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3561  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking of giving up my desktop for a laptop....need opinions on: January 29, 2009, 09:47:59 PM

Quote from: Xmann on January 28, 2009, 02:06:47 AM

i've also been looking at the Acer Aspire thread and see where a newer model is coming shortly.   i really don't need a laptop until May or June....should i maybe hold out and see what the newer models bring?

and ya, an external cd rom would be a necessity. 

but hell, if i have to add an external drive...should i maybe just go with a laptop already with a drive?

For what you originally stated, I do think you'd be better off with just a conventional laptop.  Not that I don't like the netbook, but it really serves more of a niche, where it sounded like you wanted something with a bit broader range of use (and it would be your only/primary computer).  If cost is a primary issue, you can still do pretty well under $500:

You get a better/faster processor, more RAM, more hard drive space, a DVDRW drive, bigger screen with higher resolution (1280x800) and larger keyboard, better graphics capability, etc etc. for the price of $100 more and a larger form factor and weight.

Netbooks are fun and cool and cute, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't want one if it were the only computer I had access to.  You might want to ask your wife too what she would prefer.  If size/weight/portability are not the absolute top concern, my guess is generally people prefer a larger screen, keyboard, etc. 
3562  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone else playing Sacred 2? on: January 29, 2009, 09:31:28 PM
Thanks for the recommendation.  I did start at Silver and so far am having a blast.  I died a couple times early on, but have put points into +hp and have started wielding a shield and better armor for better survivability.  The game looks incredibly deep in terms of character development/builds and thus for replayability.  Some interface quirks I don't like (particularly with comparing your present gear with new things.  BTW how the heck do I see my current weapon stats?!) and I was confused at first with the right click arts (looks like you have to level up to get access to more of them?), but I'm slowly getting more into the details of the interface.  Feels like a nice game you can really sink your teeth into over the long haul. 
3563  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Archon for iPhone!!! on: January 29, 2009, 07:33:23 PM
Not sure where to post this, but I was so excited to read this:

I used to love that game so much even though I kind of sucked at the action part.  I was actually always hoping for an updated PC or console version, but getting it on the iPhone is great too  thumbsup
3564  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 28, 2009, 09:35:30 PM
Regarding Ion, if it indeed integrates the 9400m chipset, I can say based on the MBA's improvement this is a huge leap in graphics technology.  Video runs tremendously better all around, and at higher resolutions, and gaming is just a step below being able to handle all modern games.  They claimed (and this was more or less confirmed in benchmarks and gaming performance) a 4x improvement over the Intel GMA X3100 graphics, which is already a generation above the GMA 950 that's coming standard in netbooks.  So for about $50 more (conjectured) your netbook might be outputting a movie in full 1080p HD, possibly handling Crysis, and definitely handling Warhammer Online.  I thought I read somewhere (rumors?) that Intel had something to do with the slow entry of Ion, possibly developing their own GPU chipset solution.

I realize this capability isn't necessarily a big deal for the general netbook buyer, but having the capability isn't going to hurt anyone, and it may just be one game or app that changes the landscape for what's desired in a netbook.
3565  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone else playing Sacred 2? on: January 28, 2009, 06:38:11 PM
Gonna finally start playing this (hopefully tonight) after a few hours of installing last night.  Any starter recommendations?  Is it still recommended to choose the Silver difficulty level even for beginners?
3566  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Netbook Gaming 2009 on: January 28, 2009, 06:32:54 PM
Just tried this last night:

Wizard101 - it's a family-oriented MMORPG-lite type of game, described as a hybrid between Harry Potter universe with Magic: The Gathering in that you roleplay a young wizard in school, and combat is played out using card decks.  There are also a variety of mini-games (I tried a Bejeweled variant and a concentration one).  Base game is all free, with option add-on or subscription modes as well.  The graphics look amazing on the netbook, even on all lowest settings.  There's a bit of lag in crowded zones, but other than that it felt like a really excellent match for the netbook.  Almost every command has a keyboard equivalent so it's very playable without an added mouse.  Downsides: it's online only, and thus far the cards and strategy seem to lack the depth of games like MTG and Astral Masters (speaking of which I need to check that one out again).
3567  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: January 27, 2009, 06:26:42 PM
Just playing devil's advocate here...  I realize this is only a TV show so it's easier to make judgments, etc when characters are making tough choices.  But I am curious to hear if people really are saying the govt should back down/give in any time a terrorist makes a legitimate threat?  Isn't the whole point of not negotiating with terrorists an important method of not allowing them to control/manipulate things?  In fact, as 24 fans, isn't that one of the fundamental Jack Bauer rules - never negotiate with the terrorists?  Why is it different in this scenario?  Would you feel differently if All-State guy made the call? 

Anyway, I'm still enjoying this season quite a bit more than last, here's hoping they keep up the pace!
3568  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking of giving up my desktop for a laptop....need opinions on: January 27, 2009, 01:38:45 AM
Just noticed this new one from MSI being released soon (I think):

or with Blu-ray and better screen:

Looks like a winner, similar specs and price as the Gateway but in a smaller size/footprint.   If this had been out back when I was looking, I would have picked this one for sure.
3569  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking of giving up my desktop for a laptop....need opinions on: January 26, 2009, 07:02:27 PM
Hey X,

There are tons of things to consider with a laptop, from size/weight to price/performance... if you list out the features most important to you, it might be easier to make a recommendation.

Presently I believe the "best buy" (no pun intended) for a full gaming laptop (one capable of handling even the newest of games) is available at.... Best Buy:

I checked this unit out at the store - my only complaint being it seemed rather heavy and clunky if travel was a concern.  Since it sounds like you are looking at more of a desktop replacement for multiple weeks at a time, this might be fine for you.  I did a ton of research a few months ago and found nothing with as good a bang for the buck, I mean price/spec ratio there was almost nothing even close - I would have bought it but the size/weight was just a bit too much for me.

If you are thinking really small (and cheap!) you might want to check out the netbook/ultra portable thread, there are a ton of great units out now for less than $500 (some even <$400), most of which can play games approx. up to WoW but not beyond that.  And of course in the in-between space there are tons and tons of other options.  Actually, if you want a really excellent, solid notebook design, you might want to consider a Macbook.  The latest low end model is at $999 and because of the new 9400m chipset, will be able to game almost to the top tier games like Warhammer Online (you have to set up a dual boot to Windows for this).
3570  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Netbook Gaming 2009 on: January 26, 2009, 06:33:08 PM
Just to get the ball rolling, I now have 2 old school games running well that look like keepers.

Might and Magic 7 - one of my old all time favorites.  Took some manipulation (software graphics and disabled Direct Sound) to get it going, and I had to make a Clone image thing to allow it to play with no CD, but it was worth it... kind of.  I had a blast with party creation and deciding where to put skills and points in, but once I entered the game I explored a bit and was promptly dismantled by a couple of dragonflies lol.  Looks like I've got some re-learning to do with the interface, I couldn't even figure out how to engage in combat.  The graphics are pretty ugly but decent enough on the small screen, and I like that the game is fairly playable without much mouse interaction.

Magic the Gathering (PC game) - another of my old classic favorites.  Similarly, it took a while to get it up and running again.  I had problems with installing the Spells of the Ancient expansion, it made it all the way through before giving me some bizarre error, which was enough to make the game not start.  I opted to go with a tedious Manalink patch procedure instead, which finally got me running the original core game.  Also had to tweak a couple of "compatibility mode" settings to get it all going.  I only played a few minutes on the overland game, but it seems to work fine in keyboard or mouse control.  Graphics again are fairly unsightly but what can ya do!  The main card interface looks decent in 1024x768 pan and scan and I still love the gameplay and AI of the main card battles.  Only complaint is it's a bit difficult to click on the cards at times using the touchpad.  Otherwise a very nice fit for the Netbook.
3571  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Netbook Gaming 2009 on: January 26, 2009, 06:25:00 PM
Not sure if there was a thread like this before, but with the Netbook phenomenon growing, I thought it might be a good time for a new discussion.

I'm not just interested in what is playable or not (though that is always of interest), but what you are playing, which games "fit" the current netbooks best, and why, etc.
3572  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 23, 2009, 12:53:06 AM
Got my EEE 901 last night, but haven't had much time to get acquainted.  Mostly I was just removing extraneous applications, etc.

First impressions were definitely a mixed bag.  The keyboard was slightly better than what I recall seeing at BB, but still a bit too small and definitely lacking compared to the ones I played with in 10" models.  I'm also having some issues with the touchpad doing wonky things some times (probably just need to adjust some settings), not sure if it's just due to the size.  I love the form factor in general, it's so petite but the screen is still very serviceable and attractive.  I'm not sure if I'd be better off with a 10" model...  this one already felt heavier than I'd imagined once the battery was installed, kind of chunky all in all, so I'm not sure if I'd be pleased with an even heavier one.  Boot up time was pretty nice, and the wireless N connection was easy and seemed pretty fast.  Removing programs, however, felt excruciatingly slow, possibly due to the SSD?

Eventually I'll probably write a comparison between this and the MBA, even though it may not be fair to compare something that costed close to 6 times more!  Still they compete for me in the same space as the "take it everywhere" unit and weigh about the same amount, so it's hard to not internally make comparisons.  The fun (hopefully) part with the EEE will be once I start getting some old school games going.  May start with some Might and Magic or Wizardry, maybe MOO... we'll see smile
3573  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! on: January 22, 2009, 06:43:48 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on January 22, 2009, 05:51:19 PM

I've heard you either love it or hate it, and as I am looking for great TV series to add to my DVD collection I am curious, but cautiously apprehensive.  And the idea of time travel or "time shifting" makes me even a bit more skeptical.

I think it's true that you either love it or hate it.  Or that you might grow to either love it or hate it as you watch the show.  Every season has been different enough that it's plausible you may be upset or happy depending on how much you liked the previous season(s).  I would highly recommend watching Season 1 and just see if you like the main characters.  If like some fans you just get into the characters, and feel like you are willing to go along with the ride anywhere they take you (that's me!), you can try the next seasons.  Most people felt the show lost its way a bit in Season 3 but recovered well in Season 4.  Personally having watched every season of the series "live" first and then on DVD again, I'd say every season has its unique charm and a few top notch eps with a few throw away ones in between.

As for the premiere last night, all I can say is.... whoa.  I get the feeling they are going to alienate some fans because they are going full bore with the sci-fi/fantasy elements.  I love that they aren't compromising, for better or worse.  I'm still processing the episodes, so much was going on and only some parts of it made sense to me.

Spoiler for Hiden:
So is the island moving in time, or just the people, or only select people?  Seems like it's the island since it vanished from sight, and yet from the people left on the island's perspective, it seems like it's just a certain collective.  Richard and the Others didn't seem to move with Locke.  Juliet, Daniel, etc rule out the possibility it was only Filght 815 survivors.

I love the concept of Desmond's "unique" ability to bridge time - though it does clash with the "rule" that you can't change the past.

Funny how the number of survivors, I mean fodder, seems to ebb and flow.  I was under the impression almost everyone save the core cast was dead after the Keemee massacre last season.  Then last night there were yet again a bunch of redshirts getting fried by the night arrows lol.

I did enjoy the Survivor-esque inability to start a fire smile

Hooray for Ana Lucia cameo!

Hurley's T-shirt was priceless!

Really enjoyed the last minute with Finola whatever her name is, she has a great presence.  It's almost like Judi Dench dropped in for a cameo.
3574  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 21, 2009, 07:00:09 PM
Oh yeah, thanks for the recommendations on drives.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it will be able to use either my MBA's external drive, or perhaps a much older one I still have lying around.
3575  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 21, 2009, 06:58:45 PM

Quote from: Canuck on January 21, 2009, 08:42:46 AM

Can't you play games on your Macbook Air?  The netbooks work great for old-school games so long as the resolution doesn't go above 800x600 because of the netbooks' resolution.  There are plenty (and I mean ridiculous amounts) of games that would be perfectly playable even as recent as 2003 or 04 but can't be played because the lowest available resolution is x768.  Hopefully that will change soon.

Oh yeah the new MBA can pretty much handle even the newest of games now with the chipset change, which is why I really don't "need" a netbook.  The limitations on the MBA, though, are expansion (limited disk space) and battery power is not what I'd like.  So even with the decent Win XP partition I gave it, I pretty much used it up on just a few games (Warhammer Online, Sacred 2 and the new King's Bounty).  I'm thinking on the netbook, I could plausibly install/prep a lot of much older games, and put them onto SD - hopefully not needing to keep it plugged in as well with the 6 cell battery so it would be more like a giant PSP/DS  icon_wink  If disk protection is needed, I have CloneCD which I think will work.  Drive space is no longer an issue when SD cards are so cheap, which is certainly an advantage the netbook has.  Oh yeah, one weird thing I read in only a single review was that there was a hardware button that could change the resolution to 1024x768 - this was never advertised anywhere else so I'm not sure what the guy was thinking or why he'd say that.  Or maybe I misunderstood.

Edit: I checked again and more than one site has listed that the 901 has two 1024x768 modes, a pan and scan, and a compressed one.  Not sure what this means in terms of software support, i.e. if it just uses that same software trick that was mentioned earlier.

Quote from: Blackjack on January 21, 2009, 05:40:18 PM

I stopped by the Best Buy near my office today. They've rearranged the laptop section a lot, and now are showcasing a few netbooks. I finally saw an MSI Wind. It seemed smaller than I expected (they don't have an 8.9" Wind to they?). AA1 was there. I'm sure they have an EeePC somewhere but I couldn't find one. Regular laptops are getting so small now, you have to look closely at prices sometimes just to figure out if something's a netbook or not.

I did that last night too.  Some kind of bad news for myself though, I really did not like the keyboard on the smaller EEE they had displayed, it felt tiny and kind of cheaply made.  I'm really hoping it was an older model but I think it may just be the same keyboard I'm getting.  I loved the keyboard on the 10" version.  Amazon's description for both says it's a 95% size keyboard but now I'm thinking they just copied some generic description.  Anyway, BB had one version of the AA1 (not one of the common ones) too, whose keyboard I also liked.  Oddly all the units I picked up felt heavier than I thought they would, and none of them had the battery installed I think.  I'm a bit torn now because the 10" screens definitely seemed much more attractive.  My BB actually did a decent job of keeping all the netbooks together in one section.
3576  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Classic Wizardry-style CRPGs? on: January 21, 2009, 06:41:19 PM

Quote from: EddieA on January 21, 2009, 08:09:38 AM

Atlus has two games coming out soon that are based on old-style PC RPGs.  The Dark Spire for the DS is similar to the old Bard's Tale-style games, while Class of Heroes for the PSP bears a strong resemblance to the Wizardry games.

Thanks for the recommendations, both look interesting.  Dark Spire seems extremely Wizardry like but I'm not sure I like the art style.  Class of Heroes definitely looks like fun, but maybe a bit too cutesy for my taste, I'm not sure.  I'll likely end up checking them both out.
3577  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Classic Wizardry-style CRPGs? on: January 21, 2009, 06:39:34 PM

Quote from: baelthazar on January 20, 2009, 11:47:58 PM

Anyone know what this Ascension thing is?

All I could find was hidden away a bit, looks like an expansion to the original Demise game, or maybe more accurately a fixed up version of the original.

Ascension ( the major Demise expansion from Decklin's Domain ) has completed Alpha testing, will be in BETA before the end of December 2008 and is scheduled for release 1st Quarter 2009.  It doubles the dungeon area and will include at least the following bug fixes and enhancements ...


Large library file Items and Monsters not viewable - bug fixed
STOP Statement encountered during chat in DirectX full dungeon - bug fixed
Game crash OOM errors - fixed
Server enhancements

Multiplayer and Single Player:

Character item storage increased to 60 from 40
Total available cash and remaining slots left status display in Store, Confinement, Bank and Tavern
Fractional cash in Bank - bug fixed
Miscellaneous information panel displays more text, so less is 'missing' from larger descriptions

Over 300 minor bug and dungeon layout fixes plus game code changes - 600 items 600 monsters.
Ascension expansion to 90 x 90 x 35 - 9 new Quests.
3578  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: January 20, 2009, 07:12:54 PM

Quote from: JayDee on January 20, 2009, 03:10:30 AM

Well, we just got our "silent countdown" of the season. If they don't wimp out and that actually happened to Renee then that is just plain harsh. Just when I thought 24 couldn't surprise me anymore, the writers find a way. We've watched Jack get out of those situations for so long that having him fail is unexpectedly shocking.

It never occured to me they might actually kill her off until you mentioned the silent countdown, ouch!

Spoiler for Hiden:
However, the actress is listed in imdb for all 24 episodes so I think she's fine.
3579  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Are my temps ok? on: January 20, 2009, 07:08:19 PM
Regarding Speedfan, I was recently playing around with it a bit for the first time.  It's a very cool app (no pun intended) but was by no means as straightforward as it originally appeared.  All I wanted to do was adjust fan speeds down so naturally I thought, just reduce the 100% to 50% - but nothing happened.  So I fiddled around quite a bit and couldn't get much to go.  There were actually a couple of settings I would never have figured out on my own that need to be set up in advance to get it really working.

Try this link for a more detailed guide.
3580  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: January 20, 2009, 06:59:22 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 17, 2009, 04:15:36 PM

I'm so sold!  Then again, I am a Bill Roper fanboy as well as a comic book fan (30 years now) so I guess this was a no-brainer to me regardless.
3581  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Classic Wizardry-style CRPGs? on: January 20, 2009, 06:36:28 PM
That Devil Whiskey looks intriguing - did anyone here ever play it? 

Ahhh... also I think Mordor and Demise were the ones I was thinking of but couldn't remember.  I think I had tried one or the other out a long while back but I don't remember if I liked them...
3582  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stargate Atlantis Season Finale on: January 20, 2009, 01:17:43 AM
The Atlantis finale was just a stream of movie/dramatic moments - unfortunately it was just too much to bear in the 45 minutes or so they allotted.  I loved the basic plotline and the resolution was fine as well, but it felt way over-rushed.  I would have loved to see the same storyline in a 3 part, or bare minimum 2 part finale.  Basically they did the set up, all the mess ups, and resolution to a huge problem, all in a small timeframe, and also trying to give each character something to do (the doctor got short changed).  You never got the chance to feel the impact of any particular moment or scene, because before you knew it they had already moved on and resolved whatever dilemma had been created.  I still enjoyed it for the roller-coaster ride appeal, but wished they had spent some more time giving it the treatment it deserved.
3583  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 19, 2009, 10:26:38 PM
So I finally bit the bullet and ordered an Asus EEE 901 this weekend, should be receiving it around Wednesday.  Honestly I'm not sure what possessed me to go for it, since as mentioned before I already own a Macbook Air, and I was fairly content to wait for further developments in the netbook market before jumping in.  I'm not sure how it will fit into the usage space I'm already using the MBA for, or if it will end up displacing it.  I read through the GT threads and other reviews methodically before making my choice.  What finally convinced me was I decided I wanted to make this kind of an ultra-portable old-school gaming machine, so we'll see how that turns out.

I went back and forth between the EEE, the AA1 and the Samsung NC10, also considered the HP and Dell units.  Eventually, I think the version I picked had pretty much everything I wanted for the moment:

Weight/size: less than 3 pounds to set it apart from the MBA; I think this limited me to the 8.9" screen if I wanted the 6 cell battery

Battery life: had to go with 6-cell to again set it apart from the MBA; hoping for 5-6 hours of use, though they like to claim 7

Wireless N: very few models include it, not sure why (maybe power consumption?)  Also I read in one review that the NC10 (or AA1?) wireless G outperformed the EEE's Wireless N.  Kind of interesting so I'm not sure this was a smart criteria

Storage: I hemmed and hawed about what kind of drive.  Ultimately I feel like I want my ultra to have SSD; just a personal thing I guess.  I recently installed an SSD on my home computer and it boots Windows 7 in 25 seconds.  My MBA also with SSD has great boot times, so I am kind of enamored with the concept.  I think Asus had the advantage in larger SSD drives compared to the other guys.

Windows XP: need it for the games I'm going to try to run

- - -

I also ordered a 2GB RAM stick and a 16GB SDHC card, hopefully this will make for a pretty solid little system that's cheap enough I won't be afraid to take it to work or whatever; should be a fun diversion either way :-)
3584  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Lord of the Rings: Conquest on: January 19, 2009, 10:11:50 PM
I'm not sure what people were expecting or hoping for, but personally it seems like a very decent action game to me.  The online multi mode I admit seemed a bit chaotic, but given that I'm so new to the game I didn't expect to be an expert my first game in.  Single Player campaign I found fairly engaging, though I've only made it through the first big battle (Helm's Deep).  The action is pretty non-stop, but the graphics and animations all look top notch to me.  Playing on a 40" screen, it really felt like I was in the middle of one of the big battles from the movie, and I really felt the overall atmosphere (graphics, music, environment, etc) were extremely well done and reminiscent of the movies.  Maybe I just have low expectations for this type of game, lol.
3585  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Classic Wizardry-style CRPGs? on: January 19, 2009, 10:06:28 PM
I feel like there have been a couple I haven't thought of, just curious.

I'm thinking of the party-based, turn-based, Wizardry type of dungeon crawlers, like Might and Magic series, Bard's Tale series.  Was there anything more modern, or maybe indie type of developer games for the PC, but more recent?
3586  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! on: January 19, 2009, 10:03:21 PM
I am reallllly excited for Lost to come back on Wednesday.  I re-watched the entire season in Blu-Ray a couple of weeks ago, and it's such a great experience to watch them all at once, in high quality, and without the same week to week expectations.  I seriously think it's been some of the best TV I've ever watched, and I watch a ton.

Some tidbits I've read (hmmm some might be considered spoilers):

Spoiler for Hiden:
- it's not just going to be about getting back to the island, that's just a part of it

- they will introduce yet another different form of storytelling to go along with flash-forward and flashback.  I suspect this has to do with the island moving back in time

- the 4-toed statue will be back!  But no revelations this season

- more of the smoke monster will be revealed

- more ancient civ stuff revealed

- Michelle Rodriguez guests I think in the first ep; Hurley can talk to ghosts like the Asian guy, sort of

- Jin will be back in some form or another, but no scenes with Sun for quite some time.  Given the other things I've read, I'm guessing he did not die last season.

- Claire's fate won't be revealed til next season.

- more back story on the French chick, not necessarily played by the same actress (so probably a young version)

- more on the Black Rock ship revealed

- Michelle (Reiko Aylesworth?) from 24 is going to be on it, but I think only in the past; no idea what that meant

- some sort of happy ending in store, also not sure what that meant
3587  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We Are One concert on: January 19, 2009, 09:56:16 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 19, 2009, 04:39:58 PM

did anyone catch the concert on HBO yesterday?  I set my DVR to record it and apparently it ran over as it got cut off halfway through U2's Pride.  I have to say I was fairly disappointed with the music acts and I fast forwarded through the speeches.  I was surprised that Garth Brooks seemed to be the best out of the lot; Springsteen seemed like he was either freezing or had to take a dump, and the accoustic version of the Rising wasn't all that hot either.  Jon Bon Jovi's duet was pretty dull too, and I was also disappointed with the way U2 did Pride- it seemed to be off beat for some reason.

I also noticed they seemed to be having sound problems with the broadcast- the sound would be clear one moment then it would go soft or muffled.

I watched most of it live, didn't have any sound issues whatsoever.  In fact it sounded really good to me for a live show.

U2 did sound off to me, I wonder if the coldness was affecting people.  But then again, I loved the one lady who did "change is gonna come" (not sure of her name), and Mary J Blige was sublime as usual.  Disappointed Beyonce didn't sing "At Last" - I thought I read that in the paper.  Sheryl Crow sounded pretty poor to me relatively speaking, and I was hoping Will I Am would have done his special campaign song.  Pretty interesting show all around, I don't recall there ever being this kind of pre-inauguration fanfare.
3588  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Friend is on the new Survivor on: January 16, 2009, 10:04:37 PM

Quote from: Crux on January 16, 2009, 08:43:21 PM

So I've gotten to spend some time with Marc over the last few weeks as he prepares to move back here to ATL in a couple of months. We've been playing a ton of RB2 biggrin Anyways, the interesting tidbit I was going to resurrect this thread for: the fix.

So Marc had made a couple of comments about the producers rigging things to shift the balance of power during the show when they had their great power block going. I thought he was purely referring to the tribe shuffle that took place the episode he got eliminated. Turns out there is more. The physical challenge was done on an individual basis so that the others couldn't throw the challenge and vote someone not from their block out (since Marc was obviously vulnerable with Bob on the other side). And then the plot thickens. The challenge was to hold those wooden poles on the backs of your hands. The distances were calculated supposedly based on height, but Marc said his were set further out from his body comparatively to ensure that he lost. I was always curious why he lost that challenge because at that point in the game he was clearly the strongest and fittest person left - it was off just how much longer Matty (and Bob) were able to last than him. And now we know smile

Wow, I'm jealous you get to hang out with him! 

But even more wow, I'm surprised he told you that stuff - don't they have to sign crap that prevents them from revealing stuff like this that could really affect the way people view the show?  I suppose he isn't suing them or anything and this could still be viewed as conjecture from his part, so I guess it's not that big a deal.  Either way, I do agree that the producers seemed hell-bent on breaking up what felt like an over-powered alliance structure.

Still, unless it was the editing, it appeared to me Marcus fell not just to the cheating producers, but to the age old Survivor problem of over-confidence.  It seemed to me he went too far (unnecessarily) in his bid to control Krystal, and likewise under-estimated Susie and Kenny, even after commenting on how unstable she was.  Would one more conversation with Susie have made a difference?  Particularly if he hadn't bothered trying to turn Krystal, and just stayed focused on his 3-man advantage at the time, who knows... 

Oh well, he is so hot, he doesn't need to win a million dollars on top of that lol.
3589  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Cold! on: January 16, 2009, 06:07:24 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 16, 2009, 07:57:58 AM

it's freaking -10 degrees outside and the dogs want to go for a walk.  apparently Columbus got moved into Canada and no one sent me the memo.

Come to me and I will warm you up, CK!   Fabulous

Well.... me and the 80 degree weather we're having in Southern Cal.
3590  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: January 16, 2009, 06:06:30 PM

Quote from: Jeff on January 15, 2009, 06:52:46 PM

I missed the KC episode, but the 16 year old girl in the Phoenix auditions is the best I've heard so far. I think blind guy will do better when at his piano (kind of like Billy Joel or Elton John).

The Indian guy was quite good from the little bit I saw from KC.

And bikini girl was *not* the highlight. Yikes. I thought that was one retarded segment. She wasn't a half-bad singer, and I don't think needed the gimmick.

Agree on blind guy, still I'm not sure how far he can get unless they give him plenty of leeway.  I mean how is he going to handle the group dance routines?  Will be very interesting to see what rules they bend or don't.

Indian guy was very good.  In fact there were definitely a couple of "surprise" vocals from some of the guys who didn't look like what they sounded like, like that big beefy worker dude.

Bikini Girl: she was an OK singer and didn't need the bikini, agreed, but the segment was awesomely uncomfortable and cringe-worthy, particularly when Cara started singing and they were both singing over each other.  BTW that Cara seems to be a great singer, wonder why she never made it big as one.
3591  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Advice Needed: Wii, PS3, 360, or new gaming PC on: January 15, 2009, 07:19:55 PM
If you can wait, the new DSi is supposedly being released April 4 in the US.  It has a bigger screen and some other bells and whistles...

Given your penchant for good RPGs, you may also want to upgrade your PC, or do as suggested and get a nice portable gaming laptop.  Of course this opens up a ton of different options depending on size/performance.  I'm thinking you may want to play new games like Dragon Age and Diablo 3, not to mention NWN2 and all its expansions, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and tons of other great games.

BTW, what version of Bard's Tale was the Xbox?   Was that the old style one that was like Wizardry?
3592  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: January 15, 2009, 06:48:16 PM
Not to much to mention yet.  Just a few random thoughts:

- I like the new judge, and while it's just subtle so far, the dynamics are clearly different with 2 girls to balance the guys

- Bikini Girl was definitely the highlight of the show, even for a gay guy

- Speaking of which, very few hot/cute guys so far

- Blind Guy was good, but a little too much excessive coverage.  I wonder if he's this season's Josiah who seemed like a sure thing but doesn't make it through Hollywood

- Couple of halfway decent voices, but nothing that really stuck in my mind.  I think 2 of the really young (16yo) girls seemed to sing remarkably well.  I liked the "Go Put Your Records On" rendition, though I don't remember who sang it.

- Low Voice Guy was my favorite of the "freaks."  A couple others I don't really remember but sadly, their faces were so ugly when singing they were actually kind of scary to me.
3593  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Vanguard] Isle of dawn on: January 14, 2009, 07:10:54 PM
What kind of PvP is in this game?  I saw PvP mentioned on their website but not in this thread.

How does VG compare to EQ2? 
3594  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: New video card need - best mid-range card for my system? on: January 14, 2009, 06:41:36 PM
I'm not exactly sure how you define "mid-range" card - is that price or performance or both?  I guess you mentioned the 4870, which seems like a good choice in the $220 range.  On the nVidia side, the 260/216 core (as mentioned) is definitely a strong contender, but will cost even a bit more.

However, given that you are looking to play at 1680x1050, these may actually be overkill.  You can actually save yourself close to $50-100 going with the 9800GTX+ (which is what I am currently using).  I can play pretty much anything smoothly at 1920x1200 so it should definitely be enough.

Given what I've seen on laptops and other less powerful systems, I actually think you'd be safe/fine with even an ~$100 card like the 4850 or the 9800GT.  In the end it's really one of those tough questions how much you want to spend now vs. later. 
3595  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: January 13, 2009, 06:08:22 PM
I'm really enjoying it thus far.  Maybe it's just that I miss the show in general, or that my memory is bad (very possible), but this 4 hour block certainly felt a lot stronger than the last one.  Basically I like the way things are set up in general this time.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Even though it's fairly ludicrous, I love the gritty, small-scale, "us against everyone" atmosphere that's set up.  I've always been a huge Chloe fan so I love that she's already in the mix as deep as it gets.  Basically we've got the hardest core CTU remnants against everyone, and I like it!  Will be interesting to see how they integrate Kim (is she just going to be the whiny daughter or actually get involved in helping our desperados?).  Would be really cool if they enlisted a couple of other characters from the past to help out.  The new FBI chick is pretty decent, she kind of reminds me of a blend between 24's Michelle and Scully.
3596  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (starts tonight!) on: January 12, 2009, 09:14:00 PM

Loved the premiere last night, and looking forward to tonight's continuation.  

BTW, are we doing open Spoilers in this thread or does everything need to be kept hidden?

One question:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Was the dead son of the President supposed to be the same hot guy we saw in 24: Redemption?  I assume it was but I wasn't sure if they might have had more than one son and I wasn't paying attention.  Was the girlfriend the same actress as in Redemption?  I just don't remember.

Anyone know when Chloe returns?
3597  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (1/12) on: January 12, 2009, 07:30:06 PM
Gonna get LOTR Conquest, probably for the 360 unless someone/something can convince me to get the PC version instead.
3598  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: January 12, 2009, 07:28:02 PM

Quote from: crumsteel on January 12, 2009, 06:53:58 PM

Reading through the threads on netbooks got me even more confused. What would you guys recommend for someone who wants for the purpose of email, web, picture viewing, movie watching, and possibly a little programming based on what you have used? Is there something new coming out or price drops that you think I should wait for?

The only thing I think might be worth waiting for is something using the Ion chipset that Blackjack mentioned above, combined with the higher resolution screen, also brought up by Blackjack.  Combine these 2 things and you've got a machine that can potentially be a truly ultraportable movie and gaming machine.  Seems to me like both of these are no-brainers, and combined you can have a horde (pun intended) of Netbooks seamlessly playing WoW and other games. 

My personal dream: playing Diablo 3 on a Netbook before the end of this year  icon_razz
3599  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Windows 7 Beta on: January 09, 2009, 10:27:14 PM

Quote from: farley2k on January 09, 2009, 08:49:47 PM

Well it appears the web site is dead!  LOL didn't they expect a bit of traffic?

Servers are running Vista.  retard

Sorry, someone had to make the joke!!!!   nod
3600  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Windows 7 Beta on: January 09, 2009, 06:47:54 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on January 09, 2009, 06:39:18 PM

Grrrr, don't get me started on the absurdity of Vista hate. Suffice it to say Vista should not be compared to Windows Me. Windows Me had *real* problems caused by the operating system itself. Vista's problems were primarily due to lazy third-party developers who couldn't be bothered to produce proper drivers for the OS and a bad marketing decision by Microsoft that allowed the OS to be installed on hardware that wasn't built to run it properly. Those two issues magnified by an ignorant populace resulted in the unfair Vista hate.

Not just that, leaving the UAC on as a default made it an easy target for ridicule, because let's face it, it was damn annoying to have that thing pop up every time you did anything.  Once I found out how to turn it off, I really had few complaints, aside from having to run a few apps in "administrator mode" even when I was logged on as the administrator/sole user  saywhat  Also, I guess it did seem kind of bloated as well in terms of RAM requirements, which limited people with older machines.  So it certainly had a fair share of problems, but I agree, really nothing to deserve the broad range of hate.

As a side note, I always am curious about Windows ME, which I heard nothing but bad things about.  I had the exact opposite experience.  That was the one Windows I used which I never had a single issue with from day one.  Of course it's lifespan was really short, but I must have been one of a very select few who liked it.
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