Thursday, November 22, 2007

Goin' underground, Zune facelift, and it's my birthday!

Last week I drove up to Hutch with a friend and went on the tour for the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. We had bought gift certificates about a year ago before they ever opened, and finally got around to using them up. There is about a 10 minute video presentation (mostly safety related) and then we loaded in the elevator and descended 650 feet below ground. Once we hit the bottom there was a ~20 min tram ride where they explained the details of the salt mine, as they drove through the corridors. After the ride your able to walk around at your own pace and look at the museum exhibits which was pretty interesting. The last part of the museum is actually more of a promotional brochure for the underground storage facility that is part of the area, sure there were some movie industry related items to see (costumes, and such), but it felt like I was watching a commercial.

Overall a worthwhile experience but now that I've been on the tour I don't know that I'd ever go again.

Evidently some of you may not have noticed, but the original 30GB Zune got a update about 2 weeks ago. After the new flash based models hit the scene the Zune software, and the firmware got a facelift. The 30GB system menu now mirrors the new devices with a larger font, and the addition of a podcast subsystem. There have been a bunch of changes on the PC software front end also, and a Zune Social webpage set up.

I'm really liking the podcast support as I was able to ditch another program I was using (you remember Doppler?) and its all automatic in the Zune front end so I don't have to manually transfer them to/from my Zune plus they show up in a completely separate area instead of my music menu. The social aspect was nifty when I logged in and got my Zune card my 'friends' list was already populated (from the 360 friends list) and was surprised to see that a couple people on my list also had Zunes. The software now allows you to do a wireless sync now too which albeit slow does work well. Now all I need is my car to be sync'd and I'd be set.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday to me! It's always cool when it lands on Thanksgiving (every 5 or 6 years depending on leap years) I requested a 'turkey' shaped cake we'll see what happens with that. :) Hmmm, maybe I should submit it to Ace of Cakes sometime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More racing, and TV. LIVE birthday freebies, and other 360 stuff.

The second leg of the Amazing Race is done, and the lesbian ministers we're eliminated. I must say that the dad/daughter Asian team is wearing thin, she's okay, but dad is annoying as hell. Hopefully they'll be gone quick enough. The grandpa/grandson team isn't much better, and I really didn't need to see grandpa disrobe down to his 'bikini' cut briefs on TV. Ewwww. :(

I'm hoping the writers strike doesn't effect my shows too much, I was shocked last night when Heroes mentioned there were only 3 episodes left. I was told that just meant this story arc, and some of the characters will continue on in a new arc this year. Speaking of which last nights episode 4 months ago really should have been the season opener. If they wanted to keep Adam/Kensai a secret we could have heard his voice and never saw his face, and then picked up where the season actually started as episode 2.

I'm shocked there hasn't been more series canned this season yet? The only one I can find is Viva Laughlin (did it even air any episodes?) that got the axe. TV execs may be worried that the writers strike would hamper mid-season replacements and decided to stick it out with what they had? Good news for me as a couple of shows have really grown on me. The Big Bang Theory (sad to say, but it's funny), Journeyman, and Bionic Woman have become more engaging as the season progresses none of which grabbed me in the first episode. Pushing Daises on the other hand I had high expectations for, but every week I care less and less.

and where is Lost?

November 15th marks Xbox LIVE's 5th birthday, and Teamxbox has an official announcement up regarding the birthday festivities, and a new dashboard (coming early December) item.

Microsoft says in the article that

As a gesture of thanks to the gaming community, all 8 million members will have the opportunity to download a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game,* available for downloading between 12:01 a.m. PST on Nov. 15 and 11:59 p.m. PST on Nov. 16.

According to Xbox360fanboy that the free came is Carcasscone. Which is good news for me because I don't have it yet. :) It also goes on to state that any 'active' members who were around in 2002 when LIVE started will get 500 MS Points (Yay! me).

They also announced a new feature of the dashboard update would be the ability to download original Xbox titles to your HD and play them from there (virtual console anyone?) though at 1,200 points ($15) they are not cheap by any means. Sounds like a nice idea, but I haven't played any Xbox titles since I got my 360, and don't have a desire to start now.

Target had the Madcatz 360 Arcade stick on clearance a couple weeks ago, but even at $27.98 I felt it was too much for what I've read is a really crappy controller. I was hoping it would hit 50% off ($14.98) and I would snag one for the three Live arcade titles packaged with it. I never found it again though so evidently someone else had the same idea. 360fanboy had a post this weekend saying that Best Buy also was had them on clearance for the low price of $9.99. Happily I was able to score one Sunday afternoon so I'm getting three new arcade titles, and a stick I eventually try out to see if it's as bad as reported.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Race, Heroes, and other ramblings.

Amazing Race season 12 started Sunday night, and the 11 teams took off for Ireland in the first episode. Nobody stands out yet as my clear favorite, although we have the normal race pairs showing up Grandfather/Grandson, Father/Daughter, and Sisters all of which usually don't finish well. My pick for the winners right now is Rachel and T.K. a dating couple from Huntington Beach, CA. We'll see if that holds up over the next couple weeks.

I finally got around to picking up Heroes season 1 HD DVD set, off of eBay. Thanks to a Best Buy deal a couple weeks ago (you got it free with any HD DVD player), eBay was flooded with them. I received the set yesterday and watched the 'unaired' pilot (or Tim Kring cut as the box describes it). The terrorist sub-plot was different, and Parkman's wife was a completely different actress, but it's been a while since I've seen the pilot it's hard to compare. I'll probably watch the actual pilot episode today to see if there were other subtile changes.

I'm still playing The Simpson's Game on the 360, but if anything I get more frustrated the longer I play. Some of the platforming stuff is just bad, you think your going to go one direction but the game sends you off a different way. I'm going to play it a little more, but think it's more suited as a rental than a full purchase.
Call of Duty 4 hit shelves this week, and I've heard a lot of positive things about it. Hopefully I can pick it up here soon as I loved the multiplayer beta, and it sounds like the game is full of unlockable stuff as you progress through. It seems as though it was a pretty big hit I know most everyone was sold out of copies on Tuesday this week.
I'm also going to pick up the 360 version of Scene-It at some point. I tried the demo out with my daughter, but not having my vast movie knowledge held her back, and then we figured out that it was the same questions each time you went through the demo. :( The full version is supposed to have 1,800 questions so I guess it will last for a while, now I just have to get a couple other 'movie geeks' over so I actually have some competition. :)