Archive | May 2006

Let’s make contact

The Florida Sun-Sentinel contacted me, wanting to talk to me about a job they are trying to fill. I’d like to hear more about it, though Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t seem like it would be my favorite place to live. I keep putting it off, but I need to call them back sometime soon.

This Memorial Day morning we had a nice, relaxing day with Josh, Mr. Jeeto and Amanda. Paninis on the grill, some exercise in the park and games. Plus we tried out Grandma Rudi’s including their apple pie. Good pie.

I haven’t been posting much lately, but I have been adding movies to the my list (see left sidebar).

Saturday night not always alright

Bridget asked, this week, if I could design her wedding invitations. I’m gonna try it and see if I can find something she and Ratz like better than the samples they’ve seen. They are friends from Ultimate and are having a Memorial Day party tonight that I wish I could go to … the down side of working almost every Saturday night.

Water heater was fixed Tuesdsay morning.

I heard the Gnarls Barkley song “Crazy,” which I like a lot, in an episode of “Gray’s Anatomy” today. (I think you can find the song on their MySpace page if you haven’t heard it.) I first heard the song a few weeks ago, but the episode I was watching to day is from about two months ago, and way before I first heard the song. Kinda neat.
GB’s Web site
GB’s MySpace
GB on Conan O’Brien


Amanda and I have been talking about making a team T-shirt, and I finally uploaded the graphic and we ordered them today. Go Team Gamando!

I’ve been sort of busy the last few weeks, yet haven’t done all that much to speak of. It’s a weird combo. I guess I’ve been doing things enough to be busy, but it’s mostly the stuff I do all the time, so it doesn’t seem worth talking about.

One unusual development has been the water heater breaking down late last week. The pilot light won’t stay lit, so I went ahead and turned it off.

I called our usual plumbing/heating people the first day we noticed the problem, but they didn’t call back. So after several days of waiting, I called someone else and they’re coming in the morning. So I hope we’ll have hot water tomorrow.

There hasn’t been any gas leaking, so no danger is involved, but I haven’t been able to do dishes, and we haven’t been able to do much laundry. We’ve showered over at Josh and Amanda’s at least a couple times.

It was so nice Sunday, I was surprised we didn’t have more people come out for our regular Ultimate game. I did manage to get a sunburn, and it smarts today.

Turtle Zip Wax

Saturday we cleaned the house and washed the car. It has probably been since High School that I manually washed the car myself, with sponges, buckets of water and wax, that sort of thing. I’ve been doing the short cut of running through an automatic car wash all these years… but really it just isn’t the same. It did take me about 2 hours, but it looks great! I spent about the same amount of time relaxing in our pool after cleaning the car, it was such a gorgeous day!

I purchased New Super Mario Bros for my Nintendo DS this week. It is a great game, such a blast to play! I’m currently on World 5-4, a snowy environment. Hopefully I don’t complete the game before my trip this weekend!

Yesterday I put together a quick blogger site for the Brotherhood Gaming Tribe so that members can post links to gaming news articles and generate an RSS feed at the same time. So far it has been pretty neat!

Nintendo will win with Wii

Could Nintendo end up being the “winner” of the next video game console war?

Previous thinking was unanimous that Nintendo would be the underdog in this new generation of gaming because it was designed with less technical prowess (less CPU and graphical abilities). However, with their strong E3 showing and press quips from both Sony and Microsoft executives supporting their competition… might Nintendo end up winning?

It is rumored that the new Nintendo Wii will launch under $250. The Playstation 3 will cost $599 for the full system and XBOX 360 costs $399. So Nintendo will be the most affordable console on shelves this holiday.

The Nintendo console will also offer the games with the most comfort level for parents. Nintendo is famous for its kid-friendly line up of popular titles such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon and others.

The traditional hardcore gamer being targeted by the other two companies now have their “leaders” urging a 2nd console purchase of the Nintendo Wii. The unique control scheme and exclusive titles may be enough to push them into completing the second console purchase.

These factors, on top of the Nintendo faithful’s purchases, could be enough for Nintendo to capture the largest install base of this new generation. Once you have the largest install base, the developers, exclusive titles, and even more customers follow.

Peter Moore’s original quote supporting Wii
Phil Harrison’s quote responding to Moore’s quote, also supporting Wii
Nintendo Wii official website

E3 well underway

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is this week. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have all had their press conferences now. There will coninue to be updates from third-party publishers the remainder of the week, but the most anticipated events are wrapped up.

Among the biggest disappointments, Sony didn’t have a single “killer app” lined up for its PS3, the online gaming service was not detailed or shown, the PS3 itself is going to cost $600 for its premium package (vs $400 for premium XBOX 360), PS3 is not going to have dual-HDMI outputs as previously mentioned at last year’s E3. The PS3 basic package loses wi-fi and SD memory capabilities and has no HDMI output at all for $100 less. Sony really over-hyped the PS3 last year to try and keep people from buying a new XBOX. Now the PS3 comes off as gimmicky with no real content.

Microsoft showed teasers for Halo 3, Fable 2, Forza 2, all looking really good. They also announced a few accessories; wireless headset, camera, and force-feedback steering wheel. The most exciting potential is that they also announced that Windows Vista will have “Live” integration, so some titles could support me playing on my XBOX 360 and Travis on his computer playing the very same game with each other. The same Gamertag is used across the entire Live platform which is really awesome. That should rejuvenate the PC gaming scene.

Nintendo showed off Zelda, Mario Galaxy, Duck Hunt, Crystal Chronicles and a lot more for their new console, the Nintendo Wii. The Wii-mote, their new motion tracking controller, looked effortless to use and very versatile! The Wii will be always on the net, allowing for content updates (sounds similar to the way a Tivo gets updates periodically), is designed to be very fast at loading up games, supports 4 traditional GameCube controllers and allows for GameCube-sized disks.

As far as the 3 conferences go, I think Nintendo stole the show, Microsoft demonstrated incremental growth and expansion, and Sony failed miserably. I expect many will decide to buy both a 360 and Wii because combined they cost less than the PS3 and either of them alone looks to offer more fun experiences.

Sony Press Conference
Nintendo Press Conference
Microsoft Press Conference

Made in a Bunn

Found an older Bunn coffee maker Saturday for $3 plus a load of filters for 25 cents. Tested it out Saturday night during a slow period at work and it seems to work well. (BUNN Corporate Headquarters, 1400 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, IL 62703.)

Somewhat sick Friday and Saturday, but I worked and went garage saling anyway. Went to a little Cinco de Mayo festivity at Josh and Amanda’s on my dinner break Friday night.

Fuzzycouch visits — Average per day: 40; This week: 283.

Inconsistent guidance for parents

Bethesda Softworks created a game, “Oblivion,” submitted it to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) for a rating. The ESRB rated it “Teen.” Two months go by and some kids hacked the game, figuring out which image files to replace to make the characters appear nude.

The kids created the “nude” clothing image files and hacked the game, not Bethesda. However, the ESRB is re-rating the game “Mature” and now the publisher has to send out stickers for all of the shipped units to re-rate the game.

If you apply this style of thinking to another product, you can see how outrageous this is: Mattel releases Barbie dolls, supplied with various outfits. Mattel does indeed ship, in every box, the “nude” content. Consumers are free to dress or undress the dolls they purchase. There are no large warnings on the box that discourage a purchase for anyone under the age of 17. In fact, most are intended for young children.

Something is wrong and very inconsistent about all of this. It is a shame that this company has to incur costs because of what a third party chose to do with the product.

ESRB is stating that in addition to this nude hack, that the violence is more than originally submitted. I believe Bethesda when they say they detailed the level of violence. It is just an excuse ESRB is using because they are afraid of nudity. Violence often gets rated at the Teen level.

Bethesda’s Response

UPDATE: ESRB responded to my letter above. The ESRB claims that there was at least 1 topless image file on the game disc provided directly by Bethesda (this is denied in the Bethesda response linked above). According to ESRB, even though the depiction was not in the game, not accessible via the code Bethesda published, the image was on the disc supplied by Bethesda. Even if this were true, even if that Bethesda-supplied image existed, a 3rd party would still have to modify the code to access it.

Full ESRB Response

Video gaming extravaganza

I’ll be helping out the “noobs” on XBOX Live (I was selected to be an XBOX Ambassador). I imagine they will need the most help during the free Gold weekends (where sponsors like Verizon pay for the free Silver Xbox members to get Gold features for a limited time).

There is a neat OSX Widget for XBOX Live Friends List that I discovered through an article over at Penny Arcade. Only down side is that it uses Safari for the engine, so if you typically use Firefox and are logged in, the Widget will still not be signed in until you authenticate to via Safari.

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is next week. All of the year’s new games and systems will be announced. For the first time, we’ll be able to play demos and see trailers of unreleased content from the show floor via XBOX Live! Very exciting stuff!

XBOX Ambassadors
XBOX widget
Penny Arcade
E3 promotion, May 8-14 is free Gold status for cool E3 content!

New couches!

This week we have Jantina’s mom and her husband visiting us. We visited Cedar’s and Season’s 52 so far. Sunday we had a cook-out at our place with some of the gang, swam in the pool and had a blast.

Our new couches and chair for the living room arrived. It took us a little while to find the accent pillows and lamps, we really love them though. Our previous set lasted about 10 years. We threw a cover over the old couch and moved it into my office. An OK use for a tax refund 🙂

I’m re-reading Cashflow Quadrant … lots of great idea that I never get around to implementing.

I rented “Black,” an XBOX game, this weekend but it was just “OK.”

My MacBook Pro battery is a dud. Apple support is sending me a new one overnight. It sounds like it is a known defect in some of the early MacBook Pro batteries. Speaking of Apple, Ethan pointed me to the new Apple ads, they are pretty good.