The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Posts Tagged ‘Shannon’

You’ll never believe this…

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 29, 2008

They Rick-Rolled the Macy’s Day Parade!  XD  That’s right, the internet trend of sending your friend a covert link to a YouTube video of Rick Astley sing Never Gonna Give You Up has been translated to real life when the entire viewing audience was Rick-Rolled as Astley appeared on the Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends float.  If there ever was proof that the internet is universally pervasive this is it!


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Please cue Miss Wray

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 26, 2008

There isn't a can of bug spray big enough...

The spider rises up like something out of the glory day of Sci-Fi movies

THIS IS NOT A MOVIE STILL!  This is not related to any movie in anyway.  This is a giant walking mechanical spider built by French artists and engineers La Machine, for fun and science!  Hurray for Science!  Thirty hard working men and women built and modeled this mechanical marvel on a real spider and set it loose (with a properly trained and snappily dressed team of 18 to run it) on Liverpool, England.

Sadly, I’ve come across this info too late (thanks Daily Planet) and sadly we cannot all hop aboard the next flight to England to see this marvel.  “La Princesse”, as the spider has been dubbed, roamed around Lime Street Station in Liverpool for five days in September as part of cultural celebrations.  I know, I know, it’s old news but it’s SO COOL.

Here the lower tier full of operators can be seen above the crowd

18 crew members view the crowd from above

Ok, so how is this related to tech?  COME ONE!  Can you IMAGINE the engineering that went in to this thing!  It walks on 8 spindly little legs OVER the crowds without hurting a SOUL!  I’m sorry if I’m gushing, but having engineers and computer science majors for friends has left me with an appreciation for this stuff.

Think about it, this is composed of the same parts that move cranes and bulldozers, lifts garage doors and Zamboni squeegee bits.  That’s like the Mythbusters cobbling a car out of Meccano!  Can you imagine seeing that machine rolling around the streets of San Francisco?  Actually… that sounds like a wicked idea… I think I’m gonna go e-mail that in to M5, but I digress.  The point is, this is an amazing fushion of technical science and art, and I would love to know more about how this beauty was built.

Also, as an explanation of the title for this piece: Fay Wray was the original movie scream queen, and a fellow Albertan.  You probably know her best as the blond in the original King Kong who screams bloody horor as she’s dragged away by the ape.

I’ll stop ranting and raving at you now, and I appologize for the overzelous post but this is the kind of madness-meets-art-meets-science-project thing we need to see more of to really get people interested in funding and paying attention to the Science and Engineering community.

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Is it really a Dream: Eternal Sonata for the PS3

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 20, 2008

After a year of waiting Eternal Sonata made it's debute on the PS3 last month

After a year of waiting Eternal Sonata made it's debut on the PS3 in Oct.

As I said earlier I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Eternal Sonata lately after I rented it for my PS3.  Though it’s been out on the XBOX 360 for a year now I’ve been religiously avoid propaganda and information on the game to keep my impression of the game pristine.

Now there are many reviews of the content of Eternal Sonata so I’m gonna gloss over that a bit, but there’s some new content for the PS3 version of the game that I found really fun!

So Eternal Sonata is a J-RPG based loosely around the life of pianist and composer Frederic Chopin.  Don’t worry aside from some educational cinematic there’s very little in the game that is directly related to the life of Chopin.  Instead the gameplay takes place in a dream had by the character Chopin as he lays dieing in Paris.  I haven’t finished the game yet so I don’t know if this is true or not, but it makes for a neat premise.

Prince Cresendo is now playable and joins the party wielding a Mace and Shield.

Prince Crescendo is now playable and joins the party wielding a Mace and Shield.

Anyway, the usual multiple characters from different backgrounds with different purposes make their appearances and eventually you have a nicely balanced crew to choose you battle party from.  The characters are a little stereotyped but all have compelling stories and personalities. Eventually you have to go and defeat evil and change the world and save everyone.  The usual hero story with a romantic subplot or two.  This particular game features strong overtones of nationalism (this being based on Chopins life in exile) and personal integretity.

Like I said, I’m glossing over the storyline quiet a bit.  I’d love to review it, but it’s been done before.  So on to the new PS3 content.

Princess Serenade has also become playable fighting with a staff and magic

Princess Serenade has also become playable fighting with a staff and magic

Prince Cresendo and Princess Serenade are key players in the game’s storyline as thier titles suggest.  In the orignal realease of Eternal Sonata these characters were not playable but that has been changed in the PS3 version.  So far I’ve spent about 3 hours playing with them (that includes a lot of leveling up and the like) and though they didn’t stay in my party I have a feeeling they’ll be back.

There are new dungeons too; mostly quick levels with pretty backgrounds and have a few helpful items mixed in.  I’m having a hard time seeing which are original and which are new, which is impressive that they blend so seamlessly into a complicated game.  These new levels also give us new scenes which further explain character origins and the mechanics of the game world.  I’m somewhat surprised they weren’t in the games first version because they’re really helpful and expand the game quiet a bit.

Theres very few images available of the new costumes yet.  This is Polka in her new green dress (normally wears pink as seen on game cover)
Polka looks great in green!

The look and sound of the game got a tiny tweak for the new system with new musical versions of Chopin’s music being put in and new character portraits.  Of course there’s all the new art seen in the new levels, which shouldn’t be sold short.  Graphically this game is PRETTY!

Lastly, and staying in line with the PRETTY look fo the game, you can now but three of the game’s main characters in to new costumes.  I’ve only found one so far.  😦

So that’s the run down.  Pretty major stuff eh?  Almost makes it worth the year wait.  Almost… I’m not a patient woman Namco-Bandai.  Don’t let it happen again, or there will be no dessert for you.

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Spreading the Message: Internet Interactivity

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 11, 2008

A man makes a movie.  He posts it to Google video.  A huge number of people watch it.  A message is spread.

Zeitgeist and it’s sequel: Zeitgeist: Addendum spread like wildfire across the internet.  Examining everything from banking, to religion, to politics, the movies get people talking.

Some people view the films as gospel, others as fiction, others as one side of a larger story.  Articles are written, reviews are posted and links are spread. The message reaches further, but it’s changing.  The film’s message is there, but the message of those that spread it is attached.  “Have a laugh, watch this movie”, “Watch this movie, destroy the government”.  Coloured glasses view the film.

The Internet grows the movement fast.  Spreading the word.  Action taken, speeches given.

Internet spreads the message, and all it’s meanings, ever on.

Posted in Digital Culture, Interaction | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

An E-Book Proposition

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 10, 2008

The new Sony Reader PRS 700 has touch screen note taking abilties, and is only 6 inches long.  It lacks colour though.

The new Sony Reader PRS 700 has touch screen note taking abilities, and is only 6 inches long. It lacks colour though. For more on this reader click here

I was flipping through a magazine at the doctors office the other day and read a quick review on an E-book reader, which got me thinking.

E-books, for those not in the know are books in digital form.  They can be likened to PDF’s or scanned images of a paper book, but an E-Book is formatted like a cross between a PDF and a Word Document.  Long story short you can read the E-book page by page just like a regular book, can highlight things on it (if your reader allows the function) and can save your place so you can come back to it later.  It’s not a terribly revolutionary concept I know, and that’s most likeley why we don’t hear alot about it.

E-books cost about as much as the average paperback, or less depending on the licencing.  This cost is the main turn off for most people who don’t see the point of paying for digital content, just like they don’t see the point of paying for an MP3.  And maybe for the average reader I can understand that, but I have a question.

Why aren’t we doing E-books for post secondary textbooks?

Textbooks cost a fortune, are used for one class and then either resold or left in a corner to collect dust.  They’re bulk, heavy, easily damaged and take a ton of materials to make.  So why aren’t we using E-books instead.

Imagine picking up a small E-book reader and having all your textbooks in it.  A purse sized object holds a semester’s worth of knowledge.  You can highlight on them, and if you have the right interface even scribble notes on the digital pages.  Imagine how little it would cost.  The reader would be the biggest investment but it would be reusable over the years.  Each textbook would cost a fraction of it’s current cost because you simply pay

Programs like Mobipocket allow those using non specialized readers to annotate thier e-books easily

Programs like Mobipocket allow those using non specialized readers to annotate their e-books easily

for the license not the materials used to produce it.  Imagine the environmental benefits of not cutting down the trees needed for each book.

I’m sure if a program doesn’t already exist, one could be developed that could transfer your highlighting into a word document.  Instant notes.

I propose we work at getting publishers and post secondary institutions to look in to at least making E-books an option. Now I know there are problems that need to be solved for this to work.  Mainly that there needs to be further improvements in digital readers such as colour screens and more touchscreen capabilities, and the cost of E-books needs to drop to really reflect licensing fees, but because we’re looking at this for educational purposes arrangements on all of the above may be made.  We all know that companies look to affiliate with post secondary institutions to look good.

Thank you all for listening to my ramblings, now post yours and lets try to think this through, and maybe into existance.

Posted in Digital Culture, H/S Buzz, Hardware/Software, Interaction, Tech News, Web Buzz, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »