Archive | December 2012

Year in Review…briefly

So, wordpress does a little page with stats and such for a blogger’s year in review. I was gonna throw together something like this, but now my lazy ass can just chill out and drink bourbon all day! It’s been an interesting year, with tons of random topics, the aftermath of 2 surgeries, and various other insights and complaints. It’s definitely been a fun time!

Before we get to the review stuff, I’d just like to say thanks to those of you who actually read this shit. I’m honestly flattered, since I know I’ve never been a good writer, but always had what I consider “interesting stuff” to say. If I’ve made you laugh, smile, or think critically about something you normal wouldn’t have, then I consider that a job well done.

Also, a very special thank you to Mr. David Demar over at Amateur Professional. Without his inspiration, I’d never have done any of this. If you don’t read his blog already, then get crackin’! Much better than my tripe and diatribes.

Keep an eye out in the next coming days, since I’m gonna be talking about The Hobbit, some zombie stuff, and my tablet (cuz I’m a fucking geek). Happy New Year, fuckers! See you in 2013.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Nyko Playpad vs Playpad pro comparison

Recently, I picked up and reviewed the Nyko Playpad Pro, a Bluetooth gamepad for Android devices. While the controller was good, I decided to return it and try out the regular playpad for comparison. I played the same games on both, and here’s what I found as far as differences go. Don’t worry, this won’t be a long review.

The playpad works almost identically to its ‘pro’ counterpart. Functionally, it has the same abilities and features. Maps to touchscreen controls, usable for games that support gamepads, usable as a mouse, and so on. Both controllers are easy to pair with Android devices, and are very customizable and responsive. The main differences are these.

I know, I suck at photoshop....

I know, I suck at photoshop….

Kepp in mind, I have very large hands.

Kepp in mind, I have very large hands.

First, the feel. The playpad has low profile thumbsticks, similar to the original PSP’s analog stick. The tension is similar, but it’s a bit more awkward to use when compared to the pro. The pro has traditional style thumbsticks, like a PS or XBOX controller. It may just take more getting used to, but I’m not as crazy about the low profile ones. They don’t feel as “natural”. The PP is also smaller, which can be a turnoff for those with large hands, and could promote cramping during long sessions. I say ‘could’ because I never experience things like that. This controller is slightly bigger than an original NES controller, and I never had an issue with that one either. And yes, I’ve used it as an adult. It’s more comfortable, in my opinion, than a Wiimote turned sideways.

Case and Controller. Great design.

Case and Controller. Great design.

Second, the packaging. No, I’m not referring to the box it came in. The PP comes with a case, a little bigger than a large sunglasses case. This hard case keeps the controller safe from damage while toting it around in a bag. This is the main reason I decided to try this controller, and trade in the Pro. The pro is basically like tossing an Xbox 360 controller in your bag. I’m concerned that the lack of protection could damage the thumbsticks since they stick out so far. I’d also be concerned with it turning on by being pressed up against something in my bag.

Fold up stand

Fold up stand

Third, and this is more pedantic, the PP comes with a stand for your phone or tablet. I tried it out with my Droid Incredible 2, and my Asus TF300. It held both well enough, but it’s a bit narrow for tablets. I have another stand that I use that’s much more secure for my Asus. The stand also folds up to fit in the case, along with the USB charging dongle.

Now I’m at an impasse of sorts. I like the safe portability of the Playpad, and how it keeps all related stuff in one convenient case, but I also prefer the Pro’s feel and size. It’s certainly a preference thing, and I’ll most likely play with the PP more and see if it feels better after a little breaking in. If it doesn’t, I’ll be going back to the Pro, and maybe I’ll just make some sort of case for it.

Freedom of choice, I choose you!

In recent years, a trend has started that is taking away our freedoms. We are being left with more limited options, and I fear it’s only gonna get worse. I remember, years ago, being able to go out and get all sorts of stuff to bring home and enjoy. Unfortunately, though, we are now faced with a partial scarcity, and I fear it will get worse, leading many of us to resort to criminal activity. I’m talking, of course, about the availability of shitty B movies for rent.

I'll never let go, Jack!!!

I’ll never let go, Jack!!!

I never realized how much the downfall of Hollywood video and Blockbuster affected me until recently. I noticed it when I was reminiscing about being able to go to these stores and choose the most horrendous B horror movie on the rack to take home and enjoy with friends. It was something I really enjoyed, and miss very much.

Admit it, you're intrigued!!!

Admit it, you’re intrigued!!!

Now, with the vast majority of content becoming purely digital and available from your couch, rental stores have fallen off the map, replaced only by random Red Box machines outside of the 7-11. Granted, there are some B movies to be found on Netflix, PSN, Xbox, and Amazon VoD, but it’s not enough.Also, many of these movies are only available as an online purchase to own, and not a rental. It’s not the same. You can’t just go and rent that awful movie you remember from years ago, because they most likely won’t have them online.

The only real alternative is piracy. Downloading ripped version of these movies to watch instead of renting. The other alternative would be to actually purchase them, but who wants to pay 10 bucks for a copy of Ice Crawlers with shipping? Not this guy. So we’re stuck now.

Classically awful!!!

Classically awful!!!

We’re gonna see more of this. Our content will be picked and filtered by those who provide the services, based on rate of return or something like it. Awfully awesome movies will be left to Syfy (changing from sci-fi to syfy is still fucking lame), and even then it’s few and far between. We need better options for movies like Sharktopus, because they make this horrible world more bearable. I hope someone decides to open a new local video store, one with both good and awful movies. I’ll support the shit outta them!!!

Fuck yeah, kid!!!

Fuck yeah, kid!!!

Open facepalm style

I just read an article about how Korean pop star PSY made the copyright nazis at the RIAA look like complete schmucks, and figured I’d share it.

That's right, bitch...pwned!!!

That’s right, bitch…pwned!!!

PSY’s song Gangbang  Gangnam style is a huge hit, and tons of people have been making parodies and remixes. What many people don’t know, is that many of them are asking permission from PSY to do so, and he’s not receiving any royalties from them. This is because he  is apparently ignoring the copyright infringement of the song and video, so anyone can do whatever they want with it. This is going directly against everything the RIAA has been telling people for years, that without copyright enforcement, artists will make no money and receive no credit for their work. But that’s where PSY kicked them in the junk.

Fuck them!

Fuck them!

According to the article, he’s raking in about $8.1 million this year from that song. What I believe happened, is that, either knowingly or unknowingly, he enabled people to blow this up into what is probably the biggest viral phenomenon in the history of the internet. Let’s be honest, this shit is EVERYWHERE! I hear it at weddings, clubs, videos, etc… There are memes out the ass relating to this. My MOM knows about it, for christ’s sake.

 

 

Mrs. Stevens, Johnny won't be in school today. He's being arraigned for trading a song with a friend.

Mrs. Stevens, Johnny won’t be in school today. He’s being arraigned for trading a song with a friend.

The money mostly comes from advertising. His video is the most viewed video on youtube, he’s been on numerous TV shows and commercials, and his concerts are almost always jam packed. He basically took a viral earworm song, and let it become the huge “event” that it has become, all by simply not enforcing copyright. Take that, RIAA!!!

BTW, jibjab also lets you put anyone’s face on his in the music video. Give it try, it’s funny as hell!

Reinventing addiction

Because I like options...

Because I like options…

I’ve been an Android user for a few years now. Both my phone and my tablet use the OS. One of the draws for me is that it allows emulators for old consoles, such as NES, Genesis, SNES, PS1, etc… Unfortunately, I’d only use them sparingly, since touchscreen controls are a steaming pile of shit when used for games outside of pinball, angry birds, or cut the rope. If you need a D-pad for a game, using a touchscreen will make you crazier than a burlap sack full of cats…and by cats, I mean those creepy fuckers from that broadway show who dressed up like furries and did show tunes, only to get freaky offstage. Anyways, this kept me from really wasting any time gaming on my devices, since the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. This has now changed.

Zombie killing goodness!

Zombie killing goodness!

Awhile ago, when I bought my current tablet, I downloaded a game called Dead Trigger. It’s your usual FPS Zombie fare, but optimized for the Tegra 3, which is what my tablet runs on. It’s a pretty sick game, especially considering it’s free, but I couldn’t get past the touchscreen controls. I left it alone for awhile, but recently decided to take a look into controller options for the tab. I’ve used the wii controllers with it before, but that gets annoying, since you have to carry the remote AND classic controller to play most games. It’s also not a comfortable controller, and you have to keep replacing the batteries. I did some searching online, and decided to give the Nyko Playpad Pro a try. It got rather mixed reviews, but I figured I’d give it a whirl.

From here on out, this will be mostly a hardware review of a game controller. If that bores you, you can check out now and go read The Oatmeal or something else way more entertaining than me.

Many reviewers get into packaging and shit. I don’t care. It came in a box, and wasn’t broken. The packaging is fine. I unboxed it, charged it, and paired it to my tablet without any issues. For those interested, I have an Asus TF300. I immediately started up Dead Trigger, set it to use the gamepad, set my button preferences, and was off and running. Overall, it’s pretty typical of using a gamepad with a PC, and I didn’t run into any issues.

I wonder if M$ will sue...

I wonder if M$ will sue…

Playing the game was great. I actually lived, which is new for me considering the awful controls before. The buttons were responsive, felt good, and there was no noticeable latency between the button press and the action on the screen. One thing I did notice, is that the right thumbstick is kinda stiff, and though it moved without issues, wasn’t as loose as a PS3 or 360 controller, so fine tuning was more difficult. Not a deal breaker, by far, but will take some getting used to.

Of COURSE I played this...

Of COURSE I played this…

I played for a few minutes, and then quit and fired up my first emulator, Nesoid. Configuration was basically the same, and I was up and running quickly. I blew through a few classics, and everything was fun and functioned well. I repeated the process for GenPlusDroid, FPSE, and supergneslite. None had any issues. I also tried Droid2600, but that didn’t work. The direction buttons worked for movement, but since it was configured to let the entire screen register as the button press, mapping was pretty much impossible. I’ll try again if they update the app.

One thing people were complaining about was the Playground app, which lets you have controller profiles, and lets you map the buttons to touchscreen controls. I gave it a try, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be. I will say that it wasn’t completely intuitive and plug-n-play. If you paired your gamepad to your device before using the app, you have to unpair, and re-pair it using the app. Once done, though, it’s actually pretty decent. You can create custom launchers for games, in which you view a layout of the controller, and can see which buttons do what before launching the game. Games are launched directly from the app itself.

Config screen for the playground app.

Config screen for the playground app.

Another interesting this is that the controller can be used to navigate through parts of the OS, and can also be used as a mouse. Pretty cool when you wanna show people stuff, and don’t wanna keep tapping the screen in their field of vision. The battery is also rechargeable, and lasts quite awhile on a single charge. It uses a regular microUSB cable to charge.

For the last time, I don't CARE how many times I've played through this game before....

For the last time, I don’t CARE how many times I’ve played through this game before….

In conclusion, I fucking love this thing. I’ve been wasting every spare moment playing video games on my tablet now, and it’s kickstarting my addiction all over again. I played Final Fantasy 7 for about 2 hours the other day, while bored at a project. This is way better than having a laptop with me, since it has a smaller footprint and better battery life. The only real downsides are A) It doesn’t come with a case, so I’m paranoid it’ll get fucked up rattling around in my bag, and B) it’s another thing to carry around. If these don’t bother you, then you’ll most likely end up happy with this controller. Now I’m gonna have to try and kick gaming again….oh video games, why can’t I quit you?!?!

Uneasy Rider

I wasn’t heavily into comics when I was a kid. I didn’t really have the money, and wasn’t a big reader. I ended up getting a little bit into them when I started five fingering during my tween years between 9 and 12. My brother was really into them, though, so I got a basic understanding of who the major players were and what their schticks were. I was drawn to a select few, and oddly enough they all had very similar outlooks. These few were Judge Dredd, The Punisher, and Ghost Rider.

BAMF Extraordinaire!

BAMF Extraordinaire!

Now that I’ve grown up, all three of these have been made into multiple movies. So far, only one did an awesome job, and that was the second Punisher movie, War Zone. The first one was good, but the second one really hit the mark in both being true enough to the source material, and entertaining for those who don’t know it. I haven’t seen the latest Dredd movie, but since I’ve not seen any “glowing” reviews of it, I’m considering the jury out on that one.

Excuse me fellas, pet detective!

Excuse me fellas, pet detective!

 

I bring all this up because the other night I viewed a travesty to my favorite of these three. I watched Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The first Ghost Rider film was ok at best. He was bad ass enough, but it didn’t really follow the true story all that well, and Nicholas Cage was a horrible choice for Blaze. In the sequel, this is WAY more apparent. This is probably the worst I’ve ever seen him act, by far, and almost the entire movie was horrible. I did like that they showed more of the war between Blaze and Zarathos, the demon possessing him, but they should’ve really given some back story if they were gonna do that.

Why did I sully the name of this badass motherfucker?!

Why did I sully the name of this badass motherfucker?!

My main issue with it is Cage, though. He’s too old, and not the right kind of actor for this type of role. His delivery, mannerisms, looks, body language,lack of convincing emotion and lack of depth completely ruined this for me. I’m not sure who made this mistake, but they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

Mr. Cage, your penance stare will be me forcing you to watch your own movies...forever!!!

Mr. Cage, your penance stare will be me forcing you to watch your own movies…forever!!!

I’m just so sick of Hollywood ruining good characters and stories, all for the sake of casting someone with draw at the box office. They wanted an A list name, and they took Cage, regardless of how much he did NOT fit the role. Please, please, please stop ruining these characters….