Wii Dare: Garbage!

What sort of crap is the electronic entertainment industry trying to pull on the consumer now? I guess I should know better after playing games from 1995-2008 and participating on an amateur development team for nearly 10 years. There are two features that sell games. Sex and blood. Much like the media, “if it bleeds it leads.”

Just what am I talking about? The game is developed by Ubisoft, who has some hits in the past on all gaming platform. Recent development of game called Dare for the Nintendo Wii (and PlayStation 3). What’s worse, it’s currently tagged as a 12+ game. Now look further into the game, better yet watch the trailer before reading further.

Now as I parent, I am somewhat appalled at the game with it’s “12+” rating. First, I would not purchase this for my son, nor would I expect him to play it any younger than 16 or 17 years old. Now the games is described as a, “a sexy, quirky party game that offers a large variety of hilarious, innovative and physical, sometimes kinky, challenges.’ Hmm, doesn’t sound something I would want my 12 year old playing.

What is even somewhat more surprising, the fact Nintendo has licensed it for release on their Wii. Nintendo does market with the “family” in mind, as parents look to connect with their children. I guess my generation, having grown up with video games have it a bit easier than my parents, since they were already in their late 30’s, early 40’s when personal computers and gaming consoles were developed.

I guess the Wii controller can now double as a working vibrator when connected to the WiiMotion Plus sleeve. I have read one parent’s comment that it is “harmless fun” and that it’s “just an updated version of spin the bottle.” I still find the game inappropriate for the rumored age group. The gaming site, 1Up reports the ERSB rating is pending.

I guess in a down economy it’s really no surprise at the amount of garbage that is being sold as “electronic entertainment” for both the PC and console market. As I said in the introduction, sex and blood sell, so it’s really no surprise that Ubisoft is attempting to make a quick buck off Dare. That, I don’t find surprising.

Young Hams: Part 2

It’s the same old story in ham radio. The hobby is dying because the youth of today are not interested in amateur radio. You see it as a dominant topic today on sites like eHam and QRZ, OM posting comments and stories about the “lack of interest.” I just started reading comments from current hams regarding, ‘Bringing Youth into Amateur Radio‘ and while I shouldn’t be surprised it’s rather amazing of the attitudes of some hams in regards their hobby.

Maybe it’s the attitudes of the OM that frustrate me more than the fact that fewer “young” people are introduced to amateur radio. Of course being a “no-code” Extra Amateur I am already frowned upon by many for the “dumb down” requirements I had to fulfill in order to achieve my current license. I consider myself “young” when it comes to the supposed median age of an operator being 55 years of age (I’m 39).

I was indirectly introduced to amateur radio prior to the advent of the home computer, gaming consoles, mobile phones, iPods and all the other wonderful technology that draws young people away from an “old” hobby. I still remember hanging out with my father (N6SV), Glenn, K6NA and Jim, N6RJ during the 1970s participating in contests.

I was in awe at the lights, buttons and dials of the radios, as well as the “noise” and voices I heard coming through the speakers and headphones. Unfortunately, as drawn as I was I did not take an interest in becoming licensed. I do recall attempting to read a licensing book that was from the 70s, but I never really got past the first few pages.

Then it happened, the PC computer was introduced, as were gaming consoles and the interest in radio continued to fade into the past. My father slowly started to get out of the hobby and turn his attention to the new technology.

My son is approaching his 3rd birthday (30 Nov.) and he spends time in my shack when I am in there. He walks around with my Kenwood HT, talking into the microphone. He wants to push buttons and turn dials on my radios. He is interested, albeit too young to really get much out of his shack experiences. Will he take to in the years to come? I don’t know. I would like to think as long as I am active and “playing radio” he too, will take to it.

There are other distractions that will take away from these radio experiences, such as PC gaming, Xbox, the Wii and mobile phones. But these are all things I am involved with, so my son gets a variety of experiences. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but he is exposed to ham radio, which should provide him an introduce that will hopefully further his interest.

Like many other hobbies I don’t feel amateur radio is going anywhere. The new testing requirements are a start, regardless of what the grumpy OM crowd cries. Any hobby is a learning experience from day to day, ham radio is no different. If a young person shows interest then by all means help them experience what ham radio is, not what you perceive ham radio to be because of requirements from the 1950s or the fact that testing requirements have been decreased.

I have said it before on T6F, as long as my son keeps an interest in playing with my HT and playing with my mobile rig in the truck, I will continue to foster this interest and hopefully get him licensed as young as possible. Hopefully other hams will take that active interest when approached and do their part.

Round 2: XBox 360

Okay it has taken the better part of 2 weeks before I decided to make that time consuming call to XBox Support. As I have stated in the past, this is the WORST console on the market! I would definitely NOT recommend anyone bother purchasing one. Then again the Wii is poo too, but that is another story.

So I went online looking for tips on how to “fix” the “red ring of death.” First let’s start with poor design in the console itself, if indeed it is actually a solder on a connector that malfunctions. I was not going to waste all that much time looking into the problem. The “solution” wrap your 360 in towels for 15 minutes. This “solution” would heat up the necessary solder and your 360 would work. Or would it?

After 15 minutes in towels, I let it cool down and then started it. Viola! It worked…well sort of. I got in about three games of footie before the console locked up on me again. Upon restarting it would lock up. It took about 3 restarts before I was able to get the red ring of death. At that point I disconnected the POS and set it aside.

Today, I finally called customer “support” figuring to get the runaround, which I did to a point. After providing my name, address and serial number, I was asked a series of questions. The only one I got wrong (LOL) was when asked, “Do you plug your XBox into a surge protector or a wall socket?” My answer, obviously, a surge protector. Well needless to say, the kid on the other end of the phone said that the console must be plugged into a wall socket. Yeah, sure whatever jackass keep giving me you $9/hour answers.

I am sorry but plugging the console into a wall socket or a surge protector has NO adverse affect on something internally in your malfunctioning product. If so, then please, please provide me information supporting your FAQ claim, because I beg to differ. But you are Microsoft and are always right, with the best product around. LOL.

So let’s see if customer support can get things done this time around in a timely fashion. Waiting 8 weeks as I did previously was a joke. Let’s TRY and not loose my order again. Oh and that one month XBox Live card, just keep it, what a slap in the face for my time and your below average product.