Friday, 31 December 2004

Old Year's Night

Tonight's post is a 'review lite' of the year.

This week's 'flying visit' to East Anglia, home of my Father's family, has left me emotionally 'jet lagged'! Had a fantastic time (tinged with the bittersweet) indulging in retail therapy. Colchester's pace of life is exaggerated by its London commuter belt status. And now I can't wait for 2005 to arrive!

Most of my time has been centered around very serious personal matters. However, highlights of 2004 include (but are not limited to):

*Writing for Inside Mac Games
*Launching Nick Smith's site and blog
*Being featured in Bournemouth University's Alumni Association magazine The Talbot
*Alias magazine
*Classic arcade gaming
*Gmail
*Blogger
*Google AdSense
*Adding new affiliates to my site
*Saying farewell to Friends - could comedy BE funnier?

Looking towards 2005. Bloomberg beckons and Apple may finally launch the missing piece in its 'i' strategy, the 'headless pizza box' iMac, and secure the home Media Centre/Server crown once and for all. I'll be keeping a space underneath my Plasma in eager anticipation of MacWorld - San Francisco.

Friday, 24 December 2004

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Last evening's party, in Cornwall, was a resounding success. The only fly in the ointment was continuously interrupted sleep! Last year I was awoken by the sound of the hotel fire alarm (a hoax) and this year it was the turn of a too loud TV left on all night! The dulcet tones of Sarah McLachlan - Afterglow Live - eased my chagrin. The season of goodwill indeed!

ScummVM was updated to 0.7.0 just in time for the holiday. And Atari fans can indulge in some XL/XE/XEGS nostalgia. There was a time, long ago, when I drooled at the prospect of playing Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus! on Atari 8-bit. You too can take on the insidious Jaggies once again.



Tonight, as Mariah Carey emotes festive feelings, I'm adding the finishing touches to an end of year backup image. This will be burnt to DVD before the New Year.

Monday, 20 December 2004

Magic & Sparkle

Exeter's Marks & Spencer staff were most helpful during our Christmas shopping excursion for Mum today. Good customer service should always be the objective, and M&S exceeded expectations.

Friday, 17 December 2004

O Come All Ye Faithful

I identified a bug whereby in some situations magnetiX would not quit correctly. Jan Schliemann was able to replicate this and issued a very prompt fix. You can download version 1.0.1 now.

Better get back to reading The Bloomberg Way in preparation for my writing test in the New Year.

Thursday, 16 December 2004

Joy To The World

Last evening I attended a private party at The Lord Haldon Hotel. Longtime business friends, of Dad's, kindly invited us. The genial atmosphere and high quality seasonal delicacies afforded a memorable holiday experience.

In the mid '80s when not playing scrolling shooters such as Konami's Nemesis, text-based adventures where a staple of my after-school activities. The Hobbit (1983) introduced me to the genre albeit in a bug-ridden fashion. However, Magnetic Scrolls cemented their referential status with the introduction of an Infocom-beating parser. Between 1985 and 1991 Magnetic Scrolls produced 7 titles for both 8 and 16-bit platforms. I vividly recall The Pawn's luxurious packaging, synonymous with Rainbird releases, and enviously eyeing the superlative Atari ST screenshots (by Geoff Quilley). Mac Users wishing to revisit or, indeed, become acquainted with gaming history should download and support magnetiX.



Apple released Mac OS X 10.3.7. The final Panther update for 2004 adds further polish, but Safari 1.3 has yet to materialize!

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Proper Crimbo

Santa's little software helpers are ever industrious at this time of year! Aspyr's Brad Oliver is beta testing a new patch for Jedi Academy (1.01c). This will improve online game play and finesse the dynamic glow of lightsabers in the Mac port. Dark Forces is my favorite Star Wars licensed game and there's a new mod for Jedi Academy based on the classic FPS.

Those fine folks at Cupertino may be releasing Mac OS X 10.3.7 as soon as tonight. A revised version of OpenGL with updated ATI and nVIDIA graphics drivers is just one of the new attractions!

And Aaron Giles (of JPEGView fame) continues to rewrite the Sega System 16 driver for a future release of MAME.

Time to prepare a DVD-ROM archive for 2004.

Friday, 10 December 2004

The Santa Clause

Whilst it appears that Spielberg will ultimately set The War of the Worlds in the suburbs of middle America - where else would common man do battle with extra terrestrial invaders? Watching the teaser trailer (a tantalizing montage) still sent chills down my spine. Checkout the trailer.

The War of the Worlds poster art pays homage to its literary roots. The Martian hand, enveloped in red weed, conjures the first big screen adaptation and the conceptual art commissioned for Jeff Wayne's musical version. I'm now far more excited about seeing Tom Cruise vs the Martians then the return of Darth Vader in 2005!



It would be remiss of me not to also draw attention to the freshly unveiled Batman Begins poster (thank you Michael, my erstwhile friend). Richly emblematic of Batman's traumatic genesis and evoking the psychological drama that Revenge of the Sith so confusingly failed to capture. 2005 promises to be a very personal cinematic journey!

Thursday, 9 December 2004

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

At this time of year consumers are besieged by an avalanche of advertisements. From print to television media. Here's an example of a press advertisement that I recently worked on.



Drawing on educational experience attained whilst studying Graphic Design at College, I was asked to soft proof and edit the art departments initial proposal. Making suggestions for layout changes and correcting typos (all done in Photoshop). The advertisement appeared in the Cornwall Guardian. Mis-en-scene is something I never tire of no matter the medium.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

All I Want For Christmas

In keeping with the spirit of the upcoming holidays. The following list features all my computer and video game hardware owned to date. Most of which were received as gifts at this time of year!

*Atari VCS 2600
*Binatone Mk6 Game System
*ZX Spectrum 48K
*ZX Spectrum+ (same as above, but with 'improved' keyboard)
*Commodore 64 and 1541 Floppy Disk Drive
*Nintendo Game & Watch (various Mario titles)
*Sega Megadrive (Genesis)
*Atari Lynx II
*Super NES
*Apple Macintosh Performa 5200
*N64
*PSOne
*iMac DV SE
*Sega Dreamcast
*PlayStation 2
*XBOX
*GameCube
*LCD iMac G4
*GBA SP

Over the years I purchased innumerable video games from The Fuse Box. During my teens the store, an independent brick-and-mortar retailer located in Exeter's Sidwell Street, was a treasure trove - Rescue on Fractalus!* and Koronis Rift, displayed on the in-store monitors, held me spellbound - before its untimely closure and the advent of etailing. Somewhere in the attic of our house is a dusty old cardboard box that contains Atari, Commodore and Spectrum games (cartridge, cassette and diskette formats) in their original packaging! I've no idea whether or not my Commodore 64 still works (1992 being the last time it was used) and the first ZX Spectrum was passed on to a younger relative only to meet an untimely demise.

Watching Back to the Future II (1989) I noticed Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 in the Cafe 80's scene (a veritable advertising blitz). To reiterate comments made in a previous post. PlayChoice-10 provided Nintendo with a platform to profit from the lucrative arcade market, and uniquely showcased NES titles including Mega Man 3, Super Mario Bros II and III before their home cartridge launch. PlayChoice-10 existed for 5 to 6 years and was briefly superseded by Nintendo Super System. MAME emulation of PlayChoice-10 is not yet 100% accurate, but all known titles are available including The Goonies.

nVIDIA is to produce a bespoke GeForce GPU for Sony's PS3 after Microsoft allied itself with ATi. Combined with an IBM PowerPC G5 processor and possibly OpenGL, the PS3 shares APIs with Apple! Curious said Alice. In a contractual twist, that inspires literary allusions to the one ring, IBM will power all three next generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Can you say NDA?

*Rescue on Fractalus! was the first time I'd ever seen the Apple ][ logo. Little did I know that years later the Apple Macintosh would have a profound impact on my creative life.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

With candy canes and silver lanes aglow

I've started to decorate the house in holiday style serenaded by music choice on sky. Nothing too ostentatious as Dad and me will be spending the majority of our time at my Mum's nursing home. This will be the second Christmas that she hasn't been able to come home! However, it's going to be special.

Back to the Christmas card writing.

Sunday, 5 December 2004

Clash of the Titans

OK the title for this post stretches credibility somewhat. However, Exeter City's FA Cup Third Round draw against, arguably the world's most famous football club and current cup holders, Manchester United is an unmissable calendar event (fires up iCal). And I'll be traveling with relatives to Old Trafford in January 2005.



What an amazing way to usher in the New Year!

Saturday, 4 December 2004

Jingle All The Way

The Box of Delights arrived yesterday morning, which witnessed a hard frost in the valley and a beautiful winter sky. I noted, last weekend, that the DVD cover art alluded to Lord of the Rings. The connection doesn't end there because Robert Stephens played Aragorn in BBC Radio 4's critically-acclaimed adaptation of the Lord of the Rings (a touchstone in audio dramatisation).

The Box of Delights, aside from inherent special effects limitations and a propensity for over lit scenes shot on video, has not lost any of its dramatic power and showcases an enviable cast. Patrick Troughton, famous for his 'cosmic hobo' portrayal of the Second Doctor, excels as the enigmatic Cole Hawkins. The main theme (The First Noël interpolated) is as haunting as I recall in childhood - a flurry of unimaginable wonder tinged with sadness.

The adventures of Kay Harker compares favorably with any featuring Harry Potter, Frodo and Luke Skywalker.

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Scrooged

The holiday season is on the horizon and it's time to dust off the following perennial movie classics:

*Edward Scissorhands
*Ghostbusters
*Gremlins
*The Goonies
*Miracle On 34th Street
*It's A Wonderful Life
*Trading Places
*Die Hard
*Home Alone
*The Nightmare Before Christmas

Kelsey Grammer is playing Scrooge in a musical adaptation for US television. The irony!

Monday, 29 November 2004

The Sega continues...

Over the weekend MAME developers continued to make strides in arcade emulation and added further Sega sweetness to the mix. Also. Atari fans will be delighted to see the inclusion of Exidy's Max-A-Flex, an 8-bit arcade system utilizing licensed Atari 600XL (eXtended Line) home computer hardware.



In 1983 the 600XL (based on the Sweet-16 project started in 1982) was a well-designed, thoroughly debugged machine with an outstanding specification at a reasonable price (the cost of software and peripherals made it a luxury item however). Its stylish and sleek footprint outshone Commodore and Spectrum rivals on retail shelf space. Atari envy was infectious!

It appears that James Cameron will return to mainstream theatre screens with not only The Dive, but also a 3D movie based on Battle Angel Alita (according to The Sunday Times). For a while Winona Ryder was attached to the project if I'm not entirely mistaken!

On Saturday, whilst perusing the shelves of Exeter's MVC store with a friend, we spied the BBC's inaugural DVD release of The Box of Delights (1984). A family drama deserving of classic status. Clearly the gatefold cover art was inspired by New Line's LOTR trilogy.

Friday, 26 November 2004

To be this good takes...

Sega is unquestionably one of my favorite video game publishers. From playing US Gold's port of Up n' Down on the Commodore 64 to arcade adventures in Out Run and Space Harrier, the company has never ceased to captivate and enthral! With the recent progress of Sega arcade emulation in MAME here's a testimonial.



During the '80s, after the collapse of Atari - following the infamous overproduction of the E.T. cartridge, which consumers had no appetite for - Nintendo dominated home entertainment in the US. Sega released the Master System to limited success (the color booklets were a work of genius) and then Mega Drive (Genesis) arrived.

Mega Drive was the first of the 16-bit consoles and, with its black livery, epitomized cool. The machine was a hot seller in the winter of 1990 and, as a Michael Jackson fan, I coveted, nay, obsessed over Moonwalker (Sega America had signed a deal with the pop star to develop a video game based on the movie of the same name). The console conversion did not disappoint and the music samples taken from Jackson's Bad album deserve special mention. The 'synth sound' lent itself to the medium perfectly.

After many hours dancing with MJ and bloodless decapitation in Golden Axe. I sold my Mega Drive to a former friend and embraced the charms of Super NES. However, Mega Drive prospered and was further empowered by Mega-CD and, more interestingly, 32X. The 32X (a mushroom-shaped peripheral) pumped the console's processing power to 32-bit and brought Virtua Fighter and Star Wars Arcade into the home for the first time.

In the arcades Sega leveraged Mega Drive under the Mega Play and Mega-Tech brands. These cabinets contained 8 cartridge titles (including Altered Beast and California Games), which could be randomly selected. This format was pioneered in the '80s by Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 system (8-bit NES architecture).

With success comes inevitable hubris. Sega embarked on an ambitious schedule and introduced its next generation console, the Saturn, to an exhausted user base. Tellingly I recall that same friend, whom had bought my Mega Drive several years earlier, purchasing an expensive gray import Saturn and loading Panzer Dragoon and Nights for the first time. We played for several minutes before deciding to venture out to see another friend's newly arrived PlayStation. Soon PlayStation would assume the mantle of console cool and leave Sega stranded.

As Y2K neared Sega made a valiant attempt at seizing the high ground again. This time it was the Dreamcast. To this day no fighting game has eclipsed that console's version of Soul Calibur. Ironically Sega's machine was more than adequate, but without the dynamic marketing that defined the Mega Drive era, consumers waited for PS2.

Wednesday, 24 November 2004

King of the World

According to Italian home theater magazine AF Digitale, 20th Century Fox is in the process of finally releasing the long-awaited Titanic: Special Edition in 2005. DVD content details are still vague, but the magazine reports that the film will receive a mega four-disc set featuring a new DTS ES 6.1 audio track. Of the extras, expect commentaries, deleted footage and mountains of other bonus material. This highly anticipated release is tentatively scheduled for the summer and arrives 5 years after James Cameron's original announcement.

What follows is an extract from an email sent to a friend in January 1998, which makes mention of a future DVD release!

Well, it's finally arrived after shattering the U.S Box-office:

"Navigating the sepia Ocean"

Your kind birthday wish was indeed prophetic! We managed to ensure elusive seating arrangements, at the Exeter Odeon, for Friday night's inaugural performance of "Titanic." As the cinema can only accommodate two screenings a day, the film is completely sold-out till next weekend! As you can imagine I was thrilled to have accomplished this feat with the aid of Tom.

So how was the special 'Birthday treat' movie? Superlatives prove to be, as ever, elusive! Nothing could've prepared us for the audacious spectacle. The sheer joyous grandeur that literally leapt from the great expanse of widescreen. My most immediate comparison would be that it had a similar effect on me as "Edward Scissorhands." I mean the finale was almost unbearable to watch! The tragic haunting beauty of DiCaprio and Winslet's 'simple' performance was on a par with Depp and Ryder or DiCaprio and Danes. I'm such a romantic eh! Their flawless 'twilight-hued' visages continue to remain a-fresh on my mind... I was in tears and could hardly breathe during their 'goodbye'... Having that "E.T" feeling all over again... Yes, James Cameron is indeed a master magician of beautifully painted montage and emotion. WOW!

Of course composer James Horner's lyrically seductive and beguiling score made no small impression either. A seamless merging of Enya's ethereal vocal, "Edward Scissorhands", "Wrath of Khan" (the best bits) and "Cocoon" to name a few stylized cousins. Of course I mustn't forget to mention the fact that I very affectionately recalled the trip to see "Heavenly Creatures" (Peter Jackson) in 1995. And the first time I saw Winslet. I was beguiled by her then. I'm willing to bet that she'll make an appearance in the Star Wars Prequels! Just a spooky hunch that's all...

The film transcended my giddy expectations. Cameron has truly come-of-age with this almighty epic. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about his haunting 'Ghost story.' That's all I can say. Can't wait to see the five-hour TITANIC: SPECIAL EDITION on DVD in 2000!!!!!!

To bring this post to a close. Fox's DVD releases are amongst the finest that commercial companies have to offer. The Day After Tomorrow benefits from a luxurious anamorphic print and DTS audio. The only disappointment is that the sound stage is predominantly confined to the front three channels, leaving the rears to convey ambiance. This treatment is inappropriate in a movie that relies on technological bombast. Complaint aside. Watching DAT, on my Sony Plasma, far surpassed the theatrical version, which was curtailed by the limitations of wear and tear.

Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Maniac Mansion

It's very rare to stumble across an application that is a revelation. Earlier this year MacMAME earned such a distinction - authentic arcade action delivered directly to your desktop - and now ScummVM joins the pantheon!

ScummVM derives its name from 'Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion' and is a 'virtual machine' for several notable graphical point-and-click adventure games. For example LucasArts' The Dig, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle. Loading Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis rekindled halcyon memories of my Amiga adventures and the often delayed fourth installment in the movie franchise. Incidentally, the Maniac Mansion property was licensed as a family sitcom (in the US) and ran for several seasons in the early 90's. Did it ever show in the UK?

Both MAME and ScummVM are a Work-In-Progress and available for the majority of popular computer platforms. MacMAME now sports an improved OpenGL driver that fixes VBL sync and aspect ratio correction. Checking anti-aliasing (AKA smoothing) in MacMAME's front-end evokes graphical comparison with Sega's underrated and poorly marketed Dreamcast (NAOMI-based console). Playtime.

Google continues to rollout updates to their email service. Gmail POP3 set-up is a breeze in Entourage 2004 and the added benefits of SSL shouldn't be overlooked. As an avid user of Gmail, I hope that the final release retains this feature. Hotmail announced that support for offline reading and composing would be withdrawn sans subscription. If this happens, then Gmail more than meets my needs.

Time to read the latest developments concerning the Mac OS X 10.3.7 update.

Thursday, 18 November 2004

Dismissed

Destiny Fulfilled completes a quartet of albums from DC (in all the groups various incarnations). From the bland self-titled debut to multi-platinum breakouts The Writing’s On The Wall (1999) and Survivor (2001), DC has delivered consistent commercial and creative success. Expectations for the fourth album were understandably high.

Upon opening the CD jewel case the listener (captive audience) is exposed to a marketing onslaught from Tommy Hilfiger’s True Star campaign (fronted by Beyoncé) and McDonald’s tour sponsorship pack-ins.



Destiny Fulfilled opens with the dynamite duo of Lose My Breath and Soldier (video promo already available online). This listener was so impressed that he had to play them twice a la Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. Then something unexpected happened. It all went so horribly, horribly wrong! Ballad followed ballad showcasing what we already know; the girls harmonise without peer and Beyoncé is the star. Where did the attitude-enthused anthems, Bootylicious, Bills, Bills, Bills and feted CD/DVD flipside technology go? Beyoncé’s second solo album may provide the answer.

If the band's manager, Mathew Knowles, is so astute then why didn’t he assemble an EP or greatest hits package – a fitting final curtain call for DC - instead of this misguided mess? Fulfilled suffers from Beyoncé’s solo success and has echoes of The Jacksons Victory (1984) album. Will a Victory tour debacle follow?

For the time being I'll seek sonic solace in my Canadian roots, and listen to DC's stablemate Avril Lavigne. The string section on Nobody's Home is sublime.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Without further ado

Destiny Fulfilled arrived this morning courtesy of Play. I'll be writing a short review of the album to be published tomorrow.

Kylie's collaboration with the Scissor Sisters, I Believe In You, is inspired! I'm unashamedly biased as the Scissor Sisters are fans of Michael Jackson - ergo the "shamon" vocal shows up in Laura - and the band members met whilst waiting to see Captain Eo. Plus Kylie was a teenage crush of mine (alongside Jennifer Connelly).

From now on I'll be managing both Nick Smith's blog and website. I can only hope that my efforts are deserving of my friend's faith. Time for some hand-coded html (missing GoLive CS already).

Friday, 12 November 2004

Big in Japan

The holidays are coming and Panic are not averse to early gift giving! From today (and subject to availability) Mac Users can now download Audion 3 (3.0.2) sans cost. Audion's history affords a fascinating glimpse into the application's development and popularity in the Far East. Download the iTunes that never was here (complete with MP3 editor).

Whilst perusing the shelves of software speciality store Game (Electronics Boutique in the US) I took The Urbz (GBA) for a trial spin. Big mistake. The UI is joyfully intuitive and the game's highly addictive. Keep your eyes peeled for a G4 Cube and Apple Cinema Display in the tower offices.

Thursday, 11 November 2004

March of the M-Pire and Gmail plays POP3

Next March witnesses the ultimate Star Wars prequel merchandising blitz and Mars M&M's are getting in on the act too! However, I'm in the mood for nostalgia. So, here's a photo depicting Hasbro's diecast spaceship series.



Remember these Kenner gems from the 70's and 80's? My parents bought me a Star Destroyer (with Blockade Runner), Darth Vader's TIE Fighter, Snowspeeder, Slave 1 and Millenium Falcon over successive gift giving seasons. Detailing was superb and I hope that the TIE Bomber is released too! The original is highly prized by collectors and memories of seeing it on the shelves of Exeter's Pram & Toy shop only compounds my frustration at never owning one.

Talking of consumables. This holiday's must have is, again, the iPod. And there's plenty of GBA content to keep everyone amused from the upper Manhattan chic of The Urbz: Sims In The City to The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap, which looks great.

Google is upgrading Gmail accounts to include POP. The rollout has yet to reach my inbox.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Out of Sight

After further exhaustive investigation, it appears that my keyboard may be the culprit behind recent system freezes, and not a broken installation as reported previously! This is actually good news because a replacement keyboard from the Apple Store is relatively inexpensive. In other computer peripheral news, my new Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 works a treat and breezily accesses power user features in Microsoft Office 2004. Neat.

Firefox 1.0 is now available and anyone (especially Windows users) would be advised to download and make it their default browser! Will this branch of the Mozilla code metamorphose into the Google browser? The gauntlet has been thrown down and, in the Mac User community, eyes are now on Safari 1.3 and 2.0. Exciting times.

New UK digital television channel ITV 3 starts showing Karen Sisco tonight! Ms Sisco was played to perfection by JLo (Out of Sight, 1998) and the small screen incarnation is depicted by model/actress Carla Gugino. With the likes of Kathryn Bigelow (a former Mrs James Cameron) at the directing helm and co-stars Robert Forster and Bill Duke, the series has been well received by press plaudits.



No sooner has Apple opened its online doors to the iPod Store. You can now checkout the Amazon iPod Store from today!

Monday, 8 November 2004

Grievous Bodily Harm

As an addendum to the teaser trailer post. Count Dooku and General Grievous (soon to be merchandised to death) are conspicuous by their absence! The former makes a noted appearance in the Revenge video game trailer, which contains a possible spoiler (read on at your peril). Dooku duels with Anakin as an entrapped Palpatine goads the two combatants (shades of Jedi?). This epic encounter is aboard a Confederacy starship.

Hm, the Emperor's line in Jedi "Strike me down with all of your..." has always puzzled me! Will we see Anakin striking Sidious down, thus completing his journey to the dark side?

Sunday, 7 November 2004

Serendipity

The response to the alumni working in the media feature, published in The Talbot (Summer 2004) magazine, has exceeded my expectations and it is very flattering.

Things are afoot! More news soon...

Friday, 5 November 2004

The Bonfire of the Vanities

It's Bonfire Night in the UK. A celebration of Guy Fawkes' abortive Gunpowder Plot, which would have culminated in the destruction of the Houses of Parliament. This morning, somewhat aptly, I've had the opportunity to view THAT teaser trailer...



Last evening’s online debut of the Episode III teaser teaser lead to Lucasfilm’s servers overloading and their licensing division issuing cease and desist orders left, right and centre to sites posting images and links to the trailer (only available to paying Hyperspace and AOL members at time of writing).

Clearly a work in progress, as evinced by incomplete CGI shots, the trailer inspires obvious elemental comparison with The Return of the King (yet fails to evoke the same sense of scope). Much has now been made of the ANH/TPM/AOTC montage at the start (32 seconds) and Obi Wan’s voice over. From a subjective standpoint it reinforces the patchiness of the Star Wars saga since the prequels were unleashed from the hallowed halls of Skywalker Ranch (the current DVD release typifies this and lacks the cohesiveness of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings).



Highlights include Darth Vader’s awakening a la Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a screaming Darth Sidious (genuinely unnerving) and an enraged Anakin Skywalker. The attendant space battles are incumbered by too many elements on screen at once - ROTJ Death Star battle magnified to the extreme.



Overall the teaser affords insight into the dark core of the story and coupled with John Williams’ score, so long as Lucas’ incessant tinkering is minimised, Revenge may yet stand alongside Empire as a darling of both critics and fans.

As a footnote. The Episode III banner was composited in Photoshop Elements 3.0 and the screen grabs were captured in QuickTime 6.x Pro (with a light dusting of Photoshop magic).

Thursday, 4 November 2004

Fort Knox

The NSA has released a public paper concerning security settings for Mac OS X 10.3.x. Although the majority of Mac Users have little need to run a fortress as it were, it is at least worth a casual perusal and you may learn something too. At the end of the day no computer, irrespective of the defense level (virus scanner, firewall and on the fly encryption), is 100% impregnable on a network. And we need to keep some perspective as moral panics* need to be put into context.

As Apple continues to seed developer builds for 10.3.6, I've bitten the bullet and performed a clean install. Most of my applications are now reinstalled and Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 is fantastic.

[*‘An episode, condition, person or group of persons’ that have in recent times, been ‘defined as a threat to societal values and interests’ generally fueled by the dominant mass media - what Stanley Cohen has termed ‘The Moral Panic’ (Cohen 1972).]

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

Mac OS Xbox

During my tenure as a reviews writer for IMG, it was frustrating that Mac ports of AAA titles arrived many months after the PC/console releases (if at all). However, Blizzard is the exception and continues to develop its award-winning StarCraft and WarCraft franchises in tandem. And Blizzard enjoys a dedicated and vocal fan base in the Mac community.

Yes, Mac releases can benefit from further bug fixes. But even this isn't guaranteed as evinced by my experiences playing Sim City 4 and Jedi Academy! The latter was unplayable out-of-the-box, and Aspyr hurriedly issued two patches (a further patch is under consideration). I'm not trying to single out, or be overly critical of, Aspyr as their programmers are known to revisit games years after the retail release and write an improved patch. American McGee's Alice (2001) was a recent beneficiary. This compelled me to play Alice (1.1.1) again and experience the title as McGee originally intended.

Both Microsoft and Sony will leverage IBM's G5 PowerPC architecture in their next generation games consoles! This leads me to conclude that Apple should start to push the message that Mac OS X (running on G5) is a viable gaming platform. The shared architecture should translate to a more seamless and faster porting process - indeed the Xbox 2 Software Development Kit (SDK) is Mac-based. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger has the potential to cement this with its rich audio and graphical capabilities.

With the holiday season almost upon us. iPodlounge has released its free buyers guide (direct link to PDF). So, if you're wondering what to buy me this year... ;)

Monday, 1 November 2004

Destiny's dawn

Have you seen the teaser trailer commercial for Destiny Fulfilled? The next release from Destiny's Child is being ushered in with a pomp and circumstance once reserved for a Michael Jackson release!

The teaser poster for the final Star Wars prequel was released last week! Honestly, upon first glimpse I laughed out loud because the superimposed image of Vader in a cape/cloud of smoke looked ridiculous! Are those bags under his eyes? The Episode I poster remains by far and away the most successful teaser campaign to date! The marketing division should be shown the door George! Lets hope the teaser trailer sets sparks flying before Guy Fawkes (in the UK).

Sunday, 31 October 2004

Silver Shamrock

Happy Halloween. Whatever you're doing to mark the occasion (or nothing at all) have fun! This evening I'll be watching seminal horror movies, getting down with ghouls n' ghosts, and playing Castlevania.

In keeping with the season, here's a photo of the bewitching Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1997). Alongside fellow Party of Five alumni Neve Campbell, Love capitalized on the slasher movie renaissance of the mid to late '90s.


Saturday, 30 October 2004

Here's Johnny

This evening Five bolsters its channel lineup with S1 of The Dead Zone. Based on characters and situations from the best-selling novel by Stephen King, The Dead Zone is a unique psychological thriller that combines an eclectic mix of action, romance, the paranormal, and a continuing quest for justice.

Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) once led an idyllic small-town life. Employed as a science teacher, Johnny took great pleasure in showing his students the wonders of the natural world. He was engaged to a loving fiancée named Sarah (Nicole deBoer), a fellow teacher he'd known since childhood, and was a good son to his widowed mother. Johnny's life was nearly perfect... until the day his life was interrupted by a near-fatal car crash that left him in a deep coma for six years.

The Dead Zone is the perfect entree to Halloween.

Friday, 29 October 2004

Heathers

Happy Birthday to Winona Laura Horowitz!



XXX

The above picture was published in UK magazine Sky and spent several years, framed, on my bedroom wall! Winona Ryder became the angelic face of Generation X during my angst-ridden adolescence (whose wasn't?) and near collision with emotional nihilism, which was epitomized by an obsession with 90's film noir Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Alien³!

The last two days have been spent proofing and editing St Austell Lighting's press advertising for use during the lucrative holiday trading season. Thursday's timely arrival of Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 would have contributed to the process if it weren't for further developer seeds of Mac OS X 10.3.6 (now at build 7R27). I'm holding off from a clean install until the November release.

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

ESP

At the weekend I got into a discussion, with friends, concerning the phenomenon that is the PlayStation brand. With PSP (Sony's new handheld resembles the Atari Lynx) and PS3 on the horizon, my memory was jogged!



In the early 90's Sony and Nintendo embarked on the creation of a CD-ROM drive (PlayStation) for the Super NES. Magazine editorials excitedly published concept drawings and (I think) early production hardware photos - the drive sat beneath the console. However, when Sega released the elephantine Mega-CD to mixed reviews (the build quality was horrendous and software such as Night Trap courted controversy from conservative quarters), Nintendo halted development and/or partnered with Philips (co-creator of the CD format) on a rival project (CD-I).

Sony took the knowledge it had acquired, extensive R&D and produced PlayStation itself. Fast forward a decade and the PS brand enjoys a virtually impervious market dominance. Sega struggles as a software company and Nintendo has failed to shake its (lucrative) kids n' cartridge image.

Somewhat off topic. It appears that Firefox (version 1.0 Preview Release) has damaged my installation of Mac OS X 10.3.5. Whenever the browser was open it continuously accessed the HDD. This resulted in a kernel panic following a crash. After starting up in single-user mode (and running /sbin/fsck -f) disc errors were found! So, time for a backup and clean install once 10.3.6 is released. Thanks Mozilla!

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

The Fly

As predicted across online and offline publishing, Apple updated iTunes, iPod and QuickTime today sans AAC+. Adding new iTMS stores and the U2 iPod, which deserves the more appropriate monicker Darth Vader's iPod! Love it.

Time and again I've tried to finish the Star Wars Trilogy DVD review and become sidetracked! This time the culprit is the Alien Quadrilogy! The luxurious set (amply supported by exotic supplemental material) has remained unopened since purchase! And the notion of watching David Fincher's now legendary work print of Alien³ was too enticing, especially as The Return Of The King (Extended Version) is released in the midst of the Holiday and will consume many hours of viewing time.

Alien³ suffered a critical mauling upon its theatrical release. Yet I’ve never disliked it despite an uneasy relationship (conflict). Fincher was not afraid to dismantle the narrative and strip away any notion of salvation beyond ultimate sacrifice. The production chronicles are refreshingly candid and informative. Given the problematic production its any wonder that Fox were in a position to release anything approaching a coherent product following a year in post production, which left composer Elliot Goldenthal philosophical. At this juncture I must establish that the score was one of my favourite aspects of Alien³.

Friday, 22 October 2004

Grand Theft

In an ironic twist the latest installment of the GTA franchise has been leaked onto the internet. In a move that appears to 'contradict' the publisher's 'subversive' mantra. Rockstar is vigorously protecting its intellectual property. Now if only they adopted the Marxist mantra that all property is theft! That's being subversive!

Speculation is nearing fever pitch concerning next Tuesday's music event hosted by Apple and U2. New iPod(s), iPhoto for *cough* Windows 2000 and XP, iTunes 4.x or *fingers crossed* 5 and *fingers and everything else crossed* iPod software update for all generations!

American Woman is reverberating around the walls of my home studio! The track was prominently featured in the opening credit sequence to Alias S2 episode Phase One - 45 minutes of episodic television perfection.

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Must be proficient in Photoshop

Real world commitments are precluding the completion of my review for the Star Wars trilogy DVD. However, who gave the OK to the disc art? Subservient to the look and feel of the prequel packaging, someone whipped these travesties up during a coffee break! Ever heard of Photoshop? Thought not. Hasbro's art department is far more adept.

Monday, 18 October 2004

Dirk The Daring

During my second year of undergraduate study (1994-95) Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) was unrealized and Computational Geometry Algorithms Library (CGAL) was incomprehensible to the mathematically challenged; producing a lavish storyboard is one thing, translating it into binary code is quite another.

Putting my lofty CGI ambitions on the shelf to collect dust (so-to-speak), I specialized in audio and video production. These two mediums* have held me enthralled since childhood and BBC Radio Devon had already broadcast several of my documentaries on their now-defunct teenage magazine programme 90 Miles Per Hour (1990).

At the time BBC Radio One was broadcasting (in Dolby surround) Batman: Knightfall (1994). I decided to produce a 10-minute documentary comparing and contrasting the adaptation of comic books into audio form. Producer/Director Dirk Maggs had established himself as an audio auteur and graciously invited me to the Soundhouse recording studio to interview him during post production on The Amazing Spiderman (1995). And there I made Dirk’s professional acquaintance. Famed comic book artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, 1985) was able to provide his own insight, via a studio link, too. It is my intention to publish this documentary online in RealAudio format.

In 1998, whilst in the gainful employ of Reuters Business Information, Dirk hired me as a foley artist/studio assistant on BBC Radio 4 family drama The Gemini Apes. During the recording sessions I met screen legend Christopher Lee and the affable Garrick Hagon; who portrayed Luke Skywalker’s ill-fated best friend Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars. The majority of Garrick’s exorcised scenes, from a New Hope, were not reinstated in the recent DVD release to the detriment of the story.

Presently, Radio Four is broadcasting The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - The Tertiary Phase. And, as ever, Dirk’s audio production is at the vanguard of broadcasting technology. You can listen to an experimental 5.1 mix (with suitable decoding equipment) online now.

[*I’ve always been perplexed by individuals who are anxious to stereotype and pigeonhole! The following question appears to be enshrined in interview vernacular: What part of the media are you most interested in? The honest answer is the media in all its rich diversity.]

Thursday, 14 October 2004

Papier Mâché

Mario, the diminutive icon of Nintendo Nation, has endured in various guises over the past two decades. From humble beginnings in Donkey Kong to pole position brand, the Italian plumber has courted career success. To my shame (as an avid part-time gamer) I've only recently discovered (read as a happy accident whilst trading-in my console kit) the delights of Paper Mario (2001)!

A loose sequel to Super Mario RPG, Paper adopts a uniquely stylized pop-up book aesthetic. As a child I fondly recall a fascination with this literary tradition and it's an unabriged pleasure to see it implemented in a modern visual medium. The 2/3-D presentation and predictable narrative premise - King Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach - belies richly rewarding RPG gameplay. Fans of Final Fantasy would be remiss to overlook this adventure!

Yesterday's P2P post was prescient! The code for the French retail release of Halo 2 is apparently online sans Xbox live.

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

All you can eat (for free)

The advent of Peer-2-Peer (P2P) networks has fractured the stranglehold (and by extension the status quo) of vertically integrated companies. Napster became the poster child of generation net and has never shaken its subversive identity under the corporate umbrella. Why on Earth anyone wanted to buy it (ironic) is a thesis in itself!

Whilst I do not condone so-called 'free' networks trading in intellectual property, the wealth of material available online is mind-boggling! From the latest movie, music and software releases (may be deliberately leaked online in some instances) to classic computer games (no longer available). Commercial media industries now need to follow Apple Computer's lead and embrace internet technology by providing content at a compelling price point!

Owners (myself included) of Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac should download Office 2004 for Mac Service Pack 1 (11.1.0). Notice the adoption of Windows discourse with this release? Microsoft has also updated MSN Messenger, but their chat client continues to lack parity with the latest Windows release. This is unfortunate because Office 2004 is an impressive product.

Mac OS X 10.3.6 is expected in the next few weeks and promises more Panther polish until 10.4 Tiger is unleashed.

Monday, 11 October 2004

Fortress of Solitude



I'm deeply saddened to learn of Christopher Reeve's passing, yesterday, which coincided with the anniversary of a tragedy in my personal life!

My Mother took me to see Superman: The Movie at Exeter's now-defunct ABC Cinema. A fitting follow-up to Star Wars (John Williams scored all of the first three movies I saw at the cinema). This was during a particularly difficult time in my life, but the adventures of Luke Skywalker and Clark Kent invested in me the will to challenge adversity and never abandon hope.

Mr Reeve's spirit soars unbound by Earthly devices. RIP.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Scream

With Halloween only a few weeks away, my pixel-pushing friends over at The Iconfactory have unleashed their ghoulish GUI goodness in the dark n' dank form of Web Attic!

Really looking forward to a late night screening of Michael Jackson's Ghosts and Thriller on the 31st.

In the meantime and in keeping with the Halloween theme. Whilst I'm still suffering post console sale withdrawal, here's the in-game logo taken from Super Castlevania IV (released on the Super NES, 1991).



Holiday season 1992 I hooked the newly unwrapped PAL Super NES to my home AV system (pre multi-channel) and was startled by the quality of the Castlevania IV soundtrack! Sonic detail was in abundance (a maximum of 8-channels were available to sound designers) with excellent 2-channel separation. A peerless platformer (it featured dancing specters Paula Abghoul and Fred Ascare), which still endures to this day. If you're so inclined, I'd recommend hunting down the original 'uncensored' Japanese Super Famicom cartridge entitled Akumajou Dracula (Demon Castle Dracula) - blood and nudity - all the trappings of the vampire genre.

Konami's Castlevania series, one of my favourite video game franchises, rarely disappoints and I've followed the Belmont family cross-platform (no pun intended) from MSX to Arcade and Genesis to GBA.

Saturday, 2 October 2004

Stop the press, who is that?

My new Epson printer arrived today and is a wonder to behold! Set-up was seamless and it supports direct printing from digital camera, Sony Memory Stick and CD-R removable media. For all its prestigious packaging, Epson does not deem it fit to include a USB cable. Buyer beware!

Friday, 1 October 2004

Elementary! My Dear Watson!

Hectic real world schedule aside. I've begun watching the bonus disc from the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set. Empire Of Dreams has left me yearning for the halcyon days of A-Level Media Studies and an almost limitless creative ambition.

The intervening years have created controversy for George Lucas and it is far too easy to overlook the production innovations that the Star Wars 'factory' spawned. From THX to PIXAR (now a production powerhouse) and Edit Droid to Photoshop (arguably the de facto DTP standard). This afternoon I pre-ordered Photoshop Elements 3 and will post a review in the near future.

Now that all my console gear has been sold, I'm spending far too much time in MacMAME! No regrets? OK, I miss playing the detailed dramas of Final Fantasy Tactics and Castlevania franchise on Nintendo's GBA.



Listened to the first single, Lose My Breath, from DC's forthcoming Destiny Fulfilled (foreshadowing the groups end?).



Darkchild's production references Michael and Janet Jackson. The tune pumps!

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Meet Mary-Kate And Ashley!

Yesterday was busy. I attended a Case Conference at Lucerne House, which is scheduled once a month. And missed the launch of ABC1 on Freeview. Showcasing Moonlighting, Ellen, ESPN and 8 Simple Rules, Disney's first foray into DTT could be a license to print money!

I watched the Emmy award-winning Once and Again S1; a series that my Mother adored during its short-lived run on sky one (about the time when sky one entered a brand identity crisis that it has yet to emerge from). Sela Ward reminds me of the Managing Director, from JFL (Judy Farquharson Limited), who interviewed me for an online journalist post at Orange.

My Epson printer went on the blink. Ink is now flowing everywhere, but not on the paper! So, I've ordered a replacement. An Epson Stylus Photo R300. This model was less than half the price I paid for the C80, in 2002, and includes CD and DVD printing. Coincidently Epson announced its EasyPrint utility. Sweet.

During the weekend MacMAME reached 0.87b. Brad fixed a longstanding emulation bug (68ec020 CPU) that prevented Bubble Bobble 2 and Bubble Memories from working. A further revision is expected soon that will include a rewrite of the HID (Human Interface Device) code. I 'dusted off' Street Fighter and found myself yearning for more! Capcom never satisfyingly followed up Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, but instead bled the franchise dry with polished, if not innovative, sequels such as Marvel Vs Capcom. Resident Evil overshadowed any future aspirations for Street Fighter!

Friday, 24 September 2004

Dine-in style

Whilst waiting for MacMAME 0.87a. I went to a Pizza Hut near my Mother's nursing home! I've said it before, but the food and service is always great. Anyway. Whilst there I spotted a Kristin Kreuk (Smallville's Lana Lang) look-a-like!



Charmed S7 sees a cameo from Charisma Carpenter! Could I BE more excited?

Thursday, 23 September 2004

Driving down the 101

Following yesterday's release of the highly anticipated (in arcade emulation circles) MacMAME 0.87. The application is Jar-Jared! Sega gems based on Out Run and Space Harrier hardware no longer work, but Virtua Fighter is sure pretty! A patch is in the pipeline. Here's the official MacMAME forum.

I've started watching the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set. Full review is in the works.

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Desktop Arcade

The Atari® Flashback™ Classic Game Console has been announced for the holiday season. My earliest memory of owning a games console was the Atari VCS 2600 (introduced in 1977 and distributed in the UK by Ingersoll Electronics). It was an unwanted holiday gift for a cousin. So, my Uncle graciously gave it to me on my Birthday (mint in box)! This was alongside Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, which has a connection other than purely nostalgia!

After only a few minutes playing Space Invaders, Frogger and The Empire Strikes Back (you see there was a connection) I was hooked! For the next two decades I owned a Spectrum 48K, Commodore 64, Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) and Dreamcast, Atari Lynx, SNES and N64, PSOne and PStwo, and XBOX.



The thread that binded these machines together was the relentless pursuit to acquire games that were arcade perfect. Sega's Mega Drive produced an excellent conversion of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. Yet this was a flawed premise in that a conversion, by definition, is anything but (not to diminish the fun that was had). However, the Dreamcast console was based on the NAOMI (New Arcade Operation Machine Idea) PCB that powered Sega’s coin-ops, which culminated in near-definitive releases Crazy Taxi and Dead or Alive 2.



The first time I heard about MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) was from a former coworker (2001). MAME was started in 1996 by Nicola Salmoria as a means of archiving, and by extension preserving, arcade games that would otherwise disappear forever. For example Star Trek (1983), which is a very rare Sega vector game featuring the voices of the principal cast. Also it allows gamers to experience titles that they may never have otherwise played such as the Japanese-only Gaiapolis, replete with gorgeous graphics, and quirky horizontal shooter Parodius and its sequels, both from Konami.



Unlike music or film, arcade hardware is expensive and therefore it’s commercially prohibitive to continue production runs over an extended period of time. As a pleasant side effect, one can play game ROMs (dumped from arcade Printed Circuit Boards using an EPROM reader) under software emulation! The notion of playing the original Gauntlet, After Burner II, Out Run and many others was mouthwatering!



In what can only be described as an act of serendipity, earlier this year I wrote a review of Jedi Academy (for Inside Mac Games) and discovered that Aspyr programmer, and fellow Star Wars fan, Brad Oliver was the author of MacMAME! Subsequently, I downloaded 0.77u2a and my ROM searching odyssey began in earnest.



With the release of 0.87, MacMAME has been extensively rewritten and further optimized to be a better Mac OS X citizen. Sporting many enhancements including preliminary support for Sega's Model 1 PCB (i.e seminal releases Virtua Fighter and Star Wars Arcade) and the removal of legacy code. This release requires Mac OS X 10.2 (or higher).



It is worth noting that the legal ownership of ROM images (for the purpose of backup) may be contingent on possessing the original arcade game. However, it is not clear if it is legal for an individual to have ROM images (even if not for profit) for a game they don't own. Please read legal implications on MAME rom usage from Northwestern University Law School before downloading any roms to ensure legal compliance. Do not ask me how ROMs can be obtained. Some ROM images, such as Atari's, are available for legal purchase here.

Monday, 20 September 2004

The Force Forever

The anticipation for the Star Wars Trilogy release will never be equaled in my lifetime! And it was with hyperactive enthusiasm that I collected the DVD set, from the postman, this afternoon. Thanks Amazon UK.



Over the next few days I intend to watch the saga, listen to the Sony soundtrack release and impart my reviews here.

Thursday, 16 September 2004

Club 33

This is my 100th post and it fittingly coincides with an invitation to orkut, which is to Google what Club 33 is to Disney! Orkut was established by a Google employee as a means of social networking or, in marketing vernacular, hot working.

In US TV network parlance; 100 episodes is considered to be the magic number at which point many television series are viable for TV syndication!

Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

There are already excellent blogs that cover PVR (Personal Video Recorders). However, I want to chime in with my user experiences!

In December 2000 I bought a TiVo machine (manufactured by Thomson) and within a month sent it back! Not because the equipment was flawed, no, I lamented the lack of a built-in decoder and shelf space was at a premium. In early 2001 I interviewed for a TiVo guide editor post at sky. Prophetically, within a few months TiVo decided to withdraw from the UK market (continuing support for existing customers only). And sky focused on its own branded product that lacked TiVo’s signature feature - suggestions.

In 2003 I subscribed to sky+ as part of an upgrade package. However, following the ‘failure’ of two Pace V1 STBs (replaced with reconditioned kit) and ongoing technical issues including crashes, failed recordings and the inability to download recorded content to VCR/DVD – it appears that there may be sky+ software glitches that undermine its reliability - I decided to cancel my subscription. Question to sky: Do you seed software updates to testers during R&D?

As an avid Apple user, I’d welcome a digital lifestyle application that records directly to HDD/removable media along the lines of Elgato’s award-winning EyeTV. Coupled with QuickTime (H.264/AVC) and technology licensed from TiVo, the potential for another Mac OS X killer application is not that far fetched! Perhaps Apple will have the insight to add a TV tuner (included in my Performa 5200) in future revisions of the new iMac and claim the Media Center throne.

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

Firestarter

Regular visitors may have noticed the Firefox plug under Post Editor! This browser, whilst not without flaws inherited from its forebears, works hand in glove with Blogger and is on the eve of reaching a developmental milestone. Give it a whirl and "rediscover the web" as their marketing urges.

On a separate note. Apple has started to seed new developer builds of OS X 10.4 Tiger. This major revision to OS X looks very promising.

Back to writing the first of those two large editorials I mentioned.

Monday, 13 September 2004

Groucho Club

For sometime I have admired the talented writers behind Friends, Seinfeld and Will & Grace! Last night's Funny Already - A History of Jewish Comedy was insightful and entertaining.

From a personal point of view I can clearly see the origins of my Mother's rapier sense of wit, self-deprecation and comedic timing. Priceless.

Saturday, 11 September 2004

9/11

Ate donuts at Sainsbury's and concede that they'll take some beating. Should give Krispy Kreme a good run for their money.

Peace.

Thursday, 9 September 2004

The Dark Crystal

My friend Ashley Thorpe and me go way back, as far as September 1989 to be pedantic. We were both studying Fine Art and he overheard me mentioning Dark Horse's Alien comic to friends! It wasn't until Ashley brought in the official Aliens film magazine that I accepted his 'sincerity'. Alienated, bitter and cynical that's what we all were (and perhaps still are if truth be told). It later transpired that our interests and obsessions converged even deeper.



From Star Wars and Aliens to Jim Henson and even, ahem, taste in ladies too! Here's to those halcyon memories of Joanne Whalley-Kilmer (Whalley Whalley) and Winona Ryder (Oprah it was all your fault; if I hadn't watched your Cher interview at around the time of the release of Mermaids).

I can't wish the following sentiment in person. Ashley's living in Greece and I'm in the UK.

Happy Birthday Ashley. Have a fantastic day.

The quest for the Kaiburr crystal will soon be over old friend! Time for some crisps, cola and another round of Tekken too!

Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Minority Report

The announcement of the second Cruise/Spielberg collaboration, The War of the Worlds, is a compelling proposition. H.G. Wells, alongside authors J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll, enriched my childhood literary experiences and had a profound impact on my thinking. I discovered Wells' opus via Jeff Wayne's seminal "The Musical Version Of" LP - Sony UK is preparing a 5.1 surround sound edition for release in 2005 - belated thanks to Kevin Simpson's Dad, Nick. The first movie adaptation (1953) was a thinly veiled anti-communist subtext, which secured an Oscar for special effects. With Wayne's filmic endeavour suffering from a protracted gestation, Spielberg has an opportunity to revisit The War of the Worlds as post 9/11 allegory.

Don't miss the chance to download the latest single of the week from iTMS (Europe only). Baby (Off the Wall). The sensuous Sirens hail from Newcastle, UK, and their sound echoes the urban grooves of All Saints and the Sugababes with added feistiness!

The last few days have afforded me little opportunity to post! However, over the next few weeks there will be a duo of major editorials concerning a couple of my hobbies.

Saturday, 4 September 2004

Cat Capers

From this evening novelist Nick Smith's web site is now live. I'll be updating it on a regular basis, so please bookmark.

Thursday, 2 September 2004

Glow

Now that the dust surrounding the release of the new iMac has settled. I stand by my assertion that Apple has done the brand a short-term disservice in the choice of GPU!

Last year the nVIDIA GeForce 5200 appeared in the final revision of the iMac LCD. Therefore the GeForce 6600 would have delivered considerably more 'bang' and improved future proofing. Yes, the consumer desktop is aimed at the so-called lower end of the market, but that doesn't preclude it from being a versatile gaming and publishing platform.

And Apple appears to have missed a further trick or three. The new machine has enough urban chic to silence even the most demanding of the style-obsessed! The 20" model should be the jewel in the crown of any digital lifestyle centre. And replace or supplement TiVo and Sky+! Of course Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger may contain further surprises in this regard and kick Microsoft's so-called Media Centers into a cocked hat.

Wednesday, 1 September 2004

Pinch Punch

Added a new hit counter as Google has ceased supporting bSTATS.

Aspyr's Brad Oliver has updated the Macintosh edition of his Jedi Academy SDK (download link). This fixes bugs in the initial release.

Tuesday, 31 August 2004

Snow White and the GeForce

This morning the third generation (3G) iMac was released at Apple Expo Paris 2004. Since the 1G iMac appeared in JLo's stylish video for 'If You Had My Love' (1999), the diminutive all-in-one solution has been at the vanguard of consumer style. The latest iteration of the successful iMac brand is a slender vision of silicon perfection.



I've owned both first and second generation iMacs and can't wait to see the latest model for myself. Apple should be applauded for producing a high quality product at a competitive price. Dropping the iMac logo from the front fascia is a natural progression, the Apple logo is elegantly subliminal.

As with previous consumer desktops, the only flies in the ointment are the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and RAM! This blemished beauty ships with the pitifully underpowered nVIDIA FX 5200 Ultra and 256MB RAM (at time of writing I'd recommend a minimum of 512MB). The first revision will, in all probability, redress this imbalance in the hardware DNA and should be timed to coincide with the retail release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

Monday, 30 August 2004

You never stop looking

Natalie Portman's acting debut, Leon, was pure ingénue. When it was announced that she'd signed to the Star Wars prequels (alongside an unknown Keira Knightley), most fans (myself included) were anticipatory! However, George Lucas' prequels drained the essense from even the most talented of actors and Natalie was no exception. Her onscreen persona was overshadowed by the Menace of a technologist's vision. The movie Closer may see the return of Portman's promise. Is Mathilda back in time for Revenge of the Sith?



I'm really looking forward to Batman Begins. The teaser trailer has rekindled my faith in the franchise. Fellow fans of both Batman and Katie Holmes would be wise to read this informative article. Over the Autumn/Fall I will showcase new Batman fine line drawings here.

Sunday, 29 August 2004

Welcome to the party pal!

Sent out Gmail invites this evening. Google's strategy is interesting in that media pundits had anticipated the service would be open for business by now! However, Google News has remained in beta phase since last year. And preserving a 'by invitation' strategy adds value to the service.

Watched a Charmed teaser featuring Nick Lachey (husband of Jessica Simpson). Alyssa Milano has grown her hair and looks gorgeous!

Friday, 27 August 2004

Miami Sound Machine

No this isn't a tenuous link to the band that became subservient to its lead singer Gloria Estefan (loved them in the 80's). Today HP's Miami bash sees the release of a range of digital lifestyle products and a branded iPod too (announced earlier this year). Apple's stock price has soared and there's the Paris Expo next week - new products galore.

Loving Gmail! The contextual AdSense banners are non-invasive. However, there might be a loading issue with Safari 1.2.3 (appears to be a cache problem and is solved by super refreshing). For instant gratification I'm using the Camino branch of Mozilla for maximum compatibility until Safari 1.3 (soon) or 2 (2005).

Thursday, 26 August 2004

Pop!ular

This afternoon whilst toying with the Blogger UI and adding new gizmos, I decided that a name change was in order! Given that the subject matter of this site skews towards popular culture, Soda Scribes is far more befitting and catchy.

Wednesday, 25 August 2004

You've got Gmail

Thanks to a charitable forum poster (not telling where), I'm the proud owner of a Gmail account now! Considering that eBay is still witnessing bids between US$60 and US$120 for invites, to say that I'm delighted is an understatement.

Safari 1.2.1 (and newer) is officially supported and plays well with Google's latest poster child. There are glitches, but these will (probably) be fixed soon. The interface is one of the best web-application interfaces I've seen so far - alongside stablemate Blogger - and unquestionably the best web-mail interface bar none.

During the coming days and weeks I'll post my experiences of this most coveted of email services and may send the odd invite too (no requests or bids please). Time to download the patched World of Warcraft Beta patch!

Tuesday, 24 August 2004

Art of Revenge

In the lead up to the release of Star Wars Episode III, Lucasfilm has begun to offer subscription-only content to non-Hyperspace members. Tellingly there is a QuickTime documentary entitled "Video Village", which illuminates the strengths and weaknesses inherent in George Lucas' directorial style. The words 'remote' and 'direction' have new meaning when read together!

At Inside Mac Games we've teamed up with Aspyr Media for our latest giveaway. And it'll be worth entering!

Monday, 23 August 2004

Sony Wars

Sony Classical began its illustrious association with George Lucas' space opera with the release of the Star Wars Trilogy in 1990. Following its merger with BMG, Sony is set to release the Original Trilogy Soundtracks to coincide with the DVD release.



Over the years I've owned the Star Wars soundtracks in vinyl, tape and CD guises. However, this latest edition introduces digital surround sound (Charles Gerhardt released Dolby Surround recordings from 1977 onwards) and value added content.

With this release of the trilogy soundtrack CDs, the entire collection of Star Wars film music is now on the Sony Classical label.

On the subject of future Sony music releases. The new studio album from the Destiny's Child franchise will be based on CD/DVD flip-side technology! This was announced during their manager's keynote speech.

Saturday, 21 August 2004

Final Cut Pro

In exactly a month Episodes IV, V and VI of the Star Wars saga will be released on DVD. As I mused in an earlier post. According to the more extreme rumour sites the 'original trilogy' has been dramatically reforged in Lucasfilm's compositing refineries!



Not only will the Special Edition sequences be refurbished, but the entire trilogy will be augmented with new and extended scenes. More ambitious suggestions range from old Naboo Starfighters appearing in the first Death Star battle to digital Ewoks and John Williams' score reorchestrated to form a more cohesive whole. Certainly alterations to CGI Jabba are welcome (see the above image for new rendering). In 1997 a friend and me lambasted The Hutt on our return journey from The Odeon, Leicester Square.

Will this release be Jar-Jared, the definitive edition or is that a matter of perception? Whatever the answer, I will post my comments here. Then there's the new edition of Episode I...

Thursday, 19 August 2004

Thunderbirds are go!

Visited our local Ford stockist. The gleaming showroom cars were all but obscured by Thunderbirds The Movie promotional litter. The new Focus 2 isn't released until 2005. So, I've ordered a Ford Fusion 2 UAV (Urban Activity Vehicle) to replace my current Focus Zetec.



This stylish UAV excudes urban chic and will sport magnum grey livery! It's so The OC, and I can't wait to collect it in November.

Tuesday, 17 August 2004

Happy Birthday Michael

No, not MJ (although his birthday is later this month)! This is to wish my friend Michael a very Happy Birthday and to lift the wraps off Photoshop album art, which will form part of his belated birthday gift. We're both fans of Michael Jackson - attending two concerts together - and twenty years ago MJ ruled the music world. His elaborate Pepsi commercials, which reached their zenith with 'Dreams' (1992), were as eagerly anticipated as his groundbreaking music videos!



Crafting a CD, with purchased iTunes music, is no mean feat. And it's best practice to adopt the Quincy Jones methodology and keep editing each time you've selected the ten best songs.

Whovians can rejoice! From the BBC archives, eighteen incomplete stories have been restored and compiled in a boxed set. Lost in Time includes the first release of 'Day Of Armageddon' and the newly discovered, 'The Daleks' Masterplan'. Also features another Dalek story, two Cybermen stories and both Yeti stories as well as the BBC1 trail for 'The Power Of The Daleks', the last episode of 'Fury From The Deep' and Tony Cornell's 8mm colour film taken during the shooting of that episode.

Have a great day Michael.

Sunday, 15 August 2004

Into Dust

Following severe flash flooding in the South West of England, my broadband connection was offline for a couple of days! However, my neighbour, who is also a blueyonder customer, did not suffer such a trammel! Presumably we are on different servers!

Today's Culture section includes an interview with Hollywood wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan! He's a consummate, and measured, mix of early Spielberg optimism and Hitchcockian horror. From The Sixth Sense to The Village, hubris is always a frame away, but Shymalan's work echoes my own aspirations. I'd encourage anyone to view his body of work at least once!

Back to iTunes.

Thursday, 12 August 2004

The Charmed Ones

At last my prayers have been answered! Trouble is my Titan Magazine budget is already maxed-out on Alias, Angel, Buffy, dreamwatch and Star Wars...



I've enjoyed Charmed in both its Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan years. Shame that Julian McMahon left. However, nip/tuck is genius.

Wednesday, 11 August 2004

More Mayan Magic

All you aspiring artists may like to know that Maya 6 PLE is now available for download (broadband recommended). Apple Computer has also been industrious and there is an avalanche of software updates available. From Mac OS X 10.3.5 (Combined Update recommended), iSync 1.5 and Java amongst others. Grab them all whilst stocks last!

Following last week's indulgent link to brunettes. Demand was, unsurprisingly, high and IMDb has released the sequel! I pray for your forgiveness!

Monday, 9 August 2004

Verily Vuitton

Japanese consumer culture has embraced the iPod mini as an icon of urban style! Sony's Walkman brand has been usurped, according to Tokyo's fashionistas, by Apple Computer.

Sunday, 8 August 2004

Brand slam

Sony sweethearts Destiny's Child and JLo are recording their fourth studio albums, which are released to retail during the lucrative Holiday season.



Is there no limit to the JLo brand extensions? From perfume and apparel to movies and records, she's a multi-platform phenomenon. Now add a lingerie line (available only from Figleaves). Wonder if JLo will promote the iPod mini in her next promo video?

The Sunday Times Culture section includes an interview with the ever-engaging Jennifer Garner. Her movie, 13 Going On 30, has received positive reviews. Whilst it's certainly no landmark in movie making, it's replete with plenty of pop, fizz and chutzpah. I'm toying with the idea of purchasing the R1 DVD!

Coming over all geeky now. Mac OS X 10.3.5 is nearing final candidate release. The update sees improvements in Core Graphics, Audio/Sound, Bluetooth, OpenGL, Video drivers, Mail, FireWire, NFS and Safari.

Friday, 6 August 2004

Algarve adventure

For the first time ever (better late than never) Dad has won a competition to spend a week in Portugal courtesy of the very fine folks at Eglo! I jokingly 'ribbed' Dad that he would win... Perhaps I should start predicting lottery numbers? Well deserved Dad.

Whilst we're in Portugal, I'll have to scout a few locations for a future film!

Thursday, 5 August 2004

Garner gets animated

Keeping to the Disney-theme. The Alias S3 DVD set includes an animated feature, which chronicles Sidney's untold exploits during her two 'missing' years.

Wednesday, 4 August 2004

Disney's demographic channel

Reuters, my first employer following graduation from Bournemouth University, announced that the Mouse House is to soft launch the ABC brand on Freeview!



ABC1 bows in September. Launch lineup includes Once and Again, new Thirtysomething and Geena Davis Show. Bring on Alias series 4.

Tuesday, 3 August 2004

Pinter pause

Please humour my self-indulgence, but not all gentlemen prefer blondes! IMDb Salutes "Hollywood Brunettes" and satiates my penchant for the dark side.



I have Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in the majority of rooms in my home! Last week a Grundig GDT1500, which resided in the lounge, 'overheated' (less than a year old)! Ironically a Philips model (from the ONDigital era) remains in active service. So, I searched the net and selected a Sony VTX-D800U Freeview STB. A signature design. Sony updated the software to v1.11.01 U and the seven day EPG is now up and running. The VTX-D800U ships with one of the most intuitive remote controls I've ever used!

iTunes UK released its first single of the week today! The Tina Dico song Break of Day. It will only be available, free, for a limited time. iPhoto has been updated to 4.0.2 and iSync 1.5 is imminent.

Monday, 2 August 2004

Deep Sea Titan

My close friend, Doctor Michael Williams, recently brought to my attention that über director James Cameron recently received an honorary degree from Southampton University. You can read the press release here.

It's so disappointing that, following Titanic, aside from a brief flirtation with television in the dusky-tressed Dark Angel, James Cameron has embarked on a documentary-obsessed odyssey to the detriment of his mainstream movie making! Aside from an alleged extended 5-hour cut of Titanic (destined for future DVD release), and perhaps further revisiting of earlier entries in his cinematic oeuvre
, that next movie appears to be elusive. Of course, with the exception of Piranha II: Flying Killers, I wonder if his next film will also be another romance? A romance between director and medium! This fan is waiting. So, in the words of Vasquez "Lets Rock".

You may wish to read Cameron's original treatment for the aborted Spider-Man movie here.

Sunday, 1 August 2004

Yeah ... and I'm still - I'm still - well, I'm still Seth Cohen

According to Digital Spy, The OC S1 DVD set will be released in the UK on October 18. This is a week in advance of the US bow. Pre-order your copy of this delicious guilty pleasure.

Saturday, 31 July 2004

She wears Abercrombie & Fitch

Finally got around to listening to the commentary track for ABC Television's Alias pilot Truth Be Told. And it was an unabriged pleasure listening to the dulcet tones of Jennifer Garner and the stuttering energy of J.J. Abrams (who sounds a lot like a young Steven Spielberg).



I recently transcribed my thoughts concerning Alias, which appeared in The Official Magazine #4.

Friday, 30 July 2004

Welcome to The OC

In October Warner Bros lifts the wraps off the first season of The OC (on R1 DVD). The set traverses seven discs and contains compelling added-value. R2 details are unknown at present, but I'll update as soon as I know more.



The creative agency commissioned to produce the DVD packaging also worked on the upcoming Star Wars Trilogy release.

Whilst Mac OS X 10.3 users wait for the final release of 10.3.5 (seeding continues). Technology from PortalPlayer forms part of the iPod DNA.

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Splinter of the Mind's Eye

The stylized visage of Darth Vader looms large over a chaotic field of molten lava in Hasbro's forthcoming Episode III product line.



The luxuriously furnished bubble pack is reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings toy line (from Toy Biz). However, of greater note is the design of Vader's helmet, which alludes to Ralph McQuarrie's pre-production paintings for the original trilogy!

It would be remiss of me not to notice the adoption of Apple-style branding - a white and grey backdrop.

Tuesday, 27 July 2004

The Corpse Bride

Tim Burton has been in the creative wilderness since his meaningless remake of The Planet of the Apes. However, it appears that he may have rediscovered his macabre muse in the stop motion form of The Corpse Bride!



This production, which was originally announced around the theatrical release of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1994), is an animated interpretation of a 19th Century Russian folktale, where a man mistakenly weds a corpse. Burton back on form? The smart money suggests an emphatic yes!

Sunday, 25 July 2004

Episode III

On Saturday, as Dad and me embarked on the emotional odyssey of transferring Mum's personal effects from Mardon to Lucerne House, Lucasfilm officially unveiled the title of the final Star Wars movie at Comic-Con International.



There's a symmetry to this title, which underscores George Lucas' narrative technique of repeating threads with different intonations. And Return of the Jedi was initially announced as Revenge in '83.

In a nutshell the title rocks!

Friday, 23 July 2004

i'm lovin' it

Bournemouth University’s Alumni Association interviewed me for a special magazine feature focusing on graduates who are now successfully working in the media. The article was published in The Talbot (Summer 2004) magazine. Download the PDF here (13.9MB).

Thursday, 22 July 2004

The Rainmaker

Watching Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of John Grisham's novel was unnerving. There are too many parallels between Rudy Baylor's conflict and my own!

My friends at Sideshow Collectibles continue to add to their already impressive roster of licensed products! Marvel and Star Wars join The Muppets, Buffy and Lord of the Rings.



Any avid admirer (myself since The Ice Storm) of Katie Holmes would be remiss not to watch her appearance on MTV's Punk'd! She was attending an interview with movie director McG and, well, download the RealVideo clip here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

What's your childhood trauma?

As a follow-up to yesterday's comic book themed post. I'm delighted to now be associated with Batmans.de a cool German site dedicated to the exploits of the Caped Crusader.



On the subject of Dark Knights. Last evening after weeks of waiting, I finally viewed the Angel series finale. The mood, atmosphere and rain-soaked conclusion captured the zeitgeist of my life. The team went out fighting!

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Singer soars

X-Men movie franchise auteur Bryan Singer is officially signed to direct Superman's big screen return. According to sources the narrative will intertwine with the mythology of Richard Donner's 70's opus Superman (The Movie). Singer's roster of upcoming projects includes Logan's Run and X3. Presumably the latter project will remain under his aegis as the previous entries are structured as part of a trilogy format. Lets hope that Smallville's Tom Welling is afforded the deserved opportunity to transition to the big screen!



With the news of Superman and Batman Begins (currently in production and headlined by Christian Bale and Katie Holmes) comic book licenses are at an all time high! You can view original Superman and Batman fine art in my gallery. In the future I intend to add new material.

Plug time! My friend Nick Smith is about to release his new novel.

Back to screenplay writing!

Sunday, 18 July 2004

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

Mum's medical condition continues to manifest issues with no sign of 'closure' in sight! The Yellow Brick Road goes ever on.

Steve Jobs appears on the latest cover of Newsweek sporting the new 4G iPod, which elegantly meshes the signature design of 3G and iPod mini variants.

Anyone interested in the development of Blogger may wish to learn more.

Time to watch Dawson's Creek season one episode Detention - a postmodern pastiche of John Hughes' seminal sociological movie The Breakfast Club.

Saturday, 17 July 2004

Happy Birthday Dad

Today we're celebrating my Dad's birthday and taking life easy (a very rare luxury). My Auntie Marion (and family) are here on vacation and meeting us at Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre (where my Mum has spent the past 8 months of her life).

Mum is moving to Lucerne House midweek. This will be for ever. For ever. Seeing it in type hits hard, but having Mum alive is a gift. Hope is underestimated...

Friday, 16 July 2004

WYSIWYG

Blogger's Post Editor is undergoing further fine tuning and finessing! The web-application interface has been retooled and now resembles a feature-rich e-mail client. Is the Gmail and Blogger development team one and the same I wonder? The value-added additions, including text formatting and image uploading, are welcome. However, there is a caveat in the short to mid term. Mac Users will need to use a Mozilla-based browser (my preferred branch of the Gecko Engine is Firefox) to fully leverage the service improvements for the foreseeable future. One of the Google User Interface Engineer's has a blog and welcomes user feedback.

Bruce Springsteen's haunting ballad Sad Eyes eloquently expresses my current emotional mood! I feel akin to Pacey (Joshua Jackson) in Dawson's Creek season 2 episode His Leading Lady. The past few weeks have been too turbulent.

Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Reality Bites

Harman/Kardon continues to release compelling multimedia audio products under its JBL brand! Apple Computer’s partnership with HK began in earnest with the release of the original iMac. This was rapidly followed by Soundsticks, Creature and Invader speakers. On Tour and On Stage now join this distinguished ensemble, which has delighted audiophiles and casual listeners alike. All JBL products share a distinctive organic look and feel and this affords seamless integration with Apple Macintosh hardware, not that I am in anyway biased!

Talking of eye candy. It struck me how Keira Knightley now resembles a composite of Jewish actresses Natalie Portman (a given) and Winona Ryder (see the June edition of Premiere magazine). A friend pointed out that Keira’s filling a vacuum vacated by Winona following the infamous shoplifting incident in 2002.

Tuesday, 13 July 2004

Cool collectibles

When I'm not beta testing software, writing game reviews for IMG or creating new content for my site, I collect TV and Movie memorabilia! Cool collectibles such as diecast models from Corgi are no longer considered just for boys. Baby boomers are nostalgic for high value products from Dr Who to Thunderbirds.

Corgi's brand new range of Batman collectibles celebrates more than 60 years of what has been DC Comics' most enduring creation. Replicated under license to 1:43 scale, each of the five models offers working features such as opening bonnet showing engine detail, moulded Batman figure, spring-loaded opening wings (Batmarine) and transparent canopy cover. This series ranges from the earliest days (1940) to the turbo-charged 2004 Batmobile. 1960 Batmobile is my favourite diecast model car of all time. In the '70s the Batmobile and Batboat gift sets were gold dust!

Monday, 12 July 2004

Vanilla Sky

Ever felt like you've fallen down the Rabbit Hole a la Alice in Wonderland? Since studying Sociology (A-Level) in the early '90s (prior to the cinematic adventures of Neo and Trinity) I have felt like a postmodern Alice surrounded by a world of symbols waiting to be decoded and/or encoded. Of particular interest to me has been the field of semiology.

The founding Father of semiology was Roland Barthes a French philosopher, linguist, and educator. In general, Barthes wanted to create a way for people to deepen their understanding of language, literature, and society. Specifically, he focused on nonverbal signs. His greatest concern was occidentalism - that the French bourgeoisie considered its culture and mores to be universal. He felt that society is a construction, perpetuated by signs of the dominant values within its culture.

Semiology is, arguably, a tool with which to deconstruct myth and, by extension, reveal the Status Quo!

Friday, 9 July 2004

I, Robot

Appears that the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a fellow fan of iPods! In an interview with Wired, Will Smith told the magazine that the iPod is the gadget of the century. "I have every model. My CD collection from my entire life is on them. I probably have 52,000 songs." High praise indeed.

Found the following blog, concerning OS X 10.4 Tiger application Automator, an interesting read. Incidentally, OS X 10.3.5 is now seeding to developers and promises to be the most substantive update to Panther since its initial release last year! No idea what 'substantive' equates to, but here's hoping...

Back to Photoshop and downloading the latest patch for the World of Warcraft beta test.

Wednesday, 7 July 2004

A mini blockbuster

At long last Apple Europe has officially announced that the iPod mini is to be released to retail at the end of July! Boasting a superior design to the award-winning 3G iPod, the mini is the quintessence of compact and bijou chic. You can pre-order now.

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

An appointment with Doc Ock

As a child I spent many an hour building LEGO sets - including Thunderbirds rescue vehicles and Sky Harbour from the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind - and reading comics. The following Spider-Man 2 spoof elegantly encapsulates those halcyon memories.

Monday, 5 July 2004

Soccer Socrates style

Last night's Greek victory was the perfect bookend to a seminal Euro championship! Greece beat Portugal (the host nation) in the opening game and the conclusion was poetic. The pit invasion could have broken the Greek concentration, but the remaining minutes only secured Greece further possession of the ball...

Sunday, 4 July 2004

Point and click cinema

In the late '80s I cut my audio/video editing teeth on linear equipment i.e. three machine edit suites for video and 1/4 tape (chalk and cutting knife in hand) for audio. The mid 90's witnessed the advent, and rapid development, of non-linear, non-destructive workflows. It occurred to me that since that time all my editing has been Mac-based! In 2003 I revisited my production analysis written for December Duet (an original drama made during my final year at Bournemouth University). It is available as a PDF download.

Since the unveiling of Dashboard at the WWDC 2004 a debate has raged concerning Apple's alleged 'rip off' of Konfabulator. The following blog outlines the historical development of widgets, which found its genesis on the Mac platform many years ago.

Friday, 2 July 2004

I want my MTV

During the week I got to grips with Real Export Plug-in and whipped up RealVideo and RealAudio samples, that can be downloaded from my site. They are encoded in Variable Bit Rate (VBR) Download format and really fly!

VBR is an encoding method that ensures consistent high audio or video quality throughout an encoded file by making intelligent bit-allocation decisions during the encoding process. In this instance the encoded files were multi-passed for high quality.

Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Rolling Stone

RealPlayer 10 Beta for Mac OS X is now available for immediate download. Leveraging Safari and QuickTime technology, this is the best incarnation of RealPlayer on any platform! The new Mac edition also includes a fully featured graphic equaliser and image controls (the Windows edition requires subscription). Kudos.

Having now watched the WWDC QuickTime Keynote stream. Of all the new 'cool' OS X 10.4 Tiger features showcased, Core Image captured my imagination! Core Image provides a plug-in style architecture for accessing filters, transitions and effects packages called Image Units. Image Units provide centralized management for image processing plug-ins that can be shared across all host applications. Adobe Photoshop CS Ultimate Edition!