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Showing posts from May, 2004

"the web in your palm"

I mentioned Plucker in an earlier post, but want to throw it out here again. I really like this tool, which allows me to easily and automagically strip webpages in their current incarnation, reformat them for viewing on my Palm, and then view them there, easily. My T3 is BlueTooth enabled, but not wi-fi, so being able to keep up with my favorite sites sans connection is very nice. To topi it all off, it's available in Windows, Linux, and OS X flavors.

daibijin

New for Playstation 2: "Daibijin" (GIANT BEAUTIFUL PERSON) Play as the Japanese Self Defense Force as they battle against a giant, bikini-clad woman who is trying to destroy Okinawa. (via waxy)

anime vehicle

Sign of the Apocamon, #00583: An anime series featuring t.A.T.u. Yes, them. The Russian pop-tart band... thing. It doesn't make sense, because I thought the whole nation of Japan was fed up with them after the last couple t.A.T.u. fiascos, when they were snotty and ran away from their concert and TV engagements (because they're really big stars, and shouldn't have to share the stage with anyone, even during show intros). (this, via fark)

the "it's not our fault" retraction

The New York Times- From the Editors: The Times and Iraq: "Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves."

royalties: a modest proposal

"While game reviews often have an effect on a publisher's bottom line, that effect has never been quantifiable. However, now, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment has begun directly tying royalty payments from licensees to ratings from game-review sites." Warner Bros. to peg license royalties to game reviews (GameSpot)(gamesindustry.biz)On the surface, this would seem to be an excellent idea to prevent some really horrible games. On the other hand, there are so many cases where the game development studio can be railroaded into making a game that is less-than stellar, it boggles the mind. It's telling that the primary offender and commentator that articles have pointed at is Atari, and their Enter the Matrix game. The trouble is not so much that Shiny is not capable of making a good game, but that the prospect of launching an all-platforms game simultaneously with a movie's premiere, while containing live-action content from the movie is, under current game …

igda white paper

According to this IGDA - Quality of Life White Paper, game developers are suffering from a low quality of life, and a related GIG News article relating to it.Here's a bonus idea from our GDC roundtables. A TV network never sends a series into full-scale production until they have written a sample script and a "series bible", shot a pilot episode or two, and reviewed the concept in detail more than once. Movies go through a similar process, with pre-production routinely lasting years. Why don't we sign prototyping contracts more often?

After all, a publisher can fund fifty $100,000 design-prototype-and-find-out-what-really-works-for-the-player deals for the price of a single AAA game that fails in the marketplace. One of the main reasons why projects slip and fail is that we go into production without having a clue what feature will make the game fun. By funding more experimentation early on, without tying it to a full-scale production budget, not only would we experi…

various.1.1

Using my blog as a bookmark file again:
Pic: The whole "Spanky" thing probably should have been a tip-off.
The Day My Mother's Head Exploded.
Baby Art: Trevor Jones (I think this was on Scattershot a month or two ago, but it bears repeating for sheer ero-creep-out)
Pan-o-ramas of Fut-u-rama (via the ever-more-luscious Waxy)

the modern age of information distribution

Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 may bedistributed via BitTorrent; this is the first instance I'm aware of where an artist has chosen to release their entirely original work over this P2P format.

Did anyone else know that the Shrub is outsourcing his campaign calls as well? Seems like a typically un-local-business, pro-profit, utterly right-wing republican way to deal with things. Of course, Kerry could just as well be doing it too.

otaku: ba-re ba-re

Picture this: I'm in E3's Intel-sponsored Wireless Lounge on my AirPort equipped iBook, checking my home and work mail for the first time in three days. I was beginning to go through email withdrawal. As I sit on a small couch around a low table, alongside a number of people using the freely available laptops to check their mail, I foolishly click a link in one mail, causing a wave of techno sound and trekkie-geekness to issue out of my tinny, built-in speakers. (thanks, kristen)

gunkanjima

"Much like a fortress built upon the sea, surrounded by high walls, the island possessed an air of a small kingdom, where its denizens boasted 'There is nothing we don't have here.' They were right. They did have everything within their miniature kingdom - except a cemetery. But the irony of it was proven by the passage of time. Already, the island had been doomed to turn into an enormous graveyard."

virtual advertisements

This reminds me of the scene in Virtual Light:He said he couldn't tell the difference anymore between the 'programs' and the 'commercials,' whatever that meant.I was checking to see how my Atom feed (site syndication feed) looks in Kinja, when I noted Nike's new series of advertisements short films. Are these on the air in the US, or is this like the American Express "Adventures of Jerry Seinfeld and Superman," where the entire presence of the campaign is web-based? If this reaches a significant enough market, no wonder radio and broadcast TV stations are soiling themselves over the future of advertising...

reviews of international in-flight movies

JAL offers a personal entertainment screen with a bunch of crap games and a number of movies and TV shows for the long flight across the Pacific. It's about 10 hours from Japan to the US, and 11 hours returning. I don't sleep on airplanes at all, so I watched a lot of movies. ANA plays one set of movies going east, and a different set going west; JAL doesn't. I forgot this tiny fact, which means I watched most of the movies during the most tolerably short leg of the journey. (Note: All "title links" go to the IMDB listing)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World: Yeah, you know, I actually want to enjoy this movie when I eventually see it, so I didn't watch it on a 5-inch LED screen with poor contrast. It's in theaters now in Japan, so I'll check it there.

Something's Gotta Give: Better than I would have expected; plenty of witty dialog, not too many implausible situations, and reasonably thought provoking. Keanu almost holds his own again…

pachinko?

"The Japanese software market has entered into a traditionally quiet period after the Golden Week national holidays at the beginning of May, with the top ranked title being a Pachinko game which sold only 81,000 units. (...) In hardware terms, the PlayStation 2 continues to dominate with over 52 per cent market share, leading from the Game Boy Advance which had just under 39 per cent, and the GameCube with just under 8 per cent."(via gamesindustry.biz)

big in japan

As of 18:00 last night I'm back in Japan; as of 10:00 today I'm back in the office. As with every trip home, I'm struck by the differences between Japan and the USA. There are a number of things I want to write about, but I've not got time to go in depth, so I'll start with a list of things I didn't do in Los Angeles
Drink coffee at a Peet's CoffeeEat breakfast or lunch at Kokomo in the Farmer's MarketEat a Krispy Kreme DonutVisit a comic storeVisit a new bookstoreDrink enough good, inexpensive, Californian wineVisit a strip clubSee several friends I still missHave a bad time in Los Angeles
The last is easily the most stunning revelation for me of anything else. Most LA-aware readers are probably prediciting it would have been the Krispy Kreme, but no. I actually enjoyed being in Los Angeles. Sure, it's not hard to accidentally fall into a Krispy Kreme store in Los Angeles; they've grown to be nearly as ubiquitous as Japan's Mr. Donuts (and a…

huh? what's that thing in the feed?

I just noticed a "PC lessons" post in the My.Bicycle RSS feed. I can't picture Blogger/Google sticking unrelated stuff into their automatic site feed, so I think it's resident in the Atom2RSS conversion that is run through an outside service.

Hopefully most of you are using Atom-friendly aggregators, and have no idea to what I'm referring.

More news about E3, Los Angles, Japanese vs. American culture, etc. in a week or so.

with regard to torture

Mr. Bush claims that, "That's not the way we do things in America," and "They must also understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know." Well, of course not. It's not America at all. It's Iraq; even vague familiarity with a map will preclude such a misunderstanding. I wonder what America he does know, though. He further says that those who inflicted the abuse, "do not reflect the nature of men and women we sent overseas" -- I don't see how this can be true. They're there. You sent them there. They apparently have all this in their nature.

It dawned on me that I'm an elitist bastard. As a life-long Left-Coaster, it's really easy to simply dismiss backwater hicks, and what appears to be the commonality of the American South until they start showing up in the news as executors of our foreign policy. The sad truth is that generally Americans are poorly educated about tolerance and acceptan…

communication issues

PARAMETERS, US Army War College Quarterly: Lessons from the LA Riots: "Police officers responded to a domestic dispute, accompanied by marines. They had just gone up to the door when two shotgun birdshot rounds were fired through the door, hitting the officers. One yelled `cover me!' to the marines, who then laid down a heavy base of fire. . . . The police officer had not meant `shoot' when he yelled `cover me' to the marines. [He] meant . . . point your weapons and be prepared to respond if necessary. However, the marines responded instantly in the precise way they had been trained, where `cover me' means provide me with cover using firepower. . . . over two hundred bullets [were] fired into that house."

wwerk-related

THQ announced three new WWE-licensed titles. Yuke's is making "WWE Day of Reckoning" Nintendo Gamecube game and the new-ish "Smackdown vs. RAW" PS2 game. Studio Gigante is working on "WrestleMania 21" for Xbox. A "WWE Survivor Series" is being produced for GameBoy Advance. (For some reason, not all of the the newly available, per-SKU game pages were linked in the initial article)

wwld

Powell's Books - Review-a-Day - Lincoln's Constitution by Daniel A. Farber, reviewed by The New Republic Online: "Today, self-styled constitutional pragmatists and defenders of broad executive power in wartime have little patience for the technical details of the arguments that Lincoln offered to justify his actions. The president should be able to do whatever he likes to defend the country against a serious threat, they argue, and the legal justifications for his actions are little more than retrospective window-dressing that should not be allowed to constrain his options in any meaningful way. But this cynical view of the malleability of constitutional law was not Lincoln's view. Legal arguments were central to the formation of the policies that allowed him to achieve greatness as president. They constrained him from committing excesses and also liberated him to take extraordinary action when the exigencies of the threat required it."

lifesaver

Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD: "Bart's PE Builder helps you build a 'BartPE' (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.
It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing files to a network share, virus scan and so on. This will replace any Dos bootdisk in no time!"

awol?

Transcript of Press grilling Bush spokesman Scott McClellan on Bush's National Guard service: "Q: Scott, that wasn't my question, and you know it wasn't my question. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? And why did he not fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?

MR. McCLELLAN: These records -- these records I'm holding here clearly document the President fulfilling his duties in the National Guard. The President was proud of his service. The President --

Q: I asked a simple question; how about a simple answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, if you'll let me address the question, I'm coming to your answer, and I'd like --

Q: Well, if you would address it -- maybe you could.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, John. But this is an important issue that some chose to raise in the context of an election year, and the facts are important for people to know. And if you don't want to know the facts, that&…

answers laid bare

I had thought the whole thing would be self explanatory, but strippers have a FAQ. Stuff I never would'a thought of, such as: What kind of shape you're in makes a bigger difference in your earnings than anything else. An hour of exercise a day can mean $200 more a night. It's important that you understand that your body is how you earn a living, as such you have to take very good care of it. In the world of strip clubs the name of the game is low bodyfat. Sure some men like extra padding but no one likes cheese. It's an unfortunate truth but the slimmer you are the more money you will make. You don't have to be fashion model skinny but you do have to be tight if you expect to make good money. I personally find that a combination of yoga and weight training is ideal for the kind of look that men like.
I do Ashtanga yoga four days a week, run one-day and weight training one day. The most effective weight training exercises for woman are squats, lunges and stiff-leg o…

what are we doing?

If there's any question as to why we're so disliked abroad right now, think on these shining examples of diplomacy:
Abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war, covered in the Baltimore Sun, New York Times (free reg req'd), and CBS
(note: I originally Drafted this post on the 30th, April; I've NO idea if this is major news in the US, but it's been on the Japanese news with regularity in the intervening time.)

GODZILLA RETURNS

GODZILLA RETURNS: "We tend to think of 'Godzilla' as a cheesy monster movie, thanks largely to heavy re-editing in the Burr version that dispensed with nearly 40 minutes of director Ishiro Honda's original vision, two dozen or so sequels that got goofier and goofier, and rivals like 'Mothra' and 'Rodan.' But seeing the original version -- produced by a culture with still-fresh memories of atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a feeling of being caught in the middle of Cold War paranoia between the United States and the Soviet Union -- it's clear that it's time for a major reappraisal. 'Godzilla' is one of the great anti-nuclear films, made by a onetime prisoner of war and documentary filmmaker, with an original vision as well-imagined and chilling as 'Dr. Strangelove.'"

free halo?

Gearbox readying Halo Custom Edition: "According to Gearbox, Halo CE will be a free, stand-alone, 170MB.exe based on v1.04 of the PC Halo, and will include netcode adjustments and fast shaders. While it doesn't require gamers to have Halo PC installed to play it, Halo CE does require the original's retail key to unlock. Halo CE will also be strictly multiplayer, and it will not include any of the original Halo's single-player maps. As it has not been through Microsoft and Bungie's testing process, it will be supported solely by Gearbox." Also check the FAQ.

Update: Sorry, I spazzed out, and didn't RTFF before hitting submit. "Will HaloCE be a seperate and completely self sufficient game? Do I have to have the original HaloPC installed for it to work?
HaloCE is completely stand alone. You do not have to have retail HaloPC installed. However, you MUST have a retail Halo disc to install and play HaloCE. "

vote wisely

Timothy McSweeney's Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush(via sdemory)DAY 22:
In speeches to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in August of '01, Bush promised reforms and improvements to health care benefits for veterans.
However, in January '03, the Bush administration's Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would reduce access to its health care system in order to block over 150,000 veterans from enrolling in that fiscal year, due to a backlog of vets still waiting to receive treatment.
In March '03, Bush's VA budget was passed. It included raised charges for primary care and drug prescription co-payments, raised enrollment fees -- which had never before existed in veteran's health care -- and complete blockage of care for what the VA considers lower priority vets.

and now for something completely different

Terry Jones wrote an Op/Ed for the Guardian UK:One of the chief problems with the current exciting adventure in Iraq is that no one can agree on what to call anyone else.

In the second world war we were fighting the Germans, and the Germans were fighting us. Everyone agreed who was fighting who. That's what a proper war is like.

However, in Iraq, there isn't even any agreement on what to call the Americans. The Iraqis insist on calling them "Americans", which seems, on the face of it, reasonable. The Americans, however, insist on referring to themselves as "coalition forces". This is probably the first time in history that the United States has tried to share its military glory with someone else.
(via goblin cartoons)See also: Invade Iraq? It's a No-BrainerTony Must Try Harder