Friday, 24 December 2004
For next year, though, I think portable gaming devices will be the ipods of 2005. With Nintendo DS already in the States, Sony's baby playstation, the PSP, out in Japan, and Europe's own Gizmondo heading to the States soon, all with 3d graphics and wireless capabilities, there will be plenty for consumers to choose from, and for prospecting developers to work on.
Speaking to friends and colleagues of similar age to me about computer games, they really fall into three camps: those who have always been gamers of one sort or another, be it rubics cubes or Halo 2 online, those who were (re)introduced to gaming by the playstation and are enjoying the party aspects of it and possibly the online aspect. Finally there are the skeptics, who see computer games as something to have grown out of, either because they are inadequate challenges to the intellect because they are just machines, or because their lives are too busy to spend playing games with/against a machine.
Let's face it, for years computer games, even more than computing itself, had been the refuge of the self-absorbed, or the social misfits, or simply the misunderstood gaming addicts. Then came online gaming, which transformed it into a truly competitive, social, teambuilding activity. Some games, like Grand Theft Auto, even made gaming cool. But not mainstream.
What these portable devices will bring is the power and splendor of modern online gaming: the amazing graphics and sound, the absorbing gameplay, and most importantly the person to person competition - it's virtually a sport in some countries - to the skeptics. It's LAN parties for non-nerds. Adhoc, interactive, challenging, social, and, most importantly, anywhere. There: my prediction of the truly global phenomenon of 2005.
Thursday, 23 December 2004
Oh, and one interesting quote from the comments under the article: The developer prototype for the next-gen XboX is an Apple G5 running a heavily-updated Windows NT:PPC, they're already in the wild. This may be why MS bought Connectix, makers of VirtualPC. Could this really be true??
Monday, 20 December 2004
From Lord Hoffmann’s remarks in the judgement by the House of Lords that the British government is wrong to detain foreign terrorist suspects indefinitely without trial:
This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. The Spanish people have not said that what happened in Madrid, hideous crime as it was, threatened the life of their nation. Their legendary pride would not allow it. Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community….
Such a power in any form is not compatible with our constitution. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.
Now here's an interesting dilemma for a leading edge company: to sue a leaker of secret designs, prior to their release, or to keep the profile low and downplay speculation? Well, since the company in question is Apple, we have high corporate self-protection and its usual distinct lack of shyness. So, they're sueing the unnamed person, leading to speculation that the previous speculation had some truth to it. So one of these design concepts for a flash-based iPod could be the real deal. We should know in January.
Saturday, 18 December 2004
"My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. Charting this progression of belief will be my task today. "
Friday, 17 December 2004
Slate: Who is going to take the blame?
Inman: I think we'd better stop there.
Slate: We can't go opining about certain members of the administration?
Inman: No, no. Not gonna do that.
Slate: And the administration has sealed most of their documents for years to come.
Inman: Yeah, the historians are going to have a field day in 30 or 40 years.
On a not dissimilar subject, I was intrigued by an article in Wired about the prospect of a visual google. Finally a practical use for those bloody camera phones!
Found this interesting site on my web wanderings today. Peter Cochrane is a proponent of some serious thoughtware, and it's fascinating to read not only his thoughts, but also about his personality and life. Picked up this poem from there too:-
With Clean Hands
O great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to the world, hear me!
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
The author is apparently an unknown native american indian. Nice, simple sentiment.
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
I'm still not sure whether to take Microsoft's PR as dangerously delusional about the state of the world and their position in it, or whether it's all some carefully calculated manipulation. It's all gone a bit Bush Administration...
Tuesday, 14 December 2004
Meanwhile the lumbering giant in Redmond enters the desktop fray (ZDNet UK News) with a bunch of pilfered ideas, and their usual marketing: it'll be embedded into all your apps (if they're all Microsoft) and it'll be faster (with appropriate minimum hardware spec), and the info is private because your webpages aren't cached, unlike with other products (which panders to populist privacy concerns because the other products don't share this info in any traceable way). So, once again, they are competing to further entrench their position, preying on users' FUD rather than innovating and taking a few interesting chances.
Monday, 13 December 2004
More fickle competition now: Yahoo! News - Sony takes on Nintendo in portable game console market with PSP - nice to see Nintendo getting some competition in the portable game marketplace, although I can't help wondering why Sony didn't do this years ago, or if they had good reason, why they're suddenly deciding to compete now. Will this be just another Sony niche product, or will it be a Walkman? Time will tell...
Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Next up: Security bugs take a bite out of Apple - except, unlike in PC land, only in theory. Has anyone targeted these systems? Are there any viruses or trojans out there that exploit these weaknesses? No! That's the smug delight of being a mac owner! I think I'd only ever use a PC now from behind the relatively less bothersome safely of a corporate firewall.
Monday, 6 December 2004
Isn't there a danger that such games blur the line with reality enough to entertain and beguile, but not enough to convey the horrors and the dangers? Fooling the head, but not the heart may create a worrying imbalance for tomorrow's soldiers. (See the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card for a fascinating study of this).
Interesting article on Voice over IP and how it is anticipated to affect the main players. Most notable is the speculation that 3G mobile telcos could suffer the most from it, especially if WiMax takes off.
Economist.com | In praise of P2P
Also, here's a classic Economist summary of P2P technologies. Best quote: 'P2P does away with the “popularity penalty” that makes desirable content difficult to obtain. With systems such as BitTorrent, the more a file is in demand, the more available it becomes.'
Economist.com | Plugging in, at last
And finally, Internet through the powerlines is actually looking feasible - with an interesting spin-off that the power companies will be able to use the data network to improve the reliability of their network.
It looks like convergence is finally on the way - a decade late, but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, and getting global infrastructures to change in a decade is still quite a remarkable feat.