Apples in the Amazon

February 22, 2010 1 comment

For those of you who follow the technology scene, you were probably frothing at the mouth when Apple announced the iPad in January. Personally I think that the iPad is really nothing more than an overgrown iPhone/iPod Touch, but that is not the point of this article. The point of this post is the effect that Apple is going to have in the E-Book market.

If you don’t already know, Apple announced that a major feature of the iPad is it’s e-reader capability. With this announcement they also revealed that they were entering the ebook market. Many people said that this was a great thing for the market because multiple competitors is always better than a monopoly. Unfortunately for those poor souls they did not think about the company they were referring to as their savior. Apple is notorious in the music industry as the being the big stick that everyone bows to. If consumers would look at the facts they would realize that Apple is the reason for a lot of the nasty DRM that we have had to endure over the past few years and they are now charging a premium to have that DRM removed.

Now you are asking, how does this relate to the ebook market and the Apple store? Well, Apple committed to allowing book publishers to set their own price on the ebook store up to $15 a book and is giving the publisher a larger share of the proceeds for the books sold. Of course, this forced Amazon to do a similar move, but now Apple is going back on their announcement and will set the price for the best selling books at $10, Amazon’s previous price standard. This essentially makes Amazon look like the bad guy by raising their prices. In the end this move will allow Apple to do to ebooks exactly what they did to music, monopolize. I hope this is not the case in the end but I do not have a lot of faith in the general public to realize that this will be the final outcome if they fall into this Apple trap.

Categories: Technology Tags: ,

All In A Single Day

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

So, I was sitting at the gym today and something very interesting dawned on me. It seems that a lot of very important things in my life have occurred on February 16. For starters, I was born on February 16, 1982. To me, that is a pretty big deal. Secondly, it was the day that I started going to the gym four years ago in 2006. As some of you know, that created a huge change in my life because I have lost over 75 pounds since that day.

Now, both of these are big things but I don’t think that either can compare to the biggest one of all… February 16 is the day that I not only fell in love with my wife, but most recently is also the day that she reminded me yet again why I am so lucky to have her in my life. So, if you don’t want to read a sappy love story about what she did for me today then stop reading now.

As previously stated, February 16 is my birthday and my wife, Rachel, decided that she wanted to do something special for me by fixing dinner. Little did I know at the time, that was not all she had up her sleeve.

When I arrived home from work she had taped a small heart shaped note to the back door for me to read. The note basically said how happy she was to have me in her life and how much I meant to her. Things got really interesting though when I got to the end and realized that this note was only the first in a series of clues to lead me to a final destination.

Each heart shaped clue that I found used something from our relationship’s past to lead me to the next. As I searched through our first date and on to our first kiss and first movie my heart just melted away. It was amazing to me the pure thought she had put into each one of the heart shaped notes making sure not to miss a single important moment in our relationship. At the end of the search I found a box of homemade chocolates waiting for me. Now, this is where it gets even better, because Rachel doesn’t just dislike chocolate, she has an absolute disdain for it. So, as you could imagine, her bearing through the handling and smell of cooking chocolate is a labor of love all in it’s own.

In addition to the lovely seek and find she set up and the amazing dinner she cooked, which believe me is more than I could have ever asked for in a birthday, she also got me two wonderful gifts. The first one was a new iPod Touch, which I am actually using to type this post, and the second was a copy of Transformers Monopoly which is a geek present straight from the heart. So, the trend continues and February 16 is still the most important and amazing day o the year for me. I cannot wait to see what the future years will bring for me on this most special of days.

Categories: Life

Women in Stock Car Racing

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Alright, I am going to go on a little bit of a rant here, but I think it is needed.  If you know me very well, then you know that I am an avid fan of circle track asphalt stock car racing.  Long story short, my father, my mother, two of my three brothers, and myself have all raced stock cars at one point in time.  In fact, my mother actually raced cars right up until she found out she was pregnant with me.  That means I was probably racing on the track while still just a couple of cells dividing in her womb.

Anyway, I have noticed a recent trend in women coming to stock car racing and I think it is an amazing thing for the sport, but I am starting to see a lot of problems with it.  First off, why is it that men cannot accept the fact that women can be racers just like them?  I was meeting with some people the other day after the ARCA race, which had six female competitors, and all four of the guys in the room said that women had no business being in the sport and started getting visibly upset about it.  I asked what their problem with women was and the biggest complaint was that they are causing all the wrecks.  Let’s analyse that for a moment.  For starters, the women in the ARCA race did not cause a single wreck the entire time, though three of them were caught up in other driver’s incidents.  How is it fair to say they were the cause when they were simply collected in someone else’s mess?  I think that the media is to blame for this.

Now you are asking, why is the media to blame for this grossly inaccurate statement?  Well, the truth of the fact is, the media and announcers want the women to be recognised so much that they are drawing undue attention to their every move.  Don’t believe me, go back and watch the ARCA race or check out all the qualifying and practices for the NASCAR races next weekend.  Every other statement made is about Danica Patrick because she is making her stock car debut at Daytona.  If the media would just let the women be and treat them like any other driver I think some, not all, of this complaining would go away.

Now, with that being said, there is something else that needs to be discussed.  What is with the other drivers on the track not giving the women a fair chance.  I have seen this multiple times in races, especially on short tracks and super-speedways.  For example, Danica Patrick has been hung out to dry in both practices and races at most of the super-speedway tracks in IRL and now in NASCAR.  What do I mean by this?  It means that when two cars follow each other on a super-speedway they can move faster than one car by itself.  In order to pass the leader, multiple cars have to line-up and work together.  In many of the races I have watched, a group of drivers will line up behind Danica, or any other female driver, and follow her to the outside.  As soon as she starts to make the pass the drivers behind her will tuck back in behind the lead car, leaving her in dirty air and pushing her to the rear of the field.  Now don’t get me wrong, this happens to male competitors as well, but not during the middle of the race, only near the end.  As for short track racing, that is a whole different story.  Many times during short track races I have seen the men drive the female racers much more aggressively than they do their male counterparts, what’s with that?

Alright, I will end my rant now, but I just think it is something that needed to be said.  I really want to see women do well in racing but I am tired of seeing them continuously try and fail due to the issues mentioned above.  Thoughts, comments?

Categories: Racing Tags: , , ,

Not So Perfect Dark: Zero

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Last night I decided to reach into my video game “Pile of Shame” and pull out something that I hadn’t played in a while, or completed for that matter.  Low and behold, there was ‘Perfect Dark: Zero’.  I started playing the game and I quickly realized what set this game apart from all the other games on the 360, it was absolutely horrible.  I couldn’t believe have how bad the controls were and the graphics were just atrocious.

As I played the game I realized something amazing though, “Recent games have turned me into a gaming pussy!!!”  Now, I am sure you are wondering what I mean by that.  Well, for starters, I was playing the game on the medium difficulty (Secret Agent) and I kept on dying.  I couldn’t figure it out at first.  I would pop out around a corner, shoot a couple guys, take a couple hits myself, then go back to cover to regain my health.  I did all the normal steps required but eventually would run out, take one bullet, and die.  It was really frustrating me, but then I figured out what was wrong, or right…  Unlike most recent games, PDZ actually forced you to manage your health.  You could gain a little back when you went to cover, but all in all you still had a health and body armor meter.  In essence, if you took damage during a firefight, you could go to cover and regain about half of the damage back but not all.

So, armed with this forgotten knowledge it made me start thinking about most of the games I play today and that is when I came to realization mentioned above.  Game designers are babying us left and right, it’s like they don’t want us to grow up and be men and women.  They spoon feed us everything and then try to justify it in some off the wall fashion.  A couple of great examples of this are the excuses for health regeneration and sticky aim.  Designers say that they use ‘health regeneration’ because it isn’t realistic to think of people picking up health packs all over the place in some random jungle.  Wait, what did they just say?  Isn’t it more realistic to think that we picked up some sticks and twigs to make a medical dress than that we magically regained our health by hiding behind a damn barrel, seriously!!  Come on developers get with the picture.  The other example, sticky aim, was put into games so that gamers could better track their targets.  I can tell you right now, PDZ had no sticky aim and it definitely showed me how bad I am at aiming in console games today.  I no longer had Obi Wan whispering in my ear to ‘Use the force’ and it caused me to actually work the controller with a little more precision.  When I started the game I had checked out the options and realized I was running on a rather low sensitivity and I immediatly changed it to my current setting near the highest level possible.  I quickly realized in the game that this wasn’t going to be work because I could no longer track my target like a Jedi Knight.

So, what is the point of everything I have said here?  I wish developers would step back and bring everything back to the basics.  I think the approach that PDZ took with the health was a great mix of health packs and health regeneration.  Think of playing Call of Duty and having to actually manage your health a little better.  It would force the developer to put a little more work into the level design and the intelligence of the AI adversaries.  From what I can tell it seems that developers have decided to give the gamer all these assists and that has forced them to create an AI engine to make up for all of them.  This usually entails the computer players being crack shots with their guns and able to make grenade throws that would be legendary in even a game of Worms.  Ok, I am done with my rant now…

Categories: Gaming Tags: , ,

Broken Promises

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Ok, so I just started my blog and I have already been breaking promises to myself.  I said that I was going to write a blog entry every day, and here it is day four and this is only my second blog post.  I actually sat down last night to start writing a post and I quickly realized that I was just shooting off a play by play broadcast of my life that day.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that my life is interesting, but I don’t think that you would really find that enjoyable.  Seriously though, how much do you like it when you get cornered by the wrong person at a social gathering and they continue to go on and on about their life experiences.  I swear, some of these people are like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going, and going, and going….

So, on a little more personal note, Rachel and I did decided to get into the holiday spirit yesterday and go get our Christmas Tree.  I can’t believe how much a cut Christmas Tree is now.  It has been a few years since I have had a live tree but I don’t remember paying $40 for one.  Of course, they had cheaper $25 and $35 dollar trees but they looked like they had just been planted earlier that year and they cut them down just as they were becoming toddlers.  On top of that, you pay for the tree based on its height.  The person who thought up this idea is probably making a fortune right now.  Now, I am almost six foot tall and I stood next to some of the seven to eight feet tall trees and I was just about the same height.  Of course, this caused me to ask the question of how they determine the height of the tree because the tree I was looking at was definitely not seven feet tall.  The lady there told me that the height is taken from the ground, prior to the tree being cut, to the top of the tallest branch.  This is somewhat disconcerting to me because many of the trees there had super long, a foot or more, branches sticking off the top of them.  You know, the part that you cut off or bend over in order to put a tree topper on the tree.  So, as you can imagine, we spent the next hour or so looking at all the trees there trying to find one that had a short top branch and that was fairly full.  I think we did pretty well in the end, but it would have been a lot easier had the trees not been laying on top of each other, smashing the branches down.  Regardless, we got the tree home last night and set it up in the living room.  Tonight we plan on decorating it, which I am sure will be an experience with the kittens around now, and I will try and post some pictures of it later on.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Gotta Start Somewhere

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, as the title implies, I guess I have to start this blogging thing somewhere and somehow, so this is it.  I don’t really know what this is going to turn into at this point in time, but here is hoping for the best.

A little background about this how this is getting started is definitely in order.  I guess this is all beginning because I have enjoyed reading so many other peoples blogs over the past couple weeks.  I have noticed that many of these blogs, such as Wil Wheaton’s, are really just extensions of their own private thoughts.  I figure that I am going to somewhat mimic a style like that.  You know, pretty much just say whatever is on my mind.

I have set a few goals for myself here though, don’t get me wrong.  I would like to try and write a blog a day, if possible, but I know that it will be tough.  Since that is the case, I am going to force myself to write at least one blog a week.  Hopefully that will be able to hold my you, my reader’s, over… That is, assuming I end up getting any actual readers…Now I am kind of depressed…Oh well, I’ll get over it.  Here is hoping for the best and let’s see how this turns out over the next few months.

Categories: Uncategorized