Zalman ZM-RS6F USB Surround Sound Headphones – Review

I picked these headphones up at Memory Express today on sale for $20 (Regular $80). It was hard to pass up a deal like that. I don’t wear headphones a lot but they’re nice to have once in awhile. These had to be better than the $5 clearance bin pair I was replacing.

The Good

  • The $20 price was right though I don’t know if it’s fair to review based on that because they were on sale. They aren’t worth $80 regular.
  • To my average untrained ear they sound great.
  • The USB is very handy. I don’t have to plug into the back of my PC anymore.
  • I like that they stand up like robot legs with big feet. It’s just cute.

The Bad

  • They aren’t really 5.1 as advertised. The .1 in 5.1 is supposed to be the sub channel which isn’t present in these. It doesn’t really matter that much. I don’t really want a sub to break my poor skull open.
  • They’re a little heavy.
  • They’re a little warm around the ears but that’s ok.
  • They catch my peripheral vision which could be annoying after awhile.

Official Product Page: For Drivers and a Better look.

New Console Wish List

Yet another generation of consoles is about to crawl out onto the market in the next couple of years. Xbox 720 is apparently making an appearance at E3 2012. I’m not sure if Nintendo’s Wii U is supposed to be their replacement for the Wii. I really hope not. Sony hasn’t made any official plans for a PS4 but inevitably, it will be unveiled.

Anyway, the point of this article is to point of what features I would love to see in a PS4 console.

Multitasking – I want to be able to listen to music while I’m gaming.

Bigger Hard Drives – Two Terabytes minimum would be nice.

Complete Game Installation – When I buy a game, I’d like the option to be able to install it on to the hard drive and never have to touch the CD again unless I decide I need to reinstall.

Android – This one’s pushing it a little but the Android OS has huge potential to be an idea operating system to run a console. I would love to be able to install basic applications on my game console.

21 and Over Gaming – I want a gaming network that doesn’t have snotty illiterate rude little brats on it. If you’ve ever gamed on the internet, you know the ones. How about a network where you apply to join and have to prove you’re 21 or older and you can be banned for life if you let your kid use it? This is why I really miss private gaming networks run by an admin who is usually playing too. I have a dream!

I know I sound like an old fart crybaby PC gamer but I like gaming on consoles too. Those games with more pretty cut scenes than actual gaming kind of games are awesome on consoles. Anyway, that’s what I would include in the next big console if I was asked.

Is Google going MSN/Yahoo on us?

You know you’re at the end of a good thing when the people behind it use the word “experience” in their description. I use google as a tool as much as I use a wrench as a tool. I don’t experience a wrench. I use tools to create my own experience.


I finally got around to figuring this out…


Alice: Madness Returns: Review

Alice: Madness Returns is the follow up to American McGee’s Alice from 2001. The theme is much darker than the original classic book/Disney movie. The games are essentially a sequel. In both games, an adolescent Alice is essentially doing battle with her own mind after her family is wiped out in a house fire. I can’t remember if I just spoiled the first game or not.

The Good

  • The environments in Wonderland as well as in London are just gorgeous. I was getting yelled at by my wife who started playing it shortly after me because I was standing around and staring the environment instead of playing.
  • The story was pretty compelling for a video game. I’m a fan of anything Alice really (Note my nick and the domain name) so really, I just ate it up.
  • The game comes with a free download code for the original game which I’m sure most console gamers haven’t played since it was a PC game.
  • Very hard to put down. My wife and I both raced through this fairly long game in record time. We haven’t done that since Red Dead Redemption last winter.
  • The DLC pack is only $1.99. You get a bunch of outfits and weapons in it. No big additions to the story or anything. Please please play through the game once before you get the DLC. The weapons and outfits give you abilities that are pretty much the same as cheat codes.

The Bad

  • It wasn’t very challenging but then again it’s a console game. Even in nightmare, all that changes is the enemies do a lot more damage as far as I could tell. The original was pretty freaking difficult by comparison.
  • Much of the environment begs to be explored but many invisible walls prevent it.
  • The free download of the original Alice wasn’t designed to be played on console so it’s very very difficult. I stopped playing but I will dig out my PC version one of these days.

All in all, the game was pure nerdy goodness for the Alice in Wonderland fan in me. It deviates from the story just enough to keep it fresh.

Motorola Xoom Wifi Tablet Review

This is strictly a quick review of the Xoom hardware. I won’t go into how awesome Honeycomb is because I could write a book on that. It’s exciting and beautiful.

This isn’t a device for everyone. Like the iPad and other tablets, it’s mainly a media consumption device. Don’t expect to do any major programming or graphics work on it without wanting to smash it against the wall. I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing though. The device has a focus as opposed to trying to do everything and please everyone all at once.

I bought the Android Xoom primarily to read comics with. I do a bit of web surfing and chatting with it but that’s about it. Originally, I thought I could get away with a cheaper tablet Android 2.1 (Velocity Cruz Reader) tablet but it was an utter failure.

I’ll cut to the chase here.

The Good

  • The processor is a true power house compared to it’s predecessors. Load times are quick and input is extremely responsive.
  • The Xoom is just light enough that I can read comfortably in bed or throw it in a bag without really noticing the weight.
  • The battery does just fine for a couple of days of random use here and there. I don’t listen a lot of music with it or watch many videos but it holes up fine. I can’t recall ever having to restart the tablet because the battery went completely dead on standby.
  • Charge time is incredibly quick. It takes about an hour to reach a full charge from being reline. The compromise with this is that it won’t charge via usb. So far the trade off has been worthy as long as I don’t go out of town and forget to bring the a/c adapter.
  • The build quality is very solid. The plastic doesn’t feel plastic though it is. The screen is very tough too.
  • As far as I can tell, the Xoom is free to use anything in the Google Android Market. I found this was not the case with other less expensive tablets. Unfortunately, no ever app in the market is designed with the tablet screen size in mind but that is no fault to the tablet.

The Bad

  • The glossy screen is terrible in daylight. It becomes difficult to see the screen through all the finger prints it attracts.
  • It takes a long time to figure out where exactly where the power button is on the back of the device. I wish they would put it on the front or the side. This is more annoying than anything.
  • The $600 price tag is a little too steep. If I was more patient I would have bought an Asus Transformer for just about the same price but it comes with a keyboard that doubles as a docking station. Too bad it hit the market a month later than the Xoom. The Samsung Galaxy tab has just about the same hardware specs as the Xoom but for quite a bit cheaper too.
  • Motorola is playing games with it’s customers by selectively releasing the Honeycomb 3.1 update to US Verison customers only and forcing everyone else to wait an unknown length of time. This is a huge thumbs down for Motorola.

In conclusion, if you can get your hands on an Asus EEE Transformer, seriously consider that while as the same time considering the Xoom.

Anyway, that’s my review. I hope it helps.

Irrelevant ramblings…

The Xoom is my fourth Android device now. I’ve had two Android phones (HTC Dream and HTC Magic) and a cheap Velocity Cruz Reader but it broke so I returned it. The operating system has really grown on me and Honeycomb 3.0 is no exception. It’s smooth and easy and has that science fiction feeling in the touch screen that I love. It’s also exciting to use a completely new kind of operating system on a new kind of hardware to boot. This is like the early days of windows in that sense. It’s a very exciting time for portable hardware.

My Take on Conspiracy Thoerists

I’m sure anyone who has spent any time online has had their share of those angry conspiracy nuts out there. If you try to bring any kind of reality to a topic in their presence, they accuse you of being a sheep who believes everything you’re fed. The whole Bin Ladden killing just dredged them all right back up to the surface again. Whatever they want to believe is fine. I realize most conspiracy theories are the result of simple human pattern recognition that is sometimes difficult to ignore.

What got to me wondering is what makes these people tick. I keeping finding myself dwelling on the theory of empowerment.

You see, the world is a big place with some major freaking events happening from time to time. Take terrorists attacks on Sept 11, 2001 for example. It really did knock the western world on it’s head yet the actual event only involved a few thousand people. Even then, only a few dozen people had any real control over what happened and the consequences resulting. This leaves the millions watching and helplessly tagging along for the ride. People start to feel really insignificant which is tough when events have such a profound impact on their lives.

It’s hard to comprehend how much is going on in the world and how insignificant an individual is in relation to it. The powerlessness of it all can be horrifying even. This is where the conspiracy theorist comes in. Applying fairly complex pattern analysis with a bit of imagination and the help of the Internet of course, it’s pretty easy to piece together a conspiracy theory to come to terms with current events. Suddenly, the formerly insignificant nobody has inside knowledge of what’s really happening in the world. This perceived inside knowledge lends itself to a huge feeling of empowerment over the masses who still just “believe what they’re told to believe”.

In short, the conspiracy theory is just another tool in getting your head around world events. In my opinion, it’s a pretty unhealthy tool at that. In focusing on a single theory believed to wholeheartedly to be the truth, one becomes ignorant and more insignificant than ever. The world just keeps on turning without them.

Blogger Import Fail:(

Into my third day of rebuilding my new blog and importing my old blog I’ve run into an annoying snag. The blogger import too failed. It imported the categories and the heading of my old blog but none of the content. As a result, I’m moving all the content over by hand. It sucks. I was warned that the import wasn’t tested in WordPress 3.1.3 but I tried anyway.

Don’t ever try people. It isn’t worth the trouble.

Cavalia Calgary Review

Cavalia is essentially, a Cirque du Soleil performance with horses. I don’t go out of my way to attend this sort of thing but my wife insisted so this is my review.

Before my wife demanded that we attend this event, I had never heard of Cavalia. A minute or two of googling video clips and I was pretty well informed. My wife managed to book our tickets before the show was widely advertised. She read about it in a horse magazine. As a result, we had front row center on the premiere night in Calgary. They call them Rendezvous tickets and come with a hefty $200 price tag but so worth it.

Once in awhile you get front row seats to something and you find yourself wishing you were further back just to see the whole show. This was not the case. These had to have been the best seats in the house. The performers were literally ten feet in front of us with a perfect unobstructed view of the entire staging area. I was getting dirt on my pants and shoes. It was just incredible.

Included with the passes was access to the Rendezvous lounge before, during intermission, and after the show. There was an open bar with wine and other beverages. We had no trouble finding a table for the four of us either. Lineups were almost nonexistent too. I had read otherwise in another review. There was a decent mixture of h’orderves too. Included as well is a free gift which is a program that costs other attendees $15. I haven’t looked at it yet but it seems nice enough. There was also a gift shop exclusive to the Rendezvous pass holders. No substantial lineups here either. Even the freaking parking was exclusive to us. We were a two minute walk from the door (Free too but only because it was opening night. It’s $20 otherwise). I really eat up this kind of treatment. It was worth every penny.

The performance itself was breathtaking. I traditionally loath circuses but this was completely different. There was no ringmaster taunting any animals to milks some ooohs and ahhhs from the audience. There was no stress at all. This was a showcase of the love. The animals and humans were perfectly in tune with one other as well as with the musicians who performed live.

The horses were incredible. Many of them were bred specifically for the show while others were from animal rescue ranches in Alberta. There was even a mustang in the bunch. I had never seen one up close before.

The show was about two hours in total which was long enough. It was mostly a mixture of dressage, acrobatics and trick riding. My wife is the horse trainer in the family but I was pretty blown away by what I was seeing too. What they were doing with these animals isn’t easy.

We didn’t stay for the after party though we did wander the stables to check out the horses. By the end of the show, we were more than ready to head back to the hotel. My only regret that my unborn baby could only hear the show and not see it.

My conclusion is to get the $200 Rendezvous passes. They made the night so much more fun and stress free.

On a side note, I was pure awesome seeing much of the cast of Heartland there in the front row with us.

Another Crack At It

I’ve been itching to start blogging again. A major career change drew me away from blogging but the career change has bought me a lot more free time too. The major changes in the website made me quit blogging too. Google, you failed me on that one. I’m a little too active on facebook but I’m getting a little sick of that particular network.

Enough complaining. I’m back and I’m using wordpress. Hopefully, I don’t have to build yet another incarnation of this website anytime soon. I’ll be moving as much old content as I can to this new platform this summer. I’ve got a baby coming this fall so yea. We’ll see how that goes.