Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Weekly Shenanigans #7

Ah, the ritual posting of Weekly Shenanigans. Shamelessly copying the format of RPS’ Sunday Papers since, well, seven Weekly Shenanigans ago. Enough with the reminiscing, it’s making me all weepy. Read this stuff:

  • These people should be shot for blasphemy and willful mockery of the star wars we all know and love. I don’t know what else to say on the subject. ***Update*** When I just tried to access the site for a pic, it was down for maintenance. Courage, fair reader.

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Humor, PC gaming, State of the Blog, Tech, Weekly Shenanigans | , | 1 Comment

Access Denied.

I officially declare myself on sabbatical until, say, July 9th (or maybe the 10th). There will still be a Weekly Shenanigans going up on Sunday, but that’s only because I just wrote and scheduled the wretched thing.

I’ve got finals to focus on at my Chinese university. Maddeningly, while the professors were perfectly willing to tell us what to study for the midterms, every single one of them has told us that the content of the finals are a secret. It looks like I’m actually going to have to study. Curses.

On a side note, I would like to express a rather strong dislike for receiving text messages from China Mobile on consecutive days, each cheerfully informing me that they’ve removed money from my account when in fact I haven’t even bothered using my phone in three or four days. Taking money from me two days in a row for unknown reasons is not cool, China Mobile. I don’t like you very much.

June 27, 2009 Posted by | Personal, Tech | | Leave a comment

That Joel And His Hijinks (They Ensue)

The iPhone 3G S was released recently. There was much rejoicing on behalf of the fans. I haven’t seen or touched one of the things, so I’ll leave you with a two-part interpretative dance on the topic:

Maybe it’s just me, but I think his art has improved recently. Anyway, he’s a good guy, so hit up his site.

In other news, I hope to one day be internet-popular enough that links like that actually generate significant click-through. Le sigh.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Humor, Tech, Webcomic | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Bought Windows 7 Today, or I Am Victorious: Return of the Victorious

Pre-ordering: it's what all the cool kids do.

Pre-ordering: it's what all the cool kids do.

Before we get into any of this, note the title. Yeah, that’s witty; it even references an earlier post, which is always fun.

Okay, down to business.

I pre-ordered Windows 7 today for $49.99. Fine, $55.97 if you want to get technical and include shipping.

It was good. It was lovely. And for a few hair-raising minutes, it looked like it wasn’t even going to happen.

Newegg didn’t officially show it as in stock, and just had the auto-notify button up. Office Depot was out of stock. Microsoft’s online store crashed every time I tried to access it. Enter my hero: Amazon. Ordered, confirmed, and scheduled to arrive on the day Windows 7 officially releases.

Before any of you go off into some sort of anti-Windows / anti-early adopter / anti-other stuff rage, let me make a few points: Continue reading

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News, PC gaming, Personal, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Interview: Ian Lynch Smith, Freeverse

No can do, you evil blogger.

No can do, you evil blogger.

My Chinese internets aren’t behaving. I would’ve re-posted this whole interview I did for iPGN, but it decided that I should get a “problem loading page” message every time I try to access it. Who knows, maybe I said something that offended the CCP; it isn’t very hard to do, after all.

Instead, here’s the link. Eat Read your hearts out.

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Interview, iPhone/iPod Touch | , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Shenanigans #6

Hmmm. This is going up a bit later than usual today. Then again, I got up a bit later than usual, if that’s any excuse. Anyway, I’ve got a few more links for you than usual, from all over the internet (which, as I understand it, is actually a series of tubes). Topics cover a range of things, from the funny, to the nerdgasmic, the the outrageous. It’s a carefully formulated balance of content designed to… who am I kidding. It’s a bunch of random crap I find interesting. Down the rabbit-hole with you:

  • For starters, I’m gonna go all dealicious/slickdeals/cheapass gamer on you. For reasons unknown and not entirely understood, Bioshock and Oblivion are being bundled together into a package that’s $39.99 on Xbox 360 and $29.99 on PC. Words cannot describe how wonderful a deal this is. If I didn’t already own both games, I’d be out buying right now. You, though… maybe you don’t have them yet. That’s a problem. Fix it!
  • This story is old, but (sickly) fascinating, and its title, “The Adventure of the Camera Shy Computer” really doesn’t do it justice. I would’ve preferred, “The Epileptic Computer,” or “The Big Computer That Couldn’t.” Sometimes it’s nice to know how far we’ve come.
  • Traditional Media is Dead and Dying: The RIAA has once again succeeded in making the little guy (or woman, in this case) suffer for the presumed, collective sins of the entire file-sharing community. The court handling the Jammie Thomas file-sharing case has ordered her to pay $1.92 million dollars for downloading and sharing music using the Kazaa file-sharing service. That’s $80,000 per song. Want another metric? The idiot judge on this case just ordered her to pay 240 Kias, or 1,600 new 13-inch Macbook Pros, or 38,400 new PC games, all for something that’s barely worth money in the first place – poor-quality music. You know all those gamers that were planning on attacking Valve for making them buy Left4Dead 2 as a standalone game? They should take all that energy and put it into something positive, like burying all the dinosaurs over at the RIAA. Continue reading

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Humor, News, PC gaming, State of the Blog, Tech, Weekly Shenanigans | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rollin’… in my 3.0

This piece was first published at iPGN. To see my original article, click here.

Rollin’… in my 3.0 thumbnailI’m currently drowning under a deluge of updates. It’s kinda fun. With the new 3.0 firmware having recently dropped, publishers are rushing to get their newly-improved games to the public. I’ve gotten updates or new releases of Baseball Sluggers, Star Defense, and Enigmo so far. I’m willing to be that there will be more by the time I’ve finished writing this.

Oh, here comes Leaf Trombone. Sweet.

While I won’t be among the lucky few getting the new iPhone 3G S, I do get to use the new firmware – it’s the every-man’s upgrade, providing you ignore the fact that us second-class iPod Touch users have to pay $9.95 for it. It’s a fair price, though, for all the fun little upgrades I’m getting. I won’t really be going into detail on them here – expect that in a later piece. Here are the things I’m enjoying so far: Continue reading

June 20, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, iPhone/iPod Touch | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hark! A Vagrant

That’s the name of this webcomic. It generally consists of strips making fun of various historical figures, but this is decidedly more recent (unless you want to count Tom Cruise as a historical figure). Here you go:

It’s not exactly tech-related, I know. It’s not one of the newer strips, either. Still, I came upon it twice while hitting the random button on the site, and I laughed each time. That’s got to count for something.

Random Fact: When my dad was in college, his roommate auditioned for a role on Top Gun. He was rejected.

June 18, 2009 Posted by | Humor | Leave a comment

Browser Wars

So: we’ve got lots and lots of new browser upgrades. That’s always fun, right? Except when it’s not. My experiences with Safari 4.0, the latest Firefox 3.5, and Opera 10 beta 1 have been something of a mixed bag. Far be it for me to pretend any sort of expertise in this area, but it seems as though some of what’s been promised hasn’t lived up to expectations. Diving in:

Safari 4.0 does the Speed Dial - Apple style.

Safari 4.0 does the Speed Dial - Apple style.

Safari 4.0: Like all the other updates, this one is supposed to be faster. That’s all well and good, only I can’t tell any difference. That’s partially because I’m constantly dealing with subpar internet access, but partly because the speed enhancements are on such minute and insignificant little bits that most users can’t tell. Souping up the use of bandwidth-intensive resources is good, but right now I’d rather them give me some killer features or add-ons for the browser. That brings me to my next point. Safari has incorporated a Top Sites page that comes up if you don’t have a home page or whenever you open a new tab. It’s basically a copy of Opera’s Speed Dial, but all shiny and more visually attractive. It works well enough, though I’m not such a big fan of how it sorts through my browsing and automatically adds stuff. That’s great, unless you don’t want people seeing what you do. I’d like to keep my 4chan activity to myself, thanks very much, nasty den of iniquity that it is. Continue reading

June 18, 2009 Posted by | Tech | , , , , | 1 Comment

Beacons of Post-Rock: Tortoise

NotesThis piece was first published on Independent Clauses. Too read my original article, click here.

I’m writing this review from Xishuangbanna, a region in southwestern China. It sits along the Mekong river, not very far from the borders of Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. It’s hot, humid, and currently raining almost every day – monsoon season and all. You know how it goes. Anyway, the general attitude is very laid-back, not so much lazy as unwilling to move fast in the heat. I like it here. I like sitting here and drinking chilled mango juice, and I like listening to Tortoise’s new album while I’m doing it.

Beacons of Ancestorship is the name. It’s out June 23rd, fully five years after their last release. This thing has been a long time coming for fans of the band, and trust me, there are lots of them. Quick history lesson: Tortoise is a hugely important band. They’ve been around a while. Back in the early 1990s, they helped to create what is now known as post-rock. If you’re not familiar with the genre, it boils down to music that isn’t rock, but is played on rock instruments. It’s primarily instrumental, and almost always experimental. I like to think that post-rock bands don’t create songs, so much as things that grow and develop as the music continues. If that sounds silly, go listen to some music from the likes of Explosions In The Sky or Slint. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

That being said, Tortoise is a little different. Continue reading

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Music, review | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment