Sunday, May 15, 2011

GameOgre: World of Tanks First Impressions

world-of-tanks-iconI was recently given the chance to review the new free-to-play video game by World of Tanks for GameOgre and I’ve had such a fun time, I’ll probably be going back into the game now that I’m done checking it out.

Here’s a taste of my review (only the first paragraph, go read the rest if you want to know more):

It’s a blue sky over Malinovka as your tank platoon rolls tread over the dying grass, playing a lethal game of cat-and-mouse against the enemy forces hiding amidst the heavy brush. Engines blurt out on all sides as your comrades roll out and you follow in their muddy tracks when the coughing turret-report of an enemy tank signals they’ve sighted us before we them. Shells whistle overhead, radios chatter with severe language—a nearby friendly catches fire and explodes—your gunner bears the cannon sights down on a light track rambling over a hill…

This squad-based tank-shooter simulation can be a really worthwhile to spend an hour or so just trucking around the battlefield. Even though it is other people you’re up against, it doesn’t generate the teeth-breaking competition fears that other games might. As it runs a little bit slower than most FPS squad-based games.

I am constantly comparing the PvP to things like World of Warcraft battlegrounds where you have objectives and capture the flag and such, nothing similar yet in World of Tanks: just tanks, that is all. The sounds are nice, hearing the hits score is interesting, and sometimes even getting blown up can have its own delight.

If you happen to get into game, send me a message, we can hook up.

Link, via GameOgre.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mill Avenue Nights: Friday the 13th, 2011

Too Loud Music Makes Bad Nights

Tonight the Post Office found its red bricks graced with two extremely loud hip hop artists. I know that I’ve complained before about having people on Mill Ave playing wars of amplitude (namely Shawn Holes and the Mill Avenue Resistance) but this one is equally annoying. It’s nice that we have buskers and people playing music on the Ave, but it’s not a concert venue where decibel levels can be ignored for adoring crowds.
When sound levels reach the point that I have to cross the street in order to avoid hearing damage, things have gotten less fun.
Everyone who uses the Ave as their venue of choice should really respect their neighbors.

Street Preachers

Due to the excessively loud buskers at the Post Office, the street preachers and their sign found themselves relegated to a new part of the Ave. They ended up in front of Urban Outfitters. They were the usual Way of the Master group, but this time sans both Al and Marcus.
They had a visible microphone set up for respondents to use; however, even though there was a visible wire running from the microphone to the loudspeaker, it didn’t seem to be connected. Not that it mattered much that the rest of the Ave couldn’t hear what the respondent was saying. It was the usual immoral “Good Person Test” they indecently inflict on everyone who speaks with them.
There was no sign of the Mill Avenue Resistance either.


There were about five of them next to the Valley Art Theater. Saw some hippy-looking drummers across from then Coffee Plantation, now Five Guys Burgers. And there were a few others wandering the Ave. Even say Crystal on her new bike.


This Week in Technology (May 9th 2011): Facebook Caught Smearing Google; Apple Talks to Congress; Sony PlayStation Network Still Down

At the beginning of this week we saw the opening of EMC World, which SiliconANGLE got people at—namely SA’s editor and chief Mark Hopkins—as a result we got some news about Hadoop, and a video of Tom Roloff, Senior VP of EMC Consulting, speaking about Big Data. For video games, a Czech computer scientist designed an error-correcting algorithm for video cameras and Happy Cloud is looking to leverage the cloud to aid quicker click-to-play. Apple got called to the principal’s office (aka Congress subcommittee) over their Location tracking snafus which they fixed last week in patch 4.3.3. The Pirate Bay thought they were being blocked by Comcast in the United States; and Facebook got caught hiring a PR company to smear Google.


Only one MMO game review to speak of, but it’s a game really worth playing because it’s quite fun. That game would happen to be World of Tanks. Published by this game has actually had be somewhat entranced for a while. I don’t know how long I’ll keep playing it—it has a rather limited playability as it’s the same thing over and over—but they did an excellent job.

  • World of Tanks First Impressions—a team-based tank combat simulation that presents itself with authentic historical tank designs and equipment. It’s also full of WWI and WWII trivia about tanks, tank commanders, and crews. The simulation space has excellent graphics, quick exhilarating battles, and an excellent experience.

PlayStation Network Looks to Make Up With Suffering Fans

EMC World 2011

  • Hadoop Seeing a Surge of New Products at EMC World 2011 from Greenplum to Brisk—the workhorse of cloud computing technology, Hadoop, has seen a lot of new software designed to make use of it. This article lists eight new software technologies that either hybrid Hadoop or make direct use of it for Big Data analysis, storage, or other cloud-computing functions.
  • Tom Roloff Talks About Big Data and Cloud Enterprise Solutions—as the VP of EMC Consulting, Tom Roloff is in the perfect position to speak about how the business work is adopting technologies that simplify Big Data problems. The takeaway from the conversation is about how Big Data solutions can give companies the know-how to better interact with their customers.
  • QLogic’s Competitive Edge: the Business of Data Infrastructure—in an interview with Dave Vellante and John Furrier, Satish Lakshmanan, Senior Director of Product Marketing & Management for QLogic, outlined his company’s future expectations about the cloud-computing market and how they expect to fit into it. QLogic is a well known provider of Fiber Channel over Ethernet technology for data centers to more rapidly transfer data, but they’re looking to reach out with as many bandwidth solutions as possible to capture the new wave of data processing.

Video Games See Some Sunlight

For the random newsweek

The cloud is a big deal, and cloud data in government is even more interesting. During his term, President Obama signed legislation into play that requires that the government be more open about their data. In order to help, Microsoft put on their superhero cape and tried to come to the rescue—Microsoft Tapped to Enable the US Government Open Cloud—of course, others such as Google have already been working hard on this.

In an attempt to address privacy concerns cropping up out of smartphones, Congress called upon both Google and Apple to explain themselves. Apple Faces Congress over Location Tracking Concerns—no doubt they felt a little squeamish when trying to explain why the phone didn’t stop recording customer locations when they turned Location Services off. Of course, the Google Android also records this sort of information; but the difference that makes a difference in people’s minds seems to be that Apple’s iPhone did so without consent.

As it turns out Comcast customers discovered that they couldn’t reach The Pirate Bay. Alarms went off, but it doesn’t look like Comcast had anything to do with it—Comcast Users Unable to Reach The Pirate Bay, ISP Says “It’s Not Us”—and it wasn’t…this week Comcast assisted TPB with determined where the problem existed and it’s on its way to being fixed.

Well, it looks like Facebook got caught badmouthing Google behind their backs—Facebook Hired PR Company Burson-Marsteller to Plant Negative Google Stories—in possibly one of the worst-executed-smear-campaigns-ever. USA Today broke the story after public relations experts from Burson-Marsteller tried to sell them on exaggerated concerns about Google’s Social Circle application. Now we’ll just have to see how Facebook runs damage control. Who expects them to back away and says, “Sure, we hired them, but we didn’t tell them to mudsling Google. Honest!”

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Get Ready. A new Black Hat Magick / Mill Avenue Vexations crossover comes out Monday

hadalymercer Calling all cars, calling all cars. Especially taxi-driver and geek grrl enthusiasts, there’s a pair of short stories coming out for Black Hat Magick and Mill Avenue Vexations starting Monday.

You can catch up with everyone else about these facts over at the Mill Ave news and the article on the subject:

I’m tentatively calling this story Hadaly’s Day Out (feat. Brother Jed) and hopefully it will bring some light and amusement to those who already suffer this celebrity’s presence on the campus.

Immediately after that story is published, a Mill Avenue Vexations short-story and extension of that self-same story will publish here. I will not be announcing its name until it’s time for it’s publication. And you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other—although they’re probably both pretty fun.

Spread the news! Expect us.

Link, via Mill Avenue Vexations.

This Week in Technology (May 2nd 2011): Location tracking causing burns for Apple, Google; PlayStation Network still floundering

It’s been a grim month for the cloud, Amazon EC2 crashed-and-burned in mid-April and late the month-of-Spring-flowers the PlayStation Network lost its buttered toast. While all of these companies are still scratching their heads, leaving numerous customers and websites in the dark, we wonder how this will reflect on trust in the cloud and on the Internet. Amazon’s EC2 debacle created a crash-sense (which had been handled better by Google when it happened to them) and the PSN failures include a credit-card theft of notable proportions.

PlayStation Network news brings us some weird insights into the thinking of Sony

Google and Apple and Location Tracking fears

Finally there’s a little bit about Twitter being a powerful tool for spreading the news, but it’s more or less like a vast grapevine with all of the pitfalls that come with that. As a result I posit that Twitter Doesn’t Compete with Broadcast Media, It Amplifies.

And, Nokia seems to be biding their time before they come to the market with a tablet. A lot of speculation is running rampant on what might end up on that tablet when it does appear. With Nokia Waiting for the Right Time to Enter Tablet Marketplace we hear from Stephen Elop that he wants any Nokia product to stand out in a wash of too-similar products as the iPad dominates the market.

Free-to-Play MMORPGs

Free MMORPGs have gotten a few new First Impressions to play around with,

  • Realms Online First Impressions—a full-world PvP fiesta with three realms in conflict, a capture-the-flag concept that forces people to charge all the way across continents, and a golden dragon-god that grants wishes. What could go wrong?
  • Prius Online First Impressions—sporting an interesting gameplay concept but otherwise mediocre graphics, the player not only gets their own character, but their own little-girl “pet” who casts support spells, and a transform that is a giant monstrosity.