Laptops and increasing mobility

February 7, 2008

Why is it that Computer makers suddenly feel the need to make everything smaller?  Reducing the size of components is a good way to afford higher capacity and/or speed by having more components in the same amount of space, but when I see a subnotebook or UMPC as they’re abbreviated (ultra mobile personal computer) with a screen size under 10″ I die a little inside.  Why?  Flooding the market with hundreds of UMPCs sporting the processing power of a Pentium II or at best, III, cannot be good for improvement of general computer systems.  What I’m saying is that making things smaller and less fast and/or with lower storage then current generation (or even in this case a few generations) is not productive toward advancing the technology of computers.   It’s all about marketing it to the “mobile” youth who are extremely computer literate and demand entertainment whenever  they’re bored.  Even the macbook air makes me sick.  The plain old macbook outperforms it, and costs $700 less.  It’s .75″ thin and they tell you that that’s a good thing.  my current laptop is about 2.1″ thin and it’s already too thin and fragile.  Probably the worst aspect of the new UMPCs is that the boot up times and lag with everday tasks is terrible.  Most likely due to the fact that they run Vista and Leopard on  what could be desribed as outdated hardware.

A New Media exploration of Bioshock.

February 1, 2008

I may be a little late to the Bioshock trend, but frankly the game sounded scary and I’m a wimp. In this story-driven console and PC video game you follow a silent protagonist who finds a lighthouse after a plane crash. Oddly enough, the lighthouse is in the middle of the ocean and contains a submarine-like transport that takes him to an under water city – or what’s left of it. A s you fight many genetically mutated humans called splicers and big daddies who look like hulking hunchbacks in armored diving gear, you learn of what happened to the undersea metropolis known as Rapture. The game contains all five parts of new media that Lev Manovich wrote about. It is entirely represented by numbers as it is a computer program. It is modular as the in game models and environments are separate files that are combined along with sound files to replicate the sights and sounds of rapture. The game engine automatically places the in game models and sounds where and how they belong – hence automation. You even get three endings, determined by your actions, that show variability. You can interact with the residents of Rapture showing transcoding. It also contains interactive sight, sound, text, and motion. One of the most interesting aspects of Bioshock is tactics and choice. The arsenal of weapons, genetic enhancements available to the player, and environments make it so that no two players play the game the same. I’m currently on my second play through and I’ve noticed that I am not even playing it the same as my first time. This shows variability in video games on a whole new level.

Update: 2/06/08

I have unfortunately broken my Bioshock disc and nothing seems to work.  I placed my disc in my laptop and while in transport the disc was scratched to hell.  Because of how the laptop is carried in the backpack (vertically) and how it was when it started running the disk (horizontally) the change in alignment made the disc fail to run ever again.  It’s funny how it still let play one last time as it had already verified the disc before the failure (Bioshock keeps all files on the local hard drive and only makes you insert the disk as an anti piracy measure).  I plan to contact tech support soon, as I wish to play the game to completion with all three endings and not just one.  Also, the game is just a damn good waste of time because it’s amazing.