News from the future


And so it begins. After much persuasion from my friends and family, I type this update from my brand new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. That’s right. I got a smartphone. I can’t really say that I feel smart though.


I picked it up during my lunch break on Monday. I walked in with the intention of just asking a few questions about data plans, but in the end it just made sense to pull the trigger then and there. This post is being written from the WordPress app on my phone. What a grand experiment. I feel like I’m living in the future.

HD stands for High Definition

High Definition is an understatement of what this camera is capable of achieving. It has taken nearly six months to get this camera, but I expect the results to be well worth it. I charged it up last night and hope to experiment with some of the myriad features some night this week. I combed through the accessories and was pleased with the cable options, remote, etc. It even has a stylus. I have no idea for what, but I’ll figure that out soon. I equate the lens hood to the spoiler and racing stripes that it didn’t necessarily need, but make it look so much cooler. Needless to say my level of excitement is as high as the definition.

Initial Impressions: Cross Ion Lunar Gray

Well I got lots of packages and mail recently and my new Cross Ion Lunar Gray pen was included. Unfortunately, I had ordered two and there was only one in the package, yet 2 on the invoice. I’ve sent an email to the amazon reseller to try and get my second pen or a refund.

Initial impressions:

  • The pen opens and retracts smoother than my old one.
  • The keychain topper still fits over the writing end of the pen, so when you put the pen on your keyring, the ink drains to the top of the pen. This reduces the longevity of the ink refill.
  • The rubber grip is a dust magnet
  • This pen is not nearly the fingerprint magnet the old one was.
  • Gel inks write smoothly and fluidly with little smudging because they dry so fast (great for lefties!)

So far so good. I haven’t really had a chance to use it for an extended writing session yet, but I expect that to change with work soon.

Photographic Malfunction Part 2

See Part 1 for the backstory.

The lines have come back. Apparently the appear when I do not use my flash. Pictures look fine with the flash on, but horrible with it off. For now, I have switched back to the old camera. It still takes good pictures, just not as high a resolution. I need to look at my warranty info and see what I have to do to get this repaired or replaced.

At least it happened after the conventions.

Hunting the Feisty Fawn

Ubuntu logo small

I have finally taken that large leap that I’ve been saying I wanted to take for quite a long time.

No, I have not quit my job to live off the fat of the land…yet.

I installed Linux on my laptop!

I know, not quite the huge leap you were expecting. More like the thing the everyone tones out when I speak because I’ve stated it so many times passively. While I was at Otakon though, Joaquin had a really nice setup on his laptop and he explained it a little to me. I was very interested, so when I got home I downloaded everything I needed to install Ubuntu 7.04 the Fiesty Fawn release. I ended up wiping my laptop and reloading Windows XP, then installed Ubuntu as another boot option. That way when I start up my computer I can either go into Windows or into Ubuntu. Neat!

Ubuntu comes with a lot of helpful applications, but at some point I knew I’d need to install something else, so I wanted to figure out how sooner than later. I looked up a list of top Ubuntu programs to install after you’ve loaded the OS. Number eleven on that list was a game; Frozen Bubble. I figured it was as good as any a place to start, so I managed to get it loaded and installed. I fired it up and lo and behold, what game is it, but a linux version of Snood, the most addictive, awful game ever created.

Goodbye productivity. I’m on level 63 right now. -_-

Photographic Malfunction

Take a look at the picture from my previous post. Notice anything funny?

If you can take your eyes away from those delicious cookies, you’ll note a strange line running across the bottom left side of the photo. I didn’t notice it until this afternoon. That picture was taken with my still fairly new digital camera. When I looked back at the other pictures I had taken yesterday, I noticed that they all had the same line. Not only that, but a few that I had taken most recently had another horizontal line directly through the center of the pictures. I had taken quite a few pictures yesterday since I am trying to take a picture of each toy I get before I open it. The pictures are for a project I am working on for Regardless, I then tried to snap a new picture of anything and previewed the image and sure enough both lines were clearly visible. These lines were not just a hair or something of the sort. They actually looked like scrambled bits or static. I worried about what I should do about it for most of the day while I attempted to clean my room, do laundry and run errands.

While playing around with it just now, on a whim, I turned the flash on and took a picture. Sure enough, no lines. Turned the flash off and took another picture. No lines again.

The sigh of relief ensues here.

I don’t know what happened, but I have dropped the camera a few times by accident and was really afraid I had damaged it and would need to purchase another one so soon after getting it. I’m just glad I kept tinkering with it.

Photo Opportunity

After some careful consideration, I decided I needed a new digital camera. I have a wonderful camera right now, but its just too bulky and too big to tote around at the conventions. I need to have a camera that can be taken out quickly and be ready to snap photos right away and I need it to be small so I can fit it in a pocket. I decided that I have had very good luck with my current camera and that was a Fuji so I would stick with FujiFilm on this one. FujiFilm also uses a proprietary memory card which I already have anyway so that barrier of entry was already broken.

The first camera I considered was the FujiFilm F30. Its a compact class camera and has some very nice features.

The second camera I considered was the FujiFilm Z3. Its an ultra-compact class camera with very similar features to the F30. The megapixel rating for this one is slightly lower, but at 5 megapixels its still far beyond the 3.2 megapixels of my current camera. I am not looking for the best of the best, I am just looking for an upgrade in both quality and size. This camera was both, however, it requires a dock to connect to the computer instead of just a direct USB port on the camera itself. That is also how the camera recharges. That is a huge deal to me. If I run out of power and have to recharge it I have to have the camera be out of commission. I found out, however, that you can buy additional rechargeable batteries to swap and there is a portable battery charger. This pretty much eliminated most of my reservations about the camera.

After weighing all of my options, the pros and cons of each and what I really needed I ordered the Z3 a few minutes.

I am sure many future pictures that appear on here will be taken by that camera, so I will be sure to take a few pictures so everyone can see whats taking those great photos!

DS stands for Detective Stories

I recently got a Nintendo DS for my birthday. I have to say I really have not put it down since I got it. I say this entirely due to one game. New Super Mario Bros. I haven’t actually enjoyed playing a game this much since…well I can’t ever remember enjoying a game this much. I have already beaten it, but now I am going back to every level and collecting all the Star Coins I missed. There are three in every level. Once I have ‘collected them all’ as it were, I will be satisfied that I have finished the game. I have completed about 5 of 8 worlds so far.

But what comes after this? I am a very casual gamer. I find most games today severely lacking or overly involved. I would like a game that is thoughtfully challenging and not just something along the lines of Brain Age (which I will be picking up eventually). I want something thoughtful and fleshed out. When I was much much youger, my sister had a PC game. It was called Under a Killing Moon. I never had the opportunity to play it, but I watched her play a number of times. It was a detective style game and you played the role of a Private Investigator brought on to solve a mystery. Most of the details escape me, but I remember you investigated the crime scene thoroughly in a point and click fashion interacting with the environment. I also seem to recall the P.I. getting trapped or something and he had to figure a way out of the room with only what was present in the room as tools…or maybe he found some piece of evidence noone else found doing that. Like I said details are fuzzy to me and I very well could have added to the memory over time not realizing it. Anyway, my point is that this was a very cool cranial type of game with a story behind it. There is nothing like that out on any console, state-side, that I am aware of. I’m told God of War requires thought to work out puzzles, but at the end of the day its still a hack and slash. I, personally used to have a Star Trek: TOS game for the PC that was very similar to what I’m talking about as well. When on a mission on a planet, you went from setting to setting solving mysteries or helping inhabitants out by figuring out a number of puzzles. Granted the red shirt died on every away mission possible, but that just added to the realism of a Star Trek game.

Reading through all my RSS feeds the other day, I came across this interview. The interview is with the person in charge of localizing a Japanese game called, Touch Detective. From what I can gather, this game seems to be along the lines of what I am looking for. The pictures I have seen seem a bit kiddy, but that doesn’t usually reflect game difficulty and playability. After all Super Mario Bros. looks kiddy and everyone loves that franchise, myself included. The interview even mentions the ability to use the touchscreen on the DS to point at things in rooms to get more information about them. It made me realize that the DS is perfect for this sort of thing since it has the touchscreen. I can only hope that this will be the next extended source of entertainment for my DS and not something I’ll finish in under 2 hours.

The game comes out in early October. I’ll most likely be picking it up, assuming it doesn’t get awful reviews.

Until then, I might try to dig out that old Star Trek game and see if it will install on my computer…

Nintendo DS

This is the tax-free holiday weekend in Massachusetts. I didn’t realize this until about Thursday and on Friday, I had a brilliant idea! Its time for a Nintendo DS. I’m not much of a gamer. In fact, the last system I got was a Gameboy Advance circa 2002 on ebay. I have an SP, but I did not pay anything close to retail value for it. There was some ridiculous sale at a KB the day after Thanksgiving and I had a friend pick it up for me.

After being at Otakon, it was hard not to notice the sheer number of people toting the little device around. They would casually take it out to waste time while waiting in some of the incredibly long lines or pass time at a panel that wasn’t particularly interesting. The turning point was just before the awful Transformers panel. There were 3 girls sitting in the back of panel before us, all playing MarioKartDS against each other. I knew then that it was merely an eventuality that I would get one.

So after a night of merriment, I groggily awoke at 8:00 AM EST. I got my things together for the rest of the day including my frisbee, work pager, and suitcase to return to my parents. I knew I wanted to be at Toys R Us early because of the sheer crowds that come out for this holiday, but I also knew that TRU doesn’t open until 10:00 AM EST. So I went about the house gathering all the empty cans and bottles and put them neatly in the kitchen and wiped down the half of the table the bottles were not occupying. After I finished, I was on my way to TRU. The actual act of getting the DS was uneventful and trivial, albeit quite exciting. I picked up MarioKart DS and New Super Mario Bros. to start my gaming adventure with. I do wish in retrospect I had gotten a small padded case and some screen protectors, but in no way does that mean I regretted any part of that trip.

I put my prize in the car and headed to my parents house. After lugging the suitcase in, jokingly stating that I’d need it another month, my mother told me I should just hold onto it and I lugged it back out to my car. I then brought in the DS to show my mom how cool it was. After she looked at it, she said, “You know we still don’t know what to get you for your birthday. Can we give this to you?” I’m not sure she was finished speaking when I said, “Yes!”, but I was pretty excited.

I posted some gadget pr0n after the jump and I also added a gallery here.
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The Penalty of Stability Part 4

5 installs of Windows XP and service pack 2 later, I have returned the victor!

To make a long story short, it was the graphics card driver. I uninstalled it in safe mode restarted and it went right into Windows without so much as a pause. I’ve loaded up some of my applications including those necessary to get the Zen Vision up and working. I only meant to watch the first few seconds of the episode of Battlestar Galactica I loaded, but ended up watching all 45 minutes of it. I’ll post a review of the Zen player at another time, but needless to say I am pleased with it.

Now I can get some sleep and get back to work.