Hillary Clinton: Woman of Action! (NOT)

Let me be upfront: I’m not particularly excited about any of our choices this year. Although I think they might be less appalling than the last one… but I’m not entirely sold on that yet.

Anyway this is a quote from Hillary (Clinton looks to stop Obama in aftermath of 10 losses):

“We need to make a choice between speeches and solutions, because while words matter greatly, the best words in the world aren’t enough unless you match them with action.”

And this choice (ah the irony) sound bite:

“It is time to get real,” Clinton said, “to get real about how we actually win this election… It is time to move from good words to good works — from sound bites to sound solutions.”

WTF. She was a First Lady and a junior senator. Full time, permanent politician. What has she ever done? (BTW, I’m not suggesting some of the other candidates have done anything more, but given the crap she is spouting is silly in that context.) I just want to puke everytime I read these speeches. They are so full of shit that it is unbelievable. I wonder if they actually believe the crap that comes out of their mouths.

Like “Hilary the Christian” and “Hilary the Woman of Action”…. I’ll add “Hilary the Plastic Doll”. Anyway, I just find all this stuff both very hypocritical and very fake.

Brief digression: it also pisses me off that these senators get to run around and IGNORE their real job – ie: miss votes – to run for president. If you want to run for president you should have to resign from Congress – make it mean something. If you cared about the people who elected you to that position you’d do that and let them get the representation they deserve.

I’m not sure about Obama and McCain is a bit of a wildcard, but at least they’re both passionate and mostly real (I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “real” presidential candidate). So I hope we get one of them. Or better yet maybe Bloomberg will run – he’s the only candidate I think I could really get excited about.

However, I think I might to go to an Obama function tomorrow – maybe even get a chance to meet him. It will be my first ever donation to a Democratic candidate, but I think it’s worth taking a look.



So a long time ago I worked on a movie. Today I went to see my IMDB entry, thinking maybe I might up my coolness factor by adding my IMDB link to my blog. So it turns out that my star meter is up 134% in the last week! When I click “find out why” it turns out I have to be an IMDB member… alas. I will wildly speculate that it has something to do with pageviews on that particular page (at least that might be how I would do it if I ran IMDB) or some aggregate mentions in some kind of press tracking thing (which would be harder).

Anyway, check out The Cooler (IMDB) if you haven’t already!


There has been a lot of talk about Mac vs. Windows recently. I think I might have posted about switching to Mac OS X previously. So before I continue, I want to say I love Apple – especially its industrial design… and most of its software. I have an Apple Cinema Display, an Apple TV, an iPhone, and a bunch of iPods (that I never use).

I love the MacBook Pro as an industrial design triumph. I still remain confused as to why not a single PC maker can make a laptop of similar quality, form factor, and aesthetic. I mean it is the same exact stuff. In fact, I used Boot Camp + XP for about 9 months and never booted into Mac OS X. It was a little annoying to have to carry a 2 button mouse around, the keyboard had some minor issues, but other than that it worked great.

So I switched to Mac OS X along with all my new co-workers at Challenge Games. It worked ok.

However, there are several things that really, really annoyed me about the Mac OS X. It’s like they had to do some things a certain way just to be different. And in this case different isn’t good or better, it’s just obnoxious and inconvenient. Like the CTRL key, ALT key, and Apple Keys. They are just different enough that using keyboard shortcuts on a Mac and Windows gets really confusing. Why? Totally unnecessary. I suspect it was someone at Apple deciding they couldn’t be the same as Windows. Who cares? Make it easy to switch. The home and end keys do weird things too. I know not everyone uses keyboard shortcuts for everything, but making them different just to be different is annoying. If they really want people to switch they should offer a Windows keyboard mapping option that make things do what we’re used to them doing. I guess that’s the Microsoft monopoly advantage. (I once heard something similar about Heinz Ketchup, but that’s a different story and would require me to go do some research…. maybe I’ll get around to it.)

Microsoft did a good job on one of the other major issues: Office. I actually really like Office 2007. It changed the interface a little (annoying), but mostly made things better and more efficient. On the Mac you’re stuck with a really old Office with a weird interface (Mac-ized) or the new iWork suite. Let me be clear on my opinion of iWork – it sucks. Numbers is horrible… to the point of being useless (IMO… lot’s of reasons that I’m not going to go into for now.)

Another thing about Mac OS X is its organizational model. Somehow I always ended up with a billion files on my desktop. Maybe that makes it easy for a novice, but man it was hard to ever find anything. My Documents might not be brilliant, but it works. I also find, particulalry in Vista, that the ability to organize files (save them in the right places, create folders at the right times, etc.) is just much better.

Then there is a the one button mouse. Don’t get me started on that.

So the end result of this is that I switched back. I got a Dell XPS M1330. (Ah the elegant naming systems of Windows PCs… that could use some work.) It’s a great computer. I’m really enjoying it a lot more than the MacBook Pro. I like Vista. I really like Office 2007.

My only gripe with the M1330 is the construction could be a little better. Frankly I wish Dell would just hire Ideo or someone to make a spectacular laptop that competes with the MacBook Pro. (Not the MacBook Air… Also there is a new 15″ Alienware laptop, but they made it to big.)

Speaking of MacBook Air, I’m confused. I bet they break. Several of my friends commented that when they heard I didn’t want one they were immediately predicting failure. I have an addiction to acquiring any new shiny technology. But, for some reason, have no real interest in the Air.

I am, however, in the market for a desktop. Alienware and Dell are really pissing me off. The Alienware I want doesn’t have an nVidia version and has a late March ship date. The Dell version ships next week but isn’t overclocked and, well, isn’t as cool as an Alienware. They are marketing this new XPS 630 that might be cool but building hype for a PC too far in advance seems like a dumb marketing move.

I just want a really high powered desktop that is quiet. My current desktop (Dell Workstation) is really noisy and is getting a little old so I’m looking to upgrade.

Well Im going to stop my midnight rambling for a bit.

Lack of Posting

Well, I’ve fallen off the wagon again.  I’ve been posting sporadically on the Duels Blog but I’m not even keeping up with that particularly well.  I’ve been pretty underwater working on Duels.  I really need to post about my Mac/Windows experiences.  I’ll try to get around to that soon.   This really isn’t a particularly interesting post, but at least it confirms that I’m alive.  😉 

AT&T Sucks Again… What a shock…

Sigh.  I wish stuff would just mostly work.  Is that too much to ask?

So in an ironic twist, which I’ll devote a post to later, I’m trying to activate my WWAN card in my new Dell XPS M1330 on the AT&T network.  The short version of the ironic twist is that Apple forced me onto the AT&T network – against my wishes.  I had previously sworn off given these asshats another dime.  But alas, the iphone forced me back.  I rationalized it by saying I was paying Apple, not AT&T.  And Apple did a reasonable job making AT&T not suck. 

Dell, however, failed at making AT&T note suck.  So after activating on Dell’s site – well at least I thought I did – my WWAN card didn’t work.  So I ended up at some new activation screen.  Which told me to enter exactly the same stuff as my other AT&T account…. after it refused to accept my AT&T login / password.  Great.  The whole point of getting AT&T was to not have yet another stupid account floating around.  But no, they can’t even make it easy for an existing customer.

And they charged me a $40 activation fee.  WHAT THE FUCK.  They are supposed to be given me a fucking rebate for crying out load.  But I’m to tired to argue.  Maybe I’ll take it out of them in a screaming customer service call later, god knows they deserve it and it might make me feel good although it is unlikely to accomplish anything.

So now my stupid WWAN card is polling the network telling me 2 days until activation.  What fucking planet do these guys live on?  I have an activate (never late, never missed a payment) AT&T account.  They know the IMEI and other crap for my card.  Why the hell can’t an automated system just turn it on? 

Well wow.  I feel a little better venting on this.  AT&T sucks and the second I can get the gadgets I want on any other network I’ll be gone.  They’ve consistently delivered the most unbelievably stupid activations and a horrible consumer experience.   It’s a good thing they are monopoly and can bribe Apple or I’d never use them.  Ever.  I kind of regret not setting up a seperate data plan with Verizon or ANYONE else.  Woops.  Don’t worry AT&T, it won’t happen again.

A company your size and scale has no excuse for craptacular service like this.  It’s sad and disappointing.  I’m so lucking forward to using your network in 1 day and 22 hours.  Those are some fast computers you got there.


Gmail IMAP

Finally, you can get your gmail with IMAP.  This makes using gmail so much easier with an iphone.  Well maybe not easier, but a lot better.  Now if I could just get a 3G iphone this might be great.

Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360)

So I haven’t played much Xbox 360 in a long time.  As evidenced in my previous post, I wasn’t a huge fan of Halo 3.  I decided to try Call of Duty 4 – which was a tough choice.  I hated COD 3, but I liked COD 2.

Call of Duty 4 has amazing graphics and visuals.  It’s probably the most photorealistic game I’ve ever played.  It definitely makes impressive use of HD.  I’ve actually had a lot of fun playing it – I think they fixed a lot of the COD3 issues, took some good concepts from the Battlefield series, and made a fun, visually compelling game.

If you like military games or FPSs, it’s definitely worth checking out.  It’s the only console game I’ve played for more than an hour or two in a long, long time.

Halo 3 – Not a Review

I can’t write a review of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 because I haven’t played it enough.  They got my money so I contributed to the $300 million craziness.  But I haven’t played for more than an hour.


The short answer might be that I’m getting too old for these types of games – which is depressing.  So I’m going to explore a different path.

So backing up in history a little bit.  Let me tell you about my Xbox 360 experiences:

  • Call of Duty 2 – I loved this game.  I played it a lot.  It was fun.  I played it with friends.
  • Call of Duty 3 – I hated this game.  It was hard to play (see more).   It wasn’t particularly fun.  It was hard to find games (maybe because it was new).  Oh, but it was visually stunning.
  • Gears of War – I have mixed feelings about this game.  It was visually stunning.  It was fun to look at while I played.  The game control was a little weird.  I played with friends a few times.
  • Halo 3 – This game seemed like Halo 2 with better environmental graphics and effects.  It also might possibly have an interesting story, although I didn’t get that far, and improved multi-player.  I found it cumbersome to play.

So, Call of Duty 3, Gears of War, and Halo 3, were all beautiful games.  They looked amazing.  Wow!  But I really didn’t like playing any of them.  I’ll call it the 2×2 rule:

2×2 Rule:  If an important action takes more than 2 joysticks and 2 buttons to accomplish, it’s probably too complicated.

Now, I’m sure the Fatal1ty and some of these other pro-gaming guys out there are spectacularly good at playing 2×2 games.  In fact I’d wager that part of the reason they are pro gamers is that they can take 2×2 actions in a non-2×2 game.

I’m glad that there is now an evolutionary track that enables this kind of manual dexterity and near-super human hand-eye coordination.  I have been playing games a long time, am pretty good at them, am generally pretty coordinated and dexterous, and I lack this skill set.

Making games more complex to play does not make them better.  Frankly I think COD3 would have been a better game if it had just kept the game mechanics as COD2 and made newer, prettier environments.  But then I guess that wouldn’t have made the cut.

I hope we don’t see all new games that require constant weapon switching, monkey jumping, and head pivoting, grenade aiming, super tosses, as part of the game.  Because to me (and hey maybe I’m not the sweet spot of the market) that just isn’t that much fun.

So I guess my Xbox 360 will be collecting more dust because Halo 3 is not for me.

Back to Wacraft 3 and Duels.

Wow, I’ve been bad about posting here.

Speaking of WoW (as in World of Warcraft), I’ve quit playing.  I’m having more fun playing (and working on Duels) and I just haven’t had time for WoW.  I was getting tired of it even before Duels fully consumed me.

Here are my issues:

  1. Takes too long to do anything.  2-6 hours to do any dungeon?  And for anything good, it was closer to the high end.
  2. To get any good gear takes 10 people and that’s Karazhan.  Got everything from there.  Which leads to:
  3. Nothing to do.  I’m in a top guild, but I’m a social member.  So I don’t get to raid much.  I don’t want to join another guild or raid every night, so there is pretty much nothing left to do.  Except:
  4. PVP…  I’m a hunter.  No one likes hunters in Arena.  It’s hard to find a good team as a hunter.  And I’m sure not starting over.

Many of the reasons I started Duels are encapsulated in that list.  I love Duels because:

  1. I can jump in and out.
  2. Play when I want across whatever time increment I want.
  3. I can keep it open in the background while I’m working (which in my case is on Duels, but still – there is a lot of work to do.)

Duels Update

Duels is still growing like crazy. In two weeks we’ve already crossed 13,000 registered users. Today we’re bringing up some new database hardware – should kill the last of our performance issues – and making some cool changes:

  • New Set – Duels Core Set II. We’ve gone through 250,000 packs in the last two weeks so we’re putting the next set up today. We will also be introducing a new expansion set soon as well.
  • New UI improvements:
    • An inventory management page which will make it easier for you to buy/sell items and manage the items you have.
    • A new challenge management page that should make it easier for you to keep track of manage your duels and skirmishes.
    • A myriad of smaller tweaks.

This should be a nice step forward on serveral fronts.