Monthly Archives: October 2007

Thinly Veiled Overtones

Good buddy Len sends me this EBGameStop commercial.

I may not agree with the whole upscale pawnshop business model, but at least the commercial is funny.


Post contains term: Weaponized disco ball

In a pretty strange move, Sony is recommending that retailers break street date for Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction.  Which is great news for me because this was one of the games I was actually looking forward to.  Nice to see them do something right for a change.

Thank you, I’m here ’til Friday.

But with Ratchet and Clank: ToD, I played all five minutes of the 1.6GB demo and I was pleased with what they’ve done so far with the series.  Of note, the “Groovitron” weaponized disco ball.

Drop this in a target rich environment and your foes are compelled to dance.  I went through the demo a couple of times just to see how many different animations there were for different enemies.

I have the feeling that this is going to be a favorite of mine in the retail game.

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Boy, I sure do love whitewashing this fence!

I’m kind of hooked on Google Image Labeler. I know it’s work that computers cannot do. I know it’s work. I know that despite their best efforts to not be evil, google is exploiting the citizens of the internet as cheap labor. I know that it’s a clever, trickster god method for google to get human beings to label their images for their search engine.

I know all this, and I keep playing it.

How does it work? First, you are matched up with an anonymous partner. Then, you are both shown the same image. You are shown a list of words that are “off limits” if any. For instance an obvious picture of a woman may not allow “woman” as the label, forcing you to recognize the person or get more creative.

You have two minutes to get through as many pictures together as you can. You get points for matching labels, with more points being awarded for labels outside the norm, although I don’t know how they actually judge them. At the end of two minutes, you are shown your partner’s responses, and the sources for the pictures.

I have tried to figure out why this is so compelling. Is it the multiplayer with an anonymous stranger? Is it because it is a “game” that taps the shared unconscious? Is it the opportunity to flex the vocabulary that has languished while I bend aetheric energies to my will? Is it the opportunity to be really snarky with photographs?

There are probably many reasons. But whenever I’m playing it, I feel as if our shared (internet) cultural currency becomes manifest in our responses.

If there is one thing I’ve learned is that I don’t know Josh Brolin from Josh Groban, nor do I know my Hiltons as well as most people do. As a rule, I am horrible with celebrities.

If there is one thing that could be done to improve the “game,” (fingerquotes!) it would be to increase the resolution of the pictures. Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to recognize a screenshot of Ninja Gaiden Sigma when it’s shrunk down to 120 pixels in width.

Also, I think I just played the game with internet presence Cory Doctorow. It may or may not have been him (you can display whatever nickname you want), but I got a kick out of reading the responses. I really should have tagged that one pro wrestling picture with “thinly veiled homosexuality.”

That match would have been awesome.

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Everything is better with lasers attached to it

To be honest, I don’t know what train wreck of reasoning led me to rationalize the purchase of a laser pointer assisted non contact thermometer. I’m still working on that whole, “need versus want” rationale.

Also on my priority action item list is “impulse control,” so that may have explained the ease with which my index finger clicked on the “proceed to checkout” button.

That said, walking around the condo shooting lasers to find out the temperatures of surfaces is amusing. Did I mention that it has a pistol grip? Well, it has a pistol grip. It’s only been a day, but I’m happy with my purchase of the, ahem, Raytek MT4U MiniTemp No-Contact Thermometer with Laser Sighting. The price really was the selling point here, and I got it the next day.

Which was strange, considering I selected super saver shipping. Normally that takes three weeks.

Perhaps now I can think of uses for it, other than finding out what the temperature of the air conditioner is, or how hot different spots on the iBook are, or checking temperatures on hard drives, or graphics processors, or lightbulbs, or the oven heating element.

I think tonight I’ll measure the temperature differences between the different walls in the condo and finally have a scientific measurement of that wall that just feels warm and I have no explanation other than there’s a dead body back there or a portal to the as yet undiscovered but often theorized about nineteenth level of Chinese hell.

Or maybe it’s one of the motors for the elevators in my building.


The Obsoletes

I have a box labeled, “The Obsoletes.” It’s filled with an older gadgets and whatnot that for some reason, I just don’t use anymore. Going through that box (not as big as you’d think) I found my Casio WQV-3.

It’s a wristwatch camera.

Here is a picture from today, some artwork that I found interesting in a coffeeshop in Rockville.

Greenberry Lithographs

And yes, this is full size.

Initially had a hard time getting it to upload the picture until I slowed down the communication speed on the infrared receiver. For some reason it defaulted to 4000000. After I dropped it down to 9600, I was able to send the pictures to my desktop.

I didn’t have any installation CD for this device at all, fortunately CASIO has a fairly comprehensive drivers page for them. That’s relatively good support for a six year old niche gadget that didn’t sell very well.

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