Tested iPad: Hate & Love It

Things I love about it:

  • Accessability: it’s fast to turn on and start using. Just press one button and you can start working on it.
  • Noise: lack of it to be exact. It’s silent as my laptop isn’t. It’s a huge difference.
  • Battery life: if I compare this to any laptop pc I know, the difference is like between a man and a zombie. One is living, another one is very dead.
  • There’s one button that takes you to home screen. And there you see all your apps and can use them. It’s not like “you can setup that with -c dumb in console using params /s”. Oh, and now as you have 371 folders, you really should defragment them. Oh and indexing is good to turn off in the service. Oh… and seven billion other factors I’ve seen in Windows/Linux machines.
  • Missus likes it: always a good sign.
  • Weight: it’s very lightweight compared to laptops
  • Screen: very nice screenie. And you can touch it. Ooh…

Things I hate about it:

  • Name: seriously. iPad. It’s… gross.
  • Virtual keyboard: well, I don’t hate it. It’s “somewhat decent”. Maybe my couple hours of usage was not enough to test this properly, but somehow I like the Nokia style when it comes to keyboard: physical ones beat virtual ones. It’s the contact & feedback you get when pressing buttons.
  • Cannot upload images/files to web: I tried uploading an image. It said no can do. I have one 3 letter word to describe my feelings: “wtf”?
  • Weight: while it’s very lightweight, it’s also too heavy to be used to read books. I couldn’t find a good position nor could read stuff. So, for now I just grab my Terry Pratchett in physical format thank you.
  • Neck pains: the next morning I woke up, my neck was hurting. It’s because I have to rotate my neck more than when on a laptop. Maybe I just couldn’t find a good position or something, but anyway.
  • Battery charging: I have no Mac. When I plugged on the “universal iphone to usb port” cord (“universal”… *sigh*…) and iPad kept saying “won’t recharge”. I tried with PC windows, PC unix… even with PS3. It required me to turn off iPad and then it would recharge (of course it would not *tell* me that battery was charging). When the thing is on synced iTunes account (or as I guess: Mac machine) it charges okay.
  • “Apple standard”: why oh why you cannot have simple USB port. Why have “apple standard”. Oh wait. I know. Because you guys hate me. I wee on your tent to retaliate.
  • Price: 500-800 eur is quite big price for this thing. The 500 price (16 GB, no 3G, wlan) is somewhat acceptable, but I wouldn’t pay 800 euros for this thing.

…but it will be a success. Big success.

The main reason that while there’s some things that are not so good (at least right now), but this machine is designed for human beings. It’s not for geeks. The usability is great. It’s simple to use. It has tons of software.

I can imagine iPad to be a really popular device, and when it comes to “surfing in web” or “reading some twitter stuff” or “checking emails”, I’m like tons of more interested in doing that using iPad compared to using Ubuntu powered laptop.

I was positively surprised. And this comes from the mouth of a alltime-Windows man who has tested Linux and hated Mac so much that I’ve never drunk apple cider in my life.

So, the device cannot be that bad.

Oh, and you can also make games to it…

Resources On AI (Neural Networks And Other)

I’ve been checking out some robots stuff (robotics, robot programming, artificial intelligence) “just for fun” for a few days and thought to share a bit of my findings. I’m mainly interested in robot programming (and artificial life) which can be useful for you to check out as well if you are planning on using AI in your game.

Here’s some online resources:

  • Generation 5 looks like a great resource. There’s tons of information about game AI, robotics, genetic algorithms, programming, artificial life, neural networks and so on. I have merely glimpsed some of the articles on their site and can warmly recommend checking out the site. Seemed good, and others have recommended it as well.
  • AI junkie is a site with some articles on genes and neural networks. It also has book recommendations and links to other sites. Good place for starters.

Books on AI:
Please notice that I haven’t read these books, these represents the books I ended up with (based on reviews by other people), and just sharing my findings.

  • Programming game AI by example – this book was recommended by many different sites and has got good amazon.com reviews. From what I’ve heard (and read using google reader) about the book, it starts with AI basics and builds from there, eventually helping reader to build a simple soccer AI.
  • AI techniques for game programming is a book that talks about genetic algorithms and neural networks in somewhat understandable language (at least based on from what I’ve read).

There’s other books (please feel free to suggest addition to the lists), but these were the ones I found and put to my wish/buylist.

P.S. Those interested in perhaps-not-so-useful-for-gaming books on robotics, might be interested to check out Robot Builders Bonanza and Getting Started with Arduino. Again, I haven’t read nor ordered these (yet), but these were getting enough recommendations for me to place these into my future-buy list.

Book recommendations?
If you have some book or other recommendations on Artificial Intelligence, feel free to share your links.

In case you know some good book about “machine learning / artificial intelligence (general) / artificial life” I’d be very pleased to hear about these.

Age Ratings For Music Videos?

Few years back, I pondered why there’s no age limits for music. For movies and games there’s several different type of ratings.

My baby girl is now 6 months. We had music television (or Voice – Finnish alternative) open every now and then and I started to pay attention what they show in the channel since our baby seemed to watch all the bright colors that TV displays – also in the music channel.

I’m thinking that there’s definitely stuff that’s not for kids. In fact… radio channels have got our votes nowadays.

I started wondering again, why there’s no ratings for music? You can play any music around the clock and there’s no guidelines for parents. It feels that I better turn off the channel rather than risk it.

I’m on safe waters what it comes to movies/cartoons and such. I’m also on very safe waters what it comes to games since I’m very familiar with those… but music channel – or just plain audio – is something I cannot control so easily. At least not here in Finland.

I wonder if this is the case in other parts of this planet – and I wonder why there’s really no clear age ratings or such for music.

Small Annoying Things

Yesterday I didn’t make a blog post. I coded my game system instead and sort of lost track of time (or pick some other reason). The fact that I didn’t post an article bugs me.

Two days ago, I posted a blog post with 2 polls. Currently first poll got 64 votes, and second one 63. That annoys me big time. (Damnit, that one dude could have voted in both polls you know!)

Something to do with consistency (and promises). First thing I will “fix” by writing 2 blog posts on some other day (to keep my 1 post per day average running) which sounds a pretty damn foolish if I think about it.

But nothing that I can do for that poll thing.

Therefore the question remains: why are these small annoyances so annoying? Rationally thinking, one poll having 64 and another 63 votes should not mean nothing.

My Slow Transformation to Being a Console Gamer

I don’t know when this happened, but I find myself playing less on PC and more on PS3. When new stuff – such as PS3 Move – appears for the console, I’m curious to hear about it. For games, I try find something to play on my console.

This is quite new thing to me, since I’ve been a PC dude as far as I can remember.

I’m guessing there’s few reasons for this change:

  • NHL ’10 exclusivity on PS3. I think it was NHL ’08 or ’07 which is available for PC, but newer NHL games are only available on consoles. Same goes for certain other games that I’d like to try. If I wanted to play these games, I needed to get console. Monopolies work.
  • Ease of use. PS3 is simple to use. Launch the game and you are good. With PCs, I might need to do some mystical rituals to get games working. And after they work, I might need to change resolutions and settings and stuff to get decent framerate and visuals. With PS3 I don’t need to do that.
  • Sofa playing. My PC is located downstairs, in a dark room, with spiders and snakes and such. My PS3 on the other hand is located in our livingroom, with proper lights, sofa and everything. Oh, and those wireless bluetooth controller devices. They are great. PS3 is convenient.
  • Bigger screen (TV for PS3, 24″ monitor for PC)
  • PS3 also nowadays offers online multiplayer which wasn’t available some time ago for consoles. I only play multiplayer games, and with PS3 I can go online so it’s not limited to only offline multiplayer. Which gets me to my next reason.
  • Offline multiplayer is also nice. Sometimes it’s just cool to have people you play with in the same room. PS3 offers that.

But… if it wouldn’t have NHL ’10 online (and blu-ray) I might have not bought the console at all. It’s just later than I’ve found out how cool machines these things are.

This is quite lot said from a guy whose previous console experience was provided by NES (I wonder what happened to that machine) – and who has always held the PC flag very, very high.

I suppose things change.