Archive for November, 2005

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Ahhnold’s family values

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

A quick video remix of our favorite California Governor: Arnold vs. DJ Disco. Talk about solid family values and strong moral leadership.

Warning: not safe for work, includes audio.

Via Screenhead.

A very effective marketing campaign

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

So I’m very underwhelmed with the Xbox 360. After getting home and eating some food I got to spend a few hours with Brien’s and I can’t really say that I’m all that impressed. Yes the graphics are better than the original Xbox, but not by the leaps and bounds that Microsoft has been promising. If you look at the leap Sony took from the Playstation 1 to the Playstation 2 it was impressive – significantly better graphics and more fluid motion.

The textures are better, as is the lighting. The gameplay is neither extreamly fluid nor terribly innovative. Luckily I think a lot of that blame falls on the game developers rather than on the platform itself, but it is still inexcusable. It’s as if the platform and launch titles are the Xbox 1.5 rather than the next generation Xbox.

An interesting limitation – the core system ships with neither a memory unit nor the hard drive accessory. Sadly Microsoft did not even include enough flash RAM for a user to get an Xbox Live account. This means that even if a user is willing to spend the $60+ a year for an Xbox Live account they will be unable to sign on unless they spend an additional $20-100 on storage for the unit.

I almost feel sorry for the people that have spent 36+ hours waiting in line in the cold to get their hands on an expensive device that fails to impress. Brien spent well over $500 between the console, an extra controller, and three launch titles. He won’t admit it but privately I think he wishes he had waited until the frenzy had died down and the costs had come down.

Microsoft’s marketing department really knows how to work it. They have managed to sell out on a pathetic release and get the general public in a frenzy over the console thus virtually guaranteeing they will sell out every shipment until the 2005 holiday season is over.

Update: Speaking of bad usability there is a switch on the actual component video cable marked “HD”. If you select HD then the cable transmits 1080i rather than 480p. Strange they could not make it auto-detect. Selecting HD did improve the graphics a surprising amount, but I still stand by my underwhelmed rating for the platform and launch games.

Order is restored

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I’m actually surprised at how painless the reinstallation of OS X and all my software was. It took about 3 hours including copying all of my data over from the background, installing all of the applications I use, and getting my PHP/MySQL development environment set up.

I’m again very glad that I use IMAP for everything. I didn’t even have to restore Thunderbird or my mail from a backup. I just pointed it at my mail server, clicked synchronize and poof – 45 minutes later all 4Gb of my mail was back and ready to go. Because I use WebDAV to store all my personal settings and spam filter training data I was even able to copy those back over. This combined with using IMAP for all of my mobile email has cemented my relationship with IMAP as a protocol.

It’s getting late and I should get to bed. I’m excited about getting to play with dev stuff tomorrow. I have a few projects in mind that should really get me back into things. I am halfway tempted to wait up for Brien to get back with his brand new Xbox 360, but given that he has to come from Lacey and stop at Fry’s for an HD cable he is probably going to be getting back way after my bedtime so I will have to check it out tomorrow morning.

A complete reset

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I’ve been getting more and more into the creative process and configuring and hacking WordPress has inspired me to get back into web development from not merely a design perspective, but also a development one. In an effort to set up a clean development enviroment I’m wiping my powerbook and reinstalling a lot of my software. I have a full HDD backup so I won’t lose anything, but I don’t plan on reinstalling any of the things I had played with in the past but don’t really use. I’m also going to try to stick to open source software as much as possible. I’m going to ditch NetNewsWire and try out Vienna, as well as change around a few of the other editing tools that I’ve been using. Pretty much the only closed source software I’m going to be using (aside from parts of OS X) is going to be Adobe Photoshop. I’ve played with Gimp in the past, but I just can’t do as much as I want to design wise with it.

My new development efforts are going to be based on PHP and Ruby. I’ve done a lot with PHP/MySQL in the past so getting back into that has been easy, but Ruby is something that I have not worked with. From what I have seen in playing with Ruby it’s a fantastic little language and I can’t wait to get more involved with it.

Wish me luck and pray that by the time tomorrow morning rolls around my powerbook will be rocking and ready to go for work!

Post-yoga

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I must say that yoga was a smashing success. I got to see several friends whom I have not seen in a long time, and learned a lot about Yoga. Tonight was a far cry from the previous time I had been to bikram yoga and really injured myself in more way than one. Theresa of Taj Yoga was wonderful and she really had a focus on helping everyone do the best that they could, but not pushing things at all.

I think I could get in to a very regular yoga practice if I ease myself into it. Going to an advanced uber-yoga for my first time was obviously a big mistake. If I work myself up to it I can see this helping improve my strength, stress levels, and flexibility.

Brien should be here in about 5 hours with his brand new Xbox 360. I’m still trying to decide if I want to stay up for that, or if I should just check it out tomorrow after work. I’m kind of excited to see an Xbox 360 in person, but the platform as a whole just has not got me on the edge of my seat like some gadgets – the HTC 8125 for instance.

Pre-yoga

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Pre-yoga

I arrived a little early for my first beginning yoga class fro Taj Yoga. I suddenly really wish that I had brought my SLR beacuse it is not often that I get an empty room like this to play with composition and balance. Go me for finally getting to a yago class!

Can’t make fun of the Xbox 360 launch lines anymore

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Given that Brien just called and he’s joined one. The lines are so big up here in Seattle that the only place that he could get in line at noon today was in Lacey, WA – 60 miles south of our condos at a Wal-Mart. They don’t have a large launch allotment but he got in line early enough to get one of the non-premium kits from them.

Andru of Gear Live is in line at the big Best Buy in Bellevue that Bill Gates will be launching the Xbox 360 himself. I can’t wait to see some video of BillG out at midnight singing praises of his new media/gaming platform.

Xbox 360 launch: bringing out the worst in common sense

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

So Brien just called me as he drove by a local Best Buy shop to announce that there are already people lined up outside waiting to buy an Xbox 360 on the 22nd at midnight when they launch. Normally I wouldn’t laugh, but the weather out there is freezing cold and 29+ hours is a long time to wait out in it. I can’t wait to see if anyone gets hospitalized over this. All this hoopla when many of the review sites that got theirs a few days ago are not all that overly excited about it.

So average console, with average to crap reviews and a bunch of gamers want to spend over a day in the freezing rain waiting to fork over $400 for a console at midnight. Wow – Microsoft’s marketing department really has figured out how to create a frenzy. I used to think Apple was the king of marketing (after all, only they can sell the lack of a screen on the iPod shuffle as a lifestyle choice, a feature) but with this staggered rollout and guaranteed “always sold out” till Christmas Microsoft is ensuring their new console will be the coveted hot toy this holiday season.

Phone dilemma

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

I’ve been lusting after a Cingular branded HTC Wizard, or the Cingular 8125 for a while now. Sprint came out with basically the same phone (called the PPC-6700) about a month ago, but it’s much more expensive ($650 vs $450) and has a giant honking antenna on it. PCS Promotions just came out with a special deal offering the PPC-6700 for about $70 with a two year activation agreement and Cingular is still fussing about a release date for the phone.

Now I’m stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Do I leave Cingular and get the PPC-6700 now, do I get both and decide which I like more, or do I wait it out for Cingular to release the 8125? The bad news is I have to decide right now because today is the last day that PCS Promotions is offering the PPC-6700 for any sort of a decent rate. If I decided to keep two phones it might work out well because I could then keep my work and personal calls very separate, but at a cost of about $70/mo.

Worst case scenario I could get the PPC-6700 today and then return it within 15 days for a full refund. I would lose out on about $40 in shipping and such, but at least that way I can check out Windows Mobile and figure out if it’s really worth the wait for the 8125. If I do end up canceling my Cingular service I would have to pay a $150 early termination fee that I’m none too excited about of course.

I really don’t like Sprints service that much, but they do currently have faster data than Cingular does. Both of the phones are virtually the same thing, offering a nice roomy slide out QWERTY keyboard, bluetooth, 802.11g, and running on Windows Mobile 5.0.

What to do?

Update: This is just silly. After sitting down and thinking about the situation I realized that as much as I want a WM5.0 device right now I’m just going to have to wait. If I’m serious about that whole retirement early thing I can afford to be stacking $70/mo onto my life. $840 a year is hundreds of thousands of dollars impact on my eventual retirement. I’ll stick with Cingular and just grumbled for the next days to months until the release the 8125.

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