26 Things I Noticed During San Japan Mach 5

What strange planet and time is this?

Another year, another San Japan.  I’ve been going since the beginning and its been getting bigger and better ever since.  This year, I helped out at the Original-Gamer.com table handing out flyers and helping out with Video Game Jeopardy, which was another rousing success.  Of course, I noticed a few things along the way:

  1. The Valero on I-37 near the Beeville exit makes bacon and egg breakfast tacos with the bacon MIXED IN…I think I just found my new place to stop for a bite when traveling to and from  Corpus Christi.
  2. The convention center is FREAKING HUGE…and they’re using less than 20% of it.  Wow.
  3. This is probably the first time I’ve ever felt COLD at a convention, and that is AWESOME.
  4. Those complaining about having to go back and forth between the hotel and convention center don’t remember the 1-block walk between the Municipal Auditorium and El Tropicana hotel the first 2 years.
  5. After a two-year layoff, Water Ninjas are now re-employed.
  6. Idea that sounded good on paper that didn’t quite work out as well as it could have: “Late Night Artist’s Alley”
  7. Found it hilarious that the “Mu Epsilon Kappa” table was next to the “Ushicon” table.  The Ushicon mascot is an anthropomorphic cow girl.  Mu, indeed.
  8. I don’t know if it was the Alamo Drafthouse or the Doctor Who Fans Unite group that bought the TARDIS along, but whomever it was, YOU ROCK.  UPDATE: It was the Doctor Who fan group.
  9. Wacky Japanese thing I saw there: Nekomimi ears or “mood ears” as I like to call them.
  10. Sign that people have too much money: Nekomimi ears.
  11. You knew how important you were based on how ‘finished’ the art on your badge was; I’m sure the art on my Con Alley badge looks awesome once its inked and colored.
  12. You can never have too many flyers.  Unfortunately, we didn’t.
  13. Raffling off videogames is a good way to get people to come to your videogame website table.
  14. If you’ve been advertising the fact that you’re also giving away videogames at Video Game Jeopardy, expect a packed panel room.
  15. Is it wrong that I take evil delight when people don’t know the questions to our Video Game Jeopardy answers?
  16. Surprisingly, the site’s review copy of the latest Naruto game was NOT the first one to go when we let the winner pick her prizes.
  17. The main area was fairly spaced out, which is a good thing because it means they have room to grow.
  18. Okay, maybe a little too spaced out, it looked a little empty initially.
  19. Next time I should NOT take the camera out of the camera bag…I bought the bag with me on Sunday but left the camera on my desk.
  20. Bought a pair of Chinese iron balls in the dealer’s area, I’ve always wanted some.
  21. I found it hard to resist saying “I’ve got balls of steel” in Duke Nukem’s voice to several friends after acquiring them.
  22. Does Egoraptor have a street team? I was randomly asked by someone, “Do you like Egoraptor? He’s over there.”  Unfortunately, I had to be somewhere at the time.
  23. For the record, I said “He’s okay.”  I’ve never met him but I do find his work entertaining and insightful at times.
  24. The parking lot behind the Rivercenter Mall sucks and I am never parking there again.
  25. Even though I missed the first day of SJ due to a family gathering, I am still tired as all heck after the fact.
  26. The attendance was over 9,400 so we can expect to hear lots of lame jokes for the next year.
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I still can’t get used to the word ‘sick’ being used in a good context.

9 Questions and Observations from Furry Fiesta 2012

Some of the observations and questions that bounced around in my head during Furry Fiesta:

“If someone were to be tarred and feathered at a furry con, would it really be punishment?”

“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”

“I think some of these characters were born in a paint store, because THE COLORS, MAN!”

“At a furry con, the dogs have seeing eye people.”

“It is apparently possible to play the tuba while marching in a fursuit…wow.

“If human fighter pilots say ‘Fox-2” when launching missiles, do fox pilots say “Man-2?”

“Geez, the bronies can’t even catch a break here.

“I think this is that ‘world of pure imagination’ that Wonka guy sang about.”

And of course, last but not least:

“Its the same, but different!”

Finally, for no particular reason, Saturday’s Fursuit Parade:

Upgrade or Die!

YOU GET NOTHING! YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY, SIR!

There are many common terms that have different meanings when put into the context of computers.  To most people, “monitor” means to keep an eye on something, but to us IT Guys, its a display device.  “Legacy” is another one of those terms; in the computer world, it is a nice way of saying “obsolete.”  I learned this at a previous support job where the company pushed and pushed for its customers to upgrade (and spend more money on) the Latest and Greatest version of their software, but there were plenty of hangers-on that were content to use older versions.  That’s the way it was, it worked, and they liked it.

Eventually, a new service pack or new version of Windows would come along that would completely break the software, and there wasn’t much else we could tell those guys besides “well, you need to upgrade.”  The customers would get mad and stomp their feet and demand that we fix it right away, but 95% of the time, that wasn’t going to happen.  If the customer didn’t upgrade, they were out of luck.  On a certain level, I can understand the desire to not change something that works (heck, I still use Microsoft Money 2000 and WinAmp 2.9), but at the same time, nearly all computer software will eventually go off into the night of obsolescence because eventually the developer will decide that it isn’t worth the expense of continuing development and support.

One common customer response I would hear (and still do) to this situation was that we were awful people that wanted them to spend more money.  To that, I say: I’m sorry, but this is a BUSINESS, it exists to create a product, provide a service, and make money.  If we don’t make money by releasing new products and lose money by devoting too many resources to old software, we go out of business and all lose our jobs.  Yeah, it royally sucks for users (I myself had a printer that was ‘orphaned’ when Windows Vista came around) but it is a necessary part of the software “circle of life.”

At least that’s how it should work, but instead, many companies insist on continuing to support outdated software, and continue to sell it in many cases.  The end result is that tech support gets driven bonkers trying to support the old stuff on top of all the new stuff that comes out and it can get overwhelming.  It also results in poorer customer service because techs have to take extra customer time to dig into knowledgebases and ask senior techs about programs that were written for Windows 95.

This is one of the few things I love about Apple.  Instead of letting software linger around and stink up the place like old cheese, they have the cojones to tell their customers that the bar is closing, its lights out, so go to the newer nicer bar down the street or go home.  They did it when they nuked support for ‘classic’ Mac applications in Leopard, and again by no longer supporting PowerPC applications in Lion.  In both cases they waited until four years until after the product was discontinued before pulling the plug and did not hesitate to do so.

In the short term, yes, some customers will be upset and some will go to competitors, but in the long-term, the company can continue to move forward as opposed to having the dead weight of zombie software hanging around their necks like an albatross.  I guess we can put this in the “painfully obvious observation that senior management never gets” file.  I can’t wait to see what happens when Windows XP support goes away in 2014…or maybe I can.

My PlayStation 3 Died, and I Don’t Really Care

I finally succumbed to temptation last August and bought a PlayStation 3.  I tried my best to hold out, but with the release of the third Ratchet and Clank game for the system and the price drop to $300, I finally cracked.  God of War 3 was on the way, and I also thought it would be nice to have a Blu-ray player.

Fast forward two Novembers, and I have six boxed Playstation 3 games, a few downloaded games, twenty-six Blu-Ray movies, and a busted PS3.  The damn thing won’t start.  I press the power button; hear a beep and the power light turns green.  Yay.  A few seconds later, I hear a click, the system shuts down, and I hear three beeps.  Crap.

Of course, after realizing something was wrong, I tried turning it on and off, held down the power button while turning it on a few times, but still nothing.  The Internets proved to be less than useful; I found plenty of ads for repair services or repair instructions, but very little as far as DIY fixing.  My PlayStation 3 was also just out of warranty.  Sending it to Sony would mean a repair bill of at least $100, not to mention shipping costs.  The repairs would also only be covered for 90 days…forget that.

I have now had one of each generation of PlayStation go kerplotz on me: an older ‘box’ PlayStation (remember how dependable those were?), a launch PlayStation 2 (which, to be fair, did last five years), and now a PlayStation 3 that lasted just long enough to be out of warranty.

My only ‘good’ option would appear to be dropping $300 on a new and hopefully more reliable PlayStation 3.  I’m not sure I want to, though.  It’s not the money (well, okay, maybe a little) but to be honest, I haven’t really missed it.  After the awesomeness that was God of War 3, there just haven’t been many games exclusive to the PlayStation 3 that I’m interested in playing.  I sadly never got around to playing some of the good exclusives like Resistance and Uncharted, and I certainly won’t be anytime soon.  The Xbox 360 continues to be my game console of choice because the online experience is better, and most of my friends also own Xbox 360s.  Lots of big games are also multiplatform these days, so it doesn’t make that big of a difference which system you own.  Unless you own a Wii, which means you’re boned as far as M-rated games are concerned.

I’ll probably end up dropping a c-note on a Blu-ray player, but as far as the PlayStation 3 is concerned, I’m done.  Yeah, DONE. That’s it.  Farewell.  Adios.  Sayonara.  Bueno, bye.  No more PS3 for me!

What’s that?  Sly Cooper 4? Well, nuts…just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!!