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3161  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / How I Finally Beat my Credit Card Debt on: July 14, 2009, 03:52:28 AM
Now for something kind of different from me....

I don't know the etiquette for this kind of thing, but I posted this on my blog because it's so damn long I didn't think it would be appropriate to dump in a post here.  It's the story of, and I guess you could call it the method I used, to finally get through a ton of crappy credit card debt:

http://rittchard.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/breaking-down-debt/

Don't know if anyone here suffers from the same kind of issues (shopoholics with tons of debt), but if you do, or if you know someone like that, it might be worth a read.
3162  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Venting: It's not going to be me this time. on: July 10, 2009, 08:12:45 PM

Quote from: Chaz on July 10, 2009, 07:08:13 PM

Not in the garden.

I wound up talking to her about it, and we're speaking again.  She did mention her thesis as something that was causing her a ton of stress.  We've smoothed things over for now, and I didn't admit more than fifty percent culpability in the fight that led to  the silence thing (which I think was a 50/50 thing). 

In other news, I think this is my first personal problem/venting post that's gotten anywhere near two pages, let alone past that, so hooray! biggrin

Congrats on all the above!  Sounds like a win win win! 

Hope you have a good 5-year anniversary too - of course at 5 years isn't it about time to "put a ring on it"?
3163  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Free Re-Evaluation Period on: July 10, 2009, 05:56:02 PM
Is there a particular server people are playing on here?
3164  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Venting: It's not going to be me this time. on: July 08, 2009, 10:14:01 PM

Quote from: Chaz on July 08, 2009, 09:36:55 PM

I think this is firmly in the "stupid" category, but even with arguments in those categories, it's up to me to break the silence, as she simply won't.  She went without speaking to her mother for six months (and they lived 20 minutes apart at the time) over something trivial when we first started seeing each other.  In retrospect, that should have been a big red flag.

eeek, definite red flag material!!  But I guess something compelled you to keep moving forward and stay together this long.

Quote
Normally, I probably would've smoothed this over the next day, and I probably still can at any point.  This time though, I'm starting to wonder how many more times I want to do this.  Does she value our relationship so little that she'll just refuse to talk to me for the rest of our lives? Part of me says that she would, and part of me thinks that she's got some kind of mental block about it, and that it's not entirely within her control (she has some serious anger management issues as well).

This is kind of scary and may be worth talking about as a topic in general.  It sounds like she has some personal issues independent of you that she needs to work out. 

Quote
I just have to decide if I want to smooth this over and carry on as normal, smooth it over, but say "this is it, I'm not doing this anymore" (which would probably eventually result in the relationship ending), or just not break the silence (which would probably also result in relationship ending).  And then the biggest question, which is "would I be okay with the relationship ending?"  Honestly, sometimes I don't know if I'm staying in the relationship because of the relationship, or because of the pain in the ass it would be for us to split to separate living arrangements.

Honestly I think everyone (or most people anyway) go through periods like this.  I've certainly gone back and forth a ton of times over the years.  But every so often my partner does or says something (without even knowing) that reminds me why I've stuck with him this long.  Love is whacked out some times.

Quote
Complicating matters is that she's stressed with writing a thesis and I suspect she's going through a bout of mild to moderate depression (which she won't see anyone about) that is probably negatively affecting the relationship.  If that's the case, do I stick this out in hopes that things improve when she comes out the other side, or are the two things independent?
 

Now THIS changes everything!  Is she working on a PhD?  Because PhDs/theses will generally drive ANYONE insane and no one should he held accountable for how they behave during said period  icon_razz  But seriously every person I've known who's gone through it has had a hell of a time in one way or another. 

That said, I do believe that while the thesis is certainly skewing things beyond a normal level, the parts of her you don't like or have problems dealing with will still be there after.  They may not surface in the same ways or be as challenging to deal with, particularly as you (hopefully) grow and evolve together, but more than likely they will always be a part of her - if she chooses never to face them head on and deal with them.  I started dating my bf since we were both in grad school, and there were times he was so stressed out with finishing his thesis, I could hardly believe it.  I always told myself it would be different later, but guess what?  14 years later and he's still the most stressed out person (only now over his job) I know.
3165  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Venting: It's not going to be me this time. on: July 08, 2009, 09:12:53 PM

Quote from: TK-421 on July 08, 2009, 09:08:21 PM

Quote from: SkyLander on July 08, 2009, 09:01:25 PM

Dude, girls are weird.

That's exactly what my wife says.

Well, not exactly.  Her words were more like, "chicks are fucked up."

Well, there's always guys you whiners! Fabulous
3166  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Venting: It's not going to be me this time. on: July 08, 2009, 09:12:08 PM

Quote from: DamageInc on July 08, 2009, 08:52:13 PM

Most arguments are not about what you are arguing about. How many people could raise their hand right now if they can remember arguing about small meaningless crap.
This is what eats away at most relationships.

You have to uncover what the real issues are and either solve them, accept them or move on.
If you move on, you will most likely run into the same cycle again.

I have to agree 100% with this.  In general with my partner, I'm the "always right" guy and he ends up apologizing.  And in general our arguments are about small meaningless crap; we've been together so long now I can generally tell when it's evolved from a deep-seeded issue or is just a momentary lapse.  Here's an example: couple nights ago he gets back from work and out of the blue starts bitching at me about why I "never" do the dishes and "never" clean the kitchen sink area.  It's a short tirade, and I pretty much say "do you really want to do this again?" because we just had the same fight a few months ago, wherein I started counting how many times I put the dishes away and he soon realized it was just a perception thing based on his stress level.  That was easy to smooth over, I don't know or even care if he apologized.  But last weekend we had a similar "out of the blue" type of argument, and this one I realized was in reality due to one of our big issues (involving my family, too complicated to talk about) and he was just venting.  We ended up not talking about it and he smoothed over as soon as I got home, but as Damage said we will likely run into the same cycle again.  I could have chosen to bring the "real issue" up again, but we have fought over it ad infinitum and it seemed kind of pointless at the moment.  We will face it again soon enough.

So anyway, I'd be curious to ask just how "stupid" was the original argument - if it was really meaningless, it really doesn't matter who apologizes or gives in first, it should just blow over with a few words or a simple gesture.  But given the length of time of the silence, it seems like it could be more serious than you thought?  If it was truly stupid, my guess is you could smooth it over without a true apology, maybe just an acknowledgment it was a stupid fight and you are ready to move on.
3167  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Transforsmers: Revenge of the Fallen on: July 07, 2009, 12:18:30 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on July 06, 2009, 05:34:06 AM

wow, you are way overthinking things, and I don't feel the need to defend the movie to any of you here so I'll just say I liked it like PR_GMR did and leave it at that.

Count me in as someone who definitely enjoyed it.  A little too long for my taste and maybe a few more slower moments would have been nice, but all in all a great time at the movies.  FWIW, most the entire audience clapped at the end.  The only other time I got that this year was for The Hangover.
3168  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Harper's Island (TV) on: July 01, 2009, 05:45:06 PM

Quote from: Qantaga on July 01, 2009, 02:57:24 AM

Surprisingly, each week I tell myself that the show really isn't all that great, then I find myself locked in for the entire show and wishing I didn't have to wait a week for the next episode. smile

Hey Q, how are ya!  This is EXACTLY how I feel about the show.  I make fun of it, say it's lame, and then get completely wrapped up in it on Saturdays.  When I realized they were delaying a week I got pissed I'd have to wait lol.

Soul - love that theory, never occured to me!  If they could pull that off it would be sweet.
3169  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: True Blood season 2 on: June 29, 2009, 06:01:19 PM
I am really enjoying Season 2 thus far.  There's a very different energy and spark to the show, even though the main cast is pretty much the same.  The additions of Eric and Jessica have been excellent, and of course Ensign Ro is awesome as always.  While I liked Season 1, it always felt like something was missing to me, or maybe it was too mired in the murder plot which I didn't find particularly interesting.  This season seems full of surprises, new demons, intriguing characters, and more interesting sub-plots (including the Light camp which I thought I wouldn't enjoy).  Maybe once they knew they were doing well and picked up for another season, they were able to relax and really let loose with the plotlines.
3170  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [HBO] Hung starts tonight on: June 29, 2009, 05:55:22 PM
Yeah, kind of a slow start, but enjoyable.  I'm not sure exactly what kind of audience they are gunning for.  Is the show supposed to be a drama or a comedy or just kind of undefinable?

Thomas Jane does a pretty good job with the role coming across sympathetic, and at times just pathetic enough you can believe it.  I was afraid he might be too goodlooking/charming to convince me he had to go this route, but actually the good looks work to his advantage well since you have to buy him as being attractive enough to want to pay for.  He definitely seems like he could be an ex-high school jock who didn't get far career wise after failing out in sports, and all he has left is his looks.
3171  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Aion, anyone heard of this MMO? on: June 28, 2009, 09:01:07 PM
Pre-ordering the game on Gamestop seems to automatically get you into the preview beta weekends.  There's one coming up for the long weekend (starts the 2nd or 3rd I think) in case anyone is interested.  I think once you get the code, though, you can't cancel the pre-order, so beware.
3172  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ron Moores Virtuality on: June 28, 2009, 08:52:30 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on June 27, 2009, 09:25:29 PM

Quote from: rittchard on June 27, 2009, 07:50:45 PM

It was clearly a pilot as it leaves you hanging with tons of interesting sub-plots ready to be explored for all the characters.

And that was my biggest problem with this, not having a clue that was the case coming into it. I kept thinking, what kind of a conclusion can they possibly come to in the next 30 minutes? 10 minutes? Dang, then it just ended after laying all that groundwork and starting to get to the interesting bits. That's fine for a pilot with a series coming but to do it when there's basically only a snowball's chance in hell of the series getting picked up just didn't seem right to me.  icon_neutral

Reading afterwards online I saw that they really just wanted to get their work out there in front of people and perhaps to raise a groundswell of support for the series itself. But then, as noted, even if they green-lighted the series Fox would have killed it in its infancy.

Sadly, I think it was intended, or even assumed, that the series was going to be green-lighted, and thus the pilot movie, even edited, was very much a pilot.  I remember the first time I read about this, a long while back, it sounded like the series was already in production.  I guess Ron Moore had less cache from BSG than people might have hoped/imagined.
3173  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Harper's Island (TV) on: June 28, 2009, 08:48:25 PM

Quote from: Alefroth on June 24, 2009, 07:17:26 AM

Quote from: Frogstar on June 23, 2009, 05:46:00 PM

Just curious -- is anyone still watching this?  I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who watches the show.

I watched the first episode and that was enough. Too much like network TV for me.

Ale

While we can certainly argue about the quality (or lack thereof) of the show and the writing, plot holes, etc. I would have to say in fairness, one thing it is NOT, is "too much like network TV".  This is a show whose premise is, for better or worse, an elongated horror film, and as such is willing to kill off major and minor characters without apology.  I can't think of a single traditional network TV series that used this format.  If you said too much like a long-ass generic horror movie, I'd probably agree.

- - -

This last episode was possibly one of my favorites, keeping up the tension and continuing to have you guessing at whether or not the main killer (now revealed) has had help.  And the writers finally were successful in having me give a crap about whether some of the side characters lived or died, which is really the most difficult thing to do in horror films.  That's really been the downfall of this series, IMHO.  Too many characters introduced at the outset, and not introduced with enough depth, such that as they died one by one, you couldn't really care less.  Even some of the later deaths felt more like fodder, which is pretty sad after so many weeks.  As a counter, look at how well Scream did in just the opening minutes with Drew Barrymore giving you a compelling death sequence that had some resonance.  That said...

Spoiler for Hiden:
I was completely annoyed with the Chloe and Brit guy plotlines from the getgo.  I thought they'd be one of the first to get knocked off, but each week it looked like they were the writers' favorites and could make it to the end.  This week they finally had me rooting for them, and I thought they had perhaps the best, most dramatic, death sequence of the show.  I actually had some feeling for them (also last week's scene with the sheriff dad), something which had really been missing up to the last few episodes. Now this being TV, I could see them saving the 2 of them in the finale, since the girl just jumped and the guy just got stabbed again after being shot, they could still make it.
3174  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [HBO] Hung starts tonight on: June 28, 2009, 08:33:35 PM
The first time I saw Thomas Jane emerge shirtless from the water in Deep Blue Sea, I nearly jizzed in my pants.  I was really THAT stunned by how gorgeous he is/was.  Needless to say I've been a fan ever since.  I know I drool over a lot of people, but he is/was definitely something special.

Not sure about this show though, it seems like a one gimmick kind of thing, but who knows.
3175  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Trailer] Daybreakers on: June 27, 2009, 07:59:46 PM
Looks great!  Gives some nice counter balance to the romantic vamps of True Blood and Twilight.
3176  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ron Moores Virtuality on: June 27, 2009, 07:50:45 PM
I had little to no expectations for this, and it was almost a fluke I even noticed it was on.  There was a small blurb review of it in the LA Times which I had skimmed and seemed favorable.  

Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a really fascinating and interesting show, well written and well acted.  It's incredibly disappointing to have it killed before given a chance, though given Fox's record they would likely have killed it in a few episodes anyway.

The premise is a blend of various sci-fi elements that on paper doesn't really sound nearly as good as the end result shown last night was.  There's definitely a Sunshine vibe to it, but it's mixed with Star Trek holodeck (and the original movie Virtuality) intrigue, and then wrapped in a Real World reality TV-esque package, complete with confessionals.  Basically you have a spaceship going into deep space for the first time, possibly humanity's last hope to find a planet to colonize as things on the earth have gone south (maybe).  The whole shebang is being filmed and edited and beamed back to earth for the greatest ratings bonanza ever, and the pilot movie/episode focuses on the go/no-go decision to take the mission into deep space past Neptune.

The virtual reality comes into play immediately, as much as in TNG, they possess technology that allows the crew to escape into individual (or combined) fantasies, nominally to keep people sane and allow privacy through the long (10 year) journey.  But of course there's some kind of glitch (or is there?) that allows them to explore the nature of "reality" and virtual behavior and touch on issues like virtual death, rape, fidelity and personal relationships.  

The cast is/was all around excellent, I really found no flaws and I can be pretty picky.  CG effects were adequate but definitely not the emphasis of the show.  It was clearly a pilot as it leaves you hanging with tons of interesting sub-plots ready to be explored for all the characters.  Standouts include the sexy David Boreanaz-ish captain (I think he was in New Amsterdam), the sexy lead female (some hot blond chick with a cute accent), her psychologist husband (some blond dude with a cute accent) and Clea DuVall (Heroes) who is always good in everything she's in.  Gay fans were initially excited to hear it was the first sci-fi show with an openly "married" gay couple, and their sexuality being a complete non-issue.

There's some effort to save the series for pickup, but chances seem pretty poor given the weak amount of publicity for the show, then being shown on a random Friday evening.

http://virtuality-tv.info/
3177  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Archon Classic - now on iPhone!!! on: June 24, 2009, 06:07:46 PM
No Archon fans out there?

Impressions: this is an awesome initial release of the classic game.  Graphics and sounds are updated but the gameplay is very much the original game.  All the pieces, all the spells, are back.  This game is truly a masterful mix of chess-like board game strategy with arcade skill/timing blended together.  I had some issues with the action portion of the game in terms of aiming and shooting in my first game, but by the second game I had a much better grasp of the UI/controls.  I'd say they could improve the responsiveness a bit more, but again, for a first version I was very happy to get the old Archon feel.  One thing they may also want to do for beginners is have some sort of tutorial or explanation of all the spells and the individual creatures' strengths and weaknesses.

What's missing?  The most glaring thing is multi-player.  Presently this is a single player vs. computer game.  This is actually fine for me, but clearly the game was always intended to be a 1v1 experience (used to play side by side on a single keyboard, those were the days).  1v1 via internet would be very cool.  Oddly I don't see any talk about MP, but they do mention 2.0 will have a single player campaign mode.

Edit: I think they really want to expand to other consoles - I could see this being huge on XBLA.
3178  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Archon Classic - now on iPhone!!! on: June 23, 2009, 10:19:44 PM
Hot off the presses:

http://www.archonclassic.com/generic/136/

I am so excited, I used to love this game!   Sadly it won't let me download over the regular network so I have to wait til I get home to try it.
3179  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Harper's Island (TV) on: June 23, 2009, 09:51:46 PM

Quote from: Frogstar on June 23, 2009, 05:46:00 PM

Just curious -- is anyone still watching this?  I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who watches the show.

I'm still oddly obsessed with it, it's very comforting to watch for some reason even though it can feel incredibly lame and predictable at times.  I'm pretty sure I guessed correctly who the killer(s) is/are fairly early on, from the looks of the preview last week I think I'm going to be correct.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I always guessed there would be 2 killers (a la Scream).  My theory from about the 3rd or 4th ep was that Jimmy was the bad guy, along with Wakefield.  Just a guess based on it needing to be one of the main stars to be more interesting, and someone who appeared to be a good guy.  So maybe Jimmy is Wakefield's son, the only problem being that he would be the girl's half brother, which might be too incestuous for TV.
3180  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 21, 2009, 08:55:35 PM
I wrote up first impressions/comments up on my blog if you are interested, kind of wordy as usual smile

http://rittchard.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/another-year-another-iphone-3gs/

I'm also trying out that Nextworth website to sell off the 3G, will keep you posted on how that goes.  The initial setup is seamless, they even generate a postal label for you so shipping is free!  Quote for "like new" condition is $250, it drops to $216 for "normal".  They also ask for accessories but really don't give you much of anything, so unless you were going to throw them away there's no point to including them.
3181  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I want my...I want my...I want my M:tG on: June 19, 2009, 10:25:31 PM
I've been playing against the White deck in the campaign, on the easiest AI level, and still keep losing.  I think I had a good chance to win once but I made 1 or 2 mistakes and it was not forgiving, again, even at easiest AI.  I'm not saying I'm a pro or anything but I've played enough matches to do OK.  The White AI just infuriates me with its abundance of fliers, and units that heal when played.  Grrr.  I think I had a better shot at winning with the Red deck, any suggestions?

I do wish they'd at least allow you to delete cards out of the deck, there are some I just don't want to appear at all and it's just a waste.  Also seems like they are overloaded with land, but that could just be a luck thing.
3182  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 19, 2009, 08:42:47 PM

Quote from: Teggy on June 19, 2009, 05:39:45 PM

I am posting this with my new 3GS. That is all smile

(the forums look really nice on it)

Me too!  took a while to get synced and activated but all in the comfort of my own home instead of hours in a long line smile. Definite speed improvements. Browsing on wifi is getting close to my PC.

Still have to try cut and paste.   cut and paste. Ahhhhh very nice!
3183  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: V Returns on: June 18, 2009, 06:07:23 PM
Nice trailer!!  I love how they've taken sci-fi TV favorites (or leftovers depending on your point of view) from everywhere!  Of course most/all of them have bad track records of keeping shows alive.

Morena - Firefly/SG1 (I love her!)
Alan Tudyk - Firefly/Dollhouse  (I love him!)
Juliette! - Lost (I absolutely love her!)
Joel Gretsch - The 4400  (I absolutely love him!)
Scott Wolf (go Bailey!  used to love him!) and Lourdes Benedicto - The Nine (ack)

Hmm, aside from Juliette, everyone here has prematurely cancelled shows lol. 
3184  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What's Your Concept of Time Like? on: June 18, 2009, 05:56:05 PM

Quote from: ibdoomed on June 17, 2009, 03:56:15 PM

When I tell you that I'll be there when the peak of the shadow hits the dead rabbit in the nutsack, that's when I'll be there. You better be ready.

This is going to be my new catchphrase.   thumbsup
3185  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 18, 2009, 05:50:58 PM
This might have been mentioned above, but it was nice to read this article featuring some websites which buy back old iPhones:

http://www.tuaw.com/2009/06/16/what-to-do-with-that-old-iphone/

So it looks like with a minimal amount of fuss, I can recover around $200.  Why ATT/Apple don't do something like this themselves is beyond me, I'm sure they can make money off refurbs.
3186  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Budget Gaming PC advice on: June 18, 2009, 05:40:43 PM

Quote from: Hrnac on June 18, 2009, 03:01:34 AM

I am really having a hard time deciding what video card to shoot for. Right now I have seen systems in my price range that offer the following cards.

HD 4350, HD 4670, HD 4830, HD 4850, GF 9600GT, GF 9800GT, GF GTS 250. 

I need to figure out what type of PSU these card need so I don't get caught with too little power. Of the above cards, I am leaning the most towards the HD 4830 and the GF 9600GT due to price. I might be able to bump up to the HD 4850 or the GF 9800GT.

Have you any thoughts on these cards?

-Hrnac

My favorite place to look is Tom's Hardware, they usually do a "best bang for the buck" roundup every month - looks like HD4850 is the way to go right now.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-price,2323-2.html
3187  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I want my...I want my...I want my M:tG on: June 18, 2009, 05:32:54 PM
I finally got it downloaded late last night, and looks like I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed it.  Granted I only played 2 matches in Campaign mode (won 1 lost 1) but it really revved up the old Magic feel for me.  Even a bit of nostalgia as it seems like they used many of the original sound effects from the old PC game.  The second game came down to the wire, I was losing the whole time but a timely card gave me 2 massive monster attacks, both with trample, and 1 turn to survive.  I didn't count the numbers but I think I might have won through trample damage.  But the AI cast some stupid spell that voided all damage that turn (argh!) and promptly killed me.  Booooo!!!!  But man did it get the MTG juices going.  I think they did a great job with the interface and speed of the game (presuming you are familiar with the matches), and there is a decent tutorial to get you started.  Card artwork looks great with the zoomed in mode.

I definitely understand the complaints about the lack of deck building, but in all honesty I kind of don't mind.  As much fun and strategically interesting as that can be (and usually I am a 100% sucker for it), it can also suck up way too much time between actually playing, and in a game as complex as MTG it can certainly create incredible balance issues.  I think this system, with a few tweaks, will be much more novice and casual player friendly.  At least if I were to go online and play, I would know that I wouldn't have to go against players with tons of uber cards or trick decks that they were building and planning out for months.  Now you can argue (rightfully) that this sucks out a huge essence of "Magic" - the entire collection and deck building aspects that many people love.  But I would argue the tradeoff is this allows players to simply focus on the core of the game - just the fun of playing the matches. 

Certainly this is not a "deep" full blown MTG experience, but for 800pts ($10?) and no worry (presently) about buying new cards, I think it fits the "Arcade" part of XBLA just fine.  Just jump in and start a match, boom!
3188  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I want my...I want my...I want my M:tG on: June 17, 2009, 11:48:00 PM

Quote from: WYBaugh on June 17, 2009, 11:36:38 PM


Just awesome.  I get home all excited to download and bam...get the 80070057 error.  Dangit, on the one thing I've really wanted to play from XBLA...

Ditto!!!
3189  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Budget Gaming PC advice on: June 17, 2009, 12:00:44 AM
Hehe, yeah Crysis was (and I suppose) remains the toughest benchmark.  The systems I config'd should be perfectly fine for Crysis at high detail I believe, depending on the resolution.  You'll likely want the 8800/9800 series at a minimum if Crysis is your goal.  Not sure on the ATI side what the equivalent would be, maybe the HD 4850?

Hrnac, I've purchased from Cyberpower multiple times and have had no issues with them.  I have recommended them to a couple friends who also have had no issues, aside from one problem with a power supply (IIRC) that was promptly replaced. 

3190  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 16, 2009, 01:30:47 AM

Quote from: gellar on June 16, 2009, 12:01:18 AM

Somewhere, a team of people at AT&T have already done the math and decided that the monetary value assigned to your collective added loyalty is less than the $200 per person willing to upgrade.  Money now is worth more than money later.  Hard figures are worth more than soft figures.  The problem with the equation here is that all of the other carriers suck in a similar manner, so AT&T knows that if you get pissed at them, they still look just like everyone else - and they have your $200.

gellar

Good point gellar, sad but true...  always disheartening to be reminded all you really are to most companies (even the one you work for!) is just a number.
3191  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Tax withholding on W-4? on: June 16, 2009, 01:22:37 AM
I'm trying to figure out how much I should increase my withholding number to now that I am (likely) going to purchase a house.  I used a calculator and hand calculations, and it's coming out to like 10-12 mostly due to the huge amount of interest!  I've never heard of anyone taking that many so I'm wondering what you all have.  I was thinking of just putting 3 or 4, but I wonder if I should do as the calculations seem to dictate.  Thanks!
3192  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Budget Gaming PC advice on: June 16, 2009, 12:23:59 AM
I noticed above you mentioned you'd be fine with AMD X2, so here's an example of what you can do.  Improve the power supply and motherboard (Xfire ready) and get an HD4850 to boot!  This comes in at exactly $600, again with no OS.

CASE: New! CoolerMaster Elite 310 Mid-Tower 420W Case with See-Thur Side Panel
POWER SUPPLY Upgrade: 635 Watts Power Supplies (Sigma Shark SP-635W PSU - SLI Ready)
CPU: AMD Athlon™ X2 7850 Black Edition Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
COOLING FAN : AMD ATHLON64 CERTIFIED CPU FAN & HEATSINK
MOTHERBOARD: MSI K9A2 CF-F AMD 790X CrossFire Chipset DDR2/1066 Dual 16X PCIE SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN, USB2.0, & 7.1Audio
MEMORY: 3GB (1GBx3) PC6400 DDR2/800 Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
VIDEO CARD: ATI Radeon HD 4850 PCI-E 16X 1GB Video Card (Major Brand Powered by ATI)
HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Optical Drive: (Special Price) LG 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
3193  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Budget Gaming PC advice on: June 16, 2009, 12:06:57 AM
As always, I recommend going to Cyberpower and playing with their configurators.  You can do very well for $600 these days.  This system I put together was roughly around $2000 a while back, and is perfectly capable of handling most any game you throw at it.  The only catch here is no OS, but as mentioned above you can grab Windows 7 RC for free right now, and then look for the special upgrades Best Buy and others are going to do down the road for Win 7.

I had to dump the keyboard and mouse to get this below $600, but it comes in at $597 total.  The one place I skimped the most was on the motherboard, which is not SLI or Crossfire capable.   


CASE: New! CoolerMaster Elite 310 Mid-Tower 420W Case with See-Thur Side Panel
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Default case fans
POWER SUPPLY Upgrade: 500 Watts Power Supplies (**Recommended** WIN-500XSPX APEVIA 500W JAVA Power Supply-Black)
CPU: (Sckt775)Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E7400 CPU @ 2.8GHz 1066FSB 3MB L2 Cache 64-bit
COOLING FAN : INTEL LGA775 CERTIFIED CPU FAN & HEATSINK
MOTHERBOARD: MSI G31M3-L Intel G31 Chipset LGA775 FSB1333 DDR2 Mainboard
MEMORY: 3GB (1GBx3) PC6400 DDR2/800 Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 16X PCI Express (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Optical Drive: (Special Price) LG 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
SOUND: 3D WAVE ON-BOARD 5.1 SOUND CARD
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
3194  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / What's Your Concept of Time Like? on: June 15, 2009, 11:51:31 PM
I started this topic on the Wanderers board, and was rather surprised at the responses, so I thought I'd go for a wider audience here and see what came up:

On the radio the other day, a girl called in and told a story of how her boyfriend had called her in the evening and told her he'd be over in about 20 minutes. I guess he was at a bar with some friends. Long story short, he never showed up or called or texted or whatever that night, so she became extremely worried and even called the police and hospitals during the night. Turned out nothing was wrong, he just lost track of time and got drunk with his buddies. She was of course furious, he thought is was no big deal.

As for me, I have always had an acute (some might say overally anal) sense of time. I've actually stopped wearing a watch to "loosen up" a bit. If I tell someone I'll meet them at X time, I'm generally there +/- 5 minutes, if not dead on time. I have a good friend who is always early, so we talk about this every so often. Because other than her, most the people I know tend to be much more "relaxed" about time. They tend to view being late as just a normal habit, or have little sense of it when they tell you something like "give me 5 minutes". I've always wondered if that's something internal/inherent to your personality/biology, or something you develop over time.

So what are you like?
3195  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 15, 2009, 11:45:57 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on June 12, 2009, 01:58:37 AM

It's not a penalty.  You want a new phone, pay the full price.  You signed a contract to get a discount.  You honestly don't have to sign a contract (you do have to agree to the terms of service), they just won't discount the phone.  But sweet merciful crap, IT'S NOT A GORRAM PENALTY!

You can go directly to Motorola or Nokia and buy phones directly from them, some that aren't even offered through the carriers.  AT&T stopped extending contracts for price plan changes over two years ago.  A discount on the phone is now the only reason the contract will be extended. 

I understand all of the logistics and the rules and the contracts, but I'm looking for some company to buck the trend and think a bit more progressively.  Maybe "penalty" is the wrong word, but the fact is, ignoring all those details, you are charging New Customer A one price, and charging Old Loyal Customer B a price $200 higher.  However you want to justify what that $200 means, it is costing, in the moment, $200 MORE for the same piece of hardware. 

What I'm saying is if I were running a company, I would want to think further than my bottom line at this one moment in time.  I would think about what it means to generate good will and customer loyalty, and perhaps challenge the standard rules.  I might offer a trade-in deal to my loyal customers, or a rebate, or offer a "warranty" that for a few dollars more per month, they could upgrade to a new version at the new customer price.  My priority would be to keep selling as much new hardware as possible (even at a temporary loss in some instances), keep my customers happy for as long as possible, and generate enough good will and good word of mouth that they would recommend me to other people.  For the long term, more hardware sales = more software sales, and longer contracts = more monthly fees to collect, both companies win.  Good word of mouth = more customers.  It's all win if you ask me, aside from the $200 my company may have to eat in the short term. 

Here's an example of how this sort of thing affects these companies.  This weekend my sister asked me if I'd be willing to take my parents from Verizon over to my AT&T account (she's presently paying for their cel phones) because Verizon limits their family plan to 5 people and she hit the max.  As an aside, I'm also paying my partner's cel on Verizon but that contract is over.  If I was 100% happy with AT&T/Apple and their upgrade policies, I very likely would have converted my partner over to AT&T with my old iPhone, and then moved my parents' accounts to AT&T as well.  Given my feelings now (I'm not mad, I just don't feel any desire or loyalty to dump extra money their way), I'd just as soon move my parents over to the Verizon account, and plan to leave AT&T as soon as Apple leaves them.  So there you go - the short term $200 they got from me today cost them potentially 3 new customers and 1 old customer, an untold thousands of dollars in monthly fees over the long term.

- - -

In 3GS news, got shipping info from UPS saying the unit shipped today from Shenzen, China! 
3196  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: NBA Playoffs 2009 on: June 15, 2009, 10:34:50 PM
Go Lakers!!!!  w00t!!!  Cheers to Kobe getting a well-deserved MVP recognition.

It's been a long 7 year wait, and so sweet to finally win it.  Yes I know we are spoiled in LA and demand NBA championships, but we deserve some leeway since we don't have a football team  icon_razz  This wait has been especially tough because after the loss in 2003(?) and Kobe's legal problems, Kobe almost leaving to the Clippers, etc - there were a couple years it felt like we weren't going to be contending again for a decade or more.  So to have it all happen almost miraculously with the arrival of Pau last year, the only thing sweeter would have been a win against Boston.   thumbsup

3197  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Grand Slam Tennis on: June 12, 2009, 05:06:30 PM
I suck bad enough without the nunchuck, so right now playing without it.  The one issue I notice with this is sometimes my guy  just doesn't react fast enough and doesn't even move close to where the ball is being hit, leaving me absolutely no chance to swing at it.  Also I don't know if you can really play a serve/volley type of game if you can't control the movement (maybe the D-pad moves you some?) and position of your player.
3198  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 12, 2009, 12:03:16 AM

Quote from: McNutt on June 11, 2009, 08:31:53 PM

rittchard, I think you answered your own question.  Apple's not doing anything in good faith and risking that you'll stick around because they don't have to.  Even with their current policy they have you doing their bidding.  It's win/win for them.  You're weak, brother!  WEAK!

Oh yeah I know I am totally weak  icon_biggrin  And I know that I could wait til next March and get the better pricing.  But I want my goodies NOW.  Not everyone is like me though, so they are taking a risk.  Also I've always been like this, it's not an Apple/iPhone exclusive feeling.  I think the whole 2-year lock thing is ridiculous.  The tech cycle is clearly much faster than this for phones/PDAs so it makes absolutely no sense to me.  There should be some sort of upgrade or trade-in process so that people who are prone to do so can upgrade in a natural cycle.  I mean in how many other product types are you left wanting to spend money on something sooner rather than later, but the companies want to penalize you to do so? 

From a business standpoint, I would think you would always want to do whatever it takes to keep selling hardware, and keep selling more hardware on a regular basis.  The more hardware you sell, the more service/fees and software you sell.  Lock your customers in with your products, not some cheesy contract.  Now if you can convince me they are truly selling all this hardware at a loss, well that might alter my opinion a bit.  But even still I'd be inclined to lose a little money at times to hold onto a customer's loyalty. 

Anyway, that's just me, I guess most people here are content with the 2-year upgrade cycles and service contracts.
3199  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Hangover on: June 11, 2009, 06:04:56 PM

Quote from: LoneStarSpur on June 09, 2009, 03:08:44 PM

Quote from: rittchard on June 08, 2009, 11:48:30 PM

But yes, definitely crude and rude and very nasty, so if you aren't into that kind of humor, you should probably stay away.

Thanks for the heads up. We loved the trailer, but if it's in the same category as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (which may have been the worst 40 minutes of movie I've ever seen), we'll give this a pass.

I think it was actually a lot cruder and ruder than Sarah Marshall actually  icon_cool  However, it was far far funnier, so I don't know if that helps or hurts.  I thought FSS was an OK movie, but it really wasn't very funny.  It was like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a straight up romcom or a pure comedy.  Knocked Up straddled the line much better IMHO, and ended up being both funnier and sweeter than FSS. 

Side note: that crazy Asian doctor from Knocked up almost steals the show in Hangover.  I read the guy is actually a real medical doctor and was doing standup on the side before he got the break in Knocked Up.
3200  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age is looking good! on: June 11, 2009, 05:56:46 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on June 11, 2009, 05:46:15 PM

I'm willing to keep an open mind. I would just worry that this new found emphasis on "blood and boobs" (confirmed by the almost literally blood-splattered official web site that requires you to enter your birthday year (not that anyone actually does that) is coming from EA and not from Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk and Co.

I haven't seen what all the fuss is about, but I don't get why people are acting like this is some shock/surprise or as BJ says a "new found emphasis".  From the earliest announcements of Dragon Age, Bioware specifically said they were going for a deeper, darker, more adult-themed universe.  They specifically indicated one of their inspirations was Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, and anyone who's read that knows that it is plenty "bloody and boobs." 
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