March 28, 2006

Insane person day

My job is to call up people who are interested in purchasing and fixing problems. Yesterday (Insane person day) I opened a request that stated the following: "needs to get friends credit card please call him back" So I call this person 'Dan' and I pick up the dialog in progress:

Dan "You sent me the box but not all the stuff"

Lee "Okay, I am going to need some information to look this up. Do you have an order number?"

Dan "Yeah, I have all sorts of numbers." Mumbling and papers being sorted "Got it, Order confirmation number 8STY2906"

Lee "Dan, that is not one of our order numbers. Our numbers are nine digits long without any letters"

Dan "The last guy found my order with that number"

Lee "Well, let me see if I can find something then" Cross checking a number that doesnt corispond to anything my company uses. "Sorry Dan, I am going to need more to go on. Do you have an alternative phone number I could check?"

Dan "No this is the only number, Why didnt you guys send me my stuff out?"

Lee "I am trying to look into that. Is there a part number or could you tell me what was in the order?"

Dan "Sure thing, I got this headphone that I can talk into and not have to use the keyboard"

Lee "That sounds like two items, a headset and software like 'naturally speaking. Do you see that on your invoice?"

Dan "The blue invoice?"

Lee "Our invoices are white or Yellow, you have a blue one?"

Dan "Yes its blue"

Lee "Is there a company name at the upper right hand side"

Dan "It says A2Z computers"

Lee "You are calling Dell sir."

Dan "I know, thats who I ordered this stuff through"

Lee "If the blue invoice was inside the box then you ordered through A2Z computers"

Dan "I only order through Dell. This is the same crap they said last time I called in"

Lee "That might be because you are trying to find an order that you did not place with us. You need to contact A2Z computers"

Dan "Why? I ordered this through Dell"

Lee "Dan, I am with Dell, our invoices have 'Dell Catalog sales' across the top. Your invoice has A2Z computers on it. You ordered through them, you need to call them."

Dan "I only order through you guys. I never heard of A2Z computers"

Lee "Dan, I looked up A2Z on Google, what is the address on your blue invoice?

Dan reads off a matching address to A2Z.

Lee "Dan I am going to give you a phone number, call them up and give them the invoice number and see if they can help you."

and so on....

March 24, 2006

CoH Anatomy of a Tanker

City of Heroes and City of Villians have different character types called Archtypes or AT for short.

Today I would like to talk about the Tanker AT. (Thrain Pictured). The Tanker is an irresistible force combined with an immovable object. They do have fairly good damage but no where near a scrapper or blaster. The main thing they do in a team is save everyone elses butt. They do this by Gathering and holding the attention of the bad guys or in gamer terms. They hold the Mobs Agro.

They do this by two means, one they have a skill they can gain called 'Taunt' which provokes the Mobs attack them. Also they have the same innate ability whenver they attack (referred to in game as PunchVoke)

Tanks have higher health (read Hit Points or points of damage they can take until they fall lifeless and have to go to hospital). All CoH AT's have a primary and secondary powerset. Tankers Primary is Defense, they can take punishment far beyond why any other AT can. I have seen Tanks surrounded by mobs and barley taking damage. The secondary is Melee combat, up close and personal.

Comic book heroes examples of Tankers: Superman, Thor, Wonder Woman, The Thing, Grace Choi, The Hulk, Colossus, and Capt. Marvel (shazam).

News isnt whats shown on TV.

"The other notable change is a rise in online news consumption. About three-in-ten (29%) Americans now report that they regularly go online to get news, up from 25% in 2002 and 23% in 2000. "

March 23, 2006

Jobs for everyone!

US jobless claims fall, more job growth seenThu Mar 23, 2006 8:54 AM ET
By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New claims for U.S. jobless benefits fell by a larger-than-expected 11,000 last week, a government report showed on Thursday, suggesting a healthy labor market and more job growth in March.
The number of Americans filing initial claims for state unemployment aid fell to 302,000 in the week ended March 18, from an upwardly revised 313,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said.
It was the first drop in claims after three straight weekly increases. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 305,000 from the 309,000 initially reported for the week ended March 11.
"This is just a little bit better than the 305,000 expected, and certainly this is low enough to suggest demand for labor remains pretty healthy," said Patrick Fearon, senior economist with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis.
He said the report, which measured claims in the period of March used by the Labor Department for its broader report on unemployment and payrolls, suggests job growth will be solid this month.
"The trend in general for the last several months has been in this ballpark, with initial claims being really pretty low compared with the size of the workforce and the size of the economy. So for some time, jobless claims have been and indicator that the labor market remains healthy and March payrolls probably will remain pretty healthy as well," Fearon said.
Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics in Boulder, Colorado, agreed.
"It is more good news for the economy. The number had been rising, but it's still oscillating at lean levels. The market should be bracing for another strong payroll report in March," Englund said, forecasting a 210,000 gain in jobs this month.
The four-week moving average of claims, which offers a better view of underlying trends because it smooths weekly volatility, rose by 6,000 to 303,500, the first time this measure has exceeded the 300,000 level since the first week of 2006.
Economists say an average pace of layoffs of about 300,000 a week is consistent with steady employment growth.
The number of unemployed workers still on the benefit rolls after receiving an initial week of aid rose by 38,000 to 2.47 million in the March 11 week, the latest for which figures are available. The level of these so-called continued claims was slightly lower than the 2.48 million forecast by economists.
At 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), the National Association of Realtors is due to report existing home sales for February. Economists polled by Reuters forecast the pace of resales will slow to a 6.50 million unit annual rate, compared to a reported 6.56 million pace in January.

March 20, 2006

Heroes of PARAGON!!!!

Shoo was unable to attend but Rob, Tina, Darren and I all braved the Hollows and Trolls and Outcasts alike.

I have been able to link up and duet with everyone at one point. Side Kicking is a great CoH feature. Here is how it works. If your character is lvl 10 or above you can invite someone to team up with you and survive nay, excel, despite the level difference. You just invite them to be a side kick and they are suddenly boosted to one level below your prowess. So, lets say your level 20 and your partnered with a lvl 4. The level 4 fights as thought they are lvl 19. They are still limited to whatever attacks they had available at level 4 however. It is a great way to Peek at the content that is comming down the road.

Anyways this episode we learned not to agro the groups around the group you are fighting. We had one nasty round of deaths and through my own click happy fingers. I ended up running back from the hospital instead of resurrecting there on the spot. I opted to get Recall Friend as a power, it is real handy for a healer, you can Teleport people or there bodies from across a zone, or when you see they are in trouble. I had upped my mission slider to the mid level (rugged) and it really did provide for some nice battles.

Team speak is just such a great tool for MMORPG's

Before we logged our 'regular guys' Andrew (robs son) and Darren Side Kicked with Tina and My duet characters (same costume complimentry powers) for some real carnage.

Kaliska and Winatu are two characters based upon trying out many many different characters and finding two that work very well in tandum. A synergy effect. I took the costume from Coyote in Outbreak and followed the native american motif he has.

Kaliska is Miwok Indian for 'coyote chasing deer' Winatu is an native american hero of German 'pulp' Liturature. Went with a Blaster and Controller. Kaliska is a Fire blaster with Ice 2ndary. Winatu is an Earth Controller with Wind 2ndary. So we are invoking the four spirits of Air, water, fire and earth. Typically we attack large mobs, ill lock them into place and slow them while Tina starts up a fire rain and blasts the biggest of the bad guys. If we are fighting a group of 15 bad guys we can take them down with little trouble in an amazing display of elemental chaos... fun... We both took the teleport power for travel and may add Hover to it, cuz its a great combo and good defense. I really like this game.

March 17, 2006

Doctor Who Returns

Growing up in So. Cal had a lot to offer. One of the best of them was a UHF TV station that played Doctor Who. I had seen the commercials and it made me wonder enough to tune in to watch. After one viewing I had to see another and from that point on I became a 'Whoovian'. Later I found out that it was a BBC sci-fi show and had quite a following. The good doctor's TV program began back in 1963 ended in 1989. Had a less then successful made for TV movie to launch another series and then a Very good re-launch in 2005 (which I just saw tonite).

A good number of actors have played the Doctor over the years. Each with a unique take on the Time-Lord.

William Hartnell (1963–1966)
Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)
Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
Tom Baker (1974–1981)
Peter Davison (1981–1984)
Colin Baker (1984–1986)
Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989, 1996)
Paul McGann (1996)
Christopher Eccleston (2005)
David Tennant (2005–present)

I'm hoping that this will be another 26year run.

March 15, 2006

Till daddy takes the T-bird away.

I had a blast in CoH last night. The gang was all there.
Shoo - Thrain
Darren - Mr Accountant
Rob - Hermarabi
Tina - Lylitha
and Thorston (aka me) pictured.

We picked up where we left off level 5-ish and heading into the sewer zone. We really did plow through the mobs this time. We picked up a blaster and a defender along the way. One thing about my posse, being the consummate gainers they are you could see the difference in gameplay as everyone was getting a handle on how to play the characters.

We really did Rock! Hermarabi showed up a little late but still had a good bulk of the time in game with us. We graduated to the Hollows and made short work of the first adventures there.

I definitely like having teamspeak going. It's great hearing everyone and not having to rely on typing in critical situations.

March 13, 2006

We got the BAND back!

Robert, Shoo, Tina, Darren and myself actually got online on the same game at the same time and adventured together! W00t! ---> see the links to the right for Robert, Shoo and Tina's Blog.

We picked up some vamipire guy and some kid who had a 1/2 nekkid female character (seems like guys make female characters that are scantly clad. We ventured into the sewer zone and started mayhem. Shoo was about one level behind us do to him taking too long to fly somplace.

How cool is it that you can get together online from pretty much anyplace now? We had Teamspeak going and it really helps to yell 'EIDOLON!' (scary leather clad undead put together with dead hero parts) .vs. trying to type while fighting (EDCOLAEW22332233zxssswssssssss)

Tina has an armored Bow\Devices blaster. Her Caltrops did an excellent job of keeping the mobs from running up to us and beating us to a pulp usually.

Darrens Controller, despite a kinda odd start, got freekishly good at singling out the most powerful bad guy and bouncing him up and down against the floor.

Roberts Scrapper quickly went from a death wish suicide drivin character to a lean mean damage machine.

Shoo unfortunatly came in a tad late and did not really have the time to put together a style. Although visually his character is great! Angry Dwarf with a Big Axe...

Not sure what changes need to be made. I think I did an okay job healing. Unfortunatly two sets of times we ended up all face down in the much and had to hospital. So I have a ways to go.

I am really looking towards Tuesday when we plan to get together again!

March 12, 2006

Suddenly I like Thor (Ultimate Thor)

The Mighty Thor is a long standing characters of Marvel Comic, created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee back in 1962. Thor started out as crippled Doctor Donald blake, who while hiking was attacked by aliens and fled to a cave, found a stick and in frustration hit the wall with it and was Transformed! Second only to the enraged Hulk in strength he is\was a longstanding member of the Avengers with a VERY convoluted history. Turns out he was Thor first and his pop, Odin stripped him of his memories and locked him into a mortal body to teach him humilty. Later the spell was broken and then re-fixed etc. He assumed new mortal identies and the 'essense of Thor' was added and subtracted to many others. An alien named Beta Ray Bill was thor for awhile , Eric Masterson was kinda thor. There was a Red Headed bearded thor and so on.

Sometimes Thor was on earth, sometimes he was in the mystical realm of Asgard. Sometimes he was a superhero other times he was a sword and sorcery hero. Odin was always working behind the sceans and chastising Thor and then seemed to be working at odds with him and so on. It really just became a tangled up mess. At the same time the Fantastic Four and Iron Man and Captain America had good storylines and some bad ones but nothing that continually changed the essence and personality like what happened in Thor.

I dont DISLIKE Thor I just have just accepted he is there and pretty much ignored his comic. Actually his Comic book is currently in Hiatus due to the BENDIS! Dissasembled storylines that ran a refreshing scythe through Marvel as of late.

Now, the Ultimate Thor is one of my favorite characters in the Ultimate Universe (as opposed to the regular Marvel Universe or Earth 616)

No one knows if he is as he claims, a Norse God on earth. Or a mental patient with stolen super gear. He is very strong and very durable, he has traded blows with the Ultimate Hulk and came out with nary a blemish. Offical records have him as a Male Nurse Thorlief Goimen, who had a nervous breakdown just before turning 30 and spent 18 months in an asylum. His brother Gunnar Goleman claims to have developed the Belt and Hammer that give Thor his powers. Thor or Thorlief considers Gunnar to be in fact, Loki, his 1/2 brother nemisis.

Thor has had long conversations with an apparent Norse God Volstagg in a restraunt only to have it pointed out that there was no one there.

Later he teleported a bomb into another place (realm?) to the astonishment of his non-believing teammates. He is an active environmentalist who gives seminars and stops whaleing ships.

He is a much less convoluted and more interesting character. Or in his words "A pacifist with a BIG SCARY HAMMER"

March 06, 2006

The Outsiders - One hear later {Review}

The Outsiders is DC's 'other' superhero team. With issue 34 everything has changed due to the ongoing 'Crisis' storyline.

The current Infinite crisis is still ongoing. DC has pushed ahead with its books starting up one year after the crisis is over. The entire team has changed and is looking more like the original intent of the group is being realized.

They were a group of Heroes who were going to pre-emptivly stop the bad guys instead of being reactive like the JLA and Titans are. Undercover and covert operations. In the latest issue they are focusing on a small African nations problem of Peti'lions (French slang for small lions) or a group of armed trained young boys who are terrorizing villages.

The first issue of this arc sets up the intrigue but it is decidedly political and interference over super powered threats. I am curious to see how it pans out.

The leader is Nightwing (Dick Grayson) who left the Outsiders the the issues prior to this one due to a personal conflict. Thunder and Grace are back, Thunder can increase her density Grace is big and strong and nigh invulnerable. Katana is a throwback to the original outsiders from 1983. Same as Metamorpho, who has taken over for his er.. Brother\duplicate Switch. The odd twist is the New Capt. Boomerang. A former Villain who's father was a foe of the flash. How he gets into the group is the focus of a lot of attention.

All in all the first issue would get a C for the story premise A for the artwork and a B overall. I am not sure about this book but I am willing to give it a chance.

March 03, 2006

Costume Design

City of Heroes has an extensive costume design program. I tend to spend quite a bit of time tweeking my particular look until I deem it worthy. There is a 'radomizer' tool for the creatively challanged or for a much needed inspiriation at times. At lvl's 20, 30 and 40 you get an additional costume slot, there is a quest involved but its fairly easy to do, then you can either update old costumes or create new ones. A simple macro lets you change costumes on the fly. Above you see three of the costumes of my Main Character on Pinnacle, Lady Grasp (lvl 50). A martial artist scrapper with super reflexes.

Going from left to right. This is her original costume, it has since been updated. Leather gear with armbands. The second outfit is more casual and able to blend in with a crowd better. The final one is a true 'superhero' look. I dropped 3 pretty soon after I had created it, but I still like the look.

Her original look I am very fond of due to an apperance in issue 12 of the City of Heroes Comic book. If you look at the bottom just right of center I put in a white arrow that points to her.