The Blackberry Storm

28 01 2010

Being a fan RIM (Research In Motion) and their series of Blackberry phones, when I learned of the Blackberry Storm, their first touch screen phone, I was naturally ecstatic. This faded, however, once I had purchased the phone. While I don’t want to completely hate it, as I do have to deal with the fact that I have a 2-year plan with it, it does have an assortment of problems that some people might not have the patience to deal with.

To start off its list of problems, it has a tendency to freeze. ALOT. And when I say a lot, I mean it. However, the upside to it is that it doesn’t freeze everyday. I’ve gone a week without it freezing once. However, there are also times where it freezes up more than 3 times a day. And how do you fix this freezing? You pull the battery, which then takes about a minute to power back on. This can be very frustrating, especially when your listening to music or texting with someone. I do believe that the freezing has to do with its lack of memory, as it doesn’t seem to have a lot of it, and if you want to use a lot of apps (like I do), then your going to have problems.

Another one of my bigger complaints is the virtual keyboard. My thumbs tend to hit other characters when typing, so I often have to go back and retype certain words. There is an auto-correct feature, but it doesn’t work very well when your trying to type out abbreviations for words that it doesn’t know. The learning curve is definitely huge on the keyboard, but once you get used to it you can type quickly and easily, except for of course said corrections in texts. A plus that is worth mentioning, however, is the fact that the keyboard clicks when you use it, so you know whether or not you hit a letter or an icon.

Now onto the good things about the phone. I definitely enjoy all of the apps that are available for it, and the Blackberry World is definitely an awesome thing to have. While it doesn’t compare to the iTunes store, it does have a lot of very useful apps. It’s also worth mentioning that you can have as many apps as you want running at the same time, save that you have enough memory to do that, which is something that the iPhone cannot do. The latest software update gave it an iPhone-like texting interface, making your texts into conversations instead of single texts sitting in your inbox, which I definitely welcomed with open arms. Another plus to it is its ability to play music, and with the included 8GB memory card, it definitely beats carrying around an iPod and your phone. The call clarity is superb as well, and I rarely ever have dropped calls, something that cannot be said about the iPhone. The built-in GPS works well and the bluetooth capabilities make it much easier for me to transfer songs from my computer to listen to. You can also make your own ringtones, as opposed to paying for them.

While the Blackberry Storm isn’t the iPhone killer that RIM and Verizon wanted it to be, it is a very well designed and usable phone. Even through the constant freezing I still find time to enjoy using it, and the large batter life works very well with my lifestyle of being out and about all the time. Add to it that you can use the internet almost anywhere with very fast loading speeds and you have a very nice phone. If I were to recommend it to someone, however, I would definitely tell them to buy the Storm 2, which was released recently and gave it a little more sleeker design along with an added Wi-Fi choice for the internet, 2GB of flash memory instead of 1GB and an included 16GB memory card.

-James





Obamas Goals

28 01 2010

Early yesterday morning the Associated Press released an article updating the current goal of president Obama. His goal? “Get the economy, the confidence of voters and his own presidency on surer footing.” –AP In light of the most controversial of political agendas it seems Obama’s new goals are self-centered and comprised solely to secure a seat in office for the subsequent four year term. Can he be blamed?

Of course not. The national media and public opinion are the only underlying factors that can be blamed for an unfocused set of goals. Gay marriage? ‘don’t ask don’t tell’? Cut and run? National Security? Healthcare? With issues such as these topping the list of Obama’s agenda, why should we, the public, we, the media, scrutinize the success at which he is taking care of the nations top issues. The only effects of taking such a hard scolding, is President Obama’s fascination with public opinion, when in actuality, our opinion only goes so far. We can shout and blog, silently attacking the inner moral of the poster child for our nations turn around, but, what does that help? What solutions does one blogger, one Journalist, one outspoken activist, gain when throwing Political and social hardballs?

The truth is we gain apologies, sympathy, a false sense of understanding. We gain a powerful man bending to the knees of a populous bent on scrutiny and attack, rather than patience and solace. For every word Obama speaks concerning the public opinion, or responding to dwindling supporters, he could be adding and completing new goals, passing legislation, doing his job. He is only one man, doing so much in an attempt to correct the wrongs of a president we once slung arrows of hate and disdain upon. The nation as a whole needs to be more optimistic, less pessimistic, and stop being the monkey on his back, because patient people like myself, are tired of wasting our time reading about Obama’s new goals to qualm your antagonistic behavior.

Steve-





Meow.com

27 01 2010

Meow.com, while sounding like a normal website, is a horrible site made from within the bowels of hell. It’s text, often misspelt or nonsensical, barely passes for 5th grade vocabulary and when it is used correctly, it’s often stated in a pun of a cat. The services it offers, being the selling of clothes, are ridiculous, as their designs are laughable and make the wearer seem insane. My honest opinion of the site? Do not ever use it. Do not go anywhere near it. Do not even think of linking to it. It is nothing but trouble for all.

-James





Carcassonne

27 01 2010

Carcassonne, while not very obvious from it’s title, is a strategy game on the XBox360 arcade. Being adapted from a board game, you wouldn’t expect it to be any good. I mean, why would you play a videogame when you can play the board game instead? Well, the videogame blows the board game out of the water. The controls are extremely simple, and anyone can pick up the controller and be able to play it in minutes. The basis of the game is to put down tiles on a board. The tiles have different shapes and pictures on them, be it a road, 4-way intersection, tree or a building. The point of the game is to get the most points. You get 2 points per tile for a city (made from a bunch of buildings together) and 2 extra points per tile if there is a pennant on it. You get 1 point per tile for a road (To complete a road, you must have an ending of some sort at each side of it, much like a real road). You have followers as well. You start with 7 of them, and you can put them down on tiles, which make it known that they are yours, and therefore, your opponent isn’t able to take a territory out from under you midgame. However, when your in a 2-player game you tend to run out of them quickly, so you must be conservative in those games. You also gain points for the amount of cities and roads you have at the end of the game, and that is where the scores get close and that lead you had during the game might get taken from you.

Now the highlight of the Xbox version as opposed to the actual board game is that you are able to play online. The online gameplay is probably the most crucial point of the game, as it allows you to play with anyone. There is a cult following of the game, and while it might be a tad difficult to find a game, eventually you will and the game shows where it shines. The Xbox vision is also compatible with this game, which makes the game more board-like, as your face to face playing it, something that I welcome with open arms.

While the multiplayer is a huge part of the game, you are able to play single player with/against an AI. Yes, there are team games, and they can get very intense. The AI is actually good at the game as well, so don’t think your going to win all the time, because it’s going to win. A lot.

The music, being generic and repeated, isn’t obnoxious or annoying at all, which is something that you don’t see very often in arcade games. While the graphics aren’t spectacular, they work for the game. It wouldn’t have been necessary to have graphics on par with Modern Warfare 2 for a board game, and it is good that they realized that when making the game.

All in all, Carcassonne is an awesome game, and one that you will find yourself playing for a long time. With its easy-to-learn and simple-yet-fun gameplay, you’ll find yourself addicted to it in no time. Find it on the marketplace for 800 points.

Ratings

Gameplay: 10

Music: 8

Visual: 10

Lasting Appeal: 10

Presentation: 10

OVERALL: 10

-James





Comcast Digital Cable

27 01 2010

Comcast, Where to even begin with this company…

I have had my own place for about two months now, not my first, but my first in the U.S. Cable Television isn’t necessary, but internet is, and not just internet but fast internet. Now don’t get me wrong, this review isn’t over the internet, but you need to know that, if it was up to me? The cable television would have never entered my home. I was forced into the situation by the outrageous price per month if i were to buy a single service (such as internet or Telephone by themselves), and the significantly cheaper price if I paid for 2, or even 3 services per month. So, I bit. Don’t bite, hang up the phone, don’t even make the call to Comcast, Shaq and Ben Stein answer the phone anyway…

The price reduction for two services is the only acceptable reason I could have for purchasing Comcast’s Cable TV. What’s wrong with it? What isn’t wrong with it. Watching a certain segment of channels is near impossible due to the digital squares that appear randomly, over and over and when they surface to your TV screen? They take the sound with them. It’s similar to watching someone play Mario on a larger scale, and every time he jumps? The sound goes out. Goomba after Goomba, channel after channel, digital, square blocks take over the screen and suck the sound into digital hell.
The Solution? Call customer service and have them reset your Cable box. Does it work? Yes. Just long enough to get them off the phone with you and the theft of your money ensues with the click of your Mobile telephone. (Face it, you didn’t get the Triple Play option that includes a home phone, that’s just more problems.)

What should you do if you already have Comcast Television? CANCEL! Get on a horse and ride, ride, ride out of town, carry that lantern and warn the public that Comcast is coming. Don’t fall for the OnDemand, or be fearful of the Dish option. Call Comcast and cancel your service. When you’re done? You’ll get a follow up call where they try to get you, the already dissatisfied consumer, to pay monthly, for MORE products. That’s right, they’ll try to up you from a $70 Double play, to a $110 TRIPLE play. I asked the caller, “Why would I, only paying $70 and already unhappy, want to buy more of your lack luster products, for MORE money?” She actually laughed, multiple times, told me that she was happy to have me as a customer and as I pressed the power button on my TV for the last time until AT&T arrives, she told me to have a good day…but who can with shotty Television?

Steve-





New Music Video: KiD CuDi

27 01 2010

Mr. Cudder came out with a new video “cudder-is-back”.

What does this video say about Cudi and his music? We find within the first few moments Scotts relief that a friend shows up with some Mary Jane. An extended hug and invitation is received by the unknown Wise Man bearing gifts. It seems to the viewer Scott has a new found happiness with Mary Jane in his hands. Is his happiness dependent on the magical product? I believe so. Laughing and joking, Scott sits alone, singing his own song, not only self-absorbed but absorbed in the ‘blunt’ he is about to roll. The Fish eye lens used allows for an extended picture to capture his acquaintances, a word I use purposely. What if they didn’t bring weed? Would he be equally as happy? Scott is back, but what if Mary Jane didn’t come with? The video leaves a salty taste of unfulfilled, plastic happiness in my mouth.

On the up side? The video is completely non subjective of the lyrical content. His music is creative and induces unique imagery for each listener. Videos for music like Scott’s can completely change the mental image the listener has, and then changing how the listener interprets the lyrics. As a reader, and a writer, I know that what the audience brings to the table is where true creativity thrives in any medium. His video accomplishes a visual stimulus that fits well with Scott’s lifestyle, and the song itself, without being subjective, or forcing imagery on the viewer. Besides the false emotional solace, Scott has found a humorous, catchy and appealing video to say, “Listen, Cudi is back.”

Steve-