Author - Jerry Paxton

TimeWarner to Test Usage Based Billing for Internet Services

Yahoo (Reuters) reports that TimeWarner Cable will begin testing a new billing system based on a subscribers bandwidth usage, rather than the traditional flat fee.

I say traditional, though we should all recall that AOL used to bill based on the number of hours logged on.  I was never an AOL subscriber myself, but I have plenty of memories of friends who received monthly bills over $100 for their internet usage.  If TimeWarner thinks the public will accept a return to this type of billing practice, they may lose a lot of customers.

TimeWarner claims that it will test the pilot program in Beaumont, Texas later this year, and commented that the change will only affect ‘heavy’ users, accounting for only 5% of their customer base.  

2008 CES Creative HS-1200 Headset Interview

GamingShogun at CES Creative had a very good showing this CES, although we were hoping to find some new Sound Blaster gear and ended up running across a total gem in their HS-1200 Wireless Gaming Headset. Being as impressed as we were, the good folks gave us a very nice, impromptu, sit-down interview. Thanks to everyone at Creative for their hospitality and we can’t wait to do an in-depth review of the unit in the future.

2008 CES TN Games FPS Vest Demo

GamingShogun at CES We got a chance to try out the new Third Space HXT Helmet and FPS Vest from TN Games at the CES expo as well. I have to say it was very cool and I look forward to reviewing them more thoroughly soon. The sensations of impact (especially the helmet which bounces like a round ricocheted off of it) add alot of intensity to FPS play. In addition, it acts as a much better cue to let you know where the attackers are then just an arrow indicator on the screen.

2008 CES Age of Conan Demo Video

GamingShogun at CES Here is the first in our series of 2008 CES interview videos. Over the course of the show we recorded a multitude of product demos and interviews and we will have them for you very soon. In this installment, we get an up close and personal demonstration of the upcoming MMO from FunCom: Age of Conan. The game is still set to release in March of this year according to the staff at the show. Enjoy the vid and check back soon for more.

Amazon’s Latest HD-DVD Sale

Amazon is having another HD-DVD sale right now, with some titles as low as $14.99! Obviously, with the moot point format war almost at a close now, buying flicks at Best Buy for $30 dollars is outrageous. At least I can see $14.99 being viable as that is what most new DVDs go for these days.

Here are some of the highlights of the sale:
$14.99 – Serenity
$14.99 – Top Gun
$14.99 – Casino
$14.99 – Midnight Run
$14.99 – Spartacus
$14.99 – Mallrats
$14.99 – Payback: Straight Up (Uncut ‘Good’ edition)

I am totally down for some Top Gun and Serenity action right now.

SanDisk Sansa Clip Review

SanDisk has been increasing the variety of it’s Sansa media player line for some time now. At the recent CES, they announced a 4Gb flavor of their Sansa Clip mp3 player. The Clip was designed to compete against the tiny iPod models out there, but at a much less expensive price point.

The Clip features an attached clip which allows it to be very mobile. You can clip it to an armband, pocket, or belt with ease, and it is sturdy enough to hold on even while working out. Controlling the unit is done through a fairly generic 4 way control pad with center button. It does the job just fine and we had no trouble navigating the Clip’s GUI.

SanDisk has provided a lot of value into the model, and this is shown not only in the FM receiver allowing you to tune into your favorite stations (even while on the 11th floor of your CES hotel), but to also act as a voice recorder. This provides a level of usefulness many students will appreciate as how many times have you needed to remind yourself to study a certain chapter or even write down a phone number but not had your notebook handy? Not anymore, just record those digits! In addition to recording sound, the Clip allows you to record from the FM tuner! These extra bits of functionality really tip the scales in SanDisk’s favor when comparing this $79 dollar 4gb unit against Apple’s 4Gb iPod Nano at $149 dollars. Speaking of that comparison, it is important to note that the Clip was not designed to play video and does not do so.

SanDisk seems to not only add alot of functionality into it’s Sansa units, but also tries to give each unit a particular ‘edge’. With the Connect, it was the streaming internet radio through Yahoo LAUNCHcast. With the Clip, it is an association with, the huge online audio book store. Audible is providing a special deal for Clip owners, and the Clip has a special audio book category in it’s menu system.

One small grip isn’t really with the device itself, but in the fact that SanDisk did not include a soft-cloth storage pouch in the box like they did with the View and Connect. They probably assumed they did not need to with the addition of the attached clip, but a person has to store it eventually.

Conclusion: SanDisk’s Sansa Clip mp3 player provides a ton of features including built-in clip, FM tuner, voice/FM recording capability, and audio book specialization to make it one very strong oponent in the ‘tiny’ media player race. Even though it does not play video or come with a soft-cloth storage pouch, it’s $79 dollar price tag more than make up for it. We highly recommend this device for people looking to play music or hear their favorite book on the go.

Razer Krait Gaming Mouse Review

What looks like an ordinary mouse with some flashy lights is far from ordinary. It cranks out 1200 actions per minute with a 1600 dpi optical sensor and glides on Teflon. The buttons are exactly what we’ve come to expect from Razer: hyper-sensitive. The cursor will move perfectly over your screen over most surfaces. This is a great three button mouse, which of course could be seen as a negative.

Packaging: As is typical with Razer products, it comes in a ‘look at me’ type box that opens up to reveal the product inside. The mouse itself looks pretty sleek, almost like some sort of strange deep-sea creature. The box boasts tons of performance increases and that it is optimized for RTS and MMO play. We’ll get to that in a sec.

Design: The mouse itself when plugged in looks neat, but its ergonomics are the same as any other three button mouse on the market. That said, the buttons are shaped such that both the index and middle fingers rest comfortably on them without constantly worrying about ‘Razer error’ (ie. hitting those crazy hyper-sensitive buttons accidentally).

Installation & Software: As is the case with any of Razer’s products, installation was a snap. The drivers loaded up right away and the mouse was recognized instantly. The box notes on the fly sensitivity comes ready to go, but I had to update the drivers in order to get that to work from Razer’s website. The control panel is very similar to other Razer products we’ve reviewed so far – simple and straight to the point.

Performance: As I said earlier, for an entry level mouse, this thing packs quite a punch. The feel resting your hand on it is near perfect, the mouse wheel screams and the middle button is just as sensitive as the two main buttons. The optical sensor picks up beautifully even used ‘naked’ on my wood desk without skipping around. Even slow, methodical pixel removal in graphics programs was great. Pair this mouse (and any Razer mouse) with their new Destructor surface and you’re in a whole new ballgame. I really wish I could leave it at that, because this is a fantastic FPS mouse that could be used with pride at a competition. There are two major problems that could have been easily fixed. First, the marketing of the mouse as a RTS and MMO designed product. Frankly, I find that almost funny. Your average RTS and MMO gamer needs more than three buttons. Personally I use all five all the time when playing WoW. Second, Razer’s on-the-fly-sensitivity which I think was included with this mouse just to add one more thing on the box. I can see that using the same drivers as the other mice makes it easier, but on-the-fly-sensitivity is basically useless on this mouse. Once you set a button up for that function, you loose that button for all other functions. No left click or no right click, you choose. What about the middle button? You try holding down that middle button and rolling the wheel while you’re trying to frag someone. Even without a fourth button, it might be possible to update the driver software to allow a keyboard button to use the on-the-fly-sensitivity, because it can come in handy. Going from sniper mode to mow-down mode could have been just the push of a button.

Conclusion: For the price, this mouse is really amazing. For what it was designed for, it delivers and then some. Just get those marketing people in check, tell everyone it’s really made for FPS and standard computing. Get rid of that on-the-fly-sensitivity or give it to me with more options. Other than the gripes, I’d definitely recommend this for any user that doesn’t need more than the three standard buttons, it’s probably one of the best such mice for its price on the market.

GamingShogun Post-CES WebCast is Up!

GamingShogun at CES

Greetings! We have returned from our long journey to the 2008 CES expo in Las Vegas, Nevada with gifts for our users. In addition to some kick-ass video interviews and showings we are editing up for you as I type this, we also recorded a quick podcast last night after the expo closed. It covers alot of the cool stuff we saw from companies like THX, SanDisk, Razer, TN Games, and more!

You can right-click and ‘save-as’ here (16.7Mb)!