November 2008

Happy 10th Birthday, Half-Life!

by Joey deVilla on November 20, 2008

half-life_gordon_freeman

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been ten years since the release of the original Half-Life game. In honour of this event, GameSpy has published the Half-Life 10th Anniversary Interview with Valve Software’s writer –in-residence Marc Laidlaw.

If they ever decided to make a movie based on the game – probably not a good idea, since there hasn’t been a good movie based on any videogame, but I always hold out hope – I think Hugh “House M.D.” Laurie would make a great Gordon Freeman:

half-life_hugh_laurie

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Conversational HTTP Codes

by Joey deVilla on November 20, 2008

"413: Request entity too large" -- cat stuck in cat door

Over at Seldo.com, there’s a handy table of HTTP codes, their official meanings and their everyday office culture conversational equivalents. Here are some examples:

Code Status Conversational Equivalent
100 Continue Uh-huh…
101 Switching protocols Let’s take this offline
200 OK OK
201 Created I wrote you an email about that
300 Multiple choices You can get that from Bob, John or Sue
301 Moved permanently That’s Bob’s job
401 Unauthorized You’re not allowed to know that
402 Payment required Maybe a twenty would refresh my memory
404 Not found I have no idea what you’re talking about
406 Not acceptable Maybe when you’re older
500 Internal server error Drooling from side of mouth
503 Service unavailable I am way too busy to deal with your shit

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Fallout 3, as Reviewed on Zero Punctuation

by Joey deVilla on November 19, 2008

Once again, it’s time for my favourite videogame reviewer, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, and his series of smartass videogame reviews, Zero Punctuation. This week, he covers Fallout 3. His verdict:

Yeah, it’s pretty good.

Its 93 rating at Metacritic — which gives it a standing equal to Gears of War 2 – comes from a number of glowing reviews from various sources:

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NewTeeVee reports it, and I’m repeating it here: Monty Python now has its own official YouTube channel. Cue the sound of comedy fans – especially geeks, who love the troupe so much that there’s a programming language named for them – rejoicing!

Here’s their very enlightened response to all those YouTubers uploading their videos for the past three years:

For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It’s time for us to take matters into our own hands.

We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we’ve figured a better way to get our own back: We’ve launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

No more of those crap quality videos you’ve been posting. We’re giving you the real thing – HQ videos delivered straight from our vault.

What’s more, we’re taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions. And what’s even more, we’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there!

Of course, they want something in return:

But we want something in return.

None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.

There are currently 24 videos on the Monty Python YouTube channel, and they’ve given the impression that more will be posted. Most of these videos are some of their most popular clips; a couple are interviews with the Pythons. Here’s one with Eric Idle talking about what it was like to write with other members of the troupe:

and here’s one with John Cleese on Monty Python and music:

Enjoy! (And try to get some work done today, willya?)

I’ll close with the official YouTube editions of a couple of clicks that were favourites of both me and my Dad, proving that I am indeed my father’s son. Both are from Life of Brian.

First, there’s the “Biggus Dickus” scene:

And now, the “Stoning” scene:

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Looking Forward to Trying This Out Later Tonight…

by Joey deVilla on November 19, 2008

Photo of my TV showing the 'updating' dialog box for the New XBox Experience.

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Steve Jobs Giving Big Blue the One-Finger Salute

by Joey deVilla on November 18, 2008

jobs_flips_off_ibm

Courtesy of Edible Apple, here’s Apple co-founder Steve Jobs giving the finger to the IBM logo in a photo that appears to date from “sometime in the early 80s.”

If you weren’t around or too young to remember those times, the rivalry wasn’t between Apple and Microsoft (in fact, the AppleSoft BASIC in the Apple ][ series of computers was produced under a Microsoft license), but between Apple and IBM, who introduced their Personal Computer, a.k.a. “PC” in 1981. We knew that this rivalry would become quite fierce when Apple fired the first PR salvo with this ad welcoming IBM to the personal computer industry, whose big players at the time were Apple, Radio Shack and Commodore:

welcome_ibm_seriously

I can’t remember if it was former Apple Evangelist (and one of my role models) Guy Kawasaki or former Apple UI guru Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini who made the astute observation that the PC was the responsibility of IBM’s “Entry-Level Systems” division, which it implied that the PC was something you’d use until you decided that you wanted a real computer.

Apple’s relationship with IBM has always been a little bit rocky, first with the rivalry and then with their ill-fated alliance in the 1990s. This alliance produced only one thing I would consider a “semi-success” – the PowerPC chip, which was completely dumped by the end of 2006 – and a number of flops that came from the Taligent and Kaleida projects, including “Pink”, “Blue” and ScriptX (which, unlike Pink and Blue, actually made it to the :half-baked” stage; I actually got to noodle with during my early days at Mackerel Interactive Multimedia). The alliance, which was meant to counter the threat of an increasingly powerful Microsoft never quite made sense to me, nor did it to Guy Kawasaki, who once likened it to two people getting married because they hate the same person.

The nature of the IBM/Apple relationship lives on in the current legal battle between IBM and Apple over Mark Papermaster’s hire, which is why I’m sure Edible Apple found the photo interesting.

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The Star Trek Movie’s Second Trailer

by Joey deVilla on November 18, 2008

Here it is, the second trailer of J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek movie, all hellzapoppin’ and complete with an homage to the "chicken run" scene from Rebel Without a Cause.

I’m keeping in mind that it’s the job of the people who produce trailers to make a movie seem more interesting and exciting than it actually might be, but I’m still holding out hope that Abrams has been taking the story-crafting skill he hasn’t been using on the TV series Fringe and pouring it into Trek. I guess we’ll find out in a few months…

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