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<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method unfancy_quote::strip_quotes() should not be called statically in <b>/home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/plugin.php</b> on line <b>166</b><br /> Martin Gordon's Blog / 2005 / May

Is the PC dead as a gaming platform?

The upcoming next-gen gaming systems purport that they will be X times more powerful than a PC. Say what you will about how bad a measure specs are on a gaming system, but the XBox 360's three 3.2GHz PowerPC processors are nothing to laugh at, especially if you're AMD and Intel. The XBox 360 is supposed to ship by Thanksgiving, at which point we'll be lucky to have dual-core processors out in full force on the PC side, at which time just the processor will cost more than the XBox 360.

One of the problems with the PC as a gaming platform is that a lot of power is lost as a result of having to support thousands of hardware combinations. The gaming system offers a unified platform where results can be predicted in the labs, and for the first time now, will surpass the PC in the graphics department.

The inclusion of PC-like features such as photo, video and audio players and iPod/PDA syncing will definitely make the consoles much more mainstream than they are already (I know a lot of adults who still think video games are for kids). This could cause game developers to switch from the PC as the primary development platform to one or more of the next-gen consoles. All of the graphics stuff aside, the biggest issue I see is that all three of the new systems will be using PowerPC-based processors from IBM. No longer will games be a simple recompile (as may have previously been the case between the XBox and the PC), they will take quite a bit of reworking. The PC could very well possibly run into the same problems the Macintosh has run into with regard to game porting where it may take months to see an XBox 360 title ported to the PC.

Microsoft would much prefer to have people buy an XBox 360 and lots of titles than a PC and lots of titles since in the latter case Microsoft will, at best, get paid for a copy of Windows XP whereas in the former case they'll rack up royalties for every game sold, be they 1st or 3rd party titles. Piracy is a lot more rampant on PCs and may also drive more developers to consoles over the PC.

It seems as though the main advantage that the PC had over consoles was that its superior graphics. Now that that's out of the equation, what advantage does the PC have over consoles? Sure some genres, especially real-time strategy and first-person shooters are better played with mouse and keyboard, but with the PS3 including 70,000 USB ports, even that doesn't seem to be an issue any more.

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DMB Lyrics Database Update

Despite the fact that only 1.5 of last summer's 5 new songs made it onto Stand Up, I've still kept the lyrics database up. I had some bad luck trying to implement mod_rewrite in the past, but I think I finally got it implementing clean URLs. Instead of having /lyrics.php?song=&date=, it now uses /lyrics/song/date. I think it's pretty neat and there's also the added bonus that clean URLs are indexable by search engines. Not a bad learning experience for a Tuesday night.

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Flickr - Took the plunge

I've finally gone and uploaded my photos to Flickr. What finally made me do it? Two things:

First, I had a bunch of pictures each with various subjects and couldn't squeeze each photo into just one album. This is where Flickr really shines: I can tag photos with as many words as I want and then browse by tags to look at particular subjects of interest. For example, I might want to look at all the pictures I have of trees, or I might want to look at all the pictures I've taken at night. There may be some overlap, and so album-based organization with one album per photo would have made this impossible. With Flickr, I can have as many pseudo-albums as I want.

Second, and this is what really did it, was that Collin from Ars had two free Pro accounts to give out and gave one to me. Once I had received the upgrade, I no longer had to worry about being limited to three photosets or the 20mb upload/month cap. The 2gb/month upload cap for Pro accounts is practically unlimited for me since I only have about 6gb of photos.

You may have seen the Flickr badge I added at the top and you can click on it to go to my photostream. Here it is in case this is being read in some news aggregator.

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RSS = ADD?

I have a feeling that blogs (and discussion fora) are leading to a decline in my attention span. I "read" through 44 different RSS feeds with a total of maybe 150 posts a day and countless of forum threads with several dozens of posts each. What these two mediums have in common is that they largely consist of short bursts of information which can be easily sifted through so I only have to read what really catches my attention. This creates two problems:

  • Increased selectivity of what I read.
  • Decreased length of text read.

The issue is that I now have trouble reading "traditional" texts since every part of the text might not interest me and as a result, I get bored easily and have to drag myself through sections. This, coupled with how easily I can access "easy" information, has shortened the time I can actually sit down and read a long text. Whereas I used to be able to sit and read for an hour or two, now I can read for half an hour tops without getting distracted (~20 pages with my ever-declining reading speed).

This is all fine if it hadn't affected my retention of what I read. I could recall at most 50 posts I read today and not even half the examples of the last book I read (Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell), which I finished a week ago. Since it takes me so long to read a book, I lose continuity, which in turn (I suppose) disrupts recall. I'm about to start a book (which at first glance, at least) looks fascinating and would like to be able to discuss it a month after I finish it with others who have read it without sounding like I didn't read it at all. I may have to start setting aside some dedicated time and find a comfortable place (far away from my computer) to start getting my attention span for these kinds of things (not to mention reading speed and recall rate) back up. By the way, the book is Freakonomics which is a whole 256 pages long. It sounds a bit daunting at the moment, but I'm setting a personal goal to finish it in no more than 5 sittings (not to span more than two weeks).

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Stand Up Lyrics Posted

I've posted the lyrics to Stand Up as pages on this blog to test out how pages work in WordPress. It might get a little messy to have the entire tracklist, so I might condense it in the future.

For what it's worth, Stand Up is no lyrical masterpiece (the B-Side Trouble With You seems to be the strongest of all the songs), but the music is solid and the band sounds very integrated.

Overproduction is no longer a concern of mine, since some songs can be a bit bare at times and all the instruments sound natural. The AOL Webcast of the Roseland Ballroom concert last night also proved that the songs will hold their own live. I am looking forward to seeing the band and their new songs this summer at SPAC Night 1 and the two West Palm Beach shows.

A bit more Stand Up

Stand Up will be released a week from tomorrow and I've got a few more clips to whet your appetite.
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