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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Windows 8 "suite" (not rant).

Following the current decay of the Playstation scene at my home, with the lack of proper and affordable new gaming (GT5 seasonal events can only endure so far...) I've been think of moving the Xbox into the number one spot. The living room (*).

That, recent Xbox updates and the need to catch up on it's most famous and best titles I've never gotten around to play, are weighing in very heavily.


New Xbox Dashboard

I've also been very eager to get my hands on a Surface tablet. To work on a company that relies on a Windows network, Operating System and Office suite, and to play at home also on a windows "server" and "network".


  



Now WP8 phones look very interesting as well (still fugly UI). Again, for work and play. There's some serious gaming coming. And apparently with confirmed cloud sync between devices, and with some developers, even cross-platform sync. And some expected to be free or a steal  (see that Sony? Heresy in your book).





I'm not totally convinced on the desktop front, since mine is basically a server and I need nothing more than what I've got at the moment.

But the possibility of keeping everything synced in what I expect to be a "natural" Windows way across any and every device (screw iTunes!) I'm sure to give it a go. Already have a license for it. And you don't even need this app to manage anything:




I guess eventually I'll be going for the "full experience", and I'm not sure I'll return any time soon.

Microsoft is coming in last, slowly but steadily and as strong and deadly as hurricane Sandy (**).

This is gonna make a serious dent in the market in my opinion. It can't do more than bite a little bit off of the Apple, but others must be (and are) seriously concerned. Especially on the tablet side... Hence yesterday's news from Google. Excellent work from The Verge covering it by the way, you can read it all here or watch the video below (if you haven't yet).




Thing is, even if people are mostly using tablets for internet access these days, and performing most of their  daily tasks on them or on their Smartphones, usually there's an aggregator machine at home, at work or both. A safe place to store you stuff, and to "really" work with a keyboard and a mouse (those are not gonna die off that easy...). That is still the anchor.

So unless 2013 is the year of the linux chromium desktop, I don't see them succeeding. Even with their outstanding "cloud" services. I'm a fan of them. But they've been making a bit of a mess of their integration, renaming, consolidating efforts, and the cloud can only go "so far".

Now... to start, where to get the whole Halo and Forza suites for the xBox?

Know any good used game stores or sites?




(*)  I bought it to be used as an ipTv STB in another room, it's mostly and seldom used, especially in the winter.
(**) hey, it's trending... I had to fit it in here somehow...

Friday, October 26, 2012

PlayStation rant MDXLC... the PS3 Hack


Apparently the PS3 is definitely and permanently hacked.




Why should you care?

1 - As a matter of principle.

The PS3 was sold with "optional linux booting", so you could in fact run a media server (or whatever) on it. Later Sony removed that option on a FW (firmware) upgrade.

But to lock out "jailbreakers" (= pirates to them), the last available FW is always mandatory for online use (and honestly playing offline was only ok in the '80s). So that left users with a dead software version with no more updates so they could run linux, or if they had already upgraded, no downgrade option.

Solution? Sony offered money back. Kind of a "play by our rules, or don't play at all".

This is the kind of arrogant behavior that (when consistently repeated) makes giants fall. And Sony has a very poor record at this. Considering their media pricing, distribution model, and general copyright stances you see a max profit organization that tries to "milk" the market with little regard for it's evolution, users convenience, preference, or requests.

I'm all for profit, mind you. But not at all costs. Not by shaping the market to the company "needs" instead of shaping itself to the market/consumers "needs".


2 - Piracy.

This will (eventually) bring people the possibility of running pirated software copies. But you don't fight piracy with locks. You fight it with fair, viable "real market" prices.

"Hacking" has always existed. For fun, as a challenge, the forbidden fruit. And it will always exist... And after it comes "piracy". Selling those hacking solutions or illegally copying software.

But piracy only succeeds and becomes a serious issue in a market where people say "too expensive", and companies instead of lowering profits and prices, waste away more than what they'd loose with that on locks, DRM and other anti-piracy systems.





Anyway, I'm not inclined to mess with my hardware... there aren't many (if any) of those expensive tittles I'd like to play "for free", and my PS3 running PS3 MediaServer is enough for my media needs.

In other words, most current console games I wouldn't buy them for €1 or I already own them, and I have no use for Linux on it.

But it's good to know I'm now able to tinker with MY stuff again.

More:
Sophos
PlaystaionLife
Eurogamer

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Porsche Targa Tasmania Tour

Great cars, great roads, great soundtrack, great video from Porsche...



The event included many of the famous closed-road Targa stages, good food and wine, and the famous Porsche camaraderie.

Envy...



Again with the white...

Chris Harris and Drive provided us with another interesting video. Where a "proper" drivers car gets picked over a much safer, faster, more expensive one.

There's just one thing. They are both white, with black plastics, and... freakin' 2 tone silver mirrors.


The white in the Audi actually enhances the imposing front. But then, moving around the car, it gets duller and duller. White also enhances that.

In the Beemer... well it just looks like a Bad Piggy from Angry Birds from the front, and the rear looks dated. Like real old. White? It just enhances all that as well.

But mostly, WHAT'S WITH THE SILVER MIRRORS?

Seriously...


Oh, and I obviously agree with Chris' choice.





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The (new) PlayStation Store rant...

Well, here it is...

Besides the refresh, Sony added a new tab to their online software store. Mobile.

Quite simply, there is so little stuff  in there for me, I couldn't care less about the refresh. Generally my opinion is, why should I buy a downloadable version of something I can get in hard-copy with art, manual etc for the same price? It takes up space on the drive/card and those are not exactly inexpensive.

Then there's the free stuff. Or the lack of it in this case. Again Sony is looking at what people are doing, how costumers are reacting, and then trying to limit their options to force a purchase. The only good thing are the few decent game demos. Unfortunately, their notion of freemium is still very far of from reality. If you try a piece of software and buy the full version, you expect exactly that. The same game, but complete. Not a (from slightly to very) different version of the demo.

Only add-ons for the PS3 games are done right I guess... even if again a bit on the expensive.

But Vita games are still expensive, as are proprietary memory cards, and there are no free "mobile" apps and only one freemium. Guess they missed this:



Via: AppAnnie

I have to admit that after trying to force "users" to download everything on the PSP-Go (and failing miserably)



they have gone back a step or two, but apparently are still failing. I am not surprised.




That's what happens when you try to shape the market instead of adapting to it... Scott Adams has a Dilbert on it that illustrates this perfectly:



White cars rant...

Let's get this in the open. I hate white cars in general.

But (there is actually a saying that says) "realy elegant and beautiful cars look good even in white".

Fact is, white enhances the lines of any car. If they are pure, fluid, in a world if the car is elegant, it'll show. If it is not, it'll suck.

Perfect examples of this are the Toyota 2000GT or the Datsun 240Z (Fairlady) and more modern ones like the NSX-R (or most Type R Civics). Or the hyper modern Nissan GT-R. Their unique original lines shine brighter in white.






So traditionally they were either that awesome, or vans...

But now? Anything comes in white! I don't know if it's an Apple thing or not.

I can get that some manufacturers were trying to impress people, maybe even deliberately thinking "here look, even in white, it's beautiful!".

Fisrt one I recall was the BMW X6 M. And I remember thinking just that... "That's bold. And kinda looks good. Very different from an X5 or X3 (don't even get me started on the X1). Those could never look like this. Well played!" (still wouldn't get one in white...).

Then suddenly I look closer and it wasn't the first:



I mean, really? White for me shows me the exact point where the designer pulled a line to slice and stretch the top up on a 5, 3 or 1 series. And the squared wheel arches and those bumpers? It looks terrible to me...


Audi too. R8 looks decent. But SUV's?




"Exotics" always had some white optional colors and Lamborghini had a lot of white Countachs'.



And this white Aventador it's not realy white, or it'd suck...




A white GT-R? Sick. A plain white Juke-R??? Sickening.




And Porsche, the RS 4.0 looks stuning in white. But Panamera? Cayene??




I get the White is the new black – for cars that is. But if that was the purpose, it's dead now.

Seriously, when a Renault Megane Estate is 'allowed' to come in white, with silver plastic roof bars, black window frames and door protections (those huge stumps at the bottom) with silver door handles, silver plastic in the fog light hub siding the black grill, silver and black mirrors, and a silver "extractor" in the rear...

White is only enhancing how drunk the design team was when they were doing their color coordinations for that catalogue.

Seriously, look close at that for a few minutes. Look at the mess of colours and contrasts:


And this is a good press photo! The best it can look, almost acceptable. The one I saw live was nauseating to look at. If you see one of these, take good long look and then tell me if you (still?) like it.

Pretty sure somewhere someone got promoted or is getting credit for the sales these are getting. And it looks terrible. It's only selling cause white is "trending".

But anyway, ultimately it's the buyers fault. I would never be caught in any of these white cars. They either look terrible and the white enhances it, or convey the message "look at me, I'm in a white fashion car!".

Me, I'll stick to the shadow in my usual discrete metallic grey...



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