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Monday, January 22, 2007


Electronic Secrets Revealed

How is it that the cables of electronic components always manage to tightly wrap themselves around each other when we're not looking. It's because they're making new ones, of course.

Good news out of Chicago. The Bears are going to the Superbowl. If you thought things were crazy in this town before...

In case you hadn't noticed, the Mac vs. PC war has entered the personal media player arena. Microsoft came out with their own media player to rival Apple's ipod, called the Zune. Both devices have the same storage capacity and both play music, video and show pictures. Both (perhaps not so surprisingly) sell for the same price. Microsoft's unit has a larger display screen and an underutilized wireless capability. It also has the same sleek styling as a bar of soap. And not one of those fancy soaps, either. The Zune does interact with Windows Media Center and let you use those features on the XBox360. Still, once the novelty wears off, one hopes that Microsoft has plans to take better advantage of the Zune's capabilities in the future.

That's it for now. See you next week.

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Monday, January 15, 2007



One minute it's snowing, then it's raining, then it's snowing again. Fortunately, the dog takes it all in stride.

One advantage to walking the dog these days is that I get to bring my new MP3 player with me. I stuffed 360 songs on it (and an old episode of Mystery Science Theatre - it plays videos, too) and I really don't know how I got along without it up til now. I even rigged my car stereo so I can run it through my car speakers while I drive. I've heard folks complain about the FM transmitters that send the MP3 player's signals to the car radio, how the signal sometimes gets static, etc. Fortunately, my stereo (Pioneer) has an auxillary input in the back. With the right cable I was able to plug the player directly into the sound system. No lost signals!

Also no game report this week. Hey, I've been busy!

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Monday, January 08, 2007



It always happens. You get a new toy for Christmas and it's only a matter of minutes before it breaks. Or gets stuck in a tree.

I've heard of several reports of people losing their grip on their Wii controllers and more than a few TV sets getting ruined when the handheld unit collided with the screen. Nintendo thoughtfully provided a wrist strap to prevent such accidents, but inexplicably used very thin thread to attach it to the Wiimote. Guess what? It broke. This has resulted in Nintendo issuing a recall for all of the faulty wrist straps. And it gave me a great gag for this week's cartoon. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Happy 2007

Well here we are with a New Year and I have the nagging feeling I'm supposed to be doing something. Did you see the Star Wars entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade? I wish I had known about that before I wrote this week's cartoon.

I got a couple of new games over the holidays, both of which take advantage of the Nintendo DS touchscreen interface.

The first is Cooking Mama. Ever watch a kid play with plastic food in a pretend kitchen and wish you could do the same? Well here's a game that will let you do just that (and you don't have to find a kid to play with, either). In Cooking Mama you're in charge of the kitchen as the perpetually smiling Cooking Mama tells you what to do. The tasks vary from dicing onions to separating an egg to grilling kebabs. It's up to you to tap, drag and blow on the screen to get the recipe to come out just right. Only a few of the game's 76 recipes are available at first, with the rest unlocked during play. It's a fun little game, but other than unlocking the recipes, there didn't seem to be enough of drive to keep me going and certainly not much of a reward once that's accomplished. Compared to other games, this game lacks a certain level of excitement. Which is perhaps that is why it is priced at half of what the other games sell for.

But if you want excitement, something that will keep your toes tapping and your virtual feet moving, look no further than Elite Beat Agents. The story (if you can call it that) revolves around a specialized crew of performers that use their special dance moves to give people the confidence they need to get out of trouble. Like Cooking Mama, you use the stylus to tap and drag when the game prompts you to do so. Do well and the dancers move with grace, fail and they fall on their posteriors. If the Elite Beat Agents don't do their job well, then terrible things happen to the folks they're supposed to be helping. Which is important, because you need to successfully complete a mission before you can move on to the next one. The game comes with 19 rocking songs, many of which you'll recognize. If you're a fan of games like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, you'll like this game.

Well, that's all for now. Don't forget to write.

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