Monday, January 31, 2005

Noooo! It just does not have the feal of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I cannot see Disney doing the book justice. I would not picture the Heart of Gold as a giant beach ball! I have just started reading the series, but I do not have much faith in Disney getting the book right. It strikes me more of a Mel Brooks kind of movie.

OK, I finally watched the trailer for Star Wars Episode III When Jedis Bitch. Near the end of it, when Darth Vader was on a table and Padmé is looking in shocked horror, I was expecting Darth Vader to start whining. "Obi-won doesn't think I am a true Jedi, he treats me like a kid. Look what he did to me. He is such a meany and I hate him. I want my Mommy! I cann't even suck my thumb now!" I just shuttered at that thought. I am happy to say, Vader did not cry like a baby. In fact it was kind of a nice trailer, because it was mostly of the real Star Wars Obi-Wan talking and clips of the prior movies.

Why did George Lucas have such an issue with Han shooting first, but he has no qualms with Anakin massacring a whole tribe of Sand People? The song Governor Ratcliffe sings in Pocahontas is coming to mind...


Monday, January 24, 2005

Halo 2 fundraiser canned.It is too bad these kid's idea got canned, even thought they got the parents to sign waivers, the school still said that it went against the Anti-Violence policy.

"When you look at what happened with Columbine, when you look at acts of violence against young people, I think anything we do that even looks like we're endorsing violence is not appropriate," said Karen Hanson with the Puyallup School District. "

Some how I do not see the link of Halo 2 and Columbine. Beside, the kids already play this game at home or at a friend’s house. I do not see how stopping the fundraiser would prevent a kid from dusting off his SPARTAN armor and going postal with a plasma saber.

They also said it will support the students' fundraiser if they simply switch to a less violent video game.

I guess they should have gone with the Pokémon tournament. I do not think that the school district would have any problems with a game that encourages the sport of animal fighting. It is just so gosh darn cute, unlike that icky game with nasty guns.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Mac is trying to get back in the market. Washingtonpost article (Login found here) Always fun to see what crazy things they are up to. Mac Mini, I guess the name Mini Mac would have to many McD and Austin Powers jokes.

The iPod Shuffle sounds cool. Finally, it will use flash memory, meaning a person can jog and exercise with it. The hard drive ones always had me leery of a head crash.

The biggest eye opener was this...
Yet despite selling far more iPods than computers -- just over 2 million vs. 836,000 during the last fiscal quarter for which results are available -- Apple makes more money from Mac desktops and laptops. In that quarter, which ended Sept. 25, it made $537 million from iPods and $1.23 billion from computers.

$1.23 billion for 836,000 computers? Overpriced is comes to mind, lets see...1.23billion / 836k... $1,471. I guess that is not as bad as I thought. Never mind, I could buy an Alienware PC for that much, and Dells are even cheaper still. Those goofy Mac people.

I ran across this on Scrapple Face


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bigger is better, no doubt about that. My 21" CRT that I got for work died this week. I had to go back to the only other available monitor, a 15" eye squinter. It did not even last half a year! Well I guess the lesson is to never buy anything refurbished.

Well I guess if any good came out of it, everyone else in my office got upgraded to 19" and 21" CRTs. I hope to get upgraded some time soon, but I am not holding my breath. I brought in my 17" LCD I got for my server and LAN parties in right now, because I am getting tired if the headaches and eye strain. It is amazing what a difference 2" will make.

To make matters worse, the network upgrade is still having problems and we sporadically loose our connections. This has been going on for the last two weeks, and there is no end in sight.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

I was going to do a how to manual for repairing your XBox DVD drive, but I see now that others have done a better job of this than I could. So I figured I will try and pull together some of the information that I gathered spread on forums, bulletin boards, and my own personal experience. I hope that this helps you in your quest of fixing your XBox. Good luck, and have fun.

About a year ago I had my DVD drive for my XBox start to make a vibrating sound. Eventual it would no longer read any of my game disks. I had not purchased the extended warranty, and getting it serviced would cost almost as much as a new XBox. So I figured I would give it a shot myself. I figured if I fried something, nothing lost. I went online trying to find any info I could. I found out a few things, and even found a few places that sell parts and drives.

First thing’s first. Opening your XBox voids any and all warranties you may have on it. As with any electric item, be careful of electric shock and electrostatic discharge.

Microsoft used three different companies to make their drives. The early XBox had a Thomson drive, apparently they had a lot of problems with it and it was the least reliable and damage prone of all the drives. Phillips drives later replaced them and were more reliable as far as data reads and were less prone to faller. Samsung drives are the most resent drives and are the best of the three. They are faster and have fewer data read errors. Apparently if you want to upgrade to one of the other brand of drives it is possible to do so according to this guys experience.

Microsoft prevents you from just using an off the shelf drive. One thing their drive does different is the game disks read by spinning in the opposite direction as a regular DVD. This, I suppose, helps prevent piracy of their game disks. So their drives are able to spin clockwise and counter clockwise for the games and the movie DVDs. The other method is their BIOS only recognize specific drives without installing a mod chip. XBox drives also have a different power cable than the standard PC drive power cable.

One drive that many people started to use was a modded Samsung 616T drive. It is a direct plug in requiring no modifications to the cables. It has a faster read speed and will read burned XBox disks without having to install a mod chip. I found there are a few problems with going this route. The XBox case has to be modded by cutting a few brackets that secured the original drive. Some screw holes have to be drilled to hold the new drive in place and the front XBox face plate has to be glued on. When the disk is ejected something does not quite register right and a disk not found screen will come up. This did not affect game play or anything else that I could see, it was just annoying. I am not sure if it will play movie DVDs, I did not test that out.

If you are comfortable with opening up a DVD drive and tinkering with it, than replacing the laser assembly is the cheapest way to go. The disk drive is one of the few moving parts that can wear out and replacing it should fix any read errors that you have. This is essentially what I ended up doing to fix my XBox. There is a break down guide offered here for all three drive types here at llamma.com. If you are no MacGyver than maybe buying a whole new OEM replacement drive would be money better spent. You can find both on EBay or searching the internet for stores.

You could always try to sue to get your Xbox fixed. Just remember Microsoft has some of the best lawyers Satan, I mean money, has to offer.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Really puts the whole Tsunami in perspective. Satellite photos


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Years!

I started this year off well. I watched the Rose Parade, and I am thinking about going down to see the floats when they are on display. Maybe Sunday, if I can grab a friend. I wonder if the weather will hold, they have been talking snow where I live. I guess better late than never.

Ok, here are some of my firsts for this year...

First PC game - Warhammer 40K Dawn of War (like Warcraft 3, but better)
First Game Boy game - Mario DS (I got a DS off the shelf the first day it came out)
First Game Cube game - Metroid Prime 2 (now one of two reasons to own a GC)
First XBox game - MechAssault 2:Lone Wolf (bad ass)


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