There should be a fine against parents buying kids Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Written by  on January 10, 2007

During Christmas time, Jana and I decided to buy PlayStation 2 just so we can play Guitar Hero 2.  Of course I bought it for more than just that reason – I love the Final Fantasy series!  I decided to go to the not-so-local (and super busy) EB Games at Yorkdale last Sunday to pick up Final Fantasy X.  In my long line-up, there was a kid – probably 12 to 14 years old, with her mother, lining up to buy Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

For those who don’t know what GTA:SA is, this game is the only game rated Adults Only by the ESRB rating, and apparently retailers will get fine $5,000 for selling adults only game to a minor.  So of course when the kid ask for the game and pay for it, the first salesperson warns the parents that this is for adults only and inform them of the possible game play (have sex with hookers to get money).  The mom wanted more clarification, so the second salesperson comes and first read the back of the ESRB warning to the mom, then proceeds to tell her the more explicit details.  Remember – there are at least 10 people lining up to pay for items, plus another 20 people in this crammed store, listening to the events unfolding!  The mom caved to the kid’s wishes and bought the game anyway!

I am sorry – there should be a law against irresponsible parents buying violent, adult video game for kids.  As if we don’t have enough shootings out there, we now have to contend with kids wanting sex with hookers and stealing cars before the age of 16?!  While I am not here to pass judgement on the mom who decided to expose the kid to this kind of video game, but if we fine the retailers for selling the game, smokes, or porn to kids under 18, the parents should be fined for explicitly allowing the kid to play the game, knowing full well the consequences of his/her actions.


Of LCDs, Plasmas and Projections

Written by  on December 18, 2006

Over the past few months, I have a few people asking me about what is better – LCD, Plasma or Projection TV of any sort.  Here’s my take:

  • I hate rear projection TVs – it’s prone to alignment problems (even today), viewing angles, and richness in colour.  Though I have to admit the new 3 LCD technology such as the JVC DLA and the Sony SRXD is making this problem go away.  I will get to DLP in a few secs.
  • Front projection – I remember calling them the 3-eye monster!  It’s not so bad if it doesn’t generate so much noise and have a light bulb replacement cost associated.
  • LCD TVs – it used to be expensive, now it’s cheap but depends on the brand and resolution.  I got lucky to have purchased an Acer AT3705-DTV TV which doubles as my giant monitor.  All LCD TVs in my opinion should have VGA, DVI-HDCP, HDMI, and of course the standard component and composite inputs.  DTV/CableCard is not in Canada yet, so complaint to your local MP/CRTC rep get Canada in the digital TV age.
  • Plasma – aren’t they so pretty?  They were great when they came out, since LCD screens were so expensive to manufacture.  Now?  The only difference is the richness of the colour and viewing angle – even then it’s not so significant.  You will be able to buy a bigger Plasma panel cheaper than LCD panel due to the different manufacturing methods – at least for the next year.

Here’s what I think of DLP – thanks Texas Instrument for creating the underlying technology, Digital Micromirror Device, but why the colour wheel?  I guess back then it was too expensive to put 3 DMD chips in a single projector and have it combined through a prism.   Did economy of scale get in the way of innovation?  DMD is a much better technology for light transmission (since it’s reflective and not translucent), and no visible refresh since each pixel is a micromirror – it’s your ultimate no-ghosting image system.  Having the colour wheel spinning at 180 times per second is just anonying, since I can see the vertical bars when I move my head side-to-side while looking at a DLP projected image.

Fido is losing money on me / Sierra Wireless AC860 on Vista!

Written by  on November 26, 2006

Along with my Windows Vista installation, I have managed to hack the Sierra Wireless AC860 card into my spanking new laptop.  I have spent this entire weekend (ok, not quite the weekend, but I need the literary flair) re-installing Vista, and after trial and error got the wireless card running on the machine.

There’s a secret with this wireless card – the 3G watcher isn’t 100% compatible with Vista.  The folks at Sierra Wirelsss posted a knowledge base article that walks you through how to install the 3G connection as a Dial-Up Connection (DUN). This is what I would have done if I had a 1900/850 HSDPA phone. After this step, launch the 3G Watcher, select the DUN connection and watch it fly!

Hence my post – Fido is losing money on me.  I just racked up 30MB of transfers in under 5 minutes.  Imagine – even at $0.01/kb at pay-per-use, my bill would have been $300!  Too bad for unlimited North American roaming – it’s just $50/month for the kind of abuse I’ll be putting this guy through.  Even if Fido capped the speed to 48KB/sec (as compare to Rogers’ 150KB), the latency is so much lower than EDGE.  We can definitely proclaim that Canada (Toronto) has a real metro-wide wireless Internet network!

What happened to the old AlanLok dot Com?

Written by  on November 26, 2006

This is my first post in my brand new blog.  Most visitors are probably wondering where everything went?  All my photos are offline, along with my original biography and MIDI music.  Rest assured, it will be restored when I get a chance to fit the old with the new.

You will be hearing a lot more from me, as I venture into my daily raves and rants about all those toys (get your mind out of the gutter folks… those who know me should realize by now I mean TECH toys).  Of course that’s not the only thing I’ll be writing about.