Angry Robot

Debate with Laugh Track

This is so weird:

Why can’t the whole campaign be a comedy-off?

28 Days Later

Hello, Robot! The break from you has been invigorating. You were probably happy to be left alone for a while, too.

I’ve been fairly obsessed with elections. In Canada, ours just wrapped up, and the enlightened pragmatist must be happy with the results: Conservative minority. The Conservatives are trying to say that since their minority is larger than before, it’s an empowering victory that means Canada supports them. Well, what were they gonna say, “we fucked up?” If only we got press releases like that in politics. Truth is, they botched things and now they’re right back where they were before, only now they can’t call another election for a while, in which time the Liberals will replace Dion with what we can only assume will be a more appealing candidate. Who will it be, though, I wonder?

My politics slot me into the extreme bottom left corner of this scale. I’m a small-state leftist. I don’t like the state intervening in people’s lives, yet I do believe we have an obligation to support those going through tough times, and I believe there are spheres of life in which the profit motive has no place. I consider large corporations more of a threat to the typical citizen than the government, yet I’m a huge fan of small business.

Yeah, what are you gonna do. I guess I’d be an anarchist if I thought any of the anarchist models would actually work in real life. So I’m not pretending I have all the answers. Hell, if the best Plato could come up with is the artist-hating Republic, yours truly isn’t going to sort this shit out.

Anyway, let that be a circuitous way of explaining how I was considering voting Green. I had generally been scared away from the Green by a) hearing they actually were more conservative than the NDP and b) thinking voting green would simply drain seats from the NDP (true). But I quite liked their platform and leader. Unfortunately, you can’t look at the Canuck political landscape without seeing a massive splintering of the left vote contrasted with a consolidated right vote that, not coincidentally, is in power. I hope mandatory voting and proportional representation make their way to Canada soon. Not holding breath tho.

On the US side, Obama gives good speech and all, but the policies are actually fairly conservative from the Canadian point of view. He’d be better than McCain, that’s for sure. It’s like Captain Okay vs. Decrepit Lizard Man and Crazy Lady – you gotta go with the Captain. And the campaign has been entertaining as hell, which has kept me glued to TPM and 538 to see what awesome garbage Team Lizard is selling today. And of course The Daily Show and Colbert are totally killing it. The writing on those shows is phenomenal.


This is pretty rad. It’s a service that manages your band’s site, taking care of versioning, streaming, paid and free downloads etc. Interview with the founder on, and also this screencast:

Bandcamp Screencast from Ethan Diamond on Vimeo.

State of the Robot, September 08

So yeah, sorry for the radio silence there. I was away, but that’s only really part of it. What has this site been for the past year or so? It’s been a video game commentary site, with a handful of contributors, fancy podcasts, videos etc, and the intention of profitability at some point, access to review copies, etc, even a planned TV show. What is it now? Certainly not that; and I have no interest in returning it to that state. In fact, what I plan on returning to is what this site started as: YAN personal site, maybe a little self-involved in that regard, but of value to at least one of us, and owing nothing to the ‘marketplace’ or ‘audience’ or any other semi-imaginary external group.

I’ve got lots of things I want to do in this world, and while playing video games is one of them, it can’t be the only thing, the thing that eats up all my time so I can no longer make films, record music, take bike rides, chill with my lady, or go get drunk. (Yeah, it was really cutting into my drinking time.)

So, dear reader, what can you expect? Better things, more kinds of them, albeit fewer in total number. Stick around, or don’t, and I wish you well. Here’s to all of us making better things.

iPhone App Review Hoedown

Note: there are obviously issues with the App store and the apps contained therein. Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, developers haven’t been able to properly beta test their apps. Also, Apple doesn’t allow apps to do certain things, and the iPhone OS 2 is so far quite unstable itself. So while I may criticize the performance of some of these apps, in many cases it’s not the developers’ fault, and we could expect improvements over the weeks to come.

Apps that Sync With Desktop or Web Apps

Generally, if you’re using the desktop or web apps already, you’ll want to use these on your iPhone.

Evernote (free)

I’ve written about evernote before and suffice it to say that if you use it, you’ll want the iPhone app. It’s not without its problems, though. It’s crashy. It doesn’t cache your notes locally, so it’s slower than it needs to be. It has a voice record feature, but it won’t convert speech to text. That said, if you use evernote, having access to your notes from anywhere is reason enough to use this.

NetNewsWire (free)

If you use NNW on the desktop or the newsgator line of products, this is a no-brainer. It’s a good, clean interface. It will open entries in its own browser, with the option to open the link in safari. It’s usability is marred only by Apple’s limitations on apps, meaning that your feeds won’t update until you open the app, and then you will have to wait a bit. Also, I had one massive crash that took down the whole phone and left NNW unopenable until I had deleted and redownloaded it. I suspect this may have been a WebKit problem, though.

1Password (free)

If you don’t use the 1password app on the desktop, this will be of no use to you, unless you’re a complete security fetishist. Its usefulness is also marred by SDK restrictions, i.e. it doesn’t integrate with mobile safari. So what it will give you is a list of your website logins and secure notes, if you use that feature (I don’t).

Jott for iPhone (free)

OK, I don’t know the advantage of this except for the most hardcore Jott user. That’s because you can just call a jott number and have your voice turned into text, you don’t need to use a dedicated app. I suppose if you want to see the notes you make in jott on your phone, this is for you. But I mostly like jott as a voice portal to other services (evernote, google calendar). It’s unclear how to do this from the iPhone app.

Klick (free)

Theoretically, Klick allows you to access flickr. I couldn’t get it to work though. Delete. I hear exposure is okay in this category.

Simplify Media (free)

Once you install and run the desktop app, this allows you to connect to your iTunes library and stream anything on it, which is certainly an attractive proposition, especially considering you can do so over both WiFi and the cellular network. Unfortunately, the app does not deliver on the promise, even on my own network – expect to get familiar with the word “buffering”.

Standalone apps

The Converter ($0.99)

Even in ‘simle mode’ this is needlessly complicated for what most people will want. I don’t need to convert torque, and I don’t need ‘candareen’ and ‘baht’ clogging up my list of weight measurements. I’d like something simpler that loads quickly, please.

Google Mobile App (free)

Awesome. It simply offers a search box, and will return results including contacts, web searches and things near you. Quite possibly the best interface of any iPhone app, for its simplicity and emphasis on guessing what you’re looking for. (Developed by Alcor, the mind behind quicksilver)

Remote (free)

This is Apple’s remote control for iTunes and Apple TV, and it is excellent. It displays album art, allows searching and rating, and has a superior interface than the iPhone’s own “iPod” application. My one complaint is that this thing doesn’t work with Front Row, which is baffling.

OneTap Movies ($2)

This is a location-aware movie showtime app. It works as you would expect, but has many excellent features: it links to the IMDb page for any movie result, gives you a trailer, and will open up a map showing directions to the theatre. Highly recommended.

Pennies ($3)

Pennies is an expense recording utility. You type in the cost of something you bought and assign it a category, and pennies will keep a record of everything and tell you if you go over the budget you set. It’s a beautiful app, but the inability to define one’s own categories limits its appeal.

Beatmaker ($20)

The most expensive app I own is also my favourite: perhaps that’s rationalization at work. Or, it’s because Beatmaker is an example of a full-fledged app, not a minor utility. It’s really only of interest to electronic musicians, as it’s an MPC-style sampler (well, sample-playback tool) and sequencer. Because of its power, it’s got more of a learning curve than most iPhone apps, but once you figure it out, it’s an excellent beat sketchpad. It comes with a bunch of sample packs, but you can also download desktop software to copy over your own. The interface deviates from the usual iPhone look, and is actually quite nice.

Stanza (free)

Stanza is an eBook reader. It integrates with free eBook depository feedbooks, which provides a collection of public domain masterworks and Cory Doctorow books. You can also download a desktop app and then sync other books wirelessly (haven’t tried this yet). The presentation is top-notch, and it’s graceful to use. Download this for sure.

WikiMe ($1)

WikiMe is a location-aware Wikipedia interface. It’s simple, and kind of a genius idea. It might be very handy for tourists.

That’s everything that I’ve tested sufficiently. Coming soon: iPhone Games Review Explosion!

iPhone, Finally

Finally received my iPhone. I wasn’t going to line up overnight before launch day, I figured I could stroll into a store the next week and pick one up. Unfortunately that was nowhere near the case. Two, three weeks after launch, it was still next to impossible to find a 16gb iPhone in the city. So I finally ordered one over the phone around the end of July, and it has just arrived (coinciding, it seems, with ample supplies in-store as well).

I’d love to rattle on about it, but I’m a little late to the party. I’m not sure what I could add that you haven’t already heard. A lot of the apps seem too buggy and crashy, but I’m sure that will be sorted. There are a lot of complaints like that (battery life!) that really pale in comparison to the majesty of the Mobile Safari browser. That, and I couldn’t believe how many different activities I was juggling while riding the streetcar. It was a big change from staring at the floor listening to music.

I’ll probably write a bit more later about some of the apps I’ve tried out.


It starts with scenes of a deadly viral outbreak in Scotland, then jumps ten years to when Scotland is quarantined and the UK cut off from the rest of the world, and flirting with authoritarianism. When evidence of life in the quarantine zone emerges, and the virus appears in London, Emma Cleasby and her tac team are sent in to Scotland to track down a cure. Therein they are caught between two warring clans, the cannibal tribal punks and the brutal medieval revivalists.


Doomsday has its sci-fi and horror elements (namely plenty of well-executed gore) but fundamentally it is a pastiche action film, lighter on the comedy than a Raimi film, but still a hell of a lot of fun. As the hard-boiled badass, Cleasby does an attractive job, and the supporting cast includes Malcom McDowell and Bob Hoskins. The action is well-orchestrated, the dialogue serviceable. The film’s greatest strength is its sheer unpredictability. Just when you think you’ve figured out where it’s going, it takes a hard turn down WTF street.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Marshall’s previous film The Descent, check that shit out too.


Aside: weekend morning showings at Toronto’s AMC downtown are the balls. $6 for pre-noon shows, featuring comfortable new theatres and digital projection. Plus, you get to put your own butter on the popcorn. This is a responsibility few have the shoulders for. WARNING: with great power comes … great stomach disturbances, so easy there, lardass!

Anyway. This film gives itself some enormous challenges to overcome. There is the issue of emotional connection with a robot protagonist – it’s hard to feel an attachment to a bleeping box. This is overcome on one hand with graceful minimalism – Wall-E’s head is basically a set of binoculars, and expression is expressed by the angle at which the set is bent, without any recourse to the usual bendiness used by animators. On the other hand, deft and swift characterization gives Wall-E a distinct, endearing personality: the lonely garbage processor who can’t help but start his own collection of idiosyncratic garbage.

The second massive challenge is the lack of dialogue in the film’s first 45 minutes or so. This is only an apparent challenge, given that most films rely on wall-to-wall dialogue (oh shit accidental pun there jiminy jillickers), yet film did just fine with none at all for its first 30 years or so, and certainly some of my favourite films have very little dialogue at all (I’m thinking of you, 2001). Nonetheless, the achievement is worth mentioning, as Pixar puts on a goddamned clinic on how to tell a story visually, with nary a narrator in sight. The power of animation allows for something we might call smooth density. There’s a lot of information and entertainment packed into this film, an amount that with live action filmmaking would undoubtedly require vigorous editing, resulting in a jarring, cutty film. But this is all smooth camera moves, visual beauty, and precision timing, comic and otherwise. Things are not so distinctive once the humans show up, but the first act of this film is one of overwhelming emotional power.

The beauty is not all visual – I was particularly impressed by the sound design. It’s an analog wonderland of squelchy synths and expressive vocoder effects that put R2-D2 to shame.

Pixar has a not unblemished but nonetheless impressive record of making actual family films, which is to say films viewable without eye-rolling by the entire family, adults included. In Wall-E, they add a couple of challenges, which they surmount so handily they wind up looking like strengths. And the film transmits a critical yet positive message (you know, for the kids). This is one of their best, and easily one of the best films of the summer.

The Week in Review

OK let’s see here, fire up robot radar and analyze: what happened in the past week?

The post-E3 review drew to a close with game critics choosing their nominees for the best games of E3, with Fallout 3, Spore, Little Big Planet and Gears of War 2 doing well. (I’m just going to shrug and forego judging the wisdom of choosing the ‘best’ unreleased games.)

Nintendo got aggressive and sued flashcart makers like R4 for enabling piracy. As CDM points out, this has a special impact on the homebrew music scene, which relies on flashcarts, and which contrasted with the Japanese release of the first commercial DS music title, Korg’s DS-10. And, inevitably, the DS-10 ROM was leaked, so various musicians downloaded it and loaded it onto their flashcarts and used it while waiting for their legal, Japanese import to arrive.

Comi-con just wrapped up, and I’m still sorting though what went down there, but a highlight seems to be some new Watchmen footage (cam of trailer). There was a Terminator: Salvation panel as well. Oh, and Method Man showed up to promote his comic! Yes, a Method Man comic.

Out of Office

I will be up north in Canada’s great northern northlands for the next week, and completely off the internets – all of them. So have fun everyone, and the site will return in August!

The NFB's New Site

When Will the Horribility Ever Stop?


Here’s an interesting article speculating on the economics of Dr. Horrible, and Joss Whedon himself weighed in to say it is “sensible.” Long and short of it is that the show would need to sell about 100,000 copies on iTunes to see a modest profit, and more like a million to compete with Hollywood paychecks for the creators involved (assuming a budget of $250,000). This is before any DVD revenue is taken into account.

I think we can assume Dr. Horrible will make money for its makers, but is there anything more we can take away from it? Joss Whedon is, after all, a special case within a special case – he has a pro budget and talent pool, and beyond that a rabid extant fan base. But nothing about the success of this show means much for amateur creators, those who couldn’t get Neil Patrick Harris to work for scale, and couldn’t afford to pay him scale anyway. There still doesn’t seem to be a system that can help such talent succeed, other than “get a million viewers on YouTube.” That’s not a system, that’s the problem already solved. A million viewers, whether on the web or on TV, spells success. It’s how to get there that counts. (I know this isn’t Joss’ fault, it’s just you get to thinkin’.)

That’s enough of that particular subject. Soon: Dark Knight!


I seem to have gone off the console (in my case, the 360) for the portables (DS and PSP). The only game I’m playing on the console is Rock Band, and I’m not sure for how much longer. I’m trying to complete solo drums on hard and I’m held at the “nightmare” level by “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and the damned prog intro to the Boston song. It’s probably something about my brain that makes these two so hard; I had few issues with the other tracks at this difficulty level. But right now the gameplay is what could be described as brutally punishing, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll hold onto this vain hope of completing the tour.

God of War: Chains of Olympus is mostly what I’m button mashing on the PSP. It’s pretty slick, i.e. well-produced, good difficulty curve, very similar to the PS2 experience of the original game. This isn’t my sort of game, but when something’s well done, I can deal with it. The PSP seems to provide a console experience, except portable, whereas DS games are more typically idiosyncratic thanks to the touchscreen and/or retro thanks to their 2D graphics.

I’m looking forward to Too Human when it comes out in a few weeks, and also to trying some iPhone games whenever I can actually find an iPhone.

More Horribleness

There’s a bit of press for Whedon’s latest venture. Here’s an article in Variety, tying Dr. Horrible in with other creator-originated web pushes. It mentions that the budget was “low six figures” and financed by Joss’ own cash. There’s also an interview in Wired, but it’s mostly fluff. The show is no longer free, but you can get it in iTunes, where I noticed it sitting atop the list of “top TV shows,” which I think means it may well make its money back. It will see eventual DVD release, but that deal is still being worked out. Me, I just hope they keep making more. There are a lot of villains on the Evil Council of Evil that I’d like to see more of, and will we see Captain Hammer’s Hamjet?

Dr. Horrible

I linked to it earlier in the week but man, thanks to doombot for reminding me to actually watch Dr. Horrible. It’s Joss Whedon, and it’s beyond awesome. Enjoy it soon as it vanishes on sunday.

Perhaps the association superhero=jock, supervillain=nerd was always obvious to everyone, but it only breaks through my thick skull with the help of Captain Hammer’s… er, hammer. Whedon really loads up every superhero cliche with meaning. The freeze ray is what will let the awkward Horrible pause time to think up something witty to say to his crush, for example. And hey, you get lots of jokes, songs and Nathan Filion.

Whedon is such a great writer that even this master plan is a joy to read.

Bad Server

If you are reading this… you are very patient. There are brutal server issues again, resulting in long page load times. I have no time to migrate servers, which is what it would take to resolve these problems. I apologize, and hopefully all this will be a faint memory in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I can suggest you do not purchase hosting from Joyent.

So, E3, huh?


I have to take issue with the dashboard do-over, though. Added features are all well and good: the group chat is one thing that the current dash was jonesing for. But was the shameless Mii ripoff really necessary? Nintendo didn’t invent the idea of 3D avatars; there are a lot of other looks they could have gone with and kept the core concept. As it stands now, it just seems like classic Microsoft copycatting, the sort that is familiar to any long-time Mac user.

Now obviously the new look is meant to appeal to casual players. Surely there was a way to do this that wouldn’t actively piss off the console’s existing base of super-hardcore shooter maniacs. Can you see all these guys logging in to play Call of Duty IV wearing their adorable Miis? I need a medic stat, I have a Mii down with a sucking chest wound.

Besides that, the existing dashboard, while a little laggy since the last update, was a good bit of software, and it seems kind of insulting to it just to dump it for the cutesy makeover, complete with CoverFlow-esque reflections and all. And let’s say nothing of the pointlessness of an interface makeover, when we all know it’s the games and the peripherals that differentiate the hardcore from the casual (can we just call them softcore for a while?). Or maybe I’m crazy and crappy game show games and an adorable interface will really make grandpa cutesypants trade in his Wii for a seething, whirring 360. He’ll be playing Gears 2 in no time!


Nintendo is obviously chasing its dream, and I can’t really blame them. The DS is a dream platform, with crazy sales across all sorts of different demographics, and so many games that even the hardest of the core can’t complain that they’re being forgotten about. For every Petz release shoveled out by Ubi there’s a semi-insane, tough-as-nails Atlus release like that insect strategy game, or Etrian Odyssey. There is trouble in paradise, however, on the Wii side. The hardware and the first party casual games sell well, but not the third-party games. And the hardcore Nintendo fans feel more than a little betrayed. So you’re working on a Zelda game, eh? Awesome. Good for you, Nintendo. Get back to us on that.


Can we say Sony is still struggling when the PS3 is now outselling the 360? They are guaranteed second place in this generation, I’d say. It’s a little disappointing that they don’t have more good games coming this fall, and that Home still ain’t ready – but hey, shiny Blu-Ray. And the video rental stuff takes a feather out of Microsoft’s cap, I guess.

The PSP is the most angst-ridden current platform, and they did a reasonable job staving off ennui amongst owners with a few big game announcements – Patapon 2, LocoRoco 2, Super Stardust Portable, Resistance Retribution. Not that any are coming out soon, I don’t think.


What in the sam hell is going on with Bungie? They’ve been teasing a new presumably non-Halo game for ages, and now they say the publisher axed their announcement. Wow. Wonder if we’ll ever hear that story. (Possibly on Halo 9’s commentary track.) There’s also word from Microsoft that Bungie IS working on a new Halo game. There’s also the Peter Jackson Halo thing that’s being developed internally by Microsoft Game Studios. But no announcements for any of these things, huh? Weird.

PS Penny Arcade sums it up much more concisely than I ever could.

UPDATE: Another thought. The big thing that struck me this time around is just how hopelessly dependent all these guys are on sequels, franchises, existing IP, whatever you want to call it. You have your Gears 2, your God of War 3_, your new Animal Crossing and Pokemon game. I know the reasons, it’s just a bit sad. I found myself getting a bit excited by the mere concept of a GTA on the DS, and then I thought, “oh wait, I’m absolutely, totally sick of GTA, and Rockstar needs to do something absolutely, totally different for a while.” Then you have your category of games that are so-called original IP that are inspired by other successful franchises, to put it charitably: your Lips, your Wii Music. When you take away all those games, the ones left over are few and far between. And they are mostly for Sony: inFamous, FlOwer, the DC Universe thing, MAG, Little Big Planet, PixelJunk Eden.

Nintendo's Smugness

So I was watching E3 on the telly yesterday and found myself in the middle of Nintendo’s press conference. Reggie was blabbing away about how Nintendo is such a super seller and how their third party Wii games are just as awesome and everything is going so well and number one console for a reason blah blah blah. It occurred to me then that I am absolutely repulsed bu Nintendo’s smugness.

Yes, the Wii is excellent for group games and “casual” gamers and stuff like that, but to prattle on about how you are the best in the industry when what you really are is a peddler of cheap plasitc wheels and step pads is distasteful. My disgust continued as trailers for their upcoming games assaulted mine eyes. I’d really like a Wii commercial to surface without the godawful view of players’ Joker-like-too-happy-faces. Then the games with happy children standing on the step boards and surfing through space…and though the Silver Surfer implications are tempting I just can’t get over all these motion-based add-ons. I mean why should it surprise me that they would go down that road? Nintendo has always been the “let’s make add-on shit” people, I get that. I guess just looking at their “we’re selling so much” charts and just that whole business side trying to appeal to gamers with “I’m a suit but I’m a reliable source for you to trust” attitude just pissed me off.

I really like Nintendo, I really do. There are some good games and the Wii is a solid platform for fun. Just the arrogance to think that they are going to be the number one console irks me. I know you have to have a strong sense of product love in a company…I just feel that when Sony once again surfaces as the leader of the industry in a few years Nintendo’s going to get lost in its dust and look ridiculous.

So that’s my problem with Nintendo’s smugness, I’m worried that it’s going to come and hit them in the back of the head.

And I just don’t want to see that happen.

Sony's E3 Announcements

Sony! Sony! Sony! Announcing shit, dude!

Let’s see here: video rental and purchase coming to Playstation Network as of tonight (US only I presume), and the PSP will be supported (but will it require a PS3?); the low-end, $400 PS3 will have 80gigs as of September; God of War III announced, surprising noone; Little Big Planet will be released in October. SOCOM devs Zipper are making a game called MAG (Massive Action Game) that features 256-player battles.

Jeez, not much of a thrill ride.

Nintendo's E3 Announcements

Nintendo’s press conference just went down and the big news is: Wii Music, which is like a non-judgmental version of Rock Band; a new mic-speaker peripheral for the Wii, “WiiSpeak”; Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii sometime this year, which will take advantage of said peripheral; a Grand Theft Auto­ game for the DS (GTA: Chinatown Wars); and a new WiiSports game, Wii Sports Resort, featuring fencing and frisbee (and which presumably requires the new Wii Motion Plus add-on for the Wiimote).

Nothing too exciting, but then Nintendo doesn’t need any enormous surprises. The Sony conference is underway now. Oh and also the Bungie stuff will be tomorrow, not yesterday.

Microsoft's E3 announcements

the new dash

Prolly the big ones are: a dashboard update to feature Mii-like avatars; a Netflix partnership – netflix members will be able to access the Netflix catalogue from their 360s; and Final Fantasy XIII will be on 360 as well as PS3.

The 360 will see an upgrade to 60GB of hard drive (it used to be 20). Also, there were release dates for Fable 2 (october), Gears of War 2 (november 7), and Resident Evil 5 (march 13 2009). A new Portal game, Portal: Still Alive, will come to Live Arcade sometime in ’08. The Rock Band track list is revealed (“Livin’ on a Prayer”, sweet!) In non-sequel news, a karaoke game called Lips is on its way, and a camera-enabled game called You’re in the Movies.

There’s still supposed to be a big Bungie announcement today.

Games on the iPhone


The iPhone App store launched friday with 41 games available for it. As MTV Multiplayer notes, the DS launched with 11 games, and the PSP with 24. The hardware is no slouch when it comes to gaming, either. As roughly drafted puts it:

The iPhone is in a significantly different class of performance, has far more internal resources for games, and is equipped with a variety of other hardware–from its camera to its ubiquitous (if slow) mobile network to its multitouch high resolution display and accelerometers–all of which have to power to unlock entirely new classes of games and other more serious applications.

The iPhone launch games include offerings from Sega (Super Monkey Ball) and EA (Tetris, Scrabble). And there are already even more games than at launch – it’s hard to find an exact number, but over a hundred easily.

But how do they really stack up? There are 16 different sudoku games, some old school arcade ports, some racers, many card and puzzle. Even a text adventure. But not one RPG, not one strategy title. For sure, the hardware is idiosyncratic; shooters may not work too well. But if the DS’ touch screen is any indication, it’s still possible, and genres like RPG, strategy and even RTS can work very well.

You can’t blame developers for going casual when it comes to games on a phone, but all the same, Orcs and Elves on this thing would kill. And when we start seeing the games that take advantage of the networking and even GPS, we’ll start seeing some crazy things.

Rogers iPhone Debriefing

The early adopters get the iPhone as it’s meant to be enjoyed, but everyone else gets stiffed with the sucky plans. Rogers avoids the iPhone becoming horribly uncool – “you bought the iPhone? What are you, stupid?” – and avoids bad nerd of mouth. It also avoids bad press re: weak launch sales of iPhone, Bell and Telus kicking their ass with the Instinct, etc. Yet after a scant two months, it gets to keep the plans that everyone hated, the plans that virtually guarantee expensive data overages.

Let’s not kid around: Rogers isn’t losing money on the nerd plan. So if they are able to turn a profit on 6 gigs of data a month, why can’t this be the plan for everyone?

I’ll leave the answer to your imagination.

Rogers Caves


Effective July 11, and as a limited time promotional offer for customers who activate by August 31 on a three year contract, a data-only offering of 6GB of data for $30 per month is being made available that can be added to any in-market voice plan.

It ain’t unlimited, but it’s waaaay better compared to what they were originally offering, and to other Canadian rates. Here’s a Globe article.

The Tragedy of the Flying Priest

I hesitate to make fun of this but make of it what you will: a Brazilian priest, hoping to ‘promote religion’, break a world record and raise money for truck drivers, strapped himself onto a chair tied to 1,000 party balloons for what was to be a 20-hour flight to a nearby town.

This was in April. His body was recently recovered 100km out to sea.

Stories like this always capture my imagination. Like the homemade rocket car driver who wound up fused into a sheer rock wall, they are tragicomic Icarus tales, stories of those brave enough to try something foolishly beautiful. Let’s remember the Kubrick quote about Icarus:

I have never been certain whether the moral of the Icarus story should only be, as is generally accepted, ‘don’t try to fly too high,’ or whether it might also be thought of as ‘forget the wax and feathers, and do a better job on the wings.’

There’s also this video.