Jul 25 2016

Verification

Adel Gabot

5:08PM

Dammit. What does it take?

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Jul 13 2016

Pokemon Go away!

Adel Gabot

 

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8:03AM

I keep a regular bookmarked list of things I check up on everyday on my browser, and this morning I went to the Time Tech website to see what’s new.

Of the top seven headlines on the front page of Time, one was a speculative article (again) on the look of the forthcoming iPhone 7—and the other six were all about one thing: Pokemon Go.

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I was shocked to see how far the game app had come in so short a time. It’s crazy. The game has taken the whole world by storm, and millions of people are actively, furiously playing it.

To those living under a rock, Pokemon Go‘s basically an augmented reality (AR) game on your mobile device where you search for and capture Pokemon—those little weird, cute creatures that your kids (and some adults) have been obsessing over since they first came out years ago. You do it by using your live camera to look for them in your little piece of the world, wandering about in random places all over the city.

To do so, you have to get off your ass and physically go around and look for them. At least I think that’s how it’s done. I’ve haven’t downloaded it, and I don’t think I ever will. Horrid little thing.

Stephen Colbert made the comment that they’ve finally made an app you can’t play while sitting on the toilet. It’s so true. Millions of people are actually getting on their feet and wandering around looking for the damn things, and getting the most physical exercise they’ve probably had in a long time—and causing havoc.

Aside from the many safety issues and concerns the game has created, nothing is more worrying than that it’s putting some people in danger. They’re rushing across streets without looking, heedlessly going to dangerous areas of the city and entering private spaces and homes just because the app has denoted the place as a Pokemon “gym.” Stuff like that.

 

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Pokemon Go was just released last week on July 6 in the US, New Zealand and Australia, and an international rollout had to be staggered and delayed because the gigantic influx of new players was causing server issues. But despite not being as widely released as originally planned, it’s already generated US$14.04 million as of this date.

In fact, Nintendo, the creator of this monstrosity, has seen a 24% jump in stock price and a 34% increase in stock value just in the last couple of days. Pokemon Go has reached the top of the Top Free and Top Grossing ranks on the Apple App Store since it first came out, and the Google Play Store says the app has been installed 10 million times on Android.

The media, especially, has been going to town on this explosion of use, as seen in the Time example above. TV, cable, print, online—it’s everywhere! The whole world has gone Pokemon crazy. And it’s going to grow crazier still, as the international rollout continues. Hollywood already has plans to make a Pokemon Go movie, for goodness’ sake!

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Actually, I’m pretty glad this is happening now, but purely as a proof of concept—that the world can actually go apeshit over something as inconsequential (for now, anyway) as an AR game. Developers should keep the Pokemon Go phenomenon in mind when making their apps in the future.

Because Pokemon Go isn’t a game; it’s a technology, and it’s a technology in its infancy. We still have way far to go. Pokemon Go is an AR game, but our phones and tablets aren’t really AR devices. Wait till we actually get AR devices in our hands and the technology matures, and we’ll see how this goes.

We would do well to tread carefully as this technology continually develops, and brings us worse things to think about and consider as we enter the virtual world of Ready Player One.

I really hope this fad dies down as quickly as it caught on.

For our sake.

 

 


Jul 1 2016

The Sony “Rolly”

Adel Gabot

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1:32PM

Saw an article on The Verge‘s Circuit Breaker gadget blog recently about the Sony Rolly. It was a look-back article, honoring and paying tribute to recent-but-quickly-rendered-obsolete tech. Nice. I have some experiece with the Rolly too.

Several years ago, I had a client who owned one and showed it off every chance he could get. He was obviously very proud he had one of the new-fangled toys, and he graciously lent me the thing for a week. I showed it off to all the people at my office in ABS-CBN, at the house, and to everyone I could.

Predating the Sphero Star Wars: The Force Awakens BB-8 by a good few years, the Rolly was a vanity project for Sony. It was pretty expensive back then at US$400, pretty rare—and pretty nice too.

It was essentially an egg-shaped wireless Bluetooth speaker that fit in the palm of your hand and had blinking lightbars (or light-rings) around it that changed colors on the fly or if you shook it really hard, two ends (or as Sony calls them, arms) that opened up and flapped like wings and rotating tracks that that moved together or in opposite directions and let it dance around intelligently to the music.

It had 2GB of flash memory and an accelerometer built-in. You synced it to your computer, tablet, phone or MP3 player via Bluetooth, and it would dance around on the floor or on the tabletop with many predetermined routines, with the ends flapping open and closed separately or together in time with the music, zooming and spinning around the room on the two tracks, as if it knew the song it was playing and was actually dancing to it specifically.

While it can dance to streaming music on the fly, it also has a “choreographer” program that can analyze the music tracks and create specific “motion” files for it to dance to. It can even play spoken word files which the arms would flap to and create the illusion that the device was actually talking. But it was much better at dancing.

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And that was all it did. As I said, a vanity project.

I really don’t know what purpose it served. I mean, who wanted a speaker that danced all over the room? It would be nice to watch for about fifteen minutes, but after that it got old real fast.

It’s been discontinued in most outlets, and you’d be lucky to find one in a store or website.

It’s since been superceded by Sphero and a few other companies who’ve created far better and more capable toys than the Sony Rolly, but if I find one of these at a discount store or website somewhere, I’d be sorely tempted to buy it, just for old time’s sake.

And that sums up my brief experience with the Rolly.


Jun 22 2016

“Stay tuned for..”

Adel Gabot

BRAIN-DEAD-PILOT-list

4:20PM

I was watching the latest episode of Braindead from CBS (delayed) on my system yesterday and when it ended, Mary Elizabeth Winstead says in a voice-over, “Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.”

And… nothing.

The end credits roll, but there are no scenes from the next episode.

And there never are. Not in Braindead, nor in any other show that I download and watch.

It’s always like that. A voice-over tells us to expect scenes from the next episode, and it’s never there. It’s like a rule instituted by generations of uploaders. Never include the scenes from the next episode. Never include them. And there are the generations of downloaders who’ve learned to live with it.

I ask the uploading guys—why the hell not?

Why not simply include the damn preview? It’s no skin off your nose. It just adds another extra, what, thirty seconds to the file? What’s the harm in that?

I mean, everyone’s got a right to see the scenes from the next episode, right? It heightens expectations for the next week’s download, for one thing. In my book, that’s always welcome.

Ay, nako.

Wala lang. Just ranting. Walang magawa.

Now back to regular programming.


Mar 21 2016

Ten years

Adel Gabot

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4:22PM

I just got a thank you email from Twitter, thanking me for my long participation in their success, which is their way of also boasting of their tenth year anniversary.

Yeah, sure.

Although I can’t believe it’s actually been ten years of Twitter.

I got on the boat pretty early, and I’m proud to say my serial number is in the first million—somewhere in the lower 800,000.

I would’ve gotten my tweet count in the lower ten thousands, but the stroke I had in 2009 killed that plan, and I lost the drive to tweet diligently. In fact, I quit for a few years after, and just got back into it fairly recently.

As it stands now, my tweet count is just in the 8000s for those ten years Twitter’s been around.

I really should tweet more often.