Well, I am at MomoCon, and I did one of my favorite things: Take pictures of all the great cosplayers at MomoCon! I’ve got a bunch here, and I hope that you all got a chance to see yourself. All of you were so friendly, and you worked so hard on your costumes. Please attend my panel at 11:00 PM in Room 404 (GWCC 4) on Friday!
Archive for May, 2015
As you read this, I am hopefully in Atlanta enjoying MomoCon 2015. If you aren’t familiar with MomoCon, it is one of those events made for fans of anime, comics, video games, and all thinks geeky. Yeah, I haven’t been to one of these in a few months, and I flew down from Washington state across the nation just to attend.
As it so happens, I am also going to be speaking. I’ll be delivering a lecture on Video Games and Storytelling, and it is at a weird time-slot of 11 PM on Friday, May 29, 2015.
Here’s the exciting thing, I am actually on the docket as a “Gaming Guest”, and I am right next to Keith David, an actor who currently appears as a regular on Community and is the voice of Goliath on Gargoyles.
As usual, when I got to these conventions, I will take picture of the cosplayers, as well as spreading the word on my Labyrinth House book. Check out what I will have tomorrow here and on Facebook, and I guarantee this will be fun.
As for my lecture, I intend to have it ready on Prezi after it is over. Prezi is a place where you can put Powerpoint-like presentations, and it should be good.
Technobabylon, which I will readily admit I will give points for on its sheer name alone, takes place in a world of 2087. In this world, it appears that Big Brother has arrived 100 years too late, as there is an omnipresent AI and highly centralized government. There is also a strange Internet wetware connection known as Trance, which feels like something out of Ready Player One.
I had a chance to play an alpha version of this game, which started out with a character who is in the Trance. When she gets out, she discovers that the door has auto-locked and she is essentially locked in her own place. I guess when you get an over-technologized society, this stuff happens. I had a lot of fun figuring out how Trance allows you to talk to machines, who have very fun and colorful personalities. I loved this chapter 1 opening.
Then suddenly, it shifted to chapter 10. I don’t know if this is the game’s attempt to create random chapters like William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, but I have to admit that I wanted to see more on the girl in the first chapter. Instead, it switched to this investigator guy in this dystopian city, and was kind of a let-down.
I’m going to give this Technobabylon game a positive review, because it is creative and I like its dystopian vibe. If this is what you like, check it on Steam right now for about $14.99.
As someone who has had a lot of experience dealing with LEGO MINDSTORMS, I admire any new device that helps with STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) education. Makeblock has created the mBot, and I had a chance to try it out.
In its own words, the mBot is a “low cost, easy-to-run robot kit for kids to get hands-on experience about graphical programming, electronics, [and] robotics”. As you can see, you can make a cute little robot with it.
In fact, the model that you see in the image looks very similar to the two-wheeled, one roller ball car that version 3.0 of the LEGO MINDSTORMS kit has instructions for. Oddly enough, this particular robot can be built quicker, and programming it is based on an Arduino open source platform. The mBlock drag and drop programming tool works with it, and also Arduino IDE.
The mBot has a lot of cool features like wireless connection via Bluetooth or 2.4 Ghz, and it even comes with a wireless remote. You might notice that there are LEGO people near the model, and even though the website says that it is compatible with LEGO parts, I’m guessing that I have to get pretty creative to get that to work. Perhaps that is the challenge.
If this is something that you are interested in, head on over to the Makeblock site and pay around $74.99 for it.
If you have never heard of John Nash, he was a brilliant mathematician, and the only reason why I know him was because he was the subject of a film called A Beautiful Mind, which is one of my favorite films. In fact, I just mentioned the film in my review of Winter’s Tale, which was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter for A Beautiful Mind. Russell Crowe portrayed Nash pretty brilliantly in the film, and he tweeted a tribute with: “An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
A Beautiful Mind depicted Nash’s work and showed his struggle with schizophrenia. Even though the film won four Academy awards, including Best Picture, it is sadly not very accurate. The film shows Nash encountering delusions of cold war spies, but I’ve actually heard that his hallucinations were even more outrageous. Still, I admire the spirit of what the film was trying to accomplish, as it shows how debilitating schizophrenia really is.
The film also showed that John and Alicia were together after many years, and were still together after 60 years in real life. Sadly, there was some time apart, as well as adultery, but like the ending of the film, things seemed to work out for the couple, I believe. John will be remembered for his 1994 Nobel Prize as well as his work in game theory.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of this film, as it was released in February, and that’s when the usual B-rated films, but not bad January films, get released. This is changing due to good movies that get released in February like The Lego Movie, but Winter’s Tale isn’t the unexpected treasure that I was hoping it would be.
You know those films that come out, and you don’t hear about them, so you just think that they are any good? This is one that you can assume isn’t that good, but here’s the thing: Winter’s Tale is trying. When I heard that Akiva Goldsman had written this film, and it was his directorial debut, I was interested in it. Goldsman wrote one of my favorite films, A Beautiful Mind, but he is also responsible for Batman and Robin, which many consider one of the worst films of all time, but I call it “so bad it’s good”.
Sadly, a Winter’s Tale is not “so bad it’s good” and, as stated before, is not “so good it’s good”. The film is based on a book that is an interesting fantasy, and yes, you will have to suspend your disbelief for this one.
The opening scene is about two parents who come to America, but they are denied entry due to consumption, in 1895. Their son does not have the disease, so they put him on a toy boat on their way home. Why do they insist that their son comes to the States? Where did they get the toy boat? What if the current had taken their boy away from shore?
Like I said before, suspension of disbelief. The film then opens with Peter Lake, the boy all grown up, played by Colin Farrell. Sadly, this film starts off with him looking around Grand Central Station. Now, we see this, but we are not told what era this takes place in. I’ll go ahead and spoil this and say that the scene is shown again in the film.
Now, when Peter Lake was a boy, he was picked up by a gangster named Pearly Soames, played by Russell Crowe. Not only is he a bad man, he seems to work for the devil, literally. Somehow, and this isn’t shown on screen, Lake became a thief for Soames, and then decides not to do it anymore, for some reason. As a result, Lake is on the run from Soames, but a magical white horse shows up and helps him get a way, and I am not kidding.
Before Lake gallops off to who knows, he burglarizes a home where there is a young woman who is coincidentally dying of consumption. Her name is Beverly Penn, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, and he falls for her, for some reason. Oh, I guess this is a love story.
Anyway, Soames somehow catches up to Lake because all of the pretty stones he has reveals his location. No explanation for that one. Eventually, this leads to Russell Crowe, on horseback, chasing the two lovers, who are riding a white horse. Yes, this is romanticized drama, and the horse evades them by flying away with these magical wings. I can’t decide if that is completely awesome or utterly stupid, so I’m going to go middle of the road here.
In case you are wondering why Pearly Soames doesn’t follow Peter, well, Pearly apparently can’t leave the area that he..haunts? Well, Pearly goes to see “The Judge”, who is really the devil, played by…Will Smith? Whoa, how’d did he get in this movie? There is this terrible scene where Will shows that he has shark teeth, and this is a worse stain on his record since After Earth. Apparently, Pearly can’t leave his area that he is a demon of, this is assuming that he is a demon. This isn’t really established but apparently, Soames is some kind of supernatural force, which isn’t well-established, and probably should be.
After the chase scene, the film goes full-on romance. I won’t tell you how it ends, but I can tell that there is stuff about immortality and reincarnation, maybe. There is some kind of voiceover at the beginning and ending that I think was supposed to bookend this film, but I don’t know if that is wise.
I think this film was trying to really discuss how the power of love is greater than death, and how our lives are precious, but the theme, although feels good, isn’t kind of a mixed bag of goodness. In short, I can’t recommend Winter’s Tale because it just isn’t good, but I’m not certain what went bad with it.
I have reviewed a lot of Razer products in the past, and they are best known for their video game or PC gaming accessories. One of the things that I really love is how they can really make gaming mice interesting, and now, a gaming mousepad.
Yes, the Razer Firefly is able to put some chromatic magic to your desk. Considering that the company is famous for some serious coloration on their products, kind of like SteelSeries. I think that this gaming mat is a product that I can’t help wonder why I have not seen before.
You should be able to see it for about $60, which is pretty expensive for a mousepad. Yes, I would love to try it out. Plus it has Firefly in its name, just like the cool show that everyone says was cancelled too early.
Considering that I have written about people who are trapped within an enclosed space, I felt a need to report on these six test subjects who were locked in a module in Moscow for 520 days to test the effects of isolation on small group dynamics and individual psychology.
These people were selected from Russia, China, and Europe and they had to pretend that they were on some mission to Mars that would keep them in complete solitude from the rest of the world. They began on June 3, 2010 and the only way that they had contact with the outside world is when they had to place blood and urine samples outside the hatch. They didn’t even have Internet or phone calls, which I’m guessing you wouldn’t have if you went to Mars, right? Seriously, they can’t beam that back to Earth?
To keep from getting bored, these men did a lot of “housekeeping” stuff, you know, pretending to do what they would do if they landed on Mars. They also played a lot of Counter Strike, which I am going to assume doesn’t require an Internet connection. Apparently, they had small and medium term objectives to survive, and I am assuming that is what I would do.
I just can’t believe that this was done, and why in the heck did no one make a reality show out of this?
I have seen constant companies attempt to make nearly paperthin screens. After all, who wouldn’t want to roll up their phone or television like a poster? Yes, I like the prospect of having a skinny screen, and LG has done it.
At a press event in Korea, LG showed off a 55-inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display that weighs 1.9 kilograms and less than a millimeter thick. The television has a magnetic mat that allows it to be stuck to the wall, and then you just peel it off when you’re done.
Okay, this is clearly a game-changer, but so far, it is all that I have seen so far from my Source. Generally, I usually see some demonstration of this type of technology at CES, but it never comes with any release date, and that is really important. LG Display apparently has stated that they expect to sell 600,000 of OLED TV panels this year and 1.5 million next year. Do they intend to sell these flat ones? So far, there isn’t really a word on a price, but a 65-inch 4K OLED TV costs $9,000.
Ah, another day, another TYLT product! Yes, I have reviewed a lot of TYLT products before in the past, and the last one was the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount.
Today, we are looking at the RIBBN Car Charger. I’m assuming that it is pronounced ribbon, because this is what it looks like. The best thing about the RIBBN is that it is guaranteed to be free from tangles. That’s pretty good because it measures at three feet, and it is available in micro USB plus Lightning.
It is also available in many different colors like Blue, Red, Black, and Yellow. By the way, the part that you can plug into the car’s cigarette lighter or whatever that port is called has an additional USB port. So with this particular RIBBN, you can charge two mobile devices at the same time.
So, if you want the RIBBN, you can get it on the TYLT site in the colors listed above. The Lightning version is available for $49.99 and the Micro USB version for $39.99.