Today’s Dilbert Was Written With Us In Mind

Yep, that’s me…

Dilbert is a favorite strip of many office workers and geeks, and barely a week goes by where you can’t identify with one of the strips Scott Adams has done, but today’s looks like it was written with gadget geeks in mind, so I just had to share it.

[From Today’s Dilbert Was Written With Us In Mind]

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  

PS3: Games…

I got the following 3 games for launch:

Virtual Fighter 5
Read the reviews. It’s all true. Looks, IMO, a lot better than DOA4, and i always liked the series for it’s being closer to reality. Good game, if you are into precision fighting games. The Quest mode is fun so far, let’s see how long the appeal lasts. In terms of “no online game” ditches it got, I do agree with the publishers statement, that having an online mode for a game that fast is impossible. DOA4 proves quite nicely that winning there mostly depends on connection speed and luck. I was in matches where my opponent fell down without moving, or i just dropped dead without a chance to counter my invisible opponent…

NBA Street
I loved that game when I played it years ago on the PS2, and this incarnation is just so much fun again. Great dunks, very nice commentary on all the outdoor courts and the NBA stars that were born there. The career mode is fun, the game looks great. Good buy.

Motor Storm
Just wow. Playing this on my projector with a 7 foot screen is the a complete blast. It might not be the most realistic driving simulation (NOT), but even my daughter thinks this is a fun game, and she normally despises driving games. The graphics are very very sweet. This game actually shows off my XBox. I do not have any driving game on that platform that comes close to this, in terms of graphics.

All in all, 3 very good games.

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:29 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3: Networking

The Playstation Network in Europe seems to be completely overwhelmed, or just badly implemented, as I was unable in the last 3 days to create sub accounts for the rest of my family. Entering any online game failed as well. There might be several reasons for this, including my wireless setup (although that works fine for XBox360), but I decided just to wait a few weeks and check it out when the dust has settled. When XBox Live launched, it was a hazzle initially as well, by now this is a very mature system. I hope PSN get’s to the same level fast…

I was able though to download demos from the store, including Gran Tourismus HD. That’s something… 🙂

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3: Initial impressions

I got my own PS3 on the day of the European launch on Friday. I already had the old PS2 hooked up with a digital audio and a component cable from Monster to my AV equipment, so i could just unplug the old, and plugin the new, and be done with it. This is a nice touch in my book.

The build quality is excellent. Handing, touching, using a PS3 feels like using a high quality audio component. Setting it up, including wireless, was flawless (assuming you are familiar with the PSP interface, which I am, if you are new to it, your mileage may wary). I like the build in WiFi, and, comparing it to my XBox360, this brings the official price difference down to a good 100 Euros. For that you get BlueRay and a bigger HD, and of course a bundle of other differences.

The controllers are “small” compared to the XBox360, and they do not seem to have removable batteries. For my large hands they are the minimum size to be comfy with, but the rest of my family likes them a lot more than the heavy XBox360 controllers.

I set the system up to 720p (the highest native resolution of my TV and my Projector, both support 1080i, so i might try that later). The output works fine on both systems, and the readability of the UI is good.

I then created some user accounts for my family, changed default logon settings etc, and created a Playstation network account for myself.

So far, so good. From just the first 2 hours, i like the machine a lot.

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3 vs. XBox360 – DVDs and Music

Yesterday I took an hour to compare the 2 console systems as media systems.

XBox360: the biggest plus I see is the ability to be an extender for your computer system. I don’t see similar functionality for the PS3 yet, so that is a clear win for the Microsoft system (calling it XBox from now on).

I tried just one album, the 20th anniversary SACD hybrid from Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms”. I ripped 3 songs to the XBox, and ripped the whole CD to the PS3. I did the later, as the PS3 does not allow me to select which songs to rip, on the other hand, ripping the whole CD on the PS3 is as fast as ripping 3 songs to the XBox.

I did not change any settings. On the XBox you can not change any CD ripping related settings. On the PS3 you can. Several formats and qualities are available. The PS3 also can play SACDs directly in multi channel sound.

The PS3 interface is, IMO, more elegant and gives you more information. On the other hand, the ability to show the encoding and the bitrate is probably only interesting if you are able to do that in the first place, and if you are a nerd…

Sound. No comparison. The XBox looses detail like hell (this is true for playing the CDs directly, or for the ripped songs) compared to the PS3. It’s no contest.

I tried the 2nd Tomb Raider movie, mainly because it has decent picture quality and it was just lying close to the consoles as a region 2 movie.

Sound: The same as with Music. The XBox can not hold a candle to the PS3 for playback. The XBox sounds hollow, loosing details, missing dynamics.

Picture: The story continues. The Xbox has a fuzzy, washed image, with not enough contrast and the occasional artifact. The PS3 on the other side is 2 classes beyond that. Where the XBox fails to be as good as your run of the mill 100 Euro standalone DVD player, the PS3 is easily that good, if not better. Note that the PS3 does not have scaling build in yet, so both systems were running at Pal progressive resolutions.

When my real DVD player was broken a while ago, I had to use the XBox as a player for a month. This was a bad experience, the XBox is louder than my projector, and the picture/sound is really bad. With the PS3 I do have a decent backup system now, one that i can easily recommend to others as a good system in that price-range. With the XBox, I told people, great gaming system, but go and buy yourself a DVD player as well….

And, it’s quiet. When both systems are turned on, and you listen to music from the harddisks on both, you turn off the amplifier. You hear the distant rumble of the airplanes… no, wait that is the fan noise.. You turn off the XBox… and the noise stops. Yes, the PS3 has a fan as well, but it’s a lot quieter during DVDs/Music in comparison to the Xbox.

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Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Why Vista’s DRM is bad for you…

Forbes published this article, which is a good read on the motivations behind the recent DRM initiatives inside Windows Vista. Bruce Schneier is probably correct on most of this, which, in deed, paint’s a dark future for consumers. It’s going to be interesting to see who will win in this clash of cultures: The ReMix generation vs. the ageing Dinosaurs of traditional Media (and i count Microsoft fairly in the ageing Dinosaur camp – their intention is to win by helping the Dinosaurs win…).

Published in: on February 13, 2007 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

The new iPod Shuffle

While I was traveling in California last week, I went by an Apple Store and picked up the new iPod Shuffle. When I do travel, i don’t take an iPod with me anymore, mainly because I already take a PSP with me (for watching movies on the plane – the screen is just far superior to the in-flight seat video, or an iPod video). But the PSP is not a good music player (bulky, bad battery time, awkward to control), so I was looking for a companion player.

The new Shuffle fits that bill nicely. You have to hold one to just understand how “small” that thing is, and still functional. Sound is good (at least I don’t hear a difference compared to my other iPod), battery lifetime is great, and the build in clip is just so convenient.

Highly recommend stocking stuffer….

Published in: on November 15, 2006 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Customer Service & Alamo

I am in California right now, visiting Mountain View. The weather is comparably nice (no snow), and i am trying to enjoy this trip as much as possible. I got a rental car from Alamo, and the first morning when I got out of the hotel, I discovered that the right front tire is flat.

Now this kind of sucks big time. I get to work and call their service line. They can send someone out to repair it (by putting the spare tire on it), but i have to be there and I have to pay 65$ up front they I will get reimbursed with later. They also recommed that I change the car later, as I should not be driving with the spare tire too much.

I would have expected that they just send me a new car, and take care of the old one, instead of letting me hoop through all that hazzle. Next time, no Alamo.

Published in: on November 4, 2006 at 12:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Movie: Final Fantasy VII

Advent Children is a CGI movie, and the 2nd from Square. I enjoyed the first movie they made, and found that one to be a very intelligent and interesting SciFi movie. Sadly, Advent Children is a movie only suitable for hardcore Final Fantasy (the game) fans. Endless battles, that you can only comprehend if you ever played the game, and lot’s of loose story ends that, again, only make sense in the game contents. It’s great in terms of animation, picture quality, but in terms of suitability for the not video game crowd it’s a 1 out of 5. Not recommended.

Published in: on October 24, 2006 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Audio filters

I finally decided to buy 2 powerline filters (Direct Audio AF1 MKII), mainly because I do sometimes get audio dropouts, mainly in 5.1 soundtracks, and it was suggested to me that this could be due to noise in the powerlines. Having protection for my equipment is never a bad thing, as that replacement would be a lot more expensive than to replace a filter or a fuse, and as I do have quiet a mess behind the amplifier this was a good opportunity to clean up.

First of all, after installing them, I listened to the latest Diana Krall album. I plugged the amplifier into the normal outlet, listened to a few songs. Then i plugged the amplifier into the filter, listened again. Repeated the whole thing. I got my 11 year old daughter to sit with me and verify. I then switched to David Munyon and repeated this.

All i can say is, man, that is the best 100$ i spend on HiFi equipment in along time. The sound, and my daughter agrees, is much warmer, Diana Krall sounds like she is 10 inch taler, David Munyons baritone was even more bone-tingling, if that is even possible.

Is this for everyone? No clue. As my regular HiFi dealer told me, the effect depends a lot on the fluctuations of your power lines in the first place. For me, this was well worth the money. Adding the 2nd Filter to the DVD player added a bit more, but that was barely noticeable. Switching between just the DVD and just the Amplifier, the effect was better with just the Amplifier using a filter.

Published in: on October 20, 2006 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment