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Category: Tech
Thursday, June 30th, 2005 @ 04:14 pm
Posted By Brent

Contrary to popular belief, being a rabid Nintendo fanboy doesn't automatically color my opinion of Sony's PSP. I like the PSP, it's a strong handheld, it looks great and the technology behind it is amazing. Unfortunately there are few games for it, and even fewer that are actually good. Like zero. I'm sure that will change with time, but if it doesn't then it wouldn't be the first technologically superior portable to have its ass handed to it by the Gameboy stranglehold. The list of units that have been spanked by Nintendo is as long as it is distinguished. Here's a brief summary:

That's by no means a complete list, and doesn't even begin to take into account the units that had worse hardware than the Gameboy.

So, Sony's PSP games are woefully bad and they're in a market that looks kind of like a battlefield, the ground soaked with the blood of the would-be brave, and there in the distance stands the Gameboy with its teeth bared and its claws unsheathed. But that's ok, they have their ace in the hole: Movies!

Yep, that's right, you can buy movies for your PSP! That means you can watch a movie on your PSP if you're on a plane, or if you're.. on a... plane, or maybe if you're in an airport! There's really no other place than on a plane that their marketing department could come up with for needing a portable movie, and that's not really their fault, I mean, there really aren't all that many places you'd want one.

This isn't to discredit watching movies on a plane or any comparable confined, boring situation. On the contrary, the ability to watch movies is a miracle in these situations, that's why God invented laptops that can play anything from the DVD movie library that you've already dumped too much money into. Not to mention the already existing portable DVD player market. Hell, my set top DVD player is actually a portable DVD player that I have my TV in's jacked into and the screen turned off on. Anytime I want I can unplug it and take it with me.

So you've resigned yourself with the fact that you're going to shell out some mullah for movies that you can only watch on one device, when you've got two and a half hours to kill doing nothing, and you can't leave. And you have to hold it up to your face. And its screen is the size of a playing card. You can always console yourself with the fact that PSP UMD movies will cost a whopping $1.00 less than a friggin DVD copy of the same movie. If that's not enough, if you actually buy the pile that is Amazon.com's apocryphal pre-discount List Price, you'll see that normally they cost the same damn thing. Now for the sake of full disclosure, newly released movies are priced much higher than the Terminator 2 DVD while newly released UMD movies are only marginally more expensive, but seriously, how long does it take for a new release to end up with a sub $20 price tag?

And that's my take on the situation: PSP movies are going to fail. Badly. Sony came out swinging with their report of 100,000 movies sold for the device, but the ever-vigilant Brian over at Kotaku quickly put the kibosh on any such celebration by noting that figure represents only 5% of PSP owners buying a UMD movie, even less if you figure there were poeple that bought multiple movies. The DVD player market couldn't survive having only 5% of owners buy DVDs and I doubt the PSP will be able to.

Granted, not having a movie market isn't going to kill the PSP by any stretch of the imagination. It will just have to stand on its own two legs as a game platform, and if you're wondering what I think its chances are as strictly a gaming device, well, re-read the first paragraph of this article.

I could be wrong, maybe someone will come along and publish a good game for it.


Category: Tech
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005 @ 02:39 pm
Posted By Brent

There's been a lot of speculation flying around recently concerning Apple's switch to Intel processors and I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring so that years from now people can link back to this and see how wrong I was.

Here's what I think will change: Nothing. Zip. Ziltch. You'll be making snowmen at Hitler's house before Apple even dreams of letting MacOS X run on commodity hardware. This makes Apple no more a threat to Microsoft than it's already been. This will not take focus away from Linux on the x86 architecture. Apple will continue down the path it's been on since rehiring Steve Jobs eight or nine years ago and retain a stranglehold on what machines their operating system is allowed to be put on. You will still only be able to run a Mac OS on a machine produced by Apple. You won't be downloading a pirated version of (or buying a copy of for that matter) MacOS X Tiger for Intel and installing it on your Pentium III. Ain't going to happen.

Now, as a tip of my hat to the dogged determination of hackers around the globe, I'm sure projects here and there will pop up on SourceForge explaining ways to actually get it running on commodity hardware. I also believe such projects will either be shut down by Apple, not have enough hardware support to be practical, involve instructions too byzantine to be followed by mere mortals, or a combination of all of the above.

So there. Pirates, you ain't getting MacOS X on your junker. Mac zealots, your precious gene pool isn't being diluted with "Wintel" slime. Douchebags, you will still be able to buy a cool looking computer that you don't really know how to use. I'm even sure that they'll rename the PentiumD they use to the Granite-X, the Cube-4D, or the the Strawberry-Douche using whatever gay ass formula they use to come up with their For-Marketing-Purposes-Only, quasi technical sounding names. Of course, not that the name "Pentium" has meant jack shit in ten years.


Category: Games
Saturday, June 11th, 2005 @ 06:28 am
Posted By xerxes7
It's difficult for me to get back to where I was a couple weeks ago when I wrote the first part of this. I was still on the information glut high that is E3 week. I was revved. My thoughts and feelings were frenzied. This is a different thing I'm about to write. Less podium smashing. More reasonable. In the words of Leroy Jenkins, "Let's do this."

Why will the Revolution be televised in my house?

Because I like that show.

Because I believe in what's going into it. And what will be done with it.

The argument can be made that I'm asking for more abuse. But my main complaints with the current system are being addressed. Or at least it has been said they are. Last time I gushed about what I loved. This time I want to be more rational. Let's start with what I hate.

I understand the importance of having all players in the same room. The shit-talking is better. The peripheral communication is better. Bathroom breaks, beerings, general chit-chat all happen a little more easily when all involved parties are present. However...

Split-screen kills it for me. And it might be nice to just have a quick pick-up game without all the riding elsewhere to do it. I've got Metroid Prime 2. I've tried getting the girl to play, but Metroid's got some weird controls until you learn them. She's got little interest in learning them. The only person I know that might want to play doesn't live under my roof. And the process of packing it up and riding over for maybe a half-hour or so of quick "Yeah, let's play... That was fun, now it's time for dinner" just kind of leaves something to be desired. I'd love to just make a call and arrange for a quick match.

Next time, we get internet play. Sure, it'll be a game-by-game decision. But so far the gist seems to be that Nintendo acknowledges that they didn't do anything about it for the Gamecube and aim to fix it on the Revolution. They're pretty much good for their word. At least better than Sony. We'll see.

My other big complaint is kind of one for my own sake. But kind of one for the company's as well. Walk into any game store and look at shelf space. This mile of wall space by the door belongs to Sony. Walk on in until your legs are tired. Now you're in the X-Box section. That haze on the horizon is the back wall. Take my word for it, from here to there is all X-Box. Now, turn and look at the other side of the store. See those couple of shelves between the used PC games and the counter? That's the Gamecube section. It's already small. Pull everything off those shelves which is also available for the other two and it's miniscule. Granted, it's probably of reasonable quality, but there's just not much there. This is Nintendo's decision. I respect it. I don't like it, but I respect it.

Now for a moment I'd like you to direct your gaze toward the heavens. Up there by the ceiling there's a sign of things to come. In the next two weeks there are approximately forty games coming out for both the Playstation 2 and the X-Box. In the next month or so there are maybe three games coming out for the Gamecube. It kind of sucks.

It sucks for anyone who only has a Gamecube. But there's a side affect as well. Say a kid comes into the store with whichever parent they've been graced with for the weekend. Kid's gotta have a game. Kid's gotta have the Sony or the Microsoft. But Mom or Dad isn't sure. Lots of those games look like they've got that dreaded M rating. But there are lots of them. Lots of games to keep the kid happy. Mom or Dad remembers growing up with Nintendo, says maybe we should see what they've got. Well, they've got a handful of games. And it looks like maybe half of them were titles we already passed on the other side of the store. Screw it. Kid's hissing about the GAYcube anyway. X-Box it is.

Quality over quantity. I know. But there's something to be said for a robust library. And it's there. It's just that you passed it up in the used section. The used gameboy section, to be exact. Granted, I'm not of a mindset that I need to buy every game as soon as it comes out. But if I were, I'd be ass out with Nintendo. Fortunately, I can't walk into a game store without checking out the used section. If no more games were produced for a year (or more to the point, if I didn't buy any) I'd probably still be set. I've got a few old Gameboy carts and not a few Gamecube discs that I've picked up for next to nothing with the very expectation that there isn't always something new to play. But it kind of bugs me buying used. I like voting with dollars, and when you buy used you're out of that equation.

In steps the much whispered about download service. Even when there is nothing on the new games horizon for the Revolution, there will be the downloadable games. From NES to N64. (I say if they're smart they'll offer pre-GBA roms as well, but that starts edging into currently supported software and therefore some vague form of cannibalism, I'm sure.) As long as they don't go for over ten bucks, they should be set. No worries tracking down an old console and then being at the mercy of what the local shop has in stock- it's all there. And tell that to Mom or Dad and suddenly the library doesn't look so paltry. Hell, they'll remember some of the games and will probably want to play them themselves. The hell with Playstation. We're talking ultimate backwards compatibility. For an evolution analogy, we're talking about being able to have sex with fish. And I know you all like the idea of that.

Plus, shit. It'll have that add-on that lets it play DVDs. And it's so friggin' small. I mean, I've got textbooks bigger than that thing. And they're nowhere near as compelling.

Oh, and it will be available in black.


Category: Media Reviews
Wednesday, June 8th, 2005 @ 01:13 pm
Posted By Brent

Sometimes absolutes just don't cut it. Sometimes the blacks and whites that color your everyday decisions fade into a indistinguishable gray. I find myself contemplating this while on Netflix trying to decide how many stars I should give my latest viewing, Chronicles of Riddick.

Was it a well written movie full of expansive cinematography, acting of the highest caliber, heaped atop oscar-worthy writing? God no. Would I watch it and ten movies just like it back to back for hours on end? Hell yeah. Why, you ask? I don't know, maybe we men are biologically engineered to like action movies. When Scott first saw this movie he boiled it down to two words, and I'd have to agree with him. This movie is "tough porn." I'll allow you a few moments to completely digest that analogy... there.

Now for a rundown: this movie is bad. The antagonists of the movie are this traveling armada of doom called the Necromongers. Why not the Necromancers or the Necrophytes or the Necrocons? Who knows but the writers decided to go with a combination of the words "Necro" and "Mongoloid." Anyway, basically they are famous (or is that infamous) for coming to town and either killing everyone or converting them to their odd, ill described "death worship" religion.

So, one of the survivors from the previous movie lives on a planet that about to be invaded by the Necro-Tards, so he sends for Riddick to come and help. Riddick shows up, does a bunch of tough stuff, and everybody freaks out because he's apparently the last member of a race prophesied to kill the their leader. What race? Why, he's a Furion. Get it? It's like the word "Fury" with "on" put on the end of it! Genius!

Moving on, he escapes the clutches of the Death-Mongos by doing some more really tough stuff only to be captured by a band of mercenaries bent on collecting his bounty. After being captured he is taken to a prison planet where the surface burns at over 700 degrees! Guess what it's called! Burnia? Hotland? Planet Fire? No, don't sell the writers that short, it's called Crematoria! Get it? It's like "crematorium", with a "ia" on the end. Man, these guys really set the bar for creativity. Maybe they're from the planet Creativitia where they drink create-juice and dine on creationberries all from the luxury of their Create-a-Home. I bet it's awesome.

At this point he's in an underground prison where the inmates apparently are only required to mill around unsupervised and plot escape plans while randomly being attacked by big alien dogs that the guards set loose. Here, Riddick does some amazingly tough stuff and escapes, flies back to the original planet that was under attack and kills the leader. It was tough.

No matter how bad this sounds, just writing this makes me want to watch the movie again. I really can't put my finger on it, but between this movie and The Rundown, I just don't know what is going on with my love of crappy movies. Hollywood seems to have knocked it out of the park with their placement of racially ambiguous body builders in mid-budget, guilty pleasure action movies. Well Played.


Category: Personal
Tuesday, June 7th, 2005 @ 12:08 pm
Posted By Brent

After enduring the agony of defeat, I'm back for round two of what will hopefully only be a two round fight with my ball wire.

For those of you just tuning in, I've previously chronicled my experience with trying to wax my sack in hopes of achieving man's ultimate dream, having a beautifully smooth scrote. This time, after insistent prodding by a co-worker I decided to give Veet a try. According to the masses it's the best thing since sliced bread, although don't ask me who these people are that have been touting the wonders of shaving with sliced bread. Weirdos.

First things first, this is not magic. Veet is nothing new, it's basically Nair, that is to say it's a "cream that dissolves the proteins that make up hair", i.e., it's an acidic chemical that melts your hair off. Granted, it works a lot faster than Nair and has the added benefit of not smelling like a two week old corpse festering in a acrid biological waste dump. A smell that you often hear women attribute to Nair and its ilk. The main selling point seems to be that it comes with this coolio little "Rasera™ Bladeless™ razor." This is basically a little razor with a squeegee blade in place of an actual razor blade that you use to sort of scrape off all the melted hair. I believe Nair just tells you to wipe yourself off with towel to achieve the same effect, but never underestimate the power of including a little toy when it comes to marketing a product. Not to be outdone of course, Nair has now brought a "Bladeless shaving kit" to market in a weak attempt to stay in the game, but I don't think anyone's noticing. But I digress, you came here to read about my beautiful balls, not to have an in depth discussion of the recent market fluctuations in depilatory cream sales, which apparently are vast and intriguing.

Now to get down to business. I strip down and lather up my frank and beans, being sure not get any on mucus membranes or the like. After slathering myself from lower belly to taint, I decide to up the ante on the experiment and wipe the remaining cream in my hands onto my armpits. I wash my hands and prepare to wait the requisite "at least three but no more than six minutes, depending on the coarseness of the hair." I aim for five minutes.

Once my five is up, I jumped in the shower and began Rasera™-ing all the melted hair out of my left armpit which surprisingly came off entirely. When I changed up to do my right armpit, I realized I had used the majority of the cream on my left pit and apparently didn't apply enough to my right because a good bit of hair remained (half melted and looking rather horrid I must add). No matter, I could clean that up later I thought, and focused my attention on the matter at hand, the old steak and 'taters.

Please allow me to pause here to quickly address an issue. If you're going to try this and you currently have formidable growth, it would probably be immensely more convenient for you to trim the area with clippers first. I believe the stuff is supposed to be used regularly, as to minimize the amount of hair and, in turn, only requiring a small amount of Veet. When you have a dense forest you end up using quite a bit that turns your boosh into a sort of toxic hair sludge. Also, if you have a good bit of hair, you will be constantly cleaning aforementioned hair sludge out of the Rasera™ bladeless razor every couple of strokes or else you'll just be wiping your self down with a big clot of hair sludge on a stick. I reiterate that I imagine this is easier if you do this regularly so that you are dealing with smaller amounts of hair.

All in all, it's much easier than shaving, and it's pretty cool using this bladeless razor thing with out a care in the world about accidentally slitting your sack open. I employed a double blind smell test (which is to say I ran up to my wife and thrust my package in her face and said "How does it smell?") to see if the area retained a chemical odor and it did not. One thing I didn't really think about was the contact between my balls and thighs while waiting for the stuff to work it magic, so I now have two bald spots on either sides of my junk. Oh well.

Once I was done I decided to reapply it to my right armpit in hopes of finishing up the job, but after having the second coat on there for a bout a minute I got the distinct feeling that I was giving myself a horrible chemical burn. So I rinsed it out and am now walking around with a raw armpit due to my stupidity. Let this be a lesson to you, do not double dip, pain is the only result.

In closing, if I had to rate it I'd give the VEET® Rasera™ Bladeless™ Kit two silky smooth testicles up... and yes, those would be my silky smooth testicles.