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Comment Re:mostly borderlands (Score 1) 669

I'm with you. I never thought there would or could be a game that I loved or played more than Team Fortress 2, but Borderlands 2 has taken that title. It is a fantastic blend of FPS and RPG, the stories are worthwhile and are frequently very funny (and sometimes touching), the art is great and the voice acting is some of the best I've heard. It is fun to play solo and LOTS of fun to play multiplayer. Once you beat the game it starts over again with everything scaled to greater difficulty (and greater rewards). I never imagined that could be fun, but because of the story and the acting and the gameplay, I've not only played through more than once I've played through more than once with each of the six character classes. I own it on PS3, Steam and will buy a Vita to play it mobile. For me, there just is not a better game!

Comment Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (Score 3, Insightful) 422

Also, a GPS unit is relatively durable, so if I bought one last year, I have no need to buy one again this year. Combine these two, and it's easy to see a significant decline in sales, even without considering smart phones.

This. Beyond durability, they are more upgradable than ever. I bought a GPS unit that, in addition to purely fun stuff like customizing the voice and changing the car graphics, has upgradeable maps, all of this via USB. A family member recently ditched their old, non-upgradeable GPS unit for the same style that I have because the map in their old GPS was so out of date it was unusable. While they will have to buy new maps from time to time, it is unlikely that they will buy new hardware for a LONG time.

The release of firmware- and map-upgradeable hardware at a price within reach of average consumers is a fairly recent phenomenon...one that may even coincide with the this dip in hardware sales. Let's see how TomTom and Garmin's map update subscriptions are doing too, to get a full picture.

Comment Eyeballs to Interfaces (Score 2, Interesting) 422

I can't argue with their sales data, but I concur with the "hogwash" tag. There was a time when I carried a PIM, a Cell Phone and an MP3 player, and rejoiced when I could finally afford a single converged device. It makes sense both from a technological and a practical point of view that we've achieved further convergence to the point that one device can additionally have GPS and games and a camera and video and internet browsing and more. However, there is a ceiling on the eyeballs-to-interfaces ratio that you're going to hit at some point: there's only so many things you can do at once.

On a recent long car trip my "phone" was monopolized as I had it playing music for the whole ride, and my wife frequently used it to surf the net. Occasionally we even took a phone call. In short, because we were already using multiple other features on the "phone," the GPS functions could not be in front of my eyes when I wanted them.

So count me in as someone who does have a mobile convergence device but was nonetheless very happy to have purchased a standalone GPS (my first, a TomTom One XL), earlier this year (ironically right in the middle of their 1st quarter sales downturn).

Comment Re:Ztetris port available? (Score 2, Informative) 177

For multiplayer where you send garbage to your opponent, what you want is Tetris for the Nintendo DS. As essential on the DS as it was on the earlier Game Boys, this is a tremendous value in that you can do a 10-player local (line of site) game when only one of you has the cartridge. You can also play against three people online.

Ooh, and they released Tetris via WiiWare and its multiplayer lets you send garbage as well.

I always loved Tetris Attack for the SNES (and Gameboy Color), and was disappointed that they didn't include that as one of the modes in Tetris DS. However, Planet Puzzle League plays very similarly.

Comment Re:My experience with GrandCentral (Score 1) 206

I signed up for GrandCentral back when it was pretty new, but I never really used it for the sole reason that I had to be at my computer to get my voice mails. If I was wandering around and just barely miss a call, I don't know who it was and what's more (if I recall correctly) I don't know who was calling either, because it's the "GrandCentral" number that comes into your phone.

While I think you're right that it *used* to be that way, and that it still *defaults* that way, for some time (at least a year?), Grand Central has had a Caller ID option in their settings tab where you can chose, a la:

"What Caller ID do you want us to display when GrandCentral calls your forwarding phones?

  • Display Caller's number; I will know who's calling before picking up (default)
  • Display my GrandCentral number; I will know if the call came through my GrandCentral number

Also, if you call your Grand Central number from one of the phones you've told it to ring, it takes you right to your voice mail menu: you don't have to be at a computer to get your voice mail.

Comment Re:You people should work for Fox (Score 1) 753

You talk about ditching the show so quickly and yet wonder why Fox does it...gee, I wonder.

With apologies to pvera, who likes Fringe, I gave up on Fringe after 5 episodes. I understand what you're saying about giving a show a fair shake, but how many episodes does it take? I was very enthusiastic about Fringe and I think I may have even watched the premier live (vs. timeshifting on DVR). But after 5 episodes I decided that it was contrived to the point that I couldn't enjoy it.

I don't see a reason to inflict self-punishment by forcing yourself to partake in entertainment beyond the point that you that you don't find it entertaining. There has to be some point, and maybe it's one episode, maybe it's 3 or 5, where I have to say, "This is not as entertaining or diverting as my other available entertainment options, such as Team Fortress 2."

And with a lot of hour-long serialized dramas these days, you have to be in for the long haul. I'm not necessarily compelled to watch every week of most of the Law and Order shows, as they're fairly self-contained. But if you miss an episode of 24 or Lost, you're not going to get it. And Fringe felt like it was trying to be one of those types of shows, so what I was really deciding wasn't that night's 40 minutes of entertainment, but whether it was good enough to commit to 13 or 23 hours or whatever.

Comment Why does it matter what night a show is on? (Score 1) 753

I've had a DVR for a number of years now (first from Time Warner, now Tivo), and I have to tell you, they make it completely irrelevant what time or day a show is on. When my son was growing up he didn't even know when his shows were on: to him, when it was time for SpongeBob or Power Rangers, they were always just there.

While I understand not everyone has a DVR, when people say they don't watch Conan O'Brian or Robot Chicken or SNL or whatever because they can't stay up that late...well, neither can I. But I record(ed) Conan every night and would check it out the next day. Sometimes I'd listen to a monologue while shaving the next morning.

For a long time, that kind of activity was transparent to the networks from a Nielsen perspective, but Nielsen is finally tracking DVR usage, and its making a difference, i.e. Nielsen Reports DVR Playback Is Adding To TV Viewing Levels. My family is watching Dollhouse, but have never watched it on Friday. On Monday March 9 we watched the episode that aired Friday Feb 7. We still have an episode on the Tivo from Friday March 6. And I know I'm not the only one that's doing that...reports are that viewership went up 30% once time-shifting was factored in.

So while I think that Fox are boneheads because they have canceled and/or otherwise botched a number of my favorite shows (Futurama and especially Firefly), I genuinely don't think that being on a Friday night matters anymore, especially to a possibly more tech-savvy (and likely to DVR or internet time-shift) sci-fi audience.


Submission + - Programming Sucks! Or At Least, It Ought To (thedailywtf.com)

klausboop writes: "Alex Papadimoulis of The Daily WTF blog has posted an insightful essay about . Alex says, "Only a select few get paid to develop "sexy" software, whereas most of us are stuck developing the boring stuff...there's a term for this type of boring software: information systems." After noting the tendency for programmers to artificially create complexity in order to challenge themselves (and what results when that happens), he proposes a way to rethink software development which starts with with "learn the business" and ends with "get another job.""

Comment MBA mentality (Score 5, Interesting) 407

I think that Dvorak is putting too much blame on the spreadsheet: it was just an accelerant on an already-burning fire. As Frank Zappa said when asked, "What do you think happened in this country?"

Well, two important things, and each one of them has only three letters: One was LSD...and the other is MBA. When people started taking MBA seriously, that was the beginning of the ruination of the American industrial society. When all decisions are based on an MBA's concept of numerical reality, you're in deep , because the only thing that can be judged as real is that which can be proved by a column of figures. And when all aesthetic decisions are turned over to these kinds of people, who use these criteria to make steering decisions for a company with no regard for people and no regard for what the product really is, and the only thing that matters is maximizing your profit, you have a problem. Because you can't have quality then; you cannot have excellence. Quality's expensive. I think most of these people that come from business schools have the desire to make sure everything is cheesy. That's what happens when you do things that way.


Submission + - Apple Orders Music Night to Cease and Desist

Sonic Engineer writes: "iPod Monday, a night at Des Moines, Iowa bar The Lift, has been asked by Apple to cease and desist using the iPod name. iPod Monday allows patrons to bring in their iPods (or other digital music players) with 15 minute playlists and play them over the bar's sound system. The curator of iPod Monday, Clint Curtis, asked Apple repeatedly for use of the name, and sent Apple updates on the night's homepage, http://www.ipodmonday.com/. The night has run for approximately two years with Apple's knowledge. It has generated a lot of free publicity for Apple in the area, so why shut it down? Full story at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art icle?AID=/20070209/ENT/702090400&lead=1"

EMI May Sell Entire Collection as DRM-less MP3s 188

BobbyJo writes "According to the Chicago Sun-Times, EMI has been pitching the possibility of selling its entire music collection to the public in MP3 form ... without Digital Rights Management protections. According to the article, several other major music companies have considered this same route, but none as far as EMI. The reasons, of course, have nothing to do with taking a moral stand; EMI wants to compete with Apple. 'The London-based EMI is believed to have held talks with a wide range of online retailers that compete with Apple's iTunes. Those competing retailers include RealNetworks Inc., eMusic.com, MusicNet Inc. and Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks. People familiar with the matter cautioned that EMI could still abandon the proposed strategy before implementing it. A decision about whether to keep pursuing the idea could come as soon as today.'"

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