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Friday, July 11, 2008

More App Store Notes

There is literally a storm pulling out of the Chicagoland area - which fits my general mood perfectly. Yesterday was a blitz of information regarding all things iPhone as everyone at work ramped up to full speed on support Expense2GO. It was crazy - we had thought nothing would really happen until morning broke over in Pacific Time ... but soon enough blogs were full of information about how to not only find the App Store in general, but download the 2.0 firmware update as well.

Apple has now apparently released the official version of the firmware and so we're off to the races. My morning will be poking at a few known bugs and small enhancements.

For the record, my hotlist of iPhone apps are currently:

No brainer

The Girl was quite envious when she saw the Music Genome powered radio stations playing off our stereo system.

OK, honestly a really clumsy way to play the classic text game Adventure - but I give it points for geek cred. Course if you really want geek cred, I guess the lightsaber emulator is a good way to go...

This is my "free" hotlist. Haven't had time to poke at the non-free apps. It is weird to see how the pricing jumps from app to app, however. I swear there are a few out there which are little more than rebranded Apple samples selling for a couple bucks a pop. I've also downloaded the Facebook app, haven't tried it yet - but nobody really needs me to pimp that.

We're going to be heading to Door County for the weekend. I would love to spend time working on my own iPhone project - but we'll see if the brain is functioning to that capacity. If you're going to be in the greater Chicagoland area, I recommend our original plans: The Windy City Rollers, our original plan for Saturday until lured by the concept of a fine country outing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

App Store Open: Meet Expense2GO

Apple's App Store for iTunes is open, although if you haven't had access to the beta OS I don't think you'll be able to do much with it just yet. The app we at work have been pounding is called Expense2GO. It's a receipt manager for users which allows you to organize receipts by report, take pictures and upload them to your org.

We're looking for people interested in continuing to test the app if you should actually be reading this and fall into the above category.

There is an extremely healthy number of apps launching with a decent amount of diversity. I'm not sure if a platform launch has been quite as successful at mobilizing a developer base before. Just the list of free apps is fairly impressive ( thanks Kottke ).

In a few hours I would expect the 2.0 OS to be available and after that you should be able to download apps and give them a whirl. For those of us already on the latest beta of the iPhone OS, it seems to work OK.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Veidt Enterprises Advertising Contest

My spy network must be on a smoke break, because I had to read about this in The Onion of all things, but apparently there was a contest for the upcoming Watchmen flick to create Veidt Enterprises commercials - some of which will appear in the film.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Channel Flip Helps Get Your Mac Game On

Katharine is either a Mac geek or plays one on TV, and does a wonderful job of covering major issues with gaming on that "other" platform. She covers the basics, gaming on a Windows partition and even gaming gaming with Crossover. And all this with an English accent.

On a side note, I'm quite excited that Blizzard in continuing a tradition of Mac dedication by having an OS X version of Diablo III ship with the Windows version. It is a lot more than I've come to expect than some other companies I might mention...

Sony's Bad Week, More on PC gaming, etc.

Apparently the firmware fix for that firmware update will be arriving sometime this week. This is of course the flipside to modern console gaming - that in an attempt to upgrade the experience the company accidentally causes you to reformat your box. I haven't heard anyone personally running 2.4 with the problem - but it's clearly not a simple issue.

I can't tell if I'm crazy for the trophies or not. Achievement systems in the games I've played (Metroid, Team Fortress 2, PAIN, Half-Life 2) vary slightly in implementation but all reside in that somewhat neat category without being mind-blowingly addictive or whatnot. I'd rather see Sony kick up the internal framework for matchmaking about five notches. Currently they're only nudging Nintendo out there - which isn't saying much.

I will admit that we're spending a lot more time on the PS3 than the Wii these days. This will definitely change as we've finished GTA IV for the time being and eventually PAIN will release it's kung fu grip on our adrenal gland. I'm a little concerned that the lovely white box will start to feel like the DS does to me right now - a brilliant piece of hardware with a truckload of users and only a handful of Nintendo developed titles worth playing.

Just got an email last night from an old friend that he's gone and purchased a new gaming PC. He was actually part of my anecdotal evidence of the decline of PC gaming - a fellow PC diehard from the wayback days that had picked up a 360 for his gaming jones. I'll have to ping him more to see why he's swung his way back - but I'm guessing because out of his real genre faves - FPS, RTS, and MMO ... only the first is fully realized on consoles and he was never crazy about the controls.

Still winding down from a crazy work week. More on the HDTV purchase impending.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Game Play: GTA IV, At Story's End

We're not technically at the end, end, but rather still trying to make our way through the very last mission (or, by it's length and difficulty - what we assume is the very last mission).

The story of GTA IV marks high water point for at least the franchise, if not the genre and even the industry in general. That's not to say that this is wonderful Pulitzer material or anything, and the game could learn a few lessons from previous story heavyweights like Knights Of The Old Republic. Name the decisions Nikko makes don't feel like they hold a profound effect on the narrative as a whole.

This might be a premature assumption as we still haven't played terribly much the branches, I admit, but to bring it back to KOTOR terms I get the impression that Nikko's choice is, in reality, between the Dark Side and the Dark Side (this analogy, by the way, fits even better when you get to some of the end dialogue with Roman).

That said, Nikko's story of hate, anger and revenge has some serious depth. It's brought out not merely in the overall story but in Nikko's bellowing cries at his victims. Rockstar embraced the fact that Nikko excels at walking into a crowded room and walking back the only one alive. Nikko isn't some faceless action hero - he is punishment in motion.

This, however, swings wonderfully into emotional breadth when Nikko is occasionally quieted. Or at times when he's trying to come to terms with himself while talking to Kate. I won't spoil it here (although I feel like we're the last people to finish the game) - but one of the best moments in the game doesn't arrive with an assassination ... but after.

In other news, the HDTV purchase has been ordered, which might be an excuse to play the game all over again.