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10041  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect (mission creator; day jobs) on: August 27, 2008, 06:23:55 PM
Positron has a opst trying to lay out the Architect stuff:

Outlining the Architect
First off is the issue name, Architect. I liked the correlation that the name has between some of the improvements we are making to bases (in the way new things are purchased for them) and to our Mission Architect feature. Players can now be architects of their own story arcs that other players can play. When I first mentioned this system in the 4th Anniversary post, I had no idea how wildly popular that single concept would be. The thread that followed that post had a plethora of ideas of how such a system could, and should work from a player’s perspective.

With virtually no information to go on, some people very much underestimated what would be possible with the Mission Architect. Some got it spot on, and some people wanted features that were simply impossible to get into the system at launch. Even so, we are very proud of the system as it stands. Players can make their own story arcs using a customized version of the tool used by our mission writers, in some cases rivaling our own internal tools in ease-of-use. I am really looking forward to playing the stories you all create with this amazing tool!

I should probably take this moment to talk about what the Mission Architect is not meant for. It is not meant for “easy leveling” or “badging” or “farming”. Those are things that we specifically wanted the Mission Architect NOT to do. This may be a disappointment to some, I know. The goal was to give creative minds an outlet to tell the stories they have in their heads. We didn’t want the system clogged with Farm missions, so actually finding someone’s story that they lovingly crafted became more a chore than it was worth.

To that end, the Rewards in the Mission Architect are something we, ahem, discussed with raised voices time and time again. How much was too much? How little was too little? What limits needed to be put into place to stop farming? Should we even have such limits? Etc. In the end, we have a system that we believe is the best suited for what Mission Architect was made for, and is not abusable. Time and testing will tell if that is really the case though. Like the Invention System, there will be many iterations on the Mission Architect to make sure we get it right before it goes to the Live servers.

Next I want to talk about Day Jobs. This started out as a kind of “secret identity” system, but we wanted to save the term Secret Identity for a system that fit that name better. Day Jobs works well because it is “what your character is doing when not being a Hero or a Villain”. It’s their “day job”. A character who logs out in the Hospital is assumed to be working in a medicinal capacity, and they will receive a themed bonus when they log back in, that sort of thing. We even made it possible to have your character’s Day Job to be “On Patrol” or “Committing Crimes”, just in case you couldn’t envision your character having a “normal life” while you were not actively playing them.

There are plenty of other features in Issue 13: Architect as well, like the new powersets, including the much requested “Villainous Version of Empathy” called Pain Domination. We’re also adding some great new missions to Issue 12’s Roman Zone “Cimerora,” as well as a brand new reward system that will hopefully see the end of “necessary” Task Force farming trying to get that one specific Recipe you have been dying to get. The Issue 13 Feature List explains more about that. We’ll be announcing more specifics of each of these features between now and the beta testing for Issue 13.

Finally, I want to tell you about two “Booster Packs” that will be available in a month or so. Many players have requested the ability to buy the 30 day temporary jetpack that comes with the new City of Heroes Game Cards. Once the retailer exclusive period ends next month, we are making the same jetpack available for purchase for $4.99 (which is the cost difference between the one month game time and the $20 Game Card price). We are also excited to launch our Super Booster I: Cyborg Pack for $9.99. This pack has an awesome set of costume pieces, emotes, auras and a power. We’ll be sharing all of the details shortly.

So thank you players for the enthusiastic support and I can’t wait to get these new features into your hands and to answer your questions about Issue 13 over the coming months and at Hero-Con in October.
10042  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect (mission creator; day jobs) on: August 27, 2008, 06:14:04 PM
I canceled COH for a second time a while back. I'll be eyeing this very ambitious update in the months to come.  icon_cool Though I'm not sure it'll address my fatigue at seeing the same layouts/textures in instances over and over (that comes with putting 3 1/2 years into one game  icon_razz)

Issue 13: "Architect"
Mission Architect:
First the City of Heroes Character Creator set a new standard for player creation and customization. Now, Issue 13 takes another giant step, allowing players to design their own missions and story arcs to share with the entire City of Heroes community. Using an intuitive interface similar to the game’s detailed Character Creator, players can create missions from the ground up. Players will determine details ranging from environments, mission objectives, and enemies, to written fiction and character dialogue; giving their stories nearly infinite depth and personalization.

Among other rewards, authors and architects who create the most extraordinary content will garner acclaim and reputation. Community feedback will be paramount and some missions will elevate in status unlocking new rewards and benefits for their creators.

Day Jobs (Offline Character Progression)
Scholar? Caregiver? City Official? Now when players log out of City of Heroes / Villains they’re just getting started! A character’s day job is determined by the actual in-game location from which he or she logs out. If players log out from a University their day job is considered to be a Scholar. If they log out from City Hall they're a City Official. The benefits are thematically appropriate to the location. For example, a City Official earns extra Influence, a Scholar is granted Salvage, a Caregiver is granted Health Regeneration Buffs, etc.

Once characters have accumulated the required amount of time for each Day Job, they are rewarded with the appropriate Day Job Badge and Title, increasing their “earnings” for that job. Multiple Badges can be combined to unlock Accolades and the ability to accumulate additional new rewards. Almost every location within Paragon City and the Rogue Isles has an associated Day Job, resulting in a wide selection of jobs and rewards!

New Powersets
Shields – Heft a Shield for Heroic of Villainous Ends!  This new powerset brings a classic power to City of Heroes: Shields!  Now, you can arm Tankers, Scrappers and Brutes with a powerful shield to protect themselves and their allies.
Pain Domination – Villains can now bend the power of pain to serve their own ends!  Those playing a Corruptor or Mastermind have access to this new powerset.  The antithesis of the Hero healing powerset “Empathy,” Pain Domination brings parity between Heroes and Villains with a distinctively evil flair.
New Cimerora Missions
New Hero and Villain story arcs expand upon the history and lore, and delve into the players and politics of Cimerora.

The Merit Rewards System
A new game system that allows players to earn tokens by completing Trials, Task Forces, Strike Forces, Raids, etc. The most challenging and time consuming tasks grant the most reward tokens, which can be redeemed throughout Hero and Villain zones for recipes, enhancements, salvage, costume pieces, badges, inspirations and other game items.

Other features
New Invention Origin Sets, new Costume Sets, a Patron Power Respec, Zone Refinements, and more!
While Titan Quest isn't an MMO, it was the most fun I had using shields in an actiony RPG (more so than even D2's paladin, for me). I hope the shield set is as fun as it can be here.  icon_smile

I'm sure cynics will see the mission creator as an admission that you just can't ever create enough content. Players will always burn through it. Still, maybe the best way to combat that is to get the most addicted players to help create more content. I hope it works out.  icon_smile

I think it's been in test mode for a while.
10043  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 27, 2008, 04:59:06 PM
I'm hanging out at the Acer Aspire One fan site forums a lot (I think it's a UK site). One guy there posted a few shots of his 6-cell equipped Aspire One. His one complaint is that the 6-cell battery tilts the unit a bit (because it juts out to the rear and down a bit) -- and he says that limits how far back you can tilt the screen.

Here's his pics at Flickr:
http:[email protected]/sets/72157606839702861/
10044  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 27, 2008, 04:15:29 PM
Hey I'm Wi-Fi surfing successfully at Panera right now. smile

When you open your default browser, the Panera welcome  page pops up. There's some info and rules, and then you go online. No account necessary but I guess technically you agree to a temp account when you go online. They limit acccess to about 30 minutes continously during lunch time rush (11:30-1:30).

It's pretty fast. smile
10045  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 27, 2008, 05:00:05 AM
Nowadays I only use my middle mouse button in games  icon_razz In most MMOs I bind the "run toggle" to it instead of the "numlock" they all default to.

I did used to assign the middle mouse button to double click, thinking it might alleviate some stress on my hands but I never got too comfortable with it.

The Nano outsmarted me today. I had put the USB transmitter in its holster last night. I didn't realize that when you put it in the holster, the mouse automatically turns off!  retard So I replaced the batteries, and frantically kept pressing the power button, wondering why it wouldn't turn on. Sigh.  icon_lol

Oh, I tried running the isometric actioner Shadowgrounds (a favorite of mine from 2006) on my Aspire One. The menu screens are fine but it crashes every time when trying to get an actual game going.
10046  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 27, 2008, 03:47:18 AM
Couple keyboard peeks...

Yours truly doing a little touch typing in the freeware AbiWord word processor (click to view ze video via Photobucket):

My only complaint really is that the backspace key (as on many standard keyboards) is fairly small, so you may notice me having to sort of pause and "feel" my right hand up to the backspace key. Whenever I get regular keyboards for my PC, I always make sure to get one with a big, wide backspace key.

While I wouldn't call any of these smaller (i.e., 8.9" screen models) netbook keyboards ideal, this was truly the only one I could touch type comfortably on right away. I do think I would get cramped up if I had to type for an hour or something. I'll know better the first time I actually use this on a business trip to type up some interview notes.  icon_smile

It annoys me that none of the reviews of these things ever just video someone typing on the thing, heck maybe one person with small hands and another with big (my hands are large, but my fingers are kinda slim; having someone with nubbier fingers type on it might be instructive to see).

You really can't tell from reviews. I've read a couple that complained about Aspire One's keyboard and claimed it was no better than the earlier Eee PC models, which is baloney (from my experience actually using both in a store).

I don't know how useful it is, but here 'tis next to a standard keyboard.
10047  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: MMOs for Life? on: August 26, 2008, 07:16:00 PM
I think like most folks here I'm an MMO grazer. COH was a fun 3-year exception for me but I've felt the same way as the thread-starter felt when I've returned to it.

*if* COH had that lifetime subscription at launch, I surely would've gotten it and it would've saved some bucks. I think I would still need to put another year or so into LOTORO before I'd start wishing I'd used the lifetime option.

With most $14.99 a month games, you've gotta put maybe 14 months past the initial free month to actually get a savings from the lifetime subscription. Most people I know have a challenge staying interested for 14 weeks much less 14 months, so I just don't know how useful the liftime subs are unless you love a game enough to want to keep revisiting it repeatedly, or stay addicted to it forever. It would make sense for WoW, but I don't sense the company has any need/interest in the lifetime gimmick (which marketing tends to describe as "you can keep returning to our game without having to pay again," but behind the scenes seems more like "We want as much money from you up front as possible so our quarterly books look good!" icon_razz)
10048  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: My Eee PC 1000H on: August 26, 2008, 05:32:23 PM
I think I've dreamed of something like my Aspire One, but that sort of "telescopes" out a slightly larger monitor and keyboard when you open it up. I liken my dream to my Palm Stowaway keyboard that unfolds to a fairly full size keyboard.  icon_smile

Also, why don't they just come up with a case texture that's *based on fingerprints and smudges*. Then. You wouldn't even be able to tell!  icon_confused

Although I said I would've bought the HP Mini Note at Micro Center if it were cheaper and didn't get so hot you could melt cheese under it, it turns out they had none of either model in stock. So, that was a moot point all around.

I liked the Eee PC 1000H's keyboard, the funky right shift key notwithstanding.
10049  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: My Eee PC 1000H on: August 26, 2008, 01:00:42 PM
I envy the "normal" touchpad and Bluetooth, I do prefer my "normal" right shift key.  icon_wink The upcoming Lenovo S10 also has the half size shift key and moves a couple cursor keys up to the top row. One could do a whole article about weird keys and touchpads in the netbook category.  icon_lol

I was thinking some old SSI hex wargames would be good on these sorts of things, but most of mine seemed to have XP install problems. Maybe I can get Silent Storm running on it.

The Aspire One is also a finger print/smudge magnet (and while a microfiber type cloth gets it off, it definitely takes some elbow grease). I'm wondering if it would be less visible on a white case? (though stores are only carrying the blue Aspire Ones, and the black Eee PC 1000H, afik). The upcoming Lenovo netbook has a matte finish that's presumably less prone to this.

I think what I want is something at the Aspire One's price, with the HP Mini Note's wonderful keyboard (minus the Mini Note's hot dog-roasting heat generation), and a 10" screen, and a 6-cell battery, that weighs under 2 lbs. I want it all! Which I can't have.  drool icon_lol
10050  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (6-cell battery weight) on: August 26, 2008, 12:46:09 PM
Hey I did a search for "Acer Aspire One 6-cell battery weight".

One of the results was a European online store (maybe Denmark, Sweden or something? I'm not sure what country :? )

It lists a weight for a 6-cell model Aspire One towards the end of the page:
249 (W) x 170 (D) x 29 (H) mm (9.8 x 6.7 x 1.14 inches) for SKUs with NAND flash module and 3-cell battery pack
249 (W) x 195 (D) x 36 (H) mm (9.8 x 6.7 x 1.42 inches) for SKUs with hard disk drive and 6-cell battery pack
995 g (2.19 lbs.) for SKUs with NAND flash module and 3-cell battery pack

1.26 kg (2.78 lbs.) for SKUs with hard disk drive and 6-cell battery pack
If true, that doesn't sound too dramatic a weight increase. Even the larger "real" laptop 6-cells I've tinkered with at stores weigh very little. Note that the current XP/hard drive/3-cell model's 2.4 lbs.
10051  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 25, 2008, 07:08:48 PM
I had slightly similar, cynical observations in another thread.

I don't think people have a problem with a overhyped game not delivering on absolutely everything out of the box (as long as updates come fast and furious). But we all really don't have patience for basic bugginess, disconnects, memory leaks, frame rate troubles etc. out of the box (AoC's basic Achille's Heel to this day).

To me there's a disconnect between marketing departments, devs and players. Marketing is often busy hyping everything to a faretheewell (basically making promises with their marketing budgets, that their devs can't keep), without bothering to ask the devs if they can really accomplish those things and still have a polished, low-on-bugs game. Devs seem to get lathered up into a marketing frenzy and eventually they seem to outright lie so that they don't contradict the hype and marketing.

I'd love to see what happens to Jim Carrey's character in Liar, Liar (just how do you sound if you completely are unable to like about anything?) happen to MMO marketers and devs. Of course, it wouldn't really help unless they *all* suddenly started being candid about everything...

I'd love to see them suddenly flapping their gums and admitting, "We released a half-baked, unpolished game at launch because our investors wouldn't let us wait any more!!!!" or "I know we promised all this cool PVP stuff years ago but guess what? We can't do it yet?" or "We're marketing this game as a WoW killer but that's really just a big joke!" Wouldn't that be refreshing?  icon_razz

Of course, none of that will ever really happen. Everyone wants to over-hype everything, promise features they can't deliver or won't deliver until long after launch. They all want to believe a beta will help them accurately predict how servers and payment systems will work on launch day (inevitably, they don't jibe at all), they'll all cut beta tests 6-9 months short of what veteran beta players recommend because they can't wait for revenue anymore.

City of Heroes was my real MMO love for about 3 1/2 years (2004-2007, briefly early this year too), I just needed more variety in mission instance environments. I'd love for Champions to grab me, but it seems more like a console-basher from gameplay videos I've seen.
10052  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Email help on: August 25, 2008, 05:08:17 PM
Perhaps your main laptop is experiencing "netbook envy" and is rebelling as a result?  icon_razz

If you get inundated with e-mail, I'm trying an Outlook plugin (they're looking at versions for other e-mail clients, including maybe Thunderbird) called Xobni, which Laptop magazine was recommending in a current article on organizing massive e-mail inboxes:
10053  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 25, 2008, 01:26:54 PM
Pics of this are all over, but what the heck...

This is of a military games forum I hang out at sometimes. I was telling them about this, I'll do one of the GT forums another time.  icon_razz I use Firefox 3 on it -- I like to adjust the "minimum font size" in options to 16-17 pts, just a little asier on the eyes.

Keyboard, and the infamous touchpad.

Left side. The little slots I think denote where the cooling fan sends a little air (be sure to keep that side open - don't butt the unit up against something on that side, is me advice)

Right side, with the Logitch Nano transmitter in place. The far right hole is for one of those laptop lock cable gadgets.
10054  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 25, 2008, 03:44:38 AM
Here's the Panera PDF (not sure how current it is) my printer doesn't want to print:

It is supposed to just give you a Panera Welcome page, and I got nothing. I'm pretty sure I had some sort of WiFi setting that's wrong for connecting there.

I got the mouse for $49.99 at Micro Center (there's a fancier model, $69.99, at other stores including Best Buy, but it seems maybe more gaming focused).
Some pics of that...

It certainly is "Nano" in size. icon_cool It does still jut out of a USB slot just a sliver, and with a tight slip case I don't recommend leaving it in place (you can sort of wedge the provided slip cover over the Aspire with the Nano still in place, but it's not easy to do).

This seems almost James Bond, but you can pop the transmitter into a tiny "holster" inside the mouse in front of the battery content (there's a slide button to slip the battery cover off).

There's a tiny power switch on the bottom of the mouse, and it seems to also turn off by itself after a certain period of inactivity to conserve the batteries.

Despite the teeny size, this still has good range. While demonstrating the Aspire One at my mom's house I was using the mouse a good 10-15 feet away from the unit w/o problems.

To stay on topic, Best Buy started advertising today for this same XP model at the same reduced price ($349). I'm still curious if these things will ever truly catch fire at retail, when larger "regular" laptops keep dropping in price at back-to-school time. I'm sure Micro Center hoped these would fly off the shelves at this time of year, but when they have $400-$500 laptops (new, and refurbished ones), it's tough.

I saw lots of people at Micro Center try this and various Eee PCs but nobody seemed inclined to buy them other than yours truly. People would pick them up and look at them from every angle, impressed by the size, but most seemed to move their attention back to the regular laptops. I almost felt like these things needed their own area separated from the Real Laptops. icon_smile
10055  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Using unsecured WiFi networks as hotspots: OK or EVEEL? on: August 25, 2008, 02:21:54 AM
I don't consider it a federal crime or something one will burn in Hades for (if as the poll says, it's very mild use), but to me it's just lazy. One of my bosses at work refuses  to get even basic dialup Internet because she reasons that she can just "leech" off various unsecured WiFis in her neighborhood. Leaving behind the security concerns in doing that, she and her boyfriend aren't poor, and it just seems miserly to not at least have some basic dialup access.

While you'd think people would secure their Wi-Fi's, the Wi-Fi craze has resulted in lots of noobs (more so than even me, I still don't understand lots of Wi-Fi lingo and settings) getting into Wi-Fi who don't understand a WEP from an SSID, and don't know how or why they'd want to password protect their connections. The newer routers (like the LinkSys I got today) seem to be doing a better job of spelling that stuff out and making sure you get passwords set up.

I do think it's sad that the craze a few years ago of lots of big cities promising to offer city-wide free Wi-Fi had mostly died out. It was too expensive, the benefits didn't outweigh the costs to providers, etc., etc.

Less I not admit my own hypocrisy, when I bought my new HP PC some months ago, I had trouble getting my cable modem to set up properly. I briefly, maybe for 5 minutes, piggybacked onto a neighbor's Wi-Fi connection just long enough to look up some support pages at my Internet provider; and also noticed one neighbor's Wi-Fi set up as "PORN," which was pretty amusing.  icon_razz
10056  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 24, 2008, 08:12:59 PM
I think I'll stick with Linksys in the future, the CD walked me through it and everything pretty much got handled automatically and now I'm all set up. smile

I looked at some notebook PC cases but most either seemed way too bulky for what's about a 10" machine, or didn't have a shoulder strap or handle, in which case they're not much better than the vinyl leather slipcase it ships with. I'd like something with at least a little bit of protective padding.

I also got one of those Logitech wireless mice (mouses?) with the tiny USB transmitter. Though I'm not sure even one of those will be able to remain installed while in the slipcase. While I haven't given up on the touchpad I'm still mistakenly pulling up windows and tabs by accident, and it's driving me a little crazy. So at home at least, the Nano mouse thing should be handy.
10057  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 24, 2008, 07:35:59 PM
I bought a "real" Linksys router for about $50 today, so we'll see how that works. I joked to my mom that everything I ever bought that bragged about "easy setup" was a total nightmare.  icon_razz I don't know if it's better than anything else, but the fact it specifically billed itself as 64-bit Vista compatible, and that the setup advisor software says it uses no technical jargon (every time I ever asked for help with a Wi-Fi problem I'd get inundated with terms I don't understand, and I'm no technie neophyte) was promising - but we'll see...

My Panera experiment was a failure. The Aspire One definitely saw Panera's Wi-Fi but I couldn't get Internet access off of it. Probably some jargon settings (SSID etc.) that I don't understand, and when I tried to print instructions off their site, it messed up my printer (I'll have to copy the text into a notepad file or something).
10058  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [news item] Dog rescues abandoned newborn (Argentina) on: August 24, 2008, 03:46:34 PM
Check this amazing CNN item for proof of just how special dogs can be.  icon_smile I'm a cat-owner, but I love dogs too.

Dog protected abandoned newborn, doctors say
The dog had apparently carried the baby 50 meters from where his mother had abandoned him to where the puppies were huddled, police said.

"She took it like a puppy and rescued it," Salcedo said. "The doctors told us if she hadn't done this, he would have died.

"The dog is a hero to us."
If this doesn't become a Hallmark Movie or something down the road, I'll eat my hat.  icon_smile If someone adopts the baby, they better adopt the dog too. I think they're bonded now.  nod

Hopefully it's not a Big Foot hoax or something.  icon_razz
10059  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: August 24, 2008, 03:40:03 PM
Ha, yeah, there is too much variety in more polished games to return to, or new ones to tackle, I reckon.  icon_smile
10060  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 24, 2008, 03:23:08 PM
Yikes, thank GOD for System Restore. That stupid WiFi dongle is always messing up my settings. I got carried away, and this morning I somehow hosed my cable Internet settings altogether (reconnecting didn't help, it usually does). After much panic, I realized that I hadn't disabled System Restore (after this, I'll never even give that a thought) and restoring it to last night fixed it all. Whew.

I might try to get out to Panera for lunch, and see how it works with their free Wi-Fi.  icon_cool

I guess I'll either have to track down a generic power supply for my Buffalo access point or get a new one for home use. The Dongle must go away.  icon_razz
10061  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 24, 2008, 05:32:27 AM
Windows XP seems to work well on this. The hard drive is pretty sprightly. While it makes a noticeable hum, it's not too obtrusive. I only really notice it if the rest of the room is totally silent.

Just to test my touchpad skills I cropped a couple photos in Irfanview, and they be attached below. Just a couple goofy ones using a PS2 and a TV remote, and then with a PSP on top. smile
10062  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 24, 2008, 02:24:38 AM
Aaaaaa, at last my first post typing on the Aspire One. smile

The keyboard is no HP Mini Note, but it doesn't feel overly cramped, and I seem to be able to type at a reasonably decent clip without a horrendous number of typos.

I think I was able to get this crummy USB access point dongle, meant for PSPs, to work for this, at least as far as sharing my Internet connection. I don't know if it's a long term solution for me, but it's something. smile

The forums here look pretty good on it. I did install Firefox, and I turned up the zoom maybe one notch to keep my old eyes happy. I'll try to get up some photos and video later. I'm trying to come up with some stuff we have already seen to death online. Like how the size compares to a Star Trek: TNG DVD box set in size, and how my big old hands look on the keyboard.  icon_cool

I'm not crazy about the trackpad but I'm making a good faith effort to get used to it before resorting to a spare mouse. The key seems to be to flick it gradually in small movements. I just hate when I accidentally swipe it sometimes.
10063  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 11:56:28 PM
I've got it set up.

fwiw, it comes with 60-day trial of MS Office 2007, and a 60-day subscription to McAfee Internet security suite.

Although my PC can see other wireless networks fine, I'm a clod at this stuff and am struggling to make my PC itself visible amongst the wireless networks around here. It's weird, I think I better understood how to set that up in XP. Vista tries to make it easier, but I'm actually having more trouble figuring it out.  icon_confused The Aspire One is seeing my neighbors fine.

Oh bleep, my PC's only got a wireless adapter, not an access point. Blargh. I did have a Buffalo one, not sure it's Vista compatible though.

Oh, ha, ha, ha... I put my Buffalo router away last year, after a switch to a new UPS unit caused it to no longer configure properly. And guess what? I didn't put the power supply away with it. And I have 200 power cords in my computer room, none of which fit the Buffalo unit. Ahaahahaha.  crybaby

Whew. OK my tiny mind figured a way to at least share my Internet connection with it. I'll try posting with it in a sec, fwiw... icon_smile
10064  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 23, 2008, 10:32:21 PM
I got an Aspire One (XP/hard drive version) and will be babbling even more in that thread if you want to check it... or avoid it.  icon_razz

While I was at Micro Center today I put in sometime on the HP Mini Note. My quick thoughts:

-The keyboard is amazing. I mean, it's a better keyboard than some non-laptop keyboards I've tried. Everything's large, easy to see, easy to type on. Gotta love it.
-The bright screen is great

-Price, price, price. $599 and $699 prices just seem out of whack for this category (netbooks, mini notebooks, etc.)
-HEAT! Ohmigod.  I could feel the heat through the keys. And when I put my hand under the notebook bottom to feel it there, it almost *hurt*. I was almost amazed that the tabletop wasn't scorched. You could use one of those add-on fan accessories I guess, but I don't know what good it would do. If the heat wasn't so bad, I could easily have talked myself into getting it, even at the high price -- I'm a reporter, I write up notes and articles a lot, and a keyboard that good on a small machine would be nice.

Also, I tried a couple of these $1,999 Lenovo IdeaPad notebooks, which to me looked and felt so light/slim as to be ultra-portables, but the glossy plastic keys were awfully gummed up with dirt, dust and fingerprints.
10065  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 10:26:33 PM
I got it!  icon_cool I had to fight off some overpriced warranty-speak from two Micro Center people (I think they realized I was a lost cause and didn't fuss about it at least):

More, later. Also, I got to try out the HP Mini-Note, which runs so hot (temperature wise), I was surprised it wasn't melting the table it was on.  icon_surprised
10066  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 07:40:57 PM
Who said anything about needing it? I bet most of the time we around here don't buy stuff because we need it, it's because we "want it."  icon_lol

j/k, I do think I can find it useful in my reporting job here and there. Fun wise, I just think it'd be fun to finally use my PC's built in wi-fi a bit, whether checking forums while leaving a game up on my screen, or looking up some stuff while watching TV. Hopefully I won't join the people at Panera staring slackjawed at their laptops. Well, maybe once in a while I would.  icon_wink

Laptopmag finally reviewed the XP/hard drive version (not the new 6-cell, so battery life of maybe 2 hours 20 mins is still the main criticism along with the wonky trackpad button locations).

Acer Aspire one (Windows XP) review
For just $349, Acer’s XP-powered mini-notebook is nearly irresistible.
The touchpad is small and the vertical buttons are awkward, but we prefer the Aspire one overall because it offers a superior keyboard and much better bang for your buck. In the suddenly crowded field of mini-notebooks, the XP version of the Aspire one offers the best value.
Of note is that since XP doesn't have the Linux feature that recognizes the SD card as seamlessly integrated storage space, the XP model just uses it as a regular SD card slot (which is handy), in addition to the 5-in-1 reader.

And I can always add the 6-cell later, albeit it seems awfully expensive right now. Who knows? Maybe they'll cut the prices on their batteries too eventually.  icon_smile
10067  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 07:11:14 PM
Hey, Micro Center has already instituted the price drops:

My local Virginia location has 169  saywhat of the XP model in stock now. I think maybe I'll go for it.  icon_biggrin 6-cell might be nice to have at home in particular, but it just sounds like I wouldn't want to carry it around much (it sort of renders the weight advantage over regular laptops a moot point). So I think I could live without it, though the 40GB extra space would be nice. For me it's an impulse buy (even at a quite relatively reasonable $349), and if I don't give in to impulse this weekend I might talk myself out of it.  icon_razz

I'm still sort of scouring for info on the 6-cell though. This forum thread links to a couple supposed fuzzy photos of it installed:

Another thread indicates that the separate 6-cell Aspire One sleeve (I think it's something like you if you buy the 6-cell battery separately, there's a coupon to send in for a different sleeve) really doesn't cover the whole unit, it just has an opening for the 6-cell battery to jut out. It's a cheapy little thing anyway (better than nothing), and I assume the case-makers are working on Netbook-size cases, if they haven't already, perhaps?
10068  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 06:10:10 PM
I'll still float by the Micro Center today or tomorrow to tinker with it more (the place was mobbed last Sunday, I could barely breathe, and didn't want to linger). I could always add the 6-cell later but it's pricey ($120 I think I read). It's not that I couldn't afford that, it's just the principal of the thing.  icon_razz

I guess just to clarify the new prices (which sites indicate will take "a few days" to go into effect):
* Aspire One AOA110-1722: 8GB SSD; 512MB RAM; Linux; 3-cell battery $329
* Aspire One AOA150-1570: 120GB HDD; 1GB RAM; Windows XP; 3-cell battery $349
(new)* Aspire One AOA150-1447: 160GB HDD; 1GB RAM; Windows XP; 6-cell battery $399
And here's the oficiale press release, fwiw. Nothing really enlightening there, other than there emphasis on the Aspire One as an ideal "back to school" item, and a "first PC" for some. Actually, if my retired, PC-phobic mom likes the keyboard maybe I can actually get her to let me get her one. She'd prefer to just use an abacus.  Roll Eyes
10069  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 05:17:54 PM
Cool, just noticed over at laptopmag (probably just the same details):
The Windows XP Home version, with a 120GB hard drive and 1GB or RAM, originally $399 will now retail for $349. The Linpus Linux Lite version (full review here), with an 8GB SSD and 512 MB of RAM, will now retail for $329, down from $379.

Saving the best for last, Acer is also introducing the $399 Aspire one AOA150-1447. Aimed at business professionals, this one features the six-cell battery we have all been waiting for. It also sports a 160GB hard drive and Windows XP Home.
Dang. Maybe I should wait for the 6-cell, 160GB hard drive model. Sigh. I was finally going to get one tomorrow, but I think I'll want to wait for the new model. Though the 6-cell apparently almost doubles the overall weight, and drives it up near "regular laptops" in weight. My understanding is the SSD model weighs bout 2.2 lbs. and users seem to estimate it with 6-cell battery in place as close 5 lbs. Not a back-breaker by any means, but less handy to carry. I guess it would be good to have one of each battery type, and just change as situations warrant.  icon_smile

I imagine it'll take some time for retail stores to reflect the new prices and they may not carry the 6-cell if they think it's business-only in appeal (it's the same price point though, so I wouldn't think it would affect consumer-type interest).

The 6-cell (as is probably the case on all these various netbookTM things) also protrudes so much the stock case can't fit over it - so presumably the 6-cell version has a slightly larger slipcase included.
10070  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 01:21:38 PM
One of the fan site forums at least had some supposed user impressions of the XP/hard drive model:

Window 120GB HDD Model
Posting from my A1 HDD model, under Windows XP.

- Battery: 2' 15" (aprox.) [lousy, but just slightly lousier than the Linux model]
- Heat: no difference (to me)
- Fan: in contrast, more active (under XP)
- Speed (under XP): the same than my presHOT based computer (obviously for common tasks).

I bought a windows XP unit yesterday and compared its performance side by side with a linux version. The windows version did quite well; it takes around 40-50 seconds to boot from its hard disk of 110 Gig or so and has no annoying lag when accomplishing tasks such as opening adobe reader or openoffice writer documents. All in all a satisfactory little machine.
Unscientific, but at least hopeful.  icon_smile

There is some concern about a frequent "clicking" the hard drive model makes, apparently related to power management:

10071  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 21, 2008, 06:00:18 PM
Laptop mag did a little "mini-notebook shopping tips" piece:

fwiw, their top pics were Eee PC4g, MSI Wind and HP Mini-Note. They haven't had a chance to test the XP/hard drive version of the Aspire One yet, and I don't think they've done a full review of the latest Eee PC models yet, so I wonder if their recommendations might change later on.
10072  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Aug. 19 patch notes on: August 21, 2008, 05:43:21 PM
One thing I've learned is that every single MMO discussion here goes through a few given phases...

This sounds so cool I gotta play it

Oh the beta is so cool, I can't wait til it launches

Premature Exclamation
Jesus H. Christ, I can't believe they're releasing this now! It should've stayed in beta 6 more months!

Launch Excitement
Ohmigod it's out! Everybody go buy it!

Launch Non-Excitment
Well now that I have to pay to play, I'm out!

Reality Check
I told you it should've stayed in beta 6 more months!

So what if the update fixed 497 bugs and added 50 new things, it still sucks. And every time someone posts patch notes or anything remotely positive about the game, I'm going to chip in with "it sucks."

I'm going back to [fill in name of previously released MMO, though 'WoW' is most likely]

All discussion threads here on the game go into hibernation. This seems to happen to games that are in much better shape than AoC or TR or the pseudo MMO Hellgate.

I'll be curious to see if Warhammer gets through the Launch Excitment phase without having to traverse the Launch Non-Excitement and Reality Check phases.  icon_razz

btw, my list is tongue-in-cheek, mean to either be funny or badly not funny, so please don't take offense.  icon_smile
10073  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 160 gig on its way/PSP the 3rd also on: August 21, 2008, 01:22:58 PM
I have a PSP Slim, and I'm not pissed, fwiw.  icon_razz I'm just sad that most of the devs who made PSP games I liked the last 2-3 years considered it "one and done" and "two and done." Presumably they can't make enough money on PSP development to stick with it, instead seeing it as a stepping stone to PS3/XBox360 development.

Game Informer had a lengthy interview with Sony Worldwide Studios prez Shuhei Yoshida (who succeeded Phil Harrison). GI posed a pretty good question about how 3rd party developers see the PSP as a platform for games (Yoshida supposedly wants more 3rd party devs to see it as an attractive platform). (issue 165, page 28 fwiw).

He seems to want to convince more 3rd party publishers to develop games specifically for PSP rather than ports, but so far the Japanese 3rd party publishers are more open to it than elsewhere.

The Slim's a great machine but if there's no good new games coming out for it then what's the point of slicking up the screen and repackaging bundles? (I don't have a PS3 so the supposed PS3-connectivity's moot for me). Content is king, as they say. My PSPs (old and slim) have been gathering moss for almost a year now, and I am thinking of perhaps trading them in or putting them up for sale (here or elsewhere).
10074  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 21, 2008, 12:53:25 PM
Supposedly this Seatgate Momentus SATA 120GB hard drive is the one in the XP/hd model fwiw:
It's supposedly designed w/ high shock tolerance, and is available in sizes up to 250GB.

I think I missed this UK review, still the Linux model. An interesting white/black color scheme:
The Aspire One is everything a Small, Cheap, Computer should be. The build quality is excellent, the feature list is not half bad, and it certainly looks and feels the part. Indeed, it's the best-looking SCC we've seen. On the down side, the standard battery is poor and - with the Linux versions at least - getting online using a 3G network isn't straightforward.
10075  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 20, 2008, 09:37:49 PM
I'll break from my Acer Aspiring to bang the drum once for the Lenovo mini. FCC released its various testing details:

Lenova IdeaPad S10 Hits FCC

And Laptopmag's own look at the 10" model:

It's very nice, though it seems stingy on the RAM (512MB) out of the box. Apparently has a larger cooling fan than most of these things do.
10076  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Funcom Q2 Financial Report on: August 20, 2008, 09:22:21 PM
Hmm, I hadn't even really looked at the article.

Some interesting quotes from the quarterly report:
Funcom will, as previously stated, for marketing and competitive reasons in the future not on a regular
basis disclose information about subscriber numbers and also not provide detailed financial guidance. Due to Q208 being the first quarter following the introduction of the Age of Conan game, the Company has decided to provide such information.
It's definitely rare to ever see numbers in print (I think NCSoft may disclose their numbers in quarterlies too)

Funcom launched the Age of Conan game in Europe and in the US without major technical launch issues.
Ohmigod! I want whatever they're smoking! wasted

Average playtime per player has been lower than expected. Potential influencing factors may be the high average age of subscribers (29 years), aspects of the game [eh?-bj], summer holidays, etc.
We all spend too much time reveiwing patch notes.  icon_razz

Funcom’s casual game-initiatives are progressing according to plan. Two casual MMO games are
expected to be released in 2009.
The Secret World, Funcom’s next full-fledged MMO is progressing according to plan. The team size of
The Secret World is currently being ramped up.
Interesting. It doesn't mention the other casual MMO game.


Also, looking at the numbers, while the decay in subscriptions is surely upsetting to them, the fact they sold 1.2 million copies of the game (at retail/digital, vs. 800,000 going on to sell to actual players), and raked in about $12.2 million in sales revenue (compared to $963,000 in the first quarter, or $1.1 million in 2007's 2nd quarter) pretty much illustrates why their investors probably felt they had to get the game released. I'm not saying it makes any sense at all from a gamer/dev perspective (it's stupid, and short-sighted, I'm sure we all agree on that).

It's just, in a way the quoted article is drawing the conclusion AoC's currently disappointing "churn" rate is going to doom the company, when the game finally getting sold at $50 a pop threw them (probably just for this quarter though) a one-time financial revenue lifeline.

Mathematically, if they managed to get 415,000 of us to pay a full month beyond the free one, that's maybe a little over $6 million revenue there (assuming about $15 a month) for, I guess, August? But if the churning (people canceling continues), then definitely, heads might roll.

I think another cautionary tale here is that if you're a modest company with only one revenue-generating game that's an aging, small subscriber-base MMO (anarchy online), and you sink millions into an attempt at an A-List MMO, you've really got no safety net. I wanna say Warhammer Online has a better position because EA has endless pockets, and tons of other products generating revenue, but EA isn't known for its patience either. Should be interesting to see.
10077  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Funcom Q2 Financial Report on: August 20, 2008, 08:43:56 PM
I had a good time with the game in spite of it all, and it's certainly in way better shape than it was at launch or in beta (if that's what most people still base their impressions on, then I understand). But the fact it still has more [memory] leaks than the Titanic, and is still missing PVP features that people were excited about a year ago is galling to most players.

If you turn down all the "WoW Killer!" over-hype and static, 415,000 subscribers would be a fine number to have if you can keep it there. It if it continues to decline, than sure, it's time to yell Dooomm! Esp. given all the new people they were hiring for tech support and such. Clearly it's not a WoW-killer. If they're lucky, they'll keep a subscriber base maybe comparable to LOTRO or CoX (nothing to sneer at) and be a long term success, if not a runaway hit.

The sad reality of MMOs or even a sort of hybrid like Hellgate is that you're beholden to your investors. If you're lucky like Blizzard, then you have carte blanche to take forever, if necessary, before launching. But you can't ask investors to keep sinking millions of dollars into development on a title from scratch -- effectively throwing giant wads of dollar bills into a black hole -- and then keep it in non-revenue producing beta forever. I understand that, but you'd think these mysterious investors would see how many half-baked releases turned into either canceled games or sold-off reclamation projects, rather than smooth successes. It's a shame they don't look at the big, long term picture (maybe they can't afford to).

Personally I think it's a totally screwy system -- would a car company release an unfinished car into the world with missing parts and features, and expect people to keep buying it, much less keep it? But the sad reality is gaming is a business, and business often sacrifices the long term (i.e., keep the game in beta however long it takes to get it truly polished and full featured), in favor of the short term (i.e., we've spent enough money on this damn game, get it out the door already). And truly, that sucks.  disgust
10078  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 20, 2008, 07:25:43 PM
Oh, if some of you all still play, what servers are you on? I won't stalk you  icon_smile But my guild is long-gone and my friends list is populated with folks who either won't remember me or stopped playing months ago, from what I can tell.

My characters are mostly on... well, it's the server name that's hardest to spell.  icon_razz But, I'm game for anything (that was just the server the guild I was in played on).
10079  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 20, 2008, 06:24:02 PM
The Wikipedia entry for this is pretty helpful even if a lot of info is unattributed:

It led me to a couple neat Acer Aspire fan sites/resource sites: (stopped updating in mid-July)

AspireOneUser (still regularly updated)

There were a couple interesting blog posts about 5 things they don't like (some of these are specific to the Linux/SSD version) and 5 things they do like about the AA1.

5 things I don't like about the Acer Aspire One
1) Linus Lite Linux implementation (not well documented, hard to figure out how to add apps)
2) Mouse button locations (left and right of trackpad)
3) Open RAM slot isn't easy to access (by contrast, the XP model uses both slots to provide 1GB)
4) SSD isn't that quick (he's disappointed they seem to have used a slower SSD than similar netbooks)
5) External screen resolution (you can hook it up to a regular monitor but the rez is still fixed at 1024X600)

5 things I like about the Acer Aspire One
1) Solid build quality (esp. given the price)
2) Display (glossy, but bright and clear, and offering very wide viewing angles; reviews I've read said it remains very readable in bright sunlight outdoors)
3) Battery life (pretty much all the 3-cell netbooks are maligned, but the 6-cell adds a lot of bulk).
4) Storage Expansion (another Linux/SSD version specific observation, he likes the software that reads one of the SD slots as integrated storage addition to the SSD)
5) Linpus Lite environment (he likes using it, just not how they implemented it)

Lastly, he also linked to a YouTube-posted Webchat with a buddy - who helps run the site - who had bought one (Linux version) at Circuit City recently, just unpacking it and such:

Blah blah, sorry I've gotten carried away. If I end up getting one (my local Micro Center apparently sold 11 since Sunday so maybe they're catching on?), I'll blab some first-hand thoughts then.  icon_smile
10080  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 20, 2008, 03:47:29 PM
One other belated thing. That site had a link to the FCC filing for the hard-drive model Acer (Lilliput thought maybe it was a 6-cell battery mode, but if you peruse the FCC test results PDF, it's a 3-cell battery alas).
This has among other things a PDF of the user's manual (it's a general Acer notebook manual though, not Aspire One-specific), and lots of photos, including of it taken apart.

Apparently the 6-cell battery is becoming available as an accessory option but it's pretty pricey ($119.99 it seems).
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