Saturday, June 16, 2007

Robot Chicken Star Wars - nice.

Games For Windows LIVE and Killer NIC

Bigfoot Networks has just released drivers for their Killer NIC cards to fix the compatibility issue with GFWL.

You can pick them up here: for Vista and XP 32 bit.

Let me just say that these guys rule. No, I'm not a paying customer, no I'm not being paid to say nice things. (I wish!) I'm a writer with not one, but two review copies of Killer NICs (M1 and K1) who wanted to be able to play Halo 2 and Shadowrun online.

Bigfoot found the issue, and even though it wasn't really their problem, they patched in a fix in their drivers so that Killer owners could play these games. In less than a month. Hell, in 15 days. That's awesome.

Now, if they could give NVidia some lessons...

SanDisk Sansa, what a piece of crap...

So, I bought my wife an MP3 player for her birthday. It was a SanDisk Sansa 4GB. I decide don this one due to numerous positive reviews on many websites, and the fact that I refuse to buy an iPod due to the restrictions of the format. (A co-worked assures me it is easy to convert MP3s to the iPod format. I don't care, I don't want to convert something that works everywhere else just so it works on a damn iPod.)

Anyway, I got the player, gave it to my wife for her birthday, and everything was OK.

Or not.

The thing worked once. My wife plugged it in to a USB port to recharge it, and it basically got hot enough to burn me when I tried to unplug it. It also would not turn on anymore.

Newegg RMAd it for me. Goody. However, it took them 3 weeks to get me a replacement, which didn't work correctly straight out of the package. The right arrow key doesn't work at all, and the dial and middle button stick. Ok, so I try for another RMA. Nope, Newegg says it is now past the 30 day RMA period. WTF? I just got the replacement. Oh, sorry, we count the time since you purchased the original unit. Contact the manufacturer for support.

Great. So, I try to get an RMA from SanDisk. Your concern is important to us.
My ass it is. It's been over two days now and I haven't heard a thing about it. I'm starting to get very annoyed. I spent about $150 on this piece of junk, and my wife can't even use it. One unit having a problem I can handle. 2 in a row being bad? That tells me that I am having really bad luck with these, or that they are just a complete piece of garbage. It's also very annoying that Newegg could get back to me in a matter or hours, but the manufacturer can't be bothered for days.

Someone is going to eat the cost of this broken piece of junk, and it sure as hell isn't going to be me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pee Pal

This is a really stupid invention, but the write-up Gizmondo did was pretty damn funny.
It's basically a urinal adaptor that sits on top of the toilet. Sounds good, right? Yeah, well, to use the toilet, you have to remove this and set it on its base on the floor. You are supposed to wash it off every time you use it, in the shower. Ok, so...Pee in the shower and remove the pricey middle-man?

Gizmondo's write up

See? Squirrels are EVIL!

A squirrel attacked and injured 3 people in Germany. Little bastards!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stoneyfield Farms Yogurt

Man I love this stuff. It's organic yogurt with the cream left on top, so you can stir it in or eat it by itself. This stuff is great as a summer snack, just fill half a bowl with fresh fruit and then pour the yogurt over the top. I can't believe this is supposed to be good for me, it tastes too good.

Edit: Ah, I forgot to specify; I'm talking about the whole milk French Vanilla yogurt.

Also, I just checked out their website. Oh boy, vegetarian propaganda! Yay! So, good yogurt, annoying company.

PR people

It continually amazes me the wide-range of treatment I receive from PR people at companies. I used to think it was because just doesn't have the traffic of some of the larger, super-gaming hub-sites, but some dealings I had a couple of months ago made me realize that it's just the quality of the PR guys.

So far my feeling is that in house PR or marketing is much more interested in making sure that the company is well represented, while contract PR seems to let things slip by.

For example, Logitech - a gigantic company for peripherals - treated me with much respect and seemed honestly interested in my feedback. I almost fell over when I opened the door the day after speaking to them to find the review sample on my doorstep. They overnighted to me! This is a huge company, and they don't care if we aren't Gamespot or IGN, they treated us with respect anyway. Of course, Logitech has in-house PR.

Some other companies - who I will not name - promise review samples and leave me in the dark, wondering if they have even been sent. I get bounced from PR rep to PR rep, like the smelly, fat guy nobody wants to sit next to for too long, and I rarely get updated on anything. These companies all use contract PR.

And then there are the really horrible companies, who can't even be bothered to respond to my lowly emails. How dare I even attempt to contact them! I am going to name these people, since I don't have to maintain any sort of working relationship with them: EVGA, BFG, Sapphire, Leadtech - thanks for nothing guys. It's too hard to even send a canned response? A simple "Thanks for the interest, but we can't oblige you at this time" would be nice. Hell, I've spent thousands on BFG products, you'd think they would at least be nice enough to acknowledge that I sent an email, if not to appease a journalist, then to appease a customer! I have no idea if these companies have in-house PR or if they contract out, but if I was to bet, I would go with contract.

I think this is indicative of the same issues I run in to with my other job: It's a department that is usually an afterthought, just like Customer Service. Oh, s**t, now we have this great product, a fantastic price point, a great marketing campaign, but how do we go about getting the word out so that publications and reviewers can make us look good? How do we let people know we're a company they can trust to deliver the goods? Ah, who cares, let's just contract someone.

It may sound like an easy solution, but it seems like you end up with PR reps who don't care so much, since they have other customers as well. Maybe it's not even that they don't care, maybe it's that they are spread too thin. Whatever the reason, it makes the company they are representing look bad, which is the exact opposite of the reason they were hired in the first place!

Perhaps companies should take a small step back, evaluate the cost of the contract PR, and think about hiring someone to do the job in-house. One person making you look good to all your customers is worth so much more than an entire team of people making you look indifferent or incompetent.

Mr. Beer!

So, my wife got me a home-brewing kit for Christmas last year, and I finally got around to using it. My first batch of home-brew is, well,'s doing something right now in the basement.

I'm not sure how good this is going to turn out. I replaced half of the "booster" mix that they included with brown sugar, to make the beer a little darker. (The wife got me all pale mixes...yuch!) On top of that, when I was filling the keg, I was using a spray nozzle from the sink, because it was easier than using my brain. So, the mixture foamed up pretty bad before I put the yeast in. Hopefully that won't screw it up too bad.

Hopefully it doesn't explode.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Am Legend trailer

The Ten trailer

This trailer made me snort I was laughing so hard at the end.

I was going to post it here, but You Tube sucks. Maybe sometime this year it will allow me to post on my blog.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Shadowrun review

YouGamers also reviewed Shadowrun, and I think they are pretty spot on about that too. Do I have a clone that works there?

Check it out HERE

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying Shadowrun now, but once my 2 months of free LIVE gold service run out, I'll probably eBay it. There is no way in hell I am going to pay $50 US a year to play two games online.

Anyway, before my two free months are up, Quake Wars will be out, and I'm sure I will forget all about Shadowrun.

Another GFWL review

The folks over at YouGamers have the same low opinion of Games For Windows LIVE that I do. Almost the exact same opinion, in fact. I think Microsoft is really going to have to work hard to fix this service, or it's going to sink faster than a cruise ship that kissed an iceberg.

See the review HERE

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Am Legend

Why? Why can I not ever watch a movie without having to go buy and read the book it is based on?

I saw a trailer on the Quicktime site this morning for the new Will Smith movie I Am Legend. I'd never heard of it before, and the trailer was really vague, so I looked it up on IMDB. Oh, it's based on a book from the 50's. Interesting.

And now that book, and another by the same author (Richard Matheson) are on the way to my house, courtesy of Amazon.

Yeah, and a couple of other ones as well. Stupid Amazon and all their stupid books. They jump out and ambush me! I don't even recall how I ended up looking for a book called The Old Man's War, but now I am going to read it, I guess. Right after I finish Eldest.

Games For Windows LIVE voice fun

So, I finally got to experience the situation everybody has always talked about when using the Xbox LIVE service: The ridiculously young player who is cursing everyone out like a marine.

This kid joined a game of Shadowrun I was in the other night. I rarely talk in game, I prefer to let all the college kids chat it up or curse when they die. Most of the time they aren't too bad, and sometimes they are pretty entertaining. This kid, however, must have been around 10 to 12 years old. He had a high-pitched, squeaky voice, and he was cursing pretty much just to hear himself. He was stringing curse words together to form entire sentences out of them, regardless of how dumb it sounded.

It probably would have been really annoying but for the fact that one of the older guys started mocking him every time he opened his mouth. The whole server was pretty much laughing hysterically after a few minutes, which made the kid curse more, which led to more mocking and laughter.

Good times. Good times.