What You See Isn’t Real

Monday, December 21st, 2009 @ 10:55pm

I know green screens are used in movies fairly frequently, but this is just impressive. I would have never guessed that the majority of these shots weren’t on location. I’m just impressed at how much green screens can be used these days and studios’ abilities to make it look real.

Opportunities Lost

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

It’s been a while since I’ve had a reflective post, and I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. So here goes…

A while back I heard an interview with Michael Caine where he was asked, “…do you have any regrets in life?” in which his reply was, “I only regret not having done something.” He goes on further to say, “…if you did not do it and it was something great, that regret would stay with you for the rest of your life. Regrets about things you did do never stay with you.”

Regrets about things you did do may not have the expected outcome you are looking for, but at least you can’t say you didn’t try. I’ve been trying to apply this philosophy more recently since I want to be able to say I have very few regrets for things not done. For the things you did try, you may regret doing it if the outcome did not result in your expectations but at least you can continuing in knowing that you tried.

I feel sad to say that even at 25, I feel like I have regrets for not having done things. I look back and see missed opportunities and think, “What if…?” What would have been the outcome had I followed that path? Would I have been happier? Could something great have happened? It’s painful not knowing if I’ll ever find out the answers to those questions, or if there’s any chance at rekindling those opportunities.

That’s not to say I’m not trying to learn from those regrets and move forward. It’s difficult to try and adjust your life to a new philosophy especially when it pushes the limits of your comfort zone. But even in the midst of my failures and regrets I have to move forward realizing the potential of having no regrets. If I make it to be old and gray, I want to be able to look back on my life and say, “I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and left no stones unturned.” I want to do the best I possibly can with the opportunities that are presented to me and be satisfied with the outcome, no matter how horrible it may be.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and life changing philosophies take time as well. I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to learn from my mistakes. I think that’s the best I can do.

Google Chrome OS

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 @ 12:06am

I’m sure most of you have used Google at some point or another. I personally use it every day, and my job would become quite difficult without Google. As you may or may not know, Google Chrome was released a little over a year ago; Google’s stab at an internet browser. It’s advertised to be fast and small.

More recently, Google has announced Google Chrome OS. Based on Linux, Chrome OS is designed for the internet, and the below video explains that concept in more detail. It’s hard to argue that the internet hasn’t taken a major spotlight on our PCs, but it’s even harder to predict whether or not a desktop os can truly survive when built around the internet. Take a look below at things to come from Google.

Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 @ 11:51pm

“Galileo, mee mee mee~”

2009 Wish List

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

As in years past, It’s been requested that I put out a wish list and it appears to have been requested again. So here it is.

FYI, I do have a Bluray player, so I would prefer a bluray disc over a DVD if available for the movies/seasons I’ve listed. If you can’t find it, it’s not a big deal but I’ve tagged the ones which should have bluray discs.

I may amend this list if I think of anything else, but this is the best I could do on short notice.

Piano Stairway

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

I always find it interesting how music and entertainment can change a person’s perspective on a mundane task. A simple, uninteresting task can suddenly seem more appealing once an objective or reward is involved, and the video below is a perfect example.

According to social experiment 66% more people than normal chose the staircase over the escalator now that it was converted to a “piano”. Of course, one has to wonder if that amount would decrease over time if something like this was “normal”.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

I’m not a meteorologist, but I must admit when I was a kid I always wanted to be one. Even though I never ended up in that line of work that general interest and fascination of weather still exists.

This curiosity has only been increased recently due to the precipitation totals we’ve received in the past month alone. It’s kind of interesting considering last fall central Alabama was in a severe drought, but this year we can’t seem to get rid of the rain. Here’s some interesting facts from the climate report linked above:

  • 2009′s YTD precipitation total is 58.08″, compared to 2008′s 45.5″ on the same date (Oct 15th), an increase of around 27%.
  • Over 25% of this year’s precipitation has happened since Sept. 1st.
  • Normal rainfall from Sept. 1st – Oct. 15th is 5.5″. 2009 is 16.42″, 3x what the normal value is.
  • The February/March snowfall is the latest I can remember receiving here since the winter storm of ’93.

Of course not really related to Alabama weather, but it’s also interesting to note that we’ve had quite the unusual (subdued) hurricane season compared to normal and those of recent years.

Stereogram Tetris

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 @ 11:28pm

This might quite possible be the most difficult game of Tetris I have ever played. The first time I played, I was able to get a high score of 1770, although my overall high score so far is 2644. How high can you go without going cross-eyed?

Symphonic Fantasies

Saturday, September 12th, 2009 @ 10:20pm

Something happened today which I wouldn’t have expected to see for a long time. I’m a big fan of of video game music, and hold it in high regards when compared to other genres and forms, but I’m especially excited when there’s an orchestra involved. Symphonic Fantasies today streamed their full concert live and in high quality from Cologne, Germany available for anyone to see.

The concert was split up into four “fantasies” of the following Square-Enix games:

  • Fantasy I: Kingdom Hearts
  • Fantasy II: Secret of Mana
  • Fantasy III: Chrono Trigger
  • Fantasy IV: Final Fantasy

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, those sets are available below. While nothing can match the experience of being there, I hope you enjoy the fantastic arrangements put together and this amazing sets of work inspired by their original composers, and performed by the WDR Radio Orchestra.

Secret of Mana Fantasy Parts 1 & 2

It’s been a while since I’ve played Secret of Mana, so I’m not as familiar with the music, but there are still some great themes here. You should be able to recognize Into the Thick of it halfway through the first part if you played any of the game. This fantasy closes out with a very somber and reflective rendition of Rose and Ghost.

Chrono Trigger Fantasy Parts 1 & 2

Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite games of all time, and the soundtrack is no exception either. Opens up with a very familiar Scars of Time from Chrono Cross, eventually leading into Chrono Trigger. Out of all the orchestral arrangements I have listened to of Chrono Trigger, this is my least favorite but the rest of the fantasy does not disappoint. Just wait until you get to the amazing ending with Frog’s Theme!

Final Fantasy Fantasy Parts 1 & 2

If you are at all familiar with Final Fantasy, this portion just blew me away in a fantastic mixing of melodies in a completely new way that has not been heard before. Words for this fantasy do it no justice, so please just listen.

Encore: Final Boss Fantasy

After what seemed like 10 minutes of well deserved applause, an encore was played highlighting the final themes from all of the above. One of the most impression portions is near the end with that amazing percussion solo by Rony Barrak.

Creating Wii Channels from USB Loader

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 @ 9:23am

If you followed my previous post on attaching a USB hard drive to your Wii, you now should have the convenience of loading games directly from your hard drive without ever having to worry about swapping discs. Yet having to load the Homebrew channel, then going through to your USB loader can feel cumbersome sometimes. Getting channels to go directly to the games, or the USB Loader is easier than you would think.

You obviously need to have the Homebrew Channel plus a USB loader installed before you can do any of this. If you don’t, follow these steps then come back here once you’re done. Please note that the steps here can and might damage your Wii! I very highly recommend you install BootMii into boot2 and back up your NAND before attempting any of the following steps. Should anything go wrong, you have a backup you can fall back on, otherwise you are continuing at your own risk!

Prerequisite Steps

  • Download and install WAD Manager.
  • Create a “/wad” folder on your SD card (must be on the root of the card!) Any channels that you want to install must be placed here or else the WAD Manager will be unable to find them.

There’s two options from here on out, and you’re welcome to do both. You can just install a usb forwarder channel that will allow you to access your USB Loader from the main menu, or install channels for individual games so that they show up on the main menu.

Installing USB Loader Forwarder Channel

There’s quite a few USB forwarder channels out there, but they all do pretty much the same thing. A USB forwarder channel looks in specific directories for an installed USB loader and tries to run it. The advantage of this is that it makes it simple to upgrade your USB loader without ever having to mess with the forwarder channel, since you can just swap the boot.dol to a newer version.

To make things easier, you can download the one I use: Universal Forwarder Channel by Narolez. This forwarder looks in the following locations for a USB Loader boot.dol:

  • sd:/apps/usbloader_cfg/boot.dol
  • sd:/apps/usbloader/boot.dol
  • usb:/apps/usbloader_cfg/boot.dol
  • usb:/apps/usbloader/boot.dol

Forwarder Installation

  • Copy the .wad file to “sd:/wad”.
  • Load up WAD Manager in homebrew, find your wad, and choose to install.

You should now have the channel correctly installed, and should be able to access your USB loader directly from the main menu! If at any time you need to uninstall the channel from your Wii, you can follow the installation steps above, choose the same wad file, then choose to uninstall and the channel will be removed from your system.

Installing Channels for Individual Games

Installing games already on your USB hard drive is pretty simple, just be sure you already have the games loaded onto you hard drive via USB Loader. You also need to download CRAP in order to assist with the channel creation.

Channel Installation Steps

  • Plug in your usb hard drive to your computer.
  • Launch CRAP.
  • Select the drive letter of your USB hard drive, i.e. J:.
  • Choose the game which you wish to create a channel for.
  • Select a loader. Most of the time you should be fine with using USB Loader 1.6, but you may need to use a different loader depending on what options you want to apply to the channel.
  • Click on “create channel”
  • Your wad will be saved in the WAD directory of your CRAP folder, so you will need to copy/move this wad to your USB hard drive.
  • Plug your USB hard drive back into your Wii, load up WAD manager via homebrew, find the wad you just created and install it.
  • If at any time you need to uninstall this channel, simply load up the WAD manager, find your wad, and select “uninstall” instead of install.

You should now have a channel listed on your main menu for your game, and you can repeat the above steps for any additional games you wish to install.

There may be an occasional issue with a couple of games depending on what version of cIOS38 your are currently running. cIOS38 rev. 14 unfortunately breaks dual-layed disc compatibility, so games such as Smash Bros. Brawl or Metroid Prime Trilogy will not work in USB Loader. Wii Sports Resort will not work via the channel method if you >13 installed, so you may want to pick and choose what cIOS38 you are running based on what games you want to install as channels.