Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guild Wars franchise hits 5 million unit sold mark

Go Guild Wars!

I've been playing Guild Wars for a couple years now. While some aspects of the game have begun to wane, others are still going strong. The Guild Wars podcast (GuildCast) that I've listened to forever is coming to an end. Some of the repercussions of its ending soured things for me a bit (lost the GuildCast guild), but I'm still having fun... just more and more on my own.

Will I bother getting Guild Wars 2 when it comes out... oh who am I kidding, I'll probably get it. I'm guessing I'll get it right away too, so I don't miss out on some stuff. I'm still bummed about waiting so long to get the first game... granted there was a wedding, honeymoon, and moving into a new house going on at the time, but still.

Thank you Guild Wars and NCSoft for all the fun!

From digg (and joystiq):
NCsoft announced today that its distinctly non pay-for-play MMORPG, Guild Wars, has sold five million units globally in a little under three years. The Guild Wars milestone takes into account the original game plus its three expansions: Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North.

read more | digg story

The Naked Violin

Tasmin Little, Britain's top concert violinistNPR has a segment in that end of the hour space that always pops up just before I get to work in the morning.  It is filled with a strange blend of random stuff, as far as I can tell.  Today it was about Britain's top concert violinist releasing her latest album free on the interwebbitubes.

The fun part is she's including lots of instructional tidbits along with the tracks.  Her main purpose is to grow an interest in classical music in a demographic not know for classical tastes.  Sounds great to me, especially if I get some free music too.

Here's the story: NPR Music: Tasmin Little Takes the Classics to the Masses and the violinist's website: Tasmin Little's Site.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Han Solo in Carbonite desk

If I ever become a big executive, this is my desk.

From digg:
Tom Spina Designs created this Han Solo in Carbonite desk for a client. I would be incredibly productive with a desk like this. Just sayin'.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Use Your Wii as a Media Center

I tried this a while back. Didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Actually I have a number of avenues now for getting media from my computer to my TV, and I'm still trying new ones as time allows.

The silly thing is that I spend so much time trying to set up these grand media players, and when it's all working... I can't find anything I want to watch or listen to. I guess that is the geekiness of it all. Really don't have time to watch much or listen to music anyway.

By far the best set up has been through the xbox360. Streaming works great for music and almost great for video. What works bestest is burning music, video, or even pictures to a disc (CD or DVD) and watching them through the 360. Defeats the purpose of networking everything together, but it's still true. If only Pandora would work through the 360, I'd be very happy. Also if Netflix comes through on the rumors of streaming their online catalog to the 360, I'll be ecstatic.

From digg:
The best thing the Nintendo Wii got going for it is the excellent Opera web browser, but web browsing with the Wii remote is still a bit klunky. Luckily, using that very same browser, you can turn your Wii into a full-fledged media center with the freeware Windows application Orb. Here's how

read more | digg story

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I just finished listening to the audio version of this book. It was read by the author, but dialog was performed by actors. An amazing performance all around. I'm going to go ahead and give this one a rating of 5. I loved it on a Harry Potter level, but we'll have to see how the rest of the series plays out.

The story takes place in England in 19th century-ish time period, but in a slightly different parallel world to our own. There's talking polar bears after all. That and every human has a spirit extension of themselves called a daemon. Each daemon takes the form of an animal that in some way represents the personality of the person they're attached to. Hurt the critter and it hurts the person, and vice versus. Did I mention the daemons can talk?

Anyway, the story follows the adventures of a girl name Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. Character development is wonderful, and the action moves along at a quick tempo. This is the first of a trilogy, so even though some of the conflict is resolved by the end of the book it doesn't finish with a conclusive way. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have the audio version of the next book. I'll have to either pester them to purchase it, or clear some books out of the way to make room for the dead tree version.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clueless Parents Fight to Keep Kids from Learning Spanish

A few parents in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district resent their children being taught a little bit of Spanish (one semester, and only in one class two days a week). Obviously these particular parents don't know much about Texas history or the importance of Spanish speakers to it. In what way is keeping your children from learning a good thing?

I could have posted links to the original story when it first came out. I thought linking to an editorial rebuttal would be a better choice. At least the author is writing from a sane perspective.

The parents in question were eating up the sensational local news coverage like candy. Their kids are who I worry about. How can education be priority one in a home that willfully fights against learning. The parent in question doesn't find fault with teaching other languages... meaning she's specifically discriminating against Spanish. That conjures up a number of choice descriptions about her character, but which I do not wish to type here.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lawrence Lessig on Barack Obama

Lessig gives a 20 minute talk on why he supports Obama for president. Very lucid and informative arguments!

read more | digg story

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld by Larry Niven

It wasn't bad, but by the end I was ready for it to be over. So this book earns a solid 3. I still don't think I'm quite in the groove with traditional Science Fiction yet. They seem to feel more like a travel book dedicated to pointing out cool technology or some such. Guess I've been spoiled by stories with complex plots, with twists and the like.

Ringworld is the tale of a motley crew of four, two humans and a couple aliens, setting out on an exploration of the Ringworld (a manufactured world in the shape of a ring, go figure). I'll give Niven credit, the descriptions of this future universe, the aliens, cultures, and eventually the Ringworld are all very cool. The Dyson sphere lite concept of the ring is really neat and well thought out. The luck concept was a little much to stomach though, as it acted as a plot hole device. I've seen magic used the same way in some fantasy stories. If you're lacking a real plot motivation or have no real explanation why something should happen a certain way... bam! magic... or in this case luck.

Like I said, not a bad book at all, but I'm ready to move onto something else.