Archive for Technology/Internet

I really can’t say enough about how good Heavy Rain is

It’s incredible how immersive the game is and how such an simple control scheme manages to just draw you in. You’re constantly on guard for what the next choice is going to be, and at times it becomes clear that they simply intend for you to fail. Just like the characters you’re playing there are simply some things you can’t do. You miss 3 buttons in a row and something bad happens and you realize that seems like exactly what was supposed to happen.
I shot and killed a man today, and I find that it’s really sticking with me. I find myself going back over the scenario and trying to figure out what I could have done differently to avoid that. Maybe if I’d just intervened a little earlier… I don’t know. But the thing is, I never consciously made the choice to shoot him, but at the same time I didn’t do it accidentally. I tried to talk him down, but it just came to a point where, with how he was talking, I felt certain that he was about to shoot my partner and instinct took over, I pulled the trigger. And I immediately thought “Holy crap, I just shot him…” It wasn’t conscious, and it’s not as if I accidentally bumped the button, at that moment I was just so immersed in the game that I instinctively knew that at that moment I had to do that. And I find that amazing, and I’m left wondering what that instinctive choice means for the rest of the game…

The Wii

Didn’t so much sleep last night with the 32 degree temperatures and being 28th out of 100+ in line for 84 Wiis at Best Buy this morning. Got the console, Zelda and an extra Wiimote/nunchuck. Played more this morning than I planned to. Slept most of the afternoon.
It can take a few minutes for whole motion-sensitive-controller thing to not feel weird, but pretty soon slashing the remote to swing a sword feels like the most natural way to control Link. It’s really kind of amazing how quickly you can adapt to it.

The future is here

Bigg’s supermarkets are now letting you pay for your groceries using your fingerprint.

Longhorn gets a name

Microsoft’s next OS, long code-named Longhorn is now officially Windows Vista.

I have to give Microsoft a little credit…

They finally brought tabbed browsing to IE with the MSN toolbar… but boy is the flicker/flash of the window every time you switch to another tab ever annoying.

A new type of computer attack

It seems hackers have started locking up files on people’s computers and leaving ransom notes saying that the user won’t get the key unless they pony up $200.


Sony announced the PS3 today and it looks incredibly cool.

Sony also confirmed the PlayStation 3 will use Blu-ray discs as its media format. The discs can hold up to six times as much data as current-generation DVDs. It will also support CR-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R formats. Sony also confirmed the machine would be backward compatible all the way to the original PlayStation. It will also have slots for Memory Stick Duo, an SD slot, and a compact flash memory slot. It will also sport a slot for a detachable 2.5-inch HDD, somewhat similar the Xbox 360’s. Sony did not mention if the drive would be standard.
Sony also laid out the technical specs of the device. The PlayStation 3 will feature the much-vaunted Cell processor, which will run at 3.2GHz, giving the whole system 2 teraflops of overall performance. It will sport 256MB XDR main RAM at 3.2GHz, and it will have 256MB of GDDR VRAM at 700MHz.
Sony also unveiled the PS3’s graphics chip, the RSX “Reality Synthesizer,” which is based on Nvidia technology. The GPU will be capable of 128bit pixel precision, 1080p resolution, some of the highest HD resolution around. The RSX also has 512MB of graphics render memory and is capable of 100 billion shader operations and 51 billion dot products per second. It also has more than 300 million transistors, larger than any processor commercially available today. It will be manufactured using the 90nm process, with eight layers of metal. The RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which would cost roughly $1,000 total if purchased today.

Out of the box, the PS3 will have the capability to support seven Bluetooth controllers, which can be used for nearly 24 hours before they require charging. Later, pictures of the controllers themselves were released, showing their almost boomerang-like shape. It will also have six USB slots for peripherals: four up front and two in the back. As rumored, it will also have Wi-Fi connectivity to the PSP, which can be used as a remote screen and/or controller.

A victory in the Fair Use war

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the FCC can’t require hardware manufacturers to include copy protection (the Broadcast Flag) limiting how broadcast media could be redistributed. This is quite a blow to the MPAA in their fight to limit our fair use rights.

In a stunning victory for hardware makers and television buffs, a federal appeals court has tossed out government rules that would have outlawed many digital TV receivers and tuner cards starting July 1.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn’t have copy protection technology known as the “broadcast flag.” The regulations, which the FCC created in November 2003, had been intended to limit unauthorized Internet redistribution of TV broadcasts.
“The broadcast flag regulations exceed the agency’s delegated authority under the statute,” a three-judge panel unanimously concluded. “The FCC has no authority to regulate consumer electronic devices that can be used for receipt of wire or radio communication when those devices are not engaged in the process of radio or wire transmission.”

Downtown Dayton now has free wireless internet

One square mile of Downtown (including Courthouse Square and Fifth Third Field) now offers free wi-fi though the official kickoff isn’t until this weekend. If things work out they hope to be able to expand it into the rest of the city.
Personally it won’t do me much good but it’s still a good idea. Hard to argue against something that will make Downtown more attractive and costs the city nothing.

Sony & Toshiba in talks to merge Blu-Ray and HD-DVD

Sony and Toshiba are in talks aimed at adopting a common format for next generation video discs…
The talks… are expected to lead to a unified format for advanced DVDs capable of recording high-quality content, including high-definition movies and video games.
An accord would end years of heated competition between the two camps to win over content providers, particularly Hollywood studios, and gain supremacy.
Sony is supporting Blu-ray disc technology along with most consumer electronics makers including Samsung and Matsushita.
Toshiba is championing HD-DVD with the backing of NEC and Sanyo among others.
…until recently a compromise has seemed unlikely because both camps were in the advanced stages of development and high-end early models have already been introduced. “The physical format was fixed last year and it is technically very difficult to change this,” said one official in the Blu-ray camp.

The question now is which of the technologies will dominate in a unified format. HD-DVD offers lower manufacturing costs, since production techniques are similar to current DVDs. But analysts think Blu-ray will be the core of any compromise, because it offers more capacity and is seen as a technological leap forward.
Financial Times

If they do reach a compromise it should be interesting to see how they work things out technically. Actually merging the two technologies would hardly be a simple thing.