Author Archives: Chris - Page 2

E-Readers

I finally was able to check out a Kindle in person, since The Source started to sell them. I must say, I was pretty impressed. Page transitions were much faster than the Kobo I tried at Coles, and overall the device just felt better in my hands. I wanted one anyway, but after playing with an actual device a little bit, I’m sure of it now. Not right now, but it’s definitely on my list of toys to get.

Ripping DVDs

I’ve been poking around a bit lately at ripping some of the TV shows I have on DVD to MKV format, so I can store them on my ReadyNAS NV+ and play them via XBMC on whatever computer on my network. After some issues, I think I have it figured out. It doesn’t help that the show I was trying first is Supernatural, and there are more titles on the disc than there are shows, because some have recaps and some don’t. And they aren’t in any sensible order, so you have to watch the video to see which episode it is.

Season 1 Disc 1
title00: S01E01 46:22
title01: S01E04 42:08
title02: S01E04 41:13 (no recap)
title04: S01E02 43:10
title05: S01E03 43:27
title07: S01E02 41:33 (no recap)
title08: S01E03 42:32 (no recap)

See how annoying that is? Hopefully some of my other shows aren’t so bad. It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen past episode 9 of season 1 yet, so I can’t easily tell what episode sometime is.

Anyway, I’ve decided on using MakeMKV to grab things from the disc, and then run it through Handbrake to convert into the format I want. For some reason ripping directly with Handbrake causes it to have all sorts of audio and video glitches (on my Windows system, it does work fine – although slower – on my Mac). But since I don’t want to encode all of it anyway, the extra step works fine.

At some point I plan to pick up a Zotac Zbox HD-ID40-U to use as a HTPC. It’s currently on sale at NCIX but I’m going to wait until at least the summer to see what spare cash I’ll have for something like this. I’ve seen some reviews and video of how well it works, and I’m impressed. Perfect for what I want it for. I already have a hard drive and 4GB of memory lying around from my laptop, so it won’t cost me as much. And I’d likely stick Ubuntu on there so I don’t have to pick up another copy of Windows 7 (I miss playing around with Linux anyway).

Disappointment

We finally got around to playing Settlers of Catan with four people, and I found it to be rather long and boring. With a lot of downtime between your turns. I also had a couple of games of Memoir ’44 last weekend, and that was a lot of fun. Looking forward to more games of that.

In work news, our yearly inventory is finally over, and it apparently went well. We sure put enough work into it, and I’m glad it’s done. Next thing to look forward to after some long weekends are my holidays! Can’t wait. Even if I have no plans, it’s just nice to be off.

Oops…

If I had paid attention when I placed that last order for games, I would have noticed that Red November was actually a pre-order. And would likely be at least a 5-6 month wait since it hasn’t even started reprinting yet. I didn’t really want to hold up my entire order because of that, so I switched it out for Memoir ’44 – probably one of the top games on my list that I don’t have yet. Great service from Starlit Citadel made that pretty easy :)

Bacon! No wait, games!

Well, bacon is awesome of course, but that’s not really the point here. Just ordered a few more games. I was planning on getting an expansion or two for Dominion (Intrigue and Prosperity) and/or something else but Starlit Citadel was out of stock on the card sleeves I use, so I’ll wait on that. I wanted to get the Pandemic expansion, but it’s apparently out of print at the moment. Likely to be reprinted, hopefully at least.

So here’s what I ended up buying:

Dust I had planned on getting anyway, but the others are all more recent discoveries. Since the majority of my board game time is just two players, I was really focused on finding games that play well with two. Ascension is another deck-building card game, though with different sorts of mechanics than Dominion, and much easier setup/teardown from what I can tell. Red November sounds like a fun and quick co-op game. And Neuroshima Hex is sort of a tile laying wargame that seems to have fairly basic rules but lots of potential for strategy.

On the digital side of things, I’ve decided to stop playing MMOs altogether. Rift is pretty awesome, but I just don’t have the motivation to play anything in that genre anymore. A little burned out on it, I suppose. And wanting better content. EVE Online is another one I enjoyed playing from time to time, but also got bored often with it. There are plenty of other fun games I have for PC/Xbox360/PS3 to play. I am looking forward to Diablo 3 whenever it comes out, of course.

I’m not sure how, but my site had been infected with something for a little while (thanks Gavin). As far as I can tell, it’s cleaned up now. Let me know if something weird happens or breaks.

Games, soon…ish

Well, I don’t know about soon, but I think this is what I’m going to get next in the way of board games.

Yomi is a pretty neat looking card game – I may just check out the print-and-play version of it to see if I want to pick up the whole thing. Dust seems to be a fun version of Risk. The Pandemic expansion adds some cool things, along with crazy hard versions of the game which I probably won’t try just yet. And Zombie Dice to fill out the shopping cart to get free shipping, though it sounds like a quick fun game anyway.

Some of the games I’ve gotten have gotten quite a bit of play and have been fun. Others haven’t been quite as impressive for various reasons. Race for the Galaxy didn’t go over well, though I think that might have been from being overwhelmed with everything in the game. I’ve found some rules to gradually introduce parts of the game, I might give that a try to see how it goes. I haven’t even tried to play Twilight Struggle yet. After a poor introduction to RftG, I want to be more sure of the rules and how the game is played before I attempt that one.

I guess the regular games with my girlfriend tend to be Dominion, Carcassonne and Pandemic, with Ticket to Ride and Battle Line getting a fair amount of play and interest as well. Stone Age was fun, we just haven’t gotten around to playing it since the first time. I keep getting my ass kicked at Dominion lately, and I’m not sure I’ve ever beaten her at Battle Line (only a handful of plays, but still…). Not that I mind losing, the playing is the fun part :) Going to give Alhambra a try tonight, probably along with my sister and mother playing too.

Things could change before actually buying more, of course. Time will tell :) I’m just very pleased that I’ve been able to spend so much quality time with my girlfriend, and friends and family, playing games together.

Last new games for a little while

Now that my WordPress installation isn’t semi-broken, I can post this.

My newest shipment of games are here, though I haven’t played any of them yet. I’ll start on them this weekend :)

Besides Race for the Galaxy, those were among the top games I wanted to buy. That one was a cheaper card game that caught my interest somewhere along the way.

That’s plenty of games to occupy spare time for a while, now to get back into savings mode. Planning on moving this summer, so extra cash will be handy there.

I also should have a Keurig coffee machine this week, the Breville Gourmet Single Serve Brewer BKC700XL. I can’t wait :)

More games!

My board game playing has been successful, people I’ve been playing with have also enjoyed the games (mostly just my girlfriend so far, most of our friends probably aren’t too interested in such things). We both love Carcassonne and I just received the original River expansion, Inns and Cathedrals, and a mini-expansion that came packaged with Games Quarterly #11. Can’t wait to play a game with those new tiles.

I’ve been looking up info on lots of other games and adding a bunch of them to my wishlist. Mostly I’m wanting them to play well with just two players, so that ends up having some good looking games being left out for now. Oh well. I’m going to limit myself to buying just one or two games a month, coming to a total of ~$100 CAD including tax and shipping. That’ll give us time to give new games proper play time, and keep expenses lower ;)

So my new January games ordered are Citadels and Ticket to Ride. Not sure for February yet, but it might be Twilight Struggle along with something cheaper or an expansion. Or Alhambra Big Box edition. I have a month to decide :)

More board games

I still haven’t gotten around to playing all of the games I picked up recently, just Carcassonne and Battle Line. Both have been pretty fun, though. I’ve been reading up on some other games, and I think I’m going to buy Alhambra: Big Box and Ticket to Ride: Europe next. Both sound like they work well with 2 players (and more, of course) and seem to be good games.

My copy of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion is on the way from Amazon, I’m still in no real rush for it. I’ll have to renew my account whenever it gets here, I guess. And after I sort out some authenticator problems I have.

WoW vs EQ2

All this news and chat about the World of Warcraft expansion coming in a few weeks, and I can’t get excited about it at all.

On the other hand, I’ve been playing EverQuest 2 again and having lots of fun with it! They’ve improved on the game quite a lot in the last six years.