February 7, 2007

I rushed home from work as early as I could manage last night and arrived in Newark before seven thirty. Dominica and Josh came down and we went out to IHOP for dinner. After dinner we came back to 1180 Raymond and Josh and I decided to check out the new Media Room that we have down in the basement. We took down Enchanted Arms for the XBOX 360 and put in a couple of hours playing that. We quickly noticed that the XBOX 360 was both set incorrectly and hooked up incorrectly so it looked awful. We fixed the settings that we could and that helped a little but it is still hooked up wrong so it doesn’t look so hot as we are playing it in standard definition instead of high definition.

We played through almost ten percent of Enchanted Arms and so far the verdict is that the game is exceptionally weird. The storyline is quite odd. The game hasn’t been rated very highly from reviewers but it is the only jRPG available on the XBOX 360 and is, in fact, the only game on that platform that I am really interested in playing at all. It definitely is not a good showcase for the 360. The game is moderately enjoyable but so weird and pointless that it looses most of the cinematic storyline quality that generally makes jRPGs so much fun. The characters in the game are intentionally shallow but it makes the game shallow as well. I still have a lot of game to play so we will see how it is but so far, I am not impressed. This is just a game to hold me until Blue Dragon and Assassin’s Creed release for the 360.

While we were playing Enchanted Arms in the Media Room, Dominica was playing Kingdom Hearts 2 on the PS2 up in the apartment keeping Oreo company. She really loved the KH series of games. Personally I think that they are just weird. It was almost midnight by the time that we all managed to get to bed. It is amazing how little Canadians seem to care about their own rights.

Russian schools are beginning to switch to Linux quickly after Russian authorities jail a school’s headmaster for purchasing pirated copies of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft was not involved in the action but the arrest as put a scare into the educational system there which, obviously, like here in the United States has a tendency towards ignoring the law and steals software on a large scale. Educators, of all people, often use a defense of ignorance saying that they don’t comprehend theft and don’t realize that taking things that belong to one person and giving to another is wrong.

The US Army prosecutors in the case of a soldier who refused to participate in war crimes stated that there is no excuse for defiance of direct orders. This means that the US Army is saying that US soldiers are required by law to commit war crimes. Since a soldier can be punished for war crimes and since a soldier can be punished for not committing war crimes requested by any commanding officer the US Army law office has effectively decided that it is a crime to be a US soldier. The most shocking thing, though, is that the US Army now believes that it was okay – and in fact BETTER – that all of Hitler’s soldiers slaughter the Jews during World War II. Or maybe the US Army is now defecting to the Iranians and claim that the holocaust didn’t happen. This clearly means that I no longer consider the US Army to be in defense of its citizens or its constitution, by its own admission, and is now a renegade, illegal entity acting as a terrorist organization.

Now here is an interesting news item today – one of those “obviously they didn’t think about what they were saying before they said it moment.” Walmart is being sued for supposed gender inequalities. I total believe that gender bias exists and I have seen it a lot over the years. Obviously, as a male, I am much more likely to notice jobs that tend to promote women over men and, in some cases, that outright refuse promotions for men altogether stating that certain jobs (including all above a certain level) were reserved for women. I have no idea whether or not Walmart has done any such thing in either direction and it is very hard to believe that such a thing would be happening on a large scale. However, in the article, they stated how women are now mostly getting pay parity with men but men are tending to get more promotions. However, they they then stated that they had found nothing to suggest that the men getting promotions were getting paid more than the women who were not getting promotions! This is clearly an example of pay disparity. They are clearly stating that the men are being given more responsibility and more work but the women are getting paid for doing easier job the same as the men willing to take on more work! What this study actually managed to show is that women are getting paid more than men for the same job! Now it is men who need to fight for pay parity.

Canada appears set to sell out its often poorly informed citizenry today by transferring their communication right to its major telecom carriers allowing a few large companies to determine what Internet (read: television, news, radio, music, blogs, email, instant messaging, etc.) the Canadian citizens will be allowed to receive and at what speeds regardless of the speeds that they pay for.

According to Slashdot today, Dell is threatening to sue an end user who has discovered that certain Dell laptops are outputting up to 139 volts AC from any chassis screw against earth ground. This is not just incredibly bad for your laptop but can be rather hazardous to your health. Dell’s eletrocution laptop is apparently the follow-up to their exploding laptop. Dell’s new strategy is, I suppose, to kill as many of their customers as possible before their can tell anyone else about how displeased they are with their Dells. Michael Dell has just recently taken the reigns again at Dell so that he can oversee things like this personally to make sure that others don’t screw it up.

In the category of “you can patent anything” in the US – today someone patented “holding your cell phone upside down”!

Skype applications have been caught by 64bit security systems and are now known to be reading detailed hardware information from your computer (including your serial number) and sending it to eBay! No one knows what this is being used for but it could be really bad.

We are most of the way through the week and the supposed “cashed check” that Central Parking claims to have sent to us was not produced on Monday like they claimed that it would be and no one answered the phones there today either. It seems like they panicked when I continued to follow up with them and made up a story that they had actually paid out to put me off the scent while they attempt to hide under a rock. Central Parking has been avoiding paying for the repairs to Dominica’s BMW since sometime around October!

I got stuck working from home longer enough this morning that Josh and I were able to go over to Food for Life and get something to eat. We ordered our vehicles from the valet and then walked over to eat. We called ahead so that everything would be fast. We both got the No. 15 “The Round” and then it was off to work.

My day at the office was much slower today than it has been for a while, which is probably noticeable from the amount of news that I was able to report on today. I managed to get a little bit of my miscellaneous stuff done today that has been backing up like talking to my CPAP supplier and some mail.

I got to have lunch with a friend at the office that left the company that I am at six months ago and has just now returned here. I have been busy this week and haven’t really gotten to see him so today we made a point of going out for lunch. I wasn’t very hungry from breakfast so I just got some lobster bisque which ended up being really awesome.

Today is really a friends and food day for me. Breakfast with Josh. Lunch with someone at the office. And tonight Dominica and I are going to Mompou in the Ironbound with a friend that recently left where I am working now. So all three meals today! And tomorrow I am doing lunch with Susan!

News from the University of Rochester today: playing video games is good for your eyes!  Contrary to the old wives tale that straining your eye muscles or exercising them in any way makes you blind (like lifting weights makes your arms fall off) playing video games can improve visual acuity.

Well, it is a “dinner out” night and I have to get to the apartment before I am late.  Have a good night everyone.

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