I went to WonderCon 2008 today. It is a 3 day comic book convention in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. I got some free passes so I checked it out today.
The coolest thing for me (I'm not into comic books) were some of the "celebrities" signing autographs.
Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk)
Richard Hatch (Apollo from the original Battlestar Galatica)
At Microsoft's lobby bar today, Microsoft showed a "teaser" trailer for the previously unannounced Xbox 720.
There were no specifics, just a lot of canned animations showing off "movie-like special effects," photo-realistic people, and real-time soft body dynamics.
I know it is way early (no release date), but the 720 can't get here fast enough! It's hard not to get excited about the nextgen consoles.
Check out the trailer here.
I didn't get much out of this that I hadn't already heard before.
They presented some profiling for some games that showed 50% of CPU time was spent on graphics related tasks.
They gave a list of tools that are helpful for profiling:
Some of the talk was about the benefit of multiple cores verses the overhead required to synchronize multiple cores.
Check out these demo videos of Sandbox2 in action...
There were some "indy" games that caught my eye...
Pleo is a dinosaur-robot made by UGOBE. What are they doing at GDC? They wanted people to know that Pleo is a "platform"...you can program new behaviors and applications for Pleo (via an SD card) and they are reaching out for people to add to its abilities. Check it out in action here:
This was my favorite talk of the day.
It was a round table hosted by John Walker from High Voltage Software. John was the moderator. He started by asking for a few topics people would like to cover. Then he would ask some questions concerning a topic and let people in the room answer. Some people used this as an opportunity to say, "Has anybody in the room tried to do X? How did it work for you?" It was very informative.
There is another one Thursday and Friday, so I may go to those as well since the conversation will be different because different people will be there.
Some of the things I picked up...
What I learned here...was that I need to learn a lot more about spherical harmonics (SH).
The DXSDK has several samples involving SH.
I added a bunch of new updates to my Tilt this weekend.
First of all, there is a new a ROM (version 1.62.502.0) that fixes some bugs.
Then I added HTC Home (pictured above), a plug-in that adds to your home screen...
I got version 1.6 here (look for HTC Home Plug v1.6).
The above plug in is called HTC Random Access. It adds the alphabet on the right side of the contacts screen so you can get to your contacts by browsing with your finger instead of typing in the search box at the top. As you drag, a large letter appears in the middle of the screen to let you know where you are. Get it here (look for HTC Random Acces_updated).
I found a post that explains how to enable youtube.com support in Pocket Internet Explorer. This is for the full version of youtube.com, not the mobile one that the iPhone uses.
The instructions and the software downloads (2 of them) are here. Once you have installed, just open this web page in your web browser and you can start watching youtube on your phone (normal http://youtube.com goes to the mobile version of youtube.com): www.youtube.com/?nomobile=1
KaiserTweak gives you access to a lot of features that you can't normally access. For example, do you really want a "Message Sent" notification message to pop up and require a "Dismiss" click every time you write a text message? You can turn that off with KaiserTweak. Or what about when your screen dims when you make a call, making it impossible to press the keypad for voice mail menus...that can be fixed with KaiserTweak. It definitely makes the phone more pleasant to work with. Get it here.
Here is a cool software keyboard. The Tilt has a hardware keyboard, but it requires sliding out the keyboard and using two thumbs. This software keyboard works great with one handed operation. Check out the video below to see it in action. I ended up going with the $13 professional version instead of the free standard version. Get it here.
The last thing I added is a really slick add-on like the HTC Home, but with more features. It is called Spb Mobile Shell...
Not sure what I'm attending yet, but I'll probably be there Wednesday through Friday.
GDC is not as fun as SIGGRAPH, but you can learn a lot. The focus is on interactive 3D graphics and techniques you can use today to speed up or improve the look of your graphics.
Looking forward to it!
It came out today...the first trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
You really need to see it on the big screen for the full effect...but here it is in case you haven't seen it yet.
I was already excited about it...but you get goose bumps when you hear the classic Indy music and see the Fedora hat. Can't wait for May 22!
Wow! Some interesting news dropped today.
The trailer is here.
I noticed that my boot up time had increased significantly and I didn't know why. I don't reboot very often, so it's not a big deal, but I was curious what was slowing things down.
Until recently, I could boot Vista in 28 seconds. Now it is taking me about 85 seconds to boot.
Shutdown was taking longer as well.
Vista tracks your systems performance and will generate errors and warnings when something is not performing as it should. To see what your status is, go to:
Start->Control Panel->System and Maintenance->Performance Information and Tools->Advanced tools->View performance details in Event Log
Sure enough, I had critical and warning performance events in my boot up...
I did a search on "Event 100" and found this post that suggested it could be an external USB hard drive issue.
I unplugged my external hard drive and rebooted.
My boot time dropped back to 28 seconds!
In searching the net for this issue, I noticed many references to Western Digital My Book's, which is exactly what I have. I wondered if this was an external USB hard drive issue or a *Western Digital* external USB hard drive issue.
So I plugged in my older/smaller capacity Maxtor external USB hard drive and rebooted.
My boot time stayed at 28 seconds. I checked the event log and I was no longer getting critical or warning performance events at boot up.
It looks like this is a Western Digital external USB hard drive issue.
I ordered a new 750 GB Maxtor external USB hard drive today to replace the Western Digital.
My advice to you: stay away from the Western Digital external USB hard drives!
It is interesting that a video game is getting this kind of attention from a magazine like Vanity Fair.
Check out the article, "The Game Has Changed," here.
VF has some exclusive video from the game here.
Here are some new screen shots from the game.
The VF writer added a web post about "the lively sport of Jawa punting."
I picked up some useful tips:
I am doing this both for my work and home email. I moved all my email out of my inbox into a "To Do Email" folder (a "defer" folder). I have empty inboxes now!
Merlin is a great, entertaining speaker. I highly recommend this program. It should be required viewing...you will spend less time in email and more time doing what you want after you watch this.
This 1 hour video is the same talk we got today, but this was recorded from Merlin's visit to Google:
Conan did a spot at ILM/Lucasfilm this past May when he was in San Francisco for a week doing his show. If you haven't seen it, you should.
The video was up on Youtube for a little while, but was quickly yanked.
NBC has the video, but you have to pick the clip you want to watch (I can't link to a clip...grrrr).
Go here and select "Lucasfilm Part 1 (5/1/07)" and "Lucasfilm Part 2 (5/1/07)".