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Thursday, April 24, 2014

PSN makes PSP titles available to download on Vita then takes them away again



I am so, SO *SO* angry with Sony right now.

The other day, I read that PSP titles on our download list could FINALLY be downloaded onto our Playstation Vitas! So I looked at my Downloads list and sure enough, EVERY PSP title I had on there had the Download button next to it. Wow! So I downloaded 2 of the 3 PSP titles that I couldn't download previously, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Twisted Metal: Head On. I didn't download Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron yet... had I only known...

Yesterday Sony reverted our Downloads list back to the way it was before, with most of the PSP content "Cannot download using a PS Vita system." ARRRGHHHH!!!!

This is Sony we're talking about. The SAME Sony that will take every opportunity to screw with its handheld customers. I suffered so much grief from them during the PSP years. There are parts of Sony that I simply HATE. I swore off digital downloads for years because of their antics.

What is GALLING about Sony's about-face is that clearly, Sony can (literally) at the flick of a switch make these games available for download. I'm not talking about getting them free. I paid for these full games. I didn't pirate them. I don't know if they made a mistake and accidentally flipped the switch making these games available, but it's so frustrating that all this time their content is right there and they arbitrarily deny them from their customers. This is the true SCE Sony style.

And when I was marveling at how we could download our previously purchased  PSP games, I thought, "Hey, I don't have a digital copy of Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror... I wonder how much it costs... if it is reasonable I would pick it up"... yes, I would have BOUGHT MORE GAMES had this open policy stayed in effect. Geez Sony, you wouldn't actually want that, huh? Happy customers who buy more of your games? Imagine.

I hate you so much, Sony. Thanks for reminding me of the bad old days of 2007-2010, when you did your best to make it suck to be a Sony customer.



later
don

White Nexus 5 turning yellow?



I bought my Nexus 5 straight from the Google Play store, day 1, part of the crush of clickers trying to snag one. And I ended up with the white, 32GB model. I totally wanted (need at least) 32GB of storage, but honestly the white wasn't my first choice. I'm usually not one to settle on different colours, especially with a $450-ish purchase(!) but it's not like I hated the white back with black front, I was actually on the fence about which one was better looking. And I'm really happy with the white.

But what's been bugging me the last few months is I think my white back is turning yellow? I know they are different materials, but it definitely doesn't look as white as the front speaker grill.

Trying to photograph it is pretty much impossible with my simple 5MP point-and-shoot  and lack of light balancing photography knowledge. All I know is the background in the photos of the front of the Nexus 5 get all washed out with light, while the photos of the back of the device have darkened mute backgrounds. Argh.

I don't know if maybe my phone case is the cause of the yellowing... I use a Ringke Slim that has a clear plastic back. But I think that most of the clear back doesn't touch the back of the Nexus 5, because it's curved and the case back is straight.


It is very difficult to show the off white or slight yellowing of the back of my Nexus 5, but it can definitely be seen with the naked eye. It kind of bugs me, but I don't know if it was always like that. I don't remember it being blindingly white when I first took it out of the box. I really like the Ringke Slim case too...


later
don

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Next Gen consoles


So I cancelled my preorders for Xbox One and PS4.

I preordered back in June, I think? Since that time, I waited months for Microsoft and Sony to show me something that would make it worth it for me to buy their consoles at launch... games, functionality, whatever. Something.

But it's now almost the eve of release, and not enough somethings came. Of course, I did just buy a PS3 last December 2012, almost one year ago. So I am only really diving into this gen of console gaming now. Maybe I will have enough to tide me over for awhile.

I think I can wait a couple years for the Xbox One and PS4 games libraries to mature. At this point there is only one killer-app must-buy game is Dice's Star Wars Battlefront. And that is only just starting to be developed, it could be a couple years before it even comes out. If/when it does, I *will* buy a system just for that game.

In the meantime, I *think* I can live without either system.... It was a 3-way tug of war of where to put my $400.00-$500.00 between the Xbox One, PS4, and Nexus 5 phone. And I tucked about $460.00 into the Nexus 5, so I guess I had to sit out on the consoles.



later
don

OK Google Now

I ordered a Nexus 5, just waiting for it to arrive, probably next week. In the meantime, I've been reading and watching many reviews of the phone and Android 4.4,which  prominently showcases Google Now voice search. 

So what is the point of Google Now, exactly? 

You can use Google Now to talk to your phone to set an alarm. OK, that's a little useful. But I never leave my phone on all night, I turn it off to charge the battery. I used to keep my Samsung Galaxy S Glide on all night while charging, and the battery became swollen and needed to be replaced. So I don't think I will be using the talk to schedule an alarm feature too often. 

You can use Google Now to ask what the weather is like [wherever]. OK... But I already  have a weather widget, and how often does one need to ask what the weather is like? Not nearly often enough to justify having a persistent search bar across the top of my phone. 

And... So what else does Google Now do that's real-world useful? 

None of the reviews have been able to show me. 


Later
Don

Friday, August 16, 2013

Shaw DCX3510-M PVR is pretty awful

My dad decided to buy the Shaw DCX3510-M PVR around Christmas 2012... I was a bit hesitant, to say the least... I just had a bad vibe about it from internet buzz I'd read online. But the features on paper sounded great.

Let's face it, the Shaw DCX3510-M is a broken device that should not be bought by anyone. The hardware itself is probably sound, it is made by Motorola, and users in the U.S. on other cable services don't have much problem. But the REAL PROBLEM is that Shaw is trying to program their own firmware onto it and are failing badly. Shaw is NOT a software company.

The reason they are trying to program their own firmware on it is so they can micro-manage the box from wherever their head office is... Calgary I assume. Remember the controversy over the Xbox One having to be connected to the internet? Shaw, through these boxes, is showing the worst-case-scenario that people were afraid of with the Xbox One. The Shaw DCX3510-M often messes up with "Offline Mode" where it stops being able to sense an online connection to head office and the TV guide and recording options become either not possible to severely limited. Just because the internet connection between the box and head office flutters or whatever. It happens a lot. This kind of micro-management, big-brother nightmare is pretty much what would have happened with the Xbox One had public outcry not forced them to change their mind. Unfortunately, not enough people seem to use the DCX3510-M to pressure Shaw to improve their service and dump the processes which stop their paying customers--like me-- from getting decent service.

The Shaw DCX3510-M often loses recorded programs. They will disappear from the list of recorded shows at random.

The Shaw DCX3510-M records shows but randomly messes them up, playing back only a black screen and the time stamp stuck. This often happens during the "Offline/Online Mode" messages.

The Shaw DCX3510-M randomly Locks Program due to Rating.. which means it won't play a show because it thinks there's a parental lock on it-- even though the show is rated G, and the box was NEVER programmed with a parental lock.

The Shaw DCX3510-M is a severely crippled device that provides sub-standard tv service. What's terrible is that it probably shouldn't be this bad at all, except their stubborn adherence to trying to write software/firmare for the hardware, and being so bloody awful at it.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Binary Domain

I bought Binary Domain (PS3) a few weeks ago, and also just bought Borderlands 2... which is ok, I don't know how I feel about it, is it worth the $20.00 price to me? I dunno... but Binary Domain for $10.00 at Walmart-- even though it is very linear and by-the-numbers campaign, for what it is-- it's fairly fun.

Binary Domain is a third person shooter, where basically the enemies are all robots. But when you shoot them, they do cool things; shoot off their head and they will blind fire often hitting their team-mates, shoot off their limbs and they will switch shooting hands or crawl after you, Terminator-style. The game feels very Japanese, and while the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it is a very cool vibe that does ask some deep questions, like the nature of artificial life. For $10.00 it's a solid game.

What is very annoying are the quick-time elements.... *sigh*... I am seriously thinking of giving up on videogames altogether because of this awful quick-time context trendy bullshit in games. As per usual, it almost ruins the game, thankfully they are short little bits.

And the online is non-existent. There is multiplayer, 2 modes, versus and survival (which is called Invasion) and I have rarely ever found anyone online to join my match.



later
don

Monday, July 1, 2013

In the box

I've been thinking about consoles vs PC and mobile gaming, and add-on peripherals.

I recently bought a PS3/PC racing wheel for a steal ($10.00 clearance from The Source)

I borrowed Test Drive Unlimited 2 from the library... It's an Ok game, but not optimized for racing wheels. There are parts of the game which switch to on-foot first person view (!)  that can only be controlled using a Dualshock 3... Or at least it is VERY DIFFICULT to control using the wheel.

Anyway, the point is I am wondering how many console  racing games are TRULY made for racing wheels?  The answer is probably few to none. Why? Because what game company wants to make a game that needs a controller that is not included "in the box"? That the consumer needs to not only buy the game but also another controller to properly play it?

If a game does that it is automatically limiting its own market. Not every PS3 gamer will buy a PS3 game, but then if the game requires a certain kind of add-on, like Move, not only will not every PS3 gamer buy that game, but not every Move owner may buy it. It makes a smaller pool of customers.

That is definitely why stuff like the Wii Balance Board failed. But what about the Wii itself? Motion controls are" in the box" for every Wii.

But because ONLY the Wii had those controls, companies wouldn't develop for it. That's why I am a bit worried about Xbox One's kinnect "in the box". Yes, that is a smart move so every Xbox One has Kinnect, but I think because both or all consoles don't have a "Kinnect"  type of controller included, that third parties will still shy away from developing for it. Most companies want to be able to quickly port their game to both Xbox and Playstation.

"In the box" is really important, but what is more important is "in every box". Unfortunately, only the dual analogue stick controller is central to every console now, so that is the control that will be used for most games. Makes it almost impossible for anyone to innovate.

There is a notable exception to this idea: the Guitar Hero/Rockband series of games. Clearly the initial popularity of those games flies in the face of this idea, people bought the controllers in droves and for awhile these were some of the best selling games. But that fad has passed, and it is now back to normal, where companies don't want to take any chances.

It is such a shame, because we are at the point now where there are tons of gaming choices, Android/Apple phones/tablets, consoles, handhelds with both physical and touch interfaces, and of course the ever versatile PC. We can use bluetooth to wirelessly attach a controller to a phone or tablet... but there will be almost NO great games that take advantage of these options because bluetooth controllers are not "in every box" of phones/tablets.


later
don