March 2005 Archives

Yet Another Game Related Death


In-N-Out Secret Menu


"Animal Style" - bun is grilled with mustard, sauteed onions instead of raw, pickles, extra "special sauce".

"Wish Burger" - a hamburger with no meat.

"Protein Style" - lettuce wrapped around the burger instead of a bun. Perfect for Atkins Dieters.

"Flying Dutchman" - two meat patties with two slices of cheese.

"Double Meat" - Double Double without cheese

"4x4" - 4 meat patties with 4 slices of cheese.

"2x4" - 2 meat patties with 4 slices of cheese

"Grilled Cheese" - cheeseburger without meat

"Fries - well done" - extra crispy and brown.

"Fries - Animal Style" - Fries with cheese, special sauce and sauteed onions.

"Neopolitan Shake" - a blend of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes

The Next 3


This morning when I visited BMW's website to play with their car configurator, and I clicked on the link to the 330i sedan to find that it had been updated to the 2006 model. I love their tech, but I'm not so keen on the 2006's design. What loses it for me is the eyebrows over the kidney grill aspect of the design. It's a design touch that is meant to appeal to aesthetic senses, but it has quite the opposite effect on me.

I'm also sad to see that they don't have SMG on the 2006 3-series (probably when they introduce the new 3-series coupe/convertible), since that was the one piece of tech that I found most interesting in their current lineup. Kind of makes me want to purchase a 2005 SMG-equipped 3-series before they disappear.

A piece of new tech on the 2006 is Active Cruise Control - you set the speed you want to cruise at, but the car can detect the distance of the car ahead, and will set cruise control to match the speed and follow at a safe distance. The idea sounds really good, but I can't see myself really trusting this feature, and for $2,200 it seems to be too expensive to be a useful option.

These should be in showrooms in May, so I'll definitely go and take a took and hope it looks better in person.

In Search Of...


... a decent keyboard.

This week, I accidentally spilled (or rather drowned) my poor Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro in hot tea. I was hoping a couple of days would dry it out and let it work again, but as of this writing, typing on the keyboard results in sentences looking like this:

Thme qzuick, fbro.wn fbo.2x juhm;ped o.ver thme laqzy do.go.]


Hardly acceptable. That being said, does anyone have recommendations for a new keyboard?


  • Must be USB. No PS/2 Adapters or Bluetooth.
  • Would prefer it to also be a USB hub.
  • Arrow Keys should be close to the same size as other keys. (No Elites)

Combating Comment Spam


For the last couple of weeks, the comment spam on this blog has been getting pretty bad. This past week, I renamed the comment script, and I was surprised at how much spam was reduced. I enjoyed being comment-spam free for two days until I got barraged with spam which had adapted to the new name of the script. Today, I stumbled upon MT-Keystrokes, a plugin which ensures human input before approving the comment. I'll give it a try and see how it works out, although I believe the relief from spam will only be temporary. I also installed MT-Ban-Numeric and MT-Approval 1.10.

I'm still experimenting with various methods of spam reduction. So far one of the best suggestions I've seen is making the user preview the comment and confirm it before it is submitted/posted.

In implementing these plugins, I also discovered a couple of errors within my previous templates (they were using old MT 2.x templates), but I still have problems with the comments not giving feedback to the user that it was submitted for approval before posting.

Easter Sunday Humor


I love the comic strip FoxTrot, because time and time again, Bill Amend shows that his inner geekiness. In the past he has poked fun at many many things (including the colored iMacs, Blizzard's Games, collectible card games and popular movies), but his

latest comic strip
hits the mark on so many different levels, that I just had to share.

Would Jawas be Car Dealers?


R2-D2 vs Scion t2b

A somewhat humorous comparison between the Droid and a Concept Car.

Subtitled for the l33t


A hilariously subtitled version of the Star Wars Episode 3 Trailer

Extraordinary Machine


Back in 2003, Fiona Apple recorded her third album for Sony. Rather than sending it off to be manufactured and distributed, Sony decided to cut their losses, not distribute or manufacture it, and sent this musician's work to a warehouse, where it now sits. Fans of Fiona Apple have been campaigning for the release of the album on CD, and while getting some press coverage, no statement has been made by Sony yet. Some of the tracks have leaked onto the radio, and it seems to be spearheading the movement to release.

From what I've heard of the album, it sounds as good as her first two albums (and is a good change of pace from the pop music fads we seem to be bombarded with these days).

The Toyota iPod Adapter


When I bought my Toyota Celica several years ago, it came with the stock stereo unit which I replaced with a GPS system. The only options available to that car was single CD or 6 CD. In other Toyota/Lexus models however, GPS was being implemented as a $2000+ options package. With the current rage in getting iPods installed in cars, VAIS has developed the AVIC-100i, an iPod adapter for stock Toyota/Lexus GPS units. At an MSRP for $799, it seems a ridiculous accessory when you can buy multiple iPods for that much. I still have my own plans to iPod my car, but it won't be through this ridiculously overpriced option.

Mr. Bangle, why is the 7 so ugly?


Okay, that's not what the interviewer asked, but it's damn close. In
this Interview with Chris Bangle, head of BMW's Design Group, the Autoweek interviewer doesn't pull any punches. My favorite question and response:

AW: Why was the current 7 series such a radical design change for BMW?

Bangle: It's the model that BMW used to celebrate the first 100 years of the car and the passage into the third millennium. More important, it's larger outside, much more comfortable inside, and incorporates the state of the art in automobile technology.

AW: But the car is anything but attractive.

Bangle: I'm sorry you don't like it, but our customers do - very much so. The mission that marketing gave us was very precise: The new 7 Series must not only appeal to the 60-year-old who is driven around by his chauffeur, but it must also win over the successful 45-year-old who wants a large car that's also dynamic and sporty to drive. It also needed to have dynamic lines.

It's interesting to note that sales for the 7 series is not doing well at all -- in comparison to previous models, sales of the new 7 are absurdly low, and the 7 is being fast tracked to be redesigned. The 7 already has a minor trunklift happening this year. It's also interesting to note that this is the last question of the interview.

Indie Game Development


GDC 2005: Greg Costikyan


From time to time, I like to read Game * Design * Art * Culture, which is Greg Costikyan's blog on game design. Recently, he gave a talk at GDC on Greg the State of the Industry, which hits the mark on so many different levels. He makes some very good points, and he calls for a revolution in game development, to change the model of the games industry. I think that the industry is moving towards this revolution, mostly with small studios, smaller productions, smaller or alternative platforms. The biggest problem with going independent is distribution , but companies like Valve has shown that internet distribution can work. With any luck, other development houses can follow their example. It really is to the benefit of the development house to cut the publisher out of the picture, but the development houses that can do this are few and far between, and any that are well funded enough to do this, are often bought out before they have a chance to experiment with alternative modes of publishing. I assume this is why any development house that can generate a massive following is suddenly targeted for a buyout. The consolidation of publishers is an danger to the games industry too -- as it stands now,a handful of companies control which games get to the gamer.

GDC 2005: Satoru Iwata


All the great stuff at GDC gets replicated on all the news sites, so I don't bother to go. Here's one of the more interesting speeches from Satoru Iwata, the current president of Nintendo. He talks about the early days as a developer, and about the future of games.

GDC 2005: Satoru Iwata Keynote Transcript

He hits a lot of the keypoints which are an issue today in the game world, such as the risk that companies are now willing to take in making a game. Essentially publishers want low risk, high return games -- which is why the variety in game genres doesn't seem to be growing.

The 4 I's:

  • Innovation
  • Intuition
  • Inviting
  • Interface
    He talks about the new Zelda as well as pushes the Nintendo DS, and in fact during his keynotes pulls people out of the audience to have them play Mario Cart DS (wirelessly) with him.

PSP - Live at the Metreon


If you go to the Sony Metreon in the city, they have a display case outside the main entrance with a couple of PSPs on display. A couple of colleagues returning from the GDC (which is is currently being held at Moscone) have commented on their gadget lust for this device. They like it's compactness, and its brightly lit screen, although I have yet to hear any words about their games other than Ridge Racer.

Art 1 notes - March 7


This term, I decided to sit in on the Art 1 class at san jose state. It's a class about art and careers, and in today's lecture, the professor, Mark D'Estout gave an overview of his work, and his career path. My notes are in the extended entry below, and not all things will make sense to people, in fact, it probably won't.



Yesterday, honeyfields, parakkum, Neil and I went to go watch ASIFA-East's Animation Festival. I liked many of them, and disliked just as many. I won't bother trying to find the ones I didn't like, partially because to watch them again would be far too traumatizing.

Two in particular by
Blur Studios, "In the Rough" and "Gopher It" that I felt were impressive. When they put in the DVD for these shorts, both parakkum and I wanted to see "Rockfish", a sci-fi short in the bottom left of the DVD menu.I'm happy to report that Blur Studios has all of the shorts online (thought it may be a bit of a download for those on slow connections).

An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door was shown, as was various segments from Sesame Street. One name kept popping up: Jennifer Oxley, who does woodcut animations. I rather enjoyed those shorts, although they may be too overly sweet for some people.

Facelifting EQII


In order to bring a computer game to Asia, localization of the game content must be done. Usually this is done by translating the text and converting it to the proper character set. Sometimes art must be changed in order to meet the legal requirements of the country. The truly cultural-concious modify other things in the game to make sure it appeals to players of that market. For EQ II, Sony decided to redo all the character models of the game to suit the Asian market. No word yet on whether or not there will be an update for the Americans.

Photos in the extended entry.