Monday, July 25, 2011

I Just Downloaded Karen Kilgariff's New Record and You Should Too

You might remember Karen Kilgariff from the amazing Mr. Show, although she's also an award-winning comedy writer and has done a million other things. She just released a 5-song album called Behind You for $3, which you can preview right here. If you love it like I do, please click the link and buy the album for $3.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Game Developers are Turning the iPad into a Legitimate Gaming Console

“Hardcore” gamers like to eschew claims that mobile devices, particularly Apple’s iOS devices, are legitimate gaming platforms. What a lot of gamers don’t realize though, is that developers absolutely consider these devices gaming platforms, and they are working harder than ever to create content for these platforms that will be able to stand toe to toe with other platforms that gamers consider more “hardcore.”

IGN posted a video last week of EA’s FIFA developers showing off a version of the upcoming FIFA 12 for iPad. This year’s iteration of the game will allow players to use other iOS devices (iPhones and iPod Touches) as controllers for the iPad game. The video also demonstrated how the game looked on a big screen, using the iPad’s HDMI connector.

In other words, the devs demonstrated how they can turn the iPad into a traditional console via the software they are developing. This has already been done with other games and apps on a smaller scale. But, it’s easy to imagine that if FIFA 12 will have this capability, other EA games will end up having it too.

I’m not suggestion that my iPad/iPhone combo will replace my current consoles, but when you look at how consoles are trying to incorporate some of the best parts of mobile tech, and mobile tech is starting to provide console-type experiences, the lines between the two are starting to blur. Personally, I for one can’t wait to see more games with this functionality, because it pretty much means I’ll have a portable console made up of devices that I already carry around with me on a regular basis.

And that’s perhaps the most interesting thing about what’s happening right now with iOS devices and gaming. It’s like a spy movie, where the assassin gets past event security because he’s broken down his weapon into multiple pieces and then assembles it once he’s inside. Apple has basically snuck a new game console into iOS users homes piece by piece. First the iPod, then the iPhone, and finally the iPad. Then they bring them all together to form the console.

Crazy stuff, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming down the road. One thing’s for sure--I’ll be buying FIFA 12 on iPad on day one.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Google+ Offers a "Do-Over" for Facebook Users

Google’s latest attempt at a social network to rival Facebook is getting a ton of great buzz so far. Google+ invites are few and far between right now, as Google is slowly rolling the new service out. I’ve been dying for an invite, but have had no such luck yet. So, I’ve been reading everything I can get my eyes on about the features of the service, as well as the early feedback from the lucky users that have gotten in.

What I’ve gleaned so far, is that Google+ is a lot like Facebook, right down to the design of the user interface. There are difference of course, and the most glaring one right now seems to be the intuitiveness of the service, and the grouping system called “Circles.” The system allows you to separate your contacts into categories, and determine the level of information/content that you share with those groups of people. That to me is the single most exciting thing about Google+, as it gives me a chance to take what I’ve learned from using Facebook, and use that to create a brand new social network.

Think about it. How many of us wish we could go back to the beginning of our FaceBook days? Would you approach things differently? How many of us have blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives because we’ve “friended” everyone from general acquaintances to business clients, to our spouses? The biggest problem with Facebook for me right now is that I’ve reached a point of no return. It is what it is, and short of “de-friending” half of the people on my account, it’s hard to back out of what I’ve already done there. To be fair, Facebook does have ways to separate your friends into groups, but it’s not as intuitive as what Google is doing with Circles, and since I’ve never done it before, I would be going back through all of my current Facebook friends and trying to classify them, as opposed to doing it up front, as I’ll be able to with Google+.

Knowing what I know now, and seeing the potential of Google+, I am really excited to get another chance at setting up my social network from scratch. I don’t think I’m alone in that mindset, and I think that’s one of the factors creating so much excitement around Google+. I don’t think that people want another social network so much as they want a chance to start over.

What’s your take on Google+, and why are you excited (or ambivalent) about the new service?

P.S. Here’s a quick video about Circles: