Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What was lost has been found

The new best thing ever is that you can now stream Netflix's instant viewing content through your Xbox.  I've liked the British version of The Office for a long time, and I've always written off the American version as a pale imitation.  Well, since the American version is streamable, I decided to give it a second chance.  Turns out it's really damn good, even though it sheds some of the pathos of the British version.  

So last Thursday, I was watching a few episodes of that before bed, and then went to check something on the web.  No dice.  I did some futzing with the router and modem, and I could connect to the wireless network, but the router didn't seem to want to send the internet signal through.  It seemed that our old faithful Microsoft router (what, you didn't know that MS used to make routers five years ago?!) finally shat the bed.

Last Friday at work I did some poking around looking for new routers, and kept seeing recommendations for a router that could be ordered online, and that is awesome with some custom firmware.  I liked the idea, but since I hate playing with networking stuff even more than I hate going to the dentist, I wasn't relishing the idea.

Then, I remembered that I hadn't tapped the best resource of all: my company newsgroups, repository of all things geek.  Within twenty minutes of posting there for advice, one of the coders responded that he had the exact router that had been recommended, with the better firmware already installed, and he'd sell it to me for $25.  The only downside was that I wouldn't get it until Monday.

So we just went three days with essentially no internet at home.  I was able to stream The Office, because the modem was connected, and I could wire the Xbox to the modem, but our computers are in a different room, and running wires to them was too much work.  It's funny how much you realize that something is a part of your life until it's not there anymore.  Frankly, it was actually kind of nice to not be able to spend as much (or any) time surfing the web at home, since I do way more of that than I should.  I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to do less of that in the future.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holy hell, where've I been?

Well, I've learned two things:

1) Not buying games is very hard when working at a company that produces them, and when your coworkers are all gamers (but really, I knew this).
2) I suck at keeping schedules (I knew this too).

So the not buying games thing is pretty much dead.  I ran over it several times with a truck.  I'd rather not talk about it, as it points to a rather alarming lack of self control on my part.

What I'm working on doing now is getting more out of the games I do buy than I have in the past.  Generally, that means playing them to completion, which I historically don't do.  I have had a decent amount of success at doing this so far this year, finishing about ten games thus far (and with another two at least that I'm planning on finishing before new year's).  

Now, you may think that's not a lot, and compared to some people I know, it isn't.  For example, in college, my friend Andrew would frequently borrow games from me, only to return them a day or two later, having finished them on the hardest setting.  But for me, that's probably triple the number of games I finished the year before.  

My main problem with finishing games is that I stop at the hard parts.  If I die several times, I turn it off for the night.  Then my last memory of the game is dying frequently, so when I have to decide what to play the next day, I choose not to play something where I die frequently.  The irony is that usually if I go back and retry the section that was stumping me after I've taken a break, I get through with no problem.  Amazingly, I've found that if I actually just keep chipping away at the game, I finish it.

The other thing I've been doing is focusing exclusively on one game until it's done.  If I try and play three games at once, I wind up finishing none of them, while if I tell myself "Okay, I'm going to play Game A, then Game B, then Game C", I can manage to finish them all.

In the end, I think what I was most unhappy about with my game buying was the feeling that I would get games only to have them sit on the shelf, creating the Backlog that this blog is named after.  If I can spend more time actually playing the games I own/buy to completion, I think I will feel much better about having them.  I will also feel much better about selling them after I've finished them.