Xbox360′s easily share content with Windows machines. It’s not surprising given their common creator.
Unfortunately 360′s don’t play well with Macs; it’s annoying.
A little application called Rivet can bridge the gap between a 360 & a Mac. It’s free to try, and $20 to buy.
Setup is simple, and I’ve found it works best for streaming video, but it can also stream music and photos.
The 360 doesn’t seem to want to play some of my music and movies, but otherwise it works well. Rivet isn’t a perfect solution, but it works fairly well.
Finally it works for PS3, but I haven’t tried it on a PS3.
Sony screwed up bad.
They screwed up really bad, but did they screw up enough to warrant federal legislation, and a class action lawsuit? I’m not so sure, but when something big, bad and newsworthy happens you can always count on an ambitious lawmaker to beg for attention, and for a small army of lawyers to get erections at the thought of filing a lawsuit.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have boycotted Sony for months because of their lawsuit against Geohotz, and their company policies that led to said suit. That being said, I still think the media, legislative, and legal frenzy surrounding this circus is a bit much. Here’s what you need to know:
What did the hackers steal?
They basically hijacked everything Sony had on the PlayStation Network. This includes:
- Birth dates
- Home addresses
- Password retrieval question answers (ex. “What’s your mother’s maiden name?”)
- And probably a slew of data about the games you play and things you’ve downloaded from the PlayStation Network
While the hackers did steal credit card information, all of that information is encrypted.
That means that the credit card data should be safe, and unusable.
I have a Playstation Network account, what should I do?
Most of the the stolen information is the kind of stuff that is uncoverable through thorough Google and Facebook stalking… except for the passwords.
If you have a PSN account, and you used the same password from your PSN account in other places, you need to start changing your passwords.
Typically web services that require a password protect that password by passing the text through something called a hashing algorithm before storing them. Hashing turns your password into a unique string of characters, and the process cannot be reversed. Sony failed to hash their users passwords, leaving them vulnerable.
What Sony did was boldly stupid. I can’t even begin to imagine how a tech company to stored millions of customer passwords unhashed, but they did it… And that may warrant a lawsuit.
A PlayStation is a computer, so you still need to practice safe computing while you’re on it. Change your passwords, and while you’re at it, don’t use the same one over and over again.
The marketing departments for movie studios, television manufacturers, and James Cameron are completely committed to making in-home 3D ubiquitous.
I’ve tackled this issue before in my past post, “3D TV Life Color Photography?” Today I’m going to expand on my argument (probably for the last time).
In addition to the glasses being a total pain in the ass, there are some other issues with 3D that have yet to play out.
According to The Eyecare Trust, as many as 12% of us can’t accurately see 3D:
“3-D technology relies on our eyes’ ability to work together as a co-ordinated team to achieve an accurate perception of depth.
However, more than one in ten of us (12%) has a visual impairment that means our brains are unable to correctly process the individual images that are transmitted to it via our left and right eyes.”
This means that the odds are good that someone in your family can’t enjoy 3D with you.
Eye Strain, Eye Fatigue, & Nausea
Here’s a few paragraphs from the Sony Playstation Terms of Service. It’s actually easy to read, and each paragraph contains a gem:
17. 3D DEVICE USE NOTICE
Some people may experience discomfort (such as eye strain, eye fatigue or nausea) while watching 3D video images or playing stereoscopic 3D games on 3D televisions. If you experience such discomfort, you should immediately discontinue use of your television until the discomfort subsides.
SCEA recommends that all viewers take regular breaks while watching 3D video or playing stereoscopic 3D games. The length and frequency of necessary breaks may vary from person to person. Please take breaks that are long enough to allow any feelings of discomfort to subside. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.
The vision of young children (especially those under six years old) is still under development. SCEA recommends that you consult your doctor (such as a pediatrician or eye doctor) before allowing young children to watch 3D video images or play stereoscopic 3D games. Adults should supervise young children to ensure they follow the recommendations listed above.
Basically they are saying that you can’t binge consume 3D TV. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but that won’t fly in the good ole US of A.
Avatar sold a lot of 3D tickets. It wasn’t shocking because James Cameron movies always sells tickets, and Avatar was the first 3D movie that “did 3D right.” To expect the same level of interest in 3D to continue is crazy, and as you can see, the interest is dropping.
There are a lot of movies coming out this year that will be released in 3D, yet I will choose to see them in 2D because:
- It costs less
- My girlfriend gets sick in 3D movies
- I find watching 3D difficult (why should I work at something that is supposed to be passive?)
- I see no added benefit
All I ask for from my movies are compelling characters, an interesting plot, and female characters who aren’t hollow (except for my bi-annual trips to see mindless action flicks). Cool effects are a nice bonus, but they don’t magically make bad dialog good, or improve upon a dumb plot.
3D may get rammed down our throats, but I think people will become more resistant to 3D content than the marketers seem to think.
I wrote a bit about 3D Dot Game Heroes last week.
Completing the game has not changed my opinion. It’s a great, and you should play it.
What I want to take a closer look at are some of the little details that make 3D Dot Game Heroes so awesome.
There are a number of design elements that make the game feel decidedly retro, and it’s not just the pixel graphics, and quasi-8-bit sound.
The Instruction Manuel
Crack open the case and you will see an instruction manual. However this is no ordinary manual, it’s really poorly written. It’s missing so many things, and some of the items that it does contain are explained poorly. Consequently, the book isn’t very useful.
This can’t be an error, because modern games don’t need to come with instruction booklets, and in the event that they do, they are well-written.
Back in the day, instruction manuals were rarely useful because they were incompetently written, poorly translated, or both. Just like this one.
The Blue Dragon
The Blue Dragon is a powerful foe who randomly shows up without warning, and kills you unless you are either souped up and/or very good.
Random over-powered enemies who unpredictably drop in to kill you is so retro.
In the time it took me to beat the game, I only encounter the Blue Dragon three times.
- Within the first 10 minutes of the game. He killed me before I had any clue what he was.
- Before I entered the sixth temple. I beat him.
- At the end of the game as I was about to enter the Dark Tower he dropped by. I slaughtered the blue bastard.
Color Pallet Shifts
Early video games needed to conserve memory. As a result, developers would reuse character models, and just change the color pallet to signify that the enemy was more powerful.
As you progress through 3D Dot Game Heroes, the enemies stay the same, but their color pallets shifts as they get harder.
At certain points, the game even makes fun of this fact.
Insane & Horrible Dialogue
The dialogue is so poor, campy, and deliberately bad that it is hilarious. Characters make inane and nonsensical demands of the hero, as well as send you on quests that don’t make a lick of sense. Just like so many other games from my youth.
Under almost any circumstances, these traits would constitute a horrible game. However, 3D Dot Game Heroes is to The Legend of Zelda as Space Balls is to Star Wars. It’s a parody, and it’s a brilliant one.
Ever notice how expensive HDMI cables, or just about any other cable is in a major retail chain are?
They price-gouge the hell out of cables, and it’s wrong.
These expensive Monster Cables do not give you a better digital signal, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar (more on the truth about these cables in a moment).
These retails take advantage of a few things to squeeze more money out of you wallet before you go home to enjoy your new device:
- Misinformation & misunderstanding – They say these cables are better, and consumers don’t know any better
- Nothing else available – Some stores don’t carry anything but Monster Cables, so if you want to use your new TV today, you need to cough up some more cash (or they keep the cheap ones out of sight… kind of like the Kennedy’s did with Rosemary)
- Price = Value – This is often true, but it isn’t an absolute… When you buy Monster, you are paying for a pretty cable and a brand name
So, here’s an infographic from The Rip that breaks down the facts and fictions of cables:
Don’t get sucked into buying unnecessarily expensive cables. Buy your cables from MonoPrice, it’s the place where every self-respecting geek buys their cables (and I have absolutely no affiliation with them, it’s the truth).
3D Dot Game Heroes is a brand new game on PS3 that pays homage to The Legend of Zelda and other NES era action-adventure/ RPG titles… But mostly it pays homage to The Legend of Zelda.
It’s a top-down action-adventure game with essentially the same plot, abilities, weapons, and map layout as the original Zelda, but it’s in 3D (The Kingdom of Dotnia became 3D after a decree from the King; he felt it would “lift the spirits” of his people).
Basically, it’s retro gaming at it’s finest. It doesn’t shy away from the source material at all, and the game makes a lot of fun of itself, and 1980′s video games.
When you talk to villagers, they say random stuff that frequently doesn’t make any sense, things are deliberately translated poorly, and the story is held together with Scotch Tape… And that’s half of what makes the game so great. The other half is the sword-play and puzzles. None of the puzzles have been brain-busters, but they are fun.
You can fully customize your characters, the swords are absurdly large, and some of the special weapons you can find are insane (like the fish sword).
3D Dot Game Heroes is a brilliant parody.
I’m about two-thirds through, but I already love everything about this game. At $40.00, it’s a steal.
A few people have emailed in with questions regarding 3D televisions. My advice is to wait.
3D televisions are new, and therefore they are expensive.
If you decide to go 3D on the cheap, it will still cost something in the neighborhood of $2,000.
You will need:
- 3D television: $1,600 (for a crappy one) – $4,000
- IR emitter: $100 (if you went with a cheap TV, you will need one of these)
- Glasses: $100 a pair
- 3D Blu-ray player (you need a special one too, PS3 will receive an update in a few months that will make 3D capable)
Give it a year or two, and the price will fall, while the quality will rise. Even if you buy a great 3D TV today, it will most likely be junk in two years.
Lastly, there isn’t much 3D content yet. Avatar and Up are pretty much the extent of solid 3D TV at the moment. Unless you are a rabid Avatar fanboy, I can assure you that you will be happier if you wait.