Gaming Geek Stuff

All About the Gear

I’ve decided to get an iPad, a few people in the office have them and I’m impressed with both the screen and the Kindle App. I bought a Sony PSP so I could watch movies while traveling without booting up my laptop, it had a bigger screen than the iPod touch and could also run Skype.

The iPad screen is even better, and the fact that I can leave behind my Kindle, PSP and iPod when I travel makes it a good upgrade. To fund my gear addiction I’ve got the PSP lot up on eBay and I’ve also decided to unload my spare Logitech Presenter. I was looking into getting a new Microsoft Trackball, I’ve found it Logitech Presenterto be much better than a mouse, and learned that they have stopped making them. As a result, new ones are going for up to $400 on Amazon.

I remembered hearing that Logitech stopped making the presenter I use (a wireless controller to advance slides while you are presenting), so I checked the pricing on that. Same deal, it’s up over $200 (I bought my spare at a Circuit City that was going under for $35).

This presenter is considered the gold standard by many, it has a timer that vibrates when you get to 5 minutes and 1 minute remaining, it has a laser pointer, and it’s smaller than the new model. Apparently the new one also has the “blackout screen” button too close to the advance slide buttons.

Those are the latest tales from the gear bag, anything interesting on your side?


Project Natal

Some fanboy stuff for Friday – cutting edge video games, this does have some real world application too.

About 6 months ago I was wondering if anybody was ever going to come up with an answer to the Wii. Yes, it’s revolutionary, but it’s just a wireless controller, you’d think that in over a year somebody would catch up.

This week is E3, the big gaming trade show, and Microsoft showed off project Natal. Rather than read about it it’s much easier if you just watch this:

Project Natal

Now I saw that and thought it was the coolest thing yet, but my friend Steve wisely counseled that I should wait until there’s a working game before I got too excited. Then engadget reported on this – games can be retro-fitted to the system and they were showing off Burnout (argueably the best driving game ever). They had agreed not to show the game, but you can see people playing it so it does work.



For Racing Gamers

If you’re into racing games at all check out the latest round of cars in Burnout Paradise….


Ali vs. Tyson

Choose the standard definition so you don’t have to sit through a pre-roll ad.


Watching Movies on The PSP and Getting RSS Feeds

Last month I got a Sony PSP so that I could watch video during long flights.  I asked a million questions of Greg before I bought it, and as usual, he gave me all the info I needed to know. As I just told him, if I knew how cool this thing really was, I would have bought it a long time ago.

First and foremost (for me) was the ability to watch movies. The main cabin on many flights is so tight that I can no longer open my laptop to work or watch a movie. I’ve been watching some vids on my iPod classic, but the Touch made me look at larger screens. Comparing the Touch to the PSP, I went with the PSP’s larger screen, better gaming platform and lower price.

Getting movies on to the PSP. The first thing you need to do is not buy any of the media manager programs out there because the latest version of Sony’s (3.0) can be downloaded for free. If you understand how to manage files and folders then you won’t need the media manager, you can work right at the file level yourself. When you plug in the PSP via USB cable it will show up as a drive.

Remember that Sony wants you to buy your movies on their proprietary UMD format (or at least they used to), so their tool gives you no way to get a DVD over to your device (it will do unencoded video, such as off your videocamera, because we know how many of you out there are looking forward to portable home movies. Hold for a moment while I resist the urge to poke my own eyes out).

I’ve never done it, but back when I used to sling the rock down on 6 Mile in Detroit, I heard about these crazy kids using tools like DVD Decrypter, DVD Fab or DVDShrink to pull the video files off a DVD so that you could watch on on a PC. It’s not currently clear if that’s legal or not, some say it is a violation of the Digital Millenium Copywrite Act (DMCA), others say Fair Use allows you to make a copy for your own backup purposes. Please remember I-ANAL (I am not a lawyer, so consider all the previous just the street wisdom of a rock slinger (just kidding, actually I’ve never slung the rock)).

If it were up to me, I’d say you should be able to watch a $20 copy of Beethoven III on whatever player you have, but you shouldn’t be stealing other people’s content (aka “sharing” aka “Pirate Bay”). Guess what? It’s not up to me.

Whatever video source you have, you could then run through the iPod setting on Videora, which does a great job at cranking out an mp4 file that will play on your PSP. Besides video files, it’s also cool that for around $20 you can get the upgrade to Tivo to go and pull content from your Tivo to a format that will play on the PSP.

The downside of all of this is that it takes time. It depends on your hardware but it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to get a video from it’s source to your PSP. Suddenly buying video on the PSP store seems like it would save you some time and headache. And it will.

Other cool PSP stuff:

  1. Portable DVR -get a video out cable (only $6 used!) and you can plug it in at your hotel to watch your own shows rather than roll the dice with hotel cable.
  2. Wi-Fi – Built in
  3. Skype – with the WiFi now you have a portable communication device to carry with you
  4. Browser – You can check your gmail with it. Typing on the T9 is a hassle but reading and clicking on the links is not too bad. (Hey Sony! Where’s my add-on keyboard!)
  5. RSS Reader – Yes it’s true, click on the icon and it will add a feed to the reader.
  6. Podcasts – Audio with no problem, I checked out TWiT with no problem, video was a little pickier, it didn’t like the latest version of Tiki Bar, not sure why yet.
  7. Games – last but not least, Burnout Legends is the most kickass driving game of all time, and the PSP version rocks. If you’ve never crashed a high performance sports car into a gasoline truck at 185 mph, you have no idea what you are missing.


  1. With my earphones on it’s not as loud as it could be at peak, but I am using some Shure e500’s, some basic earbuds may work better. You can work around that easily with a Boosteroo, which will also allow 2 other people to plug in if you are on a plane with friends.
  2. Battery life – it’s around 6 hours, so if you are travelling big time, you’ll want a second.

There is a whole subculture of folks who hack and and into homebrew. Homebrew is a term that’s literal definition means to make your own software, in reality the majority of people hide behind homebrew so that they can crack copy protection and save/play games from their memory sticks. This is not really a “con” but as someone who’s work is published digitally, I’m against stealing other people’s stuff just because it’s possible. The version I bought, the 3000, has not been hacked yet, the previous 2 versions were hacked by use of a special battery that forces the device into a mode that gets into a maintenence mode. Considering the fact that I work at a software company, and I only play 3 or 4 games a year, it’s easier for me to buy what I use and avoid getting crushed by karmic retribution (or risk time in the big house).Other things I picked up: a second battery, video out cable, a travel case that holds 2 UMDs and 2 Memory sticks. My PSP is the 3000 which has a brighter screen that the previous 2 models. I would include an Amazon link for memory sticks but I’ve heard that Radio Shack is having a Black Friday special on SanDisk 4GB sticks for only $20. Get them while they are hot!


Gaming on the Rise

Longtime readers know that gaming is a subject close to my heart, but it is relevant to any marketing discussion given the rapid growth of this market. Microsoft’s Halo 3 made anywhere from $150-170M depending on what numbers you believe. Bigger than the initial take Spiderman 3 or the final Harry Potter book. Enough for the movie industry to use it as an excuse for a bad week.

Give credit to the Nintendo Wii from changing the market from “Gamer/Non-Gamer” to “Wii and up”. Everybody in my family has played with the Wii and enjoyed it, they may not be standing in line for the release of Starcraft 2 (I’ll may even pre-order, but no line for me) but they at least see some of the entertainment value.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the GuildCafe, a startup here in Boston from prior to first funding at one of the WebInno events before they started hitting Comdex-like attendance.

Last week they announced an additional round of funding and a name change to gamerDNA. Led by Jon Radoff (who did a recent presentation on startups here), they have experience at the helm and are moving into an exciting new market.

Daily Life Gaming

Valentine’s Day Card

A youtube vid… Thanks to Alec for the pointer.


Brain Buster Gaming

Halo 3

Today is the release of Halo 3, a video game for the Xbox 360. It will be interesting to watch if the game hits the predictions of $200 million in the first week. Wired had a story last month about the unprecedented testing for the game. The real question is will gaming eventually overcome movies? More to come as the sales are totaled this week.

Some bad/good news – I was unable to login to XBox live tonight, so the volume has to be huge…

Gaming Geek Stuff Productivity Booster SEO and Paid Search


Today is officially BlogDay, you can get the story and original recommendations in my previous post.

Just a few other things I read that are always great:

I’m a insider by reading SalesforceWatch.

On the small business tech font, and for Tales of Chicago check out Chicago Mike.

Most readers know I’m still going through Sex and the City withdrawal, The Pink Shoe Diaries help me cope.

As a comic fan (aka – Fanboy, aka – dork) Title Undetermined makes me laugh.

I’m also giving a second plug for Mike Champion because he needs a dose of the Google Juice, and mentioning GameSpot which is not a blog but still full of great info.

Daily Life Gaming Geek Stuff Graphic Design Productivity Booster

Virtual Yard Sale

The purchase and sale agreement has been signed so it looks like we are off to a new home! I’ve already begun going through stuff to try and ease the move, and I thought it would be fun to throw my own virtual yard sale. Actually the stuff is on eBay, but I thought it would be interesting to see if any readers were interested. If anybody reading this buys any of the stuff I’ll waive the shipping fees.

Three items for sale:

A Netgear Wired 5-Port Switch, if you are going to wire up some machines for gaming or just want more wired ports at your desk (perfect for trade shows booths or conference rooms).

A Linksys Wired Router, same deal as above but with more features (but I’ve had some trouble getting Apple TV and the XBox 360 extender to work with it, LOL).

And the best for last: A Wacom drawing tablet. Drawing with a mouse is like trying to draw with a potato, a must for illustrators.

Enough with the commercial break, a post about marketing in 20 minutes…