I can sort of understand why they wouldn't build the self-lacing mechanism; mechanical parts, waterproofing, liability, batteries -- it's just too high tech for Nike to deal with; though I do see a boutique business opportunity for those with the mechanical know how to produce aftermarket mods to the Hyperdunk.
June 2008 Archives
I greatly respected and admired Ben's work as an artist while working at Blizzard, and Ben's work had a major impact on the look and feel of the game. It's easy for me to say that without Ben Boos, the game just wouldn't have been the same. I was a bit sad when I heard that he had left the game industry, but was glad that he was continuing his career as an artist and illustrator.
One of the design choices which again shows Blizzard Irvine's hand in the changes made is the re-appearance of the Barbarian character class -- the original design documents for Diablo III included a set of all new character classes, with no reappearance of old character classes (our reasons for this was simple -- since we were enhancing and improving the skill system, we didn't want to try and adapt old skills into a new system -- we'd rather create all new skills for the new character classes. The return of the Barbarian class feels like a change that was made after development of the title was moved to Irvine 3 years ago.
One of the reasons why the Barbarian return shocks me so much is that I always felt that the Barbarian character class was the most broken of the classes in Diablo II. The Barbarian's ability to Leap, for instance gave him advantage over other classes which had to walk around the barrier -- it is the showcasing of this skill in the video (during which a bridge crumbles away, leaving no way to cross the gap) which makes me wonder if they have an alternate way for other characters to cross the gap or if all the characters have Leap now.
Of course, going 3D means that a lot of the things that were hard to do with sprites (such as actual armor looks being reflected on the character) is much easier using polygons and textures, as well as real 3d lighting. The use of a physics engine (Havoc, according to the game specs) is also a nice touch.
While I have more or less given up on the PC as a gaming platform, I'm glad to see that Blizzard is still committed to releasing titles that aren't first-person shooters; such a shame that we won't be seeing this title on the shelves for another year or two at the earliest.
The Nintendo Wii shortage seems ridiculous to me; the Wii is 18 months old at this point, and while I occasionally I see them at Target, and Circuit City sends me emails for Wii bundles it's still rather surprising that supply hasn't met demand yet. My only theory is that there is still plenty tied up in the gray market from people who bought a Wii in order to resell it.
I'm having a lot of fun with the Wii Fit as I use it daily; I won't be packing it on our trip to Comic-Con next month, as the Comic-Con itself provides much more physical activity.
Colorful glass scultures adorn the lower floor of the DeYoung in an retrospective of Seattle glassblower Chihuly's work. One of the more interesting piece in the exhibit is the Persian Ceiling, where colorful glass sculptures are laid above on a glass surface, invoking the feeling of being underneath the sea of glass.
Zhongzi is sweet rice with filling wrapped in a bamboo leaf, a sort of Chinese version of a tamale. The filling may include some or all of the following: pork, brine shrimp, Chinese sausage, egg , bamboo shoots, peanuts, chestnuts, mushrooms, and woodear.
Zhongzi are sometimes available as a part of restaurant's dimsum menu, but because the majority of their clientele is Chinese immigrants, the traditional recipe is used, which includes items in the filling that I dislike in my zhongzi.
Traditionally, this is the food that is eaten to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival (which just happened to fall this past weekend). As the old story goes, during the Warring States period in China, a poet by the name of Qu Yuan who lived in the Kingdom of Chu tried to warn his countrymen and king about the advances being made by their Qin neighbors; when the Qin took the capital of Chu, he penned his final poem, and threw himself into the river; according to legend, the villagers threw packets of rice into the water to prevent the fish from eating the poet's body; in another version of the story, the packets of rice are thrown to appease a dragon who lived in the river.
I have many memories of eating these growing up, and I attempted for the first time to make my own. Because of the time involved in making these, one usually makes a large batch of zhongzi; after they are cooked, zhongzi can be frozen and kept for years -- the oldest zhongzi ever found is about 700 years old; mine won't last nearly that long (I suspect they'll be gone by the end of the week).
Instructions for preparing this dish are in the extended.
As a replacement for .Mac, MobileMe offers enterprise features for the average user, with ability to push and sync content from their home pc to their iPod touch and iPhones. Also included is 20GB of online storage space. MobileMe keeps the same price as .Mac (at $99 a year) and will be available in July.
Available on July 11th, the 3G iPhone promises 3G speeds, (about 3x as fast as EDGE), GPS, and a lower price tag, starting at $199 for the 8GB version, and $299 for the 16GB version. The 16GB version is available in both black or white; with the 8GB version only available in black.
I find Apple's release of the iPhone at these price points interesting, as well as the timing of the release of the phone; while many were hopeful that today would be day, it seems that Apple instead chose to release it on a Friday past the 30 day return policy of the Apple Store and most cellphone contracts; this move seems to be aimed at attempting to avoid the customer service hassles which occurred when the original iPhone dropped in price 3 months after its initial release; those who have bought an iPhone within the last 30 days should return them now if they plan on upgrading.
The interesting thing about the price point is that given how cheap the new 3G iPhone is, it effectively destroys the market for the iPod touch, and those who will purchase the touch are those who don't want to deal with having a cellphone contract; at $199 for an 8GB and $299 for the 16GB iPhone, the 3G iPhone undercuts the hardware price of the 8GB and 16GB iPod touch by $100 dollars. Taken in a longer term view, with the $20 a month iPhone plan, an iPod touch user saves $380 over the lifetime of an iPhone user's contract, provided they do not care about being able to use Internet features on 3G.
At the $199 and $299 price points, I can see this new device dominating the higher-end cellphone market; the iPhone loses premium pricing to be competitive with the smartphones like the Sidekick, Blackberry, and Treo; whereas before the iPhone was clearly the most expensive smartphone available (at $399 and $499), there are now all sorts of options that are more expensive. The iPhone 3G isn't free, but the price cut is drastic enough to hurt the resale value of the current iPhone, it will be the gray market that reaps the most benefit from this move; in countries where unlocked iPhones are used, where EDGE and 3G doesn't matter, and where Apple doesn't have a carrier, the original iPhone will still fetch a premium.
Several Peruvian drinks are offered, including Inca Gold, a sweet carbonated beverage which is a radioactive yellow.
Looking at the menu, I quickly surmised that Jin Sho is not a traditional Japanese restaurant, but it isn't quite just a sushi restaurant. With exotic fish on the menu such as Aojima and Live Eel, Jin Sho aims to be one of the higher-end sushi restaurants in the area. Jin Sho touts their two chefs from New York's famed Nobu, Noriomi Kaneko and Ichiro Takahashi as part of the staff, and indeed, both Kaneko and Takahashi worked the sushi bar in front of me during my meal there.
Jin Sho has a unassuming exterior, and the English menus are simply laminated, but upon passing through the worn glass doors, one is treated to a very sleek and modern setting, with dark wooden tables and matching chairs. A 10-person sushi-bar with an open kitchen shows off the skills of the staff as they prepare the food for the patrons of the restaurant. The display case shows the fresh fish of the day, with everything from Aji to Unagi, and everything in between.
Jin Sho is definitely in the higher echelon of Japanese dining on the Peninsula, and their prices are a little bit higher than what one might expect at first blush; but the prices for their lunch set meals and price fixe menu are quite reasonable, ranging from the $17 one item meal to the $45 omakase (chef's choice).
Feeling a bit indulgent, I decided on the $45 omakase, which at twice the price for a normal set meal, easily amounted to twice as much food, enough to feed two people. Omakase means 'trust', and in the context of Japanese dining means that one is putting their trust in the chef; at Jin Sho the server asked if there was anything that I did not eat, and noted it down. I like omakase, because what comes out is a surprise, and it may be things that I might not ordinarily order.
The omakase began with the Hamachi Toro Tartar with a Soy Wasabi sauce, which was served on ice, and topped with green onions and caviar. A mixture of the buttery toro and the spicy-salty flavors of the sauce, it was accompanied by a Yamamomo, a small red berry to cleanse the palate after eating the tartar.
Next to arrive was the Black Pepper Seared Tuna with Miso, which arrived on a bed of Romaine lettuce. With the coarsely ground pepper and the miso, the tuna was a blending of traditional western and eastern flavors.
Almost immediately after the Tuna was the White Shrimp Salad, which also came on a bed with lettuce; normally, the shrimp used is rock shrimp, but the chef made the substitution, as they were out of rock shrimp today. The shrimp is battered and deep fried, and then tossed with a spicy mayonnaise and yuzu sauce; there are some pieces of juicy shitake mushroom scattered about the shrimp and sauce.
The next surprise was the signature dish at Jin Sho: the Grilled Marinated Black Cod with Miso. Moist and tender, the flaky cod was flavored with the sweet miso, and juices from the marinade flowed with each bite.
I had thought the meal was done at this point, but more was on the way; a small set of sushi with tuna, salmon, and yellowtail appeared in front of me, along with a bowl of hot miso soup; when I finished these two items, I felt stuffed.
The server came by and asked me which type of ice cream I would prefer for my dessert: green tea or sesame. The sesame ice cream arrived a few minutes later, along with a small bamboo cup containing panna cotta, and topped with a whipped strawberry sauce; the strawberry sauce was not as strong or as flavorful as some of the other dishes here; and being in the midst of strawberry season, I felt disappointed that the strawberry sauce was not sweeter.
The food and service at Jin Sho was excellent and I look forward to the next time I can try their dishes; when the receipt came, I saw that they had written down my dislike of beef; the server explained that the Black Cod was a substitute for the Beef dish they would have served; as usual my dining selections attracted the attention of the patrons around me, with many asking the server what it was I was eating.
While some may complain about the price of the food at Jin Sho, I found the food quite pleasurable; lunch is probably a better bargain than dinner (which starts at $60 instead of $45 for an omakase), the service was top-notch, with the servers attentive and friendly. I suspect that as this restaurant gains more renown for their wonderful cuisine that walking in will become harder, which would be a shame, as part of the fun of Jin Sho definitely lies in their ability to surprise and delight with their creative dishes.
Yesterday morning, there weren't many people trying this exhibit; save for me, the exhibit was empty, and the other patrons of Santana Row were too busy scurrying from shop to shop to pay much attention.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I walked under the streams of water; but what happened next was music. When I walked under the stream of water, the water would hit the umbrella and trigger what sounded to me to be an electronic music box, and I suddenly became the center of attention. People in their sunglasses and shopping bags stopped and stared as walked under the rain; and I was asked by more than one person where the umbrellas for the exhibit came from.
Here's a video as I walked through the exhibit: