Blog'n the night away...

e3 thoughts

Saturday May 13th 2006
Another e3 came and went and once again I did not get to go. Someday I will.

It is official. The name of the Revolution is the Wii. It was the highlight of this years e3 by a long shot. I think Nintendo has the right idea. The wii-mote, the revolutionary controller for the Wii, will usher in a new era of gaming. I disagree with the big N on HD graphics however. The Wii will only support a maximum of 480p. A far cry from the 1080i I can get now on the 360. At least it is widescreen. For the record, I am genuinely excited to try out the Wii (all puns aside).

Ahh the PS3. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. During last years e3 I was looking forward to the latest powerhouse from Sony. No longer. It just does not offer anything over the 360 from my point of view. The only thing it has going for it are the 1st party games from Sony and other exclusive titles you cannot get anywhere else. And the PRICE, holy schnikees Batman! $499 for the stripped down model, and $599 for the REAL model. For that price you can get both the 360 and the Wii. I think Sony for the fist time since the PS1 launch has an uphill battle. I am not rooting for them this time around. The Wii is my master now. Don't even get me started on how crappy it is of them to be half-assed and slap some motion detecting into the old PS2 gamepad to look current. That and they dropped force feedback, big mistake.

Sin Episodes: Emergence was released this week. It is available on Steam as a download only. The plan is they will release 9 chapters at each only 20 bucks. Episodic gaming, I guess we will see how this idea of game distribution turns out. I do like the idea of cheaper games. It just depends on how much game play I can get out of each episode. So far I like it.

Weight Loss, Before and After

Tuesday May 2nd 2006
Not much going on. It is so nice for spring to finally be here at least. I've been ramping back up on the diet and exercize plan. I've lost about 15 lbs in the last month or so. I finally accomplished one of my longstanding goals: to rollerblade from my house all the way around lake Calhoun and back. Following the Grand Rounds trails it took me about 3 hours to do this. 1 1/2 hour each way. Got a nice blister on my foot by the end of it, but it was well worth it. Though I didn't plan ahead and bring some water with me. I had assumed the city would have the drinking fountains on by now. Think again! So called up my good friend Jen and had her bring me a buck so I could buy a bottle of water at the park.

before after

Here is a Before/After picture of my weight loss progress. I'm not done yet. But I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished up to this point. The before was taken in 2003 during our trip to San Francisco. I weighed in at close to 290 at that point. In the after picture, I weigh in at 205. The secret: diet and exercize.

Karen spend the last week and two weekends down in Florida helping her Great Aunt move to MN. This left me home alone to bachelor it. My luck that it pretty much rained the entire time. Gave me plenty of time to play on the Xbox 360 at any rate. I had a deal through GameSpy to get a free month of GameFly rentals so I used that to rent King Kong. Played that from beginning to end in a few days. The rest of the time I spent playing Burnout online with some pretty cool people I met online. Heya Spartan! πŸ˜‰

Wiiiiiiiiiii! Nintendo decided to name the next-get console coming this fall the Wii. Uhhh, OK. Up to this point every had been referring it by the development codename Revolution. Most of us gamers felt that was a perfectly fine name and the big N should keep it as the final. There is speculation going around the net that this is a big ruse and the real name will be released at E3. Guess we will just have to wait and see.

I am starting to think this website needs a new face. That randomized picture you see of me in the corner is about 8 years old. Not that my face has changed all that much since then. I simply am no longer a fan of this design. It was always ment to be cheesy. I think I just need a different level of cheese. We will see what the next few weeks bring me in the shape of ideas.

Catching Up

Tuesday March 28th 2006
This year is shaping up to be the year of catching up. Catching up on bills, weight loss, old movies, and games. We currently don't have plans for much travel or big additions to our home. The current plan is to Just take it easy and play catch-up on all the tasks we started already.

For example, when it comes to games, I have a bad habit of buying a game and not finishing it. Usually because something "newer and shinier" came along. I have shelves full of unbeaten games. PC games are the worst for me. I'll start a game, then because of a system crash, hardware upgrade, or whatnot I'll loose the save game. I rarely feel like starting a game over from scratch once a save game is lost.

To start a new trend, I finally took up Zelda: Wind Waker after a 3 year hiatus. I know this because the last save game on the memory card was dated 2003. Ooops! I spent the last few weekends picking up where I left off and finishing the game. Just last night while waiting for Karen to come home I beat the game. Small goal, but accomplishing any goals you set for yourself, even small ones, are good thing.

It's been slow for any new game releases that jump out at me. Something I am actually quite happy about for a change. The only game I picked up this month was for the 360: Burnout Revenge. So far I like it. It is funny how much I did look forward to HD games. Now that they are here, they feel like the way games are supposed to be. The impact has not been as dramatic as the jump from the SNES to the Nintendo 64. I don't think we will ever see a dramatic jump like that ever again. At least not until we can jack ourselves into the Matrix.

On the 360 I have been spending time making new friends via Xbox live. There is just something inherently cool about chatting with other gamers with the headset while playing online. Two weeks ago I took a sick day *ahem* and spent the day playing Burnout Revenge online. I met a varied group of gamers. Everyone from the hyper-active 13 year olds, to the 50 year old grandma gamer. It was an amazing experience and makes the world feel just the slightest bit smaller. Now, If I could just avoid the "headset hair dent". πŸ˜€

Clatto Verata Nicto.

Enter the Xbox 360

Monday January 23rd 2006
Finally got my 360. I was all set to wait it out. I was going to sit on my hands until one of the local Best Buys had it in stock. In a moment of weakness and upon sighting a good deal on eBay, I clicked the "Buy it Now" button. Granted it still cost me around 100 bucks more not including shipping.

This does bring back memories of the PS2 launch back in 2001. I ended up getting the PS2 on eBay as well. DΓ©jΓ  Vu.

My initial impressions are a solid level of jubilation and satisfaction. I cannot express how impressive it is to manipulate the wireless joystick. There has been uncountable times where I have been reaching ultimate gaming bliss and then someone (not naming names) trips over my controller wire, ending said bliss with the death of my avatar. That, thankfully, is a thing of the past. Also worth mentioning is Xbox Live. Now, that is not new, but it is certainly improved. The ability to stream in demos and trailers is a feat that I have previously enjoyed as a PC gamer, never before on a console. In a word. Nice!

I picked up two games to go with the system:

At first I will be spending more time just experimenting and checking out demos. Once the dust has settled, I'll get into the above games more thoroughly. I will say that the Xbox arcade has the possibility of sucking up some hours with its promise of retro-goodness. I checked out Geometry Wars and I can say it is a unique mish-mash of old-school with modern eye candy. In my short play time with it I've managed to pass 100,000 points. Still, no where near the best scores of 12 million that I keep hearing about.

A few complaints while I am here. White! Why in the name of Zeus does everything have to be iPod white these days. The 360 sticks out of my entertainment center like a sore thumb. At least the faceplate can be changed. I'll try to keep my eyes open for a black faceplate. My opinion will always be that tech gadgets look better in black. I just hope this thing won't turn yellowish in 10 years like my old Apple IIc has. Lastly, Microsoft please update the dashboard so I can queue downloads and possibly do other things while downloading.

End of Line.

I Ski

Monday January 16th 2006

AHHH! Get off the slopes! Newman is on the loose! πŸ˜€

Festivus 2005

Friday January 6th 2006
Tis the end of another Festivus season. There will be no complaints from me. I'm always a big fan of the Holidays. Even though by Dec 15th I've about had enough of the vexatious music. The highlight of this years holiday was not the gifties, it was the getting together. There was plenty of together-getting to be had.

If I had to pick a cool gift though. It would have to be my new mini Mini! The in-laws picked me up a sweet little number. A RC Mini Cooper. Hah, makes me smile every time I look at it. How can you not think Minis are not the coolest cars ever. The mini Mini has the following features: 3 speeds (slow, fast, and "Watch OUT!"), working head/tail lights, horn, car alarm, and a detailed interior. To go along with the Mini themed Holiday, Karen picked me up a stuffed Pug. It's name is Nigel to match the big Mini. He also wears a collar that reads "Mini Mini Mini" and so on.

This year, I scrounged up enough loose change from the couch cushions to get Karen a new Mac. Her old 400Mhz G4 was just not cutting the proverbial mustard anymore. In it's place is a shiny tiny new Mac Mini. 1.4GHz with 1 Giggers of RAM. I pretty much maxed out what Apple would throw into a Mini. It's a sweet little box. If I wasn't such a hardcore PC user I'd want one for me.

Still no Xbox 360. I'm now holding out for a game that really interests me. None of the launch titles really grab my heart-strings. Never mind the fact that you still can't walk into any electronics store and pick one off of the shelf. There is just no way that I will be forking our the current eBay rates which are currently double retail price. No thank you! As Karen says: "You have enough games." To which I reply: "Never!" πŸ˜€

I finally got around to swapping out the HDD on Sonic. Sonic used to have 3 hard drives. 2x 4 Gig IDE drives, and a 20 Gig SCSI drive. It was just a mess. After I did some upgrades on Moonshine awhile ago. I had an extra 120 Gig IDE drive laying around. I spent a good few hours moving the entire Debian install from the 3 drives to the new drive. Now there is much more room to breathe on our crappy home file server. Is that not the most exciting thing you have read today?

P-A-R-T-Y, Why? Cause, I gotta!

Monday December 19th 2005
Happy B-Day to me! Another year, another PARTY. This was another of our annual Newman winter extravaganzas. Good times! I'd like to thank everyone for coming. It's always the guests that make the party worth having.

Actually my b-day is tomorrow. But, who is keeping track anyway. πŸ˜€ Only a few more days to the big Holiday. Merry Christmas, God bless us, everyone.

Burnout 3: Takedown has seen more action than any other console game in my collection. Every time I have the buds over, this is the title we play. If you don't have it (or the newer sequel, Burnout: Revenge), you are really missing out. Speaking of Xbox games. I still don't have a Xbox 360 if you are keeping track. They are sold out everywhere!

360 ist heir!

Wednesday November 23rd 2005
Xbox 360 was released yesterday. As expected the lines were crazy! I feel a bit left out not being there, but at the same time happy I avoided the crazyness. Am I wishy-washy or what?

Tomorrow we stuff ourselves. Revenge of the Turkey! He's going down... all the way to China-Town.

Countdown to 360

Wednesday November 16th 2005
Only 5 days and 13 hours until the launch of the Xbox 360. I always get excited for the release of new game systems. The 360 looks to provide that especially sugary sweet gaming nectar of the gods. HDTV has been my ambrosia as of late. The 360 will be the first out of the gate to provide full the 1080i support my Mitsubishi 42" TV desires. At first I was very worried if the 360 would even provide 1080i support. Most of what you read is that the 360 will offer 720p. After some deep digging, I found that it does upscale 720p games to 1080i. Nice! On top of that, Xbox 1 generation games will all be running at 720p or 1080i. This means I can play Halo 2 at HiDef. Now that is what I am talking about!

Did I pre-order? NO. I am going to wait until after the holidays. YES, that will be very hard to do. I'm already obsessing a bit about the 360. I know I will get one eventually. But, I tend to be a bit impatient with these things sometimes. I need to conserve my money right now to pay for the Christmas gifts that I plan on giving. It is always better to give, right? I reward myself all year long. During November and December there is no better time to give back. Just call me Santa Newman!

Today I'm posting my Xbox Live gamertag. If you want to find me on Xbox Live: look for my gamertag LaXDragon. No, it does not mean Laxative Dragon. Can you even imagine how messy a Dragon on Ex-Lax would be? Uhhh ish! Not a pleasant thought.

Also of note: Today provided the first snowfall of the year. It was only about an inch, but that qualifies. Butt cold outside today. The Mini handled the chilly 20F Minnesota air just fine.

November Website Update

Wednesday November 2nd 2005
November already. Hmmmm....

Anyway... I added a few new games to the GameDB. Quake 4 and FEAR. Just the games I tweaked my system for. Speaking of tweak. I ran into an issue with the Dual Core CPU. Apparently WinXP has a bug on Dual Core CPUs. I noticed it when playing Battlefield 2 for more than 2 hours. After that it would get choppy and start dropping the connection. Only a reboot would fix it. Installing the hotfix and the AMD Dual Core CPU driver update fixed it. One the same note, nVidia updated the GeForce driver last week. That update boosted performance slightly. Always nice to get a free performance boost.

Yahoo really ticked me off this week. It all started when I got a email from them saying my account had been deleted for violating their "Terms of Service". It did not bother to tell my WHY or WHAT I did. I tried emailing them, but as you would expect, that is just a black hole. I even went as far as calling them. The lady on the phone, while very nice, just gave me the run around telling me that she can't do anything. She just gave me a different email to get more help. That email was also promptly filed to /dev/null. Finally tonight I got another automated email from Yahoo telling me my account will be reactivated for 10 days to fix the violation. At least this time it told me what that was. Apparently I have a GeoCities website that I created 4 years ago. That website was a redirect to this site. That is not allowed by their TOS. I'm still a bit ticked, just less than before. They could have warned me instead of just locking me out. I totally forgot that website even existed. It certainly was not being used. I really did not want to loose my Yahoo account. I've had it since 1998. That and Karen and I chat over Yahoo instant messenger during the day at work.

I noticed I dropped off the first page of Google search results again. Maybe I'm not mentioning my name is Jeremy Newman enough. πŸ˜€

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