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February 17, 2011

one device to rule them all

by colemauer

unconfirmed statistic:

8,284,671,582 smartphones have been released in the last year running android OS alone.

With that said, the actual percentage of wireless users who use a smartphone was 28% at the end of last year according to Nielsen.

With predictions that smartphone usage will eclipse that of non-smartphone usage in the coming year, it’s safe to assume that we’ll all be carrying around a 4 inch device capable of calling, texting, tweeting, checking in, blogging, microblogging, flikring, twitpicking, youtubing, digging, redditing, 4channing, commenting, liking, and upvoting pretty much anything we can get our eyes on. While the sheer number of smartphones available rises as quickly as the user base can keep up, it seems these hardware companies are having no trouble packing the latest processor, keyboard (or lack thereof), camera, internal memory, and screen output into a device as small or as large as is appropriate.

These capabilities, comprehensive as they are, lead me to one question that I pose to the makers of mp3 players, cameras, video recorders and gaming handhelds.

What now?

It’s a disheartening questions, because many of us, myself included, have several of these peripherals that could, at any moment, become obsolete. Now you may notice no shortage of iPod, NintendoDS, PSP, Flip HD, or heaven forbid, the latest appearance of @aplusk and his newest coolpix point and shoot, but now that the smartphone is beginning to catch up in the realm of hardware to not only still pictures but HD video, onboard storage, and now processing speed indicative of a gaming handheld, where to these secondary accessories turn to differentiate themselves from their multitasking brethren?

The truth is, as you’ll find out, I have a lot of questions and far fewer answers (at least in this post), but with the coming of the Nintendo 3DS and Sony’s new Playstation handheld on the way, we’re soon to find out. My guess is they’re sticking with the dedicated hardware route to stay ahead of the smartphone curve. With its 2 rear-facing cameras, Nintendo’s new model touts a 3D experience unlike any other handheld; and Sony’s new model is teasing enough processing ammunition to spec out at near PS3 speeds, surely keeping any smartphone’s antenna shaking in fear…for now.

 

But what what we have to ask ourselves (I know, again with the questions) is do we really want to continue paying $20-40 for new games on systems that are likely to be pricepointed between $300 to $400 that we’re really only going to pick up on a plane or a bus ride?

I’ll admit, my last gaming handheld was a Gameboy, the big one, no – not the one that came in pretty colors; so I may be a bit biased, or at least recently unversed in the ways of the current handhelds, but I just don’t see the market. I’m not going to shell out the cash for a low-res version of a game I have on my console at home just so I can be entertained on my flight to Atlanta when the free version of Angry birds (with free updates on android) awaits on my phone for hours (yes, hours) of enjoyment.

I guess my point is that I see smartphone gaming and app purchases on the rise, and gaming handhelds and cartridge play on the downslope. Nostalgia pulls at me, ’cause Mario and I had some great times playing golf in monochrome, but with my keys in my right pocket, It really comes down to me only wanting and needing one handheld, powered by Android (or Apple), indivisible, with HDMI out, and extended battery life for all.

-cole

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January 29, 2010

I just can’t seem to get enough Battlestar

by colemauer

So once again I have dived … dove … diven …

I jumped into a sci-fi television series without stopping to think if i have the time to waste on something so useless and cool at the same time. not to mention that i didn’t even consider whether my already dwindling street cred could handle another hit  like the last time this happened:

Female blonde coworker: hey cole, you’re kind of a nerd . . . what’s that really geeky thing with all the space stuff?

Me: star wars?, star trek?

Female blonde coworker: no, way more geeky, i don’t think anybody’s ever heard of it

Me: battlestar galactica?

Female blonde coworker: yeah! these guys at the bar were talking about it last night and they sounded so lame, have you ever seen it?

Me: (shamefully, as i was about to be instantly judged and permanently labeled) pretty much all of it . . .

And so the story goes.

A quick flashback: Caprica is a miniseries airing on the newly and retardedly titled Syfy network set 50 years before the Cylon attack of Battlestar Galactica (10years before the first Cylon war). Per the guide channel blurb, it follows the lives of the Adama and Greystone families as they shape the world we lost ourselves in for 4 seasons.

After watching the pilot episode (which is a hefty 93 minutes running time) for a second time, I am honestly excited about where this could be headed. Eric Stoltz heads up a (so far) well acted cast of teens and adults in a surprisingly serious and foreboding pilot. Despite the fact that a good part of the cast isn’t going to be able to enjoy the festivities of the season launch party, the nudity (in the extended version) in the first ten minutes alludes to the fact that Miley Cyrus probably won’t be making a cameo this season.

While the pilot to any serious Sci-Fi series is generally given a much larger budget than it’s mid-season counterparts, the graphics were a stand up performance on par and exceeding that of its space-entrenched counterpart. While we can readily expect to see far less zero-G dogfighting in Caprica, there promises to be no shortage of robots, androids, and cybernetic life form nodes to ogle at.

Once again, as it’s predecessor, it seems Caprica is well on its way to earning praise for it’s depth and character development, especially in the female characters (you’ll see what i mean when you see the pilot, it gets pretty messy right from the gun); and if there are any more similarities, we can expect to be introduced to approximately 28 other main characters over the course of the coming season.

On the other hand, while this is a separate series with (so far) only one recurring character in the mark of a pre-pubescent Bill Adama, i don’t see any way that this series could go forward without the precursor of the BSG series. Some may see this as a downside, and many prequels or spinoffs can catch extra ratings by opening up to people who have not seen the original series. This clearly is not going to be the case with Caprica. If you want to enjoy this series at all, and haven’t seen at least the first 2 seasons of BSG, consider this your warning, you have till friday (1-29-2010) to catch up (enjoy it, i’ll probably be watching along with you).

With that said, i give a hearty recommendation to tune in to Syfy on friday nights (please for the love of gods, DVR this so you don’t have to sit through all of the promos for their made-for-tv movies) and see if we can get a glimpse of exactly how they made the 6’s

ColeMauer

January 21, 2010

Daybreakers: a nice view, but the window has crap all over it

by colemauer

First of all, take a gander at the trailer for those of you that haven’t seen it yet.

Next, allow me to say that if you’ve ever been to a movie theater that nobody goes to on a Tuesday night to see an underscored movie, then you might know how amazing an unplanned private screening is. I was all excited when the “please silence your cell phones” screen came up, considering myself among the ballerest of rappers and socialites, thinking to myself “i ain’t gotta turn nothin’ off.” I had considered several avenues of fun to take advantage of the current setting: the first of which was mystery science theater, only i had never seen the movie, thus making it pretty tough to properly rip it apart. Second, throwing overpriced foodstuffs at the screen and demanding my money back, only to realize that I had no such snacks. And lastly to try to augment the complete lack of romanticism in the movie by making sexy time, but the people that came in 15 minutes after the previews rolled kinda ruined that when they sat 2 seats behind us.

On to the movie.

Sam Neill is in it: score 2 points. Any movie that pulls Dr. Grant out of what can only be called an early retirement has at least got that going for it. Ethan Hawke plays a very . . . Ethan Hawkish character in that he has very few lines, looks confused and concerned a lot, and ends up almost having a really good performance. Nothing particularly wrong, but not exactly out of the park; a solid B game, I’d say.

The premise itself is actually very exciting. Very seldom do we hear of a vampire movie from the other side of the tracks. The nuances of this side of the story are quite intriguing with many moments leaving you feeling envious that you hadn’t considered the difficulties of a world of vampires entrenched in a world that spends half of it’s time bathed in poisonous sunlight. Daytime driving windshields, subwalks, blood-spiked coffee, and overly seductive toothpaste ads, just to name a few.

Without spoiling anything too much (not that M Night sharoshashamaland sat in on the storyboarding or anything), the sub 100 minute movie does a good job of setting up the world itself, as it is probably the most interesting and dynamic character of the movie. After that it takes an instant jump to bullet speed to try any make up for the precious 45 minutes it spent getting you up to speed on the fact that people . . . sorry, vampires are yes, still deathly allergic to the sun.

If the movie had a twist, I’d say it would be that Willem Dafoe seems to be getting younger as time passes. Here we are in 2010 and good old Willem isn’t looking so bad compared to the scene in Spider Man when he decided to rip off his clothes and jump on his glider…or maybe that was just all around kind of creepy . . . who knows, I’m pretty sure the best part of that movie was the Macy Gray cameo.

I’m ranting. Back to the movie

Good: lots of blood, no cheesy romance awkwardly thrown in to try to justify this to anybody other than the target audience, Sam Neill, more blood, a cool soundtrack (OST), and the fact that we almost had the theater to ourselves.

Bad: the audio – it sounded like the entire movie took place inside Sam Neill’s mouth. I’m not sure what it was, and it didn’t happen with anybody else, but I feel like the entire movie counted as receiving oral favors from Dr. Grant. Next – rushed plot, probably due to the next point, 98 minute running time – not that it needs to be anywhere near the gargantuan 162 minutes that avatar boasts, but i feel like I got slightly screwed.

All in all I was, like I said, very surprised at the effort put into showing how vamps are getting along night-to-night avoiding sunburn, and the story fit somewhere in between a gore thriller and vampire noir.

3 velociraptors out of 5

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