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Friday - August 31, 2007

Season opener

Don't forget, tomorrow is Appalachian's football season opener at #5 Michigan. If you have DirecTV, you can catch the game at noon on the Big Ten Network (channel 220) for no additional charge. The game is a sellout of over 107,000 seats, so it should definitely be interesting. At least the field itself will feel familiar. They have the same brand of artificial turf, FieldTurf, that ASU installed a couple years ago. I'm crossing my fingers for the big upset.

Posted by jcraven at 10:06 AM | Sports

Tuesday - August 28, 2007

Upgrade time

This week, I upgraded my PC to a new AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core CPU. That's a pretty decent upgrade from my old 3800+ single core. Now, the actual upgrade was quite easy. I ordered some heatsink cleaner and new Arctic Silver 5 so I could reuse my old heatsink. The new CPU was up and running in less than 15 minutes.

Oh but it can't all be that easy. First, I upgrade my BIOS because the CPU was too new, and didn't fully recognize it. After the upgrade, it reset all my BIOS settings to default which got me into a bit of a mess. When that happened, I didn't catch it quick enough, and it disabled my mirrored RAID array. Windows booted up, and now I had two identical drives. Then I turned the RAID back on, but since Windows had already booted once without it, it screwed up the bootloader. I had to do a repair on Windows. Then after messing around for an hour or so, I finally got the RAID set back up properly and left it to rebuild the mirror. Fast forward to today, and everything is running fine.

I can really see a nice speed boost when doing normal tasks, and it fixed the sound bug I noticed in the new WoW client since I was no longer pegging the CPU at 100%. I think it was a worthwhile upgrade, especially since the price of the 6000+ came down by about $400 since I originally built the PC twelve months ago.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, I left out the fact that I had to call MS to reactivate my copy of Windows. It only took 5-10 minutes, but it just demonstrates how copy protection causes inconvenience to your legitimate customers.

Posted by jcraven at 10:01 AM | Tech

Tuesday - August 21, 2007

DIY Sunroof

Wow, you can really find anything on the internet. Check out this fake sunroof for your car on eBay. I have to admit it doesn't actually look that bad in the pictures, but you have to wonder who would buy such a thing. Also, be sure to check out the Question & Answer section at the bottom of the auction..... pure comedic gold.

Posted by jcraven at 8:07 PM | Misc

Games update - August

This month I've been playing a handful of games (mostly thanks to Scott).

First on the list is The Darkness. I just finished up the Single Player campaign, and I thought it was great. The story and voice acting are the highlights of this game. Mike Patton, former lead singer of Faith No More, voices the evil force known as The Darkness. The other characters are well done too. The game is creepy enough to be interesting, without being too over the top. Now, everything isn't perfect in the game. Online play isn't great, and you spend a little too much time shooting out lights to feed your dark energy. Overall though, I'd definitely recommend it.

The second game is Dead Rising. I haven't gotten very far in the game, but so far, I'm not loving it. Even though I really enjoy zombies, there's just too many game flaws in this one. One glaring problem is firearm targeting. It's one of the worst I've seen in a long time. The melee weapons are better, but it can still be hard sometimes to hit the target. The second problem is the abundance of loading screens. Every section of the mall requires a load, along with any of the story scenes. Considering other games with much larger maps, such as Crackdown, have zero load screens, this seems like bad design. Finally, I dislike the save game system. Although I do think it's clever that you have to find a bathroom to save the game, having to click through 3 or 4 menus to complete the save, coupled with the aforementioned loading screens is very annoying. I haven't given up on it yet, but it's trying my patience.

Finally, I've been playing Hexic 2 from XBLA. If you enjoyed the original Hexic, you have to pick this one up. The single player modes from the first game all make a return, but the real gem here is the Battle Mode that you can play either locally or over Xbox Live. For $10 (800 pts) you really can't go wrong with this one if you enjoy puzzle games.

Oh yeah, and my GamerScore broke 6000.....

Posted by jcraven at 2:10 PM | Video Games

Tuesday - August 14, 2007

Projekt Revolution

Yesterday, Scott and I went to the Projeckt Revolution show at Walnut Creek. It was an all day event, but we got there about halfway through. I was mainly there for Linkin Park, the rest of the bands were just a bonus. I was amazed by the huge female fanbase most of the bands had (esp. My Chemical Romance). We sat beside a pair of teenage girls that knew every lyric of every song.

I enjoyed all the bands we got a chance to see, and I may even pick up some music from H.I.M. which I had previously never heard before. Linkin Park was great of course, and they played a nice mix of old and new music. I've got a handful of bad cell phone pictures here. It's hard to tell, but we actually had pretty good seats behind the VIP section. Next year, depending on the line-up, I may go again. Next time, I'll probably get there earlier to check out more of the bands too.

Posted by jcraven at 12:02 PM | Movies & Music

Tuesday - August 7, 2007

Xbox 360 stuff

Microsoft announced price cuts on all three versions of the 360. Press release here. Go buy one now. :)

If you already have a 360, a small dashboard update came out today to add support for the wireless Guitar controllers. Major Nelson has the details.

Posted by jcraven at 11:31 AM | Video Games

Sunday - August 5, 2007

Wrath of the Lich King

This weekend, at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced the next WoW expansion pack. This time players will fight against Arthas in The Wrath of the Lich King. There isn't a lot of details out there about the expansion, but they are raising the level cap and introducing a new 'Hero class' called Death Knight. The trailer looks decent, but doesn't have me as excited as the previous expansion. There's no release date yet, but we'll see if it's worth my time and money to reactivate my account when it hits.

On a related note, there's more women at Blizzcon than I would have guessed. Be sure to check out the two galleries of the costume contest here and here.

Posted by jcraven at 5:02 PM | Video Games

Wednesday - August 1, 2007

DirecTV TiVo owners to get update in early '08


If this is a possible sign of an MPEG4 version of the HD-TiVo coming out for DirecTV, that would be fantastic. Otherwise, this won't really matter much to the TiVo faithful....... If it's just a handful of new features it's a nice thing to have, but won't hold my business for that long.

Posted by jcraven at 3:47 PM | Television