April 13, 2014

Bastille at Coachella Festival

Not my usual type of blog post but I was watching Coachella streaming live on YouTube largely because of a few bands I like --- including, or maybe especially, Bastille.

I really LOVE Dan Smith as a lead singer (he cute too) -- well at least I do on their studio albums. But the Coachella performance featured wayyyy too much of his "signature" vocal styling where he breaks a single word into discrete notes. Places in songs where he would normally slide a note up or down turned into overly repetitious and at times, annoying use of vocal stepping or whatever you call it.

And what's with throwing an"H" onto the front of words that start with vowels? Like the word "almost" became "halmost" and "all" became "hall" so Pompeii turned into "Does it halmost feel like nuh-uthing's cha-hanged at ha-all." Seriously? "Bad Blood" is a great album and the vocals are really good. But a little bit of Dan Smith's normal style goes a long way. Live? Is there something that makes singers think they have to overdo everything?

Snickers Snook -- music critic for a day. :P

April 10, 2014

Linden Lab looks to hire lead engineer

Came across this job posting because my Google alert on "Linden Lab" fired off.
Linden is looking for a Lead Engineer to join our New Products development group. You will be leading a group of engineers working on our iOS game Blocksworld. 
(SIDE NOTE: Why do websites allow .php extensions for posts? Many places won't allow you to share links to .php.)

Is Blocksworld doing well enough to deserve resources? Just curious.

April 4, 2014

3D mesh fashion comes to real life

OK, I used the word "mesh" as a tease but it's not far from the truth. Fashion designer Francis Bitonti has been using 3D printing to create clothing that breaks the boundaries of traditional cloth and other materials.

Using a small army of MakerBots, Bitonti "prints" pieces of outfits and assembles them into completed designs that look like nothing you can buy off-the-rack. Bitonti is also producing accessories and housewares and will be selling the "code" or printing instructions to individuals for reproduction on their MakerBot printers or using a partnering 3D printing service, 3D Hubs.

According to Mashable (the primary source for my article):
"Bitonti's Cloud Collection debuts Friday, April 4. The capsule collection offers four decorative housewares, or rather, the code for them. By modifying one aspect of the code, consumers can decide how much noise or relief appears on the surface of a vase, for example, resulting in a customized purchase."
For a fascinating look at the story behind the Bristle Dress shown in the photo above, see this write-up on MakerBot's blog. Per MakerBot, you too can wear the Bristle Dress if you download the files from Thingiverse. The top takes about 160 hours to print, and the skirt another 135.

Cool but at that rate, I'll stick to H&M.

SLGo now $9.95/month for unlimited use

The #1 complaint about SLGo from beta testers and those just looking at what it offers was the pricing! $2.50/hour was not happening. Soooo, on their blog yesterday, OnLive announced a new pricing model with a monthly rate of $9.95 for unlimited use and a $1.00/hour pay-as-you-go. OnLive also expanded the service to additional countries.

This is the right direction for SLGo and I congratulate Linden Lab and OnLive for listening and responding to the initial criticisms. Under the Rod Humble regime, I suspect we might have seen both companies doggedly sticking to the $2.50/hour rate while the service floundered. 

For those wanting the full Second Life experience on their Android tablets, SLGo is a good option...actually the only option right now. SLGo basically ports Second Life and the standard SL Viewer interface onto the Android platform via streaming from OnLive's own servers. SLGo is not going to work with Android phones -- the screen space is too limited. (Contrast this to the Lumiya Android App -- a standalone mobile viewer that connects directly to Linden Lab's Second Life servers and works with both phones and tablets for a one-time purchase of $2.99 in the Google Play store.)

SLGo delivers very good 3D rendering speed and you "see" the SL world the same as you would using a desktop PC and a standard Viewer. The #1 complaint is that the SL Viewer itself is still too complex even for the expanded real estate offered by tablets. When you want to type something (ie. IM or chat), the virtual keyboard covers critical areas of the scene and viewer and gets in the way of normal interaction with Second Life. I'd think if you were serious about using SLGo regularly, an external keyboard might be a good idea.

Lumiya, on the other hand, with its stripped down "designed-for-mobile" interface, does a much better job with communication activities and simple interaction with the Second Life grid. The downside is lower detail levels and frame rates.

Anyway, official stuffs below: