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3281  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.
3282  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.
3283  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.
3284  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.
3285  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.
3286  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.
3287  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.
3288  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.
3289  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/
3290  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.
3291  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.
3292  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.
3293  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.
3294  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.
3295  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!
3296  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. 
3297  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
3298  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.
3299  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
3300  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!
3301  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!!!
3302  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. 

3303  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.
3304  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!
3305  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
3306  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
3307  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?
3308  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! 
3309  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

3310  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.
3311  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.
3312  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.
3313  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." 
3314  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Grand Slam Tennis on: June 11, 2009, 05:50:31 PM
I played about an hour of this last night with the WM+.  I used to play a lot of tennis many years ago, so I consider myself a fair to average player who at least knows what it really feels like to play.  Thus far the game is a bit hit and miss for me, no pun intended.

When starting out at the practice net with a ball machine,  I really liked what I was seeing.  The majority of my hits were doing pretty much what I intended (slices, drop shots, top spin, etc).  In the ball machine mode it actually tells you if you are slicing or whatnot so you know for certain if you did what you wanted.

I then set it to easy and began Grand Slam mode with a newly made character, but unlike Bullwinkle I lost pretty much every game I played.  Couple of close ones and I think maybe 1 win, otherwise I was getting slaughtered.  Most of the points I lost were due to what seemed like "pickup" accuracy error, either it caught my motion too late, too early or never caught it.  That can be very frustrating particularly in the middle of a point where you think you are doing well.  I also could not for the life of me figure out serving, it just doesn't feel right at all, so that's a bummer as well.  All my serves ended up being really lame. 

The Grand Slam mode gives you a number of practice games and chances to earn a legend's skill (they give you one for free which is cool), before dumping you into the tournament.  The bad news is instead of playing some nobody in the first round, I end up against John McEnroe.  WTF is up with that?  I have no idea how they generate the tournament but sending you in your first real match against an old school legend just seems odd and misplaced.  Not that it really mattered, I actually did better against him than I did against most of the girls.  I haven't found a mode where I can use my dude and pick who I play against, which is kind of annoying.  I'd like to practice with him against bad opponents for testing.  Maybe I should try selecting a top player to see if that helps.

All that said, there were some points and rallies that absolutely felt like tennis without the running, and were absolutely amazing.  I can still feel a bit of the burn from all the swinging right now.  Backhands in particular felt right for me; I hit one killer backhand that was just a thing of beauty and earned me a "gold star".  At one point, I was so into the game that I swung so hard I hit my hand/controller against the treadmill next to me.  Ouch.

All in all it's tough to make a full assessment.  I am wondering if my accuracy issues were due to object interference in the room or a bad calibration, or the odd angle I have my setup at, or even the batteries running low on my controller.  My setup could probably use some work and I really could use more room to be able to swing more freely, so I don't want to falsely malign the software, game controller or accuracy.

If you're a tennis fan, I'd say it's certainly worth a whirl.  Of course as my sister said to me, you could just go outside and play tennis for real  nod
3315  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 11, 2009, 12:06:36 AM
Back to Pimp Mode, here's an article on the 3GS processor improvements:

http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3579&p=1

Makes it comparable to the Pre, and sounds like game graphics are going to jump up a huge notch.  Considering how good the present graphics already are, this seems pretty incredible.

More importantly, all of this added power somehow comes with *better* battery performance, the conjecture being that more efficiency in starting and running instructions expends more instantaneous power but less over time.  Very cool.
3316  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 10, 2009, 11:56:08 PM

Quote from: McNutt on June 10, 2009, 06:17:12 PM

If they sell you a phone at a reduced cost on condition that you pay their monthly fee for 2 years, how are they punishing you by expecting you to abide by that contract?  What's in it for them to let you break that contract?  I'm not a fanboy of AT&T or Apple, but I don't understand that. 

What's in it for them?  My undying devotion and dedication to them lol.

Seriously though, I look at it like this.  Apple and AT&T "invest" an extra $200 in me, and I am giving them a minimum of 1 year (when the next "upgrade" comes out) of fees ($70 x 12 = $840) + who knows how much money spent at the Apple Store (estimate $600 /yr) + free pimpage from me.  This is operating under the presumption that they are *actually* losing $200 per phone to give me this price, don't forget I am still nominally paying $399.  If they keep me happy the entire 2 years, double the amount the 2 companies make on me to close to $3000.  If they lose me, that's 1400% profit they collectively threw away.  I'm pretty sure anyone who wants to make money would invest $200 today to make $3000 in 2 years.  This is not even mentioning the "good will" or "word of mouth" factor which they could potentially generate.


Irony of this post: yesterday I helped one friend of mine complete his purchase of a new iPhone, an hour ago I convinced a co-worker to upgrade, and then even as I was typing this another friend/co-worker came by (longtime Blackberry user) and asked me about Apple Care and such for his new iPhone purchase.  So that's 3 new sales I helped to influence, even when I wasn't pimping lol. 
3317  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 10, 2009, 05:34:18 PM

Quote from: Chaz on June 09, 2009, 02:12:55 PM

Quote from: Destructor on June 09, 2009, 02:08:55 PM

Why do iDiots think that the rules don't apply to them?

Because buying an Apple product makes them special, unique, and elevates them to a level above mere mortals, just like everyone else who owns an Apple product.  How dare ATT stand in the way of them buying an Apple product!  Of course, you'd think that they'd be used to paying several hundred dollars more for their products by now.

I love how when it comes to bitch-slapping Apple fans, suddenly people are happy to side with and support inane corporate policies that wireless companies have  saywhat   (Side note: wtf is up with $0.15 a text message, that's got to be the most bogus ripoff known to man.)

- - -

Anyway, like Ike, I would gladly pay the same price a new user would and sign up for yet another 2-year contract extension without a second thought.  It has never made sense to me, Apple or no, why any company would choose to punish you for wanting to upgrade your hardware (and continue to pay them for months upon end).  Yes yes yes I realize this is how it's been, but as Fireball said, it's a stupid system that we seem to be stuck with.  Why not offer some sort of trade in or rebate program?  There are plenty of ways a company (in this case 2 companies) can acknowledge that they actually appreciate your ongoing business and support.  Instead, they dare you to pay a termination fee ($175).  How stupid is this?  Keeping someone 2-3 months longer nets them more money than the stupid fee.  For Apple, every customer they retain is a potential for limitless music/movies/Apps purchases, and soon for rentals and mini-transactions.  Why not do whatever it takes to keep these customers happy?  

Ultimately these kinds of policies only hurt the companies that continue them.  I have brought in at least 5 people I know of to the iPhone, and at least 10 more are keenly aware of it because of me.  Insignificant numbers, I realize, but every bit counts in a competitive arena like this.  I am a walking talking posting advertisement/demo for Apple (and by default AT&T) - and one should never underestimate the power of word of mouth.  I am not saying they "owe" me something special, but irritating your most dedicated fanbase seems like a poor strategy for the long haul.  The fact is with a little good will, I'm guessing most customers would choose to remain loyal to both camps (Apple and AT&T) - they'd pay the advertised price and sign up for another 2 years.  That's no longer the case, as you can see by many who would normally have jumped on this choosing to wait or switch to the Pre or plan their exit to another carrier.    

As for me, I'm still at this moment a whore for Apple and AT&T's bitch.  But I will say this, any sense of brand/service loyalty I felt for either of them is gone, and I won't hesitate to jump ship (including early termination or whatever it takes) when something better comes along.  

I guess my question ultimately is whether it is/was really worth it for the combined Apple/AT&T machine to irritate the strongest part of their fanbase for the price of $200 a customer?  Again, compare that measily $200 to a year (or 2) worth of monthly fees and Apple Store purchases.  Stupid business decision if you ask me.
3318  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Class of Heroes - a mix of Etrian Odyssey and Wizardry on: June 09, 2009, 08:45:45 PM
I haven't completely given up yet.  I'll try it out some more tonight, and read up on the guy's impressions when I get a chance.

As to other questions/comments here:

Wizardry clone?  Yes indeed, but Dark Spire is even more so, IMHO.

Resting to regain MP?  Unless I missed it, you have to go to the Dorm to "Rest" and they charge you 100g to regain MP/HP, and that's for EACH character - so it hurts bad.

Other odd things?  I got a drop of a piece of food that needed 600+g just to appraise.  Even if I stole all the gold from the premades it wouldn't be enough to appraise this food lol.  And you can't sell the item unless it is appraised!

- - -

I was a Wizardry nut back in the day, so I don't mind a difficult game.  I do mind what feels like an unreasonable game.  Even Dark Spire felt less frustrating (aside from the exploding chests - but at least you could simply choose to avoid those).  If you do try this one, I highly recommend starting with some pre-made characters, or do what that guy did and mix your party at least half and half.  I think it was a gross oversight to not balance your new made characters properly so you could easily jump in with all level 1 characters, or easily get them to lvl 2 as the premades are.  I may start over or mix up my party again some to see if that helps.  Still, a game like this should assume players are going to want to make their own party from scratch, at least I would have assumed so.
3319  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Class of Heroes - a mix of Etrian Odyssey and Wizardry on: June 09, 2009, 05:22:00 AM
First Impressions of Class of Heroes (CoH):

AVOID at all costs - unless you are a true masochist!!!

I really really really wanted to love this game.  After getting a nice retro nostalgia going with a brief stint in The Dark Spire, I was really looking forward to a more casual version of old-school Wizardry type gaming with prettier graphics and more friendly gameplay.  It appeared CoH was going to fit the bill perfectly, with its randomly generated dungeon levels, cute graphics, multiple classes and races - it looked like the perfect fit.  Sadly, after a few hours fighting with the game, unless I did something horribly wrong, this game is actually significantly HARDER and more frustrating than Dark Spire.  The worst part of it is that it seems to be coated in cuteness that makes it appear kid friendly.  Be forewarned, it is anything but friendly and every detail that looks on the surface to be fun/cute/simple is in reality nuanced to frustrate you.

You start the game out either creating a party or grabbing some pre-mades.  If you're like me, and I think most people play this way, you're going to want to build your own party of misfits.  That's half the fun, creating different race/class combos that are personal to you.  After going through a bunch of text-based quest areas (essentially you just keep reading text in different menu locations to acquire more quests and read through tutorial info), you think you're ready for 1 of 2 labyrinth areas.  The first seems geared to be a really easy castle area, I was imagining a tutorial like the one DS had to level you up.  You're given a map that automaps for you, very nice it appears.  Then, abruptly, my first encounter, I can't hit a single thing and I'm completely wiped out by a group of bats.  This is supposedly in "Normal" mode (there is a "Masochist" mode that is supposedly more difficult and harder to recover from.).  Trouble is with the party wipe, there's no way to resurrect anyone that I can tell, though the dead members seem to be around.  I think you can grab another character and with enough money rez them - whatever.  I reload a save and try again.  Second time I beat one group of mobs so I think maybe it's a fluke, but soon enough I run into a "lightning trap" which proceeds to dismantle my party.  WTF?!?  So I go back and try to load the pre-mades, thinking maybe it was never intended for you to play a full party of Lvl 1 newbs.  They are Level 2 at the outset and have 100g starter cash.  This helps quite a bit, but ultimately I run into other problems.  Everything is horribly expensive, even resting to recover spell points costs 1 hefty 100g - and trust me, 100g at the outset feels like a ton.  You have to have your items appraised which costs money you don't have.  Buying even a starter ranged weapon is completely out of reach, so you are generally stuck with a worthless back row (no ranged weapons and out of spells because resting is too expensive).

All in all, an exercise in frustration.  I can't imagine what the developers were thinking, dressing the game up in such a cute and friendly fashion, then shoving a stick up your ass in virtually every department.  I can imagine some things I should have done better strategically, but the game just doesn't seem to reward you with anything.  Visually the game is more appealing (to me) than DS, and I like the race/class diversity.  There seems to be a lot of depth in items, modding items and alchemy, but in terms of actual gameplay, every element seems near impossible to get into.  You can't even "grind" effectively as you do in DS, as the randomness of the encounters seems to be F-ed up.  Since the costs to heal/rest are so pricey, you are essentially stuck with a weakened party.

Anyway, if anyone else gets this and has more success, I'd love to hear about it.  As I said at the outset, I was really looking forward to getting into this game, and thus far it's been nothing but a disappointment.  I'll try to read up some more on it tomorrow.
3320  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Hangover on: June 08, 2009, 11:48:30 PM
One of the funniest movies I've ever seen, absolutely loved it.  I'd say the final third was a little weak, but wrapped things up nicely and was saved by the final credits.

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