Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

CoD Modern Warfare 2: I’ll pass, thanks

call-of-duty-modern-warfare-2-20090326051750466Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out today. Hordes of fans stampeded stores at midnight, grabbed their own copy, and ran home to play the damn thing. Gamers have proclaimed it their favorite shooter ever, a generic shooter, an excellent story, and a practically non-existent one. Worldwide, it’s retailing for more than most AAA games do. From the US to the UK to Australia and everywhere in between, gamers are grumbling and kicking and generally raising hell. Right before, you know, they eagerly swipe their credit cards at the checkout line.

Me? I haven’t bought it. Continue reading


November 10, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News, PC gaming, Personal, Tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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

Weekly Shenanigans #5

I know you all love me. You don’t have to say it, I just know.

  • Epix HD: we've got Ironman and stuff.

    Epix HD: we've got Ironman and stuff.

    This week saw mention of a new video service called Epix HD. It’s an interesting mix of internet and cable TV, brought to you by Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM. You can view content as a regular TV channel, or access 720p video streaming online for free, providing you’ve got a cable subscription (and your provider has inked a deal with them). It will feature new movies and possibly premium TV series content, similar to HBO, but there won’t be any additional charge for access. Finally, a compelling reason to keep my cable subscription. Woot.

  • Anandtech has a great article on the iPhone 3G S hardware, breaking down what’s going into the new hardware and explaining in relatively simple terms why it’s such a vast improvement. I liked his take so much I’m using him as a source for an iPGN article I’m working on.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News, State of the Blog, Tech, Weekly Shenanigans | Leave a comment

WWDC ’09: My Take

This image shamelessly kidnapped from IGN Entertainment

This image shamelessly kidnapped from IGN Entertainment

WWDC 2009 happened yesterday for most of you. For me, it happened early as balls this morning. I stayed up and watched as reports flooded in from 1AM until 3AM local time. This was one of those times where the time difference really, really sucked for me.

Some of you might be scoffing right now. “Surely you could have slept and read about it in the morning,” you say. “There was absolutely no reason to lose sleep over this thing. You didn’t even make an early post about it!” That may well be true. I didn’t post anything super-early in the wee, partially-conscious hours of my morning. I didn’t make any sort of cutting-edge analysis of Apple’s actions. I didn’t disparage them like some, and I certainly didn’t praise them like others. I just watched, because at heart I’m a geek, through and through. I love technology for technology’s sake, even if I don’t end up buying or using it. I love seeing how it evolves, how different technologies and upgrades compare to market conditions and what effect that has on price points. I love watching companies duke it out over who has the superior product, because that means innovation and better products for the little guy.

If you’re curious, I’ve got absolutely no intention of buying the new iPhone 3G S, nor any of the updated notebooks. For better or worse, I’m currently stuck on the T-Mobile network, which means no shiny Apple phone for me. I got the aluminum unibody MacBook when it came out, so there’s absolutely no reason for me to buy the new one because the battery and screen are better and it’s being called a MacBook Pro. I will say that Snow Leopard is mighty tempting at the $29 price point, and I’ll probably pick it up when it is released this September. Smaller footprint, OpenCL and their Grand Central tech? Yes, please! Continue reading

June 10, 2009 Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Net Neutrality: Reversal

Now you see it...

Now you see it...

Now you dont.

Now you don't.

Traditionally, net neutrality has been a sticky topic that boils down to internet service providers declaring themselves information demigods. On several occasions, they’ve fought for the right to dole out portions of their bandwidth based on who can pay for it, which would essentially reduce access to anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay what they demand.

Recently, it has taken a different turn. ESPN has begun demanding that various ISPs pay for their customers to have the privilege of accessing their ESPN360 site. Anyone that is unlucky enough to have an ISP that hasn’t paid ESPN’s access fee, won’t be able to view their content. At my permanent address in San Antonio, I use Time Warner Cable for my internet access, and guess what? I don’t have access. ESPN has effectively reduced my status to that of a second-class netizen, at least on their site. Continue reading

February 9, 2009 Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pirates Are Just Underserved Customers

Apparently, those who pirate videogames (those for PC in particular) are just underserved customers – so says Valve’s Jason Holtman. He recently participated in the Game Business Law Summit at SMU; below is the original article on the topic from Game Daily: Continue reading

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Letter From Intel to the Incoming CTO

I just read this blog post by Justin Rattner (Intel Senior Fellow & CTO), addressing President Obama’s new CTO and the challenges the new administration faces. The original contents are below.

Thank you to the thousands of men and women who participated in Intel’s survey last week at CES. As I blogged about earlier, the survey looked to stimulate broad support for Intel policies, asking you what the top priorities should be for the incoming Obama administration’s chief technology officer (CTO) in four areas where technology plays a key role: education, environment, health and Internet broadband. Continue reading

January 20, 2009 Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intel Price Cuts

Intel couldn’t resist. They’ve cut prices on a number of their processors. While I’m sure they planned to do so anyway, I can’t help but think that some small part of it was just to stick it to AMD and their new Phenom II processors. Anyway, I’ve taken some screenshots of the damage:

Core 2 Quad processors

Core 2 Quad processors

The most significant price cuts came in the Core 2 Quad line Continue reading

January 19, 2009 Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should NASA be Militarized?

According to this DailyTech article (contents posted below), President-elect Obama is considering a militarization of the US space program in order to solve NASA’s funding woes. Check it out:

Ares I

Artist's rendering: Ares I

If Ares I development isn’t as far as long as Obama likes, it could be possible NASA will use military funds for future technology development

President-elect Barack Obama, once he takes office later this month, could remove the barriers between the US Department of Defense (DoD) and NASA, in an effort to help the U.S. space agency better compete with Russia and China.

The most important task for NASA is to build a new rocket capable of carrying Orion to the International Space Station (ISS), with a future mission to the moon likely.  The U.S. space agency originally planned to have the Ares I rocket take Orion into space, but President-elect Obama wants to try and get Orion into the air as soon as possible.

“The Obama administration will have all those issues on the table,” former President Bill Clinton’s space adviser Neal Lane told Bloomberg.  “The foreign affairs and national security implications have to be considered.”

The current generation of space shuttles will be retired next year, and there will be a five-year gap between the shuttle retirement and the scheduled release of Orion.  Ares I completed its first preliminary design review last year, with Boeing and Alliant Techsystems prepared for a first launch in 2015. Continue reading

January 6, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics, Tech | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments