Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

A Swift Kick In The Hardware December 5, 2008

Filed under: Hardware — Gwyddia @ 9:05 pm
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Some iPhone 3G users have reported not being able to receive calls from landlines.  The solution – hard reboot.  Hold down your Home key and the silver button on the top of your phone until you can turn it off.  Wait at least one minute, and then turn it back on.  There you go.


Nintendo Finally Admits to New DS Design October 2, 2008

Filed under: DS,Hardware,Rumors — Gwyddia @ 9:39 am
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I can't do that, Dave.

I can't do that, Dave.



As per The Register’s Hardware section (thanks, Araan!), Nintendo has finally set us up the bomb.


The Nintendo DSi will launch in Japan on November 1st.  Contrary to popular rumor, the DSi still only has one touchscreen.  It will also sport a 3 Megapixel digital camera, an SD card slot, very slightly larger screens (3.25″ v. 3″), and improved audio.  It will also be a tad slimmer due to the removal of the GBA slot.


All in all, this is a nice update, but if you already have a smartphone, probably nothing to write home about. I’ll withhold final judgment until i can hear the “improved audio” for myself.


The Nintendo DSi will cost ¥18,900/USD $179 when it is released next month in Japan.  No word yet on when Europe or North America will see it on their shores.


Review: Cradlepoint CTR-500 portable broadband router September 15, 2008

From our tech in the field, funjon, comes this review of the Cradlepoint CTR-500 portable broadband router. Tired of paying $10/hour at a Starbucks, funjon decides to blaze his own trail.  Gaming on the go or no go at all?  Read on.

A funjon.

A funjon.




In early July I bought a Cradlepoint CTR-500 portable broadband router. Its quite the useful little device – can set up and share mobile broadband anywhere, including the car. Great toy, if you’ve got a USB data card or ExpressCard/34 data card. Which I do – the Novatel Wireless Merlin XU870. Which as served me wonderfully over the past year.


Except it’s not supported by the CTR-500.


It worked from the start, sort of. The router saw it. With the appropriate AT commands, it would connect. But it crashed and rebooted, a lot. I think the longest runtime was 2 minutes before it went boom.


All is not lost! It appears that with the new (August 08) release of firmware, 1.3.1, the CTR-500 likes my Novatel Wireless Merlin XU870 ExpressCard. Obviously, it continues to not be officially supported, but it will connect. It connected before, too, but this time it doesn’t crash. Or at least, hasn’t yet. In fact, I’m posting this through the CTR-500/XU870 combo right now.


Of course, I went and bought an Option GT Max card used on eBay for $120, so I’d have -something- that worked with it right now. Which, I’ll probably keep for the time being, it never hurts to have a backup (or an officially supported device). With the Merlin, I don’t get the nifty signal-strength feature, but it does seem to be working.


Now I just need to find something to put the router in while it’s in my backpack so it doesn’t get scratched to hell. Oh, and I really need to fix the cigarette lighters in my car, so the router will work on them.


Official support would be even cooler, but making it not crash on this unsupported modem is MUCH APPRECIATED. I’m glad I didn’t spend $350 on a data card (and $200 on a router) in vain.


Now to get a couple of mag-mount antennae put on the car for super mega signal.  The router -and- the Merlin card both have external antenna connectors. Hooray for a 80mph WiFi hotspot!


All in all, I’d probably give it 4 weiners out of 5. There have been some teething problems (occasionally config options dont get saved to flash), but it has additional features I’m not using. You can also plug in a USB broadband card, or you can use a phone as a modem, and there’s a wired ethernet port that can be either a WAN or LAN port, configurable in software.


The Cradlepoint CTR-500 retails for around USD $179.99.



Apple iGame now available September 9, 2008

Filed under: Hardware,Mac,WeinerCast — Gwyddia @ 10:44 pm
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Look out world, Apple has declared the iPod Touch to be a gaming machine. Monkeyball fanatics rejoice! Declaring it “The Funnest iPod Ever” (ugh), Apple rolled out a thinner, sleeker iPod touch with an advanced accelerometer (read: baby Wiimote), 3D graphics, and an onboard speaker. With hundreds of games available wireless via the App Store, and Firmware 2.1 promising to fix the 3G bugs, the new iPod Touch seems ready to take the world by storm, but will it? And will the new violently bright iPod Nanos (also with accelerometer) follow suit? I’ll discuss that and more in tomorrow’s WeinerCast.

They move in herds.

They move in herds.

She blinded me with violence.

She blinded me with violence.


Will Wright makes Macs cry September 8, 2008

Filed under: Games,Hardware,Mac — Gwyddia @ 6:55 pm
Tags: ,

Spore is here, and the DVD-ROM gives native love to both Mac and PC. Those of you who bought your MacBooks about 18 months ago should be fine, right?


Well, wrong if you have a plain old MacBook. MacBookPro computers never had the embedded GMA 950 graphics card, which is what Spore really hates. In fact, the System Requirements specifically say NOT YOURS to pre-2007 MacBook users.

Fortunately, the problem is not with the hardware, but rather the OS X drivers for the GMA 950. That means Spore should run just fine in Windows under Boot Camp.

Look for the Weiner review of Spore later this week.


Hardware Review: PAX ’08 DeathAdder and Logitech VX Revolution September 6, 2008

Filed under: 3 weiners,5 weiners,Hardware,Indy,Penny Arcade,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 9:41 pm
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I know this is like comparing apples to oranges. The Razer DeathAdder is a gaming mouse, pure and simple. The VX Revolution is a wireless notebook mouse. So why bother? Because if you’re like me, using more than one computer in the course of your day, you find yourself needing more than one mouse. Hopefully this review will help suggest the right mouse for the right job.


I first bought the Revolution because I wanted a mouse to play WoW on my MacBookPro. I chose a cordless mouse to maximize my mobility. The Revolution connects to the computer with a small dongle that sticks out about an inch. Most of the time this wasn’t a problem, but one one occasion Indy ran by and knocked over my laptop. The computer was fine (thank you MagSafe adapter!), but the USB dongle snapped clean off and I had to replace the mouse.

Note the dongle.

Note the dongle.


A medium-sized mouse that fits well in my hand.

The Logitech VX Revolution

The Revolution has a nice form factor. I have small hands, and the Revolution is a smaller mouse. It is ergonomically designed and I never have any wrist pain when using it, even after hours and hours of scrolling and clicking. It is reasonably accurate without noticeable lag. the “Hyper-scroll” feature is great for heavy surfing and certain games. The battery life is reasonable – I have to change the two AAs about once every 3-4 months.


The DeathAdder is like butter. Within seconds of plugging it in I was experiencing the silkiest, smoothest mousing experience of my life. It had better be, with a 1800dpi Razer Precision™ 3G infrared sensor and a 1ms response (compared with 8ms for standard mice). This thing has pinpoint accuracy, and its almost a waste to be clicking on lootable bodies rather than fragging the heck out of some sucker in TF2.

It slides, it glides, it juliennes fries!

It slides, it glides, it juliennes fries!


Again, the form factor is nice. The DeathAdder is a little larger than the Revolution, but not overwhelmingly so. The cord is 210cm long, so I never feel that I’m pulling at it. If anything, it may be a little too long, because I had to find a place to tuck it out of the way. The exclusive PAX ’08 paintjob isn’t really that great looking, but there were only 400 made and I got one, so the smug feeling of dork accomplishment compensates for the bowling shoes design. This is my desktop mouse of choice.

Strike!  Oh, wait.  This is my megamouse.

Strike! Oh, wait. This is my megamouse.


In the end, it really does come down to the right mouse for the right job. For high-tension gaming, particularly in a desktop setting where mobility isn’t a factor, it’s going to be the DeathAdder every time. When a gnome’s gotta go, though, the VX Revolution goes with her, and does a serviceable and comfortable job.


Logitech VX Revolution Wireless USB Mouse (USD$69.99):

Weiner-worthy: Portable, accurate and comfortable
Be Curful: One good thwack at the right angle and you’ll need a new mouse.

3 Mousing Weiners out of 5


 Razer DeathAdder PAX ’08 Limited Edition (USD$59.99):

Weiner-worthy: Smooth, ultra-responsive, and comfortable.
Be Curful: Razer’s long cords can be a problem if you don’t have the room.
5 Mousing Weiners out of 5


My setup

Filed under: Games,Hardware — Gwyddia @ 3:38 pm
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A few people have asked what my gaming setup is. For consoles, I have a day-of-release Wii (slept out overnight for that one), an original PS3 60GB with the Emotion Engine, and an original XBox 360 with the increasingly inadequate 20GB hard disk. These systems are hooked up to a 42″ Westinghouse LCD monitor and the room is wired for Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.


For handheld gaming I have a pair of Nintendo DS Lites and a PSP-2000. Moving farther afield in the mobile arena, I have an 8GB iPod Nano and a 32Gb iPod Touch.  All of these (and the consoles) are lovingly skinned in Dharma decals from Decal Girl.


I also have computer love. I am an avowed Mac fan, and do most of my site work on my 2.5 GHz 15″ MacBookPro. That being said, I also have a Windows machine. That guy is a CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 5212 Athlon 64 X2 3.0GHz with 2GB RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT card running XP Pro 64. My monitor is a 22″ Samsung SyncMaster 226BW (sadly with a glossy finish) and my speakers are the Bose 2.1 set.  For controls I have a Belkin Nostromo n52te Speedpad and The Limited Edition PAX ’08 Razer DeathAdder mouse.


No, I’m not rich. My husband and I just tend to put all of our disposable income toward gaming, and have done so for the last three years.