From all of us at GUO to you, Happy Holidays! We love you!
The Museum of London had used digital scanning to recreate what is believed to be the world’s oldest Christmas themed recording. Miraculously preserved all this time on the original wax cylinders used by phonographs of that era, these recording have not been heard in more than a hundred years as it was believed that the act of playing them would destroy it forever. This new digitizing process created by The British Library was so successful that 24 of the 26 recordings created by the Wall familly, dated from 1902 to 1917, have been recovered.
Read more and listen for yourself at MuseumOfLondon.org.uk.
While Kongregate user M3nTo5 gives the most succinct review of Garden Gnome Carnage:
“At first I was wtf. But then I was wtf.”
I’ll try my best to do this awesome game justice. You see, they bring Christmas. You hate Christmas. Fortunately, your house is on wheels and you’re a lawn gnome on a bungee cord tied to the chimney. Roll your house from side to side to get swinging and knock those jolly elves out of the sky, off of your house, and into the netherworld. Spacebar lets you pull bricks off your home and chuck ‘em as makeshift projectiles, but pull too many and your house will get shorter. Don’t forget to let the cat in! The shift key calls in handy-dandy airstrikes for when things get out of hand. And then there’s Emma, but we’re not gonna talk about the bonus round.
Garden Gnome Carnage is great fun. Play it for free at Ludosity.com in your favorite Flash enabled browser.
Subtlety? Bah. Good taste? Bah. A Jedi craves not these things. We’re going big and flashy on this edition of the Weekend Watchlist. Join us as we brighten the neighborhood with a geektastic festival of lights!
As is current fashion online, all roads lead to Gangnam Style. Here’s a synched Christmas light show choreographed to the famous tune.
You still there? I ‘m pretty sure I am. Seems this whole doomsday thing might have been a little blown out of proportion. Of course if you believe those eggheads that did stuff like put men on the moon, the world was never actually scheduled to end. Below is NASA’s own ScienceCast. This episode is entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday”.
How sure were they? Well, not so sure enough that they held the video. This video was published on December 11th
In spite of our insular nature and desire to reside to remain secluded in dark, Dorito filled techno-caves, Christmas is a wonderful time for geeks. It is a time when friends and family members, occupied with their brick-n-mortar shopping bonanzas and holiday baking, are too busy to take notice when when we slip out to the workshop for a little DIY decorating. Nothing is off limits and even the neighbors can’t complain as the ‘Spirit of the Season’ shields even the most adventurous gadgeteers from petty social concerns such as ‘taste’ or ‘safety’.
Today, Growing Up Otaku salutes these inspired inventors and ambitious artists in our 12 Geeks of Christmas Decorations Special!
Elders first! Coming to us from Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome is this terrifically tentacled tree. Sporting a plush Cthuhlu and 50 tentacles, this display best represents the madness of the season.Fa La La La Fhtagn!
Skinflint iOS users have long had a private bargain shopper in the form of AppShopper (Whoops! Looks like AppShopper just got pulled. Enjoy your bonus news story ;). Now Android users can create their own personal computer monitored wish-lists with AppWatch.
Search for titles available on the U.S. Google Play store and add them to AppWatch using Google Play’s Share function. Once logged, you’ll be notified of any update or price changes to the titles selected. Not only is this a great way to watch for sales on new goodies, but keeps tabs on older apps to see when updates may add new features.
AppWatch is available for free from Google Play.
Japanese toilets are already legendary in the west for their bevy of over-the-top functionality. Lixil attempts to one-up even this high standard by adding integration with everyone’s favorite gadget, smartphones.
The Satis G, E, and S type toilets are scheduled for release in Japan this February and feature a bevy of features such a flushing, seat warming, and music selections. While many of these features are already available in other toilets, usually via wall mounted touchscreen control panels, Satis leverages the power of your pocket PC by allowing owners to maintain a log of their… logs.
Man, I sure hope it updates Facebook and Twitter! That’s some dirty messaging!
Of course, we here are GUO are already integrating smartphone technology with the porcelain god.
The holiday season is chock full of excuses for getting all kinds of artsy-crafty.what with all the trees to trim and gifts to give. With so much to do and so much ground to cover even the most creative DIYer may find themselves in need of a little inspiration. Warm up the hot glue gun and roll out the duct tape because in this edition of the Weekend Watchlist Growing Up Otaku salutes these masterful makers with some ideas to keep you crafting around the Christmas tree.
Frist thing’s first. Let’s get that tree decorated! Otaku style! Who needs boring ol’ balls when you can just grab yourself a batch of capsule toys or figures and get hanging. From Pokémon to Princesses, Avatar or Angry Birds, you can get figure sets for nearly any franchise you favor. Can’t find figures? Hit up your favorite search engine for some papercraft ones! Tie on some ribbons or hot glue hooks and you’ll have a pretty pine as unique as you.
I happened to make a rare voyage into the world of brick-n-mortar retailing earlier this week and was surprised to find a good number of Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii-U, stacked up in the middle of the floor. Yep, even the coveted black "Deluxe Set”. Checking around town, both virtually and physically, revealed the same situation: Plenty of Wii-U consoles for anyone looking for one. I even returned to a local Best Buy store a couple times to confirm that I simply had not happened upon them during a restocking. Sure enough, the same stack of consoles still dominated the aisle in front of the registers. It appeared to be a box or two short of where it was during my previous visit, but there were ample supplies.
The Wii-U launch has appeared rather mishandled to me. Nintendo really hasn’t done a very good job in demoing the system during it’s year long publicity ramp-up. Even at launch, casual conversation revealed that many people still didn’t know that the Wii-U was an entirely new machine as opposed to a tablet add-on for the original Wii console. One of the system’s most interesting features, TVii, that promised to consolidate your cable and digital viewing worlds into a single browsing experience, has been delayed until next year. There have been stories of long update times and shoddy launch software, but these are par for the course in the launch of any new device, particularly Internet connected ones.
Could the younger and more casual audience Nintendo typically captures have moved on to other platforms, such as the XBox 360 or even tablets, or is this the first sign of a greater trend away from dedicated set-top boxes for gaming needs? Is there still a place for $300+ consoles requiring $60 pieces of software in a world where your phone or social network can deliver a ‘good enough’ gaming experiences for less than $5 or even free? Perhaps people have just finally gotten over the '’Must have now!’ mentality of early adopters and elected to wait for the inevitable price drop in six months. Maybe Nintendo has simply lost it’s touch when it comes to inspiring fans.
Regardless, you have to feel sorry for the guy who bought a Wii-U console for $750 on eBay.
Linus Torvalds, father of the free, open source, Unix clone Linux, announced that the latest build of his alt-OS darling will no longer support 80386 class processors. This being the Internet and all, there is sure to be some measure of nerd rage vented about the fact 386 operators will not being able to install the latest OS on their devices. However, this move has nothing to do with the lack of power in the venerable CPUs of yesteryear and everything to do with saving Linus and company’s sanity. The latest update post on git.kernel.org explains:
“"This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit
24 files changed, 56 insertions(+), 425 deletions(-)
... which complexity has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted to change SMP primitives, for years.
Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff."
I'm not sentimental. Good riddance.”
Intel manufactured 386 class processors from 1985 all the way through the year 2007. Speeds of these chips ran from 16 MHz all the way up to a blazing 40 MHz. That’s MEGAhertz, mind you. Not the 1000 times faster GIGAhertz. Math co-processors were not a standard component of the CPU and most 386 motherboards included a socket for its inclusion later. While wholly obsolete for use in PCs long before 2007, the chip would continue to find use world-wide as part of embedded systems and in some early smartphones such as the BlackBerry 950.
As Apogee’s FPS Rise of the Triad told you back in 1994 when you shrunk the screen all the way down for better system performance, it’s time to buy a 486.
Well, wonders never cease. RGB Classic Games (available online at ClassicDosGames.com) has taken all your old gaming buddies from yesteryear and bundled ‘em up with DOSbox and a little Java magic, and brought them to your favorite browser window.
This nostalgic treasure trove brings back all those old memories in their CGA/EGA/VGA glory. Travel back to a time when floppy disks were floppy and online meant dialing into a BBS with popular favorites like the original shareware versions of Doom, Duke Nuke’em, Abuse, Zork, Rise of the Triad, and 300 more. You’ll even find a selection of titles that have since been released as freeware such as One Must Fall 2097 and ZZT. Relive the RTS magic of Warcraft before there was World involved. Behold Lucasarts’ reinvention of the adventure game with Loom. Puzzle over the fact that no one could create a good sequel to Alone in the Dark. Check out the polygonal pectorals of Lara Croft in her very first tomb raid. Marvel at the fact that many titles sported more hours of gameplay in their free, demo versions than some modern $60 releases.
Warm up the Java applet, pop some Guns N’ Roses into the ol’ cassette player, and head on over to ClassicDosGames.com.
Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company, has launched a new online experience that puts you right in the middle of the cockpit of their shiny 787 Dreamliner passenger jet. The 787 Dreamliner Dream Pass features a collection of 360 degree videos featuring takeoff and landing procedures as well as up-close looks at the aircraft itself. This Flash powered feature even allows users to toggle between pilot commentary and actual in-flight radio chatter.
Take it out for a spin at Boeing’s NewAirplane.com.
Well, that certainly was an awkward title. But how best to describe F2P indie strategy shooter AirMech? Depending on how many gray hairs your sporting, this next statement will find you either squealing for joy or scrambling for Wikipedia.
Remember Herzog Zwei on the Sega Genesis? Airmech is that game! But online! And free!
Taking control of the titular vehicle, a giant robot that can transform into an aircraft, players build tanks, rocket launchers, and infantry and airlift them across a cavernous map to capture bases and blow up the other team’s HQ. Pulling aspects from a myriad of genres like real-time strategy, twin-stick shooters, and massive online battle arenas, Airmech is a carefully crafted whirlwind of twitchy tactics. With solo, co-op, and competitive multiplayer, there’s a whole bunch to look at.
And look we did! The live show is over now but you can relive all the arcade strategy as Elizabeth, Lou, and Brandon join yours truly for this thorough look at this genre defying indie game via the YouTube video below.
You can catch up on all of our previous video projects, including Twitchy Tuesdays, on the Growing Up Otaku YouTube channel.
Released to the Japanese iTunes store last month, The Pokémon Company’s official iOS version of the legendary pocket monster guide, the Pokédex, comes to North America for Apple’s mobile devices. This iOS version of the Pokédex supports Retina display for it’s cavalcade of 3D rendered critters, search functions using multiple criteria (Egg Group, Ability, type matchup, and learnable moves), and a ton of stats for planning your perfect party.
Sadly, this first official iOS release for a Nintendo affiliated company comes with a whole list of caveats. Pokédex for iOS, a $2 app, only includes the latest batch of Pokémon (#494 to #647). Other Pokémon are broken down by region and come via in-app purchase at an outrageous SIX BUCKS PER REGION. Want the original, classic Pokémon like Pikachu? Kanto region (#1 to #151) is $5.99. What about those Johto adventuring buddies like Togepi (#152 to #251)? You guessed it. ANOTHER $6. Want to complete your Pokedex? Duh. Gotta catch ‘em all, right? That will cost you a nickel short of $26!
Even moving past the price tag, Pokédex for iOS can’t help but be a disappointment for those expecting a real-life version of the the legendary encyclopedia prominently featured in so many games, television shows, and movies. This app eschews the traditional bright colors and personality for a bog-standard presentation that only the most generic of app construction kits could produce.
Finally, a quick warning of the system requirements is in order. This seemingly simple encyclopedia of childhood delights states that your Apple device needs to support and be updated to iOS 6.0 (or later).
Nintendo has finally brought one of their biggest IPs to a platform other than their own. It should be a joyous time for both the young and young-at-heart. Unfortunately a bland presentation and outrageous pricing scheme makes us wish they hadn’t bothered.
It begins with a high school girl, Sakura Sakurakouji, witnessing a mysterious event on her way home from school one day, She sees people being burned alive with a blue fire as a boy her age remains unharmed and stands over the people. She goes back to the scene with the police and there is no sign that this ever happened. The next day, the boy with the blue fire joins her high school class. Sakura becomes obsessed with finding out what is going on and follows the mysterious boy named Rei Ogami around to try to learn more about him. As the story develops, she learns that he is the sixth "Code: Breaker" and is a member of a team of assassins working for the government.
As the story unfolds in a roller coaster fashion, surprise and betrayal are always just around the corner. The story keeps moving and twisting as it goes. Each episode brings another new discovery that will make you look forward to the next episode to see what it will bring. Good and Evil are not so clear in this story. The lines blur as one questions the actions of Ogami, the antihero of this story. Code :Breaker delves into the morality of killing and what is a good reason to kill or is there a good reason to kill?
The art style is sharp with a modern look to it. The animation flows well with the fast past action of the story. The result brings a realism to the overall feeling to the show.
Another doom prediction comes from the ancient Sumerians, who predicted that a planet named Nibiru is set to collide with the Earth in Dec 2012. It also happens that they predicted that this would happen back in May 2003 but when nothing happened, they seem to have arbitrarily moved the date up a few years and crossed their fingers. Needless to say, the folks at NASA haven’t found any new planets in our solar system lately, especially not ones that are on a collision course with Earth.
We has two notable items posted on the blog this week. First, our very own Out of This World Weekly space tech columnist, Louis Jorgl, debuted his first video production with The Technology Report discussing our future with robotics. Secondly, we bid a teary-eyed farewell to NASA’s first spidernaut, Nefertiti. Growing Up Otaku salutes both of these momentous events in this Weekend Watchlist by unceremoniously smashing them together. Join us now as we bust out the magnifying glass and gawk at the strange world of robotic insects.
Our first feature takes us back more than four years to Robert Wood’s amazing robotic flies from the Museum of Modern Art’s “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibit.
The rash of affordable tablets are sure to have put these new touchy computers on the top of many people’s holiday wish lists, but which one to get? Sure you can look at speed tests, browser tests, and even drop tests, but Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec and star of one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns to ever grace the Internet, has a better idea. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Nokia has partnered with audio production company Epic Sound and hired the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra to record 25 original compositions (dubbed “miniatures”) for use as ringtones in their phones. A few of these recordings are already available on the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920. As it turns out, classical music snippets are the second most popular category of ringtones. Nokia sound engineer Aleski Eeben explains that the new tunes were designed from the ground up to be “distinctively ring tones: they are short, and they all have a functional sounds element.”
So, why the orchestra? Your standard ringtones are cranked out by synthesizers in a studio. Asbjoern Andersen of Epic Sound explains:
“There’s a lot of thought, effort and new ideas put into the devices – not only in terms of the hardware, but also in the overall user experience and design of the products.
The Nokia mobile sounds are heard around a billion times a day, so a lot of work is put into ensuring that they would stand repeated listening in a lot of different environments and to give the products a unique, organic sound you don’t normally hear on mobile devices.”
Frankly, the new line of Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices have been the only smartphone to really catch my attention this year, particularly the Lumia 920. A refreshing change from the traditional black slab running something vaguely resembling Windows 3.1, these new color coordinated pocket computers really tickle the lizard-like bit of my brain looking for the latest shiny thing. It’s good to hear (er, no pun intended) that these new handsets are going to be as easy on the ears as they are on the eyes.
Source: The Telegraph
The worlds first (known) Spidernaut passed away on the morning of December 3rd, less than a week after having been relocated to the “Insect Zoo” exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Nefertiti, a Johnson Jumper spider, was one of a batch of creepy-crawlies delivered to the International Space Station in July as part of the YouTube Space Lab series of experiments. There she learned to adapt her native hunting practices to zero gravity and capture less lucky spaceborne insects.
After a 100 day stint on the orbiting laboratory, Nefertiti returned to Terra Firma in October. Under the watchful eyes NASA, the spidernaut successfully readapted to a gravity-centric world.
Nefertiti was moved to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on November 29th. It seems that living in the spotlight would be the heroic fly-sucker’s undoing. Actually, this species of spider only has a typical lifespan of one year. Nefertiti was 10 months at time of death. The space bug’s remains will remain on exhibit at the museum.
Let Nefertiti stand as an example to all the rest of you creepy bugs out there: You can do it! Get the hell off my planet!
Software is much more fluid and organic today than it used to be. Developer updates pushed to an constantly connected audience frequently changes a program from it’s initial form in response to fan feedback or developer inspiration. Critical analysis of software must adapt to these new rules of the road in order to maintain relevancy and usefulness. Fortunately documents on the Internet can have their ones and zeroes rearranged to keep pace with the medium and continue to provide pertinent information.
With this in mind we have appended our article “Review: Scribblenauts Remix (iPhone/iPad): Wet Stinky Angry Birds vs Lazy Zombie Robot Ninjas” to better reflect the current content and price point of the title. We have also changed our original score of 4/5 to a 5/5.
Defense Distributed, the folks behind the Wiki Weapon project, have achieved a new milestone. Following the repossession of their Stratasys Mojo 3D printer, the intrepid group has soldiered on in their quest to produce the world’s first 3D printable firearm. In the following video Defense Distributed takes a a 3D printed lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle out to the firing range. The weapon fires six rounds before breaking.
The design used is from MakerBot’s free public repository for 3D models, the Thingiverse. The “Reinforced AR-15 Lower Receiver” model was produced by user HaveBlue, but had not actually been tested as a part of a gun before.
While perhaps not performing up to the standards Defense Distributed had hoped, the test firing of this part has led the group to gather invaluable data for use in refining the design.
Two weeks ago, Defense Distributed applied for 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. According to Wikipedia, 501(c)(3) exemption applies to “corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.” Organizations operating under 501(c)(3) status are frequently referred to as “Friends of…”
We’re going indie on this Twitchy Tuesday’s live stream with the beautiful new survival game Miasmata. Prepare to take a tumble off a hill while searching for drinkable water with myself and The Mrs. on our quest to create a cure for the plague. Of course it’s not all falling and drowning. Somewhere out there in this tropical paradise turned graveyard a… thing… is hunting us.
The show’s over for this week, but you can relive all the spills and chills below as we strive to survive yet another live broadcast. Experience the magic we preach about everything wrong with modern, big budget gaming and shriek like little girls at the sudden appearance of The Creature. Really! Honest to God live screaming.
The Lou formerly known as The Great One launches his new video project today, The Technology Report, so click your like buttons together and give him a warm welcome.
I’m going to be trying something new by moving into the mid 20th century by using video reporting. Seems like video is what all the kids are watching these days, so let’s see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll get better as I get some practice at this, so please hang in there as we at GUO work out the details. A thousand thanks to my video producer and technical assistant, Michael Krutzler. Please feel free to comment here or on YouTube.
Cambridge story: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/humanitys-last-invention-and-our-uncertain-future/
Humand Rights Watch and Harvard Law: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/11/19/ban-killer-robots-it-s-too-late
Robot Combat League via Entertainment Weekly: http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/11/20/robot-combat-league/
December is a maddening time of the year. You got the crazy shopping, insane decorating, nerve-racking family visits, and upsetting bankruptcy paperwork all crammed into a 31-day period were everyone is expected to be nice and love one another. In such mind rending times, why not commit to a quiet minute each morning with the original gods of madness, Cthulhu and Friends?
Cthulhu Christmas Calendar comes to us from Red Wasp Design, the folks behind the turn-based tactical iOS game Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. In this new advent calendar app you’ll greet each new day with a shriek as Big C, Nyarlathotep, and all their crazy buddies greet you with adorably insane artwork and break your sanity with a bit of trivia from the H.P. Lovecraft created mythos. Best of all, this celebration of Christmas madness is free today!
Well, that was a trying month if you’re unlucky enough to be living in the Northeastern United States. Good to see you and yours again! We’ve been sitting down here pounding away at our keyboards yammering on and on about the latest flotsam and jetsam of geekery to wash up on the shores of the Internet. Man, I bet you missed a bunch of stuff what with the lack of electricity and all. Lucky for you I’ve got this slide projector all set up with a fresh batch of clips about how we made it all. Wait… Were are you going?
Come on! It’s getting cold out there and I won’t take “No” for an answer. Seriously. Now sit down. Good. Now I’m just going to put these handcuffs on and… Perfect! Now, if you’ll direct your attention to this first slide, you’ll see all the pain behind the posts, the thoughts behind the themes, and the numbers behind the nuance. Welcome to Behind the Blog!