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9921  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 07:28:21 PM
Hey, he actually gave me a link to something modest he'd apparently like (this is actually a "Nub" sampler, just under $30):

Nub Variety Sampler
http://www.cigar.com/cigars/viewcigar.asp?prod=SP-NUBASST1
This sampler includes six Nub cigars, one each of the following: 464 Cameroon, 466 Cameroon, 464 Connecticut, 464 Habano, 466 Habano and 460 Habano.
Who am I to go against a request so specific?   icon_smile These appear to be in the "medium-full" category if I'm reading it right.
9922  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Name that movie on: September 04, 2008, 06:42:00 PM
This is fun. The hard thing about most online quizzes, as far as making them challenging, is people can Google the answer in 2 milliseconds -- tougher to do with images.

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

9923  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 06:16:45 PM
My publisher gave me the OK, and probably we can do that $34.99 box mentioned in the original post here. I'm waiting to here back from the contact if he has any "body strength" preferences, or brand preferences. I could just have them send him a gift certificate but at the low end they only have $25 and $50, and I'd rather get him something in between.

I went to a Tobacco Barn at lunch. There were four shoppers smoking in there. I about passed out.  icon_lol The employees were nice, but their prices seemed steep (most things were $11 or more per cigar). And I think she'd rather I had it directly delivered through an online place if possible.
9924  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Good time to by a laptop? on: September 04, 2008, 06:02:19 PM
If you're considering a Sony Vaio, be prepared to... Feel the Burn! 

Sony recalls 438,000 laptops on burn concern
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN0443985520080904
Quote
Japan's Sony Corp has launched a voluntary recall of 438,000 Vaio portable computers, citing a potential hazard that could cause the machines to overheat or possibly burn a user.

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

Sony's recall affects 72,800 computers in the United States, a Sony spokesman said on Thursday.
To be fair, I can't tell if it involves new models on the market now. icon_confused
9925  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 05:50:17 PM
There is some concern this is an incorrect listing, but Amazon claims to have the 160GB/XP model (which would be the new 6-cell version) in stock.
9926  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Dell's mini-notebook entry) on: September 04, 2008, 05:18:12 PM
The Function key change seems bizarre to me though the truth is, I don't use Function keys much beyond the F11 key (for full screen in various programs).

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

Laptopmag's video is over here:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/video-hands-on-with-the-dell-inspiron-mini-9
9927  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: The wonderful world of WiFi on: September 04, 2008, 03:04:59 PM
If you mean that DS Wi-Fi dongle I mentioned in another thread, I had to "system restore" my PC because the lousy thing messed up some settings, and I don't plan to reinstall or use it again.

The Linksys uses WPA2, fwiw.
9928  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 02:58:40 PM
It turns out we have a decent cigar shop around the corner from us, so I might stop by after lunch and see if the shop owner has any suggestions.
9929  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Anybody got a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Dell's mini-notebook entry) on: September 04, 2008, 01:12:16 PM
So who here gets royalties on the "Anybody got a..." phrase anyway?  smirk

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

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

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (Linux model)
Dell barges into the netbook market with its sleek, configurable, and solid performing Inspiron Mini 9, but it’s not without flaws.
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/dell-inspiron-mini-9-linux.aspx

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

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

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

Dell Slides Into the Netbook Market with the Inspiron Mini 9
http://blog.laptopmag.com/dell-slides-into-the-netbook-market-with-the-inspiron-mini-9

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

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

The heating issue (something I've only sensed in stores in the pricier, different CPU'd HP Mini Note in stores) is worrisome. I don't know why they would knowingly send a reviewer an overheated pre-production model.
9930  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 04, 2008, 01:01:06 PM
You can always add a USB mini-hub (the kind that just fits in the slot), something that turns one into three. It's a popular 21st century gadget, I'm told.  icon_wink

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

Some stuff from Laptop Magazine (just posted today):

Q&A: One on One with Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Product Manager
http://blog.laptopmag.com/dell-inspiron-mini-9-product-manager-goes-unplugged
Lots of observations that apply to this whole category, perfect for this thread.  icon_cool

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

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

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

I'll start a separate thread on the mini. I thought the Q&A went well here because the Dell rep talks about the overall mini-notebook market so much.
9931  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 12:33:06 PM
Micro Center only has 21 locations nationwide so chances are, you're not near one.  icon_frown Just in case though, here's their locations page:
http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/index.html

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

I hope Acer's not switching to a, "the harder it is to get our product, the more people want it" philosophy.  icon_razz
9932  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: The Napkin Holder as Wi-Fi Router Rack on: September 04, 2008, 01:31:26 AM
I didn't know where to put this, so why not here?  icon_smile

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

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

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

A metal napkin holder, about $6!  saywhat


The funny thing is, it fits so well on it, it's like it was *designed* for it.  icon_cool The rack, ne napkin holder, has a grid like design that makes it ideal for running cables through if you so desire, as well.
9933  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 04, 2008, 01:26:20 AM
I finally showed my AA1 to my managing editor. She has an awfully bulky, older laptop that's a real pain for her to bring on planes. I sat next to her on our flight from our May business conference in Cleveland, and I remember what a hassle it was for her to squeeze the bag she put it in. She didn't even want to think about trying to get it out to work on it in our cramped seats.

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

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

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

9934  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 04, 2008, 01:14:23 AM
OK I sent the guy an e-mail before I left, asking his "body" preferences.

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

Thanks for the quick responses, all. Sometimes, this place is better than Google.  icon_lol
9935  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 03, 2008, 09:10:15 PM
Thanks, I did overlook the first post. I think the $34.95 sampler would be a fine one to send him. I'll see if my publisher's OK with it. I guess the other option is to send him one fancy pants $35 cigar.  icon_razz

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

If she blanches at the cost, I noticed they have a smaller 8-cigar sampler, no box included, for $19.99 (sale):
http://www.cigarsinternational.com/prodDisp.asp?item=SP-CIDD63&cat=6&page=2

Hey, I noticed the different cigars are sometimes labeled mild, medium and strong-bodied. Can you guys clue me in on the differences there? (and, if my publisher OKs this, I'll ask the guy what he prefers).
9936  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Cigars on: September 03, 2008, 08:24:47 PM
Never thought I'd be digging up the Cigars thread.  icon_razz

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

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

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

Can you cigar lovers here suggest any "safe choice" that any cigar lover would probably enjoy? Preferably something that might be available at the average cigar shop, and not some illegal thing I'd have to order from a questionable Web site.  icon_razz And not something outrageously expensive. I think my publisher would blanche at anything over, say, $30-$40. If you can't get decent cigars at that price, then I'll probably just skip it.
9937  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 08:08:36 PM
Thanks, hope you like it.  icon_biggrin -- I call it "soft," unintentional marketing.  icon_smile

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

If it's selling well now, it seems largely through word-of-mouth, including that the keyboard seems about the best in this size/price range right now. So I dunno. Maybe it's better it becomes popular that way than because it's overhyped as The Next Big Thing.
9938  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 06:34:41 PM
If you're interested in how the AA1's look when dismantled, a guy posted some "dissection" photos of both the Linux/SSD and XP/hard drive models at that fan site forum:

Dissected Aspire One 8gb vs 120gb [lot of images]
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2578

I always like how even the most glamorous devices (say, an iPhone), just look like scrap electronics parts once you get the fancy casings off.  icon_razz
9939  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 03, 2008, 06:12:40 PM
On that massively.com PAX impressions piece, which I neglected to keep clicking through -- they have a bit of detail on the Legendary system:
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/02/mines-of-moria-at-pax08-legendary-item-system/
Quote
It's basically a layered system which introduces many new features, but also works retroactively to enhance existing items. These items include anything from weapons, armor pieces, armor sets, shields, etc. They are marked as having Legendary potential, so not just any item can utilize this system.

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

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

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

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

You can name these things, they say, but the names on each server are unique so it's one of the same name per server.
=====================
They also had a bit on the two new classes. Probably info has already been out there, but fwiw here's the link to that page:
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/02/mines-of-moria-at-pax08-the-two-new-classes/
They seem to say the two classes were developed with "soloability" in mind.

Lastly there was an interesting bit about trait enhancements:
Quote
Trait Sets
The entire trait system will be revamped to allow the collection of traits in sets that will grant special bonuses. Once you collect all eight sets, you'll gain a legendary trait to fill one of three legendary trait slots. These trait sets help define one of three clear paths that your character can choose to follow with your "build", allowing an easier example to lead for friends who may want to advance their character in similar ways. These trait sets are class-based with three available per class.
9940  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: September 03, 2008, 06:06:48 PM
Massively.com had a brief interview with the lead designer, at PAX. To this point, they had mostly been demoing it on XBox 360s -- for PAX they had it running on both those and PCs. It sounds like PC gameplay will be familiar in terms of mashing number keys (or whatever you prefer to bind to, I use a lot of letters in MMOs usually) for powers.

Seemed worth a little bump here:

PAX08: Talking with Champions Online's content lead, Zeke Sparkes
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/01/pax08-talking-with-champions-onlines-content-lead-zeke-sparke/
Quote
So far, Champions Online had only been playable with the Xbox 360 controller, but we were able to finally try the keyboard and mouse controls at PAX.

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

Overall, the keyboard and mouse controls feel tight and responsive for a game scheduled to launch in Spring of 2009.
9941  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 05:59:24 PM
For some reason, many of the online retailers don't yet reflect the price drop (as Best Buy and Micro Center already do in stores, to $349.99).

I believe Buy.com is selling the white model (it has a black bezel surrounding the monitor, but is otherwise white) but isn't yet reflecting the price cut:
http://www.buy.com/listing/sellerlistings.asp?sku=208344721&buy=1

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

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

***Oh, I noticed Amazon now lists the new 6-cell/160GB hard drive model ($399.99), still the blue color, although it's listed as 2-5 weeks for delivery. I don't think Acer's really got that into merchants' hands just yet.
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-LU-S050B-133-8-9-Inch-Processor-Sapphire/dp/B001EYV9TM/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1220464630&sr=8-16

9942  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 03, 2008, 04:24:27 PM
For heavy duty use, I recommend any decent compact mouse (either cordless like Logitech's with the pinky nail-size transmitter, which I've lauded here; or with one of those retractable USB cord dongle thingies).

That said, I got used to it. I could see criticizing the touchpad in the course of an objective review, but if you spend some time with it, you can live with it fine imho -- because the pad is so small, subtle finger movements work better than long swipes, I finally learned. icon_razz I think the only way they could've remedied this in this form factor (HP's Mini Note has a similar goofy touchpad button layout: http://h40059.www4.hp.com/hp2133/) would've been for the pad to extend all the way past the front rim of the unit a bit.

I think more of what I find a pain, and this is with touchpads in general, is that I'll accidentally swipe the pad in the course of reaching down for the space bar. You can adjust the touchpad software to try to remedy this.

The AA1's glossy lid is definitely a fingerprint magnet (a little microfiber cloth rubbing gets it off, but it is annoying). In theory, the white one might be less prone to showing that and smudges, if that's a concern on this - but stores for some reason only carry the blue model. The faux-leather sleeve though is at least pretty much fingerprint proof.  icon_smile
9943  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 03, 2008, 12:39:29 PM
I'm really Sauron, and getting you guys to argue about LOTRO's merits is my devious way of keeping the threads bumped until Mines of Moria comes out. Bahahahahaha.  stirthepot icon_razz Just try not to bite off each other's fingers...  thumbsup

Right now I'm just having fun working on my Guardian (I never really worked on one on my first stint). Right now, in the late teens I don't feel very Guardianesque, but I see some traits developing that should help quite a bit.

Oh, my info is (did we ever have an LOTRO character/server thread here?):

name: Geowaru
server: Elemendril, Elemindir, er, whatever that is (sorry, I never spell it right icon_redface)

I latched onto a tiny guild, but could always use some company.  icon_smile

One of the things I prefer over my AoC experience (for all my AoC bashing, I am still subscribing btw) is at least some sense of choice on where to quest in certain level ranges. So I've had characters go up to Trestlebridge and focus there, and others head well East of Bree and focus there. And sometimes have gone a little crazy with mapping and horse rides to try to work through the content in both regions. But I don't feel quite as constricted as I did in AoC, where we all pretty much had to work through the same areas (contributing to this claustrophobic feeling of everyone at a given level adventuring in the same areas), and the sheer inadequate number of quests all but forced folks into overlapping on each other, or kill-stealing or just getting in each other's way in general.
9944  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: September 03, 2008, 12:27:53 PM
Mythic's Mark Jacobs really wanted to see Age of Conan succeed
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/02/mythics-mark-jacobs-really-wanted-to-see-age-of-conan-succeed/

It's sad when a game that's only been out a couple of months already gets talked about in the past tense.  puke
9945  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect (mission creator; day jobs) on: September 03, 2008, 04:01:14 AM
Lead writer posted some interesting details today, recapping/clarifying some stuff he said at PAX ("Hero 1" is his nickname):

Re: Hero1 on I13
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=general&Number=11849943&bodyprev=#Post11849943
Quote
I just wanted to comment on some of the feedback given regarding my talk at PAX. For the most part this is to alleviate some confusion regarding this feature.

    * An Arc being placed in Dev Choice is not how additional content is unlocked for Architects. That’s handled through straight peer review. The better your Arcs, the more stuff you get to put in missions. The amount of stuff we lock on unlock is something we’re going to tweak as time goes on.
    * Dev Choice missions unlock full XP and Influence for an Arc.
    * Zombie Man pointed this out, but I feel it needs to be mentioned again. Voting is per account, not character. So, even if everyone in your SG group gives you five stars on an Arc, you still have the other hundred thousand plus players to balance it out. [probably he is just meaning this metaphorically, but one wonders if they have that big a player base still  icon_confused-bj]
    * Players are rewarded for playing, creating and rating Arcs.
    * Players will be able to publish somewhere around half a dozen or so Arcs up to our Arc server. An Arc is anywhere from one to five missions.
    * There are a number of different categories that created content will fall into. Quickplay, displays the highest rated content you haven’t played. Dev Choice, displays content that the devs feel best reflects what the Mission Architect can be. Hall of Fame, the best of the best voted entirely by the players.

    * Content that reaches the Hall of Fame level, and potentially even the Dev Choice section, will unlock additional Arc slots for those creators. This is an incentive to create content that the players and the devs enjoy.

    * At any point you can ‘unpublish’ your Arc to free up an additional slot. Arcs that have reached the Hall of Fame or Dev Choice level will be locked, but you’ll have a new slot to create another super cool Arc.
    * Cut scenes will not be open at launch. As Positron says, “I wouldn’t wish that system on anyone.”
    * Stories picked as Dev Choice, will not become canon in our game. If and I mean IF that ever were to happen, it would have to be a pretty big deal.
   
* Players will be able to place multiple objectives within a single mission (boss, defeat, rescue, pet, ambush, etc.). They’ll also be able to weave characters and story through out multiple missions in a single arc. They can even create multiple arcs that build upon each other. Hopefully, for most this is seen as something more than just the simple police/radio missions.

* And now for the big one. Allowing players to add in their own characters is an obvious direction to take this feature. We’d be stupid not to give it to you guys. It is however non trivial to do so, especially when we start allowing those characters to use player picked powers. So, know that you will be able to do this. It just might not be at the launch of the feature.

In the end, please know that the Mission Architect is designed to allow creative people to tell their stories, while also rewarding those who play these stories. This is the goal we push towards. In the end, it will never be everything to everyone, but it will hopefully be more than enough to more than a few.
This is all promising but I had such a hard time finding anyone to team with in my last stint in the game. How's it going to be when everyone's too tied up creating missions and bug-fixing/testing their own missions to actually play the game?  icon_razz
9946  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:
http://lotro.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=709

Most grabbingest are probably the Warg-Riders (upper right).
9947  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
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/index.php

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.
9948  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
Massively.com did a hands-on from PAX on this:
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/02/pax08-hands-on-with-mines-of-moria/

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.
9949  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.
9950  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)
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=951594#post951594
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
9951  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
9952  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!
http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?&postid=2159244#post2159244
Quote
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:
http://www.unlocktheminesofmoria.com/

The more to the point details:
Quote
NEW FEATURES:

    * 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
9953  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
9954  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)


foliage



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
9955  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):

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Chris Corbould
http://www.batman-on-film.com/TDK_interview_chris-corbould_8-29-08.html
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:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/

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.




9956  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? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainiac_(comics) 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.
9957  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]
http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/tech/story/0,4136,175030,00.html
Quote
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?


9958  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 30, 2008, 09:58:39 PM
"Palinbots"? Interesting term.  icon_razz
9959  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:
http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/08/28/how-to-add-ram-to-the-acer-aspire-one-netbook/
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.
9960  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)
http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/08/29/How_to_buy_a_minilaptop_1.html

Where the Linux laptops live (ZDNet blog post about Linx laptop sales on Amazon - mostly in the netbook type category)
http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2837

LG has announced the X110 10-inch netbook with integrated 3G wireless (IFA 2008)
http://www.t3.com/news/lg-has-announced-the-x110-10-inch-netbook-with-integrated-3g-wireless-ifa-2008?=36506
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