Tuesday, April 25, 2006

God of War and Mario Excitement

I have way too much tech news today (I can't remember the last time there was this much going on, actually). Hence, I thought it'd be prudent to combine the topic I had most of in this first paragraph, and that would be video games. I usually don't talk too much about specific games, but there's a new trailer for God of War 2 that totally blew my mind. I still don't have the first one, but I'm sure that I'll pick it up over the summer. This game is the very definition of violence, so doesn't it seem strange that no one is getting sued over it? So much more gore than GTA ever had, and it just goes to show how stupid people can be sometimes. Of course, wholesome old Mario is coming back in a big way on the DS, as we can now see in some footage at the official site, and I love the little upgrades they've given to it. For example, really big mushrooms make you a giant, and you can smash through everything. Speaking of the DS, that guy who put up videos reviewing the DS Lite has put up another answering some common questions and adding in a fun segment where you can see the DS Lite take a night on the town. It really tempts me because it's so small and neat. Lastly, we have something new on the PS3: apparently, it's using emulation technology to enforce backwards compatibility (just like the Xbox 360), whereas the PS2 could just read and handle PS1 discs natively. This means that not all old PS games will work, so they'd better work hard to get the best ones to work or else they'll likely lose a lot of interest from fanboys with lots of video game baggage.

I'm going to move on to Apple news since I have quite a few articles on them. The first one claims that Apple is trying to get Blu-ray discs to include iPod content, and that's all we know. I have no clue what that would entail, but I suppose we should look out for more on that very soon. I've mentioned before that they're likely to release a new Nano this year, and more word on who they're switching to as their chip manufacturer would also support that claim. Plus, they may feel that this company could better handle the demand than PortalPlayer did last year when the tiny music player was released. If you currently have an iPod, you should read this for more on how to keep its battery going until we get the new ones we know are probably in the pipe. Microsoft is pushing its Genuine Advantage program even further down our throats with more nagging reminders, a new logo, and less stuff you can get without a validated copy of Windows. I don't think they're really handling all this well, and should've waited to extend the program further until Vista comes out. John Dvorak, in his first editorial I've agreed with in a long while, explains that Microsoft has bigger problems than this in how they buy into propaganda campaigns and create products out of fear that don't do too well. Their Internet strategy was all unorganized, and IE has caused more harm than good. You'd think they'd be able to buy more corporate self-esteem with the dough they rake in. However, you also think that dough would attract more students to major in CS, which has apparently become more glaring by top US schools not placing well in the recent international ACM programming contest. I absolutely despite them for using this as a metric to judge how good US CS programs are doing. It's not our fault that these Russian kids have no life, and I'm sure as Hell not giving up the sauce to study more just to beat them.

I'd better start a new paragraph. Are you tired of the RIAA exploiting little kids for downloading with guerilla tactics? I can't believe they sink so low to feed their greed, and EFF has started a relatively successful petition against their practices. If they get another 15,000 signatures, they'll present it to Congress, so go ahead and sign it right now. I'll wait. Back? Good. If you're anything like me, you often find yourself using files on campus and at home (or at work and at home), and so you just keep e-mailing them to yourself. There's a better alternative, and it's called ThinkFree, a web-based office application created mostly in AJAX and Java. I tried it out and the GB of storage is nice and its support for all the Office formats (plus ability to convert to PDF), but its power editor is a little slow. Anyway, it's pretty nifty and very much free so you might as well try it out. If you have a USB stick, then you'll love this list of must-haves. I didn't know there was such a handy encryptor, file viewer, and photo viewer out there for free and in a self-executing format. You should definitely cherish that list. Click to enlargeLastly, Nokia has unleashed its new N series phones that they're actually calling "multimedia computers" because they can do so much, but I'm just not sure that they're worth the hefty price tags attached to them. I'll cede that this is a great step in the right direction for integrating some of our most important portable electronics needs. You can read a little more about each model here if you want to learn more.

If you thought we'd be light on movie news because of all the tech news, then you'd be dead wrong. The first thing to really catch my eye was the first 8 minutes of Hard Candy, and it's not much more than an exposition (they're not going to give you the juicy stuff, obviously). It's not representative of the movie as a whole though, so don't think it'll be that slow (from what I've read, at least). We also have a clip from Chan-wook Park's Lady Vengeance by way of IGN, which is quite a bit more exciting and brings out that haunting style we've come to expect (nay, demand) from him. What's also wildly interesting is multiple sources claiming that Quentin Tarantino may be directing a Jimi Hendrix biopic, which doesn't seem his style of film, but he's Tarantino so he can pretty much do whatever pleases him. I should note that the so-called announcement is from some no-name studio, whereas Tarantino probably wouldn't do anything without the brothers Weinstein since he's worked with them so much. I didn't think from what we've seen of Over the Hedge that it would be special at all in its genre, but apparently a reviewer at AICN with no biases regarding the film before seeing it seemed to really like it. Let's hope that the movie has better gags than the trailers and commercials let on. Latino Review reviewed the Iron Man script, which I thought was a weird hero to base a movie on and it looks like El Chavo agrees with me, but claims that it's a decent script at the same time. One more superhero item: AICN has another black Spidey picture, but it's very strange and I'm guessing that they covered him up to prevent bootleg shots (like that very one) from being taken. However, it's likely a photoshop from this picture, which actually looks better. Lastly, Al Pacino has joined the cast of Ocean's 13 as a wealthy hotelier, and I'm guessing that he'll be the antagonist. He does make a good bad guy, after all.

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

Find a musician who was born on your birthday and give me a list of three or four songs by that artist. You can do this for as many musicians as you want.
Chuck Berry was actually born on my birthday in 1926, and "Johnny B Goode" is one of my favorite oldies. He also made that catchy tune "Route 66" though, and I used to love singing "My ding-a-ling" when I was really small. I just got a kick out of it, for some reason.

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