David Crew is a gamer and web lover. Read my blog or else I'll throw a Bomb-Omb at you. Lighted. :)

Posts tagged “david crew’s blog

Read Wall Street Journal Online for Free


Hey Everyone,

Being a business student, I am always subjected to professors asking to find and regularly read various articles from the Wall Street Journal. Being also a poor business student, this can be very difficult because the business school I attend provides relatively no subscriber passes to its students unlike other competing colleges and universities. So if you need an article for a class, or even want to browse the Wall Street Journal Online without much hassle, just follow the guide below:

Follow these Steps:

  • Download Firefox and install it.
  • Then proceed to the add-ons section and find the Javascript powerhouse, Greasemonkey
  • Next, proceed to http://userscripts.org/ where there is a whole variety of various scripts to download for Greasemonkey. Search through and get the script WSJ Paywall Bypass
  • Install the script, make sure your little monkey icon at the bottom of Firefox is colored and go and visit WSJ Online to view articles.
  • Enjoy!

Note:

There are other ways to get around the paywall of WSJ online, such as using Google News and Firebug, or even finding different browsers like Chrome that can run Javascript add-ons. If you are a heavy reader of the WSJ, I highly suggest getting a subscription if you can afford one. I’m actually more of a fan of Reuters, the Economist, and other sources, but it’s really up to you.

I only use this workaround because we have archives of the paper editions at our school, but instead of sprinting to the library and spending hours searching through it all, this is a much quicker way to find articles for assignments.

Happy Reading!


Zelda Fans Rejoice!


Hey Everyone,

The amazing remixers and composers at OC Remix have come out with two new albums with arrangements based on the Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening music. This means that all the catchy little tunes that came out of your game boy and game boy color have now been remixed beautifully into piano pieces, club beats, and much more. Even if you never played those games when you were younger, many of the pieces are still very beautiful and warrant your attention. It won’t be as musically phenomenal as say, Two Steps from Hell – Invincible, but these albums are still very well done.

Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Threshold of a Dream

Home Page

Album Details and Download

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages – Legend of Zelda – Essence of Lime

Home Page

Album Download


Revisiting Dead Space


Hey Everyone,

In case the massive marketing efforts of EA haven’t gotten you excited for Dead Space 2, GET EXCITED. If the sequel is anything like the original, we can expect more of the dismembering goodiness and pop up scares of the original. To get in the mood, I played through Dead Space and it still was pretty scary even on the second round through.  Below I listed a few things I’m predicting for the sequel and a couple of hopes I have:

  • Include more psychological scares – the scariest moments from when I was playing the first one, aside fromrandom pop-up scares, were the sequences that didn’t make sense. Necromorphs were explainable, and we knew the rules that are associated with them. But for the sequences where things were not discernible and could not make sense to me would scare me the most. Leave things to the imagination and try to mess with the gamer a bit and their senses, like Eternal Darkness did on the Gamecube.

  • Beyond 4 limbed creatures – The first dead space had some decent variety when it came to the creatures. Besides the normal, “If you change the color of the monster, it’s super powerful!” cliche, there were brutes, crawlers, cysts, dividers, slashers, stalkers, swarmers, and other fun things to scare the crap out of you. But, I couldn’t help being disappointed a little by the number of limbs on the monsters. For a game that prided itself on calculated strikes on limbs to liven up the zombie game genre, there were no monsters with excessive amounts of limbs that were not bosses. Having just one creature that is reminiscent of an arachnid with many different limbs would be an excellent addition.
  • Careful with Isaac’s story – Dead Space 2 brings us a little deeper into who exactly Isaac is and the troubles he’s going through. We’ll hopefully be getting a little more information on his wife, his past, and what exactly is going on in his head. I just hope in the sequel we don’t get too much “muck” to his story. No children, no ex girlfriends, and no other familial drama that isn’t directly related to his deceased wife. Keep the game focused on the horror and on the psychological trauma going on in Isaac’s head.

Aside from those three things, the previews and screenshots have made Dead Space 2 look pretty awesome. Can’t wait to see the reviews on the game and go out and play it for myself.

What about you guys? What do you hope to see from the sequel and what gets you scared in horror games?


How Much Does an Electric Car Really Cost?


Hey Everyone,

I’ve just been reading up on the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and other electric based vehicles that are going to be rolling out soon. Since I recently got rid of my car and currently am car-less, I’ve been curious about the cost differences between gas based cars and electric cars in regards to many things, such as how many miles can I go on the warranty, how many leisure miles do they give me, are the gas savings worth the premium on electric cars, and much more.

First, I used these as my values going in:

For this, Nissan says it will cost on average about $2.75 to charge the Leaf’s batteries to full. This is of course a big difference to gasoline where if we assume gas costs $3.00 a gallon, then to fill a 12 gallon car to full will run you $36. For the miles can travel before you get to empty, I assumed you run until you can’t move anymore, but obviously you won’t go 360 miles before you fuel up.

Nissan also gives a range on its miles it can go from 138 miles to 63 miles, I decided to take a really conservative look since 138 miles before needing to recharge is under super ideal conditions, and as you discharge and charge a battery multiple times, it will not hold as full a charge as when you first started driving. Also, when I was doing the calculations, I assumed New England weather, which has 4 seasons where with the Leaf, you would be using the air conditioner and heater during its life frequently.

Nothing too surprising there, of course electricity is cheaper than gasoline.

Fuel Savings?

Getting back to the actual money you save by using electricity to power your car rather than gasoline, I broke it down this way by using the values found in the first table I posted:

Using the same restrictions of refueling a gas car each every 360 miles for $36 and refueling the leaf for $2.75 every 75 miles for a total of 160,000 miles, you end up saving $10,133.33 on fuel costs. It is definitely evident that there are cost savings associated with driving an electric car vs driving a gas car.

Now let’s look at the cost of buying the car:

Nissan states that you can get a maximum $7,500 worth of rebates by buying an electric car. Using that as comparison to an average price of two 30+ mpg gas cars, the Ford Fiesta and the Honda CR-Z, you find that the base price for the most basic model of the Leaf is $9,635 more than the cost of the average price of the two 30+ mpg cars. Going back to the assumption that you’re driving the car for 160,000 miles, and you save $10,133.33 over using electricity rather than gasoline, we find that the net of the premium of buying electric and the fuel cost savings only net you $498.33 in savings.

This calculation surprised me the most. I thought the premium cost of buying a hybrid, electric, or other kind of non-gasoline consuming vehicle was offset by the fuel consumption savings. I was expecting this value to be much higher than the low $500.

The next calculation I did assumed that there was no tax rebate whatsoever:

This one again returned a surprising value to me. It turns out that the fuel savings of buying an electric car did not offset the premium of buying electric rather than buying a gasoline powered car. Buy choosing electric, you actually lose $7,001.67 on your decision (Again, assume driving 160,000 miles).

To put it graphically, these are the two options showing with or without the tax savings:

Driving Less than 160,000 Miles:

That case was with driving a hefty 160,000 miles over the life of a car. Let’s say you just drive the car 100,000 miles, how do the charts play out?:

What does it all mean and other notes:

Do not buy an electric car to save money on fuel costs. The premiums on buying an electric car over a regular gasoline powered car are simply not worth it unless you are planning on driving the car many miles (160,000+). Government rebates may not always be there for electrical cars, so that’s why I did the two extremes. Rebates help out immensely with the premium of an electric car, but still the premiums are very high. The calculations did not take into account switching from an SUV or other low MPG vehicle to an electric vehicle. A lower MPG vehicle would result in more savings from the fuel efficiency.

Also, there are other costs associated with running an electric car and running a gasoline car besides simply fuel costs. Gas powered vehicles have intake, exhaust, and engine systems which all have their associated maintenance and upkeep costs. An electric-powered car is not without its costs either. You have to recharge more frequently, may have charges associated with installing a charging station in your home (Nissan estimates it at least at a cost of $2000), possible premiums if you plan on using a charge station rather than using a home charge station ($2.75 to fuel up full at home compared to a higher price at a charge station), and battery replacement costs (How much will Nissan sell replacement batteries?).

The costs associated with having an electric car vs a gas-powered car also did not take into account resale value. Obviously you can recoup some of the premium you paid on an electric car by how much you resell, but there is no data on how much you can actually get on an electric car after x number of years. Just remember that it is a depreciating asset like all other cars and you should never buy a car thinking it is an “investment” of any kind.

Thanks for reading! I also posted the excel spreadsheet I used for your own purposes. If you see any mistakes, just let me know. I made the spreadsheet in about 15-20 minutes so I may have skipped on using the best cell references, etc.


The Best Season of Futurama Yet


Hey Everyone,

I know it’s been a bit since I’ve updated this blog, and you can blame that on college starting back up and now homework actually being assigned. No Gen Eds to actually take up my time this semester too, which is annoying.

Anywho, Futurama is a surprisingly underrated show, even today after having five glorious seasons and now going on their sixth. However, this year, Futurama has been pulling out every single stop as far as quality of writing, animation, and wit. Dealing with philosophical themes and issues of mortality and the continuum of time, Futurama provides some exceptional artistic presentation combined with the humor of the show.

I really can’t explain the intricacies of the current 6th season very eloquently, since I’m not a writer for Futurama and have that kind of superhero-type writing ability, but I definitely recommend episode 6, Lethal Inspection, and episode 7, The Late Philip J. Fry as episodes to watch that will both make you smile and laugh, as well as tear up a bit.

As always, stay awesome my friends,

-David Crew


Baby Mine


Hey Everyone,

Human nature is not necessarily evil, there are simply parts of a person that can make a person do despicable deeds. I was at work today talking with one of my friends, and he told me a story about a person he met who had fought in Vietnam many years ago. Apparently this soldier had fought on the front lines in many parts of ‘Nam killing and trying to win a war that was as long as it was deadly.

There was one day, though, that was especially terrible. While this soldier was fighting through a village, he came across a baby that was crying on the ground. Seeing the helpless little Vietnamese baby, he came over and picked the poor thing up to try to reunite it with its family or at least bring him/her somewhere safe. Yet, when he picked the baby up, there was a little *click* and the land mine that the baby had been set on by the opposing forces blew up underneath the soldier, sending shrapnel through the air annihilating the baby and severely wounding the soldier.

Atrocious.

What kind of human beings use a baby as a lure to the enemy to try to make them come closer to a land mine? That’s just nonsense, seriously. I mean it’s one thing to smash through and wage slick Call of Duty war to wreck noObs, but it’s another to actually go out there, and use guerrilla tactics like that to take soldiers out. I guess that was a pretty common thing that happened in ‘Nam, to use women, children, and infants as lures and traps for soldiers. Terrible stuff, people, just awful stuff.


Back From Colorado


Hey Everyone,

Yesterday I got back from Colorado, and I must say, it was pretty fucking awesome. Never before had I seen such beautiful landscapes, nice people, and rolling mountains. I tossed some pictures below for you guys to check out. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


.co Domain Extension


Hey Everyone,

I don’t consider myself a genius when it comes to the process of purchasing domains and the entire handling of websites and such (if you talk servers, python, and other things I’ll just ask for a CMS), but haven’t we all seen this kind of process before?

I bought your website domain, nude.

Every couple of years we get another top level domain extension added to the registrar where you can register your long awaited, unique domain name to a less-than-the-infinitely-better-in-every-way .com extension since a bunch of schmucks all over the Internet with an average weight of 300 lbs. all purchased them long ago in 1996. There’s a whole slue “top level domains” out there for the GoDaddy power user:

  1. .coop – for the websites that don’t do single player.
  2. .tel – the extension for the nonexistent, long-since deleted word for “telephone”.
  3. .gg – the domain for internet websites with good sportsmanship tendencies.
  4. .arpa – the evil, malicious domain twin of the .sherpa domains.
  5. .museum – for the stupid intellectual who decided to throw as many syllables as possible into a domain. Oh yeah, and help museums.

But that doesn’t really matter because the process remains the same. Come out with a new domain, auction off the really awesome ones, then leave the rest of them to be picked up by the same 300 lbs people as some kind of Internet investment (people, Zecco is right around the corner if you want to do investments, ffs.). Then within a few months, everyone realizes how idiotic it is to have anything but a .com, tries to resell their “investments” that they paid a premium for through hyping, then the Internet quietly awaits domain transfers of .com’s again.

Seriously, the only domains that should be considered are .com, .org, and only if super duper necessary, .net. Otherwise, if I visit a site that has any other extension, I’m gettin’ out of there.


The Importance of Music in Video Games


So awesome. ❤

Hey Everyone,

I have always been very geek when it comes to music in video games. Even when it was the 16 bit sounds of my first Super Nintendo chiming away as I combated zoras in Link to the Past, stomped on goombas in Super Mario World, or blasted Mavericks in Mega Man X, I would always enjoy the little tunes that played during each game. It got to the point where I could easily tell what game my friend was playing in the other room simply by hearing the melodies.

The type of Music that’s in video games plays a pivotal role in how well a game communicates to a gamer and can either make or break many video games in development and on the market.

Why do you exist?

But why is the music so vital to a game? Why is it that the thumping drums and airy choral lines in the Halo games more fitting than techno music and banjos? (besides banjos being the most useless instrument in the world). It’s because music is an essential ingredient to building atmosphere within games and evoking certain kinds of emotions in gamers.

Music has a special ability to evoke emotions. The tone colors of certain instruments as well as the overall beat, rhythm, pitch, staff style and much more can influence what natural kind of emotion we get. The dissonant chords and fast strings in Dead Space put nerves on edge, the slow french horns and deep drums of Oblivion soothe you as you ride over luscious hills, and the airy sounds of Venice with the mix of human chatter make you really feel like you’re with Ezio in Assassin’s Creed 2. (Oblivion even won the MTV Video Music Award for “Best Original Score” through an international popular vote.)

Video game music even has grown to be a distinct genre. Take, for example, many of the classical bands that have toured and featured video game music such as the Gamer Symphony Orchestra at the University of Maryland. And those are just classical orchestras playing video game music. There are sites out there that feature remixes and compositions based upon video game music like OC Remix, which provides free tracks you can download that remix game compositions into, many times, utter masterpieces.


But overall, I will be forever geek when it comes to video game music. If you’re interested in some decent soundtracks of video games, check out Oblivion, Halo, Chrono Trigger/ Chrono Cross, God of War 3, and Legend of Zelda Windwaker, Final Fantasy VII and X,  and Metal Gear Solid on Amazon or through youtube. And also, here’s one of my favorite tracks from Ocremix:


Disturbing Shopping List


Hey Everyone,

Today I stumbled across someone’s terribly revealing shopping list at work that was crumpled up on the floor. I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Milk
2. Zoloft Rx
3. Wart freeze off applicator
4. Pregnancy test
5. Chicken Ramen
6. 30 pack Bud Light
7. Lavender Febreeze spray
8. Journal
9. Stuff that turns lights on slowly
10. Fan
11. Quick trim slim system

Now it’s pretty simple to piece together this list. So the person that dropped it was buying the bare essentials of food, milk and ramen. I’m assuming it’s a woman, who has a terrible wart problem, but recently had sex and is worried about becoming pregnant with a child and therefore took the pregnancy test. She’s buying a 30 pack, most likely for herself, even though she is picking up a prescription for  anti depressants.

I’m not really sure why she’s buying a journal, maybe to chronicle her depression and possible pregnancy with some guy she met. She doesn’t seem too smart or ready for hard work, however. She is most likely overweight and wants to lose weight doing it an easy way, and doesn’t understand that the thing that “turns lights on slowly” is a dimmer switch. Annnd, lastly, it’s summer, so she’s buying a fan to stay cool.

Wow. Amazing what a shopping list can tell you about a person.