Welcome to hardware hell

Well, a week ago, this was the scene at my office:

That’s my three-red-lights 360 in its cozy little cardboard coffin. Microsoft sent me the shipping container for my return in just one week. Came with its own pre-paid UPS shipping label, too. I turned it around the same day, of course. The tracking number said they received it in Texas on Sunday.

The next day I got this email from Microsoft:

This e-mail is to let you know that we have received your request for service. However as of today, we have not received your Xbox console and would like to verify that you wish to continue with the service.

If you have not received the shipping materials or are having a problem with the shipment, please contact Xbox Customer Support. If your Xbox console no longer requires service, you can cancel your order by accessing http://service.xbox.com/servicesignin.aspx. You will need your Windows Live ID and Xbox console Serial Number included above to access the status of your order. Once you have logged in, click on “Review your repair status”. Or, please let us know and we will cancel the order for you. If we do not receive the Xbox console within 30 calendar days from the date you first requested service, your order will be automatically cancelled. If you wait longer than 30 days, this service request will no longer be valid and a new service request will be required.

So, wait…you have my Xbox, but you don’t know it, so I have to stop you from cancelling the repair? I think, because I changed my address to have the box delivered at work instead of my home, that they “lost” my machine. Ironically I did this so I would not have to worry about the coffin getting blown away in the wind outside my unprotected doorstep; it was safer and easier to have it sent to the office. Now it’s in limbo. Guess it’s back to the phones to figure it out — and that worked SO well last time.

Meanwhile, I’m playing BioShock with my hard drive on a borrowed system from the office and loving it…except that there’s some sort of glitch that freezes the game as it accesses from the hard drive. Ugh. It’s like playing a slide show when you’re fighting a Big Daddy. I’ve tried clearing the drive cache through the secret cheat code, and I’ve deleted some of my unnecessary files and save points. When do we get an auto-defragmenter for this thing?

What a weekend

Two gigs, many stories, but mostly, I’m still sorting out the fatigue. Some photos of Friday night’s big gig in the city to come.

The important part: My Horde warrrior Gwynhwyfar finally hit 40 and got her mount. I had about as much energy as it takes to sit in an office chair and rock the WASD. Undead horse, w00t!

OMG! Local press!

Woke up this morning and had everybody congratulate me on being in the San Francisco Chronicle. Zuh? Oh, you mean this!

That’s the actual show listing waaaay down there. I think the money we invested in quality photography just paid off!

For anybody wondering, the show’s tonight. Doors at 8, Cure tribute band at 9, us at 9:50, and then Duran tribute around 11, I think. Come!

Wiki wiki what?

This week brings a mini-kerfuffle about EA amending its Wikipedia entry. Two comments on this:

1) Isn’t Wikipedia designed so anyone can edit it? Um, even the people it’s about? Duh. You’ve found the “flaw” in the system, if you consider free speech a flaw. Mind you, I see the ethical issue, and I certainly don’t agree with removing Trip Hawkins from EA legacy. The company exists because of his hard work (and hype). Don’t mess with history. But what would cause someone within EA to want to make those revisions? That’s the question — that’s the story. But it seems most blogs have stopped at “Ha ha, EA got caught.” Granted, it’s not like EA is going to say anything publicly about the matter, but where’s the deeper thought and analysis? (Maybe someone’s gone there and I’ve missed it? Hit me with a link.)

2) A lot of times,Wikipedia entries don’t follow the rules when it comes to weasel word generalizations, neutral point of view, and proper citations for information. That’s the nature of an open-source project, of course — it’s impossible to enforce a standard everywhere at once. It falls to the community of Wikipedia editors — variably and voluntarily informed of the site’s rules — to amend those problems when they’re found. So, I’ve edited OXM‘s entry as recently as this week, because this was a tidy little assumption pawned off as fact:

Many view the magazine, being a first party magazine, as unreliable and biased to first party titles. Others see the magazine itself as a rather poorly written gaming magazine compared to other video game magazines such as Electronic Gaming Monthly. This criticism can also be seen in a recent PennyArcade comic, where OXM is called a “husk or peel for the demo disk” that should be “thrown away immediately upon peeling.“ 

This is clearly opinion and features no sources or citations (save for a link to the PA cartoon). I replaced it with some hard facts about the magazine and external sources that fit the topic of discussion:

As an officially branded Xbox product, some have alleged the magazine is biased to first-party titles. However, Official Xbox Magazine is created under license by an independent, external company (Future US, publisher of gaming magazines including PC Gamer and PSM); that licensing agreement lasts until 2011. [1] In section III of its Frequently Asked Questions list, OXM maintains that its content is not dictated by Microsoft. [2]

Despite the allegations of favorable bias, recent high-profile first-party games Shadowrun and Crackdown received review scores of 7.0, which were on-par or lower-than-average ratings.[3] Currently, there is no statistical evidence to suggest that OXM’s review scores are unusually favorable to Microsoft games.

One notable criticism of OXM can be seen in a Penny Arcade comic, where OXM is called a “husk or peel for the demo disk” that should be “thrown away immediately upon peeling.” [4] This can be taken as either a criticism of the magazine’s content and quality, or as a satiric comment on its existence as a print product in a space dominated by online outlets.

(I added the Future US info not as a plug, but to establish that it is in fact an independent company with other products aside from OXM.)

Let my intentions be clear. Everybody doesn’t like the place I work and I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind. I just don’t feel you should be led to believe one thing or another without some form of supporting evidence from an impartial source like Wikipedia. Pretty sure Wikipedia feels the same way!

I can play without all the mucky-muck

After years of keeping it old-school, the new, more active dynamic of the band has convinced me/given me an excuse to go wireless. I paid too much for a really nice Sennheiser EW 172 setup, which does all kinds of neat frequency searching and channel hopping and whatnot, but at least I feel better knowing that it likely won’t conflict with any of the other four wireless units currently at use in the band. If you want the auto-frequency-adjust stuff, you pay. It also got exceptionally good user reviews from several different music websites.

Kat can use the same rig for her projects when she needs wireless, though we’ll need to get a microphone, but that alone makes it a good investment. Also, it’s a tax write-off, as the band now issues 1099s and I list it has income from a hobby, so spending a little to write off a little is good. But I just walked downstairs while playing my Les Paul and was still able to hear the clatter from a flight away…and that was really rather bizarre. I’m just not used to it.

And it’s official

“I think,” he murmured at last from deep within his corroding, rattling thorax, “I feel good about it.”

The lights went out in his eyes for absolutely the very last time ever.

— Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, Chapter 40

I hear God of War is pretty good.