TECH2

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 25, 2013 0 comments

Most video games, especially the big-name, high-budget ones, are created by a huge team of people. Some are in charge of how the game plays, others design the levels, others still do the sound.

Before the nuts and bytes get tightened, most games start with an idea. To give the entire team a visual representation of what the "look" of the game is going to be, most companies hire a concept artist, just like movies do.

This concept art can give the game a direction, but on their own, they can be fascinating visual adventures in their own right. Here's some brilliant art from some recent games, and some info on the incredibly talented artists behind them.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 20, 2013 0 comments

I watch one sporting event each year (OK, two if you count the sportball game between the commercials of the "Superbowl"). This one event takes place in a tiny village in western France. An epic battle of men and machines, of endurance and stamina, of danger and skill, fought against weather, distance, and time.

I of course speak of le mythique, le légendaire, le grand Circuit de la Sarthe et les Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans.

Or simply,

Le Mans

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 07, 2013 0 comments

I've been travelling a bunch this year, with two big trips to Europe and China. Like my 10 Tips to the Travelling Techy last year, I brought along a bunch of gear, some good, some bad, some invaluable. I guess you could call this 10 Tips to the Travelling Techy 2, except it's eight.

So if you're planning any trips this summer, check out this list of some tech gear to bring.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 31, 2013 0 comments

IMAX already enjoys a rep as more or less the ultimate cinematic experience. Now it wants to be known for the ultimate home theater experience. The company's new Private Theatre program creates a 4K 3D theater in your home, with 7.1 sound and a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 06, 2013 0 comments

This is one of the nerdier posts I've done, but since I'm unabashedly a nerd, and I hope many of you are too, I figured it would work.

You see, I love LEDs. I think they're fascinating in how they work, what they can do, and so on. As you'd expect, I'm slowly replacing the CFL bulbs in my house with LEDs.

The thing is, not all LED bulbs are equal, and one of the biggest drawbacks is that not all offer the "warmth" in color temperature most of us love in incandescents.  So I put a few different LEDs on my test bench, measuring them sort of how I measure TVs, to see how they do.

Curious? Well I was, hopefully you will be too.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 05, 2013 0 comments

This is not your typical cell phone review. Mostly because I don’t understand most cell phone reviews. It’s a phone. You get a new one every few years. The fervor and intensity of Internet discussions about what phone is best is beyond my realm of understanding.

So what is this? Well, by most accounts the HTC One is, ahem, one of the top smartphones available right now (the others being the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S IV) and I was curious, how good is it? Not just from the dime-a-dozen subjective point a view, but an actual look at the hardware.

So I guess you could consider this a look at the HTC One mostly as an LCD TV and portable media player, judged as such, plus a bit of the other subjective crap because why not. Plus, we went ahead and did full video and audio measurements on it. Because why not.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 25, 2013 0 comments

With no small amount of irony, about a week after I installed the ultra-high-tech Parrot Asteroid Smart, my SVT lit its engine warning light.

I know the sound and feel of my car really well, and it sounded and felt fine. Since a dealer would want $75 just to tell me what's wrong, I figured it was time to invest in an OBD II scanner. This device plugs into the OBD II port that every post-1996 car has, and gives you a code to tell you what's wrong (along with a lot of other data).

But wait! Now you can get a "scanner" that talks to your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth! Now that's some app awesomeness.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 23, 2013 0 comments

Soundmatters didn’t invent the Bluetooth speaker, but it definitely invented the good, compact Bluetooth speaker: the FoxL. The FoxL’s guts became the basis for the much cuter and more broadly marketed Jawbone Jambox. The look and general driver layout of the Jambox were then copied—sometimes subtly, sometimes shamelessly—by practically every audio ODM in China.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments

Speakers are like karate. Subwoofers are like weightlifting. The quality of a speaker is determined by subtleties: well-chosen drivers, just-right crossover points and slopes, and a perfectly tuned, solidly constructed enclosure. The quality of a subwoofer is determined mostly by its muscle: the size of the enclosure, the displacement of its driver, and the power of its amplifier.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments

Things we learned in Part 1: My car is old. It only played CDs. Angle grinder use on dashboards is best left to professionals. The Parrot Asteroid Smart seems to do a lot of cool stuff.

And that’s the thing, right? It seems to do a lot of cool stuff, but there was no way of knowing how cool, or not, until it was installed (quite expertly by Mobile Fantasy).

This is called “a gamble.”

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments

I love my car. My car is old. Eleven years old this week, actually. When I bought it, in-dash cassette players were on their way out, and CD players were all but standard. Mine even had the upgraded "Audiophile" system, which had an in-dash 6-disc changer.

The stupidity of a in-dash CD changer aside, the one thing my car didn't have was any ability to add an external source. None. So imagine my annoyance, my near-decade-long annoyance at not being able to play my iPod in my car.

Well with one fell swoop, not only can I play my iPod, I can voice dial, hands free talk, stream music from my phone, navigate via GPS, and do all the other fancy things people who buy new cars can do. I got (Asteroid) Smart.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 12, 2013 0 comments

"The book is not a direct influence. That is to say that it did not spur me on to write any sort of song cycle or (gasp!) concept album. Rather, I found myself writing a lot of songs with a sense of a specific space, my hometown of Huntington, Long Island, New York."

So explains Bill Janovitz and about his new album, Walt Whitman Mall, and it seems as apt a description as I can think of.

Oh, and it's also really good. He didn't say that part (obviously).

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 19, 2013 0 comments

When we think about how electronics products are developed, we might imagine huge teams of faceless engineers, executives embroiled in endless discussions in elaborate conference rooms, and an almost Kafkaesque process that no one person really understands or controls.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 17, 2013 0 comments

It's only natural, in the wake of any random act of extreme violence, to look for an explanation: What caused this to happen? What can we do to prevent it from happening again?

While it's fair to ask these questions, the frustrating truth is that most of the time, we'll never know.

Not knowing, sadly, is not an acceptable answer. Instead, "the other" is blamed. When it comes to politicians and lobbyists, this "other" is anything the younger generations are into, that they themselves aren't. Thirty years ago it was rap and heavy metal. Thirty before that, it was rock and roll.

Today, the common scapegoat is video games, and blaming them is just as specious.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 15, 2013 0 comments

I can't recall a game in recent memory that so embodied corporate hubris, a distaste and distrust of fans, or a launch so bungled that it was the story not the game.

Which is too bad, because underneath all the noise and hate are pieces of a great game, one that I've played a lot over the last two weeks.

But you know what? Don't buy it.

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