Raptr’s new… whatever.

I’m completely serious when I ask – what the hell is with the way that Raptr works now? I am completely befuddled. This makes absolutely no sense to me. There doesn’t seem to be logic there. If there is logic there, I would like to know about it.

Does Raptr get something out of making people download and run a desktop app to get all their achievements run through? Is there some kind of partnership with some company out there? Something hidden within the desktop app itself that counts how many times you use it, thus getting them revenue? Is there some secret benefit to having this desktop app that I’m just not seeing? I would think that having to connect through two different places would make the burden heavier on Raptr, not lighter. And you can’t tell me that people who are using the app immediately dislodged their machines from the web-based account, since I am pretty sure that you can’t do that, just have all the info on the app and not the website. And if it can be done, show me 10 people who have actually done it. That means that the Raptr website and the Raptr app are pulling the information through the aether to display to the world.

I signed up with Raptr to share with people the shit that I’m playing and so that I could see what my friends are playing. I like to compare achievements and some of the people on my Raptr list aren’t on my XBL list, so the only way I have of seeing what they’re up to is Raptr. This may seem a bit stalkery, since I don’t generally play multiplayer games. And maybe it is. I just like to watch, okay?

But now, like half my achievements don’t show up unless I run that stupid app. Or leave it running. Since I don’t do any kind of PC gaming, I see no reason for it to always be on. And I’ve just discovered that there’s not a version of this desktop app for Apple machines.

So if you’re going to force people to use this app in order to see all of their achievements, and so their friends can see all of them, why don’t you have something compatible with MacBooks or whatever? How does that make sense? These people literally cannot have their correct information displayed on their profiles because there is no way for them to do it unless they want to manually input all of the details themselves. And who the fuck wants to do that? Nobody.

Seriously.

Nobody.

I would like a very clear, very descriptive answer to these questions: Why? What is the point? Where is the benefit? (Not just the benefit to US, but also the benefit for RAPTR.)

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Kameo

Let me tell you a little bit about my history with Kameo. It needs to be said, or I don’t think it’ll make much sense, my feelings about this game. My inability to truly feel much about what’s going on.

Once upon a time, I decided to try GameFly. I thought that it might be a good idea, renting games, getting to see what I might like and what I might hate without paying for a whole game. In theory, it’s brilliant. I suspect that for most people out there, it’s a wonderful tool. For me? Utter failure. Complete waste of time. Even though I didn’t pay anything at all for my two week trial with them, I feel like I wasted a lot of effort.

I tried games that I thought I might like, and when I did like them, I went out and bought them anyway. With my track record of games I like when I buy them VS games I hate, there’s not a lot of risk there. I could see where it would be risky for people who just pick up every game they see and give it a try. GameFly would be great for them. So you can see, effort wasted. Time wasted.

One of the games that I tried with GameFly was Kameo. I did like it pretty goddamned quickly, and it also happened to be at the very end of my trial. So I sent it back, went to the store with the intent to buy it and promptly saw something shinier. I can’t tell you now what it was, just that I had to have it more than I had to have Kameo.

Months later, I was back in the store, and lo – Kameo. Cheaply. So I picked it up. Why not? I’d had fun the first time, though I hadn’t gotten very far at all. I took it home and put it directly into my machine, happy as a clam.

And I shit you not, the next day something came out that would once again eclipse my playing of Kameo. And once again, I cannot tell you what that thing was, just that it was bigger and bolder, and called to me so deeply that I ignored the small cries of this newly bought game as I pried the disk out of the tray and shoved it back into it’s case, then onto the shelf. I should note here that I got exactly as far through the game as I had the first time.

A year later. Kameo again. Again it is usurped.

Forgotten in the stacks of games to play, I finally came upon it this year in my quest to finish every half touched game that I owned. I decided that now was the time to let this game shine. Now was the moment. I placed it where it needed to go and sat my ass down on the couch, ready. I restarted my game, because by this time, I had no memory of what I’d learned – however little – and what had happened in the story.

After about a half hour, I realized that I hadn’t gotten very far at all and caught up to where I recalled leaving off very quickly. Kind of sad, really, given all the efforts I’d gone to previously (*cough*). It also occurred to me that not once in my former tries had I ever gotten further than this into the game. Always, something more had come forward and taken my attentions away. For a few hours, I played with fear and trepidation. What if something fantastic were to fall into my lap as I held the controller in my hand? What if it demanded to be played instantly and once again Kameo was thrown to the wayside?

And then I got over it, because I realized I am my own downfall, and if I didn’t go seeking new shiny games, they would not appear.

It didn’t take me long to get through this game. And I did have fun with it. But I just have this kind of apathy going on about it. I don’t care that I played it, really. I guess I’m glad I did, it’s done with, it’s not on my shelf anymore. It’s not waiting for me and mocking me every time I walk by. But I have no sense of satisfaction. I have no feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t put down my controller and think to myself “Holy shit, that was a good game” and I didn’t by any means desire to play it again. It wasn’t a bad game, it really wasn’t. Plus, I am an avid, nearly insanely so, replayer, thus my lack of desire to go through again was and is surprising and confusing.

I don’t know where this feeling – or lack thereof – comes from. Is it because I just let it sit for too long? Is it that I tried too many times to get into this game and it never happened, thus leaving me with an empty hole where my enjoyment should be? I don’t know. I just don’t.

I have passed this game on, a thing I don’t really do, as I like to keep them around so I can play them again at a later date. But I know that I will not ever pick up Kameo again. I won’t ever give it another go round. PLEASE. SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THIS. My world is upside down (I’ll get over it).

Differences

I recently got Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, because I haven’t ever read it. I’ve watched the movie quite a bit. It is, in fact, still one of my favorites. So I thought it was about time to read the book and discover the source of my joy.

The book is really good, don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t changed my opinion of the movie, either, don’t worry. I’m just a little confused on how things became so glaringly different between the two. They’re like two entirely different species of animal. I’d be comfortable in saying that one of them is a bird and the other a mammal of some sort.

I really wasn’t expecting to get an entirely different story. I really really wasn’t. I was excited to see how they got more into depth with certain things, and thought maybe one or two things might be replaced. But the whole freaking story? Damn.

I can’t even tell people to just treat it as two different entities, because it is two different entities and there’s no real way to compare them. I can’t really sit down and make a list of the similarities and differences because… well… it just doesn’t work.

Like I said before, though, I don’t hate either work. I very much enjoyed the book. I love the movie. I’m just a little startled.

Transitions

When you’ve finished reading one thing, a lot of people don’t even think before picking up the next book and beginning it. I think this might be why some obviously intelligent people detest some obviously amazing work.

It’s because there are some authors you can jump between with no issue, and there are some that shouldn’t even be attempted. The authors I will use in my examples are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Charlaine Harris, James Ellroy, Bret Easton Ellis, and Chuck Palahniuk (here we get the most dramatic effect)

Going from Koontz to King is an easy jump. Back is also not an issue. But Koontz to Harris is not a good one to try, and Harris to King will fuck your brain sideways. Harris to Palahniuk would go smoothly, but I don’t think I’d try to reverse that, ever. Palahniuk followed by Ellis would be a smooth transition, as would Ellis into Ellroy. They’ve got that kind of disjointed, raw thinking style, and while Palahniuk doesn’t do that, he’s gritty and raw enough in other ares to keep up. Your head might explode if you went Ellroy to Harris, and especially if you went Ellis to Harris, however, and I can’t think of a good reason to do that sort of thing.

I have just discovered, through actions taken by me in life, that finishing a novel by King and immediately picking one up by Ellroy is not the smartest thing in the world to do. Muscle relaxers and pain killers did not help this in any way, but I don’t think it would have been an easy transition to make even without the help of narcotics.

Moving from a novel of fluid and heavy handed explanation that paints a picture even a blind person could imagine, to a novel of abrupt ends and a serrated edge was like a slap in the face with a block of ice.

I can’t really think of anything that would have made it easier other than just waiting until morning to start the new book. Give my brain some time to digest King’s work and then slowly consuming Ellroy’s.

But, it’s a dead technology…

In 1992 there was this neato little thing that came out called the Minidisc. Special little players. Special little recordable disks. Everything a technophile might want in a new toy to play with.

Well, I never got one. I can’t say for sure why. Either it was too expensive back then, or something else caught my attention and I needed to have that more. Note that this is during a time when I have to rely on my parents to get me the gadgets I want because I’ve got no income except from babysitting (not even an allowance!) and five bucks an hour doesn’t really add up very quickly.

Let’s cut here to recently. It’s been well over ten years since this magical device was on the shelves of our electronics stores. I am an adult now. I have my own money source. And I no longer need the permission of anybody else to buy the things that I want. Even if they are completely rediculous. An acquaintance of mine informs a group of people on a forum that he’s going to sell or just plain give away a bunch of his old stuff. I note on the list that there’s a minidisc player in there, along with blank discs and a charger.

So I wait like two weeks, stalking the thread, mildly curious as to why nobody’s snatched up that player. It’s only 20 bucks for all of it, I feel I should make that quite clear. It’s not expensive. Oh, yes. It’s a dead technology. Now we’ve got CDs and MP3 players that will hold thousands of hours of music on them, plus videos and whatever the hell else we want to put on them.

The minidisc is – quite bluntly – the retarded cousin of the cd player.

Every once in a while, two things come out. In this case, minidisc and cd. They battle over the populace, each denouncing the other for it’s various faults, and touting it’s own prowess in the music world. But there can only be one. We saw BetaMax go down, we saw LaserDisc flounder and die. It’s not only the truth of history, but also Darwin’s theory of evolution. The fittest one wins. For minidisc? It was the CD. A simple, easy thing that people flocked to, leaving the poor little minidisc in the wakes of it’s glory.

So I finally decide that I’m going to buy this thing. Why the hell not, right? 20 bucks, and it’s something that I used to want really badly. Maybe it’s hearkening back to my younger years. Wanting to remember easier times. Maybe it’s nostalgia. I’m also admittedly lying to myself and saying that I could use it in more “dangerous” or “risky” situations that I don’t want to bring my Zune into. The truth of that that’s held down in the dank depths of my mind is that I likely won’t take it any further than my front door. But shhh. That’s not what’s important.

Cue to two days later. A package comes in the mail. Ho! It is my recent purchase!
A lovely box of deleted disks with a few fresh ones mixed in. The player itself. A Gameboy Color charger that amusingly works for this contraption.

Of course the first thing I do is to search the disks for something on them. One of them does contain some music. It sounds pretty freaking good considering how old this thing is. I figure out how to delete not only individual songs, but also the whole disk. (This was on purpose) I’m pretty amused by the whole thing, and then it comes time to explore the machine more completely.

Ridiculous Point Number One: This thing actually runs on a single regular battery. Oh, I know. This is how it all used to work. You don’t have to tell me. I’m old enough to remember a time before Duracel figured out how to create rechargeable AAs. Back in the stone age where when our tape decks started to run out of juice, everything would start to sound as if it were coming to you from under water. It’s just surprising, that’s all. I don’t think I’ve seen any electronic device with a normal battery case in like five years.

Yes, console controllers do come with them, but there’s that option for the rechargeables, isn’t there? There is. And what do we all do? We go buy the rechargeable pack, because we know in our hearts that using regular batteries is borderline retarded.

Luckily, the thing works if you plug in the A/C adapter. I seriously thought I was plugging it in to recharge a dead cell, not because the thing wasn’t actually holding a BATTERY at all.

Ridiculous Point Number Two: A few minutes of prodding and exploring shows me that there’s no real way to connect this thing to my computer. Everything is on USB these days. And even if it’s not, it’s got some kind of link cable to connect it to your PC and do whatever it is you have to do. But this?

I think I’m missing a cable, maybe. So I send a PM to the seller asking just how on earth I’m supposed to get music onto these blank disks that I’ve got.

Do you know what he tells me? Do you? You have to record the audio onto the discs like you used to do with tapes. Are you all too young to remember that process? You had to play the tape you wanted to record, and hit the record button on the device that you’re recording to. Manually controlling the two items, and making sure that you’ve got it all synced up perfectly, lest there be dead air on your tape. All while, I might add, having to actually listen to the length of the song, because it had to be playing for the second device to record.

whut

So I’m laughing. I’m laughing my ass off. This is so fucking absurd that I can’t help it. I have lived through so many changes in this world, seen so much progress, that I can’t even fathom not just clicking on something and dragging it over to the destination device and have it just instantly be copied there.

Ridiculous Point Number Three: So this is where our determined heroine goes searching over the vast plains of the Interwebnetlands to obtain for herself the magical cord which will connect her computer to her new and slightly creationally deformed device.

Imagine her amazement to discover that she got her minidisc at an astounding price. That these things are still going on Amazon for 50 dollars or more used. USED. That is, out of the box, played with, taken around the world. USED.

Imagine her amazement at the fact that these silly little things are in incredibly high demand, even now! People are still buying and trading these devices like they’re brand new!

Imagine how her mouth hangs agape and her eyes widen to impossible dinner plates as she explores further and further, finding out that somehow, somehow, this product has survived the depths of obscurity and thrives!

No, they’re not making new ones. Nothing is new. Everything is old. And everything is very expensive.

I’m completely dumbfounded here. Before tonight I never would have imagined that this thing still had followers in the world. Actual followers. True believers, if you will. Loyalists. I thought that I wouldn’t find a cord that would work because it’s so dead and gone that it just wouldn’t exist. Now I realize my problem is not that, but finding a frigging cord that I can afford.

As it stands currently, without said cord, my player is rendered a mighty shiny brick, and I suppose I could use the blank disks as pointy Frisbees. But that’s all it’s doing. Not that I mind. The more I discover in this lake of absurdity, the funnier it gets. I have honestly been laughing for hours. Sitting all by myself, looking at this whatnot, laughing. The neighbors might think I’ve gone insane.

Will I ever find a way to make this thing viable for myself? I don’t know. Right now, I’m not worried about it.

I have dived into the pool of the minidisc, and find myself floundering, not because it’s a dead technology, but because it’s a dead technology that’s somehow still alive!

It’s a fucking ZOMBIE TECHNOLOGY.

Cat’s Eye – Request

Not one portion of this movie’s description rang a bell for me, so you can imagine how dumbfounded I was when I started remembering every single part of it within the first five minutes. I don’t know if I saw it on television, or if it was a rental. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it in the last 15 years, but I couldn’t have been too small, because it came out in 1985. So I have no idea when I actually saw it the first time.

It’s not the best thing in the world, but it’s certainly better than Sleepwalkers.

I’m so confused.