soft that works (mostly)

The Pinnacle Studio 9 that I chose as the editing tool finally actually worked better than I had thought. The only immediate shortcoming was the lack of dolby digital sound encoding (it pays c. ten dollars extra). I spent some frustrating moments with the dvds I had burned before I realised that the software only outputs dvd audio sound. But having a digital video editing tool that you can essentially learn to use in c. half-an-hour is certainly good achievement. It even promises to support streaming video formats, lets see… Seasons’ Greetings to everyone! I will be going some way towards south, but tonight we enjoy white Christmas here in Tampere.

lifetrain

Leaving Helsinki station. New to mobile blogging, I make now notes in train, too. This is actually my second try, Picoblogger crashed earlier somewhere near Hämeenlinna. As the phone keyboard makes going slow, this teaches you to save often. *sigh* Life as a train of meeting rooms…

Moblog with PicoBlogger.

buying time xmax

I thought I had got a good deal when I bought the Sony NS355 DVD player today well under 100 euros, but when I was back at home I realised this thing did not have any s-video connector. Call me picky, but I will not take composite video when there can be s-video and digital audio quality available (or take s-video when there is the DVI option, as with my next television, *sigh*). Happily, they offer a return policy.

The operation actually started with the annual pre-Christmas shopping & spending spree, where I first acquired the LotR/RotK extended edition dvd, then started experimenting with the Dolby Digital and DTS sound formats this release supports (ok, I was also spending some good time all teary-eyed with the actual masterpiece as well). After starting to think about those damned scratches in my Buffy second season collector’s disks (another *sigh*) I then proceeded to make backup copies of some films. And there it became obvious that my old Thomson DTH 5000X does not support any format of DVD-/+R/RW recordings. Its error correction and file format support could also be better. But: this Sony was not the solution, I have to try something else. Panasonic, Toshiba and Philips are currently strong candidates.

Various types of MP3 players are also something that I’ve been reviewing with interest, and it seems that iPod is still the strongest one there is, at least if design and ease-of-use are important for you. It is just pity that Amazon.com is not delivering into Europe; they claim it is for manufacturer’s guarantee reasons, but I suspect that European market is split off for other reasons…

DiGRA 2004 Financial Assembly was also passed, with some interesting discussions. I took some photos in the Other Players Conference in ITU/Copenhagen, and they should be available now here.

home from a mixed reality castle trip

I have just got home from a series of connecting flights (and taxis and bus trips) that were needed in order to transmit me from Castle Birlinghoven, Germany to Tampere. We had really interesting and intense week in launching a major new European games initiative. Titled IPerG, it stands for “Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming” and it aims to understand the future of digital games as more physical and “surrounding” experiences. While it is easy to come up with examples of location aware mobile game concepts or games based on gesture recognition or some other sensor technologies, it is much harder to define what is a “pervasive game”, what are the guidelines for designing those things, and how to evaluate the quality of pervasive game play experience. Heading the work-package on those issues, our Tampere team will have to work hard in the next three and a half years (yep, it is a major research project) to come up with some answers. (There is a temporary website.)

While I was away, there was some glitch in my home network (or, in the ISP side), and there was about three thousand mails in line (most of them spam, of course). Luckily, it seems that the unet.fi server was not affected.

evening news: toys, tech and games entering the academia

Some kind Anonymous reminded me that there is the Gizmodo blog on tech toys — thanks, I should have remembered that, of course. My world would be much more dull without its always stimulating series of posts where the latest Apple Powerbook meets Sega’s “Near Me”, the robotic cat (link).

There was a note on Grand Text Auto that pointed me to a GameSpot article on academics and computer games (link). If you are interested in learning particularly about work and thought of Janet Murray (Georgia Tech) or Gonzalo Frasca (IT University Copenhagen) then you do well by checking this piece.

Ok, I have to write some words of introduction to our game studies Masters’ Course students now. See you again later!

attack of gizmo sites

Yesterday, I posted a note into a fun site “We Make Money Not Art” into a thread which contained interesting list of location-based mobile games about our Mogame research project. Browsing its gadget-and-geek filled pages, I started to wonder how many interesting and enthusiastic art-sci-tech sites there are, after all? Taken from the top of my geeky favorites, there are: Slashdot, Wired Gizmo News, Tom’s Hardware Guide, Google Sci/Tech News, just to mention very few. — What are your favorites?