November 21, 2017
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Author: Matt Diamond Matt Diamond homepage
Location: Holland PA, USA

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My favorite sentence


I think my favorite sentence from the XIII review that IMG posted today is this one:

"Unfortunately there is far more pre-scripting involved, the path through each level has been pre-defined by the designer and the player has little freedom to impose their own play style never mind their own path, the set-pieces be they full screen, or in comic book windows canít be skipped and when the enemies are leaping from nowhere and shooting the player in the back because reaching a certain point causes their script to be triggered this can be all quite frustrating."

It was a difficult choice, though.


Posted on June 16, 2004 at 2:13 pm
Microsoft Windows/386


I'm switching offices, so I've been poking around old dusty shelves, sorting through lots of old junk and finding interesting things. One of them predates my time at the company: a boxed copy of Microsoft Windows/386, a DOS-based GUI shell from 1987. This is from the days back when Microsoft was under contract to develop OS/2 for IBM, until they realized they could keep the users for themselves by working harder on their own OS than the on the one they themselves were writing for IBM.

The back of the box reads as follows: "Integrate the new generation of Windows applications and existing DOS applications using multi-tasking Microsoft Windows/386. It's the ONE graphical environment that gives you a standard path to OS/2, the operating system of the future."

Words cannot describe the hideousness of the screenshots on the box. You can see one here, down a few pages:
http://members.fortunecity.com/pcmuseum/windows.htm. Keep in mind, the Mac had been released 3 years prior.

So, that was amusing.


Posted on June 14, 2004 at 1:28 pm
Who does the new $20 bill REALLY help?


At the cafeteria I sometimes go to, the cashier always holds up new-style $20 bills to the light. She doesn't check bills if they are the old design.

Naturally she's checking for counterfeits. She also does this with bills that she gets from the bank, because banks accept no responsibility for counterfeit bills they give you once you walk away from the counter.

Interestingly, the cafeteria lady is convinced that the new bills are EASIER to counterfeit, because she's noticed more fakes are being found now. My friend Greg and I tried to explain to her that this is probably because the fakes are easier to detect now, whereas the old fakes would have been happily passed around as money. I don't think she understood our point, even though she herself checks only the new ones.

But thinking this through even further led Greg and I to a disquieting conclusion! The new money format has apparently not completely deterred counterfeiters, but it has made it easier for banks and cashiers to detect fakes. If a customer unknowingly hands them a fake they are required to confiscate it. So the result of the new design is that the people who get burned by counterfeits in future will generally be average people like you and me, rather than the government, banks, or cashiers. Gee, that doesn't sound like such a big improvement to me!

The only recourse for us is to learn how to recognize counterfeit money as best we can. Here's some info on what to look for, and fair warning about a new $50 bill coming later this year:
http://www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney/index.cfm


Posted on June 9, 2004 at 1:42 pm
Catalepsy

A friend just told me about a weird thing. His cat recently had a major seizure: the hindquarters stiffened up, then the cat thrashed around, vomiting and excreting. Eventually it recovered and went about its day.

Sounded like attention-seeking behavior to me.

Just kidding! We're wondering if it's epilepsy. But my friend also wondered if it could be some kind of poisoning from eating cicadias. The cat is of the opinion that they make a very pleasant crunch when chewed, and the carcasses make the perfect gift for one's human owners.

We'll see what the vet says.


Posted on June 7, 2004 at 12:26 pm
iTunes Music Store "Find 'o the Week"

It's time for the iTunes Music Store "Find 'o the Week", a regular feature that I've only just invented, but I will pretend I've been writing it for years and you've only just discovered it.

Before we begin I'd like to take this opportunity to greet any new readers to the feature. Hello, and welcome!

Our story begins when I saw Morrisey's new album in iTMS so I decided on a whim to search the store for the Smiths song "How Soon is Now?". Unfortunately, no Smiths for sale. But I found three covers of that particular song so out of curiousity I decided to listen to approximately 30 seconds of each one.

"How Soon Is Now?" by t.a.T.u. - This sounds rather like the original if Cyndi Lauper were on vocals. You could do worse, but I've never understood the point of covering a song and making it sound like the original. (Well, that's not literally true. I understand the point very well. But I only respect efforts that bring something new to the table!) This is not the Find O' The Week.

"How Soon Is Now?" by Harry Perry - Semi-grungy, guitar rock version. Here's an artist who brought something new to the table. I thank him politely, and ask him to remove it from the table again. This is not the Find O' The Week.

"How Soon Is Now?" by Drain the Doves - Loud, punky, swirling electronica, what's not to hate? This was the biggest departure from the original, and so bad I listened to it three times. Then I followed the link to the album, a collection called "New Wave Goes To Hell", and the iTMS Find O' The Week. A collection of really bad covers of New Wave classics like "Relax", "You Spin Me Right Round", and "Call Me." The sample of "Mad World" I listened to was a particular lowlight, but "Fade to Grey" was also note-worthless. In fact, it's safe to say that the more you liked the original, the worse the cover version will seem to you.

You may have gathered from the above that I didn't buy the album. Hey, some things don't need to be purchased to be appreciated! A sunset, for instance. Or this album. For me, it is enough to know that it exists. More than enough.

This has been another edition of "iTMS Find O' The Week." See you next time!


Posted on June 4, 2004 at 8:36 am
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