Monday, July 31, 2006

if anyone ever needs to prove how big Brads TV is again, its here, with some other me

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Matt, were you moving your arms a lot, or were you just moving your wrists? Apparently that can make a huge difference in tiredness. That is really cool that you got your hands on it. It is definetely the only system that I will buy at launch (i.e. the only system that I am willing to take the 1st build problems), and I think it is going to be amazing. So I'd like to get to one thing that Matt's writing made me think about. We hear about these magical lands of game companies (EA is the largest 3rd party publisher) where there are fountains of chocolate and every game every imaginable, etc. and it makes them sound wonderful. But then on the otherhand I read lots of stories of how EA is terrible to work for because of deadline crunch. So is it safe to assume that these buildings are these utopian play pens untill the hammer comes around then they turn into hell holes? Seems like a life of extremes, maybe that is why certain divisions have shitty retention.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

With all this talk of videogames, or should I say Martin's talk about videogames, I feel that I must share my recent sneak peek at the Nintendo Wii. 2 weeks ago, I visited a friend from the wall lab (the name of Jim Rehg's lab at Tech) at Electronic Arts before we headed up to the city to visit Alcatraz. She gave Roxy and I a tour -- EA is an amazing place for developers and even more so for videogamer nerds. First of all, there are clusters of bean bag chairs every 200 sq. feet (at least in the Maxxis department) or so with a nice tv and a stack of every console that has been sold in the past 5 years. They have a game library that apparently has multiple copies of every game and employees are encouraged to take them home to play. They have 1000s of finger blasters all over the floor and they have sweet game dev cubicles. Every developer has a nice workstation, a dev kit for the target console, and a TV. My friend has the pleasure of working on pixel shaders for the Nintendo Wii for a game that hasn't been announced yet (I don't want to jeopardize her rep / job so I won't say what it is). She lemme have a try at the Wii and lemme tell you, the 2 handed wireless controller blew me away. It was much much more accurate and sensitive than I was expecting out of it. There appeared to be no drift / error over time and it only took a few minutes to get the hang of it. It made 3D interaction feel extremely natural -- one hand controlled a character / POV while the other actually moved stuff around. It felt and looked like the UI in Minority Report. I can easily see players getting tired after an hour of play with the wiiremote. But it made all the difference. I paid no attention to the graphics -- the control was so sweet I didn't care.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Well, my work at Tech is done for the summer. I gave my final presentation and research paper to the ECE dpeartment Monday. The paper was decent, but needed more time to review. The theory section was particularly tough because my knowledge of thin layer adhesion mechanisms and their dependence on surface effect scale is lacking a bit. But by comparison to the rest of the people in the program, I think I came off well (shit, one person didn't even show up for their presentation). One wierd thing that happened at the presentations was right after this one guy from India presented he left (to go visit family in India) and on his way out leaned over to me and said, "I have something very important to talk about in two weeks." Then he was gone. It was said in this real bizzare tone, as if either the fate of the world was going to be discussed then or he was going to kill me. I don't know, it was fucking wierd, and now I won't konw what is going to happen for two weeks. I think the only recourse it to assume that I will die, and therefore live life to the fullest for the next two weeks.

In other news I have been listening to a lot of videogame podcasts. Mostly from, which does an o.k. job of talking about the industry and a deeper sense and being "impartial." Let me explain, they seem to have a series of partial fanboys from each series. There is a guy for who Sony can do no wrong, and the emergence of blu-ray as the next medium of choice is an inevitability (he calls it "future-proof"), there is a guy who loves his Xbox, mostly displayed as a love of Halo, there isn't a Nintendo fanboy because they all love Nintendo. While this is a generalization, the point for Nintendo is they all will support or destroy the Revolution depending on if it is on a talking point relating to their console of choice. One thing that has been on my mind in listening to these podcasts is one way in which digital media affects the way we can digest a culture. Upon listening to a podcast from this group I immediately went and grabbed every back issue I could and listened to them all. When I was done with that it was another week before more content came out, so I raided another podcast and listen to all of the backlogs of that. The question in my mind is whether or not this type of high-density consumption of a medium is going to be a continuing trend for digital media? Will generic consumption of a variety of goods be transplanted by gorging on one type because you have access to it? Or, is this just a result of me having too much time walking around the city this summer?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"You do not have TV that can use BluRay."
"But I'm going to buy a new TV for PS3 . . . $600 dollars is not the scary price point it once was."

This was a discussion between two people on 1up's podcast about the PS3. I heard it and kind of balked at my desk. We already have to bundle in the price of a game when we look at the price of a console. Then we have to think about "do I want more than one controller," so that is more cost. Now this guy is thinking of buying a new TV to work with his soon to be HD consoles. I know people like Rich exist all over the place and aren't that much of an anolomy, and those people will drop as much money as it takes to have the highest technology entertainment. But is such an endeavour a good thing for games? I consider myself at least a solid video game player. I've come to terms that I'm not as cutting edge as I once was. Hell, I didn't even buy all of the consoles in the last generation (thanks Jason). That was the first time that had ever happen. I always had purchased all consoles that I could (outside of the Jaguar, Neo Geo and 3Di because they are stupid). I used to buy those systems as soon as they came out. Price was an issue, but when you bought the system you bought all you needed. Now I have to think about additional costs for other shit. Xbox 360 costs $400 before you even think about buying a game, or paying $50 for your first year of Xbox live. An emerging problem in games (through episodic content and MMORPGS) seems to be financial model that is being used in videogaming. The upfront cost is tough, but they nickel and dime you in support purchases to make additional funds. I for one don't like that model, but I wonder if that isn't where things are going. Shit, maybe it's happening everywhere and I'm just blind. Out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bitch bitch bitch.
Re: my job.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

So I deliberately missed my flight last night. I was all like "When the fuck am I going to be in San Fran again?" and cool shit went down. I'm staying at Matt&Roxannes place and we bought some beers and rented 40 year old virgin. I promptly fell asleep. Today I woke up and called Delta and they were like you can take a 12pm or 10pm flight. so i chose the 10 pm flight and now we are cruising around N California. heading up to nampa valley. I took that picture about 20 minutes ago after we crossed the bridge.
Some shenanigans have taken place in San Francisco, with more potentially occurring in the immediate future. Martin, I wont be home today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

If you value your time do not bother reading everything in italics:

According to Beauchamp the distinction between "killing" and "letting die" is problematic because there are overlapping cases where the factual basis for each doesn't satisfy the commonsense approach to the problem. Beauchamp's example is of "Mr. Mafia," a hitman who wanders into a hospital room with a shot policeman on life-support. By pulling the plug "Mr. Mafia" is letting "natural" order of being shot progress and the cop dies. The problem is that we want ot say "Mr. Mafia" killled the officer.

Hooker, arguing as a rule-ultilitarian sates that preservation of autonomy is the "benefit" that is to be maximized. Using this as his prime theorem he is quickly able to agree with voluntary euthanasia while vehemently opposing involuntary cases. If the goal is to preserve and respect autonomy, then a person (regardless of status) should be allowed to die when and how they choose. If a person is in a hospital bed and wants to die rather than suffer, the morally right thing to do is to end their suffering. On the other hand, killing someone against their wishes (involuntary euthanasia) or when their wishes are unknown/can't be determined is ristricting that person's autonomy (right to decide how/when they die) and that is morally wrong to Hooker (as a rule utilitarian).

Hardwig, however, takes issue with a blanket preservation of autonomy. To Hardwig there comes a time when a person is no longer a benefit to his/her family but rather a burden. Such a person has a "duty to die" which overrides their autonomy. In an ideal situation this person would realize this so their autonomous choice would be to die, but there are instances where people live beyond that point and cause problems (both financial and emotional) to the family and society. Therefore, if people were allowed to live until they decided to die this moral problem of living too long would be unsolved.

The way Hardwig accounts for the interests of the family is poor. There are cases where this system wouldn't work because of its removal of autonomy. Say a family decided their grandfather should (against his wishes) die because they would collect the insurance. Or even better, say a family keeps an ailing parent alive and in pain because they don't want to see them go.

I am cleaning the living room and part of that right now is dealing with old school notes. That was my answer to some question on an Ethics test back at tech. Honestly, I started reading it and was again reminded how I can't write well and how it sounded like complete jargon-bullshit, but then by the end of typing it I remembered shit about the class and it started to make sense. Now that I'm robbed of my punchline (making fun of my own inability to write and attempt to cover it up with other bullshit hoping no professor would delve deep enough to actual learn how little I knew . . . then I read it and it makes sense. Only because I spent time typing this do I both posting. Also, the ending sucks ass. It just sort of cuts off.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I recently decided to participate in a gamefaqs tournament bracket for the best series ever. Basically they picked 32 video games series and are letting setting them up bracket style, allowing people to vote for which is the better series. We are still in the first round and I am doing pretty well. Knowing a little bit about bracket and the strategy associated with such, I have a few risks in my bracket designed to separate me from the generic field and allow me a chance to win. So far those have all gone my way with the exception of one. I got Mega Man X over Suikoden, Fire Emblem over Silent Hill, even the much surprising (to everyone but me) Warcraft over Grand Theft Auto. The only one I have lost was Halo Versus Castlevania where I thought Halo would pull the upset.

One thing to remember is that this bracket is filled to win. There is no way that I think Halo is a better series than Castlevania, but I needed a sleeper and the best castlevania games haven't gotten much buzz, even though they are very good.

So having only lost one I'm feeling pretty good until today. Today's match is (2) Super Smash Brothers versus (7) Dragon Quest. I can't believe this is a 2 v 7 match up, so I pick Dragon Quest the whole way. Right now SSB is beating Dragon Quest 75% to 25%. I have Dragon Quest going to the Semis, even beating Super Mario Brothers (big risk, I know). So basically right now I'm getting fucked. I was prepared to have Dragon Quest lose to Mario, but to Super Fucking Smash Brothers. The challege is best series ever . . . there have only been two fucking smash games. One was great, and the second was so-so, but it doesn't constitute a muther fucking series if you only have two games and it is a fighting game. The street fighter series, which actually pretends to have a story line unline the Smash sereis, isn't even on the fucking ballot. Then, not only does Smash get the 2 seed, it actually is holding up by beating Dragon Quest . . . fucking Dragon Quest. This is some messed up shit. You know there are eight (8) Dragon Quest games, and that doesn't even include the spin offs. There is a Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime game for the DS, you can play Dragon Quest on your cell phone. They make Dragon Quest toilet paper so you can wipe your ass with a slime as you shit out game like Super fucking Smash Brothers. We all know I like smash as much as the next guy, buy winning 3 to 1 over and Enix developed RPG that is ported to every platform know to man. That is fucking ridiculous. That's it, I quit!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm sitting in a hotel room in San Diego. I have nothing to do. I have no car. I'm just waiting until its close enough to the time my flight leaves so I can go to the airport. I could go to the airport now, but the hotel is a little bit more comfortable to wait in. Plus theres internet. This is my life right now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I think martin called us relaxing breath fresheners in the post before last.
While I have never felt this urge before; lately I feel like I want a digital camera. I can only imaging that is it because I want to take pictures, but why I don't know. Perhaps my recent run in with the falcon/hawk that was at Georgia Tech has made me think that a camera on the spot would be cool (one better than the camera/phone/shit that was forced upon me).

Monday, July 10, 2006

When I take roughness data for my polymer boards, it is a boring process. Basically I set up the machine, then it runs for about a minute, then I look at the data, write it down and do it again. So the question becomes what do I do with those 60 seconds. Right now I spend it walking over to the computer in the clean room and reading articles. Usually those articles are about games, but sometimes they are technical journals and sometimes they are about technology in general. I just read an article from Ars Technica about new movie disc formats and it poses a good question that gets overlooked in many venues. It has to do with people cracking these new video formats, and the statement goes like this:

I read someone somewhere commenting on the US-Mexico border fence that was being debated a while back, and this person said, "a 10 foot wall will just create a market for 12 foot ladders." This is a pretty good way of phrasing the point that many problems that we might try to solve with technology are really economic problems. People don't use P2P because they're immoral . . . they use P2P because content is either too expensive, or because . . . they can't enjoy it the way they want.

It does at times seem that we suffer from miscategorizing problems often. Cops Plus is a company that sells 12' ladders. They are a bit expensive, but the quick deploy feature might make them work. Start buying stock now gentlement.

I have more appendages than I do competitive sports outings in the past calendar year. I'm o.k. with that on some level, I have been keeping "active" by going to the gym, but although I do enjoy movement in general I really enjoy movement when something is at stake. It was with this in mind that all weekend I have been giddy with excitement because I was going to play DODGEBALL sunday. And so I did play dodgeball, in a church league, as a pickup for Hayley's team (Hayley is Julie's sister . . . Julie is Daron's wife . . . Daron is this guy . . . fuck all of you). It was great! Easily the most fun I had all week. Originally I was just going to go and see what happened, but now I am apparently on the team (without registering?) as they have given me a jersey.

The only downside to the outing was that it was so brief. We play according to NADA rules, which has matches like tennis. There can be as many as six people on a side, however we only had three. The rules are pretty much like we all would expect, then there is the scoring. Each game is part of a match of three games. The first team to win two games wins the match. Three matches are played . . . and then you go home. Unlike the movie, once you are out you cannot come back in, so the games go pretty quick. As it was we played for roughly 25 minutes then everything was over. Granted, we sucked, so next time it should take longer, but it still was a little to quick since I'm used to playing for at least an hour before I go hang out with people. Speaking of which, there was no hanging out with people. As soon as the match was over everyone went their own way. Wierd.

But I'm getting away from the point that I got to throw balls at other grown people. I was great, I desperately needed some form of competition, and I guess I have found it on some level. The only sad thing is that the games are only on sunday, which means I have to wait a whole week before I get to do that again. My goal next week is to make the game last longer and to stick around after the game and see if there is any sort of pick up. It is sad that it is only on sunday, if I had my way I would be able to go play dodgeball every day of the week. Sigh.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Theres nothing like catching up on blog posts while drunk. Its like expensive cheese. Or so I am told. I wouldnt know much about expensive cheese, although cheese at Ecco is expensive and I have had some of it. Doesnt mean I know anything about expensive cheese. But I do know about reading blog posts and thats fun. Paying for expensive cheese is not so fun.

Anyway. Mark just called, but I was calling him at the same time so now he has a voicemail with my half of the conversation on it. Those are risks he runs when he calls people. Terrible, Terrible consequences.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wow, it's Ted. Although I'm not sure if he will read this again anytime soon. Ted, I've been reading your blog on occasion and am sorry that you have gotten deported to China by your employer. Hopefully Ray was able to make it from wherever the fuck he was (Seoul?). Also . . . how is the HAMLOG going?

In other news, I think mike, jason and I are going to try to build a projector based on a website that Daron has told me about. After reading the builder's guide it doesn't seem that bad to build, but it does seem pretty bad ass. Jason has been looking for a projector for a while, so this can be a reasonably cheap solution for him (i.e. he's fronting the project). I'm really excited about this project because if it goes well then I will be put serious thought into gettin my school to by a kit and have my class build one as a lesson in optics and teamwork and shit.

Speaking of shit: Holy shit it was cool to see Brad again. Granted he looks almost exactly the same (hasn't gained weight, still has the same amount of stubble), but it was good to see him. I miss Brad often and the dummy I made out of a blow up doll and Brad's clothes isn't doing a good job.

Work has picked back up, so I'm not as bored as I was yesterday. As I told Jason and mike I spent most of my day yesterday reading articles online. I fought to keep the articles somewhat educational, however I eventually read everything that is out there on 1up, Evil Avatar, Penny-Arcade and Gamasutra. The down side of this is that I will now have to wait a week or so for most of them to get new content. Today if I get bored I'm going to read all of Next-Gen, and then I guess I'll just try to stalk my students on MySpace.
Having finally read all the recent posts, lemme say this - if you're even considering getting married in the least little bit, you better as fuck put all your cards down on the table and discuss each one of them in huge detail. Travel, kids, geography, career, etc. EVERYTHING. Do it now. Anything about her that annoys you, you better work it out now, Lebowski, lest it rear its ugly head later.

That's my story.

Also, I get on a plane tomorrow afternoon back to my sweet wife's arms, then we go see our friends' punk band play and drink mini-pitchers of beer. Because that's what we like to do.

Beers are on me still in 15 minutes. Hurry the fuck up or keep sucking.


International blog posts can suck my fat peepee.

I'm in Beijing, have been for 5 days. Flying home to sweet home Chicago tomorrow.

I almost yelled ANY OF YOU FAGS WANNA OPEN THE FRIDGE in the bar tonight.

Yes, i'm drunk. Fuck you.

Tsingtaos are on me, you suckers. Meet you outside in 20 minutes.



Saturday, July 01, 2006

Wow, all this talk of marriage. I feel like I must respond, having been married 2 years now.

Being married to Rox is extremely similar to when we were dating seriously. Externally, marriage means a world of difference. Marriage is a C++ header file exposing the interface to a bunch of private variables and methods. But the private variables and methods have not changed implementation. In fact, marriage and serious-relationship-not-married both inherit from the same class.

So marriage is about civil and social engagement. Socially accepted among conservative and communist folks alike, bearing civil benefits like tax breaks and insurance rate drops. But, if you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone and have complete and utter trust in the other, the private contract between two people does not change with marriage. If Roxy and I had not gotten married 2 years ago, I'm not sure if our lives would be any different right now. We would still love each other and be together here in San Francisco. But... maybe just maybe our conservative landlord would not have offered us the room we're staying in out of the 100s who responded to the craigslist post.

Most people, of course, find marriage to be a tightening of the bond. It not only brings social acceptance, but social expectation. It's more accepted to break up with your girlfriend than your wife. But I believe, at the core, that both acts are the same when your relationship is at the level of "let's get married."

That being said, I'm very happily married to Roxanne. Our relationship is strong. But marriage has little to no bearing on that strength and happiness.