Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Brave Movie Review

June 30, 2012

Yeah, I know it’s been a few months and the Mass Effect 3 feature is nowhere to be seen. I’ve been rather busy IRL and I decided to hold out for the Extended Cut DLC. I’ve also decided to play through the entire series, hopefully gaining some perspective on it. With that aside, I just watched the movie Brave, and I’m going to share my impressions in what might become a recurring feature but probably won’t. Beware, there may be spoilers.

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SGU Still Sucks

April 17, 2010

I’m sure you”ve heard my bitch and whine a lot about it, so I’ll keep this short. SGU still sucks.

Ironic Blog Post

January 27, 2010

You know, I really should post more things on this blog. I hardly use it at all.

New Years

January 1, 2010

It’s a new year. I didn’t bother staying up until midnight. I didn’t have any big party. And I had but one resolution.

Finish my fricking N64 portable.

SGU, Part III

November 10, 2009

I watched a few more episodes of SGU. I know, I just keep watching it even though it sucks. Here are my thoughts.

Water was actually a pretty good episode. Okay, it would be a stretch to call it good, but it was watchable. A bit of that classic Stargate made it into this episode. Young and some other guy have to go to an ice planet to get some ice to melt into water. Unfortunately the other guy falls into a crevasse and his space suit is leaking. And Young refuses to go back without him. Meanwhile, on Destiny, there’s something drinking the water. It turns out to be that sand-creature thing from Air Part III (which I “unfortunately” missed). There’s a lot, and they’re pissed. They kill one guy (actually injure him, he dies at the end from the wounds) and another goes after him with a flamethrower. Eventually they imprison it, it breaks out, and Lieutenant whatserface (the medic) lures it into a container and throws it through the gate. In this episode, there was some action and an actual enemy. I don’t think it had as much drama either. I thought there might be hope for the series after all.

Then it was dashed. Earth was probably the worst episode of SGU so far. Young, Eli, and one of the immature girls (Chloe I think) go to Earth. Well, they use those stones to switch bodies. Young is the only one who reveals it to his wife and makes up with her. Eli acts as a friend of Eli’s and visits his mom. Chloe pretends to be “cousin Liz”. Eli and Chloe go out to some dance or something. Chloe acts unbelivable immature and gets drunked up. The whole on-Earth part just sucked. It was lame, I don’t care, I want some action. The Destiny part was a bit better. Some genius has an idea to dial Earth while Destiny is in a sun. A guy almost dies and the ship is almost blown apart. Telford and his two scientist buddies shut down the body-switching device and Rush shuts down the gate, revealing that it would never work. Blech. This episode is terrible, you have to see it to see how terrible it is.

So that’s two episodes of SGU in a nutshell. An episode that gave me hope and one that was absolutely terrible.

SGU Part 2

October 23, 2009

Well, I’ve watched a few more episodes, and I’m still not impressed. In fact, I think the series is getting worst.

Again, the series is going all of nowhere. What should have been one episode was stretched into two. First, Destiny runs out of power and heads towards a sun. That was stretched into an entire episode, with lots of drama that I don’t care about. In the next episode, they fly through the sun and don’t die. It should have been one episode. It was stretched thin across two. In fact, the entire series so far could be compressed into a single episode.

Oh, and nothing significant has happened. They’re still alive. Lack of direction is still there. This isn’t Stargate. Stargate is about going through a portal to other worlds shooting aliens and blowing things up. Not surviving in a spaceship in the middle of nowhere. Stargate is an action packed series with a few funny bits and a few dramatic bits. Not a dark drama where pretty much nothing happens. If I wanted drama I’d watch BSG. At least there’s shooting in that. And at least that series has a direction. Atlantis was a worthy successor to SG-1. Universe is a disgrace that will forever sully the Stargate name.

There are probably some people who would like SGU, but I hate it. You get a lot of contrast watching an episode from the first season of SG-1 on the same day.

On another note, I’ve ordered a Freeduino SB and I should be getting it sometime next week.

Stargate Universe

October 2, 2009

Just watched the first episode of SGU and I’m not impressed.

First, the whole thing has a different tone, and the style is overall different. It just seems out of place. It’s too dark and too quiet, and the music sucks. Also, like most of the newer sci-fi series’, it eschews a considerable amount of logic and realism in favour of drama. And drama there is. It’s not Defying Gravity horrible, but they are trying to be too dramatic.

The biggest thing though, is that I fail to see where this show could go. Everyone is stuck on a ship which is falling apart and on autopilot. Sure, they can survive and try to go home, but that’s not what Stargate is about. It’s about going through gates and gunning down bad guys. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I don’t want to see a whole series about it. There are a few episodes of SG-1 and Atlantis like that. I think maybe Atlantis was originally supposed to be more like this, but cooler heads did not prevail this time.

Let’s go through the whole episode, and I’ll point out all the various problems. This is in chronological order, not the order presented in the episode. It’s jumbled as hell on the show.

It starts with this nerd guy who dropped out of college, Eli Wallace, being appoached by O’Neill after winning a video game or something. Apparently he has been tracked and they know everything about him. Initially he refuses but he gets beamed up. Okay, nothing wrong with this part at all.

Then they take him by ship to a base, somewhere, so he can work on the project to dial the ninth chevron… to go somewhere. Then he asks why they didn’t just gate to the planet. First problem here. They respond by saying the gate has been modified to only dial out, because it’s too risky to be able to dial in. Why didn’t they just put in an iris? Obviously someone had a serious brain fart here.

Of course, the base is attacked by Goa’uld, and things go to hell yet again. The ship, Hammond I think, sits in orbit taking damage and not doing anything at all. The base gets defended, except they seem to have two 302s, one railgun, and no SAM sites. Come on, you’ve got to be kidding! Then a ship crashes in an exceedingly slow way.

There is an evacuation, which makes sense. Of course the idiot Dr. Rush inturrupts dialling and dials the 9 chevron address, and it works this time. The idiot soldier on the DHD does nothing of course, even though it should have been pretty obvious. And of course, the gate will not shut down and the planet is about to blow up, for some reason. Meanwhile, in a hallway they clear away wreckage with explosives and get some people out.

So everyone gates to Destiny and despite walking through they inexplicably fly through, bumping into things and hitting each other. I laughed a bit when a guy got whached with a flying case of something. Now they are on a ship that’s running out of air and they have very little supplies. There’s some drama and tension here, and some discoveries, including a really small flying MALP-like drone called a Kino. Eli turns out to be a good character but Dr. Rush turns out to be a crazy bastard. Despite all the drama, however, nobody bothers to do so much as blame him for getting everyone into the mess.

Because the ship is leaking air, they have to seal it off. They seem to jump to a certain leaking shuttle, and Dr. Rush does a laugable job of seeming to do nothing. He says he contacted Earth with a long-range communication device and O’Neill designated him leader, but we don’t know if he contacted Earth and lied about becoming leader, contacted Earth and told the truth, or just didn’t contact Earth at all.

There was a kind of funny bit where they open up an Ancient CO2 scrubber and it dumps out all this nasty goo. It steams for some reason and they whine about it making people sick. Rush also takes the time to bitch about how they didn’t get their sodium hydroxide and there is none on the ship. The real leader, colonel something, recovers enough from flying through the gateroom to stand. Kind of unrelated but kind of important.

Back to the shuttle. Apparently it has a slow leak, the ship half of the airlock is jammed, and the shuttle half of the airlock can only be closed from the shuttle. Of course it didn’t occur to anybody to simply close off the compartment. So after a lot of commotion, including (finally) the suggestion that Rush close it from inside the shuttle. The colonel volunteers but some politician guy with a really bitchy daughter does it first. Of course the daughter cries and Rush talks to her about loss, or something.

The colonel guy gets pissed off with the inaction and tries to dial Earth, also revealing a problem with the gate itself. The entire gate spins, all the chevrons light up, and the symbols are impossible to see, so you don’t get that anticipation while it dials. A minor oversight, but still an oversight. In the middle of dialling, the ship drops out of not-hyperspace and dials another planet. Apparently the planet has what they need, they have twelve hours to get it, and they put together a team.

It’s not that SGU is horrible, it’s just that it’s not great. It doesn’t really fit into the Stargate universe (ironic pun there) very well. I don’t see where it can go either. It might improve, or it might be all downhill. We’ll see, but I wish they kept going with Atlantis or SG-1.

NES 2 AV Mods

September 4, 2009

I was going to do a long rant about the Wii. But since I know some of you want something with more substance, I’ll give you this instead.

 

Nes2The NES 2 toploader was Nintendo’s attempt to sell more NESes. The toploader design is more reliable, but it suffers from bad video output. It’s only RF and suffers vertical lines. So a lot of people AV mod their NES 2s.

The usual method (let’s call it the gameSX method) involves removing a resistor, cutting a trace underneath it, and wiring up a simple video amp. But some say it doesn’t reduce vertical lines at all, doesn’t improve quality much, or is simply just confusing.

So I went on this internet and searched for answers. Then I found this thread on the internet (after a helpful mention… somewhere).  The first theory as to why the video output still sucked was a bad PPU. Some guy disproved that by actually connecting his toploader PPU video output to the video circuit in a frontloader. Problem solved, not the PPU.

Some guy posted an alternate mod in that thread, based on the AV Famicom circuit. It involves lifting pin 21 and connecting it directly to the new circuit. This mod gives much better video output, but has somewhat reduced brightness. Apparently in a normal frontloader the video is amped again in the RF box, so that could be tried.

But was that just the answer? No. By that time I had looked through schematics, scoured the web, and found absolutely nothing in various forum topics. I’d even come up with the crazy idea of reproducing the entire video circuit of a frontloader.

Now I wish I just had a NES 2 to play around and test my theories on. Were you expecting that I had one and modded it? Nah, you can’t get anything cheap where I live, regardless of rarity.

I did, however, write this article on the ModRetro wiki.

DRM

September 2, 2009

I hate how pretty much all new software is full of DRM. On the low end of the spectrum, almost all games are on copy-protected optical media. Most games have some form of software lockout as well. On the extreme end, some games require an online activation, PLUS having one or more applications running in the background. Ironically, most Steam games actually have LESS DRM than retail games.

Case in point: I got a copy of Battlefield 2142 from a friend because it wouldn’t run on his computer. But it’s pretty much useless to me. Why? Because it only works with one account. I can understand having to verify a game as legit. I can understand needing to register an account to play online. But this is just ridiculous. You HAVE to register an account to play, and not just for multiplayer either.  And the game is tied to that account. That’s understandable for downloaded software, but for software that comes on a disc it’s insane. I’ll see if I can get my friend’s account information, but he’s probably lost it.

So what can game companies do? First, recognize that there’s really not that much piracy. Seriously, DVDs are far easier and more profitable to pirate than games. Secondly, stop the ridiculous DRM. Figure out a way to do it reasonably. I can’t tell you how, but I want some fair use. By fair use I mean I should be able to install it on at least my main PC and a laptop, and maybe a media center too (one computer using the software at a time is fine). If I want to give it away or sell it for whatever reason I should be able to do so. Finally, I don’t need rootkits or two different apps running in the background. Third, maybe people wouldn’t be so compelled to try to rip off games if they weren’t such a ripoff. I really want Call of Duty 4. But it’s been out for a year and it’s still $50.

Okay, maybe I’m asking for a little too much. But in the old days, you could buy a game, install it on as many computers as you wanted, copy it (maybe that’s a little too far), and you wouldn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount in the first place. That wasn’t long ago, either. Quake III was like that. A lot of Command and Conquer games came with TWO DISCs so you could play head-to-head with a friend.

And to think I thought that CD keys were a pain in the ass.

OMGWTFBBQFIRSTPOST

August 1, 2009

Alright, excuse the noobishness. I couldn’t think of anything better for a first post.