Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.
Black holes are the catastrophic results of the attempts by extraterrestrial civilizations to open wormholes.
Well, I don’t know quite what to think about this one. To be sure, the writing and acting is gonna be worth the price of the game, and there’s no contest that you’ll mostly be enjoying going through the game, so that’s not where the question lies.
What I’m not sure about, though, is gameplay. The God of War clone parts are more competent and pleasant than I expected (although the enemies feel a little too easy in medium difficulty — even for a first level) but the vehicle part felt superfluous and pointless, and the boss fight was really more annoying than anything else. Then, there’s the Overlord/Pikmin bits that seems to take a lot of importance later in the game, and isn’t in the demo at all, so it’s hard to get an idea of how it all really plays. Ah, and it feels a little too linear, but that may be because it’s the beginning of the game (although I’m not so sure — the feeling mostly stems from the fact that it all takes place in narrow corridors through wide open spaces, instead of God of War’s closed kill-rooms, which aren’t conceptually much better but feel more natural). Finally, the graphics would for the most part look better on a standard-definition TV.
And yet I think it’s a buy. Well, probably. Maybe a pool-with-a-couple-friends buy. (I don’t expect much replayability, and I can’t believe the multiplayer mode will have so much legs — but I could be completely wrong on that one.)
I was all prepared to bury this game, despite the mostly good reviews that I’d seen, and here I am having to rewrite it all from scratch: this game should really be called I Can’t Believe It’s Need For Speed.™
It’s getting pretty hard at this point to decide which is prettier, of Forza 3 or Shift, but here’s something I can tell: for whatever reason(s), the new Need for Speed feels much more immersive than its direct competitor, and gives a better sense of speed (although that one’s hard to say for sure, because the Forza demo offers a slower track). I still think blurring the inside view’s dashboard when you’re driving fast is stupid (turns out that it doesn’t actually bother you while you’re focusing on your driving, but it makes the dials unusable and forces you to rely on the HUD, which proves that it’s an absurd gimmick), but everything else works better, and I’m not sure why — there’s some video effects there (does Forza even have motion blur at all? maybe that’s why it feels so sterile), and the camera placement is clearly much better, both in cockpit and outside views. That may only be a case of Shift handling my 1280x1024 aspect ratio better than Forza, and maybe they’re more similar in widescreen, but that wouldn’t make the point any less relevant for my personal case.
But Forza never really won on its visuals. The real surprise is, I can’t particularly fault Need for Speed’s physics model — it all seems perfectly realistic. And the assists work as well as, or possibly better than, in Forza, although it pains me that, in both games, auto-braking is enabled by default — what the hell happened to racing games? But here’s where Forza gets the advantage back, and ultimately wins the match for me: when you’re playing with a pad (and Microsoft’s wheel is crap, so I wouldn’t buy it even if I could afford to), Forza does some magic on the stick’s input to smoothen it out — because that thing is physically imprecise and hard to control exactly with your thumb, when twisting it a few degrees is supposed to emulate a whole turn or two of a car’s wheel. In Need for Speed, however, you’ve got a choice between enabling steering assist, which is insufferable because you can actually feel it driving for you, or disabling it and having each little nudge of the left stick be transmitted live to your front wheels, making the car much harder to control than it should. It may be that Shift is the better game of the two when you have a wheel, I don’t know — but if you’re going to get a cross-platform game with a wheel, you’d be much better off playing it on the PS3 with a Logitech wheel anyway, instead of going with the Xbox version.
Before I finish, two quick observations since I’m not going to buy the game and write a review: The pre-race briefing is definitely a fantastic idea that all racing games should implement (although Shift’s briefing isn’t linear enough to properly memorize the advice; they should just show a run of the whole track rather than a fancy highlight reel… that’s certainly more fun to watch, but less efficient for learning). And the game does the rather common, but increasingly unacceptable mistake of going straight from a longish load screen to the race start — where Forza inserts a confirmation screen so that you can go pee while the track loads.
EA was really close to a miracle here — it’s both a pity, and an impressive feat in itself that they came so close to an actually great racing game — but, despite its advantages, I just can’t put Need for Speed: Shift ahead of Forza 3. It’s a little less precise for simulation drivers, and not that much more approachable for the general public (the assits work very much the same way, and they don’t make Shift a Project Gotham Racing replacement any more than they do on Forza — they’re just driving in your place, instead of “just” simplifying the physics). And it obviously wouldn’t make much sense for anyone to buy both. (Although I’m sure some car fanatics will.)
On the PS3 however, if you’ve got a wheel and can’t wait for Gran Turismo, I’d say it’s an acceptable purchase.
I’d very much like to see those installations in person and check that there’s no cheat.
That got the Macalope thinking. Maybe that’s exactly what iPhone developers need: a union.
Think about it: low wages, abusive management, and the reason they can’t change the conditions is that they have no collective bargaining power. Ring any bells, Norma Rae?
I would be weary of that “
Apple still has to send you those checks no matter how much of a malcontent you are,” however.
Early Gmail adopters should be offered just one alias if they want to change their address. I didn’t originally expect to actually use it!
Laporte’s TWiT network, run from the basement of his house in Petaluma, does $1.5 million in revenue per year, doubling yearly. His costs, however, are more impressive: it only takes $350,000 per year to run the business with 7 employees.
Jesus. I’ve been hating his content more and more (all mostly due to his spreading himself impossibly thin), but I felt guilty for criticizing a guy who spends his entire life sequestered in a podcast recording studio and has to accept more and more ads to make ends meet. Turns out he really is a fucking media tycoon.
I do not want to believe that Google is beginning to retaliate after the whole Google Voice on iPhone fiasco. Do not. Want.
Well, clearly, on some level, open warfare between Google and Apple would be entertaining to watch. But it wouldn’t be very fun for us, Apple users.
All kidding aside, any company that can give this much attention to detail just in their HR paperwork should be fun to work for.
10.6 deselects the target folder’s icon too fast when you drag and drop a file. I always feel like I must have slipped at the last minute.
The new @boingboing layout is weird but reminds me that it’s time to use fancy fonts for post titles again.
PhotoSketch is an internet-based program that can take the rough, labelled sketch on the left and automagically turn it into the naff montage on the right. Seems unbelievable but—as the video shows—it works.
There’s no fucking way that actually works. I’ll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes, running on my own machine, with a firewall denying access to anything but Google Images, and after I’ve checked that there isn’t a teeny painter imp caged inside my computer.
Reinstalling XP. (I need to re-authorize my virtual PCs after upgrading to Parallels 4, so I might as well switch to free VirtualBox.)
I know Apple’s e-reader is coming, but I’d probably be ordering the Kindle right now if I had the cash. It’s pretty cheap in euros.
Shouldn’t the Kindle iPhone app be available in France now? Or Stanza get access to the Kindle store? I just might buy books on iPhone.
Heroes 4.04 — When a character is defined by the skeletons in his closet, it doesn’t add depth to invent one more skeleton four years in.
I never got around to adding the banners on my blog (what with having my own iPhone apps to promote… in vain), so I couldn’t care less, but I’m just surprised by the tone of the message:
(Where “CJ” stands for the — unbelievably convoluted and unfriendly, so no argument there from me —advertising network that they went through to offer their affiliates program.)
Digg is testing a new type of advertisement on its site that basically surfaces old content submitted to Digg that is relevant to certain advertisers. So, as you can see in the example below, if Norton wants to advertise its new security software, it can find a few old Digg items related to Internet security and put them in the ad box along with their banner. This not only advertises their product, but gives users something potentially useful to click on.
That’s a pretty clever strategy — getting advertisers to sponsor your content, after it’s been posted, after it’s been dugg by the users themselves, so that they can’t complain it’s uninteresting.
“To refresh, pull down on the list until the arrow is flipped”? What the fuck? #tweetie #goingtoofar
And an undiscoverable camouflaged “action button” on the compose screen. #tweetie #wtf #tothinkthatusabilitygeeksareinlovewiththisapp
Ice Age 3 — More good scenes than the second, still less than the first. Not enough of the cute little dinos, and too many sex jokes.
Why the hell did I wake up with Phantom of the Opera “in-side mah mind,” and where can I find an icepick — or a grenade?
This time I woke up with Les Miz in my head. Much better, no contest, but what the hell’s going on with my internal jukebox?
Simple enough, but I think it looks great. (Although the layout screws up if the window isn’t as wide as he assumed.)
Damn, and they say I’m a misanthrope.
I’m not sure what to write about that one, as I think I was very much a victim of the whole buzz about this movie and the expectations it had created. Truth is, I wouldn’t join the chorus to say this was a great science-fiction film. What I’d call it is a very good double Doctor Who episode. It’s not like the plot is very interesting, and the characters are even worse (quite intentionally, too). The movie basically stops at its premise, which is excellent and does merit its movie treatment, but there’s so much that could have been done if the writers hadn’t stopped there.
I’m surprised that somehow I didn’t end up being as bothered by the obviousness of the Apartheid allegory as I thought I would be — maybe I got used to it in advance, or maybe it just works in context (and is just taking itself seriously enough to pass). Clearly, the mock-documentary style helps a lot. However, I thought people were nitpicky when they complained about how the movie just abandons the journalists’ point of view when it becomes too inconvenient for the story’s progression, but it happens much earlier than I expected and is indeed quite jarring and inelegant… even though it’s clear to see that’s exactly what they were trying to avoid. Making more of a show of the transition would have helped. Ah, and I’ll take this opportunity to note that I hate movies that rely too much on the gross factor to shock the audience — you know, how vomit is the new gore. But I’d like to mention in passing how coherent the design of the prawn mecha is. Sorry, geek moment here.
I wouldn’t be as quick as some to point that movie as evidence that you can make a good sci-fi flick with a relatively low budget: clearly, the lack of funds shows in how you stay mostly confined within the slums, and it’s easily explained by the plot itself but still hurts the movie’s ending a bit: when you’re essentially going to pad your short film out with a whole hour of action, it does help to have a budget that allows you to really throw things around and maintain the scope of the story. Two million prawns, remember?
Nevermind the usual ten-year-old genius geek who can fix everything (god I hate that trope with such a passion). Could you please just tell me WHY THE HELL WOULD EXPOSURE TO FUEL TURN SOMEONE INTO A PRAWN?
My name is Jon Hicks, and I’m a stationery fetishist. I’m sure many of you are too. […]
Best of all though looks like the Swedish Whitelines series. Rather than use the traditional lined approach, it uses the negative space, creating a less destructive white lined grid.
White lines on very light gray paper — sounds awesome. Just wishlisted an A4 pad on Amazon to make myself a little present the next time I order a book.
Heroes 4.05 — That’s a pretty stupid power, and I really dislike the whole carnival plot, wherever it intends to go exactly.
The Harry Potter movies really need previouslies — I can never remember what happened before. Wait, that’s because nothing happened.
What’s nice with Wave invites is that you can tell everyone you know you’ve invited them; they’ll never know it isn’t true.
That’s a lovely concept, poorly explained (and possibly poorly conceived in its originators’ own minds): if the Large Hadron Collider ever worked at full capacity, the catastrophe would be even bigger than just a black hole swallowing the Earth; it would be so big that it would travel back in time and destroy the entire universe in the past. And, since our universe exists, it hasn’t been destroyed from the future, so that clearly shows that the supercollider will never work.
It all depends on which theory of time paradoxes you adhere to.
Wave, day 2: This thing is in desperate need of a couple good Apple UI engineers. E.g. separate “New Wave” and “Ping” buttons are asinine.
Brain-fart en voyant une mention de Lucky Luke dans le programme télé. Si je devais le prononcer à haute voix je serais bloqué une heure.
(Wave-inspired test of) Collaborating on a PHP file over SubEthaEdit/Coda is addictive. Kinda makes me want to work with someone. Hmm. Nah.
Here’s hoping there was nothing important in the 4GB of old trash I just cleaned up from my Library folder.
You aren’t in control of your data if you can’t easily and frequently make useful backups onto your own computer and your own media.
I recognize that it’s hypocritical for me to say this as the lead developer of Tumblr, which does not yet offer an automated feature for users to download backups of their blog content. So I took some time this week and started to write one. I’m happy to announce that Tumblr will be releasing an easy backup tool in the coming weeks.
Heh, I like that way of thinking/doing. (And he definitely has my respect for developing Tumblr anyway.)
Ca y est, ces chieurs de Vidéoposte ont désactivé l’accès caché sans clavier-de-banque à la con. Quelqu’un a un hack ? Un userscript ?
And there you go, Adium’s auto-update is screwed up again (stuck in a loop while verifying the dmg).
I feel like watching a good movie, for a change. I wanna watch a movie that I’ve already seen but I haven’t seen yet.
In short: that’s a medium-format lens duct-taped to a mount adapter. Sexy.
Our industry has collectively taught average people over the last few decades that computers should be feared and are always a single misstep from breaking. We’ve trained them to expect the working state to be fragile and temporary, and experience from previous upgrades has convinced them that they shouldn’t mess with anything if it works. They’ve learned to ignore our pressures to always get the latest versions of everything because our upgrades frequently break their software and workflow. They expect unreliable functionality, shoddy software workmanship, unnecessary complexity, broken promises from software marketers, and degrading hostility from their office’s IT staff. […]
The upgrade market for average PC owners is dead. We [developers] killed it.
— Quand on pense à la complexité de cette techno dont personne n’a et n’aura jamais eu besoin…
— Finalement, Wave, c’est de l’art (@krstv)
Mais alors comment bien parler la Wave pour ne pas se faire rembarrer au bout de trois mots ?
Changer de langue. L’allemand par exemple place le verbe à la fin de la phrase, sa construction grammaticale permet de garder un suspense insoutenable que personne ne peut déflorer avant la touche finale.
Se la jouer Yoda. Vous inversez tous les mots pour que les personnes qui vous lisent soient obligées de reformer la phrase afin d’en déduire le sens et la réponse à apporter.
Taper son texte ailleurs. Voire écrire une lettre et la poster.
Damn, that was pointless. I thought the retcon would be infuriating and insulting, but the fact is that I couldn’t care less about any of it, and I was so bored I had a difficult time forcing myself to push through — ten minutes in, I already couldn’t wait for that thing to end. I never expected interesting, or good (particularly not with Olmos directing), but that much emptiness — it’s draining.
I have to commend Mary McDonnell for sitting this one out. (Whatever her reasons were — I can’t imagine she just prefers appearing as a cartoon character in a couple of Grey’s Anatomy episodes rather than as the elected tyrant of all mankind in one of the most iconic TV shows of the decade.)
Still, because I can’t help it:
Never mind the whole Cavill’s Club thing on Galactica, making the entire coordinated effort of the skinjobs aboard the fleet exponentially less interesting, what puzzles me is:
The original “plan” was to eliminate in one single blow, by nuking their cities, a space-faring civilization that’s busy traveling from colony to colony — expecting that there wouldn’t be a single survivor? You know, like ships in the middle of a trip… or people in the countryside?
Not to mention the implication that all the clones who happened to end up aboard the fleet (or anywhere else) were just out there to enjoy being nuked?
Okay, you win. It is insultingly stupid. But I still don’t care. (Although I do mind the horribly lame explanation for how Marilyn Six magically disappeared off Galactica, all of the show’s mysticism be damned.)
Liking information isn’t just limited to Reader shared item feeds. If you use Reader’s [XML] view of a feed, you can see the elements there too. This means that as a publisher you can extract this information and see which of your items Reader users find interesting.
Coming soon to garoo.net: “0 likes” badges.
I’m probably a little oversensitive on those matters, but I’ll still take it as a little slap on the face that relatively major modifications to the Mac lineup have been announced without a press event at all — nothing to show for it in advance of the Store closing down.
13-inch MacBook: “Unibody” enclosure for the plastic case? Uh… yeah, whatever. (Those Geniuses sure enjoy having you come to the Bar to get your battery replaced, don’t they.) I have to see it in person, but it looks a little toy-like on the pictures, which may be good, or bad — but that design is definitely at odds with every single other Apple product currently available. The new MacBook is also pretty much as light as the Pro now, which doesn’t make much sense for the product lineup, but that’s isn’t news.
27-inch iMac: Hottt. Obviously. Except I don’t like the design — I find that straight horizontal line to be an extremely weird choice, when a simple, uninterrupted black glass pane covering the entire front of the machine would have been so much classier. And it’s a shame that it took this long to finally get video inputs on that thing, but still great that it finally happened. (No picture-in-picture, though. And for some reason it’s only on the 27-incher.) Can’t quite figure out why Apple is evidently adopting the SD card as a Mac standard for good.
Magic Mouse: (God, that’s even worse than “Mighty Mouse.”) I guess having a smaller surface accounts for the need to use fewer fingers in the gestures, but it’s still gonna be confusing to laptop users that they have to scroll with one finger, and swipe with two. Not to mention that the right click seems even more specific than it already was with the previous mouse. I’ll have to play with it sometime, but I still wish they’d finally release an external trackpad. And I don’t think it’s very pretty — or, more to the point, I don’t think it really fits the computers it’s going to connect to.
Mac mini server: Cool. Geeky cool. I mean, it’s just about useless, but who wouldn’t want one? (First I thought it would be super flat, and it would be fantastic. Then I saw it wasn’t thin at all, and was disappointed. But finally I found out it had two hard drives, and now I’m a little horny.)
P.S. I can’t believe the hideousness of that new remote.
Bought a Mythbusters DVD out of curiosity, but I can’t stand the cheesiness. Do people really love this show?
The worst part about this is that I can’t figure out what the hell that ad is supposed to mean. Or why the Corvette turns into a Lotus. Those japan people, they’re weird, huh, what about those talking toilets they have, amirite?
Well, Google Reader is finally doing something with all of that social data. Good recommendations, looks like.
For once, here’s a movie that lived up to its hype — this is, indeed, the best Pixar movie evar, and probably the first I loved without reservations.
I’m hesitating to complain that Dug and the other dogs could have had more time, and lines — there’s a blurred, uncertain border between underusing and overusing a gag or character, and it’s definitely best for everyone to play it safe on that front.
For instance, I just refrained from making a squirrel joke (and that was hard), because I imagine every single review of Up has made one already.
Mozilla Raindrop trades the invite-only beta for build-it-yourself-from-source. Not so great with the marketing, those guys.
Je regarde Roman de gare, pour Fanny Ardant, et je me sens comme honteux d’avoir jamais aimé un Lelouch.
Hmm, looks like there’s a Paranormal Activity screener DVD. Don’t know if I wanna get it. And watch it. In the dark countryside.
X-Men Origins Wolverine: The opening montage is kinda cool for such an uninteresting movie. And, damn, Ryan Reynolds’s body. Damn. Damn.
And as mentioned earlier, there’s no scrollball button. On the Apple Mouse, the scrollball button is set to launch Dashboard by default. As with Exposé, Apple recommends using an F-key to launch Dashboard.
I knew there was no button for Exposé, but didn’t care because I was never convinced by the way it worked on the peripheral formerly known as Mighty Mouse, and you can use hot corners for that anyway (not to mention that the new mouse is the reason why Exposé is now accessible by click-holding a Dock icon in Snow Leopard) — but I didn’t realize there was no middle button, either. I seriously couldn’t operate a computer without a middle mouse button to open links in new tabs.
Kaamelott 6.01-6.06 : J’apprécie complètement l’envie de ne pas être on l’attend, mais là il ne la vend pas bien fort, sa trilogie de films.
Moon — A fantastic sci-fi short that got so diluted you’re always ten steps ahead. And it does feel like Sam Rockwell is acting alone.
My wife sure asks me to buy a lot of batteries.
I need the MS Points card that’s in my wishlist http://bit.ly/4yjK3t to review Gay Tony. To discuss the gay implications and… parachutes!
I’m linking this just for the close-up shot of the Droid’s screen— it looks like a super-high-quality printout, not a screen. Which is no surprise, because if my calculations are right, that’s a fucking 260dpi you get on that screen.
Whereas the iPhone’s impressive-at-the-time 160dpi was a real advantage when it came to displaying web pages, I can’t imagine how useful 260dpi can really be on a device this size — for it to make a difference on the legibility of small type as compared to the iPhone, the letters would have to be so small that you’d need a magnifying glass to make them out anyway. (Well, that does open up a market for Droid-sized magnifiers like there existed in the GameBoy era.)
But damn, that must look so hot you’ll want to lick it.