Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good Bye Email... the Wave is coming

It had been while since I had been blown away by a new technology, and that's just what happened when I saw Google's Wave demo presentation. They've done it again, and that just makes me wonder when is someone going to step up to Google... but that's not the point of this post. The potential for Wave is just enormous. This is a technology that I truly believe can revolutionize the internet as we see it today. When I read comments from Wave developers saying "Wave is email if it was invented today", I smirked thinking "sure, whatever", basically disregarding it as just corporate propaganda. But after I saw the presentation... well, it is, in fact, email if it was invented today, and more.

The reason I think it has the potential to change the internet landscape is not just because it's awesome (and it is awesome!), but because Google has gone on and made the Wave technology an open standard. The way I see it, in a few years time, we won't be using the cumbersome email anymore, but rather something like Wave, which finally makes electronic correspondence the way it should be. But that's not all... the technology has the potential to improve so many aspects of internet social networking, and many other things. For example, blogs. Blogs have become one of the central media for news broadcasting on the internet. If you're like me, you read many blogs, and leave comments every now and then, when there's an item you're interested in. Sometimes the discussion of that items becomes involved so you keep coming back to that thread... maybe you have it set so that you get messages on your email when someone replies to your comments, or you just check the thread every now and then. But this is not the only item you're following, or the only blog you're reading. You know where I'm going with this... very soon, it becomes tedious to follow up with all the items in all the blogs you follow. Technologies like Google Reader help a little (for example, I 'star' items I want to keep an eye on), but only so much. But with something like Wave, now it is much easier to do all this. Imagine you visit a blog (which supports Wave technology) and after reading an item, you leave a comment. Now this could be automatically added as wave in your wave client... automatically! Then later on you can just use your Wave client to take a look at the items you're following, in all the different blogs, and check whether there has been an update to any... anyways the possibilities seem endless.

What can I say? I'm impressed. I can't wait for this technology to come out. Job well done for the folks at Google that came up with this. It's just freaking awesome! :-)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Far Cry 2

I just finished playing Far Cry 2, a First Person Shooter from Ubisoft (one of my favorite game publishers), and I have to say I loved this game. It received decent reviews (a Metacritic score of 85), and yet I have to confess I nearly passed on this one. At first glance, it looked to me as no more than just yet another FPS. Also, user reviews weren't that great either. For example, Gamefly members rating for this game is a mere 6.4.

However, I just kept reading good things about this game here and there on the web. In particular, Mitch Krpata from Insult Swordfighting has had a lot of great things to say about this game, and so I had to see what it was all about. And boy, am I happy that I did. As it turned out, this game has joined my all time favorites list. And yet, if you asked me, it'd be really hard for me to put the finger on what's so great about this game, or why I enjoyed it so much. See, this is an extremely simple game. Very simple premise. Very plain, unsophisticated story. Standard FPS mechanics. Yet, there is some magic about this game that is very hard to describe.

The first thing that I would say is that it is a very liberating game. This is an open world game. You are thrown in an unnamed African country that is in the middle of a civil war, and are tasked to kill the guy (The Jackal) that is fueling the war by supplying weapons to both sides. Very quickly things go bad and you're left on your own, in the middle of these two factions, with only one thought in your mind: to kill The Jackal. And that's it. From there on you're free to play the game at your own pace, taking missions as a mercenary for-hire to get money for weapons and medicine - ah yes, you get sick with malaria. The environment is vast and you can traverse however you prefer: walking, swimming, by car, or by bus (which is the only form of fast-travel in the game). You can complete the missions however you want and, eventually, there is huge collection of equipment and weapons at your disposal. It just feels very empowering to play this game, and for some reason it just doesn't get old.

Another interesting thing for me is that, even though this game's strongest point is not supposed to be it's story, I felt more engaged by the story of this game than I have with many other "story-driven" games in a long time. The reason, I think, is that somehow, what happens in Far Cry 2 feels authentic. I don't know how to explain it, but I think one of the reasons for this is that it never tries to idealize the player character. You're no hero in this game. And no, you're no anti-hero either. You're a double-crossing mercenary who's only looking out for himself and with one thing in mind: to kill the bastard (The Jackal) that got you in this situation.That feels real, and it feels as an authentic story of survival.

I'm not sure I'm still making justice to this game, but like I said before, it's really hard to explain why Far Cry 2 is so good, and a lot of people might not even get it. In any case, I enjoyed this game a lot, and am really happy I gave it a chance.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Can anybody speak English anymore, or have proper grasp of semantics? I was reading an interesting article titled is social media making you anti-social?, and couldn't help but wonder: does the author of this article know the actual meaning of the word antisocial? Because if he does, he surely knows that he's suggesting that social media could turn you into a criminal... or someone avert to society, you know, as in "I wish society disappeared tomorrow". But of course, that is not what he meant. He meant to use the word asocial, but he probably has never heard this word in his life.

It shouldn't take too much effort for a writer to figure this out, knowing the meaning and effect of the prefixes anti- and a-. But that's too much to ask right? He needs proper English anyways. And don't give me the crap about evolution of languages... this is not language evolution, this is plain idiocy. There are two words in the language, for two different purposes. Use them! Don't fuse their meaning into one, just because you're an idiot who doesn't know the existence of the other one. There's a thing called the dictionary, you know?

OK, enough with the rant... now comes the sad part. I have to take back what I said against this writer because apparently, since there are enough morons who use antisocial in this way, the dictionary now has adopted this meaning, and lists it as a synonym to asocial. Great... So, he wasn't wrong (technically) in using the word. Sorry, my bad... I still thing it's wrong though :-P

Even more sad is that he's probably done better using the word he used, because that's what most readers would expect and understand... *sigh*... Any day now definately will be added to the dictionary. As an interesting note, definately gets over 14 million hits on Google, over 10% the hits of the properly spelled word... Yes! that's the wrong version of the word! :-P

The reason this angers me is very simple: it feels as though we succumb to stupidity. Yes, there is a proper way to spell this... or this is the proper word to use in this case... but most people are too stupid to figure that out, and since languages are spoken by people, and morons are a majority... well...

This strengthens my theory that average humanity's I.Q. must be on decline (sharp decline!). It seems to me that humanity is moving towards an Idiocracy :-)


The Terminator cannot be reasoned with, can't be bargained with, and cannot be stopped. Unless of course he hits a chair, and since he can't path around it, we have him just start shooting.
-- Todd Howard, Executive Producer for Bethesda Softworks.

Nice quote :-)