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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Po Little Co: Bill Kristol On Daily Show

I'm watching Bill Kristol talking with Stewart right now and it is completely disturbing. Almost sad. The intellectual dishonesty is clear and seems a little hard to wear.

For Kristol, I mean, of course. Every time he defends McCain he gets this look on his face like he is about to cry and laugh at the same time.

First - can we stop pretending as if Palin has gotten a bad rap? What? She can't take some Tina Fey jokes? This is a woman who is repeatedly trying to call Barack a terrorist so don't give me this crap about how Caribou Barbie is unfair.

The woman is a radical right wing religious hardliner who has just won the political lottery of the century. She was also brought in during one of the most negative campaigns run in some time. Obama called off the potential scandal of her family, told a rally of his to stop booing McCain - but she won't even pause to perhaps suggest that the n-word might be off base.

The current talk is that the Republican think tank is considering pushing Palin for a 2012 run. I can only hope this is true. Perhaps in hindsight they'll realize that this election year has been a repudiation of the Rovian tactics which may have served well in simpler times and before the veil of 9/11 became as transparent as it was - that perhaps drumming up the fringe while hoping the middle won't notice. While McCain has been courting the same groups that helped push Bush over the narrow margin, the Democratic party has been actually getting some smarts when it comes out to pushing early voting, getting out the vote and maintaining focus on the issues.

Kristol seems to be stuck in this paradigm as well. His support for a campaign which has clearly gone off the rails, as well for a woman that - as John himself pointed out - would be far more likely to attack a man in Kristol's shoes as not being part of "Real America" than do the same - must be as painful of a position to keep as it was to watch.

Is LittleBigPlanet A Better Spore?

I'm not going to say LittleBigPlanet is a better (or worse) game than Spore. They're just too different in most ways for a decent comparison. It's a flame war that doesn't have to be fought.

But there is a thread where the two are very alike. Both games are driven by user created content. Both games offer an online universe to share and play this content. Both games offer an innovative editor to generate the content.

And I think in nearly everything along the thread, LittleBigPlanet edges out ahead. Bouncing in between user generated levels, story mode and the editor is a lot different than having another random creature come over the edge. The scale of the control that you have in the editor is empowering, whereas Spore's felt a lot like window dressing.

This isn't so much a critique of Spore, but rather a preference and some praise for LBP. However, I did have one crash last night while trying to leave a game - hopefully LBP will be successful in both generating good content and keeping the lights on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Game Play: LittleBigPlanet Quick Thoughts

I only had enough time last night to do a quick dive into Sony's much anticipated hit, Little Big Planet. So here's a few quick thoughts:

This may be the best tutorial ever made for a game and will be damn hard to beat for a while. It's entertaining, it feels like you're playing and not being lectured, you get to explore and it has Stephen Freaking Fry.

I've read some complaints about Sackboy's jumping controls. I don't know if they were tweaked in the patch at all, but I didn't have any real problems. I'm not a huge platformer fan in general, but in the first few levels very little annoyed me.

The LBP servers were down last night. Boo. I didn't miss much as I had just gotten to the "larger" game, ie where I think you can start playing with the creator, but the grace period won't last long.

Even as someone who doesn't like platformers, I had a lot of fun.

If the design doesn't make you at least a little happy - you might need medication. This is one of the most adorable games in the wide world of adorable games.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TV Watch, Heroes: Eris Quod Sum

A pretty even episode, all in all - more of a bridge episode than anything else as with the exception of Sylar and Suresh, very little moved. And in Suresh's case, his flip to Pinehearst happened so fast that I blinked and nearly missed it.

But really my pain point is Claire at the moment. I'm just not buying the whole "going painless breaks me" routine. It feels forced and overwrought. Honestly I would think it would be more logical to become afraid of not being invulnerable than not feeling pain.

A close second is Black Fear. For one thing, the show should avoid any character that is required to describe his power every time it's used. Second, the whole bogeyman routine just doesn't cut it for me - there's not much reason I see for people to actually be scared in the first place.

The plot hangs more or less together and the show is starting to dip into the backstory pretty well. The formula and how it ties into the characters makes for a nice container to the events in general. Heroes confounds me a lot, but I still find it pretty compelling overall.

Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls to crossover

“Very bittersweet,” Fuller admitted, “because I loved [Wonderfalls] and the cast. So much so, that I had to do a Wonderfalls crossover in this season of Pushing Daisies. That happens in episode eight of the second season and I’m really excited about it.”
-- Bryan Fuller Plans 'Pushing Daisies'/'Wonderfalls' Crossover

Some heartstring of mine just made a yipping noise.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Game Play: Lux Touch (iPhone)

Lux is a longstanding, multiplatform, Risk clone and Sillysoft has brought it to the iPhone in the form of Lux Touch. Lux Touch is free and quite simply a great port of the gameplay we're all familiar.

Sillysoft has done a great job of expanding Lux in general, so let's hope they continue that on the iPhone.

Apple And The HDTV: Our Mini As Media Server

For a while there, we used my Mini to download movies and then when we wanted to watch them on the big screen, we just moved it into the living room and hooked it directly up to the the TV.

Then we got the 50" plasma, our laptops and the PS3. It got to be easier to just download stuff to my laptop and then wirelessly stream them to the PS3 and view it that way. It was also a pretty cool party trick.

Two problems with that, though, is that movie watching became dependent on how well my network was running - usually OK, but sometimes we'd get the occasional annoying pause - and I couldn't use my laptop while we were doing things. Well, I probably could but I didn't really want my compiles slowing down Doctor Who.

So now we have the Mini permanently behind the TV, hooked up via DVI. If I've torrented something, I can just access the Mini's Drop Box folder, drag and drop the torrent file to it, and then Transmission picks it up and does the work. We've got a bluetooth keyboard and a trackball, but then I found AirMouse for the iPhone which works like a total charm for couch orientated control. If need be I can VNC in as well.

The only other trick I'm considering is a way to email myself torrent files, have an app on the Mini which monitors the inbox and pulls them if found.

But put that on the large pile of unfinished apps, games and Great American Novels I've planned as well...

As I'm writing this, there are questions about whether Apple will keep the Mini in its lineup. I certainly hope that they do - it's a great design and fits a niche that few other computers really can. Without the Mini, we'd be stuck with a Windows based solution for sure to get anything nearly this convenient.