May 29, 2017
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Getting Small

Well, I did pick up my MINI last Saturday (December 17th). I guess you could say Christmas came a week early. I have to say, I've been smiling ever since. The ride is a little rough due to the stiff suspension and the run-flat tires, but it is fun! Probably the most painful aspect of owning a new car...the break-in period. For the 1st 1250 miles, I need to keep the RPMs under 4500 and the speed below 90MPH. The latter is easier than the former! This car WANTS to go, but I have to reign it in. So far, I've knocked off almost 200 miles buzzing around, so 1250 shouldn't be terribly far away. Regardless, I'm loving driving this car! It's well engineered and the feature set that I spec'd for it is really cool.

Anyway, if you want to see pics of the car (and the one it replaced) go here.

Posted on December 23, 2005 at 4:13 pm
Thinking Small

Phew! It's been a really long time since I've updated my blog. Sorry, but I don't think I'll be doing the promised DVD Rant that I mentioned earlier. As much as I have a lot of strong opinions on how the industry has really failed to live up to the DVD promise, I just don't have the energy to craft a long argument on the state of DVD's and how the current Blue-Ray/HD-DVD division mirrors the old DVD/DiVX divide at the dawn of DVD's.

Instead, let me focus on what is fresh and new in my life and it will be short and sweet. My life is about to get more fun. On October 31st, I decided to go trick-or-treating at a local car dealership. I ordered a 2006 MINI Cooper S. The great charm of MINI's are the way you can customize your order and make your car....well, yours! Here is what the car should look like when I will get it:

After ordering, you wait....and wait...and wait. It's built in Oxford, England and shipped over to the States. Right now, my MINI is in Charleston, South Carolina after being unloaded from a ship. It goes through the Vehicle Inspection Center and then gets shipped to my dealer. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that I will see the car by the end of next week. It's quite a painful wait as anticipation really gets to ya.

My MINI will have the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit which ups the horsepower to 207! It should be a little rocket and it's handling is supposed to be fantastic. Interested in spec'ing your own MINI (even just for fun)?? Check out MINI USA's website.

Posted on December 8, 2005 at 3:55 pm
DVD Tuesday

Well, it's been a while since I've updated my blog. I figured it was appropriate since my last entry had to do with the movie THE INCREDIBLES, that I update today, when the movie comes out on DVD.

Today is actually a pretty good DVD day, not only THE INCREDIBLES, but the first season of HOGAN'S HEROES as well. Plus if I'm not mistaken, RED DWARF V and VI come out as well. I think I'm going to be spending a good amount of cash today! :)

I've wanted to do a rather lengthy rant on the whole DVD thing as I was an early adopter and have ridden the wave. I have quite a few opinions about the industry and what we are facing in the coming months/years based on what we have been through in the past. When I have some time to crank it out, look for my DVD RANT.

Posted on March 15, 2005 at 11:33 am
Nothing short of....

INCREDIBLE! I just saw The Incredibles and it was a really good movie, at least in my opinion. The animation was fantastic and the cinematogaphy (is there such a thing in CG movies?) was well done. But let's start at the beginning:

I arrived at the theater, met my brother and his family (he has three young sons) along with my mom. Bought a bottle of water, box of Mike and Ikes, and an obligatory box of Junior Mints (a moviegoer staple). Got seated in the rather optimal place, center of the "stadium" seating. Remarkably the theater wasn't packed for a movie that is expected to do well and only it's second week. Perhaps it was because it was the 12:30 showing...who knows.

TRAILERS (one of my favorite parts of seeing a movie in the theater)

Star Wars III: Looked good for special effects. Everyone knows what is going to happen and the first two weren't spectacular. Don't know if I'll see it or wait for the DVD. It was wild to hear Alec Guinness' voice-over since he's been dead for quite awhile.

Chicken Little: Disney's first total CG film without Pixar. Looks pretty cool and funny as well. I'll probably end up seeing it with the same group of people. Too bad that such a movie comes at the cost of so many cel-based animators jobs.

Cars: Pixar's last movie for Disney per their contract. I have to say that I wasn't as impressed animation-wise as I thought I might be. It looks sort of like Thomas the Tank Engine on speed. Of course this is just a teaser, so it remains to be seen how it will be as a finished product.

SHORT

Boundin': As has become tradition with Pixar movies, one of their animated shorts was shown prior to feature. This one was pretty darn funny. It features a dancing sheep and a bounding jackalope. For those not familiar with the jackalope, it is a mythical creature which is a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope. Anyway, the short is narrated completely in rhyme (which is rather cleverly done). And it has a little lesson at the end. True to Pixar form, it is funny and cute.

MOVIE

I won't go into great detail here so as not to spoil the movie. Just give some general impressions. As I mentioned above, the animation was fantastic. I'm still convinced that Pixar is the best in the business (meaning feature films), but that is just me. If you have been a fan of James Bond movies, particluarly the early Connery ones, I think you'll appreciate this movie. The music, the bad guy's hideout, etc. smells of a nod to You Only Live Twice (one of my favorite Bond flicks). I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence that the theme song from On Her Majesty's Secret Service was used in the teaser. I'm thinking that the villian Syndrome is a nod to Heat Meiser from the Rankin Bass classic The Year Without a Santa Claus. Heck, his hideout is in a volcano!!

I think I might just leave it at that. I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone. It is worth seeing on the big screen if you appreciate previous Pixar movies, superheroes, and Bond flicks. One thing to note, which actually kind of suprised me, people actually die in this movie. They aren't meaningful deaths, e.g. Nemo's mom dying resulting in an over protective father. Instead, thugs who vehicle crash in an explosion. No, there is no blood and guts, but still it was surprising considering the "family" nature of the movie. There are other adult references which seemed a little out of place, but I don't think kids will pick up on it. Instead, if your kids are anything like my nephews, you'll have to deal with the argument of who gets to be "Dash."

So all-in-all, a great movie and lots of fun.

Posted on November 14, 2004 at 12:12 pm
"I Feel Strangely Aroused"

That is what I jokingly said to my brother and friends when talking about my G5 arriving yesterday (Oct 18th). Thanks to the nice folks at FedEx, they called me first thing in the morning informing me that my G5 was available for pickup. I had called FedEx on Friday (Oct 15th) when my computer shipped to ask them to hold it for me. It wasn't their policy to so without one delivery attempt, unless the shipper (Apple) were to specifically specify that it be held. The service rep said she would put a note on the tracking number, and lo and behold...they did indeed hold it without attempting delivery.

So I got the message on my answering machine first thing Monday morning while I was getting ready to head out to work. The guy on the phone specifically mentioned that my "G5" had arrived and was available. I had a weird feeling that he himself was a Mac-user. So I decided I was going to be a little late for work (called in stating as such) and headed to FedEx to pick up my new baby. When I arrived, there were a couple of people ahead of me. On woman was FedEx'ing a PowerBook (at least that's what the box was) to someone in a hotel. When the guy behind the counter asked me my name, I spelled it for him and his eyes lit up and said, "Oh, you're here for the G5!" Turns out that he was the guy who called me and he is a Mac user. You could see a bit of envy in his eyes... I loaded up my car with 4 boxes: The G5 (that is one heavy computer!!!), the 20" Cinema Display, the AppleCare kit, and the iSight Accessory Kit.

I drove to my apartment to drop off my booty, and headed off to work. I have to say that it was one of the longest days of work I've had.

When I got home, I started to work. I was a bit nervous since I have suffered from "AppleSupportBoard-itis." I've read a few stories of how things didn't go right for folks. Also reading Whaleman's blog here didn't fill me with enthusiasm either. I proceeded with some youthful optimism though and got it set up.

When starting it up, I got a little nervous when it took longer than expected for the LCD to show the White Screen with Grey Apple and Spinny Thing. I'm guessing this was just the usual "very first startup" thing, because any restart hasn't taken that long. I was presented with the option to transfer files off of my old G4/733. I decided to skip this because I wanted clean installs of my apps as well as trim some of the fat that has accumulated on my old machine. In retrospect, I maybe should have gone for it, but oh well. The registration process was the typical Apple thing. I found it rather odd that they try to connect to Apple when you haven't been configured for Internet usage yet. It would have been easy if they had a "Do you have an Airport Network to connect to?" But, it did save a shortcut for the registration in the Home Folder so that I could do later, which was convient.

So I'm up and running....what to do next??? Hmmmmm...transfer files or install games........ That was easy, install games!!! :) I loaded up UT2k4 and quickly downloaded the patch (still have to get the bonus maps yet). I fired it up and cranked up the settings. I knew that the Mothership Assault map ran like a pig on my G4, so I figured that would be a good place to start. I was dumbfounded as to how well the map played. I could actually fly well, evade shots and kill other ships. When I got on board the ship I was amazed at the detailed textures that I had missed. It was simply gorgeous AND running smoothly! I was in heaven!!!!!

BF1942 was next on my list. Again cranked up the settings and let 'er rip. Again, I was amazed at the difference. I had played at 50% distance on my G4. Here I could see so much further. I now know why people could kill me and I couldn't see them. One downside is that certain sounds are consistently playing. I'm not sure what that is. If I've gotten overly ambitious, there is a bug, or I still need to tweak. A common sound I don't hear is the taking (or losing) of a checkpoint, which is pretty key during the game. I'll have to do some more testing. On thing that totally rocks is that map loading is fast...really fast. I used to be able to go and fill up a large cup of water and come back and the map would still be loading. I've played some online games where a new map loads, I finally arrive and a couple of minutes later that game is over. I don't think I have to worry about that anymore!!! :)

Call of Duty was next. It ran well on my G4, so this was just so much better. I noticed things that I didn't before (like the constant airdrops of people in the backgound in the opening mission after training). It ran great and I'm looking forward to playing some more.

Halo seemed like the next appropriate game to try out. Finally, Master Chief has a gold face shield...it has always been black on my precious setup. I did turn on FSAA, but it yielded black boxes and some white flashing areas. Turning it off made that go away. I don't know if this is Halo, Apple, or Nvidia. But, the game played nice. I didn't play it for long...just got the feel, and it feels pretty good. Also, the zoom function works with the Nvidia Shaders on. Yeah!

Lastly, I thought I put on Tron2.0 and test out the "glow" factor. When loading the first level (which has some glow), it loaded pretty quick (seconds vs. minutes). Again, I didn't play it for too long, but I was impressed with what I saw.

CRIPES THIS IS A LONG BLOG!!!!

Well, I got around to transfering my music, pictures, etc. Note to others, Airport is neat, but when transferring large amounts of data....it's slow. The original estimate was 14 hours to transfer my files. I let it run for awhile and watched some TV, hoping that the estimate would shorten up some...it didn't. I then grabbed a handy-dandy Cat-5 ethernet cable and connect the two computer. 10 minutes later, all my files were transferred. I should have known better.

Sorry this post is long, but wow...that's all I can say...wow!!!

Regarding fans, etc. I've noticed that the optical drive (SuperDrive) is the noisiest thing. I'll have to check it with an audio CD to see if it always that noisy or just when it spins up to it's maximum. Fans do rev up on occassion usually during program launch, and then settle down. They seem to stay settled from then on. I'm not sure what is normal, and since it is at ear-level, it is probably loader than what others might exerience.

All-in-all, I'm happy as happy can be. It's still less than 24 hours out of it's box. Hopefully there won't be any trouble as time progresses.

Here are the specs:

PowerMac Dual 2.5Ghz
1Gig RAM
SuperDrive
250MB Harddrive
Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL with 256MB VRAM
Airport Express
Bluetooth
20" Cinema Display

Posted on October 19, 2004 at 12:00 pm
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Games Playing:
Call of Duty 4
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System Details:
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Memory: 2 GB
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HD Space: 201 - 250 GB
CD: SuperDrive
DVD: SuperDrive
Details: Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL with 256 MB VRAM
 
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