July 29, 2005
Really, it's not as bad as that sounds.
The concept is to put diners in the restaurant and have them play games, alone if they want, or in ad hoc competitions. Bushnell says that people are social animals and need the interaction with other people, equating the notion of this new restaurant/video game parlor with another successful venture: the martini bar. While it's true you could have a martini at home (and far cheaper) most people go to martini bars to socialize with others, espeically others who share the same interest -- even if the others are strangers.
This notion seems to have some merit. While it's true that people can play video games today on any number of devices in their home, and can even challenge strangers via online play, most of this is anonymous. Bushnell's new venture puts the social aspect back into it, by having the venture involve a night out, and by having you actually able to see the other person you're playing against.
You know, this concept just might work. If there were one near me, I'd try it out.
Update: Hmm...I just did some poking around and there is one somewhat inexpensive unit that has everything I want: the Palm Zire 72 Special Edition. Just something to keep in the back of my mind.
I think it was all the dirt and grime inside the case and on the components, including the motherboard, which was to blame. Here's some hints and a video from CNET which discuss this.
Seems like the dirt inside, if it gets on the case, can actually create a short in the board, and then the board and the whole system short itself out. I'm pretty sure that's what happened.
Also, here's a page detailing a similar computer problem in a machine shop.
July 28, 2005
He brought it to me and last night I worked on it. Got it to boot up once, then as a test i knocked the case a little. It immediately shut down and started to reboot.
But it never came back.
I worked on it until 1:30 in the morning, removing wires, checking connections, trying to identify the problem and bring the system down to it's least common denominator. In the end, I had everything unplugged except the power supply to the board and I had the CPU and it's fan still installed, and the RAM. This is the minimum configuration, and I should have at least been able to get to the BIOS. No good. It still won't come to life.
So then I took one step further: I removed the board from the case itself, thinking the board was getting shorted out somehow. I put it on a magazine to keep it from sitting on the metal case. Still no good.
I'm running out of tricks. Today I'm looking at it by hooking it up to a different power supply to see if that's the problem.
This thing is a pain in my ass.
July 26, 2005
July 25, 2005
While I do think this is a credible threat, I'm not too worried. For the most part, this attack needs to be done in person, at the actual computer. When I'm not using my PC, it's in locked state, and if anyone comes up to it and tries tampering with it, they'll get my password screen and nothing else. Inserting a USB memory drive won't change that. Physical security is often the most overlooked, but easiest way of securing your data.
July 24, 2005
Tonight though I put in the time to find the fix. Turns out there's a Services category of Windows that I really hadn't played with much (Start / Settings / control panel / Admin tools / Services).
There you can turn various things on and off. Guess what? One of them is the CD Burning ability, marked as IMAPI CD-Burning.
On my system it was turned off, and set to Manual. Damn! Well, at least I know now and can re-enable it.
At the moment, I'm happy.
July 20, 2005
As stated in the story referenced and linked above, the lure of the cheap music found at the online music stores sometimes doesn't work out in your favor. Sure, you've got the music, but can you play it where and when you like? For my part, I've pretty much gone back to physical CDs. Oh yeah, and then I rip them into MP3s and use them as I please.
July 19, 2005
The movie is basically good. Fans of the comic will definitely want to see it, since it naturally brings their favorite heroes to life. What it also does, and which will irritate fans of the comic (the yin the yang) is that they've messed up the origins just a tad. For one, they've included Victor Von Doom on board the space station (yes, it's a space station now, not a rocket as in the 1960's original story) and he gets clobbered with cosmic rays along with the rest of the FF. In the original comic, Doom was an old classmate of Reed Richard's who had a laboratory accident that terribly scarred his face and became bitter and bent on using his knowledge for evil. Not so in the movie. He's in space with the rest of the crew, and he's the financier to boot, paying for the whole thing.
Another change is the whole Susan Storm thing. She's immediately made out to be Von Doom's love interest, which to my recollection, NEVER happened in the comics. There was a love interest who was also a villain, and it was Namor, the Sub Mariner.
As the movie goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that the love interest was one-sided, with Von Doom having feelings for Sue, but not having those feelings returned. She eventually sides with Reed Richards, the way things were always meant to be.
So, what's good about this movie? Just about everything else. The acting is OK, but not great. Hey, it's a superhero movie. Deal with it. You want oscar-nominated performances, go see Cinderella Man (it's great).
The transformation from Ben Grimm into the Thing is well done. The whole Invisible Woman thing is played tongue in cheek. Perhaps her true power will be more played up in the sequel, as will the stretching ability of Mr. Fantastic. The Human Torch is played very well and gets lots of screen time, being the charismatic, hot head this tends to work well toward lots of good action and tension. A nice touch is the bickering between Ben and Johnny, who certainly had their share of fights over the years in the comics. This is portrayed well here, such as when Ben crumples up and hands Johnny's Porsche to him in a big metal ball. Funny stuff, and taken right from the comics, in spirit if not from an actual story.
Also taken straight from the comics is the conflict in Ben Grimm. He's the only one of the group that was adversely affected by his newfound powers. The rest all kept their normal looks but gained new abilities. He changed completely, both in abilities and appearance. And the movie, as did the comics, spends much of it's time delving into that.
One of the shockers of the movie is when Von Doom himself starts changing. In the comics he creates his suit of armor and mask to hide himself from the outside world because of his scarring. In the movie he slowly changes into Doctor Doom, his skin oozing out a metal substance that slowly becomes his skin due to the cosmic radiation. A small change but one which made the film feel less true, in my opinion.
To sum it up without giving all the plot points away, it was a good use of less than 2 hours of my time, and I walked away feeling pretty good about it. I definitely see room for improvement, but it was nowhere near the slog-fest I thought it would be from reading all the negative reviews. If you're inclined and on the fence about going to see it, my advice is give it a shot. It's not that bad.
July 14, 2005
July 13, 2005
More details on www.nasa.gov.
Oh, by the way, I seem to be the first site to carry this news. I've even beaten the official nasa site, referenced above. Nice!
Under a deal with Yahoo, there is a live streaming feed of everything going on with the space shuttle, in both RealPlayer and Microsoft Media Player formats. It's like being a fly on the wall; you're able to be a witness to all the preparations and see the astronauts getting ready. It's great. And, of course, this then leads directly into the shuttle launch at 3:38 pm today.
Join me and see for yourself.
July 12, 2005
July 09, 2005
Tonight I'm to see The Fantastic Four. It was an idea that was presented to me, so I agreed. Do I care about the crappy reviews? Yes, but it's still a night out. I'll just see how it is. Seems appropriate since I posted yesterday about the reviews it's getting. I'll post my own review later tonight or tommorrow morning.
July 08, 2005
July 07, 2005
Update: Another site has this story and the pictures to go with it.
July 06, 2005
Hmm...after yesterday's Jurassic Park mystery solved and now this tidbit, maybe I should change the tag line of this site: (loud booming announcer voice) "The Revision Bar - explaining the mysteries of the universe, one blog post at a time".
OK, maybe not.
July 05, 2005
Well, the mystery can now be solved, as the filesystem shown in the movie has been allegedly identified as belonging to Silicon Graphics.
So, that's one mystery solved. Now if only I can get my hands on that video game shown in The Last Starfighter, I'll be all set. I hear that there is a musical, which is kind of funny in itself.
And while you're surfing around, check out this blog: Casual Friday.