I’ve been meaning to post something for awhile now, but between working from home and the fast pace of news I’ve just not been able to compose my thoughts. So instead I’m doing one of those stupid “How Many X Things Have You X’ed” lists that make the rounds on Facebook. Only I’m doing it here so I’ve at least posted something. Feel free to play along in the comments.
You never realize how much/little TV you watch until you fill this out. Put a ✔ by the shows you have watched more than 10 episodes of. How about you?
1. Grey’s Anatomy: 2. Stranger Things: ✔ 3. The Vampire Diaries: 4. The Walking Dead: 5. Fear The Walking Dead: 6. Dexter: 7. American Horror Story: 8. Orange is the New Black: 9. A Million Little Things: 10. This is Us: 11. The Simpsons: ✔ 12. New Amsterdam: 13. Manifest: 14. How To Get Away With Murder: 15. Breaking Bad: 16. Sons of Anarchy: 17. Scandal: 18. Riverdale: 19. The Good Doctor: 20. House of Cards: 21. Once Upon a Time: 22. House: ✔ 23. True Detective: 24. Dr. Pimple Popper: 25. Power: 26. Empire: 27. One Tree Hill: 28. Supernatural: 29. Family Guy: ✔ 30. Santa Clarita Diet: 31. Shameless: 32. Pretty Little Liars: 33. Secret Life of an American Teenager: 34. Bones: ✔ * 35. Criminal Minds: 36. The 100: 37. Chicago Fire: 38. Chicago Med: 39. The Resident: 40. Game of Thrones: 41. The Big Bang Theory: ✔ 42. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: 43. Lost: 44. The Sopranos: 45. NCIS: ✔ † 46. NCIS Los Angeles: 47. NCIS New Orleans: 48. Law & Order SVU: 49. Gossip Girl: 50. How I Met Your Mother: 51. Blue Bloods: 52. Two Broke Girls: 53. The Office: 54. Blacklist: 55. Full House: 56. Fuller House: 57. Downton Abbey: 58. Hawaii Five-O: 59. Big Mouth: 60. Last Man Standing: 61. Six Feet Under: 62. Wentworth: 63. Friends: 64. That 70s Show: ✔ 65. Girlfriends Guide to Divorce: 66. Heartland: 67. All-American: 68. Greek: 69. Yellowstone: 70. Better Call Saul: 71. You: 72. Rescue Me: 73. Scrubs: 74. Community: 75. Letter kenney : 76. Kitchen nightmares : 77. The Masked singer: 78. Robot Chicken: ✔ 79. Vikings: 80. Mind Hunters: 81. New Girl: 82. The Good Place: ✔ 83. Black Mirror: ✔ 83. Lucifer: ✔ 84. Peaky Blinders: 85. iZombie: 86. Parks and Rec: 87. Brooklyn 99: 88. Handmaid’s Tale: 89. Modern Family: 90. Smallville: 91. Seinfeld: 92. Gilmore Girls: 93. Charmed: ✔ * 94. Private Practice: 95. Lost Girl: 96.True Blood: 97. Roswell: 98. Haven: ✔ 99. Mad Men: 100. Arrow: * Not by choice, but because someone else was watching it and I couldn’t be bothered to find something else to do. † This is the only one of the NCIS shows I could stand.
As you can see, there’s a lot of “popular” television that I largely ignore. Add in shows like Happy! and Doctor Who and then my count would go up. Most of my TV viewing these days consists of movies I missed in the theaters and YouTube channels I’ve subscribed to. After cutting the cord, YouTube has scratched my channel flipping itch by having dozens of different short videos I can go through on all sorts of topics. And, unlike the text that starts this trivial exercise, I’m actually quite aware of how little TV I watch.
How about you? How many shows do you keep track of regularly?
What unholy hellspawn gave birth to this abomination?
Seriously, who the hell saw the final result from the CGI tests and said, “This! This is what we want! Something that looks like a mad scientist’s fever dream of human/cat hybrids gone horribly wrong.”
To be fair, I’m not a fan of the Broadway musical of the same name. I’m familiar with the songs because people I know and love really like the musical and own the soundtracks and have played them many times over the years in my presence, but all I’ve seen of the stage play is the clips they use in the advertisements when it’s in town. I thought the play’s costumes were a little funky, but they worked.
This? This lands solidly in the uncanny valley which is weird because those are real humans prancing about that look like someone forcibly inserted an animatronic tail in their assholes while injecting them with the world’s worst hair growth formula. They look vaguely cat-ish with realistic ears, but they have human eyes and teeth. And I thought the CGI hedgehog in the upcoming Sonic movie looked disturbing. This takes it to a whole other level. The oddest part is that they somehow seem even more naked than if they were actually naked.
I suppose if you’re a fan of the Broadway show this will do nothing to dissuade you from seeing the movie, but at the same time this does nothing to lure non-fans into the theater.
What has been seen cannot be unseen so my only relief was to share my pain.
Fifty years ago on July 16th, 1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins took flight to the moon in a Saturn V rocket. I was just under two years old at the time so I don’t have any recollection of this historic event.
Fortunately for me, CBS News did a live stream of four and a half hours of coverage of the event — including the commercials aired at the time — and that live stream is still available to watch on YouTube. Or you can watch it right here:
I have to admit that I find this interesting not just for the historic event itself, but for the slice of America that it preserves. Between the commercials, which are surprisingly calm and dulcet compared to many commercials today, and the newscast it really puts into perspective how much has changed in 50 years. Some of it good and some of it bad. What’s also amazing is just how much of an emotional experience it still is to watch the launch even after 50 years of routine space flight with the shuttles and the space stations.
You may not want to sit through the full four and a half hours, but it’s worth watching at least some of this video. Especially if, like me, you aren’t old enough to remember it first hand. It really is incredible that we pulled this off using onboard computers with way less computing power than what your phone you carry around with you is capable of.
A study on mosquito feeding and mating habits published in the journal Acta Tropica says that the bitey little bastards have a hard time eating and/or fucking when exposed to the song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex. Apparently the low-frequency sounds common in dubstep not only drive your parents up the wall, but cause havoc with the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.
For the experiment, researchers created a “music-on” and “music-off” environment in which they studied the Aedes aegypti and came to some conclusions.
Mosquitos in the music-on environment were less likely to feed on the provided host and were less likely to reproduce than mosquitos in the music-off environment. Researchers believe that these findings can be used to help develop more ways to control Aedes-carried diseases.
SCIENTIFIC STUDY FINDS “SCARY MONSTERS AND NICE SPRITES” BY SKRILLEX STOPS MOSQUITOS FROM HAVING SEX – EDM.com
So the next time your parents try to tell you to turn that shit down, just explain how you’re protecting yourself from yellow fever mosquitos and ask them if they’d rather you got sick and died.
It’s that day again. The day of pranks and mischief where everyone tries to pull one over on you. Tech companies in particular really seem to enjoy this day and go to extra lengths to put forth almost believable fake products.
I could totally use one of these for the RageConverter™ technology alone. The Troll Destroyer would also be nice.
Then there’s Newegg with their announcement of their entry into hardware production with their first CPU for gamers that continues the current trend of putting RGB lighting on everything. The Newegg iBrite RGB CPU:
It’s not clear how you’re supposed to see the RGB lights once you put a heatsink on it, but the specs of this processor more than make up for it: Cores: 100 — Threads: 200 — DDR5 RAM support: Sure, probably — Base clock: 1.4 PHz — Overclock capable, but doing so might create a small black hole inside your CPU (and void your warranty).
Logitech has given in to demands to rename Wireless Mice to a more appropriate mammal considering that they lack “tails.” Announce they will now be called Hamsters:
Google is excited to introduce their newest product: Google Tulip! Decoding the language of flowers has been a decades-long challenge. But that changes today. Thanks to great advancements in artificial intelligence, Google Assistant on phones and Google Home is now able to understand tulips, allowing translation between Tulipish and dozens of human languages.
If you want to try for yourself, set your Google Assistant on your phone or smart speaker to the English language and say “Talk to Tulip Translator”. Yes, they went through the trouble to add this to the Google AI. I tried it. It works. This is some serious above and beyond for the sake of a joke.
Gotta admit, the amount of work some of these companies put into their pranks is impressive and I do look forward to this each year. However, I can imagine that for some folks the day is a nightmare.
I have become quite the fan of YouTube videos over the past couple of years. At this very moment I am subscribed to over 302 different channels and, ever since we cut the cord, flipping through YouTube videos after dinner has replaced flipping through channels on Cable TV. There’s a lot of good content out there and when watched through the YouTube app on our Roku the commercials are few and infrequent. One of my favorites is The Try Channel where Irish folks try foods and drinks from other parts of the world. As a result, YouTube sometimes recommends other similar videos.
Like this one where French folks attempt to say difficult English words:
To be fair, I often have a hard time with that last word. Thankfully, I don’t have occasion to use it very often. This goes all the way back to 2017 because sometimes YouTube takes awhile to get around to recommending some things.
I haven’t been as active in uploading gameplay footage to my YouTube channel as of late and I realized I hadn’t uploaded anything from Black Ops 4. Considering I’m already at Master Prestige and have ground out the Dark Matter camo for my weapons I figured it’s probably about time I put something up. As it turns out I just had what was probably the best round of Hard Core Team Death Match ever so that seemed like the natural one to go with.
However, rather than just upload straight gameplay, I took the time to record a voice over trying to explain what’s going on. My buddy Greg told me that my best CoD video so far had been the first one I uploaded because I had commentary on it so I figured I’d try the same with this one. It’s not as good because things happen quickly, but it adds a little more to the footage. Frankly, I’m impressed I got the audio to line up considering I recorded it in real time while watching the playback and then overlaid it in the editor.
So I spend about 20 minutes in this video trying to articulate why I hate Fortnite that has nothing to do with how the game itself plays (I’ve never played it) but the bad influence on monetization it’s having on the rest of the industry. This is completely unedited, badly argued, probably riddled with factual inaccuracies, and plenty of profanity, but, hey, it’s content!
As many of you know, I cut my video gaming teeth on the original Atari 2600 — or at least the Sears branded version of it — so I remember the good old days (ha!) of 8 bit gaming. Had you shown 10 year old me what current generation video games would be like, I wouldn’t have believed it possible.
These days, video games have advanced to the point where highly detailed 3D worlds full of NPCs and tons of interactive objects are the norm. Naturally, our expectations of what a game should look and play like have risen accordingly, but there are times when I think we’ve gotten a little spoiled by the riches of modern gaming.
Take, for example, Marvel’s Spider-Man. Which has a brand new game launching on the PS4 today. I’ve been licking my chops waiting for this title to drop as the E3 demo from last year looked fantastic and it’s going to be a bit before I can get my hands on it. Probably not until Christmas as we’re at that point in the year that I tend to stop buying games for myself lest I screw up someone’s Christmas gift for me. It’s gonna be difficult to be patient because the demos I’ve seen are amazing. Which is why I’m surprised to find out some gamers are complaining that the game has been downgraded.
Apparently, it all started with a post on Reddit that was just the screenshot I’ve included below. As you can clearly see, Spider-Man’s suit isn’t as shiny in the shot from the release version of the game as it was in the E3 demo. Also, where’d all that water go?
Thus started the conversation about how the release version of the game had been “downgraded” graphically. Presumably for performance reasons. I say “conversation”, but that’s probably being way too generous. Basically, some fans went apeshit and proclaimed loudly that they were going to cancel their preorder and so on and so forth.
Eventually someone took to Twitter to send the screenshot to the developer, Insomniac Games (who are responsible for some of the best Playstation games ever including the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series) and asked why they downgraded the graphics to which Insomniac replied that they didn’t downgrade anything. Which didn’t really help and the “debate” raged on.
To be fair to the folks crying foul, there is a rich history in the video game industry of final releases that didn’t live up to the demos that developers had used to build up hype for the game. Probably one of the best known examples, that also helped sell a lot of PS4s in anticipation of its release, was Watch Dogs which allowed players to live out their super-hacker dreams in a GTA-style open world. When it was unveiled in 2012 the graphics in the demo were amazing, but the final release looked more like a port from the PS3 than the next gen title it was supposed to be.
Another example is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The initial footage wowed gamers in 2014 so gamers were surprised when the 2015 release had graphics that had been pared back. It was still an incredible looking game and it went on to great success, but there was no denying it didn’t live up to the initial footage even after developers released a patch that improved things.
Maybe it’s because I’m old and I come from a time when ads for games often didn’t use actual screenshots or had simulated representations on TV, but even with the examples above I think folks are being nitpicky and this is especially true with the just released Marvel’s Spider-Man. Sure, I was underwhelmed by Watch Dogs once I got my hands on it, but that was due more to the fact that the gameplay wasn’t quite as varied as they had suggested. As for The Witcher 3, I had no problems with the release version’s graphic fidelity, but that hasn’t stopped me from only playing it for a few hours. For fuck’s sake, I played Spider-Man on the Atari 2600 and it looked like this:
Granted, that’s an 8 bit game written in just 4K memory circa 1982, but it wasn’t half-bad for what it was. It played a bit like the arcade game Crazy Climber in that it had bad guys showing up in windows who would cut your web lines and bombs from the Green Goblin you had to defuse while scaling the building. By comparison, the amount of detail and just sheer things you can do in Marvel’s Spider-Man is insane. Who the fuck cares if it isn’t quite as detailed as the E3 demo from last year? You get to swing from spider webs around a detailed 3D recreation of New York City beating the shit out of bad guys, finding collectables, and enjoying a narrative story that is more than a blurb on the back of the box the game came in. OH NOES! THE PUDDLES AREN’T AS DETAILED AS THE DEMO! I’M NOT PLAYING THIS CRAP!
There’s a group out there called Digital Foundry that came together in 2004 specifically to analyze video games and settle arguments such as the one about downgraded graphics in the final release of a title. A couple of days ago they released their video on Marvel’s Spider-Man and they argue that not only is the final release not downgraded, but it’s an improvement over the E3 demo in a lot of areas.
I don’t watch a lot of their videos, but I thought I’d check this one out given all the noise that’s been made about it. It was during that viewing that it occurred to me that video gamers have gotten spoiled. The DF folks do an amazing job of pointing out all the details that are in this game and the methods used to achieve those effects. You don’t have to fully understand what a Cube Map is to appreciate what it adds to the visuals when it’s pointed out to you. For a game that expects you to spend a lot of time swinging between buildings high in the air, there’s an amazing amount of detail at street level when you opt to just walk around a bit. From the number of unique and varied NPCs to the amount of traffic to the various storefronts, this looks and feels like a living world.
The DF folks show where you can see how the underlying game engine works to compromise between realism and playability in areas such as the reflections of other buildings in the windows of the one you’re climbing up and it’s the sort of thing you’re only likely to notice if you were looking for it. In the heat of gameplay it’ll probably never catch your attention and it shouldn’t matter that much if it does if the gameplay is fun. That stupid Atari 2600 game was as basic as you can get, but it was Spidey’s first video game and it kept us entertained for awhile and it’s nothing compared to this. Here, check out Digital Foundry’s video for yourself:
Isn’t that amazing? The detail on his costume alone is something that would’ve been impossible 10 years ago. It’s also a detail you’ll probably notice once before your eye is overwhelmed by all the visual candy on display. Now we’re on the verge of having real-time ray tracing in video games that only looks to make for another big leap in visual quality as it’ll help to eliminate some of the limitations current games have to work around.
All of the reviews I’ve read for Marvel’s Spider-Man have it pegged as arguably the best Spider-Man game ever made. So quit yer bitchin’ and appreciate what you’ve been offered here. While you’re at it, get the hell off of my lawn!