Monthly Archives: August 2009

MiFi Wi-Fi Bubble

MiFi uses a 3G signal to create Wi-Fi signal for up to five devices. Charlie Sorrel of Wired called it “a bubble of Wi-Fi that surrounds you wherever you go.” Sorrel spent two weeks using it and wrote a review on Wired. It acts just like a normal wireless router, complete with port forwarding and key-protected access. The battery is claimed to last four hours. Sorrel said he never drained it, but it seems that he wasn’t attempting to use it for long periods of time. It takes about 30 seconds to start and turns off after five minutes of inactivity. In addition, it can be connected via USB without the thread of a dead battery.

 
This sounds like an amazingly cool gadget, but I’m not ready to start saving for one just yet. If I was still in high school, this would be amazing! I used to carry my laptop with me, and I spent most of my time out of the house, so I’m sure this would have been incredibily useful. At this point in my life, when I’m out of the house, I’m doing something. If I need to look something up, shoot off an email, update a social network, or just check a social network, my iPhone works just fine. Still, a personal bubble of Wi-Fi? Yeah, I want that.
Source: Wired

Disney Buys Marvel

Disney is purchasing Marvel for $4 billion. Disney is obviously larger and has more money, which could be good, but it’s not like Marvel really needed bigger budgets. Both Joystiq and the OC Register wondered about Disneyland rides featuring Marvel properties. I doubt these possible new rides would even be that out of place. The Pixar characters already have a vastly different feel than the classic Disney movie characters or the Disney characters such as Mickey and Donald, my favorites.
Disney already owns a few movie studios whose movies definitely aren’t all aimed at children. However, Marvel could easily be refocused at children. Children already love many Marvel franchises despite the containment of mature themes. I wouldn’t want Disney to focus Marvel exclusively on a younger audience, but I don’t think they will. Maybe we’ll see Spider-Man dancing on a float, and maybe we’ll see some more Marvel cartoons on ABC or Disney Channel.

 
Both Disney and Marvel also suffer from a similar history in gaming. Occasionally they’ll release a good game, but most of their games aren’t worth playing. Disney hit their peak on the NES, and Marvel… well, Marvel made Maximum Carnage on the SNES, which was awesome, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance was mildly fun. I guess this can’t hurt Marvel games! Maybe we’ll even see a game featuring characters from both Disney and Marvel, although I’d prefer an action game to an RPG like Kingdom Hearts. We’ll see.
On a side note, the OC Register’s entry in their RSS feed about this was titled “Disney buys Marvel and Spider-Man for $4 billion.” Marvel and Spider-Man? What a stupid thing to say.
Sources: Joystiq, OC Register

Phoenix Wright Musical Clip

Capcom-Unity recently embedded a clip of the Phoenix Wright musical from YouTube, including English subtitles. I still can’t get over how strange it is that Phoenix Wright became a musical. I hope that the DVD gets released here or that there’s some other way for Americans to watch the Japanese release. It’s also amusing that Capcom-Unity found this via Kotaku.
Source: Ashcraft, Brian. “Japanese Phoenix Wright Musical In English!” Kotaku. 8/31/09.
Via: “We Do Not Object to These English Subtitled Ace Attorney Musical Videos.” Capcom-Unity Blog. 8/31/09.

My Dad’s Frantic Call

I’ll need to provide a quick background for my dad’s frantic call to make sense. A few days ago a car hit him while he was on his motorcycle. It was a hit and run. My dad was going about forty MPH and flipped over the handlebars when he was hit. The bike got some cosmetic damage. My dad put out his hands to protect his head. A lot of skin on his hands and legs was torn off, and he was feeling pretty banged up, although there didn’t seem to be any serious damage. Of course, he hadn’t gone to the hospital. Part of it was that he didn’t really feel it was necessary, but it also would have been a hassle without a car or anyone near him that would take him.

 
Anyways, he calls me the day after the accident. “Peter, something happened,” he says in a worried voice. “You know my hands are pretty torn up. There was a lot of skin hanging off. You know, dead skin and stuff now. So I was trying to pull off the dead or hanging skin. It hurt some too. As I was trying to rip some skin off it hurt began to hurt a lot because it was attached to living tissue underneath. But I… I just pulled anyways.” At this point I’m pretty worried and am urging him to continue. “I pulled on the skin and it… it kind of… pulled up the tissue underneath it.” Now I’m pretty worried. Why is he dragging it out so long? Please, just tell me what happened. Maybe I should be jumping in the car to see him. Could he have pulled off enough skin to get to muscle or exposed a vein or something? I’m really freaking out at this point. “The tissue pulled up a bit and… well… there was like a pocket. Like I could see under the skin and tissue…” God, gross. He really screwed himself up. “And Peter, there was… there was something under there I could see, you know, in the pocket, under the skin. It was like… it was some sort of… something… metallic. Peter, I think I’m a robot! Hahaha!”
I couldn’t even laugh at first. At first I guess I was still trying to piece together what he was saying. Then I was relieved. Then I was a little in awe that my dad would do something as awesome as call me to tell me this story. Anyways, despite the fact that he was in an accident, the point of this post was that funny phone call.
He did go on to tell me that he thought he had a few broken ribs and possibly a torn muscle. The next day he did manage to go to the ER. He did indeed have broken ribs. He didn’t tell me what they said about the torn muscle, although it’s not that far fetched; he’s torn it previously. He bandaged him up and told him to come back in a few days to have them changed. I’m glad he’s okay!

Leave Me Alone

Tonight I entered Del Taco around 1:00 AM. There were two girls in a booth, sitting back and not really eating, and a man eating alone. After ordering I went to a booth in the back and put on my headphones. I hadn’t turned on the podcast I was planning on listening to yet because I wanted to listen for my number. I was facing towards the rest of the restaurant. It’s hard for me to decide on which side to sit when I’m alone sometimes. If I face my surroundings it allows me to be mindful of others. People watching can give mild amusement as well if nothing else is happening. On the other hand, something else is happening – a podcast. If I face away, I don’t have to worry about awkwardly making eye contact or anything of that sort.
After thinking about this and deciding to sit facing everyone else, the man left. Then I began to wonder what would happen if the two girls tried to talk to me. I really did not want them to talk to me. I wanted to be left alone, not have to make some excuse to make them shut up so I could go back to my podcast. What’s the chance of some strangers striking up a conversation? Probably not likely. However, it was late at night, and I feel like that increases the chances of the people being abnormally out going, even if it is primarily because the people might just be drunk.

 
Anyways, on the way back from getting my food, the girls called out to me. They looked right at me and said “hey” a few times. I had my headphones on so I just bobbed my head (despite there being nothing playing) and walked back to my booth. As I was sitting down, they were giggling and waving their arms to get my attention. The fact that I walked across the restaurant and they were still looking at me eliminated the possibility that they were trying to get a worked from Del’s attention. I only saw them waving out of the corner of my eye, so I fiddled with my iPhone and then kept my eyes down, enjoying my podcast. I still have no idea what they wanted. Nothing was out of place or abnormal, so it couldn’t have been something like “hey mister, you dropped something.”
I don’t dread socializing or anything of the sort, but I don’t think there was a possibility of meeting a true friend through an encounter like this. I just wanted to be left alone and listen to my podcast. Listening to podcasts are a big reason why I walked to Del in the first place. If this was an xkcd comic, I’d wonder what the girls wanted for the rest of my life, always regretting not saying anything to them. Luckily, this isn’t xkcd. I got to listen Chris, Justin, and Ludwig, so I’m happy.

Dramatic reading of a break-up letter

Here’s the last thing I’m going to link to for now! William shared this post from boingboing in GoogleReader. There’s a picture of a break-up letter from a young girl. I’m guessing she’s in high school, but middle school is also a possibility. The letter is slightly amusing by itself; it’s written and terribly, and the author is obviously very immature. The dramatic reading of the letter on Your the Man Now Dog is hysterical. My eyes teared up a little from laughter as I listened. Please check it out!
Sources:
NonDripHelmet. “Breakup Letter, Dramatic reading.” ytmnd.
Frauenfelder, Mark. “Dramatic reading of a break-up letter.” boingboing. 8/29/09.

Missing Girl Found 18 Years Later

The OC Register had an interesting but very eerie and disturbing story about a girl found alive after being kidnapped 18 years ago. Her kidnapper and his wife kept her in their backyard living in a tent. She had the ability to call for help or attempt to run away but didn’t. According to the article, she was screaming and fighting when kidnapped as a young girl, so obviously that drive to get away faded. Somehow she became emotionally attached the kidnapper, which isn’t unheard of by any means. What’s stranger is that she had two daughters with the kidnapper. These girls lived in the backyard in the tents with their mother, leading a private life without contact to the world. From the descriptions in the story they acted almost like robots and seemed to cling to their father emotionally. I wouldn’t blame anyone reading this for not clicking the link if this type of story isn’t of interest, but I think it’s odd enough to post.
Source: Cohen, Sharon and Brooke Donald. “Gone 18 years, girl found but questions remain.” The OC Register. 8/30/09.

Greatest TI-83 Games

GamesRadar decides to talk about “one of the most criminally overlooked gaming platforms,” the TI-83 in an article by Carolyn Gudmundson, The best TI-83 RPGs ever.” After a brief introduction, Gudmundson lists what she considers the best five RPGs on the calculator. Some are individual games while others are actually series, and one, Drug Wars, seems more like a strategy game than an RPG to me. She includes descriptions and download links to all games as well as video embeds for four of the five. I’ve played one of the games on the list, Dying Eyes. I can’t say much about it because it was a long time ago, but I remember enjoying it! I definitely agree that the TI-83 is overlooked as a gaming platform. After reading the story, I’m a little excited at the idea of finding my TI and trying some games on it, but honestly, even in high school I carried a Game Boy, so I’m not sure it would be anything more than novelty. However, I do find playing games on usual platforms fantasizing. Take a look!
Sources:
Gudmundson, Carolyn. “The best TI-83 RPGs ever.” GamesRadar. 8/13/09.
Sheffield, Brandon. “Best TI-83 RPGs.” InsertCredit. 8/13/09.

Hiding Underground

Last night I had an interesting dream. There was a catastrophe that triggered aliens / monsters attacking the human race. After the catastrophe, which I can’t remember the details), these monsters were found living on Earth and began to attack. I don’t know where they came from. There were different types of monsters: The two I remember were gerbil-like monsters and monsters that were like humans but were hunched over, had large claws, and were smaller. They were also a dark brown and had leathery skin. For some reason, humans were forced to move into underground cities. Somehow I had experienced this all previously. After some amount of time I’d wake up right before the catastrophe and continually live the same time period. Regardless, in the dream I think it was my final experience. I wasn’t going to relive them anymore.

 
There was an elevator that went down into our underground city. Residences were much smaller than full houses, but people still had private places to live with their families. We also had running water, although we used public restrooms and showers. The tunnels were actually dug out of dirt, so there was dirt on all sides, although we still had security doors and similar things. At one point I fought some sort of boss. I opened a glass sliding door, pressed my laser rifle up to the screen door, and shot at the boss, winning. I think he may have given up. I was also sitting on a bed with another guy when I was told to defeat him because he was a boss. I jumped at him, punching, but he said he didn’t want to do this anymore. We became friends!
Then I noticed that I must have been in my mom’s room because I saw a stack of books of hers that I recognized including one that was mine, Star Fox (which is not a real book). Then I was talking to a girl around my age who was a friend of mine. She took the manual to something from me because she wanted to write to me in it. Then I went to a meeting to discuss what to do because the monsters had found our city. While in the meeting, the little gerbil monsters came in through the open door. We killed them, but I don’t remember how exactly. Then one of the humanoid ones attacked. Those were the bigger threat. Leading out of the room we were in was a straight tunnel with a sliding, metal security door at the entrance to the room. We saw his arm extend from the wall right on the other side of the open door. I guess he was reaching out from within the wall. Anyways he reached in to the room, clawing, and we pulled the security door shut, cutting off his hand. We heard him retreat in pain. For some reason, we didn’t seem concerned with the fact that there must be an enemy tunnel connecting to our tunnel now.
We went back to discussing what to do, and I wanted to know if there were other human cities underground. I was informed that there were, but ours was the largest. Others had escaped underground, but there were no other full-scale cities underground like ours. As we were leaving, I noticed an iPhone on a table next to a recliner in which my great-grandmother was sitting. I asked if it was my phone, and she got mad at me because she thought I said her chair was mine. I checked the phone, and it wasn’t mine. Then I began to make my way back to my room when I awoke.

LittleBigPlanet PSP Loses Depth, Floatiness, and Multiplayer

Here’s another bit of news from Joystiq courtesy of EuroGamer: LittleBigPlanet for PSP will not feature multiplayer, will have only two planes rather than three, and will fix the floaty jumping from the original. Joystiq writer James Ransom-Wiley seems to have a big problem with the removal of the multiplayer, and I’m sure he’s not the only one, but honestly, I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal. On the PS3 version I’ve had fun playing with a single other person both while attempting to get closer to 100% completion in the main game or having fun in new levels. However, attempting to play with the full four people is always a headache. I don’t want to play online with strangers, and I also don’t want to call up a friend and arrange to meet online to play LBP. Even if it was easy to do so, I prefer to play in person. However, without splitscreen people end up killing each other by moving too far off screen. In addition, trying to access the four player areas always leaves me feeling frustrated at the group’s inability to coordinate. Maybe I need to be playing with people who play more platformers, but my friends who are really into gaming are also not so interested in LittleBigPlanet.

 
Back to the PSP version, I do think multiplayer is an important feature, and I’m sad it’s not going to be in the game, but I just want to point out that LittleBigPlanet can be a lot of fun without it. The three planes of depth (characters can be in the background, foreground, or middle) in the original was just annoying and added very little “depth” to the gameplay while adding needless depth in the more literal sense. In fact, it was a big complaint of mine, so I can’t see how reducing it to two could matters worse. I was actually a lot happier before I clicked through to Joystiq’s source at EuroGamer; Ransom-Wiley wrote that there would only be one plane, but the source clearly says two. Too bad! A single plane would have been terrific! The jumping also felt imprecise,and for a game that touted its physics engine, it sure seemed like gravity was hardly effecting Sack Boy. Come to think of it, maybe this was to emphasize that Sack Boy was a stuffed person, presumably stuffed with some sort of very light fluff. Still, I’d like Sack Boy to feel heavier; hopefully LittleBigPlanet PSP’s revised jumping will fix this. On the other hand, jumping might feel bad for some other reason.
All things considered, this announcement only makes me more excited for LittleBigPlanet PSP. Not having multiplayer is a loss, yes, but I never thought I’d be playing it multiplayer regardless, and the jump mechanic should hopefully improve things. I do have to say that I’m very saddened that there are still two planes rather than three. I first wrote this article under the impression that there was only one, but before publishing I realized that Ransom-Wiley read his source incorrectly. Bummer! One plane with fixed jumping had me so excited! Still, I think LittleBigPlanet PSP will be fun.
Bramwell, Tom. No multiplayer in LittleBigPlanet PSP. EuroGamer. 8/19/09.
Ransom-Wiley, James. LittleBigPlanet PSP loses multiplayer, and maybe its soul. Joystiq. 8/19/09.

Universal Game Launching in Home

Joystiq reports from the PlayStation.Blog that in an upcoming version of Home, users will be able to launch any game from Home. I really don’t understand why this is needed at all. On some Street Fighter IV night I decided I would try out Home and getting into a game but had no luck. If I want to play SF4, shouldn’t I just go find a match in SF4? Because not everyone else in Home is looking for a SF4 match, it seems like walking around in a virtual environment looking for a game of SF4 isn’t the best idea.
Sony really missed the mark with Home. Home itself is just a large, 3D interface for game lobbies, watching videos, and chatting. Game launching in Home is redundant when games can be launched, not surprisingly, from the XMB itself. Similarly, Sony could integrate some sort of section of the XMB under Video specifically for streaming videos from Sony and achieve the same effect without the clutter of an ugly 3D interface reminiscent of the 80s idea of future “cyber space.”

 
Of course, Home does have an additional feature – chatting and socializing. Again, isn’t there a simpler way to achieve this than through a horrible clone of Second Life? Besides the fact that there’s a browser built in to the system, how about adding an IRC client that defaults to a Sony server or simply adding a forum specifically designed for use on the PS3? While a forum could be viewed from the web browser, it could be nice for Sony to integrate one that wouldn’t need the clutter of a browser window around it.
To be clear, Sony has anounced other features of the Home update, such as taking photos, but I just don’t feel the need to address them. None of them are interesting to me. Additionally, it’s not that the features are bad, it’s that the whole system is needless.
Sources:
Locust_Star. PlayStation Home v1.3 Coming This September. PlayStation.Blog. 8/19/09.
Yoon, Andrew. Take pictures and launch any game you want in Home 1.3, coming this fall. Joystiq. 8/19/09.

What have I played…

…this week?
I’ve been playing a lot more WoW now that 3.2 hit. I think most people who read this knows already, but this patch allows characters to disable all experience gain. This allows them to go after better gear without leveling so that they can stay in the current PVP bracket yet still become stronger. I went to Northrend and have been getting a lot of cool gear. I have a lot of haste gear now, which I’m looking forward to trying out. After getting a new belt and wand I’ll have all new gear besides rings and trinkets. I also got a flying mount for the first time. Pretty fun!

 
I had some awesome games of Team Fortress 2! I found all the sniper weapons, which is pretty cool. Using the bow is weird though. I also managed to get the “With Friends Like These” achievement for playing with seven friends. It was hard to coordinate, plus the match has to actually end with seven friends playing. I played with Collin, Andy, William, gem, Linh-Nam, Jon, and James. It was one of the coolest nights of gaming ever.
As for console games, I haven’t played much. I played inFAMOUS and enjoyed it so far. I don’t think it’s as amazing as the hype, but it’s pretty good. I also played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled on XBLA with gem, William, and Collin. It was a lot of fun! It was based on the arcade game, not SNES game, so it was a little different than what Collin and William expected. gem and I didn’t notice at all anyways. Like a lot of cooperative four-player games, I lost track of my character at times, but overall it was a ton of fun.
I also managed to finish the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D Classic on the iPhone. I had died on the last level, and I only respawn with a pistol. I had no idea how to defeat the boss with only a pistol, but as it turns out, there’s a secret room in the level with a chain gun. The boss was easy with a chain gun!
Lastly I’ve been playing Pokemon Platinum! I managed to pick up my third badge recently. Also, my Ralts evolved into Kirlia, and my shiny Magikarp finally became a shiny Gyrados!

Day Two

I woke up around 9:45 this morning so I could shower before going to see Uncle Rocco’s new house. I liked it! I’m sure he’ll enjoy it here, and I’m really glad that Tiger can be closer to her grandparents.

 
Afterwards we went to Ta Ta’s (weird name) for sushi. Despite the name, it’s just a regular sushi restaurant. I got sox hand rolls and a few other small things. Delicious! Then we went to my grandparents’ house for a little bit. I looked at Gramps’ awesome office. He has his computer, DS, PSP, DVD players, HD-DVD players, blu-ray players, DVD recorders, and multiple portable DVD players all within arm’s reach. I was pretty surprised that he had a substantial game collection for DS and PSP. While I was there I also got to see Tilly! I’m really glad I got to see her!
After getting back to the hotel, we went to Auntie D.’s room. Her friend just so happened to be staying here! What a coincidence! She had her son and daughter with her who are friends with Mitchell and Haley and seem about the same age.
Mom, James, Mitch, and the two new kids went to see the shark exhibit! It was pretty cool. It wasn’t totally amazing, but I enjoyed seeing all the cool animals. I think the two hunger kids really enjoyed it. The girl (I don’t recall her name) was absolutely adorable and pointed out all the fascinating things she saw.
We had a little down time after that before going to dinner at Raffle’s Cafe. I think that was the name! We took a lot of photos before eating. I just had a chicken Caesar salad, and it was decent. I sat next to Tiger, who sat next to Haley with Mitch on her other side, and boy were those kids loud. Then there were more photos!
After dinner I went back to the room with James, and later Mom joined us. We watched Malcom in the Middle and George Lopez, and I played some Platinum, evolving my shiny Magikarp into a shiny Gyrados! Then I took a shower before getting in the bath to watch The Office! I left a towel on the side to dry my hands and keep my iPhone dry. It got a little foggy, but I think it was fine. For some reason, my left headphone wasn’t working properly. I hope it’s the headphones an not the phone! It didn’t really work out as well as I had hoped. Also, I had taken so long in the shower that I started to get wrinkly fingers and toes, plus it was a bit too hot. I ended up only watching half of an episode before decidingto get out of the tub. That’s when I noticed the the edge of the towel had fallen in the water! Oh well, I dried off with it anyways! Tomorrow we leave at 8 fo home!
Now I’m going to watch The Office, play Platinum, and enjoy the awesome view of the Strip!