Archive for the ‘Gene’s Blog’ Category

My Home Theater Room Saves the Day

August 10th, 2007 4 comments

Living in sunny Florida has its advantages – excessive heat & humidty, overcrowded strip malls, and plenty of contractors to rip you off in the “Florida is the right to work state” kind of mentality I’ve come accustomed to living here for the past 20 years. Ok but seriously, we do have awesome beaches… that, if I am lucky, I get to visit 2-3 times / year. Oh and Disney too. Yea, ya gotta love Disney – the rides.. the crowds, the theme songs….the crowds, the fire works…the crowds.

Before singing Florida’s praises too much, let me also remind you that it’s the lightening capital of the world. With that, we get some pretty fierce storms which as you could imagine often lead to power outages, surges, etc. This is one of the reasons I am so adamant about using quality UL certified power conditioners to protect your home theater equipment. Read more…

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Hello Kitty Debunks Flawed EMC Theories from Exotic A/V Manufacturer

June 19th, 2007 6 comments

Hello Kitty Clock Radio
I often get bombarded with snake oil from some esoteric audio manufacturers (usually cable vendors). You gotta love this for two reasons: 1. debunking this nonsense is at the very core of why I started Audioholics nearly a decade ago. 2. It keeps your skills sharp making you think of how many different ways a misguided manufacturer can rape and pillage sound engineering principles in efforts to gain a selling point advantage. Read more…

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Insane Online Gamers – Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

May 12th, 2007 4 comments

I’ve been an avid gamer since childhood. I recall those all in one gaming systems that used the triangle cartridges, and had a steering wheel on one end of the console for a driving game, and a gun with holster on the other end for a primitive shooting game, and paddles somewhere in the middle for pong. Back then, games were just games, and people played for fun.

Lately, I’ve been really loving the 21st century gaming experience on my XBOX 360. I’ve become quite good at Star Trek Legacy. As an diehard Star Trek fan, I felt it was my mission to do so. I am able to easily defeat the computer 1 on 1 in hard mode and take on their fleets of ships with just one of mine if I set the difficulty to medium or lower. This built up my confidence enough to start playing online. The first dozen or so people I engaged, I either creamed or came very close to beating the first time, and finally beating them the next time around. Wow I thought to myself, I still have the eye of the tiger when it comes to gaming.

Well I thought that until last night when I engaged this fellow named “warbuke” (spelling?) . He set up a 4 on 4 battle with 58k points. This is a sweet spot configuration for me as I believe I found the best combination of 4 ships at this price. Believing so, I picked the following Federation ships: Akira, Defiant, Sovereign, Nebula. The Akira and Defiant ships are light powerful and fast with the former having the ability to launch a lot of hurt on its enemies with its huge arsenal of weapons and the later being highly maneuverable and stealthy. The Nebula is not quite as agile as the Akira/Defiant, but packs a lot of punch while the Sovereign is one of the most powerful ships in the game but isn’t very maneuverable. This should be a great combo for most battle scenarios and I proved that point in countless battles against the computer (even the Borg) and other online gamers.

So I confidentially walk into this battle with “warbuke” and note he chose 3 Galaxy class starships and 1 Defiant. I said to myself, this will be an easy battle since he chose 3 very slow ships and only 1 quick and stealthy ship. In the back of my mind, I said to myself I must first take out his Defiant because anyone who competently pilots that ship can easily take on any ship in the game and dominate the battle. So I launch my attack, noting his Galaxy vessels in the distance, NOT yet engaged in the battle. Before I could switch over to my Akira ship to launch a volley of photon torpedos, he already disabled her weapons and engines leaving it a sitting duck for his Galaxy ships to instantly destroy. The battle lasted a whopping 1 minute and 30 seconds. From the moment I saw my Akira exploding, I knew I just had my ass handed to me on a platter. How could this have happened? It must have been a fluke, or so I thought.

So I took him on again. This time, we faced off Defiant to Defiant. I quickly cloaked my vessel before closing in on him. I switched to my radar screen to figure out my next move. To my surprise, he was following my cloaked vessel matching every move I made. I was trapped. While a ship is cloaked, it cannot warp, fire its weapons or repair itself. As my cloak timer ran out and I began to become visible, he once again subsystem targeted my ship and took out my weapons and engines. Game over.

Infuriated, I went on the Legacy forums to report this incident to other gamers. I really figured he somehow hacked the game to make his ships more powerful and also see through cloaked ships. I quickly found a few of his victims online. Sure enough our friend “warbuke” intensely studied the game and discovered all of the operational bugs for him to use in his favor. He somehow figured out a way of doing perfect subsystem targeting to take out a ship with full shields and also see through cloaked ships. I am told this guy is unbeatable. He basically pulled off the ultimate Kobashi Maru.

Remembering the a recent South Park episode about the game “Warcraft” and the boys ganging up to beat an unbeatable player, I recruit others to my cause. Help me serve this guy and teach him a lesson. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Let him feel the Wrath of Gene. Join me in my struggle and get a copy of Star Trek Legacy for Xbox 360. Together we can bring order to this chaos and destroy this Sith Lord once and for all.


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Xbox 360 Woes – Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

April 6th, 2007 3 comments

Iâ been an avid gamer since childhood. In my day Commodore 64 and Colecovision were king. I still get nightmares of being in Beyond Castle Wolfenstein and getting caught by Hitlerâ..s henchmen, my psychologist says I am making good progress in therapy and should make a full recovery over the next 10 or 15 years. The games of those times were simple, easy to play for the most part, and a ton of fun.

Now we enter a new era â.. the digital revolution where computers are approaching human intelligence and CGI graphics are replacing the need for real actors. With that comes (you guessed it), BETTER games. Hence this past Christmas I received a shining new XBOX 360 from Santa. This was my first true dedicated gaming consol since my high school days of Sega Genesis. I hooked up this system to my 7.1 state of the art surround system in my theater room quicker than a group of turkey vultures flock to fresh kill.

I was marveled by the graphics of Halo 2, Star Trek Legacy and NHL hockey. Wow what a quantum leap in graphics, sound and gameplay I thought. At first I was a bit intimidated by all of the buttons on the controller but after a few days, my hand / eye coordination greatly improved and I was actually beating gamers via online battles of Star Trek Legacy. Imagine that. I was at the command of the starship Defiant, hurling quantum torpedoes at any ship that registered red crosshairs on my screen. Hulls were buckling and nacelles were flying off all around me. Over the course of the next couple of months, my gaming reputation online was becoming respectable. I was networked with other geek gameplayers like myself where we would meet at specific times online to battle it out. It quickly became my escape from reality and release of daily tensions of running the top AV website online. Could it be I found true love from a little white box with shiny green lights? Read on to find out that my newfound love was bitter sweet.

Everything was great barring a few graphic issues with Star Trek Legacy that every owner experienced but the company Bethsoft denied. I could live with that, I thought. That is until I started experiencing game freezes in the middle of my battles. Thinking it was Legacy related, I tried other games and soon found the same problem. I tried all of Xboxâ..s recommendations (clear HD cache, create new gamer profile, etc). To no end my problem was not fixable and only got worse with time. I then saw complaints on various forums (including about XBOX 360 owners whose units would fail after 3 months of usage. I was on my third month and prior to this experience, I thought nothing about the fact that Microsoft extended everyones warranty an extra year at no cost to the owners. What a hell of a company to be so niceâ.¦. or so I thought.

It turned out there seems to be a major design flaw with the XBOX 360 gaming system with its ability to operate reliably. But over time, due to cheap parts usage and poor layout, these little dream systems can break down due to excessive heat wrecking havoc on sensitive parts. My system quickly became as useful as a bicycle is to a fish.

I called Microsoft to inform them of my misfortune. They didnâ..t even question it, as if it was normal for this to happen after a prescribed amount of time. They issued me a return authorization and are now shipping a box for me to return my core system for repair. It seems Scottyâ..s proverb â..the more they complicate the plumbing, the easier it is for the drain to get stuffed upâ. rings true for complicated gaming systems like the XBOX 360. ? If you love something and set it free, true love will return to you or so they say. I suppose I will find out if this is true in two weeks. Stay tunedâ.¦

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