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THQ is no more…

I’m actually rather sad about this since it was sold off piecemeal. But I have some comments and questions still.

Volition was sold to Koch (no not that one) Media. This may be the end of Volition as a company since the next Metro and Saints Row games are reported to be produced by their other developer Deep Silver which means I have no idea what they are working on or if they will survive. But, Deep Silver made the X series of games which are set in space and involve trading. Could we see a FreeSpace 3 then? I hope so.

Relic was sold at the highest price of everything THQ ($26.6 Million) to Sega. Considering Relic does strategy best and Sega has Total War I don’t have much of a problem with this. My concern is who/what owns the Warhammer 40,000 license right now. My guess is that since Sega owns the license for Warhammer Fantasy that they now have the 40,000 license as well. If that’s true I expect things to be good there.

Finally Vigil who did not have a buyer. This puts Dark Millennium into an even bigger limbo than it was and Darksiders may just end with the second game. Sad. I liked those games.

Update: Platinum Games’ head has expressed interest in buying Vigil.

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Why does it even need to ask this question?

So I’m playing the Brütal Legend demo and then this option comes up durring the opening cutscene:

“From time to time, Brütal Legend may need to utilize strong language in order to accurately potray the authentic roadie experience to the player.” with the choices, “I want to hear every nasty syllable.” and “It’s funnier if you bleep it out.”

Seriously. An M rated game and they have to ask this question? I think the dialog box and cutscene interruption is funnier than all the swearing you can put in this game.

Update: Worse, here’s the second interruption and choice:

“Brütal Legend contains some blood and gore, including dismemberment and occasional beheadings, whenever it is necessary for the plot, historical accuracy or to look awesome.” with the choices, “Okay, but only when it really would look very awesome.” and “No gore, please!”.

I could not hit that yes button fast enough.

Demo? Good? You bet. I think I’m sold. While it’s very much a hack ‘n slash adventure game it’s got tons of goodies sofar and I’ve just done the demo. I think we’re good.

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Deadliest Sin 6/13/2009, the birthday present to myself

So I am 22 now. Do I really care? Not particularly, but it does call attention to myself, which I seem to be in dire need of lately. Kinda depressed lately of having no girl and pretty much being rejected or my new favorite word “Cockblocked”. This girl I met on Myspace I am interested in, but have never had the chance to see her in person. I have this sneaking suspicion she isn’t totally interested in me, which is odd since she was the one who came to me first. Also, this other girl who I know from high school who I feel for, but she doesn’t seem to be into me. She had been gone for a while so I let it go, but now that she’s back I feel that awkward heart sensation again. I also guess I am totally off her radar. Finally I have this girl I know over the internet from the UK. I like her because she’s snarky, pretty and very honest, among other fun features. But another thing that’s a big deal to me is that for my birthday she let me have an audio clip of her singing. I thought that was cute. Though I’m confused as to what women want from a guy or more bluntly, me. I am no good at relationships with women, but with how cryptic they are and what people say about them I can’t seem to get a girl, let alone anyone, to tell me what needs fixing. I’m a software developer at heart and frankly people can tell me “I hate it” but that doesn’t help me when I’m attempting to fix the problem. I can understand something like “The user interface could use a larger splash of color” or “The menu control feels sticky” but just “I hate it” never advances what needs doing. *Sigh* Another year, still girlfriendless.
Continue reading Deadliest Sin 6/13/2009, the birthday present to myself

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Games I’ve Played

So, I noticed that I’ve picked up a few games lately that I have played. I want to break down my thoughts on them.

Assassin’s Creed
First off, this game is very good visually and conceptually. However, there are some fundamental flaws the game has. Let me start with the most basic and that are the controls. They have been remarked as revolutionary and very ahead, however, holding down RT eighty percent of the time I’m playing is very annoying. RT is used to be in high end mode or, more accurately, run. Combat is extremely flawed in the game unless you can perfectly assassinate everyone. Killing someone with the sword is an extreme hassle and the swordplay looks so…awkward. I’m no expert on middle eastern swordplay, but with my current training it still looks extremely awkward. The conceptual story is not half bad, but it seems very hollow and without meaning. The gameplay is repetitive. It’s the same thing every time you are given assassination orders. What drove me nuts the most was the flags though. Why in hell are all the achievements centered around collecting over 500 flags in the entire game? To me that sounds silly and pointless. I want to play a game to accomplish something. What do flags get me? Achievement points? No thanks. Overall, rent and beat, then put away. It’s not worth it. Though, my friend Alan actually completed the entire series of flag achievements for 1000/1000. He is crazy.

Orange Box
Five games in one. How can you go wrong? You cannot. Especially with this wonderful package. For the unenlightened, this package contains the following: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Let me break down these for you.
Half-Life is an interesting series of games which center around a person who does not fit a hero stereotype. When you look at the main character of a First Person Shooter game, who do you think of? Master Chief John-117, a Marine in heavy biomechanical armor? A generic solider from the US army with all the gear? Duke Nukem? The main character from Wolfenstein? Doom? Guys from Unreal Tournament? Perhaps. But then comes Dr. Gordon Freeman a…scientist in theoretical physics? Wielding a crowbar? Yes. Probably the most bizarre protagonist to ever grace a video game of this type, he actually suits the job very well. As general comments, the Source engine is very smooth and very pretty. It works great for the game and is quite pretty where it needs to be. Controls are smooth and fluid, as most FPS games are, with special attention paid to squads and interaction, particularly with the little event scenes. What really impressed me is that there is an actual 64-bit compilation for this game and it works! The only real complaint about the engine is not really the engine so much as it’s adoption. Looking at Unreal Technology you can see that the engine is used practically everywhere. In fact, buying a copy of Unreal Tournament gives you a high quality 3D modeling kit capable of creating environments and whatnot as well as custom maps. Where is this with Source?
I digress. Back to the game. It’s very satisfying and has a difficulty that’s just about right for any player. With three options of difficulty this game fits for everyone. For starters, the Gravity Gun was a very interestnig addition to the game. It made some things like getting that powerup you really need a lot easier to get your hands on and later it’s really fun slinging bodies around. The story is compelling, while not incredibly epic and very good. While on a small scale feels like the weight of the world is on Gordon’s shoulders, but at the same time it does not feel extremely high stress. Things can seriously get done. The addition of developer’s commentary added a wonderful touch to parts of the game and giving insight to the way things worked.
Next I played Portal. This…reminded me of Metroid Prime. But it’s only because it’s the only other game I know of that is a first person puzzle game. The execution is good. Really simple to learn and surprisingly believable, even with the psychotic A.I. that serves as the antagonist for the entire game. The addition of challenges kept replay value stable, but after a while it does loose it’s charm. Good and fun and worth probably a day or two’s worth of playtime. Source really shows it’s adaptability in this game with the portal and portal gun system. From a programmer’s perspective it’s wonderful and great.
Team Fortress 2 I didn’t play much because of how much I hated Counterstrike. While it definetely takes a more cartoonish feel than Counterstrike and doesn’t use a system that rewards skill as much, it still didn’t appeal that much to me. It can be fun in some cases, but I’m not one for playing objectiveless multiplayer games. (Though, FFXI can feel that way, it really feels like I go somewhere with it and be chum with people.) So I did not play it very much, but the part I did play I didn’t like all that much. Let it pass.
Overall the Orange Box was a great pickup. I recommend it for any kind of FPS or puzzle gamer. It has got me excited for Episode 3.

Unreal Tournament 3
Good game, but highly unstable. Unreal Technology is a great system. It is always awesome and to be brutally honest it is probably a great game. If it didn’t crash when not set to the lowest settings. For some reason nVidia PhysX engine doesn’t translate well when using an ATI video adapter, which is not cool. To be brutally honest, alienating probably half the gaming community because of their choice of card is a real waste. Granted, it’s been shown to me there’s a hardhack for ATI cards, I haven’t actually used it. Graphics, for this reason alone, are weak. 640X480 looks like trash on a screen/card combination capable of 1440X900. Otherwise the game is okay. The story was…decent, but not really believable. The story mode also overuses gametypes that really are just about ground control and vehicles. I wished for more stuff that was akin to team deathmatch or even assaults. Those from 2004 were fun. Removing objective based gameplay was really lame. Additionally, there was no actual tournament. It follows a group of mercenaries on their quest for revenge which seems out of place for the game. I mean, Tournament is in the title. What in hell happened to it? Game earns an average to below average rating from me. Too much wrong with it. I think I will be returning to 2004.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Yeah. Why do I keep doing this? Okay. From what I heard this is actualy an excellent game, not just for multiplayer but the game as a whole. Boy was I in for a ride. Gameplay is excellent, however, it kinda falls under the pitfall of something I call “The Halo Effect”. Halo hit, the genre as a whole changed drastically. Suddenly every game is racing to do something right like Halo. Like the elimination of healthpacks and institution of a recharging health system, no ammunition crates, the ability to carry only two weapons, dual wielding, melee button and grenades at a touch. Halo was Revolutionary? Yes. Was it a good thing? Not in every case. Example: Perfect Dark Zero. Halo hit, game got drastically redone to be more like Halo. Did it work? No. Controls were stiff and sloppy, the health system sucked hard and certain things just didn’t work, not to mention the story being totally out of line with the original game. Call of Duty 4 took the concepts and somehow made it work. While I’m still not a fan of recharging health, (though Halo makes it believable) I let it slide in this game. You start the game with a quick little training course to familiarize yourself with the system and show you proper tactics in the game, like switching weapons is faster than reloading and putting some points into using your knife. The game itself is decent in it’s own right but has a number of flaws at higher difficulties. At lower difficulties, you will find a modest and believable number of enemies as well as pretty generous ammunition for good weapons. The only flaw with any difficulty is that sometimes it’s really hard to distinguish friend or foe if you’re not watching. At higher difficulties enemies become superhuman. The kind that can not only see through walls, but can not miss for any reason, have weapons that are unnaturally powerful and they never stop coming. Okay, it’s supposed to tell you that you have to keep pressing on the fight, but at times it becomes highly overwhelming and for someone like me who likes to wipe the room clean then make my advance. At the moment, I tried doing the whole game on Hardcore for Achivements. However, I’m stuck on the the one level after the sniper shot with the M82 waiting for a helicopter. I cannot seem to pass this point. Online play is not for me. I’m not much for devoting myself to a game like this so I play with my friends and only have level 5 or so. What really impressed me was the story, in paticular, what people reffer to as the nuke scene. It almost made me cry it was so well done. It was made to instate horror on the gamer and damn does it do that well. Good game for the reason I play a lot of games and that is story. Pick up and enjoy.

Playstation 3

Sony Playstation 3 (Metal Gear Solid Bundle), Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite, Nintendo Wii
Sony Playstation 3 (Metal Gear Solid Bundle), Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite, Nintendo Wii

Then I did the unthinkable. I bought a Playstation 3. This means I have all three consoles from this generation. Meaning, if I want a game, I can have it. So I bought it and decided to get some games for it. First up was the entire series of Xenosaga. I played the first and did very well with it, beating it and enjoying the hell out of it. This was when I was fixing a friend’s Playstation 2. When I got the 3 I picked up the Xenosaga series and Metal Gear Solid series (2 and 3). I figure when I’m done with all this I can do Final Fantasy X, X-2 and XII as well as Kingdom Hearts (Eh, hopefully I won’t turn into the weaboo fanboy when I’m done, but I’ll take a chance).

Xenosaga
I mentioned it. This time around I did things differently. First off, I saved up all of my T-Points for the all enemy attacks. To the effect of I had an extremely deadly X-Buster by the time I got it. Game was great fun, but the final boss was made easy by my foresight. Then I moved on to Episode II. Sofar, the game is almost horrifically bad. They took everything that made Episode I fun and easy and threw it out the window. For starters, the addition of zones was a bad idea to add to the game. As if attack types (there were I think twelve in the original) weren’t confusing enough, they had to take it then multiply it by three. Okay, bad idea. Now all skills must be purchased with points and a skill level/class system. My thoughts on this? It’s not bad. It actualy works. The problem with it is the following: All characters need to focus on healing. Mobs are far too powerful in general. Even with the perk of having old Episode I data giving me bonus skills I cannot go far without grinding. I have barely started and I am not optimistic.

Metal Gear Solid
You think I bought the PS3 for Final Fantasy XIII? Hell no. It’s no longer exclusive. I bought it for Metal Gear Solid. Sofar, I have played and beaten 2 (Sons of Liberty) and 3 (Snake Eater). The games are both pretty good, but I have a few problems with them. Starting with 2, the sword control was really interesting and accurate, but not for this game. In other words, the control of the sword was made too complex to make it all that useful. Considering you have to eliminate the final boss with this thing it is not something to really relish in awesome. The game does somewhat suffer from not having a decent map system. When you use it all you get is an shell of the outside of the area you are in. Which does not provide any useful help in getting around. In 3, the map system got a serious improvement and generally was a better game, except that you are missing Soliton Radar which made the game far more challenging than I really wanted it to be. The system for managing your health I think was very interesting and overall seemed to work. I mean, it’s certainly more fun than chomping down cans of meals ready to eat (ration). Getting food was not really a chore and keeping yourself patched up was pretty simplistic. Only real issue was that supplies seemed a bit overly plentiful for the injuries sustained. Like almost never needing splints for anything but always having med kits with them around. That isn’t to say there aren’t enough medical supplies for everything else, like cuts, bullet wounds and burns, but it’s a bit wacky. Story is decent, however it falters from not having the same feeling of Science Fiction that Metal Gear Solid games are good for. I am going to play 4 (Guns of the Patriots) when I get Xenosaga finished.

Impressions of Soul Calibur IV
So I picked this up as well. Overall it’s not too shabby. A good game but has a pretty ridiculus learning curve. Only a short number of characters maintain their fighting style similarly to II. I do have some major complaints about some characters, namely, Ivy. Why in hell is she suddenly so hard? What made Ivy so beautiful as a character was her ability to flow between stances, short and long range attacks and her impressive command throws. Aparently Bandai Namco thought this was bad and made changing states way too hard for practical use. They also made her boobs like helium filled ballons, aparently they were taking hints from Dead or Alive here. So I use Siegfried now, which isn’t too horrible since juggling with him can be useful and he plays alot like the Nightmare I was used to. The addition of equipment is kinda cool, but makes some characters look pretty ugly when geared for stats only. I’m going to need a lot of practice before I become as good as I am with II.

Joyeuse
Ethereal Earring

Final Fantasy XI
Obligatory. Let me see what I have done. I have gotten myself two awesome items since the last update (Pictures!)

Both toys are a really nice boost to my Paladin, which has been stalled at 74 for some reason. Apparently other stuff like Soul Calibur and whatnot is keeping me distracted. As well as myself leveling some more useful jobs. First up is Beastmaster. Considering a lot of time I have I cannot spend looking for parties, I wanted to take it up to have something to do when either waiting or just when I have not the time to party. While EXP is definetely slow, it can be quite relaxing because the pacing is determined by me alone. Overall pretty fun to play as, but the best thing is not feeling like a gimp warrior by using an axe. Additionally, I can skill up a number of weapons with no restrictions on needing a party. Axe and Scythe at the forefront as well as dagger for the hell of it. It can be a fun job to play with. I am also doing another job that does not take much to get a party and that is Bard. Since most of my charisma gear bleeds over from Beastmaster, there wasn’t much to buy other than instruments to get the job done. It is an okay job, but I notice people really start to slack off when I’m playing the job, thinking I am a replacement for good gear and food. I seem to get levels and parties quickly, but I’m really trying to static it with Beastmaster so I don’t have to lug around tons of gear waiting for the other job to catch up. I guess that has been it for that.

I think my next post should be about Otakon. I mean, it’s only been over two weeks ago, why have I not said anything about it?

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Zidane demands an update

March 23, 2008, 5:36 PM EDT, Sutherland Global Services, Syracuse Galleries
Weather: 0 C, Windy again
Subtitle: Where were we again?
So here ya go kiddies. Let’s see how I should start this. Okay, how about from when I last left off. Last thing I did was the Final Fantasy XI Fanfest. After that and getting home I just basically waited for the grueling editing process to hit. Here are the threads containing the webcasts we made:
Day 1
Day 2

Subtitle: What do you do again?
By now most of you know about my job as the database engineer. But a few weeks after the trip I got another job and now I work for Support.com. So what is this Support.com? Well, we’re a third party fee-based technical support company for Windows NT 5.1 or later computers (for those who don’t know the version numbers, its Windows XP or Vista, we do not support Macintosh or Linux). What we do is basically remote access support to customers. In other words, we lead a customer to a bouncing ball, then they sit back and we fix their computer from halfway across the country. Great idea? Sure as hell it is. Of course, I have some major complaints about customers in this service system that I just have to say.
Number 1: Our service is NOT FREE.
This is a big “duh”, but apparently some people can’t listen to the recording when people call up involving that our service is for a fee. We do not do services on behalf of any client for free.
Number 2: We are not <Insert Company name>.
Another big “duh”. By the time I collect someone’s name, Support.com is mentioned four times. We act independently on behalf of SupportSoft and SGS only.
Number 3: Network Magic is ultra fail.
If you call up saying your network has stopped working and you use or used network magic, there’s your problem right there. Network magic has a bad habit of “bricking” networks. If you call us up after going through the “troubleshooting” steps provided by network magic, all we’re going to do is pull it out and set it up by hand because it’s a horrific program and a horrid idea. You pay, Pure Networks owns your home network that doesn’t have any more functionality. You stop paying, your internet goes off. Wonderful scam in my opinion. As for why our number is on there, I don’t know the specifics, but we’re not supposed to be there.
Number 4: Listening to the technician.
If the technician tells you to do something, don’t question him/her or do something else. Most of us have years of experience backing up our repair skills so unless you have a Doctorate in Computer Science and ten years of repair experience, shut the hell up, listen and we’ll get done sooner.
Number 5: Be complete.
When I say that, usually I get half an error message when a customer gets one and I never get the information I need. In addition, some customers are quick to jump to conclusions, like most customers think that problems are caused by malicious software. Nine times out of ten, that’s horribly incorrect. In my case, a slow computer can be caused by malicious software, but more often than not it’s caused by people downloading software that clogs their startup.
Number 6: Want service? Show me the money!
Don’t try to get service if you don’t want to pay. We usually don’t talk after offering a service and you say no.
Number 7: We can’t help with passwords.
We cannot be legally liable for helping someone break into a computer. There is no way we can prove you’re the owner of the computer you are on. Don’t ask. Most of us know how to fix this problem, but we have tied hands for fixing it.
Number 8: If you have dial-up internet, don’t call us.
Two reasons for this. One, no matter what the problem is, you get the $129.99 service. Two, it takes FOREVER to get anything done through remote assist. You’re better off buying high speed internet then coming back.
Number 9: If you use any of the following operating systems, don’t call us.
This list includes ANY version of the Macintosh operating system, DOS, Windows 1, 2, 3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT4.0, 2000, Server 2003, Server 2008 or any flavor of Linux. Our software does not work or causes issues with these systems. Technical details: 2000 destroys the login system thereby bricking the computer, server 2003 fails and wreaks havoc on active directory, we assume 2008 will do the same. Also, finding a Mac and Windows technician that will work at what we get paid? Not likely.
Number 10: We don’t have any reps that speak <Insert Language other than English>.
Save for one guy on the day crew that speaks Puerto Rico style Spanish and one guy on the night crew who speaks Ukrainian, we’re without anyone who speaks languages other than English. We consist of about fourty people in total, ten of which are never really on the phone, so odds are we’re not adding another language division.
Number 11: Do not use a registry cleaner.
Registry cleaners do not work. They don’t fix hard drive errors, they don’t speed up your system and plain and simple they just don’t help. Whenever used they have a larger chance of causing problems than fixing them. Example, some registry cleaners have been known to completely blank the control panel and add/remove programs list. To be honest, the reason why this ends up this way is because registry cleaners are computer programs that work on a set of rules that are not right for every situation and can cause problems. Best advice: Avoid.
Number 12: The search bar is not the address bar.
This should be obvious, but some people can’t grasp the concept. Google does not give you a way to go directly to a site. If we say “put this in your address bar”, it will not work if you put it in the search bar.

Now that that’s out of the way, want to know how to beat the system? Here are some insider tips.
Number 1: Have credit card at hand.
See numbers 1 and 6 above. The faster you pay us, the sooner your problem can be worked on and eventually fixed.
Number 2: Be complete.
See number 5 above. To us, if you say “I have a virus”, we have to start asking questions as to why you think that. If you say, “I think I have a virus and I think it is causing all these popups and strange messages saying my computer is not secure…” then we can work with it.
Number 3: $129.99 is where the buck stops (For one computer).
Our prices do not go any higher. However, we do charge sales tax in Texas and Connecticut. The services that go over the $129.99 are Google Apps installation and Migration as well as a network setup that covers four or more computers, both of which are extremely uncommon.
Number 4: We charge by incident, not by time.
Meaning, if it takes us a week to fix your problem, it’s still a flat fee. Related to the above bullet is if you have more than one issue, it’s going to incur multiple charges. Say, you have a virus and we clean it out, then you want your network set up. That’s $99.99 for the Anti-Virus and $89.99 for the Networking. That’s just how we work.
Number 5: The QuickFix
This is the service we don’t advertise. According to regulations, this is a service at $49.99 (no discounts can be applied to this) and basically says after we pin a CPR (The $129.99 service) and collect the payment, a clock starts. If we do fix the problem within probably ten to twenty minutes and we like you (meaning you’re pleasant to work with), we offer the discounted price. Also, don’t ask for the QuickFix since if you mention it you probably won’t get it. We have to say it.
Number 6: “And how did you hear about us today?”
Mention how you heard about the company. Depending on how you answer, that may incur a discount for yourself. If it doesn’t, it helps the marketing department determine where our marketing systems are working or not. Internal Jokes involving SUSO run rampant here though.
Number 7: Be civil.
We’re human just like you. Treat us well and we’ll be done faster. Most of us are trained to talk on the same level as you, but some of us prefer to talk up by overusing honorable terms (sir, mam).
Number 8: Yes, we speak USA style English.
While we get a blend of how it sounds, we do all speak incredibly strong English. If you do the same, it will help out greatly.
Number 9: If you try to fix it yourself, let us know what you have done to it.
This can help us troubleshoot the problem if we know what you’ve done. If you don’t say what you did, we’re probably bound to repeat the same step.
Number 10: Humor us.
We are trained to not overlook the obvious. If it’s not plugged in, there’s your problem. If we ask you to check a wire, make sure you do.
Number 11: Hours
We’re open every day, including holidays, from 8AM EDT to 2AM EDT the next day. Not a 24 hour operation, but it is pretty close.
Number 12: You’re talking to a technician.
There are no receptionists, no level II techs, nobody over us. As you call up, that’s it. That’s all you get.
Number 13: Put your kids on the phone.
If you have kids that use the computer more than you, as long as you give permission, we can work with them instead. Since most of the current generation’s teenagers know computers better than their adult counterparts, we can usually get done faster.
Number 14: The verbal terms and conditions we blow by explained.
I say these extremely fast because it’s so boring, not because I want to make you agree to something you don’t understand.
14.1: You must be 18 years of age or older.
Since this is a legally binding agreement, we can’t do anything with someone under 18. However, if you give someone who’s 13 years of age or older (COPPA controls that number) consent, we can work with them in your place. Also, we take a credit card for payment, so being over 18 is almost required.
14.2: If I connect to your computer you consent to us taking remote control of your computer.
Because this is how we fix computers, we just need this agreement so we have the authorization to control your machine.
14.3: You are responsible for backing up your data and software.
Some things we do can cause you to loose data. This is to save ourselves from being liable for something that may have been out of our control.
14.4: We will refund your money if we are unable to resolve this issue.
What makes us special. We don’t charge diagnostic fees (upwards of $150.00 at some stores) since we do it over the phone in ten minutes. Also, if after an amount of time and after exhausting at least the “pod” we still can’t figure out a resolution, we give you the money back.
14.5: You also have a 5 day window to call back at no charge for follow up on the same problem we resolved.
Two things related to this. One, if we mark the issue resolved and you call back saying the same thing is happening again we can help you for free. If you call back with a completely different problem and neither you nor the technician can put the two issues together, we won’t help you without another charge.
14.6: We do not sell or trade your personal information to third parties for marketing.
Duh. This would be bad if we just handed out everything we collected about you to another company in the name of profit.
Number 15: Keep your CDs.
Often times we might require the use of your original Windows CDs or Driver Disks. When you buy a new computer, a new media player, printer, whatever save every disk it came with. This makes the issue much easier to resolve and deal with.

However, there is one major complaint I have about this job. I don’t do sales. My job is not to sell you a service, it’s to fix your computer. I’m a technician, not a salesman. There are some people in this group that would unfortunately rather try to force a service on someone who doesn’t want it. I don’t do that sort of thing. If I offer a service and you say no, I cut the call. I don’t object or anything. If you say yes, give me your information and let’s be on our way. Okay, that was long. Hell. It could have been it’s own post. Oh well.

Subtitle: I think my DVD rack fell on me.
I’ve been purchasing a lot of anime lately. I’ve also been keeping track of it on anime-planet.com and have come to the realization that I’ve spent over two months of my lifetime watching anime. Wow. Anyway, I’m still in dire need of cleaning my apartment and putting my next DVD rack together (yes, the original one is full) so I’ll save the list for another post. However, I did claim victory recently. I’ll tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there were eleven friends. The first five named two, three, four, five and six came home one day and looked at each other. Comfortable but confused, they asked, where were the others? Seven arrived in his own box. A special home for himself. In the months that would come, one more friend would be added into seven’s box every three weeks. But after twelve arrived, there was an awkward silence among them. Not only did two through six resent not having the box, but they all asked, where was number one? Contents of packages seven and ten were worn many times, but the others were unused. Two years they waited then someone came home. A package outside the door. A victory was achieved after two long years of searching. A box containing a box containing number one with room for five more and a sampling of audio. The friends were overjoyed.

The one that came home was one. With a home for two through six. They all now knew that they would be used for something else other than clothes.

Okay, enough with the lame story. Anyway, I completed Gundam SEED Destiny as the above story mentions. I’m probably going to watch it soon, but I have tons of anime to plow through, so it might be a while. As for a picture of the rack? I should take another one.

Subtitle: I’m branching out, not converting.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I purchased an Xbox 360 Elite Falcon edition. The gigantic black box seems to complement the white Wii well. The 360 provides an excellent list of features that I have a lot of fun with. First up is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam and damn is it fun. It’s a simple hack and slash game with a Gundam theme and it is very well polished and fun to play, despite a huge lack of balance with mobile weapons. As an example, why in bloody hell is God Gundam available? It’s main attacks are punches consisting of range that is so short it’s not worth talking about. Now let’s put this into contrast with something like Epyon (also available) which has range from hell and very beautiful SP attacks. I also got a nice taste of storylines not released in the US yet like Turn A Gundam and Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam. Overall the game is fun, but a bit repetitive. I also picked up an obligatory copy of Halo 3, beat the living snot out of it and put it away. Halo 3 unfortunately is a “more of the same” game of Halo 2 that looks prettier and concludes the storyline. I played Xbox live for a while, but only play with friends now since the online play is boring now. I have a few more games for it, but those are all that are worth mentioning.

Subtitle: The joy of computing
Recently I purchased some components for the aging V2.1 box. It’s not up to crazy snuff, but it is potent again and can handle operations without complaint. I also really had to replace a dying hard drive. I mean, the hard drive caused the CPU to run at 100% burn to be read off of or written to. Obviously something was failing in the drive. I don’t know what, but I replaced it and am wondering what I can do about a replacement. The drive hasn’t hit it’s age yet and has pretty much all it’s data off, so I care little about how it ends up, but I wouldn’t mind having a spare 250GB around. I also upgraded the video card which was a massive disappointment. I went from a Connect3D 9200se to a Sapphire Radeon X1650 PRO and after a week went back to the 9200se. Why? The X1650 blinks whenever trying to invoke DirectDraw, meaning whenever I try to play a video the card blinks rabidly and makes my eyes hurt. I’m returning that one because it just seems to be made of fail.

I also purchased myself a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional. I figure I’m going to need something like this for work eventually anyway so I should have it. It is serving me well, however, I cannot use XNA with it yet. Speaking of XNA though, I am really getting into that. Sofar I’ve created a side scrolling shooter game based off of Freespace: The Great War which is turning into a really fun project and when I’m happy with an alpha version I’ll put it on this site to play. Speaking of Freespace though, I’m playing that a lot again too. For some reason I just feel reinvigorated to play such a fun game. The open source project turned the game from the most awesome space flight simulator ever and somehow made it better. Featuring graphical enhancements, a nebula that still gives people headaches and generally smoother gameplay it feels like a great new game all over again. I also got to finish the original Great War campaign with the project because I had such issues playing the original game on my laptop.

Speaking of my laptop, I’m about to strike up some controversy here. About one month ago I purchased a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition for my ASUS G2P. Originally, my laptop came loaded with Windows XP Media Center edition, meaning that my computer really wasn’t using the full force of my CPU and had huge problems with stability. Now that it has a 64-bit OS, this thing is turning into a raging road rocket. But why Vista? Well, I’ll ask a better question. Why not? Seriously, what is so horrible about this operating system? I think the most criticism come from people who don’t use it and just look at the outside. Sure, it has steep system requirements. But I’m happy the system requirements are so high. Not because I want people to buy new computers, but it shows that hardware manufactures really need to get in the game and churn out heavy duty equipment and advance forward with hardware manufacturing as opposed to the process they are taking now. I have yet to have a real problem with Vista sofar. Aero is nothing short of wonderful eye candy, feels faster than XP and works well with all my software. In fact, it plays so well, that my Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars game actually plays now! This is odd, since on Media Center it wouldn’t play without crashing and the box with the system requirements explicitly says it’s not compatible with a 64-bit installation of Vista. But it works. I’m willing to file this one under oversight by EA or just not knowing what the hell they’re talking about. Then again, the system also said a Radeon 9200 wouldn’t work with the game, but that was part of the only way I could get it to work. Meh. Whatever. It looks great and with Kane’s Wrath coming out this week I’ll be prepared for ass kicking.

The only comment I have sofar is user account control or UAC. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Vista, this is the control that makes the entire screen darken and gives you the dialogue box asking you if you want to continue. Most people find this annoying. Personally, I’m on the fence. One, this is not an original Microsoft idea. In fact, it’s a great idea to prevent malware and stolen from a UNIX clone. Unfortunately it suffers from two critical flaws and they are the userbase hates it and when invoked it can really mess up some 3D games. As I said to someone it’s a fantastic idea and a great implementation to really stop things from doing suspicious actions. Also, if you do or do not notice, there isn’t a back door to this which is good if something tries to disguise itself as something legitimate, UAC will still catch it. I have yet to turn it off. Probably because I’m not bothered by it.

After this month or so trial of Vista, I have not found a significant enough reason to go back to XP. I am hooked.

Subtitle: *Drumroll* Live from Vana’diel…
Yes, I finally got my moment of fame for Limit Break Radio. My own personal White Mage show. Check it out here. I don’t really have much to say about it other than it was fun.

Subtitle: Round 3, FIGHT!
A rather recent event, Super Smash Brothers Brawl has hit store shelves and my Wii. A fun game again and definitely a lot different than the previous two. The general speed of the game seems somewhere between the original and melee with some characters that are heavyweights actually attacking at a somewhat related pace. As an example, Ike, who wields a large bastard sword, is rather slow with some attacks. Unfortunately my character from melee does not make any sort of appearance in Brawl, but Ike plays so much like Roy anyway, he’s an acceptable replacement. In fact, all but Pichu and Dr. Mario (who were really just clones anyway) have replacements in Brawl, Ike for Roy, Toon Link for Young Link and Lucario for Mewtwo. Some characters got quite a drastic change in Brawl too, some for the better, some just make you raise an eyebrow, see Mario and why F.L.U.D.D. was included as a replacement Down+B move. Oh, on that note, I play with the old GameCube controller, which was a great idea to include being able to do that since I’m so incredibly used to it. Overall I can see why the acclaim of this game is so high and I’m quite happy to play it. With so much to do and so many friends who play too, it’s just a dream.

Subtitle: One more to go.
Three weeks ago I finished all but one of my courses at the institute. It feels strange. Almost feels like yesterday I walked into Operating Systems with Mr. Sweeny and in ten more weeks I’m about to walk out with a college degree. Sofar it’s going to be a total drag with the company I have in my capstone project, but once I churn that baby out I can finally say bye to some people at the school and get on with life. I’m not optimistic that the project will turn out like I want it to, but I’m just doing this one for a grade, not to show people that I’m the greatest thing to hit the programming world since William Henry Gates III KBE (Don’t ask why I memorized his official title).

Subtitle: You didn’t mention that yet!
Well, do you ever think I would leave something like that out? Would I? Well? Okay, of course not. I am always one to include this sort of thing. I’ve been playing off and on. My new job is constricting my play time, but I still find the ability to rock and roll every so often. First up, I have gotten my Scholar to 37 and can now effectively use it as a subjob for my White Mage and what a fine subjob it is. I have the feeling this thing has trumped summoner as a fantastic subjob, providing more useful spells and abilities than the commonly used Auto-Refresh trait. I have also been working on my Dancer. At 32, it is looking like a fun job to play to 75. It reminds me a lot of my White Mage, but I usually don’t get to fill the healing role that well with Dancer. While some of my enfeebling steps are fun, the job doesn’t seem all that fantastic, at least so far. Going back to my White Mage, I finally got my Reverend Mail, so that’s one less piece of melee gear I need to complete my set. All I need now to finish is a Goliard Saio and maybe whatever else I can think of. I got myself the new transportation spells for my jobs too and I feel a little more complete with them. Campaign Battle is okay now, but it requires a more coordinated effort to really do some damage, like pulling mobs away. As for Wings of the Goddess content, I’m not seeing the best stuff yet I think, but I hope it only gets better. I wish I had more time to play XI.

Subtitle: Am I done?
Not really. I just don’t know what else to write about today. See ya.

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Final Fantasy XI FanFestival 2007

November 15th, 2007, 10:48AM EST, Hancock International Airport.
Weather: Heavy Rain, 5 Degrees C
Subtitle: Once again with feeling!

Yes ladies and germs it’s time to go on vacation! Where we going? Los Angeles for the Final Fantasy XI festival! Woohoo!

Okay, a few notes. Airport security has gotten way better. I got here at 8:20AM. I was through security, got picked for random inspection of my shoes and still got to the gate at 8:40PM. Wow. On my way to the gate, I got my required head butt to the nuts. This happened in Philadelphia during my Otakon trip. This time it was a girl though. Still didn’t feel comfortable. I really must ask though, why are a bunch of kids at the terminal? They’re dancing and fooling around and probably causing such a horrid ruckus. Man. I hate kids. At least their Game Boy Advance SPs tranquilized them for now. Flight should be boarding soon. Shutting down.

November 15, 2007, 12:03PM EST, 20,000 feet above sea level, somewhere between Syracuse and Philadelphia.
Weather: Well…I’m on the plane. There isn’t exactly weather flying through the clouds unless you want to call it a weird fog.
Subtitle: We’re on our way.

Airborne. First flight to Philadelphia for the connection flight. Those kids that were in the airport are also on my flight. They seem tamer simply because they cannot get out of their seats. The turbulence up here is nuts at the moment. It’s a bit rough to even type and I think I lost my bottle to rolling around. No matter. I won’t disembark the plane without it. I got out my laptop, but I don’t know what to do. Maybe code? Maybe play a simple game? Altana forbid image edit? Who knows. Let me poke around my goods.

November 15, 2007, 1:13PM EST, Philadelphia Airport (name later).
Weather: Cloudy but clearing with dreary rain, 10 Degrees C.
Subtitle: Or not.

On the ground again. Somewhat after I finished writing the last part I got the word that I had to put my heavy hardware away. Okay. So I’m on the ground plugged into my next outlet. My box is busy brute forcing into the Wi-Fi network here, but it’s giving me trouble. I might just try to sleep or something, but I’m only 40 minutes until I board again so I may just skip that and try to sleep on the plane. It’s a 5 hour flight so hopefully I’ll be able to pass out well. I really hope the weather in LA isn’t this gloomy. Other than all that, as I look around the gate entrance I see pretty much nobody who is identifiably going to the fan festival. Maybe I’m the only one flying in this place or what. Everyone here is in generic clothes and I am wearing my NHMK Tee with my “Brigade Leader” red armband, not to mention my Behemoth Laptop with headset. I should try calling mom again. Okay, half hour left. Let me poke around my laptop again for something.

That didn’t work. I just started watching the news. I really wonder why airports permit CNN to play. I mean, about all it seems to be doing is instantiating fear in the hearts of airline travelers. “Bomb components are smuggled past security checkpoints.” Or to the effect of. Let me be honest, that’s not something I really want to know about while I’m sitting at the gate waiting for a boarding call. Worse, they just flashed by “Two Planes have near midair collision.” Now let me say this. The system works. A mid-air collision hasn’t happened since I have been alive and probably longer. Air Traffic Controllers are good at what they do. The news just really needs to get their damned heads in the game and stop trying to scare the general populace (or at least the ones that fly) about something. The world isn’t going to end, stop playing these crappy stories every half hour.

I took a survey of the gate again. The number of Asian folks has jumped. But there is no clear cut festival going person. I think there is a couple based on the geeky persona and aura they emanate. As for the aircraft, it’s surprisingly large for an east to west coast flight such as this one. Boeing fuselage, dual engine and looks heavily loaded with cargo. Hopefully I won’t be in for too many strange things or surprises. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick out a festival goer from this group, but I’m not making bets.

November 16, 2007, 9:56AM PST, Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim California.
Weather: Who knows, not like we care.
Subtitle: Off with a bang.

I got in last night and checked in, got my temporary badge and got to the hotel for a nap. I ran into Frice and we talked quite a bit. It was a good time. About this morning at 3:00AM I got a knock at the door. It’s Aniero. Finally. The gang is all here, but I haven’t gotten Frice and Aniero together. I went to bed shortly after to prepare my body for the opening ceremonies that I’m at now. And the big announcement was that there is now a windowed mode. How? Well, that’s the fun part. They had the FFXI main page open and live Vana’diel looked like it was playing, but in actuality it was a window to XI that had been shrunk to fit the box perfectly, which was awesome. I swear there was five minutes of cheering. Right now we are going over the history of the world.

November 16, 2007, 5:09PM PST, Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim California.
Weather: Gloomy.
Subtitle: In full swing.

Alright folks, we’re into the down and dirty. Festival activities are good, just left watching the Quiz Show to come up here for a phone number, so I figure now’s a good time to write. Sofar I’ve done the Wings of the Goddess Tour. It gave us all GM clients and let us play around with Scholar and Dancer. I had a lot of information written down about the goods and will do a quick wrap up show tonight sometime after the developer’s panel at 9PM. As for what’s left, the Tarutaru Marathon was awesome. Someone won a new computer for it and it’s a pretty interesting idea. You’re in Mammok as a 1WHM/1BLM having to go to the other side and cast cure on a goal Galka. Good concept with lots of shouting going on and a GM camera. It was fun.

Oh, by the way, I got my picture with Sage Sundi. Apparently he speaks English! That’s interesting.

November 16, 2007, 10:20PM PST, Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim California.
Weather: Dark.
Subtitle: After the fireworks, before the bang.

Doing the webcast day one thing now. Going to go over lots of information.

November 17, 2007, 3:50PM PST, Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim California.
Weather: I can’t even see daylight.
Subtitle: Winding down.

Today has so far been a good time with no real events that happened sofar, but still having a goodtime all the same. I think the big thing that happened was meeting Taj and watching him walk up to the FFXIClopedia booth and introducing himself. Man was that funny to watch Merin react to him like: “I AM A LAWYER!” by saying “Well I’m Merin.” Psh. They still are as dumb as ever.

I did watch the costume contest. Now normally that’s not my thing, but I kinda dug it. We had a couple very interesting costumes, with the second place winner being a Galka Event Mule played by Gyudva from Fairy and guest on Limit Break Radio and the first being Cid. Cid won a computer which was cool. Overall the contest was more enjoyable than any cosplay contest I’ve ever watched.

The Saturday quiz show is a joke. The audience helps way too much and the actual contestants are dumbfucks. One of them thought that Port Jueno connected to Rollanberry Fields. Who in hell does this job?  The host is witty by saying “Watch the cutscenses”. Next person up seems to not think for himself. The last person hasn’t a fucking clue around Whitegate. *Sigh* Developer’s Panel in 13 minutes. Hopefully it won’t disappoint.

November 18, 2007, 8:33AM EST, Philadelphia Airport, Gate F15.
Weather: Winter looks like it’s about to hit…
Subtitle: Why do I always seem to end up at this airport?

I mean seriously. Remember my Otakon trip? Yeah. Here I am again for the fourth time this year. Meh. Okay, last night after the developer’s panel we had to get the last wrap up show going and done with. We had a small crowd around us as we were doing the show and I think it ended up well. Now all that’s left is Aniero to cut the final product. I think we’re going good and he may get something he’s always wanted.

After that we had to go straight back to LAX to catch our planes back to the east coast. Man, did I sleep really weird on that plane. I slept for the first two hours of the flight and then woke up to pitch black. Yes, pretty much all the lights in the plane were off. For an Airbus A132 I thought that was crazy (Holds well over one-hundred passengers). It was creepy silent. Unable to sleep again I went to my media player. Man did I feel bored. I guess I can’t relax on planes. I have to be doing something. Like noticing the wings stretch based on fuel remaining, just like the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. Ha. I’m hungry, but once again food in airports are grossly overpriced, so I will tough it out until I am home in about two hours and can cook something nice or pass out on my own bed. Now let’s get back to doing something even less exciting…

November 24, 2007, 2:28PM EST, Zero’s Apartment.
Weather: Boring.
Subtitle: On the wings of a Goddess.

I’m back and living again after a lot of work and other things just holding my attention. Yeah. Anyway. Wings of the Goddess for XI came out on Tuesday. Problem: No store in this county got copies until today. *Groan* Oh well, I have victory attainted here today. I have a copy installed and ready to play. It’s time for me to dance like…well…the bad DDR player I am! Ha ha.

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My life is boring

I just really noticed something. After reading my brother’s blog/book thingy, I just took a look at my own life and realized something.

It’s really boring.

Here’s what a day looks like: I lie in bed for half an hour after I get up. I finally crawl out of bed. Most of the days I don’t even shower. I figure, I’m not going anywhere, nobody ever comes here, why present myself? Sometimes I just leave my PJ pants still on. I throw on a random “junk” (AKA those useless Boilermaker shirts) tee to complement it just so I don’t seem so naked. I plop myself in my command station’s chair that’s broken because my father is too cheap to buy a chair that won’t break after a year’s use and I won’t buy another one. My vision comes to light. I say three choice words to turn my computers back to life from an idle state to monitors on at full power. I check my IMs (usually none show when I’m sleeping) My Yahoo!, my Yahoo mail account, my website mail and Slashdot. I check the usual forums of BlueGartrLS and Limit Break Radio. Nothing happened as usual. Turn on Final Fantasy XI and sit idle waiting for some shout to come by for something I want to do. I never usually get one. I look at some jobs at my usual career sites and fill out countless applications, but always get rejected because of going to school or something of the like. Check the forums again. Check my personals. Oogle a bit over some women who I know would think I’m too weird to date. Close the window and dismiss it. Start cooking my only meal for the day, which is only one of five things. Browse some image boards. Get the urge to code something massive, start it, get barely done writing the algorithm and stop again. Start eating the cooked meal. Fire up the TV to play a video game of some sort that isn’t XI. Put the game down and play some XI. Go back to the other game. Turn off the game and fire up some anime I really need to watch that hasn’t been watched. Pause it every five seconds to do something else. Code. Complain to myself about the decaying state of my dirty apartment. Pick up a couple things. Plop back at the command station. Watch more of that anime. Check my bank account balance. Pay my bills if they exist. Play XI some more. Finally finish the meal 8 hours later. Wind down to the end of the day with an aggressive game. Watch some hentai and get off to it. Clean up the mess. Change back into my sleeping clothes. Restlessly toss and turn in bed thinking about the idea of no girl is in it with me until I pass out.

Repeat.

Offbeat things:
Sunday and Thursday 6PM-11PM: Dynamis (XI event)
Thursday 8AM-8:30AM: Shower
Thursday 9AM-1:30PM and Friday 6PM-8PM: College.

Am I complaining? No. I have a good time with this and wouldn’t trade it for much. Though, I just had to examine what I do during a day. I kinda wish I had more people I identified very well with that I could talk to regularly, didn’t have to go to bed alone and could have normal conversation without swearing or bringing up something perverted.

Oh. One more thing in the offbeat section.

Saturday to Wednesday 5PM-2AM: My new job. I’m sure a lot of folks would be proud right about now.