Thursday, July 31, 2008

Episode 3: Unemployment

The Official Ikeagamer Podcast Episode 3 should be up this afternoon on iTunes and on gcast so feel free to stream or download. It's currently being down sampled so may take a little bit of time to show up on the site. Here are the show notes for your reading pleasure while you wait for the show to upload. New website URL: If you guys found me through blogger, it should now redirect you to the new address. Both will continue to work since I'm still hosting it with blogger (I can't afford my own server :P) iPhone 3G quick impressions: Pros: Cost is low if you sign a contract, function and form meshes very well, well thought out design and interface, official apps support through iTunes, location service integration Cons: Battery life (oh god is it bad!), 3G spotty network reception, apps are only 1/2 ready (more like beta), mobile calendar doesn't allow for invites or acceptance unless with exchange, no cut and paste, no good RSS reader with offline mode Job Update: I started my new job, which was a step up from my last one, 2.5 weeks ago and this past Monday, I find out that I was completely lied to about it and in fact it really wasn't a step up at all. The pay was better but it certainly wasn't worth the sacrifice of giving up my tenure and hard work I put into my career since they really wanted me to take a backseat to someone that wasn't even formally educated or trained. Long story so feel free to listen but to sum it up, I'm unemployed and not sure if I want to go back to my old position or move on to something else. Ethics on the Internet: Denis Dyack did a really awesome lecture on the 1Up Yours July 3, 2008 podcast. I urge you all to give it a download and listen to some of the points this guy brings up. It's certainly brain stimulating that's for sure. He touches on some very real points of how the "net" has the false feeling of anonymity to it, leading its patrons into a series of consequence free actions. Give it a listen and make sure you click the links at the bottom of the page to see some of the books he mentioned. I've already ordered a few of them and am quite excited to start reading (I don't get any sponsorship from Amazon so this is purely my own bias) Listener Mail: New segment I'm creatively calling listener mail! The blog has been up for a few months now and the podcast is into its 3 episode. I'm quite excited that there are actually people that listen to me ramble and visit this blog and on top of that, they write in! Totally geeking out here! So a popular question that I'm asked is: Why is this called Ikeagamer? A few reasons, and first is because I find Ikea furniture and the company to be one that's to the point, trim the fat, right down to the meat and bones. I identify with that philosophy in my gaming life. I don't have a ton of time to play games but I still really like to, so the time that I do have, I spend only on quality products or products that gets me into the "relaxed" mode quickest. So, in a nutshell, that's the Ikeagamer philosophy. Why do you do a gaming blog when you don't even play much games? This is sort of a loaded question. But if you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I don't devote a lot of time to gaming but it doesn't mean that I don't keep up with the news and updates in the industry. It's still something that highly interests me and gets me excited. I do have lots of opinions about the issue and Ikeagamer isn't just about gaming either. This blog is basically about anything that pops into my life/head so all is fair game! Enjoy Episode 3, look for a new cast next week or the following one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Update

I'm going to start a new regular segment on the blog with this post and that's going to be a weekly Monday Update. Since the podcast is somewhat irregular (hold the bran jokes!) the Monday Updates will keep the blog full of fibre goodness! Since my last update, I have gone through another set of electronic-geektoys. I was so enamored by the stupid iPod Touch, I went and upgraded to an iPhone 3G. I'll speak more about it during the podcast this week (look for it tomorrow) but so far, I'm loving it. I had real reservations with it since I've been using a blackberry since University and that is something that's a tough habit to break. But so far, I've gotten really used to the keyboard and hooked up exchange without much problems. A few glaring features that I hope Apple will patch in the near future is cut and paste (WTH, you think this would be standard in a smart phone, I don't know why they would leave it out) and the ability to send invites from your iPhone's calendar. Aside from that, battery life could be better but that's to be expected from a 3G device that isn't the size of a brick. Also having better receiption while in 3G would be appreciated (but that's more Roger's problem than Apple's). I find that I'm keeping the phone in EDGE mode more than 3G just because of the lack of quality receiption in 3G. My calls actually dropped a few times while my EDGE connection was 100%. I ended up selling my Blackberry Pearl for about the same price it cost me to upgrade so no harm there. I did have to switch my number but that's been painless thus far. On the gaming end, I'm now level 31 in World of Warcraft. Ok, that's piddly but that's also a 10 level jump from just a few months ago. Considering how little I actually play, I have to say I'm happy with my progress. Job is a bit weird at the moment but listen to the podcast and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. As for the blog, you may have noticed that it's now located at The name is sticking and I'm actually getting quite a few readers currently. This is exciting since it's really the only public blog I've ever run so hopefully it will continue to grow. Look for a new format with the podcast as well since there's more content that's being added to it. That's it for now. Thanks for reading and remember to send your questions and comments to the address to the top right of this page! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Touched by Steve

Whao! Hey! Watch it! Yeah, touched by Steve is right...Steve Jobs that is. What the hell is up with this guy that anything coming out of his mouth is gold? As reported today by DailyTech, Apple issued a press release detailing its financial forecast, stating once again it has finished above expectations and that the next quarter may not be as great as it had been historically. However, with a single tag line at the end of the release where Steve Jobs says, "...and we’re busy finishing several more wonderful new products to launch in the coming months." sent Apple stocks rising again. So what is it about Steve that makes the industry swoon and the financial analysts quiver in their suits? Brand recognition is largely it, and with Steve Jobs heading up Apple in the late 90's to now, their rebranding and reimagining has been a huge success. Look at the recent iPhone 3G release, that was like the release of a Blackberry Pearl 8120 after a year and a half of having the Blackberry Pearl 8100. Or it really should have been and not what everyone blasphamistically referring to it as the Jesus Phone (that's seriously a good one, but what are you going to call the 4G?) Dispite what all the iPod and Apple haters want to say or how much they fight against the norm and accepted social staus quo that is defined by the latest iPod or iPhone, they won't be able to win. History has taught us that there will always be the hottest new thing that defines a generation. This current trend just happens to have lasted a bit longer than expected. Whether or not Apple will survive to be the leader of the next trend depends on how much more innovative they can be. Look at Motorola, they were the first on the market with a widely accepted and popular design for the clam-shell phone we know today. But where are they now? They haven't been able to make too much headway since and have slowly been losing their sales over to others that have been more innovative. Apple needs to be the Madonna and Cher of consumer electronics if they want to stay on top (or keep in the top tier). Why post about Apple again? Well I was able to get my hands on an 8GB iPod Touch at a substantial discount thanks to the mistakes of some drone working at a data entry position at Wal-Mart. If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I don't have a lot of love for the iPod. Simply because of the restrictions Apple places on its use. But I can't say anything bad about its interface. It is still the best, easiest, and cleanest to use for a MP3 player. I will still use my Cowon A3 for videos because I can't be bothered to encode my Divx files for iTunes but in the car and out and about, this new iPod Touch is really something. It's basically a iPhone minus the phone. And with the 2.0 Firmware upgrade (which I didn't pay for and if Apple wants money for this they can shove it) and the new apps store, I could see it replacing my Blackberry one day. I just have to get used to the virtual keyboard, which I slow am. It's still not as great as the blackberry's tactile keyboard but I think it does everything else so well that it doesn't really matter in the long run. The beautiful thing about iPods is also its horrifiic flaw, you simply can't use them longer than 2 years. They either start to fail or functions have changed so much that you want the next best one. That's what Apple designed them to be, and that's what they want you to do. iPods, along with iPhones, are made to be disaposable electronics. Should they be? Environmentally, a resounding no. However all other sectors would call it nothing short of genius. Steve has effectively convinced the world that it needs a new iPod every 1.5 years and that it's totally normal. It's like I'm riding on a rollercoaster to hell and I can't off but oh is it ever fun while it lasts.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Long Dark Good Knight

66+ Million take in just one day domestic. That's to be expected since The Dark Knight's marketing machine was one of the most well planned in recent movie history. I was lucky enough to actually see it this weekend, although my friend and I had to settle for a 11:45am showing on Sunday morning. I prefer to see movies at night however with a high profile film like this, you won't be having a good time sitting 2 inches from your neighbor the whole time. So what I'll write about The Dark Knight is some impressions and general observations on the film. This won't be a full review since this film is so deep and requires a second viewing before I can fully absorb it. But the bottom line, and I'll give it to you now, is that it is a great Batman story. This is truly dark, gloomy, hope in a desolate place, come to life on the big screen. So if you are remotely interested in the Character of Batman (not just his gadgets and cars) or if you are curious about psychological dramas, this is your film. The premise of the film takes place shortly after the first one. The origins of Batman has been established, the character of Bruce Wayne has been explored, and now, the writer and director are looking at how the bridge from Bruce Wayne to Batman is constructed. We know that the Batman from the first film was a little green, not so sure of himself, and was just lacking that something dark we have all been used to. He was spot on for Batman Begins and he was also great for audiences, but he wasn't quite there yet. I believe the director did this intentionally, not because of the hopes of a sequel but because it was necessary for that type of a Batman to be portrayed in a movie titled "Batman Begins". In The Dark Knight, we see with all the heartbreak, sorrow, and hope in how Bruce Wayne fully accepts his chosen path and all the repercussions that comes with it. The hard choices he has to make, the total abandonment of his life for the sole pursuit of justice, this is what it is to be Batman. Producer Bruce Timm of the animated series of Batman and the Justice League understood this and really tried to convey that message in his animated Batman, and in Batman Beyond. Christopher Nolan did a fantastic job and making the audience sympathize with the heartbreak of Bruce Wayne and what it takes to be Batman in a modern day world. This movie is not Iron Man. You don't feel good walking out of it. You don't look to the sky and pretend you can fly. The Dark Knight is the necessary evil and leaves you feeling unsure of society and the choices of mankind. However, this is simply the best representation of a tortured hero that I have ever seen on screen. This isn't teen angst or whining of a superhero with great responsibility. This is a grown man, that chose to not turn a blind eye, motivated by revenge, but realizes that he must become more than a man in order to save the people he values. If you have reservations about movies that makes you think, you should still see this as there's enough explosions and violence to satisfy your testosterone filled man-brain. But if you want to think, be challenged, and be thoughtful about a movie that isn't made by Disney, then go see this. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And Here We Go Again

A new job has started for me. This is the second day and it's going pretty well so far. There are some surprises but mostly what I was expecting. The biggest change for me has to be the drive into work. As discussed earlier and during the first episode of the podcast, I am driving 40 KM each way. It's a lot to drive but I'm grateful that the car isn't a piece of junk. It's a bit early to tell if I am going to love it here or how long this time will be but I am truly hoping that it will be a while. I'm tired of moving around so much! As for any real updates, E3 is in full swing, and this year looks to be a better organized event than last. Microsoft has come and delivered their press conference with some mixed results. The new dashboard is interesting but my stake in that is really limited to whether it will brick my modded machine (/evil). The additions of 360 avatars is pretty stupid, but if they can make it into a social network similar to Facebook for the 360 then that would be something unique. And the availability of Netflix on the 360 is huge for XBL. I haven't watched the whole conference yet but if this service is available to Canada, I may just end up joining Netflix! At the basic subscription, it's cheaper than getting movie channels for your TV. More to come and look for a new episode of the podcast this weekend (Sunday/Monday) where I'll recap some of the E3 announcements and share my thoughts and opinion on the more important ones. Cheers!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Episode 2: Live from Apple!

Episode 2 is live and up.  Go ahead and download from the right or through iTunes.

iPhone Announced in Canada:
Apple announced that the 3G iPhone will be launched here in Canada on July 11th exclusively to the Rogers network.  Pricing is still TBA but sources have said that the basic prices are going to start at $30 for data + Voice plan and then it will just go up from there.
New Job and the likes:
So I'm starting my new job next Monday, this gives me still 6 days to try and go as high as possible on World of Warcraft.  I'm hoping that this new job will give me some more free time in doing the things that I like.
How to build a Hackintosh:
Here are some links to useful guides on how to build your own OSX86 machine:
This is my parts list for the Mac Pro I built and you can find all these parts one
 (good for both US and Canadian customers):
  • Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160 Dual Core Processor LGA775 1.8GHZ 800FSB 1MB Retail ($70)
  • Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C mATX LGA775 954GC 1PCI-E16 3PCI SATA2 Video Sound LAN Motherboard ($55)
  • Buffalo Select D2U800C-2G/BR 2GB 1X2GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL5 240PIN DIMM Memory ($50)
  • Pioneer DVR-215DBK DVD+RW 20X8X16 DVD-RW 20X6X16 DL 10X SATA Black OEM DVD Writer No S/W ($23)
  • Antec NSK3480 New Solution mATX Mid Tower Case 2X5.25 1X3.5 380W Black Front USB Sound & Firewire ($90)
  • Segate 7200.10 320GB SATA2 HDD ($55)
  • Total Cost: $343 + Tax
That's compared to over $2000 for a legit Mac Pro.  Granted if you have lots of your own parts, you can usually get an old PC to work well as an OSX86 machine.  Surf the forums and you will find all the help you need.  That Atom machine that I linked to above is perfect for a kitchen PC or a Mac Mini replacement.  
Again, please subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or through the GCast module to your right.  Thanks for listening!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I wasn't hacked. But I did end up building a Hackintosh - a PC running OS X. I won't go into too much detail now as I will be discussing the process and impressions during the next podcast (which will be up this weekend). So check those show notes for links to some excellent tutorials on how to do this yourself. So far, I'm enjoying the Mac OS X. It's simple and to the point for almost everything you want to do. However it's not as flexible as Windows but it's also much more stable. The most noticable thing about it is that it shuts down and boots really fast on my Thinkpad (ironic isn't it, IBM Thinkpad running Mac OSX!) That's it for now, remember to check back this weekend for The Ikea Gamer podcast episode 2. Cheers!