Archives for category: Imperfect Tech

Screenshot of Delicious Deluxe, from Big Fish Games.

This isn’t something to which a self-proclaimed gamer likes to admit, but I play a LOT of downloadable arcade games.

You know, those you can either play online or download for 15 bucks? Love ’em.

Screenshot of Snowy Lunch Rush, from Big Fish Games, my new favourite of the restaurant/diner casual games.

From busing plates and taking orders to hunting down criminals to assembling teddy bears to delivering pizza to baking cakes to ringing up shopping, casual games, which have been the domain of online female gamers, are just becoming better and more fun with time. Best of all, they’re cheap to develop, easy to market (all downloadable online), and appealing to women. The golden formula to a game publisher.

While I still play the ‘triple A’ games that often challenge my hardware (and my husband’s wallet every few months or so), it is these cartoonish, 2D casual games I am getting fond of. Low maintenance, entertaining, gentle or no learning curve, and best of all, easy to put down, these surprisingly well-made and oftentimes beautiful casual games fill nap times and school hours and pre-bedtime boredom nicely, without asking for too much in return.

A non-commital, casual relationship. Ironically, that’s what we girls like. In our computer games, anyway.

Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I see myself playing these games for a long, long time. Much longer than Counter Strike or World of Warcraft or any other triple A game.

And that, my friends, is sustainable business.

 

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My old computer died in its sleep.

I gave it a break having worked it relentlessly for almost a month with nary a shut down. Without even saying goodbye, it simply refused to wake up the next day. A silent, final UP YOURS, YOU SLAVE DRIVING, BLOGGING, GAMING, EMAILING, SPREADSHEETING MANIAC!

For that, I’ve been compensated, rather generously, by an ever-eager-to-upgrade husband, with a new rig. Instead of just changing my dead mobo, he’s managed to somehow convince himself (I didn’t need any convincing) to switch my old Intel-ATI-Gigabyte setup to a 3500+ Athlon 64-bit chip, NVIDIA mobo, GeForce 7600GT piece of heaven.

What a betrayal.

That’s right. Give up on us, and we give up on you, beeyaawtch!

Calling my husband’s office is quite an experience.

Now I usually call his mobile. In this day and age, there’s really no reason to call a land line except if you can’t get the person on his/her cell and have decided that you still want to bug the hell out of him/her by resorting to calling his/her home/office phone.

Today was my first time talking to a robot (if you don’t count my husband, who occasionally qualifies for that category).

“Please state the name of the person you wish to contact, at anytime…”

Wow, you can actually SPEAK to this robot.

“Loke Uei Tan.”

“Do you wish to speak to, WADE, BILL?”

What, no! Must be my strange accent.

“LOKE UEI TAN!”

“Please answer YES or NO. Do you wish to speak to WADE, BILL?”

“NO.”

“Okay, please repeat the name of the person you wish to contact, at anytime.”

“LOKE UEI TAN!!”

“Please pick from the list of names. WADE, BILL. WAYNE, PHIL. WEI, TAN?”

Okay, was that Uei Tan? Gosh this is becoming annoying.

“I’m sorry. You did not pick a name. Let’s do this differently. Do you have the email alias of the person you wish to call? Please say YES or NO.”

“YES!”

“Great! Please spell his alias.”

I do so.

“Is the person you wish to call LOKE WEI TAN? Please say-”

“YES!”

“Great! Please wait a moment while I connect you!”

The phone rings once.

“Bee, I call you back.”

The phone goes dead.

WHY YOU SORRY SONOFA….

I swear they make it annoying so you resort back to calling the cell.

Which is worse?

Yesterday night, while tucking my little girl in bed, my husband and I got into a debate about the governance and the unethical undercurrents of how some technology companies seem to be doing business.

It was a simplistic argument, and a general one at best, but it was interesting.

Now which is worse – Selling seemingly stable software that is next to impossible to use without paying high prices for consultancy or services, or providing software with similar functions that you can train anyone to use despite its complicated functions, but the software itself is faulty that you need to patch all the time, or opt for an upgrade the next time one comes around.

You can see where I’m going with this.

I’ve always felt that SOME IT companies seem to be either deliberately making complex software to capitalise on their deployment/services/consultancy business, or not providing enough R&D to simplify the use of such software towards the same effect. Their priorities seem to be

1. make/buy/sell good software

2. don’t bother if it’s easy to use, we have consultants and our partners have engineers for that

Versus the ‘policies’ of companies that work to create software that you can easily train users for:

1. make okay software, don’t bother if it’s perfect when we sell it because we can always patch it later

2. make sure it’s so easy to use, your grandma can learn to use it

What do you think?

Wired.com reported today that entrepreneurs are saying that targeted SMS ads are going to be the next big thing. While it does sound like there’s gonna be a LOT of complainants about companies flooding your phone with useless SMSes (like when Maxis sends you SMSes on its promos), what about tip-offs of when the next (supposedly members only) Esprit or TAngs sale is going to be, or when RAM prices have dropped to an all-time low? I know I’d sure like to know that!

What’s your say?

Cnetasia reported today that brains can have wireless upgrades, so says scientist Kevin Warwick. Taking a page from TV Smith’s recent parody on Mykad, (used with his permission, hehe), here’s what could happen when a cybernetic Ah Beng orders pizza!

Operator: *10110001000100101001* (translation: THank you for thinking of Pizza Hut! Pls think your username and password)

Customer: *0010000100001001001* (translation: Ah Beng niasing…seilor what’s my pass already…)

Operator: *1000010001001000100* (translation: Error, please rethink your username and password)

Customer: *100000100001001010* (translation: Ah Beng…niasing123!)

Operator: *001000100000001001010* (translation: Thank you for your verification – pause – Welcome back Mr Ah beng, your address is-…)

Customer: *000100001010000100001* (translation: hmm..what to eat ah…stuff crust…maybe some kah…)

Operator: *00100010100100101001* (translation: I’m sorry. Please verify your address before ordering – pause – Ah Beng, customer No. 53545354, address No. 53, Jalan 54, 53540 PJ. Pls confirm by thinking of the letters YES)

Customer: *001001* (translation: Y E S)

Operator: *0010001001010010011* (translation: Thank you for your verification, Mr Ah Beng. Please place your order after the image of the Pizza Hut logo)

Customer: *00010010100001010010* (translation: Ah…ok, I want ikan bilis stuff crust pizza regular…)

Operator: *0001010100101* (translation: Error. Size of image of order transmitted is not the same as size of actual item on menu. Please report thought order process)

Customer: *001001010101010* (translation: Niasinglah,..ok – looks at pictorial menu before thinking – I want one ikan bilis stuff crust pizza regular, one long bread…)

Operator: *001001010010100001* (translation: Error. THere is no such item as “long bread” in our menu. Please repeat thought order process).

Customer: *00100101010100101* (translation: BASKET BALL!)

Operator: *00101000001000101* (translation: Error. There is no such item as ‘basket ball’ in our menu. Please repeat thought order process).

Customer: *0001010010001000101*!! (translation: Ok…stop thinking…stop thinking)

Operator: *001001* (translation: Order aborted. You have terminated the service. Thank you for thinking of Pizza Hut. Good bye and think pizza, think Pizza Hut!)

 

It’s been a helluva week, and it’s only Wednesday.

Yesterday, I discovered that I had only two pieces of wearable clothing for work purposes. An hour to a meeting with 3com for my first assignment as Content Editor for Citrineone, a PR/content agency, a new contract I recently picked up to pad up my cash-strapped savings account, this horrific revelation resulted in 20 minutes of frantic rummaging, yielding a moldy pair of black pants that had not seen “the light of day”, as the Chinese like to say, for quite some time. This is what happens when you quit the rat race and opt to be a stay-at-home mom-cum-writer. You forget certain necessities, like clothes you wear out in public. After the tech briefing, I made a mental note to shop, something I hated to do because I am 20 kilos overweight, making trying on stuff a depressing exercise.

A memo to all SoHo freelancers who live in shorts: Be wary of turning into a fashion hermit. Be sure to allocate some time and money to buy some proper threads for that emergency.

A memo to cubicle dwellers and corporate-ladder climbers: Please excuse that fat lady you see in yesterday’s duds.

On the other hand, I just equipped my home office with a spanking new speed demon: a P4 3.06GHz dream machine with a Gigabyte dualbios motherboard with onboard every-damn0thing, 1 gig of DDr 266Mhz RAM and the ATI Radeon 9700 (could not afford the 9800 because it’s about RM1,000 more), as well as the latest Samsung combo drive and a 19-inch Philips flat screen monitor. It’s so beautiful we got the iCute Blue Light Special casing so we could show its innards off. This beauty has four fans, not including one inbuilt fan on the mobo. And all this for the love of gaming. I can’t be sure but I honestly improved in my Age of Mythology rankings with the 2Ghz+ increase in speed. I’m not kidding!

The damage? RM4, 110, not including the chip (got that free). Not bad. Not bad at all…

I finally picked up my new Intel P4 3.06GHz Hyper-Threading speed demon from HWM today, payment for judging their recent DIY contest at Low Yat. Yay! This weekend we finally have enough motivation to go shopping. We went two weekends ago to MVM’s IT Centre, just to scout out the prices. From that we reckoned we’ll need about RM4k WITHOUT the chip to get a good mobo, a good graphics card and ntm a good monitor.

Maybe RM4k won’t be enough even…

Anyway, we thought of getting the ATI RADEON 9800 but a quick trip to Low Yat yesterday revealed that it will do a damage of RM1,800!! That’s almost half my budget gone! Sigh…another RM900 for the mobo. THat’s RM3k gone. Who’s going to sell me a soundcard, a 21-inch flat-screen monitor, 512MB DDR 888 RAM and speakers for RM1000?

Oh well. I guess we’ll just have to set our sights lower. Anyone here got stuff u wanna sell off?