Friday, September 29, 2006

YouTube Gems: Kids Wailing Drums

I decided that I'd start posting some of the more obscure and/or remarkable videos I dig up on YouTube. Let's call them YouTube Gems.

Or I'll call them that and you call them crap.


To start things off, how about some unbelievable drum solos performed by kids who still pee their pants. Igor Falecki (4), Jacob Armen (7), and Jammaster Josh (3), respectively.

Drumroll please...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Awesome: The Alphabet of Manliness, Maddox

I got a lot of excellent gifts for my birthday this year. Really excellent.

But nothing could come close to being as manly and full of total ass-kickery than Maddox's The Alphabet of Manliness.

That I received this gift from my girlfriend, Casey, is a testament to just how righteous she is.

By its own account, the book is so manly it needs to be shaved. It is, also by its own admission, the only book that guarantees your balls will be stomped. With a preface like that, how can you not immediately go buy yourself a copy.

If you didn't click the link and go buy a copy, then you clearly don't appreciate "good."

Alright. So the picture of a man punching a gorilla and my personal recommendation aren't enough to sell you on the book just yet. So read this and be sold:

The first chapter is titled, expectedly, "A is for...Ass-Kicking."

Immediately under the title is a picture of a lumberjack punching Santa Claus in the face. Enough said!

"B," naturally enough, "is for Boners."

I think the book speaks for itself.

But there is so much more information in the book. Seriously, seriously.

From "P is for...Pirate":
For those deficient in piratical knowledge, that is, you, here are some facts about pirates:
  • The only thing that can kill a pirate is another pirate.
  • Pirates drink rum almost exclusively. The only exception is for an occasional iced mocha or chai tea with 2 percent milk.
  • Pirates prefer BBQ- or Cajun-flavored potato chips.
  • A pirate's sweat tastes like whiskey.
  • Sometimes pirates kick cats just because.
  • Pirates think college is a waste of time.
  • Eye patches make chicks horny.
  • Pirates possess parrots with eye patches and pirated prosthetic peg legs.
  • A pirate's semen is indestructible.
  • Pirates hate all forms of dancing, except for breakdancing, which lumberjacks would agree is awesome.
  • All pirates have hair on their backs and knuckles. Women find this intriguing.
  • A pirate ejaculates fully-grown leprechauns (see Figure 1)
Yes. There is a Figure 1.

Still not sold? Then don't buy the book.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Time Waster: Sling

There are an infinite number of addictive flash games that share the same basic premise as Sling: solving puzzles using logic and simple physics.

I like these sorts of games.

But Sling is different. It's more than just puzzles and physics; it's a neat little story, too. The Edis Brothers have taken a tried-and-true concept and pushed it just a bit further into something really fun.

Give it a chance. See if it doesn't grab you.

Ahahahaha ha ha. Man! You'll think that line is so funny once you play the game. It's a great "in" joke.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Funny: GirlFriend Software

I'm not looking for any trouble here.

I'm very happy with the version of GirlFriend I am currently running. I managed to find an edition that is stable, doesn't conflict with any of my other programs, requires very little resources, and does more that was advertised on the box.

But this is still funny. Found here.

What software version are you running?

I'm currently running the latest version of GirlFriend and I've been having some problems lately. I've been running the same version of DrinkingBuddies 1.0 forever as my primary application, and all the GirlFriend releases I've tried have always conflicted with it.

I hear that DrinkingBuddies won't crash if GirlFriend is run in background mode and the sound is turned off. But I'm embarrassed to say I can't find the switch to turn the sound off. I just run them separately, and it works okay.

Girlfriend also seems to have a problem co-existing with my Golf program, often trying to abort Golf with some sort of timing incompatibility.

I probably should have stayed with GirlFriend 1.0, but I thought I might see better performance from GirlFriend 2.0. After months of conflicts and other problems, I consulted a friend who has had experience with GirlFriend 2.0. He said I probably didn't have enough cache to run GirlFriend 2.0, and eventually it would require a Token Ring to run properly. He was right - as soon as I purged my cache, it uninstalled itself.

Shortly after that, I installed GirlFriend 3.0 beta. All the bugs were supposed to be gone, but the first time I used it, it gave me a virus anyway. I had to clean out my whole system and shut down for a while.

I very cautiously upgraded to GirlFriend 4.0. This time I used a SCSI probe first and also installed a virus protection program. It worked okay for a while until I discovered that GirlFriend 1.0 was still in my system.

I tried running GirlFriend 1.0 again with GirlFriend 4.0 still installed, but GirlFriend 4.0 has a feature I didn't know about that automatically senses the presence of any other version of GirlFriend and communicates with it in some way, which results in the immediate removal of both versions.

The version I have now works pretty well, but there are still some problems. Like all versions of GirlFriend, it is written in some obscure language I can't understand, much less reprogram. Frankly I think there is too much attention paid to the look and feel rather than the desired functionality. Also, to get the best connections with your hardware, you usually have to use gold-plated contacts. And I've never liked how GirlFriend is totally "object-oriented."

A year ago, a friend of mine upgraded his version of GirlFriend to GirlFriendPlus 1.0, which is a Terminate and Stay Resident version of GirlFriend. He discovered that GirlFriendPlus 1.0 expires within a year if you don't upgrade to Fiancee 1.0. So he did, but soon after that, he had to upgrade to Wife 1.0, which he describes as a huge resource hog. It has taken up all his space, so he can't load anything else.

One of the primary reasons he decided to go with Wife 1.0 was because it came bundled with FreeSexPlus.

Well, it turns out the resource allocation module of Wife 1.0 sometimes prohibits access to FreeSexPlus, particularly the new Plug-Ins he wanted to try. On top of that, Wife 1.0 must be running on a well warmed-up system before he can do anything. Although he did not ask for it, Wife 1.0 came with MotherInLaw which has an automatic pop-up feature he can't turn off.

I told him to try installing Mistress 1.0, but he said he heard if you try to run it without first uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.0 won't install anyway because of insufficient resources.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Only Post I'll Ever Make About 9/11

I am not a conspiracy theorist. And I am not a terrorist.

I am an American.

And I believe that the events of September 11th, 2001 were not what we have been led to believe.

For the love of God, sit still long enough to watch this. It's long. An hour and a half long, in fact. But it's important.

Make up your own mind. Just don't dismiss these ideas as abject propaganda.

This is the most obvious, right in front of your eyes evidence you could ask for.

I'm not asking you to swallow this whole. I don't expect you to take every word as infallible fact.

I am asking you to think.

As an American, it is your responsibilty.
When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.

~Thomas Paine

Windows Vista is Fat, Stole OS X's Prom Dress

What are those guys pointing at? They're pointing at Windows Vista, and drawing the crowd's attention to how fat it is.

Microsoft's latest installment in the company's flagship OS line, Vista is the next big revolution in the PC world. It will change your computing experience, and will change computing for billions of users worldwide...

But most of its good points are stolen from Apple's OS X, Mozilla's Firefox browser, open-source software stylings, and a host of other, better sources. And packing all that pilfered software into one operating system is like feeding Kirstie Allie stolen Krispy Kreme's.

Check these stat graphs I found:

Now, I'm not going to jump the gun here and say that Vista is destined to be a horrible OS. I mean, XP has its share of problems *cough* vulnerable *cough*, but it is a pretty stable operating platform.

That's as close to a compliment as I can manage to get.

Here's the bulk of a David Morgenstern eWeek editorial on Vista:

The complaints about sluggish performance in Windows Vista keep growing. While it's unfair to point to beta software apps—or whatever Microsoft wants to call them—the warning flags are already evident.

A batch of complaints reached my inbox following my recent column looking at Apple's Mac OS X Leopard and Vista. One message, from reader Randall Asato, warned that folks thinking they can run Aero on older hardware will be out of luck.

Asato observed that the demo games of Mahjong and Solitaire included with the Beta ran "awfully slow," even with the drivers written for Vista. His system has a 2.8GHz Intel P4 processor, 768MB of memory and an ATI All-In-Wonder 2006 AGP, which he admits is not the most recent GPU, "but it's no slouch."

He said he expected that most upgraders will be at the least forced to purchase a new video card with sufficient VRAM (video RAM).

"The only graphics cards that'll do justice for Vista Aero will probably be in PCIe [Express] by that time—out of luck for those with and AGP or (gasp!) only standard PCI," he wrote.

Never fear. Microsoft's Vista team has focused on performance. On Aug. 25, Redmond released Pre-RC1 Build 5536.16385, and the company says it runs faster than the previous flavors.

However, there are signs that the base performance of Vista on almost any hardware configuration may disappoint. Or at least concerns that Vista will run sluggishly on the system configs that Windows buyers are accustomed to.

Based on recent comments by Vista team players, it appears that Microsoft is counting on users running Windows Vista's flash-enabled SuperFetch technologies, ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive, to achieve a satisfactory level of performance. ReadyBoost will take advantage of a connected flash cache to speed up overall system and application performance, and ReadyDrive will use a flash cache on the system's hard drive to improve boot times and power usage.

In a presentation to flash vendors on the technology earlier in August at the Flash Memory Summit in San Jose, Calif., Matt Ayers, Microsoft's program manager of Windows Client performance, said the "Ready" programs "provide a more consistent computing experience—they actually make Vista run better."

According to Ayers, most of the time applications run fast enough for users to experience a level of consistency. However, "it's the [system] slowdowns that bother you."

Ayers demonstrated the performance benefits gained, even after a short while, with ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive. And the SuperFetch algorithms improve over time; the more they are used, the better the overall gain, he said.

Meanwhile, responding to recent online concerns over "sluggish" performance, Vista evangelist Keith Combs early in August also told readers to expect gains from ReadyDrive-capable hard drives.

A given machine "could have twice the memory, twice the speed in the GPU, etc. But we would end up with the same score due to the hard drive. This is going to change before we ship," Combs said.

This change would be due to the arrival of flash-enabled "hybrid" drives, which will boost performance levels, he said.

However, the times of arrival of hybrid disks from Samsung and Seagate Technology range from Q1 to Q2 in 2007. And neither company demonstrated a drive with anything resembling a production design. The Seagate units were crude proof-of-concept units with a memory module glued on top of a drive. But they worked.

So, to gain a level of consistency in Vista performance, it sure sounds as if users will need some assistance from flash memory.

How big a deal is performance tuning in Vista? It's certainly being pushed for software and hardware developers, but also to IT managers as a part of the MMC (Microsoft Management Console), which tracks performance and reliability.

The Windows Performance Diagnostic Console will offer tools for tracking the impact of applications and services on performance, and will create thresholds for performance parameters that can send alerts to the user or sys admin.

I notice that, when mentioned, performance is almost always paired with reliability and comes in second. The MMC diagnostics are characterized this way.

Still, for users, experience is all about performance. In Combs' article, there's a screen shot showing a "Windows Experience Index" rating. As he said, the total score is determined by the lowest-performing subsystem, in this case, the hard disk.

At the same time, performance may be hindered by the traditional thin configurations offered in the Windows market. Many machines ship with 512MB of RAM, and in the mindset of the market this is sufficient.

For example, the software industry still maintains the fiction that a Windows XP machine with 256MB of RAM can do all the tasks that need to be done, or that users might want to get done. Look at almost any piece of software and 256MB is listed as the base system requirement.

But that amount has little to do with usability. It's a joke.

Grabbing the nearest software suite off the shelf near my desk (name withheld to protect the guilty), it says that a 800MHz Pentium III machine with 256MB of RAM is the base config that can run the package. But then the fine print adds, in a rare case of honesty, that 1GB of RAM is "recommended" if you want to run more than one of the programs simultaneously—something that anyone would find a necessity to get work done.

But when it comes to Vista, more RAM (and more of everything, when you get down to it) will become a necessity. Vista's basic memory configuration will move up to 512MB, and for Aero, 1GB. But, let's face it, 2GB will be the true usable base level.

Where Vista is concerned, less is not more. No way. In fact, we will see if more will be enough.

Ouch. Click this link to see more eWeek articles about Vista. Decide for yourself.

Blur Studio

You might have seen an awesome little 3D short film called In The Rough somewhere on the internet already. It's been circulating for some time now - I believe I first saw it nearly a year ago.

If you haven't seen it, don't worry. You're about to.

Blur Studio is the company responsible for In The Rough - and quite a few other short films. But they've got so much more to offer.

Located in Venice Beach, CA, the folks at Blur have put together an impressive reel of design/animation work. As with all the best companies like this, you can tell how rich their creative environment is by the quality of their finished products.

From movie and TV effects to video game cinematics, commercial ads to event graphic packaging - they've done it all. And it's all superior quality work.

Start here and watch some short films. They're funny, original, and nice to look at. But then spend some time looking around their site. It's remarkable stuff, all of it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Art: Anova

Jesper Bentzen is one of the people who remind me exactly what it is I'm not doing with my life. Whether I'd even be capable of the kind of work Jesper does is an unknown for me, and that's where I know I've come up short professionally.

There's no joke here, no sarcasm. Anova is all the things I aspire towards in my head: simple, elegant, genius. It is all the things I wonder if I'm capable of, but secretly believe I've only pretended I'm capable of.

I love these works.

The internet is full of Jesper Bentzens. None just like him, but just as talented in their own individual ways. Each one makes me step back, ashamed somehow.

Please, take the time to appreciate one man's hard work - one man's brilliance.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Superman Is A Dick; Batman Has, Foils Boners

I laughed so hard at, I literally cried.

If you always thought Superman was a little too arrogant, or if you just appreciate a good "boner" double-entendre, then you'll love

Not only does the site have an unbelievably impressive catalog of scanned covers and panels from golden/silver-age comics, but the commentary is hilarious. It's got something that will make you laugh, comic book lover or not.

I'm posting some of my favorites, but the mother lode is here.

Time Waster: Unfolding

This is maddening.

It's also incredibly rewarding.

If I could have embedded it into my site, I would have. Since I could not, please click here to lose your mind.

Video: Weird Al White and Nerdy

When my brother and I were kids, we listened to Weird Al religiously. To this day, I still have an affection for the originals of Al's spoofs - even when I wouldn't normally like the song otherwise.

Like every time I hear Macarthur Park, I finish the line " frightening in the dark. All the dinosaurs are run-ning wiiild." Or when Red Hot Chili Peppers Under The Bridge starts up on my XM radio, I immediately start singing, "Sometimes I feel like I need a vacation...sometimes I feel like I wanna the city of cavemen, the city of Bedrock...I'd be a Flintstone, and I'll tell you why..."

No question - this is easily the whitest, nerdiest confession a person can make. But I am unashamed.

It's been a long time since I've seen a Weird Al video. But he's still at it - still taking the pop hits and turning them into funny songs white people can love.

In what can only be described as a lovenote to his fans, Al has taken Chamillionaire's Ridin' Dirty, and "weirded" it.

MC Escher is my fav-o-rite emcee, too, Al.

Video: Barats and Bereta

The ever-absent Dave Burton introduced me to Barats and Bereta a while ago, and I have to admit...I wasn't impressed.

Their old schtick was uninspired, and I'd seen most of it before - like when my friends and I did the exact same things for our entire lives.

But then, something changed. I don't know exactly what changed, but they got funnier. Funnier enough that I'm putting these videos up here without reservation.

Without crossing the line into obnoxious, these two guys have a pretty good formula. Laugh at these, and then go check out their site (weird cartoon art and all).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Art: University of Tennessee

I've worked with UT's Athletic Broadcasting Department for several years now, and it's the best second job on earth. It's such a rare priviledge to work on the inside of an organization that so many fans would give an arm and a leg to work for.

Being on the sidelines for home football games, on the court during basketball, or doing tape replays through both's as good as moonlighting gets.

But I have also done a pretty good amount of design work for them over the years. If you've ever been to a game in Neyland Stadium, then you've seen some of it.

Much of this work I did independent of my day job, but some of it is technically Beyond Media work. Since everybody at Beyond works for UT on the side, it's hard to untangle the whole mess. But it doesn't matter.

Here are a couple of samples. Viola.

Flipping Fantastic: Miniscule

So I posted Miniscule a couple days ago, and it mysteriously disappeared from YouTube. Apparently, zee Germans stole it, because I found it here.

You don't need to sprechen ze Deutsch to appreciate it. If I can find one to embed, I'll get it up here.

PlayStation III vs. Nintendo Wii vs. Xbox 360

My post about the Wii has started generating some quality debate in the comments section. And as much as I'd like to perpetuate the dialogue there, those narrow confines aren't the ideal format for a discussion as polarizing as this one.

So I'm taking the fight out of the alley and into the street. We're gonna have a street fight.

A nerdy, nerdy street fight (no hitting below the pocket protector).

Round One

JLK makes the case for PS3:

The best system will win, and why is there any reason to think the PS3 won't be the best?

And I argue:

You have to define best. If you mean best as in best-looking with the fastest processor, then yes.

If you mean best as in best game experience or best practical purchase or best game system to play, then I will bet you dollars to pesos that the answer is a resounding, "no."

I've also got The Librarian in my corner:

Well, I think the ps3 won't be the best system this time. A massive processor and slick graphics do not fun make.

At this point we're all operating from the anecdotal. There aren't any hard and fast facts here, just opinions based on what we think and what we've played. I think SONY has priced the PS3 out of the range of most consumers, and JLK thinks that price isn't as limiting a factor to today's game console buyer - that excellent graphics will win over price point.

But we're just thinking.

It's looking a bit like this fight might just be between the Wii and PS3 - Xbox 360 doesn't seem to have anyone in his corner yet. But we're only getting started.

Round One: Draw

Round Two

The alley fight gets a little more than anecdotal now. I'm ready to start landing some solid hits:
Parents are not going to spend $600 on a christmas gift and another $100 on two games. That's a $700 investment just to get the thing in your living room.

You take your average parent who walks into Best Buy and looks at the game displays: the 3 consoles are all there.

One they've seen before - it's old hat.

The next has graphics that look great, but hardly more impressive than the Xbox they just looked at. And there's a huge $599 price tag on it...

Then they see the last console. It's tiny. The kids at the store are holding the "controller" and swinging it like a baseball bat - and they're actually playing baseball on-screen. To the parent, the graphics look just as good as the other two systems. And hell, look at how much fun they're having swinging that controller around.

Oh, and what's that? The price is less than half the PS3? It's only $250?


Your average consumer can buy a Wii and own TEN games for the price of a PS3 and two games.

Xbox 360 sales have been bolstered only by the fact that it's had a year of being the sole "next-gen" console available.

Once it's no longer the only competetor, 360 sales will drop dramatically.

I mean, it was outsold this year 232,000 to 221,000 by the PlayStation 2! And it was outsold by the Nintendo DS and GBA, which moved over 300,000 units this year.

Zing! There are a few good straight rights in there, and the uppercut at the end with those sales figures makes for a good start to the round. I'm feeling pretty spry now - duck and weave, stick and move!

But JLK has been playing it cool, waiting for the moment to land a few haymakers. His left cross makes solid contact:

The gaming industry is huge. Bigger than movies. Gamers are shelling out big bucks anyway, and for what? Great games. That's why when I say best, I mean gameplay. The system that makes the best games with the coolest graphics will win. That's it.

Sony has been the leader since PS1 took hold of the market, and there's no reason to think that with all of the R and D that is going into this thing that Sony is willing to sacrifice at all any quality of gameplay.

Gamers are already spending the cash, and when the PS3 comes out, if it is as good as I expect it will be, then the gamers are going to gladly fork it over to the company that offers the best games.

Damn! I've got to take a few steps back and shake the fuzzies out. I think there's a cut opening over my right eye...

And it looks like JLK has the colonel in his corner - KFC steps in with:

Nintendo has disappointed me with their past two console systems. I only use my Gamecube for Resident Evil and the Gameboy player attachment.

Ow. Firsthand experience with disappointing Nintendo consoles. Say what you want about sales numbers, it's the word-of-mouth that hits hardest. And it stings.

The judges scored this round for the PS3. The Wii is getting that cut looked at byhis trainers. And Xbox 360 receives no points this round, as it landed no punches and took a few crowd-pleasing hits to the face.

Round Two: PS3

Round Three

So rounds one and two were a recap - bringing the viewers at home up to speed. But now we're live, on the street, and I'm ready to come out swinging.

I want to start by addressing a specific point:
  1. The gaming industry is huge. Bigger than movies.
Not so fast, my friend. While I don't disagree that the gaming industry has grown exponentially over the last 5 years, that statment is highly misleading - and vague.

It's impossible to find hard numbers on actual net revenues for the game industry as a whole, and it's more impossible to find those numbers for Hollywood. But the most current numbers I can find look like this:

According to the Entertainment Software Association, computer and video game sales for 2005 grew to $7 billion in 2005. In comparison, Box Office Mojo reports that domestic box office totals for 2005 were around $8.8 billion.

I realize that the ESA numbers don't include video game hardware such as consoles, but the Box Office Mojo numbers don't include worldwide releases, residuals, television options, or DVD sales. DVD sales alone made $15.5 billion in 2004.

If you're going to evaluate the "industries" as a whole side-by-side, video games are not even close to being bigger than movies.

But that's not the heart of my argument. The reason I think the SONY PlayStation III will be a failure has much less to do with the PS3 itself, and almost everything to do with SONY.

SONY has been slowly killing itself for the last decade. As a corporation, the company is financially unstable, its retail markets have reached far beyond their ability to support the number of products they develop, and sales of SONY products as a whole have tumbled dramatically.

The problems they had with the proprietary SONY DRM software have been called "the equivalent of a 9-11 event for the tech market." And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Here's a short list:

PS3 launch delays hit Sony's shares

Sony drags Nikkei lower
Sony's PSP stumbles
Sony PS3 delays, cost hurt stock
The civil war inside Sony
Microsoft cleans up SONY's mess
Apple recalls 1.8 million SONY batteries
Apple battery debacle could be big blow to Sony
At E3, Sony stumbles
Sony's huge PlayStation 3 bet
Why you shouldn't buy products from Sony this season
Sony: the rootkit of all evil?
Sony's new music downloading site's a flop

The list goes on.

But I'm not trying to hammer SONY for being a bad company. I love my SONY gear. And I love my PS2. I don't want it to seem like I'm a SONY hater...

I do believe that SONY has pitted a dangerously large portion of the company's fiscal future against an overpriced, unproven game system. When Microsoft did this with the Xbox, they lost money on every single unit sold. But they could do that, because Microsoft is fiscally sound - so fiscally sound that it can afford to pay millions in anti-trust fines.

SONY is not Microsoft.

The PS2 has dominated more than 70% of the console market since its release. Nintendo had nothing comparable to compete with. Microsoft has been content to slowly build its own share of the gaming marketplace, and will undoubtedly be a beneficiary of the overinflated price point on the PS3's release.

The reason I see failure in the PS3's future is that the risks are too high, the viability of the system is too untested and unknown, and the two major competitors will be solid, stable producers.

SONY will be the biggest roadblock to the PS3's success.

...So now it's your turn. Get to the comments section, and I'll post your replies up here on "the street." We'll see how many rounds this knock-down, drag-out lasts!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wii Release Date: November 19

According to IGN, the Nintendo Wii finally has a launch date: November 19, 2006. That puts it squarely in the Q4 release window that Nintendo had earlier announced, and makes it prime Christmas fodder.

Release price? $250.00.

And get this: the Wii is scheduled to be released in the US before debuting in Japan. Japan won't be able to get their hands on the new N console until December 2.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the US version will also come bundled with Wii Sports, a $40 game that showcases the functionality of the Wii's unique nunchaku controller.

So, to recap:
  • The Nintendo Wii is ready to launch at full capacity with 25 game titles in its library - before Thanksgiving - for $250.00. It also comes with a free game.
  • The Sony Playstation 3 has been mired in production delays. SONY cut its initial release estimate from 2 million units to 500,000 total units at launch - 400,000 for US, 100,000 for Japan. Europe won't get PS3 until March 2007. Oh, and the PS3 will run you $499.00 for the stripped-down version, $599.00 for the full version. No free game.
  • The Xbox 360 is a year old. Sales have slowed and nearly come to a halt in Japan. Good luck Microsoft.
The race is ready to be run. I know where to bet my money.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Preview: Guitar Hero II

Guitar Hero II is due out in November, and it is going to rock your face off. In mathematical terms, that news looks something like this:

Face + Guitar Hero II = Rocked Off

Why I needed to add the math part, I don't know. But let's take a look at exactly what you can expect from the new goliath of rhythm games:
  • 55 New Rock Tracks
  • Cooperative Multiplayer Mode
  • Pro-Style Head-To-Head Multiplayer
  • New Venues
  • New Characters
  • New Unlockables
  • And...WTF? THREE-FINGER Chords?
There's so much to get crunk about, I hardly know where to start. So, instead of me doing all the leg-work and telling you what to expect, just watch these videos. And hang on to your face.

The trailer caused me to have an epileptic seizure.

The Perry Bible Fellowship

The Perry Bible Fellowship is a cartoon strip series that manages to take some of the happiest little drawings you've ever seen, and turn them into something horribly inappropriate. PBF creator, Nicholas Gurewitch, has a skill for this kind of thing that makes me uncomfortably jealous - both for his humor and for his unpronouncable name.

His strips range from whimsical to sociopathic, but they're all undeniably clever.

Readers, take heed: those of you who think you might not like this kind of humor...won't. You'll want to skip it.

Don't let the cute drawings fool you, some of them are NSFW.

Everybody else, enjoy.


This post has all the hallmarks of something you'll glance at and immediately skip over. But don't!

You want to know about I-names.

I-names (or more accurately, I-numbers) might, just might, totally reshape the way you and I identify ourselves and our presence on the internet. The standard is only being adoped as we speak, but it has the potential to utterly change our everyday use of web contacts.

Don't read the rest of this article yet. Just go here and get your $5 I-name now. You only have until 7pm PST today (Sept. 13) to get it for that price. You wait and you'll have to pay more later.

Trust me, just go do it and then come back to find out what you're buying.


Back? Good.

What you've just purchased is a unique identifier that will belong to you and only you until you quit paying for it.

Now read this:
I-Names were built to simplify the way you identify yourself on the internet, the way you communicate, and the way that information about you is stored and accessed. They are meant to be as simple as you want (=john or =john.doe or =crazyjohn) and as unique as you are.

Authentication (Single Sign On)

By relying on a 3rd party, trusted by you and by the site needing to verify your identity, you have fewer usernames and passwords to remember and the site doesn't have to maintain an authentication system.

Data Distribution and Control

You can store your personal data (like your shipping address or your email address) at a trusted source and give access to it. If it changes, those allowed access will have the updated information. If you sever your relationship, you can withdraw access. You are in control.

Communication Control

You can choose who you allow communication from. For instance, you might only allow people that have logged into an account, or people whose email address has been confirmed, to send you a message. This sets a more difficult bar for spammers trying to get to you, which makes spam much less cost efficient and less attractive as a business.

I-Names are about user-centric identity and giving people better control of their personal data. Email addresses, phone numbers and domain names are "absolute", meaning once they are given out, access is difficult to control and thay are difficult to change. I-names, on the other hand are designed for flexibility.

There are A LOT more services currently in development and on the drawing boards and there are things that can happen with a system like this in place that even we haven't even thought of yet...but this was the short answer.

The public launch of i-names is set for Digital ID World in Santa Clara, which takes place from September 11 through September 13. In celebration of this event (and to generate a buzz) the First-Year-For-$5 promotion was born. It was also decided that these $5 i-names should be made available to everyone, not just attendees of the conference. Normally, an �=� i-name costs about $20 per year at the i-brokers participating in this website. After the first year, the price will be $20/year.

Since it is not limited to any number of people, it is limited by time. It applies to = names purchased between 10pm September 10th , 2006 and 2am September 14th Greenwich Mean Time (in Pacific Time that translates to between 3pm, Sept 10th to 7pm, September 14th ).

Of course, you can buy i-names before and after that time but they will cost the normal $20/year.

Think of your I-name just like you think of your AIM nickname or your Yahoo Messenger ID. It's a shorthand, unique moniker that let's people find you quickly and and easily.

No matter where you go or how often you change contact information, people can keep up with you.

Still not sold? Think of it this way:

Say you had an email address in college that all your college friends knew. After school, you moved away and started working for a company that gave you an account with the business. Over time, you didn't use your old college address as much - and eventually, stopped using it altogether.

Then, ten years after college, the girl you had Sociology 130 with who had a boyfriend at the time but really wanted you (you could tell) decides she'd like to look you up. But wait! The only address she has is your 10-year old college email. She has no way to know that you have a new business account and closed your old email account ages ago.

She can't find your new email address or your number. She's devastated. And all she can do is cry her beautiful, shapely self to sleep. Alone.

Tough nuts, dude. The girl of your dreams will never find you now.

Time to get an I-name.

The reason I bring this up with urgency is because it's an emerging standard. Right now, you still have a chance to get the unique I-name you want without having to fight for it. As with every service where you have to pick a username, if you wait, it'll be much harder to get the one you want.

So sign up now. Figure out the details later. Just trust me that it's worth the five dollars.

And don't try to get =cechols. It's got.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Preview: Faux iPod Futures

Wired has a nice compilation of imagined next-gen iPods and iPod accessories, cleverly dubbed iMockups. Steve Jobs is slated to introduce a bevy of new gildings for his lilly sometime soon, so maybe a few of these might actually have a future.

At the very least, they're awesome examples of product design.

Check it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Video: How It Should Have Ended: Superman

If you haven't seen Brian Singer's new Superman movie, then maybe you shouldn't watch this. It will give away the ending for you.

The fake ending.

Play the clip, then go visit

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time Waster: What'ya Mean?

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to waste your time with the translation tool to end all translation tools.

What'ya Mean? uses Google's translation service to find the "true meaning" of any phrase you input. It does so by taking your English language text and translating it:

from English to French
from French to German
from German back to English

The results are pretty impressive. But I'm mostly impressed that a mechanical translation service ends up working exactly like the old-fashioned grapevine service.

Test it out and post any funny results you get.


Described thusly:

Pleix is a virtual community of digital artists based in Paris. Some of us are 3D artists, some others are musicians or graphic designers. This website is the perfect place to share our latest creations.

The films and accompanying music are of the utmost quality. Watch Birds and be amazed at the beauty of dogs in flight. Watch Beauty Kit and be appalled at our standards of beauty.

Awesome: Instructables

I've always liked learning how to do things for myself. Fortunately, Instructables exists to help me do just that.

You might never imagine the things you can learn how to do by visiting this website. And if you happen to be clever enough to have built, sewn, constructed, fashioned, or created something yourself - and you're willing to share that knowledge - then you're can contribute to the site's database of tutorials.

As much as I'd love to extoll the myriad virtues of Instructables, it's infinitely more fun for you to just click and find out for yourself.

But I can tell you this: spend five minutes on the site, and you will want to build your own laptop sleeve.

Jay, if any
person I know is qualified to contribute to something like this, it's you.

More of the Incredible Don Hertzfeldt

Without further ado, please enjoy Genre by everyone's favorite stop-motion line-drawing animator, Don Hertzfeldt.

Preview: Spore

Will Wright is one of the gaming industry's brightest and most innovative minds. He's responsible for SimCity and The Sims among many other genre-defining titles.

In a lot of ways, Will is the father of the "life-simulation" game as we know it.

Now, he's taken the idea of life-simulation to an entirely new level. His newest project is called Spore, and it stands to thoroughly reshape the gaming landscape. Spore isn't just a life-simulator, it is a virtual life-generator.

The idea behind the game is that a player will evolve a totally unique species of animal, raising them from mono-cellular goo to universe-conquering superbeings. At every step along the way, users determine nearly every feature of their creations - body type, markings, vocalization. Everything.

And as each unique player builds unique new species, those creatures are uploaded to a centralized server.

Centralized server? Pourquoi?

Get this: every unique species is redistributed to other real-world players around the globe. So each single player will experience a unique array of lifeforms in their universe, but that universe will be populated by millions of creatures created by thousands of other users.

It is, as Will terms it, a massively online single-player game.

My description of Spore might be more confusing than enlightening. But if you've got a half hour to fixate your curiosity, watch the video below. It's one of the most exciting and fascinating game demos I've ever seen.

Even if you don't give a crap about video games, you might be interested in the story itself. Take a few minutes to check it out. You'll be rewarded with Robin Williams at the end.

Ha. Rewarded.

Awesome: Light-Emitting Shirts

Thanks to the techno-savvy Chief, I've got yet another incredible-but-unnecessary product for you to enjoy.

Philips has developed a textile mesh array embedded with thousands of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) capable of displaying text, images, or even animations. The result is a flexible cloth application that can put words and images practically anywhere you find fabric: shirts, pants, couches, Wonderbra® Pushup Ass.


I'd personally like to have a shirt sleeve that I could "write" reminders on - instead of having to do it on my hand. But then, it might be a little embarrassing to walk into the Wal-Mart with I NEED HAND LOTION AND TISSUES AND MAYONNAISE scrolling up my arm.

That said, it would be funny if the Wonderbra® Pushup Ass came embedded with a flashing FALSE ADVERTISING on it.

Oh, how the sales would skyrocket.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

High-Frequency Ringtone. Can You Hear It?

NPR recently reported a story about a British invention called the Mosquito Teen Repeller.

The Mosquito creates a high-pitched sound that is audible to teens, but supposedly not to older adults.

Because it's an irritating noise, the idea was that it would disperse groups of teenagers loitering in public places. The teens, however, figured out how to record the sound and use it as a ringtone for their cellular phones.

Figuring that their "old" teachers couldn't hear the sound, the kids began using the high-pitched ringer to alert them to text messages while in class.


Anyhow, this is a fairly dated news story. But I'm interested to find out how many of you can hear this sound.

Click HERE and listen to the ringtone.

Now that you've listened to the sound, I'm betting that you did hear it. Although the high frequency oscillation is difficult for some older ears to detect, I haven't run into many people who fail to hear it.

Now, post a comment and tell me if you heard it or not.

PS - You can download that sound file and use it as a ringtone yourself. You deviant teen, you.

Trojan Pants, Victorious

Tro·jan pants
'trO-j&n 'pantz
noun plural
1a : any of the tight-fitting women's pant styles that create a false impression of the firmness and/or shapeliness of the wearer's posterior 1b: designer-brand pants bought at excessive cost specifically for the purpose of tricking men into believing that the wearer has "a nice ass"

: Dude, remember that girl with the nice ass from the restaurant? Well it turned out those were Trojan pants. I got ambushed by the real ass last night. Egad!

2 : an artificial support or padded undergarment that creates the illusion of the wearer having a "peach bottom" [see photograph; (further exposition here)]