Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 512

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 527

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 534

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 570

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1244

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/query.php on line 61

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/http.php on line 61

Strict Standards: Non-static method unfancy_quote::init() should not be called statically in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-content/plugins/sem-unfancy-quote/sem-unfancy-quote.php on line 55
<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 / 2006 / November

Wii Initial Impressions

I was in New York today not following Steve Pavlina's advice, and I had a chance to stop by the Nintendo World Store (Flash mandatory, ugh) in Rockefeller Center and spend some minutes with the Wii. After braving the "crowd" (~15-20 people playing on about 10 Wiis), I finally got my hands on the Wiimote.

The first game I played was Excite Truck. This is your typical off-road arcade racer controlled by holding the Wiimote horizontally and tilting it to steer. Aside from it being a touch sensitive, it was very intuitive and the new control style made what I would have otherwise considered a standard racing game a lot of fun. The graphics were noticeably subpar (below even my lowered expectations), and were only made worse by the beautiful ~37" HDTV I was playing on.

After one race, I stepped over to the next Wii and played Madden. Again, after playing Madden on the XBox 360, the graphics failed to impress. The controls, however, made the game really fun. Snapping the ball and passing it with motion were a lot more fun than simply pushing "A". The run game also becomes much more interesting and intuitive when I can shake the nunchuk or Wiimote left or right to juke/stiff arm instead of having to remember whether it's "X" or "LB". The only trouble I had was getting the kicking motion down. Luckily the tutorial available from the pause menu helped me a bit (though it still took me 8 tries).

Finally, I got a few minutes on Call of Duty 3. I'm sorry to say that this was a complete disaster. I just couldn't hold the Wiimote at the right position in order to get the controls to respond the way I wanted. I was often spinning around in circles or looking at the floor or sky. I eventually turned to sensitivity down but that just made it impossible to respond to enemy attacks. Of the three games, this was the only one where I was completely disappointed.

It's well-known that the Wii isn't a graphical powerhouse. I didn't think this would bother me that much, but I've gotten really used to pretty visuals (or mediocre visuals in standard def). The motion-sensing part of the controls works perfectly, but the pointing aspect needs some work. Also, even though some controls seem intuitive once you learn them, because of all the hidden motions that are possible, you're gonna have to pop out the instruction manual or run through the tutorials. For better or for worse, button mashing is over.

Still, I think that the awe of the new controller will keep me interested in the Wii for far longer than great graphics and shallow gameplay ever could. See you all in line Sunday morning!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1st and 10



1st and 10

Originally uploaded by Martin Gordon.

As part of the Line (for Basketball season tickets), we went to Princeton last Saturday to watch the Quakers suffer their third OT loss in a row.

The rest of the photos from the game are here and some other photos from Friday night at the Line are here.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

MacBooks Get Core 2 Duo

Well, it's official: My Mac lineup (17" iMac and 13" MacBook) is now completely obsolete. I'm not worried that much since the new models are only slight speed bumps and not something more drastic. As seen from the iMac and MacBook Pro bumps, Apple is continuing their long-standing tradition of incremental speed bumps once or twice a year.

Just a short time after their pricier, gray brethren made the jump to Merom, the 13" MacBooks are now outfitted with Core 2 Duo processors. Clock speeds on the MacBooks remain the same at 1.83/2.0 GHz, but the 2GHz chip now has 4MB of L2 cache, twice that of the 1.83GHz chip and the previous Core Duo models.

Not much else has changed, however. Besides the new chip, other incremental upgrades include a bump in the SuperDrive speed from 4x to 6x, and a bump in hard disk space on the 2GHz models from 60/80GB to 80/120GB (white and black models, respectively). The cost of bumping up the hard drive from 80 to 120GB on the white 2GHz is $150, so the black paint only costs $50 as opposed to the previous $150. If you were going to upgrade the hard drive anyway, going for black is almost a no-brainer.

Only time will tell if Apple has fixed the problems that plagued the first-generation MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Even if they haven't, notebook buyers are slightly better off today than they were yesterday.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

CalacanisCast Reaches Beta 2

Jason Calacanis has put out a second beta (read: second episode) of his podcast, CalacanisCast. I'll admit I haven't subscribed to it yet because I'm trying to get my unplayed podcast count down to 0 in iTunes (only 4 to go!) before I add it, but I've been a fan of his blog for a while so I'm sure the podcast will be great as well. Can't wait to hear it as the reviews of the first beta episode have been generally positive.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

GooSync Syncs Google Calendar and Handhelds

GooSync, a new service currently in beta (surprise, surprise!), offers the ability to sync Google Calendar with handheld devices.

Setup
The setup process is straightforward, although registration left a bad taste in my mouth since it required my address and date of birth (for what?). The next step consists of the actual device setup, which they break down into three categories:

- Your device supports over-the-air configuration:
We will send you a configuration message by sms, just open and save the received message to auto configure your device.

- Your device requires manual configuration:
We will display generic manual instructions, follow these to manually configure your device.

- Your device is a Palm or Windows device:
We will display the download and install instructions, follow these to manually setup your device.

Since I have a Treo 650, I fall into the last category. I downloaded the .prc file, installed it and entered my GooSync credentials. No issues with this step, except that the password dialog is in plaintext, so make sure to not type it in around anyone you don't want knowing your password.

The Sync
Syncing happens in about a minute, but there is no automatic syncing, so I don't know how useful this service is really going to be. All the events on my Treo showed up in my default calendar in GCal and an event in my default calendar in GCal showed up on my Treo. I'm not sure if it'll sync other personal calendars, but shared calendars I'm subscribed to aren't synchronized.

I'm glad that there is finally a way for me to get my Google Calendar onto my Treo and more importantly, a way to get my Palm Calendar (which syncs to Outlook/Exchange automagically) onto Google Calendar. It's a really simple process, but I do have two main concerns:

  1. The unnecessary information required at signup. What does my home address or DOB have to do with syncing my Google Calendar? I put in a fake address and I can see them needing DOB for COPPA purposes (although how many 11 year olds really have a need for this service?), but even just them asking for this info made me a bit uneasy about it.
  2. There's no automatic syncing. To be honest, unless there's something I really need from one calendar on the other, I'm probably not gonna use this. I have my Treo with me all the time and my GCal usage has dropped to almost zero. I prefer to enter events in GCal, but until I can have those events show up automatically on my Treo without having to run the GooSync app, I'll probably just stick to entering them on the phone itself.

It's mostly the second issue that'll keep this at the "proof of concept" level for me. Granted, it is still in beta, so I do expect them to add this feature in a future release.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"YouTube Is My Hall of Fame"

(A Winer-esque post, but I really like this quote so whatever.)

Fred Wilson: "Shut the Hall of Fame. Because YouTube is my Hall of Fame. Rock on." The game has changed. There's too much stuff out there for us to only care about "the best". Especially when we all have different ideas of what "the best" is.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

First Wii Kiosk Is In South Florida

Well how about that! A Gamestop in practically my backyard (well, some 20 miles from my backyard) is the first Gamestop in the country to set up their Wii Kiosk. It's too bad I won't be back in Miami until Thanksgiving, after the Wii comes out, or else I'd go check it out.

Now to convince myself that taking the Wii home for Thanksgiving is a good idea, despite the hassle TSA might give me ("Uh, sorry, sir, this is a, uh, banned substance. We're gonna have to confiscate it." Five minutes later: "Hey, Bob! I just scored a Wii! It'll go great with my collection of 50,000 lighters and 20,000 bottles of shampoo!"). Although it would be great to get some impressions from my family - who are far from being even casual gamers (well, except my mom, who loves FreeCell).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wii Launch Lineup of 62 Games Announced

Joystiq is reporting that the Wii launch lineup has been announced, and it includes a whopping 62 games (32 Wii games and 30 Virtual Console games). This is a far cry from the Nintendo 64's launch lineup of 2 games (which I played into the ground until another decent game finally came out).

I wonder what's keeping them from releasing everything in all three regions (except translations in Japan-only games). The US missing out on classics such as Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, and Zelda: LttP. Closely mirroring the N64 release 10 years ago, the sole N64 game coming out is Super Mario 64 (which I've played recently on the DS and have no intention of buying a third time).

While I do think the Virtual Console will give the XBox Live Arcade a run for it's money, personally, I find the lineup in XBLA is much more compelling. Nothing on the VC list screams "casual game" (although I guess that's what the Wii itself is for), except Super Mario Picross, a great game in it's own right that I don't think saw release here in the US (I played it in an emulator). Maybe I've just been burned by nostalgia too many times (Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers and Inspecter Gadget just don't have the same attraction 15 years later), but I'd rather play simpler, more novel games on XBLA than pay for old classics a second or third time on the Wii.

Still, the Wii brings a much-needed shakeup to the video game industry, which has been riding on rehashed formulas and prettier graphics for far too long. It appears that Nintendo will finally have the perfect launch they've always vied for, with plenty of units on shelves and a strong library to match.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,