There is a new, more standard Bioshock Infinite trailer out today. What it lacks in the style of the last one, it makes up for in action and actual gameplay footage. I am very excited for this game. In other news, Grand Theft Auto V has been pushed back to September. This is apparently to allow for additional development time, which is always fine by me. Game delays are annoying, but never more annoying than a buggy or incomplete game. And, in the end, if a game is good, nobody remembers the wait, anyway. Meanwhile, the theoretical Warcraft movie now has a director. Which makes it a bit less theoretical than it used to be, I suppose. This is the kind of movie that I really never know how to feel about. There's certainly more than enough room in the Warcraft mythos for an excellent movie. But then, that's the rub--try to adapt the (admittedly middling) plots of any of the Warcraft games, and you likely won't get anywhere. Make your own story set in the Warcraft universe, and you could easily pull together a very good movie that feels like it belongs in the Warcraft universe. But which path will they take? Assuming this movie actually gets off the ground, anyway.
Today is the tenth anniversary of this blog. I've written a post for every single day since 2003, making for 3,653 posts. Assuming I put at least an hour into each one (probably a fairly accurate average), I've spent around 152 full days writing for this blog. On the whole, I've enjoyed it--I like having a soap box--remote though it may be. But I feel I've let things stagnate over the past couple of years. I no longer really have the desire to do the web development required to make the page remotely modern, and I haven't really had much success attempting to shake up my format, either. I considered moving to a non-daily format, but I fear my interest has waned to the point that my posts are almost entirely reliant on my very hard-headedly habitual ways--put holes in the schedule and I will eventually just start missing posts and finally trail off for good. I've always been proud of my punctuality, so I'd rather not have the site die in such a way. As such, the tenth anniversary seemed like the perfect time to go out on top. I'd like to thank all my readers, past and present for their interest--if you'd like, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tor has a great rundown of a massive battle that occurred in EvE Online over the weekend--supposedly the largest in the game's history, with over 2,800 ships involved. It's also worth noting that the real world value of the ships destroyed is in the thousands of dollars. Apparently, a mis-click sent the largest ship in the game hurtling into an ambush, which resulted in two of the largest alliances in the game to hurl everything they had into either saving or destroying said ship. Fascinating stuff. Elsewhere, ZDNet has an interesting rundown of Anonymous' Operation Last Resort, which took down several government websites over the past week, including turning one into a game of Asteroids. These attacks are in response to the recent suicide of hacktivist Aaron Swartz, and seem to have been pretty overwhelmingly successful thus far. Personally, I'd be pretty worried if I were Anonymous--a high profile attack on government sites like that is going to generate arrests--one way or the other. Meanwhile, check out this amazing collection of space shuttle launch videos with engineering commentary. It is 45 minutes well spent. The logistics of a space shot will never fail to impress the hell out of me.
Google Maps now features North Korea--the last almost totally unmapped country on the site. Apparently, this map was pulled together by users who combed through existing data. Sucker even shows where some of the larger prison camps are. It's almost laughable how relatively undeveloped the country is. And when you consider why, very sad. It's definitely one state I look forward to collapsing (though I really wonder how long it will take). In other news, Rockstar will do a science fiction Grand Theft Auto-ish game as soon as they have a story to tell in such a setting. I've long wished for a really good open-world sci fi game, imagine a game set in a Fifth Element-ish setting. Sadly, it does not sound like Rockstar is rushing to get it done. Ah well, a man can dream.
Last week a patent troll that was attempting to extort millions out of various online retailers with a patent that supposedly covered online shopping carts was struck down in court by Newegg.com's lawyers. It's so nice to read a feel-good story like that. Apparently, in addition to being a great online store, Newegg also refuses to settle with any and all patent trolls. Amazingly, this particular patent troll had even been successful extorting money from Amazon. In other news, the 3D re-releases of the Star Wars movies will not continue. This Disney takeover still feels pretty good to me. Also, this year's DICE Summit will feature a keynote headlined by Gabe Newell and J.J. Abrams. That's a bizarre but damned impressive combination. Meanwhile, check out this amazing Bioshock Infinite trailer--there's basically no gameplay footage, the entire thing is done in the form of an old educational video. And it is awesome.
It is now illegal to unlock a new smartphone. You could get up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine if you're caught hacking a device you purchased legally for the purposes of using said legally purchased device on a different carrier. I'd like to stretch this out a bit, but there's really nothing I can do with it--the government is limiting citizen's ability to do what they want with their property, despite that it really has no effect on anyone else. Again. In other news, Digitaltrends has noticed that PC gaming is not dying. True, there was a time even a couple years ago where people would go on at length about how the PC as a gaming platform was dying. These days, not so much. Fact of the matter is, the PC can compete with smartphones in the cheap, but satisfying game category in a way that consoles cannot. You can spent a few bucks on a smartphone you purchased for other reasons to buy Angry Birds just as easily as you can spent a few bucks on your PC you purchased for other reason to buy Plants vs. Zombies, or Super Hexagon, or any one of hundreds of older classic games. It isn't the entire reason, but it is part of why the PC is making a big comeback.
Scientists have managed to encode data onto DNA and then convert it back without any loss of accuracy. This is pretty nifty, because DNA stores data in quaternary (base 4) rather than binary, meaning you can get far more information in a smaller amount of space if you encode it in DNA. In other news, Blizzard has admitted that Diablo III needs to be a better game. Sadly, I don't see what they can really do to fix it at this point. I mean, nothing will fix the horrendous story short of a complete re-write. The gameplay is fun, but after a while, you find yourself with little reason to keep going. I think a lot of this has to do with the auction house--why farm for items when you will likely never find anything as perfectly itemized as what you can find on the auction house? The auction house works in World of Warcraft because the best gear cannot be put on the auction house, which is mostly used for materials for enchants or consumables. I really can't see Blizzard taking it out, considering how much they've invested in it (and how much money they hope to make out of it). I would also complain that not losing experience in higher difficulty levels (or indeed, death having any real significant downside other than repair costs) makes the late game less interesting, but I think the auction house issue supersedes it. Sadly, short of making a whole new game, I just don't see how Diablo III will ever be anything short of a fun, but very flawed disappointment.
To help develop the engines that will take NASA's Space Launch System to low Earth orbit and beyond, NASA is copying parts of the Saturn V's fabled F-1 engines and firing them off for the first time in decades. The F-1 engines remain the largest and most powerful liquid-fueled rocket engines ever flown. NASA scanned parts of F-1 engines in storage and in museums and produced a copy of the gas generator, which it has now test fired a couple of times in order to study exactly how it worked and how those techniques can be improved upon for the SLS. Just another example of how the Saturn V was (and still remains) completely awesome. In other news, despite the doom and gloom surrounded the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is reporting record revenue for the last quarter, with its most profitable division being the Windows Division. Granted, I doubt much of the money can be credited to Windows 8, but it's a pretty strong sign that Windows 8 will not be the death of Microsoft.
Despite previously saying he wouldn't, J.J. Abrams will direct the next Star Wars movie. This puts him in charge of the revitalization of both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. No one man should have such power. I generally like Abrams' stuff--he isn't my favorite by any stretch, but he's pretty solid. Honestly, his style is probably better suited for Star Wars than Star Trek, anyway--while I did really enjoy the most recent Star Trek movie, he was playing the sci fi way more loosely than I like to see in Star Trek. I'm curious to see where this goes. In other news, somebody made up fake next gen XBox specs and sent them to various gaming sites, claiming to be a source from within Microsoft. Perhaps unsurprisingly, pretty much all those sites published the information. So the question is, how much proof do you need to have before you post a rumor? I can't say that I don't occasionally (fairly often, actually) hide behind the word 'rumor'. I suppose ultimately it's a rather moot point--sites will post what gets them page views, and rumors accomplish that objective, regardless of their validity.
Nintendo unleashed a torrent of information today regarding their plans for the Wii U. Good timing, considering that up to this point there was very little solid to look forward to. It is no surprise that Nintendo is working on a new Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U, but it's still ages away, so in the meantime, they're coming out with an HD remake of The Wind Waker. You wouldn't be far off base to say that The Wind Waker is probably the Zelda game least in need of an HD remake, but the screenshots they showed did look pretty awesome. There's also a new Yoshi game in the style of Kirby's Epic Yarn on the way. That could be cool, my only worry is that the brief footage they showed basically just looked like Kirby's Epic Yarn but with Yoshi dropped on top of Kirby. There's also a Spring Update scheduled for the Wii U, which should improve the loading speed of various things. It will also feature the Wii U's Virtual Console. The bad news is that they're only launching with NES and Super Nintendo games, and just because you bought titles off the Wii's Virtual Console, doesn't mean you get them for the Wii U. The upside is save states, mappable controls, eventual Game Boy Advanced games, and discounted games if you bought them on the Wii (better than nothing, I suppose). All in all, it doesn't sound like a bad deal, but I hope we don't have to slog through NES and Super Nintendo titles which were previously released for a couple years before getting to newer stuff. In other news, check out the rumored Playstation 4 specs. Much like the next XBox specs, these aren't really super exciting. The only interesting bit is the possibility of a touchpad on the back of the controller (like the Vita), which could be worthwhile.
Check out the opening cinematic for Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. It might be worthwhile to note, however, that it involves a bit of a spoiler regarding the events of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. It would be awful hard not to involve that particular spoiler though. Anyway, the cinematic is completely awesome--basically just a giant Zerg versus Terran battle. I just hope Blizzard doesn't muck this one up--they've been on a bit of a downward slide recently. Moving right along, rumor has it that all previous Doctors will return for the 50th anniversary--including those that are dead thanks to clever editing. Frankly, I'm not really keen on the 'clever editing' bit, unless they have incredibly minor parts--considering the time-gap, I don't see anyway it won't be pretty obvious what's going on. As for Four through Seven, their age might be kind of a downer. That said, I'm still super excited about this (assuming, of course, it turns out to be true).
The specs of Microsoft's next XBox, codenamed Durango, have supposedly been leaked. Specs, of course, don't really mean a hell of a lot when it comes to game consoles, but there seem to be one or two worthwhile morsels hidden in there. There seems to be some sort of Kinect hardware built-in, the system will use Blu ray disks, and all versions will apparently have a hard drive. Granted, none of that is ground-breaking, but so it goes. In other news, check out this collection of everything we know about the next Super Smash Bros. It boils down to 'not a whole lot', but some of it is pretty interesting anyway. Elsewhere, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it's worth noting that the famous 'I have a dream' speech is under copyright and not available to be freely disseminated. If you want a full copy of it, you'll have to shell out cash, even if you're making a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement for PBS or whatever. Does that seem kind of fucked up to anybody else?
Check out this video editorial describing why the moon landings could not have been faked. In short, we simply did not have the technology to fake the moon landing videos in 1969. Not that we really need any more evidence that the landings happened. There is simply no way the Soviet Union would have let us get away with faking the landings--they even had a satellite around the moon at the same time as Apollo 11. Still, it's an interesting perspective on it--I'd never really considered the feasibility of the videos themselves, as opposed to the content. Meanwhile, Worcester State University has instituted a mandatory pedestrian fee to go along with their usual parking fee, so that they can charge it to everyone, regardless of their mode of transportation. Is it sad that such a thing doesn't really strike me as surprising? Colleges love their fees, after all. It feels like just a matter of time before we get a major financial crisis out of student loans.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is due out next month, so check out this boss trailer. I don't really expect Metal Gear Rising to feel like a true Metal Gear game, but it definitely seems to have the visual style down. This batch of bosses remind me of Metal Gear Solid 2's for reasons I can't quite pin down. At any rate, I'm still rather looking forward to the game. Moving right along, check out this joke book from 1739. It pretty cleanly drives home the fact that humor is fairly transient--what's funny one century is perplexing the next. Though I grant it would help if they'd learn better punctuation and sentence structure. In other news, recently a former FCC chairman admitted that internet service data caps are not about network congestion at all, but rather about making more money. No real surprise there. What really gets me about data caps, though, is that they never get increased. With all the advances in infrastructure and general data efficiency, data caps remain where they were since they were instituted.
The body-image scanners that have plagued airports for the past few years are due to be removed from all U.S. airports after the vendor could not produce slightly less revealing images. That's a surprisingly wise move from an organization not really known for doing anything particularly wise (granted, it would have been wiser to never use them in the first place). Still, nice to see the TSA is willing to get rid of enhanced security things on occasion--I was worried that once something was in, it was never coming out again. In other news, Intel thinks they can improve Steven Hawking's ability to communicate, which has fallen to around one word per minute. Intel has been behind Hawking's speech, which is controlled by cheek-twitching, since the 90's. Intel now thinks that they can expand the technology to incorporate other facial movements, hopefully increasing Hawking's speech enormously. Meanwhile, a Kickstarted project is about to launch that can take scrap plastic and turn it into filament for 3D printers. That could be pretty big for the sustainability of 3D printing--imagine deciding you don't need so many clothes hangers, turning them into filament, and then turning that into spoons or something. It's like a really early version of a replicator from Star Trek! Meanwhile, Google hates passwords and is working on getting rid of them. The major idea is some sort of authentication device (USB dongle or maybe just your smartphone) that can be registered with whatever service you want and used as a key. Cool idea, but it'll be a long while before such a thing is wide-spread.
Apple believes that apps are different than books or songs. You can write a book that basically just graphic descriptions of various sex acts, you can perform a song that glorifies murdering authority figures, and they have no problem with that and will throw it on the App Store. But an app that takes a stand on a political issue? Take your shit elsewhere. At first glance, a video game does seem somehow "worse" than a book about the same immoral subject, but is there any real good reason for that? Granted, it isn't like other stores don't pull the same shit, but so far, Apple is the only one I've seen outright demean the artistic integrity of applications. Moving right along, check out yet another really impressive sci fi short film; Noon. It feels extremely professional (probably because it was actually made by professionals)--I would absolutely watch a whole movie of this.
Curiosity is preparing to drill in to the Martian surface for the first time soon, as it seems currently surrounded by materials which could have only been created in the presence of water. The purpose of the drilling is to generate dust to be put through the rover's chemistry lab. Cool stuff. In other news, Valve will give a couple talks about virtual reality at this year's Game Developer's Conference. Specifically, one will regard the porting of Team Fortress 2 to virtual reality. Sounds pretty cool, but I remain leery about virtual reality, having lived through the Virtual Boy. Moving right along, some guy outsourced his telecommuting job to China. Actually, he outsourced several jobs to China. I find it interesting that outsourcing is a regularly accepted thing for companies, but when an individual does it, it's suddenly frowned upon. Meanwhile, for those few of your who jumped on the Windows 8 bandwagon early (or at all) Ars has a good run-down of the Start Menu mods for Windows 8.
NASA has awarded a contract to a company that specializes in inflatable space habitats. The details are not known at this time, but the company in question has designed modules that are triple the size of the ISS. They apparently planned to put up their own space station in 2015. Of course, it seems to me that these guys haven't actually put anything into space yet, so perhaps it is a little early to be getting excited, but the idea of a tripled ISS is pretty tantalizing. Moving right along, I opened up a tab for this short sci fi film this weekend, but didn't watch it until today. I feel shame. Amazingly, it was done by one 22-year old guy who is now headed to Hollywood. It is pretty awesome--I see some shades of Starcraft and Battlestar Galactica. Moving right along, this collection of emotions without English words is pretty interesting. "Viitsima" (the feeling of slight laziness, can't be bothered by anything, don't want to work nor go anywhere) is a terrible feeling, but it seems to crop up nearly every Sunday afternoon.
IBM's Watson (which made a name for itself on Jeopardy a few years back) continues to use its learning and adaptive language abilities to act as a diagnostic tool and to help medical researchers scours reams of information. In an effort to further improve its internet searching capabilities, its handlers pointed it to the Urban Dictionary in an attempt to expand its ability to understand slang. This had the hilarious side effect of causing it to say "bullshit" when responding to a query. The Urban Dictionary has since been purged from Watson's memory. I wonder how it feels about that? Elsewhere, Scientific America has an interesting editorial regarding the uselessness of nuclear weapons. It makes a pretty good argument--the U.S. can really bomb just about anybody into the Stone Age without nukes, so why bother? It's pretty well established that using nukes would be a bad idea in basically any situation (short of maybe blowing up asteroids, I guess?), so why continue to pay to keep them around?
Rice University has managed to create a new carbon nanotube fiber that conducts heat and electricity extremely well, while having the consistency of a textile fiber. While carbon nanotubes are generally extremely awesome, researchers have struggled to find a way to make their production on large scales viable. This is another good step in that direction. This particular blend could replace metal wiring in electronics, which is typically far thicker than it needs to be from an electrical conduction point of view due to its brittleness. Cool stuff, all around. In other news, new data out of NASA suggests that the Milky Way may contain 17 billion Earth-sized planets--one in around 17% of all star systems. Those sound like pretty damn good odds to me, though god knows how long it'll take us to actually get to any of them.
Some screenshots have surfaced which are supposedly from a long cancelled collaboration between Valve and Arkane (the developers of Dishonored) which was rumored to be titled Half-Life 2: Return to Ravenholm. This was not Half-Life 2: Episode Three. At any rate, it's impossible to tell if these are authentic, and it really doesn't matter too much even if they are--the project is long dead and there is no reason to think it will be resurrected. Still, those screenshots do make me feel a bit nostalgic and, of course, stoke my eternal desire for Half-Life 3. Elsewhere, scientist have found a rock that is 4.4 billion years old. Note that the Earth itself is thought to be 4.6 billion years old--this is the oldest rock we've ever found, and apparently tells quite a tale about the early Earth. Moving right along, I've decided that January 31st will be my last daily blog post on this site. It will mark a full decade of daily posts, and while I'm reasonably proud of what I've done here, I feel like the site has been pretty stagnant over the last few years and, generally speaking, I find more and more nights where I really don't feel like throwing something together just to maintain a habit. It's been a good run and I really appreciate anybody who is or has in the past taken the time to read what I've had to say.
Valve is removing several of their oldest hats from Team Fortress 2. This, in itself, isn't really worth posting, but when the news comes on Saxton Hale stationary, it's always worth checking out. I suppose it's somewhat interesting to wonder what this will do to the hat-conomy. In other news, having enjoyed great success ferrying supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, SpaceX will now be working on ferrying astronauts to the same place. This wouldn't be something that would get astronauts to Mars or even the moon, but it would be nice to quit having to hitch rides with the Russians. Surprisingly, they say they'll be ready to fire up a person by 2015, which is a far cry from NASA's usual mission estimates lately. Elsewhere, check out these things you didn't know about Doctor Who. Of course, in reality, if you're a fan you probably new several of these things, but some of them are likely to be new. Moving right along, the Penny Arcade Report has an interview with the guy behind a horror game that does not feature blood, gore, or guns. His reason for that involves a rather interesting tale about growing up as part of a circus side-show act. It's well worth a look.
It seems that I missed a new Pacific Rim trailer. It isn't significantly different, but you do get to see more people piloting giant robots. I, for one, am still super psyched for this movie. Also, this trailer for Wrong is about a dude searching for his lost dog and is just about the weirdest thing I've seen all week. I have absolutely no idea what this thing is supposed to be about. Moving right along, check out this fascinating look at top secret military hardware graveyards. Apparently, there are several places around the country (usually near military sites like Area 51) where the military has buried old top secret aircraft, simply because there was no other good way to dispose of them. The whole thing is pretty fascinating--if society and the government ever break down into anarchy, it would be fun to go out there and see what you could dig up. Elsewhere, check out the trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, from the developer behind The Witcher. Not a lot of details in it, but it does look pretty.
The Verge has a very interesting interview with Gabe Newell regarding the "Steam-box" and other Valve initiatives. He talks extensively about what they're trying to do with the "Steam-box" and how he wants more community-built stuff in Steam. Apparently, he is also more interested in biometrics than motion controls (whatever that'll wind up meaning) and creating a very high precision controller. I also enjoyed the part where he described Windows 8 as "this giant sadness". Relatedly, Engadget has a gallery of the "Steam-box" prototypes at CES. It is worth noting that the controllers are off-the-shelf, however. Also, now Valve is not planning on releasing any hardware in 2013. Valve-time remains in full effect. Elsewhere, have you seen this amazing Metal Gear Rex figure? Even at $500, I am still tempted. Also, check out some nifty CES gadgets. It seems fairly likely that we'll never actually see them in production, but they are pretty cool.
Xi3 has revealed the first 'Steam-box' prototype--a rather small, cube-ish PC with unannounced specs. According to Valve, this won't be the only piece of hardware they're bringing to CES and is likely one of many third-party devices that will be Steam-compatible. A Valve-developed box is supposedly still veiled in shadow, so when you get right down to it, this really isn't horribly interesting news after all. One of the things I'm still the most curious about is how much this sucker is going to cost. I rather think that's what could make or break it. In other news, HBO inked a deal to keep their content off Netflix for ten more years. I rather doubt this is a smart move on HBO's part. It seems to me that HBO has made their business based on having better quality shows than everybody else and making them expensive to get to. But these days everybody just pirates their stuff, and they've got pretty stiff competition in AMC, who actually does put their stuff on Netflix.
Interestingly, nVidia just unveiled a handheld gaming system--Project Shield, which looks like a flattened XBox 360 controller with a flip-top screen. It features nVidia's new Tegra 4 mobile processor and runs stock Android. In addition to Android games, it can apparently be used to wirelessly stream PC games--Steam's Big Picture Mode got a nod for this functionality. This is a pretty damn interesting move on nVidia's part. Is this the first real attempt to end the reign of Nintendo's handhelds and finally put Sony's out of their misery? Or is this more or less the 'PC' to traditional handheld's 'consoles'. Android/iOS gaming has certainly taken a bite out of the Vita and 3DS, but the 3DS remains profitable--it is unclear if Shield could somehow legitimize the Android platform, but if it does, I suspect the traditional handheld market may dry up. Of course, a lot of its successes depends on its price--and something tells me it will not be very cheap. Semi-relatedly, check out this editorial in which the death of consoles is discussed. It amuses me, because not but a few years back it was all doom-and-gloom regarding the oncoming death of PC gaming. How times change. Moving right along, Ars has an interesting chat with a Republican Staffer who released a controversial memo about copyright reform and possibly got fired for it. The whole thing is mildly interesting, but the part that grabbed my attention was near the bottom where he talked about how the SOPA backlash affected lawmakers. Apparently, he still hears lawmakers ask if any new internet legislation will be "the next SOPA". That's a damn good feeling.
Scientific America has an editorial on why touchscreens will not take over the desktop--basically taking aim at Microsoft's over indulgence towards touchscreens for Windows 8. He's right, of course, touchscreens do not make sense on the desktop, with their large monitors and... desks. I rather doubt, however, that Microsoft believes that touchscreens are going to be widely used for desktops--I rather think they believe that tablets are simply going to eclipse desktops, and they have no intention of going down with the ship. They may well be right on that--but desktops will not outright disappear anytime soon either--there is still work to be done, and so long as that is true, businesses and professional-types will need desktops with keyboards and mice. The question is: will Microsoft alienate the remaining desktop folk while not gaining significant marketshare in the tablet space. Elsewhere, check out this robot metal band.
GLaDOS' cameo in the Pacific Rim trailer was very much intentional. Apparently, del Toro is a big Portal fan and got permission from Valve to do it. It is worth noting, however, that they are using a different filter for the full movie--the full-on GLaDOS was for the trailer only. Too bad, but still cool. Also, Valve's 'Steam Box' will hit this year and run Linux. I suppose neither of those is a huge surprise, but it is interesting to realize that it will probably hit around the same time as the next XBox and Playstation. Also, running Linux will mean that the pool of games capable of running on it will be very limited compared to Steam-proper. It really is starting to sound like a full-on console. Does Valve really have the man-power to support such a thing? Will it come with a controller? Will they have launch games for it? Half-Life 3? So many questions, and as yet I don't see any need to buy one.
Ars Technica has a fascinating look at the current state of IPv6 adoption. Apparently, European ISPs are already having issues with running out of IPv4 addresses, and North America will start to suffer from the same problem early next year. While IPv6 is making great strides, it isn't moving nearly fast enough to stem the rapidly ebbing tide of IPv4. This wasn't exactly unforeseen, but unfortunately, there weren't very many ways to motivate people to jump on the IPv6 bandwagon early--it is costly and somewhat complicated and it runs the risk of disconnecting yourself from the greater internet. Granted, everybody will have to deal with it eventually, but there really wasn't any economical reason to jump in before you really have to. In other news, the venerable Fruit Roll-Up snack will no longer feature imagery of strawberries on the box, as the product does not contain strawberries of any sort. It seems that certain groups are unhappy with General Mills' labeling, claiming that it fools parents into thinking that this product (and Fruit by the Foot) are even moderately healthy. Interestingly, the 'fruit' part of the name gets to stay because pear concentrate is a major ingredient.
The New York Times has an interesting look at how anti-virus software sucks so bad. I've always thought it was rather telling that Norton and McAfee, for all their money, seem incapable of building software that keeps you measurably safer than a half dozen free alternatives (to say nothing about the bloatware both companies peddle). Sure, it's better to have anti-virus software than to go without, but you're still not protected from anything new or very clever for months or years after it appears. In other news, astronomers have snapped a picture of a new gas giant forming near a young star. Apparently, this answers a few questions as to how that process actually works. Elsewhere, this write up on following a mysterious puzzle across the internet is well worth a read. Apparently, it is still unclear who created the puzzle and for what exact purpose.
Zero Punctuation's top and bottom 5 of 2012 is worth a look. It further convinces me that I really need to check out The Walking Dead sometime soon. Also interesting to see Spec Ops: The Line get another bump--but I doubt I'll ever get around to that one. Elsewhere, check out these maps of the original Star Wars trilogy--basically laying out every character's path through the various locations of each movie. It is surprisingly concise. Furthermore, check out this fan-made live action Robotech trailer. The CG is a bit rough and there was a surprising lack of dozens of missiles converging on one target, but it's still pretty impressive. Maybe if Pacific Rim does well, this can become a reality.
It seems that Windows 8 is selling worse than Windows Vista did in the same timeframe (and, of course, leagues worse than Windows 7). I'm trying to decide if I'm surprised or not. Vista and 8 are similar in a lot of was--following up a very popular iteration of the brand, making significant changes to familiar UI elements. I suppose the biggest difference is that Vista was pretty much incompatible with the majority of software built for Windows XP, whereas Windows 8 is mostly compatible with Windows 7 software. On the other hand, the UI jump from XP to Vista is pretty tame compared to 7 to 8. And perhaps that's the crux of the issue--backwards compatibility is going to matter more to businesses, who generally are not going to jump on a new OS bandwagon early anyway. Meanwhile, ease-of-use is going to be a big deal for both enthusiasts and the average consumer looking for a new computer--basically the only two kinds of people likely to purchase Windows 8 at this point. The question is, does any of this matter? Vista didn't even come close to killing Microsoft, after all. The desktop space will remain Microsoft territory for the foreseeable future, the question is: will they break into the tablet space, or be shut out? In other news, Fez is coming to other platforms--which is awesome, because I really didn't feel like buying it on the XBox Live Marketplace.