Exams & B3yond!

Hey Milieu Pals,
Once again, its time for an update. So lets get this show on the road!
Health World
As most of you already know, about three weeks ago, Health World suffered extensive damage from an unexpected fire. Since then my father has been extremely busy with organising the reparations in order to get the fitness centre back into operation. So far everything is going well. Within the near future members will become accustomed to the following: a new art deco styled reception area with refreshment boutique, exclusive indoor action cricket, new aerobics and karate hall which offers a panoramic view of Rynfield, a conference centre, new pool area with open floor plan and brand new change rooms (with saunas). I’m actually excited for all the changes to occur and can’t wait for the fitness centre to be reborn!
Play B3yond!
Ah yes, the fabled Playstation 3.

Will it ever make it to our shores? If it does will we be able to afford it? Can Sony’s Online experience compete with that of Microsofts Emmy Award Winning Xbox Live service? Sony, what are you thinking? These are just some of the questions I have pondered about.

Most of you should know that I’m somewhat of a technology and gaming freak! I simply love new and exciting innovations regardless of which industry they are from. So when something new comes out and it appeals to me, I feel that I have to get it. This applies most importantly to gaming (I have been extremely fortunate in that I have had every new games console since I was born)!
For the most part of last year I became consumed with following the progress of the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the successor to the original Xbox. This was due, in part, to the excellent experience I had with the original Xbox over the Playstation 2 and Gamecube. Sadly, the Original Xbox was never launched locally in South Africa (I imported mine from the states) and I was therefore part of a minority of individuals who could actually enjoy, what could be argued as, a better overall gaming experience. Stereotypically, many South Africans are brand loyal particularly when it comes to technology. I remember clearly what it was like when I mentioned the fact that I had an Xbox. Most people I spoke to were like "Oh please, the Xbox is rubbish"; "Playstation 2 Rules and its like a supercomputer" or "The Xbox is from Microsoft and they are evil"! The funny part was that the people who commented so negatively about the Original Xbox had never even experienced playing on one. However, when I finally introduced them to the machine… they were quite simply blown away. I think I converted quite a few people to the dark side ! Needless to say, now that the Xbox 360 is finally in South Africa, many people are actually avioding the 360 until the PS3 arrives because they do not believe that the 360 is a fantastic console. However, I reckon that those individuals will soon move over to Microsoft particularly because of the price point at which the PS3 will be entering the South African market.

 The PS3 will be entering all markets in two flavours, similar to the Xbox 360 (this is quite funny because Sony initially mocked Microsoft for offering consumers choice… now they are doing the same thing). The PS3 will come in a 60GB model ($599 = R5500) which includes: built in Wi-Fi, media card reader, metallic accents, 60GB removable hard drive and HDMI out. The 30GB model ($499 = R4500) differs from the 60GB model in the following ways: no built in Wi-Fi, no media card reader, no metallic accents and only 30GB removable hard drive. See the picture to the left: 30GB model is to the left and 60GB model is to the right.

Many people presume that the PS3 will be superior to the Xbox 360. This is particularly because of the assumption that it has taken an additional year to reach the market. This however, is not the case.
Although the PS3’s initial specifications have been modified over the past year (with regards to HDMI, ethernet ports, SixAxis controller among others), the PS3’s central processing unit (CPU) and graphical processing unit (GPU) processor were essentially finalised at the end of 2005. This was particularly evident when Sony initially claimed a Spring 2006 launch. The only reason why they have had such delays is because they cannot manufacture enough Blu Diode lasers which are required for the Blu-Ray players located within each console. It is the sad truth. So for those who are expecting a ground breaking experience when compared to the 360 will, in my opinion, be somewhat disappointed. Another aspect to remember is that developers have had an additional year to create games for the console. Hence why some PS3 games look almost as good as second generation 360 games. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan boy for either console. I’m trying to remain as unbiased as possible. After all I am getting a PS3 once it launches next year March (I have already pre-ordered mine with a R1000 deposit). But the fact remains that the two consoles will be so similar in performance that it will inevitably come down to personal preference. In this respect I feel that it will be sad that many South Africans will never really be able to experience the joys of owning a 360, because of their brand loyalty to the only major console brand (Sony Playstation), that has ever really been available to South Africans for the past 10 odd years.
Strangely enough, this time last year I was obsessed with the Xbox 360. I felt it was the next best thing since sliced bread. I religiously followed its development (along with the PS3 and Wii) and even participated in their Viral marketing campaign: Our Colony. I also had my own Xbox 360 launch event at my house. It happened on the day that Microsoft officially announced the Xbox 360 on MTV. I invited a couple of my cousins over to answer a riddle made of 10 parts. If they could guess the answer then they were able to watch the Our Colony Xbox 360 launch video and then the MTV special. I just couldn’t wait for it. This year however… I don’t feel any of the excitement surrounding the PS3. Its odd. I think its because I know so much about the consoles, their development etc. that I’m not as ignorant as the rest of the casual gaming public in terms of performance offerings and the over all experience offered by both consoles. After all, ignorance is bliss! Regardless… the PS3 will be as fantastic as the 360!
TV, Games and Exams!
Yes, it is that time of the year again. The time in which one is meant to use the knowledge that they have gained throughout the year and use it to attempt to adequately pass the final testing requirement. I have two exams left both of which are within the next week and a half. I’m not looking forward to either, I mean… who looks forward to exams anyway. These are the last two exams before I get my first degree. I can’t believe it. It has already been three years, but it feels just like yesterday that I joined Monash University and attended my first lecture. But, my studies are not quite over. Next year I plan to do Honours!
Okay, so I’m on study leave at the moment… but its more like TV show and game playing leave ! Recently I finished watching the second season of Veronica Mars and the first season of Battlestar Galactica! Both of these shows are brilliant. Battlestar Galactica was actually a show I decided to take a chance on. Recently I placed an order with Amazon and it was one of the shows I decided to try. I can safely say, that I am so glad I took the risk! It is a fantastic show! Every episode is like watching a mini-movie. The show is a drama but it is just set in space. So it has a rather unique Science Fiction element to it. I cannot explain how good the show is. I’d recommend anyone to rent the mini-series (from which the TV show is based) just to understand what I am talking about.
The best aspect of the show is how the production values have remained the same as the mini-series. It must be one of the most well made shows I have seen to date. I have actually just ordered the entire second season… can’t wait for it to arrive! Check this show out when you can, you won’t be sorry!
As for game playing  ! I now have about 24 games for my Xbox 360. Theoretically this means that I could potentially have 24000 gamerscore… yet I have a measly 4255 (you can see my Xbox Live status just below my profile to the top left of Hans’ Milieu). One of my aims is to now increase my gamerscore because it has the potential to be much higher and because I know I can do it, I’m just a lazy gamer (talk about an oxymoron; stereotypically speaking of course  ). My most recent purchases include: Saints Row, Just Cause, Lego Star Wars II, Dead Rising, Ninety Nine Nights, X-Men the Official Game, Test Drive Unlimited, the Godfather, Enchanted Arms and Splinter Cell Double Agent. Yes… I’m definitely taking advantage of being able to purchase my games locally now  ! I am also incredibly happy to report that I officially really know three people on my Xbox Live friends list (aka: I actually know these people, like I’m related to or are friends with them and they have their own 360’s). They are: Wayne (a good friend from my highschool days – Gamertag: Enyaw86), Luke and Ray (two of my cousins who have have a 360 – Luke’s Gamertag: Monsieur Lukie & Ray’s Gamertag: RazMaTaz). Freddy will also be joining the ranks of 360-dom very soon (his Gamertag: Maxi Mage).
Well Milieu Pals, that is pretty much all for now. Actually, there is always so much to say but never enough time. I will probably update more often now (unless I’m studying) and will include all sorts of things you know like movies, games and technology amongst others!
Ciao for now!

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