Category Archives: Techie

Iron Man trailer

While I admit, there’s still a halfway decent chance that the overall movie may end up sucking, this trailer is pretty cool.

Iron Man Trailer

It shows us a couple of things:

  • Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Tony Stark.
  • The final Iron Man suit looks pretty cool.
  • They got the “perfect” track for the trailer – and hopefully will be used in the movie.

Not familiar with Iron Man? Well, imagine taking Bruce Wayne (aka Batman), and instead of spending a lifetime of learning fighting skills, forensics, detective work, etc, and have him build a super suit to use while fighting crime. Yeah, the origin is a bit different, but you still end up with a normal guy using a high tech suit to fight the bad guys.

Course, Marvel, years ago, came up with a story line where Stark was an alcoholic and lost everything to the disease. This is why Marvel characters, as a general of thumb (with the exception of Batman) will always be better than DC characters. Marvel likes to mess with the lives of their characters.

Anyway, take a look at the trailer. It’s pretty spiffy.

LOL! Clueless, greedy eBayer in Dallas

Oh, man, you have to watch this video…

 greedy ebayer

The story is about a woman who brought along $16k in cash with the plan to buy someone’s place in line at an AT&T store, then buy every iPhone they had in stock. Why? So she could turn around and put them up on eBay, hoping to sell them for outrageous amounts.

What she doesn’t plan on is 1) Apple having plenty on hand, and 2) didn’t make any effort to find out how many the store would actually sell her.

So, the cameras follow her up to the line at 5:45 pm. She offers $800 to the kid at the front of the line who’d been there since 8 am or earlier. She gets in line, and sure enough, she’s the first one in the door. The cameras catch her smug look as she thinks her brilliant plan is about to come to fruition. Then, hilarity ensues when she learns, as everyone else already knew, that she could only buy one phone.

Sadly, they don’t show complete footage of her getting pissed off, but the reporter mentions she was clearly pissed. She was even more pissed at the guy who took her money, who already knew the limit on phones. He got to buy the phone and every accessory he could possibly want.

Kudos to this guy for getting a “free” iPhone and toys out of the deal, and for pissing off the greedy, clueless eBayer who wanted to shaft everyone.

Course, with stories floating that AT&T was forcing people to buy accessories with the iPhone, she probably would have been pissed anyway when she found out she’d have to buy cases for all those phones — depending on how much she had to bribe someone to let her buy more than one phone.

But, if you’re reading this, greedy eBayer, I’ll let you have mine for a mere $1200, with case. : )

The iPhone Experience

NOTE: If you’re in the market for an iPhone, check here to see availability in your local Apple store, or call your AT&T store. There are auctions on eBay already with phones going for $1000 or more. But, folks, until they actually run out of them in the stores, don’t go to eBay – unless you really want to pay the extra $500 or more for one.

So, yeah, after switching back and forth on whether or not I was going to get one, I went to Willow Bend and got in line for an iPhone.

For those of you who haven’t heard about the iPhone, check it out at apple.com.

“iPhone fever” has gripped the nation over the last several months, reaching fever pitch this week as the Apple marketing machine continued the buildup until June 29, which AT&T referred to as “iDay.”

The biggest question that was left unanswered until yesterday was: How many of the things would Apple have? The phones did not arrive in the country until Sunday, under armed escort. They would not show up at stores until Friday afternoon – just a few hours before they would go on sale at 6pm on June 29. Both Apple and AT&T stores could not say how many phones they would have.

In fact, one apple store employee told me that they had to turn in their cell phones as long as they were at work. They were not allowed into the back of the store to retrieve merchandise and had to radio the storeroom to bring computers out to them.

A friend of mine and I watched macrumors constantly yesterday for updates on line counts in the Dallas area. He had seen 8 people lined up at the AT&T store in Allen on the way to work. By noon, reports were coming in of at least 150-200 people in line at two of the Apple stores in the area. But, after the announcement on Thursday that the Apple store would allow people to buy two, we figured we would be safe.

So, we left work as early as we could, and ended up in line at Willow Bend at around 5:45pm – just 15 minutes before the iPhone would go on sale… along with 500 or more other people.

I had a plan B already in mind. There are at least five AT&T stores between Willow Bend and my house, and worse case, I would probably hit them all in the quest for the phone. I knew that I wanted one at this point, so now the challenge was whether or not I could buy one on “iDay.”

The line started moving pretty well. Apple was allowing 50 people at a time into the store, and they would then move in groups of 5-10 as people filtered out of the store. Fifteen minutes after the store opened, two guys walked out and walked over to the back of the line offering to sell their phones to the highest bidder. Most people laughed at them, so they took their phones out to the front of the mall to try again.

We were probably 2/3 of the way through the gauntlet within 45 minutes.  But, then, an Apple store employee came running out and approached the line. “There’s a chance you may not get a phone,” he said. We opted to take our chances. It made the next 20 minutes or so more interesting as we neared the Apple entrance, hoping that they wouldn’t come back out and say they were completely sold out…

Success! Thirty minutes later, I was able to walk out of the store with my brand new iPhone! My friend was also able to get the pair he needed to buy (one for the missus, and one for him).

It turns out going to the apple store was the right call. As we left, we walked out into a downpour. The drive home took me by one of the AT&T stores, where several soaked iPhone buyers were patiently waiting outside for their chance to get a phone.

I’ll post more about the phone later. So far, it does everything as advertised. : )

There are a few quirks though, but there’s nothing that wasn’t really expected and, more importantly, nothing that couldn’t be added later though a software update.

Paladins… The Timex of World of Warcraft

(WARNING: This blog uses language common to the game of World of Warcraft. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, do not fear dear reader. Simply send along your email address in the comments, and we’ll be sure to get you a 10-day trial key to the game. Remember, the first month is free)

I have to admit. As much as I enjoy blasting away with a mage in World of Warcraft – being able to drop a mob before it gets close enough to lay a hand on me – there’s something equally fascinating about playing a paladin. They certainly don’t do the damage that a mage can, but then again, try killing a paladin…

Case in point. Here’s how an unusual pull with my level 60 paladin went a few days ago in one of the new 60+ zones in the Burning Crusade expansion.

I go to attack a level 59 orc. We’ll call him mob 1.
While fighting him, two of his buddies drop in. They’re on mounts, which attack as well, and all are level 60. Let’s call them mobs 2-5.
(Meh, says I)
Mob 1 dies. Mob 2 dies. I have three more to go.
Another mounted rider decides to join the party. That’s mobs 6 and 7.
(Really low on mana at this point)
Mob 3 and 4 die.
A wandering 61 guard drops in. That’s mob 8.
(Time to BOP and bandage)
Mobs 5 and 6 drop.
Two to go.
Another wandering guard wants to be part of the action. He’s mob 9.
Still going.
(Time to lay on hands)
Mobs 7 and 8 finally die.
One left.
Oh, lookee there. I’ve been here in this fight so long that Mob 1 has respawned and has come back for more. Now he’s mob 10.
A few minutes later….
Done!
10 mobs dead. 1 paladin still standing.
The only sad thing about this is that the corpse timer ran out on the very first mob, so I never got to loot the corpse.

So, let’s see how that compares with a druid…

Pull mob 1. No problemo.
Mobs 2-5 show up… Aw crap.
(heal. shift to bear form)
I could probably outlast 2-3 of the mobs.
Mobs 6-7 show up.
(gotta heal, gotta heal, gotta… DOH!!!)

Ok, how about the mage?

Pull mob 1, not a problem. Drop him before he gets to me.
Mobs 2-5 run up as mob 1 dies. Aw crap!
(Frost Nova, back up, and AOE)
Mobs 6-7 stop by before I have killed 2-5, and now I’m almost out of mana.
AW CRAP!!!
(Frost nova again)
RUN AWAY!!

Oh sure, I know what you’re thinking. A mage could, in theory, AOE all of the mobs. But, the catch to AOE is that you have to round everyone up beforehand, then unleash hell. In the paly fight, mobs were joining mid-fight, which a mage can’t handle as well.

So there you have it. Paladins. They take a licking and keep on ticking… : )

Lana Lang Must Die!!!

One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is trying to study plots of my favorite TV shows. Once you spend an hour watching a show with a very good story, like Heroes or Lost, it’s hard to go back and watch something that’s not so well thought out, like Smallville.

It occurred to me that Smallville really needs to end this season, but it also needs to end in a way that allows the mythology of Superman to continue. To do this, I think Lana Lang has to die.

Smallville, for those of you who don’t know, is a show about Clark Kent, a not-so-typical teenage boy, and about his awkward teenage years. Kent also happens to grow up to become one of the most famous characters in modern-day literature: Superman. Yeah yeah, someone will complain that “comic books” aren’t “literature,” but you can’t argue Superman’s existence in the public consciousness of our society.

Anyway, the show is currently limping its way through its sixth (and hopefully) final season. I’m not sure at what point the show “jumped the shark,” but this season, in spite of adding new and less than exciting super-heroes, has been less than thrilling to watch.

Continue Reading →

OMG!!! Why aren’t there more women that think like this?

I stumbled across this on Digg tonight. And although she takes a few points to the extreme (for me it’s Diet Coke cans, not Mountain Dew lol), she does have some valid points.

Why Geeks and Nerds Are Worth It 

It doesn’t necessarily mean that all geeks/nerds are rejected outright by women. But, they may have a harder time (never got comfortable around women) or have spent a lot of time more focused on a career and relationships weren’t nearly as important. There’s a huge difference between a geek with a career, someone closer to the 40-year-old virgin, and that guy who is living in his parents basement.
And, for the record – Geeks are the ones who are naturally technically inclined, etc. Nerds are average guys who aspire to be geeks.

It’s really a shame that more women don’t think like the above writer, especially here in North Texas. It seems like there are far too many women here who are more interested in how much a guy makes, what kind of car he drives, and when was the last time he appeared in GQ.

So, here’s my million dollar idea of the week (I don’t want credit – just send me the check)

Geeklove.com – or something along those lines – a place where women can find any number of single geeks, and where geeks can post their profiles without having to feel ashamed about their accomplishments (go ahead and brag about the number of level 70 characters you have in WoW — maybe you can find a girlfriend here and get her hooked on the game too!)

Maybe we should have a “Have you hugged a geek?” day?

Because, really, where can a geeky person find someone? The online dating world would seem like an ideal place. But, it’s become such a big business now that more non-geeky people are dwelling there. So, you could try that arena, but you might have to omit certain details about your life (which is ok, because recent articles show that a LOT of people tend to fudge their online profiles – that’s another post).

Clubs? Bars? Ugh. Does anyone really know someone that has found true love at a club? What about the speed dating thing? Or, even the social dinner? Speed dating seems silly to me. The social dinner concept appears interesting. An organization hosts a dinner for a small group (6-12 people) who they have done some profiling on in order to establish a group with some common ground. But, if a true geek doesn’t have the social skills, he’s probably going to end up quietly sitting in a corner.

If you looking for ideas on what to do, I’m as stumped as the rest of you. I’m probably more geeky than I’d like to admit. But, there’s nothing WRONG with me. I have job, and a home (mine, not my parents), and friends. Although I can’t quote Shakespeare to you in the original Klingon, I do have a lot of geeky traits. At the same time, I’m also an artist and writer. And an uncle. I do have a life, more or less.  : )

I really haven’t the foggiest idea where to start when it comes to dating these days. My luck has been beyond horrible, which just makes me push the whole relationship thing further and further down on ‘the list’ of stuff I’d like to get done. I tried the “it’ll happen when you aren’t looking” approach as well, but strangely, UPS never delivered that dream girl to my door.
Yet, at the same time, every year there are stories that come out about how marriages are down and that there are more and more single people out there in the world. If there are so many single people out there, why is it so hard now to find them?

I recently picked up a CD called Love. It’s a collection of Beatles songs that have been ‘tweaked’ by George Martin – a legendary producer who once worked with them. One of the songs on the CD is “Elanor Rigby,” and it’s funny how a song from nearly 40 years ago still rings true today…

What is the internet good for?

Heh, this is a bit old, but if you haven’t seen it, you really have to. : )

Internet is for porn (no it’s not actually porn – trust me, it’s funny)

Which is better? 1, or 2?

I stumbled across this article today with some very interesting videos.

1up has a blog called ‘what the cell?’ which does a comparison of identical titles running on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. On some of them they’ve even spliced the video so you can see the same sequence on the Xbox on the left, and the PS 3 on the right.

1Up What the Cell?

Download the HD ones if you have time. Can you tell the difference?

1Up wasn’t out to show off one versus the other. They were more concerned about why the PS3 titles are not as bleeding edge as they have been advertised to be.

But, for the rest of us, it makes a compelling argument on why shell out the extra $$$ for a PS3, if you can even find one.

Sony has no clue about the PSP…

Sony is in big trouble with the PSP. They can’t figure out how to market it. First it’s a gaming machine. Then it’s a multimedia machine. Now, it’s something of both.

The truth of it is that the PSP is a remarkable machine. It could be so much more. But, one of the problems is that Sony’s advertising is misleading, in my opinion.

Take a look at their new “find me” commercial:  Find Me PSP

The girl in the commercial drops off a memory stick with the message “find me” to a guy sleeping (we can only assume it’s his bedroom – which is interesting because the situation implies he’s already “found her” and spent the night with her – but I digress).

Anyway, the guy looks at the various things on her memory stick for clues to her whereabouts. We see a video of her singing and a photo of her in a shirt with a unique logo that he finds on a poster.

Sure, its nice that you can put pictures and video on the PSP. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t do that very easily. You can if you cough up another $25 for Sony’s media manager. Or you can dig around for one of the freeware apps.

But, what would make the PSP a really cool machine is if the girl in question could have done all of this on the PSP natively. Oh yeah yeah, they have that nasty god awful brick of a camera that’s supposed to come out at some point (and costs more $$$).

Pics of PSP camera / GPS unit
So, why not just go ahead and make a PSP2 or PSP redux and integrate the camera in it? You would think it wouldn’t be that hard since every cell phone now has some type of camera in it, if not something with 2-3 megapixels.

While you’re at it, let’s rethink the GPS thing as well. I don’t care if it’s integrated, but I would like it to be a separate attachment that looks like it’s part of the overall design, not a big clunky block sticking out on top of the PSP.

And, go ahead and open up the source. The modders are coming up with really cool things for the PSP, so why stop them? How hard is it to make good music player UI?

It’s really sad because the PSP is one really cool little machine. It’s unfortunate that Sony can’t make up their mind about what they want it to be or invest the resources in making it a much better machine.

Wii are the champions…

For anyone not paying any attention to the world of gaming lately, two of the latest next gen consoles have released in the last week or so: the playstation 3 (ps3) and the nintendo wii (yes, it’s “weee”).

If you look at what’s out there now, I think the Wii is going to blow away the competition in sales over the next year, even though the Xbox 360 has a year-long head start. Why? Simple:

1) The Wii doesn’t use the bleeding edge technology the other guys have, which is a plus because they can crank them out production-wise. Sony barely managed to get out 400k units of the PS3 at launch, and they’re still struggling. Rumor has it that Nintendo plans to have 4 million Wii’s out there by end of year.

2) The Wii has a lower price point than the others. At $250, it’s a bargain compared to the other two (360 is at $399 and PS3 at $599 – don’t let the marketing guys fool you – sure they have a “lower end” model – but you’re better off getting the higher priced one by the time you buy the components separately).

3) Nintendo is making sure their major brands are out there with new games at launch, especially Zelda, which is by far one of their most popular titles. The worlds of Zelda  and Mario have sold them millions of machines over the years, and their popularity transcends the usual gamer market. That means, someone would buy a Wii purely on the basis that there’s a new Zelda or Mario game. Microsoft and Sony don’t have anything on their consoles that can even compare to that type of consumer loyalty.

4) Nintendo is trying something different with the way we play video games. They’re trying to make the experience more interactive with their unusual controllers. It’s hard to say how well this will work (and they can easily come out with standard controllers if it doesn’t), but the initial reviews have been positive.

In a way, Nintendo appears to be borrowing a page from Apple, whose ability to design products that “just work” is uncanny. Instead of making something bleeding edge, Nintendo went the other way. Let’s make a video game system that’s “FUN” to play.

Wow. Imagine that.

Things could get interesting if Microsoft chose to drop the price of the Xbox 360 to $199/299, but there’s no indication at this point that they are willing to do that. Even so, after looking at all three consoles this week with my family, there’s not a single title on the Xbox or the PS3 that entices me to buy the game.

But, that new Zelda game, on the other hand, might be worth picking up…

Now, if I can just get my hands on one of those Wii’s…