I’ve been playing a lot of the Destiny’s beta over the past week. Above is a video of me exploring and running into a Spider tank. This is before I really figured out how to fight them, and now I can take these things out without much trouble, but it was quite a struggle for me when I recorded this.
Seeing how far the game has come since alpha has been really getting me excited. I really like the intro cutscenes that they’ve added and all of the story setup now. In the alpha they just kind of dropped you into the world, and it was a little weird. Even though the beta’s level cap is set to 8, there is still a pretty good feeling of progression. From what I’ve been hearing recently, some stuff from the beta may carry over to final release. Especially rewards secured on the final day of the beta. I have also been doing a lot more PVP since the Iron Banner events started happening, and I am getting really into that too. Its going to be a painful couple months waiting for the final game to come out.
Speaking of Iron Banner, I wish the lvl 20 hand cannon I unlocked would carry forward. So cruel.
I’ve been having a lot of fun live streaming Wolfenstein: TNO on twitch. It’s the first full game I am I’ve played in it’s entirety with live commentary, and I am having a blast. At the time of this posting, I have 7 episodes archived on my youtube channel.
Edit: Just finished the 8th and final episode of my Wolfenstein play through!
I’ve never owned a nice chair. In the past I’ve just bought stuff from an office supply store, or Ikea. Normally these chairs last a couple years, then they start making noises, or falling apart. My last chair, from Ikea was fake leather and it started to make loud popping noises when you’d shift your weight or stand up, the leather finish was also worn away on parts of the seat. The worst thing about these types of chairs is that they are usually just put together so that they are cheaply produced and not much time or money goes into the visual design or the ergonomics.
I never bought the original MacBook Air, but I did play with one in the Apple store a couple of times and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was horrendously expensive at launch (around $1800 if memory serves me correctly), was crippled with heat problems, and worst of all it was slow (in no small part due to having to under-clock itself so that it wouldn’t overheat). With the new 2010 versions of the MacBook Air a lot has changed. The form factor isn’t vastly different, but the changes that have been made show a level of polish clearly lacking in the previous model.
Body and Case
The first thing you notice when you take the MacBook Air out of the box is that it’s incredibly slim. Even after a week of use I still marvel at its size and weight nearly every time I pick it up. The new unibody case feels solid and robust even though the screen isn’t much thicker than a couple of stacked DVDs. It feels quite rigid and gives you the sense that it could take a couple of dings without much of a problem. The screen is missing an ambient light sensor and the edge to edge glass of the MacBook Pro line, but in a form factor so small and light, the trade off hardly seems like an issue. Aesthetically I do miss the black bezel around the screen, but the MacBook Air feels like a Spartan version of a MacBook Pro so it’s aluminum bezel kind of fits.
The bottom of the computer is where most of the bulk is (if you can even call it that). The keyboard, though full-size, lacks a back-light. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something of note. The computer is divided internally front to back. The front 2/3 are occupied by the system’s batteries, and the back 1/3 is the rest of the internals. Because batteries are so heavy for their size, the MacBook air feels very well balanced front to back, which is sort of surprising given its tapered edge.
As far as ports go, the right side has an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a Mini Display Port. On the left, an omnidirectional microphone, a headphone jack, a second USB 2.0 port, and a MagSafe power port.
Not much can be said about the MacBook Air’s screen. It’s fantastic. The 1440×900 resolution found on the 15″ MacBook Pro crammed down onto a 13.3″ screen results in a picture that is extremely crisp and clear. The high pixel density makes text easy to read and makes images sharp and detailed.
One of the first things I noticed when I started really using the Air, and I did some video editing with iLife ’11 on the very first day, is that the thing is completely silent even when under decent load. Compressing a 720p movie barely phases the Macbook Air, and even though you could get the job done faster on a MacBook Pro, its performance is admirable and actually quite impressive given its size and weight. The only time the air even begins to show that its working is when a game is being played. Fans roar into action but aside from the fanfare there isn’t really any other signs of a struggle. I ran Team Fortress 2 for several minutes in a full 24 player server on native resolution and medium/high settings, and gameplay was smooth and fast. After even that, the MacBook Air’s external temperature only achieved mildly warm, never approaching the hot or surface-of-the-sun temps that the top of a core i7 iMac can achieve.
Under normal use like web browsing, streaming HD video, and the like the 13″ MacBook Air is a champ and feels zippy and responsive. Because of the built in flash storage (128GB by default) opening files feels impossibly fast and even turning the computer on only takes 10-15 seconds.
The official Apple line is that the 13″ MacBook Air gets 7 hours of battery life. For me though, I never use a laptop for 7 hours straight. If I’m on a trip or away somewhere I’d be using my Air exclusively it would most likely only be for a couple of minutes at a time to look something up, dump a bunch of photos onto it, compress a quick video, etc. and I think that it is for these types of tasks and intermittent use where the MacBook Air really shines. By default the MacBook Air is aggressively sleepy. If left alone for a couple of minutes the screen shuts off and the computer goes to sleep. This, coupled with such a long standby time means that if you’re away from the computer the battery really isn’t going to go deplete much at all. I’ve used it on and off for 2 days and had the battery still holding strong at 75% and that is a great feeling.
The MacBook Air, for all intents and purposes, is the notebook of my dreams – An extremely thin and light laptop that is ultra-portable, yet is powerful enough to roll up its sleeves and do some real computing when it needs to. I think that the MacBook Air may be one of the finest products that Apple has ever produced and I couldn’t be any happier with my purchase.
When you draw a shape in photoshop as a either as a shape or a path, you often get this lame fraction of a pixel situation that results in semi transparent, soft, stupid looking edges. It’s bugged me for years, but I’ve never taken the time to try and figure out a work around until today. After literally seconds of looking I found this article, which completely solves the problem. I dont know why this wouldn’t come enabled by default but its a freaking miracle that its there and that it works.
I have never really gotten into Monster Hunter. I’ve thought about it. I even downloaded the PSP demo, but shitty camera controls kind of threw me. After this week’s Co-Op and hearing what they had to say about the upcoming Lost Planet 2 I am now officially interested. Basically, it sounds like you’re playing a sci-fi version of Monster Hunter where you and a team of up to 3 other players take down huge monsters. Co-Op says that the control and aiming is solid which would be a welcome departure from Monster Hunter. Lost Planet 2 doesnt come out till next year, though. Poop.
A lot of camera companies have RAW formats that are specific to that brand. Not only does it make interoperability a pain, but often these files are not really very well constructed and require an extra file to accompNy them in order to see any of the non destructive editing. Enter adobe’s DNG file format. DNG is an archival open standard which in addition to providing a 15-20% smaller file size, also contains any edit data within a wrapper so that it’s always accompanying your image. After I get home from vacation I’m going to convert all of my RAW files.
Shown last week at Gamescom Gran Turismo 5 was playable in an early build. In addition, many of the games upcoming features were also announced and they have me pretty excited. Among the normal stuff like 1000 cars, 80 tracks (60 confirmed), car damage, improved physics, and custom soundtracks lays a gem– Head tracking using the PlayStation Eye. What this means, is that much like TrackIR the PlayStation Eye will be able to detect your head’s movement and translate it to an amplified version of that movement in game. This means it will allow you to move your head inches and you’ll be able to check your mirrors, look to the sides of your car, lean into turns, etc. Not having used TrackIR in the past I cant really even guess how much this will add to the game, but if it works it should be pretty amazing. Since building my racing setup I haven’t really had any games to play with it so I cant wait till GT5 comes out so I can cut my teeth on it.