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Malik (4/26/10)

This was one hell of a weekend. I don't mean it was fun or bad...I mean it was a crap shoot of good and bad fighting to drive me slowly insane.

First of all, the Sounder FC teamed with my PC to make for a couple of pain filled hours. It started right before the start of the Sounders FC game when my PC asked me, "What is your favorite color?" Since I like blue, my PC was trying to be friendly with a nice big screen filled with blue. This would be my sarcastic way to say that the BSoD was a constant feature of my weekend. While I kept fighting my PC to get the system stabilized, the Sounders were fighting a losing battle between the forces of bad officiating and laziness. I mean laziness is the best reason I can think of for some of the failure to perform that the Sounders showed. Maybe they were also playing again Toronto, but I think it was just a coincidence that Toronto was on the same field as the Sounders while the Sounders played some sort of practice match.

In the end, I discovered the cause of my BSoD issue, but not for a good amount of time. Weirdly enough, it can be tied in to my bad Lunar 2 disk that has kept me from enjoying that game. When I couldn't get Lunar 2 to work on my PS2 or PS3, I tried some other methods. I should note, Lunar 2 doesn't work correctly on the slim PS2 anyway, but I didn't learn that until after many hours of failure. Since my PSX is broken (although I will get my working PSX back from whom I loaned it to soon), I decided to try the game on a PSX emulator. It's not that I play the PSX emulator on my PC. I don't need an emulator to run a game half assed when I have all three Sony consoles. I just wanted to see if the disk was bad or if I just couldn't run the game on a PS2/PS3 (backwards compatibility is great, but there are occasional games that don't handle the technology shift).

After the emulators didn't load the disk from my drive, I tried checking the integrity through a few various means. These methods probably tip toe the unique grey area between legal and "less than reputable", if you catch my meaning. Long story short, I had a piece of software crash while "inspecting" the disk. Then I had another fail around the same point, but with an error log showing massive bad sectors on the disk. Unfortunately, this second piece of software installed a nice feature that my PC couldn't handle, and would later lead to my nightmare of blue screens forever.

On a slightly related note, I tried various methods to help my Lunar 2 disk. One of which, after I saw a good amount of thin scratches on the disk, was to try the CD repair system found at Gamestop. I mean it's only about $8 and I was willing to take that hit if it meant I could play Lunar 2.

The Gamestop repair thing is actually pretty good. I don't know how much it helps, since my disk was just bad and probably beyond repair. However, it did take out a good 90% of the scratches. It's a basic idea, but not a bad one. Basically, a type of wax (like a car wax) that gets rubbed into the scratches and does the same principal as car wax; it fills fine scratches with a clear and reflective coating to make the disk look smooth and unblemished. Not a bad thing, for minor scratches...but useless if your problem is actually a bad disk.

Anyway, I do have another batch of Lunar 2 disks on order. I hate to spend so much on a single game, but a rare and amazing game is an exception to my cheapness.

On a good note to end things for today, I'm glad to see the Seahawks did damned good with the draft.  Best of all, I don't know how they could score Golden Tate so late in the draft, but I sure will not complain when the alternative is to rely on Deion Branch's glass ankle and Houshmanzedah's inability to communicate with Hasselbeck.


Malik (4/28/10)

My battle with technology is now in overtime. I got my new (used) disks of Lunar 2 (PSX) and my new (refurbished) iPod in the mail on Monday. I won in my fight with Lunar 2 when I was treated to a game that functions. On a related note, I can now say that Lunar 2, so far, is compatible with the PS3. I mention this since I could not find any information online about how complete the backwards compatibility was for PSX games on the PS3. I could find mention of some individual games, including Lunar 1, but Lunar 2 information eluded me. I can now say, unlike what I've heard about the slim PS2 with Lunar 2, the PS3 is friendly with Lunar 2.

As for my iPod battle...that's where extra innings are in play. My "refurbished" iPod Classic (6th generation) showed up with a small problem. The HDD was corrupted in a weird way. Once I had 6.3GB of music (or other data) on the thing, it would crash and try to take my PC down with it. Since this is a bit shy of the 80GB capacity, I call shenanigans. So, I'm now in RMA limbo, with a replacement on it's way if any are available, or else it's money back time. Either way, I'm out time and shipping costs, so I'm less than enthusiastic about this situation.

To change gears, what the hell was up with Lost last night? Last time I checked, a couple seasons back, ABC and the Lost people said re-runs were a thing of the past. I mean there has not been a repeat of a Lost episode, at least at the time slot for new episodes, in a longer time frame than I can recall. So, why was I "treated" to a new airing of the Richard episode? To make it worse, it was like when the previous episode repeats at 8 (Pacific time) right before a new other words, there were the, as I think of them, subtitles for the stupid. You know what I mean...the subtitles that point out such useless and obvious facts as "Richard still thinks he will be executed." The type of information that you'd only need to know if you are too stoned or wasted to follow the more obvious plot points...not the information that could escape notice.

With the show nearing it's conclusion, it just escapes me why they'd break the momentum with a repeat. It's like running a marathon, but then making all runners take a hour long break when the front runner is about a mile short of finishing, or like making the Super Bowl half time show come at the final two minute warning. I mean the finish line is in sight, so let's not milk the time remaining instead of just getting on with things while the momentum is there.

At least I have enough good shows on my DVR right now to not be too upset. I mean between HBO and Netflix, my TV time is getting pretty crowded.


Malik (4/29/10)

I still can't believe how it happened. I mean one minute the world was fairly normal, and then in a matter of a few actions and a week or so, the world has twisted into a shape I cannot recognize.

I mean, isn't Microsoft supposed to be "the evil big brother" of the computer and technology world who does everything in it's power to stop people from really taking advantage of what's in front of them. Yes, Sony has also been a part of that club, but it's usually been Microsoft who pushes the strongest for domination of not just the market, but also how you even consider looking at the market.

Now Apple is stepping out of their comfort zone. I mean Apple has, in the past, been like the elitist hippy. Yes, that is not a contradiction. Apple was the hippy who welcomed all, but only if you wore the right color of tie-dye (in this case, a sterile white, or occasionally black, with a high gloss shine that reflects all fingerprints and smudges). You may pay extra for their type of tie-dye, but the hippy was welcoming and would take pride in doing things differently.

Then comes the Apple shift. Now the hippy is trying to dominate over our sensibilities, as well as the market. It was no shock that Apple didn't want Flash on their iPhone and iPad. I mean Flash would allow people to make programs specifically for the iPhone, without going through the official Apple App process. In other words, it would avoid the censorship of Apple, as well as the control that Apple would have on the content.

If Apple kept it's mouth shut, they could continue looking like a laid back hippy. All would be groovy, but the hippy just was too spaced out and too devoted to the people to have even noticed this "Flash" thing. Instead, Steve Jobs had to open his mouth and remove all doubt of the hippy ways. It's one thing also to tell the truth, that Flash subverts the App Store process, but it's another when Jobs is saying that it's not reliable or secure. I don't know about secure, since nothing seems secure on the world wide web anymore, but Flash is pretty damned reliable when compared with Apple (which Jobs seems to be ready to always use as a reliability benchmark). I've had my iPods crash and fail more times in the less than a decade I've had them then I've seen Flash fail in the more than a decade I've used it. I will not even compare Flash for reliability against the Apple branded iPod included ear buds (I think it's required for them to fail in the first few weeks of use).

However, it only gets worse when Jobs is basically saying, in a round-about way, that the iPhone is helping to destroy Flash. I mean when he says, "And the 200,000 apps on Apple's App Store proves that Flash isn't necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games," isn't he actually just saying that his company tried to take down Flash and due to the legions of Apple fans Flash is becoming more irrelevant? Yes, I know...the next version of HTML also helps to knock down the need for Flash, but the iPhone isn't exactly rocking the best browser with the next generation of technology.

It only gets worse with the whole crap of the "leaked" iPhone and Gizmodo's analysis. Until I hear otherwise, it sounded like Apple f#@$ed up, and then f$#@ed up again. In the meantime, Jason Chen (of Gizmodo) decided to do what any journalist would do in such a case; report on it.

...Yes, he may be a "blogger", but I have a distinction of bloggers, journalists, and the rest of the internet "reporters". A blogger is unfocused in the extreme, and tends to lack a censorship of their thoughts (which usually serve no purpose beyond inflating the go of the blogger as he/she decides that he/she made a difference to the world by reporting their rambling thoughts), while a journalist is focused on a specific task or assignment at any time without hope of making a difference and instead wants to just offer a small bit of enlightenment on a subject at hand. The rest of the web people fit into too many categories to cover, but they include everything from Tweeters (the most useless dregs of web it was once said, paraphrased, on The Boondocks, nothing written with one's thumbs is worth reading), to gonzo journalists/bloggers, to amateur cinematographers, to whatever else you can think of.

Anyway, since Apple seemed to just step on their own feet repeatedly in this matter, I cannot blame the Gizmodo report/review/analysis going up. If I made some new type of technology, one of my people lost it at a bar, and then my customer support people told the finder of said gadget to get lost when he/she tried to return it...well, I may be pissed off and I would probably take the employee who lost the item to task (as well as the support people who told the finder of such item to go away), but I wouldn't hold it against Gizmodo or anyone else who reported on such discarded gadget. It was my company's mistake, in many ways, and I would have to accept that the blame and responsibility falls internally.

Instead, the whole thing exploded when Apple finally pulled their heads from the sand and demanded their iPhone prototype back. It's one thing if Mr. Chen kept the iPhone...but he promptly saw it go back to Apple. Then started the insanity...which is definitely not limited to normal PR fights. No, when the cops raid the home of someone like Jason Chen, it's no longer a normal type of PR fight. It is now bedlam.

By the way, I'd love to hear from the police why they were involved. If the iPhone was returned before the search and seizure of personal property, then why did the police action even occur? I assure you, this is something that has to have had an initiation at the hands of Apple in some way. The police would not be involved, especially to this degree, with a matter that should be a civil issue unless the plaintiff (which would have to be Apple in this case) decided to file a police report. I mean let us pretend that my neighbor ended up with possession of my digital camera, for example, and then returned it later. Even if I assumed he stole it, the police would not search his property and seize his goods unless I started things by contacting the police and started to sling false accusations about my neighbor being a thief.

Anyway, this whole mess, coupled with many recent words by Apple employees (usually Steve Jobs) just makes me wonder what is going on. Apple is trying to bully the world, while Microsoft remains pretty low key despite having a fairly new OS (I've yet to hear a shit storm about Windows 7). Even Sony is not looking too sleazy despite getting rid of the "Other OS" feature of the PS3.

Hopefully this is not my last post for a while...but since I dared to talk shit about Apple and Steve Jobs, and I did talk about my numerous broken iPods in the last week, maybe my PC will now be seized by the new Evil Empire.


Malik (4/30/10)

Rock Band seems to have stumbled into a problem I was waiting for for a while now; what do you do when you have some sort of greatest hits album as DLC and then you want to do the original album that contained a good deal of these songs already? Apparently, Harmonix's answer is to offer two versions of the album.

I think the better option is obvious, at least to me. If you have included any greatest hits type of package, unless the band has a enough material for another greatest hits pack (a "volume 2"), then you should just move on away from that band. In this case, No Doubt should be left alone for DLC. Maybe a single or a three pack of material left off of the greatest hits deal, but don't come along with something like the Tragic Kingdom album after seeing nearly half the album come along already.

Anyway, if a band is going to get more DLC than they already have, maybe some of the less represented artists would be good. Just off the top of my head, I can say Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Soundgarden, Audioslave, The Clash, and The Ramones have been under represented (or misrepresented in the case of The Ramones). Maybe even some new artists that have been ignored for too long (Sex Pistols?) could be included finally.

On a different note that's more relevant to me right now (since I haven't touched Rock Band for a long time), Walter Jones is retiring. As one of the greatest Seahawks of all time, he will be missed...but...

It's just sad that he went out how he did. Jones had a knee issue come up about a year and a half ago (December 2008 was his last playing time). He went through knee surgery, and he tried to rehab enough to come back last season. In the end, he went to the injured list and never played again. It would have been nice to see such a good player, and a good person, go out on his own terms and while still at the peak of his game. Instead, his final legacy in Seattle will be how he kept trying to come back last season and couldn't find the health needed.

Still, after 13 years with such a great record (some some great records; most pro-bowl appearances by a Seahawk, for one), he will be missed. Between Jones, Steve Hutchinson, and Mack Strong, the Seahawks were able to be defensive enough on the offensive line to see Super Bowl XL. Without Jones, I doubt the Seahawks would have been able to get that far into the playoffs that season.


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