Archive for October, 2011

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

Last night I went out to the bar to grab a couple drinks.  As my friends and I downed pints of the cheap stuff, I witnessed an ad for Guinness’s Black Lager that brazenly appropriated its direction from Requiem For A Dream.  It wasn’t until I saw the iconic dilating pupil that the sequence clicked and I realized what I was seeing.  Maybe you’ve seen the ad, also.  If not, it is right here with the shoot-up sequence from Requiem for comparison.

Remarkably similar, right?  The question on the table is not so much whether the Guinness concept is borrowed, but whether it matters, and if there is anything inherently wrong with that.  I haven’t made up my mind on this one yet, but I’m curious what other people think.

It’s like Steve said:


Reading Is Finally Fun!

The great thing about games is that cool ones don’t get old and nobody ever tries to make you play the lame ones with them.  But what makes one game good and another bad?  This is the burning question that will be answered in a cursory fashion before moving on to other topics.  Obvious factors include gameplay, incentives, and overall value of leaderboard position.  Let’s take a closer look.


Jet Life: A Terminal Condition

Every silver lining has its cloud.  After spending last week in beautiful, cloudless California, I had the pleasure of spending two days at the Atlanta airport on standby.  Once I grew numb to the soul-crushing misery of the world’s busiest airport raining on my parade, I got to thinking about a question I asked myself when first walking into the 2nd lowest-lying airport in the world:

How can wireless technology such as near field communication be utilized to tame the honey badger that is airport travel? (more…)

Turning Dining Back Into Eating

On my way to the airport today I stopped at Fat Cow, the new burger joint just outside the South gates of LSU.  Being a cheeseburger aficionado, (sounds better than addict, doesn’t it?) I felt a certain duty to indulge, and then to blab extensively while my mouth was still full, so to speak.  My apologies if, in my excitement, I stream masticated cheeseburger pixels all over your screen.  I recognize that the cheeseburger lacks a digital component, but branding started with cattle, and that’s enough of a connection for me.


Do You Understand The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth?

Many of the world’s greatest inventions are spawned from nebulous development projects underwritten by the Department of Defense, before being repurposed for civilian life.  Duct tape was introduced to put a watertight seal on ammunition canisters in the 1940’s.  Superglue was invented in the 1960’s to seal wounds in combat settings.  The microwave was perfected shortly after as an anti-communist death-ray.*

One area of technology I find interesting that is currently being advanced by military interests is speech-recognition.  The ability of computers to recognize and replicate human speech is improving at a steady, but only somewhat impressive rate.  Speech recognition has been available for a long time, but was often problematic, and always expensive. Only recently has it arrived at a level of reliability consistent with human perception. 

DJ Quade and MC Dersch of California’s IBM Crew break it down like a fraction with the IBM Shoebox, an early speech-recognition device that did arithmetic (1961) (more…)

Interactive Killed the Radio Star

Quite recently, Pandora got a minor remix.  The decision to revamp the platform was likely a response to the growing popularity of competing free-music outlets SoundCloud and Spotify.  Each has perks of its own, some more than others.  Perhaps it’s a matter of what the listener is looking for, but for my two cents, Spotify has usurped the headliner spot.  While Spotify is in the green room dousing groupies with champagne, Pandora is swilling Schlitz in the back of their van, wondering what happened to their promising rise.  Soundcloud, meanwhile lost the directions to the venue in their cluttered practice space (mom’s garage) and might miss their slot.