Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Guy: Return of Rush Limbaugh

Remember in the film Dogma where Ben Affleck’s head explodes at the sound of Alanis Morissette’s voice? I was amazed that the film’s writer and director, Kevin Smith, pulled off what appeared to be heckling Morissette pretty much right to her face. At the time I thought to myself, did she really not put that one together? However, since her appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2002, it’s clear that she probably just has a really healthy sense of humor.

It would appear that the emperor of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, takes a similar approach to cameo appearances in television. I like to think that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane alludes the above mentioned style of celebrity-referencing humor in Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest, his sensational spoof on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In Blue Harvest, Limbaugh is heard via space-AM talk radio attempting to debunk the claims of the “liberal galactic media” that the ice planet, Hoth, is melting and criticizing the black Lando Calrissian (portrayed in the original film series by Billy Dee Williams) as only being prosperous due to affirmative action. Like him or not, in this, Limbaugh exhibits his undeniably disarming sense of levity. I‘m not really into the whole far-right thing, but I gotta admit the guy cracks me up (he smiled for his mugshot when he was arrested in April of 2006 for drug charges). So you can probably guess that I’m excited to hear that he’ll be reappearing in Family Guy Presents: It’s a Trap!, MacFarlane’s upcoming spoof on Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Limbaugh will appear as the Rancor, the Goliath to Luke Skywalker’s David in the beginning of Return of the Jedi.

So the big question: what are the circumstances under which the admitted liberal MacFarlane would allow a cameo appearance to Limbaugh, a guy so right-wing that his name alone practically implies it? Limbaugh was a featured guest on a recent episode of Family Guy which aired Sunday October 3rd, and MacFarlane and Limbaugh are reported to have gotten along just fine during Limbaugh’s time spent at the studio. In fact, Limbaugh allegedly was greeted by a couple of conservatives on staff who both thought they were the only ones of their political persuasion in the building. In his own words, Limbaugh implied that he was invited to contribute to Family Guy and pretty much just plain anticipated to have a great laugh, and admits that he did. But don’t take his word for it; go watch the recent episode entitled “Excellence in Broadcasting” now at Fox’s website (…navigate yourself, webheads). Trust me, it’s funny, and you might be surprised at how brightly Limbaugh’s undeniable sense of humor shines.

So there you have it. Simply put, MacFarlane remains open minded to any high jinks which will preserve the show’s freshness. Love it or hate it, it is undisputable that Family Guy is effectively scandalizing, and these recent shenanigans of MacFarlane’s caught me COMPLETELY off guard, smiling, shaking my head and clapping. I’m joyfully fascinated with guessing how Rush’s big Star Wars scene will go down, if Luke will be dropped into the Rancor’s lair to find him sitting at a microphone with glasses and a collared shirt and torturing Luke with far-right remarks, or will the writers sneak in some caricatural quip poking fun at Rush, perhaps involving drug abuse, that he may not have seen coming while recording the dialogue? Mind you, Rush was offered to provide script approval of the episode, but let the Bush/Cheney bumper stickers on the backs of the imperial cruiser in Blue Harvest remind us of exactly what clever minds such as those behind Family Guy are capable of.

by Jack Burr

Jack Burr is a musician and actor from Oak Park, IL and currently residing in Chicago. He has performed at local venues including Double Door and Subterranean and at greater Chicagoland area venues such as Pete Miller's in Wheeling and Morgan's Charhouse in Winfield, and he will be featured in an upcoming wave of independent Chicago film productions.
Read more from Jack Burr by visiting his WordPress Blog

Monday, September 27, 2010

What 2 Hear: Volume One

Welcome to yet another completely non-ground breaking, but new, Byte Down feature we've punnily (new word alert) named "What 2 Hear". In each volume of "What 2 Hear", we will recommend two podcasts for your listening pleasure. One podcast will be tech/gadget/video game orientated and the other will be of a different category. As the internet is quickly becoming the new conduit for audio and video entertainment, we want you to experience the very best. And if you don't mind us saying, we know what's best for you. Don't make us find that belt. 

Tech Related

Tech News Today
Podcast RSS Feed (Not available, but you can get to the find the episode guide here)
Website (See link above)
Approx. Running Time Per Episode: 30-45 minutes
'Tech News Today' is hosted by tech journalist Tom Merritt, who you may or may not know from CNET's 'Buzz Out Loud' or from various areas of TechTV before it was destroyed and devoured by Comcast's G4 network. This podcast is an excellent source of daily tech news; covering everything from iPads and digital cameras to technology in politics and tech related news stories. The podcast is recorded every day, so you can be sure that you are getting the most recent news stories. Lots of information, fun conversation, and it's only 45 minutes long. A must listen for the tech enthusiast. 

Non-tech related

The Retroist Podcast 
Podcast archive
Approx. Running Time Per Episode: 20-35 minutes

This is probably our favorite podcast and one of the reasons this feature was created. Hosted by The Retroist himself (his identity is a secret, like Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk), listeners are taken on a audible journey through our recent past. Topics covered include retro video games, classic TV shows, and even products and marketing ideas that no longer have a place in today's pop culture. Each episode is packed full of personal antidotes from The Retroist's own childhood, sound clips, and history. The show is definitely targeted toward the 25-40 age range, but younger listeners who have a yearning for learning about their pop culture ancestry will no doubt enjoy what is offered. A quality experience that is not to  be missed if nostalgia is your thing. 

Thanks for checking out What 2 Hear. Got a favorite podcast? We'd love to take a listen! Chime in below in the comments section or drop us a line at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time For Someone to Google Themselves a New Job

It seems that Google just can't catch a break when it comes to stories involving horrific acts of privacy violations. If their not taking pictures of your home while you are dancing nude in your window, they are going through the personal emails and voice accounts of minors. The latter is just such the case for now former Google employee David Barksdale. 

Nerd Jesus is not only jobless,
 but he's also single, ladies.
Google fired Barksdale from his engineering job this past July for, as Google's press release states, "breaking [Google's] strict internal privacy policies". The reason sounds pretty vanilla on paper. In reality, what is really behind his firing is amazing (but mostly creepy and pathetic). Apparently, the bright white skinned computer whiz's position at the base of the most powerful force on the internet went to his pointy little head and made him do some things that'll probably make your skin crawl a bit. Or at least make you change your passwords a few times. 

When not writing the screenplay to the next Matrix film whilst sipping flavored coffee in the back of his local Denny's establishment (assumption, of course), David enjoyed befriending 15 year old boys and girls in a popular Washington based tech chat room.Twenty seven year old David became so attached to his new brethren that he, on four separate occasions, thought it proper to use his mystical Google powers to hack into his young friend's Google email accounts, chat logs, and even their Google Voice accounts. If you were to de-friend David on a particular service, he was known to hack his way into your account and reverse the de-friending. 

In one particularly creepy instance, David became upset when one of his 15 year old e-friends refused to give the name of his new girlfriend. Not one to be denied such information, Barksdale snooped through the boy's various accounts, got the young lady's phone number, and threatened to call her. The boy went to his parents for help with the aggressively creepy internet god, who then contacted Google. Several other parent-to-Google phone calls eventually led to the eventual  termination of Barksdale's employment (and his World of Warcraft budget, we're afraid).  

It's also reported that David would invite his young buddies to meet up and catch a movie.
While none of the incidents seemed to be worthy of Dateline's 'To Catch a Predator', it's enough to make any Google user a little weary of how much and with whom they trust their personal information. And it certainly makes you wonder who your kids, or perhaps youself, are talking to in those instances where the name comes before the face here on the world wide creepy web. 

Good luck to you in your search for employment, David Barksdale. We understand Facebook is always looking for people who share similar respect toward piracy. Just don't expect us to accept that ominous friend request. Then again, we just might be a little out of your age range.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unfermented Deal: Final Fantasy XIII for $20!

Today's Unfermented Deal is going to be short and quick, unlike the the video game of which the deal is on. How clever are we!

For an unknown amount of time, is selling Final Fantasy XIII for $19.99 (shipping will be extra). The only caveat is that it's only for the Playstation 3 version of the game.

If you love the Final Fantasy series, you probably already own the game, thus making this deal useless. If you've been curious about the game but just didn't want to shell out the $59.99 retail upon release, now is your time to buy.

The PS3 version of the game garnered a Metacritic rating of 83, which is like akin to a high "C" grade if one were in grade school. The game lasts most players over 45 hours which comes out to about $.44 per hour of game play. Ha!  Take that, forth grade math class!

As always, clicky the linky for quicky's belowy. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Use a 360 Controller to Play PS3 Games! (kinda)

Microsoft burned you twice this week, you say? You aren't too keen on the upcoming $10 increase to Xbox Live! and you feel betrayed by the software giant for their expecting you to buy a new and improved Xbox 360 controller for $64.99? Are you one of the enraged gamers threatening to ditch "Micro$oft" once and for all and make your gaming bed in the Sony camp? Well, Nyko is trying to make the transition a bit easier for you.

Nyko, maker gaming peripherals such as the Nyko Intercooler, knows that the reason some gamers prefer the Xbox 360 controller over the PS3 controller is the all important comfort factor. Like the Blackberry thumb before it, PS3 gamers often complain about thumb strain after hours of gaming do to the placement of the Dualshock 3's analog sticks. That's what they claim, at least. Sinners.

Doesn't hurt that it also looks like a Bat-a-rang.
Nyko claims that, besides looking like an ancient rune of evil, the controller will boast a bunch of features that gamers actually care about. 

  • Layout similar to that of the Xbox 360's controller 
  • 25 hours of Lithium-Ion battery life (charged by mini-USB)
  • 25 foot wireless range (with use of wireless USB dongle receiver)
  • "Soft" coating for comfort
  • Rumble support for all of your rumble needs 
  • Tilt controls (think Sixaxis......not too loud or Sony will sue)
  • Easy to use tilted/angled triggers
For under $35, you could probably do worse. You could try to stuff a PS3 controller's innards into a 360 controller's shell. But trust us, it's not as easy as you'd think. If we may speak farm to you for a moment, picture the outcome of trying to mate a pig with a goat. Seems like a good idea, but in the end, it's a hideous bastard of misalignment.

It's available until the end of the month (August 31). If you want to give it a whirl, we've included a link below to set you on your way.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Unfermented Deal: LittleBigPlanet 2 Pre-Order

Since the dawn of home console video games, gamers have often dreamed of the game they would create if they were given the tools to do so. Some games had scaled back level creation tools, but nothing that gave the user the sense of ownership that they desired. Computer development tools became available, but often just lead to horrible flash games and uninspired mods of current games.

British Game developer Media Molecule changed all of that with 2008's PS3 exclusive, LittleBigPlanet. The game not only introduced to the world to Sony's newest part-time mascot Sackboy, but also introduced the ability to create an entire platforming adventure world that you could create, play, and share with friends and the world through Sony's online service, Playstation Network. The game was an immediate hit when it was first announced at Game Developer's Conference in 2007 and eventually sold over 4.5 million copies world wide (as of post date). Media Molecule looks to push the envelope this holiday shopping season with LittleBigPlanet 2.

LittleBigPlanet 2 promises to deliver everything that it's predecessor offered times 10011. That's huge. We don't even know what that number means because we just made it up. But we can just from what we know that if you enjoyed the first games, you have a ton of reasons to be excited about this sequel. It's not even fair to call it a sequel. It's a whole new ball game.

If you can think of the genre, you can create it. Create an army of sackboys to destroy the strongholds of your enemies in a RTS game. Blast away at undead sackboys in your own FPS. Buy the game at a store or have it shipped by UPS. Alright. That last one is not a game mode. But it's punny. What's not funny is the pre-order we're about to drop on your sack, boy!

Amazon is offering up some bonus content and free shipping (release day delivery for a fee or for free for Amazon Prime members) if you pinky swear to buy it from them. You'll lock in the probably-won't-change-by-release-day price of $59.99 (which you will not be charged for until the game ships) and you'll get some sweet little exclusive extras for your downloading pleasure once you receive the game (download codes will be emailed after game's release). 

Amazon will be giving you 6 Sackboy skins, two of which are Ratchet and Clank, the comical heroes of the aptly named Ratchet and Clank game franchise. Use them to create your own Ratchet and Clank game or make them food for the Rancor beast that you're sure to create to destroy every environment your twisted mind imagines. 

If you're ready to hop on board the Imagination Creation Station, we've included a handy picture link below to hold your hand and get you started. We can't wait to horrify you with our creations on Playstation Network this fall. LittleBigPlanet 2 will create their monster in your living room on November 16th.                                

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On Z Tip: How to Re-Purpose Your Spare Monitor

This year alone, over five hundred thousand computer monitors will be replaced with newer, shinier, larger, higher resolution models. They will go from YouTube and World of Warcraft displaying glory to closeted, dust covered disgrace; banished to the hell fire of obsolescence. Some may even find themselves perched on top of a dumpster with a crude hand drawn sign reading "*Free* Still Works". Some will find their fate in said dumpster; never to see the light of a desk lamp again.

If you have one of these monitors sitting in your closet or waiting at the front door for garbage day, we have caught you just in time! This installment of On Z Tip is going to show you how to sap a little more life out of that monitor by giving it a new function that you just may not have considered. Think of us as the ASPCA for outdated tech.

Turn it into a television!!

There are three televisions in the average home. If you currently have less than three, this trick will get you closer to the status quo. If you already have three televisions in your home, prepare to be the above average citizen your mother always bragged you were. And you'll do it for a quarter of what a small LCD TV costs.

You can convert your discarded computer monitor into a fully functioning boob tube with a few small and easy to purchase components. Here is the recipe:
  1. External TV tuner with VGA output (VGA input is standard on most computer monitors)
  2. VGA cable (we recommend 6ft for adequate space)
  3. Cheap computer speakers (expensive if you wish)
Connect your cable/satellite or antenna (get cable already!) coaxial cable to the external TV tuner, connect the speakers to the 3.5mm  speaker output on the TV tuner, and link the TV tuner to the monitor via VGA cable and WHAMMO! TV for under $75. And you saved your poor monitor for an uncertain fate. Good for you! Captain Planet would be proud.

Most external TV tuners will have inputs RCA or S-video inputs. You can use these inputs to connect a DVD  player, video game console, iPod/portable video player (with recommended cable---see manufacturer), camcorder, and anything else that outputs audio and video through analog signal. Keep in mind that analog to digital conversion (analog to VGA) is not always as smooth as you'd like, so expect some minor picture degradation. As long as your expectations are in check, we think you'll be happy with your conversion/recycling project.

We're Byte Down, and that was On Z Tip.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The PS3 Can Now Do Something Sony Doesn't Want It To Do

When Sony launched the third installment in their Playstation brand of video game consoles, they knew they had a winner on their hands. The Playstation 3's (PS3) take off from the retail runway in 2006 was a bit bumpy due to the high price tag and lacking online gaming service, but the turbulence eventually eased to smooth sailing. The console offered video game and home entertainment enthusiasts a great built-in Blu Ray player, quality game library, the ability to install a secondary operating system, and a host of content in the form of digital downloads. As the brand's slogan stated, the PS3 truly did just about everything.

Sony's competition, the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, had major issues with piracy. Hackers made it possible to play backed up copies of video games through console hardware and software modification. While playing a backup of something may sound harmless to those outside of the video game industry, it's not as innocent as you copying some songs off of your favorite Wham album onto a mix tape for your late night crying sessions. In the video game community, the ability to play backups almost always leads to piracy. Through the use of torrent sites, unsavory (or cheap) gamers are able to freely download pirated copies of games and play them without ever owning their own original copy. Outside a hut in Malaysia, this is a pretty illegal and profit crushing activity. Sony's PS3, however, is considered to be quite unhackable. Until now.

In April of this year, Sony released a firmware update (v3.21) that completely disabled the ability to install a secondary operating system. The move was made because of mounting security concerns due to a vulnerability opened by the installation of Linux based operating systems on the console. The hardcore nerd sector of the PS3 fanbase was extremely distraught by this; some even filed several class action lawsuits against Sony citing a form of false advertising. As you're about to find out, this may have been all for naught.

Through the use of a simple USB thumbdrive, The PS Jailbreak allows PS3 console owners to unlock the ability to play PS3 games without a disc. The drive contains a software hack that tricks the console into thinking that it's now a developer's test unit. Users are given the ability to play games from any USB storage device formatted in FAT32. Currently, only PS3 games can be played using PS Jailbreak; PSone, PS2, DVDs, and Blu Ray movies are currently not supported. The embedded software is currently set to run on Playstation OS v3.41, but one would imagine that the device (and the inevitable knockoffs) will be ready for the software updates that Sony will surely deploy in a vain attempt to stop the hack. 

The device is currently in extremely short supply as of post date, with price points ranging from $120 to $150 (USD). This may seem like a high ticket item to some, but considering the $60 price tag on most console video games, it would pay for itself after two or three game downloads. 

Welcome to the Hacked Club, PS3. You tried, but the thieving bastards won in the end. You now truly do EVERYTHING again. And by the looks of it, it's just the beginning. We only hope that this won't lead to the eventual removal of USB ports on future PS3 consoles.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Byte Down's Top 6 Most Annoying People On YouTube

Most Annoying People On YouTube

A long time ago, before most of us care to remember, Al Gore created the internet. Slowly, internet users began to share information with the intention of making the world a wiser, better place to live. Gone were the days of societal classification, racial tension, bad grammar and spelling, and general douchebaggery. The internet changed the world.

Okay. So 99% of that is false. One this is for sure though. The internet gave voice to those who otherwise may not have had it. Byte Down loves the internet. It's our mother. We were birthed out of the warm, sticky womb of the WWW and we couldn't be more elated to have a medium such as this to bring our insanity to the World Wide Buffet for your consumption. But some people.....some people just need to be stopped. And we've got a list.

6) Norm, of YouTube's NormTheBarStool Channel, is a fat guy. You will know that not only because you can see him, but because that is generally all he talks about. He essentially takes the "Well, I might as well make fun of it before they do" philosophy and skull pumps you with his ridiculous stories that make no sense. It seems to have done him well, though. As he's garnered over 32,000 subscribers who love to point out that he's a "fatty fat fuck". Fantastic.

5) It's hard to put a finger on what exactly makes Shane Dawson so annoying. Is it his hair? Is it his laughably bad attempt at humor (wait...that doesn't make sense)? Or is it his fans? It could be the fact that a unfunny guy who looks like he's caught in a perpetual and invisible wind storm has nearly two million loyal fans. We'll chalk it up to that as we refuse to accept an acceptable answer. You decide.

4) This one is a head scratcher. Not just a regular head scratcher. It's one of those "grab a metal coat hanger and grind it into your scalp until it reaches your brain" head scratcher. This seemingly teen-aged girl, who goes by the name Boxxy, simply places a mid-range quality camera in front of herself, hits record, and does her best Anna Nicole Smith impression. Someone get this girl a horse grade tranquilizer and the rest of us an Asprin. 92,000 subscribers. Yowzers.

3) Sometimes, a good idea is really hard to come by. So you just rip someone else off. That's exactly what Chris Bores has done with his Irate Gamer character on YouTube. The Irate Gamer is essentially an unfunny, less creative, and poorly done copy of The Angry Video Game Nerd. Bores is about as funny as a dead baby joke told in church and has the personality of Richard Nixon's rotting corpse. He's the guy that gets killed first in 80's slasher films while he's masturbating in the camp outhouse. He's annoying simply because he exists. Just over 118,000 subscribers.

2) The last time we saw a middle eastern looking fella disappear and reappear this often was when we were trying to knock out The Great Tiger in Nintendo's Punch Out!! on our NES. We'd love to knock this guy out, too. It's not just the editing style that makes Ray William Johnson annoying. It's the hair, it's the voice, and it's the fact that it's Tosh.O minus the funny. And dude, pick a damn name. The three name thing went out in the 90's and you certainly are not of Jonathan Taylor Thomas caliber. This guy is also in talks with HBO for his own show. We weep for humanity. Nearly two million subscribers.

1) You'll have to take our word for it. This next thing is the most annoying thing you'll ever see. And you can't unsee it once it's been seen. So don't even watch it. You will cry yourself to sleep at night. At some point, all of the above "honored" YouTube talents have made video comments on how annoyed they are by this abomination. We can't even talk about it anymore.

So here is Fred. Avoid at all costs. Run from Fred videos as if you are being chased by a horny, rapey gorilla with a penis the size of a can of Pringles. We can't stress this enough. Brain rape.

Obviously, these are just our opinions. There are surely leagues of YouTube undesireables out there who deserve a top spot on a “horrible” list. Having said that, one has to wonder if annoying is the new cool. Someone put Carrot Top in the movies. Jimmy Fallon has his own late night talk show. And judging by the number of fans these people have……we can tell that the internet has REALLY bad taste.

Who would YOU put on the list? We want to know! Chime in with a comment or send an email to

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Star Wars Goes Blu in 2011.....With Controversy

Would we have it any other way?

George Lucas revealed to The Daily Show's John Stewart that all six Star Wars films would finally arrive on Blu Ray disc during a special press conference Saturday at the Star Wars Celebration V event in Central Florida. The event was a celebration of the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back". Herds of nerds in Wookie costumes and girls who had no business wearing slave bikinis (no matter what the matter how far away) rejoiced. That is, until they learned exactly what they'd be getting. Hell hath no fury like a Force loving nerd with access to internet forums.

Here is just a snippet of said fury from the office Star Wars site comments section:

"Frig you lucas. Without the originals the trilogy is nothing.. If you aren't happy with your creation from back then, well tough.. WE ARE! You need to listen to all of us and give us the choice either before release or in distribution (original copies/remastered). I'll keep my "original" dvd set until the format is dead or you step off your high horse and stop playing this bullsh-t with your loyal fans who's sat through you destroying a classic movie with cgi. They were great on their own, with their mistakes, crude special effects and bad dialogue. A classic CANNOT be remastered, re-released or made to be any better than it was."

What you read above is part of the story. Lucas later went into detail as to what was going to be included in the set. Along with a multitude of as of now undetailed bonus features, the versions of the original trilogy films (the ones without Jar Jar Binks) will be the special editions; the one where Han doesn't shoot first. Lucas stated that it would be just too expensive to re-master the original films to Blu Ray standards; which is no doubt a response to the old burn marks left on his bottom line after he invested so much money into the ill-fated LaserDisc format. 

Another point of controversy is a deleted scene which will be included in the Blu Ray release. The scene, cut from "Return of The Jedi", shows Luke Skywalker building his green lightsaber and would have been his first introduction in the film. Some rather hearty nerds believe that the scene is not in fact from the cutting room floor, but that it is something recently fabricated to hype and add further value to the Blu Ray release. "Evidence" given is the fact that Lucas very rarely cuts fully completed (edited, scored, special effects supplied) scenes from his films. We would have posted the video in this post, but Lucas' production company already filed copyright infringement complaints against all posted footage of the deleted scene. Sorry. 

Whatever the case, the Blu Ray collection is set for release in 2011 to coincide with the 35 anniversary of the theatrical release of "Star Wars Episode I: A New Hope". It is currently unknown what the exact date will be or if all six films will be released in a box set or if consumers will be able to buy their favorites separately. We will be sure to report when a pre-order date is announced; at which time all questions will hopefully be answered.

Will the addition of Star Wars on Blu Ray cement the Blu Ray format as the new standard? We think that Back to The Future will do so this fall. Will the nerds protest the release like Rebels on the Death Star? Will Yoda sing "Pants on The Ground" in a deleted scene easter egg? We'll have to wait and see. Until then, let your nerd flag fly and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Learn how to lie with the help of video games!

Some parents buy their kids educational video games to teach them how to do simple math through cute little interactive songs or matching games featuring their favorite creepy talking animals. There are games that teach little girls how to care for babies. There are games that will teach you how to cook, although often with horrible results. There are games that will teach bible lessons.....often with horrible results. Typing of The Dead is a video game that teaches you to type while you blow the brains out of rotting zombies with very satisfying results. This fall, video games will finally teach us something useful; the fine art of verbal deception. 

THQ, the developer who brought you a bunch of professional wrestling games, wants to really ramp up the drama with Truth or Lies. You won't be warping through pipes to avoid telling your pixelated parents where you've been all night. You'll be lying your ass off into a (not included) USB or wireless microphone (unknown as of post whether Nintendo's Wii Speak peripheral will be supported). The game will use a specially designed voice calibration program that somehow measures the stress level in your voice to determine if you're a honest saint, a rat bastard liar, or a murderous nut job who can mask their human emotions to pass themselves off as a normal, non-homicidal person. 

With it's playful "truth or dare" premise and bargain title price tag ($40 on 360/PS3, $30 on Wii), it will surely find it's way into the rotation during parties. The game has the potential to make those parties fun and memorable; with inside jokes for you to litter your friend's Facebook walls with for weeks to come, or infamous; with broken hearts, hurt feelings, and destroyed friendships. With the ability to step outside of the game's 3,000 questions and ask your own questions, you can stage your own Maury Povich Show in your living room. 

So suck it, Jack Thompson. Games are educational. And that's the truth. You just won't be hearing us say it. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BDOZT: Stick it to Comcast!

Welcome to the first entry in Byte Down's On Z Tip, a brand new column section on Byte Down, hell bent on providing with you tips and tricks to surviving the less savory parts of life with the help of technology. The solutions to some of life's most puzzling problems are often right under your nose. We're here to pick up those solutions and beat you in the face with them. We only do it because you love you. You are our special little angel. Just don't tell anyone.

In our first On Z Tip, we're going to show you how to stick it to Comcast cable.

If you've been with Comcast long enough to no longer be eligible for their "new customer" specials, your pocketbook probably feels about as worked as the zipper on Tiger Woods' silly looking golf slacks. The constantly rising rates along with the weird tacked on fees and taxes can really put a strain on your relationship  with happiness. Fear not, beaten step child of commerce! There is something you can do.

With as busy as life can get, people often neglect to actually look at their bills. Yes, it can be a painful thing to do at the end of the month. No one wants to cry. But if you are a Comcast high speed internet customer, your  challenge is to take a look at your bill and examine the line item charges under the high speed internet section. Go ahead, we'll wait.

Looky what we have here!

If you're using a Comcast provide modem, there is a $5 monthly rental charge for a cable modem. Using our third grade multiplication skills (and then our post-high school calculator), we learn that this monthly fee racks up to $60 per calendar year. That's $60 a year for a cable modem that you don't own, that was most likely used by a prior customer, and is probably inferior similar devices on the market. That's $60 that could go somewhere a lot more fun. 

Few people realize that Comcast, unlike some other providers, allows you to use your own compatible cable modem. Of course, Comcast doesn't include this in their advertising. If you are currently rent a cable modem from Comcast, you can simply purchase your own cable modem, call Comcast to activate it, and return the old money sucking box of suck back to the suckers. Easy as pie. You can purchase a great cable modem for $40 to $99. At most, it will take less than two years for the purchase to pay for itself. And you get to chose the quality of the modem, pulling yourself away from the mercy of Comcast. Informed consumers who go this route often find that they are getting speeds and service greater than they did when they were using Comcast's box.

While $60 a year isn't a huge savings, consider how long you have been a Comcast customer and how long you are likely to remain one, if only for their high speed internet.  It's the small victories that make life great, and this one is just too easy. To make it even easier, we'll tell you which boxes to use with your level of service. Aren't we great?

For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet service (under 28 Mbps down):

Motorola Surfboard SB5101 -
Right around $50. User reviews claim higher rate of speed than received with Comcast provided cable modem. It'll pay for itself within 10 months.

Linksys CM100-
Just a few bucks over $50 (shipping included). Highly rated by customers. Will pay for itself within a year. 

For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet with speeds OVER 38 Mpbs (business grade): 

Motorola Surfboard SB6120 (DOCSIS 3.0)-
Currently priced at $100. This will pay for itself in just under two years. Worth it for the massive upgrade over what Comcast offers it's business speed users. Future-ready and highly praised by users.

For users who subscribe to both Comcast high speed internet and Comcast VOIP service, we highly recommend that you search for another VOIP provider. Even when bundled (Comcast Triple Play or Double Play), Comcast's phone service is over $30, well over that of it's competition. Check out the recently updated TopTenREVIEWS for information on VOIP services currently available. Byte Down currently recommends ITP, which has service packages starting at $10 per month.

That's On Z Tip. Chew on it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Play Nintendo With Your Eyeballs!

Top this, Microsoft Kinect!

These days, we know that the less buttons, the better. When you don't actually have to think about how to control your pixelated plumber, the more immersed you are in the game world. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony would have you believe motion controls are the future of video games. Wave your hands, flick your wrist, scan your body into a creepy moving camera and bounce virtual balls off your digital face. We certainly have come a long way since the days of the Nintendo Power Glove (it's so bad). But for the crazy Texans at Waterloo Labs, we haven't gone nearly far enough.

Using a modded Nintendo Entertainment System (you remember than grey and black horizontal toaster, right?) and a set of medical grade electrodes, the mad scientists from the Lone Star State are able to warp through a game of Super Mario Brothers sans hands and controller. The engineers insist that you'll be able to control any NES game with this control setup, although one would imagine that trying to play Abadox this way would bring new meaning to the term "twitch shooter".

Let's just hope this control method limits itself to the classic and simple NES controller. It's scary to imagine where the electrodes would have to be placed in order to compensate for the input commands needed to control Nintendo 64 games. Yikes.

For more information on this and other things that are bigger in Texas, head on over to Waterloo Labs. The website even contains instructions on how to do this mod yourself. If you are down with looking like a crazed lab rat in a methamphetamine test lab while saving the princess, we implore you to do so. And make sure you send us the video. And we want you to say "Now you're playing with balls. Eyeballs!", just for a goof.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unfermented Deal: Fable 3 pre-order bonus at Amazon

  If you own a Microsoft Xbox 360, there is a high probability that you've heard of the Lionhead Studio's Fable franchise. There's a good chance you've played one of the two released games in the series. If you haven't played either Fable or Fable II, you are seriously missing out. Seriously. Not to say it's better than sex or Lost, but it's pretty great. You really should play some Fable.

Right. So, here's a trailer for the next installment, Fable III.

The fine folks at have a pretty snazzy pre-order deal going on for the standard edition of the Xbox 360 game. If you pre-order the game at $59.99, you'll receive a $20 credit for a future video game purchase when Fable III ships. I suggest that you take that credit and apply it to Deadly Premonition. It's under $20 and it's the best worst game on the Xbox 360. (See Amazon for complete details)

To take advantage of this awesome deal, clickity on the handy link I've provided below. Easy peasy, Weezy. Don't say this blog never did anything for ya.

Unreal News: Mel Gibson R&B album set to drop this holiday season!

While taking a break from making religious torture porn films and trying to convince the makers of the Snuggie to make a special one for him in white, Mel Gibson briefly reconciled with his estranged girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in order to record a full length studio album, inspired by their recently leaked audio tapes.

Grigorieva, a horrendously bad Russian singer/songwriter, agreed to let Mel and his hired band of white Christian studio musicians take over her home studio for an undisclosed amount of money. Hip hop artist Chris Brown took the production reigns for the album.

This image most likely will NOT appear in the album art.

 While the monetary numbers may be unknown, we just got our hands on the track titles for the album, which will be called "Foreign Bodies". The tracks are as follows:

Gimme Back My Wetback
Don't Jew My Heart
See You Next Tuesday, Whore
F'ed By a Pack O' N's
Hold Our Baby So I Can Find Your Teeth
In My Rose Garden (featuring OJ Simpson)
You're My Vegas Lady
Don't Hang Up
Balls in a Knot
My Sweet Heavy Breathing
I Deserve To Be Blown (Kisses)

One song, titled "Rot In Hell With Your Pansy Son, You Gold Digging Cunt Whore/Say Hello To The Christ Killing Jews For Me, You Bitch" will be available on the special collector's edition of the album, which is only available for sale in Australia; scheduled for release on the first day of Hanukkah. The US should expect "Foreign Bodies" to drop just in time for Christmas.

**Obviously, this whole story is a work of sad, but hilarious, fiction. While it would be glorious if such an album were actually released, it must be noted that what you just read is completely untrue. If you are interested in hearing the leaked audio tapes that inspired this, you can do so on Just hide the kids first.**