Blogus Maximus

Rubbing people the wrong way since 1970...

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My various book, software and hardware reviews
City Under The Sand - a review I'm moderately familiar with the Dark Sun setting. I've read the other Dark Sun novels, ages ago and I recently started running a D&D 4.0 campaign in the Dark Sun world, so I picked up this book to help re-familiarize myself with the setting. Overall, it did accomplish that, in a limited way. The book takes place in Nibenay and a neighboring expanse of desert that includes a formerly buried city, a small town and a bandit outpost. The book does a more interesting ......

Let me start by saying I really like Samuel L. Jackson. I hope he had fun making this movie. It looked like he had fun. Surely he had more fun making it than I had watching it. This movie sucked. It sucked in a way that defies words. In sucked in that way that Love Boat reruns you watched with your grandmother when you were a kid sucked. Only more so. I had a plan. Samuel L. Jackson has a certain "signature" phrase he uses a lot in movies. Knowing this, and knowing I was in for a bad movie, I decided ......

Let me start by saying this book does not attempt to be something it is not. It's not a generic book on Windows or ASP.NET programming. It deals specifically with one topic. Having said that, GDI+ is a broader topic than you might think and this book does a terrific job of breaking the information up into relevant subtopics. The material is presented in an interesting, conversational tone that uses REAL WORLD EXAMPLES. You actually build several small GDI+ applications by the time you finish the ......

This review will contain naughty words. I don't know how many because that phrase is the first thing I typed, other than the title. I just know there's going to be some. I went to see a matinee of Star Wars: The Clone Wars today. There were 9 of us, ages ranging from 10 to older than me, so it seems like a good spread. I'll give you the short version first since there's a lot of ADD geeks out there (like me) who are about to stop reading if I don't get on with it... THE SHORT REVIEW: It Didn't Suck. ......

I went to see WALL-E earlier this week (Yes, I know it's supposed to be a dot and not a dash. Call it a hardware limitation.) I wasn't in a big hurry to see this movie. The sense of urgency that I felt for Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hancock, The Dark Knight, etc this summer so far, just wasn't there. It was more like "oh look, WALL-E is playing. Well, I've seen everything else TWICE, so why not?" My daughters are in from Atlanta for most of the summer, so we're seeing a lot of movies. They wanted ......

I just got back from the 9:30 showing of Hancock. Let me start off by saying this is a great superhero movie, but it's NOT a comic book movie. (Well... until Dark Horse starts cranking out comic movies anyway.) The point is, you can't really compare it to Iron Man or Spiderman. If you do, you'll be disappointed. There's no canon, no established history. This is something fresh and new and unlike anything you've seen before. I really REALLY enjoyed this movie. Imagine drunk and dirty Superman from ......

I (relatively) recently received a handsfree bluetooth rearview mirror kit as my prize from Community-Credit.com. This weekend, I finally got around to hooking it up. First impressions are good. The mirror just clips right on top of the existing mirror and is held in place by some spring loaded clips. I like the fact that this mirror is about 25% wider than my original mirror, giving me a better field of vision. The mirror does seem darker though, but not so much to be a problem. Pairing the bluetooth ......

I got a review copy of SlickEdit recently and over the last couple weeks, I fired it up to check it out. These are my thoughts... Overall, it's a lightweight alternative to Visual Studio .NET. I can customize the look and feel and can build from it, and the memory footprint seems pretty small, so it's not all bad. It's not all good either. I don't know if I'm just spoiled on Visual Studio, but a lot of the "not entirely necessary, but nice to have" features that I've come to rely on just aren't there. ......

This is not a review. This is just me complaining. If you like that sort of thing, keep reading. If you're looking for a review, check back in a month or two. My Radeon 9800 AIW card was serving pretty well under Vista, but I hadn't upgraded in a few years and figured why not... time for a boost. My ASUS mobo isn't PCI-e so I looked around for a high end AGP card. I found the Radeon HD 2600 XT (512MB, AGP 8x) and thought... hey this looks like a good card. It says it supports Vista and DX10 so I ......

The World of Warcraft "Ancient Enemies" FragMat Mousepad review Let me start by quoting the marketing materials: "The World Of Warcraft® Ancient Enemies FragMat Gaming Mouse Pad from Ideazon™ provides your mouse with a smooth surface ensuring precise and accurate control. It is made of high quality materials for both laser and optical gaming mice and provides you with high gaming performance. With Non slip under-padding, slim profile of 0.07-inches and a excellent gliding surface, this Mouse Pad ......

I've been messing with this in my occasional free time for a few weeks now. If you havent heard of it, it's a fairly high end 3D graphics authoring environment specifically for Game Devs. There's also a lite version, which this review focuses on. The full version is about $300 and the "lite" version is free. From what I can tell, the lite version offers a decent subset of the full package. Less polygons and less export formats to choose from, no plugins, a watermark and no real support to speak of, ......

I don't get many chances to play games any more, at least not for lengthy periods of time. It's usually a few minutes here and there. I haven't played WoW in well over a month, although I sign in periodically just to stay updated on patches. So I'm not really sure why, but I picked up a copy of Hellgate London a few weeks ago. I think it was the cool looking box that did me in. I even bought the Collector's Edition in the big ass box. I'm a sucker for packaging, what can I say? Anyway, I let the ......

Dear Mr. Zombie, I recently had the opportunity to see your new Halloween movie. I would like to congratulate you on creating what might be the single most disturbing film I have ever witnessed. This is saying a lot, considering Pink Flamingos previously held that distinction. This is not to say it was a bad movie. Not at all, in fact, since I assume that "disturbing" was exactly what you aimed for. It was actually a pretty good movie. It lost a little steam near the end, but that's neither here ......

I recently received a review copy of this e-book, and as someone who not only owns but enjoys his zune, I was pretty stoked to read it and see if there was anything I didn't already know about. There was, but more on that in a bit. Eight Great Ways to Get the Most From Your Zune is part of the O'Reilly Shortcuts series. The material is concise, nicely organized and ultimately very helpful. I picked up a couple tips here and there. In fact, I would give this book a glowing recommendation to any Zune ......

I went to Dragon*Con again this year. Last year was pretty fun, but looking back I remember thinking "Damn! I'm getting too old for this crap... I doubt I'll go next year." I guess it's true (that I'm getting old), because I obviously forgot about thinking that and ended up going again. Don't misunderstand, I had a good time, and my son had a good time but it wasn't quite as good as the last time we went. Maybe because it's just more of the same? There really wasn't anything *new* this year other ......

Review by John Lunsford Greater Charleston .NET User Group Cryptography in the Database by Kevin Kenan attempts to provide a real-world solution for encrypting data stored in a relational database. In this respect the book does an excellent job. Kenan has clarified his extensive experience in the industry into a solution that is well thought-out and in line with industry best practices. The section on key management is especially helpful and provides a workable solution for a problem that continues ......

DDO (D&D Online) has come a long way since I started playing it in the early beta. They've polished it quite a bit and it's a visually appealing game, although nowhere near as pretty or colorful as WoW (World of Warcraft). Depending on your preference, this may be good or bad. From a solo-player perspective, this game is hard... too damn hard, in fact. If you have a bunch of buddies who play, or you're fairly good at hooking up with folks you might not have a problem. But as someone who likes to ......

Saw Narnia tonight. Kind of a funny story behind that. My mom wanted to take all the grandkids a few weeks ago but read a bad review of it (somewhere... not sure where since most reviews I saw were pretty good) and decided it wasnt a good idea. I could write volumes about my relationship with my mother, but lets face it... it aint that kind of blog. Anyway... the short version of the review follows: it was spectacular. (I was gonna write that it was F'n Spectacular, but opted not too... it is a kids ......

I just got back from seeing King Kong tonight, and I wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind. Let me start by saying WOW, this is a damn good movie. It's also a damn long movie, as in 3 hours and 10 minutes. By the time you get your popcorn, sit down, hang out for 10 minutes, watch the previews and commercials and then the movie, you've spent 4 HOURS in the theatre. The movie never drags. There isn't much action in the beginning (as in none at all), but they take the time to setup ......

Just for the record... Charles Petzold is a freakin' genius! (...but you already knew that, didn't you?) I'm still working my way through his Programming In The Key Of C# (I read it at lunchtime and at night before I crash) and I swear to you, I literally learn something new almost every time I pick it up. Not just something new about C#, mind you, but a little more of the Petzold way of programming... regardless of the language you choose. I'm talking about stuff that's so painfully obvious, after ......

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