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All XP'd Out
[ 8-28-01 ][ 8:06 p.m. pst ][ By Rice ]

*EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!* Microsoft's latest and (not so) greatest version Windows received the green light to undergo mass reproduction yesterday.

... Crickets chirp quietly in the background.

I think we've had enough of the XP hype, don't you? Let's strip away the colorful commercials and get to the meat of the matter here: Windows XP (as well as Office XP), offers us nothing that is worth a $200 dollar upgrade. It's not remotely evolutionary, it steals 3rd party developer ideas and implements them natively into the OS like an ol' fashioned monopoly, and it's ridiculously bloated to a point where 256 megs of RAM are required for smooth operation. And let's not EVEN get into MS's activation key algorithm, where if you dramatically change the hardware configuration of your computer, you'll need to re-register Windows.

Allow me to elaborate. The only true revolutionary OS Microsoft has ever released was MS-DOS, because it spurred the growth of the personal computer. You can also argue for Windows 95, and I'd agree to a certain extent, but it was more of an evolutionary step. Every other OS iteration released thereafter was one step forward, two steps backwards. Windows 98 tacked on some hardware support, and ME... uh... no one used ME. NT was stable, but bloated and required a billion service packs, not to mention lack of good multimedia support. Windows 2000 was nice, but by no means deserves excessive praise, because it was simply what Windows was supposed to be since the very beginning--a balance between stability and speed. So Microsoft gets a good OS out their door one in every five tries or so.

Now they trot XP out almost immediately after, backed by blaring trumpets from the Redmond, WA company and media bandwagoneers like Ziff-Davis. Most IT corporations have barely caught up in this mad upgrading fest and some are still toiling in Windows 95! Why in the name of light is Microsoft not tweaking and allowing Win 2K, their best OS in years, to spread? My guess is the lack of an equivalent in the home consumer market. That niche is what Bill Gates' empire wants to reinforce with XP, since 2K is geared towards the professional workstations. It's all about the benjamins, don't y'know?

Unfortunately, I have no doubt about the success Win XP will enjoy. When an 800 lb. gorilla stuffs a banana down your throat, you swallow it. Regardless of whatever I say here, I'll bet good money every single one of you (including myself) will end up having some version of XP loaded in your PC's sometime in the future. It is useless to resist. I know of steel-willed men who vowed to never touch Windows 95 when it first saw daylight, swearing by their trusty Windows 3.x, only to eventually buckle.

Such is the power of Microsoft's invisible hand. I haven't even eXPerienced it yet, but already I'm all XP'd out.


Tired of Gary Condit
[ 8-24-01 ][ 8:20 a.m. pst ][ By Rice ]

Same situation, different face. You know what I'm referring to. That's all I perceive of this entire Gary Condit mess the media has made it out to. And it's making me sick to the bottom of my stomach to see them dragging this through the mud to and fro like little kids on a rainy summer day. You'd think the media would've learned their lesson after Bill and Monica. Instead, they've only honed their skills for poor congressman Condit. At least I can understand Clinton-gate; he was the leader of the free world, afterall. But this time, there's just no excuse.

Gary Condit: congressman by day, adulterer by night?

I'm tired of seeing Condit's name and face appear in the news. I'm tired of hearing about how Connie Chung grilled the guy on ABC PrimeTime. I'm tired of seeing actual newsworthy news take a backseat to this brouhaha. What appalled me the most was when I saw this headline at Time.com: August News Drought? Gary Condit to the Rescue.

I remember back when the Clinton Impeachment trial was in full swing. In my goverment class, my teacher Mr. Yee would launch headfirst into a moral discussion regarding it every morning to start the day, prompting everyone to launch headfirst towards their desk and snooze away. No one cared! And now, some little known politician is heralded into the limelight because he slept with some little known intern. We still don't care! Every politician is a scum anyway. I bet 75% of them cheat on their wives, but it ain't that a matter for public consumption.

Anyone see the aforementioned PrimeTime interview? I didn't. After perusing the first few lines of the transcript online, I got the gist of it. It was basically a back and forth seesaw between Chung asking, "Did you have an affair? What did you do to Chandra Levy?" and Condit answering, "I don't want to talk about it. I had nothing to do with Chandra's disappearance."

And then $100/hr. analysts are brought in to point fingers and say, "Ah ha! He's playing dodgeball. He must be guilty." Oh, really! 1. Not like we didn't know that already, and 2. Who are they to judge? "Let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone."

Before I get off the soapbox, I'd like to clear up the fact that I'm not approving of what Condit did. He'll get his due later. I'm just flabbergasted at the nerve of news anchors to think that we the public would actually lap up this trash. Whatever happened to honorable news reporting? When maintaining a public persona's integrity was more important than getting the scoop on the competition? Long gone, by the looks of current affairs.


What's Worth a 2-Week Paycheck
[ 8-20-01 ][ 10:06 a.m. pst ][ By Rice ]

Oww! Somebody tell me that's not beautiful. ;) Now I can finally cover some Offspring songs. Crank up the distortion, baby!

I picked up this Yamaha AEX-502 electric guitar along with a Peavey Blazer 158 amp for $700. There goes my first paycheck. Unfortunately, I realized I got ripped off a couple hours later when I checked prices for the same setup online. Shucks. I bet the store manager (down at the Yamaha Music Center on Baldwin Ave.) knew I was a newbie, and picked on me.

Regardless, I'm stoked. I was originally planning to buy an acoustic/electric guitar, but MAN, anything under $1,000 sounded bad. The hole in the middle created this nasty semi-feedback that stuck with every tune. So I decided since I already had an acoustic, I'll go pure electric this time. Rock on. =)

Anyways...

I wonder how many people still read Rice World besides Gerry, The DogFather, and myself. I realize my updates have become less frequent, and articles are fewer and further inbetween, but that was my intention for version 5. Before when we were just churning out one review after another, the feedback I got from people was that we were turning too corporate, and most of the our writings generally went unread. So many active readers have gone overboard, prompting me to doubt whether I'm running the site effectively enough or not. Is the visitor count seemingly dwindling because we just haven't found the sweet spot between maniacal updates and days of desolation?

And we're so close to our 3rd birthday, too.


Max Payne
[ 8-15-01 ][ 10:10 p.m. pst ][ By Rice ]



"In a nutshell, Max Payne is an R-rated unadulterated third person shooter complete with gore, booze, and whores. Crack it open, however, and you'll find the most entertaining single player blast-fest since Soldier of Fortune."


Hollywood Blurb
[ 8-9-01 ][ 1:16 p.m. pst ][ By Rice ]

I presume all of America has seen Rush Hour 2 at least 3 times by now, judging by its record-breaking success at the box office last weekend. I think it grossed over $66 million! Sheesh! I went to watch the movie on its opening night (because Zhang Ziyi deserves no less), and suffered through a 3 hour wait just to get into the LAST showing.

... And it was worth every second. The China man / black man chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker was sizzling even more so in this sequel. Most critics found Tucker's motor mouth offending, but then again, most critics have a thick PR-rod stuck up their rectum, 'cause he had me clutching at my belly in laughter. Rush Hour 2 saved the best for the last, too: the outtakes were to die for.

Zhang Ziyi was, of course, beautiful as ever, and there were ample scenes graced by her presence. Did you know she was the national dancing champion? That explains why all her choreographed wu-shu moves are so fluid.

She's pretty when she plays a crazy psycho triad.

......

On a completely different note, George Lucas unveiled the name of his newest Star Wars incarnation... Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Uh... Attack of the Clones? Gee, no surprise that it's been universally bashed everywhere since it was discovered. "The Shadow Falls" would have been so much cooler. People are whispering that Lucas has lost his storytelling touch, and that his original 3 Star Wars movies were a fluke. Me, I'm struggling to come to terms with the title myself, but if you think about it, "The Empire Strikes Back" ain't exactly oozing with uber-coolness either.

So, admist all the criticisms and anti-Phantom Menace / Jar Jar Binks feelings floating around the Star Wars universe, I still unequivically believe EP2 will kick total ass. Yes George, my faith in you remains strong. I believe there is a method to your madness. Here's to you silencing your critics, for you shall have the last laugh!

Casting Natalie Portman was the
smartest move Lucas has ever made.

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