Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Elite DJ Services

I finished my first official* freelance website this week. Elite DJ Services is a Lansing, Michigan DJ service that performs at the whole spectrum of events from weddings to nightclubs. The owner's mom works with my mother-in-law, which is how I first heard of this project. Check it out: Elite DJ Services

Now here's hoping Google returns search results to his page and not this post.

*"First official" mostly just means the first time money was involved. The rest have been favors or trade for wedding services, or are still in progress.

F.E.A.R. 2 Demo

I played the F.E.A.R. 2 demo the other night. There were parts I strongly liked and others I strongly disliked.

The Good:
  • Weaponry: The guns had a good kick and were easy to use and switch between. This is important because they sounded very powerful in the first game.
  • The attention to detail in the school was incredible. Everything you'd expect to see in a classroom was all there, from fundraiser progress bars to construction paper projects to grammar lessons. Nice touch.
  • The mech battle sequence was quite well done. The movement of the mech was neither unrealistically fluid nor frustratingly clunky; either extreme is easy to achieve.
The Bad:
  • The glow around the enemies in bullet time is a horrible symptom of consolitis
  • Graphics? I think? The first FEAR was the game I bought to flex the muscles of my upgrade computer in 2006; that same comptuer would naturally struggle with this one. It's scalable, and certainly not bad, but the graphics weren't as effective this time around. To be specific, it seemed like dynamic shadows and lighting effects were used to much greater effect in the first game. I understand the need to not rely on that so much - increase the texture resolution and level of detail, and you'll need to bake some lighting in to maintain performance.
  • The laser sights on enemy snipers defeated the purpose of sniping. I understand this is a development decision so we're not frustrated trying to find them, but it's the easy and ineffective way out.
  • Seriously, the object shimmer effect around the enemies is a dealbreaker. It reduces arguably the coolest function of the game into an annoying sign saying "SHOOT HERE, LOVE, XBOX." It's unforgivable, and until it's removed or removable, I won't be buying the game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

HD

Last week when I was trying to watch the Daily Show, I could no longer find Comedy Central in my saved channel guide. As it turned out, this wasn't a bad thing: Comedy Central HD was just added to the DirecTV lineup, so the number had changed.

This is good news. But from what I could tell, much of the content is broadcast in pillarboxed 4:3? So while it's not widescreen, at least it's clear and sharp.

South Park will be broadcast in HD as well on the 13th season. Link ibid.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Silverlight

The Presidential inauguration team has chosen Microsoft Silverlight as the platform of choice to stream inaugural events over the Internet. While I appreciate their efforts to embrace this technology to make the event accessible, I wish they would instead use a public domain codec sufficient for large-scale dissemination.

I felt similarly about the recent House and Senate YouTube channels when they were announced, wishing they would operate under a Creative Commons license and make the content freely available to download in a number of formats (as the Change.gov site has already done). However, it appears that feature is slowly being rolled out.

Whopper Sacrifice

Burger King announced its Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application last week. In the days since, Facebook required that the application stop notifying the people who the app user chooses to remove, and Burger King refused to concede and pulled the plug. Fortunately, I acted quickly, whittled away 10 friends, and yesterday I was rewarded for my efforts:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Home improvement

We decided to continue with the home renovations this weekend. My dad came up yesterday and helped us with the electrical wiring (and plaster saw-through-ing) for a new light fixture in the bathroom. Today, Danielle is painting the bathroom, and I installed corner shelves on the kitchen cabinets. They provide convenient storage for our cookbooks and mask the old, unused phone jack.




What is that on the top shelf? It's a level, placed there to show off my flawless craftsmanship.



Boom.