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Journal: Driving in the Northwest 2

Journal by Saige

We've been getting unusual weather here in the Northwest recently. It snowed last Wednesday - which is unusual, but not unheard of. However, since then, the snow hasn't melted much at all. In fact, it's snowed twice more, and is snowing right now. We're not talking a lot - an inch here, a half-inch here. But the Northwest isn't prepared to deal with it. They don't salt the roads, and there aren't many plows. Many of the roads have just had to have the snow and ice get worn away from cars. Which doesn't always work...

...and some people don't know how to deal with the conditions. Definitely worth a view.

I hope that first person was massively ticketed - there's not knowing how to drive on snow and ice, and then there's being insanely reckless and dangerous.

Sony

Journal: PS3 Slow and Broken? 2

Journal by Saige

Just saw a pointer to an interesting article, and wanted to share this one with people.

If the story is correct, it looks like the PS3 hardware is slow and broken. If the numbers show are correct, the cell processor reads from local memory 250x slower than it writes - making it all but useless. Kind of a big oversight, you might say. Assuming these are true, the PS3 will cost a lot more than the 360 yet be much less powerful. If this is true, it's pretty much a two-horse race now in this generation.

(Note that I'm not submitting this as a story just because I'm a member of the Xbox team, and don't want to go down that road. I'll let someone else determine if it's worth sharing.)

User Journal

Journal: Bra ads... on Slashdot? 8

Journal by Saige

Just a quick note to say that I am utterly STUMPED why I'd be seeing Lane Bryant bra ads here on Slashdot. You want to talk about not hitting the target audience...

On a side note, I've just taken a new position here at Microsoft with a new team. I'll update about that soon, but it's definitely something I'm very excited about!

XBox (Games)

Journal: Submitted Story: Geometry Wars Leads Xbox Live Arcade Charg 1

Journal by Saige

As usual, I like to post any stories I submit in my journal, just so at least a few people can see it...

The Live Arcade on the original Xbox was ignored by just about everyone who owned that console, However, the updated version on the Xbox 360 is getting a totally different reception, spearheaded by the popular Geometry Wars, an old-school style 2-D shooter in the vein of Robotron: 2084 that has eye candy deserving of a next-gen title - all for $5. The demo has been downloaded 200,000 times - an impressive number for a console that's still in very short supply. With Street Fighter II coming this spring - decked out with a ton of online features - might Live Arcade be the 360's Halo?

PlayStation (Games)

Journal: Story Submission: Sony Says No PS3 Online Service 2

Journal by Saige

EDIT: This story has been accepted!

Online gaming fans are going to have to look past the PS3 to get their fix - Sony has announced that they are not doing a cental service for PS3 online gaming. Instead, it will be done in the same manner as the PS2, where each company decides what effort to put into it. Considering how weak the online support has been for the PS2, this may not bode well for Sony, especially with more and more rumours that they won't be launching until at least the 2006 holidays.

I have to admit that I'm only partially disappointed about this. The gamer part of me wants the PS3 to be a great console, and online gaming has become very important in what I look for since I started playing on Xbox Live. Knowing that there's not going to be any complete service that lets me track friends between games and such is a let-down.

However, the part of me that is a Microsoft employee and Xbox 360 fan is celebrating, because it means that the Xbox is going to slaughter the PS3 among people looking for online play. The online features of the 360 really have blown me away from the demos I've seen and the information I know.

User Journal

Journal: Insanity in Utah... 1

Journal by Saige

Recently, a "rave" was busted in Utah. No big deal, right? This happens all the time, right?

Not like this.

"Around 11:30pm or so i noticed a helicopter flying above the main stage of the event. At this point i am confused. The chopper began to come in closer to the stage with a search light focused on the crowd. I got nervous and still very confused and walked over to find my two friends I had arrived with earlier. Just as soon as i did that I looked over at my friend and asked "whats going on". That is when I was greeted by a man in full army attire, gas mask and all. He said to leave. I said what whats going on, at which point i was brutally attacked. Thrown to the ground and in the scuffle punched in the face by swat. That was not it either. I suppose i posed some a threat as another swat member rushed over to subdue me to the ground puting his knee in my back and arresting me. At that point I am screaming to a patron "whats going on?" He is just as confused as I am. At that point another swat member came over and kicked me in the leg. Let me tell you that I also only weigh 130 pounds. I had three grown men attack and beat me and throw me to ground for absolutely no reason at all. Not to mention being dragged to a van and violently being tossed in and taken to jail. Fined for resisting arrest and another outrageous charge. I do need to mention also that while this is all happening to me at the same time my two friends, a boy and girl were trying to reach out and stop them, at that point they were attacked and arrested as well."

Read about it at Metafilter and Everything2.

I don't do those dance parties - not only have I never been to one, I've never even had the chance. But with the disgusting police-state actions the Utah Police have taken, I have to help spread the word about the horrid mistreatment they've perpetrated, and the lies they're telling about the whole thing.

XBox (Games)

Journal: At Xbox HQ! 10

Journal by Saige

(I posted this over at My 1UP also.)

It's all about networking. :)

Yesterday, a friend of mine here at work IM'ed me - he was heading over to play some Halo 2 with a friend of his, a friend who happens to actually work on the Xbox itself. Did I want to go along? Well, duh! Hell yeah!

So I got to spend an hour and a half playing Halo 2 with a bunch of Xbox and Xbox Live guys. We actually played over Live, though since I don't have a memory card with my Live acct on it, I was under someone else. That time playing was on a nice large widescreen hi-def TV - which was in the guy's office! Seriously! There are a LOT of people there with them in their office, there are lounge areas with multiple widescreen TVs and beanbags, and all sorts of stuff. Heck, the lights in the wall sconces were Xbox green! There were also signs up all over the place talking about "Xenon", which was the code name for the 360. It was a VERY geeky environment - I loved it!

Even better, I got to see an Xbox 360 in someone's office. I think it was a pre-production case, as it looked to all be white plastic, none of the details. But I can say after seeing it in person that the size and shape is really nice, much much better than the current Xbox. I also got to hold an Xbox 360 controller. It's a bit smaller than the Controller S, and I found that I liked the size of the S better. The thumbsticks feel just as good, and I think the shoulder buttons are going to be much easier to use than those damn black/white buttons that are too hard to get to. They're also wider and have a better feel than the PS2 shoulder buttons.

I was hoping to have a chance to play the 5 upcoming Halo 2 maps, but no go - at least not this time. Perhaps next time.

Yes, there's likely to be a next time. And this next time, I hope to get advance warning. Because I really want to wear my clan shirt over there, and make sure to get a picture taken with the big Master Chief they have in the building lobby!

People there are definitely major gamers - wow, I just loved hanging over there!

PlayStation (Games)

Journal: I <3 Katamari 8

Journal by Saige

OK, this weekend, I finally got around to getting a PS2 (I had borrowed a friend's in the past, but she took it back). Along with that, there was a game I had heard so much about and had to buy.

Katamari Damacy.

Yeah, it's old news to a lot of people. Been there, done that, so on. Well, I never even had a chance to see it before, and since it was only $20, it was worth the money to check it out - if I didn't like it, well, not a problem at that price.

OMFG I love it! This is easily one of the strangest, most amusing games I've ever played. While we're at it, it's also insanely fun! I'm already certain I'm buying the sequel when it comes out, just for more Katamari fun - and I've got plenty more to do on this one.

I don't know which I found the most fun - the first time I rolled up a cat (*meow*), when I started rolling up people, or the latest levels where I've actually gotten big enough to start collecting the buildings from an entire town! I've already heard about building the moon, and I can't wait to see just how big I can get and what all I can roll up!

If you have a PS2, and haven't played this game, go get it. Now. Really.

User Journal

Journal: UPDATED: That's GibGirl PMS to You! 5

Journal by Saige

YAYAYAYAYAY! I made it! As of Saturday night, I recieved my Halo 2 clan invite to join PMS Bravo - the second tier clan of PMS! They didn't need to ask me twice. :)

See me in the list!

Now it's time to get to know some of the other gals, and become a full part of one of the best known all-female gaming clans.

(And, as with all the other PMS gals, I now have a 1up profile if anyone wants to check it out)

Update: I'm now in the list on the website!!

Microsoft

Journal: UPDATED: Microsoft Changes Position on Gay Rights Bills 5

Journal by Saige

Perhaps you guys remember the story about MS changing their position on a state gay rights bill. Especially since it's been big news in a lot of places - much bigger than I would have expected.

Well, we've just received a company-wide email from Steve Ballmer. The email states that the company has thought about the situation, and decided that their commitment toward diversity in the workplace will be greatly aided by laws helping to protect people from discrimination. The company has realized that it'll be hard to attract employees if those employees face discrimination in the communities they'll be living in while working in Microsoft.

So, while it's too late for this year, they've affirmed a commitment to support such bills in the future, both at state and national levels.

This is great news! It's hurt a lot of us to see them pull support from the bill this year, and I know it's been a big PR hit for the company, and cost them employees and prospective employees. This isn't going to fix the PR hit, but it should help in the future.

It also makes me feel like the company is still committed to their diversity policy and supporting their GLBT employees.

UPDATE: They've made the email public. Here it is.

XBox (Games)

Journal: i suX0Rs at halo 2 12

Journal by Saige

last night, i had a wonderful reminder of just how much i suck at halo 2. i'm attempting to join the pms clan - the most well-known all female clan (which i've found out is not actually related to the original quake pms clan, just continuing on in the same spirit)

well, part of getting in is spending time playing in clan practices, getting to know the other girls and such. sounded great, but the actual games aren't quite as fun as expected - i found out really quickly that they're all considerably better than me. out of 13 games played while i was on team with some of the other gals, i think i managed to avoid being in last place on the team a total of 3 times - and one of those was a tie for last.

i found that even a huge win over another team isn't much fun if you only contribute 5 of the 50 kills, and have more deaths than anyone else on the team.

i had to go play with another group of people for a bit to remind myself that i can actually win some games against other people, as i was so discouraged from how things went.

i'm not certain if i'm going to even bother trying to get involved with the clan at this point, maybe i'll wait, see if i get any better at the damn game first, and try again when i might not embarass myself as much.

(oh yeah i'm feeling discouraged... can you tell?)

Media (Apple)

Journal: So, iBought an iPod 4

Journal by Saige

Well, it finally happened. It was just a matter of time. Inevitable, really.

I bought an iPod. Actually, techincally, we bought iPods. My other half and I each picked up a 30-gig iPod (photo). We had been talking about it for a while, and just suddenly had the urge to go do it. Sort of early anniversary presents for each of us.

I have hardly ever messed with them in the past. I've seen people with them occasionally, and briefly played with both another color iPod, and an iPod mini in the last couple weeks. So I can't say I was totally familiar with them, just enough to know that it was the portable music player of choice for us. We wanted space, so a flash drive wasn't going to work. And every review I've seen has pretty much stated that the iPod has the best interface and controls out there - besides the cleanest look.

So yesterday was spent playing around with them. Installing iTunes on the PC, getting some file tags cleaned up, and loading music onto iPods. Unfortunately, we don't have any USB 2.0 ports on the computer, so the transfers were nice and obnoxiously slow. But we still got all the mp3s that were on the computer transferred over (I did some at work today, since I have a large library here after bring in music to rip), most of the time spent now will be ripping CDs to mp3, and copying to the iPods won't take nearly as long in comparison.

Anyway, I already love the little thing, and now it's time to start picking up accessories. The big things to get at first are covers to protect them, and armbands so they can be taken to the gym. I've already browsed the iPodLounge a bit, and will be spending more time there to look for the useful things to get. But I'm open for suggestions!

User Journal

Journal: So I Blew The Photo Contest 7

Journal by Saige

I would have taken some time to make some guesses, but I just kinda avoided the whole thing cause I was upset at the way I just gave myself away while trying to have a little anonymous fun. I don't know what's more embarassing - the inability to handle a simple checkbox, or what I said when I gave it all away.

So nobody even guessed me as anyone else, which was totally unsurprising.

Well, I've relinked to my Flickr stream, so those who want to see the NEW hair color can just hop over there and view it. You'll have to go back a couple pages, or just tag search for "hair".

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

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