Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anecdote of the Day

Differentiating things in Matlab will often give you fucked up results depending how you phrase the input.

But integrating in Matlab will usually give a fairly clean result that is often identical regardless of input. And one that's usually nicer than what you get manually.

Which is good because integrating is a hell of a lot harder by hand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The real reason I quit music

I have too many friends that are musically talented.

There's Mr. Professional Composer Marius "Dickhead" Masalar himself. I will speak no more of him because his ego is doing just fine.

Axon is really good at piano and majoring in such; I guess it's all part of being in a music family.

Mike is godly on sax and then he just decides to quit for no reason.

Dan is dece, I think he's sax RCM 8; he's complained about losing auditions to people crappier than him because school bands tend to favor music majors. I envy his Super Action mostly.

I guess Crobert is pretty good at guitar, but not like Matt Tsang, who is Pretty Good at guitar.

And as much as I hate Kaiser, I was impressed with the diverse number of Not Easy¹ instruments he managed to pick up².

Justin is okay³, I'm giving a shout out to him just because bassoons are hilarious and amazing.

I'm not going to bother counting the number of people that finished Royal Conservatory on piano because among my Asian homies, that's not even an impressive metric anymore.

FFS, even Anya is RCM 9 piano and she's not exactly what I think of as musically inclined. Plus Serbian handicap etc etc.

At least with visual art I only have to compete with people that kick my ass on the internet.

In other news, if I found out Eeshan played Civ4 on Deity, I would've quit the game forever. Right there. Good thing he apparently sucks and doesn't know how anything works.

Or bad thing, I don't know.

1. {Sax, Piano, Flute} ⊂ "Easy"; {Violin, French Horn, Trumpet} ⊂ "¬Easy"
2. Competently AKA not half-assed AKA not like me
3. AFAIK reached level cap with RCM on piano, but bassoons are so much more interesting because if you ever picked up a bassoon you'd understand that none of the finger mappings make any sense. At all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Apple Premium

The New Yorker has come out with a new iPad app.

It costs $4.99 an issue on the iPad.

But wait, if you subscribe to the magazine in paperback form, it's less than a dollar an issue.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Civilization V

I think a problem with CiV is that it doesn't iterate on what made things work in the previous games.

It had a fresh new designer without the experience and talent of Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds or Soren Johnson.

As an example, consider Starcraft 2. After the competitive community discovered walling as an effective Terran strategy in the first game, Blizzard maintained it as a defining trait of the race in SCII with lowering Supply Depots. Unbalances can be patched out if the core gameplay is there.

Civ 4 built on Civ 3's successes and corrected degenerative strategies. Maintenance costs were introduced to stop settler fast expands. Wonders were weakened to stop wonder spamming. Overflow was introduced so people didn't need to micro their tiles for resource optimization¹. Of course this made certain old strategies nonviable, but their most devoted players were brought on board to playtest and make comments.

And they backpedaled when the changes were too much. Early prototypes had more natural terrain, but they went back to a more solidly defined tile system when it became confusing for players to understand tiles, which made it hard to develop strategies.

Of course Civ 4 wasn't perfect. Sushi engine was overpowered while most of the other corporations were useless (Standard Ethanol, moer liek Standard EthaLOL m i rite), Inca fast-expand is broken at marathon speeds, diplomacy was easy to game and cottage spam is...well cottage spam.

Hex tiles and new combat rules help fix Civ 4's stupid Stack of Doom mechanic. But where Civ4 fixed old mechanics, CiV gutted them instead. Corporations, religions and espionage are out entirely. Cottages were removed because the culture mechanics were changed. Civics are an entirely different mechanic now.

Perhaps most contentiously, diplomacy is entirely black boxed now. The old system had flaws, and maybe the new system is better. But if you want a serious strategy game, it's never a good idea to obscure mechanics from the players. Maybe they wanted the AI to behave more like people, but that was something Soren Johnson explicitly cautioned against when designing game AIs. If I wanted realistic diplomacy, I'd play Diplomacy. Against people.

CiV is still a new game, so it's a bit early to call it bad. But it's definitely a wait and see at this point.

Certainly good looking though.

1. You can still do stupid things though: barracks, swap queues @ 1 turn to complete, 2x chop, swap back @ chopping complete + whip => $texas. Which goes to show, you just can't keep a good scheming player down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bird's Nest MkII

Aviva stadium in Dublin.

I for one think it looks pretty good.

From the sides in any case.

Hang on

TLC is still recording?

They're like 40 now.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Snow Leopard

On one hand, I got ~10gb of space back.

On the other hand, Exposé on 10.5 (which is the best thing ever) is kind of bad now.

Therefore I theorize that what they removed in 10.6 was actually 10gb of Exposé optimizations.

edit: Also, the spacebar to zoom feature on 10.6 Exposé is actually kind of useless; it's the same amount of key pressing to just select the window with F9 and Exposé out again if you grabbed the wrong app.

Friday, September 17, 2010

EFV is stupid

Congress is preparing to kill it and foot the cancellation bills if it fails the next round of tests.

Good riddance. Reliability issues aside, the thing is massive, has zero ground clearance, needs an engine with twice the power of an M1A2 and costs approximately a gajillion dollars per copy.

And it can't do anything that you couldn't do better with a Stryker on a purpose built landing craft.

Or buy a bunch of CH-53Ks instead, because those things are bomb.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Mio uses an Audix OM6.

Just so you know.
She also uses a lefty sunburst 1962 Fender J-bass with turtleshell pickguard, an Ampeg SVT-450H, AKG K701s, a Macbook 2nd Gen and wishes for a Boss GT-10B set.

No Thank You

T ainaka
H irasawa
A kiyama
N akano
K otobuki

Friday, September 03, 2010

Colour revelations!

I found out today that ultramarine blue refers to sulfur sodio-silicate blues in general, as opposed to just the blue for painting Ultramarines.

When a colour is called something like titanium white or cadmium yellow, it's pretty clear that the mineral composition is being referred to.

But sometimes it's hard to tell if you're just dealing with Crayola colours.

Boltgun metal though, no way that's a classic pigment.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Too bad it sucks...

I am going to find out what's in ACE:R by watching its trailer and posting my reactions as things happen in it.

0:00 'Kay
0:05 'Kay...
0:31 'KAY...
0:51 So those are the enemies...
1:00 What is that? What is that?
1:13 Omfg! Aquarion!
1:21 Lmao
1:36 Probably from Orguss, I dunno
1:39 Is that Freedom? Victory?
1:40 Nope, it's Destiny.
2:04 Yesss VF-25s
2:15 Lol wut
2:17 King Gainer is back
2:31 Arbalest!
2:42 So badass...
2:49 Deathsythe?
2:53 Oh yes! It's Crossbone!
3:22 Fuck this, where's Nirvash instead?
3:40 I think ACE 3 op was better.

Brain Powerd

So I decided to watch Brain Powerd, due to a combination of the catchy op and my desire for 90s character designs. I know I've made fun of it in the past (Andrew might've suggested it to me 5 years ago, and I made fun of him for it) but actually watching it I don't think it deserved a lot of flak it gets.

I mean, robot anime has really been going downhill recently:

Code Geass/R2: TRAINWRECK and bigger TRAINWRECK
Gundam 00/S2: Were I the director of a Gundam series it would turn out exactly like this and therefore, by definition, a TRAINWRECK

It was much better than any of those. I think it definitely inspired some of the imagery in RahXephon and probably some of the plot in Eureka 7 as well. And it's funny, what little submarine action took place was better than all of Blue Submarine No.6 so suck it, Gonzo.

Of course it's not the Eva killer that Tomino wanted it to be, definitely not as influential. The character relations shift virtually every episode, which isn't implausible per se since the intermittence between episodes are months or longer. But it doesn't make for good story telling. The cast is spread too large for substantial development and why does everyone in the show have an unfortunate background that's only exposed by shouting loudly in the midst of battle?

Considering the pedigree of its crew, it probably undershot its potential:

Tomino of Mobile Suit Gundam fame and originator of the real robot genre; this show is clearly a Tomino production. I mean, what's with him and children? Why are they always there?

Mech designs are by Mamoru Nagano, pioneer of the revolutionary movable frame concept. Notably, the Antibody designs were originally meant to be Hyaku Shiki but he submitted a revised design for the Zeta Gundam project.

Yoko Kanno provides the scoring and is super tank as per usual.

By the way, that op is just silly. That part with the volcano and the naked girl? How can you not laugh?