FITC and Flash

FITC Toronto was in full swing over the last weekend and it struck me with a severe case of deja vu. Annual conferences like this, if you attend them frequently enough, are strange beasts. Forgotten names are brought up, faces that are seen once a year show up and all the lunch time (in)decisions and presentations feel awfully familiar. There are always interesting bits and pieces and insights to take away from some of the talks, though it’s often a…

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Sins of a Solar Empire’s UI Designer

As a long time web user it really bugs me when games have really poor user interface design and architecture. It’s one thing when it’s in-game, with all the engine and graphical and game data considerations, but when the menu interface is broken and/or archaic it’s downright annoying. Sins of a Solar Empire is one such title. I like the game — played a three-plus hour battle online yesterday — but my experience, on the whole, is lukewarm because of…

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Alternate Best Comedy Sketches

No doubt you’ve seen the list of 50 greatest comedy sketches that’s making the rounds. Lists like that make great weblog fodder. Unlike most lists, though, this one isn’t all bad. The top two (or three) are a little predictable and for all the Monty Python love that I have (I’d have filled half of that list with Python skits) I’m not entirely fond of the “Dead Parrot” bit. I’d have listed the Philosopher’s World Cup and the wartime joke…

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Pentax K20D

I have a penchant for overly expensive hobbies. When I’m not playing an over-priced game on an expensive console connected to an even more expensive HD television — like right now, with the XBox dead in the water — I like to go out and take pictures. Photography, even if you go digital and remove the film and processing costs, is not a cheap hobby if you want to pursue it seriously. It’s a relatively new interest for me but…

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Kudos to Microsoft

It’s back. I’ve bitched about the reliability of XBox hardware before. I’ve complained about the lousy call centre experience I had last time my XBox 360 died and the time it took to get my console fixed. This week, however, Microsoft has done right; I received my replacement 360 Friday afternoon. That’s a turn-around of six days. System broke and reported on Saturday, I received the box Monday afternoon, sent it Tuesday and I was delivered a replacement on Friday.…

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Chiptunes vs Crystal Castles

As a final addendum to my post on Crystal Castles, I present: Crystal Castles – Crimewave (8-bit cover) Yes, somebody did a pure chiptune remix of Crystal Castles. I love it; it’s so meta. A lo-fi 8-bit remix of a song that, itself, was a lo-fi remix of a song. At this point, I expect and hope that somebody brings down the bits even more and remixes the 8-bit version using Monotone.

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Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a crock of shit. It’s an insignificant gesture that amounts to nothing. An 8.7% drop in power usage sounds significant, but what does it really mean? Assuming that there isn’t any statistical error in that number (there likely is!), an 8.7% deviation from the hourly average amounts to an annual deviation of 0.0009932%. Basically insignificant. A number so small that things like National Night Out, where people are encouraged to keep all their outside lights on, will…

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April Blues

April is the time of the year when all the huge mounds of snow on the sidewalk start to melt leaving, in their wake, huge mounds of cigarette butts, grime and dog shit. All the filth that accumulated in the winter months is now in full display for the spring. It’s a wonderful time. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer it’s best to start heading outside. It’s time to leave the shelter of home, turn off those…

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Probably Promotion

If Duke Nukem Forever is released in 2008, everyone who comments on this post* will get a free, RETAIL game from me. I’m not sure what the buzzword for this type of advertising is but it seems to be coming up more and more. It all basically follows the same formula: if event X (outside of the company’s control) then free (or discounted) Y. In the above example, if Guns N’ Roses releases Chinese Democracy this year, Dr. Pepper will…

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SimCity

I’ve been playing SimCity lately. The Super Nintendo version. On the Wii. I don’t know why I was compelled to pay eight bucks for this when the original PC game is now open-sourced and available for free. More to the point, I don’t know why I was compelled to pay for a game I already own. Granted, it’s boxed up, along with the Super Nintendo, somewhere in my parents’ house, but if I ever felt the desire to play it…

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Crystal Castles vs Chiptunes

Edit (May 5, 08): Hey, it turns out Crystal Castles are thieving bastards and full of shit. Read more. Crystal Castles is the latest buzz-making indie band to emerge out of Toronto, which has been a relative hotbed of cool independent (and post-independent) music. It’s a scene that has spawned the likes of MSTRKRFT, Holy Fuck and, before them, Death From Above 1979 and Broken Social Scene and the multitudes of artists connected to them in every conceivable way (like…

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A Source of Random Medieval Information

Amongst the many ridiculous events in the Church’s history, the Cadaver Synod has to rank in the top five. Basically, they dug up a dead pope, cut off his fingers, put him on trial, found him guilty, reburied him, dug him up again and then threw him into the river. Here’s another article about it. Anyway, that’s all inconsequential. What’s interesting is that the wikipedia page’s discussion is categorized as “Low-importance Middle Ages articles“. Following through to that will reveal…

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Modern Sins

That wooshing noise you hear coming from the Vatican is the sound of the Church grasping for straws, hoping to stay relevant in an increasingly irrelevant age. Trying to stay modern, and not with the mores of the eighteenth century, the Church has come up with a contemporary set of seven deadly sins. Amongst the set are “Environmental pollution”, “Genetic manipulation”, the vague “Morally debatable experiments” and the wordy “Violation of fundamental rights of human nature”. I don’t know about…

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