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April 30, 2003

More Than Meets the Eye

If you grew up during the 80s, you will no doubt remember the then-popular Transformers toys from Hasbro. In its heyday, the Transformers universe encompassed not only a toy product line, but also a cartoon series, a Marvel comic series and (eventually) a full-length feature film. The toy line faded away in the late-80s, mostly due to lackluster toy designs and increasingly flimsy (read: cheap plastic) construction. The toys eventually evolved into the poorly-conceived Beast Wars line and even spawned a not-so-interesting Saturday morning feature.

After Beast Wars fell flat on its face commercially, it seemed that the Transformers brand was doomed to fade into memory. However, it appears that Transformers is making a comeback. Last year, Rhino Video released two DVD sets covering the first and part of the second season of the Transformers cartoons. These were aptly named Transformers: Season One and Transformers: Season Two, Part One. These releases featured a remarkable Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a fairly decent video transfer.

This year, it seems the comeback is continuing in earnest. Rhino is continuing to release subsequent seasons of the original cartoon series, with Transformers: Season Two, Part Two already in general release. In addition, I discovered today that a graphic novel of a new Transformers comic is now available. Apparently, this new comic has been running for the past few months and is now available in a consolidated format. The artwork appears to be top-notch. Needless to say, I'll have to pick it up.

Last week, I came across this article on IGN describing a Transformers game that is being developed for the PS2. There aren't many details yet, but the screenshots look promising. Hopefully the gameplay will be engaging, unlike previous Transformers games.

Finally, it appears that Hasbro is releasing "collector's editions" of the original Transformers toy line. From what I can tell, not every character is being re-issued. But, it appears that Optimus Prime, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Silverstreak, Prowl, Jazz and Red Alert are part (if not all) of the offering. I'm not sure if Megatron or Soundwave (my personal favorite) will be offered. If they are, I may have to pick one of them up for posterity.

Random Thought Before Bed

I'm sitting here inattentively "watching" G4 and wondering to myself, "how can this network stay in business?" There are very few commercials, and most of the "filler" airtime is comprised of random gamer interviews (what an honor) or vidcaps of various games being played.

In fact, there is very little content worth watching on this channel, unless you don't own a game console and need to get your fix somehow. The worst program on this network by far (and believe me, this isn't saying much) is Portal, which chronicles some guy named Dave's alternative life through massively-multiplayer games like Everquest and Asheron's Call. It's very bizarre and nonetheless quite idiotic.

On the other side of the coin, TechTV has come a long way in the past year. I used to think it was pretty lame, as much of its programming was composed of repeats of The Screen Savers and Call for Help. However, their schedule now seems to be heading in the right direction with programming like Anime Unleashed and X-Play. Yes, The Screen Savers and Call for Help are still there, but at least now they are a smaller percentage of the whole (and TSS is interesting to watch now and then...there, I said it).

I still don't get Thunderbirds though. Maybe I'm missing something.

April 29, 2003

Back Online

I decided to give the page a revamping after over 2 years of disuse. I'm now using the popular Movable Type weblog software to keep my page current. It's a much easier process to post new entries as well as change the overall site design.

I've also moved my domain over to a new webhost - Bravidio Networks. Bravidio offers competitive pricing and some great site maintenence tools like CPanel. So far, I've been very happy with their performance and service response. Check them out if you're looking for a new web host.

Earlier this month, I built a new system for the downstairs. Since this system is primarily used for web surfing and home productivity, I was able to skimp on the components from a performance standpoint. This also brought the price down to around $360 for the hardware. Interestingly enough, the most expensive portion of the system was the OS (Windows XP Professional) @ $140. I bought all of the components from NewEgg.com. NewEgg has always had great prices and fast delivery. I highly recommend them. I'll post the config at a later date alongside my primary rig.