Say Hello to Google TV

Logitech dropped the Revue yesterday, the first offering in what is sure to be a bevy of devices designed to bring the Web into your living room.  So with all the wonderful things your phone can do on a 3.5 inch screen in your pocket, why wouldn’t you want the same kind of customized content being fed to you on your big screen while you watch a related show? Well maybe because you’re giving Big Brother G a bunch of information about yourself in the process.  Every time a user fires up Google’s laser-like search functions he makes an implicit choice to pay a toll in the new currency of the Internet: personal information.  Don’t you forget it. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Consider the following video from 2009:

While your privacy-muscle may twitch when listening to CEO Eric Schmidt describe his vision for Smart-TVs, the fact of the matter is that no one’s making you use their services (which are free, and generally work really REALLY well).  And there’s no doubt that Page, Brin, and Schmidt will enhance the TV experience one way or another.

Netflix streaming will be accesible via an Android-based app provided for Google TV—which seems to indicate an Android phone app is likely on its way. It’s up to apps to make themselves open to Google TV’s universal search so results can show up. Negotiations between Google and Hulu are ongoing, meaning we could see Hulu Plus show up sometime soon.

Other apps will be available from a Google TV market—a silo within the Android Marketplace—which reps say should launch sometime next year, or “as fast as possible.” An SDK, based on the existing Android SDK, will be made available, with a Google rep saying devs “will be able to reuse a lot of code.” The same rep said a separate search algorithm—”Google TV Search”—draws from a wide body of content, including live television, guide listings, and, when paired with Dish, video stored on your DVR. The TV search will also pull in what’s on the web.

Gizmodo

So far, my own HTPC (a Windows PC plugged into my TV) has been good, not great.  But Logitech is a company that specializes in controllers and interfaces, so I’m optimistic that this could put a better spin on the experience.  From the viewpoint of a relatively educated consumer, it seems as though the Big G may wind up with more to offer Google TV customers than Apple can through iTunes.  Since 98% of Google’s revenue comes from search, they are not in the business of controlling or distributing content, just serving it to you as quickly and accurately as possible.  They want you to be able to find whatever the hell you want (and generally for free), because, frankly, they want to know what the hell it is you want so they can serve it to you in the form of targeted ads.  Apple on the other hand, wants to control every aspect of its content-distribution ecosystem, and make micro-transactions on each individual episode you “rent” (read: play on demand).  That’s great for Steve, but might end up limiting how much content they’re able to get on board.  Either way, we’re watching the future of Television unfold.  You might want to stay tuned.

Anderson Cooper to Michigan Assistant AG: There’s Something a Little Queer About Your Behavior

Before everyone gets their panties in a twist, this guy has every reason to campaign against, and not-so-covertly stalk University of Michigan Student Council President Chris Armstrong.  The late-night selection at the cafeteria is a COMPLETE waste of time, and anyone who actually wants to eat that pizza is quite obviously a racist Nazi liar.

But seriously, am I wrong or is this guy 100% giving handjobs in the confessional booth every Sunday before dusting off his finest “GOD HATES FAGS” sign and heading to Armstrong’s dorm room? Throughout this whole interview I was just waiting for Anderson to give this poor bastard some advice and say, “If you like him, tell him you like him!”

How is it possible that I’m a worthless nobody and this guy is among the top 10 most important decision-makers in the great state of Michigan?  Dios mio, mang.  Hard to imagine he can even get any work done from inside that closet.

P.S. Just want to remind everyone that just because you have a right to say what you want doesn’t mean you’re not being a complete and total jackass.  In fact, if you ever have to point out to someone else that you’re within your rights, chances are 95% that’s exactly what’s going on.  I can just see this guy getting inches from Chris Armstrong’s face going “I’m not touching you!”

Airball: EA Sports Decides to Spin-off NBA Jam After NBA Elite Demo Makes Gamers Physically Ill

So Peter Moore must read WG (not surprising).  It seems EA Sports has miraculously realized the idiocy of their plan to release NBA Jam, the game you are currently imagining being HELLA FUN as a one-time download with a fresh purchase of NBA Elite ’11, the “new” iteration of the basketball-simulation  schlock that’s been the cause of countless controller smashings over the last decade.  In case you missed it, you can read all about me bashing that “strategy” last month right here.  Anyway, It seems the Elite demo was so buggy and universally criticized [YOUTUBE] that EA head Peter Moore announced that the game would be indefinitely delayed.  Since NBA Jam is basically good-to-go (it has been around for 20 years), it will be released separately.

“Unfortunately, NBA Elite 11 is not yet ready and we have made a decision to delay next month’s launch,” Moore said, without specifying a new release date. “The decision to delay NBA ELITE was hard because the game has great promise. But ultimately we feel this is the right thing to do. We’ve been making steady progress on basketball for the past few years and it’s going to take extra time to make the game.”

NBA Jam, the arcade-style two-on-two game also due on Oct. 5, will still ship on that date for the Wii. The PS3 and Xbox 360 version was to have been included with a free download code in NBA Elite 11. Moore said that game will now be a standalone product that will arrive “in time for the holidays.” He did not indicate a price point or if this will be a physical retail release or digital download.

Kotaku

Let me humbly point out that the important thing in all of this isn’t that I said that bundling the two games together was a crappy ploy, doomed to fail because it hinges on the assumption that people will actually willfully spend $60 on the crap that NBA Elite ’11 would surely be.  And it’s not that I predicted that NBA Jam would be spun off and available as an XBLA/PSN download within 3 months of launch.  No, it’s not all about being right here at WG, folks.  Sometimes, it’s about being SO RIGHT that the head of EA Sports had to publicly acknowledge the shittiness of his product, and announce on his official blog that he’s going to switch on over to the WG strategy, a week before the damn thing was set to launch.  MUAAHAHAHA! Dude ought to be thankful that he’s got the luxury of living in the world of demos, Internet message boards, and wannabe savvy bloggers like yours truly, or he might have released this thing and forced virtual-LeBron James to take his talents down to a landfill in New Mexico.

Well, it’s a glorious day in for wannabe geniuses everywhere.  Just goes to show you: if you go around blowharding a couple of times a day and you cover enough topics, eventually you’ll be right about something.  It’s all a numbers game.

Can’t wait to be the first person to fork over $10 for NBA Jam this holiday season.  I deserve it.

Peter Moore’s Blog via Kotaku

Attention New York/Bean Towners: Freakonomics Movie Sneak-Preview Tonight, Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

The freaks over at table 9 Freakonomics have decided to run (what else) a little pricing experiment, and are offering a screening of the new movie with a pay-what-you-want pricing scheme.  So if you’re looking for a way to get rid of all those pesky pennies and nickels, why not put on your finest mustache and go to a quasi-intellectual screening to see some entertaining research projects coming to life?  There’s hookers! And crack!

Interstingly enough, co-author Stephen J. Dubner has already fuxed with some of the early data and found that 18 people have already paid the maximum of $100; about 10x the average ticket (the movie can be rented on iTunes for $9.99).  He hasn’t said how many people paid the minimum of $0.01, but being just one-thousandth of the average $10 ticket, it only takes 1 purchase at that price to offset 10 at $100 and bring that average right back down to earth.  And knowing that the price of movie tickets is actually high enough to prevent me from going to see films that I’m interested in, I’m going to have to take the obvious answer and go with the under $9.99/ticket for this experiment.

I am guessing most of the $100 payees thought they would be the only person to do so, and would therefore show up in the data set as the sole high-roller. Sorry, folks.

It does remind me of something that happened in college. I had a brand-new girlfriend, Sandy, and we were planning to go to the movies one night, along with a friend of hers. Sandy told me that if you showed up at the movie theater in town (this was Boone, N.C., with only one theater) with a $100 bill, they’d let you in free because they never had enough cash on hand to make change.

How could you not be attracted to such a clever girl?

So I went to the bank, drained my account and walked out with a crisp $100 bill. That night at the movie theater, the cashier took my $100 bill without a second glance, gave me three tickets and gave me back the change. Sandy smiled. I did too. She wasn’t clever in exactly the way I thought, but she was clever nonetheless.

Freakonomics Blog

Cities that can check the movie out tonight are Boston, Cambridge, Mass., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  No reason not to, people, YOU CAN PAY A PENNY.

Maybe the theater should try a pay-what-you-want plan for food.  That way I can enjoy a film without spending $30 on nachos.  Come on, you HAVE to get that extra cheese.

High Art from Low Art

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If Auto-Tune the News has taught us anything, it’s that consciously re-framing authentically unintentional funnies can often induce even more lulz than the original meterial.  Maury Povich being one of my all-time favorite TV shows, I couldn’t deprive you of this.  Kung Fu Hillbilly deserves to be shared with the world.

Quoth my boy Ken: There’s high art; there’s low art; and there’s high art made from low art.

You are wise, sir.

But What About Luigi? Happy Birthday to Mario

The Creation of Mario by DeviantArtist TsaoShin

So a lot of people are going around saying it was 25 years ago today that Shigeru Miyamoto created the Mustachioed One who’s helped sell over 200 million Nintendo games.  So I’m guessing the customary ritual is to eat mushrooms instead of cake? Anyway, they’re all crazy because Mario’s first appearance was in the arcade version of Donkey Kong, released in 1981.  He was then known as “Jumpman,” but come on, it’s the same guy.  What do you think, Billy Mitchell?

So it’s not really Mario’s birthday, per se, but the anniversary of Super Mario Bros. on the NES.  Now that I’ve set that record straight, enjoy some more delicious factoids about Brooklyn’s most beloved plumber.

  • He was originally named Mr. Video, as he was to be the face of video games.  He did, in fact, reach that level of superstardom, but ironically, Miyamoto-san has noted that had he not changed the name to Mario he likely would have “disappeared off the face of the Earth.”
  • He is largely credited with saving the video game industry, after the dark age of E.T.
  • He was originally a carpenter instead of a plumber, although he’s held several other jobs throughout his illustrious career including archaeologist, prescription-happy doctor, and ring referee.
  • Mario’s distinct look is less a fashion statement than a result of technological limitations.  The red/blue combo was used to contrast against black backgrounds.  The hat was slapped on to avoid having to deal with hair, and the mustache likewise in lieu of facial expressions.
  • Donkey Kong Jr., the follow up to the original Donkey Kong is the only game to have ever featured Mario (Jumpman) as a villain.
  • He’s made many cameos in other Nintendo properties, such as in a portrait in A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time in the Zelda series, and of course as the referee in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!.

Now, in his honor, please enjoy the soothing sounds of two 7 foot Tesla coils playing the Super Mario Bros. theme with sparks.  It’s crazy but it’s science.

Ridiculous Stop Motion is Ridiculous

How the hell do people have time to do this shit?  I’m an unemployed blogger and I can’t even fathom committing the kind of time it takes to put together a 6 minute stop motion video made entirely out of LEGOs.

Ninja Moped via Kotaku