Category Archives: Rant

Rants, self explanatory

Gaming Agnosticism Looms Nigh

Gaming these days can be a touchy topic with some folks… There are those on the camp of “You game on the right machine (PC) or you get the #%*$ out!” and “Consoles are made to game, so less potential for stress and headaches!” I admit that in my younger days, console was the way to go. Buy the machine, buy software and (if needed) extra peripherals… Bam, finisimo! Sadly, my family feared the very idea of me building my own computer. Fact is, I built my first one when I was 17! All because they feared I was inept as a kid and failed to let me explore the vector! I digress… When I did build my first computer… It was a beauty by 2000’s standards. AMD Athlon XP Thunderbird, 1GB of RAM, and a 32mb DDR RAM ATi Radeon VE. The fun part was I got to see the schism in quality of a game from a PC version versus a console. Continue reading Gaming Agnosticism Looms Nigh

The Value of a Gift

This year… My birthday has been both the worst and the best with all due respect. My theme this year was “spend time with the ones you love and cherish, gifts optional” because with good friends, you don’t need gifts. The ultimate gift is the company of your friends as well as the bond shared over years and years. I had chosen the site of The Cheesecake Factory for my event, because I figured it’d be a fun and with a a taste for everyone that may be picky. I didn’t feel it was something ostentatious like the Steve Field’s Steak and Lobster Lounge or something ratty like a greasy all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. To me, it was a modest middle ground with food from almost all cultures to pick and choose from. I also wanted to celebrate in a mature way and to be able to have a glass of beer or a martini with people I love being with. With that said… I had told my guests to just come as they are. I wasn’t expecting people to be in tuxedos and ball gowns for an outing that would cost thousands. I just wanted my friends to be there with me.

The gifts I have received so far are not ones that I demanded for… below I give you the register of items.
UHA Pucchu candy
Steam game: Dark Void Zero
Steam games: Commandos Collection (on sale)
Shiner Bock 6-pack
Steam game: Shatter
Tucano netbook bag
Steam game: Command and Conquer Red Alert 3
Steam game: Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
Anthony Logistics for Men: Clean Start Kit
The Art of Shaving Fusion Power Chrome razor
Asus Eee PC 1001P Seashell netbook
Time spent with my friends

There is one more gift a friend made mention that is on order, so this will be known as the following:

????

The greatest gift on this list is my friends. Sure, the material things are nice… but I won’t disregard the matter that even the material things vanish, wither, or break. The most important value to be absorbed from a gift is that… the value from a monetary stand-point should not be viewed/mentioned. If you make it a point about the value of a gift… at that point, it is not a gift. I think Sol said it best with his quotation: “Dude, at that point… reciprocating the value of a gift voids out the meaning of a gift, it’s a loan at that point.” Another friend of mine named Seelen gave a great example: “If I won the lottery and decided to buy you a yacht… I am not gonna say that I expect a Bentley Supersports coupe!

To be honest… if my friends came to my birthday hangout and just gave me birthday cards… I’d have been happy as all hell for it. Friends last forever, material things will always be come-and-go.

Machines and Logic Bombs

Lately I have been debating over 2 cases to upgrade Byakko to… The Cooler Master HAF 932 or a Cooler Master Sniper Black. Cooling is my primary focus as heat dissipation is a primary focus for me as keeping a hot system cool is definitely important. I know I have a Phenom II x4 945 processor upgrade, a Corsair H50 cooling system, a Corsair HX power source, and a Radeon HD 5770 (XXX Edition from XFX) as pending upgrades. Definitely huge upgrades for sure. So keeping cool and functional is definitely vital… Plus I do want to push my gaming to the limits.

The logic bomb of the weekend is the matter of my sister. I have no clue why she thinks I care or am part of the loop with my family… but this weekend she suddenly tells me an aunt of mine died over the weekend and then vanishes. I mean, she’s basically cast me out because I am some sort of loser with no diploma and degree after my name… Which boggles me… Why would a person shoot me dead as an outcast yet then try to socialize to me about matters of a social system I have no shred of care for? It’d be like convicting a person with being a pedophile but a month later telling them to go to a Chuck-e-Cheese and babysit a party full of children. No offense to people who are logically incompetent, but… FOR GODSAKE DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO OSTRACIZE SOMEONE PROPERLY! I mean, I don’t think it’s hard. You don’t go “I never want to speak to you again, ever!” and then an hour later go “Hey, what up?” It defeats the purpose.

Black Dragoon in the Battlefield

I have been in many wars and seen much destruction in my days… Not like these past few months. To go from zealous warrior to a dragoon cast out from his unit for the battalion commander using questionable logic in a battle… It’s taken a toll and made me a jaded soldier on the academic war front. The fight no longer is about meaningless mortal concepts like “family honor”, “respect”, and “face”; it becomes a fight on the matter of personal dignity. The warmness of the soul dies… A casualty of war from fools who heedlessly had no perception of how morale can either produce quality units or make them useless. Break a soldier and he will mutiny the battalion or kill himself, even more if you keep trying to say the unit is only going to repeat his failures of the past. Encourage a unit and let them do battle and you may see the unit grow even stronger. Sadly my “commanding officers” don’t see it this way and only know “motivation” by breaking a person to a mindless slave that is useless when the master leaves or dies.

Sadly I have seen the “quality” unit churned out by the school of de-motivation and slavery. They have no sense of real world logic, rosy-sunglasses syndrome. On top of that they can’t handle the “devastation” of failure and own up to their mistakes! They HAVE to blame others who they feel are intellectually inferior to themselves! When a soldier cannot own up to accidentally killing a comrade, leading the enemy back to the command center, or ruining their own supply pack… They have to learn to go “I messed up but I can put myself to resolve things” instead of being a yellow bellied coward! This logic is essential to learning and evolving past old glories that have given false security to us slacking off. It is much like the mantra of war: “Evolve or DIE“. If you refuse to evolve, take chances, and get hurt… You will ultimately be killing yourself. If you fail, you can just pick up from the ramparts and retry again. If you succeed, you evolve! From failure and success, evolution is still possible.

I guess you could say that I am sadly exhausted of being the mindless slave unit. I am the drone who tasted freedom. To be told that the only way to become “superior” is to put a yoke on my mind and make it lazy, I desire not to have it. I’d rather fight under a banner of heroes who’ve decided to question logic than blindly obey.

Aborting Mission Mike-Whiskey-2, Considering Bravo-Foxtrot Bravo-Charlie 2 Mission

This week was the blockbuster release of Modern Warfare 2 for XBOX 360 and PS3 (Tuesday) then Thursday midnight for PC folks via Steam. The game has no doubt made headlines everywhere… From the number of copies sold to even things like the controversial undercover American agent working for the Russian Ultranationalist terrorist killing innocent American civilians in an airport… However, I will admit, the console release is rather good! It does the console features well, for consoles of course… However the PC folks (like me) got ripped off as did the PC player community…

There are threads like this one from the Call of Duty Boards titled: More IW Thievery (Link) If you don’t want to read or see the screens… Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: IW runs a map-making competition for e-cred for new maps… Apparently community members threw tons of maps, winner announced and e-cred given… Fast-forward to now, community member Zeroy gets MW2 and finds community maps were added and NO credit given to community developers.

Then you have this amazing breakdown I found on Amazon from a guy named Nathan Risto

Here is a break down of the differences between Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Take notice that almost everything is a downgrade for a higher price.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Networking: Client/Server
Avg Ping: 25-40ms
Console Commands: Yes
Lean: Yes
Custom Maps: Yes
Number of Players: up to 64
Competitive Mods: Yes
Mod Tools: Yes
Ability to Record: Yes
Kick/Ban Hackers Immediately: Yes
Profiles Saved Online: No
Manually Select Server to Join: Yes
Control Bad Language: Yes
0 ping Advantage for Host: No
Lan Play: Yes
Free Demo: Yes
Price: $50

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Networking: Peer 2 Peer (downgrade)
Avg Ping: 100ms+ (downgrade)
Console Commands: No (downgrade)
Lean: No (downgrade)
Custom Maps: No (downgrade)
Number of Players: up to 18 (downgrade)
Competitive Mods: No (downgrade)
Mod Tools: No (downgrade)
Ability to Record: No (downgrade)
Kick/Ban Hackers Immediately: No (downgrade)
Profiles Saved Online: Yes
Manually Select Server to Join: No (downgrade)
Control Bad Language: No (downgrade)
0 ping Advantage for Host: Yes (downgrade)
Lan Play: Yes
Free Demo: No (downgrade)
Price: $60 (downgrade)

For me as a PC player and part time server admin… Running my own server is quite fun! I can make a private practice ground for my “n00b” friends to piss around and learn game mechanics… Then there’s stuff like being able to manually boot/ban griefers that some admins like to have, which is very important on family servers when you have clowns yelling stuff like “You %@#$!#$% noob! #$%#ing come back and fight me like the little gay bitch you are!!!” and not understanding some parents do not want their children exposed to coarse language like that on a server. The PC community developer tools are no longer available to users and we basically got a glorified console version port with only the options to play with a keyboard and mouse and resolution tweaks.

I for one am disappointed… I do confess, when I have my “realistic combat” thirst come up Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare hit the spot quick. However, I think the invitation that DICE/EA has offered in the form of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has enticed me. The prospect of a huge battlefield, epic battles not limited to 9 vs 9, and dedicated servers is enough to have me look at it and probably consider it. The pre-order is plenty enticing to boot: 6 load-out perks and and 3 guns! The PS3 beta is LIVE while the PC beta is due in December… The game won’t be out sadly until March 2nd, 2010, but the footage from the PS3 beta looks really good!

To fill the void… I have Dragon Age Origins and Left 4 Dead 2 for the time being…

[Editorial] Apple’s VP of Marketing is in a Spatial Field Barrier… Ugh…

So on reading through blogs and on [H]ardOCP I saw an article linked about Apple’s VP of Marketing is seeing Windows 7 as a chance to herd up frustrated Windows users (link here). The guy is pining for frustrated Windows users to just decided to hop on over to their grassy knolls to the cult of Mac rather than just buy a $100 copy of Windows 7. I would like quote the CNet News article:

“We think a lot of folks will look at that as the straw that broke the camels back,” Croll said. “People are tired of the headaches with Windows and this is another great excuse for people to check out the Mac.”

From “Apple sees Windows 7 as an Opportunity to Sell Macs” on CNet News by Jim Dalrymple

This logic is a bit flawed in my mind from an economic standpoint in my mind, because of the fact that Brian Croll assumes every computer owner that is frustrated with the notion of upgrading to Windows 7 will have to do MAJOR upgrades to use it. On top of that he keeps mentioning the idea of users frustrated with the Windows experience and hope they will consider the Mac experience.

Disclaimer: Before I go on, I will make the disclaimer that I hate all operating systems equally as much as I love their foibles. I do own a Linux laptop, a G4 Mac Mini, and Windows 7 Release Candidate desktop machine before anyone wants to make accusations of favoritism.

Point #1: Money is hard to find – A home upgrade is easier than buying a new Mac.
His point that people will get aggravated with the process of upgrading the OS. I do agree, the agony of Windows XP users migrating to Windows 7 will be one that will be a bit vexing, because it does require a full wipe. That can be seen in this chart posted by Walt Mossberg on his blog here. But at the same right the Apple guide just mentions in migrating from Windows to Mac mentions migrating files, not complete system settings… In layman’s terms: It’s like the aftermath of a FULL WIPE! Most folks have a means to archive of files like DVD burners, external hard drives, or (now) network storage devices… so this puts Mac migration right in the same ground of a Windows user doing a full wipe. That’s frustrating no matter how you see it. Most home users considering the Mac migration will probably be eyeing either a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or an iMac. That’s a starting price range of $1,000 – $1,300 before applicable taxes. On the Windows side of things MOST old 32-bit technologies are still supported in Windows 7. This sadly was not the same for G4 Mac users when Snow Leopard came out, so the high and mighty “Windows users will have to make major upgrades to get Windows 7” argument is not quite valid. The basic message that G4 users got was “Want the new OS update? BUY A NEW SYSTEM!” so that argument is back in fair game. The entry price for a Windows 7 32-bit Home upgrade is $100 and various online communities have reported the “Use the upgrade disc for a full install” trick still works. So in hard economic times, $100 and maybe using/borrowing an external hard drive versus shelling $1,000+ and still using/borrowing an external hard drive… I think being economical takes precedance to a foolish impulsive need of some ridiculous need to escape a “user experience“.

Point #2: Users tend to use what they use at work
This is a point that the Linux folks mention a lot of. This is also their rallying cry to push for Linux use in the home: get more Linux machines in the workplace then you will have more people considering it for home use. Apply this concept to Windows in the workplace or academic field… Lots of campuses get better volume discounts on Windows machine versus the Mac discounts. The proof of that is seen in the price of several Dell workstation versus an iMac suite. Also the myth of “Apple machines are just better at any art related tasks” is essentially null and moot because the software exists in the realms of both Windows and OS X versions. Then you also have fields where you don’t have Apple OS X equivalents. If the market share were a little more in favor of Apple, I could see the desire of a change of environment with an equally balanced ecosystem of software for both Windows and Mac. However when you have market research showing that close to 85% of people who own Macs also own Windows PC’s (as seen in this PC World article), the grip of Windows isn’t letting up. The rationale that people at home use what they use at work also is to the respect of compatibility. It’s always a pain to the typical end user to try to force compatibility but also it is much easier not to fight against what the work place endorses. Sure there are also things like Citrix or Virtual PC clients, but usually those require that the IT dept of a corporation to get linked up.

In the end, Windows 7 will still be hot. Those who are willing to upgrade will. I think the correct market Brian Croll is targeting are those who have $1,000 to blow on a PC and want something new and shiny. The logic of the Windows XP users being targeted is fair, but he seems to have disregarded one important fact: the size of their wallets.

[Help/Technology] The Dark Side Beckons… With a Vengeance!

Alright… Most of you technologically wild folks know that the big tech shows are going on. Apple’s WWDC, E3, (I think) Computex etc… These are all industry breaking shows in which manufacturers and developers get to show off their works in progress or even finished products pending release. However… for me, things got interesting.

Almost 1 years ago, I had blogged about the iPhone 3G finally hitting all of the global carriers… yet that it was still flawed from not supporting things many basic features that even standard phones have supported for the last few years. Things like MMS (picture/video messaging), video recording, A2DP Bluetooth stereo streaming, encrypted e-mail were just some of the issues I had with the iPhone 3G being balked as the update the phone needed… Another thing later on when the iPod Touch revision came out was the support for the Nike+ system. Somehow… the iPhone missed out on that and it would basically hose any interest I had as I would love to track how much I run be it for classes or just working out. The final nail in the coffin would be that I had friends who noted iffy phone service on the iPhone via AT&T because I feel that BASIC functionality is very essential.

Yesterday and Monday’s updates on the gadget and tech blogs were quite an eye opener, however. Most of them had pointed to Apple’s new iPhone 3G [S] site and had noted that a lot of my grievances with the 3G version have been resolved. Phone calls seems to have gotten better with those who are using the leaked Developer version of the iPhone 3.0 software/firmware. The phone also has improved with things like faster processor, the addition of a compass with the GPS chips, and a few other features. The Nike+ system finally got added so it sweetens things a little bit more. Sure $200 – $300 for a phone is a bit steep… but at this moment… That’s basically the price point I am looking at for phones.

To thicken the plot… When I had left Commerce on dorm check-out on May 7th, my BlackBerry was showing I had weak T-Mobile service throughout all of Commerce. The few times I have been back in the past couple weeks, my signal has diminished to T-Mobile going to Roaming Mode on Cellular One’s backbone. This is rather crippling… The reasons for that being 1) When I am on roaming, I have asked my BlackBerry to kill my data functions to prevent roaming charges and 2) I get charged extra for taking calls while roaming. Point #1 is a killer because I have become really data centric with my BlackBerry especially when I am without my laptop. Point #2 is just murder for me as a college student, especially considering I got TONS of calls from classmates with AT&T during the day time hours with my already small minute pool.

AT&T seems to have a stranglehold for the area, as my friends have noticed. I have heard some hearsay of the Commerce area AT&T users mentioning that 3G service is unrolling soon or already present. On top of that, AT&T is killing the 2G towers in favor of the 3G revolution. Sadly, the only BlackBerry on AT&T that is 3G ready is the BlackBerry Bold and it’s not quite what I am looking for. T-Mobile’s signals are diminishing and sadly their BlackBerry devices are just rehashes of my Curve 8300 or the Pearl 8100 series. Call me odd but the fact that just about any smartphone supports Lexi-Comp, including the iPhone, is a huge impact to me as a pre-pharmacy student.

For now… I am in no rush really to convert or anything of that sort yet. I am roughly 2 weeks away from my current T-Mobile 1 year contract finally expiring and I also need to see where my own family stands as far as service goes. I know my own family is debating on if they may be switching carriers or staying and doing month-to-month with T-mobile. If they are switching, then it makes a little more of a big sell point for me to jump ship with them… If they stay, then I’ll really need to sit and talk with them.

Anyone who has insight on this… Post away and let me know!

Grievances against Texas A&M Commerce on Housing

Well, I forgot to write about this a few weeks ago… but I figured it would be appropriate today. Let me catch you all up to speed on how things got to my grievances.

A few weeks ago, I had gotten an e-mail basically saying to the tune of “Yeah, if you’re in Whitley Hall… You’re being forcibly evicted and you have 2 choices: The low extreme (West Halls) or the high extreme (New Pride). Happy hunting!” This would inevitably piss off all 11 floors of my dorm hall’s residents because our happy medium of balanced cost and decent living. The school’s supposed reason: “We would like to use Whitley Hall as an introductory hall to provide our first year freshman a chance to have a great dormitory experience!

First grievance, the dormitory choices are VERY SLIM!!! West Halls are not well kept-up and on a dark night, I wouldn’t feel quite safe even walking out 30 feet to my own car. On top of that… I believe certain buildings from West Halls will be going to some of the fraternity or sorority groups, so this also kills some of the possible housing slots. (If anyone can verify this, please comment and I will give credit to you. – Zero)  New Pride, space is just flat out limited. I have heard from students who are with me in Whitley Hall made mention of “I was on the waiting list to get in and I didn’t…” Some how, the only “compromise” that Whitley Hall residents get is on Friday, we apparently get first pick on New Pride Hall. I don’t know how that will turn out to be honest… Lastly, Prairie Crossing is no longer an open option, off-campus apartment living choice close to the campus because Texas A&M Commerce has bought out the complex and here’s what they have done to that… Most of the rooms will go Honor’s College students and the remaining rooms will be available to any other student under the condition that rooms are to go to students ranked by classification and GPA. Most of the alternative apartments are a good distance away from school… I personally would hate having to “live” in Greenville make a 30 minute commute to school 5 days a week.

Second grievance, some of my friends at Berry Hall are being forced out too… The worst part, they get NO priority choices. Berry Hall is a purely freshman only hall and worst yet… the date for freshman students to register for dorm choices is April 16th. It isn’t as big as Whitley, but yet in my mind… it’s just unfair to them too.

Third grievance is with respect to the last few events… This sudden decision has alienated the student population at Whitley (and no doubt, Berry) Hall.  Any financial increases in tuition and programs, it is required they get the approval of the faculty and student body. The school has asked for a few budgetary raises, but those have failed. They also finished the New Sam Rayburn Student Center with what seems like 40+ Samsung 20+” LCD TV’s all over and a poorly designed cafeteria. Their “experiment” to go to a 4 day school in what seemed like an assumption to reduce electrical energy wasted has been a failure as the Fall 2009 Semester will be a standard 5 day academic week. So what other loophole could the school exploit? A student by the name of Brian had said something close to “Housing is one loophole the school can use, because they can blanket it with any flowery reason while basically quietly hike dorm rates too.” His thought makes sense as the common layman would probably think the forcible eviction is a “good” thing because essentially an upgrade to New Pride Hall rooms. It isn’t until the other factors are accounted for that the ugly truth shows up.

Finally… With the uprising of students disappointed that Texas A&M Commerce would basically underhandedly make a decision with out the student body voting on STUDENT HOUSING they have decided to hold a “conference”. This Conference today takes place at the student center at 3:30pm. I unfortunately can’t go because I have school work to catch up on…

However… I encourage any students who read this to spread word and attend. Be you at Whitley or wherever, show up and make a stand that student housing should be a policy that has STUDENTS voting on how things should be, not just some decision that was just blanketed over e-mail. Feel free to link my site and share my opinions amongst yourselves!