Monday, August 23, 2004

School starts

http://Stuff5.modblog.com recognized my JPEG 2000 plugin suggestion! It was a pretty damn good suggestion I think. JPEG2000 (JPG2) is state-of-the-art JPEG compression. JPG as many of us know – is a huge – it’s the second web browser standard (first was GIF), and now JPEG2000 is the forth. GIF (1993), JPEG (1995), PNG (1999), Macromedia Flash (1999), and JPEG2000 (2004).

On Saturday, I woke up and played a little Tales of Symphonia (Gamecube RPG). I’m currently on Chapter 3. My dad was in the other room watching baseball so I was afraid of him staring at the weird music in this game. I, personally like the game play, and I’m a little interested in the cut-scenes. Namco definitely didn’t rush through the voice-overs. I was right about the game playing a lot like Grandia II. That’s a big plus. Grandia II was really long, the battles were intense, and it had an interesting enough story that I played to the end. With the Dreamcast version, I was able to download hacked game saves from the Internet via Dreamcast. By hacked, I mean someone actually upped the stats of the characters and gave me 99 of all items. The bosses in Grandia II really bug me, as in a lot of them have physical and magic spells, which of course, is in a lot of RPGs. I played closely to the Walkthrough, so I knew what I was doing. Plus you can see your enemies on screen before activating a battle sequence. Tales of Symphonia is the exact same except it keeps the side view in the battles. The game is cell-shaded, and everything is in 3 dimensions including the battle sequence. After that, I played Wave Race. Not great, not bad. One thing I like about Wave Race: Blue Storm is the wave effects - they still look above average. I completed Normal Championship cup. The sequel makes me remember the old Wave Race 64 game that I also own. That game was cool even if it’s one of the first N64 games to come out, thus it’s has out-dated graphics on N64 near the end of it’s life. The Gamecube version looks photo-realistic. Well, of course, not as photo-realistic as Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero. My point is – it’s still a load of fun to play. Then I played Colin McRae 04 on X-box. My skills improve enough that I broke my own record a couple of times. Colin McRae is made by Codemasters, and was out for Xbox in 2003. Codemasters is making a Colin McRae 2005 coming out in December. Xbox has 2 big Rally games. Colin McRae is more of a realistic simulation like Gran Turismo 3 while Rallisport Challenge aims more towards an arcade simulation. Arcade simulations are about driving fast and beating your best time. Simulations are about realistic features, and are often prettier and challenging at the same time.

After my late dinner, I went over to see my friend Randy, whom I haven’t seen for more than a month. I came over about 8PM. He happened to be playing Madden 2004 on his new Playstation 2. I knew it was Madden because I know what John Madden’s voice sounds like. I joked about it barely looking high resolution. His TV is a little old so it doesn’t have as nice displays as a new television would. He had the sound hooked up to the stereo speakers to give it that boosted surround sound capability. Him being the Green Bay Packers, and the other team the Pittsburg Steelers. He said there was a Madden 2005 Collectors Edition for 60 dollars. So he just bought the normal 50 dollar version. Madden 2005 seemed to have a graphical boost compared to my Madden 2002. Then again, PS2 is already out of date. I don’t know if the hardware is ancient, but today’s computers look a whole lot better. Still, it’s high resolution and can support full 3D games. The PSone could do that – but not as well. I always find most average Playstation games having a lack of texture – don’t know why because Final Fantasy and Gran Turismo games always had great texture Then he showed me Need for Speed Underground. He loves the game – it’s all he plays. I brought Winning Eleven Soccer 6 and Mega Man Anniversary Edition over there. Winning Eleven (produced and developed by Konami Japan) is the top franchise all over the world in Soccer games. It beats EA Sports FIFA everywhere except USA. But WES6 was the first of the franchise to come to North America. In other parts of the world, it’s known as football. And NFL Europe is known as American Football. Anyways Randy commented that the game’s commentators really like their soccer which, of course, were British. The British are known to go crazy over their beloved soccer (in the stadium. In UK, it’s not just any sport – it’s THE sport! In US, we have the MLS, but it’s not as nearly as popular as NFL or NASCAR. Okay, so it’s more popular than NCAA (college) baseball, but that’s about all. It ranks below College Football, and College Basketball in ratings. Randy and I had a hard time scoring goals. I thought the R3 button scored goals, but soccer guy always passes it away from the goal. This makes me very mad. Whenever I use circle or square, it always goes above the net or the Goalie catches it. Our game went through the first, and second halves than both extended times to the shoot out. Randy didn’t control the net in the shoot out. If my ball didn’t hit the edge of the post, and bounce off, I would have won that game. Randy wasn’t even guarding that end of the net!

Then we played Mega Man and Mega Man 7. No comment on this. Winners can only brag, losers can not at least in gaming. It doesn’t sound right if the ‘underdog’ brags. In the gaming industry, it’s weird how small companies brag about their game. That’s what VG review sites are for…to reveal the truth of any of them. Neither one of us completed a level. Yes, we were that bad at it. I scored even were Randy was so we where even on skills. The game is pretty difficult for a 16 year old game. I told him I’ve beaten Mega Man through JNES with an invincibility code.

On Sunday, the Minnesota Twins (http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/) were playing the Cleveland Indians. Twins won. The Twins are a small market team, one of the smallest in the National League. Their pay roll is about 30 million. Sometimes the Twins play really good, like they’ve done tonight against Cleveland. For an example - Christian Guzman hit a double with no outs. The Cleveland pitcher walks the 3rd batter so when the bases are loaded, the Indians could make a double play. Then one of the worst players on the Twins struck out (Ford). Torii Hunter almost hit a home run on STRIKE 3, but instead it bounced off the Metrodome wall below the stands which freed up all the bases. Best thing – it was a pitcher’s worst nightmare which put the Twins ahead, and the game was pretty much over then.

I went to the Toyriffic, and didn’t see anything good. I was looking for Rallisport Challenge II. They didn’t have it. However, I did buy ESPN Football 2K5 for 20 dollars.

I got home and played ESPN Football 2K5. This is the first time I played football since I bought Madden 2002 8 months ago. I picked Vikings as my home team against 49ers. MN Vikings are my favorite NFL team. I played picked a random selection for possible plays. I feel unlucky. I don’t know a heck a lot about football. I feel dumb at it because I read the manual, and did the plays threw the football with X button, and tried to catch it, but the quarter-back threw it out of bounds. I wasn’t even aiming towards the sidelines. When it was my turn, I couldn’t figure out how to make the catcher catch the ball. This would definitely help a lot if he did. I tried pressing X on the dual shock II controller, and the running back didn’t do anything to catch the ball automatically. Soccer, on the other end, evolves around no coaching so, therefore, it is more fun to play. Turning coaching off in NFL football would make the game harder, and I had it on the easiest setting. I’ve got frustrated and turned the PS2 off.

Then today I watched Star Wars – A New Hope, and Star Wars – Empire Strikes Back. Two very old movies. Oh, Star Wars fan base is huge. Internet sites everywhere. I am not a fan of the prequels. Star Wars doesn’t have very good actors – but its story and effects are questionable. I own the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition. Darth Vador is very cool. I like the part were he squishes the necks of those who disobeyed him. Carrie Fisher is a hottie in the early 80s. That scene in the beginning of Return of the Jedi when she was I was in a bikini (obviously propaganda) made her look a bit how should we say – out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t want to be close to a slimy disgusting slug neither. George Lucas has a sick mind having Luke Skywalker save a princess, who’s barely wearing anything. That slug definitely has issues. I was looking up the homebrew Star Wars sites after I saw Empire Strike Back. If I had a choice of which one is my favorite of all the Star Wars films – I would pick Empire Strikes Back.

I found out the name of Episode III – it’s called “Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”. We know Anekin Skywalker gets married, and turns to the dark side as Darth Vador. What will make people watch it is the fact it’s Star Wars, and that it has state-of-the-art special effects.

I just started “Fundamentals of Human Relations" today. I’m being thought by Dr. Kezner again. Dr. Kezner is a nice guy. It’s old about 60 and served in Vietnam War or so he told us. My dad also got drafted too, and may be as old as he is, but didn’t go to Vietnam. He was in Company C. Dr. Kezner was too short – he had to be at least 5.7 feet. He’s like 5.3. It’s odd because my dad’s dad was also in company C which didn’t go into the war itself. Company C was more a reserve. A platoon is 6 men. A Company is 600 – 800 men. My dad keeps his Dad’s WWII uniform that had Corporal signature on it. Yes, this is only one rank up from Private, but remember neither one saw action so --. Anyway, I entered class at WITC for the 2nd day. Everyone was talking, of course, because they can. Talking is aloud. It IS an American right and it’s human nature. They all know everybody anyways. I don’t know anyone. Then Kezner joked about when we had a discussion with someone, that’s 40% of the class right there. The book is much smaller than last year so – therefore - it should be easier? Answer to this: Yes and No. The language hasn’t changed at all in 25 years. So no. The book is much smaller therefore a little easier to comprehend and memorize. It always helps. So I’ll wait and see what happens. Phil Kezner probably knows this class in his sleep. He knows all this information in the textbook that cost me 80 dollars today, and than some. At school today - Kezner brought up John Kerry. I don’t believe that students there don’t know who the president elect runner up is? That is the most ridiculous news of the day.

At school - I downloaded Knoppix 3.4. The program took 2 hours to download, and nearly 10 seconds to the finished download, the computer shuts off and restarts. I know what it was too. The Novell Network Agent restarted the computer before it could achieve 100%. Why didn’t the agent restart when the download started? The answers to this….I have no idea. So I’m leaving that terminal on over night. I even made desktop wallpaper saying please don’t delete my download. Well, with any luck, my download will be there tomorrow.

I was thinking about my CISCO textbook today. My text book is long and it’s a lot of reading. I mean come on! I looked at the online course – it looks a lot higher tech.

Time to study CISCO – bye! The CISCO online course is only on at certain parts of the day! It’s not available at night. I found the curriculum off Emule today. I’m downloading it right now. Its 26 MB total compressed. It has all the content of the online Cisco course. Problem is I’m downloading the 3.0 version not the 3.1.1 version. I hope there isn’t too much difference.

I’m studying the PowerPoint that still may be useful. I was thinking of zipping all the content I have, but that’s illegal, and I probably do not have that kind of server space. 0catch has 100 MB though. 0catch is a free server. No one would want my outdated information. It’s still good information. Just that CISCO has improved somehow…I can’t figure how though. It’s a mystery.

This is Ian signing off.