A new, refreshing and dynamic introduction to FPS shooters is Valve’s “Portal Gun”. They revolutionised Half Life with the “Gravity Gun”, now they are set to do it again.
In brief, this should sway you from ever thinking of purchasing a Dell machine.
Tech: When you go around the web — yes? On your browser program. You can run into bad programs called viruses. And these viruses can cause all the problems you are talking about.
Me: I know what a virus is. I don’t have a virus.
Tech: But viruses cause all your problems. You have a virus — yes?
Me: I do not have a virus. I have a hardware firewall on the router. I have a software firewall on the computer. I have up to date commercial virus protection that updates its definitions on the fly and I have scheduled full system virus scans that run every night at 3 AM. I do not have a virus.
Tech: Well, you know, too much security can cause problems too.
The first tech was adamant that the problem was not related to memory, and that there were only three causes for bluescreens: a bad motherboard, a bad hard drive, or software conflicts. She explained, again, that she had just replaced the motherboard and hard drive. “Must be software,” the tech said. Exasperated now, my tech explained that she had just replaced the hard drive, so there was no software on the machine. He still insisted it was a software problem and refused to send memory. In fact, he suggested something that I will be writing to Dell about. He actually suggested that she install only one of the four memory modules, close the box, determine quickly if that module was okay, and then leave, telling me to continue installing Windows and call tech support if I had any more problems! He actually suggested to her that she LEAVE OUT 1.5 GB of my memory, memory I paid for, presumably without telling me what had been done.
Dell knew dozens of their laptops had sustained extensive heat damage at least two years before initiating any kind of recall. The source, who is claimed to be someone “close to the company,” has said that Dell execs were provided with documents and photographs in 2003 and 2004 showing lappies described as “burned,” “melted” and even “scorched.”
Wow it’s a hot July day here in Bristol, England. Chances are today will be the hottest July day we have seen for thirty years or so. I have just completed my previously postponed phone interview (which went well) and cut the garden’s grass. It’s now time to chill out at the PC with a cold beer; time to write something for this blog!
Let’s see, I have a few topics to discuss. Firstly my Veronica Mars Season 1 DVD box set arrived in the post, hoorah. I decided to import it from America rather than wait for a toned down featureless region 2 release (“America, America…” – Styx are singing, as if it’s some sort of holy land). Well it arrived today, via Germany. My dilemma came in the fact that the DVDs are region 1, NTSC; generally incompatible with all region 2 DVD players, such is my understanding. Well I decided to test them out, planning to rip some region free backups to use with my PC. Upon PC insertion the DVD loaded and played, no region blocking problems. That’s odd, so I tried it on the region 2 PAL but NTSC compatible DVD player downstairs, this also worked beautifully. The final and most important test, does it play on the overly secure *will not play copied DVDs* Playstation 2. And yes it did, admittedly it failed on picture quality because it is not NTSC compatible but overall my experiments were a success. So is this Veronica Mars box set meant to be region free? Did they kindly realize that a LOT of Europeans will be importing this after downloading it on the internet? Is it a perfect looking pirate copy? I think and hope not. Such revelations make me a happier boy.
Lot number 2 is a Sony Playstation Portable (PSP). Joystiq is running an article on the PSP and how the DS is seriously killing it. It seems there are no solid PSP titles I really want, potentials yes, but nothing solid. And I hate playing the ones I do have, mainly because I get so impatient waiting for them to load (e.g. GTA, Burnout). The one game I do play and often is Pro Evolution Soccer 2005. The PSP has the potential to be brilliant but Sony has stifled it. These days I only use my PSP for watching movies and TV episodes on the train. Long ago are the days I dreamt of owning a PSP so I could play GTA on the move anywhere anytime, play Sonic 2 emulated on the bus, listen to radio streams using the WiFi on campus et al. Yes I can do all of these things but it takes so long to start them up it’s just not worth it, most of the time I can’t be bothered. A quick 5 minute game turns into 2 minutes of waiting and then it’s pointless. I’d rather read my book or listen to my iPod.
Some complaints of mine:
1. VERY few games support online play! What’s the point in Bomberman PSP if it won’t play online? I only know one other person with a PSP so the chances of me playing its brilliantly sublime multiplayer are slim.
2. Where are the simple fun games? I want to play Crash Bandicoot on the move (not a shit racer), I want a new 2D sonic game (not a shit 3D racing one), where are the original titles? What’s with all the shit racing games?
3. Why does the screen stay on when playing Music!? (Seriously that’s just dumb… and they make the album art tiny also). Why can’t I play my music during my games? Custom soundtracks are not a new thing — the games that do support them don’t even allow mp3s… you have to rip them from your owned CDs. The headphones that Sony provide you with are also shit.
4. Open up some sort of development APIs so that we can use the PSP with the applications we want! Why all this Gestapo crap when it comes to firmware security? What’s the big deal? Tighten UMD security and open up the firmware a little for us. Provide some sort of official line which developers can take to provide their own legit PSP applications, for free.
5. The screen is so reflective and shiny I can never see anything on it, even on the highest brightness setting. Only when in the dark does playing become comfortable. When speeding along in a train on a sunny day all I can see is the reflection of my green T-shirt.
Maybe downloadable PS1 games will be its redeemer, yet I am sure they will be coupled with crazy load times. I’d give anything for a cheap opportunity to play FFVII on the move… but I’m sure I will be let down once more. Maybe I should purchase a DS Lite. My main gripe with the DS was its ugliness, size, inability to play videos and the touch screen stylus; thusly I bought a PSP. However the Lite has addressed many of these issues and now I find myself envying those that have the new Mario, Mario Kart, Sonic DS and all the other great and fun portable games which do not suffer appalling load times. PSP = Potential, that is all. Rant Over.
Lot number 3 concerns Hollywood action movies. (“Woo” – Devin Townsend’s Idom roars). Two fantastical disappointments I have watched in the past few days. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the ill fated poorly thought out over the top sequel” and “I, Robot”. Admittedly it is impossible for Depp and co. to live up to the phenomenal amount of hype surrounding this inevitable blockbuster but this sequel just doesn’t cut it as a good movie, yet alone a great one. The plot is messy; the scenes attempt to court a slapstick aura with witty dialogue in a fantastical action packed supernatural pirate world, a la the original. But it fails, at least in my opinion. The stories are uninteresting; Jack Sparrow is criminally underused; there is no sense of voyage – we can go from a to b just like this which in essence defies the point (it’s very much all over the place); the great musician yet underappreciated genius of anthem producer extraordinaire Klaus Badelt has been sacrificed for the big name orchestral star Hans Zimmer. Admittedly Hans is great in most of his films but he really didn’t suit the Pirates subject, he pillaged the original theme and overly orchestrated the entire movie to generate some sort of pseudo-epic. I doubt the third film will be a threat to the original either, though of course, it will make millions.
Alex Proyas’ “I,Robot” is a tiny little gold nugget surrounded by multiple layers of crap. The gold nugget lies in the miniature philosophical elements that make up the film, clearly lifted from the novel, these tidbits are brilliant though of course should not be accredited to the filmmakers. Two films run side by side in I, Robot. The well thought out, philosophical and interesting world of Asimov and the poorly conceived, dreary computer graphics fest that is Proyas’ vision. It’s almost as if the film alternated between scenes from a butchered Asimov script and scenes from an unbelievable Proyas action plot; at times you can almost see the physical divide between the two conflicting thought processes. Like oil and water; oil is power and action, water is refreshing and invigorating, upon mixing you yield an unmixable mess that is no use to anyone. The only redeeming feature for I, Robot is Will Smith who somehow makes the film a watch-able and enjoyable experience. He makes Proyas’ mess look good, I loved him, he was great – without Smith this would just be one giant waste of time.
Now all I have to watch is Superman Returns!
Over and out.
This is an incredible feat of artistic originality. A human stop motion video game in action.
The masterwork of Guillaume Reymond is a result of 4 hours of moving 67 participants around and capturing 390 images to create a 3-minute video that one has to see to believe.
Also this is a great food/video game remix::
The Prestige is Christopher Nolan’s (Memento, Batman Begins) latest effort starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie and Michael Caine.
Plot Outline: Based on Christopher Priest’s 1996 novel, Bale and Jackman play rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London who battle each other for trade secrets. The rivalry is so intense that it turns them into murderers.