Digg & Slashdot commentary is some of the funniest stuff.

May 30, 2007

So a "Linux"-sponsored race car was the first to crash at the Indianapolis 500.

Apparently a group of Linux fans wanted to get Linux some exposure to the Indy500 crowd (???) and cobbled together enough money to slap a Linux logo on the side of an Indianapolis 500 entered car. 

If you look carefully, you can make out the "Tux" penguin logo on the front of the car.

Here’s a video of the crash:


Here’s some of the "best of" comments from Digg & Slashdot about this article:

  • "Turns out the driver crashed due to a race condition [fh-ulm.de], which as most programmers know, should be avoided for the obvious reasons."
  • "The car was destined to crash…it was caught in a loop…"
  • "Moral of the story: Linux doesn’t have good uptimes when you run it on unstable hardware."
  • "looks to me like the SCO car shoved him."
  • "That’s impossible; everyone knows Linux can’t crash. He must have been dual-booting Windows."
  • "Of course it crashed, considering it didn’t have windows."
  • "Well, this is what happens when your pit crew scoffs and tells you to "RTFM" when you pull-in for a pit stop."
  • "At first, it appeared to be a problem with the IndyCar extensions to X, given the user was able to take it down to a console-based tow truck (it wasn’t pretty, but it at least got a controlled shutdown). However, further investigation showed it was definitely a hardware issue, as the system couldn’t get back on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway network after a full restart of the engine. Most probable cause was a network collision."
  • "Next time try: /etc/init.d/brakes restart and paste results here. Thanx"
  • "The linux car crashes first, the irony is surreal"
  • "sudo shutdown –h 77"

And last but not least, someone on Digg got 1977 digg ups from his comment:

  • "Looks like it was a driver issue."

Attention folks that don’t itemize at tax time: What’s wrong with you people?

May 27, 2007

I’m still baffled by the number of people that choose not to itemize or hire an accountant to do their taxes come April 15th every year.

Every customer I go to, I run into at least one IT guy that still does their own taxes using some crappy tool like TurboTax and hasn’t figured out the "mystical secret" of having someone do your taxes.  Ususally they come up with some lame excuse about "how they don’t have any deductions" or "how they’re afraid of getting audited" or some nonsense like that.

I suppose it has something to do with the lack of good parenting in America amongst today’s computer professionals.  A lot of folks that have shaped their careers around IT, never seemed to get much instruction around how to manage money or how to build wealth from their parents.  I should know:  I don’t think I was given all that much guidance by my parents… but at least my father was good enough to teach me that you must max out your 401k in order to have any shot at all at retiring at 55.

There are 5 ‘financial secrets’ for the working IT guy that I’ve learned in my short time on earth that I’ve found invaluable:

Buy a home – any home – as soon as possible.  Buying a house or condo allows you to borrow money at the cheapest rates available today while getting a tax write-off of the interest associated with that loan.  Additionally, with a home you can develop and store equity to develop your credit and potentially take out another loan if the need arises.  Homes also can appreciate in value allowing you to make money on the value of your property.
This little bit was something my father taught me:  Renting is for fools.  Renting simply gives your money away to someone else.  There is virtually no reason to ever rent unless it is unfeasible to commute between a new home and your workplace because unless you’re paying virtually nothing to your landlord, renting is almost always a bad deal.  The flip side of this of course is that if you can get someone to rent a property of yours at a profit – that’s easy money.  This is why trailer parks – which have no electrical or plumbing to maintain – are some of the most lucrative investment properties available.
(Advice impact on my life:  4/5)

Ever notice that it gets harder and harder every year to pay the electrical bills or find enough money for insurance & car repairs?  Inflation is 4% every year, meaning the cost of living goes up by 4%, so if you’re not getting a 4% raise in compensation from your employer – either through salary or through other things like stock grants or profit sharing – you’re effectively getting paid less than last year because of the devaluation of the dollar. 
A friend of mine that’s "very financially independent" said that if you were to go 12 years without any adjustment in compensation, you’d be effectively making 50% less than you were when you started on the basis of how much the cost of living is.  So the frame of mind that you need to be in when evaluating whether or not your doing well in your career as far as compensation goes is, "How well am I keeping up with inflation?"  And if you’re not, you need to seriously assess whether or not you want to be in your job 1 or 2 years from now.
(Advice impact on my life:  2/5)

You should never use TurboTax.  Unless you’re working at McDonalds or some other minimum wage stint in which accounting fees of $150-$200 might actually be "real money" to you, hiring an accountant is the smartest way to file your taxes.  Accountants know what you can and can not itemize (in terms of past expenses) and if you have the right accountant, they’ll do the itemization for you on the basis of some Q&A with you.  Itemizing your year end expenses can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your taxes.
I used TurboTax between 1994-1997.  In 1998, at the stringent urging of several my wealthier friends, I hired an accountant who did my taxes and discovered that I was eligible for $3000 in refunds that year.  I’d almost never gotten a refund before up until that point.  And then she refiled my past 4 tax returns and itemized my expenses on the basis of my credit card bills, checking account records, and an interview with myself on what I’d used certain major expenses on.
I bought a Porsche Boxster with the tax refund I got from those 4 years.  That’s right.  I bought a car.  With CASH.
(Advice impact on my life:  3/5)

Face it:  There are financial wizards much, much smarter than any of us day laborers investing in Wall Street, analyzing the stock market and watching for trends and market movement.  The flip side of this realization is that YOU & I CAN’T BEAT THESE PEOPLE.  They will always be ahead of you in knowledge and quicker to buy or sell and in the long run, you can’t make as much money as they do.
So like they say – if you can’t beat them, join them.  Hire someone to manage your money for you.  Let them watch the trends and help you make decisions based on their observations.  They’ll also provide balance to your portfolio, and a good advisor will provide balance across at least 3 categories:  Risk, Geography, Taxation.  These complex models are beyond the comprehension of most investors and to make matters more complicated, no one actually knows what companies to make these investments in once they’ve been evaluated.
Yes, they’re going to take a percentage annually, but if they make 5%-10% more than what you usually make annually, why do you care?  And the security you’ll have in them calculating the projections on when you can retire at a safe age will provide you with a confidence that you simply can’t have any other way.
Now obviously the concern people have is, "How do I know that the financial advisor will make more money for me than I would normally?" and natually the answer lies in getting a good recommendation by someone that already has an established relationship with one.  But I’ll tell you this:  A good financial advisor should be able to virtually guarantee you 10% based on the configuration of your portfolio however will likely average 20%-30% gains on your investments every year. 
(Advice impact on my life:  5/5)

This was one of the first rules my father taught me.  Use Roth, max out your 401k, diversify. 
USE ROTH:  The Roth IRA allows $4,000 of after tax income to be deposited yearly into a retirement account that is grown through investments.  The key is that unlike typical retirement accounts, any growth in this IRA is sheltered from future taxes.  A Roth 401K is the same thing except that it’s only available through your employer if they’ve taken the time to set it up, and it has a limit of $15,000 of annual after tax income investment.
Obviously, if the gains on the investment you’re making is sheltered from taxes, you’re gonna want to max out the investment you can make in these accounts.
401K MAXIMIZATION:  Your 401k usually has an upward limit to how much you can invest in it – often 10%-15% annually.  Do the math (or ask your financial advisor to do it for you):  This is not enough investment to adequately allow anyone to retire at 55 at the same standard of living.  So at the very least you need to max out your 401k contributions through your employer.  At best, you need to make other retirement investments elsewhere that are sheltered from future gains taxes.
DIVERSIFY:  I’ll admit it – I didn’t believe in this until I actually saw it.  Diversifying your investments is absolutely critical to ensuring that your nest egg is safe and continues to grow.  In a nutshell, it is possible even in the WORST circumstances to make money (think 9-11 or the Internet bubble) if your portfolio is well-balanced and correctly managed to account for disasters.  Our financial advisor has a very specific model of investing that balances not just risk across investment but also 2 other dimensions to ensure that our portfolio makes money in most market conditions.
(Advice impact on my life:  4/5)

Oh & one last thing.  Cars.  Bad investments.  Seriously.  If you have cash to burn, yeah, go get something flashy and get it out of your system but be aware that the Audi you buy for $50K could have been worth a Ferrari for $230k in 8 years.

TEDtalks: A fascinating group of discussions, talks, and speeches from great thinkers

May 26, 2007

If you haven’t checked out TED.com, and you fancy yourself a thinker, you’re really missing out.

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design.  It’s a conference that was started in 1984 that basically has amazing guests that speak on various thoughtful topics – originally focused on technology, entertainment and design but it’s since expanded it’s scope.

Take Barry Schwartz, a psychologist that discusses the benefit & issues of having more "choice" in a market place.

Video: TED: Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice
(Taken from "Barry Schwartz on maximizing the welfare of citizens by maximizing individual freedoms"

Barry’s conclusion seems to be that providing people with choice is the best way to maximize the welfare of citizens of the world.  And choice in general is a good thing and the trend has been to provide as much choice as possible to consumers.  Empowering the individual allows the individual to take control of their lives in the most optimal fashion possible for their circumstance.

But he cautions that too much choice forces the individual to have too much responsibility, resulting in a natural state of "analysis paralysis" in humans.  The result is that people often choose, "not to choose" and retreat in fear of making choices.

He also states that "sky’s the limit" opportunity is usually a bad thing.  People with too many opportunities at their fingertips find themselves clinically depressed because their expectations are too high – after all, with all this opportunity available to them, how could a person NOT be an incredible success?  And when they find that they AREN’T, they become perpectually sad.

So he stresses a balance:  Some choice is good, too much choice is bad.  Some opportunity is good, but it needs to have limits to help a person define success.

BTW:  TED is free to view and to join.  Attendance at the conference in Monterey however is a $6000 affair.  Receiving the DVDs of the speeches annually is $1000.

BTW2:  There’s a blog of new talks that get posted at http://blog.ted.com/atom.xml.

HUMOR: Harry Enfield rules.

May 25, 2007

Today was "Harry Enfield" day.

I love Harry Enfield comedy sketches.  I’ve hosted a few online at Soapbox for viewing below.  If you aren’t familiar with him, Harry Enfield is a British comedian that has done, among other things, some parodies of those 50’s Public Service Announcements featuring a fellow named "Mr. Cholmondley-Warner" that are funny enough to make me bust a gut at work whenever I’m feeling crappy.

And, yes, today I feel lousy.  Let’s just say that it’s the end of the fiscal year for us and I’m tired of customer’s pulling out the "Microsoft monopoly" line because they’re grouchy over the fact that for some godawful reason we won’t provide OS patches for their Windows 98 deployment.  Either that or it’s because we shockingly won’t treat Macs, Linux, and Open Source anything as equals to Windows whenever we built tools or applications.

Yes, today was a "Harry Enfield" day.  I just hope I don’t have to escalate this to being a "Benny Hill" day.

Video: Harry Enfield: Women – Know Your Limits

Video: Harry Enfield: Women and cars

Video: Harry Enfield: The Guide to Conjugal Rights

Video: Harry Enfield – Women – Keep Your Virtue

Hi, I’m a Mac. And I’m a Badass PC.

May 24, 2007

I don’t know where this came from but once I find out who created it, they’re going on my permanent feed subscription list.

HOWTO: Stop postal junk mail

May 18, 2007

Green Dimes provides a service that prevents you from getting junk postal mail at http://www.greendimes.com.  They purport that their service will reduce postal junk mail by 75-90%.  They also say that they will plant a tree for you every month in your name.  From a customization perspective, you can also put certain catalogs on a "white list" to enable them to be delivered to you.

The service costs $36 annually… or 10 cents every day of the year. 

When I found out about this thing, I signed up within 30 seconds with credit card in hand.  Every day I receive a bevy of advertisements in the mailbox:

  • Newspaper flyer type advertisements
  • AOL CDROMs and the like
  • Mortgage reduction & Line of Credit offers
  • Real estate agent ads
  • Mass coupon packets

Everyday, I’m grabbing all of that junk mail, bringing it up to my garbage can, and throwing it away during the "sorting process".  Now within 8 weeks, all of this – or hopefully most of this – should disappear.  WHEEEEE!

(Oh by the way… you can gift a subscription as well to friends who hate postal junk mail as much as you do.)

HUMOR: Windows Vista logo… last seen on Saturday Night Live

May 16, 2007

Check this out:  One of my favorite bands (right up there with AFI & Breaking Benjamin) is Linkin Park.  What caught me by surprise was that DJ Joe Hahn’s laptop had a Windows Vista flag logo on it this past weekend when the band played on Saturday Night Live. 

MR. HAHN… sportin’ Windows Vista & his Suru clothing wear logos




(In other news, Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park’s latest album just released and is available from Amazon. <grin>)

Now available in stores… Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight album

Strut Your Mutt 2007 & Best Friends Super Adoption Pet Festival – Westchester Park, June 3rd

May 14, 2007

Please join Best Friends Animal Society for two life-saving events on Sunday, June 3rd – the Third Annual Strut Your Mutt Dog Walk, which will start at 10:00am, and the Summer Super Adoption festival, which will run from 11:00am – 4:00pm. Both events will take place at Westchester Park in Westchester, located at the intersections of Lincoln and Manchester Boulevards.

Funds raised from the dog walk will help save homeless and abandoned animals in the Los Angeles Area. Pre-registration for the one-two mile walk is encouraged by visiting http://www.strutyourmuttla.com/ Heidi Hamilton, from the Frosty, Heidi and Frank Show on 97.1 Free FM will be the emcee for the Finish Line Festivities, Awards Presentations, and Prize Giveaways. Registration begins at 8:30am, with the walk starting at 10:00am.

After the dog walk, the Super Adoption Festival will run from 11:00am – 4:00pm. More than 1,000 homeless dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and parrots from over 60 rescue groups and Los Angeles shelters will be up for adoption. Animals up for adoption will represent a wide variety of breeds, sizes, and personalities!

This free event will include a children’s activity pavilion, all-day dog agility, frisbee & flyball demonstrations, the popular “Shelter Dog Parade,” pet psychics, veterinarians and dog trainers, pet-related products and service vendors, a food court, a silent auction, celebrity guests and much more!

“The Adoption Festival is a very powerful event – it not only impacts the pet overpopulation crisis in Los Angeles and creates public awareness of the problem, but also saves the lives of innocent animals, one pet at a time,” said Francis Battista, Best Friends’ Director of Los Angeles Programs.

For more information visit:

Solidifying a political opinion: “OnTheIssues.org” & “Speakout.com”

May 14, 2007

There are a few web sites that I absolutely, passionately love.

But there’s one site that becomes very important at least every 4 years, and that’s:

From a letter they wrote to the Independent, the folks at OnTheIssues say their goal is "to rejuvenate democracy".  OnTheIssues.org/Speakout.com essentially helps clarify a person’s political position by listing many if not most of today’s prevailing political issues and possible stances one might have on each.  Y’know – the stuff a lot of politicians try to avoid… as you’ll see by the "no stance" entries on many of the candidates.

It’s run by an independent body that purports to be non-partisan.  (I say purports because it’s primary staff is made up of folks that appear to have ties to the Democratic party with relationships to Harvard & Columbia both of which are fairly well known for their demonstrative political leanings) 

In a nutshell, what they do on the site is:

    They list out all the candidates and based on statements they’ve made in the past, (with quotations and references) establish what their general opinion is. 
    They list out the issues and help clarify what each issue is about and what potential stances you may take on them.  It subdivides peoples opinions into 4 classes:  Strongly agree, Agree, Oppose, and Strongly oppose, and defines what each stance might be in English for each issue.
  3. QUIZ!
    They have a quiz online that will ask you your opinion on each issue and actually match you with the candidate that most closely meets your opinions.  Note: There’s no prioritization possible with the issues so it weighs each issue equally but that being said, it’s kind of a neat feature nonetheless – especially for people that really don’t have a clear opinion.

I don’t think Americans even think of half of the stuff on this site before they go to the polls and that’s why I think it’s so interesting.  I think most voters have 3 or 4 issues that they harp on and vote that way without considering the bigger picture.

This is probably the best way to at least get off to a good start in considering that bigger picture.

What did I score?  (He asks as he laughs at the web page results listing candidates with political leanings close to his)  Well, if I know you personally, ping me and I’ll send you the link to my results but like I said, I think this is a at least a good start – even if I don’t think my first couple of candidate results were that accurate.  What I wish you could do in the quiz is weight certain topics more than others to prioritize issues that are really important to you over those that aren’t. 

The Register calls Robert Cringley’s lack of accuracy “appalling”, also IBM officially sells more Services to customers than Product

May 12, 2007

Oh this is rich.

The Register appears to be daring to accuse Robert Cringley of lacking journalistic integrity.  Apparently, Cringley reported that IBM was going to outsource 150,000 workers.  IBM has only 130,000 workers in the US.

Now I’m no fan of Cringley.  I think he’s an opportunistic anything-for-a-buck type who fancies himself a journalist but in reality is just the IT equivalent of a Hollywood rumor monger.  Dare I say, "literary paparazzi"?

But for the Register, a site that seems to post pretty much anything they sniff or smell in the air,  to accuse him of poor journalistic standards?  Pot?  Meet kettle.

This article did have one rather interesting element to it:  It has a slide from MIT Professor Michael Cusamano, whom I assume is the same person that authored the books , "Microsoft Secrets" and "Competing on Internet Time", that shows the percentage of revenue attained by hard services.  Consulting, support, that sort of thing… as opposed to software, hardware, etc.

Graph showing the rising services revenue of all the major hardware makers
Hard Services as a percentage of Total Sales of a Hardware Vendor

Wow.  At 52% of their sales and growing, IBM’s goal is clearly to sell customers services like IBM Consulting for Linux & Websphere instead of actual product like iSeries or Domino.

Here’s an observation:  Does IBM have any incentive at all to evangelize, recommend, or educate people on products that customers might otherwise learn, architect, develop, and support on their own.  Do they have any reason to pitch products & technologies that require expertise readily available on the open market, instead of requiring IBM Consulting? 

Optimally, every product they pitch should be as complex & specialized as possible requiring expertise that only their services organizations have.

Because heck – if customers had "PEOPLE READY" to implement IT projects on their own… if businesses invested in their own employees as their "MOST IMPORTANT ASSET"… or maybe hire in some cheaper labor from another consulting group to transfer knowledge to them and walk away…

…where would IBM get their money from?

Web sites that use Partial RSS feeds are LAME.

May 12, 2007

If you’re using RSS feeds to stay up to date with the latest in news and information, you know that there are two or three different types of RSS feed content:  Partial RSS feeds & Full RSS feeds.

There are some obvious differences between the different types of feeds out there.

    Full feeds include 100% of the content of the original news post.  Everything is downloadable directly from the XML file containing the RSS content.  Text content, graphics, even podcasts. 
    For example:   Destructoid has a full RSS feed. 
    Partial feeds are RSS feeds that contain the title and only a paragraph or so of the content posted.  These have feed entries that rarely include graphics and almost always cut the post of mid-sentence after only a few lines of text.  They of course always have links to the content on the web to get you to softtouch their advertising.
    For example:  Anandtech news has a partial RSS feed. 
    There’s a 3rd type of feed that I hesitate to even discuss, and that’s the "Title only feed".  These are the sites that only publish the titles of their articles but distribute none of the content.  They might post a secondary description of the content to compliment the title but that’s it.  Frankly, I deleted all of these feeds a long time ago so I don’t really know of too many of them myself.
    For example:  1up.com has a title only feed.

Who cares?  How about anyone that operates over cellular-based networks or slow Internet connections?  How about anyone using a smartphone – Microsoft or otherwise – to read content?  Incidentally, the issue is actually quite well discussed by a couple sites on the Internet:

If you believe that the future of computing is wireless – providing access to information anytime-anywhere – and you believe that the most informed individuals are the most influential individuals in your target demographic, you simply have to agree that individuals that tap into RSS feeds through smartphones over cellular networks are exceptionally important.  These are the folks that consume the most content and the folks that process & share & communicate the most knowledge.  These are the most influential, and reputable readers you have.

The opponents of full feeds have a bevy of reasons why they fear full feeds. 

    They say that there’s too much of a chance of someone "stealing their content" and republishing it on their sites through their RSS feed. 

    Personally, I think these paranoid folks need to learn to deal with it sooner or later and they can do so by simply ensuring their content is well ‘marked’ or ‘stamped’ with their names.  Make sure that the content refers back to previous articles on the site.  Use the site name profusely.  And if someone does start repurposing your content, don’t be afraid to take it out on them by chewing them out in every article you publish:  "People reading this content on SITEX should know that it’s being stolen by the site’s unethical & immoral administrators.  I ask that you please respect my hard work and choose not to read my content on their site."  

    Take the TV industry:  They’ve been frightened by timeshifting & the TiVo effect for a long time.  People simply don’t have to watch their advertising any more – they can skip it with a few clicks of a remote.  So what did they do?  They started putting the advertising in the TV shows themselves.  Some shows like American Idol & 24 take this to a ridiculous extreme however.  Who can forget when Chloe discovered that CTU was underattack by hackers but "THE CISCO FIREWALL IS PROTECTING CTU!"  Every watcher groaned at how cheesy and lame Cisco & the producers of 24 were for laying it so thick

    And frankly, I don’t think their going to be losing a lot of direct readers if their own feed is of good quality. 

    Opponents claim that they’ll lose viewers of their existing web site and thus they’ll lose both soft touches as well as hard touches.

    This is myopic.  The other side of the coin is that if they don’t publish a full feed, they’re losing readers COMPLETELY.  Neither I, nor anyone in my position, is interested in visiting your site when there are perfectly good alternatives for information available that do in fact publish full RSS feeds.  And let’s not kid ourselves Mr. Partial Feed publisher:  You’re not that special.  In 24 hours, the same content you published will be reported on by some other web site, probably more completely than you being that they’ve had 24 hours more to compile the story.

    Take Infoworld for example: http://www.infoworld.com/rss/news.xml.  There are other sites that publish the same content as they do earlier in the day, however they publish both their complete text content and a big old graphical advertisement that you just can’t avoid in the middle of their articles.  Then at the end of the post, they have context-sensitive, targeted text ads that show up.

    Well god bless Infoworld.  I don’t mind viewing their ads if I get all the content.  I really don’t.  Sure they’re not going to get a count of my actual soft touch viewing, unlike actually visiting the web site, but that’s the price they pay for guaranteeing that every single day, I’m going to download their site’s content and along with it, their advertising.

    (The day however, they start putting FLASH ADS in an RSS feed is the day y’all get deleted.  No one minds a 30k animated GIF file, but having to download a 250k Flash ad is nuts when 250k is how much actual data TOTAL is downloaded daily by my smartphone’s RSS reader.)

There are other arguments, but these are the primary ones.  The bottom line is that my OPML file – the summary of all the RSS feeds I subscribe to – is a list of about 50 feeds however it now consists of mostly full RSS feeds only.  I’ve made some exceptions for sites that SPECIFICALLY PUBLISH THEIR SITE IN POCKET PC FRIENDLY FORMAT so if I do want to read the whole article, it at least shows up in 240×320 resolution format with few graphics making it easy to read and quick to download.  But otherwise, I deleted a good 25 feeds recently… all of the partial RSS feeds.  

I just don’t have time for you partial feeders.

My Top 10 Favorite Xbox 360 Video Games

May 10, 2007

I wrote up that "favorite software products" blog entry and someone asked me, "Hey Kurt – so what floats your boat on the 360?" 

He’d just went out and gotten a brand new Xbox 360 Elite because (and this seems to be running theme amongst video gamers this summer) he’d bought a Nintendo Wii in part because he thought his girlfriend would play more… buuuuuut it turns out: Not so much.  Then add to that, the fact that he’s pretty much "over" the hype:  "There’s only so much Twilight Princess & Wii Sports" you can play.  Meanwhile all the good games are on the 360."  (His words – not mine.)

So in tribute to my friend and his newly acquired Xbox 360 Elite here are my Top 10 Favorite Xbox 360 Games:

10) CALL OF DUTY 2/3
This is the first game (CoD2) that I seriously played over and over again.  It’s gorgeous and it really feels like you’re in the middle of World War 2.  CoD3 improves on the successful formula and the funny thing is that CoD really wasn’t initially hailed as a serious must-have game for the Xbox 360 platform. 

So many characters to play with so many powers… so little time.  This game is one in a long history of "play the superhero" type games.  The first classic was 6-way XMen in the arcades… and that was a real quarter eater.  This is better.

No one can deny that Fight Night Round 3 is truly one of the most spectacularly beautiful games.  It’s the closest that we’ve come in video games to making real time renders of human characters that look realistic.  The only problem is the single player game is absolutely no fun.  You have to compete against someone else because there’s simply nothin’ better than stickin’ it to a friend then hearing him say, "Hey, how about 2 out of 3?"

There was too much hype around this game for it ever to have become as popular as it deserved but Viva Pinata is just a really nicely done game that has a lot going for it.  It’s pretty, it’s got good game play… it’s a little laborious at times but the interaction with other players over Xbox Live is great and the entire game is an interesting concept so points for creativity.

6) HALO 2
It’s Halo, stupid.  Nuff said.

This is the biggest bargain ever.  There has never been a console game created that was bigger than this.  Not Grand Theft Auto.  Not Crackdown.  Not True Crime.  Nothing comes close to the size and scope of this game.  I don’t think anyone will EVER do everything in this game… and then to top it all off they have an incredible expansion pack that you can purchase online called Shivering Isles which is more great gameplay.  This is truly a special game.

I didn’t think I was gonna like this game.  Created by the guy that invented Grand Theft Auto, this is a massive massive sand box type game where you’re a supercop with extraordinary abilities like superspeed, superstrength, and the ability to "leap tall buildings" which is the best part of the game – jumping from rooftop to rooftop amongst the skyscrapers.  Oh yeah and there’s car driving, all kinds of weapons, and lots of "easter eggs" to find to give you more powers.

3) HALO 3
You can put two & two together as to why I’ve listed this at #3 even though it’s not released yet, and no, I’m not going to say another word except to repeat the mantra that all Microsoft gamers live by:  The first rule of Pimps at Sea is you do not talk about Pimps at Sea.

I knew this was gonna be a hit the moment I found out it was coming to Xbox 360 last year and sure enough… you can’t find them in stores.  You can find tons of the PS2 version along with PS2 guitars but not the 360.  Keep in mind that the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 2 has a new better designed guitar, online scores and rankings so you can compare yourself to your friends, downloadable songs that you can purchase online, exclusive Xbox 360-only music, and lots of other great goodies.

…and finally… 

The best way to describe Gears is very simply this:  The problem with most first person shooters like Halo is that when you get position and you get the right weapons, there’s very little chance of you losing.  A person with a sniper rifle that knows where to shoot from is virtually unkillable so if te other team gets the right weapons and the right position, you might as well throw in the towel.

…but not Gears of War.  If your entire squad gets killed, none of your opponents have been shot, and you’re the last one on your team standing… guess what, son?  You still have a very good chance of winning.  The game is designed so that even if there’s only one person left on your team, you can still win, and it’s very feasible that you could do it… it’s not like it’s an impossibility.  I’ve done it myself where my team has gone down 4 against 1 (me being the last-teammember-standing) and I killed all 4 opponents allowing us to win the game.


Hey!  You left out game X?!?  How could you leave that out?  Folks – there are some games that I just didn’t take to.  Yes, I own them – hell – I buy virtually every game out there for the Xbox 360 unless I know I’m going to have virtually no interest in it (Like Def Jam Icon for instance) but they’re sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
That’s right.  I didn’t like it.  It’s a gorgeous game – don’t get me wrong.  But I found it BORING with a capital B.  Proponents -co-workers of mine – dismiss my opinion usually by cavalierly saying, "Bah – you’re just a run-and-gun no-strategy Halo junkie" and to that I say, I don’t know if that sanctimonious response is a sign that GRAW players think they’re somehow "more sophisticated gamers" than Master Chief wannabes but apparently, they’re in the minority.  According to Major Nelson, the

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
Yeah, hold your horses on this one.  I haven’t actually received Command & Conquer 3 yet but I fully anticipate this game tearing a path straight through the center of my top 10 favorites.  I just haven’t gotten some serious hands on time with it yet and until I do, I can’t adequately judge it yet.  The following upcoming games fall into this same category:
Command & Conquer 3- Tiberium Wars
Two Worlds
– Bioshock
– Mass Effect

Rainbow Six Vegas
I honestly haven’t played this one yet.  It’s sitting on the shelf but to be honest, I don’t think it’ll make the cut.  It just doesn’t have a very good track record and I haven’t heard glowing things about the game.

Madden 07
This one’s easy.  I just don’t like football games much.  I don’t like the NFL and I’m not fond of Madden.


There are probably a few honorable mentions:

  • Xbox Live Arcade Unleashed
  • Texas Hold’em
  • Star Trek Legacy
  • Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2
  • NBA 2K7

Saving homeless dogs through Guitar Hero 2

May 8, 2007

Guitar Hero 2 and helping homeless animals:  It’s like chocolate & peanut butter.

It turns out that the Seattle Humane Society is having a fundraiser around the Xbox 360 game, Guitar Hero 2, to raise funds for homeless dogs.  If you know anything about me, you know that I think this is a great idea. 

What is it? Guitar Heroes for Whiskers is a one night event to benefit the Seattle/King County Humane Society.  The event will center around Guitar Hero II (a popular video game) on the Xbox 360.  Our goal is to help the Seattle/King County Humane Society raise $5000.

When and Where is it? The event will start promptly at 7pm on May 22nd @ Dante’s in the U-district in Seattle.  It will likely go until 1:30am which is closing time of Dante’s.  Participants should plan to be there between 5:30pm and 6:30pm to handle all the paper work so the competition can start on time.  The first participants to complete the registration process on May 22nd at Dante’s will be able to compete.  After that, we will register alternates to compete.

Dante’s Inferno 5300 Roosevelt Way NE Seattle, WA http://www.myspace.com/dantesseattle

For more information vist:

For a sample of what competitions like these are like, check out hte NYC championships: