Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On Reliability.

It occurred to me the other day that in 12,700 rounds or so, my P226 has only choked either when I fucked up and didn't crimp my reloads, or when a part broke (extractor, firing pin). No limp-wrist failures, nothing.

I'm so spoiled sometimes. (Perhaps it's karma for shooting 2,000 rounds through a Norinco 213...)

On Netflix Instant Queue.

I was moved to get an XBox Live account by the promise of Netflix movies on demand. Yes, I had a perfectly good computer, but running stuff in a tabbed browser is horrible when you get an itching desire to fact-check exactly what flavor of Kalashnikov that mook is carrying. So I tried Netflix on XBox.

If you like sub-YouTube postage-stamp resolution, frequent interruptions, and a lack of audio options (because some anime dubs are just that bad), Netflix on XBox is the bomb diggety shiznit. (If I had a better internet connection, my opinion may well differ.)

In a moment of curiousity, I tried the browser-bound version, and suddenly this whole 'movies on demand' concept started to show promise. I suspect the main issue is that the XBox flavor doesn't store anything on the hard drive, whereas the PC version runs almost like YouTube or Quicktime - downloading the movie in the background, and holding it there in your temporary internet files while you watch it. Therefore, connection speed is no particular liability. (For values of connection that qualify as 'broadband.' I'm not sure anyone is masochistic enough to actually dial up these days.) Wow. Almost-DVD quality, right there. That's how it's supposed to work.

At least I can use my Gold account to kill people in other time zones from the comfort of my desk.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Random Firearms Trivia.

From the There-Are-No-New-Ideas department, I discover that the fine folks at Ashley Express (now XS Sights - 73.6% more eXtreme!) lifted the idea for their Express pistol sights from old English Elephant-In-Tall-Grass handcannons. It makes a lot of sense, really - I don't imagine it takes a lot of precision to crack an elephant's brain case at fifteen paces, just suicidal unshakeable nerve. (Of course, as Jeff Cooper pointed out in his Commentaries, absolute confidence in one's marksmanship produces iron nerve, so in a way the ability to deliver precision indirectly contributes to the resolution of a situation where precision isn't required. But I digress.)

Bruce Gray recommends - wait for it - dry-fire with your eyes closed. After two months of doing so for fifteen minutes a day, I can safely say that that method will help work out perplexing shooting issues. Not watching the sights forces you to feel your way through a perfect smooth trigger stroke. Open your eyes afterward, and chances are the sights are pointing to where your off-center group usually goes. For me it's up - I seem to be heeling the crap out of the gun, especially strong hand/weak hand. Consciously focusing on the trigger finger and where I put pressure on the grip seems to have rubbed that problem out.

It turns out that one of the features of the Mosin-Nagant rifle is a magazine interrupter - the top round in the magazine is not under tension, and can move around enough to prevent rim lock. File that in the Things-I-Never-Thought-Would-Be-An-Issue-Until-Someone-Fixed-Them department.

Friday, December 4, 2009

On Flickr.

I'm sure you folks out there value your free time. So don't check out Telstar Logistics' photostream. Especially not Modern Military Ruins of San Francisco. Really. Bad idea.

In fact, just skip Flickr entirely. Nothing good can come of it.

And forget this blog post, too. Never happened. Fnord.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Modern Warfare 2.

Much ink has already been spilled on the biggest entertainment launch evar, and most of what I'd write is probably redundant. However, playing through 3/4s of the campaign (the game is currently living with a friend, what with my alabaster monolith off at Microsoft) netted a few interesting details.
  • Since Bushmaster has adopted a very videogame-like release schedule for the ACR ("When it's done"), MW2 offers about the closest anyone is likely to get to said rifle for a while. Or ever, given that the giggle switch is fully operational in this case.
  • Beyond the usual tacticool polymer goodies, the game includes some fun stuff like the Winchester 1887 (Terminatorized). In fact, the shotgun selection is the most varied and interesting in the game - no two handle the same, but all are useful. Finally a game seems to get shotguns. (Mostly - the SPAS12 is used in pump, and comes off the shoulder for each dramatic rack, but old habits die hard, I guess.)
  • Tom Clancy's in-game-radar applied phlebotinum gadget, the heartbeat sensor, is alive and well, and looks comfortingly like a motion tracker. (Now is this a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug-hunt? Closer to the former.)
  • At the beginning of the Brazil unit, there's a shout-out to a particular Michael Mann movie, or rather a particular scene that's quite popular with gunnies. I was giggling like a schoolgirl, which confused the hell out of the guy I was playing with, who hadn't seen said movie. (For shame!)
  • Wolverines! I rest my case.
  • Extrinsic rewards in multiplayer have finally broached the absurd in MW2 multiplayer. Consider - 30+ unlockable weapons; each with 8 attachments (each requiring a specific challenge to unlock, usually kill X number of people with prerequisite gadget A). You can expect to unlock something or other every time you play, since the game rains XP down on you regardless of performance. Whatever else the game may be, it takes "RPG elements" a bit too seriously - levelling up perks? Catchup perks? The good side is that there's enough variety for five FPS games. The various killstreak bonuses are varied and interesting. Nothing like a Hellfire missile to take out that pesky sniper. Or a tactical nuke...
  • Akimbo? Akimbo Winchester 1887s? This presumably isn't John Woo's Modern Warfare 2, unless the doves are very artfully hidden.
Other than a few minor nitpicks, MW2 is top-tier gorgeous, rarely so much as bobbles in the framerate department, controls like a dream, and presents a near-perfect difficulty curve (for me, on hardened). If you want the current apotheosis of the realistic-style FPS, look no further. If I didn't receive it as an early birthday gift, it'd be money well spent.