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3201  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Do you tip the car wash cleaning guy? on: March 11, 2010, 06:30:39 PM

Quote from: Brendan on March 11, 2010, 04:04:53 AM

Like any other job where you hire someone to perform a service, it's appropriate to tip based on the cost. If you're paying $20 for a car wash, a $4 tip is appropriate.  If I pay $150 for a full detail, I'll tip 30 bucks.

This sounds right to me.

In the same vein, how much do you tip for a haircut?  I go to Supercuts and they bumped the price to $15.  I used to tip $3 when the cut was $13-14.  But now that it's $15 it feels awkward asking for change for $20 to not give a $5 tip. 
3202  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 11, 2010, 06:28:05 PM

Quote from: Toe on March 11, 2010, 01:33:11 PM

We saw Kara crying and mumbling something about her not being able to have kids and were like wth?

Obviously the producers have decided to step it up by giving her Paula's cup and whatever delightful concoction was inside of it.
3203  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 11, 2010, 06:23:44 PM

Quote from: Brendan on March 11, 2010, 04:30:55 PM

Quote from: rittchard on March 11, 2010, 03:45:46 PM

And with jailbreaking in place, you are equally free (ultimately) to run whatever software/apps you want to as well.

Huh?  With every OS update, Apple attempts to prevent jailbreaking from working.  AFAIK, it works for my 3G, but not my wife's 3GS (unless she wanted to have to tether her device to the PC every single time she rebooted it.)

I haven't actually tried to jailbreak in ages, but it seems like every time I see a new OS release, soon after I see a "jailbreak" message.  Here's one from last July:

- - -

On the 4:3 I definitely think it's a smart compromise.  I think the intention with the iPad is to really mimic the size/shape of a "pad" of paper (thus the name choice as well) from a look/feel standpoint.  Staying closer to a 8.5x11 ratio gives a much more familiar form factor for reading, and I think it will be most appreciated in the browser, and for reading magazines and books.  When you go to a widescreen ratio, the portrait mode ends up with a long and skinny factor that is actually kind of awkward.  HD video will suffer somewhat but I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff in the long run.
3204  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: March 11, 2010, 06:16:24 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 11, 2010, 04:35:40 PM

Quote from: LoneStarSpur on March 11, 2010, 04:16:49 PM

Seeing Ben turned into a sniveling, whining, begging groveling-for-acceptance shell of his former self was just disgusting.

I wouldn't put it past him to be faking it.  right now I'm expecting both him and Sayid to do a 180 when it's convenient for them.

Ben is broken, most of the people I've talked to think his core story arc is just about done and really the character is not much more than a tool at this point.  Likely he will end up sacrificing himself to save one of the real "heroes" to gain some redemption.  I was on the fence, I loved his performance in general but the last scene of him just wanting to be included with the "cool kids" was too over the top for me.  Still I'd say this wasn't too much of a surprise, the entire last season broke Ben down, he has pretty much been heading down this path ever since he let Alex die, so this last episode you could say served as some sort of closure for that plotline.  There's still some of the old Ben left in him but Jacob and Smokey and now Jordin Sparks seem like they've pretty much beat it out of him. 

Let's face it, the Ben character was *always* a "groveling for acceptance" type, it's just now that he's out of power it's manifesting differently.  As a child, he tried to win his dad's acceptance to no avail, and then at Dharma betrays them for the Others trying to get Richard and the Others' acceptance.  As leader of the Others, he tries to get Jacob's approval, also to no avail.  He falls for Juliet and tries to get her to love him, even killing off (literally) his competition, but always to no avail.  Just because he could be tough and ruthless, cool and calculating, and lied like no other, it doesn't mean he wasn't always the ultimate pathetic character wanting to be accepted. 
3205  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 11, 2010, 06:19:43 AM

Quote from: SkyLander on March 10, 2010, 11:43:16 PM

Stuff like this:

Basically it comes down to the idea, for me anyway, I paid for this piece of hardware. Ultimately I should get to choose what I put on it. If I want some crapware shit that totally destroys it, brings it to a halt then so be it. I decided to put it on. It's the thing that Apple ultimately decides, not me. So I have to bend what I put on my phone to Apples will and that bugs me. Like all the great apps that are out for jailbroken iPhones. Like multitasking, being able to put more information on the lock screen, changing the background in springboard. Why is that not allowed in the app store? That to be to able to do things that I think would benefit me I would have to crack into my own phone to be able to do it? Being contractually bound to ATT, fine, I can kind of understand that. But at the end I payed for the phone, I'm not renting it.

And it will be the same with the iPad you are limited by what Apple says you can do with the device. I guess it's bad that I think since phones and tablets are getting to be as powerful as desktops that you should have the freedom to put on that device what you can with a desktop. If someone makes something for it you should be able to access it. Instead you have to go through the land that is Apples unknown policies to get it on there.

I definitely see and understand your viewpoint on this.  There have been times I would have liked a more open environment for the iPhone and early on I used to jailbreak to get a few additional features.  At this point though I'm pretty satisfied with all the apps available (particularly the games) so I'm more or less OK living in Apple's world.  If missing out on some things is the price to pay for having a more or less stable/predictable system, I guess I'm willing to go with it.  Even as is, my iPhone will occasionally crash or lock out and I really have low tolerance for crashing on my phone.  I would likely put up with the same thing on my PC if it meant reducing crashes/viruses etc. and I don't see this as much different than Xbox Live or the PS or Wii stores.

As for censorship of particular content (e.g. porn), though I'm never a fan of censorship I don't see this as any different than TV networks, radio stations, stores, online stores, etc all censoring to some degree or another what content they choose to offer their audience.  And ultimately they are censoring what they are selling in their store (which they have every right to), not what's actually on your device.  I can put as much porn as I want on my iPhone/iPod, there's no one stopping me.  And with jailbreaking in place, you are equally free (ultimately) to run whatever software/apps you want to as well.
3206  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 11, 2010, 06:01:02 AM
Boys turn again!

Lee - opens with the recent surprise technopop hit Fireflies, but stripped down without all the electronica.  A weird but interesting choice, it could have gone totally awry but Lee manages to pull it off with his more soulful raspy singing halfway decently.  It should be enough to carry him into the 12.  I still can't tell if he is honestly nervous up there or not, because he still seems really jittery and lacking in confidence.

Alex - man oh man I am really starting to fall in love with his voice.  Singing Trouble, he does an overall decent job but really it's his voice that's just so distinctive.  Again he's the male Siobhan to me, the most interesting and distinctive voice in the group - not necessarily a frontrunner but someone I'd love to listen to.  Like Lee he still seems nervous, but unlike Lee he seems more genuine to me.  Who am I kidding, I love them both.

Tim - speaking of love, it's a power trifecta with my 3 guys back to back to back.  Risky choice with Hallelujah but our boy actually pulls it off well enough.  With a really decent heartfelt acoustic performance plus those gorgeous baby blues looking into the camera, he may just have a chance to make it into the 12.

Andrew - wow how the mighty have fallen.  Like the early girl's favorite, the guy's favorite is tanking quick.  Smelling of total desperation, he tries to recapture "Straight Up" by choosing an even sluttier pop girl, Christina - "Genie in the Bottle".  Yikes.  It's good in theory but really reaching ultimately.  His rendition is decent but when he gets to the slutty sexually charged chorus things start to get extremely uncomfortable.  You gotta rub me the right way?  Egad I am getting totally creeped out and Andrew is looking even more and more like my lesbian friend each week.  But she would have had enough self respect to not refer to herself as a genie in the bottle.

Casey - decent but kind of boring country song.  I think he'll be fine with the cougar vote though.

Aaron - singing "I'm already there" - sorry kid you really aren't.  Pitchy and kind of weak performance, he's going to need some strong tween voting to keep him going.  He does some decent power belting which the audience loves and he's actually decent working the camera. 

Todrick - singing Queen's Somebody to Love - a surefire crowd pleaser as we learned in Glee recently.  He doesn't butcher it the way he's done all competition long, so I'd say this is his best performance.  Pretty bold move and he does some decent gospel singing.  Simon calls it Hollywood-show like and I agree it may just have saved him.

Big Mike - closes the night with Maxwell's This Woman's Work - I'm not familiar with the song but Big Mike is singing really really good and he moves great on stage for such a big guy.  Big note near the end - you go guy!!  He loses some of the falsetto at the end but it's a pretty sweet performance all in all.  OMG Kara is in tears - I think they finally fed her whatever drugs Paula was taking.  I love it!  Easy move to the 12 and he suddenly looks like a contender. 

So who goes?  It's so tough to say, I have no idea who has strong voting blocks with these guys.  Based only on tonight's performance I would dump Aaron and Andrew.  But my guess is both these guys have voting blocks that will support them through anything.   Based on the 3 weeks, I'd dump Todrick and Andrew but something tells me there's no way they'll allow Andrew to not make the 12.  This bodes poorly for my Timmy who had such a horrible first week.  I really don't know who's gonna go this week, should be interesting.  I need to get voting!
3207  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24, Season 8 discussion (there are spoiler tags for a reason) on: March 10, 2010, 07:29:56 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on March 10, 2010, 12:05:39 AM

Quote from: PaulBot on March 09, 2010, 11:48:15 PM

You weak minded people don't get it. Go ahead, leave the fold. You'll regret it when Jack drags your mother into the nuclear blast radius.

Yah, and that's after he makes her clean up the mess you made. That cracked me up - "Look into my eyes!"  eek

I have to admit I never get tired of watching Kiefer threaten people, it's just so entertaining!
3208  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 10, 2010, 07:11:14 AM
Katie - looking weaker and weaker every week, former frontrunner needs to rev up quick or she won't go far.  singing a Kelly Clarkson hit should be a no-brainer but she manages to mess it up.  Should have gone with "My life would suck without you" - more upbeat and easier to sing, better crowd pleaser etc.

Siobhan - reminds me of Alex on the other side, but more interesting and quirky vs. his cute vulnerability.  She kind of reminded me of Sinead O connor vocally which is good.  I loved the opening a capella too.

Blondie - good song choice but performance was way off.  it looked like she was faking the piano

Pinkhair - she picked the perfect song for her voice and singing style, maybe enough to buy a spot in the 12?

Didi - Rhiannon a la Ingrid Michaelson.  Odd that Simon gives her props this time but dogged her when she did Ingrid directly.  Oh well.  I love the sound of her voice but I don't see her going far.  She doesn't seem anywhere near as versatile as I'd imagined.

Paige - done

Crystal - more and more looking like the one to beat.  Pretty much flawless performance.  Longer term it will be interesting to see how she fares with theme nights, that could get tough for her but who knows.

Lilly - they should have closed with Crystal again but oh well.  I liked it OK but she kind of creeps me out and the song was kind of creepy for me too.  Didn't they use that in a video game commercial recently?  Was it Bioshock?

Probably Paige and Pinkhair will go, but based on tonight's performances maybe Paige and Blondie.
3209  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Teen Angst, Japanese Style. The FFXIII Impressions Thread. on: March 09, 2010, 09:34:24 PM
Can someone comment on the save system?  It always drives me nuts when you have to make it through long sections of content before you reach a save, particularly at the outset.
3210  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24, Season 8 discussion (there are spoiler tags for a reason) on: March 09, 2010, 09:31:22 PM

Quote from: Huw the Poo on March 09, 2010, 09:11:07 PM

...and I'm out.  It's getting too painful.  I've given it enough chances but 24 is dead to me now.  I'll always have the first three series...

It's ironic(?) or just a coincidence but when I scanned the thread titles it looked like "24 Season 8 hits Rock Bottom" but I had just transposed the Lindsay Lohan thread title into this one lol.  Still with last night's resurrection of the Starbuck plot from hell, this might be a true statement.

The commercial for next week was so desperate that they actually TELL you exactly when there will be a big twist in the plot lol.  So you might want to give it just one more week/chance to impress you. 

I'm still hoping at 3:52, the twist is that Starbuck is a CYLON!!!!  At 3:53 Freddie Prinze becomes a VAMPIRE!!!!  The 2 of them team up with that guy they killed who will re-emerge as a ZOMBIE at 3:55!!!!  The Unholy Alliance of a Cylon/Vampire/Zombie will only be taken out when Jack teams up with (at 3:59) Special Guest Star Sarah Michelle Gellar reprising her role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Cue the music!  Cue the timer clock countdown, beep beep beep!
3211  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24, Season 8 discussion (there are spoiler tags for a reason) on: March 09, 2010, 09:26:39 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 09, 2010, 06:07:30 PM

Personally, I'm fascinated by CTU's attempts to shove a 16 year old high school student into Freddie Prinze's role after Chico's kid decides to go hillbilly huntin'.  I call the little guy "Agent Junior".  I actually thought he was going to start crying during his talk with Jack last week.  

"what'ya mean the bad men are gonna hurt us, uncle jack?  did i do something wrong?  i don't understand?" <now sobbing>

But he's so cuuuuuuuuute!!!!   crybaby
3212  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 09, 2010, 12:43:16 AM

Quote from: Fireball1244 on March 08, 2010, 04:41:00 PM

I've decided on the 32GB model, to replace the iPhone I've had to abandon (sob!). Waver between WiFi and 3G. I'm leaning towards a WiFi, with the plan of getting a Verizon Mobile MiFi device at the end of the year. That's not "tethering," as it looks and works just like any other WiFi network, so the iPad should be able to jump onto that. If the 3G were $50 more, I'd have no second thoughts. For some reason, going above $100 more gives me qualms.

It's annoying that it's both $130 more AND a hefty monthly fee for 3G.  Now granted people are saying $30/month unlimited is a good deal but if you're already paying that for your iPhone it's questionable whether it makes sense.  For now I'm sticking with the theory that for full on-the-go purposes I'll just stick with 3G on the iPhone.
3213  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie] The Hurt Locker on: March 09, 2010, 12:39:09 AM

Quote from: leo8877 on March 08, 2010, 03:27:59 PM

I was shocked this won over Avatar.  I saw Hurt Locker and didn't think it deserved to win best picture.

Shouldn't have been too much of a shock.  Whatever your opinion of Avatar was, it lacked nominations in any acting or screenplay categories, which is generally a very bad sign to take it all.  I didn't see The Hurt Locker but it seemed to be a clear favorite based on the nomination structure.

Sorry if this was covered before but one thing I read about was the actual selection process on Best Movie.  Basically instead of a straight ballot form, voters would rank the movies 1 to 10, and then they'd eliminate a certain amount of movies and then re-do it.  I didn't understand the logic but essentially the analysis was that it would give an advantage to less polarizing choices in that a movie didn't necessarily need to be #1 on everyone's vote to win.  That same analysis predicted Hurt Locker would win because of this, i.e. Avatar may have more #1 votes but also more low votes.
3214  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Official Review] God of War III - Monday, March 8th on: March 08, 2010, 06:59:15 PM
Sigh, that review is going to cost me $60!!!

If I haven't played the first 2, will I be missing a lot in terms of the storyline? 
3215  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dawntide on: March 08, 2010, 06:52:55 PM
I just got in over the weekend - so far, ummm, no comment.  thumbsdown
3216  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 08, 2010, 02:41:49 AM

Quote from: msduncan on March 07, 2010, 03:07:45 PM

I am still agonizing over which iPad to preorder.  

I've all but decided to get the Wifi only version.     Even though Jobs recently said 'No tethering' on the iPad.

But what size to get?    16GB is not enough space.     32GB might be enough space.    64GB you can never get enough space, but do I get this much knowing I'll probably upgrade to 2nd Gen in a couple years?

Really depends on your media and primary usage I'd say.  Are you going to travel a lot?  Put a lot of media on it?  If you like to have a lot of video on it (as I found recently on my iPhone, even just a few movies and TV shows will use it up all quick), probably a no-brainer to get the max.  Also consider we don't know what kind of games will come out in the next year or so, so it might be best to play it safe and go big.

Personally I think 16GB is enough for me since my primary usage will be at home accessing media from home servers.  But because of the X-factor of new games/apps I will likely get the 64GB.
3217  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 08, 2010, 02:34:14 AM
First TV ad aired during the Oscars, very sweet!
3218  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Tablet PCs on: March 05, 2010, 10:05:03 PM
Here are 2 Windows 7 Based Tablets:

I've heard from reliable sources that the Lenovo X200 series tablets are excellent (1.4GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM).  But pricing starts at $1400 without an SSD.

On the cheap end, Archos PCtablet 9 costs $550 using essentially baseline Netbook hardware (1.1GHz Atom, 1GB RAM), also no SSD.

- - -

And of course as was mentioned in Off Topic, Apple's iPad (1GHz A4 Processor) will be released 4/3.  But to make it clear, it's NOT a true Tablet PC, it's a... PAD thingy icon_razz
3219  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 05, 2010, 07:20:34 PM
OK for the boys, only one of the Butchers remain, and sadly there is no powerhouse Korean voting block to save John Park.  On the ladies side, we lost Michelle (not really sure why) and of course Haeley.  Of course you might be tempted to play the racist card/theory after looking at this week's losers. 

Next week it's time to really shore things up.  I don't think my boy Tim can last another week, and the second butcher has to go.  On the girl's side, really tough call on the second one, but Pinkhair has to go.  Maybe Didi unless she can do a spectacular recovery. 
3220  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad/ iSlate / iThingie? on: March 05, 2010, 07:16:09 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 05, 2010, 07:03:41 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 05, 2010, 07:01:30 PM

I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one I don't need one

No one needs one.

I actually do.  If I don't get one soon my head is going to explode.   saywhat
3221  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: March 05, 2010, 07:15:22 PM
Another fun ep - it's amazing to see just how good a "leader" Rob can be at challenges.  It seems to me like the whole villain tribe would have crumbled into dust without him and the whole show would have been pretty horrible.  Instead we get to see the "heroes" tear themselves apart which makes for pretty interesting dynamics.  I was sad to Cirie go (primarily for entertainment value), but for once it was definitely one of the smarter moves made in the game.  She seems to have some weird way of just sitting there chatting you up and then completely changing people's minds even if they were already made up.  I have no doubt Cirie could and would have taken out my personal favorite JT as soon as she needed to.  Of course now JT has thrown himself into a precarious position balancing between 2 alliances, and that does not bode well for him long-term.  I really don't see him having much of a chance sadly.  Between multiple alliances and all the scrambling he's done, not to mention being a previous winner, it just doesn't look good for him.  Then again, the season he won I kept thinking someone should get rid of him and they never did, so who knows.

On the villains side, I don't think Russell can last much longer.  I almost wonder if Rob would throw a challenge just to dump Russell.  And WTF happened to Crybaby Coach?  Dragonslayer?  It's more like TearShedder.  I actually find him incredibly amusing this time around.  The crying, the desperate begging for man-hugs and attention from Rob, good lord it's like having a 4 year old on the team. 
3222  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: March 05, 2010, 07:06:08 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on March 04, 2010, 06:38:22 PM

That's an interesting thought.  It also occurred to me that Sayid seems to be the only one they've shown so far that is consistent in both realities.  Except now he seems fully committed in the island reality.  His motives still seem good in both realities, but his actions...he's a killer. 

I was kind of cheering for smokemonster when he ripped through the temple, cleaning house.  The Others were a bit too overconfident about the rules.  They should have known that the rules had already changed.  Lockemonster even warns them about this via Sayid. 

Why didn't Kate tell Claire that her son was with her mother?  That seemed dumb.  Wouldn't that be the first thing she would tell her?  Claire, your son is with your mom!  He's ok.  Her explanation seemed like a convenient plot device to bring out the crazy mommy wrath of Claire.  Which of course I'm looking forward to seeing.

I made the exact same comment about Kate and Claire - you'd think that would be the most important detail.  I argued with a friend over this detail.  Still, I think the writers intended Claire to be over the top crazy so it wouldn't matter either way, but from a "detail" perspective it seems to me the first thing she should have said is he's with your mom.  I mean if I had a baby I'd want to know who he was with more so than anything else.

I likewise cheered for Smokey and Evil Sayid the whole time.  The Others have been way too smug from day one, and the whole capture/torture/branding thing really doesn't make me feel like they are the "Good" side.

On Sayid, yeah I think the whole point was really just to show, good or "evil" Sayid is a killer, regardless of how good or selfish his motivations might be.  It's just in his nature, and perhaps that's why upon judgment he tilts toward the evil side.  Of course if you go with this theory, it's hard to explain how/why Claire was taken to the dark side.  And I'm likewise not sure how that plays is both Sawyer and Kate decide to side with him.

At this point it's kind of sad because on the other team all they have is Jack, Hurley, Jordin Sparks, maybe Sun and Jin, Lawnmower Man, Miles (?), and Ben (?), possibly Jacob's ghost.  This is really not the Dream Team to save the world I would have imagined lol.  I suppose they only need one "candidate" to take over though to contain Smokey.  If I had to bet I'd say it's Sawyer who makes the ultimate heroic sacrifice and becomes the protector (Jack seems too obvious). Maybe he's playing a long long con against Smokey and of course still has to sacrifice for Kate. 
3223  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 04, 2010, 06:21:28 PM
Girl's night was weird for me.  There wasn't anything that stood out much good or bad.  I kind of liked everything, but was really not excited by anyone enough to bother voting. 

Crystal was great - I didn't know the song so it probably lost some points for me there but she definitely seemed like a frontrunner while performing.  The problem I see for her is that longer term if she isn't willing to compromise somewhat she may not be able to win the while thing.  Definitely one to watch.

Didi I thought really blew it with Lean on Me - I like what she was trying to do, but it just didn't work.  If she was set on going that route, she really needed to play it even more up-tempo and get the crowd more involved.  Lean on Me can be a real crowd pleaser but her version just wasn't.  I think she's in danger of being booted this week.

Katie made a move in the right direction but I thought it was still a poor choice for her.  Put Your Records On is actually one of my favorite songs, but it just seemed a bit weird on her.  I think what the judges are trying to push her toward is something like Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, maybe Taylor Swift.  There's a song on the radio playing a lot on pop stations called "According to You" which I think would be perfect for her.  I also think she could take a Taylor Swift song and maybe make it a bit more soulful or rockful; Taylor Swift is not a strong singer so someone with good vocal talent should be able to do a good version of one of her songs.

Pinkhair did a nice sweet version of Kiss Me but I think she may be about done.  Just nothing to stand out except for the hair.  I liked what Michelle(?) chose to do by turning a Creed(?) song into a Whitney-esque diva ballad, but ultimately I thought she failed to deliver any big diva-esque notes.  I also liked that Paige picked a Kelly Clarkson song, but sadly she chose one of her worst songs (clearly to brown-nose Kara).  It was just OK.  I can't remember what Lilly did but I thought it was pretty good.  I do remember the blond girl looked really cute and did a Coldplay song on the piano.  I think I fell asleep sadly during that but she did a decent job.  I thought it was interesting Simon asking her about the Natasha Bedingfield version, because it really seemed to be a clone of that.  The last girl (Siobhan) did a pretty awesome screech and I was impressed and scared by "the note" - I think that alone will drive her into the 12.  I think I'm forgetting someone but that probably doesn't say much for whoever it was I forgot.

All in all I can see why Simon seems to be getting more and more impatient and frustrated.  They spend all this time picking all this talent but once it gets to the competition it can all be wasted if the contestants continue to make poor choices.  I'm sure he can't wait for X-Factor where he can directly get involved and help choose the songs and arrangements, and really I don't blame him.  With some of these people you really wonder where they are getting their ideas on what to pick and how to arrange.

All that said, not really sure who will go tonight - probably Pinkhair, but other than not I'm not sure.
3224  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24, Season 8 discussion (there are spoiler tags for a reason) on: March 03, 2010, 07:10:27 PM
Yeah even though I'm still glued to the TV watching, I'd have to say thus far this season just seems like a patchwork mash of past seasons, and not even necessarily a good choice of things to copy.   I could swear they did the exact same "release fake news"/hospital set up in a prior season, with similar results.  The Scooby/Starbuck plot is horrible, they need to end it quick.  Maybe bring in Buffy to slay Starbuck (who is revealed to be a Cylon AND a vampire) and take Freddie off the show.

Oddly enough my favorite scene in this season was when the CTU head convinces Jack to "finish" the whole plotline.  And then Jack "symbolically" moves his patented man-purse strap from the side of his shoulder to crossover to the other shoulder, indicating he is IN.  Only Jack Bauer could make a man-purse seem so cool and use the man-purse strap in his "acting".  I actually ordered one from Amazon after that, I want to practice that move in the mirror so I can do that at work the next time my boss asks me to take a new assignment.   icon_razz
3225  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 03, 2010, 07:05:19 PM

Quote from: coopasonic on March 03, 2010, 02:26:46 PM

I can see why you'd like Tim, but he's useless to me and reminds me of Sanjaya.  saywhat

Oh he's clearly a mediocre singer with little stage presence, but that's what makes him fun!  Actually I think in this case Ellen was spot on, he'd do better in a show like Glee where he could just be cute and sing occasionally.  In fact maybe he should take a clue from that and sing "Don't Stop Believing" next week.  As for Sanjaya, I couldn't stand him, but sadly I think Sanjaya had a better stage presence than Tim, and it did make for great "train wreck" TV viewing.

Also agree with your comment on Garcia - the Straight Up thing is done, so either he was a one trick pony and needs to go soon, or he's saving gas in the tank for the long haul.  Will be interesting to see.
3226  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: March 03, 2010, 06:59:11 PM

Quote from: LoneStarSpur on March 03, 2010, 03:59:44 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on March 03, 2010, 02:33:11 PM

Opinions?  I kept saying "Poor Dogen, he didn't deserve that."  Also, Sayid finally goes down the path we expected him to, unfortunately.

I guess I'm going to be the last one saying "f the Others...they're getting everything they deserve!"  icon_lol

What really, really, really (really to infinity) irritates me is what they've done with Locke. The one guy who felt the Island was special, the cripple-turned-hunter, one of the greatest characters in TV history and they had him brutally murdered by a psychopath who committed mass murder because he was mad at Daddy. And now they've turned him into the face of "evil incarnate'.

That truly sucks and I can't believe the writers would do that. That's the main reason I'm holding out hope that Smokey has his reasons.

Oh, and my wife and I turned to each other and said "Bullshit!" about the teaser: "We and only show you two seconds because of all the questions we're answering!" I think we were right.  icon_lol

Anyway, it was a good episode. Do. not. fuck. with. Sayid.

Hehe, I was cheering for Smokey and the Bandits all the way.  Psycho Claire, Sayid, Lockemonster - this is the team to beat!!!! 

I think the writers still have big plans for Locke, I don't think you'll be disappointed in the long run, but I could be totally wrong.
3227  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: March 03, 2010, 06:38:23 AM
Weird night with Crystal's illness forcing (?) a switcheroo with the boys performing first.  Also weird is how many of the contestants look nervous and plead stage fright or inexperience.  After 2 years with the likes of David A and Cook, then Adam, Gokey and Kris, we've been accustomed to consummate professionals on stage.  Archie was shy but you never got the sense he was nervous while singing, it was all pro.  Contrast to this year's star boys who all seem like they are close to crying on stage.  It's refreshing in some ways but disturbing in others.  Onward!

Big Mike - opens the show well.  No complaints here though I thought the judges were a bit over the top with praise.  He's a sure thing for the Top 12 with a good voice, good stage performance, good nickname and good story.  After that, I think he can ride into maybe the top half of the pack.

Korean Guy - as much as I'd like to see an Asian do well in the competition, sometimes it just isn't meant to be.  I thought he did better than last week but his stage charisma just isn't there.  I hope there's a big Korean voting block out there to help him or I think he'll be toast before the Top 12.

Alex Lambert - I'm calling him my dark horse for this year in the Kris Allen spot.  He is absolutely adorable (mullet and all), has a very interesting voice and strong vocal talent, his shyness and nervous schtick feel genuine, and it would be a great developing story to see him blossom, gain confidence and get better and better each week.  He's almost like an anti-Glambert which is interesting since they share the same last name.

Jermaine and Rodrick - I wish both of these guys would go.  They keep butchering good songs with weird runs and bad vocals.  Please make them leave NOW!  I will nickname them the Butcher Twins.

Casey - loved his guitar work, but the vocals were just good on a song "I Don't Wanna Be" which seems to be sung every frickin season.  I love the song but enough is enough, how many ways can we hear it.  He's stiff on stage aside from the guitar play.  Should get him a pass and I think he'll make the 12.

Aaron Kelley - yet another rendition of My Girl, I'm not sure why contestants keep choosing this song.  He does an OK job with a few minor change ups.  I think the tweens will keep him going into the 12.

Andrew Garcia - is it me or does he get creepier each week?  I hate to say this but he reminds me of this tough lesbian friend of mine from way back.  Sadly this is not a good thing.  The song choice was poor and his singing was weaker than I remembered.  I don't know if he is playing strategically and saving his better stuff for later or what.  Because if this is his capability there's no way he can win.

My boy Tim - sporting a tight pretty pink shirt, I think he knows what audience to pander to.  Apparently Simon buys it too as he's the only one to give him praise.  It could be a reverse psychology tactic, though, as Simon has done in the past to VFTW contestants.  I thought he was pretty good all in all, at least better than the Butcher Twins.

Lee - he's still one of my personal favorites, and I now liken him to a blend of Danny Gokey and Elliott Yamin, but with prettier blue eyes.  Why is he so nervous all the time?  Is he faking it?  Something about it seems a little disingenuous, as I believe he's recorded songs before, which I gather to mean he's performed in front of audiences before.  Either way I'd like to trade him into the final in place of Andrew.

My ideal Final 6 boys: Lee, Alex, Tim, Casey, Andrew and Big Mike

and Ideal Final 4: Lee, Alex, Didi and Katie
3228  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Chuck Season 3 discussion (spoilers!!!) on: March 02, 2010, 06:06:32 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 02, 2010, 05:54:10 PM

At this point I'd just as soon they either let them BE a couple, and see where the storylines go from there, or just break them completely and push the show past the "Chuck and Sarah pining for each other, going nowhere" background plot, which I just don't think is going to keep working as the show's foundation if they hope to extend the show to 4, 5, 6 seasons.

agreed on this!  Given the way they've written the characters, it makes the most sense to just get them together and see where it goes from there.  As we've seen on The Office, you *can* put a couple together that fans want together and still write plenty of funny, touching, dramatic, etc stories for them.  Watching Chuck and Sam (not sure what I think about the name) navigate being spies and being a couple at the same time could be a pretty fun show.  They'd have all the problems that normal couples have, but amplified due to their careers and working together every day.  I think these guys can pull it off, but are just scared to take that step.
3229  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Netflix sent me the movie Gamer. I regret my actions. on: March 01, 2010, 07:05:26 PM
I thought I reviewed this somewhere not too long ago, but oh well.  I didn't hate it, but I'm a big fan of Gerard Butler so I'll pretty much watch anything he's in.  I also enjoy Logan Lerman (that's Percy Jackson) but he didn't get to do much.

This is another movie (like Surrogates) where I thought the concept was intriguing and the cast was good, but the overall elements were mishmashed by what felt like a bunch of different factions pushing the movie one way or another.
3230  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: March 01, 2010, 06:58:31 PM

Quote from: Aganazer on March 01, 2010, 02:03:58 PM

Quote from: Tals on March 01, 2010, 01:38:02 PM

do the quests work as intended to have consequence and meaning?

More than any game I have played. I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time accepting that quests will fail occasionally even if you're doing everything right. Those failures can lead to escalating activity in parts of the dungeon which can lead to town attacks that can eventually cause you to lose a town. Over the years we have gotten accustomed to only seeing failure when we are doing something wrong. That isn't the case in DC. Failure is a part of the game. I tried to get my best friend into the game, but the occasional failed quest turned him off so much that he stopped playing. It can make you feel rushed, especially at first when you want to take the time to explore the game mechanics. Its really just a matter of accepting that you might lose a town occasionally and that its okay to do so. The only real difference between a failed town and a saved town is that you get a chest full of loot at the end.

I think this is an area where the game could use a jolt of that elusive "polish" we were joking about earlier in the thread.  The failures don't bother me so much in and of themselves, but what does bother me is that as you mention there is a feeling of "rush" when quests keep popping and failing in the background.  Or when you happen on some guy in the middle of a level who has a rescue quest but also 10 mobs on him, so you're almost set up to fail (unless you have a healer in which case you have a chance to save him).  I've also come across a couple of boss kill quests where the boss never spawned on the level it was supposed to be at - unless it could possibly have moved to another level on its own?  That would be cool but... inconvenient lol.  In general when quests pop I just accept them until I'm full and then head in, I often don't even read the text similar to the way I play many MMORPGs.  All I look for is Kill X or get X and what level.

So while I appreciate the random nature of the quests, personally to achieve the feeling of "consequence and meaning" for an NPC quest or quest line, I think the overall flow needs to be slowed down, or perhaps more linked quests should be created.  I think ideally I'd prefer fewer overall randomized quests, but longer quest lines that lead into each other and give you more of a sense of attachment to an NPC or 2.  Like: Quest 1 you save NPC.  Quest 2 NPC asks you to Kill X to clear a path to the next level.  Quest 3 NPC asks you to save his beloved on the next level.  Quest 4 NPC asks you to collect 10x diamonds for his beloved.  Quest 5 he asks you to kill a boss who has his beloved's tiara.  Maybe if you fail Quest 3, he asks you to avenge her or something like that.
3231  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 28, 2010, 02:13:29 AM

Quote from: EddieA on February 27, 2010, 08:43:26 AM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 26, 2010, 06:47:41 PM

I liked it when Hurley told off the temple boss.  I'm a candidate, go back to your temple.  Essentially, I know who I am, you are dismissed. 

"Why don't you go back to the courtyard?"  - I loved that line smile  I also like how they have Hurley voice the viewers' thoughts, like when he commented about the skeletons in the cave, one of the favorite speculation topics for Lost fans.

We can already see the two realities merging, as seen by Jack's scar.  Despite having the appendectomy as a child, the scar was from the surgery performed on the island.  So far, they've set up everything off the island as opposite of what's happening on the island.  Jack fixing something vs. breaking everything, Kate and Claire as friends vs. enemies, and Locke accepting his situation and finding happiness vs. railing against fate and finding misery and loneliness.  It will be very interesting to see how the two merge.

I'm not convinced they are going to "merge" - I almost wonder if the "candidate" (most likely Jack, possibly Hurley) will have to choose between the 2 realities, knowing that if he decides to stay to protect the island, the other reality where things are "fixed" will never exist.  Otherwise it's not much of a heroic sacrifice?
3232  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Hawaii Five-O is returning on: February 28, 2010, 02:09:35 AM
I read the lead is Alex O' Loughlin (sp?) - the lead vampire from Moonlight.  He is absolutely a gorgeous guy, possibly the best looking guy on TV IMHO, but hasn't had much luck with his TV career as of yet, though it's obvious people love him considering how quickly he gets work.  He was recently on a medical show (involving heart transplants) that tanked.  Hopefully the producers will be smart enough to get him with his shirt off as quickly and often as possible because I think a lot of his fans lost patience with that medical show pretty quick.
3233  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 27, 2010, 05:13:36 AM

Quote from: Toe on February 27, 2010, 02:10:57 AM

I am amazed that katie is a front runner. I just am not seeing any star power in her at all. Maybe she will impress me in the next rounds, but so far I think she in the bottom half of the girls in terms of all-around talent.

I don't remember exactly why but the first time I saw her in the initial auditions I just thought to myself she seemed like a great candidate to win it all.  Not one particular thing but kind of the total package. She really reminded me of young Dawson's Creek-era Katie Holmes, but with a strong, controlled voice - all at the age of 17.  Every performance from then on she seemed to impress me less and less, but I still can see her doing well with the right song selections.  

- - -

In other random AI news, VFTW is pulling out all the stops for their candidate Tim Urban.  The one mistake in their article is that they should be attracting more than just the tween girl fanbase  icon_wink
3234  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 26, 2010, 11:19:02 PM
Holy mud bashing!  The "heroes" absolutely trounced and de-moralized our poor villains in the challenge.  I guess as long as it comes down to brute strength/physical force, the heroes will win.  This is kind of sucky as the producers can pretty much control it by their choice of challenge.  Still it was a blast to watch.  I was hoping for some dirtier play by the villains but they barely got to do anything before each one lost.

Not sad to see Randy go, but I don't like that Parvati is being targetted so early.  She's hilarious with her slutty flirting.  There's a couple villain girls I'm not familiar with, I'd sooner dump them first just because they are boring.  In an ideal show, I'd want Boston Rob, Coach, Russell, Parvati and Jerri all going to the merger just for more sparks.
3235  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 26, 2010, 11:14:18 PM
Last night's results show was hilarious.  The group number was absolute torture to watch.  The girls were OK, but watching the boys sing "I'm liking this American Boy" was just mean-spirited lol.  Some of the guys seemed awkward, others absolutely horrified and not knowing what to do with themselves.  Funny stuff if you like torture.

Results for the girls was a little weird.  They put Katie up with one of the dumpees - are they deliberately trying to mess with people?  Dialidol indicated she was the clear girl #1 and of the 3 I voted for hers was the only busy signal I got.  She seemed genuinely nerve-wracked, maybe the producers were messing with her in particular for some unknown reason.  And then in the second round they had Didi with the eliminated girl.  Now Didi I'm not sure about, was she simply #2 or was she actually near the bottom? Personally she's my favorite, but that really doesn't mean much.  I was disappointed the Landslide chick didn't go, but whatever.  Plenty of fodder this season.

For the boys, absolute hilarity ensued when my boy Tim Urban made it through.  He looked like he wanted to run down and tell Ryan there was a mistake.  He is the Vote for the Worst choice and he's pretty damn cute, I think that was enough to get him through this week.  But next week it's likely people will want to punish him if he still sucks so bad.  I was surprised to see the 70s dude go so quickly, I thought he'd make it to at least the 2nd or 3rd week.  I thought for certain the guy who butchered "Get Here" would have to go - either him or the one who butchered Since You've Been Gone.

If you believe Dialidol, Andrew Garcia and Katie are the 2 front-runners at the moment; that would actually be my guess as well for the finale, with Katie winning. 
3236  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 26, 2010, 10:51:52 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 26, 2010, 06:47:41 PM

I forgot that those images were just memories of Mr. Eko.  The trapped lifeforce idea was because of the occurance of ghosts.  But I guess we've only seen a couple.

I liked it when Hurley told off the temple boss.  I'm a candidate, go back to your temple.  Essentially, I know who I am, you are dismissed. 

I liked that scene too but it was kind of sad he needed Jacob to guide him to do it.

Speaking of which, what did you all think of Jacob's claim that he had to "handle" each of the different candidates differently?  On the one hand it seemed like a decent explanation, but on the other it felt like a kind of cheap way for the writers to handle inconsistent "rules."
3237  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 11:31:31 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 08:04:29 PM

It's not a question of will you, won't you or whether it's more convenient in one and not the other. It's a question of can you do it on one platform and not the other.

And I guess that's where we differ fundamentally on the topic, so there's not much more point in debating.  The OP was asking for a comparison between the 2 formats - for me that includes more than the fundamental question of "can you or can't you" or a list of possible features you can get to work - I want a practical measure of whether something is truly useful to me or not.  My best example was many years ago when I bought a cool Smartphone (prior to the release of the iPhone).  At the time, this had all the bells and whistles you could ask for feature-wise: internet browser, music, movies, etc - using whatever version of Windows 7 was out at the time.  The problem is I never used the features over the long haul because they were a pain in the ass to use.  Browsing was a nightmare, music was OK but not intuitive, the overall interface was crappy, etc etc.  The iPhone resolved all those issues and more.  To me having a device capable of even an infinite amount of features is completely worthless if the interface or presentation make it so I don't want to use them. 
3238  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Official Review] Heavy Rain - PS3 on: February 25, 2010, 07:19:50 PM
I got in about an hour last night and I have to say I really love the core concept, the dramatic feel and the basic engine of the game.  The music is incredibly haunting and the cinematography, attention to detail and environments thus far are top notch.  I wish it could have been done with a little more resolution in the character models (1080p) but that's getting a bit too greedy I think.  The control scheme is a little strange but it doesn't bother me so far.  As reviewers have noted, you really get sucked into the game emotionally even when not much is going on, and I think that's the biggest compliment I could pay the game.

All that said, I do have some minor nits.  I can see why some people might complain that the game feels too much like it's on rails, for lack of a better description.  It can be frustrating to see exactly where the plot is heading and really have no way to alter it significantly.  Maybe this opens up more later in the game but my guess is the story has to resolve/evolve in certain specific ways just to keep moving, in which case it could feel like your "choices" in the game really aren't that meaningful, and you might begin to question whether or not you are actually having any impact on the plot. 

On a similar note, the other complaint I'd have is there seem to be lulls built into the game, which you are expected to do something specific or the game just doesn't advance.  Maybe I'm wrong about this.  But at least twice I can remember last night I was kind of just wandering around with nothing to do but keep checking the clock to see if time was passing.  I guess time passage would be what triggered the next movement of the story?  On the one hand it's kind of nice to just kind of slow down and smell the roses, explore the area, etc.  On the other this is clearly a story/plot driven game, so if no plot movement is occuring I'm not sure what to make of it, or I feel like I am doing something wrong, or more accurately not doing what I'm "supposed to".

And lastly, I'm a bit leery of the save system.  I'm hoping/assuming every time I see the little Origami thing in the corner it's saving?  Because otherwise I have no idea if I'm going to have go back and "play" another section like I described above (standing around waiting) - and honestly that would break the immersion into the story for me.
3239  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 07:00:30 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 04:04:43 PM

Quote from: farley2k on February 25, 2010, 04:00:26 PM

What programs do you folks us?  I am not talking about alt-tabbing.  That is a limitation of the hardware but not of the app store.  I want to play MP3s, I can, I want to watch video I can, I want to play games I can.  I am wondering what people are doing that they can't do on the app store.

Let's say I want to stream Pandora while browsing the net, checking my email or any other task besides watching the Pandora app.  You can't do that with the iPhone (and presumably the iPad).  

I want to watch a show or clip on Hulu.  You just plain cannot do that.

Just two things that I can easily do on my netbook that I cannot do on my iPhone.

I want to read a book but I want to do it in portrait like a normal book.  I rotate the iPad and it's instantly in portrait.  Now I want to watch a movie so I rotate it back to landscape.  Instantly.

While reading, I want to hold the book up close to me in one hand while I'm lying in bed and flip the imaginary pages with my fingers for a more book-like experience.

I want to see the entire New York Times page at a single view in Portrait, then zoom in to a photo with a single touch.  

There's 3 things I can easily do on my iPad that I can't (or more importantly, won't) do on my netbook.  

The thing that I see people missing the most is just how dramatic a change in the size/shape/form-factor, coupled with a full and responsive touch screen interface can potentially be.  Most netbooks weigh 3 pounds or more, that's double the weight of the iPad, and with the open traditional notebook form factory you generally aren't going to want to balance/hold it with one hand while interacting with it using the other.  If you have a reasonably thick pad of paper, or maybe a relatively thin hard-cover book, pick it up for a moment and just try to let your imagination run free for a second.  Imagine the internet is at your fingertips in that pad, all your photos, your videos, your songs, tons of games, email, a library full of books - all there waiting to be accessed from a simple touch.  It's just not the same experience.  The thing with the iPhone (and presumably iPad), is in general it is designed to make most of these most common tasks feel easy and more natural; while you never "needed" these interface changes, you'll inherently *want* to use your device more because of this design.  That's the theory anyway.

Now I know a lot of people don't care about this type of "feeling" at the moment; I admit it is (no pun intended) a very touchy-feely kind of argument.  But my guess is if they actually tried it out and allowed it to become a part of their daily routine, they would quickly adapt to it and never look back.  This is the toughest part about selling the iPad - we can talk about it (specs, features, restrictions, etc) all we want but it's real selling point is when you actually pick it up and just start using it.
3240  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 25, 2010, 06:46:10 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 25, 2010, 02:09:33 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 25, 2010, 06:55:45 AM

On a side note, it is certainly interesting how the past 2 years there was a clear shift into favoring re-vamped versions of songs.  From David Cook to Adam Lambert to Kris Allen, all 3 took "risks" (calculated perhaps) by making big changes to songs.  

Well, techncailly they did not make the big changes to most of the those songs. They were doing covers of a cover of the song. I don't think Adam did anything original as a matter of fact, it was all covers that someone else had changed up already. I know most of cook's were also covers of covers (he would even give the artists whose version he was singing props if I recall).

Good point, same with Kris Allen's "Heartless" version (which may just have won him the competition).  Still it seems to be influencing this year's competition already, with people trying to create their own versions (and so far not doing very well) which have ended up sounding almost completely different from the original.  I think you have to be really good to pull this kind of stuff off.  I do believe David Cook's version of "Always Be My Baby" from Mariah Carey was all his own though, and personally I thought that was his best moment of the competition, as it really caught me completely off guard and I still remember it 2 years later.
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