Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.

1 October 2008

This year is not working for me. I’m gonna need a refund, thanks.

Lapp-Pro

I’m not sure what I’m looking at — some of the pictures are clearly light-painting, but I have no idea how the others are done.

I’ve got more extra furniture than I can stack up.

2 October

Des recommandations d’hébergement de comptes mail Exchange ? (Pour un client équipé Mac/iPhone dont le serveur IMAP que je gère déconne.)

If I wanted to COMPILE ffmpeg and lame in order for my flv videos to have sound, I wouldn’t have gotten Debian on my server!

3 October

Bathtub

Wow. Fake tilt-shift photography has never looked as good as when it’s moving.

Lamborghini Estoque

The four-door Lamborghini has finally been revealed at the Paris show (hmm, I haven’t been there in a while; don’t they have blogger passes?), and I can’t decide what I think about it — or even what I think of the very idea of its existence.

I’m not a fan of the front end (the nose kinda points up, like a speedboat, which makes it feel like the front wheels are going to lose grip and the car will flip over when you reach 50mph), and the side view is pretty much all wrong, but there’s still something Lambo-ish about it that’s exciting, and it’s nice to have a super-sedan escape from the norm of bubbly bloat that’s popular with high-end automakers these days.

The bottomline is, I don’t get the appeal of this car class — instead of bringing the best of two worlds, it brings the worst: a sportscar’s low roof and inconveniently small windows, with the performance compromise of a sedan. Wouldn’t you rather have a Gallardo and an M5 in your garage? I’m pretty sure I would.

iTunes 8.0.1 : “The iPhone Nekophone cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred.”

Ashes to Ashes 1.01–1.08

I’m not quite sure why exactly this spin-off didn’t do it for me as much as Life on Mars did. Is it that Sam Tyler (who was neurotic bordering on hysteria at times, but relatable) is replaced with an anoying, sententious woman who dresses as a hooker even though she’s something like the only female D.I. in London? (And yet I liked her in Spooks.) Or that they’ve removed any ambiguity from Gene’s character, not so much because the topic has been exhausted in the previous show, but so that we can be subjected to the most unbelievable sexual tension ever between two protagonists? Or that the heroine, being aware oh what happened to Tyler, and what’s happening to her, doesn’t care all that much about the whole coma thing, and the show treats her story more as a vacation in her past than a life-and-death situation? Or is it just that she has too much of an anchor in real life, so that there’s no doubt, really, that she’s eventually going to come out of it?

Or, well, it could be all that at the same time — I had to check on IMDb that the writers were indeed the same as for Life on Mars. When you think about it, it’s very realistic that a story imagined by another character would have a very different feel; problem is, when you do that, you run the risk of losing what made the first version work.

When I first read that Ashes to Ashes would be about a psychologist who read all about Sam Tyler’s experiences, I thought it was an amazingly clever pretense; in retrospect, I wish they had dropped it, and just decided that Gene Hunt was the universal boogeyman who lurks in everyone’s subconscious. If not Death himself.

 

EndWar: Paris siege

There’s something oddly disturbing about seeing Paris being bombed in a video game. I’m beginning to understand why Venezuela was irked by Mercenaries 2 (few countries or cities have embraced their silver-screen career like New York has).

Other than that, not much to say about the game; the voice commands seem to work well (for this particular demonstrator, although they’re shown more extensively in the other three-part walkthrough), but judging from the videos, and my very limited knowledge of RTS games, it doesn’t look like you have to do much by yourself — which may after all be a realistic simulation of a Presidential war room, and at any rate makes the game more accessible. This is clearly no Starcraft.

4 October

Kotaku podcast: I want to do my podcasts in Little Big Planet or Test Drive Unlimited.

I really wonder what Mercury Messenger does that manages to fuck up my OS X so subtly and reliably every time I open it.

Pushing Daisies 2.01

Please tell me xxxx isn’t leaving the show. Nobody would leave this show, right?

 

(Wonder if they shot a version where Olive sang The Sound of Music, but didn’t manage to negotiate the rights.)

5 October

Iron Man

Pretty cool indeed.

With a name like “Summer Heights High” I thought it would be a Heartbreak High parody, not a depressing documentary.

6 October

Pup Confessional

I want a black lab so much.

Create a Swirly Type Treatment

I hate that I have to bookmark such an elementary tutorial. I suck so bad at Illustrator.

7 October

The Incredible Hulk

I guess it was adequately directed, but there never was a moment when I cared about any of it — I’m not sure whether it was missing character depth, or it’s just that Liv Tyler and her collagen accident are no Jennifer Connelly. Hadn’t she been good in some movies? I’m pretty sure I didn’t use to consider her a bad actress.

 

Not even a little excited? ’t’s okay…

The episodes of This American Life about the financial crisis are turning me into a communist.

I have to confirm twice to remove a podcast episode I’ve already played from iTunes, but unsubscribing from a podcast is immediate. Grr.

Frédérick Bousquet

Why has everyone been about Michael Phelps? This is much prettier.

Heroes 3.04

It was an okay story; too bad it took place in the future of over-the-top acting (and Jackie O glasses). There’s definitely something very wrong and weird about this season, like they lobotomized the actors and directors.

Saving this show is gonna take more than a naked Milo strapped to a table.

 

Naked Milo strapped to a table.

 

Naked Milo strapped to a table.

 

It would have been a nice night for reading. Where the hell is my Amazon package?

8 October

BMW M5 Ute

Yeah, it’s a bit of a sacrilege; so what?

I guess I could look to find the correlation between foul mood and my urge to punch random passersby in the face.

9 October

Dragon Hunters

A mildly entertaining French CG movie; imagine that. Of course, it’s a little more interested in the poetry of its world than the what’s happening in it — that’s French fantasy for you — but there’s still an adequate touch of storytelling and care for the characters that you don’t see so often around here.

And some kawaii:

 

Still, Muriel’s Wedding was a better Abba movie.

Saturday Night Live was unfunny enough without leaving “I kissed a girl” printed into my brain for days. (Still can’t believe it’s real.)

“Ron Moore Brings Us Same-Sex Marriage… In Space!”

Ron Moore’s Virtuality includes the sure-to-be-controversial married couple Manny (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Val (Gene Farber), who hold hands freely aboard the starship Phaeton. And show creator Ron Moore tells a queer television blogger that he feels bad for not including more gay characters on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

The heterocentrism of sci-fi is one of the most annoying pitfalls of the genre — but then, you can’t really blame semi-autistic male geek-writers for not “understanding” homosexuality, and not being able to relate to gay characters; they already have enough trouble relating to human characters at all, and writing the obligatory love scenes between the male Mary Sue and his bimbo-of-the-week.

And I’d choose BSG’s campiness any day over Will & Grace In Space.

Pas l’air d’un con, mon sac Picard de la semaine dernière à la main, incapable d’ouvrir le mécanisme magique de la porte de Picard.

The Happening

I beg you to watch the three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender before Shyamalan ruins it with his movie.

 

There is recorded evidence that Mark Wahlberg is vaguely capable of acting, isn’t there?

“The spotlight turns to notebooks”

I’m not surprised that the October, 14th date is confirmed — for Gruber to throw this around he had to be pretty sure it was true — but I can’t believe how transparent they are with this particular invitation: I mean, you don’t have to be clairvoyant to guess that they will probably unveil new laptops, right?

Regarding the current rumors:

  • Apple doesn’t need “revolutionary laser- and water-cutting technologies” to manufacture notebooks (they’ve managed to produce the MacBook Air alright already, haven’t they? and why the hell would a single manufacturing process need both lasers and water jets?); and even if they did, there’s no way building, equipping and staffing a brand-new, top-of-the-line revolutionary factory, instead of contracting to cheap Chinese third parties, would make MacBook prices go down.

  • On the other hand, knowing Steve, there are many reasons why he must be itching to have his own factories again rather than depend on third parties. But he’d want to keep an eye on the factory, so it would have to be in California, and it would double the costs of everything Apple produces. (Not that Steve would mind, but the board probably would, and his powers do have limits.)

  • I have no reason to believe that today’s leaked casing pictures are fake. MacBook Pros now have chiclet keyboards, obviously, and either the MacBook goes to aluminum (which was the common expectation, although it doesn’t make that much sense to me) or a small MacBook Pro is coming back. Note that the laptop shown on the invitation doesn’t particularly look like aluminum (although it has surprisingly sharp corners for a MacBook).

  • If anything, the photos tend to prove that the new MacBooks aren’t manufactured in an Apple factory, because even in China an Apple-operated factory wouldn’t let this kind of leak slip through.

  • The idea of a $800 MacBook makes a lot of sense (even though there’s no reason why Apple Stores would already know about them), now that everyone and their dog is installing OS X on $300 netbooks. And it would also make sense to have a $800 MacBook and a $1200 12- or 13-inch MacBook Pro.

  • One could dream that the invitation is so MacBook-centered precisely so that we don’t expect the “one more thing” to be a fantastic something-else. But then, there might not be any “one more thing” at all, and Apple doesn’t seem to care that much about suspense any more. I’d like the “Brick” to be the product of the Mac mini and Apple TV merging into a range of multi-purpose devices, but at any rate you shouldn’t expect much, or anything, on the iMac and Mac Pro fronts.

  • Come to think of it, the invitiation’s graphic would be a perfect depiction of a $400 10-inch MacBook. Plastic shell to cut costs, and sharp corners because you can’t waste any space with this format. But then, the Apple logo might be a little too small for that.

“Why You Can Stop Worrying About Relative Font Sizes in Your Stylesheets”

I’ve always considered that, if you needed to resize the text on the pages you viewed, it was your responsibility to use a decent web browser that’s able to resize contents intelligently (which once meant Opera) — just like, if you’re blind, you ought not to be using Internet Explorer. Looks like on this topic like several others, the webdesign community is catching up with me.

11 October

Plus que quatre mois avant l’année de ma crucifixion. Enfin.

The sad part is, my heart hasn’t dried out. It’s just my brain that gets in the way.

Just realized that Mad Men is yet another show about people not in control of their lives. What is it with this century?

13 October

14 October

Stevenote 2008.10

What I got right: There was no way manufacturing a laptop casing by removing bits from a brick of aluminum was going to make it cheaper. And they didn’t need anything more advanced than what they already used for the MacBook Air — I only didn’t realize that the big news was that they were actually going to use the same technology on other laptops.

What I got wrong, though: I hoped that 99% of the keynote wouldn’t be just confirming the month’s rumors (the remaining 1% confirmed years-old rumors about Cinema Displays). And I also expected the updated laptop range to make some kind of sense.

So you’ve got a $1000 13-inch plastic laptop with an old-style design, and it’s called a MacBook. (And that’s definitely too expensive an entry point for the current market.) And you’ve got a $1300 13-inch brand-new aluminium laptop, and it’s called… a MacBook. And at the other end of the range, the $2000 15-inch high-tech laptop is called a MacBook Pro, and the $2800 17-inch old-style design (with no glass screen, glass trackpad, chiclet keyboard, nor the satisfaction of knowing your laptop’s case was carved by 24th-century lasers in a shiny spaceship) is also a MacBook Pro. I’m sorry, but that’s just fucking amateurism.

Not that the Cinema Display range is any better (I’m not even sure I know what their plan is, exactly — it’ll be clearer when the new display is actually available… or as soon as the online Apple Store comes back from its crash). What the hell is going on in Cupertino?

 

And, yeah, I still want one of each. Obviously. But I’m not particularly sad today that I can’t afford any of them (except for being sad about that fact that I don’t have $2000 at hand).

 

Thanks to M. for the apple.fr screenshot. Unicode is hard!

I wonder whether the MacBook Pro’s wifi chip, which is reportedly embedded behind the screen, is oriented so as to send its signal through the Apple logo, or it uses the aluminium shell as a reflecting dish to amplify the signal and fry the user’s brain.

15 October

I miss having a MacBook. I miss having disposable income. I miss being a millionaire. Why do I have to wake up from my dreams?

16 October

The Eyeballing Game

How good are you at drawing a parallelogram?

“New” Prius

I don’t get why Toyota insists on making it so ugly — sure, their current design team is pretty awful and they don’t have a single car that looks good in their lineup, but the Prius is worse by a couple orders of magnitude.

You could imagine they wouldn’t actually want it to be popular if they had lower margins on this model, but then they wouldn’t product-place it so intensively in Hollywood, would they?

EndWar (360 demo)

I don’t know what the online mode is like (I hardly ever play online, as already established), but the solo mission is awfully short. It’s more of a tech demo, obviously, for the interface and voice controls of the game, and — wow, it’s impressive.

During the voice calibration I thought the system had to be cheating, but voice command just works (I shouldn’t be so surprised; computers have had this for a while now, and recognizing a known, limited set of words is pretty simple with the computing power of current systems) and it made me want to try my Mac’s speech recognition again.

I’m not going to get into detailed analysis of the game, or its controls, because I don’t grok strategy games, and the mission was so short anyway, but I can tell there’s one thing quite wrong with the interface, and it’s a shame they would waste such an innovative technology this way: you need to memorize all available commands.

It would be trivial to display a menu when you start voicing a command (as the game does when you press the right-hand trigger), then display submenus as you work through menu items, but that’s not allowed: submenus are only shown after you’ve finished your command “sentence,” so that… you can see what options you missed. It’s certainly not going to hamper serious users, who will quickly memorize the limited set of options, but it’s a very stupid mistake that I don’t quite understand.

Anyway… the game’s mood is quite competently grim and depressing (the release’s timing couldn’t be more in/appropriate, actually), the graphics are adequate, and I still think it looks too simple for real RTS fans, but a good primer for console gamers.

 

Couldn’t be bothered to change my xbox’s language settings to see what it’s like in French (assuming the demo does speak French).

17 October

People… can’t live with them, can’t live with them.

18 October

The Hand

When I was a sweet, innocent child, I thought every car should have a scrolling LED display in the rear window to say “Fuck off” to the guy who’s driving too close to your bumper (did I mention how sweet and innocent I was?). Then I decided technology afforded us better alternatives, and we should have a wireless communication system that would allow you to broadcast spoken messages to a nearby car by selecting it with a wheel-mounted joystick. Then I realized that the surest way to turn the city roads into a reenactment of Mad Max was to enable communication of any sort between cars, so we were better off sticking to blinkers and brake lights.

19 October

Qwitter

Qwitter e-mails you when someone stops following you on Twitter with a message like this:

John Gruber (gruber) stopped following you on Twitter after you posted this tweet:

What’s the difference between Arial and Helvetica?

Nice idea for a useful service (wish there could be the same thing for blog subscriptions), a bit of humor from the designers, and somehow they manage to do it without even asking you for your password. Cool.

21 October

I’m this close to smashing my old, laggy iMac with a crowbar. Mostly, I’m missing a crowbar.

22 October

23 October

Do you think I can get used to sitting cross-legged, or my knee joints will forever be too stiff?

Pratique du blogue

Imaginez-vous à lire votre quotidien favori dans votre salon, non loin de votre compagne ou compagnon qui vaque à une autre activité.

Il vous arrive de réagir tout haut à votre lecture, de dire “c’est invraisemblable !” ou “comme c’est intéressant”… Et de lire une phrase, un passage à destination de votre dulciné(e) afin de partager votre découverte, votre info peu ordinaire, et d’obtenir en retour son assentiment, ou son commentaire.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Well that wasn’t so bad. As long as you don’t pay for a theater ticket, nor for a DVD, and you’ve got something else to do while nothing happens on screen, it’s an okay TV movie that’s just about an hour too long.

I want to rearrange my furniture. Holding back because what I really want is a larger place (with more furniture).

24 October

The new Pepsi logo and typography look like crap.

Predator Pumpkin

Is it the original designer of Predator or the maker of this particular pumpkin who has vagina dentata issues?

My fingernails are a disaster this week. How surprising.

26 October

Je suis censé passer mon iPhone à l’heure d’hiver manuellement ?!

28 October

I can’t possibly go to sleep with “Womanizer” in my head.

J’ai l’air d’un con, à être le seul à sortir de Picard avec un sac isotherme, ou juste l’air parano ?

29 October

Tomb Raider: Underworld (360 demo)

Here’s a nice, meaty demo — so meaty, in fact, that I almost gave up on it a dozen times. It’s already hard enough to spark interest in a ten-year-old franchise whose gameplay has been basically unchanged all along (yeah, yeah, Lara has more moves, now she can shoot two targets at the same time and balance on the top of pillars, whatever); at the very least, you should cover the basics and make gameplay flawless, and Underworld is anything but that.

Sure, the graphics are slick (although rocks are still too blocky) and Lara has some nice animations (that would look state-of-the-art if Assassin’s Creed hadn’t been there before), but that’s just a pretty coat of paint on crumbling walls: it begins with invisible walls in the ocean of the opening sequence but goes on with imprecise, glitchy controls, a crappy camera, buggy enemies and very artificial level design only made worse by how good the graphics are: every time I got stuck (and that happened several times in the demo), it wasn’t because I had trouble figuring what I was supposed to do, but because I wasn’t sure if this or that ledge was decorative or Lara could jump to it, or whether this or that wall was firm enough for Lara to jump off from; all of it made worse by the camera constantly zooming in and out so that you lose all sense of perspective and have no idea whether you’re supposed to jump there or it’s going to kill you.

After I’d watched videos of this game, I was all prepared to like it, but it’s been an infuriating hour of playing the demo and I can’t imagine going through the whole game.

 

I blame the school system. I would have majored in foreign languages if it hadn’t implied studying French literature and philosophy.

Tiens, c’est vrai que NaNoWriMo tomberait presque bien dans mon emploi du temps.

God, the Facebook API and the developer site have become a fucking mess. Not to mention the wiki.

30 October

PhotoFunia

 

Wow. (Thanks to Romain B.)

31 October

Dexter 3.05

I still don’t like Jimmy Smits, but I’m beginning to be glad they hired him: his character is awesomely creepy. It was only the most logical direction to take the plot, but I still didn’t quite see it coming.

Mirror’s Edge (360 demo)

Mirror’s Edge looked cool in the previews, and trailers, and gameplay videos; unsurprisingly enough, it looks cool in the demo as well.

I don’t really like the way I have to hold the gamepad in order to play (is anyone used to pressing the Xbox’s triggers with the middle finger?) but they make sense — left bumper means “up” and left trigger means “down,” and maybe you couldn’t have as precise control if you had to keep your right thumb on the face buttons instead of the stick… or maybe you could. It feels like I would have cramps after half an hour of play, and I wonder if it’s more or less comfortable on the PS3’s pad.

Regardless of the unfamiliar controls, this isn’t an easy game: I did break a sweat during the short demo, and felt the sense of urgency and helplessness when chased by the bad guys. The “runner vision” is unobtrusive (if not insufficient — I wouldn’t have minded having access to some kind of map so I knew for sure where I was supposed to be going, but then I guess that’s an integral part of the game design), and the most elaborate maneuvers are definitely not dumbed down (I know I’d have a hard time pulling the “wall run, turn around, jump” stunt during the course of the game) but the feeling of controlling a free-running character is very real.

An unqualified success, that I’d really like to experience more. And reserving the time-trials section of the demo for people who pre-ordered the game is really lame.

I’ve added Scrivener back to my Dock; that’s enough of a good-faith effort for NaNoWriMo, right? I’m done, right?

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