I've had all the Halo books on my Amazon wishlist for a while now, but none of those wishes have come true. That is, until my wife ran into The Fall of Reach at Goodwill a few months back and we promptly bought it. I finally got around to cracking the book open Saturday morning while Erika was out and I literally could not put it down. I spent the majority of my free time this weekend reading that book and I finished it last night in bed.
This is a great little novel if you're a Halo fan. I've (obviously) played through all the games but, like most games, the Halo series fails to explain the history of the conflict. A lot of the characters you meet in the games have very colorful histories, and perhaps the most surprising to me, was Captain Keyes. Even Master Chief, the hero of the series, known for being the silent type and nearly void of personality, has a lot of secrets in his past. There is one other character who has some very interesting twists, but I'm not going to spoil that one. Lets just say he/she only looks sweet and innocent in the game.
If you're a Halo fan, The Fall of Reach is a must-read, especially before Halo: Reach comes out this September. There are so many details in the book that clear up the story lines in the games. It makes me want to play through all the games again now that I know more of the back-story.
If you're not a Halo fan... you should be. I'd honestly recommend playing at least Halo: Combat Evolved before reading the book. The book is good but I don't think it would be as interesting to someone who doesn't already know the characters and the ending. I could be wrong. It's hard to judge this book on it's own without taking the games into context as well.
If I've piqued your interest, head over to Amazon and pick it up! There are many other Halo books available as well and I will be digging into those soon (I might opt for the audio-books to make my two hour daily commutes more interesting). Now, time to fire up Halo CE!
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!
I'm not sure if I should be proud of this or not but I can do at least 80 of the skills listed in the article below...
I never thought I'd see the day. Google Apps is finally out of beta. But just in case removing the beta tag lessens its "cool" factor, you can re-enable the beta tag in the logo from the settings menu in Gmail.
Google may have a different view of "beta" software but I think its a wise route to go. Especially in Google's case where they're providing such feature rich online applications for free. Besides the obvious liability issues, they also gain some breathing room when it comes to implementing new features. If something doesn't work the first day they put it out, they can avoid a lot of flack by saying its in beta. While that might seem like a cop-out, it allows them to test with a huge volume right off the bat to eliminate scaling and compatibility issues. Its not always ideal for the end users but that's something you just have to weigh against its obvious benefits as well as against its competitors. Personally, I haven't had any major issues with any of the Google Apps and they are extremely handy.
The only reason I regret to see Google Apps leave beta is that it may slow the rate that they implement new features. The Labs features will remain but they certainly won't be moving features into the mainstream as fast as they have in the past. Of course that's just my speculation, but taking the beta tag off usually implies they'll keep the products stable and will try their hardest to avoid introducing new bugs. That means they'll have a more careful and slower development cycle.