Letter to Time: 8 great Xbox Games


In the November 28, 2005 issue of time there is a “8 Great XBox 360 Games” section. I happen to like the “7 books you gotta read” or “Music this year worth listening too” sections but talking about the eight great XBox 360 is laughable. There were less than 20 games available at the time (okay, I’m not a journalist and I didn’t look up that number but I expect you to) . . . how can 8 be great? Launch titles? No way.

I know you must get this 100 times a day but: How much did Microsoft pay you? Seriously. And I realize that this isn’t something that most people would care about even if you did get paid but it just makes me wonder what can be bought at Time (new product hype) and what can’t be.

I’m not MS hater either. I like Microsoft. They overcharge for stuff but what’s really cool is that there are alternatives that are getting as good or better than what MS has to offer. But I have an XBox and I’ll get an XBox 360 when I have more time to play. But there is no such thing as eight great games for a launch system. You fell into the hype.

Sheldon McGee

Advertising and America

Lately it seems like there are Netflix pop-under ads for every website that I go to. What bothers me about all the Netflix ads is that “I’M ALREADY A NETFLIX CUSTOMER!”. If anything, seeing the ads all the time, especially as pop-unders make me want to cancel Netflix and get on with Blockbuster. I tried Blockbuster (and I didn’t cancel Netflix . . . I wanted to give Blockbuster a chance) and it sucked (that was when it first started . . . I wonder how bad it is now?) but at least they’re not shoving it down my throat. But my loyalty means nothing to Netflix.

Anyway, I think something that would be cool would be a way to tell advertisers that you already own what they’re trying to sell and they don’t have to try anymore so they can leave you alone. Of course, they’d use that information for evil and end up trying to sell you something else but still, it seems like I should be rewarded for finally giving in.

For example, Capital One sent me so many offers for credit cards that finally one day I decided to accept the offer simply to stop the junk mail (plus the credit card had the painting “Starry Night” by Van Gogh which is one of the few paintings I recognize (it was one from Academic Decathlon in 93 or 94) . But then guess what? Now they want me to get the MasterCard as well as the Visa. And I even got the MasterCard and now they want me to get a Business Visa. It never ends.

I say one way to fix a few of America’s problems is to stop advertisers. That would help with the obesity problem as well as the consumer debt problem. Sure, it would hurt McDonald’s and credit card companies but who needs them? Tobacco companies are prohibited from advertising on television. The same limits should apply to any product that preys on the health of people (and being in credit card debt *is* bad for your health).

Life Insurance

I’ve heard the “Why you need life insurance” spiel enough times that I have come up with an effective defense. This is how it goes:

Life Insurance Salesman: Sheldon, you *need* life insurance?

Sheldon: Why? Did Sarah say something?

LIS: Sarah, oh, no she didn’t say anything but what if you die? Don’t you want Sarah to be taken care of financially.

Sheldon: Sure, but she has a job too. And if I die anytime soon, she’s a pretty girl, she’ll find someone else.

LIS: But for a dollar a day you can have the satisfaction that she’ll be taken care of for a life time. Isn’t that worth just one dollar?

Sheldon: Okay, so for $365 per year I’m may get a $1,000,000 payout in the next 20 years. In 20 years, I would pay in over $7000 and if I don’t die I’m out $7000 plus interest. If I do die, Sarah is a millionaire. Mo money, mo problems. I think I’ll pass.

LIS: But Sheldon, don’t you care about Sarah? Don’t you want her to have a comfortable life? How can you be so crass?

Sheldon: You’re right. From now on when the Powerball is above $300 million, I’ll throw in $20. That’s my obligation. And at least the money goes into an education fund or something for the state instead of contributing to your new Hummer.

I actually has a conversation like that with a LIS. And, the Powerball was over $300 million a few weeks ago and I actually did throw in $20. I lost. And, if I would have purchased life insurance I would be out over $300 this year alone. So far I’d be loosing that bet too.


Go bankrupt and no music for you!!!

According to the EULA that you agree to when you listen to music on your computer from certain Sony CDs, you are supposed to delete the music if you file for bankruptcy. It also seems that AutoCAD has the same terms in their EULA.


I’ll take the quote right from that site just in case it goes down someday:

All your rights under the EULA are automatically terminated if you “file a voluntary petition or are subject to an involuntary petition under applicable bankruptcy laws, are declared insolvent, make an assignment for the benefit of creditors, or are served with a writ of attachment, writ of execution, garnishment or other legal process pertaining to any of your assets or property.”

I can’t believe what Sony is trying to get away with here!!!! More astonishing is that people continue to buy stuff from Sony. We don’t *have* to buy from Sony . . . unless we really want to play the next generation of GTA because, guess what, it’s going to be a PS3 exclusive. But if you get the PS3 you better start saving now because if you happen to overextend yourself and need to file for bankruptcy you may not be able to play your beloved GTA anymore.


More bad news from Wal-Mart

I’m no fan of Wal-Mart (or Wal*Mart) but this is just one more reason to shop somewhere else:

Hilights are “proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer’s reputation” and “the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart”.

I understand that Wal-Mart wants to preserve it’s image as a low cost leader with employees that love the company but that last part isn’t going to last long. Wal-Mart is exploiting the poor and using the government to subsidize things like employee health care. Those low prices take money out of every pocket but their own. The irony is that we’re all poorer because of Wal-Mart and we’re almost forced to shop there because many times they do have lower prices.

I guess the worst part is that there are plenty of other companies that do the same sorts of things we just don’t know about it. And Wal-Mart is under the spotlight only because they are so big. Are there any *big* companies out there that have a company slogan “don’t be evil” like Google?

Maybe Wal-Mart will stop selling junk food in an effort to have healthier people that can in turn work at Wal-Mart. And, what are they going to do about the greeters at the front door . . . those guys must be taking 20 medications a day. Oh, I know, they’re part time so no worries about health insurance.