Monthly Archives: January 2012

Nostalgia abounds

A long drought of updates, I know. There are many things going on in life!

Today I was inspired to change my desktop to Windows Classic in Vista. I tried to make it as Win98 as possible:

This image is evoking memories of the moments I first used a PC, a Gateway machine. The monitor’s model number (EV700) is ingrained into my mind to this day.

I remember the moment I opened the computer’s packaging vividly: the bus had dropped me off at my neighborhood and I was walking home. I turned the corner onto Erie Circle and discovered that my uncle’s Mitsubishi was parked in front of my house. At this point in my life (I was 14 I think) I had little experience with computers and nearly all information I gathered about them came from my uncle Marc. I immediately made the connection that his presence MUST concern technology and sprinted. I jumped my mom’s Taurus, leaped the stairs, grasped the side door knob, took a deep breath and slowly opened the way into the kitchen. Piled in the living room across from me were three giant boxes: one for a monitor, another for the Gateway tower, and a final container for a shiny new Epson printer. My uncle had been waiting – he was about to open everything for me.

I demanded he stop and pleaded with my parents to allow me to open the computer. They both were and remain to be computer-phobes, and delighted in the fact that someone else would be setting up their new toy.

The first thing I noticed after opening the tower was a giant poster with tons of color codes, which I would later learn represented standard peripheral connections: purple for the P/S mouse and green for the P/S keyboard. The serial port connected the printer, and we later needed to buy a serial port switch for a webcam. A serial switch! Oh man.

Once everything was set up, the first thing I did was set the theme to Windows 98 Outer Space. The metallic clinks and snaps sounded as I pressed “Start”, hovering over “Programs” and panged when I clicked Microsoft Works. The first day of the rest of my life began.

We had a 1st generation DVD player in that machine. I’m sure the reason why my mom and dad added it was on my uncle’s suggestion, because after my brother and I had our first moments with the machine he popped in the DVD of Lost in Space. I remember the Boston Acoustics sound system boomed when we started playback and that the picture was crisp and clear. The DVD menu lit up and animated and I distinctly remember being wowed by the hyperspace jump animation when selecting a menu item. My parents began wondering if they made the right decision to buy a computer at this point.

Whether it was the right one or not, my brother and I used the shit out of that Gateway. Our first experiences with Newgrounds were on that machine. The first time I played FreeSpace 2 was on that machine. The first time I ever used an Arnold Schwarzenegger sound board was on that machine. The first Anime downloaded from Kazaa, the first music burned into iTunes, the first edited video – everything was on that computer. It was even the subject of my first hardware upgrade: going from an integrated ATI Rage 128 to a 3DFx VooDoo 3 3000 PCI card. 16MB of VRAM made such a huge difference in Star Trek: Klingon Academy and Diablo II. Oh, don’t even get me started on Blizzard – that company owned my life and those of my friends for nearly five years on Battle.net.

Those first few years owning a computer were awesome. I can’t wait for the day I can geek out with my own kids and share in their first experiences. And those will probably involve chips in our brains.

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Blizzard debunked the Feb 1st release date

Kotaku updated today on the Diablo III release date. Micah Whipple (Bashiok), Diablo III community manager, was quoted saying in a tweet:

Diablo III does not have a release date. Any store or person claiming otherwise is guessing.”

=[

Silly Best Buy.

Another clever controller, this time from iCade

Now this is neat: iCade, the folks who brought us the beautiful arcade stand for iPad, have now made a PSP-esque bluetooth controller for iPhone and iPod touch. Engadget just posted about it this morning. Here’s the video:

A rubber case so it doesn’t fall. Clever!

Looks to have slightly more support than 60Beat’s device. I know that controller will win hearts, though.

CES 2012 is here and apparently people are bored

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CES 2012 started this weekend, and already people are saying nothing is standing out as “the next big thing”. There are plenty of newer, slimmer, faster versions of all the tech we love to use, but nothing unique. Yet.

It also doesn’t help that Microsoft is delivering its last keynote address this year. Apparently it’s not going to be worth our time- they plan to “wrap up” their presence at CES with discussions on the impacts of Windows Phone and XBox instead of brand new software or initiatives.

It makes me sad to see Microsoft exiting like this, because following CES is fun (though people in the business think otherwise at times). I am genuinely excited to see what Microsoft does with Windows 8, it’s tablets and its phone OS. They’ve managed to make some compelling experiences on those platforms and it would be great to see more about them.

Maybe Microsoft is following Apple’s lead- hosting their own future events and such. It’s certainly worked out for Apple so far.

If this is true, say goodbye to my social life next month

Joystiq posted a photo of a Diablo III poster saying the game will have a midnight release on February 1st. This is either Best Buy jumping an elephant gun, or Blizzard really is setting its sights for a late-winter release. Kotaku readers seem to think it’s a photoshop job, though Joystiq said they contacted the specific Best Buy location in Minnesota and confirmed the sign is actually there.

Anyone else hoping for the third coming of satan?

Another SOPA rant. Also, sod off Newt Gingrich

I’ve been talking more about SOPA at work. Politics doesn’t usually belong there, but every time someone mentions the election primaries the ONLY thing I can think about is that damned piece of legislation trying to subdue a technology it can’t control. It got me thinking about some past lives I’ve lead.

Back when I was becoming a competent, nerdy teenager (around 2001), rampant file sharing was afoot. I was on the bandwagon for a long time, using the usual apps like KaZaa and Napster. I’d download a J-Pop album here, a Star Wars Episode II clip there, and I was happy. I was a rebel, knowing full well the danger. Clearly, I was a silly teen with no forethought to my future if caught. Through high school I slowly grew out of that phase, but college was right around the corner and I was about to have zero cash. “To Torrent or not to Torrent” was a question I leveled at myself quite often. One day I visited a friend at their dorm and noticed her computer had a red glow on the wall. I asked what the hell it was, and sure enough it was Netflix – a company barely anyone heard about but served up some seriously convenient entertainment. Hundreds of movies at my beck and call – with no need to wait for a file to finish downloading to watch my shows. I was hooked.

I found that Netflix (and subsequently Hulu, among others) provided me the right access which bested the pirate life I had before it.

This was a fantastic point that Nelay from The Verge made on TWiT just a few weeks ago. When print media was the primary way for content producers to get their work out to consumers, it was fairly easy to investigate illegitimate copy production: you confiscate the copying machine and you’re done. Business saved! Today, everyone has a copying machine. The keyboard command Control-D (or Command-D for you Macfolk) and all the steps in file sharing that follow. Business lost!

Not really.

The challenge that poses itself to content producers today is not copy-protection, it’s access! This is why Netflix comes to mind as a prime example of this realization. When I ask myself the last time I popped in a DVD was, I can’t remember. When was the last time I bought I CD? Never; I’ve got iTunes. I consume nearly all of my entertainment online through Netflix and other streaming services, and it is good.

That’s my story for the day, children.

Also, to Mr. Newt Gingrich: STOP EMAILING ME. I DID NOT GIVE YOU MY EMAIL ADDRESS.

More space-theme stuff

I just bought Universe Sandbox on Steam. For $2.49! I don’t even know what the game does, but damn that price was too good to pass up for the potential to clash big galaxies together.

Now that the holidays are over I shall return to gaming. I’ve got a few titles on my list – Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and a few iOS games. But Skyrim is still sucking away my time. We’ll see how much of this I’ll get to.

For now I’ll try out Universe Sandbox since it just finished installing.

 

UPDATE:

Universe Sandbox is hard. Think I’ll play Skyrim now. Woah.

Great Piece on the Internet and its effects on our concepts of knowledge, wisdom and the synergy of “networked facts”

I came across an article by Thomas Rogers at Salon while browsing my Flipboard feed. It’s a fascinating interview with David Weinberger and his thoughts on how we work with knowledge in the midst of a digital revolution.

I particularly like Weinberger’s analogy comparing how we filter information today with how it’s previously been filtered. Historically we’ve filtered out all the information we value and find meaningful. We made it accessible to very few people – ‘experts’ as Weinberger details – and in forms that are difficult to break in to.

Today we filter information forward. The Internet enables the recording and processing of many, many facts and opinions at once. Instead of a select few individuals processing and curating a catalogue of relevant opinions or facts into books, journals or magazines that might never see public attention, we instead sift through and find the best of what the community has to offer. The remainders never go away and allow us to filter them in our own, unique ways.

There’s so much more in the article. Read it – it’ll get you appreciating the wonderful little future we’ve made for ourselves.

“Are we on information overload?” by Thomas Rogers, at Salon.com

Android 4.0 Impressions from someone who barely knows anything about Android

I stopped by the Verizon store on my way home from work today. As I walked in I was sad to inform the staff that I was a member of their arch-nemesis AT&T.

After the burning-at-the-stake rhetoric was complete, I asked about their Android devices. Continue reading

The next evolution of iPad mobile gaming

A few days ago I posted on Facebook about the 60Beat iOS Gamepad. I lauded its utility and hoped game developers would adopt it for current and future mobile games.

Gizmodo and Techcrunch have now reported about it and have the same sentiments.

Please let this be part of the future for hardcore mobile gaming!

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