Nerdology (n) - a study of people and objects that make the kingdom of nerd fun and exciting. From robots and lasers to incredible Star Trek gift sets.

You can e-mail me tips or ideas: nerdology project (at) gmail (dot) com

Taking 5
Round of Applause
Awful Nerd Shirts
Videogame Music Fridays
Video Features
Other Featured Articles

Where You Can Find Me

Currently Playing
Wolfenstein The New Order
Forza 4
Two Dots
Super Time Force

Posts tagged Taking 5

Taking 5: Tumblr Questions and iOS App

Over the weekend I was talking to Bryan from DCU about which movie was worse, Superman Returns or X-Men 3. He asked the question on his blog, checked the box that said “let people answer this” allowing all of his lovely readers to answer our question.


I wanted to reblog his article so my lovely readers could also answer. I started by reblogging on my phone but noticed, that when I hit, “POST” the text box didn’t show up. I quickly deleted that post.

I remembered that if I were writing a new post on my phone (which I do… more often than I’ll admit) there is no “let people answer this” check box. Tumblrs mobile offerings are all over the map. I’ve been extremely happy with the Tumblr mobile app, embedding video aside. Posting photos is great, links are easy to paste in, and I like the new mobile view, but asking a question and allowing people to answer has been missing for a while. It’s just another thing that makes a mobile internet experience inferior

I moved to a computer. I hit the reblog button. I didn’t get the option to “let people answer this,” but I didn’t expect to, since DCU already turned it on. When I hit “Post” the text box was missing. It’s just a bit of a let down. I was trying to ask our question to a broader audience and Tumblr wouldn’t let me. I don’t know if it’s a bug or if there’s an actual reason why Tumblr would people from reblogging questions while still allowing answers to show.

I reblogged it anyway. And if you’d like to answer you can see the post over at Daily DCU. We’re going to tally up the votes in another day or so.

So what I’m saying, Tumblr, is that I’m not upset, just disappointed. And If I were to start a Tumblr iOS feature request it would be to allow people to answer questions.

Taking 5: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - a terrible subtitle for a movie that doesn’t need one

The full title of Batman v Superman was just revealedBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s… it’s not good. Worse, it’s unnecessary. And after thinking about it for a few munutes, I felt like I had to write something. 

Let’s be very clear, I am excited to see Batman v Superman. I think Affleck is a really good choice for Batman and while I don’t really like Snyder’s movies I thought Man of Steel was OK and I’d like to see where he takes the franchise.

I also tend to criticize things that I love and care about. I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. So let’s fly backwards around the earth a few times and go back to 2011.

2011’s Captain America movie had a subtitle. It was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to receive one, and it’s the only movie in Phase One to have one. The full title, if you forgot, was Captain America: The First Avenger.

I used to read Captain America comics (up until he died in 2007… spoiler). Yes he was an Avenger, the leader of the Avengers for a while, but up until Marvel started making movies he was always second tier. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk, have always been the top tier for Marvel. They are the most popular, and have been for decades.  As much as I loved Iron Man he was always second tier. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and a hand full of X-men make up Marvel’s second tier.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful second tier of superheroes, but you can’t compare the popularity of Captain America to Spider-Man. Spider-Man is leaps and bounds (pun intended) more popular.

There’s a reason why X-men, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Fantastic Four movies were (licensed and) made before Marvel started making movies on their own. Those were the most popular characters, and therefor the easiest to get made. Unfortunately since Marvel licensed those characters they are unable to bring many of them into the fold of the MCU. So they had to turn to their second tier characters and make them more visible (again this was pretty easy, since their second tier is full of very good characters). 

By the time Captain America was released we had already seen the release of 2 Iron Man films, a Hulk (in the cinematic universe), and Thor. I think those characters are easier sells. Hulk is top tier after all and Iron Man, (well, aside from Robert Downy Jr crushing it,) the character has a dark side and is very human despite being a billionaire, genius, philanthropist. At this point everyone knew an Avengers movie was coming, it had been teased on the backs of four films already. But why would we, as an audience, want to see Captain America? What does a guy fighting Nazi’s have to do with The Avengers?

In this case, the subtitle “The First Avenger" was necessary. It told the audience, who probably only knew Cap on the surface, that his story was important to The Avengers (the movie and the team). It said, “he’s the first Avenger of many upcoming Avengers, and if you don’t see this movie you’re going to be lost.”

It’s a bit of a stretch, but it worked. Captain America was my least favorite of the MCU Phase 1 and I bet you could have seen the rest of Phase 1 and skipped Captain America and been fine. But the subtitle, as bad as it is, was necessary for Marvel to push their second tier hero out to the masses. 

That brings us to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman. Superman. They are the two most popular, most recognizable superheroes of all time. DC has already put their names side by side in the title, and they’ve linked their logos together. You know what this movie doesn’t need? A subtitle. And to make things worse, it’s a pretty terrible subtitle.

Granted, I’ve been paying attention so I know this movie will set up/lead into the Justice League movie. And I know DC is shooting them back to back so they’ll release in 2016 and 2017. But a subtitle like Dawn of Justice only works when setting up for something bigger / more popular than the first film.

The Avengers as a team are more popular than Captain America as a hero. But Batman and Superman, on their own, are more popular than the whole of the Justice League. DC doesn’t need the Justice League to sell people on a Batman and/or Superman movie the way Marvel needed The Avengers to sell people on Captain America.

There’s a reason why Batman and Superman are still around and popular after almost 90 years. They have the staying power and adaptability very few pop culture icons have gained. The Justice League may be made up of several heroes, but without Batman or Superman that movie doesn’t get made.

But here we are. A Man of Steel sequel that gives the Dark Knight top billing and a subtitle that weakens the actual title. We’ve got two more years of this, so glad we’re getting the rough stuff out of the way. See you guys at the theatre in 2016.

Taking 5: Xbox One and Backwards Compatibility

Earlier this month Xbox partner development lead Frank Savage let it slip that there are some plans for the Xbox One to get some backwards compatability. From Joystiq:

"There are [plans], but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately," said Savage, as reported by Kotaku Australia. “It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.”

So here’s the thing. I don’t really want (or expect) 60 dollar retail Xbox 360 games playable on my Xbox One. As… fanboy(?)  as it sounds, I do have a perfectly good Xbox 360 sitting right next to my Xbox One, and if I really have the need to play Halo 4 or The Club I can very easily turn it on. Actually, I was playing the BioShock Infinite DLC over the weekend.

What I DO want, and what I think would be really important to people, is if XBLA games were backwards compatible. XBLA games are a great way to augment the library on new hardware. I (like many people I know) purchased a lot of XBLA games. Most of which are highly repayable, and really helped define the last console generation.

I’ve actually been putting some really solid time into Geometry Wars 2 (it’s basically a perfect game. The game modes, the music, and the visual aesthetic compliment each other so well, no other game I’ve played is this well put together). It’s a great way to wind down after a 14 hour day on set (as my day job I’m a commercial producer) or after a couple of really intense games of Titanfall.

I guess what I’m saying is even if it’s “hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff” and doing so uses a lot of computing power, it shouldn’t affect most XBLA titles. So I hope we see some backwards compatibility on Xbox One and I hope I can migrate some of those titles over.


Taking 5: Nintendo

Earlier this month Nintendo drastically cut its sales forecasts for the fiscal year after they missed their targets during Christmas. This sent everyone with an internet connection into a tizzy suggesting that Nintendo could make buckets of money releasing iOS and Android games and that they should pull a Sega and exit the hardware market (Kotaku wraps it up nicely, thanks Kotaku).

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed this by saying, “It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Nintendo needs to be Nintendo. They need to make great hardware and make great games for that hardware.

So, while people are yelling for Nintendo to abandon their hardware business they’re not seeing that Nintendo has 10.1 billion dollars in the bank. That’s enough money to allow them to coast for decades.

It’s undeniable that Nintendo doesn’t have the marketshare or the mindshare they had at the start of the last generation. Their new console didn’t grab the hearts of the everyman the way the Wii did, but there is still a way for Nintendo to continue to be Nintendo and, perhaps, return to the top.

I have a four point plan:

1) Nintendo needs to pull a Microsoft and start paying developers to develop for their platform. It’s exactly what Microsoft is doing on Windows Phone, and slowly, it’s working.

Nintendo should be actively pursuing indy developers and spurring games creation for their devices. Have ‘dev days.’ Pay for companies of all sizes to release their titles on your platform. Create tools that make it easier to develop. Start earning back that developer trust.

2) Abandon the Wii U. Make it a “hobby” if you want (the way Apple made the Apple TV a hobby for a few years). Sony and Microsoft are using off the shelf parts for their new consoles. Use the same ones. Release modern hardware and price it the same as the PS4. Yes, you’re going to get called out for releasing a “me too” box. But you need to do that. If you can put an Wii / Wii U emulator (or really, all the hardware the way Sony installed an entire PS2 in the PS3 at launch) that’s a bonus. We’re expecting this console cycle to last 8-10 years again, so even if this was released in 2015 it would still sell for six years.

Read more

Taking 5: iOS 7 Music App And Wasted Space

When Apple updated iOS from 6 to 7 worlds like “modern” and “minimalist” were thrown around in every article I read, despite the fact that the way I use the phone is largely the same. I, personally, care more about usability than looks. Function over fashion.

The new style of iOS 7 doesn’t really inhibit my every day. It’s usually fine, and in many ways makes my life easier. But one implementation inhibits my day to day, the music app. 

Listening to music on my phone is very important to me. It was one of the main reasons I couldn’t commit to the Lumia 1020. As I’ve used iOS 7 I can’t help but notice the tremendous amount of wasted space in Music.


I usually sort my music by artist. In iOS 6 you can see 10 artists on a single page. In iOS 7 you only see 4. And there is a tremendous amount of space above and below the name of artist. I understand that Apple wanted to include more data, like album and song count, but even if you included that info, there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space.

You can almost fit the artist, album and song count three times in the designated area for one artist. 


I’m seeing less than half the number of artists I used to see. That means more scrolling, and less time listening to music. 

Album view isn’t much better. In iOS 6 you got album art, the name of the album and the artist. You also got 9 albums per screen. On iOS 7, still 4, still half the information in iOS 6.


Look, I don’t ask for much. And I actually do appreciate the additional data provided in Album and Artist view, but there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space. Shrink those albums down to the size they were on iOS 6, and really maximize the information you can present.


(Sorry for the lack of a full Album list. It was very difficult to get the screenshots of iOS 6 on a 4inch iPhone/iPod touch. Thank you to Katherine and Alex who sent me screenshots of from their iOS 6, devices.)

Taking 5: Vine / Instagram Video

Yesterday Facebook announced Instagram Video. And while I’ve only insta’d one gram, and I’ve only vine’d two Vines, I was really excited about it.

I was intrigued by Vine when it launched in January. But after trying several times to use it I had to put it away. It didn’t really click with me, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t hesitate to shoot a quick video. But I understand its impact. Vine ushered in a wave of gif and video apps that use hold-to-record, something that looks good on paper, but in practice it makes the phone harder to hold and leads directly to shakier video. It also used the whole screen as the record button, breaking ‘tap to focus,’ a fundamental paradigm of iOS… but I digress.

It was obvious to me that Vine wasn’t going to get better on its own. At the rate that Vine was gaining traction it was going to take a company as big as Facebook to create some real competition, and drive innovation. So when the rumors started earlier this week about video being added to Instagram, I started to get excited.

Having now used both, I’m a little bummed. I think Instagram video is better than Vine, but only marginally. It’s really just Vine 2.0. You can delete a clip if you don’t like it. It has tap to focus, and you press (and hold) somewhere else to record. It feels more like a camera (and, as you know, I’m an expert in iPhone cameras). You can add filters. And, yes, videos are longer (15 seconds in stead of 6 but that doesn’t matter to me).

It’s basically everything I would change in Vine, if someone approached me saying “here’s our app, help us clean up some things.” There isn’t really anything new that Instagram is bringing to the table.

Here’s my hangup. What I think makes Instagram great, and the thing that I think made it catch on, is sharing. Instagram allows you to take a photo, that you’ve taken anywhere, and and quickly share it across multiple platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram itself. It is the one app you can use to get your 1:1 photo everywhere. It made it easy to fire off some photos and then share them quickly. Sharing was the secret sauce to Instagram, not it’s ability to take a picture.

Read more

Taking 5: Star Wars


I love Star Wars. I have been watching since I was 5 years old. And like any upstanding, long time Star Wars fan I was upset about the newest round of changes to my favorite movies.

Then I went to dinner with my friend Jesse. We started talking about the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray and I mentioned that this would be the 5th version of the trilogy I have owned. Each time I have purchased it (save one - 2006 DVD) George Lucas has changed the films in some way.

It has gotten to the point where there is very little record of the original films. I’d bet that most people probably own either the 1997 VHS version or the 2004 DVD version.  Neither of which contain the version I watched, on repeat, as a child. (the 2006 DVD release contains both the 2004 SE and the theatrical releases but it was never sold as a trilogy so it didn’t sell nearly as many copies)

In the midst of talking about versions and changes Jesse said something that totally blew my mind.  “Lucas is this commercial director, who is inadvertently taking a hugely progressive and modern art take on these giant commercial movies. Star Wars is still in progress! It’s become modern art. It’s not about the movie anymore, the production is the art now.”


Read more

Taking 5: I Want To Like The Like Button

Just over a year ago I wrote an article titled “Taking 5: Facebook Platform”. It was right after Facebook launched their Like button and their universal log in.  Both services have been adopted at incredible rates, to the point where I find it odd if I don’t see the Like button on a page.  I have even updated Nerdology to add that functionality (you have to be on the actual site not on the dashboard to see it).

In that post I said “Facebook is targeting Digg. … The difference is audience.  400 million people are on Facebook so clicking Like on an article has the potential to reach more people." Since writing that Digg is more or less dead and I’ve been able to read a ton of articles and watch videos because my friends have clicked the LIKE button.  But there is still one problem. Volume.

Facebook is the largest agrogate I look at, and often times I see content on Facebook that I already saw in other places (Twitter, Tumblr, etc). I’m guilty of that as well. Everything posted to my personal Tumblr also gets kicked out to my Facebook page and Twitter.  It’s just how things work.  And because everyone is pushing their content to Facebook my feed is updated at an incredible rate and I just don’t have time to go back and sift through all the stuff I’ve already seen elsewhere to find the new stuff.

Facebook is missing a way to sort Likes.  And it’s inhibiting the growth of that service.

Last year I wrote, “If I am already checking Facebook it would be great to have a separate news feed to see what things people are liking outside of Facebook… don’t think that isn’t coming.  I also will expect (like digg) to be able to see a list of the most liked things of the day/week/month.” But we still don’t have that.

I want to like the Like button.  I do. It has such great potential but it’s been over a year now and while websites are adopting it en-masse Facebook isn’t supporting it.

Read more

Taking 5: PSN Down Indefinitely?

Last Wednesday the PlayStation Network went down. 7 day’s later it’s still down and information is scarce. This. Shouldn’t. Happen.

On Monday, the Japanese electronics giant said it is keeping its PlayStation Network videogame service offline indefinitely following a hacking attack it now says may have compromised user’s information.

To ensure the network’s integrity, Sony said it is currently rebuilding the service, which connects more than 75 million PlayStation customers over the Internet, letting them play videogames and chat together. “This is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said in a blog post. - Wall Street Journal

There are so many things to talk about from those two paragraphs alone, though it’s worth it to read the entire article.  First of all, if my personal information has been compromised why hasn’t Sony put out a press release about it? Why haven’t they emailed the users of their service to tell them that their information has been compromised? And why are there only 4 sentences about it on the Playstation Blog?

Read more

Taking 5: The New York Times

The New York Times showed just how misguided the print industry is when announced that it was switching to a pay digital subscription model starting March 28th.  Switching to a pay model isn’t the problem (I support paying for things) their tiered plans is the misguided part. Let’s take a look:

There are two glaring problems here. The first problem is that they have tiered access to the same content.  There is no more content on the tablet over your smart phone or actual computer. It’s the same, yet they have deemed that you should pay depending on what kind of device you are using.  I just don’t understand the logic here.  The New York Times has to decide what they think their content is worth and charge me that amount.

The second problem is mathematical. Let’s look at the break down:

  • 15 dollars for access to the website and smartphone app.
  • 20 dollars for the website and tablet app.
  • 35 dollars for website, smartphone app, and tablet app.

Based on the first two they have deemed that the tablet application is worth 5 dollars more than the smartphone application since we can use the website as a constant here. I don’t agree with it, but for the sake of this argument let’s pretend that tablet content is worth 5 dollars more. But look at that last bullet point, 35 dollars. It’s the sum of the 15 dollar package and the 20 dollar package.

15 + 20 = 35 dollars
(website + smartphone) + (website + tablet) = 35 dollars

You’re paying for the website twice if you want access on all your devices. And that problem is even worse than charging me different prices for the same content. Hopefully someone in accounting read their article and pointed this out, but somehow I doubt it.


Next page Something went wrong, try loading again? Loading more posts