Monday, April 19

Weekend Gaming: For Sale, BSG, ME2, &tc.

Some friends were in town for a wedding, and we got a fair amount of gaming done. Here are some capsule highlights:

In a blaze of foresight, I brought Guillotine along on our trip to Providence to see the Circle finale. We had about an hour to kill after dinner, so we got in three games. Guillotine was ideal because we had played it at PAX East last month, so there was no learning curve. Nevertheless, I’m starting to slightly sour on the game. I wish there was either more strategy or more of a “take that” element to the mechanics. With four players, you certainly can’t plan ahead to your next turn. It’s also pretty hard to set up an opponent to get a bad noble, since the chances that they’ll have a card that weasels out of it is pretty high.

On Sunday, I introduced the King of Fillers, For Sale, to universally positive reactions. I had only played it once before, but now I’m definitely going to push it harder. For such a short, simple game there’s a ton going on. I love how the property buying in the first round has such a direct, intense consequence for how the second round will play out, but, with clever play and good reading of your opponents, you can still overcome your previous mistakes. This keeps everyone fully engaged through the selling phase.

We played our first game of Battlestar Galactica, a game that both couples had sitting on a shelf for a long time, waiting for enough people and enough time. It’s a game that certainly looks more complicated than it ends up being, so I feel good about introducing others to it, especially if they’re hooked by the theme. We didn’t have too much in the way of accusations, as we uncovered the Cylon pretty quickly. Unfortunately, that Cylon was president Baltar, who held on to his office from the Brig, and was able to do quite a bit of damage before we were able to elect the VP to take over. BSG seems like it will only get better with more plays and more familiarity. I also can see how a fifth person would add a lot.

In the realm of video games, we played a bit of 4-player New Super Mario Brothers Wii. The getting in each others’ way was both amusing and annoying, but what was really frustrating was getting through castle levels with anyone surviving. I remember this game got universally positive reviews, especially with four people, but it’s clear to me that those reviewers were all much better at Mario than we were.

On my own I’ve been playing Mass Effect 2. Its siren song pulled me away from my resolve to finish Dragon Age: Origins, and I couldn’t be happier. ME2’s improvements as a shooter are more than welcome, and I love getting back into role-playing my character.

Tuesday, April 13

The Dark Knight / Toy Story Trailer

Apparently movie trailer mashups is a thing. This one is absolutely brilliant:

Saturday, April 10

It's from space, and also the future

Ok, I'm really not one for Apple unboxing porn, but the Magic Mouse packaging is amazing. 

Tuesday, April 6

Great Moments in Tech Journalism: HuffPost’s iPad Review

The review of the iPad published in the Huffington Post starts thusly:
I must admit I was skeptical about this product until I got my hands on it. I played with it for a good 20 minutes at the Apple Store yesterday…
I actually read on, convinced that this had to be the start of a satire, lambasting the habit of bloggers and tech journalists to form strong opinions about products with little-to-no experience with them.


Good job, HuffPost. Crack team you’ve got there.

Monday, April 5

Blogging from iPad: Edit HTML, BlogPress, but not Pages

The iPad is certainly a much better reading/watching device than an authoring one, at least in these early days. Still, its impressive portability makes me want to see how suitable it is for blogging. After all, the best blogging client is the one you have with you, and all that.

Also, I like to play with it. Magic space tablet from the future, take me away!

I wrote my last post in the Blogger editor (copying in bits that were written in iTunes), which was workable, but hardly ideal. Mobile Safari does not support rich text editing in HTML with contenteditable, so I had to settle for Edit HTML mode over Compose.

I'm happy to say that the toolbar works when you select text, so I didn't have to type in the bold or link tags myself. Scrolling, however, was pretty painful: though iPad often allows scrolling of overflow: auto elements using a two-finger scroll, this does not appear to work on a <textarea>. My only recourse was to drag-and-hold the insertion point at the top or the bottom and wait for the painfully slow scrolling to show me what I wanted.

The new editor's Edit HTML also lacks photo insertion, though with the lack of upload support in the browser I couldn't have done more than pick from Picasa Web Albums.

In all, the post editor is there, but you'd likely be happier e-mailing a post using Mail-to-Blogger unless you were really committed to a bit of formatting, linking, or adding an After the Jump marker.

Some iPad Software Reviews: ESPN, Marvel, Civ Rev, NYT Crosswords

I've been playing with my new shiny (spoiler alert: it's shiny) and trying to "give back" to the "community" with some "user generated content" in the form of reviews on iTunes of some of the iPad launch apps.

In the interests of obeying Robb's Law, testing out how Blogger works on the thing, and writing something, anything for this blog, I've copied the reviews in below. For fun, I'm composing this whole post on the tablet using Blogger's post editor, to see what it's like, so forgive the lack of direct links to the iTunes store.

ESPN ScoreCenter XL: It doesn't load (1 star)

Tried yesterday and today. Nothing loads except for the ticker at the bottom.

Don't waste your money until they get the servers sorted out.

Saturday, April 3

The Circle: Episode 2

Second episode of The Circle:

Episodes four and five are premiering April 16th!

Friday, April 2

“Mr. Fancy Pants” by Jonathan Coulton at PAX East 2010

The most entertaining part of PAX East’s Saturday night concert was probably Jonathan Coulton playing “Mr. Fancy Pants” on the Distract-o-tron.

I’m very impressed by how he’s able to keep the drum beat going throughout just by tapping on that thing.

(Many thanks to uploader acmidgett!)

Finally, a Wireless Reading Device

iPad hype (which I am absorbing as fast as possible) does nevertheless remind me of Ben Hoffman’s infoMania Tech Report on the Kindle: