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10001  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 06, 2008, 02:51:53 PM
A sour unraveling of a Great Barrows team last night with my new Guardian turned into a surprise, happy reunion with my old, mostly Australian Kinship, when I switched to my 44 Captain. It turned out they were about to tackle the Chapter that I could never get past (where Legolas the NPC aggroes everything in sight  disgust). I got a warm welcome, they were shocked to see me back.  icon_biggrin

With a L50 Guardian on team, and me trying desperately to remember the Captain's hotkeys (even worse, since they added 6-7 new Captain skills that I went ahead and picked up), we got through it.  icon_cool Some pics...

This isn't the "end boss," I used to get excited when my Fellowship would finish it, but it's not The End of the chapter.

Now, if you hadn't played your Captain since late 2007, how would you make sense of all those hotkeys?  icon_confused icon_razz
Below is her hotkey setup:

I'm never comfortable reaching for keys 6-zero on my keyboard, so I tend to throw potions and food there, and assign hotkeys to various letters my left hand can reach easily.

Finally getting to turn it in at the end.  icon_smile
10002  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 06, 2008, 12:52:05 AM
Yeah, Canuck, bizarre ain't it?  icon_razz I assume there's a separate "Function" key you press, and then one of those labeled keys to get F5, F6 etc.

OK I think I mentioned eyeing a $25 Init case meant for up to 10" portable DVD players at Best Buy. I picked it up today. It fits this so well, it's like it was made for it without realizing it.  icon_cool It has a second zippered compartment very suitable for the AC Adapter/recharger (and maybe a very slim DVD-ROM drive, but it might be pushing it), and a bulging exterior Velcro-sealed compartment ideal for a cordless mouse and a bit more junk. The other side has a thin Velcro-sealed pocket maybe suitable for documents or manuals. And it comes with an adjustable, padded shoulder strap too.

Here's a few pics (apologies to dialups for this sudden image craziness on my part icon_redface):

Couple top-down views, with and without the vinyl slipcase:

With nothing in the second compartment, it'll only angle back upright (90 degrees). Throw the adapter or some weight in there though and it sags back to the point you might be able to use the unit in it if you needed (albeit probably you'd have cooling concerns long-term).

Adapter fits very nicely in compartment #2.

And the cordless mouse in the unzipped compartment, which has a "bulge" that lets you put fairly bulky things in it:
10003  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 05, 2008, 09:41:16 PM
My Guardian's (new to me) up to about 21. I've found that while I really love the shield bashing stuff (animations, sounds etc.), the basic sword whacking leaves me cold. I wish they'd consider some day revamping some of the melee attack sounds a bit. To me, too many basically sound like somebody slapping a book against a desk edge - not very battle-like.  icon_razz

When I was attemping to tank yesterday, I realized just how big a difference AoC's "non clipping" of character models (character models don't pass through each other unless you "crouch-walk" is how I remember it) makes vs. most MMOs having character models that slip right through each other like they're ghosts. With the non-clipping, you can in theory have a "wall" of player tanks that the mobs can't physically pass through.

With character models gliding through each other like ghosts, that option's not there. I'm not saying it's worse, just different. And it took a while for me to remember I couldn't just stop something from reaching a squishy by getting between him/her and the onrushing hordes - well I should've remembered it the first time Goblins ran right through me.  icon_razz
10004  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 05, 2008, 08:24:16 PM
Well, you've gotta dig up my images of an AA1 keyboard then.  icon_smile

My only real complaint (and maybe I'd have it on any touchpad laptop period) is I constantly swipe the touchpad by accident while reaching for the spacebar. Which inevitably sends my cursor flying, or some random menu opening. I kind of which they'd had a "thumbstick" or maybe a trackball option. It's only really a bother so far at Panera, where I usually don't have room to my cordless mouse.

And my famous Typing Video  icon_razz

Reminder that it's bouncing all over cause it's in my lap, I couldn't otherwise find a way to set my camera in a suitable location.
10005  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Dell's mini-notebook entry) on: September 05, 2008, 07:13:57 PM
Apparently "modability" is one of this netbook's better aspects. Engadget mentioned this jkkmobile item with some images from a Dell service manual on basically dismantiling it:
10006  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 05, 2008, 06:47:29 PM
Saw an interesting bit about Microsoft backing off its hard drive size restrictions in giving permission to laptop makers to use XP instead of Vista. This is perceived as good news in the Netbook category as the manufacturers apparently now can go as big as the 160GB hard drive on the latest Acer Aspire One model, and still use Windows XP (which is friendlier to the relatively wimpy Atom CPU -- and I guess the Via that HP's Mini note uses -- and usual 1GB of RAM on these things).

MS pushed to keep XP for more netbooks
Although the Redmond, Washington-based software firm has so far insisted that systems with hard drives larger than 80GB carry Windows Vista in a bid to drive companies to the newer operating system, it has now allegedly doubled that limit to 160GB, expanding the types of PCs that qualify for the older software.
Of course, my AA1 has a 120GB hard drive, so I don't know about this supposed "rule."  icon_confused

I think HP also decided to start offering an XP version of their Mini Note (Vista was originally the Windows OS option on it).

Now I just wonder when Microsoft is going to wonder, "Hey, what's this netbook/mini-notebook all about? Lets create a netbook Zune!"  icon_razz
10007  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 05, 2008, 05:48:34 PM
Oh, no! The Three Amigos has an interloper!  eek

j/k, that's great. Good luck finding one right now. I hope Acer gets their supply situation in order, I'd rather see it sell briskly to people who want it, when they want it, rather than see it become some Nintendo Wii-like, "Everyone wants it, but we never have it in stock" situation.  paranoid
10008  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 05, 2008, 05:33:45 PM
I bought that Init case for 10" portable DVD players and it fits the AA1 Perfectly. I don't think it could fit better if it was specifically designed for it.  icon_biggrin

I'll get some photos up this evening when I get home. It has a second zippered compartment that's fairly roomy (perhaps i can fit the AC adapter in there, or a slim DVD-ROM USB unit if I get one), and a velcroed outer compartment. The case lid hinges, with the idea that you could watch a DVD player while keeping it in there; I'm not sure I'd want to keep the AA1 in there when I use it -- the hinge only goes a bit past 90 degrees so it would inhibit you from pivoting the AA1's monitor back much beyond vertical.

It comes with a padded shoulder strap. I call it my "AA1 Man Purse," but I think I could swallow my pride and drag it around with me, but not when I'm wearing high heels.  Fabulous unibrow
10009  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 05, 2008, 04:05:17 PM
I've belatedly noticed the three of us are the only ones who post in these mini-notebook threads. I promise we call ourselves, "The Three Amigos" and work on developing some unique salute, preferably not involving obscene gestures.  icon_lol

I love my AA1, but if Acer did a 10" model with 3G and normal trackpad size/buttons and a 5-6 cell battery, well, I might be open to it. But it might lose its simple charms in the process.
10010  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 05, 2008, 04:02:07 PM
I'm surfing from Panera, albeit a bit sluggishly.  icon_razz

I'm surrounded by people with laptops, I think 4 at last count.

This time I just brought it with me in just its slipcase, wrapped in today's newspaper.

I still find myself swiping the touchpad by accident if I leave it enabled (not really enough room on this tiny table for my cordless mouse).

I'm going to make a quick run by Best Buy next door. There's a 10" DVD player case that I think might work with this. I even brought a tape measure with me. biggrin

10011  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 05, 2008, 01:23:11 PM
Turbine set up a new forum devoted strictly to Mines of Moria:

One thing I belatedly noted:

Mines of Moria North American Product Lineup Unveiled

There doesn't actually seem to be an expansion-only box available (just a "digital upgrade," if you only want the expansion). Not necessarily a bad thing. The "complete edition" box includes all LOTRO updates since launch, so if you ever return to the game or have to restore it, it'll save some downloading time - a lot, if yer still on dialup.
10012  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 05, 2008, 05:49:56 AM
I've gotten quite re-hooked. I have no informed opinion on its Tolkienesqueness or lack thereof (I'm eminently un-qualified). I did get to join in on a fun full (6) fellowship tonight and we knocked off three group quests in succession. Mostly had a ball.

And I shall inflict screenshots in general...

-I like this little feature that basically lets you place costume pieces on a couple special tabs without needing to have the items in inventory (fully enabled at level 20). Couple glimpses...

I forgot the name of this. Squire something, I wanna say.

Blackjack goes babe-like! A simple dress.

From our rollicking, mostly well-behaved 6-person team. My Guardian's on cusp of 21. I never really played one beyond a few levels, so this whole Tanking thing is all Greek to me here. It's actually liberating to be told "You go aggro everything!"  icon_razz
10013  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 05, 2008, 01:22:33 AM
I'm still befuddled by Micro Center's sudden selling out. I checked my earlier post here and they had 169 (!) of the XP version alone in stock when I bought mine, and nobody at the store was showing any interest in it at all. I think they were stunned when I actually asked to buy one.  icon_razz

Oh well. I'm writing this post on mine fwiw, while I watch tonight's NFL game.  icon_smile
10014  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 04, 2008, 09:54:38 PM
This UK site today posted a head-to-head of the Asus EeePC 1000 and MSI Wind. They declined to invite the Acer Aspire One  disgust, dismissing it's "small" keyboard. Dunces.  Tongue Though I think it's fairer to pit 8.9" machines against each other, and 10" machines against each other, anyway. And comparing $599 and $449 machines to a $349 machine might be strange too.

Asus and MSI head to head
The "winner," as it were, might surprise you...
10015  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Local killing spree on: September 04, 2008, 09:43:46 PM
Actually, I work literally one block from where one of the Va.-Md.-DC sniper shootings took place.  paranoid I feel awkward every time I park in that area.

As a longtime newspaper editor/reporter I'm on record as doubting the value of comments on news stories. Most of the ones I see just deteriorate into venemous attacks on other posters' comments, fomenting hatred, and endless arguments.

This happens even when the news story is, "Betty Maple ran a successful lemonade stand to raise money for the Double Amputees Charity."
"Who cares about Betty Maple? Why don't you write about me?"
"Her lemonade sucked! I want my money back!"
"Charities! It's just welfare! People should stand on their own two feet. Er. Stumps!"
"Betty Maple is a skank!"
"Not as much as you are!"
"I'm Betty Maple's brother and I'm so gonna kick all your a**es!"

And so forth. I do good "newspaper comments threads" impressions, no?  disgust  icon_lol

Most are like a Usenet thread or an unmoderated message board, basically. icon_razz The average paper can't afford full time stuff to moderate the stuff or keep an eye on what's posted there (whether serious threats or just basic name-calling).
10016  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 09:34:29 PM
I've ordered, and the Stubs should be on their way to him tomorrow.  icon_smile Thanks for the suggestions and insights. I'll certainly return here if the need for cigars arises again.
10017  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: X-Coms available on Steam on: September 04, 2008, 09:14:50 PM
Um, I think you can safely skip Enforcer (X-COM as lame shooter) and Interceptor (X-COM as lame space combat title). That was from the era where the publisher was going to start slapping X-COM onto every game case in the factory.  disgust

Purists would say only the original's worth bothering with. Revisionists would claim "From the Deep" is worth bothering with and even argue about it (which I've done elswhere, and won't do here, so don't try to bait me  icon_lol) even though the Gollop brothers weren't involved, although they'll never make sense out of "throwing hand grenades under water."  saywhat Apocalypse definitely has its fans, not me among them, fwiw. I do respect that the Gollops tried to do something different with it rather than just keep re-doing UFO Defense ad nauseam. But it didn't sell, and probably that's why they got no further opportunities to work on the property, which was a shame.

I'm betting this stuff won't work on Windows Vista 64-bit, but perhaps I can get it working on my Acer Aspire One in some form, if I'm willing to try running Steam off of it. Everybody in Eastern Europe seems to have tried to re-make the game in some way in recent years, but it's like chasing a dream.  icon_neutral

For me the dream for years was the canceled "X-COM: Alliance," which was going to try to turn into a squad-based tactical shooter. I'm sure if released, it would've been another turkey bandying about the X-COM license shamelessly -- but since it didn't, we could turn it into a "might have been" legend instead.  icon_smile

I actually had quite a bit of fun with Hasbro's simplistic "E-mail X-COM" a few years ago. It's a shame they no longer run servers for it. icon_frown

I loved, adored X-COM: UFO Defense in its day (1994). I remember playing a demo off of a British PC magazine at the time (PC Format probably) on my 486SX machine, and it made such an impression on me.
10018  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 08:22:53 PM
Saw this on Reuters:
Acer seeks record notebook PC sales
Acer's PC sales are driven by its new Aspire One low-cost, mini notebook model. The world's third-biggest PC supplier expects sales of Aspire One, which competes with Asustek Computer's (2357.TW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Eee PC, to exceed 1 million units in September.
On the second page of the article it adds this bit on its impact on the market in Japan:
Since its August 23 launch in Japan, Aspire One has been the best-selling notebook PC in the nation, outselling all models from top Japanese PC makers such as NEC Corp (6701.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Fujitsu Ltd (6702.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), according to data from research firm BCN.
Go, AA1, go! The little engine that could.  icon_cool icon_biggrin
10019  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 07:55:02 PM

Quote from: Drazzil on September 04, 2008, 07:32:36 PM

Put simply, smoking a nub is like drinking fine wine out of a fire hose.
I have just got to try that some time...  drool
10020  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 07:28:21 PM
Hey, he actually gave me a link to something modest he'd apparently like (this is actually a "Nub" sampler, just under $30):

Nub Variety Sampler
This sampler includes six Nub cigars, one each of the following: 464 Cameroon, 466 Cameroon, 464 Connecticut, 464 Habano, 466 Habano and 460 Habano.
Who am I to go against a request so specific?   icon_smile These appear to be in the "medium-full" category if I'm reading it right.
10021  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Name that movie on: September 04, 2008, 06:42:00 PM
This is fun. The hard thing about most online quizzes, as far as making them challenging, is people can Google the answer in 2 milliseconds -- tougher to do with images.

How about this? One of my favorite B-movies from the 1980s. Probably more popular as a VHS tape rental than in the theaters (I'll give some hints, as it's not that well known).

10022  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 06:16:45 PM
My publisher gave me the OK, and probably we can do that $34.99 box mentioned in the original post here. I'm waiting to here back from the contact if he has any "body strength" preferences, or brand preferences. I could just have them send him a gift certificate but at the low end they only have $25 and $50, and I'd rather get him something in between.

I went to a Tobacco Barn at lunch. There were four shoppers smoking in there. I about passed out.  icon_lol The employees were nice, but their prices seemed steep (most things were $11 or more per cigar). And I think she'd rather I had it directly delivered through an online place if possible.
10023  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Good time to by a laptop? on: September 04, 2008, 06:02:19 PM
If you're considering a Sony Vaio, be prepared to... Feel the Burn! 

Sony recalls 438,000 laptops on burn concern
Japan's Sony Corp has launched a voluntary recall of 438,000 Vaio portable computers, citing a potential hazard that could cause the machines to overheat or possibly burn a user.

It is one of the biggest computer recalls since 2006 when Dell Inc recalled 4.1 million notebook computer batteries because they could overheat and catch fire.

Sony's recall affects 72,800 computers in the United States, a Sony spokesman said on Thursday.
To be fair, I can't tell if it involves new models on the market now. icon_confused
10024  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 05:50:17 PM
There is some concern this is an incorrect listing, but Amazon claims to have the 160GB/XP model (which would be the new 6-cell version) in stock.
10025  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Dell's mini-notebook entry) on: September 04, 2008, 05:18:12 PM
The Function key change seems bizarre to me though the truth is, I don't use Function keys much beyond the F11 key (for full screen in various programs).

It isn't much, but I do commend them for what appears to be a fairly large backspace key.

Laptopmag's video is over here:
10026  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: The wonderful world of WiFi on: September 04, 2008, 03:04:59 PM
If you mean that DS Wi-Fi dongle I mentioned in another thread, I had to "system restore" my PC because the lousy thing messed up some settings, and I don't plan to reinstall or use it again.

The Linksys uses WPA2, fwiw.
10027  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 02:58:40 PM
It turns out we have a decent cigar shop around the corner from us, so I might stop by after lunch and see if the shop owner has any suggestions.
10028  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Anybody got a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Dell's mini-notebook entry) on: September 04, 2008, 01:12:16 PM
So who here gets royalties on the "Anybody got a..." phrase anyway?  smirk

Dell launched its mini-notebook entry, the Inspiron Mini 9, today.

Lot of stuff at Laptop Magazine online, including a review:

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Linux model)
Dell barges into the netbook market with its sleek, configurable, and solid performing Inspiron Mini 9, but it’s not without flaws.

It's a mixed bag, it seems. The 4-cell battery promises decent battery life.

What appears to be an excellent touchpad in this category (larger, with buttons in the normal "below the pad" location) seems offset by some screwy keyboard key placement.
However, size is not as big an issue as is the awkward placement of a few keys on the Inspiron Mini 9. While we weren’t bothered by the missing function keys (the middle row of the keyboard now performs double duty), the right Shift key has been shrunk and moved to the right of the Up arrow button, and the apostrophe key is located on the bottom row of keys. Both changes will cause problems for touch typists until they’ve adjusted.
It has some interesting features, including a "spill-resistant" keyboard, and apparently better speakers than usually heard in this category.

A warning sign that Dell claims won't be in production units is intense heat encountered by the reviewer:
We noticed that the Inspiron Mini 9 got uncomfortably hot when we used the notebook at length. At 100 degrees, the keyboard felt like it had a heating pad underneath it. The bottom of the system and the touchpad weren’t much better, registering 108 and 92 degrees, respectively. Dell notes that we reviewed a preproduction unit and that there shouldn’t be any thermal issues on production-level systems. We’ll update this review once we’ve received a final unit.
And a more general item...

Dell Slides Into the Netbook Market with the Inspiron Mini 9

Interesting, but that keyboard would mostly send me screaming if I tried it at a store (since it's only available from Dell for now, there's really no way to try-before-you-buy). I'm sure, like anything, you could get used to it though.

It's not appreciately lighter or thinner than an AA1 or most other competitors in this category (unlike the Mac Air say, it's not in a category where being super-slim really differentiates it, imho -- cause just about everything in this is icon_neutral). The battery life and fine touchpad might make it appealing for some.

The heating issue (something I've only sensed in stores in the pricier, different CPU'd HP Mini Note in stores) is worrisome. I don't know why they would knowingly send a reviewer an overheated pre-production model.
10029  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 04, 2008, 01:01:06 PM
You can always add a USB mini-hub (the kind that just fits in the slot), something that turns one into three. It's a popular 21st century gadget, I'm told.  icon_wink

Dell's Inspiron Mini (which seems to be Linux-focused, fwiw) is preparing to land. A warning sign to me in the Q&A below is that the keyboard is described as "smaller than other keyboards in this category"  saywhat

Some stuff from Laptop Magazine (just posted today):

Q&A: One on One with Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Product Manager
Lots of observations that apply to this whole category, perfect for this thread.  icon_cool

Was it a strategic decision not to include a 10-inch in the line?
It is a category and we are continuing to watch all the different sizes that the industry has going on. As we get into the category, we reserve the right to do more. I think the cool thing about this category is you can experiment with different sizes and low costs. You really can reach price points that you never could with a full featured notebook. There is a lot to be done in the industry here.

What is the target audience of the Inspiron Mini 9?
We see it hitting three primary groups. There is a natural category for youth. Both the physical size of the system and the cost makes sense for the younger family member. The size and the shape are cool; instead of a kid in the household using the family computer, this one is their very own. The second one is around teens that are doing a lot of social networking. And the third is people like ourselves; those that are using technology in our day-to-day lives. Having an option to carry something small and light may mean we can carry it to places we otherwise wouldn’t have. I think its perfect for that guy that wants to stroll up to a Starbucks and surf the Net in between meetings.

What did you make of Acer Aspire one price drop last week?
I think it’s a competitive product category and an evolving one. A lot of folks are looking to establish their position, but I think we have an established one with Dell. We are going to go out and be aggressive with positioning the product and we will see how it goes. Competitors are always going to do competitive things.
The battery life sounds promising (4-cell, and they think it can deliver 4-hours use in some configurations)

I'll start a separate thread on the mini. I thought the Q&A went well here because the Dell rep talks about the overall mini-notebook market so much.
10030  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 12:33:06 PM
Micro Center only has 21 locations nationwide so chances are, you're not near one.  icon_frown Just in case though, here's their locations page:

Damnation though -- the Virginia location had something like a hundred or more in stock at the time I got mine, and now they're all gone (both Windows and Linux models).  saywhat I can't believe every location is out though, maybe the "in store pickup" menu isn't working today.  icon_confused

I hope Acer's not switching to a, "the harder it is to get our product, the more people want it" philosophy.  icon_razz
10031  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: The Napkin Holder as Wi-Fi Router Rack on: September 04, 2008, 01:31:26 AM
I didn't know where to put this, so why not here?  icon_smile

I bought a Linksys G WiFi router so I could use my Acer Aspire One around my condo. It works great, the set up was easiest I've ever had with this type of thing.

This is a new low profile thingie with internal antennas. The bottom of the unit is a little warm for my tastes, so I wanted to put some sort of small rack below it to get it off the desk and give it some room to breathe underneath. I couldn't really find any computer gadgets to do that.

So I spent some time at Target today scouring their sections for any kind of thing. And finally, in the living room knickknacks section, it revealed itself to me....

A metal napkin holder, about $6!  saywhat

The funny thing is, it fits so well on it, it's like it was *designed* for it.  icon_cool The rack, ne napkin holder, has a grid like design that makes it ideal for running cables through if you so desire, as well.
10032  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 01:26:20 AM
I finally showed my AA1 to my managing editor. She has an awfully bulky, older laptop that's a real pain for her to bring on planes. I sat next to her on our flight from our May business conference in Cleveland, and I remember what a hassle it was for her to squeeze the bag she put it in. She didn't even want to think about trying to get it out to work on it in our cramped seats.

Anyway, she was crazy about. She started joking about, "Oh George! An Aspire One for me! You're so generous with your gifts!"  icon_razz

We're both reporters and do lots of writing, often just typing up interview notes. This isn't exactly perfect for this (a wider screen would be nice), but if I zoom Abi Word (the open source freeware word processor I like to use at home, and on the AA1) to maybe 122% or so, and up the fonts a bit, I can get a full screen view without going blind.

Also, as with Web browsers, F11 key gives you a nice full screen view in Abi Word that's useful on Netbook size screens.

10033  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 01:14:23 AM
OK I sent the guy an e-mail before I left, asking his "body" preferences.

I'm not sure if my publisher will go for this or not, but I left her a message too (she was dashing out of the office and I didn't have time to ask her in person). I really think she'll go for the $35 thing with the box. Even if it's made of balsa, I'd think it would speak better of our company than a few cheaper cigs wrapped with a rubber band or something.  icon_razz

Thanks for the quick responses, all. Sometimes, this place is better than Google.  icon_lol
10034  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 03, 2008, 09:10:15 PM
Thanks, I did overlook the first post. I think the $34.95 sampler would be a fine one to send him. I'll see if my publisher's OK with it. I guess the other option is to send him one fancy pants $35 cigar.  icon_razz

I was hoping they'd have some way to send it as a gift, so I wouldn't need to pay $5 to have it shipped to me, and then again to him. I sound so cheap. We just have a small office here, and I'm just watching the dollars.  icon_smile

If she blanches at the cost, I noticed they have a smaller 8-cigar sampler, no box included, for $19.99 (sale):

Hey, I noticed the different cigars are sometimes labeled mild, medium and strong-bodied. Can you guys clue me in on the differences there? (and, if my publisher OKs this, I'll ask the guy what he prefers).
10035  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 03, 2008, 08:24:47 PM
Never thought I'd be digging up the Cigars thread.  icon_razz

Our newsletter has a reader who's proven an unbelievably helpful industry source to me. My bosses have OK'd me sending him a thank-you gift of sorts. Sometimes at Christmas time we've sent chocolates or cookies to some reliable long time sources. I wouldn't have done this sort of thing in my newspaper days, but we trade media types sometimes do things a little differently.  icon_smile

Anyway, he told me what he really loves are ... cigars. And as a lifelong non-smoker, I'm clueless on this. I'm checking with a former co-worker who's a chain smoker to see if she has any suggestions.

I guess I could just ask the guy himself, but it gave me an excuse to bump the cigars thread here.

Can you cigar lovers here suggest any "safe choice" that any cigar lover would probably enjoy? Preferably something that might be available at the average cigar shop, and not some illegal thing I'd have to order from a questionable Web site.  icon_razz And not something outrageously expensive. I think my publisher would blanche at anything over, say, $30-$40. If you can't get decent cigars at that price, then I'll probably just skip it.
10036  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 08:08:36 PM
Thanks, hope you like it.  icon_biggrin -- I call it "soft," unintentional marketing.  icon_smile

I don't think Acer is doing much advertising for this. And Best Buy shoves it into a corner in a traditional laptop "lock bracket" that gives customers no way to feel how light it is. I'm just being an AA1 homie, but I'd love to see it (and the other ultra-portables for that matter) get a little kiosk space of its own, with the "key lock tether" instead of the bracket.

If it's selling well now, it seems largely through word-of-mouth, including that the keyboard seems about the best in this size/price range right now. So I dunno. Maybe it's better it becomes popular that way than because it's overhyped as The Next Big Thing.
10037  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 06:34:41 PM
If you're interested in how the AA1's look when dismantled, a guy posted some "dissection" photos of both the Linux/SSD and XP/hard drive models at that fan site forum:

Dissected Aspire One 8gb vs 120gb [lot of images]

I always like how even the most glamorous devices (say, an iPhone), just look like scrap electronics parts once you get the fancy casings off.  icon_razz
10038  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 03, 2008, 06:12:40 PM
On that PAX impressions piece, which I neglected to keep clicking through -- they have a bit of detail on the Legendary system:
It's basically a layered system which introduces many new features, but also works retroactively to enhance existing items. These items include anything from weapons, armor pieces, armor sets, shields, etc. They are marked as having Legendary potential, so not just any item can utilize this system.

Once you receive a Legendary item through a drop, quest reward or whatever, you will need to take it to a Forgemaster to identify it. This will reveal a set of randomly-generated modifiers, also known as runes or relics, that can be enhanced or removed to place onto other Legendary items. These relics are kept in an area separate from your normal inventory slots, so there's no panic about consuming even more of your precious bag space. Take note that once you deconstruct an item to remove its rune, that item will be destroyed in the process.

You will have the opportunity to work on up to six Legendary items at a time. You can possess more than six, but these workable six are the only one you can regularly upgrade and level just as you would a hireling or pet.

Yes, that's right, these Legendary items are much more than just items. They can level up, gain rank, gain XP and even grant special deeds and quests for your character throughout their lifetime. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for end-game adventuring and character development.

Now, the XP you get for your items will be distributed among all six items you're working on. You can choose to turn off XP gain for a certain item that may be maxed out or you don't want to level for whatever reason. Once the XP bar is maxed out for a particular level, you'll need to reforge the item, which acts as a level-up.
Whew. I feel like I need to go back to college to grasp all that.  saywhat icon_lol

You can name these things, they say, but the names on each server are unique so it's one of the same name per server.
They also had a bit on the two new classes. Probably info has already been out there, but fwiw here's the link to that page:
They seem to say the two classes were developed with "soloability" in mind.

Lastly there was an interesting bit about trait enhancements:
Trait Sets
The entire trait system will be revamped to allow the collection of traits in sets that will grant special bonuses. Once you collect all eight sets, you'll gain a legendary trait to fill one of three legendary trait slots. These trait sets help define one of three clear paths that your character can choose to follow with your "build", allowing an easier example to lead for friends who may want to advance their character in similar ways. These trait sets are class-based with three available per class.
10039  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: September 03, 2008, 06:06:48 PM had a brief interview with the lead designer, at PAX. To this point, they had mostly been demoing it on XBox 360s -- for PAX they had it running on both those and PCs. It sounds like PC gameplay will be familiar in terms of mashing number keys (or whatever you prefer to bind to, I use a lot of letters in MMOs usually) for powers.

Seemed worth a little bump here:

PAX08: Talking with Champions Online's content lead, Zeke Sparkes
So far, Champions Online had only been playable with the Xbox 360 controller, but we were able to finally try the keyboard and mouse controls at PAX.

Instead of hitting a face button on the Xbox controller to do your basic attack, you tap an assigned number-key on your keyboard. As you do this, you build up energy and can move through the rest of the powers, which for us were set to the rest of the numbered keys.

Overall, the keyboard and mouse controls feel tight and responsive for a game scheduled to launch in Spring of 2009.
10040  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 05:59:24 PM
For some reason, many of the online retailers don't yet reflect the price drop (as Best Buy and Micro Center already do in stores, to $349.99).

I believe is selling the white model (it has a black bezel surrounding the monitor, but is otherwise white) but isn't yet reflecting the price cut:

Newegg for whatever reason only carries the Linux versions (including the newer 1GB RAM model).

Pricegrabber doesn't really pull it up much, except resellers who are overcharging for it presumably because they know it's popular right now.

***Oh, I noticed Amazon now lists the new 6-cell/160GB hard drive model ($399.99), still the blue color, although it's listed as 2-5 weeks for delivery. I don't think Acer's really got that into merchants' hands just yet.

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