Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hmm, update time. So I went ahead and got my PSP slim and I have to say I love it. It is very lite(tm) and very slim(tm) and the color is great! I mentioned that I was getting the Star Wars one, I saw it and meh, instead I picked up the silver Daxter Bundle:


I chose this one because I wanted to sell my old scuffed up PSP for a decent price, so I took the Daxter game (I already had it), the Family Guy UMD (don't want it) and the 1GB memory stick (already have one) and bundled them together at 200 bucks on Kajiji. This way I basically paid for my new unscuffed, lighter, longer lasting PSP in a swag shiny and not as easily dirty color.

So one of the major new features of the PSP Slim and Lite is the TV out functionality. I tried it after buying the official Sony Cable (amazingly enough Best Buy, Future Shop and EB games did not have the cable, I found it at Zellers of all places) and while I am impressed I am puzzled as well. I have a 37" Sharp Aquos mini God 1080p television and when the output (over component of course) is displaying the XMB and home screen of the PSP the entire screen is in use, when a game loads it windows on the screen and I lose about 25% of the viewing space (I will posta picture later). I have no idea why it does this, why would the home screen be full screen and the game partial screen? I am hoping this will be addressed in a PSP firmware update soon, not a huge deal...but annoying. I shoudl mention that setup of this feature was seamless, I have even set a button on my Harmony remote to be the PSP mode and audio comes out through my speakers as well...very nice.

Next Geek Topic, I am an angry Geek, I pre-ordered The Eye of Judgement at the local EB Games, never received a call to pick it up as it was released on Tuesday the 23rd of November. Last night I prepared my game space so I could truly Geek out and then drove to EB Games to Pick it up. 'Sorry Man' I was told, 'We didn't receive any yet' What the F???? Why the Hell did I pre-order then? So you could laugh at the uber-geek when he is upset that his physical/virtual ccg PS3 game is not in stock??? Cripes...So I will be scouring the futures shops/Best Buys and EB games locally at lunch today...frick....I want this in my house now!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

So I am in the book store and I see a new William Gibson book called Spook Country, intrigued by his books as always I flip through it...at the back is his picture...I have always pictured William Gibson like this:


Instead I see this picture

When did he get so old? I don't know why but the image shocked the hell out of me...makes me realize how long I have been reading his books and the fact that I am actually 33....yeesh, mortality sucks...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How OLED is changing the face of portable technology.

In light of Sony’s recent announcement that they will ship the first commercial OLED television this December, now is a good time to look at the impact of this technology on Consumer electronics, particularly portable electronics. The big announcement may be about the new 11 inch viewable, 3mm thick television, but in reality the big news is that mass market OLED is coming soon and it will change the face of portable technology in immense ways.

Before we look at that, let’s look at OLED technology itself. OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, it is not a brand new technology having been developed by Eastman Kodak in the early 1980’s. OLED displays are basically a series of organic compounds that are between two conductors, when current is applied through the conductors a bright light is emitted. Eastman Kodak has developed films of the main primary colors, some are more efficient then others, the resulting matrix of colored compounds provides the colored lights as required. Kodak describes OLED thusly:
“OLED displays stack up several thin layers of materials. They operate on the attraction between positively and negatively charged particles. When voltage is applied, one layer becomes negatively charged relative to another transparent layer. As energy passes from the negatively charged (cathode) layer to the other (anode) layer, it stimulates organic material between the two, which emits light visible through an outermost layer of glass.”


That is a lot of technospeak but at its essence OLED displays are ultra-thin, incredibly high contrast ratio displays that require NO backlight as the organic compounds provide their own luminescence AND color when an electrical current is applied. Comparing this to LCD displays which require a backlight to display images (which requires an extra layer, which equals a thicker display) a current OLED display requires 40% less power then a conventional LCD display and the OLED panel will also deliver a much higher contrast ratio (the higher the better as a higher ratio gives you truer blacks). The announced Sony 11inch display features a 1000000:1 contrast ratio which blows their premiere LCD displays 52" BRAVIA XBR series LCD – 18000:1 dynamic contrast ratio/2000:1 on-contrast ratio) out of the water. The image and viewing angle on this display is phenomenal to say the least, and it brings to mind other more compelling reasons to adopt OLED.


Look around your home or think of portable electronics you see every day – cell phones, mps players, pocket PC’s, PSP, DS Lite, laptops, lcd displays, even electronic components like receivers, microwaves and coffee makers have LCD or LED displays. The common downfall of all LCD displays on portable electronics is that the display when backlit requires a great deal of battery power. Let’s look at the PSP as an example (since I just got a PSP Slim and Lite – YUM), with the new battery the manual says you can play games for 4-6 hours. If the PSP had a current gen OLED display (that uses 40% less power the LCD) not only would the PSP slim and lite be even slimmer and lighter (hey the new Sony 11” TV is just 3mm thick) you could be playing games for up to 8 ½ hours! Not impressive? Look at the new iPod Touch from Apple, it boasts a beautiful 3.5 inch touch LCD display and 22 hours of playtime on one charge. With an OLED display the iPod Touch would not only have a crisper, brighter image, it would have a playtime of nearly 31 hours. OLED Televisions will also be very cost effective for their owners as the draw of power will be substantially less then conventional CRT/Plasma/LCD displays. Currently there are many electronic devices that use OLED displays, but they are generally restricted to smaller screens and lower resolutions, but as time passes the penetration will increase. The oled-info.com site has a great list of products that currently use this innovative technology.


Its obvious OLED will have a great impact on current mainstream electronics once it is a mass market technology, but there is another relatively unknown niche that OLED could fill that could potentially change the entire perspective on print media. Flexible OLED displays are as the name implies a flexible display that can be rolled up or laid flat to read or watch media on its display. There are many Flexible OLED Prototypes at trade shows to wet peoples appetites and to me this is truly the most exciting and groundbreaking application for the technology. Picture a small 4mm tube that you slip in your jacket pocket or bag that you can take out, unroll and either wirelessly or wired hook up to a station (at your home or kiosk/store)and download your daily newspaper or magazine subscriptions. You can then read the paper or magazine on this .3 mm thick display (it clicks into a flat display) on the train/bus/cab or while drinking your coffee. It always keeps your place; you can highlight text with a click, or e-mail an article to a friend with a few steps. Books, online articles, dictionaries, the possibilities of these flexible displays are endless. It may sound like science fiction, but the technology is here now, we just need to wait for the production methods to catch up with the technology and soon all of us will be enjoying OLED clarity and flexible displays in every facet of our daily life.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kay - Heavenly Sword thoughts and reactions...not a review, but sort of a review.

There has been a huge amount of hype, which seems to be justified by the blink and you miss it demo that appeared on the PSN a few months ago. I rented the game, hearing that the length of it was very short and I have to say, it blew me away. The graphics were sick and the combat mechanics were incredibly deep, the problem is you never get a chance to explore all of the mechanics.

Ninja Theory should have looked at the game that many people compared it to - God of War - for a progression lesson. Heavenly Sword continually gives you new combos as you progress through the many, very short, stages. This would be great if there were new enemies that are vulnerable to air combos, or heavy combos, or had any other restrictions, but this game just shoots waves of enemies with really no need to do anything but intelligently button mash. Yes intelligently button mash, because the blocking system requires you to not be attacking to block a move automatically you have to moderate the attacks into a give and take pattern. If they would have made challenges specifically designed to use new combos/abilities they could have stretched the gameplay out and had much more variety. The other stages that feature Nariko on a canon or Kai with her bow are fun as you can guide the arrow/explosive in slow motion with pinpoint control, but in some cases go on far too long.

Oh yeah I said the game blew me away, but have only complained? yes the game is repetitive, yes it has some wasted potential, but damn is it a blast to watch!! This game is what they promised, a summer blockbuster in game form, the animation, graphics, effects, cut scenes, action, acting is all top notch. I have never enjoyed not playing a game so much in my life. While the story is hardly innovative it is superbly played out, acted and visualized on screen, look at this for Jeebus sake:


All the cutscenes look this good and the ingame action is breathtaking as well, Andy Serkis of Lord of The Rings Fame and WETA did the motion capture and cutscenes and the effort shows. The only issue I had with them was that the music was too loud and drowned out the voices and there were some frame rate issues at the beginning of some of the scenes. I also have to say that Kai is one of the funkiest characters I have ever seen, picture Bjork as an agile crossbow carrying medieval character...that is Kai

All in All the game was VERY good, a little too short, a little too repetitive, but the sheer spectacle of the game was enough to keep me playing (for all 6 hours) and want much, much more. Ninja Theory states this will be a trilogy and now that the tech is developed the can build more gameplay...I predict, right now, that heavenly sword 2 will be one of the best games of 2009...just my opinion...
This Geek moment brought to you by Tampax, Time to upgrade!

In orgasmic Geek news Sony is launching the worlds first OLED Display in December...OLED is:
An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is any light-emitting diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer comprises a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple "printing" process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors.

What is REALLY cool about OLED is the fact that it generates it's own luminescence so battery life is greatly increased as most of the power needed in LED displays is to light them. Think of a PSP that would last 20 days on a single charge, cell phones that last 30 days, TVs or monitors that use 70% less power....exciting stuff

This = Sexy:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This is a title I have been worried about, but it looks like Final Fantasy Tactics is Bigger, and Better on the PSP! Even tho' it looks awesome, I am not sure if even this can get me to eject the freaking phenomenal Jeanne D'arc from my PSP as I only have about a month to play it before Disgaea comes out...sheesh, traffic lights need to be longer so I can get more PSP playtime, or I need more of those long useless conference calls to play during....

On another PSP note, stoopid Walmart had this add:

Keen observers will notice that the picture shows the PSP Slim and Lite core pack, so I went to a Walmart very early (8AM) on the opening day of the sale and lo and behold a disclaimer saying they posted the wrong image in the flyer...they meant to post this image:

Since I already have the PSP 1001 model the sale was usless, they were also out of the discounted Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters game...sigh...Walmart sucks...

Guess I still have 7 days to wait for my Star Wars silk screened PSP Slim...