Thursday, December 29, 2005

WoW Alliance Race Update/Announcement/Rumor.

How is this for a big little update, for those of you who play WoW here is the little info nugget you have been waiting for. According to the upcoming February issue of Computer World, the blizzard team has decided to go with the Draenei for the new Alliance race available in the upcoming expansion: The Burning Crusade. The people at blizzard have also not denied this to be the case. This is sad for the Panderan and High Elf fans, however this seems to be the most logical choice at this time, as seen in the WoWWiki Rumor Breakdown below there are plenty of reasons for this, not the least of which is "uglying" the Alliance to oppose the "prettying" of the Horde that the Blood Elves are supposed to accomplish. I dont like to bite hard onto rumors, but I like where this one is heading.

[Link] (WoWWiki Rumor Breakdown)
[Link] (Parting Visions Feb Computer World Pics)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My apologies for the tardiness.

Ok, so the holiday season hits us all pretty hard. Unlike many other blogs, I dont make money to do this, I do this as a service to my friends and the internet people out there. However it has been just over a week since I have made an entry. Sorry. I mean that, I try to be as consistant as possible but the holiday times were just too much for me to handle and also make entries here. This does not mean that there wasnt things that were newsworthy that happened, there was, and I plan on updating with those things.

With all of the "year end roundups" and "year in review" things going on all over the intertron, I was thinking about doing a "year in advance" and tell you all about the cool things that are going to be happening next year because... this year already happened, and most of us were there for that.

So the moral of the story is this, we made it through the holidays and you can expect more posts. Also, I have moved the right sidebar around to be more user friendly, I also add things to that all the time, you can tell by the bright green "NEW" right next to them. So... enjoy that. Happy hilidays (Late) and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Xbox 360 scalpers robbed at gunpoint.

A group of would-be scalpers were robbed of four newly purchased Xbox 360s while dining at an Anchorage (Alaska) McDonalds.
A group of five males, ages 14 to 24, scored five Xbox 360s early Sunday morning at a Best Buy in South Anchorage. Later, they tried to sell two of those units for $600 each to people still in line. When no one accepted their generous offer, the group headed out to McDonalds for breakfast.
The 14-year-old was left in care of the Xboxes while the other four men ate breakfast inside. At that point, at least two men who had observed the failed scalping attempt and followed the bunch to McDonalds, approached the van where the boy was keeping watch, put a gun to his face, and made off with four of the units. The fifth 360 had been stashed under the boy’s seat. When greed meets greed, the greed with the gun wins.

So... do I need to wear my kevlar vest to my local Best Buy on the 22nd? I mean... I usually roll strapped, but perhaps some extra protection. Just a thought.


Judge rules against "intelligent design" in public schools.

In response to what is undoubtedly the most arrogant and insulting name for a religious historical theory, a judge in Pennsylvania has ruled against the teaching of a "religious alternative to science" in the public schools.

Here is what the judge had to say.

"Intelligent design" is "a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory" and cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district.

Here is what the children had to deal with before this.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation. It required students to hear a statement (disclaimer .Ed) about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin’s theory is “not a fact” and has inexplicable “gaps” and referred students to an intelligent-design textbook, “Of Pandas and People,” for more information.

This is what the judge had to say about that.

Jones blasted the disclaimer, saying it "singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere."


Friday, December 16, 2005

10 reasons the Xbox 360 doesn't quite rock - yet

This is not the profound bashfest that the title of this entry would indicate, nor is it the easily dismissed nitpickings of a nintendo/sony fanboy. These seem to be valid claims and issues. None of the issues raised in the article seem to be dealbreakers, however they are things that the gamer has/should be expecting for a finished "polished" final product in the next generation of gaming consoles. Sorry, there is no punchline in this entry... this is serious stuff here.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pwned by devastating cuteness.

If you cant look at this website and not at least "aawww" a little bit, you have no soul. Seriously, no matter how bad your day is, the undeniable cuteness of the subject of this brilliant blog will make you emit those squishy noises that women make when they see neat shoes. I dare you to resist the adorableness. I fear the cute overload.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

2D Halo Shooter. Halo Zero.

Apparently this amazing little FREE shooter is built on the Metal Slug gaming engine using all of your favorite elements of the Halo Franchise. If you are a fan of gaming in it's many forms, please dont pass this opportunity to play a wonderful side scroller up. This is a fan game, time will tell if the gaming industry (Microsoft and Bungie) are smart enough to, instead of shutting it down with their lawers, pick up the development team and utilize them for their talents. This is how the gaming industry is different from the heartless recording industry. Please enjoy this pixel perfect peice of gaming.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Unlikely objects in bottles.

Other newsblogs have titled this "Bottles impossibly filled with impossible objects" and although that makes for a pretty catchy headline, it doesnt accurately describe what is being looked at here. I am in no way downplaying the awesomeness of what is here, this stuff is amazing however by looking at what is inside of the bottles, yes, without disassembling/folding the items there would be no way to get them into the bottles as they are, however with a little thought you can figure out how they were put in there, also... they exist and are thereby not "impossible"... just unlikely as they obviously could not simply "fall in" on their own. There is something cool/strange about someone who would take a deck of cards and drill a hole in them, just to take them each out, curve them and stuff them into a bottle just to reassemble them inside again and put a bolt through the hole and screw a nut on the end... very cool stuff.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Female sex bunnies.

Heather Kelly, a game designer over at Ubisoft has come up with a clever way to harness the power of videogames to improve sex, for women. Apparently she knows that the way to gaming nirvana is through the vagina, using a stylus. All jokes aside, the concept of stroking a virtual bunny who reacts to the point where they "fly" is something that I'm quite sure will assist in teaching "blossoming" woment cope with the tragedy that is their changing body. Just kidding, it's blue and adorable... just like women. This game will never be made, the politicians will see to that but I would like to play it, you know... for science.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

SET, the wordy furniture.

If your modern storage solution, we all know you have them, doesnt "say" enough about you, you can literally spell it out with these verbose little (see also; giant) letters that can be configured to spell anything your heart desires, now if I can just get someone to "donate" 15 of these little beauties so that I can keep my laundry in the words "Vicious Lunchbox" across my front lawn in a brilliant advertising peice with bonus storage. If only my german was better I could tell you how much these bad boys are, but I would assume it would just be easier to trick your crazy uncle with that "awesome garage" to build them for you, seriously just slip the blueprints onto his workbench, he'll think he drafted them, just stop him before he tries for the patent. Or else he will have the modern gangsters over at set 26 knocking on his garage door. We dont want that to happen.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Halo Movie Updates and Script Overview.

There are some updates to the Halo Movie News blogged about yesterday. In an interview at Dark Horizons, Peter Jackson spoke about how he is looking forward to taking a break, and that the break he mentions is producing Halo, this all but guarrantees that he will not be directing the movie in any way shape or form. Also he confirms (in a round about way) that the script overview on the Latino review site is indeed credible. Having read the overview I am quite intrigued and believe the hype, I'm excited for the movie, not simply because I'm a fan of the franchise (the script reviewer has not played the game and he is excited) but because it sounds like the movie will be very gory, something that I feel was implied in the game but never really shown. (Oh, and for a spoiler- The script follows the first game quite accurately... with more.) I like the scene where the other soldier takes a plasma grenade to the chest and curls over to protect his fellow marines... and then blows up. Beautiful.

[Script Review]

Monday, December 05, 2005

Q-Unit... another wonderful album mashup.

Download this quickly, before it gets shut down. I love album mashups. This one in particular has the strangest possible image, a 50cent/Freddy Mercury composite image. Creepy. They are missing the wonderous FM teeth. With song titles like: Bohemian Wanksta and We Will Rock You In Tha Club, how can you possibly go wrong. Enjoy... quickly, before the record companies file their paperwork.


That Cloud Game

This is a delightful little FREE game that has creativity in spades and relies fairly heavily on it's innovation. The people responsible for this should be expecting Shigeru to knock on their doors pretty soon, as he is the only other person capable of making clouds fun. It was a student project at USC, a grant well spent. Check it out, it is very innovative.


Halo Movie

Today, rumor has it that the director of Hellboy and Blade II, Guillermo Del Toro will be first in line to be considered for directing the Halo movie with Peter Jackson as the executive producer. Although I like Del Toro's movies thusfar, I feel as though in this instance, in regards to the halo storyline, his directing style will most likely end up foppish and banal. I think that Jackson would make a very appropriate director, instead of executive producer. I dont think you need to look much further than "Meet the Feebles" to see that Jackson can do what is necessary when he needs to. At least nobody has mentioned the wonderous Mr. Uwe.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Bigfoot? Sasquatch? Yeti? Ask the BFRO.

The BFRO stands for, The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. They have just released some recent photographs of what some believe to be Bigfoot. The photographs were taken on Silver Star Mountain in Washington. Apparently credibility and legitamacy are not high on my list as I have already blogged about latex zombies and metal insects, a news story about bigfoot was inevitable. Please, enjoy the youthful whimsy of this.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pack of Russian squirrels kill barking dog... and take it with them.

This newstory on the BBC News World Network is quite strange. Here is my favorite exerpt:

"They literally gutted the dog," local journalist Anastasia Trubitsina told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
"When they saw the men, they scattered in different directions, taking pieces of their kill away with them."


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

RIAA is trying to take my music away.

Few things irritate me more than censorship. I have a lot of things that I would like to say about this, but I will keep it to news and not rant until my face turns purple. Either way, this type of thing disgusts me. The story goes like this, mashup albums are made, and the record labels of the "mashed" albums sue the people who did the mashup, when they are not even trying to profit from the product. I blogged about the Dean Gray album a few weeks ago, well Warner (the green day label) has issued a cease and desist for the free distribution of the American Edit album. Here are what some other people have said that I completely agree with. And in the link you can see how to fight back.

fighting mashups has nothing to do with reducing "piracy." No one who listens to American Edit will shrug her shoulders and say, "Well, heck, now that I've heard that, who needs to buy the Green Day album?" Censoring this art is tantamount to saying, "This music must go because it displeases us."

[Their] answer to the Grey Album is patronage. "You must not make this art unless we permit it." If you work for one of a few big record companies, you can use their legal apparatus to clear the material you want to use in a mashup. Otherwise, your art is illegal and will be censored.

I think patronage is wrong -- I agree with the maximalists here. Let's end it. Let's share these mashups, make samples without permission, and continue to produce art without permission from the latter-day aristocracy of creativity. - Cory Doctorow


Spumco - Vincent Waller

Here is something for the fans of Ren and Stimpy and really any disturbed Spumco product, a short gallery of some work by Vincent Waller. "Vincent directed the classic Ren & Stimpy cartoon, "Rubber Nipple Salesmen" , and was a Directing Animator on R&S: Adult Party Cartoon." Good stuff.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Radiohead album mashup.

Panzah Zandahz has released and album called; “Me & This Army”. Radiohead's music provides the backdrop as the bumping beats of Blackalicious and DeLaSoul are laid over the top. I love mashup albums. And I like to share them with you. The link has a review and the torrent. Enjoy.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Visitorville... making data fun.

This has to be one of the coolest possible ways to track visitors to your site in realtime using a virtual city, you can apparently click on visitors and live chat with them. Different pages on your site are reflected as buildings, and people take taxis and limos and helicopters (based on "importance") everyone's IP addresses are reflected on their faces, the more important the page the taller the building... this is an avsolutely AMAZING product if it works the way it should. There are two links, one official and one the review. I will be installing this on my comp when I get home from work. Unbelievable potential.

[Link] Review
[Link] Official

Nooka Watches now in both digital and analog.

Matthew Waldman has created some genuinely gorgeous timepeices that are designed to add visual weight to the ephemeral concept of time. They can be picked up in the New York Museum of Modern Art. And no, the name Nooka isn't a take on the sweedish cell phone maker, it is a contration for New Yorker. Wear this to accentuate your JFold wallet and your "real men wear pink" shirt to be a force of ultra emo hardecoreness or you can wear it right next to your LED cufflinks and your LED beltbuckle to show just how 1337 you are. This is a diverse timepeice.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Super Sexy Latex Uniforms and Catsuits.

Although Über expensive, these High end Latex fetish outfits allow women to fulfill their and their men's fantasies of race car drivers, nurses, cowgirls and military personel. The link may not be considered worksafe. Enjoy none the less. Seriously, who doesnt want a horse wrangling nazi waiting for them at home after a long day of work. I want a pink AK too.


Cable IDs of salvation.

There are few things that scare gamers worse than having to reach into the spagetti monster that lives, coiled like a bundle of snakes behind their HD TVs to unplug their XBox to take it over to their friends house for a Halo party, and having to pray that you dont unplug the Iron lung that keeps the hardcore gamers alive. That test of recollection is no longer necessary due to this german invention that knidly and fashionably labels your chords.


Modular Lit Bricks. by Remake Light

This is the answer to predictable and ordinary shelving devices and lamps. Minimalist design combined with multiple functions, this is just my type of shelf/lamp combonation cubes. It comes in various different colors and shapes... no wait, just different colors. Also available in magnetic version that can hang on the wall or other surfaces that accept magnets... like steel.


Green Day American Idiot album mash up.

Although not nearly as good as the legendary Dangermouse, Beatles and Jay-Z mash up on the Grey Album, this album is definately worth checking out, although it may be a little oasis and country heavy. I am always interested in new mash up albums and I thought this one was worth sharing. At the link you can download the entire album in mp3 form, so enjoy.


Monday, November 21, 2005

AT&T back at it again. Cingular can suck it.

Perhaps that headline is a little bit harsh. I do however have a personal argument still waging with cingular. I had been happy with my AT&T coverage and rate plan for years, when out of nowhere cingular buys AT&Tmobile and proceeded to wage war on AT&T customers. I only noticed that it had happened when one day I looked at my phone and it had that deplorable little orange x man instead of my comfortable blue orb. I was disappointed to say the least when I was then repeatedly stongarmed into switching over to signing a comperable 2 year deal with cingular that was $40.oo more per month than I was paying, I told cingular to eat my ass and stuck with AT&T despite the weekly harassing mail pamphlets. What can I say, I fear change. The reason for the story is, after spending millions of dollars in "re-branding" away from AT&T and converting everything to cingular... it is all going back to the way it was. Oh, and I really like the new logo, it looks a little kinder, lowercase does that.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Jack Thompson and the ongoing war on opinion

He is on the comeback. Amazon let's people post opinions and they are to blame for him being unpopular, so his plan is to threaten to sue amazon till people like him, or at least until they say nice things about him. Seems like flapping your arms really hard on the hindenburg, but who am i to take away hope, keep up the good work Jack Thompson and i hope you aren't impeded from making future asanine lawsuits or threats of lawsuits, cause that would make me sad, i have become a big fan of your work.



World Of Warcraft Murders Again

Alright, a 13 - year old boy became addicted to world of warcraft. That statement seems fair. Then his addiction resulted in him jumping from an all together too high of a place, thus inhibiting chances for survival. What the fuck. His parents are now suing Blizzard for this because he was "reenacting a scene from the videogame". I am personally an avid player of WoW, as it is so affectionatly called, i do not recall jumping to your death as being one of the goals in the game. Now if i were to say, blizzard is responsible for me being undateable, that seems fair, fuck if someone attacked a bear and claimed they where recreating a scene from WoW, i would be margianally alright with that, but videogamers know better than to solo elite mobs. As far as i can tell, my only viable lawsuit i can think of is if i tried to ride a wolf around, and it turned and viciously attacked me, then and only then will i accept that someone was trying to reenact WoW. Shouldn't this just be called suicide? Can't we go back to blaiming those on Kurt Cobain? Oh wait it was in china, maybe it is gods way of saying you should have kept your daughter. I can't beat a child to death and claim that Coca-cola mind controlled me into doing it, but i can take a swandive in the asphalt and claim that world of warcraft made me do it. Why not go after dissapointing videogames, like 50 cent bulletproof made me eat a baby fetus whole. Stop allowing illusory correlations against videogames to result in lawsuits, i bet he liked sugar too, sue the sugar industry while you are at it cause he was obviously addicted to sugar too which resulted in his untimely death.

[ Link ]


Friday, November 18, 2005

Sony rootkit debacle. TImeline and rundown to date. HUGE but necessary post. (modified from BB)

Sony anti-customer technology roundup and time-line

Details about he revelations relating to Sony's DRM systems, which show jaw-dropping contempt for their customers, for copyright law, for fair trading and for the public interest.

Oct 31: Sony DRM uses black-hat rootkits
Mark Russinovich, a security researcher, discovers that Sony has been sneakily installing "rootkit"-based DRM on their customers' computers. Rootkits are black-hat hacker tools used to disguise the workings of their malicious software. Removing Sony's rootkit nukes your Windows installation.

Nov 3: Sony releases de-rootkit-ifier, lies about risks from rootkits
Sony announces a "service pack" for its rootkit DRM. It deceptively downplays the risks the rootkit presented. It turns out that the remover doesn't actually work, either.

Nov 3: Felten on Sony's rootkit-"remover"
Princeton DRM researcher Ed Felten analyzes Sony's rootkit "remover" and concludes that it's a hunk of junk: "they're almost certainly adding things to the system...they're not disclosing what they're doing."

Nov 3: Defeat WoW spyware using Sony's rootkit
Warden, a program used by Blizzard to scour World of Warcraft players' system and report on the contents to the company can be defeated with the Sony rootkit. Blizzard claims that Warden only detects a few programs that facilitate cheating, but researchers have found evidence to the contrary.

Nov 8: Defend against Sony's rootkit with DRM-ripping software
AnyDVD, a DVD-ripping program, advertises that it can also inoculate you against the Sony rootkit.

Nov 9: List of CDs infected with Sony's rootkit DRM
EFF releases a partial list of CDs believed infected to infected with Sony's rootkit. Buyer beware -- you're better off buying music from someone else.

Nov 9: Sony's EULA is worse than their rootkit
EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann analyzes the license agreement that accompanies Sony's rootkit DRM (that's right, a license to listen to an audio CD!). It is unbelievably outrageous, the kind of thing that makes you want to get a torch and a pitchfork and head over to the nearest Sony office.

Nov 9: Wanna sue the pants off Sony?
EFF is looking for people who bought rootkit-infected CDs to join a potential lawsuit against Sony

Nov 10: Sony Music CDs infect Macs, too (It's about halfway down. Starts with the words "Darren Dittrich")
Mac users shouldn't be smug -- Sony's audio CDs also contain an app that patches OS X's kernel with unspecified restriction-software; though Mac users have to take a few more steps before their computers are compromised

Nov 10: Fantastic screed against the coders who wrote the previous Sony DRM junk
This isn't the first time Sony's been caught doing crap like this; the last time around a geek wrote an amazing rant excoriating the coders who helped Sony write its anti-customer malware

Nov 11: Sony will stop shipping infectious CDs -- too little, too late
Twelve days after being caught using rootkits, Sony announces that it will stop shipping rootkit-infected CDs. No recall of the existing rootkits, though -- and Sony doesn't come close to apologizing. Buying Sony CDs is a great way to screw up your PC, but a lousy way to acquire music.

Nov 12: Sony's *other* malicious audio CD trojan
Princeton DRM researcher Alex Halderman reports on the other malicious software found on Sony CDs, a Suncomm product called MediaMax. MediaMax is a vicious little bug, which spies on you and reports on your deeds to the mothership.

Nov 12: New Sony lockware prevents selling or loaning of games
Sony patents a piece of software that can prevent you from playing a game that's been inserted into one console on another console; speculation is that this is destined for the PS3. Kiss game rentals, loaning and re-sale goodbye. Also, if your PS3 breaks or is stolen, you might as well toss out all your games, they're useless without it.

Nov 13: Sony's malware uninstaller leaves your computer vulnerable
A Finnish researcher discovers that the "uninstaller" for Sony's rootkit leaves a ton of crap behind that hackers can exploit -- he can reboot your computer just by getting you to load a web-page

Nov 13: Sony's rootkit infringes on software copyrights
There are strong indications that Sony ripped off a Free Software-based library called the LAME Encoder for its rootkit. The LAME Encoder is licensed under the Lesser GPL (LGPL), which was released for free re-use by public spirited programmers who merely requested that they be acknowledged. In Sony's zeal to protect its copyrights, they had no compunction about clobbering the copyrights of those software authors.

Other stuff:
Sony lied about its rootkit. They said it didn't phone home with information about your deeds. It does. When they were caught in the lie, they said that they didn't pay attention to the information it sent back, so it's OK

Microsoft is building a Sony rootkit-remover into its anti-spyware product
Lawsuits against Sony are already underway in Italy and the US
At least one piece of malicious software that exploits Sony's rootkit has been discovered in the wild

call from Dan Goodin over on Wired to boycott all Sony products until they make amends..."

This a reference to the NPR interview where Sony BMG Global Digital Business President Thomas Hesse puts his foot in it saying, 'Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?'. The NPR interview aired Nov 4."

Immunize Yourself Against Sony’s Dangerous Uninstaller: Princeton DRM researchers Ed Felten and Alex Halderman explain how to miitgate the security vulnerabilities left behind by Sony's incompetent "uninstaller" program.

List of infected CDs: Sony finally lists the 52 titles infected with the XCP rootkit. Note that Sony initially claimed that fewer than half that number were infected.

US-CERT: Never Install Audio-CD DRM Software. The Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team advises that you never install CD DRM: "Do not install software from sources that you do not expect to contain software, such as an audio CD."

Nov 14: EFF to Sony: you broke it, you oughta fix it
EFF publishes an open letter to Sony calling on the company to make amends for its misdeeds -- Sony should disclose the risks of its DRM software, it should give customers uninfected CDs, help anti-spyware companies fix the holes, compensate customers for damage to PCs, and package their CDs will full disclosure of any malware contained within.

Nov 14: Sony's rootkit uninstaller is *really* dangerous
Following on the November 13 research about Sony's rootkit "uninstaller" leaving your computer vulnerable to attacks like rebooting it by inserting malicious code in a web-page, Princeton researchers Ed Felten and Alex Halderman announces that they have discovered far more serious problems with the software and warn against installing it at all, promising prompt full disclosure (they publis this the next day, along with some instructions for defending yourself if you've run the uninstaller)

Nov 15: Sony begins to recall some infected CDs
Sony announces a limited recall of its infected CDs -- they'll take them back from stores, but not from customers (they announce that they'll swap out customers' CDs later in the day)

Nov 15: Sony's spyware "remover" creates huge security hole
Princeton DRM researchers Ed Felten and Alex Haldermen publish detailed analysis of the security vulnerabilities created by the rootkit "uninstaller" Sony that provides. Running this software leaves your machine vulnerable to complete takeover by simply embedding malicious code in a webpage.

Nov 15: Sony infects more than 500k networks, including military and govt
Dan Kaminsky publishes research showing that Sony's DRM has infected over 500,000 computer networks including networks belonging to the military and the government.

Nov 15: Sony disavows lockware patent
Sony issues a statement promising not to use technology that locks videogames to consoles.

Nov 15: Latest Sony news: 100% of CDs with rootkits, mainstream condemnation, retailers angry

Mini-roundup post. Before Sony recanted, they were sending out emails to their customers proudly promising that 100 percent of their CDs would be infected with rootkits by end of 2005. The Globe and Mail's business section denounces Sony. A tipster at a retailer reports that Sony is pressuring the sales channel to downplay the scope of the threat from its rootkit DRM. Sony and other electronics companies get caught jacking up the wholesale price to online stores, so that their retail price will be the same as those in physical stores.

Nov 15: Sory Electronics: Will Sony make amends for infecting our computers?
SORY Electronics -- lovely parody of Sony's logo, reading: "SORY IS THE HARDEST WORD." It's the concept behind a site calling on Sony to really make amends for the infecting of its customers' PCs.

Nov 15: Sony issues non-apology for compromising your PC
Sony promises to send you a non-DRM CD to replace your DRM CD. Still no word on how to effectively uninstall their rootkit, and the company downplays the scope of the damage -- just what we need, infected users with a false sense of security.

Nov 16: Katamari/Sony DRM mashup
Humor break: Joey De Villa creates "Katamari DRM," showing the wonderful videogame transformed into a game where the objective is to overwhelm the planet with rootkit DRM -- he draws on Dan Kaminsky's excellent visualizations of the 500,000+ networks infected with the rootkit.

Nov 16: Sony waits 3 DAYS to withdraw dangerous "uninstaller" for its rootkit
Three days after being notified that its rootkit DRM uninstaller leaves computers in a dangerously insecure state, Sony finally stops advising its customers to use it.

Nov 16: Sony CDs banned in the workplace [Alberta Agriculture Letter] [University of Canberra Letter]
Companies, educational institutions, and government agencies are banning the use of Sony CDs on workplace computers, due to the security risks that arise from the rootkit DRM. Some orgs go so far as banning audio CDs altogether, since there are plenty of malicious bits of anti-security technology in music from many labels.

Audio atrocities, for research.

Salford University's Acousitc Research Centre is trying to identify the worst sound in the world. Visitors to the BadVibes site are given an opportunity to hear and rate some truly annoying noises. From the press release:

Fingernails scraping down a blackboard… the scream of a baby… your neighbour’s dog barking: what’s the worst sound in the world?

People can... listen and vote on a collection of awful sounds, use the horrible sound mixer and even download horrible sound effects as ringtones.

But as Professor Trevor Cox from the University’s Acoustics Research Centre explained, there’s a serious side to the research as well. "The idea behind the project is to get people thinking about the complex way we listen to and interpret sounds. For instance, you can find out why we find the sound of retching horrible.

[Link] (thanks, B)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fat car and fat house.

The MCA or museum of contemporary art (in Sydney Australia)currently has on display the artwork of Erwin Wurm. Obviously a modern artist his work features "fat" objects like the "fat house" and the "fat car" seen at the left. His work also features people (see also: performers) using everyday things in very strange ways. Like the guy who is "wearing" the chair, which seems likesomething you would do inevitably with a chair if given enough time alone with it. (beside the sitting) I am a bit disconcerted by the people with their heads in the doghouse. Overall I really like this stuff, it is just strange enough without falling in the normal pitfalls of usual modernism. Oh yea, It has to do with drugs too... imagine that. "The puzzling monologue, decoded in the book that accompanies the show, turns out to be a free-verse lexicon of drug slang."


12 folds, 4 more than 8.

Apparently the public school system is working. It took a high school student to debunk the commonly held theory that paper, no matter it's size or shape, could not be folded in one direction more than 8 times. There is substantial mathematical documentation as to why this was thought to be true. In 2001 the high school student Britney Gallivan devised a function (for extra credit!) that proved that it could be done, and then broke the world record of folding by folding a sheet of gold foil and then a sheet of paper 12 times. These are exciting times we live in. I am however all in favor of people who when told something "cant be done." their response is, "no, f*(# that, I can." I wonder which pamona valley starbucks she works at now.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The perfect computing keyboard. The Optimus.

The Optimus is an absolute wet dream for those us us who are entrenched in utter geekdom. The moment I saw this I had daydreams of using adaptive keyboard shortcuts with 3d Studio Max and Photoshop with changing user functions based on which "mode" the user is in. I love the fictional Quake layout they have, the possibilities of this keyboard are phenominal. If there was a way to pre-order one, I would be on the top of that list. Sadly, this isnt a produced reality, yet. I do find it a tad bit easier to use things that actually exist. Here's hoping.


Adorable bodily functions.

I had no idea that human waste could be so cuddly. (I guess it could be from any mammal really) These controversial sweedish toys designed by Emma Megitt are sold out and have launched her into the international design scene. I am personally quite fond of the temporary tattoos of pee & poo crossbones. Adorable, and kinda funny.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Progressive drawing.

After the link is a progressive drawing done in flash to show how to draw the human form, apparently the human form takes on the image of a female fashion victim from the eighties, but it is fun to watch none-the-less. Enjoy.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Xbox 360 Official Launch List

The link below will send you straight to the Official Microsoft Xbox 360 Day One Launch List. Exciting stuff, they claim it to be "the broadest and deepest retail launch lineup in console history." Dont get me wrong, I like the 360, and I will own one, but the launch titles leave a lot to be desired. As far as I can tell, from the list there are only 3 games that are exclusive;

1. Kameo: Elements of Power (Which has been cancelled and re-announced twice, that is not a good sign, plus I have played it and although pretty, the gameplay is unintuitive and the fun factor is negledgable. Lets see how it fares. It is already available for purchase, but does very little good without a 360 to play it on.)

2. Condemned: Criminal Origins (This game looks beautiful, gritty, filthy and rife with violence. I would now ask you to think of a single FPS in this genre that doesnt fit all of the previous descriptors. Now think of a FPS that you have played recently (Except Halo) that played better on a console than a PC. I will get this game, but I will hope for a very nice plot to wrap the beauty around.)

3. Perfect Dark Zero (As the only exclusive launch title that doesnt have two parts of a name sewn together with a colon, this is most likely going to be the "must have" title for the 360, as I have played both the PC version of call of duty 2 and the 360 port, the PC game is just better. I have very fond memories of the potential that perfect dark had as the failed Goldeneye killer on the N64. This looks like a wonderful game with "Console Multiplayer" written all over it, which is a distinctly different experience from the "PC Multiplayer" experience of waiting in lines and just hoping for a game. This is another title I am excited for and will be picking up.)

There are two other aspects of the 360 that I feel as though I must address.

First, The (liscensed) sports games look ATROCIOUS, the animations are wretched and the player models vaguely resemble humans, seriously look at the elbows of players in the NBA game.

Lastly, the most impressive visuals that I have seen on the system are all from the racing games, but honestly they should be beautiful. I truly hope that gamers and game producers dont begin to settle for the "just good enough" approach to this system, with the power it has, things should look good and there should really be no excuse for poor graphics, It will be all about the gameplay for me. (Oh, and I am also looking forward to playing Gun, and although not exclusive, it feels like it belongs on the 360.)


Friday, November 11, 2005

Devil Pope?

I cant believe that people actually got offended by this particular illusion of happenstance, the horns are obviously the collar of the man behind the pope, but accusations got flying about the Media using photographs to slander the church. Perhaps people just dont believe in coincidences. I thought the picture was quite funny.


Also from the same site are some fun things that someone did with their hands.


Holiday Vader

If you have read any of the previous posts on this blog you have most liely noticed that I have a particular penchant for items that are the combination of two wholly unrelated articles. (See; Aquarium Toilet and Mario Che.) Again I would like to place on display a strange amalgum, nothing pays homage to the general holiday season (of no specific denomination) like a sparkly red Darth Vader Figurine with what I can only assume is the legendary Sith Wreath.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mario more culturally relevant that previously thought.

This is a fantastic little Mario and Che combination job. The cultural relevance is interesting seeing as the new Nintendo console is called The Revolution. There is something incredibly lucky or incredibly witty there. Kudos on combining influential characters from history, how additionally Iconic.


Grey's Cartoon Anatomical Reference Guide.

This is the art of Michael Paulus, he has taken and illustrated the skeletal anatomy of many different cartoon characters throughout history. The illustrative work id very "contextually" spot on. These all look like they could be directly from a medical journal sitting on the shelves of a hanna barbarra mortician.


Toilet fishtank, the Shit n' swim.

Actually, it is called the Aquariass by it's designer. I thought it was funny. I do think that it would be a little disconcerting to have all of those little eyes watching you while you make your business, but the novelty of getting to say, "I need to feed my toilet." and meaning it, is pretty fun, now all you need is the aquarium sink and your bathroom fish needs should be fulfilled.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rare Aphex Twin Album Reissued.

AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb is a new/old rerelease of Richard D Jame's work pre-aphex twin. There was only ever 1000 vinyls of the original ever released and now it is being put out as a single album. If you are unfamiliar with Aphex Twin or Richard D James, I can catch you up really quick. The music is profoundly strange in a wonderful way, you cant use words to describe the sounds that Richard D James, in one of his many personalities, creates. As the article in the link says this album title is an anagram for one of his other albums Analogue Bubblebath, as is one of the tracks on the album called Laughable Butane Bob. I assure you this isnt the strangest thing about this guy. This announcement is exciting and I for one consider his music to be the soundtrack for such hypothetical events as shaving a persian kitten in a room full of ball bearings, it just sets the mood perfectly. From what I understand it is actually about mashed potatoes.


Jumping Bean Olympics and Creepy Face.

Yes, it seems cruel to me too, to keep struggling insect larvae trapped, but it just seems cruel to draw faces on their prizons and name them as suggested by this website. I presume that it is all justified by the implications of gladitorial combat using jumping beans, and i think that calling it a pet is a bit overglorified, perhaps mobile prisoner is more accurate. But who am I to judge you for your fascination with the whimsical mexican jumping bean. However strange all of that may be, this is not the real reason to visit the site linked below, the real reason is to play with the marvelously out of place, disturbing disembodied head that talks to you and glares menacingly at your mouse.


An update to the photobooth, the 3d photobooth.

The once far off concept of making your own action figure, will apparently be soon realized using currently accessable technology, not any of that fancy star trekkie stuff where overweight foreign men complain as they disassemble your atoms and beam them at the speed of light. Actually i think that getting portly foreigners to complain is simply par for the course when you are discussing the topic of 3d photobooths. Is it me or do the stands look a little "Welcome to the world of tomorrow!" to you? Great idea, and if the little sculpture is less than $15 i'm sure that i would buy one or five... perhaps I could pose to allow me to arrange them to be greeting each other, or fighting off relatively gigantic latex zombies. I would love a little vignyette where I am teaming up with myself to murder myself in toy form, that would be adorable. The artistic possibilities are awesome.


Question Mark and POW speakers from Super Mario Bross (sic)

A large part of me wants to suspend them in the air and put my fist next to my head while I jump up and down trying to release the invincibility star or turn all of those damn koopa troopas on their collective backs. Novelty shaped like a powerup. Apparently there is no way to purchase them, how sad.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NASA Mind Controllers for Videogames and treating ADD.

Ok, for anyone who claims that videogames are bad for you, here is some counter evidence. To treat kids for ADD a helmet is hooked up to the child that controls how fast the car goes in burnout for the ps2, the more the child focuses the faster the car goes. Good stuff, thanks NASA.


On sale today: One 360 Game and the 360 Peripherals.

Today, at your local videogame retailer, the Xbox 360 release title Kameo: Elements of Power and the various 360 peripherals. This is good news for everyone who is interested in, say... holding a now useless controller for the next ten days, shivering with excitement for a system you may or may not be able to get all the while reading the booklet for a mediocre game. Even better for the person who needs to ensure that their gaming experience is covered in a fine wood veneer. Make sure you beat those crowds to EBX, I hear there is a line forming for the communicator headset.


Blizzard Movie in the works?

I genuinely cant tell if this is wonderful news or terrifying. I presume the first simply based on who we are dealing with. Blizzard, the beloved champions of intellectual property are apparently looking toward making a full length feature film from each of their universes: Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. I am confident in this notion because the worlds themselves are very strong and blizzard can do some amazing work, just look at the opening cinematic for World of Warcraft, it is pee your pants beautiful. There are some very important lessons that they need to learn from others.

#1. I pray that the movies dont end up live action, I dont think I could handle seeing a man dressed up as a cow swinging around a log. Call me crazy.
#2. Blizzard should call the production folks at square to ask them how not to write a script that has essentially nothing to do with their beautiful world. I do not look forward to seeing World of Warcraft: Extreme gun carrying, hallway walking and lazer haeads. These are the pitfalls that need to be avoided.

I hope blizzard develops it "in house", and doesnt outsource it to... lets say Uwe Boll... or any other hollywood director. Hollywood is not videogames and videogames are not hollywood. They both need to be treated gently and coddled when they cross over, like walking a burning infant through a wax museum, carefully.


Fancy a cup of Pikmin Tea!

This is just downright adorable. I am glad that the folks over at ludology were able to document this little wonder of re-design. The only part that frightens me is the memories of controlling Captain Olimar and "accidentally" using the c-button to guide your little cult/pikmin into a small puddle and hearing their horrible tiny screams as you looked on unabe to rescue them or do anything at all about the situation. They could probably be mourned as martyrs if only the result was delicious tea. Listen up celestial seasons, make your tea adorable... and reminiscent of the virtual death of helpful innocent creatures.