Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canada's Olympic Win... and Pittsburgh

I'll be honest, I've never really followed hockey.  But even I was drawn to the drama of this showdown between the U.S.A. and our "neighbors to the north."  This wasn't just about a game, or a medal.  This was flat out national pride on the line!

However, I found the fallout in my digital circle of friends rather amusing.  I live in Pittsburgh, and while Americans are mighty proud... Sidney Crosby is a Penguin.  In a town famous (infamous?) for fanatical devotion to its sports teams, this made for some interesting facebook-reading post-game:

(click the image to view large enough to actually read!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Video Games Live!

Today (the 12th) was my birthday! Yay!

As part of the celebrations, my brother (with some help from my girlfriend) brought me to Video Games Live:  Bonus Round, here in Pittsburgh. This is their second show here with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

This show has been touring since 2005, and plenty has already been said about it. Suffice to say: it's a really fun evening, and I'm really happy to see video game music, and game music composers, getting this kind of wider recognition. I wasn't able to make it the first time they had a show here, so I can only comment on this performance. A few highlights...

  • The performances were generally excellent. The orchestra was great, the conductor was really into it, and the host really knew how to engage the crowd. (The only real letdown was the violin soloist for the Bioshock segment. The introduction to Rapture is a pretty unforgiving theme, and it didn't really seem to be his night)
  • It being Valentine's Day on sunday, they opened with a poem: "Roses are #FF0000, Violets are #0000FF.  All of my base are belong to you." Not the most original spin on that old meme, but it still got a nice laugh from the crowd.
  • They had two audience members come up and play Frogger. (I'm pretty sure it was the Atari 2600 version.) Time limit was 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Neither one got past the first level.  Come oooon...  haha
  • Flute Link!  I had somehow missed it when she first appeared at Otakon a couple years ago, but Laura Intravia is a very talented flutist, and also a cosplayer. Combining the two, she became Internet-famous, and is now touring with VGL! Score! (The video below is from the Sãu Paulo show last October)

  • Anthony Daniels (better known as the guy who plays C-3PO) was there! He's an adjunct professor at CMU's Entertainment Technology Center, and came to the show. When the host learned of this, he wasted no time in directing everyone's attention to it. Cue thunderous applause and spontaneous standing O. That alone made the night.
  • The host made a sideways jab at the Tony Hawk series for making too many sequels. "But it's ok.  I can say it - I wrote the music for the first one.  But I stopped after that..."
  • They had a Guitar Hero contest before the show, where whoever did the best would be invited up on-stage to play it live later in the show. The same guy won who did it at last year's show!  And he doesn't even live in Pittsburgh! To be fair, he was damn good at Guitar Hero...
All in all, it was definitely a great experience, and I hope to go again!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Latest Electronic Privacy Risk: Copy Machines???

Something you'd never really think about, but apparently traded-in or sold office copiers actually represent a pretty huge privacy / identity theft risk:

Some of the information here is just crazy.  I mean, yes, clearly the machine needs to store cached digital versions of documents in order to fax them, email them, or even just offer a "print 20 more of that last thing I did" button.  But why in the world would the copier ever need to store 25,000 cached documents???

Easy fix?  The drives should be wiped before the machine is resold or returned.  (and if there isn't already a way to do that from the menus, there should be.)  That's the same standard operating procedure a company should be using for computers.  And let's face it, everything is a computer these days.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Beautiful Google Ad

I actually spotted a Flash ad for this video on my webcomic several days ago, and word is that Google is going to be playing it during the Superbowl.

Simple, honest, emotional...  now that is how you do advertising.