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HD TV or HD Monitor?

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 3:45 PM


I've officially entered brain lock trying to decide which I should upgrade.

My ginormous SD TV is on it's last leg and I totally need a new set. But I mainly use the TV for gaming these days, I barely watch TV anymore. I know I'm missing out playing games on a SD set but it's still a lot of money to spend on what will essentially be a big monitor. I could just buy a 23' HD monitor instead, for half the price of a 37' or 40' TV. But that keeps me chained to my desk and no so comfortable chair which is flattening my ever expanding ass. Doh :(

Somebody decide for me, my head hurts thinking about it!

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Mass Effect 2?

Journal Entry: Mon Feb 1, 2010, 1:22 PM


Anyone playing Mass Effect 2?

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Apologies

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 15, 2010, 1:06 PM


Apologies to everyone for recent slow and non-replies to messages. Unfortunately I started the year out with a really bad cycle of CFS so I've been off-line for about two weeks. I'll try to get caught up over the weekend!

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  • Playing: Army of Two: TFD
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Happy New Year!

Journal Entry: Thu Dec 31, 2009, 10:32 AM


Just wishing everyone a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

I for one, am very happy to see this decade end. Hoping the next is much kinder to me, the country and the world in general.

Cheers!!!

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  • Playing: Mass Effect
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Glitch Vs Hack

Journal Entry: Fri Dec 18, 2009, 10:33 AM


MW 2 and Infinity Ward continue to struggle with major game glitches and widespread hacking on both console systems and PC. Here's the latest fiasco: kotaku.com/5426605/modern-warf…

This hack is frightening because it's a XBox hack that's also a virus. The 360's OS is a simplified version of Windows so it was just a matter of time. One player (the hacker) spreads it to everyone he (or she) plays against. The hack duplicates and a copy loads into the cache of other player's consoles. Then you unknowingly spread it to everyone you play. It can be unload by signing off of XBL and rebooting your console. But this really has gotten out of control.

I've been arguing on Digg with people, likely some of the hackers themselves, who want you to believe hacks are just glitches. Not true. A glitch is caused by problems or conflicts in the game code. When you exploit a glitch it only affects your game play, not other players in a game. Glitches do not grant abilities that don't exist in the game nor do they allow you to influence and manipulate another players. Only a hack will do these things. A hack is a code patch that changes the parameters of the game. It gives the hacker perks and abilities not created by the game designers. As well as the power to manipulate other players. That's why it's considered cheating.

I don't know why I'm expending the energy battling with the flamers. One a-hole claims these just glitches and it's really Infinity Ward's fault for  "not beta testing" the game :lol: The fact that so many douche bags are into gaming continually amazes and shocks me.

If you have time and any interest, here was my argument with the guy who blames IW and about hacking in general. If not, have a great weekend!

From Digg -

1 - A glitch is a unexpected or unforeseen outcome caused by conflicts or errors in the code. A glitch resulting from code could be exploited by anyone owning the game, like the javelin glitch. This cannot. I haven't encountered the problem once in thousands of matches. You don't exploit this, you "catch it" from another player. You do not catch a glitch. Glitches do not spread, distribute or copy themselves. Only hacks or viruses behave like that... asshat.

While I think IW did a shitty job on MW 2 for other reasons, I'll defend them here. IW could have beta tested MW 2 for years, it wouldn't have prevented this. If someone has the skill and is determined to hack a game or service, they'll succeed regardless of the security. Everyone knew MW 2 would be ground zero for hackers and that's exactly what has happened. This is a problem caused by dishonest people, not incompetent game designers. Yes, developers should spend much more time debugging and regression testing. The security software on XBL and PSN could be much better. The publishers, MS and Sony could hire hundreds if not thousands more people to monitor multiplayer. But even I will admit there are technical and financial limits on how much they can do.

2 - The real problem is too many people, mostly kids, think hacking is a joke with no risks or consequences. As long as the industry allows that perception to continue, hacking will be a serious problem. Taking aggressive action with serious consequences against everyone involved is the only way to stop a majority of them. For the people writing and selling hacks or altering firmware for profit, it should be prosecution for copyright violations and financial damages. For people using and distributing the hacks, the game industry should work with ISP's to terminate their internet connection... permanently. Even if they're just kids.

So yes, when videos like this are posted IW, Activision and Microsoft should move to learn who they are and take the appropriate action against them. Realistically it has reached a point where it makes more financial sense for Activision or Microsoft to start taking legal action instead of endlessly pouring money into technical solutions which are compromised within days or weeks of the release date.


I thought that summed it up nicely.

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Star Trek On-Line Anyone?

Journal Entry: Tue Dec 8, 2009, 1:55 PM


Anyone planning on playing the new Star Trek MMORPG? www.startrekonline.com/splash?…

Every Trek game I've ever played has been pretty horrible so I have serious reservations about doling out 50 bucks on another.

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Wedding Of The Year

Journal Entry: Sun Dec 6, 2009, 11:29 AM


Congrats to my brother Felix :icondigitalserrano: on tying the knot yesterday!

All weddings should be like his, small, quick and casual. Aside from the weather, a great day for all involved!

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How To Spot A XBL Hacker

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 28, 2009, 2:04 PM


I've spent most of the holiday playing Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer on Xbox Live and man o' man... the hacking is worse than ever! Truly unbelievable. There are at least 1 to 2 hackers in every single match. I just can't understand why Microsoft can't block these accounts because most of them are incredibly easy to spot.

As a public service, here's my easy to use clue list for spotting suspicious Xbox Live accounts. When you suspect someone may be cheating, check the following:

The Big 2 Clues - Achievements and Star Ratings.

Achievements - The most obvious. The majority of hackers have less than 300 gamer points and all typically come from either MW 1, COD Ww, Halo or GOW. However, there are more advanced hackers who haven't been caught cheating (yet) and have enormous gamer scores. They max out points through multiplayer achievements or they just hack their profile to unlock achievements they never actually earned.

Star Rating - Most careless hackers have 3 stars or less. Either because they're continually creating new accounts after each banning or hopefully, because other members took time to file complaints against them and give them negative feedback. Either way, suspicious game play plus a 3 stars or less rating should automatically place them on your avoid list.

Other Clues:

Gamer Tag - Most of these guys have been repeatedly banned so they use unoriginal, generic tags to try to hide their identity from MS. The tags always contain lots of X's mixed in with upper and lower case numbers. So when you see tags like xxxX3nB1xZxxx or xxNoObKiLleRX1xx, be very suspicious.

Gamer Picture - A blatant clue. It's always one of the following:

1 - Either a generic Xbox rings or Xbox Live logo.
2 - A Gears Of War logo gamer pic.
3 - 1 of the first 4 pic options when you create a new profile. Hackers are if nothing else, lazy. They almost always choose the monkey.

Gamer Zone - Almost all suspicious accounts are in the Underground zone. But there are some who make a comical effort to conceal their cheating by choosing Family or Recreation.  Ha, ha.   

There you have it. When you see players you think could be cheating, just run down this list. If they match more than two of the clues, do your part and file a complaint against them for cheating, system or feedback tampering and also place them on your avoid list. If they're not cheating, nothing will come of it when Microsoft checks their console based on your complaint. But if they are cheating, you've done your part to expose them and hopefully get them banned.

Happy hacker free gaming to all!

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Finally Finished Oblivion

Journal Entry: Tue Nov 17, 2009, 12:48 PM


So I finally finished the main quest on Oblivion last night. There was no way in hell I was going to let that P.O.S. game beat me. The people who created it clearly were smoking crack at the time. It's hands down the most frustrating and unnecessarily complicated game I've ever played. I mean, it's great that they packed so much content in one game, but it was way beyond overkill. Here are the crazy stats:

Playing time - Approx. 280 hours
Total number of game saves   - 2,490
Achievements - 25 of 60
Number of times game froze or crashed - Approx. 56

And I only completed the main quest and 2 of the 5 big side quests. I haven't even tried the two expansion packs which were included and I probably never will. But now I can finally put this nonsense to the side and spend time with Assassin's Creed 2 (which I just picked up). It should be a awesome game!

Oh yeah, just noticed I've gone over 20,000 page views! Thanks to all who stopped by :) Wonder how many views I could get if I actually made an effort :lol:

Happy Thanksgiving in advance to all DA Yanks!

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Who's playing Modern Warfare 2?

Journal Entry: Thu Nov 12, 2009, 6:08 AM


Just wondering what people think about it? I've playing through single player twice already, now I'm doing spec. ops mode. I'll jump into multiplayer tomorrow maybe. I sorta know what I think about the game so far, but I want to see what you think!

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Who Has Played Oblivion?

Journal Entry: Mon Nov 2, 2009, 12:28 PM


Anybody here ever play Oblivion? It's a total nerd game but I needed something to kill time until MW 2 comes out. Big mistake! I've now been playing it for 5 days and I'm not making a dent. I mean... 5 days and I only unlocked two achievements? WTF? I typically finish most games in 2 days or less.

It's so frigging complicated and there are absolutely no in-game instructions, directions or even hints. Nothing! I was making such little progress, I started constantly referring to the Wiki Oblivion guide. I usually don't look things up unless I'm really stuck. But now every time I find something new I have to pause, walk over to my computer and look it up what it is and what it does! F***! If it keeps going at this pace, it would take me months to finish the game.

Basically, the game starts you off with nothing and you have to earn or steal gold to buy magic, combat, stealth, charm, etc... skills to level up. Problem is... it prevents you from stealing or earning enough to buy what you need. I don't see how you can ever dig out of the hole the game starts you out in. You can get killed trying to do simple non-mission related things like exploring. WTF? So you have no choice but to save every minute. If you don't, you repeatedly lose all progress. I've already saved over 400 times and I've probably completed about 10% of the game! I know this is dungeons and dragons geek-dome, but come on!

Again, WTF? I can't believe a game like this ever won the "game of the year" award. P.O.S. of the year award is more appropriate!

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GameCube & MW2 Controversy

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 29, 2009, 11:49 AM


Anybody own a GameCube? Now I'm thinking about getting one. Yesterday I noticed Gamestop is selling refurbished cubes for $30. I always wanted to play Animal Crossing, heard it was a great game. Plus there are Zelda and StarFox games I've never played. Maybe it'd be a nice (and cheap) way to take breaks from all the 360 hardcore BS.  

And... there's already a giant controversy about a leaked video from MW2. The video has since been pulled... everywhere. It looked like the opening mission required you to play a terrorist walking through an airport just shooting civilians. It's super violent and gory. Activision responded and they claim the scene has a warning and you can choose to skip it. To be honest, I'm not sure I believe them. But even if it's skippable, I think agencies like Homeland Security, The NTSB and their counterparts in other counties are still going to go ape shit that the scene is in the game. And you know what, I'd have to agree with them. Pretty irresponsible by both IW and Activision for deciding to leave it in the game.  We'll all find out how bad it really is in 2 weeks!

Here's the Kotaku article: kotaku.com/5392161/modern-warf…

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What's Going On With Apple?

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 28, 2009, 7:46 AM


So what's the deal with Apple and Snow Leopard? First time in my life that I feel like Apple is kind of screwing me over. I'm still using 10.4.11, I just never got around to updating to 10.5. I was waiting for Snow Leopard. But when Snow Leopard released, Apple pulled Leopard off the market. Basically they are forcing you to buy both Leopard & Snow Leopard as a box set for like $170. Plus Snow Leopard only runs on machines with the Intel processor. I have an older G5, so I can't use it. So if I want to upgrade to 10.5, I have to buy 10.5 and 10.6 even though I can't use 10.6.

How could they lock out everybody who owns a machine that's more than 3 years old? Do they really expect millions of users to spend thousands of dollars on new machines just so we can upgrade? Seems kind of nuts and it's not like Apple to pull a stunt like this. Am I missing something?

I have to take a ride up to my local Apple store to see what's up.

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Why me?

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 15, 2009, 12:58 PM


Summary of my day: Driving to dr. appt. my car broke down. Try to call for help but my cell loses power and shuts off, permanently. Walk in the rain until I find somebody to call police for me, police come and drive me to a garage. Get a lift back h...ome and while getting out of the car my cell falls out of my pocket and breaks open... in a big puddle.

If there is a god, he or she is one spiteful bastard.

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Wireless Router Question

Journal Entry: Fri Oct 9, 2009, 10:11 AM


I have a tech question!

I'm buying a D-Link gaming router that I'm going to hardwire to my Mac and 360. But I have another computer in the house I need to connect that I can't hardwire, which is why I'm getting a wireless router. That computer is not set up for wireless so I'll have to buy an adapter for it. Can I buy any wireless adapter for that computer or do I have to buy a specific D-Link adapter?

I'm hopelessly clueless about anything network related so any advice would be appreciated!!!!

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Outrageous Job Post Of The Week

Journal Entry: Sun Oct 4, 2009, 10:02 AM


This one is courtesy of Odesk - www.odesk.com/jobs/Photo-retou…

Photo retouchers needed - .50 cents/image

.50 cents per image? Holy shit! I can't believe there are people out there who would actually post something like this. The post doesn't say how many images but the total budget is $100, which would equal out to about 400 images. This mother fucker is trying to scam somebody into retouching 400 images for $100! Jesus. And please... don't even think about trying to negotiate a higher rate..... "If you decide to apply for the job, please understand that we will NOT budge on the price. If you can't do all of these images for the price we are offering, then please do NOT apply for the job". Then they say it again at the end for good measure..... "We are willing to pay .50p per image. We understand that some images will take more time than others but we can only afford to pay this much. Please take this into consideration when applying for this job. We will NOT increase this price".

But wait, it's gets better. They also want you to take a Photoshop test too.... "In addition, in order for us to 'interview' applicants for this job, we will need you to complete a test of approximately 10 images. Each applicant will have the same 10 images as the next. The images will be a large size 2912px by 4368 px. This is purely a test which will allow us to judge the best retouchers. Any retoucher chosen to do the test is welcome to put a watermark on the images to ensure that they are not used. We will NOT pay you for this test. So, again, please do not apply for this job if you are expecting to be paid for the test". So not only will you only be paid .50 per image, but you'll also need to retouch 10 other images as a "test".  

Plus there's a "interview process"? WTF???.... "Please feel free to ask as many questions as you would like and I am open to having Skype discussions in advance of your job application or as part of the interview process. We need to choose someone to this fixed price job fairly quickly as our deadlines are looming".

Later today, I'm actually going to open a Odesk account so I can find out who this douche bag is and give him or her a lecture.

Anyone who wants to argues that capitalism and "free markets" are good for everyone need look no further than this job post to see why they are not. When people go into business, they become greedy and unethical. Wake up!

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Holy Crap... Now I Sold A Print!

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 30, 2009, 7:24 AM


Jeez.. what a strange, strange week! I just posted a journal yesterday about randomly selling a t-shirt I designed: retoucher07030.deviantart.com/… Then today, I'm reading my DA messages and I see this message: Fire Light has sold as a 10 x 12 Inch Matte Print for a profit of $1.78! :lmao: When it rains, it pours!

So my profits from the shirt and print sales total a whopping $5.78. Woo Hoo!!!!! Think I'll run down to Starbuck's and get me a big old grande soy hot chocolate! But I'm totally not complaining. When stuff happens to me, good or bad, it usually comes in bunches. And I've had over 5 years of nonstop bad breaks. So maybe this is finally a sign that good things are coming. Fingers crossed!

A very, very big thank you to whoever bought the print for lifting my spirit. :hug:

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I Sold A T-Shirt!

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 29, 2009, 10:07 AM


Totally random thing. Last year I was playing around with a couple t-shirt designs. I opened a Spreadshirt store so I could use the site to see what the designs looked like on shirts. I couldn't get the look I wanted so I never did anything with it but the designs stayed on the site. Today I got a message that somebody bought one of the shirts :lmao: !

Very weird. But it was the most complete design I had on the site. So if anyone one else would like a Crazy Ivan tee, join the party! 240238.spreadshirt.com/us/US/S…

BTW - Sorry I haven't been very active on DA lately. I've just had the perfect storm of family drama on top of my CFS getting worse. I'm trying to find the energy to do some new work, hopefully soon.

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Monitor Calibration Device Deals!

Journal Entry: Sat Aug 29, 2009, 11:13 AM


Just randomly discovered that Amazon if offering some really good deals on calibration devices. Who knew :lol: !!!

The Spyder2express is $57  - www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000… The Pantone Huey is $65 - www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000… And the Spyder3 Pro is $138 - www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000…

$57 to $65 about as cheap as it gets for monitor calibration devices. Get yours today while supplies last!!!

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Idiotic Job Post Of The Week

Journal Entry: Tue Aug 25, 2009, 9:33 AM


One of the reasons I left photo retouching was the completely unrealistic time expectations from clients and employers. I worked at a weekly entertainment magazine for over 5 years so I know how to work under deadlines and tight schedules. But the business has just gotten completely out of hand. People with accounting backgrounds, who know absolutely nothing about photography and retouching are often setting the schedules.

Case in point, here's a job post I came across from The Gilt Groupe ( www.gilt.com/company/job/10066 ) :

"Job Description: The Retoucher works within a team that produces all images used in a sale, including women and men's fashion, accessories, and jewelry.  The successful candidate will work closely with their colleagues to produce, on average, five sales per week (approximately 150 images per day) in this deadline-driven and high-volume production environment".

Retouch and color correct 150 images per day? Exqueeze me? OK kids.... let's do the math: 8 hour workday = 480 minutes, 480 ÷ 150 = 3.2 minutes per image. Oh....did you want lunch or bathroom breaks? That cuts the time down to 2.8 minutes per image. They actually had the balls to list one of the job qualifications as "Ability to work very quickly without sacrificing overall image quality". F*** YOU! :lmao: Obviously nobody consulted an actually retoucher about the turn around times.

Funny thing is, I actually know the CEO of this company and she's one of the only executives I respect. But it sounds like the place is run by two sorority girls named "Alexis and Alexandra" :lol: www.gilt.com/company/ I wonder what these two have been smoking?

So for entertainment purposes only.... based on my years of experience working in fashion and retail, here's a dramatic re-enactment what a typical day working for Alexis and Alexandra is like (Susan if you read this, it's totally not a reflection on you :) :

9:00 am: Begin work, open job. Paperwork including instructions are missing. Look for images on the server, also missing.

9:30 am: Finally find the work files buried 15 folders deep and the folder has the wrong name.

11:00 am: Alexis and Alexandra arrive at the office via town car. They're both hung over and carrying Big Gulp sized cups from Starbuck's upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia… .  

11:01 am: Still wearing their sunglasses, Alexis and Alexandra make the first ridiculous work request of the day. Refusing to put down their cell phones, they provide you with vague and convoluted instructions. As they speak, you smell Clinique, cigarettes and vodka. You discreetly take a step back.

11:02 am: Open the job and discover everything Alexis and Alexandra told you was wrong. You inform them and they reply: "I don't understand, [insert name of the person who recently quit] never had a problem with this".

11:03 am: Sit down at desk, elbows on the desk and your face in your hands thinking "maybe I made a mistake taking this job". You look up and see Alexis and Alexandra still on their cells while they try on new shoes. Then Alexis knocks over her coffee and ruins Alexandra's shoes. You look up at heaven and smile.

11:15 am: Still wearing sunglasses, Alexis and Alexandra inform you they are leaving for lunch and will be gone for hours. They giggle as they leave the office and fall back into the town car. You secretly hope the driver is drunk. Look at the clock, look at the pile of work in front of you. Time for Advil.  

2:30 - 3:00 pm: Alexis and Alexandra roll back into the office. Now they smell like Mojitos and they're carrying 15 shopping bags.

3:01 pm: Alexis and Alexandra ask if you are finished. You tell them they didn't give you the proper instructions and there's no way to complete the job that quickly. They get snippy and say something like "this is why we have to do everything ourselves". They again attempt to explain the job only now the info. is Mojito filtered.

4:00 pm: Alexis and Alexandra announce they have to leave for the rest of the day "to attend a meeting" A.K.A. a manny - peddy. They'll check the job they absolutely needed hours ago.... tomorrow afternoon. They wobble out of the office shopping bags in tow.

4:01 pm: Close Photoshop, open Word. Update your resume.

4:30 pm: Search "retouching" on Jobster.com

4:35 pm: Just for shits and giggles, you Google search Alexis and Alexandra. Top results all contain the words "socialite", "party" and "sex tape". All images link back to Gawker.com.

4:36 pm: Take Alexis and Alexandra voodoo dolls out of your draw and repeatedly stab them in the eyes and crotch. Suddenly your headache vanishes.

5:00 pm. Take the work you didn't finish home to complete.

5:15 pm: Stop at bar for a drink. The woman sitting next to you is drinking a Mojito. The smell makes you gag. Put your elbows on the bar, your face in your hands and shake your head.

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