Thursday, March 27, 2008

motorola is really hurting and hearing about why makes me sad for the USA

After reading some news postings about this, I was really sad, in a way - I mean, Motorola was a great company and it is too bad that their CEO was technically incompetent. Consider that the RAZR was a very cool, hot phone in 2004 but they are still trying to milk it even now in 2008.

Letter from concerned insider is here:

Discussion is here:

Seriously, what is wrong with most US-based CEO's that get caught up in pandering to Wall Street?????

Also, to paraphrase one of the comments in the Slashdot discussion..."If this is what Six Sigma can do for Motorola, think of what it can do for your company!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

reflection on differences in life abroad

Had a discussion with an old friend who is still living in China this morning, and I came upon the following conclusion, which hadn't seemed quite so clear to me before:

Socially, when living abroad in China, life in the ex-pat community demands that one is welcoming and inclusive to strangers/newcomers, since nearly everyone is only a semi-permanent resident, friends come and go literally every month, and as such it is clearly to one's benefit to keep one's social circles pretty open.

Whereas, when living long-time in one's own community, the need to include outsiders is certainly lessened. Not to say there is no benefit to being inclusive, but when people get caught up in career, family, existing social obligations + the commitment of a mortgage to a given area, it seems that the amount of time and room to meet new people is lessened.

At least that's how it feels now in Seattle. It's not that the locals are mean or anything, but it seems like most people that I do meet are already well involved in their own social circles and there's little desire or reason to get newcomers involved...seems to just take time.

Seattle is growing fairly quickly, however, and there are a lot of newcomers anyway.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sins of a Solar Empire

This game has been getting a lot of hype for the volume it has sold and for its unique style of gameplay.

Indeed, the game is very unique; it's something like a cross between Starcraft and Civilization.

Ultimately, it is a bit more of an RTS than turn-based strategy game.

I'm doing terribly in it so far; mostly because (I think) that it has its own style of play that one needs to learn...and the learning curve is a bit steep.

Might be more trouble than it's worth to really bother getting good at...I dislike games that feel more like work to play than actually just "playing".

On the other hand, I might get somewhere in this game if I actually spent the 3-4 hours straight playing it that seems to be required in order to complete a single game. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard for me to do that...even on slow weekends like this one, giving 3-4 hours straight to a game is diffficult.

This is probably one of those cases where I've fallen more for the idea & hype of the game rather than the game itself...but we'll see.

It also still looks & plays very responsively on my old PC system. Will probably still try in the future.

Call of Duty 4

So, despite 2007 being the year of Portal, Bioshock, and Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4 came out and was widely hailed as one of the best action games of the year.

I'm usually not into straight military games, and I had never really paid attention to the Call of Duty series before.

But, after hearing all the hype, recommendations from co-workers, and finally seeing a deal to snag a copy for just over $30, I checked it out.

Glad that I did.

The game is beautifully done (looks great on my older hardware), very action-packed, and manages to tie together a bunch of fairly different mission styles with a coherent, mostly plausible story.

I think I completed the game over the course of 3 weekends, which was a little on the short side, but still acceptable.

The multiplayer is reputed to be very good, but I haven't given it much time yet - still will at some point.

Anyway, pretty pleased with that one overall.

The witcher

The Witcher was part 2 of the Christmas gift I gave myself, and my progress on it is considerably less exciting than that on Bioshock.

It seemed like a really cool RPG in concept, and as I've tried it so far it seems pretty good.

Drawbacks? Well, it's really, really pushing the limits of what my "possibly good in 2004" PC can do, and as such it's laggy & slow. Not entirely unplayable, but a lot of time is wasted in loading scenes.

Apparently there's going to be a big update/revision in content coming for the game in May, so I'll hold off on really getting into it until then.

Bioshock - my mini review

I hadn't thought that my PC could handle the requirements for Bioshock; but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the demo ran for a Christmas gift to myself I picked up a copy of the game via

Anyway, it ran pretty well and I played through the game (mostly on weekends) for most of January and February.

The game's story & setting about a dystopian objectivist underwater city-state built in the late 40's/50's is pretty interesting & well thought out, and there's enough hidden enemies to keep things surprising.

Your character can get some special powers that are pretty cool, and you have to deal with some "moral" choices - you kill all the bad guys regardless, but you can choose not to kill some little girl mutants. An interesting twist, but not exactly earth-shattering.

The game kept my interest, the plot moved along pretty well, with some fun twists & turns. Some complain that the game is on the short side of things; and I guess that it is - but it was really a perfect length for me as a casual gamer...kept me busy on the mornings of quite a few weekends.

I picked up wired Xbox 360 controller to use with my PC on this game, and that was fun too - a little more comfortable for the setup in my house as I could sit on the couch & play.

Anyway, if you like well-told shooting games, this is certainly worth a look if you haven't tried it already.

more thoughts on a lazy weekend

So it's Easter Sunday, the wife is feeling a little ill, and I find myself with lots of free time but needing to stay at home as we wait to go to a family gathering.

Have played quite a bit of games already, so now it's time to do something semi-productive and blog a bit.