Back from the Grave and a New Direction

So apparently Mochahost renewed my domain for a year without me realizing, so I guess this is still up.  I might just continue with this site after all.

I guess since the last post, quite a bit has changed.

I joined Cougar Kendo, nearly finished the large form for Yang style Tai-Chi, and finished my undergraduate years.  I will be moving to Kingsville, Texas soon in order to continue my education at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.  Considering that this is a relatively new school, I realize that not too many people know of its existence, and those in undergraduate who do know of it, may have a lot of questions about the school.  Because of this, I’m thinking I might start anew by blogging about my experiences at the Rangel College of Pharmacy.  I’m in the middle of setting up a new sub-domain, but I might just end up blogging here in the end.  I just don’t want to mesh the personal blogging with the CoP blogging.

First Impressions of Windows 7 Beta

So ever since Vista came out, I’ve been a cynic of anything Microsoft, ranging from their Zune (and rightly so) to the XBOX 360 (which I actually consider pretty good if not for the fact that they still haven’t fixed the red ring of death).  Software-wise though, I still considered their solutions pretty good (I.E. Visual Studio Suite & Office).  When I got notification about Windows 7 from my friend, I was skeptical, but later decided to go ahead with it.  Of course, the problem is I just switched to a Pavilion dv5 (heretofore known as Piekno) from an old Presario M2000 (which was handed over to my mother).  However, I was not willing to test anything on my primary computer, not when I had just finally got things settled on Vista (bulky operating system it is…).  However, I still have two desktop computers (One Shiori and Makoto).

Firstly, let me explain the machine I decided to test the beta on (Shiori).  She was a pet project in my freshman year of high school with help from my uncle and my father.  She has an 80 GB IDE hard disk (of which only 17.18 is partitioned for Windows, the rest is file storage, Ubuntu, and a swap partition), a 1.67 GHz AMD Athlon XP processor, 1 GB SDRAM and an ATI RAGE 128 PRO graphics card (old, right?).  Seeing as this is now 6 year old hardware, it’s no surprise that the Vista Upgrade Advisor didn’t give me a good result for her.  I have been running Windows XP Professional on it since… until recently, when I installed the Beta… successfully.

I installed the beta on Shiori almost without problems, with one exception: my motherboard’s sound device was not recognized by the Beta, which is no surprise, since it wasn’t detected in XP either.  After I located the driver and installed it, she ran quite fit as a fiddle.  First thing one would notice would be the interface (Actually, the fact it was a betta fish on a Beta test made my day).  The taskbar seems similar enough to Vista.  In fact, the start menu is pretty much the same.  The only difference comes with the indicators for windows on the taskbar and the notification icons.  The notification icons now have an extendable balloon rather than expanding on the taskbar itself.


It also did not close after a few seconds, making it easier to locate what I needed.  The windows on the taskbar are somewhat reminiscent of the dock used in Mac OSX.  Under normal circumstances, I like that sort of organisation method, but the problem is that I want my buttons smaller to make use of my screen real-estate.  At that point, it mattered not whether I moved my taskbar to the left of the screen (like I usually do) or left it at the bottom of the screen.

So then comes the question, did my graphics card have anything to do with my experience?  It’s likely.  The Windows Experience Index (which you’ll likely have encountered when looking at system properties in Vista) has been extended to a scale of 1.0 to 7.9.  Shiori scored a 1.0 in the base score simply because of my ATI Rage 128 Pro (FAIL) card.  I could not beta test the newer Aero, but there are still quite a few choices to customize the display nonetheless:


Looking at the task manager, I find that there are hardly any processes going on in the background (services maybe, but no processes).  Of the processes that existed, they were much more compact than their Vista counterparts.  For comparison, a fresh start of an untouched Vista gives me around 60% RAM usage (on Piekno, who has 4GB) compared to the 50% RAM usage on a 1 GB computer using Windows 7.


This might account for how smooth the system seems to run (much smoother than older operating systems on a much older computer).

I think, really, that Windows 7 isn’t much of a new operating system, to be blunt.  If I were still in high school doing analogies on the SAT, it would go like this…

Windows 7:Vista::Windows 2000:Windows ME

I think as far as marketing goes though, the hype going through the beta testers will do Microsoft much good, and perhaps the redemption of the upcoming Windows 7 will win back the user base Microsoft lost to Apple in recent years.  It is still far too soon to say, but there’s a lot of promise in this operating system.

Advances against Vista in Windows 7 are quite apparent.  In the Start Menu, if there’s a program that is used to open files, rolling over them for a bit will show recent files opened in that program, which can be useful sometimes if you forget what you were last working on.  Even PAINT gets a makeover:


Gadgets are also no longer limited to the sidebar.  The process is still under sidebar.exe, but it takes significantly less space on RAM as well:


Next time, I will be attempting to connect a few devices to try Windows 7’s new connection functions.

Work in Progress

As the title says, the page is once again in the state of "Work in Progress."  This is a theme found on the official WordPress site, so I cannot make any claims of creation here, but I will have to go through a few things to customize it to my site, at which point, it will be a theme BASED on someone else’s theme.


Main things to address: The image gallery is unavailable to view with this current setup.  It can be accessed HERE:  However, I have not updated it, and likely will not for the forseeable future.  I may do so in summer when I’m not pressed for time.


The individual pages appear glitchy, and I will have to work with that by looking at the exact call line on the comments.php file.

Not dead… yet.

Just saying.

I haven’t forgotten about the promised entry from the last review, but I have some other journal writings outside of this site to take care of. Also, I’m planning a bit of a layout update, so there’s that much to look forward to.

I also am planning to push the idea of moving the UH Pre-Pharmacy Association website to a private server so future webmasters (as well as myself) don’t have to deal with the limitations of those servers.

.hack//G.U. Volume 1: Rebirth

.hack//G.U. Vol 1 Rebirth Cover

Title: .hack//G.U. Volume 1: Rebirth
Type: Action RPG
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T
Available Files: Depends on the size of the memory card.
Special Notes for ESRB Rating: Fantasy Violence, Language
Summary: The first of a trilogy, Rebirth starts off where its animated counterpart – .hack//ROOTS – left off. CC Corporation – which published a popular MMORPG called “The World” from the other series of the franchise – released a new version of “The World” after its servers were damaged in fires. Rebuilding the game from the ground up (but still with elements from the past) with new character classes, new areas, new monsters, CC Corporation and its customers believed the game to be safe and fun… But, that wouldn’t make a very interesting story, would it?

“The World R:2” became a haven for “PKers” (Player Killers) which were previously frowned upon in “The World R:1.” The main character, Haseo, first starts playing the game but was PKed. His troubles with the game begin as he logs in for the first time…

A Disclaimer to all the readers: I have NOT finished the original four (Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine) games yet. I have played enough for SOME comparisons however.

My Ratings:

Graphics: 8.5/10
The full-motion videos/animations were very well done. The style had a touch of cel-shading. The areas have shown graphical improvement from its predecessor and even resemble the areas seen in .hack//ROOTS. However, the character animations while not in a full motion video are a touch subpar.

Story: 6.5/10
Alright, so for most of the .hack fans, story is of utmost importance. For those who have watched .hack//ROOTS, this series will seem like a continuation/finale. In that respect, it does not disappoint. However, after playing a bit, and players falling into comas again, the not-so-hardcore fans are more than likely to think, “Great… this again.” However, the way in which the gameplay is integrated with the story is better executed than its predecessors, as you will read in the following section.

Gameplay: 8.0/10
Alright, so gameplay. Those who have played the old games will be somewhat relieved that the gameplay isn’t QUITE as repetitive as before. The areas will at times seem repetitive, (I lie. They ARE repetitive.) but they throw in several “Arena” battles and “Sidequests” as part of the main storyline to further develop the bonds and characters that show the growth of Haseo. To this end, as Hiroshi Matsuyama – President of Cyberconnects2 – wanted to “create a ‘coming of age’ story… for a very long time,” they successfully plant the seeds for character development/coming of age.

Music: 9.0/10
I’ve been listening to the soundtracks in my car and iPod for a few months now. Doesn’t that tell you enough? 🙂

All joking aside, Chikayo Fukuda has done a great job with the music, developing a rather unique flavour to the environment of “The World R:2” with a variety of choral, electronic, easy listening, metal, and many other genres of music.

What prevents me from giving this a 10, however, are the “Mecha-Grunty” and “Piros the 3rd!” tracks. I cannot even stand to listen to those for the first few seconds. There are also a few tracks that seem reused (only because they were remixed, slowed down, or sped up).

Overall: 7.5/10

This is an okay game for the casual gamer and a definite for those who are fans of the series. The story is better integrated and told at a better pace in THIS VOLUME than the IMOQ games. However, although the main theme of the trilogy is of “growing up”, it is still told under the same circumstances of players being put into comas, of which some will undoubtedly be getting tired of.

Disclaimer: .hack//G.U. and all content associated thereof are the properties of BandaiNamco Games and CyberConect2.

Checking in…

Damn, it’s been almost two months…

Just checking in to say I’m not dead. Just preoccupied with some other stuff. I got a job at CVS now.

I’m also participating at Altimit Corporation. Here’s a link.

Image Gallery 75% complete

As you know, I’ve had issues getting the Image Gallery to comply with this layout here. I’ve decided to pursue using a different template for the image gallery (“Modern” by Ross Howard). This uses a black on black colour scheme, but I tend to like it. It just doesn’t fit with the whole “Blue Haven” idea, so I may end up changing it eventually. Though, if you think it’s fine, I won’t if I don’t have to. So please leave a comment about that.

However, issues with Singapore makes it so that I can’t immediately upload my images, seeing as my images exceed 3000×2000 resolution when I take them. It ends up crashing the entire gallery. As thus, I’ve always had a qualm about when and how to update the gallery.

I found a nifty little program called “Multiple Image Resizer .NET” that can convert my selected images all at once to a smaller size. If utilized this way, I can definitely upload my images faster and without crashing the gallery.

So expect the gallery to be finished (not in terms of content) by the end of this month. I have AP tests and graduation coming up and cannot spend as much time immediately on it as I would like.

And yes, Michelle, I’ll include yours in there when I do so.