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Tetsuo Time

Art, Life and General Geekery!

January 21st, 2015

Windows 10 Stuff...

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david tennent

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Imagine Bill Gates with a trench coat in a back alley saying.. Hey.. Psst.. pal.. want some Windows 10? The first one is free... Then opens up one side of his trench coat and it's lined with blue thumb drives with white windows logos attached to keychains in rows... XD

My thoughts on the recent Xbox errr.. I mean... Windows 10 stuff..

Much of it I could take or leave.. as it doesn't really blow my skirt up either way.

The UI on there is pretty meh.. the theme looks downright ugly to me still.. like regressing to Windows 1.0.. and I would probably replace it anyhow with third party theming software. I don't like the start menu how it has random photos from ads and news articles in it.

I don't like snapping window functions and prefer totally manual window managing. I don't like windows doing their own thing when I approach edges with them. I tend to quickly shut that kind of stuff off.

I'm glad Windows is finally getting a native virtual desktop manager like other operating systems have had for some time now. I just hope they swipe at least one more feature from OS X and that's having full screen apps create and close their own desktops.

Fable Legends might be cool but it's not really on my radar here.

I wonder where is the wireless adaptor for the Xbox One controllers for personal computer? I'm not upgrading from my custom X360 controller until this happens.
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1) Xbox One streaming:
Before I start and to head off any confusion I'm aware that this is local streaming from an Xbox one already owns in their house.

Do not want... I'm not a proponent for game streaming outside of "let's play" type scenarios.

Some people prefer physical copies of all their games rather than having their install discs in the cloud like with steam or GoG. I didn't have as much of a problem with that because at least those games could be downloaded locally to your hard drive and played even without an internet connection. Yes, even with Steam..

I draw the line at "cloud gaming" where the game is totally remote and all you are doing is streaming the rendered video and piping controls over internet connection. Streaming is fine for videos (movies, TV shows)... However..

Many of us don't have great internet connections and don't want additional latency beyond what's already produced by our hardware. We buy nice hardware to be able to run games at its fullest potential rather than the homogenized settings streaming would provide.

Not to mention Personal Computer gamers like and want mods.

If I bought an Xbox One I'd have the hardware in my hand at which point I may as well hook it up directly to an adaptor to my monitor and play it that way. But I don't want a console.. so there goes that idea.

I also don't care for the idea of having a big great system with a big great monitor and great sound and then spending all my time streaming my local games to a tiny tablet or handheld all the time. I don't need a screen glued to my face in every square inch of my house.

The only usage case I can think of where I might consider it is if I had an internet connection fast enough and I where traveling and I wanted to access my steam library at home from a notebook. But the latency might kill that for me and I'd still want games loaded directly onto that notebook.

What I would dislike is let's say I would say "I'd like to see game XYZ come to PC (& other operating systems, I don't discriminate)". For someone to say "JUST GET AN XBOX ONE AND STREAM IT TO WINDOWS 10!"
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Getting to the REAL big deal in Windows 10 at least for me....

2) DirectX12:
Great stuff. Less power consumption and greater performance than previous APIs? How can one say no to that? This is the future of PC Gaming folks.

Sadly, it also cements Windows lead on other operating systems in the performance arena. Unless AMD can somehow pull a rabbit out of their hat bringing MANTLE to Linux, OS X, and Nvidia as well as the currently supported AMD+Windows.

We don't know if\when the next gen "OpenGL Next" will materialize and what platforms it'll be supported on or vice versa will support it. Hell, support for the most recent version of OpenGL at time of writing is not across the board across all platforms and subsystems like MESA.

Apple has Metal but all indications seems that it's tied to their ARM processors and and as far as I'm concerned OS X users would have to give up much transitioning to that on the Mac in order to get Metal. Like you know.... boot camp, most of their game library except for new ports or patched games.. etc.

Unless what this person says is true "Metal is based on LLVM. It is built upon learning from OpenCL.
It can easily transfer to Intel GPU within seconds.
It uses C++11 and shading language."

But then again people in comments sections tend to trivialize cross platform matters. Like saying... when doing a processor transition all one needs to do is recompile their app and it'll automagically work.

There is also OpenGL's AZDO (almost zero driver overhead) techniques but I'm unclear as to whether it requires the latest available OpenGL and so far I only know of one game that has an option to use it. That is Tux Kart... which doesn't even seem to really need it.

Either way sadly at this point I feel better about Windows future in terms of graphics performance and perhaps compatibility than any other platform.

January 14th, 2015

Solar Powered Lucky Cat.

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Kitteh, Clockwork Orange

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Received a solar powered lucky cat figure. All one has to do is either put it in bright enough light or insert one AAA battery in the base at the bottom.

What I'm more surprised about is how quiet the motor for the waving paw is. It's totally silent but you can tell it's motorized because it doesn't move at all on its own without either a battery or direct light hitting the solar panel... but when it is.. it keeps on going.

Also, it only moves its paw when you leave it alone on a surface for a bit. If you pick it up especially if it's not level it doesn't.

(no subject)

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Lady Kinnikume EX Figure

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Another game related thing. Upon hearing the news that a new feature that's going to be in Batman Arkham Knight. That feature being the music is going to be mastered in full multichannel surround sound as opposed to the just stereo music tracks previous Arkham games like Arkham Asylum had.

Well, I went ahead and started a new game of Arkham Asylum so I can re-examine the surround sound support in it with that in mind. The short answer is yes.. it's true.. The music in that game is just plain stereo.

However, it's not as noticable as in games like Wolfenstein '09, where it's a little more obvious that the music is just plain stereo being played back from the front pair. This is because Rocksteady seems to have made it so that the music is also played in the side\rear channels at a much reduced volume and delayed a little so it's sort of like reverb'ed. The way they did it is very subtle too. Since the music is louder in the front it can be hard to tell if it's playing in the rear unless you put your ear closer to a surround speaker.

It is more noticeable to me now that it's been pointed out though. tongue emoticon During the FMV cut scenes the music is louder in the rear but the on screen voices don't go to the center channel as during in-game cut scenes. So it's mostly noticable during the FMVs.

Anyway, I hope for Arkham Knight they are mastering the sound in full 7.1 which'll be future proof for even Dolby ATMOS because that starts off with a 7.1 bed and just adds additional speakers on top of that (2-4 on the ceiling to be specific) in which sounds get routed to them in real time via metadata.

They could then reverb the music up to the ceiling if they wanted to for a little more immersiveness.


The latest MKX trailer shows the returns of Kitana and Kung Lao. Screenshots don't do them justice..

Also, Kitana was already 2000 years old when she was introduced in MK2 so... ~30 years in the storyline probably wouldn't change her much. However, I don't know if it's just me but she appears to be even younger here than in MK9.

Either way all the characters moves are pretty cool and their fatalities bring the shock factor back. I don't remember having the same kind of visceral reaction since even the first two games in the arcade when the concept of a fatality was brand new.

If they directly translated these fatalities to a movie it'd probably be a hard R rated horror movie especially if many of them are included.

Goro at the end of this trailer looks pretty rad. As Maximillian Dood said in his reaction video this is probably the best looking Goro there is. On the other hand... the original Goro in MK1 was impressive back in the day.. I wondered.. How the hell am I ever going to beat this? When I first saw the "Goro Lives" splash screen in the first game.

January 5th, 2015

Some people are downright superstitious when it comes to the idea of this product. Saying off the cuff remarks like it'll cause cancer or sterility. However, what they don't realize is it works the same way as WiFi does and we're bombarded with all kinds of RF and other types of "radiation" daily especially now that we have the aforementioned WiFi, Bluetooth, proprietary RF, cell phones, broadcast TV and radio, the list goes on and on.

Most animal and laboratory studies have found no evidence of an increased risk of cancer with exposure to RF radiation. They've also studied people who during the course of their work are exposed to higher than usual amounts of RF and found no evidence there either.

Then again there are people who are afraid of cell phone towers and claim.. usually anecdotally that someone they know got cancer from one. There was a group of people at my local community college making a documentary about how they believe an individual in a local community got it because they recently installed a cell phone tower in her neighborhood. Not too long ago I heard of some people in my town that where trying to block the roll out of WiFi in our town because they where phobic to it.

If you try to challenge any of those people's beliefs they'd defend it from an emotional standpoint with ad hominem arguments. It's probably because many people come at the topic of "radiation" from a standpoint of belief rather than science.

Some types of radiation ARE harmful such as X-Rays which is why they try to limit your exposure as much as they can. However, not all radiation is the same nor does it produce the same effects. Otherwise many of the products we use daily wouldn't be viable for the market.

Also, some people are more susceptible than others to things like cancer but that doesn't mean one can make a blanket statement about what causes it in them if they even know what it is. Often times even now the professionals are making the best educated guess they can.

But radiation of any kind is always a convenient scapegoat... but you have to realize is that even LIGHT is radiation. But being put under any kind of light wont automatically cause you skin cancer. It takes certain kinds of light in certain amounts or a certain duration of exposure to it.

http://www.cancer.org/…/radiatione…/radiofrequency-radiation
http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/05/energous-wattup-wireless-charging-demo/?ncid=rss_truncated

January 4th, 2015

It's so easy to dwell on what one doesn't yet have now in 2015 that it's easy to forget all the stuff that is available even for the average person that would have seemed futuristic in 1984! Here's my personal list of stuff I personally have...

1) Flat panel screens with 4x to 8x the size and above resolution than my bulky little 12 inch TVs from the 80's. Screens that allow us to watch movies in qualities approaching or even exceeding the original quality.

2) Computers with enough power to be both TV, game system as well as content creation and many other things one could only dream of in the 80's. Even 5.1 surround sound in the home would have seemed futuristic back then much less 7.1 or ATMOS especially considering the best one could do is hook up a 2 speaker stereo to listen to for example... Tandy sound card sound music... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2A8GbsKcYQ

The ability to watch videos on demand over the internet... of any kind would have seemed futuristic back then. Hell, back in the 90's even Multimedia computers where barely starting and they could barely even handle standard definition much less the type of HD videos we routinely stream over the internet today!

*Thin notebooks.. even not so thin notebooks would have seemed futuristic back in the time BTTF was released much less tablets.

*The social networks we have now with their fidelity of photos, graphics, fonts, etc. would have seemed futuristic to many of us back then since the best we could do is old terminal font walls of text in "hacker green" with ascii art or teeny tiny bitmaps if we where lucky.

3) RF remote controlled controlled lights and heating, in addition to wireless computer and gaming peripherals.. Back in the 80's many of us where barely getting into remote controlled TVs and VCRs... much less anything else. I have a bunch of wall warts where I have all my LED lights in my room hooked up so for example when I go to bed I just lay down and pick up the light switch remote and turn off all my lights by pressing buttons one through three.

There are even fancier kits where the remote stuff is built into the outlet or light switch and can be controlled via smart phone. I don't have a smart phone so I go more for standalone systems.

As far as gaming goes the best I could find in the 80's was an IR (infrared) NES controller from Acclaim but it didn't work so well because for starters it required direct line of sight and any deviation from that made the controller not work. Infrared works well for stuff like Apple Remotes and TV remotes but not gaming peripherals so much.

* I have to mention smart phones even though I don't have one... back when cell phones where dumb bricks few probably would guess that they would eventually become more powerful than even the best computers of the time.

* On the other hand 3D movies aren't that much of a futuristic thing because polarized 3D had been done before going back to the 1890's.

4) Well sculpted and accurate toys such as the ones from NECA, Hot Toys, etc. would have seemed futuristic to my 80's self because we didn't have such great likenesses in toys back then. I would have killed to have the collection I have now. And now we even have the choice of getting retro style figures of properties no one would have dared touch back then as well such as Pulp Fiction.

5) To be honest I think LED light bulbs and compact florescent bulbs that work on standard sockets would have seemed futuristic to us back then because pretty much all we had available to us where either energy guzzling incandescent bulbs which turn most of the energy put into them into heat or long tube florescent tubes with terrible white color temperature.

And those are the things I can think of off the top of my head and that I personally have. There are probably kitchen gadgets and other lifestyle stuff that I neglected to mention. Although I believe the kitchen space has progressed slower than the living room\bedroom space. I'd love to hear about kitchen and bathroom stuff that we have now that would have seemed futuristic 30+ years ago.

December 30th, 2014

I've complained about bad internet commentors before. But I wanted to make a post talking about how I don't just sit here and do nothing. Here's a sort of list not necessarily in this order of things that I try to do when it comes to commenting or internet interaction. First I'll have to admit that I'm not perfect and that I've made some missteps even recently.. However, here's my guidelines:

1) Try to make insightful, humorous comments that are not inflammatory or trolling. Even if the latter gets one more attention. Some internet people are just plain mean and are out to get a rise out of people because they enjoy it. I'm not one of those people.

2) Try not to interact with people who don't want to hear what I have to say. Sometimes it might be hard to know this but given the content of what they are saying sometimes one can deduce. Or if they know the person and have had experience with them before.

Those are the two main guidelines. But other things I have been trying to do is..

1) If I'm not sure about a word I am going to use I either look up the word or I don't use it. It avoids the "You keep using that word but I don't think it means what you think it means" sort of thing.

2) I use smilies wherever appropriate so that certain things I might say that are tongue in cheek might not be taken as seriously as if I left those out. It's easy to have misunderstanding on the internet without body language or tone of voice. That's not perfect as people tend to read stuff from the framework of how they are feeling at the moment and how they perceive you but it's better than nothing.

Sometimes if you say something that someone else completely disagrees with from then on out it casts doubt on every single thing you say to them from then on which is unfortunate. There are certain people who wont communicate with me any more and I feel I probably stuck my foot in my mouth for them at one point or another. I totally own up to that.

I'm sure others might be able to come up with other good internet communications guidelines that someone can apply to their internet life to make it better for themselves and others and I'd like to hear them.

December 29th, 2014

90's and Now....

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MotokoWhite

This video is probably just a commercial\trailer for something. However I like it and want to comment.

I was a teenager in the 90's. However, contrary to all those who wax nostalgic for it I wouldn't go back because I actually prefer the stuff I have now compared to what I had back then. I would have killed back then to have what I have now. I think there's something to be said for being able to appreciate the here and now rather than always having rose tinted glasses for the past.

I just don't care much for when people irrationally assert that everything was better in the past. Particularly technologically... no.. VHS tapes where NOT the pinnacle of video technology!

I could say blu-ray and streaming are the pinnacle but in 10-20 years they might look as antiquated as VHS tapes look now.

On the other hand at this point it does seem to me that streaming is more the future than physical media. Especially once newer more efficient codecs and sound standards happen in that space and the internet infrastructure in the US in particular catches up. Much to some's chagrin.

That being said I liked this video because it's interesting to me to compare and contrast the things people do now to what they did in the past. It'd be cool if we all could have a video like this that shows us similar things from now and decade ZYX.

Like for example in the 90's I used to play either a clunky PC with a 14 inch CRT using a clunky keyboard and mouse for the vast majority my PC games. I also used to play SNES on a big 27 inch TV in a bulky wooden cabinet with 4 channel (Left, Center, Right and one surround channel on two side speakers) Dolby Surround... Which I also used to watch movies.

Everything was wired as opposed to virtually everything being wireless except where it doesn't make sense like my speakers. My system right now is like a combination of the best of both the systems I used in the 90's with some additional upgrades thrown in.

I used to fantasize about how good movies would look without all the notorious color bleeding NTSC had at the time and with higher resolution.

On the social side in the 90's I had more real life friends but not many. Now it's sort of the same except for me having friends in social media instead of in person and still not having many.

I used to IM people more in the late 90s and I probably was more open to meeting new friends online at the time. I was pretty naive as to how people where when I first started using IM with ICQ and AIM. Also, there weren't very many if any bots clogging up certain IM services making me doubt if real people are sending me friend requests. Especially since... being someone who never had many friends growing up and rarely dated I didn't have a lot of social experience to be frank.

The decor in my room was a lot more plain back in the 90's with mostly white walls and paper posters instead of what I have now. My parents used to choose for me much of my furniture and I used to have a mish mash of cheap faux antique... and very few accent lights.

As opposed to the painted walls I have now (yellow) and most of the furniture I've chosen is now for myself and I've been upgrading migrating to more modern design and furnishings with nice accent lights where appropriate.

Although it could be argued that my room is more visually cluttered right now than in the 90's.

As for what I would have done differently back then I'm not sure what I could have done differently. I kind of feel like in order to do so I would have had to have been a different person entirely... or be the person I am today.

September 25th, 2014

Well, Transgaming has finally released their Metal Gear Rising Mac 'port' today using their cider wrapping technology. Here are my thoughts so far.
1)Performance & Graphics: Doesn't seem too bad but I actually think the previous version I played was a tad faster. The graphics still look as good as ever though. I mean the performance isn't bad per say but perhaps it'll get better in future versions of OS X such as Yosemite.
Speaking of graphics previously I used to use FXAA Tool to inject FXAA into the game but now the wrapper has bugs with it causing what seems like z-ordering problems... so models such as the player model don't appear unless they are behind something... or something like that.
I ended up removing FXAA Tool and switching to 2xMSAA instead. I might try SweetFX later to see if that fares better. That injector works great for me in mainline Wine.
2)Controls: Kind of took a step back from where it was previously. I used to get the proper X360 gamepad prompts to match the controller I use on screen. Now I just get the generic PC Gamepad numbered button prompts on screen... and they never got around to implementing rumble with the wireless x360 pad I use (with tattiebogle drivers).
3)Sound: Cider has full surround sound finally. I played Metal Gear Rising in 5.1 surround sound today. It works almost perfectly. Except for during the cinematics.
The dialog there gets split amongst the front left and right speakers when it should be coming from the center. I sort of have a theory about that though. It could be that the game isn't specifying where those sounds should go so it's just defaulting to playing them back stereo so thusly they come from the front left and right.
Some games have got this right like Alan Wake and for the most part the Batman Arkham games. I'm not sure whether to blame the game APIs or the sound designer\engineer of the game or the porting process however.
At any rate it's great that Transgaming is catching up to native porting efforts and mainline wine when it comes to sound.

August 4th, 2014

TMNT Games...

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bioshock, games, little sister
It's pretty sad that the best TMNT games are from the 16-bit arcade and 8-bit NES\Gameboy days. Virutally the best TMNT game that you can play at this point is the Konami arcade game from 1989 in mame as there was never a 1:1 to the original home port. SNES was capable of it but they never got around to porting it they instead did the newer Turtles in Time (#2 on the list). Yes, there was a NES version but that wasn't a 1:1 port. The only thing it had over the arcade version was a couple of exclusive new levels. If I play that game these days I'd rather just play it in the MAME plugin in OpenEMU.
I was wanting for Rocksteady to take a break from Batman and make a good TMNT game especially since Rocksteady is the name of a TMNT villian. But another studio stepped in and made a game that tried to be a Rocksteady style TMNT game and failed. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2013) was number 3 on their worst list here.
I know some Nostalgics might get nerd rage from them listing the original NES TMNT game as #2 worst TMNT game ever. :)

August 3rd, 2014

While on the one hand I like the idea of challenging the stereotype that females aren't into anything technical. They'd have to be open minded to technical stuff in order to be the scientists that the Ghostbuster are or at least have a couple of geek girls.. OK at least one!  In the original Ghostbusters there where two scientists with degrees in physics, metallurgy and engineering along with one para-psychologist and one Joe Shmoe...

I also enjoy opposites and reversals...

We didn't like the original Ghostbusters simply because it was an all-male team. We liked it because they where comic geniuses.

But.. how do I put this...

This kinda feels like change for change's sake and an appeal to the feminist crowd. But if they really are going after that crowd they better be careful because

1) You can't just substitute male for female because then it'd be Ms. Male Character. Which is "The female version of an already established or default male character." this would be that to the logical extreme. It would be a female version of an already established GROUP of male characters.

2) What would they wear that would please the above audience and everyone else? Can't be too sexy or else they'd be objectified. Can't be the original dickey's jumpsuits because then they'd just be Ms Male Character.

In order to please the politically correct crowd it'd probably be best to go with a symmetrical male, female team. But does anyone really want a politically correct Ghostbusters movie?

I'm not sure how a Ghostbusters reboot would work out with modern comedians in there male or female. Saturday Night Live has gone downhill as it has been changing hands from one generation to the next... with the original Ghostbusters generation being the first.

It's probably going to happen sooner or later much to people like me who had the originals as a part of their childhood's chagrin though. Unlike with Robocop however a PG-13 Ghostbusters reboot would be an "upgrade" since the original was just PG.

Xenomorph

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cute, cat, kitten

About the "xenomorph" name in Aliens. I'm glad someone wrote an article such as this. When Lt. Gorman coined that name he wasn't even aware of what he was talking about. He didn't know what was waiting for them on the surface. It could have been anything. Xenomorph isn't the official name of the species of alien in the film.

I'm also glad they mentioned the whole "bug hunt" thing because a lot of people misunderstood that line too. Even writers of spinoff media. It didn't mean they faced the type of aliens that where in the film before and that they knew they where going to face an insect like foe. As someone said in the forums:

"I can't quote specific lines off the top of my head, but I always interpreted the movies as implying that humans had not run into intelligent life before, but frequently sent Colonial Marines off on wild goose chases ("bug hunts") when there was suspicion of alien life somewhere (a colony reporting a suspicious disappearance or some such)."

and

"My understanding even back then was:

1. Xenomorph is a generic term for any alien not yet know by humanity

2. Bug Hunt is interchangeable with wild goose chase"

Neither is "The Alien" or "Giger's Alien" the official canonical name but most of us call it our preferred name because it doesn't have a good readily available name other than those mentioned above.

The general gist of all this was they (the colonial marines) where ignorant of what was waiting for them on LV-426 and where just being "smarty pants" about it.

Of course later on we got prequels, sequels, comics and games that muddy the water of whether or not they have faced the titular creatures before.

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