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Grape Nuts versus Grape Nut Flakes (

In my big ranting post about Steve Jobs’ death, I managed to briefly mention some of the Apple-related sites I read and why I enjoy reading them. I think I might have left Marco Arment out of the list however, and now’s as good a time as any to rectify that.

It’s not that the Flakes taste bad — rather, like Ocean’s Twelve, they’re bland, unmemorable, and a complete waste of a cereal-eating opportunity.

I’m not there with Marco on his love for coffee, but I’m certainly there for this. Breakfast cereals are my favourite class of food, easily. It was a sick irony that by the time I took my trip to the US - ground zero for some fucking crazy breakfast cereals - I have had to all but give up on the stuff.

The X is for Shitstorm (Broken link)

Apple released Final Cut Pro X late last night. I grabbed it, and I’m eagerly awaiting an opportunity to give it a real go. I’m not quite ready to slot it into my workflow, which is a nice coincidence since FCPX isn’t quite ready to be slot into any workflow just yet.

Steve Martin (not that one) gives an excellent overview of the new app over at The changes look intriguing, but it’s what has been left out so far that gives me pause:

  • No EDL or XML export. Apple says a new XML solution is forthcoming, which is good, but leaves the current product with apparently no way to send a project on for online editing.

  • No OMF export. Sound seems to be deadended as well. Without this I can’t send a project into Pro Tools for someone with half a clue about sound to work on it.

  • Weak tape capture support. FCPX is all about tapeless media, which is great, but I’ll still be working with tape for a long time.

As far as the app’s editing capabilities go, I think calling it iMovie Pro is unfair. Without at least the first two bullet points however, it becomes impossible to slot FCPX in its current form into my workflow. That’s a big problem.

ABC cancels Chaser wedding coverage (

The ABC has been forced to cancel The Chaser’s coverage of the royal wedding, not because it will undoubtedly be an embarrassment to comedy, but because they’ve just received word that satirical coverage is not allowed if they want to use the live footage from the event.

In it’s place, I have a programming suggestion for the ABC.

Goodbye Mistress (

Elisabeth Sladen, aka Sarah Jane Smith from Doctor Who and it’s spinoffs, has died age 63. A very sad day.

Jon Bon Whovi? Har Har (

So on an interview behind the Sunday Times paywall, recording haircut Jon Bon Jovi has claimed that Steve Jobs is “personally responsible for killing the music business.” It seems like an odd choice of words, since what he seems to be pining for is the non-business-related ephemera of the music experience.

It’s not a new complaint, but I still think it’s a stupid one. The transition of music from albums to digital singles happened well before the iTunes Music Store came along in 2003. What Apple and its ilk reminded a clueless music industry of was that customer service matters. These digital download vendors made it easier and more convenient to purchase music legitimately than to bother with the less-than-legitimate services. People responded, and the music business got paid.

This is a bothersome argument because it comes up again and again as old media empires fail to adapt to new realities, and decide to screw their customers instead.

And yeah, some of the phrases I used in this post left me a little ill.

Fiddling With the App Store (

It took me a while to find a relevant article on a site that didn’t make me feel unclean. Gamasutra is okay, or it was when I read it ten years ago. Perhaps I’m thinking of something else. Anyway, Apple have made it a little harder for kids to spend all their parents’ damn money on stupid in-app purchases.

Of course all the things I get via IAP is awesome and valuable. Actually I believe I’ve only bought one thing, and that was the “remove ads” option in PlainText. I’ve just had to restore my iPod and thanks to a small amount of stupidity on my part, the backup was not properly restored. So now my copy of PlainText is showing the IAP option as unpurchased. According to this page here, I can just ‘purchase’ it again and it will be restored for no charge.

When they finally get around to revamping the App Store, I hope they make the experience of re-downloading an item a little less blind. It’s no fun having no idea whether I’m plunking another $6 down on something I’ve already paid for.

Submarine (

Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut. I need to get out to the cinema more often. Of course, I can’t find an Australian release date for this.

Black, Friday (

A music video gets passed around the Internet, and even I’m not so removed that it doesn’t eventually land in my browser. To be honest, I’m stuck listening to songs 10 to 30 years or older, and my hearing is crap anyway. I struggle to see the difference between Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber. There is a difference however, and it is well explained here.

I’d feel sorry for these kids delusions, except that they’re set for life, and people still seem to take Paris Hilton seriously, so what the hell do I know of other people.

Something something democracy.

iPad 2 (

I need to keep reminding myself that when it comes to video cameras, “HD” is a ridiculously low threshold. The new model iPad seems to carry the same two cameras that the iPod Touch does, rather than the higher quality units found on the iPhone. I know on the Touch, this seems to limit some apps. Google Googles for instance will not work on the Touch camera. I wonder if this will remain the case. Like the Touch, the iPad’s front-facing camera seems incapable of taking a photo that will natively fill the screen. Interesting.

Other than that, a decent update. A little bit lighter, quite a bit thinner, with the same tapered features of the 4th iPod Touch. Judging my the photos this means the same angled buttons along the side, instead of the flat buttons of the previous model. I’ve found these more difficult to push on the Touch, instead tending to use two fingers to pinch them - one finger on the button, one on the front of the device.

The Smart Cover looks pretty interesting, reminiscent of Amazon’s Kindle case. I’m curious how well the magnets will hold when slipped in and out of a bag however, and whether I’d even be comfortable with something not covering the whole device. It does seem possible however for third-party manufacturers to leave room on the side for the case.

The other new accessory, the HDMI adapter supporting 1080p output, would seem to suggest that the next Apple TV will have no problems handling full HD.

Nothing on iOS 5, but an announcement of iMovie and Garageband for iPad. I think I’ll be sticking to Final Cut on a Mac Pro, but nice to see anyway.

Available to buy on March 25, but in the meantime Apple AU seems to have dropped the price on the existing models.

Famous Objects from Classic Movies (

Some of the movies aren’t exactly ‘classic’, but other than that this little game is what it says on the tin. Being easily bored however, I only got to around 22-10 before I quit.

The Nuisance of Free Speech (

Google recently updated their algorithm (again) in order to devalue content farms. This after Demand Media, shit-squeezers of eHow and Cracked, IPOd in January for $1.3bn. It remains to be seen just how effective this will actually be.

I’m a little curious though, after seeing the now Academy Award-winning Inside Job and the credit rating agencies defending their blatant corruption by claiming “free speech”. Just how long until one of these scummy SEO companies gets enough money together and thus enough political clout to take Google to court over one of these algorithm changes? I wonder if Google will have to pull the same defence in such a case.

Milky Way (

I’ve spent 99% of my life in suburban/metropolitan areas. I never get to see things like this in person.

Thinner (

For some unknowable reason there are people who don’t like the way Safari renders text. So for this latest iteration of the site I’ve gone and enabled this little custom css property so that what I see is what all the kilt-wearing arse-baring Freedom™-hugging Chrome users see as well. I suppose there are other browsers available.

Assisted Entropy (

I discovered that Just Cause 2 has 747s in it when I crashed a hovercraft onto a runway while said 747 taxied past. So I grappled onto the jet as it was taking off and hijacked it, ultimately using it as a missile to crash into a colonel to demoralise the army.

It’s a fun game.

Sitting Here, Slightly Baffled (

Adrian Hon, writing for The Telegraph:

There are just two simple reasons why app piracy isn’t common:

  1. Most apps are incredibly cheap
  2. Buying an app takes about 5 seconds

It’s not because Apple or its developers are sending armies of lawyers around the world chasing down pirates, or because governments have threatened to cut off pirates’ internet connections; it’s because people just can’t be bothered.

Back in 2005 I wrote an essay with a similar thesis for a class on globalisation in cinema. Specifically I was referring to the impact the (then) iTunes Music Store had had on the monetisation of digital music downloads. Sufficient quality and sufficient convenience are rewarded.

It’s a fair enough article, though I’m a bit baffled by the suggestion that nobody ‘knows how’ to pirate iOS apps. Perhaps the environment has changed but the last time I was running a jailbreak about a year ago, there was an entirely “free” equivalent of the App Store which (once set up) made downloading a pirated app almost as simple as downloading a legitimate one.

Using a Dual Shock 3 Controller on a PC (

I own this really nice Blu-ray player called the Playstation 3. For some reason it was bundled with something resembling the Xbox 360’s game controller. Since so many PC games now are varying degrees of console port, I’ve finally put this odd lump of plastic to use via some drivers.

This also breathes a little extra life into Freespace 2, since my old USB joystick decided to explore other lifestyle options.

James Bond in Transgender Shock (

In CASINO ROYALE, James Bond is the Bond girl. Look at the way they even show him emerging from the ocean like Ursula Andress. Sexual torture, too, if less creepy-glam than being stripped and painted gold. Vesper Lynd is Bond: never not in control, never without a plan, seducing to further her goals. She has to die so Bond can become her.

Sadly, this is Warren Ellis’s entire observation, but it is an intriguing one. More of Ellis’s thoughts on Bond can be found here, though this predates the Daniel Craig regeneration.

I’ve recently been watching the complete series, starting with Dr. No of course. I’ve made it as far as Her Majesty’s Secret Service so far, though I haven’t finished that one yet because it’s pretty dull and Lazenby reminds me too much of Larry Laffer. I’m trying not to pre-judge, but I worry the Moore years are going to feel as long as they were. I mean c’mon, he’s Alan Partridge’s favourite Bond.

Blow chokes on croissant (

Jonathan Blow, developer of Braid, discusses his views on “social games”, i.e. Farmville and the like. He doesn’t much like them.

Designers know what they are doing. They know when they show up in the office - “My goal is to degrade the player’s quality of life”. They probably won’t think about that exact phrase. But [will think], “My goal is to get people to think about my game and to put more money into my game and get other friends to play my game to the exclusion of all other games and all other things that they might do with their free time.” That is the job description of those designers. And that’s evil. It’s not about giving people anything. It’s about taking from people.

His argument is, I believe, well considered and well reasoned. I think it applies to a ton of the crap that shows up on the iTunes Store’s top 50 list, wherein the games are little more than storefronts to the in-app purchases.

Blow also discusses his latest game, The Witness, and its adventure influences.

Square-Enix Collection (

Steam are having a week-long sale on Square-Enix games, including the complete collection for US$75. Today’s discount is Just Cause 2 (a stupid, fun game) for US$7.50.