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!