Tuesday, 30 May 2006

The Triforce Grants Gaming Greatness

For Generation X the name Zelda is synonymous with teatime television hit Supermacromation series The Terrahawks and Nintendo!

Like Mario, Zelda is the brainchild of Shigeru Miyamoto thus sharing the high production values of its sibling. Zelda has, inevitably, spawned its own lifestyle merchandising. From action figures to cereals. And lest I forget to mention the animated series too, which is now available on DVD!

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) introduced me to the wonders of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

A Link to the Past follows the adventures of Princess Zelda's and Link's ancestors, referring to the characters from the two Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Thus, A Link to the Past takes place before the events of the first two Zelda games. The game's endurance was typified by its inclusion on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) title The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords.

With the imminent arrival of the Zelda franchise on both the Nintendo DS (Phantom Hourglass) and Wii (The Twilight Princess). The continuation of Link's award-winning adventures is assured and I, for one, don't intend to miss out.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Domino Dancing

Our Spring Bank Holiday excursion to Colchester has been jam-packed!

From purchasing and successfully installing a new Freeview box without the expense of an aerial upgrade. This now enables my Grandfather to watch BBC News 24 and participate in the 'press red for interactive' conversation during the upcoming FIFA World Cup. To eating beer baked battered plaice at our Essex family's local, The Whalebone (where I went last week). Followed by KFC in the evening. Yummy!

We managed to cram in a late night movie too! The twisted bounty hunter biopic Domino starring Keira Knightley. Whilst the movie was somewhat flawed, there's no denying Keira's ability to 'do dark' with plummy aplomb and Tony Scott's visuals are tirelessly arresting!

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Lite Launch

Big N has officially announced the European launch of the DS Lite. Mark June 23rd in your Google Calendar!

Whilst the DS Lite is available in a spectrum of colors in Nintendo's native Japan. On launch day Europeans will have a choice of black and white. Black is clearly proving popular, but I'll stick with white in order to compliment my existing desktop and portable lifestyle products.

Get your pre-orders in early as prices are already creeping up. Play.com is the cheapest at £97.99 (subject to change without notice).

At time of writing there is no word regarding what bundles (if any) will be available. Surely including a copy of New Super Mario Brothers is a must?

Friday, 19 May 2006

Westward Ho!

Once again I'm safely ensconced back in the South West of England following a most excellent week with relatives. The PSP arrived safely sans dead pixels. The only fly in the ointment is Sony's inexplicable decision not include a PC to PSP USB mini cable! The latest firmware update will have to wait.

Our trip to Blockbuster AKA "Blocky Buster" culminated in hiring Flightplan and The Island.

Flightplan is a stylish hodgepodge of poorly executed ideas and aspirations that exceeded the director's abilities. A claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plane. File under sub-Hitchcock and Spielberg.

The Island was an altogether improved experience. The chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson is intense and they look like they're having fun, an ingredient that is in short supply in post Star Wars Hollywood.

Much has been made of the abundant advertising in The Island. However product placement is nothing new in commercial movies for example Back to the Future II and Minority Report. I smiled at the Apple Computer and MSN Search logos. Incidentally, unlike Google's fluctuating search engine antics, MSN Search still lists my portfolio site in pole position. Thanks Bill. The Calvin Klein commercial self consciously embraced post postmodernism as Jordan Two Delta admired her 'true' self Sarah Jordan (Scarlett Johansson lends her likeness to Calvin Klein amongst others).

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Look East

Currently enjoying a break in Colchester, Essex, and savoring the charming delights of Rowhedge and Fingringhoe villages! If you're ever in this picturesque region of the UK, may I suggest a pub meal at the Whalebone public house? Their tuna and cheese melts are truly delicious!

Wonder if my Ceramic White PSP has arrived safely back home?

Time to visit Blockbuster (with one of my cousins). This will be a novelty as I haven't hired a movie in years!

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Play Away

A Ceramic White PSP Value Pack (including a free copy of WipEout Pure) is on its way!

I'm psyched about playing Ridge Racer, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Monster Hunter Freedom and, in June, Tekken: Dark Resurrection. Over the coming months, portable gaming should transform the train journeys from Exeter to London and London to Colchester!

Full product and game reviews to follow.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Planet PlayStation

Yesterday's announcements from SCEE have sent a clear message to gamers and competitors alike. Sony has no intention of losing its enviable market share (it is theirs to lose)! PS3 and Ceramic White PSP are coming to stores near you.

I've drooled over the prospect of adding the Ceramic White PSP to my lifestyle mantelpiece and intend to order one over the coming weeks.

And then there's this black beauty. Sony's third-generation PlayStation embodies sleek chic.

Sony's official PS3 press announcement read thus.

Equipped with Blu-ray and Pre-Installed HDD Available at €499 (20GB HDD) and €599 (60GB HDD)

Los Angeles, May 8, 2006 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) announced today that it would launch PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) in “Clear Black” throughout mainland Europe and Australasia on November 17, 2006, as part of a worldwide simultaneous launch.

PS3 is the most advanced computer system that serves as a platform to enjoy next generation computer entertainment contents in the home, realized through the combination of Cell and RSX™ processors, in addition to the playability of a vast catalog of PlayStation® and PlayStation®2 software titles.

Having Giga-bit Ethernet and a pre-installed hard disk drive (HDD) as standard in PS3, users will be able to download a variety of contents as well as access on-line games and services over the network.

Equipped with basic input/output ports, PS3 supports a broad range of displays from conventional NTSC/PAL standard TVs to the latest full HD (1080i/1080p) flat panel displays, offering the joy of the most advanced computer entertainment contents to homes around the world. For use in living rooms, maximum heat and noise reduction has been achieved with a noise level equivalent to that of the current slim-line PlayStation 2.

With the overwhelming computational power of the Cell processor, PS3 is capable of playing back content from Blu-ray (BD) disc at a bit rate of multiplex 48Mbps with ease, the maximum bit rate defined in BD standards.

The new controller for PS3 has been created by refining and improving the world’s most popular PlayStation controller which has shipped more than several hundred million units worldwide. The controller for PS3 employs a high-precision, highly sensitive six-axis sensing system that is capable of processing all parameters within the controller itself, thereby eliminating the need for any additional settings on the display system. By applying this technology, it will become possible to freely control the PS3 system over the network.

While further enhancing the joy of entertainment on PlayStation 2 and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable), SCEE will vigorously promote PS3 as the next generation computer entertainment platform.


Product name: PLAYSTATION®3

CPU: Cell Processor


Sound: Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell-based processing)

Memory: 256MB XDR Main RAM, 256MB GDDR3 VRAM

HDD: 2.5” Serial ATA ○ (20GB) ○ (60GB)

I/O: USB 2.0 ○ (x4)

MemoryStick /SD/CompactFlash - ○

Communication: Ethernet ○ (x1 / 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)

IEEE 802.11 b/g - ○

Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR) ○

Wireless controller (Bluetooth) ○

AV Output: Screen size 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p

HDMI OUT - ○ (x1 / HDMI NextGen)



BD/DVD/CD Drive (Read Only): Maximum Read Speed BD 2x (BD-ROM)


CD 24x (CD-ROM)


Dimensions: Approximately 325mm (W) x 98mm (H) x 274mm (D)

Weight: Approximately 5 kg

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd. As at 27 April 2006

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®2 and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) software and hardware in 104 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the platforms in these territories. Between its European debut on 24th November 2000 and the end of March 2006, over 38 million PlayStation®2 consoles have been shipped across the SCEE territories, over 103 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history. Between its European debut on 1st September 2005 and the end of March 2006, over 5 million PSP systems have been shipped across the SCEE territories, with over 17 million shipped worldwide since its Japanese launch in December 2004.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Eat Apple Pie

I'm currently working on a PlayStation-themed post. However, anyone who has been following the Apple Computer vs Apple Corps case, heard at the High Court, may wish to read the full version of the final decision.

Apple Corps is appealing the decision as is their privilege. But, it is very doubtful that Mr Justice Mann's ruling will be overturned! My advice would be to complete the remastering of the Beatles back catalogue and release the material on iTunes.

Monday, 8 May 2006

Nothing Compares 2 U

On May 11th this blog will be celebrating its second anniversary and the party will be held in Times Square (joking)! It only seems like yesterday that Tom, a friend, suggested that I start a blog. Ironically, to date he has yet to start his own!

Since the blog's inception, the organic nature of the web has evolved exponentially. Web 2.0 anyone?

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) have become, arguably, the de facto multimedia content distribution channel.

Google has launched a raft of enabling services; from AdSense and Analytics to Page Creator and Sitemaps. The latter should be on the top of every web authors to-do list since Bigdaddy sent 'shock waves' through the web community! Google's competitors, such as Yahoo! and MSN, are responding. Content authors and consumers can only reap the benefits of this dynamic competition.

Bloggers are increasingly becoming the source for new journalistic talent - their voices cannot be ignored and the audience is, literally, listening (subscribe to the text-to-speech podcast)! Mainstream media has taken note and is now making inroads into joining the 'conversation' and leveraging these valuable assets to mutual advantage.

Further to the above. Pluck has now launched BlogBurst (beta), which is an opt-in syndication service that provides editorially approved bloggers the opportunity to reach a large audience via top-tier publishers such as the Washington Post.

My blogs are now part of the BlogBurst network and I'll be monitoring this exciting development moving forward.

In summary. Not only has the blog afforded me the luxury of an extensible writing medium. The network of new friends and acquaintances has far transcended my very, very modest hopes. A big shout-out to Matt Shobe, FeedBurner co-founder, for all his incomparable help and advice with both FeedBurner and template chores. Imp for her most helpful hints. All the bloggers whom have shared link exchanges and their experiences. And, you dear reader, without whom, well you know...

Thanks for reading and please tell your friends, family, pets, neighbors...

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Creating Fireworks

A couple of months ago I wrote a post that documented the chronology of my web designing adventures to date. To recap. My workflow includes (but is not limited to) Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop, BBEdit and, on the very rare occasion that Dreamweaver outwits me, GoLive CS.

Until recently Photoshop has been my preferred end-to-end image editor. However, Ryan referred me to Fireworks! Never one to ignore his good advice, I took a closer look and am hooked on its balanced compression. So much so that eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the bespoke Forbidden Planet animated GIF above my first post! Adobe would be unwise to retire Fireworks.

Off topic. Please be sure to visit Cloister Bell for my latest musings on Doctor Who, Lost and cool collectibles.

Monday, 1 May 2006

Sony's Boombox

Sony continues to empower the PSP. As a member of SCEE Press Office I received the latest announcement with great interest.

Apply the update. Then grab the instrumental (MP3) version of Def Track's single Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover to play on the ubiquitous portable. I'll post a 'live' version soon.

Latest Firmware Upgrade Available for Download Now

London, 25th April 2006 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced that the latest firmware upgrade for PSP, available now, would dramatically enhance the capabilities of the PSP™ (PlayStation® Portable), with the ability to now playback most popular music file formats, stream podcasts to the PSP and save them to Memory Stick, and display Flash® content in the internet browser. The latest upgrade also prepares PSP to act as a receiver for Location-free TV, the exciting innovation in remote TV viewing to be launched by Sony in Europe in May.

As part of the continual upgrade and enhancement programme that ensures PSP owners are able to exploit the cutting edge of entertainment technology and functionality, the latest firmware upgrade (Version 2.70) allows users to enable Flash within the PSP browser and enjoy web content created with Adobe Macromedia® software. Mainly used for website content featuring multimedia and interactive applications, the Flash capability of the browser will significantly enhance users’ multimedia internet experience.

With the RSS feature enabled, the PSP system can link to audio content on Web pages that provide RSS-distributed audio content. When connected to the Internet via the PSP’s WLAN, the system will automatically update the list of audio content items that have been added to these pages, and you can then either stream and play the new content or, with the new firmware enhancement, save it to a Memory Stick Duo™ for playback later.

The latest upgrade also now provides PSP music file compatibility with the most popular music file formats, including MP3, ATRAC, AAC and WMA, providing the PSP entertainment system with one of the most versatile music players available.

With the 2.7 upgrade the PSP will also be prepared to act as a receiver for the revolutionary Sony innovation, LocationFree™ TV. LocationFree is a completely new way of seeing TV. Instead of going to the television set, the TV comes to you (via your home TV tuner) wherever you are. You can watch live TV, play back recorded programmes and even set up future recordings, all from your PSP. LocationFree will be available in UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands from May 2006.

Together with a wide range of free content to enhance the entertainment value of your PSP, the latest firmware upgrade can be downloaded directly to the PSP browser via WiFi or from www.yourpsp.com from Tuesday 25th May 2006.