Sunday, May 29, 2005

Overheating Batteries and Overseas Politics

Wonderful, my PowerBook battery has been recalled. At least it's being handled sensibly: They send me a new one, and then I return my old one in a prepaid shipping box. Although, they only say "please" return the old one. They don't ask for a credit card number or anything, so I'm curious as to whether they actually do anything if you don't return the old battery. There are definite advantages to having a spare laptop battery, albeit one that poses a risk of overheating and blowing up in your face!

In the news: Looks like France has turned down the proposed EU constitution. I'm not sure what exactly I think about this one: there are both good and bad things about European unification. It is good that France realized it's traditionally strong welfare system wouldn't mesh well with what some saw as enforced continent-wide capitalism, but as I see it this is just delaying the inevitable... which can be good in it's own right. Although prolonged bickering and deliberation can be frustrating, it generally results in widely "acceptable" results, and Europe generally works better going slowly than the U.S. (did a loose confederation work here? No....). Meh, it's Europe. They generally figure out what they want... eventually.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Overly Long Catch-Up Post

Ok, it's been awhile, so long post today.

Senior Prom
I had a lot of fun, though dinner was a little more eventful than planned. Apparantly some people don't understand that when you put several people's stuff on two tables, that means you're reserving both tables. After getting the professional photo taken Diana and I discovered that we had nowhere to sit! I went to find some of my friends to sit with, but the only table we found with halfway normal people at it had only one open seat. It took awhile, but after enough complaining (and some help from the student council vice president) we were able to get a second seat and table setting. The rest of the evening went pretty much as expected: dancing to way too loud music, more dancing, even more dancing, and then some guy performing "Good Riddance". I think he was someone from our school, but i didn't recognize him. Then there was the school-sponsored After Prom which was okay... alright so it was boring, but whatever.

Eagle Board of Review

I passed! This one has been a long time coming. Technically, I'm not actually an Eagle Scout yet, the board just gives a "yes" recommendation to the national headquarters in Texas, where they then make it official. However, once I get my confirmation/acceptance/"yes" letter, then I will have been an Eagle Scout as of monday. It's time-travel via paperwork!

Star Wars Episode III

Saw it. Liked it. It was without a doubt the best of the prequels, although with me the jury's still out on whether it stacks up to the originals. I'll need a second viewing, not least of which due to theater problems. You see, halfway into the opening "crawl," the center sound channels cut out. They just died completely. Of course, complaining did nothing. I went through the whole movie with front and rear audio, but nothing to the sides. I cringe at how much of John Williams' score I probably missed entirely. Honestly, with all the rampant piracy these days, all traditional theaters have left to tout is the "experience" they offer. If they can't be bothered to do that right, then they deserve the declining ticket sales that will inevitably come (though obviously not with Star Wars!)
The worst part about the whole Episode III leak is that it really was a leaked workprint. Someone "inside" the production of the movie, presumably someone working on it, leaked it out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems similar to grabbing a loaded gun, jamming the barrel against your foot, and pulling the trigger with a mad grin on your face.

Ok, enough catch-up. Sleep time...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Macs impersonate X-Box 360

OK, so I should go to bed now, but this is just too funny.

At E3, Microsoft was showing off a bunch of X-Box 360 game demos. The kiosks looked simple enough; a big screen showed the game, and the controller wires went into a box containing an X-box 360, clearly visible through a little window.

A view of one of the kiosks

However, the X-box wasn't running the demos. In fact, it wasn't even turned on! Peering into the mesh on the kiosk's side, what do we see?

A pair of Apple Power Macintosh G5's!

Granted, this isn't surprising. Both systems are based off of the IBM PowerPC architecture, and Microsoft is still probably hammering out the details on the new X-Box's innards. But it's still funny!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Frivolous Fine Print and Temporary Tuxedos

Federal Stafford loans require altogether too much reading of fine print, not to mention legwork! Go get your FASFA PIN, go get your driver's license number, go get two references... and here I thought it would just be a quick form to fill out!

So the Prom's tomorrow, I picked up my tux today. Rental tuxedos are funny things: practically everything is adjustable, and everything else is fake - even the tie! I think I had more trouble getting into a plain old suit for the NHEA (teacher's union) award presentation tonight than I will tomorrow. Where's the sense in that?

Anyway, this Stafford Loan app has kept me up too late, so it's now... high time... for... s l e e p...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I am unimportant, Darth Vader is not

It's a little depressing to google your name, only to find that the first occurance that actually refers to you isn't until page four. On the other hand, I am no longer surprised that the first subdomain I tried registering,, is registered to some random guy who hasn't updated in 2 years.

In other news, in case you haven't seen it, check out Darth Vader's Blog. Someone wrote a weblog in the persona of the infamous Dark Lord of the Sith. Not only is it very entertaining, ("I'll admit it, I cut off the kid's hand. Things went downhill from there.") it also provides a clever and different way to look at the character prior to the now-imminent release of Episode 3.

Oh, and the SlashDot post about this is the fourth result in a Google search for "Darth Vader"...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Quake 4 E3 trailer looks great

The standard "censored" version can be found just about anywhere, but if you dislike the idea of having all the blood (and most people's faces) tinted a disturbing shade of blue, then I highly recommend you check out the home-made "Blood version". I understand that the MPAA makes movie trailers not contain red blood anymore, but since when does this sort of thing apply to internet-distributed videos of video games? At least they do it artfully in movie trailers (Remember the "brown stains" in the Kill Bill trailer?) but this video they just switched the red & blue channels! Yeah, like nobody's going to be able to tell the difference - teal faces are normal, normal I say! Anyway, it looks like Raven got the tone and mood from Quake 2 down pretty faithfully, while still putting there own distinctive touch on it. Quake II was the best in the series, and I love the games Raven has done in the past (Heretic and Hexen primarily), so I'm really looking forward to this game. Now I just need to settle down a bit - no need getting into rabid fanboy mode before release like I did with Doom 3. And Half-Life 2. And the Matrix sequels. But mostly Doom 3.

Returning to the "beauty contest" of the next-gen consoles, Nintendo also unveiled the Revolution. I'm not too interested in the system personally, but I have to admit it wins hands-down in the looks department. Odd, since it's styling almost seems more Sony-esque than Sony's offering. Seriously, how can you not love that blue-glowing, slot-loading DVD drive?

PS3 Official

No sooner do I post about the X-Box 360's complete and utter lack of style, Sony decides to show off the PlayStation 3. Lookin' good, Sony! Minimalism is always a good decision (anyone familiar with my affinity for Macintosh computers will know that) and the choice of colors is a definite plus. The PS3 is also more powerful than the 360, but that's not the reason I think it will "win" this round of the console wars. It will do well for the same reason the PS2 did well: backward compatibility. While people are out wondering whether or not the 360 will still play old X-Box games, the specs for the PS3 show that it will still even play ancient PS1 games! That made my decision right there. Shame we have to wait a year for this beautiful console. The only thing about it that seems iffy to me is the new controller. The old dual-shock design was good - why go for something so radically different? We'll see, maybe it's comfortable or something.

Oh, and if anyone has doubts as to the graphical prowess of the PS3, check out this footage from EA's upcoming "Fight Night Round 3."

Monday, May 16, 2005

Out of boredom, this blog cometh...

Most new blogs start with a sort of statement of purpose, and who am I to question tradition? The stated purpose for this blog is simple: it has none. Some days I might want to rant about some inconsequential thing in my life, others I may have found something cool online that I want to show the world (or, at least, the small subset of the world that happens to, well, care.)

Anyway, I've been looking at some pre-release information on the upcoming X-Box 360. I can't be the only one that thinks this thing looks downright ugly. Sure, Apple and Sony have always been the leaders as far as elegant industrial design, but I thought even Microsoft had a good enough merketing department to not let something like that out. The worst part has to be the odd protrusion on the top for the "removeable" 20 gig hard drive.

On a "personal" note (aka, people who don't know me are extremely unlikely to care), I ordered my tux for the Senior Prom today. The ability to order a good-looking tuxedo a scant 4 days away from the date of the event most definitely does not send the right signals to a chronic procrastinater like myself. Not that I'm complaining, of course.

Well, that's all for now. Eventually I'll decide where I'm going with this blog.