I've talked about this board game in passing, but Cranium actually sent me the board game itself. I already have it, and have been playing with it for a while, so I'll be giving it to my friend Bethany, whose pop culture and board game prowess probably makes her more deserving of it than most of my other readers! Anyway, since they were so kind, I'll do them a favor and give my full review of it here: the good and the bad. The way it works is that there are two teams, and the opposing team picks a card and ranks the 5 games (drawing, humming, acting, sculpting, restricted word clues) so that harder games are worth more points (5 point max). Then, you pick a game and have to get your team to guess what's on the card before time runs out, and the first team to 21 points wins. Sound easy? Actually, it's been taking an average of about 2 hours to complete a game, so it's trickier than you think. There's a lot to love about it, to be honest. It seemed like there were a lot of 80s cards, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's a pretty even spread among the past 30 years or so and in several categories (fashion, fads, food/drinks, celebrities, tv shows, movies, music, etc). Plus, they have free booster packs available on their site, which is great in this day and age of nickel and dime-ing. I think they've provided a neat solution to the boredom that's typically in games like these with multiple teams for the opposing team since you have a vested interest in picking your rankings properly and it plays into a lot of strategy, and it makes watching them try the card more fun when your whole team knows what it is.
I do have some gripes though. It's not playable out of the box. Isn't that crazy? You need to pick up 3 AAA batteries. For what? To power the timer (the giant circle you see in the box), which is just a blinking light. You'd think they'd put a speaker in there if they need so much power (my Bluetooth headset needs 1 AAA battery for 30 hours of talk time). They give you little cups to hold your points in (neat little green chips), but the markings on them are confusing. We once miscalled a game thinking that a team only needed 1 point to win when they really needed 2, but I realized that there were only 41 chips totally and we had too many left, so the cup actually needed one more chip to be 21. My biggest gripe has to be the notepad that it comes with: it has like maybe 20 pages in it. Come on! That'll last maybe a month. Physically though, I like that the podium spins, and I like the letter-line up cubes, though it's strange that there's a slot in the front to hold the card and yet pulling out the card doesn't start the timer automatically (you still have to push the big green button). As you can tell, these things are nit-picky. I'm just trying to show how small the negatives to this game are. It costs $30 retail, which is more than the original Cranium (I guess the timer is expensive), but I think you'll probably enjoy it if you enjoy games like Cranium. I think it's awesome because you're hard-pressed to find people my age or older who are totally dumb in pop culture. Even when I played with people who weren't born here, they could still find creative ways to act out cards they had no idea on. I'll probably bring this to the ACM retreat on Saturday; I think the CS nerds will get a kick out of it. If I had a letter grade scale for board games, I'd give this one an A or A-. I don't think I'm ever with friends/family and not in a mood to play it.
Ok, so massive crazy news: Wal-mart has already brokered a deal with the six major movie studios to sell their movies online (for download) for $12-$20 a pop. They haven't even built the service itself yet, though. They're entered an already pretty loaded market, though being the giant they are, I don't think that puts them at much of a disadvantage. Nirav is a Microsoft fanboy and disagrees with me (I like the Xbox 360, but I'm sorry, I'm not going to praise its re-release), but I just don't think the market for movie downloads is there yet. It'll be established once home theater PCs really hit the mainstream, and I think that'll coincide with a boom for the IP TV industry.
Steve Jobs posted some thoughts on the Apple site about music and DRM, and I guess there's no guarantee that they're his own, but he's not the kind of man to delegate his own opinions to someone else to be written. If they're true, then I guess we've all underestimated him as simply greedy with the whole FairPlay schema. I guess I can see his rationale better now for keeping it in-house, but I don't think it makes FairPlay any better as a technology. The fact that it's DRM makes it inherently flawed, so I think he's protecting an idea that inherently cannot be protected.
This is pretty cool: Kodak has a new ink that lasts longer than regular inkjet ink (100 years rather than 15) and is half the price! No idea if the quality is better/worse, but it sounds like it's no worse than what we see already. If this takes off, it could make Kodak even richer because people really hate paying so much for ink cartridges and would probably buy a Kodak printer solely to curb that expense.
Crave is reporting on a new technology that uses face recognition as your password, and I'm going to reiterate what Jesper Johansson impressed upon me: biometric scanning and anything related to it is a bad idea. If your face gets scarred, what are you going to do? There's no admin to give you back your old face. And if he can give you a new one, then what makes it more secure than current keyboard-based passwords? If someone wants access to your system, they could gruesomely peel your face off.
TechRepublic has some good myths dispelled about Vista. If you've read a lot of bad press about Vista, it's definitely worth checking out.
I've talked about these before so I don't want to spend much time on them, but here's a great roundup of the social music sites out there. It's very concise, and the top three on that list are still my favorites.
Yahoo Movies has a cool video interview with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that kind of brings to focus their excitement about Grind House for everyone who just doesn't get it and why it'll be a fun movie to see. I'm definitely excited about it!
Another interesting video is this one about Spider-man 3. Not a whole lot new in it, it just kind of frames the movie a little better. Again, still concerned about what they're doing with the Sandman storyline. And I can no longer stand the line, "The power! It feels good."
Now just short things. The Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures movie release date is tentatively May 22, 2008. It looks rather ambitious to me, but I'm sure they can pull it off if they really want to. AICN has another good review of Blades of Glory, I guess it really is better than the trailer shows. There's also a negative review of Fanboys, which is a shame because I love Kristen Bell so.
Now for the Tuesday Twosome:
1. List two items of clothing you would never wear again.
Denim jackets or shirts (yes, I have worn both in the past)
2. List two food items you would never eat again.
Plain spinach and chopped liver
3. List two types of music you would never intentionally listen to again.
Country and Tejano
4. List two TV shows you would never watch again.
My Boys and Mad TV (it's just so bad now)
5. List two beverages you would never drink again.
Plain soda and grapefruit juice
Don't count on a post from me tomorrow night, and possibly not Thursday either. I have two tests and an interview on Thursday.