September 29th, 2015

Macbeth the Usurper

Cordless Phones

Our current crop of cordless phones is dying a slow death. One hand unit is down. A second hand unit goes out intermittently, it's battery shot. The final unit works OK, but I don't know ho much longer it has. I bought the set back in 2010. I did an honest search to find replacements. On eBay, handsets run $15-34, which is as much as new.

The old system was an AT&T SL82118 with SL80108 handsets.

With that in mind, I bought a new Panasonic KX-TGF383M with three KX-TGFA30 handsets for $110 (on sale + tax). This thing does more things than I can comprehend, but best of all, the handsets come with ordinary LiOn batteries. Yay. Batteries will be easy to replace when they conk out. (That's assuming that the handsets don't conk out.)

What's new and cool about the handsets? I have no idea.

What's new and cool about the base unit? I have no idea.

Oh, wait, it lets you use your cell phone as your phone line, so you can use your cordless handset to dial out, using bluetooth, through your wireless account. That is so cool and just about the most useless feature that I ever heard of. Wouldn't it be more sensical to let you use your bluetooth phone to answer calls on your landline? Otherwise, I'm left absolutely mystified at the target audience for this feature. And given that your smartphone may be using your wifi to talk through your internet connection, isn't that just some roundabout VoIP system? This give me headaches.

I'll watch some videos on the system to see else it does. Maybe the reviewer can make some sense of it for me.

Other than that, the base unit has an answering machine, and it appears that you can just pick up the handsets and dial out with them. That would be amazing. I hope that dialing is simple. I generally expect that modern technology will take anything simple, add a ton of options, and return little to no value. (How does more choice lead to less value? That's actually a very interesting question, but too much right now.)
Macbeth the Usurper

Final Fantasy IV (Game Review)

I made it through 3/4 of Final Fantasy IV before I quit the game. Despite the fact that it looked like a charming game, instead it turned out to be one of those abusive girlfriends who passively-aggressively ran the relationship without any input from you. Yeah, you got to be there, but you didn't actually get to decide anything.

What brought about my quitting was a fight with Golbez, after a cut scene and a battle, kills 3/4 of my characters. I think that I could have done that fight if I was playing a proper RPG, but as Final Fantasy has this ticking time that doesn't like to stop for you, you are never quite sure when time has stopped. I usually got this right, but sometimes, as I'm busy selecting my next command, the game proved me wrong. I despise that sort of combat system, but I had muddled my way through thus far. Add to that the tendency of the touch screen to accept double-entries, along with a vague user interface, often left me doing the wrong thing. Finally, this fight occurred after an annoying cut scene, followed by a fight, followed by a cut scene, and then that fight, so losing meant a 5-7 minute penalty just to get back to it. I even looked up how to survive this fight to no avail.

Do you know what I don't need? I don't need a game that treats you like that. I'm all up for challenges, but that wasn't a challenge, that was voluntary misery. So Final Fantasy IV, I'm breaking up with you. Go pull your BS on somebody else. I'm done.

How did this even emerge from the adorable Final Fantasy III? That wasn't a work of art, but at least it was more fun that this pile of steaming bits. I want my $15 back.

I haven't walked out on an RPG in years. I think the last one I aborted was Daggerfall, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I somehow screwed up the main quest line and couldn't finish the game.

If this was the only game in town, I might try and finish it. It's not the only game. There's a metric ton of Kemko games out there that are equally dull and far less abusive.

In short:

The combat system is painful.
The story is dull.
Most spells are useless except for damage and healing.
Equipment doesn't matter.
Your heroes always feel stepped on and useless.