Trigger Happy

Archive for May, 2010

I Cut the Cable

by on May.25, 2010, under geek, IRL, tech

My memory is a bit foggy but we've been cable TV free for about a year now. There are a few things we miss but honestly, those few things are not worth ~$45 per month. I did some research, went to RadioShack, argued with a sales guy about UHF and VHF, bought a $70 UHF/VHF antenna, installed that sucker in the attic, and cancelled our cable. We get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, My New TV, CW, and PBS all over the air. Using the federal DTV transition program, we got two DTV converters for $40 total and eventually bought an HDTV. Our savings from ditching cable will pay for the TV in just over a year!

We also bought Playon around the holidays when they had a ridiculous sale going on. With Playon, we can stream all kinds of media from various sites (like Hulu) to our TV via our Xbox 360. It's a great deal even at the regular price. Since we enjoy movies so much, we also subscribe to the three dvd Netflix plan which includes instant view which also streams to our TV with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. For $17 per month, it's a fantastic deal if you watch a lot of movies.

If you haven't figured it out already, it was well worth it! If the price of cable packages drops dramatically, we may consider signing up again, but I find that pretty unlikely. We're pretty happy with our media options and we're saving quite a bit. If you've been thinking about cutting the cable but are holding back, let me know! Maybe I can help you pick out hardware, software, and alternate service plans. Just leave a comment!

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The Good, the Bad-ass, and the Ugly

by on May.25, 2010, under gaming

You may think that title has something to do with Red Dead Redemption since everyone has been raving about it lately, but you'd be wrong. It's the title of Bungie's short and sweet farewell video to the Halo Reach Beta. "The Ugly" is pretty amusing.

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Gears of War 3 Screenshots!

by on May.21, 2010, under gaming

I don't know where All Games Beta gets some of this stuff but these screenshots are looking SWEET. I've plopped them here and you can just flip through them much easier than at All Games Beta.

Some of these shots feature the new (old) Lancer from the Pendulum Wars which sports a bayonet instead of a chainsaw. It's looking pretty sweet. There are also shots of the new Lambent enemies we'll be seeing and a few wide shots of maps that I'm guessing are for multiplayer and horde mode. I wonder if that scoreboard still works.

Game Informer has been releasing some awesome details about Gears of War 3 as well so be sure to stop by there frequently for more great stuff.

Source: All Games Beta

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Invasion - First Impressions

by on May.08, 2010, under gaming

Bungie set the Invasion and Invasion Slayer game types loose on Friday, and I couldn't put it down that night. Both game types put six Elites up against six Spartans with weapon/ability loadouts that progressively get better. The special weapons and vehicles also improve as the match goes on. The final minutes are usually quite intense.

Invasion Slayer is basically Team Slayer with territories that, when captured, drop heavy weapons and vehicles. Teams still compete for the highest kill count, but teams can gain a strategic advantage by capturing territories. Can is the key word here. When a territory is captured, the bonus (a weapon or vehicle) is dropped at the territory after ten seconds. Smart teams that arrive late to the territory will gang up and attack just before the bonus is dropped. In my experience, the team that captures the territory rarely reaps it's benefits very well. Either the opposing team takes control of the area before the drop, or they destroy the vehicle faster than the other team can escape. At first I was really focused on controlling territories, but after a while, I found it was better to just sit back and pick off anyone that ran for it. Nice open targets are my favorite. Occasionally, I'd hit a territory if we had a tight group but usually I just felt like an easy target. Overall, it's a refreshing game type, but it's yawn worthy when compared to Invasion.

Invasion... This is almost the game type I've always wanted to see in Halo. Elites are attempting to steal a data core from a decommissioned UNSC ship, but first they have to take down the shields blocking access to the ship, and security measures protecting the core itself. Elites have four minutes for each objective, if they run out of time for any objective, Spartans win. Invasion plays out very well. Most games make it to the final stretch which makes it pretty exciting. The game is very well balanced even though Elites are obviously more powerful. I've been having a lot of fun with this mode and I had a hard time calling it quits early this morning.
You may be wondering why I say it's almost the game type I've always wanted to see in Halo. I've always been a huge fan of Tribes and Tribes 2, so when Halo came out, I was hoping the team based multiplayer would be more like Tribes. Deployable turrets, different armor classes, a huge selection of guns, fantastic vehicle combat, and, my favorite, generators that can be destroyed to leave the enemy team crippled. Don't get me wrong, I love Halo multiplayer, but the Tribes series is something special that has yet to be matched. Halo Reach's Invasion and Generator Defense game types have introduced some of the elements I love from Tribes to Halo, so I'm pretty happy. I hope these modes are received well by the rest of the Halo fans, and I hope Bungie has time and plans to add more complex objectives to Reach. I keep thinking the next game will be even better, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is probably the last Halo game from Bungie.

Of course, one huge aspect I love about Invasion and Invasion Slayer, is that you get to play as a kick ass Elite! I always hated how Elites are the same as Spartans in Halo 2 and 3 (besides the player model obviously). Elites are way more bad-ass than Spartans. I don't care that they're enemies blah blah blah, they're fucking awesome. End of story. Elites in Halo Reach are faster, have stronger shields, more health, and they're HUGE. Just as they should be. They are a blast to play and I'm glad Bungie finally served them right.
Overall, Invasion and Invasion Slayer are amazing and I don't see myself ever getting tired of them (especially not Invasion). I hope Bungie has more surprises up its sleeve and, in particular, more co-op modes!

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