Saturday, August 30, 2008
I recently tried to upgrade my phone to the Blackberry 8330. I went to the Sprint store and logged in and went straight the phone I knew I wanted. It showed I would receive the full discount and rebate.
Click upgrade phone! Select the phone!......aaaaaand oh dear, you do not have a compatible plan. Damn, having issues. Off to call Sprint to make sure if I upgrade my plan I could then buy the phone. Alternatively, perhaps I could have the Sprint CSR upgrade the plan and order the phone at the same time!? GREAT IDEA!!
Ok, things just started going wrong at this point. They said I didn't have my phone long enough to get the discount and wanted me to pay $500+ for the phone; despite my request to have the extended contract to get the phone. What the CSR said and what the website said were 100% different. This last hours between 3 CSR's and online chat help.
The website would let me get the phone at the discount if I had the right plan, but the CSR says I need to buy a second line or I don't have the existing phone long enough to upgrade at a discount. If I could safely take the risk of upgrading the plan myself, I might be able to get the phone. I've given up for the moment and I am seeking a Blackberry 8330 on Ebay. *sigh*
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This comes as a low blow to those Comcast subscribers that are heavy downloaders. Starting October 1, 2008 a 250GB cap will be put in place for all subscribers of Comcast. Now to most people, this probably wouldn't matter, but there are some people that do download a lot. You might be telling yourself "Oh well I'll never exceed that much data..." Well believe it or not, if you're a Netflix subscriber that does movie digital downloads, or somebody that looks at a lot of YouTube videos, or a user of iTunes, you'd be surprised how much bandwidth you can consume in a month.
I myself, can easily exceed 250GB a month, especially when I watch Leo Laporte do his daily podcasts on TWiTLive.tv, as his video broadcasts are in near HD video.
You might want to consider switching Internet Service Providers (ISP) to somebody else like Verizon FIOS if available in your area. A major change like is going to require their subscriber to agree to the new terms of service. If you disagree then this most definitely can get you out of a contract (if you're on one) without having to pay the termination fees.
I've never been a Comcast subscriber, and I thank god I'm not. Whenever there's news regarding Comcast, it's always negative. And you really can't blame the internet community either. Comcast has been notorious for interefering with users downloads such as inserting in dummy packets tricking the comsumer's Torrent program to reset the connection and preventing them from being able to download whatever it is they want. They recently got nailed by the FCC but I don't think the ISP had to pay any fines either.
[caption id="attachment_503" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Verizon FIOS - The entire networking Infrastructure is built through Fiberoptic Cable. Currently there is no transfer speed cap that anybody has been able to determine"][/caption]
Sorry to rub it in, but for me this is not an issue as I'm a FIOS subscriber, and considering how Verizon built their infrastructure to handle faster speeds, it wouldn't make any sense for them to put a cap on their network. That'd be like putting a speed limit on a Ferarri to 55mph.
Sources: ArsTechnica - Comcast starts 250GB cap October 1, 2008
Well it looks like Blizzard has randomly selected 1,500 people to purchase their tickets. I checked my email associated with my Blizzard Store account and I didn't see any email, nor in my spam folder. Oh well, I'm over it; I know when BlizzCon starts and my friends go I will be very bitter that day as I'll be missing out on a very cool event.
Meh, maybe I'll take the day off work and go to Magic Mountain or something...
Haven't been to any theme park in over 15 years.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My first phone I bought through AT&T. This phone cost me about $120 when I signed up for cell phone service. I believe I paid a higher price because the plan I had with this phone was a pre-paid service. Not much I can say about this phone. The phone was very limited when you compare it to what todays phones can do. For more information about this phone, see the Nokia 5110's Wikipedia article.
My second cell phone. When I bought this cell phone, I wanted something smaller then the old Nokia 5110. I HATED having phones with antennas that stick out. 90% of the phones life is spent in my pocket when I'm on the go and you can imagine how annoying it can get having those antennas poke you when you go to sit down; hence the reason why I purchased the Nokia 3510. This was my first phone that had limited AOL Instant Message capabilities.. Essentially every text message you sent or received counted as a text message. The funny thing to note was back when I got this phone, text messages didn't cost me anything... Now wireless carriers charge up to 20 cents per message. The one thing I really liked about this phone was the ability to load in MIDI ringtones. I had made a modified ringtone of the Highwind theme from Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy VII - Highwind
To learn more about this phone, see the Nokia 3510's Wikipedia article.
A year or two went by where I stopped paying for my cell phone service. I wasn't making too many calls so I couldn't justify paying money for something I wasn't making much use of. Cell phones started becoming quite popular now and phones with color screens were standard.
Sony Ericsson T290
This was my first color screen phone. The Sony Ericsson T290. I bought this phone because it had similar characteristics to the Nokia 3510. It was small and compact, and it didn't have that antenna that stuck out. I don't have much to say about this phone, as it was the one phone only used for about 3 months before I replaced it with a Motorola RAZR V3. To learn more about this phone, see the Sony Ericsson T290 review article on Tech-FAQ.com.
Motorola RAZR V3
The Motorola RAZR V3 was the phone that quickly replaced my Sony Ericsson T290. I bought this phone brand new off eBay. I bought this phone because it was quite popular online and considering it was only out 2 months, there was quite a few sites dedicated to this phone. The internet community embraced this phone. Anything you wanted to know about this phone was easily searchable online. I even managed to hack the firmware on mine to enable options that were for whatever reason hidden. For example: my phone couldn't get the date & time from the network, so I had to manually set it every time I had to pull out the battery... You shouldn't EVER have to deal with that kind of thing. In any case, this was my first phone that came unlocked. To learn more about this phone, see the Motorola RAZR V3 Wikipedia article.
T-Mobile Sidekick 3™
The T-Mobile Sidekick 3 was the one phone that lasted me no more then 30 days. This is the story behind it:
I called a T-Mobile CSR and asked them what their available plans were for the Sidekick 3. At that time they had two plans available:
- Pay as you go
- Monthly payment
I inquired about the pay as you go plan, and I was told verbatim: "You pay $1 a day for unlimited data use ONLY on the day where the phone uses data, so if you keep your phone turned off for the day, you won't get charged." I bought the phone off eBay for $100 where T-Mobile itself was selling it for $200 with a 1yr contract, so I got a pretty deal there.
I walked into the nearest T-Mobile store in my area and the representative there was somewhat turned off by the fact that I had my own phone to activate rather then forking out the $200 for a new one. The activation fee was $120! What a fucking crock of HORSESHIT! In any case, I was still under the impression that this phone would last me a long time considering that I would only use the phone when I away and needed to contact somebody via IM. About 7 days later, I go to check the account balance on the phone and I see that it's down $7. I had only used the phone 2 days out of the 7 days since activation. So I called up T-Mobile and I had another agent tell me: "Oh no you're charged $1 a day regardless if you use your phone or not." I was pissed, I was deliberately lied to; the first agent I talked to on the phone was said anything he could to get another customer... Had I known this, it would've been a deal-breaker for me. In any event, I was completely put off by this and I didn't use ever again. I ended up selling it on eBay for more then I bought it, so considering the amount of money I spent towards a useless investment, I was glad I at least made up some of the loss. Read up on the Wikipedia article on the T-Mobile Sidekick series.
So for about a year and a half, I was on AT&T's "Go Phone" service using my Motorola RAZR V3 and for the most part, I didn' thave any problems. I had the occasional phonecall drop but who doesn't? The cool thing about the AT&T "Go Phone" service was that my particular plan had the rollover minutes, and as little as I was using my phone, it was nice knowing that I had plenty of spare minutes for a plan that had no strings attached.
It wasn't until August 2007 that I decided to switch phones once again. During that time, I was in Newbury Port MA visiting some family. My uncle John had a pretty cool hybrid phone. He had the best of both networks from Sprint & Nextel; it used the CDMA portion for voice (Sprint), and the Push-To-Talk (PTT) portion of Nextel. Also the phone wasn't all that bad looking, it had a vibrant screen, and a semi-rugged design to it. I was always curious about the Push-To-Talk feature, and I knew that Corion had that feature on his cell phone.
Motorola IC902 - (no longer carried by Sprint)
After the vacation was over and I was back in California, I went to my local Sprint store the next day and picked up the same phone my uncle had, the Motorola IC902. I was pretty put off at the cost that Sprint was asking for; they wanted $350 for the phone WITH a 2 year contract. Why the fuck would charge that much for a phone on top of the 2yr obligation they tack on? It was grossly overpriced. Well little did I know the amount of features this phone packed. This phone for its time was THE best phone you could get on their network. I guess the saying was true, you DO get what you pay for. The biggie for me was the PTT as I would see myself using the hell out of it.
I had been using this phone now for a year, and for the most part, it's been a pretty good phone for me. Although what ultimately led me to switching this phone to my BlackBerry was the PTT reception was awful. Half the time the conversations were me going "What? Can you repeat that?" on the phone. I could never understand people, and people on the other end could never understand me. This was especially noticeable after owning the phone for about 10 months. I think the poor reception was partially due to the fact that the antenna had this small crack forming around the base, making the connection between the antenna and the
phone itself loose.
In any result, I wasn't talking to my extended family back east often enough, and the only other person I'd talk to using PTT was Corion. Again half our conversations were "What?" or "I didn't understand a single word you said." It just wasn't worth the trouble anymore.
Despite all the neat features this phone had, there were alot of limitations that really frusterated me. For starters, the phone didn't allow you to have Java applications to run in the background. So if I were to go to Youtube on the Opera Mini browser, and then click on a video to watch, it'd have to quit the browser to load the media player. Secondly, I'm not sure if this was a problem that was isolated only to my phone, but there was a 50/50 chance the video would or wouldn't play. Sometimes I'd only get sound, and the video would freeze, other times I'd get just the first frame of the video and the phone would load the video forever. So in a nutshell, watching any video on this phone sucked. To learn more, you can check out CNET's Motorola IC902 review.
I've had this phone now for 4 ½ days and so far I haven't found anything that this phone couldn't do that I wanted. I love the fact that I can have numerous applications running in the background. I keep AIM, and Google Talk running 24/7 so that I can have people message or me message them whenever convenient. The phone call quality seems pretty damn good, the microphone seems to clearly pickup any audio within 4 feet of the device so it makes it nice when using the speakerphone so I don't have to yell to the phone when in a conversation. I've had two issues with this phone so far. The first issue with this phone is the slow loading of webpages; I have no idea if this is due to the area I'm at where the EVDO is flakey or if it's the phone. I'm leaning towards the EVDO network because the same sluggishness that I had loading webpages with my old phone seems to be an issue for the Blackberry as well. It's hard to say for sure, again I've only had this phone for 4 ½ days so it's hard for me to know exactly where the problem lies. The second issue (and for most it's probably not that big a deal) is the damn phone doesn't vibrate+ring at the same time! Sure the phone has the option to do both, but what it'll do is vibrate an X amount of times before it'll start ringing. What kind of stupid crap is that? Luckily there is a program that can fix this issue, so it's not a total loss. Every prior phone I've had would vibrate AND ring at the same time... Not do one first then start ringing later.
I'll have a more detailed review on the Blackberry 8330 hopefully sometime later this week.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Rumors are floating around that the next version of Internet Explorer [version 8] might incorporate "Private Browsing". Apple's Safari already has this feature. If implemented, IE would be the second browser to have this built in.
Microsoft filed two trademarks on July 30th:
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer programs for accessing and using the Internet and the world wide web; and computer programs for deleting search history after accessing websites
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer programs for accessing and using the Internet and the world wide web; computer programs for disabling the history and file caching features of a web browser; and computer software for notifying a user of a web browser when others are tracking web use and for controlling the information others can access about such use
The final build of Firefox 3.0 didn't incorporate this feature, although it's very possible that a future version of Firefox could build it in. There's always been an option to clear ALL cached & private data upon exiting Firefox. While this option wouldn't be exactly like what Internet Explorer and Safari have in mind, it's a safer method all together. You can find plugins for Firefox that already do this.
Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 should be released any day now. It'll be interesting to see whether or not this feature is incorporated. It wouldn't surprise me if a plugin is available for IE7 that has this same feature.
Haven't had much of a chance to post on the site. I've been pretty busy this week. This week has flown by so fast and I can't believe it's Thursday already. My boss was out of town these past two days and I've been house sitting and taking care of their dogs. I haven't had much sleep this week either and it's starting to take a toll on me. I've bought a case of Mountain Dew to help keep me awake throughout the day. The personal time I had has been pretty much consumed taking care of other things rather then spending the time doing the stuff I'd like to do.
A couple of things I wanted to let you know about:
- I'm upgrading my Sprint phone from the Motorola IC902 to the Blackberry Curve 8330. Once I receive it, I plan on having a review on the Blackberry out hopefully sometime next week.
- Corion is in the process of laying out his continued MMO review articles (see Part 1) He should have Part 2 out soon.
- I'm doing some backend stuff to the site, like trying to reconfigure Wordpress permalinks so that I can get better ranks on Google, but Windows IIS (Internet Information Services) is giving me problems... Changing the links causes me to get a 404 Error. Still trying to find a fix for it.. I may end up transferring the site off Windows on to a Linux server if I can't get this working...
Monday, August 18, 2008
Awhile back, I had posted my experience and frustration trying to obtain BlizzCon tickets. Well Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime made this statement on Aug. 13th:
On behalf of everyone at Blizzard, I want to apologize for the challenges and frustrations you experienced while trying to purchase BlizzCon tickets on Monday and Tuesday. BlizzCon is about the positive experiences you all have had with Blizzard games. As a result of this week's events, the excitement that many of you felt about the show has turned into dissatisfaction and disappointment.
Due to these circumstances, we've reevaluated our convention hall space and come up with some solutions that will allow us to offer 3,000 more tickets for sale. We know this will not be enough to satisfy the very high level of demand for tickets this year, but we want to ensure that BlizzCon remains a great experience for those of you who are able to attend. To avoid the issues many of you faced this week, we'll be selling these 3,000 via a lottery. We'll post further details once our plans are finalized. Please note that the lottery will only be open to those with an active Blizzard Account as of 9:00 PM PDT on August 12, the time that the “Sold Out” notice was posted.
I, and everyone else at Blizzard, share the frustration and disappointment that many of you have expressed as a result of this process. We'll do what it takes to avoid this type of situation in the future.
Since then Blizzard managed to make room for an additional 3000 people. What it boils down to is this:
- You must have an active Blizzard Store Account that was created on or before 9:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, August 12, 2008
- Be an adult in your country of residence
- Have not previously purchased BlizzCon 2008 tickets
- Live in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, or South Korea
Prior to the drawing, they will hold an opt-in period during which you can enter an eligible Blizzard Account into the drawing for a chance to purchase two BlizzCon 2008 tickets. Once the opt-in period begins (on a date to be determined), you will see an opt-in feature when you log in to your Blizzard Account Management. The opt-in period will last for several days. They'll announce the date that the opt-in period will begin, along with the duration of the opt-in period, in advance on one of their websites
After the opt-in period ends, they will randomly select 1,500 eligible Blizzard Accounts from the opt-in pool to receive the opportunity to purchase up to two BlizzCon 2008 tickets. If selected, you will be notified via email with further information about how to purchase the tickets.
I'm just hoping I can get into this drawing because I really want to go. A couple of friends of mine will be meeting there among other people I've met a few years ago and it would be nice to get acquainted with them again. We'll see what happens.
[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="176" caption="Jawbone"][/caption]
In any result, the law has been in effect now for over a month and a half now and if you don't abide by the law, the 1st offense is a $20 fine, 2nd offense is $50 and it goes up consecutively. In any case, I'm not here to discuss the law, I'm here to talk about the Jawbone.
[caption id="attachment_341" align="alignleft" width="165" caption="Top picture of my Jawbone earpiece, the Aliph Jawbone (black)"][/caption]
I've had a bluetooth headset piece for quite some time however, the prior one I had was a pile of crap. When I was driving nobody could hear me, all they would hear is the sound of wind blowing inside my car (my air conditioning doesn't work) and as a result, the call quality was terrible.
However, I was recently given (for free) a spare Jawbone earpiece. The particular model I have retails on Amazon for approximately $80. The main feature which has made the Jawbone so popular is its noise canceling technology. Jawbone call this feature the "NoiseAssassin". NoiseAssassin is an advanced algorithm which was under development for a number of years for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
[caption id="attachment_342" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Graph representing how the NoiseAssassin filters out the background audio making your voice easier to understand in noisy environments."][/caption]
The original design for NoiseAssassin required powerful noise suppression algorithms for use in the most extreme acoustic noise environments including battlefields and helicopters. The algorithms use Jawbone's two microphones and the VAS to accurately model the noise environment. (1) Essentially it detects when and how a person is speaking, models the noise, and aggressively eliminates it.
A minority of people have complained that the audio quality when using the Jawbone was hard to understand, I did a test myself, listen to the audio samples below.
Audio test using the Jawbone earpiece:[audio:http://www.mitalis.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/jawbone-headset-on.mp3]
Audio test not using the Jawbone earpiece: [audio:http://www.mitalis.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/jawbone-headset-off.mp3]
Judging by my tests, the quality using the Jawbone isn't really all that bad. I sound a bit louder using the Jawbone but I think that's due to NoiseAssassin actively filtering out the background noise and trying to compensate by boosting my voice. To further my testing, I called Corion on the phone to get a second opinion on the quality of the call, this is what he had to say:
There was no major loss in quality between using the earpiece or the phone itself.
Aside from the noise-cancelling technology, the Jawbone also has additional features including:
- Ability be worn on either ear
- 4 earloops made of medal and 5 earbuds for a custom fit
- Ability to be charged via USB (using proprietary cable); also includes a wall charger
- Audio volume control indicators to let you know the audio level as you adjust the volume
- LED to let you know when the earpiece has been fully charged or turned on/off
- Up to 6 hours talk time and 120 hours standby time
- Jawbone - NoiseAssassin information
For some time I had considered getting a new pair of sandals because the ones I had were pretty old. I'm not much of a shoe person, I prefer sandals over shoes because I like something that I can easily slip on and off. I only limit myself to wearing one pair of shoe/sandals, and the new pair I planned on buying would be something I would wear regardless of the occasion, including work.
I've had my old pair of sandals for over a year now they made this distinct squeaky sound each time I took a step and started becoming trademark trait of mine. The squeaky noise was from the type of rubbery material used. The old pair of sandals I had were some blue polo Adidas, and they are actually pretty good sandals, but the noise reached a point to where it annoyed the hell out of me, and no footwear should make noise as far as I'm concerned.
[caption id="attachment_325" align="alignright" width="300" caption="These are the Taupe Suede Arizona sandals I bought from Birkenstock."][/caption]
I had mentioned getting new sandals, and my friend (lets just refer to him as 'Socrates') highly recommended a type of footwear called Birkenstock. He has owned his pair for nearly 4 years, and claimed they are the most comfortable pair of shoes/sandals he's ever worn. He got his pair prior to going to college, and his sandals have lasted him pretty well considering where he's been with them. 'Socrates' kicked the shit out of his sandals, claiming to have worn them in the rain, mud on numerous occasions and considering his pair of shoes are 4 years old, they looked to be in pretty good condition.
Ok so I was convinced and I figured I'd give Birkenstock a shot. Birkenstock isn't a name that I've ever heard of, then again I'm not that shoe savvy either. No local shoe store seemed to carry them in stock. After searching on Google, I found that there was a Birkenstock specialty store was about 32 miles from where I live... Like hell I'm going to drive that far for a pair of shoes. I decided to look them up online and sure enough, they had an online store where you could purchase them.
I found the pair of sandals I liked, which Birkenstock called the Taupe Suede Arizona. I was pretty shocked at the price tag attached: $110. In my entire 25 years of living, I have never spent more then $30 on a pair of shoes. I had expected the sandals to be at most like $60-$70 judging by the pair I saw from 'Socrates.' I saw that they had a 30 day money back guarantee so I figured I'd have nothing to lose. My other concern was that different types of footwear tend to have different shoe size standards. For example: I'm a size 11 for Sandals and a size 12 for shoes. The Birkenstock store had a chart with a comparison of the shoe sizes and recommend I get size 11. I add the pair of sandals to my cart, and go to check out and considering the price I was paying, they threw in free shipping.
[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Top view of my Birkenstock sandals."][/caption]
A week later my sandals arrive, I open the box and put them on and my god, I thought my feet had an orgasm. These things are incredibly comfortable. The majority of material used for the sandal is Suede, a type of leather that come from the under side of the skin used either lamb, deer, pig or goat. (Sorry PETA, I really don't care!) The material for the sole is EVA, which I have no idea what it is exactly, but according to Google, it's a common sole shoemakers use. I know it's a bit early to give an opinion on these shoes, but I've been wearing these all weekend and I'm quite happy with them so far. It's probably going to take a week or two before I can fully break these things in. All and all these are definately the best pair of sandals I've ever bought.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Me the writer/blogger/owner of this website. Yay.
Not much else to say about it except that I expect strippers & donkeys... Lots of them...
Doing things... ¬_¬
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I woke up this morning to do my daily routine... Which is essentially checking for any IM or email messages on my computer overnight. And surprisingly I saw that I had one message from Blizzard Entertainment. At first I thought it might have been something relating to the shit experience I had trying to purchase BlizzCon tickets; however upon opening the email I saw that I had received a beta invite to tryout in their upcoming expansion.
Seeing as there have been so many scam emails floating around as of late, I decided to check the validity of this email to see if anything within the email sounded fishy. There was nothing in the email stating they wanted my account password, and the links within the email didn't redirect me to some unknown domain either. They actually provided a key for you to enter in your account which I don't believe the scamming emails were offering. I decided to check one last thing, the email headers to see where this originated:
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: best guess record for domain of WoWExpansionBeta@blizzard.com designates 126.96.36.199 as permitted sender)
It's definitely legit. That IP is linked to DNS: ob3.blizzard.com
I haven't had a chance to try out the beta yet, as I have work this morning, but I definitely will be checking it out sometime this week. I'll post updates about it as I'm playing it.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
"In a cunning grasp of the economics of the internet (and over the dev team’s strong objections), the pricing model of Meridian 59 is changed from $10 a month to $2.49 a day, but never more than $10 a week, and never more than $30 a month. This effectively tripled the price of the service, with the added benefit that it confused the people it didn’t insult. Hundreds of accounts are cancelled. Tragically, the move proved to be profitable in the short term because 2/3rds of the population did not cancel their accounts. However, the damage to the community was very, very deep, and Meridian never fully recovered." (1)
[caption id="attachment_265" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Skeletons!"][/caption]
It was truely a sad day for many. I personally feel that led to the games eventual demise. Although, it has been picked up by other people and is playable at this time. Anyone who has played this game and is a bit nostalgic, there is good news to be found in it. You can still play.
"The game is currently running in both the United States and Germany. There are two normal servers in the United States run by Near Death Studios, Inc. There used to be a Sacred Haven (non-PvP) server run at Skotos, but that has since been closed down. Unlike most modern MMORPGs a subscription to a single account on one of the normal servers cost $10.95 per month.
With players only allowed to create two characters per account, and only one character per account being allowed online at a time. Meridian 59 players routinely operate multiple accounts simultaneously garnering the benefits of twice the inventory capacity, and twice the learning ability (as characters have been limited on the number of spells and skills they could learn since the Revelations expansion.)
The commercial game, which is patched free-of-charge for all subscribers, has a small loyal following of fans many of whom have enjoyed the game since its inception over ten years ago." (1)
For thier official site visit: Meridian 59 Near Death Studios
M59 had two factions you could join. The Duke and the Princess, in which you found tokens and turned them in. These gave your faction extra powers for a period of time. After reviewing the updates after I left, there appears to be a third rebel faction as well which can be joined. All this nostalgic reviewing has me considering starting it up for a month to check it out again.
The bulk of the BlizzCon tickets we had available were sold out within minutes of ticket sales going live again this afternoon. We have a small reserve of tickets left -- to make these available to some of you who might not have had a chance to purchase yet, we will be releasing the remaining reserve tickets for sale tonight, August 12, at 8:00 PM PDT. We appreciate the enthusiasm everyone has shown, and wish we were able to accommodate even more attendees at this year’s BlizzCon.
So they gave people a second chance to buy the remainder tickets at 8PM. Well 8PM rolls around and their servers are still marked with their "Down for Maintenance" message. It isn't until 11 minutes into the hour their servers are back online. I managed to pull up the shopping cart, and saw that they had tickets available. So I add 1 ticket to my cart, but seeing as their servers were getting slammed up the ass, it was taking forever for the cart to update. Eventually it timed out, so I refreshed the page again, and clicked "Add ticket," the cart reflected the changes instantly this time and I was able to checkout my purchase. I'm not about to hit submit 100x and end up with a $1200 charge.
The next step is to login to my Blizzard account I setup earlier, agree to their Terms of Service, and proceed to fill in my personal information for the ticket. I get up to the point where it asks me for my billing info, to make things faster earlier I attached two credit cards to the account to speed up the purchasing process.
So finally I get to the last step and I need to provide my billing information. I choose my Discover card and it prompts me for the CVV code, I type in the 3 digits, and hit submit, and wait... After 5 seconds of loading on my browser, the 3 digits in the CVV code disappear. No error, no nothing... No indication that something was wrong with my card. So I try again to make sure, and end up with the same result...
Ok whatever, lets try the Visa card. the changes take effect and I can see that it has my Visa information displayed below showing the last 4 digits. The CVV field again is blank for you to confirm payment. So I enter in the payment and AGAIN I get the same error...
[caption id="attachment_277" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="This is the last step for purchasing tickets... However their merchant account morked"][/caption]
You can probably see where this is going. In any result, their fucking servers once again can't process my payment EVEN THOUGH I'M AT THE LAST STEP & THEY HAVE ALL MY BILLING INFORMATION! So all this time spent for nothing.. This is the EXACTLY the same shit that happened to me earlier where their fucking merchant accounts weren't accepting payment.
Other people also had this exact same issue. Player Domojin from the Suramar realm had this to say:
My biggest problem in all of this was: I was prepared for the traffic and site congestion. I had multiple computers running on high speed connections with multiple browser windows open (both IE and FF, and even Opera at the end.) in case any one of them had a problem.
I was able to get through to the confirmation screen EVERY SINGLE TIME there were tickets available. But could not continue. The CVV code on my CC was getting kicked out. My bank confirmed it when I called them. My bank stated that "The charge did not go through because the information passed to us was not complete. The CVV code was not able to be authenticated." My bank confirmed at least a DOZEN declines. It was not entered wrong.
It is solely due to this error that I do not have tickets. This is an error on Blizz's side. I was there when Blizzard said I should be. I was patient when things went wrong. I stayed alert and was able to get in every time tickets were up (to my knowledge) and at 8pm last night when the last batch of tickets went up I tried multiple CC's and and had the same problem.
After dealing with this for 2+ days now, I'm pretty sick to my stomach over it. (1)
Domojin and I were in the exact same situation, experienced the same difficulties, and in the end both feel the same. Last years BlizzCon had tickets available for 3 days before they sold out.
Every month that goes by, their audience grows. Blizzard certainly has the census information of its customers and knew how successful BlizzCon was last year, I don't understand why their Marketing department didn't pick up on this and better prepare for the rush. I would say that the number of people playing WoW now compared to last near has grown at least 35% . I don't understand why Blizzard couldn't fucking use a service that better handles ticket distribution like TicketMaster. At least their servers can handle the traffic as well as inform users of errors, etc as you're purchasing tickets
I can't remember being THIS frusterated ever... I know I'm not the only one here. Many other people put alot of thier own time and money hand designing costumes for BlizzCon and I'm sure they're 100x more pissed off then I am. People all around the word booked flight tickets, and hotel reservations, and I'm sure quite a few of these people are going to lose money when they ask for their refunds.
All I can say Blizzard, is YOU fucked this up big time, and there are thousands of other people who would agree.
Blizzard announced they were going to reopen their shopping cart servers around 12PM PST. Well as expected, a huge rush of traffic caused the servers to become slow and sluggish, and in my case, error out. I made it as far as to the point where the servers were asking me to put in my credit card CVV/CVC codes, which of course at that point it crashed out. I have two seperate cards on attached to my account, and the shopping cart wouldn't accept the code for EITHER.
I must've at least made 20+ attempts between both cards getting the server to take the code but no luck... I would assume that was probably the last step prior to purchase. I HAD THE FUCKING TICKETS IN MY BASKET BUT I COULDN'T PURCHASE THEM BECUASE BLIZZARD'S SERVERS FUCKING SUCK! I'm so pissed right now..
Now their stock for BlizzCon tickets is marked "Sold Out"and will remain so until 8PM PST.
The bulk of the BlizzCon tickets we had available were sold out within minutes of ticket sales going live again this afternoon. We have a small reserve of tickets left -- to make these available to some of you who might not have had a chance to purchase yet, we will be releasing the remaining reserve tickets for sale tonight, August 12, at 8:00 PM PDT. We appreciate the enthusiasm everyone has shown, and wish we were able to accommodate even more attendees at this year’s BlizzCon.
I'll try again then, but I'm not holding my breath... Blizzard really fucked this up for everybody. Next time use a third party service like Ticketmaster that can handle this shit without issues you dumb fucks. Thanks for making me waste all my time for nothing...
I really don't know what to say about this... Except that this restriction that Nintendo has put in place for this man is such horseshit. Nintendo has banned the creator of Mario & Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto from being able to speak publicly about his personal hobbies & likes/dislikes. Any typical corporation will have you sign a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) about not leaking internal secrets about the company you work for, but your personal hobbies? This is insane! Nintendo's claim:
Any inside glimpse into the man's lifestyle could potentially be worth billions to competitors. Many of Nintendo's successful franchises in recent years have been inspired by what Miyomoto comes up with in his free time. If he talks about his hobbies with reporters, people could latch on to them prior to their development with Nintendo and cash in on Miyamoto’s thoughts. (1, 2)
I'm really curious as to what his personal feelings are by this additional restriction they've put on him. I can't imagine this agreement went smoothly. Or maybe Nintendo paid him a large sum of money? In any case, I guess he's obeying and not speaking.
Monday, August 11, 2008
They are quite small compared to the average person and can be sneaky most of the time. Now as a slight bit of background information I let my ferrets roam around my room freely. I just barricaded off the door with a wire cage from Petco. This let them run around and play freely...mostly hiding my socks in places they aren't supposed to go. I ended up stepping on one when I jumped out of bed and it squeaked and darted off. A ferret will hide it's pain very well and I didn't realize until later that she was hurt. A trip to the vet showed the swelling to be a broken arm. It turned out to be worse than I thought. One side of the bone was broken and the joint was dislodged from the other side, leaving the bone to float.
[caption id="attachment_222" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Zzzzzzzzz... Painkillers"][/caption]
The biggest cost was keeping the cast/splint on her. It was hard to find a vet to even treat a ferret, let alone have supplies that small. They eventually came up with something and the first splint was done. She was mildly calm throughout the first week due to painkillers they prescribed for her.
Ok, painkillers are gone, but a very pissed off ferret can't move her arm. I had to go back to the vet several times for a new splint. At about $120 a splint, it ended up costing if I remember correctly $600+ between the meds, vet costs, and additional splints. Would the premiums have saved me the trouble? Perhaps. I would like to get new ferrets eventually, although I wish I could have kept my current ones. With a high maintenance pet I think $10-20 a month wouldn't be that bad. A ferret in their later years WILL develop health concerns. Some of them can shorten the time you have with your fuzzballs. This little post was inspired as I was reading and came across an article about pet insurance. If you have pets, you should do everything possible to take the best care of them, and it's not going to kill you to pay out an extra $10-20 for them a month. How many times have your parents said "We would love to get the doggy surgery, but that's a lot of money and it's just a dog". At first I didn't really feel the cost was required. If I get any high risk animals again it is something I am definitely looking into.
You know, despite Blizzard being a great company, I swear to god that company is run by penny-pinchers. They always underestimate their audience by never preparing for this shit. Rather then spend some money putting up additional servers for the rush of ticket sales, they don't do anything. Would it kill them to spend a few thousand dollars for a couple temporary servers to offset the rush of traffic they're getting to their websites? Stop being jewish damn it!
C'mon Seriously. I'm trying to order tickets to BlizzCon (which went on sale today August 11th) and their fucking servers are STILL down since they've open up sales this morning at 12:00AM. You would think with this being the 3rd BlizzCon they would at least learn from their mistakes and prepare? What the hell is up with their marketing department? Ok fine, they didn't expect the audience they got when World of Warcraft launched. That's acceptable but after THREE years of this shit, those marketing goons should have a DAMN good idea what to anticipate when it comes to such events.
Blizzard admitted they are aware of the issues and are trying to resolve the issue. I can't tell you how many times I've read those same lines. If there's one thing that Blizzard FAILS in, it's server management. Whether it's realm servers, web servers, or shopping carts, they've underestimated their audience EVERY SINGLE TIME.
[caption id="attachment_198" align="alignleft" width="227" caption="Blizzcon's Maintenance Graphic"][/caption]
Jesus Blizzard, get your shit together and learn from your freakin' mistakes.
10:43 AM: Just a note, it would appear their entire gateway is down at this time because not even Blizzard.com is working either. Worldofwarcraft.com works, but I guess their Blizzard store is linked with their corporate site.
1:12 PM: Going to Blizzcon.com will work, however if you attempt to purchase tickets, you will see a page saying "Under Maintenance."
2:03 PM: Their servers are back up, and they're slowly working. However I think they're having authentication issues here, claiming my username & password are invalid when I know for a fact they aren't.
2:24 PM: Well still trying on and off, and still can't get through despite their claims the servers are working.. O RLY? Then explain this to me:
[caption id="attachment_204" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Still getting server errors despite Blizzard's claim that the servers are operational. Suuuuure."][/caption]
3:06 PM: It appears that the site is down again for maintenance... Seems their announcement claiming the servers were "fixed" was premature.
3:33 PM: Blizzard has acknowledged that the servers are indeed "borked" again: Blizzard's Ackowledgement
5:44 PM: Servers partially working, yet it seems to still have that authentication issue as posted earlier.
6:08 PM: GOD F*&^*#ing DAMN IT! I was at the point where I was about to hit 'Submit Payment' and the F*#@ing site goes down AGAIN. The fact that purchasing tickets has become this huge of a hassle is the EXACT reason why I'm online bitching about this... This is shit.
8:00 PM: Servers still down... So much for tickets going on sale today...
Sunday, August 10, 2008
[caption id="attachment_162" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Issac Hayes (August 20, 1942 - August 10, 2008)"][/caption]
In 1997 he landed a role playing Chef in South Park. In an interview in 1999, Hayes described the South Park cook as "a person that speaks his mind; he's sensitive enough to care for children; he's wise enough to not be put into the 'whack' category like everybody else in town, and he l-o-o-o-o-ves the ladies." (1)
On March 13, 2006, Isaac Hayes was reported to have quit South Park over objections to the show's attitudes toward and depiction of various religions, claiming that the show had crossed the line from satire into intolerance. Despite the content of the official press release, however, there remains considerable speculation about the motivations behind his departure. South Park creators Parker and Stone assert that he quit due to the controversial episode "Trapped in the Closet", and its treatment of Scientology, as Hayes was a member. Series co-creator and writer Matt Stone commented in a manner that suggested that Hayes practiced a double standard regarding the treatment of religion on South Park: "We never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin." Others have suggested that Hayes left the show because of the external pressure forced by his fellow Scientologists and that the decision was not voluntary. It was eventually reported, however, that Hayes did not quit the show, but that the original press release announcing his departure was put out by someone who was not authorized to represent him. (2)
Parker and Stone started off season 10 of South Park by having Chef return brainwashed by the "Super Adventure Club" (AKA Scientology). Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and Stan realize Chef isn't his normal self and attempt to rescue Chef from this Super Adventure Club. As the boys escape the Club, they cross a bridge with Chef behind trying to catch up until a bolt of lightning strikes. This causes the bridge to snap resulting in Chef falling to his death where his body is ripped apart by lions and bears.
As recently as January 4, 2006, Hayes defended South Park's style of controversial humor to The Onion's AV Club and XM's Opie and Anthony Show, going so far as to note that although he was not pleased with the show's depiction of Scientology, he "understand[s] what [Matt and Trey] are doing." It has also been reported that Hayes suffered a stroke in the middle of January 2006 and may not be in a position to make major decisions for himself. The author or authors of the original press release remain unclear.
- Soul Legend Isaac Hayes Passes Away
- Chef's Article on Wikipedia
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Imagine having front row seat to a show like that... Freaking amazing.. Stay tuned, I'll be posting updates throughout the week with the results.
You know it never ceases to amaze me how fast these actors are dropping like flies. First Heath Ledger, (Mary-Kate you got some 'splaining to do...) then George Carlin, now Bernie Mac?
As little TV as I watch, this guy was all over it, I mean I would hear the name Bernie Mac at least twice every hour. Especially on the FOX channel.
Bernie Mac died Saturday (August 9th 2008) of complications of pneumonia, according to a family member and his publicist.(1) He was hospitalized in Chicago for over a week with the lung infection.
The comedian's publicist Danica Smith stated earlier this week that his condition was "stable." Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease, that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs. In 2005 he was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.(2)
Bernie Mac started his comedy career age 8 doing a stand-up performance at a church dinner. By age 20 he was taking his performances to the Chicago clubs. In 1992 his first appearance in a film "Mo' Money" as a club doorman. In 2001 he performed in "Ocean"s Eleven" with actor George Clooney, where he played a part in helping pull off the biggest hest ever known, walking out with $150 million. (3)
That same year, Mac also landed a contract with FOX Networks starring in his own TV show: "The Bernie Mac show" being somewhat based upon his personal life. He becomes a custodian over his sisters 3 children after she enters rehab. The show lasted 5 seasons before FOX announced his shows cancellation in 2006. (4)
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I've actually had this program for a few months now, but I hadn't been using it much until today when they released version 1.7. OoVoo is a voice communication tool specializing in video. You might be asking yourself: "Ok, well what makes this particular program stand out from the rest?" Well I have that answer for you...
Support for HD capable webcams.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="248" caption="Logitech Quickcam® Pro"][/caption]
If you own a Logitech Quickam® Pro 9000 or any webcam that's capable of displaying up to 640x480 (or higher), then this program will shine brightly where others don't.
Skype, ooVoo's competition does support HD video as well, however they slapped on a bunch of restrictions for no good reason which is complete horse poo-poo. I've listed below all the Skype requirements that MUST be met in order for you to take advantage of the High Resolution option:
- Intel Dual Core (or CoreDuo) processor (for both recipients for HD capability)
- Logitech QuickCams with Carl-Zeiss optics (9000 Pro, Pro for Notebooks) - [only Logitech cams are allowed to output HD video on Skype at the moment]
- QuickCam software drivers version 11.5 (If you use Logitech's webcams)
- Skype 3.6 (or higher)
Ok now here are the requirements for ooVoo to broadcast HD video:
- ooVoo version 1.7 (or higher)
- Any capable webcam displaying 640x480 (or higher)
That's it. So it looks like ooVoo wins the battle there. Now don't get me wrong, Skype isn't a terrible tool, it's just that it doesn't integrate the webcam as well as ooVoo does. Skype only limits webcam usage between two people where as you can have up to 3 (assuming you have a free ooVoo account). I'm an avid Skype user, and I will say that Skype uses significantly more resources then ooVoo does, and especially holds true when you use your webcam with it. Skype at times can use as much as 50MB of RAM idle. OoVoo while active and a webcam conference going uses approximately 34MB.
I'm not going to write a biased review here and say there's nothing wrong with ooVoo, in fact it does have some negatives. I've noticed when comparing both programs, ooVoo's audio filtration is bad. OoVoo has a noise cancellation feature that's just terrible; the level balance doesn't auto adjust well enough which causes the background sound on your parties end to cut in and out. Skype doesn't have this issue at all. The audio quality is significantly better with Skype, however if you enable the webcam, depending on how much available bandwidth you and your party have, it can severely degrade. Second, as of version 1.7 there is no a 468x60 banner that always displays when you're in a call, it's ANNOYING AS FUCK! I guess their justification for adding in the banner is becuase your call runs directly through their servers rather then using your computer as a node like Skype does.
Aside from ooVoo's awesome job integrating webcams, it also has quite a slick interface: (displayed below)
[caption id="attachment_108" align="alignleft" width="142" caption="Interface of ooVoo (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
If you've used Skype before, then you should recognize ooVoo's interface layout. It's very easy to use once you've added friends. It's just like using instant messenger. Just double click on their name (assuming they're online) and you'll make your call.
When you're in a call, the first thing you'll see are two windows side by side. If you both have your webcams plugged in, you should see each other in the preview window.
One last thing I'd like to note is that if you don't have ooVoo installed, you can invite non-ooVoo users to the conversations by sending them a generated link, which allows them to be a part of your conference through their browser.
[caption id="attachment_113" align="alignright" width="357" caption="Me strangling the jew remotely"][/caption]
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I have to say the "after" picture is a significant improvement over the original, hence the term, "Horse Head Girl."
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
- Anime (no I'm NOT an Anime nut)
- Video Sites
- YouTube (duh)
- Break.com (you may end up dumber visiting this website)
- LiveLeak.com - (Some of their content isn't for the weak)
- Your Daily Media
- Nothing Toxic - (NSFW in some cases)
- Leo Laporte (Tech Guy)
- Twit.tv (This Week In Tech)
- Leo Laporte's Blog
- The Giz Wiz
- Gibson Research Corporation (GRC)
- Websites where you can get cool stuff ( I won't provide any help in obtaining the cool stuff... It's up to you to figure that out)
- The Pirate Bay
- Torrent Leech (don't ask me for invites)
- Torrent Portal
- Underground Gamer
- Easy News (requires a monthly subscription)
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="230" caption="Comparison of the Gman models from Half-Life 1 to Half-Life 2"][/caption]
The Gman is one of many characters from a popular first person shooter game on the PC called "Half-Life" developed by Valve. Gman got this name because the developers at Valve didn't give his character any real identity, (or yet released an official name to us). The name originated from the name of the model associated with his character. Valve even refer to him as the Gman in the voice credits. Gman can be considered a term often referred to 'Government Man.'
I would go so far to say that the Gman is definitely beyond a 'Government Man'... From playing the game, it's clear that the Gman definitely isn't normal like any other character within the Half-Life story. It seems he has the ability to travel between worlds and/or dimensions. Throughout various cut scenes in the game, you can see the Gman entering through rooms where doors don't exist.
Ok so you're probably saying "That's great, but why use him?" I don't have a definite answer I could give you, it's basically comes down to these facts:
- The Gman is one of those characters that drive me crazy in a way where I want to know what his identity & true motive is in the Half-Life saga. Half-Life 1 released Nov. 1, 1998 and for 10 years I've always wanted to know who this guy was, not much has been explained about him, but it's my understanding in Half-Life 2 Episode 3, he'll explain his role, and hopefully something about himself.
- Only character in Half-Life 1 that was un-killable. For whatever reason the devs made him bulletproof.
- One of the most sophisticated models (CG Model) out there in the gaming industry today. Capable of doing virtually any facial expression you or me could do. Below is a demonstration showing off the new engine Valve developed using the Gman to show off its capabilities.
- Not even sure if he's actually human or not, when he speaks to you, it sounds like he's struggling to speak your language. When he speaks, he pauses unexpectedly between words in a way that doesn't seem human.
- His voice is very irregular. This is especially noticeable in the Half-Life 2 intro; very basey and modulated, no other character in the story has those traits.
The mysterious story behind the Gman has always intrigued me. No other game has been able to spark this much interest to me as Half-Life.
There seems to be some kind of underground Gman fan club because the number of YouTube videos featuring him are astounding. One of my favorite videos is the Gman "serving" Gordan Freeman. I find this video hilarious because this is totally not his style.
If you'd like to know more about the Gman, I would suggest reading up on his wikipedia article: Wikipedia - Gman
Sunday, August 3, 2008