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3881  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

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.
3882  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.
3883  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!
3884  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. 
3885  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
3886  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:

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.
3887  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?


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.,2323-2.html
3888  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!
3889  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...

3890  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. 

3891  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.


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.
3892  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!
3893  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
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
3894  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
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)
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
3895  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?
3896  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! 
3897  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

3898  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.
3899  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.
3900  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.
3901  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." 
3902  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
3903  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:

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.
3904  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. 
3905  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.
3906  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.
3907  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.
3908  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.
3909  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 08, 2009, 11:46:56 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on June 08, 2009, 10:21:42 PM

Well, I was considering upgrading from my 3g iphone to the new one, but apparently for current 3g subscribers, there is no subsidized price. We get to pay the full price which is $399/$499 for the GS. Ouch.

Yeah I'm not happy about that at all, but who am I kidding, I am an Apple whore and will cave in.  I'm considering cancelling and paying the early termination fee and starting a new account, which would save roughly $50 ($175-$5*10 + $36 new activation VS $199 + $18).  BTW, I saw somewhere else that the actual "full" price was yet another $200 more, $599/$699 so they are supposedly still giving a "discounted" price. 
3910  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: NBA Playoffs 2009 on: June 05, 2009, 06:45:56 PM
Game 1 was a Lakers fan's thing of beauty.  Aside from a few no shows (Sasha, come on!), this team showed again (similar to Game 6 against Denver) what it can do when it's well prepared and firing on all/most cylinders.  The rest period obviously did them some good, Kobe looked electrifyingly energetic.  I've watched hundreds of games over the years and this was definitely one of Kobe's finest.  Of course it didn't hurt to have little Lee guarding him.  The scary thing is Pau and Odom only had average games, Pau in particular has a lot more to give I believe. 

All that said, I do worry about a Game 2 letdown.  This is the one Orlando has the best chance to steal - Lakers in spite of whatever they tell the press will be feeling overconfident.  Orlando can play with the biggest chip on their shoulders, and if smart will go back to what worked for them in the earlier series (Turkoglu making plays). 

Ultimately it all depends on which Lakers team shows up.  The one that stands around watching the game play around them (in losses to Houston and Denver), or the one that "brings it" every possession (last night and Game 6 Denver)?
3911  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 04, 2009, 09:49:06 PM
Battery life I've found is hit or miss, particularly depending on the apps I use.  My guess is certain apps have memory leaks or some odd behavior that allows them to drain the battery even after you leave them.  Twice now my battery drained out over night for no apparent reason.  Under "normal" usage though, it's hard to complain as I generally need to recharge maybe once a week.  The question is what constitutes "normal" usage in this new era where the one unit can be used for so many things.  With the games getting better and better each day, you could argue this is a portable gaming platform rivalling the PSP and DS.  And this is on top of being your phone and your iPod and your web browser. 

Oh yeah, there is a free App called "Free Memory" which I highly recommend.  It esentially clears out extraneous things in RAM so you have 20MB free.  More importantly, I believe this helps memory life as it kills off any rampant background processes.

All in all I don't think you can beat the iPhone in an overall comparison.  The Pre looks cool, but my guess is if you took all things into account (user interface, gazillion Apps, App Store, music/videos, web browser, etc etc), the iPhone is still a better piece of hardware (with a superior software support system) if you are the type that takes advantage of all its considerable featureset. 

Oh, and as others mentioned, possibly still the best portable web browsing experience.  The responsiveness and intuitiveness of the interface is just unparalleled.  A guy was trying to show off his new PDA (one of the Verizon ones) the other day, and it was just a joke compared to the iPhone.  He had a stylus out, and kept making gestures back and forth but couldn't get it to zoom or scroll or basically do anything he was trying to do.  I just kept my mouth shut.
3912  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: June 04, 2009, 05:22:49 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on June 04, 2009, 04:51:40 PM

The few programs I tried seemed very responsive, and I came away pretty impressed. Not exactly deep insights, but it was nice to finally fiddle with one.  icon_smile

Keep in mind that there is a major OS upgrade on the way shortly (3.0) so it's only gonna get a lot better very soon.  And more than likely (I'd say 75-80%), a new version of the hardware should be available in a month or two, maybe sooner.  Announcement may be made next week at the WWDC.

Projected features of the new iPhone (all but confirmed):

- 32GB memory
- 2.2MP camera with video recording
- faster processor/overall speed
- built-in compass

I've also heard rumors (less likely) of:

- built-in FM radio
- front side camera for iChat
3913  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Sims 3 gold! on: June 04, 2009, 05:14:31 PM

Quote from: Godzilla Blitz on June 04, 2009, 04:03:21 AM

I've been reading conflicting things about the player's ability to change the town's population...

Can you make up a bunch of sims and just stick them in houses in the town? Or are you limited to four lots/families to play with at one time?

Can you make NPCs and add them to the town's population? Are the NPCs the same every game?

I was able to make new Sims and drop them into my existing saved game.  You can either switch to play the new one(s) as your "main" or allow them to exist in the town.  I can't remember exactly how I was able to do it, but I think there is an "Edit Town" button which lets you add new Sims (another button actually bounces you back to the Sim creation tool).  I added Jack and Kate (from Lost) so far.  I was planning to see if they would eventually get together but I think I put Kate too far across town.  So instead I spent the rest of the night flirting with Jack myself lol Fabulous It was pretty funny when we were dancing together at 1 am and his housemate kicked me out.  I'll see how many Lost cast members I can make before I get bored.

Another oddity I ran into, and it may have been a mistake I made, but I ran into a copy of myself in the park while my "real" guy was at work.  That was kind of creepy.

I don't know if the NPCs are the same every game, but I think they are selected from a set pool.   
3914  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Some kind of Magic The Gathering game coming to XBLA on: June 03, 2009, 11:52:15 PM
This looks really cool, thanks for the update!!!  I had no idea they were working on it.

Here's a link to the website with gameplay footage:
3915  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Sims 3 gold! on: June 03, 2009, 11:40:56 PM

Quote from: Razgon on June 03, 2009, 06:14:16 PM

But, the thing is - IS there any developement?? Other than people getting older? Do they do anything fun? Will someone become a monster and marry everyone in the neighborhood? Will someone try and kill everyone? Will someone just pack up and leave head for the road?

I suppose that's the "point" of playing/watching the world develop (if indeed there is any point at all), or at least one of the aspects to the game/simulation - to see if any of these things happen, with or without your intervention.  I did read certain NPCs may leave, so that's certainly a possibility.  You could always drop in some "evil" trait people to see if they might kill people (that just gave me an idea for a horror movie type of scenario, drop in one evil guy with 10 others and trap them in a building), and you might be able to get someone to not necessarily marry everyone in the neighborhood, but at least do a bunch of them.
3916  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Someone hold Starshifter....... Clash of the Titans Re-Make on: June 03, 2009, 06:02:59 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on June 02, 2009, 11:45:38 PM

the first pic of a Terminator infiltrating ancient Greece!

Way too much clothing on Sam  thumbsdown
3917  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Sims 3 gold! on: June 03, 2009, 05:51:49 PM
You know what might be interesting if we had enough people playing here - everyone make a Sim of themself and upload it, then we all download each others' Sims so you could throw them in a house/town together and let chaos ensue  icon_razz

First impressions: honestly the game looked/felt very much like what I remember Sims 2 did.  Which is kind of odd since I thought it should be significantly different after so many years.  This is both good and bad, as it feels immediately very familiar but not (at the outset anyway) like a really advanced sequel.  I suppose this might say more about me and the way I choose to play these Sims games more than the game itself.  The fact is the new "open neigborhood" is a major change/enhancement, as is the aging and evolutionary aspects, and I think these will only become more interesting as you spend more time in game.  What I'd like to do at some point is just create Sims and a setup, and then just watch how things evolve without my own tampering.

I loved the Sim creator, very fun to play with.  I could see losing yourself for hours making new Sims or trying to make Sim versions of real people.  Also like the ease of which you can select different outfits (normal, formal, sleep, swim).

My first day was spent following the tutorial advice, which kind of guided the way it went.  I bought a couch, then grabbed the paper and got a job at the theater.  I then headed to town to take a guitar class.  On the way I bumped into a lady and talked about my new job while charming her with my mad funny skillz.  She started to give me the heart symbol which freaked me out so I took off to my class (I was just trying to use her to complete one of my achievements).  On the way home I stopped by the gym to see if I could hit on anyone.  I took a brief swim and then looked around.  There was only one guy there who I wasn't that into, but I still chatted him up for possible future friendship.  Exhausted, I made it home, took a shower and went to bed.

The one thing I wish they had was a town creator (I think you can edit the town but I haven't tried it yet).  I'd like to be able to start from scratch and create more extreme towns, like one filled with bad guys and military bases.  Or as I said drop in only select Sims of my choice.  I think this is all do-able in the present game, but requires more work than I like.

Ultimately while I can't say I'm really into the "game," I love the entire sandbox aspect and the potential it presents in terms of NPC AI and creating living, breathing, evolving environments.  I was commenting elsewhere how I would love to see an RPG that allowed for this type of evolution, blending something like Morrowind or a Bioware game with Sims 3 evolution.
3918  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: June 02, 2009, 06:33:11 PM
Call me a cynic, but I still don't get why devs love to do these "prequel" games/movies/books.  Particularly for a game, there's something just inherently uninteresting to me to know I'm set in the middle of a storyline which ultimately has less meaning because I know X years in the future how it's going to turn out (this bugged me in both LOTRO and SWG, and on TV, Enterprise).  I'm sure some will argue it's the journey that counts, and while I can understand that, I'd ask why can't I have an interesting journey in a story/timeline where I *don't* know what the future holds?  In other words, would it be so horrible to place a Star Wars game storyline after Episode 6? 

Another thing that bother me about this KOTORO implementation is the class structure.  You have troopers, who generally equate to soldier fodder, and then Jedi, with all sorts of force powers.  Just seems inherently unbalanced for an MMO setting, it's like Nathan vs. Peter in Heroes (I can fly!  Well I can absorb powers, stop time, telekinesis, travel in time....).  And while I like the idea of an MMO that really delves into lore and storyline, it also seems like that style of gameplay might be better served in a single player game.  In AoC, the beginning portion which was very single player-esque worked very well, but the reality is it more or less isolated you from other players.  And it ended fast enough that it didn't impact the MMO-world.

All in all, I've been a Bioware fan for a long time, but I am really not sure this is going to be a slam dunk.
3919  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Sims 3 gold! on: June 02, 2009, 06:14:27 PM

Quote from: hepcat on June 02, 2009, 05:40:02 PM

I picked this up solely for the purpose of creating a race of light intolerant cannibals who I will forcibly breed in the basement of my sim's home.

That sounds fun!

What I'd really like to do is recreate the Lost island and all the Dharma initiative and Others, etc.  Just don't have enough time so I think instead I'll just try to make a bunch of hot guyz, or perhaps a house full of my favorite American Idols  Fabulous
3920  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: NBA Playoffs 2009 on: June 02, 2009, 05:55:40 PM

Quote from: Kemper Boyd on June 02, 2009, 05:37:25 AM

I think it will be Lakers in six. I really don't see Orlando winning three in a row at home and I bet the Lakers will win at home. The Lakers are a much better match up with the Magic than the Cavs were plus Kobe actually has a quality supporting cast that LaBron can only dream of.

All of those threes are a bit worrisome, though...

The threes scare the crap outta me, particularly with the Lakers' sometimes lackadaisacal defense in meeting outside shooters.  I hate watching them leave the best 3-point shooters wide open game after game - and in Orlando's case it will be almost everyone on the court!
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