Friday, December 4, 2009

Shave it or Don't... Poll!

So... Shave it back to the way it was, or leave the beard? it's not 100% grown in yet; but its enough.

I leave it up to the audience!

Poll is down... beard's still there for now!

Leave whatever comments you'd like... gonna review the poll this weekend and go with whatever everyone else says.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Watching this three part series today.. and does color make a world of difference.

This is one of the best documentaries ever; the film being in color really makes a huge difference... you can see that its not mud on a marines face, instead its blood. The color just adds a certain humanity and humility to what the soldiers had to endure.

Watching this though; you can't help but realize that we live in a completely different "America" now though. The days are gone of sending in 150,000 troops in order to secure a beachhead, all in the name of liberty... knowing damn well that you're sending at least 25,000 to their certain deaths. No longer would you send in 485 planes, full of 9 men each, on a suicide mission just so their escort planes could wipe out the opposing air force. We don't do what is necessary to win any longer, no we only do what is acceptable in order to achieve a semblance of political victory to achieve "peace". During World War II, the entire country was behind the cause, and the military was given a political blank check to ensure the safety of peoples of all nations, regardless of the human cost... because the alternate cost would be tenfold.

Now, guarded by political red tape, humanitarian activist, media, journalist with personal agendas, and a fickel, self-serving nation.. we're no longer the nation that won the second world war. War has changed, as it has ever since its inception, but the basis is still the same... the nation or body thats willing to give up everything for its cause will be the victor. The "Greatest Generation" all gave up a part of themselves to ensure victory; they did whatever it took... even if it meant walking off a ship, onto a beach head with 4,000 rifles aimed at their boat; they would weather the onslaught and they would make it up that beach. Now.. we expect our men to fill out a piece of paper for every bullet they fire, why they fired it, and how they justified their right to fir; and our country scrutinize their every action with judgmental, arm-chair quarterback eyes.

I guess there is no real point to this post... more of just a rant. But I wish they we could get back to that America.. I wish we could get back to where we could raise the Flag, salute it, and sing the national anthem without fear of pissing someone off. Where we could not give a damn if we prayed in front of someone, because thats one of the founding principals we were built on... where we could do as we please without having our president go on an apology tour, begging for the forgiveness of all nations of the world.... cause God help us if we were to remind them, that if it wasn't for us; they'd be speaking German.

I do wish we could get back to "that" America.. but I'm kind of afraid of what it would take to get there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Project Natal

Because I was talking about it tonight and we were playing the Wii... here's the youtube video for project Natal... this is coming out summer 2010 (they think); and it's some crazy stuff.

This is the crap that people wrote about in the 60's.. about how the year 2000 was going to be.

Voice Recognition
Facial / Body recognition
No Controlers
Sophisticated, Learning and Adapting Artificial Intelligence.

The first video is the promo vid for Natal.. this isn't the presentation that Lion Head Studios demonstrated the full under-the-hood horsepower of Natal (... that's Video #2). This is just the simple, over-the-top view of how Natal is going to change gaming and bring it in to a whole new audience.

With Huge.. **huge** studios chomping at the bits to get at Natal's source code.. big developers like Activision (World of Warcraft), BioWare (Fallout 3 / Dragon Age Origins), Electronic Arts (EA Sports Titles + Gears of War), Lionhead Studios (Oblivion)... with developers like this getting a hold of this technology; they'll be able to further the line where Nintendo and the Wii left off. Remove the 'clumsiness' of a controller from the mix; remove that boundary that prohibits so many from gaming, and open up the genre to even more people that it currently is enjoyed by...
Anyways, I'm very excited about this...this has the potential to be THE innovation in entertainment; potentially the largest innovation since color television; if it's really bought into by the industry and public:

Video #1:

And here's the full E3 presentation with Lionhead Studio's Milo AI:

that's all *real* stuff that's going into living rooms next year. I mean... voice recognition and facial recognition technology has been around for years in security equipment; but its so unreliable and dated.

But Natal's speed of recognition, facial expression reading, voice inflection recognition.. its just all brilliantly swift. If they can get buy in on this... you'll see and Xbox in 80% of all households.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So... I failed at NoBloPoMo. Meh; I gave it a good fight.

Ya see... I got sidetracked, originally on Friday.

Friday night, I came home, changed clothes... then me and Jill went out to eat @ TWO: Urban Licks.. then afterwards went and saw 2012. We didn't get home that night till like, 12:30.

Saturday was busy too.. work @ 8:30, worked till 1:30, came home and ate (could've posted then I guess), back to work at 3:20, didn't get off till 6:30, came home then immediately turned around and went to Jennifer and Michaels UGA vs. Auburn party.. didn't get home then till after midnight.

Sunday.. had church that morning, then did some running around town and a little shopping, then home and straightened up (laundry etc) and then had my parents over for dinner. After that, I was pretty pooped and had work early on monday... so we went and watched a movie in bed and fell asleep.

Monday, went to work and stuff like normal, but then I got home and went and helped Jill babysit... so we didn't get back till 10:30ish or something like that, and I went to bed (it'd been a long couple of days at this point).

Tuesday, work and schtuff like normal.. then my really good friend from my Small group graduated from the police academy for his new job at the capital police in Atlanta, so I wanted to go to his graduation for support... which was in Jonesborough. So I didn't get back from that till 10.. got home, talked to jill for a little bit and hit the hay.

Now we're to Wednesday night and this is the first real time I've had the opportunity to post =/

been a great couple of days tho! Having fun and hanging out with loved ones >>>>>> "winning" at NoBloPoMo

PEace! Off to watch a movie!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daily Update

Not a ton to really go over today.. worked on getting my new computer setup at work; which I'm excited about... but no real progress on it.

I did, however, sit on a call with a Pakistani man named "Elvis" for 2 hours trying to convince Microsoft that I wasn't a software pirate and that I needed my office key activated... but the key they printed was off by 1 digit. It took a freakn act of congress; I even read them the retailers Invoice number.

Got home... Ran for a little bit; played with the boys (who were in crazy moods) and then chilled in the living room with mah Lovely wife while we watched Glee and a little bit of Mythbusters.. came upstairs and she worked on homework and I played MW2 with Carlton till now.

I think I'm in a WoW rut... I tried to play it a little this afternoon; but quit before I even really started. 77 is like, the last milestone before 80.. and the 77-80 grind sucks. So it takes a little bit of mental prep to push over that hump and finish the drill. Probably will pick it back up once the newness of MW2 wears off a little.

Peace!... off to bed... soooo sleeeeepy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Número once

Or Number 11 in english...
So been playing a lot of CoD:MW2... and by a lot, I mean like 2 days straight. Incredible Multiplayer... the weapon & accessories combos are nuts; and each item that you get feels like it has its place, but isn't overpowered.

There'll be sometimes where you'll focus too much on the heartbeat sensor.. and get racked from someone to your left or right; and you'll beat yourself up for putting that stupid thing on your favorite gun... then there's times where you flash and charge a room, killing 4, cause your HB sensor told you they were in there. It's not like CoD:MW1, where not every accessory really felt like it had a place.

The perks are awesome too... Bling = 2 Primary Attachments... so SCAR-H with a Silencer and Heartbeat Sensor is the ultimate quiet killer. Couple that with Cold Blooded (don't show up on thermal scopes, UAV's, Pred Missle strikes) and you're basically undetectable until they see you.

Best gun to me so far is the SCAR-H... best blend of knock down power, range and accuracy. Fire rate is a little low, for when you gotta go rock-n-roll on someone.. but everything has it's trade offs.

Most disappointing... gotta go with the MP5. I thought they would've brought back the badass MP5 from the first Modern Warfare, but this one just feels really underpowered. You've got to either be ten feet from your quarry, or dump a whole magazine into them.

Coolest part... has to go to either the C130 kill combo reward or the Predator Missiles. C-130 is just sheer awesome; but you've gotta get really lucky to squeeze that reward out. The Pred missile is more easily attained, but still reaps almost the same 'fun' reward. Watching the CNN-Esque nose-cam as you direct the missile towards the earth is just an awesome 'oooOOOOooh' moment.

Ended tonight Rank 26.. which is over halfway of what I was in CoD:MW1. Crazy.

In non-MW2 news; the druid polished off 15% exp today to finally hit 77. Finally get to fly in Northrend.. making questing, grinding... and dang never everything go 300% faster.

Moving to non-leisure/Killing time activities... back @ the Grindstone tomorrow. We're prepping two new software releases; one to our main core processor and any of our redundancy boxes (7 of them), and another to our Scheduling product, which should take care of some "false" reporting we've seen. This'll let jobfile scheduler be a little more accurate when he says a job is "finished"... he'll tell you whether it really did finish, or if finished but with an error code.

No NWeds this Sunday... just regular 'ole church. We do have a party at a NWeds graduates house on Saturday though, after I get off of work.

In non-Greg News... Thanks to all of our Veterans. Americans truly do appreciate the sacrifices you make every day in order to ensure our protection. To all current serving armed forces personell and all past, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know what Modern Warfare 2 is... or what it looks like:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2... is.. INTENSE. JEEEZ.

Not sure I'm gonna fall asleep anytime soon, despite laying down and trying to.. it's very fast paced, and very frantic. The AI is extremely smart as well.. doesn't look like I'll be beating this on 'hard / veteran' any time soon. Trying hardened, but man that stuff is tough.

Dunno about the story... so far it doesn't feel as "solid" as Modern Warfare 1, to be honest. It's a little sporadic and jumps from here, to there, to here, to there. But I think some of the pieces are coming together.

But man; it is no stop action... defending a Diner in D.C. from waves of airborne troops felt like i was one of the poor little infantry I commanded in World in Conflict (another PC game).. it was pretty awesome.

bed time.. I hope.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Posting Early

and I'll probably post again tonight.. while I'm installing COD:MW2.

Hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures @ the Midnight release party; but the Gamestop off of Barrett is going all out for this thing. They're going to have snacks and drinks, demo's of the game on like, 22 different TV's, a rock band tournament going and they're going to (after 10pm when the other stores close) setup an airsoft field & game rotation in the parking lot for everyone waiting.

The last midnight release I went to was in Cartersville and about 70 people had preordered GTA:3 at that point... according to the dude @ Gamestop, they've already preordered about 470 copies of Modern Warfare 2... so this should be quite crowded.

Anyways... so talking about games / gamers; there's this cool, charitable deal that I've found out about, called Raid for the Cure and Azeroth United. AZU is just a basic charitable thing... donate a couple of bucks, and you feel good about something and a Game-Related site is giving a 25% discount. Raid for the Cure is pretty cool though... $10 and you reserve a raid spot with a dedicated group of 10 people who will run you thru a raid dungeon and let just the donatee's roll on loot. Additional $5 and you can 'bet' on how long it will take a particular group/run (of the 10 man and donatee's) to clear the dungeon.. closest person wins the non-spoken for items on the raid.. without having to go. It's a win-win for everyone involved... donate $10 or more and the Susan G. Komen charity 'wins', and then you 'win' for having a garanteed raid spot + loot.

I think it's just cool, and good for the gaming industry as a whole, to see gamers being socially concious. I think there's a negative / immature light painted on the gaming industry.. on MMO gamers specifically cause it's seen much the same as D&D is.. sort of a group of outcast / social misfits; despite the fact that the gaming industry has overtaken the film industry in terms of revenue. Doing charitable events and casting gamers and developers in a more friendly and "acceptable" light will only help to further the development and acceptance of the industry among mainstream media. Something interesting though, is that Blizzard is dedicated to their conciensous gamers as well... vowing to match the charitable contributions of the community to both causes (AZU is for 'Child's Play').

Anyways.. back to working.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 8 and still going strong!

So day 8 and I'm still hanging in there.

Not a whole heck of a lot went on today... me and Jill just kind of chilled and spent some downtime together. We didn't end up going to church, although we wish we had. we hung out, ate some leftovers, and watched some mythbusters... fast times at the Glawson household ;)

Went to NWeds and 'glommed' on some new people.... we tried to make them feel welcome and not uncomfortable, being the newbs that they were.

Here's to hoping Jeremy's prognosis goes well tomorrow, I'm really praying for him.

Another day another dollar tomorrow... BUT... COD:MW2 released tomorrow night!

Yes... I'm a 24year old successful grown-up adult, who works in an adult job, with a family and house etc... who will be at gamestop for a midnight release party. I'm a nerd and I at least I know it =)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


7 days blogging in a row, how bout that.

So today I rode up to chattanooga with a friend on his part tiem job. He works for a marketting firm of pespi's, doing different shows / events involving pepsi products. So, they're trying to help drum up business for one of their few pepsi venues in Chatt.; so they sent us out with a pepsi-sponsored (via the Amp product line) item... the #88 Car (Dale Enrhart Jr.) from the Nascar Racing Series.

I'm not a nascar fan; lets just put that out front.,

however, it was really cool to be involved in. Just the trailer this thing is in is awesome, and nicer than some people's cars. But the race car is obviously the show stopper. While I'm not a nascar fan, I am a fan of really really fast things... so my interest was piqued. Because jeremy has a bum shoulder, I got to not only sit in, and crank... but drive a 765hp race car.

The amount of power this machine had was wicked.

First off though, this thing is LOUD. And by LOUD, I mean it puts a chainsaw without ear plugs to shame. It puts a rock concert to shame... sitting in it, reving it up to 7,500 RPMS is like sitting inside the engine. It's like a vision-rattling loud.

Second... it's uncomfortable as hell, and hot. The inside of the car is all sheetmetal or steeltubing, including the seat. It's made of a re-enforced steel tube skeleton, covered in sheetmetal with about 1/8" of padding between it and your ass. Sitting in that for 5 hours? No thanks.

But the day was really fun.. I got to drive around the parking lot of a mall; got to meet a lot of "interesting" Nascar fans... ahem. Played a game with myself.. "count the teeth"... and had fun just cutting up with Jeremy and people watching.

All in all, it was a really fun saturday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog update

Figured... since i'll be posting on this at least once a day for this full month, I might as well make it look a little nicer.

I'm getting involved in an opensource programming project, WoWAce, that's a LUA Framework and full UI... in other words; helping 6 other people shore-up and polish a user-generated interface for a game I play. It's fun, something I can do on the side and at my own pace; just steady as she goes.

Not a ton has really went on today... slow day at work, which was the first we've had in about 3 months. Most of the top-level people weren't there... the ones that matter anyways (even they'd say that), so there wasn't much heat from up that direction. Apparently everyone on the user-side didn't have problems remember passwords, unplugging their printers and wondering why they didn't work, or figuring out the difference between the "computer" on the desk (aka Monitor) and the "computer" under the desk... cause I think we only had about 8 tickets.

I don't know why we've (tech services) been the black sheep lately. Well, really I do.. but it's just not fair. You see, Technology Services, in the eyes of people that control the cash, has been, is, and always will be an expense department. It doesn't matter if that $6,000 new server is going to let you process 18 more loans per hour, or 25 less dropped calls in your service center per day.. it's a $6,000 expense. Lending Departments can increase productivity by 10%, and you can't walk around a building without someone saying something about the great job Lending is doing.

Our Tech Services department has seen a reduction in staff of 2, an increase in work volume of 119% (thus far, 2 months left) and a reduction in response time and resolution time by 51%!

If our lending department increased approved loans by 100% and reduced the time to close the loan by 50%, with less staff... they'd all get a free 2 weeks vacation.

But if its us... there's 2 questions 1) How much did it costs, in $, the organization? 2) Why couldn't 51% be 60%? With us nothing is ever good enough... but you don't stop to think, that every single time you do, essentially, *anything* at your job... does it pass thru a wire? does the information you're looking for reside on the internet\a server\a shared folder? That printer you're printing to, was it just magically put into place? When the crap hits the fan, and you have to put a Disaster Recovery plan into effect, who's gonna be one of the first on the scene? When you need that Credit Report pulled that a $25,000 car loan is hinging on... or you've got that one customer with $400,000.00 wrapped up in CD's that's only using your web banking cause you export into QIS format... re-evaluate whether that "expense" department is really just an expense department or not.

Anyways.. rant time off. It's department evaluation time and budget time, all wrapped into one; and I'm heading the defense of Tech Services and the justification of the TS Budget, so guess I'm still in defense mode.

Jill's gotta babysit tonight... looks like I'll be bach-in it infront of the computer. What a wild 20-something I am! Ha!

I wish she didn't have to work tho ><

Thursday, November 5, 2009

That was close!!

Almost forgot post #5... remembered as I was laying in bed.

I'll write more stuff tomorrow about what went on today... but met a neighbor, raked the yard, watched Mythbusters and worked oin configuring some new UI stuff.

peace out till the AM!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four Days in a Row

It's a record or something I think.

Not much happened today...doing a ton of analysis for work and upcoming projects, trying to avert disaster on a current project, and trying to be proactive and get on the good-side of things for next year on another project. So... basically, its just a buncha projects.

Ordered my new PC for work; should be in sometime early next week... dual 26" monitors!

Druid hit 75 just a minute ago... go go 300g in training costs. Only 2 more levels till I can fly in Northrend though.

Only had 1 Coke zero since I got home. I haven't been terribly productive around the house tonight (although, I have been productive). I was going to rake and bag the yard again.. but this getting dark at like, 6:30, sucks for doing yard work.

Our two beautiful, but smelly boys have an appointment this saturday to get their haircut. It's always such a pain to carry them on Saturdays; not because there hard to deal with.. but because of all the tiny sad faces begging for a good home on "Adoption Saturdays" at Petsmart. They all tug at my tiny heart strings with their sad little faces that light up like christmas when you walk by or scratch them on the nose. I wish I could adopt them all and give them the love they need.

Anyways... not much for tonight; not really in a writing mood, but I didn't wanna give out on day 4!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPloMo Watch - Day 3

Today had lunch with TD at a local bar-food restaraunt thing here in Towne Lake. Had a ton of fun... I hardly ever find the time to take a full lunch hour (usually about 20 minutes).. but took the whole hour today, even slipped in a tad late, heh. Had a great time though, talking football, health & diets, the economy, mine and his jobs and just shooting the crap.. it was a ton of fun; I wish we'd do it more often.

Speaking of fun.. this saturday looks like I'm gonna be riding to Chattanooga with Jeremy to work some kind of festival or event or something. He does side work for a marketting company and sets up and run the booths for various companies at big events and stuff. So anyways, he asked me if I wanted to tag along and get the chance to back a racecar off a trailer and zip it around a parking lot.. he kind of needs a little help; might have torn his rotator cuff =( So I said sure, I'd love the chance to! It should be fun... hanging out, eating free vendor food, people watching etc. Jill's gonna have a girls night that night I think...

Speaking of Vendors though; found out going back to present @ a conference again this year; guess mine this past year didn't go to bad. This year its going to be at Biloxi, MS, which is much better than Nowhere, PA. Crappy thing is, I think I'm gonna have to leave the day after Valentines day =/ Business trips are fun, and its always good to network with a lot of other vendors, CU's and companies.. but I always feel bad leaving Jill. I worry about her =(

Saw the most satanic thing ever in the grocery store yesterday... Fat Free White Chocolate Mocha creamer... Oh-my-gosh. That's like, my coffee-ecstasy dream come true... just a scant week after quiting coffee and energy drinks. **BUT** Here's what I'm thinking; I'll drop the Coke Zero's for coffee (in moderation). So many places say that diet sodas are as bad for you, if not potentially worse, than alcohol according to some. So I think that if I were to start subbing out Coke Zero for coffee, so long as I don't go back to a Pot at a time (maybe.. 3 cups a day?) I'd be ok. But then there is the convenience factor when it comes to cokes... cans and bottles travel well =( But My Oh My do I love a good cup of coffee.. its like, food/drink for the soul

So this was just kind of a scatter-shot blog... but thats pretty much whats on my brain! Now to try and grind out to 75 or log into work while doing laundry and waiting on Jill to get home..

Monday, November 2, 2009


So we're good for 2 out of the 30 now..

I don't know what I'm gonna write about for 30 days. Most of my thoughts are mainly really random, and bounce from subject to subject. I could write about Chernobyl one day, a WoW druid the next, Coke Zero, Caffeine Addiction, and the tribulations of working with incompentent people... and nothing would really "flow", or make too much sense. Usually my hands are about 12 thoughts behind my head, so sometimes my hands can ramble while my brain has completed the thought process and move on to something else...
Speaking of...

Anyways... so Caffeine Addiction & Energy Drinks. I've recently went "clean".. haven't had an energy drink in 2 weeks or so. And really; it wasn't that bad... especially when you consider how much caffeine I drank

  • 1 (or 2) Large Sugarfree redbulls everyday ($3.50 per can)
  • Someday's add in a Redline 7hr Energy Shot ($3.29 per thing)
  • Sometimes tack on a Redline regular ($2.99 on sale!)
  • Then there's the pot of Coffee at night (negligible.. except for creamer)
  • Oh.. and starbucks double Venti White Chocolate Mochas. ($4.29 per)

All in a day sometimes. The financial benefits of being free from energy drinks are amazing, lol.
Also... the funny thing? WAY more energy since I've quit drinking them... WAY more. No more midday doldrums, no more crashing at night, no more inconvenience of having to always be near some place to get a redbull to avoid the headaches. Any time you have to have something to avert a physical condition from happening... thats your body telling you it's time to stop. But the energy is amazing. Something else that's odd.. the ability to cope with stress. I never got the "jittery" feeling that many people describe, however, at work I was frequently "on edge" as I work in a very stressful and fast paced field. Without caffeine, I make much more well thought out, and less knee-jerk decisions.. I don't get overly stressed (as bad at least), and I don't have a constant feeling of urgency; yet everything gets done just as quickly, maybe even quicker. Focus might be one area where I can see some detrimental effects... I don't feel as 'focused' sometimes, but thats not entirely a bad thing as I'm required to multi-task constantly. While I have cut out energy drinks, I haven't cut caffeine out entirely. I'm currently drinking between 2 and 3 Coke Zero's a day.. just for a little pep, and to slooooooowly come off of the caffeine dependency.

Anyways... if you currently are drinking Redbulls, Redlines, Energy Shots, 5hr Energy drinks.... put'em down. If I can, anyone can. You'll be happy in the long run, you'll save a ton of money, and your liver will thank you immensely.

EDIT: Sigh, you just can win... damn you coke Zero's and your aspertame:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaBloPloMo... or whatever

So yeah; gonna give it a shot... 1 post a day; I think I can do it.

Wanna talk about something hard though... NanowWirmo... National Novel Writing Month. You've got 30 days to pump out a 175 page / 50,000 word novel. For you math junkies, thats 1,666 words a day worth of work on a single, continuous story. Jeez that'd be hard... but the focus is just on the finish, not necessarily the "quality" of the work.

Mostly this month; I'll probably be writing about WoW (as usual)... trying to push my druid thru the drudges of the 74-77 range, so I can get him up and raid-healing. It's the one aspect of the game that I've never really touched, so it'll be fun to poke and prod my way through it.

Something else I might write about is... oddly enough... Chernobyl. I've been reading a lot about it lately; the event of, aftermath and now the dead lands ("Land of the Wolves") that surround that corner of Russia. Its just so interesting, and slightly depressing, that one man's mistake will more than likely be our "lasting impression" on future generations or species, long after humans are gone... as Pripyat and Chernobyl will continue to be radiated for the next 100,000 years. Got all of our technological evolution.. the failure of a safety check in 1986 is going to be the most persistent thing we ever manufacture (unless another meltdown of greater proportions occurs, which I hope not).

Here's a ladies blog I've been reading about over Chernobyl:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Such a ripoff

Cable is such a ripoff... Comcast throttling downloads is the stupidest thing ever.

Ok.. you buy a car that has 280hp. They really tout the fact that it has TWO-HUNDRED-EIGHTY-HORSEPOWER!! (in my best Billy Mays voice). It's lighting fast off the Line, it's awesome, it's fantastic, it's super duper!! Best Car EVER.
- So you buy it, then guess what? When the engine hits 190 Hp, it takes 2x as long to reach 220hp... cause, you shouldn't be using that much. I don't care if you PAID for 280hp, you shouldn't NEED more than 190hp, you're not in NASCAR, are you? No.... Ouch, you finally hit 220hp and *BAMM* you hit an RPM wall, your car goes dead and coasts down till about the 120hp range, then restarts... letting you rev it back up to 190; but be careful, you're horse power is gonna be cinched at 225! but.. OH YEAH THE CAR HAS 280HP!!!1!!

Thats what Comcast does to your Internet pipe if you *really* use it; tough stuff if you don't like it. It's called Bandwidth throttling, and if you know how to monitor your connection (and roughly how much data you pass monthly / daily) then you can watch it happen. You can pay for that Static IP, the web hosting, email addresses and a 12Mbps pipe (2mbps upstream even)... but you damn well better not use it.

Downloading AION's OB client from file planet, using GoToMyPC for Work, looking @ images on google, running an FTP Server and Playing online = Instant throttling.. but a minute after you drop one of the activities... all of a sudden your connection is magically fine!

The entire cable and data-exchange industry is just one big scam anyways... but man, throttling is just a PITA.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lets talk about this week:

OK, so lets jump allll the way back to friday:

Wake up 1hr late - Sucks
Forget to Shave - Works a real stickler for this, I'll have to shave at work
Get in my Car - weak Battery
Get to work, check in with Boss then go to Kroger to buy Shaving stuff
Come out - Battery is dead.
Get jumped off, drive to O'Riely and buy a new battery
Work till 6:30 Straight on CARD ACT resolutions and compliance
Get Home, work till 12:30 on CARD ACt Compliance

Come in, unscheduled, and work till 2pm on this compliance BS
Go Home, work on the compliance crap

Work on Compliance

Notice Battery is a little Weak again
Work Late cause of a --Freak-- server failure
Continue the discussions we've had over the past 3 months about buying a new car
-Figure it's time to.

Car won't start - Jump off
Car starts @ Lunch - But Electrical system acts funny
- I figure it's the alternator at this point
Get Home - Dogs have been sick; have to give baths x2
Raining and I can't cut my grass

Car doesn't start - jumped off with Jills car
Car makes it to work - Have to charge the battery
-Boss jumps me off and follows me to O'Riley
Spend all day in Meetings getting 'blessed out' over our apparent incompentancy
- Over the CARD ACT compliance, which I've worked... at this point 7 day straight
Go pick up battery - Find a car online to go look at and Drive to Roswell
Guy won't budge on his car, I won't on mine... leave and go to Carmax to think it over
Call the guy back and Agree on a Price
Call back 5 minutes later, otw there, he says someone just put a $100 deposit on it...Tough Luck
Go home in Defeat
Battery Dies
Jill's Sick

Car Dead - Jill Jumps me off
Drive to work, get half way and realize I forgot laptop for presentation - Turn around
Car Dies in the middle of the road 1mi. from house.. in a turn across traffic.
Jill Jumps me off <3 <3
Drive back home, decide to leave the jumpers connected for a minute to get a little extra charge Drive to work on a wing and a prayer
Take Car to shop - Alternator is DOA; replace it - estimated complete time: 3:45
Jill Calls - Her car is acting funny, signs of a dead battery
-Pulls into an Autozone - has to have battery replaced.
Guy about the black 330i calls back
- will do the drive out price I want, but no trade - tell him Eff off.
Starts Storming - supposed to go to the Braves game @ 7pm
Call about a Mystic Blue 2006 330i w/40K miles - Still available (uber excited)
3:58 - Deltacom Backbone OS3 fails in Atlanta - all branches go offline
Call 11 people on a contact list, mad as hell demanding an answer.
-Service gets rerouted 15 minutes later, branches back up at 4:51
5:00 - Car Still not ready
5:40 - Car ready.. go get it, then guy @ work drives to Braves game
6:30 - Step out of the car into a hurricane - get soak running to the 'Bullpen' (Bar)
7:20 - games starts cause a rain delay - Braves win 9 -1 (something positive!)
Jill's really sick and I feel like an ass for going to the game with her being really sick


Wake up late - get to work 20 minutes late
-(I've been late to work twice in three years; now 2 times in a week)
About 10 a.m. start running a mild fever - getting Jills Resp. Infection I guess
10:30 told I can leave @ 1 cause I'm sick
Call Mystic blue BMW - Sold, Call about another Blue 325 - Sold, they have a 330i black though
1:30 can't leave cause of CARD ACT questions "5 more minutes I promise"
3:41 Leave Work
3:55 Work calls, someone didn't check a report (that I asked 5 times for them to check) - Mass Account changes affected some accounts they didn't want to be changed
- Called back to work to straighten it out
4:00 Tell the guy about the black 330i I'm about to test drive that I've gotta leave
-take his name and number cause I like the car.
4:10 Back at work straightening out someone elses's mess
4:45 Account issues resolved - but now there's 4,046 sealed letters and we need to pick out the 300 bad accounts that don't need to get the letters
- 7 of us start doing it by hand.
9:56 Leave the Credit Union as the last name / envelope is found
- Get in my car and hear a Belt going bad on the way home..
that distinct sqweeeeking sound

Have to work - it's my scheduled Saturday
Take my car to the Shop before work - It's not a Belt, but my Idle pulley
- $165 to replace
Drive to work
Get here and call about the 330i I wanted to test drive yesterday - Sold last night.

Type this blogpost.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Aion Part II

Having covered the basics and intro in Part 1, no we move into Aion (the world) and game play impressions. This portion of the review is going to focus on game play controls,UI & client responsiveness/fluidity and then overall mechanics and themes.

First, the controls, especially from a Eastern MMO, are very accommodating to different play-styles Eastern / Asian MMO's typically employ only the click-to-move function, while leaving the WSAD crowd out in the cold. Aion, due to the 'westernization' of the Asian client, allows you to use both methods of controls as well as disable the click to move feature. This is very accommodating to people moving from western MMO's and not forcing them to change their 'tried and true' keybind setups. From looking at the controls page, virtually all actions bars, functions and features were keybindable. The only exception I found was the Camera-Pan function, which was innately bound to middle mouse. I'm hoping this is able to be rebound via patch or a registry-change, however I'm not super hopeful. Despite the camera functionality, the NCSoft team has done a great job at getting a Eastern MMO's control set to match that to which their American and European customers are accustomed to.

Looking over the controls and the basic User interface; the 'stock' package is actually quite adequate. Featuring standard MMO items (horizontal & vertical action bars, minimap, HP/MP/DP indicators). The quest log is a little lacking, as quest objectives aren't clearly defined nor a general direction given on where to find them; however a 'locate' function is in place to help you identify areas of interest; but this is quite buried in the UI itself. An indicator of combat or aggro isn't currently implemented; however, I understand that the UI is written in XML with a decent API, so hopefully we'll see the same degree of addons out for Aion as we have for WoW. As far as the client is concerned, the responsiveness is much better than Warhammer's, giving almost instantaneous response when an action or ability is activated. The only issue I ran into periodically is the Global Cool Down (GCD) acts a little 'funny' when casting. Because the GCD fires after the spell's cool down has started; it sometimes appears that there's a 2nd GCD in place. The games snappiness and fluidity extends beyond the hot-bars to the avatars themselves; with polished animations, fluid rag doll movements and realistic 'idle' effects, the animations far surpass anything that can be found in Warhammer. Combat animations are crisp and dramatic, which is a feature of Eastern MMO's and Anime. With Massive swords, dramatic flips and maneuvers, character's combat stances and actions may not be the most realistic, however they carry the same stylistic animations, motions and gestures that are common to Eastern media.

So far as mechanics go, we haven't seen enough of the math or formulas to determine how items are working behind the scenes, but with community greats such as Death & Taxes, Elitest Jerks and K&G trying Aion out, it shouldn't be long before we start to see the theorycrafting and numbers that make the game work. One thing is for sure though; we're seeing a comeback of our long lost love: the Random Number Generator. Having been absent throughout the development of Warhammer and Champions Online, the RNG is back and in full force; giving combat some randomness that will allow for a more dynamic play style. So far as tackling the customization issues, Aion is going to use Stigma(s) for character customization and Mana/Super/God stones for gear customization. If you're familiar with Warhammer's tactic system, then you'll feel right at home with Aion's stigma system, except that instead of ability enhancements, they're just entirely new abilities. Gear customization is going to be done similar to Warcrafts' Jewelcrafting, where each item has a set number of sockets, and stones fill the socket's voids, allowing you to further develop you characters gear and itemization.

The overall theme of Aion, coupled with the gameplay, feels much more like an older MMO than a new breed of the genre. With a slower leveling pace, only 50 levels and a death penalty, Aion is instating many of the items that MMO's have gotten rid of recently. Aion's leveling experience doesn't appear to be a quick treadmill, instead it appears to be a slow and steady uphill climb, much like DAoC 1.0 and Everquest. With a death penalty in place, it mirrors MMO's of old such as DAoC, EQ and AC; forgoing the 'easy' death penalty we observer in games today such as LotRO and WoW. While it has seemed to grab some of the best features of the older members of the western genre, one item it retains from it's eastern counterparts is it's reliance on money (Kinah) for *everything*. Eastern MMO's typically place a very heavy reliance on cash; and Aion is no exception. From flying to teleporting to simply binding at a new location, the games currency is the end all and be all of furthering your progression. The requirement of cash drives the economies of similar games such as Guild Wars, Lineage and Lineage II that can sometimes see exorbitant prices on desired items as well as increasing the number of bots and gold-sellers in your game. The last thematic item of note that it retains from it's eastern cohorts is it's reliance on grinding. Grinding, or the repeated killing of monsters that yield experience, isn't a new or even negative feature of MMO's, however recent trends in games have gotten away from 'grinding' and more towards a goal-oriented instanced dungeon / quest style of game play Western MMO players are notorious for their short attention spans and inability to repeatedly do menial tasks, while eastern players are know for their ability (and enjoyment) of grinding for levels on end. While there have been some successful Western MMO's that have relied on grinding as a major part of their leveling progression, Dark Age of Camelot being one of them, it will be and item to keep and eye on in the future.

This concludes my very brief portion over these features. There is so much depth to a "good" MMO (and I believe Aion will be a "good" MMO) that it's so hard to cover all of it's features in even a three part review; however take this as a brief explanation of the game from my point of view. The next portion of my review will feature what I think Aion is doing very well at, what I feel could be improved, what I'm leery of going into release and my overall feeling of the game.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Aion Part I

So I pre-ordered the CE this weekend, so I could get in the Closed Beta Event 6 (CB6) and get a feel for the game. After 'sitting on it' for a night... we'll kind of recount items, mull over things, and give a Mythbusters-esque "Confirmed / Plausible / Busted".

Aion is a Westernized version of an Eastern-MMO... in other words, it’s an Americanized version of a Chinese MMO. The development cultures differences between Eastern and Western MMO's are as vastly different as the true cultures themselves, but we'll touch on that as we go. Lore-wise... Aion puts its nice, different own personal-stamp on a tried and true fantasy setting; bad guys attack good guys, 1000 year war, peace treaty then chaotic assassination, hell breaks loose, world shatters & civil war ensues. Thats a **very** brief description on the lore.. but it's a nutshell. Lore, typically for me, does add something to the game... it gives quests and objectives meaning, gives your character a purpose and can add a sense of pride (realm/faction pride).

While September 22nd is the US release date, the game has actually been in full blown release-mode for a while in China. This, in my opinion, really works to the advantage of Aion; it allows for more time to "polish" prior to releasing to a Western audience, which typically are more cynical and critical of games and expect more at an initial release (SEE: Warhammer Blogs) than Eastern players. While the Eastern players don't mind muddling through a rougher release, WoW has created such an influx of new blood to the MMO community that doesn't accept the same "thats just how it is" limitations of previous title launches. Western MMO players demand polish, and in my opinion, this is the largest advantage that Aion brings to the Table. It will be immediately patched to version 1.5 or 2.0 (China / Korea) at US release, so Western players will see the imediate results of 8 months worth of Real-World play testing and fixes. This item alone will do more for the release than I believe that NCSoft Realizes.

Moving onto the first immediate item for review are the Graphics. Utilizing the Cry-Engine, NCSoft has issued forth another Competitive advantage... currently there is no other MMO that is as graphics detailed as Aion, save Age of Conan, however Aion does it without the major Graphics limitations and issues. Native AA is implemented in the engine currently, up to 8x AA, and Hardware Supported Bloom effects (via Cryengine) are available as well. From playing the Beta last night while keeping task manager open, the game looks solid from a back-end perspective... no Graphics leak like AoC, and no Memory or Page File leak like WAR. Reflective textures as well as high-detail textures (with sliders! Warhammer - take notes) are in already, and the game runs extremely smoothly for being so graphics intensive. Once more players are on the screen plus when it starts being used on non-SLi rigs is when we'll see whether or not Aion has a graphics bust or win.

Character Customization and Class selection are one of the first things you experience in any MMO, and Aion raises the bar for Customization. Currently there are something to the tune of 1500+ different face / hair / features combinations available to select from, with an additional 1500 available at retail release. Hair Color, Skin Tone and Lip (?) Colors are all done via a palette chooser, making the combination of colors virtually endless. I don’t think enough can be said about their degree of customization, It’s nice to think that there are slim-chances you’re going to see another character who looks EXACTLY like yours. Class Selection is of your typical fantasy variety; DPS/Tank warriors, 2 flavors of healers, 2 kinds of casters and your stealth characters. While the Class offerings are not as robust as the customization options, they still present familiar "faces" for people new to the game; given the descriptions of the classes, you start with a good idea of how the class is going to pan out at level fifty.

This is the conclusion of part I.. part II I'll review more of the gameplay nuances, and go over the various classes in a little more depth. The last part of the posting I'll visting my thoughts on Aion, pros, cons and my concerns that I'd like to see hammered out in the first month.

look for part II tommorrow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why can't anyone do it

like they use to?

Back in the day... you had a 'content release' or addition; it was just another patch... but thats not how it's done now.

Scott Jennings posted something over on brokentoys a while back about this same thing, during Land of the Dead development.

Take Darkfall... their first patch (1.1) was released as an 'expansion pack'; essentially re-releasing the game (it improved, according to Eurogamer...they gave it a 4/10 intead of a 1/10).

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - put in some class balance (then promptly remove it), toss in some AoE Nerfs and Buffs (then... oh yeah, remove those too); add in some UI hooks (remove them due to exploitable code) and add it some content that you'd promised at release: BAM - Land of the Dead Expansion & Live Event.

Lord of the Rings - Toss some Class balance, new MvP characters, a new dungeon and new lewt into a mixing bowl and what do you get? BAM - new "Book" (aka Expansion) and Live event.

As Scott Jennings put it though "Some people are still just releasing patches.. and making them worthwhile"

Not arguing for or against WoW... but they're still "doing it right"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Still up working

Yah, I know it's 1:03.

Is this [an example of] why they make $37.45 million a month, or is this *because* they make $37.45 million a month?

Already starting on an iPhone app for the CU.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I forgot how much of a pain...

...Working on a Civic is if you have big hands.

Gotta give it to the asians, they're freakn efficient. I *love*
efficiency... so the utilization of space in the engine compartment is one of the things that really set them apart in making cars.

However, this comes at a price.

If you have hands over a size "S", you're gonna have fits trying to fit your hamhocks down in the cracks and crannies between hoses, lines and filters, cause they're designed for someone with *teeny* hands to be able to manuever.

So a little backstory... Jill sometimes has a hard time seeing at night, and civics have the 1) lowest candle power stock bulbs ever & 2) have the most constrictive LOS for their headlights because of the lowprofile and low hoodbrow. So I bought her two sets of the SilverStar Ultra Xtravisions.. 300% the candle power of the stock bulbs, white-white light instead of amber, and supposedly a 10 ft side-lighting extension... hopefully to keep her safer. So I thought it'd be just like replacing the bulbs in the escape... pull two caps, badda bing, badda bang, we're done.


I had to end up pulling the wheel-well back so I could wiggle my hand in the headlight cavity and change the driver's side completely blind. Big time PITA since Honda secures all of their lights with dual hinge clips; which are hard to take off even when you can see the dang things. The Passenger side wasn't as bad, cause I had more room to work from the top because I didn't have the battery in the way (the only problem I ran into was the starter was still warm... ouchies).

Anyways... love a Honda, some of the best cars out there. Hate working on them with decent sized hands.

For anyone interested in if the Silverstar's make a difference.. We're gonna go test driving in a second, then I may post pictures of the Civic vs. Escape from the front (I've got stock amber-lights).


EDIT: No Pics tonight, I just got done adjusting them and it's 10:20. They do make a difference... I dunno if it's as prominent of a difference as I was hoping for (although on bright they are BRIGHT) but it is a difference. The biggest thing is in the FOV, it's about 10-15ft further on each side of the road, instead of being narrow with the Stock lights. I'll try and post some front pics maybe tommorrow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

World of WarhammerCraft?

I dunno.

What are my biggest complaints about WAR?
  • Broken End Game RvR
  • Broken Balance issues
  • Poor PvE (Leveling & End Game)
  • Very poor MMO 'feel'
  • Feels more like a persistant CS / Third Person shooter
  • Bugs
Biggest Pro's to Warhammer:
  • Scenarios & RvRing to level
  • Experience from RvR
  • Public Quests (the concept)
  • Armor Dying System
  • 'Sieging' (concept)

While the same in number, to me and about 700K-750K others, the cons have far outweighed the pros. Why do I mention this? Queue the entrance of the 800lb gorilla...

I believe that Microsoft does it best; the whole absorption, stealing and executing technique.. but Blizzard is a damn close second. Call it stealing, call it 'borrowing', call it good business decisions...either way; they didn't become the 800lb Gorilla that they are for no reason.

Since Warhammer's Debut, World of Warcraft is about to roll out their 2nd large patch, and guess what they're including:
  • Battlegrounds(aka scenairos) queuing from anywhere
  • XP and Honor from Player Kills and Battleground Victories
  • Bonus Honor for 'Fighting on the Flag'
  • Battleground timers - 20 minutes
  • Battleground with Siegable keep (and seige engines) - 80 Players
  • Ability to turn XP off and remain in a specific battleground range
  • --Anti-Twinking measures: /xpoff players only queue for other /xpoff player's BG's
  • Updated Character Models
  • Updated Armor & Weapon Models
  • New PvP / Honor Rewards (gear and spell ranks unavailable to others)
So with this, what does WoW Already Offer:
  • Balanced Classes in PvP & PvE (each side has same offerings)
  • Stellar PvE (Leveling and End Game) - Sets the Metric for PvE endgames
  • Three total zone walls - **very** MMO / Immersive world feel
  • Polished, smooth client
  • Largest MMORPG Playerbase (approx 11.4 million players, 2.8 in North America)
  • Constant community involvement
  • Constant Patching, Hot Fixing and User-suggested enhancements

Warcraft Cons:
  • End Game, outside of BG's and Open world random PvP, is PvE Based
  • Dated, "Cartoony" Graphics
  • "Daunting" from a new player perspective (it's a very 'known' world, so you've gotta do your research)
  • Massive Community that lends itself towards being Jaded
  • Massive non community that loves to bash, rip apart and complain about WoW

So, why not run to Warcraft after 3.2? Well... I dunno; I might. But it's World of Warcraft. It's almost become, for people who haven't been one of it's mindless minions, a 'love to hate' relationship. It's been dubbed the Fischer Price of MMO's, despite having arguably more math and available data than Warhammer (and it's formulas work too). It's Gozer the Gozerian, the destroyer of Worlds (coupled with ToA, Warcraft killed Dark Age of Camelot). It's the Voltron of Online Gaming.... it assimilates the collective positive ideas of the MMORPG community and developers; sucks it into it's greedy web, and some how spits out a more polished version. It's the bane of MMO existences just because it's the MMO by which all others are now compared. It sucks, cause it's the Walmart of MMORPGS.. it moves in on the block, puts all the mom & pops out of business, and just destroys everything in it's path. It offers what everyone else does, but does it cleaner, easier and 'better' than the others.

If you can jump your personal hate-hurdle... then really, WoW's the metric by which others are compared cause it's the "best".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Current State of MMO's

It's a sad state really.

Right now I'm at a kind of awkward point in MMO's and gaming in general. I'm, for all intents and purposes, addicted to the MMO genre because of persistant advancements, rewards and penalties and social interactions... however, right now the MMO genre is one of the most constrictive gaming genre's available; with only a few select offerings to choose from which all generally share a common theme (fantasy).

While there are a couple of up and coming titles (Aion & Star Wars: The Old Republic) to look forward to, I'm tryring to be more realistic about future titles due to the lessons learned from Warhammer. Hype does not equal a great game, in fact, it probably hurts the title more than it helps. So... while I am looking forward to Aion (Asian MMO that's be available in Asian markets for a year, so the U.S. will be getting a 'polished' game), I need something to play right now.

Warhammer: I've never been so wishy-washy about a game; ever. Really, I think Warhammer has fallen flat on it's face, but I think that it's that I *want to believe* that mythic can turn things around and make the game into the hype that everyone believed in. BUT; Warhammer has a completely broken end game. We were sold on a PvP/RvR-centric game, but we were given a PvE centric game, with pisspoor PvE, mediocre RvR and poor PvP. The end-game of Warhammer is broken; Tier 4 in no way conveys the RvR aspect that the game is built around, and it's in fact the FIRST question on WAR's exit survey, so even Mythic partially acknowledges their failure. PvE is utterly broken and boring; being one of the worst PvE implementations to date... $140 million development budget,3.5 years and you copy and pasted environments? I've been thru T1 / T2 almost the same number of times as there are classes now... T3 starts to show the signs of a broken game, and I quit my T4 DoK after being in Tier 4 for just a week. Also, from an MMO perspective, the game play is extremely linear and constrictive... the 'tier' system almost forces you into specific areas and a very specific PvE progression (and RvR)... then when you get to T4 RvR, you find out its just a bunch of Circle-Jerk keep taking that both sides mutually agree to in order to farm Renown. If you happen to get in a City siege, the CULMINATION of the T4 evens, you forced to PvE (yeah...) in order to capture your opposing realms city. PvE is the climax of the RvR/PvP progression...

Age of Conan: I'm kind of stuck at this game. Age of Conan is probably the best looking MMO out there, the graphics are simply amazing. Having said that, I'm not really sure that there's a whole lot more to this game, other than being the first DX10 (even though it didn't / doesnt really work) MMO. The combat system is innovative, at first... but after a while, it gets to be slightly annoying, and casting is a joke. I speed leveled a Demonologist to 12 during the 7 day trial (and a ranger to 9); the PvE was mildly interesting, there was no PvP at that level, but there wasn't anything aside from the graphics that was hugely interesting. Hell, there arent even trainers in the game; when you level, you're automatically given the abilities appropriate for that level. Feat Trees are similar to the way that WoW's talent trees work. Subs currently - about 100,000.

Lord of the Rings Online: Love - Hate relationship with this game. I think, that with a bunch of friends, LotRO has some merit; but by yourself and knowing no one, the game kind of sucks. The best qualities of Lotro is that it's combat system 'feels' like Dark Age's combat system; there's positionals, reactionals and a non-stupid taunt & aggro system, different stances and class focuses. The PvE in the game is very epic, it's got nice (but very niche) graphics and a very snappy engine. However, the PvP (if you can call it that) isn't that great. In fact, what happens is that the player assumes the role of the bad guys (monsters) and fights the Freeps (free peoples; other players) in a designated area, over keeps and area control. While, yes, it is PvP.. it just doesn't feel the same. I'm playing the 10 day free trial; and it's fun, feels like DAoC, but without the epic RvR. I've done some PvMP (Player vs. Monster Player)... and it's not terrible, they've made improvements since I tried LotRO over 2 years ago, but i still dunno. Lotro's sub numbers are currently sitting about 650,000... according to a couple different sources.

World of Warcraft: Another love-hate relationship, and it's the 800lb gorilla in the room. For PvE, honestly love or hate it, no one has done it any better. Warcraft was developed on a purely PvP centric point of view; so that was their primary focus for the games sunrise development lifecycle. With PvP gaining popularity, WoW is trying to shift to a more PvP focused server-set.. but its hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I love WoW's PvE; which is odd.. each dungeon and instance is unique, loot drops are garunteed, and bosses offer unique PvE experiences that are more than spank-and-tanks; even raiding 'can' be fun (when done correctly). PvP wise... WoW battlegrounds, to me, aren't all that bad; but it's the twinks and premades that can make them suck, but thats only because i've never been in a full group premade, nor been a twink. WoW has more world PvP, on PvP servers, than WAR has seen outside of RvR lakes. BUT: WoW PvP is laregly pointless... it's purely 'carrot' driven in terms of gear. PvP grants you no extra abilities and no realm-wide reward. Also, WoW is very daunting... PvEing to level 80, despite the leveling changes, is still quite a task.. and gearing post lvl-80 isn't an easy feat as well. Also, WoW and LotRO both put the 'Multiplayer' in MMORPG; they *require* larger groups of people, require you to be socially interactive, and require you to make friends in order to further your character... which is a potential turnoff.

EVE: Not interested. While this is the most inovative of the options, I just can't get 'attached' to a spaceship. The offline training irks me aswell... whats the point of logging in, if you can do most of your character progression while training offline; then buy your ISK from a Chinese farmer and go buy a ship? The social interactions are one of EVE's 'lures', but I've got one job already, thank you... I don't need to, literally _work for_ and online organization in an MMO as a spy, and report on forum interworkings, getting promoted in my target organization and then working to leak intel to my 'employeers'. I've got enough on my plate as it is.

There's others that I probably should mention: Dark Age of Camelot, Lineage II, Guild Wars... but; these currently have more Cons to me than pros, so it's not worth detailing them out.

While I was writing this post; I think I mentally hit the nail on the head. I'm trying to play MMORPG's (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games - FYI) with a very narrow mindset of 'what works for 1/2/3/4 people'... but truth be told; thats not what an MMO *is*; and its counter productive to think so. Looking at DAoC; the 'golden years' were spent with the SK's, a guild of 15 or so stable members that romped in Pve and PvP together constantly, talked in forums, and ran small man etc. DAoC may have been slightly more 'small man' friendly; but really the best times I can remember are: Barrows Bridge groups, Keltoi ant room groups, Trees group... thats where I met most of the people I still remember from DAoC. So maybe I need to start getting a little more social in the games I'm playing, start forming groups, joining guilds (some of the most fun in WAR was with Ruin) and actually \contributing/ to them.

So maybe.. its that I'm doing it wrong, and need to L2Play.

EDIT: Well its not LotRO - trial is going to be up soon, and I just don't *want* to log into it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Catchup and BioWAAAAGH

Ok; so haven't posted in a while... been kind of busy I guess? My last post was near a month ago, and I mean a lots happened in a month. Transformers 2, Work stuff ( Die Deltacom), Life Stuff (Church & School)... I can't even begin to catch up I don't think; but I'll try and sumarize.

1) DeltaCom sucks - I really think it's more policy there to *NOT* call customers back. Over 91 phone calls since the 17th, and 7 call backs (I've kept a log to give to our account rep when I ask for a months bills for free tommorrow). I don't see how they stay in business like this; I asked the Tier 2 Super today.. what sets them aside from the big kids, like AT&T? Generally, smaller customers offer either a) better quality or b) better Customer Care. For point A; it's bandwidth, there is no 'quality' per'se... just uptime, and there they all suck. For point B; 91 calls since the 17th and 5 tickets opened since then... of which all 4 have been escalated to a V.P or higher. ex-nay on the ustomer-cay ervice-say.

2) I've got two conferences I get to speak at this summer; one I'm going to be talking to the general Administrative Support staff for Georgia CU's on how to put together clear and concise powerpoints and executive presentations. The second is going to be talking about the finer points of putting together RFP's and Project Change log requests; the latter of which I really suck at so I'm gonna have to wing it.... basically those two amount to: who can feed enough BS into a packet that no one will read it, but will simply agree to it just so they don't have to sit down and read everything... apparently I'm good at that.

3) Church - I love 2nd graders and I'm sad Mark Henry is leaving. I'm glad that he's willing to take the chance / leap of faith required to uproot a family over something he believes. Trip has a really good 'prayer' if you will concerning this... but the words escape me at the moment. It's something along the lines of God grant me the strength to accept the things I can't change, the wisdom to recognize doors you've closed, and the faith to walk thru doors that you've opened. I think I probably botched it; but he's said it one time around me and I think about it a lot of times I'm presented with a decision. But I'm really glad that Mark is taking the intiative and faith to step out on something he believes in. Good luck to him at his new church, he'll be missed.

4) Life - I love my wife more than anything in the whole world. Sometimes I'm afraid I'm not that great of a husband; I mean really I'm just a big kid who likes video games, Italian food, and harassing 2 innocent dogs. So I've really tried to 'step up the game' around the house and with being a good husband. She's such a good wife, I just wanna be the best person that I can for her; cause that what she deserves. I've tried starting to cook more, to help with laundry, cleaning and straightening the house, buying her suprises, and keeping her filled in with the random stuff that passes between my ears (North Korea passes thru a lot).

5) Speaking of - How bout those North Koreans? Some scary folks that direction (points north-westish). I think the world is a little afraid of them; cause they don't play by the old 'gentlemen's' rules of the Cold War and Post WWII era. They're like the world's Dirty Harry, just might be crazy enough to pull that trigger and deal with the ramifications. If you don't think so, then how do you explain the world's foremost superpower being to afraid to board a cargo ship suspected of carrying nuclear proliferation materials? Cause we're scared those crazy korean sons of... just might shoot us.

6) BIOWAAAGH!! Two subitems under this
a) Mark Jacobs Leaves EA Mythic - This is bittersweet. The man founded and funded Mythic Entertainment, was the lead developer for DAoC, introduced the MMO world to meaningful PvP, RvR and a 3-realm system of checks and balances. Jacobs really was one of the industries elite 'dreamers'; he was a champion of conceptual MMO development in the late 90's and early 2000's. However, Mr. Jacobs was unable to adapt to the corporate jungle that is Electronic Arts... and also had a temper and authority problem. Once his mouth starting writing checks that his butt couldn't catch... well, he's now "flying a cargo plane full of rubber dogsh*t outa Hong Kong" (Top Gun Reference FTW!). Still, despite WAR's "downfalls", I don't think Jacobs should be ousted from MMO history... however, after a year off I bet we see him heading another studio soon. These types of people don't sit around or retire.
B) Bioware - Mythic under the same 'MMO' umbrella headed by Bioware GM - Could be good for WAR, potentially; however looking at 'mergers' historically (thats what it is, I don't care what you wanna call it) they go one way: the head studio absorbs the premier talent while the sub-studio puddles along with a skeleton crew in maintainence mode.Bioware has no MMO experience (but a slew of isnta-classic RPG's and FPS's), but has an avid fanbase who will fanboi follow them anywhere. Mythic is a tried and true MMO developer, and has the scars, broken bones and broken pride to prove it. With Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO on the horizon for Bioware, and EA admitantly offering them a blank check for it's development; it won't be long before we start seeing talent move from Mythic to Bioware. The same thing happened with the Mythic EA aquisition... talent moved from the DAoC content team over to WAR development; leaving UO and DAoC with skeleton crews to maintainence release minor patches and keep the servers up while they maintain equity and a 'black' line on the income sheet.

I'm going to make a post at some point, once I gather my thoughts, with what really went wrong with Warhammer. Conceptually, the game is simply amazing... however, I think greed, personal ambition and pride are the ultimate downfalls of Warhammer. Thats for another post though. Despite the word "failure" tossed around in conjunction with Warhammer, it still has somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 active subscribers; which equates to roughly $4,122,250.00 monthly from subscription payments. EQ in it's hayday only reached 450,000 subscribers. Dark Age of Camelot, Mythic's previous flagship title, achieved a maximum of 268,000 subscribers to put perspective on Warhammer's "Failure".

However... Dark Age of Camelot was developed by 23 people on a 3.1 million dollar budget.
Warhammer - roughly $140 million development, un-realized marketting costs, 350 person development staff.

Dark Age - Profitable after 1.5 months @ 175,000 subscribers
Warhammer - Profitable after 41 months @ 300,000 subscribers (assuming $30 mil marketting budget.. which is under-shooting it. Typical Marketting strategy is 40% of development dollars).

41 Months is too long, there's too many variables (Blizzards next MMO IP, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2, V13 Project, Aion (fly in the ointment IMO)).

Anyways, enough figures and number ramblings on warhammer. It's bedtime.

I didn't proofread this at all; it's been a long, long day.. so please excuse any spelling, terrible grammer or rambling, incomplete thoughts.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Receipe for the Perfect Summer Evening

Ingredients Needed:

1 Wife
2 Dogs
1 House
1 Grill

2 Shots Gentleman Jack
1 Shot Amereto 
4 Shots Sour Mix
2 Handfulls of Ice
1 Tumbler/Shaker
1 Glass

2 New York Strips
1 Jar Chef K. Paul Blackend Steak Magic
1 Shaker of Black Pepper
1 Bottle of Meat Tenderizer
1 Bottle Worchestershire
2 Ears of Corn
1 Stick of Butter
2 8x10 Pieces of Foil
1 Head of Lettuce
1 Box of Croutons
1 Jar of Asian Salad dressing

Time Required: 6hrs (Marinade) 
15 minutes prep
15 minutes cook

Marinade & Steak Prep:
1) Cut any extra fat from the steak, leaving only a thin line of fat around the edges
2) Poke the steak several times with a fork. 
3) Cover steaks with Meat Tenderizer, Salt, Pepper and Worchestershire, Cover and place in refridgerator for 6 hours. 

Cooking Instructions:
1) Mix 2 Shots of GJ, 1 Shot of Amereto and 4 Shots of sour mix with Ice in a shaker. Pour into glass and use as grill-mate & motivation
3) Turn on grill. Far Left burner --> Low, Middle --> Low, Right--> High (very important)
2) Remove corn from husks and cut off the ends
3) Cover corn in peper, salt and butter then wrap in alluminum foil.
4) Place corn on right side, bottom rack of grill (over high heat).

5) Cut lettuce into "salad like" strips
6) Place salad in bowls, cover with croutons

7) Remove steaks from Refridgerator and marinade
8) cover both sides of steaks with Blackend Steak Magic, making sure to rub spices into all crevices. Then add a touch of Salt, Black pepper & Red Cayen Pepper
9) Place steaks on bottom rack, left side of grill (low heat) 
10) Rotate Corn on the Cob

11) Drink

12) at 4 minutes, CAREFULLY flip steaks making sure to not let the seasoning fall off
13) Re-season as needed
14) Rotate Corn

15) Make another Drink if necessary, if not discuss dog's excess weight.

16) After 4 Minutes, remove Steaks from the grill
17) Once the Steaks have been 'plated', remove Corn from the grill

Serve.. no Steak Sauce needed. The steaks should have a 1/4"-1/3" pink strip thru the entire middle. 

Priorities shift

So.... after thinking kind of long and hard about what we're going to do with the money from the bike; I think it's time to shift gears a little. 

I don't actually *need* a new computer... a new graphics card? Maybe, but thats $200, not $2800. 

So, what to do with the excess cash... and really, what to do about some shifting priorities?

I think we're going to take the $2800 and invest it in some 'home improvements'. A lot of this stuff are things that we said whenever we moved in that we'd like to do 'down the road'.. so
 now, we're down the road a little bit. I haven't wanted to go into debt for this stuff; especially since we've worked on paying the credit cards off etc... so now kind of seems the right time (plus its summer and who DOESNT want to work on their house during summer?)

So I slung together a little list (and me and Jill haven't talked it over yet... Desire vs. Expectations for you iMarriage pplz) over what I'd like to do, short and long term, for the house. 

Short Term
1) Landscaping
2) Paint Garage
3) Ceiling Fan replacements / Lighting upgrade
4) Appliance Replacement
5) Paint Bedroom
6) Garage Organization

Longterm Goals
1) Faucet Replacement (bathroom hardware)
2) Kitchen Countertop upgrades
3) Surround Sound install
4) Carpet replacement

So that's the list...
1) We've done the 'bulk' of... there's still some work to do on the sides of the house, I need to refertilize the yard, and I'd like to put some stone pavers ( I think thats what they're called) around the trees in the front yard; but maybe not
2) I've already got this planned for next weekend, I just need to buy the supplies. 
3) We went shopping for two 52" fans to match the 60" in our bedroom, but they didn't have them at Home Depot (they have them online, on sale too). So we're just going to have to order them. 
4) We've talked about this before... we're going to do Stove then Refridgerator. Some friends of ours got a fridge just like we need off of CL for like, $600 (stainless). We'd like our stove / DW/ Fridge to all match.. plus I hate our fridge
5) This is something that Jill would really like to do and has mentioned it a couple of times... so I figure why not; everyone needs a little color in their life. 
6) This is probably the 'longest' of the short term, and will be finished sometime this winter. I'd just like some sort of cabinetry and storeage in the garage to keep it from becoming 'just someplace to pile stuff'. 

1) Something I've wanted to do for a long time.. but it's going to take a decent amount of work (not to mention $240 in just faucets). Our bathroom hardware is still all just the 'contractor grade' that was installed with the house, so its in dire need of updating
2) More of a want than a need; it would make our kitchen look a lot nicer. but not 100% set on this however. 
3) Something I've wanted to do since moving in, but just haven't had the willpower to start the work it's gonna take. 
4) Long term.. cause it'd be the last thing we would probably do prior to putting the house on the market; simply because of the boys... we love them, but they've got the carpet-ruining routine down pat. When we do this; they're gonna really get to know the downstairs... 

anyways; just thought I'd share that... trying to piece together a timeline for the shortterm stuff, but I haven't settled on it cause our summer is pretty busy.. but here's a guess:
6/1-6/7: Finish Landscaping
6/6 - 6/7:  Paint Garage
6/15-6/19: Ceiling fan update
7/1-7/30: Appliance update (depends on finding something on CL)
7/18-7/31: Paint bedroom (this may come sooner if Jill sees this)
8/1 - 8/31: Garage Storage

They say writing goals helps you keep them; so maybe this'll help me stay on task. 

Peace out!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Iterations of the Beast

So... 1999 was when I was introduced to the fascinating world of Home Computing. Sure, prior to that, I had some personal PC experience... a little Win. 95 here, Win N.T. there.. some phatty DOS action on an old Com 1112; but up until 1999 I hadn't owned a PC all my own.

That all changed with my first Compaq Presario 1100. With a hefty 4.2GB hard drive, armed to the teeth with an Intel integrated 16MB graphics card, 256MB of Ram and a fresh install of Windows ME, I was ready to rock and roll with my United States Post Office refurb I'd snagged for a mere $499, monitor included.

After just a short 6 or 8 weeks, I discovered a lot about hardware and software... realizing that a 16MB graphics processor wasn't enough; I upgraded to my first aftermarket piece of hardware; the nVidia Geforce MX480. This beast had a whopping 64MB of dedicated video RAM with it's own single core graphics processing unit.

After that, the race was on.

Since The PO PC, there has been too many hardware upgrades to describe in detail, or even remember; but there has only been really 2 distinct PC's since the Post Office PC; and all since then I've built myself. Being budget minded; typically I've shopped for 'bargin' parts, catching graphics cards on the backend of their development cycle, going with 1-timing down RAM, year old processor releases... but I've always put together great little machines.

1) "Beast" - Beast was my first self-build project; built at the same time that Carlton built his first real PC. We both went with SLI builds; very cutting edge for the 2002/2003 timeframe. With an AMD Athlon64 2Ghz (ish), 1GB Ram and 2 Geforce 7600GT 256MB's.. Beast was quite the machine for it's time, having lasted me until about a year ago. Sadly, the hardware Beast utilized (AGP / Athlon64) went 'out of style' about a year after I built it, so upgrades were very hard to come by because of parts-availability.

2) "Beasty" - Beasty was the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Beast's demise... a firey demise as his Graphics cards and processor overheated in a blistery inferno. Boasting a nice little Core 2 Duo and 2 512MB 8800GT's (nVidia's hall of Famer) with Vista and 6GB of RAM, Beasty is a formidable little budget gamer. While the 8800GT is 2 series behind, Core 2 Duo's are a little behind the times and DDR2 isn't even close to the cutting edge, it does very well for itself. Can it play Crysis on 'extreme', or Call of Duty 4: MW on gamer? No... can it still play them very well? Yes.

Now.. with the demise of the bike; Beasty is giving way to 'Beastier'. Beastier is going to be roughly the best PC you can buy at the moment, given the current hardware environment. Typically I've built budget PC's; but given the circumstances, I'm going to be building what I want this time:

Intel Core i7 965 (3.33Ghz Quad Core)
Asus P6T Deluxe Motherboard
Tri-SLI'd Geforce GTX285 2GB (3 Graphic Cards)
12GB Mushkin DDR3 1800 Mhz RAM
2 RAID-0 10K RPM HardDrives (600GB total)
LG Dual Layer DVD-R/W drive
LG 6x BluRay player
Asetek Liquid Cooling System
AZZA Solano 1000 case
Corsair 1200W PSU
Vista Ultimate 64... going to run a beta'd Win 7 as soon as I can.

And I don't think I'm going to be building Beastier... I think I'm going to let a custom PC shop build it for me. The price difference is so miniscule that it's worth not having to fool with setting up the OS, the Raid, deal with all the drivers, the custom work on the case, the liquid cooling setup.

So anyways.. I'm getting excited about this build; hoping that I get to place the order for it next week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wreck pics

here's some pics from when I went and visited the Bike today:

It looks like the forks are bent, the handles are hard left but the tire is barely pointing to the left. The engine case has scuff marks all over it.. the sliders REALLY did their job, the side fenders are remarkably intact. It looks like the front break pad is warped, the front wheel fairing is all scracthed up.. the Instrument panel is disconnected and cracked; the key won't come out of the ignition either.  I can't really tell if the frame is bent.. I'm not a professional. 

No idea if it's totaled or not... it's certainly in bad shape though. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Please read my last post

because this could happen to you. 

This is after I'd crawled back from in front of the car and had laid over the bike. The Paramedics are trying to check if I'm conscious, had all of my fingers, and if anything was broken.

This is the actual impact location. The bike is in about 60 or so pieces. you can see the windscreen (which was inches from my face) in the middle of the image. 

This motorist wasn't paying attention; he didn't see me. The glare wasn't in his face, the sun in his eyes, raining or anyting... It was a beautiful day. 

This is what happens when you don't dedicate 100% of your attention to the road and your surroundings. 

Paramedics who took me to the hospital said that the gear I had spend all the extra money on had probably saved my life, along with the MSF course training. I think it was that and the grace of God; very rarely does anyone walk away from 1 motorcycle accidents, let alone two in the same day. 

From the accident I recieved:

Road Rash on my Elbow
Road Rash on my Knee
Swollen Knee
Swollen Hip
Swollen Ankle
Swollen lower back
Soreness/discomfort beyond measure. 

this is miniscule compared to what COULD have happened. 

Please... pay attention. Look twice, save a life. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Look twice, Save a life!

This is more of a rant post than anything else... but bear with me ;) 

LOOK TWICE, SAVE A LIFE!... and *GET* *OFF* *THE* *CELL* *PHONES*.  Pot meet Kettle, right? Well, I've tried to quit talking on the cell while driving (as much), and I only email if I HAVE to while driving now... someone drifting into your lane (with you on a bike) wil quickly change your perspective on things I guess.

Couple of stats for you:

2003 US Statistics:
Total Number of Vehicle Related Fatalities : 42,643
Total Number of Firearm Related Fatalities: 29,296

On average, 102 people die on US Roadways each day. 

Vehicles cause more deaths than firearms (criminal use and accidental discharge) in the U.S. consistantly every single year. 

I don't think people grasp the concept of how dangerous driving can be; you're actually operating one of the most deadly inventions created in modern history (looking @ total deaths caused globally). It's a 1-ton piece of steel being hurled down the interstate at 70+ mph... operating something like this should require you're full attention constantly.  Instead, we talk on cell phones, put on makeup, mess with Navigation systems, dig through purses etc... which drastically reduces our focus on the road and other vehicles around us. Couple that with basiccharacteristics of a vehicle (blind spots, stability and speed)... and you've definitely have a potential for disaster.  Everyone, I think, assumes that since they've been operating a vehicle for such a long time that they're essentially invincible... they've made it this long, right?  I'm sure some of those 102 people who die each day thought that same thing. 

Get your focus on the road; the text / call / email can wait till you can pull over. This is a hard habit to get into doing but it's SO MUCH safer.

We all see people doing stupid stuff on the road... drifting in and out of their lanes, missing exits, crossing 5 lanes of traffic, cutting people off, riding bumpers, speeding; but your perspective changes when you go from a 1-ton steel cage to a 316lb fiberglass frame because you're a lot more vulnerable to other people's mistakes. Also, having a much smaller visual signature and profile, Motorcyclist have to deal with not being seen most of the time. The MSF course teaches you to always assume that you're invisible.. and 95% of the time that is true because car drivres typically don't check their blindspots when changing lanes / pulling into traffic. If motorists would simply follow the basic driving instructions and look prior to changing lanes, motorcyclists safety would increase dramatically.

All of this just comes from observations from riding for the past 2 months.. of all the vehicles that have either cut me off, changed lanes INTO my lane, or pulled out in front of me.. I would say 75% were on a cell phone at the time. 

Look twice, save a life