Tuesday, May 6, 2008

GTA4 and new Ubuntu!

I picked up GTA4 for PS3 last night at got to play for about an hour. It seems pretty good, supposedly really sandboxy/open ended, but as of yet I'm running around doing missions with some loser Russian guy. As an interesting comparison, it looks to me as if the Xbox360 version of the game is sporting better graphics:

It looks much less blurry on the Xbox, but this is a pretty low res comparison, and who knows how they did the capture...it must've been done via component cables, so there is no indication how the purely digital HDMI would stack up against each other.

In other interesting news, the newest Ubuntu release (Hardy Heron) is out! I somehow missed out on the buzz over this release...but I'll have some reviews of features once I get it installed. It'll be a few days I guess because the Canonical servers seem really bogged down by the legions of users upgrading, and I'm getting about 50kb/s to the upgrade server at the moment.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Got to play with a MS Surface

I've not been a huge fan of Microsoft in recent years, what with switching to a Macbook for home and Linux at work. In fact, I haven't used a PC for more than 5 hour total in the past two years! But they have had this multitouch enabled Surface computer thing in the pipes that seemed really cool. And I have to say, it didn't really disappoint.

The AT&T store here in Atlanta has a store full of Microsoft surface computers. I will start by saying that it being Microsoft product running Vista meant that OF COURSE one of the machines was frozen. Thats right, out of a store with maybe 6 MS Surface machines, one was down, hung on the home screen and unresponsive to all touch. At least it didn't blue screen :-)

I tried several of the other machines that WERE working, and I checked out two of the apps they had. The first was a cellular coverage map application (very iPhone/Google maps-esque) that did touch scrolling and pinch zooming in/out, and little else. I poked around until I found my block in Atlanta, then I lost interest.

The second app was pretty cool, it was one that supports multiple phones being put upon the surface, and then bringing up menus, info, movies, data specs, etc about each phone (this was showed off in a MS demo video I saw as a potential app). It does so by visually identifying tags placed on the bottom of each device. Putting down a phone and selecting "colors" brought up a panel/window with a colored phone, and the panel was movable, rotatable, and resizeable. All the windows had this kind of similar feature with decent manipulation of the panels in a multitouch way, supporting pinch zoom in and out, scrolling, as well as multitouch rotation. The multitouch was pretty good...I think the touch detection, sensitivity, etc. need some more tweaking for responsive, but overall the experience was only SLIGHTLY hampered by the somewhat sluggish feeling of the response.

This kind of multi-user multitouch hasn't been seen before in the consumer arena, so I think it will be very interesting to see where this kind of technology is going. I really think that there are some untapped ideas here regarding collaboration, etc. If this could be coupled with more conventional interfaces like keyboards, I can see this technology really taking off for presentation/demo scenarios, technical group sessions, etc. I think it'd be cool as hell if a coworker and I could manipulate a couple of panes of code simultaneously with multiple keyboards, while still maintaining the multitouch movement capabilities to share a workspace.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More HD comes to Atlanta

I noticed a brand new Disney channel HD last night...but no HD content spotted as of yet. Along with ABC Family, I guess this is part of some negotiations with ABC to roll out their HD stations.