So many words, so little time....

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Xbox360 causes cancer! Or, uh, wait, uhhh.....

I've heard a whole lotta stoo-pid lately about game hardware. There have been some problems with the 360, but most of them are PEBKAC or Snopes-grade internet vapor.


-- It can scratch disks. IF you move it or knock it over while a disk is spinning. Just like just about every other disk-media device out there. The PS2 did this, too. Any CD player will do it. Try knocking your PC tower over on it's side while you're playing a CD and see what you get. Solution: Don't move the system while you're playing it. And keep the thing horizontal unless you've got a place that's really safe from it being knocked down.

-- It does blow out a heck of a lot of heat. Those clearances for placement are not just a suggestion. Solution: We had the best performance by putting it on top of a shelf with clear air top and all sides. And NEVER EVER EVER put the thing down on carpet. This also holds true for your PS2, especially the thin ones.


-- It doesn't cause brownouts or any other sort of power outages due to the amount of power it sucks down. Nor will it black out in the middle of a game due to not having power. It uses standard PC power suppy hardware, and uses an equivalent amount of energy. It won't do any more to your power bill than buying a new computer would. Solution: Stop huffing and actually read the hardware specs that have been so helpfully splattered all over Heck and gone on the internet. The symptom being described here would be better attributed to a heat problem, anyways. Check the ventilation around your unit and make sure it's got lots of flow.

-- All the harddrives are crashing. No, but this is more a problem of frequency. There are some that did have problems due to shipment, just like any other electrical appliance. From what I hear it's mostly motherboard connection problems and it tends to manifest itself with the external hard drive connection on the 360 version of the system. If you have this problem, it will barf right after starting up. Solution: This is why God created warrantees. Or if you're that afraid of this, then don't buy it for about six months and they have been through a few production runs.

If you want to make sure you don't have any of these problems when you get yours home, it's really simple. First: Set the thing up horizontal. Second: Set it up someplace in the wide open like the top of a coffee table. Third: Power it up. Fourth: Put in a disk you don't care about like a burned CD of Aqua or Azurik: Rise of Perathia or something. It should run you through the inital setup screens and then start playing really bad European techno or tell you that you can't play that game on this hardware. Breathe a happy sigh of relief that the Flaming Q-tip is finally gone from your life. If it does anything else, call Microsoft or the store you got it from if you bought any sort of maintenance agreement.

This is not a brick. It's electronic equipment. Expensive electronic equipment. And if you don't take care of it, it's not going to perform as it should. DUHHH. The problem is not M$ or your local gamestore. It's right there between the controller and the couch.

* PEBKAC = Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair
A customer service acronym for an issue that is caused by the user, not the equipment. See I-D-ten-T and RTFM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Could Describe the Scale On Which This Sucks....

.... but it would require charts and an easel.

I still don't have my Xbox 360. I know I'm in the next shipment, but we had some snow down here and it delayed the delivery. I know they can't help it, but it's really annoying. I let my neighbor who got his lame-oh Core system play my copy of Perfect Dark Zero since it was just sitting around useless. Current estimate is Thursday.

My daughters got their hands on a set of fansubs for the entire Full Metal Alchemist series. Guess what's been on continuous play at my house? I don't want to spoil, but to quote one of their brother's friends, "Da-uhm did that get whack towards the end." Not as bad as Evangelion, but wow.

And in other semi-anime news, my daughter's choir teacher has made another grave error. He did an in-class assignment a month or so ago where he told them they had to learn a song in a foriegn language. He was expecting a bunch of church latin. What he got was 22 little girls shrilling songs from various anime. My daughter sang Yubiwa from Escaflowne. I had to teach her how to do the phrasing, but she did a pretty good job. This was cool for me, too, because I've wanted to learn that one for a long time myself.

Well, his new assignment was for them to learn a "popular song" over Christmas Break. So guess what he's getting? 21 versions of that Lindsay Lohan song that's infesting the charts right now and "1,000 Words" from FFX-2. The test for "popular" was whether or not more than five of her classmates had heard of it. Her sister's going to come with her and do the duet part with her at the end. That means more Japanese phrasing lessons, but now we're in stereo. It's going to be cool, I think. I told him next time, he should add the stipulation that their parents have to have heard of it. It won't help him with Danica, but it should help winnow out the most egregious teenie-bopper crap. Or he could just require that the song be older than they are.

Oh, has anyone here ever heard of a group called "Ellegarden"? I ran into it online, and it's interesting in a very pop sort of way but I can only find one of their songs. Is "Monster" the only good one?