Friday, November 26, 2004

TED FM, the oddest format in Columbus

So a few weeks ago, 103.9 FM in Columbus changed formats from a 70-80s hit rock radio station, to what they call TED "We Play Everything".

This can best be best described as taking everyone in your extended family, and pulling out every hit from their record collection, no matter how old, and playing it on shuffle.

Case in point. This morning around 6:30 AM, the station played, Unskinny Bop by Poison (yes, that Poison), followed by a bumper and A Hard Day's Night (yes, the Beatles), followed by Sunglasses at Night (and no I don't remember who did that). I've also heard artists like Peter Gabriel, U2, Pet Shop Boys, the Clash, Eric Clapton.

That's just a sample of the random shuffle. The station could almost be run by iTunes or some other PC jukebox running on shuffle and inserting bumpers and commercials where applicable.

Not sure how long this format will last, but I guess it may be one of the only stations that truly has something for everyone (as long as they're into pop/rock).

Thursday, November 25, 2004

New Game Reviews

It's been a while since I've posted. There's lots going on, but I'm not ready to talk about all of it yet.

So I'm going to go easy this time, and talk about a couple of new games that I've been played over the past few months.

First we need to talk about The Sims 2. The game is simply brilliant. While the original Sims was brilliant in its own right, it soon grew stale for those of us who just weren't into playing with virtual dolls. In addition, the immense number of add on packs just became gratuitous.

The Sims 2 takes it back a few steps. There are no pets, no acting career paths with games to advance. However, your Sims have lifespans, and offspring that grow up, and have their own children. They even have DNA. While that is cool enough, it's not the key part of the game to me. What makes this game more than playing with dolls is the aspirations and needs and fears. The fact that each character has his or her own goals for the short term and long term makes it much more interesting and challenging. That's what hooks me in for hours when I decide to pick the game up.

There are some pretty funny/disturbing elements of the game. The biggest being the Romance aspiration, which you might as well call the "Skank" asipriation. These sims want to "WooHoo" (at least they don't call it sex outright), all the time. They want to WooHoo with their significant other, friends, strangers whatever. They want to WooHoo in public (dressing rooms), they want to keep score with how many they sleep with.

The only thing missing is WooHoo diseases to make it more interesting (or maybe I haven't discovered that yet). Is that too sinister? I don't think so. I mean, when you get a goal that says, WooHoo with 5 different sims...

Then again, the most disturbing one was the Family aspiration where the woman had a goal for 10 babies! At least it's rated T for teen...but honestly, IMHO, it is borderline to an M rating.

Now of course, they've announced an expansion pack. Only took them what, 2 months?

So the other game, rated E, is Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.

Again another brillant game. Not as deep as Sims 2, but has more entertaining game play for me. That's mostly because it connects with my youth more clearly.

I remember spending afternoons playing in my room, or my little brother Brian's room with Matchbox cars and track, hooking it up to our dressers and creating these rollercoaster type setups with loops and everything. When it was nice out, we did it down the driveway outside.

This brings it all to life, as you get to ride your creations. In addition, you get tons of classic rides that didn't exist in the first two versions. The Rotor, the Zipper. It's great! Themed versions of rides. Night time lights, firework shows. It's a ton of fun.

I've pretty much played it exclusively since I got it, only to get frustrated with the crashes in the GoldRush scenario, which were recently resolved with a new patch. My only complaint is that Atari was slow to link the news. It's there now, but until yesterday, you had to go to Frontier's site to find out the scoop, and hear about the patch.

If you liked either RCT or RCT2, you will love 3. It's that much better in 3D with night and fireworks and the ability to ride your creations.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Microsoft and Piracy

Whoops! Microsoft has been delivering XP with files created by hacked software for at least 2 years.

I don't completely blame the developer who did this. Because more than likely they worked from home and had the software there, or they brought it into work. Why? I'm assuming it's because that software did a good job for them.

My question is, why didn't they ask to purchase the software they needed to do the job? Or did they ask? Were they rejected in their request?

Regardless, what's most interesting is that it took 2 years to discover this. If you're running XP, you should go and have a look for yourself. It's facinating.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Struts Shale 2.x and JSF

There has been a lot of talk throughout the Java community on the new Struts Shale proposal and its decision to embrase JSF.

As usual, I am highly confused and dissapointed in the "outrage" of many who see this as the death of Struts. There appear to be many JSF haters out there who want "their" open source framework to be used in place of JSF or just like to complain against anything Sun related.

Here's the way I see it. It's the only move Struts could make. They aren't replacing JSF, they're providing a framework to work within JSF. JSF provides a great API and set of configurations for doing dependancy injection based upon the page, session or application. It has a very nice view layer. I've enjoyed using it on a small app that I wrote at work for documentation viewing.

The Shale proposal takes the point of view that it would be silly to reinvent the wheel. Hence they are looking at using JSF's API as a link up to the view controller piece of the application. In many respects, they're looking to create a way to wire JSF with a bunch of other pieces and parts to create a platform to build applications upon.

This is really no different than IBM building JSF support into their Websphere and the developer choosing to use WDO to access business data. The developer is using JSF, but they're using some specific IBM technology to help out.

One needs to remember that JSF is an API, not an application. JSF is also an API for the view layer only. By deciding to use the JSF APIs, Shale doesn't need to reinvent the wheel and can concentrate on adding value in areas that JSF does not provide, like Dialog management, Authentication, etc. In essence, providing pieces to the application puzzle that don't exist in a nice concise package.

And yes, I'm sure someone will tell me that AppFuse does all that. But you know...even my non-technical management has heard of Struts and JSF, even if they don't know what it is. They don't know what AppFuse is. They don't know half of the stuff that is talked about on message boards. WebWork? Tapestry? HiveMind? No clue.

It comes down to this. Is it a standard? JSF is. If not, is it a defacto-standard? Struts is. That's 2 points. Next question is, can I hire someone who knows something about it. Yes on Struts, no on JSF, but that is going to change as Oracle and IBM roll out products to support JSF.

Struts Shale had only one goal, find a horse to hitch its cart to, and figure out what it needed to put in the cart. It hitched to JSF for view. From my perspective, there is no other horse to use.

Is Fry's Marketplace Still Coming to Mill Run?

All of the recent talk has been about Kroger Marketplace which opened its first store in Graceland shopping center this week.

But in the "way back when" machine, there was an article in the SNP in June that discussed that not only is Kroger Marketplace coming, but a Fry's Marketplace was going to show up in Mill Run where the old Big Bear existed.

But there's no activity at that store. Nothing being done at all. So the question becomes, was that article wrong? The email response I received from Kroger about the new store in June suggested that it was going to happen, but the lack of news is troubling. The Di$patch ran an article today that mentioned the 4 Kroger Marketplace's that were going in, but said nothing regarding the new Fry's store.

So Kroger, is it going to happen? Or not?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's over

Thankfully the election is over.

I hope that this stuff still isn't being talked about 24/7 when I get back to Columbus on Friday night. I can't envision Ohio actually switching to Kerry, but I suppose it's possible. Anything's possible, the chances of it just seem very very small.

Just let the thing end.

No more commercials.

No more campaigning.

Life back to normal once again. We should all be thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Big Day, and I'm Away

I cast my ballot for the election on Wednesday last week.

That's because I'm down in Atlanta for training this week. Really an odd time for training with the election, but I guess it's OK.

I'm actually quite happy since I didn't have to wait in a 2 hour line to vote. However, the consequence is that my vote won't be tallied for another 2 weeks.

I voted on a punch card. I have no idea how anyone could have a "hanging chad". It's so freaking eazy. You should always check the bottom of your card to validate that the hole you punched out is completely clear.

After voting via punch card, I do not know how you could possibly count any "hanging chad" votes. They should be all the way through, or invalidated. It's that easy to vote using these cards. It's common sense, and apparently common sense is no longer required to vote. This year we even had the Secretary of State in Ohio have a statewide ad on television and radio urging voters to check their ballots and be sure that the vote went through.

There is no excuse. If they do a recount...there is no reason that your ballot should count if the chad is at all connected to your ballot.

Anyway, I'm glad it's getting on. I want a decisive win for somebody. I don't even care who. Someone should win, and win big so we don't have these lingering questions for months like last time.