chronovore: (Default)
Work got a Kinect for the shared area xbox. I played some Kinect Adventures! during lunch. It's definitely something that would make a party more fun; it's weirdly magical, the way that the Avatar mirrors my own actions. I worked up a sweat jumping around in the break area. When I wiped the sweat off my forehead, my Avatar did too. That surprised me. In cutscenes where my Avatar is waiting for a prize to be delivered, however I move, it does, too. I got impatient waiting for a score at one point; when it showed it again, it was in a weird pose -- I had unconsciously crossed my arms, and the Avatar was giving a near approximation like I was hugging myself.

...I wasn't hugging myself, honest. It was a natural, defensive, pouty, arms-crossed pose. Technology! Pfeh!

The device requires space. This is a problem in Japan. Hell, just being an xbox accessory in Japan is a problem in Japan. But lack of space is really going to hurt their uptake. It wants 1.8~3.0 meters for a single player. Closer to the 3.0 m for two players. We were barely able to scrape up 1.8 m. of free space by pushing tables further away from the TV in the break area. Several times, the Kinect warned me that I was too close. Because of the conic nature of its pickup area, I was also able to go out of bounds without getting too close.

Even so, the general "interface" of using the Kinect worked quite well in medium lighting conditions and limited space. I didn't feel stress at the full body movement, and there are a number of interesting user experience cues which seem fairly consistent: When you can interact, it ghosts the Avatar on the screen, prompting movement. During gameplay, if the player moves closer to the Kinect/screen, the game's camera also pulls in somewhat tighter, giving a quick and intuitive reinforcement of movement (which supersedes noticing the Avatar's legs aren't really synchronizing super-impressively).

I'll probably pick up a Kinect and Dance Central next time I'm in the USA. If there's a sequel to You're In The Movies with Kinect, I'll buy it. But much like the original, I'll probably be the only one. :^(
chronovore: (Default)
Stealing Focus XP - How To Prevent Programs From Stealing Focus in Windows XP Using Tweak UI:
Focus stealing is annoying and serves no purpose, unless you have a program that you want a full-screen interruption from on a random basis.
Using said "Tweak UI" from Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP to prevent our local build tools from spazzing out and popping up every single window and dialog over my database and email efforts while it is supposed to be updating IN TH' FREAKIN' BACKGROUND.
chronovore: (furious)
Like the cake in Portal, Microsoft Office Excel 2007's "Compatibility Mode" is a lie.
chronovore: (furious)
Who the hell do I complain to about the ads that are appearing on Xbox Live's Dashboard?

The Dashboard auto-loads the "Spotlight" channel which has, until now, limited itself to new game announcements, content, tips and strategies, community events, and in the non-game category, special Netflix offers or Xbox media-specific music and videos. All about the Xbox 360 and things you can do with it, no problem. Occasionally there are TV show and movie promotions for items which are not yet for download on the service, but they usually offer free gamerpics or themes for the 360; those are called presents.

The other day there was a item in it for Progressive Auto Insurance. Like a trained monkey, I automatically selected it to see if it had a contest or some DLC for it, or Forza or PGR DLC associated with it. But selecting it just played a low resolution TV advertisement. Nothing to do with games, nothing to do with Netflix or any other XBL-connected service. A TV ad hosted front and center on the Live service I'm paying US$50 a year for. What's next, unskippable advertisements?

Edit: Apparently SONY already had this great idea. I am speechless.
Thanks to [ profile] andrewv for the clue.
chronovore: (Default)
In December or January, I bought Microsoft's karaoke game, LIPS; essentially a direct competitor for Sony's own Singstar title. Microsoft had hired INiS, makers of the very clever music game, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (Elite Beat Agents) to bring their music-game know-how to the table. While INiS made Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! a quirky, Japanese singleplayer Nintendo DS title, it appears they inadvertently turned LIPS into something similar. It's quirky, unconsciously very Japanese, and manages to get everything related to multiplayer very, very wrong. And its Down-Loadable Content appears broken.

I had purchased a DLC track for LIPS at 160 MS Points (Smashmouth's All-Star), only to find out it doesn't work. I deduced from info on game forums, official LIPS forums, and finally the MS support center, that the DLC purchased from the US store are not compatible with the region-free Asia-version of the game. US Xbox, US DLC, region free game -- verily, it maketh not the sense. My adventures with MS support ended with them saying, while they were really sorry about the trouble, refunds were not handled through web/email inquiries, only phone support.

I've been unable to make the time to call MS while they're open -and- it's waking hours in Japan -and- I'm not looking after seeing my kids off in the morning, so my little OCD "unfinished business" blinker has been going off for about a month now. I've got all of 120 MS Points left, not enough to buy anything -- and today Rock Band's DLC, which works just fine thank you, had Losing My Religion go up. Excellent!

The MS support center took my details twice, my existing Issue Number twice, gave me a new issue number once, and finally gave me back 160 MS Points. They asked me to confirm it by trying to buy something, and I did so -- by buying REM's Losing My Religion.

My little OCD lamp has finally gone dark.
chronovore: (Default)
Microsoft, Cray Unleash $25K Mainstream Supercomputer | Gadget Lab from
In an effort to make supercomputers mainstream, Microsoft and Cray teamed up to produce the Cray CX1, the "most affordable super computer Cray has ever offered." Unveiled Tuesday morning, the CX1 will run a new version of Microsoft Windows on either 32 or 64 Intel cores, and the desktop will carry 4 terabytes of storage, according to a GigaOM story.
chronovore: (OMFG)
My friend in California had a problem with his brand new Xbox 360's power supply. his experience was lame; in contrast, mine was... )
chronovore: (furious)
For six years I've been using MS Office in Japanese. I've hated it the whole time. Today I finally got a US-English version of MS Office 2003 installed. I cannot describe how nice it is to have the user interface AND HELP FILES in my native tongue. Good christ.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Wired Gadgets: Macworld Confirms Growing Trend of 'Hardware as a Service':
Apple's iPhone update revamps the Google Maps application to give it a GPS-like "Where am I?" feature that uses cell towers and WiFi hotspots to triangulate the phone's location. It also includes the ability to add custom icons to the phone's "home" screen.

Apple is providing the iPhone and AppleTV updates for free, but is charging $20 for the iPod Touch upgrade.

Because of general accounting practices, Apple generally can't provide new features without charging for them. But last year, Apple adopted an unusual subscription-like accounting practice for the iPhone and AppleTV. Instead of recording revenue in the quarter the devices are sold, the company amortizes the revenue over 24 months, like a subscription. The change allows Apple to add new features for free without running afoul of accounting regulations.
That last paragraph really caught my eye; Apple was only able to rationalize adding value to existing hardware due to an unusual "subscription-like" means of handling their own accounting processes. This is really curious, because software doesn't entirely seem to follow this model; MS and Apple both will "add value" to their software such as Media Player and iTunes, respectively.

I don't fully understand the difference why MS and Apple are willing to write off ongoing software expenses (for "free" software at that), but do to an accounting perspective, have been previously unwilling to provide a similar experience to people who buy their gadgets.
chronovore: (Default)
Service Pack 1 Will Turn Off Vista's 'Kill Switch' | Compiler from
partial article text )Perhaps the strangest part is that, in spite of the fact the Microsoft is doing away with the kill switch, Sievert claims that it’s been a huge success — Vista piracy is roughly half that of XP.
It is worth noting that correspondence does not imply causation. It's highly likely that Vista piracy is down because anybody who knows enough about computers to install an OS off a P2P'd ROM wants anything to do with Vista.
chronovore: (OMFG)
Wow! The new fall update for the 360 is out, and I downloaded it mas pronto. I am stupidly happy to have a Psychonauts dashboard theme gracing my 360, and new gamerpic to boot, thanks to the launch of the Xbox 1 downloadable titles. I've also confirmed that the console will play Divx/Xvid, which is pretty darned neat. However, I'm MOST excited that the update appears to have adjusted "black levels" in the Display profile. Previously my TV was getting about a 70-80% grey instead of black from 360 output; which is to say "that's darned bright for 'black.'" Now I'm seeing a much richer black, and switching between "standard," "intermediate," and "extended" actually shows a clear difference in the black level.


Dec. 4th, 2007 01:27 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Xbox Team : December 2007 Video Playback FAQ: With this next update, my 360 will be getting AVI/Divx playback. I am mucho mas happy.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I returned from lunch to find that my computer had rebooted itself. The cute word-balloon message in the taskbar more-or-less read:
I knew it had installed an update, and before lunch when it gave me a countdown dialog saying it would happen automatically, unless I chose later. I CHOSE "LATER."

OTOH, this excellent Moka French from Kaldi Farm is making me reconsider my Windows Rage. Yummmmm.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Salt Lake Tribune - Apple's new OS has its claws out for Microsoft:
Time for an OS smackdown. Turn to page E3 for a point-by-point comparison by Tribune staff writer Vince Horiuchi, who has tested both systems.


Oct. 10th, 2007 03:21 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
Visual Basic for Excel:
No need to learn about very rarely used functionalities like pivot tables, solver, goal seek, scenarios, group, outline and other specialized tools.
Just misread the emboldened text as "soul geek."

Spreadsheet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
While spreadsheets are effective at certain tasks, they are sometimes used for tasks that they are not suited to.
*dies from overwhelming resonance*

Anyone else here hate Excel? Consider this your chance to vent.
chronovore: (Default)
I might be playing too much Viva Piñata - the game is deceptively compelling; I played for an additional 40 minutes after deciding to call it quits last night. "Just one more seed! Just one more mating ritual! Oh, I've got to beat the hell out of that damned bat! OH! Another seed!"

Yeah, that's cyclic and dangerous. And it doesn't even touch on the aspect of collecting, reading up, and knowing what things are.


At least it's something I can play in front of the kids, despite it having themes of:
  • Hunting
  • Sex
  • Eugenics / Euthenasia
  • Interracial fighting
  • Incest 
  • Murder
  • Bioweaponry
  • Cannibalism
chronovore: (mouthy)
Demo: BioShock - Xbox Live's Major Nelson:
Content: BioShock Demo
Price: Free
Availability: Not available in Japan
chronovore: (mouthy)
i.e. definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta
that is to say
[Latin id est "that is"]
Word Usage
See e.g.
No, seriously though; the reason I'm looking this up is that MS Word wants me to Capitalize "i.e." as the beginning of a sentence to "I.e." - that's wrong, isn't it? ...Like the time it wanted me to type "and etc." - right?
chronovore: (mouthy)
  • "Save As..." and then selecting a filename that exists already; every other application in the world, even other apps in the Office suite, and the OS itself just says, "That name exists. Overwrite?" but in MS Word, it pops up an additional dialog with three choices, which is one more than the asshole in "The Lady, or the Tiger?" had to contend with. Basically it wants to know "No, really, how about a different name" or "No, no - really overwrite" and "OK, how about I fold the differences between the two documents into that older document, and let you keep working on the mutant, hellacious, and probably corrupted offspring?" And in my case, it's in Japanese with several kanji I can't read, and thanks to Microsoft, I can't highlight and copy the dialog box text to check it out via a translation software. But choice is good, right? NO, IT ISN'T.
  • Highlight some text, and then start typing - again, anywhere else, in any major OS and in any application, the highlighted text will be replaced with whatever you type next. Not in MS Word. Oh, sure: USUALLY it works that way, but sometimes it decides to just take the left of the selection as the cursor point, insert the new text, and keep the old text there, just off to the right. Meaning it has to be re-selected, then deleted. What the hell causes this, and why isn't it consistent?
  • And don't get me started on its List function. Especially Numbered Lists. Eww.


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