PC Gamer Guitar Hero III Un-review

Guitar Hero III

PC-Gamer Jan 2008 gave Guitar Hero III a low rating because of “low frame rates”.
Let me be the first to tell you this is not fair.
They review Crysis in the same magazine, and that game requires serious horsepower and a new graphics card.
If they had actually tried Guitar Hero III on the same system, they would get results like I do for both games on my now 2 year old AMD dual core 4200+ with the latest Saphire ATI 3870 chipset HD video card.
It’s all in the video card.

I will be the first to admit that Intel was the place to be for the last 2 years, however I do not buy computers *that* frequently.
I plan to upgrade soon, but not before some serious comparisons (as opposed to ridiculous speculation) come out between Intel and new AMD technology.

Anyway more to the point, with the latest video card, Guitar Hero III’s game play is amazing and the graphics are great.
Yep, Crysis is good too.
Sorry to break the news to you, but unless you’re in nVidia 8800 or ATI 3800 chip territory, you’ve got crap.
Now upgrade and buy some games to wow yourself on your 1920×1080 flat-panel TV.
Actually, a $500 Samsung 245BW 24″ 1920×1200 monitor works just fine.

One other little thing, the games utilize 5.1 sound, so be sure to grab a $70 logitech X560 or better set of speakers.
(I’ve had something like that for many years, actually).

Testing your 1080i HDTV

Today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Skate Canada figure skating championships are on TSN-HD and CTV-HD.

TSN had it in 5.1 dolby digital surround tonight as well.  Black Magic Woman, also a piece by Hendrix and such were used as dance music.  The visuals and sound were fantastic.  Fumie Suguri (JPN) and Zhang&Zhang (CHN) were also there.

Truly spectactular perforamces, including a good one by Mira Leung (CAN).  She’s smoothed out her performance a lot since we flew out to Calgary this past March for the ISU championships.

Canon HV10

Canon HV10
Canon HV-10 (click for large pictures [1] [2])

Merkle has this very small, sophisticated HD camera right now.
You may also want to view the presentation at B&H.

I also noticed the Sony store has their own smaller HD camcorders as well.
I sold all of my Sony stock and bought Canon, mostly because of the playstation 3 and Sony battery problems, actually.

A market correction in Japan could hurt the portfolio no matter what Japanese stocks one holds.
I still love that Sony Bravia XBR 2 television.

I hope the worry-warts lower SNE some more so I can buy back in at a good price, although getting smoked for half a billion $ in batteries can’t be good.

[edited 2006-10-23 by rae – links and pics]

Fountain (Trailers)

Craig reviewed “Fountain” negatively on the filmfest site here on tnir, and being the busy guy he is, has not “moderated” my comment on it yet. I have examined the trailers for the movie at FOUNTAIN @ apple in HD carefully, and with all the movies he is seeing, he can be excused for a misplaced negative review.

The moral of the movie is not just that living forever can take, well a long time, but if you are aware of Descarte’s view of God and perhaps have read, um, the first few pages of that book, what’s it’s name again? Starts with a “B”… The poetic implications on the tree of life and Aronofsky’s earlier movies becomes more clear, at least to the extent I felt I needed to mention them in a review, unlike our exhausted TIFF movie reviewer Craig. Eden & Eve were also mentioned in the movie.

I encourage you to seek out additional reviews of this movie, unless you’re philosophically challenged and feel like signing me up for “prickwear.com” again,. Btw, to whoever did it, prickwear is for liberal pricks, there’s a better one for right-wing pricks. Not too sure if there’s much of a market for T-shirts for centrist philosophers, however. Maybe “Church of the sub-genius” T’s?

New Blu-ray movies!


Oct 18 through Nov 3 is going to see a lot of releases on Blu Ray & HD-DVD.
In fact, a movie that interests me (Naqoyqatsi) is only coming out on HD-DVD.
Ouch! First wound in the format war!
Oh well, Gone in 60 seconds & “Rent” are only on Blu-ray, wahoo!
And besides, even Amazon doesn’t yet list Naqoyqatsi on HD-DVD (but I know where to get it).

There is a SONY style shop at Madison & 55th St. in Manhattan and I got a Blu-Ray discount card there. Something like buy 10, get one free.
I’m almost ready for a free one.
I need to check and see if its valid somewhere close, like Buffalo.

Curiously, Amazon does not yet list RENT on Blu-ray, although I know it is coming out in November.
Another point of note, is that Roger’s Video Direct although listing Blu-ray titles, has not yet shipped me any of my selections.
Anyway, I still have 4 more Blu-ray movie purchases to watch,
and I’m waiting until Saturday until I get a chance to watch one on someone’s SONY Bravia XBR2 LCD television (1080p) anyway.

Sony Bravia XBR2 LCD TVs

They are about to hit the streets in Toronto shortly (they’re already all over the place in the U.S.), maybe less than a week in places. I saw these TVs in the U.S. recently and they look good. I might get one if I can find a good deal. Should fit nicely in the living room on the wall. Sony Style Link A Review

It comes with several HDMI inputs, so I’m thinking of connecting the Blu-ray player to it. Blu-ray in a few places in the U.S. is too cutting edge for some (video) stores. However at stores that sell the players, you can expect to find discs for sale there.

As an aside, I’m glad I collected a few DVDs over the years. Many years ago I watched “The Warriors”. Over that (long) period of time, I have drifted to a slightly right of center political philosophy (from slightly left of center) and I was surprised at how differently “The Warriors”, the new directors cut comes across to me now. Of course, times are different too, I just watched a show about the Battle for the World Economy (6 hours, PBS) (globalization, socialism and such) — apparently I’m not the only one. Anyhow, the movie has been changed a bit to reflect its roots from the graphic novel upon which it was based. So for those of you caught in the globalization tide, it’s time to get a new TV and rewatch some movies from your past, or buy a Mercury Grand Marquis, a VCR and head back to the coal mines if you prefer The Old Ways.

Moto Q

Jennifer shows off Jeff’s Moto Q

I spent some time today playing with the world’s thinnest PDA smartphone.
The one I was using was on the Telus network (I used it near Toronto and Niagara Falls today).
I wanted to use it as a modem, since logically (programatically?) it followed that it could do that.

This way it could be used in the car to make a hotel reservation or something quick, since the regular plan is only 4Meg/month
($12/Meg after that, without another plan) — well actually, the onboard browser is quite fine but anyway, customer service told me it was impossible.
So here I was thinking I’d have to write my own gateway program, but I found PDANet (shareware: $34US) and it did the job.

You should also be aware that the high-speed network is only available near big cities.
Lower speed is available in a large area.
Also do like PDANet says and watch your usage!

The phone can take a mini-SD card, has a 1.3megapixel camera (you need to change the default), and you can copy files to and from it using Bluetooth..

It runs Windows Mobile 5.0, an operating system close to the type I program in almost every day, however just having a 320×240 colour screen means you can surf to dictionary pages on the net or whatever you need.
Alas, its not GSM, but it should be hours of fun anyway.

Somewhere on a menu it mentioned GPS.
I need to investigate if that’s for real, because there were no applications that take advantage of that.

Garmin Street Pilot i5

Another thing I recently obtained was a GPS that speaks and has a 3D map and is very small that you use in the car. Its a lot like the Hertz “Never Lost” system from a few years back. I never bothered with this type of GPS in the past because I always knew where I was going, however I would like to share a couple of discoveries about this technology in general. If the navigator is asleep and you’re on an interstate, I had in the past simply followed my mental map connecting one interstate to another, but the GPS will direct you along the limited access highways and bypasses to avoid the core of a city, saving time and not disturbing the navigator from her slumber. If you are in a well known city, all you have to do is turn onto a side street if you encounter traffic, and the unit will immediately recalculate your route and give you a short cut around the traffic (assuming you start driving away from the congestion!).

If there’s some question about which route is quicker (that you might know of), the unit will settle the question. I tried it in a city I had never driven in (Columbus Ohio), and never once had to open the paper map to get where I wanted to go. It worked like a charm.

* Warning: contains technology known to cause confusion to residents of the state of California.

Format War! Game on!


Okay I picked up a BluRay player (Samsung BD-P1000), programmed my Harmony remote (they already know about it) and bought a few BluRay titles. Future Shop seems to have rather high prices on BluRay discs at the moment, as I was able to get a few titles in the states last week for quite a discount. So far everything is okay, except that I had to make a tough decision. I had to connect the BluRay player to the DVI input on the TV and drop the HD-PVR back down to component video. I’d forgotten how weird “The 5th Element” was…