Monthly Archives: October 2005

Game On! Exhibit

Through the end of the year, the Tech Museum in downtown San Jose is hosting an exhibit called “Game On! — The History, Culture and Future of Videogames“:

Developed by the Barbican Museum in London, Game On is making its West Coast Premiere at The Tech. Be sure to experience this highly interactive exhibit while its in town! The Game On Exhibit examines videogames from the game design process, to the culture among gamers and beyond. Come experience the past forty years of electronic gaming, play over 100 games and be inspired to be the next innovator to make your mark in this exploding industry.

We were at the museum this week with a school field trip and discovered the exhibit (getting the kids to leave was a whole ordeal in itself…). I definitely want to return and go through all the games more closely. They really pulled together a large collection of arcade games, handhelds, and consoles. I thought it was really cool to see the progression of video games from the early Pong game to today’s XBox/Playstation/GameCube consoles.

Game On! Exhibit at San Jose Tech Museum

Famous in Fort Worth

Last month I wrote a short entry about the interesting Kate Winslet American Express commercial. Last week I was contacted by a Forth Worth Star-Telegram reporter who found my explanation of the movie references in the commercial.

Yesterday the reporter’s column was published in the Star-Telegram (free reg required):

Q: In the American Express commercial that Kate Winslet does, she talks about her real life being dramatic enough. Was she really in jail, lost her memory, etc. — all of that before the age of 27?

— K.L., Southlake

A: A lot of my regular readers would probably bet money that I’m about to make fun of you. Well, you can’t put ol’ Brice in the same corner every time, people. The fact is, I get stuff explained to me all the time, mostly by teen-agers who suspect early-onset senility.

All of those things — “At 17 I went to prison for murder,” “By 19, I was penniless . . .,” etc. — are descriptions of movie roles and the ages Winslet was when she made those movies.

According to Silicon Valley blogger Brian Cantoni, who took the time to research the commercial completely and who gave me permission to use his stuff, the line about murder refers to her role in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures, and the second, in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility. “I almost drowned at 20” refers to Titanic in 1997. “My mind started to go at 24” is in reference to Iris, released in 2001. “Then I had my memory erased at 28” refers to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004 with co-star Jim Carrey. “And by 29, I was in Neverland” is, of course, about 2004’s Finding Neverland, based on the life of author J.M. Barrie.

Now I’m officially known in Fort Worth!

I also captured a screenshot of this online page (ads included) just for future reference.

Switched to Dell DJ30

Tired of waiting for Creative to fix the Zen Touch playback problems and update the firmware to support PlaysForSure, I got a Dell DJ30 for my birthday. So far, it’s passed the first test: after a quick firmware upgrade, I was able to download my entire Yahoo Music Engine library (most of which is from the $5/month subscription service) and it worked!

Overall the feel and controls are pretty nice. Dell uses a scroll thumb wheel rather than the ‘touch’ pad on the Zen. The wheel is better because it has feedback for each click. Also the overall unit is noticeable smaller even though the capacity is 30 vs 20GB.

It looks like even Dell has its own set of problems. For starters, it can take as much as minute for the unit to turn on (what is this, a PC?). For podcast files at low sample rates, it plays back correctly, but the time indication is way off. I might need to up-sample the MP3 files to 22.05 or 44.1 kHz to make it display correctly.

Dell DJ30

Yahoo! Podcasts

Today Yahoo! unveiled support for podcasts — finding, downloading, and listening. I’m just starting to play with it, but it appears to support both Yahoo Music Engine (YME) and iTunes. (If you’re already using YME, be sure to get the podcast plugin.)

The site seems to focus on finding podcast series and individual episodes, with decent search and tagging capabilities. I thought it would keep track of podcast subscriptions for you, but instead it’s basically a searchable directory. You can listen online with a lightweight player, or download a “.pcast” file into YME or iTunes for subscribing and downloading the content directly from the source.

Full-site screenshot

Yahoo! Podcasts