Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Media Center Edition Plus GameEx MAME Plug-in = 1,2 Punch of Goodness

I'm no micro$oft fanboy, even the stuff they make that's pretty cool doesn't excite me like it should. Imagine my surprise when I found myself "loving" my media center pc connected to my tv, maybe more than a grown man should love a piece of electronics. Sure, I know the joys of a digital PVR, its a beautiful thing, but new are the joys of the Media Center PC, for one I can dump my backed-up divx and xvids, which play beautifully (read:install codecs). I like the online content, the TV recording tools are easy to use and have loads of great options (for example, say you want to tape the Simpsons Series, it will ask you if you want to tape from other channels to max out your occurences, and then tell you if there are dupes, conflicts, etc). It doesnt stop there, if you already have movies, photos and music on another PC in the house, you can stream everything over the network. I set up my machine to boot directly into Media Center, even though I know its booting into XP, then launching MCE, I just feel better not seeing XP, I think for the other people in the house, they are mostly unaware that its a computer and just think of it as some magical media gizmo.

The TV guide will also tell you all the movies on over the next 2 weeks and you can pick which ones you want to record, you can sort by genre, date, rating, release date, etc - complete with cover art, reviews and decription of the movies.

OK so I'm not going to get into details of building this PC or costs, you can buy a premade one for under 1G, you can build it even cheaper (or more, depending on how l33t you want it), I would recommend splurging on the case and getting something that doesnt look like a PC under your TV (unless you can hide it, computers dont excite the ladies like you may think). If you want to build one, just make sure you get cards that are supported by Media Center, all supported devices are listed here.

Still not convinced? well I've been polishing this silver bullet, there's a MAME front end for the MCE called GameEx , I dont usually pay for software but this 19 dollar enabler is the bomb diggity, everyone knows MAME is cool, but sitting at your PC to play games is shit ass lame, sitting at your TV with your friends watching a movie and taking a break to play some double dragon, pac man, SF2 and puzzle bobble (or any of the other 14 gigs of mame roms out there).. thats awesome. Best part is, everyone can play arcade games, there's not that "how do I strafe" issue with pac man, it's the first time when we had a bunch of people over and the girls wanted to choose the games to play and didnt end up getting bored cause we're playing burnout or something like that.

Theres EVEN more, with DVRMSToolbox (free) and ShowAnalyzer (10bucks), you can convert your recorded TV to whatever format you want AND detect and skip commercials, now thats sexy.

"Hand of Ike" gives the media center + mame combo a Five Finger Slap Of Approval! (that's a top score for those of you unaware of the 1-5 finger slap system)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

review of: snosaj's lame excuse for not reviewing anything.

So, there's this guy. he's part fish, part boy. and he's supposed to review things on this blog as well as the other 3 of us. It ain't called Triliteral, you know. It ain't called Doom Coast to Coast, either. ok, I"m off track. so, the fishboy says the reason he hasn't added anyhting to this page is because he wants his reviews to be good. and he wants to have enough time to make it good. does anyone out there care?? really? this is the worst review ever. I'm essentially reviewing someone not reviewing anything. man, I"m no better tha glen shaeffer reviewing those oscar speeches!! oh wait... I"m way better. While I'm off track, maybe I should mention how awesome I am. or maybe I'll jsut go hit fishboy with a stick until he does something.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Best Kick In The Balls of 2006

So far, anyways.

Check out the new shirt I just got:

Awesome, hey? I mean, not as awesome as ...say... keeping my job, but pretty close. Cray Management decided that we all ought to get these shirts as appreciation for helping close some really important sales. Yeah, we all worked on the Sweet 16 for about 6 months trying to get these systems accepted, all along we were told that the future of the company hung in the balance.

So we wrapped 'em all up, and guess what? Time to close the office. Hah! Good one! Thanks for the shirt, Cray!

Free posters, too.

Easily the Best Supercomputer Poster Ever. If you can't read the caption, it says "Purpose-Built for High Performance Computing". As opposed to the millions of dollars that get spent to build these things by accident? Meh. I'll never understand marketers.

Friday, March 10, 2006

in which I attempt to review a review of the Academy Awards acceptance speeches.

I was trying to find out why the 98 B-Line bus was routed along 16th Avenue at one point last weekend, so I searched the local paper websites. Particularly, The Province. First I'd like to say that this paper is a horrible waste of paper. The crossword is really good, the rest is a bunch of fear-inciting articles about street racers, grow ops and home invasions. Although, I hear the sports section is good for people who like that kinda thing.

So I never found any article explaining why I saw the B-Line on 16th, but I did find this review. It was probably the stupidest, most pointless, assinine review I've ever read. So I shall write a review about it.

In this article Glen Schaefer has decided to review Oscar Acceptance Speeches. WHaaaA? Holy Crap, I thought... get a life, man. First, let's just think about critics. What are critics? People who were never able to do anything useful with their lives, so they somehow created a career out of criticizing people who actually do something in life. And in this case, Glen Shaefer has criticized an elite group of people that he will never be a part of. Deal with it, man. You will never get to accept an Oscar in your life. Neither will I, but at least I don't get money for telling people what they should think of celebrities.

here's a couple of the abominations that went into print:

Reese Witherspoon: "Loses marks for: Thanking "everyone at Fox." Send the corporation a card next time."
---uh... why don't YOU send a card, Glen??? instead of writing this drivel?! Did her mom make the movie, Glen? no, Fox did. I'd thank them, too. I think we should all thank Fox for giving us the Simpsons, anyway. thanks Fox.

George Clooney: "Loses marks for: A tad self-congratulating to the liberal in-crowd."
---uh... jealous, much, Glen??? did that crowd alway pick on you in highschool?

screenplay adaptors from Brokeback Mountain: "Loses marks for: HMcMurtry thanks his lawyer"
---uh... have you seen brokeback mountain, glen?? do you know what it's about?? do you know anything about this writer and his lawyer's relationship? I don't. but I ain't gonna judge him for thanking a lawyer. maybe 'lawyer' is code for him. maybe he really meant his drug dealer, but it's not really acceptable to thank your drug dealer at these events, is it?

anyway, you see what I'm talking about?? this guy has something good and/or bad to say about everyone's oscar speeches. plus he grades the speeches like they were highschool assignments. ass. and he prints the time of each speech in seconds. The only good thing I saw in this article was the quote he used for George Clooney, "So, I guess I'm not winning best director." That's a good quote. It hints at the lame ass politics that are so often integral in deciding who will win what oscar.

end rant/

Best Album of 2005?

I think I may have to agree with gwilli on this one. Not that I listen to a lot of modern music, and I'll be the first to admit that my tastes are particularly impressionable in this area. But Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News is pretty good. Definitely worth a listen. Better than the previous two albums I have been smitten with, Arcade Fire - Funeral and Franz Ferdinand. Both of which were recommended by people who are far more hip to this sort of thing than myself.

That is all.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Get it on, Bang Acon(da), Get it on!

Every now and then I get a hand me down thats pretty cool. Recently I got a Loewe Aconda TV , it didnt work and I got it repaired for 150 cdn and I'm glad I did. This is a West German TV from 2002, and it weighs approximately one million pounds. I have the say, the picture on this thing is amazing and in terms of interface, I've never seen anything quite like it. when you do the setup it actually has pretty elaborate animations to tell you how to hook up your HD Receivers, dvd players, camcorders and computers.

I hooked up my gamecube and my iBook G4 Laptop and I was really impressed by the sound and picture quality. I noticed my 16x9 wasn't very wide at all so I made adjustments in the service menu (hit "menu" on TV and then "menu" on remote and your in) and now I am using about 97 percent of the screen, meh, nothing is perfect.

I watched some regular TV on it and noticed that the screen size would keep changing on it own on certain channels, I realized that the TV is detecting the letterbox programs and commercials and auto resizing to show the programing in wide screen, found the setting but decided to leave it on, its kinda neat.

I played some mario super strikers and after that I turned off the TV, the sound fades, screen dims and the picture closes inward like a movie curtain, kinda creeped me out. Nice thing is you can turn all these little "features" off if you want it like that.

My ratings:

Picture: 5/5 I really can't fault the picture, its a damn computer monitor, it looks good, the side by side split screen is really good in the 16x9, the preset video settings are well balanced.

Sound: 5/5 sound was full and would be suitable for even a larger room, again the presets were pretty good and the individual settings were nice.

Inputs: 3/5 you can plug in lots of things, but only one component in and one VGA and No DVI? this probably was more than enough in 2002 but in 2006, I need like 5 component in, HDMI and other goodnesses.

Value: 1/5 Canadian Hifi sells this for over 5g? thats outta control, they say the MSRP is 8g? I call bullshit.. for far less you can get pretty awesome TV's these days, perhaps not made in West Germany, maybe without some of the nice little things this TV offers. thats being said, if you could get one of these for less (150 was perfect for me, cause I'm just a lowly labourer) I would say, yes its an awesome TV that will rub you right way.

Overall: 4/5 (not an average) I wouldn't have this under other circumstances, but I do have it, think its great. I know people gripe about how in depth the menu's are but I like that you can control so much and do shit like rename the inputs, little stupid things like that, the fade out, there's a nifty channel surf grid system thats kinda cool, the remote isnt too busy which is good cause it isnt illuminated.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Best Sci-fi/Zombie/Western Flick EVAR

...has got to be Serenity. Now, don't go into this movie thinking it's going to challenge your perceptions or adjust your perspectives vis a vis homosexuality in 60's cowboys or racial strife in Los Angeles or anything like that. But tons of shit gets blowed up, which is always great to see.

In terms of the storyline/characters/depth of plot/etc, I think it's about all you can expect from a sci-fi movie that's meant to have mass appeal. Thoroughly enjoyable. Joss Whedon takes us on a "fast paced, roller coaster ride at breakneck speed with twists and turns" [Russ Weeks, 2006].

Just watch the damn movie. It ain't bad. If you like it, there's 14 hours more where that came from.

2005 Best Album(s)

Listen, I don't quite know how you compare art. You look at these albums this year, of these musicians and unless they all did the same song. Unless they all did the same album, I don't know how you compare them. They are stellar performances and wonderful work, and I'm honored, truly honored to be hearing them. I find it hard to say one album is the runaway best album of 2005 to me, here's my short list:

Common - Be
Antony and the Johnsons - I am a bird now
Live from planet X - MF Doom

George Clooney

Monday, March 06, 2006

Best Album of 2005

I just wanted to say, that the best album of 2005 is Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse.

at first, I thought this album just had a couple real good songs. but the more I listened the more it grew. and it's still growing. at least once a day, I want to Dance Hall Dance Hall Everyday. and for this, I blame modest mouse. thanks.