Posts tagged One Shot
iOS 7 - Fears and Feature Requests
It’s been two years since I put my thoughts together about improvements for my mobile operating of choice. Apple’s WWDC keynote is Monday and we are going to get our first look at Jony Ive’s vision of iOS. But as I said a few weeks ago on Twitter, I am a little fearful that all we are going to get is a design overhaul.
Look we all know that Jony Ive is a very talented designer. He can keep himself laser focused on a vision and execute. Absolutely. But my fear is that all we’re going to get is a redesign. Yes, iOS does feel a little dated, especially compared to Windows Phone, but cleaning up some features and adding others is actually more important to me than a design overhaul.
My fear is that due to the limited time Ive has had with the OS (roughly 7 months) we’re just going to get something shiny that doesn’t increase functionality and productivity. And really, that’s what I need out of an OS and my applications. A smarter, faster OS that makes me more productive is where I’m going to be most happy.
I’m not saying that we aren’t going to get both. I’m just worried that there wasn’t enough time to have both. A pretty OS with the same features is kind of meh, to me.
Ok, all that said. I’ve got a list of 7 feature requests for iOS 7. Here goes:
Ok, here it is. I’ve been struggling to put words on paper about the Xbox One. I find I meander, I pull references, figures and I get off track.
I don’t want to talk about my cord cutting, or the history of streaming boxes, and I really don’t want to talk about how Microsoft has been after the living room for years or that Media Center PCs have been around for decades - that’s not the point. It’s this:
Microsoft has made a really compelling set top box.
It’s not a gaming console, it’s also a gaming console. It’s kind of the thing that people have been using in scifi for, what feels like, forever. Saying “xbox, [command]” into an empty room is actually something out of Star Trek. And we’ll have it, seemingly, very functional and standard on every box is great. Pulling up a another task on your TV while browser window while you’re watching a movie is actually science fiction.
So, while the Xbox One reveal might be Microsoft graduating the from gaming console to full on set top home computer, I’m ok with that. I’m a nerd. That’s something I want.
Obviously the biggest news from Sony’s PS4 announcement was that they never actually showed their new console. Fine. But what about what they did show. Now that we’re more than 18 hours removed from the conference, and I’ve watched it again, I think I can wade through all the noise. Ready? Ok.
First, I don’t care how many developers Sony had on stage or which games they were showing off. The console isn’t out yet, so we have absolutely no idea what the games will look like, or what the hardware is actually capable of (yes we have specs but specs don’t mean anything).
We don’t know what it will look like, but we know what it will feel like.
Right at the top of the show, not 5 minutes in, Andrew House said:
"The living room is no longer the center of the playstation ecosystem, the gamer is.… With mobility and the ability to share content and experiences becoming an increasingly important part of the gaming experience, connectivity between devices and the ease with which they connect has been essential to meeting the demands of today’s casual or core gamer."
While we didn’t see what the box looks like, Sony did show us a new controller. They’re calling it the DualShock 4 and it looks like a DualShock 3 with an added touchpad along the top.
But forget the touchpad for a second, the most interesting part of the new controller is a share button. Yes, nestled right in between the D-pad and the touchpad is a button labeled ‘share.’ The share button can capture the video on your screen and broadcast what you’re doing to your friends. They’ve baked in live streaming capabilities via UStream.
They also alluded to the PS4 hooking into existing social networks to enhance your experience. I can imagine something like starting a live broadcast and tweeting the link. Or making a Facebook post of a video you’ve recorded.
I watched The Firm the other day. I hadn’t seen it and something just compelled me to watch it. When I searched for it on Amazon Instant two results came up. The first was the one directed by Sidney Pollack starring Tom Cruise that came out in 1993. The other was something from 2012. I obviously wanted to watch the 1993 version.
As the opening credits rolled they read “based upon the book by John Grisham” and I struck with a nagging thought – this movie was remade and updated for the 2012 version, but the book was never changed.
Why don’t we remake books?
It’s an interesting question for which I don’t really have an answer. We remake every other form of entertainment but for some reason we don’t remake books. What do I mean when I say “remake”? Great question. It means different things in each form of entertainment.
Movies are notorious for remakes. We see them all the time, and I’ve talked about this before, but remakes are almost as old as movies themselves. Rebooting a franchise might be considered a remake, that’s a case by case thing. The film industry thrives on remaking movies and it’s hard to imagine a world without remakes.
We call remakes of songs “cover songs” or “covers.” I don’t know how song remakes got their own word, but at some point it happened. Some covers become so popular that they surpass the original recordings popularity (Clapton’s “I Shot The Sheriff,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Knocking on Heavens Door,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Along The Watch Tower” come to mind immediately but I grew up on classic rock). Just like in film I can’t really imagine a world without covers. (It’s worth noting that there are some great Tumblrs dedicated to cover songs. My favorite is Copy Cats.)
Those of you who have been following me for a while (or know me personally) know that Myspace is one of my favorite things to talk about. I have said before that I would drop everything to be the CEO of that company, and I’m only half kidding when I say that.
When Myspace released a video of their redesigned site I was elated. Watching (fictional person) David create an account and then scroll through pictures and friends, share music, connect with musicians… It seemed to echo many of the thoughts I had for the service; take the template for Myspace Music, and grow it. Make Myspace a place for artists. The New Myspace brings us closer to a social network for artists than any other site has before. And it does it with style. Myspace is damn pretty.
I have been using New Myspace almost two months. I think it’s pretty good. The site just opened to the public so I thought it would be worth putting some thoughts on down on text
As far as the gist of the site, the flow and basic day to day use, New Myspace makes more sense to me than Facebook. I would go as far as saying that New Myspace actually makes Facebook feel a little outdated, especially when you consider that we we live in a world of Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
My Thoughts on Star Wars and Disney
My initial reaction was diluted by the amount of information we got in October. Lucasfilm was bought by Disney and George Lucas wrote a treatment for 3 MORE STAR WARS MOVIES. Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. That little fact, is actually the one that I’ve had the hardest time getting my head around. But I think I’ve got it square now.
So, let’s talk Disney. Disney is a giant corporation. They own a tremendous amount of media, many of which don’t have the Disney branding (things like ABC, Miramax, ESPN, and the History Channel. Oh, and Marvel). And like any major corporation they’re going to do everything they can to make sure Star Wars and its characters are fully saturated into pop culture (as if they weren’t already). They’re also going to make sure that we get regular injections of Star Wars movies. So they can maximize profits.
Lucasfilm was always a kind of scrappy underdog. Saying “scrappy underdog” might sound weird for a company that has only produced blockbuster films, but they were. At their core the Lucasfilm made independent films financed out of pocket by the producer/director. You don’t get any more independent than that. Fox distributed Star Wars, but they didn’t pay a dime to make them. George Lucas made the prequels exactly how he wanted them and was beholden to no one. That’s impressive.
Jeff has talked about how hard it is to play videogames that are a generation or two behind what is currently on the market. Playing games from your childhood is different, because of the nostalgia factor, but playing a PS2 game after playing anything from this generation is really tough.
That’s how it feels to play Skyward Sword this late in the console lifecycle. In the past month I have played Gears 3, Uncharted 3, Arkham City, and Rage. They are some of the best looking games I have ever played; the animations are fluid, the environments are beautiful and the draw distances are unreal (no pun intended, though hard to avoid). In comparison Zelda looks old. I can see the pixels that makeup Link (or whatever you choose to call your hero) and his movements are stiff.
Maybe it’s not fair to compare Link’s movements to those of Nathan Drake but I can’t help it. Yes, Naughty Dog has the benefit of more powerful hardware and they are building their third Uncharted game for this hardware. And yes, all that allows them to craft an experience so polished it made Tycho at Penny Arcade wonder “if the game is entirely comprised of shine.” This is only the first Zelda built for the Wii (and likely the only), but I have to compare them, because they are sitting next to each other on shelves.
I’m not saying that Uncharted is a better game than Zelda. Not by a long shot. The story in Skyward Sword is great, the puzzles are unmatched, the combat is everything I wanted it to be and there’s this feeling I get from Zelda that other games don’t deliver. But looking at it after playing other offerings this year is hard not to want Zelda to look as good as Rage or Uncharted.
There has been a lot of talk about streaming music services since Spotify launched in the United States last month. The two services I keep hearing about are Spotify and Rdio. Since the idea of unlimited streaming music appeals to me I decided to try an experiment; for one month I paid for Rdio and Spotify premium accounts ($10/month each) allowing me to listen to their entire catalogs on my desktop as well as on my mobile device, in my case an iPhone 4.
I spent two weeks in Los Angeles and two weeks in New York City using the desktop and mobile applications really working these two services as hard as I would work iTunes and my iPod (on iPhone). I have stated that iTunes is the killer app that keeps me in the Apple ecosystem, but as streaming services gain more popularity and have larger collections that might not be true forever.
(You can click on most images for a larger view. This is particularly helpful when I am talking about the mobile applications. -C)
While both services provide all-you-can-eat streaming music the overall concepts of Rdio and Spotify are different. Spotify aims to blur the line between what you are storing locally on your computer and what is streaming over the internet. Spotify will bring all of your local music into its application and from there you can create playlists that include your music as well as anything available on their service. It’s almost like a music library enhancement.
Rdio scans your locally stored music and adds whatever it can to your streaming “collection”. Once your scan is done you can hunt down more music to add to your collection, or remove things that you don’t want. You can always listen to things outside of your collection, but the collection is kind of like your library, it is the stuff that is immediately at your fingertips, and probably the stuff you want to listen too.
You manage a lot of Rdio with the + button. Clicking it allows you to add something to your collection, share with friends, sync to mobile, listen later, add to a playlist… it does everything. The + changes to a check when it moves into your collection and shows a phone icon if it’s synced to mobile. It’s easy to use and very useful.
Cory Allen poses a really interesting question. In more recent years we have seen an onslaught of remakes. The same way the Tony’s give an award for best Revival (read: remake) should the Academy give awards for a remade film? They are already giving an wards for an adapted screenplay, why not a remade film? As someone who went to film school my gut reaction is to say, ‘absolutely not, this is a recent phenomenon and it shouldn’t be rewarded.’ Turns out, it’s not that recent of a phenomenon.
The art of the remake is a storied tradition that dates all the way back to 1904. That’s right, the 11 minute 1903 film The Great Train Robbery was remade one year later with the same title. Once the remake was born, there was really no stopping it. You can see remakes all throughout film history (Billy the Kid -1930/1941, Forbidden Fruit - 1915/1921 [both by Cecil B DeMille], King Kong - 1933/1977/2005, M 1931/1951).
The reason why films are remade today is the same today as it was in 1904. Brand recognition and progression in technology. Peter Jackson wouldn’t have made a third version of King Kong if he didn’t think he could do it better than the claymation version before it. If technology can help tell a story better then why not remake it? And if we are going to remake stories shouldn’t we try and actually make them better?
Foreign films fall victim to the Hollywood remake all the time, turned out only a year or two after the original, with the thought that American audiences will not see a film if they have to read subtitles. Let The Right One In and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo spring to mind immediately but there are others.
There are tons of remakes that are terrible, and shouldn’t have been made because the original is perfect (Taking of Pelham One Two Three, 12 Angry Men, Psycho…), but there are also films that have really great core ideas, but were either executed poorly or were too far ahead of their time and needed technology to catch up. They Live has been my go to candidate for a remake since I first saw it in 2003. The film’s concept is amazing, but it was just poorly executed (sorry Mr. Carpenter…). There is word of a remake happening, and I’m super excited about it.
Remakes are not all bad. Without remakes we wouldn’t have The Money Pit, Heat, 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead, 2001 version of Ocean’s 11, or Jeff Goldblum as The Fly. Even, Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a remake, the original came out only 4 years earlier.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the similarities to the videogame industry. This console generation has given birth to the “HD Remake.” We have seen remakes for classic games like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, God of War 1 and 2, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, Bionic Commando, Halo: Combat Evolved, Golden Eye, (and one could argue the 3DS version of) Ocarina of Time… and that’s just off the top of my head. These games look better and play smoother than their originals. They don’t have the history behind them, that gritty feel of yesteryear but is that a bad thing?
Back to the topic at hand though. I think the quality of remakes would actually go up if there was an award for them. People might actually try harder if they knew they could receive an award. In a time where the Oscars are nominating 10 films for best picture just to get more viewers, why the hell not include something that will actually make a better movie. Remakes are going to happen, embrace it.
[EDIT: I misspelled Tarkovsky. It’s fixed now.]
People often ask me ‘what podcasts do you listen to’. My first answer is always One Life Left. One Life Left is a videogame radio show in London hosted by Ste Curran, Simon Biron and Ann Scantlebury. They broadcast live for one hour every Monday at 7pm GMT on the radio as well as the internet. If you cannot listen live you can grab their podcast (iTunes and RSS). What I absolutely love about the show is that they are a radio show. They have weekly features, guests, and play chiptune music, all in 60 minutes. There is no other podcast like it, as far as I know.
Last week was One Life Left’s 150th episode. Congratulations team!
I started listening sometime in 2006 and they have never ceased to impress me. The team has done amazing things to keep their listeners involved and engaged. They have a christmas party every year and invite all the listeners, they attend festivals like Nottingham Game City, they have contests on the show, and are open to listener submissions for segments. For the past two weeks they have been broadcasting their show while doing a Google+ hang out, which is probably the best use of Google+ I can think of.
They’re the best. If you aren’t already a listener I hope everyone will give them a shot. 7/10.
[EDIT: Tumblr problems like whoa on this one… had to restore links, image and formatting…]