Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Lunch

So for 3 or 4 days out of the work week, I head to the local park district basketball gym for some bball action. I usually just shoot baskets by myself and run up and down the courts for a good cardio while working on my shooting.

Today, I got there and there were already people playing on one side of the court. They were all bigger than me and more skilled than myself. I started doing my warm-ups and shooting free throws and running side to side when the fat one (I think I caught his name being Romel) asked if I wanted to join their game of 21 (they were already at like 18-19) so me joining at 0 was of no consequence to them.

Long story short, I joined a bunch of "brothas" at the gym for some bball action. It was fun, we played 32 (extended 21) and I had the pleasure of guarding dudes who were faster, taller, bigger, better than me the whole time. It was a learning experience and I hope that they come back. They were pretty cool, they didn’t take it easy on me and I stayed home on their pump-fakes blocking their view more often than not for a contested jumpshot. That’s my lunch

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

long time

so long time no post...

good stuff...

Bulls went on to Playoffs to push the Celts to the best 1st round NBA series ever. thanks Derrick Rose. Ben Gordon will be resigned. Tyrus Thomas is going to need to commit to becoming a better player. He's the only player big enough, fast enough to defend Lebron James. If he doesn't, time to let him go (which I'm sure he'll then turn into an All Star and be a dominating force.

new toys. More on those next time

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sports - 100 Pushups

So, I found this on Lifehacker and decided to give it a shot. the doctor said that I needed to lose some weight so why not something simple.

We're doing it from Week 1 Day 1 which was Monday and Day three is Friday. So far we've been able to acheive the goals set for each day and each level since, well, they're pretty easy so far. I just looked at Week 6, Day 2 and we should be able to do

Level 1 - 25
Level 2 - 25
Level 3 - 22
Level 4 - 22
Level 5 - 20
Level 6 - 20
Level 7 - 18
Level 8 - 18
Level 9 - MAX

45 seconds break betwen levels...

Again, it doesn't look like it's going to be too hard since we do this before we go bike riding which should help in the overall weightloss.

In the end, losing weight while biking and then building some muscles with this program should reach somewhere in the middle.

Should be interesting

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Technology - XNA

http://creators.xna.com/

So this is my first attempt at programming since barely getting a B in C++ in college and well, quitting Pascal before that.

XNA is the proprietary framework that Microsoft’s Windows and 360 games run on. I don’t know what I’m doing and I have no idea what these tools are. Having said that, I’ve done some research and found some great tutorials online on getting started in creating my own game. It’s a bit daunting really. I’ve never been a fan of programming but it’s the job that runs what I am passionate about, video games. It’s going to take a while to get familiar with the tools and such and I hope that in the end, some of this programming exercises will pay off.

I’ll try my best to chronicle what I have made (I’ve only been able to make a stupid triangle spin around)

Somewhere online, a wise man once said:

“Never follow your passion, take your passion with you.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sports – Driveway Basketball

I’m sore and all I did was shoot the baseball at my friend’s housewarming party driveway hoop. How pathetic is that? I think it’s a testament to how incredibly out of shape I am even though I can go for a while on some resistance bands, I can bike for a relatively long period of time, it’s the small muscles that are specific to a sport that are killing me.

My forearm is a bit sore from shooting hoops, my hams are a bit sore from bending over to pick up bean bags and such. Both are in need of constant stretching so that lactic acid doesn’t build up more than it should.

I’ve also looked at a few more resistance band exercises and found diagonal wood chop, bend over rows and bicep curls to be most beneficial. Now these statements are not founded on science but rather just personal experience and yours might vary.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Technology – Demos in Videogames

In layman’s terms, a demo is supposed to be a sample of the retail build. It is supposed to give the gamer a taste of what to expect before purchasing a videogame. The real question is WHEN the demo is to be released.

There are three options when release a demo:

- Do not release a demo
- Release a demo BEFORE the retail game ships
- Release a demo AFTER the retail game ships

I’m in no way connected to the videogame industry although I would sorely love to work with some of the top publishers and developers out there. It’s a dream for now so here are some thoughts as to the importance of demos

If a game is polished enough and is actually fun to play based on focus group testing, there shouldn’t be a need for a demo. Recent examples like GoW, COD4, Rock Band, Halo 3, GTAIV, Portal, Mass Effect etc. are the types of games that have enjoyed a relatively long development cycle and should have hopefully gotten the kinks out before launch thus the need for a demo is no longer needed. These AAA games wouldn’t affect neither positively or negatively, the overall sales of the title with a release of a demo.

Bioshock is something that It was mostly known by the hardcore gamers group as one of the premier titles for 2007 and for the most part it delivered. I don’t think it would have gotten the commercial success if 2K didn’t roll out the demo. The demo was intended for people who hadn’t heard of the game to those who were itching to try it out and for what it was worth, it delivered on the promise of something different (well, a lot more polished than what they are used to). Civilization Revolution is also one of those games that was in need of a demo so that people who were on the fence about it would give it a try thus persuading those “swing” buyers into purchasing the title.

Demos on the other hand also hurt game sales by essentially previewing how crappy the game really is. Take for example, Frontlines Fuel of War or whatever that was. I thought that the idea was great but the execution was terrible. Shadowrun was also one of those games where the actual demo kinda shat in the face of the real game thus making it a critical failure for the studio which eventually closed down. Heavenly Sword is also one of those titles that just flopped because the demo kinda gave gamers a peek at the craptastic game that they were about to buy.

There are many questions and many different permutations on what to do with the following situation.

Should we release a demo?
When should we release a demo (before release, after release)
How much should be in the demo? A level, a boss fight? End it with a cliffhanger forcing gamers to really think about the purchase or to skip it.

Even getting an achievement to play the demo which unlocks a special character might be incentive enough to buy the full version. Maybe demos are only good for those casual games?

Anyways, I’m done venting

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sports - Derrick Rose and Championships

Admittedly, this post is a bit late….but better late than never…

And so it begins, fans are again hopeful of the new season, Chicago Basketball is back from the dead with Derrick Rose as it’s ring leader…

It was a smart pick by Pax to pick the Chicago native with the 1st overall pick given that the number 2 guy is going to be a monster once he learns how to play within the 6’8” frame. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, good basketball starts with a leader and I’ll go ahead and anoint the kid, as the Bulls new leader. Jordan was a leader and it came as a bonus that he can also score and play suffocating defense on his man. Taking a look at Beasly, he’s a scorer yes, just like an Amare or a Dirk, Brand or even a Dwight Howard but he’s not the impact player that a Deron Williams or Chris Paul or even Jason Kidd is which makes the pick of Derrick Rose that much smarter. I mean, this kid almost singlehandedly (meaning he didn’t have as many a support cast in Memphis) took his team to the National championships while Beasly was dominant in a purely numbers game. I don’t remember where his school ended up in the NCAA championships. That my friends is where the difference lies, I believe that this kid has the ability to impose his will on the game. That skill can’t be taught.

He still needs a few pieces to develop:

Starters

Tyrus Thomas – more consistency but at least now he’s got a running mate where his athleticism and size can prove fruitful in the paint

Luol Deng – this guy needs to continually step it up, he can do it and he will do it. Might want to improve defense

Ben Gordon – when the lane is clogged up, need this guy to be smooth as silk to kick it out to. Still a defensive liability

Derrick Rose – needs short time to adjust to NBA speed, will need to take things easy and not do everything himself, improve jump shot and defense especially on bigger guards

Aaron Gray – needs better footwork and rebounding, nice touch around basket, improve on face up shots.

2nd string

Kirk Hinrich – former captain that will have to recognize the better player in Rose and must play his part in order to keep the Bulls competitive

Thabo Sefalosha – has great 1 on 1 defense but inconsistent jump shot, need to improve ball handling and must be able to create own shot

Andres Noccioni – great energy off the bench and will prove to be valuable in long 82 game NBA season, stay healthy

Drew Gooden – workhorse that will get you tough points and rebounds.

Joakim noah – Undersized for the 5 but will learn to adapt. Work on outside shot to be able to pull opposing centers from the paint and be effective with speed

Reserves

Demetris Nichols

Cedric Simmons

Both these guys are unknown to me…like a Jason Caffey and Dickey Simpkins but I hope that they end being better!

Anyways, that’s it

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Beer - Amstel Light

So, I was able to finally crack open a bottle of Ametel Light for my consumption and it was OK.

Considering that it is a light beer, there’s still a beer flavor to it that makes it undeniably a European beer albeit a bland beer at that.

Let me paint a picture for you…

You get up early to go to work since you are loaded to the gills with tasks and projects due yesterday and last week not to mention the stuff coming in. You work your normal 8 hours and then spend the last hour eagerly waiting to go home and be greeted by your dogs.

Upon getting home, you let the dogs out and clean up the pad that they use for a bathroom during the day. You step outside and the inevitable stares you right in the face. Your lawn needs to be mowed. Recent thunderstorms have mercifully watered the dry grass that you had originally mowed 4 days ago. The lawn is bushy and thick and you really gotta get to it before it rains again thus making the grass grow more.

You’ve had enough. After changing into shorts and a t-shirt, you step outside and started to walk towards the shed. Not even 10 steps out the door, you begin to sweat. It’s warm and very humid. The air is thick enough to cut with a spoon. You get out the mower, prime it three times, and pull the starter cord and off she goes. You start walking towards the front lawn and make your way to the back. It takes you 40 minutes to finish and that was at a brisk pace.

You bring the mower back into the shed and start to walk towards the door. You get inside, again greeted by happy dogs as you make your way to the fridge while you take off your grass stained shoes. You open the fridge and there they are, brown bottles of Amstel ripe and cold for the taking. You grab one that has been cooling for a day so you know that it is cold to the core, not this semi-cold from an hour of cooling. As you hold the bottle opener in one hand and the beer in the other, your mouth waters in anticipation of that first sip. I think you can safely say that I was parched

That was my state of being when I tried Amstel again…granted it would have made ANY beer taste good, I’ll give Amstel a generally favorable review even without the circumstances. Can’t wait to get home and open another beer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Word on Quality

http://kotaku.com/5012473/about-kotaku-reviews

Reviews have been, are and will always be about scores, well at least for the most part.

The author in this article discusses the bonus ties to good average scores by well known media outlets.

http://www.magicalwasteland.com/2008/05/you_cant_fake_quality_but_that_never_stops_them_from_trying.htm

It's tough but in a world driven by measurements and metrics, it's tough to take a anything without a score but at the same time, it's a great idea!

My own personal experience, I define quality as being something that delivers what is expected of it. To be clear, products represent an expectation of what it is supposed to be. Water for example is supposed to be clean, crisp, tasteless and refreshing. That's how water should be judged. If it meets expectations then it passes and is of good quality.

Beer should taste like beer (unless otherwise stated), have the right alcohol content and is refreshing. If it's too bitter or leaves a funny aftertaste, then it's minus points from overall quality.

With a TV, I expect a good picture with little fiddling, adequate sound and good channel to channel performance. If it has extra features great, but those are intangibles that shouldn't reflect on the overall score.

Speakers and Receivers are expected to reproduce clean sound from the highs to the lows and be directional etc.

Cell phones and smart devices have different expectations and should be managed accordingly.

Video games should be the same, if developers promise it to be a polished new experience, tight controls, great voice acting and overall game play then by all means it's a qality game. Bonuses shouldn't be solely tied to average reviews and sales but rather a matrix of quality indicators that determine if it is bonus worthy or not.

In the end, quality is really subjective with different meanings to different people. If you are going to market to a specific demographic, better make sure that your meaning of quality is what it's supposed to be for them, not you.