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Chile: Everything in one Country

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Posted by Shawn on July 28, 2009

Not sure how to classify this one, so let's stick it under 'reviews.' A critique, if you will.

As I was on the plane traveling to San Diego for Comic-Con this year, I took a magazine out of the seat pocket in front of me and started rifling through it. After a few pages I was presented with an advertisement so amazing that I had to save the magazine, bring it home, and scan it for all to see. Check it out:

Everything in one Country

It's an advertisement for tourism in Chile. The presentation is average, but it's the content that stands out. The tagline is 'everything in one country.' With such a bold statement, the pictures that follow must surely demonstrate this. Let's take a look.

First up, we have a man talking on a cell phone and using a laptop. With the stock nature of this image I think we can see where this picture set is going. But ok, if I go to Chile, I suppose I can rest assured that I will have internet and phone access. Not my first concern for vacation purposes, but it would be for the tech-savvy business types. I wont deduct too many points for this one, we've got five more pictures to make up for it

To the right we have an inside view of an air traffic control tower. That's right, Chile has an airport. Airports are necessary, yes, but this advertisement is located in an airline tourism magazine- airport presence is kind of assumed. My interest in Chile is already waning. What's next, evidence of cars?

No, satellites. In the ever changing and constantly evolving business world, we need to be reminded of the presence of satellite technology. Big ones even. And lots of them. For a second I was afraid that Chile's air traffic control system operated through an elaborate system of smoke signals.

Next to the satellites, consuming the largest area of any picture on the page, we get a glimpse at Chile's renowned cargo bay and boat yard. Honestly, these pictures are starting to baffle me. In the event of airport difficulties I suppose I can opt to sail my frigate down.

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Posted to: Reviews

Flash CS4: A cursory review

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Posted by Shawn on June 10, 2009

I just got around to upgrading to the CS4 Production suite recently, which of course includes the latest in the flash series. It's actually the only application I've installed from CS4 so far, I'm waiting till I get a new computer to bother with installing everything else. CS3 will do for now. I really wasn't planning on upgrading at all until CS5 or later, but CS4 gives me two very desirable features that I'll get into later.

First up, the interface and layout. It's.. well.. more rigid. Whereas CS3 had curves and padding, this one is more about straight lines and making use of space. It took a few moments to get the panels arranged the way I liked, and then I noticed it- the properties panel has changed drastically. Introduced in Flash MX/6, the properties panel has been one of my favorite additions to the interface and now they've gone and tampered with it. All it really comes down to is that the properties panel is now meant to be docked vertically, not horizontally. That's great, but I don't use a widescreen monitor. So now that I'm forced to dock it with my library and other panels on the right side, it increases the overall dock width and gives me less viewable stage width. More importantly though I'm accustomed to looking down at the bottom panel to see the properties, and now it's not there. The properties panel used to serve as a 'snapshot' (in my opinion) for the current active object on the screen. Additional info for that object was hidden away in the tabs, like filters for example. Now, all of this information is present at once, via little drop down menus. The stacking of these menus (even collapsed) takes up a lot of space, hence the change to a vertical panel. The problem is that it's filled with information I don't need or care about. When I glance at a movieclip I usually just need to know its instance name and/or screen position, not its filters, blend mode, color effects, or "3d position" (that's a new one).

My other main gripe with the new layout is that the open filename tabs are attached to the stage now, not the top of the screen. In another attempt to mess with my preferred layout, CS4 puts the timeline at the bottom of the screen. I can put it back up top the way I like it, but since the filenames are included with the stage they now get sandwiched in the upper middle of the screen. Now when I go to quickly select another tab's file I find myself entering the timeline's motion editor instead of a new file (another new thing, I'm getting there I promise).

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Posted to: Flash/Actionscript, Reviews

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero

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Posted by Shawn on December 17, 2007

Guitar Hero and Rock Band are hot topics these days, and for good reason. I even recently created a Guitar Hero parody. The original explosive hit, "Guitar Hero" turned thousands on to the rhythm game genre. Guitar Hero II followed close, but then something happened. The talent behind the Guitar Hero series was too powerful to stay as one entity- Activision bought RedOctane, and MTV bought Harmonix. RedOctane went on to produce number three of the Guitar Hero franchise, while Harmonix took the idea a step further with a new game, "Rock Band."

I own both, I've played both, and I felt the need to weigh in on the matter. I've broken it down by category below, so let's get this underway:

Guitar Hero vs Rock Band

Set List
Arguably the most important aspect (other than gameplay itself) of a rhythm game. If the songs suck, it's not very fun to play. Guitar Hero III weighs in with 71 tracks (29 bonus) while Rock Band gives us 58 tracks (13 bonus). GHIII has more songs but a higher ratio of bonus songs, while Rock Band has a few more "known" songs. A majority of the tracks from both games are based on the original masters, a nice change from GHII. As for the songs themselves, preference is completely a personal choice. For me, I like RB's list a lot better. They both cover the same genres and have overlapping artists (and even a few tracks) but RB seemed to always go with the better choices in my opinion. The classics found in GHIII are good songs, but they're the ones I'm tired of hearing on the radio- Talk Dirty to Me, School's Out, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Welcome to the Jungle, and so on. RB has the classics that I still want to hear, like Don't Fear the Reaper, Tom Sawyer, Wanted Dead or Alive, and others. I also found a lot of the newer tracks on RB more enjoyable, while ones on GHIII I hadn't heard of or didn't like very much. RB has one big thing going for it though: when you play songs in multiplayer, you come across songs that might not strike you as good, but your friends really like them. And as such, you end up liking them too. While with GH, you're usually playing by yourself, or with less people.
Winner: Rock Band

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Posted to: Reviews

Top Dog

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Posted by Shawn on August 22, 2007

Top Dog is a 1995 movie starring Chuck Norris. A movie in the sense that thousands of images are flashed at us, creating the illusion of movement. Because by the film industry's standards, Top Dog is less cohesive than a child's crudely drawn animation flipbook.

Licensed for action Licensed for action

Top Dog doesn't necessarily fail because of what it does, it fails because of what it tries to do. Top Dog is labeled as a 'family-friendly action thriller.' The plot is contrived, the action sequences are ridiculously unnecessary, and the subject matter is as far from family-friendly as you can get. Chuck and his dog Reno must undercover and bust an underground Neo-Nazi hate movement, and stop them from killing in the name of white power. If that wasn't bad enough, we often see the bad guys end up comedic 'home alone' style situations, whereas the good guys usually suffer bullet wounds to the face. What?

I know this is a "review", but I'm going to get pretty in-depth here, so beware of spoilers. Sorry, there's just too much that needs to be discussed when it comes to this cinematic train-wreck. Let's be honest, you weren't going to watch this movie anyway.

After the intro credits, Top Dog begins with an engaging rescue sequence. An apartment is on fire, and there's a baby trapped inside! The local firefighters must not have received training on such a far-fetched scenario, so it's up to Top Dog (Reno) to save the day. As Reno runs through the building, you'll notice that the perils he faces are all arranged in a 'dog obstacle course' fashion. No wonder the firefighers couldn't do it. As Reno races through the house we hear stock sound effects of a baby crying, because let's be honest- With the roaring fire and smoke, you wouldn't be hearing a damn thing. Oh, but Reno does. Soon enough Reno emerges from the house with what looks like a bag of coal wrapped in a towel. It's the baby of course, but they never actually try to explain how Reno managed to get the baby out of its crib, wrap it in a blanket, and safely escort it out of the house.

Just tricky enough for a movie dog! Just tricky enough for a movie dog!
No explanation needed No explanation needed
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Posted to: Rants, Reviews