THE BLOG

28
Jan

My 2¢ on the iPad, for what it’s worth

Unsurprisingly, there’s been a lot of talk about the iPad since its announcement yesterday, the majority of which seems to be very negative. I probably won’t buy an iPad (yet…), because I don’t think the iPad is aimed at me. Infact, it’s probably not aimed at the majority of people who have been slamming it. I do, however, know the perfect customer for it: my mum.

My mum has a Windows-based netbook, which she keeps in the lounge so she can check her emails, eBay, Facebook (or whatever social network she’s keeping tabs on me with this week) and no doubt some other sites she frequents. She loves pictures, she takes crap loads, and shows them to everyone. She also reads A LOT; she’ll get through a few books a week.

Now, although she’s computer literate, she doesn’t want to be worrying about it too much. Infact, not long ago I spent a day removing a virus from her netbook. She’s also not getting any younger, and although the netbook is good for portability, the screen size and resolution isn’t the best for her eyes. It’s these sort of headaches she doesn’t want from a computer. She doesn’t want to be thinking or worrying about using it, she just wants to use it. Enter the iPad – right? She’s the perfect person for the it.

As far as I can see, the iPad is the computer for people who don’t want to worry about computing (at least, not all the time). The market exists, I’m just not in it.

Update: My mum rang me last night to tell me how tempted she was by the iPad, without me even mentioning it to her. Admittedly she decided it’s too expensive at the moment to replace her netbook (which she’s only had less than a year anyway), but when the time comes she will most likely be getting one.

23
Jan

Fretless

Just a quick link to a project of mine I’m currently working on. Watch this space.

http://www.fretlesshq.com

12
Jan

Advertising, the Future of Gaming and Pro Evo

Before I start, I want to make clear that my knowledge of the gaming industry is pretty poor, but I think the assumptions I’ve used in this post are fairly sensible. If not, please let me know!

I want to talk very briefly about Pro Evolution Soccer, a game which I and many others have bought and enjoy playing. I’m sure this game cost a lot of money to develop – most games do. Traditionally, of course, this cost has been recouped by selling high volumes of games at a price which is around the standard for that console. So, for example, I generally expect to pay between £35-40 for a game for the PlayStation 3. This model has been around for a long time, and I’m assuming it works, since the game industry has managed to continue to thrive.

Pro Evolution Soccer appears to be bucking this trend. I don’t know whether or not it is the first, but the game has a hell of a lot of advertising in it. The boards on the side of the pitch change with adverts (for example, we have seen ones relating to upcoming games which are to be shown on ESPN), and on the pause menu there is often a small advert in the top right of the screen (I can understand advertising on the boards, but on the menu?). I can’t be sure, but I think the sponsors on the team shirts change as well (this is an assumption based on seeing a foreign team with a British non-multinational logo on their strip). There may well be other, more subtle advertising that I’m missing.

Don’t get me wrong, this is fine. We’ve learnt to ignore advertising online, we can learn to ignore it on the PlayStation as well. What does annoy me, however, is that this is obviously a second revenue stream for the developers/production house. I’ve already paid £40 for the privilege of playing the game, and as I have said, traditionally this should be enough to keep the game going through to the next version. Had the game been set at a much lower price point, and it was obvious that the advertising was there to ensure the survival of the company, then I wouldn’t mind so much, but since it was priced at the regular level, it seems that the advertising revenue is just a nice added bonus. To me, it seems a bit odd to charge full price for a product, and then make more money by selling advertising space in that product – though it could obviously be a very lucrative model.

Is this the future of gaming? Will we see more and more advertising within games? If we do, are the prices of games going to come down to reflect the reduced need for income from direct sales? Only time will tell.

09
Jan

Return to Forever

My housemate and I have just watched Return to Forever: Returns, which he bought me for Christmas. We got into RTF late last year after I discovered Romantic Warrior in my music collection. I thought I’d take a moment to express how incredibly amazing these guys are. The music ranges from the sublime to the mental, and all the while it’s so incredibly complicated and well executed that us mere mortals have no chance. It’s things like this that make me wish I’d spent longer learning guitar properly (why oh why did I choose Computer Science?!).

Off the back of this I’ve ordered Al Di Meola – A Guide to Chords, Scales and Arpeggios, which, I’m hoping, is likely to become my musical bible.

Here’s a clip from the DVD of them performing The Dual of the Jester and the Tyrant. Enjoy!

08
Jan

Business Cards

A friend pointed me to this page today, which has some really awesome business card designs on it. I thought I’d choose a few of my favourites to post here.