We Need Better Video Game Publishers

So you have these ignorant and insidiously-motivated top-down design requests that ruin a game. When the game tanks—invariably due to said top-down design requests—the publisher puts the blame on the developer who is often contractually bound to say nothing. The developer goes under and the publisher continues on unscathed, ready to do the same again to another studio.The problem with this setup is that it doesn’t get rid of those who screw up in publishing. It also ruins games, as well as developers, that would have been otherwise good or even great.

via We Need Better Video Game Publishers.

ViralRead » MIT Scientist Reveal the Visible in the Invisible (Video)

You know all those little microscopic movements your body is making constantly?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

But these guys at MIT do!  They’ve combined microscope and camera technology to show the little movements of the eye, the circulation of blood, and all the cool “rhythms of nature.”

via ViralRead » MIT Scientist Reveal the Visible in the Invisible (Video).

Darpa Wants to Rethink the Helicopter to Make It Go Way Faster | Danger Room | Wired.com

“What we’re interested in doing is flying much faster than we have been able to do with helicopters,” program manager Ashish Bagai told reporters on a conference call. Helos and other VTOL aircraft typically max out at 170 knots. Bagai wants the X-Plane to do 300. “We want to fly at improved efficiencies, both in hover and at forward flight,” he said, “and we want to demonstrate this is possible without sacrificing the ability to do useful work. And to do this concurrently is a very big challenge.”

It’s also not springing up from specific improvements in helicopter or other VTOL capability in the aerospace industry. Nor does it arise from any tech innovations Darpa sees on the horizon. “We have seen in the community a few isolated and novel approaches to addressing this problem but we’re in danger of suffering an attrition in our technology bases,” Bagai said. “This is an opportunity Darpa would like to put forth to advance the state of the art, well beyond where we are today.”

via Darpa Wants to Rethink the Helicopter to Make It Go Way Faster | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Lego Hotel: America’s First Legoland Hotel To Open In April (via HuffPo)

Mark Larson is a grown man who spends his days building Lego models. This may sound like indictment of his work ethic, but as a Lego Master Modeler employed by the Danish toy corporation it’s his job to pile tiny plastic blocks into improbably lifelike creatures. His current project: Sprucing up America’s first Lego hotel.

Legoland Hotel, modeled — not unlike other more luxurious domestic accommodations — on similar hotels in Europe, is due to open at Legoland on April 5. Larson’s job is to make sure that when it does, it is chockablock with toy sculptures, thousands and thousands of toy sculptures.

Building regulations being what they are, the hotel itself is not made of Lego bricks, but it is made to look like it is; much of the interior has been constructed from the building blocks. An entire cityscape of Legos surrounds the restaurant. A castle beckons children. Lego animals hide in the corners of the pirate-, adventure- and knight-themed rooms.

via Lego Hotel: America’s First Legoland Hotel To Open In April (PHOTOS).

Surprise TF2 Update!

Bless those handsome devils at Valve!  Looks like the Demoman is nerfed a little, and spies (I hate them so much!) and engies get a little boost.  Here are the official changes (I’ve bolded the ones I found interesting):

  • The Engineer’s teleporters can now be upgraded to level three. It will recharge faster the higher level it is
  • The Engineer’s dispensers can now be upgraded to level three. It will give out metal and heal faster as it is upgraded
  • Spies will be able to recharge their cloaking ability by picking up ammo off of the ground or from health cabinets
  • Some changes to the second part of the first stage of Goldrush to give the attackers more of an advantage
  • Any weapons that fire bullets (shotguns, sniper’s machine gun, heavy’s minigun, etc.) can now break apart the Demoman’s stickybombs
  • The icon on the HUD for a person calling for Medic will now give more information to the medic (if the target is low on health, on fire, etc.)
  • Added an achievement tracker that will allow people to choose specific achievements that they are trying to get
  • There is now a custom icon for death messages when the player was killed from a critical hit
  • Added a new particle effect for when a player enters the water
  • Added smoke to the feet of a rocket jumping soldier
  • Players will now have some particles swirling around them so other players can see when they are overhealed

Kudos to the guys at Valve for sneaking a nice little update in.

The Irony of the Open X Package Opener

P1010519 I was shopping on ThinkGeek the other day, and had some points to have this thrown in with my order.  Either that, or it was cheap enough that I thought I’d throw it in the cart.  Me no remember so good none. 

Anyhoo, everyone hates those crazy impossible packages, right?  Here’s where the IRONY attacks.

The device designed to save us from this terrible packaging comes in exactly the packaging it decries.  Looks like I’ll be using my poor teeth once more, like the lady seen here.

I See You…

It’s not a great picture, but I got a phone snap of a Google Street View car on the freeway the other day.  Nothing special, just thought I’d share.


Analog USB Gauges How-to

A clever blogger for diylife.com has posted a really nice how-to for adding analog gauges to your PC, including the needed USB hardware and some great advice for finding old gauges to work with.  If that’s something of interest to you, check out the full post for all the details.

Grammar for Bloggers: Possessive or Plural?

Today’s article comes from Autoblog.  Here’s the line that prompted a post:

The economy appears to be swooning, and before we land softly (or crash hard), company’s have begun to circle their wagons and reduce unnecessary spending.

Leaving aside the questionable sentence construction, let’s address the apostrophe problem in the word "company’s".  The correct plural of "company" is "companies".  You can, if you want, use an apostrophe to indicate plurals of letters or numbers: mind your p’s and q’s, x’s and o’s, crazy 8’s, and so forth.  That’s not a hard and fast rule, however; there’s some disagreement among the Masters of Grammar (such as they are). 

Grammar for Bloggers: "Line Up" vs. "Lineup"

Welcome to a snarky new series.  A beautiful thing about the advent of blogging is the availability of so many sources for getting news and information.  The trouble is, many of our friends in the blogosphere have some difficulty with the written language.  This can be a barrier to adoption for the snobbier sections of the community, so I’m here to help.  The goal is not to aggravate or annoy; I’m hoping to provide some tips that will be helpful.

Today’s example comes from Engadget: "Zealots lineup for Jobs’ keynote".  The word "lineup" is always a noun; it could define a company’s range of products, or a viewing gallery of suspects at the local precinct.  When used as a verb, the words "line" and "up" need to be separated.

The apostrophe at the end of "Jobs" is correct; you could get away with "Jobs’s" as well, but I agree with the poster here.  We’ll probably have to get into apostrophes at some point, but not today.