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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the Wii

I had Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii on preorder since forever so when it arrived my first reaction was “oh c* i forgot to cancel this”. This game isn’t getting very favourable reviews on the other consoles so I was a bit uneasy about it. But I broke the wrapper and sloted it into the Wii anyway.

First of all, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is not a family game. It’s rated 16+ and despite there not being a lot of gore there’s quite spectacular violence and mayem. Also, if you’re a pure Jedi this isn’t the game for you. You play out the Dark Side and get to exercise a lot of your evil powers.
There was a lot of talk about the potential of this game on the Wii with the lightsabers and force gestures and so on. It’s not quite exactly what people dreamed about but it’s pretty close. It’s not pitch perfect but if you swash from left to right your character will do a left to right cut and so on. The only issue so far is there’s too many combos and it gets confusing to to a point.

In terms of story line, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii is pretty much what you expect from the Star Wars, the bad guys are Evil, have dark plots and backstab each other. The good bit about playing the Dark Side is don’t need to be very careful about who you kill. A lot of the time you’re just killing everybody just like a fliped out ninja.

So in the end, my recommendation for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii is a solid buy if you’re a Star Wars fan.

/games | edited on 2008/09/28 -- permalink, click to comment

T-Mobile G1

Unless you live in a dark damp cave somewhere you’re aware of the launch what mainstream press calls the t-mobile google phone. This really is three different things. The first, the hardware, is obvious and less important as it’s just the first of supposedly many models. It’s a fairly normal HTC phone, seems interesting except the brain fart called ExtUSB but I’m holding out my vote till I have a chance to try the keyboard. It noticeably lacks multitouch and video conf camera.

The second part is, it’s a T-Mo phone and it’s crippled like a T-Mo phone. No Bluetooth OBEX so no chance in hell of easy syncing for 3rd party apps, file transfer or internet sharing. Yes, teetering is only important in the boonies, cool kids dial up their HSDPA over bluetooth. I won’t even go into plans but the $399 no-contract option is well in line with market prices so no big surprises there.

The third part is Android itself. The interface is snappy enough and while quite a lot of people noticed the T-Mo promotional stuff is photoshoped together and shows a wildly inconsistent UI I believe the real live UI is better (from the emulator) and can be ironed out easily over the air. The G1 lacks multitouch and I’m not exactly sure how the UI will incorporate those events in the future (I’m really not an Android expert, I bet google knows how that will work). A well debated sore spot for Android is lack of business environment type functionality like good MSOffice format support and MSExchange connectors. There it’s being beat hard by iPhone and steamrolled (by sheer scale) by Nokia and Google says that bit will be filled by 3rd party. I’m not sure how well that will work (it will surely bring developers in) but I’m sure Google doesn’t really care about that. What Google cares about is moving people into googleplex and truth is if your company uses google hosted apps you get an Android and it just works. No MobileMe snafus, no Exchange weirdness, it just works on a level that didn’t exist before. The main feature it lacks is split personality, the possibility of having a corporate hosted account and a personal gmail account in parallel. Nothing more annoying than not being able to go off the clock.

A rather underplayed point is Android is the beginning of the end of traditional telcos and phone numbers. SMS is legacy, instant messaging is in. My guess is circuit switched calls are next.

But the punch line here is, the T-Mobile G1 is not the Google Phone. There will be no Google Phone on the US market in the foreseeable future simply cause the US market doesn’t allow for a really interesting iPhone or a truly open GPhone. If Google wants to do a real GPhone it has two paths. One is bringing it to Europe, setting up a production chain with HTC, setting up a retail channel with a large chain like PhoneHouse or a carrier like Vodafone and have a lot more control over the the final product. The other is using all that spectrum effort to good use and start it’s own mobile carrier (mvno, 700MHz, whatever) in the US.

/mobile | edited on 2008/09/24 -- permalink, click to comment

The Undercover Economist, review

The Undercover Economist is not an economy text book. It won’t teach you how to economize, nor how to balance double ledgers nor about how the fluctuations of oil interact with rice market in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a book about open markets and how they can make mostly everything better. Marxists, don’t stop reading.

The Undercover Economist tells how “free market” or “open market” are not the same as capitalism. It guides through how the USA managed to create an absolutely non market on some fields and how european socialism can create much more efective markets for the same services. It also recounts the last century of China’s history from an undercover economist point of view and discusses globalization, from sweatshop workers in Indonesia to coffe farmer in Vietnam, using the tools at hand.

In short, The Undercover Economist is a book about understanding market forces intuitively and in human terms instead of with formulas. That’s the hardest path for the professor and the easiest for the student, in this case Tim Harford comes through with straight AA.

Buy The Undercover Economist from Amazon.co.uk

/books | edited on 2008/09/21 -- permalink, click to comment

Google Chrome

Google came up with a really cool idea about a new WebKit based browser with process separation and suitable to run “webapps”. I’m non plussed cause I know all about Fluid.app and have that already.

The V8 javascript engine on the other end seems really interesting. On the even other hand, compiling javascript into machine code sounds scary. But it will probably be exceedingly fast so it might all be very interesting in killing off stuff like Air.

On a side note, Google decided, off the cuff, to release a desktop browser pointed at webapps based on the same render engine used on Android and shipping with Gears. All this happens within weeks of release of Android. This probably means a shift in focus in the whole google apps away from Firefox to Google Chrome and a shiny new interface to be released in sync with the Android 1.0 launch. Bad news for Mozilla. Maybe good news for Symbian. Who knows!

/tech | edited on 2008/09/02 -- permalink, click to comment
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