holy what?

January 28, 2008 under Holy Fuck, Kenny vs Spenny, Music

There’s a band from Toronto that I’ve been listening to a lot lately. They’re called Holy Fuck and they’ve been providing me with the ultimate soundtrack to coding, planning or simply brainstorming. If I had to lump them into a genre, it would definitely be post rock (which I’m already a fan of), since their music tends to be complex and features no lyrics. You could also say that Holy Fuck are an electronic band that uses no programming/looping/splicing. Try to make sense of that.

Strangely enough, in the current season of one of my favourite TV shows, Kenny vs Spenny, I’ve noticed that a few Holy Fuck songs have been used as background music – “Frenchy’s” from last year’s LP album seems to be used the most. Since Kenny vs Spenny is filmed in Toronto, maybe they’re friends, or perhaps friends of friends of a guy who knows this other guy in the band. At any rate, Holy Fuck have almost guaranteed themselves no airplay because of their chosen genre and, obviously, their name. Mark my words, though, you will be hearing much more of them as TV/film/commercial background music as well as on the iPods of people with good taste. 🙂

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a return to how wii used to be

January 21, 2008 under Nintendo, Wii

On Friday, our Wii was returned to us from Nintendo. When I powered it on, I was pleased to see nary a blinking pixel and heard no loud buzzing noise when a disc was spinning. In summary, our Wii left Kitchener on the 7th and was at Nintendo’s repair centre in Scarborough the next day. It then appeared in the Repairs area of Nintendo’s tracking system, My Nintendo, on the 9th. Our Wii then left the repair centre on the 17th and arrived safe ‘n’ sound on the 18th. Nintendo didn’t describe what the problem actually was, but a note in the package mentioned about leaving adequate room for ventilation, so my suspicions of it cooking its video chip set were probably a safe bet.

A few other things that I noticed when I hooked our Wii back up, which sometimes didn’t jive with the note that Nintendo left in the package, are:

  • Re-synching our 4 remotes was neccessary; easy-peasy.
  • I had to clear and re-enter my wireless network settings. They were preserved, but for whatever reason, didn’t work until I re-entered them.
  • You have to download anything you’ve downloaded in the past from the Shopping channel. As such, I proceeded to download the Opera web browser, Everybody Votes, and Check Mii Out channels again. No biggie.
  • Our Miis were still there (including the one that I created that totally resembles my father in-law) but they are no longer editable

Other than that, Nintendo took good care of our console and it returned to us in an acceptable amount of time. Oh, and one more setting I made sure to change: WiiConnect24 -> Standby -> OFF! As off as off can be 🙂

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a plea to the cbc and hnic

Dear CBC and those responsible for Hockey Night in Canada,

I’ve been watching Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights since before I could even walk or skate. Undoubtedly, Hockey Night in Canada is legendary, as both a radio show on CBC Radio from 1931 to 1976, as well as a TV program that has been around since 1952. In present times, there are always plenty of televised NHL games to watch on any given week, thanks to major networks like TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, speciality channels like Leafs TV and the NHL Network, and of course the smörgåsbord that is Center Ice Package. Yet HNIC is still a dear establishment to myself, and likely to the majority of hockey fans in this country. Its tradition and attention to hockey detail still cannot be beat.

The fact that I hold HNIC in such high regard causes me some remorse to say that I believe there to be a glaring problem with it. I’m well aware that the first game on Saturday nights is traditionally a Toronto Maple Leafs game. The Leafs must have a lot of influence such that the NHL generates a schedule that ensures that the Leafs play at 7PM Eastern every Saturday evening. Since HNIC is a “coast to coast” broadcast, the entire country sees the Leafs in the evenings’ first game.

Since the 1966-67 season, the Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup, and for the most part they haven’t been all that competitive. Yet they continue to be the highest-grossing NHL team in the league. The fact that they are a Canadian team in the country’s largest market surely plays a massive role in this. However, in terms of entertainment value, the Leafs have been a painful team to watch in recent years. As a hockey fan, I enjoy watching good hockey, and Leafs games are not good hockey. The team is atrocious. All the while, the CBC still insists on calling the program Hockey Night in Canada, when “Hockey Night in Toronto” would be more apt. And I say this as a person residing in southern Ontario (aka: “Leafs Nation”).

There are currently six NHL teams based in Canadian cities: Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. The second game of the night on HNIC broadcasts at least one of the three teams in western Canada (Canucks, Flames or Oilers), providing variety each week. Yet HNIC‘s first game of the night is always a Leafs game, even if one or both of the other two eastern Canada teams (Ottawa and Montreal) are playing. Until recently, francophone CBC affiliates showed Montreal Canadiens games on La Soirée du Hockey; why that doesn’t continue to this day, I’m not entirely sure. Since I’d like to see entertaining hockey, I’d much rather watch a Sens or Habs game now, than a Leafs game. Both Ottawa and Montreal have strong teams who are exciting to watch and have some star power. The Leafs, on the other hand, are a dismal team bound to miss the playoffs again, and are not very enjoyable to watch on most nights. To add, because the CBC is a public broadcasting network, Canadian tax payers finance it. By constantly being subjected to the lowly Leafs each Saturday evening, I believe that we, the Canadian tax payers, are not getting good value for our hard-earned dollars.

I propose a simple solution: treat Saturday evening’s first game the same way the second game is treated. Since the Saturday evenings that the Canucks/Flames/Oilers are televised on HNIC are varied, the Leafs/Senators/Canadiens should be treated the same way. The staggering number of Leafs fans would be on equal footing with Sens and Habs fans in terms of their favourite team’s games broadcast schedule, and there also are the other aforementioned networks capable of showing Leafs games. My proposed solution, or a similar one, seems fair and would hopefully ensure that Saturday evenings will truly continue to be a hockey night in Canada.

Sincerely,

Chris Bellini, a hockey fan and tax payer

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ow-wii

January 6, 2008 under Gaming, Nintendo, Wii

I’ve heard about it. I’ve read about it. Lo and behold, it happened to me.

On Friday evening before venturing to the airport to get Dena, I decided to pass the time by trying to make some progress with Metroid Prime 3. After an hour or so, I began to hear a loud buzzing noise. I was in new (to me) areas of Sky City so I thought it was part of the sound effects…until I heard the same sound on the map screen. I turned off my TV to rule out a problem with it, and sure enough, the sound remained. It was the Wii. To troubleshoot, I went back to the Wii Menu: no buzzing noise. I popped trusty Wii Sports: no buzzing noise. Guitar Hero 3: buzzing Noise. Metroid Prime 3: buzzing noise. It concerned me, but not all that much.

Then yesterday, while playing Metroid Prime 3 again (and defeating Ghor, for those interested), I noticed “sparkly” pixels when ever Samus entered a Save point or her ship. I backed out to the Wii Menu and the “sparkly” pixels were there too. After poking around the Web a bit, I found a video of someone playing Resident Evil 4 with the same problem that I was having:

http://www.youtube.com/v/Zrrj4eoxQ1o&rel=1

I called Nintendo Support today and have shipped my Wii off to Nintendo of Canada in Scarborough for repair, or rather more likely a replacement with my save data copied over (I backed up my save data to an SD card just in case). Of course this is all covered under warranty. When I was filling out the Purolator waybiil today, the clerk asked me if it was an X-Box 360 that I was sending away for repair since, as she said, “we see that a lot”. I had to hang my head a little bit when I replied that it was a Wii that I bought back in April 2007.

The Internet consensus is that this problem is caused by overheating. I keep my Wii in a cabinet, but there are 20 centimetres of spaces on each side and the back is open. I’d hate to think it needs more room than that, but perhaps it does. One thing I did notice is how warm the Wii would get while it’s on Standby with WiiConnect24 enabled. My plan is that when my Wii returns, I’ll disable WiiConnect24 as a precaution. I’ll miss waking up to the glowing blue light when ever there’s a new message or system update, but I’d rather not have to send my Wii off for repairs again.

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google has been spreading holiday cheer

January 4, 2008 under Google

It appears that Google was in a giving mood over the holidays. I’ve watched my email capacity climb from 3GB to over 6GB in a matter of weeks. Regular GMail users probably have probably seen their capacity increase already, but us Google Apps users tend to be an afterthought. Kudos to Google for keeping Apps users up-to-date. Now, if we can only get those colour-coded labels…

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