Monday, May 14, 2007

Extra Bait

Apparently some genius had to conduct a study on whether or not paid video downloads have a "future" in the digital world, and to everyones suprise, NO!

"The market research firm estimates that only 9% of online adults have ever paid for a movie or TV show download"
As this is aimed at people who are already pretty familiar with everything the internet can offer it's hard to imagine a good number of them skipping a search on youtube or even perhaps on one of many torrent search engines and dish out cash for some videos to watch on their relatively small computer screens. Id much rather see movies that I paid for on this rather than thisObviously you could convert and burn and bla bla bla, but that defeats the purpose of buying it online. The best way yet in getting profit from all these shows is through advertisements, put some in the beginning or the middle, and even though all of us absolutly hate boring online commercials I will most certainly sit through the atrocity to catch the latest Family Guy episode. Full story.

Not a week goes by without hearing something about the awful time the PS3 is having, and obviously this one is no exception. Im sure most dont want to hear the same story over and over again, but I think this quote from Kyoshi Shin of the International Game Developers Assn. sums it all up
"When people talk about the PS3 on chat forums, they say it's like going to a very expensive restaurant and not getting anything to eat."
Sony didn't have a solid, well oiled plan when going into the next generation gaming, they relied heavily on the sucess of the PS2 and most likely assumed it would be smooth sailing with some catchy ads. And with the Xbox being on the shelves for over a year, Sony would have been much better off "paying for" a boat load of developers from the early start so loosing a few would not hurt them this much. LA Times Story.


Energy Drink Shootout: Rockstar

This review is part of a larger comparison article. To read it in its entirety (and better understand the review as a whole), click here.
Previous: Monster Energy

Glock's Review
The Setup: I reviewed Rockstar the day after I reviewed Monster. As such, my second test period for this review was probably the truest test of how this specific energy drink will perform when downed to combat sleep deprivation. Why? You'll remember that I tried Monster on Thursday morning, and so I tried Rockstar Friday morning. So obviously one of the main influences of this test will be my sleep from Thursday night. If you've been keeping up with Gamer Bait, you'll know that for the past several weeks I've been participating in a podcast that gets posted weekly---on Fridays. We record Thursday night, beginning at 11:30PM or midnight (Eastern time), and the podcast itself is approximately an hour to an hour and a half long. Afterwards, we talk for awhile and then check the quality of the sound, after which I get my tired head to a pillow. As I noted in the Monster review, I get up at 5:20AM or so. The podcast on Thursday night put me in bed at 1:45AM Friday morning. Yeah, I know. But that's not it. Remember I've worked 8 hours a day all week starting at 6AM, and only gotten about 4-5 hours of sleep per night each night. Thursday night is the last night of the week that I don't get to sleep in come morning (assuming we don't have to work overtime on Saturday morning), so Friday morning is usually when I am most sleep-deprived. Long story short: 3.5 hours of sleep, and 4-5 hours of sleep per night for the four preceding nights.
Size: 16oz.
Single Can: $2.29
Per oz.: $0.14
Four-pack: $5.98
Per Can: $1.50
Per oz.: $0.09
The Instruments: Sugars (60g), Taurine (2000mg), Caffeine (160mg), Guarana (50mg), Inositol (50mg), L-Carnitine (50mg), Panax Ginseng (50mg), Milk Thistle (40mg), Ginkgo Biloba (30mg)
The Taste: Start with Sweet Tarts crushed up into a powder. Then add that harsh (but somehow enjoyable) battery acid taste you find in Red Bull. Mix well, shorten the aftertaste by half of what you'd expect, and you have a 16-oz. can of Rockstar, complete with the red stylized double-R pull tab. If I drank it fast, I noticed that the Sweet Tart flavor became a slightly stronger sour apple taste. It also seems that they added a bit more sugar to counteract the harsh side of the drink's taste, but it doesn't really put a huge dent in it. Overall, it's not that bad, but it's got a taste that would inspire me to keep browsing the convenience store cooler in search of something better. Score: 6
Aftereffects: I drank two of these, one at 6AM Friday morning, and another in the early evening. I felt like death walking, and had the bloodshot eyes to prove it. As with the Monster from the previous day, I drank the first one slowly over the course of two and a half hours. It took off a little slowly, then reached cruising altitude and plateaued. That's exactly what it felt like. I wasn't amped up, had absolutely no jitter, and I didn't feel like I had an extra bit of bounce in my step...but I felt normal. I felt as if I'd slept for 8 hours and made it halfway through the day already (which is when I generally feel the most awake). For my evening can, I slammed the 16-oz. Rockstar down inside 5 minutes. My brain felt a little stimulated, I kept noticing I was tapping my foot while sitting at the computer, and I just barely felt that little caffeine/sugar jitter. Still not a "bounce in your step" experience, but I did feel a hair above normal when I should be feeling the effects of a long week with little sleep. Score: 7

nubulicious' Review
The Taste: This is one of the worst energy drinks I have had. The taste actually starts out pretty good, but about 20 seconds later you realize that there is a nasty aftertaste. All the energy that this product supposedly gives you will be wasted on your efforts to finish drinking it. Score: 2
This is where the drink really shows its true colors; an absolute atrocity. This is the only time Ive got a headache after drinking an "energy drink", not only that but I failed to get any more of a boost than what a cup of decaf could have given me. Luckily I had it during the day and not in the morning, as that would have just ruined my whole day. I would try to write as much as Glock but it I'd rather just say "NO TO ROCKSTAR". Score: 4

Overall Gamer Bait Score: 5

Next: Sobe Adrenaline Rush (coming soon!)


Saturday, May 12, 2007

I Say Again: Break Radio Silence

First off, we are still alive. Secondly, we here at Gamer Bait apologize for our absence the past two and a half weeks. Thirdly, wow. If you had told me two months ago that the month of April and beginning of May would be so busy that I would have neither time for gaming on my own equipment or writing for Gamer Bait, I wouldn't have believed you. But that 40-day period included a lot of working, literally 7 or 8 birthdays (four of which I went out of town for), and a lot of other things that we won't delve into. And after things calmed down, I got sick. Anyway, it's my fault for not letting everyone know in advance, and for that I apologize. It kind of snuck up on me. But while life did steal me away from Gamer Bait for a short while, at least it treated me well. This is why we're looking for more writers! Regardless of all that's gone before, I'm back. And despite my absence, I did in fact find time to record our Gamer Bait gaming segment on the Two Cents podcast, so be sure to check that out and keep up on some of the latest gaming news. Coming up later, I'll post the Rockstar energy drink review, to begin rolling out the rest of the energy drink shootout. For now though, here are the past few podcasts; the gaming segment is the segment after the introductins and show notes.

- Glock

Episode 34: The Aftermath

From the gaming segment:

  • 3-year anniversary for Xbox Live Arcade
  • New map pack for GRAW 2
  • Shadowrun going gold (and "green")
  • Spring Update for the 360
  • Halo 2 for PC pushed back
  • Cellfactor: Revolution released
  • PS2-exclusive 80s GH2 song pack details
  • Guitar Hero 3 & Rock Band news
  • Transformers Cybertron Edition details
  • PS3 and 360 costs breakdown
  • New M$/Razer gaming keyboard
  • Details on a new shooter from LucasArts
Episode 33: Twenty-one Questions

From the gaming segment:
  • 360 Elite launch
  • Xenos graphics processors in the 360 going to 65-nm
  • Upcoming games and trailers
    1. Spider-man 3
    2. C&C 3 for 360
    3. Fallout 3 trailer
  • GeForce 8800 Ultra
  • High school senior in Texas arrested/suspended over Counter-strike map
  • New Gears of War map pack
  • New expansion pack for The Sims 2
  • Halo 3 Beta update
Episode 32: A Change of Plan

From the gaming segment:
  • 360 Elite launch reminder
  • Guitar Hero II
    1. The Guitar Zeros
    2. Three more GH2 song packs on the way
  • PS3
    1. Cheaper blue laser diodes
    2. 80GB PS3 sighted
    3. Folding on the PS3 update from Stanford
  • Wii
    1. Gun controller
    2. Keyboard coming from Nintendo
  • Movies
    1. George Miller to work in video games
    2. Plot synopsis for Hitman film released, movie release reminder
  • New games
    1. KOTOR MMO
    2. Tom Clancy's EndWar
    3. Medal of Honor Airborne
    4. Fall of Liberty
    5. CoD 4
    6. Crimson Skies 2
  • GTA IV
    1. More info on the game
    2. Liberty City mapped out
  • Crysis devs leaving co-op multiplayer up to the modding community
  • Command & Conquer 3 novel


Monday, April 23, 2007

Energy Drink Shootout

If you've ever found your reflexes slowing down around 3AM at a LAN party, woke up in the wrong lane during a seven-hour drive, or found yourself still yawning after lunch at work, this article is for you. A few weeks ago, nub pitched the idea of an energy drink comparison review to me, and I thought it was a great idea. So we decided to review the most common energy drinks; the ones that you invariably see whenever you go to the grocery store or stop in to refuel at the gas station. For this comparison, we selected Monster Energy, Rockstar, Sobe Adrenaline Rush, Red Bull, Full Throttle, and Starbucks Doubleshot. You may notice that some of the drinks are smaller cans (around 8oz.) while some are a great deal larger (16oz.), and are wondering why we'd compare them alongside one another. The reason is that all the drinks reviewed are in the same price range (around US$2.00 per can if bought by the can). We feel that you should get the same quality and satisfaction for your money, no matter which drink you buy. If a company believes that their product is good enough to sell half the quantity of its competitors' size product for the same price, then we'll hold them to that.

For our review, we've given you a little bit of background info on our state of mind and body during the testing periods, how much we paid (although prices will vary by store, region, and country), the major "energy" ingredients in the drink and the amounts thereof, and both impressions and ratings of the taste and aftereffects of each drink. One thing to note: on the 16oz. drinks, companies usually state that each can contains two servings. While it makes sense for them based on a health marketing and liability standpoint, for all intents and purposes a canned drink is one serving to just about everyone under normal circumstances. So bear in mind while reading that the ingredient levels are based per can, not per "serving". Also, we started to include information such as how many calories, or how much sugar and sodium was in each drink, but realized: if you're drinking an energy drink (or any canned beverage besides something like V8, really) then you're obviously not too terribly focused on how it's going to impact your overall health. I don't care if you do drink the "low carb" version. If you're after an energy boost and want to do it in a healthy manner, then get the right amount of sleep, exercise, and drink nothing but water and juice drinks. If you need something to pop your eyes open or pump you up for a few hours, buy an energy drink. That being said...we bought a lot of energy drinks. So without further ado, we at Gamer Bait give you our humble reviews. First up is Monster Energy.

Monster Energy
Glock's Review
The Setup: Let's see...not really all that sure what sort of thing is pertinent, actually. Physically, I'm 5'10" tall (178cm) or so and 150 lbs. (68kg). I usually drink either water or orange juice; no soft drinks or energy drinks unless I'm on vacation, and the only energy drink I'd had prior to doing this review was Red Bull. I work from 40 hours a week; 6AM until 2:30PM (with a half hour for lunch) on weekdays, and began my review at the beginning of my Thursday shift. Prior to trying that day, I had slept 4-5 hours every night starting on Sunday night, which is normal for me. My alarm goes off at 5:10AM and I'm out of bed by 5:20 or 5:30.
Size: 16oz.
Single Can: $1.76
Per oz.: $0.11
Four-pack: $6.96
Per Can: $1.74
Per oz.: $0.11
What's in the Beast: Sugars (54g), Taurine (2000mg), Panax Ginseng (400mg), "Energy Blend" of L-Carnitine, Glucose, Caffeine (140mg), Guarana, Inositol, Glucuronolactone, and Maltodextrin (5000mg)
The Taste: Sweet, citrusy (it's a word, I swear), and smooth. Like they melted cotton candy into a syrup and added it to a can of Mello Yello, but managed to keep it from becoming too sweet. You do taste the "active ingredients" such as caffeine, guarana, taurine, and ginseng, but they are by no means overpowering. The aftertaste? Hardly even worth mentioning, because it's gone so quickly, and isn't bad at all to begin with. I have to say that I really like the taste of Monster, and would drink it as easily as any of the soft drinks that I might normally drink. Score: 9
Aftereffects: To me it seemed like it was instant. Expecting a harsh-tasting energy drink, I actually found the taste refreshing, so that may just be a partially placebo response. But the feeling persisted and built upon itself after that, so I guess that doesn't really matter. Two of Monster's "Energy Blend" ingredients are fancy words for simple and complex sugars, which might be why you feel a rush so quickly. But all the energy drinks reviewed have about the same amount of sugar, so that only makes sense if Monster's got some sort of special balance going on between the simple and complex sugars that the others don't. If that's the case, then while that's burning off, it gives the caffeine/guarana and other ingredients time to affect you. The reason I group caffeine and guarana together is because guarana is basically just another caffeine source. Guarana extract contains "pure" natural caffeine, whereas standalone caffeine is usually procured from decaffeinating coffee or tea. But back to the matter at hand: the sugars jump-start you, and keep going while the other ingredients get "warmed up", I guess you could say. When I drank a can slowly beginning at 6AM throughout the morning of my Thursday shift, I experienced a quick pick-me-up and solid follow-through. I noticed a bit of hand jitter when I went to write down some machine configurations, but not much. I definitely felt as if I'd gotten a full night's sleep, and even felt a little energetic past that. When I drank one (quickly) on Saturday afternoon, I felt amped up and felt like I was up for pretty much anything. I didn't have any urges to go screaming down the street in my skivvies, but I did feel energized. Oddly enough I didn't feel any hand jitter whatsoever. I think the reason for this is that I had not eaten yet Thursday morning when I had the drink, and had already eaten a burger for lunch a couple of hours before I had the Monster on Saturday. Score: 9

nubulicious' Review
The Taste: This is probably the best tasting energy drink out there. It has more flavor than red bull, yet it still more suttle than Sobe Adrenaline Rush. Its hard to describe the taste, so just go out an buy one it wont dissappoint. Score: 9
Once again I believe this drink is superior in this category to most of the stuff you find on the shelf next to it. It has just enough for you to get the job done, but its not so overwhelming that you will loose 10Ib in the next two days. I, as most people, get up pretty early and need something to wake me up for the long day ahead. Ive tried many things, anything from coffee to caffeine mints, but nothing feels right. That is except Monster, this thing will wake you right up, not leave a nasty aftertaste and make your workday go by just a little faster. The only downside is the $2 price, it would take about $40 a month to support the habbit, which compared to a can of coffee is much more expensive. So if you have the means go ahead and make your morning a Monster morning. Score: 9.5

Overall Gamer Bait Score: 9

Next up: Rockstar


Saturday, April 21, 2007

New 8600 and DX10 Value Cards

Many people are aware of Nvidia’s recent launch of the low and mid range DirectX 10 cards. People are questioning if the 8600 series will have enough punch to handle next-gen released games.

“NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600 graphics processors feature the award-winning GeForce 8 Series architecture with unparalleled levels of graphics realism and performance for Microsoft® DirectX® 9 and DirectX 10 games for the pricepoint.”
What sets the new 8000 series apart from Nvidia’s older line of cards is its new architecture. The 7-series cards were based off the G70 and 71, while the newer 8-series cards are based off of the G80. This is the first thing people need to realize when comparing the specifications of both card series. The 8800 GTS has 96 stream processors while the 8600 GTS has only 32. Many people are criticizing the cards because of this, as well as for the fact that the 8600 GTS models only house a 128-bit memory controller. However, when comparing charts (click here for chart), the 8600 GTS still outperforms a Radeon X1950 Pro. Also, the 8600 GTS only puts out memory at a rate of 32 GB/s while still outperforming the Radeon X1950 Pro at 44 GB/s. This goes to show that the new architecture of the G80 is quite an impressive feat for Nvidia. This is why people need to compare performance based on actual charts, rather than through specifications. However in other games, the 8600 GTS pulls slightly under the X1950 Pro (click here for chart). This is most likely due to drivers that have yet to be optimized for the mass of DX9 games. We find that many games are having patches released to optimize performance with DX10 cards.

If you're one who isn't concerned with gaming, it would still be wise to consider the cheaper 8500 cards, as they will perform exceptionally well for business applications. There is little heat output and Gigabyte has released a fanless heat sink version that will please those who are concerned about noise. The 8500 cards still come with dual DVI outputs and a few offer HDTV as well.

Some are a bit hesitant to fork over big bucks towards a higher end 8800 GTS. It would be wise to take a look at the new 8600 series that Nvidia has to offer. With it you’ll get DX10 capabilities for the future and many card retailers are releasing HDTV adapters. This will allow the consumer to hook up to their chosen HDTV and use it as a monitor. Either way you could still do the same thing through a DVI cable if your HDTV supports it. Based on the charts the 8600 still easily handles current-gen games. Remember that ATI is planning a release of their new cards supporting DX10, so it would be wise to hold off if you’re still unsure of a purchase.

Source - AnandTech


Friday, April 20, 2007

D&K2C: Ep 31

The weekly podcast is up, and you should check it out. This week in addition to the gaming segment, we discuss the new website for Damon & Klitts' Podcast, the tragedy at Virginia Tech, as well as the usual assortment of random news and feature segments. Also of note: they've got a comment line set up in the form of a voicemail, so go ahead and give it a ring. Be it a shoutout, a question for anyone involved in the podcast, a thumbs-up/thumbs-down, or anything else that strikes your fancy, try it out: 206-666-5053. Also this week I'm going to include the media player in this podcast post, although I don't know if I'll continue to do this because I don't want to keep people from checking out the podcast site itself. As a final note, Gamer Bait is looking for writers! If you're interested, send us an email at or IM us on AIM using the screen name Gamer Bait. Thanks, and enjoy!

From the gaming segment:

  • Nvidia releases new DX10 cards
  • Snoop Dogg wants his Xbox
  • Command & Conquer 3 Demo on XBL
  • Wii still doing well
  • Resident Evil for the Wii EU launch date
  • Sony
    1. PS3 1.70 firmware update
    2. Over 100 games to be released in Q2 for Sony platforms
    3. Job cuts abound
  • Xbox
    1. New backwards-compatibility update
    2. 360 Elite trade-in programs
    3. 360 Elite on eBay
  • Halo
    1. New ongoing Halo comic book by Marvel
    2. Halo map remakes available for download
    3. Mountain Dew Game Fuel: the semi-official drink of Halo 3


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Extra Bait

Microsoft is aiming high (or low) to help spread its popular software like Windows and Office. They are deciding to market some of these software suits for as low as $3 in countries like China which have experienced a huge techonlogical progression in the recent years. It probably should also be noted that this is a partial effort in helping to combat pirated material, which is a very dominant practice in the Asian markets.
"According to Microsoft, the software is part of a “new commitment to help close the digital divide” and an effort to “bring social and economic opportunity to the estimated 5 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.”"
However in order to recieve this offer
"Governments will have to subsidize the purchase prize of a PC by a margin of greater than 50%, at least 10,000 PCs have to be ordered at once and delivered in a single language in a single year, and the software must be activated using Microsoft’s general software activation process."
This is not the first time these startegies were implemented, and hopefully not the last.

We here at GamerBait have reported on several past incidents of mass identity theft from various companies and school, and here we go again,
"An online user by the pseudonym MaddoxX has posted a message on an anti-Valve site with pictures of what he claims are internal Valve files, including the company's balance sheet and customer transaction data."
However unlike the majority of these incidents which benefit directly from customer information, it appears that the hacker is holding the files for a pay off or ransom from Valve. Aside from the gloating he had this to say,
"I prefer you come with something good unless you want me to expose ALL of the customers [and] their information."
No response from Valve has been issued at this time.

Now some comedy for everyone following the PS3 fiasco. About 2 months ago I mentioned here at GB that Sony was in no hurry to drop the price of the PS3. It was a bold statement in an interview with Gamedaily which asked Phil Harris,
"But don't you feel pressure from the realities of the market and people who maybe don't want to spend $600? Do you feel there is pressure to drop the price this year?"
to which he responded,
"Absolutely no pressure at all. I think that the reality of the market is that there's a great deal of software people want to buy, there's a great deal of software coming that will stimulate further activity in the market. We're very comfortable with the plan."
Fast forward to today and this statement came from the President of Sony, Ryoji Chubachi,
"We are re-examining our [PS3] budgeting process in terms of pricing and volume. Sales assumptions change and the market is competitive. We are in the midst of revisiting our strategy for the PS3."
This back and forth talk reminds me of good ol' Bush administration.

Source, Sony, Hacker, Microsoft.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Today, we are all Hokies...

Before now, for my generation there were two instances that stood alone in our minds...where we could instantly recall what we were doing when we heard the news; the day after Columbine, and the morning of September 11th. Now there's a third.

Monday, April 16th, 2007.

Monday, April sixteenth...two thousand seven.

That date has been emblazoned upon my brain along with "33 dead, 15 injured" ever since I got home from work on Tuesday and turned on the news. I've not been able to get my head around all of it, and my thoughts and prayers go out to anyone and everyone affected by this tragedy. Still, it really wasn't getting to me. Wasn't. Past tense. Today, I saw pictures of those killed on Tuesday, as part of a tribute video clip. I read a little about each victim; mostly just snippets about their majors and where they were from. But the pictures and little snippets of information about the victims made them suddenly incredibly real to me. I watched that video clip with a heavy heart, as pictures of the fallen flashed up one by one. A wave of sadness washed over me as I realized just how many people had died; the pictures just kept coming. Photos of people that had died for no reason at all.

As I continued to read articles related to the shootings at Virginia Tech, my sadness turned to anger. Everywhere I looked, I saw people exploiting the shootings to further their own agendas. Politicians, profiteers, and general opportunists across the nation were taking advantage of the coverage to benefit themselves, in many cases within hours of the shootings.


But as I continued to read, the anger faded a little. All over the country, people were reaching out with their words to show their support for the families and friends of the victims. Additionally, tribute videos have flooded YouTube, there are countless Facebook and MySpace groups in relation to the shootings (one with over 265,000 members; in the time it took me to write this article, the group grew by three thousand members), and the image of "VT" over a black ribbon has become ubiquitous. And it's not just United States citizens; I've read condolences and support from the world over, from as near as Canada to as far away as New Zealand.

All of this has made me realize just how much I value the people in my life, as cheesy as that sounds. I can't imagine how I'd feel if something like this were to happen to them. Hopefully I won't ever have to find out. And if you're reading this, then I hope the same for you.

- Glock