PS3 Is a Dead Joke, Stop Whining and Deal With It!

April 26, 2010

I love how a PS3 promoter loves to pretend that just because the PS3’s previous problems have been fixed NOW does not mean that the lack of the features in the past hasn’t permanently affected a console’s current market standing. People seem to fail to realize that if you do something wrong it will come back to haunt you.

Right now, Sony has permanently crippled its console by making too many bad decisions during the console’s life. The truth in business is that if you’re going to do it, do it right. Sony did too many things wrong and took too long to get it fixed. Anyone can argue that the features are there NOW but the fact of the matter is, they weren’t there when they were SUPPOSED to be there.

You can’t just patch your system and say “Hey! It works! Come buy it now please!”

The average consumer who hears that will look at you like you’re an idiot and go, “Whoopidy doo! I already HAVE that!”

Not only does Sony then come across as a copycat, it demonstrates to all of us how very slow and out of tune with the gaming market it really is!

You can argue all you want against what I said, but if I was wrong Sony wouldn’t own the lowest selling console on the planet. If you wanna buy it, buy it, but don’t come and whine to me because I don’t want to buy it too. Your console is failing, deal with it.


Mass Effect 2: The Future of the Live Action RPG

January 27, 2010

Well Bioware, you have done it again!

Let me just take a moment to say, how incredibly impressed I am with the work Bioware has put into the newest installment of the Mass Effect series! You guys up in Edmonton, I hope you hear this loud and clear, this is one of your friends, your family almost, here from Calgary, shouting out and telling you what an awesome job you’ve done.

Mass Effect 2 is a marvel of graphics, gameplay, story, setting, characters, art, adventure, and ofcourse pretty explosions.

Guys and gals, this is it, this is THE game of 2010.

If you don’t believe me, listen to the two “Best of E3 RPG of 2009” awards slapped on the cover of the game box. Believe the marvelous graphics that push the Xbox 360 and PC to new capabilities graphics wise. Stare in awe at the seamless and perfect voice acting. Scream in joy as you peg off headshots amidst one of the most beautiful soundtracks of all time. Grin as you plot the most seamless crossfires with the new streamlined squad commands. Shake with anticipation of the next level up as you fight your way through cyber beasties untold in hopes of gaining more points for the now simplified and easier to use levelling system.

I can’t make it any clearer than that. This game is bloody amazing. The long wait for the ultimate game of the 09 to 2010 years is here, and it’s packing one hell of a swift punch. If you haven’t got a copy, I suggest you get on it, because even my Mom is playing this and loving every minute of it!

If you want to know more, here’s the Mass Effect 2 Website. Get in on this amazing stuff guys!

Oh, and thanks for reading! (What are you doing sitting here? Go! Go! Buy this game!)


Alienware M17x Not for the Computer Challenged.

January 8, 2010

Ello again everybody,

Today I wanted to make some important statements about the Alienware M17x. I know in my previous reviews, I stated how amazing the M17x has been. However, I have some bad news for all of you potential Alienware buyers, especially if you aren’t techy enough to survive using this computer.

But what do I mean by “techy enough”?

Plain and simple, to own this laptop, you had better be a god damn IT specialist (and maybe even more than that).

This machine on a daily basis has what in the slightest can be called “major hiccups”. The machine is so unstable it hasn’t been more than 3 days since the last time I’ve fixed it. It’s almost like a foreign import car, I’ve spent more time tweaking and fixing it than I have actually driving it.

It started with the constant inefficiencies in the graphics drivers. To start, the graphics drivers that came stock with the laptop are 3 years old. But even worse, just by restarting the computer, you can ruin their installation. I’ll be playing Crysis at 56 FPS one hour, the next the machine can barely pump out 2! I’m serious! The SLI’d 280M’s! Two of the most powerful available laptop video cards working together couldn’t pump out more than 2 frames per second on Crysis! The worst part being that Dell at first didn’t provide any support for this. When they updated the drivers finally, they ended up running worse than the ones I already had! After what must have been days of debunking this machine, I eventually caved, went back to the original drivers that came stock with the machine, and to this day, I still am using them. (Yes, I know, pathetic isn’t it?)

There are solutions to this, but they involve manually hacking your graphics drivers to make it work. I hardly find that a suitable way to get this working. Dell should be providing working and stable drivers, not just one, but atleast 20 revisions, so that the power demanding gamer market that buys the M17x has different drivers to tinker with. It’s pathetic how they still haven’t fixed it.

Now, if that wasn’t bad enough on Vista, wait till you hear what happened when I upgraded to Windows 7!

When I upgraded to Windows 7, I was very eager to leave Vista behind. In retrospect I almost feel like I should have just stuck with Vista. But at that time, I wanted 7, so I decided to upgrade.

On my first install, I merely upgraded, kept my programs as is, and chose the easy way to move into the new world of Windows 7. I put in the disc, checked for compatibility of all my programs and drivers, and I got the OK to go from the disc. So I told it to upgrade and waited the 5 hours as it did it’s work. This was a big mistake, and I’ll tell you why.

You know the way Windows 7 groups similar windows on the start bar? How when you have two explorer windows open, it stores both of them inside the one icon on the start bar? And how it will then let you hold your mouse over that icon, a new window appears, and it will show you the minimized windows of that program? Now imagine if the window never appeared. No matter what you did, you couldn’t make it show up. Well, thats not entirely true, every so often it would start flickering, appearing and disappearing randomly and constantly. But although that did mean it was appearing, it would do it when I didn’t have my cursor over the icon, which made it completely useless, let alone annoying. Nothing I did fixed this, whether it be updating my drivers from Dell, system restoring, nothing. Not only did this annoy me, it also makes your computer practically impossible to use. Whenever you minimize a window, it would be gone forever. So I decided it was time to clean er’ up and do a full clean install.

So, I gave up on the upgrade, backed up my files, and went and downloaded all new drivers from Dell for Windows 7 to get ready for my fresh install!

The reformatting of the hard drive and reinstalling Windows 7 from scratch was simple enough. However, it was the driver’s that gave me hell. I swear to god, nVidia and Windows 7 have it in for eachother, and it became literal civil war on my computer. I followed the directions of driver installation order from Dell to the letter, only to be sorely disappointed with the results. I ran into a very unique issue. This was the first time where I have ever seen a graphics drivers for the graphics card prevent the network card from using it’s wifi capabilities. Finding little if any help on the forums from Dell, I went deeper into the world of the internet to try and find a way so that I could keep playing my games and have internet at the same time. For as of that moment, I had to choose between graphics or internet. If I installed the graphics drivers, the wifi would be permanently disabled. If I uninstalled the graphics drivers, my video cards would become crippled and I would be unable of playing any of the games I enjoy so very much.

But back to the searching. After several days, I found a very helpful forum post on Notebook Review’s Forums. (And if you need help with your M17x I very much suggest you go there and get help from the very nice people on those forums. Head into the Alienware section). Someone suggested to me, to uninstall my motherboard chipset drivers. However, this required me to do a full system restore. Back to the very beginning of my 4 days of driver hell. In the end, after another day’s worth of driver installs, I had wifi and my graphics cards working properly. But this was not the end of my problems.

Then my friends came over to visit. We were hanging around, having a few drinks as we usually do.

Then someone said, “Connect the laptop to the TV! Let’s see what it can do!”

Having just gotten everything working the very day earlier, I was happily eager to oblige. This would be my one moment to shine. All my hard work would pay off and the laptop would prove to be a marvel of modern engineering. It had connected to the TV flawlessly when running Vista, I had no doubts at the time it would fail to do so with Windows 7.

Then I connected it all up. The screen on the laptop blacked out as it recognized the TV as the logical input. The TV recognizing the HD signal displayed it had a 1080p signal. Both screens were black, I waited in anticipation for my desktop to appear in wonderful high definition on my 50″ LCD. After 15 seconds of both screens being black I started to wonder what was going on. I unplugged the HDMI from the laptop. Both screens remained black. Staring at my laptop, I waited for it to realize I had disconnected the cable and default back to the laptop’s LCD. But it didn’t. It stayed black. I stuck the HDMI back in. Pressed the key combination for “switch to external screen output” a couple times. Nothing happened. Pulling the HDMI out again, I realized it wasn’t going to display anything on any screen regardless of what I did. Holding the power button for 8 seconds, I forced the machine to turn off. Pushing the power again, it began to boot up.

My friend, partially drunk, says to me, “I thought the Dell site you sent me said this was a beast? It can’t even output to a TV?”

I didn’t have anything to say. This laptop had found a way to fail me in yet another new way.

But I did find a solution to this problem after another 4 days of forum searching. However it involves a tedious edit of a specific setting inside the BIOS to do, and I have to do it every time I want to output to a TV. Not only that, but that setting limits my computer graphics power whilst outputting to the TV. It’s a solution, but a poor one.

Since then, I’ve had to reinstall my graphics drivers 34 times to keep the machine working as it randomly slows down while playing games. It’s the same problem I had with Vista, and no newer drivers work either. I’m sure someone else out there has some amazing way to make this laptop work properly, but I don’t personally care anymore. Noone, not even someone as tech oriented as myself, should have to deal with this amount of hassle to get this machine working. This computer I paid $4000 CAD has put me through more trouble than I could possibly have imagined.

I’m currently dealing with random approximately 5 minute interval machine stutters that last for a couple seconds. When using the machine normally they are an irritation, when gaming they can be annoying as they freeze up your game at the inopportune moments, when watching a moving it’s unbearable, the audio distorts into a horrid mechanical wail and the video stutters for 20 seconds or more every couple of minutes or so.

I’m looking for a solution to this problem, I will post it when I figure it out.

But the point I really want to share is this. Not that Dell or Alienware are evil, or that their computers are terrible, but that specifically “this” computer is terrible. Do not buy it. It has been nothing but a headache for me. I’ve owned numerous Dell’s, desktops and laptops, all the way from Inspiron to XPS, I even have friends who own previous Alienware’s. As far as I can tell, this machine is the only majorly flawed computer from Dell/Alienware I have used.

I’m Nick Funk, and I’m a Software Engineer, don’t buy this computer if you’re not up to the task…


Brutal Legend is “Fucking Powerful!”

January 2, 2010

Ok… I may have no real internet out here in beautiful British Columbia (as I’ve currently just finished roaming the cabin looking for the neighbor’s wireless signal), but I do have electricity and I happened to buy a family member Brutal Legend for christmas.

This game… literally is, fucking powerful!

This is the only game that lets you:

  • Be a roadie.
  • Use a guitar to light demonic cultists on fire.
  • Build a car from the body parts of a demon. “I shall call it… the Druid Plow.”
  • Free headbangers from a hell prison.
  • Annoy Ozzy Osbourne.
  • Ride a raptor deer.
  • Piss on a campfire.
  • Run over titanium hedgehogs. (Sorry Sonic)
  • Capture fire breathing gorillas.
  • Finally put an end to bondage.
  • Lead a mosh pit. (Don’t believe me? play the game)
  • Prove that the power of music truly can heal.
  • Use stage lights to kill people.
  • Naturally farm dry ice.
  • Blow up seagulls.
  • Conquer a sex mansion.
  • Grow demon wings and fly around.
  • Nitro boost through wildlife for the betterment of humanity.
  • Stare at incredibly well rendered cleavage.  (Just look at the graphics! They’re so smooth!)
  • Beat up emo’s.

Now if that hasn’t convinced you to go buy this game, then I have one final test. The following is a video of Jack Black (the ingame voice of Eddie Riggs, the main character of Brutal Legend) performing Master Exploder. This song emulates the soul of Brutal Legend and it’s awesome humor. If you like what you see here, go buy Brutal Legend and have yourself an awesome holiday.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy! Now go buy Brutal Legend!


A Belated Happy New Year and Holidays!

January 2, 2010

For those of you that know me. This holiday season was spent out at a still partially built abode deep in the forests of British Columbia. Sadly, this prevented me from having any stable internet access. As such, I’ve chosen to refer to the old saying “better now than never at all”.

Here is to hoping all of you readers have enjoyed the holiday season and enjoy a happy new year!

I shall hopefully get some new posts out now that I’ve found a fairly stable connection to the internet.

Once again, happy holidays and a happy new year!


The world surely is big enough for all of us…

November 26, 2009

Now I’m sure you’re all wondering how that title up there has anything to do with technology, computers or gadgets. Well I’ve come to an epiphany my friends. I think this one is actually worth sharing though.

Here I am, writing this article out on my little Toshiba netbook. For those of you that remember, my very first post bashed netbooks and the very concept of them.

Another thing happened to me today. I picked up a Mac, played around, and enjoyed it. Now, for those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m a pretty avid PC goer, and I hardly ever want anything to do with Mac.

The point I’m trying to get to is this. When it comes to technology, the sooner you start opening your mind to new ideas, companies, and opportunities, the sooner you become just a little bit more enlightened.

I’m not saying you have to start liking Mac (God knows I probably will never fully accept it). But what I’m saying is, try and accept it for what it is. Try and ignore the prejudices you’ve set and brands you’ve always stood for. Go out and try something new. Ignore that little voice in your head, that logical little bastard that is the techie in all of us. The little voice that blabbers statistics all day long and gives you hundreds of reasons why you would buy something over another.

I gave up two of my prejudices while buying a netbook.

Firstly, I let myself live with a “decent” machine rather than always trying to buy for power.

Secondly, I bought a Toshiba. I’ve had a very bad run with previous Toshiba’s years back, but just this once, I gave them a chance. And so far I have not been disappointed in any way.

I’m loving this little netbook! (Yeah, you can quote me on that.)

I’m not saying that you have to choose to buy something, or even switch which model you buy, just saying to open your mind just a wee bit more and try something new.

Go a direction or use a software you wouldn’t normally. Get off your personal well-beaten path. You just might be surprised what you find, and as the title says, I think there just might be enough room for both Mac and PC, ATI and nVidia, Intel and AMD, and any tech vs tech in this world. So here are my few statements that contradict what I normally tell people. Statements that I actually believe in, thanks to me trying to open my mind to the contrary of what I usually stand for. When I stop arguing and start trying to see what is actually useful in a product.

“Mac may just have a place in the computer market. The way it sells it’s products are obviously ingenious, otherwise no one would buy them. I actually want to applaud Mac on its incredibly commercials and their incredible way of making it seem as if they live in a little Computer Heaven where everything will just ‘be alright’ and hopefully even be ‘better’.”

“Netbooks are useful. Despite what I said in earlier posts, I now own one. For everyday use, these little machines are all you’ll ever need. Also, I’ve been amazed a few times now when the little guy outputs in full 720p HD to the TV, runs some of my favorite games, and lets me get that last bit of code added to my game engine. It’s also my ideal machine for watching movies in the car, as it has an incredible battery life!”

“The iPhone is impressing me as to how well it is competing against (specifically here in Canada) Blackberry, HTC, and Nokia. I’m just impressed how a phone that is now rather old by technology standards is still holding the place of ‘prized consumer phone’ when it has so many companies fighting to steal it’s title away.”

“Sony has developed one hell of a console considering that they are so far behind in sales to the Xbox 360 and Wii. That little guy even has a free online service (something you usually don’t hear from a company that is actually having trouble selling its console). I know most of you know this already, but I think the PS3 may have at least a bit of a candle to hold to the other consoles. There is a lot of untapped potential, but I think Sony might actually start utilizing it sooner or later. If only they had some serious killer exclusives…”

Those are my more technology oriented thoughts that have come by opening my idea to other options. No matter how much my gut wishes to despise them. It’s amazing what good you can find in a product if you stop thinking or asking whether it’s “the best” or “most shiny” and whether it actually does everything you want from it. Stop looking at the brand or specs and look at how it’s doing what you bought it for.

Thanks for reading guys, hope that was at least somewhat insightful.


DVD Is Dead, Is Blu-Ray Going to Die Even Quicker?

November 12, 2009

DVD Is Dead, Is Blu-Ray Going to Die Even Quicker?

That’s a pretty tough question, but I’m going to have to say…. YES! Why? Well let me fill you in my dear viewer.

First of all, Blu-Ray is a disc based medium. I know what you’re thinking, how could a disc that stores 50GB of data (sometimes even more if you compress it) become useless?

The truth of the matter is, it is a disc. You still have to go to the store and either rent or buy a disc, take it home, pop it into your Blu-Ray player and watch your movie.

So how is that a problem? It’s a problem because it’s highly inefficient and tedious to get off your couch and go get a movie. (I’m aware I’m starting to sound like a lazy idiot, but bear with me.)

With fibre optic high speed internet, net based movie services (e.g. Netflix), YouTube, FaceBook, Vimeo, HuluTV, and all of the other media services provided on the net, cable TV and disc based movies are a thing of the past. Still not sold? What if I told you that in the next 5 years, you won’t have to get off your couch to watch any movie, sitcom, television show, vlog, commercial, or comedy clip you want?

Imagine every time you wanted to watch a movie, all you did was turn your TV on, tell it what you wanted to watch, and in seconds, you’re watching the show or movie you want, in HD, without having to leave your home.

If you think this is some kind of advent of the future, I’d like to tell you that it isn’t. You can have this amazing service anywhere in your home merely by purchasing or reusing a cheap PC, or buying an Xbox 360 or a PS3.

So how is it done?

For one, we know that we can torrent or download any movie we want (albeit illegally) to our computer. Now what if you simply connected the computer to the TV? Bammo! Right there you have a media center in your home! Connect a keyboard and mouse and your TV just became a public party as you and your friends show eachother all your funniest HD vids on YouTube!

But that only gets me YouTube and the Internet!

Well, in that case, both Microsoft and Sony have movie and TV show download services on their consoles. You can watch or rent any movie you want. The PS3  even does web surfing and allows you to surf the net as I described with the PC setup! Don’t want to pay the large pay-per-click download charges? Netflix is available on the Xbox 360 and lets you watch as many TV shows, movies, and music videos as you want for under $30 a month! If you replace your cable bill with this service you actually end up saving money and you get to watch whatever you want whenever you want!

I know I’m supposed to be un-biased about all this. But I find it hard to believe noone else has thought of this idea before.

In my case, I have both the PC and the Xbox 360 hooked up into the HDTV. I can watch any internet video I want in HD resolution. As well, I stream data from the PC to the Xbox 360. I rip my DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs to the PC and share them with the Xbox. This allows me to watch all my movies in HD, anywhere in the house as long as an Xbox is connected to the wireless network. I’ve recently set it up so that I have two Xbox’s and both share from the media server, which means that I can watch the same movie at two different places in the house. How expensive is this? Well, if you’ve got a PC computer, it’ll only cost you $200 to buy an Xbox 360 to hook it all up! Not sure how to get your movies converted to play on the Xbox 360? Check out my video conversion tutorials! Or even better yet, check my posts and you’ll notice I’ve already got a video tutorial telling you how to do this.

The future of movies, music, and pictures is streamed content. I’ve shown you the door, now just follow my tutorials and we’ll find a way to get you through it.

To get you guys started, here’s how to share media from your computer to your Xbox 360 for not even a cent!


Thanks for reading and enjoy!