Category Archives: Gaming

Apple’s Magic Mouse — Multi-Touch Mouse

Here’s an image from Apple

Nice!  I think I’ll make a trip to my local Apple store to check out the new items.  I’m not a “Mac person” but I am very curious about the Magic Mouse and I want to see it and the new iMacs in action.  Now to wait for the PC version.  If it is truly multi-touch, then I think this is an excellent evolution of the mouse.  I would like to see something that goes even further for gaming.

10/GUI — Meh …

My husband sent me video of the “10/Gui” multi-touch mouse replacement.

Link

Yay — put the touch interface physically on the user’s desk instead of in the screen.  The first thing that  came to mind watching the video is “nice”, but show me how you type accurately at keyboard speed.  And with that I’m at “meh.”  Also introduced in the video is the idea of a linear windows management system.  I immediately blanched on this idea.  I’ve never encountered the problem this guy described.  My windows always pop up where they were last opened or closed and I like having layers of different windows from which little pieces peek out so I can see what I’ve got open.  I also like arranging my PC desktop how I like — but then again I’m sitting in front of two very large flat panels, multi-tasking away as I translate and monitor my e-mail/RSS Feeds  …

This is not to say the concept is bad.  It’s just that having a huge touchpad below a traditional keyboard causes ergonomic issues of it’s own.  Basically, a keyboard and mouse are placed at the same distance in front of the user so the user is in a neutral position regardless of which device he or she is using.  Along this line I see a five-fingered multi-touch mouse  or an integrated keyboard/touch interface device instead.  I’ve seen the a keyboard/touch device on a PS3  where the keys on the keyboard can be used as the touch interface.  As for a flat touch keyboard, that allows for all kinds of modifications and customization based on application by pairing it with a screen underneath the surface.  People could create their own interfaces with a few “primitives,” which could have great possibilities for gaming, image editing, music making, and things like Bloomberg.  Manufacturers could make one keyboard for all languages.  In combination with haptics (or the likes), keyboard-like feedback could be provided, thereby creating a very familiar experience.

Personally, though, I’m very happy with the mouse.  A lot can be done with very little movement, plus mice are quite inexpensive and space friendly.

Are you Ready for 3D TV?

Quite honestly, I’m not excited by this technology yet.  I’ve experienced prototypes of 3D displays at CES.  Most of them required special glasses, although one manufacturer had actually managed to make a multi-planed monitor that produced “3D” without glasses (these displays were targeted for casino gaming).  The multi-planed display was quite trippy, yet mesmerizing — perfect for video slots and video poker.  For the most part, though, like 3D movies, it was very taxing on my eyes to view the displays through the special polarized glasses.

Eye strain aside, the basic question that comes to mind is does 3-D enhance my viewing experience?  I’ve seen a few movies in 3D and, basically, the movie makers, being conscious of 3D, add sight gags to titillate viewers.  However, I have yet to see any of these sight gags enhance or even have relevance to the movie’s storyline.  Along these lines, when considering whether to pay extra to see a movie in 3-D, I skip it, and opt to see the movie on the largest screen with digital projection.  I prefer a clear, vivid image over 3-D any day.   Oh, and let me not forget that I can see the refresh in 3-D movies, which actually makes me feel a little queasy on top of the eye strain (if the refresh rate hits a certain sweet spot, I have been known to pass-out).  The same was true for me when experiencing 3-D TV — Eyestrain, disorientation, and queasiness.

Leaving aside the minor medical problems caused by 3-D, let’s go back to the question of content enhancement.  Of course when 3-D becomes available, shows will feel compelled to include the usual pointy-sticks-in-the-eye site gags and long with cute-fuzzy-flying-creatures for your children to pointlessly reach out and try to pet.  Beyond this, though, what will 3-D bring to TV entertainment seeing as how it’s brought nothing material to movies?  As a demonstration of 3-D LCD TV technology, I viewed a video of a football game video game.  The field and the players were so small that it really didn’t matter that it was in 3-D.  Extrapolating that to real sports, I just don’t see an advantage — unless, say, I’m courtside and the image is so big that I’m immersed in the world.  Hahaha!!! I imagine that kind of reality is some years away, but I could really see myself enjoying that kind of experience.  I also experienced a video game demo, which was interesting …

Moving on to the “interesting” thing … The thing about 3-D is that the display outputs two images.  The images come out the display via orthogonal light waves, which are visible though lenses that allow one or the other kind of light wave to pass (basically each lens in a pair of 3D glasses picks up one of the images).  Now imagine instead of 3-D, two completely different images are shown and each viewer has a pair of glasses in which both lenses are the same so only one image is viewable to each person.  Suddenly, two people can be looking at the same display, but each person sees a completely different image!  In video gaming this comes in handy for two player vs and cooperative games because each person can see from their own perspective without having to split the screen.  Taking the concept further, pair this with headsets or directional speakers, and suddenly two people watching the same television can be watching two different programs!  This is the thing that excites me and once the technological issues are works out such that people can tolerate 3-D for longer than 10-mins, I could see myself indulging in a 3-D TV.

Here’s a link to an article talking about the near future of 3D TV.  3D TV has a long way to go, and I doubt until TV becomes a fully immersive experience that 3D will catch on universally.  But I think the steps that are being taken now are the brave first steps that move us towards that virtual courtside seat at home.

Aeronna Achieves Level 40

aeronna_lvl40Let the superior attitude begin!  Yes, yesterday, miss Aeronna Bramblerose hit the current Warhammer Online level cap.  Yay!  Now for the reknown grind to get better gear ;p.  Anyhow, I’m looking forward to finally doing the high level dungeons with my guildies.  And, no, I have not had the level 40 lobotomy yet (it’s similar to a “management lobotoby” from what I can tell),  so I will continue to cheer on everyone and be positive regardless of the situation.

So Cute! A Baby Blackbird!

I’m pretty sad that I’m not at CES this year because I would like to see this little guy.  Yes, it’s Firebird, a light gaming PC from HP.  From the specs, it also sounds like it would be an excellent entertainment PC to connect to your TV.  Here’s a link to Rahul Sood’s Blog for his perspective on the Firebird.  Anyhow, what’s amazing to me is that they crammed all this good stuff in and the power usage peaks at 350-Watts.  Nice!  It seems like the size, noise, and power consumption trade-offs are nicely matched with the computing power.    Personally, this all sounds like a GREAT entertainment PC to me.  With some changes to the case, it could fit nicely into an entertainment center.  Hahaha!!!

Oh, a weird rambling tangent, this morning when I thought of a baby blackbird, a “sparrow” came to mind.  You know, sparrows are small, agile, and bright eyed birds — everything a light weight but powerful laptop should be.  In terms of styling cues and marketing, “Friend of the Forest” comes to mind.  It’s eco-friendly, people friendly, and adventurous all at the same time.  Fly, little sparrow, fly!!!

Learning about Leadership Through MMORPGs, Part 1

I never thought playing a video game would teach me so much about real life and myself.  Yep, you can learn about leadership, teamwork, and yourself as a leader and a team player by playing MMORPGs.  I had an encounter tonight with a player who was quite a control freak.  This person claimed to be leading 4 Warbands in an effort to lock one of the tier 4 zones in “Warhammer Online”.  He was telling players who were below level 40 to refrain from playing in contested scenarios because he or she wanted to have only his or her pre-made groups in scenarios.  I popped into a contested scenario without knowing what was going on and then was promptly asked not to queue up anymore.  My feeling was that I paid to play the game, and so I will play however I please.  This guy then proceeded to ramble on about how low level players will cause our side to lose.  I was laughing pretty hard because his pre-made parties were getting their asses handed to them in this particular scenario and I felt he needed all the help he could get.  Continue reading Learning about Leadership Through MMORPGs, Part 1

Consumers Want More Home Networking

Here’s a little article from InformationWeek about consumers’ desire for more interoperability and networking options for their various personal gadgets.  Hahaha!!!  Well … in terms of networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, TCP/IP are just that.   All of the devices I have that use these protocols I can see on their respective networks.  When I remove DRM and other barriers I can push and pull data between these devices over their respective networks, too.  However, I would imagine for those that are not inclined to explore or are technically challenged, all of this networking stuff is daunting.

Because the electronics manufacturers want to lock consumers into their product ecosystems, the manufacturers are not inclined to make their products open to consumers.  Of course this never really works.  Successful products like the iPod work with a great many accessories and other non-Apple products and crafty people have come up with ways to “crack” the iPod so users can get around  DRM and reclaim the music they have purchased.  These products also tend to have a bunch of third party companies that make accessories and software for the devices.   Of, course it takes market dominance to begin with to have cottage industries pop up around a product.  iPod can thank the mp3 format, USB, and great product design for their success.  The glue, though, for interoperability are the mp3 file format and the USB hardware interface.  iPod took advantage of protocols that were already well established as universal.

So it seems to me that the foundation for device interoperability already exists.  It’s simply a matter of making it such that ordinary people can communicate with their devices over the common networks.  Centralized network devices like home servers and the third generation consoles like the xBox360 come close, now, to knitting everything together.  The problem is that these devices are not accessible to the lowest common denominator of consumers.  The wii comes closest to a device that is very accessible, but its hardware and software are not capable.  Continue reading Consumers Want More Home Networking