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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

After Some Cursing: A Native iPhone App

Yesterday my acceptance as a Standard Developer popped into my inbox. I wasn't entirely sure what to do with it and it's already been a long week, so I waited until tonight to play around with it.

To say that the legit method of getting a native iPhone app running on your iPhone is a bit obtuse barely cuts the surface. You'll end up signing certs, uploading certs, downloading certs, playing with the Developer Connection interface for a while and then wondering why the hell OS 2.0 doesn't exist anywhere only to realize that once again the iPhone Dev Center can't quite figure out how to update itself and hence forgot to add the link to download it in the first place only to finally install it which only ends up making it seem like iTunes might have accidentally crashed your phone only to have it simply wipe all your data and then ask nicely to restore only to then tell you some of that data might not work on the new OS...


Oh, and apparently at some point in the future Apple might brick this phone as the OS2.0 beta expires until I can get a new one.

But hey - I actually installed a native app and with a button click ... it launched on the phone and not in the simulator. Which is pretty darn snazzy. Granted it's currently just four blue squares which spawn another one and then move a bit when you tap the screen .... but it's a start.

Apparently the SDK agreement also restricts you from broadcasting screens from the simulator (which makes my April Fools joke simply risque). Not sure about the phone itself (a la the Quake 3 demo). So when I give updates on the apps and tell you how awesome they are ... you might just have to believe me.

Dear Abbey, Teh Hilarious

Dear Abby,

I have a man I can't trust. He cheats so much, I'm not even sure the baby I'm carrying is his.

Snopes has a series of apparently true letters to Dear Abbey which are, while a bit non-standard for Cathode Tan, nonetheless hilarious.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

TV Watch: Doctor Who - Partners In Crime, Torchwood - Exit Wounds

Spoilers follow for both shows, so stop reading if you haven't caught up to the latest on the British schedule (not American).

We caught up on our Brit SciFi last night. Doctor Who's new season just kicked off while Torchwood ended their second one. Torchwood's second season is succinctly stronger than the first, with a lot less focus being drawn to the fact that this an odd bumbling bunch to be defending the world (well, OK, downtown Cardiff) from alien threats.

Instead the second season feels more personal and some of the episodes, like "A Day In The Death" managing to be truly excellent. Sadly, the two characters who probably had the most heart in the show - Tosh and Owen - don't seem like they'll be surviving into a third season. Ianto has always struck me as a bit two dimensional (except when he was being duplicitous, sadly) and Gwen and Jack honestly feel like they're trying too hard to be three dimensional half the time. While in general this works OK, it will be interesting to see how any cast changes might effect the dynamics in the future.

The Doctor Who opener pairs Tennant back up with Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, first seen during the Christmas Special "The Runaway Bride" (which is honestly required reading for this episode). Nothing against Billie or Freema, but I think Tate will raise the bar this season. The dialogue-free scene in "Partners of Crime" where The Doctor and Donna pantomine the events leading up to their reunion is simply masterful.

And on that note - the scene where Donna unknowingly taps Rose on the shoulder, talks to her and then later Rose fades away? Odd much? It will be curious to see if this is a one-off nod or if Rose appearing in this universe is as ominous as it appeared.

Monday, April 07, 2008

DVD Watch: Robotech - The Shadow Chronicles

I wanted this to be good, I really did. I've never had an overly romantic notion of just how good the original Robotech series was, being three completely separate narratives put through the blender in what can kindly be called the early days of American publish anime.

But still, Robotech was decent and gave a flood of anime to a base which had little hope of it before. And if Shadow Chronicles does one thing right - is that it makes a story which rides on top of all these conflicting narrations not feel quite so conflicted.

Sadly, it misfires most everywhere else. The voice acting is nearly as bad as some of the lines ("You don't think these Children of the Shadow had anything to do with ... The Shadow Technology?") and honestly even the artwork is a mishmash of good or bad, in both the 2D and 3D realm of art.

So while the overarching plot might not have you beating your head for watching it - getting from plot point to plot point might. Recommend only for the fanboy at heart.

DVD Watch: Battle Royale

Battle Royale is one of those things that is easier to just watch than have explained to you. Short version - it's a Japanese horror action flick with high school kids killing each other off in a three day struggle to be the last man standing and, hence, be allowed to leave the island.

OK, I guess it actually isn't that hard to explain. It's not like we're talking about Memento here or anything, it's pretty straightforward. What's hard to explain is why that's something you might actually want to watch. While it's certainly not Shakespeare, it's gritty and original with that dash of camp which makes so many of these movies more fun than you think they should rightfully have the right to hold.

I can recommend it, with the caveats that you walk in realizing that it's a bit odd and quite bloody.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More Sunday: Quake 3 iPhone

While this is pretty darn cool and clearly some amazingly clever C to Obj-C hacking - I wonder how well the actual experience will translate. Considering Quake style deathmatches entail a lot of circle strafing, divebombing, rocket jumping and other keyboard-mouse moves that I just don't see working here ... I'm not sure that this isn't much more than an extremely impressive tech demo.

Still, it proves that you could do a 3D FPS on the hardware and with the right gesture commands, make something that would be hella fun.