Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Resident Evil User Interface Strikes Again

School is out so my sister and I have a lot more free time. What do we want to do the weekend after finals? Apparently the answer is play video games.

When she came over we looked through my collection and pulled out one that hadn’t been touched in a while. I remembered Resident Evil 5 fondly so we popped it in the Xbox to discover the fun that laid in wait.

Our discovery however was more frustrating then fun because the control interface made it very difficult to convince the players to do what we needed them to do for our survival. After about 30 frustrating minutes during which we saw ourselves being hacked to pieces multiple times, we decided to lower the difficulty setting to normal thinking that we just need to remember how to use the controls.

“Ok,” we tell ourselves “now its time to kill us some bad guys.” Nope. The big ax guy from chapter one strikes again. Now the frustration is building and we just can’t seem to convince our characters to do what we want them to. We get hacked into tiny pieces again and the game mocks us by flashing “you are dead” written in blood on the screen as if watching someone hack us into tiny pieces wasn’t a good clue.

I’m sitting here thinking to my self that I know I made it through this whole game like a year ago. What is the deal?

Well after about two hours of failure we’d had enough and my sister through in the controller wanting to play a different game which I happily obliged knowing that I was saving my controller from certain death as one of us was sure to chunk one across the room if we had to watch our demise one more time.

We then went on a search for a new adventure that didn’t have a backwards user interface and all was well with the world once again.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fighting Hunger

It's the Christmas season and I'm sure that you've seen places collecting toys and canned goods for families in need. Even the place that I was getting my oil changed at was collecting toys. I'm sure that its not news to anyone that times have been hard lately, it's been all over the news.

My Aunt is a teacher in a school were poverty is so pervasive that EVERY student gets free breakfast and lunch. The school pays for every student to have a toothbrush and the teachers make sure that the students brush their teeth after both meals that they eat at school.

Walmart is donating money to the communities that get the most support to use for food for families that cannot afford it. Visit their site to vote for your community or one that you know is in need.

While I'm sure that this is a great tax write off for Walmart, hopefully it will help some kids that may only get to eat the food that they get from school.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To a Lost Friend

I remember the days
When we were younger
Life was good
And we had so much fun.

But as the days passed by
We met new people.
That had new ideas
And new faces.

We saw each other
Every once in a while
Life pulled us different ways
yet still we smiled.

But then I realized
That you were gone
You went through the motions
But no spirit was there.

Ashamed of your deeds
You hid from your friends
The ones who loved you
Even with sin on your hands

We could not condone
How you’d chosen to live
But that doesn’t mean
That we couldn’t forgive

Some claimed rebellion
Some blamed a boy
But I knew deep down
You were lost in your self

I hope someday that
You can see
The value in you
That was never lost on me

As the days go by
I think of you often
And hope life treats you well
In spite of yourself

I’ve always known
You have such potential
That you can succeed
If you truly desire

You’ll be a good mom
But don’t stress so much
Keep your head on straight
Don’t do drugs and such

We all wish you well
And we hope you’re alright
My two cents of advice
Is never tell yourself a lie

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Like a Hot Sword

We're Intermediate
You and I.
Its been so long
It could be a lie.

Life's no fun
Without your antics.
So why do I find you
so pedantic.

I see you face
You make me smile.
Yet at every step
We must walk miles

You say I fight you
But I think not
Yet I must live with
What we’ve wrought

Monday, December 6, 2010

If only I could really fly

Yea, that's right I'm sitting in the pilot's seat of a helicopter. Unfortunately I have no idea what all those buttons and knobs do and if you want to continue living you best not fly with me....Yet! : )

I've always known that flying was tough and that it took a lot of practice. However, I was unprepared for the shear number of pedals, buttons, knobs, and other gizmos that are necessary to get this glorious heap of metal off the ground.

Can you imagine what it takes to be able to fly something like this? On TV we see action stars jump into the pilot seat and take off not necessarily knowing what they are doing or learning how to fly as they go along. But I can attest to the fact that if I were trying to fly this thing without any training it would be a disaster. I might be able to figure out how to start the engine, but after that it would pretty much be like trying to fly a spaceship and would most likely end in a fiery death.

But no worries I didn't do anything crazy. It was just a Christmas party and the pilot let me take a picture in his seat.

Good Times! : )

Friday, December 3, 2010

Amazon spanks the competition with a Kindle

Most people know that I love technology so it should come as no surprise that I have begun to see the light when it comes to eReaders. Mostly it's the notion that I can take almost every book I'm reading with me where ever I go whether it's school, the DMV (Lord knows you should always take a book to the DMV), or down to the farm. It all boils down to convenience; no longer do you need to pack a bag full of books for a long trip because you have them all on one handy little device.

Lately I've been scrutinizing and researching trying to determine which eReader is best and I have finally come to a decision. Amazon's Kindle is far better then the eReaders offered by Barnes & Noble or Borders. The reasons why are:

1) As much as I love Borders and their coupons. Their eBook store has very little selection and offers very few items for free or at discounted rates. Sorry Borders you’re just not in the competition yet.

2) The Barnes & Noble Nook has a touch screen panel which sounds cool, but it’s just a small panel and frankly I’d rather have the more functional keyboard of the kindle then the novelty of the touch screen.

3) Amazon has put together a HUGE amount of eBooks that are out of copyright that you can download for free. However, the free for a limited time selection at Barnes & Nobles seemed more interesting then the current limited time freebies at Amazon.

4) One of the major reasons that I have been weary of paying money for a book in electronic format is because my sister and I trade books and I like to share with others. With the Nook you can already lend a book to a person for 14 days and Amazon will soon be adding that as a feature on the Kindle as well.

5) The Kindle is much thinner and lighter then the Nook. It also looks much more attractive.

6) The Kindle has a new feature that allows you to plug in headphones and listen to some books instead of reading them. That’s perfect after a long day of work when you’re tired and just want to travel to a different place.

7) Both come preloaded with a dictionary but the Kindle allows you to access Wikipedia from the device when you are connected to Wi-Fi (unless you purchase the unit that comes free 3G service).

Also I think that is pretty cool that you can have an app on all of your devices (PC, phone, etc) that stay in sync so that you can switch devices and keep up with your notes and bookmarks.

All considered, Borders was never in the fight at all and Barnes & Noble’s put up a good fight but ultimately Amazon’s Kindle is the eReader that has given me a case of the “I wants.”