Monday, July 31, 2006

XKCD strikes again

Got a giggle out of me twice this morning:

Music Knowledge

The Raven

Sunday, July 30, 2006

From the mouths of babes

While travelling to NY this past week, I had time to catch up on a bunch of podcasts, lectures, and other audio tidbits.

One very cool one I recommend is this recording of a panel held by the Western Association of Venture Capitalists, where they held a panel discussion with a bunch of teens about their use of technology. It's a great first-hand account of trends in the making, and dispells some stereotypes (while reinforcing others).

Loved the quote from the one girl about having 13 IM chat windows open, as well as email and MySpace, and oh yeah, MS Word so that it looked like she was doing homework.

Another favorite was along the lines of "I never use email. All my friends text or im me, or get in touch through MySpace - email is just for teachers to get hold of me so it can only have bad news. If I ignore it, then it isn't there".

Link here.

E3 cancelled?

Opened up the inbox this evening to find this from Souris, aka Hustler of Culture. regarding this news item:

Senior industry sources have revealed to Next-Gen.Biz that the E3 industry event, in its present form, has been cancelled for next year and the foreseeable future

E3 going the way of the Dodo? Hardly sounds possible, does it?

Actually not that surprising. The same surprise came when Comdex died a sudden death a few years back.

At that time, it was "perfect storm' of three damaging factors:
  • the escalating price of attending the "one size fits all" uber computer HW/SW show
  • the dot-com fallout hit to the economy
  • the emergence of many smaller 'specialized' conferences better targeting niches that were growing to enough size to sustain their own conferences (not unlike games did when E3 emerged to excise games from CES.

The factors combining this time seem to be:

  • the escalating prices of attending the "one show to rule them all" games event.
  • the between-the-gen's hit to the financials of the big publishers
  • the emergence of a different 'specialized' conference: the big publishers, and console vendors too, each holding their own partner and press events, timed around specific products, season roadmaps, or given franchise releases tied to movie releases and the like.

The new article claims there will still be some kind of a smaller, scaled back event. It will be interesting to see what the "dwarf star E3" turns out to be, or whether the well has been poisoned enough that people won't support it...


Full on BBQ action this evening.

Our friends Kelly (Alisa's old college roomie) and Rod (her hubby) came down from Vancouver for the day with their 3 kids in tow, so it was a real circus here.

I did dinner on the grill, which was:

2 peach nectar beer-can-style chickens
homemade peach-habanero BBQ sauce
grilled peppers
BBQ'd corn on the cob

And for desert

Grilled peaches and bananas with butter and sugar, topped with whipped cream.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by Kim Pallister.
My third attempt. Yet again airport-inspired; I should try something actually gamebiz related.

This one did make me a hit with the flight attendants who saw me drawing it with my tablet PC on the plane. I was treated to stories of other nasty customers, including a guy from that day who was arrested after throwing his golf clubs at the check-in counter employee when his flight was late!

Repurposed tech

Originally uploaded by Kim Pallister.
I just got back from a less-than-48hr whirlwind trip to NYC.

While there, I was surprised to see those backpack/rollaway combo bags being repurposed as billboard signs for street vendors.

This is a lesson that your products may get used in ways you didn't intend. Is this a market someone should capitalize on? Maybe make the handle have a couple holes in it for tie-wraps?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Better than Steve Jobs

Guy Kowasaki points us to this AWESOME speech given by Majora Carter at the TED conference recently.

He lists a bunch of reasons it's a great speech, saying she's as good as Steve Jobs, but it still didn't prepare me for how moving a speech it was. I have to say that, based on this example, she's a better speaker than Jobs, hands down.

Her speech is on sustainable development in economically and socially neglected areas like the south bronx. While that doesn't soon like an exciting subject, she really makes it come alive.

I agree with all 13 reasons that Guy gives as to why it's a great speech, but I think he missed one: Her obvious life-devoting passion for the subject is what puts the driving force behind all her techniques and tactics.

Oh, and I *love* the way she firmly, but gently, gives Al Gore the smack-down at the tail end of the speech.

Moving. Riveting. Go. View. Now. 30 minutes of your time well spent.

Stream here.
Download here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Technology Bites

I went to the dentist yesterday. I hadn't been since moving up here, and was overdue when I left Portland, so it was... very overdue to say the least.

My poor dental hygene habits aside, the clinic I switched to had jaw-dropping (groan-inducing pun intentional) technology compared to the clinic I was at in portland.

Biggest thing was that the X-rays are digital. Rather than shipping them off to a lab for development, they pop up on a PC screen immediately after snapping them. The downside is that you have to put a rather akward peripheral device in your mouth (gag), but the upsides are immediate results, and the fact that they were able to do all kinds of image processing filters/effects that let them better see results:

  • Brightness/contrast let them better spot decay
  • A density/color map let them spot areas that were tartar
  • An emboss filter let them isolate areas of large decay (they told me about this one - I didn't have such areas)

They also snapped a bunch of pics with a high res digital camera, stored them in the same database, and then when they spotted something on the xray, they were able to point it out to me on the digital pic and show me how to spot such things (in this case, a cavity I had).

Pretty high end stuff for a small clinic. Very cool.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by Kim Pallister.
My second attempt at a comic using ArtRage. Overheard this at the Alaskan counter a while back. My speech bubble doesn't convey too well the fact that it really came off as a threat when she said it. Like Customer service was a BAD thing

TF2 trailer looks SWEEEET!

Only days after posting the link to the Portal trailer, their 'First Person Puzzle' game, here I am again raving about Valve.

The trailer for Team Fortress 2 looks awesome. I *love* the Incredibles/Interstate76-esque toon-style dressing they've given it. Sold!


ATI Cashes in Chips

Wow. For the last 8 years or so, I've heard rumor of either ATI or Nvidia being bought by either AMD or Intel. After almost a decade of rumor and speculation, it turned real today, when there was an announcement that AMD is buying ATI for 5.4B (4.2 of that in, as mookie would say, cash-money)

It raises more questions than it answers, but it certainly will shake up the processor and graphics market some.

Will AMD become more competitive on the integrated chipset side of things? What does this mean to Nvidia's business in that space (squeezed between ATI/AMD and Intel integrated rocks and hard places)?

Will this make ATI more competitive vs Nvidia in their AIB business, and AMD more competitive vs Intel on the CPU side of things going forward? Or is it like Andy Grove once said, "Just because you tie two rocks together doesn't mean they'll float"?

Will the AMD-integration strengthen ATI as a corporation, or diffuse (de-fuse?) it's culture and expertise as happened to other acquired graphics corporations of years past?

It'll be interesting to watch from the sidelines. That's for sure.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Public Speaking

Guy Kowasaki points us to The Speaking Channel, a nifty site which has this set of videos with speeches and accompanying commentary on what makes them good. I don't agree with all the points, but the Guy Kowasaki (you know there's a reason he pointed to it :-) and John Edwards speeches are worth watching.

Great site for those that speak to audiences from time to time and want to improve. They have audio and video podcasts as well. (The first few podcasts are in WAV format. Guess it took a while to figure out the whole MP3 compression thing :-)

Speaking of "Guys", the same site has the video of Guy Goma, the poor sap that was arriving at the BBC for a job interview, mistaken for another "Guy" who was late for a TV interview, and was whisked on the air and interviewed by the news anchor. The petrified look on his face as he tries to fake his way through it is hysterical. If you haven't seen it, it's worth the trip.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I spend some time lurking on the Indian chapter's section of the IGDA forum. I think the industry as a whole is focusing on India less than it should, so I'm keeping an eye on things, and this is one place to do it.

Anyhow. I spotted this post there today (emphasis mine):

We are looking at development houses making online casual games for our upcoming portal. We are open to buying our existing games or getting customized development done.
High Level Specs:Flash/SHockwave basedCategories: Action, Arcade and Sports; Benchmark: Redline Rumble, Soccer on Pogo etc; Timeframe: 4 weeks;
Budget: below US$ 4000

Wow. Guess we'll have to check back in a month or two to see if you get what you pay for, or if the commoditization of development is something to be feared.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006



This "Portal" game/mod/whatever from Valve looks way cool. The first FPP? (First Person Puzzle)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Security and the Sexy Social Network

Steve Lacey points us to a nifty little application of social network type applications.

You've used CAPTCHA before. It's the name given to those spam-id verification services that make you type in a string of semi-garbled, non-machine-readable characters to verify you are a human. Leave a comment on this blog post to see an example.

The problem is, they are a pain to use - at best they are tedious - and sometimes they are unrecognizable. (If you are like me, these unrecognizable ones lead you to a moment of wondering whether you are ones of the machines yourself!)

Anyhow, Steve points us to Hot Captcha, from the same folks that made Hot or Not (oh, come on, admit it, you've been there). Hot Captcha replaces the string of characters with a row of nine pictures of people. Three of those are hot, six are not. Pick the right three, and you are human.

As Steve points out:

They have provided a webservice that uses the collective intelligence of humans to put together a question set that is almost impossible for a non-human to answer. Pretty cool.

Pretty cool indeed.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Neilsen to start measuring ads

News here (via Shotgun Marketing blog) that Neilsen, the folks that do the TV ratings, will measure ad effectiveness starting this November (currently the just measure what SHOWS are watched on TV, not per-ad viewership).

This is pretty interesting.

1) I can't beleive they haven't already been doing it. Has there not been demand of objective data from the advertiser community?

2) This should put some real numbers behind the "everyone tivo's them out" hysteria.

3) At the meta level, is there competition between established (TV, print) and new (online, games) media for ad dollars, and is this a response to online giving better consumer-trend feedback?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

GameBizToon_001 - The Corporate Offsite

I had some time to kill at an offsite meeting, a tablet PC, and was trying out ArtRage.

Guess I've been inspired by GapingVoid and Lulu.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pole Position retro ad

Pole Position Commercial! (Atari)

Robin points us to this awesome Atari commercial from the 80's for Pole Position. Also see her post for a link to the intro to the 80's TV cartoon by the same name.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

More from the comeback kid

Rumor that Nintendo may make an October launch for the Wii. Maybe even (gasp!) September.

On a related note, while the rest of the blogosphere speaks otherwise, I *still* think PS3 won't ship this year. I await the catastrophic 11th hour announcement, the scandal, the outrage, and the immediate in-pouring of "you really called that one, kim!" emails :-)

Cory Doctorow is a little upset about copyright law

As far as web comics go, I am so digging xkcd. This one in particular gave me a giggle:

The joke is fractal too (many funny headlines within the bigger gag, like the one I titled this post with)

PR Stunt of +2 World Impact

Some marketing person at Nintendo deserves a VERY big raise for this PR stunt.

Everyone in the game-blogosphere (me too now) is blogging the news that Nintendo sent president Bush a copy of Brain Age and a DS lite for his 60th birthday.

If he never receives it, it's still the best $250 (DS+game+shipping+giftwrap) ever spent for PR. Effing brilliant.

And if he does get it, and it makes a teency-weency impact on the guy's IQ... well, hey, that could have an impact somewhere, no? (this assertion works whether you love or hate him :-)

From the letter they sent him:

Dear President Bush:

Happy Birthday!

Don't worry, turning 60 is an exciting milestone. As you know, you've joined millions of other baby boomers in an invigorating new decade of your life. And, like many boomers, you may be looking for ways to keep your mind sharp. That's where we come in.

Please accept our gift of a new Nintendo DS Lite system and a copy of Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. You now join millions of people around the world who have fun challenging themselves with Brain Age. If you have never played a video game before, don't worry. Brain Age is part of our new Touch Generations brand, which includes games that are easy for people of any age - regardless of their video game experience - to pick up and start playing immediately.

It's obvious you don't have a lot of time to play games, which makes Brain Age such a great activity for you - just a few minutes a day with more than 15 daily training tests will help keep your mind sharp. Training tests include categories like math, reading and memorization. Try it for a few days and watch your score improve. Brain Age also comes with more than 100 sudoku puzzles - these could make your next long flight on Air Force One a bit more fun! (Perhaps copies of Brain Age for journalists joining you on your next flight would be a nice distraction!)Have fun exploring Brain Age with your Nintendo DS Lite and be sure to let us know your brain age!

Have a tremendous birthday!


Your Friends at Nintendo

From Rocky Mountain News via 1up via GameTab via Robin.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Game break

Spent some time on my lazy 4th playing some games on the 360. Some random thoughts on the subject:

Prey: I played the Prey demo. I'm not a fan of shooters on the console, but it was there, and hey, this is a game 10 years in the making. Perhaps I should have worn my decade old, very worn, glow in the dark, Prey T-Shirt I got from the initial team working on it; in celebration. Anyhow, thoughts:

  • Is it good, yes. Is it "10 years in the making" good, not quite. It's very Doom3-ish (very bump-mappy, very shiny, very half-this-spaceship-is-living-fleshy) and Heavily Half-Life 2 influenced. But if you liked those games, you'll likely like this one as well.
  • I loved the magnetic catwalks that allow for inverted gravity and Escher-like level scenarios. Between that and the portals, it's very easy to be disoriented in the levels. I could imagine this making for AWESOME multiplayer levels.
  • The opening level takes place in a bar, and has playable video poker, arcade machines and a jukebox. The fact that the Jukebox has some Nugent on it among the selections wins it some extra points in my book!

Xbox Live & Marble Blast Ultra: I'd sunk a bunch of time into this game a while back and after finishing 57 of 60 levels, I'd more or less petered out on it. Then on monday I got a message from my friend Marty (aka the Arctic Gin Monk) saying "Hey, I picked up MBU have have been working my way through the levels beating your times on all of them". To which I says, "Pardon me?" Then I was back on last night kicking his butt. Anyhow, I guess there's something to this Xbox Live leaderboard stuff after all.

Cameo: Pretty graphics, interesting mechanic with the acquiring of the different creatures and allowing you to swap them (and thus your capabilities) out. On the down side, the dialog writing is so painful that I alsmost gave up on the game after a couple bad jokes. Also, the intro level feels very bolted on.

Geometry Wars: I can't beat 500k to save my life. How do these young gamer whippersnappers do it?!?

Monday, July 3, 2006

Nolan Bushnell talk

Guy Kowasaki points us to this Nolan Bushnell talk at a "startup bootcamp" conference a couple years back.

I saw Bushnell speak at a game conference a few years back and he's a good speaker. I'm usually not a fan of "In my day, a candy bar cost a nickel!" type of talks. However, he makes some good points and is an engaging speaker.

As an aside, his voice is remarkably similar to Tom Selleck's. Strange

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Catch up

I have been meaning to get some notes up from Casuality, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I was a little burnt out after last week's "perfect storm" (Casuality + A partner event we put together the day before + last Friday was our fiscal year-end, so there were a bunch of deals to close and other odds and ends to tie up).

Anyhow, I spent this weekend puttering around the house instead, and enjoying pool time with the family. Also did a bunch of batch-cooking today to have some stuff frozen and ready to go during the work-week. I made:

- Citrus Chicken Kebabs
- Beef Satay
- Peach-stuffed honey chicken breast
- Mango-Papaya-Chili salsa (which serves well on bbq'd salmon, chicken, etc)

Hopefully that will help us resist the takeout temptation when the work week gets busy again.