Performancing Metrics

Friday, April 16, 2010

Price Elitism Segregation

     I know, I know, really weird title, but I think if you understand it you'll understand what I'm talking about.  And that is the fact that this amazingly technology driven world is moving into the realm of class distinction.  I keep hearing about all these must have tech devices, and these 'oh-so-common' gadgets that everyone supposedly has, and I have to wonder if it isn't just a lot of hot air.
     Take the iPhone and Android phones.  I keep hearing on the net how everyone is supposed to have one, and how everyone uses them, but here in Aberdeen, I just don't see them.  Admittedly, we are an economically depressed area, but maybe even that supports my point.  These device that are supposed to be carving out the new digital age seem to be beyond the reach of the common man, and set with prices that don't reflect the cost of production or the supply and demand, but the carnal greed of the company that make the device.  A cell phone that has has one fourth of the computing capabilities of bottom of the pile computer you can buy at Wal-Mart costs more!  You can't tell me that the physical cost of the components in an iPod touch are more than the cost of components for an HP desktop computer.  Nor can you tell me that the price of shipping is greater.  For the same weight as on desktop, you could ship almost a hundred iPods, yet their price remains almost equal.
     Also, things like the kindle, which could really revolutionize the way colleges work, cutting costs and providing people with a more efficient and healthy way to access research and teaching resources(more healthy because of the reduced amount of stress on the back.  Kindles are way lighter than a book-bag full of books), are being kept from people how could really use them because they aren't subsidized like college text books(which are also horribly overpriced, but that is a discussion for later).
    All of this amounts to a the fact that with the lower living wages of the general populace, we seem to be returning to the days of the late seventies and early eighties, where computers were a luxury that assisted those who already had money, and didn't help out those who could benefit most from their use.  So, is any of this really going to change?  Only the consumers can decide.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Game Pick

     Well, it has been a really, really long time since I've done a product pick, but today's is one of my personal favorites, So I hope it makes up for all the times I've missed.  Today's product pick is the ambitious trilogy of video games that started on the GameCube and ended on the Wii, only to be re-incarnated as a single entity available completely redone for the Wii console, the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

     For those who are not familiar with the Metroid series, it is one of the oldest and longest running video game series on the market.  Starting with the original Metroid on the NES, this series has had plenty of additions to its story line.  Chronicling the adventures of Samus Aran, and interstellar bounty hunter raised by an alien race of bird-like beings called the Chozo, the series shows the struggles Aran faces in battling the marauding band of baddies, the Space Pirates.
     The Metroid Prime Trilogy is a story arc taking place almost immediately after the first game in the series, straying from Aran's usual plight of stopping energy-sucking Metriods from being released on the galaxy, to hunt down an even greater evil, Metroid Prime.  Metroid Prime differs from the usual metroids in that it seems to be sentient, and has a voracious appetite for a radioactive material called Phazon.
     Reeking havoc on a colonized world of the Chozo that has been abandoned by its inhabitants, the space pirates came across the substance Phazon as well, and decided that it held untold potential for their military applications, and began using it in all sorts of experiments.
     Playing as Samus, you must battle both the space pirates and the many incarnations of Metroid Prime that continue to resurface through-out the galaxy, and get to the bottom of the mystery of the substance called Phazon.
     With refreshing game play and mechanics for a console, and amazing graphics, plus engrossing story to boot, this series is a must play for die-hard Metroid fans and neophytes to the series as well.
     This series has consumed more of my time since I finally got it last December for Christmas than any other game I think I've ever purchased on the Wii.  A fresh re-imagining of how a First Person Shooter can work, and blending in elements of a non-linear adventure game, the Metroid Prime trilogy is a Nintendo hallmark.
    Probably my favorite part about this particular set is the ability to get the whole series in one purchase, making it tons cheaper, and the fact that the original two games were not just tossed in for replay value, but were actually re-engineered to work with the Wiimote instead of the old GameCube controllers.  This made playing back through the first two games an exciting new thrill rather than a melancholy trip down memory lane.  Being able to face off against old bosses with better reactions and new tactics really made playing them again a joy instead of a chore.

Trouble with Facebook and PDF

     I'm reading more and more on the net about examples of people's computers being hijacked used for malicious purposes, and the methods are getting more and more subtle.  And they are affecting more and more important groups.
     These virus attacks and computer hijackings are no longer matters of simple theft or infantile pranks.  They are beginning to affect world governments and are being executed by gangs of criminals.  All the real world bullying of the mobs and crime syndicates seem to have moved to the internet.
     The most common method we're seeing now is infection from seemingly safe sources.  Things like PDF files with malicious executables stored inside, that may or may not even need your approval to run.  Or even things as benign as Microsoft Office documents.  All of these things can contain scripts written in programming languages powerful enough to open back doors into your computer.  So, once again, if you don't trust where it came from, DON'T OPEN IT!  Is your personal information and identity important?
     And, as I've said before on this blog, Social Networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are just gathering points for malicious activity.  But what's even worse now is that whole corporations are setting up systems where they can simply click a program and sign in, and they can have access to your entire web-life.  Being marketed as a means for your employer to keep you from breaching laws about selling sensitive inside information, new programs like Social Sentry, from Teneros, are being developed so that your employer has immediate and real-time updates to your actions and statements on the web.
     It is becoming increasingly clear that using these simple solutions for personal use is becoming less and less personal, and more and more public.  If you don't want the whole world to read it, then don't post it.  I've been hearing all over the news the past couple of days about this boy that is suing his mother for slander because of things she posted on his Facebook account in response to things he had posted.  No matter which side you take on this argument, the kid should not have posted things if he didn't want everyone to find out.
     So, as I've said before, be careful, and keep as much off the web as you can.  These are dangerous times, and not enough awareness is causing so many people to get into trouble.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Smart Phone Wars

     The world seems to be in the midst of a war of the smart phones.  It goes without saying that the start of the conflict came when the iPhone stepped in and knocked the blackberry from its amazingly high perch.  But now it seems that the tech world is riddled with smart phones, with new ones coming out every day.  And it isn't just a competition between Blackberry and iPhone, plenty of faces are showing up on the scene, both old and new.  Motorola, Google, HTC, Palm, and others are all making headway into the smart phone market(or at least trying to).  But is it really so important to have a phone that can do everything else as well?  Are these devices becoming an integral part of our modern society? 
     I'm posing that question to you, Digital Fruit's customers, on the eve of our annual cellphone exposure poll, to find out if you feel that smart phones are really where its at.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More Hope

     I may be being a little too optimistic, but I may be on the verge of a demo of Epic within the next week.  I've been looking over what code I already have, and the amount of workable images, and if I really set my mind to it, something viable should be up by the end of the four days off that I have from my other employment.
     This would be big, a huge first step in the workings of Digital Fruit if we could just get a working demo of something up on the net.  I'm excited, and I'm hoping that this will work.  I'm going to try and find something for hosting, and I'll post the link soon so that I can share this with the readers.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Updates Galour

     I realize that I've been all business and no heart.  So here is an update on the goals and workings of Digital Fruit's project list.
     Epic:  We are currently reworking the story line and working up more images for use in the actual game, not just promotional or conceptual.  I'll have some new colored frames up on Picasa soon, so make sure to check the blog.  I'm also trying to get some of the music started for this, but that might be a little premature, as not much of the game is done, and audio is usually the last thing applied to these projects.
     Eeble cartoon:  I'm still trying to figure out just what I'm going to do with this one.  Its a fun learning experience, but I'm not sure where to classify how far in development it is.
     Power Production:  Chugging right along.  I'm still working with the controller circuits so I don't blow something up, but everything is going fine.  And I've bumped up the voltage of the test model to nine volts, meaning at peak power it can power most standard, battery-operated devices in peoples homes, or at least charge the batteries of said devices.
     Computer Support:  We've had no complaints in this department so far.
     Web-Site Design:  I recently updated the Friendly Paws Grooming website.  It has a lot more presence now, not looking so visually simplistic, and I'm working up the javasript needed to make all of the working parts smooth and enjoyable.
     Well, that covers just about everything around the board.  If you have any questions or comments about any of this, feel free to leave a comment on the blog, or just drop me a line over e-mail.