Hulk Hogan

November 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

An update: A gif I made last year, Hulk Hogan Plays Guitar On Top of Places, has as of this writing been viewed over 130,000 times and has consumed over 1 Terabyte of internet bandwidth.

I understand the Academy has been in touch with my agent. I’d like to take a moment to thank God, my friends, and my family who all helped make this possible.

Google Maps and Being an Internet Superhero

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://goo.gl/maps/V2i74

SUPER HERO.

You know who else winds up on Google Maps? People like Wayne Coyne.

Just one more notch on my (utility?) belt towards internet superheroism.

Two Hundred Posts

November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whoa. 200 is a really, really big number.

Important milestones since the last check-in:

 

I guess that doesn’t really leave much room for fun in the next 100, does it? Maybe we’d better pack it in now.

…nah.

“Wow, that guy can write.”

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Overheard in an email from a complete stranger:

“Collier – I just read [Josh’s] declaration, and wow, that guy can write. I guarantee you that they are going to claim that the lawyers drafted that declaration. Good job getting that one!”

Further proof that I’m the best. Precisely what the world needed.

A Guest Post Approaches!

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

[This is my blog’s first-ever guest post. And my mom wrote it. Enjoy!]

I know I’m supposed to write you something about being a better Mom in 10 (or so) easy steps, but I’ve been thinking about it, and realized that the concept of “better” Mom is very subjective. Personally, I think I’m the greatest Mom, b/c I ended up with three absolutely fabulous kids–bright, ambitious, loyal, considerate, adventurous, fun-loving, respectful and devoted to family. In other words, I think you’ve all grown to exemplify the values that I treasure the most–real mensches.

But it occurred to me that others might define “better” differently—frankly, none of you are super-star athletes, artists or musicians which (according to that new book Tiger Mom) makes me a failure for not forcing you guys to practice mercilessly at something. You guys are also not particularly strong at doing chores at home (my fault entirely b/c I took them all on for myself) but to lots of Moms that’s the essence of good child rearing. And who the heck am I anyway to be giving parenting advice to anyone other than my own immediate family????

So maybe what I can offer you, to do with as you wish, is some stuff that I’ve learned along the way–not necessarily about child rearing either. For example, I’ve recently learned:

How to Paint the Bathrooms in Your House and Only Come Close to Killing Yourself

1.  There’s a reason that you’re supposed to shut the electric current before changing light switches or fixtures: I got away with it the first time (just lucky, I guess) but got a big enough shock the second time to totally curl my hair (wait, my hair is already curly). A corollary to this premise is that sometimes other people do actually know what they’re talking about, and are worth listening to…but only sometimes.

ProTip: Find the main circuit breaker for the house. Ours in the basement, in an elecrical cabinet with about 30 other switches. It took some trial and error to find the right switch, but it paid off later in the time saved when actually doing the electrical work without fear of the (sometimes very painful) electric shock.

2.  Preparation is key to success. An hour spent preparing a room to resemble Dexter’s kill room is worth at least 3-4 hours later spent is cleaning up spilled spackle, paint drops and general sloppiness. I now finally get what all that studying was about in school–not to remember the subject matter, but to understand the concept that success comes from preparing, proven to a small degree by the Kaplan-type prep courses and to a lesser degree by the Zachary Petersel do it yourself version.

ProTip: This one is easy: Either watch an actual video demonstration on an episode of Dexter, or get a drop cloth (paint/hardware store) or enormous plastic trash bags and cover absolutely everything in the room that doesn’t move or can’t be replaced.

3.  Using the right tool makes all the difference in the world, or, as a surgeon might say, don’t use a hacksaw when a scalpel will do. This is the same philosophy that lies behind the famous expression “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In the context of construction and/or repairs, having the right tools (or power tools) clearly facilitates the job. But, even in the context of child-rearing, having and using the right tools (hugs, kisses, flattery and occasional bribery) is far and away more effective than the wrong tools (yelling, screaming, belittling, berating and the out and out ridiculous “I’ll give you something to cry about” smack-down).

ProTip: For most of the basic renovation stuff, the basic household tools will do: pencil, ruler, light weight hammer, flat head screwdriver, phillips head screwdriver and drill. It really helps if the screwdriver and drill are power tools with adjustable size bits (loser points for using a 1″ size drill bit to make a hole for a 1/2″ size screw, and vice versa). If working on more than one room at a time, it also helps tremendously to keep the tools in one place and, at my age in particular, to remember where that place is. I can’t tell you the amount of time I’ve wasted on Now where did I leave that ******* screwdriver this time????

Okay, that’s it for the moment. Better get back to work. G-d help me if I ever get a real job where the boss actually cares about what I’m really doing at the computer.

///

[If you want to say hi, leave your comments below and I’ll be sure that Mom gets the message.]

Immersion in Video Games

March 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

“Immersion” is a funny word that gets thrown around a lot in the modern video game industry. Somewhere along the lines, some fools in the development team got it in their rotten minds that immersive gameplay equated to motion-control gameplay. Which first resulted in the Nintendo Wii, and subsequently led to the Playstation Move, Xbox 360 Kinect, and Nintendo Wii Plus all vying for the title of having the best controls.

And they’re all wrong.

Okay, I get it. Immersion is a very sexy concept. I’ve had more than my fair share of bouts with the whole “immersion” thing in the movie realm. Dictionary.com calls immersion “a baptism in which the whole body is submerged in the water.” That’s not the best definition. Being truly immersed in a game—movie, book, anything—means I’ve lost any active recognition of the medium. I’m just there.

I can see the sketchboard appeal in motion gaming. From a 3rd person point of view, it looks more immersive. The developer thinks, This looks more like the player’s swinging a tennis racket, therefore it must feel more like swinging a tennis racket. But when push (literally!) comes to shove, no motion gaming system amounts to much more than an exhaustive effort in random flailing. If I’m swinging wildly hoping for my controller to effectively communicate, immersion is lost. Or if swooping my arm a little too high results in my forehand not registering, and I’ve got to consciously monitor the swoop, pitch, and speed of my input, then immersion is lost, too. If I’m breaking a sweat in anything but an exercise game (and only then, because I’m running in place, not because I’m attempting (and failing) to communicate accurately with the receptor), then the system is broken, not enhanced.

Finding true immersion ought to be easy enough: simply follow the path of least resistance—whatever results in gameplay that’s as quick and accurate as possible.

At any point during gameplay, there’s a three-party transaction going on between my brain (who says to the controller “I need to wallop that fellow over there with a hammer”), the controller (who says to the console “input these complicated commands and algorithms per my instructions (which, presumably, it’s correctly received) from that guy’s brain”), and the console (who makes the blob on the TV screen swing his hammer per the controller’s instructions (which, presumably, it too has correctly received)). Motion gameplay subjects all three parties to lag (I’ve got to swing my arm instead of pressing the A-button) and error (the controller brain wonders, “did he swing overhand for a hammer smash, or jab forward for a rocket punch?”)

Consequently, in my opinion, the medium of least resistance is actually the much-scoffed and often-maligned…Nintendo GameCube controller.

Purple was always for sissies, though.

Feast your eyes on the most immersive video game controller in history. Surprised?

The GameCube suffered and ultimately failed because (no duh, haven’t you been reading the rest of my crap?) of a marketing problem. The controller and system itself were widely panned by critics. Why? Because everything on the controller is small. The D-Pad (the grey “+” looking thing on the left side) is small. The yellow C-stick has a small top and became disaffectionately referred to as a “nub.” The controller itself was slightly smaller than its Sony and Microsoft counterparts. Core gamers (male, 14-25, ish) like things that are big—a projection of their genitalia, naturally—and don’t typically take to things that are purple.

Problem is, the size of the controller was never properly explained as an attribute—nay, an asset—of the controller. A small controller minimizes finger movement and exhaustion, and close buttons minimize the amount of time fumbling needed to try to find the one you’re hoping to press. Because the D-pad is small, you don’t need to press Up, Down, Left, or Right individually, you can simply rest your thumb in the middle and tilt. By making the C-stick “nub” shaped instead of full-size, it could be moved closer to the ABXY buttons and minimize accidental presses. B, A, X, and Y are all different shapes—small, big, tall, and flat, respectively—so you’d never confuse pressing one for the other. There’s an obvious and comfortable resting position for your right thumb on A, the most important button. Other controllers (like the PlayStation controller, here) have a diamond-shaped button pattern. Aesthetically, this makes sense. Logistically, this means your thumb probably rests on the X button, and you’ve got to reach all the way up to hit Triangle. Sounds totally silly even as I’m typing it. But on a mass-production scale, even the centimeter difference we’re discussing here needs to be considered.

Granted, the controller wasn’t perfect. In the modern generation, it’d need to be wireless and rechargeable, and it’d need a “Home” button to quickly navigate to a menu screen. There was no Z-button on the top-left of the controller to match the one on the top-right. You couldn’t press the Joystick or C-stick in to use as additional buttons. And the thing is still purple.

An aside totally worth mentioning: The GameCube similarly suffered from a second size-related issue that should have been an asset: Game discs themselves were tiny. The natural assumption is that smaller discs = less powerful, worse graphics, smaller. The actual reason? Games load faster. Shorter and less frequent loading screens, greater sense of immersion.

A second aside: Many avid gamers cite the PlayStation Dualshock (again) as their controller of choice. Strange, because it’s by far the blockiest, least comfortable, and worst-designed (the left joystick—the input used most frequently—is placed awkwardly low to be held comfortably) controller of the current generation. And yet, it may be justifiably considered the most immersive controller of the lot, for the simple and intuitive reason that Sony has been using the same style controller for nearly fourteen years (November 1997), and avid gamers have long since grown accustomed to and fluid in its (albeit flawed) layout.

The conclusion: The GameCube was a flop. The GameCube controller, a flop merely by association. Negative buzz spread about the console (the word “kiddy” made rounds frequently), developers opted to make games on the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox instead of for Nintendo, which lead to more negative buzz hitting the airwaves, ad infinitum. It sold the worst of the three video game consoles of its generation. Its flaws will go down in history in much larger print than its successes, which, in light of the motion-gaming revolution currently underway, will probably be ultimately lost to obscurity entirely. What a shame.

But from a production and immersion standpoint that will never be heard from again in the history of the universe, what a shining (and surprising) success.

Followups: 3D and CollegeHumor

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Two things that I nailed perfectly:

  1. Here is me explaining why 3D is the most miserable experience in the movie universe, and here is Roger Ebert adding science and explaining why 3D will never work, period.
  2. Here is me observing that CollegeHumor is rapidly outgrowing its moniker, and here is Sam Reich, one of the highest ranking officers in the CH food chain, commenting and confirming the fact.

I love always being right.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Best of Josh category at Josh Petersel.