Switching Gears

So I was all ready to restart my Sith Warrior, Soteirian.  Then I got bored.  I mean, I did finish the SW storyline once already.  Despite the fact that I really like the story, I’ve not been able get motivated to make an effort there.

What I have been missing, though, is the Republic side.  I’ve heard a lot about the Jedi Knight storyline, and how it’s the main story in the game.  So I decided to go with it. 

My main on the Republic side is Jaxxia. 

Jaxxia-Main

She’s a Jedi Sentinel (the DPS AC for Jedi Knight).  She’s a Miraluka (kinda tired of Human race for a while). 

In my head-cannon, she’s Soteirian’s mother.  I have quite a bit of story formed around how a Jedi Knight came to have a Sith Warrior daughter, but I’m gonna have to play through the story to see if that makes sense.

Stay tuned.

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A+ for Creativity Sounds About Right. :)

Exams

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Hello World!

Still here. Just super busy. Hoping to come back soon.

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OMG!!!!! This is HUGE!

 

Windows Head Steven Sinofsky to Leave Microsoft

Windows unit president Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company, effective immediately, AllThingsD has confirmed.

The move comes less than a month after Sinofsky presided over the launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet–products seen as key to the future if the PC software pioneer is to retain its position amid a market increasingly dominated by phones and tablets.

via Windows Head Steven Sinofsky to Leave Microsoft – Ina Fried – News – AllThingsD.

Wow!  Have to say: did not see that coming.  For a very long time I was convinced that he will be the next CEO of Microsoft.  Many people believed that he has the board’s backings.  Part of me can’t help wonder this is a preemptive strike by Steve Ballmer?

It’s also interesting that the article clearly called out that MS wants Sinofsky to leave.  When top execs leave the company, unless there’s a public scandal already going on and the departure is to respond to the public outcry, usually they would make it sound like the person chose to leave.  “Spending time with his family” or “Pursuing personal interest” are some cliché words used to save the departing party’s face.  In this case, the article called out the tension between Sinofsky and the others, and is quite brutal about statements like “not a team player that the company was looking for,” and the company needs “more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.” (obviously implying that Sinofsky cannot do that.). 

From folks I know in Microsoft, this comes as a shock to employees as well.  No one saw that coming.  This is highly unusual.

While I agree with the assessment to some degree, I do think it’s Microsoft’s loss that they are losing Sinofsky.  Team player or not, he did save Windows from the Visa fiasco.  I wish he was more agile and more willing to listen, but he was a good leader.  I have a lot of respect for him.

This is going to be interesting. 

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Angry Birds Star Wars released for IOS, Android, Kindle, Mac and Windows

[repostus thumb=3278644 hash=97bd5c4dd040ecf9310246784f38e9c0 title=Angry%20Birds%20Star%20Wars%20released%20for%20IOS%2C%20Android%2C%20Kindle%2C%20Mac%20and%20Windows host=The%20Inquirer short=1syW5]

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Wishing I could play…

or read…

or write….

or watch TV….

or hang out with friends….

anything…..

anything but work.

Annual Planning sucks!

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And the winner is: AVS Video Converter

Been on the hunt for a good video converter for a while.  See, I take a lot of videos when I play games (using Fraps).  Fraps takes good video captures, but the files are humongous.  As a result, I blow through hard drive space like crazy (i.e. use up an entire 2TB drive in less than 1 week).

I know Fraps does not do much compression at capture time, and needed to be compressed afterwards using a video compression tool.  My problem was that I was unable to find the right tool.  Fraps site recommends using Windows Movie Maker.  Unfortunately Microsoft no longer offers that.  Instead, you get Windows Live Movie Maker.  It’s a good tool, but it adds the damn black border which makes it not an option (see my previous post about this).

Since then I have been in search for a reasonable tool.  I have checked many many different tools, paid and free, and they all had their problems.  Some examples:

  1. DivX cannot even open the file.
  2. Sony Vegas Pro messaged that it will take 22 hours to render a  1GB source file, and was never able to actually complete it (i.e. after a full night it’s still seating at 0% rendered).  Considering most of my files are >4GB, this is a no go.
  3. Most other software, including Cyberlink PowerDirector, Adobe Premiere, Digital Media Converter, etc., all lost video quality dramatically.
  4. Corel VideoStudio seems to be able to preserve the video quality, but adds the same black border around.  So why would I pay for a software to get just the same result as free Windows Live Movie Maker.

In the past 2 weeks I’ve tried dozens of different video editing/conversion software.  Eventually I came upon AVS Video Converter, and here’s the result:

image

Source file size: 4,151,106KB.  Converted file size: 53,388KB.

Beautiful!!!!  This is exactly what I needed.  Now I can convert all those big files and store them properly for future use.  Yippy!

A note about licensing fees

If you read the CNET review on this product,  you’ll find a criticism of the licensing model of this product.  Here’s the excerpt:

Pros

It’s actually a very good program that converts all sorts of different formats. The included profiles are very good and very helpful.

Cons

When you buy a license for this software it’s only good for one computer and one install, you can never reinstall it. So for example if your computer crashes and gets rebuilt or say you just want upgrade to a new computer AVS will make you buy a NEW license. When a license is registered once it can never be used again. If you look in their license FAQ it is clearly stated. I ran into this when I rebuilt my machine and AVS told me I was screwed and to rebuy the license. That’s the worst licensing model I’ve ever seen.

Read more: AVS Video Converter – CNET Download.com http://download.cnet.com/AVS-Video-Converter/3000-2194_4-10629027.html#rateit#ixzz29ynlzUSe

This is actually a very valid point and should be taken into consideration when you make your purchasing decision.  The way the AVS licensing model works is that you pay for a subscription to use their products. While your subscription is active you can use ALL of their products, not just selected ones.  They offer 1 year or life-time subscription. 

Normally, unlimited subscription is $199 and 1-year subscription is $69.  Right now there’s promotion going for $59 for unlimited and $39 for 1 year.  The promotion is good until October 31, 2012.  I don’t know how often they run their promotions so I don’t know if the discounted price is something people can count on.

The subscription is good for one machine and one machine only, so if you buy a new computer you’ll have to buy a new subscription (think TiVo).  If you primarily work on the same machine this may not be an issue.  However if you routinely do your video work on multiple machines this may not work for you, or you will have to buy multiple licenses.

For me, I decided to go ahead and purchase it.  In addition to the fact it’s the only software that meets my need so far (which kinda makes it a non-decision), the following also were also considered:

  1. I primarily work on one single machine when it comes to video work
  2. The software is really easy to use.
  3. If I should need to put it on a second machine, it’s just another $59 for a total of less than $120.  Other software are not running that much cheaper (PowerDirector 11 is $99.99, Sony Vegas Pro 12 run from $599.995, Corel Video Studio Pro X5 is listd as $59.99 but for what I need it doesn’t offer more than what free Windows Live Movie Maker gives me).
  4. I just got a new computer literally less than a month ago, so I won’t be changing computer any time soon.  I should have at least a good 2-3 years on this computer, if not more.

BTW, a note on rebuild.  Contrary to what the CNET review says, rebuilding of the same machine appears to be covered in the licensing. This is what AVS’s FAQ says on this topic:

  1. My personal computer crashed and I had to reformat my computer hard disk drive. May I use the old license as I do not want to buy a new one?

    Yes, you may. Please download the latest versions of our software from the www.avs4you.com web site, install and activate them using the license that you have. If you lost your registration information, please try our online license retrieval tool first, or fill out our support form to restore your lost registration information. Please do not forget to provide your first and last name and your e-mail.

  1. My personal computer crashed and I had to reformat my computer hard disk drive. How can I restore all your programs and their registration information?

    After you reinstall the operating system, please download the latest versions of our software from the www.avs4you.com web site, install and activate them using the license that you have. If you lost your registration information, please try our online license retrieval tool first, or fill out our support form to restore your lost registration information. Please do not forget to provide your first and last name and your e-mail.

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Vette is cool

Vette is not my favorite character (her constant yapping can be a bit annoying some times), but she is cool.

 

Clearly her character takes things in stride and does not allow the injustice in the world to prevent her from making the best of the whatever little life offers her.  My Sith Warrior doesn’t take things too seriously, either.  I can see a good friendship between them.

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Random thoughts on the news of “BioWare and EA Reveal Star Wars:TOR F2P Restrictions”

BioWare and EA Reveal Star Wars:TOR F2P Restrictions.

SWTOR’s gone F2P at least. Here are the restrictions for free players…

Star Wars: The Old Republic, EA and BioWare’s Star Wars MMO, has finally made the leap from subscription model to free-to-play, just less than one year after its release. Though SWTOR had strong starting numbers, a lack of new content release has caused the MMO to lose hundreds of thousands of subscribers in a few months.

I’m beginning to think that F2P has real potentials.  When SWTOR did the 15-day Free Trial I felt that it had the potential to have a one time boost.  Level 15 would take you to end or near the end of the second planet, where you just receive your ship and begin the real adventure. Given the story nature of the game, this had the potential to trigger a one-time boost in subscriptions.
I could see enough people biting the bullet and pay to get the rest of the story. The real question is if they will stay afterwards.
It’s not a sustainable business model, though. The game levels super easy. I could see people get a few level 50’s in one month, get the story, and then quit.

With a F2P, revenue by micro-payment, model, I can see how this can work.  The story is nice enough that it does incent people to keep the account, and pay for what they feel is important. 

Legacy System

The Legacy system is nice and makes people feel the sense of progression.  However, they will need to allow more, maybe even unlimited, characters so that people can keep building out their legacy.  I think they can easily make a killing by charging for each additional slots.

I would love to see them expanding to allow different surnames within the legacy system, or make connections between accounts.  Given the legacy relationships include non-family relationship such as allies and enemies, it would only make sense that the parties do not share the same surname.  They can make it that only accounts linked to the same user can be legacy linked, if they want.  I am OK with that. 

I think if the Legacy System is built out more dynamically it can introduce a lot of money-making opportunities.

Paid Character Transfer

I sure wish they would allow me to pay for character transfer.  I’d want it to be transfer between accounts, not just to different servers for the same account.  Regardless of how easy it is to level in SWTOR, I have spent time to level them and I would like to keep my toons.  I would want to transfer them to my F2P accounts, so that I can reap the benefit of keeping the toons, but open up slots in my main account (which I will keep subscribed) for more playing.

Paid Name and Appearance Changes

Sounds petty, isn’t it?  But when you spend time working on your toon, you want the toon to be everything you are looking for.  The fact that I can’t change their name and appearances is bugging the crap out of me. 

I’ve spent real money in WoW to customize my toon after creation, and I will do so for SWTOR.  Come on, BIOWARE, money waiting for you to collect.

Pets, Vehicles, Special Companion Customizations, Unique Hair Styles and Makeup, and Unique-Mod Gears

It’s all about vanity, and creating your own unique identity.  Need I say more?

Paid Account-Level Bank

Having to manage my inventory across toons is just too much hassle.  Especially since SWTOR doesn’t support add-ons, so I can leverage things like altoholic.  At this point, I have enough alts that I will happily pay for an Account-Level Bank that all my alts can access.  BIOWARE – are you hearing me?

Multiboxing

Not necessarily a paid-for service, but just enable it in general.  The fact that SWTOR does not allow multi-boxing is just retarded.  Do they even know how much subscription they are losing because of these?  I have 2 WoW accounts.  When I play, one is usually sitting near the Auction House and the Bank, managing my inventories and auctions, while the main goes out and questing.  That’s TWO subscriptions Blizzard is getting from me.  Sure there talks about ‘unfair advantage.’  All I can say is: those people complaining about multi-boxing doesn’t know what the heck they are talking about.  

I am looking forward to SWTOR going full F2P. 

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Darth Vader’s wife is hit in the face during a fight

The story itself is meh, but the comments are hilarious.

Darth Vader’s wife is hit in the face during a fight.

Actors portraying Darth Vader and Storm Troopers at the UK premiere of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (© Kieran Doherty/Newscom/Reuters)

Darth Vader’s wife got punched in the face during a scuffle in the U.K., and, yes, you read that correctly. Here’s the deal. A guy who legally changed his name to Darth Vader for charity years ago was involved in a dispute with a neighbor who suspected that Vader was romancing his girlfriend. (Maybe she’d been getting phone calls from a heavy breather?) When Vader and the guy started to mix it up, Vader’s wife, Mrs. Vader (who had also changed her name), tried to get between them and got clocked. “There is evidence that, in fact, he had been trying to hit Darth Vader,” a local prosecutor said. Guess the Force was with Darth — but alas, not with the missus.

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