Friday, June 27, 2008

360 license renewed, and my crystal ball shows a price drop.

Xbox finally released a DRM Fix for the 360 consoles. If you had a console die, and replaced it (either through MS or just bought another one) you found that any content you had downloaded (paid for arcade titles, themes, movies, tv shows, etc.) were tied to the original 360, and if you weren't logged into LIVE you couldn't access them from the new 360. Arcade games for example, my daughter used to be able to log into her gamertag (not LIVE enabled) and play any of the arcade titles I had downloaded on my original box, on the new one they show up as trial versions. I had called customer service 3 times in the span of a month after getting my refurbished unit, got 3 different 'fixes' none of which worked. Now, 8 months later I can finally redo my 'drm' licenses through the web. You can only perform this transfer once every 12 months so use it wisely.

In a forum post at highdefdigest someone posted scans of the July 6th K-Mart circular showing the 360 Pro at the new low price of $299.99. Price drop in our future, perhaps. It wouldn't be the first time a price drop was announced with a early leaked ad. The Elite, and Arcade models aren't pictured can we assume a drop on these as well? Will they be $50 off also, or I'm guessing $30 on the Arcade which puts it level with a $249.99 Wii system.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bell breakdown, and stormy new tv shows...

I fell off the wagon yesterday, my curious side (and a free coupon) got the better of me. Taco Bell had introduced those Frutista drinks that I wanted to try plus the 'free trial' coupons I had expired Monday I decided it was as good as time as any to return. Its wierd when you haven't had something for 2 months how much better it taste vesus what you recall. Now mind you I didn't go oveboard and make my way back to the Polo de morte (Chicken of death) I kept it simple with a burrito supreme, and tacos. I'm loving the 'tomato' scare though I no longer have to say no tomatoes on any of my orders, as they aren't putting them on anyway.

Oh yeah btw the Frutista wasn't all that whoopie, I prefer the Strawberry over the Mango, but not something I'll go out of my way to get again.

Some of the new series have picked up on tv, so far mostly fresh series as most of the new season of summer standby's is later this month or the first part of July. In Plain Sight isn't too bad, I was expecting a little more comedy than what the show has deliveed so far in the first couple episodes. The pilot was a little more dry than the following episodes have been so it's on a up swing for me anywas.

I was really looking forward to Fear Itself on NBC, a anthology type horror show where evey week is a self contained story. It seems to be the networks vesion of Showtime's Masters of Horror series that ran for 2-3 seasons. I really enjoyed the first episode which was a cross between The Village and a vampire story. The second episode was a little more 'ghost' story' and just didn't pull me in as much, although that could be because I had to wait to watch it (more on that in a minute).

Swingtown was the last one I caught and so far its been about what I expected, the musiic is cool, if even a little before my time. The 70's seem to have been a very free-spirited time when drugs, sex, and rock & roll was all people thought about. So far the show seems to have zeroed in on the setting though the cars, interiors, and clothing all looks to be right on target.

That brings me to my b&m segment, Kansas and its severe weather sucks ass. I settled into my chair Friday after work to catch the latest episodes of the forementioned Fear, and Swing to find that NBC showed maybe 20 minutes of Fear total not joining the show until 20 minutes in, and then flipping in and out of weather coverage for 5-10 minutes at a time. ABC was even worse doing storm coverage through the entire freaking episode of Swingtown. I realize it was sorta close Haysville/Rose Hill, but really do I need every major network to drop what their showing for it? No. If I want to know I'm quite capable of switching channels when, and if I deem it necessary.

All I can say is torrents are the best thing to happen to TV for quite a while, and almost on par with my DVR love.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Miscellaneous blog bites, including Branson, consoles, COX, and Gamestop thoughts.

Well, made it back from Branson over the weekend, this time salmonella free (yay!), although the Bell is trying to lure me back with those Frutista Freeze drinks.

Overall not much had changed we lucked out and hit Silver Dollar City on Wednesday and it wasn't very busy at all, I don't think we waited more than 5-10 minutes in any ride line. The new Giant Swing was pretty cool, I wasn't too thrilled the first time at 9am right after breakfast, but later in the day we went back and rode it three more times and it was great. Rode all of the roller coaster 'regulars' Wildfire, Powder Keg (probably my current park favorite), Thunderation, and Fire-in-the-Hole as well as some of the other stand-by rides including Lost River of the Ozarks because my daughter was intent on getting wet. Keep in mind that last week we had a pretty nice day last Wed it was about 73 degrees with a light breeze, even though it was mid-afternoon when we rode (man was that water cold).

We hit some of the area shops including the pawn shop downtown (snagged a PS3 controller, blu-ray movie, and a PS2 game), and a Music/Video/Game shop (a couple more blu-ray discs). The last day we were there we were just kinda driving around and ran across a GameWerks store, picture a much larger GameXchange that sells every system format. There were Atari Lynx cartridges, TurboGrafx 16 cards, not to mention NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, GameGear, etc... After coming home and checking out the website it seems that it is a Branson area only shop with 2 locations. The pricing wasn't bad but didn't see anything I needed desperately, although their posted trade-in prices didn't look too bad either.

I got home to find that evidently the Ninja Gaiden II demo was up... in Japan... and was supposed to be coming for the U.S. later, which turned to Tuesday, which turned to today, and I still don't think it's up yet. The game however did ship yesterday so it's now available in stores, so who needs a demo? I've never understood why they don't get the demos out before the release of the game, I can't be the only person who sometimes is actually swayed one way or the other by a demo. BioShock great demo that cemented my craving for the game, I bought Culdcept Saga because I enjoyed the demo, of course it can teeter the opposite way too, Hour of Victory horrid demo that scared me, Turning Point, and Turok were others that didn't kindle any desire. Anyway I guess the moral is I need my demos early to help me make informed choices (especially on titles I'm not 100% sure about) sure there is some info I'll gather from customers, podcast, and various websites/forums, but nothing beats 10-30 minutes of 'hands on' time.

There is a demo up right now for Crash Time which looks to be a Burnout (think 1,or 2) clone, but there is so much trash talking going through the forums about it I don't think I'll even try it, on the other hand Xbox360fanboy says the demo for Civilization Revolution (single & multi-player) will hit LIVE and PSN tomorrow.

My dvr also had a surprise for me when I got back home, COX has added Sci-Fi, Lifetime, USA, Bravo, and MSNBC channels to the HD tier. USA is a welcome addition with new summer episodes of Burn Notice, Monk, Psych, and the new series In Plain Sight. There are a couple other new series I'm interested in checking out this summer Flashpoint (CBS), Fear Itself (NBC), Charlie Jade (Sci-Fi), and maybe Swingtown (ABC).

The Mole returned to ABC Monday night, and while I miss Anderson Cooper as host, I don't miss the celebrity crap from the last two seasons (back in 2003, and 2004). One of the fun aspects is playing along at home trying to figure out who the mole is, they give you clues each episode (usually obscure, and subtle) that reveals the Mole's identity, but until the final show when they show them and give you the context do you understand them. The first episode this season and in the first challenge one of the contestants (Victoria) had a green 'Mole' fingerprint on her helmet, blatantly obvious? Are they trying to get the home viewers in on the setup or is it some weird red herring?

Check out the current issue June 9, 2008 of Fortune magazine there is a 4-5 page article on GameStop, titled GameStop racks up the points: Meet the people who run the store your kids never want to leave.. More or less a timeline from the start when Barnes and Noble purchased B. Dalton and acquired 5 Software Etc. locations, to a couple years ago with the EB Games buyout.