creature, the miller's daughter got out of the bargain she had made (to be able to spin straw into gold, she had to give up her firstborn).
  • In The Tenth Kingdom, the blind woodsman would only release his prisoner and give the heroes his magic axe if they could guess his name.  (Luckily, he kept it in his hat.)
  • The undoing of the Horned King in The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander was the speaking of his name.
  • In Aidyn Chronicles for the Nintendo64, the main character Alaron lacks a True Name, which binds his body and soul together.  Without it, he is incomplete.
The question is, does any of this apply to the real world? It was, in fact, in my playing of Aidyn Chronicles that I first became cognizant of this whole business.  In it, there is a discipline of magic called Naming set in contrast to the more familiar Elemental (fire, air, earth, water) magic.  At the time, I thought, "What's the big deal?  Is having a name and giving a name so important?"  This was 2001. Flash forward to 2007.  I have a daughter now, and she's struggling to learn everything in the world.  She will eat up new words and start using them immediately.  She feels every word brings her more power. Well, knowledge is power, names are knowledge, and therefore names are power.  So I guess it makes a bit of sense.  You can know about something.  But this is not just knowing something, it is naming that something.  If you know enough about a thing, you can name it, categorize it, relegate it.  Give a name to your fear, the saying goes. I suspect naming can have broader powers too... a way of setting the stage for a debate, for example.  If you coin a product name, a movment, a philosophy, or anything, you may well be determining the ultimate fate of that thing.  At the very least, you're doing a bit of mind control by making a popular name that everyone speaks. Wikipedia has a bit more discussion in this vein, under the True Name topic.

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Favorite Sci-fi books

I posted this over at IGN, but I wanted to preserve the content here. To that end, here are some of my favorite science fiction books. Regarding A.C. Clarke, be sure to read the first Rendezvous with Rama book, but none of the sequels. Also, try out Neal Stephenson. My favorite so far is The Diamond Age, but Cryptonomicron and Snow Crash are excellent as well. All of them fall in the computer geek realm, not so much space sci-fi as nerd sci-fi. Note: these are not short books, but are well-written. A couple of older favorites: Junkyard Planet / The Cosmic Computer, by H. Beam Piper is a 1963 novel that is a light read but is entertaining and has survived pretty well, ie, it doesn't sound outdated or silly. Through a copyright quirk, it is public domain, and can be downloaded if you can't find a copy. My Name is Legion by Roger Zelazny continues the hacker theme a bit. It involves a global ID system that one man has a backdoor into and he uses this to be a "freelance investigator and problem solver." read more over at TheConans »

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Movie Review: Juno

Juno is a fabulous movie, clever dialog and real depth to characters.  I don't want to say too much about it, as I can't do it justice.  A great soundtrack and songs accompany us through the journey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Review: N+

N+ is the new hotness on XBox Live Arcade, created by metanet software as a sequel to their flash game, N. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fun links…

I just wanted to share a couple of nice links I came across yesterday Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Review: Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario is almost a good game.  It has clever puzzles, excellent control, and a wide variety of levels.  But it also has tedious dialog, annoying restrictions, and a lot of menu work for what is essentially an action game. Read the rest of this entry »

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High-quality GamerWear

I came across the Top 10 Best Game Apparel and let's just say I'd welcome any of the items there into the family.  They're all pretty good, go see. Yes, there is one pair of underwear in the list.  I expect a host of jokes relating to me wearing those -- it won't be a surprise. Pat. read more back at TheConans »

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Game Review: Puzzle Quest, Challenge of the Warlords

Puzzle Quest totally rocks! Here's my review. Read the rest of this entry »

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