serenityWill's Adventures in Cyberspace

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another reason not to buy stuff from China

Another PowerBook violently explodes
For those of you who don't remember your high school and/or college Chem. class all that well, let me refresh your memory: All members of the first column of the periodic table are highly reactive!

Which is why when you buy a battery made of Lithium it is important to buy it in a country that has a little bit of a higher standered for quality control. It's not that I think we shouldn't be trading with foerign countries, I'd just like these countries to remember that when you get a deal on something that is even cheap by Chinese standards, you'll probably only get what you pay for. And having one of your turned off laptops explode and burn down someones house is bad PR by anyones standerds.

Monday, August 07, 2006

We are the sheep.

Have you ever notice, for the gents out there, that when your in a public bathroom and one guy is in front of the mirror straightening his hair, all the other guys that come to the sinks after that will start to check out their own hair. It's not until one intiats it will others follow. It's like we're all saying:

"It's okay that we're doing this? We're not looking to girlish or metrosexual? Are you sure? Well, okay."

I wear a hat on my way to work each day, but once I get there I take it off and try to comb the hat hair away in a vain attempt to look more professional. And while I do this it never fails that all others that come to use the sink must at least check out their hair just to make sure its the way they left it. All other times during the day, men seems to avoid looking at their reflections with the same zeal that one avoids making eye contact with antoher guy in the men's room. Oh for the love of God you don't make eye contact! I'm not sure what happens if you do, but I do beleive it is one of the steps of bringing about the apocolyps.

It only takes one man to start a whole hair check line. Most think men are pigs, but as it turns out, we're only sheep.

Back with Nothing to Say!

I lost my sparks for blogging. I have lost my sparks for school. I'm just pretty much cool on just about everything right now. As of now I have left school and am looking for a job in the "real world" or as lore has it "the scariest place on Earth." Life is fun.

But like always, I have a plan. Well, better put, like always I have many possible plans and most end in fiery disaster. So, let me just lay out a few some, all, or none of which may be used (I don't like committing to just one future.)

1.) Get a job. Which is an important plan since I'm about to lose the one I currently have since I'm no longer a student. If you have or know of a job opening could you kick it my way, please.

2.) Continue to write in this God forsaken thing called my blog. It's just good practice for collecting my thoughts, which is why this blog will probably no longer be totally about the interweb.

3.) Collect some of the funny things I say. People always have told me to be a comedian. I can't seem to find my own way so I guess it's time to listen to other people. The worst that could happen is that I fail in a giant ball of flames, which is like a Tuesday for me so that's no big deal.

If you've got any other ideas of what I should do with my life, leave a comment.

serenityWill

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Revolution of the Wii

Nintendo Sets Wii Price

I member the advent of the personal gaming consol as a child. In the late '70s and early '80s (before I was alive, so not the part I remember) video games were pretty much limited to the Atari, with its stick controller with only the one button or the PC, where a lot of the games had no graphics and were actually text based. In 1985, however, that all changed when Nintendo came on to the scene with the NES. Not only did Nintendo set the standard for game controllers of which the basic concept is still used today, but also brought the first marketable character in Super Mario Brothers. The NES was king. But as we've learned through history, the reign of all kings eventually end.

The Playstation was the victor in the war of gaming supremacy against the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast. The Playstation line is so strong that Nintendo is a distant 3rd in gaming station sales and Sega left the station business all together and now only makes games.

Ever since then the focus of the gaming industry has been the improvement of graphics, to make the CG images seem as real as possible. Because of this most games, while their graphics have improved, feel as repetitive as Jaws 12. The way we play our games has become stagnate. This does not look to change on the fronts of the PS3 and XBox 360. A couple of weeks ago at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) Sony and Microsoft made one thing abundantly clear. The next step for their systems is HD. And I see a many a problem on this front.

First off, Sony and Microsoft are not strictly gaming businesses. With Sony pushing its Blu-Ray drive upon the PS3 and Microsoft pushing HD-DVD drive upon the 360. These don't seem like decisions made in the interest of the gamers but as a continuation of the format war that started in the Home Theatre industry. They only see each consol sale as a chance to get another of the HD players of their format into people’s homes. Not only does this drive up of the price of the gaming systems, 360 at $399 (HD-DVD sold separately) and PS3 at $599, but it also forces the consumers to purchase an HDTV which would at least cost $2,000. Alas the price of "progress".

Enter the Wii. Nintendo sees this overpriced madness as a chance to take back the market. Not only is the Wii reasonably priced at $250 (they don't even offer a HD drive, thank God), it’s revolutionizing the way games are played. The Wii focuses less on graphics and more on new ways to heighten the gaming experience. This is most achieved by its new game controller. In one hand you have something that looks like a mouse with a trigger, and in the other you have something that looks like a TV remote with a directional key pad. But the great part is that the way you move a controller is the way you play the game. When you play a tennis game you have to move your controller to hit the ball. When you play a first person shooter, you have to move your controller around to aim your gun. This is potenially the next step in the evolution of gaming. And this happened because Nintendo focused less on graphics and more on gaming.

The gamble here is whether gamers will give up their graphics to have a more active roll in playing their games. If the response that the Nintendo booth got at E3 is any indication, with its six hour line, I’d say the revolution has begun. The only mistake I've seen Nintendo make so far is changing the systems name from Revolution (the name it had in development which seems like a good name for the occasion) to Wii which seems to mean absolutely nothing. Let's hope that's the only mistake.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Get That Thing Out of My Livingroom!

The newest aim of Microsoft and computer manufacturers is to put PCs in all of our living rooms. The goal is to combine out digital video recorders (DVR), CD players, DVD players, MP3 players, photo albums, and just basically our whole lives into one computer in the middle of our house. The only tiny detail that I think these companies are overlooking is that computers AREN'T ALWAYS DEPENDABLE!

Have you ever seen somebody come home after a hard day of doing what ever it is they do only to find their TV doesn't work? It's like the world is ending and somebody has to pay. Yes, DVRs them selves are computers, but the reason they work so well now is that, once you get it, you don't really change much with it. Unlike your home computer, you don't constantly add and remove programs from your DVRs and other entertainment devices that can cause the operating system of those machines to become unstable. Everything stays the same, and the only area where any data that's added or removed is in a separate area that does not allow any files that could effect the control of that computers system.

I remember Bill Gates saying a while ago that his goal was one day making a computer that boots as fast a turning on a TV. Well, that hasn't worked out so well. It seems he has decided to go to plan B and just make the TV take as long to boot up as the computer. This isn't just a Microsoft problem. It's all over the tech map. Apple is trying to turn the Mac Mini into a media center computer. And, the new HD-DVD player from Toshiba is just a Linux computer and takes about a minute and a half to become fully operational. We live in the age of instant gratification, yet all of our entertainment options seem to be slowing down.

There doesn't seem to be any new ideas in tech anymore, just the combining of old ones. We've known since Adam Smith that the division of labor can speed up productivity, but now instead of having five products that can do their own jobs really well we have one product that does all those things half-assed. So, my advice to you would be to keep your computer out of your living room (who really wants to try to type a report on their TV from their couch anyway). I say "would" though because Windows XP, more and more, is only being offered in its Media Center Edtion. But, if you can, try to find the regular OS if you can. And even if you can't, whose in charge you or Windows (actually, I'm not sure of the answer to that question either)?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Don't Shoot Your XBox

Columbine Video Game Draws Relatives' Ire

First, I want to start out with a quote from the article that comes from this games creator, who only goes by the name "Columbine":

"I was a bullied kid. I didn't fit in, and I was surrounded by a culture of elitism as espoused by our school's athletes." He added that he considered the killers, at times, "very thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent young men."

Now what this will lead to, once again, is the blaming of video games for the violent mental profiles of many of today’s youth that are known as geeks or nerds. That's like getting shot and blaming the blood leaking from the wound for your impending exsanguination and not the person that shot you. The violence is a symptom and not the cause.

These children feel a lack of empowerment in their current social situation, and that coupled with the normal lack of self-confidence that comes with the trauma of high school forces them to find self assurance in non traditional places. This leads to trying to find strength in those areas where one has the most talent, which in many cases are video games. Playing violent video games can be a natural practice of letting out aggression, like playing sports. Problems do arise when people try to translate the power they feel in violent video games to real life. This is probably caused by a mental and emotional instability, which can be caught by family and friends before disastrous actions occur, and treatment is given.

All good doctors know that treating a symptom is a temporary fix, but treating the illness is the cure.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Apple's iPhone: it's for real?

Apple's iPhone: it's for real!

Apparently, Apple is releasing a cell phone. I say "apparently" because this is an announcement that some random website comes out with every few months. Now, however, there may be more hope of this being true since the source of this information come from an known company (well in Japan anyway) and not a source referred to only as "an apple insider". This lends to assurance to the iPhones authenticity because, if this company was lying, they'd be sure to get hit with a major law suit as Apple has recently been known to give out like candy.

One thing that bothers me though is that, if this is true, Apple has gone to a Japanese company and will first release this product in Japan. I can't seem to see the logic behind that move. I know that Japan gets some really cool gadgets we don’t, and the gadgets we do get long before we do, that’s because those product are made in Japan or Europe. Why would Apple, an American company, go over seas to a smaller market, when American consumers have been waiting to get their hands on this product for so long? That would be like Microsoft releasing the X Box 360 first in Ireland. And Apple would definitely get all the publicity they need because it seems like somebody at Apple can't fart without it being the top story on every tech website.

All I know is I not going to fully believe this story until I see Steve Jobs holding one in his hand.

Monday, May 15, 2006

HD-DVD vs. Blu Ray vs. Consumer Apathy

Every where I look I seem to see another story about the battle for format supremacy between HD-DVD and Blu Ray in the field of high-definition video distribution. So, I thought I'd write something that would set the record straight. The majority of consumers don't care.

Now reading what I just said probably lead to either of two reactions: Either, you are shocked by what I just said and you know think I'm a dumbass; or, you're like most people and didn't even know high-definition DVDs were coming out. If you fall in the first category, you're a tech enthusiast and have fallen so deep into technology-land that and have forgotten the wants, needs, and interest of the average consumer. If you're in the second category, you're probably the average consumer.

The reason the average consumer shouldn't care is that the format wars will already be mostly decided by the time they get around to caring. You can't even get the benefit of high-definition DVDs until you have a HDTV to use it with, and that's only about 10% of the American people.
The only people buying these anytime soon are the early adapters and rich guys who by expensive stuff to impress the woman into having sex with them. (Yes, men are that pathetic.) Early adapters are the techies. The people who try to get their hands on any new gadget that comes out. In fact, when they can they buy two; one to play with and one to take it apart to see how it works.

The reason most people aren't getting excited HD-DVD and Blu Ray it really isn't as big a leap as DVD was from tape. When people don't feel as deep a passion for an interest, as techies with technology, then they only look at these advancements with pragmatism. And practically, you don't get as much bang for your buck to buy a $2,000 HDTV and a $700 DVD player, when they are perfectly content with what they have now. People haven't been pining away for sharper pictures in which to watch Booty Call. Their too busy spending their money on frivolities like food and rent. Let get off the topic of high-definition DVDs and try to look for something that will really take the world by storm, the way it was done when we went from tape to DVD.