December 2003 Archives
This probably does the opposite of what it's supposed to do.
December 22, 2003 11:56 AM
Ok, when i said there would be no more posts until the new year, I didn't anticipate seeing this specimen of "when bad things happen to good BMW's"...
December 17, 2003 3:26 AM
Lots of work, lots of family and being on-call will keep me from posting anything until the new year. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great holiday. Cya soon.
December 10, 2003 2:40 AM
For some reason, and perhaps it has something to do with the times of day that I have a moment to take picture, I catch sunsets and silhouette pretty often. This one was pretty stark in its transition from a burning weather front to rapidly blackening sky. the image is available in a few different sizes for your desktop picture convenience...
The online video game paradox.
December 9, 2003 4:16 AM
The problem with online multiplayer gaming is the other players.
Internet enabled video games are, in my opinion, WAY more fun and have far more replayability than solo only games. This boosts the value of the game and makes the $49.95 price I paid for Project Gotham Racing 2 and Crimson Skies easier to swallow. Now, being who we are and what we are (competitive boys, but sometimes the ladies get into the mix), the online experience can be highly engaging, compelling and immersive. But this is a double edged sword because of who we are and what we are (again, boys).
Back in the day, online gaming meant gameplay with people you have never met and never heard. Now, with the Xbox communicator, I have to listen to anyone who wants to talk, and often it's a pure stream of epithets, abused english and stories about utterly random existential minutia. The game makers realize this and have started tossing up interstitial screens when logging onto Xbox live stating that the ESRB rating of the game make take a nose dive due to the real live humans out there.
Of course I can mute people, and often do so by going thru multiple menus (a slow and annoying process), or I can just take the headset off, but then I miss out on the benefits of voice communication in the game. Being able say "be at such and such a place on the far side and attack from the left" creates an incredible advantage against a disorganized enemy. Unfortunately, real cooperation is rare in the loosely organized games you find in public arenas, and most often the ESRB warning was right.
December 5, 2003 2:44 AM
So, Space Invaders was kinda cool back in the day (I was more of a Defender and Asteroids kind of guy) but I think this is just dumb
Japanese game machine maker Taito Corp said on Friday it plans to restart sales of "Space Invaders" in the United States, almost 25 years after the game first appeared in video arcades.
Taito aims to sell 10,000 of the stand-alone game machines at 300,000 yen (U.S. $2,772) a unit.
Uh, $2,772? that's a pretty big price to pay for nostalgia and a meagre amount of technology. And besides, Geometry Wars
is way cooler.
I want a console better than the PSX.
December 5, 2003 2:28 AM
The scaling back of the PSX
(as I first learned of at 8bit
) is making the device very un-compelling for me, and confirms my suspicion that I wouldn't but the thing. As mentioned by 8bit, "The device will no longer read CD-R and DVD+RW discs." DVD+RW will be supported, but not all DVD writers can write that format.
I mean, come on, the only reason to cut that support is to ineffectively fight piracy and to annoy people who make their own DVD's (such as myself who has a nice DVD of his daughters first four months of life). The 'no CD-R' part is probably a stab at pirate SVCD's, but that's just a guess. Sony makes the point that they had to cut features to get it out before Xmas, but when you release an anticipated product 10 days before the big day, you aren't going to see the sales thruput you wanted. Chances are that you will undersupply the market place with a rushed/flawed product.
8bit also mentions that "MP3 file playback has been removed but digital music playback is still there using the Sony ATRAC format." The lack of CD-R support and lac of MP3 support begin to make this media device not be a media device. And the facts seem a little fuzzy on the ethernet port being included or cut. No ethernet means, imho, that it's DOA. The huge ass price ($600+) is another non-starter for me, but enough complaining, here's what I want in my next gen game/media/entertainment console (roughly in order of importance).
- Large Software Library
- Sony owns the other consoles when it comes to depth and breadth of their software library, but the Xbox is coming along pretty well, and Nintendo is way behind (but is the only place to get your Mario/Zelda/Yoshi/Viewtiful-Joe fix, and is $99 for the console, so it's a no-brainer). Lots of software means lots of choices and lots of choices means there is going to be something I want/like.
- This one is pretty simple and fundamental... without an internet connection I can't play multiplayer games (split screen is such a bad experience (imho) that it does not qualify for 'enjoyable multiplayer gaming'). My Xbox has network play and my Gamecube does not and I spend more time with my Xbox than my Gamecube by a 2 to 1 margin, and all of that time is spent online (eg, PGR2 and Crimson Skies). Network play is where it's at, and WarpPipe underscores that fact.
- DVD Playback
- Nintendo's decision to use the small DVD format and the small DVD format tray means that I can't put my movies into it and play them. I can do that on my Xbox, which handles wide screen formatted movies nicely (I have a 16x9 HDTV Ready Samsung in my living room), even if it will only play them at 480p (720p would be suhweet).
- HDTV support
- Optimally, a pure digital interface from console to TV would be cool, but component video (as it stands currently with the Gamecube and Xbox) is already working well and doesn't cost a ton to add into a system (where digital outputs are kind of costly). More importantly though, I want my next console to support playing back DVD's in 720p and for the games I buy to play in 720p with support for 16x9 display. that would require a somewhat beefy main processor and graphics subsystem.
- Web Browsing
- Yes, that's right, I said it... I wanna surf on my TV. Seriously, sometimes I feel the need to use my TV to find some info about something. Usually it's a transient interest, or my wife has the laptop and I'm stuck without a web browser, and browsing on the TV would be good enough. If I had my 720p display going on my ethernet/internet enabled device, the web browsing wouldn't as horrible as it is on such devices as WebTV. I'm sure folks like MSFT would love to sell a shrink wrapped package that has a mini operating system on it with some basic internet functionality (web, email, etc). And that brings up another desired feature, a keyboard which would best be implemented using Bluetooth. If MSFT did the shrink wrapped app disk idea, it would likely be polluted by their own applications and Passport requirements. But, that could be worked around by the next item...
- Publically Available SDKs
- If anyone could develop software for this device, then I might be able to things like read RSS feeds on this device, or chat with people, or play music thru a custom interface. If the only software that can be run is software approved by MSFT and written by people who paid a fee to do so, then the scope of the software I can run, and the scope of what my investment can do for me, is limited/diminished. I realize however that globally dominate media corporations want to control every aspect of media consumption and don't want me to engage in fair use of the things I buy (or permanently rent thru licenses), so this is a total pipe dream.
- Digital Video Recording (and a big fat hard drive)
- Two hard drive bays, one or both of them customer serviceable, and DVR capabilities would allow me to cut my list of devices down by one (I love you Tivo, but you are a space hog) and boost the amount of recording time available to me as the prices of hard drives decline. The scheduling interface could be done thru the aforementioned browser and the recording would support the aforementioned high definition format.
- Backwards Compatibility
- By now you should be picking up on the fact that I'm making an Xbox 2 wish list, and that I'm dream land (or is that "la la land"?). I have invested my money in several games for my Xbox and I don't want to lose out on that investment. I tend to play the games I buy for a long time (I played Tribes2 for 2 years) and would want to keep that going on the next system. Backwards compatibility really should be that hard, but I imagine the other features I'm asking for are not going to come from MSFT.
- DVD Recording
- Now, I'm really dreaming, but it would be really nice to record all of these Futurama episodes from my Tivo onto DVD's to keep them from eating up valuable space. Right now, I have 31 episodes of Futurama on my Tivo, none of which are available on store buyable DVDs (which I bought, and used as a guide to which episodes I could delete from my Tivo). I'm sure the MPAA would fight a cheap widely available digital recorder due to the afore mentioned desire to own/control all aspects of the media I consume.
Triple Spam Filtering doesn't work.
- Internet Voice Chat
- My Xbox already has this, so I'm really just adding it in here as a footnote. With Xbox Live, I can chat with other Xbox Live subscribers while inside of the game, or even outside of any games at the main Xbox interface. That's pretty cool, and the quality is on par with my land line phone. If I got my mom this wonderful media machine, I could talk with her and bypass the ass rapingly high long distance charges.
December 2, 2003 4:42 AM
This post is the virtual version of me whining about something. Disregard as you see fit.
Anyway, this site is hosted at Pair.com, who have been a great host for the 2+ years I have been here, and one of the great things I can do is run my own CGI's and other apps on the host (assuming I don't do bad things like gobble up ton's of processing cycles). One of the things I do is run my email thru SpamAssasin (which can be a processor gobbler) when I connect with my mail client (ie, Apple's Mail.app client).
In Mail.app I have spam filtering turned on, and I have a static "rule" set up that catches spam as well. In spite of this triple filtering, about 20 messages a day, that I consider spam, are getting thru, and almost all of them are for drugs (ie, drugs that either stiffen certain things or make other stuff less aware of it's surroundings).
I think one of the things I don't like about the spam I get is how insulting it can be.
My Flash app: Part 2
December 1, 2003 3:09 AM
This is the first beta of my 'Learning Flash ActionScripting' project. As mentioned before, the purpose is to learn how Flash can be used from thru programmatic interfaces to make applications and do bare minimum work on the Flash stage. In particular this project uses the XML() object, event listeners and employs built-in components. The subject of the application is Edgar Lee Masters collection of poems titled "Spoon River Anthology" first published in 1916.