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Geeky things I'm up to

Entries in this blog

Apple TV 4 games?

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/01/report-apple-tv-successor-with-revamped-os-coming-in-first-half-of-2014/   Reading the article this morning I had the question - could an Kinect device make it possible to play touchscreen style games on your home TV?   The problem is the two aren't equivalent. A touchscreen gives visual position feedback and an actual touch input. While a Kinect is a "zero button mouse". The list of existing Kinect games doesn't include ports of most popular touchscre

EricBall

EricBall

Apple TV 4 games?

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/01/report-apple-tv-successor-with-revamped-os-coming-in-first-half-of-2014/  

EricBall

EricBall

Minecraft PS3

Apparently the big game for early teens in Minecraft - at least according to my 13 year old son. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to partake in the game himself as we still haven't replaced the home computer (when will the Mac mini be upgraded to Haswell Apple, when?), nor can it be installed (even the "classic" version) on his Chromebook. But now the Xbox360 port has been ported to the PS3 - so I downloaded it as an early Christmas present.   We originally tried to play the demo (which se

EricBall

EricBall

Infinity Blade II

A few months ago a few iOS games were released for free on the AppStore, Infinity Blade II being one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough space on my iPhone 4S at the time to complete the download. But I recently unchecked the 2012 C3 panel recordings (to add the 2013 Pinball Expo panel recordings) and freed up enough space to complete the install.   Ghods it's a pretty game.   It looks like a AAA PS3 game. The environment is lush and detailed and the characters are graphically an

EricBall

EricBall

Future acquistions

I want to get an Acer C720 Chromebook for my son to use at school. (Supporting the school's BYOD & Google docs plans.) Sure the screen & keyboard aren't as nice as the new HP Chromebook 11, but the Haswell Celeron in the C720 will make for a far more pleasant user experience.   Unfortunately, the C720 isn't available in Canada. (It probably will be at some point, but there's no indication of when. It will also probably have a international keyboard, which is guaranteed to have quir

EricBall

EricBall

Grand Theft Auto V

As has been splashed all over the news, GTA5 sold $800M in the first 24 hours, the most of any game and far more than any movie. I'm sure than most of the approximately 13 million copies were pre-orders, so it remains to be seen how many more sales will happen over the next month (or however long the advertising blitz continues). But in any case I'm sure Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive are celebrating.   What amazes me is with just the first day sales, GTA5 is already near the top of the b

EricBall

EricBall

Nintendo 2DS announced

http://www.nintendo.com/3ds/new/   I guess Nintendo realized that most people play 3DS games with the 3D turned off, so they could sell a cheaper system without the 3D screen.   My son has a 3DS XL (currently playing through Mario & Luigi: Dream Team) and I admit we generally play with the 3D off. I'll turn it on and IMHO it does add to the games. But in most cases the "wow" doesn't offset the annoyance of having to keep everything steady and I'll turn it off again. However, I wonder

EricBall

EricBall

Star Wars - The Force Unleashed

In summary, the demo is better than the game.   Many moons ago I downloaded the free demo for my PS3. I played through that demo numerous times, searching for secrets, discovering combos, and finding new ways to wipe out hapless stormtroopers and rebel scum in efforts to achieve the frenzy bonus. So when I saw a kid selling it at a garage sale, I scooped it up (along with Prince of Persia). Now that I'm playing the actual game, I'm pining for the demo.   The one thing which is keeping me

EricBall

EricBall

Apple TV - the next console or a lost opportunity

I was recently looking at the Apple TV as a way to cheaply provide AirPlay in a second location and I wondered if there were games for it. Surprisingly there aren't any.   Sure there are rumors, suggestions, hopes & fears there may be in the future. But right now the Apple TV is simply a media extender - great for watching streamed movies, TV & music or duplicating your iPhone / iPod / iPad display. But there are no native apps - other than those developed in partnership with Apple.

EricBall

EricBall

Prince of Persia (2008)

I picked this up at a garage sale (not surprising as it's a single player, single story game). I haven't played any of the other modern PoP games, so I can't highlight the differences or similarities. I'm over half-way through the game and enjoying it.   The basic plot is you've teamed up with Princess Elika to defeat minions of the god of darkness and heal the land in order to prevent the god of darkness from returning after being locked up by his brother, the god of light (who is MIA), 100

EricBall

EricBall

Xbox One versus Playstation 4 launch titles

Assuming MS can bring down the price of the Xbox One to match the PS4 (likely by not including the Kinect as dropping the HMDI IN port & functionality would require new hardware - maybe for the slim version), gamers will be picking consoles this November/December based on brand loyalty and exclusive launch titles. (I expect there will be very little difference between consoles for non-exclusive titles.)   the Xbox One has the following exclusive games confirmed for 2013:   Dead Rising 3

EricBall

EricBall

Xbox One & used games pt2

Gaming sites are filled with rants regarding the Xbox One and Microsoft's decision to allow publishers to limit or restrict sales of used games.   I think Microsoft's biggest problem was not in the decision, but how they presented it. Imagine if they had presented it like:   The power of the Xbox One isn't just the boxes in your home! Xbox One games can use the power of Microsoft Azure via your broadband Internet connection to provide even more realism and deep game play.   And because

EricBall

EricBall

Xbox One & used games

It appears to me that MS going with the all-digital-download model for Xbox One games. Even if you buy the physical disc, the Xbox One treats it like a digital download - just copying the game from the disc rather than downloading over the network. No, MS hasn't said this explicitly but I think it's the best explanation for what they have said (in public statements and in leaked private statements).   Of course, everyone wants to know how this model will effect certain properties typical to

EricBall

EricBall

home theater audio

I've just ordered the Andrew Jones designed Pioneer 5.1 speaker package to go with the Yamaha RX-V573 receiver / amplifier I just bought.   Last week I visited a hifi dealer to do a receiver listening test. I concluded there were minor differences between the various (similar price & quality) receivers, but not significant compared to the expected differences caused by the speakers and the listening environment. So I went by features, specs & prices instead. The Yamaha had the featu

EricBall

EricBall

Home firewall idea

One advantage of IPv4 NAT is it makes a pretty effective inbound firewall. Unless the communication starts from inside the firewall (or is explictly opened via configuration or UPnP) packets from the outside (Internet) are dropped. But it does nothing for outbound communications. So once something gets inside the firewall, it can open connections to the outside world or open ports via UPnP.   The idea I have is to make the outbound communication dependent on DNS. So connecting 74.50.103.22

EricBall

EricBall

Next XBox will install all games to hard drive

from http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/20/xbox-durango-requires-all-games-to-be-installed   "Every Durango console will have a hard drive, although its exact capacity has not been chosen," reads help documentation in the Durango XDK. "It will be large enough, however, to hold a large number of games. All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported."   My question is why. I can't think of anything (anti-piracy or anti-resale) which would requ

EricBall

EricBall

pining for CableCard

It's too bad that CableCard never replaced set top boxes. I just hung a TV on the wall (32" which I can see while I do dishes) and now I need to figure out how to mount the cableco STB if I want to watch something more than basic cable.

EricBall

EricBall

Beyond HDTV monitors

With the house fire, I'm in the market for a new monitor - so I dropped in at my local Best Buy to get a feel for what is available. I felt like I was buying a Model T - I could have any size I wanted, as long as it was 1920x1080. I've since confirmed this via Newegg - there are a few 1920x1200 (all 24" 16:10 so I suspect they are the same panel) and a few 2560x1440 or x1600, but the majority are 1920x1080.   Now I understand the economics at work - HDTVs use the same panels and they don't n

EricBall

EricBall

Playstation 4 musings

So Sony has decided to partner with AMD to provide the processing power in the next Playstation console. They are sticking in a single chip eight x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" cores and a AMD next-generation Radeon™ based 1.84 TFLOPS graphics engine backed by 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The single chip "APU" will likely also include a dedicated video encoding & decoding processors.   My first question is whether 8GB of RAM will be enough (although that's a leap from the 512MB of the PS3 & XBox360) - and

EricBall

EricBall

no Chromium for me

Although I bought my Acer netbook as a temporary stopgap I've really grown to enjoy it (especially with the RAM & SSD upgrades). Sure it's not as fast as a Core based desktop and the screen can be a little small, but it's dang portable and seems to run forever on a full charge. Surprisingly, it's the keyboard layout which trips me up more than the reduced size.   Anyway... I had the thought of giving Chromium OS a try. So I downloaded the current Hexxeh Vanilla build, borrowed my wife's

EricBall

EricBall

TVs & DVDs

Yesterday I bought an LG 55LM6400 (pick it up Tuesday) for C$1300. It's a 55" passive 3D HDTV. Again I declined the extended warranty - hopefully I won't have reason to second-guess that decision again. My buying decision started with passive 3D (which also implies LCD - but I would have gone with LCD over PWM flicker plasma anyway) as the glasses are cheaper, don't require batteries & give a more stable image to boot. Yes, there is some loss of vertical resolution, but I read some semi-

EricBall

EricBall

Acer Aspire One upgrade

After the fire we bought an Acer Aspire One (D270) netbook to use while our laptops were being cleaned. It's biggest problem isn't the 10" 1024x600 screen or the correspondingly small keyboard but the 1GB of RAM. The Intel Atom N2600 isn't a speed demon either, but it's surprisingly adequate for basic web surfing. But once that RAM fills up the system slows to a crawl. So I'm looking at upgrading the RAM and replacing the hard drive with an SSD.   Although officially the system will only s

EricBall

EricBall

PS3 - Uncharted 3

The pack-in in my PS3 bundle was Uncharted 3, so I'm playing through it. (Probably much to my wife's annoyance as she would really rather I didn't play shooters.)   Playing through it is a good description as the game is linear. Sure, sometimes there are battle areas where you get a little more choice for directions to go, and there are short branches for "hidden treasure" (which doesn't seem to do anything from a gameplay perspective). But there's really no chance of getting truly lost - y

EricBall

EricBall

Wii U 4 me?

Back in August we had a house fire which destroyed much of the contents by heat & smoke, including my Wii & PS3. Insurance will replace both, but I'm debating whether I should replace the Wii with a Wii U or not.   Actually, the first question is whether to replace them at all. I mean, my free time is fairly limited, and we try to limit my son's game playing time. So why drop $$ on a console which doesn't get used?   The PS3 will get replaced because it's a decent Blu-Ray player (

EricBall

EricBall

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