Saturday, June 21, 2008

In which much time has passed

Well, when I said that I'd be posting every Monday, I may not have taken my increased work schedule into account. Since the beginning of the month, I've been on Mon-Thurs 12 hour day, regular 8 hour day on Friday work schedule. In addition, work has been, well, more work, and I've had a hard time keeping track of the passing days, let alone writing a blog post.

So last you heard, I was having problems with my new PS3. Well, I'm happy to report that after writing that post, the answer was given to me. Turns out what was happening was a ground loop, which is basically an electrical signal feeding back into the system by way of the grounding plug. The solution was to plug the PS3 (with a 3-prong plug) into a 2-prong adapter, and plug that in without properly grounding it. Bing, problem solved.

So I've picked up a few games on the cheap, and borrowed some more from work. I've liked what I've played, but it hasn't been anything that I think couldn't have been done on the 360. Bluray movies, however, look excellent, though no better than HD-DVDs do. At least the system boots up quickly and is very quiet.

This week's Rock Band releases include the entire album Doolittle by the Pixies, as well as three tracks off the new Weezer album. I have to admit I'm not familiar at all with Doolittle, so I'll probably be giving them a listen before I buy them. I'll pick up one or more of the Weezer tracks. Definitely getting The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, which is an awesome song.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Failure Pt. 2 - Karma bites back

So as I confessed mere hours ago, I bought myself a PS3. Apparently God isn't big on oathbreakers, as my experience thus far has been mediocre at best.

Long story short, it turns out that having the PS3 connected to the TV messes up any signals going in on any inputs except one. So if I want to be using the PS3, I have to have it connected via HDMI or it messes up its own signal, and if I want to use anything else, I have to have it disconnected completely.

That's fantastic. I've never heard of anything like that before. I've tried everything I can think of (and I can think of a lot), including exchanging the system for a new one, and that's the only conclusion I came up with. Bear in mind that my TV is Sony too.

I made the mistake of calling the Sony support line. The supervisor there told me that my best bet would be to either live with it, or replace my old, probably broken TV, with one of their fine Bravia LCDs. I told them that since I just spent $400 on this new PS3, I can't afford to buy one of their fine TVs, but if they wanted to give me a $400 discount, I might be persuaded. Unsurprisingly, they refused.

They also offered to let me send it to them for repair. That was nice of them I thought.

So, my faith in Sony's engineering remains very low.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wherin I fail

It's a sad day for me. I dislike Sony and ever so many things about the way they operate. Unfortunately, they seem to have pulled off a win in the HD disc wars, and Bluray is the heir apparent to the DVD empire. Of course, it's almost equally likely that streaming media will turn out to really take over from DVD, and Bluray will become the new laserdisc, but that's a different discussion.

Loving HD movies as I do, it was inevitable that I was going to get a player eventually. What's strange about the Bluray player market is that there's only one player that runs well, is relatively glitch-free, and will support the constantly changing Bluray standard. I just so happens that this Bluray player comes with a PS3 attached to it.

So I've been resigned to the fact that it was very likely that I'd be procuring myself a PS3 at some point in the next year. This week, two things combined to bring me to the place I'm at now.

Thing the first: Sony has a deal where if you sign up for their credit card, you get $100 off your first $300 purchase with it. PS3s are more than $300.

Thing the second: Walmart had a promotion last week where if you bought a 40GB PS3, you got a $100 Walmart gift card. Best Buy, it turns out, offered to match that deal if you asked them.

The result is essentially a $200 PS3.

So, freshly minted Sony card in hand, I armed myself with the SKU for the pricematch (I love the internet) and a printout of the Walmart ad, and made my way to Best Buy. Once there, I got someone at Customer Service, and pulled out my Walmart ad, and asked about the pricematch. Having done this kind of thing before, I was fully prepared with a story about a friend in Albany who works at Best Buy having clued me in to the pricematch, the email to stores from corporate, and the exact SKU to use to ring the deal.

To my shock, the guy knew exactly what I was talking about, and said it was no problem, and did I want to get anything else while I was there?

So for a relatively low cash outlay, I now have a PS3 firmly attached to my home theater setup. One more run out to get a new set of cables (the ones I have apparently cause a strange video artifact on my TV when they're hooked into the PS3, one of the wierdest things I've seen in a while), and I'll be all set. Pirates of the Caribbean and Ratatouille will be very sweet in HD.

Unfortunately, this means my no buying games plan has failed. I picked up the two games I'm really interested in for the PS3, though I got them for half price, so that's good. I'm also using the remainder of the gift card to pick up Metal Gear Solid 4 later this week. Which brings us to:

Games bought:
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - $30
Ratchet and Clank Future - $30
PS3 - $200
Medieval 2: Kingdoms - $8

New total:

Fortunately, there aren't more than a few games coming out for the PS3 that I'm interested in, so I don't foresee this resulting in any extra game purchases beyond what I listed. However, it may result in some bluray purchases. Good thing I already kicked my compulsive DVD buying habit.