Windows 7 RC1

I’ve been using the Windows 7 Beta release on my laptop for awhile now and I really like it. Today Microsoft released the release candidate to the public so go grab it. The best part is that RC1 doesnt expire for over a year! Holy Cow! My laptop is only a 32 bit processor but now I’m thinking of backing everything up and switching to Windows 7 on my main PC so that I can check out the 64 bit version… decisions.

Runes of Magic – A Free MMO

runes-of-magic

Yesterday I was home sick and bored. I had heard about this game Runes of Magic on this week’s TRS and figured now would be a good time to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. The graphics are pretty solid, and the gameplay is very similar to WoW in many respects. I played for awhile yesterday and got to level 8. One thing thats really nice is that you can learn all of the professions so if you want to can collect any resources you want and use it to make whatever you like. Its always bothered me in games like WoW that like if you’re able to skin things and mine stuff your guy cannot figure out how to pick some plants.

The game has 6 main classes (warrior, ranger, cleric, knight, mage or rogue). I started out as a rogue, but I’ll probably add either Knight or Scout when I get the chance. I haven’t had a chance to do any PVP yet but that is part of the game as well.

There are opportunities to spend money in the game, though they are not necessary. You buy “diamonds” from the website which are pretty reasonably priced (100 for $4.99), then you trade them for in game items or services, like costumes, special mounts, etc… I dont know that i’ll necessarily be buying things in game but we’ll see. If I end up playing this enough perhaps I will.

Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with the game and with no monthly fee there is no reason not to play, really. Check it out.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 demo on PSN Thurs

Over at the playstation blog they just announced that a port of the Dreamcast version of Marvel vs. Capcom will be coming to PSN and Xbox Live. This Thursday, PSN gets an exclusive demo with 6 playable characters (Ryu, Chun-Li, Strider, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine) and Seven environments. Pretty fucking large demo. Anyway, check the Playstation Store this Thursday for the goods.

Olympus BLM-1 battery replacement on the cheap

Olympus brand replacement batteries for E-500 cameras are expensive. The official Olympus BLM-1 battery MSRPs for $90. You can find it online for around $44, but still. If you already have a battery that is a lot of money for a backup. Enter the BLM-1 Replacement battery by Adorama. It’s $4, and judging by the reviews pretty much equivalent to the official one. Mine is in the mail.

Thanks to el chupapadre for the tip.

Precision Design DSLR300 Flash Review

A few days ago I mentioned how I had purchased a flash for my camera. Well I’ve had a few days to mess around with it and have a few thoughts. First of all, this flash is BRIGHT. I’ve taken pictures in very low light situations and when I bounced it properly, it came out great. My one complaint is that the flash and the camera dont do as much talking as I imagine an official Olympus Flash would do. The camrea’s flash settings really dont effect how the flash fires at all. How you can controll it is the little switch on the back of the flash itself it has a few different modes that are different strengths.

All that being said, I’m glad I bought it. For the price you really cant beat it. It has a great range of motion so you can pretty much always get it to point where you want it to bounce.

Counterfeit One Piece Figures (Megahouse) – Spotting Fakes.

I’ve been buying Megahouse One Piece figures for awhile now. It’s been a combination of getting them on ebay and from hobby link and so far I’ve been pretty lucky. A few weeks ago I purchased a Luffy figure from an ebay user with a pretty high (98.8%) positive rating. For around $20, this seemed to good to be true.

It was. I got the figure a few days ago and it is totally a counterfeit. I cracked the cheap plastic base trying to get the feet into the pegs, and noticed that there were several differences. And awayyyyyy we go!

head_torso1

The hair on the counterfeit is a lot less detailed, and the tips aren’t as sharp. You’ll also notice that there is a weird bumpiness to it. The whole figure is made out of a hard shiny plastic instead of a smooth matte vinyl, so you can see there is a lot more specular highlights on the fake. The color of the skin tone is also off (lighter and less red). The eyes and eyebrows are poorly painted, as well. The eye’s lines are thicker, and the eyebrows are thinner. It also looks like the face is slightly higher up on the head in the fake one. Its weird how all this small stuff makes it look so much less like Luffy.

luffy_megahouse_torso

The torso probably has the biggest differences between the genuine Megahouse figure and the fake. The shirt is in an entirely different position and looks a lot lower quality. The hands are further apart and the wrist on his left arm is tilted back more. Also, the hat wont sit correctly.

luffy_megahouse_pants

The pants, like most other places on the figure are painted much more sloppily. You can see the blue spilling over onto the white frayed part. The white part itself is much more solid of a color instead of being more rendered.

There are other differences, too. Molding issues like visible seams, the actual torso being less detailed, scuffs and dark spots on the skin, The base not fitting the feet, The feet being way too long and weird looking, etc…

The moral of the story here is to order them from legit sites and that if you find a deal that is too good to be true you’re probably right. Lesson learned.

Advent Children Complete Party Houses Scale Midgar

midgar-model

Advent Children Complete comes out on April 16th in Japan. At the launch party this week they had this badass scale model of Midgar. They also had a scale Buster sword at the party, though thats less impressive cause you see that kind of stuff in cosplay and shit fairly regularly. I wish that this DVD release were coming to America, because it comes with a fairly lengthy playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII. Importing crossed my mind but how usefull would a $80 Blu Ray/Game Demo that I cant understand be to me? Not very. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait till 2010 with all the other Americans to get my hands on the next Final Fantasy game.

For more pictures of the launch party check out this site.

Qore – Episode 11 – April 2009

This month’s episode of Qore comes packed with some pretty cool topics. There is a feature on the making of the music in the upcoming Playstation exclusive InFAMOUS, an interview with the guys over at Titan Studios in Seattle about their upcoming PSN game Fat Princess, and a featurette on arty games on the PSN including Linger in Shadows, Pixel Junk Eden, and Flower. Linger in Shadows also comes as a free download with this month’s episode (woo free trophies!).

Oh, and I forgot to mention, this month’s episode is free for everyone.

Noise Ninja

noise-ninja

I picked up Noise Ninja the other day. You can get it as either a plug-in for photoshop or a stand alone app. As the name implies it stealthily murders noise in your photographs. I took a photo of my Soge King figure at 1600 ISO in low light so I would be sure that it was going to be pretty noisy. The picture above doesn’t really show anything because its been resized, so go hit some jumps for 100% crops!

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Is this Sony’s “BIG” announcement?

Sony announced last week that today they would be making a big announcement. This morning they devulged that the PS2 is dropping in price to $99.99. If a 10 year old system dropping in price is a big announcement, then im not sure they understand the meaning of “big”.

Hopefully this is just a April fools announcement and the real biggie will come out later today. Hopefully.

Resident Evil 5

re5-sheva

I hate zombies as much as the next guy. As gross as zombies are, one thing I hate more is people infected with zombie like virus’. Resident Evil 5 gives me the rare opportunity to scratch this itch. Yippe!

Resident Evil 5 takes place in Africa, the appearent origins of the series dreaded T Virus from older RE games, and Los Plagus from RE4. In it you take control of Chris Redfield or newcomer Sheva Alomar and bust some heads trying to figure out whats going on.

The big thing with RE5 is that it is now Co-Op, meaning you can play through the whole story mode with someone else. This kind of thing has been around for awhile but its my first time actually using it. Its shitloads of fun. In fact, I’d say its the only way this game should be played. If you don’t do it Co-Op then you’re missing out on a good portion of this game’s enjoyment. You can hand your partner ammo or healing items, or even heal them while they are in battle. If they get into trouble you can run up and do a special move to help them get the zombie guys off of them.

There are also some basic RPG emelments in the game like upgrading, buying, and selling weapons and items. So thats nice too.

OnLive – Is this really possible?

onlive-microconsole

Yesterday at GDC the OnLive service was announced. Basically, this service takes input from your controller be it a gamepad or keyboard/mouse renders the next frame of the game on the OnLive servers and sends the video back to you of you playing. According to CEO Steve Perlman (creator of Quicktime) the new video compression system they’ve developed has a delay of only 1 millisecond so to the user the inputs feel instant. The user will connect to OnLive either by downloading a browser plugin on their PC or Mac, or  hooking up the micro-console (pictured above) to their TV.  With a required connection speed of 1.5MB for SD and 5MB for HD the service should already be doable with today’s cable providers, though for those of us with bandwidth caps it sounds like this will be able to chew through those with ease.

On Gizmodo today they have a video of the press conference as well as examples of it in action. By action I mean a Dell mini 9 notebook playing Crysis. If this OnLive thing actually works like it says it will the landscape of videogames is going to change forever. I can’t imagine that hardware manufacturers will like this.