Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Wii + DS = Wiids(weeds)

Ok so I’m not sure who keeps up with the Wii and the DS or who did their homework and paid attention to all the launch time info and rumors but the revolution is upon us at last! Unfortunately it’s coming in the form of Pokemon games and a few components haven’t quite shown up on the scene.  So lets have a look at the latest developments.

The first thing which I commented on here. Has finally come about. The DS does in fact interact with the Wii. The first game to use it is the new Pokemon Wii game. You use the DS to call the shots for your Pokemon in such a way that your opponent won’t be able to see what you are doing. This should make head to head play more interesting. I give it only a few more months before the football games come rolling in with this feature. It does seem ideal.

The second thing that Pokemon is bringing to the table is supposed to be voice chat over wifi in game. I don’t remember where I read that so unfortunately I can’t confirm this one. I have been able to confirm there is a VOIP application on the way that will let you talk to your friends as though the DS is a cell phone.

Finally the stage is set for the return of the light gun in the form of an attachment to the remote control which adds a handle and trigger system to the remote. How long till this peripheral comes out and instead of just watching our character wield the duelies we get to feel the heft in our own hands!?

The parts that are still missing are a DS web browser, Wii mp3/video player and Wii’s online multiplayer games. I think the latter is probably what will seat Nintendo in either first or second spot in the next gen console war and finally put the nail in the coffin for the PS3.

Wii is pretty fly for a white guy!

Wow so here comes the airplane games. Not sure where this is coming from exactly or why they are all hitting right now but Wii developers are unleashing the airplane games. Three in short order. Only one even begins to wad my panties.

Heatseeker

Heatseeker: A modern day air combat sim. The game looks ok but not spectacular. Any one(whos a game developer) can throw some airplane models in a game and make them shoot guns and rockets. Other than controls there doesn’t seem to be any innovation or particularly great design qualities. I’m sure the game will be fun and everything but there is no innovation and nothing new.

Wii AirplaneWii Sports Airplane: Or what ever they’re going to call it. I’m not really sure what to think about this. A motor sports version of Wii sports just sounds a little goofy. Wii sports was fun for about 10 minutes. It was obviously a pretty clean capabilities and controls demo for the Wii and has some very over simplistic game play to the point of not fun. I’d hate to see this suffer the same fate. Based on what we’ve seen of this that is most likely the case.

Blazing AngelsBlazing Angels: Here is where you can get excited about flying on the Wii. This game looks amazing graphics wise and the slower action should yeild some very nice close aerial combat action. I’m sure this will nicely make use of the Wii’s novel controls. This is still on it’s way for the Wii dropping on the 20th of this month. I’ve just downloaded the PC version so I may well soon have some game play input some time in the next couple days. I have high hopes for this game. The video looks amazing!

Keep an eye on these games. If you like to fly the Wii will be taking up your time in the near future.

Apple Quicktime vs. Theora vs. Xvid

For all you super geeks I need pre-face this with “No this isn’t a benchmark shoot out!”. Sorry. Basically it’s just me expounding on a subject that I have some knowledge of and born of a conversation with a buddy who can’t give me a good reason why he thinks Quicktime sucks. He has his opinion and he is entitled to it. I’ve simply decided to lay my thinking on the subject out on the table.

I like Quicktime. It has a very sharp, even at low res and high compression, image quality. It streams nicely and the associate player/software is very well done. Simple to use and mostly non-invasive(ok some windows startup stuff). It’s free to use for playback and you gotta pay for encoding etc. Most of the non-free stuff is enforced just through the player and not via the codec so there is a free version called Quicktime Alternative that has stripped the codec out and paired it with Media Player Classic for windows as a player and the codec can be used by other players. I also own a Mac personally which comes with Quicktime kind of integrated and it works flawlessly. Quicktime Pro is not all that expensive at like $30 so if you just can’t deal on the free end it isn’t exactly going to break the bank to go Pro. For me this is the way to go. Multi-Platform, sharp, high quality, and free options if need be.

Xvid is the next most popular codec but only because it is free and has been picked up and fostered by the pirate community. It makes video look darn good and compress down small which is ideal for shuttleing around those free’d hollywood films. It doesn’t have a specific player packaged with it and is a stand alone codec. One thing that I’m sure some have managed to make it do but that is not done widely is to make it stream. There is no easy straight forward process to do that. This seems to be it’s biggest downfall. Well, that and it’s user base. Don’t get me wrong I love to catch a flick before it comes out but that isn’t going to make this the first place I go when I need to put some legal media on the internet. I guess the main up side to this is that there are open source implimentations which makes this better for the Linux community to impliment but that doesn’t help the rest of us a whole lot if some one doesnt figure out how to move it in to a more professional easier to use framework.

Last but not least Theora. Theora is the Ogg implimentation for video. To be honest I’m not sure why this doesn’t see more wide spread use. Ogg offers higher quality audio at lower bit rate/compressions and I’ve seen Theora make some small files come out looking great. So what’s the deal? The website has cross platform binaries available and the project is open source. So why is this stuck in a similar situation as Xvid? It suffers from the same short comings as Xvid in that it is not widely used despite being free. It came about shortly after Xvid and I think that has detracted a lot of attention from it. I think it comes down to marketing. They have to drop this in to a single drop and go player package for all platforms and then advertise the crap out of it by making version submission posts to slashdot etc.

So there it is. Lack of streaming along with a lack of a ‘just works’ sort of package from Xvid and Theora are the things that really make those two fall short for me. Xvid is good but I’m sure that Theora can best Xvid in quality. Now if only it were in more wide spread use.

Mole! Moley Moley Moley Moooole!!!

ITunesSo Apple makes some of the sexiest products on the planet. I gotta give them props for that. Not only are they sexy but they are functional much as I would imagine most models are as well. But Apple has this big blemish that I just can’t get past. I keep trying to avert my eyes but it’s one of those things that just sticks out at ya. It reminds me of Mr. Powers reaction to the mole. What I’m actually talking about is the DRM Apple wraps it’s music/video in.

The Apple store is doing well and has tons of content. So why are services like allofmp3.com posing any kind of a threat at all? Lack of DRM. I can download what I want and play it on what ever player, computer, stereo I want to and not have to worry about being limited. Kind of like when I buy a CD. Do they still sell those? And now there is word of record companies dropping DRM on for sale discs all together. Thank goodness some one is starting to get it.

BonjourNet any one?(Apples own torrent for Itunes) $10 says Jobs reads this. Patents it. And it comes out next year and I dont see a dime.

Wii, shaken not stirred.

rabbidOk so this weekend has been a multimedia extravaganza. Several movies coming out, the PS3 being released this week and the Wii also being loosed on the world. Some may try to tell me I’m being to tough on my self but the bottom line truely is that I’m an electronics whore. Needless to say I dropped a fair chunk of change this weekend. What follows is a result of one great night followed by two days of general suck and ending in the purchasing of a Wii.

James Bond, girls, gadgets and cars. So Casino Royale over all was a good movie. Not nearly as spectacular as the last couple Bond movies. I’m going to tell you why. But before I do that be aware that this will be a bit of a spoiler. This bond movie is based on the idea that we are seeing Bond at the beginning of his career as a dub’o sev. In staying current with the times and technology this pre-dub’o Bond movie happens in 2006. While this is similar to the way previous bond movies have functioned it created a bit of a problem for this bond. In what I’m assuming was an attempt to identify with the movies viewers all the technology in the movie is product placement for the latest and greatest. This kind of killed the whole need for Q and the fantasy of super gadgets that dont actually exist. Isn’t that one of the main reasons to watch a bond flic? So thats strike number one.

Now strike number two comes in the Cars department. What the heck happened to Bonds cars!? They arn’t really in this movie. He’s seen driving a Ford at one point during the movie and the only other car you really see him in sits in a parking space for only a quarter of the movie and then he totals it. If I remember correctly they gave bond car with a cloaking device at one point. Call this strike two.

And the last thing is the one I’m almost scared to get in to. The lack of women. There are the typical two women, the bad and the good as there are in most bond movies but thats all you get. And while they are both perfectly beautiful women they fail at bringing the sultry sexyness to a Bond movie that they have in the past. I mean even the intro didn’t feature a single female silhouette. While I’m prefectly happy with my amazing girl friend Kate I know other guys who rely on those superficial means of gratification will be greatly disappointed. And honestly so was I just because it did remove some kind of flare, grace or riskyness from the over all Bond experience. Call it strike three.

The movie got a PG-13 which I guess I’m not going to complain about but it got it because they removed all the risky things that makes Bond Bond. The only real redeeming factors of the movie are the amazing fight scenes and if you’re in to poker the crazy poker action. Luckily I’m easily drawn in to watching poker for some reason other wise I’d be ranting about how terrible this movie is.

I spent better part of the day Saturday putzing around wishing it was Sunday so I could get a hold of a Wii. To curb my appitite for it I picked up Rayman Raving Rabbids. As luck would have it I like sleep a lot and I slept right past the midnight release. So I spent a good part of the day on Sunday running around town looking for any place that might have one left. Unfortunately every place in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo/Cedar Falls was sold out. I did manage to score one off of e-bay that is being shipped next day and should show up tomorrow. Just in time for a get together with friends and the holidays. Wii is about to get worked.

If I dont manage to post again some time over thanksgiving I hope every one has a safe and happy holiday!