Friday, September 21, 2007

Trying out Grand Central

Grand Central is a service that Google recently acquired. It looks rather interesting: they give you a single phone number to give to everyone, whether work, home, or friend-related. You can have the number behave differently based on who's calling as far as which of your numbers they get forwarded to: home, cell, work, etc.. The other main point to all this is that if your cell phone changes, say because you switch carriers, you don't have to have everyone alerted to your new phone number. They just keep calling your Grand Central number like before, and you just point Grand Central to the new cell phone.

My initial reservations are: once they have you reliant on them, will they start charging? If so, how much? And, will they be around 5 years from now? Having just seenYahoo Music Unlimited To Go being end-of-lifed, I wonder what it would mean if I really got hooked on this service and it went away? I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, since I would just have to point everyone back to individual numbers, so perhaps more inconvenience than actual "problem" per se?

So, one thing I'm playing around with is the ability to have a 'Call Me' button posted on the web that keeps my number private but lets others place a call. Feel free to say 'hi' if you want. Perhaps I'll leave it around for the fun of it, or perhaps not.... In any case, we'll see how this all goes.

Asleep In Reality

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Power Paper: Energy Storage by the Sheet: Scientific American

Power Paper: Energy Storage by the SheetBy surrounding carbon nanotubes with cellulose, researchers have devised a flexible, paper-thin power source
Power Paper: Energy Storage by the Sheet: Scientific American

Wow, that is something I just never thought would be possible.  I know I've also heard about displays as thin as paper in the past, so maybe they could combine these two things to have a self-powering paper screen!  ;-)

Blogged with Flock

A recent pic of our house

Taken last night when I was using my Nikon Coolpix L3 to try out the new version of iPhoto that's on the also-new iMac I just got. I'm trying to be more active on this blog (yet AGAIN), so thought this would be something good to do:

DIRECTV plugs into broadband over power line

DIRECTV plugs into broadband over power line

This is rather intriguing.  Unfortunately the speeds top out at 3 Mbps.  I download so many demos and things that it would be hard to give up the 8-with-bursts-to-16 that Comcast gives me right now.

Blogged with Flock

Saturday, June 23, 2007

XBox 360: Getting NAT status to OPEN

Like many others I've had some trouble getting my XBox 360 to have an 'Open' NAT status so XBox Live chat (and potentially other functionality) would work correctly. I was having a hard time getting this right, even when I did what seems to be the most common solution to the problem: adding the XBox 360 to my router's DMZ.

Here's one additional step I had to do to get things to work, that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere: In order to get your 360 into your DMZ you have to have a constant IP address for it. (Which plenty of sites did mention) HOWEVER, at first I was enforcing a consistent IP address for the 360 by setting the *360* to manually demand that IP address each time, rather than use DHCP. Doing that, my NAT kept staying at 'Strict'.

But, when I set my 360 back to using DHCP to get its IP address, and told my router to RESERVE the IP address I wanted for the MAC address of my 360, then POOF, my NAT setting went to Open! So, at least in my case, I had to not only add my 360 to my router's DMZ, but I also had to make sure that I enforced a consistent IP for it at the router instead of in my 360s network settings.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I need an avatar!

I got this from the Catprin site. I intend to use it on some forums that require a URL for your avatar image, so I'm sticking it here to do that. So, before you ask, NO, that is not one of my cats, and I would never do such a thing to one of my cats. Except maybe when they spill my soda bottle on me. Then anything is possible....

Vanguard: Much improved and soon to launch!

Over the last couple weeks I've been playing the Vanguard beta, and have been amazed at the numerous patches coming out for it. The team at Sigil is obviously working very hard at making this game fun to play while having a rich set of things to see and do, and they seem to be succeeding!

For those who pre-order there is early access starting this Friday, and the game officially goes live on the 30th. I'm very much looking forward to entering their world "for real" this Friday.

Look for Binter Cairn on Florindyl server......

Friday, January 12, 2007

A new MMO: Vanguard

V a n g u a r d - Saga Of Heroes

I've been playing the beta for the upcoming MMO Vanguard, Saga of Heroes. It's claim to fame is that it's being created by several people who were behind the original Everquest, and is billiing itself as an MMO that will emphasize grouping. They want Vanguard to have a sense of challenge (without being too frustrating, of course...), and are looking to slow things down a bit from the rollercoaster pace of MMOs like WoW and EQ2 (as it is now).

In addition to the standard adventuring and crafting as ways to advance, it will add 'diplomacy' as an all new track to advance along. This involves a mini-card-game of sorts that is quite fun. I've only done the first couple diplomacy-related quests, but am enjoying it so far. It does look to be a good change of pace and significantly different from adventuring or crafting.

The graphics are a mixed bag, with some awkward models and textures here and there, but also some gorgeous landscapes and city design. From what other beta players have told me, the world is absolutely enormous too. I've only explored a couple small areas so far, so can't directly vouch for that, but a large world is a big plus for people like me who love exploring.

Overall I think Vanguard looks very promising, and I'll be getting a copy when it's released on January 30th.

technorati tags:, ,

technorati tags:, ,

An odd omission

From a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News regarding end-of-year console sales, I found this interesting excerpt:

Among the newer consoles, Nintendo continued to fend off archrival Sony. U.S. retailers sold 604,200 Wiis, compared with just 490,700 PlayStation 3s. And the Wii could have done better, except that it was in short supply, noted Frazier. | 01/11/2007 | Video game sales soar in December

What the article neglects to mention is that the PS3 was in short supply too, but for some reason they only mention the Wii as being in short supply. The fact is that both consoles sold every unit they made available, so the only reason the Wii outsold the PS3 was due to supply.

I wonder why the article's author neglected that fact? The article was supposed to be a brief analysis of console sales, but it would have been very easy to also mention the PS3 was under shortage too. Why not? Did he not know? Did he not think it was relevant?

In any case, I do think the Wii will continue to outsell the PS3 in the short term because of the large difference in price point, and the fact that the Wii appeals to non-gamers. I think longer term (as in a few years) the PS3 will catch up as more people get HDTVs, but for now the Wii will most likely "win the battle". It is odd though, to see media bias towards the Wii. This is not the only article that seems to leave out salient points.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

PS3: The long-term plan

iTWire ran a story about a UK Research firm's prediction that in the long-term the PS3 would win the console wars. The story went on to say how many sites and polls of consumers contradicted that and said that the Wii would come out ahead.

While the Wii is clearly ahead in the short-term, I do think this story will end up being correct, provided people continue to switch over to HDTVs at an increasing rate. Upcoming PS3 games, whose graphic potential is only being hinted at by the outstanding Gran Turismo HD demo, will be very compelling. People will want to see things that take advantage of their new HDTVs, and once you've seen high def cable and DVDs, the graphics of the Wii are going to pale in comparison. The motion-sensitive remote is fun, but I think having games with gorgeous sound and graphics (some of which will no doubt have strong gameplay too) will be hard to resist once most people have TVs that can show them off to their full potential.

As long as the PS3 can hang in there for the next couple years until more people get their shiny new TVs and want new content to run on them, I think it will pick up the pace and do well. Only time will tell, but in the meantime I can play on both systems.... It'll be interesting to see where I end up spending more game time in the coming year. (Maybe my PC, the darkhorse of the race, will win out over all the consoles!)