Wii

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The people at Sony and Microsoft have to be a little envious of the interactive controls on the Nintendo Wii. The graphics on the Wii aren’t nearly as detailed as that on the PS3 and XBox 360, but just take a look at these videos and tell me it doesn’t look fun as hell:
http://us.wii.com/
I really like the Wii site too. Very clean and organized.

JPG Magazine

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So thanks to my co-worker Maria, I now have a new site/magazine I’m hooked on – JPG Mag. I appreciate their guidelines for submitting photos too:

We’re about mostly unmodified photos. That means we do not accept photos that have been overly Photoshopped. Adjustments to color and sharpness is just fine, of course. Just keep it real, baby. Here’s a handy rule: If anything has been digitally added or removed (well, besides dust), it’s probably not right for JPG.

Because remember folks, almost all the photography you see in those glossy magazines has been touched up with Photoshop, even Annie Liebovitz doesn’t let her shots go into Vanity Fair without passing through her Photoshop person.
Anyway, here’s my JPG page, and if you dig any of my photos with the ‘vote’ tag on them, vote for em I will forever be grateful.

iPods – is everything relative?

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Listen, I love my iPod, and I understand that the Cool Factor throws off any logical product price breakdowns, but does anyone ever stop to think about things for second?
I’ve been meaning to put together a chart (ala Edward Tufte) comparing all the current digital music players and their prices relative to their features.

Oh Really? Palm Dismisses iPhone.

Palm CEO Ed Colligan on the news of Apple’s iPhone (found via macnn):

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

You may be right Ed, but then again, you may be wrong.
It’s also wrong to assume Apple is just ‘walking in’. They’re walking in with more than a phone. If you do a search for any of the articles published about the iPod in 2001-2002, you’ll see that all the critics were underwhelmed at it as well, and brushed it aside.
It’s fun, as I re-read Ed Colligan’s quote, I see something different with my special Bullshit Decoder Ring:


“We’ve worked our asses for a few years here figuring out how to make a Treo that doesn’t have to be replaced 3 times,” he said. “Apple is not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just take our shit away from us. Over my dead body.”

It’s not war

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It’s nothing new, but I always find it amusing when the media creates ‘battles’ where there are none. Within the last week we’ve seen the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. These are both gaming systems so obviously there’s going to be some competition by default, but the reality of the situation is that these two systems are have completely different target audiences. Actually, the case of the Nintendo Wii, it’s just a larger target.
Sony’s PS3 runs for around $600 and is being marketed as more of an entertainment center for your home than simply a video game system. The Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, is being marketed for the kid demographic and doesn’t have nearly the processing muscle as the PS3, but features some kick-ass, interactive controls (that’s the reason I personally want a Wii).
Now there’s going to be competition, but the media needs their black & white. Good & Evil. Let’s give it to Mary Wong from the Associated Press for this article:

Companies Pursue Game Console Supremacy

from the article:

The game-console war is officially under way with the sold-out launches of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii, but there are still a lot of battles to fight — and dragons to slay.

It’s the same language we see when any new digital music player comes out, what do they ask – “Is this the iPod killer?” There can never be a new digital music player, it has to be an iPod killer.
If I get a new job at a company, are people to assume I’m after the CEO’s job (I might be, but you can’t assume that)?
“Mulvey After the Man in Charge”
If I make a new friend, am I trying to get rid of this person’s best friend?
Mulvey Aims to Phase Out Friend Competition.
Please people. Let’s relax a little and ease up on the ‘wars’.

O.J.

I had a dream this morning that I woke up to 1010 WINS on AM radio and there was a news report that O.J. Simpson had written a book and in it he talked about how he would have killed his wife and her boyfriend if he had done it.
The not-funny part is that I wake up to 1010 WINS every morning (because I haven’t bought a home docking unit for my Sirius radio) and I wasn’t dreaming.

It’s technical

Dana: “What is that thing you’re doing?
Venkman: “It’s technical. It’s one of our little toys.

from the Ghostbusters, Listen to audio here.

So I’ve switched gears in my career, something I think I did behind-the-scenes a long time ago, but now it’s come around to my job title. I’m now Technical Director at Deep Focus. Up until this point I’ve always been an interactive designer or an art director or a Flash designer with a lot of technical skills. Now I’m a technical director with an eye for design.
There’s a few reasons for this gear shifting.
– Programming and development have become intertwined with the designs I create (for instance, I usually will not start projects in Flash that are content heavy unless I can update the site through XML)
– I’ve identified areas where Deep Focus needs to improve on the development process
– I’m a geek and I need to embrace it, because, well, I’m good at the technical stuff.
Websites are no longer shiny islands of static content. Websites are applications, with images, video, news casts, and are constantly in flux. They’re websites of collections of other websites. I’m very interested in this dynamic of website evolution and I’ve continued to learn about the tools that make these websites work. I’m still very much involved in how a website is designed, how it moves and interacts with users, but I feel as though I can have more of an impact infusing great visual designs with equally good programming.
In my opinion there are 2 extremes in web professionals:
Animation & photoshop professionals – these cats make designs that sparkle like a Ferrari and move like liquid
Development professionals – these geeks understand pattern recognition, and try to built sites in an innovative way, whether its a AJAX-powered content management system or dynamic Flash video gallery.
… and then there’s all the people who fall in between.
For a while I was the dude who fell in between, but I’ve become the dude who reviews the designs of the junior designers then looks under the hood at the code and screams when he finds dozens of Dreamweaver-crusted, nested tables and tags all over the place. Or a PHP-driven site with hard-coded headers and footers. Or a 100 image Flash photo gallery that doesn’t use XML. For me it has to look great AND be coded great.
And so…….. it’s time to get some development ass.

Does XML Suck? I don’t think so.

I ran across this link in the ‘popular’ section of del.icio.us this morning, Does XML Suck?
Prior to having found that article I had just finished a conference call with Google and a client about a project that would utilize Google Earth for an upcoming event. The client wanted to use Google Earth so that viewers could ‘go’ the the event location and see live image feeds of the event. What a cool idea.
“Can we do this?”, my boss said.
“Sure, why not?”, I replied.
Like many companies now, Google provides a public API for working with Google Earth and it’s version of XML – KML. With KML, you just change the tags as needed, changing values, references, location titles, etc.
Along with Google and its use of KML, Adobe has also been working with a simliar approach with its program, Flex (as of this writing version 2.0).
From Adobe’s website:

Adobe® Flex™ 2 software is a rich Internet application framework based on Adobe Flash® that will enable you to productively create beautiful, scalable applications that can reach virtually anyone on any platform.

My friend sent me this link where you can experiment with a Flex Compiler, which utilizes MXML (I don’t know for sure, but this probably stands for Macromedia XML), obviously, the markup looks very familiar.
Prior to learning about XML I worked extensively with XML in many Flash applications and websites I’ve built (I-Travel Shoes, my portfolio site, Richard Felber Photography, Filigrana by Zani to name a few). XML provides me with a way to update and maintain Flash sites without having to crack up FLA files again and again for clients that want revisions to their sites.
So does XML suck? Not for me.
XML reference files for my links above:
http://clients.thecombustionchamber.com/itravel/collections.xml
http://thecombustionchamber.com/6/_xml/menu_tcc.xml
http://thecombustionchamber.com/6/_xml/news.xml
http://richardfelberphotography.com/_xml/images.xml
http://filigranabyzani.com/filigrana.xml
http://filigranabyzani.com/collection.xml

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