Saturday, August 28, 2010

ATI is Pissing Me Off

Well, I guess technically AMD is pissing me off what with the merger, buyout, whatever. Catalyst 10.8 came out sometime in the last 2 weeks, between the time I replaced my hard drive when I installed the bugged 10.7 drivers that broke Borderlands, and yesterday when the Borderlands forum indicated 10.8 fixed the issue.

First of all, why wasn’t I alerted to the fact new drivers were released? I registered my card. I installed the ‘communication opt-in’… thingy as part of Catalyst. Based on the description it’s supposed to let you know when important things happen. Personally, I’d say new drivers are important.

Second, I’m sick of bugged drivers. Here’s a brief rundown of the problems I’ve had over the last several driver iteration.

  • 10.8 No problems, so far
  • 10.7 Broke Borderlands, Fixed Plash player, may have fixed frame rate issue with WoW, though without anyone on recently I haven’t played much lately either to test (not sure when it broke, it’s been happening a long time)
  • 10.6 Fixed glitch with Command & Conquer 3, Flash Player still broke
  • 10.5 Caused glitch with Command & Conquer 3, broke Flash Player

One comment about the WoW issue, what was happening was 10-15 minutes into playing the screen would freeze for 5-10 seconds, and then work fine from that point on. Not a huge issue and I got into the habit of not jumping into anything until the freeze happened because once it did, there weren’t any problems. Annoying though. I don’t recall running into the issue since 10.7, and for all I know it could (though I don’t see how) have been an issue with the old hard drive.

So, I’ve been getting progressing more annoyed with each release that seems to cause a problem and considering getting a new card. Here’s the catch. Everything I’m reading indicates Radeon 5800 line is the way to go. Well ATI’s the one pissing me off.

The GeForce GTX 460 released last month appears to be the way to go on Nvidia’s side of things. And would even going to Nvidia fix anything? Card reviews discuss benchmarks, power usage and temp readings. They don’t let me know Nvidia drivers break CivIV or cause Varian Wrynn’s hair to turn pink.

What ever happened to…

I watched Executive Decision recently. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a bit of an older movie staring Kurt Russell. Kurt finds himself in charge of special forces unit sneaking aboard a 747 in flight to stop a terrorist attack. Steven Segal dies, so it’s all good.

Anyway, costarring is Halle Berry as a stewardess on the flight and OMG. She must’ve been 25ish, in a stewardess outfit. Halle Berry. Let that sink in.

OK, I’m back. Left me wondering, what the hell happened to her. Last thing I remember her in was X-Men 3. Did she get pregnant? Is se doing indies? Did she turn 40? I suppose I could check and check what she’s been up to… but that’s like 8 keystrokes to get to that website. Plus once there I’d have to type her name, Halle Berry, to run the search. I don’t know if I can put forth that kind of effort. I’m a Lazy Basterd , you know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What a Dilemma

What to do, what to do…

House MD

I got an email from Amazon today letting me know that House season 6 is out, would I like to buy it - hint, hint. Now I used to love House and 2 years ago I would’ve hit the proper links and had the order done.

However, somewhere throughout season 5, House went from being a lovable asshole, to just an asshole. I’m not sure if it was when he went off on Kutner’s parents (just after Kutner commited suicide), or when he shouted to the entire hospital that he’d slept with Cuddy (which he hallucinated). I’m leaning towards mouthing off to Kutner’s parents.

I’ll probably end up getting it eventually, during some sale. But I’m in no hurry.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who would’ve thought…?!

Steam recently released the results of their latest hardware/software survey. Basically they scan your system and use the results to tailor services based on what kind of hardware software people have. Two things caught my eye.

  1. Most people either have Windows XP 32-bit or  Windows 7 64-bit. There’s little in-between
  2. Apparently, 100% of Steam users have Steam installed. Who would’ve thought

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things That Piss Me Off: That’s not a miniseries!

I recently picked up Battlestar Galactica, complete series on Blu-ray. I was watching the pilot/miniseries and I suddenly got annoyed by an old pet peeve of mine. This 3 hour movie is not a miniseries. It’s a long movie. A miniseries is an epic, week long event where you’re sure to miss an episode and be sad.

Roots (8 nights) is a miniseries, The Stand (4 nights), North and South (6 nights). The Battlestar Galactica pilot is 180 minutes. Titanic is 194 (and only 30 seconds devoted to naked Kate Winslet, Cameron’s a hack).

Also note, that while V was a 2-night affair I’m giving it credit because it had the Beastmaster, Freddy Kruger and certain female lizard this adolescent will never forget.

The Jukebox: Planescape Theme

Behold, the awesomeness that is Planescape: Torment

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I am not a religious person. I acknowledge the possible theoretical existence of ‘something’ out there, but what… who knows. I don’t see it impacting me in anyway so why bother. If I die and get brought before some… thing and told I failed in life, well… that’ll suck.

Anyway, I saw this definition of Christianity in the sig or a forum post.

Christianity: The belief that a Jewish cosmic zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat fruit from a magical tree.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Game Review: StarCraft II

I haven’t finished the single player campaign yet, I think I’m mission 26/29, but I’m ready to give my opinion of Blizzard’s latest.

Not a lot as changed. We’ve basically got StarCraft HD. This is however in no way a bad thing. Often times I find developers ‘innovating’ for the save of a marketing bullet point rather than for anything actually added for substance. A prettier StarCraft with better controls? Sign me up.

The single player campaign follows Raynor in his quest to take out Mengsk, deserter of a certain hot psychic redhead Raynor was interested in. Very nearly each mission introduces a map gimmick and a single new unit to exploit said gimmick. For example one mission has you defending high ground while being attacked by waves of Protoss. Bring on the siege tanks! The gimmicks are at a glance neat (zerg zombies and lava flooding levels were especially nice), however most of them also have some sort of timer in place. Often it seems as though there’s no time to build up a force and develop a strategy. Essentially you can build a ton of whatever new unit was introduced that level and you’ll be fine. I wish there was more maps that gave you objectives with no gimmicks involved.

During the campaign you’ll get credits after each mission and usually get research points allowing you to develop new tech based on Protoss or Zerg observations. Each research tech tree (Zerg/Protoss) consist of 2 choices per level and once you choose you lock out the other option. Tier 1 Zerg for example lets you upgrade your bunkers, you can chose extra health or adding an automated turret, effectively a extra marine. There are a wide variety of choices and some of them I can see being almost game breaking. One option allows for instant supply depots, another allows for automatic vespene gas mining without assigning SCVs. Research isn’t hard to come by, a lot is optional but you’ll rarely have to search out a map to acquire.

Accumulated credits are spent on unit and building upgrades, and hiring mercenaries. First, I love mercenaries. The initial ‘contract’ is cheap and they allow you to summon elite versions of existing unit types. The cool thing about them is they arrive instantly via dropship, a couple clicks and you have an instant elite strike force ready to go. I often found myself training a few medics and group with merc infantry.

Credits are also spent on unit upgrades. Much more varied than the research, nearly every single has 2 upgrades. You can purchase both and some of them are exceptional. Bunker upgrades provide +1 range, and +2 capacity. A Spectre (psychotic Ghosts) upgrade makes so stealth no longer uses energy. Nearly all of them are useful though you will need to pick and chose.

In between missions you explore the Hyperion, Mengsk’s old flagship battlecruiser Rayor stole back in SC1. It’s flashing than the conference calls in SC1, though ultimately it amounts to clicking on everything then moving to the next room to click on everything there.

Multiplayer… Well, I haven’t played any multiplayer yet. I got my ass kicked in beta and have no particular desire to do it again. Word is it’s still got the legendary StarCraft balance between races. Please note also that several units in he game are campaign exclusive and not available in multiplayer. Medics, Firebats, Vultures, Goliaths are all not going to appear on

I wish the maps didn’t feel so gimmicky. I also wish they’d put in a freaking pause button so I can review the battle and issue orders after formulating a strategy. At times feels like a quasi-action game. Still, StarCraft in HD is @#$%ing StarCraft in HD.

4 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Let me first say, my mother loved this. So it has that going for it.

Percy is the half mortal son of Poseidon. After Zeus’s lightning bolt is stolen, Zeus thinks Percy stole it and tells Poseidon he better get it back in 2 weeks, or else. Two weeks also happens to be the summer solstice. I wonder if the solstice was 3 weeks away the deadline would be 3 weeks? It’s never explained how Zeus, who Poseidon specifically points out is omnipotent, is able to have a lightning bolt stolen, nor how he fails to know who the thief is.

Anyway, Percy’s best bud ends up being a Satyr charged to be his protector. I forget the character’s name, let’s him Satyrboy is a limp urban black sterotype. Once they determine the Greek community is out to kill Percy, they flee to Hogwar- er summer camp. Wait, no that’s right. They flee to summer camp. Apparently it’s some sort of neutral ground, though Hades doesn’t have any problem throwing fireballs around when it suits him. At camp Percy runs into Anabelle, daughter of Athena and ranking badass at camp. Percy defeats her in combat his second time picking up a sword. Later that night they all decide to head off the talk Hades into releasing Percy’s mom because, surely Hades is a nice guy.  Most of the movie consist of tracking down 3 pearls that will allow them to escape the Underworld once they enter. Along the way they’ll fight Medusa (didn’t Perseus kill her 2,000 years ago?), a hydra and snack crackers.

Jeez, this feels like such a cheap and shallow Harry Potter knockoff it made me roll my eyes. Percy’s ends up spending a whole day at Jr Demigod camp and suddenly feels he’s ready to take on Hades. Seriously? And the friends he runs into. Satyrboy is annoying on several levels. And I can’t think of a single thing Anabelle did that was helpful. Percy is so overpowered his friends are deadweight. Harry has Ron and Herminione. While Ron can be considered useless except for very rare instances, it’s safe to say without Herminione, Harry would be dead year one. Also there’s a scene during the credits that just left me cold where Percy gets back at his jerk of a stepdad. There’s getting back, and then there’s wondering why we’re rooting for this creep.

Only one thing saves the movie from being total wash. Rosario Dawson as Persephone, Hades’ unwilling wife. Most of the plot of the movie involves tracking down pearls she made so that once men sneak into the underworld and uh… ‘visit’ her, they can leave unmolested by Hades. See, Persephone HATES Hades. At one hilarious point Hades commands her to do something and her response is priceless, “Or WHAT?! I’m already in Hell!” To me this sequence was the highlight of the movie.

A minor nod must also go to Kevin McKidd (Lucius Verenus, Rome) wasted as Poseidon. Hollywood, give this guy a break and see what he can do.

1 1/2 Stars out of 5

Don’t Fear the… Zombie? has a great article on why we shouldn’t necessarily fear the coming zombie invasion (and it is coming, oh yes…).

Once SkyNet becomes self aware though, we’re fucked.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It’s Alive!!

I’m back up and running with the new drive. iTunes was actually rather painless. All I needed was a portable hdd to use for a backup.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli finally came up on my NetFlix que, yay! Denzel Washington is one of those actors that never seems to make a bad movie. They’re not always great, but they’re never bad. THis is one of those movies, firmly in the ‘good’ category.

A religious war has left the world a nuclear wasteland straight out of Fallout 3. Eli is a wanderer is a post-apocalyptic Earth set 30 years after ‘The Flash’. He’s got this very special book (The Bible, it’s not mentioned by name until 10 minutes before the movie’s over, but only an idiot doesn’t know what it is) and he’s heading West to deliver it... somewhere.

Eli’s journey bring him to a town ruled by Gary Oldman, think of any town tyrant in a western and you know the character. Oldman happens to be searching for a book, a very special book. He have teams roaming the landscape searching. None of them can read, but they have standing orders to bring back any book they find. You’d think a Bible wouldn’t be to hard to find considering it’s the most published book of all time, but it’s explained the war was religious and afterwards, every copy found was burned to prevent anything like that from happening again. Oldman’s character however is an older gent and remember back when, when people could be controlled with inspirational words. Oldman would like to do the controlling, he just doesn’t know what words to use.  Hence his quest.

Anyway, Eli being the badass that he is, attracts Oldman’s attention. Oldman realizes Eli has a copy of the book and wants it. Eli being a man on a mission decides much ass needs to be kicked and does. Mila Kunis enters the show as the daughter of Oldman’s mistress, sent to entice Eli with the promise of… well, Mila Kunis. Eli being a monk (literally?) he declines and instead protects the naive girl.

Eventually Eli completes his journey and we get a bit of a twist at the end. The twist makes sense in retrospect and isn’t a cop out in my opinion. Despite the film’s 2 hour length, I’m considering watching again to pick up more hints now that I know what I’m looking for. *********Highlight for spoilers Eli is blind.*********

One final note, I was a bit surprised to find Mila Kunis not all that annoying. The actress herself has been on That 70’s Show forever and there she’s… well, a bicthy, shallow, whiny, screeching snob. In spite of her agent’s recent attempted to make her the next big thing, I never went for her due to the annoyance factor. In the movie however, she’s not… that bad. She still seems a bit miscast though, Kunis a bit to attractive and naive for the setting. She’s a waitress at the town’s saloon and really, she has no clue about what goes on out of town.

All in all, a good movie. It’s  got a few pacing issues, a bit to slow at times to move into greatness. Also, not sure if this is the movie’s problem or a equipment issue on my end (using TV’s speakers, no special theater setup) several times I could not hear what was being said and had to turn on subtitles.

4 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Avengers

So there’s an Avengers teaser out. Yawn. It’s a logo with a 20 second voice over by Samuel L Jackson. I don’t remember which site I was at, but I saw an idea to shakes things up a bit – SLJ it up a bit, if you will.

“I’m tired of these motherfucking super-villains on this motherfucking planet. Motherfucking Avengers, ASSEMBLE!”

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Price of Storage

I’m in the market for a new hard drive. My 250GB drive from… I don’t even know how long ago, but I think I kept the hdd from 2 rebuilds ago, is getting uncomfortably full. Solid State Drives are supposed the bestest thing ever so I checked them out first. And… wow, are you kidding? $350 for 120GB? Sheeah right, I guess I’m just not progressive enough. I ended up getting a mechanical drive with more space than I can comprehend ever needing.

On a side note: in approximately  3 delivery days I’ll disappear while I get everything going on the new drive. Hopefully it will be painless and the bane of clean installs – iTunes, will go off without a hitch this time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why can’t I? Japan has one!

Seriously, who has to blow which congressman to approve this? I envision this across the bay from Liberty Island with the water some sort of mecha no-man’s land. Gundam with his beamsaber and Ms Liberty with her… book. It’s a heavy book. And she’s green, like Yoda. I’m sure she can kick ass.

I bet the Statue of Liberty has secretly been retrofitted over the years and actually is a combat mecha just waiting for when Japan get uppity.

I Don’t Beleive in @#$%

For some reason I was thinking about the scene in Legion where Michael is laying it out that Angels, with the capital ‘A’, are out to kill them all. Most of the the characters are like ‘yeah right’. Charles S Dutton comments ‘Have you looked outside?’, and that’s that. It’s an interesting moment that every movie, tv show or book with a skeptic as a character must address. How do they believe in the unbelievable?

My current favorite book series ‘The Dresden Files’ has something of a running gag when ‘norms’ into this kind of thing. There’s a scene in Dead Beat where Butters (Polka will never die!!) tries to rationalize the situation. Harry rolls his eyes and points out they ran away from a zombie attack, rationalize that. Another character comments that the video of the werewolf attack looked totally fake, it was to dark and the camera was jittery. It’s pointed out evil things like that often happen in the dark and the camerawoman was scared shitless.

I think though my favorite scene for this moment of realization is from the movie Dusk til Dawn. A classic for several reasons, I present you with this.

This clip is cut short about 5 seconds, but everyone shrugs and lamely agrees. It’s a great scene.

So what would YOU do? I’d like to think I’d break a table and sharpen the legs into stakes and become an avenging merchant of death – but most likely I’d either be catatonic or dinner.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Inspector Gadget is a Badass

Another find courtesy of


Go go gadget Gatling gun!!