Nov 292007

Folks who have been around a while may remember this case, about a Second Life player who makes virtual sex toys, had them cloned/copied/ripped off, then went after the perpetrator in court.

Well, the alleged perpetrator didn’t answer the filing, which means that a default judgement was entered. Now, the aggrieved party can seek damages. Once again, virtual worlds avoid a substantive court case that could discuss implications of virtuality and goods…

Game talkBrookstone opens a virtual storefront

 Posted by (Visited 6955 times)  Game talk
Nov 272007

CNET reports that Brookstone has launched a virtual storefront. It uses that technology from Kinset that I have blogged previously. You can check it out here. In any case, a quick look at the pictures and I have to say, what’s the benefit of shopping in 3d if all the goods actually box-shaped, with exactly the usual sort of picture you see in any online retailer, just texture-mapped onto the cube? Come on, if you are going to shop in 3d, at least have 3d models of stuff to look at. You can’t even get a sense of scale with it right now.

Really, the reason why aisles are nice in real life is browsing: seeing related products right there — you can quickly and easily find other books by the author, other products competing in the same space, etc. Showing stacks of identical cubes is not maximing even the virtual real estate. A virtual store that mimics a real store too closely is going to miss out on what could make a virtual store great: a better visualization of the “infinite shelf.” After all, aisles exist in real life retailing as a simple form of categorization and recommendation engine.

Really, though, if I were trying to solve that problem, how about just having a carousel on Amazon, right where the pic of the product goes. Click on the arrows to the left or right, and be taken to the next related product, just like how they do their recommendations right now. That way I could find one book by an author, and quickly spin through all their other releases, or find one TV with my search criteria, and quickly see all the competing models. It’s basically about a more prominent, responsive and rich “people who bought this also bought” widget.

WatchingChuck is saved!

 Posted by (Visited 5103 times)  Watching
Nov 272007

 Every TV season, we watch a few episodes of as many of the interesting shows as we can manage. This usually means a mix of stuff, with a few genre shows thrown in. This time, it meant a whole lot of genre shows and nothing else. After a few showings, we ditched Reaper and Moonlight (sorry, Kira). Journeyman was on the bubble, because frankly, the poor hero seems like fate’s football, and it’s hard to fall in love with a show that offers no hope for the future. And Bionic Woman is a narrative mess — major characters (and showrunners?) coming and leaving by revolving door.

Top two shows? Unquestionably Pushing Daisies and Chuck. The former is almost too stylized to be watchable week after week — we had trouble believing that the pilot could be sustained, but yes, it could! I suspect that watching a season on DVD might rot your teeth.

Of course, with the writer’s strike, many of the new shows are at real risk of failing to build sufficient audience, followed by cancellation. (Rumor has it that Journeyman may not even air the last episode it already has in the can). Lucky for us, NBC is ordering more episodes of Chuck, which makes us very happy. This show clearly has actual geeks in the writing room; there’s usually at least one deep nerd culture reference per episode which you know can’t have been faked.

Game talkGame Developers Choice Awards

 Posted by (Visited 3882 times)  Game talk
Nov 262007

I am now on the advisory committee for the Game Developers Choice Awards, so I wanted to mention that this year’s nominations for three key awards are open until November 30th, to qualified industry professionals. The three awards are, in Gamasutra’s words:

  • The Ambassador Award honors an individual (or group of individuals) who has helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be an advocate for video games to help further the art.
  • The Pioneer Award celebrates those individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history, paving the way for the myriad developers who followed them.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development.

MusicA better version of October

 Posted by (Visited 5529 times)  Music
Nov 232007

It was bugging the crap out of me that I posted that ugly version of “October.” So here’s a much nicer version.

Someone asked about how I miked stuff last time… This one was recorded with the ATM41HE pointed at the 12th fret from around 4 inches away, and the AT4033a/SM standing around three feet away, then the two signals mixed and panned apart from each other. This was a bit of an experiment. It provided a lot more “air” space in the recording than in some of the other ones I have posted. Not sure if I like it that way or not — it’s not like the room where I record has a nice warm tone or anything. In fact, there’s a big ol’ double-wide mirrored closet door, so usually I get slapback.

While I was at it, I wrote a new piece in this tuning too, which you can hear me whistling a snatch of at the start. 🙂 But you’ll have to wait until Sunday for that one — called “November,” of course.



Game talkThe Romantics sue over Guitar Hero 3

 Posted by (Visited 6704 times)  Game talk
Nov 222007

The Romantics sue ‘Guitar Hero’ maker –

The band’s attorneys tell the Detroit Free Press for Thursday’s edition that Activision properly secured permission to use “What I Like About You,” allowing it to record a cover version.

But they say by creating an imitation so much like the Romantics’ original, the California-based company infringed on the group’s rights to its own likeness.

What I don’t like about you, Romantics, is that you seem to have missed the whole point.