Time to Get a Blu-Ray Player!

I can’t believe the big news dropped when I was kaputski but it’s official that HD DVD is dead!

And I say good riddens!

Now don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for all of you who were early adopters of HD DVD.

I mean, at point or another I guess you had about a coin flip’s chance of coming out on top and now…

Well now the writing is on the wall.

Was This How it Should’ve Ended?
I don’t know. Even though I’m definitely more tech savvy than your normal consumer, I never learned of any big differences between the two formats and the smaller ones look to be fixed or getting fixed in recent updates of the Blu-Ray format. So personally I’m just glad things are over so we home theater enthusiasts can put some real money behind a serious solution. But on a related side note, I really wasn’t happy when HD DVD seemed to prolong things by offering HUGE sums of money to buy out studios in support of their format so I’m not really shedding a tear over how things shook out.

HD DVD Fallout
Now that the dust is starting to setting, maybe the most interesting thing is how companies are trying to deal with it all. Engadget HD is a constant source of HD DVD updates and amisdt all the crazy (but true) stuff they report, the thing I’m most interested in is the price of the HD DVD add-on for the 360 being lowered to $49.99. I mean, that’s cheaper than new games!! Obviously, I’m a bit tempted to buy it but then that voice comes back and says, “Hey! They lost remember! How much longer will movies be sold for it!?” But then I think about it for a bit longer and say, “But with a little more time, chances are that prices for HD DVDs could come WAY down!” Oh wait – Looks like they already are.

What do all of you make of this? Should I get a player now? Should I just not and go Blu-Ray when I eventually get a PS3? Do any non home theater fans care about any of this?

Back on the Good Foot

Remember when I wrote the post “A Bit Sick at the Moment?”?

Well…

I wasn’t even halfway into it at that point so I’m really glad I took it upon myself to write a little update. Today it definitely seems like I’m on the mend after spending some quality face time with Mr. T on Saturday. (Mr. T = Mr. Toilet)

So thanks for the warm wishes everyone and I’m sorry I couldn’t respond to all your msgs ’cause I really felt awful miserable.

BUT YESTERDAY
I felt pretty good. Well, at least compared to Saturday when I was crawling around on all fours for a little bit. SO GOOD in fact that I took a stroll around the neighborhood with el familia and sometime during the walk we came upon a basketball court with kids shooting around. And in this situation there was only one thing to do : Me and a friend who was visiting challenged the two to a friendly game of two on two. Quickly that became two on 6 six but we still destroyed them. Say what you will but when they cried, “Come on guys! It’s two on six!!!” – Well, that’s just gotta make you feel good!

So Now That I’m Back…
It looks like there are several things that I need to get to including my 3rd Blog Anniversary Contest and awarding the winner of the 2nd and giving out that prize! And aside from all of THAT, plenty of other stuff was going on in the world including the demise of HD DVD, XNA games on XBL, my discovery of GetVMail and my work on other projects most notable of which is LSO. So hopefully this week I’ll get a second to talk about all that and of course be able to catch up with all you crazy kids out there in Blog Land.

Oh, and Mike – We may have to start a permanent NyQuil IV on you! Get better soon buddy! (#):)

A Bit Sick at the Moment

Hey sorry about the lack of posts guys, I managed to catch a nice little bug from my family and it’s taking a bit of a toll on me. I’m really hoping to get it out of my system tonight so expect things to get back to normal manana.

Sucks that I’m not posting at the moment too with all the exciting things going on!

But don’t worry, I’ll be back with THAT stuff and contest news probably starting tomorrow.

Can you wait? I know I can’t!

Sabado Gigante!

With SO much going on in this post, I just HAD to have a name to reflect it all!

Even though I still haven’t been able to beat Zuma Deluxe, or “Green Grass and High Tides” in Rock Band, this has been a pretty good week for myself both in terms of this blog and for other sites I have going on.

So for today I present you with Saturday Speedlinkin, the last word in the first contest, and the results of the super secret second contest I had a day or so ago!

Saturday Speedlinkin XII
18 Amazing Yet Simple Photo Effects to Make Yourself Look Different by Rajat – I’ve really been getting back into more design and image manipulation lately, so this is right up my alley.

Garry Conn Shifts Gears by Brown Baron – I knew about Garry’s other blog, Blog the Internet before this post, and it looks like he’s changed the look of it a lot since I was there last… I’m definitely interested in seeing how he does with it.

Six Defining Moments of a Problogger by Darren Rowse – I always love getting into the heads of the successful, and this post lets us all do just that. And I think it’s cool that the six things Darren has on there I DEF would not put on my personal list. Well, accept for maybe starting THIS blog. (#):)

And of course, you’ve all been stumbled!

Secret Contest Winners!
So as many of you know, I posted details on how to enter my secret contest a little while ago. The post went up very late in the day and was limited greatly by time but despite this, I still had some people find it and enter it. And the winners are…




ALL OF YOU!

So congrats ES, Mary, Apexad, and Teeni! I’ll be sending you kids an e-mail back for your address so I can send you your *drumroll* And before I forget, not only do I have to thank you for playing, but thanks for the thoughtful e-mails. Learning more about you guys makes this whole thing more fun for everyone!



SanDisk Sansa m240 1 GB MP3 Player w/ FM Tuner!

Contest 1 of 3 Wrap Up
And for the rest of you (and ES, Mary, Teeni and Apexad who are still eligible), remember that the first contest is wrapping up today, so make sure you get that last word from my feed and e-mail me the secret phrase before 1pm EST Sunday Feb 17th.

Good luck everybody! (P.S. I forgot to change the secret word when I originally posted this, so if you don’t see it, make sure you refresh the feed or something).

A February 15th Update

Boy oh boy did that power outage last night mess me up in regards to posting.

I had planned to get home, catch up on e-mails, write some posts and continue to fight the good fight.

But as you know, that didn’t exactly happen when MY source of power, electricity, was ripped from my life leaving me w/o a dream in the world.

It was so funny… At one point last night, I just grabbed my laptop and started to slink into my dark family room when my wife said, “Did I do something?” I replied, “No… I just don’t have a reason to go on.” ha ha I can really be over the top sometimes but seriously! – I had planned to do my posts, write e-mails, work on my sites, finish Zuma… It RUINED my night AND my post for today. So instead of anything useful, I’ll just give you an update of what’s crackalackin’ on my side of the street.

Video Games
As previously stated, I still need to finish Zuma Deluxe. That game is still a blast and I’d feel like less of a person if I never got those achievements for it. And after that, I have to go back to Rock Band and continue to work on that one.

Web Stuff
Well this site seems to be going pretty well for the moment, so I’ve finally turned my attention back towards LSO and going forth what that project. Don’t worry, details of that will be forth coming. Aside from that, I’ve also gotten some ppl who are interested in me doing some web work for them, so I really should be working hard this weekend to get that stuff done or at least progress talks with those persons.

Everything Else
I guess the only other things worthy of mention are the contests on here. Remember: The first contest wraps up manana, and tomorrow I’ll also be revealing who won the secret contest from yesterday and what exactly those people won! BOOYAKA!

Victim of Love

Admittedly, the title has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day. So before I forget, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m not sure what yours consisted of, but a quick recap of mine was I lost power for a very very long time, and you know that for a tech guy like me that just breaks my heart.

Thankfully though, it just came back (right before I was going to go to bed) so I thought I’d jump on and just let you know that it’s Secret Contest Time (2 out of 3)!

How do you play?
Just e-mail me and tell me what you want to accomplish in life. In can be anything… Something professional, something personal, but I hope you’ll sincerely make it honest. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to pick winners for this one, but the deadline is Feb 15th, 1pm EST. Good luck!

What Needs to Change for You to go PRO?

I was reading a couple of posts on ProBlogger yesterday, namely about how he became a professional blogger and what he thought of the professional blogging industry.

They posts make for interesting reads so I won’t summarize them, but after reading’em I got to thinking about the big professional bloggers – John Chow, Darren Rowse and Jeremy Shoemaker and in particular started to ponder how all of them were able to become professional bloggers.

Thought 1 – How Did They Get So Many People to Frequent Their Blog?
On the subject of making money from your blog, this was the first thing that popped into my head because obviously, the more people that come to your site, the more value ads have for advertisers, the more money you can charge. So naturally I said, “So to go PRO, you gotta get those people to your blog right? Well why would people do that?”

Thought 2 – Why Would People WANT to Frequent Their Blog?
I wish I could remember where I first saw it but simply put, a user visits a site because it provides some kind of value. Maybe it’s humor, maybe it’s web development lessons, but whatever it is, it’s something. So then I thought, “Ok. So to go PRO, you gotta provide something of value to your readers… My blog is about technology, video games and blogging…”

Thought 3 – Am I providing substantial value on my subjects for my readers?
This was a hard one to think about because it’s never easy or fun to deal with your own faults. For me and this site, I again talk about three things… Technology, video games and blogging.

  • Strike 1 – On the technology side, I think it’s fair to say that I rarely bring news or reviews of technology (aside from video games) to my readers. Nor do I share technological items with them.
  • Strike 2 – On the video game side of things, there are sites that are better than mine. They do more comprehensive reviews, often review full games, and give games to their readers.
  • Strike 3 – Out of the three things that I mainly talk about on here, I’m probably best qualified to speak about blogging and web development. But I rarely do so. Instead, I spend most of my time speculating on how to make money online which relative to others, I haven’t done yet.

Thought 4 – If I were ever to go PRO, something has to change.
You know that ol’ 20/80 rule right? Well I think if I honestly analyzed how things have been going on here, I’d probably be more “successful” at things if I decided to talk more about things that I have authority on such as web development and blogging. After all, most people who visit the big bloggers’ sites go there because they want to know WHAT TO DO… What WILL work. The biggest problem for me is that I think I’d get bored if I limited my topics like this.

Even if I just wrote about web development and blog tips, I’m too interested in web entrepreneurship not to bring it up. But I really don’t have much authority to speak about it which brings me to my final thought…

Thought 5 – To be an authority on making money online, I have to start making money online.
Going back to the big make money online bloggers, we all visit their sites because we consider them to be authorities on what they write about. They’re authorities because they’ve become successful making money online.

But did they make their first monies with the blogs we’re familiar with?

Probably not. And I guess that’s the thing we often forget about. I kind of think it like these guys have corporations. And the only part we see is their public front, kind of like their PR dept. But what started making them the money is their individual departments and subsidiaries that we tend to overlook (such as Darren’s photo blog or Shoemoney’s past experience in the ringtone market).

Now don’t worry, this post doesn’t mark a “midlife blog crisis” for me or anything but more a reminder for all of us that if we’re looking to go PRO with our online efforts it definitely doesn’t happen overnight, and often it comes from the sum of our various projects – Earning us not only money, but invaluable wisdom that we can share with others.

My Favourite Things

So with all of the anniversary hoopla going on ’round here, I thought that I’d take a break from the “usual” and write some posts about things you don’t often see on here.

Currently, I’m far too busy to support another blog, so there are often a ton of thoughts and things going on in my life that I don’t get to share because they don’t fit the “Bush Mackel” mold.

But I think THIS is one of those times where I can talk about some other things so you can get to know me a bit better.

“…Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String…”
First off, this is not a meme. If I were smart, I’d probably make it into a meme to get some links back here but that would have me tagging people and I just hate doing that. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure it’s a lock that the “Favourite Things” meme has been done before, though maybe not with the UK spelling. (#);)

So check it out, these are just a few of my favourite things, guilty pleasures, and stuff that I just enjoy. I have a really hard time saying that X is my FAVOURITE thing, so don’t hold it against me if I name a few things per category ok?

  • Favourite movies : The Crow, Rocky, Zoolander, Berry Gordy’s the Last Dragon, Sidekicks, Commando
  • Favourite foods : Chicken Enchiladas (not from a restaurant), Hamburgers, Restaurant Meatloaf
  • Favourite drinks : Miller Lite, Seabreeze
  • Favourite desserts : Butter Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing, Cheesecake
  • Favourite finger foods : Deviled Eggs
  • Favourite songs : Blurry by Puddle of Mudd, Man in the Mirror & Human Nature by Michael Jackson, Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog
  • Favourite artists : Good Charlotte, Foo Fighters, Hot Hot Heat, Michael Jackson
  • Favourite albums : Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morisette, Elevator by Hot Hot Heat, Bad by Michael Jackson
  • Favourite video games : Street Fighter (even EX), MvC, CvSNK, Tekken, Rhythm (GH, Rock Band, Parappa, Space Channel 5, Frequency, etc), KH1, FF >= VII, Command & Conquer Series
  • Favourite game characters : Ken from SF, Rock and Terry from SNK, King from Tekken, Dudley from SFIII, Cast of Gears of War, Link from LoZ
  • Favourite game things : Voice acting from RE1 (“NO!…DON’T GO!” & “Don’t open … – That … doOR”), Soul Blade on PSX Intro, Music from Parappa the Rapper, Blanka stage from Street Fighter the Movie the Game, “The King Combo” from Tekken, XBLA, Ganon’s death from Windwaker, Ending to LoZ : Link to the Past, depth in Tekken, super combos
  • Favourite comic characters : Batman, Spider-Man (not the movie Spider-Man), the Joker
  • Favourite comic stories : Civil War, DK Returns, Killing Joke, Knightfall
  • Favourite sports : Martial Arts, Basketball, Tennis
  • Favourite athletes : Wolf from AG, Brett Favre, Darrell Green
  • Favourite shows : Family Guy, 24 (before last season), The Shield, American Gladiators
  • Favourite laws & theories : Time travel by Einstein, the Law of Averages
  • Favourite colors : Red & Black, Brown
  • Favourite cars: Ford Focus SVT, Hybrids, 1986 Volvo
  • Favourite shoes: Converse hi-tops, Brooks Addiction 7
  • Favourite flavours: Raspberry, Apple, Chocolate

WOAH. This list is freakin’ huge! Time to end it so that SOMEONE may actually have a chance to read it. (#):) Oh and don’t forget, today’s the first day of the first contest!

The 1st Anniversary Blog Contest! (1 of 3)

“Woah ho hO HO! STOP THE CAR! We got an emergency can’t you see!?”

If you hadn’t heard – That emergency is the one year anniversary of this site and me having to find a way to celebrate it! WAHOO! (Can you tell I’m very excited for a Monday!?)

But hey, you should be excited too because I’m giving away some tremendous prizes for all of you kids out there in blogland! Because I wouldn’t still be at it if it wasn’t for all of you!

“You gotta be IN IT to WIN IT.”
So here’s how the contests are going to shake out. First off, they’re going to take place between this week and next week and are aimed at not only giving YOU guys some cool stuff, but also upping my subscriber count. So to play two out of the three contests…

  1. Subscribe to my feed!
  2. Once you’re reading it, check out the footer on the post to get the “Word of the Day“.
  3. At the end of the week take the five words, put them together and shoot me an e-mail to enter the contest!

You HAVE to e-mail me all five words to enter the contest. So after you e-mail me, you’ll automatically be in the runnings with one entry. If you want more entries do the following and make sure you let me know with URLs on your entry e-mail…

  • Comment on this post +1
  • Post about the contest on your site. +5

And that goes for each of the RSS contests – One this week (starting tomorrow) and one next week (starting Tuesday of that week too).

The Mystery Third Contest
I’m not gonna tell you what the third contest is, how to enter it and when it’ll be… Only that it’ll be during these next two weeks. So stay tuned to the site and to the feed, and when you see it, pounce like a cat!

Prizes
At this point, I’m going to say what the prizes are for any of the contests but I’ll say they’re certainly things I’m going to spend money on (i.e. not services) and should be stuff that you guys will like if you like this site. You kids gave me a lot of good ideas on my previous post on the subject, and I’ll probably take a few ideas from there. (#):)

XBLA – Poker Smash Review (DEMO)

There was a time when I was really into Texas Fold’em. But then you have kids… You wakeup and have a wife – And suddenly your time isn’t quite your own anymore.

But a couple months ago when I saw something for a Xbox Live Arcade game called Poker Smash, those Hold’em juices started to flow again!

Very recently the game was finally released, and yesterday I downloaded the demo and took it for a spin.

What is Poker Smash?
It’s a puzzle game in the same vein of Tetris or Super Puzzle Fighter where your available blocks are the high playing cards, (10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace) with all the suits being represented (Spade, Club, Heart and Diamond). To clear the cards you have to make hands upwards from three of a kind. So three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush…Oh and the coveted five of a kind is represented too. The cards start at the bottom of the screen and scroll upwards, so if you don’t make some hands before the board reaches the top, it’s game over.

Poker Smash

First Impressions
The first thing about Poker Smash that you’ll like will most likely be the presentation. Graphics are very crisp, effects are awesome, and music is good too (even if a bit too country for my tastes).

Gameplay
I think what is most interesting about this game is how the gameplay is different than a lot of other puzzlers out there. I didn’t give it much thought going in, but when you start playing you’ll probably notice that it’s not that easy to make hands. I think the reason for this is because in most puzzle games you deal with only one dimension of the blocks – Like color. You match up enough of the same color, or you use a bomb of that same color and presto, lines are gone. Or in Tetris, you just have to fill the gaps and *poof* lines are gone.

Poker Smash Gameplay

In Poker Smash, you can always line up colors (since they are one indication of a card’s value) but that usually only yields three or four of a kinds. To get anywhere in the game, you have to start recognizing the “more complex” hands and that requires looking at suits and card combinations (like straights and full houses) which just don’t come as easily as matching colors. Plus, that also makes you have to look at 5 different kinds of blocks (10 -> A) where usually in these kinds of games you’re only dealing with 4 different types of blocks.

Poker Smash Multiplayer

“So Yay or Nay?”
Trust me, after playing Poker Smash for a minute or two, the scroll speed will increase and YOU WILL start to struggle to make your hands. Truthfully, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On hand i feel that it’s cool that a puzzle game stretches your mind that much and that lines don’t come that easily. On another hand I wonder if I want to put that much effort into a XBLA game and if the juice will be worth the squeeze. Maybe the answer will come in the way of multiplayer and if you can manage to get some good games going.

Poker Smash Graphics

My thoughts are, the demo is AT LEAST worth checking out and even not being huge into puzzle games, I’m SERIOUSLY thinking about unlocking this one. I mean, it is really fun albeit a bit challenging. (#):)