Archive for August, 2011

** MILD SPOILER ALERT **

I watched Source Code over the weekend. It was good, I like films like that. Techno-thrillers come second only to actual sci-fi films for me, especially the more clever ones. Have to say, didn’t quite ‘get’ it as I have with previous reality-bending films: Their explanation as to what Source Code actually is was kind of rushed, and it doesn’t even make much sense*. Plus there lacked an air of… excitement, I suppose. I preferred Eagle Eye, that was a good Techno-thriller. Or Déjà-vu, which handled the whole time travel thing a lot better I think.

The best thing – I totally called who the bad guy was as soon as I saw him. Not for any actual reason, I just saw him and thought “I bet it’s that guy”, almost as joke. But then It turned out I was right so we’ll pretend I used some very clever deducing to figure it out.

* = To explain further, I got that Jake’s character was accessing an ‘alternate’ reality. I just don’t see how they allowed him to do that using the memory of a dead guy. Maybe I need to watch it again, but if all they were doing was allowing Gyllenhaal to re-live the same final eight minutes of the host’s life, then surely Gyllenhaal wouldn’t be able to affect anything – he’d have to experience things exactly as the ‘real’ Sean experienced things before he died. The two facts involved here – the fact that he was in an alternate reality and the fact that they had Sean’s last eight minutes, don’t really mesh well together. As I said, Déjà-vu handled the general concepts involved better but maybe I should watch it again.

It was nice that Gyllenhaal’s character got the happy ending and everything, but is no-one going to talk about the fact that he essentially ‘killed’ Sean and stole his life? I mean the dude was alive, and now even though Gyllenhaal saved everyone in the other reality, HE’S still ‘dead’ because Gyllenhaal has now stolen his body and mind and everything. Not to mention the fact that he knows nothing about Sean or his life. Good luck with the whole teaching History to kids thing, did the US Army have a module on that?

But yeah, good film.

 

So, on the face of things, today has not been that great a day. Well, it’s been alright… well, kind of disappointing, but I’m already over it. Still, nothing’s really gone right this entire weekend, so I’m in a bit of a funk. And I spent more than I really should have today, which is never a good feeling.

A long time ago, in a place far, far away (known as ‘Surrey’ to the indigenous population), my uber-cool matte black Xbox 360 Elite died on me. Not, as you may have expected at the time, of the Red Ring of Death. Despite having RROD’d on me about three or four times since I’d bought it (I always managed to bring it back to life) – it died of an altogether different problem related to the graphics card. I can’t remember the code name for the problem, but it killed it, good as dead. Right in the middle of a review as well, which was annoying.

The Microsoft PR chap (who I won’t actually name because the last time I ‘named’ him in something I actually got him into trouble. Oops), was nice enough though to send me out a replacement pretty sharpish though, saving me the trouble of having to go through Microsoft’s Consumer Support options and/or buy a new one. The only catch, was that it was white – same specification as an Elite, just the wrong colour. At the time I didn’t think it would really matter, and I was kind of desperate, so I said sure.

Fast forward to today, and that turn of events finally bit me in the ass. Despite being the same specification as an Elite, the fact that it was the wrong colour meant that GameStation wouldn’t give me Elite prices on the trade-in value. Something to do with trading standards. Damn those people, protecting consumer interests!

Still, I got my xbox slim, and I managed to get some extra money off by insta-trading in Deus Ex, which came with it (I reviewed it on the PS3, so I already have it). It’s not the matte black version though, it’s the shiny black, so it’s going to get all smudgy. I’d hoped that by the time I’d gotten around to it, all the slims would be matte black, given that Microsoft said they were going to discontinue the shiny casing.

Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that made today a bit naff – add in the fact that I was supposed to have taken care of everything yesterday (took longer than I thought to figure out a way to back everything up), so I couldn’t go to the bank today. Gamestation also weren’t taking pre-orders for the Mass Effect 3 special editions, because apparently it’s still ‘TBC’ (odd considering a fellow games journo told me they were running out). Annnnd, thanks to GamesCom and leaving it till this weekend, it was too late to return an item I didn’t need.

I tried to cheer myself up by buying Source Code, which I’ve wanted to see for a while… but then that made me feel guilty as I’d already spent enough that day (had to do food shopping too). Oh, and the cute girl in Gamestation who sold me my DS Lite didn’t recognize me. Sad Face.

Hmm. That came off as a little whiny, didn’t it? Oh well, you’ll live.

Dear Reader,

In acknowledgement of the fact that Joe sucks balls, the management has implemented an emergency measure to rectify the situation.

In future occurences where Joe is unable to entertain you himself – either due to lack of inspiration or overwhelming workload (or laziness), links will be provided to reputable establishments so they can entertain you on his behalf. This policy shall be put into place effective immediately.

As such, today’s winner of the internet can be found here. We recommend you start with this article, please enjoy.

Regards,

The Management
Digital Eccentric

So when I was at a business booth today, I got given a massive tank. Alright? That happened. In my defence this was the first time meeting this particular team in person, and I didn’t want to see rude. Could this be construed as a bribe? Sure. That’s on me. I think we can work past this though – you just need to tell me how much tank is too much.

Seriously though… as kind of cool as getting swag is, you usually form a line in your head as to what’s acceptable. My line just got bowled over by the tank. I’m very easily swept up in the moment, I think. The PR guy – lovely man named Arthur – gave me the usual, more normal swag – T-shirt, asset disk, booklet etc… and then came back with a giant tank. Like I berk, I just sat there and went “yeah, ok then?”. I’ve no idea how I’m going to get it home.

I’m sure some of my colleagues are tutting at this already – but they have a point. T-shirts, posters… small stuff any reasonable journo can take with out feeling guilty, but this? I mean… it’s remote controlled! As pretentious as it sounds, I’m sure an ethics board would raise an eyebrow at this. I’m probably going to have to give it away as a prize… which presents the added problem (in addition to getting it home), of shipping it back out to whoever wins it. We’ve lost many a prize somewhere in Europe, including a limited edition Xbox.

Oh yeah, I’m in Cologne by the way. Hi. Most of my twitter friends will know this already, as they’re here for the same reason I am – the GamesCom Videogames Convention. Think of it like E3, just with more Germans. And PC actually has a presence. The show is gaining reputation year-by-year, and is even getting announcements now. You don’t always get new code – seeing as it’s barely two months after E3, but it’s respected now I think, at least on the PC side. PC gaming still doesn’t really have a presence at E3.

This is my fourth year in a row covering the convention. My first year, 2008, was the last year the show was in Leipzig in east Germany and I’d barely been doing this kind of thing for three, four months. Man, that seems like a long time ago… I even had a girlfriend back then. I’ve been covering the show by myself each year, but I think I’ll stop that now – going to get a plan together to take someone with me. Hopefully it’ll lighten the load and mean we can see more people.

Going to sign off for now, but I’ll post more about this over the weekend now that I can relax.

Epic Lie-In Time.

 

So, as many of my Twitter friends know, I have a new phone. I am now the proud owner of a HTC Sensation. It’s very shiny.

Not only that, but i downloaded a WordPress app for it and as I type, I’m blogging whilst on the train.

I’ll do a proper update later, this is just a test.

So, apparently, The Internet is about to run out.

It’s funny how you take certain things for granted. I always found the original Y2K scare baffling on so many levels – one, how can a computer (even the more antiquated ones they had back then) possibly be confused by something as seemingly simple as going from 1999 to 2000. Two, how come the original computer makers didn’t anticipate the mankind was still going to be around in the year 2000 in the first place? A cursory glance at Wikipedia will tell you it’s not that simple, but at the time, I found the whole thing kind of odd.

Like this: According to an article in the latest issue of GamesTM, the Internet is starting to run out of IP Addresses – I didn’t realise that was actually possible. With all the different types of devices – wireless or no – that need to access the internet at any given time, there just doesn’t seem to be enough to go around. America apparently ran out last year, with the rest of the world soon to follow by around 2013… AND this has been a concern since the mid eighties – why the hell aren’t I notified about these things? This is a serious event as well, as everything needs an IP address to access the internet, and online services like XBL, PSN, World of Warcraft… your fancy phone, none of it will be able to get on the net.

We’re all using what’s called IPv4 at the moment, which is what was put into us back when the internet first ‘began’ when it was just supposed be a nice little tool for computer professionals. The solution is to switch to what they’re calling IPv6, an IP allocation system that has more numbers involved, and so more possibilities (and so will last longer). The switch over is already happening, with companies like Microsoft supporting IPv6 on all of their properties from now on, but others are reluctant to switch over because of the potential loss.

It’s always the same when it comes to technology – either people don’t understand it, and so can’t grasp the seriousness of it, or they want to cling to what works for as long as possible, right up until it STOPS working, thus landing them in a bit of a bind.

But yeah, not really the next Y2K, although I did amuse myself for a bit pretending it was. You know apparently that’s still technically going on? There were some issues in 2010, for reasons that I won’t even pretend to understand, and they are predicting problems in 2038, which looks like it’s connected to the 32-bit Operating System principle. Switching over to 64-bit should fix that I imagine.

I was going to post about something else today, but I thought I’d throw up some thoughts on this instead. The things you learn, eh?

Don’t Panic.