Just a quick reminder folks that I don’t really post here anymore. I’ve pretty much moved my social online-ness over to Google+.
This week Google announced and started rolling out their social network called Google Plus (or Google+, or G+) to directly compete with Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media services out there that don’t really matter. It isn’t completely public yet, but I’ve had access to it since Wednesday night and I can see this becoming my primary social network. Google does a fine job of explaining the features on their site and in their videos so I’m not going rehash any of that. Check it out for yourself if you’re interested and let me know if you’d like an invite.
Sure I’m an admitted Google fan, but there’s so many things that frustrate me about Facebook and Twitter that are fixed in Google+. As I’ve written previously Facebook overshares because that’s how they make money. Sure you can group your “friends” but that’s buried in the horrible interface of Facebook lying underneath the easy-to-use front page. You can limit your shared content to those groups but again, it’s not easy to get to (by design IMO).
Twitter at least is unapologetic about oversharing. It is by form and function a one to many medium which is fine if you’re famous or even internet famous but for people trying to stay in touch it’s a blunt instrument.
Google+ requires you to organize people into Circles which is a fancy name for tags. People can be added to as many circles as you want so I can put Dave in the “Friend”, “InfoSec”, and “Out of Town Friends” circles. It’s got a pretty drag and drop interface that’s easy for non-techie people to understand and use. The brilliant thing is Dave only knows that I’ve added him to my circles but not which ones. So if I demote Dave from “Friend” to “Acquaintance” or “Jerk – Ignore” he doesn’t know that and I don’t have to awkwardly explain it to him.
Once you add a person to your circles then their information starts showing up in your Stream, which is familiar to anyone who uses Facebook. You can easily filter your stream by circle so I can get my Twitter analog by looking at my “Following” circle, and my Facebook analog by looking at my “Friends” and “Family” circles.
When you share something with Google+ you are required to choose which of your circles will get that information. My “Out of Town Friends” don’t care that restaurant week is next week. My “Co-Workers” don’t need to know about the latest game I’ve been playing. So I can pre-filter and control my content to the audiences that I define.
Oh, and I almost forgot you have very granular control of your profile information, limiting who can see what. Which again, Facebook wants to make very public.
This is why I encourage everyone to jump on board with Google+. Yeah they’ve got some interesting other features like group chats, easy picture upload etc. but for me the “killer app” is the ability for me to control the audiences that I share information with and filter what in turn is shared with me.
Here’s the list of games I played in 2010 placed in broad categories of my personal enjoyment. Due to Eve, a new house, and general busy-ness at work I’ve probably gamed the least this past year than any in recent memory. Also, there’s some 2009 games in here as Lockdown prevents me from playing holiday releases until the next year. Games are in no particular order.
The Great – My Favorites of the Year
- Batman – Arkham Asylum – The one game I played early in the year while home with Eve. Excellent fighting mechanics and really “got” what Batman is about. (X360)
- BioShock 2 – Great follow up to one of the best shooters of the decade. Still need to finish this one. (PC)
- Dawn of Discovery – Awesome city-builder. Great graphics and an interesting trade across the archipelago mechanic. (PC)
- Supreme Commander 2 – Best RTS this year. Moves forward and improves on SC1 in all the ways that Starcraft 2 didn’t. Excellent post-release support. (PC)
- Rock Band 3 – The pinnacle of music based games. Great improvements to the UI, the inclusion of Pro mode is very well done, and you can’t beat 2,000+ songs. I’ve spent 30 hours just on pro keyboards alone. (X360)
- Distant Worlds – Excellent AI viceroys make this real time 4x-ish game an interesting space empire ant farm. (PC)
- Pac-Man CE DX – Perfect marriage of sounds and graphics with enough gameplay twists to improve on Pac-Man CE. Best XBLA game this year. (X360)
- Civ V – Yes the tactical AI is questionable, yes there are significant changes from Civ IV. I don’t care, this is a great game with the best UI of any 4x I’ve played.
The Good – Worth My Time
- Tron: Evolution – Interesting story that ties in and gives you more background on the movie. Competent multi-player (lightcycles!). Could have used a little tightening on the gameplay. (x360)
- Shattered Horizon – Hardcore zero-g shooter. Beautiful and stark but the learning curve and the lack of variety on release were disappointing. (PC)
- Lead and Gold – Western shooter that is very good, but still a little empty and sparse. (PC)
- Lost Planet 2 – Many people were put off by how Japanese it is, but I loved the variety of the levels, the immense boss battles and all the pretty mechs. (X360)
- Tidalis – Big props for doing something besides the match-3 game, but I can’t get my brain wrapped around changing the path on the fly and got stuck half-way through. (PC)
- Mount and Blade: Warband – Great Medieval sandbox game hidden under a very slow start and obtuse UI. (PC)
The Meh – Don’t Bother
- Scott Pilgrim: The Game – I loves me some Paul Robertson, but this is just an old-school beat-em-up. (X360)
- Poker Night at the Inventory - Great dialog, love the characters, crappy poker game. (PC)
- Star Ruler – Sorry guys I see where you’re going and I’m glad you’re still working on it, but the game ain’t done. (PC)
He’s recently released a video off of his latest EP, The Indifference Engine. It’s a diss track called “Fighting Trousers” ripping on Mr. B the self-styled “Gentleman Rhymer.”
A combination of house, family, and work has kept me away from writing here for some time. It’s 8am on a Sunday and the contractors have been here for about half a hour already working on the doors to the back yard. The transformation of our house is in it’s third month and we’re starting to get to the point where it feels like our home.
Out of the three brothers I considered myself the least “handy” but maybe that’s because I took a 5 year break from homeownership. Sometimes it seems like I’m making up for that lost time with the current house. Here’s the list of things I’ve accomplished (in no particular chronological or prioritized order). Of course I had help with many of these things from my wife, family, and friends.
- Removed the carpet and pad from around 2k square feet of floor space
- Removed tile from entryway with 20lb. jackhammer
- Removed the majority of drywall from a 15 foot section of wall
- Demolished hallway cabinets and countertops
- Demolished built-in closet shelves
- Removed baseboard from all walls
- Rebuilt kitchen island
- Removed one set of cabinets
- Cut and re-assembled toe-kick to match new footprint
- Rewired electrical
- Braced new facing
- Installed brackets for counter overhang
- Installed new AV closet
- Cut holes in ceiling for speakers
- Ran about 20 cables through the ceiling from speakers and media center to AV closet
- Installed speakers into ceiling and TV into wall mount
- Shortened computer rack and mounted casters to make an AV rack
- Painted many, many walls and ceilings
- Installed new closet shelves
- Replaced garbage disposal
- Fixed toilet tank
- Fixed two toilet seats
- Handful of minor sprinkler system repairs
- Painted 50 or so feet of baseboard with electric paint sprayer
- Cut baseboard to fit rooms with miter saw and coping saw
- Installed baseboard with compressor driven nail gun
- Sanded down sticking doors
- Installed new hardware on half a dozen doors
- Replaced about a dozen light switches and outlets
And of course that’s only the beginning. There’s a ton of painting , baseboard, and electrical outlets remaining but I’m very happy with how things are shaping up. Maybe in a year or so I’ll take a break.
Haven’t posted in three weeks. Bad monkey, no cookie for you! Here’s the headlines of my recent involvement with games. I’ll follow up with Home and Family editions later in the week.
- With family, work, and the house I haven’t had much time for games but I’ve made point of getting in a little time here and there to keep me sane.
- Supreme Commander 2 got some new maps and units, and continues to receive excellent free patches to AI and balance tweaks. I love it when the designers are willing to commit to supporting a game. We still play this every week and most weekends.
- My friends continue to work on SotS 2. They’ve got a really nice engine that can show off some detailed ship designs. Here’s a taste:
- Civ V is a great game. No it’s not Civ IV, yes there’s some issues with the AI, but I love, love, love the interface, the changes to combat, and the city-states. 14 hours to finish my first game (tech win before 1960) and I’m going back for more.
- Played through Dead Rising: Case Zero. Well worth my $5. Haven’t had time to pick up the full game, but I most likely will… maybe.
- Also played some 8-bit-ish side scrolling with Scott Pilgrim: The Movie: The Game. Didn’t get to the theater to see the movie, didn’t read the manga, bought and played solely on the information that Paul Robertson was the lead animator. He did this: and this:
- Amy wants to move Holiday Lockdown further back each year. I’m only with that as long as I can pick up Rock Band 3 on 10/26. Not too sure if I’ll get the keytar or the MIDI box and hook up my own keyboard. I hope they re-release the NIN tracks.
The quote I use most often is: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” from author William Gibson. I just finished his latest book Zero History and it’s interesting how much this quote is taken to heart in this latest cycle of books (Patten Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History). Gibson started out as one of the authors to kick off the whole cyberpunk genre in the mid-80s. A near-future where technology is on the street and not in the flying cities and rocketships. Very Blade Runner.
Considering the “future” world of Neruomancer, published in 1984, didn’t even have cell phones the “today” world of Zero History is in some ways more technologically advanced, but it all takes place in the leading edge of today not some near future. Why write about “cyberspace” when wifi and the Google is everywhere? Cameras on every corner, telepresence aerial drones, hackers, image engineers, memory chips, it’s all here in 2010 even if Edward James Olmos doesn’t have a flying car or Molly Razorgirl doesn’t have implanted mirrorshades.
Gibson shows us that the future is here, and it makes for a damn fine story as well.
I loved this game.
Eve 0.8 has started to crawl forwards in the last week. We took a break from the house this weekend and went to the local park late on a sunny day. The swings were fun but once we set her down on the green grass it was all over.
Launch the Weapon!
No Chance for Evasion
I’m Gonna Git Ya!
Break Off to Safe Distance