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Sat, Nov 24 2001

I had a really pleasant surprise yesterday when one of the people who use my software sent me an Amazon gift certificate for $40! This is the first such gift I've received from anybody and it was indeed something pleasant and surprisingly gratifying just because of the fact that you know that what you do is appreciated by others :-) Von is a Blog user that I got to know a few weeks ago because she had a few questions for me - then I stumbled across her site while going through my site logs - and as I usually do - went over there and noticed that she was having some problems with setting up comments ... I'd already walked a few people through the process and so I offered my help and we were able to get it working after some tweaking. I thought nothing of it after that till I received the gift certificate yesterday - so thank you Von :-)

In fact, Von's gift made me think of putting up some sort of a Hall of Fame for people who have contributed back in some form or other. Because when I thought about it, I realized that Von's gift was the first monetary contribution I've received, that there are a few more people who've given something back in their own way - there's KuhnDog and Lyon Lym who host the mirror sites for me (they have to pay to keep their sites operating and they give me space on the servers free of charge), there's sinesolis who's put in his time to come up with some incredible icons for my apps as well as ideas about how to improve them, there's John who's done a lot to get me started with Delphi and continues to give advice and help and last but not least, there's Jugg who always listens to my coding problems, gives advices, tests an app as soon as it's ready and is basically a very good friend :-) So there are all these people who've given quite a bit to me and I feel that they remain unappreciated just because only I know of what they do - so I think I should put up a Hall of Fame for them and I'll probably get started on it today ... just as soon as I finish "Munch's Oddysee" :p (I'm kidding of course - not about putting up the Hall of Fame, but about waiting till I finish the game <g>)

Speaking of "Munch's Oddysee", I spent another day yesterday playing the game and adding to the hint guide I'd started and while I thought I would finish the game by evening, I was proved wrong :-) Of course, I needed to take breaks in between to think through how to tackle a particularly tough problem and give my fingers a rest but still I can't imagine how some of the people who claim to have finished the game in one night on Usenet could have done it - they must have been maniacs! (Or extremely smart - probably the latter since I'm no great shakes in the brains department <vbg>) One thing seems to be sure, a lot of people seem to like the Oddworld game guide I put up because I've already had over 70 hits! So I guess I'll keep on adding to it :-)

I've added links to both the Oddworld guide and the Hall of Fame I was talking about earlier, on the sidebar so that they'll remain there even after these posts have moved on ... :-)
posted at 05:57:13 AM  link  comment

Fri, Nov 23 2001

Played "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee" most of yesterday - since I am fasting these days due to it being the month of Ramadhan, I didn't even have to stop to eat :p The game is just too addictive! I would play a couple of levels, say I am going to stop now but then continue because I wanted to get through "just the next level" :p I did find myself stuck at a couple of places however and couldn't find any resources online to help me out. In fact, about the only online guide to "Munch's Oddysee" that I found was Sinjin's but that seemed to be a very ambitious project and was still in the initial stages. However, the site was almost an empty page last week when I started playing the game and now it has quite a bit of introductory content, so it might not be long before the site is up. But till then, players looking online for a guide to "Munch's Oddysee" are probably going to be out of luck and I didn't like that :-) So I did a hasty hints guide (not a full walkthrough mind you ..) and put it up here since somebody might benefit from my experience :p

On other news, the XBox box I had on EBay (I don't remember whether I mentioned this but since I decided to keep the XBox system, I decided to auction the box :p) went for around $130 - it was over $150 but somebody withdrew their bid - and then the person who bought it writes to me and says that he's a kid and that he really wanted an XBox! Why can't people read what is there instead of what they want it to be? The title clearly said that it was an Xbox box and I bet that he never bothered to read the description .... Ah well, guess that experiment in human logical thinking was a resounding success!! :p
posted at 07:00:07 AM  link  comment

Tue, Nov 20 2001

I had posted a few days ago about the fact that I was having some problems with a certain DVD on my PlayStation2. Anders Pedersen was kind enough to post a comment about how PS2's were supposed to have problems with certain DVD's and even posted a link to a site which contained a pretty long list of DVD's which had been tested with the PS2. I was kind of bummed out to learn that the PS2 would not play some of the DVD's from my pretty extensive (if I say so myself <g>) collection of DVD's. I decided to go home and make sure that the mentioned DVD's would really not work on my PS2 before going out and getting the DVD playback kit for the XBox and making it my primary console :p and I guess it was a good thing that I did that too ...

The only DVD that I remembered from the list was the Alien Legacy box set and the list said that none of the movies from the set would play on the PS2. I tried the movies at home and was surprised to find that they played perfectly fine! I thought maybe there might be a problem with all region DVD's and so tried a few Indian movies that I had and they worked too! So either the DVD player software on my PS2 (which is a different model than the original one and has an updated DVD player - 2.10U - ) now works correctly or the people who did the testing for the list had some other problems. Either way, at the moment I don't plan to get the DVD playback kit for the XBox. But I do intend to get the full list of DVD's from the PS2 compatibility list and check them out over the long holiday against the movies that I do have. If I find a few that don't work, I'll probably end up testing the XBox DVD playback ... if not, I'm happy with my PS2 - at least for the moment :
posted at 08:40:59 AM  link  comment

Mon, Nov 19 2001

Well ... I was going to leave the XBox I got last week in it's factory sealed state since I wanted to sell it on EBay but the auction didn't seem to be going anywhere (I later actually realized that none of the XBox auctions seemed to pick up till the very last day ...) and I was kinda curious to see what the XBox was like so I went out early yesterday morning to the local KMart - so that I could also see how the GameCube was doing <vbg> - and got a copy of "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee" and unpacked the XBox. Big mistake - or great move, depending on your perspective <g> - because I found the XBox to rock!! :p The performance is great, I like the interface and above all the sheer quality of Oddworld just blew me away!

The FMV sequences are just too brilliant for words, the game is fast and responsive - none of those loooong delays I experienced on the in store demo - and I just loved the gameplay as well! Now I don't know whether Oddworld is typical of XBox games as far as some of its features go but if so, all I can say is "yippeee" :p The game has some of the features that PC games have always had but console games seem to lack for some weird reason - save anywhere, load a game without restarting the console ... simple stuff like that :-) In fact, I found myself comparing and contrasting LucasArts' "Escape from Monkey Island" against Oddworld and the former (while a great game and extremely funny), didn't come off too well even though it is a port from PC. Monkey Island has a weird save where you have to begin with a saved game and then only save over it over and over again ... and of course there is no way to reload a game except by restarting the PS2 ... and those load times! Oh those load times!! Every scene in Monkey Island has to be loaded and you have a delay in between scene changes - as opposed to Oddworld where the loading occurred only when transitioning from game sequences to FMV ... and even then, it was pretty fast!

I should also add that I find the hard disk to be a great extra. I didn't have to buy a memory card and I can save gazillions of games on the hard disk without having to worry about running out of space. Coupled with the fact that it has a built-in ethernet port which would come in extremely handy if online gaming does ever take off, I am beginning to think that XBox is the way to go :p So I guess, I won't be selling my XBox after all <vbg> Of course, one problem I see with XBox is the fact that it still doesn't have enough games - and ones that interest me at that - at the moment. Only titles that I know of and am interested in at the moment are "Azurik: Rise of Perathia" and "Ego", which is not supposed to be out at least till late next year (or is it the year after that?) If they can get a good library of games going (of the same quality as Oddworld), I think Microsoft has a pretty good chance in the console wars ...

Speaking of the console wars, as I mentioned earlier, I went over to the local KMart early yesterday and they had a whole stack of GameCubes - must have been at leat 20, if not more. I was half tempted to get one but while "Pikmin" looks interesting, I really don't find any of the GameCube launch titles all that appealing. And the fact that they had so many consoles at my local KMart - which normally doesn't have enough of anything <g> - seemed to indicate that there won't be a shortage and so it didn't seem to make sense to buy one to put on Ebay :p I went back in the evening and I noticed that they'd sold almost all of their consoles but still had about five or six left ... So I guess there are enough GameCubes to handle the demand - though I'm not really sure that is a good marketing tactic considering the demand for PS2 that was created basically due to the shortage of PS2's last year :
posted at 08:00:08 AM  link  comment

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