World of Warcraft

It's unlike me to gush over a video game. I have always been a very enthusiastic player of video games, even when I was a kid, despite the fact that our home was console-less for my entire youth. I have to say, though, that I have never come across anything like World of Warcraft. The game itself is incredibly large, and they have done a fantastic job visually. They have also assembled the game in a manner that engenders all sorts of community. I admit that I haven't played similar games in the past, and so I may not have the full perspective necessary to rate this game effectively, but I can say that it is a joy to play. Building it must have been a massive task.

Radial now offering WiFi

Radial, one of my Atlanta breakfast spots of choice, is now offering free WiFi.

Splendid New Matt Pond PA

I'm really enjoying the new Matt Pond PA EP, Winter Songs. I feel like this band gets way less attention than they deserve. There's a link to purchase the CD with Paypal on that page, and I only link to that because their Flash driven site makes it very hard for me to bookmark meaningful content. In addition, the new EP is not on the iTunes music store yet, but most of their catalog is there. With each new project, it feels like this band matures in a good way.

Bright Eyes tickets

Somehow, I missed the fact that Bright Eyes are playing at the Variety Playhouse here in Atlanta tomorrow night. Unfortunately, the normal ticket agency that is my usual backup plan won't work for this one, they don't do Variety Playhouse shows. So, I'm asking here on the off chance that someone knows someone who has an extra ticket, or an in to get me in the door. It's a long shot, I know, but worth a try. I guess I could always go stand in the cold and hope that I find one at the venue. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Garden State

I know I'm a little late to the party, but I finally watched Garden State yesterday. It's a little amusing to me that I hadn't seen it yet considering how many times I have listened to the soundtrack over the last six months. Being so familiar with the soundtrack, and then experiencing the music in the context of the film, was an interesting experiment in expectations. For the most part, whomever choose the music for the film seemed to have a very personal relationship with the music they chose, and it matched the movie very well. As far as the film goes, it wouldn't be going too far to say that this film is my favorite one that came out in 2004, with the caveat that I haven't seen too many films. As a total work, I really feel like this movie didn't fall short anywhere. The writing was fantastic, the visual feel of the movie was enormous, and the characters were well conceived. The use of wide lenses added a depth to the movie visually that made me want to print each frame out and hang it on a wall somewhere. I think this movie could have been set in any suburban sprawlish area, and I think most people in their twenties and thirties can relate to both the characters and the bogger theme of sorting things out in the transition to the "real world."

This sets my expectations for Zach Braff's future works at an almost unreasonable level, and I am probably going to have to try and keep that in check when he comes out with future work. I've been a big fan of Scrubs for a while, since my good friend Steve pestered me into watching it. It's the one half hour sitcom that leaves me wanting more at the end of the half hour. On the other hand, Garden State propels my respect for Mr. Braff to levels usually reserved for the Jeff Buckley's of the world.

U.S. Budget Deficit on Track to be the largest in history.

U.S. Budget Deficit on Track to be the largest in history. Cut taxes, raise spending, cut taxes, raise spending, cut taxes, raise spending, cut taxes, raise spending. Whether folks believe it or not, we do have to pay that money back. The interest on that debt will need to be serviced. I don't understand how this fundamentally conservative value of fiscal responsibility is being ignored. I am frightened for the financial future of our nation when I think about this and the trade imbalance.

Mac Mini BTO Prices dropping already

Apple drops BTO Mac mini prices. Usually, this stuff doesn't happen the week after something is released.

Penny Arcade interviews Blizzard

Penny Arcade interviews Blizzard about World of Warcraft. The game has been successful at an astounding clip, and I think you have to try it to really understand why. It's like no other game that I have ever played in terms of depth, richness, and sheer size. Despite all the press that the problems are gigantic, I have really not run into too many issues on the server I play on. (Bloodhoof) It's only a matter of time before the issues of scale are solved, and those issues seem to be caused by the fact that they have sold the game at more than twice the upper threshold they expected. All I know is that I have really enjoyed it so far, and that the features they are planning on adding are exciting.

Monday Mini Stuff

I should have mentioned it yesterday, iLife 2005 doesn't come pre-installed on the Mac Mini, they, instead included the commercial install disk, I'm guessing because it wasn't Gold Master when the Mac Mini software disk went Gold Master. Deconstructing Mini takes a look at the Mac Mini on the inside. MacWorld also has a dedicated Mac Mini mini-portal. I posted a Flickr Picture of the line at the Atlanta Apple Store before opening on Saturday. Although not specifically Mac Mini related, Derrick Story has a tips piece on upgrading to iPhoto 2005. It uses a different library and thumbnail format, and so upgrading can take a while if you have a lot of images. I did it last night though, and it only took 8 minutes to do all 7800 pictures in my library on my Mac Mini. I like the UI tweaking that was done on the new version of iPhoto, although it was a little confusing at first to re-orient myself to reorganized menus. Smash is torrenting the PDF version of the Mac Mini technical documentation.

Macintouch also has a pretty in-depth page running on nothing but Mac Mini review and news content.

Atlanta Falcons stomped in Philly, but we still love 'em

Our Atlanta Falcons didn't fare so well against a well coached Philadelphia squad today. Hats off to Philly, and their fans, who have waited long enough for this moment. The game wasn't filled with huge plays, the Eagles out performed the Falcons on almost every level. The Falcons defense played a great game, but the offense seemed out of kilter throughout the game. If nothing else, this game was an excellent demonstration of the type of quarterback that Michael Vick could become with good maturation in Donovan McNabb. He played a fantastic game, ran when he had to, passed well, and made good decisions. Mr. Vick was harried by the Eagles defense throughout the game, and never really got it going. For next year, I would like to see more wide receiver talent here in Atlanta, as I think that would make a big difference. Right now, the Pats are dominating the Steelers, so the dream of an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl is unlikely.

Mac mini

Mac Mini Box

This post is the first from my new Mac mini. I went to the Apple Store yesterday morning, and picked one up, the 1.42 GHz version. I was very busy with other things yesterday, but set it up in my home office this morning. Everything was pretty seamless, with the set-up wizard copying my documents, settings, and applications over from my Powerbook, which has been my only Mac OS X machine for quite a while. (My last desktop machine from Apple was a Blue and White tower.) The Mini has a nice footprint on my desk, and has all the horsepower I need to do the various things I will do on it. I have it hooked up to an Apple 20" Cinema Display, a Microsoft Natural Keyboard, and the Microsoft Intellimouse that is by far my favorite mouse of them all. All of these items were already on my desk, and I used to hook them up to the Powerbook every night, now I will leave them hooked to the Mini.

Since purchasing the new camera in December, I had been planning on buying another machine to house the many photos I was taking with it and to use as my Photoshop workstation. On my trip to Maui alone, I took over 2700 pictures. It was clear to me after that trip, and the holidays, that another machine with a big firewire drive hooked up to it would make the most sense for attempting to manage things.

I was actually the first person in line at the Atlanta Apple Store. By the time the store opened at 9 a.m., there were about 40 of us in line. Unfortunately, the Apple Store was not selling the iPod Shuffle and Mac mini on a first come, first served basis, and I know that this was a huge dissapointment for some of the people in line. They had no iPod Shuffles to sell to folks who were there, as all of them were allocated to people who signed up for a waiting list, which no one had told yours truly about when I stopped by the previous weekend. The folks at the Apple Store were very helpful though, and went out of their way to make sure that I got the RAM upgrade I wanted. The Lenox store here in Atlanta was more busy than I had ever seen it. If you want an Airport Extreme or Bluetooth enabled Mac Mini, you will have to order it through the online Apple Store, as those upgrades are not available at the retail locations. Personally, I think that is a big oversight considering how most people plan on using their Mini's.

The Mac Mini is impressively small and well designed. The footprint is slightly larger than a standard CD case, and it's as tall as a stack of five CD's. The ports in the back are laid out well, although I wonder why they bothered to include the modem in the device at all. As far as performance goes, all I have are my anecdotal observations, but it seems slightly faster than my 1.25 GHz Aluminum Powerbook. The transfer of my 57 Gb of data from my Powerbook using target disk mode took less than an hour. Overall, I'm quite happy with the purchase.

2005 Notes

If you care, I apologize for the dearth of posts over the last couple of months. It started when I went to Hawaii, which was a great experience in every possible way, and carried through the holidays into the New Year. For whatever reason, I just haven't been feeling like spending a lot of time in front of the computer. In the New Year, I have been concentrating on getting some things in order, and watching football, and playing some World of Warcraft. Posting will resume now. Lots to catch up on, new camera that I have been spending a lot of time using, somewhat of a revised outlook on life, and a lot of optimism about my future as a person. Corners have been turned here in Atlanta, some of which are long overdue.

Atlanta Falcons get over the hump

The Atlanta Falcons handed the St. Louis Rams an ass whooping last night. All I can say is that, in the years I have lived here in Atlanta, I have never, ever, seen so many people so enthusiastic about the Falcons. Last night, we had to go to a second sports bar to find a table, and we were lucky to even get a table at the second bar. The Falcons franchise, and Arthur Blank, the owner, deserve a ton of credit. Blank has made the right decisions at the right time over the last couple of years, and didn't make rash decisions when originally purchasing the team. His patience is now paying off. For a town that is really a football town, we have at least a couple of years of this level of success to look froward to. Go Falcons!!