Dec 042008

Dr Horrible

Looking for a cheap geeky Christmas gift? Then look no further than Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on DVD. At US$9.99, this one’s gotta go on my wish list! :-)

Not familiar with Dr. Horrible? Here’s the synopsis:

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) stars as Billy, A.K.A. Dr. Horrible, a budding super-villain whose plans for world domination continually go awry.  His two goals: getting accepted into the Evil League of Evil, and working up the guts to speak to his laundromat crush Penny, played by Felicia Day (The Guild).  

The only thing standing in his way is Captain Hammer, Billy’s superhero arch-nemesis played by Nathan Fillion (Firefly).  With one big score, Billy could get into the E.L.E. and earn the respect of Penny, but only if he can keep her away from the dashing Captain Hammer…

 Posted by at 12:05 am
Dec 032008

Have you been wishing you could get your hands on a copy of your favorite old game from years gone by?

Go to GOG – Good Old Games! They seem to have quite a spectacular assortment of old games that were great fun back in their day.

At the moment they have a promo running… If you buy two $9.99 games you get a $5.99 game free.

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Dec 032008

karen-harper Will Barack Obama open the X-Files (UFO investigations) to the public? [Examiner] – The Extraterrestrial Phenomenon Political Action Committee is gathering signatures in the days leading up to President-Elect Obama’s inauguration in an effort to get the new President to disclose military “contacts” with UFOs.  The EP PAC believes that it is time for the US to open the so called “X-Files” to the American public, following Britain’s example last year.

ufo-xbox  Xbox 360 Logo Spotted in 1697 UFO Sighting Sketch [Gizmodo] – November 4, 1697, the citizens of Hamburg, Germany spotted “two glowing wheels” in the air. To some, it was just further proof of another civilization visiting Earth. Clearly Microsoft has some sort of time travel machine that resembles a giant Xbox 360 logo.

Mysterious object More UFO sightings over UK skies [FenladnCitizen] – Dozens of people reported sightings of UFOs in the skies over Fenland,UK following last week’s front page picture of some unexplained lights spotted over Wisbech.


Roswell  TV’s “UFO Hunters” to feature one of the last eyewitnesses of Roswell Incident [Suwannee Democrat] – The History Channel will feature an interview with Earl Fulford. He was one of the last remaining eyewitnesses to what some say was the wreckage site of a UFO

 Posted by at 12:37 am
Dec 012008


Sensing that World of Warcraft is not the years long, multi-million user flash in the pan I expected it to be, this last weekend I partook in a holiday discount deal from the local GameStop. I picked up the World of Warcraft Battlechest for half off the MSRP (came to US$19 if you must know).

During my install of the product, the setup from the DVD was flawless.

However, I was expected to accept the mother of all End User License Agreements. For the love of all that’s holy, their legal department probably puts Microsoft attorneys to shame. This behemoth of a document consists of:

  • 7 Pages
  • 37 Paragraphs
  • 275 Lines
  • 3634 Words
  • 19035 Characters

Who the hell is going to read that thing? Oh, I gave it the old college try and plowed through the first one and a half paragraphs then supplemented with scanning for keywords of interest in a handful of other paragraphs, but sheesh!

Later, while scanning through my hard drive to look at all the crap the installer left, I stumbled upon a newer version of the eula that is a year newer than the one i accepted. Blizzard managed to extend that large document by 2 pages, 3 paragraphs and 149 words. Needless to say, I’m not more educated on this one than the first.

OK, so far my positive WoW out of box experience went from positive to neutral, not bad, but let’s login to the server and see how it fares.

I find a desktop icon, nothing too fancy, big ‘W’, clean and crisp and to the point:

 WoW icon

What followed that mouse clicky was the beginning of a 4 hour descent into hell that would not see me creating my first character until the following morning.

It appears that Blizzard doesn’t believe in rolling up their updates. The program detected there were updates to be installed before the game could begin. So it promptly downloaded and installed the first update. When that was done, i clicked Play and again it detected another update…same process followed. I had to install update after update after update for about 30-45 minutes before the sh*t really hit the fan. Some were pretty small, others ~256MB. It was turning into a real pain in the arse, what would have helped is to know how far I had to go through this user interface until we’re done. Maybe it could tell me “Andy, you are on update #6 of 10″.

After 30-45 minutes, the process wasn’t done, it was just getting started. Because then I learned it needed to download and install a 2GB update! WTF is this all about? It took 4 hours to download, this old man needed to get some shut eye so I hit the rack while the installer did its thing and unpacked/installed itself. So I was fast asleep while the unpacking and updating actually occurred; given it’s size and complexity it’s probably best I wasn’t watching it tear its innards apart and rebuild.

The next morning, I sit back down in front of the PC, click the ‘Play’ button and learn that *another* update had to be installed. Thankfully, I could tell that the date of the package was released just a few weeks before so I must be near the end. And sure enough it was over after that last turdlet was dropped on my system.

So after 4+ hours of downloads and installs/updates of WoW on a clean system, I could finally get it on and start the click fest with millions of other nerds.

Freylok iconAnd now, after having played Freylok the Druid Night Elf for about 12 hours over 3 days, I get it. I understand the appeal of the game and I’m looking forward to more, but it’s unfortunate a new user has to go through hours of hassle just to get logged in. Even Windows rolls up updates between service packs, why can’t a game as popular and ubiquitous as WoW do the same?

 Things I’ve learned from this weekend experience:

  • Blizzard’s OOBE (out of box experience) sucks bad if you’re a new user like me. Be prepared to hand hold your PC through hours of updates if installing on a clean PC. I will file a bug to Blizzard this week.
  • WoW is one kick-ass game. The graphics are great, the size of the worlds is just unbelievably large. I knew it was massive, but sheesh, this is big and detailed. Tip of the hat to the development team and the IT Pros that have to maintain the servers.
  • Even a hard core anti-social introvert like myself doesn’t mind interacting with strangers in this new world. Unlike Sim City or Second Life, the attraction to interact with strangers in WoW is that you probably have a lot in common with the thousands of characters hacking and slashing around you as you both fight on to achieve your quests or save your sorry arse from the ‘black hats’.

Down with the Horde! Long live the Alliance! :-P

 Posted by at 10:43 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 302008

No huge posts from me today… but interesting nevertheless!

MSN is reporting on the video games industry and how the recession is effecting it.

In an unusual turn of events the video game industry is being heralded as being strong and growing in the face of a recession. Mostly due to the fact that we gamers tend to want to play games instead of spending money on other junk… At least that’s my take on it!

Snippage from the conclusion of the article (for you people who don’t like reading the whole dull thing):

“In the short term, then, there is ample evidence that the video game business may well prove to be stronger than most others. No one is going to do better than companies producing cheap liquor, of course, but in the technology world, it may be tough to identify a sector that could better persevere than video games.”

Go forth and enjoy the read, if you’re the type to enjoy long winded ramblings of the market analyst style…

 Posted by at 9:43 pm