Franscrollow

I just wanted to write about Franscrollow. Baratunde Thurston coined the term which is an amalgamation of Friend+Fan+Subscribe+Follow.  There are so many ways to track favorite people!! Which do you do, or what word do you use to refer? Well Franscrollow is the solution.

I want to thank @Leolaporte, Brian (@schwood), @Baratunde and @Veronica for a great TWiT this week.  Time very well spent.

I must say I am with Brian on the Net Neutrality issue, Yes we need the net to be free of monopolistic or unfair controls, but its worse if the government is regulating it. All they need is one issue to shoehorn their way in and we will be forever lost to worse and worse regulation. The net as it stands is functioning beautifully and beyond expectation. The hive mind I love thee. We should apply anti-competitive laws as they stand , on a case by case basis, and not have some broad restrictive overarching laws with unintended consequences, like all other laws bring.  Anyhoo, Franscrollow me on twitter @Mr_GRE3N

PS Google returns no searches for Franscrollow.NOTE:Nevermind I typed it in wrong.

Update:2 Dudes, not a flood of hits(3 as of writing) but Google ‘Franscrollow’. Also when I tweeted about it @baratunde congratulated me on my non-accomplishment. There would be no post without you Mr Thurston, thank you. I wish you (and Brian for that matter) could be on TWiT every week.

Maybe now it will and I’ll get traffic for this blog. I’ll start writing here again , I promise, Just need to talk about some favorite things. Cooking some Ideas. And to anyone new, a lot of my posts drip in sarcasm that I assume comes across to make my points. (I try to make it obvious when I’m using it, none in this post.. its ok you are safe)

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Anticipated Games of 09.

I thought I’d do some light hearted fun for therapy from my previous endeavour.

Just want to point out some of the games I’m looking forward to this year. Now as with every form of entertainment there are always surprises. Films you have no clue about until they come out and they blow you away (the matrix, sixth sense) It’s pretty hard for games to do that, but not impossible, perhaps it’s a game that’s just under your own personal radar, or one you don’t have high expectations for, until either you try it out or your friends/ media types bug you until you do. Anyway.. Aside from those mystery titles here are a few I’m pawing after at the moment:

Ghostbusters:

I’m so pumped for this one. Written and voiced by the minds behind the films. Brilliant! This game looks better and more pretty each time I see it. Some game play was showed off around GDC this year and it looks great.  Most people don’t know this but there was a pretty good Ghostbusters game out already way back on the genesis. A side scrolling contra esq shooter, where you fought minions, wrangled ghosts, fought bosses, earned money and bought weapons. Everything from that game is back in this one. Mind you the last one was missing a character (Winston just like the other games left him out) and that game got pretty hard near the end. Anyway I’m digressing. This game has everyone in it, it looks great, it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted in a Ghostbusters, or movie licence game. Looks like it will be pretty hard to mess it up from this point, and I’ll be playing it even if it scores 3’s across the board.

Batman Arkham Asylum:

This looks great. It looks as if Rocksteady has put a lot of love into this game. They aren’t pigeon-holed into making a game based on an upcoming movie, and that allows them to be creative with the visual style, story, and game play elements.  They seem to be using their own take on the character, similar to a more modern style. This batman looks as if he kills, which is darker and grittier then we often see. The look of the game is gritty, twisted and dark.  They put their own spin on the characters, and the game play is trying things in concert that haven’t been done before. Playing the mind games with the AI in stealth mode looks great, and from what else I’ve read, the combat works very nicely. It seems this too, if all goes well, will pan out wonderfully, and I am super juiced for it.

The Beatles: Rock Band.   Do I need to say anything? Not much is known about the game, other then it will differ from standard Rock Band formula. I could speculate on and on about what I think is in it, or should be in it. For instance it would be nice to have 3 guitar tracks per song, keyboard/piano tracks, singing in harmony and every single song period.  When it comes down to it in the end, I’d be happy just to get a good quality sound and a natural feeling, fun note-track out from Apple and Harmonix respectively. There is no doubt it will turn out great with Harmonix track record, popularizing the genre with Guitar Hero, Breaking the mould with Rock band, and a near perfect history of fun and respectful note tracks. Rockband tracks just play better than Neversoft’s GH tracks.  Just about a month or 2 ago Harmonix and EA unveiled that the game would indeed be labelled with the Rock Band name. My guess was that Apple wanted to differentiate its product from everything else, but gave into pressure. It’s clear that the Rock Band name carries with it a lot of weight and will attract some business.  So yeah can’t wait to get my hands on that.

Update: Bioshock 2: Good interview here with Gamespot.

We don’t know too much about the new game , other then it takes place a few years later, and you play a big daddy.  Many people were worried when they heard a startup developer in Take Two was handling the game.  Then we found out however that 2k Marin is made up of ex 2kboston/Irrational developers, fresh of of Bioshock. Next I heard that the lead on the game was the creative design lead on the Fort Frolic stage from Bioshock, and that set my mind at ease. I can’t wait to play this, i’m sure so long as the story is engaging and they don’t go overboard with new features that Bioshock 2 will be another amazing creepy adventure.

On top of that, there is , Assassins’ Creed 2 and the halo 3 expansion Halo3con aka Halo: ODST.

There seems to be a theme developing. Every game I’m looking forward to (besides being on xbox360) is that it’s either a licence or a sequel.  I guess there is nothing wrong with being safe.  However I wouldn’t discredit any of them. The licensed stuff seems to being doing new and interesting things and the old stuff well that’s just a little more of what I already love.  It all comes back to those mystery games, for me. What games get added to my planed purchases?  My guess is a lot of unannounced stuff, with E3 a few months away, we will see some games that were under the radar and others that will be seen for the first time.  Thus is the life of the modern gamer, always a waiting game.   But if I can afford it, I still have a lot already to sink my teeth into. From games of yesteryear, to DLC and just stuff I haven’t completely milked or finished, I’ll be pretty busy this summer.

Movie Review: Push

Sunday was funday and i went to a movie. Pretty much nothing appealed to me or my buddy Chris, but we both agreed Push looked interesting and we gave it a shot.

I rather enjoyed it. Push isn’t a great movie, but it is a good movie. Its shot low budget and has minimal special effects. I am glad that the movie doesn’t rely on effects of flashy shots to help itself along. It has pretty good writing and interesting characters and ideas. It is a twist on the superhero genre. It is more of rebellion film, with a small group racing for their lives from a US government agency(the evil kind) an a Hong Kong cartel.

Everyone has some sort of psychic powers and labeled based on ability. Movers can manipulate objects like telekinesis, Pushers control people by pushing thoughts and memories into their minds, Watchers see and predict the future, Bleeders(who i think should be called screamers) yell at a pitch that shatters and shakes the surroundings as well as makes peoples head bleed. Sniffers smell objects and can see events that happened near the object, and can track people with clues from those smells as well as the traces people leave. Shadows can hide people and objects from detection from sniffers and to a degree from Watchers. Shifters can manipulate the form of objects for a short amount of time. Stichers can heal or destroy people’s health, and Whipers can erase peoples memories.

It is all very interesting, and the story centers around trying to find a case with an experimental drug used on the psycics.

Dakota Fanning is actually quite good as a young, motivated Watcher.  She sends Chris Evens’s character on the adventure to begin with.

Its full of interesting style action, almost B movie in style, nut the whole film is picked up by good acting by unknowns, and good writing.  The movie isn’t perfect but it is a must watch.

So that’s a little short blurb. maybe I’ll choose to write more.

Stay tuned for my Watchmen review. it will probably be much more in depth.

Movie Review: Doubt

Last week I went to see Doubt. I needed to see something Oscar worthy, and although it wasn’t nominated for best picture, it does have 4 amazing and well deserved actors which were nominated.

Doubt is a film driven completely by conversation.  No action, almost no events per say, but every bit of the plot is one conversation to the next.

The story takes place in a catholic school, the kind run by the church, in 1964. The plot revolves around the suspicion by 2 nuns that the priest may be abusing a young boy.  It goes on as the principal (played by Meryl Streep) probes the Father (Philip Seymour Hoffman), as she tries to piece together his guilt. It all begins when a teacher (Amy Adams) notices strange things about the boy in question, then brings up her suspicions to the principal character.

The writing is spectacular; this movie gives power to words, which I haven’t seen in a very long time.  It is thought provoking, asking questions about judgment and suspicion, about traditions, about power and influence.  The performances are strong, even subtle gestures and expressions able to convey some feelings and thoughts better than words that were spoken. The best example is in the scene with the mother of the child concerned, played by Viola Davis. In this scene you can see on her face that he mind is in anguish as 2 conflicting concerns float through her mind.

I do not want to give away everything about the movie, other than to say it is very good ,and when you get the chance it’s a must see. Great performances, visually pleasing and provocative storytelling.

Back from Vacation.. What is on my mind?

Lets see, what has happened that I need to talk about?

Well when I got home there was a story about some nutjob that shoved some kids onto the subway tracks.  Supposedly he shoved 3, one guy managed to keep his balance, the other 2 fell onto the tracks as a train was coming. One of them was aware enough to drag his buddy under the lip, which until this week i didn’t know existed, saving their lives. the less aware kid may have lost his leg I’m not sure , I heard the train clipped his foot and dragged him a little, but at least he is alive. So what happened to the nutjob well, people were running crazy out of the station(somewhere on the Bloor line i forget) and the man in the booth called police and paramedics then chased the nutjob down the street, knocking him down. I’ll tell ya one thing, that not something I expect from a public worker. You can be damn sure if it was Ottawa(if Ottawa had a subway) that the clerk manning the booth would be too busy bitching for higher wages. This man deserves a medal or something, otherwise this fuck would be out on the street, shoving old ladies into oncoming traffic.  So this brings me to the nutjob, supposedly he is not mentally sane.

It always seems that with these cases of public violence, the guy turns out to be mentally unstable, or some bullshit excuse to get off scot free. Its the same with the sickening greyhound bus killing in Manitoba last year. some fuck stabs 40 or so times then beheads a 20 year old or so kid on his way home.  The big question, how the Fudge does a busload of people manage to not do anything to save the guy after like 1 or 2 stabs. But i digress, turns out oh oh oh, the guy is mentally unstable he didn’t mean to do it, he just snapped. BULLSHIT. i must call bullshit, sure he is insane, but making it sound like a disease doesn’t help anybody. We know sane people don’t start stabbing at random. I’m sure the insane have every intention of doing exactly what they do, in their head they are doing something for a reason, if if they aren’t logical reasons.

My point is this, these “people” should be identified in grade school and castrated, then locked up in a care facility, hoped up on enough drugs to numb a horse.  I know that sounds cruel but keeping them somewhere safe where they can spend their days watching TV and playing scrabble is better then having them killing people. Someone figure out a way to profile them to 99% accuracy. That good enough for me.

Ok next topic.

Obamania. Well I missed it, I was out of town.  The One was here in Ottawa, and it seems the show went well.  He tried to not step on toes.  He proved he could play nice. Lets see if his actions back up his words. Will he support free trade, will he help improve relations between the 2 countries?  His idea for a modern power grid are good ones, we sure as hell need one going into the 21st century and maybe one better integrated between the 2 countries would have benefits. Now all this only works of course if we have a realistic energy policy, expand the use of nuclear and hydro power, improve and modernise refinement and processing for crude oil and gas, and so on and so on. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little more privatization/deregulation in this market. But knowing the crazy lefties they wont let anything good like that happen.  I was interested with Obama’s handling of the Afghan situation. He didn’t ask for anything he just sorta said, please keep us in mind, and be open to what i have to say.  Canadians have heard the message loud and clear. Afghanis  don’t want us over there, even if we are there to help civilians so, we asked to not be a part of it, and the government (for once) listened. Canada should have troops out of there by 2011.  Unless Obama says jump, and Canadians ask “ How many?” I have a feeling alot of Canadians would follow him to the planet Xenu, with Tom Cruise as the tour guide, if he asked with that pretty smile of his.  Parliament hill looked like that south park episode just after the election. “YEAH OBAMMMMMAAAAAAAAA!!!” with drunken lefties getting hammered in the streets.

Anyway, there is more to discuss but perhaps tomorrow.

Take care and remember…

Don’t pee on the E-Lec-Tric Fence!

Economic crisis, or Opportunity?


I would like to point out an article written by Lawrence Martin (o f the Globe and Mail) written for the metro-news.

This metro paper has been good to me the past week or so.

He wrote it in part in response to a report by Roger Martin and Richard Florida (summary).

We all know (or should be taught in grade 1) that the free market capitalistic system is cyclic; we experience intervals of growth and prosperity, as well as an eventual collapse. The causes of such collapse are still debated fiercely in the worlds of economics and political and sociological sciences, usually a flaw in the laws or the system goes unforeseen, or some continued stress causes eventual downturn of the economy.

What is also known however is that recessions are times of rebuilding and restructuring, weak firms and poorly run firms or enterprises fail and from the failures lessons are learned. Industries are restructured minds are changed and the pioneers among us endure, they take repeated failure and build upon successes of the past. And after the failures we always end up better off then where we fell from, the history of economic growth trends upwards always.

Want proof? The dot com bubble of the late 90’s. They built an industry financed by venture capital with lots and lots of cash on the basis that eventually a profitable product or service would be produced. Small companies stopped being small companies when they were bought by large ones for inflated prices based on the same promises and ceased to exist. All this cash flying around and nothing real being produced. Eventually the capital dried up, and the hint of a recession caused all the funding to disappear. Almost overnight an entire industry pretty much disappeared. What happens next is case in point. The internet came back in a big way. This time built on an advertising model previously thought impossible at such scale. Large companies sell their products that don’t seem like products at all yet there are billions of dollars and fierce competition surrounding it. What product is that? Search. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft own huge stakes in search and that’s where the money is and it all comes from advertising dollars. On top of that we have content services as well as a cloud of web based applications. All semi–tangible products. The sector was reborn and is undergoing an evolution. Devices are being built and manufactured to take advantage of all these services. Companies such as Apple, Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, and now Palm (seems like it might be back in business with the Pre) are all taking advantage with mobile devices alone. In their wake companies like Google leave an industry that although certainly not immune to this economic downturn are built and structured now to weather the storm.

So back to Martin, Martin and Florida, all of them are basically saying this: That we in Ontario should be focusing our efforts to rebuild
Ontario into a creative services economy.  Almost all government programs, spending and tax and trade policy are geared toward helping the manufacturing and resource sector. L. Martin writes:
Stimulus schemes and handouts, they say, may be necessary to prop up the old economy. “As in all times of economic crisis, there is considerable pressure on governments to protect the past and undertake bail­outs.” That said, “There is a better way.”

He reports that we need to capitalize on the current recession and move off the old industrial economy. Further saying.

Start making the big moves to an idea-driven, creative economy based not on goods, but on services. Put the stress on the development of knowledge workers, on research and development, on innovation.

With the amount of education in this province and across Canada, I don’t see how we can allow this opportunity to pass us by.

The “brain drain” you hear from years past (circa late 90’s) is almost never uttered this day in age, with more people reluctant to move to the USA due to a booming and stable Canadian economy, and with fears of either a totalitarian Bush state or now a Huge Government Obama Nanny state, Canadians probably are feeling more comfortable at home now. Canada’s service sector is already large, and the structuring toward manufacturing is only likely due to a very vocal minority.

Service sector is much more flexible to change then is the manufacturing sector. It’s less susceptible to fluctuations in the dollar or economy. When people might not want to buy cars there is always room for research and innovation, consulting, creative projects, financial services ect ect.

If you take one thing from this, let it be this: Please educate yourselves, please start your own companies be creative, hire creative minds if you aren’t creative. Don’t think that you need to “make” something. Small business is the backbone and the meat and potatoes of an economy. Urge your government to support small creative business, and if you can’t rely on government (which we all know we can’t) rely on each other. Be adventurous, take risks, and support creative enterprises yourselves with your hard earned cash. Build a better Canada

Ok so that was more than one thing. So on that I’m going to Hope for Change , not from some new leftist dream world supported by huge government debt but; but from an economy of the people for the people.

Could such a thing be done? Can we see a better Ontario, a better Canada? One more solid and competitive then most nations on earth? (I’m gunning for France personally)  To quote Mr  Rebadt DeLama

Yes We Can.