Home | Comments | IM or Webcam Chat | Forum
email me: chris@chris-karath.com

March 2011

<--Previous Month | Next Month -->

Blog starts below


This page is closed,
for new content... go to my blog home page and click "Current Blogging"


Thu 3/31/11 6:53am #

"I'm Lovin' it"?

Even though they'd deny it if you asked them -- Do people prefer to interact with brands or logos instead of other people?

Blogs started out as a very personal medium, but there is little said about personal blogs any more. Most people read multi-editor conglomerated blogs and interact with those rather than individual ones.

Twitter started as a conversational medium populated by individuals talking to and meeting other individuals, but now it seems mostly a platform to retweet/redistribute postings by celebrities and corporate style blogs.

Facebook is still mostly personal, but corporate presence continues to grow there as well -- how long until the primary usage of Facebook is, not to interact with our friends, but interact with our interests and favorite brands?

Your "friends" may flake out from time to time, but corporations have many processes in place to continually present a very consistent face to their followers.

I refer to corporations above, in the loosest sense. Not necessarily their profit or greed motive, but their organizational structure -- repetitive processes, reliability and predictability and their sense of direction that transcends the individuals in their employ.

Do corporate structures continue to take over these mediums strictly because of those efficiencies, or is there something in them that deep down -- people even though they'd rather not admit it -- people prefer interacting with that type of entity?

I want to hear your



Ptw Got a virus from Mark at work :)

Ptw Got a virus from Mark at work :)

Flickr: Wed 03-30-11 08:53:40 -0400



Sat 3/26/11 10:33am #

Too many posts

I'm pretty sure that many of the topical blogs I am following have some sort of hourly quota for their bloggers. Because day in and day out, there are about the same number of posts whether there is any news or not.

RSS, really doesn't work if you subscribe to a technology blog, and get post after post of non-technology stories, or if you subscribe to a comic blog, but then get multiple posts per day with every conceivable snippet of information about the Borders closings -- just because they happen to have a comic book section in their stores.

At some point soon I'm going to spend some serious time culling my RSS list. I'll be favoring those topical blogs that only post when they have something meaningful to say on their topic, or personal blogs that let me keep up with friends and persons of interest.

To the various super-blogs that have got so full of themselves that they feel they have 200+ relevant posts a day to make. You aren't that relevant, and you are drowning your relevant copy in a sea of noise, and I'll soon be sending you to the back of my RSS bus.

I want to hear your



Ptw lazy cat

Ptw lazy cat

Flickr: Thu 03-24-11 18:37:46 -0400


Ptw Leki can be quite the creepy stalker some time

Ptw Leki can be quite the creepy stalker some time

Flickr: Mon 03-21-11 20:28:07 -0400



Mon 3/21/11 6:44pm #

C2E2 and a little bit of Shedd Aquarium

I actually wasn't planning to go to C2E2 this year, but since we went last year, Jennifer brought it up, and it was a good excuse to get her out to Chicago to propose.

Video below of C2E2 which we did earlier in the day and a little bit of Shedd Aquarium at the end. (There's some nice shots of some movie Green Lantern merchandise in the middle too.



Some photos:
High atop Gotham City
I like this diaramma, it would be fun to make something like this for one of my own cases.
Green Lantern Corps
Very excited to see F-Sharp Bell instores
Meanwhile on OA (2 of 2)
Can't really see it in this picture but the rabbit Lantern is attacking that Manhunter in the upper right.
Meanwhile on OA (1 of 2)
Love the OA buildings in this one too.
C2E2 Convention Floor
Convetntion floor.
Empire
I thought the Black Troopers were really cool.
Adam and Comfort
Always great to see Adam and Comfort!
It's the Juggernaut - B!tch!
It's the Juggernaut Bitch!
R2D2 at C2E2
R2D2 at C2E2 - the guy remote controlling this droid did a great job staying out of sight.
GL Movie Power Battery
I hope the movie doesn't suck because I think these lantern batteries look really nice.
Con is Serious Business
Con is serious business
Starfish and aneome At the Shedd Aquarium
Before the Dolphin Show
Before the Dolphin Show.
Before the Show
Before the Dolphin Show.
During the Show
During the Dolphin Show. The screen they dropped in front of the windows and the projections were really cool.
Sea Dragon
The Sea Dragons were probably my favorites.


Jenn's blog and photos from Shedd Aquarium and C2E2 post with pictures

I want to hear your




Mon 3/21/11 12:39pm #

Engaged

This past Saturday night in a park in Chicago I asked Jennifer to marry me.

She said yes.

Maybe I'll write more about the engagement in a future post, right now, I love her, and I'm very excited for our future and present together.

Life has alot of little wonderful moments and Saturday night was one of those.

Jenn's Post

I want to hear your




Sat 3/19/11 21:25pm #

She said yes!

Twitter: Sat 03-19-11 21:25:24 -0400

I want to hear your




Thu 3/17/11 9:05pm #

- New York Times reveals labyrinthine subscription plans, Canadian readers already hitting paywall
source: Engadget

$15 a month for smartphone access, $20 for tablet access? So much for the New York Times.


Ptw - FYE at mall had Pigs from Angry Birds!

3/14/11 - FYE at mall had Pigs from Angry Birds!
Now we just need some blocks and a slingshot.


I want to hear your



Sun 3/13/11 10:04pm #

Random Non-Sequiters

- 712/365 - Case of the Mondays
source: Jennifer's 365 Project

I like this picture of Leki under the couch cover that Jennifer took a couple weeks back.


Let's Go Surfing

- Readers of the Screen
source: The Technium



If you have any interest in how people use and consume media, you'll find this Kevin Kelly Talk interesting.


- Apple's New HDMI Cable Plays with iPhones and iPods, Too [Apple]
source: Gizmodo

Might be an interesting thing to get for the iPod touch.


- Tron: Uprising Trailer
source: Action Figure Insider - Best Toy News on the Web!

This makes no sense to me, why would kids be interested in Snake and Pong brought to life inside a non-internet connected 1980s computer?

- Are Tablets Ruining Watching TV Together? [Etiquette]
source: Gizmodo

No but they do change TV watching.

I want to hear your




Sun 3/13/11 9:26pm #

I am Number Four

Went to a $3 evening showing of I am Number Four tonight. Fairly straight forward by the numbers teen action movie. It mixed elements of Starman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, etc. Certainly not worth a full price admission or even a matinee. But for $3, it's got enough Superhero type action to be almost entertaining on the big screen for three bucks. Almost.

It's not a comedy, but it's not a serious movie either. There's a kid from another world who has powers (Let's call him Luke S.), who is being defended/mentored by a protector, (let's call this guy Obi W.) and they're on the run from basically some guys who are tall-- let's say Alien Nation type Feregi. There's a high school love interest, a "somewhat" geeky sidekick (although not really geeky-- more like a kid who just happens to look like he's in high school while everyone around him looks like they are from an Ambercrombie poster.) For some reason when people die they disintegrate into dust like a video game. That's about all you need to know.

Mostly the movie seemed like a back door pilot for a WB teen series. I enjoyed it as an excuse to go to the theater for cheap, but I wouldn't recommend it for the small screen. Skip adding this one to your Netflix que, wait until you accidentally skip past it sometime on basic cable.

I want to hear your




Sun 3/13/11 10:26am #

Coby Kyros 7015 7" Android 2.1 Tablet initial thoughts

Coby Kryos 7015


Received the Coby Kyros from Amazon last Thursday. nice box, 4 color + a spot varnish on the tablet images. Quality packaging. It came with the power supply, a short and a long USB cable, a nice case, and even a little screen wiping cloth.

Out of the box the 7015 is a perfectly nice little tablet. If you want to buy it and just use it without fussing with it, it's a nice little device, but beware, this is not at an iPad or iPod Touch level unit pulling it straight out of the box. The stock UI looks very much like an oversized phone and doesn't take full advantage of the devices capabilities. the official Google Apps are also not present. Also this device has the Appslib store and not the Official Google Apps or Google App Store. Also note, while this tablet is very finger friendly (stylus optional), it is a resistive instead of a capacitive screen, so there are times when a stylus works better than your finger. If none of that scares you... continue on...

On the topics of software and UI limits out of the box, fortunately the internet exists to guide the hacker hobbiest into turning this device into something a little more than what it stars out to be. Once you've played with your device for a few minutes, you are going to want to get straight to rooting it and get the Official Android Market and Google apps on it. This link will walk you thru that process.

Ok, now with your Google apps and the App Store display in place the next thing you are going to want to do is scale the User Interface down in size abit. To do that you are going to want to install: LCDDensity for Root. This will allow you to cut back those chunky UI elements, buttons, menu bars etc, to a quarter of their size and after running this app (try the 160 setting) you're Coby will immediately transform from looking like a giant phone into a much more iPad like visage.

So far I've found the processor to be very snappy, not quite up to my iPod Touch, but well above my Palm Pre. Your mileage may vary, but unlike my earlier Ekken M001, this device is pleasantly responsive rather than functionally responsive.

So what have I put on it so far?

Android Comic Viewer (ACV) - Installed and so far works very snappy.

Adobe Reader - for PDFs.

al Jazeera LIVE - This device handles the video very nicely. clear clean video too, not one of those stripped down mobile feature phone type streams.

Amazon Kindle and Aldiko - for eBooks.

AndroPraint Lite - For basic MSPaint type stuff

Apollo Task Killer - Sometimes you just need to kill a program

Dropbox - To move those files between Touch, Desktop, Laptop and Tablet.

ES File Explorer - Because having an actual file explorer is a nice thing.

Grafiti Pro - A little nostalgia for the Palm Pilot character input panel

Handrite - an interesting note taking app that I'm not sure i'll use much, but I'm going to give it a try.

LCDDensity - Mentioned above, so that this tablet actually looks like a tablet instead of a giant phone

Notepad - I'm sure there are a dozen apps named this, but I found a basic one and installed it.

Pandora - Gots to have some tunes.

Photoshop Express - No camera on this device but seems like a useful app for the future.

Pulse - News to slide with

Reader - Google's Official Reader App. Works much nicer than the web page version. Nice finger friendly next arrows, chunky without LCDDensity, but with LCDDensity installed this becomes the prime use of the tablet I think.

Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile (SBM) - Not a CAD program, this is a Photoshop style paint program with a really unique UI built for a tablet from the ground up, I have it on my iPod Touch too. On the touch the screen size limits it's usefulness, but on the Tablet, space is opened up a bit to make this a nice app. The resistive screen works well for this too, since drawing with a stylus is much better than ones fingers.

Swype - A really nifty onscreen keyboard replacement

TweetDeck - Works well on this device and has a nice Twitter and Facebook combined view (with facebook comments on a blue background and twitter comments on a gray background, so you know what is what.

Twitter - The official Twitter app

Comcast Xfinity - this has been the first bummer so far, for whatever reason, when I launch this app, it just closes down immediately. I love this app on the Touch though, so i hope to eventually get it working on this too, but if not, no biggie really.

Youtube - Device comes with a youtube app, but with the Market installed, i put on the official one.

I'm not a big gamer, so I haven't tried any games on it yet, but I'm sure that i'll get one or two on it eventually, so I'll save that for another post.

So far I think I'll primarily use the Tablet device, much like I did the last one for: Google Reader, eBooks, comics, youtube and streaming videos. And while you can do email, IM, Twitter, Facebook, etc on it... the Palm Pre will continue to be my main gadget for those activities, as you can't beat it's card system for tracking all your communications. My iPod Touch will still be my main camera and video taker as well as having alot to love about it's smaller size for many situations. And, lest I forget, I'll still be using my netbook as well, since some times you really just need a keyboard on the go.

While there's no need to have every device at all times, occasionally my gadget bag will be well stocked.

So that's the scoop on the tablet at the moment...

And a big thank you to my awesome Jennifer who did the rooting for me and discovered the LCDDensity program!

I want to hear your




Sat 3/12/11 6:01pm #

Let's Go Surfing

- Lifelapse app promises to turn your iPhone into a life-logger
source: Engadget

Sounds like it could be a cool app. But the pouch for use with the video cam app isn't a bad idea either

- NASA Says Nuclear Warfare Could Reverse Global Warming But Also Bring Famine and Disease [Science]
source: Gizmodo

Well, at least we know how to stop Global Warming. In other news, Doctors report decapitation cures head colds.


- ASUS Eee Pad MeMO and MeMic hands-on (video)
source: Engadget

I find the idea behind this really intriguing. The tablet has the phone in it, and the little handset connects via bluetooth.

- Multi-player game mechanics

40 Types of multi-player game mechanics. Good Stuff.

#1: The simplest form of multiplayer is simple advice and assistance. How good are your channels for communication? Helping is the building block of all social gameplay.

Parallel symmetric games: darts, golf, snowboarding. You play alongside each other, comparing performance. Measuring progress against someone else is what makes it multiplayer.

#2: Quantifying achievement. Putting it into a database.

#3: Races. The first user to reach a goal, wins. Curiously absent. Why not have races to a level? You can use this in a network setting. Social games dont tend to use racing.

#4. Leaderboards: everyone competes asynchronously, parallel with historic attempts. We see this in neighbourbars.

#5: Tournaments: bracketing users. Social games tend to use bracketing for simple pvp matchmaking: its under utilised.

#6: Opposition. A rival good is something that cant be used by someone else at the same time. You have my stuff, I cant use it. Non-rival is stuff that clones itself: information, etc.

#7: Dot-eating. I ate it, you didnt. Zero sum resource consumption.

#8: Tug of War. A winner and a loser.

#9: Handicapping.

#10: Secrets. Fog of War. Hands of cards.

#11: Last man standing. Deathmatch.

#12: Bidding. Mediated status. You bid, you take your rival goods (money) and whoever gets the thing, wins. Where are the silent auctions in social games?

#13: Lying. Deception and bluffing. Deception only works against other people; not a computer. We depend on quantifying things in our social games; the more we move into psychology the more we can leverage things like bluffing.

#14: 3rd party Betting. Betting is driven by the human brains bug at calculating odds. Were lousy at it. This only works on people; you cant do it vs a cpu.

#15: prisoners dilemma. Players dont have all the info, theyre on the same side. If either one caves, they both lose. If they both hang together, they will succeed. You dont know if the other person will uphold their side. We currently dont see this in social games. Yet.

#16: Kriegspiel. Tabletop military strategy, effectively. Creates the dungeonmaster, the gamemaster. A referee enforces the rules, a gamesmaster directs the action, directs the game. We dont do much directing in social games right now, but we could.

#17: Roles. How many multiplayer games can you think of that dont have positions on a team. We dont use team roles or classes in social games. Thats fascinating. This one is guaranteed to increase retention.

#18: Ganging up. Being it. Hot potato, Tag. Victim & Hunter.

#19: Rituals. Role transitions: weddings, cut a cake, levelling, ding gratz. What is the social game equiv of attending the wedding? Shared rituals bind community like nothing else. The biggest thing that marks rituals is gifts. This one Im happy to say, weve nailed.

#20: Gifts. This is moving a rivalrous good to another actor in order to increase their status bar. Gifts have a whole pile of embedded cultural practice. [note, I think #20 was titled gifts, I was momentarily distracted...]

#21: Reciprocity. Players will send what *they* want, as they know theyll get it sent back to them.

#22: Mentoring / Twinking. When a hilev hands a lowlev a pile of stuff. Its hugely welcoming. Its not cheating, it's powerful social glue.

#23: Identity. Means of displaying your status inside a social context.

#24: Ostracism. Group removal. Denial of resources.

#25: Trust. Does your game call on your to trust someone you dont know?

#26: Guilds & tribes. Hugely powerful. Barely present in social games.

#27: Exclusivity. Velvet rope. VIP clubs. What could this do for your monetisation?

#28: Guild vs Guild. We know groups like to annihilate each other. Rivalry. Even in a farming game, you could have tropical vs temperate, and they will envy each other, and they will develop passion, and identity, and then…

#29: Trade. These large-scale structures become dependent upon each other. Theyre less likely to quit. We havent focused on them selling things to one another…

You are shaping societies. You are building the things people play in, talk about, take part in. Be awake to this.

#30: Elections. The largest MMO in the world today is American Idol. Politics.

#31: Reputation, influence and Fame. Rolemodels for other players to follow or imitate. You can affect the way players behave by making them famous. Dont publicis the griefers, publicise the wonderful ones.

#32: Public goods. Parks. Air. Is there an infinite common resource in your game?

#33: Tragedy of the Commons: can you use up your public good? The price of Facebook ads: the prices are going up, were driving those prices up, we're all affected...

#34: Community. Where we start playing games on you, the player. If you dont have good facilities for community interaction, you miss out on the people who set the tone and opinion for everyone else. Theyre the small squeaky wheel with enormous broadcast reach.

#35: Strategy Guide. Players are able to solve insane problems as a group via the scientific method. Every player is a fresh experiemtn trial run, they get better, they figure stuff out. But this only works at large scale with shared info.

#36: Teamwork. Groups operating together are more successful than those operating on their own. Dragon Kill Points.

#37: Arbitrage.

#38: Supply chains. Chain value, interdependence.

#39: User generated content. Design for this.

#40: Griefing. Change the rules out from under the players. Sometimes players are reinventing your game for you.



- Why are America's largest corporations paying no tax?
source: Boing Boing

Mostly because they pay toward politicians election campaigns, I imagine.



I want to hear your




Sat 3/12/11 7:26am #

Let's Go Surfing

- Poster And Airdate For New Series Of Doctor Who
source: Bleeding Cool

New Doctor Who in UK on 4/23/11.

- Twitter to developers: we want to own the pipes, water, and faucets, but feel free to make soap
source: Engadget

This is the bad thing about Twitter, it feels like an open utility like email, but at it's heart it's just as closed and walled off a garden as Facebook, and because it's owned by a single corporation, the capitalistic laws of nature almost spell certain eventual doom for it. I just don't see Twitter ever getting so big that it can overcome the self-destructive downsides of the corporate structure. If a company get's big enough then it can constantly have different business units within itself die off, while it acquires and develops new businesses to replace the collapsed ones. I don't see that happening with Facebook or Twitter, so eventually I figure all the stories you are reading about Myspace and AOL, you can will just be able to replace those keywords with Facebook and Twitter.

I want to hear your




Tue 3/08/11 8:07pm #

iPods, Tripods and Toys

iPod Touch/iPhone tripod I found many of the Green lantern Classics Wave Two over the last couple days. I've also gotten some other DC Direct and Classics recently as well. There is a mixture of new and old below. I should have shot these with Jenn's SLR or even my nice point and shoot. But I got a camera mount/tripod for the iPod Touch in the mail today from Deal Extreme. It works very well, but the iPod's camera is not ideal for up close macro photography.

Various Toy photos below.

Guardians of the Universe
Guardians of the Universe

Sinestro Corps
Sinestro Corps

Low and Mash, Sinestro Corps Black Lanterns
Low and Mash, Sinestro Corp and Black Lanterns

Red Lantern Corps
Red Lantern Corps

Green Lanterns
Green Lanterns: Medphyll, G'Hu and Nautkeiloi

Green Lanterns
Green Lanterns: Medphyll, G'Hu and Nautkeiloi

I want to hear your



Ptw There was a time when homemade taste was a positive thing

Ptw There was a time when homemade taste was a positive thing
Target sign

Flickr: Sun 03-06-11 17:16:28 -0500



Sun 3/06/11 10:16am #

VIDEO: America Is NOT Broke | MichaelMoore.com

Read the article/transcript. Or watch the video below:

I want to hear your




Sun 3/06/11 9:58am #

Get with the black box

Zero risk.

Predictable return/result.

Agreed $$$ go into a black box, desired results come out.

That you can sell/That is desired to be bought.

Only idealists are interested in how the black box is constructed.

If the black box does unfortunately fall into your domain of responsibility, you then need to pay $$$ to someone else to manage the workings of your black box. Abstract it out one more level, out to the point it can become a black box again.

Should you then have to manage the people managing your black box, keep repeating this process until you've successfully abstracted the process into a black box again.

$$$ go in, Results come out. Never a miscomunication.

I want to hear your



Ptw This Space Ghost Tee is nice. The white pants are a must.

Ptw This Space Ghost Tee is nice. The white pants are a must.
Red arm bands would accessorize it nicely too. #iCouldNeverPullThatOffTho

Flickr: Sat 03-05-11 21:06:33 -0500


Ptw Thor, X-men and Captain America movie posters

Ptw Thor, X-men and Captain America movie posters

Flickr: Sat 03-05-11 20:54:40 -0500


Ptw Its still very much winter outside

Ptw Its still very much winter outside

Flickr: Sat 03-05-11 20:49:52 -0500


Ptw Dancing at the super disco

Ptw Dancing at the super disco

Flickr: Thu 03-03-11 20:20:05 -0500


Ptw Time for Champions Online

Ptw Time for Champions Online

Flickr: Thu 03-03-11 19:43:35 -0500



Wed 3/02/11 8:43pm #

iPad 2 Just a Minor Update; iPad 3 Will Change the World, According to Apple Source
source: Tablet News

As some of you might have supposed from the start, iPad 2 will not be that much of an innovation, but rather an upgrade of the original Apple tablet . Theres also a mysterious Apple staffer being quoted as saying that the product unveiled today is all about a speed increase and redesign. He also claims that the iPad 3 will be a totally innovative product.

This anonymous staffer also says that the MobileMe service will also get cloud storage features and it will store music, TV shows and movies that you bought from iTunes. The source continues to divulge info and tells us not to get our hopes up for todays launch, since the iPad 2 will only be a lighter and thinner version of its predecessor, packed with cameras with FaceTime support.

Meanwhile, the iPad 3 will be a product “to make a song and a dance about”, that sounds pretty interesting to us, mostly because the Apple staffer said that it also be released later this year. Back to the iPad 2, the leak source says that it will come with a larger speaker, a faster chip, more RAM, GSM and CDMA support, but it will keep the same screen resolution as the first iPad.

Cant they just launch the iPad 3 today instead, if this is true?

iPad 3 rumors are GO!

I want to hear your



Ptw Marvel masks

Ptw Marvel masks

Flickr: Wed 03-02-11 06:34:48 -0500


<--Previous Month | Next Month -->