Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aggresive TV Adverising = I'll just steal your TV shows.

I recently sent this to Bravo TV. How many of you agree with my sentiment?

I like Project Runway. It's a great reality show, because its not about who can do the stupidest stunts, but rather who can be the most intelligent/creative.


Do I sound angry? Well, I'm not. I'm annoyed. I'm sending you this message so that you reconsider your overly aggresive advertising practices and keep (at least) this viewer.

One more thing; You're not as bad as USA Network when it comes to boosting the volume on commercials. I don't watch ANY commercials on that network, because they are so intolerably loud. I have to mute the TV and walk away, or record live TV on my DVR and come and watch the shows later.

I understand that commercials & advertising are how you make your money. I like your shows. I loved West Wing, and I am willing to watch the commercials. But don't make it such a grueling experience. I'll turn the TV off and go browse the web, or maybe play WOW.

Worse, I'll download episodes of your show on Bittorrent. No commercials there at all.

DS Tetris on WiFi - OMG

So after raving about Tetris DS yesterday, I'm hear to rave a little more. I discovered the WiFi functionality last night. It is UNBELIEVABLE.

  1. Pick "Multiplayer Mode"
  2. Your DS automagically roams onto the nearest WiFi router, possibly asking for a WEP Key.
  3. You are instantly matched up with other players from around the world in head-to-head Tetris!
There was almost nothing to it. A 5 year old could figure it out. It worked flawlessly, seemlessly.

You can play traditional Tetris, where clearing 2 or more lines sends them to your opponent. There's an awesome 4-player mode, where you can pick up Mario style power-ups to confuddle the competition. I actually beat 3 Japanese players at 4am!

The other option is Tetris PUSH, where you are you do the inverted gravity thing against your opponent, trying to push them into the fire.

I'm addicted. I want to get a 6000 rank!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

DS Tetris - Fun variations on a classic

I absolutely love my Nintendo DS Lite. One of it's more interesting features is "Network Play", where you can play multiplayer games via WiFi. Only one copy of the game is needed, as the DS can download games from another handheld for competative play. I also happen to work near a Nintendo World Store. They offer a try-before-you-by download service there. Just take your DS into the store, pick Network Play, and you're offered a bunch of playable demos . Last week, I tried the Tetris DS demo, and like it so much, I bought the game the next day.

Tetris DS is much more than a new UI on the classic game. The game consists of standard mode, as well as 5 Tetris variations that are unlike any I've seen before. It's not at all like the original GB's Tetris game, but in a good, good way!

The variations are:
  • Touch - Absolutely the most interesting Tetris variant EVER!
  • PUSH - A race to clear lines first, avoiding a fiery death!
  • Puzzle - Complete a puzzle using only a handful of pieces
  • Challenge - Clear lines given specific constraints (green pieces only, 3 at a time, etc.)
  • Catch - A strange Metroid-themed puzzle that plays like a top-scroller
TOUCH is the single-player jewel in this game. Your goal is to clear lines as usual, but rather than positioning falling pieces, you are presented with a giant well of dropped pieces! You can use your pen to move pieces around, subject to gravity. Pieces cannot be moved through each other. Think of it as cleaning up after someone's bad Tetris run. You win once you clear enough lines to drop the "Bird Cage" that holds Yoshi prisoner at the top of the stack.

PUSH is a DK-themesd high-tension race to beat your opponent (or the CPU.) You are dropping pieces AT your opponent, who is tossing pieces up towards you. Your pieces bunch up together in the middle. By clearing lines, you move the mass of dropped pieces towards your opponent, as he does towards you. The winner is the one to push the mass through his opponents start-line (where pieces enter the system.)

All the varations are fun. Each is themed by a different classic Nintendo title. The music and graphics all change as you are playing. The music in particular is fantastic; perform a great feat (a Tetris, a Triple, etc.) and the music becomes congratulatory and uplifting. Get too close to the top, and the rhythm picks up and gains a suspensful quality.

Tetris DS is a great buy. Try it out, you won't be dissapoint if you're a long-time f an of Tetris. If you've never tried the game before, this is the perfect way to learn about it. It's got something for everyone.

Armentage Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Washington Heights is >> East Harlem

So I was up on 158th & Broadway helping a friend move over the weekend. I've never been that far uptown, but let me just say I was PLEASANTLY SURPRISED! The area was beautiful. Clean, wide, sunny streets, with all sorts of commerce everywhere I looked. Ample buses and public transportation. I really had no idea. I recommend the area to anyone looking for an affordable place in NYC. My friend took a studio up there for $900/mo. The place was a newly renovated elevator building. Huge kitchen and bathroom, with plenty of closets.

The neighborhood felt safe, which was something I hadn't expected. I'm still haunted by my 1980's upbringing, where going in to NYC was a death wish. There's nothing more hillarious to me than the scene in Death Wish, when Charles Brosnon comes out of the A train onto my subway stop and shoots a viligante!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gameboy Micro Rules!

I know the PSP is the hot toy on everyone's christmas list, but I love my Game Boy MICRO.

It's a 100% Gameboy Advanced (but not original GB from 1987) compatible gaming machine that is barely larger than a Gameboy cartridge. It has a VERY bright 2" by 2.5" screen 16:9 wide-screen LCD display. It's overall form-factor is not very different than the original NES controller.

What makes it so awesome is the size and portability It starts up instantly and runs forever on a single charge. It's so light that I often forget it's in my pocket. It's simply TINY, but totally playable. You can't go wrong with its price either. Only $99, and available everywhere.

PSP's clock in at over $250, weigh a ton, and require you buy all new software to play on it. Sure it does a lot more, but how much do you really need to do on the subway? The PSP doesn't replace your iPod, and even if it did, you can't game on it while listening to your music. It weighs a ton and you need to get a whole purse just to carry it around.

So I am down on the PSP, and big-time YES on the GB:Micro.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

East Harlem is Fantastic!

Growing up in Queens, we never went to Harlem. It was always the scary place north of Manhattan that no one spoke about, except as a place to "not end up accidentally".

Anyway, I've been spending some time up there lately and have made some SHOCKING discoveries!
  1. People actually live there
  2. There are many nice shops and restaurants
  3. The houses there are very, very nice. Big and roomy, you won't find whole-floor apartments converted into 9 studios
  4. Some people even own whole brownstones.
It's really shocking. The streets are wide, the buildings are modern or beautiful pre-wars. I just don't understand why everyone wants to pay ridiculous rents to live downtown (as in, below 90th street) when you could pay much less living up town.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Voice Dialing ++

I was using the very cool Google Local beta app on my cel phone the other day. It's a little Java app that implements their fantastic Google Maps on your phone. It even does the dynamic loading aspect, where you can move around the map in whichever direction while it loads map tiles in the background. The map tiles are VERY detailed and look fantastic on the 160x120 screen of my Samsung a680 phone.

Google and Sprint do a pretty quick job delivering the data (it could be better). However, while this is all well and good, I am very dissapointed with how many clicks and changes in Text-Input mode it takes me to look up ANYTHING on my phone. There I am, clicking stupid T9 data, then switching to numeric mode so I can enter zip-codes, and it dawns on me...


My phone has a great voice recognizer for voice-dialing. No adapting needing. So why not use it with all text-entry widgets on my phone?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dried Pork Buns == BAD

So I've developed a love for roast pork buns. I tried them for the first time recently and fell in love.

Anyway, I was in Chinatown last night and looked everywhere for roast pork buns. I found a "bakery" that had them and went in to order some when "Dried Pork Buns" caught my eye. I thought they would be tasty jerky-like pork buns, roasted and then crisped.

BUT I WAS WRONG! It turns out that a Dried Pork Bun is something like a Donut with shavings of dried pork jerky sprinkled on it. It is absolutely DISGUSTING. Do not make the mistake of ordering one!


Here's an idea Peg came up with after playing WOW for the other day for the first time. I posted this ont he Blizzard suggestions forum. Lets see if they really do it.

My girlfriend just started playing WOW and she was very dissapointed when she received an ingame mail from a Troll and the mail was written in.... ENGLISH!

She wants MONSTER MAIL, where we Horde can send a message that is undecipherable to the other horde races, and then sign the back of the letter with a giant hoof-print (or 2-finger toe print, rotten foot, etc.)

When you receive a MONSTER MAIL, your character will pick it up out of the mail box, look at it and be all confused, because MONSTER MAIL is jibberish! Then your character will flip the MONSTER MAIL over and see the GIANT HOOF-PRINT on the back and look very very confused.

Maybe there can be an animated lightning bolt of confusin over your character's head.

I told her that the game is patched every week, so maybe if you guys get working on this today it can be in the Tuesday patch!