Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Test driving Apple I touch.

My initial impressions are mixed. On the one had, it has a sleek design and some cool software tricks. On the other hand, everything is basically just a webpage and it seems to add nothing new to the mix. It has a limited 8GB of ram. Ipod Mini's have more memory. The WIFI is nice, but frankly, its hard to find free wifi spots in Minneapolis. The city has opted to charge for WIFI (as has the University of Minnesota, with the exception of the Dinkydome) Safari is the main interface but sometimes I get strange interferences.

The touch screen is imperfect. I played a "Battleship" ripoff which demonstrated the clunkiness of the interface. Most games are frustrating to control. Typing on the screen face is not always as simple or as easy as it should be.

The audio/visual feautures are nice. The portability is nice. It is cool to be able to carry the internet in your pocekt, unfortunately, one wonders why one could not do it with standard browsers (Firefox) or a stylus.

Ultimately, if you already have a PDA this will add nothing new. If you live in an area with a lot of WIFI hotspots or need to access the interent from your pocket, its probably handy. I'll take a closer look at it soon, but for now, I would not spend $299 for one...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pyrrhic Emmeleia

From Book VII. of Plato's laws, which contains this interesting paragraph:

"Ath. Enough of wrestling; we will now proceed to speak of other movements of the body. Such motion may be in general called dancing, and is of two kinds: one of nobler figures, imitating the honourable, the other of the more ignoble figures, imitating the mean; and of both these there are two further subdivisions. Of the serious, one kind is of those engaged in war and vehement action, and is the exercise of a noble person and a manly heart; the other exhibits a temperate soul in the enjoyment of prosperity and modest pleasures, and may be truly called and is the dance of peace. The warrior dance is different from the peaceful one, and may be rightly termed Pyrrhic; this imitates the modes of avoiding blows and missiles by dropping or giving way, or springing aside, or rising up or falling down; also the opposite postures which are those of action, as, for example, the imitation of archery and the hurling of javelins, and of all sorts of blows. And when the imitation is of brave bodies and souls, and the action is direct and muscular, giving for the most part a straight movement to the limbs of the body-that, I say, is the true sort; but the opposite is not right. In the dance of peace what we have to consider is whether a man bears himself naturally and gracefully, and after the manner of men who duly conform to the law. But before proceeding I must distinguish the dancing about which there is any doubt, from that about which there is no doubt. Which is the doubtful kind, and how are the two to be distinguished? There are dances of the Bacchic sort, both those in which, as they say, they imitate drunken men, and which are named after the Nymphs, and Pan, and Silenuses, and Satyrs; and also those in which purifications are made or mysteries celebrated-all this sort of dancing cannot be rightly defined as having either a peaceful or a warlike character, or indeed as having any meaning whatever and may, I think, be most truly described as distinct from the warlike dance, and distinct from the peaceful, and not suited for a city at all. There let it lie; and so leaving it to lie, we will proceed to the dances of war and peace, for with these we are undoubtedly concerned. Now the unwarlike muse, which honours in dance the Gods and the sons of the Gods, is entirely associated with the consciousness of prosperity; this class may be subdivided into two lesser classes, of which one is expressive of an escape from some labour or danger into good, and has greater pleasures, the other expressive of preservation and increase of former good, in which the pleasure is less exciting;-in all these cases, every man when the pleasure is greater, moves his body more, and less when the pleasure is less; and, again, if he be more orderly and has learned courage from discipline he waves less, but if he be a coward, and has no training or self-control, he makes greater and more violent movements, and in general when he is speaking or singing he is not altogether able to keep his body still; and so out of the imitation of words in gestures the whole art of dancing has arisen. And in these various kinds of imitation one man moves in an orderly, another in a disorderly manner; and as the ancients may be observed to have given many names which are according to nature and deserving of praise, so there is an excellent one which they have given to the dances of men who in their times of prosperity are moderate in their pleasures-the giver of names, whoever he was, assigned to them a very true, and poetical, and rational name, when he called them Emmeleiai, or dances of order, thus establishing two kinds of dances of the nobler sort, the dance of war which he called the Pyrrhic, and the dance of peace which he called Emmeleia, or the dance of order; giving to each their appropriate and becoming name. These things the legislator should indicate in general outline, and the guardian of the law should enquire into them and search them out, combining dancing with music, and assigning to the several sacrificial feasts that which is suitable to them; and when he has consecrated all of them in due order, he shall for the future change nothing, whether of dance or song. Thenceforward the city and the citizens shall continue to have the same pleasures, themselves being as far as possible alike, and shall live well and happily."

Monday, May 19, 2008


It was a crazy week of testing the map and making changes over at the SIR community. They were busy working all the way through the deadline which was today.

There were fixes, then new problems, then new fixes, then new problems. In any case, it was a crazy crazy time. But everyone who put time into working on that project deserves a lot of thanks and I can't wait to play Wake Island as well as the new Operation Shingle.

Hopefully, DICE was keeping up on the fixes for the patches.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Waiting to get a sneak peak at the final WAKE!

Well it should be very exciting as we are waiting to get a sneak peak at the final version of Wake Island. It's 1:00 a.m. here and the Sir Community is trying to upload a final copy of the map for testing. Frankly, I am a bit tired, but would like to see the changes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors.

We have the rumors that one of the new maps is going to be Wake Island. Some people are speculating that it will be a modified titan/conquest blend in which one side defends a titan and the other side defends the island. We will just have to wait and see. Who would guess that Wake Island would suffer nearly 200 years of on-again off-again war?

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Patch for 2142 Due out Shortly; TF2 patch out.

Well it has been a very bad week for fans of 2142. Unfortunately, the EA master server has gone beserk. Rumors abound, but some people think that it is due to the forthcoming patch. Well, I cannot wait for the patch.

While the trouble with the master server is still being resolved, I've taken the time to explore team fortress 2 and its new patch. There are several elements which TF2 excels at- forcing people to work together and creating community space. I still prefer 2142, but I have to admit that the new map Goldrush for TF2 is FUN! It is completely different than Fort2 in that the battle actions are compressed. Unfortunately, TF2 opted to update just the medic class updates. Like most normal people, I quickly opted to play medic class and try to get as many achievements I could. It took over two days of play, but I got my first medic unlock and the new gun was worth it. Unfortunately, some of the other achievement badges look very difficult to get.

Some people entered cheat codes to get the unlocks, but they quickly had their achievements wiped and a new patch was released to address the issue.

Moreover, TF2 vets are upset because everyone is focusing on getting the unlocks and team play has suffered. A similar problem plagued BF2142 with the NS release. I expect it will pass in time, but hope admins stop badmouthing players who are only trying to conform their playstyle to the developer's demands. Of course, team play suffers for now, but it will work itself out and new players will be turned off by negative admins.

In any case, I hope the BF2142 patch goes smoother. Also TF2 gets a free weekend this weekend! Hey Dice- why don't we have a free weekend too! Only make it two weeks after the patch to make sure all the bugs have been worked out.