29 Jul 2011

Listen while you push on

Author: will | Filed under: game, LBC, memory, music, software, video, YouTube

The LBC’s topic this week is “Listen”. As much of a nerd that I am, I’ve already written about my favourite Google app, namely Google Listen. So instead I want to to listen to the music… of games.

Extra Credits is essentially the best, if not only, tutorial about video games and the video game industry. Including the small niggling fact that “games” are no longer playthings for children. Poke around Daniel Floyd’s archive of  videos, its well worth it. However this video about the music in video games touches quite a few things. Take time to listen to the music playing in the background as you take on a challenge on that screen. Be that screen in your hands on a phone or dedicated handheld gaming system, or on a larger screen as you sit behind the controller, or flail your arms around interacting with the screen.

Or listen to the sing-song rhymes chanted in the playground still. Usually to skipping or that elastic band game, that I never played.

The music here is supposed to add atmosphere to your actions on a screen. Setting the tone. Moving your mind set.

Listening is the only sensory input that we can use while doing something else without endangering yourself. (Talking is an output folks). You can’t read and drive (or text) safely. But you can listen to music.  Or listen to a podcast, or a lecture.

As the power of machines increase, their music ability increases. Now we have synaesthesia games. Child of Eden, by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is the current star of these kind of games, and the industry is paying attention to them, partly in a “what the…” sense. Synaesthesia is an untreatable, but non fatal  medical condition. It happens because the sensory processing areas of the brain are very close to each other, so close that sometimes the areas overlap. And its surprisingly common. To someone with the condition music can sound blue or sharp. Looking at or thinking about numbers can have a colour or texture. Food can taste pointy. The music example shows just how common it might be. It might go further that that, some synaesthesia patients process emotional feelings as colour overlays over people. In short, they can pick up subtle clues on people and those people appear to have an aura around them. In short they listen to the other persons emotional state, or their own feeling about a person, and process it differently.

Child of Eden is played using the Xbox Kinect system, so the player literally conducts the action. Their actions change the visuals and it reacts with the music heard. The music and the beat are as integral as your motions in this game, and you end up moving in a rhythm to synchronise with the game. Its almost dancing about game playing. You can even use the normal controllers vibration functions to provide tactile feedback to add more to the experience.

If you want to hear the full versions of all the music in the Extra Credits video, I created a playlist on Youtube. Let that play in the background while you look at the other submissions of the LBC.

By the way, my video game favourites aren’t there. But that’s for another post.

This is a Loose Bloggers Consortium post on the theme of “Listen” chosen by Grannymar. To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, in alphabetical order: Akanksha (Anki), Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie 11, Maria, Padmum and the GOM of LBC, Ramana Sir.

24 Jul 2011

Eternity, Cork

Author: will | Filed under: Cork City, LBC, photo

She Said Yes!
If you’ll love her forever, show her how much from the start.

I have no idea who put the poster up on Patrick’s Street Bridge in Cork City. But I know some bride to be will be on the warpath soon.

This is a Loose Bloggers Consortium post on the theme of “Eternity” chosen by Padmum. To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, in alphabetical order: Akanksha (Anki), Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie 11, Maria, Padmum and the GOM of LBC, Ramana Sir.

15 Jul 2011

Shatter falling

Author: will | Filed under: GrannyMar, information loss, LBC, legal, news, newspaper, politics, privacy, telephone

Ubuntu, as well as being a very good operating system translates roughly from the South African root (not sure which language, sorry) in to English as “pleasure derived from the good fortune of others”. Its direct counterpart is found in German, namely Schadenfreude; “the pleasure derived from the bad fortune of others”.

For the last two weeks, its been a guilty pleasure working its way through the UK after the shock and anger has subsided. All of this has been aimed squarely at Rupert Murdoch.

I’m actually writing about this due to asking about the Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) that Grannymar writes with. That and I need a deadline to work with. This week’s topic, nominated by Anu is “Guilty Pleasures”.

And for many in in UK at least, there is pleasure to be derived… let’s ask John Finnemore on the BBC’s “Now Show“…

If you have been living in a cave (or in a compound using only dead letter drops containing USB disks for news updates) for the last few years you would have missed the power of Rupert Murdoch and News International. This man owns media properties throughout the world (and a few satellites above it) most famously a stable of newspapers in the UK and Fox News in the US. The man has had power, power to undermine and control the thrones of power in very high places. Prime Ministers, arguably Presidents, but certainly congressmen and Senators and, if the allegations are true, police were under his sway. And now he is falling from grace because of a child called Milly.

Allegations that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked set off a chain of events which have brought Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to its knees, or at least crouching a lot. Today, he tried to stop the rot and anger by telling the Dowler family and all the other victims of phone hacking that he was deeply sorry.

He is currently facing investigations in the UK, and the allegations of possible hacking of the telephones of 9/11 victims and their families have sparked FBI and Senate investigations in the US. Its conceivable that News International, now a US based company, may either be broken up, or will be forced to shed all the Murdoch family members at its heart.

It turns out that hacking a mobile phone, in Ireland at least, is actually pathetically easy. You have to know your victims phone number, say 081-1234567. If you dial 081-5-1234567 you go directly to their voicemail, and can attempt a remote  login. Depending on the network the default password is 0000 or 1234. Given that most people dial in to their voicemail account from their registered phone, few people realise that there is a password to be changed and that they can access it from any handset. And if you can get hold of their phone, you can change the password in 20 seconds. Thanks to Brian Greene for the research (and he will never get to borrow my phone).

When someone generally disliked falls, you tend to find a few gleeful at the drop in power. Its a guilty pleasure.

But of course its not my guilty pleasure. Mine is the Transformers toys. I like the way they give you the impression of being one thing, guiding you one way, then uncovering that its something else. Or maybe slight of hand is my pleasure? Maybe. But its not as interesting as the still ongoing news story.

To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, in alphabetical order: AKANKSHA (Anki), ANU, ASHOK, CONRAD, DELIRIOUS, GAELIKAA, GRANNYMAR, MAGPIE 11, MARIA, PADMUM and the GOM of LBC, RAMANA SIR.

8 Jul 2011

QR Photomosaic

Author: will | Filed under: advert, code, Cork, Cork City, photo, reuse, technology, thinking

This came up in a conversation on a TOG mailing list. Its source was the comment by a electronic image manipulation project and the possibility of getting extra marks from the use of stenography to hide messages within the exhibition.

What came to my mind was, well , why not create a QR Code of the message and then generate a photo-mosaic of the QR code using the exhibition pictures as the mosaic source.

He asked for an example…

Here you go…

corkprideQR Mosaic02

To generate this you need three things.

1) A large collection of photographs (or pictures) in electronic form.

2) A QR code and

3) Photomosaic software.

Photomosaics have gone out of style, so that might be why it hasn’t been done before.

In my case, I took a lot of photographs of the recent Cork Pride Festival. So my source were about 400 of the festival’s photos that were uploaded to FaceBook.

Then I needed a CQ Code. I used the Kaywa generator.  Not for any particular reason, I just wanted a quick QR code. The code above, when scanned will link to the Cork Pride Festival site.

So then I needed the generation software. I used the portable version of the Andrea Mosaic Software. It could be more intuitive, but its free with the only request being “give a shout out to Andrea Mosaic” if you use it. Perfect for an example.

So, there is the example, let me know if you have any problems scanning it. The larger version is hosted on Pix.ie, but at 5mb image meant for A3 printing, I’m not going to be e-mailing it to anyone other than the Cork Pride media team to add to their archive.

So how long before you see it being used in an advert folks?