Archive for September, 2007

Sep 24 2007

All Halo’s Eve

Published by under Games

I attended the Halo 3 midnight event at the Redmond Town Center EBGames tonight. There were several other stores in the area (e.g. Bellevue Best Buy) also staying open late for the midnight release. I read somewhere that over 10,000 stores nationwide held midnight events.


Not too many entertainment releases draw this sort of attention and I suspect it is right up there with the Harry Potter and Nintendo Wii releases. Microsoft is expecting Halo 3 to be the largest entertainment release in history for first day sales. We’ll find out later this week if it achieved that goal.

I got in line around 10:00pm and appeared to be behind about 400 people. The atmosphere was one of excitement but not quite as rowdy as the Halo 2 launch (which I also attended here). The Redmond Town Center is an outdoor mall so I was a bit concerned about the weather. Fortunately the weather cooperated with clear skies and temperatures in the high 50’s.

The wait until Midnight went by fairly quickly. The crowd provided a certain amount of entertainment with things such as people dressed up for the occasion (e.g., a guy painted green wearing a helmet), spontaneous cheering, and all other sorts of wackiness. I also spent time watching Sealab 2021 and Robot Chicken episodes via YouTube on my iPhone.

A few minutes before midnight Bungie arrived in three large busses. This, of course, generated a lot of excitement particularly when dozens of Bungie employees walked the length of the line handing out tee shirts and other swag. When midnight rolled around, the line began moving and thanks to a very efficient operation by EBGames I had my Halo 3 Legendary Edition in hand by 12:35AM. The store had earlier ran everyone by the register to pay for their purchase so when midnight came all they had to do is hand out the product when you showed you receipt.

I got home before 1:00AM which left a few hours to play the game. I won’t go into details here other than to say I’m very happy so far.

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Sep 23 2007

iPhone Accessories

Published by under Misc

When I bought my iPhone on a whim a few weeks ago I purchased the leather case that was offered at the Cingular store. The case did an adequate job protecting the phone, however it wasn’t as form fitting as I thought would be possible. Today, while at the mall I set foot in an Apple store for the first time in my life. Being a Windows guy I previously never had a reason to shop there and the pretentious atmosphere had been enough to curb my idle curiosity. This time I had a desire and purpose to visit.

I had done some web surfing for iPhone cases and had seen a few that looked promising. Heading into the store I wasn’t sure if they carried iPhone accessories. The store was pretty sparse in terms of the number of products. A minimalist approach was obviously a priority in the store design. Fortunately near the back of the store I found a rack containing iPhone accessories and the INCASE rubber cover (which I had seen on the web) was there.


I grabbed a box containing a black color cover and decided to open it up and give it a try on my iPhone. It fit my iPhone like a glove and the rubber material both felt good and seemed to provide good protection. It was slimmer than my leather case and feature integrated buttons on the side for the volume control. The thing was awesome and I had found my new iPhone cover.

While there I decided to look around for a mini-stereo cable which I needed to connect the iPhone to my car stereo. I have the phone paired via bluetooth with my Land Rover so phone calls automatically go wirelessly to the car’s built-in hands-free speaker phone. However, for iPod functionality I need to actually plug the iPhone into the audio in of the car stereo. I would have used one of my own cables, however Apple (in their infinite wisdom) decided to recess the headphone jack on the iPhone making it incompatible with most existing cables. Because of this inexplicable design,  I was required to buy a new cable and finally settled on the Belkin Retractable Mini-Stereo Cable. The retractable cable works out very nicely in the car. I can grab the phone from the center console and the cable will unwind as I bring it in front of me. When I’m done selecting music the cable retracts and minimizes cable mess.

The only downside of the INCASE rubber case is that the phone does not fit in the charging stand when in the case. The charging stand has a molded base that exactly fits the shape of the iPhone and it’s not surprising that the phone doesn’t fit while inside any case. Fortunately the charging stand cable unplugs from the stand and can plug directly into the iPhone. That’s a great design and allows the phone to charge while in the case.

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Sep 22 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

Published by under Movies

I saw the latest installment in the Resident Evil series today. I enjoyed the first movie but really hated the sequel which sucked major ass. I figured I’d give it shot since it still stars Milla Jovovich and the trail actually didn’t look half bad. It really couldn’t be worse than Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

Resident Evil Poster

To my surprise, the movie turned out to be a fairly solid mix of zombie killing, genetic mutations, mad max road adventures, and (of course) the evil doings of the Umbrella Corporation. The movie felt much more like a sequel to the first movie than the second. In fact, it all but ignored the happenings of the second movie which I think was a good move. More to come…

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Sep 10 2007

Drawing as a Means to Architecture

Published by under Books

The book “Drawing as a Means to Architecture” by Kirby Lockard (1977) is both a student workbook and a challenge to the methods and ideas of modern architectural drawing. The author, a Professor Emeritus in architecture at University of Arizona, encourages the reader to give up reliance on traditional drafting tools and instead develop freehand drawing skills as both a way to effectively test conceptual ideas and to seamlessly integrate non-drafted elements (e.g., landscaping, vehicles, etc) into a drawing.


While the book covers the fundamentals techniques of architectural drawing the part I found most interesting was the author’s philosophy and observations on the subject. My impression is that Mr. Lockard was a bit of a free thinker at a time when architectural drawing was strictly seen as a exact and methodical science.

The author’s concepts of architectural space and the identity of the viewer help bring a drawing to a personal level. Rather than drawing from an improbable point of view that conveniently takes in the entire structure it is suggested that the student draw from a view that is humanly possible in order to bring the viewer into the space.

The section on spatial structuring taught me some new techniques for organizing the space in a perspective drawing. The chart in that section is a valuable guide for laying out a three dimensional space. The technique of creating a “measuring plane” looks very useful for accurately measuring depth into the drawing space.

Although it was my interest in perspective drawing that originally drew me to this book, I did find the sections on plan/section/elevation drawing, context and humanizing, and general drawing techniques to be very interesting. If this sounds like your thing, check it out at Amazon here.

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Sep 10 2007

Dragoncon 2007 Bands

Published by under Conventions,Music

Attending late night concerts at Dragon*Con is a tradition that I always look forward to. This post contains video from some of the concerts we attended:

My favorite darkwave band The Cruxshadows were back again this year and put on an excellent show (as always). Their new CD titled Dreamcypher was released earlier this year and has done well on the charts. This concert marked the end of their Europe/Asia/US tour as well as the last performance with violinist Rachel McDonnell. Rachel has been an integral member of the band for as long as I can remember and will be sorely missed.
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Last Dance
This traditional goth band is a Dragon*Con regular and welcome addition to the late night concert line up. Last year their was an issue with the sound mix that decreased our enjoyment of the performance. I’m happy to report no such problems this year and the band put on a terrific show.
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The tequila drinking Texas hellbilly band Ghoultown was at Dragon*Con this year and put on a memorable show. I believe it’s been a few years since we’ve seen Ghoultown at Dragon and there had been rumors that they broke up. I’m happy that they are back strong and promoting a new album titled Bury Them Deep. The horn player on stage contributes a lot to their distinctive spaghetti western sound.
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