May 2003 Archives


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I just picked up Nintendo's latest for the GBA: WarioWare, Inc. Mega Microgame$ and they aren't kidding! This little gem is chock full of mini games taken from classic NES games such as DuckHunt, ExciteBike, BalloonFight, DonkeyKong, even Dr.Mario makes an appearance, as well as others from all types of inspiration. They say there are over 200 games in all, but the best part of it is not even the selection, it's the rate at which they are thrown at you randomly and for only seconds a stage... you either do it or you don't. If you miss too many, you have to start from the beginning again. There are even several two player games that get unlocked by progressing through the game, and are played simulataneously on the same GBA! One player takes the right shoulder button, the other the left. Madness!

This is a great little game to take with you when you want to play a quick game of something, as it is unlikely you will ever be bored with the variety it offers.

Highly recommended... A+


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A study over at the University of Rochester has determined that time spent playing video games may not be wasted afterall (ya think?!). As mentioned in an article on CNN, U of R researchers found that those who play video games regularly have better visual skills than those who do not.

Personally, I am well aware that there are benefits from playing video games as they helped me pull myself out of a life threatening situation, and they are the reason why I am now a 4.0 full-time student at RIT.


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The Spring quarter is finally over at RIT and I can proudly say I succeeded on several levels. Being the first quarter back to school in quite some time I managed to adjust quickly and excel in each of the 4 courses I was enrolled, achieved a perfect 4.0 for the quarter, and kickstarted a weblog which has been an interest of mine for a while. What a relief now that it's over, I am finding time once again to surf the net, make entries in my blog, and play the games that I've all but ignored for the past couple of months.

Though the break is sweet, it won't last long... the Summer quarter starts June 2nd for which I am registered for another 16 credit hours.


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I have been reading lately the blog of a young man, named Salam Pax, from inside Iraq which is fascinating to me due in most part to my almost complete lack of understanding of Iraqi culture. Salam's blog, "Where is Raed?", details life in Iraq as he sees it, and his latest entry exhibits pictures he's taken recently, of which the one to the right is included. Be warned, as Salam himself mentions, as the pictures are many and the download time long... but do check it out.


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One of my favorite tech writers from back in the day, John C. Dvorak, has summed up the present sad state of affairs concerning the Xbox and Microsoft's uphill battle toward global dominance in the video game industry in this article from PC magazine.

And considering the recent 10% price cut of the Xbox hardware, maybe now is the time to get one for that Linux box I've been thinking about building.


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A timely comment about the effect blogging has on search engines, and Wired has just posted an article on the very same subject. It seems that in this age of information we live in, cream rises to the top of the search engines where Content is King. This isn't a new concept as even Bill Gates mentioned back in 1996. And it continues to be true today with the very latest in Internet search technology where an oft-updated web site paired with content good enough to be linked-to from other sites warrants a high Google PageRank.

So doesn't this make Marshall McLuhan's concept of "the medium is the message" also true in reverse? In other words "the message is the medium", at least that's what using Google might lead you to believe.


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Having just done a little research and write up for my IMM class on Marshall McLuhan, the father of the electronic age, when I came across this entry on a new blog I learned of from SuperFastComputer, I was compelled to post a comment about it. It references an article written about the original coining of the term "Second Superpower" by a New York Times writer named Patrick Tyler in February, 2003:

Tyler wrote: "...the huge anti-war demonstrations around the world this weekend are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion."

Though when a similar essay was written by Harvard Law's James Moore on the very same topic only weeks later, it was subsequently linked to by so many bloggers that it shot up the Google PageRank system quickly, so fast that the original work was all but washed away by links to the latter. Interesting and poignant to Marshall McLuhan's vision of a "Global Village", as indicated by SuperFastComputer, as well as to Orwell in 1984 with the washing away or rewriting of history in the electronic age, a connection that The Register made.

Some tasty morsels indeed.


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The pressure is subsiding slightly, finished up two major hurdles today and now I am enjoying a little breather. Bring on the games!

E3 started today with pre-show press conferences by many of the major players. Sony announced their new baby, the PSP - PlayStation Portable. Of course it will be a phenomenal success, though it's not coming out until sometime in 2004 (think Christmas). Nintendo presented a barrage of game announcements, so many in fact that it was a bit overwhelming. Good for them. It's about time that Nintendo comes out swinging. The game I'm eager to wrap my hands around the controller for is Mario Kart Double Dash. In as few words as possible: Mario Kart never disappoints. Many games are now showing some form of Gamecube to GBA link up feature. Very cool ideas in theory, I hope the execution lives up to expectation for the innovations in game play. I love new game ideas!

Speaking of new game ideas, the Wachowski Brothers have piled high their plate with releasing a new video game and not one but two major sequels this year, with The Matrix: Reloaded set to appear in theatres on Thursday and The Matrix: Revolutions set to open sometime in November. Also worth checking out are 4 short animated films, also from the brothers Wachowski, together called The Animatrix and are all available free, online, and created with extremely high production values.

Having been enthralled with the first movie when it came out I am eager to see what they have in store for us this time. And from what I understand, the movies tie in with the video game, also to be released on Thursday, and which 4 million (!!!) have already been shipped to retailers. A very lofty and ambitious endeavor. I hope the truly multimedia experience will be just as remarkable as the first movie was.

Other things around the net... I came across a better explanation for the file-sharing technology in BitTorrent here. And speaking of file-sharing, the RIAA had to very publicly send an apology letter to Penn State as reported by Wired in this article. Under section 512 of the DMCA, a copyright holder has the right to issue a takedown notice to an Internet provider demanding the copyright violating material be removed. These takedown notices are being issued without the copyright holders actually verifying the infractions as in the cases listed in the article. The erroneous notices can have disruptive effects and I am hoping that something happens soon which takes the wind out of the DMCA's sails, so to speak.

Ok, that's it for me. Got to get some sleep as I still have work to finish up for this quarter. It was fun while it lasted.


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While reading a post on Slashdot this weekend about video coverage of Mario Kart Double Dash, a link in the post brought me to a site where I could download a file containing the video coverage. Also available was a .torrent file for the file and I was curious as to what this .torrent file was. After a bit of investigation I concluded that I had just come across an amazing new peer-to-peer type of technology, that supports the transferring of files, in pieces, the connections of which are managed via a central server, or tracker. The server knows nothing about the content of the files being shared, since they contain only connection information, hence the .torrent files. The executable which runs on your local box is called BitTorrent, which has versions available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux/Unix. For more information on this interesting technology, check out this FAQ.

Cool stuff!


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I'm making progress towards finishing up this quarter here at RIT, and this weekend is being spent working every available hour. Here is a list of items that still require my attention...

Java Project 6 -just completed 5/11
Java Final Exam -done 5/19
Intro:Multimedia Project 4 -done!
Intro:Multimedia Final Practical -done 5/13
Intro:Multimedia Final Exam -done 5/15
Human Factors Device Design Paper -done 5/19
Human Factors Task Analysis deliverables -done 5/12
Human Factors Group presentation -done 5/20
Discrete Math for Tech Exam #3 -done 5/12 (97!)
Discrete Math for Tech Final Exam -done!

...and all are deliverable or happening within the next 10 days. Please wake me when it's over.


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Was just reading youngbradford dot com, the blog of a talented and musically inspired man from San Francisco that I just happened to come across one day out blogging. I absolutely love reading what this guy writes, as many times it has to do with music, and not just any music... the music of my life. Apparently it is also the music of his life, and therefore what he writes about is very appealing to me.

Thanks Young Bradford, for sharing your thoughts and your inspirations, for they have enriched my life as well. Sending you Big Love.


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In the "I wonder if this game will appear at E3" category, a couple of guys over at MIT have created a sensor device, the input for which comes in the form of a urination stream. That's right, installed in a urinal, You're In Control enables interactive games to be played on a screen mounted above it.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me.


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Tapwave, a company which formed 2 years ago, held a press conference this week to announce their new handheld game device, the Helix. The device is based on the Palm platform which means that it will run existing Palm software as well as games being written for it by leading developers such as Electronic Arts, Midway, and Activision. The device is aimed squarely at the 18-30 year-old audience and sports an analog stick, support for bluetooth wireless gaming, and rumble support which are just a few from the impressive list of features. Set for release this year, I'm certain we'll be learning more of this device at E3 next week.


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Taking a break from studies to see what's going on around the world, I'm sorry now I did: a Colorado DJ has been suspended for playing Dixie Chicks, the RIAA is now resorting to software capable of freezing your PC and deleting files, and the new as-yet-unpublished Harry Potter book was found left out in a field.

A mad world we live in. I'm going back to studying.

tmi


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Sooo much going on inside my head, so many thoughts, so many ideas, so much emotion. I want to write everything down... though I must continue to focus on finishing up this quarter. Just two weeks left. Major project over for Multimedia yesterday. Just finished an Exam in Java this evening. Need to get going on Java Project 5 due Wednesday. Not enough time to write all my thoughts. Simply too much information.


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Well I just spent literally all weekend long working on finishing up the third project (of 4) for the Intro: MultiMedia & the Web class I'm taking. Having logged at least 50-60 hours into this one, I figured I should post a link to the work I did for anyone who happens to come across this blog. Included is some fine attention to detail, and it's kind of fun to read and look at too. I must get some sleep, so I can get up tomorrow and begin all over again.

These last two weeks are going to be very very tough.


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Just came back from the grand opening and dedication ceremonies for the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences held in the atrium of that beautiful building. A humorous and entertaining event, most memorable was the light hearted bantering back and forth between Mr. Golisano and RIT President Al Simone. The biggest laughs came from the president's jokes, including the pronunciation of the GCCIS acronym as "Jesus". Furthering the humor, he said by including all of Mr. Golisano's initials in the acronym produces "B-Jesus". So, glory be to Jesus for the latest addition to RIT's fine campus, and heartfelt thanks to Tom Golisano for generously donating the $14 million dollars.

Also provided was a virtual reality and musical performance by Jaron Lanier, the man who coined the term "virtual reality" back in the early 80's. Although his talent was virtually unappreciated by many of the attendees, his performance which merged primitive instruments with computer technology was indeed impressive and exhibited a level of depth that could barely be comprehended in the venue of its expression.

It was a truly momentous and memorable event, one more witness to the seemingly magical experience unfolding right before me, as if... for me. I am very fortunate to be a full-time student pursuing a masters degree in game design and development here at RIT.


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Today I scheduled my life for the next 6 months, so I thought it would be appropriate to write it all down here...

Summer

ONLINEData Communications & Computer Networks
ONLINEIntro: Database & Data Modeling
MTWRAmerican Sign Language I
MTWROS Scripting
TROS Scripting lab

Fall

TRInteractive Digital Media
MWInternetworking Lab
TInternetworking Lab lab
MWHCI2:Interface Design
MWTechnology Transfer


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The RIAA has just reached settlements ranging from $12K to $17.5K with 4 college students it claimed operated music file sharing networks on campuses. The article reported by Wired.com.

Also, was just reading another article at Wired about the impact software piracy has on the economy...

"...a recent IDC study commissioned by the BSA (Business Software Alliance) found that cracking down on software piracy could dramatically increase the number of jobs and stimulate economies around the world.

According to the study, four in 10 software products are illegally copied worldwide. If the piracy rate dropped to 30 percent, economic growth could increase by $400 billion and it would create 1.5 million jobs and generate $64 billion in taxes."

I believe that the underlying problem to piracy is the fact that software, whether computer application or the latest music CD, is significantly overpriced. I don't know too many people who can afford to purchase at retail every software package they use, or every CD they listen to. Does this mean they shouldn't do any work or listen to any new music?

This is why I believe most people therefore break the law by making an illegal copy because they just can't justify spending the money. If software was more reasonably priced, doesn't it stand to reason that more people would pay for it rather than doing something they know is wrong?


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Konami and Nintendo announced today that Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes for the Gamecube is being developed at Silicon Knights under the supervision of Konami's Hideo Kojima and Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto.

To be released later this year, Gamespot.com has reported the game will include the story of the original MGS title, though will include an updated graphics engine and play mechanics.

I never did enjoy the Playstation's graphics and controller much. Having bought one specifically to play Final Fantasy VII when it was released back in Sept, 1997, I gave it away soon afterwards because I disliked the graphics and the controller's cryptic, non-intuitive button arrangement (square, circle, triangle, X -- their rather arbitrary placement made absolutely no sense to me at all). So when the original MGS was released back in 1998, I never had the opportunity to play. I am looking forward to the experience, especially since it will have the "Miyamoto touch".

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