Top 5 things that used to suck about old Walkmans

Walkmans were “cool” when they were new, but according to todays standards they just suck piles. Here is a compiled list of the suckiest features.

walkman

1. The batteries

Most walkmen used to use 2xAA batteries like these below. These batteries were expensive and didn’t last  long. Because of limited battery life you had to be careful how loud you turned it, and how many times you used the fast forward button.

2. The headphones

Almost all walkmen at the time came with an old style headphone, these were god damn aweful, and the sound was inferior. Hisssssssssssssssssss.

3. Cassette tapes

The outer part of a cassette tape was made out of strong plastic, but the music was stored on a magnetic reel. The tape often got streched or just broke. The walkman may have been designed for outside use, but it needed to be protected against the elements. Direct sunlight could cause the cassette tape to melt. You could easily forget a tape in the car, and all it took was 30 minutes to fry it. Tapes could be copied, but the overall quality got worse with each copy.

4. No rewind

Most Walkman only had 3 buttons. Play, Stop and Fast Forward. They didn’t magically stop at the next track either. Fast forwarding on one side was essentially the same as rewinding the other. All this took time and battery power.

5. The heads got dirty

The read heads got dirty, and that meant you needed to clean them. The best way was to use cotton buds and an alcohol solvent. The heads also misalligned, meaning you needed a tiny screw driver and some luck to get them back in place.

As crappy as what they were, they do represent a more carefree day, in the time before cell phones.

Will funcom charge players for their new Anarchy Online graphics engine update?

Its now 2009, and Funcom have been promising AO players a graphics update since…… astonishingly 2004. I am not sure if the graphic engine even exists, I’ve found no compelling evidence that confirms its real, and since FC have been promising this update for the last 5 years, its kinda hard to trust anything they tell you.

Lets give FC the benefit of the doubt  and pretend that the graphics update exists, it might still be a little too late for the AO community. 

The Legacy of Zan, to be released feb 2009, is a booster pack that may contain this graphics update, unfortunately its just not easy getting a defined list of whats included in the booster, no screen shots or product descriptions are available. The AO website does contain at least one dick weed interview – gee thanks FC.  If you login to your account section, you’ll be able to pre-order the booster pack, just don’t ask too many questions about what you get for that 20 euros.

Anarchy Online is a highly ambitious project, but it is old and stale, every dog has its day. If FC can’t maintain AO, they should at least make it more cost effective. Its still in the same price range of the latest leading titles. 

Most of the AO commnity has already left the game, possibly returning when AO gets updated or improved, but it seems the game is dying. I’m not sure if players who are now on titles like WoW or EQ2 would return because of a basic graphics upgrade, especially if this would cost them money just to preview.

Is Age of Conan boring?

Funcoms latest game, Age of Conan, sorry to say is a complete disappointment. I’ve been playing AoC for around 2 months now, and I’m so bored, I’m going to cancel my subscription. 

update: cancelled my subscription

Here are the reasons why AoC gets boring very quickly:

1. Its the loneliest MMORPG game you’ll ever play. 

In AoC you’ll spend the majority of the game running quests. Each kill you make while questing, gives you some xp, if you decide to team for a quest, you’ll have to share the xp. This really slows down your ability to level. AoC is best played as a single player for the first 50 levels. This is not why people sign up to play MMORPG’s. Another reason why the game feels so lonely is because the landscape is so badly designed, that its hard to meet up with people.

2. The travel system is boring

All  RPGs require walking and running, but some games have warps and quick run speed, not AoC. You’ll need to wait a full 40 levels before you can mount a horse, but then don’t expect the experience to be breath taking, the horse experience was a bitter disappointment. Often you’ll need to cross 2 full play fields to get to an area, You have to go from A then to C to get to B, this walking takes up lots of time.

3. The combat system is not relaxing. 

Funcom introduced the “real combat system” into the MMORPG genre, this is apparently what makes the game good. This might be true for the first 1-2 hours of gameplay but to kill tough mobs, you need to execute combos, and plenty of them, its likely you need around 10-15 combos for an enemy in your skill range. This means major keyboard gymnastics. This real combat engine is essentially you standing facing enemies pushing buttons. The combat lacks a lot, the combos are too simplified and all do pretty much the same thing. Moving around in combat doesn’t help a lot either, you cant really strafe and reposition yourself for a better shot.

If you play games to relax, after a while this button pressing can get annoying, so annoying you’ll want to go out and buy a programable keyboard, like the G11. Even with the G11, you still need to put in a lot of manual effort to kill mobs. 

4. The areas are so big, town names so confusing that its hard to meet people

The game takes a lot of getting used to, and even once you know the landscape, meeting people takes time, you can literally be on the other side of the world without a quick travel system requiring you to cross vast areas to meet with your friends, this really sucks. Guid cities are also miles away, and unlike in some games that contain a “warp to guild city”, in AoC you have to cross a vast wilderness each time you want to visit the city. Its way easier just to have Guild meetings in a town.

5. Hardly any upgrade options

Perhaps its just me, but when an RPG automatically starts controlling your characther attributes (str, agility, dex), you have to question the target audience. When you level you get points that can be spent on just a few skills, more related to your run speed and damage recovery.

All the armour in the game looks pretty much the same, and you just don’t get social attire, even though its supposed to be the “sexy” RPG, its not that sexy trust me. You get slots for armour and items, but its as basic as you could possibily get it. Anarchy Online and older game is still way better  in regard to character customization, appearance and skill growth.

6. Its extremely religious

Its really annoying that Funcom have to always introduce religion into their games. Not every gamer is a Satan worshipping, demon loving, blood spilling whore who wakes up in the morning and gives death a kiss. Most of the gamers I know are pretty respectable and normal people who don’t sacrifice to the Pagan gods at every given moment, and who just “put up” with the religion because its there, but don’t enjoy it being there. I understand these MMORPG’s need a good/bad system, but why, oh why do they have to make it so compellingly religious and just plain rotten to the core. The promotion of immorality and idol worship is offensive to Christians, who also enjoy a good RPG. AoC is so over loaded with pagan religion, its frankly annoying, and its a new question I ask before I buy a game lately, “is it full of the slimey kind of religion?”

6. Its a WoW clone.

The last thing the MMORPG world needs is another World of Warcraft, but thats exactly what Funcom has released, exactly why they were so compelled to do so, is beyond my understanding. After playing a bit of WoW, its pretty obvious to see that FC have copied WoW. In short AoC adds nothing new to the genre, its just a slightly better looking WoW, but I would have to say WoW is more playable.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Here is some info from other players. 

http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=119399

 

 

Free and good CD/DVD/Blue Ray Burner

Tired of using Nero with all its bloat? Tired of trying to find a decent burning app and find licensing for it? Look no further. 

Img Burn is the solution for you, and can be found here – http://www.imgburn.com/

I full heartedly recommend this product, because it does exactly what you want it to do, its as reliable as the best of the best, and its totally free, so you don’t have to pirate or buy it. 

Img Burn is one of those rare apps that you’re sceptical about at first, but once you use it, its so good, you don’t want to use anything else. 

I swear by it! Try it, you won’t be disappointed

Defragging can be over rated.

If you’ve been around computers for a while you’ve almost surely been told that regular defragging of your hard drive improves performance. This might be true for drives older than 10 years or so, but modern HDDs are a lot quicker, because of this defragging (afraid to say) doesn’t usually help that much to improve performance. Defragging, however  is not entirely useless.

If you’re using virtual PC or VMWare images, you need to pay special attention to the state of both your host and guest drive (usually a file on the host). Usually when you work with a virtualization solution, you’ll want to squeeze as much performance out of the hard drive as possible, this is because HDD I/O is the biggest bottleneck in virtualization performance. I wouldn’t go as far as buying additional defrag tools, but ensure you keep both drives defragged on a regular basis. This does not mean everyday, just at least once every 6 months.

If you’re a windows user, the chances are you’ll need to format and reinstall your copy of windows before your drive can get fragged enough to affect performance.

Cellphones don’t cause Cancer

Cancer Myth: Electronic devices, like cell phones, can cause cancer in the people who use them.

Respondents Who Agreed: 30 percent

Origin of Myth: Lawsuits and news headlines have fueled the myth that cell phones cause cancer, particularly brain cancer, and 30 percent of Americans still believe this myth, according to the Discovery Health/Prevention telephone survey.

Reality: A few studies suggested a link with certain rare types of brain tumors, but the consensus among well-designed population studies is that there is no consistent association between cell phone use and brain cancer.

Consumers could easily have missed the reports showing no danger from cell phones because they didn’t receive alarming front-page coverage like the original reports. What has been proven is that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of having a car accident. So, keeping your hands free and your eyes on the road is a more significant issue for people who use cell phones.

No Apparent Cancer Link for Other Electronic Devices
Considerable research has also found no clear association between any other electronic consumer products and cancer. Cell phones, microwave ovens and related appliances emit low-frequency radiation — the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that includes radio waves and radar. Ionizing radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays can increase cancer risk by causing changes to DNA in cells of the body. Low frequency, non-ionizing radiation does not cause these DNA changes.

For people who are still suspicious about any possible health effects from cell phones, the Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) offers advice to people concerned about their risk. Experts from the CDRH can explain practical ways to minimize exposure to radio-frequency radiation while using a cell phone. Also, people can choose digital rather than analog telephones.

For more information, the ACS book Cancer: What Causes It, What Doesn’t provides an educated perspective on what cancer health hazards people may face in everyday life, and what’s not worth worrying about.

source: http://health.discovery.com/centers/cancer/top10myths/myth8.html

Why did America screw the dates up?

Those of us who program for a living, need to work with dates on a regular basis.

Dates according to the ISO standards should be represented, transferred and stored in the following 2 formats.  YYYY-MM-DD or YYYYMMDD. There are 2 reasons for this.

  1. Its impossible to confuse the month and day component
  2. dates are stored and sort and collate correctly without any smart logic or intelligence

Why then would Americans feel the need to store dates in the following format mm-dd-yyyy. Now we have a vast array of confusion in the market place, and date ambiguity all over the place. Sometimes if you’re importing just a few dates, its impossible to tell which is which, without knowing the storage format in advance. 03/01/2009 – is the 1 March 2009 according to the yanks, and the 03 Jan 2009 according to the rest of the educated world. So What can be done?

Well to be clear, unfortunately its not just the yanks who transgress logic, its also the following countries, I suspect mainly due to American influence.

Belize[133]
Canada (Although most official documents use the yyyy-mm-dd format, the mm/dd/yy format is also understood due to influences from the United States.)[134]
Federated States of Micronesia[135]
Kenya[136]
Palau
Philippines (when written in English)[137]
Puerto Rico[138]

Those of us working with dates need to be as strict as possible to avoid ambiguity, don’t just accept any input format, ensure that it arrives in true ISO standard where ever possible.

Internet Forums, don’t trust the answers you get

If you need information, and just can’t find the info on offical websites, the chances are you’ll end up reading some forum post. Just make sure you don’t take anything to heart too quickly. Don’t just believe the answers because you “read it on the internet”.

In real life scenarios, you’re likely to ask people around you questions, you’re also likely to receive incorrect, or misleading answers, however typically in a real life scenario, you have more sensory information to help you filter out the fact from fiction. Internet Forums work slightly differantly, without the personal contact you’re relying solely on textual information. That could be written by a 10 year old or an 82 year old, you just do not know, but you can be sure you’ll get their 2 cents, misleading or not.

Here are some real questions and their misleading answers taken directly from internet forums.

http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26254810
Question 1: Is it worth getting a 100 mhz tv over a standard hdtv? (This answer is completely misleading because the guy who answered it does not know a thing about electronics, and confuses FPS with Refresh Rate)
BlackAcidDevil: 120 FPS opposed to 60 FPS, again the only way to get that 120hz is through a 120hz capable cable 9 another $130) –  BUSTED!!! PURELY MISLEADING

http://forums.highdefdigest.com/general-discussion-both-formats/5710-hd-dvd-blu-ray-someday-obsolete-here-stay.html
HD DVD & Blu-ray: Someday Obsolete, Or Here to Stay?
SpideyBat: I think both formats will be around for quite some time. BUSTED!!! SPECULATIVE AND WRONG
Majestikk : These new formats always suck in the beginning

These are just 2 examples, but I’ve come across more, recently I was looking for information on building materials for a housing project, and was amazed at the controvesy regarding wood vs bricks for heat insulation. Often Internet Forums are so unreliable a source of information, you need to check the answer with another more reliable source, like offical sites, or product fact sheets.

I still think Internet Forums are a good source of general information, but I’m on high alert when I browse them, so not to just accept anything as fact, and I suggest you do the same.

An iPod that costs more than a BMW

Its not a hoax, or a joke. The iPod in the image below is an iPod classic capable of holding 160GBs of data.

 

ipod160gb

If you had to play by the rules, and only download legal music from Apple, this iPod could become the most expensive item you’re likely to own. It might even become worth more than your car or luxury sailing boat.  The calculations are as follows:

160GB = 163840MB
1 Song = Approx 5MB.
So that means that this iPod can hold around 32768 songs.
Apple sell songs at $1 USD per song, so that would mean to fill this iPod with songs will cost you a whopping $32768 dollars.

Lets put this in perspective, would you rather be choosing the color of this lovely car, or listening to your iPod?

capture