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Tag : Geek

I see music everywhere! Mp3 players that Is!

Best Buy opened a huge location five minutes away from my place. So I decided to go for a small stroll and browse through the wares my big blue and yellow neighbour had to offer. Especially since there is a three story Future Shop –which was acquired by Best Buy in 2001 for a thrifty $500 Million– three minutes north on Yonge Street. As some of your may know, I have been homebound for a while yet I was curious to see what a futile exercise in laissez-faire capitalism looks like these days.

Obviously I have been out of the personal electronics must-have’s loop for some time. As little did I know the first pentad of the new millennium has been utterly overrun by the MP3 player.
Sure music is valuable for self-expression and one of the highlights of being human, but since when do people must have a musical player attached to their ears everywhere they go?
I swear I can’t count five people down the street without one bopping their head left to right to some unheard beat. You would think them crazy if it were not for the tell-tale cables running from their pockets to their heads.

No Sony, your Walkman is been buried and dead, so don’t even try it, I won’t be writing about you. Just stick with your cellphones and playstations. Any who, I simply could not believe the store, aisle after aisle, if not of MP3 players themselves than of accessories for the damn MP3 players.

So who is the man in this $4.3 billion MP3 player market you ask? Who is at the top of the hill and the source of ravenous envy to all its competitors? Why the aesthete that is the Ipod of course. With 70 million sold in the last five years the Ipod commands now what Apple has been having wet dreams since its inception back in ’76: A mass audience who also happen to be rabid consumers.

As I walked through the rows of Ipod speakers, car holders, stereo add-ons and the ever needed Ipod socks (just $39.99 for a pack of six) really, I am not kidding. I could not help feeling a little stupefied by all of this. Perhaps ‘overwhelmed’ would be a better word. After all, Apple is not the only one throwing their weight around. Other companies like Dell, Toshiba, Scandisk, Samsung and many others have jumped into the bandwagon. After all, if you build it even if it sucks, someone is bound to buy it.

So on that note, just when you think you can see the end of the party crasher’s line. Here comes big brother Microsoft, elbowing everyone –as usual–out of the way as it tries to get in before MP3 players are passe.

Microsoft obviously not happy there is a market in its road to world domination it has yet to get its sticky fingers on has created what they call an ‘Ipod killer.’ So what is the name of this late entry? It is the Zune. Now on paper this product sounds great. It has a bigger screen than the rest of the competition, Wifi and as such you can share MP3s on the go.
It sounds all great and good until you start finding the Wifi will only work with other Zunes.
That you can only play transfered MP3s three time in three days, after that the song becomes unplayable, unless you buy it from their on-line store. This includes your own collection which you may own fair and square. Heck these includes your own creations! So if you are a musician, don’t put your original work in the Zune. What is the point of sharing then?

However what I found out on my trip to both stores is that at this point in the MP3 market companies are not just selling you a digital player. Oh no. You see, a music player is no longer just music player. It is much more than that. At least that is what millions spent in marketing keep on stating, shouting and dancing in ad after ad: ‘Our Music player doesn’t only play music. It more… It’s cool. Its a media and social event all by itself. It’s an artistic expression, a bold reflection of your raw and unadulterated id for God’s sake! It will get you laid! What are you doing standing there? GO BUY ONE NOW!

Just remember before you buy any of Microsoft products –and in fairness any other product in the future– the Zune is a first generation device. The reviews have been negative for the most part. Not to say that even big brother might not have a good thing going in the future. However right now, they don’t. If you decide to purchase it anyway for this Christmas season, don’t be surprised if you get a little too acquainted with windows such as this one:


Oh, one last thing. The future is in all-in-one devices. Not just on Mp3 players and media players and so on. Apple and its competitors are slowly heading into that direction but will surely take their time until consumers wise up.

For those who are wondering what I have used when needing a music player: I bought myself a smartphone almost two years ago. Put a 1 gig memory card on it and since then I had a colour screen bigger than an Ipod, a phone, a media and MP3 player, plus a voice recorder, pda and Internet browser all for $250. It pays to be an educated consumer, even if does not look as cool as an Ipod.

Update 18/11/2006:
Man uses Mp3 player to hack ATM’s in the UK! Read here.

Portal: The next generation in gaming.

This is not the usual type of post I do, however I had to share what I found. Just released, Prey (pictured right) is a game that innovates the FPS with the ideas of portals. Yes, those holes in reality that if walked into take you to a different place altogher.
They are just there for the foolish to walk in.

HOwever, below is the is the first look at Valve’s new game, called Portal which redefines that whole idea. For those who are reading this and going, ‘who the hell is Valve?’ They are the materminds of a small game called HalfLife. Now for those who are now reading this and saying what the hell is HalfLife?’ I would say, HalfLife is as it stands one of the most sold games in the history of gaming with sales in the millions. Also it was a revolutionary game in the areas of playability, graphics, and story telling. Making you the player feel like if you were living your own thriller\action movie.

Event the way the game starts would not be out of place in movie, but unlike most blockbusters the plot is actually rather engaging. Either way a gamer’s geek delight.

Anyway, this is their new game, called Portal. I would like to tel you what it is about, but nothing, and I mean nothing beats just wathing the demo: HERE.

Even if you are not into video games –which I am not– you will still find it very interesting. Even if it is at how amazing computers have come from the days of Pong and Pacman.

Just click on play button below to see the demo.

Oh, and as desert, watch this stop-motion photography rendition of some ancient games. Now done with REAL humans! Thanks to some bored students in Switzerland.
HERE.

NewsBrief Part VIII: Waiting Three Days And Counting For Date: “She’s Coming, I Know It”

Naperville – Phillips R. Sacks, a veteran greeter at the local Wal-Mart would like to let Mary Reighton know he is still waiting at Kit-Kat Tsunami, a trendy downtown pool lounge and tobacco shop to begin their first date.

‘Sure, she didn’t seem interested at first, but things change. I remember there was a time last week when she wouldn’t even talk to me. Persistence pays off.’

The date began last Friday night when he arrived at Kit-Kat at around 8:00pm. Mr. Sacks spent the first three hours playing pool, then had a few beers and since then has sustained himself on a mixture of free peanuts, water and lots speciality coffee. ‘Women are always late so I don’t think much of it.’

Andrew Beers added his establishment being open 24/7 is what has kept him from removing Mr. Sacks from the premises. We normally have a $5 per person seating policy and he has been spending $5.25 every hour he’s been here. I want the good folk of Naperville to know Kit-Kat stands by its policies. Even if he starting to reek. So if you want to have a good time Kit-Kat is the place to be. Remember we do parties, weddings and catered events; look us up in the yellow pages. Our prices ar—’ When reminded the article was about Mr. Sacks endeavour, he added ‘Yeah, what a chump. He hasn’t moved off that sofa and the wait staff are beginning to complain. If he stays for another day, the stench is going to get pretty bad. The moment he runs dry, he is out of here.’

Mr. Sacks met Miss Reighton at his job where she was a customer. ‘It was attraction at first sight. Mind you she gave me quite the chase. I almost lost her twice, around the toy aisle and when she hid in the women’s change room. She was sneaky, she thought I would not dare but that is how you impress a girl.’

Mrs. Reighton was contacted but we were unable to reach her for comment.

NewsBrief Part VIII: Waiting Three Days And Counting For Date: "She’s Coming, I Know It"

Naperville – Phillips R. Sacks, a veteran greeter at the local Wal-Mart would like to let Mary Reighton know he is still waiting at Kit-Kat Tsunami, a trendy downtown pool lounge and tobacco shop to begin their first date.

‘Sure, she didn’t seem interested at first, but things change. I remember there was a time last week when she wouldn’t even talk to me. Persistence pays off.’

The date began last Friday night when he arrived at Kit-Kat at around 8:00pm. Mr. Sacks spent the first three hours playing pool, then had a few beers and since then has sustained himself on a mixture of free peanuts, water and lots speciality coffee. ‘Women are always late so I don’t think much of it.’

Andrew Beers added his establishment being open 24/7 is what has kept him from removing Mr. Sacks from the premises. We normally have a $5 per person seating policy and he has been spending $5.25 every hour he’s been here. I want the good folk of Naperville to know Kit-Kat stands by its policies. Even if he starting to reek. So if you want to have a good time Kit-Kat is the place to be. Remember we do parties, weddings and catered events; look us up in the yellow pages. Our prices ar—’ When reminded the article was about Mr. Sacks endeavour, he added ‘Yeah, what a chump. He hasn’t moved off that sofa and the wait staff are beginning to complain. If he stays for another day, the stench is going to get pretty bad. The moment he runs dry, he is out of here.’

Mr. Sacks met Miss Reighton at his job where she was a customer. ‘It was attraction at first sight. Mind you she gave me quite the chase. I almost lost her twice, around the toy aisle and when she hid in the women’s change room. She was sneaky, she thought I would not dare but that is how you impress a girl.’

Mrs. Reighton was contacted but we were unable to reach her for comment.