Archive for June, 2007

RB6:LV Is on its way

Friday, June 29th, 2007

And not a moment too soon.  The WarHawk beta that I’ve been playing nonstop ends next week.  I can’t wait for the retail version – they’ve made a good number of changes from the beta.  Hopefully the freezing problems will be completely resolved.  We’ll see.  Anyone with a PS3, I would suggest you pick this bad-boy up – it’s hella fun.

While waiting for the flood of killer games to finally come in for the PS3, I decided to try something with a PSP.  I finally bought one – the first hand-held gaming device I have ever owned (unless you count the little LED football game from years ago)  So here’s my setup, and damn is it cool:
1. Tivo Desktop “Auto-transfers” whatever shows I want to my PC  (500GB external drive)
2. Every night I have a batch file run that strips off the Tivo encryption (don’t tell the authorities)
I had this setup from before so I could play my recordings on my Hauppage MediaMVP on another TV in the house (I’m sorry, but I’m addicted to being able to time-shift my television watching)
3. I installed TVersity on said PC to stream my MP3 collection, pictures, and Tivo’d shows to my PS3
4. Remote Play – yes kids, I can play all my music and videos over the interwebs.  Anyplace there’s wireless internet access, I can get to all my media content I have stored at home from my PSP.  It’s not restricted to just what’s on my PS3’s piddly 60GB drive, it’s everything.  This is decidedly cool, and would probably piss off Senator Stevens.  So yesterday I spent my lunch hour watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

It actually works very well – the quality is decent and it hardly chops at all.  The only thing I need now is a way to turn my PC at home into a bluetooth PS3 remote so I can turn it on remotely.  As it sits now, you have to leave your PS3 on in “Remote Play” mode all day so you can connect to it.

Who to do business with

Monday, June 25th, 2007

First, who not to do business with. Maybe I’m just spoiled with the big guys, but I placed an order a month ago with Topglock/TGSCom and still don’t have two items I ordered. I understand that some things are out of their control, but it took me calling after a week of the rest of the order not shipping to get those items. Three weeks later, I finally called and canceled the rest of it. The guy on the phone said he couldn’t get it from their supplier, but the armory down the road from me has a dozen of them on the shelf. So who you should do business with is Vandalia Range & Armory. Talk about a top-notch business, these people are great. They have an excellent indoor range, well stocked inventory, and friendly staff. I’ve taken a half-dozen people there to use the range over the last month or so, and they’ve all been impressed.

Next on my shit-list is Gallagher Tire. I don’t even know where to start on this one… I’ve used them a lot over the years because it’s very convenient – I drop the car off, walk a block to work, pick it up when they’re done. I have ‘lifetime balance and rotate’ with them, but I don’t think I’ll ever use it again. First of all, they’re a little over-priced. I’ve always paid the couple extra bucks because it was convenient. But sometimes it’s just way over-priced, and I go somewhere else or do it myself. Well in the last 2 years, I’ve had 2 things done that failed within 6-9 months. They covered it under warranty both times, but it’s still a hassle to have to run it back into the shop. They’ve tried to charge me a “diagnostic fee” when I had already told them what the problem was.
But this last series of events is really what pushed me over the edge.
Almost two months ago now I bought 4 new tires from them. I had it in there for an oil change, and I was in desperate need of tires. They had a good price on the Cooper Zeon Sport so I said “what the heck, put them on.” About a week later I notice a had a tire low. I checked the rest, and one other was a little light. Another week goes by, same problem. Another week goes by, 3 of the 4 are low. Something is obviously wrong here, so I take the car back in and explain the problem. I get a call later in the day telling me the chrome on my wheels are flaking, causing corrosion to set in so the tires aren’t getting a good seal. This seemed a little odd to me, because I never had the problem with my old tires. I went to pick it up, and the guy working the counter asked if anyone had told me what happened. I could see the invoice he was looking at, the total was $85. I asked why I wouldn’t have had the problem with my old tires – were they more tolerant? Was the corrosion ‘under’ them or something? He starts scanning the invoice, and I said “I just got these tires from here, don’t they normally clean the wheels? Or do you have to specifically ask them to?” He just starts shaking his head and says “Yeah, they should have” He looked disgusted, tore up the invoice, printed a zero-balance one out, and told me to have a nice day.
But it doesn’t end there.
I needed new front brakes. They (of course) attached a quote to replace pads and rotors on the front. It was something like $230. Now, here’s where they go crazy with prices. I can do brakes myself, they normally (blatant foreshadowing) aren’t that hard of a job and don’t take very long. Parts can be had for about $100 if you get the top-of-the-line brakepads. I gather up the rotors, pads, grease (and other implements of destruction) and settle in for a nice Friday evening of DIY car maintenance. My first problem is the first step – lug nuts. The first tire I try to take off, I can’t break two of the lugs for anything. Standing on the tire iron wouldn’t even budge them. I have one of those silly tire irons with the odd-angle bend in it, so I can’t do much more than that with it. Luckily, Bobo has a star tire iron. I put that on and attached a 15′ metal pipe I happened to have laying around for leverage, and hung on it. I’m not exaggerating. It took 15′ of leverage and my 215lbs to break those two lugs free. After that, that side went smoothly (more blatant foreshadowing.) Move to the passenger side, the tire came off easier, but the caliper bolts weren’t budging. After a lot of swearing, prying, and hammering… I got one off. The second one was just not going to move. I’m fairly certain it was over-torqued as well (Gallagher would have been the last people to remove that front caliper) and to top it all off – they rounded-off the bolt. I tried everything I knew to do, but finally gave up. I don’t have the tools or the knowledge to deal with something like that, so Saturday morning I put what I could back together, began a mad search for a replacement bolt, and headed out to Leroy’s.  Just finding the bolt on a Saturday was a small victory.  Sure I had to pay $12 for it at the dealer, but I was just thrilled to find a dealer with a parts department that was open on Saturday.
And thank God for Leroy.  For those of you that don’t know him, he’s been working on cars longer than I’ve been alive.  Even then, it took almost two hours and we finally just broke out the oxy acetylene torch.
I’m usually not one to write nasty letters, but Mr. Gallagher is getting one.

I’ve actually got a ton of stuff going on with work, games I’m playing, couple of good movies I’ve seen, and I actually have another geek project I’m milling over.

It’s like they *know* me.

Monday, June 4th, 2007

I’m buying this and staring intently at ‘Cakes.