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.


And one day later, a DRM fix.

In response to the recent uprising of DRM exploitation, deception and generally bad stuff, along comes something that makes a truly wonderful claim. SlySoft products has released a few "freedom" products that *gasp* allow you to use the music and movies you bought. My suggestion is that you snatch these up quickly, as I see a cease and desist letter coming their way from multiple fronts. Get these while you can. This is a refreshing step in the right direction for computering freedom.

Quoted from their website:
AnyDVD tackles Sony DRM Rootkit Virus!If AnyDVD is installed and active on your PC, the new so-called "Sony DRM Rootkit Virus" has no access to your system and the affected audio CD appears unprotected regardless! Another good reason to get AnyDVD!


Monday, November 07, 2005

Italian group suing Sony over DRM rootkit

For those who dont know, Sony is currently violating your rights. (with the prefix $sys$) They do this by installing a program to "protect" your legally purchased music from you, the owner. It installs a rootkit on your pc upon the insertion of a Sony audio cd. Here is a good article. This is the same rootkit that has been used to nullify the blizzard installed software called Guardian for World of Warcraft users. (Side Note: This software, although invasive, is used to ensure that cheating does not occur in an MMORPG, and Guardian can be uninstalled, also the end user must agree to install Guardian, read the terms and service agreement its in there. The Sony DRM AUTOMATICALLY INSTALLS, and once it is on there it cannot be removed without some serious geekwork. This DRM is malicious and aggressive. I personally trust Blizzard a hell of a lot more than I trust Sony.) So an Italian group has started what I can only hope is a trend of lawsuits. The ramifications of this practice continuing unabated are conceptually dire. I hope an american law firm can try to stop the sony machine here.

[Link] (the suit, in italian)
[Link] (More elaborate explanation of Sony DRM)

USB Big Tiki Drive

Think Geek, or as I like to call it... Mecca of all things geek, has provided for us all the Big Tiki Drive. A device with which to put quaking fear into the hearts of your lego heathens. Just make sure that you dont accidentally try to drink a Mai Tai out of this guy's head, I think that would void the warranty. Of all the crazy storage devices you can plug into your USB port, this gets my vote for the most "tikiriffic!"


Metal Insect Toys made by Kabuto

This is the kind of thing that people who enjoy building their own insects might find wonderful. I wanted to write something funny about these... and then remind you that they were awesome, but the folks at gizmodo did too good of a job of that. Here you go:

Fans of meccano might enjoy this — a series of aluminium insect model kits to create your very own army of terror with which to send out and conquer the planet whilst you sit back stroking a luxurious cigar and smoking a fine white cat. Alas, these model kits don’t feature motorised parts, but they do look rather menacing nonetheless. Japan has something of an obsession with large insects and a popular pastime for many elementary schoolchildren in Japan is collecting stag beetles in the forest and making them “fight” each other — which was the inspiration behind Pokemon. These metal renditions are a nice way for older generations to rekindle some of their childhood, and could definitely act as an attractive paperweight or bludgeoning tool.

How informative. I want to smoke a fine white cat. Seriously, the mechanical bugs are awesome.

[Link] (Product)

[Link] (Assembly instructions)

Soul Devouring Video Games

I just like the title of this article. I do however find some glaring gaping holes in the construct of endless self inflicted tedium, all in the name of fun. On the list he has missed some very potent games: Snood, Bejewled2, Dr. Robotnick's Mean Bean Machine and World of Warcraft. At one point in time in my life, I actually lost a girlfriend to Snood. It was sad and i still resent that game... She just couldnt stop playing it. I do agree with the Chu Chu Rocket! thing, long live the dreamcast. Oh, and I have earned 99 lines in tetris on the original Game Boy. Addictive.


Uppity childish fanboys need to grow up. That's you, gaming press.

I agree wholeheartedly with what he says in this article. I (Mr. Lunch) am also a member of the IGDA and am a member locally at the CGDA. Matthew Sakey says it much better than I have, so read it and enjoy. It is an article about the infantilism of the gaming press and a call to evolve into the serious business of gaming. As ironic as it sounds, some of us (myself included) take the playing and development of videogames seriously. When magazines and the press in general use their "traditional" juvenile tactics for the benefit of their readership it attempts to undermine the legitamacy of gaming. (please dont be fooled by that last statement to believe that the gaming world is that fragile, it is just unnecessary to have your legs attacked while running. Odd example yes, but I couldnt come up with a better one.) Oh yea, and this guy has at least some credentials, which is a lot more than can be said about some of the opponents of the gaming world. Enjoy: Culture Clash.


TIme Capsule Email... Of hilarity.

No, you cant have your New Kids On The Block mix tape back from 1990 but you can send something to yourself in 20 years. I think this is a very creative way for you to send a message to your future self, I do see one major drawback... do i really believe that I will be using my current email address in 20 years, no. Some poor schmuck is going to get a random email from me that says something like: "I can see you, look behind you." Come to think of it, this could facilitate some wonderful jokes.

[Link] (thanks, B)

Beautiful Panoramas of Quake4

VrMag is an online magazine devoted to panoramic pictures. They have just updated their site with some gorgeous panoramas of the ingame play of Quake4. The game looks beautiful, that is a given, these make it look heavenly in a hellish (wait, switch that.) way. Let the ocular masturbation begin.

[Link] (thanks, B)

Adaptive Modular LED Tile Game Prototype

Holy minimalism batman! Look at that TileToy, these things look sweet, check out the video of how they work. They look super fun, if not a little novel. I can understand how they could be marketed as a "learning" device, but I dont see them working their way into the elementary school calculus classes anytime soon. I do enjoy the notion of having a device that you can use/play with that knows exactly where it is and how it is supposed to behave. I believe that the thing that will be most beneficial to the ability of user supported programs to be run, the end-user possibilities make this a very versitile tool... and the beautiful Finnish design doesnt hurt the aesthetics either. In my opinion they look a hell of alot better than the Sony counterproduct, but they lack the multiple color LEDs... I'm partial to red anyway. Although thinking about playing an adaptive game of SET, using the Blockjam tiles, that sounds nice.


RatBikes: I thought i said ALL black.

For when you just cant get something flat enough or black enough, look for a ratbike. Essentially they are bikes built using whatever motorcycle parts the builder can find... you know lying around... and if you are the type of person who has random motorcycle parts lying around, you probably drive a cobbled together monstrosity of a bike anyway but this is something that people should be aware of. And yea... after seeing some of the pics, a part of me wants to rattlecan my entire shiny bike to get some serious Mad Max action on my own. I think that would kill the resale value though, once again my practicality triumphs over my cool. Please enjoy.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

vicious contact

This was initially a post about castlevania movie but then i looked at lunch's post and realized he beat me to it, so i decided to provide some contact info. Know anything you think i should know, please enlighten me

Next Gen is the best Gen

So i finally got around to going to my local Wal-mart and having a quick stab at the 360, and to say that i am disapointed would be an understatement. First and foremost i would like to point out that it was half broken, the controller rumbled endlessly on it's mounting bracket with the screen frozen on what i could only assume to be a close up of a horses ass. After a couple of resets though it was up and running. The only game that looked really entertaining to me was king kong, mostly because i wanted to let the utter superiority of graphics wash over me in a thick steamy jungle setting with a gigantic ape and a t-rex... When i began my gameplay i noted one thing that disturbed me to no end, heavy pixelation. Now i am not sure if it was the fault of the LCD screen or of the xbox 360 but one thing was very apparent, that this mediocre game that should easily win me over with environments the likes of which my current gen products surely would be unable to match, was falling short at all aspects. To be completly honest i am not cutting it any slack, and i don't think i should have to, this is suppose to be a videogame system that will deliver my drugs of choice for probably about the next 5 years, that is broken within a week of use, and playing games that look like a pixelated monkey's ass. Now don't get me wrong i will buy one, but trust me when i say that the first oppurtunity i get to turn it into a computer/xbox 360 i am all over that. Make me a 400$ WoW box and i will buy your product. If this poor appearance of this game was due to the LCD screens used to show off the xbox 360, seriously get some better screens, it will be worth it for your customer amazement microsoft.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Fluffy Vaccuums, the new way to sit and suck.

Airpouf, I think that these are beautiful in their sheer absurdity. Although I have yet to get a hands on test with these fluffy appliances, I love the notion that there was some logic that dictated that by combining two things as different as sitting and cleaning, that either one could be improved. However, this device, which looks a little bit like someone attacked mickey mouse with a chainsaw, definately gets +100 points in my book for the possibility that, through careful feng shui, I would be able to nonchalantly utter the following sentence to company: "Oh, make yourself comfortable... you can just pull up the vaccuum." Pure style.


Castlevania: The Movie. No Uwe Boll.

Well, since every decent Videogame franchise in the world, that has had any modicum of success, has been adapted into a hollywood movie. They have usually been butchered by the venerable Videogame director Uwe Boll. (Alone in the Dark, House of The Dead, Bloodrayne, Farcry, Hunter: The Reconing, Fear Effect.) Yes he has been confirmed to be taking on directing duties for the Postal movie adaptation with Gary Coleman as his lead. It doesnt get much more absurd than that.

At least one of my favorite franchises in gaming history Castlevania will not fall subject to his wonderful german craftsmanship. Another veteran "Videogame" Director has signed on for the castlevania project, Paul W. S. Anderson. (MortalCombat, Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator.) I can only hope that it is more Event Horizon and less Alien vs. Predator. Either way, it will be hollywood schlock, hopefully he will at least give one character a whip.

[Link] (thanks, K)

Burning Crusade Release Date

Gamespot dot com apparently knows something that nobody else knows, the release date for the new WOW expansion pack, the Burning Crusade. They have it listed as July 3rd 2006. As a disclaimer this could be a total shot in the dark on their part, i mean they have Halo 3 listed too. But I for one am hoping that it comes out sooner. Yay blood elves, same model different ears... also now in new PINK! with bonus PRETTY!


Jellyfish + Desktop accessories = Good idea?

Adorable jellyfish and for just a minute or two, it looked to me as though they were real, but they are just too uniform to be live and upon translation the japanese site does state that they are "special silicone". $150 is a bit steep for fake aquatic life. Adorable none the less, this makes me think I would really like a live jellyfish for me office. It cant be too hard, I mean what do they eat? Water? I have no idea.


Your own lifesize zombie? Sign me up.

This is a fantastic idea, a few days late maybe, but for less than $500 you too can have your very own lifesize zombie/sextoy. (I am partial to the shotgun/redneck zombie.) I hypothesize that for the price of one "realdoll" sextoy, you could recreate your favorite scenes from any number of zombie flicks. And it looks like they will give George Romero a run for his money.