Month: December 2008

Be Wary of LiveUniverse

As you may (or may not) know, LiveUniverse is a company that provides the ability for website owners (ie; me) to put ads on their site, and make money from it.   Rather than going out and trying to sell ads yourself, LiveUniverse sells them for you, and pays you when you put them on your site. Simple, right?

Not so simple.

In August of 2007, I was contacted by Rob Ellis, who was a “VP” at Peerflix Media.   He promised that we’d make money with our website MovieSnobs, and all we had to do was put an ad on the site, and they’d pay us a monthly fee.   Seems easy, right?

Well, we signed the deal, got our bonus check and things were perfect.   Until LiveUniverse bought Peerflix Media in August of 2008.   (“Publishers” were not notified ahead of time, we were just sent an email letting us know it happened.   I got mine August 11th, 2008.)

Our account manager (if you can even call her that) assured us that our relationship would continue, and we’d be paid the same amount.   She was unsure if there’d be a delay in payment for July or not, but would let me know.

I e-mailed her once every three weeks until November 3rd, when her e-mail no longer accepted incoming mail. (Along with any other @peerflix addresses.)   I tried calling Rob Ellis, the “VP”.   His phone number was disconnected.

I shut down the Peerflix ads on October 31st.   I ran them in July, August, September, and October, and LiveUniverse owes me for those four months.

No one from Peerflix or LiveUniverse has responded to a single message I’ve sent about this.   Another publisher had luck getting the moneys he was owed, by putting up an anti-LiveUniverse website.   It seems the only way to get any attention, is to make net-waves.   So, LiveUniverse, you twisted my arm.   I’ll be sure to spread the word about what a horrible company you are to everyone I know.

If I had the money to start a class action suit against you guys, you bet your asses I would.   But I’m Mr. Lowely Blog owner, and you’re Mr. Big Corporation.   No doubt who’ll win that monetary battle.   I assure you though, I’m not going to give up until I’m paid every cent I’m owed.   And if you think you can bully me to stop telling people that your company sucks… good luck.

To sum up, if you’re a blog owner, stay away from LiveUniverse.   They’ll inevitably screw you in the end.   Just Google it, there’s hundreds (if not thousands) of us former Peerflix folks that got screwed out of money.

I ask one last time: Peerflix/LiveUniverse; pay me my God Damned money.

Another Fire At Mom’s

Those that have known me for years recall the not-so-great fire of 1996 at my mom’s.   Home alone, in a blizzard, I took a shower after a long day at school.   After the shower, I found the house full of smoke. So I did what any normal 16 year old would: I opened windows to let smoke out, assuming it was due to the fire in the wood burning stove I’d had earlier.

When I went upstairs, the smoke was much thicker, and I was eventually hit in the face by flames, when I opened the door to my sister’s room.

Eyebrows burnet away, shoeless, and shirtless, I ran back downstairs and made a call.   To mom, at work. She told me to call the fire department, which should have been my first reaction, but I panicked.   Once I got outside, the neighbors began to gather, and watch, as the top floor of our house burnt to a crisp.   Not fun times.

This past Saturday, around 3:30, my mom called me to tell me that her house was on fire again.   Christine and I jumped in the car, and started rushing over there, while Mom was still on her way home from work.

When we got there, we didn’t see a lot of smoke, of flames.   Everything seemed okay, aside from the four cop cars, and three fire engines.

Come to find out, there was an electrical fire that started in the wall, behind her wood burning stove.   The firemen had to pull down most of the ceiling in her living room, and floor and walls in her bedroom upstairs.

When all was said and done, her entire living room and bedroom are going to need to be redone.   Everything’s a mess, and stinks like fire.   It’ll be a while before she can live in the house again, she her and Walter are staying with us for the time being.   I put up some images at Christine and my site (link here) of the damage and whatnot.

RockBand 2 Mad Catz Cymbals Review

Update 12/16/2008: UPS just dropped a package from Mad Catz.   They didn’t fix my broken cymbal, they sent me an entirely new package, cymbal, mounting hardware and all.

No note included saying what was wrong, or anything, just a new cymbal.   It looks like it’s been handled, which probably means that someone tested it out to make sure it worked right, before they sent it to me (or that it’s a refurbished.)

I tried it out, and all seems well.   Kudos to Mad Catz for the excellent customer service.   Their site says 4 to 6 weeks, and it only took 12 days from drop off, to return.   I’m psyched.

Update: After playing for an hour or so this afternoon, it’s evident that one of my cymbals is defective.   It’s sometimes registering two hits, instead of one.   I called Mad Catz, and the guy I got was super friendly, extremely understanding, and set me up with an RMA.   He said the website suggested 4-6 weeks, but realistically, it’s more like 2 to 3.   I’ll update again when I get the new cymbal to see if it’s working properly.   I’m glad I didn’t just try returning it to Amazon to get another, they appear to be completely sold out everywhere I’ve checked today.   Glad I pre-ordered mine 3 months ago.

My Cymbals finally arrived last night, and I was psyched to get them.   Ever since they were announced, I’ve been excited about them.   The way I assumed they worked, was actually different than how they do work.   More on that later.

First, some images, to show how freaking cool they look:

The whole kitHi-Hat CymbalRide Cymbal

The cymbals certainly give the drums the look of a real drumkit (okay, at least a real electronic drumkit,) but how do they play?

They take some getting used to, that’s for sure.   I just got them last night, so I’m still in the adjusting phase. But right from the get go, my wife said “You look like you’re having more fun.”   Which I totally was.   It felt like I was playing more realistically than I had without the cymbals.

When I first bought the cymbals, I assumed that they would just act as extenders of their respective colors.   So when you’d hit the blue, it made whatever sound the blue one should at that specific point in time. As Rock Banders know, the drums pretty much all double as cymbals or drums, depending on the part of the song.   I was pleasantly surprised that the new cymbal pads are dedicated as cymbals.   So, if you hit the “ride” cymbal, it makes the ride cymbal no matter what.   Same for the hi-hat, and crash cymbals.

It may throw your brain off, when you hit the cymbal when it’s a tom-tom in the game, and you hear the wrong sound, but it won’t break your streak, or count against your overall score.   As long as you hit the right color, the sound that the game makes doesn’t matter.

My favorite thing about the other game, you know, that one I returned already, was that there were dedicated cymbal pads with their drumkit.   The Rock Band 2 drumkit, with the add-on cymbal pack (a measly $29.99) is 100% totally, absolutely better than GHWT’s, hands down.

The game is more fun when playing drums, with the cymbals.   It’s more realistic, and more creative.   I especially dig that during the “Overdrive fills”, you can be a lot more musical with the drums, with dedicated toms/cymbals.   If you’re a die hard drummer for a Rock Band band, you absolutely need to spend the $29.99 to get these cymbals, pronto.