Friday, May 20, 2005

J Allard Redux

Here's a J Allard quote from an interview with Eurogamer in regards to the Xbox and PS3 prices:
I don't know what our price is going to be, and I don't know what their price is going to be. They got a lot of stuffed in, huh? Look at the back of that thing! Holy crap!

He also made some nice points about competition being good for gamers:

I know it makes for good drama because it oh, it's Microsoft versus Sony - I want gaming to get bigger. I think it's great that all three companies are all taking really different approaches and are bringing gaming to the next level in different ways. That's good. That's good for competition, that's good for the consumer, that's good for the industry, because it's going to grow the industry, and if it gives game creators more opportunities to go and push the envelope, that's great.

I like this guy more and more. Oh yeah, and I got my new HDTV the other day, too. ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Of Cats and Catwomen

I'm working at home this afternoon, and I've got the movie Catwoman playing in the background. It's about what I expected: mindless, amusing, silly. The funny thing is watching it as a cat owner.

My cats are actually meowing in response to the on-screen felines.

Of course, Halle Berry acting like a cat is mostly ridiculous. The sexy strutting and jumping around are more like some guy's fantasy of what Halle Berry acting like a cat would be. However, at times, Halle does justice to her namesake, scarfing raw fish or falling off a high shelf and then looking surprised.

I think that, while cats have their sensual moments and are unquestionably nimble and lithe, they are actually a lot more innocent and erratic than the stereotype. For instance, in one scene, Halle is discovering her inner cat while playing basketball with Benjamin Bratt's character. She is engrossed in the sheer love of playing with the ball, which struck me as very cat-like. However, her unnatural ability with the ball, seemed too in-control for a cat. When my cats play, it's much more wild and out-of-control. The crinkle ball with which they play flys this way and that. The pace of play is much more stop-and-go as they lose interest and then return to the ball.

All-in-all, the movie certainly could have done a better job making Halle cat-like. But I suppose that's probably not what it was about. Plus, dog-people wouldn't have gotten it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cult of Personality: Xbox's J Allard

Amid the furor of all the unveilings prior to E3, I've been captivated by the prominence of Microsoft VP J Allard. I first heard Allard speak at GDC 2004 where he introduced XNA. At the time, I pegged him as just another MS hawker, trying too hard to make a monopoly sound cool. I heard him again at GDC 2005, where he pimped the HD Era [in the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I won an HDTV at that talk, though I have yet to receive it]. He still came off slick and even a bit "over-produced," but the content of the talk seemed to make sense.

Maybe my distrust of Allard came from the fact that he's always got a big screen projection of himself behind him [exhibit A]. To be fair, I've only ever seen him when he's giving a talk which excuses the Citizen Kane thing. Either way, I've never quite been able to separate the real J Allard from the manufactured J Allard. Then I saw this.

Somehow, knowing that he at least looked like an engineer in his past, I feel a lot more comfortable with him. Certainly, the things he's done are not too shabby. According to the recent Time magazine article on the Xbox 360, he pretty much single-handedly convinced Bill Gates to make the Internet a major part of MS's strategy. He also was the mover-and-shaker behind the pursuit of gaming. Time uses the word "evangelist," which I think is appropriate. In the video, I think he comes off as genuinely excited about what he's talking about.

So, to sum up, I find J Allard facinating.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Animal Augmentation

Wired is running a provoking article that looks at the ethically questionable area of technologically enhancing animals. At first, it read like a review of some bio-art piece, meant to generate discussion, but by the end of the piece, it was clear that some people think augmentation of animals is not only ethically sound but technologically feasible. Wow.

The best quote:
"With children, the insane and the demented we are obliged, when we can, to help these 'disabled citizens' to achieve or regain their full self-determination," says Dr. James J. Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and author of Citizen Cyborg. "We have the same responsibility to enhance the intelligence and communication abilities of great apes, and possibly also of dolphins and elephants, when we have the means to do so. Once they are sufficiently enhanced, they can make decisions for themselves, including removing their augmentation."