Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Net Neutrality: Save the Internet

This video explains the concept of Net Neutrality better than I could (and this ninja does too).

After you watch the video, do something.

Link Dump

I've got links building up that need to be linked... No time for deep commentary, just links, links everywhere:

Battlestar Galactica characters drawn like Simpsons

The Metaverse Roadmap Project
Pics of the $100 laptop (project site here)
Half-Life 2 Ass-kicking Machine
Oblivion Domino Day
Clint Hocking on the Wii and PS3 (Wii good; PS3 bad)
The Myth of Superman (he's like a modern god)


Monday, May 22, 2006

Animations Galore!

...or two animations anyway. Nina Paley is posting clips from her feature length piece "Sita Sings the Blues," which is a rendition of the Ramayana set to old blues songs. In her FAQs, Paley talks about the combination of Indian myth and the Blues:
These songs - Mean to Me, Am I Blue, Daddy Won't You Please Come Home, Moanin' Low - tell the same story I found in the Ramayana. Woman loves man, man does her wrong, woman loves man anyway and suffers horribly. They're the Blues; they're Sita's story, and mine. It seemed a natural fit.

Another interesting project, Elephants Dream is an "open source movie." I haven't watched the whole product yet, but it looks very strange. Conceptually, this fascinates me in the same way as the Swarm of Angels project. Grassroots cinema.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Bruce Schneier has a nice piece over on Wired.com talking about why privacy is important... even if you have nothing to hide.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It's intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Super Mario Galaxy

This snip from Penny Arcade has my mouth watering for a Wii and a copy of Super Mario Galaxy:
Visually bold and reminiscent of The Little Prince, you will find yourself sailing from world to world, with and controls that actively reinforce that your hands themselves are floating in space as well. Mario is controlled with the analog attachment, and the pointing device in your other hand essentially "helps" him in various ways by manipulating the environment. A platform game where tiny worlds are the platforms while boundless space fills in the cracks essentially feels amazing.
Just lovely.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

E3 Games

I'm not actually at E3, but that's not going to stop me from commenting on a few games that have piqued my interest...

Nintendo's Wii offered quite a bit of excitment with the new controller taking center stage. I'm particularly eager to get my hands on Super Mario Galaxy. Seeing Mario walk around the tiny planets reminded me pleasantly of the Little Prince. Of course, the Twilight Princess on Wii looks pretty sweet too.

From Microsoft, I was deeply excited by Halo 3. However, the news that GTA IV was going to include episodic content delivered over Live warmed my episodic-content-loving heart. Alan Wake looked interesting as a potential breakthrough into more literary genres. I'm no longer caught up in Molyneux hype, but if Fable 2 can begin to live up to the hype of Fable, then it's worth keeping an eye on. As someone who briefly played the paper RPG, Shadowrun was pretty exciting to see in game form. Finally, it's not a game, but the demo of Live Anywhere was quite heartening. It was bound to happen, and I'm happy that it's happening around games. Oh yeah, that Gears of War game doesn't look too shabby either.

For some reason, I was less than excited by Sony's showing. There were a number of crowd pleasers, but to me, they mostly looked like current-gen gameplay. Notable exceptions include the dragon-flight sim Lair, which looks pretty bad-ass, and what I can only guess is a safari game, Afrika. Finally, the Eye Toy demo, Eye of Judgement made me smile as the augmented reality concept is one I've actually worked on in the past. It's certainly nice to see that Sony has embraced a concept that is so near and dear to my heart.

Wow, I sound like some kind of Microsoft fanboy... maybe I am... hm.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

E3 Press Conferences... Impressions

I've finally absorbed all 5 or 6 hours of the big pre-E3 press conferences (via GameSpot's streams). I've come away feeling most excited by Ninendo. While I saw very little in terms of what I would consider to be next-gen gameplay from anybody, I did get the sense that Nintendo is most focused on broadening the market in a serious way. They also seemed to be enjoying themselves the most. Microsoft seemed to be focusing very much on what they are doing for gamers. And Sony, inexplicably, seemed to be presenting themselves as computer science gearheads. They showed tech demos and trumpeted the PS3's specs and widgets. It is for this reason that I think they will lose market share in this round.

What Microsoft and Nintendo seem to understand is that it's now all about what you do for people. Technology is only a means to an end. Sony seems to be stuck on the shiny newness of the Cell processor. And then there's the issue of price...

Of course, given the developer support for PS3 and Sony's own track record for putting out amazing games (witness Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and God of War), I'm sure PS3 will still be a huge success. I just don't think that Sony can maintain its market dominance in the face of competition that is so clearly focused on making the consumer happy.

All in all, I think this is going to be a great generation for gamers. There will be a widening of the market that will only spur demand for innovation. At any price point, there will be a quality experience to be had, from the Wii at about $200 to the PS3 topping out at $600. Between Nintendo's indie-friendly stance and Xbox Live Arcade (not to mention PC), there will be plenty of opportunity for studios with something new and different to bring to the table, and the big boys (I'm looking at you EA) will continue to bring big budget sweetness to the hard-core masses.

I can't wait.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bush's Reaction to the Helen Thomas Video

Click here to watch the president's reactions during Colbert's "Press Secretary Audition" video.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Totally Sweet NASA/ESA Video

What a wonderfully information rich video... Imagine if you could see this sort of thing in real time...

A Sense of Wonder (and a Large Mechanical Elephant)

A theatre company is staging a massive piece of street theatre in London this weekend. Already, a mysterious spacecraft has crash landed near Waterloo Place and sits, smoking, causing passersby to stare.

Said the leader of the theatre company, "One of the main things in art in general is to create sights and images that remain printed in people's minds."

I agree.

More pictures on Flickr.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Speaking Truthiness to Power: More on Colbert

Sadly, "Speaking Truthiness to Power" isn't my line. I saw this lovely image on Boing Boing.

Apparently, the video that was posted on YouTube isn't there anymore, thanks to copyright holders C-SPAN complaining. The video is probably available on their website (if you can deal with streaming clips), but you can also get a copy at Crooks and Liars or via BitTorrent.

Predictably, it sounds like the routine didn't go over so well with Bush and his aides. Shouldn't they learn to take criticism?

Finally, a couple stories at Salon elucidate the beauty of Colbert's routine and skewer the tepid or non-existant media coverage afterwards.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The City of Galvez

[via Clive Thompson] I haven't had a chance to digest this entire gallery, but these images by Oscar Guzmán are quite haunting.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Truthiness, Justice, and the American Way (ie Satire)

This weekend, Stephen Colbert roasted the president at the AP White House Correspondents' Dinner. And what a roast it was. Colbert pulled no punches in his satirical attack. It made me very happy to see that the Daily Show's spawn continue to carry on the tradition of (humorously) taking our culture to task. On his show, Colbert frequently talks about the size of his balls; well, this weekend he proved it, sticking it to the man... right to his face.

The absurd video at the end starring Helen Thomas is priceless. I laugh everytime I think of the administration officials (including the president himself) having to sit through such a strange piece of comedy.

Video is online here:
Or "en BitTorrent" sil vous preferrez.

Update: And now you can thank him.

More updates: The NYTimes has picked up the story only a few days late. And Jon Stewart congratulated Stephen on Monday's Daily Show.