Dragon Age: Origins PC, PS3 or Xbox 360?

If you’ve been caught up in the hype around Dragon Age: Origins Awakening (the first expansion for the Dragon Age: Origins game series), or the release of the Dragon Age comic book, but have yet to purchase and play the awesome that is DA:O; then harken to what is said here, friends, as it will help you to answer a question: What platform do I buy the game for?

Ultimately, the choice you make will be one of taste, price and other personal callings and any choice you make with this game will be a good one. However, if you are torn, then there are a few fundamental differences you will need to consider before you drop your hard-earned cash (or credit) on the table.

Available Platforms:

PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Price Comparison:

PC: $40-50, PS3: $40-70, Xbox 360: $40-70 Prices vary depending on country, and whether you purchase at a brick & mortar store or an online vendor like Amazon. Collector’s Editions are in the $65-120+ range and include such things as a cloth map of the DA:O world, a bonus DVD, cool case, etc.

Gameplay and Graphics:

All – All platforms give you beautiful scenery and a deep and gritty storyline that involves intricate party relationships. No restrictive morality-in-a-can, just reactions to your actions by your party members and the reactions aren’t canned either, they are based on the individual characters and their likes and dislikes. A little tip in this regard: Morrigan is not easy to please. Don’t worry about it. Just play the game as you think your character would act. As for the graphics, well, in general they are a bit lower grade than expected, but you get over it quickly as you become engrossed in the storyline.

PC pros – Better potential graphics and a more granular gaming experience (more point and click menus and better camera control). Plays well enough on systems with low-end graphics cards (like non-gaming laptop GPUs for example).

PC cons – You have to spend a bit of time configuring everything to get the game to the perfect settings for your machine.

Playstation 3 & Xbox 360 pros Well done controls and custom console interface (these are not messy PC ports they are fully customized game builds for each console), and a somewhat faster-paced feel to battles. Play right out of the box.

Playstation 3 & Xbox 360 cons – There are some reports of laggy load-times with Dragon Age: Origins on consoles. You may also discover some lower quality textures to help fix that problem (especially on the Xbox 360 version, which is also prone to some graphical tearing issues) this only barely impacts the pretty of the game overall, though.  There is no possibility to zoom out to top down view on consoles either, though this can make exploring tougher areas a bit more exciting.

Any of the platforms should play Dragon Age: Origins (and Awakening) well enough for you to be thoroughly entertained and become deeply involved in the storyline and character relationships. If you’re a fan of dark and gritty fantasy, and of Bioware-style game design in general (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect one and two), you will love, love, love the Dragon Age series, which is shaping up to become a long term, epic universe of stories and games. Definitely worth the buy.

DO I FEEL LUCKY? WELL DO YA PUNK?

It is 1971. The first baseball game was played in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. The voting age was lowered to 18. Cigarette advertisements were banned on television. And the hardened detective Harry Callahan is sent on a mission to stop a sniper that is terrorizing the city of San Francisco in “Dirty Harry.” Directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood as Detective Harry Callahan, “Dirty Harry” turns plenty of action into a thrilling plot. Although the story can be confusing at times, the action that takes place throughout the city of San Francisco is enough to keep all action fans on the edge of their seats. Along with Eastwood, “Dirty Harry” also stars, Andrew Robinson and Harry Guardino.

The story begins with the audience witnessing a young girl swimming in a pool through the sniper scope of the sadistic murderer Scorpio. He soon puts a bullet right through her heart killing her instantly. Word gets out and the city is terrified. Detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Eastwood) finds a ransom note from Scorpio (Robinson) that demands $100,000 and for each day that the city does not accept his demand, he will kill a specific person.

Next we see one of the more iconic scenes and quotes in Hollywood history. Dirty Harry, who gets his name by his coworkers for his loose cannon style of police work, is eating lunch in a diner when he notices a bank robbery in progress. As the men run out of the bank he swiftly kills two of the men and wounds the third. As he walks over to the third man, he leaves the audience with one of the most famous action movie quotes: “I know what you’re thinking: Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

As we see throughout the movie, Dirty Harry is constantly stopping criminals and wiping clean the streets of San Francisco all while chasing the elusive killer, Scorpio. Soon it is made known that Scorpio has kidnapped a young girl and is expecting double the amount of ransom money this time around, $200,000. Callahan is instructed to bring no back up and has to answer payphones in order to meet up with the killer and deliver the ransom. Arriving at the scene Callahan is eventually brutally beaten by Scorpio and the killer escapes wounded.

Callahan follows the maniac to a nearby football field and tortures him to get the answers out of him, but due to the mishandling of the case, Scorpio has to be set free. This angers Callahan and he vows to get this psychotic murderer once and for all. Later in the film we witness Scorpio apprehend a bus full of school children, and once hearing word of this, Callahan knows that this is his chance to end this madman’s rampage once and for all.

“Dirty Harry” offers a much grittier side to the crime and police movies that were popular during this time, one that is meant purely for lovers of action movies.

The film is an incredible thriller, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering how Callahan is possibly going to stop this crazed killer. “Dirty Harry” is certainly one of the best crime and detective thrillers from the past century.

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A GUN IS AS GOOD OR AS BAD AS THE MAN USING IT

The year is 1953. Queen Elizabeth II of England was coroneted. The first issue of “TV Guide” was published. The Academy Awards aired for the first time on NBC. And the magnificent western, “Shane” won the hearts of many moviegoers across the country. Shot in Technicolor, “Shane” presented brilliant landscapes and amazing scenery. Considered by many as one of the greatest westerns of all time, “Shane” doesn’t disappoint. The story brings action, drama, and romance to the western genre. The film stars Alan Ladd as Shane, Jean Arthur as Marian Starrett, and Van Heflin as Joe Starrett.

Our story begins when we see a young boy by the name of Joey aiming his rifle at a deer in the proximity of his family’s property, then almost out of nowhere we see a mysterious figure on horseback that draws closer and closer.

Eventually this man reaches the property and introduces himself as a man by the name of Shane. He is a lonesome man, just passing through the countryside that is until the ruthless gang of the Ryker gang turns up causing trouble. Shane immediately reaches for his pistol, as a precaution, and claims that he is just a friend looking to work for the family that he has stumbled across. After the Ryker gang leaves, the family, as we now know as the Starretts, are very wary of Shane, except for little Joey who sees Shane as a hero. They are not sure what his intentions are or where he is coming from.

After helping to protect the Starretts, Shane is asked to stay and this is when the family, especially Joey, gain a liking for Shane. Joey looks at Shane as a father figure, asking him to teach him how to shoot and other things that all young boys want to learn. Starrett eventually offers Shane a job to help him out with his homestead. Joe Starrett also forms an alliance consisting of many of the homesteaders as well as Shane to fight back against the Riker brothers. We learn that the Riker brothers want all of the homesteaders gone so that they can let their cattle roam free. This is something that Starrett cannot for.

We have seen Shane as a mellow, quiet man up until this point of the story.

Shane’s second visit to the saloon involves some confrontation. The first time he was there, the Ryker gang, specifically Calloway starts to jab at Shane and he eventually throws his whiskey on Shane’s new shirt. The second time Shane returns to the saloon, he lets loose his anger towards these men, fist fighting his way against numerous enemies. Soon, Joe Starrett rushes through the doors of the saloon to help Shane in his fight. The two make a great team, as we have seen throughout the movie so far and defeat the Ryker gang for now.

Joe Starrett has been failing at getting homesteaders to side with him and fight against the Ryker’s and when one of the homesteaders is killed in cold blood, Joe believes he must take matters into his own hands. Shane won’t let that happen. He is too fond of Joe to let him go to the town and end up getting killed. Although there is evidence throughout the film that Shane has a growing romantic interest for Marian Starrett, and if he let Joe go fight Ryker, that would leave Marian and Joey without a man in their lives. As the story is told, Shane is too good of a man to let this happen. He fights Joe, knocking him out and heads of to the town by himself, where he is forced to confront the gang. Shane knows that no matter what happens, after this fight he must leave the town, as he tells Joey, “There’s no living with a killing. “There’s no going back from it. Right or wrong, it’s a brand, a brand that sticks.”

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the movie “Shane.”

I prefer westerns that focus on the action and less on the dramatic story telling. I feel that “Shane” lacks the action that I look for in a western. I am not saying that “Shane” is a terrible movie, in fact it is a very well made movie and it is a classic that will be loved by people for many ages to come. “Shane” is a great western for people who prefer more drama in their westerns than action. If you are looking for great storytelling and less action, then “Shane” is the movie for you.

Best ideas how to spend a jackpot

Here have just won the jackpot from the pachinko, table games or the bingo at your favorite casino. Pooh, what a lucky one you are! Now, what next? How will you spend this money? I mean, they could be gone in a flip, but before they do, you should use the jackpot in a rational manner.

Financial management and lottery win go hand in hand. Here are a few tips on how best to make your money work for you as you watch your empires grow.

1. First things first, PAY YOUR DEBTS OFF.

For you to secure your future financially you first have to have financial freedom; this is the best way of spending your jackpot which implies that any economic ties are to be eliminated. Bank loans and any other loan especially those that earn interest ought to be removed. Do some evaluation; some loans can be better paid off after the investments you make generate income. Weigh between the interest rates and your investment potential. Please note that the promises you made to your friends and family are not strong ties, after all, they can always wait. After this, you will then have a clean slate on which to start the journey to your version of Disney World.

2. SEEK ADVICE

You now want to plunge your money into something useful. What exactly are you going to invest? Write down your ideas in detail, then weigh them and choose the best one. Consider all possible alternatives while putting into consideration the risks that you are willing and able to bear. Consider having a business plan. Evaluate them critically; you cannot afford to let your hard earned luck go to waste.

It would be a good idea to have a financial advisor. Do not do it alone, have expert opinion and advice from a trustworthy and experienced individual or company. Let them help you see beyond, this will broaden your scope, and you will be better informed and in a position to make a wise decision. How else will you best spend your jackpot?!

3. BUDGET

If you are to spend your prize well, this is not the time to throw money around, oh no. Be deliberate in every penny you use. Remember to budget for the games too. There is the temptation to possibly quit your job and live the high life, but sit a while and see the bigger picture. Maintain your living standards; budget for the daily needs then consider implementing the ideas you now have after seeking advice and considering all your options. It is better to build an empire then move into it than to make progress into an empty field in the hope of building an empire there.

4. INVEST

Spend your money on income generating activity; this is the it’ thing in spending your jackpot. You can do this through the stock market, in a business or any other suitable endeavor. You may choose to save your money, that is a good idea, but the chances of it getting depleted before you do anything meaningful are high. Take a risk; it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.

5. PURCHASE ASSETS

I don’t mean you go buying the most advanced home theater! Buy something whose value increases over time or something that establishes you such as building a home. Real estate is an industry that grows fast especially with the rising population and sense of style; you may consider investing there. It guarantees your future and that of your dependants.

6. DONATIONS, DONATIONS

We live in a community, and there will always be the needy around us, give back to the society by making generous donations without depleting your finances. This is a win-win kind of act. Look at it this way, as you help someone you also build a name for yourself and expand your social ground. You will need the society if you are to succeed.

7. MANAGE YOUR WEALTH

Your sweat should never go down the drain. You work for your property so protect it. Whether you have to employ a manager, hire security guards or take an insurance cover, protect your babies; your wealth. Whatever you do, insurance is a must-do, and it will save you on a rainy day.

8. REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS

You won the lottery; you had the tricks, remember them skills and advance them now and then. If you don’t have the time, opt out of betting. It is better than losing. Whenever you game, spend sparingly and with calculated moves lest you lose it all in a moment. Never forget where you came from, even when you choose to walk out of it.

Shuffle Tracking

Blackjack has developed a reputation as being a game that can be beat. This is something that started with card counting which actually can be used to give the player an advantage over the house. However the casinos have gone to great lengths to make this is as difficult as possible. As a result new techniques have become necessary to beat the casino. One of those is shuffle tracking. This is exactly what you would think it would, it is keeping track of where cards end up when they are shuffled. If you are planning to count cards at one of the Casino’s on the Las Vegas Strip, you better know they are not offering the “best” blackjack games in the world, so keeping your eyes on the shuffle is vital if you’re looking to maximize your odds.

Shuffle tracking is the next logical step in the evolution of card counting in blackjack. It is based on the fact that in a multiple deck game the last deck will not get dealt but the cards will be shuffled and you will start over again instead. That means that if you have a high count when they reshuffle the deck then you know that there are a lot of tens and aces in that deck. If you could figure out where those cards ended up when they were shuffled you would have an advantage. The belief is that the cards are not shuffled all that thoroughly so there is a good chance that they will stay relatively close to each other.

Of course being able to figure out where the deck you are interested in ends up when the cards are shuffled is not easy. There are a few ways that you can do this but they are all based on keeping track of large clusters of cards. This obviously takes a long time to learn and you will have to put in a lot of practice before you are ready to start trying it in a casino.

Before you even think about trying shuffle tracking you need to be proficient at counting cards. This is something that few people can do well as it is. Adding shuffle tracking to the equation will just make it more complicated. If you can’t keep the count properly you are not going to be successful no matter how well you are able to track the cards when they are being shuffled. Once you have a good handle on card counting you are going to want to make sure that you learn a system for shuffle tracking and practice it thoroughly.

Shuffle tracking can greatly increase your odds if you do it correctly, far higher than basic card counting. However, if you get it wrong you could find yourself with even worse odds than if you weren’t using any system at all. You also need to be careful when you are doing this because casinos are very wary of shuffle tracking. They have gone to great lengths to reduce the advantage of card counters but they haven’t yet figured out a way to take away the advantage of the shuffle trackers. If they suspect that you are doing it you will be asked to leave the casino.

Background

Why Nexus?

“I wanted to create an airplane that utilized the best construction methods and aesthetics found on other classic designs.   Nexus means a connected group or series – this aircraft has a connection with many homebuilt types!” Dick Eaves

The Designer

Nexus Mustang was created by Richard (Dick) Eaves of London, Ontario, Canada.

Dick built many of the classic homebuilt designs starting in 1962 with a Baby Ace and more recently a Midget Mustang (which won a Bronze Lindy Award at Oshkosh 2000).

Dick is a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Canadian equivalent to an A&P) with over 25 years of experience repairing all sorts of light aircraft.

The Inspiration

After Oshkosh 2000 Dick was ready for a new project. What he wanted to build next was a scratch built 2 place tandem aircraft that was similar to the Midget Mustang. Dick didn’t find what he was looking for so he decided to design his own. Having seen how other aircraft of similar construction and specification were made, Dick borrowed upon his years of homebuilding experience to create Nexus Mustang.