Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Praise for Chaos Rings by Square Enix – Gene List Included

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I’ve spent a good dozen hours playing the iPhone game Chaos Rings by Square Enix, and man am I impressed; it is probably the first app I’ve played that has honestly made me forget that I was not holding a PSP in my hands instead of my iPhone. Sure, if I try real hard I can detect things like modular, limited memory-friendly, areas, and slight frame rate wobble, but it does nothing to detract from the gameplay. The app runs smooth, the art direction is great, and the story is surprisingly interesting.

Chaos Rings is priced a little bit steep, but the large amount of replay value (multiple characters and alternate endings) makes it well worth the price. If you are into interesting RPGs, definitely give this a look. If you do get it, we’ve actually whipped up a little resource to help you along: Chaos Rings Gene List Guide You’ll know what that means later ;)

The iPhone Walks Into a Bar Debacle – Could it be Planned?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

As you’ve likely heard from multiple news sources, a prototype of the next generation iPhone 4G was recently discovered at a German beer house in Redwood City, California, apparently left there by an Apple employee following a night of drunken reverie. After an interesting journey, the device eventually ended up with the folks at Gizmodo, and it is now believed to be the real deal; the media frenzy over this has been intense to say the least.

Although this event was in all likelihood an honest and hilarious mistake, part of me wonders if the whole thing could have been planned. It doesn’t sound crazy to imagine Steve listening to his Archduke of Psychology’s instructions that, in light of Apple’s recent Machiavellian power plays, a few touches of perceived vulnerability might go a long way towards humanizing the company and quelling the nascent fires of rebellion brewing throughout the populace.

It can be argued that an event like this breaks Apple’s control of the news cycle for the product, but if you consider this as a planned tactical maneuver the point becomes moot (as it still would be a “controlled” leak). Something about it just seems too picture perfect: employees birthday, pictures of him drinking in the phone, the device left right on the bar stool in plain site, etc. It is an interesting way to generate buzz for the upcoming product, lighten the tense mood regarding Apple, and see how the public reacts to potential features for the next gen device without being officially married to them.

I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think it’s prudent to consider any news involving Apple as a potential strategic ploy. Also, the fact that the employee who lost the phone is still alive, and still apparently working at Apple, is an interesting point given Apple’s history regarding leaks. That being said, I think the situation probably was in fact unintentional, but it’s an interesting thought experiment to consider alternate possibilities.

That’s my two cents. I’m curious what everyone else thinks regarding this, so please feel free to post some comments; thanks!

iPhone OS 4 Announcement Initiates the Battle of Five Armies

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Things are about to get crazy in the mobile landscape after the iPhone OS 4.0 Announcement. With one fell swoop, Apple has launched a direct assault on Google, Adobe, social gaming networks like plus+ and OpenFeint, and various advertising networks that have been seeking to monetize iPhone impressions. Make no mistake about it, the gloves are now off.

First on the list is Game Center, an apple managed social gaming network promising to be “Xbox live for the iPhone”, with features such as friend discovery, player matching, leader boards, and achievements. In the wake of this, one wonders how existing networks like OpenFeint and Plus+ will fair in the new, vastly altered, landscape. Emails issued from existing networks such as these sound optimistic and appreciative of the announcement, but this seems to me a brave front and an effort to phase out with grace. I personally hope that the developers of OF and the like weather the storm well.

iAds, an integrated advertising network for the iPhone OS, was another massive announcement. There is no denying that some element of this is a power play against Google, who has thus far dominated the search and advertising spheres…a counterstrike for the Android’s encroachments on Apple’s mobile territory perhaps. Google’s ability to reprise is hampered due to current legal issues regarding its acquisition of mobile advertiser adMob, a fact of which Apple is no doubt aware.

The announcement of iAds also included some more interesting information; Ads must be created the way Apple wants, in HTML5 (read as NOT flash). This in itself could be seen as a jab against Adobe, but it pales in comparison to the uppercut that accompanies it: iPhone apps created via the soon-to-be-released Adobe CS5 will NOT be accepted onto the app store! This is a crushing, tirade inducing, blow to Adobe, who has no doubt wasted a great deal of resources on a now obsolete key feature of CS5.

As in a game of risk, it is often unwise to provoke multiple powerful opponents simultaneously unless you are absolutely sure you can defeat them immediately…but it appears that Apple may have waited until just the right moment to strike. I admit this is the sort of Evil Empire move that frightens me to some degree, but yet I can not deny its tactical grace.

So there it is, the war is coming: who will stand, and who will fall? I await your comments.

Will the iPad revolutionize the world?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I don’t think it is any secret that the iPad is one of the most hyped devices in recent history…but I’m just not completely sold on its “magical” ability to transform the universe.  I’m not sure if my opinion is popular, but to me it seems like there were many disappointing elements to the iPad announcement: no camera, no multitasking, monthly fee for 3G despite not being a phone…and of course the atrocious name of the device itself.  Some developer friends of mine tell me that I’m not seeing the devices true potential, and I think that is fair; but to me that is all it currently embodies: a potential.  As it stands right now I’m finding it hard to see a huge demographic this device will grab.  If you want portability, you have your iPod touch.  If you want hardcore gaming, video/music production or  other intensive tasks, you have your desktop or laptop.

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel the iPad signifies an important change towards making computers more “background” to our lives…I just feel that it’s base capabilities fail to meet the challenge the hype takes on.  I mean, it has the same hard disk space as an iPod…and the lack of a video camera seems downright sinful.  The iPad would have been a perfect device for on the go/job skyping; that’s actually the niche I thought it was going to go for.

Anyway, that all being said, I DO plan to develop applications on the iPad in the near future…I just really hope by then iPad 2.0 will turn it into the magical beast I know it could be.