Gaming Influence on Nissan's GT-R "Supercar" Dashboard Controls

I saw the San Diego premier of the Nissan GT-R Supercar at the San Diego International Autoshow during the last week of December.  The dashboard controls inside this car, as well as other Nissan vehicles admittedly have been strongly influenced by gaming.

Reading the literature from Nissan, the GT-R Supercar is a vehicle of mythic proportions.  For kicks check-out the GT-R website to learn about the legend that is the GT-R supercar.  Anyhow, …, I encountered this car at the San Diego International Auto at the end of this past December.  The sleek looking gleeming beauty was displayed on a rotation pedestal complete with a beautiful spokes model to to give us the 5-cent tour of the vehicle.  This car will be available in 2009 in the US at the amazing bargain price of $69K, $72K nicely equipped ;p.

My Dad’s instantly fell in love and has been a lover of Nissans sports cars since the early 70’s — yes, he still has an old non-functioning pea green Z-car in his garage.  Me, I’m less impressed by a race car exterior since my brain is always focused on visibility out the windows when considering a car (ever practical I guess).  What caught my attention was when the spokes model mentioned that this present incarnation of the vehicle first appeared as a prototype vehicle option in Project Gotham Racing 3 (XBox 360) and that the performance monitor interface was inspired by gaming.  Hmm … interesting.  So as I understand it, the “performance monitor” interface not only can be used to adjust features like climate control and the stereo system, but it can also be used to monitor and adjust engine and driving parameters.  Here are some further details from JD Power:

The 2009 GT-R is Nissan’s innovative technology platform designed with an elaborate array of advanced electronic computerized controls to make driving faster, easier and safer. The center of the dashboard hosts a row of switches to customize transmission shift points, choose one of three suspension settings, and change or override the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-R). The driver is able to monitor more than a dozen engine and performance parameters through the multi-function LCD on the dashboard. These include vehicle speed, g-force, fuel economy, turbo boost, water pressure, oil pressure, transmission oil, front/rear drive distribution, steering angles, and more. The presentation of the information was designed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran Turismo video game series for Sony PlayStation.
The standard electronics package is comprehensive. A 7-inch, touch-screen, WVGA high-resolution color LCD sits prominently in the dashboard to display GPS navigation, vehicle performance information, and audio selections. A digital Bose stereo with AM/FM in-dash 6-CD changer, HDD Music Box system, MP3, WMA and DVD audio capabilities is also standard. All GT-R models are equipped with a Bluetooth Hands-free phone system with voice recognition.

Wow!  That’s a high level of driver engagement!  One of the concepts the spokes model stressed is that the GT-R is meant to be driveable by anyone with a license, from novice to pro.  I wonder is this true with the peformance monitor interface, or is there a learning curve associated with how each of these parameters effects car performance.  Eitherway, I imagine for those who would buy this car, part of the fun will be learning how to use the performance monitor interface to enhance the driving experience and to track their preformance on their driving adventures.  I just hope that fun doesn’t lead to too many horrific traffic accidents.

I'm Back from Home and Las Vegas

After three weeks of being out of the office, I’m back!  Unfortunately, I’m not feeling so good this morning and I’m wondering whether I will make it through the day (tummy trouble and I seem to be doing my best to try to pass-out).  I’m hoping it’s just a case of “workitus” that will improve as I get back into the swing of things.  Anyhow, I remember writing a list of things I wanted to do during my break.  Here’s what I wanted to do:

  • Plan next year’s spring/summer vacation — Nope
  • Defeat the 7-headed junk mail beast that now occupies my office and kitchen table — DONE
  • Take the piles of clothes that don’t fit me or my husband to Goodwill — DONE
  • Read manga and watch anime until the wee hours of the morning — DONE
  • Finish “Mass Effect” — Nope
  • Finally get rid of this nagging cold! — I’m still sniffling

Junk Mail Beast Before:

After 2 Days of battle (4 Hefty bags of paper removed, the death of my shredder, and the purchase of a new one):

OMG!!!  We have a wood floor!  I still have a couple of cord fairies to exterminate and a lot more desktop mess to deal with, but overall, I’m pleased with the result.  And, yes that’s a Halloween table cloth hanging over the window … sigh … I swear I’ll get around to ordering blinds one day.

I didn’t make it to Goodwill before the turn of the year, however, I did manage to unload 3 Hefty bags full of clothes that no longer fit me or my husband.  It always feels good to give our sweaters and some of my “work” clothes a second life.  Most of the clothes were worn only once or twice before they no longer fit — I lost weight and my husband gained.  I also found out, after buying many sweaters, that my husband doesn’t wear sweaters because he always runs hot.  Doh!

On the anime and manga front, I watched all 78 episodes of “Kyou Kara Maou”, an excellent anime series that is available on Netflix — check it out!  I also translated the second volume of Arakure (“Wild Ones” in the US).

As for summer vacation — well the Blackbird 002 was on special … 🙂  So I guess we’ll be vacationing at home this summer.  I got bored with “Mass Effect” (my husband finished it, though), and my cold is probably allergies.  Sigh …

Ahh CES2008 … well, I didn’t feel that blogging while there did justice to my experience.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I talked to quite a few people for some time (I find that engineers from Japanese companies are very proud of their products and will spend lots of geeky quality time with you if start asking questions and talking) and I took over 200 pictures.  There are some specific products and trends that I would like to highlight and as always, in a couple of weeks I will put out a formal report.  I will put the entries in this blog. 

As for the bar bet … sigh … I ended up cancelling most of our dinner reservations in Las Vegas because I couldn’t enjoy eating dishes and desserts my husband couldn’t even taste.  So we played it my ear and ate mostly in restaurants within the Summerlin area.  Needless to say, we will be splurging at PMA starting Feb 1st.  My husband’s co-workers will be having “fun” come February :).  I’m quite proud of his effort 🙂

Advertising Widgets from Tokyo Pop

Tokyopop, a publisher of manga in the US, has widgets available to post on MySpace, FaceBook, blogs, and many other webpages.  I decided to try it out to see how it works.

Here’s the URL if you want to try it out yourself too:

This picture shows some of the webservices the widgets can be posted to:

This picture shows one of the widgets on my external blog:

I use Google’s Blogger service.  Posting the widget was very easy.  I clicked on the “grab it!” button, selected Blogger, and then entered my login information (probably not the safest thing to do — they could be phishing).  If you don’t want to give login info or if the webservice you use is not available, then they also provide a little script to cut-and-paste into the source code of your webpage.

Obviously these widgets are meant to be viral since you can post them to another page from where ever you encounter the widget.   Also, who knows what else this widget is doing.  I imagine it also takes tracking information.  Personally, I don’t find the widgets Tokyopop has available to be anything that I would want to put on my page, except for maybe the manga preview widget.  If they had a widget that showed their schedule of manga releases, then that is something I would definitely post because that would be useful to me and my readers.  I will leave this widget on my page for a couple of weeks.  Hopefully, I won’t get any backlash from folks out there who hate Tokyopop.

New Years Bar Bet

It’s the New Year and my husband has agreed to a bar bet.  His co-workers bet him that he couldn’t stay off meat and sugar for a month (he can eat eggs and dairy).  The loser/s has to have … well, I’d rather not specify the penalty, but let’s just say it’s an uncomfortable but healthy thing to do to ring in the New Year.  Sigh, …, I’m sorta cheesed off, but at the same time I see some hope in fnally being able to convert my husband into a healthier eater.

In general, my husband and I enjoy meat a lot and have never considered being vegetarians.  Humans are omnivores and we don’t have any moral  believes against eating meat — okay, well not entirely.  There are some animals we won’t eat.  Anyhow, when my husband confronted me with this bet, I laughed (really, really hard) and told him good luck.  He asked if I was going to help him, and I honestly told him, “No way!”  Then he gave me a crushed look and said that I didn’t believe in him.  Oh, man did I feel bad!  He really wants to do this.

Needless to say, I’m helping my husband through this bet.  The worse part for him will be giving up sugar because he is a soda addict and enjoys quite a bit of candy everyday.  The first day, yesterday, went pretty well.  Since the bet doesn’t include eggs and dairy, there is quite a bit of room getting protein into him.  Yesterday I fed him an omelette and toast and for dinner we had vegetable curry.  I put a fried egg on top of his.  I’m a little worried about feeding him too many eggs because they are high in cholesterol, but I figure this has got to better than his usual donut or big cheeseburger breakfast (nope, I can’t control what he eats outside the house).  This morning I cracked open a couple of cookbooks and I found some interesting recipes to try and went grocery shopping accordingly. 

I think the toughest time period for this will be eating in Las Vegas during CES.  The day he made the bet is the same day that I made a bunch of restaurant reservations because for me, CES is about gadgets and food.  Steve asked me to reconsider the reservations, and I told him I felt that this was part of the challenge.

I’m now looking quite forward to getting through the month with my husband Steve.  The outcome that I would like is that he finally gives up soda, like I did 6-years ago.  I would also like it if he ate better after this and lost a little weight.  On a purely selfish note, I get to learn some new recipes that I would have never tried before for fear of my husband asking, “Where’s the meat?”

If any of you have some vegetarian recipes to share with me that you think I should try on my husband, please do share them :).  I will share what works for us as we go along.