SOCOM

Holy Zombie SOCOM: U. S. Navy Seals is awesome. I never liked Counter Strike for the same reason that my Tribes teams always lost: I hate typeing while I’m playing a first person shooter. The action is too fast, you can’t be typing all the time. Without teamwork and coordination, though, your team will invariably lose against a more communicative team. Tribes made it easier, with its map/waypoint setup, allowing someone to command everyone to their waypoints for some sembelance of a strategy.
SOCOM fixes all of that by including a headset that integrates perfectly with the game. Suddenly your teammates are actual people, and they congratulate you on a nice shot or bitch about that cheating llama can go to hell. The voice quality is OK at best, but that adds to the realism by sounding like a radio and occasionally cutting out. At least that’s how I explain it away. I imagine the Xbox port of Counter Strike will be even better, due to Live’s better voice technology.
The gameplay is tight, once you get the controls working for you. I play a few FPS on my PS2 and I need to strafe with my forward/backward control, and look/rotate with my right control. It’s weird that it took me 3 or 4 tries to get the right setting, but that speaks more to my hurried configuration than the game itself.
I haven’t played much of the offline game, so I can’t speak to it, but if you have a broadband NIC for your PS2, I highly recommend this one.

Normal Books are Boring

For years, Loompanics Unlimited have been publishing fringe books for fringe people to read. They’re online, and you should check out their catalog if you haven’t already. Some of their titles include The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving (a book which I think would recommend), 101 Things to do ‘Til the Revolution (a good way to pass the time is to bore your friends with explanations why the 16th Amendment wasn’t ratified), Mind Control, World Control (I want an MKULTRA vanity plate for my car), How to Make Driver’s Licenses and Other ID on Your Home Computer and The Policeman is Your Friend and Other Lies.
The best part is that in their table of contents has a “Weird Ideas” section. I’m not saying wanting to know how to make a fake ID is weird, but it’s certainly off kilter when it’s a few pages away from Living Naked and Frugal (NSFW?)

Belaboring the Point

It looks like Mad Catz is taking a cue from BroadQ and releasing an MP3 player for the Playstation 2.
Mad Catz to Release Audio, Video Software for PS2

San Diego-based Mad Catz said the GameShark Media Player would turn Sony Corp’s console, when combined with Sony’s networking adapter, into a playback device for MP3 and OGG audio files, MPEG and DivX video files, and JPEG and PNG photographic files.
Mad Catz said the software would also support HDTV displays and offer “trick-play” functionality like fast-forward and rewind. Priced at $49.95, it is set to go on sale in mid-June.

Meanwhile, fast-forwarding and rewinding is still a pending feature for the Qcast. I’d think that they were releasing a rebranded Qcast Tuner if it weren’t for the HDTV support and fast-forwarding. Maybe this will be stable enough to use (and while they’re at it, provide an open source server?).

Qcast

I mentioned the Qcast Tuner in my last update, but feel the need to expound on it. A while ago asked me about if he should buy it or not. I told him it wasn’t ready for prime-time, and I’ll explain why.
It doesn’t “just work.” I’m not talking about network configuration, or server configuration or any of that. When dealing with home networking and trying to get your PS2 to play media files off of your computer, a certain technical challenge is expected, even anticipated in some cases I’m talking about the fact that there are a hundred places that it isn’t refined.
It takes upwards of 2 minutes to get started, which sucks when you just want to listen to a song or show a friend a video. You can’t fast forward or rewind songs. You can’t sort your songs by the track number in the ID3 tag. You can’t make plugins for the server (which would make my audioscrobbler stats a lot more accurate). There’s a lot of you can’ts, not a lot of you cans.
One of the most attractive features of the Qcast is its ability to play DivX movies, which I’m told you can download from P2P networks. Sadly, the Tuner doesn’t have a very forgiving decoder and crashes on about half of the DivXs that I’ve downloaded.
My recommendation is that if you encode your own DivXs, or just want an easy way to get your MP3s from your computer to your stereo, and you already own a PS2 network adapter, then consider the Qcast after reading the forums. Otherwise, there are better and easier ways to get your MP3s on your stereo.

Livejournal Cliche

So last night they preempted Buffy, which pissed me off because the only time I really watch most shows is when they are just starting up or just ending. The series is ending in 2 weeks, so I really want to know what’s going on. It pissed me off even more that they didn’t even bother to reschedule the episode, at least as far as Tivo can see into the future. Luckily I was able to find a BitTorrent of the episode at http://newsisfree.com/sources/info/5355/ and now I can watch it on my Qcast when I get home from work. Disaster averted, thanks to P2P! (If you’re looking for more BitTorrent sites, I suggest checking this site)

Holy Poo!

I was watching X-Play (fast forward on the Tivo makes it watchable) and at the end they showed a preview for Onimusha 3. I played through the first one, and it was pretty fun; worth $20. The next installment is taking place in modern day Paris of all places, with Jean Reno as Samanosuke’s gunweilding sidekick. I guess the series has modeled all their main characters after big japanese actors so this isn’t new, it’s just new to me.

Romeo Rocks

I gave a speech on Smarty at my local PHP users group last week. I was using Powerpoint for OS X on my laptop, hooked up to a projector I borrowed from work so that everyone could see the slide. To advance the slides, I was using my cell phone and a program called Romeo. I was floored at how well it worked.
It connects to your Mac through Bluetooth, and then you get a Romeo menu on your phone. I then chose Powerpoint from the list of applications and I was able to advance slides, start over, etc. all from my phone. There’s also some cool controls for iTunes and DVD player. If you have all the same geeky stuff (t68i, bluetooth, a Mac), I highly recommend checking it out. You can even applescript your own stuff.