Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I totally want to work for Consumer Reports now.

Life and times of a Consumer Reports secret shopper - Boing Boing
Here's a little Wired profile on the secret shoppers used by Consumer Reports Labs. I've had some meetings at the labs and they're incredibly impressive: top notch researchers and top notch facilities, and integrity out the wazoo.

"Making these purchases without saying why can be tricky. Once, Jon told a phone salesman that he needed a particular model because his mother had Alzheimer's and he'd never be able to teach her how to use a new brand. He laughs when he describes the wary looks he got after filling up a shopping cart with condoms. He fondly recalls the time he purchased five different washing machines, claiming that his landlord father had given tenants their choice of brands.

But Jon's favorite story by far is the ice cream. With pints stacked on the floor and an angry stocker looming overhead, Jon had to say something. "So I go into my Rain Man routine," he says. "Count the vanilla, count the vanilla, gotta count the vanilla.' Eventually, the stocker just gives up and walks away. And I get my ice cream." Once products are purchased, they're taken back to Consumer Reports' Yonkers, New York, headquarters, where the magazine maintains 50 tricked-out, cost-is-no-object laboratories. There are labs where trained tasters sample chocolate, labs where air conditioners are evaluated to see if units are more efficient at blowing cool air to the right or to the left, and labs where strollers are pushed over a series of bumps for hours at a time."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Screw the Oscars!!!

Transformers lost to Golden Compass for special effects?!?! Are you kidding me?!!? Optimus could take out every last one of those war bears before breakfast!! What a world.

Shade and Nightengail, this one's for you

I can totally see something like this in their final home.

The world at your fingertips?

My first thought when looking at this is remembering a Cyberpunk game where I could access information on what I was looking at through my uber-expensive left eye. I suppose this is a start. My second thought, its hard to click on the right key on an I-Phone, clicking on the right thing on this device will make you crazy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Aliens, cooperative

Aliens: Colonial Marines in late 2008, 4-player co-op - Joystiq
Sega has bumped up the Aliens: Colonial Marines street date to "late 2008," just a week after Game Informer revealed the game name and cited a vague 2009 release. The publisher also provided details of the title's plot, an original, penned by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle. As part of a United States Colonial Marine squad you and up to three additional friends will face a Nazi an Alien assault (yes, like we said, "original"). In co-op mode, players will have distinct roles to play in the completion of each mission -- we call flamethrower duty! The game also will include additional multiplayer modes not yet announced.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


IGN: Aliens: Colonial Marines Reenlist
Remember that Aliens: Colonial Marines game Electronic Arts was working on that ended up being cancelled in 2002? It seems it is being resurrected, this time by developer Gearbox of Brothers in Arms fame. The March issue of Game Informer sports a cover story on the squad-based shooter, bound for PC and consoles in 2009. SEGA will be serving as publisher.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Toshiba and the HD DVD format take a knee.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alien vs Predator: Poker

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Flash drives expansion

[H] Enthusiast -
It looks as though flash drives are set to make another jump in capacity. How big you may ask? Some new SSDs, although they will carry a hefty price tag, are almost ready for retail shelves at 72GB as we speak.

The low power and high speed, however, make a flash drive almost irresistible for some users. A SanDisk SSD 1.8-inch drive achieves a sustained read rate of 66MB/sec and a random read rate of over 7,000 inputs/outputs per second for a 512-byte transfer, many times the speed of a hard drive--which must move an arm across a spinning platter to find data, the so-called seek time of a hard drive.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More D&D 4Ed Info

EN World - Morrus' D&D / 4th Edition / d20 News
One of the nice things about the roles is that they let you play around with power sources without messing up the basic structure of the game. You can totally do a no magic game with the PH by sticking to the fighter, rogue, warlord, and ranger. You wouldn't have a controller, but it is possible to create a martial one.

You can also roll things back another step and do some crazy stuff with the structure of the classes. Since many of the elements of character progression are unified, you could run classless D&D by allowing players to select maneuvers and spells from any class they want, mingling the two together, or start everyone with access to all heroic abilities and grant access to divine and arcane via feats.

The really nice thing is that this structure allows you to better depict many classic D&D settings and fantasy worlds. You can run pre-War of the Lance adventures in Dragonlance without clerics. You could run Conan with just the heroic classes for PCs and NPC spellcasters as villains and allies.

The one stumbling block is that the game expects fighters to wear heavy armor, but you could get around that by building a simple house rule (a fighter in light armor gets a flat bonus to AC to make up the gap).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Lincoln

Link to the Wikipedia entry

Powered by ScribeFire.

D&D Defense Monster

Many power gamers focus on offense, that is, how to inflict the most hurt on the enemy. But as a player whose characters have died just a little more than somewhat too often, I can vouch for the value of fighting death over fighting enemies! I think survivability is too often ignored ... until it is too late.


Monday, February 11, 2008

I like it!

We could have used this, this weekend:
Travel Form, And I'm Out

Thursday, February 07, 2008

That is really close to home!

200 Cops Surround House; 1 LAPD SWAT Officer Killed, 1 Wounded - KNBC-TV-
HILLS, Calif. - A man who had telephoned authorities to say he had
killed three family members shot to death an LAPD SWAT officer
overnight and wounded another SWAT officer during a gunbattle inside a
Winnetka home, police said. It was the first fatality in the history of
the elite LAPD SWAT team, which was created in 1967.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Forums fun

Alright I admit to being an uber-nerd. I was reading the world of warcraft warlock forums earlier and saw this.. Just hilarious.

Q u o t e:
I heard warriors read the warrior forums.
That's just a rumor.
Here is a link to the thread, that just made me crack up!


So besides for the older generations slam, I kind of agree with this description for myself.

I would say I probably fall more into the Hardcore level, but on the flip side I am more flighty then most hardcore gamers. I buy a lot of games and just sample them, never taking most of them to 100% completion... Consoles I own and play occasionally but they are not the primary focus of my entertainment.

Plenty of gamers are often stuck between the definitions of "casual" and "hardcore." They care too much to be the former, and yet they don't care enough to be the latter. If you're one of them, and yearning for your own defining category, then worry no more. You might just be a mid-core gamer. What does your new-found identity mean? According to 8-Bit Rocket, it means you're the type of gamer who doesn't want to buy a new computer every time a new game comes out. You might love MMOs, but you don't have the time (or patience) for eight-hour quests. You might own the latest consoles, but you might not finish every single game you buy. 8-Bit Rocket also suggests that mid-core gamers are generally of the older generations, but we firmly believe that young people can be mid-core as well.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Terminator inconsistency

This shouldn't contain spoilers.

Last night while watching the 2/4 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I noticed an inconsistency. When the Hummer and Truck containing the metal arrives at the military base they have to go through a checkpoint and show ID. When Sarah and the terminatrix follow them, they skip any scene dealing with that checkpoint...


And a discussion:
What is your opinion on the regenerating nature (or not regenerating nature) of the skin on the terminators.

I think they that don't regenerate the skin and that Summer Glau's character just patches it with band-aides / clothing. Otherwise why would she still be wearing a band-aide on her face. I could be wrong and just little time has passed between episodes, and it would be more intelligent to have your terminators regenerate the skin if it gets damaged... What are your opinions?

There they go again shooting down gaming

The dark ages - Times Online
At my college evening class last week, two intelligent, thirtysomething suited guys – solicitors or managers to judge from their e-mail addresses – were talking about their new Xbox 360s and what transcendent joy was to be had from them. I eavesdropped more attentively. Apparently, in Gears of War, the smallest details of the largest battles were crystal clear, in widescreen! Surely they were discussing their children’s computer games? Xboxes are toys, after all.

Recovered Edge

Recovery at last

Unbeknown to Lady Edge, knowledge of the fallen paladin was eventually sent up to St. Argus and a recovery party was sent for the body and herself. But during this time she was being held by the Bandit Lord in the southern woods. Soon after finding herself in his grip she found herself doing nefarious deeds that don’t bear repeating in this account. As weeks went by the Bandit Lord found himself getting sick every time he wielded Lady Edge in combat. Her empathic nature was projecting her disgust and revulsion loudly enough that even he could feel it. And thereafter she was placed in the treasury room of his small hideout much to her relief.

From the memories of her savoir,

He was greatly saddened to hear his nephew and his family was dead due to bandits. The shock it sent through his wife and children was deep and painful. It had been over a decade since he was in the Citizen Knights, a group organized by the crown to defend and protect the cities in the kingdom. It differed from the ennobled knights in that any that could prove physically able and morally adequate could join. Joining the Citizen Knights was a mark of honor and he was very proud to have served almost two decades in their service, but was happy to have retired and started a swordsmanship school.

After a short discussion with his wife, it was decided that he would get to the bottom of these bandits and make sure atrocities like what had happened to his nephew would not happen by that group of bandits again. He approached the Citizen Knights and learned that they were already too few and far between to spare any knights to assist him in his goal but they would fund and offer a reward for ending the nuisance as they called it. So he started out one chilly fall morning to find out where these bandits laired.

Lady Edge felt a sudden presence enter the perimeter of her awareness. An aura clean of the sickly sour stench of the bandits. It was then that she ‘heard’ the screams and battle cries from the main chamber to the den. It appeared as if something was happening out there and she was powerless to help whoever that aura was. Anxiety and worry which had never plagued Lady Edge before plucked at her thoughts.

Eventually the heavy door into the room where she lay opened and a many peered in. Blood stained and tired looking he glanced around the treasure room. He started rooting around and organizing a bag of goods to take with him. Terror over came her and she started projecting emotions as the highest level she could to get his attention. Immediately he sprang up as though slapped, gaze darting wearily around the room. Expending a precious amount of her stored power she glimmered a faint blue in the torch lit room for a brief moment. Finally his eyes rested upon her slender grace, and she felt the pleasure coarse through his mind. Having known arms for a long time and encountered several instances of human embarrassment she found that if she were capable then she would have blushed.

The ecstasy she felt when his hand settled on her was amazing; it was especially poignant after the prolonged dirtiness she had felt by being used by the Bandit Lord. She felt him glance around for a sheath to place her in, and instantly for the first time in her life she was afraid. He must have felt her quickly squashed fear for he put his sword away in a sheath at his wasted and carried her out of the den after slinging the bag of treasure onto his shoulder.

The feel of sunlight reflecting off of her flesh was amazing after the prolonged exile into the damp dark treasure filled room. The whistle of the wind along her edges and curves tickled in the afternoon air and her delight rang out into the mind of the man holding her and she heard him laugh in enjoyment.

“I wonder to whom you belong lovely, for I would-“, he started to say.

She felt the air displacement before he could hear the grunt of exertion, and she locked her will over his mind utilizing greater control then she had in a long time with the paladins. Feeling her mind lock like a satin glove in tune with his body she twisted his upper torso and swung his right arm around in a half moon arc catching the longsword swinging at his head from behind and shearing it in half. Before the surprised bandit could utter a word she followed through on the strike and redirected the bandits’ energy back on himself and forced his own blade down into his own leg scoring it deeply.

Letting the Clean Man take control of his muscles again she felt his amazement through her enjoyment of the fact that he didn’t even hesitate. Once control was released he immediately brought his knee up into the stomach of the howling bandit and lifted him into the air with the blow. The bandit collapsed and end unconscious from his wounds.

“Well I thank you lady for saving my life, a very odd experience though feeling your body take control of itself and do stuff without your mind directing it”, he thanked her solemnly. “As I was saying prior to our interruption, and even more so now, I wonder where you belong.”

He said this as he brought her length up before his face inspecting the length of her curved edge for any flaws. She felt pleasure in giving him an unmarred surface and pondered how to direct him to the St. Argus stronghold in the northern mountains.

She was placed between his body and his weapons belt, exposed to the world and enjoyed soaking in the outside stimulation while feeling the warmth of his body and soul and she pondered her situation. He started moving away from the den in a generally southeastern direction. Days passed without any excitement as they eventually left the woods and entered more human populated areas.

She found out during the journey that he was planning on heading home to his wife and children after providing proof to the Citizen Knights order. Along with that information came bits and pieces of visions detailing his life of being a knight and helping keep order in the kingdom. She saw visions of his family and learned to tell them apart by the auras felt through his memories. He sees his wife as honorable, lovely, and kind. His son is energetic, and forthright. His daughter is intelligent, compassionate, and a fighter.

Since paladins generally don’t feel the calling to get married and have children, she had never encountered the strong rope bonds that entwine around a person’s soul that lead to wife, daughter, and son. She spent endless hours humming along happily dissecting this man’s life as they travelled. She knew he felt her interested and inquisitive nature, and let her have free reign in his mind as he delighted in her feathery soft caresses along his soul.

Finally they arrived in the crown city where the Citizen Knights were chartered. It was a busy confusion of buildings and people but Clean Man seemed to take it in stride with not a thought given. As they swept towards the charter house she began to wonder again about what would become over her. If he was truly going to turn in the proof of the bandits’ demise and return home to his family where would this leave her? With his attention focused mainly on navigating through the city he still took the time to comfort her through a quick caress on her hilt.

Winding the way through the city she got to experience yet again the confusion and resignation that her empathy feels every time she encounters large numbers of humans. At first it used to confound her on why it seemed like so many humans were discontent with their lives, then she quit pondering it. Now she noticed that flashes of pure enjoyment seemed to brighten their days occasionally, and as pair of best friends met in the market to gossip about their days, she noticed that even after they had parted ways the happiness thrust back that resignation for a while.

Finally they arrived at the charter house and her first impression was it felt like any military enclosure. Discipline and pain reigned in the air. Not the pain of a hospital or a funeral, but rather the good clean pain of muscles and flesh healing after being abused. Men and women bustled around the Citizen Knight’s charter house. Both sexes appeared to be accepted as warriors here unlike in the nobility knighthood where only men were allowed.

Clean Man was not recognized at the door, but after he had shown his credentials as a retired Citizen Knight he was quickly passed through. Finally having obtained entrance he was greeted by many of the older knights and associates who felt generally pleased to see him. – Very understandable – she thought musing on his calming aura and enjoying yet again being in his presence.

He dropped off the proof of the bandits’ demise at the Citizen Treasurer. The Citizen Treasurer was quite impressed with his turn in and gave a bonus for the job without consulting his books. After concluding the business portion of their exchange, the treasurer directed that Clean Man should see the head of the order as she was expecting him. After a brief handshake and promise of getting together for a drink later the Clean Man set off to the Citizen Commander’s office.

Standing outside the Commander’s office was a clean cut young man in polished to a shine armor standing at a slouched attention which quickly was replaced by curiosity as they walked around the corner. After verifying yet again his credentials the Clean Man was ushered into the office. And Lady’s Edge could almost feel the boys ears get longer as he tried to listen in through a several inches thick oaken door.

Seated behind the desk was an older woman, just slightly graying around the edges but obviously still a warrior as she had a brace on one arm and a gauze patch over the other arm. Tough wiry muscle threaded her frame and her concentration and will were astounding to feel. Every movement she made was deliberate and forethought.

“Lady Ysilde, I heard you wanted to see me before I left?” queried the Clean Man.

“Yes, it is great to see you yet again so soon. I have to admit great relief that you came back yet again healthy from a mission that would take a squad of my knights to resolve. Are you sure you don’t want to come back and teach tactics and the sword to the trainees?” smiled Ysilde.

“Ah, my lady I thank you for the offer yet again but the life I have created is more than sufficient for me. And good old Marcus wouldn’t have anything to do if I came back and taught sword. I still consider him one of my best students.”

“Well be that as it may, you are always welcome here. I was wondering…” she trailed off thoughtfully glancing at his waist. “That sword, can I see it a second?”

The Clean Man hesitated a second and Lady’s Edge felt a query spark her direction from him. She sent him a chime of approval and he drew her carefully from his belt. Twirling her quickly in a deft movement he presented her hilt to the commander who took it firmly. The command examined the runes marked into her flesh and nodded thoughtfully.

“I was given a notice several months ago regarding a blade that had been lost to a fallen paladin of the order of St Argus. From the letter I received the markings describe appears to be a match to the ones of this lady. Where did you find her?”

“After I had dispatched the bandits I found their stash and this blade was laying there discarded. She even glinted with a blue light for a second to make sure I wouldn’t miss her”, he winked at the blade which she felt clearly and was amused. “I seem to be picking up some feelings from the lady on occasion and she has helped me on several times when I would be dead or bored to death.”

Chuckling softly the commander responded, “well I was asked to have whoever recovered the blade take it to their stronghold up in the mountains to determine its purpose. I know this would push out your return home but the paladins have always been kind and helpful to us and I would like to return the favor if possible.”

“I agree completely and if I had thought about it more I would have realized she was a Lady’s Edge. I would be honored if you would allow me to take you home my Lady?” he inquired to the Lady’s Edge.

Both the commander and the Clean Man felt her approval and acceptance of his offer.

“Well I guess that settles it, would you like to leave a letter for us to get home to your wife before you start out on this journey, and of course I’ll have Olphan restock your bag with provisions for the trip. Also we’d be honored to lend you a horse for the trip up to the stronghold as that will significantly shorten your trip.”

“Thanks for all your help Ysilde and it is much appreciated.”

To be continued in a week...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Possible new weapon for the Navy

Here's some video of a nifty new weapon system the Navy is looking at.