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9921  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 03, 2008, 03:55:09 AM
Some screenies from ze other day:

Most grabbingest are probably the Warg-Riders (upper right).
9922  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 03:38:44 AM
You might consider waiting for that new 6-cell battery/160GB version (though I doubt Best Buy will carry it). My 3-cell battery life is generally lousy (about 2.4 hours maybe).

I probably mentioned it before but there's a very lively fan forum/site (It's run by a couple of fans, not sure where they're from):

Acer Aspire One User Forum

I post there quite a bit. If you have any questions about anything you can usually get an answer there pretty quick. icon_smile

One thing we're babbling about there is cases. Although there are few (so far) AA1-specific cases, a lot of people are happy using Eee PC stuff and some suggest getting cases designed for 10" portable DVD players. I saw such a case at Best Buy that I might consider getting.
9923  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 02, 2008, 10:40:06 PM did a hands-on from PAX on this:

Just being a wuss, but in case you'd rather not know some of the stuff to be experienced there...
Spoiler for Hiden:
Many people think that this new expansion will only be the underground area of Moria, and nothing else, but there's just so much more. You will begin in Eregion, where you left off in Book 14, and eventually leave the mines to explore Lothlorien on the other side, including Galadriel's garden and well. This is where you will meet up with The Fellowship once again.

There will be ten new areas of Eregion, nine of which will be accessible to anyone. The final area will be the trip to the actual Hollin Gate itself, which will only be available to those with the expansion. At this point you will fight the Watcher in the Water, but you won't get very far with him. While mending your wounds, the Dwarves will let you know that you'll need some more powerful weapons to defeat it, which brings us to the Legendary Items.
9924  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 02, 2008, 05:49:24 PM
GAH! This is killing me -- today at work we had a street block wide power outage about noon (we won't get power back until almost 5 p.m. at the earliest) on my weekly newsletter production day.

Perfect chance for me to "whip out" my AA1 and finish my last couple of articles and... I didn't bring it! AAAAAAARGH!  crybaby

Well, I pretty much had to return home for Internet reasons, but still. But who expects a power outage on a mostly beautiful (if a bit too hot) 90 degree day?  disgust icon_lol

UPDATE: Yeesh, power's already back but my publisher said I could finish the issue from home today.
9925  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: September 02, 2008, 05:01:44 AM
Although I've clearly re-hitched my wagon to LOTRO, I still check the devtracker from time to time. Sept. 2 brings an 'emergency update'...

Outlook on next update (9/1 post)
Quote from: Tarib, senior community manager
As announced in this thread the servers will come down for an emergency update on Tuesday, 2nd September. To avoid a second downtime in the same week the next big update has now been planned to come to the live servers next week.

We also have mentioned several times in other threads before that we are testing the next big update as long as needed to make sure the fixes are implemented in the best possible manner and that the changes are working as intended. The following examples have been put together to give you a small glimpse of what can be expected with the next big update which should (pending testing of course) get to the live servers next week:

    * Around 60 different fixes to archetype and classes to further balance them also for PvP combat.
    * Several new quests in Eiglophian Mountains are getting tested at the moment and should be getting ready for the live servers soon.
    * Almost two dozens of changes and tweaks to the GUI including improved mouseover tooltips for items to better describe why a given item cannot be used by your character or combos that should show more information about what they are doing.
    * Like in past updates we also plan to add several fixes and additions to siege battles and if all tests are proving to be successful, we should be able to bring the first step of the PvP Updates to the live servers which will introduce the PvP experience and levels as well as the first sets of PvP armor.
    * Some smaller and some bigger changes to almost 40 of the quests including one that should have a slightly more interesting quest ending than currently.

And there are even more fixes for topics like Tradeskills, Tradeposts, Mounts, NPCs and more.

I know we said it before but it is important that we mention it again; testing new changes and fixes is crucial. If some of the planned changes are not working the way they should or if some problems are detected even in the last parts of a test we must make sure that those issues are removed before a deploy to the live servers. So please do take into account that the possibility remains that the actual update next week might change in some regards still. But we certainly are planning to bring the fixes and changes as mentioned and will do all that is necessary to make it happen.
This is where most players (including me, I think I finally ran out of patience - a shame because the basic however gimmicky combat was the most fun I've had in an mmo in ages) would insert comments about "you guys are still frantically fixing the game with chewing gum, baling wire and spit as if it were halfway through a beta."  disgust

Of course, I have no doubt 6 more months in beta would've probably bankrupted Funcom and made it all a moot point, but I think somewhere in the development process it would've been nice for someone to have set the promises lower, made the goals for launch more realistic etc. That's why when Mythic said Warhammer was cutting some of its classes at launch, it struck me as a smart thing. Maybe Mythic won't have to frantically fix every class in the game months after launch. Crazy.  icon_neutral
9926  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 01, 2008, 03:39:53 PM
Yeah I use F11 on AA1 quite a bit too. I have been trying out Opera on it, although I'm basically a Firefox zealot.  icon_smile
9927  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: August 31, 2008, 05:14:28 PM
In case anyone's interested (I know Warhammer is blotting out the sun at this point as the MMO Du Jour drool), they started accepting beta apps for the Mines of Moria retail expansion. It's so funny - I don't remember starting this thread at all! Thank God for the forum search function.  smirk

Here's an info thread on beta app:

Now Accepting Applications for the Mines of Moria Beta Program!
We're pleased to announce that the Mines of Moria™ expansion is now in the final stages of Beta, and that we are now accepting applications for the Beta Program! The Beta Program is by invitation only, and we'll be adding more and more of you as the Program advances. We wanted to give our community the chance to get in and apply to participate in the Program before the general announcement hits on Friday, August 29!
Frankly, the mouse-clicking hoops they require through the Moria site seem a little excessive, but it's just me.  disgust I mean, "Click on the fifth star, the one that is pulsing, to open the Beta application form"? Bizzare.  saywhat

The "I still find it overly gimmicky site" is at:

The more to the point details:

    * Speak Friend, and Enter - Moria, called Khazad-dûm by the dwarves, was their capital and the grandest of cities. This enormous underground cavern in north-western Middle-earth, comprises an immense network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls that run beneath and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. For the first time, players of The Lord of the Rings Online will enter this ancient city which has served as the foundation for the modern-day dungeon-crawling adventures to battle the hordes of goblins and the Nameless of the Deep and journey through hundreds of new quests within six new kinds of stunning environments.

    * The Epic Continues! - The Mines of Moria represents the beginning of Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Players can experience six new books as part of this update and participate in the release of Durin's Bane, battle the Watcher, aid Galadriel and more!

    * Increased Level Cap - Players will be able advance their characters up to level 60, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests. The crafting system will also expand, giving players the ability to craft even more powerful items.

    * Discover Two New Classes - The Rune-keeper and the Warden, the first new classes to be introduced since the launch of the game, allow players to build exciting and powerful new characters in The Lord of the Rings Online in diverse new ways.

    * Forge Legendary Items - The Mines of Moria will introduce Turbine's new item advancement system to The Lord of the Rings Online. Players will be able to forge weapons and class-related equipment and evolve them to build a legacy the likes of Bilbo's Sting and Gandalf's Glamdring. These legendary weapons will level-up along with the player, allowing customization by advancing the item's virtues, adding runic legacies, modifying its titles and forming fables.
I mentioned in the main LOTRO thread I recently re-subscribed, after a building sense of dismay with Funcom's "chewing gum and bailing wire" approaching to trying to "fix" AoC and add some sense of polish.

While I still find AoC very visceral and fun, I got really tired of fighting the interface, fighting frustration with certain strange things (like dying from 5 feet falls), all the bugs and stuff everyone's had to deal with etc. I don't find LOTRO fun in quite the same way, but it's like getting out of an abusive relationship and returning to someone where you didn't feel punished all the time.  icon_smile

Anyway, I'll see if I can get into Moria's beta app program, assuming I can figure out the gimmicky site and this weird signup process.  icon_razz
9928  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 31, 2008, 03:29:01 PM
The other thing I've missed about this is being able to slide or leap down the highest cliff without dying every time, as in Age of Conan. Here you get a nasty debuff (which lasts longer, the higher you fall).

My point is not to rave about how wonderful LOTRO is. Rather, if you play some less polished MMOs, and come back to this, you'll probably wonder why those hot new MMOs you left to play are so much less polished.  icon_cool

I would say books and games (esp. MMOs) are different, in a way just like movies and books are different. Different experiences. Expecting them to be the same experience is just setting up oneself for disappointment. Don't torture yourself like that.  icon_smile
9929  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 31, 2008, 05:09:44 AM
It took some time but today I finally felt re-hooked on the game (got my Guardian a few levels, close to 12 now).

With a newer PC I can finally run it with the high-rez textures and most things turned up, and the game never slows down at all.

What looks better from my experience last year includes character models:

water (this is one of the few MMOs I haven't found myself needing to turn shadows off/down in)


I miss the feel of AoC's combat, but not much else from it. Though what sux about returning to something so many months later, is I've basically forgotten everything I learned back then. But it at least keeps it a fresh experience.  icon_neutral
9930  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 31, 2008, 04:40:11 AM
The Batman on Film fan site did a pretty neat interview with the special effects supervisor (his crew also had to fabricate the "Batpod" pretty much from scratch, and handle the whole hospital explosion sequence, so it's a lot more than just CGI stuff):

Apparently his press junk interview with him had sound problems, so this is a new one after the film's release, so the guy was more free to talk.

fwiw, TDK should pass the $500 million mark (I think that's North American) over this weekend:

It probably can't reach Titanic's mythical $600.8 million mark unless it gets some sort of massive re-release (TDK's DVD release is scheduled for early December), and re-releases don't earn much these days.

9931  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: WB learns the wrong lessons from The Dark Knight on: August 31, 2008, 04:29:29 AM
I'd worry more about what Warner Brothers hopefully learned from the Speed Racer disaster - that the Wachowski Brothers are basically a one-trick Matrix pony, and giving them $120 million+ to do a G-rated kiddie film that seemed to have zero appeal for kids or adults was a completely insane waste of their investors' money.  disgust TDK pulling in half a billion dollars in North American box office alone will no doubt wash that bitter taste into the background.  icon_razz

I don't think they want to turn Superman into Batman, or Showtime's Dexter icon_razz. But they presumably do want to give Superman presumably a toe-to-toe type foe (as in the generally beloved Christopher Reeves film Superman II). I enjoyed Superman Returns, even got it on DVD, but was it terribly interesting to see Supes battling Kevin Spacey with a bald wig? Not really.

Did it make any sense at all to have a 23 year old actress (Kat Bosworth) playing Lois Lane when Superman was supposed to have "gone away for 10 years"? Was Clark Kent now Jerry Lee Lewis?  saywhat

I really didn't understand Bryan Singer digging up Lex Luthor again. I didn't read Superman comics much, but there were plenty of interesting villiains not already done to death in the movies. How about Braniac? Screams out for a special effects-laden showcase, and probably one of the few villains in the comic catalog that goes toe-to-toe with him.

I do agree that there's no point in turning Clark Kent into a dark, brooding guy with personality issues, and then putting him up against some serial killer type in a crazy costume. If you resort to that, then there's no point in using that particular license. Just create a new character altogether.
9932  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 30, 2008, 10:36:19 PM
NOOO! I need more power! POWER! MORE!!!!!!  drool icon_twisted

Basically, when it comes to RAM, I'm like David Duchovny and his sex addiction -- too much is never enough!   drool icon_lol

One more non-big-news bit trickled in...

WATCHED & WON [Singapore newspaper],4136,175030,00.html
IT was not just a free movie night. Four lucky readers not only got to watch the latest animated movie Wall-E free, each of them went home with an Acer Aspire one mobile Internet unit.

The Aspire one, which is worth $699...
Woah! saywhat Is the exchange rate *that* screwed up over there?

9933  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 30, 2008, 09:58:39 PM
"Palinbots"? Interesting term.  icon_razz
9934  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 30, 2008, 01:01:28 PM
Something called Crunchgear has a video and photos on adding 512MB or 1GB of RAM to the 512MB RAM Linux version:
The lone commenter makes a case for using a credit card edge, instead of a metal screwdriver, when prying or loosening any plastic parts/pieces in the AA1 (esp. the keyboard tabs) for the sake of not damaging/scarring the plastic stuff.

I'm not sure, but I think the Windows XP version has 512MB soldered on and then a 512MB chip. So in theory you can probably replace that latter 512MB with a 1GB, but since it voids the warranty, I'm not really keen on it.
9935  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 30, 2008, 04:21:34 AM
Battery? What is this "computer battery" thing you speak of? Are you a time traveler from the 21st century??  bowdown

Hey I dug up a few news links thought kind of useful for this thread today:

How to buy a mini-laptop (great, now we can add this to netbook and mini-notebook and cause more category confusion Tongue)

Where the Linux laptops live (ZDNet blog post about Linx laptop sales on Amazon - mostly in the netbook type category)

LG has announced the X110 10-inch netbook with integrated 3G wireless (IFA 2008)
9936  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 30, 2008, 04:09:46 AM
Thought I'd take a break from fiddling with my Aspire One, and Google up some news and notes on it...

Let's call this, a, um, Larry King-style roundup of Aspire One happenings.  icon_cool

------------------ review (for a change, it's of the XP/120GB model)
By contrast, we doubt that netbook shoppers will see a better offer than the Win XP Aspire One for $349 (though we're equally tempted by the six-cell model for $399). Right now, the Acer saves you at least $100 and in some cases over $200 compared to competitors from HP, Asus, and MSI. It also seems likely to undercut the latecomers from Lenovo and Dell, unless those vendors come in significantly below their announced or anticipated prices.

Along the way, it turns the "Since a netbook nowadays costs the same or more, why not get a real notebook?" argument upside down: If you can settle for a plug-in optical drive and slightly subpar touchpad, why should you spend more than $400 or carry more than three pounds? This may be the year's best PC value.
It's understandably not totally rave. If Acer found some way to shoehorn a 4.5 cell battery standard (if that's technically possible), a larger trackpad with proper button placement, and either included an XP recovery disc in the box or not made people jump through hoops and all matter of workarounds to create said XP recovery discs, reviewers would have little left to complain about.  icon_smile

Acer: Aspire One HSDPA support is imminent
This is specific to the Linux version it seems. I lack the propeller head skills to explain 3G, so somebody else here please chip in.  icon_redface My Neanderthal understanding is it's the latest cellular-type Internet service, and that the later Aspire One production models have a space for a SIM (SIMM?) card inside to enable use of USB 3G modems.

Acer Aspire Ones selling out quickly at S. California Best Buy stores
Best Buy Co. Inc. stores this week sold out of Acer Inc.'s Aspire One netbook due to high-demand in its debut release at the retailer.

At, the product holds a sold out status. A check of local stores in the Southern California area held limited to no stock of the item.
Sounds promising. I still say here in Virginia, they do a piss poor job of displaying it (basically in a back corner usually, in one of those fixed, mounted laptop frame-locks that give you no way to fiddle a bit and feel how light it really is - as you can do at Micro Center). But, obviously, there's a heckuva lot more Best Buys than there are Micro Centers.  icon_razz


Asustek, Acer to Challenge Monthly Shipment of 1 M. NB PCs
Since Intel started promoting its Atom series processors in August, Acer has seen its August sales of notebook PCs grow significantly from July, when the brand sold about 300,000 units. Furthermore, Acer is very likely to see its single-month sales of Aspire One exceed that of its counterpart Eee PC, a low-price laptop sold under Asus, in the month.
Battle of the Tiny Titans.  Bring your own! What's kinda interesting is that with virtually (besides the pricier HP Mini Note) every netbook/mini-notebook (or whatever the name du jour is  icon_razz) using the exact same Atom CPU, the category ends up being about everything but the CPU. icon_smile
9937  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 29, 2008, 07:16:41 PM
If that's not your style, keep your eye out for this hot number! Notice the full size keyboard and even the separate numeric keypad...


My brother used this in the early 1980s. I was so amazed by it. It really built up your forearms to carry it around.  icon_razz
9938  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 28, 2008, 10:12:57 PM
Saw this blog review that's perhaps a little bit overboard, but enthusiastic  drool

Review: Acer Aspire One (vs Eee PC 901 & 1000H)
As I finish this review (which has been written entirely on the Aspire One), it’s really simple; if you want a netbook, go with the Aspire One. There’s nothing better on the American market right now.
I am a little concerned about the recovery CD/DVD situation.

You can do a system recovery from a separate partition (which has a lot of users annoyed because it devours so much hard drive space and makes the 120GB drive seem to be 105GB) OK, but they apparently disabled the "burn recovery discs" option for some reason. You can order recovery discs from Acer for $9.95 apparently but from what people say at that fan forum, they're being told there's a 1-2 week delay in shipping.
9939  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 28, 2008, 09:39:55 PM
Although the fan-noise doesn't bother me to much, one of the guys hanging out at the Acer Aspire One fan forum created (beta) a freeware fan control utility. Apparently it's much more useful in Vista (though it's XP compatible), and he claims Vista runs 15-20 degrees cooler than XP for some reason, so he's found it easier to make an AO/Vista combination fanless or nearly so, rather than an XP model. But he seems to say it can still help reduce how often the fan comes on while keeping the system temperature at a safe level.

His Web page:

The forum thread:
Some of the thread deteriorates into a squabble between the creator and a Linux guy who feels he should've made his utility truly open source. But most of it's more useful than that.  icon_smile

It's interesting, but seems to have a lot of quirks to work out. I think a nervous Nelly like me might be hesitant to mess with it - in its current forum - until my unit's out of warranty.  paranoid
9940  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Old geezer rat bites big one on: August 28, 2008, 09:20:06 PM
Can't we get Dawhawk an exterminator service gift certificate or something?  saywhat

I only have exactly one rat story in my whole life -- cockroaches have more been my bugaboo.

About summer 1982 when I was 17, I was back in Virginia visiting for the summer from Korea. I tried to convince a couple friends to go see John Carpenter's "The Thing," but they weren't interested (we later saw Blade Runner together instead - I also saw Tron then, I think 1982 is a better movie year in retrospect than when I was actually experiencing it).

So I saw The Thing. And I'm slouched in my rocker chair with my feet up on the seatback in front of me. There's popcorn and candy all over the floor. And I'm really enjoying the movie and its spectacular geysers of gore.

And I look down, and there's this huge rat (seemed too big to be a mouse) chewing happily on all the scuzzy food on the floor. Suddenly I couldn't taste my popcorn anymore. And any wise man would've simply moved to the far end of the theater. But I liked my seat. So I spent the rest of the movie more afraid of the floor than of John Carpenter's The Thing.  paranoid
9941  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 28, 2008, 06:35:29 PM
Laptop Mag has some info on Fujitsu's Netbook/mini-notebook entry, the Amilo Mini:

They reference JKKmobile's impressions piece, which has more photos:

There's nothing terribly distinctive about it (nice case I guess), and the hard drive seems a little small-ish. It just seemed to belong in this thread.  icon_razz

Quote from: Canuck
For example I wouldn't be surprised if after one year, almost all ultraportables come with a screen with a higher-res than 1024x600.
We shall mark down August 2009, and return here to see whether Canuck is a prescient Canadien Soothsayer or ... not.  icon_lol
9942  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 28, 2008, 05:17:08 PM
How dare you sound so practical and frugal. You're a disgrace to laptop geeks everywhere!  icon_lol I definitely will have to "whip it out" (saywhat my Aspire One that is) at checkpoints. We have our annual biz conference trip to Houston at the end of September, I expect that'll be my first test.

I guess in theory I just like keeping my bright blue gadget under cover (in the Skooba bag, it could just as well be a pizza or a giant panini sandwich drool). Not that bright blue $350 Aspire Ones are a big theft target next to $1,000-$2,000-plus 15"-17" laptops I see everywhere in security lines.  icon_razz I'm weird that way, and if they're really already phasing those particular bags out, I guess they're not attracting much interest.

Yeah I don't even have a laptop but already I carry too much accessory stuff on trips (phone recharger, recharger for my MP3 player etc., USB cables for my PDA etc.). It shall only get worse for me...

I contributed to a thread at the Aspire One User fan site forums on HD Tune results for the drives (the SSD and the regular hard drive):

Here's my number for the XP/120GB version:

I guess all you I can really gather is the SSD has amazing access speed, and lower CPU usage (maybe that's Linux?), and the hard drive had understandably way-higher transfer and burst rates, fwiw.

The "speckles" are some HD Tune thing that sprinkles in after you finish benchmarking. I guess it's supposed to help you visualize the range, but it makes me want to get a microfiber cloth out to wipe them clean.  icon_razz
9943  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 28, 2008, 03:42:18 AM
I think I'm gonna end up spending so much darn money on accessories, I'll have killed the whole point of getting a cheap mini-notebook. I haven't felt this way since I was going crazy buying add-on cartridges for my Visor PDAs.  icon_redface

I'm not buying any games these days though, so I'm having fun looking up stuff for this. So I'm not really complaining just fessing up.  icon_smile

Anyway, I had been trying to find one of these new "Checkpoint Friendly" laptop bags, but one for really small notebooks. And preferably not one of these insane $100-$150 ones.

Skooba has one I kinda like, even if it's labeled as "discontinued product."

Skooba Skin Micro (basic black seems fine, the suedes seem tacky - maybe that's why they're discontinuing this  icon_razz)

You can even custom design your own exterior skin for it (I'm not clear how that works  icon_confused):
9944  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 28, 2008, 03:16:05 AM
Yes! Yes I DO want to block an HP Mini Note's fans with this because its fans obviously don't do anything to begin with (judging by my limited experience). So, it can only be an improvement to splat it on a bed of sci-fi crystals!   nod If nothing else, it'll keep the tabletop from getting scorched.

When Destructor's not looking, I'm going to use my Cloaking technology to sneak in and place a Targus Mat over his chiller fans setup, he won't even know what happened...  ninja

Well, if Micro Center carries it some day, I'm going to surreptiously sneak one under one of their Mini Notes, and we'll see if it helps, or if I start a fire.  stirthepot
9945  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 27, 2008, 08:21:11 PM
PC World had a column babbling about the Ultra Portables market situation:

The Rise (and Possible Fall) of Ultraportable Laptops
9946  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 27, 2008, 08:08:38 PM
If I had broken down and gotten the grilled cheese-burning  HP Mini Note, I think I might've tried this Target HeatDefense pad I saw at Best Buy today:

Targus HeatDefense™ for Laptops
The Targus HeatDefense™ for Laptops serves as a barrier
that shields your office furniture and lap from high heat
generated by laptops. A crystalline compound absorbs
heat by turning into a soft gel, keeping the laptop running
cool to help prolong battery life. Once the heat is
removed, the gel turns back into crystals and is ready for
use again.
No fans or power are required to operate which
provides a highly portable, quiet laptop cooling solution.
Seems like an interesting low-tech yet high-tech (the crystals sound like something out of Star Trek) solution. I haven't read any reviews yet, I think it just hit the market last month.
9947  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.
9948  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.
9949  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/
9950  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
9951  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.
9952  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.
9953  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)
9954  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.
9955  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
9956  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.
9957  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.
9958  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:
9959  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.
9960  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
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