The perfect game in the perfect place at the perfect time for the perfect price.

When I move house there’s a little few weeks of time elapsing before I get off my arse and figure out how to set up an internet connection. This usually doesn’t matter much as I’ll be busy with other stuff, but once I’ve sat on a cardboard box to watch the 2003 Australian Idol final for the 8th time I start to want the internet and open up a browser. Of course, without a connection, chrome gives me a cute pixelated dinosaur and a cactus, telling me that my internet is all dried up like a desert or extinct reptile respectively.

I had seen this image for years before a friend mentioned it being a game. “WHAAAAAT” I whispered incredulously. This was amazing news. All I had to do was press space bar and suddenly my cute little friends came to life. The mechanic is simple. Dinosaur runs through desert toward cactus, press space to jump over cactus, repeat for high score and rejoice. There’s just enough variety and challenge as you play to keep you interested too. The little dino speeds up and some pterodactyls pop up as day turns to night. It’s all quite charming.

And before you know it you’ve probably got you’re sketchy free wifi access back and the internet returns without a hitch. Lovely. Without even having to ask or pay this little game pops up right where and when its meant too. This happens from time to time with computers and it got me thinking about other examples. Snake on old uranium-green-back-lit brick phones is a good example. You had your phone with you and you couldn’t afford a pay as you go text thread with your one friend during an awkward train ride so you looked like you were still texting while actually just playing snake. So sneaky. The little pixels moving around and eating while getting a little harder each time was just enough to keep you going at the right time.

Then there’s minesweeper. Windows was an expensive and fancy acquisition in the late nineties/early naughties so you would fire up your new computer, wait patiently for the OS to boot and then explore how many amazing things your new “ELECTRONIC COMPUTATOR” was capable of. The Windows system still tried to sell itself back then. You had all the inbuilt things like paint, wordpad, explorer and GaMeS!!. Like it still does, except for the games. The games, as far as I could tell, were just there because they’re great, why not include them. They were an essential part of office procrastination capability. Minesweeper and solitaire were clever little things you could leave in a minimised window at any time, come back to and puzzle over. Visually unobtrusive while still prettier than Sudoku. They showed that this machine can support games as well I guess, advertising. But really they were just this fantastic given.

Maybe with the internet and browsers as a given people just relied on flash games more and more until good old minesweeper seemed obsolete. Though something was lost with it’s departure, that sense of complementary service and feeling of buying into an exciting new world with the tech you were using. Cue the rise of the chrome dino.

-W

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Automated Cars – Hmm….

So, on the back of Elon Musk’s announcement that he didn’t care about stock traders, it’s occurred to me that he might not have fully thought through the idea of an automated car either. See, it’s been well established that if all cars were automated, they would need constant communication with one another a-la 14 year old texters, and that the easiest way of doing so would be to run them off a network. It obviously follows then that this system could be abused.

Now, I’m as restrained as they come. Just the other day, when a colleague I dislike tried to interact with me, I refrained from saying that they’re a judgemental naive entitled dim-witted self-centred waste of eukaryote cells. And as for morality, the other day, I bought an entire roll of recycled toilet paper. If I were to rate my restraint and morality on a scale of one to ten, I would rate it whatever your number is plus one.

But even I would be corrupted by the potential for cars to be operated remotely. That guy that cut me off in traffic a couple of days ago? If I had my way, they would be promptly parked on the shoulder for five minutes using their headlights to blink in Morse Code the words “I’m a cock”, and have their airbag deployed to punch them in the face for good measure. That person who took five entire minutes to overtake one car? I would set their speed to 200 but give manual control of their steering. That guy who pointed out my misspelling of the word “fuckwit” on a YouTube comment? I’d set the nearest car to run them down.

Then there’s the opportunities for entertainment. Imagine if a trucker’s rally were to be hijacked and their trucks were aligned to say “invest in rail”, or even just a penis, from the sky. I’m not saying it should be done or would be funny, but I will say that if it were done I would find it funny and approve.

And imagine if the ruler was driving. I would have cars in front of me part to let me through just for the power-trip. And then, if I were hosting some powerful foreign power’s president or something, I’d probably get all the cars to do donuts to impress them. And if any of the occupants protested I would disconnect their air conditioning and play Call Me Maybe in their cars on max volume until they changed their minds. Hell, I could even do that if they expressed views I disagreed with. Complain about the Star Wars prequels? Get ready to be Call Me Maybe‘d. Express a whiff of support for anime? You better believe it. Support One Nation? Haha, just kidding, I know they can’t afford a new car.

I’ve actually decided that automated cars are a great idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some boat-people hate and gay marriage support lines to recite.

-Z

Laserwash automatic car wash review.

As we live in the future it is important to try as many automated things as possible. to misquote Ken Brockman; “I for one welcome our new robot overlords.” one of these is the automatic car wash. Today’s article is purely an attempt for me to justify having paid to go through a car wash.

It is common knowledge that the model tee mini morris car came in any colour so long as it’s black. But why this was so is less well known. It is because the advent of the tire was replacing the shoe as the main mode of human transport. This got shoe shine unions in a right fit and the little orphans demanded something to shine. Hence cars early colour scheme.

“shine your car black guvna!”

Anyway, skip to the future and we have robots to do that for us. I tried one the other week. it was a laserwash 3000 or something, built by skynet purely for my convenience. I don’t know why I like automatic car washes. There is something about those silly big machines that I find appealing. Probably because they’re somewhat futuristic.

That’s probably why I was dissapointed a little with the laserwash. It gave a pretty good flashing lights robo-wash, however there weren’t actual lasers. Pity.

_W

Slightly-Smaller-iPads Just Aren’t Doing it for Me

To all the people out there who don’t own the latest iPhone (feels like I’m the only one though), have you noticed how big they are? They’re freaking huge!

The Motorola T191 - perfection. Image taken from startexenergy.ru

The Motorola T191 – perfection. Image taken from startexenergy.ru

I remember when my family first joined the mobile phone revolution, with a tiny silver Motorola in 2002. It was a huge excitement – finally, we could call people when we were outside, without having to read hooker numbers and their accompanying messages in phone booths! It was small, easy to use, slick, shiny, amazing. It seemed that the mobile phone had a bright future ahead. But it held a dark harbinger of things to come – Snake.

Now, make no mistake, Snake is one of the finest games ever made, and to some degree, whoever invented it deserves praise. But what’s it doing on a phone? Does it help you make calls in any way? And this is where things, I believe, went wrong. You see, mobile phones could have gone in two different directions. They could either have gotten smaller, and simpler to use, like all other electronics, or they could have crammed extra random things that aren’t related to its original function. So which side did we end up at?

Well, the iPhone 6 Plus is 15 centimetres long and almost 8 centimetres wide. Just think about that. Eight centimetres wide. Forget how amazingly thin it is or whatever, does that even fit in your pockets? I’ll save you the hassle of finding out – of all my pants, only one of them manages this feat. It’s so wide, you can’t operate the thing properly without two hands; it’s actually wider than my thumb is long. It apparently has a real 1080p screen, some amazing digital camera or something, and lots of other stuff, but is that worth forcing you to use two hands to operate something which is meant to be convenient? I’m not sure.

Motorola_RAZR_V3i_03

What was wrong with this? Image taken from wikipedia.org

What saddens me (yes I do think ‘saddens’ is appropriate in this situation) is that the march of the mobile phone wasn’t always going in this obviously wrong direction. Phones were actually getting smaller; the model before my dad’s phone was slightly larger and chunkier. One advancement which I particularly liked was the flip-phone. This was great; you could drop them and only feel bad as opposed to actually dealing with a cracked screen for the rest of your living existence. Plus there was always that very slight feeling of swag when you hung up by snapping the lid shut. Most importantly, they kept phone sizes small, as the screen could be folded over. It was all going so well! So why did we leave this direction?

Well, the aforementioned iPhone came around in its first iteration, that’s what happened. Here was the definition of a phone crammed with extras. Of course, Apple fans flocked to this new computer-in-a-phone, as they do towards every new nonsensical Apple item. On seeing this, other companies apparently implemented a policy of applying the saying ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ to this stupidly over-crammed phone instead of the older and less exciting method of ‘logical thought’, and as a result, phones turned into ‘smartphones’ and got bigger screens, more ‘functionality’, more ‘apps’, and grew big, like the iPhone. Let’s be honest here. The Samsung Galaxy is a perfect case study into how much a company can ‘join them’ – it looks, frankly, the same as an iPhone, and its purpose is to be ‘as good as an iPhone’. Meanwhile, Apple execs are laughing their heads off at this whole debacle; their loyal customers would never change companies anyway. They even made a spin-off of their phone, the iPad, which as far as I can tell, doesn’t even have a useful primary function. I bet they did it just to see if they could also make tablets a thing and convince customers that not having a physical keyboard was somehow a good idea. Apple are actually the biggest trolls in the electronics world.

We've all seen this. Image taken from fixinazip.com

We’ve all seen this. Image taken from fixinazip.com

The iPhone and the stupid Android companies that followed in its mudprints made us normal people have to deal with phones that have infuriating touch-screen keyboards, a huge screen no one wants and cracks at the slightest shock, and batteries that barely last a day. Even worse, it’s taught us to choose phones with bigger screens and more processing power (with associated power consumption), even though that’s objectively worse.

Basically, the iPhone came and ruined everything.

I want my Motorola V3 back.

-Z

Update: I bought an iPhone in March 2015.