B-Side 156 18/4/05

Post by Mark

Day 156

Today I had a tough choice for the Miskan project. I had 2 good pictures but in the end I had to choose one. This one is the picture that lost the battle. I shot it today morning while dropping Nat at work. Its a trace from a fighter jet, we get them in Lebanon two at a time and usually accompanied with the breaking of the sound barrier.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

File Magazine again

Post by Mark

I just got an email today from File Magazine telling me another picture of mine was accepted to be part of their collection. The picture this time is one of my favorites and I called it “Mad Robot”. The building in the picture is of the Kuwait Stock Exchange and it was shot while sitting outside at Second Cup. Here is the picture on file magazine [Link]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Control your home with a PSP

Post by Mark

psp

Someone managed to create software for the PSP that allows him to have full control (Play, Stop, Pause, Menu) of his DVD player, TIVO, and High Def TV, all wirelessly from his PSP. [Link]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Adobe & Macromedia

Post by Mark

Like Nibaq just posted, Adobe just acquired Macromedia. What does this mean to us? Well first lets see what major software both companies have.

Adobe
Acrobat, Photoshop, Elements, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, Premier, After Effects

Macromedia
Flash, Dreamweaver, FreeHand, Director, Fireworks

The biggest and most controversial problem is Illustrator and Freehand. Both softwares are currently being used although in the past few years FreeHand has lost a considerable share of the market, they still have a cult following. But, between Illustrator and Freehand, there is no question, Freehand will die. Its been dying slowly anyway but I am sure the fans will cry murder. Fireworks which conflicts with Photoshop and Elements will also die out, Photoshop has a much larger market share and a much stronger brand. GoLive and Dreamweaver, GoLive is out for sure. Adobe has been trying to play catchup with Dreamweaver for a very long time and this way they can just trash GoLive and pickup the much more popular Dreamweaver. Director will be a very nice addition to the Adobe Suite and I hope they manage to integrate it nicely with the other Adobe software, which I am sure they will. Finally owning both Flash and Acrobat I think is a very strong package, PDF is used a lot in the print world while Flash is used alot in the digital one. Owning both means that they will have a very strong position in both medias. All they need now is to buyout Quark and we will have another Microsoft-like company to deal with.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Crackdown in Wonderland

Post by Mark

Yesterday I went down to Rihab Complex in Hawalli to my favorite videogames store. When I first walked in I noticed something different but I couldn’t figure out what. So I shook hands with the owner, and I told him I wanted Doom 3. He took out a piece of paper, wrote down Doom 3 on it and gave it to an Indian employee at the store. The Indian guy took the paper and left the shop to get me the game. I was like huh!? Usually I ask for a game and he gets it for me from a box behind the counter. Then it hit me, I looked around the shop and noticed there wasn’t a single pirated game anywhere. Thats what looked different, the shop looked emptier. So I asked the guy what happened, turns out the municipality has been giving them a hard time and are cracking down on them every week. So now they are being extra careful and all the games and stuff are hidden in another shop.

I took my game and left to another shop elsewhere in Hawalli where me and Nat wanted to get some DVDs. So we walk into the shop we usually buy DVDs from and there are no catalogues to be found. The only thing you could find in the shop was computer power cords hanging on one wall. At first glance you would think this store only sold power cords, but I asked the guy what no more DVDs? He is like yes sir one minute. He went outside the shop and came back in with a small box full of catalogues. Turns out the municipality has only been giving them a hard time.

I hope piracy doesn’t end in Kuwait. Some games are worth buying original but other games, games you would only play once or twice are not worth KD18.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Doom 3

Post by Mark

Doom 3

I got Doom3 yesterday on the Xbox and it was the first time I had seen it live. All I had seen before were static images on the web and after yesterday, I don’t think I will be playing Doom3 again. Its just so fucking scary. I would be like walking in the dark with my tiny flashlight when suddenly the ugliest creature you could imagine jumps out of no where and starts biting me. Then I panic and start hitting it with my flashlight instead of my shotgun. Spent the whole first level running as fast as I can hoping incase a creature does pop out that my guy is physically fitter and will be able to outrun it.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Review: Soul Plane

Post by Mark

I watched Soul Plane yesterday night and it wasn’t that good. It was funny in some scenes but not enough to make it a funny movie. If this was a 5 minute skit of Saturday Night Live it might have been extremely funny but a whole 90 minutes of it is not. Definitely nothing close to being as good as Airplane! It just didn’t have too many funny scenes and it made the movie just boring.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Osoul – The Phone Call

Post by Mark

I got a phone call from Osoul yesterday night. No it wasn’t because I wrote about their logo but it was because of another issue. Last year my best friend purchased some electronics and bought them using Osoul financing. A few months later my best friend leaves to Lebanon and passes away there. So naturally he can’t pay back the installments anymore because he is dead. Osoul don’t get that. I get a phone call from them at-least once a month asking me about my best friend and reminding me that he hasn’t paid the installments. It could be someone from Osoul, a lawyer, a collection office, all different people calling me and telling me the same crap over and over and every-time I have to tell them all that my best friend is dead.

So yesterdays call was the worst. A guy calls me up and asks me if I am mark, I am like yes, he was like your friend owes us some money and he has your name and number down as a reference (note: i wasn’t my friends guarantor). I was like yeah I know, you guys keep calling me and I keep telling you my friend is dead, he past away last August. The guy was like then send me his death certificate. I was like what the fuck?? No fucking way, I don’t have to send you anything, and stop fucking calling my number. He is like well he owes us money so you need to find a way to pay us back. I was like no I don’t, I don’t have to do anything for you, I am not a guarantor or anything. He was like yes but we have your number. I was like listen you fuck, I am not going to send you anything or do anything for you, don’t fucking call me again and I hung up the phone.

Unfucking believable how some people are. Till when will this go on? Will they ever stop calling me?


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Q8 Speed

Post by Mark

lambos in kuwait

I just found the coolest website, something I didn’t know existed in Kuwait. The site is actually a car talk forum but based in Kuwait. The members there discuss their latest car upgrades, or a recent car they spotted or which car they raced on what street. Its amazing stuff. Here are some examples of the topics they are discussing:

A8 Quattro Killed moi….. was worth it..
DB9 spotted (with pics)
Driftmaster accident (wallah maa testahel)
HaSsOnY Car Accident!! Gulf Road
SLR in Q8 (with pics)

There are tons more interesting topics and sections for all street racers or car modifiers in Kuwait. Very very interesting stuff and all this is in Kuwait! The website is Q8speed.com. The picture above of the Lamborgini’s is from a Q8 Speed gathering at AUK.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The PSP Review

Post by Mark

Its been a week now since I got my Sony PSP so, here is a review of my impressions.

The Screen
When we first got the PSP, both me and nat were completely surprised at how cool the screen was. It was stunning, nothing like anything we had seen before. Now, a week later, the screen still does look as good but of-course the shock and awe period is over. The colors and the contrast are really perfect. When one of us is playing the other one can still see the screen. The viewing angle didn’t seem to matter much, wherever the other person sits next to you, they will be able to see the screen. The 2 dead pixels are totally invisible. They are still there but they are so small you can’t see them, only when the screen is completely black you might be able to spot them, depending on how good your eyesight is. The screen is huge, and I am sure some people will manage to break it, and that makes me wonder, how much will a replacement screen cost and can it be replaced?

The Controls
The buttons are all laid out like the PS2 controller. The analog controller isn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be larger and more like the analog controllers on the ps2 and xbox joy-pads, but the one on the psp is smaller and slides in different directions and doesn’t tilt. Its awkward to use but maybe I could get used to it. Until I do though I am have been using the regular directional pad for 95% of the time. One major problem I have is the Power/Sleep button. Its located to the right of the device and sometimes when I get excited and press the R button on top hard, the whole device moves in my hand and that results in me accidently activating the power switch and putting my PSP to sleep. It hasn’t happened a lot but enough for me to mention it as a problem. Luckily they must have thought about this and there is a HOLD button which stops the PSP from accidently getting turned on or off. The start and select buttons are located under the screen next to the mute and brightness buttons. When the room is dark its hard to find the start button and you cant really feel your way to it since it isn’t extruding from the PSP that much. It would have been a lot cooler if the buttons under the screen had backlighting but then I guess it would be annoying when playing games.

The Handling
How does it feel holding the PSP? It’s not perfect but definitely feels better then holding the GameBoy SP. The gameboy SP was squarish and tiny, it never felt comfortable in my hands. The PSP on the other hand is much wider and so allows me to stretch my fingers completely underneath it. I would have preferred it if the PSP had more rounded edges but I am sure it would have made it look a lot uglier.

The Battery Life
When I first got the PSP I was expecting that I would face battery problems but I haven’t yet. The PSP is like a PDA or a phone, you use it through out the day at different intervals, then at night before you sleep you put it on charge. You can save battery life by dimming the screen a bit, it has 3 brightness settings, low, med and high. When the room is dark I have it on low since the high brightness is blinding, this also helps extend the battery life. You can actually keep it on the low setting all the time since really its not low at all and is very usable. Anyway basically I did not have any battery problems. Incase you will be traveling on a long flight, my advice is get an extra battery for $40. Its as easy as replacing the battery on your walkman.

Load Times
I was concerned with load time. I thought the load times would be a real pain. Well they are not. Since most of us own PS2s or Xbox’s then we are used to load times. But the PSP has one advantage over the PS2 and Xbox, sleep mode. With sleep mode you never have to load a game from start which is when most of the loading time goes. Instead, when you want to stop playing, you just hit the power switch and it puts the PSP to sleep. When you want to play again you hit the power switch again and it instantly comes on and you are back to where you left off. You can go to sleep at any point in the game, even in a middle of a race if you want. Its very practical. Load times from menu to game takes around 10 seconds, depending on the game but you don’t really notice it since we are already used to it from our xboxs and ps2s.

Connectivity
You can mount the PSP as an external hard-drive on your PSP by connecting it via USB. Thats if you have a memory-stick installed. Once you connect the PSP to your computer you can do many things. Mainly though you can copy movies, pictures and music onto the PSP. I got a software for my mac called iPSP, this software allows me to sync my PSP with iPhoto, iTunes and even converts any movie I have on my Mac so that it becomes viewable on the PSP. The biggest advantage of this USB connectivity is that you are now able to backup your game-saves AND most importantly, download other peoples saves from the web onto your PSP. Say for example you don’t have the time, skill or patience to open up all the cars in Need For Speed (cough cough like me cough cough) you can just download a 100% Complete save from the web and then copy it onto your PSP and just like that you now have all the cars and money you could ever dream of. Its all very easy. If you have wifi at home you can connect your PSP to the web to play multiplayer games or to download updates. It was very easy to connect the PSP to the local network and once I did it I was able to click the Download Content button in the game WipeOut Pure and the PSP opened up a web browser and took me to the WipeOut site. They didn’t have any content for me to download but when they will I would be able to get it. Once you are connected to the web there is a button in the main menu which checks and sees if your PSP has the latest software installed, if not, then it would download it for you and install it. In the near future you will be able to play games online against other people but at the moment no online multiplayer games exist.

tony hawk face mapping

The Games
I have WipeOut Fury, Tony Hawk and Need For Speed.

Tony Hawk – With Tony Hawk I was able to map my face onto a skater! I always wanted to do that. Basically what you do is you take your picture (I used my passport photo), and you save it as a 128×128 pixel jpg and you copy it onto your psp. Then in the game there is an option to download face, you click it, find your picture and press ok. Thats it, then you make minor adjustmants like skin tone and stuff and you are done. In the picture above I was trying to get my nose the right proportion. The game in general is basically exactly like the console versions. If you want a full review check out IGN.

WipeOut Pure – Wipeout is a showoff the system graphics game. Everytime I am showing off the PSP to someone I load Wipeout. Its fast, its 3D and its futuristic.

Need For Speed – This is currently the most game I play. Its extremely fast, and the graphics are also cool. Its my pick up and play anywhere game.

Conclusion
The PSP is definitely the coolest portable game system out there. The only competition is the Nintendo DS which pales in comparison. The PSP is not cheap but its not meant for kids either. The PSP is also not just a game system, its a portable entertainment center. Its a movie player, music player, picture viewer, videogame system and maybe in the future an internet browser. The system has a lot of potential and I am person waiting for MAME to be ported to the PSP, that would kick ass. Final score 4.5 out of 5.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]