2 years ago
Desire to move Justin's Windows 7 laptop into a virtual machine on his Windows 8 desktop
Realize that VMWare Workstation is required in order to do this
Curse at price of VMWare Workstation
Remember that VMWare Fusion can do this on Mac
Discover that VMDK files can subsequently be imported into Virtualbox
Let's do this!
Fire up VMWare Fusion on Mac
Install VMWare migration assistant on Windows 7 laptop
Attempt to create image of laptop on Mac
Fail due to stupid file sharing rules between Windows and Mac
Fiddle with SMB file sharing settings repeatedly
Attempt to create image again
Discover that disk image is split up into 118 different VMDK files
Google various ways to merge them
Attempt to merge VMDK files using Terminal command
Fail repeatedly due to poor UNIX skills
Brush up on UNIX
Attempt to merge VMDK files again
Get much closer this time
Google error code
Hack one of the the VMDK files
Attempt to merge VMDK files again
Transfer single VMDK file to Windows 8 desktop
Create Windows 7 machine in Virtualbox, using VMDK file
Attempt to boot into it
Boot fails, with obscure error message
Google error code
Discover that it's probably due to the HDD controller settings
Remove virtual SATA controller and re-import VMDK under virtual IDE controller
Attempt to boot into virtual machine again
Get bombarded with error messages
Remove conflicting VMWare drivers
Remove conflicting DisplayLink drivers
Remove conflicting nVidia drivers
Remove conflicting Intel drivers
Remove conflicting Dell drivers
Install Virtualbox guest drivers
Finally have a mostly-functional copy of Windows 7 laptop on Windows 8 desktop
Realize that none of that was worth the effort
2 years ago
Let's talk about the stupidness of cellular phone subsidies. In the before time of long long ago, carriers decided to subsidize the cost of expensive cellular handsets in order to draw in new customers. They never intended for this to be something they did on a regular basis, though. It was just a sales hook.
But it actually worked. More people got cell phones. In fact, nearly everyone got cell phones. And then things started to go horribly wrong. Companies who made cell phones continued doing so. They were pretty good at it, and shiny new phones came out all the time, making the old phones look, well, old.
People wanted new phones. Since carriers wouldn't provide additional subsidies, this led to massive churn. People would leave their carrier and go to a new one in order to get the subsidy. So the carriers gave in, and started letting customers upgrade every two years in order to keep them locked into a contract.
And that seemed to work for a while. Then things went wrong again. Phones got smarter. They started using tons of data. And they got more expensive. So the carriers had to get even more creative. In order to cover the cost of these new devices, they had to jack up the price of the plans and the early termination fees to get out of them.
So that's how we ended up with is this stupid system. But isn't there a really super obvious solution for all of this? Charge customers the REAL PRICE of the phone, but let them split it up into monthly payments. That's what's really happening here anyway. There ain't no free lunch.
For example, a typical smartphone costs $600. The carrier could ask for a fixed down payment, then offer to split the balance into smaller monthly chunks. If customers want to cancel service, they simply have to pay off the balance on the device. When the phone is paid off, they can either finance a new one, or enjoy the lower monthly bill.
No contracts. No locked phones. No early termination fees. No overcharging for service. It's the cure for stupidness.
2 years ago
My birthday was this past Saturday, and I haven't had a haul this good since I was a kid. So many new toys, I can't figure out what to play with first!
Nokia Lumia 920 32GB
iPhone 5 16GB
iPad Mini LTE 32GB
Halo 4 Xbox 360
The Lumia 920 replaced my HTC Titan (work phone), and the iPhone 5 replaced my iPhone 4S (personal phone). So far, I'm loving both, and they can be summarized pretty easily. The iPhone 5 is still an iPhone, but it's faster, weighs less, and has a bigger screen than the 4S. The Lumia is still a Windows Phone, but it's faster, weighs more, and has a slightly smaller (but better) screen than the Titan. Oh, and both have LTE, which neither of the others did.
Going from a full-sized iPad to the iPad Mini is, I would guess, the exact same experience as going from a 15" Retina MacBook Pro to an 11" MacBook Air. You lose retina, screen size, and some horsepower, but the portability is worth the trade-off for some folks. For others, the MacBook Pro would be the only way to go. I carry my iPad in my purse, so portability is king.
And what is there to say about a Halo 4 Xbox 360? It's an Xbox, but 20% cooler because Halo!
3 years ago
What a fun PAX. It's hard to compete with last year and Halo Fest, but this year felt more relaxed, with more time for the expo hall and less rushing from panel to panel. Discovered some awesome new games to play in the coming year.
Already looking forward to PAX Prime '13, which will be expanded to a four-day show. Awesome!
3 years ago
I pre-ordered the Halo 4 Xbox 360 package when it was announced, and even with all this talk of Durango, I don't regret that. Partly because I want a spare Xbox for the bonus room upstairs, and partly because I think it will be a very appropriate homage to the “old days” of console gaming. The industry is changing, and consoles are (finally) evolving.
The debate between console and desktop gamers has been raging since the 1980’s. But neither platform has really changed since then. Online capabilities have enhanced both experiences, but haven't fundamentally altered either. Consoles are still better for “relaxed” gaming, have a lower cost of entry, and are quickly outpaced by faster desktop hardware as each console generation ages. Enthusiasts generally gravitate towards the desktop.
And then there were smartphones. Most consumers don't buy desktop computers and keep them for a decade anymore. They buy smartphones and tablets, keep them for a year or two, and replace them. Shiny new hardware comes out at least once a year, often making huge performance leaps over the previous generation.
As a result, game development is far more prolific on mobile devices than it is on consoles. Which is why the "next generation" of consoles need to be less like desktops and more like smartphones. (And nothing like "smart" TVs because those are a very bad idea. Unlike most other electronics, I don't buy a new TV every year. And unless they get one heck of a lot cheaper, or a subsidy model is invented, that's not likely to change.)
Microsoft needs to make a device that is more appliance-like for the living room. It needs to be small and run silently. Most consumers don't want or need noisy graphics hardware in their living rooms. They also need to release a new one every year, and offer a subsidy model using Xbox Live. And cheap games. They can offer AAA titles at a premium, but most games need to be cheap. Smartphone cheap. Buying a game once and also being able to run it on Windows Phones and Windows RT tablets would be a huge plus. Developers will flock to the platform, and consumers will buy all kinds of Microsoft devices.
The good news is that most signs point to Microsoft getting some part of this right. They already offer discounted Xbox 360 hardware on a subscription model, and rumors are that Durango will be smaller and more appliance-like. The Windows 8 interface is already remarkably similar to the Xbox 360, and game prices on Xbox Live Arcade are significantly cheaper than most premium titles.
But prices across the board have to come down, and releasing new hardware every year is NOT optional. They can probably pack graphics hardware of a similar caliber to what is currently in the Xbox 360 into a far smaller package, but they won’t get far beyond that. Trying to develop something that will survive for another decade isn’t going to work. Xbox needs to become a platform with hardware and software generations, which mimic the mobile space. Heck, maybe they should just slap Windows RT on it and call it a day.
What happens to the “hardcore” gamers, then? I don’t think much will change in the short term. Desktop gaming will still be the place for elite gamers with big bucks to drop on graphics hardware. But Microsoft is certainly pulling Windows toward the mobile paradigm, and hacking up the underlying OS in the process. Valve is nervous enough about all this as to finally release a Linux client. Wow.
It should be an interesting ride, folks. Buckle up.
3 years ago
Okay, people. Streaming digital content is getting a little absurd. Here is a list of websites and/or apps that I use on a regular basis to access movies and TV shows.
Usually, whatever I want to watch is available somewhere in there. (I still get discs from Netflix, so if nothing else, I can get it within a day or two.) But it's a PITA to find where to watch what I want to watch and how I want to watch it. Even though I pay a lot of money for the privilege of watching stuff!
There should be an app for this. It doesn't even need to host the content itself, but just let me add the content providers I subscribe to, such as my cable company, premium channels, streaming services, etc. Then, if I type in the name of a movie, tell me where it's available, and in what format.
Iron Man 2
Netflix: streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray
Amazon: streaming rental for $1.99, or purchase for $9.99, SD or HD (720p, compatible devices only)
Comcast: on demand rental, $3.99 SD or HD (720p)
iTunes: purchase only, $19.99 HD (720p or 1080p), $14.99 SD
For TV series, it would include which seasons and episodes were available on which services. For example, sometimes Hulu has current episodes, but Netflix has the old ones. And sometimes Comcast on demand has them sooner than Hulu does.
Who else wants this app? Does it already exist somewhere?
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