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Comics This Week

Carnage # 3 - Picked this up on a whim - I got the first, but missed the second and couldn't find it in the stacks. This was a pretty book, overall. The art was good, and the story is definitely picking up as they bring Carnage back into the mix, complete with an interesting twist at the end.

Amazing Spider-Man # 654 - Big time continues. And it's really great. I love the new direction. And just when you think everything is going well, something major happens. I'm curious to see if the device's effects will be long term. And to sweet what the ending means for Jameson.

Titans # 32 - I keep occasionally buying this title to see if they do something to move Roy beyond the stupidity that was Cry for Justice, and Rise of Arsenal. Nope. Still terrible art, still terrible plot. Still removing c-list heroes, just because they can (it's Marvels turn this time, since DC has been done with that family since the lead-in to Infinite Crisis). See you in another six months our so, Titans.

Superman # 708 - They are certainly going somewhere with this. Definite signs that there is a larger plot here than Superman goes on walkabout. The Wonder Woman crossover felt kind of clumsy. It moved the plot forward, now we have a face to associate with the larger plot, but Wonder Woman's presence was largely replaceable. They tried to add some dialog to make it seem important, but it felt contrived.

Red Robin # 20 - I have been waiting for a Teen Titans crossover since this series started, and this was it exactly. Complete with Damian, once again, screwing everything up.

Rebels # 25 - Man, you would think everyone would know one simple rule by now: whatever you do, do not mess with Lobo. Ever.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors # 7 - It feels like this plot was cut an issue early. Still good, though. Looking forward to seeing what the War of the Green Lanterns will be.

Flash # 9 - Still some of the best art out there, and a great start to the whole Flashpoint event.

Batman and Robin # 20- Tomasi gives the book a sense of humor that makes it seem utterly like Dick Grayson's Batman. Also, seeing Gordon put the smackdown on Damian for being a prick will never get old.

Batgirl # 18-That. Was. Awesome. ACCIO FIST!

Batman: Brave & the Bold # 4-That was exactly like watching the series. Without having the hd feed skip and pause because Time Warner sucks.

DC Universe Legacy # 9-Picked this up on a whim. Still not sure what it was. I think it was a quadruple speed retelling of Hal Jordan saving the sun and becoming the Spectre, leading up to Green Lantern: Rebirth. It didn't work very well, though.

Birds of Prey # 9- Not bad. I'm still not entirely sure where this will be going next issue. Good reminder that Black Canary rocks, but would be infinitely better with a consistent, good artist.

Justice League: Generation Lost # 19

This series is still pretty much everything a bimonthly series should be. The build up is fantastic - we finally get to see the team kick some ass. I'm hoping that this isn't the end of Jaimie, however, I always enjoyed him as a superhero.

This Weeks Comics

DC has a lot of really good releases this week.

All New Batman: Brave & The Bold # 4
Batgirl #18
Batman & Robin #20
Birds of Prey #9
Flash #9
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #7
Justice League: Generation Lost #19
R.E.B.E.L.S #25
Red Robin #20
Superman #708
Titans #32

Amazing Spider-Man #654

Google Drops H.264 Support in Chrome

Wow, this does not bode well. Chrome will be dropping H.264 support in Chrome, in favor of it's own format. While this it's annoying in the pc model it's worse when you consider Chrome is the default browser for Android, which doesn't allow extensions at the moment.

This is literally the kind of move that would have Microsoft haters foaming at the mouths (and the antitrust lawyers dancing in the streets) back in 2001. Lets see what the reaction to Google doing the same sort of thing.

(source: engadget)

Verizon i Phone

It looks like after literally years of rumors, Verizon will get the iphone on Tuesday. The biggest question - will it launch with LTE, and completely screw AT&T, or will Apple just wait six to nine months and release the iphone 5?

Given that there were a give number of Android phones announced at CES, it will be interesting to see what happens with Android (I say as I type this on a EVO fully cognizant that Sprint will never get the iphone, but content with that)


 I'm somewhat meh about the whole facebook/twitter connect thing. I would mind it putting a link to public posts onto my twitter and facebook stream. The comments thing is a little crazy, though. I'm glad to see that comments to protected entries automatically default to "do not crosspost", since that would be a glaring security hole.

I may, or may not link my facebook and twitter here. If so, I'll likely never cross-post comments since I'm not sure I see the point in having the conversation taken out of context.

In the end, I suspect this is livejournal's rather desperate attempt to not die - I've noticed that the frequency of livejournal posts (at last amongst my friends list, which is not the whole internet) has been sharply down.

Jun. 30th, 2010

Still trying to figure out what to do with this space; a lot of my quick posts are happening on facebook now.

Hmm. If people have questions, I have answers that might match the questions? :)
Not much to say about my personal life at the moment. Maybe a longer post later.

In the meantime, I just posted an article about Internalization in ASP.NET to my development blog - http://netbard.blogspot.com/2010/04/quick-post-on-internationalization.html.

That counts as content, right?

Stuff & Things

Most of my posting lately has been to my twitter account (http://twitter.com/netbard). I've no particular interest in having those entries post here, since I don't see the point. If people want to read my twitter, they can join my twitter. If, for no apparent reason, you want to include my twitter in your LJ friends listing, you can pull the RSS into a syndicated feed and add it that way.

So work has been eating my brain lately - we just released our new application and supporting its first few steps is keeping me insanely busy. We've had something like 60,000 people use it so far, though, so I suppose that's a plus. I'm trying to track down a couple more issues, and adding features we'll need for the next release. And starting to ramp up our next major development project. Its actually a good opportunity, since I'll be managing contractors over in India as part of the project. Yearly reviews should be happening soon.

Entertainment wise, I've been loving the hell out of Blackest Night. Its been an amazing ride, and I'm going to be a little sad when its finally over. We still have Brightest Day to look forward to, though. I've been back-filling my Green Lantern collection by picking them up in trades - I already have everything from SInestro Corp War up until I started picking up singles, and a fair bit between Rebirth and Sinestro Corp War.

Still playing Mass Effect 2. Getting a little hung up on mining, which is a task I pretty much detest. Since I don't like detesting things when I'm attempting to have fun, it makes it a little hard to get through. Also, Final Fantasy 13 comes out in less than five days.

Haven't actually watched a lot of anime lately, though I still have plenty of stuff to watch. Season 4 Bleach, original Macross (streaming on Hulu), Macross 7, Macross Frontier, Utena (all three of which I have digitally), and a couple of other things that have been on my shelf a while. Should give a look at Gundam 00, to see if it was any good. Mobile Gundam Seed Unicorn is also starting to come out, though I haven't heard much about it other than that its set in the UC timeline. I'm not sure that's coming out in a format that isn't blu-ray, though, which is a problem.

Oh and I'll be playing oWoD. Current concept is a fairly young Tremere with as much Path of Technomancy as they'll let me buy. He's a technologist, trying to push computer science as far as he possibly can. And, in the meantime, getting his hooks into databases across any city that he can - his value to the Tremere lies in the information that he can give them and the insight in the new communications technologies he has. Think DC's Oracle, except for being male and not paraplegic. :P

Ties available, if people want them.

Mass Effect 2 Thoughts

So I've been playing Mass Effect 2 over the past two days or so, and have about five or six hours total into the game. Enough to start coming up with first impressions.

First, this is definitely not Mass Effect 1.5. It is apparent they put a lot of thought into what changes they would make to Mass Effect for the sequel, instead of just putting in a new story that fit with the old system. The game, over all, plays a lot less like a RPG/shooter and more like a shooter. A lot of the traditional RPG elements have been left on the cutting room floor, in the name of a focused emphasis on action.

For instance - you no longer find weapons, armor and ammunition (at least ammunition as used in Mass Effect 1, more on this in a bit) in caches around the world setting. You will instead be finding research opportunities (which can be utilized on your ship), credits, or one of four elements useful in researching upgrades. You will no longer be spending a lot of time (or any, judging by my first six hours) on an inventory screen trying to decide on the best armor, helmet and ammunition combination. The caveat to this, of course, is that I've only played six hours, and it was only towards the mid and end of Mass Effect 1 that I really started to do that. I'm not sure I see where the opportunity will arise here.

A nice incidental to this, by the way, is that you're not longer going to spend lots of time trying to keep your inventory underneath an artificial limit. I hated the item cap in Mass Effect 1. I have, in fact, hated it in every game I run into it across - the sort of management required to deal with that is simply not fun.

The basic mechanics of combat remain about the same as ever. One major difference is that you now have expendable ammunition. This changes combat drastically in that you can no longer simply rely on one gun class in all of your combats. I frequently find myself trying to decide if a shotgun, assault rifle, or sniper rifle would be the best, most efficient way to deal with any given combat situation - and the gun classes themselves have differing effects on health, armor, shields, and biotic barriers. It adds a level of strategic thought to combat which is fun. While I have only gotten two different guns from the starting load-out (a pistol and an assault rifle), the new assault rifle fires so differently than the base assault rifle that it might as well be considered a different class. When I first got the gun, I spent a couple fights wondering why I was always running out of ammunition, only to realize that the new gun uses ammunition differently than my prior assault rifle, and I was fine. I did spend a lot of time hunting around for ammunition, though, so there is also that. I imagine as I level up that it will make me also focus more on biotic and tech powers.

Exploring planets has also been streamlined, in a good way. You're no longer driving across barren, empty wastelands trying to find resources on your map - you'll instead by scanning the planet from orbit, by looking at a wavefront and moving your cursor over the planet looking for peaks. Similar changes have been done to lock-picking and hacking, which are still memory games but much more interesting memory games.

All in all? I'm having fun with Mass Effect 2, though I definitely miss some of the elements of Mass Effect 1 that they dropped. And I'm only six hours in, so there's still a lot of game to play.