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Anime Review: Jyu-Oh-Sei – Planet of the Beast King

Many of the better anime series have a darker theme to it. I think that Jyu-Oh-Sei, fits that realm well due to the fact that they’re a bunch of young boys that are sent to a penal colony planet after their parents were murdered in a conspiracy to keep things quiet.
On Chimera, only the Beast King is allowed to leave the planet via the Dagger Pagoda. To become of the Beast King, you have to defeat each of the leaders of the rings and eventually the Beast King. And thus begins the conquest of Thor, whom tries to make it all the way to the end with the help of a few friends he meets along the way.
I would say that this series really hits home on the dog-eat-dog world and how sometimes you have to make incredibly difficult decisions, especially when it comes down to if it’s a life or death situation between you and the other guy. Alliances are also frail so whom you trust could in the end become your biggest regret.
A really good series, albeit short, but one of the few darker ones that I thought was worthwhile to buy. So if you’re looking for the box set, it’s going to put you back a little over $50USD.

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MacOSX – Fluid

fluid_header.png Sometimes, there are applications that just work better with the online version versus the desktop version. But there’s always something about having a desktop icon and launching but with the functionality of the online version.
No problems. If you have MacOSX Leopard, you can run Fluid. This basically turns any website into a SSB (site specific browser) that has its own icon that you can place pretty much anywhere. I haven’t tested it to see if it generates more memory consumption than just having a tab open, but some people REALLY like to have that extra little bit where you’re not being distracted by browsing the web and such.
So if you’re looking for something to keep you on task, but you have online applications that you use, this is a great way to go.

This is what bailout money pays for…

HB-JSO Dassault Falcon 7X (MSN12)

Image by John Creasey via Flickr

Yeah. Betcha those people that thought that the financial bailout was going to prevent financial ruin are thinking twice. Oh yes! The world economy is going to go to ruin, because these corporations don’t get their money to stay afloat?
What a load of horse dung. And look where it’s landed the taxpayers. We’ve already spent $350 billion and the rest will probably be released with little to no oversight or catches. And corporations like Citigroup are laughing all the way to the bank.
In their brand-spanking-new Dassault Falcon 7x.
Oh yes, you didn’t know they bought one of these babies, eh? It only cost a measly $50 million. And they’re trying to offload their two older model Dassaults valued at $27 million a piece. All the while claiming that if they didn’t pay, they would be accepting millions in penalty charges and that the jets are more fuel efficient. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s like someone telling me that they downgraded from a Hummer H2 to a H3 and they’re saving loads on gas now. Personally? I don’t think that Citigroup’s senior management’s time is worth $50 million. Not in this day and age, and definitely not while claiming to need the taxpayers to back them up.
What’s worse in all this is that people in Congress actually let this happen. Citigroup claims that TARP money will not be used for this purchase, but when you’re a financial institution, money can be shifted around and no one is the wiser. Not to mention, who’s counting those zeroes on the end now that they got almost $50 billion from TARP.
It’s ludicrous that as Americans, we allow any of this to happen with no catches. Politicians are just as much to blame as poor corporate management in a time when layoffs are at an all time high and the end doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

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Eating your own dog food

There are many varieties of commercial dog foo...

Image via Wikipedia

In the world of software development, there’s a term called “eating one’s own dog food” that should mean something to anyone that has ever had a product to sell. Basically, the meaning behind it is that one should always use their own product. There are not only many benefits to do so, but it also gives you multiple perspectives on where the product cycle should go and what kind of changes should be made.
In my own case, this definitely can be applied to Merchant’s Mirror. We not only use it for our own books, but I have paid accounts for other businesses where I do my accounting. This gives me something special that many of the other people that are actually selling their products do not have. It gives me the perspective of the customer. So I also understand the joys and frustrations coming from those of my clientele which allows me to connect on a totally different level.
The biggest achievement here is not the fact that you could perhaps fix bugs before the public finds them. If that’s your goal, then that’s not a very good one (although fixing bugs is actually a good thing). Your priority should be to figure out what your customer wants and in being both your consumer base and production team, you gain knowledge of why your customer operates in the certain way that they would and why they would want a feature that you could have deemed useless otherwise.
Finding this out is not only beneficial to all, but it builds a relationship that you can’t counter. Don’t forget the one major thing in the world of business. If you have the greatest product in the world, and no one to use it, then it might as well be a lousy product. That developer and customer relationship is crucial for any business to be successful.

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Zune Doomed?

With the latest axe falling on Microsoft’s entertainment division, it’s really not a wonder considering the crappy sales figures during the holidays.
Now let’s be honest. I did think the Zune product was doomed from the start, even though for the anti-DRM friends, this product was on the “cutting edge”. Well, sort of. The real reason perhaps for this was that Microsoft itself with their biggest seller in Windows has somewhat a reputation already. The name just didn’t carry the weight that it should have into the music world where it’s dominated by the youth and the hip. And in the end, the Zune just had nothing on the iPod.
Personally? I think the biggest loss area that could have made the Zune somewhat a popular device was if the Zune brought in guns like AmazonMP3 to run the store itself (I’m even surprised with the song selection and value from Amazon), and to try some different types of things with the Zune such as on-the-go podcasting or something of that nature. I think that if they had driven a niche instead of competing head-to-head with Apple, they would have had a go. Hardware is a difficult market to sell in, and Microsoft so far has never built very great hardware to begin with. So when you drop into an arena where you’re playing against the biggest digital music store with the biggest proprietary system, you probably want to compete on the same type of front instead of doing the whole generic thing (which makes you no different from the other generic players).
Now what would be interesting is if Zune itself took the product line and went into portable media capture (video and audio). That would be a niche that could very well blossom with the right equipment and third party partners and not to mention there are plenty of amateur video crazy people. Just look at the video sites in case you didn’t realize that it was actually worthwhile. Alas, we’ll see what they do with the division. My bet is that the Zune’s days are numbered.

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Circuit City liquidation FAIL

Circuit City in Los Angeles, California

Image via Wikipedia

So today I went out for a little bit.
And we decided to drop by Circuit City. I mean, let’s face it, the place never had great deals and was overpriced but I figured there might be a few things that weren’t picked over. I’ll also preface this with the fact that I had just come from their competition Best Buy just looking around.
So it’s supposed to be a liquidation, right? You would expect the stuff to be cheap. At least discounted to the point where it was less than any of their competitors.
Guess what.
It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. I mean, there were a few games and such that were but overall it was a joke. Anyone that stood in line there probably didn’t actually do price comparison at all. We actually took a look at PC games and at Bioshock. It cost $29.99 retail at Circuit City compared to Best Buy‘s price of $19.99. Even with the liquidation price, they couldn’t beat their competitor.
In fact, most things were inflated. I saw an indoor antenna that I probably would have picked up if it was cheap since it had a reverse-SMC connector. But I grabbed my phone to check the liquidation price against it and Amazon had it cheaper yet. I mean, seriously. Are you kidding? This is a liquidation, right?
It was an absolute joke and we laughed as we walked out of the store. Mainly because there were people buying HDTVs and the Sam’s Club right next door had the same for way cheaper.
Caveat emptor.

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iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes Apple iTunes Apple iTunes

Movie Review: The X-Files – I Want to Believe

This is one movie that you really want to talk about the nostalgia of nine seasons. I mean, seriously. That’s nine years of your life that you sat there waiting for Scully and Mulder to actually… get together.
And here you thought that the first movie they would have, but they almost kiss, and then BAM. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And you thought, what a waste. Then the last two seasons, Mulder is never there so it basically went down the tubes from there. But this movie was supposed to tie it all together. Make everything pretty again.
Not. Don’t get me wrong, this was the same as movies made from television series where it’s just another long episode. But in this one, Scully was way thinner than previously, Mulder has a beard, and you’re wondering if they finally get it on. But we’re talking about actually seeing something. If you hate spoilers, stop right here.
Yes, I mean you. Stop reading. You’re going to cry. I know it. You know it. Everyone does.
For the rest of you, yes, Chris Carter threw this one in the trash. Doghouse. Whatever you want to call it. Outside of the fact that it was just a long episode (which don’t get me wrong, wasn’t a bad story line), there were many questions that were answered with quick resolutions. Like Mulder and Scully finally sleep together. Oh yes, you heard me. They do it. But here’s the thing, the fans would have wanted to see something, but no kiss. Nothing. Just suddenly, the movie cuts to them in bed together (after the fact). What the….
It was a pitiful end to a great series. Answered some of the questions and created a whole lot of others by making you wonder what the heck was Carter thinking. In the end, if you want to watch probably the finale of the X-Files series, then go right ahead and get The X-Files: I Want to Believe. You won’t want to believe what I saw. Or probably won’t care by the end like i did.

Wait to renew your Gamestop Edge card

GameStop, Inc. As much as your Game Informer subscription cries and complains about how you’re on your last subscription and you must renew, resist the temptation to do so…
Until it expires. Then renew. Why?
I tried to renew twice in a row now, a month early for the Edge card with Gamestop. Both times, they have said that they would give me extra months and that it wouldn’t effect my subscription or my card, but both times I was ripped off a complete month because it wasn’t a “renewal” and instead it was like brand new subscription. This went for both the card, and the actual subscription to Game Informer.
This means that you lose a whole month every time you renew early, which punishes those that want to actually support the store in a timely fashion.
Caveat emptor. If you’re having conscious in renewing your cards early, think again. Just let the sucker die out and renew it the next time you’re in the store. Believe me, no one there will be the wiser about it and you won’t miss out on a whole month of savings that you could have had.
Out of curiosity, why couldn’t you just keep pumping money or subscription months into it from the web? A card number shouldn’t be difficult to set up into your e-stores and memberships. That way, there isn’t this whole renewal nonsense. Just sign up, and keep it steady at your own pace. Ehh.
And if you think I’m a little bitter? Just a tiny bit.
Disclaimer: I am a shareholder of Gamestop

Slashdot carrying Aljazeera ads?

slashdot-aljazeera.jpg
Oops. Slashdot looks like it’s carrying some serious Aljazeera ads in their rss feed with Google Adsense. At first I thought it was a fluke, but every other article or so on Slashdot itself is showing an Aljazeera ad at this time.
Figured I’d flag it for amusement purposes. Wonder if they’ll put it in their blacklist at some point or if it’s intentional. Either way, it’s pretty interesting that it just showed up tonight as far as I can tell.