Now I Know: Aces High

From today’s edition of the Now I Know newsletter, this bit of interesting stuff:

In ordinal rank, the ace in a deck of playing cards is lower than the two — it’s the one, after all. But in most card games, the ace plays as the high card, trumping the King. Why? According to Wikipedia, this use became popular after the French Revolution, with the ace symbolizing the rise of the commoner over the monarchy.

Interesting Date Tracking There, Microsoft

My son was trying to clean up some space on his computer last night, so he was deleting massive amounts of crap. I encouraged him to uninstall anything that he hadn’t used in the last couple of months, but that might be difficult based on the estimates Windows gives of last-use. Check out when the last time Windows thinks he played Halo


w00t! Latest Wii System Update Addresses Storage Issues

I complained before about the abysmal storage situation on our Wii. Well, our troubles are lessened, if not necessarily over. On March 25, Nintendo released the latest version of the Wii OS. I only got it three days ago, because our Wii has been acting up, hardware-wise, and I’ve had it turned off. IGN has the full skinny on the update.

Basically, it makes much better use of your SD card, allowing you to keep things on the SD card, and automatically swapping them to the system memory when you need them. I bought two SD cards Monday night, and have moved all our lesser-used channels we want to keep to one card, and setup the other as my Rock Band 2 downloadable content card. I now have nearly 900 free “blocks” on the internal storage, which should mean I won’t run out when downloading RB2 songs again.

For those of you who saw my tweets about losing all my Rock Band 2 data, here’s the full story. A couple of weeks ago, I was buying songs from the RB2 store when I ran out of space on the internal storage. I figured I’d just try again later, so I went to play a song. After playing a song, the game complained that it couldn’t save my progress. I exited the game and restarted, only to be asked if I wanted to create a new save file (uh oh). I said “no” and it said that since I didn’t create a new file, my progress couldn’t be saved. I exited and restarted, this time saying “yes” to create the file. Of course, it created a new one, and all my data was lost. Actually, it was already lost, but this was the final nail in the coffin. I’ve reconnected the new save file to my online account, but all of my character and band data are gone forever. That really sucks, because I’d unlocked tons of songs, cities and venues. Now I have to start over from scratch. 😦 At least with the new OS upgrade, I shouldn’t lose my data again because of space issues.

As for the hardware issues I mentioned, the disc drive has been getting extremely noisy and, lately, flaky. Basically, the drive makes lots of noise and sometimes stops spinning altogether. Once it stops spinning, the game chokes and dies and you have to reboot. Based on some things I’ve read on the web, booting the Wii without a disc in the drive helps, and that’s what I’m seeing, too. I really don’t want to have to buy a new Wii, but we may have to before long.

Dear Nintendo: A Wii Storage Solution, Please!

We have a Wii. We’ve had it pretty much since they hit the market. We love it, yes Wii do. Except for one thing: the unbelievably small amount of internal storage the thing has. It only has 512M of storage that is used for game save data. For people who don’t have a lot of games, that’s probably plenty. It was plenty for us, too, until we started buying lots of games and downloading games from the Shop Channel. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve wanted to download something new from the Shop Channel, only to be told we don’t have enough free space. Some of the games, especially the old console games, are tiny. Most take up only a single “block.” But some, like the episodes of Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People, and the save file for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, are huge. As in hundreds of blocks, huge.

So, what can we do? Well, there’s an SD slot on the front, and we have a 2G SD card in there. But that’s considered completely separate from the internal storage, and none of the games that we have can run with their data file on the SD card. On a few occasions we’ve moved things temporarily to the SD card to free up space on the internal storage, but if we ever want to play that game again, we have to shuffle files around again. Guitar Hero World Tour will, apparently, let you keep downloaded songs on an SD card, but the kicker is that you can only download them to the internal storage and then copy them. But when you already don’t have enough space on the internal storage, you’re still screwed. And last night when I fired up Rock Band 2 for the first time, it told me that it could store “extras” and such on the SD card, and was that OK? I said it was, and it then told me that I didn’t have enough free space to install the bits that would allow me to keep stuff on the SD card. Grrrrr.

There are two USB ports on the back of our Wii. I have an external drive that’s something like 150G that I’m not using for anything. It’s not even plugged in. If Nintendo would allow it, I could plug that into the Wii, and our storage problems would be solved. But they don’t allow that. Well, it’s not that they disallow it, it’s just that plugging the drive in won’t do anything. They have to patch the OS to make it look in other places for data files. And they can do that; they’ve just chosen to ignore the pleas of their users. Much the way Apple has turned a deaf ear to our demands for cut & paste on the iPhone, Nintendo has gone far too long without giving us a reasonable storage solution. My cynical friend is convinced that the solution will be to buy a new “Nintendo Wii Version 2, Now With More Internal Storage!” I sure hope he’s wrong.

Come on, Nintendo, give us a workable storage solution. Soon!